A Little Chaotic

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These past few weeks have been barely controlled chaos for our families. Heart surgery in one, broken pelvis in another, then I’m having trouble with double vision. Just a lot of medical stuff. Some of it is still up in the air, but I’m confident that we’ll get it figured out.


Sewing

I wrapped up sewing classes a couple weeks ago. My final project was doing a quilted bag with a zipper.

Quilted Zipper Bag
Outside of the zippered bag
Inside Quilted Bag
Interior of the bag

I had finally finished my four training courses. I feel like I can learn to do a lot of things, and I’ve asked the really sweet sewing teacher if we might get together some, and do informal classes. I feel very grateful to someone who has taught me a life skill. Sure I paid a class fee, but you can’t ignore a wonderful personality with a giving spirit. She called to check on me after I told her I was having some double vision. The girl that was taking classes with me had to leave early for work the week before, and the instructor wanted to know if I’d like to come work. I told her that I really wasn’t supposed to drive alone, and that I wouldn’t have a ride in on time.

At my final official sewing class I earned my own pair of scissors that I got to pick out. Earned ScissorsIt’s kind of hard to tell in the picture, but it’s basically pink and white flowers.

I also got this cute paper:Sewing Machine LicenseIf anyone in the Huntsville metro area is interested in taking classes thru her, let me know. I highly recommend her, and her price really isn’t bad at all for what you are getting out of the class. I look forward to getting together with her and sewing on our own projects.

At home I had originally decided to sell my dining room furniture that is never used, and get rid of a piece of a red sectional couch that we had as an intact piece at one time until my dog named Cisco tore it with his toenails a few years ago. BJ said he thought it would be better if I had my sewing studio in the basement. We hardly ever use the basement for anything other than tornado warnings and to store things. I have some items that I can sell, so I intend to do that.

We have a plastic folding table that I will be using which is long enough for me to put my little countertop ironing board on.

Iron
This is a Black and Decker “Classic” iron. I saw it advertised as one of the highest recommended for new sewers.

I had BJ buy some white pegboard from work. He hung it above my sewing station where I would have the best way to reach everything on it. I ordered some pegs, and after they arrived I decided I could hang my thread from the pegs. A tiny curtain rod balanced between two pegs holds my scissors, and will hold another of my rotary cutters. I bought a little lamp off of Craigslist, and got an LED lightbulb for it. It’s going to work out just fine. We’re still working out the details of how fabric is going to be stored, but we’ve got a couple of ideas.Sewing Room Progress 2

 

I have gotten a few adult coloring books, and as I was flipping thru one I happened to see a sewing machine shaped sort of like the old Singer brand machines. I decided to get out my colored pencils and make a little art work for my studio.

All my things are ready, now I just have to get some ideas of what I’d like to try to sew.


Dinner Date With My Hubby

BJ and I love to go to fun new places, especially local ones. There is a new general store/game room/restaurant/bar downtown. It is near Washington Square, which has a neat vibe about it.Washington Square

There was even a neat mural in this alleyway.IMG_2445 2

BJ and I went into a couple of boutique stores around the corner from where we parked, and then we went in the the White’s Mercantile which houses an arcade and this bar. Pints and Pixels is the name of it.IMG_2444 2

BJ was in hog heaven when we went in. There were 80’s and 90’s era video games all over the place. Music from the 80’s is being played, and on their television screens are the videos from those songs. IMG_2452The restaurant housed here is another location of a place BJ and I have been to many times over the past few years. The table decor was plastic bead “sculptures” of the flowers that come up out of the pipes in the Super Mario Brothers game. IMG_2448The waitress gave us each 3 coins to play games with. I went first. I picked out Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat, and Pac Man.

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After our black bean burgers, BJ and I got up to leave, but he wanted to play NBA Jam. I indulged him, and played a little. He had fun. BJ Playing

After eating we went downstairs to the Mercantile store and looked around. They had some neat, but expensive things there. I did get silly, and try on a hat, but we didn’t buy anything.

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The Garden

My straw bales are doing very well, and before we know it, we’ll have zucchini and summer squash. Luckily if we can’t eat it all, I’m going to learn how to can it. I also have several tomatoes coming up. I put some crushed eggshells on them the other day for calcium, and I have some more to put on there today. IMG_2465

IMG_2468My poor herbs just don’t seem to be doing too well. I’m going to have to figure out a plan B on some things. Summer has sneaked upon us. I can’t wait for my first homegrown tomato sandwich. Now that’s good eating!

Parkway SunsetAs I say good evening to you, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

 

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Week in Review

Crafting in My Blood

I’ve always enjoyed doing crafts. I’ve bounced around doing different things over the years from cross stitch, plastic canvas, and a little scrapbooking. I must say though, now that I’m learning to sew, I’m finding it to be as enjoyable as my loom knitting. I’m still going to work on learning to crochet, but slow and steady wins the race. I’m in no hurry, and I know there will be a lot of imperfection before I get to a level that I like. I guess I’m sort of an instant gratification type person. I want to be able to do it right now, and do it flawlessly. In the real world, we all know, this doesn’t work. So I am practicing.

This week in my sewing class we learned how to make buttonholes with the machine and how to use the machine to sew buttons on. I accidentally left my power cord to my sewing machine at the house, so I had to use one of her machines. It is a Singer like mine, but it’s much more sophisticated. My machine is really meant for the beginner.

I brought a smaller square pillow to class I’d gotten at the thrift store for the day’s class. I learned how to make a cover for the pillow that can be changed seasonally. I turned out ok, but I think I’m going to add another buttonhole and button to it.

Pillow Cover

I love buttons, and I’ve loved them since childhood. My grandmother had a metal box with a lid that she kept all her old buttons in. They fascinated me endlessly. I stayed with her many summer days over my childhood and very frequently I would get that box, and dump its contents out onto the floor and look at all the cool buttons.

A few years ago I went into an antique store, and saw a jar of old buttons. I couldn’t help myself, and ended up buying it. More for sentimental reasons than anything else. I couldn’t sew at the time, but I still wanted those buttons. They’re stored in this cool old glass jar. I’d like to find a lot more vintage/antique buttons to put on things I make as I go along.

Jar of Old Buttons


Grow, Garden, Grow

Our straw bales finally have seeds that have been planted, and little seedlings are starting to come up. This thrills me to no end, because I couldn’t get to the garden last year.

StrawBalesEarlyGrowth1StrawBalesEarlyGrowth2It’s looking better every day.

I planted some herbs in my cinder block bed, but so far I haven’t seen any growth. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will turn out well.


The Generosity of Others

I never cease to be amazed at the kind generosity of others who are strangers to you. In this world, we so often hear the negativity spewing from every direction. In the past few weeks I’ve had three acts of generosity given to me. First there was the lady who gave me a large supply of nice fabric.

This week I posted on a Freecycle page on Facebook that I was looking for small jars. My intention is to sort different colored buttons in them. I got a message from a lady who said she had 14 baby food jars that she was going to use for a project, but never got around to. I had BJ go and pick it up off her porch after work.

Then I’m a member of another group on Facebook that I was an admin for for a short period of time. I decided it was a little too much responsibility to monitor a group. I’m still a member of the group. It’s a worldwide group called Buy Nothing Project. It is targeted for “hyperlocal” giving. It is encouraged to be more friendly and open than most freebie sites. The group I’m in only includes people in two zip codes of my town. I placed a request for jars there as well. I wrote a lady whom I had talked to previously about getting yarn, but we never got the details worked out. She wrote me, and said that she had a ton of jars that I was welcome to come get, and that she would give me some yarn as well. BJ drove me over to her house, where she invited me in. She gave me a box and started filling it with jars that had once contained food. In the end I wound up with two full boxes of jars and lids. Then she walked into another room and gathered some yarn up for me. It was so cool of her to not only give me the stuff, but to freely invite me into her home.


What’s Next?

I’m going to be learning yet another skill this summer, and that is canning. I have always wanted to can vegetables for my garden to enjoy year round. I have a glass top stove, and had always been told I couldn’t use a canner on it. I finally decided to contact Whirlpool to see if my particular oven was safe to can on. The emailed me back in a couple of days, and said that I could can on it. The only precautions were to make sure the stove eye I used to can on got a chance to cool down before doing anything else, only one canner on the stove at a time, and that the pan should be no more than 1/2″ over the diameter of the largest stove eye.

This means that I can now learn how to can my vegetables. I already own a water bath canner. I also have my grandmother’s older pressure canner, but I think it needs some replacement parts. Now the search will be on for finding good deals on canning jars and supplies. We’ll see how it goes.

Keeping Busy

It’s been a little while since I’ve written, but things have been a bit crazy around here. We’ve had some family and personal health issues. Things are slowly improving in that area, so fingers crossed that it will continue to get better.

New Hobby

I started sewing lessons a couple of weeks ago. I am learning from a wonderful woman named Becky. She is very patient, and makes it seem so much easier than I thought it would be. There is another student taking class at the same time as me. We’re enjoying learning.

First Sewing Project

This is my first sewing project. It is a rice filled bag that can be put in the microwave to heat it up, or put in the freezer to cool it down. I picked out the fabric, and made sections which I filled with rice that I’d added lavender essential oil to. I was so proud of this first project. I made a second pack while I was still in class. I filled it with orange essential oil.

Rice Pack

I made this smaller size rice pack at home later in the week. I gave it to my friend Rachel who just gave birth to a beautiful little girl.

Drawsting Bag 2I made this drawstring bag last week in class. I picked out the fabric and the ribbon. I’m not sure what I’ll carry in it, but I’m sure I’ll find a use for it.

Me Sewing

Becky sent me this picture of myself from my class. I’m always so excited about learning when I go to class.

I have really gone crazy trying to come up with sewing supplies. I get my mind set on a new task, and I get a little OCD. I found a few deals in thrift stores. I went to garage sales and estate sales looking for things. I’ve found some great fabric and a few different things. I posted on a Facebook group that I was looking for sewing supplies. A lady who lives a couple towns over met me one evening, and the amount of fabric was amazing. She just gave me a huge plastic tub and a garbage bag full of different kinds of fabric. Then she also gave me a bag full of accents to go on projects. I’m always in awe at the generosity of people.

Sunday afternoon I decided to try my hand at another bag, but a small one this time. I found some pretty gray fabric and decided to use some light purple ribbon for my straps. The fabric was a thrift store find, and the ribbon was from the Dollar Tree.Small Bag

At the beginning of the week I decided to use some of the fabric I received free to make a slightly larger bag. I’m having some trouble sewing in a straight line, but I know that comes with practice. Yellow Gray Bag

Yesterday our sewing class was about using the sewing machine to sew on buttons, and making buttonholes. I accidentally forgot the power cord to my machine, so I used one of Becky’s machines.

I had gotten a pillow from a thrift store. The pillow was decorative with lines of colorful thread going in straight lines across it. I took the stitches out, and it left me with a clean slate. I washed the pillow, and it was ready for class.

In class I watched in awe as the machine I was using made a button hole with hardly any effort from me. It was a little tricky learning to machine sew the buttons on fabric. It’s more of an issue of moving the button just a little to get everything lined up and then it’s super easy. I mostly finished my pillow cover, but I may still add a button.Pillow Cover


Garden

BJ and I are starting to get some growth in our straw bale garden. I’m so excited to be participating this year, because of foot surgery last year I couldn’t get downstairs to get to my garden. I had to view it from our deck.

We have planted a few things in our 8 straw bales including zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash, lots of tomatoes, different kinds of peppers. I also planted some of the herbs in the big flower bed. I haven’t gotten any growth in the holes of the cinder blocks yet.

I won’t go photo overboard, but here is some of the early growth in the garden.

I plan on planting some more things in buckets like kale, collards, spinach, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, and garlic. Maybe a few more things. I’ll hopefully get the center of the flowerbed planted with flowers. I have so many flower seeds, it would be a shame to not use them.

I contacted the manufacturer of my stove to see if I could can some of the produce from my garden. They wrote me back and told me that I could as long as I didn’t do marathon canning, used a pot that’s too big for the stove eye, or tried to can in two pots at the same time. I’ve never canned in my life, but I have quiet a few of the supplies to get me started.


Life Skills

I hope to learn as many old school life skills as possible. I don’t want to become Amish and sew all my own clothes or anything, but there are too many skills that over time have been forgotten. I enjoy learning, so I intend to spend my time learning as many things as I can. In the end, it will lead to a simpler and hopefully more budget friendly life.

Life at Home

Whos Up There
Whatcha doin up there?

Garden

It’s getting closer every day to the time when I can plant all the seeds I’ve acquired. We’re in the process of fertilizing the straw bale gardens. It has about 5 days left until we can put our soil on the top. You can technically plant transplants or plants that are already growing into the straw bale. You just make a bit of a hole in the soil and straw. I prefer to start with seeds, because they are cheaper to start with. If you would like to learn more about straw bale gardening, I recommend Straw Bale Gardening by Joel Karsten. Amazon has an updated version of the book that was published in February 2015. I have an older version, but it is still relevant. In the book you follow a 12 day process of alternating amounts of fertilizer on one day, and then watering another day. I’m hoping they do really well this year. Dirt In Flowerbed We finally were able to get fill dirt to add to our flower/herb garden. BJ went to get a pickup truck bed full of the dirt. He brought his truck into the backyard, and we shoveled dirt out of the truck into the middle of the flowerbed. Yesterday, BJ added compost and vermiculite to the dirt. It is supposed to rain soon, but as soon as the dirt is a little dryer I’ll start putting dirt into the holes of the cinder blocks. It won’t be long before I’m able to start planting all my seeds. I’m so excited. Now if I could just deal with that pesky pollen!

BJ’s “Honey Do” list keeps growing, poor guy! I decided I’d like a bench to sit outside and enjoy the yard. He can get pallets basically for free from work, so I’m looking up plans of different benches and chairs made from pallets. I’ve already told him that I’d like a greenhouse in the back yard, and he wants to build a small storage building to store the mowers and garden implements in.

Denver Stretching


 

Reading

I have a ridiculous amount of books to read, but I always seem to be acquiring more. I found a larger local used bookstore that has a pretty good selection, but their prices are a little higher than I’d like to pay. My favorite spot to get used books is the “Friends of the Public Library” bookstore. They have a lot of cool books in a small space, and the prices are amazing. I also buy a ton of ebooks on Amazon for my Kindle app. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be able to read all the books that I’ve downloaded. I have a bunch of different wish lists on Amazon, but I have a physical book list, and a Kindle book list.

Due to the migraines I had been having, I was having a very hard time with concentration. The headaches are almost gone now, so I’m able to focus much more easily. I found a book at the library bookstore that was on my Kindle wish list. Online it is $20 for a new book, and the digital addition is $13.49. I found this book for the outrageous price of $1.00. I have started reading it, and I’m enjoying it so far.

The book is called Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes, if you’d like to check it out on Amazon just click here. So far the book seems to focus not on homemaking as a duty of non-working women staying home and slaving away in servitude of a husband. This book highlights that homemaking is something for everyone single, married, male, female, young, or old. The main idea is that over the last couple generations, we have lost many of the essential skills to be as self-sufficiency. As I read thru the book I will update on my feelings of what I’m reading.

Book

The book is inspiring me to work harder at having a self-sufficient lifestyle. It’s amazing how much money BJ and I have wasted on non-essential items. I want to maximize our savings budget, and learn things that are useful. I’m seriously considering taking a beginner’s sewing class. I have been wanting to learn to sew for years.


 

My Self-sufficient Trials and Errors

When teaching ourselves new tasks realizing there is a high probably of failure is something that I’ve struggled with. I’m working to learn more and more every day. I absolutely love to learn, and there’s so many chances to learn every single day.

I had a trial and error with baking some bread this week. I bought a dry grinding container for my blender that breaks down wheat berries. I had gotten a bag of both hard red wheat berries, and hard white wheat berries. I had been hesitant to take the plunge to grind the wheat and make bread with it. The blender ground up the hard red wheat berries beautifully, my only problem is I didn’t feel how ground up it was until I had already started using it. I think next time I’ll make sure it’s ground finer.

Grinding Flour I let the yeast rest in hot sugar water for 15 minutes, and then I poured in half of the flour. My second mistake was that I didn’t allow the flour to be incorporated enough. Next time I’ll mix it longer. Then I put in the other half of the wheat in the mixer. It never seemed to have the consistency of my prior bread doughs. Perhaps the gluten wasn’t being properly stretched. I probably should have let that mix longer as well. I turned it out onto a floured board and kneaded it a little. I let it rise for an hour in an oiled bowl. I could actually hear it making a crackling sound as it was rising. At the end of the rise I was supposed to punch down the dough, knead it a little and turn it out onto a floured board. I cut the dough in half, and put each loaf in my silicone bread pans. I let them rise for another 30 minutes, and then I stuck them in the oven. I always cut a slice off the end off one of the loaves to test it out. It was just ok, it didn’t taste as good and didn’t seem to be too dense.

Bread Dough
Bread Rising

I’m ok with there being some trial and error as long as I’m learning.

As I try to master the art of homemaking, I will be updating here.

 

 

I Haven’t Forgotten

 

Rose
Rose from our front flowerbed

I really haven’t forgotten about the blog. I’ve just neglected it. We’ve had a whirlwind of activity around here in the past few weeks. There have been many changes in our family’s lives in both scary and exciting ways. My father-in-law had a massive heart attack, and after several scary days of waiting, his body healed enough for the doctors to put a stent in an artery that was 99% occluded. He is on the mend, but he has two more arteries that need stents. Those will be done after more healing occurs.


 

Princess

Princess2

When I was 18-years old, I moved into BJ’s parent’s home. I lived in the basement. One Saturday I came home, and there was a little fluffball of a puppy. BJ had gotten this sweet little dog for me from the local flea market. We named her Princess, and she was so much fun. She slept in the bed with me at night while she was little. When BJ and I moved into an apartment in 2000, I had to leave Princess with BJ’s parents. Before long they moved further out into the country and Princess had plenty of room to run and play. She was so fast and smart. She was part border collie, and part jack russell. She would run beside your car as you drove up the long driveway, and she could keep up with us while we were going as fast as 25mph. She lived a very long and happy life. She always recognized us when we came to visit my in-laws, and would try to “talk” to us with little noises. As she aged she finally lost her sight to cataracts and appeared to have lost her hearing. A couple weeks ago we went to my in-law’s house, and I noticed I didn’t see her sitting in her normal spot by the kitchen door. My mother-in-law didn’t want me to know, but Princess was missing. Apparently she wandered off, perhaps to cross the rainbow bridge on her own. It is so hard to believe after so many years that I won’t see that sweet pup when I go to my in-law’s. She was one of the first major gifts BJ got for me, and it was like the end of a chapter or our lives to realize she is now gone forever. We searched for her in the dark, and the family had searched the day before. She will forever hold a piece of my heart as my Princess, the thing BJ calls me each night as we say goodnight.

Princess
Princess a few months ago with a coat my mother-in-law got her.

 

Plants and Spring

Bluebells
Bluebell flowers BJ got me.

Spring has now made it’s appearance after a rather mild winter. All the seeds I’ve been looking at for months, are close to being ready to plant. We should be getting a truck bed full of dirt soon to fill the large cinderblock flowerbed. That will be filled with different flower seeds. I’m ready to fill the holes of the cinder blocks with herbs. We have started this year’s straw bales. You prepare them for 12 days before putting down a layer of soil on top, and then you are ready to plant your vegetable seeds. I had originally wanted to do 10 bales, but the bales are slightly expensive so we decided on 8. To prevent the avalanche of straw during the middle of the growing season like last year, BJ cut up some wooden pallets, and held them in place with pieces of rebar.

Straw Bales 2016

There will be T-posts on each end, and several levels of wire strung across to each T-post to use as a trellis. We’re also planning on putting something on the ends of the straw bales. Side of Straw Bales

I will be growing some things in buckets too. This past weekend I planted dahlia bulbs in medium size flower pots. I stuck them on either side of the patio paver walkway near the main flowerbed. I repotted some plants I had in the kitchen. BJ had gotten me a couple of beautiful pots that I used.

I put my jade an aloe in the pots, and I had another pot with an overgrown mother-in-law tongue that had a lot of dead leaves. I dumped it out, and sorted out the green growth, and then centered it in the pot.


Moving Forward

As long as I can remember in my life I have always looked towards the future, and what my plans and goals are. It catapulted me thru college so quickly that I had a master’s degree in nursing by the time I was 23. Many things in my life have changed over the years, just like they do in everyone’s lives. I am looking at life in a different way than what I had planned for years. Although things will be very different than what I had envisioned before, I’m still hopeful. On April 4th, BJ and I celebrated the 18th anniversary of us becoming a couple. It has been wonderful having him in my life, and the vision of us spending our lives together remains the same. Our ability to grow and change together as time goes on keeps us strong.

My thoughts about my personal future is that I’ll be taking time to learn many things and devoting time to my health. I will be studying things that will improve our self-sufficiency like gardening, sewing, herbalism, homemaking, and maximizing our finances. There are many things I am interested in, and of course there isn’t time for everything, but I’m dedicated to doing the most that I can. Like the quote in my craft room says, “Bloom where you are planted”. I want to make the most of each day ahead of BJ and I both.

 

Catching Up

Purple

The weekend after I visited my mom I spent mostly hanging out in the craft room. I was feeling a little down, so Saturday night BJ took me to Big Spring Park to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful night.

Gorgeous Night

This park is always pretty, but that night it was especially magical looking. The spring is full of koi fish, some are absolutely huge. There are lots of ducks to feed. We walked some so I could get a little exercise. I stopped to take in how pretty the city looks at night.

Big Spring Park 1

Night Out


The week started out with BJ working closing shifts. I went for a walk in the neighborhood Monday afternoon. I had gone to get acupuncture and then some groceries. I hung out in my craft room listening to music.

Tuesday night we found out that my father-in-law had had a massive heart attack. I had actually been the one to talk him into going to the hospital. He thought it was just heartburn. I had missed a few days earlier and his family doctor also thought it was something like heartburn.

Wednesday morning we found out how serious my father-in-law’s heart attack had been, and we drove to see him in the ICU. It was a very scary time with a lot of worried family members. Since I have a medical background I did a some translation of what the doctor and nurses were saying to the family. We stayed at the ICU waiting room with the family until the last visiting hours. We came home to let Joey out and to feed Denver.

Thursday morning the rain was pouring. A few days earlier I had noticed a spot on the ceiling of my craft room that looked like it had some water damage. BJ went into the attic, and didn’t see any signs of a leak. He figures that the rain at another time had blown under the soffit. While he was up in the attic he found a box of wedding momentos that I had been looking for. I’m so excited, because some of the things in there will be used in my shadowbox displaying some items from our wedding.

Tiara Later in the day we went back to see BJ’s dad. We got to see our nephews that live part of the time in Boston. One of my nephews I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. We didn’t stay too long because the weather was going to get bad. I have a phobia of tornadoes, and as we were leaving the hospital the tornado sirens started sounding. I found the radar on my phone, and then pulled up a live stream from television of the weather. It was just north of us as we travelled home. The sky was so ominous looking. We finally made it home safely, and I was feeling less anxious.

Friday morning BJ went fishing with my stepdad, and I worked on some product reviews. I began having a headache, so I fell asleep a couple of times in my recliner. In the afternoon my dad came to visit. I stayed home while BJ went to visit his dad who had been moved to a regular room, because he was slowly improving. My dad and I went out to eat, and I had some vegetarian chili with cornbread, and my dad had a different kind of chili.Doggie BookendsI had requested that my dad bring these doggie bookends from my grandmother’s house to me. I don’t know exactly how old they are, but I know for sure that there are pictures from the 50’s of them in my grandmother’s house. I’m so excited to be able to use them in my craft room. I’ve always loved them. My bookcase is full, so this will hold books on top of a plastic shelving unit. I have too many books.

Saturday my dad went to buy us breakfast. I’m not supposed to be eating anything processed, but I do good the majority of the time. I had an egg and cheese biscuit. BJ woke up after some well deserved sleep. After eating and hanging out a little while he went to go buy a few of the straw bales for this year’s garden. We had originally planned on doing 10 bales, but due to costs and the fact that we have other projects going, we decided on doing 8 bales this year instead. We had 5 bales last year. I’m going to be growing some things in buckets and flower pots, plus we’ll have the big “H” shaped flowerbed of cinderblock. All the holes will be filled with edible herbs and maybe some vegetables.

We went to Jason’s Deli for lunch. We all ended up eating salads. When I started acupuncture the Dr told me to cut out as much oil as possible. I asked his staff what kind of dressing to put on my salads, because I usually put high fat ranch on them. They told me to use honey mustard instead. I found out that I really like the taste of it on a salad. I have made a couple this week using soy “chicken” strips that I cooked from frozen in a skillet.

Big Salad

My dad stayed for a while in the afternoon with us. He loves his grand-doggies and he took this picture of Denver getting one of his natural beef stick treats.

Happy Denver

 

We went out for a little dinner at Which Wich and drove thru downtown before heading home. BJ mostly watched basketball on tv while I looked at things online. I was sleepy by 8:30. So I went ahead and went to bed.

 

Weekend Roundup

BJ and I enjoyed the end of the week of his vacation. Friday I woke up early and enjoyed some coffee. Around 8 I woke BJ up, and he slowly got up. We’re pretty much the exact opposite when it comes to waking up. As soon as I’m awake, my feet usually hit the floor. BJ, however, stays in bed for a little while. If I did that I’d fall back asleep.

We went to eat lunch at a different Mexican restaurant than the ones we’ve been to before. It was really good. I had a vegetarian tamale, and something cool I’ve never had before, avocado mac ‘n cheese. It sounds kind of gross, but it was really good.

After eating we went into a Hancock Fabrics that was a couple doors down. I had seen clearance signs in the window, and I couldn’t pass it up. I saw a lot of things I really wanted, but found this Owl Planter

It’s a perfect planter for my succulents that will live in my craft room before too long. I also found these beautiful buttons for my wristlets that my mom crocheted for me.Buttons

BJ dropped me off at Hobby Lobby to shop while he went to get a haircut. I found a couple of photo frames I wanted, but couldn’t find an item I’m looking out for which is a lucky elephant. I looked at quiet a few things, and BJ still hadn’t called to tell me his haircut was done, so I bought my frames then started walking toward the barber shop. I stopped in Kirkland’s to see if they had any neat decorating ideas. I couldn’t stay in there long, because the smell of the candles and potpourri were triggering an even worse migraine than the one I already had.

We then headed to Lowe’s to get a few supplies for our garden. BJ got t-posts, wire, and rebar to create the trellis and support structure for our straw bale garden. I picked up this beauty:African Violets

I’ve had African violets before, but they died a long time ago, and I want to get one. I have special little pots that are made especially for them. I will be buying another one soon. I just loved the color of this little guy. I’m still sort of holding out for some succulents.

We went home after that, and I fell asleep because of fatigue from these never ending migraines. BJ did some great work in the front flowerbed. He also cut down some pallets to use as reinforcement for the straw bale garden.

Flowerbed2
The green plants are stonecrops and there’s a couple of salvias in there. I have 3 of the solar dragonflies that change color at night.

After I got up, BJ wanted to get back out of the house. We had some dinner, and then drove downtown to the courthouse square. We parked and walked to a little cafe/coffee shop.

Cafe

They serve a wide selection of coffee, tea, and tasty treats. They also have meals, including some that are vegetarian. I got a large latte and BJ got a mocha. They have a little spot to sit outside, but we decided to sit in the cafe for the ambiance. I really enjoyed it, and I’m definitely going to be going back.

Cafe 2


BJ decided to try another round of fishing on Saturday morning. I want no part of the water right now. I woke up at the same time as he was getting ready to go out. I hung out around the house. I spent some time hanging out in my craft room. I’m constantly coming up with new ideas of things I’d like to do with the room. I

I struggled most of the morning with a migraine, and slept off and on for most of the morning. After BJ got home from fishing we decided to get out of the house. We headed to Jason’s Deli where we both had the salad bar.

After we ate, we drove to one of my favorite places in town. It’s called Lowe Mill and in its beginnings it was a cotton mill, one of a few in town. It is three stories tall, and is shaped like an “L”. Lowe Mill is filled with artist studios that you can walk by and watch people working at or selling their art. The first floor is mostly studios for full time artists. There are a vast array of things to see from paintings, to jewelry making, pottery, and sculpture. One the second floor is what is called the “artist’s market”. People set up tables and small booths to sell their arts and crafts. There’s always so many cool and interesting products for sale. The people watching is awesome too. You never know what kinds of things you will see. We went from floor to floor in one of those old industrial elevators. I was a little nervous of it, but wanted to try it. I actually got out of the market without spending any money. I’m pretty sure if BJ hadn’t been with me that I would’ve bought a few things.


 

Sunday morning I woke up early, even though we were springing forward. I spent part of the morning “window shopping” online. BJ got up at 8.

We spent most of the morning just hanging around the house. I printed off an organized list of the seeds that I currently have to see if there are any more that I might want to order. I probably have a dozen seed catalogs, and I love it! I just love seeing the many different things available.

Later in the day BJ wanted to get out of the house. First we went to Garden Cove, which is a local produce/health food store. I love their selection and prices on produce. Their prices on frozen foods and supplements are rather high, but the produce is priced really great. I bought some bananas, onions, and spinach. I was able to use the produce bag that my mom crocheted for me. It worked really well.

We then drove down to Madison County Lake. This has been one of our favorite spots to ride around since we first moved to the area. It is a manmade lake that is a decent size. We always drive from one end to the other taking in the sights. Yesterday we were blessed to see a bald eagle flying over the lake. So beautiful!

We spent the rest of the night hanging out at home. It’s been a great week having BJ on vacation.

Tuesday’s Gone With the Wind

Wheat Berries

Monday night I picked up my first order from a company called Azure Standard. You can buy in bulk and get a ton of different choices of organic and healthy foods. I bought a few things just to sort of check it out. Some of my interesting purchases included two different kinds of hard wheat berries. I’m looking to grind them in my Vitamix blender that is made just right for grinding the wheat berries into flour. I’m going to be baking lots of bread. I also bought a big batch of yeast. I’m going to be buying from them again. When the 18 wheeler arrived in the parking lot where people were waiting, we all formed a line and started unloading everyone’s products. They were separated out by last name, and before long the shipment for this area was out of the truck and we quickly found our box.

BJ went fishing yesterday with a buddy of his. He said he caught 3, so he wants to fish more while he’s on vacation. Fishing is truly his passion. I don’t have a single thing that I can claim to be my passion. I have an interest in so many different things. I’m usually trying to work on all my favorite things at the same time.

I woke up about 6, and had coffee. About 9 I was already fighting sleepiness. I swear I must have the sleeping sickness. I talked to my dad on the phone for a little bit, and then went into my craft room to take a little nap. When I woke up BJ was sending me a text saying he was on his way home from fishing. Before he got home I drew out a “map” of my cinder block flowerbed. I am now going to plan what I’m going to plant in each little hole.

Garden Planning
It’s a good thing I used graph paper. I am definitely not good at drawing.

Once BJ got home and got ready, we went for an early dinner. We went to Jason’s Deli. I should’ve just gotten a salad, but I got their Zucchini Grillini. It’s a good sandwich with red roasted pepper hummus, black olives, spinach, tomato, and cheese. It came with a bowl of steamed veggies. I love their tea, I think it is black currant tea. I bought a tin of black currant tea the other day, and I’m going to try making some this week.

After eating we went to Marshalls and Target. I’m searching for some affordable containers to store all my bulk food items in. I found some at Bed Bath and Beyond before I picked up my food on Monday night, but they’re just a little too expensive. I was hoping for something at Marshalls. I saw a few things I wanted to buy, but I am trying to contain my urge to shop. Next week I will get back into a pattern of more sensible spending. I’ve studied money management enough to know what to do to save my pennies, but I haven’t been doing it. I went off the rails at Christmas, and I’m not back on track yet. At Target I didn’t see any different containers than the ones I had already seen. Still not as cheap as I’d like. I have a need for quiet a few of the containers. I ended up buying a cruelty-free eyeshadow stick to put in my purse. I typically don’t wear much or any makeup, but I probably should. I got a bronze colored eyeshadow.

After those places we went to Whole Foods. I’m a true sucker for places like this. It is rather expensive, but they have a few things I can’t find anywhere else. I got some liquid stevia for my iced tea, cereal, tortillas, crumbled feta, sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, and then some vegan chicken salad.

We came home because I was starting to get a pretty bad headache. Once we got home, BJ realized we needed dog food. He headed to Kroger near our house, and I put a mask over my eyes to help ease my headache. I took my tinctures, and a anti-inflammatory. A little later it started easing up some, and I watched some TV with BJ. I had a wrap with the mock chicken salad, and it was extremely tasty.

I’m hoping that we enjoy the rest of BJ’s vacation, even though the further in the week it gets, the higher the likelihood of rain.

Weekend Roundup and Vacation

Friday BJ was off work, and we mostly stuck around the house. I made pancakes in the morning with a new set I’m product testing.

Pancake bottle

Pancake

BJ painted my picture ledges with some spray paint, and hopefully they’ll be up sometime soon.

Painted Shelf

My dad came to visit after he got off work. We had some Mexican take out for dinner. I didn’t really feel like going out, and my dad was tired.

Saturday my dad and I hung out around the house until he left to go home a little before BJ got off work. I haven’t felt as perky as normal, and fell asleep a couple of times while he was here. We enjoyed watching the birds coming to the bird feeder he made me a few years back. We had a special visitor that I’ve never seen at this feeder, a red-headed woodpecker.

Woodpecker

Sunday BJ had to close at work, so I held the fort down. I was still having a lot of sleepiness. I was hoping I wasn’t getting sick or something. I got a little cleaning done around the house, but spent a lot of time on and off sleeping.

BJ’s weeklong vacation started today. I’m so excited when he gets time off. He had to get a tire replaced first thing this morning, because he got a razor blade in his last night while he was at work. He had to change the tire on the way home. I was just thankful he could find a safe place to change it. We went to eat breakfast, and then we went to Lowes trying to figure out how he wants to hang the picture ledges. Then we went to pick his tire up, and headed home. After we got home, he decided to get started on a flowerbed we’re going to have in the back yard. He decided a while back that he wanted it in an H design. I just wanted to go on record saying that I didn’t pick the H. He had already gotten the blocks from work that he was going to use to make the bed, and some pavers to create a path. He had laid down cardboard a few weeks ago to help kill off some of the grass and weeds where it was going to be. It didn’t take him long, and he had a pretty cool flowerbed all set up.

FlowerbedThe inside of the flowerbed will be filled with all kinds of flowers, and each hole of the blocks will be filled with either an herb, vegetable, or flower. I’ll also have some random flowerpots that I’ll fill. I’m hoping to attract some butterflies and bees to the backyard.

Later this week we’ll probably get started making the surrounding structure of our straw bale gardens. This year we’re doing two rows of 5 straw bales with supporting T-posts and wire going across to form trellises. I look forward to gardening this summer.

Super Tuesday

VoteI started the day early. Woke up about 4:30 for some reason, and decided to go ahead and get up for the day. Last night I went to bed around 9, because I just couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer.

I did manage to get a couple things done yesterday. I’ve almost gone thru all my seeds for spring planting. I put them in a binder, and I have a list of them on my computer so I don’t have to keep wondering what I actually have. I plan on finishing that job tonight. Seeds

I’m also going to finally start working on my bohemian valance for my craft room. I bought a bunch of weird looking clothes from a couple of thrift stores with the intentions of making a valance for my craft room window. Basically what it is, is a bunch of strips of fabric cut about 12″ in length and 1-3″ wide, tied on a rope that will drape down from brackets on the wall. BJ bought me a 42″ strand of hemp rope that I’ll be attaching the strips of fabric to. Even though they’re weird looking thrift store clothes, it’s still sort of hard for me to cut up perfectly wearable clothes. I’m going to salvage all the buttons. There will be lots of pictures of the whole process that I’ll share.

After working on the computer some, I watched my new favorite show thanks to my dad ‘Flying Wild Alaska’. It follows a family who run an airline in what looks to me like a place that most people wouldn’t want to live. I like the family on the show, and right now it’s one of the only shows I’m watching. I guess I’m not too typical for someone my age. I don’t follow many mainstream shows.

After my show went off, I woke BJ up. We ate oatmeal for breakfast, and a little later we went to a little church near our house to vote in the Super Tuesday elections. I don’t make it a habit to discuss politics with many people. I do however feel that voting is something that I should do, and I feel very strongly about it.

I’ve been working some today on product reviews. I got into doing product reviews before Christmas. I read about it on someone’s blog, but I can’t remember who to give them proper credit. There are several websites, and a ton of Facebook groups that cater to product reviews. Sometimes you get an item for free and other times you pay a very highly discounted price for an item. You have to have Amazon Prime to make it work. You get the product, test it out, take a few pictures, and review it. Then you get to keep the product, you are not to sell it. That would get you kicked out of reviewing really quickly. After a while you start getting pretty picky about what you decide to review. I’ve enjoyed it so far.

Well that’s enough for today. Have a great night.