My Favourite Mug

Anyone who knows me, or even if you’ve been following along in the blog for some time, will recognize that one of the ways I love to “chill” is with a good cuppa something. Usually a cup of something warm and soothing. Coffee starts my day and often placates it at the end. There’s nothing like a cup of hot chocolate after tobogganing. Now many of you will immediately say that tea calms your heart – and I would never disagree, although tea isn’t my first go-to (although I am learning to love good matcha…) Sit for a moment and just imagine it.

Now, continue to muse along with me about the vessel which holds your beverage. Do you have a favourite mug? Or a precious teacup that was given to you by your grandma or treasured friend? Or do you have a wacky character on your coffee mug that makes you smile after a grumpy day? We have a plethora of mugs in our cupboard. My late mother-in-law had a favourite one that “was not too big”, and I can’t bear to part with it. I like the ceramic ones that look like handmade pottery. They perfectly fit a large pod from my Keurig machine with just a dash of cream. The hubby likes a good-sized mug that could fit a small serving of breakfast cereal. I have a collection of beautiful teacups and have a soft spot for a good breakfast brunch — all fancy-like. Take a moment to think about what are the first ones out of the cupboards and into the dishwasher?

Realistically, cups, mugs and even glasses are pretty ordinary, everyday objects. We can use disposable ones and simply throw them away after a single use (although I don’t like to think that way…bring your reusables, people!) Still, where would we be without them? The great kings and queens had bejewelled goblets. The Vikings sloshed great steins in jovial celebration (usually after pillaging some poor village), and you and I continue to use a humble mug every morning. Because no matter the material or design, the cup has a purpose. It holds the liquid in. If it doesn’t fit the purpose, it overflows. Tiny teacups can only serve tiny portions. The Vikings wanted extra froth. I want a full coffee pod.

And so it is with us, my friends. How often have you thought of yourself as too ordinary or insignificant for a bigger purpose? Take a look at the variety of cups we have.  Some are beautiful yet fragile; some are sturdy yet plain; some are great for on the go yet not made to last forever. We are a lot like cups.  We come in a variety of sizes and designs.  We all have both our talents and our weaknesses.  We were not created to all be exactly the same. Still, all of us have a purpose. Let’s let our teacups remind us that we must continually be filled and poured out by God’s goodness and Holy spirit in order to be completely useful.

I know of two significant people in my life who can take a whole day to drink a morning coffee. It sits there, going cold, only to be found again about five o’clock after a full day of busyness. Or maybe your mugs get left sitting on the shelf, collecting dust in the curio cabinet. Or filled with candy or nuts and bolts or paperclips. Does anyone have those stained rings at the bottom of their cups? Are your mugs due for a good deep clean?

As Christians, we can find ourselves in some of these same places.  We may be filled to the brim and used to pour out the goodness of God.  Or we may be just sitting, looking good, but collecting dust.  We may have been filled, but then forgot about what God said about His plan. We’ve left that stagnant ring hanging around and we cling to the past. We are in need of a good cleaning.  Perhaps our lives may be so full of “other things,” that we can’t be filled with what’s best.

For a cup to be used, it must first be emptied, washed and then ready to be filled with the life-giving substance it was designed to hold. A cup can do nothing by itself, and neither can we. We need to be filled… often daily or hourly! Like our dishwashers – it’s a constant cycle of fill, empty, wash and fill again!

So tomorrow, or tonite, or as you sit and read this post, think about your favourite mug, and let it be a simple reminder to you that although ordinary, you, too, are special and purposeful in God’s big picture!

Check out my Pinterest boards for a cute teacup story that would go great at a tea party or a gift of a new favourite mug! Or check out the mittonmusings board for more posts about coffee and tea!

Epic Felting Fail

Life is back into full swing here, and the lazy days of summer are dwindling away.  Unfortunately for me, that means less time for leisurely activities like crafting.  Before all that disappears though, I wanted to share with you one of my big crafting tragedies.  My epic fail.  My fibre flop.  My defeated disaster.  Perhaps it will encourage you.  If not, well, I might just make it to a Pinterest fail compilation, for “I nailed it”  — not.FELTFAIL

If you are a Pinterest junkie like me, you will know how easily one can be swayed by the allure of beautiful craft pieces, created by highly skilled individuals displaying their wares.  Or perhaps Instagram is your game… and a perfectly plated dish is drool worthy for you.  Maybe you play it old school and appreciate a fine, handmade quilt tucked away in some quaint antique store; or a fashionista who spends hours finding that perfect accent for your well coordinated outfit.  We are such fickle creatures, aren’t we?  We love to create, and often spend our entire lifetimes perfecting our work.

Which brings me back to my fail.  I recently discovered the delicate art of dry felting.  It involves stabbing raw or “roving” wool with a fine needle until it becomes “felted” or matted together.  By layering colours and textures, detailed works of art can become so lifelike, it is difficult to tell what’s real and what’s not… and the pieces are so adorably cute! I first featured some felting artistry at mittonmusings here.  So, eager to try something new, I found a little felting kit at my local craft store and attempted a rather wonky llama.  He’s not bad, but he doesn’t quite stand.  His little legs are not very sturdy.  Okay for a beginner, I suppose.  More recently, I attempted a petite pig with inspiration from a felting book I was pleased to discover down in the States.  It did not go as well.FELTBOOK

The book’s directions had me lay out all the various parts, and following the preliminary instructions for a “dog body” shape, my cute little piglet should have come together beautifully.  My wool was a little too pink — more candy floss shade — but I was going to blend in some browns and whites to make him him look more realistic.  I could do this, right? Several hours later, after stabbing away at my little foam block and folding and fluffing wool… I had all my shapes ready.

Well… my cotton candied porker was not too well proportioned … and he ended up looking like a sausage shaped cat with lopsided legs.  I attempted to give him a whimsical expression… but my features were too thick and my cat-pig ended up all drag-queen-gone-bad.  Epic fail.  My beloveds tried to encourage me with kind words… but we all managed a laugh as Mr. Pig joined Wonky Llama in my misfit menagerie of sad looking felted friends.  I am afraid it is back to the drawing board for me.Shapes all laid out...things so far so good...

What about you, my friend?  Ever attempt a “creation”?  Are you a fine artist? A crafter?  Are you a fabulous cook, or can you rebuild a car from scratch?  I would love to hear from you!

Alas, my fellow beginners… there is always a lesson in our trials!  Are you encouraged, as I am, that the Bible tells us God doesn’t make mistakes (unlike us!).  It says that God created…  and it was good.  I will say it again:  He doesn’t make mistakes.  No epic fails.  No beginner blunders.  Everything was perfect.  Just as He designed.  We recently visited the Creation Museum near Cincinnati, Ohio.  It was a helpful reminder in simply appreciating the vast diversity we have in this created world — from the tiniest creepy crawly to the towering dinosaur of yesteryear.  As a scientist, I can appreciate the subtle and profound differences in a world of creatures.  And I continue to be amazed as the various disciplines peel back the layers of this place that God called “good”.  Oh, my friends… We’ve barely scratched the surface!

But do you want to know what is even cooler than that?! He created us!  You and I were created in the image of the Almighty! He breathed life into dirt and “felted” us together — delicately weaving our personalities, our gifts, our talents, and our passions into something spectacular!  You have been perfectly crafted by the most talented artist of all!

So take heart.  If your llamas are a little wobbly, and your piggies are not quite pudgy… fear not.  Humans have to keep practicing.  God doesn’t.GODPRACTICE