29 July 2013

Christmas In July

Over the years I have always tried to start thinking about Christmas crafts and gift-giving in July. It's a lovely change of thought from hot summer days, Popsicles and sandals. I've written about getting an early head start on the holidays a few times. Inspiration for Christmas cards in September, making decorations in August, I also learned that for some reason thrift stores often start putting out their holiday merchandise in July. Sometimes it's just pure escapism to think about gorgeous, charming Christmas decorations. Then there was the year I rebelled.

July has been a blur, like it so often is, a rush to milk every second of goodness out of summer before it fades away. For some reason our summers the past three years have been very busy and included a lot of travel and upheaval. This summer has been no different with reintegration, recuperation, and many other things going on.

Dealing with anything as far out as Christmas sounds a little bit far-fetched right now. But I do know that a good creative project does wonders for my soul, so I've been thinking about what will be really important for us for this holiday season. We really don't have much need of anything. I think Legos are in order for the little one. I think beyond that, simple, loving tokens are in order this year. Here are a few projects I've been thinking about.

Metallic Infinity Scarf - Cream
image via wanelo

Knit Infinity Scarves: a link to lots of patterns here. These would be fun and pretty easy to make. You can see lots of beautiful examples on Pinterest.

Wax-Resist Scarves DIY
image via A Beautiful Mess

I remember doing wax resistant projects when I was a kid, but my eyes were opened wide to the fun you can have as an adult with crayons and dye by this project from A Beautiful Mess. I don't think it's just because I love orange and blue together that I fell in love with these two scarves. These would be great for friends who live in warmer climates.

image by joyzz

This is another fun and simple project by Joyzz. You just need quality blue cotton napkins, bleach and a few artistic tools to play with like pencil erasers and butter knives. These would be great for Independence Day celebrations wouldn't they. But you could definitely do themes for Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, etc.

How to drill holes in Seaglass
image via Martha Stewart

I've collected a lot of pretty shells and sea glass through the years. I'm not sure if I'd have pieces to match up earrings but I have some big pieces that would make pretty necklaces. This "Drill Through Sea Glass" tutorial from the good people at Martha Stewart would definitely get me started.

So those are a few fun ideas to kick off Christmas in July and a headstart on holiday gift-giving. Hope this finds you well and happy. I think of you readers daily and send you my very best wishes. Thank you for visiting and for your support!

26 July 2013

We Are Blessed With The Knowledge We Need

Just wanted to leave you with a simple but powerful thought I had last night. Here it is. Sometimes I forget that God has always blessed me with the exact intuition and inspiration needed to deal with the challenges faced by my own little family.

I believe it is the same for everyone in whatever experiences they face in life if they will just be still and listen. We don't always need a "educated professional" to solve problems or someone else to tell us what to do. We often just need to listen, believe and take the simple inspired action.

God bless you in your pursuit. With love, K

25 July 2013

Dealing With Public Park Monsters

image via

I really want to have a conversation with any of you who regularly take kids to city parks. I have been having so really bad experiences at parks lately. Most recently there were a bunch of big kids roughhousing at the park with a bunch of little girls trying to play. One of the boys was punching and abusing his brother, which infuriated me. He was probably 12, playing way too rough, then when his brother was crying he punched him  hard and spoke to him in such an abusive horrible manner.

I knew he had to have a parent around somewhere, but I was just so upset that I wanted to march over to him and whisper to him that if I saw him hit his brother one more time I would call the police. How does this child have any impressive that this behavior is allowed? I was so disturbed by his behavior that I almost didn't care if his mother did take offense.

At one point his mother appeared and collected he and his brother, yelling at them to hurry up because they were late. Half an hour later he and the same bunch of big kids were terrorizing the "Age Five & Under" playground next door. I just wanted to shake his mother so badly. One good, accidental bump and one of those tiny kids, who have very little balance, could be seriously injured.

I never said anything to this boy, but I did warn our little one to steer very clear of him and the other big kids he was playing tag with. I am curious, how do other parents handle the public parks? Do you avoid certain parks? Times of day? Do you just leave if there are rough kids rushing around? How do you intervene when you feel you need to?

22 July 2013

Take A Walk, Take A Walk, Take A Walk

image via

I've been cooped up inside the past week more than I should have, trying to work on some projects. They are "must do" projects not fun projects, which of course makes it worse. I can really tell a big difference in my happiness levels if I don't spend some time out of doors each day.

Sometimes just getting out the door is a challenge. In my last corporate job I really learned the mental health benefits of just taking a walk during the long day. Getting out in the sun does do wonders for the soul. Now days it's so easy to get caught up in the million different little things I do every day that time can really get away from me. The past few days I've been taking lovely bike rides and walk along the water and it has been so good for my soul. I find myself looking out the window, checking out the weather and anxious to get out there and breath in the day.

So that's my challenge to you today, go out and take a walk. It's summer in the northern hemisphere and it won't last long. Enjoy it while it's here. I always feel so sad when I realized I've let the summer get away from me and missed it being busy. I find the sooner I start enjoying it the better, so I have to get out there in May and start doing summer right. I've done pretty well this summer but still feel like I could be doing much better making the most of the season. School will be back in session in just a few weeks and the days will get shorter. So it's a great time to take a walk, in the early morning, during lunch, after work or after dinner.

I was thinking of this song when I titled this post. Okay, now go take a walk.

18 July 2013

TJ MAXX: My Car Breakdown Sanity Saver

When we experienced a serious car breakdown far from home and from our ultimate destination, I knew I had a few hours to entertain myself before the car would be repaired. How happy I was to see a TJMaxx just across the road! In the end, our delay actually turned out to be overnight plus half a day - sigh.

I knew I could spend a good hour or more wandering around TJMAXX that first night. Even better I'd get some great inspiration for home decor. I found some fantastic things and thought I would share them today. I loved this green jar with the rustic furniture. The furniture wouldn't work for my home now but I can see it in a beautiful little cottage surrounded by trees.

Love the shape and texture of these ceramic lamps. They could work in a cottage environment or in a more formal sleek one too. The would look lovely as bedside tables.

Oatmeal linen is a favorite of mine, a perfect neutral for any space. I love the nailheads too. These pieces would be gorgeous for a calm, neutral space or so perfectly accessorized with a bright, bold, small rectangle pillows. I look forward to the day when I actually have room for a bench at the end of my bed.

These vases are a little odd, but I liked them instantly. There's something very earthy about them and I can see them being a standout accessory in a variety of rooms and uses.

This is a fantastic little bench, but so skinny I'm not sure how you could use it. But the construction and patina were so beautiful. The photo doesn't quite do it justice. But it would make a great statement piece in just the right spot. I can see using it as a picture ledge against a wall for something tall and thin or maybe to display a quilt.

In the past year or so I've learned to appreciate fun pots for my growing plant collection. I think The Man inspired this when he bought a beautiful, big colorful pot for our money tree. As I've been cultivating my own plant cuttings I've been needing more pots. I like these two, they are different and again have a fun, earthy feel to them.

I love this x-leg table, it's a great mix of chic metal and natural wood. Just what I'm in the mood for these days. This would be a fantastic entryway table, perfect for a tray for keys, a vase of flowers or a great potted plant. This table makes me want to move to an urban loft.

It's funny the more I look at these photos the more I really like what I saw at TJMaxx that night. Lately I have really been enjoying looking at things and trying to see if they are really something my personal style is connecting with or just something trendy that catches my eye. I know if I enjoy going back and looking at something over and over again that it's speaking to me. I like learning to be more discerning in my choices and more selective about what I want to bring into my world.

Thanks TJmaxx for the great wander on a bad night in a city I didn't know. It's always good to see an old friend when you are far from home.

16 July 2013

Looking Ahead To Fall

collage by kalanicut/images via Pinterest

I realize it has not yet been summer for a full month and summer is in fact the one season we pine for all winter long, but I'm already having the fever for fall. In my defense, I think it's because we don't really even have fall where I live. So it's become vastly over-romanticized for me over the years. I won't put on a pair of boots until December and will only wear them until February if I'm lucky. And I'm a boot girl, so that's a sorrowfully short boot season.

So while I'm wearing my now almost waist length hair in a bun that gives me a headache ever day because it's too hot to wear my hair down and I'm wiping sweat from my brow every time I go outside or get into the car, I am dreaming about a little fall cooling trend and some of my favorite fall looks. What's not to love about chunky sweaters and scarves, tweedy pants, gorgeous wool coats, riding boots, corduroy skirts and tights?

I thought I'd share with you today a little taste from my Pinterest boards. I hope you are in a cold air conditioned space while you look or you might faint of heat just thinking of having so much clothing on. Hah!

All these photos and their links can be found on my Favorite Fashions and Favorite Shoes boards. It's actually the perfect time to shop for fall and get the best selection of this year's collection. This is especially helpful if you are a hard-to-find size or like me need the extra long lengths in sleeves and pants. Those sizes go quickly so shopping early is a good, good thing! Or if you are like me and am thinking about knitting for fall it's prime time to get that started so you won't have to wait until Fall 2014 to wear your finished creations. My awesome sister whipped up a mountain of beautiful knit scarves last fall for herself & for gifts. I definitely want to try out the pattern she made for eternity scarves.

It's a good time to think about fall but continue to enjoy summer for a couple more months!

15 July 2013

Escape From LA: The Huntington Library & Gardens

all images by kalanicut

A few days ago on a very hot day we took the opportunity to escape Los Angeles and head to Pasadena/San Marino to visit The Huntington Library and Gardens. It is definitely on my list of great places to visit for anyone vacationing in Southern California. 

I'm a big fan of doing more than just amusement parks in Southern California. There are so many gorgeous and amazing museums and gardens in the area and you're really missing out on seeing other sides of the Los Angeles metro area if you only see Anaheim and the beach.

The Huntington is a great place to go and wander and get away from noisy city life. The vast amount of green space guarantees you can wander for a day in peace and quite with plenty of beautiful things to look at.

We went as a family and spent time in the children's garden where our little one got good and wet - glad we brought her swimsuit and it was so easy to just dry her off and do a quick change into dry clothes afterwards. The Japanese and Chinese gardens had both been enlarged or updated since we were there last year.

I have yet to ever enter the art galleries at The Huntington. I'll get there some day but it's hard for me to go indoors when the outside is so beautiful. The hours of operation are pretty short even in the summer so it's great to get there right when they open and have the full day to see everything. 

We always wish we had a little more time when they announce that The Huntington is now closed. I think a lot of other people feel that way too since there is always quite a large crowd exiting at closing time.

My very favorite way to end the day is sitting under the big trees just below the Rose Garden until closing time. There is a lovely ocean breeze and it is so peaceful and relaxing. By this time feet are usually a little tired, cheeks are sunned and thirsts need to be quenched. A nice cool drink and some shade are highly appreciated at this point. It is warm in Pasadena!

You can read more about The Huntington Library & Gardens in this post I wrote last year on our first visit. There are lots more details and photos there. It was a lovely day and boy were we tired by the time we headed home. We stopped for a nice quick dinner at a favorite spot and then went for a walk in our neighborhood. 

It made for a great day and I am so happy that we have such amazing places as The Huntington Library & Gardens near where we live. We certainly are blessed with beautiful museums and gardens all around us! It's been a great summer so far and we've been so good about sneaking in family time whenever we can. It's only been a few weeks since school got out and we've already done a lot of things together to make the most of the summer. I'm glad we still have weeks left to really enjoy before school starts.

12 July 2013

Beach Photography Before Sunset

images by kalanicut

Let me just start by saying that this has been a terrible no good week. I'll post more about that shortly but I'll just give you a little taste by saying imagine a car breakdown far from home that resulted in an overnight stay and a repair of almost a thousand dollars and news that there still something unrelated to these repairs wrong with the car although it is drive-able. One word I heard that made my heart sink was "transmission" - and I got a new transmission just about four years ago. Sigh.

But let's not dwell on that right now. Let's talk about photography and the early evening hours. It's a magical time to take photos. The lighting it amazing and it's so easy to get photos that almost seem magazine quality. Here are a few favorites from an afternoon yesterday spent at the beach. The beach was quite alive with growth both in the water and out. We needed a hairband, so we grabbed a few pieces of sea grass and crafted our own pretty hair ribbon. I'm envisioning that blue shell fragment as a necklace in the future. We did find amazing shells and had a wonderfully relaxing time -- a great way to at least attempt to recover from the shock of the car situation.

Taking photos in the hours before sunset always gives me an inflated sense that I have a good eye for photography, haha. It's amazing how easily things look so beautifully from shells, to sand to lovely people too.

Here's a link to another great photography day just before sunset. Cameras Love The End of Day. I still remember one day we were at Balboa Park in San Diego just before sunset and there must have been five or more photographers taking engagement photos in the perfect light at the end of the day. It was crazy. But they are definitely onto something. Photos at the end of the day have a special light to them that you can't manufacture.

10 July 2013

Great Meditations From YouTube #3

image via

This week's meditation is all about gratitude. It's a little different in that there is no peaceful, Zen-ish music background. It's a lovely, peaceful woman's voice and quite restful without that. It's quite beautiful and simple actually.

This week I'm recommending Law Of Attraction Meditation by The Guided Meditations. This meditation talks one through all the things we have to be grateful for in life. It's quite remarkable actually how much we have to appreciate. Our five senses, the earth and all it's nature, friends and family, it goes on and one. This meditation is just short of 9 minutes long, so it easy to fit into the day.

If you have a chance to try it, let me know what you think.

Great Meditations #1: Meditation To Create Abundance
Great Meditations #2: Positive Meditation Uplift Your Emotions

08 July 2013

A Sandal Story: Making Flats Comfortable

Last week went by like a whirlwind. I didn't expect to take the week off from blogging, but it turned out I had little opportunity to even sit down at my computer. We were able to spend a lot of time together as a family. We took a lot of time to rest together and has some fun playing together too. Hope your holiday was a good one.

So you may remember I mentioned these shoes two weeks ago. Still love them like crazy. But The flat sole was killing my feet. Big blisters on the balls of my feet every time I wore them. So I came up with a little idea, out of desperation, that ended up working fantastically and I thought I would share it. For some time now I've been trying to think of a way that you could effectively use a foam insole with flat sandals. I figured it out.

I took two inexpensive foam insoles and trimmed them down to fit the footbed of my sandals without being visible. This takes a little work and you do have to trim them quit a bit to make it so they can't be seen. I used a lot of trial and error on the first insole, but for the second I basically just flipped the right foot over and used it as a pattern for the left foot. That was super easy.

I trimmed the toe area down so it was not visible between my toes. Then I cut a slit from the top edge down to the bottom of where the strap fits between my big toe and second toe. So basically the slit I made is right between the big toe and second toe, about one-and-a-half inches long. Then I put the insoles into my sandal and slipped the toe strap into the slit. Since I only cut a slit, it fits snugly around the toe strap with no gaping around it.

This worked so fantastically because it helps hold the insole in place and provides a lot of cushioning for the ball of my foot. On Saturday I walked through a lovely botanical garden in these and they were so comfortable I couldn't get over it. I can wear these all day now comfortably.

If you find you're in the same boat, try trimming down a foam insole to allow you to enjoy pretty, flat sandals without the painful blisters.

01 July 2013

Great Meditations From YouTube #2

image via

As I continue to develop my meditation practice and so enjoy the benefits, I am excited to share them with you lovely readers. I know we all live with considerable business and challenges no matter how hard to strive to enjoy a peaceful, well ordered life.

Here is another great meditation. This one is all about letting go and I love that he says you may have the worries of the world on your shoulders, but let them go for now. You can have them back later.  That is comforting and realistic somehow. You can't ignore unpleasant or tiring things you must accomplish but you can lay them down for a few minutes and allow your body to calm down and find a peaceful, healthy state of mind.

Today's meditation is Positive Meditation Uplift Your Emotions by David McGraw. The Man was the first to try this and he was pretty peaced out, very quickly. If I can get him to slow down, just about anyone should be able to quickly get in the groove with this meditation. It's encouraging, uplifting and energizing.

If you've always wanted to have a regular meditation practice, join me and let me know how it goes. It's always fun to share the journey. 

Great Meditations #1: Meditation to Create Abundance

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