covered in grace

Along the bank of the Ammonoosuc River, In the Heart of the White Mountains is Littleton, New Hampshire.  Easily described as a graceful New England town.

I am grew up on the west coast & Mr. Right grew up, as we say, “back east”.

When someone asks me what a quintessential New England town looks and feels like, Littleton, New Hampshire comes to my mind first. littleton

One month after 9/11 we visited that town.  The moment we drove into the town, the first sight took my breath away.  The biggest, painted white, glorious town church is smack dab in the middle of the town center.  On it hung the biggest American flag I think I have ever seen.  The brilliant blue sky was the back drop to the most glorious white steeple reaching for the heavens.  It didn’t hurt that it was autumn with a riot of glorious color falling all around.

Somehow the flag covering the church with grace was a sign.  For the first time in a month, I felt like America would be okay.

...America, America, God Shed his Grace on thee

While visiting the town,  we enjoyed the most memorable savory lunch.  I remember the curbs in the town are much taller than what I am used to.  Tall so the snow plows know where the side of the road is.  I went to a town bakery and indulged.  I also happened upon   the most charming gift shop.  Also, home to the Littleton Coin Company.  Littleton is also where my in-laws were married.  Littleton is where my family goes to shop.

While playing tourist we visited an old Grist Mill.  Just as you imagine.  Old plank floors, huge gears, right on the river.  Fascinating, educational and remarkable all rolled into one afternoon. I looked up and could see slivers of light through the wooden roof that covers the building.

I had to buy some milled flour as a souvenir.  They bag the flour in cloth bags, sewn closed and sell different sizes for folks to take home.

I saved the small bag.  I wanted to use it one day.  Maybe slip into a quilt, maybe a wall hanging, I didn’t know?  I just knew it reminds me of where Mr. Right grew up.  I wanted to showcase it somehow.

Yesterday was the day.  Albeit 15 years later, apparently the time was right.

I made a cover for our juicer.

20160623_205245-1Because, Mr. Right makes fresh juice for us daily, the heavy-duty juicer stays out on the counter.

The juicer desperately needed a new cover. Our juicer is a work 20160623_144953-1horse, plain and simple. Nothing fancy to look at however, every bit of juice it produces covers us in grace & goodness.  Nutritionally dense health and wellness is made from our juicer.

I took apart the old cover I had made and used it as a pattern.  I took apart my flour bag and used a new kitchen towel for extra fabric.  I measured, cut, pinned and came up with a new juicer cover.

I love using that souvenir, the flour and fabric it came in. Swirling together parts of both of our lives in our new home feelss right.

The flour sack has been covering the juicer for about two hours.  Happy doesn’t begin to explain how I feel.  I know Mr. Right will smile when he sees it.

I am constantly Amazed by Grace I find around me.



balancing happy junk

About 19 years ago, I think, I first walked into Archie McAfee’s in Seattle, Washington. The store at thatarchie-mcphee-20110428-112940 time……..made me car sick.  The floor was old, wooden and uneven and wonky and if I spent more than 20 minutes in there, I felt queasy. AND I LOVED it.  Our kids loved it.  Mr. Right loved that store.  It was a family affair.

I am not a fan of shopping, but I gotta say, this store is fascinating, unique, quirky, weird and charming all rolled into one.  Spending time in that store makes me smile.   Every space on the ceiling and walls was covered with something.  Stapled here and there.  Nose shaped pencil sharpeners were stapled around the door jamb.  The window was surrounded by plastic, chattering teeth & bacon flavored toothpaste.

It is a place to find “finger feet”, Tesla socks, exploding pickle candy, boxing nun puppets and underpants gloves.

A few moves later, they got all fancy schmancy and moved to a brand new local.  New store.  New smell.  Clean.  Sigh.  It was my most disappointing trip to Archie’s.  It was neat and tidy.  Seriously, you could see the ceiling.  You walked easily over the brand new (even) waxed floor.  Rubber chickens all stacked neatly in a clean bin.  urgh.  Nothing funny about neat & tidy.

Good news, it has been a few years and the store is starting to junk out again.  Feels right.

20160616_202602-1 (1)This sort of explains my brand new sewing room.  Clean, neat, tidy, labeled bins for everything.  Now, I am not wishing for an uneven floor or finger monsters glued around the doorway.  It is just so orderly and organized.  Sure some organization is needed.

I am still deciding on a new light fixture.  I am 75% sure of my choice. 20160616_202124 Needs to simmer a few more weeks.  Oh, good news I did hang some prayer flags.

That made it feel more like a sewing room.

( For more about my prayer flags, skip back to another post and read about them there.)  I’ll wait, take your time.  No rush.

Yesterday, while under the prayer flags, I sewed a beautiful new bib.20160620_153210-1

A friend is expecting grand number 4!!!!!  As I sewed, I prayed for the new parents, the grandparents and the new sweet little miss that will be having a birthday in August.

bit by bit……..the sewing room will get “junked out” and feel just right once again.

Life is certainly about balance.  Junked out with some rhyme & reason.

Here’s to that favorite comfortable “lived in” room in your home.

In this together, friends.

ps.  now where did I put those twinkle lights?



Every single solitary time I see a new construction site, I make the comment, “Oh goodie, it might be a cross stitch shop!” Even if the site is quite obviously 3 stories tall.  “Jeepers, that is going to be a cross stitch emporium!!!!!”

Sadly, it never is.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t embrace shops that cater to handicrafts.  Sure, sure, there is a small quilt shop here or there.  In a very strange twist of the business world, somehow, The Tandy Leather shop still keeps going.  The popularity of counted cross stitch has faded and that means the brick and mortar stores have gone by the way side.

Thank goodness for the internet.  I visit cross stitch shops regularly.  I put on background shopping music and quietly slip into the shop and look around.

I belong to a counted cross stitch group on-line.  We share patterns, ideas, tips and pictures.

Ah, the pictures.

I am learning.  I LOVE to look at others hand work.  I admire the time, the skill level, the creativity.  I gather such inspiration from their pieces, I know in my heart of hearts that I must share my pieces now and then as well.  It is just like show n tell.  We all like to be in the audience. However, every now and then, it is our turn to be up in front of the class.


hahahaha….cross stitch humor…….“Cross stitch for the times when you need to stab something 10,000 times”

It is the polite thing to do.  Think of it as grace & goodness.  Work up your courage and be kind enough to share with others.

If I don’t share a picture, a suggestion or a review now and then……..well I am just a taker, a stalker really.  A person who skims through, pushes “like” now and then and flits away. I don’t want to be a taker.  I sincerely want to be a part of the group.  One that gives and takes.

Last night, after the sun had gone down, I put the last stitches into my latest sampler.  I told our golden retriever.  She lifted her head and with sleepy eyes, gave what I thought was a look of “good job” before she put her head back down.  It was a bit anti-climatic.  I texted a couple of friends.

Before I started the next project (fabric cut, thread chosen, needle threaded) I took a couple of pictures.  To share.

20160623_080312I saw “him” on a wall in Victoria, B.C. last summer.  I was with Mr. Right and Miss Florida on holiday.  As those two meandered through the shop, I meant business.  I was so thrilled to be in an actual handiwork shop, I was giddy.  I was picking and choosing charts like there was no tomorrow.  The shop lady said, “oh Boris.  He is popular.  haha”

So yes, I stitched my way around Boris.

Here are the details:  32 count linen (what that actually means, there are 32 threads per inch on that particular piece of linen)….. I stitch over two threads….. I use two strands of hand dyed thread for each X.  The pattern is a Plum Street Sampler design. 20160622_185530-1

Everything about Boris makes me giggle. I love his  early Monday morning attitude.

Sharing bits and pieces of your soul though your art makes me fall in love with your being just a little bit more each time.  Every single time you share a painted rock or a bottle cap glued to a peace sign, every cookie you bake & decorate, every poodle dog toilet paper cover you crochet, every quilt you make, every single cross stitch you do backwards, every apron you sew a Superman S upon, every single jar of honey lotion you make… heart expands just a smidgen. You splash a little goodness on me & I get a glimpse of the extra sparkly, gooey part that makes you, you.

It’s hard to dislike someone when you know about the extra gooey part of them. That my friends is how the world becomes a better place.

If you share, I promise to share.

Cross my Heart.



purple squirrels

You know those people who are a sqooch smarter than the average bear?

Hold on minute, in no way am I putting myself down.  Jeepers, I spent 1.5 hours this morning learning more about sleep, Folic Acid, Fulvic Acid and Humic Acid.  I took notes like a preppy school girl.  I learned oodles.

I am talking about those people out there, that seemed to get an extra helping of smarts. They love to talk about the state of world affairs, religious topics, math and astronomy, books they are reading and who wrote what book.

Amazingly enough they are more interested in learning a new chess opening than they are about fashion or sprinkles.

See, this is where I shine.  I love talking about sprinkles and colors.


It takes both kinds of folks to make the world swirl happily along.

In an effort to help make the world a more balanced and happy place, today, I baked cookies.

Cookies for Mr. Right to take to his chess teacher.  Tonight is Wednesday.  Wednesday is chess lesson night.  His teacher is an octogenarian plus some, he speaks five languages and came to America while fleeing his (at the time) war-torn country of Hungary. Sadly, he is a recent widower.

The conversations those two have sure put a spring in Mr. Right’s step. Before you ask, the answer is yes, he comes home with books and home work each week.  The next answer is yes.  He does all his home work and then some.

Happily, I like to bake and share.

20160622_132131Today, I baked cookies.  I decided on sugar cookies shaped like squirrels.  Then I went that extra step and made them with purple sprinkles. 20160622_134839

Thanks to me, two smarty pants fellas will have a few cookies and a laugh.  A real belly laugh.

Really , who on earth bakes purple squirrel cookies for two intelligent men?

A smart girl, that’s who.



Oh dear, look, one broke, I should probably eat that, ha.20160622_140951






mascara review

Hi friends,

It has been a little more than 3 years and I am still investigating, researching and trying new and different cosmetics/lotions and potions.

Trying & reviewing some, like deodorant, took forever and a day and cost a bundle to try each.

Mascara.  A biggie to me.    Now, I know some of you don’t wear make up and that is wonderful for you.  Me?  I need it. I love it.   I don’t feel dressed with out some and my mission has been to find quality make up that does not contain chemicals.

I can’t have them.  I am staking my life of not adding more chemicals.  It is estimated that we all put 5 POUNDS of chemicals on our bodies each year!  I had a huge wake up call and I needed to address that one sentence for sure.  Between lotions, shampoo, conditioners, deodorant, make up etc…. it can easily add up to 5 pounds or even more.

I have a mascara review to share.

I have been using a mascara that didn’t work that well, cost $27.00 a tube however, no chemicals, no parabens………so while I have been underwhelmed,  I continued to purchase  & use it.

Luckily for me Kris Carr has been reviewing different lotions and potions.  Here is her mascara Smackdown! Stop by for a look-see.  Extremely helpful and this is where I got the notion to try this particular mascara.   Gosh I love her.  She is a huge, I mean HUGE inspiration and kind person.  She shares so many wonderful uplifting ideas, recipes and notions.  Wonder around her blog for a bit.  You will fall in love with her and her spirit.

Also one of the websites I visit all too often is the EWG

It works like this:  You put in your lotion/potion/make up etc….. then they give you their rating on how healthy/unhealthy it is to put onto our bodies.  easy.

helpful. quick.  accurate.

Okay, now for the mascara!

Physicians Formula wins for me.  Home run!

Can’t wait to put on the war paint for date night, next Saturday night!

(no, they did not pay me to say this.  I paid for it myself as well as many, many more mascaras that didn’t work)

I will include the picture of the mascara so you too, can see what one I am giddy with happiness about.

LESS THAN $10.00


Okay, yeah!  It works.  Honestly, works really well.   I am happy as a 14-year-old school girl trying mascara for the first time.   I purchased it on amazon however, I have seen this brand in several stores.

No black smudges under the eyes, looks beautiful, long & lovely.  No clumps, no flakes. I use coconut oil to remove at nighttime.  Easy, quick and works like a charm.

It is such a pleasure to share when something actually works and it is okay for me to use.

Just thought I would share.  Love to hear what you have found that works well and is okay to use.

In this together, friends.

download (1)


rolled up goodness

Yesterday, in the hustle of getting dinner ready, the mail arrived.

A box.  A surprise.  My name written on the outside.   I spy my niece’s name as the sender.

wipe hands on dish towel


push back curly hair out of eyes

rub hands together with glee

keep smiling

start unwrapping

giddy with anticipation

read letter

tear up

keep smiling

oh my goodness, the handiwork, the beautiful purple, the shine, the thought

She made me a beautiful necklace and earring set.20160617_103510-1

It get’s better.

Her note:

Dear Aunt Daleen, I made this necklace and earrings set for you.  The beads are made of paper and markers, rolled up, glued then sealed with nail polish. Inside each bead is a though of you.  Something we love, thankful for or remember about you.  Mom, Dad and I each wrote on them for you. 

She went on to tell me what they wrote.  Then ended the note by saying:

.….The mothers of my students liked the one’s we made for mother’s Day.  My mother loves hers as well.   enjoy, with love, J

20160617_103518I gotta tell you, this is a show stopper.

As I run the beads through my fingers I am smiling.  I am remembering all the good times and things we have done together.  I feel the smoothness.  All linked together.

I am so grateful, thankful and appreciative.

A charming and heartfelt gift to make. A treasure to receive.  Humbled to wear.

Heartfelt thanks dear sweet niece, how lovely of you to think of me and make something so beautiful and special.  A keepsake.

Today, as I scurry around our home, doing chores and such, I am wearing a beautiful necklace & earrings of pure goodness.

Have I mentioned lately….what a lucky girl I am?

I am.  I really am a lucky girl.





soulful art

20160609_122956 (1)Finding new pieces of art or the perfect place to showcase it can be tricky.

I have been searching for 3 months, on and off.  Looking for a calm, serene, quiet piece of balance for our new spa master bathroom.  I had a budget in mind and yet even when upping said budget, nothing spoke to me.

Searching in person didn’t work, on-line through several sources nothing really raised its hand and said PICK ME!!!

While organizing the sewing room, I came across a large, rather flat box I had been saving. That is the holding place for several  of drawings, etchings, special pieces we have purchased on our travels, art our kids had made, this and that……….all in the que to be framed and hung out in the light of day to enjoy.  someday.

As I flipped through the pieces I remembered several places we have visited.  A harbor scene, a path, a copy of a printed page, a castle, a fall scene……..all nice, yet not “the” one.  I dug a little deeper.  Oh wow, bright and colorful…might be perfect for the laundry room?

Without much fanfare, I went to the next piece.  I stopped.  I took it out.  I closed the lid and put the box away.  That calm, serene watercolor made by our son in 2003, quietly called my name.

The following day I was standing in the frame shop.

Today, I picked it up and brought it back home. 20160609_122943

I hung it in the place it was meant to hang.

It did my soul good.  The ideal place, a gentle reminder to wash away the dust.

Picasso said it perfectly. quote_picasso_art-washes-away-610x610







spinach, yes please

Organic vegetables are best!

Plant a garden!

Grow your own!

Okay, okay, I get it.

Every now and then I get my ducks in a row and plant and yes garden.  That means remembering to water, toss on some Epsom salts, fuss, pull a few weeds and take pictures.  Oh, it also means new cute gardening gloves and cute boots.  Hey, a girl has to look cute while gardening.  20160430_162610

Okay, so among the beans, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, garlic, onions, raspberries, blueberries, chives, sage, thyme there is a beautiful row of spinach.  20160531_110753-1

I planted it a couple of months ago.

Last night we feasted like kings!  A gorgeous fresh picked Spinach salad with fresh picked strawberries.  Oh my. 20160530_181825-1

I make a wonderful Honey Mustard Dressing.  So easy, fresh and tasty.

4 Tablespoons olive oil, 4 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar, 4 teaspoons raw Honey (I used Beefuddled Farms raw honey), 2 teaspoons stone ground mustard, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Use immersion blender.  Perfect every time.

Say Grace and dig in!  (get it?  Dig in the garden and dig into a delish, lush salad?)

In this together, friends.

Here’s to our health and wellness!

ps.  In other news, Speaking of growing like a weed, can’t believe our grand just finished Kindergarten.  Look out first grade, here she comes!!!!