Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I was reading an old post on Tara Jon Manning's blog about a handmade holiday and it reminded me of my goal to make a decent amount of the gifts that I give this Christmas. So far the only thing I have made has been a partial advent calendar. I am not following through with my goals. I also want to try to use the materials I have on hand to create and not buy new things. Of course, if I need something to complete a project that would be a time to go out and buy mo, but only if there is no way around it. Christmas is less than 2 weeks away. I have a house to clean and projects to work on. I also Ned to get overly fear of people not liking what I make. I have this complex that people will think that handmade gifts area way to cheap out. Yes, it is cheaper sometimes to make things, but I think that when thought goes into a gift, that's all that should matter when receiving a gift. I should be more confident in what I make. I use good quality supplies. I use thought when I try to decide what I am going to make for someone. I try to be careful and do a really nice job with what I create. I am going to try to get over my fear of what people will think and still attempt to make some of my gifts, if possible.

This year, have probably spent too much money on the gifts we bought the kids, but we really tried hard to get them things that's they would really like and that were educational in some respect as well as fun. My goal this year was to not buy wasteful gifts just to have gifts or because they were cheap. I really want to try to make 1 gift for each of them. If they are the only ones that get handmade gifts, I will be completely thrilled. If i am able to make more than that, I will be even more excited!

Before I know it, the holidays will be over and it will be time for me to attempt an etsy shop. I am scared to death of failing, but if I never try, I won't succeed. I am scared of people laughing at me. Can you tell that I have major issues? I have tried to come up with a bunch of different etsy names, but ultimately, I decided on the basic Amy Fratto Design. A while ago, I actually started a blog Amy Fratto Designs at Wildflower Garden Studios. I may actually go back to that blog once I start actually posting on my etsy store, or even getting ready to post things. I don't necessarily want another blog, actually I stopped writing there and directed anyone that read it to this blog, but I am thinking that I want to start again.

Goals, goals, goals. Now to just follow through!

Wish me luck and put some good thoughts out to the universe or pray that I can follow through with my goals!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jobs and Careers

I keep thinking about returning to work.  Not anytime soon, but I know that it will come soon enough.  I so don't want to go back to work doing the same old boring mundane thing, yet I am so scared to branch out and try something new.  I keep day dreaming about what I would what to do if I were given a choice with no holds barred.  Would I really want to be a social worker?  On some level, probably. I do like being a social worker.  I do like the whole psych piece of things, but, that being said, I have so many other interests that I would love to do something else.

My biggest question is what would I ultimately like to do?  I think I would love to do something with natural health.  The problem is, I have all these beliefs, but I never follow through with them.  We were over a family members house tonight and someone started talking about things and all I could think was "you are all talk.  You don't actually follow all these things that you say that you believe."  The problem is, neither do I.  If I really did what I believed, I would be eating a total vegan diet, no meat, no diary.  I would also not be eating any gluten related foods.  I would be drinking my water kefir.  I would be making non dairy milk kefir.  I would be making more kombucha and using it.  I would be using more natural cleansers.  I would be studying more about herbs and essential oils.  I would be studying more about art therapy.  I would be creating.  I would be learning more about spirituality.  I would spend more time outside with the kids.  I would not be watching tv.  I would not be on Facebook all the time.  I would not be checking my e-mails.  I would be either doing more with blogging to help with what I believe in not just reading people's blogs. I would journal more, and by journaling, I mean literally writing on paper.  I would learn more about set journaling. I would learn more about soul collage (which I actually learned about in grad school for social work, so I know that there are ways I can use more alternative means of therapy vs just literal talk therapy.  It has been done.  there is a precedent for this type of thing). I would be better organized.  I would cook more.  I wouldn't drive as much.  I would take the kids for walks more.  I would try to be more of a part of my community.  I would attempt to do charity crafting and maybe try to make it a community affair!  I would try to follow through with what I believe, not just spout off at the mouth, like i sometimes feel that I do!

That was one long paragraph to basically state that I think I have all these beliefs and I think I want to use them in my career, but if i am not following through in my own life, how can I make it a career.  I guess, I need to take a look at what I want out of life and try to figure out how to get it.  I have about another 3-4 years before I am back in the work force full time.  I keep writing about these things because I am hopeful that if I put it down on paper, I can figure out how to make it happen.

I am going to finish up by saying that I am going to try to follow through with my beliefs.  I am going to watch less tv.  I am going to read more.  I am going to research the things that I am interested in and see if I can figure out how to make it into a career.  I am going to create more!  I am going to continue to follow through on my beliefs such as using handmade items, beauty products (soap, toothpaste, deodorant, cream),  household cleansers, etc.  I am going to research about herbs and veggie gardening.  I am going to journal in a notebook more.  I am going to read and learn more about soul collaging, meditating, and yoga and how all this relates to social work. There are so many things I want to do.  I am hoping that taking time to write all this down is going to be helpful.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Where Am I Going With My Life?

I joined in with creativeeveryday.com to try to help force myself to make time to be creative every day. Overall, I did much better than I thought I would. I was able to work on more things than I actually posted, which I suppose makes sense. I would much rather be creative and not post than try to make time to post and not have as much time to be creative. I keep thinking that I am going to try to seel things I mark, but I haven't gone that way yet. I still have so much fear about failing, that I don't really try to peruse it. I really need to think about letting go of my fear of failure and go for it.

My latest sewing project for my 20th reunion.  I hand sewed it quick to have something to bring, but now I need to machine sew it so it lasts better.

I also really need to think about what I am going to do when I go back to work. I still have plenty of time, but if I don't start thinking about it, I'll be needing to find a full time job and I won't necessarily be Doing something I really want to do. Will I ever be able to make a living doing something I love vs something I like? Will I be able to be creative in my work instead of just following regulations? There has to be a way to use my social work degree, my love of creating, and my love of handmade and natural things in my career choice!

I really need to focus on what I want my personal life to be and maybe then my professional life will follow. I need to start eating right. I need to start making time to be creative and maybe making time to sell thinks I make. I need to continue to live a handmade and natural life and increase or even start practicing certain things like yoga, meditation, vegan/vegetarian eating, etc.

I will keep the focus on figuring out where I want to go with my life and figure out how to make sure that I can maintain a great family, a house and maybe start a new professional career in time for when I go back to work in the next 3 or so years!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday:What do you wish to remember?

There are so many things that I could write about, especially after reading so many people's posts.  Things from my childhood, that my sisters can remember (Sometimes I have absolutely no memory), day to day things, not to get all worked up over nothing, to let things go, etc.  I could go on and on, but what I really wish to remember is a dream I had one night.  I'm not sure if it was the feeling while I was in the dream, the path that I took there, where I need up, but I keep thinking of that dream?  Even last night while I was going to sleep, I tried to remember the dream and this dream happened quite a while ago!  There is something that makes me want to remember, but there is so little that I remember, I can't even remember why I want to remember the dream!

As simple as this sounds, I really want to remember that dream!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

AEDM 11/17/2011

I am trying to be better and also in the same breath, trying to give myself a break when I don't find time or if I am just too tired to create.  I am still working on the advent calendar, and may need to re-do some of the ornament that I started ( I think they are too small), which is a good thing since I was thinking I hate working with things this small.  I also made a bracelet yesterday and really liked it, but again have to re-do it since I dropped the bracelet and one of the jasper stones broke.  The other thing that I did was make my first ever gluten free pie!  It came out ok and figures that my son I made it for has no interest in  eating it.  I am reading one of my jewelry books to get inspired to make some gifts, especially for the teachers in my kids lives.  I am off now to play with my older son and maybe even create with him while the twins are taking their nap (or at least are having quiet time)!

My newest bracelet


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

AEDM 11/15/2011

Ok, I'm getting a little better at making time to create every day!  I started cutting out the pattern for a fabric "paper" doll set for my daughter for Christmas.  Once I cut the patterns out, I put it aside and decided that I need to start working on my Advent Calendar for Christmas.  I need to have it done my December 1st, so that is what I really need to focus on.  I am using this blog post as my inspiration http://www.acaseofthemundays.com/2010/12/felt-friday-felt-advent-calendars.html!  I have my background and my tree on and I have started on the felt numbered boxes.  I need to find 24 buttons, otherwise, I think I have everything I need to complete this project.  I have a list of ornaments that I will be making to hang on the tree of the advent calendar.  I have to sew on the boxes to put the ornaments in until it's time to hang them on the tree!

The background and the tree for the Advent Calendar

I still need to make a car cozy for one of my sons and I think I am going to make an art case for my older son!  I want each child to have something handmade for Christmas.  Last year they all got aprons.  This year, they are going to each get something just for them!  I also want to work with the kids to make gifts for special people in their lives, aunt's first cousins, godparents, and grandparents.  It's time to start/maintain a handcrafted holiday and start making other traditions for our family!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Art Every Day 11/13/2011

We are on day 13 of AEDM and I really have not been meeting my goal. this weekend I did try a new recipe and I started learning how to make CP (cold process) soap and decided that my first attempt at soap making will be hot process (HP) soap making. I have a few goals for this week. I need to start an advent calendar and I need to start it soon. I plan on using this blog post as my inspiration, httt://www.acaseofthemundays.com/2010/12/felt-friday-felt-advent-calendars.html. I need to research HP soap making and supplies. I need to start the projects that I plan to make for the kids' Christmas gifts.

It is really difficult to make time for being creative when you have a 3 1/2 year old and 2 3/4 year old twins, but I think that it is really important for me to make time to be creative. I cant't wait for Tuesday morning. I will have about 2 1/2 hours all to myself. If I can get my act together, I will work on ,y daughter's Christmas gift which will be a felt "paper" dolls set. I am really excited to make this. It will be hand sewn so I can bring it any where. I am also planning on making some felt food as well as some wooden carved food for the kids. I am really excited to make the kids a lot of their gifts.

And now for a confession. I mentioned that I am going to start focusing on jewelry making as my creative medium, but I have decided that it is just not in me to limit the mediums or the type of craft that I use to be creative. I would love to be one of those people who can just excell at one thing, but I am the type of person who likes to try all kids of crafts and crafting mediums! I love learning new things and ways to use different materials. Maybe I really do have ADHD especially creative ADHD! I just need to plan better! I have all sorts of ideas in my head to get more organized and have more time, but right now they are just not coming to fruition! All in due time, I guess!

For now, I am just gng to try to focus on being creative and not worry about anything other than making time to enjoy being creative!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Newest Swap

I wasn't going to sign up for another swap, but I decided to participate in a Secret Santa Swap!  I've done a couple of swaps with Shawnee at http://www.flirtyapronswap.blogswap.com.  Shawnee has asked people to post answers to the following questions.

  1. What are your hobbies? making jewelry and sewing
  2. What are your favorite colors?  right now I'm into more earthy colors
  3. Do you collect anything? tea cups and craft supplies
  4. Are you allergic to any fibers or animals? no
  5. Do you have any pets? yes, an american eskimo dog named Takoda
  6. Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate? Tea
  7. What do you like to read? craft books, cookbooks, true stories
  8. Do you prefer Cookies or Candies as a sweet? Candies
  9. What is your favorite holiday treat? I don't know that I have one
  10. Describe your favorite holiday tradition. being with family, seeing christmas lights
  11. Did you believe in Santa as a child? yes
  12. When do you open presents? We got to open one on Christmas eve before we went to bed and then the rest Christmas morning when my grandparents came over.
  13. Do you put up a tree and when?  If not, how do you celebrate?  Usually the day after Thanksgiving, but that has changed since we have little kids
  14. Does your tree have a theme? ornaments that I have been given over the years
  15. What has been your favorite gift to give?  to receive?   to give: things I have made, to receive: My engagement ring
I can't believe that I am doing another swap, but I am pretty excited about it!


Wishcasting Wednesday: Who do you wish to have tea with?

It's Wednesday once again, and once again I am going in with Wishcasting Wednesday over at jamieridlersturdios.ca.  this week Jamie asks "Who do you wish to have tea with?"

I contemplated skipping this week, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to join in.  I read other people's post about who they ward to have tea with.  Some had some amazingly famous people and some had some amazing important people in their lives i.e., their significant other and even themselves.  It really made me think about who I would like to have tea with.

I could come up with some amazingly famous people, but as awesome as that would be, I think I would love to sit and enjoy a simple cup of tea with just my husband.  With 3 little kids, 3 1/2 and under, it can be difficult to find time for just us.  I would love to make it a huge deal and have a nice quiet, romantic time, where it is just the two of us, where we are not too tired to enjoy each others company, where we can just enjoy being together.

My husband and I are tea drinkers.  For my birthday last year, I got an amazing cast iron tea set with dragon flies on it.  It was really expensive and really nice quality.  That being said, I don't use it nearly enough!  I wish to get away from drinking the coffee that I stupidly started again and start really enjoying my tea.  I wish to make time to use my tea set and enjoy a nice simple yet perfect cup of tea with one of the most important people in my life (the most important other than my children), my husband!

My tea set that I need to start using more often!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

AEDM 11/8/2011

I am sitting at Panera sans kiddies going through my old jewelry magazines trying to get rid of things. Unfortunately or fortunately, I am starting to get the feeling that I really need to get back to making jewelry. As much as I love all things crafty and creative, I am thinking making jewelry may be the way to go. Granted, there are lots of different mediums that I love that I can use in jewelry making, which is a good thing. I think I am realizing that I need to focus on jewelry and start getting more proficient in different things related to making jewelry. This may be the first time that I have recognized wanting to focus on one creative area. I can and will learn more about glass fusing, lamp working, using polymer clay and ceramic clay in my jewelry making, using wire, using paper, and Im sure there are other things that I want to learn, but I am going to focus more on learning these things in relation to making jewelry.

I have a number of things to make that are not jewelry related, but once they are completed, I am absolutely going to focus on making jewelry. My new goal is going to be to become proficient in things related to making jewelry instead of trying to always learn new things without really fully learning and becoming proficient in one thing.

So, I may actually make something today, like sew my mother's Christmas gift, or I may just use this time of reflection and motivation as my AEDM post. The nice thing about going through old magazines, at least for me, is that I get motivated and then I get creative. I hope that I can use this motivation to move forward and actually complete goals!


Monday, November 7, 2011

AEDM (art every day month) 11/7/2011

So I am not doing all that great with my goal of being creative every day and definitely not doing great with writing about it.  I am pushing forward with attempting to be creative every day.  I have been cooking, and yesterday I made honey mustard chicken which were awesome, my favorite easy recipe!

Today, I decided to get the kids involved.  My 3 1/2 year old and one of my 2 1/2 year old twins used some fabric crayons and colored and I ironed their creations onto some plain unbleached muslin.  I need more colorings to make more fabric for the lining of a bag that I am planning on making for my mom for Christmas.  I need something from my other twin and more from the other 2 kids so that I have enough material for the lining.  I think this will make the bag even more special!  I decided to cut out the pattern this afternoon and maybe I'll even pull out the sewing machine tonight or maybe I'll come home tomorrow while everyone is at school and sew or maybe during nap time.  Maybe I can finish it this week and have a gift or at least a partial gift finished!

Happy Creating!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

AEDM (art every day month)

I decided to join in with art every day month at http://creativeeveryday.com/.  This will hopefully help me follow through with what I wrote about yesterday, nourishing my soul with my creativity.  Every day for the month of November, I will be attempting to do something creative.  It may not be a finished project, but it will definitely be the start of something, or it just may be creating a new recipe for dinner.  I was supposed to start November 1st, but I ended up getting sick and had literally no energy to even think about creating until today, and today, I was pretty good!

During nap time, I attempted soldering.  For my first time, it came out pretty good.  Of course, I can't find what I did to take a picture of, but I hopefully saved two beads that were broken.  Then later this afternoon, while we were outside, I decided to start carving one of my Christmas gifts for the kids.  I decided to try out this tutorial, http://www.duofiberworks.com/journal/2011/8/2/carving-play-food-tutorial-cutting-board-and-knife-cutting-f.html.  I still have a lot to finish, and I really want to do more wood carving, but I really enjoyed it.

I have wanted to carve for a long time, since I was a little kid, probably 30 years ago.  I bought carving tools probably about 5 years ago, then I got into grad school, then I got married, then I had my first son, then I had twins.  I've been pretty busy and haven't done any carving since I bought my tools.  Now that I have kids, I have the perfect reason to start, Christmas gifts.  Duo Fiberworks has a number of food tutorials that I want to attempt and then there are links for other food tutorials that I will be attempting.  Probably a lot, ok pretty much all of what I write will be about Christmas gifts.  After Christmas, I am hoping to work on building a supply so that I can sell on etsy.com at my page PixieWindow, but I haven't had a chance to post anything.  I am hoping to also maybe try a craft fair!

Here's my first attempt at carving in process:


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday: How Do You Wish To Nourish Yourself?

It's Wednesday once again and time for Wishcasting Wednesday!  This week, Jamie at http://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca, asks:

"How Do You Wish To Nourish Yourself?"

I love Wednesday's and so look forward to the promts.  Every week, each question becomes something that is really important for me to ask myself.  This week, I can answer very literally and also from a more spiritual way.  I literally, want to nourish myself with foods that make me feel good and that are healthy for me.  After Halloween and also just in general, I tend to eat foods that taste good, but that don't have much value to it.  I know what and how I need to eat, I just need to do it!

From a spiritual perspective, I need to nourish myself by relaxing and doing things that I enjoy, but actually make sure that I take the time to enjoy the moment.  I love to be creative, but sometimes, I tend to not give myself enough time and then being creative become a chore and a hassle.  For example, I want to make a lot of Christmas gifts.  I know that I want to make things, but I need to make sure that I leave enough time and not try to do too much with the time that I have.  Being creative is no longer nourishing when I am stressed about the outcome.  I have joined in with creative everyday.com for creative every day month.  I am hoping that the month of November will be enjoyable for me to create, since I will hopefully do a little every day instead of trying to get it all down at once.  Creative every day month started yesterday, but I have been sick so I haven't started yet.  I am hoping to get to do something creative when the kids are in for their naps. 

I wish to nourish my body by eating what is good for me and actually enjoy it, and I wish to nourish my soul by being creative without stressing about the outcome!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do You Wish To Let Go Of?

It's Wednesday again and I am once again joining in with Jamie Ridler at http://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca. This week Jamie asks, "What do you wish to let go of?"

As usual, Jamie's prompts are so timely.  Yesterday, I wrote about my fears and insecurities about starting my own handcrafted gifts business.  I have so many fears and insecurities in life, I just wish I could let go of them and just be secure in myself and in my abilities.

It's kind of funny how some of these wishes all fit together.  For me, last weeks wish about being loved and  this weeks wish about letting go, go together.  I think if I could love myself unconditionally, I could let go of my insecurities and my fears.  On the flip side, if I could let go of fears and insecurities, maybe I could love myself unconditionally.

Maybe, if I let go of my fears and insecurities, I would take more chances in general.  I would talk to people more often and maybe make more friends, rather than just a few acquaintances that I have.

My fears and insecurities have always help me back!  It's time to let go and I guess to quote AA, let God, or what one perceives to be God.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Creativity and Fear!

I have been thinking more and more about creating things and selling them.  I really love being creative and feel so relaxed and just plain and simply enjoy myself.  I keep putting off the selling piece, mainly because of my fear.  I am always afraid of failing, of people looking at what I make and thinking that there is no way that they would even consider buying anything that i could make because  it is not good enough to sell.  I am afraid people will laugh at me for even considering something like this.  I am trying to get a plan in place to start so that I don't waste my time and money.  Thankfully, I have a ton of supplies so I don't have to dish out a ton of money to start up creating.

I have been trying to come up with a name that will be creative and also say something about me or what I create.  Part of the problem is that there is just so many areas of creativity that I love, I can't decide where to focus what I would make.  Part of me just wants to focus on accessories and small thoughtful gifts, but I don't want to box myself into a specific medium.  That may be a mistake, but maybe not, as long as I make sure that what I create follows some sort of theme, such as accessories and small gifts.

I have been thinking about a name for my "company" for a long time now, and I just can't think of something really creative.  I have tried to think of things in my life that I love.  I have loved rainbows, mythology, and fairies , and dragonflies, and butterflies, and nature.  I love kind of more bohemian style.  I am finding that I love rich, deep, earthy, colors.  I guess I'm just throwing out ideas for me to have them written down so that I can come back and seeing if anything strikes me.

I would love to start with selling my creations, maybe move on to classes and parties, and then when I have time and maybe money get certified as an art therapist.  As is my brain, this post is very haphazard and kind of all over the place.  At this point, I need to write down my thoughts, maybe have others comment on them, and then maybe I can come back and read my thoughts and come up with ideas.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday: What do you wish to make time for?

This is such a loaded question.  Jamie, over at jamieridlerstudios.ca, asks, "What do you wish to make time for?"

There are so many things that I need to make time for.  I need to make time to pursue my dreams, organize my life, spending time with my husband with no one to interrupt us, getting my chores on track (especially laundry), time for exercise and meditation, creating, etc.  Part of me thinks that there is just not enough time for all the things that I want to do, but then there is another part of me that says I just need to lower my expectations and make time, even if it is just a small amount of time.  Sometimes I think that I expect everything to be perfect and then I don't do anything, because I know it won't be perfect.  Sometimes I think I sabotage myself with my expectations.

I wish to make time for all the things that I want/need out of life, just with lowered expectations.  I also wish to make time to figure out who I really am and what I really want out of life (which is pretty obscure and why I wrote down some of the concrete things that I know I need and want to make time for).


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday: How Do You Wish To Be Loved?

It's Wednesday once again and Jamie over at jamieridlerstudios.ca asks, "How Do You Wish To Be Loved?"

This week's question is actually really difficult for me to write about, which probably means I really need to write about it.  I am extremely lucky with love.  I have a great family, both my own and my in-laws.  We have our ups and downs, just like pretty much everyone, but we are always there for each other.  I have a fabulous husband who absolutely loves me unconditionally and I have 3 beautiful children who also love me unconditionally (even though as I sit here and write, my daughter screams because she is at the point of fighting her naps, but truly needs them!).

How do I wish to be loved?  I wish to love myself unconditionally.  I have a feeling that this is something most people struggle with, but it is something I really need to work on.  What more can I say about this except that I have to try to remember to be good to myself and not be so critical about myself!

I wish to love me!


I am sure that I could be more descriptive with this post, but I am not sure that i am really ready to write about everything.  I just really need to stop being critical about myself, be happy with who I am, and truly love me!

Making Time!

I'm still trying to figure out what window opened after I lost my job.  Granted it was only a part time job, but it brought in enough money to make life a little easier.  Now, we don't have that extra income, but I am home for dinner and hopefully to make life a little easier from a functional stand point.  I am trying to ask the universe to wither give me another opportunity that is the same time wise, or to give me a knew opportunity to take advantage of this break in work.

I am trying to make time to be creative.  I am hoping that I can make some Christmas gifts, and that in the process, I can hone my skills so that I can maybe sell things.  I keep thinking about what my dreams and passions are, and how I can make them a reality.  Do I really want to create and sell?  Do I want to just hold classes and teach crafts?  If that is the case, I really have to hone my skills and learn how to teach.  I would also have to learn how to market myself.  I think in reality, I would love to teach classes, or have something more like open studio time or simple craft parties where people get together and create while spending some quality time with each other and/or learning how to use creativity for stress relief.

In either case, I really need to make time to create.  I need to create for my own sanity and stress relief.  I need to create to hone my skills and really be sure that what I do is worth giving as a gift and worth selling.  I need to create to actually make things to sell.  I really need to spend some time getting creative!

The other thing that I really need to make time for is my health.  I have been really bad with my diet.  Have I spent time eating the way I should?  No!  Have I really taken the time to eat healthy?  Some what but not really where I should be.  Have I spent time planning out our meals so that I know what we are eating, so I know we are eating healthy, so I am spending money wisely?  I have been better, but not as good as I should be!  I really need to plan my meals and really work on making food that is enjoyable to eat, healthy, and cost effective!  I really want to learn more about herbs and essential oils and how to make beauty products that will help me and not cause problems due to different additives.

All of this means that I really need to prioritize my time so that I can hopefully take advantage of any window that opens (as well as taking care of my responsibilities), now that the door has shut!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday: What do you wish to do one day?

Joining in again for Wishcasting Wednesday!  This week, over at http://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca, Jamie asks "What do you wish to do one day?"

As usual, Jamie asks things that I am usually thinking about.  This weeks question is pretty pertinent in my life right now.  Last Wednesday, I went to work only to find out that I got laid off.  This is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me in the 20 years since I have been out of high school.  I am a social worker and really believed that I was safe from cuts like this.

Even though this was only a part time job, it made a huge difference to my family.  I am trying to think of things in a more positive light!  I am able to get to be home for dinner with my family.  I am able to not have to feel rushed getting things ready for when my husband comes home.  I am able to get unemployment so I can actually have some income coming in to help with our finances!

The other positive thing that I am trying to think about truly relates to this week's prompt.  I am trying  to decide just what it is that I really want to do with my life!  I have a great husband and three great kids, but what do I want to do with my professional life?  How can I use my education in a more out of the box way?  I am thinking that I really do want to do something with art therapy, or even do something less clinical, but still something related to art/creating and how it can be therapeutic.  I've written about this before, and I still think that this is something that I really want to do one day. I would love to be part of a community that truly believes in the mind/body/spirit, not just one area.  I think that my social work career and my love of creating can be mixed to truly help care for ones mind, body and spirit.  I would love to be my own boss one day and again be part of a community that truly looks at the whole person, not just parts of a person!  Oh, and I want to learn to use herbs and aroma therapy as part of my career too!  I think herbs, essential oils and creativity can all work together to help someone have a more balanced life!

What do you wish to do one day?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What To Do Next?

Last Wednesday, I was a told that my part time position of 15 hours had been cut from the budget. Needless to say, it feels very strange not to go to work. It's also a little disconcerting not to have an income coming in. I will be applying for unemployment, the first time ever, but it still feels weird. I posted on Facebook that I was laid off and one of my friends mentioned asking the universe for the same set up "ask and you shall receive". I honestly thought about that before she even commented about it. The other thing I thought about in the same vein is, maybe I should thing about doing something more creative. Maybe my unemployment checks will help to feed my family while I start working on a more creative endeavor than social work. The other ironic thing with regards to this is another Facebook comment from my husband's cousin. I have made a few new bags and am really enjoying sewing and posted a picture of a cute quick envelope clutch that I made for my husband's reunion. The comment was that I should make more and sell them. Maybe that is the next step I should be taking. Could the lay off be a blessing in disguise?

I have been wanting to open an etsy shop for a while. A bunch of friends either have one or have recently opened one. Is this the time now for me? I am so scared that it will fail, but what if it doesn't? What if I can find a good niche to get into? I have been wondering if a good niche would be the fusion of recycle/up-cycled and natural materials with new synthetic materials. First it would go with the whole trying to be green in my life, then using recycled materials would hopefully be cost effective, and given the whole push for others to go green, just maybe this would be a decent niche. It would also be the fusion of old and new. Should I look at another areanof creativity? Is this crazy on my part?

I am reall seriously considering doing this as well as doing craft fairs. I would love to have a partner in all of this, but I'm not sure who. Maybe having a partner is a bad idea. I guess I really need to make a decision and just go for it if I decide that I really want to do this! So as my Facebook friend said "just put it out to the universe, ask and you will receive!"

I am asking "should I use this time to try to follow one of my dreams and see if I can help to provide for my family using my creativity?"


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday

It's Wednesday once again and once again I am joining in with Jamie over at http://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca where she asks, "What do you wish for fall?"

My wish for fall is to fully enjoy the season.  Fall is my absolute favorite time of year!   I love the weather! What I don't love is the weather that comes after, "WINTER".  With 3 small kids, winter can be a time when I feel extremely forced to stay in the house.  Living in New England, you never know what the weather will bring.  It could be a mild winter, or it could be a horribly cold and snowy and icy winter and my mood is worse when I don't get to enjoy being outside!  I hope that I can focus on pumpkins, apples, crisp cool sunny weather, Halloween and not focus on the coming winter.  Also, as some people have mentioned to me, fall can be thought of as a new year , almost like celebrating New Years in January.  I find the fall weather to be refreshing and renewing so I hope that I can enjoy being creative and following my passions and being true to myself!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Newest Projects

My friend Liz over at http://www.goddessinprogressblog.com/quilts/ posted a fun bag she made from http://www.make-baby-stuff.com/free-diaper-bag-pattern.html.  I couldn't wait to make this bag and I finally pulled out a bench of material to make it.  I love that I used some material that I had bought before my wedding (shhhhh, don't tell anyone, I was supposed to make bridesmaids gifts that never happened).  I Love how it came out!  I can't wait to make another one.  I probably have enough material at home but not the interfacing (which I didn't use for my first bag). 

Sewing this bag re-ignited my passions for sewing and any other craft related item.  I just joined in a table runner swap over at http://flirtyapronswap.blogspot.com/.  I am so excited!  I love aprons, but I love that this is a table runner swap.  We are in the process of making some small renovations to our kitchen so this will be a nice addition to the kitchen!  I missed out on the last swap since it was during the summer.  I just figured that there wouldn't be enough time to sew it and get it out in the mail, but with school back in session, I think this will work, plus I am trying to tell my husband that we both need to make time for our hobbies (he needs to get back into his wood shop), but we are just so tired by the time the kids go to bed!

I have so many projects that I want to do.  I really need to start working on the kids Halloween costumes.  I can't wait to make them, but I am not looking forward to cutting and sewing satin material.  I probably shouldn't complain, but I hate the slipperiness of the material.  After that, I really need to start on my Christmas gifts.  I am really hoping to make a lot of our gifts this year, partly for financial reasons, but also partly because I love it.  I am really finding that I need to make time for my creativity and I hope that I can really make a point to do what I love!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Living The Life I Want

This week, I missed out on wishcasting Wednesday.  This week the question was, "What do you wish to immerse yourself in?" As I sit here and type, I am thinking about that question.  Even though I missed writing about my wish on Wednesday, there is no reason why I still can't write about it today!  I love Wishcasting Wednesday, because it makes me sit and really think.  I get a chance to sit and write down my wishes instead of just keeping them to myself.

My answer this week is, "I wish to immerse myself in my passions!".  The question is how do I do that?  I have 3 kids and we have enough money to live, but not enough extra to play with.  The good thing is, that over time, I think my passions may save us money, I just have to find the time to learn.  My passion is what this blog is all about, living a handmade and natural life.  I am starting to cook more instead of going out to eat, I am trying to use the crafting supplies I have instead of buying new, I am trying to make a lot of my own health and beauty products.  I want and need to learn more though!  I want to learn more about aromatherapy, herbs, natural beauty products, gardening, crafting responsibly, cooking good healthy food that tastes good also.

My newest thing I want to learn is soap making.  I need to get a good simple tutorial with a list of the basic supplies I need.  I don't have a ton of extra money to spend, but we are spending a lot on buying good soap so I know in the end it will be worth it.  I also have to stop worrying about making it.  Someone told me that it can be dangerous so I should do it with someone who knows what they are doing.  That has me a little worried, but I am sure that I can do it fine, as long as I take my time and read directions carefully (good directions).  I have been making cream with essential oils, now it is time to move on to bigger and better.  I just need to learn more about waht essesntial oils are good for certain things.  Time to pull out the books!

Any thoughts on good resources for herbs, aromatherapy, etc?


Friday, September 16, 2011

Projects That I Need To Start!

I have a couple of capes that I need to sew.  I found a link to the the capes (http://www.georgialeigh.com/?p=57) at my friends blog http://www.goddessinprogressblog.com/quilts/.  My son Thomas is thrilled when we help him "fly" and he says superman.  I decided to make all 3 kids the same cape so that there wouldn't be any fights over them.  They love "Super Why" on sprout so I decided that I will be making the super why applique for the back of the cape.  This seems like such a simple project, that even though I have other projects to make, I am going to start with the capes.

The next project I need to work on  are the Halloween costumes.  I think they will be somewhat easy, but maybe time consuming, so I really need to start soon.  I have all or at least most of the material to start cutting.  I am hoping that I can get my serger to have the right tension since I think it will make a nicer product.  The kids are going to be a maiden and squire.  I am also hoping to get to King Richard's Faire this year and I would love for them to be able to wear a costume to the fair.

I also have a bunch of projects to start for Christmas.  The most important projects are for the kids, then my husband and then my mom.  There are quilts to make, toys to make, maybe even jewelry to make, maybe some knitting or crocheting, never mind the potential of making my own Christmas cards.  I haven't been very good at making time to complete projects.  I feel so much better when I do, but for some reason, I have just been finding anything and everything else to do.  I am hoping that with have a routine back, I will be able to get myself into a routine with laundry, house cleaning, kids, and time to create as well as making time to sleep.

I have a lot on my plate, but I am really going to try to find time to create.  I should plan some take along projects so that when I am at work and it is slow, I can be productive vs just sitting on the computer.  I am thinking that knitting and crochet projects are good projects to take along to work as well as maybe some small hand sewing projects!

A little ambitious, but I am really looking forward to this.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday and CTWW

I love Wednesdays for blogging, at least on this blog.  On Wednesdays, I love to see what Jamie over at http://jamieridlerstudios.ca and what http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com prompt me to think about.

This week Jamie asks: "What guidance do you wish for?"  As usual, Jamie's question follows right along with things that I have been thinking about.  For me, I wish for guidance in following my dreams and my passions.  I know what my dreams and my passions are, at least I think I do, but I think I need guidance on how to follow though with them.  How do I make them them a part of my life instead of just a dream in my mind?  Is it possible to take them and make them something I could make a living at and if so, how do I do it?  How do I follow my dreams and my passions and not give up on my social work profession?  How do I follow my dreams and passions and afford to do it?  I guess these are just a few of the questions that I wish for guidance on.

Last week, for change the world Wednesday, I wrote about reducing my waste.  I guess on some level I made a pretty huge goal for myself.  One of the things that I have to remember in my life is that I can take small steps to get to the large goal I have, I don't have to leap to the large goal right away.  I have done better this past week with making my own tea and bringing food for lunch, but I have not been perfect.  I still need to get better at planning and making sure that I have food in the house to make dinner and that I actually make dinner.  I also need to get better at packing my dinner for work and using up leftovers.  I have been better this week, but not where I was hoping to be.  I also want to do better at not buying my coffee or my tea out.  A lot of my goals will help reduce waste and also help my finances, a win win situation.  As I wrote above I want guidance in following my passions.  One of my passions is living a greener more natural life and that includes reducing waste.  So, this is a goal that I will be continuing with and hopefully as time moves on, the small changes I make will lead up to the large goal I have.

This week, reduce footprints asks us to look at our fridge and see what we can do to make sure that it operates efficiently.  There are lots of suggestions that they have and I plan to follow through checking out my fridge.  One of the suggestions is to change the gasket.  I know that we have replaced it recently, but I will double check to see that it is still working right.  I will plan to write an update of how things go after I follow reduce footprints suggestions.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Change The World Wednesday (a day late)

This weeks challenge is a really appropriate challenge for me.  Zero Waste Week 2011 started September 5th and the goal over at http://myzerowaste.com/ is how can I reduce my waste away from from home.  This challenge is really appropriate since I have been rediculously horrible about eating out, wasting food, and buying coffee/tea out.  When I look in my recycling bin, and the fact that I recycle is the only saving grace for me, I cringe when I see how many plastic cups are in there.  That means I have wasted a ton of money by buying coffee/tea out instead of making it at home and I am using way too many plastic containers.  I have tried to make this change earlier in the summer, but I haven't really succeeded.  My new goal is to either make my drinks at home or at least being a reusable mug with me instead of using a "disposable" cup/mug.  I have also been buying too much soda and since I want not only reduce my soda intake, but actually eliminate it, I will make sure that I bring at least one of my many water bottles that I fill at home from our filtered water system.  I will also make sure that I continue to buy healthy frozen juice concentrate for the kids to help reduce plastic waste.  I have been horrible about eating out also.  This means that I use disposable products more than someone who eats home more often.  I will be planning better so that I don't feel like I have to eat out because I don't have a meal planned, there by reducing my waste and saving money.

Since the above goals will take some planning on my part, I will be forced, in a good way, to plan my meals and my liquids so that I don't feel the need to stop at a store/take out place to get either food or drink.  I will be forced to plan my grocery list there by saving money, eating healthier, and hopefully reducing my food waste.  I am totally guilty of buying food that I forget about and then have to throw it away because it has gone bad. 

I am hoping that these zero waste week 2011 goals will not only help reduce waste, but increase my wallet and help to make me healthier.  Hopefully is will also help with my stress since i will have my meal planning done and I will be saving money as well as helping the earth!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday: What Path Do You Wish to Follow?


It's been a while since I've participated in Wishcasting Wednesday!  This week Jamie asks: What Path Do You Wish to Follow?

It's always interesting to reading Jamie's prompts.  I feel like I am always trying to find my path.  One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost's Road Not Taken.  If I look back, I have accomplished most of my dreams.  I have a graduate degree in social work.  I have a family. I have a house.  I have a great life.  What is missing?  As much as I love being a social worker, I want to do more than just traditional social work.  I want to do art therapy.  I want to learn about herbal medicine.  I want to learn about aromatherapy.  I want to learn about nutrition.  I want to learn about yoga, tai chi, qi gong and other modalities like this.  I want to use my social work degree to truly treat the mind, body and spirit.  

I guess the path I want to follow is treating my own mind, body and spirit as well as my family's, and then move on to treating others!  I want to take the road less travelled and do more with the alternative realm of healing than the traditional road.

Thanks Jamie for letting me get this down in words instead of just in my head!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

What's New?

As summer comes to a crashing end, I am sitting here thinking about all that I didn't do.  We started a garden last year and had pretty good results.  This year, it seems as if we did nothing outside.  I don't know what we did or why we didn't spend time in the garden.  I think part of it is that we walked 4 miles almost every day, Michael was in preschool the month of July, we tried to spend time as a family, and probably the biggest issue was the crazy anount of mosquitos that we had in our yard.  Oh, and child illnesses, including Lyme Disease for Miss Eva Rose.

When I think about our garden, I am kind of diappointed.  We did get a ton of tomatoes, but we also got some sort of blight/fungus that is killing them now.  I am trying to save as many tomatoes as I can so that we can enjoy some garden fresh tomatoes.  We did have a decent amount of cucumbers, which we didn't have last year.  My carrots are finally at a point where they can be eaten, albeit small.  the best part about the carrots is that they came from seeds as did the beets and the radishes.  My next step is to pull up all the lettuce, spinich, peas, and other things that are no longer doing well, and plant a second crop of cold weather veggies, like more peas, carrots, beets, greens, etc.

I still have lots of projects to work on.  I started a scarf for one of my sisters.  Hopefully it will be something she likes and something useful.  She is going to be a sophmore at UMASS Amherst and will be working in the barn (I think) and I am hoping that it will be warm and useful for her as well as something that she will like.  I have a few other knit gifts as well as sewing gifts planned.  I am hopeful that I can actually get a schedule going so that I can complete some of my projects!

I know it is still August, but it is the end of August.  I am trying to plan for the winter months so that I can feel productive and enjoy the time in the house vs being able to go out.  I want to use my tiem to create, plan my garden for next year, learn more about herbs and aromatherapy, and maybe even kick start an etsy.com shop.  We'll see how things work, but I definitely don't want this winter to be an unproductive season, nor do I want to hate winter.  I need to find a way to make winter more fun and enjoyable.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Selling What I Make?

I have long thought about selling things I make.  I think I would really enjoy making money, even just a little, from something I created.  Then my fears step in, my anxieties, my doubt.  Am I good enough?  Are the things that I make good enough quality to sell people?  Is anyone interested?  Are there too many people doing the same thing that I am doing.  Will I be a total failure, a total flop?

Yes, I have major self doubts, some that are real and some that are probably more in my mind than anything else.  Yes, I need to make sure that what ever I make, there is a calling for.  I often go to craft fairs for multiple reasons, one of them being to scope out what others are selling.  There are so many jewelers out there.  There are so many people doing all the things that I like to do.  I haven't found my niche yet, and I don't know if I am able to think outside the box enough to create my own little niche.

I have a couple of friends that sell on etsy.com and I am really interested in doing something like this.  I just e-mailed a friend that is jsut starting her own shop.  She got me interested again instead of just thinking about is a side thought.  How nice would it be to actually make money doing something you love?  Granted, I am totally aware that what you love may end up being what you despise when it becomes your job, but I really want to do something I love, not just something I like.  Is this it?  I don't know, but I'm not sure that I should discount that this may be something I would enjoy, maybe just a little side thing to enjoy and make a little money at the same time.

My next goal is to find my little niche.  What will it be?  I can only hope to figure out!  I really need to find something that I will enjoy yet something that is different and something that attracts people to want to buy things.


Monday, August 15, 2011


Yes, I know it's still August and Christmas is far away, but I always put off my Christmas list until the last minute and then I never have any time to make people things like I want to.  I am not wishing away summer, but I know how time flies and I know that I need to start planning so that a) I know what I want to make people, b) I can afford it, and c) I have the time to complete all I want to make! 

When I started this blog, I had a goal of not going to big department stores, but shopping at smaller local stores and trying to make my own things, from food, to clothing, to gifts, etc.  I haven't really been able to really follow through with that goal, but it still remains a goal.  One thing I really would like to do, which would essentially be a huge help to meeting the goal of making my own things, is to have a work station where I could leave things set up, like my sewing machine or a jewelry project, or anything else that I was working on.  Once my brother in law leaves, which will hopefully be soon (we can all hope), I hope to move some things in the basement and get a work station set up so that I can leave my sewing machine set up, have an area to work on jewelry projects, maybe even scrapbooking/paper crafts, or even my aromatherapy stuff.  I have most of my supplies organized, just no place to actually work!

Once I finish this post, I am going to start my Christmas list so that I can hopefully plan out what I want to make people and have goals set to finish projects.  My first priority is my husband and my kids.  I have been wanting to make a picture quilt for my husband for a long time now.  I have bought some material and even the special material to put through a printer to print the pictures on.  I think I have even printed some old pictures from before we were married ( I had printed them before we were married, that's how long I have wanted to do this).  I also want to make all 3 kids something special from me that I have made.  I would like to make this an annual tradition.  My absolute favorite gifts/cards are things that my husband has made me and I want my kids to treasure things that are handmade and mean something not just some thing that was bought at a store and made in China.  I also want to make special things for special people in my life.

I am really hoping that I can plan things out so that I can get projects completed in time for Christmas.  It will really feel good to give handmade special gifts that will hopefully mean more than jsut something I picked out from the store, especially since I really enjoy making things.  Hopefully I can also get a spot to work out of so that I can be a little more productive!


Thursday, August 11, 2011


I've been talking a lot about getting myself organized.  Well, I finally attempted it today!  I feel a little guilty since I spent time cleaning and organizing most of the day letting the kids watch a hefty dose of Caillou.  The guilt that I feel about letting the kids watch tv definitely competes with the satisfaction of putting together and organizing my crafts.  I still have a ton to do, and a ton to clean out and donate (which I so don't want to do because I love each and every supply that I have bought for the different crafts that I love) since I no longer have any room for everything I now own.

The first thing I started with is organizing my material and my yarn.  Holy craft supplies, do I have a ton of yarn and a decent supply of fabric.  Right now I have my yarn sorted by fiber content.  I have a couple of small boxes of cotton yarn separated between color and neutrals.  I have a large and medium size bin of yarns that are mostly synthetic, and a large bin of yarn that is mostly 100% wool with some blends thrown in.  All bins have more than one project in the works in them, plus I have a decorative bin in the living room with projects in it  Now I can go into each bin and know what I have for yarn in what type of fiber content instead of trying to find it all mixed in together.

My material has been organized by either fabric content, color, fat quarter, or pattern ie holiday, child, etc.  I have a decent amount of fabric that has mostly been bought for different potential quilts.  I have a couple bins that have material set aside for different possible projects that have been planned, but not started.  I have a bin of patterns, plus a bunch of patterns that are in my closet, and a couple by my bed.  I have my box of thread and notions all together, but I'm sure that there is more sewing stuff that needs to get organized.  I do have a decent bag of material and yarn that I am going to donate.  Now that I think about it, I should probably keep a large piece of blue striped fleece and give away the ugly green fleece that I bought for some unknown reason.

I still ahve the rest of my craft supplies to go through.  I have a ton of rubber stamps and paper crafting supplies.  I loave to make cards and scrapbook, but I just don't have the time.  It is going to be really difficult to get rid of some of the things that I will be purging.  I may call a friend and see if there is anything that she wants when I decide to get rid of things, if I can bring myself to do it!  I also have my jewelry making supplies that I should go through and see if there are any beads that I can't see myself ever using.  I doubt it as I am usually pretty picky on what beads I buy.  Maybe if I can get my supplies in order, I can start making things again.  Maybe if I can get a spot cleared out, I can start a project and leave it up, instead of having to always clean everything up and then having to take the time to take it out again and clean up again!

My goal is to set aside and area of the basement for a small table or desk.  I am hoping my brother in law leaves soon since he is staying in our basement and making it more difficult to actually be able to get down there and craft.  Even my husband doesn't feel like he can get into his woodshop and do things.  I am hoping to move a drop leaf table that we have to another area for folding clothes,  I am hoping that it will open up an area to have a desk or table or even a make your own desk out of a countertop and file cabinets to set up my sewing machine, and have space to do my paper crafting and jewelry.  maybe then I can also think about selling some of the things that I make if I have a space to set up and do some nice work.

I still have many supplies that I don't have room for, but will not be getting rid of.  I have a small kiln, that had bought for glass fusing and other light projects.  I have all my wood working supplies including my carving tools and my lathe.  I can't believe that I haven't touched any of that since probably before I was in grad school.  I am looking forward to have some time to create and if I can get organized, maybe then I will be a little more able to create more often!

I do still have the rest of the house to organize, but this was a huge start and really needed to be done so that I can get to the other areas of the house.  I think the next area is going through the kids toys.  I have a few that I am getting rid of, but I'm sure that there are more that I can either get rid of or put away and pull out later after I swap out other toys!  I also did semi organize the kitchen, but again, I need to do more.  I am also going to get better at planning my menu for the week and sticking too it.  I have been menu planning , but the problem is I don't always follow it.  I am giving myself a pat on the back for starting to get organized, but there is still so much to do and then maintain!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I know that there are a lot of times that I tend to repetitively write about the same thing over and over and over, or at least that is how it feels to me.  Here I am again writing about organization and my lack there of.  I really need to go through my kids' toys and get them organized so that I can feel like my house is not full of toys.  On the other hand, I really need to get my craft supplies organized so that I know what I have and figure out if there are things that I either have double of (because I was not organized) or if there are things that I can get rid of.  I am really getting tired of feeling stressed because I am so unorganized!  Also, maybe, just maybe if things are organized, then I will find time to be creative and enjoy my craft supplies.

The other area that I need to get organized in is meal planning.  Actually after I write this post, I am off to plan for the next week.  I really need to plan what I am going to eat and what I will eat when I have certain cravings, since I really need and want to get my eating under control.  I talked to my husband about some of these things today and we decided that I just need to do it.  I can't keep putting it of, rationalizing it, or making excuses.  It is hard without a set schedule like we have during the school year, but I guess I just need to put a schedule together for myself and plan my meals and go grocery shopping around the foods that I need to be eating.

If I can get myself organized, I am sure that I will have more time for other things and I am absolutely sure that I will be way less stressed.  I am hoping that if I get my eating under control that will help me with some of the procrastination that I am having since I think the foods that I am eating are making me feel less motivated and almost spacey.  What I need to do is just do what I know needs to be done and know that I may need to work a lot harder at it than some people who are just naturally organized and neat.

I know what I need to do, how I need to do it, but now I just need to actually follow through and do it!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Do I Need To Do?

I have all these ideas and thoughts, but the follow through isn't always there.  With summer being here and my husband being home and Michael in school for the month of July, we have taken advantage of just having 2 kids to take out for our daily walks and have gone for a 4 mile walk usually about 3-4 days a week.  We have also attempted to spend a lot of time with the kids playing outside and maybe even getting some gardening done.  What we haven't really had is a set formal schedule other than Michael's school.  What this has done for me, is to take away some structure that I had and now I haven't gone and done a normal grocery shopping, made a normal meal plan, cooked dinner, cleaned house, done laundry, made time for creating, gone to any farmer's markets.  This means, my goals of being organized, eating healthy, being creative, etc have all gone by the wayside.  Also, we have my brother in law staying with us, and as much as it's not his fault, it has really either caused some planning issues or at least given me a way to rationalize (albeit an abnormal rationale) why I am not getting things done.

One of the reasons that I like writing this blog, is that it helps to keep my head a little more clear about what my goals are.  I may not always follow through with them, but at least I am thinking and writing and hopefully following some of them.  To give myself some credit, I have been exercising.  I have made some better meal choices, though not always great.  I have started making water kefir and milk kefir, though I am feeling like I am getting behind in that area as well.  I have been having some green smoothies, though I really want to have more.  I really want to start menu planning again.  For some reason, having my husband home has made me lazy in this area.  I need to get back on track.

Long and Short Term Goals?:
  1. plan my meals for the week
  2. have a green smoothie every day
  3. exercise
  4. be creative
  5. cook/eat at home versus eating crappy unhealthy food out
  6. continue to read more about aromatherapy and herbs
  7. continue to research nutrition and healthy diet
  8. reasearch and get new recipes
  9. read and follow "the Body Ecology Diet", and allergy diets
  10. go grocery shopping
  11. finish Rebecca's baby shower gift!
Thanks to those who read!  I love having a place to put my thoughts and ideas down and sometimes even get comments/thoughts back!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Back To Basics

I'm once again writing about my diet, which is an on going battle.  One of my goals, when I go back to work is to maybe work with people with eating issues/disorders.  I have never really thought about that realm of social work, but given the struggles I am having, I am thinking it may be an interesting area to learn more about.  With that being the goal and add on to that goal getting some nutritional education behind me, I decided that I really need to get myself back in line with healthy eating and healthy living.  Along with that, I really need to get back to eating healthy and cooking for my family just to plain old save money.

Enter http://www.healthygirlskitchen.blogspot.com.  The author of this blog started some posts about "The Beck Diet Solution".  Her posts got me intrigued and I am using this as an opportunity to get back to basics.  Day 1 of "The Beck Diet Solution" is basically to put down your goals.  The thing is, you have to actually read your goals twice a day.  I am going to try that, but we'll see how it works out.  Actually you are supposed to write down your reasons for losing weight so here are mine:

  1. to be healthy
  2. to reduce my cardiac and cancer risk
  3. to feel better with how I look
  4. to have more energy
  5. to feel better about myself in general
  6. to be a healthy example for my kids
Day 2 is to choose your diet.  I am choosing to follow Dr Neal Barnard diet, which is basically a vegan diet.  I am in the middle of reading his "Breaking The Food Seduction" which I am hoping will help with the multiple food  addictions that I have.  I  am also looking to follow the "Body Ecology Diet" for a multitude of reasons.  I guess, according to this book you don't necessarily rush right into the diet, there are 2 weeks of exercises to do.  I guess I should look at getting the book and looking at it so I at least know what I am attempting here.

Day 3 is to sit while you eat.  This is one that I have been attempting to do as a family but am failing miserably, with me being one of the main culprits.  I tend to multi task while I eat and as much as I know I shouldn't, I do.  I am going to really try to sit and enjoy my food with no distractions, as much as I am able to.

That's we we're at so far.  I'll continue to post what new changes/goals I am looking to make and hopfully this time, I'll be moving in the right direction!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Latest Project

My friend T.J. from http://www.any-given-moment.blogspot.com, asked about my latest projects that I plan to make for my newest niece.  She was wondering if I am going to use a pattern or make up my own.  I guess the answer to that question is both.  I plan on using this basic design here at http://www.modabakeshop.com/2009/09/ribbon-blanket-and-block.html and then moving on to make it my own.  I plan to use 4 monkey wrench blocks since my sister is doing a monkey theme.  I figured I would go with some traditional and some very basic blocks so that it is simple yet personalized.  I am also planning on trying the ribbon block from that same site also.  For the burp cloths, I am just planning on adding a personalized strip down the middle and maybe the bottom of some pre-made cloth diapers.  I got some like that for my 3 kids and I love them.  I am trying to figure out what to do with them now since I no longer need burp cloths and I would rather not use those for dust rags.  Actually, after writing this post, I am thinking I am going to pull out my embroidery attachment to my sewing machine and embroider the squares for the ribbon block as well as personalize it with my nieces name Hannah!

So T.J., when I finish my project, I will post pictures.  Maybe I'll even post some in progress pictures.  I can't wait to find time to actually make these gifts!  I am really looking forward to it!


Monday, July 18, 2011


I am working really hard to get back to where I want to be with regards to my beliefs!  My beliefs such as: making gifts instead of just going to a department store and buying them, eating healthy home cooked meals, being active, using alternative means to having a healthy life, being as green and eco-friendly/conscious as I can.

I am planning on sewing a couple of things for my sister's baby shower and I finally planned her blanket.  I was going to make an actual quilt, but then I thought about time and whether or not it would actually be used.  I decided to make a ribbon quilt.  It will be an actual quilt, but small and with ribbons that my newest niece will hopefully enjoy playing with.  I want it to be used and loved, not just folded away some where.  I am also planning on making a couple of burp cloths to match the quilt.  I did buy the diaper bag that was on my sister's registry as well as some little things to go along with it, but I absolutely for certain wanted to make something for my newest niece.  I spent Friday night drafting the ribbon quilt for my niece.  I am hoping that it will look great.  I hope that it won't be too over done.  My sister decided to go with the monkey theme, so I have monkey and jungle material with coordinating fabrics to go along with it.  I am really excited to start working on it.  I also decided to do a couple of traditional quilt blocks called the monkey wrench.  I hope it some out the way I planned it!  Then I will be off to draft my kids' quilts!  I am hoping to use non-traditional patterns for theirs and make the boys coordinating and Eva Rose's coordinating too, but add something girly to it also.  I am planning on having them in the same room for quite some time, so I might as well coordinate all quilts with the space theme that we had decided on for the boys!

I am trying to really get back to eating healthy.  I have started to have at least 1 green smoothie a day.  I would love to move up to have more and decreasing some of the solid foods that I eat.  How healthy would it be to have more fruits and veggies in your diet and be able to drink them and get all the nutrients that you need.  I still ahve a long way to go to fully be where I want to be, but again this whole life style is a balance.  I don't have to be all or nothing.  I can make small changes and hope that as I increase the amount of small changes, it will add up to big overall changes!  As long as I keep moving in the right direction, than I am happy with that.  I have started to decrease the amount of sugar that I give the kids and me and my husband.  I am trying to get the adults away from as much meat as we have been eating, but not really the kids.  I was hoping to do more with a raw foods diet for the summer months, but I don't seem to be there yet.  I also keep trying to get way from gluten and gluten containing foods as well as dairy!

Tom and I hae been trying to walk on average every other day to every day depending on the weather and our schedule.  We have been walking 4 miles and I am finally seeming not to have aches and pains like I did when we first started 2 weeks ago.  I really want to start doing yoga!  I have all these thoughts, but I just don't seem to find the time to actually do it!  I am hoping the yoga  will help me physically and also mentally, dealing with stress in my life.

As for using alternative means to a healthy life, I want to learn more about herbs and aromatherapy and how to incorporate that into my life.  I would love to learn enough to start a career with  this.  I also consider nutrition as an alternative means of living a healthy life.  By nutrition, I don't mean following the latest fad, I mean eating a healthy diet that may actually even go against what mainstream society tells you to eat.  I also want to include yoga and other things like qi gong in my practice.  I would love to add some of these things to anactual career, but I think my husband would kill me if I changed my career from social work to something else!  I think it's because I had just gotten my MSW/LCSW right before I had children.  Maybe some day, I'll actually get supervision and get enough hours to get my LICSW and then I can practice social work and do therapy how I want to, not just traditional psychotherapy!

I just want to continue to recycle and reduce my contribution to any negative envornmental impact.  I would love to re-use instead of always using new items.  Someday, I'll get to a thrift store and start to use/re-use otehr peoples things especailly in new and creative ways instead of always buying new, even material.

God this was a long post!  If anyone is reading this, this was another post to help remind me of my goals, not to preach.  Any thoughts are always welcome!


Friday, July 15, 2011


Since most of my posts lately have been about food and diet, I thought I would change things up and write a little about my creativity, or lack there of.  I haven't been very motivated to be creative.  It could be that I am a wife, a mom of 3 under 3, work part time, trying to cook healthy, trying to keep a clean/somewhat organized house (focus on trying), or maybe it's just that I've been lazy.  My friend Liz over at http://www.goddessinprogress.com, really inspires me.  This week, after my darling 2 1/2 year old daughter started waking up around 5:30 am sometimes earlier, I decided that I needed to actually make the light blocking shades that I had been planning on for quite some time.  Then I decided that the windows needed new curtains to go along with the space themed shades.  So now my kids have their new curtains and shades and they have actually been sleeping til 7:00 am! 

I am now inspired to move on to the quilts for my kids as well as the projects for my newest niece who will be joining us in about 1 1/2 months.  I am still in the process of figuring out the quilt pattern for my kids as well as for my niece.  I am also planning on making some burp cloths for her too.  So I am now off to try to find good patterns for the quilts.  At first, I had thought about just making space themed quilts for the boys since the plan is for their rooms to be space themed.  The drawback is that my daughter shares a room with them too.  Do I make her the same quilt?  Do I make her the shabby chic inspired quilt that I had planned to make her?  Or, do I make her a space themed quilt that is a little more girly than the boys, but that will still have elements of the boys quilts so that they coordinate?  I've decided that we have entirely too many boy themed toys and we need to start encouraging some girl themed play, for all 3 kids!  I think  my daughter needs a quilt that is somewhat girly, but one that will coordinate with the boys quilt.  Any thoughts?  My friend Liz also inspires me to go beyond the traditional quilt block and try something a little different.  I can't wait to see what I come up with.

I have many projects, almost too many.  I really need to stay inspired so that I can get some things accomplished.  I find that I really enjoy being creative, especially sewing.  I don't always enjoy the process, it's something I need to work on.  One thing I need to do is give myself enough time to complete a project so that I don't stress about a deadline!  If I am not stressed about a deadline (which due to my chronic procrastination I often am), I do enjoy the process.  The one thing I always enjoy is the outcome!  I can always guarantee that I love the results especially if it comes out the way I want, but if not I'm still usually satisfied that I was able to create something.

Hopefully I can get some projects completed and post some pictures.  Also, not to rush things along, but I want to get started thinking about Christmas gifts.  Again, I find creating much more enjoyable when I am not stressed about a deadline, like I'm sure most people!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Making Changes Happen

As those who have been following along know, I am and have been attempting to change my eating habits.  I am making some definite progress, but I still have a great way to go.  I have a new motivation though!  My children, or should I say my oldest son.  All of my children have a speech delay.  They are all very active kids.  Now you can say that they are not quite 3 1/2 and 2 1/2 (twins) years old and I absolutely agree!  I am no where saying that I have issues with hyperactive kids, I just have kids that are more active than those kids that enjoy sitting and doing quiet activities.  With my oldest, there has been some question (on my husband's part because I know nothing about this) of autism.  I have asked his early intervention speech therapist who said no.  I have asked the school teacher, more braodly, if they felt that his speech delay was a symptom of something else.  Again the answer was no.  My husabnd still has some concerns that there is more to him that has been diagnosed, and on some level I wonder too.  But, on the other side, I wonder if there are foods that are making things worse and that it is more of a food reaction than an actual diagnosed illness.

Since I am trying to eat a certain way, and since that way of eating can only help my children, especially my oldest, I am motivated now to really look at what my meal plan consists of.  Instead of just flying by the seat of my pants, which no matter how hard I try I never seem to get a plan in place, I meed to actually menu plan and plan along the lines of a diet that may benefit me and my children.  Even if there is no change to their behavior, their speech, or anything else, at least I know that it is a healthy way to eat.

At this point, I am looking to eliminate gluten and sugar, and we have already eliminated dairy (for the most part).  I say that we have eliminated dairy for the most part because, ingeneral we don't give the kids any dairy, but then once in a while they will have it if we are at a party, or now that it's summer we will have ice cream once in a while, but now where near the 7+ gallons of milk we were consuming prior to giving up dairy.

I am looking for good tried and true recipes.  I have some cookbooks and blogs that I really like, but I really want to make things that me and my family will enjoy.  If anyone has favorites, please send them my way!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Going Green (Smoothie)

With my desire to start being healthy, I have started to look at the raw foods world, at least for the summer months.  One thing that I noticed is the whole green smoothie "revolution".  Ok, so maybe not a revolution, but it;s certainly a popular concept.  A few years ago, my husband and I started to make green smoothies.  We bought a book by Victoria Boutenko, who has been promoting green smoothies.  Basically, it is a much easier and tastier way to get in your fruits and veggies, almost like a V8 fruit drink but better and probably better for you since you make it yourself.  Green smoothies basically consist of fruit, a green leafy veggie, and maybe some water and protein powder if you wish ( we've used protein powder in the past but I have used it recently).  I like my greens, but there are only so many I can eat at a time.  I can drink these smoothies and feel like I am being healthy and getting in my fruits and veggies.  Most recently, I have been adding in my homemade kefir with some stevia to sweeten the kefir.  I had some last night for a snack and even when my husband wanted ice cream, I was a little more able to hold off and not be persuaded as easily as I usually am.  I am hoping that one positive impact for me will be relieving me from my cravings.  I don't see it or expect that it will happen overnight, but I am hoping that these small changes I am making will help me with my overall health and in time I'll be able to listen to my bosy and really trust what it is telling me.

Last night, as I was researching green smoothies, I went to a blog I have been following for some time now, www.choosingraw.  One of the things that I read, which totally resonated with me was making small changes.  For along time now, and with many things, I often feel like I have to be perfect right away or else it is a failed attempt.  I am slowly realizing, I can make small changes to my diet that over time will accumulate to large very positive changes.  I am also realizing that it really isn't an all or nothing idea.  I can have some meat even though I want mostly to be a vegan.  I can have dairy even though I don't want to have it every day.  The healthier I get, the more I can listen to my body and the more I can trust it to tell me what it needs..com

Earlier in this post, I mentioned that I have been making homemade kefir.  I am making both milk and water kefir and am loving both.  I love water kefir.  It is fermented water that has some small bubbles in it.  Often I will drink it in a champagne flute or a wine glass just for the fun of it.  I love drinking out of fancy glasses even if it is just water.  I haven't really experimented with flavors yet, but I plan to do that soon.  I haven't really been drinking the milk kefir, but I have been using it in mainly my pancake recipes and have made butter out of it also.  I have strained the kefir and made "kefir cheese" and then used the whey in my pancake batter.  I have started (just yesterday) to add kefir to my green smoothie.  I really enjoyed it though I did need to flavor it with stevia, since straight plain kefir, like plain yogurt, is a little too tart for my taste.  I'm loving my kefir grains!

Green Smoothie Recipe #2

1 apple
1/2 C frozen blueberries
1/2 C frozen berries
1C frozen mixed fruit
1/2 C sunflower seeds (magnesium)
1 head of green leaf lettuce (from my neighbor's CSA share)
water to blend to consistency of your liking
1/2 C kefir/yogurt (optional)
stevia to taste (optional)
 (for the first smoothie of the day, I added the kefir at the end and just stirred it in with about 7-8 drops of liquid stevia.  Later that night, I re-blended a glass of the smoothie with some kefir and stevia and I think blending it made it more amalgamated and I really enjoyed it much more)

I usually blend the fruit and water and then add the greens.  You really can use any leafy greens you want.  My husband is lacking in the magnesium arena so I added the sunflower seeds to help increase the magnesium for him.  Blend to your favorite consistency and enjoy.

I am looking forward to trying more combinations as well as using veggies from our garden.  I will post more recipes as I make them.  I am hoping that, in time, these green smoothies with help me get my health back and as I've said, I can start trusting my body!

Have you had green smoothies?  Do you have favorite recipe?