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.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

just go

look for beauty

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Mr. Right and I walked to the post office.  On the way home, we happened by an alley way. There propped up on a ledge was a beautiful new fleece blanket tied with a satin ribbon.  Just waiting for someone who needed it.

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While grocery shopping, we saw a young girl sitting amongst the groceries in a grocery cart, while her mom shopped.  A mass of curls tied up and concentration on the little girl face was fierce.  She was reading a book.  She couldn’t put it down. Someone hands her a $5.00 bill to go buy another book.  “readers make me happy”.  beautiful.

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A Sunday bike ride was indeed beautiful.

 

tangled blackberry vines, blueberry bushes afire with fall color, pumpkins on porches, clouds shaped like turtles, wearing sunglasses in October, piles of raked leaves

beautiful

beauty-among-us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

54 wishes

 

wish

Of course you can’t tell anyone what you wish for, for fear it won’t come true.

During the middle of a wonderful weekend adventure, we stopped for lunch.  We chose a table near the window.  Looking at the people coming and going, counting happy dogs  added a sweet touch to our day.

Tacked to a pole, I spied this sign.

Make a Wish.

Who put that sign there?  Why?  Wacky and Wonderful for sure.  I thanked the universe for such an amazing soul.

While I won’t tell you what I wished for, I will tell you I was a bit greedy.  I made 54 wishes!!! Yes the sign read, made A wish.  Since it was my birthday, my interpretation was make 54 wishes.

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The day spent on Vashon Island, swirled & twisted and gracefully unfolded into the most loveliest of days.   I made and let fly 54 wonderful wishes!!!

A day spent with Mr. Right, in the great outdoors refilling our spirits and making wishes.

Grateful, very grateful for another birthday.  Now, the trick is to fill a whole new year with Grace and Goodness. A gift given to me. I get to add the glitter and paint and make the year ahead sparkle.

Ferry ride + beach + lighthouse + balance + wild flowers + cappuccino + rocks + holding hands + sand + bookstore + lunch + making oodles of wishes = Happy Birthday adventure.

color your stress away

You know those lazy summer days?  Not so hot, you need to cool off in the pool or lake.  Not so sunny, you feel pulled to be outdoors drinking in the rays.

Just a lazy day.  Mr. Right was watching some golf on television, the dog was snoozing.  I didn’t feel up to sewing or working my brain.  All of the weekend chores were checked off the “to do” list.

Just so happened, Mr. Right bought me an amazing 20150727_113313-1 (2)coloring book.  Yes, you read that correctly.  An amazing coloring book. (for grown up girls and boys)   It is called “Enchanted Forest” by Johanna Basford.

You can find it on Amazon.com for a touch over $10.00.

http://www.amazon.com/Enchanted-Forest-Inky-Quest-Coloring/dp/1780674880

There are also a couple other versions of the book “Secret Garden and Lost Ocean”.

Maybe you are attempting to ease into Monday?  Nice and calm, with a hot beverage and 10 minutes to yourself?

Think of your sweet niece you can’t figure out what to get  for her birthday? Think of your friend, spending countless hours waiting in the waiting room.  Think of the friend who needs to spend some time centering herself & unwinding.  Or maybe a teenager who needs to learn to calm down, turn off the videos,set aside the phone and just “be” for 15 minutes during the day.

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Three rather large companies in Austraila are buying and giving books to their employees.  ANZ Bank, Westfarmers & health insurance provider Bupa  are providing color books to help staff handle stress of the modern work place.

The simple act of coloring can change brain behavior and help people achieve calm and balance.

Think of yourself.  Oh, you can still listen to what is on going in your family.  It is just that in the midst of kaos or calm, you can create something wonderful.  You choose the colors and the page you work on.  By coloring you can choose balance.

Want to relieve a little bit of built up stress?  Ever thought of getting out the crayons or colored pencils.  Or actually using those fancy markers your friend gave you?

Right before your very eyes, a black and white page “magically” turns into something of pure beauty.  No two pages are alike.  Free to do what you want in whatever lovely color you want.

Does color heal?   I know in my own life, my own study, color heals.  It doesn’t matter if it is glorious saturated color of fabric I work with while creating a quilt or stunning colors of vegetables and fruits within my daily juice.  Picking up a marker and applying it to the page does wonder for one’s spirit.  My spirit is lifted.  Heck, I am smiling just looking at my color drenched dragonfly.

I did that.  Oh, yes, I did.  Not hours and hours of hand work.  Maybe an hour.

20150727_111534Pretty fancy.

What a wonderful book to give or receive.

May your day be Graced with calm, colorful, balanced beauty.

dust off our souls

french city hallEarlier today, I read about a small town in France.  The town people have always been somewhat artsy and each artist has been expected to donate one of his /her paintings to city hall.   Each person that goes to see the art is asked to leave a donation which goes toward the upkeep and restoration of the collection.

Fascinating.

Just in my “town” (read that as people in my life who live in many different places) I have the privilege of knowing some amazing artists.mariner compass

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. Pablo Picasso

I am very grateful for the artists in my life.  They enrich my life and the saturated color is woven into my world.

I have a friend, she is an artists. She is also a mom, wife, friend and loves her horses. Her amazing talent lies in the canvas that her paint graces.

I know a master knitter.  Who knew there was such a thing?   I happen to possess one of her master pieces.  A hand knit knit lacelace shall.  Stunning and breath-taking at the same time.  Her handwork in fabrics and quilting and embroidery are exquisite. Just by looking at her work, I find myself inspired to try a tiny bit harder at handiwork.

I have a friend who is second to none in hand embroidery.  Oh my goodness, the flowers and vines she creates with just a needle and thread make you pause and take a second look.  So good in fact, she inspires me to try embroidery all over embroidery-kit-02again.

Several of my friends are true artists in the quilting field.  I know hand quilters second to none.  I am lucky to know machine quilters with the gift of design and pure talent.

In my “town”, there is a metal sculpture artist, a couple of photographers, a master gardener, a bead artist, a glass artist and the list goes on.

Just think what level we all could achieve if we encourage one another?   If we were “expected” to donate one of our masterpieces to the town hall?

What if instead of yakking about politics or who wore what, we talked about a music score that was written for summer? What if instead of talking about what someone said about another at work or droning on about the weather, we spoke of the amazing quilt we got to see up close and personal?

What if, instead of spending time watching television or being “busy” more of us spent that time, creating beauty and perfecting our craft to share with our town?

Just for the sake of day dreaming, what if we helped each other accomplish beautiful works of art for the sake of dusting the daily life off our souls?

flaming Friday

Fridays come with the light-hearted anticipation of the weekend.

Oh sure, Friday’s come with a bucket full of chores.  I am good with that.  If I clean and do the linens and towels and fill the refrigerator full of great food (a full and appealing refrigerator is a thing of beauty)………….then the weekend can be spent more on having fun than doing household jobs.

I also fill my Fridays with beauty.

To start the day, I jumped into the world of Sir Fredric Leighton.  1830-1896  I try and expand my world on Friday mornings with an artist that I have not studied.  Sometimes I work off a list of artists I would like to explore.  Sometimes a friend mentions a name or a painting and off I go.

flaming-june-frick-frederic-lord-leightonA couple of days ago, a friend mentioned her favorite painting.  Flaming June  .  Oh my, I saw in an instant why she would say that. The painting (I viewed a photograph of it, through the computer) must be stunning and breathtaking in person.  It sort of grabbed my heart and soul and wouldn’t let go.  The saturated color, the sensuously draped girl……..the gauze folds of the fabric……..I need a bigger word than lovely.  I can’t really find great words.  The painting stands on its own. Yes, it takes your breath away.

Then again, Sir Leighton’s bronze statue , 1877, An Athlete Wresting with a Python is staggering.  It catches you, somehow by surprise.  The raw power and strength slaps you in the face the moment you gaze upon the work. athelete wrestling

Music Lessons is a painting that will capture your heart and soul.  This painting seems like one an art teacher would music-lesson-1884display and discuss and share.  Again, the fabric is so life-like you want to reach out and feel it.  The meaning behind the work is well……. charming and quietly powerful.

While I instantly fell head over heels in love with Flaming June,  I think I will choose The Fisherman and the Syren 1856-1858 as my favorite of the week.  My heart and soul were somehow awakened by the natural beauty.  The remarkable attention to detail almost has you believing it is a photograph and not a painting.

If you are so inclined, maybe on your lunch hour, you would be wise to fill your spirit with beautiful works of art.   Maybe you will find time to look up this painting, my favorite of the week.

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.  Friedrich Nietzsche