Saturday, October 18, 2014

Good friends are the very best gift.

I am not one to have a large circle of close friends. I have also discovered that I have far fewer opportunities these days to make new friends. So the friends I do have I really cherish. That is part of the reason I am really loving Saturday's surprises. It is so much fun to find a special something and then think about who might really enjoy it.

Today's surprise was a bit of a cheat because my friend knew I was bringing the skirf. I will explain what a skirf is in a minute. The wallet was a bit more of a surprise, because it took me four months to find it, but we had already spoken about my giving it to her. Let me tell you though, my friend is always a joy to give a gift to, because she gets so very excited and is authentically grateful.

My friend is not only a true joy, but is also quite clever. The skirf is her creation. She loves infinity scarfs and one day she wondered if a beautifully patterned, plus sized peasant skirt would make the perfect scarf. I was enlisted as the seamstress and the skirf was born. The most recent skirt had enough material for 2 skirfs, so as a special treat to me she gave me the second.

I am excited to continue the fun of sharing gratitude and surprises. Already this exercise has reminded me how fortunate I am to have such amazing people in my life and how important it is to let them know how much they mean to me.

Many blessings to you on this fine day.--Kate

Friday, October 17, 2014

Another first.

What do you get when you mix honey, water and a drop of peppermint essential oil, or vinegar, water and a drop of peppermint? Turns out you get two products that do a pretty decent job of washing and moisturizing hair. I finally decided to try DIY natural shampoo. There are lots of recipes out there, but I wanted to try something simple with products that I could already find in my home. The raw honey wash was pretty simple, just two ingredients, water and honey,(I decided to add the essential oil.) Then I also found many recipes that used Vinegar, and I remember several friends have tried vinegar washes too. I ended up choosing to try both. A big part of the reason for two is because all of the vinegar recipes mentioned the softness and the shine, but I also really wanted to try the honey.

The wash test. I don't have much to say for the honey wash except that it tastes pretty good as it runs down your face. It also smells nice with the peppermint in it. My hair did not really feel any different from pre-wash to post-wash. To be fair I did not give it much of a chance since I used another wash right after. I think I will most likely try the honey wash again, alone and see how my hair looks and feels once it is dry.

The vinegar wash is a whole different story. Immediately my hair felt softer. Since my hair is curly if I do not use some type of conditioner I have a frizzy tangled mess. With the vinegar I could tell immediately that I would not have to worry about the tangles. I even braved the cool water rinse to boost the shine.

The result, I do in fact have very soft, very shiny hair. So soft that I keep running my fingers through it, which usually spells puffy wild hair, not today the curls are still intact. My hair has never felt so clean and light.  Usually it feels heavy after using commercial chemical shampoos. There are a few negatives. My hair does look a little greasy, even though it is not even a little bit greasy. Second even though everyone says you won't smell like vinegar. I still smell it. It is not horrible or overwhelming, but it is there. It might be because I used white vinegar, it might be because I have an overly sensitive sense of smell. I don't think the smell will stop me from using the hair wash though, I am too pleased with the softness and shine.  

The recipes: 

Honey Wash
1/2 cup Water
3 Tbsp Honey
1 drop of your preferred essential oil

Heat the water to melt the honey.

Vinegar Rinse
1 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1-2 drops of your preferred essential oil.

Rinse with water as cool as you can stand to increase the shine. 

Many blessings to you on this fine evening--Kate

Thursday, October 16, 2014

So hard to say goodbye.

Most of the items that are in the pile to head out the door are easy to let go. They have been outgrown, worn out or simply outdated. There are a few items though that I go through an internal tug-of-war over. I loved them when I bought them and I have not entirely given up hope on them yet. At the same time I have not really put them to good use and most of the time they sit on their shelf growing dust bunnies. It is really hard to justify keeping something that you are sure someone else might love and use. 

That is where today's thing sits. It is something that I repeatedly think oh I could definitely use this, if not for its intended use, then in a myriad of other ways. Yet it has sat for a very long time on a very high self not doing anything. Every time I go to take it down to do something with it or send it out the door the other side of the tug-of-war digs in its heels.

So I turn the fate of today's thing over to you. Should it stay or should it go? If you think it should stay, give me your reasons. Besides the intended use, how else do you think this set could be used? If you think it should go tell me why. If you think it needs to go home to you, let me know that too. 

Many blessings to you on this very fine, crisp fall day--Kate

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The rest of the wrap-ups

Here are the last two repairs. The first is another stitched up hole. The second is a little yellow dress with an elastic closure that I changed into a button hole closure.

All in all a very productive day in getting some more check-marks on my to do list. 

Many blessings to you at the end of this day.--Kate

While waiting, will wrap-up.

You know what hospital waiting rooms are good for? Finishing up your sewing repair work. You know what they are not good for? Keeping two babes under the age of 5 entertained for two hours. Now before you panic thinking that a family member has had a major medical emergency. I was just there as a required designated driver after a very routine medical procedure. Everything came back with a clean bill of health.

Today ended up being good news for health and good news for my to do list. The first drawer in the dresser was filled with projects that have been sitting in my repair pile for at least a year, I think some have been needing repair for three years. So it was definitely time to get them done. After today the drawer now looks like this.

Most of today's pile was holes that needed to be stitched closed. The black sweater had a stitch come loose and the white dress was pulling out at the seams.

I have a few more garments that need to be repaired with the sewing machine and if I get those done before bed, I will get them posted.

Many blessings to you on this fine night--Kate

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Updating the command center.

My sewing room has been in rough shape for quite some time now. In fact I have had a few deep cleaning sessions in this room and the fix always seems to be temporary. The need to get this space in order was one of the biggest motivators for this blog. So about a week before my first post I got started with this transformation. I knew that it was going to be a huge project. The following pictures show you where I started. Yikes!

My intent was to design a space that encourages the completion of projects. A space where I can be creative and productive. Heavens, a space where I can actually find what I am looking for so that I do not spend half my time looking in bins and boxes only to discover that it is actually at the bottom of that precarious pile over there. My sewing room was admittedly unusable and rapidly getting worse. I did not even fully know what projects I had that needed to be finished, because so many were stashed away in boxes and baskets. Then every new project was added to the closest pile or tucked away in a bin or tossed into some dark corner. 

There have been a few large changes to the room that have made a huge difference in my ability to get organized. First, I have removed one of my industrial machines, the big serger in the back corner. It just was not able to give me the stitch quality I need for my professional sewing contracts. So the serger has moved out, temporarily to the garage, until I can get it sold. Then the dresser moved in. Originally this was a piece in my husband and my bedroom but it just did not fit anymore. In trying to decide what to do with the dresser I realized that it would be a great place to keep track of the projects I need to finish.

So everything has been brought out into the light so I can actually see what I have. Projects that have gone back into bins have been labeled and the projects that are next on the "to do" list are organized in the dresser drawers. Tool and little parts have been organized in the carts and cabinets and the project books are on the shelves. 

There is still some spit and polish to be done. But all in all I am quite happy with the outcome. 

Many blessings to you on this fine and orderly day--Kate

Monday, October 13, 2014

Something Sweet

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I have a huge sweet tooth. So starting this new Maximized lifestyle was a very big step for me. After attending the Cancer Killers seminar I understand why it is so important to reduce or even eliminate as much sugar from your diet as you can. In fact if you have trouble losing weight it is recommended to use their Advanced Eating Plan, which removes ALL sugars from your diet until you lose 10 pound. So that your body can heal and retrain itself to be a fat burning machine. Why this is so important for being a cancer killer is because Cancer cells love sugar. In fact our bodies are designed to get energy one of two ways. They either use glucose, a fuel from sugars or ketones, a fuel from burning fat. Healthy cells can make the switch between the two sources of fuel, but cancer cells can not. Cancer cells can only get their fuel from sugar. Which means if your body becomes a fat burning machine, cancer cells die.

An interesting statistic for you. Americans today consume an average of 120 pounds of sugar per year, per person. Compared to the 5 pounds per year, per family in the early 1900s. Remember I said 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer and 1 in 3 women. 

So now you may understand a bit better why this girl with a huge sweet tooth would be willing to endure the loss of sugar. That being said, there was no way that this extreme meal makeover was going to work if I could not find a substitute for my sugary sweet treats. Thankfully after a quick search for recipes, I discovered that I am not alone in my desires. Actually, I discovered that there are more recipes for sweet snacks and desserts then all other categories combined. This is a very good thing. 

One of the discoveries, that is simple to make and a hit with the whole family is, Almond Butter Cups. They may not be Reese, but they sure are delicious. 

Almond Butter Cups--

Bottom layer-

*1 cup Almond Butter
*8 oz  Cream Cheese (softened) we use organic.
*1tsp. Pure Vanilla extract
*1/4 tsp. Salt (we also use real salt. It is pink, because all of the minerals are still in it. It does take a bit to get use to the fine grit, sandpaper texture. The flavor is so much better though.)
*Stevia to taste (about 1/8 to 1/4 tsp.)

Top layer-

*Bar of very dark chocolate at least 70% up to Unsweetened baking chocolate depending on your taste. The first time I made them I used a chocolate bar at 70% and then I did not use any stevia to sweeten. The second time I used unsweetened baking chocolate with 1/8 tsp stevia and I actually like it this way better. The bottom layer is sweet enough to have a more bitter top layer for my taste. 
*2 Tbsp Coconut oil
*2 Tbsp Butter, again we use organic. 

For the bottom layer-Blend almond butter, cream cheese, vanilla, salt and stevia. Spoon into cupcake liners and flatten. I use the silicone liners.

For the top layer, place chocolate, butter and oil in a sauce pan and melt over low heat then spoon over the bottom layer. 

Place in freezer to harden. I just leave them in the freezer. I feel like they get a little to soft in the refrigerator.   Enjoy!

Many blessings to you on this fine day--Kate

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A happy Sunday to you.

Philippians 4:4-7
4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Many blessings to you on this fine day--Kate