nailed it

I create with my hands, a lot.   Here are just a few of my finished cross stitch projects from 2018.

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Similar to most folks, every single hobby I enjoy involves using my hands.  Gardening, baking, sewing, quilting, crocheting and cross stitching.   (Okay, technically, while reading I hold the book or kindle, however, not much wear on my hands.)

Currently, I have been crocheting hats for the grands.  As you can imagine, all those fibers catch on rough cuticles and my dry hands.

 

Don’t even get me started on counted cross stitch.  I am just now venturing into the world of silk thread.  Even the slightest rough cuticle or dryness and it has me putting down the project.

No, you can’t just fix the problem right then.  Oh, sure, putting on hand lotion, seems at the time that it will smooth out the rough spots and you can be on your way.  A quick fix for a short-term solution at best.

Before practicing the piano, I would soak my hands in very warm water for a few minutes.  Yes, it would help loosen them up and calm the rough spots during 30 minutes of practice time.

These will help albeit for a few minutes.  However, it is not a long-term solution.

Here are a couple of things that have really helped my hands and nail cuticles.

I can’t use any chemicals to remove dried cuticles so……………..

For a few minutes, a couple of times a week, I soak my hands in warmed milk.   Since we don’t drink milk here, I purchase one of those individual size containers of whole milk.

The lactic acid in milk helps remove dead cells and soften the cuticles; the natural fats help replenish dry skin.  After soaking I push the cuticles back.

Try, oh for the love of Pete…….try not to cut your cuticles.  I only typed that to REMIND myself of this.  That is a tricky one.

Once a day, sometimes in the winter, twice a day, I rub a healing oil on my nails and cuticles.  (I don’t think I have to tell you not to touch ANY of your projects until the oils have soaked in and you have washed your hands with mild soap.)

 

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Before I share the recipe, I put all of the ingredients into a roller ball glass container.  It makes it easy and mess free to use.  BIG, helpful tip…………BUY the opener.  Just do it.  Spend the $5.00 and buy the opener.  Stores that sell essential oils usually have them right at the check out stand.  Seems like a waste of money.  Until you actually have to open a roller ball glass or essential oil container. (which will be slippery because you are …duh….using oils)roller ball opener

Into a glass roller ball container, here is what I mix up:

1 1/4 teaspoon Jojoba oil

1/2 teaspoon vitamin e

5 drops lavender

5 drops lemon

5 drops frankincense

5 drops myrrh

You can also add other helpful oils like eucalyptus, grapefruit & rosemary if you like.

One more crazy tip?  I can’t use this after 2pm or I don’t sleep well that night.

The harsh winter months really emphasize how dried out our hands can become.  I hope these couple of tips will help you continue to create and work with your hands, and keep them not only beautiful but healthy.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

the power of a cookie

Just think how amazed you would be if today, someone handed you a tin of cookies and said, I made these JUST FOR YOU.

That my friend is a powerful expression of love.   Having someone bake for you is remarkable.  It sort of takes your breath away.

You HAVE that power.  It’s easy (6 ingredients), pretty quick, minimal cleanup and the outcome is simply beautiful not to mention melt in your mouth tasty.

20181127_110536-1Last night Mr. Right spent 45 minutes and shelled 1 pound of walnuts.  After shelling, that equals 1/2 pound of glorious, amazingly delicious, wonderful walnuts.   His effort will be rewarded.

Today, I baked the first of the season batch of Christmas cookies.  One of his favorites.

Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone, however, I’m one of “those” people.  I write, scribble, put stickers, use jelly markers, underline, highlight and leave notes to myself on the pages of my cookbooks.

On page 65 of a cookie book, I wrote: “this season, I baked 9 batches of these beauties”. Using a red pen, I wrote “heavenly”.   20181127_120053 I gave them 5 stars.  “Melt in your mouth”.  There are hearts and stars drawn all around the recipe.

These are extremely simple cookies with only 6 ingredients.  However, because there are such few ingredients, PLEASE use excellent quality of each.  The results will be so worth the effort.

May I gently suggest you bake a batch for your husband, boyfriend, teacher, neighbor, the weekly group you attend,  a teenage grandchild?  Yes, I wrote, bake a batch for your grandchild.  Write the short recipe out in your handwriting, and offer up a piece of your heart and soul, your family history.  I have two recipes written by hand from my grandmother.  Powerful and simple memento to pass down.

While at work, I like to send Mr. Right a picture of what was baked just for him.  Encourages him to drive with purpose on his way home.  Certainly, a powerful, mouthwatering picture to receive via text or email.

Hurry home, Mr. Right, freshly baked cookies await. Drive safely, see ya soon.

Russian Teacakes.

1 cup of butter ( I use unsalted, French butter), 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon Vanilla (I use Cooks’s choice), 2 1/4 cups flour (I use unbleached), 1/4 teaspoon salt (I use Maldon Sea Salt), 3/4 cup chopped Walnuts (Freshly cracked tastes amazing)

Heat your oven to 400*.  Mix butter, powdered sugar, and the vanilla.  Stir in the flour, salt, and nuts.  Shape dough into balls.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake 8 to 9 minutes.  Roll in Powdered sugar while warm; cool.  Roll in powdered sugar again.

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…..and so the baking season of love and goodness begins.   Love to hear about your favorite holiday cookie to bake.

In this together, friends, Happy Baking.

Chat soon.

 

muffins, squash & a smooch

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While looking in the freezer this morning, I saw a bag of our beautiful Blueberries.

On the off-chance Mr. Right might stop by after an appointment, I whipped up a batch of fragrant, beautiful muffins.

While peeling squash for dinner (his favorite, not mine).  The phone rang, I crossed my wet, messy fingers hoping it was him.

He said, “Hey, could you please meet me outside in 60 seconds?”  I thought Yippy!  He wants a smooch and I can give him a couple of warm Blueberry Muffins.

perfect.

blueberry muffins

 

I went out there to hand him the muffins, he held out a glorious Latte from my favorite place.

When people ask us how we have stayed happily married…………..20181112_112441-1

Maybe Acorn squash and Lattes are the answer?

Wait!

Maybe serving squash that I loathe and he loves?

Wait!

Maybe delicious smooches out of the blue, on a Monday.

Yes. Most definitely the smooching.

Happy Monday,

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

PS. Surprise your spouse with a treat.   You will be rewarded with a smooch.  I promise.

 

Happy Fall Y’all

Good gravy, it seems as thou I took a two-month writing sabbatical.

Let me catch you up, Cliff Notes style.

Grandgirlies (and parents) came to visit and it was glorious.  I tried to memorize every single laugh & giggle.  20180930_120451_resized

While holding hands and jumping off a curb at Pike Place Market, I didn’t land as gracefully as the spry 6-year-old.  Nothing broken, however, I did have to stay on the sofa for 14 days.  You read that correctly, the doctor actually told me (my words, not hers) that I would have to stitch, read and crochet for 14 days!

Needless to say, I crocheted 5 hats, read all my library books and stitched a beautiful pillow in time for Christmas.  Also, the stars aligned and I put in the final stitch of my “And a Forest Grew” piece.

 

We received one of the all-time best photos of two grandsons who fell asleep.Boys

 

On the 31st we carved pumpkins, gave the chickens pumpkin guts and welcomed 70 trick or treaters.

 

We pulled, plucked and dug the last of our carrots, tomatoes and 46 pounds of beautiful potatoes.

 

Yesterday, we enjoyed a fun and happy bike ride through the swirling November leaves.

fall leaves, bike ride

As we turned our clocks back yesterday, we always remember our family’s best time-change story of all time.  

It was the “Spring ahead” time change, our boys were teenagers.  As we did every single Sunday, we were headed to church.  I gotta tell ya, getting two teenage boys out of bed and upbeat about attending church didn’t always happen smoothly.  (Just being honest here.)  We were cutting it close to the opening hymn.  The parking lot was already filled with cars.  So we parked, quickly walked inside and slipped into an open pew.   The song that was being sung was the CLOSING benediction song!

We respectfully left after the song was played, silently walked to our minivan, got in and Dad said, “we are going out to breakfast”.  We all BURST into LAUGHTER.   Best conversation breakfast of all time.  hahaha

In this together.  Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

Happy Fall Y’all.

Chat soon.

 

good food = happy

20170725_165021-1_resizedLast year I thought we had way too many green beans.  I got the giggles 20180620_084922_resizedeverytime I ventured into the garden.  Our supply seemed never-ending.  We ate baskets and baskets of green beans.  We gave away bags full.  I cooked every recipe I could think of.  I froze some.

This Spring, I had learned my lesson and only planted four bean plants.  One didn’t make it.   Actually, three might be just enough.

It started out pretty easy.   I picked a 20180815_095417-1basket full and we had an amazing Sunday dinner.  Then a few days later I made Greek Green beans.  Oh, yes, Fried Rice with our green beans.

September has dawned and yes, I am still discussing and picking green beans.

I have given away a bag or two.  I tucked some in the bag with eggs I gave away.

I have a  friend who has the most incredible mind.  I want to call her a Renaissance woman. Self-sufficient and brilliant when it comes to making things.   She has this amazing ability to create so many different things. She is an expert knitter. Her quilting skills are admired by anyone privileged to see her work.  She designs things with beads that are so unique, they grab your attention right from the start.  However, it’s her cooking, baking, gardening skills that will make you lean in and listen.  She has much to offer to those of us willing to be still and watch/listen/learn.

“I like good food & food waste drives me nuts.  Fresh produce is a gift never to be squandered.”  FL

 

Notice every time I gathered goodness from the garden, yes, yes, indeed, more beans.  With the abundance of beans in my life, I got a bit whiney.

My renaissance friend encouraged me to dry some as snacks.   BRILLIANT!

 

Oops, I may have forgotten to take an after picture.  Suffice it to say, the bowl was empty but for a flake of nutritional yeast here or there.

“I like good food, I want those around me to eat good food.  Good Food makes everyone happy.”  FL

Last evening, I filled a pretty bowl.

Yes, you guessed it.

Green Beans.

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In this together, friends.

May you all be lucky enough to have a friend to learn from.  She makes life better.

Chat soon.

 

 

thursday has promise

20180830_074815Awwwwww, can you feel it?  The morning temperature has turned slightly.  Fall is knocking on the door.  Another day or so and it will be time to change the pillow covers & add a plaid throw over the chairs.

I went out onto the porch this morning, bare feet, coffee in tow.  Deep cleansing breath.  I can hear the quiet possibilities of the day ahead.  A million ideas floating around me.

I read the poem that is stenciled on the inside of the railing. It’s always my wish for our grands.

“May you touch dragonflies and stars, dance with fairies and talk to the moon.”

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Oh, did I mention grands?  Just in case I start to lose my mind, I have their names painted to remind me.  I have to say, sitting in that chair with grand names wrapped around me, with a cup of coffee in hand…………….pretty nice way to start the day.20180830_074754

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, the possibilities.

In this together,

Chat soon.

 

chick inn

You all know the story by now.  (If not, I’ll give you the micro Cliff Notes.)

5 1/2 years ago when I was extremely ill, a life long friend drove into our circle driveway with a horse trailer full of supplies.  She & her teenagers dropped off a coop, feed dish, water container, bedding, straw, food and 3 chickens.  She got back into her truck and I yelled, WAIT!

I don’t know a thing about chickens!

She said, then I guess you will need to learn fast.  Good Luck, you’ll be fine.

Everyday after that, I had to get up and go out to the backyard and tend to my chickens.  Every single day, I read and read and read until I couldn’t find anything else to read and learn about chickens.  The first weekend, Mr. Right drove me to the library and a book store.  The boyfriend carried arm loads of new books.

Pretty wise girlfriend.

I went outside morning, noon and night to check on Lovey, Mary-Ann and Ginger.  I had to lift small buckets of feed and drag the bag of bedding.  I lifted the small, then large containers of water.  I spilled, sweat, was frustrated and kept trying.  Mr. Right only helped me when he had to.  I did 95% of the work (slow & steady) all by myself.

Fast forward 5.8 years.

My fascination (sounds way better than obsession) with chickens has grown.  I try to learn new things all the time.  I use only natural methods of raising them.

 

I include fresh-cut Rosemary when laying in fresh straw to discourage bugs and just this past week, I learned to tie a cooper coupling on the fishing line in my water container to reduce algae growth.

The time had come for a new Coop.  20180828_071910-1

While standing in the kitchen (which I do a LOT), I look out the window and can see the chickens.   I wanted to be able to see them, yet I wanted their new digs to be nice looking.

We did a little research and ordered a basic coop.  When it arrived I painted the parts and Mr. Right put it together.  Then we (read that as I picked things out, he figured out how to install them and make it all work) upgraded some of the hinges, locks and he reinforced some of the places that would get the most wear and tear.

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The run, which we refer to as the “East Wing” was designed and built by Mr. Right.  Yes, the same Mr. Right who continues to refer to the girls as “Buzzards”.  I think secretly he likes them.  haha20180828_072001

The run is actually built in two, five foot sections and can be taken apart for cleaning etc.  It is attached to the main coop and can also be taken apart.  We put clear carpet runner 20180828_071754on top of the wire in one section to provide more cover from the elements, yet still allowing sunshine and light to get through.

20180828_071813-1We made a feeder and water container out of pvc pipe.  So far, working well, with only a slight adjustment needed on the feeder.

This morning, while checking on the girls Ginger, Dolly (Madison), Margaret (Hatcher), Dixie (Chick) and Queen Frosting…. I gratefully collected egg number 2, 224.20180828_072907

I am grateful to be healthy enough to take care of them.  I will be forever grateful to my friend for slapping me upside the head with a slipper to gently encourage me to get off the sofa and back to living & working.  And of course, Mr. Right for indulging me by listening to one more crazy idea for the chickens.

Hey, Mr. Right, I did have a small idea on how the feeder would work more efficiently.  Here, let me explain……..