Saturday, December 7, 2013

20 Things I Have Learned as a Vegetarian

This is going to be a photo-less post -- mostly because I don't have any photos that really fit right now and I'm too lazy this morning to remedy that.

I have been a vegetarian for over two years now and am currently transitioning into veganism.  During the last two years, I have really learned a lot.  As I work towards becoming 100% vegan, it has led me to think about some of the things I have learned.  Please keep in mind that these are things that I have learned and I am not trying to convert others.  This is a very personal decision to me.  Having said that, here we go...

1.  My body will tell me what I need if I make a habit of listening to it.  I am much more conscious of what goes into my body and, over time, that has led me to understand my cravings and know what I need to eat.  Pre-vegetarianism, I just shoveled whatever sounded pretty good into my mouth.  It has taken me over two years to get to this point.

2.  It is really easy to replace meat with cheese.  TOO easy.

3.  I am pretty quiet about my dietary choices and only discuss if asked (says the girl who is typing a whole blog post about it right now).  However, I have noticed that some people become offended by my choice to not eat meat.  Usually these are people who aren't my close friends or family.  I don't know if they automatically assume that I am judging them or if they think I am going to push my choices on them, but I have seen people become borderline defensive when I share that I'm vegetarian.  I am always surprised by this reaction.

4.  My husband and sons are super supportive and great sports.  My meat-loving husband has really come around the last two years and is willing to do meatless meals on occasion.  I love my fellas so much!

5.  I love vegetables A LOT.  My mom always had fresh fruit and vegetables in the house growing up and I am so thankful for that.  I have always liked vegetables, but preferred fruit.  Before I became vegetarian, I was not eating a lot of vegetables on a daily basis.  In the last two years, my palate has drastically changed.  Now I crave so many types of vegetables and will choose them over fruit.

6.  Vegetarianism does not automatically equal weight loss.  Refer back to Number 2.

7.  As a person living with chronic illness, I have learned that a healthy vegetarian diet does not solve my health issues.  However, it does give me more energy to get through the bad days.  When I feel ill and still eat well, I definitely get through the bad days better than if I eat poorly.

8.  Locally owned restaurants are often more vegetarian friendly than the big chain restaurants.

9.  A vegetarian diet does not have to be more expensive than an omnivore diet.  You do save money when you aren't buying expensive meats, but sometimes produce and soy products can be expensive.  If you buy seasonal produce and shop deals, a vegetarian diet is very affordable.  Also, beans and rice = cheap.

10.  Vegetarians and Vegans are not necessarily judgmental and preachy.  In fact, most of the people I have met are very compassionate, knowledgeable, and fun.  I think this assumption is what leads some people to react negatively (see Number 3).  Being vegetarian does not mean that I judge someone who eats meat or that I want to try and change them.  Just ask my husband.

11.  Factory farming in our country and the laws that are passed to help those businesses increase profits are disturbing and gross.

12.  People can be so very sweet when trying to accommodate my diet while dining at their house.  I never expect it because I know it is my choice and not their problem.  I really appreciate it though.

13.  I still can't grow any plant life.  I would love to be somewhat self sustaining, but I'm terrible at it.

14.  If considering vegetarianism or veganism, other vegetarians/vegans can be amazing and generous resources.  As I transition into veganism, I reached out to a few people for help and they stepped up in a big way.  One friend emailed me her online cookbook, one sent me links to some great vegan websites, one gave me some suggestions for books, and my sister is bringing some of her tried and true vegan cookbooks to me at Christmas.  Thank you all!

15.  My taste buds have drastically changed and I try (and love) a lot of different foods now.  I feel like I have a much broader diet now as a vegetarian than I ever did previously.  I know meat eaters can have a very broad and healthy diet too; for me, I think eliminating some foods is what helped me to open up to a bigger world of food.  My personality needs that push.

16.  Vegetarian/Vegan does not always equal healthier.  There are many vegetarian/vegan junk food junkies out there and a lot of processed foods made for vegetarians and vegans that are not always healthy.

17.  Being drawn to bright colors has made me so appreciative of a vegetarian meal.  I love to add many different vegetables because I love having a bright and colorful meal.  Even my husband (who won't eat much of what I eat), will comment on how pretty my meals look.  Eating a "pretty" meal really keeps me motivated.

18.  It is possible to stick with a change in diet (no matter what it is).  It takes some planning and discipline, but it is not that difficult.  Even when the four other people in your household don't eat the same way.  It is all about mutual respect.  I have respect for other people's food choices and they have respect for mine.

19.  People really get concerned about protein intake when I tell them I am vegetarian.  I got this covered - it's cool.

20.  It is possible to give up meat even if you liked the taste of it.  Not every vegetarian or vegan gave it up because they didn't like the taste.  Not every vegetarian or vegan gave it up for political reasons.  We are all individuals.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guest Post with Cara B: Fantastic 16th Birthday Party Idea

This past weekend I saw a fantastic idea for a boy's 16th birthday party.  The idea came from a friend I have known for a long time --- Cara, I think we've known each other since first grade?  Wow.  I won't say how many years that has been.

Cara is great photographer and captures the human spirit so well.  I love when she posts pictures on Facebook or Instagram.  When I saw the photos from her son's birthday party, I immediately knew I wanted to ask her to be a guest on my blog.

Everything below was written by Cara and the photos are hers as well.  Enjoy...

I am so glad you enjoyed the photos.  We had a lot of fun making them.  When we started planning Jake's 16th birthday party, he wanted to have a bonfire, like we always do.  But you only turn 16 once.  I wanted to come up with something fun that we could do to engage everyone - something they will remember for years to come.  With teenagers, its hard to come up with ideas to make the party memorable!  Something fun and cool, that they would enjoy... I always take regular pictures at his party, so he has something to look back upon and remember, but it is hard to get them to engage in just regular pictures.  Some kids do not like to have just regular pictures taken of themselves.

I started searching online and found these very inexpensive plastic backgrounds.  We found a cheap mesh "red carpet" for them to walk down.  We found some props at our local dollar store and around our house.  I had the backgrounds hung on the walls and the red carpet ready the night before the party and all the props collected in a basket.  I wanted them to see it when they first walked in to get them intrigued about the idea.

After everyone arrived and was around the bonfire for about two hours, I powered up my lighting.  I took my camera out back and started with taking their picture around the fire.  I asked if anyone was ready to take some fun pictures with all the props inside.  Before I knew it, they were all in the house in a line, giggling and laughing about different ideas on how they wanted to pose and with who.  They all had such fun ideas!

It filled my heart with joy to hear their laughter, knowing how much fun they were having with it.  I found that teenagers love to show their creativity!  So we took that characteristic and ran with it!  We are having the photos printed and put into key chains shaped like the directors clap board.  Since most of them are driving now, its something they will always carry with them.

I am so glad you enjoyed the photos, Sara! Its a memory that we will cherish forever - and probably a new tradition for us!

Cara -- thank you so much for sharing on my blog.  Your idea was wonderful and now I want to play with it too!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Nature Faces

Happy Friday!  Today I decided to find natural faces in nature and add my own cartoon additions.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Letter and List to My Boys

Dear, B, W, and J,

I hear you playing video games up in your "Man Cave".  It is a brief moment where you are genuinely getting along and dorking out together.  In five minutes, that could easily change and I will probably hear the word "idiot" or maybe "moron" called.  Then I'll have to do the mom thing of telling you to be nice and stop using those words.  Right now though, I will sip my coffee and enjoy the moment of camaraderie.

Sometimes you think you can't stand having brothers and you wish you were only children.  That's normal.  I tell you a lot that you need to try to appreciate each other (even in small moments) because the three of you are together for life.  God willing, you will all grow up and carve out beautiful patches of life.  You will support each other, annoy each other, laugh together, make fun of mom and dad, and see each other grow.   I also hope you will continue to help those who can't help themselves and I hope that, when you see your brother(s) go down a bad path, that you will shine the light to help him back.

Your grandmother told me that parenting is the one relationship where the end goal is separation.   Every other relationship is built to keep the parties together.  With parenting though, we are working towards that goal of seeing you move on one day and need us less in your day to day.   That's a tough pill to swallow.  I think there is a balance we strive for though.  We want you to spread your wings and fly, but we also want to build strong bonds so that you will fly back home sometimes and spend time with family.

Before you fly this nest though, there are some things that I want to make sure all three of you know how to do.  These are not necessarily things that will get you into a good college or help you find the right job.   This list is much more important.  If you can master this list, I will feel like my job as a parent is complete (Dad too).  Some of these you've mastered already, some you are starting to learn, and some you will learn.  We will probably add on to this list as we go so be ready for that.

The List
(in no particular order)

Laundry - you need to know how to do your laundry and keep up with it.  The keeping up with it is the tricky part.

Basic cooking - you are already learning this one but need to expand a bit.   Your adult life should not consist solely of Ramen and fast food.

Changing the oil in the car - Dad added this one.

Understand all that is involved in taking care of a pet (i.e. family member) and being able to make that decision completely before taking one into your home on a permanent basis.  You all have learned this just in the short time we have been fostering.   It warms my heart to see you love these animals who desperately need love.

Creative outlet - understanding why you need it and what yours is going to be.  FYI - if you take after me at all, the outlet changes from day to day.

Know how to throw and catch a ball - this one may solicit an eyebrow raise from some people.  I don't expect my boys to be sports stars.   I think everyone should know how to throw and catch a ball, even if they never do anything with it.   Boys and girls alike.  It is just one small way to foster dexterity and it will come in handy from time to time.  It might make gym class more tolerable during early years.

Know how to ride a bike - similar to the goal above.  A good skill to have.

Treat others the way you want to be treated - pretty self explanatory.

Don't let the world harden your hearts.  All three of you have warm hearts and show them in different ways. Keep those warm hearts and do something with the kindness and compassion you have.  On occasion B, maybe show that kindness and compassion to W.   Don't look at me like that, you know why I'm saying that.

Treat the women in your life as kindly and respectfully as Dad treats me.  Seriously.   I know you see how he treats me - nothing but love and adoration and kindness and respect.  He treats his mother, mother-in-law, sister, sisters-in-law, aunts, etc. the same way.  The three of you already treat the important women in your life this way.  As you grow up and date, I expect the same.   Be that wonderful man.

Expect the women in your life to treat you equally kindly and respectfully.   They should treat you the way I treat your Dad - I adore him and show him that regularly.   This doesn't mean you act like a jerk -- the whole "treat 'em bad so they want you more" is BS (I know you will giggle because I used that term - you aren't allowed to use it, but it fit this scenario).   This just means that you are worthy of kindness, love, and respect.  If a girl you really like treats you callously or demands ridiculous things from you, she is not a girl you should have in your life.  You don't have to put up with ugliness just because she is pretty.  When you end things with this type of girl, you still owe her respect and kindness during and after the split.

Learn and use proper grammar and spelling.  Seriously.  You might not remember every little thing there is to know about proper grammar, but make a concerted effort on a regular basis.

Enjoy and respect nature.  When you feel beat down or bored by life, find the one thing in nature that calms you and brings you joy.  Enjoy it.  For me, it is the mountains that reinvigorate me.   Find your thing.

Never miss an opportunity to let someone know you appreciate them.   Time is fleeting.   Let the important people know they are important to you.  You three are of the utmost importance to me.

Surprise people sometimes.  Maybe it is a gift or a surprise visit.   Maybe it is a moment in time where you step outside of your comfort zone and shine.

Declutter and keep things somewhat clean.   Clearly I am not one obsessed with cleaning, but you should take some pride in your home and maintain a basic level of cleanliness.   I don't think I will look back on my life and wish I cleaned more, but I also don't need the neighbors to complain about "the smell".   Find a good balance.

Practice good hygiene.   I've said it before and I'll say it again, don't be the smelly kid.  Brush your teeth without being told (J, I am looking at you and your seven year old self).

Be you.   Don't follow the pack.  Be who you want to be.  As long as you are coming from a place of honesty and truth, we will love you and support you unconditionally forever.  Anyone who doesn't accept you, isn't worthy of being in your extraordinary life.

Be there for your brothers.   Always.

Call your mother at least once a week.

Be a good friend.

Find the path in life that feels good to you, makes you happy, and has a positive impact on this world.   College will help give you more opportunities, but I honestly will not be disappointed in you if that is not the path you choose.  No matter what you choose to do, do your best.  If there is a period of time where you have to do something you don't love to get to the thing you really want, still do your best.   Find ways outside of that to keep doing something you love.  If you have that balance, things are usually okay.   Don't give up on your dreams and don't be afraid to change your dreams, if that is what your heart wants.

If your priorities have work above family and friends, you need to rethink your priorities.

Find regular exercise that you like to do so that you will continue to do it.  Don't use me as an example on this one.  Do as I say, not as I do...(I know, I know).

Give back.   As a family, we have chosen to give back to animals in need.   Find what ignites your soul.   Always find a way to give back to someone in need.

Learn to live simply.   Don't be consumed by material possessions.   It is absolutely fine to like "things", but don't make that your priority.

B and W, stop biting your nails.   J, cut yours more often.

Read.   Enjoy reading.   If you have kids one day, read to my grandchildren.

Stand up for people and animals who are being treated poorly or unfairly.  It might not be the popular thing to do, but it is the right thing to do.

Seek out God in the way that feels right to you.   Fulfill your soul.   I firmly believe there are many paths to God.  It is a personal relationship and only you and Him know what's the best way for you to feel close.

Finally, don't take life (or yourself) too seriously.  Laugh a lot.  Have fun.  Do silly things.  Don't be afraid to look silly.  Love even more.

This is a rather long list, right?   It may get longer as we wander through this life together.  I think you are all up to the task and well on your way to learning everything on this list.   It will never be complete because you will always be learning.  It will keep you motivated.

I love you boys.  Through the laughter, the love, the pain, the sadness, the challenges, and the joyous parts of life, I will love you.  Dad too.   He's awesome.  You are all awesome.

(I still prefer to go by Mommy)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Being Still and Resisting the Glorification of Busy, Part 1

Has our society always been obsessed with "busy" or is that a new thing these days?  It is an exhausting but easy trap to fall into at times.  I know people who thrive on it.  I also know people who think they are thriving but they are really just trapped in this cycle of busy and avoid down time like it's a plague.  I think people are afraid of having down time and being still.  I personally love down time.  I need down time.  I would marry down time if I didn't already have a fabulous husband.  Sara, without down time, is cranky, antsy, and not very creative at all.  She is a bit of a downer.

Being still doesn't always come naturally.  Our culture of glorifying busy takes its toll on how we view stillness.  We often feel guilty when we don't have something to do or somewhere to go.  We often feel like we should be checking something off of a list or completing one of those projects that we've been meaning to do.  We feel like failures if we are still.  We foolishly obtain our value from how much we have to do and how much we accomplish.  We are in constant production mode.

The other night, my oldest son had soccer practice.  The fields are far enough from my house that it doesn't make sense to drive back home after dropping him off, so I stick around the area until practice is finished.  Sometimes I will run errands and sometimes I will take advantage of my time alone.  This usually means browsing the bookstore, checking the clearance racks at Target, or plopping myself down at Panera with something delicious to drink. This particular night, I chose Panera.  I left my iPad at home to avoid Internet distractions.  I took my phone (so I knew when I had to leave), my journal, and a crochet project.  I sat down in a comfy chair near the fireplace and I pulled out my journal and favorite pen. I started to write and then became very self conscious.  There were people all around me and I was waiting on a waitress to bring my drink.  I started to find myself picking up my phone and checking work emails periodically.  I wasn't even reading them; I just felt obligated to appear busy.  In that moment, writing in a journal seemed too frivolous of a way to spend my time --- especially when people could be watching!

I decided that I was being completely ridiculous and that our glorification of being busy is equally ridiculous.  I put down my phone and started writing.   I wrote about being still.   I wrote in incomplete sentences and just let my brain release its thoughts through my pen.  I wrote and wrote and wrote.   I ignored grammar and spelling.   I wrote about how I feel when I don't have anything I have to do.  I will often occupy that time with reading blogs and playing on Facebook or Pinterest.   It distracts me from being still and listening to how I really feel.   I spend time on the Internet under the guise of "looking for inspiration".  Really I am just avoiding stillness and avoiding being in the present.  I wrote about marathon TV watching while I am doing laundry and working on a crochet project.  I wrote about that uncomfortable feeling I get when I tell myself I am going to put down my iPad on a weekend afternoon with no plans.

I wrote about how we have put "busy" up on a pedestal.   We tie some of our value to how busy we are.  The busier we are, the more justified we feel.  The people who are busiest and appear to have it all together are valued above the people who have free time and don't feel bad about it.  Having free time and not filling it with some sort of task equates to laziness in our society.  We are constantly pressured to do more, do it well, and look good doing it.  Busy = Well Liked. Busy = Needed. Busy = Better. Busy = Important.  Don't get me wrong, we are all busy some times and that is definitely okay.  The problem I have is the incessant need to be busy at all times.  It's not necessary and it's exhausting.

It starts young too.  In high school I was involved in a wide variety of activities and I usually was in a leadership position.  I played sports, was involved in student senate, multiple committees, chaired a student council conference, sang in show choir, participated in academic clubs, performed community service, took piano lessons, attended school functions, took AP classes, and consistently remained on the honor roll.  From the ages of 14-18, I lived by my day planner.   One time, my dad said that he realized I was taking on too much when my high school boyfriend asked me to go out with him one Friday night.  My response?  I told him I had to write it in my day planner in pencil because I wasn't sure what amount of time I had free.  I literally penciled him in for a date.   Poor fella.

As I have gotten older and also lived with a chronic illness, I have learned to value being still and finding down time.  I am trying to instill the value of being still in my children (not an easy task with three boys).  There is value in structure and having a schedule too, but my boys need to know that their value isn't dependent on that.  The unstructured time is when we can relax and spend time with family and friends.   In my world, that is a priority.   If we become too busy to spend time with the important people in our lives, then we have lost sight of something truly valuable.

Hope you find some time in your Sunday for stillness and peace.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Crochet Mandala No. 1

Ever heard of a Mandala?  It's a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism that represents the Universe (there is more to it -- let Wikipedia tell you about it).  Over the years though, it has become popular in the art world.  Search for Mandala and you will find drawings, paintings, tapestries, mosaics, and, of course, crocheted mandalas.

I have been working on more fiber art to hang in my home -- dreamcatchers, wall hangings, weavings, and now Mandalas.  This is the first one I completed a few weeks ago.  I love the colors.

I'm trying to decide the best way to hang it on my wall and figure out which wall.  I am planning on converting my (now) office/messy craft space to a full on office/art studio -- at least as much of a studio as I can create.  I think I will hang my first mandala in there for inspiration.

Until today, it had been a month since my last blog post.  I am working on some ideas and planning to post more often.  Converting my office to a dual space is part of the plan so I can make a concerted effort each day to create, write, and, hopefully, grow my blog readership.  I have been hanging on to these mandala photos for a bit and thought it would be a good way to jump back in again.  Life moves so quickly and the future is constantly becoming our present.  If we don't make efforts towards our dreams now, we might not have the chance later.

Hope you are enjoying your week!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

All in One Week

I have not done much creatively this week and I need to remedy that soon before I grow antsy.  This has been a very full week.  A week that has been full of love, feelings of being overwhelmed and out of my element, and foreshadowing of the busy months to come.

My family and I made the decision to work with a local animal rescue group.  We all have a love for animals and want to give back.  My husband, Jay, and I made the decision to foster dogs for a while.  Last Sunday, we took in two small pups - a 7 month old Mini Schnauzer and a 4 year old Pug.  Did I mention that we also have two of our own forever dogs and a 15 year old cat with an attitude?  It's a menagerie in this house.

The day the dogs arrived, everyone was very excited.  Jay and the boys gravitated towards the puppy which meant I gravitated towards the pug, the underdog.  As the week has gone on, the pug has won all of our hearts.  She was rescued from a puppy mill where, it seems she was bred a lot.  She has since been spayed, had an eye issue treated, and had a couple of teeth pulled that weren't well.  She is the most gentle, sweet, and loving dog I think I've ever met.  If ever there was a lap dog, this is what one looks like.

The mini schnauzer was treated poorly by her previous owner and was rescued.  By the second day in our house, she thought she owned the place.  She only weighs 5 lbs but she thinks she runs with the big dogs.  I had forgotten how much work a puppy can be.  She is loving and playful --- and ornery and into EVERYTHING.  She is very curious and has chewed up a few things in the house.  We have a fenced in yard but she is so small that she can fit through the wooden slats (and has).  So she only goes out on a leash now.  For every moment of exasperation, there are multiple moments of "you are the cutest little thing!"

Neither dog has really lived in a house so neither is house trained.  It has been a lot of work and I'm pretty sure my house now smells like an episode of animal hoarders despite our best efforts.  I was pricing deals on good carpet cleaners online this morning so we can take back the carpets (I am open to suggestions on decent carpet cleaners).  On the plus side though, I have seen these sweet pups be loved and give love back to us and one another.  The pug sleeps on my lap and is very soothing.  The mini schnauzer loves to be held and babied.   There are moments where I wonder how we can keep doing this now that school is starting and my boys' sports and activities are starting.  However, then I think about what these dogs' lives would be like if they hadn't been rescued.  I can see it in their faces that they are so grateful.  They just want to be loved and give love.  How can we not help them?  I am learning that giving back, really doing something, takes persistence and determination.  It would be easy to give up with excuses about how much work it can be or how busy we are.

My forever dogs have been so wonderful through this experience.  They are gentle and loving and sweet.  I make sure they feel loved too.


In addition to fostering this week, we had a birthday.  My middle son turned 10!  He is my wild child, my creative soul, my worrier, and such a light in my life.  He is witty and fun and sweet.  His worrying keeps him up at night and almost every morning I find him sleeping on the floor in my bedroom with his quilt and pillow.  He shares my fear of the dark and the adult wisdom to know that bad things happen in this world and they could happen to us.  My 10 year old self was the same way.  Summertime and lack of routine adds to his worrying.  Now that school and football are starting, he will slip back into being a 10 year old again.  My life is so colorful because I get to be his mom.  Also, I love his morning hair and sleepy face.

This weekend we have a soccer tournament and the pug is meeting a possible forever family.  I will be so sad to see her go but I would rather shed a tear because I'll miss her, then shed a tear because she had no chance at life.  I am tired and still a bit overwhelmed with everything going on right now but routines will be re-established and my family of five will stick together and make a difference in this world.

Happy weekending!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

My First Weaving

A couple of weekends ago I decided to create my own makeshift loom out of a piece of cardboard and some twine. I used dowel rods to separate the twine. Then I just started using yarn that I already had lying around and tried my hand at weaving.

I had no real design in mind. I figured I would make it up as I went and I did.

Eventually it started turning into something. At that point I decided I wanted it to end up looking like some kind of patchwork sweater. A "Cosby" sweater, if you will.

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I tied off the bottom with some more of the twine for a messy kind of finish. Then I wound some green yarn through the loops at the top and secured them to a stick. I actually have a box of sticks in my craft supply collection. I found a bunch outside one day for another project and then just kept the rest. You never know when you need a stick, I guess.

All in all, I love the folksy, colorful, and natural elements in this piece. I'm trying to figure out where to hang it in my house. I think I'm going to tackle some smaller weavings next.

Hope you enjoy a lazy, creative, and fun Saturday!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Dream Catching

Spending part of my Sunday dream catching and listening to folk music.  What's on your Sunday agenda?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sharing Real Life #1: Essential Tremors and Creating

This is my first post to share the less than beautiful pieces of my life. I think the mix of beautiful and more challenging pieces is what makes up a pretty great and well rounded life anyway.

This past weekend, I decided to work some of my seed bead stash to make some colorful, layering necklaces. I used to make a lot of jewelry. I still love to do it but I don't work on it often because it can be frustrating to me. I have Essential Tremor Disorder, which is a very common movement disorder. That means my hands tremble involuntarily and it can be hard to work with small beads. Most days aren't that bad but I do have some bad days. Last weekend I had a crazy bad day (for me) and I was getting frustrated trying to bead. I decided to put together a quick video to share my frustration.

Luckily not every day is this shakey. My concern is that my tremors will get worse as I grow older and I will be limited in how much I can create. I want to create as much as I can now and then figure out how to continue to create as I grow older. I don't feel sorry for myself and I don't want others to feel sorry for me either. That's not why I shared this video. We all have our trials and burdens -- it's how we live with them that really defines who we are.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mint WIP

I know, I'm totally a cool blogger imposter. I do know what WIPs are though so that counts, right? WIP = Work In Progress. Technically I could call myself a WIP, however, I am referring to actual works of mine that are in progress.

A couple of months ago, I became completely obsessed with the color 'Mint'. It's not a color that I typically think about or use. I'm usually more a bright primary color type of person. It started one day at work. I was working in a Microsoft Excel document - jealous, right? I needed to highlight some cells for my own personal use and I was bored with my regular colors. I checked the additional colors and thought, "Hmm...I'll try mint for today." The rest of the day I got excited to see that color. I started to think about mint yarn, mint paper, mint paint...I truly became obsessed. After work on that same day, I drove myself, and my 40% off coupon, to Hobby Lobby and bought some mint yarn. I also bought an ivory colored yarn. I didn't know what I was going to do with it but I felt better just having it in my possession.

Ahh...better already...

I realize the level of nerdiness I have now entered.

I started crocheting some granny squares. After a day or so, I decided that I wanted to make another blanket. I still loving cuddling under my other blanket so why not start a new one?

It won't match anything in my house. It may end up being a gift for someone I love. Who knows when I'll finish it, given my history with crocheting blankets. BUT - I love it already and it's satisfying my mint craving.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Crochet-Embroidered Wall Hangings

Just a quick post to share something I created recently. I have been wanting to add more color and texture to my walls so thought I would create some crocheted pieces to hang on the wall.

I had some of my favorite yellow yarns left from other projects so I used them to crochet some different sized circles. Then I used some felt and thread that I had to work on some embroidery and add text and more color. I really like how these turned out and now just have to figure out where I want to hang them.

Hope you enjoy a safe and fun holiday week!

Sunday, June 30, 2013


Today I am listening to Bob Dylan, working on layers of seed bead necklaces, and tackling LOADS of laundry.

Our summer has started off pretty busy with 3 different trips that allowed us to have a great time with family. In between trips, my day job has been a bit nutty. Our laundry has suffered, as a result. I thought about posting a picture of the ridiculous amount of laundry I have to do but decided to just stick with colorful pictures of beads instead.

That got me thinking about how we post just the good things in our lives on the Internet - perfect lighting, color, only posting the 2 photos of our kids smiling because the other 50 they were making faces or hitting one another. Between social media and blogs, it can leave a person feeling inadequate. I'm toying with the idea of doing a blog post devoted to the mundane and less than beautiful things in my life. It makes me a little nervous to put that kind of thing out there but, without those things, we wouldn't appreciate the good as much, right?

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dear Sara

Recently I started using one of my various journals to write notes to myself. Usually it's to a specific moment in my past but, sometimes, it is directed at Future Sara. Sometimes it's silly and, sometimes, it's more serious. It's been a good way to record memories I have and my thoughts on those memories. It has also been a way of reconciling things in my past. Do you ever wish you could go back to a moment in your childhood and give yourself a hug and say "it will get better"? This is my way of doing that.

I thought I might occasionally share a Dear Sara entry here on my blog. I will probably keep the more personal and private posts to myself, but I don't mind sharing others. I don't have a lot of entries at this point but I have already learned that I wouldn't change much from my past. There are definitely tough times that I would hate to relive but I realize now that they shaped me as I am now.

For this first 'Dear Sara' post, I will share this one:
Dear Sara 11/14/1998,
Best decision you ever made or will make.
Completely fulfilled Sara
P.S. 11/14/1998 was the day I married the one and true love of my life

Are there certain moments in your life that you would love to be able to share words of wisdom or love with your past self? What would they be?
Happy Saturday-ing!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Techie Attempts

A few months ago, my laptop died and I decided to go the way of the iPad. For most of my purposes, I have been happy with the change. I've never had a Mac before so there have been some learning curves - especially since my day job is done entirely on a PC.

The things I have learned to love about having an iPad: the easy portability, the speed (as compared to my previous laptop), and I am loving the camera and photo editing apps that I've found. I have been using my iPad a lot for easy photos and editing. I still use my DSLR camera but it's nice to be able to play with photography easily when I've been really busy. I'm also starting to play around with videos and editing.

The biggest problem I have had is trying to blog from my iPad. Every time I want to post, I have to jump on my husband's laptop to do it. I recently did some research and found some apps that were recommended for blogging with an iPad. After reading several articles and reviews, I decided to try Blogsy. That is what I am using to write this post right now. It cost me $5.99 so the cheapskate in me is expecting A LOT from it. Don't fail me, Blogsy.

Mostly this is a test post and my attempt to impersonate a modern blogger. We'll see how this goes. I'm doing a lot of hunting and pecking to figure out this app. Maybe, just maybe, I'll become one of those cool bloggers who actually understand what all of these apps and bloggy talk mean. Maybe.




Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Pintester Movement

So, we all have those pins on Pinterest that have been there forever and we have never tried them.  I have had this pin on Pinterest for quite a while.  It looks pretty easy but I just never did anything with it.  Then, I read about The Pintester Movement.

The Pintester is a blog I love to follow.  The blogger, Sonja Foust, is funny and she is very open about trying different pins (mostly with hilarious results).  I look forward to her posts each week.  So when she decided to round up other bloggers to try out those pins that had been sitting in their boards and post the results...I was in!


I had a trip planned this past, long weekend but I really wanted to participate.  I chose a pin that interested me and could be completed within a reasonable amount of time.  I also wanted to be able to try out a few different versions.

I started with the typical hand tracing.  I used marker for the black lines and the pink hand outline.  Then I went with crayons to color in the background lines.  I chose crayons mostly because my son received a large amount of crayons for Christmas and I can't resist a box of new crayons!  The hand turned out just ok.  My lines weren't that straight but the hand has the slight 3D effect I was wanting to achieve.

Then I wanted a different shape.  The original link I used for the instructions had a banana as one of the examples.  I looked around my house for some additional items and came up with a video game controller.  There are plenty of them in this house full of boys.  I'm not overly excited about this example but I did play around a little with the background lines to see if a pattern would still make the main object stand out.  I do like the patterned lines on this one.  Again, I used markers and crayons.

My final drawing was of my 7 year old son's right foot.  He giggled quite a bit as I traced the outline of his foot with a pencil.  My 9 year old son was concerned that my paper was going to stink.  It didn't.  The foot came out kind of weird and I went a little further with patterns.  It's a little busy but you get the picture (pun!).

So, that is one pin I can cross off of my list!  My kids were sucked into it and really want to try some different objects.  I also taught my nieces how to do it over the weekend.  It's a fun activity for kids.  I also remembered how nice it is just to color with crayons some times.  I watched old episodes of The Office as I colored.  

I can't wait to check out The Pintester Movement post on May 30.  She will be posting links to many other bloggers who tried different pins with various results.  I am very excited to be a part of the party!