Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Strange weather

    I'm up late.....and listening to the rumble of thunder in late January.  In Wisconsin.  Spring has sprung again and will exit Wednesday.  Crazy!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cleaning Tip 2

      This tip came from my apartment roommate  many, many years ago.  She suggested that we each clean our bathroom sink each time we used it.  I tried it and liked the tip.  It usually took a few seconds to do this, my sink at least looked clean all the time, and heavier cleaning was simple.  It became a habit, and I still do it.
      I am keeping up with my shower cleaning tip from last year.  It is becoming a habit, and the shower never looked so clean!  This really works for me.
      Now.....I wonder how I can keep up on dusting.  Maybe I will try leaving my duster out in the kitchen where it is visible and easily accessible.
      Another trick that helps remind me to clean.....in the bathroom I leave a few cleaning supplies on the counter instead of hidden under the sink.  They are in a nice container from which they are easily grabbed.
      I also splurge and buy cleansers that smell good, look good, and work.  Some of them are not harsh (I like Meyers)  and I might eventually switch completely to these.  They are better for the environment and they don't bother my nose.  Cleaning is more pleasant now!
      Why these tips?  I hate the discipline of cleaning on a regular basis.  I seem to expend all that energy on other things, such as practicing.  Now that my kids are gone from home I am not as overwhelmed and I'm actually becoming interested in improving my cleaning skills.  Also, I am aging and my body is happier if I do things little by little instead of occasional giant cleaning sprees. I have less injuries!  I'm improving bit by bit......there's hope for me!
       Now....if only I could transfer this desire to paperwork..........

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Musing 23

     I just had an unpleasant flashback to my elementary school years in central Indiana.  I was looking at a picture of navy bean soup at Pinterest and I suddenly remembered the look and smell of the ham and bean soup served in my school cafeteria.  That soup was the only thing I really disliked on the menu.  Actually, dislike is too mild; I detested the stuff.  It was a rather thick, whitish gloppy mess with a few bits of ham that smelled as bad as it tasted.  The odor was kind of sickening.  And there was always a very plain piece of cornbread, too.  Maybe I would eat that.  Ugh!!
     My father loved ham and bean soup but no one else did, so it was not on the home menu.  So he snarfed it whenever he had a chance elsewhere.  I sometimes heard about the experience and tried not to groan too much. 
     When I was about 12 years old my family went on vacation to Washington DC and was given a tour by our congressman at my dad's request.  Our congressman invited us to  eat lunch where he did (I don't remember the name...it was where congressmen and senators ate).  We heard about their famous Senate Bean Soup and I knew I would have to eat it.  I was told it would be good, and that I had to be on my best behavior.  Needless to say, I was not looking forward to the experience.  When the day came and the soup was in front of me, I ate it, and something very odd happened. I liked it. In fact, the only thing I remember about the lunch was discovering there was a version of ham and bean soup that was good.
     After the trip my mother made the senate soup a couple of times and it was pretty yummy.  I've successfully made it, too.  What made it good?  First, I never use the big beans.  The senate soup had the small navy beans.  My school always used great northern beans amd to this day I won't touch them.  But the small ones work.  Second, don't just make it out of ham hocks and beans.  Add other vegees and seasonings.  I like to add some chopped onions, carrots, celery and potatoes.  Hickory flavoring helps, too.  Last, it needs some body but it shouldn't be too thick.  No glue, please.  That's just gross!
     Back to the Pin....I have posted a link to what looks like a good bean soup.  It's time for a nice hearty soup; it's very cold here!  Maybe I'll make it with a 12 bean mix that is good (after I pick the great northern beans out... )         http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2009/10/23/white-bean-and-ham-soup-on-a-chilly-foodie-friday/

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hitty Hatty 5/ Doily Wool Bag

      Below is another project that is nearing completion.  This small  bag is cut from wool I purchased at Etsy.  I decorated the front and back of it with a vintage doily.  It is lined with silk.  I hope to list it on my Etsy shop soon.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Musing 22

     One of my sons did some research for a class on the topic of mindfulness.  He shared some of what he learned with us and I found it interesting.  Mindfulness has been on my mind...
     Today I had the impression that I need to be mindful of what I am thinking about, especially noting when I have  anxious/worry thoughts.  I should write down what they are and when I have them, and do it for no other reason than to discover how often they occur.  Kind of like the exercise of recording what and when you eat before starting a new diet.
     Once I get a better picture of what is going on in my head it will be appropriate to analyze what I discover and find patterns, if any.  My guess is that I have these thoughts much more than I realize and mindfulness techniques will help me focus on more positive thoughts.  But who knows...maybe it's not as bad as I think!  Guess I'll have to do this and find out...
     Meanwhile, here is a link to some basic information about mindfulness-

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hitty Hatty 4 - felted bag

     Today I'm posting a photograph of a small bag I am finishing.  It was cut out of a felted wool sweater and then embroidered with wool crewel yarn.  I still have to attach the lining (hence the pins) and handle ribbon.  The size will be about 6 x 7 inches. 
     There is a pocket on the back cut from sleeve ribbing.

     Below is a pocket heart cut from felted wool; it's similar to the purse.  So soft and cozy!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sunday Musings 21

    Well, it's a day late...
     Yesterday I had an experience that rattled me.  I have been feeling inceasingly anxious ever since, and have felt myself start down the path of worry and depression.  I found an article this morning that reminded me of the need to move forward in my life...move forward with faith. 
      My elementary school years occurred during the Cold War.  There was talk of bomb shelters, possible nuclear war, and the dangers of radioactive fallout.  TV had periodic announcements about what to do in case of an attack and how to protect yourself from fallout.  I remember worrying about these things.
       I have a memory of one day in particular.  As I was walking to school I remember being scared that I would not get home again.  What if a bomb goes off while I am in school?  What kind of protection is there?  For that matter, how protected is my home?   It was depressing--a dark morning.
       Even though many years have passed since then,  these fears occasionally surface.  I recognize the anxious fear.  It tugs at my emotions and sometimes pulls me off course.  Focusing on my LDS faith helps me overcome my fears.  I have spiritual tools such as prayer and Scripture study to strengthen me.
       In addition to these things, it is faith promoting to see what the Lord has done in my life.  Today I am remembering that the girl who heard weekly Soviet  threats now has a son serving a mission in Russia and a Russian/Ukrainian stand partner in a local orchestra.  I enjoy all the Russian people I have met, and this has brought me joy.  Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought these things would happen.  They were unthinkable. 
       These blessings remind me of how the Lord is personally involved in each of our lives.  Right down to the details.  It also reminds me that His knowledge is far beyond ours; in fact, there are no words for it.  Maybe all-encompassing or eternal.  So it is important to worship him through faithfulness and have hope that everything will work out.  Just hold on...hang in there!  You never know what surprise blessings are around the corner.

Here is a link to a wonderful article I found on lds.org:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cleaning Tip

     In January I catch the cleaning/organizing bug.  Yesterday I spent a few hours working in my office.  Soon the Christmas decos will be packed away.  After that it will be time to purge files.
     The bug doesn't extend to cleaning shower walls.  Spray cleaner on, wait, and rinse was my motto...do as little scrubbing as possible.  That causes tennis elbow to flare up.
     I have found a solution.  I don't think it is anything new, but I have been slow to embrace it. It's very simple--clean a little bit each day while showering.  Keep a brush and cleaner in the shower with you and clean small sections at a time.  Voila.......it's always clean with very little effort.  A side benefit is that the bending under hot water helps my back.  My elbows have been happier; I can scrub for a while without irritating them.  And it's fun.  Really. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The New Year

     While looking at pics from last year I found this one taken on a trip out west in late March.  It is taken in northeast Utah, facing west.  Perhaps it will serve as an inspiration for 2013.  It's time to come out of the desert sage and move forward into something more challenging and beautiful.  Just look at that blue water and the the mountains in the far distant!  Will I ever get there?! (and what if I do.....SCARY!!!). 
     Well, I'm going for it anyway.  I'm not referring to a physical move, but emotional, I think.  Like attitude changes.  Maybe I'll write more about this later.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hitty Hatty 2, Scarf Hoop Art

     Last year I did some experimenting with hoop art and discovered that scarves can be recycled as such.  The wooden embroidery hoop below was filled with part of an old scarf which was then embroidered with French knots in the center.  Kind of cool, I think, and very easy to make.
     The materials are cheap.   JoAnn Fabrics is a great source.  I have also found good deals at Ebay and Etsy.  If you need a scarf, check out your local thrift shop, or maybe a friend has an old scarf for you.
      I plan to try pieces of old neckties in small hoops (3-4").  These might look cool as a wall grouping.  Might make a nice gift for a male.

Click to enlarge

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.