Thursday, December 31, 2015
And I HAVE done a lot of thinking - as you know
But getting back from travelling is always disrupting and I had a granddaughter waiting for me when I got home who will be here until tomorrow.
So.. the lists, the new projects, the PLAN will have to wait... because I need to read books and cook and play with my girl.
That said - it's not on a checklist but could be - Connections with People..... Being present with my granddaughter is more important than making a list because I can do that any time!
I do have areas of improvement - everyone does..... and need to build more good habits to go with them
but I think this year - with a bit of a checklist - I will set up very small incremental easy changes in a positive direction. Habit building.
I do that anyway - but keep thinking a little accountability and tracking might be good.
Certainly I have gotten pretty detailed with my crafting.... so maybe in other areas I need to be cognizant of improvement too.
2015 has been a good year.... my focus on personal JOY and ADVENTURE has led me in all kinds of directions and provided me with a good base of happiness and new experiences. And I've made a TON of progress in both cultivating / appreciating relationships and determining personal boundaries.
My areas of improvement (I guess INTEREST might be a better term) though remain constant:
PHYSICAL HEALTH - nutrition & movement GOAL: keeping my body in as good shape as possible as I age
MENTAL / EMOTIONAL HEALTH - Simply put, what makes me happy? GOAL: to be happy, alert and interested in living until I die.
RELATIONSHIPS - how to cultivate relationships with the different layers of people I am close to
FINANCIAL HEALTH - How to have enough money. Period. Encompasses bringing it in and spending it out.... and gratitude / satisfaction with enough.
.. I will look back at previous years... I am sure there is more..
and there are concrete things that I am not sure where they go.... like focus on my craft / art.... like gradually building a little bit of a business with some of the things I do well (if not on demand!).... like getting a better handle on decorating my house and entertaining... like keeping my marriage in a happy place...
Anyway - lots to ponder on this day....
But for now
I'm off to do some food prep for tomorrow and help dress a doll :-)
I can get a little more serious tomorrow!
Happy New Year's Eve!
Saturday, December 26, 2015
Conventional wisdom on blogging is.... have a direction and blog 2-3 times weekly. Especially if you want it to be a business.
I have to say - at this renaissance time of my life- direction is definitely missing! I mostly use this blog as a journaling tool of sorts.... and I have no clear idea of my readership... so I ask you (if you are reading).... to share your ideas of things you might like me to write about.
I am in the midst of discovering who I am... of delving into crafts and activities I want to learn... and deciding how I want to write this 3rd act of my life... And in a sense - however meandering... that is what I think I am sharing. My ideas.. my feelings.. my confusions and discoveries.. in this strange period.
Not so strange really.. I remember being 19-20 and under a lot of pressure to figure out what I want to be.
And I am in the same space - without the pressure. I already have a career or two behind me. I also know I have a career or two ahead of me but I don't have the pressure to decide! It is kind of fun to re-explore things I have always enjoyed to see if I can learn more or if I still enjoy them as much.
So there it is... A blog with some direction but not much. I do have some things I plan to explore in 2016 ...
Still quilting. I plan to finish more of the projects I have started. And I plan to spend more time on handwork... The hexie grandmother flower garden, the Hawaiian blocks and a new applique project that I will share later. So you will see a lot more quilting in my WIP posts.
Still moving forward in my health journey with food and movement, so there will be posts like that
And I will continue my work on improving my clutter/ cleaning / organization. Because it is not my natural gift....
Still love the serendipity of adventure so there will be posts about taking opportunities and risk and failure
And the occasional opinion piece
I also keep at my other blogs - children's liturgy, sometimes spiritual reflections, and hometown celebrations (activity books I self-published once upon a time that feature local history). I do have some plans to work on more group activity plans that incorporate things I am interested in - like children's books. But time will tell on that one!
I guess the main point of this blog is to say... Sorry! I am not a focused person :-). I will share my journey in this third act of my life and keep exploring and sharing
Again... If you have a question or want me to research and share and opine on a topic, do speak up or email me because I do like to write and I have fun researching...
Enjoy the journey and lets see where it takes us!
Friday, December 25, 2015
Something about this day..... a sense of rightness with the world.
My Christmas looks different this year.... Christmas Eve afternoon was spent lounging by the pool... dinner was at a restaurant.
And all is quiet this morning and will remain so.
I have pictures in my mind of the boisterous joyful mornings in so many houses.... and also quiet mornings that look like any other day.
I appreciate the memories and the roads my imagination can take... thinking of all the different types of Christmas mornings. My own children in their own homes with their moments of festivity.
We will have a dinner later with just a few of us.... but I am grateful
oh so grateful
not only for memories and good friends
but also the knowledge that people I love are fed and warm
and I have running water and new places to go and see
Life is abundant
Merry Christmas, world! Enjoy your day whatever it looks like. Be kind to yourself and enjoy the little things.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
The major focus has been on finishing up the 4 grandquilts. And I did it! I am just about amazed at myself :-) I can honestly say now that - while I'm no expert... I do have a bit of expertise in all phases of quilt-making... design, color choice, piecing, sandwiching, quilting and binding... I'm getting there! And it's getting easier... and I still love it :-)
I'll post the photos with a future post on my finished quilts for the year. I am pretty sure my family doesn't read my blog but I'll keep the Christmas surprise anyway - (at least the finished product!)
So.... 4 quilts
and then 4 pillowcases to go with them
and 2 cloth books I put together for the newest grand - and the one who will arrive in January!
A secondary focus was on using up the cotton yarn in the dishcloths I've been sharing with you. I got photos of all of them except for 3 Christmas ones. I took them to the quilt store to give as gifts - and a customer actually bought 10 of them!
I didn't even know what to say about a price because I truly was just using up the little balls and bits... but there you go.... One man's trash is another man's treasure :-) I took the rest to my craft group's Christmas party today and came home with just two. I still have some yarn and am still crocheting.... I will take some of them to the places I stay over Christmas as hostess gifts.
And then - again thinking about crafts to travel with... probably hexies and cotton yarn to finish. I have a few partial cones so I can make several that match each other ... and I have some really small bits that I plan on making facial scrubbers for myself. For washing and/or makeup application.....
And then planning for next year. I think I really like this 'end of year' finish up time because not only do I get to share some finishes - I also have a fallow time where my brain really gets into planning for the next year.
There are so many projects I would like to do... but I lose steam in the middle. It's good to have a time to pick them back up and either finish or re-evaluate. I am thinking that next year I will make a point of working on moving at least one step monthly on an ongoing project (as well as working on new :-) And then - September again - I will focus on the Christmas gifting and the FINISHing...
Are you busy winding up crafts for gifts?
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
And then the discovery of a City Construction panel by Benartex which is still available on Amazon (here) as of this writing.
I found it at a shop.... and purchased the panel and a yard each of the coordinating prints... tossed cars on white and tossed planes on the light blue background.
I knew there was a similar stripe at my local shop and then I bought 4 coordinating brights - green, yellow, blue and orange. My plan at the time was simply to put a few borders on it and make a throw.
But then he moved from his toddler bed to a full-sized bed while I was deliberating. Oops! The price of procrastination!
What now? I put on the striped border and waited for inspiration!
And found it! Economy blocks that featured the additional prints. So I found a great tutorial online and decided to start with a 4.5-inch center. I cut the strips and made as many blocks as those squares made! (16!)
I added side borders to the panel so that I could add the blocks to the top and bottom for length. Then purchased RED for an additional border..... then borders of the strips and another small border after that to frame it out.
I found a cute polka dot and a vehicle fabric in the same colors.... to use on the back but it wasn't big enough.... so I used the 6 extra pieced blocks and added leftover squares and strips until it fit :-)
A scrappy binding and voila!
Then a quilting challenge for sure! I quilted around the economy blocks in and out... I took my quilt lines through the stripes and colors from the panel outward. Did as many straight lines through the panel as I could..... outlined the vertical lines of the buildings, the arches and then went a little bit crazy around the planes.
I loved the creative process of this quilt - but didn't like the deadline (Christmas) All in all though - what a lot of fun!
It is messy but does the job - and gave me a lot of experience. I doubt anyone will be too critical of the quilting - and if they are - they can hand it back and I'll quilt some more on it!
Monday, December 14, 2015
Do remember I am no expert - just a busy person trying to "health-ify" her diet and bring a family along with her.
These are my GO TO sources for ideas! I've included website links and Amazon links where available. I think I might get a little kickback if you order from the link but I'm not sure I did it right for that :-) I just wanted to direct you to my resources!
For Juices & Green Smoothie Ideas
My Note: Juices take out the pulp... and I'm kind of frugal so I need ideas how to use the pulp before I will do a juice. I lean more to the green smoothies to get the fiber in a one stop shop kind of method! But the flavors and ideas are pretty similar.
But I LOVE juices, especially carrot-apple-ginger (pulp is great in a muffin!)
Reboot with Joe (juice) Joe filmed a documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.... and has documented how juices have helped him regain health. He has written several books and has a ton of recipes. An awesome site and a lot of good info. Here is his Amazon link with all his books.
Simple Green Smoothies (I find this site to be the most user friendly - ie ingredients I can find & swap... and recipes I actually like right away :-) These ladies actually have a book now Simple Green Smoothies by Jen Hansard and Jadah Sellner and do have a "green smoothies challenge 3-4 times a year with a month of new recipes!
Incredible Smoothies This is the site I used when I began learning about green smoothies! Lots of good stuff here..
QUICK Grab 'n Go ideas
The Yummy Life My absolute FAVE site chock full of natural Grab n Go prepare ahead ideas that fit my lifestyle. I have cultivated a habit of making up 2-3 days of various grab n go meals / snacks that travel since I go into town 3-4 days/week (45 miles one way! Can't eat out that much)
All Around Good Ideas
Cook for Good This is the blog site for a book I learned a TON from and still use as a reference.. Wildly Affordable Organic by Linda Watson. Great info on basic basics... how to buy produce in season... cooking beans & rice... easy basic ideas that fit in a budget!
100 Days of Real Food Another site / author who has a lot of practical ideas for a budget. Lisa Leake is a mom who sends whole food lunches with her children - again many grab 'n go ideas that are whole real food! And practical packaging ideas as well! Lisa's book 100 Days of Real Food is an easy read and full of quick fixes that will help you move on your journey to whole food. [also really FUN to read how her family reacted to her project!]
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day This is a book I have had a lot of fun with! I learned to make bread - quickly and successfully.... and I enjoy it! And it's true. Make the dough one day.. make the bread the next... easy-peasy... The blog is here. Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francoise have written several books but this is the one I've actually used and if you search my blog you'll find I have posted about at least half the book... I didn't quit baking but got tired of posting. One of the difficulties about continuing to post about things is that I don't even know if I have readers :-) So maybe it's just me... and if that is true - I can quit posting when I want without disappointing anyone!
I'm sure there are more I can't remember at this moment - but this is a good start for you. What are some of YOUR healthy food favorite resources?
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Friday, December 11, 2015
Usually I love color.... and I do love scraps.... I saw this quilt at Kitchen Table Quilting
and fell in love. Scrappy but a muted range of colors.
I decided to make this for my selective daughter's son. There was no pattern but it is clearly made of half-square triangles - so I chose a size and bought several yards of a background... and started rummaging through my stash. And kept my eye out for grays and teals and dark blues.... and started making half-square triangles.
And then found out my girl preferred clear blues to aquas..... so I went back on the prowl...
I do tend to do well designing on the fly so I was having fun - and I like having input to draw from. I would hate to put several months or years into a project and then find out it wasn't loved! (and now I have lots of teal /aqua half-square triangles in my stash! Maybe I will make one of these for me)
Once I had a good collection - I think 17 fabrics.. 2 each... and 40+ white squares cut.. I started building until I liked my layout. I don't have a design wall... I have a bed. And a floor. And a dining room table :-)
The top assembled fairly quickly - and I decided it needed to be bigger so I cut more white squares and made a border around it.
Then - for the back - I decided to be scrappy again. I used one gray (she particularly likes gray) and leftover 9-inch gray/white print squares around that.
I quilted it in a grid following the block seams on the front.
The most fun thing about this quilt is that my husband really liked it. He is usually complimentary but he really liked this one! [so I really MAY need to make another!]
Thursday, December 10, 2015
A children's book came into the shop....
and I just had to get it for my two grandgirls....
and then I just had to make a quilt to go with it..... you can buy it here.... (and you should... it is adorable!)
this was in January & I wanted the two quilts done for Christmas. The book comes with a simple pattern and my two tops were similar. I had 2 thoughts in fabric choices: one was to use scraps from the dresses and tops I have made for them since they were born..... and the second was pink and blue. Both girls love the scene in the Disney Sleeping Beauty movie where the fairies are arguing about the color of Aurora's dress... Make it Pink! Make it Blue! It's a little game of ours so one girl would get pink and one would get blue.
Tops were done in January and I thought I was rocking it!
But I also had the notion that I wanted to make quilts similar to this one:
There was a tutorial and I figured it all out but couldn't figure out how to quilt the negative space.... so never started it.
Then BOOM! Reversible..... Gabby on the front in one color (bright) ... Princess & the Pea on the back in the other (pastel) and a book for each side.
A little ambitious, I know.... but there you go.. I changed it up before I thought it through. I was worrying about the negative space so I centered the mattress strips. (of course... NOW that I quilted from the Gabby side, it is a non-issue... but that is how you learn!)
the favorite Princess and the Pea book? This one by Janet Stevens. Old-fashioned story with lovely artwork
here if you like.
Anyway - I constructed the Princess side... and had to "grow" the Gabby side until I got them the same and close to a double bed size.
I used the Gabby side for my quilting... diagonal corner to corner through the 5-inch blocks using the corners as reference points. It worked well in the center and is a little creative (you might say wonky!) at the edges - but it is fine. Scrappy border and label... and Frozen (Else) pillowcases and ready for Christmas!
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
I know I bit off more than I can chew - but there ya go.... it's what I do :-)
So... first off, I can say that I am continuing to use up my cotton yarn in crocheted dishcloths....
I did find a pattern for cosmetic sponges (wipes) that I will make with the last of the tiny balls.... since one of my new practices is makeup! Or attempting it anyway - who says old dogs can't learn new tricks? But those are for AFTER I make all the cloths I can...
The quilts.... I tackled the vehicle panel one first.. and it is a toughie. I quilted enough to bind it.... I do love making a scrappy binding and seeing how it comes out....
That one is now half-quilted and bound. I still need to do a little more stitching but need to think about where and how...
I set it aside to clip strings last night and Diva decided to help...
So I moved to the next boy quilt - my cloudy day with the blue triangles
Two more to go (and the vehicle one to finish!)
Monday, December 7, 2015
so some quick good stuff I've discovered
Green smoothies: Just so you know... Spinach has no flavor.... baby kale doesn't have much flavor either. So if you like fruit... you can add a serving (2 cups) of greens like a bonus! Don't like the color? Get over it... it's a free helping of greens which can't be bad.
Approx 1-2c fruit and the green of your choice!
Dreamsicle: 1-2 oranges, a bit of vanilla and coconut water (or almond milk)
Pina Colada: pineapple, coconut extract
Raspberry & vanilla
also can toss in chia seeds and oatmeal to add protein / grain.
I often add watermelon, apples or pears to increase my fruit servings - and grapes to sweeten.
1 daily green smoothie doubles my veggie/fruit intake!
Prepare 3-4 at a time to eat over the course of the week! Individually wrap and store in the fridge
Egg wrap: Sliced hard-boiled egg, half slice cheddar in a whole wheat wrap
Yogurt Bowl: frozen fruit, oatmeal, maple syrup, plain Greek yogurt
Roasted Broccoli: Okay - don't laugh.... but my husband and I love this instead of popcorn... Really!
Spritz a cookie sheet with olive oil. Arrange broccoli florets on it. Spritz again and shake on garlic powder or salt. Stick in 450 degree oven for 30 min or so...... the tips will be a little burnt and crispy.
And on that note:
Roasted Vegetables: Clean out your fridge - potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans..... add onions, garlic pepper. Perhaps a bit of turkey polish sausage (sliced and quartered) for flavor.
Cover with foil - or not if no potatoes - 400 degrees for about 30 min... until fork tender.
Simply awesome and our new choice for comfort food.
Yum Bowls: I keep separate prepared food items in the fridge and freezer. For a Yum Bowl, I use a whole grain or rice (barley, farro, wild rice, etc)
a protein - a bit of hamburger, TVP, chicken, egg - cooked with onion, celery, etc
greens - sauteed kale, cabbage, bok choy
Basically - I create a bowl of yummy ingredients according to my mood.
Sunday, December 6, 2015
I was in church today and kept thinking about how exciting it is to be a believer! I mean, this particular season exemplifies the JOY in believing, doesn't it?
If you can strip away the usually self-induced anxiety, and remember how it was when you were a child. This is a time of miracles around every corner.... and isn't life like that anyway? You really never DO know how you will be blessed... and you WILL be blessed!
The key, I think, is to know this. And to be ready. And prepared. To first of all - RECOGNIZE the blessing (because it may not SEEM like a blessing at first :-)
*** What do I mean here?
Well.. in cultural terms.... a fat man in red suit breaking into your house? In Christian terms.... the chaos of the end times? Or maybe in MY daily life... a car breaking down (which, in turn might mean a blessed day at home where I can get caught up instead of running around like a maniac OR feel guilty for not running around like a maniac)
And second of all... to ACCEPT the blessing. (How many times do YOU back down from something that isn't 'normal' or 'usual'?)
Being grateful for the car breaking down?
Saying thank you for a compliment instead of putting it off.... 'You look great today!... THANK YOU' not 'You look great today!.... Really? I feel awful... I'm sniffling and my head hurts' It feels GOOD to simply say THANK YOU and go on about your day remembering that you got a compliment - even helps with the headache sometimes
Like fat man in a red suit breaking in to GIVE instead of TAKE AWAY
Like chaos and turmoil signalling the advent of the second coming..
Letting go of your emotions (FEAR) and remembering that you aren't in charge is accepting a blessing!
And, third.... being GRATEFUL for the blessing!
This, I think is the hardest! Not because we aren't grateful - but because we have the attention span of a gnat! We take and process.... and are moving on to the next thing.
To be truly grateful requires that we STOP.
SO... instead of mulling over all the pains and heartaches and problems.... try to spend a little time today mulling over the GOOD STUFF
the healthy parts of your life.... the precious time you have to give.... the smell of something baking.... the fresh cold air on your face.... maybe be a child today and remember the excitement you had!
What will you do today to feel the joy?
Saturday, December 5, 2015
got an accidental visit from somebody else's pastor.... a nice-seeming older gentleman.
Kind of a grandfatherly type who invited me to join the congregation sometime anyway.
A little more conversational stuff - polite niceties, you know
and he made a remark about somebody who was a non-believer wanted to come sing in his church.
[my first hackles rising at the term "his church"]
And how he couldn't allow it.
Because he couldn't allow a non believer to to utter words of praise in his church.
Because that was hypocritical.
Ouch! I wish I thought faster on my feet but I said that I thought the good Lord would love words of praise from anyone.
But no - the jaw set.
the teeth clenched.
Nope, words of praise from a nonbeliever was hypocrisy and an abomination in God's eyes.
The gentle little old grandfatherly type morphed into an angry self-righteous old man right before my eyes.
I wish I'd thought faster because he sounded like a Pharisee to me.
I wish I'd thought faster because I can't imagine Jesus would turn away anyone.
Because it's really God's house, isn't it?
I never did hear of God striking anyone dead for praising him in his house.
I can't imagine Jesus turning someone away or stopping them from praising the Father.
I guess it's okay that I didn't think faster. Coming up with a one-liner wouldn't have gained me anything - and I'm not sure that poor angry man would be open to hearing what he didn't agree with.
I just know that my heart hurts with the mean-spirit. I am struck with the self-righteousness for he clearly felt correct in his actions.
But I certainly won't visit "this man's church" because I would never be welcome.
Even though I profess to be a believer.
I don't think we believe in the same Jesus.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
and now.. traveling..
a hexie flower finished
and one of the Hawaiian applique pieces is ready to layer and quilt
And now back home to figure out where I am in the grand scheme of things!
But I dance around it like it matters.
I notice things and remark on them
That is how I am wired
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
It's my birthday month so it's already a new year opportunity
And my thoughts and resolutions won't get lost in the New Year hype....
AND... it's a crazy busy time... which is exactly when I need to focus in and go for what "I" want in my life :-)
I have two themes for the year...
#1 - Top Priority is
with 3 different physical areas:
appearance (includes makeup, skin care, hair, wardrobe, etc.)
health (includes exercise, nutrition, emotional well-being, etc.)
personal connections (FACE to FACE instead of facebook to facebook :-)
#2 - to keep in mind always is
"Happily Ever After"
a reminder that each day is the 'happily ever after' I wanted as a child :-) So I build on last year's "Finding Joy" and "YES to Adventure"... and keep building..
Since I'm just back from traveling, today is getting my laundry done, my food organized for the week - and prioritizing my exercise :-)
What are your goals for December?