Monday, February 28, 2011

Manic Monday! Embroidery

What do you do when you are stir crazy but only have enough energy to veg on the sofa? Embroidery, of course! I checked out a book from the library with various new and awesome stitches, but really couldn't make them come to life until I found this awesome website: Needle-n-thread. She taught me the spider web stitch, helped me master the French knot, and helped me learn the really fun petal stitch where the embroidery isn't really on the base fabric at all. I e-mailed the creator, Mary Corbet, and told her how much I appreciated all of the wonderful video tutorials she offers on her site. Truly a treasure! She was so gracious... e-mailed me right back with equally kind words. So please check out her site if you want to learn some new embroidery techniques!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Photo Friday!

A couple of signs from Manteo today.... I love to take pics of signs! Don't ask me why... today was my first day back at work. I came home and took a very long nap. Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thrifty Thursday!

Well, today I feel like I've turned a corner, and I actually have begun to feel a bit more like myself. Finally! I actually stood for my whole shower! And as a bonus, I now fit comfortably into my lone pair of size 8 jeans. That's what losing over 10 lbs. in a week will do for you.... wonder how long it will take me to put it all back? :)

Anyway, I'm going to play catch-up and share a couple of things today, and they both happen to hang in my dining room:

This is a piece of embroidery I made last fall with buttons and a tiny crocheted doily I got mostly from a little antique store in Manteo. I mixed in a few from my prior stash as well. I love quotes, and in my search for one to go in the dining room, I couldn't find the one from Thomas Jefferson I was thinking of.... but came across this instead. I love the irony that it's a wine quote from a great source. :)

This next piece is very special. It is one of the last oil paintings my grandmother (my mom's mom) created before she switched to watercolors (she was a professional artist). It hung in the dining room in my parents house for years. As the story goes, my dad loved this painting, but my grandmother would not let him have it. You see, my dad was in seminary studying to be a pastor, and she didn't think it was appropriate for a man of faith to have a painting of wine bottles in his home. Long story short ... my dad completed his coursework, but decided not to go into the ministry. My grandmother then gifted the painting to him, letting him know in some way that his choice was OK with her. The last time I was home, I saw this painting stacked neatly in a corner with a few other pieces my grandmother had done, and I asked if I could have it for my own home. It now lives in my own dining room!

Why is this thrifty? Because you just don't know what treasures you may find in your own family that are totally worthy of display in your own home. So, obviously don't go raid your mom's house ;), but do have those conversations with your parents while they are still young enough to enjoy telling you about them. Spend some time learning about what they've collected over the years. You never know what you will discover.... :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why Asthma is fun. (not really...)

If there is anything this past week has taught me, it's that I suck at self-assessment. In fact, I find myself sitting here on a Saturday night, completely exhausted, wanting no more than to sleep, yet I'm cursed with the sandman finding me completely unattractive and unworthy of a visit. Every time I lie down, I start coughing. Hmm... I'm really not whining. I just find it interesting that after 15ish years of dealing with asthma, I find myself coming full circle.

When I was first diagnosed, I faced almost the same scenario medically that I have this week. I was completing my next to last clinical in PT school at an inpatient rehab hospital in Lynchburg, and I had come down with the flu. I was miserable. My clinical instructor was so great, even bringing me food and drinks to my dorm room. But I finally admitted I was in trouble early one morning, and called my now husband to rescue me. He drove from Richmond to get me, then back again all the way downtown to student health at VCU, since I had no real health insurance. I got 2 breathing treatments, antibiotics, and a course of prednisone.... and my now husband got instructions about what to look out for, when to take me to the ER, etc.... and I spent the next week in the recliner at my now in-law's home. And here I sit in our recently purchased recliner. I just had a cold that may as well have been the flu... my husband again rescued me (this time I thought I was getting better)... again a course of antibiotics, steroids (this time a super fun shot, too), and breathing treatment, and we got the speech about when to take me to the ER should my symptoms get worse. (I have to mention how sweet my husband was after our trip to urgent care... our hot Friday night date ended with take-out from Cracker Barrel, watching the harvest moon rise from the CVS parking lot, and how he's done the mounds of laundry and clean-up that I couldn't do while he was out of town.)

Perhaps the only blessing from having asthma and dealing with bouts of bronchitis is that I can relate to my patients with respiratory issues. I can exactly describe to them the feeling they get when their symptoms are at their worst. We can commiserate about the feeling that you are seemingly drowning without all of the fun of going swimming, and how it's perfectly acceptable to sleep in your recliner when your symptoms are at their worst, and that taking a mess of inhalers really sucks. Truly. And then they trust me, and we are fast friends. It's one of my great joys to help someone work through a respiratory issue, because I've been there, too.

So now the fun begins with building up my tolerance to activity (just as my patients have to do, except they deal with far worse symptoms and older bodies than me, of course) so I can perform more meaningful activities that simply watching TV, typing on the computer, or walking across the room without incurring a major coughing fit or requiring a few puffs of albuterol! Wish me luck... and thanks for reading. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sorry for the silence....

I have been ill with an "influenza-like illness" as my recent alert e-mail from the VA state health department described. It's officially not the flu.... I was tested for it.  I've had a fever for the past 3 days, and this has hit me hard for some reason. Yesterday, my fever started and ended at 102.5, and most of the day stayed 101 or better. I am so grateful to my in-laws who are taking care of my girls since my husband is out of town until this evening. They really are a godsend. I hope everyone else is out enjoying this fabulous weather if you happen to be lucky enough to be on the east coast! 77 degrees in Richmond today! At least I have the windows open. Stay well everyone... I hope to be back next week.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's also Manic Monday! Why did I name my Monday posts manic? Because I have so many crafty/natural/cooking interests that it's almost... well... manic! The above photos are in honor of the holiday... taken from a trip to Philly with my husband last summer. My husband has been so sweet to me for Valentine's... flowers, card, and a new lens... the Tokina 11-16mm 2.8! What we both thought was an urban legend! I need to make this up to him somehow... :)

Today's post is another homemade cosmetic: Cuticle oil. I fell in love with this version from Sephora, but at $12 a pop, lasting me about 2 months, I thought that I was in the midst of a serious problem! So, I set out a search for ideas for concocting my own mixture at home. Here's the recipe:

Cuticle Oil
Mix the following in a small, lidded glass container, such as a recycled or new spice jar or sample cosmetic jar:
2 Tablespoons Sweet Almond oil (I use this one)
4 drops Lavender essential oil
4 drops Rosemary essential oil
4 drops Tea Tree essential oil
4 drops Lemon essential oil
1 large or 2 small Vitamin E capsules, gelatin coating punctured with pin and contents squeezed into mixture

The almond oil is a nice, moisturizing, neutral base. The lavender, rosemary, and tea tree essential oils act as antimicrobial agents, and the lemon oil helps to whiten nails. The vitamin E acts as a preservative to keep the oils from turning rancid.
Swirl the mixture in the container to blend. Apply with a cotton swab. I love the look of natural nails, and I use this on my fingers and toes! This version is very inexpensive in comparison with those on the market, and you don't have any of the yucky preservatives you can find in so many other cuticle oils. You can do so much with essential oils. It's kind of expensive to get the basics, but they last for months and can be used for all kinds of things... even cleaning. But that's for another Monday... have a great week!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Photo Friday! Let them eat cake...

Yes, that would be a birthday cake for my older daughter. She is having her party tonight. I wish I could say I made this, because it is a beautiful cake! Alas, it's from Whole Foods. (it looks good, but didn't taste as good as it looks!) And, as I am writing this, my daughter and 6 of her closest friends are having a ball in the playroom. 4 will spend the night. It's our first time ever hosting a slumber party. Send some positive vibes my way.... my husband and I may need them! :) Have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thrifty Thursday!

Alright, so these weren't so thrifty... I got these at an antique store. However, they were a decent deal, and they were what I was really looking for! So, now I have a small and a large Pyrex bowl in peacock blue. I just need a medium one to complete the set! I actually fell in love with a medium one at at Class and Trash, but it had a few flaws, and I thought it cost too much for its condition. I thought about it all week, then went back for it, and it was gone. So, imagine my joy when shopping with my friend Suzanne when we turned the corner in that antique store and found a whole booth of Pyrex and other retro goodies! :) I'm amazed that I only left with these two pieces... but I had to leave some treasures for someone else! Found anything great lately?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Manic Monday! Embroidery

Happy February, everyone! A favorite quote for the month! I'm still debating about what to create for March.

February is a pretty important month around here, since my older daughter's birthday is on the 5th. We celebrated with breakfast on Saturday at the legendary Richmond Krispy Kreme (we call their doughnuts "hot nows" because of the neon sign announcing their fresh yummies!) We love to watch the doughnuts travel through the factory part. We followed breakfast with some bowling. 4 games in 2 hours. My husband, who used to bowl in leagues and was pretty competitive, beat the pants off of the girls and me... and the girls beat me all but one game! Sad... so sad! We had dinner at Tripp's, and my older daughter invited a couple of her girlfriends to come, too! And I reorganized my pantry. A happy day all around!

Sunday was spent at church for my younger daughter and me, followed by an afternoon of cooking: homemade soup and banana bread. My husband took my older daughter fishing. I'm pretty sure they had fun! The superbowl wasn't so super for me... not that I really care too much about football, but it was just OK.
What did you do for fun this weekend? Host any Superbowl parties?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Photo Friday!

Here's a favorite from the fall... of my older daughter (or should I say Hermione?) She's a huge Harry Potter fan. She will be 9 tomorrow! Happy Birthday! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thrifty Thursday!

I have been on the hunt for a punch bowl for quite some time... and finally found one! This one is on the large side and had all of the matching cups and a ladle! Why would I want a punch bowl, you ask? (that's what my husband asked me, anyway... ) I guess I have fond memories of church socials where we drank fancy punch from dainty cups.... with floating giant ice molds and all. I'm kind of hoping I can host parties and serve punch soon... I am from the South, you know?! Although my punch may contain adult beverages under certain circumstances... unlike the church socials I remember from my childhood! :) Anyone have any punch recipes to share?