Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday Doings - Tips, Tricks & Japanese Knitting

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” – Walt Disney

I've come across some really neat tips & tricks lately that I thought I would share... perhaps there is something that will be of use to you... what's your favorite tip or trick??

I love tiny flowers... but you never have a vase small enough for them - or at least I don't. So this is the perfect trick for that!! I found this at Family Chic!

Take a 12" balloon and a votive or shot glass.
Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut off about 1-inch at the mouth of the balloon. It is important to leave the narrow part of the balloon intact as this will serve as the neck of the vase.
Slip the cut balloon over the glass votive and, depending on your preference, pull out the opening - or push it inside.
For a step by step picture tutorial of this - cause I haven't tried it yet... here you go. Check out Family Chic - They have all kinds of great ideas on this site!!

Did you know that you can polish your silver with banana peels? I didn't!! Who knew? Not me! But apparently you can - I think this would work best for smaller items but I may just give it a try the next time I have a bunch of peels laying around from making Banana Bread.  All you have to do is blend a few banana peels with some water to make a paste. Then, rub the banana polish on the silver with a soft cloth. Finally wash off polish and dry with a clean cloth. I found this tip at Apartment

And here's a great way to recycle a catsup bottle... you could also use a mustard or even the mayo squirt bottles... seems like everything comes in a squirt bottle nowdays. After your bottle is empty - wash it out.  Next time you want to make perfect pancakes just fill up the bottle with the batter!! I've also used this idea for putting melted chocolate sauce and caramel in to make some fancy swirls on the dessert plates... Often times these bottles are not recycleable in certain areas - so this is a great way to save a least one or two... Oh - this would be great for camping too!! You could fill up the bottle ahead of time and store in the ice chest... just shake it up to mix it back up before using and you've got pancakes ala' camp fire!

I also came across some great sites for those of you who are interested in knitting japanese patterns. The blog Dancing Barefoot has a 5-part series on reading Japanese patterns. It's really informative and she knows her stuff!! She actually has a KAL that you can do to learn how to read the Japanese patterns also... great way to learn and put the knowledge to use right away!

You may want to check out and save this information - Japanese to English Knitting Dictionary. It's got pretty much every word you would encounter in a pattern. This is another good reference - the Basics of Japanese Knitting

While looking through information about Japanese knitting I discovered Japanese knitting projects are commonly represented by graphical charts. You'll hardly ever find any text-knitting-patterns which describe complete instructions in Japan or the books they publish. Who knew? Not me... So come to find out that there are two types of charts - Simplified and Detailed. From this chart page you can follow the other links to find out even more about the charts and how they work in these types of patterns. It's a little like the knitting charts most of us are used to - but still totally different.

I thought that this was interesting and could be useful to some - they've taken a toy pattern from Debbie Bliss and they have the pattern in Japanese and English - side by side - so you can use it and learn... not sure what toy it is. Might be kind of fun to do it as a mystery knit!!

Lastly you may want to check out this Japanese Knitting Site, the ABC's of Knitting as it is filled with all types on information and interesting tutorials.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Doings: The Human Spirit

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. ~ John Pierpont

I am always astounded at the things people do to survive.. The human spirit... so often people go through their life and have the "woe is me" attitude... and that bugs me. I would venture to say that most people, not all, but most - have had a hard life in some way... whether it's growing up in a dysfunctional family, being abused... being bullied or teased as a child...  there are those who have had their dreams die... or their possessions lost through fire, tornado or hurricane... there are those who have been dealt a disease of some type or perhaps mental illness... Really - most people have something that can knock them down and they can choose to stay down or to keep going and survive and even thrive!

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” ~Buddha
Our thought patterns and beliefs determine our life. If we are not happy with where we are, we need to take a look at what we believe is holding us back and then tackle those things... most of them are just fears or false belief when you really think about it.

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” – Lao Tzu
If we are unhappy, we can’t expect something or someone outside of yourself to fix it. We are responsible for our own life. We have to just step out in faith and try to live the life we want... it may take a while to get there but we find that it does start to happen and pretty soon our life is better than it was before!!

Do what you can with what you have where you are.
Marwencol website

Today I came across a guy, Mark Hogancamp - who really had to step out and deal with fear. Mark Hogancamp is one of those people, that has had a hard life... maybe not in the way that my life has been... or yours... You see five thugs beat Mark into a brain-damaging coma. He was beaten beyond recognition. If you've ever been beaten before you can imagine something similar.. but to have your life and all that you knew taken away is something most of us can't relate to. All of his memories were gone... his sense of self, his sense of safety... all that he knew was changed - forever. But instead of doing nothing he decided to heal... heal by being creative - and you really should see what he's done. It's nothing short of amazing!! His story is now an award winning documentary - Marwencol.  His story brings this quote to mind:

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. ~Jim Morrison

I can't wait too see Marwencol. The film really shows Mark and his story and will provide true inspiration to those of us that want to see it.  If you're interested check out PBS Independent Lens - Marwencol is set to air on April 26th. (Due to my love of documentaries and independant films I love PBS Independent Lens.) I hope that you'll check out this moving documentary.  I am trusting that it will move some people to action... fear is nothing - we cannot let it keep us from the life we really want, the life we deserve.

Perhaps this story will help me to keep searching for what it is I want my life to be... I did not get the scholorship from When I Grow Up. I was disapointed - but you know it's all part of the plan. I do believe that the Lord always always leads me... He opens the doors and closes them - and it's up to me to listen and follow... I don't always do the best job at that but I am trying! I've been applying for a variety of jobs that are perfect for my skill set and that I think would be great for me... alas I continue to hear nothing. It's disapointing, discouraging and sometimes downright scary! But I know that it will work out in the end so I choose most of the time to not live in fear. It's a waste of my time and energy.

I know I'm not alone and we all go through these dry spells... but I hope you are like me and try to keep on going... and remember these words:
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato

Friday, April 1, 2011

How did this happen?

A blog post! And no - it's not an April Fools Joke!!

How did this happen? I swore I wouldn't start a blog and then ignore it... and it happened - I let it happened. I could give this big long list of why's - but I won't. I will though let the world know that our beloved Sheltie, Acacia, left the earthly life and we miss her terribly. She was such a fantastic dog - and such a huge part of the family. Acacia had a fantastic personality and was one of those dogs that could sense a persons mood and then react in whatever way was needed. I will always remember the Thanksgiving that my dad was still so very depressed over the loss of my mother, his wife of over 50 years. As my dad sat on the couch with tears in his eyes, Acacia walked over, put her head on his knee and just looked up at him with this look that said, "it's ok, you can pet me - I'm here for you" and my dad reached out, put his hand on her head and she took that as a signal to jump up next to him and be his friend for the day. My dad was really amazed at how she wouldn't leave his side the entire day.... she was that kind of dog. If you're an animal lover and have had pets you know what we are going through... it'll get better...

What do I do??
On an exciting note - exciting for me anyhow... I sent in my scholarship form to hopefully win a scholarship for 12 sessions with Life Coach, Michelle Ward C.P.C. - If you've never been to her blog, When I Grow Up you should check it out! It's a great blog for anyone who has even the slightest creative bone or has ever thought of starting a business that has anything remotely creative about it.  Even if you're not thinking of using a life coach check it out! She always has great posts that really make you think about what you are doing and why. And if you love quotes like I do - so does she! Michelle always has great quotes and you could print them out and put them up somewhere to remind you of it...

I've been wanting to use the services of a life coach for quite awhile now - and had thought about using Michelle when I first got laid off -but the money situation has been sooooo tight I just couldn't. Along comes this fantastic opportunity where she is giving away 12 private sessions with her!! I really believe that the Lord puts these things in front of us - makes them available and it's up to us to grab them and go!! So what do I have to lose? Sure she could pick someone else - but she could pick me!! Oh - I hope she does!! I get so many ideas popping around in my brain and I swear I'm always thinking of businesses to start or things to make.... but I just end up talking myself out of them... and it makes me shake my head at how I could do that to myself!! I know what I'm capable of darnnit! I know what I've accomplished... I can pretty much do anything I want to do - I'm always able to figure out a way to make things work... fantastic problem solver... but I guess I need someone to just stand beside me and kick me in the butt and tell me that yes, my ideas are not so crazy after all. Of course, my one and only is my biggest cheerleader but I think in my head - of course he says that - he loves me! lol....  So say a prayer, cross your fingers or just put a good thought out into the world that I will get chosen - I need all the help I can get!!

Quote for the day:
“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” Douglas H. Everett

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Doings - Creeping Crud & Dye

The Creeping Crud came to our house!
Started with the Jaybird and then decided to hit me... Poor Jaybird thought she'd been hit by a truck and we knew that she was seriously sick because she actually stayed home! For three days! (She rarely ever stays home, and never for more than a day.) Another way I knew that she was really sick was when I offered her "something" to help - the man in the house will take a wide variety of OTC's when the ManFlu hits - however the Bird refuses any type of medication knowing "it will only prolong the symptoms of sickness by masking them." (Her words, not mine.) However, this time she actually decided to read the labels on each box and decided to try one. I believe she took it only because she HAD Chemisty and Lab and God forbid she miss that. I told her not to breathe anywhere in my direction, but due to the fact that we were in the same car for all of 15 minutes the Crud tried to overtake me. I didn't get it as bad as she did, most likely because I don't kiss her sick boyfriend who is the one who started all of this. However, when I do get sick and it has any type of body ache included you can be pretty sure I am going lay in bed and do nothing. Between my fibromyalgia and flu symptoms you might as well just consider me down for the count because it feel like I've ran into several kangaroos well trained in the finer arts of boxing!

However, there was a bright spot in the midst of disease. Barry, our mailman, dropped a box off at the front door. How he knew not to ring the doorbell I don't know... maybe there was a green mist surrounding the house? Of course, I get excited about any box especially if it has my name on it, because it might have yarn in it. I knew that this time it would not have yarn but something pretty exciting all the same - Hair Color!

Yes, I do, don't act all shocked. The Curly RED head is actually the Curly Grey head... has been for 20 some years. Now if you think that you could care less about hair color there is one thing that I thought was really great - it was 100% FREE! And I love FREE! I had seen an ad for E-Salon - they would send you Hair Color for free - (of course, after that they want you to pay for it.) But I was willing to try it because I am always willing to try anything that has to do with my hair. I've colored my own hair for years and years. Actually, I've trained the Man into putting it on the back of my hair because I can't hold my arms up that long without crying or dying - or both. When I opened the box from E-Salon I ran to get my camera and said to the Man, "I'm putting this on my blog! Look at it! Wow! Look at all the free stuff they sent and this stuff is not cheap!"

He was glad to see me excited about something other than knitting. 

Look what's inside! Two bottles of Haircolor & Developer. A mixing bowl & brush, a really nice cape (so I don't get color all over my classic t-shirts), some really cool duckbill clips (which I'll use all the time!) and the best thing - a timer! And they even sent a battery for the timer! All of this for Free!   I was excited!!

Of course, I'll wait till I feel a little better to color my hair but in the meantime I wanted you to see what they sent me! I'll let you know more about the product and how it goes - if I like the color and if I'll continue to get it from E-Salon or not. 

Thought for today:
“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Doings - Life in all it's glory

Some of us are just trying to get through the day, without falling apart.
I read this story about a month ago - and it has stayed with me... perhaps because it seems our family has had more than it's share of struggles throughout the years.  I know what it's like to try to hold it all together and to appear to the world at large that everything is just peachy keen - when it's not. These days I watch my daughter do this now - hold it all together with the grace and strength of a woman who truly loves her husband. And as her husband is in the hospital, once again, I thought of this story.  It's posted on the Brave Girls Club - which is a really nice site! Perhaps you'll take a few minutes to read it.You'll be able to relate to it - we all can. It is a little long but SO very worth it!!

We Must See Past What it Seems…..

From - We Must See Past What it Seems - Brave Girls Club

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday Doings - Clutter Busters

This is the year when I really get rid of CLUTTER! Our family lost virtually everything we owned in a fire several years ago and I swore then that I would never again have "stuff" in my house... unfortunately it seems we have more "stuff" than we did at that time. How can that be?

Todays Clutter Busting Tip: Phone Books! 

One of the things I think a lot of us struggle with is The Phone Book. I always hear Steve Martin saying - "the new phone book is here, the new phone book is here" whenever I think of the phone book. While our family will look things up on the computer 90% of the time there are times the phone book does come in handy - however, we only need one of them and it always seems like we have way way more than that! They are like tribbles - they multiply... So here are a few ideas that I came across recently that will help us all do something with these huge yellow books...

Never want to get another Phone Book delivered to your house? Take your name off of the list!! Go here and take action!
You do have to register an actual working email address as they send you a link to opt out from. (Probably so no one registers friends and enemies.) Sometimes there are more than one company delivering phone books in your area, there are in mine - so you can register for every single phone book that is delivered in your zip code! "Pretty Cool" as Miley Cyrus would say!

Want to find out how to recycle your phone books? Enter your zip code at and you'll find all kinds of recycling centers in your area. Earth911 is a fantastic site about all things recyling so take a look if you never have before!

I thought this was a great idea! Since it's nearly impossible to find a phone booth, let alone a phone booth with a phone book in it -  carry a phone book in the trunk of your car to use while you are out and about, if you don't have an I-phone to look things up online. And if you end up someplace you need a step stool or a booster seat - you got one in the trunk!

And if you're interested in doing some crafting with your phone book - check this out! On the 3R's Blog they show you how to take your phone book and make it into a votive candle holder! I'd use  battery operated candles - but I've had a fire before! If you've never been to the 3R's Blog you might want to take a look at some of the other crafty recycling ideas they have!

On the recycling side of life I found out that I can take my disposable razors and other #5 plastics to Whole Foods and they have a recycle box for them! Check out Preserve Gimme 5 for more places you can take disposable razors, yogurt cups, butter containers - anything with a #5 on them! I hate throwing items away when they can be recycled. So now I'll put another small recycle tub in the laundry room to collect #5's and drop them off at Whole Foods. Less junk in the landfills!

The Recipe for today -  Chocolate Chip Cookies with Candied Bacon! You heard that right! These sound AWESOME!! A cookie for my dreams! I would not feel guilty at all for eating these at breakfast because there is bacon in them!! These surely are not a 1 point or even a 2 point food - but I do think they would be worth the extra points this week. I'll just have to do a lot more walking!! I'll let you know what I think after I make them. If you're interested in baking some for yourself visit the Primal Palate for the recipe.

Thought for Today
Those who can't forget are worse of than those who can't remember.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Doings - Letter to my Birthmom

To my Birthmother:

It's my Birthday!! So I just wanted to say Thank you! Thank you for making that extremely hard decision to let me go. I know that you tried really hard to keep me. I can only imagine what it was like to be 18, alone and with a baby who was only a month or so old. I can only imagine what it was that got you arrested and me taken away from you. Were you trying to steal diapers or formula?

I can only imagine how many tears you cried when that happened. How desperate you must have felt…How alone you must have been. Did you call your parents only to be turned away? Did they tell you that there was no way to help you and that it was time to let me go?? Or did you just try to figure it all out – on your own? I can’t imagine how you made that decision. I can’t imagine how you felt when you signed the papers and came to kiss me good-by that final time… I really can’t and so I cry… for you… for me…for us.

It wasn’t what you planned – you wanted to keep me, you tried – and I know in my heart that you tried your best. But it just didn’t work out. So please, please do not feel guilty. I hope that you have had a good life and that you have been happy. I love you. I miss you. Oh how I wish that I knew you. Really.

I spent years looking for you but you did your best to make sure you wouldn’t be found. I know you weren’t hiding from me, it was from someone else – maybe your parents? Or the guy who got you pregnant? I wish that you knew how much I wish I could tell you – it all worked out ok, and I don’t hate you. I don’t want to ruin your life or to uncover any secrets if your current family has no idea I exist…I just wanted to tell you – Thank you. I forgive you and I’m ok… and if you ever want to look for me – I’m right here. So Happy Birthday - thanks for having me!!

Love Glorya Jean

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Doings

Now that the wind has died down I can actually take stuff out of the craft room, put it on the porch and go through it! I really am trying to get rid of stuff that I don't really need or won't ever get to. I just need to figure out what to do with some of it. Of course, I'll donate a lot of things, but there are crafty goods that I just can't bring myself to donate... so I'll need to find someone who wants it!

Tomorrow I am going to be making Mini Pot Pies with Puff Pastry Crust for the family!! Love homemade pot pie!! I have a recipe that I'll post when I have a bit more time but here are two that looks pretty good and really simple!
Chicken Pot Pies
Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry

And I think that on Sunday I am going to make these delicious Cinnamon Rolls! They are super easy and do not require any yeast - so they are fast to make - and delicious! Did I say that already?

One of the other things I've been hooked on is watching the Phoebe Allens Web Cam and waiting for the baby hummingbirds to fly! If you've never watched hummingbirds you really want to check this site out!! You can watch them go from Egg to Flying in just a few weeks and it's really awesome!

As for knitting - I've been working on the Ethereal Shawl and it's going really well. It's a Free pattern and if you are on Ravelry check it out!

I am off to work on cleaning the craft room!! Remember this:
In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.
… Charlie Brown

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Doings

Besides making this blog - which really came out of some sort of procrastination... I had planned on cleaning out and organizing my craft room today. Put it this way - it's a shambles! The room could be featured on Hoarders Craft edition - if there was such a thing. However, for some reason I thought today would be the perfect day to start this blog. Perhaps it's because the winds are gusting about outside and blowing everything all over the place. It's not like I could put all my crafty goodness outside while I go through it all and organize it like they do on the TV shows. Everything would have blown all over the neighborhood by now, but perhaps that would be a very quick way to get rid of things!

So: besides cleaning and organizing today (which I really will begin today!) here are the things I would love to do this happy Tuesday!

I think I'll cook this today! Delicious Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Shells!  You can find this recipe on Haute Apple Pie - this site has some fantastic recipes! Check them out!!

The other thing I will be doing today is continuing to knit my gorgeous lace scarf out of some fantastic Silk Lace from Sundara Yarns. The yarn I'm using is called Naples but it's kind of Rootbeer color... with various shades of Rootbeer Brown and Beige... gorgeous!! I'll try to put up a picture and some details about this lace project - because so far it's been a comedy of errors!! In the meantime here is a picture my skien of Sundara's Silk Lace - fantastic isn't it??
See you tomorrow!