Good Morning Sunshine

It was a beautiful morning here!  I officially had my first morning tea on the deck today….without a coat.  It was supposed to rain all day, but not a drop fell so I had another cup of tea on the deck this afternoon.  Smile  Hubby just said it’s starting to rain and I see my chair cushion still sitting out.  I’ll get to it when I’m done here.

It was just like the song “Sunny and 75”.  I’m so glad that winter is over and spring is finally here.

This is a generic post, but I really just need to get back in the habit of writing.  I finally got Windows Live Writer on my new computer so it will be a lot easier for me now.  See you all again soon….I hope.  Winking smile

Gardengirl

A Cooking Tip…Just In Time For Easter!

Don’t you hate when you peel a hard boiled egg and the shell stuck so bad that you only have about half of the egg left?  I know I do and I use a lot of hard boiled eggs!  I finally found a tip that actually works to help keep the shell from sticking to the egg.  I had to try it a couple times before I got it right because all it said was to add baking soda to the water when you boil the eggs.  I boil 12-15 eggs at a time and wondered if there was a certain amount of baking soda that needed to be added and when it should be added.

First, I tried adding a tsp.  Of course, I forgot to add it before I got the eggs boiling so I just put it in when I remembered.  It didn’t work.  Next, I tried 2 tsp., but again forgot to add it before the eggs were boiling, even with a reminder note posted right over the stove!  It didn’t work again.  A few times I just plain forgot to add it at all.  Yes, habits die hard in my house.  Water, eggs, boil, #$%@.  Finally, a few days ago, I got it right!

I put the water in the pan and added 1 Tablespoon of baking soda and then put the eggs in and brought them to a boil.  I got busy and boiled them about twice as long as I usually do, but it didn’t matter at all.  After they cooled, I started peeling and Hurray!  The shells came off so easily!  So there you have it.

Add 1 Tbsp. baking soda to the water before you boil the eggs.

That’s a good one to know just in time for all those Easter Eggs!

Oh, now I remember.  I finally got a new computer, but all of my pics are on my old computer and I’m not used to posting directly through WordPress so things may look a little awkward and bland for a while until I get this all figured out.

Have A Great Day!

Gardengirl

Some Christmas Ketchup (I mean Catch up) ;)

I know it’s way past Christmas, but I’m playing catch up.  In the beginning of December my quilt club had a Christmas Party for all the members.  Three other ladies and I were in charge of putting it all together.  It was fun, but there was a lot of work involved.  I am calling sewing work because sometimes it feels like it when I have time limits.  Sad, but true.  We decided on a couple of crafts that were from us to all the members: a Christmas tree air freshener cover and a bag of treats with a neat poem attached.  The bags were just simple unlined bags about 6×9” tied at the top with the ribbon from the tag.  The poem on the card was really “sweet”.  I think it will enlarge enough for you to read it if you click on the picture.  The trees are basically just a party hat template.  I’m showing the unembellished version, but you can add all kinds of trimmings to pretty them up.  I will post a tutorial for them tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014) on my sewing blog.  Just click on the girl holding the scissors in my sidebar to get there.

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We each made 8 of those plus everyone had to make a placemat.  This is the top of my placemat before quilting and binding.  I adapted a hexagon pattern from another lady in my club.  I liked them so much that I made a set of them for my cousin’s bridal shower.  They’re a lot easier than you might think!

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Another optional project was to make 1 or more 12” squares using a star pattern and the colors red, green, and gold.  For each square you made your name was put into a drawing.  Whoever’s name was drawn won all the squares to put together into a quilt or for some other project.  I chose not to participate in that because I was just too busy and I couldn’t find a star pattern that didn’t have to be adapted into a 12” square.  I just didn’t feel like taking the extra time to think it through.  I did, however, participate in the gift exchange.  There was a $10 dollar limit and it had to be sewing related.  This is what I put together.  It didn’t really cost me anything because I used fabric that I already had.  I got the pattern for the bags from another blog and I rolled up 3 pieces of fabric that were probably a little bigger than fat quarters and added a couple spools of new thread and Voila!  I really love these bags!  I’m adding them to my list of tutorials for my sewing blog “Focus on Sewing” so watch for them coming soon!

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We all had a good time planning it and it turned out to be a very nice party.  Everyone had a good time visiting, playing games and eating the good food.  Here are some pictures from the party itself.

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Word for the Year–grateful

There seems to be a new trend, choosing a word to focus on for the year.  I’ve seen it mentioned a few places and thought it was interesting so I thought I would try it out.  I chose the word GRATEFUL.  Each day since Jan. 1st I’ve been writing a few sentences about one thing that I am grateful for in a little notebook of spiral bound index cards.  On the back I write down what picture will go with that day’s thought, then I take the picture.  My plan is to make it into a “Grateful” scrapbook of my year.  I think it will be….enlightening….and rewarding.

I think the goal of choosing a word to focus on for a year is to improve yourself in at least that one area by becoming aware of ourselves in relation to that one word.  I am a very grateful person, but sometimes I find myself becoming a little selfish or petty and hopefully, this project will make me aware of the absolutely infinite number of things I have to be grateful for.

It’s amazing how on the most average day, if I think not really too hard at all, I can always come up with something to be grateful for….and I’m only a week into it!  I’m willing to bet that even by the end of the year I’ll be able to come up with something new fairly easily.  Today, I will be grateful for the ability to share my thoughts with all of you and to read your thoughts in return.  The internet can be good.

What would your word be? 

Have an amazing day everyone!

Julie

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Basement archaeology

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve written here and it feels really good to be back.  My computer had several issues and had to make a few trips to the doctor.  They still aren’t completely resolved, but it’s good enough for now.  I just have to treat my laptop like a desktop because the battery still won’t charge and I have to leave it plugged in constantly.  I can still take it with me as long as there is somewhere to plug it in.

Happy New Year everyone!  I’ve always loved the holidays and decorating and baking cookies, but the last several years have not been fun and relaxing.  I think I started trying too hard to do what everyone else wanted, or what I thought they wanted, and forgot what makes them so special.  This year I literally made myself sick.  Twice.  I’m all better now and a much more smiley me.

After destroying my sewing room by making a bunch of Christmas presents this year (and not cleaning up in between) I decided that it was time to make a clean sweep and reorganize.  Yesterday was scrap sorting day.  I created a lot of scraps over the last few months and already had some from before so I decided to sort them by color and put them in separate boxes.  I found a large garbage bag full of scraps that I grabbed from quilt club sometime in the past year.  Another of the members cleaned out her room and brought scraps for us all to pick through and take home.  I let everyone else pick through and then grabbed the bag that was left.  I started with that and was surprised to find under the little scraps on top, several pieces of yardage!  I couldn’t believe it!  Some of the other “scraps” were also quite large, like fat quarter size or bigger. It was like Christmas all over again…for free.  Here’s a picture of it all after it was sorted.  The top left stack is 3 big pieces of yardage.  I didn’t even open them to see how big, but they’re quite bulky.

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At this point, I thought I was done I must have been delusional.  I put all this in separate boxes and took it back downstairs to my room and found another box of scraps.  I hauled that box up and sorted it also and took it down to the already sorted boxes….and found another large shopping bag.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Aaaand I found another bag.  Thankfully, this one was small and sorted quickly.  I cleared out 3 awkward bags and a broken box and ended up with several small boxes of fabric that can now be stacked neatly and the contents identified quickly.  Whew!  I didn’t even realize how much scrap I had!

I can’t wait to see what I make with it and what other buried treasures I have!

Happy Scrappy New Year!

Julie

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Cancer Story #1–Heather von St. James-Mesothelioma Survivor

A few days ago, I received a comment on my blog.  It was sent to the junk file, but it seemed innocuous enough so I decided to respond to it.  It was from a woman named Heather and she asked if I could please contact her because she had a question about my blog.  I sent her an email telling her to ask away.  I didn’t really expect a response and after a couple days I deleted the comment from the junk mail in my dashboard.  Yesterday, I got a return email that told me some of her story and asked if I would share a video of it on my blog.  I literally got chills through my whole body because her original question came before I posted my cancer stories post.  Well, I told her that I absolutely would share her story before I even saw the video because this is exactly what I was looking for.  We emailed back and forth a couple of times and then I watched the video and was brought to tears again.  These were not sad tears at all, but tears of joy and triumph for Heather and her family.  Hers is a miraculous story and yet it’s an everyday story of so many families that have loved ones with cancer.  Heather’s is a story of Hope…for all of us.

Heather would like to spread the word about mesothelioma and it’s causes and treatments.  To prove how little most of us probably know about it, I will tell you what I know.  I know that “Doug” has mesothelioma.  He’s the guy in the television commercials for mesothelioma awareness.  I also know that a lot of lawyers are trying to get rich off of it, also from television commercials.  According to the commercials, it is a rare form of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.  I know of one person who had it.  He won a big lawsuit and built his family a huge house in my town so that they would be taken care of after he died.  I have heard that no one survives mesothelioma.  Obviously, I heard wrong.  Let’s take a few minutes to learn a little bit about this devastating disease and to acquire some Hope to pass on to others who we may know who have this disease.

Here is the link to her video and a few other links so that you can see more of her story and the story of mesothelioma that affects so many who are suffering from this disease through no fault of their own.

http://www.mesothelioma.com/heather/#.UmU5Kn9uHd4

Heather blogs on mesothelioma.com here:

http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/heather/

If you would like to learn more about mesothelioma after watching the video, her blog has links to plenty of resources.

May we all remember that life is precious and savor each and every minute like Heather.  Always look forward and keep a positive attitude.

Blessings and Hope,

Julie

Project Optimism-Don’t Worry…Be Happy!

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.

A.J. Cronin

.. and looking at her face you can see that sh...

.. and looking at her face you can see that she’s beginning to worry about everything like a grown up!

I love this quote.  It was in my inbox one day from Goodreads Quote of the Day and it put my feelings into words so succinctly that I saved it because I knew that one day it would inspire me.  I incorporate this wisdom into my life every day.  I have three kids, I could worry myself to death!  Instead, I choose to handle issues the best I can when they come up and leave the rest to God.  I have taught my children (young adults now) how to make good decisions and to always do their best.  Whether or not those lessons are always followed is another story.  I rarely took my parents’ advice.  I always had to find out for myself.  A lot of kids are like that, including mine, and I am ok with that.  I would rather have them try something and fail, or learn a lesson, whether positive or negative, than to be afraid to ever spread their wings because something bad might happen.  Someone else in my family, who shall remain nameless, doesn’t share my philosophy.  That person gets very frustrated and angry when the younglings’ choices don’t match what that person thinks they should do.  I generally take the brunt of it because I encourage them to try.

Happy Children Playing Kids

Happy Children Playing Kids (Photo credit: epSos.de)

When my oldest wanted to go to his first concert, I said, “Go!”  That other person was more hesitant and worried until said child was home.  That person has an ulcer…I don’t.  Don’t think that I don’t worry or care what happens to my children, I do, but I prepare them to experience life and then I let them try it in appropriate increments.  Sometimes, I think that other person would protect them forever and then expect them to know how to live in the world when they got to a certain age.  That person would disagree with me on that, though.   As parents, the best we can do is prepare our children as they grow, pray, and leave the results up to God.

I look at it this way:  If I actively worried about my children every time they were out of my sight, I would never sleep, I would have an ulcer, I would be completely unproductive, and I would be the crankiest, most controlling witch in the world.  My kids sometimes think I am anyway, but I just tell them that it’s my job.  When my kids get hurt, and they do, both emotionally and physically, then I am there for them, to help them through whatever challenge life has brought them.  If I worried and controlled them too much, then I would be too tired and sick to help them when they need me.

I can’t control that drunk driver on the road or that semi driver who isn’t paying attention.  What I can control is what I teach my children.  I teach them to be attentive to other drivers, to not be that drunk driver, and to help others when they see a need. I teach them to make good decisions and to take responsibility for those decisions.  I will sleep peacefully at night even when my children are out late, or working midnight shift, or driving somewhere they have never been before, or riding a motorcycle over big jumps.  Worrying won’t get them there any safer.  Preparation will.  So, until I get that phone call in the middle of the night, I will sleep peacefully, and trust myself, my children, and God (not necessarily in that order!) to take care of things.

So prepare for life.  Live life.  Don’t worry about all the “what ifs”.  Handle things as they come and sleep peacefully, knowing that God is really the only one who has any control.

A worry free and well rested Julie!  :)

**The related articles below are all good and deal with worry.  Check them out.**