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Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Find -- SparkPeople

My friend, Susie, knows that I am always looking for new ways to encourage myself to stay on track with healthy eating and exercising.  She told me about this phenomenal website called Spark People (

Keeping track of everything I eat and all of my exercise has been the only way that I successfully lost weight and/or kept it off.  This website makes "food journaling" so easy!  You just search for the food you ate and add the amount you ate to the meal/snack.  It tracks calories, fat grams, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, and protein for you.  If there is a favorite snack that you can't find in the database, you can manually add the information from the label.  The information is then added to the database, and you have it for future use.

You can add your weight goal, and Spark People will give you tips on how to achieve your goal.  There is information on health topics, recipes, motivation, wellness, and fitness.

The plans put forward by the website are very realistic.  In fact, the amount of exercise suggested for me was less than what I currently do.  However, if I was just starting...this wouldn't seem as daunting as thinking that I have to exercise everyday (like some "diet" plans suggest.)

The best thing is that this site is free.  I'm sure that I have only begun to find out all of the great resources available on this site.  If you have been looking for a way to start or jump-start your healthy lifestyle, then this is the site for you.

Let me know what you think...If you haven't figured out, I'm in love with the site!

Have a great week, and take care of you!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Terrariums -- Wonderful Little Worlds

Terrariums are everywhere right now, and I am in love!  I have green plants all over my house.  Now I am determined to add a few terrariums because they are just too cool!
The book "TERRARIUM CRAFT: CREATE 50 MAGICAL, MINIATURE WORLDS" by Amy Bryant Aiello and Kate Bryant shows all kinds of ideas for plants that work well for terrariums, whimsy to add to terrariums, and the types of glass jars that work well for terrariums.  As an added bonus, the pictures are great!  At the end of the book, they have a long listing of places to find the plants listed in the book if they are not available locally to you.
So, if you have wanted to try a terrarium, but you wanted some more information or ideas--this is the book for you.  Check it out at your local library!
Have a fun week, and take care of you!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Our Own Little Makeover -- Flower Bed

Over two days of our vacation, Trevor and I removed rock, sod, and dying rose bushes from our flower bed.  We enlarged the flower bed and planted (1) Huckleberry Bush, (1) Helene Von Stein Lamb's Ear, (2) Blue Mist Shrubs, (2) Bloodstone Thrift Plants, and (4) Sweetspire Little Henry Plants.




I bought the little fisherboy and the schoolgirl at an auction for $15; The bronzed butterflies were from another auction for $1; The hedge hogs were $1 each at a thrift shop; The 'bird bath' is a milk glass vase from an auction box and a candy dish lid (missing the bottom) that was too pretty to throw away...
Close up of the "Bird Bath"
  It was a lot of fun to spruce up the front of our home together.  I wanted to stick with rock just because of the environmental issues with mulch, but Trev really wanted the mulch.  I have to admit that it looks really nice.  He wasn't too sure about my upcycled bird bath, but he said he really liked it once he saw it in the flower bed...and hey, it's a lot cheaper than buying a new bird bath!  It was so nice to spend extra time with Trevor.

Do you have any landscaping plans for this spring??

Have a super week, and take care of you!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Auction Time!! Lots of Pictures!!

Trev and I have been having a blast on our vacation.  It truly is a "stay-cation" as we have been home every day.  We did go to Lincoln last Friday to go to thrift stores.  I didn't have a lot of luck, but I did find a pair of CJ Banks jeans for $4 and an Abercrombie and Fitch leather belt for $2.  Then I went to The Quilted Kitty quilt shop; there's a reason that it is just better for me to NOT go into quilt shops.  It was a fun day!

The auction was at the bottom of this hill...this was the half-way point between where our car was parked and the actual auction.

On Sunday we headed to an auction out in the country.  There was TONS of stuff!  There were two auction rings going the entire day.  One auction ring was selling farm equipment and one auction ring was selling household items.  For the most part, it didn't seem like people were bidding very high on much of anything...which is exactly my kind of auction because I prefer to not spend too much money.  I spent $25 on's some of what I found in the boxes:
I'm a sucker for relish trays and candy dishes!
I really, really wanted the purple candy dish.  The chicken juice holder with matching glasses--not so much.  Also, don't ever buy 'new' 25th anniversary or 50th anniversary stuff.  It can be bought cheaply at any thrift store!!!  These 25th salt & pepper shakers were kind of cool; they were marked 1957 on the bottom.  I don't know if that's when they were made or some kind of manufacturing number...they are going to Salvation Army either way.
I was excited for everything in this group except for the weird San Francisco tourist vase (right next to the blue pitcher) and the stuff with gold--the tea & creamer in bright gold will be joining a shelf at the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

The stuff on the left--going to Salvation Army--UGLY!  The pink 'canister' in the back is marked Tilso Japan 52/637 so I am holding on to that one.  I am also holding onto the green in front.  It is marked RUM RILL 711.  The man who designed Rum Rill from 1933-1937 went on to work for Red Wing.

This was my AMAZING box.  For $1, I got a ton of Christmas...look below!
Crocheted Snowflakes...TONS of crocheted snowflakes...I think there are more than 150 and they are gorgeous!
Plus...two bears with music boxes.  Trevor thought they were pigs...I told him to try again.
PLUS...a musical clock (which would drive me nuts, but I'm sure someone would think it was awesome!) and a carousel music box.  The horse moves up and down to the music.  There were also three shelf sitters--a bear, a reindeer, and a Santa.  Not bad for a buck, right?!?
In addition to all of the above glassware, I also got a huge bag of assorted blankets, pillows, and bedding.  There was a wool blanket in the bag that has a faded tag stating: "Australia 1944."  That's kind of cool, especially if you've watched "The Pacific" and know some of what was going on in Australia during that time period. 
Booger snuggled right up to the "new" pillows.
Lola claimed this afghan as her own.
 We left after four hours and some cold rain.  There was still a lot of antique farm equipment to sell.  Even if you don't buy anything, I think it's fun to go to an auction to see what people kept and what people are willing to pay for different things.  It's a great place to watch a wide variety of people.  Trevor only wants to go to auctions when the lunch is provided by the old ladies of a little town because that's when he gets "the best pie!"

Do you go to auctions?  If you do, what are you always on the lookout for?

Have a wonderful weekend, and take care of you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just in time for Mother's Day...

Do you need a sweet and simple gift to make for your Mama, Sister, Grandma, Aunt, etc.?  Take a look at SWEET & SIMPLE PATCHWORK GIFTS by Hisako Arai and Yoko Sanjo.  This book has 25 projects using classic quilting motifs like hexagons, log cabins, and squares.

My Mama was looking through this book at Easter and she thought the "house basket" was cute.  Thanks for the tip, Mom!  It looks totally doable.  I'll post a picture (if I get it done in time....) Of course, I latched onto the great bags and tote patterns shown.  (My name is Jeanne, and I AM a bag-a-holic!)  There are also wall quilts, pot holders, throw pillows, table toppers, and lots of bags--big and small. 

Even though the projects may not be super original, I love the clear instructions given for each project.  In addition, there is and excellent section that explains how to accomplish each type of motif.  There are pictures from the front of the piece and the back of the piece.  Because of the importance of setting your seams when quilting, these great front/back pictures are an awesome tool for new quilters.  It is also helpful if you are an experienced quilter that maybe is not as comfortable as you would like with log cabin or hexagon quilting.  Also, they show two different ways of accomplishing the hexagon quilt--plain sewing and the English paper piecing method.  It's worth your time to check it out at your local library.

Have an awesome Wednesday, and take care of you!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Daisy Place Mats -- Week Two

Last week, I gave you all the details on how to complete the daisy motif for the place mats.  Now to complete the project!

1) Cut the muslin into rectangles that are 13" x 17" -- this will make your finished place mats 12" x 16" finished as I am using a 1/2" seam allowance.  [If you want your place mats to be a different size, just add one inch to whatever you want the finished size to be.]  I also used a pencil to mark the 1/2" seams.  I don't usually do this, but burlap is a very loosely woven moves around like a class of kindergartners on a sugar marking the seam allowance was the easiest way I could come up with to get a consistently sized end product.  When you turn the place mats inside-out, the pencil lines will disappear.
2)  Time to cut the burlap.  Again, due to the hinkiness of burlap, I went about this a little differently than I usually would.  I am sure there is a "right side" and "wrong side" for burlap, but I couldn't tell which one was which.  If you can tell which is which, put the masking tape on the "right side."  I laid a muslin rectangle on top of the burlap; then I put masking tape around (not on) the outside edges of the muslin rectangle.  Then remove the muslin.  Next, cut around the outside of the masking tape.  This does waste a couple of inches of burlap, but it was the easiest way I found to keep the burlap from fraying too much.
3)  Now you can attach the daisy motif to the burlap rectangles.  Decide where you want the motif on the place mat.  I put the daisy 2" from the right side (using the edge of the masking tape as the 'edge') and 2" from the bottom.  Due to the seam allowances, this *should* mean that the daisy will be 1 1/2" from the bottom right hand corner.  Straight stitch the motif--using a sewing machine--right on the edge of the corduroy.
4)  Place a muslin rectangle on top of a burlap rectangle.  Using the marked seams, sew around the place mat leaving a 4"-5" gap to allow the place mat to be turned inside out.  Before the place mat is turned inside out, trim the burlap to 1/2" to match the muslin rectangle and trim the corners to reduce bulk.
I use pins just to mark my begin and end point...this helps me remember to stop so I have the needed gap to turn out the place mat.
This is how the place mat should look after the edges and corners are trimmed.
5)  Turn the place mat inside out.  Work the corners as needed.
6)  In order to close the gap seam and help tack down the seam all the way around the place mat, sew right along the edge all the way around the place mat.  When sewing the gap,work the burlap under to match the seam.
I ran the outside of the place mats along the inside of the presser foot.
Voila!  You are done!  I did have to iron the muslin after I turned the place mats inside out.  I hope you enjoy trying this project.  If anybody has any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! 

What other kind of projects would you like to see?  What kind of projects are you working on this month?

Have a super Monday, and take care of you!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Find -- Ecological Calculator

This week's find was on the internet.  In honor of the upcoming 42nd Earth Day (April 22), I completed my ecological calculator to see what I am doing right and what I could change...

It's a pretty short little survey, but it was kind of cool just to see how this organization views different lifestyles.  They definitely seem to be of the opinion that people should lean more toward veggies, vegetarian, vegan and less on beef, pork, lamb, chicken, etc.  Being from Nebraska, I do have a slight "beef" with that stance.  Nebraska would be pretty barren if we had no animal agriculture.  I don't see beef and pig production as the all-evil entity that many environmental organizations do...

Other than that, I was fine with the findings.  Have a super Friday, and take care of you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mending? Who knew?

***ANNOUNCEMENT***  I finally figured out where the setting was that was preventing many of you from leaving everyone can leave comments, even if you aren't a 'follower.'  YAY!  Comment Away!!!

Do you remember hearing Grandma talk about 'darning socks' or 'patching jeans'?  Well, author Kristin M. Roach, creator of has created a book to remind OR teach all of us how to creatively mend clothing rather than throwing it away or giving it to a thrift store.  That's what "Mend It Better" is all about.

I've seen LOTS of clothes at thrift shops that are perfect except for an issue with a closure (button, snap, or zipper) or a rip in the seam that can be easily fixed.  I usually grab those up (EXCEPT for the zipper problems) and easily fix them for an inexpensive addition to my wardrobe. 

Ms. Roach has chapters dedicated to fixes using patchwork, surface fixes, seam fixes, straight hems, around the waist, darning, fasteners and closures, zippers -- yes a whole chapter, just to name a few.  She even has a checklist to decide 'to mend or not to mend.'  If zippers intimidate you (don't be ashamed...they intimidate me!) then the chapter on zippers is truly helpful.  She has specific instructions for different kinds of zipper problems and how to fix them.  She also has detailed instructions on replacing a zipper in a pair of jeans. 

Another suggestion is resizing favorites.  Her example was a maternity sweater that she just loved...but of course it was way too big after the baby came.  She added binding around the stretched neck line, cut off some of the "extra" in the middle, and added some awesome ties using leather and cotton.  It's worth finding the book at the library just to see what she did with this sweater!  I just wish that my problem was needing to make clothes smaller...instead of bigger...oh, well!

Do you mend any clothing?  If not, what do you do when a favorite piece of clothing has a problem?
Have a great week, and take care of you!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Daisy Place Mats -- Week One

Betty saw some place mats at the local mall that she really liked...until she saw the price...$17.98 each...she needed six, so after tax, it was going to cost her around $120.  She wondered if I could make them cheaper or if they were too hard to make.

I love a challenge, so I drove to the mall to see what she was looking at.  I decided it wouldn't be hard at all, and the cost was seriously inflated. 

The place mats are burlap on the top and muslin on the bottom with a felt daisy applique on a small piece of corduroy.  I bought all of the material at JoAnn's Fabric (without any sales/coupons) for just less than $14...and I'll probably have some left. 

Here is a link if you would like to see the exact product I "remade":  
What you need:
  • 1/4 yard white/cream felt for flowers
  • 1/4 yard tan felt
  • 2" yellow and green felt (or you could buy a 8 1/2" x 11" sheet--I just liked the quality of the yardage felt much better.
  • 1/4 yard tan corduroy
  • 1 1/4 yard muslin
  • 1 1/4 yard burlap
  • Green embroidery thread
  • Colored thread to match white/cream felt and yellow felt

1)  Make yourself a petal pattern.  Draw a 2" circle.  Find the middle of the circle and draw a line.  I used my quilt cutting mat to make a 90 degree angle and then halve the quarter circle and round the outside edges--voila--petal pattern!  I used clear plastic that can be found in the quilting section; but you can use cardboard or paper or whatever you want.
2)  Cut out eight petals for each place mat from the white/cream felt.  From the tan felt, cut out 5" x 3" rectangles--one for each place mat.

3)  Applique the petals in a flower pattern to the 3" edge top of the tan felt rectangles.  You can just tack stitch the felt--it's okay, maybe even preferable, if the stitches show. 
4)  Cut out the middle yellow pieces of felt--one piece for each flower.  I used a dime as my starting point, but then I pared off a little bit around the edges until I liked the size of the circle...I removed around 1/8" all the way around.  Applique in the middle of each flower.
5)  For each flower, cut out two leaves from the green felt; I used the same template as the flower petals.  Embroider a stem on each tan rectangle -- I used a chain stitch, but use whatever stitch you want.  The original piece used a running stitch.  Applique two leaves to each flower's on each side.
6)  Cut out one 6" x 4" rectangle for each place mat.  Hand stitch or use a sewing machine to sew the daisy rectangles to the corduroy rectangles.

Next week I'll post the instructions for completing the place mats. 

Have a great week, and remember to take care of you!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday (actually Wednesday) FINDS!!!!

I had a great day on Wednesday in Omaha with my wonderful Aunt Nancy!  That girl knows how to thrift hop!  I was looking specifically for little whimsy items to add to terrariums.  I found whimsy and more!

Aunt Nancy spied the totally awesome glass decanter on a stand...I am so excited to use it as a terrarium!
I was also super excited to find a jar with plastic fruit in it.  I told Nancy that I knew she was going to think I was crazy for buying the fruit, and she readily agreed.  But I really do have a plan for the fruit...and I will think it is cute even if no one else does!  ; )
Dogs, angels, raccoons, owls, and a silver box...AWESOME!
Ooh, la la!
The above chair was an exciting find.  Doesn't it look fun?!?  I think it will be fun to refurbish.

In addition to all of the stores, I also had the wonderful opportunity to eat at an excellent Vietnamese Restaurant, see my Grandma (twice...thanks to my inability to remember my purse...such inattention to detail!), and have supper with my parents, sister, and of course, Aunt Nancy!  I was one POOPED puppy by the time I got home!  Whew!

I hope everyone has a fun, safe, and special Easter holiday.  Don't forget to take care of you!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SMALL IS BOUNTIFUL by Liz Dobbs and Anne Halpin

This week's book selection is about container gardening with vegetables.  The chapters are titled "small bites," "bigger servings," "going up," "how to grow," and and extensive part of the book is dedicated to "what to grow."

The pictures are beautiful.  There are specific instructions for different pre-planned pots that are themed around salad, herbs, or a main dish like pesto.  The "what to grow" section gives each vegetable a two page detailed description including what you need to get started, maintaining the crop in a container, and when to harvest.

The book helped me add a couple more plants to my BOLO plant list.  I'm now looking for a trailing or tumbling tomato plant and a yellow squash in the Buckingham, Soleil, or Bush Baby variety...we'll see if I have any luck as spring moves along.
I planted several pots with seeds this last weekend.  I decided to just leave them outside to grow since it has been such an amazingly warm spring here in Nebraska.  If they don't grow, I'll just have to go to plan B--and purchase them from a local greenhouse.
Lola and Booger in front of my mother-in-law's gorgeous tulips
Have a great day, and take care of you!