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