Changes Coming

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This is to advise that the site will be going down for an indefinite period of time starting June 1, 2019.

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Categories: Musings

#LoveItChopIt

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Have you seen this hashtag?

I first discovered in on a YouTube channel by an Australian Stampin’ Up demonstrator. The focus was using DSP (designer specialty paper) rather than hoarding it for fear.

Yes, fear.

Fear of cutting it wrong. Fear of using it up. Fear of taking it out of the wrapper.

Truth is, this applies not only to paper and cardstock, but to fabric, too.

That Stash Isn’t Going Anywhere

If you are a crafter, you probably have a stash of whatever it is you craft with. Quilters are notorious for their fabric stashes. We won’t talk about mine. It fits in one room. Mostly.

Paper crafters have the same issue with beautiful papers.

We buy these things because we love them, but instead of celebrating their beauty, we stash them away to <cough> keep them safe.

Keeping them safe may be great but it doesn’t get them used, it doesn’t meet the reason you paid money for it and it takes up space.

Part of the fear is knowing what you will do with that pack of fabric or paper. If you had a pattern in mind when you bought it, get it out and start in! When you saw that beautiful paper, did you know how you wanted to use it?

I will be honest, I am terrified of making that very first cut into fabric. I don’t know what it is, but that first cut can take hours. Once I’ve crossed that hurdle, the rest are easy.

I have similar issues with DSP. Card stock and I have no issues, but fancy patterned paper can be a bit intimidating.

So here’s the thing. Let’s gather our various stashes and see what we have. Let’s look at patterns and projects and figure out what we want to do now and then make a list of our projects to come.

Let’s get our fabric cut and our DSP chopped and let’s use these beautiful treasures so others can enjoy them, too.

Don’t forget, once you use them, you will have room for a new batch.

Thought I’d forgotten that, didn’t you? 😀

A Bella Story

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One of those embarrassing, but hysterical, parent moments.

We’ve all had them, those moments we do something that if we were thinking clearly (or awake) would do differently.

This story actually began a few weeks ago. Bella has a standard M.O. of finding a spot (Bella’s Spot) and sticking with it until or unless she is moved. For many weeks, her Spot was one of the sofa cushions in the Living Room.

A couple of weeks ago, Bella decided to return to the bedroom where she could get long term cuddle with little effort.  Her favorite spot is next to my hip.  For some reason, she prefers to be on top of the covers, but under the comforter. 

Anyway, she curls into a tight ball of fluff and nestles in as close as she can get without pushing me off the bed.  At some point in the night I awoke just enough to want to shift the blanket without being awake enough to be less dangerous.  I knew she was there, reached for the blanket and – without thinking – jerked the blanket out from under the cat. 

Upon retrospect a gentle tug would have been a better idea but… that small bundle of fur ended up flat on her back (in the exact same spot, no less) with all 4 feet up in the air and at odd angles.  She didn’t utter a peep, but the “WTF????!!!” was pretty, um, there.

After a minute or two, Bella turned over, got her feet under her and staggered to not only the end of the bed, but the end on the Other Side of the bed.  Did I mention she isn’t fond of the top side of the comforter?

It took me a while to actually put things together (I wasn’t all that awake myself, you know) but when I did, I couldn’t help but laugh.

It wasn’t long after that Bella moved her Spot to the headboard where a pillow resided. It was soon replaced with a towel. She could be near me, out of the way, and have access to what she needed and wanted without threat of becoming another candidate for acrobatic school.

Can’t say as I blame her. 🙂

For whatever reason, Bella does not like the top side of the comforter, so when I make up the bed, she is confined to the headboard. This afternoon I found her curled up on a throw that I keep on the bed for her.

This past week has been Really Warm so I’ve had the bedroom window opened and put the fan on. Bella has enjoyed that, too.

I’m trying to convince her that she can enjoy these wonders in other parts of the house, but so far she’s not buying. Time will tell. 🙂

Categories: Bella Musings

The Scenic Route

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I admit, I occasionally get off the beaten path on my way from Point A to Point B. Sometimes it is on purpose and others…not so much.

The interesting thing about taking the Scenic Route is the discovery that comes with it.

When we were kids, our parents would bundle us up in the car for a drive around town to see the holiday lights. Magic!

As we got older, more often than not as we learned to drive and were allowed to use the car, we indulged on a bit of Off The Beaten Path driving in hopes of extending the privilege.

As adults, with that Long List of Things To Do, we rarely took the time to take the road less traveled. Which is a shame, really.

I recently explored a local neighborhood after picking up my lunch. I live in a very old town. Some parts of town have houses that go back several decades. It is an awesome thing to see a home that is loved and cared for. Well loved homes are beautiful, inspiring and a joy to observe.

There is one in particular that sports a 3 – 4 color paint job to enhance (okay, show off) some beautiful wood work.

Another celebrates a large porch with a low maintenance garden that would be perfect on warm summer nights.

Most of these homes are not high end or expensive. They are just well cared for and well loved.

A few blocks over will take me down through the original downtown area. Brick streets with old buildings next to a railway are some of the features. There are always lots of cars parked on the street.

These are the things that can be seen when I take the scenic route rather than the freeway. When I stop being in a hurry and start taking my time. Funny thing is – either way I get where I’m needed when I am needed. The only difference is the enjoyment of the journey.

Don’t wait until the holidays to get out and explore.

Categories: Musings

Passion

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Most people I know are passionate about something.

Those things vary from person to person – even in intensity between those who share a passion for a specific thing.

As you might know, I love reading, film, TV, food, crafting among other things. I’m a long time Star Trek fan – 50 years worth. And, yes, that astounds me more than one might think it would.

Some folks love gardening, others are into sports. Some find politics a competitive sport, not me. Much too serious repercussions involved for me to think that way.

Food can be an interesting passion. Eating is a simple joy. I actually know a few folks who eat because they have to — and one or two of them have to be reminded (!!) to do so. For me, food is a way of expressing love, a communal process, an adventure of exploration.

Books and reading or audiobooks and listening take storytelling to a new level of art.

Film or television can be an amazing experience or a monumental waste of time, depending upon what is being watched. This relatively new ability to binge watch TV shows has brought about a new way of experiencing and exploring television. I admit I like it…usually. 🙂

Passion for anything is an amazing gift. It provides focus, food for thought, ability to grow and learn. If not for Science Fiction, I would have a much different understanding of what we take for granted today – computers, for example.

There is a sort of zen-like component to passions. Crafting, for example, requires a certain type of focus that lends itself to meditation and contemplation. Odd as it might seem, there is a reason so many people engage in certain activities – and it might surprise you to find that it isn’t the activity itself that draws them in.

Justin Scarred recently when to a convention that focused on comic books, characters, anime and the like. I remember my first convention many, many years ago. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but when I stepped out of the elevator and the first thing I saw was a storm trooper coming at me down the hallway, it changed my life.

There is something special about being among other people who share your passion. Not only does it offer the opportunity to share something you enjoy, but it opens up the world a bit and adds more to the experience.

Ever been to a quilters convention? Same thing, just different subject. 🙂

There will always be folks who don’t get it. No matter how hard you try to explain or expound on the topic. But for those of us who do, it can be a life changing experience that will provide a lifetime of opportunity, interest, excitement and pleasure.

Don’t be afraid to explore and find your passion – or several if you like. You’ll be glad you did!

Bits & Pieces

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Hello! How’ve you been? If you are new – Welcome!

Every once in a while I have a post that is the sum of whatever is on my mind lately. Odds and ends, you know. 🙂

Today I dropped in on my Pinterest feed and was amazed and amused at what popped up. Every once in a while I do a search on a new topic and Boom! New stuff appears. Its magic.

Some times I find things that jog my memory or get my creativity flowing. Other times I see things that make me stop and think a bit. You just never know what you will find. Sort of like a huge garage sale in an area you’ve never been before.

A week or so ago I reset my TV. I get most of my feed via antenna and the signals shift. As is usual, some channels dropped off while others moved a touch. I always have to remember to reset my scheduler app so I get reminders of shows I want to watch.

I also reset my YouTube feed. This one is a bit trickier because there are some channels I follow while others are more hit and miss.

The good thing about doing this, even with the potential misses, is what I find that I wasn’t aware was there.

I love animation and recently found tributes to voice over celebrities along with some great documentaries about the ‘making of’ process. Right up my alley.

Have you seen the latest Chantix commercial with the turkey? Hysterical! My hat is off to whoever came up with the idea – very creative and clever!

I also started watching “The Fix” on ABC. The series is supposed to last only 10 episodes, which is fine by me, but is interesting enough to be worth spending the time. So far. 🙂

I’m getting used to the idea – as I do every year – that it is almost Rerun Season. Many of my favorite TV shows are either closing the series or the season within the next few weeks. Where does the time go?

Then again, Spring Break just finished in my neck of the woods. It doesn’t seem time for that, either. 🙂

Here’s hoping you have an interesting week. Do take time for yourself. You are worth it!

Categories: Musings

Small Joys

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I admit it – I love the comics. But then, I love animation and story telling. What can I say? 🙂

When I was growing up, I remember stretching out on the floor of my Grandmother’s living room with the Sunday Comics in front of me. Pages and pages of quick reads with interesting pictures that were hand drawn and colored.

As a young adult, I discovered the yearly collections that some strips put out. Books that covered the main story lines or the entire year’s story. Not every strip put one out, but many of the most popular did; Doonesbury, Baby Blues, Zits, For Better or For Worse.

It was a thrill to discover that the newspapers who had moved to the Internet, brought their comics with them. Further, to find websites devoted to the daily, and weekly, strips.

Better than a soap opera, these quick reads provide a touch of humor along with a continuing storyline that engages the reader enticing them to return the next day for the next installment.

There is a wide array of material; kids, adults, slightly (?) weird to totally weird and pretty much everything in between. Some are sweet while others carry cynical barbs. Some provide glimpses into what could easily be our neighbor’s world. Or our own.

While the rest of the newspaper may carry some serious and depressing articles, the comics pages are full of options that could bring a smile and make the day a little less dreary.

No fooling!

Categories: Musings

Burgers

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I got to thinking about my favorite burgers today. An odd thought, true, but one that I found myself pondering for quite a while.

Before I continue, I need you to know that I grew up on a small farm where we raised our own meat. Our beef was grass fed Angus cattle. If you have not had grass fed beef, you don’t know what you are missing.

I didn’t realize just how lucky I was to have been raised like this until I moved to California and had my very first burger from a chain I shall not mention. I took a bite and wanted to know where the beef went and why they were using cardboard.

To be honest, very few of the national chains have beef that really has a good flavor. When you buy beef raised by Big-Agriculture you get … cardboard.

Most national chains have worked hard to develop unique recipes that the buyer will like and want to eat time and again. Barring that, they look for a unique style of burger. Square or round, anyone?

Toppings tend to be standard, even if they are applied in different intensity or manner.

What I love to find is the small chain or mom-and-pop shop that create interesting and unusual burgers.

I am a huge fan of In-N-Out Burgers. Not only are their fries made fresh – right in front of you – but their burgers have a great flavor and are the right balance of everything. Put them with the fries and a coke or a shake and you have a meal worth waiting in line to get.

Trust me – you won’t find beef that tastes like cardboard there!

I recall a great burger that came from a local shop. The best thing about it was not the toppings or the bun, but the way the meat had been seasoned. It took me a while, but I finally figured out that in addition to the usual salt and pepper was poultry seasoning; Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram, and Nutmeg added to the salt and pepper gave the burger a wonderful flavor and enhanced and condiment you cared to add.

Char broiled, grilled, fried, they all have their pluses and minuses. I enjoy them all depending upon my mood. A good grilled burger can be a joy if it is prepared properly.

One thing to keep in mind: fat = flavor. Your burger must have at least 20% fat to provide not only flavor, but the moisture necessary to keep it from drying out in the pan.

My mom used to combine 2 pounds of ground beef with 1 pound of mild sausage, 1 egg, salt, pepper, garlic and onion. This mixture makes a great burger and is a perfect starting point to a simple and tasty meatloaf.

Give it a try – and don’t forget to give the poultry seasoning a try as well. You might be on your way to a wonderful burger!

Categories: Cooking Food

Comfort Zones

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I’ve been watching Maymay Made It on YouTube this week. Look for her under Maymay Made It Crafts. She is in the midst of an ATC challenge. Artists Trading Card, that is. I’ve been following Maymay for quite a while. She does a lot of crafting; card making, paper crafting, painting, wreaths and more. This new ATC challenge is an interesting take on sharing your love of crafting and getting out of your own way.

What started out as a collection of potential A2 card fronts, has evolved to trying new techniques and tools. I found the paint pouring show particularly interesting as it was the first time Maymay had used the tools and the technique. Fun? Absolutely!

During the course of the show, the discussion moved to those folks who buy crafting supplies, but don’t use them. Some don’t even take them out of their boxes.

Not that anyone here <cough> would do that. 🙂

As I watched, and listened, Bella was exploring the world outside through the screen door. Then she bounced (literally) over to her food dish and then to her water and then over to the door again. She finally settled on an unusual (for her) spot on the coffee table for some in depth grooming.

Bella, who has been Very Content To Stay In Her Safe Place for weeks, is stretching her comfort zone and exploring a bit.

We all have our comfort zones. The colors we wear, the foods we eat, the places we go, the books we read, the channels (or shows) we watch. Some crafters inhibit their work by fretting over the imagined ‘police’ who tell the world what to do, or not to do. Quilters know of the Quilt Police. A fantasy for certain, but there are lots of folks out there who believe in their existence.

While there are guidelines and rules for certain practices, in many cases they are not to keep you from doing something, but allowing you to learn so you can move forward.

Recipes are a good example. They are the foundation to create a flavorful and interesting product. They are also the basis to add to. Brownies with a touch of mint become something special. Coffee with chocolate becomes mocha, which adds something unique when added to a muffin recipe.

Quilts may all be made using pieces of fabric, but the way those pieces are cut and sewn together changes the end product. There is no “One Right Way” to cut or sew and the pattern can change depending upon how the segments are sewn into the block.

Comfort zones can also be false equivalents. By limiting ourselves to what we know, we prevent ourselves from trying new things, from learning new things.

Watching Bella today gave me a new appreciation for courage and enthusiasm. This is, after all, a cat who has had some serious issues with change. Her world has been upended often enough to leave her uneasy and frightened because what may appear to be stable has too often been shown not to be.

As you contemplate your own comfort zones, I hope you will join me in re-evaluating their value. Perhaps it is time for a change – even just a small one – so the world will open up a little more.

Categories: Musings

Life Maintenance

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Tuesday brought a few surprises with it. Like, a doctor’s appointment made several months ago that I had totally forgotten about — and never updated my calendar to remind me.

I called and rescheduled the appointment and then went to my calendar to correct the issue. Yikes!

In the mail was a past due notice about a bill that had been regularly paid, but only for a specified number of months, as I expected to get a renewal notification, but didn’t.

After a phone call to clarify and correct the issue, I learned that the bill was for services that would not expire. Something that I had not seen on any paperwork received. Whew!

Mercury in Retrograde? Maybe. Using updated tools without really learning how to use the updated tools? Likely.

So far, 2019 has been an interesting roller coaster of a year.

One good thing that has come from Tuesday’s surprise package is that I’ve spent time clearing out not only my desktop of old, outdated and unused icons and links (laptop loads faster now). Another is the archiving of old emails. I admit I try to do that more often, but when I ran out of ink and kept things I wanted to print until I had new cartridges installed, things got a touch out of hand.

I learned years ago not to hold off on software updates, so I don’t have issue with that, but there are times when seeing what new tweaks have been added get put aside until <cough> ‘later’.

At the end of the day, Tuesday was a reminder that little things make a difference in how we live our lives. I prefer the stress free version, myself. 🙂

Categories: Musings

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