Our Stained Glass Snowflake: Warmth and Giving

Stained Glass Snowflake Prism Christmas Gift PresentSo my wife’s god mother who bought her a glass vase for her birthday came by today to visit. My wife and I realized this morning that we probably should have gotten her something neat for Christmas.

We made a quick trip into town our tiny little town to see if we could find something that would be right for her. We went to a folk artsy/antique store/wine room that sits in a semi-repurposed old hotel from the 1800’s.

I wasn’t feeling anything we saw but on the way out caught sight of a glass snowflake hanging up on one of the store’s front windows. I was beautiful. The glass was a prism in the light and it was perfect. We bought it for $55 which is maybe a lot or a little depending on where you live and what you’d pay. I like that we bought it local, was made local, and its more unique that anything we could have bought at a regular store.We’re happy we found it. 

Snowflake Prism Stained Class Crystal Snowflake Christmas Gift

It seemed like the right gift because her godmother has big floor-to-ceiling windows wrapping a third of the house–looking out to the backyard from the living room. I imagine it will be stunning on the window as it twists the bright winter sun into a thousand little rainbows scattered across her living room. The warm inside light, little rainbows and beaming show will certainly create the welcome illusion of warmth through this bitter cold stretch of season in Illinois.

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My Kickin’ Knit Alpaca Beanie


So I am one lucky guy. When we were out in Eugene last Christmas break, my wife and I picked up some deep green alpaca/wool yarn. She planned on knitting me a beanie to help keep my ears warm if we moved back up to Illinois. We’d picked out a free pattern online that was simple and we thought would look good on me. Now it was just a matter of time.

Over the thanksgiving break I went to visit my family and she stayed back with her’s. On my return drive, she said she had a surprise for me. I asked if she knitted my hat for me. She said no. I was then hoping she’d baked chocolate chip cookies. I don’t think she ever has for me, so it was more likely she’d somehow decided to start and finish a beanie in two days. She was hooked on Dexter so she blew through the hat while enjoying three seasons of the tv series.

I was thrilled she got to enjoy her show and time spared from my family and I will have a fancy little alpaca beanie to keep my ears warm and show off my green eyes all winter long. She is currently teaching me to knit and pearl so hopefully with a bit of practice I’ll be knitting some of my own things in the not too distant future.

My Wife’s Glass Art Birthday Vase and Potted Iris

My wife’s brother had gotten married this summer, and their godmother had gotten him and his wife a big purple glass vase with two big glass lilies to go in it. Though I wasn’t impressed, my wife was jealous. When we’d gotten married three years ago, it was right before we drove off to Louisiana. Everything we owned that we thought we’d need we fit into our little prizm. Everyone knew we were hitting the road light, so we received money in thoughtful cards to cover the cost of our diy wedding and backyard reception.

My wife’s godmother said that she’d wanted to get my wife a keepsake for our wedding but wanted to wait until we we’d be in one place for a while. Apparently it looks like that time is now, because they went out for dinner and snazzy glass shopping for her birthday.

My wife said a lot of the glass was pretty. Outside of the context of the glass store, however, she said one would be apt to not think much of them as underwhelming pieces from the 60’s and 70’s.

She found three pieces she really liked and two of those, she loved. The first, was a small, deep cobalt blue vase, but she said it’s solid color made it loose its self.  The final two were a contemporary large green vase with black swirling and an artsy little glass iris growing out of a dreamy Van Gogh glass pot with sky blue pebbled glass soil. Her godmother graciously bought my love the both of them against her protests.

My wife said she thought her godmother was a little surprised my wife was drawn to the contemporary vase. She imagined her godmother thought she’d pick one of the more traditionally feminine pastel vases. My wife was as proud as a peacock with her artsy glassware. Her face was radiant and she was banking I’d approve of her taste.

They’re both awesome pieces we’re pleased to enjoy and both fit her well. I never would have known she’d have chosen the vase she did. But she’s a surprising, feisty lady and that draws me to her.

She appointed the flower her writing muse. During the day the sun gives it life through the old farmhouse window. At night, it quietly inspires our efforts while basking in the warm light of our little desk reading lamp.

26 and a Patron of the Arts

So I love beauty. Have a pretty keen aesthetic sense. A lot offends me, beauty excites me. I used to think everyone felt this, but I learned that the golden mean and such are not on everyone’s radar. Appreciating beauty made me a patron of the arts a couple summers ago when I was introduced to the Maya artist Nicolas Reanda. I was surprised and hooked by his feminist perspective and contemporary feel. 

I applied for a received a scholarship to study the Kaqchikel Maya language in Antigua, Guatemala for six weeks. I’m painfully curious about the Maya. From the ancient civilization to the modern. I want to know how they understood the universe, developed the most accurate calendar, calculated astrological events millions of years into the past and the future, and how they built their civilizations in seemingly inhospitable environments.

Over the course of the summer I ended up making a couple Tz’utujil (tZOO-two-hill) maya friends. The Tz’utujil are known for fishing, running the boats, and farming the volcanic hillsides surrounding Lake Atitilan.  One friend in Antigua took me to visit his family back in Santiago Atitlan where I met Reanda. Though his realistic portraits of weathered Maya faces added him to the Lourve, his contemporary work seems to challenge the notion of Latin machismo. To me his work elevates women and humankind’s connection the natural word. To me his work is refreshing and rejuvenating.