30 June 2012

Summer Travel Packing List For Little Girls

image by kalanicut

I'm doing a little weekend bonus post. I can't take that mantle picture being front and center anymore. haa. I have been on the go the past three days making the most of the summer days with family and friends, which is how it should be anyway. I'll fix the photo later.

The Bug is getting more and more self-sufficient every day, including being able to read a lot of basic words. I thought it would be fun to create a travel packing list for her, so that she can have more independence when packing for family trips. Cutting my workload a bit is not a bad side benefit, right? We end up traveling fairly frequently and even when they are just short weekend trips, we still have to pack all the basics.

We have test driven this list once and it works for us. She loved it and had so much fun carrying around her list and crossing off the things that were in her suitcase. And it really did make the entire process more fun for me too. I am usually in her room in the middle of the night while she's asleep going through her clothes. It's nice for me to have that list too so I don't forget things she needs. She gave me the business a few weeks ago when I forgot to pack a bag of small plastic animals for her on a trip. I have been reminded of that several times.

Since packing for family travel can be such a lot of work for moms, I thought I would share this with you readers - in hopes to lighten your work loads a bit. You might want to create your own personalized chart or you can print out this chart and use it yourself. If you decide to DIY your own, know that I did this in a word processing doc using basic clip art and it was super easy. I saved it as a word doc so I can edit it later and as a PDF file so that I had a copy that would be more permanent.

I used pictures so kids who can't read know what to pack and how many of each item. Five images of shirts equals five shirts to pack, three images of socks means pack three pairs of socks, and so on. I also included the words next to the pictures so that kids who are learning to read can get to know the words. On this list is everything for the suitcase, the carry-on backpack and even stuffed animals, blanket, small toys, water and snacks. This list is based on needs for a basic week-long trip but is geared more to summer. I play with the number of bottoms and tops, but I thought I would include everything on the chart, then we can cut down the number we pack as needed.

To download the packing list, go to my facebook page kalanicut in the photo section where you can open the file and print it from there. If you use it, let me know how it works for you. I will definitely be updating it as I go along to better suit our needs and catch things I might've left out. If you have any problems or frustrations getting the file to print or download, email me and I will get you taken care of lickety split.

You might also enjoy other packing posts including an always ready toiletries kit. If you have kiddos who'll be packing up to head off to university in a few weeks, here's a great post on practical gifts perfect for college kids. Hope you are having a great weekend!

29 June 2012

Summer 2012 Patriotic Mantle

image by kalanicut

A quick peek at the July 2012 mantle. I am going to be totally down to earth and say the chalkboard looks horrible and I meant to fix that and take a new photo for today. I will do that later this morning when it gets light. What an embarrassment. :) It's been a rather challenging week, so perfection will have to wait until another day. haa-haa.

I'm having a real love affair with the song God Bless America right now. We've been singing it a lot so that The Bug can sing along at the Dodgers games and any other patriotic gathering. The star and stripes board I just made this past week. Uncle Sam  and patriotic bunting I made last summer. The shells we've gathered around the U.S. on trips the past couple of years. I made the driftwood garland earlier this year. The Liberty sign was a gift from a dear aunt. I made the chalkboard several years ago and have used in a variety of ways around the house since then. It's looking very dusty in this photo but in person it's much easier to read.

Nothing too fancy. Pretty down to earth and simple for us here. Looking forward to a lot of celebrating in the next week or so with family and friends. And as many fireworks shows, parades or rodeos as we can cram in.

28 June 2012

Fun Summer Nauticals from Scouts Honor Co.

image via Scouts Honor Co.

I want to buy this sweet print that speaks to so much in my life right now. I originally found this pinned on Pinterest, linked back to a European blog. On the blog there was no attribution for the photo and the translation was so bad that I couldn't really make heads of tails of where it came from, if the blogger had created it, etc.

So I did a bit of digging online and found out that it was created by Scouts Honor Co. a stationery studio based in Vermont. I like a lot of their stuff including all the Nautical Set prints too. These would be beautiful framed alone or in a set. They'd be darling for a nautical inspired boys bedroom.

I always appreciate artistry and craftsmanship and love the cheery, old fashion feel to these very modern and stylish cards. Well done, Scouts Honor Co. I'll be keeping an eye on you.

27 June 2012

Dip Dyed Baskets

image by kalanicut

I found these beautiful stacking baskets at Marshalls and could imagine a ton of uses for them: blankets in the living room, books and magazines next to the bed, towels in the bathroom, beach gear, picnics and I also thought they would be great to use at the wedding. Immediately I thought about dip dying the bottoms white. But then I started thinking that as fast as trends are blowing up and quickly burning out I might really hate dip dyed in a year or so. And these are great baskets that could last a good long while.

So here's my question for you readers. Would you dip dye them or leave them in their naturally beautiful state? I'd love your opinions. And here is a little painted basket inspiration that has been floating around in my mind that you might enjoy.

image by Sarah Yates via Glitter Guide

You can find lots more examples of dip dying here in this collection of Google images. Okay so would you or would you not dip dye these baskets. Add your opinion in the comments below. Thanks and have a great day!

26 June 2012

A Pin Test: #1 Shape's Whiten Toenails Tip

image via Shape Magazine

I decided to add a new feature to kalanicut and I'm calling it A Pin Test. Do you ever wonder if anyone has ever actually tried the advice and projects you see on Pinterest? Do you pin things that sound like a good idea without ever actually checking the link out or reading what it's actually about? I will confess yes, although I am pretty good about going back and checking the original sources for things. I thought I'd start out with the toenail whitening advice from Shape Magazine. This tip was contributed by Roxanna Sarmiento, a beauty and style writer and blogger at everydaytreats.com.

You basically make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Paint it onto your toes and let it sit. The article said five minutes would do. After somewhere around 10 minutes I washed it off. The toenails were getting there but still a little discolored from nail polish. I did a little toenail sprucing up, trimming etc. Then I decided to repeat the process.

I was very pleased with the results. My nails looked pretty and white. My feet are a little shy about appearing on a global blog, but I am happy to report that they looked fantastic. I would definitely try this again. Next I conditioned my toenails with a nice cuticle moisturizer.

Your toes will feel tingly clean afterwards and  your nails will look fresh and healthy. If you like to go with no polish on the feet this will help keep them pretty and shiny.Have you tried this? How did it work for you? Any additional advice you would add? Please share in the comments section below.

25 June 2012

Patriotic Fourth of July Inspired Crafts Project

It's been a big few weeks for us. In fact all of 2012 so far has been a giant adventure with a lot going on and people coming and going. Today is a day for me to catch up and I'm trying to do that in the most simple, peaceful, intuitive way possible. First I've been resting a lot, a bit of a shock to the system.

I have learned that when I do get a scheduled down day after weeks of busy-busy-busy it's a good time to do something creative and quiet - solitude is a must. I often plan a day of thrift shopping or work on a creative project that I've been wanting to do.

For my quiet day this time I knew I wanted to create something patriotic for the upcoming holidays. This great Stars and Stripes project featured on Craftaholics Anonymous last week definitely inspired me. You might remember that last week I mentioned finding an old boat cabinet door washed up on our beach. I had a feeling it might be perfect for a take off on the tutorial. The star was part of a project I had planned for last year that I never made. It worked out perfectly to use the star for this project and use the wood I bought with it last year for another project. The total cost for this project was about $6 for paints (which I'll use on other projects now) and the wood star.

So using the tutorial from Craftaholics Anonymous, I created the flag sign above. My one mistake was not putting the vaseline on before I painted the blue stripes. But in the end I was able to distress fine enough with some sand paper. It's funny how right before you distress something you look at it and think it looks awful. But it's amazing how a little distressing can pull it all together. I used very coarse sand paper to sand the edges and all the blue stripes. That seemed to take off just enough of the paint and soften up the edges.

It worked out well that the star perfectly covered the circle cut-out used to open the cabinet previously. I glued the star on top and stacked a big pile of heavy magazines on top of it to weigh it down for a while. Now I have a nice new addition to the mantle for this summer. I also bought five big flags on sticks to put outside this year. We're feeling very, very patriotic in these parts this summer and want to do all we can to celebrate, remember and observe.

Fun news. Tomorrow I am starting a new feature here called A Pin Test. I will take some tutorial or bit of advice from Pinterest boards and test it out and report to you on what works and what doesn't. Because you know, right, (haa-haa) that people pin a ton of stuff they haven't even read or tried? I've done two Pin Tests so far and right now we're 50-50. One worked, one was a total failure. Pop by tomorrow to find out what really worked.

21 June 2012

Etsy Cool Wrap Bracelets For Summer

With over 63,000 wrap bracelets found on Etsy this week it was truly impossible for me to get through all of them. So I randomly jumped through a variety of pages and liked very much what I found. Since I am thinking and loving so much about wrapped and stacked bracelets this summer I thought I would share a few goodies with you.

At these links you can find two other posts about stacked bracelets I posted last month - first some of my favorite photos and DIY tutorials  and second, a mixing and matching tutorial. Now here is some gorgeous new eye candy and inspiration to wrap your wrists in this summer.

1) Anchor Wrap Bracelet - The anchor symbol holds a very special place in my heart right now. I like the simplicity of this pretty waxed cotton wrap.

image via Pinterest

2) Silver & Bead Leather Wrap - I am cuckoo crazy for this bracelet. Unfortunately it's not available anymore, so I couldn't find any info about it on Etsy. But when I found it on Pinterest it stopped me in my tracks. But I had to share it because it is so lovely.

3) Leather Happy Wrap Bracelet - How can you not love a bracelet that reminds you to be happy in such a pretty way every time you look down. These beautiful bracelets are made by Betsy and Stephen Carr in Asheville, North Carolina.

4) Whale Tail Bracelet - Love the combinations fo materials and colors on this beauty. I'm always a sucker for a nice big charm on a wrapped bracelet and even better if it's a nautical theme. This is made by KesT Designs in Israel.

5) Hammered Infinity Bracelet - Perhaps it's because it's the week of Midsummer my very favorite holiday in Scandinavia, but I'm realizing that many of these bracelets have a definitely Scandinavian feel to them, this one most of all. I love the combination of strength and simplicity this wrap exudes. Made by Marina's Soul, Austin, TX.

Have you made or purchased any favorite wrap bracelets this summer. Post a link to a photo below. I would love to see what your wrists are sporting this summer! Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

A True Love Story For Crafters

Last Saturday while walking on the beach, I came across another boat cabinet door that had washed ashore. I looked around to see if anyone else had their eye on it, then quickly snatched it up, brushed it off and proceeded to carry it with me for the rest of our walk. It's very likely a few fellow beach goers were looking at me a little strangely. I am sure I gave off some victorious energy about how I felt I had found a prize right under their noses while they wondered why I would pick up such a piece of junk.

When I got back to the car, I brushed all the sand off it the best I could and tucked it behind the driver's side seat for the trip home later in the week. I imagined the conversations The Man would be having with me later about why I was dragging home another ratty old piece of wood. I could hear him potentially saying any of the following sentences:

"Do you really need any more stuff?"
"You don't have room for any more stuff on the walls."
"What are you going to do with that?"
"Why is this dirty old thing in my car?"
"Why is there sand on the floor of my car?"
"Do you really have time for more crafts projects?"

I know that I am not the only one who has experienced moments like these. I know I could quickly gather thousands of testimonials from other creative types. Am I right? The next day while getting bags out of the car I noticed that the board had been moved to a more suitable and secure spot. HE KNEW about the board. I felt a sense of panic. My next thought was that this moving of the board had happened with no commentary whatsoever at any point in the day. None.

My cringing turned to relief and then the realization that I was living every crafter's romantic dream come true. My need to create, craft and salvage had been received with silent acceptance and understanding! I smiled and never said one word about it...and loved that he loves me even when I bring unnecessary junk home and get sand in his car. Love you, babe!

P.S. You can see what I created with that piece of junk wood right here. It's a project I have been very, very happy with.

19 June 2012

Totally Loving Tote Bags

image via RosannaInc.Com

I have just been itching to make some cool summer tote bags. If I don't get started soon, I will be making winter tote bags instead. Time is speeding by. Once I started looking around I found many gorgeous tote bags that are really affordable. The prices range from less than $20 to many thousands, so there are definitely great totes to be found for anyone out there.

I thought I'd share with you today some of my favorite tote bags on my Pinterest board called Totally Tote BagsRosanna Inc has a gorgeous collection of Ikat Totes seen above. These beautiful bags in fantastic color combinations are just $44. They are currently out of stock but you can pre-order bags that will be available in a couple of weeks. You can get all the scoop here.

Here are four more I love and that inspire me in all kinds of ways:

Do you have a favorite tote bag this season? Feel free to share it in the comment section below. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I will have a fun tote or two to share. Hope you have a happy day. I'm hoping to get lots done and still have time for a little beach time sometime during the day.

Our beach is covered in mounds of seaweed this week, so not particularly pretty or pleasant for walking. The sand flies are out in droves and there are few shells to be seen in all the seaweed -- but beach time is still irresistible as there is plenty of room to avoid the shoreline edge where the flies and seawood gather and still enjoy it a little higher up. Hopefully the seaweed and fly infestation will pass quickly. Sending you warmest wishes for good in your day and in your life. -- K

Making Jewelry and Clothing From Old Tee Shirts

image via Ohzie on Etsy

I always feel bad when I have clothing that has truly worn out and is not even thrift store donation worthy. Sometimes I hang onto them if I like the fabric, thinking I'll come up with a way to use the fabric for something else.

Recently I've had some tee shirts and yoga pants that have given up the ghost and are not repairable. But a good portion of the fabric is still good. So I decided to look for projects I could make using knit fabrics.
  • I love this collection of tutorials using the humble tee shirt by Epherielle Designs. You'll find tee shirt scarves and necklaces in many different colors and styles.
  • You can make your own yarn out of an old tee shirt. Here's a tutorial from Craft Passion.
  • This post from Hide Your Arms has a large collection of old tee shirt projects too.
  • For even more ideas, check this link from Google Images.
  • If you don't have time or energy to make something you can also find lots of great tee shirt creations for purchase on Etsy. Like this beautiful necklace made by Ohzie seen above.
There are tons more sites that have ideas for old tee shirts. Check Pinterest for more ideas. Now there's no reason for me to have worn out knits folded in my closet anymore. Next week I'll have to look at my stack of old knits and see what I can source and create.

Maybe something here will inspire you to make some fun things with your old tees and workout gear. If you make something I'd love to see it! Do you have a favorite old tee shirt DIY? 

18 June 2012

MacGyver Gift Wrapping aka Resourceful Crafting

While I got the Father's Day present done with plenty of time to spare, I dropped the ball a bit on cards and bringing wrapping paper with me, since we are away today. We ended up grabbing some really lovely cards but then I forgot to buy wrapping paper again.

So pressed for time & without much to work with I started looking around the room for what we did have. We had a newspaper and at first I thought I'd use it for wrapping. Then I remembered that I had brought the Father's Day gift in a brown grocery bag. So I tore it apart, ironed it as flat as it would go and had The Bug decorate the inside. It was a pretty big space for her to handle on her own, so she recruited me to give her some help.

I had some first aid tape, but then decided to go without tape. We needed some ribbon. As I scanned through my toiletries bag, computer bag and suitcase, I found an old friend -- dental floss. I once used dental floss to sew backpack straps back together on a camping trip once. It is amazingly strong and the bag held together for as many years as I kept it.

So I decided to use dental floss for our ribbon. I used several strands wrapped around to hold the entire package together without tape. I was pretty pleased with our efforts and when we pulled together all our Father's Day celebration it was a very pretty centerpiece along with our cards and a very small but pretty pineapple cheesecake. Plus it gave The Man something more to enjoy and look at.

It's easy to get caught up in making everything so fancy and perfect, but sometimes simple, sweet and makeshift are just perfect and all you need. Have you ever MacGyver DIYed? What makeshift projects have saved the day for you?

all images by kalanicut (apologies for the dark room lighting.)

15 June 2012

Father's Day Gift - Photo Collage Pillowcase

Hello dear friends. First I want to say welcome and thank you to the many new readers that have come along in the past few weeks. I am so happy to have you here and look forward to getting to know you. Please leave comments about things you like or that make you think. It helps me to get to know you and what works here on the blog.

I wanted to tell you a little about the Father's Day gift I whipped up the other night for The Man. Unfortunately he was snooping around WAY too much while I worked and despite warnings could not stay away from what I was doing. So he's totally seen it. But that's okay, he'll enjoy the gift anyway.

Since our little clan is often in different places, I thought it would be fun to whip up a sweet little pillowcase covered in photos for him to remember us by. I think you understand the need to keep some part of life sacredly private, so faces have been hidden where necessary in images here on the blog.

You can imagine a photo collage pillowcase covered with family photos would be a great gift for college kids leaving home for the first time or for grandparents with tons of photos of their grandchildren. You could make one using photos of all your favorite travels - what a great thing to be inspired by as you lay your head down to dream.

So here's the how to:

1) Gather photos. This will be the most labor intensive part of the project. It's easy if you put these all into a file together on your computer so they are easy to find once you get started.

2) Create a variety of different size and shaped photos. I used PicMonkey to create a bunch of collages, which automatically gave me a variety of different size and shaped photos. Saved me a ton of time. You can learn more about PicMonkey on this post by my friend Jane of The Borrowed Abode.

3) Pick a pillowcase. You can buy a pillowcase for this project or whip one up with some spare fabric. I think this project is best done with a solid color fabric and not too dark. I bought some blue cotton that was half off and whipped up one regular size pillow case. I just used a pillowcase I had as the pattern and it only took me about 15 minutes to make. I also made a 16" x12" pillowcase for the knee pillow The Man sleeps with. For $7 I had enough fabric for both plus extra for another little project. I used up all but a couple of tiny scraps of the fabric. Buying a pillowcase means you'll probably have to pay more and you'll have to buy pillowcases in a pair.

4) Print out your photo collages onto iron-on fabric transfer sheets. This is a little expensive, $25 for 10 sheets. I used a 50 percent off coupon at Joann Fabrics and saved a good bit of money on these. This looks like the same stuff I used for only $16. I printed each collage I made onto one 8.5" x 11" sheet of transfer fabric, so I got a few photos on each page.

Here's where I had a little challenge. On some iron on products, you have to flip all your photos so that when you iron on the transfer, the photos are facing the opposite (correct) way. I flipped all my photos, then realized after I printed them all that this product did not require you to reverse the images so all my photos were flipped the wrong way. But it's fine, not really noticeable.

4) Cut out photos with a little white trim on all sides. I gave each photo about 1/4" white frame around the edges.

5) Arrange photos on the pillowcase. I played around with arrangements until I felt that sizes, shapes and colors of the photos felt balanced across the face of the pillowcase.

6) Iron on photos. Directions are on the transfer fabric packaging. Just give it a dry iron for 10-15 seconds, making sure the edges seal down well. I let my pillowcase lay flat overnight. I am going to go over it one more time with an iron just to make sure everything is secure.

And you're done. Hearts are here for privacy sake only, they do not appear on actual pillowcase. The pillowcase is a little stiff and could use a wash but I thought I'd wait until after we gift it to him. I'm hoping it will be okay turned inside out on gentle cycle. Hand washing is probably the best option.

If I were to do this again, I might use tee shirt transfer paper instead of the fabric transfer paper for more durability. There was some debate between the two types of transfer paper but I thought that the cotton would probably not have the strong scent the tee shirt transfers do. I was going to cover both sides, but since the photos are a little stiffer than I anticipated we decided he could sleep on the bare side and then have the photo side up during the day. These at-home processes are never perfect, so experimentation is key. 

If you have any questions, please leave it in a comment or email me. I am so happy to help. Last night The Bug and I looked the pillowcases over and started planning our Father's Day celebrations for Sunday and how we will wrap this gift up. I asked her which was her favorite photo and she said all of them.

Hope you have time this weekend to reflect on your Dad and all the men who have influenced your life for good throughout the years. I fondly think of my own Dad and remember the dads of friends and our neighbors who were such a great influence on me growing up. My own Dad will get a call and later a visit and his gift once I'm back in town. It's great to have my folks living close in SoCal. Never expected that to happen and even though it's short term, it is so nice to be able to see them more often.

Have a terrific weekend, be well, seek joy. xoxo -- k

13 June 2012

Three Pretty Dresses

Agh, I need a pretty little dress for today and I don't have one and I'm kicking myself. I'm so mad at myself for not doing a better job keeping my wardrobe together. I am sure I will pull something together but I know I won't be very happy about it. And it's not a good day to not be happy about what I'm wearing.

At least I know I have good shoes, haa-haa. But if I could whip up a fabulous outfit for the day here are three ideas I love. I love this Tory Burch dress above. How could I not. It's orange after all. I love the cut and the shoes too. Sassy, strong and girly.

Okay this isn't a dress, but for some reason I am craving a pretty little blouse with a hot-to-trot, pretty pencil skirt. Feminine with a 'don't mess with me' strength.

I have no idea what the rest of this outfit looks like but I know I love it. Love those shoes. Love the bangles over a nice tan. It's all pulled together with a crisp, lightweight white blouse. So, so pretty. Okay, now with a little inspiration I'm going to go back to my closet and try to find something pretty to wear today. I'll let you know how it goes.

So now it's time for advice for you. Where are you finding favorite dresses these days? Favorite shops? Brands? Share your secrets, will you? Comment space below.

11 June 2012

Creating New Houseplants From Cuttings

Happy Monday morning. I spent the majority of the weekend fussing with all the nitty gritty details of blog design. So much experimentation had to be done to start pulling things together. I was just itching for a redesign and after too much deliberation and not enough action for my satisfaction, I just went for it. I am enjoying the new color combinations and still tweaking things a bit. If you come across something that is not reader friendly or find a broken link, please let me know. I also learned this weekend that The Man does not like change when it comes to my blog. He was quite disturbed when I tried to explain to him that both me and the blog needed an update to happen. He would hear nothing of it, poor man.

While sitting at my desk these many hours, I've been looking at the cuttings from my Devil's Ivy (aka Pothos) plant I cut a few days ago. That got me thinking again about the benefits of houseplants for air quality in the home. I did a big post on that topic a while back. You can read all that good scientific info here.

It's amazing how plants can clear nasty toxins from the air in our homes. This is just one of the many benefits. They also bring a living energy to our homes, offer brilliant colors and create assymetrical design elements that nicely break up flat spaces.

Devil's Ivy is one of the easiest houseplants to care for and the large, lush leaf pattern is a theme that is so popular right now in graphics and design elements. It is also an easy plant to propagate with cuttings. I like to give these plants a "haircut" every few months or else they get very unhealthy and imbalanced. You have surely seen these plants looking weak and wimpy with only one long stem growing very long. By trimming the stems and keeping them short you get a nice, full-bodied plant.

Trim just below a joint. This one is a little short, a two to three inch stem below the joint is good. Often when you trim, you can cut up a longer stem into smaller lengths and get several cuttings. As soon as stems are cut, pop the ends into a jar or vase of water. Then comes the easy part, let them sit for a few weeks. All you have to do is make sure the ends stay submerged in water by adding water when necessary to the container.

Once there are good roots growing on each cutting you can plant them. The white roots should be two to three inch long. Place each cutting in a pot filled with good soil. Plant them about the same depth as they were in the water - about an inch or two inches above where the roots start.

These plants are very low maintenance and with regular watering and an occasional haircut they should be lovely and lush year round. A little plant food every couple of months is an added treat.

This will save you money on buying houseplants and a healthy, robust devil's ivy would make a great gift too. I'm hoping to have rooted cuttings in a few more weeks. Let me know if you try this and how it goes. Have you tried propagating cuttings of other house plants? What has worked well for you? I would love to know.

all images by kalanicut

09 June 2012

What The What?

image via

Hiya, dear readers. You may wonder what the heavens is going on with kalanicut having a totally different look...and a bit of a mess at that. Yes, I am making some changes. So please pardon the dust and know that EVERYTHING is subject to change still at this point. I hope to have all the bugs worked out by the end of the weekend. Thanks for your patience!

08 June 2012

A Course In Self Care

image via

I just decided to do this great 8-week course called Super Self Care by counselor Lucy Ann Moll. You might want to check it out. Let me know if you are interested in joining in. It would be awesome to have someone or several people to discuss it with.

I find self care a constant challenge. It's so easy to give away our energy and well-being while doing things that seemingly are good at home, with our families and in the community.

I'm thinking of this few weeks of summer as almost a holy time. I know it will go by fast. I want to do some good things and experience as much growth and joy as possible. I'm planning fun activities to do with The Bug, some new biz ventures, time with family and hopefully lots of rest and rejuvenating.

How are you feeling about Summer 2012? Do you have grand plans? Small plans? Trying for good reason not to plan anything at all? What are your hopes for this summer?

P.S. I also have to suggest you go over and visit my friend Ever Kelly's blog today and see her posts about Quilt Market. Her booth was so darling. I am tickled pink for her! I am also really impressed by the angels who came to her aid and made so many beautiful things that I think you will love to see. There are several posts so keep scrolling down for more.

06 June 2012

Striving For A Simple, Prioritized And Joyful Life

image via

I have been thinking a lot about how we humans are so easily inclined to run too fast, take on too much and try to be too much for too many people - all at the expense of our mental, physical and emotional well-being. Our relationships, our families and our work pay for that too.

I grew up on a farm and come from a long line of farmer-ranchers. When we were young we raised our own chickens. And that means we "harvested" our own chickens too. This was not one of my favorite activities. When you cut a chicken's head off, it begins to flap its wings wildly and flails itself up, down and all around in a pretty large area of space. Once they truly fall down dead, then you have to go hunt them all down and bring them back to where you started. I realize this is not a very pretty image for a blog about pretty living.

You have surely heard the phrase "She was running around like a chicken with her head cut-off." I feel like I hear more often "she" than "he' in that sentence. That may be due to we women's propensity to overly multi-task and take on too much. Multi-tasking has over the past few years become less and less impressive. Giving part of our attention to a bunch of things and our total attention to nothing is not very efficient or effective and at times can even be very dangerous.

Taking on too much is unhealthy. I so often hear people talking about how often their families are ill and how many bazillions of things they try to accomplish every day and wonder if those things might not be connected. How does a our need to be overly involved in everything then trickle down to affect our family life and children's lives. Being completely exhausted all the time is not the way we were intended to live and certainly not a trait we should pass on to our kids.

So we need to choose our priorities. This is something I feel a constant challenge with. For me I can make a list of six things that should get my attention in descending order. I cannot have them all at the same time in the same amounts or intensity and stay well. I have to ask myself what I'm willing to let go of to maintain my sound health and well-being - and really and truly be able to peel my little fingers off that "want to" item.

Remember the image of the chicken banging all around with it's head cut off. Is that the impression we want to give to our families, friends and associates? How much of the beauty of our lives are we missing by such action? Would we be better served to exemplify a woman of calm, control and conscious living? People are not as impressed with our fancy blogging, baking, clothing and other "accomplishments" are they are about how they FEEL when they are around us.

The true art of living seems to be in simple living. Think about your most joyful recent experiences. They were simple, weren't they? A summer night outside with your kids, dinner with family, a chat with a friend. Simple joys lead to the most happy AND healthy life. Whoever enjoys most wins I think.

I know there are so many others out there thinking about these same challenges. I would love to hear how you are standing up for a simpler life in your world. What is working for your family? What have you cut out? What have you added?

05 June 2012

Encouragement - Looking Back Downhill

image via

I have been working on some new projects and an update to the design of kalanicut. I've been working long hours and today I had a couple of interactions with people that were small "wow" moments for me. It made me stop and think back on the path I've been on the past couple of years.

As I see these new projects taking off much more quickly than this blog did back in the day, I realize that I have learned a lot and gained a lot of skills. I can do a lot more and help things happen much faster than I did just a couple of years ago.

I felt very grateful for the good people who have taught me a lot and the good friends I've made since I started this blog back in the fall of 2009. I was planning this blog out in my head for a full two years before that, just hoping to get the energy and time to get it started. During that time, I had the opportunity to learn from a lot of bloggers and social media whizzes and brought everything I learned during that time to my blog when I finally had the bold realization that it was time.

While I still have lots to learn, now I am taking all I have learned here and putting it towards even more meaningful projects which gets me really excited. I love those stop and look moments where you have a chance to just sit for a few minutes and count your blessings and be grateful for what you've gained from your many hours of toil and labor and the help of good, patient, sharing people. It's exciting to see what I've gained and imagine that in another two or four years I'll know and be able to do so much more. That gives me a lot of comfort in the journey.

What "wow" moments have you had lately and what did they help you be grateful for?

04 June 2012

Sprucing Up An Inspiration Meditation Shelf

I was dusting in my room last week and saw this little shelf. It's gone downhill a bit. It was meant to be a little meditation spot, a place to gather things that make me happy, remind me of what is important, a place to bring calming & focus. Once there was more style and organization going on there but I must have moved some items somewhere else.

On the shelf there is a photo of me and my sister with my parents when we were tiny, a favorite photo from a much loved trip to Mexico, shells & a small bowl sent to me from a blog friend on Australia's Indian Ocean coast, a candle, a wood heart and some rocks with the most amazing water holes carved into them.

Well, just by looking at it you can see that this certainly was not looking very inspiring, this poor shelf. It felt a little disgraceful that this spot was supposed to represent something beautiful. So I did a little shopping in my house and found a tray that seemed like it might help.

I gathered everything neatly on this tray which contrasted so well against the dark shelf and I knew something good was happening. Suddenly these items combined neatly on the tray felt more like they went together and meant something as a whole.

It seemed like it could still use a little something. So I added my Heath Ceramics jar I got a few months ago at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. More progress, but it still wasn't quite right. Then I thought about my plants that needed trimming and how some of those leaves would be just right in the jar.

There now. That felt so much better. It was more cohesive, more living, more colorful, more balanced. Now it's a place I will gladly let my eyes wander when I need a moment of peace and quiet reflection. I'll light the candle tonight and take a moment to reflect on my new shelf and all the great things in my life that it reminds me of.

images by kalanicut

01 June 2012

Friday Summer Smorgasbord

image via West Elm

It's Friday and I thought I would put out a little smorgasbord for you today.
  • Are you on Pinterest? Let's connect. I am most excited to share my Perfectly Imperfect Wedding and A Hip Home boards. I could just crawl right into those boards and live and be happy as a clam! I added lots of new content last night. Share your call sign in the comments below & I'll follow you.
  • I'm on the prowl for new people to follow, fresh voices and inspiration. Let's connect! You can find me on Twitter at @kalanicut and on Facebook at "kalanicut". Follow or like & let me know you read this and I'll follow you back.
  • I've been wanting to share a few blogs. They are all inspiring in their own ways.
Isn't the patio scene above from West Elm so gorgeous. I'm aspiring to spend a few minutes in a lovely outside spot like that this weekend. I'm determined not to let the longer days and summer weekends  slip by unappreciated. Hope your weekend is lovely. Thanks so much for spending some time here and spreading the word about kalanicut.
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