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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gifts, grandchildren, haPPY, sewing, sewing for grandchildren, Uncategorized

fairy magic

All grandgirlies turning five years old, NEED a tooth fairy pillow.

I embroidered this sweet pillow with a fairy and she has a bit of sparkle to her magical wings.  I chose happy fabric to sew with and of course added snazzy buttons and ribbons. 20170308_152704-1_resized_1

20170308_152758_resized_1For the picture, I tucked in some money.  However, I am not the tooth fairy, so it only comes with a lucky penny slipped into the pocket. (side note, Papa Bruce “helps” with the magic by collecting dollar coins and sharing.)

Oh, and one other secret bit of magic.  I sent a little, tiny fairy door to the parents (wrapped in brown paper of course).  One night when the girls are 20170307_120616_resizedfast asleep, the parents will hide and “install” the fairy door and dust the step with glitter to be “discovered” at some time or another.

Grands bring out the magic in all of us.

Hope you choose to be the magician in someone’ s life.

gifts, sewing, sewing for grandchildren, Uncategorized

birthday sewing

I GOT the call!

Grandma Daleen, “I would like a cooking apron for my birthday, please.”

Makes my heart sing and then:

  1.  Rub hands together in anticipation.
  2.  Go to fabric store and find “owl” fabric.
  3.  Prepare a large and wonderful cup of coffee.
  4.  Turn on the light & plug in the string of flying pig lights in the sewing room & turn on sewing machine.
  5.  Give the dog a cookie and say to her, “let’s get this done”.

When a perfect grandgirlie is about to turn 5 years old, this Grandma’s need to jump into action. 20170308_083943-1_resized

Early this morning, a box was mailed several states away.  Oodles of wrapped birthday surprises.  A little gift for her sister as well.

20170308_083537_resizedMr. Right said, hey, I never got a gift when it was my brother or sisters birthday.  I said, you never had a Grandma like me!!!

Does the owl apron have a jingle bell sewn inside you ask?  OF COURSE it has a jingle bell.  Makes little chefs want to twirl, jump, hop & twist to see if they can make the bell jingle. Does it have a jingle bell?  Such a silly question.

What comes with apron you ask?  Um, (felt) food of course.  A chef has to be able to cook and prepare all sorts of goodies.

This gift comes complete with Sushi, pancakes, eggs, a donut,  peanut butter and jelly on toast, 3 kinds of pasta and an ice cream sandwich.

The perfect feast for a Birthday girl!

 

Tomorrow, I’ll share the tooth fairy pillow I sewed for her as well.

When this grandma “get’s the call” she rolls up her sleeves and gets to work.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

crochet, friends, grandchildren, grateful, haPPY, Uncategorized

spirit lifting yarn

20170306_133222-1_resized_1While in line, to buy forgotten yellow yarn for a chicken beak, I spoke to the lady behind me.  (Wow, never thought I would type that sentence.  To be clear, the yarn for a chicken beak, not talking to a lady.)

In her arms, she juggled several rose, pale & hot pink skeins of yarn.  Draped over her arm was the beginning of a pink crocheted afghan.  I asked her what she was making.  She said her Great, Granddaughter wanted a pink, pink, pink blanket. So, how could she say no?

Grinning ear to ear, I told her I had two granddaughters & one grandson.  Then I shyly said, I am learning to crochet.  I asked her how long she has been crocheting and she smiled and said, “forever”.  Next, I asked her, who taught you?  She couldn’t remember, however everyone crocheted around her so it was probably lots of people.

Then she asked me, who taught you?  I said, You Tube.  (I had to explain briefly about the computer site You-Tube and taking lessons.)  She said learning the computer is way harder than learning to crochet.  She says she gets messages from her grandchildren on the computer everyday, so it was worth learning to use the darn thing.  haha

She made me feel like I am tied to a really good group.  People who have grands.  People who make things for others.  People who like to keep learning.  She lifted my spirits & offered encouragement.crochet lesson

My daughter in law, asked me to make a couple of hats for her friends’ preemie babies. Wow!  Pretty nice of her to think I could do that.  Did she forget I am a beginner?  I gotta tell ya, having someone think you are capable is pretty spirit lifting & encouraging. Then when you get to see a picture of the little tiny babies actually WEARING the hats I made……..well, that just elevated my spirits into the stratosphere!

A friend shared a picture of a crocheted apron with several pockets.  He thought of me collecting eggs and learning to crochet.  Simultaneously, the gesture made me giggle & happy.  His thinking was, hey, I bet she would get a kick out of this? egg apron (even though I have only collected one egg in ages and I have no idea if I could even crochet an apron)  I adore that he already thinks I can.  Lifted my spirits & offered a pocket full of encouragement.  (get it?  the pockets on an apron )

Never once did You-Tube mention that if you learn to crochet your spirits will be lifted and you find all kinds of encouragement.

20170220_103259-1_resized_1Yesterday, while opening the mail, out fell a card addressed to me.  yippee!  I carefully opened the envelope and what did I find?  The sweetest, photo card.  I had made a crocheted hat for a darling little girl in Pennsylvania.  (Her parents) She sent me the most adorable thank you card with a picture of her wearing the hat I made!!!  Pretty as a shiny new penny!  Gosh, my spirit soared and well, I am still walking on cloud 9.

Who knew learning to tie some yarn into different patterns of knots would encourage my spirit so much?

I guess the folks at You-Tube knew.

In this together friends,

Chat soon.

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.