Monday, January 26, 2009
& then on Sat I stopped by the Antique store which is, sadly, closing its doors, & found the 'perfect' dustpan! This is actually probably a 'crumb pan,' as it's a bit smaller (used to brush table crumbs into)
It is so shiny, I wasn't sure the pretty pattern would show up - but I think you can get a glimpse! It was 20% off the original $5- . . . what a bargain, no?? (there were a couple of others, but I resisted the temptation to get more than I needed!) Now, since there's no hanging hole, I'm thinking of making a 'pocket' to hang it in - tho my dustpans usually live on the floor!!
I haven't written about 12-Secrets - prob next week after the wedding - but thought you'd enjoy seeing photos of the 'progress' on the broom :)
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I returned from Deep Water Aerobics (first time I've gone this year) & it was by the door! Here it 'poses' with the dear old Brown Beauty, (worn & pale on the Left) 15-20 years of good service.
There's a handwritten blit 'see notes' on the invoice, & paler straws in the center.
"The tools, techniques and raw materials used to make our brooms are from an 1878 broom shop. They are made for use from the highest quality 100% broomcorn and kiln-dried hardwoods. They are noticeably more functional and durable than their commercial counterparts."
There's a leather loop for hanging at the top, & I've got a hook to mount on the wall; still hoping for an unusual dustpan to 'match.' There are a couple of antique shops in the area, some with these more mundane items.
The other day at Bi-Mart (which still carries some US made corn brooms!) I got this pot of 'daffydowndillies!' The ones in my yard are just starting to poke their noses out.
You can see some of my shelves & stacks in the background :) I have some ideas from the Creative Spaces book - back to the earlier thought of rearranging the 'dinning nook' for crafting! 3 hours till my first appointment - so a window for doing some shifting, & a bit of sweeping with my broom chant. Or the simple one from 'Kindness' - "Remove all Dust, Remove all Dirt"
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Returning Library books yesterday, I found a gem of a book - 'Where Women Create' (jo packman - checkling on-line, there's also a magazine & on-line newsletter!)
What a delicious book to accompany 12 Secrets!! Filled with glimpses of working artists' workspaces & organization (or lack thereof!), it's quite inspiring & full of fun ideas. Like many of you (NOT ME :), some artists need a clean room & neat worksurfaces; others thrive on more chaotic surroundings. Some choose pale paint for their walls, & furniture, others love rich, warm colours.
There are many creative ideas for storage, glass bottles (sometimes covered in collage) open shelves, beautiful curley maple cupboards, art on the walls, floor & furniture; a favorite - Sandra Evertson stores art supplies in the dishwasher in her small, 2 person apt!!
Rather than taking those glass jars to recycling, I'm going to play with storage
& & & . . . .
I like colour!
Here are some other glimpses of my space - a stack of baskets & boxes in another corner of the bedroom, which is painted a nice, warm mauve (various shades, lighter on some walls. While I've made pine needle baskets, I found this little 'bell' shaped one years ago at a garage sale, complete with the artist's tag on the bottom! A friend did the collage - snips of paper & photography 'air' across felt pens to give an air-brushed effect.
My kitchen is 'grandmothers' apron' pink, the gold I found at our Habitat 're' store, & added some metalic 'sparkles' to it. the small circle above the 'laundry room' bi-fold doors is Raku lid- a Good Will find! I'd left the lower wall white for quite awhile before finding the burnt gold.
Off to work . . . & perhaps the Re-Store later??
Oh - & bummer - found out that the local Democratic Party had our own inaugral ball at my favorite ballroom - & I didn't know till this morning. Boo hoo!!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
What makes your juices flow? Between what and what time do you feel in the groove? Are you a walker, hummer, doodler or pacer?
I am rather random - sometimes I create just because I feel like it. I've always taken *good notes,* & doodled in the sidelines. Growing up, Sunday School was before Church, & I always hoped for lots of blank bits on the program, so I could draw during the sermon!! I sang waiting for the bus, I sketched folks in class, usually rather surreptitiously!
I don't have particular rituals, tho I enjoy that idea. Sometimes I light candles before playing the harp (since that's usually in the evening). I tend to put creativity 'before' housekeeping, & that shows, . . .
I like music, & if I'm doing something graphic (mostly collage these days), I may put a CD on - anything from Buddhist or Native American chants, instrumental music, or contemporary singers - usually lesser known folks that I've met. I may do some Qigong or the Dance to the Directions first - but probably not.
The art materials are still in stacks & piles, rather than organized, & I usually work on my living room floor. Like harper Deborah, I can compose music or work on any other creative project in the middle of the night - I tend to procrastinate, & have found my muse at midnight more often than not! A favorite image: playing harp in the moonlight streaming in a long window when I lived in a Mountain community!
I'm a stocking foot gal, a floor sitter. My 'main work' is massage, so that laundry is *always* in process - one or two loads a day. Other tasks are filled more at random. Creating is often in the evening, or in the morning, if I don't begin till later in the day. A blessing: 'full time' bodywork is < 30 hours a week, so I have abundant 'spare time' - like all of us, it's quickly used up - my main time stealers tend to be reading & (currently) blogging!
Here are some favorites:
- I believe in magic
- I love to dance, to sing, to play
- I am a Spiritual being, & that flows thru all my experiences & being
- I love sparkle & love to sparkle
- I cherish friends, family, precious grandkiddlets
- I love Gracie Mae (pup companion)
- I cherish quiet & down time
- I love the buzz of activity
- I love adventures with girlfriends
- I love Used bookstores, clothing & other pre-owned treasure shops
- I am a Happy Harper! (& tickled that Deborah Henson-Conant is featured in this chapter!)
- Relaxation, healthy food, good water are all important
- I want to explore more facets of Beeswax Collage
- I want to study SoulCollage facilitation with Suzie Wolfer
- I want to Dance more - ballet, ecstatic, belly, Nia . . .
- I love reading - many genres!
- I love to teach Reiki & to inspire others to embrace health
- I value creativity, & want to connect and communicate with wonderful, creative beings
- I love trips to mountains & ocean
- I appreciate and enjoy luxury
- I love to celebrate
- I am a Bodacious Belle
- Art & creativity are integral in my life
- I am an adventuress
- Shine! Sparkle! Glow!
May all your dreams be manifest, & may you be blessed
Friday, January 9, 2009
OK, here we go, exploring our sense of our own Creativity, for the 12 Secrets book group!
I was lucky to be the only child of older parents, my dad creative in music, my mom with colour, home making, cooking, story telling, praise.
A fav. author, Kim Stafford, son of Oregon's Poet Laureate William Stafford, talks about sitting around the dinner table, sharing ideas, & his dad reframing (after praising the idea) 'Abe Lincon said it this way: . . . Walt Whitman expressed that idea thusly: . . . ' always affirming the idea had merit, then restating it with elegance.
I grew up playing piano & singing with my dad, crafting with my mom. She crocheted & knit, an aunt commented that with her colour sense, she could have done very nice graphic art, if she'd been so inclined. This was in the 50s & 60s, when moms stayed home; but my mom was from pioneer stock, & KNEW strong women! She'd gone to secretarial school in the 30s, on disability money (polio at 9) & saved the family farm. Her grandma birthed babies, her mama grew herbs. She reminded me that at Grange (a fraternal farm Organization) women could hold any office but one, which was 3 more than men could hold! - the 3 graces had to be women!)
I recall dying rice & making mosaics, carving lino blocks, cutting out paper dolls & snowflakes, making candles, learning to crochet & knit; & learning to knit again, & again!! Hearing stories, both from books & from my mom's childhood. 4-H sewing, choosing pretty fabric, & eventually making my own patterns. Paint by number sets, & then using the left over paint for my own pictures. Taking art in HS, with a gal teacher, who enjoyed art & enjoyed encouraging her students! I learned to do watercolour & enjoy washes, rather than just painting with them like the oils.
Playing, drawing, reading, taking piano lessons (from the best local teacher, a woman who'd gone to NY to study voice, Marion Coe); going to community concerts, going to musicals, being in musicals in High School, having a crush on an older boy, so joining the Church Choir (after an obligatory year in Jr Hi choir), & then on my HS choir teacher, so working HARD to learn to accompany our 'Girls Choir.'
& writing - I loved horse stories (lived across from a dairy that also had ponies, & learned to ride from my neighbor, who'd been a jockey (the woman! Another strong female role model :) So I wrote horse stories. & copied poems, had a black book of poetry, written by hand. & jourals - I've journaled since I was about 12, have loads of journals. Usually just words, with an occasional drawing - am working at creating an ART JOURNAL!
I took Creative Writing in HS, & again in college. After leaving my marriage, dated a HS teacher for awhile, & he taught 'imaginative writing,' which I asked if I could sign up for! He, my HS room mate, one teen & I were easily the best writers in the class! Last year at my 40th HS reunion, we toured the old HS, & while I could remember teachers & classes, I looked at the rooms, wondering how the other students could recall which was which!
By my Sr. year, I accompanied friends at 'solo ensemble' (voice & violin), was one of two classroom accompaniests & played for one song in a choir concert. I did better at my piano recital than ever, & was 'musician' for Grange, as well as Pomona, one of the 'graces.' My & I did duets in church & Grange at least seasonally, & I was in Church choirs for a few more years.
My mom's family often 'read' plays, & she was in a few (usually the 'old grandma' so she wouldn't have to move much with the crutches), so when I was in plays, she'd help me rehearse.
One grade school teacher made an unkind comment about my singing (which used to sting, now I can hardly recall the remark!); I was disappointed when my dad & I weren't invited to be part of the 'dad & daughter' performance when I was in HS choir, . . . but I sang with him at Church & Grange, & adapted his 'I can' attitude. & I was very sad I didn't get to dance in the May Day celebration in 5th grade - I got sick.
Movement came harder - with my mom on crutches, I hiked with my dad, & we camped under the stars (& sang - I loved it when he sang us to sleep!) & did day hikes. But I hate, hate, hated PE!! I was abysmal at 'ball sports' with the jockish women & mean men PE teachers. & I almost drown river swimming with a gal friend; tho my mom had taught my cousins to swim at the pond at the family farm! So no swimming, & grace?? & did I mention my rotten posture?!
In College I took one gymnastic class, & enjoyed that (was fairly good, too :) & volleyball, oh, & archery! I thought I'd enjoy archery more than I did, lol. I was a Music Minor, with a great background in Theory (thanks to Mrs Coe!), tho didn't really enjoy getting up for an 8 AM class 4 days a week! I tried for swimming, but got sick partway through the term, so didn't learn yet again! (I'd failed beginning swimming a couple of times before the near drowning - how does a child FAIL beginning swimming??)
I took Life Drawing, & was in the first 'Fine Arts' class - brainstorm of an artist I've recently re-met - graphic art, music & drama! We drove to Ashland (5 hours) to see a few plays, & got to play with abstract art (early 70s) I'm one of those kids who didn't stop drawing at 12 - just kept on, & felt good about my skills with that.
When my kids were little, I kept up with crafts & drawing, often having a sketch pad along when we went to coffee or Kinko's with friends. I made dolls, I journaled, sewed clothes, made ornaments. My mother-in law is a Renaissance woman, & also crafty. We learned to spin, we knit things (I'd finally learned how!) we embroidered, crocheted, drew, did watercolours. She is a Biologist, & loved pastels - has some very realistic paintings she's done over the years.
My biologist former hubby & I went 'bog-stomping' with our entomologist friends, looking for small iridescent beetles that live in the moss just under the surface; 'stomp' on the moss, & they float to the top. I took along the watercolours & some paper, & painted the scenery as we drove, painted the hills around the bog.
My grandma Mary made rose beads (mom's mom) & in HS I found an article on that craft in one of my girl's magazines. My first attempt looked like raisins!! The author hadn't mentioned grinding the paste! So I experimented with the recipe, & finally made smooth beads! Later, in an herb class, the instructor suggested keeping culinary herbs relatively whole, & grinding them before use (larger quantity) in a coffee mill. Aha!! I tried that with 'crispy dry' rose petals, & viola! Lovely rose petal 'powder' to reconstitute for a lovely, smooth bead!
She also made 'switches' of women's hair, & my mom taught me how to do that, & we made a few. My hair & my mom's from her teen years were the same colour ! I gardened & kept a garden journal (that had drawings! & garden designs)
30 years ago, my niece was in The Nutcracker, & we were invited 'up' (~ 30 miles from where we lived) to watch her. I was enchanted! All those ballerina paper dolls, & 'Francis,' my tall ballerina doll - I'd always wanted to take ballet, but our small central Oregon town didn't boast a dance studio. & our Grange didn't hold Square Dances, so I'd only danced around the living room with my dad to Lawrence Welch!
I tagged along when my sis-in law went to her adult ballet class a week later, & the teacher 'talked me into' taking class, too; even though I wasn't dressed for it! (probably in jeans :)
I love love loved ballet!! & it was an hour's drive. I surprised myself, as I thought of myself as 'hating exercise' (I really hated "PE"!!) I tried taking ballet back 'home,' a much larger town, but no 'World Class teacher!' (Lynn studied Russian ballet with Branaslava Najinska, Nijinsky's sister; & taught Peggy Flemming some of the grace when her own daughter was figure skating in Ca) . . . .
So I began commuting for ballet classes, & we eventually moved here. It took me several years to really feel confident & competent, but I loved ballet, & my posture improved as I took class. My hubby, son & daughter all began taking class, too, tho my son didn't stick with it long, the rest of us danced off & on for years. At 33, I went 'on pointe,' didn't do a lot of that! - but COULD! :) & after moving to Breitenbush, I came down for a 3 week summer workshop with the head teacher from the Bolshoi ballet! 2 classes a day with him, & a class or two with Lynn - by the end of that time I was IN SHAPE!
I'd begun taking Tai Chi after ~ 5 years of ballet, & so taught that in the community. & have studied Qigong & a Cherokee movement form as well.
My daughter was a dance minor in the same college my aunt, great aunt & I had attended, in a great dance program. She took modern, jazz, belly dance as well as ballet, & I've branched out as well.
Last night, she went to ballet with her 8 yr old dau (who was just in her first Nutcracker - Lynn's 25 yr old daughter Emma has taken over teaching) while I went to Ecstatic dance with the almost 4 year old!
So I've always thought of myself as musical & 'artsy craftsy,' with dance & the harp later additions. I've been lucky to feel creative all my life, though I have expressed it in different ways, & to have my creativity enhance my health & vice versa. Reading some of the others stories, I feel truly blessed!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
I begin by putting the rice (usually ~ 2 parts rice to one of lentils) & a chopped onion or the white part of a leek in a pan with a bit of olive oil, & heat water (or Stock *) in another pan. Stir the rice frequently till more than half the grains have turned white, & take pan off heat, adding the lentils.
Add the lentils & boiling stock or water, season with Italian or Herbs de Provence (includes basil & lavender) a piece of Kombu & a bay leaf, add chunks of potatoes, leek tops, carrots, parsnips, mushrooms (if dried, soak for a hour or so first) & few chopped cloves of garlic, bring to a boil, then turn down & simmer for 45 min to an hour. I add the quinoa & teff with the veggies.
We use 'Bragg liquid aminos' instead of soy sauce, our natural foods store carries it. It's lower in sodium & Organic (OG) - hence GMO free - Soy is usually Genetically Modified unless labeled OG. This is my stand by fare, I tend to make it weekly (enough to last a few days), & my (grown) kids still enjoy it!
My new *favorite* is Ratatouille!!
After seeing the movie, I pulled out some recipe books, & mostly found 'summer' versions (tomatoes, summer squash, eggplant) . . . I like making a winter one best!
I begin with a stir fry - olive oil with a leek (white part) or onions & garlic; then add lots of root veggies, which I cut into chunks, & add in small batched to the clay 'apple baker' that I put in the oven before preheating, & add the 'bits' from the stove top pan as I go. You could use any large vessel that's oven safe.
Winter veggies: I like GOLDEN beets (don't stain like the red) parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes or squash (I don't nec. peel, but you could) Jerusalem artichokes (I grow these - a sunflower relative tuber!) potatoes, mushrooms (fresh or dried & pre soaked) cauliflower &/or Brussels sprouts (I cut in thin slices, & add just before putting in the oven, a piece of kombu (seaweed that's great for a bit of flavor & extra nutrients) the same spices (Italian or french) & a bay leaf,
Bake @ 350 for 15 to 20 minutes after everything's been added; I -re cook in little batches, & keep adding for 10-15 min.
You can add chopped nuts - local if you have them (in our area, filberts or walnuts) I gauge how much to cook by what my pan holds, again, I make enough to last several days, & re-heat small batches as needed.
I don't use a microwave at home, but re-heating a portion or two on the stove top only takes a few minutes! I can even do a 'quick meal' stir fry in very short order.
I make * Stock by saving all the veggie trimmings - parsnip & carrot tips & tops, celery tips & a few leaves, onion skins, asparagus stems, mushroom ends, garlic husks, etc. anything that's not moldy or dirty goes in a bag or quart yogurt container in the freezer (Do not include cabbage family trimmings : cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, (sulphery & will overpower other flavors) & NO potatoe peels) I also add a piece of Kombu a bouquet garni of sprigs of herbs, tied together, or a sprinkle from my spice jar; & a bay leaf or two.These go in a stock pot on top of the stove while I'm starting the veggies, or in the crock pot for a few hours. You can use just veggies, or add chicken bones - freezing keeps things 'fresh' till you need them!
I learned to make stock from a chef friend, such an easy way to adds flavor & nutrients!! You can make your own stock in minutes while chopping veggies for whatever you're making, & use a bit of water or stock to 'saute' in, if you don't want to use oil! When I make 'quick cook' stock for a recipe, after taking some out, I add more water to my stock pan, & continue to simmer it for another hour, & then refrig. it for later use.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Buy a Broom (traditional)
From Deutschland I come with my light wares all laden,
To dear happy England in summer's gay bloom;
Then listen, fair lady young pretty maiden,
Come buy of the wand'ring Bavarian a broom.
Buy a broom!
Oh, buy of the wand'ring Bavarian a broom.
There's one for the pretty lady, and one for little baby,
and one for the parlour, and one for the hall,
here are brooms for the cottage and brooms for the mansion,
and here you will find one for each and for all.
Buy a broom!
come, buy of the wandering Bavarian a broom!
When winter draws nigh, for my own land departing,
my toil for your favours again I´ll resume,
and while gratitude's tear in my eyelid is starting,
bless the time that in England I cried, Bye a broom!
Buy a broom!
come, buy of the wandering Bavarian a broom!
An alternate version has a the same first line, but the an extra 'buy a broom' in each chorus, & different ending:
To brush away insects that sometimes annoy you,
You'll find it quite handy to use night and day,
And what better exercise pray can employ you,
Than to sweep all vexatious intruders away,
Ere winter comes on for sweet home departing,
My toils for your favor again I'll resume,
And while gratitude's tears in my eye-lids are starting,
Bless the time that in England I cried buy a Broom
(SPOKEN) � Yes I shall go back to my own country, and tell them there that I sold all my wares in England, singing,
O' mein lieber Augustin, Augustin, Augustin,
O' mein lieber Augustin, Alles ist weg,
Book ist weg, Stock ist weg,
Auch ich bin in dem Dreck,
O' mein lieber Augustin Alles ist weg.
(Coat is gone, Staff is gone, alas, I lie in the dirt; oh, my friend Augustine, all is gone)
Remember O du leiber Augustine?Other verses of 'Poor dear Augustine' include the 'girlfriend' being gone - which connects to the next version, a different 'twist' on the theme of seduction & being left - from the young man taken in by "Lish Young Buy-A-Broom" - " As I was a-walkin up and down the street, A pretty little buy-a-broom I chanced for to meet." & here's Clannad on U-Tube, singing this ballad.
Ah, the broom quest; I haven't quite decided whether to order, or to try to see them first!
In response to my inquiry about besoms, Therman from Broom Magic wrote: "Thanks for your interest. The besom (round) broom is more of an old world style of broom. It is a little softer brush because it is left untrimmed. This seems to be the broom of choice for those that intend to use it more for ceremonial or ritual such as a handfasting. It is functional but not nearly so much as the "Shaker" (flat) broom. The Shakers were some of the first commercial broom shops in the US and invented a vice in the 1840's so that the brooms could be sewn flat. It is a bit stiffer and sweeps a broader area than the besom. This broom is definitely more functional.
"Also, the carved wooden dustpans are not available at this time and won't be for the foreseeable future. We actually harvest all of these raw materials ourselves in the Ozark Mtns.and unfortunately the place where we get the wood for the dustpans was hit by a category 4 tornado last year. I'm not sure when it might be available again."
(How sad! Let's send a bit of land blessing & healing to that bit of woods!)
Here's a Besome blog :) with a link to a Besom maker in the UK whose besoms were used in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, & a definition from a coaster found in Scotland:
besom (biz-um) bisom Dialect, chiefly Scot. ~n. 1. obstreperous girl or woman; female upstart [as in “Dinnae pou’ yer brither’s hair, ya wee besom”].
2. woman of low moral standing; a hussy (“Thon yin’s a right mucky besom”).
3. broomstick or scourge; any broom made from loose twigs.
4. a comet or its tail.
I'm leaning toward a shaker style broom, for practical . . . & perhaps one of the besoms in a bit as well. Any votes on which colour??
My son & his littles were here this weekend, & I asked if he'd make me a broom hook - he does some horse shoe & other metal crafts - his wife sells lovelies on her etsy shop 'angelbums' - hmm, wonder if he's going to put any of his goodies on?
Angie gave me a sweet little poly clay (over a glass bottle) vessel for Christmas! It now holds a vanilla bean, steeping in some good (Korbel) brandy.
Found more handmade broom shops - for those farther East looking for a good broom (& they all ship!): Chris in Kentucky has a nice selection, & is willing to make the 'broom of your dreams!' He began his own business at 14 (in college now), makes kids brooms & mops as well, & this sweet little 'cake tester' - so one can use a 'clean' broomstraw for this task! My dad liked to balance a broomstraw on a watermelon to test for ripeness :)
Chris uses hemp to bind his brooms (which he imports from Bavaria - since the US gov. hasn't 'allowed' farmers here to grow hemp for cordage purposes since WWII.)
Hockaday brooms (Tenn.) - great story of how a family farm (with broom making a Winter sideline activity) turned over time, into full time broom making operation. Again, a wide variety of brooms, made on the equipment grandpa made himself! There's even a very lightweight 'beauty shop broom!'
Another Kentucky broom shop - also a family business, begun by "Mr. Rollie", the broomman. Some lovely spiral handled brooms here!
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Looking at several posts that talk about altars, & thinking what a good time to refresh them, if needed. This wee altar (in need of dusting!) is on the East wall of my bedroom. Here are a couple from earlier posts: 1 & 2.
My headboard (a 'firescreen'), the brown beaded hanging lamp, a dream catcher, & the wee pictures from the "I AM" shop in Shasta city. They are different swirls of St Germain's Violet transmuting flame, & a sweet reminder to keep energy clear.
Other altars: Druid's is lovely (this is an older post :) & here's a whole Altar site (with lots of great references!
& here's Heather's (with links to her older post), a college student with a great solution for 'small space' altar - atop her printer! These are her 'home' altars.
(Went off to the mall with my daughter (getting married at the end of the month, so needs some pretties!) . . . & back again. Two grand daughters that alternated NOT wanting to be there - sigh. Even we checked out the Disney store while my dau, & later dau-in law tried on some things. Sigh. So home - with at least 'what we went for,' but a trip that was less fun than it could have been. They usually do well shopping, but this wasn't one of those times!)
Home again, more clearing & cleaning - picked up a book at the library yesterday "Spiritual Housecleaning" by Kathryn Robyn - 'healing the space within by beautifying the space around you' Kathryn writes (p 8): "when I was a "starving" performance artist, I cleaned houses for money instead of waitressing like so many others did." & on page 12 "Healing is accepting your right to exist whole or in part, as you naturally are." Kathryn explores issues like which rooms bring you the most pleasure, & talks about issues including anorexia & over eating in relation to the childhood home, ideas we hold about certain rooms, & our cleaning 'styles.' Fascinating.
She begins with the Kitchen, the 'heart of the home' (reminds me of fly lady & cleaning the kitchen sink) . . .
& from a new favorite, Wise Child (Monica Furlong), when the Duran, (green witch) Rowan, is discussing cleaning & picking up after herself with her new fosterling, the Wise Child, Rowan says: Keeping yourself clean, preparing the food you are going to eat, clearing it away afterward - that's what life's about, Wise Child. When people forget that, or lose touch with it, they loose touch with other important things as well."
That resonates with me, & I am working on doing those 'menial chores' more graciously!!
Have a blessed New Year!
OH - I almost forgot! Please post a link to an altar, if you have one :) I'd love to see what we're creating :)