Lights in the Shower

201508028 - lights in the shower
I prefer natural light in a bathroom, especially when in the shower. There is something soothing about showering with the bright lights off, and just a touch of natural light.

Since my new apartment doesn’t have natural light in the bathroom, I had the idea to hang led lights, but could not figure out where. I turned to Pinterest to see how other people had hung lights in their bathroom, but all I could find was someone had hung lights in the window behind their tub, along the curtain rod… and then I had an idea!

I got a string of regular white led lights, and looped them around the shower curtain rod, between the shower curtains to protect them from water. Then I hung the power pack from a robe hook outside the shower, high up on the wall, and use rechargeable batteries for it.

I’ve been enjoying my soothing ‘shower lights’ for months!

Triptych Wall Art

Click to see details

Click to see details

Just want to take a moment to share the art I designed for my front room. It’s a three piece project that stretches over three frames, sometimes called a Triptych. I’ve always loved dandelions, and dandelion art, so it was with much joy that I gathered silhouettes of all my favorite things, a few of our family mottos, some input from my hubby, and created these posters. I had them printed as Engineer Prints from Staples, and put them in movie poster frames. LOVE how they turned out!!

201508027 - big art

Cloth Napkins

To make cloth napkins I went super simple.
One side flannel, cotton muslin on the other.
Sewed them together, leaving a hole to turn.
Turned them right sides out, ironed them all.
Sewed around the edges, including the hole.

201508026 - cloth napkins

Hall Rug

I really really wanted a very small rug to protect the carpet in between the front door and the shoe rack. Since I had some leftover fabric from the placemats I decided to try a blog post I’d read a while ago on I am Momma Hear me Roar, and seemed super easy.

Although, I simplified it even more. I sprayed the fabric with the last of the “Thompson’s WaterSeal FabricSeal”, let it air out a good two weeks, then duc taped it to the rubber mat we’d bought by the foot at Home Depot. Done! Easy! No spray adhesive, no Polyurethane, and it seems to be working just fine!201508025 - rug


I was torn on if I wanted placemats, they are a fun way to add color to room, but they get messy so quickly. After the table was refinished I knew I wanted them to protect the table, and had the great idea to make cloth ones so I could easily wash them when they got too gross! I picked out a fabric with a gorgeous pattern, got it home, and then noticed that it says “Dry Clean Only” on the side! Sad! I’d read about something called “Thompson’s WaterSeal FabricSeal” to make fabric water resistant, so I decided to go ahead with using them, and just hope for the best. If they got dirty we could wipe them clean, in theory.

I cut out the shape I wanted, guided by the pattern of the fabric, and while watching a VERY funny British comedy called Miranda I folded the edge over and ironed it down with “Heat’n Bond Iron-On Adhesive” tape. LOVE that stuff! They turned out nice, let’s see how long they last….
201508020 - placemats

Chair Cushions

201508018 - seat cushinsI knew I wanted to make my seat cushions, but all the patterns I found looked complex, so I decided to wing it. I bought chair cushion foam while it was on sale half off, whew for sales! Got the fabric I was most attracted to in the upholstery section, already knowing that I wanted black and white. Then discovered after some measuring tape work and math that… I didn’t have enough fabric to cover the whole seat cushion, only enough to cover the top and sides! Oops, but never fear, I was already winging this, so I added some leftover cream flannel to the project and voila! I was back on track! I didn’t write measurements and notes like I usually I do, so here is the best I can remember:
-Cut the seat fabric into four even pieces
-Measured to see how much I was missing
-Cut the flannel to cover the gap
-Sew the two pieces into a tub of sorts, insert the foam
-Fold the edge up like wrapping a christmas gift
-Hand sew it closed, think I just used a whip stitch
-Repeat three more times!

Then we tried a tip we’d seen on pintrest about using Velcro to keep the cushion in place, some failed after only a week, so now they slide around slightly, but most of the Velcro worked, so they stay in place without ties! Yippee!!

Oh! And one more note, we sprayed the cushion fabric with “Thompson’s WaterSeal FabricSeal” to make them water resistant, and it had a horrible chemical smell that lingered for over a week. So next time I don’t think I would use the spray at all.

Our “New” Dining Room Table

My hubby has got into the fun hobby of refinishing and painting furniture! He started with our dining room table. Sanding the top and re-staining it with a grey tinted stain, I didn’t know tinted stain existed! I thought it only came in shades of wood brown!

201508017 - before and after - table

After he did the table he was hooked, he bought me a filing cabinet to double as a side table…

201508017 - before and after - drawers words

We dragged this ginormous dresser home, and after a magical coat of paint it looks fabulous as a TV stand! The new curtains I made also help the transformation sparkle ;)

201508017 - before and after - dresser - words

He even painted his tiny laptop foldout table, and he painted it to match the big table! Cute!!

201508017 - before and after - mini table words

Quick tip for re-staining furniture:
Don’t get an electric sander, they are expensive, hard to use, and leave little circles in your wood. Go for the rhythmic zen experience and hand sand.

Quick tip for re-painting furniture:
Instead of sanding, use a primer that adheres to just about anything, it’s called “Cover Stain”, then you can paint right over it!

You can find EVERYTHING else you might ever need to know on Pinterest, but here are a few great tutorials to get started, these are the ones that influenced us the most…

Sweetie Pie Style – staining a kitchen table

Two Twenty One – turning a dresser into a tv stand

Kicking Ass and Crafting – repainting a dresser

A Kitchen Table for Two – chevron stipe tutorial

Celtic Triangles Crochet

I saw this AMAZINGLY CUTE and super easy free pattern for a celtic knot triangle at the blog Happy Berry Crochet, and knew I had to make one! And I knew just what to use it for! My daughters have my tiny hands, and they do a lot of the kitchen cleaning as part of their chores, I thought these would be perfect as little scrubbing pads for the counters, the table, the oven, you name it!

I ran out and bought some Sugar and Cream dish cloth yarn (with a coupon, of course), and proceeded to make a small army of these little celtic knots. They are way cuter than the square wash clothes I was making, and don’t take any extra amount of effort! YAY!

crochet triangles

The Sunset Photo

Just want to quickly share a little photoshop magic, I took this photo of my daughter on the beach during our summer vacation this year, and I while I love it, I was a little disappointed that there didn’t seem to be as much orange in the photo as my other sunset photos… and the heart was not as defined as I would’ve liked. So! I edited out any people with the stamp tool in Photoshop. I used the “Liquify” tool to make the heart shape more clear. Then I copied a small spot of golden glow sunset from another photo I’d taken that evening, and using the blend tool blended it into the heart part of the this photo. Done! I like the after photo much better, even though both are quite sweet!

sunset photo

Covering Lamp Shades

20150812 - lampsI’ve wanted to cover my lamp shades for quite a while. I bought them for their size and shape and price in Ikea’s As-Is section… but they don’t really match my décor, the pink ones especially. With Pinterest I looked into covering them with fabric, covering them with wall paper, decoupage, removing the fabric to use the frame, even painting them!

In the end I opted for the path of least resistance, and decided to just re-cover them with fabric. I love how they turned out, especially my bedroom ones where I used leftover curtain fabric (thrifty and matching, yay!), what I was not counting on was that when the light is turned on… the original color/pattern shows through the new fabric. Had I known that I might have been more careful when hot gluing the edges down, lol…

20150812 - more lamps

Mermaid Beach Blanket

A while ago I embroidered some mermaids onto blocks cut from an old fancy sheet I got at a yard sale, the mermaids are from the site Sweet November, here is how they turned out:

click on it to see closer detail

click on it to see closer detail

I was really unsure what to do with them, I knew from the start I wanted them incorporated into a beach blanket, but how? Eventually I just decided to go for it! I used some cotton gauze scraps leftover from my skirt sewing to make blocks, sewed it all up simple quilt style. For the backing I used a very large piece of plastic fabric (the kind you make diapers out of) because we have damp beaches here in Oregon :D, and edged it all in brown and black scraps of more cotton gauze. Crude, but effective, and kinda hippie ;)

beach blanet

Fruit for Lunch, also now known as Fruit Party!!

With all the abundance of fresh yummy fruit in the summer, we decided one super hot day to just have as much cold fruit as we could eat for lunch! So we stopped at the store and bought any fruit that looked or smelled awesome! (Side note, that sounds expensive, but we realized it cost the same amount as if we’d gone to taco bell or any other fast food place) My youngest daughter dubbed the meal: Fruit Party!

When we got home we cut it up and devoured it, but not before I took this scrumptious photo!

Fruit Party

Summer Reading Chart

Our library’s summer reading program is sadly very lame, it’s just a half sheet of paper to write down the titles of 20 books you read, then you get a free book. Nothing like the awesome programs I had when I was a kid! On giant pieces of paper, and you got little prizes along the way! Oh! The fun of coloring in each stepping stone on the path to a new prize!! Even if the prize was just a sticker! And then you got a free book at the very end. So I wanted to create something exciting!

I began by combing Pinterest for ideas. I was thinking that I would make a chart then print two of them, and of course I’d have to find prizes that I could afford to buy two of… then I got this great idea from a blog post at Women Living Well to make it joint effort! If you have two children at different reading levels, make them one chart, then as a team they are working together to get prizes. Genius!

So I scrapbooked this chart, with all their favorite things! And, not only do they love the idea and the chart, they are actually using it!! Such FUN!

Side Note: I DO allow them to read to each other to mark off two books, because they are still participating in books.

Another Note: I remembered (after printing this chart, on giant 17 x 11 paper in color), that when I was a kid each stepping stone was 15 minutes, so I might lower the each book to 15 minutes instead of 30, depending on how slow filling in the chart is going, lol

Little Felt Starfish

The little town of Seaside holds an annual treasure hunt around the city every summer. At the beginning of the summer they release nine picture clues with a matching written clue. If you enter the contest in the most creative way you can think of, you could win a paid vacation to Seaside for four! So I made a little seastar out of orange felt, we bought him a stick, and we took a photo of him with each clue so he was our little friend for our whole vacation while we searched for “treasure”!

Since the seastar is Seaside’s logo, I started researching felt seastars, and the one I loved best was at the blog While She Naps, that gave me the inspiration to do one with wavy arms instead of strait like when they are dried. I googled starfish outlines, and came across a pattern by Kid Spot, you can download it here: Starfish Pattern

I used the larger of the two patterns, cut one side out in orange felt, the other out of yellow felt, and added the eyes and mouth. I blanket stitched them together with orange embroidery floss, stuffing it as I went, and left a little hold near the bottom for the stick. Easy!

My Plant Based Diet with ALL my Recipes

A couple years ago we started trying to eat better, mostly for health reasons. I blogged about the journey we took with food mostly as it happened, but those posts are long and scattered, so I’ve summarized the info into a timeline to help anyone considering starting this long process, maybe you can learn from my mistakes :)

2012 – Summer
We were eating completely SAD (Standard American Diet), pizza, burgers, donuts… basically meat/wheat/dairy with every meal. We started researching different ways to eat, realizing that most of the health issues we were dealing with were food related… but terrified to try eating differently we delayed changing for six months…

2013 – Spring
Starting fresh with the new year we tried to go cold turkey for all of two days. By the end of the second day only eating raw fruits and veggies, we RAN to the nearest pizza place and binged till we were full. Next we took it slower, cutting out one food at a time. When we cut out meat, we went through a couple bad weeks before the cravings faded. The same happened with milk. Cheese was next, and it was so hard, three solid days of shaking like a drug addict. What I could not manage to give up was the bread, finally I buckled down and went through my four worst days of withdrawal, including flu-like symptoms, cold sweats, and withdrawal shaking, I even had to call in sick to work one of the days. On the fifth day we allowed ourselves some sandwich bread, but since then have eaten MUCH less wheat. As we discovered with meat, once you stop eating the foods your body can’t process, your body feels better, and does not have any interest in those foods. You just have to break the craving cycle. Even a few months ago I could never imagine a future that I would not need bread as a comfort food. Now I’m looking at trying to create that future, and it’s both scary and exhilarating.

2013 – Summer
We tried a completely wheat free experiment that lasted three weeks. The first couple of weeks I was not interested in losing weight, so I used small amounts of chocolate, and fries, to get through the cravings. The third week we all felt really really good, but could not maintain the no wheat at all. I may try again, or I may just stop trying to force the issue, and let wheat fade away over the course of a year like I did for meat. Only time will tell. What we learned: changing the way you eat is not about deprivation, it’s about change. Saying “I’m not going to eat cheese today” gets you nowhere. All you can think about is cheese. Instead, if all day you are thinking about the wonderful juicy peach you bought for an afternoon snack, and how tasty that will be, you have positive thoughts.

2013 – Autumn
It’s hard to stay hyper focused on something long term. It’s stressful and tiring to stay focused on one life topic, day after day, meal by meal. Sometimes I think we did it the hard way, and other times I know this was how we needed to do it, for our family, to slowly change habits, try out different diets and ways of eating a plant based menu. I feel that with this choice to be simply a whole food plant based vegan, that we are finally on the right track for now, on the path of something healthy that we can maintain long term.

2014 – Summer
I remember feeling so wonderfully healthy when we started eating vegan about a year and half ago, so what has gone wrong? How did we get so unhealthy, and how did we not notice? I imagine what made the biggest difference at the beginning, was merely removing all the processed foods from our diet, and starting to eat vegetables that caused us to feel so well, but slowly we became deficit in the foods we were restricting ourselves from, and the last couple of months we’ve just been feeling awful. So, after reviewing everything I had learned, we decided to stop being vegan. I started looking at how people eat, and why, and success they have with their chosen diet, and as I researched I put all the ‘diets’ into a simple chart. What I discovered was that the people eating ALL these different diets… were ALL healthy! But how could that be? Some don’t eat meat, some eat meat but no dairy, some eat grains, others don’t, and it became very confusing. Finally I started looking at the linking factors, which seem to be vegetables. A LOT of vegetables. Everything else had its place in the food habits of these people, but veggies at every meal seem to be at the core of success for them all. As we’ve been muddling through new recipes, new flavors, new styles of cooking, we have not been totally successful, falling back on our old patterns of eating when all this newness becomes overwhelming. As a family we agree that when we eat plant based we all feel strong, more energetic, and generally happier.
A look at all the plant based diets (most of which we’ve tried), with a comparison chart….

2015 – Summer
The way I currently eat has worked for me for over a year now. This is the path I think that works best for my health, and is somewhat easy for me to follow. It looks like this…

Vegetables & Fruits
Rice & Oats
Eggs & Honey

Sprouted Wheat Bread (about once a week)
Dairy (about three times a week, usually in the form of probiotic yogurt)
Meat (only chicken that I cook myself, about twice a month)
Beans (about twice a month)

-One cheat meal a week
-All diets suspended for vacations and holidays
-I only eat two meals a day, no snacks or desserts

When I eat this way, I feel fantastic, have tons of energy, and lose weight. Does this work perfectly all the time? No. Life happens. When I stray off of this plan all my old issues come back to make me feel ill, and you’ll find me moaning on the couch. After experiencing health I don’t want to feel sick though, so for the most part I WANT to eat this way. The main thing I have learned is to not stress over eating “perfectly”. I still want to enjoy life, a hot chocolate in winter, or cold jello cake in summer is part of life, and I won’t give that up completely, I’ve learned to balance it with eating healthy on the other days of the week to stay physically and mentally well.

I hope reading about my long tour through diet after diet helps you skip strait to what will work for you. I wish you happiness and health for life!


My Recipes…

I’ve been reading and researching for three solid years, health books, recipe books, blogs, and more. This is my combined learning, condensed into the recipe cards that I use every day in my own kitchen. These are based on my diet plan, and my tastes. Keep in mind they still include some of the unhealthy recipes that I grew up with, because occasionally I still make these recipes for my planned weekly mental-health-cheat-meals.

Click here to download: Basic Cooking Cards

The Soup Card

The Soup Card


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