31 May 2011

Fossil Sandals I'd Invest In

Wow! What a weekend. For the first time in a long, long time we were able to just relax and enjoy the entire weekend with no obligations, projects or work to deal with. What a joy. We did a lot and ended the weekend at a swimming/barbecue party with our dear friends. We were all exhausted by the time we got in the car to go home. Thank you lovely friends for such a lovely day.

Every summer I'm always on the lookout for comfortable sandals that are a step up from flip flops and have a little feminine style to them. Good leather and a flat sole for all day walking and standing seal the deal. These sweet Alice braided sandals, from Fossil, one of my favorite leather goods brands, could make a great statement for Summer 2011. I love the cross over strap and the stability you get with the toe strap. 

Now I know I wrote a good bit about buying less last week. Here's how this fits into that philosophy. From now on my goal is not to buy stuff that gets me by for a while, but rather thoughtfully purchase quality items that will last me at least a year or so and work for a variety of needs. Each season, I evaluate my clothing needs and start looking for things that will cover me on as many bases as possible.

These beautiful dark brown leather sandals would be great with pants, capris, shorts, skirts or dresses. If they are comfortable for walking, which I don't know yet,  then they are prize winners. That would make them great for travel too. And it looks like the foot bed is made of real suede. So many companies are cheaping out on that with faux suede which smells awful after a while.

The best part is the price, only $49. That's a great buy for high quality sandals. Wardrobe investment piece - Fossil Alice Braided Sandal.

image via fossil

27 May 2011

Remembering The Best

It's Memorial Day weekend here in the states. It's the non-official start of Summer 2011 and a time to remember the good things and good people in life. Here's a quick list of things I'm thankful for and mindful of this weekend.

1) All those who have served to protect the freedoms we enjoy in this big, beautiful country I call home.
2) The amazing family and friends who are no longer with us but leave a shining example to live by.
3) To appreciate every bit of summer. Make the most of it with family and friends and make fun plans.
4) Eat wonderful delicious, fresh food. All the fresh fruit and vegetables should not be missed this summer.
5) Have a barbecue. Have lots of barbecues.
6) Spend time outside. Ride bikes, go the the beach or lake or park, lay in the sun, catch sunsets often.
7) Live more joyfully and less stressfully.

Hope you have a fantastic weekend. We are looking forward to harvesting our first tomatoes this weekend. I can't wait to let The Bug pick them. She's been watching over them diligently for weeks and weeks. I know this will mean some killer BLTs are coming too. I am sure we'll hit the beach, earlier than later --it seems to get progressively more crowded with each day of a 3-day weekend. The Bug can play catch, kick and Frisbee now so that will add a fun new dimension to the beach if we can pull her out of the water for a few minutes. This may not be possible, she's a Pisces -- hello, little fish.

Sending you my warmest wishes for a lovely weekend and beautiful summer to come. Sorry friends in Australia, I know you're going the other directions on the seasons. Certainly don't mean to overlook that. Happy Winter. ;) Thank you so much for coming by this blog on a regular basis, for your wonderful, inspiring, thoughtful, cheerful comments. Adore you so. xoxo, -k

photo by kalanicut

26 May 2011

How Little Do We Really Need To Be Happy?

I feel like I am always talking here about going through closets and organizing, which is rather silly considering there are only 4 closets in my entire home. I came up with a nice solution for my long-term storage, boxes of things I have saved from my life.They are out of my closets now and have a new home in lockable bins I will put downstairs. This turn of events now gives me much more storage space in my apartment.

As I am going through my things -- and I don't have a ton of things, I realize how much less I could happily live with. There are so many lovely things made in this world, so many shiny objects to catch our eyes. But how many little kitchen appliances, candle holders, clothes, shoes, purses and holiday decorations does a person really need? The more we own the more those belongings own us and require our taking care of them, buying more storage items to organize them, renting storage space, getting bigger homes to hold more stuff, having no garage space to actually park in or just having our homes overtaken with mountains of stuff. Can you relate to this in a little way or perhaps a big, rather scary, overwhelmed way?

I have been thinking a lot about the quiet, simple, joyful, adventurous life I want to lead (and in so many ways absolutely enjoy already, thankfully) and it does not involve lots of stuff. I realized a while ago that when I want to relax or have some fun I often think of going shopping. Does this sound familiar to you? I think I have always been pretty conservative, but this is a challenge for almost everyone including me.

Shopping without a serious need or purpose has become a habit for many, many people and in the end costs a person a lot of money. It might be in $20, $200 or $2000 increments. I honestly get really freaked out by the TJ Maxx commercials where the mother with her car overloaded with housewares purchases pulls up to pick up her daughter at school and the daughter says, "Not again." I am sad to say I have often seen people voraciously shopping who I could feel very powerfully were trying to fill and emptiness with stuff. Is this not a dangerous disease?

Does this sound familiar to you? How often do you pop into a big retail store to pick up a couple of things and end up leaving having spent $50-$100 dollars on things that caught your eye. What I would give to have the dollars in my pocket that I have spent frivolously in my life to this point okay even just half or a quarter of that money. I think it's okay to be frivolous occasionally, don't get me wrong, I'm not that uptight. Some might argue that if we all stop shopping it will harm the economy. I would argue that if we stopped frivolous shopping the economy would adapt, creating new jobs focused on more important things than retail joyriding. We would still buy what we need.

Another big reason I want to seriously simplify is that I want to have a life where I use and appreciate everything I have. I don't do that now. I have small kitchen appliances I have never used, I have beautiful trays that I'm not having parties to use, I have sports equipment buried in closets, purses and hats I've forgotten I own. I have so much beautiful jewelry I need to be wearing. I own some really lovely things that I don't even remember I have or make an effort to use and enjoy. I want to be having great experiences rather than managing tons of stuff in my house. I could afford more of those great experiences if I spent my money just a little more wisely.

And so I begin this little journey in earnest, combing through my belongings. Know that everything I weed out will be sold or donated for good use. I can feel that I'm struggling with letting go of things I've spent good money on that still have use in them, but still that's no reason to keep hold of them so tightly. It's every reason not to buy more. Owning less helps me feel less encumbered, will keep more money in my wallet and allow me to enjoy what to I have more. I'll definitely be talking more about this in coming days.

I'd love to hear how you're feeling on this topic. Where are you on the spectrum? Does this post make you feel anxious about the past or joyful for what can be? What have you learned in your own life and how have you changed how you spend? How did you find the courage to let go of things and what did you do with them? This is something I'm thinking about a lot and would really love to hear your thoughts, fears, regrets, successes and lessons learned.

25 May 2011

Family Sports Bag For The Car

Happy Wednesday. Hope this finds you well and happy. I'm thinking a lot this week about happiness, how I want to live my life and making every little day joyful and memorable in some way. After going to the park a lot lately and because The Bug is old enough to participate in some "older kid" activities I'm putting together a sports/activities bag for the car that we'll have easy access to any time. This comes in super handy when you decide to make a quick, before sunset trip to the park, when on road trips when everyone needs to get out of the car for a while or for a day at the beach. Here's what I'm putting in it:

1) soccer ball
2) kite (folded up in a bag)
3) plastic baseball bat and ball
4) bottles of bubbles and different sizes of bubble blowing accessories
5) Frisbee
6) 4 small cones (for goal posts, baseball bases, obstacle courses)
7) beach ball
8) fold up Razor scooter
9) football
10) paddle ball rackets and ball
11) bottles of water (in small insulated bag to protect from heat)
12) sand box/beach toys

Here are some other options:
1) croquet set
2) boules
3) lawn bowling set
4) kid's plastic golf clubs
5) nylon parachute (not for parachuting! haa-haa- but to bounce balls on, etc.)
6) balsa wood gliders
7) jumprope
8) horseshoes set
9) badminton set
10) hackey sack

A duffle bag filled with some combination of these toys should fit in a duffle bag in the far back section of an SUV or in any car trunk. Some of the best times one can have with family and friends are impromptu and heading to the park or beach when you have a few free minutes is a great way to get out, enjoy nature and spend quality time together.

It will also help your kids develop their eye-hand coordination, learn new skills (since the options for activities with these supplies is almost endless) and develop athletic abilities that will give them a lifetime of enjoyment and healthy habits.

What do you carry with you in your car for fun? What do you take with you to the park? I'm always looking for new ideas and would love to hear what you do with family and friends.

This post is linked to A Beach Wednesday Link Party

images via Amazon

24 May 2011

Beautiful Extra-long Curtain Panels from ZGallerie

Good morning! Happy Tuesday to you. Hope you have a wonderful day and see all the good around you. Have you noticed that in many design magazines and on many design television shows you see designers hanging curtain rods much higher than the window to add height to the room. It makes the window look more glamorous and spacious. Unfortunately many shops only sell curtain panels in 84 inch lengths.

At IKEA many styles allow you to create your own length and use iron-on webbing to hem them yourself. The only thing that frustrates me about that is that most, if not all of their sheers are only 84 inches so they don't work when paired with anything you hem yourself longer than 84 inches. It can be a tricky business.

I have said this several times but I was never a regular at ZGallerie until the past year and I have really become a fan. I was really impressed to see that they these beautiful curtain panels in 84 inch and 96 inch versions. I love these aquamarine panels. This is one thing I really love about ZGallerie, you can always find a lot of options in colors, sizes and styles.

Sadly, after a couple of frustrated years, I'm giving up on aquamarine or robin's egg blue bed linens because no matter how much I spend, they will within weeks being to look shabby, faded, bleached by some skin cream, etc. I was just as annoyed when this happened with the fantastic set I found for $15 as I was the set I spent over $100 for. Have you had similar problems with light colored cotton sheets? Any suggestions, favorite brands, treatment options?

I am definitely looking for new ways to incorporate this favorite color in window treatments and in other areas of my brown, white and beach blue bedroom. Thanks for the options ZGallerie!

image from ZGallerie

23 May 2011

A Bike - A Favorite Birthday Gift

A quick note: I am guest blogging over at Mod Nest today and would love, love, love it if you would pop over and give the fabulous Lia's wonderful blog a little bump from kalanicut readers today. That might give me a chance to be welcomed back another time. My post is about 8 things you already own that you could repurpose to style up your home.

I got my first bike for my birthday when I turned five and since then have received bikes for several birthdays. I have a wonderful cruiser bike now that was another much beloved gift. You can read all about her here and here.

Today is my birthday and I'm thinking of new bikes. I love my 1-gear cruiser bike so much but riding it with a super fit guy on a 21-speed bike can be quite frustratingly slow. The handle bars are so wide, which I like a lot, but it can be scary to try to weave through small spaces and in crowds. I need a good city bike with more speed capacity and a smaller profile. If you are looking for a good bike for errands, running around your neighborhood and family bike rides you will definitely be interested in these flexible options.

The Firmstrong Urban 7-gear bike above is a cruiser, so the handlebars are still wide, but with seven gears I could definitely pick up my speed and still ride in great comfort. This is the  same bike I have with gears added - but mine has the optional fenders and a darling wicker basket which are a must I think.

This Schwinn Panther 7-speed cruiser would definitely provide a comfort ride. I also like that this bike comes with fenders, because riding around the city you just don't want street junk spraying up on you. But it definitely needs a pretty basket on the front, right?

The Trek Allant bike gets rave reviews, has a great narrow profile for city riding, it is basket ready, comes with fenders and has 21-gears. This looks like an awesome bike for city riding. I also love that this bike comes in three sizes. Since I have crazy long legs and arms it's often a challenge to be truly comfortable on a mass-produced bike that doesn't fit quite right.

I'm pretty charmed by the pretty, girlish look of this Electra Townie 24-speed bike available at REI. I love that it has fenders and a rack on the back and you can still add a basket to the front. I'm all about how to carry groceries home on the bike these days without having multiple bags hanging from the ends of the handle bars -- which I have been known to do once the basket is overflowing. This bike also boasts a lot of adjustability to adapt to rider's height which I am of course a fan of.

Summer is just around the corner, it's a great time to invest in a good bicycle and make the most of the summer riding with family and friends. It's also a great way to save big money if you can use it to run errands or even ride it to work. It will also get you in better shape -- bicycling makes for very sexy calves. Get on a two-wheeler and give it some love this summer. It will definitely love you back in so many ways.

Happy Monday! Hope it's a great day for you!

image 1: beachbikes.net
image 3: bikereviews.com
image 3: rei.com

20 May 2011

Storage, A Naked Neighbor & Don't Miss Blog Posts

It's Friday. Happy Friday! Thought I would share a bit of sidewalk chalk art we came upon today. It was lovely and I adored all the chalky sea creatures overlooking the real ocean. I sort of had my weekend during the week, so I have a good list of things to do this weekend.

One of my goals is to get a good sports bag or box in the back of my car with bats, balls of all kind and things we can do at the park (including bubbles, kites, etc). I have most of this stuff, it's just never easily accessible so we aren't using it. I have learned I don't mind spending half a day at the park if we have a rotation of things to do. The bike rack is finally back on my car too where it will stay for the summer so that we can take the bikes out with us easily and quickly.

Earlier this week I bought four large plastic bins that I can stack together and lock for storage. I am looking forward to emptying some things out of my closets and transitioning more long term storage stuff into these boxes. I'm thinking a lot about what it would be best to put into these boxes. I am especially looking forward to making a little more space in my bedroom now that I have moved my workspace in there. I still think I have some lamps and furniture I need to sell.

Speaking of lightening things up, I can't stop thinking about this awesome post at Poppytalk about dip dye style basket pendant lights. The photos conjure of all sorts of fun ideas. I can see a couple of these hanging over my dresser in my room in front of the large picture window that faces someone else's kitchen windows (ugh).

I was sitting at my desk a couple of weeks ago in the middle of the night and looked out my window just in time to see my senior citizen neighbor standing in front of the fridge buck naked. Curtains were wide open and bright overhead lights were aglow. Much to my relief, as I quickly averted my eyes, his angle and the kitchen counter saved me from complete eye-blinding horror. Anything to further block that view is much appreciated.

It's also my birthday on Monday so I will do a bit of celebrating and thinking about the year to come. That is if the world doesn't end on Saturday, which is a laugh to me at this point either way it goes down. I am also guest blogging at Mod Nest on Monday, so that's a pretty good Happy Birthday To Me moment. I love Mod Nest and Lia's amazing art reviving old vintage lamps. Lia has some great guest bloggers this week with posts I am really enjoying looking at.

I would also recommend you check out Decor8 this week. Holly has some really fantastic posts that will give you quite a bit of dreamy enjoyment and DIY inspiration. Have a fantastic weekend! See you back here Monday. Hope you have a happy and relaxing weekend. Cheers!

images by kalanicut

19 May 2011

Kid Life Revisited

Yesterday I truly lived the life of a little kid, except for the fact I did a bit of driving the car. But the rest of the day I lived the carefree life of a child even though it was pretty chilly all day. I enjoyed an awesome sandwich that someone else made for me with all my favorite ingredients. Then we went to a super cool, giant park and rode our bikes a long, long way winding around and around in circles, crisscrossing the sidewalks and dirt paths. 

Then we put our bikes away and drank lots of water and had a snack. After that we went down the street to the store and bought a ball and a kite for seven dollars and headed back to the park. We played catch, then kicked the ball around for a long time and followed that up by putting our kite together and flying it for a long time. It was so windy that I was afraid the kite string would break.

By then it was dinner time and we went in to get warm and enjoyed a chicken, potatoes and vegetables dinner. After dinner we headed right back to the park since there was still daylight to be had. That's what you do as a kid, right? We ran round and round, even though our stomachs were full and it made us feel a little sick. We played catch, kicked the ball and flew the kite super high. We found whales, elephants, snails and cartoon characters in the big billowy clouds.

As the sun set, we were very cold, tired and ready to come in for the day. By the time we got in the door we were tuckered out. Cold and tired, everyone put their pajamas on immediately and jumped under blankets to get warm. We were all ready to crash hours before our usual bedtimes. This may explain why it's adults that have problems sleeping. When you are this active in a day, there is no doubt you will get an amazing night's sleep as soon as you hit the pillow.

Life can be very good as a kid. When is the last time you spent an entire day as a kid? You should try it! At the least you are promised a fantastic night's sleep and you'll likely do some things you haven't done in a long, long time. You also find your brain is occupied in play so you don't think about things that cause you stress.You'll find yourself laughing more, running in circles for good reasons instead of bad, stressful ones, spending time with people you like and looking up at the blue sky a lot more.  What would you do for a whole day if you had the chance to live like a little kid?

18 May 2011

Get To Know Author, Designer, Stylist Sania Pell

image by Penny Wincer for Cico Books

Hello dear readers. Thank you so much for coming by. Can you believe it's Wednesday already. I hope it's a great one for you! I first learned of Sania Pell from reading the blog Decor8 by Holly Becker. Sania had a big part in helping launch Holly and JoAnna Copestick's new book Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home in London. She worked with Holly and Leslie Shewring of A Creative Mint to style special decor for the book launch party at the Liberty of London flagship store.

Sania is a London based author, designer and stylist. Her book The Homemade Home: 50 Thrifty and Chic Handmade Projects was released last Spring and she has written two more books and styled the visuals for several others. It is her home that is featured on the US cover of Decorate and you can see more of her home inside.

Sania's web site, SaniaPell.com is one of the most beautiful I've seen. I love the linen background. Her portfolio is a cheerful delight to be enjoyed. The images above are from there. Sania has a new blog which promises to be full of inspiring sights and great how-tos. Topics will include DIY projects, Sania's London, interior styling and I'm sure a constant stream of fun news about projects she's involved in. She's definitely someone to watch and a great new blogger to follow.

Have a great and inspired day! Warm wishes!

17 May 2011

Ferm Living Wallpaper Fabulosity

Happy Tuesday! Wow, yesterday was a crazy day. When I checked the daily stats for this little blog the number was so high I couldn't make sense of it - more than five times the usual readership. I'm hoping the numbers are real and it's not another blogger breakdown somehow, haa-haa. Thank you to everyone who came by. I hope you'll keep coming by. It's such a joy to have you and make your acquaintance. You are so very welcome here.

It's another touch of Scandinavia here today. Ferm Living has a beautiful, inspiring collection of wallpapers. I tried to pick one that really caught my eye, but then it became a frenzy of not being able to choose just one. Some are serene, some are spunky. There's definitely something for everyone -- And, oh, hello, it's designed and manufactured in Denmark. Ah, sweet Denmark. No wonder I like Ferm Living so much.

While you are at the site take a few minutes to look at their awesome wall stickers, pillows, home accessories, kitchenware, linens and more. I love the Coat Tree Wall Sticker (how smart is that?) and could really use the World Map Pillow. That would come in so handy on all the days when The Bug asks where some country is. I wouldn't have to go dig up a map every time!

Speaking of kids, Ferm Living also has a full line of kids toys, wallpaper, wall stickers and linens. I am totally charmed by the Plywood Animals and The Little Dorm. You can also see their products in use in homes on their blog Clever Spaces.

Ferm Living totally takes me back to my days in Scandinavia. Hope you enjoy browsing their site. Have a great Tuesday! Sending you warmest wishes and thanks for visiting kalanicut.

16 May 2011

Boden Summer 2011 Delights

Happy Monday dear friends. So happy to be here with you again today. I hope you have a fantastic day. Today is ours for the taking! Here are a few delicious treats from Boden for the summer. I love a good tunic anytime. I'm constantly on the prowl for a good casual skirt and I fall quickly for pretty leather sandals. Ahhh, dreamy!

Summers are fun, easy-going and relaxed. It's easy to get a little too relaxed or sloppy when things are busy, but what a difference it makes when you stop yourself and take a few minutes to put yourself together in a way that makes you feel great. Add a cheery scarf, put a little more time into jewelry, make your ponytail a little snazzier by wrapping a strand of hair around the rubber bands or adding a pretty hair ornament. Instead of flip flops put on a pair of pretty leather flats or maybe wear a skirt instead of shorts or capris.

Amazing how it can make you feel more confident, cheerful, energetic and brave to face the world. Take a few minutes today to turn it up a bit, spice it up, spruce it up, sass it up. It's your day, feel great, look good, do good!

images from Boden

13 May 2011

Online Friends Can Become Real Life Friends

One often hears warnings about the pitfalls of socializing online. Notions that people shouldn't be trusted, the relationships one makes aren't real, it's a waste of time...and on and on. I had a great conversation about this and many other things yesterday when I had the chance to meet an online friend who I can now say is a real life friend, Margot Madison, of Margot Madison Creative.

When Margot emailed last week and said she would be in my neck of the woods and asked if I wanted to get together, I said yes, absolutely. So we had a great time meeting and since we live nowhere near each other and I have never even been to her home state, it was a super opportunity to meet.

You may remember that Margot and I met in the Blogging Your Way online class I took last fall. Just a couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure of sharing guest posts on each other's blogs. Margot wrote a great post on Wedding Announcement Trends here and you can link to my guest post on Torn Paper Art here and a follow up here.

Margot and I met at The Getty Center for a lovely afternoon of beautiful gardens, wonderful food, a bit of  shopping, lots of conversation and even some art. I came home with a brain full of so many thoughts to process about business, marketing, communications, creativity, relationships, family, socializing and on and on -- and most of all I really glad we'd had the chance to get together.

Talking with others always reminds me that my joys should be more appreciated and my troubles are not so unique to me - that we can all get through the difficulties of life together. I think this is one of the great blessings of having the opportunity to make friends all around the world. It certainly makes our troubles and our world feel smaller.

It's amazing what you can learn from people, on the opposite side of the globe or just down the street, who are having the same human experiences you are. Yes it's true one should not base his or her entire life online, but being online can certainly enrich one's life offline as well.

images by kalanicut

11 May 2011

Before You Pay Think Free

I was trying to find a place to pass on some old magazines that are still in great condition and full of still useful information and inspiration. I decided to check out Craigslist FREE section. I think I have visited that area once before only to post free moving boxes after my last move.

This time, rather than a quick posting I started looking around and I realize as a diehard DIY fixer-upper gal I have made a big mistake not perusing the possibilities here. Folks are giving away office chairs, desks, dressers, firewood, unused home improvement supplies, greeting cards from a closed retail store, sofas, chairs, pet carriers, even free bees if you come get them out of someone's house.

Here are more interesting things as I continue to find them: palm trees, a large bottle of Windex, ProActiv facial cleanser kit, bricks, concrete filler material, sod, dirt, cute kid's playhouse, kids furniture, carpeting, water plants for a pond, piano, fish tanks, patio tables, dining sets, vintage side tables and on it goes.

If you have a home you are fixing up this might just be a gold mine. The one drawback is that it seems that people who give stuff away are not as diligent as sellers about posting photos so that will require a little more work on your end. But if can fix up your yard, get your kids a darling playhouse or find fix up furniture for free rather than paying retail or even escalating thrift store prices, it could definitely be worth a few extra minutes of your time.

This opens us a whole new realm of possible ways to save a lot of money. Saving money is making money every time you shop smart. There are so many ways to cut back on costs and live well on less. Giving stuff away also keeps it from being dumped on the side of the road or sent to landfills. I am definitely going to be checking out Craigslist free section first when looking for new DIY projects. You might find a treasure or two for your home or family needs too.

The Joy of a Warm Bath

image by Dominique Vorillion via Elle Decor

I have rediscovered the joy of a nice warm bath at the end of the day. I have several water wrinkled magazines and a book to prove it. I was so inspired by this passage I read in Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

I believe in the rejuvenating power of hydrotherapy as a positive adjunct to psychotherapy....My philosophy in life is very simple: when in doubt, take a bath....To my mind, baths are as necessary for spiritual replenishment and centering as is prayer and meditation. In fact, a proper bath is one of the best ways of meditating, for once you are submerged in delicately scented warm water, where else would you want to be except in the present moment.

I've had the luxury of taking a bath every night for a few nights and it really is a lovely way to slow down, detach from the day and prepare both the body and mind for a restful night's sleep. It's interesting how I feel a little more cared for, more relaxed at bedtime.

I realized a few years ago that when I worked out first thing in the morning I always felt like I'd taken care of and given myself the first gift of the day. I never felt I'd been cheated for time and attention. I feel the same way about a bath at the end of the night.

Although I have a pretty standard, uninspiring apartment bathtub, it has become a little oasis. Each night I have added something new - essential oils, something to read, nice music (last night I found a great mix with Shawn Colvin station on Pandora) and a row of tea lights lit across the bedroom, visible from the tub. I also learned that it's easiest to read in the tub with a towel you can reach to dry your hands frequently.

The essential oils feed the senses and leave the skin feeling soft and gentle. Reading relaxes my mind. Music calms my soul. It's a beautiful way to end the day. How do you like your baths? What to you take along? How often do you indulge?

10 May 2011

Wait & Listen, Inspiration Comes In Many Ways

I am so sorry for my unplanned absence yesterday. I had a project come up unexpectedly that took my day completely. So happy to be back with you. I've missed you over the weekend and long day yesterday.

So I've been asking a lot of questions of the universe lately. Why things happen? What am I to do about this problem I'm facing?  What am I to learn from this process? Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing a wrong thing?  You know the questions, we all sink into them now and again. I've been deeply missing dear confidants who have moved far away or worse passed away.

Last night, very late at the end of my very long day I turned on the TV just to unwind a bit. I rarely ever have the TV on. While I was watching, I was very surprised to hear answers to these questions coming to my mind in the quiet late of night. An answer to my prayers in the form of a song played to close a scene, a message of love on a gravestone that spoke to me. This was not a show I was expecting to inspire me, I was just watching for distraction and entertainment, so I thought.

Then the idea came to my mind from something said on TV that all I have to do is do my very best today in the day I am living - that nothing else matters. Taking it a day at a time and doing my very best to be moral, loving, gracious, honest, valiant, to stand up others who need my help, law abiding and be mindful of my life and who I chose to be is the goal. I can do that minute by minute. I needn't worry of anything more than that. Do your best today and be as kind, generous and forgiving to yourself as you are to others.

Then I watched a short inspirational message where it said once you stop worrying your attitude changes and you are in a position to receive. I definitely received some great inspiration to thoughts I'd been having last night. I think they came because I took time away to be quiet, to give time to inspirational resources, to be calm and peaceful. Sometimes it takes some time for those answers to come. They don't always come as we want or when we want. But I know that they come more often when we take time for quietude, to separate ourselves away from the noise of the world for a while.

When I thought about listening, I thought of this beautiful little bunny's ears. Bunnies are good at stopping and quietly listening. Then they act upon what they sense. A talent I hope to continue to acquire. Hope you have a wonderful day. Thank you for coming by.

06 May 2011

Glory In The Out Of Doors

Thought I would share photos from the Farmer's Market yesterday. What an amazingly beautiful day and what a great day to be outside. Are you getting out there every day and for some extended periods each week? I hope so. It sure does a mind and body good.

The last time I took my big girl camera, it was the end of Winter with just the earliest signs of Spring. I got some amazing shots. Now it looks like late summer due to our recent heat wave. The grasses along the sides of the path are dead, the flowers are in full bloom.

We were so excited to see it's cherry season in California again. I always forget this because where I grew up cherry season is around the Fourth of July. So, if I'm not careful I can completely miss cherry season. Then peach season happens in July, which I'm so used to having in September. Such confusion.

We  passed on the cherries because they weren't yet a deep rich purple in color. I grew up in a valley full of fruit orchards, so I have my standards. Ha-ha. Instead we couldn't pass up the red raspberries and on the way home stopped and picked up a carton of vanilla frozen yogurt to enjoy them with later.

There was such an abundance of beautiful fruits and vegetables. It makes me grateful for all those who farm and provide our food. We are so helpless today without our own garden or space to grow food. That makes me very nervous when I think about how quickly we could run out of food in emergency situations.

And how about these crazy, gigantic cabbages. I have never seen anything like them in my life. Can you imagine that a plant stem was sturdy enough to support these beauties? Amazing what God has created to sustain us here upon the earth.

There were lots of new parrots at the parrot refuge. If you've never been to a parrot refuge you should know that it's incredibly LOUD. These babies can squawk and in a group it can be ear piercing. We enjoyed dancing with Bobbi, a poor little bird missing half it's feathers who will bob up and down if you "dance" with her. No one was too talkative unfortunately. My favorites are the Cockatoo who says, "Hi Sweetheart" and the parrot who says, "Come back" when you walk away from it's cage.

And here is a view of my favorite of all of God's creations I saw out in nature yesterday. What a jewel she is, even when she talks a mile a minute and can't keep a shirt clean to save her life. Just looking at this shot makes me want to gobble her up. She insisted on wearing the dinosaur clogs and yesterday for the first time she asked to have her hair in a bun...a low bun. Had to be low, was very specific.

Have a wonderful Friday. Make sure to take some time for yourself this weekend, for quiet solitude and to be with those you love. Forget the To Do list for a while and really relax. No one can take better care of you than you. Happy Weekend!

images by kalanicut

05 May 2011

So Dreamy - Meg Ryan's Martha's Vineyard Home

I have always had a little thing for Meg Ryan, it waned a bit through the whole divorce from Dennis Quaid, Russell Crow, plastic surgery phases, but I have to say I'm impressed with her design talents. Her home on Martha's Vineyard is the perfect inspiration for a dream beach home. I love all the windows, the barn doors, the clean simple design and all the artistic touches. She did work with a designer, but mainly to help with sourcing materials and to bounce ideas off. Meg has lots of experience and definitely drove the design process.

She said her goal was to get people in the house enjoying the views to outside the house and I think she achieved that. It's cozy but uncomplicated, warm and welcoming. I am a little envious of the guests who are invited to stay here. It looks like the perfect place to make memories with friends and family with perfect little nooks to curl up together as well as spots for quiet solitude.

You can see a tour of this gorgeous home in Elle Decor here and read the article about the entire design process here - it's pretty interesting. And you can read design tips from Meg here.

image by William Waldron

8 Great Totes Available at Etsy

I've had summer totes on the brain. Tried a lot of different types, considered making one. Still don't know what I'm going to do. But one thing I do know is that Etsy is a great place to find a lot of creative, colorful tote bags. Here are a few favorites that caught my eye.

So there's a little roundup for you. Can I just encourage you to shop Etsy and the wares of so many creative people. These people are working so hard and doing such amazing work. Have a fantastic day!

all images belong to respective Etsy artists

04 May 2011

Thrift Store Delights - Girls Embroidered Tops & Bottoms

It seems whenever I need a little inspiration for my creative side there's nothing better than a wander around  my local thrift store to get the wheels turning. Furniture ripe for refinishing, frames dying for a repaint, wood bowls awaiting a good sanding, lamps and lampshades dripping with possibilities. I've mentioned it before but I find the best kids clothing at our local thrift store. It helps that I live in an area where most people only have one or two kids and space is limited so people don't hang onto things they don't need for long.

I scored on some great embroidered pieces yesterday I had to share. I adore these jeans but they fit The Bug perfectly right now, which means by next week if she goes through a growth spurt or it stays too hot for jeans for a while they could be o-v-e-r, but she loved them and for the price they are worth as many wears as we can squeeze into them.

The Bug fell hard for this tee shirt. I have to admit it's pretty cute and for $2.99 it was a great deal. Teal, orange and pink are favorite combinations right now. It definitely inspires some DIY ideas.

There's nothing I love more in summertime than a good, lightweight, white cotton top. Add embroidery to it in any color and it's a must. I love the pink trim around the neck and the flowers are all the hottest colors of the day. The thing I most love about this top is that it will go with almost every skirt and pair of shorts or pants in the closet.

Have you scored on anything great at the thrifts lately? Are you looking & hoping to find anything particular? Thanks for coming by. Hope the rest of the day is filled with peace, joy and success. Cheers, K.

images by kalanicut

Where Have All the Manners Gone?

Prepare for a little mini-rant. It's been bubbling up for a while. And now it's ready for release. What is going on with all the bad manners these days? Here are a few examples:
  • making obnoxious political comments that assume if people don't agree with the speaker their stupid, crazy or misguided (offending 50% of the people one knows)
  • never saying thank you when someone provides assistance
  • not thanking customers who are the reason one gets a paycheck
  • talking on the phone while making a purchase at a cash register
  • walking with face buried in a phone device and ignoring people one is with
  • treating employees like they should have no personal life
  • using every conversation to complain about something
  • speaking ill of one's spouse or children to others
  • always looking out for oneself with no thought of others
  • screaming, blasting the car horn or giving impolite hand gestures to fellow drivers
  • holding up hundreds of people so one can cross 4 lanes of traffic rather than taking a quick detour
I am just seriously appalled at how rude people have gotten. It's inexcusable, there's no reason for it and it's a major reason why people are so miserable in life. Today I had a woman in a store parking lot come over and thank me for how carefully I opened up my driver's side door next to her car. What does that tell you about what's going on in parking lots these days? She said she had been watching me. There are people watching us all. What are they seeing?

It all starts with us. We should be on our best behavior regardless of what obnoxious behavior others exhibit. It might be just the reminder those people need that we are called to a higher order, expected to raise ourselves up to a higher plane.

But here's the clincher. I think 80% or more of people (and I'm including myself here) think we're super well behaved and it's "all those other jerks" out there who need to work on themselves. It's easy to see the others' motes rather than our beams. We are all a little or a lot guilty somewhere along the line. I'm challenging myself and anyone who reads this to see where our individual manners have slipped and do something about it. Be more beautiful, more gracious, more attractive to others. Increase the light you give out and the light all around us. It will bring others up too.

image by kalanicut
card design by Hallmark

03 May 2011

Paper Quilts

I have found that it's nearly impossible to throw away any scrap of craft paper that is larger than the size of a pencil eraser. There is always something you can do with them. So not only do I have a several stacks of 12 x 12 paper books, but I also have many resealable bags filled with all sorts of cut and torn scraps.

I've been thinking about quilting for a long time, but I'm not sure I have the patience for it. Any project that takes more than a day to complete begins to get lost on me as I start thinking of more and more things that I am dying to try with wood, fabric, paper, yarn, scissors, stamps and glue. For a while now I've been thinking about using up some of those pretty scraps to make little paper quilts just so experiment with putting colors and shapes together in a pleasing manner.

Above is my first attempt and here is my second. I like number two much more than the first one. I think it's to do with the darker, contrasting background. They aren't glued down, just set in place which explains why a few are crooked...but you know my predilection to things that are not perfect. Funny how that applies to everything but the way I judge myself. That's interesting and comical.

What do you think? Is there a future in paper quilting? Should I continue playing with this? I'm thinking I should try with a very dark background, like deep indigo blue. I think it would really make the squares pop.

Linked to:

02 May 2011

Beauty In The Target Dollar Aisle

Amazing what prettiness you can find for a dollar in the Target bins. Pink and orange have always been my favorite color combination. It's so energetic, strong and girly without being too wimpy, helpless and pink princess-y. I quite adore these lovely pencils, they even have pink and orange erasers.

Isn't this what life's all about -- adding simple, cheerful little expressions whenever possible. How can you not enjoy writing with a pencil like these. Yet another testament to the fact that you can live pretty and stylish without breaking the bank.

Spend Time With Loved Ones Outside

Last week I had the chance to drive up the coast with The Man on a work errand for him and little adventure for both of us. It was amazing what a beautiful day we had together and what a relaxed, cheerful mood we both found ourselves in. This weekend after a glorious day at the beach, I thought There should be a fine assessed to anyone who lives within five miles of a beautiful beach and doesn't visit at least once a month. That is just a crime. Then I thought, well the same goes for anyone who lives near beautiful, tall mountains, green rolling valleys...and on and on my thought process went.

I will do almost anything to avoid putting photos of myself on my blog, but the photo above is one of my all time favorites. It is from a 2005 vacation and I was so relaxed, happy and peaceful. I was in great shape (working out in the outdoors 5-6 days a week) and had been outside near a beachside pool floating, laughing, singing and enjoying three dear friends for an entire week while staying in a lovely beach house.

Since that time, one of those friends died very suddenly, another has faced cancer and family crisis and the other moved away and has faced her own personal tragedies. I have seen a few real lowpoints myself. It reminds me that happy days should be appreciated and when it seems they are too far gone, they will return again. There has been recovery and new joy despite the challenges and losses.

There should be a fine assessed to us when we do not take the time to be outside and to be surrounded by people we love. I guess there is when we do not take advantage of what a beautiful world has been created for us and we do not take time to revel in it. We really do pay a price in so many ways (mental well-being, physical health, etc.) for not taking time for ourselves and enjoying time outside.  Just being outside reduces stress.

I'm going to do all I can this summer to avoid paying the penalties for not enjoying the beautiful surroundings I live in and time with loved ones. Our days are precious and numbered. We must make the most of each one.

image by Suzie B.
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