Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Phewww!!!  Been a busy week.  Getting ready for our annual girl's scrapbooking,
relaxing, movie-watching, eating, laughing, cocktailing 
weekend in Lititz, Pennsylvania, at a wonderful bed and breakfast, 

This is our fifth or sixth year now, and us girls look so forward to it.  I think we all start counting down the days in October!

I have a couple projects I want to work while I'm up there.  I want to work some more on a scrapbook/album honoring my husband's law enforcement career.  I started a new family album a few years ago, and I want to add more memories to that.  Also, I've been working on a "girlfriends" album highlighting all the fun times and travels we've had over the years.

The hardest thing about getting ready for this trip is trying to essentially pack up my 10x13 craft room in enough bags, cases and roll-aways so that I won't need for any supplies while I'm up there.  Good chances are I won't touch three-quarters of the supplies I'm packing!  

A view of the Inn from the guest parking area. 
We're set to leave bright and early tomorrow morning, however, that may be tricky.  We're getting dumped on with snow right now.  Why couldn't this storm have come one day later?! 

That balcony up there, that's "my" room.
Below is the Inn greatroom where we hang out all weekend.
The view from "my" balcony.
 Last year on our visit to the Inn, Mother Nature tried to extend our stay.  I think it snowed something like 16 inches that weekend.  We were sooooo hoping we'd get snowed in, but by the time Sunday came around, the roads were passable.  

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!  
I'll be back next week with lots of fun pics to share, 
and maybe a few finished projects!

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Sunday, January 23, 2011


This morning, the thermometer outside my kitchen window read 16 degrees
 . . . brrrrr . . . 
that's cold!

On cold mornings like this, the only thing that comes to mind for me for breakfast is oatmeal.  
I love oatmeal.  
Always have. Instant oatmeal.  Cooked oatmeal.  Oatmeal cookies.
Oh, I guess oatmeal cookies might not be the best for breakfast
. . . but then, why not???? ;o)

I have memories of my Mom making us oatmeal on cold mornings before school.  Of course, back then, it had be be cooked ~ no instant packets.  And she always cooked raisins in it.  After it was cooked, she'd add a pat of butter, some milk and brown sugar.
The oatmeal was always accompanied with cinnamon toast.  

When I have time, I love to cook steel cut oats.  They are much better for you, you know, and I love the "nuttiness" and texture of them.  

So, to warm my bones this morning I cooked up some oats.  I added craisins.  Then just before the oats were done cooking,  
I added some apple chunks. I didn't want the apple to get too cooked.  

A little honey* for sweetness and a splash of milk {buttermilk's much better, but I was out}.  There was half a banana someone left, so that got sliced up in the bowl with a sprinkling of turbinado {natural raw brown} sugar.

What a treat!  
I'm enjoying it this very minute while typing this post.  
A simple pleasure.

*Oh, and a little bit about the honey.  The B&B in Lititz, Pennsylvania, where me and my girlfriends spend our weekend away ~ coming up this weekend YAY! ~ makes this honey.  They have their own beehives and produce the best tasting honey.  I'll be stocking up on more when we go up this weekend.

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Friday, January 21, 2011


A recent Etsy purchase of delicious smelling soaps and sugar scrub cubes destined to be presented to a special group of girlfriends.   

Can't divulge too much info 
. . . don't want to ruin the surprise! ;o)

I found these fabulous items at 
located in Oregon.

I choose soaps that reminded me of the upcoming 
time of year, either in shape or color.  
Turns out the three items I choose are all raspberry scented, 
and they do smell fantastic!

The super cute two-toned heart shaped soaps are raspberry scented and crafted from goat's milk and glycerin.

These cute tiny swirl bars are again raspberry scented and are also 
made from goat's milk.

Finally, I'm including raspberry parfait sugar cube scrubs with goat's milk ~ perfect for exfoliating and making your skin feel like it's had an expensive spa treatment.

All the soaps are neatly wrapped in cellophane bags
nestled in epsom salt

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Thursday, January 20, 2011


Among several of my collecting obsessions, I have a collection of bowls.
Most are vintage
 ~ yellow ware, Watt, color banded bowls, etc. ~ 
I've collected over the years at thrift stores, junk shops, antique shops, etc.  

Some in my collection are newly made.  I don't discriminate.
love the fluted edge
If it's a pretty bowl with a pretty design or interesting lines, I'll snatch it up!

fresh cut pineapple.  the start of a fresh fruit 
salad for breakfast.
fresh strawberries, kiwi, clementines and 

grapefruit were later added,
but the kids started in on it just as i finished
cutting up everything before i could get a picture!
This bowl is one of my favorites.  

especially love the two-toned color
It's a new piece, purchased by my Hubby as a Christmas gift several years ago.  He bought it a little boutique that's since closed, but they had the cutest little bit of everything in that shop.

Whenever I use it, it just makes me happy.  You know what I mean.  We all have things like that in our daily, routine . . . simple things or tools that just make the task a bit nicer.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011


I'm I the only one who loves snow?  

I've been hearing so many complain about snow.  
I love snow.  
Now, don't misunderstand, I'm most certainly ready for spring 
by the time spring rolls in ~ maybe some years a little sooner.  

But for now, I can stand the cold. 
{I do dislike when it's cold and windy, though} 

  And I do love snow.

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Friday, January 14, 2011


 You know, the one I was making as a Christmas gift?

The one that was getting me back in into quilting? 

The one that I so enjoyed working on?
And actually wish, now, that I'd made two because 
the colors work so well in my home too!  

Choosing the fabrics.
Sewing up some of the sections.
More sections sewn together.
The star block is taking shape.
Well, it's finished!  
I actually finished it a last weekend, although, I did present to it's recipient right after Christmas unfinished.  I had about 3/4 of the binding left to whipstitch down, but gave it to my friend not quite finished knowing she would understand {she's a sewer too!}.  I let her "live with it" for a few days, then I snatched it back to finish it! LOL

Pin basting.
This is my preferred method of basting in preparation for quilting.
Brass safety pins won't leave rust marks on the quilt,
and this handi-dandi tool makes it super easy to fasten the pins.
Wish I'd invited it!!! 
The pattern I used was from this book.  Yeah right!
Guess I could have gotten it done in a weekend if I didn't
sleep or do anything else! LOL
I'm so proud of this piece, more because it's the first quilted projected I've started and totally finished in years!  And my friend loves it too.  I'm so glad.  My goal this past Christmas was to give quilted gifts to a lot of people, but I guess I just misjudged the amount of time I'd need to get these types of projects done.  I'll be starting a whole lot earlier this year!

Close-up of the quilting.  I machine quilted this piece mainly using
the stipple, meandering or all-over technique
{this technique has many names!}.
My machine quilting was a little rusty - it's been so long.
Obviously, I'm going to have to start planning now and start sewing in the very near future if I want to be able to give gifts like this next year for Christmas!

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Did you resolve to exercise more . . . or at all . . . this new year?

If so, I want to share this new workout I've been doing.  Well, it's not new but it's new to me.  And, well, actually I've been doing it since September.  It's The Biggest Loser's  Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred.   
What prompted me to try it, was reading about it here from 

I had found myself at a point where I really needed a change in my workout.  I've always been good about exercising pretty much all my adult life.
My diet and caloric intake is what I have troubles with!  

Back in the early 80's, I had a membership at an Elaine Powers Figure Salon, remember them?  Then after Hubby and I married, we joined a health and fitness club, and I was a regular in the aerobics classes 4 or 5 times a week.  I even took prenatal exercise classes at the local Y when I was pregnant.  After Son No. 2 was born, I started exercising more at home.

I bought a step with tapes and we purchased a LifeCycle.

The step I kept, but we evolved from a LifeCycle to a treadmill about 10 years ago.

I started jogging about eight years ago, four years after my third was born.  I had gained  A LOT of weight (65 pounds!) while preggo wth Son No. 3, 
and it was saloooow coming off.

This pic was taken Easter 1998.
I had ONE more month to go and was miserable!
Oh, believe me, the whole jog/running thing was a process.  It started out mostly walking with a bit of jogging thrown in, until I was jogging/running more than I was walking.  Then, finally, I was able to run 3 miles at a time.  Trust me when I tell that I didn't turn into one of those types of runners.  The ones who truly need to get out there for their release, to get in the zone, and get mentally carried away.  No, not me.  I had, have, a love/hate relationship with running. It certainly seemed to give me more bang for my buck in terms of calorie burn, but I didn't love it.  It was like brushing my teeth.  I knew I had to do it to stay relatively fit and healthy.

After years of running 3 or 4 times a week, mixing in step workouts and kick boxing on the off-running days, for 35 to 45 minutes, adding in 20 or 30 minutes of resistance with weights, then another 10 or 15 minutes of abs . . . pheewww . . . I felt like I was spending hours a week working out.  It was getting too time consuming, and I was getting bored.

By now, I'm sure you're all thinking "geez, woman, get to the point!".  I guess I just wanted to illustrate how much I exercise, and how I've done and tried just about everything, but how much I'm getting out of The Shred workout!

Jillian's 30 Day Shred, in my opinion, is a darn good workout.  The first time I did it, I was sweating as much in 20 minutes doing her workout as I do after 30 minutes on the treadmill.  Oh, and that's the beauty of her workout, 20 minutes and your done!  Even the busiest person can find 20 minutes a day to exercise.

This workout uses the principal of muscle confusion with a quick pace ~ no resting.  Jillian calls it the 3-2-1 Interval System, emphasizing on strength training primarily. And it's a lot of old school moves ~ jumping jacks, squats, lunges, butt-kicks, push-ups.  She throws in some core-building moves, as well, in the way of plank-type exercises.  No fancy dance moves, and not a lot of high impact.  She incorporates small muscle movement with large ones; i.e., static lunges while doing arm curls.

The workouts are in 3 gradual levels of intensity, with 3 circuits in each level.  Each of the 3 circuits in each Level consists of 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs.  Obviously, you begin with Level 1 until you feel ready and strong enough to proceed to Level 2, etc.  One of the keys to the success of this workout, however, is you really should do it everysingle. day.  I was able to go 17 days straight when I first started doing it.  But quite honestly, I needed a break so I took a day off and went on to do another 2 weeks straight.  My results were more loss of inches than pounds.  I didn't see a huge shift on the scale, but I could definitely see and feel a difference in my legs, butt, waist and arms.  And I was an avid exerciser before!  I'm pretty sure if I'd seriously tweaked my diet 
{so hard for me because I love food and love to eat!}
I would have seen a bigger overall fat loss.

After a couple months of doing exclusively Jillian's workout, I did start mixing in some of my old routine ~ treadmill, step and kick boxing ~ just to mix it up a bit and add some variety.

This DVD can be found just about everywhere.  I ordered mine from Amazon, but I've seen it at Walmart and many other stores.  Also, and I don't know if this may be a regional thing, but Level 1 of the workout can be viewed for free on Verizon Fios On Demand. {Hit the On Demand button on the remote, scroll down to Browse All, click over and scroll down to Free, click over and scroll down to Health and Home, click over and scroll down to Exercise TV, click over and scroll down until you find Jillian's workouts.}
So, if any of you may be interested in The Shred,  this is a perfect way to give it a trial run before purchasing the DVD.  Remember, you'll also need 3 to 5 pound hand weights, and possibly a yoga mat for the floor work.

So, there you have it.  My very long and drawn-out exercise history, and review of the 30 Day Shred.  If you decide to try it out, I'd love to hear your opinions.  I've been singing this workout's praise to many of my friends.  I'm hoping by Spring I can get my mindset into eating a little better, more healthy, and continuing this workout, that by the time warm weather rolls around I might look a bit better than last summer ;o)

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