color question

Question?

When you walk through the grocery aisle of spaghetti sauce in jars, how is it that they are all the exact same color?  I am not picking on any certain brand or flavor or company.  I just got to wondering how on earth they get every single jar, can, sauce, paste, organic, expensive, dirt cheap and so forth….. all pretty much the exact same color?spaghetti_sauce-300x220

Earlier today, I was in the kitchen processing tomatoes.  I removed the skins, chopped and filled the slow cooker with 29 tomatoes; three varieties from our garden.  I added my usual:  fresh parsley,  basil, rosemary, oregano, chopped onion, oodles of garlic, S & P.

As I was chopping, I got to thinking, this is a more deep, rich intense red than the tomatoes a couple of weeks ago.   Maybe I let them ripen a touch longer?  More or less sunshine, more or less water?

First picture was two weeks ago, second picture was earlier this morning:

So the question is hanging there.  The longer I don’t answer the question, more pop up.

Just “maybe” food coloring is added to store-bought sauce (similar to store bought orange juice to give uniformity of color) to help it have the right marketing color?  Maybe folks like you and I are trained and looking for a particular color with bits of herbs here and there?  No matter the season, we want our sauce to be the same color as it was 4 months ago.

Our bodies, the wonderful machines that they are, were never ever, ever, meant to work this hard to clean out so much “stuff”; colorings, flavorings, chemicals, additives and on and on the list goes.

We all have heard folks having issues with children “a bit more energetic” then the families would like.  Adults that can’t keep focus and stay on track.  Folks that are more depressed than they were 5 years ago.  More and more among us having headaches, serious headaches, trouble loosing weight and so forth.

I am not saying this is the miracle we all have been searching for, what I am saying is I think it is a strong case of food for thought.

Now, I am well aware that we cannot all can, process, freeze all our own food.  While that might be a wonderful goal, some days, I just can’t do it. Some times I am tired and I just want to buy a perfect tomato in the produce department that someone else tended.  I am still having troubles growing my own basil, so yes, I buy it.  Some days, I run out and just want to buy a bottle of sugar-free ketchup from Whole Foods. I just don’t want to stop and make it.

I just got to thinking, maybe just maybe the answer is…. we all make a little more effort into growing our own something?  Then share.  Yes, I said, share with your neighbor.  Maybe trade a few of these tomatoes for some cucumbers or trade some beans for fresh eggs.  Maybe trade hemming a pair of pants for some beautiful fresh grown radishes? 20160825_111447-1_resized

While not every one has the luxury of baby steps, maybe together we can collectively take small steps towards regaining health and wellness?  Give our bodies a break from the overload of colorings, flavorings … things that are foreign to our bodies.

Just asking the questions is a good start. Maybe having a great discussion over a home cooked meal or a tall glass of fresh juice?

If we put our brains together, oh yes, there is power in numbers, we might come up with some useful and amazing ideas towards sharing health and goodness.  I know, I for one, would looooove some ideas and tips and suggestions.  I am anxious to have a discussion and hear your ideas.

In this together, folks.

Here’s to our collective health and wellness!

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

dancing with fairies

Yesterday, I shared painting a gate, plain white.

Oh, you thought I just painted the gate white, cleaned up and put my brush away?

That is just plain ol’ ridiculous.  heehee, me painting something white and then stopping….gives me the giggles.

I was daydreaming while I was painting that fence.  My hair was tied up in a messy knot and I was swirling ideas around in my noggin.  Painting a fence, boring white, frees up your imagination to dart this way and that.

My imagination dances with fancy silk scarves, color twirling around me. Doesn’t your mind work like that?  It is all rather colorful, swirly and moving and so inspiring.

Nearly done painting the plain white fence, I was anxious to get to the “good part”.

You see, inspiration smacked me over the head with a fancy sparkly wand.

The inside of the railing.  Plain.  White. The perfect canvas.

So now, if you come over to share a lemonade or coffee and we sit on the front porch, eating a small snack, rocking away our troubles, figuring out the answers to huge questions and small ones alike……

You will get to see the super, secret, charming, message, stenciled with gray paint, on the inside of the porch railing. Just for the cool kids to see.  You actually have to be sitting in a rocking chair, relaxing on the porch to see the wonderful message.

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While Mr. Right did suggest a quote, “keep feet off railing”.

I went with something a bit more fanciful, charming, happy, swirly, special.

dance with fairies

As the railing wraps around the corner, you will see the names of our grands painted with stars between each. (Please don’t worry your pretty little heads, I left room, just in case more grands are added to this tribe.) It sort of feels like I am sitting in the middle of pure goodness.

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The end of that quote says:  “May you grow up with love & gracious hearts & always know how loved you are.” While it is all over pinterest as an idea for a nursery wall, I can’t seem to locate the author.  If you know, please share, so I can give full credit.

Oh look! There is one more blank area of the railing that may need a word or two.

The very next time you drive by a house with a porch railing, try and guess what secret message might be painted on the inside.  Please tell me other people paint fanciful secret messages that bring them happiness?  Please!

Bit by bit, little by little, this house is becoming a home.

Just sharing the goodness.

Chat soon.

 

 

Monday makeover

The previous owners  of our home, did us a huge favor and left several small cans of paint, extra tile and base boards for us to use .  Not overwhelming amounts, just enough grout and shingles and things to match, in case we needed a little fix up.

Yesterday, we took one of the quart cans of exterior paint and had it matched and bought a gallon.

Today, I used half the gallon. A super easy, quick Monday “makeover”.

To a rather dreary, dark , unloved spot in our front yard, I painted the gate and small portion of the fence.  Then since the brush was still in my hand, I touched up the railing on the porch and a couple of places that needed a bit of sparkle and light.

1.5 hours (including clean up and picture-taking)  and ta-da!  Before and after .

Tomorrow I will add the second coat.

This gate and fence will be replaced next year.  Until then, nothing wrong with a little make up to hide the flaws.

I sort of swoon over quick and easy before & after(s).  Boy Howdy, I already completed this on a Monday with only one cup of coffee!

I have to wonder, what on earth will I be able to accomplish the rest of the week?

Bring it on!

I kind of have a hankering to make some peach Bar B Que sauce and I want to put a coat of primer white on some doors.  Not at the same time……….could get messy.

Love to hear how your week is shaping up.  In this together, friends.

Chat tomorrow.

 

woman’s work

Usually two times during the year, my grandma would come to our home for a one week stay.  My grandpa would drive her, spend the night, then leave the next morning.  “leaving the woman folk to their work.”  He would return a week later, stay for a meal, then he would drive them home.

My bedroom was the “guest” room, so, during those times,  I slept in a sleeping bag on the sofa.

She came for canning.  Late August for all the garden bounty and then again in October for all the peaches, pears, apples and so forth.  She didn’t come with presents for us nor did she read stories.  She wasn’t the warm and fuzzy kind of grandma.  She came to work.

During the week, we 3 girls would have to entertain ourselves, outdoors.  We would get to eat lunch in our backyard fort.  Popsicle were offered from the doorway. We drank from the garden hose.  We played tether ball.  Simple dinners were eaten outdoors on the picnic table. We used paper napkins.   If by chance the weather was poor, we had to make camp in the family room and color, play dress up, pretend next door neighbor or play dolls.

We were not allowed in the kitchen.  It was work, hard work and dangerous.  Or so we were told.

Every now and then, I would see my mom and grandma, still wearing their aprons, come outside to hang laundry up on the line or I would see them sitting on the back porch step, talking.

I know now, that when they were sitting on the back porch, sure they were resting their feet, getting some fresh air, maybe a breeze,  however, more importantly, that meant the pressure cooker was doing it’s thing and they never stayed in the kitchen while it was working.  They re-told horror stories of pressure cookers exploding in kitchens across the land.  No one they ever knew personally, just stories passed along.   Good news, I have no such story to share about canning in my family, nor anyone I ever heard of.

While my family had more than enough …things, money, nice homes, cars, stuff…….no one I was ever related to nor knew had air conditioning in their homes.

Picture this, today it will be around 90*.  Add 90 degrees + hot stove + boiling water + pressure cooker…… well, it just doesn’t sound ideal.  It sounds hot and miserable.

20160816_195831_resizedYesterday, I picked a bounty of tomatoes from my garden.  (note:  from this moment on, when I fill out a form that says: Hobbies______________________.  Along with sewing, quilting, cross stitching, embroidery, I am now going to add gardening!)

This morning I cut an X in the bottom of each tomato.20160817_080854-1_resized Boiled them for 45 seconds, plunged into ice 20160817_081516-1_resizedwater, peeled then chopped and tossed into the crock pot.

Wait, no crock pot 60+ years ago?  They cooked sauce all day long on the stove.

I added fresh picked parsley, onions, garlic lots of garlic, herbs and S & P.20160817_082706-1_resized

20160817_085020-1_resizedMarinara sauce is simmering as I type.  I can freeze some for later use. By adding this or that, it will become pizza, spaghetti, egg plant Parmesan, lasagna or Bolognase sauce. Tonight, grilled mushrooms will be added to the mix and it will smoother some homemade pasta.

I dripped a bit of tomato juice on the kitchen floor.  Instead of bending down to wipe it up, I just got out the swifter and made quick work of mopping the floor.  Tossed the wet towel in garbage and went about my day.

I did not have to get out the rope mop, bucket and Spic& Span cleaner.  I did not have to heft that mop, do the floor, then wring it out with my hands, then rinse it clean, then hang it on the line to dry.

Here’s to all the grandma’s/mom’s that came before us and did “woman’s work”.  Read that as hot, heavy duty work,  washing and cutting up vegetables and fruits,  washing and boiling hundreds (and I honestly mean hundreds) of jars and lids all while still watching children, doing laundry, mopping floors and figuring out what to make for meals.

Today, I for one am mighty GRATEFUL for air conditioning, swifter mops, crock pots, 20160817_085551-1_resizedfreezers and a Mr. Right who doesn’t call it “woman’s work”.

I have a pretty good feeling, he would offer to take me out to dinner because I slaved in the air conditioned kitchen this morning for 45 minutes.

In this together, folks.

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

front porch magic

We stained the front porch.

If by “we” you understand that means, I chose the color stain, then yes, “we” stained the front porch.

Mr. Right did all the cleaning, pressure washing, first coat of stain, second coat of stain and finally the 3rd coat of stain.

I helped with the waiting.   The constant, “when will it be dry” chatter?  How many days do you think it will take? Do you think the sunshine will help it dry faster?  Can we walk on it tomorrow?  Does it still smell like fresh stain to you?  Ya Know, helpful chatter!

I took pictures.

Hey, we each have jobs to do.

Considering when we first laid eyes on this house, you couldn’t see the porch for the extremely, healthy, climbing Jasmine plant………we’ve come a long way baby!20160317_174058_resized_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got rid of the moving boxes.  Another family got to use all our moving boxes, we called the man, who took them all away, our Box Fairy.  We filled the porch each day with empty boxes & wrapping paper and as if by magic, they vanished. Left for our enjoyment was a lovely bottle of wine with a thank you note tied on. Magic.

The healthy Jasmine along with the shrubs, juniper, over-grown plants and other scraggly trees,20160326_142746_resized all “magically” disappeared.  See in the next picture?  That is magic happening right there folks.  Two men, muscles, a chain, maybe a couple swear words…….you know, magic!

The flag holder went up and……………deep breath……… ceiling got painted, windows washed, new door bell, front door painted, new door knocker, new numbers, new peep-hole, new rocking chairs, new rug and pillows, new lantern light fixture, new plant stand and the deck got brand new Espresso colored stain.

Good news, same faithful dog.  Smiling.

So there you have it, just a little magic (by magic I mean………time, money, elbow grease, & about 17 trips to the hardware store), a sweet magical before and after.

Abracadabra!

We will chat tomorrow.

fancy that

Our grands live a million miles away from us.  Well, it seems like a million miles.

That means all the goodies and surprises we mail have to go into a box with lots of packing supplies.  What that really means is all the ribbons and bows are crushed and look rather dull, drab, dumpy & smooshed by the time they get to the special short people.

We just mailed a box this morning.  Someone sweet is turning 6 years old.  We wanted to be in on the celebration.

So while this someone special is girlie girl through and through, she loves space and planets and stars and animals. 20160807_134753_resized So space books and a book on becoming a Veterinarian went into the box.  NASA flash cards and a planet kit went into the box next to earrings and headbands and a fancy polka dot girlie skirt. 20160805_204746_resized

I wanted to take a moment to share a couple of ideas.  I need fancy “bows” and “ribbons” that won’t get crushed.  I want creative and fun and happy and charming.

Every time I walk by those huge silk flower displays that scream 70% off?  If it fits my under 50 cent criteria, I buy one or two.  I have a box at home, just for ribbons and flowers and such.

When I spy stickers 50% off, I buy a sheet of letters and numbers.

You know those thin wooden letters that go on sale now and then?  I buy them and then fancy them up a bit with paint I have at home.

Oh goodness, I never throw away those purple stretchy bags that mini potatoes come in.  Little sisters love purple!20160807_131833_resized

Don’t forget the bulk section of the grocery store.  While you are buying baking soda, almonds and lentils……find the candy section and buy 6 glorious Butterfly gummies or a little bag of sour gummy worms.

I promise, if you put on your thinking cap, you will spend less than $5.00 for oodles and oodles of decorations for your packages.  Heck, they are even fancy enough to put on packages you hand deliver.

Sweet surprises for sweet girls and their sweet little sisters are amazingly fun to decorate.

Fancy that?

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

I spy, 30 threads per inch

I just got done writing a thank you note.  To my eye doctor.  Silly?  Not to me.

He listened and took me serious. I wanted to take a moment to be grateful.

A bit of background:  A fellow counted cross enthusist, told our group, that she took her stitchery with her to the eye doctor.  No, not to pass the time in the waiting room.  She took it to show her doctor what she actually does as a hobby.  She is thrilled with her new glasses.  The doctor told her……I have never seen cross stitch before,  those are tiny stitches.  So beautiful.  I can tell it makes you happy.  Let’s see what we can do to help you.

As much as I respect and like our eye doctor, let’s face it, he can’t possibly know every single hobby or work every single one of us enjoys.   Sure, sure the “get to know you” form asks if you work on the computer or have any hobbies.  It doesn’t really have the space to explain in detail what exactly you do.

So, I put on my big girl boots and worked up my courage and took a couple of samples of my work.

The staff and doctor put my fears at ease.

They each explained they have had people bring in their guns. They needed to show exactly what they need to focus on.   One patient brought in her knitting.  He has one patient who asked for multiple pairs of glasses and bought in his cards.  He is a poker player and wanted glasses just for that reason.

You see, I enjoy counted cross stitch.  The fancy light I use just wasn’t helping as much as it did 25 years ago.

To be more exact….  I stitch for at least 1 hour and 15 minutes a day.  I stitch on linen that has 30 threads to an inch.  I stitch over two threads at a time. 

I also do embroidery.  I also quilt and sew and mend and garden.  I bake and read and type on the computer.

So while I have oodles of hobbies, one in particular is extremely fine work.  I needed to show him what I do, so the perfect solution could be found.  He had me hold the actual fabric and stitch. During that time, he measured how far I hold it from my eyes and he made the notations.

Here we are a little over a week later.  I am ONE HAPPY STITCHING GIRL!!!!

While I am told, the glasses are cute, I am thrilled to be able to see well and stitch without being frustrated or my eyes becoming tired. My hobby is a pleasure again. 20160805_122200-1_resized

I wanted to share this idea with you.  I thought if you are having a dickens of a time crocheting a granny square or tying a fishing lure…..there is a solution out there.

Try and be brave (oh, believe me I know, it takes courage to show your work and explain its value) and take a sample of your work.  It is mighty important to you. When you take the steps to have the courage to show what you are proud of, as if by magic the professionals want to help find the perfect solution for you.

If you need me to go with you or send some good karma your way, speak up!  I will gladly hold your hand.  You will be so proud of yourself for sharing and asking for a little help.

In this together friends,

Happy Stitching, Happy Knitting, Happy Shootin’, Happy Poker playing!!

20160804_211432_resized_1PS.  I must give a 5 star shout out to the “Thread Heaven” product.  It is a fine product that helps condition your floss to lay down smoothly while working embroidery.  (If you already know about this fine product and have been using it for years…..this begs the question…..why didn’t you tell me about it?)