health, sewing, Uncategorized

pesky plastic

A friend sent me a text early this Sunday morning:

Sparkle of the Day

  “Our Lord has made the best gifts the most common.”

Oh, that’s not only sparkly but so juicy.

I’m going to savor that all day long.

..the most common…..

a cup of coffeecoffee

warm, fluffy socks

small project bag

common sense

Here’s a thought, a common bag.  I use it every single day, sometimes, several times a day.  Very common in my world.

100% cotton fabric, one zipper, two buttons, nothing too flashy, just a bag to store my current project in while I am not working on it. Takes me about 45 minutes to sew one. Easy, common.  Actually, I have sewed and given so many, I have lost count.

I have sewed them for college kiddos.   I have made them for make up bags, travel bags, zipper bags full of birthday goodies, bag to take to the hospital, bags to hold crochet hooks, bags to hold a sleeping mask and lavender and on the list goes.  All made and given as gifts.

I have not made one for myself.  Seriously?  No.  I have not taken the time to sew one of these beauties for myself.

One night, as I sat and worked on a project.  I thought… why on earth are you still using a zip lock PLASTIC bag for your supplies?  I guess I am like everyone else, we get so comfortable using and seeing something day after day, we forget to “see” where we need to make some changes.

**********Side note: If you want to skip the next few paragraphs where I talk about bisphenol A and how it is one reason I became so sick, I totally understand. Life is messy and you don’t always want to be reminded of the messy.   I will insert a picture of a cute puppy so you can skip down to the part about sewing & happy & common sense. 

In the last four years, among 101 other things, one thing we have had to eliminate in our life is plastic (read that as bisphenol A) . BPA is a weak synthetic estrogen and is one of the things that caused me to be diagnosed with “that which will not be named”.

Sounds easy enough.  Just don’t use it. Simple.

The following is sarcasm:  “What?  Me?  Oh, we stopped using all plastic. We store our ketchup and mustard in clay pots in the basement.  No, we don’t own a refrigerator that is made with plastic.   What do we brush our teeth with, you ask?  We use a hand carved, with a wooden handle and boar bristle toothbrushes.”

Really?  Good for you!  That is tricky, hard and all-encompassing.  We are still trying to get rid of as much as possible.

Roll up your cotton sleeves and let’s do this!

Okay, no more plastic ice-cube trays.  No more plastic shower curtain liners.  Toss all the plastic storage containers.  Plastic measuring spoons. Plastic container your laundry soap is stored in, next to your plastic laundry basket.   Plastic silverware on a picnic. Plastic yarn needle.  Toss those disposable diapers of your grandchildren.  My cell phone has a plastic case.  Does your organic make up come in a plastic container?  Plastic scoop I used to measure out chicken feed. Plastic tape measure (my grandma had a cloth one.) I use a plastic ruler to measure fabric.  Plastic containers my spring plants were grown in.  Plastic bag I use to buy/measure out my bulk food.    Plastic on my sneakers.  Plastic container my coffee beans are ground in.  The useful plastic zip bags we use to store everything in……

…. I am pausing to take a DEEP CLEANSING BREATH.

I am sure you are thinking about a thousand and one other pieces of plastic that I didn’t mention.  Oh, she forgot…..

Depending on where you live and work, you’re likely to be exposed to many plastic products every day. Food and beverage containers, some disposable plates, and toiletry bottles are all plastic and all are made from chemicals. Research suggests that all plastics may leach chemicals if they’re scratched or heated. Research also strongly suggests that at certain exposure levels, some of the chemicals in these products, such as bisphenol A (BPA), may cause cancer in people.

enough, if you want to learn more , I am sure you know how to use Google.  Just type in why/how bisphenol A…aka… BPA  causes cancer.

***********For no reason at all, except that puppies are adorable, here is  the promised photo of an impossibly cute puppy.impossibly-cute-puppy-8

Hi, I am glad you found the cute puppy.

One more time, Sparkle of the Day,

“Our Lord has made the best gifts the most common.”

A picture of a puppy on verdant grass.  Common

Beautiful brown puppy eyes.  Common

Common sense.  Sewing a useful cotton bag.20170305_094230-1_resized

I used my noodle and I sewed myself a pretty project bag out of 100% cotton fabric. (yes, I know the zipper and buttons are plastic…..progress not perfection)

In this together, friends.

Here’s to our health & wellness.

Chat soon.

book review, grandchildren, haPPY, Uncategorized

happiness is what will save us

20170303_165258_resizedI just finished a wonderful book, “the happiness dare”  by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

Actually, I worked my way through the book with a friend and we compared our answers/had discussions at the end of each chapter.   It’s the kind of book you write in the margins, underline sentences, draw arrows on the side of the page, dog ear the corners, write out your answers………  you work, you learn so much,  you re-read paragraphs to understand every sentence.  My paperback edition is a bit rough-looking after a few weeks of love/use.

I highly recommend this gem of paper and ink.  Jennifer has common sense, a splash of humor and as a follower of Christ, offers up a perspective that is doable, most helpful and at the same time, she somehow makes you feel like she is talking directly to you.

Working your way through this book is both insightful and encouraging.  I think of myself as a person who seeks the happy.  I look for it.  However, oh yeah, as you can tell by my lack of blog posts, I have stumbled lately with finding that sweet spot of happy.

This thing we call life has a way of tossing in some tricky times, situations and events that are not so happy.

page 259….. Jennifer writes…..” Believe me, I know that there are days  when happiness seems like an awful lot of work………….But those are the days when happiness is absolutely worth the work – even if it’s hard.  Because sometimes happiness is what will save us. ”

Did you catch that?  Let me take a moment and stencil that on my wall.  Oh yeah, you KNOW I am going to paint that somewhere in our house.

Happiness is what will save us. 

Currently our Spring weather is more like a lion than a lamb.  We have pouring rain, dark ominous clouds, 40* and a wind that is blowing plastic sacks around the neighborhood.

20170303_165249_resizedI needed to find some spring.  I went to a local nursery and bought some.  When I paid for my purchase, I said to the cashier, thanks for selling spring.  She laughed.

Then I did something that really made me happy.  I bought a door.

A little, tiny, 4 inch fairy door.  I want to welcome sweet, charming, happy fairies into our home.

When the grands come to visit, I want them to stumble upon a little tiny door that is hidden, just enough to feel special.  I want 20170303_202341-1_resizedthem to find a tiny bit of glitter sprinkled on the miniature stone step.  Makes me happy to think about.

Some how day dreaming about what’s behind that fairy door makes me happy.

20170227_143424-1_resized_2Crocheting a new baby owl hat makes me happy.  Sewing an apron for a birthday girl makes me happy.  Hiding a sweet love card in Mr. Right’s suitcase makes me happy. Buying fluffy, white towels makes me happy.

In this together, friends.

What makes you happy lately?

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

haPPY, Uncategorized

oh say

Odd random memory popped into my head.

One of the beauties of having a blog is that I get to write about random happy thoughts.

Well, maybe not so random.

Favorite son #1,  has embarked on an amazing “find fitness and take care of himself” journey.  He recently asked for some pictures from the photo albums.

(Secret happy moment,  1.  He knew I kept photo albums.  2.  Since moving,  I actually knew where the albums are located.  3.  I knew how to send pictures via my phone.)

Here is my happy, random memory.

Back in the junior high school days………  I remember sitting on those extremely hard bleachers.  Mr. Right and I were waiting for some performance or another.

Que the music. star-spangled2

At the far end of the gymnasium, a student started singing “The Star Spangled Banner”.

He was good, really good.

A few bars in, Mr. Right and I glanced at each other.

Is that…..?

Yeah, it was our kiddo.

He never once mentioned that he was asked to sing, never heard him practice.

Kids are the best.

Kids never cease to amazing me.

Hope some random kiddo amazes you.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

grateful, husband, sewing, Uncategorized

feels like home

Not only do curtains add privacy and warmth to a room, there is a certain something that you can’t quite put your finger on.  I think it is sound? A solid sound, sort of grounded I guess?

When you walk through a new home to look at the rooms, you can hear a slight echo.  It doesn’t feel homey, yet.

I have a military, wife, friend who once asked me, “How long before you live in a house, until it feels like your home”?

I first thought the answer was time.  Then I thought maybe cleaning.  Once you clean or paint every square inch of the house or rake every single area of lawn, it feels like your home. Then, I sort of decided it was when you went away on vacation and came back to your home.  We are closing in on one whole year in our new home.   I think I want to add the word curtains, to my list of things that makes it feel like home.

20170131_122036_resized_1This map fabric makes me smile every single time I see it.  It is the perfect window treatment for two small windows in our library.  Stacks of maps, books, a library table….. oh, I get giddy just thinking about it.

No, I did not purchase the expensive Roman shades.

These20170131_122023_resized_1 curtains are a snap.  I sewed them in a giant circle.

Then used 3 inexpensive spring rods for each. (Let’s hear it for Spring Rods!!  The under rated, not so glamorous piece of metal that makes curtains easy peasy.)  Ta-Da!

Finished  and mighty happy.   A bonus, I didn’t think of the glorious warm color they throw when the sun shines behind them.  Warm, beautiful and makes you want to sit a while and read a book.

 

Next, the great room windows.  Much to my surprise, same huge open room, two different size windows.  I had Mr. Right put the curtain rod up a little farther out on the right hand side…..gives the illusion of a bit bigger window.  The “matchy matchy”  part of my brain is satisfied.

20170221_110052_resizedI love Buffalo Plaid.  Seriously, I SWOON over Buffalo Plaid.  My grandfather had a black and red hunting jacket in Buffalo plaid.  I love the boldness and yet at the same time, the traditional feel.

I did not love the prices I was seeing for plain, straight curtains to purchase.  So to satisfy the frugal part of my brain, I ordered fabric ( 1/4 the cost of the finished curtains that I fell in love with.)  I spent some time at the sewing machine and hemmed those beauties.   (Side note:  I bought the rods and curtain hangers from a big box hardware store. Simple and exactly what I had envisioned.)

Once hung (Full credit to Mr. Right, not one cuss word during the hanging of the curtain rods), they add a certain warmth & yes, by golly those curtains somehow magically make the room more like home.  20170221_102349_resized

I know, a home is a continual process.  It is always evolving, changing, adding this or that.

However, having the curtains hung makes the “old Army wife in me” feel like it is home.

What one thing makes you house feel like a home?

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

crochet, Homemade gift, Uncategorized

do over

Mistakes happen, all the time.  Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who makes goofy lou-lous and then I talk to my dog and she assures me, humans make mistakes.  Dog? Never make mistakes, just humans.  snort

In this world of social media we conveniently “forget” to share the OOPS, the mistakes, the Mulligan pictures.   I sort of wish more people would share the goof ups.  I think it would make me feel more normal.

Currently,  I am thick into “learning to crochet”.  I am figuring out a new stitch or process every couple of days. 20170208_154540-2_resized_1-1

In the olden days, If I was stuck or confused or made a mistake,  I would walk down the street to my grandma’s house or aunt’s house or a kind elderly neighbor.  As if by magic, every person over 50 knew how to do some type of handicraft.

Once, when I was in college, I was taking an evening class and there was a 50 something gal in the class.  One night, I waited until after class was over and shyly asked her if she could help me.  Oh no, not about the class study, no, I’ve got that.  I needed help and I thought maybe she could teach me how to make an embroidered French knot?  (My heart was racing and dramatic music was drumming in my ears.)

I had my supplies with me, needle threaded and ready to go. She didn’t make a big deal out of it.  Just said, sure, dropped her purse and book bag and got right to it.  I will show you a couple of times, until you understand.  It took less than 3 minutes.  I still make the French knots the same way.  I can still hear her kind, non-judgmental voice.  I can sort of still hear the “relief” in her voice.  The sound of…French Knots?  Oh, that’s easy peasy.  This college learning stuff is way more difficult.  French Knots, I’ve got this”.

I am well over the 50 mark and not many of my acquaintances or friends do much handwork.  Sure there is a Master Knitter here and an amazing quilter there…….just……

I am sort of tempted to go to an Assisted Living place and ask if anyone over 70 could help me with a crocheted Shell stitch!

Today, I can’t find anyone who stitches in my neighborhood or circle.  I’ve turned to YouTube videos to help teach me. If I can’t understand their teaching methods, I move on to someone else.

20170213_130302-1_resized_2I learned the “puff” stitch.  Easy, very showy20170213_115424_resized_1

I learned the reverse single crochet stitch. Twisty, A bit tricky, worth reviewing the video 17 times.

20170211_215102-1_resized_1Changing yarn colors was/is a bit different,yet somehow, I am pushing forward.

Then came the shell stitch.  WHOMP, WHOMP, WAAAAAAA

Today, I am unwinding the entire thing.  Finding a new video to watch over and over.  The elusive shell stitch.  I want it and I want it bad.

How hard can this be?  Apparently, for me, pretty dang hard.

a-life-spent-making-mistakes-is-not-only-more-honorableWith each round I crochet, it gets a bit more “off” a bit more wonky.  Sigh.  This isn’t calm and relaxing.  This is frustrating and I can feel my blood pressure rising.  Yet, I refuse to cuss!  I won’t.

I put it down yesterday.  I baked instead.  Baking I can do.

The prettiest, pale pink, soft yarn.  I paid extra because I just loved the feel.

Seriously, at this rate, if I keep going, some baby’s head will have to be the size of an oval shaped 15 pound watermelon.  Let’s face facts, that won’t be good for anyone. 20170215_082030-1_resized

drats.

In this together, friends.

Onward.

PS. I made a really fancy sign…...

Will trade a beautiful loaf of homemade baked bread ….. for the shell stitch crochet lesson.20170207_131803-1_resized_2

food review, haPPY, health, recipe, Uncategorized

W4D?

The age old question:  What’s for Dinner?

Kids ask, girlfriends ask, spouses casually slip in the question…..This question crosses the lips of all families across our land.

I have an answer for you!  Friday night dinner idea is taken care of.  done.  you’re welcome.

The Lenten season is fast approaching. Lots of folks will be trying to do away with some meat and dairy products. Maybe you just need a fresh new to you idea for dinner tonight?  Maybe you want to know what the heck your vegetarian friends eat for supper?  Maybe one of your resolutions was to eat with a healthier twist?

Giving up familiar items or trying new things can be tricky and frustrating.  Change is hard for everyone.

Adding something new to the dinner line up has to be slipped in carefully for some family members.

What’s For Dinner?  Secret insider information…. when I am plum out of ideas, I send a message to girlfriends…. W4D????  That means I am looking for dinner ideas, please help!

I thought I would share a dinner solution….we enjoyed last night.

falafel-2Vegetarian, quick, delish and you can build your own.  You can cut open a piece of naan, you can build your Falafel sandwich folded between the naan, you can even cut it up and make your own little stacks of goodness.

Tasty, great texture, filling, packed with flavor and pretty darn easy to make.  You can make the mixture early in the day, cover and refrigerate.  When dinner time comes around, you just use a cookie scoop (or spoon) and flatten them onto a pan or put into a black iron skillet.

Did you know there are restaurants in Europe and the only thing on the menu are Falafel???

While the Falafel patties cook, you have plenty of time to set the table, and chop some cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce. 20170209_172248-1_resized

I do not own a Tandori oven, I buy Naan Bread (Trader Joe’s has some for $3.69).  Sprinkle with a bit of water, heat in a 400* oven for 3 or 4 minutes, brush with garlic butter.  If you can’t find Naan Bread you can always use pita bread.

Serve with plenty of Tzatziki sauce and a big ol bowl of hummus.

Falafel Patties  http://www.myhdiet.com/Fall-In-Love-With-Food-Again/

1 onion, quartered, 3 garlic cloves, 2 cans of chickpeas, drained (or 3 cups of cooked chickpeas),  2 Tablespoons tahini, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon olive oil , 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, 2 to 3 Tablespoons flour, pinch cayenne

Recipe notes:   When did the world started calling Garbanzo beans , Chickpeas?  I sometimes leave out the coriander (because I am too lazy to reach to the top shelf), I always use way more parsley than they suggest, I never use cayenne and I use a gluten-free flour blend.  For just the two of us, I make a half a batch. Sometimes I bake, other times, when I want it fast, I use a little oil and get that outer crust pretty crispy, yum. 

Process the onion and garlic in a food processor until well chopped.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until well mixed and fairly well-chopped.  Scoop and pat into patties on a baking sheet, then bake at 400* for 35 minutes (flip over after 20 minutes) or saute in a skillet for about five minutes per side. 

Say grace and dig in.  Use lots of napkins, these beauties can get sloppy and messy and oh so good.  🙂

Here’s to our good health!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

crochet, haPPY, Uncategorized, volunteer/donate

hats, hats and more hats

I’ve taken 3 knitting classes.  I have made a scarf for every member of my family. Let’s get real here……it was a hot mess.  Seriously, I thought maybe it was the teacher? Then I tried another teacher and yet another.

While I can distinctly remember the clicking noise of my mother in law’s knitting needles as she flew through a project, and talked on the telephone and watched television (it looked like she enjoyed it and she produced really well made and beautiful items), that never once happened to me while knitting.

I never heard my knitting needles click.  I never enjoyed the craft nor did I relax while attempting to finish something.  There may have been a few cuss words sprinkled here and there.  The whole idea of knitting has become so popular and hip.  I wanted to be hip and cool.   Still it wasn’t clicking with me. I bought books, patterns, yarn etc.

nothin’

I had to face facts.  It was not the teacher.

It was the student.  Plain and simple.

I’ve always loved to look at the yarn.  The textures and colors.  I am drawn to it.  I want to touch it.  I want to buy it for some reason.  Heck, once, I even took a class on how to spin your own yarn.

About two weeks ago, I heard a story of a woman who watched (I’m guessing  the number here) about a gazillion You Tube videos and built a house.  Did you catch that?  SHE BUILT A HOUSE USING YOU TUBE VIDEOS.  Seriously.  A very nice, large, multi bedroom house.

Wait!  If she can do that.  Certainly, I could learn to crochet.   Maybe?

Okay, You Tube bring it on!!!  The student is ready and willing.  Let’s see what I can do. 

I want to only make stuff for babies or children.

Babies & children are non-judgmental.  They will not tell me I dropped a stitch or I crocheted it too tight or too loose.  Only thing that will happen is that they will have warm heads.  Their moms will take pictures. Their Grannies will be over the moon happy to adjust the hats just so and gush & fuss.  In my dream, Grannies will do what Grannies have always done, smile and take pictures and say how cute their grands are.

Easily I found a beginner video on You Tube.  I opened my bin of yarn I have been storing/stock piling/hoarding for the perfect project.   This hat made me smile even before I learned how to make a rose!  The yarn sort of reminded me of a cactus or a sea anemone.

I give you my first crocheted hat.

20170202_191947-1_resized

Next, I found some yarn called “Sprinkle” yarn.  Again, made me happy.

20170205_191317-1_resized_2

Here in the Seattle area, we were in for a doozie of a snow storm.  Perfect.  I can crochet.

That’s what I do now. haha, I do other stuff like work and make food and I figure out how to crochet.   I can add that to my list of hobbies.  Because it makes me happy and not once have I used a cuss word.

Seven inches of snow and some free time………

I stumbled across this really great project.  Little Hats Big Hearts.  It is for the American 20170206_194916-1_resizedHeart Association. During the month of February, people make & donate hats for preemie babies.  The hats get taken to hospitals and then little babies get to have a special hat to help keep them warm.   20170206_153108-1_resizedSounds simple enough.  I could try to make one?

small, quick, simple

If you would like to learn more, just go to this website.  They have all the details and information.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/General/Little-Hats-Big-Hearts_UCM_487734_SubHomePage.jsp

I am a “Doer”.  So give me a project and a goal and well…..

here’s the rest of the story…

20170207_190936-1_resized_2-1

In this together, folks.

Hope you are smiling as brilliantly as I am today!  Please share what makes you smile/happy lately.

Chat soon.