Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sippy Cups & Goldfish

[caption id="attachment_1395" align="alignleft" width="243"] Oil on Canvas[/caption]

Thanks for stopping by! If you follow my blog you know that every Monday I have lunch with my mama and my sister at Zoe's Kitchen. Well, Monday was no exception. It's kind of funny, we meet every week on the same day, at the same place, at the same time, we order the same thing, and we almost always sit in the same spot. However, Monday  our favorite booth was taken by two precious young moms and their children. I must admit, the minute I saw them sitting there it immediately took me back to life filled with sippy cups and goldfish. Even now as I'm writing this I cand see my children working that sippy cup like it was their last drink and putting it down and saying "gone gone." I love it!! Anyway...the darling mama's were dressed to the nines and their children, a boy and a girl about the age of two, were also dressed up for the lunch date. A fun little outing before nap time. Their lunch was served and before anyone could even pick up a fork, the little boy began screaming at the top of his lungs. Everyone, of course, turns to look, and that sweet mama was doing everything she could to make him happy. Do I even need to tell you he would have no part of it. She handed him food, drink, cake, toys, keys and with every attempt she made he grew louder and more intense. She finally let him out of his high chair, obviously hoping for a miracle, and he took off running and screaming through the restaurant. I think it was safe to say he was having a total meltdown. There was absolutely nothing that sweet mama could do or say to make her baby boy happy. You know the end of the story. She gathered her things and took him home and never had the first bite of her lunch.

We have all been there in some shape or form. You are probably thinking to yourself if it had been me, I would have done this or I would have done that. But I want to focus your attention on that sweet baby boy. Are we not just like him? Think about it. We may not run through a restaurant screaming at the top of our lungs, but we do have "grown up" ways of getting what we want. We might use the silent treatment, or have a hateful argument, or even use hurtful sarcasm to make our point. What ever method we choose, are we not just like that little boy? And if we are really being honest, when we actually do get our way, was it worth it? What ever we thought we needed, did it really satisfy our heart? I can say from experience, selfishness is never worth it, and it never satisfies. There was nothing that mama could do to satisy her sweet boy. The outing was ruined and he probably fell asleep from exhaustion on the way home.

When I think about that little boy, I am reminded that there is nothing in this world that can truly satisfy my heart. There is no relationship, no drug, no vacation, no anything that can fully satisfy the longing in my heart. Only God can meet that need.   Psalm 23, The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. In other words, He takes care of me and provides my every need. He provides everything I need. Everything. ...Oh God, YOU ARE MY GOD, a dry and thirsty land where there is no water! Psalm 63:1. I hope that fills your heart the way it does mine! Love love love Ruthie

Friday, August 24, 2012


I'm so glad you stopped by! Guess what day it is? Well, guess what day it is in my studio? Give up?...It's Christmas in my studio. If you follow me on instagram you have seen the lights twinkling in my studio. (follow me on instagram, ruthiecarlson I would love to have you!) Don't panic, it's not really Christmas yet, but it's never too early to start thinking about making fun things for your family and friends! I love to give handmade gifts! Even more than that, I love to receive handmade gifts. You know you do too! How sweet is it when someone brings you cookies they made wrapped in cellophane with big red and green ribbon and a precious tag they made from scraps of paper and twine!!!!! It totally beats any gift that you could purchase....other than jewelry with lots of diamonds.... I'm just kidding! Seriously, a handmade gift speaks volumes. It shows love in a big way! It blows my mind to think someone took time out of their day to make something with me in mind. Pretty cool.

I love to make gifts for my family and friends! I've actually contemplated doing an online workshop teaching people to make gifts. I've already got 10 gifts in mind to teach! I love it! What do you think?  I would love to know. I've been busy this week in my studio making a few things for friends and family and gift shops. I know it seems early to be creating Christmas gifts, but when the idea hits me I have to do it! I had some fun ideas using Christmas songs and creating a piece of art around it. I really like how they turned out. I covered them with resin, and once they were completely dry the finished product was exactly what I had pictured in my head. I'm going to finish these pieces with eyelets on top with a thin gauge wire. Then I will wrap them in big cellophane with ribbon!

I hope this inspires you to be thinking and creating something special for your friends and family this Christmas. If you bake, create a paper mache bowl or plate. Decoupage a tin box or wooden plate. Buy a paper mache box at your local craft store and paint it or decoupage it! My friend, Connie, bought some inexpensive candle holders and spent an afternoon painting and stressing them. They are breathtaking and would make the perfect gift! You could do the same thing with a picture frame. Truly the possibilities are endless and fun! And by thinking about it now, you might actually have time to do it! I love all the diy Christmas shows, but they need to show them in july when you have a little time. When they air those shows in December, it's a little overwhelming! So, it's August and the weekend. Create something this weekend. Take a little time to pull out those paints and try something new. If you are all out of ideas, google something! There are a million ideas out there! Let me know what you come up with! I would love to see it! Have fun creating this weekend!! love love love, Ruthie


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Leaving the Nest

I'm so glad you stopped by! What a day this has been. I moved my third child off to college today. My Luke. I woke up early this morning to be by myself and write him a letter. I started off strong, but by the second sentence my eyes were so flooded with water I could hardly see the paper. Crazy how tears can blind you from what is right in front of you  and yet so vividly illuminate memories stored in your heart. I could clearly see Luke at age 10 with those big brown eyes wide open as he pulled a fish from the ocean. I could see him dressed from head to toe in camo following his daddy through the woods. I could see him riding his boogie board at the beach, building forts in the back yard, working on projects in the shop, trapping things, catching things, or chasing things. I think it's interesting that I don't see him doing school or homework. The memories I have kept are mostly Luke's adventures outside, laughing, dirty, and sweaty. My heart is flooded with little treasures from Luke.

I can't lie, my heart aches as I think about him leaving the nest. He is such a joy in our home! However, the adventurer in my soul can hardly wait to see where every day takes him. I am blessed that Luke and the rest of my children allow me and my husband to take the journey with them, whether it's through text, instagram, a late night phone call, or even a surprise visit! I am so thankful!

I share this part of my heart with you because I hope for you that when your children begin to leave the nest that you get to experience the joy of them wanting you to be a part of their journey.It does not happen over night. It takes time. It takes effort and sometimes sacrifice. May I be the first to tell you, it is definitely worth it! My heart is so sad when I hear people say "I am so ready for him or her to go!" It's one thing for it to be time for them to leave the nest, it is clearly another if you are "ready" for them to be gone! It's never too late for a "redo"! Set aside time this week to be with your child, whether it's a date for coffee or a date to the park. Invest quality time in your relationships with your children, and I promise  the return will be more than you could have ever imagined!!!                                             Love love love Ruthie

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Gift Idea

[caption id="attachment_1366" align="alignleft" width="300"] Pot holder[/caption]

I am so glad you stopped by! I have been so busy getting all my children ready for school! I have been sewing curtains, dust ruffles, pillows, you name it! I visited Ikea and bought furniture for college apartments, so my sweet husband has been busy putting furniture together! The funniest thing, we were working so hard on saturday, taking advantage of the weekend, and I had an idea and disappeared into my sewing room. When I neglected to reappear, Eddie peeks into the sewing room. I wish you could have seen his face! He couldn't decide whether to be insanely furious or hysterical. Thank goodness he chose hysterical. Sweet thing, when he quit laughing he just said "I married an artist." I love that he gets me! I had an idea and I had to do it right then. It was so funny! Anyway, it turned out so cute so I decided to share it with you!

[caption id="attachment_1367" align="alignleft" width="300"] Cut 3 pieces, a front, back, and middle[/caption]

I don't know if this project is one for your teacher, but it turned out to be a good one. I made a kitchen list for my son's apartment and pot holders and towels were on it. I was just thinking through my list later that day and I thought I can make a hot pad. How crazy is that? I know! But I was dying to try it. How hard can that be? So I found some left over fabric, and old towel, and

[caption id="attachment_1368" align="alignleft" width="300"] Sew with right sides together and fleece on outside[/caption]

instead of batting I found some old polar fleece. I cut three squares, a front a back and a middle. I then put right sides together and sewed along the outside. I left a small opening so I could turn it inside out. I then folded my raw edges in and sewed along the outside edge to close the hole. To make it look quilted, I sewed inside the pot holder in the shape of the square. I love it!

[caption id="attachment_1369" align="alignleft" width="300"] Cut 8 squares of fabric and 4 squares of fleece[/caption]

If that was not enough. I thought to myself,"That is so cute, I could make coasters the same way for my daughter's apartment." This was about the time Eddie showed up and just laughed his head off. Now, this is a great teacher gift too! I found some really cute fabric left over from another project and instead of batting I used left over polar fleece. This takes very little

[caption id="attachment_1370" align="alignleft" width="300"] Sew with right sides together and fleece on the outside[/caption]

fabric, so you could use just about anything! You could use an old dish towel or table cloth or an old shirt that your husband has out grown...the possibilities are endless. I made 4 coasters, so I cut 8 squares of fabric and 4 squares of polar fleece for the inside of each coaster. I put right sides together with the polar fleece on the out side. I stitched around the outside leaving a small hole so I could turn it

[caption id="attachment_1371" align="alignleft" width="300"] Stitch squares in the middle to give a quilted look[/caption]

right side out. Once I turned it right side, I stitched along the out side and closed the hole. To give it a quilted look, I stitched on the inside in the shape of a square. I then tied them up with a piece of fabric! So adorable! So quick! So easy! You need to try it! (maybe not when your husband is doing a "honey do list") Try it and send me a picture! I'd love to see what you come up with!

[caption id="attachment_1372" align="alignleft" width="300"] Tie them up with ribbon or a scrap of fabric[/caption]

Love love love Ruthie

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It's all in the Packaging

  I am so glad you stopped by. I have so many creative things I want to share with you! First, do you love this little happy? Well, this little happy made me cry. My 24 anniversary was Monday, and when I got up that morning this precious treasure was waiting for me on the kitchen counter. One of my girls had taken a starbucks cup wrapper and filled it with paper straw and heart shaped cookies she'd made and a five dollar bill with a note to treat myself to  starbucks.

[caption id="attachment_1358" align="alignleft" width="200"] Anniversary Happy[/caption]

She wrapped the whole thing in a plastic bag and finished it off with a piece of ribbon. Can you see now why my little happy made me cry? Happy tears of course.  Anyway, my whole point in telling you that story is that you can take just about anything and with an ounce of creativity you can turn ordinary into extraordinary.

I can't believe I am even saying this out loud, but school is right around the corner. So over the next couple of weeks I am going to post fun, easy, creative ideas of things you can make for your teachers. Even if you don't have children at home, you can make these things and surprise a friend or neighbor or mother or get the idea. I love to make things for my children's teachers. They work so hard and I know that they sacrifice so much and I think a treat the first day of school or a little happy on friday is the least I can do for them. As a matter of fact, as I was leaving my favorite lunch spot about three weeks ago I ran into two teachers from our school. They had been working all day on their classrooms getting ready for new students. It's summer, and they both have families at home and yet they are both using vacation days to work in their classrooms. Thank you Mrs. Parsons and Mrs. Smith. I know that there are many teachers that are doing the same thing so how hard is it to create a little something special to take them on the first day and say "Thank you!"

[caption id="attachment_1359" align="alignleft" width="300"] My family's favorite brownies[/caption]

I thought I would start with the easiest idea of all. Baking. I love to bake sweet, yummy, gooey treats! And I love to give them away with a handmade note and a huge ribbon. It's all in the packaging! That's where you can get really creative! When my children were little I would get a brown or white lunch sack and let them color the front of the bag. Then I would put a little thing of

[caption id="attachment_1360" align="alignleft" width="300"] layer chocolate chips on oreo crust[/caption]

chicken salad in there with a couple of brownies and tie it off with a good looking ribbon. As my children got older the packaging changed a little but not much. Rather than decorating the bag, they would collage or paint a handmade tag and top off the bag with colored tissue paper. Either way, it was a fabulous treat for the teacher on any given friday. It's easy, fun, inexpensive and delicious!

[caption id="attachment_1361" align="alignleft" width="300"] Layer with bit of brickle[/caption]

This is my favorite brownie recipe. I got this from my friend Katie who is  a fabulous cook! She got the recipe from our school cook book. However, I've changed it up a little, and this is the one we love. Don't be limited to just this recipe. This is one of those things you can add just about anything and it would still be divine!     Line your pan with tin foil. Melt 3/4 of a stick of butter and pour it in the pan. Crush a box of

[caption id="attachment_1362" align="alignleft" width="300"] MMMMMM...Eagle brand!!![/caption]

oreos and spread them in the pan on top of the butter. Cook 10 minutes on 350. Then the fun part. Put a layer of chocolate chips on top of the oreos, Then layer bit of brickle. Then layer another bag of chocolate chips. Then layer another bag of bit of brickle. ( Don't think about the calories!) Then ... put a can of condensed milk on top of that covering the whole thing. MMMMMM...... Bake 20 minutes on 350. ( by the way I used a 9x12 pyrex dish) Let it cool. Cut into small pieces, it's so rich!!!! It's so divine!!!!! Refrigerate until time to serve. Break apart when time to serve.  You are going to love it!

I hope this makes school starting a little more fun for you and your family! When you make these brownies, leave me a message and let me know how it turned out! Thanks ! Love love love, Ruthie