Saturday, 31 October 2009

Tudur the handy cat!

Since the first day I had Tudur, he has been fascinated with the washing up,( he watches it every time), the gurgling of water down the sink or bath and the washing machine. He often sits and watches the washing machine whirring.
My washing machine is rather old and sometimes leaks a bit,randomly.
It is always noisy.
I think Tudur thought he would offer his help in fixing it, the other a handy cat!

ah yes, the washing machine. I'll just watch it for a while...

I think this might be the bum!

Time for a tea break, I think.

oooh... it will cost you...hmm.yes. Big problem.

Thank you, Tudur.
It is still noisy and still randomly leaks!

Friday, 30 October 2009

My Ode to Autumn: Golden Moments.

Golden moments, for His Glory.
Letting go.
Doing less and enjoying more. It is amazing what space and freedom brings.
It hasn't all been easy though,this letting go of ministry stuff this last year for this season combined with having post viral fatigue. Wondering who am I and where am I going, what shall I do next, what is on His heart for me? physical challenges of needing sleep, flu like achy legs, constant tiredness. Needing to try and learn to pace myself, saying no, pushing myself to do some walking every day, meeting with friends each day, drink lots of water, eat healthy,get back to work, begin to increase my capacity for "stuff". A season of things being stripped away, vulnerability, the here I am, just me, Luci. Meanwhile, It has been a time of re-discovery, inner beauty, affirmation of firm foundations, a desire to go deeper, for roots to grow and to drink deeply in Him. A season of really enjoying walks, fresh air and my friends and family.
A beautiful park nearby that sometimes has taken me 10 minutes to walk there and gradually, over months to increase it to an hour a day +.Mini milestones. Lovely friends and family to see, when I would have normally been at work and friends to maintain contact with since returning to work. They have encouraged and supported and helped me through this physically and also as I walk through the questions of what is next, Lord?

My golden moments are:
Time and space to enjoy being and doing nothing.
The gift of laughter and friendship.
Learning to take time to look at the flowers, trees and wondeful colours.
Time to enjoy learning and re-discovering.
Learning new skills and nurturing and developing hidden ones.
Time to think and pray. Time to enjoy. Enjoying the wonder in the small things, the beauty in His creation.
For His glory.
In all this: that God might be Glorified.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Life of Riley

Today I completed my birthday gift for my brother in law and took it round to him. He liked his birthday surprise very much.
My sister had secretly lent me photos of his treasured car, a cream and silver Riley, so that I could easily copy the outline to make a template of it - and I was very pleased with the result - and very thankful that I had a picture to copy from, as I am not that great at drawing cars - especially not out of icing!
A Luci chocolate and ginger cake with chocolate buttercream filling.Blue icing for the sky, green for the hills and green and orangey brown for the hedgerows.
My brother in law graciously shared it with us all.
Yummy,delicious,very nice said the grown ups.
Can we have some more? asked the children.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

My Ode to Autumn: The Red Leaf.

I found one!
right on the floor as I walked through the park, the other day.
I have such great memories of finding red leaves. My birthday is during Autumn and I have a vivid memories of childhood parties at home. There would often be the game:"hunt the leaf." The leader, my big sister, would call out the colour, name, number or shape of a leaf to go and find. everyone would dash off, scrunching and scurrying or squishing (depending on the weather that day)through the leaves until we found one. We would dash back to her in the middle of the garden, clutching our leaf or leaves as if it were treasure to listen for the next challenge.
no prizes or treats given in this game, just the joy of discovering our own valued and precious treasure.
The most highly prized treasure, for me, was always finding the Red Leaf.
Such memories came flooding back when i found this leaf, right in front of me, staring me in the face.
My Red Leaf.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

My Ode to Autumn: Flourishing Trees.

This last week I have been reading and pondering on a passage from Proverbs 11 about having a God shaped life.
This has got me thinking and praying and asking the Lord, what shape am I and how can I continue to grow in this shape?

Not tall or thin or fat or small, but what is my part in the Kingdom of God?

My identity, my "Luciness", the skills, qualities, gifting, talents, my Friends and family and life experiences that shape me into the person that I am today?

You might have come across the book: the mission shaped church, but us being mission shaped as individuals? How can we hear His heartbeat more and to know what He is asking of us?The verse from the Message says this:"having a God shaped life is like a flourishing tree." So, does this mean that I, Luci must always be flourishing, bursting with flowers and rich in leaves, constantly, continually, all year round?
Some trees are all gnarled and twisted, whilst others have their branches upturned to heaven, almost in worship. On windy days they sway with the wind. They change dramatically as they grow and go through seasons. Adaptable, resilient, aware of times of rest and bringing forth life and going through seasons of change.

Each one unique and each one has it's place and is rooted firmly and deeply.

I can wrestle with being a people pleaser, struggling with proving myself when people ask:"What is Luci doing?" This was particularly true, when I was in full time ministry with YWAM for a number of years, sometimes feeling the pressure to be driven to do, rather than simply to be.

We were often reminded that God loves and cares more about us as individuals for who we are and not for what we do and yet I felt this tension of doing rather than being. As God created the seasons, so we have times of going through the seasons too. Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer.

This last year I have been in Autumn and Winter, after the Lord whispered to me the word: change. I started with letting go of some ministry I had been doing, sensing that it was right to pass the baton on.
Perhaps a bit like Autumn...leaves....falling.
Then came Winter, where I almost literally hibernated.
This was the season I was not expecting! I got 2 bugs back to back in January, sleeping for days and nights at a time. When I awoke, I exhausted. I was diagnosed with post viral fatigue and it has been a gradual process of gaining strength and pacing life throughout this year, learning all the time and resting lots.

I have constantly known that the Lord is in this for me, and that during this time, He is preparing me for what is next.

Just like with a tree.

I can almost hardly wait to see what springs up, next!
If you are in Autumn and needing to let go of some things, do it and enjoy Winter and His special time of rest for you.
As Psalm 1 says, blessed is the one who is like a tree planted by water.

Enjoy discovering you own shape, to live a God shaped life.

I am.

Maybe I have always wanted to be a tree, after all....

as long as it is God-shaped and funky!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Out with the old, in with the new!

Have you ever had something you didn't really like but kept hold of it because it is both useful and you haven't seen anything you really like, or the money it would cost to replace it?
I have.
I have had some Denby that was a gift for over 18 years that, to be honest, I never really liked or would have chosen. Each time I have moved, I have often considered replacing it, but have wondered about giving it away, or selling it and not known where or how to pass it on, or find a set I like or can justifiably afford.Over the summer, my best friend Caty and I went looking for new china sets that I liked and I found a couple of designs that I liked: Emma Bridgewater and Sophie Conran for Portmeirion. Maybe, if I found a way of getting rid of the Denby, I could actually get something I actually like to use when entertaining my friends? My best friend, Caty, then sent me details of a company, china search, who buy and sell china! Denby is quite collectible and the design of my particular set is now discontinued, so the great news for me is that they are going to but my old Denby set and sell it on! Yippee for me! check out their website: as they have some really cute cake stands too! With my birthday money, I have started to buy some plates and serving bowls and once the money arrives from china search, I will buy some more. I really like the Sophie Conran as it has a funky shape and is white and some of the design are available in pretty pastel shades too. I may well buy a few things to mix and match in Emma Bridgewater too!There are several companies around that offer similar deals, or charity shops that always welcome items, or freecycle or craigs list as online alternatives, for you to try your own out with the old and in with the new.
Today, my 2 big boxes of Denby are being collected.!!!

What a great feeling, to have a good clear out!
Thank you Caty, for helping me find China Search - and find some new China I like! Why don't you try it?

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Alternative Wedding Feast!

After the Wedding ceremony and the photos, the bride and groom and all the relatives left to go to the Wedding Reception. A few of us friends were invited to the ceilidh later in the evening, which was great fun btw! However, it didnt solve our dilema: What to do in the few hours after the ceremony and the evening do?
We heard that all the relatives would be eating sausages and sweet potato mash and thought that this sounded rather yummy. So we decided to gather together at my house for the Alternative Wedding Feast! We each bring food to cook at my house then to eat together. We often have similar food meal gatherings and they are proving to be special times for us all. We often decide on a theme, like Sunday roast or Italian theme, so that it is not just a pot luck menu.
Rachel and family brought the drinks and sausages and Jen brought the potatoes and I made onion gravy and we served it all with some carrots. I made a lemon drizzle cake for dessert. A simple, cost effective way to share a meal together with friends. Delicious!

I used a recipe from my new birthday gift a few weeks ago: the hummingbird bakery book, by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers. He was inspired to learn to make amazing cupcakes after a trip to the USA.
This book has some fabulous looking recipes that I can hardly wait to try. My friend Abbie has been to one of their bakery shops in London and says that is an amazing experience!
I would love to visit one of the shops to try one... or maybe 2... of the cakes!
Thank you, my lovely friends for a lovely day.( I enjoyed wearing my new home made earrings too!)

wedding colours and creations revealed

So yesterday was the lovely Emily and Jamie's wedding.I am now able to share with you some of the creative things we have been planning and doing this last week, as in true traditional fashion, emily wanted the bridal colours to remain a secret!
I had lots of fun helping Emily's Mum do the flowers in the church and wanted to share with you the arrangemnets I made for each of the windows and the front porch.

Emily made the cake and asked me and my friend abbie to help decorate it. We had fun making the deep purple (we used a grape violet colouring) and of course dyed our hands in the process!

Friday, 23 October 2009

The Demonstration

I was quite surprised when my sister asked me if I wanted to got to a demonstration with her a few weeks ago. My mind immediately went to placards and billboards, chanting and marching. She said it was to be at our local cathedral and I thought maybe it would be one of those silent vigils with candles and that it must be something quite significantly important for my sister to want to be part of it and for her to ask me to go too. I must have asked her something really stupid at this point, as she gave me one of those big sister is bemused looks.I managed to muster well what sort of demonstration is it, I mean I might not want to demonstrate against it as I might not agree with it?
She then got the giggles, which was most unfortunate as we were in church at the time. In between giggles, she began to tell me that it was chocolate. Aaah, a chocolate demonstration. Watching someone make delicious things to try and copy and eat... with chocolate. Not marching, or billboards or silent vigil then. No. Aaah.
The demonstration was this week.
Sadly, the chocolatier had broken his leg and was unable to hobble along but we did watch and make: earrings, a flower corsage and a merry monk!

The merry monk could easily be adapted to be any figurine such as an angel, a shepherd or a knight or Darth Vader I think with the appropriate colours of fondant icing. To make your own cake topper: use a cube of fondant for the base(we put a dip in the middle of the front of it for the arms to rest on), the head is oval shaped, a circle cut out for the gown, sausage shape for the arms. add features like hands, wings, helmet, hands, eyes, hair.
I will wear one of the pairs of earrings and the corsage at my friend Emily's wedding tomorrow.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Finally, what I made... with buttons...

This weekend, I finally got around to creating what has been in my head for ages. When each of my great nieces and nephews have arrived, I have made them a decorated picture frame.(Yes, I am a great aunt!)
For the boys, I painted with glass paints on cheap clip frames, to give lots of space for the borders, their names along the bottom, some trains/cars along the top edge and a border of triangles/squares on the side edges.
When the girls arrived I painted on wooden frames and tore pastel shades of tissue paper and stuck it on, adding sequins for some extra sparkle. Along each edge I wrote Welcome, special, loved and their name.
Then came the surprise baby niece! Premature, by 8 weeks, my plan for the design of this photo frame has consequently stayed in my head as her welcome gifts were emergency premature baby sized clothes!
A year has flown by... and the baby has grown.... but here, finally.... is what I made for her!

For this one, I used metallic coloured paint for the frame and stuck on ribbon and colourful buttons.
I will give it to her next week, when I see her.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Tudur at the vets

Yes, the time came for Tudur to go to the vet, for the all important "snip". Today. All done. He was very brave and everyone loved him at the vets. ( My proud cat owner moment). They said he is the best cat they have had there ever and that he brought them such joy. The receptionist then said how he had "bopped" the vet on the head with his paw! - he does it to me too, when he is trying to get my attention.... he did it to me this morning, when he thought, perhaps, that I had "forgotten" to feed him! I thought he might come home and be sleepy, cry and walk all wonky and dizzy for a few days..... he has, however, run around chasing ribbons and been jumping in and out of a box!
Just as well, as Emily and I have been busy decorating her Wedding cake!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Introducing Tudur, the growing kitten.

I thought that I would introduce you to my new and growing kitten, Tudur. He has a Welsh name as he comes from Wales and his name means divine gift. His middle name is Smudge, because he has a smudge on his nose! He has been with us for about 3 months now and is about 6 months old.

As you can see, he likes to hide!
he doesn't like the rain .... but he likes to play with his toy fish!

He is trying to be big and brave and expolre the garden now (but sometimes he gets a bit scared).
He loves to run up and down the stairs, especially playing chase the ball!

He is very cute, cuddly and.... he likes to sleep.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Hunt the chocolate game, with a bridal favour twist.

Last night, a few of my friends - we call ourselves the groovy girlie cake chicks, gathered to celebrate with Emily, who gets married next week! We usually eat cake together and laugh 'til we cry. Sometimes we make creative things or spontaneously pray for each other, but last night was in honour of the Bride to be.

Emily really likes cheese, so we had a wonderful selection of cheese and biscuits, pickles and I made bread, with my new breadmaker, from my friend Rachel. (Olive with rosemary and Italian herb bread, which I made with oregano, basil and thyme).
We often play traditional British childhood favourite games together, as girlie chicks when it is someone's birthday. Hunt the chocolate is a firm favourite! To give the game a bridal twist, we put the chocolate and sweets/candy into some netting cut into squares, like bridal favours and tied them ribbon.

I hid them around the house before everyone arrived...

..... and then everyone dashes off and grabs (literally!) as many as they can.

We then count them, to see who has the most.

Last night we threw them all into the air....

.... like confetti!

Have a lovely wedding Emily!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Welcome to my blog

Here you will find some of my creative ideas, discover some of the things I love: like cake, chocolate, creating and making mess and laughter! I will also write some of my "tails" and adventures with my friends...and my growing new cat, Tudur.
I hope you will enjoy journeying with me in my blog.... and may you be inspired to laugh and to live life with all the vibrant colours it offers, with those around you and the friends you make along the way.