Sunday, August 18, 2013

Don't Look At The Header!

I am leaving for France in a few weeks. I need to pack. I need to finish the dress I'm making to wear to my cousin's wedding. I need to get my house in order after the marathon sewing fest. But no, I've decided that it is oh so important to fulfill one of my yearly goals and learn how to navigate Photoshop Elements well enough to create pieces and parts for my blog. Yeah, that makes sense. Because I guess I plan on wearing the blog in Europe. Hence the titile. Don't look at the header. This is the 4th iteration of said header today. I can't get the size right. And I need to start obsessing about the real things I need to obsess about.

I've actually made tons of progress on my packing for France project. I wanted to take just a few lightweight knits that would mix and match with each other. A couple of skirts, a couple of pairs of pants, a couple of tees plus the dress for the wedding. 

My skirt photos are on my iPad, so I'll show them later. Below is the gorgeous fabric for my dress and the slip that goes under it. It is sheer and light and floats like a breeze. 

Here's the pattern - just a simple shift dress with a bit of a flounce over a sea green slip...

Juli knows something's up and she does not like it...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Absent Way Too Long

I haven't posted in forever and I miss it. For me blogging is not about others. I don't think many people read this. But it does keep me focused. It keeps me getting things done and helps me realize that I do accomplish things from time to time. I've been diving into my love of textiles head first and I love it. I've knitted up a storm this spring and summer. My cousin Helen has had her first baby. Her name is Solene Virginia and she lives in Paris. She is named after my father's sister, Virginia. Virginia was a character of the highest order. Picture this scene. Virginia well into her 80's. A Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles. You have to walk in through the bar to the dining room. A football game playing on the TV. Virginia asks one of the gentlemen sitting at the bar "who's winning?". We walk into the dining room and Virginia turns and says in a stage whisper "I think he thought I was trying to pick him up". This is a bit of a convoluted story, but since I don't think anybody really reads this blog - that's ok! When I was pregnant with my first baby a box arrived from Virginia. She was an avid knitter. She taught me to knit when I was a very little girl. The box was full of hand knits for my baby. I was more than thrilled. My own mother was not thrilled that I was expecting. Another long story we don't need to get into right now. So, when Virginia's oldest grand daughter was expecting a baby girl I wanted to send a box of hand knits for her to carry on the tradition.

And because Aunt Virginia knit in good old fashioned acrylic, the things she knit will withstand Armageddon. I was able to include a blanket that was in that box I received from Virginia 39 years ago this summer.

The blanket that kept my oldest daughter warm is now wrapping Virginia's great grand dauther Solene. I will be meeting Solene in September and I can't wait.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

You Can Go Back

We live in a fast paced world. I am astonished that I have not posted on here in forever. I blame the iPad. I love my iPad and it is perfect for everything except blogging and writing.

I'm just back from a wonderful week in Port Charlotte FL with my BFF and college roommate Carol. Carol and I lost touch for a number of years, but a few years ago we reconnected. It was like no time passed. Strangely, even though we were out of touch for a while, our interests grew in similar ways. Both of us love exploring, art, creating things. We can get on the phone and have a two hour conversation over Pinterest.

The time in Florida really was magical. We spent a day on a gorgeous, almost deserted beach. We shopped a little in boutiques, vowing to remember every high priced item we saw because we can replicate for 1/10th of the cost. We took the trip one day at a time....and spent some of those days with our 3rd roommate Brenda.

We found a world class bead store. If you are ever near Port Charlotte and you like to play with shiny objects - this is your place!

Anderson's Bead Room

Carol and I made one or two (maybe 5) visits. In the old days we enabled each other with Boone's Farm Apple Wine and Sloe Gin Fizzes. Now the enabling takes the shape of turquoise and crystals and glass lampwork beads. We'd have been better off financially to buy a bottle of Boones Farm and call it good! But we had such fun. We made bracelets, necklaces, bookmarks and I'm pretty sure both of us may have several more beads waiting in the wings to become something wonderful.

We painted watercolors on the lanai. Carol's talent amazes me as I try to make it look like I've got 3rd grade a few years behind me in the paintings I do.

We went to Happy Hour at The Tikki Bar where the drinks were $2.50 and the view of the sunset free. It's the perfect recipe for a great vacation. Bring your old chairs and gather around the firepits. Drink tropical drinks (no sloe gin to be found) along side  a person with whom you bonded  in 1969 in a cement block dormitory in the middle of Michigan. There was nothing you couldn't tell her then and there's nothing you can't tell her now. A lifetime of memories is shared and many more are yet to be created. But the one thing I know, with special people you can go back. You can go home again. 
You can just be and that is the very best vacation of all. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Conversation With Clutter

It all started with the idea that I wanted to simplify my life. Don't all great de-cluttering adventures begin like that? I've learned some things about myself while on this quest to get rid of stuff.

  • Stuff is sneaky. No matter how many boxes and bags are donated, more stuff magically appears that I need to go through. 
  • Stuff makes you talk to yourself. "Do I really need this? Do I really need two cake stands? Do I even need one cake stand?"
  • Getting rid of stuff makes you deal with emotional guilt. Just because my dear former assistant crocheted me a toilet paper cover does not mean that its forever home is with me. My friend passed away last year and though I am not a crocheted TP  cover person I hesitated to get rid of it. I felt guilty because it seemed that I was disrespecting the sweet loving person she was. Then I realized this bit of yarn is not my friend. It has nothing to do with my fond memories of her. And someone else will enjoy it. I will enjoy the memories of my dear friend. 

  • I need to be hypnotized into never saying the words "I might need it someday". I will never need all the vases I've received flowers in. The thing is when you get more flowers they usually come with a vase. One nice vase put away in my cupboard with do.

Stuff is just that - stuff. In my case most of it is a result of impulse buying. My days of impulse buying are over. I have moved into impulse purging of things I just don't need. I will never be a minimalist, although I do love the clean lines and simplicity of their lifestyle. My eye likes busy-ness. I like groupings of lots of artwork, a variety of textures and color. I like eclectic and I like quirky and I like feminine romantic style decor. 

My new mantra is "Is it something I really use? Is it something I really love?" If it isn't - poof. Gone. 

I feel like it's taking forever, but I do see light at the end of the tunnel. I will have "after" photos soon. My bedroom is almost done. My closet is a thing of beauty. 

Stuff happens...then it gets donated and hopefully goes to a home where someone will really use it and enjoy it. And my home gets clearer and simpler. I have labels on things like organized people do. It feels good. And I can actually find the chargers for my camera. Can the charger for my cordless drill be far behind? 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Where did the time go?

I keep thinking- I really should blog. This blog is how many of my family members keep in touch. I am a horrible letter writer! The letters I write aren't horrible. It's just one of those things that if I think about doing it enough I start to believe I've done it. In my mind I have written numerous letters to all the people in my life. In my real life I have not written a real letter since I believed 40 was really old. When I opened HM&N and saw that I hadn't posted since October I was shocked. I thought it had been about 6 weeks.

Lots has gone on since I last blogged and at some point I will get to all of it. For now I am more than thankful that my sweet kitty has survived emergency eye surgery. Her eye had ruptured due to a viral infection. One day I had a very healthy kitty, the next day she was in the hospital. She's fine now, but what an ordeal. When my girls gave me my kitty I promised to be a good animal guardian and provide a good home for her- because she needed a home. I did not intend to get attached. I am a dog person. When I thought something might happen to her I was devastated. When I tearfully told my daughter that I hadn't intended to get attached she said "that boat sailed long ago". Indeed it did.

You have to look for humor in everything.... and this "eye chart" in the veterinary ophthalmologist's office was just the best:

I had to give Juli 4 different eye meds and 1 oral med every 3 to 4 hours. She was SUCH a good girl. I wrapped her in a towel and she just let me do whatever I needed to do without one complaint. I set up a kitty care center in one of my bathrooms. 

She was very docile the 4 weeks she had to wear the collar. But once the collar came off she was mad at me for 3 or 4 days.

But now, all is well and she seems to love her momma again.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I've started this post several times. I end up either deleting it or writing about something else. I've needed to process the events of this summer and usually writing helps me do that. Not so this time. My home is my sanctuary. It is not always as organized, sparkly clean or orderly as I would like, but it is my home. It is where I get to enjoy the hobbies I love. 

At the beginning of August at 10:15 PM someone broke into my home. While I sat in the front of the house watching TV this person pried the screen off the window in the room where I was knitting and watching TV. I never heard him. He didn't get in that way, but went to my back door. Apparently I'd left it unlocked while I was out watering my plants earlier in the day.

I went into the kitchen to get some water and found my door wide open and someone running away. I screamed "Oh my God!" and closed and locked the door. The funny thing is, I still didn't get it. All I could think of was my kitty, Juli. Juli was a gift from my daughter after she rescued her from the city streets of Baltimore. I was so afraid she'd gotten out. Losing Juli is something I cannot even stand to think about. She came to me at the same time I lost my sweet dog, Samantha. She is not a replacement for Samantha- she has her own place in my heart and in my life. She's my constant companion and the sweetest kitty in the world. 



The thief took my wallet out of my purse, jars of loose change and my sense of serenity. I am still processing the fact that someone was going through my closet in my bedroom while I sat in the front of the house. I've installed a ridiculously expensive alarm system and I wear the remote panic button around my neck like a prison warden. I still obsessively check my doors to make sure they are locked.

As totally creepy as it was, good has come from it. I've always wanted to learn to meditate and what better time than now? The stress relief from my quiet time is amazing. I'm re-reading one of my all time favorite books- Simple Abundance. I'm writing in my journal and I'm working through it. In the end, my sense of sanctuary does not come from my house. It comes from the people and animals I love. It comes from books and hobbies and learning and exploring. And it is not something that anybody- even a burglar - can take from me. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Going Green

I've been a total slacker as a blogger lately. Stressful summer. Burglary at my house. Earthquake. Hurricane. But I'll write about all that later- first a few words about my latest obsession.

It all started with cans of cat food. I didn't used to recycle. I mean as in even last year. Yeah, I know that is reprehensible, but I'm just being honest. It seemed like recycling was the equivalent of a part time job. I was lazy clueless. I wasn't sure how to separate, tie up and prepare my recyclables for their journey to their new lives as journals, shopping bags and whatever it is that cat food cans become when they grow up. Then came Juli- a very spoiled kitty who only likes canned food. And I was embarrassed by the amount of tin cans I was throwing in the regular trash every week. (ssssshhhhh, don't tell on me)

So I Googled it and discovered that all I need to do is rinse the cans, and put them and all their recyclable siblings like cardboard, wine bottles and the like into the same blue container.

Easy peasy. (Keeping with the green theme- I do love a theme!)

And after that somewhat corny segue to vegetables and being green.....

I now spend my mornings drinking Green Smoothies made in my new Vitamix. This is a blender with a motor that can pull a boat, that costs more than my entire dinner at my wedding cost (it was 1971). I'm making Dr. Oz's version. I love them. They are filling. They kill severely injure my cravings for sweets and help me stick with my newly declared vegetarianism. More on that in another post.

Dr. Oz's Green Smoothie:

1 cup spinach
1 large apple
1/2 inch ginger
4 stalks celery
1 cucumber
juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime

I add some ice to make it real cold,  a small amount of pure fruit juice (oj, pomagranite etc.). I also add a bit of real cold water to make it thinner. I don't like my smoothies thick like chocolate malts. I like chocolate malts thick like chocolate malts!

Oprah says this tastes like a glass of freshness- and I have to say, I actually agree. The lemon and lime are key!

I got a mani - pedi the other day. I may be carrying this GREEN thing a little too far!