Friday, April 23, 2010

Blessings Friday: Joys in my Mailbox

Some fun packages have arrived in my mailbox, consolation prizes for all the junk mail also stuffed inside. Do people actually read their junk mail? I don’t.

Happy Ring

A cute ring from Jimena’s Etsy shop. Getting mail from Argentina was much more interesting than boring advertising fliers.

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Jimena makes a Customized Ego Award Ring you can have personalized with whatever word you choose. I chose “Happy”.

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The ring has a little elastic strap to fit any size finger and an extra little strap is included in your order.

Personalized Note Cards

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Personalized note cards from Naomi Lynn’s Etsy shop.

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Along with my name, each card has a different seashell image. I love the beachy theme.

Claire Murray Book

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Claire Murray’s Nantucket Inspirations: Designs, Charts & Folklore book is so perfect for my personal interests. Inside are 14 rug, needlepoint, and counted cross stitch designs for recreating some of Claire’s wonderful designs along with bits of poetry and little stories about the coast.

Rug hooking is not something I’ve tried yet, so I’m considering using this design to learn this technique by making a small rug. I’ve put the supplies for making this rug on my Christmas wish list and given my husband a heads-up on it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pink Glove Dance

Source: Allegro Medical Supplies Inc.

Medline and the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, OR put together this awesome Pink Glove Dance video to promote breast cancer awareness. I love the positive approach to a serious issue.

Inspired by the hospital’s Pink Glove Dance, 17,200 people in Chicago last December participated in a concert/dance with Jay Sean. You can read more about this here as well as view that video.

Source: Medline Industries, Inc.

Besides raising awareness about breast cancer, an impressive aspect of the hospital video are the actual hospital workers, no matter what job position is held. These are real people, not actors or professional dancers. The same people who probably diagnosed a woman with breast cancer earlier in the day or gently closed the eyes of someone who lost their cancer battle. It humanizes an otherwise amorphous medical framework in which breast cancer victims find themselves during their fight to survive.
Breast cancer touches all our lives—it’s a real issue about real people just like you and me. So put on your pink gloves, turn on the music, and dance through your day.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Salt of the Earth

To escape from doctors and 3-days-a-week physical therapy sessions, my husband whisked me off for four days in Las Vegas last weekend. My daughter and her husband drove up to meet us from Vail, CO.

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We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton on Lake Las Vegas, a hotel sadly slated for closure on May 2. The staff treated us like royalty and the pampering was a welcome relief.

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We spent time in various casinos on the Las Vegas strip. I love the brightly-colored parasols hanging in the Bellagio. This is what I’d call the plastic fantastic part of our trip; although superficial in many ways, it’s still a lot of fun

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To counter the glitz of the Strip, we spent a day touring almost the entire Death Valley area straddling California and Nevada. Mid-day had us at Furnace Creek, CA enjoying lunch.

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After viewing the amazing sand dunes and mountainous formations, we ventured to Badwater Basin to see Death Valley’s salt pan.

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Sodium Chloride, better known as table salt, makes up most of the salt basin here. Other evaporative minerals here include calcite, gypsum, and borax.

You’ve heard of 20 Mule Team Borax, a key ingredient used in laundry products. Death Valley was the origin of the name when the famous mule teams pulled massive wagons hauling borax for 10 grueling days from the Harmony Borax Works near Furnace Creek to the railhead near Mojave.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day of Reckoning

Calculators are clicking away all over the U.S. today while DIY folks or professionals frantically work to meet today’s federal tax submission deadlines.

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Although I keep my political opinions pretty much to myself, here’s what I think about this annual debacle.

Y’know the annual Talk Like a Pirate Day? It really ought to be scheduled for April 15 each year instead of September 19. Anyway, we finished our taxes late this year, just submitting them last week. Our day of reckoning is over—at least for this year.

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Years ago I organized our tax files based on IRS guidelines. You can read my post about organizing your taxes here.

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After walking the tax plank each year and falling overboard from the sheer aggravation of it all, I do at least keep our records tidy. I insert copies of our federal/state tax submissions and substantiating materials in a large white envelope labeled for that year.

Argh, me maties—I hope your day of number crunching is either done or near completion before the post office closes today. The IRS cutlass is sharp indeed and, based on what we pay each year in taxes, I do believe their cutlass is made of platinum.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Martha Stewart Book Giveaway Winner

I appreciate everyone’s sharing of things that make them happy. Reading them was a delight.

Today I announce the winning commenter for a copy of the new Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts.

Using the Random Number Generator (found here), the winning commenter is number 42.

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Congratulations, Laura! Please contact me via email (link in right sidebar) within 10 days with your full name and snail mail address so I can order the book for you right away.

Thank you all for joining in a bit of happy fun.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bill on a Stick

My brother Bill couldn’t join us on our Hawaiian trip in February to celebrate my sister Connie’s 50th birthday. While sitting on the beach our first day in Oahu, we pondered ways to include him in our adventures.

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We wrote “Hi Bill” in the sand and photographed it to send him, but our little greeting seemed a tad inadequate. We ordered a few more drinks to encourage creative thinking whilst lounging on the sand and pondered the issue for awhile.
A plan was eventually formed and off we went to the nearest Target and bought a piece of poster board. I had brought everyone gifts of journals and colored pencils, so the latter came in handy for making a drawing of Bill’s head.
Back on the beach, I found a piece of a coconut stem that had fallen. We didn’t have any tape, but Connie had bandaids in her suitcase which we confiscated to attach Bill’s head to the stick.

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And thus was born “Bill on a Stick”—complete with clear hair on the top of his head and two differently colored eyes—we were going for verisimilitude. The lips are a bit off, but our endeavors fairly represent our beloved brother.

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I sent our photos to Snapfish and they created a little pictorial storybook which I’ve mailed to Bill.

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I’ll just share a couple of the pictures. Whatever we did, Bill did, including getting in the hot tub…

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… making friends with our friendly bartender whilst wearing the Hawaiian outfit Carolyn got for him…

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…and enjoying the luau.

Aloha, Bill!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BronteAlong: Jane Eyre

Don’t forget about my giveaway which ends April 12. Go here to enter.

I’m reading an old favorite. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. It was one of my Christmas stocking gifts, one of Penguin Classic’s beautiful reissues. I do so love the story of Jane, Mr. Rochester, and the other characters.

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There’s nothing like holding an old classic in your hands engaging all your senses as though the words inside have an actual fragrance, emotions appear more realistic, and so on. The important story enclosed within a beautifully-bound printed book seems more substantial somehow. Although I thoroughly enjoy my Kindle, reading Jane Eyre as an e-book doesn’t really thrill me.
Happily I’ve discovered there’s a BronteAlong project, a springtime read-along (more information found here).

It’s fun to know other women (and hopefully men) are also enjoying this classic.

Naturally I started thinking about what I could make (as in sew, knit, embroidery and so on) to enhance my reading experience. But something Jane said near the beginning of the book gave me immediate pause for thought.
“You think I have no feelings, and that I can do without one bit of love or kindness; but I cannot live so…”
While Jane is confronting Mrs. Reed concerning her aunt’s abominable behavior, the words can be applied to ourselves. We have to also give ourselves bits of love and kindness.
And I realized some things are just fine as they are—so I’m simply going to enjoy a cup of tea and lose myself in the book. Sometimes just relishing such bits of time out of life is the most creatively loving thing we can do.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Black & White Gifts for a Cook Part 2

Don’t forget about my giveaway which ends April 12. Go here to enter.
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To add to the gift set I’m putting together for my son Brent as he teaches himself new cooking skills, I sewed a pair of oven hand mitts using the tutorial at The Idea Room blog.

Since he’s trying out Asian dishes, a cookbook about it seems like a good addition. I also tried Martha Stewart’s Painted Bamboo Cutlery project on some wood kitchen utensils. I painted the handles black and then edged one end of the black with a deep, dark red.

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Here’s part of my little gift offering tucked in a lined basket I figure he can use for storing something or other. I photographed it under the massive wall of my Tombstone Roses which are in full bloom around my pool.

Along with the items above and those I shared in yesterday’s post, I’m also tucking in a stack of white terrycloth kitchen towels, a glass measuring cup, and a vegetable peeler.

Man gifts are such a challenge. I want to make, sew, knit or whatever in creating things for the men in my life, but want to keep things somewhat manly and not girly. I’m hoping the Japanese kanji print and color scheme works to resolve this for Brent’s little kitchen gift.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Black & White Gifts for a Cook

Don’t forget about my giveaway which ends April 12. Go here to enter.

My son is teaching himself how to cook Asian dishes, influenced no doubt by his martial arts classes and our family’s general interest in the Japanese culture.

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I’ve been working here and there over the last few months making things to send to him. There are knitted Ballband dishcloths and embellished hand towels for the inevitable clean-up associated with food preparation.

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Not related at all to Japanese cuisine but may be useful for Brent is a baked potato bag I sewed. I made an instruction card to go with it. The fabric I used for the bag and to trim one of the dishtowels is a Kanji print found at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics.

Today I’m using one of Martha Stewart’s ideas to do a bit of painting on some items to accompany the other gift items I’m collecting and/or making. I’ll share those tomorrow.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Blessings Friday: Happiness Giveaway

Today is bringing me an extra bit of happiness in that my husband will be home this afternoon. He’s been traveling for work a lot lately and I’ve really missed him.

Yesterday, Martha Stewart announced the release of her new book (see her blog announcement here) . Martha writes that her book contains “…150 projects, 800 color photographs, and a CD of more than 50 templates”.
Sounds like fun to me, doesn’t it to you?
To share a bit of my happy feelings with you, I’m offering a giveaway. I will order one of you a copy of Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts: Basic Techniques for Sewing, Applique, Embroidery, Quilting, Dyeing, and Printing, plus 150 Inspired Projects from A to Z to be delivered directly from

Rules of Participation
  • Leave a comment on this post sharing something wonderful that makes you happy.
  • As long as you have a name that doesn’t invoke the infamous Anonymous moniker and you don’t leave any mean-spirited comments, you’re good to go.
  • Enter by midnight on Monday, April 12. In respect to the time element, I’m talking about Arizona time which doesn’t abide by Daylight Saving Time—in other words, we never change our clocks forward or backwards. So my midnight will be the end of accepted entries.
  • The winning name will be chosen via the Random Number Generator and announced Tuesday, April 13.
  • Once the winning name is announced, the winner must contact me via email (link in right sidebar) within 10 days with their full name and snail mail address or a new winner will be selected.
My weekend is going to be a happy one and I wish the same for you! See you Monday.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Cleaning Using Only One Tool

Surgery on my leg and ankle on St. Patrick’s Day left me trying to figure out how in the world to get my spring cleaning done.

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Although my husband assures me life won’t end if I don’t do spring cleaning, I’m internally programmed to make sure it gets done.

After giving my worry over the challenge some thought, I realized I have one tool that can ensure all is well in Junie Moon world…

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…my cell phone.

While I work on my Stash Mountain projects while sitting in my favorite chair with my leg propped up, my house, yard, and even my car were given a most excellent spring cleaning. All it involved was my making calls to the following professionals:
  • Housecleaning company
  • Heating/air conditioning maintenance (checkup and duct cleaning)
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Window washer
  • Chimney sweep
  • Landscape crew
  • Car detailer
My cell phone was my creative solution to a problem and now I can relax and heal without the extra stress. My work here is done.