gift giving, gifts, goodness, grace

keeping you on pins & needles

I am sure you have been on pins & needles for a while now.  Did she or did she not achieve her goal of this year?  When will she give us an update?  Will she ever in a million years do something like this again?

2017 the year I proclaimed the year of the pincushion has come to a close. Thankfully.

Holy Toledo, I learned more than I ever imagined.  It took more time than I ever estimated.  My original goal was to cross stitch 12 pincushions for gifts.  I completed and gave 16.

I was able to give three of those beauties in person.

Now, before you fret, yes, I have a beautiful,  rather large pincushion of my own.  I have used it almost daily for quite a few years now.   I stitched the tower to remember our trip to Paris.

If you remember, here was my original challenged issued to me.

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/poke/

To make it even more interesting, I added another element, pins.

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/a-good-luck-poke/

 

I used an entire bag of crushed walnut shells to fill each.  I had to go and buy a second bag to fill the last two.

All of the pins I glued beads onto were used and my button jar came in mighty handy this year.

What did I learn?

I still enjoy counted cross stitch.

I liked personalizing the pin keeps to each person.

I learned that I most likely will never, ever do a project like that again.  It requires a whole bunch of heart & soul and time & effort.

I wanted to lovingly, slowly stitch goodness into each, piece, however, the deadlines and mailing times sort of took the fun out of making each.

My plan was to stitch each cushion and fill it with grace and well wishes for the other person.  Not everyone is excited or appreciates handmade gifts nor do many understand the hours it takes to produce them.

I put more good karma, energy, time, effort, money into each than need be.

I figured out, that while I was not looking for a “proper thank you note”, of which I received four, I was secretly hoping for a personal connection.  A conversation.  Some type of tie to the person I gave the gift to.  A reason to talk and spend time with the person.  A way to jump-start a conversation that would linger and fill us each with a wonderful memory. That did not happen.

If I ever do a counted cross stitch piece for anyone other than family, I will most likely keep track and share the number of hours it took to complete.  Not to be boastful, but to share the time that was spent on that person. I came to realize that folks that do not do handiwork, have no concept or understanding of how long each project takes.

I learned for Christmas this year, I am buying gifts.

The only handmade gifts I am making are for our Grands.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was going to say, I will most likely never cross stitch another pin cushion again.  However………I already have a person in mind (she herself is a beautiful cross stitcher) that I might like to make a pin cushion as a surprise in 2018.  We will see.

So here are a few of my 16.  Some, I forgot to take a picture.  One, I took a picture of the back and promptly deleted the front picture after it was already in the mail.  sigh.

Thanks for following along and keeping me company this past year.

I would dearly love to have a conversation about gift giving and making/giving handmade gifts.

I have a counted cross stitch pattern, thread, and fabric all ready to begin January 1, 2018, for me!

Also, we have a new GRANDBABY on the way in 2018 so my hands will be flying as I make oodles of goodness for the new one in our life.

Here’s to accomplishing my goal and then some!  Setting a goal and working towards completion is very satisfying.

In the coming year, I hope you are planning and setting a goal or two of your own.  Would love to hear your plans.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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goodness, haPPY, recipe

time to sparkle

Time to clean the chandelier.

Go get your umbrella.  I’ll wait. 

I’m still waiting.  Geesh, this is taking forever.  Already gone through two songs.

Oh hi.  you’re back.  Good.

Let’s get started.

Turn off the light.  The crystals or glass clean so much easier when cold.  20171018_135808_resized

Hang that umbrella on the chandelier.  It will catch dust, cobwebs, more dust that you blow off with a hair dryer or spray with a can of air.  It will also catch any drips of magic elixir that may sprinkle down.   (Seriously, you do not want this to turn into an all day long project and have to wash your bed linens, too?  Well?  Of course not.)

Next, mix up the magic elixir.

2 cups warm water, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol and 2 Tablespoons of the dishwasher spot remover 

You will need a soft cloth and a ladder/step stool.

Um, I am pretty sure you know what to do.  Stand there for several minutes while the blood drains out of your arms and wash each little beautiful crystal.   Are your arms tingling?  Good.  That’s a sign you are doing it right!

Your goal is to change every single dusty, film covered, sad crystal drop into a beautiful sparkle of a gem.

Put on your sunnies, ’cause you’re going to need ’em! 20171018_141746-1_resized

Wow!  So sparkly.  So pretty.

Put away the ladder, toss the soft cloth into your laundry pile,  and wash the container you put the elixir in.

Take the umbrella outdoors and open and close a few times.  The neighbors will think you are a bit silly.  Wave and give them a jaunty salute!  Howdy Neighbor!!

Now wasn’t that easy peasy?

Just sharing the goodness.

In this together, friend.

chat soon.

P.S.  Be a lamb and share a smarty pants cleaning tip!  Love to hear your secret.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cooking, goodness, grace, grateful, recipe, recipe comfort food, vegetables

Brilliant Sunday Supper

Last night, the rains started, it cooled way down and seemed like the perfect Sunday evening for comfort food.  You know?  The warm feel of soup in your belly.  The blend of flavors in a well planned out sandwich……oh baby, so good.

Wait.  I will explain what I made, then I will share a picture or two.

The soup.

Hang on to your cute beanie. This savory soup is Sunday dinner, Easy Peasy.

20170917_143546_resizedCut up some beautiful (homegrown if you have them) potatoes and a couple of leeks (remember to wash the dickens out of those leeks).  Drizzle with olive oil and S & P.  Roast at 425*for 50 minutes.  Next put them into the Blend-tec with some vegetable broth.  We’re blending, we’re blending………………  and we are done.  That was easy.20170917_172055-1_resized

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sammy.

20170917_170912-1_resizedCaramelize an onion.  Roast a red pepper (then put into a zippy bag and take off the brunt outer skin).  Also, have in the lineup and ready to go:

Tapenade, fresh pesto & shred some beautiful Fontina cheese.  Assemble and grill.

Say Grace and just like that, A brilliant Sunday supper is toasty and ready to enjoy. 20170917_172332-1_resized

I ask you, who would not be grateful and find comfort in this beautiful meal?

We need to cook like this for our families/ourselves more often.  We are all worthy of simple, satisfying food layered with love.

I gotta say, the flavor of that combination was brilliant.

Hope you enjoyed a savory Sunday meal, certainly a lovely way to begin the week.  Or might I suggest this meal as a solution to what to have tonight?

In this together, friends.

Just sharing the goodness.

Chat soon.

 

 

beauty, friendship, good marriages, good times, goodness, haPPY, travel, vacation

empty envelope

7 states, 2 provinces, 1 salt cave, 1 aero car, 1 boat, 4 airplanes, 1 rental SUV, 2 Ubers, 1 Buddist Temple, 1 Greek Orthodox church, 1 beach wedding, 1 Big Fat Greek wedding, 1 Great Lake, 1 Lighthouse, 5 hotels, 26 restaurants, 2 home cooked meals, 2 catered meals, 2 foxes, 1 beaver, 5 pheasants, 2 deer, 2 t-shirts, 1 sweatshirt, 2 pieces of Polish pottery and one empty vacation envelope.

I have been quiet as a church mouse. The reason?

 VACATION!

You read that correctly, for the first time in ages and ages (read that as 17 years) Mr. Right and I took off on a couple of weeks vacation.  No, not stay home and heal kind of vacation.  An actual pay way too much for a breakfast in a resort town, pay the toll twice in 2 minutes because you get turned around, buy a banana at a gas station for .99 cents kind of VACATION!!!!

As much as I enjoy writing, I/we also need to go out into the real world with real people and experiences. We needed to jump in and learn, giggle and come home plum tuckered out.

Mission accomplished.

We experienced so much good,  my mind is still swirling.  I want to sit on the porch and drink coffee (oh, I’ve missed you dark, rich, bold, Italian Roast from the Pacific Northwest, with cashew cream) and tell you about our adventures.

I’m guessing, for days to come,  I will slip in little moments of vacation happy, here and there.  You know the stuff you never dreamed about, however, somehow managed to make the hit parade of goodness when you think back?

Noticing the first leaves changing for fall in Northern Vermont.

Hands down, the best Italian meal we have ever enjoyed.

The moment you sit with your friend and her family around the kitchen tables with different colored Fiesta ware plates.  You eat, listen, giggle and share. Wishing you could already come back and you haven’t even finished your plate yet.

The exact moment, while standing next to your niece as she shares her completed piece of crochet work.  Stunning, inspiring and privileged that she shared with me.

Sitting in a hotel room, doing nothing, goofing off with your family, drinking Ginger Ale and eating a sinful, delicious piece of chocolate.

Shopping in the flagship April Cornell store.  I know, I know, I always say I don’t like to shop……….I mean I don’t like to shop unless it is one perfect shop in Burlington, Vermont.  Then….. actually standing there when April Cornell comes in and walks around like she owns the place  Wait!  She does own the place.   Something happened to me in that place.  Instead of me agonizing over one new blouse to buy……..I kind of lost my mind.  I bought 2 new gorgeous blouses, 1 beautiful, special dress, 1 lovely tablecloth and a grown up, beautiful pair of pajamas,  just like that.

Riding shotgun in a rental car for 1,873 miles.  Read that as talking time, singing time, eating snacks time and reading the map time. Yes, an actual paper map.

The feel & sound of your feet the moment you step on 4,000 pounds of ground salt inside a salt cave.

The water dripping off your face, on “the” (bucket list) boat ride.20170831_191906_resized

Opening your hotel door, to see your brother-in-law, waiting patiently outside, because YET AGAIN, I can’t seem to get my hair to do what I want and be early to breakfast in the same morning.

Meeting table mates at a wedding that you connect with seamlessly and want to be friends for life.

Drying dishes, while sis in law washes……….like we do it every day of our lives.

Maybe for today, I will stop talking and share some pictures?  They might speak more eloquently than typed words.

It was a beautiful thing to anticipate and save for a holiday.   The adventure will bring color to our lives for days to come.

Grateful for an empty vacation envelope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

goodness, grateful, haPPY, Uncategorized

ridiculously amazing list

Early this morning a friend invited me to join her on a challenge.  In a Sunday class, the assignment was to write down 20 things GOOD about yourself.  She asked me if I wanted to take up the challenge.

It took me several minutes to agree.  Honestly, it was still early and I couldn’t figure out a polite way to say no.

So, we did a virtual “Pinky swear” (no spit) and got out pen & paper.  pinky swear

I started with a bang and then fizzled out around number 8.

Seriously?

I quite quickly started to see part of the “issue” of me feeling a bit down lately.

There is something very unhealthy about not thinking of yourself as a good egg.

While my mother raised my sisters and me not to be boastful…….there is something to be said for appreciating the gifts that I have.  I sure knew that I needed a boost, so back to the drawing board.  Number 9…….  Really?  This can’t be that hard.

Immediately  I figured out that because this was a difficult challenge, maybe it was something I needed to do.

Here we go, buckle down. Number 9…….  Really?  This can’t be that hard.

I am a nice person.  

Oh, there’s one right there.

I took a break and asked Google.  Who knew there was help?  I found one website mighty helpful.

http://www.purposefairy.com/66208/how-to-begin-rebuilding-your-life-and-make-it-ridiculously-amazing/

That search lead me down a fluffy rabbit hole.  100 Good things about Me!  Oh, good gravy, there is NO way I can come up with 100 things good about me!

Wait, maybe I can fill out the list?

There is something rather delicious about nurturing the GOOD in oneself.  Now, I don’t mean to announce your or my list on social media.  I think of this blog as my journal.  So if you read some of my list, keep your lips sealed.  I will never know you peaked.

With each thing I wrote, it sort of became easier.

The 20 things GOOD about me has morphed into a list of 100 things.  No, I have not made it to 100 yet.  However, I am going to keep trying.

If I don’t think there are 100 good things about me…..I am no social genius….I am guessing that others won’t see the good in me either.

So far, I have made it to 47. I am going to keep at it. It may take me a day or two or more. I sort of feel like I need to do this.  I am not sure how easy the rest of the list will come, I just have a feeling it will be good for my spirit and the people around me.

Let’s face it, being around “Debbie downers” is not a picnic.

WE need to do this.  It sort of feels lovely to read all the GOOD there is about yourself.  Sort of makes one blush just a bit.

In this together friends.

Are you brave enough to take up the challenge?  Will you pinky swear that you will give it a try? Please stop by and leave a morsel of goodness.  I would love to hear a couple of things on YOUR list.

Chat soon.

  1.  I am a good wife.  I love Mr. Right and I chose wisely. 20160715_103449-1
  2. I am a good grandma.
  3. I am loyal.
  4. I am calm in a crisis.
  5. I am a kind person.
  6. I am a good mother in law.
  7. I am a good problem solver.
  8. I am an avid reader.
  9. I am nice.
  10. I am good at word search puzzles.
  11. I am kind to animals.
  12. I am good at arranging flowers.purple flowers
  13. I am empathetic.
  14. I am a good cook and baker.
  15. I am patriotic.
  16. I am never bored.
  17. I am good at growing vegetables.
  18. I don’t drink, smoke or take drugs.
  19. I am a good swimmer.
  20. I am good at remembering people with cards and gifts.
  21. I am good at cutting, coloring and highlighting my own hair.
  22. I am good at counted cross stitch sewing and quilting.
  23. I have faith.
  24. I have good manners and table etiquette.
  25. I am good at finishing projects.
  26. I can keep secrets.
  27. I LOVE my children (and their spouses) unconditionally.
  28. I am good at trying new things.
  29. I am trustworthy.
  30. I appreciate talent in others.
  31. I am good at shooting a gun(and hitting the target).
  32. I am good at geometry.
  33. I have strong opinions and values.
  34. I am good at setting a pretty table.
  35. I am good at wrapping gifts.
  36. I am a good researcher.
  37. I am good at ironing.
  38. I am good at decorating and keeping house.
  39. I am very giving.
  40. I am good at training dogs.
  41. I am good at painting. (walls and trim and ceilings and objects….not pictures on canvas)
  42. I am a good listener.  I tend to forget a few things, but I am a good listener.
  43. I have a good eye for composition.
  44. I will stand up for my beliefs.
  45. I write well.
  46. I have a good eye for color.
  47. I have good handwriting.

 

 

 

 

 

good marriages, good times, goodness, haPPY, marraige, Uncategorized, vacation

v-a-c-a-tion

I tossed the damp towel on the edge of the bathtub.  A couple of hours later, it was still there.

Must only mean one thing………vacation is over.  Here at home, there are no efficient maids that work behind the scenes. (to be clear, this is a picture of the hotel bathroom, not the master bath in our home )venetian-bath

This year to celebrate 35 years of being married, we chose to do something completely different.  Certainly, different for us.  In a surprising twist, two folks who don’t drink, smoke or gamble decided to go to Las Vegas, Nevada!

venetian-resort-armillary_2400x1600To spend time, in a glamorous suite, at the Venetian exploring a whole new world was most certainly different and quite an adventure.

8949It was a week of art, beauty, gardens, waterfalls, food, glorious food, treats and sunshine!  We are so used to pouring rain and gray, it took a day or so for us to dry out and revel in the glorious rays of the sun.

Daily breakfast at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon restaurant had VACATION written all over it. Seriously folks.  I want live in that restaurant.  I want that floor.  The service was 8958extraordinary. The food was exemplary.  If you order the French Toast it is little pillows of heaven served on the most exquisite marmalade you have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The coffee is perfect. Oh, and then as you are just about to leave……….wait for it………they bring you a “to-go” cup of coffee, already with the perfect amount of cream to take with you, to help you ease into the day.  BLESS THEM and what they have created.  Such extravagance.

The gondola ride was anniversary perfect.  The music, the gondolier, the roses, the water, the perfect (faux) sky…… charming, every moment of it was charming and fun (I mean 8945romantic).

venetian11

Having my palm read has been a secret desire.  I don’t know why I have never been brave enough.  Vacation has a way of making you brave enough to try new things.  I did it and it was super fun & silly & wonderful all mixed together.  After she was done, I told her she was spot on and accurate about everything.  (I wanted her to know she did a good job.)  She said,  “I know, it’s my job.”   Really?  How did she know I study one hour each morning?  ummmm….

A daily treat of swimming and lounging by the garden pool, was so nice.  Just hearing the waterfall and lollygagging for hours was dreamy.

We visited some beautiful gardens and wondered around until we found a glorious bakery.  See?  Vacation is DREAMY!!

Vacations allow us glorious time, somehow remind us we have permission to slowly walk through a garden and fill our spirits with saturated color and beauty. We walk slower, we take more time to gather goodness.

This Monday morning, our vacation envelope is empty.

Time to start saving and dreaming about our next adventure. I’ll wait for you to go get an envelope and pen.  Saving and anticipating the next glorious adventure is wonderful. Write on the outside of the envelope where you want to go.  Put a dollar in the envelope. Seriously, one dollar.  Seed money.8956

Vacation fills our pitcher.  We owe it to ourselves to dream and anticipate and plan.  Then once on vacation, the sun feels warmer, the coffee is richer,  the pool more relaxing, the desserts are more decadent (I forgot to tell you all about the glorious, thick, creamy dreamy Tiramisu dessert that we had made right at our table……..ah……)  oh, and did I mention the shared tangy, Lemon Gelato? 8947

Taking the time to plan a 35th  anniversary vacation, reminds us to celebrate what a really good marriage we have. Yes, my friend, celebrating marriage is THAT important.  By making an effort to celebrate anniversary 4 or 17, those celebrations most certainly help you get to number 35.  By celebrating number 35 it helps you get to number 47 and so on……

Here’s to great marriages, amazing experiences and wonderful breakfasts in French restaurants!

vacation quote

friend, goodness, Uncategorized

good gravy girl, review

Would you like to know one thing that really ruffles my feathers?

I offer a review of a product and an acquaintance/friend/neighbor says, “oh, I knew that, I have been using it for a year now”.

REALLY???

Why on earth aren’t you sharing the good stuff you find?  

Good Gravy.   ( you know what I mean, that really good, creamy gravy with bits of mushroom swirled in and flecks of fresh ground pepper that add just the right amount of spice?)  Good Gravy, makes stuff better.  There I said it.  I really like sloppy, messy, flavor packed, dreamy gravy.

In the spirit of sharing and covering others with goodness and gravy, I am going to try to share at least once a month,  a good gravy find.  I like reviewing products and sharing good stuff I find.  The answer is no.   I do not get paid by any company to review their products.  If ever I am paid to review a product, I promise to tell you the truth.

I don’t want to hoard all these really wonderful ideas and feel all puffed up.

I want to share with you and slather on the goodness.  sharing

Also, in hopes that you will write a comment and share something that you tried and worked or boo hiss……. spent money on and it was a fail, with me.  Maybe we can laugh together?

Speaking of which I have a Miracle Mop you can have.  Spent way too much moolah on something that is way too heavy for me to use weekly.  It looks nice, the creator’s story seems so wonderful.  Sadly, I have  used it 3 or 4 times and it just doesn’t do it for me.

Here is my good gravy review for today:

Two words:

Eye Brows

I know some of you don’t have this problem. Or some of you will tell me, heavens no, I don’t wear make up.  Even if that is the case, would you please do me a favor and share with your friend who is seriously ill and needs a pick me up?????

When folks say they support their friend with this illness or that, yes, send a card and for heaven sake, pray for them and their health…….. and also share this idea.

If you or your sister, friend, co-worker, neighbor has ever had issues with thin or no eye brows, listen up!!!  Please for the sake of being a good gravy girl….SHARE this idea with them.  They will hug you and quite possibly buy you a cup of coffee or even bake you some sort of amazing goodie as a thank you.  SERIOUSLY, they will want to marry you because you will have stopped them from being so sad and frustrated about their eye brows.

Having thin eye brows because:

you over plucked them in junior high

you have dealt with any form of thyroid issue/disease

you have become very ill and lost your eye brows

while in heaven, you were chatting with your neighbor when they were passing out thick eyebrows and you missed out

Have I got a solution that works for you!

First, my answer is yes to all of the above.  I have tried several different colored pencils, waxy pencils, templates, eye brow marker (I would give a B+), organic, toxic laden, new and improved and on the list goes.

Here is what fell into my lap.  This amazing, wonderful product that actually….. wait for it…. works!!!!20170111_105809_resized

It stays on, even if you go swimming, or sweat while doing yard work, or brush your hand across to move your curly hair while you are biking!  (I take off my make up each night with coconut oil and it slips off easily and lightning fast.)

IT Cosmetics, Build a Brow, 24 hour waterproof 5 in 1.  I purchased mine from QVC.  It is around $30.00 and comes in five shades.  I am thrilled with the results.

I am no longer embarrassed by the look of my eye brows or lack there of.  Heck, I don’t even think about them anymore.  Just a couple of moments in morning and I am a supremely happy girl every time I notice them throughout the day.

So to recap:  I no longer feel embarrassed and I am giddy that I found this product.  Please for the sake of being a good gravy girl, SHARE this product suggestion with a friend.  I promise you, you will make her day, week, month, life so much happier!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon!