MODERN DAY MARTHA

Celebrating the art of making a home
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    Aaaaaaaand we’re back!

    Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

    It has been quite a long time, hasn’t it? Yes, yes it has.

    But there are things afoot around here, things that sent me running back here to ponder and think and write. You see, the theme of this site is “celebrating the art of making a home”, and that will be coming into play majorly in the next couple of weeks because we’re moving!

    I’m super excited, and not just because we’ll have more space. I love moving for the chance it gives me to have a new start- to get rid of junk I’ve been thoughtlessly holding on to, to reorganize and restructure the way we do things.  So keep your eyes on this spot for more musings on all sorts of moving inspired thing; everything from what a living room is for to where to keep the cups.

    I’ve missed you!

    PS. What do you think of the new look?

    Room to grow

    Friday, September 3rd, 2010

    Three stories.

    1. Our balcony garden fell on rough times during a recent heat spell. We’re not just talking wilting, we’re talking brown deadness that no amount of water could cure. So earlier this week I went out and spent time clearing away all of the dead leaves and stalks, leaving only the green. That left some of the plants a little… sparse. Z came out in the midst of this, and stared in horror at the pile of culled plant parts, and demanded to know what I was doing.  I explained that by clearing away the dead bits, I was allowing the rest of the plant to be healthier. A couple of days later,  the plants are growing by leaps and bounds.

    2. I’ve been growing out my hair for quite a while now. Recently it’s been going through an awkward phase, one that I’ve been struggling with a lot. But for the sake of eventually having long hair, I was fighting through it. A friend suggested that I get layers cut into it, to give it more shape during the growing out process. I got a hair style magazine to look for inspiration, and while the mid-length cuts were cute, there weren’t any that I really loved. And then I turned to the long hair section. While looking at the pictures, I had a realization: I don’t WANT long hair. I like the concept, but in reality I’d just end up putting it in a pony tail every day, just like I did when I had long hair years ago.  My hair doesn’t hold a curl, so it would just end up being straight- all the time. What really called to me was the super short, super cute cut in the “pixie” section. An hour later, my hair was super short, super cute. And I feel much better.

    3. In the never ending process of decluttering my house I attacked my craft closet. Everything is organized by type of craft, and as I went through everything with the intent to purge, I realized that the scrapbooking shelf; the paper, the embellishments, the brads, the eyelets, the journalling tags, hadn’t been touched in I don’t know how long- with the exception of pulling things out to use in multi-media sewing projects.  The grand aspirations of intricate scrapbooks detailing every tidbit of my kids’ lives weren’t coming to fruition, and having all of the stuff there just waiting wasn’t inspiring me, it was just making me feel guilty.  So out it went. I kept only those items that I love, and those that are eminently practical – like colored cardstock – and gave the rest away. And I can focus on the crafts I’m enjoying without feeling the guilt of supplies left unused.

    Is there anything you’re holding on to just out of habit? Would it help if you got rid of it?

    Gathering nuts for the winter

    Sunday, February 7th, 2010

    I feel like I’ve been in a season of gathering lately. Ideas and inspiration are being found and stored away, to be put to use after pondering and thought. These are some “nuts” I’ve picked up recently:

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    Steady Days

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    The Art of Simple Food

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    Simplicity Parenting

    I haven’t really put any of these ideas to use yet; I’m kind of letting them simmer for a while to see what ends up bubbling up to the surface as important.

    What’s inspiring you these days?

    Experiment

    Thursday, January 21st, 2010

    I’m reading this book.  Don’t get judgy on me.  It’s awesome.  An example of awesome is this quote:

    You bear God within you, poor wretch, and know it not

    I’ve been sitting with that idea for several days, and it really resonates with me.

    Would you like to do an experiment?  It’s probably raining where you are, so an experiment where you don’t have to go outside might be nice…

    Will you sit with the idea that God is inside you for a few days, and let us know how it goes?  I hope you do…

    Once in a Blue Moon

    Monday, January 4th, 2010

    Blue MoonI took this picture on New Year’s Eve, which was the second full moon of the month of December, and therefore a blue moon.

    We talk about stuff we do seldom as something that happens “once in a blue moon.”  So, I’ve been thinking about my “blue moon” stuff, and realized some changes I want to make.  A letter I want to write.  A chore I ought to do.

    What is a blue moon thing for you?  I’d love to help you do it :)

    {connect}

    Friday, January 1st, 2010

    A new year! Hooray!

    I love the opportunity a new year affords me to look back, look forward, assess where I am and where I’d like to be.  Last year, right about this time, I came up with a list of themes to focus on for the year.  They were:

    Love
    Create
    Dance
    Celebrate
    Worship
    Minister
    Taste

    I set a number of my uberlist goals around them, and tried to check in throughout the year.  I succeeded in some areas better than others; in one or two I think I actually ended up farther back than I ever started.  But it was definitely a worthwhile endeavor.

    This year, I’m just picking one word, one concept.  (I was going to pick two, with the second being “simplify”, but that seemed somewhat ironic.)

    My word for the year is connect.

    There’s just so much there. I want to connect with my family,  my body,  my friends, nature. I want to connect with a sense of peace. I want to connect the steps between wanting (ie. an organized house), and doing. I want to help others connect with new friends, new ideas. I want to connect my own thoughts in new ways.  I want to connect with the Divine.

    What are your goals for the new year? Did you come up with an uberlist? If so, please link to it! I love seeing what other people come up with! (If you want to see mine, go here.)

    My Christmas Was Lovely…

    Sunday, December 27th, 2009

    The Girls

    There was much eating of food and spending time with family.  I was reminded of what is really important–not the gifts, but the reaffirmed bonds.  I’m grateful for that.

    How was your Christmas?

    THE UBERLIST

    Monday, December 7th, 2009

    I love new starts. I love the beginning of a new week, a new month, and the opportunity it provides to plan and create a contained set of things to get done in an established time frame.  I appreciate the repeated chance to reflect back and evaluate what worked and what didn’t; what could be changed for next time.

    So I especially love the start of a new year.

    I’m not a big one for resolutions. They’re too vague for me, it’s too easy to get discouraged. (How do you measure “Be healthier”?)

    But a to do list?  That I can do.

    To- do lists for a week, by their nature, have to be short, concise, and specific, to be in any way effective.

    To-do lists for a year? Expansive, ambitious, long.

    Enter the Uberlist.

    I’m not sure who first came up with the idea of the Uberlist; I came across it on the blog of a friend of a friend.  The idea is to come up with a to do list for the coming year, with as many items on it as the number of the year. (For the friend of a friend it started in 1998 with 98 items, and continued on, so this year had 109 items, and 2010 will have 110.)  Some of the items will be menial ( #65. Organize desk), some much bigger (#21. Go to Disneyland).  Some are things you’d do anyway, (#82 Go to dentist), others should stretch you (#34 Memorize 10 hymns).

    I’ve done an Uberlist for the last 3 years, and I love it. So far this year I’ve finished 48 of my 109 goals, which is pretty good. There’s a good chance I’ll  finish another couple before the year is out (#12 Reread a childhood favorite is a strong contender).

    I split my list into sections to make it easier to go through, and to make it easier to balance out. (It gets hard to come up with new items once you hit about 50.)  The sections I used last year were:

    Books  (ie. #11 Read something by an author I’ve always meant to try. )

    Local attractions (#19 Go to the zoo )

    Trips (#22 Visit family in Utah)

    Spirituality  (#26 Read the New Testament)

    Personal Development (#38 Make a new friend)

    Leisure (#48 Go to a musical)

    Home  (#63 Get shelving for closets)

    Writing (#78 Edit novel)

    Health  (# Floss)

    Homemaking Skills (#100 Make a master grocery shopping list)

    Entrepreneur endeavors (# 107 Come up with name for Etsy store)

    This year I’ll probably add Creativity and Education as new sections.

    But a list isn’t any good unless you use it, especially one this long, so I come up with the list during December, and then at the beginning of each month I take a look at it. I pick things off of the list I can tackle that month, and then break it into weeks.  Some things are easier to get taken care of than others, some leap to the top of the list (#70 Put away Christmas decorations), others take planning and work (#92 Make a quilt), some stay on the list for years (#55 Make curtains for Z’s room).

    And some just become unimportant and never get done.  Interests or time or circumstance change, and things listed at the beginning of the year aren’t always relevant six months later. And that’s just fine.

    The point, for me, is to catch a vision of the year to come, from the basics to the dreams. Having it written down gives me a reference point on the days that seem overly cluttered, or unusually empty. When I feel like I’m missing the mark, I can reassess.

    I keep my list on the computer, and when I finish an item I bold it. It’s visually lovely that way.

    So I’d like to invite you to join me, if you’re so inclined.  Do it by yourself, or with your family (I might try that this year). Make your list as safe or ambitious as you prefer.   If you’d like, share one or two of your list items with us. It’s always inspiring to see what other people have planned for their life.  And if you’re curious, post a number from 1-110 and I’ll tell you what that item on my Uberlist is.

    Happy planning!

    Beautiful

    Saturday, October 17th, 2009

    I thought we could all use a little encouragement.  This is from the Vespers Office a few days ago…

    I now place the work of the day into Your hands, trusting that You will redeem my mistakes, and transform my accomplishments into works of praise.

    Seek Him in His Temple

    Saturday, October 10th, 2009

    One thing have I asked of the Lord; one thing I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; To behold the fair beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.  –Psalm 27:5-6

    Olea’s honest and beautiful post about taking care of herself in the midst of new mommyhood reminded me of the scripture that says “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16, if you wanna follow along at home)

    I have been mulling over the idea of temples for the past few days, ever since I prayed the opening quotation in Vespers on Wednesday.  My Mormon friends have a very clear idea of what a temple is, but even they are taught that our homes can and should be a temple too.

    As we seek to make a home, what are some ways we can make it a place where God’s Spirit can be?  And why is that important?