28 February 2011

Waiting - A Test in Timing and Patience

I like to make plans. I think we all do. We see what it is we want to accomplish, we set a timeline, we urge ourselves forward. So often, just when we hit our stride and begin to taste the first fruits of our efforts something comes crashing in to stop everything. Is there anything more frustrating?

A few recent examples. So many people I know who have been derailed from their plans with the flu this winter. I set a goal to have a morning ritual at the beginning of the year. I was so dedicated, I was loving this daily breakfast for the soul. I had made it a habit and I was growing. Then I got sick. I did okay for a few days then at some point I woke up a few days later to realize I'd been really out of it and my perfect attendance with morning rituals was ruined.

I signed up for Mondo Beyondo in November. After the success of my Blogging Your Way class last fall I was really excited to jump into a new class at the beginning of the year. I made it through two days of class before I got sick and have not had the energy to revisit it since.

The Man was headed out of town and could not find his wallet. After a good hour of tense looking for it, it was no where to be found. The Little Bug and I sneaked into another room and each said a little prayer to help find the wallet. A few minutes later, out of my mouth came the words, "You were wearing the blue jacket." I have to say I have no idea where that came from. I thought he was wearing the green jacket, but when he ran to the blue jacket, the wallet was inside. He was indeed wearing the blue jacket, not the green as we all thought.

My point? I think there are times and seasons for things in our lives. Things just don't unfold the way we want. I have been so happy to be able to spend a little extra time with my morning rituals the past couple of weeks as I continue to recuperate. It's been nice to have some things to inspire my mind as my body heals. I've been able to enjoy a few extra pages each day and as my energy renews, renew my spirit.

I tried to decide if I should just try to push through my classwork or write to the teachers and ask if I they would be offering the class again soon. If there wasn't a class for a few months I thought I would just try to catch up in the last couple of weeks. After contacting them, they told me the class would begin again March 14. A perfect timeframe for me to begin the class again - a few more weeks but not too many weeks.

I think sometimes our higher power just knows when it's a good time to be on the road in traffic and when it isn't. Apparently it wasn't critical for the man to get on the road at the hour he had planned and we had a good experience finding the wallet together.

Some days missing our exit may lead us to something we never would've found otherwise. Sometimes our way may be more exhausting than if we just slow down and go with the flow. Some days we may avoid danger, by just letting interruptions slow us down a bit. Maybe we'll run into someone we would not have seen otherwise who will change the course of our lives. Perhaps someone in our life needs us today and what we thought needed to get done really doesn't get done after all.

There are a lot of blessings to had by just going with the flow, being patient and looking for a purpose in things that slow us down, change our course, alter our view. I bet you have had the same kinds of things happen in your life. I'd love to hear about them.

photo by kalanicut

You're Turning My Head China Seas Fabrics

photo by Mikkel Vang, seen in House Beautiful

I am desperate for new bedding. Several years ago I invested in a new set, from top to bottom - new down comforter, pillows, sheets, bedskirt, mattress pad, comforter cover, shams and coverlet. You can see it here.

Now the comforter cover is falling apart at the seams and has totally lost it's shape. The featherbed is long since dead and gone. It's all just tired. Some parts are still in good shape and I will definitely reuse those in the next evolution. The white coverlet recently spent the night in the bathtub with a few cups of OxyClean and looks pretty great.

I like a calm, peaceful, retreat feeling to the bedroom. But photos like the one above have me thinking more about color. I had to do some research on this fabric and if it was available in bedding or this was custom made. It's from a line called China Seas which is quite popular with designers. I had never heard of it. But I found an excellent catalog of their line at Quadrille Fabrics.

I quite love the Ziggurat, seen above in this pattern and the reverse. I also love the Macoco II, New Chrysanthemum, Pasha Paisley and Seya in the orange and red. This is a great line of fabric to incorporate into you home in full force, for pillows or even framed to bring a punch of color. Once you have seen some of these fabrics you'll start noticing them in magazines and on blogs.

Now I'm totally confused about what to do with my bedroom, but I definitely have found a line of fabrics that speak to me and that I could incorporate into my home in many ways. You never know what you might find when you start doing a little research.

27 February 2011

2 Magazine Racks for Sale


While I am working on simplifying life and reworking my apartment I am selling a few treasures. I have quite a few lovely little items hidden away in closets.  Here are the first two items I'm selling - two great magazine racks. The first is a vintage bamboo rack and the second a galvanized steel rack that hangs on the wall. If you're interested contact me at kalanicut@hotmail.com or leave a comment here.


$20- No longer available

Hope you're enjoying the Academy Awards! There are quite a lot of opinions out there about who will win and who looks good or doesn't look good. Will be fun to see how it all unfolds in the end.

25 February 2011

Tory Burch, Where's My Size?

I went without flat shoes in my life for many years. Then life changed and I needed to be a little more reasonable and find a few pairs of shoes I could walk, play and stand in for all-day adventures.

I love these new Tory Burch Horton sandals. The color couldn't be better, the sole looks comfortable and I like the old school styling - brings back childhood memories. I just have one question, Tory, why are these shoes only available in sizes 6-8 on your website?

Quick Health Update

I wanted to give you a quick update on my recuperation since you have been so kind to extend prayers and good thoughts my way. Sunday night I began getting very sharp pains in my head and neck around my ear. Monday morning I woke up to find I could hear quite a bit better. It's still muffled, fuzzy and sometimes painful, but I can happily now hear people talking to me from a distance, from behind, etc. Noisy environments are still a challenge but things are looking up! When my hearing was very bad my mom kept telling me I was whispering when I thought I was practically yelling. Now I feel like it sounds like I'm yelling when I trying to speak in a regular voice. More adjusting to be done.

I am still surprisingly tired, but I think part of that is that I generally have more discomfort at night, so I'm not sleeping that well. I've noticed that little things frazzle me a bit more than normal and I am pretty wiped out by 6 pm. In my entire life I have never felt tired like I have at times in the past few weeks.

But I have enough hearing back to function pretty well. I also have enough of my hearing & voice back to sing - that's exciting - even though it buzzes my ear like crazy. Hopefully it will continue to heal and be completely restored. Thank you again for your kind messages over the past seven weeks. Wishing you peace, health and happiness. I'll be back later this morning with more...

photo by kalanicut
art by The Bug - It's a happy Unicorn

24 February 2011

The Chairs I Dream Of

I have been in love with some form of this chair for the past six years. In the design shop I worked in years ago there was a pair of these chairs with dark legs and cream microfiber suede. I was so fond of them - I think I probably spoke to them like friends. I thought time and time again about ordering a pair.

Looking back I wish I had. The fact that I'm still thinking about them, tells me I should've gone for it. I'm happy to see that this chair is still around in full force. It can be found now in almost any major furniture store or catalog. It's called a Sweep Arm Chair. West Elm offers this chair in a lovely array of fabrics.

They are very comfortable and the perfect size to pair together tidily in a living room. Two of these chairs take up many inches less space than a basic arm or club chair. I like the clean simplicity too. With a little kidney pillow like the one on this slipper chair, perhaps in a fabulous contrasting fabric against the back of the seat they make a delightful statement. Sweep Arm Chair I have my eye on you. Wink, wink.

photo by West Elm

A Peek At The Handmade Valentines

Here is a quick look at our handmade Valentine's cards for this year. Here's mine. I used my favorite papers to make an envelope, which I stamped my "To" salutations on and then chose a festive red cardstock to make the card. I stamped the off-white paper to make the heart then cut it out with my favorite craft scissors. They cute the edging to look like a postage stamp. Did I ever tell you that I bought a bag full of about 10-12 craft scissors last summer at a thrift store for $3? Score.

So I glued my heart on the front, then on the inside I glued a coordinating teal polka dot paper and then my stamped note and the personal note that you can't see for privacy's sake.

The Little Bug's card was made using a Xyron Make-a-Sticker machine. But not to get ahead of myself. I was experimenting with some painting and stamping and we ended up cutting up the watercolor paper to make stickers out of. Then we affixed them in a modern pattern to create her card for her dad. She dictates her notes and I write them and she says some pretty hilarious stuff which I write down word for word just like with her letters. My favorite phrase she says right now is, "That's ICK-gusting." rather than disgusting. Cracks me up.

Her loving sentiments to her much adored dad are blurred as these things are very much between then, but I thought it would be fun to show the card. I quite like how she chose to arrange thing, the warm colors all together and how her words flow in and out of the open spaces.

I have also been experimenting with some Easter projects which I'll share with you soon. I'd love to hear what you are thinking about for Easter. It's so late this year that it's a little weird. With three Spring birthdays and Easter it's going to be a busy, creative few months to come. Have a fantastic Thursday! Thanks so much for visiting.

photos by kalanicut

23 February 2011

Happy 100th Birthday, Gram

My paternal grandmother passed away in November 1995. Today marks the 100th year since her birth. Our family is thinking and talking a lot about her this week. She was a simple, down to earth woman, of modest means most of her life. She was the oldest of four children and the only girl. From her descriptions, her childhood on a family farm was challenging in many ways.

I spent much of my growing up years living next door to her. What a fantastic opportunity to learn at her feet. For the past few months I have often seen in my mind me standing with her next to her kitchen mixer as she taught me how to level a cup of flour with a knife. I am so grateful for all she taught me about making a good meal, baking, sewing, gardening, working hard, giving service to others, and being a kind and generous person. I thank her for her patience with me in my occasionally bratty moments in my tween and teen years, for my complaining about gardening, mowing lawns and other "burdens."

Whenever I would visit her house I would check the crossword puzzle in her TV Guide magazine which sat on the table between her and my grandfather's recliners. She was an avid crossword puzzler and I was able to help fill in all the answers a young person would know that she was not familiar with. It was fun to each do our part and see the puzzle completed or close to it.

I thank her for writing her life story so that others who were not blessed to know her can still learn from her fine, fine example. I think of her often and look to her guidance and example in my own decision making. I am grateful to know she is watching over me and those I love from above. Love you, Grandma C. Miss you lots! Thank you for your life and all you have taught me.

Photo credit: Aunt Diane, I think...I could not find a photo of our dear Gram so I decided to use a favorite photo of her first six grandkids. From the looks of it, getting this photo taken was something like herding cats. I love that our clothes don't horrify me like they did years ago. I quite like them now. Cute kids.

Left to Right: Me, striking a pose. Strangely I keep finding kid photos of me where I am doing weird poses. I don't remember doing this. Then cousin SC, little cousin Jon, My sister T, cousin KC and her sister TO. All the girls in the numbered shirts are sisters.

House Beautiful's Dreamy Outdoor Spaces

Had such a fun time meandering through this gorgeous collection of outdoor spaces at House Beautiful. Dreamy! Of course the blue and orange - with a touch of brown and hot pink no less! - totally spoke to me. What a charming place for a heartfelt chat, Sunday nap or to read a fascinating book. Such a great Los Angeles backyard designed by Moises Esquinazi.

After looking at this amazing designer's online portfolio I felt I may have found a new style guru. You can see another view of this same room there under the Los Angeles link. After looking at the portfolio, I realize I'm going to have to do a follow up post.

My other favorite in the HB gallery is the large concrete fireplace space with the divine orange chairs. I know the orange again.

Which are your favorites? There's definitely something for every one. If you love dreaming about charming spaces or are planning your own outdoor space this gallery is a fantastic place of inspiration.

Photo by Reed Davis

22 February 2011

Recap of 11 Things for January 2011

You may remember, many moons ago, I was inspired by 365 Small Details to set 11 goals for the month of January. You can read my original post here. Despite the fact that January was a bit of a disaster, I thought it would be interesting to see how much I accomplished. Here's a quick recap.

1. Had that amazing steak on New Year's Eve. It was fantastic. I may remember that meal for life!

2. I did visit my sister in early February with my mother while I was recovering. It was great to see her, she is a delight! I also got to visit with my other sister too, unexpectedly. We had some nice meals and talks.

3. I did not go on any photography adventures. Even when I left the house, I forgot my camera.

4. I did not do much service. But I was the recipient of a great deal of kind service, for which I am deeply grateful.

5. Took no action on the spa giftcard.

6. Made plans for the lunch and then had to cancel when I got sick two days before. We will reschedule!

7. Completed my vision board in early January and am thrilled that The Man and Little Bug were excited to each make one too. Was not expecting that. But I adore their boards. So charming to see their visions!

8. Yes, amazing massage...and facial...and haircut and highlights in early February. It was a good week of recovery thanks to my Momma watching out for me.

9. I did not venture into any new shops or much of anywhere. I would've loved to. I will love to soon.

10. The only surprises I dealt with in January unfortunately were involving sickness. I'm thinking about this project now.

11. I ordered two pairs of new pants this past week and a new sweater. Looking forward to their arrival any minute.

So I'm at six out of 11 - I'm counting #6 because I took all the action possible to make it happen. Not too bad considering I was only on my feet for 14 days out of 31. I think I'll try this again later in the year and see how much fun I can whip up. Thanks again for the inspiration 365 Small Details!

So lovely readers, how are your goals for 2011 going, big and small? Have you given up completely? Are you just beginning to see what they should be? Or are you flying joyfully through them? Thanks for all you share here. You inspire me.

Photos: 1) myrecipes.com, 2) Christy, 3, 4, 5 & 8) microsoftclipart.com, 6)Albushotel.com, 7) kalanicut, 9) Brentwood Country Mart, 10) Sunshine & Carousels, 11) Sundance Catalog

Thrift Find - Terence Conran's Easy Living

Happy Tuesday morning to you, lovely friends. Ready to start a new week? I'm looking forward to the adventure. On a recent adventure I found this lovely book by the amazing Sir Terence Conran at my local thrift store. Easy Living is about 12 years old but the philosophy is more needed than ever and the photos still hold their own. Apparently I scored on this deal for $3.99 because this book is still retailing for $44 on Amazon.

Terence Conran is a visionary force and the man behind The Conran Shop. In the US you can find it in the basement of ABC Home and Carpet on Broadway in NYC with other shops in Europe and Japan. He is also the founder of other home shops and well-known restaurants. For a full bio click the Terence Conran link in the paragraph above.

On the back cover Conran says, "Easy living implies the sensation of coming through the front door and kicking off your shoes -- even if only mentally. But by "easy" I also mean the physical ease of simplicity, where practical tasks can be performed without frustration, fuss or muddle and there is enough space and light to go around."

In my quest for living a simpler life, I am happy to learn from such a master. You can see from the photos in the book that he gets it. The book is broken down in to four sections: elements, comfort, function and detail. Elements includes chapters on space, light, color and texture. Comfort includes relax, touch, sleep, bathe. Function focuses on order, cook, eat, work. And Details is it's own chapter.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that so much of what we spend our time doing it superfluous. These things are not making us happier, better, more balanced, healthier or saner. It's time -- it's time to make happiness, relationships, health, orderliness, well-being and goodness our top priorities.

I'm still on my way to learning how we do that on a daily basis, but recent events have taught me it's much easier to let go of all the non-essentials than one would think and you don't miss them.

21 February 2011

The Bug's Get Well Card

Happy President's Day. Hope you're having a fantastic weekend. I had to share this card and story with you. I had to verify it to make sure it was true because it was a little bit unbelievable.

The second day I was in the hospital, The Man took The Little Bug to the store to buy some flowers and a card to bring to me when they visited the hospital. He said, "We should get a card..." as they entered the card section. She, who cannot read, immediately walked over and picked up the above card and told her dad, "We should get this one." Her Dad is still stunned, weeks later. I had to ask him to tell me the details again because I thought I must've heard them wrong.

There was no way for her to know this was a get well card and the sentiments were so charming I fell in love immediately with this sweet card. Her art on the inside just took it to a whole 'nother level of complete love.

Thanks American Greetings for making such a charming card. And thanks Little Bug for the magic that is you. And for the record, I am trying to live by the wisdom of this card.

photos by kalanicut

18 February 2011

Putting A Stamp on Spring

Popped in to JoAnn Fabric & Craft yesterday to do some research for some upcoming projects. I anticipated I would buy a few supplies but in the end was at the cashier line with two glue sticks. Then I saw the dollar bin and put on my screeching brakes. I spent the next 10 minutes on my hands and knees rummaging through the stamp and ink bins.

Since I just invested in clear stamp blocks and have been having some fun with my stamp alphabet, I was ready to add a few more pieces to my arsenal. Here's what I got.

Valentine's Stamps - They were half price and you can use these charming hearts all year round.

Easter Stamps - So cute. I see an upcoming art project with The Little Bug and it could be fun to make a few little decorations for the house. I'm trying to be more holiday festive, which requires some advance preparation I never seem to give enough time to. I have more than two months now, according to my calculations.

Festive Spring Ink Colors - These were so cheery I could not pass them up. My current supply of ink stamps are a few years old and starting to dry out a bit. They are also all more serious, wintry colors. So I thought these would make a great addition.

Bird on a Branch Stencil - I have an idea in my head to make Robin's Egg Blue curtains for my room and stencil this bird on it in red. I also have a little headboard to paint. I wanted it to be dark brown, but it needed something fun to bring it to life. I thought this stencil in white on a dark brown headboard might be very charming. The bedding is already very colorful, so a neutral, bright white would be perfect.

Hope you have a terrific weekend. It's been so great to be back with you this week. I've missed this.

photos by kalanicut

Where Are MY Colored Pencils?

Yesterday I was sketching out a little project to make some curtains. My idea, which I am still debating about was to make dark pink curtains and then loosely sew or glue on very lightweight, stiff, white cotton butterflies randomly all over it. I would only sew/glue down the bodies so that the wings could flap and fly freely.

I grabbed a pen, sketched it out - the suddenly, desperately wanted to finish my sketch by bringing it to life with colors. It was at this moment I realized that while The Little Bug has a vast arsenal of coloring equipment here at my house, I have nothing. I have no markers, no colored pencils, not even a crayon do I own. So I became quite driven to get to the art supply store two blocks from my house, Utrecht, and buy myself a simple set.

I was running a bunch of errands, so made the poor decision to drive there. This took 3xs longer to drive the two blocks, circle the block 3 times looking for parking and get into the store than if I had walked. Note to self, never drive there again. And of course, they do not sell $1, $3 or $5 sets of colored pencil sets. They sell the GOOD stuff, starting at $10. And naturally the more I looked the more I thought I needed. I did want a white pencil and many sets did not have one. Then I saw the erasable set. Of course, that's what I had to have. Can't wait to pull them out!

I also bought a pad of watercolor paper. Just yesterday I was wondering where my watercolor boards had gone to. I got them years ago from a company that supplies Waldorf Schools with art materials. You can wet your paper, flatten it out on the board and it sticks while you make your mess. They are lovely and clean up very easily. 

A short time later I walked into the other room and knowing nothing about my interest in finding them, The Man had set them out by the door. I grabbed them and knew I needed to buy paper and do some of my ultra-simplistic watercoloring. It looks like it's going to be an overcast weekend, so it's the perfect time to do some art projects and feed the creative soul within.

photo by kalanicut

17 February 2011

Sticker and Tape Adventures

I got this for Christmas. I was so excited about it - opening up a whole new world of fun experimentation, gift wrapping and card making options and more. Well it's been almost two months now and I haven't had a chance to even open it yet. I think I'll do some playing with it this weekend.

I'm totally inspired by this post from Natalie Jost. This is what inspired me to put Create-a-Sticker on my holiday wish list in the first place. Such fun ideas. In fact, now I'm thinking that perhaps I should go through the fabric I put in a bag to send to the thrift store yesterday. There may be some fun, small pieces in there that would be perfect for this project. Can't wait to play around with it and will definitely share the results with you soon.

I'm going out to buy a little gift for someone today and want to do something fun with the wrapping so here's a great opportunity to get crafty. Hope you're having a beautiful day and have a chance to do something to feed your creative soul! That could be just looking out the window for a few minutes and taking a deep breath. That does wonders for me.

I'm heading out of the house today. But first I have to wash my hair, which is a real trick-a-roo when you have to try to keep water out of your ear. The sound of the blowdryer is equally non-enjoyable. LOL. Not one of my favorite tasks lately. Then I'm out the door for a bunch of errands. I will enjoy running errands today. It's been a long time and it's sunny and beautiful outside. If I wasn't going to 10 different places with a load of stuff I'd love to ride my bike.

The Two Minute Green Salad

We're big on spinach salad around these parts. I like the nutritive value of the spinach and it requires no chopping or tearing of leaves. Time savings! And this salad is totally vinegar and fat free. Even the four-year-old loves the salad. Here's my latest version which I can whip up in about two minutes with all the ingredients on hand. It's fast, easy and delicious. Here are the quick and easy steps.

1) Throw pre-washed spinach in a pretty bowl.
2) Cut three slices of red onion, then quarter each & throw it on top if the greens.
3) Open a can of mandarin oranges and drain most of the juice off. Dump as many as you like on the salad and let a bit of juice fall in as well. This becomes your dressing.
4) Peel one crisp apple, slice it up then cut each slice into thirds. Put in a bowl and toss with a couple of teaspoons of fresh lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Add to salad.
5) Toss in a bunch of cranberries.
6) You can also add walnuts, almonds or pinenuts if you like. The Man doesn't like nuts, so I go without. But I can imagine quite liking walnuts with this salad. I'll have to try it soon.

You're done and have a very colorful, delicious salad that will brighten the dinner table in any season. The flavor of the lemon-spiked sweet apples, cranberries and oranges combine perfectly with the red onion and spinach for a rich, crisp flavor. Enjoy. And if you try it, I'd love to hear how you tweak it to personalize it to your own tastes.

16 February 2011

Chicken Soup for Overcast Nights

Last night I made homemade chicken noodle soup with another great recipe from Talkin' Chow Playin' House. I realize Kar & Bri have become my go-to recipe book these days. I'll tell you what I have not yet once been disappointed and with their help I've added some new skills to my kitchen abilities. Here's the soup recipe.

I diced my chicken because I have a thing about shredded chicken - it just grosses me out for some reason.  I was in a bit of a rush so cooked the chicken in a pan on the stovetop with some olive oil and Mrs. Dash seasoning.

Now that I've made it once, I learned that I probably let too much broth cook off. I needed more broth. And I would put a few less noodles and more carrots and celery. I love chicken broth with carrots. I might even throw in some small bits of broccoli.

Warm soup, hot rolls (even if they were store-bought refrigerator crescents) with butter and mom's homemade strawberry jam and a delicious salad made for a perfect dinner on a cool, overcast night. After dinner took a walk and enjoyed a couple more of those Valentine's Day sugar cookies. Tomorrow I will post more on the salad. It's so quick and easy I whipped it up in less than 2 minutes and it is delicious!

photo by kalanicut

2012 update: This Chicken Noodle Soup recipe is no longer available online. So I am posting it here.

Bri's Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe (yield 8-12 servings):

1 16 oz bag Country Pasta Homemade Style Egg Noodles (I use the thick ones)
2 chicken breasts (I recommend free range or going as natural as possible)
5 carrots, washed, peeled and diced
5 stalks celery, washed and diced
1 large yellow onion, diced finely
2 32 oz Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock
1-2 teaspoons organic Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base (you can find this by the stock at your grocery store)
1-2 cups water
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and pat dry chicken breasts. Place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle each breast with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and/or any other blend of seasoning you like. I hit mine with a good dose of Chef's Shake which is a blend from The Spice Hunter. Pop in the oven and cook the chicken breast till they're done- about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and shred chicken with two forks. Set chicken aside while you get the soup ready.

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot. Add diced carrot, celery and onion. Stir around and allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add both 32 oz Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock. Bring to a rolling boil. Add noodles. Allow noodles to cook for 15 minutes. When the 15 minutes is up, add shredded chicken. Measure one tablespoon of Bouillon Chicken Base and stir and dissolve it into the soup.

Add one cup water. Now, taste the soup. Add salt and pepper to your liking. You can also add another teaspoon of Chicken Base and 1 cup of water if you think it needs it. Allow to cook for a few more minutes if the noodles and veggies are still a little firm. Stir in parsley before serving. Refrigerate left overs. Will keep in your fridge for 5-7 days.

Can'ts and Cans

Due to my recent illness there are too many things that I can't do right now. Taking away my choices and opportunities does not sit well with a independent girl who loves freedom, adventure and making her own decisions.

I am not very good at being under constant supervision or put on restrictions when it comes to doing things I love. The better I feel the more the restrictions I am still dealing get me a little frustrated and sad. Not wanting to feel down I decided to take each can't and find a can that relates to it.

1) I cannot hear well. This means being in crowds, walking in traffic, etc is frustrating. People sneak up on me and scare me because I can't hear them coming into the door, into a room, or right up next to me. I can't go to movies right now, I think the noise would put my fingernails in the ceiling like an upside down cat - but I want to go to the movies. However I CAN watch TV fairly well and have one on one conversations with people. Those are my favorite anyway.

2) I cannot concentrate for very long. A few weeks ago I couldn't even bear to have a TV on or read anything. All I wanted to do was sleep.  As I rest now I CAN enjoy reading books and magazines. I feel so happy to have blog posts that are short and interesting to catch up on from so many lovely blog friends.

3) I cannot sing. I love to sing. I have been singing since I was a baby. I remember as a little girl standing outside our farm home, staring at the beautiful fields and mountains singing all sorts of songs at the top of my lungs - leading the music with my mother's baton. I love to sing with children, I love to sing in the car, I love to sing at church, I love to sing with my family. My voice is froggy and by afternoon almost gone each day. I CAN sing songs in my head and heart, try to hum along, listen to cheerful music and read the words of inspiring hymns.

4) I cannot run around too much. My little heart gets racing very easily right now. I CAN cook a pretty meal, bake cookies, write notes to friends and family and take daily walks. These are all lovely little things that I cherish doing.

5) I cannot fly in an airplane due to the damage to my ear. ERGH! This drives me crazy and makes my world very, very small - within driving distance. I actually have two round-trip tickets that I had been planning to use this winter and spring. I had made up my mind that I was going to travel somewhere dreamy and far away this year - to return to my beloved Scandinavia. While I can't do any of this right now, I CAN renew my passport and buy a beautiful new passport cover. I'll be ready when the time comes.

6) Lastly, I cannot not yet understand the whys and hows of the past month. I have always been a strong, healthy person. I had never spent a day in a hospital since I was born. Right now I am a little fearful and feel a little fragile.  But I CAN be brave. I CAN make a little list of things to accomplish each day. I CAN return to my daily morning rituals - my time for inspiration.  I CAN be patient with myself and my healing. I CAN have faith that things will get better and hope that all will be healed.

I hope that whatever can'ts you are experiencing in your life, that you are encircled by many CANS that bless you too. Sending warmest wishes to you! Happy Wednesday.

photo by Jen Maruska Design. You can find her lovely Etsy Shop here.

15 February 2011

Valentine's Day Dinner Recap

Thought I would share a bit about our Valentine's Day Dinner. As much as we enjoy going out for brunch, lunch or dinner, we have come to find that we most enjoy making food and enjoying mealtime together. No one can beat our pancake, bacon, hash browns, omelette brunches. We decided for Valentine's Day to recreate the lovely meal we had for New Year's Eve this year.

1) I threw in four big baking potatoes at about 5:30.
2) Made buttercream frosting following recipe from here and quickly frosted the cookies I baked Sunday night.
3) Did prep work to prepare asparagus spears, grated carrots, filet mignon. Started cooking marinated mushrooms with another great recipe from Talkin' Chow Playin' House.
4) Prepared baked potato toppings: butter, sour cream, monterrey jack and cheddar cheese, onions & crumbled bacon.
5) Unloaded the dishwasher and cleaned up everything I could to that point.
6) Pulled the potatoes from the oven and debated whipping up some hot crescent rolls. Too much food, nixed the rolls notion.
7) The Man arrived. I finished simple table setting.
8) Turned on burners to quick cook carrots, asparagus and steaks. Man pours chilled drink.
9) To carrots I stir in a couple of teaspoons of orange juice and dark brown sugar.
10) Twenty minutes later enjoyed a most fabulous meal with a most fabulous man. It was so good that I could only eat half of what was on my plate. But I got to enjoy it for lunch today which was excellent.

The best part was that having done this all once, it only took me half the time and effort as it did the first time. I leisurely enjoyed myself and every minute of putting the meal together. After dinner we did a bit of clean up and took a nice walk, chatting about the houses in the neighborhood as we wove our way up and down streets. Then we came back for tea and cookies and to share heartfelt cards and gifts. It was lovely.

Calypso St. Barth Inspiration

Hope you had a fun Valentine's Day. It's a day that should always be fun and enjoyed with some chocolate, sugar cookies and people you love to be around.

As I was thinking about my new resolution to only buy clothing I really love and that is a good investment I thought about Calypso St. Barth. They fit my style with great tunics, jeans, scarves and more. I love these jeans (see below), the top with these shorts, this top and jeans combo, this dress and this darling dress. Calypso is definitely a brand you invest in, but you get pieces you can wear for years.

Calypso also has a deal to deliver a line of clothing for Target beginning May 1. I'm sure everything they deliver will be fast sellers! Calypso St. Barth is a great inspiration for me as I evolve my look in 2011. Do you have a favorite Calypso piece from previous seasons that you've loved and loved? Are you excited about their Target line? Have a great Tuesday. It's great to be back with you.

14 February 2011

A Nod to St. Valentine

photo from Kirsty Neale

I love Valentine's Day. Yes, it's romantic, but more important, it's fun. Chocolates, frosted sugar cookies, and spending time with people you love, sharing love. Had to share with you today some fun links for Valentine's Day.

I am so charmed by these printable Valentines from the Etsy Shop Hello Clementine by Kirsty Neale. She has some lovely things in her shop.

photo by Kar

Love these pink sugar cookies (my mouth waters every time I see this photo) from Talkin' Chow Playin' House. They have several fun Valentine's posts you might enjoy.

photo by Sosorosy

I adore these Jute Hearts by Sosorosy on Etsy. So down to earth, so simple and pretty. These would be so perfect to accessorize gift packaging, to tuck in a card or to hang strings of them in garland fashion.

Love the color combinations in this photo and these gift tags are so lovely. I love turquoise and red together - they are a great couple aren't they? These are by the shop The Paper Addict on Etsy. I also have a crush on that robin's egg tea cup.

photo by Jennifer Biagi

And lastly, love these boxes covered in Valentine's Day paper ribbon by Jennifer Biagi of Paperjacks on Etsy. I can just imagine hiding all sorts of fun Valentine's Day surprises in a bunch of these boxes for my loved ones. I have never wanted much for Valentine's Day but I love sharing bits of love with others. Hope you were able to enjoy both receiving and giving on this sweet day.

We started celebrating Valentine's Day on Saturday with dinner at Marmalade Cafe and dessert at Grom Gelato (Crema de Grom, Tiramisu and Caramello - so good!) in Malibu which was fun. We're doing a little something fun each day. Sunday we made Valentine's and tonight we'll enjoy a favorite meal. Hope you have a wonderful, sweet Valentine's Day. It is such a great day to show the people you love that you care. Happy Valentine's Day!

Back In The Saddle

Happy Valentine's Day! Hooray! It's so great to be back today blogging. I want to thank you for your kind wishes and prayers. I felt and still feel your good energy. I am feeling a lot better, still taking things slowly.

My biggest challenge right now is that I have (hopefully temporarily) lost hearing in my left ear. It will be a couple of months before we know if my hearing will return to normal. It will be some weeks before I will be healed enough to be tested. But I feel like it is getting better and I am meditating good, healing vibrations every day.

I am committed to keeping things simple and slow. I made a new 2011 dream life chart. On my last dream life chart, made in 2009 I had 33 items. On my new dream life chart I have only 14. My first step to simplifying. I'll be sharing more about my newly strengthened convictions about living a very simple, less stressful life. Happy Monday. I'll have a fun, new post later this morning.

photo from Microsoft

01 February 2011

Something Prettier To Look At

Okay, I looked at my blog and couldn't take the hospital graphic anymore. I find I do not like reminders at this point. So I thought I'd post a little something...how about things I've learned in the past few weeks.

1) None of the little things we stress about every day really matters. None.

2) When sick, it's good to have someone around who can tell you just how sick you really are. After a while you just really can't tell anymore.

3) The ability to hear is a great gift. Not being able to hear well throws the world into a spin cycle that makes life very confusing. When it's impossible to tell what direction noise is coming at you from everything feels less sure.

4) There are lots of good people out there. What a bunch of sweet nurses and doctors I had in the hospital. They have no idea how much I appreciated their care and guidance. I looked forward to each morning knowing my favorite nurse would come in for the day.

I also had a kind friend who appeared next to my bed at the end of my first full day in the hospital. It meant the world to me to open my eyes and see her standing there like an angel with a care package, asking me if she could have a prayer with me. She was only there for five minutes, but it made my day.

So those are just a few thoughts and experiences I have had this month. Still processing lots, after having my life mostly shut down for three weeks. It's weird to rejoin the world again, start thinking about the To Do lists, catch up on all that I didn't get taken care of - like registering my car, etc. Very interesting experience which has definitely awakened me in some ways and given me pause to let go of some things too. Thank you again for your kind wishes and prayers.
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