beauty, haPPY, vacation tip

bag lady

You know those souvenir paper shopping bags we all collect?  The ones you get when you buy something from a specialty shop while on vacation?

I can’t seem to part with them.  They hang on a hook in the back of my closet. They hang off a push-pin on my note board in the sewing room.  The moment I see the bag with the logo, I just adore the holiday memories that come flooding back.

20170603_184307_resizedI took one and used it.  That’s right, I cut it up, put double-sided sticky tape on the back and lined a new drawer.

Over the weekend, I finally found & bought a new hall table that I liked.  The drawers needed lining before I filled them with treasures.

I cut up a souvenir bag for one of the drawers.20170605_094357-1_resized

I get a little shiver the moment I tug open a drawer and under some pens, candles or note cards, I spy a little piece of vacation.   Having it there helps me remember all the wonderful trips and places we have explored.

Now, go find one of your souvenir bags tucked away! Get out some scissors & tape.  This “craft” will be over faster that you can imagine.

Think how happy you will be each time you see it.  🙂

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

beauty, crafts, flourish, Uncategorized

mixer tattoos

My friend called it a Kitchen Aid Tattoo.    snortgiggle  (it’s a word I made up and hoping that it will catch on)

I have had my eye on a brand new fancy schmancy Kitchen Aid with beautiful flowers swirling all over it.  Yes, I have an envelope with money that I am saving for a new mixer.

20170501_184326_resized_1Here’s the reality, my 20+ something year old mixer is working as well as it was the day we brought her home.  Seriously, works perfectly!  There really is no reason on earth to buy a new one.

So, I just put a little paint on the old barn door.  Spent $15.00 on etsy for some vinyl decals.

Ta Da!!!!!  Brand new tattoo covered mixer.

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Just sharing the goodness!  Isn’t she pretty?

 

 

 

crochet, friends, haPPY, Homemade gift, sewing, Uncategorized

oh boy!

There are people whom one loves immediately and for ever.  Even to know they are alive in the world with one is quite enough.  Nancy Spain

I am not a fan of attending baby or bridal showers.

Yes, I have hosted several.  Yes, I always R.S.V.P and yes, I will be attending.  Yes, I take a gift and yes, I thank the hostess for including me.

That being said, let me explain.  First, after being a career Army wife, just imagine how many baby showers one is invited to?  Seriously, think of all the young families and how many children they have.  Each of those families is away from their home town friends and kinsfolk, so Army wives step in and fill that gap.  You attend.  You just do.  You help them celebrate, you are their “family” so you show up with a smile.

Second, I loath the goofy , often times embarrassing parlor games.

Third, I never really enjoyed putting on stockings,  the traditional pumps or sandals depending on the time of year, the pretty party dress to walk around someones’ living room, sit like a lady for 2.5 hours and drink weak coffee out of a proper cup and saucer with 99% of the people I have never met.

Fourth ( and this is just me grumbling), I can’t have the sugar laden punch and for some reason, often times said punch is served with globs of floating colorful sherbet.  I can’t have the amazing, lush,  array of desserts that are always, always served.

Most weird feeling  of all, the opening of the gifts.

Let’s talk gifts, shall we?

I have done handiwork since I was 12 years old.  I have practiced sewing, quilting, embroidery and as of the last 3 months, I am learning to crochet.  I feel compelled to do my very, very best and make something with my own hands to give as an offering.  The idea of a shower is to SHOWER the recipient with love & goodness.  I want to be part of the celebration and join in the tradition of giving handwork made with love.  I have been practicing for so long, that when the time comes to offer up a beautifully wrapped surprise I want the person to feel bathed in Grace with what I have made.   I want them to know that they were thought about and I started making something just for them weeks, often times, months prior to the party.   (Who knew it would take me so long to crochet a baby blanket?) 20170428_111916-1_resized (1)

Here’s where the awkward part comes in, it’s not you, it’s me people, really.

I honesty want to make gifts for some folks.  However, when said gift is opened in front of 28 other people who exclaim, “You MADE that”?  It is a tad weird feeling.  My face feels hot.  My hands start sweating. 20170428_111810-1_resized

 No, I did not make it to impress you or to “show off”.  No, I don’t really want to make something for your twice removed cousin, I don’t even know you, let alone your cousin.  (Whom I am sure is very nice.)  No, I don’t sew for money.  I’m truly sorry you “hate’ me for making something.  THEN, to top it off, I never really know a sincere, pleasant way of saying, “Oh, your present of a “gift card” will be so nice for them to go to the store and buy something they want.”

I just want to take a moment out of my life and make something from my heart. I want to give a gift, just not the opening in front of people thing.

I was graciously invited to attend a baby shower.  At first so excited to be included on their list of friends, then the worry about attending set in……… this past weekend I went and golly gee, I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.

With the exception for my own daughter in law, I have not been to a shower in a few years.

The food.   Holy Guacamole!!!!    There was a Nacho Bar!!  Really great choices and you got to build your own. In essence, no one cared what you put on your creation, no one gave a hoot if you ate meat or not, liked hot peppers or not.  It was a WONDERFUL idea and so dang TASTY!

Yes, there was a glorious dessert table, chocolate fountain and candy bar….there was also a gorgeous array of fruit to choose from.  Glory be, something for everyone.  dessert bar

From the invitations to the decorations, all was charming and well thought out.  Very festive and felt so happy.   Everyone attending was friendly and a pleasure to be around.

Huge news!  There was only one game and it was more of an interview of the parents to guess each other’s answers.  So sweet and kind, nothing rude or embarrassing.  It was fun to listen and watch, very entertaining.20170429_105336-1_resized

Good gravy, I even wore a cute outfit of jeans, sassy shoes and fun jewelry.  No stockings or stuffy proper dress! (My girlfriend challenged me to take a selfie.  Seriously, this selfie “thing” is a weird hobby.  I did take the picture, pretty sure it won’t become a habit.  ha)

When it came time for my present, the gift opening still felt a bit awkward.  My cheeks blushed and my hands felt sticky.   I thought about it on the way home.

Grown up Girl, Light bulb moment!!!!!!! Listen to this pearl.

You know, I love those parents-to-be so much, I don’t honestly care what others think.  How’s that for personal growth????

 I wanted them to know, I was trying my very best to make several homemade gifts for their new sweet babe.  It wasn’t about what others thought.  It was about my heart & soul and wanting to lift them up in celebration.  It was about showering them with love.

I’ve been practicing for over 40 years with needle and thread.  I got the call!  These are the moments I have been working towards, learning new, even stitches.  I have a reason to wash my hands, warm up the sewing machine, buy some yarn and get a move on.

Their sweet baby boy will be having his birthday sometime in June.  That gives me plenty of time to hand stitch a “welcome to the world” gift.  Oh, you know, each stitch will be made with love and prayers for that new baby and parents.

Love to hear what you have made for a baby or bridal shower.  Please don’t keep me in suspense.  Please tell me there are others out there who make something with their hands to celebrate life and love!

What are you making a new baby in your life? I would love to swap ideas.

Oh, boy!

friends, garden, gardening, Uncategorized

just checking

20170423_174116-1-1_resized_1A friend sent me a message.

“Hey, you still there?  Just checking.”

I proceeded to answer with 4 long paragraphs.

Oh dear, I think the salutation was meant just as a “hi, how ya doin’ ” kind of thing.   Guess, I was over zealous in my response.

Lately, it seems to be a weird season in my world.  I feel like I am moving along quietly, making things to give, studying………oh, I don’t know, keeping my head down and moving forward.

When someone gently taps me on the shoulder and asks if I am still here, the dam breaks and I gush about this and that.

I rambled on about my gardening.  One entire raised bed is planted with potatoes. Before you know it, I will be sharing pictures of deep verdant green leaves of my growing Yukon Gold taters!   I also mentioned that I crushed all my saved up egg shells and worked them into the bed that will be lush to overflowing with tomatoes!

20170415_165650_resizedI was excited to announce that I finally bought a fig tree.  Oh, I dream of the day when I am complaining about what other recipe I could find to use up all the figs I grow!  Waiting for the soaking rain to lighten up just a bit so “we” (read that as Mr. Right) can dig a hole and plant my new tree.

I blathered on about crafting and sewing. During my yucky medicine time during lunch, I like to concentrate on a new crochet stitch to learn.  By the end of lunch time, I have figured out the stitch and then find pockets of time here and there to finish another hat to donate.   (Good news, I think I have a line on another place to donate baby hats instead of just the hospital and that makes me happy.)

I am still here.

I am on the last coat of white paint for a baseboard project.  I am toying with the idea of painting the back of the front door.  Two outdoor, humongous flower pots are emptied, cleaned and drying…just waiting for a non rain day, so I can paint them.   I purchased a new bar stool that is working very well.   Bought new sheets. Spent 16 plus hours learning and studying The Truth about Vaccines with Ty Bollinger.  (Excellent documentary 5 STAR rating)   Watched Hockey playoffs.  Then out of the blue, last week, I made the best crepes I think I have ever, ever made.

Oh, and I wanted to share one last thing.  I made a silly, goofy, happy Jelly Fish finger puppet.  Then I put it into an envelope and mailed it to a certain grandson.  Everyone loves snail mail.  Hey, funny….. I sent a jelly fish using snail mail! We were thrilled goofy grandparents watching a video of him being happy with his new creature.  heehee. Certainly, time well spent.  I think he really likes it.

Made him giggle.  SOOOOO worth it. 20170420_160714-1_resized

THANKS for checking in on me. Even if you didn’t want an entire run down of life in my neck of the woods, it sure felt nice to have someone ask.  Thanks for listening to my long-winded answer.

When I asked how life was in your neck of the woods, I really meant it.  I am interested in what you are reading or planting.  I want to know that for some weird reason you splurged and went out and got frozen yogurt with toppings. I will be happy to hear you too are waiting for the heavy rains to pass so you can plant your garden.

Makes me smile & feel safe knowing there are other humans out there that are kind enough to check in and see how life is tumbling along.

Gotta Swish Jellyfish……….I am headed into the kitchen to do a little baking.  Also into the sewing room to frame a just finished counted cross stitch piece.  I have 3.5 miles of biking to do and going to spend some time jumping on the rebounder. Fingers crossed the mail man comes to deliver a new vacuum ( you KNOW I will have something to say about that!)

Gotta tell ya, it feels mighty nice to have a friend check in on you.

Let’s make that happen today!  Just send this brief message to someone in your world today.

“Hey, you still there?  Just checking.”

In this together, chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

friends, friendship, gifts

friendship eggs

Similar to Facebook, sharing pictures and writing a blog post, you get to decide your “true” colors to show off.  You get to put your best foot forward, every single time.  Creating the illusion that everything turns out perfect.  Every single craft project or idea is smooth and effortless, exactly how you envisioned it.

20170407_162726-1_resized_1On social media, I only shared a picture of two sweet little crocheted slippers.  I did not show the first slipper with extra big loops, too big an opening on the bottom and the button sewn askew.   The final picture makes me look like I knew what I was doing.

Earlier today, I was reading about Greek Easter.  I was learning about their tradition of dyeing Easter eggs red.   Tomorrow is Holy Thursday and most Greek households will be dyeing their Easter eggs red to represent the blood of Christ and rebirth.Greek Easter

Friends learn about each other.  When a friend is sick, you learn everything you can cracking-easter-eggsabout said illness and try to help them heal through knowledge and wellness.

When friends are of a different religion you read up on it and try and learn everything you can.  You don’t necessarily want to switch your religious beliefs, you are just trying to be respectful of other lessons and customs.  That’s how we polish our skills of tolerance.  Friends aren’t ignorant about one another.  Friends take the time to respect others choices, learn & celebrate with them.

While Mr. Right & I observe Holy week as Methodist followers, we are open-minded to learn about and learn from other denominations.  Jewish temple oregon

Last weekend, Palm Sunday, we spent some time at a Jewish Temple. Learning and experiencing the grace of a different religion.

As Methodists, we color our eggs with pastel colors.  Soft pinks, pale greens, light yellow eggs show up so pretty in a basket of green Easter grass.

Today, to celebrate my friend and her family who happen to be Greek Orthodox, I decided to dye some Easter eggs red.  I wanted to share a glorious blog post about the perfect red eggs.  I wanted it to be reverent and holy.  I wanted it to symbolize the blood Christ shed for all of us, no matter what our religious preference.  Though some of our religious beliefs are different, we could still celebrate sameness.

beet dyed eggsNow, we have all used beets to dye eggs “red”.  While beets do color the eggs, not quite the brilliant red I was searching for.   The color is more of a 1970’s shade of mauve.

I didn’t want to drive to the store to purchase “special” red dye powder packets (created for Greek red Easter eggs) to get the red I wanted.   Heck, I have red food dye in the cupboard.  No, not the liquid cheap version.  I spent the extra money and a few years ago, bought the “professional” kit with lots of intense gel colors.   Yeah, that will work. 20170412_105405-1_resized

It did work, just not like I had hoped.

While the eggs are brilliant in color, it is not exactly the shade I was looking for.

I present to you my egg dying project for today.

At first,  I was slightly disappointed.  Not the reverent Holy red I was aiming to obtain.

Then a smile came over me.  Like it was meant to be.  

Not the brilliant red I was hoping to honor her and her religion with.

Not the soft pastel traditional egg color of my religion.

The most wonderful shade of friendship.

All our good parts mixed together.

Friends bring out the best colors in all of us.  Somehow I just know, she will be tickled pink to celebrate what we have.  20170412_105109-1_resized

Here’s to the color of friendship!

ps.  I typed this post with pink stained fingers.  haha  a symbol of true friendship!

 

 

 

cooking, friends, haPPY, recipe, Uncategorized

easy fix

Yesterday while teaching a baking lesson the unthinkable happened.  I reached to get a box of brown sugar and discovered it was nearly empty.  GASP.  Oh no!  We NEED 1 cup!

My almost 11-year-old friend, was instantly sad.  We were in the process of gathering ingredients to make her Dad’s favorite molasses cookies.  Big ol’ sad face with huge sad eyes. (Can you imagine, this face being sad?  Oh dear.)20170328_120302-1_resized

Why don’t we just make some?

WHAT?

Make brown sugar?

um, yeah, that’s what people do.

I don’t know how to make it.

I do.

I will teach you.

Pencil ready?

Write this down:

 1 cup of white sugar + 1 Tablespoon molasses, mix = Brown Sugar. 

Done

Wait!!!! 

That’s it?

Yes, that’s it.

Chop, chop, Lollipop!

Let’s get that cookie dough made so we can chill it and make cookies for your Dad!

20170328_153841_resized

book review, books, haPPY, library, Uncategorized

what are you reading?

20170327_084223-1_resized7 or 8  years ago, I had somehow managed to work up the courage, thought I could do it, jumped in before I really thought it through, started a book club on-line.

The premise was pretty simple.  I would choose, sift through (everyone offered up suggestions, many genres) a book, once a month.  I would via e-mail, announce the new title to the 25 -30 folks that I arm-twisted to join me.

We all had 4 weeks to get the book from the library, purchase or borrow, read the book and then write a few sentences about our thoughts on the book/author.  I would compile everyone’s thoughts and share them all at once.  For about a week, we would have a “discussion” via email.  Then on to the next book.

Near the end, a very slim, scraggly group of us hung on. The book club lasted about 3 years.

My thought was, folks wanted to read and share thoughts. Many of us did not want to get dressed up, go to book club, bring a snack or mingle at the dreaded potluck, make polite conversation, politely decline yet another glass of white wine, make small talk about some ridiculous hot new movie or hear someone talk poorly about their spouse.

I wanted to talk about books.  That is all.  Just get to the meat of the matter and jump in with a glorious swish to the next new book.

Gosh, everyone had excuses.  More excuses than a 4th grade teacher collects on why homework isn’t done.  My all time favorite excuse of course….” I was too busy”  Which I started to understand as, “I didn’t want to do it and saying I was too busy sounded better”.

News Flash!  Saying I am too busy is just a twisted way of saying,

“I am a poor manager of my time.”

I got plum tuckered out, trying to be a cheerleader and chant….

“oh, this book will enrich your life”

“you’ll love the adventure”

“this book is worth your time”

“I learned so much, you will, too”

book 2Why can children/teens tell us about an entire television show they watched, but are less eager to share about a book they have just finished?

When Mr. Right interviews folks for a new job, one of the questions he asks is, “what book are you reading?”  He is always looking for a new book to read, so I am guessing he just wants to ask something he is interested in hearing about and of course, “what book you are reading” tells a whole lot about a person.

If the average American family who typically spends $125.00 per month on television/cable were to all of a sudden, stop all television for one year……well, you don’t need a book on math to know, that’s a whole lot of moolah to spend on books.

The last mileJust last night, I finished David Baldacci’s book, The Last Mile.  To say, he is an extremely good writer, is to understate his ability.  Like a dog with a new chew toy, he captures your imagination in the first chapter and doesn’t let go. Moments, during the day, while I was folding laundry or rebounding, I found myself wondering what Amos or Melvin were doing.  Yes, the characters are so real, it’s baffling.

I am in the thick of reading, Thomas Keller’s, Bouchon.  The sheer act of turning those overly large pages, somehow, makes me want to take more time and become a better bouchonbaker.  I want to serve Mr. Right, the perfect cookie.  I want to make less and yet at the same time, put more heart and soul into the few loaves of bread I do bake a month.  That man, heard his calling and followed.  Inspirational.

Of course with Spring upon us, I am toying with gardening books, methods, ideas.  Trying to find a book that will inspire me and somehow help me become a more satisfied gardener.

As I do five days a week, I read for one hour this morning.  Learning, researching, trying to educate myself. Today’s topic was Rosemary and how it helps our brains repair and function better.  I also learned more about keeping fluoride as far away from our beings as possible and I did 15 minutes of more essential oil reading.

While I am not persuaded to read a book because the back book jacket says a famous actor enjoyed the book, I am curious to read what my friends and family are reading.  While there are only a couple of genres I make little to no time for, my interest is quite often piqued just enough, that I will most likely give a variety of books a chance.book

Here’s to a wonderful week ahead.  Just think of all the glorious pages we will read?

In this together, friends.

Love to hear what you are reading.

Chat soon.