Musings

Are You In Your Own Way?

I’ve had a bit of an epiphany lately. Actually, possibly, more than one.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, as a result of several tried and true tools going bonkers and giving up the ghost, as it were, I ended up not only replacing them, but picking up some things that I’d put on my long term Thinking About It List.

As those items were delivered and I began to repair, replace and tidy up a bit, I realized that because I had stopped waiting for my opportune moment, and just got on with the job(s), things were actually getting done. I wasn’t waiting for me to get around to making that wall hanging, quilt, or put up mini blinds.

To put it bluntly: I just got on with it. And, you know what? It was worth it!

I realized that the mini blinds just were not going to be hung because, frankly, I really didn’t want them. Maybe another time, but not now. As for the sewing projects, I’m not ready to dive into any at the moment and waiting for me to get ready literally kept putting me on hold.

Sort of a version of what happens when you ‘want’ something. You keep staying in that state of ‘wanting’ and never actually ‘getting’.

Now there is an additional side to this epiphany. Some things actually do take time to happen. I’d been pondering a certain set of gallery wall frames but had nothing to go in them and they ended up being relegated to my “Later” list.

I’ve recently begun to clear out my craft room and I also picked up a couple of sets of designer series paper from Stampin Up. Now, I don’t make enough cards to accommodate a lot of stock on hand, but those papers are luscious!

And then I realized that they were the perfect size for those frames and would be beautiful home decor pieces. And they are!

Now I can feel myself relaxing to think about a wall hanging or two. The roadblocks I put up for myself by Waiting Until The Opportune Moment were gone and opened up a bit of possibility.

The Opportune Moment
The Moral of the Story

If you find yourself stuck and you don’t seem to be getting anywhere, take a moment to stop and look closely at the situation. Did you manage to put yourself in your own way? Are you stopping you from achieving what you want because you are waiting for the perfect situation or the opportune moment?

While everything might not be perfect to get the end results you want, perhaps you can find a solution for now with the idea of updating, upgrading or improving later? The longer you wait the longer you wait.

I hope this helps.

Musings · YouTube

Interesting People: Morgan Donner

I would like to say I was introduced to Morgan Donner via the YouTube Costume Community and their holiday Secret Santa Videos. This would be back in 2019, I think. Either that or via Bernadette Banner and one of her videos.

What I would like for you to know about her is that she is an interesting person who has lots of unusual knowledge used for out of the ordinary tasks, tools, and things.

She is, in many ways, a lot of fun to keep up with.

Check out her latest video:

What I find most interesting about this particular video venture is the way Morgan weaves coffee, pottery and history into something interesting, informative and, potentially, enjoyable. That coffee thing is quite interesting… and if you have Rakuten, you get a further discount. Just sayin’

I enjoy people who are not cookie cutter versions of other folks and Morgan certainly fits that bill. While she does delve into things that don’t always particularly grab my interest, she often provides a view at topics or projects that capture my attention.

Don’t take my word for it – check out her YouTube channel. Let me know what you think!

Musings

What’s Am I Missing?

If you are relatively new here, you might want to consider signing up for our free monthly newsletter. Each newsletter contains a new edition of The Magic Pantry which is usually a collection of recipes.

June’s Magic Pantry, however, is a collection of tips and tricks for the kitchen.

The newsletter is sent out to your email In Box on the first of every month. If you want to be on the list for June, click on the Newsletter tab and follow the instructions. Don’t wait too long! In order to get on the list, sign up on or before the 29th of the month.

Questions? Email me at craftybarncat@gmail.com.

Around the House · Crafting · Food · Media · Musings

When Was The Last Time You

Thanks to a comment by Jackie Bolhuis recently, I replaced my stamp pads which brought me up to date and allowed me to get rid of old, well used pads. This got me to thinking about all the other things that tend to get put off until ‘later’.

Quilters / Sewers
  • Changed the needle in your machine
  • Gathered all your notions and put them in their assigned spots.
  • Sharpened scissors
  • Replaced blades on rotary cutters
  • Checked your UFOs and decided which to work on and which to discard
Cooks
  • Updated your inventory
    • What needs to be used in the freezer or fridge?
    • What needs to be replaced?
  • Checked the expiration dates on your spices
  • Reviewed those recipes you’ve saved ‘until later’
Media Review
  • Reset your modem
  • Reviewed the streaming channels you subscribe to
  • Checked those subscriptions you have but might not keep up with
  • Reviewed your calendar(s). What needs to be changed or removed and what can be added?
Holiday Preparation

Hard as it might be to imagine, now is the time to start thinking and planning for the Winter Holidays. Some projects that a lot of time while others might be managed at the last minute. Things to think about:

  • Sewing or Quilting Projects
    • Gather patterns, fabrics and notions
  • Paper Crafting
    • Holiday papers and inks are starting to appear
  • Homemade Gifts
    • Collect the recipes and put together a shopping list
    • Start collecting the necessary dry goods now
    • If you are planning on making fruitcakes, now might be a good time to start them.
Have I missed anything?

Let me know!

If this has been helpful, please let me know by clicking on the “Like” button! Thanks!

Around the House · Musings

Taking A Breather

Or I might have overdone it a bit yesterday.

Much to my amusement, Saturday once again turned out to be a Busy Day. I don’t know why, but even though I’m retired I seem to get more done during the weekend than during the week. Truly, it makes no sense to me. A friend mused that it is a result of all those years when the only time to do housework, etc., was on the weekend.

The lawn guys came and mowed the lawn – and I can not tell you how thrilling it is to realize that I actually have a lawn after a few too many years of too much shade and too little grass. After all the rain we’ve had they had a bit of a clean up to do, but it still is beautiful!

I turned the telly on to “The Lawrence Welk Show” and went into the Library/Craft Room to start in on a clear out. I’d been working on it for a while; getting rid of old magazines and catalogs, sorting through the papers that needed to be shredded, collecting the no longer needed cardboard and started hauling it all to the trash/recycle bins. I even managed to kill my 25+ year old shredder. And I wasn’t even trying! LOL!

Clutter not only takes up space physically but it crowds out creativity, too. I recently splurged on replacement ink pads since my old one are a bit old. I also picked up a couple of paper packs that I really liked. After the major clear out, I sat down and put the color/name labels on the ends of the pads and set them up for storage. I drooled over the new papers, too. Why not!

I’ve been bingeing on card demonstrators to see new ideas for the new papers. Stampin’ Up’s new catalog goes live on Tuesday, May 4th so there are a lot of new ideas out there!

Paige over at Farmhouse Vernacular has introduced The Vernacular Society, which I think is brilliant. She has all the information on her website. I will be looking into joining.

The Garden Adventure continues. I have a window full of planters all with at least one seed that has sprouted and is in some level of growth. Many have 4 leaves or more!

Weather-wise we’ve gone from cold to wet to hot to cold to wet to …

My U.K. folks – Mr. Carrington, Hermione Chantal, and Luke Catleugh, posted recently about their adventures now that the charity shops are once again open and people are able to get out and about for a while. I honestly don’t know which I like most; the opportunity to do some armchair traveling or checking out the hauls.

DIY Danie has done some great projects around her house, too. All of them give me some inspiration as I work to update my home.

I’m thinking that it is probably time to get back to what I had planned before the shingles came to visit back in March. That being said, don’t be surprised to see some updates.

If you like what you’ve seen and read, please click on the “like” button below and please share us with your friends. I’m always amazed that there are so many folks who come by to see what Bella Cat and I are up to. We appreciate your including us in your own adventures.

That being said, if you have comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

In the meantime, I’m off to put my feet up a bit. 🙂

Musings

Rediscovering Aloe Vera

Or, how I found a fabulous collection of skin and hair care products.

When I was a kid, the next door neighbor lady had a wondrous garden full of beautiful flowers and interesting plants. One of those plants was an Aloe Vera plant that was carefully tended in its own pot. When I asked about it, I was told that should I get a burn or a cut, the gel from one of the fronds of the plant would help reduce any pain and help the wound heal. Turns out, it did!

I never forgot the lesson learned, but it was years before I had an opportunity to use the plant again.

A Little History (Mine)

For many years my skin was rather oily and decidedly not dry and my hair bordered on oily with lots of frizz should I be in a humid area. I learned that the <cough> lower cost products for hair and skin just didn’t work for me. I found a mid range brand of hair care that worked for me and a brand of skin care that was reliable, affordable and fit my style.

I should note, that I don’t use lots of ‘product’ on my hair or skin. I have never been one of those girls (!) who liked all the fuss and bother of hair styling; I prefer as little effort as possible. My blow-drier, for example, hasn’t been used in … years? As for makeup, let’s just say I used to go through periods where I enjoyed playing with it, but at the end of the day, so to speak, it was just so much stuff to be cleaned off my face. <shrug> 🙂

I do still find it fascinating, just not on me.

When I find a product that works for me, I stick with it. I’d been using the same shampoo/conditioner for years usually alternating formulas depending upon need and access. I prefer to find a 2 in 1 version (shampoo/conditioner in one bottle) but am open to using 2 different products if necessary. I’d used the same skin care for decades because the moisturizer was Fabulous.

So, why did I change if I loved them so much? Because, as is usual, both I and the products I was using changed.

Let’s Start With My Hair, Shall We?

Actually, everything actually began with my hair. I’ve not had a hair cut in over a year. This was partly because I wanted a change and partly because the world had a bit of a change. Anyway, thanks to a good cut (Thank you, Carol!) my hair retained good layers and was decent even though much longer than expected over time, but I started to notice that as I was brushing out my hair after my shampoo I was getting more tangles and a lot more left in the brush. I also noticed that my hair wasn’t growing as much as it had been. Hmmm

At the time, I was watching several YouTubers who were talking about a brand they used who also happened to sponsor them in a product review. I was interested and looked into the product. The price point stopped me in my tracks. Literally.

Now, I’m not cheap by any means but I was not prepared to pay what they were asking for just to try something that might, or might not, work for me. It didn’t matter that I could choose my own colors or fragrances or add stickers to the bottles, either.

I mentioned my conundrum to my friend, Kate, who had used similar (in some cases the same) products as I had for quite a few years.

As it happened we were in our yearly “what would you like for Christmas?” discussion. My friend asked me if I would be interested in trying something she was using and, if so, she’d send it along as my present that year. She also asked if she could send along some samples of other products to try. Turns out she loved the products so much, she became a consultant. Sure, why not?

Well, the box with my present and the samples of other goodies both arrived around the holidays and I was intrigued to discover that the main ingredient for all of the products was aloe vera.

Unexpected Results

I have to tell you I was surprised about the shampoo and condition right from the first try.

First, “Less is More” applies with both. You don’t need a lot to get clean, soft and shiny hair. The shampoo has no frothy detergents so if you are expecting lather you’ll be disappointed. On the other hand, you will get a clean scent and a thorough clean. The conditioner has the same scent and even the small pea sized amount massaged through your hair will do the job. And what a job it does!

Remember I mentioned that I had been having difficulty with tangling and hair loss? No more! My brush went through my still wet hair with no catches and no dragging. When my hair dried, there was no frizz, either.

The biggest surprise, however, came a few weeks later when I discovered that not only was my hair growing the color had cleared, too. Now I’ve not colored my hair in years, and really, the only reason I did was my natural color was dull and, to my mind, boring.

Let me tell you that my hair is no longer dull, no longer boring. It has a clarity and shine I’ve not seen since I was maybe four. As for the frizz, well, unless I happen to be in high humidity, it is gone. So, too, are the dry ends.

All of this using approximately a 1/2 teaspoon of shampoo and a 1/4 teaspoon amount of conditioner?!!!!!

Let’s Talk About Skin Care, Shall We?

I started out with oily skin that over the years has evolved to a moderate combination skin. I don’t use strong soaps or detergents on my face because they not only strip natural oils they can inflame the skin enough to have it over produce oils that lead to blemishes.

I also look for a moisturizer that does the job without being sticky, gloppy or sitting on my skin rather than working in the lower levels. (I wasn’t a skin care consultant for a few years for nothing…)

Because I liked the shampoo and conditioner so much, I ordered the free samples of the skin care collection. They arrived at the opportune moment because I developed a case of Shingles on the back of my head down to my shoulders with a few touching base on the side of my face.

I discovered that the aloe vera in the products really helped the blisters heal and soothed the inflammation as the healing process occurred. Between the aloe in the hair care and the aloe in the cleanser and moisturizer, I think I managed a better result than if I’d just used a lotion and my old shampoo/conditioner.

One of the samples Kate sent was the basic aloe gel which I used when the outbreak was in the early stages.

Now that the outbreak is almost completely gone, I do have some dark spots that are fading but no scarring.

What I also have is a good cleanser and a moisturizer that is so concentrated they recommend you add a drop of water to it to loosen it up a bit.

Oh, and let me tell you about that Smooth n’ Firm Eye Repair Gel. O.M.G.!!!!!

I’ve never used anything like that before and the results were astounding! I occasionally have bags both under and over my eyes. A little dab (really!) of the gel cleared that up almost immediately. I literally could not believe my eyes.

So, now what?

Well, for me, I’m looking to check out the body care. I know I will be buying more shampoo & conditioner and they have a collection that includes hand and body wash and lotion along with a body butter that Kate said was marvelous.

Why am I telling you about this? Simple. I believe in sharing knowledge about good products. I don’t recommend things I’ve not tried. If you are looking to try something that might work for you, go over to L’BRI PURE N’ NATURAL and see what they have to offer.

But, don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself.

Remember I said that Kate liked the products so much she became a consultant for them? The link I’ve shared is to her site. Please go over and check it out and, should you have any questions, you can reach out to her directly.

To clarify, I am not being sponsored for this review by either L’BRI or Kate, this post is my experience with the products.

Musings

Celebrating Catalogs

Window Shopping At Home

I know that some folks don’t quite understand how ‘catalogs’ and ‘window shopping from home’ differ from surfing the Internet shops and that’s okay. It might be a generational thing, I’m not sure.

When the holidays rolled around the usual catalog suspects arrived in my mail. Some are still lurking around the house waiting for our next meet up.

When I was growing up, long before there was even the smallest hint of a hint of anything near like the Internet, catalogs were the way folks shopped. Folks who did not have access to malls, large box stores (they didn’t exist then) or the “I’m bored, let’s go spend money!” trope. If it sounds like ancient history, in some ways it is.

The big ‘wishbooks’ would arrive in late October in time for families to do their individual and collective deep dives in order to order for the Holiday Shopping Spree. These things were Huge; several hundred pages. If you were lucky and lived close enough to a catalog center, you could pick up your order there – after you’d shopped the adjacent store. 🙂

Anything and everything you could imagine and a lot you had never thought about would be in those books.

Perhaps that is why I am still enthralled by the catalogs that come to me in the mail. Colors and patterns of things I might like to add to my home or have difficulty finding nearby to add to my home. Items that I really don’t need, but…

It is that ‘but’ that will get you every time. 🙂

I love getting the food catalogs just to see what they have on offer that I might be inclined to buy rather than make. Until I look at the prices and realize I can do it myself for much, much less. We won’t go to that space where the discussion is how long said items would have been sitting on a shelf in storage before shipping. There are a few things, however, that I like to order. I have a particular brand of cheese that I love to have on hand and the only way to get it is to order it.

One of my particular pet peeves is the way stores choose colors and styles based on the Latest Thing – whatever that might be. For those of us who don’t look good in the Latest Thing, this is Frustration squared.

Some catalogs, however, have items stocked that are in colors and styles that are flattering to me. And they don’t require a second mortgage or a car trip to acquire.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy shopping on the Internet. Trust me several hundred (thousand?) hours have been spent meandering through all sorts of stores looking at all kinds of things.

It is astounding how retail has changed (for good and for bad) in just a few decades. There is great convenience in being able to do the kind of shopping today that would have been impossible not that long ago.

But somehow, it just doesn’t compare with sitting down with a cup of coffee and a catalog contemplating the possibilities.

Do you love catalogs, too? Let me know!

If you liked this article, I’d be thrilled if you would let me know by clicking the “like” button below. And don’t forget to share with your friends. The more the merrier, right?

Musings · YouTube

Sundays With The Guys

I have to admit to a wonderful evolution to my weekend.

For quite a few months now, Sunday mornings have been spent with two great guys who take time to tell me what’s going on with them, show me projects they have been working on or are in the process of developing, share ideas and inspiration and show me around an area of the world I have been loving for longer than I care to contemplate.

Who are these amazing people? Luke Catleugh and Mr. Carrington, of course!

I’m not sure how I managed to discover Mr. C but he managed to introduce me to Luke and between the two I’ve discovered a new way of cooking, looked at upping my home decor game, and rediscovered the fun of, well, doing stuff.

Both upload YouTube videos at least once a week on Sundays, but often during the week as well. Their latest works include decor upgrades and shopping hauls in addition to a DIY project or two. Luke loves to cook which means I get a chance to see something other than the same old same old while Mr. C is pretty straight forward and laid back about what is basically a dump and go methodology in his slow cooker. Both give me food for thought.

And I am in love with the roof top garden at Mr. C’s house!

While this might seem a bit silly to some, for me it is a mini-vacation in a part of the world that I know very little about but find fascinating. And it comes every week!

If you have yet to discover these guys, are looking at a change, want to experience life from a different location, or are just curious, head on over to YouTube and check them out.

You can join me on Sunday mornings with my coffee. 🙂

Note: Upon further thought, I’m thinking it was Hermione Chantal who introduced me to Mr. C. Hermione is in the UK, but over on the Isle of Wight. Check her out, too!

Musings

Bits and Pieces

Or, A few things I want to share while I’m thinking about it.

I looked up today and realized that it is almost March, 2021. Totally blew my mind. It seems like we were just dealing with the holidays and then Winter decided to come and visit for a while.

Speaking of Winter: When I caught the weather report this afternoon, we were given a “wow” moment. One week ago today the temperature in my little corner of the world was -20 and today the temperature made it to 71 degrees. That’s an entire 90+ degree swing in seven days. Yikes!

Needless to say, all the white stuff accumulated during the past week is gone and while we may be looking forward to some rain in the coming days, it is nothing like what we have experienced.

Around here we spend Summer complaining about the heat and wishing for Winter’s cooler temperatures only to get to Winter and the snow with the attendant upheaval when we get too much of what we asked for.

I’ve been spending some time working on the newsletter, collecting recipes and ideas for future Pantry Magic collections. Dragging out cookbooks has been more fun than some might think. I found a few reminders of why I bought particular books in the first place. Hopefully, I’ll be able to actually make those recipes soon.

My latest grocery haul included a lovely pork roast. Yum! I can’t wait to season it, tuck it into my oven and add potatoes and carrots for a wonderful series of meals! Sometimes it is the simple foods that are the best.

Speaking of food, over on PlutoTV, the BBC Food Channel has added The Hairy Bikers to the lineup. The guys are investigating the Best of British Food. It has been quite an amazing journey.

I want to take a moment to thank you for taking the time to read the blog, send comments or “Likes” and share with friends. It means a lot.

Musings · Podcasts

Podcast Review: Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown

Podcasts are relatively new territory for me. Many years ago I was a regular listener to a quilting podcast, but for a long time there wasn’t anything that captured my interest enough to invest the time to listen. Something I’m hoping to rectify in the future.

I’ve been looking for interesting (to me) podcasts lately and came across this new venture from Mayim Bialik. You might recall her from “The Big Bang Theory”. Turns out Amy Farrah Fowler was played by someone with an actual PhD in Neuroscience. Who knew?

I did, but then… <shrug> 🙂

There has been a lot of talk about Mental Health lately. Unless you are someone with actual experience dealing with it for yourself or a family member, I think it can be a topic that is confusing and often a bit scary. Actually, I’m pretty sure that even if you are someone with experience dealing with it for yourself or a family member it can be confusing and scary.

While I’m still catching up with the episodes – as of this writing there are six – I have been impressed with the way the topics are presented, the effort to explain what might seem unexplainable, and, most importantly, the guests and their honest and real experiences. It says a lot about the trust in the room for this to be able to work the way it does.

There is a lot of material to cover and these podcasts are not short – the average is 90 minutes. Check out Mayim’s website: Bialik Breakdown. There you will find tons of information and resources and you have access to podcasts and YouTube videos as well.

Check out the trailer and see what you think:

I think you will find, as I did, that there is a lot of food for thought here.