Monthly Archives: February 2012

Guest post from Bethany!

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Bethany, who doesn’t have a blog, is an old friend (old as in, we’ve been friends for a long time, not that she is old!) She offered to blog about her adventures in taking a quilting class!

Thanks Megg, for giving me this opportunity to ‘guest blog’.  Most of your readers probably don’t know me so here is just a little bit about me.  Like Megg I moved from one coast to the other when I got married.  That was 22 years ago.  Megg is newly married and figuring out to how establish her own home and family.  I am quickly approaching empty nest and re defining my goals and priorities now that my daughters think they are all grown up. It’s more about just being mom and less about parenting.

I have started a new hobby.  Quilting.  I have been a seamstress for many years.  I made a few dresses in high school and I made the bridesmaid dresses for my wedding.  Thankfully God blessed me with two little girls who I could make countless Easter and Christmas dresses for. I confess one year I started the Easter dresses on good Friday.
I have played around with quilting in the past but nothing serious and nothing really to show for it.  So I decided to take a class.  It was Pinwheel passion and only 4 weeks.  Great I can get something finished.

The day before the class I went to the shop to choose the fabrics.  A few lights a few darks. Here is what picked the first time.

I went home and got out my rulers and rotary cutter and my mats. I just looked at them.  I wasn’t ready to cut yet.
I washed and ironed all my fabrics. A very important first step.

And off to class I went.  Well it turns out this is a skills class and not a project class.  That means we are learning technique and are not expected to finish the project in the 4 weeks.  I was a little disappointed about this but at least I am learning.

The instructor went over how to fold and cut the fabric and then how to construct the pinwheel.  By the end of the night was passion for pinwheels and quilting was re ignited. 

I will though in a few pictures of my progress. I made a few mistakes along the way. And I was reminded of the importance of reading directions even when you think you remember.   So I have a pile of little seams to be ripped out. 

Towards the end of the last class the instructor showed me the quilt for the April class…sigh.  I would really like to take that class.  but I just don’t want to gather any more UFO (unfinished projects)  So I will work diligently through February and March to finish my pinwheels so that I can take the April class.  The instructor said with my skill level and a nominal time commitment outside of class I will be able to finish this one during the 4 weeks.


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Writing: Bridging Dreams and Reality

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This is a guest post from Melanie, who writes about mesothelioma cancer on the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance blog. Though I have a personal vendita towards pancreatic cancer, there are so many types of cancer out there, and this is one that I didn’t know much about.In this post Melanie will talk about journaling as a form of therapy.

Writing: Bridging Dreams and Reality
Think about the last thing that you wrote. Were you writing out a check or were you writing a note to a friend or a loved one? While we use writing for all sorts of trivial day-to-day tasks, what many people do not know is that it is an incredibly powerful tool. Through writing, we can focus ourselves and learn more about what we want and how we can get there. People who suffer from illnesses like mesothelioma cancer to arthritis, no matter the prognosis, can use the journaling and recording process to realize their goals.

When you write something down, you are putting something into the world that wasn’t there before. For example, you are going to find that there is a big difference between writing something and simply thinking it or telling someone. If you write something down, you will find that there is now a tangible reminder of your goal. It won’t be something that you have to keep foremost in your mind. Instead, you now have an external thing telling you to start now and get yourself motivated.

For example, think of something that you want to do. It may be something mundane or it might be something that is totally out of character for you. It may be something like “put away all my clothes” or “go to Mexico.” Write out the desire and look at it. Suddenly, it is something that you can touch and look at. Even if you look away, it is still there. Tape the piece of paper to your refrigerator, your mirror or any other place that you look at often. Every time you pass by that piece of paper, look at it. It serves as a legitimate reminder of what you want to do.

Everyone knows that life is hard. Things come up that we did not expect, and we find that we may be struggling or flailing. The problem is that so many people are not struggling towards a goal. Instead, they are flailing their way towards a number of things, and these things sometimes pull them in different directions. Psychology today states that journaling your goals and your dreams will allow you to figure out what’s going on in your life. This is a good way to help you figure out what you’ve been doing and where you want to go from here.

Journaling is not something that you do instead of doing what you want. Instead, it is the thing that allows you to take the first step towards your dreams. You are going to be getting started with your dreams when you write them down, whether it is on a piece of paper or in a diary designated for the purpose. They say that a journey of ten thousand miles starts with a single step, and that getting started is the hard part, so take your first step today!

When you want to get away from the things that have been troubling you, and you want to learn more about how to start moving towards your goals, consider what journaling and recording your desires can do for you!

For more information on Mesothelimoa cancer, visit the MCA blog.

Dear 16 year old…

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Today’s guest post is from Amy at Feathered Friendsy! She wrote a letter to her 16 year old self.
Dear Sixteen Year Old Me,
You’re a mess. You seem to think that what everyone else thinks about you matters, and it doesn’t. You try to please everyone else but you’re making yourself miserable in the process. These people don’t matter – and the ones who do, they accept you as is. The girl in your algebra class that makes your life unbearable every day? She will end up in jail for drunk driving your first summer out of high school. That guy who calls you fat all the time? He ends up gaining nearly 100 lbs in college. Those shoes you want so badly that your mom can’t afford? They’ll be out of style in a week.
Look, 16 year old self, you gotta listen to me. I’ll be 26 this year and life is nothing at all like what you’re planning. I…we are not a lawyer. We’re not famous. (We?) I’m not insanely rich. But you know what I have? I have true love. And a gorgeous family. And honest-to-goodness happiness. And those things are all way better than anything you have planned for us.
So here’s what I propose. You go ahead and enjoy your childhood – and yes, you are still a child. Stop trying to grow up so fast and worry about marriage and careers. Concentrate on things that make you happy. Enjoy being a “band geek.” Learn to love your body – it will go on to do amazing things. Ditch that loser of a boyfriend you’re with right now and take care of your true friends instead. Get closer with your mother sooner. She won’t be around for much longer – you need to enjoy every second you’ve got.
Oh, and one more thing. You grow up to be basically the same person you are now, only happier. You’re still dorky, geeky, nerdy. You still enjoy reading more than movies, music from the 90s, and corny jokes. You still view the “popular kids” as lame, but better than that, the rest of the world does too because when you’re an adult, high school/college popularity means absolutely nothing.
So dance, 16 year old me. Dance to the rhythm of life. Listen for the music in every day things. Have your own style, love the things you love. You’re more valuable than you think.
Sincerely,
The 25 year old future you

Waiting

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“She had forgotten that summer would come again, that the green would spread over the frozen fields, that the earth would be turned up to the sun and the seed sown, and that the meadows would renew themselves. Was this what strengthened these New Englanders to endure the winter, the knowledge that summer’s return would be all the richer for the waiting?”


The Witch of Blackbird Pond

I chose this quote for this post for a couple reasons. One, I absolutely love it. Two, I’m from New England, and I just love the meaning behind the quote. Three, it sort of goes with what I’m going to talk about.
Hey, it’s a good quote!

Anyway, as you’re reading this, we’re on our way to Hawaii!!

We’re going to be seeing beautiful beaches like this, and even spending a night in a honeymoon suite on the volcano!

We’ve been waiting (and saving) for this trip since last March. That’s a long time to wait on a big trip, but I’m proud of how much we were able to save, even with my small monetary contribution to our household. We’ve been saving, and waiting, and eagerly anticipating a trip that will be both relaxing and fun.
What we will not be doing is putting every last purchase (including the rental car and tickets which were bought in January) on a credit card. Nope. If we don’t have the cash, we won’t do it. Since we’re staying in a time share, we will have a small kitchen, so I’m planning on eating “in” for breakfast and lunch, and out for dinner. Though we will probably pay for some excursions, we will also be doing a lot of frugal or free activities.
We will not be stressing about how much money we’re spending, or how we’re going to pay those credit cards off when we come back. Nope.

Our last vacation together was just over 2 years ago…our honeymoon. And while we could have gone on vacation after our first anniversary, it would have been a financial burdon. Rather than stress about paying off credit cards for a year, I prefer to save, and enjoy my vacation.

And now it’s here, and our vacation will be “all the richer for the waiting”.

Stay tuned for a few more posts from the Harry Potter challenge, and guest posts over the next week!

My frugal ways

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Chicken broth made from a rotisserie chicken we had recently. This is what was leftover after the 5 cups I needed for soup!

While I’m no Non-Consumer Advocate or Frugal Girl, I like to think that I’m still pretty thrifty. Lately I’ve been doing some things I never thought I’d do.
Like make my own laundry detergent.

This is my laundry detergent, in the Mason jar. I love those things. Next to it is vinegar that I use as a fabric softener and a tablespoon from the thrift store for the detergent (I didn’t want to use my own). My laundry items are sitting on a freecycle laundry “table” between my craigslist washer and dryer. I love this picture!

I won’t bother giving you the detergent recipe, because you can find it just about anywhere online. All it takes is Borax, Laundry Soda and a bar of soap (I used Fels Naptha, which is why it’s yellow-y).

Lest he feel left out, my husband has also been embracing the thriftiness. I gave him an old fashioned shaving kit for Christmas and he’s in LOVE.

He has found an online community and is obsessed with his new “hobby”. While this alone doesn’t exactly save us a lot of money (shaving cream is pretty cheap, and the soap he bought was about $6 on Etsy) the safety razor he’s using definitely does!

This Gillette Milford safety razor belonged to my great grandfather, and my dad, who wasn’t using it, sent it to Geoff upon learning of his newfound hobby. Though there’s a bit of a learning curve, Geoff has enjoyed using it and I’ve enjoyed not spending money on new razor cartridges! The safety razors use razor blades (obviously!) which are significantly cheaper.

These small changes add up, and it really is fun to try to see where you can cut costs so you have money to do other fun things. Like go to Hawaii.

What I did with all those letters!

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Last month I talked about what to do with all the letters I’d accumulated while taking part in the 52 Letter Challenge. After browsing Pinterest a little, I finally came up with an idea on my own, since I didn’t particularly like any of the ideas I found there.

Starting with the postcards I got from Postcrossing over the past few years and from friend’s travels, I punched a hole in them all and put them on a ring. They aren’t in any particular order (except by general size), but I love the way they look all spread out. I put them on the “window” we have between the den and kitchen, and I like the idea of having them on display.

Similarly I punched two holes in my letters and cards, put them on two rings, and viola! They’re all together in one neat place. These are all the letters I received in 2011. Since they’re a little more personal, I’m choosing to keep them in a box in my room, but I really like the idea of having all my letters from that year put together. I still need to do the same with the letters from 2010.


What do you think of my creative idea?