The spirit of the season is the most important part for me. Here in Upstate Western New York, we start entering a long dark few months which are often filled with cold winds and snow. My great grandparents came over to the U. S. by boat from Sweden in the early 20th century. St. Lucia Festival was an important part of my growing up. I looked forward to the day when I would get to be the girl with the crown of candles on her head, and was honored to get the chance twice to be “Lucia.”
For me, St. Lucia represents the purity and innocence of life, which is recaptured each year when we celebrate. As we sing Silent Night, first in Swedish, then in English, hope and faith in humanity is restored. We can face the trials of our lives for another day.
Christmas Eve church service ends similarly with Silent Night. Everyone lights their candles, one by one. The heat from the small fires always warms my heart and mind. The energy in the sanctuary is almost palpable as we welcome the boy child of God into our lives.
I so believe in Magic. Experiencing these two particular celebrations is evidence to me that Magic is real. People come together to enjoy good music and wonderful company. Food for my soul.
What feeds your soul during the holidays?
With seventeen syllables, author H.A. Terpening creates tiny worlds of unexplored territory.
Series 1, Volume 4 is a journey of the human heart going through the various stages of love.
To live In the Spice Rack means that you embrace the things in life that make you happy, and add a dimension of wholeness to your life. Give up feeling guilty for enjoying pleasure in your life. Be happy. Do great work that enriches your life, and the lives around you. Know that you are worthy of being loved and cherished just as you are. Start with yourself. Living a colorful and pleasure filled life isn’t for everyone. Are you daring enough to take the leap?
After listening to this album, my first question is – Who got divorced?
I think this album is one that a lot of people can relate to on an emotional level. I highly recommend it if you like emotional music, albums that tell a story, danceable tunes, songs that will fire you up and break your heart, or if you simply love Train.
Train has borrowed styles from many different artists and effectively pulled it off. I am very impressed with their versatility.
Let’s go through each song!
- Cadillac, Cadillac – The beginning of this song reminds me of an older Police or Sting song, and has a fantastic beat you can dance to.
- Bulletproof Picasso – The title track reminds me a bit of an epic One Republic anthem. The harmonies are fantastic, and the old timey ragtime piano adds a lovely folk dimension to the song. “Say what you mean, and mean what you say to me.”
- Angel in Blue Jeans – I recognized this one from the radio immediately! It’s got a bit of a country feel, which is not my favorite, but I do enjoy this song on occasion.
- Give it all – This has a marching drum that propels the chorus. A haunting falsetto sings “I have a lot, maybe too much, but I’d give it all for one more night with you.” When you work as hard as artists have to do to continually be in the public eye, it is hard to stay connected to loved ones left at home to continue the day to day life that has to go. It’s no wonder that celebrities don’t last very long together in relationships. A minute out of the public eye means you might be forgotten. I think this can apply to anyone that is apart in a relationship – maybe serving in the military, or driving trucks across the country, or in a long distance relationship. Unless you make great efforts to stay connected, it’s easy to lose yourself in new experiences.
- Wonder What You’re Doing for the Rest of Your Life – I’m not a big fan of this one for reasons I can’t pin down. It just doesn’t speak to me personally, and feels a little bit campy. It’s a cute song though.
- Son of a Prison Guard – I love listening to the story in this one; it’s a story that anyone can relate to.The song is mellow sounding, but not too syrupy. It’s got a gentle dance beat.
- Just a Memory – The words are sung in a rhythmic style. The style of this song reminds me a lot of Maroon 5 during the chorus. I’m not particularly captivated by this one versus other songs on the album. Maybe during radio play, I’d enjoy it more.
- I’m Drinkin’ Tonight – this one has haunting guitars starting the song off in minor 7 chords, and I immediately like it. “The only thing stronger than you is whiskey.” I can understand the need to dull pain. We’ve all been there.
- I Will Remember – This song will break your heart! Haunting guitar licks play between the lyric lines, pulling on your heart strings even more.
- The Bridge – You want to move your feet to this song for sure. This one has an R&B feel, and gritty, emotional vocals.
- Baby, Happy Birthday – “Don’t you think that I wish that I could be somebody else sometimes, someone that would not forget your birthday.” Ouch. Yeah, that’s pretty bad. It has happened to the best of us, but still, that’s pretty awful. Has someone ever forgotten your birthday?
- Don’t Grow Up So Fast – Acoustic guitar opens this song, with lovely vocals singing a simple melody. At first, I wondered if he’s singing to his daughter. But following the rest of the album, I wonder, is it his ex wife? I’m hoping daughter. It’s a beautiful song regardless. A solid tune, with 1970s style piano in the background.
Don’t forget to watch Train’s live performance on the QVC channel on Friday, September 5th at 5pm ET.
If you want to get the album for yourself, check these links out!
I participated in the Train Bulletproof Picasso album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.
Skotte often goes to gaming conventions. Over the course of a few days, he might play something like thirty games, some of which the world has never seen before. It’s very exciting stuff!
After one convention, I received the cutest gift from him – a tiny Doctor Who!
I had to talk myself out of wanting one of every character the company makes! They are so cute!
No, I will be content and deliriously happy with my one tiny Doctor.
Tiny Doctor resides on my desk, amongst other fun characters. There’s the fiddle playing gnome, Hello, Kitty! on a keychain connected to my WoW authenticator, a mini Wegmans truck (Wegmans is our totally awesome local grocery chain), and my Autumn Bear from some good friends.
There is something missing though…!!! I have Sandman figures which I received for Christmas one year from Skotte. They are all sitting in their original packaging, because that makes them more valuable for the future. But are they really serving me in this capacity?
I go back and forth on this issue. Obviously, once opened, you can’t really turn back time to un-open them. (Although, maybe my tiny Doctor could help now!) The Endless and their Dreaming counterparts sit patiently in the meantime, wrapped in plastic.
There was a Judge John Hodgman court case about this. (Listen here.) A woman wanted to open her Scully figure, while her husband wanted to keep his Mulder and her Scully in their packaging to retain the value. I won’t tell you how Judge Hodgman ruled, but it’s a rousing case, and worth listening to!
So I ask: What would you do?
In the Spice Rack is a labor of love for me. On this day of celebrating LOVE, I want to share with you the WHY.
I’ve mentioned briefly that my life has not gone at all the way I planned. As I entered college, I had a definitive plan – get my 4-year degree, then a Masters and possibly a doctorate. Write music, play and sing all over the world. Teach. I never planned on getting “rich,” but music was my passion. I lived and breathed music and I was pretty good at it.
I did not anticipate a lengthy list of things that would stand in my way. My teacher left my university and I never really connected with a mentor after that. I experienced a horrible time with depression. A diagnosis of fibromyalgia came when I was around 20. School and life circumstances left me burnt out, sad, lonely, and broken. I had many surgeries, culminating in a partial hysterectomy at age 25. I made myself small inside, because I didn’t think I deserved my dreams.
Today I look at these obstacles as rare gifts.
The gifts give me the opportunity to think outside of the box, and to use my creativity as a tool.
It is not easy for me to do things differently from people around me. I compare myself to others, and ask myself, “Wouldn’t it be easier to go get a regular job?” It would offer stability and structure. But, I would not be happy with this choice long term. I would be building someone else’s dream.
I am doing this because it is my life’s work. I want to inspire you to do the same. I want to live an extraordinary life. I want to share my dream with you.
I view life like a spice rack.
You can start off with the same basic ingredients, but how your mixture will taste depends on the herbs, spices, and flavorings you put into it. Your mixture will be different from your neighbor. You might add more or less orange flavoring, with pecan sprinkles on top and a dash of cinnamon.
I have a lot of friends who also make jewelry, but we all do it differently. Even if we all made the same items, they would be put together differently! We each speak to different people’s hearts. There is room for everyone!
I want to help people reach their own unique dreams.
I want to simultaneously fulfill my dreams.
What sorts of things fill up my Life Spice Rack?
- Music is still a big important part of my life! – listening to and sharing music that I love!
- Connecting with people in my community – Part of this for me is being involved at my church, Downtown United Presbyterian Church
- Writing poetry
- Creating crafts and jewelry
- Playing board games, video games, and role playing games
- Learning about the world and different cultures
- Eating organic food in the right combinations and amounts
- Learning what exercises my body can do, and trying to push my boundaries when I can!
- Using personal care products and cleaning products that are safe for my body – I am extremely sensitive to chemicals.
- Writing stories that give lessons and entertain
- Writing music!
- Playing the violin and singing
- Helping and caring for others
Soon, I am going to announce my next step and I want you to come along with me!
And have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
Most of the steps should be done by grown-ups. I will note which parts are kid-friendly!
1. First, I purchased or found at home a mold that would work. I tried two different molds.
Here is an Amazon Affiliate link to the one I purchased and the one I preferred: Wilton 2105-2588 Bite Sized 20-Cavity Heart Dessert Shell Pan
This pan has a non-stick coating which actually works great for this project! And the heart indentation is fabulous, too!
I also tried a silicon heart shaped ice cube tray from IKEA – the hearts were quite cute, but not as pretty as the Wilton-pan ones! I also pretty much ruined the silicon tray, as you can see.
2. Find crayons! I reused crayons from my childhood.
3. Remove the paper from the crayon. You could have older kids do this with their nails, but I don’t recommend it, unless you want to give your kids a very time consuming project and potential paper cuts.
I used an X-Acto Knife to cut the paper off, as if I was peeling a carrot. (In this same way, you could also slice shavings off the crayons to put into the molds.) This part is definitely for grown-ups if using a knife!
4. Next, I broke the crayons into pieces. I went with larger pieces – break the crayon into half, and then each new piece into half. This can be hard, depending on the crayon and size, so use the knife if needed. You could cut them into smaller sizes if you desire, or use crayon shavings. I used big chunks because it was less time consuming.
5. The Kid Part! Sort your crayon pieces into your mold.
I put mine into 2-3 color combinations – reds and oranges, oranges and browns, yellow and greens, blue and greens, blue green and yellow, purples and reds… you get the idea! FYI – I made a few with rainbow colors and they ended up looking like a mushy brown mess.
You want to fill them loosely to the top for a nice thick crayon.
6. Silver, Gold, Bronze, Fluorescent, and White crayons make excellent accents. Put these on the very bottom of the mold to utilize them the best!
7. Put your tray into a pre-heated oven set to 250 degrees F. Melt for 10-12 minutes. You may need to adjust the time depending on your oven and the crayons you use, but mine were completely melted within 12 minutes.
8. Let your new crayons cool completely.
9. Turn your mold over onto a flat surface. Crayons should slide out easily. I only had to give a gentle tap a couple of times.
10. Enjoy your new crayons!
Ways you can enjoy your new crayons
- Use the wide surface to make pattern rubbings.
- Give them as party favors!
- Lines aren’t always meant to be followed – color outside of the lines with your wild new crayons!
- I used them as marketing! Since crayons were a commodity I had on hand, I paired a new crayon with a Valentine’s Day printable and a business card. Voila, marketing!
P.S. I have some of these for sale in my shop right here!
I have just returned from a wonderful gaming convention called Running Gagg at SUNY Geneseo.
Some of the students found these Valentines amusing.
Maybe you will too!
Get the PDF here!