Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Journal Year

Now that the year for me finally seems like it is getting started (due to travel and uncertain schedules), I can see how full and busy it will be. Busy is a word I don't particularly like, though I love to be doing things. Down-time is so important to me though, and right now means time for treasured reading and quiet study, not so much entertainment.
For perspective, here is what my father wrote for my graduation announcement:

Although Cait’s homeschool education has been at a college preparatory level, she is not continuing with a traditional education in the modern sense. Cait’s vision is to live for God’s glory in ways that reflect His design for woman at creation, emulate the prevailing pattern of womanhood throughout the Bible, and apply the apostolic teaching in the New Testament. Confident in her identity as a woman, she seeks to embrace biblical womanhood’s orientation toward home, service in the church and community, and, in God’s providence, toward a husband and children.
We joyfully receive this gift of Cait remaining with us in Dubai, while she develops her home-management, musical, artistic and entrepreneurial skills, practically helps her parents and siblings, mentors younger girls in a Bible study, and assists her voice teacher one day a week in her Kindermusik business.

The last note about Kindermusik is one of the things which has altered and made things seem up in the air for so long. A new assistant was flown in from the US to take over lessons for my voice teacher, and she will also be doing all the Kindermusik classes while my old teacher, Sara, is pregnant :) This was slightly disappointing (though I'm delighted about the expected baby!) but it opens up other opportunities for serving in areas I wasn't able to before. As time fills up and as I make decisions and establish something of a pattern, it's a little frustrating but it reminds me how blessed I am. There is nothing of unpleasantness. Learning can be hard, but every day I am able to practice and progress in the things I am passionate about and need for life, to say nothing of contentment. Why more girls don't do life this way I'll never know (well, I do know, but it's sad!). God's way is so good, and His grace alone is what led us on this path!

My 'lovely package' finally arrived in Germany and I was overjoyed to hear how much Christine, my partner, loved it! It was such a blessing to me and well worth all the time and effort and love put into the package. I can't wait to receive mine and get a little glimpse into this sweet lady's life!

I've talked about journaling a lot, and know many of you do as well. This is my current journal (but at the rate it's going it won't be current much longer), and I bought it in Pike Place Market, Seattle. It is made of thick Nepalese rice paper, and was found at one of the oriental side shops, next to my favorite little Indian store. I covered the front with fabric, and used a tag and rotex tape to decorate it. Thy dross to consume comes from a favourite hymn, 'How Firm A Foundation.' It says, the flame shall not hurt you, I only design thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine. Sanctification. The story of our lives, and what I pray for, and what each year holds. So it's fitting for a journal cover!!
What does yours look like?

This afternoon I spent time with one of my favorite people. She's creative and crafty and loving. We went to a neat gallery in a traditional part of Bur Dubai, and an art cafe. It was such a pretty area, one with a quiet and quaint atmosphere rare here.


Saturday, 26 September 2009


Another batch of pretty letters went out recently!

I've added the rosette tutorial link to my last post for anyone who wants to try :)
Leanna is hosting a beautiful fall giveaway that you should be sure to enter!

Erin has tagged me for another sharing of 7 things about myself.

- We saw a big wooden box by the compound dumpster a few weeks ago and Daddy put it in the trunk for me so I spent the afternoon scrubbing and scraping it. It's beautiful cedar and smells delicious. I love rough wood like that and it looks great in my room (but doesn't have a permanent place yet). I have no qualms about reusing things and am quite proud of my new-old chest!
- This week my favourite verse has been Isaiah 58:10-12.

- I knew next to nothing about hand quilting when I set out on this endeavor to make a nice new coverlet. So now that the quilting itself is all that's left to do, I'm finally researching it. And thinking about winging it without much of a pattern.
- I'm not actually really a good painter...I just like to paint.
- Speaking of paint, hopefully within a few weeks my hallway will be a lovely dusty turqoise!
- This morning I had my membership interview at church. So excited to finally be old enough to be officially a part of this beloved body that has helped me grow.
- One of my well group girls this week said I looked 'wisdomous.' Ha!!

Happy Birthday to my amazing, guiding, protecting, loving, and imitable Dad! (He actually is 'wisdomous')

last year's card

with love,

Friday, 25 September 2009

rosettes & swimming pools

A few weeks ago I made all these rosettes from online tutorials, and stitched them together on felt while watching a movie. The next step was to find plain headbands and sew them on, which was prompted by the desire to wear one on Friday (a pink one, not pictured). These two will probably be gifts, and I'd like to make more. We don't have any more chiffon or silky fabric left, so we need to make a run to Satwa soon! I'd also like some velvet ribbon - it's so pretty and you can do numerous useful and inspiring things with it.

Since it was eid week, on Tuesday the well group girls went swimming and played games. They are all so much fun to be around, and so unique and interesting in their developing personalities. I made them all line up for a few pictures, and then was begged to take jumping picture after jumping picture. We're all about jumping in photos here.

Is your autumn cooling off yet? It's no longer too hot to go swimming here, so that's a nice change!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

drone insight

It's not very often mentioned on this craft blog, but I play the bagpipes and it's a huge interest of mine, even though not as big a part of life as it used to be. It's an incredibly fun instrument.
People usually don't see anything of the inside and I thought it would be fun to share a new little improvement on my pipes. Drones (the three long things that rest across the shoulder - one bass, two tenor) create the background humming sound for the bagpipe and if they are in tune nicely, it creates a really nice tone. Good quality reeds, steady blowing, and a good ear add to this.
Up until now, for all my 6 years on the pipes, I've used the same basic drone reeds. This summer I invested in some beautiful Crozier Omega reeds, and have just now begun switching over. The hum is marvelous and these reeds are way too modern and nifty. Look at the difference! I love how old school my former E.z.drone reeds are, but these are much more efficient. They are engineered specifically to tune perfectly and adjust more effectively.

Drones are tuned by lengthening or shortening them on the slides, but the reeds themselves can also be adjusted - moving up or down, moving the position of the tongue to the reed body, and in this case tightening and moving the keys - very technical comparatively.

When I deal with my chanter reed's faulty pitch (next up) I'll try to record a tune so you can hear =)
I've happily secured a table at the November art fair, and today made candles with some of my well group girls. It's been a hectic week and I'm thankful the weekend is here!

Monday, 21 September 2009


thank you for the brief deep blue sky this morning
and the smell of onion confit browning
and warm dough rising
and getting hot while reading with an apron still on.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

'delight in life'

I'm hoping to get a table at another Expat Woman fair this November. It's the Christmas one and people are looking for gifts, so it's great. I haven't made much lately so I'll need to get working, though without letting it become a consuming task for the next month. What I was really excited about though, is that a photo of my table from the last fair was in the announcement email!

and just because I think mushrooms are beautiful.

A few old pages of the inspiration journal -

What do your weeks look like?

Thursday, 17 September 2009

honest 80's

Here's the fabric I'm using for the new bedcover. It's a lovely deep plum, paired with a muted turqoise pattern. Now I just need to research the actual stitching method - it's all ready, 'organic cotton bonded' batting included.

This is such a sad, sad, beautiful song. I love the dancing and old-world musical quality about it. And Bjork performs exquisitely as always. I like the line,
'all walls are great if the roof doesn't fall.'

The talented Natalie has tagged me to write ten honest things about myself (Is honesty not expected in these?).

- I love candles and burn a lot of them in my room (and recycle the wax to make more). I consider unscented candles a waste of oxygen ;)
- Four of five best friends live in other countries.
- I love to be out but over time I'm becoming more and more of a homebody.
- My style is also getting quieter, though this is largely unintentional. I need to get more colorful clothes since it's still what I like.
- Cirque du Soleil has come to Dubai multiple times in our residence here and I've never been able to justify the money it would take to go. But I'd be so thrilled.
- I'm working on my first quilted blanket (as opposed to a quilt - though I'm working on one of those too).
- For Christmas I gave my little brother 'Time.' An hour each week set aside for him. Even though we're...months? behind, it's still priceless when we do it. He explains football to me, or tries to teach me how to play his computer games, or makes macarons with me. Basically whatever he wants to do. It makes him so happy and is always always worth it. It needs to be more regular.
- I've always liked coffee but we're increasingly developing into a coffee-every-morning family. Maybe that's not good.
- A goal for this year is to experiment with many of the diverse cafes and restaurants in Dubai. It's tragic that there's such a variety and yet I meet friends at Starbucks every time. (Maybe it's the Seattleite in me)
- I didn't buy a stapler for ages because I was waiting to find a pink one that wasn't mini-sized. But I kept stealing my dad's so he bought me one. It isn't pink, but after some searching, my new phone is.

Last night Jamaila (the dear friend that doesn't live in another country) celebrated her 19th birthday with an 80's night. One guy decided to creatively interpret this dressed as an actual 80-year old man. I'd never met him so I thought it might be a real elderly person coming to the party. Here he is doing some dancing and rockin' out with one of the other best dressed guests.

with love,

an idol.

One thing I did not expect when visiting Japan was the experience of going to the temples and shrines. I knew we would, but perhaps expected it to be devoid of any actual spiritual meaning. Never have I seen countless clothed statues, 'healing water,' prayers written out to a 'fox god of rice,' blessings chosen at random and tied to wires, people clapping, bowing, chanting, and praying before golden models.

Ringing bells to wake up the gods.

(That reminds me of when Elijah mocked worshipers of Baal. 'Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.')

Several places like this below especially struck me. They were places on the mountain where people had built tiny piles of rocks. It made me think of the remembrances, or 'ebenezers' in the Bible, or the hymn. "Here I raise mine Ebenezer, hither by your help I'm come!" What a thing to raise a monument to. 'Here's my little offering. Notice me.' What god needs such things?
By grace, my feeble attempts to please God are accepted because they are through the Son. But they are not of me.

Being there immediately made me think of Psalm 135.
The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
They have mouths but do not speak, they have eyes but do not see,
they have ears but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

But what stood out to me was what comes after and I hadn't thought about it before.

Bless the Lord! You who fear the Lord, bless the Lord! O praise the Lord!

Praise Him because he's real. Because he hears and sees and is sovereign. Because he is not a stone.
I cannot fathom how people can bow down to statues. They are blinded. But I also remember that I am no better. I have idols, they just don't take the form of rocks shaped like people. They can be myself, acceptance, material things, comfort, beauty. I still need constant reminders that they can't rule my life.

We are learning.
with love;

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Hatter's Circus

Oh look! The Mad Hatter has disappeared from the ring and dissolved into a pool of sparkling tea. He's off to another party, so it needn't be sad.

This is from the dearhearted Shokoofeh. One word answers are hard ;)

1. Where is your cell phone? Here.
2. Your hair? Braided.
3. Your mother? homeschooling.
4. Your father? hero.
5. Your favorite food? savouryorchocolateandgourmeteitherway.
6. Your dream last night? unremembered
7. Your favorite drink? coffee.
8. Your dream/goal? multigenerational motherhood.
9. What room are you in? mine.
10. Your hobby? art.
11. Your fear? waste.
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? my own home.
13. Where were you last night? study.
14. Something that you aren’t? feminist.
15. Muffins? warm.
16. Wish list item? polaroid.
17. Where did you grow up? everywhere.
18. Last thing you did? movie.
19. What are you wearing? pajamas :)
20. Your TV? Off.
21. Your pets? Sunny.
22. Friends? blessings. (but scattered)
23. Your life? Growing.
24. Your mood? happy.
25. Missing someone? Someones.
26. Vehicle? walking.
27. Something you’re not wearing? Necklace.
28. Your favorite store? antiques.
29. Your favorite color? Pink?
30. When was the last time you laughed? Downstairs.
31. Last time you cried? Recently.
32. Your best friend? Loved.
33. One place that I go to over and over? Starbucks.
34. One person who emails me regularly? Katie :)
35. Favorite place to eat? Homecooked. Or Circle Cafe.

Monday, 14 September 2009

A Happy Trend

There's an exciting thing happening in many places around the blogging world! Many of my favourite bloggers are pregnant - a very blessed state indeed. I look forward to seeing all of the beautiful new babies! (in real life too; quite a few women at our church are expecting at the same time, and a good friend of mine told me this Friday that she is as well! She and her husband are so happy =))

First of all,
Courtney of CJane Enjoy It. This is new news, so I have no picture, but CJane is older sister of NieNie, a wonderful and witty writer, and treasures her motherhood.

Ruby of Cakies I am super excited partly because her first two girls, Brave and True, are the cutest kids ever, and partly because she is a creative mommy and very inspiring to me, and partly because she's a great example and encouragement. Do check out her blog if you aren't familiar already.

Rachel Denbow of Red Velvet Art takes adorable belly photos and makes gorgeous towels, smocks, and quilts out of vintage sheets. Oh, and she started my clipboard obsession!

Emily (Life is Beautiful/Embers) is expecting any day and could very well have just had her newest baby! She's an incredible, down to earth mother and artist, and is wholeheartedly in love with her husband and little Ivy and Yindi.

Needless to say, I love babies, and of course these bloggers! These are priceless gifts and rewards - what a joyful time :)

with love,

P.S. Several of you have asked for my macaron recipe. This is the one I use, perfected by the amazing David Lebovitz. It only works (for me) on chocolate macarons, however, and replacing the cocoa powder with more powdered sugar or something else rarely works. I did manage to replace it with powdered sugar and instant coffee when making tiramisu macarons, but had a harder time getting the proper 'feet' to rise. I've yet to find a good recipe for other colored and flavored macarons. Enjoy! Show me your efforts!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Further East

These were some of the sights we were greeted with at the Tsukiji fish market, at 5 a.m. on our first morning. Huge frozen tuna being examined and loudly auctioned off, and the freshest sushi in existence.

We then went to the Kabuki-za theatre in Ginza, and saw one act of kabuki (Japanese opera). It was interesting be we saw one which didn't have much singing in it.

Asakusa walkway and the Senso-ji temple. Look at all the crazy ice cream flavors! They included variations of green tea, soy bean, and black bean.

I thought that street was so pretty (nevermind the guys with the bike - haha! that kind of wrecks the photo), and the sign below made me smile. I have some antique monkeys from Germany and we bought one here for my little sister.

The famous Takeshita street, Harajuku - it was packed, and even more so the next day.

Some girls on Takeshita street (above), and an interesting procession in Harajuku.

Forever 21 was the funniest thing - it was a multi-storey complex and had roped off lines outside because there was a sale going on. I couldn't believe it!

Looking at Blythes in Nakano (I didn't buy one), and one of my favourite photos from the trip - playing around with settings in the train station.

Shinjuku at night - when I think of Japan (before and after) I think of bright city lights at night, among other things. Here are also a few of the famous vending machines - they're everywhere!

Rows of colorful shoes (everyone wore heels!) and more 'fruits' on Takeshita street in Harajuku.

The Golden temple; Kyoto. (I will write more about all the temples soon.)

I don't remember what this temple was called, but the view was beautiful. It would be impossible to capture it perfectly.

At the Gion corner in Kyoto, we saw a show with various ancient traditional art forms. There was a comedy, music, tea ceremony, real young maiko dancing (it was beautiful), and banraku puppetry, in which the puppet is controlled by three men.

That night we ate at a tiny Teppan Yaki place, where I had the best grilled mushrooms in existence, and the owners walked us to the elevator and bowed until the doors closed. What a cultural experience! Below is the tea ceremony we did in Uji.

The A-dome, above, and Hiroshima at sunset. The Peace Memorial Park and museum was sobering.

On the train to Miyajima island, above, and funny monkeys and sweet, sweet deer on the trail to the island's summit, after taking a stunning ropeway.

Farewell to Miyajima and Japan - the ferry back to Hiroshima was passed by another full of waving Japanese students.

I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse.
much love,