A Spectacle

I’ve ordered glasses online a couple of different times and my best experience by far has been with Warby Parker. The frames are current and the quality is great. Also, when you call their customer service line a real person picks up the phone!

Lucas requested several frames to try-on at home. Which should he order?

One:

(Warby Parker calls this style, ‘Seymour’, but I call it, ‘The Raymond’ in honor of my bf’s dad who wore this style for most of my adolescence.)
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Two:

(WP’s name: ‘Sibley’, mine: ‘Hello I’m an Architect’)
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Three:

(WP’s name: ‘Chandler’, mine: ‘Harry Potter’s Dashing Uncle’)
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Four:

(WP’s name: ‘Arthur’, mine: ‘Sounds fine, Arthur it is’)
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Of course the boys wanted in on the fun.
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Odds are that glasses are in the future for these two. I’m as blind as a bat and Lucas is as blind as…well…he’s as blind as an animal that can see better than a bat but still needs corrective lenses to do most activities.
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DIY Himmeli-esque Wreath

I made a wreath!

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Himmeli has been getting a lot of attention lately and for good reason. Everything about it- the minimalistic vibe, geometric shapes, metallic finishes- is on trend. I wish I could order one of everything from this shop.

Mandi at Vintage Revivals made a great tutorial for a himelli-inspired wreath. She, quite cleverly, used cocktail straws and floral wire.  I wanted something with a bit more heft to it and sourced 1/4″ copper tubing (used for refrigerator water lines) from the hardware store.  You can get a 50′ coil for $30.
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The wreath is made up of 105 pieces.  I cut them with our pipe cutter and each was 5″ long.  This part took approximately two episodes of ‘Parenthood’.  The cutting wasn’t difficult but watching the horrible Julia/Joel storyline was.
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I used 18 gage hanger aluminum wire. It was pretty stiff and I think going with 20 gage might make all the bends a little neater.  This is a pretty sturdy wreath though and the copper tubes need something strong.  I would imagine 22 or 24 gage wire would be too flimsy.

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The aluminum wire is visible but not unsightly. I considered using copper wire but it was quite a bit more expensive.

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It was really fun to make. I think I want to make a mobile next!

New Music

One of my favorite bands, NEEDTOBREATHE has a new album dropping soon. The tracks have started coming out one by one and OH is there some really good music there.

I’ve seen them in concert a couple of times and have enjoyed watching them perform.  Somehow though, I have yet to really like any of their videos.  I can’t exactly put my finger on it…too hipster?  too try-hard-y? too many hats?  I don’t know.  Anyway, this video has lovely light and happy, pretty people so I feel pretty crotchety not liking it.  (In addition, I’m not sure what the band has against lowercase letters and spaces but nobody asked me.)

‘The Heart’ (official video)
No matter how far, how heavy the load, it never lets go.

‘Wasteland’ (lyric video)
If God is on my side, who can be against me?

‘State I’m in’ (lyric video)
In the morning I’m leaving and I don’t know where I’m going.

Oh. Hello, there.

Well, sorry to leave things here so unattended.  I guess we should all just be relieved it wasn’t quite as bad as the time that basement insulation post was left up here for ages.

Things at the SugarSugar House headquarters have been fine, just busier than normal.  I’ve had some fun free-lance work which has been consuming my extra time.  The boys are well and we all recently enjoyed a wonderful visit from my parents.

Spring may or may not be arriving soon.  We’ve had some warm temperatures but earlier in the week Kansas City got some snow.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about polar vortexes it’s that they are tricky (and their plurals are even trickier.)

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I’ve enjoyed these words.  You might, too.

A post by the ever droll and charming Alice.  Her experience hit very close to home for me.  “I am not a barber.  I know this now.”

Alexa’s pneumonia and her daughter’s artistic rendition of Lincoln.  “If you enjoy weeping freely over the passage of time, boy have I got a hobby for you!”

Alisa, hard working artist and mom, always makes me want to move to the northwest.

Spring is almost nigh, but I still want Anna’s boots.

(Hmmm, I totally did not plan to limit my links to ladies with ‘A’ names but that’s totally what happened.)

The Gap

I recently finished the novel I had been working on for years.

The reason it took so long was not so much the fact that I have my hands full with two busy boys and a home renovation or even my complete inexperience as a writer.  The reason it took so long was that I was almost constantly paralyzed by my perfectionistic tendencies.

I finally put myself on (another) deadline and when I felt like pushing it to the side (again) would watch this clip or read Ira Glass’ famous quote:

Ira Glass, The Gap

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

So, the first draft of this (still untitled) novel is done and while there is definitely frustration with it’s quality, I am mostly just proud of myself for finishing it.

I’m not naturally a person who enjoys the journey.  I like to plan and plot and dream about the destination.  Imagine my surprise to enjoy the “getting there.”  This experience was a lesson in the process, not the finish.  I’m looking forward to learning more.

Snowy Week

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things.” Isaiah 40:26
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“The people of God in Isaiah’s day had starved their imagination by looking on the face of idols, and Isaiah made them look up at the heavens, that is, he made them begin to use their imagination aright.
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Nature to a saint is sacramental.
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If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in Nature.
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In every wind that blows, in every night and day of the year, in every sign of the sky, in every blossoming and in every withering of the earth, there is a real coming of God to us if we will simply use our starved imagination to realize it.”
-Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, February 10.

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Levi sitting quietly watching the snow come down, with an umbrella.

Kindergarten Valentines

We found these fun googly eye rings at the craft store.
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Levi worked hard gluing and writing and tying them into Valentines.
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They turned out great.
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We had a lot of fun at the school party. I made a bunch of these “balloon boppers” out of paper plates and craft sticks. The plan was to do some relay races but I ended up just passing out these and the balloons and let chaos reign for a few minutes while 24 kindergarteners went nuts.
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The craft I planned was using pipe cleaners to make beaded bracelets. Right before the party, though, I got concerned that maybe the boys wouldn’t be all that excited about them. DSC07131w
I used clip art to print out super hero logos (as well as some hearts and other Valentine pictures) then laminated those.
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We punched a hole in each side to make slides for their bracelets.  Voila, manly bracelets!
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Working from Home

We got a new laptop but I haven’t been able to upgrade and transfer my CAD program to it quite yet. The old laptop’s monitor has died so when I had a work project last week I had to get creative.
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I used the HDMI cable to enlist our TV’s help as my monitor. It’s mounted high enough on the wall that I was straining my neck trying to use it.  I couldn’t get the TV lower so the only other option was to get me higher.
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It’s a fairly ridiculous set-up…or is it?? I mean, that’s a 46″ monitor! I’m never going to want to go back to the dinky laptop screen again.