Please Stand By

Hi folks –

A member of my family had a major seizure this week and is in the hospital and will be going to rehab in the next few days.
I feel the need to be with them, so my posts will probably stop for a week or so while I do my thing with them.

I will be updating my gratitude journal each day and I will still take a photo everyday, but I won’t have time to edit/post them until the health issues are somewhat resolved.

Thank you (in advance) for your understanding.


National Embroidery Month (a review of my own work)

February is National Embroidery Month as mentioned in my Week 5 Photo post, and I had committed to completing 4 projects in the month.

It sounded easy to me, 1 project/week didn’t seem too bad. In fact I felt like it was totally doable.

And then I started working on it, and realized that a “project” didn’t mean one piece. Many of my projects consist of multiple pieces. So, all in all I did 14 pieces in February, which actually amounted to 6 projects, however I didn’t want to include one of them in my commitment because it was a tribute piece to my mom that I did start to finish on the anniversary of her death. And the other one not part of my commitment was really a piece I did because I needed to do something ‘mindless’.

I’m glad I did it for multiple reasons.
One, it was good to get my head wrapped around art during the anniversary of Mom’s death, it forced me to think about positive things.
Two, it was good to work my brain in ways that I hadn’t done in a long time.
Three, I’m not good at committing to things, I actively avoid commitment actually, so committing to this, and completing the commitment was really powerful for me.

Here’s the pieces I did in February (all will be framed & hung up soon, I need to paint the hoops before I can frame them):

Project 1 – Coral, shells and jellyfish

Project 2 – M

Project 3 – Sunglasses (I went back and filled in the frames with a turquoise color), eyelashes/brows and lips. Those lips are ostentatious though…hehe, so I’ll have to be careful how I hang these. They will go into 3 shadowbox frames and be hung in the bathroom – behind glass, because otherwise – ew.

Mom’s piece –

Project 4 – I love plants and I love denim, and I was feeling a real need for spring so I did leaves/plants on different denim fabrics, 2 printed and 3 solid

Extra piece – the fact is I needed to do something “mindless” for a few days in the middle of the month, so I did a piece of (non-repairing) tatting/weaving/embroidery. It’s not refined, it’s not evenly woven, and there are a number of errors where I lost track of my over/under. BUT, there’s something I love about it as a whole.

My hair…sigh

I used to have beautiful hair. Thick, abundant, wavy hair.
And I’m talking THICK and ABUNDANT – the kind of thick & abundant where I had to use  the largest hair ties we could buy in order to just put the front half of my hair back off my face.

But then I got old, and my hair thinned – both in individual strands and total number of strands.
And I am so sad about it.

And I’m trying to do what I can to bring back some of my hair by using special shampoos, and massaging my scalp and eating less sugar and taking vitamins.

God, I hope it works.

A Week In Pictures (Week 9)

The sun returned to my life this week, and it was glorious. I was hoping to get out to the lake on my day off, but that was the one day it was raining/snowing this week so it was a no-go, but the next time it’s sunny/warm-ish on my day off I’m totally lake shore bound!

Monday March 5 – It tells it’s own story

Tuesday March 6 – isolation for these two, the Fiddle turns out had a mite infestation, which had already spread to the palm before I noticed it. They’ll be able to re-join the pack when I get them pests gone

Wednesday March 7 – glorious sunrises, stitching and baths for Marimo balls (and bamboo)

Thursday March 8 – What happened to my sunny days?

Friday March 9 – RIP vanilla orchid, I’m sorry I couldn’t learn your needs fast enough to watch you grow & thrive

Saturday March 10 – New #plantbabies, and these are plants that are special to me for emotional reasons and I wasn’t sure I’d ever have them again because I didn’t know you could have Hellebores as indoor  plants. And then there’s the Oxalis, I love their leggy sassy-ness. And the way they open up to greet the world and close up to sleep at night

Sunday March 11 – Sunday is the day of the week that I don’t HAVE to get up early, but inevitably I do. And I love seeing the sunrise

As always, please check out my Instagram for more photos from my week.


Time to upgrade

I’ve been living on borrowed time with my current laptop for over a year now (maybe over 2?).

And I keep putting off buying a new one, but I think I had better get on the ball before I’m stuck with buying one in an emergency and not having the option of researching & finding a deal.

And I need to get a deal, or 3. It seems all my electronics are needing replacement around the same time – my phone has sucked since the beginning, but it’s getting really bad now. My Kindle is starting to be glitchy (and my local library has changed systems so I am considering a real tablet instead of another Kindle Fire…we’ll see – and it’ll depend on what I do with my phone). And the computer. Oy, it’s going to be an expensive spring.

And I just realized I have all those passwords to remember.

Groceries – shopping myself vs pickup (a review)

One of my favorite (small) changes in society in the last year is the availability of grocery pickup in my area. It’s nice to not have to deal with many people, but also it’s nice to make my grocery list and that is my shop, it’s not little pieces of paper scattered around because I don’t have my master list next to me and then I have to grab all those and put together a master list and then I have to find all the items in the store.
I make my list, I pick a time and I drive to the store.
I make good use of it, and have been for the last few months. Here’s my review of the options in my area.

A local chain – Family Fare/D&W

  • cost: $6 per order or $99 for a year subscription
  • benefit: close by, less than 3 miles away & on the way to/from most other errands & appointments
  • negatives: I don’t shop enough to justify the $99/year fee and $6 for a single order is usually more than I’m comfortable with
  • other consideration: it was great during the holidays because I didn’t have to deal with the crowds and waiting in line to checkout, staff are really friendly and texted if item is out of stock to see if I want a substitute and what the substitution options are, when I had to add items to the order the morning of the scheduled pickup there was absolutely no hesitation on the staff member’s part or additional fee assessed; all my fresh fruits/veggies have been great, no bruised/smashed/damaged items that I’ve noticed

A regional chain – Meijer

  • cost: $4.95/order for pickup, $99 for grocery delivery (outside company does the shop/delivery)
  • benefit: I can pick up anything they sell, not limited to only groceries
  • negatives: I don’t normally shop at Meijer, individual items are less expensive but that just means I end up buying more than I need which means I throw away things that go bad; $99 fee is only delivery, can’t do a pick up instead (and like I said about the local chain I can’t justify that cost); the only store in my area that does pickup orders is not anywhere near any of my normal routes so I don’t have reason to go there
  • other consideration: it’s unclear if the $99 fee would let me take advantage of sales, it’s an outside company doing the shop & delivery so their pricing may not be the same as the pricing at the store; the $99 fee would allow me to have Dad’s groceries delivered under the same account/fee so that would mitigate some of that cost in the future when he can no longer do his own picking of items from the shelves (for now it’s a reason for him to get out of the apartment)

A national chain – Walmart

  • cost: free
  • benefit: staff have been friendly and quick to respond when I pickup my order, only 3 items in my history of doing pick up orders has an item not been on the shelf when they pulled the order – given I’d placed the order two days prior I think that’s a good record
  • negatives: the closest store for pickups in my area is on the other side of the city so a special trip needs to be made for the order – however, I prefer to go to many other shops on that side of town (it’s the suburb I grew up in) so I can make it worth the trip by bundling a bunch of errands together; grocery pickup only, other items can be picked up in the store but not brought out to the car (although the first grocery shop I did I was able to put some bowls on the order – their restrictions on the site say nothing but groceries, but seems some other items will work)

***I know quite a few people have ideological issues with Walmart as a company, there are ways they can improve for sure, but there are also ways they’re better than other stores. For me, the balance is weighed out, you are welcome to have your own scale by which you determine your choices.

Amazon Prime/Prime Pantry – Amazon Fresh Grocery is not yet available in my area (and at $299/year I doubt I’d try it if it was) so I can not compare it to my local stores, but I’ve used Prime Pantry in the past when I lived in an area that didn’t have any grocery delivery/pickup options.

  • cost: $5.99 per box
  • benefit: some items are a really great price, but be careful, there are items that are less expensive at a local grocery
  • negatives: much like the regional chain (Meijer), items may be lower individually but I end up spending more because I want to fill the box to make the $5.99 fee worth it – and that means I end up getting things that I don’t really need & I end up throwing away items because they expire; can’t get fresh items like dairy, eggs, veggies, fruit & meat so it doesn’t save a trip to the grocery store

In the end I have found Walmart to be the best for me for the weekly shop, but I do use the local & Amazon Prime Pantry from time to time.
I really wanted it to be the local option that won out, as I know the founders families and my first “real job” was working for one of their stores, and I like to be loyal. The simple fact of the matter for me is that the fees add up more than the benefits for me. They are still my first choice when I do my own shop in store though & when Dad and I go shopping this is the place we typically go.

A Week In Pictures (Week 8)

This last week was the first one that I really struggled with this project. I feel really stagnant on what I photograph, and unfortunately the weather is not good for going out and about to shoot photos. Even editing them on Sunday seemed boring and I had a hard time getting it done.

I hope we’ll get some sunnier days soon and I can get out of this rut.

Sunday February 18 – Green, the color of spring. Also the color of my plants. And the color of most of the stitching I’ve been doing for National Embroidery Month (review of my involvement to come next week). Also, now that the photos have all been edited, it’s the color of almost every photo this week

Monday February 19 – this ceramic wall hanging was bought for me by my mom at the last craft show we’d gone to. She looks over me from the wall next to my living room plants

Tuesday February 20 – I bought these cuttings a while back and put half of them in water (the way I’ve always rooted other plants) and half in soil (the way the seller recommended rooting them). Both sets are still alive, but I can finally see roots in the water so I’m hoping the soil ones have roots starting as well. These took a lot longer than other plants have and I was getting nervous that it wouldn’t happen

Wednesday February 21 – I finally gave in and bought a couple table top essential oil diffusers/humidifiers, my house is so dry that I was having nose bleeds and my plants were feeling it, too. I love them, so far I’ve only done pure water, but I have a few essential oils I’ve used in the past that I think I’ll try soon

Thursday February 22 – a local couple runs plant sales from their apartment and have had these marimo moss terrariums on their instagram on and off for the last month. I gave in and bought one. I love them and have named them after my parents (if you don’t know the story that goes with marimo moss balls read it here)

Bonus – I also picked up an air plant that I’d seen a couple months back, and it was so flippin’ cute. And fragile. And I dropped the bag on the step in my garage. The plant survived, but the cute ceramic pot is smashed. And it was the only one left at the store. #SoSad

Friday February 23 – smallest peperomia I’ve ever seen, it’s adorable, I kind of never want it to grow, just fill out and stay the same height. (I need to pick up some stones for the bottom of the jar before I plant it in there though)

Saturday February 24 – found this cute planter for my palm plant, isn’t she adorable? #TheHigherTheHairTheCloserToGod  Also, notice the planter to the right – I went to a different nursery and they had the planter I’d smashed on Thursday #SoHappy

Sunday February 25 – I still love my eggs, but for some reason this morning I was craving soft-boiled eggs. I hate peeling soft boiled eggs but I gave in to the craving anyway


As always, please check out my Instagram for more photos from my week.

My New TAG Water Bottle (a review)

First of all, have you ever seen a cuter water bottle?

I picked up this 25 oz. bottle last week, less because of the claims to keep cold/hot for 12-24 hours and more because I adore the print.

But it’s not perfect, there’s a 1/2-1/3 inch section that is just plain white and there’s a piece next to it up by the neck that looks like the printing got folded, if I’d noticed it at the store I would have picked a different one, but the fact that I didn’t notice it until I’d used it a few days probably means other people likely won’t notice it either.

And it has to be hand washed so for the now the plan is for plain water only because that opening is tiny and I don’t want to be rinsing soap out of it for days (with just plain water I am comfortable using HOT-hot water and just the tiniest amount of soap to clean it).

The TAG tag says it’ll keep cold things cold for 24 hours and hot things hot for 12 hours.
I tried it with cold water out of my fridge (no ice), and while it’s not quite room temp 24 hours later, it’s close. BUT, it does keep water cold-cold for better than 12 hours without sweating, so that’s great.

I’ve been using it all day, and keeping it by my bed overnight. And so far I’m drinking more plain water and less sugar laden teas & juices. So, that’s great, too.

And it’s not cheap, but it feels light but solid in the hand. I’ve considered the S’well bottles in the past, but geez $50 for a water bottle is nuts.
The TAG bottle ($30) feels as nice in my hand as the S’well bottle so why would I pay so much more?

If I continue to like it this much I think I will get a second, smaller one to keep by my bed so I can wash it at the end of the day and let it air/dry out overnight. We’ll see.


Getting through the flu season

This is how I’m getting through this winter, instead of an emergen-C everyday.
Hot water with a whole lemon squeezed in, about a 1/2 Tbsp of grated ginger (or ginger paste) and raw local honey.
1 cup of this every morning.

And when I’m feeling a little funky I drink a second one in the afternoon.
I’ll also gargle of warm salt water a couple times/day as well until I’m feeling better.

And so far it’s working, I’ve had a few days of my throat being annoyingly sore and a small bit of cough and I swear this is the reason the illness has not been able to take hold.
Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t “cure” the flu, it simply makes my throat inhospitable to the virus.

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional, registered dietitian, or fitness expert.
These are my experiences and when it comes to your & your family’s health, nutrition and fitness, I highly recommend every individual to do your research.