Tuesday, August 30, 2011

petit softies


It was pretty cloudy today, but never mind, the new Petit softies are in the shop!

Petits make conveniently sized companions and mascots, would look lovely on a shelf or dresser, or -- if you choose to have a pin attached -- would be a charming decoration on your coat or bag.

They really are petit -- not more than 3" tall -- and are entirely handmade and handpainted. At present, all Petit softies are in a purely softie doll state; I can affix a pin if so desired :)
* Apple Kitty has sold.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I love animals, I love old photographs -- it's only natural that I'd love Mari Lowery's work! The angles, expressions and colouring are perfect, and the combinations are just brilliant. You can find these and more of Mari's prints and collages at her Etsy shop, Frighten.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting to go outdoors for photographs. In the shop tomorrow :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

softie pins

Here's Little Monkey! She's one of a new series of softie pins I've been making. I paint each one directly on cotton and stuff them up nicely -- every pin is unique and a little work of art!

Softie pins look friendly and adorable on clothing and bags, and will work just as sweetly perched on a bookshelf or dresser. This one was a custom order, but I'll be putting other softie pins in the shop, probably starting tomorrow.

Monday, August 22, 2011

the audacity to hope

What a wonderful, wonderful sermon our pastor delivered on Sunday. Somehow I knew, when I saw at the start of service that the sermon would be on "Waiting in Hope", that I would be hearing from God.

The sermon was based on Psalm 42, a beautiful psalm I've always loved:

"AS THE hart pants and longs for the water brooks, so I pant and long for You, O God.

My inner self thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?

My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, Where is your God?

These things I [earnestly] remember and pour myself out within me: how I went slowly before the throng and led them in procession to the house of God [like a bandmaster before his band, timing the steps to the sound of music and the chant of song], with the voice of shouting and praise, a throng keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.

O my God, my life is cast down upon me [and I find the burden more than I can bear]; therefore will I [earnestly] remember You from the land of the Jordan [River] and the [summits of Mount] Hermon, from the little mountain Mizar.

[Roaring] deep calls to [roaring] deep at the thunder of Your waterspouts; all Your breakers and Your rolling waves have gone over me.

Yet the Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

I will say to God my Rock, Why have You forgotten me? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

As with a sword [crushing] in my bones, my enemies taunt and reproach me, while they say continually to me, Where is your God?

Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my countenance, and my God".

In his sermon, our pastor showed the beautiful Symbolist painting Hope by George Frederic Watts. In it, Hope sits hunched on a globe, holding a lyre with only one string left unbroken. Melancholy, poignant, breathtaking -- what a depiction of hope! Sometimes in life, we too listen, listen, listen to that last unbroken string.

Watts himself had said, "Hope need not mean expectancy. It suggests here rather the music which can come from the remaining chord". But -- always this wonderful hope -- we have God. We have God!

"Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my countenance, and my God".

I shall yet praise Him. Our pastor asked if we could still say this in the midst of our storms. While we're going through them, they seem terrible and unending, and we become fearful and lose our hope -- but we musn't, we mustn't! Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him!

This is from a post I'd written about those stormy "middles". I was referring to Mark ch 4, in which Jesus and the disciples took a boat to get to "the other side". A furious storm arose, and the disciples started panicking; they woke Jesus up -- He was asleep in the stern -- and He arose and calmed the storm. Then he asked them, "Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith (no firmly relying trust)?"

In my post, I wrote: "And then -- after the stormy "interval" -- "They came to the other side of the sea"... God is always with us, He WILL see us safely through, and we WILL come out on the other side. We just have to have faith and press on with a good, bold attitude. I need God's grace to do so, and so I ask Him for it. Sometimes it seems like God is "asleep in the boat" and we start panicking, but we have to remember HE IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL and though we are not, it is enough that we know the One who is".

That unbroken string. Like Hope in Watt's painting, we can lean in and listen to that seemingly faint music, while waiting on God, patiently and confidently. As our pastor described it, that waiting in hope is essentially looking forward to the day when you will praise God for your deliverance. And this is not something apathetic and passive, but active, and full of expectancy. Our pastor referred here to Isaiah 40:31:

"But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired".

Trust God to bring you above your circumstances, to strengthen you and sustain you. Wait expectantly! God is faithful! Seek Him passionately, and, in the meantime, give others hope -- God will deliver you, in His time.

"My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him.

He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved.

With God rests my salvation and my glory; He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness, and my refuge is in God!

Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times... pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower)" (Ps 62:5-8).

While listening to the sermon, I thought of something I'd read by the late Anglican Canon T. D. Harford-Battersby:

"I cannot say that I have never for a moment ceased to trust the Lord to keep me. But I can say that so long as I have trusted Him, He has kept me; He has been faithful".

Interestingly, the American pastor Jeremiah Wright was inspired by a lecture on Watts' painting to give a sermon in which he said, "With her clothes in rags, her body scarred and bruised and bleeding, her harp all but destroyed and with only one string left, she had the audacity to make music and praise God... To take the one string you have left and to have the audacity to hope... that's the real word God will have us hear from this passage and from Watt's painting" (from Preaching Today, 1990).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

loving today

Well you know how I absolutely love anything nautical (stripey and smiley is good too). I am so blessed to be living close to the sea. My eyes are always drawn to anything related to it, to ships, to water, to sailors, to marine life. I would have joined the Navy if my Mom hadn't objected -- honest!

Here's a "Loving Today" full of nautical goodness :)


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

loving today


Sailor Animal

There's a new fellow in the shop! Sailor Animal has joined the Bikbik & Roro clutch! Is he a cat? A dog? A bat? A fox? Sailor Animal is a little like the Rorschach test -- everyone has a different take on what he is :) He wears a striped sweater and scarf, and also has a little jingly bell in his body to provide hours of entertainment (well, if you like jingling things).

Friday, August 12, 2011

on being educated and a Mom

This chap was talking to me the other day; he's in his late 50s I suppose, and he started telling me about his daughter and how ridiculous she was being. She has a university degree in English and Psychology, he said, and she was wanting to be a designer! Shaking his head, he said, "Can you believe that? What a waste!"

For a moment I just stared at him. Then I replied, "I'm also a graduate. And I'm a fulltime Mom. Do you think that's a waste too?"

He looked at me in disbelief, and then he laughed outright. "Good grief!" he said. "What did you spend all that time studying for then?"

He then asked me incredulously if I'd ever "worked" at all (of course I had; perhaps he thought I was foolish and lazy). And again he shook his head, appalled that I'd given up my highfalutin corporate career for something as mindless as motherhood.

We weren't in the best of environments for any in-depth discussion, but I was seething. It wasn't the first time I'd heard this sort of thing, and I know he isn't alone in his beliefs. I still remember how, long ago, when my Mom told my aunt that I'd quit my corporate job to be with my kids, my aunt had said, "Isn't that a pity. Whole university education wasted".

Well, I don't know where to begin on this; I'm not the most eloquent of persons, and when it comes to something this sensitive, I'm apt to feel overwhelmed. But what I do strongly believe is this -- motherhood, or parenthood, is one of the hardest, most challenging jobs there is, and one can never be educated enough to be the best parent one can be.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying one needs a good education to be a good Mom. What I am saying is that a good education is never wasted on a woman who has chosen fulltime motherhood as her career.

People who say that education is wasted on fulltime Moms seem to have the idea that Moms don't necessarily need to be educated. That Moms don't need to have their brains and intelligence honed and applied the way a doctor or lawyer might. That motherhood is some sort of easy, mindless activity.

These are often the same people who think that climbing the corporate ladder and making heaps of money is the be-all and end-all of a successful life. That, to them, is the real point of getting an education. They don't value education for its own sake -- the cultivation and broadening of one's mind, the reaching of higher levels of understanding and insight, and hopefully the bettering of one's self.

And they're often also the ones who let other people parent their children.

I believe every parent has a moral obligation to actually parent -- to positively raise and mould the next generation.

Does spending quality time with one's child – playing with them; listening to them; disciplining, encouraging, nurturing; drying their tears; making their childhood as happy and fulfilling as possible; teaching them not only their letters and numbers, but their values and beliefs as well – does all this seem less important than what some banker or high-end executive does?

And does doing it 24/7 -- as opposed to 9am to 6pm, 5 days a week (not forgetting lunch and tea break, and every other occasion that allows for skiving or zoning out) -- seem less challenging?

I think every child deserves to be in the care of a parent who not only loves them and is there for them, but also isn't dumb. Raising a child to be an upright, caring, confident adult -- a positive addition to society and the world -- is not a job for dimwits.

I pray daily for God's help to be a good Mom, because goodness knows I've seen more than enough of what happens to kids who grow up without one. Am I sorry to have given up my highfalutin job, with all the perks and prestige? No, no, never. While certainly the most exhausting job I've ever had, it is by far the most rewarding.

The Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov 22:6).

And again, as author and psychologist Dr James Dobson wrote: "What a price we pay for the speed at which we run. Most of us remember these last 12 months as a blur of activities. There is so much work to do, so many demands on our time. There is so much pressure. Meanwhile, what should have mattered most was often put on hold or short-changed or ignored altogether.

"Millions of children received very little love and guidance this year from their busy parents. Husbands and wives pass like ships in the night, and our spiritual natures languished amidst over-crowded schedules and endless commitments".

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I'm loving the gorgeous jewelry by Grace at Mama Shea Shea. All her pieces look like they could be in a museum! Rough and tribal, yet modern and industrial at the same time. Lots of gold and unexpected pops of colour -- lovely!

loving today


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Custom order Hep Cat pin set, with a shining Swarovski crystal star. So sweet on one's Sunday best :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

God is faithful

O my goodness, how wonderfully, amazingly true are the words of this beautiful hymn!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou for ever will be...

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

I'd intended to write about this in the morning, but my heart is so full now I can barely contain it. Indeed, earlier in my evening prayers, before I'd known about this, I'd told God that words are so inadequate for describing His greatness, and my love and gratitude to Him; suddenly these words just popped out of my mouth: "Heavenly Father, I cannot express how full my heart is for You". And the tears came to my eyes unbidden, for such eloquence is certainly not naturally mine.

The fact is, I'd been waiting some time now to find out about something; taking into account the weekend and the upcoming public holiday, I'd already resigned myself to the fact that I'd probably have to wait till at least Thursday or Friday.

Well, shallow "Christian" me of the past would have died a million deaths worrying every minute of every day till Thursday came, indulging in every form of negativity and self-pity possible. But o praise God, praise God! I did not.

He kept me calm and peaceful, confident in Him -- o God, indeed "You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You" (Isa 26:3).

So instead, born-again Christian me spent time doing stuff with the kids, making fake food and dollhouses, shopping for a friend's birthday present, taking Kip for a long walk -- indeed, fully enjoying the present, and all the wonderful blessings God has showered upon me. And of course I had my prayer times as usual, which was what I'd originally intended to write about.

For the past couple of nights my devotions have been so accordant and harmonious, I felt certain in my spirit they were divinely-inspired messages for me. I read more than one book of devotions during my prayer times, you see; they are quite unrelated -- one book is meant for an entire year, so each devotion is dated. The other book isn't dated, so I just read a chapter each time.

Well really, I can't pretend that I was completely peaceful 100% of the time, for you know what they say about old habits, so imagine how I felt when I read in both books the following verses:

"Then Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself [determinedly, as his vital need] to seek the Lord; he proclaimed a fast in all Judah.

And Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord [yearning for Him with all their desire].

... For we have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You" (2 Chr 3-12).

And then, last night, in the one book:

"You have put more joy and rejoicing in my heart than [they know] when their wheat and new wine have yielded abundantly.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust" (Ps 4:7-8).

And in the other:

"Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]" (John 14:27).

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] (John 16:33).

What reassurance, what encouragement, what lifting up! I went through my day serene and peaceful, marvelling at God's goodness. I was truly learning to say, whenever I was tempted to fret or worry: "However things may appear or seem, God is with me and He will see me through".

I said my prayers for the evening (where I told God "how full my heart is for Him"), and then casually glanced over my emails. And lo and behold, days before I expected it, there was an email just arrived, containing the information I'd been waiting for, telling me that all is well.

I cannot begin to describe how awestruck with gratitude I was/am, if such a phrase makes sense. In the immediate, I was almost speechless and all I could do was gabble, "Thank you Father, thank you thank you thank you".

And then I felt strongly in my spirit that I must share this with you, even at 3am, to cheer you and lift you up, to encourage you to keep your peace and press on, whatever it is you're enduring, however things may seem. God is good and faithful, He hears your prayers, He knows what you're going through, and He says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you" (Isa 43:2).

Press on, press on -- focus on the higher life and developing the mind of Christ, for we are already "more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us" (Rom 8:37).

"BLESS (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits --

Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;

Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]!" (Ps 103:1-5).

loving today: dark silver


Friday, August 5, 2011

sweets for my sweet

Clay goodies for R's confectionery shop.

Petit fours, sablés, tarts -- yum!

Berlingots and marshmallows (or maybe Turkish delight!)

* Psst -- don't miss out on this giveaway, ending August 11th *

Thursday, August 4, 2011

loving today


on really saying grace

I sat down to lunch this afternoon, and, as usual, said grace before starting. And, as frequently happens, at home especially, grace became more of an all-out mini-prayer, as I rapidly went over my thoughts and behaviour so far this day.

I was praying earnestly, in fact aloud; when I was done and looked up, I saw two men getting into their pickup truck which was parked outside my house. They were looking at me through my house window as they got in, doubtless having observed me the entire time. They would have known I was praying, because my head had been bowed and resting against my two clasped hands.

And for like, 3 seconds, I felt sort of.. abashed.. it was like I was sort of embarrassed to have been seen praying earnestly like that, as though somehow my vulnerability in my regular everyday life had been witnessed by outsiders.

And then almost immediately I rebuked myself for my foolishness. "The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower" (Ps 18:2)"; I'm so thankful for the gift of faith, I'm so thankful for His presence in my life, I need His help and guidance continually -- why should I care, even for a moment, what people think?

It got me thinking on how I used to be about saying grace when I was younger. At home I was made to say grace aloud for everyone, which was such a trial for shy, introverted me. I'd shoot off the set, never-changing words as quickly as I could. Outside in public, I'd sort of stare blankly at my food and mutter those same unchanging words in a rapid mental whisper. Sometimes I'd forget to say grace completely.

I don't think I put much thought into what I was saying beyond just making my head form the words; certainly sincere thankfulness was sorely lacking. That was when I wasn't really caring about my walk with God. And so I wasn't continually, acutely aware of his goodness and grace in my life.

But now I definitely am. I couldn't get started on eating anything without thanking Him for it -- our meals are such a tangible representation of God's daily providence and beneficence; they are such a concrete reminder of how blessed we are.

Now I say grace -- at home or out -- with my whole heart and soul; I close my eyes and take as long as necessary to thank God and talk to Him about anything I should pay attention to in my thoughts and behaviour so far. Of course I don't take forever, but I certainly don't just rattle off some set "grace formula".

I make the kids take grace seriously too, and I don't care how hungry they are, or how many
people are around us -- they've got to bow their heads and thank God first. I never want them to ever take their blessings, or the fact that their basic needs are so well met, or even the fact that their Daddy has a good job, for granted. How very very blessed we are to have food and drink so readily and easily available, and that we live in such freedom and peace that we can openly thank God for it!

"But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit;

Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) -- [which will bring you] unto life eternal" (Jude 1:20-21).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

loving today: super lush confections!

So I received my 4-flavour marshmallow sampler from Fusion Sweets today (yay airmail! yay ice packs!). I chose rose, strawberry, lavender and raspberry lemonade. YUM! Well the lavender is certainly an acquired taste, but that raspberry lemonade -- o my. Both sweet and tart, with just the right combination of softness and spring. Definitely gourmet stuff!

Which inspired today's "Loving Today" -- get ready to drool (ok, that fish is not edible, but he sure is sweet in his own way)!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

* giveaway: Fashion to Figure! *

Wow, this is plus size fashion the way it should be -- gorgeous, elegant, flirty and flattering! Fashion to Figure offers trendy, beautiful plus size clothing with appeal to fashionable women of all sizes.


Fashion to Figure
started their business with the understanding that many women feel limited when it comes to plus size apparel -- they've made it their goal to give their customers as much choice as possible, with hip, stylish clothing women love!

Thanks to Fashion to Figure, one lucky reader will get to choose any item at FashiontoFigure.com for $30 or less!

Here's how to take part in this giveaway!

Mandatory entry

1. Be a follower of this blog through Google Friend Connect (just click "Join this site" on the left there :) .
2. Visit FashiontoFigure.com, then come back here and leave a comment describing which is your favourite item on the site, or which item you'd choose if you won.

Extra entries
(Not mandatory, but you really up your chances! If it says 4 entries, please leave 4 comments)

1. Grab my button (it's over there on the left) for your homepage (please leave me the URL so I can check). Doing this is worth 4 entries :)
2. Refer to this blog and this giveaway in a post on your own website (please leave me the URL so I can check). Doing this is worth 2 entries :)

This giveaway is sponsored by FashiontoFigure.com. This giveaway will end on August 11th at 12pm EST.
*Please note that FashiontoFigure.com can only ship within the US*
The winner will be chosen by Random.org. The winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be selected. Please be sure your email is in your comment!
Thanks a lot and have fun!


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