Come On In and Set a Spell

Come On In and Set a Spell

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog. After a few months of trying different things, this seems to be the way I want to go. For now.

If you are a long time reader, you know I like to change things up every now and then. If you are new to the blog, Welcome!

I hope you find this place a warm and welcoming space to learn new things, have conversations and find a bit of peace and quiet.



I often see blog posts, videos and vlogs about de-cluttering. They are often (mostly) about the house, but often they touch on how clutter creates some form of chaos in life.

Let’s face it. Quite a few of us have issues with “stuff”. If you grew up not having a lot of it, you probably tend to get a lot of it, even when you really don’t need or want it.

De-cluttering, however, can apply to more than just stuff around the house. It can be applied to the way we stock our cupboards and pantry and how we eat.

The more mismatched foods in our pantry the less likely we are to actually using them. If we don’t know what is actually in our pantry (or freezer or fridge…) we are more likely to either hit the drive thru or delivery rather than put something together in our kitchen.

One article I recently came across made me rethink the way I plan my shopping. The article was along the lines of plan for the meal(s) not the bits and pieces.

Or, plan for the roasted chicken and vegetables rather than having chicken and some veg in the fridge that you might remember to cook during the week.

I need to go through my food stash and see what I actually have and then begin to work a meal plan that not only incorporates it, but builds on it.

I admit, I’m not exactly thrilled about that, but it will help me in the long run. My last grocery bill was a touch prices with things I should have had on hand, but didn’t. Not smart.

If you are contemplating de-cluttering, I suggest you start with the room you probably spend more money not using – your kitchen – and go from there. It will be time well spent (no pun intended) and will start you on your way to a more efficient (i.e. budget happy) way of cooking and eating. That will make you feel better and more inclined to tackle other rooms in your home.

Win/Win, right?

Friday Update

Friday Update

I started to add “quick”, but thought better of it. 🙂

To our new followers, WELCOME!

To our regulars, Welcome Back!

Are you ready for the weekend yet?

Recently, I put up a Facebook post in which I mentioned the amount of craft paper and fabric in my stash and the fact that my pantry needs to be organized and cataloged. I won’t lie to you, just looking at those words stopped me in my tracks.


True, it was not an unknown thing – some items on my <cough> “To Do List” have been there for a while… But the fact of actually looking at it was a bit…much.

If you are a card maker and have a stash of cards you don’t know what to do with, why not check in your area for folks who are doing a card ministry? Maymay Made It is working with a few – you can check out yesterday’s Crafter After Show on YouTube for information on that.

If you are a quilter, but not in the mood – or up to – making a full quilt, why not check your local quilt guilds to find out if they accept blocks or might be doing a block swap? You might also want to reach out to friends and family who might be interested in taking blocks (or fabric) off your hands.

Thinking about those Unfinished Quilting Projects (UFOs) that might be living in your closets, if you can’t bring yourself to finish them, why not find them a new home?

Holiday sewing projects seem to be ramping up a bit. I’ve seen quite a few bag projects as well as table runners with matching placemats. You might also consider making fabric napkins. They are quick, easy and achievable for your holiday gifting.

Here’s hoping I’ve given you some ideas and a touch of inspiration to get you started with your holiday gifting.

In the meantime, I’ve got some work to do in my kitchen and I’m getting reacquainted with my Accuquilt Go! cutter and dies. Never a dull moment around here!

Learning For the Joy Of It

Learning For the Joy Of It

I’ve been a long time fan of DIY shows. I started out watching PBS on Saturdays when the lineup included sewing, quilting, woodwork, and cooking – not to mention gardening. 🙂

I’ve had the pleasure of many, many different teachers who provided individual perspectives and skill sets that made me understand a concept or learn a process in ways that I might not have managed otherwise.

To this day I credit Nathalie DuPree with showing me how to use a food processor. I figured if she could make pie crust and biscuits in it, so could I.

Last week I told you about my adventures with Bluprint. Well, I’m happy to say they are continuing. I’ve enjoyed classes on candy making, bread making, quilting and a host of others – and I did it on my schedule.

I also enjoy my favorites on YouTube. We are entering Soup Season, so I’ve seen loads of ideas on some wonderful, tasty options. I can add my bread making skills to a pot of home made soup for a wonderful, hearty meal.

I’d like to encourage you to find a few minutes that you can spend relaxing and absorbing ideas, skills, thoughts that you can use in your life. It doesn’t have to be the same ones I do.

Creativity takes many roads and is different for every person. What you do to recharge your batteries after a long day’s work is as unique as you are. I know folks who prefer to pick up a book rather than a crochet hook – and that’s fine, too. The important thing is to feed that part of you that often gets neglected or put off until “later”.

Far too often “later” is an elusive idea that never actually comes. It resides just beyond the reach of our fingertips. Please don’t let that be your reality.

I’m Having So Much Fun!

I’m Having So Much Fun!

I love to find great places where I can sit back and watch things and learn. You could say I have spent a lot of time watching PBS how to shows. 🙂

I was a Craftsy viewer before people really knew what it was all about. And then things got Better. Craftsy and Bluprint became Bluprint and the amount and variety of things to explore exploded.

I’ve just spent some time getting a refresher course on using my food processor. Learned some new tips and tricks and – I have to admit it – I’m more inclined to pull it out and put it to work than ever before.

I’m also taking a class about thread and stitch options that I can use on my quilts. The teacher has some great ideas and materials and I’m curious enough to drag out the sewing machine and play a bit.

There is one episode of a sewing show I saw on YouTube (Blueprint has a channel there, too) that I actually got to see all of the season episodes on Bluprint and I Loved It. The show is He Sewed…She Sewed and while I’m not a sewer, per se, this was great. See the link below and check it out.

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy the opportunity to explore and try things without a huge commitment of time and money. And, let’s be honest, right now money is pretty tight. The things I’m learning will help me save money, be more productive and enrich my environment. And I can do all that for a nominal cost and on my own time.

Try Bluprint, stream 3,000+ hours of expert video tutorials, exclusive series & so much more.

Don’t forget – your first week is free. 🙂

Tackling the Mental Pantry

Tackling the Mental Pantry

Vocabulary matters in ways we don’t consider. It will help us or hinder all our hard work.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time lately checking out food lists, meal prep ideas, weight loss ideas (I refuse to use the word “diet”) among other things.

Why? Because I wanted to learn what tricks and tools worked and what didn’t.

What did I learn? Something I’ve always known: One Size Does Not Fit All. Or, one plan does not fit all.

The first thing that struck me was the reality that there really is no need for me to create a food list for you. That is something you should be doing for yourself.

Before you panic, consider: Who knows you best? What do you like to eat? What do you hate to even think about eating? What are your allergies?

I’ve been developing a questionnaire that will hopefully help you get an idea of what you like, don’t like, are interested in, etc. This is based on an old Graham Kerr project that made me sit back and think about food. Not just the “what’s in the fridge?” question, but (no pun intended) food for thought about, well, food.

Combine that with whatever eating plan you’ve chosen for yourself – or are considering – and you will have the foundation for meal building blocks.

The second thing to consider is this: If you don’t live alone, your eating plan will have to include the other members of your home. Why? Because unless you want to set yourself up to fail, your meals should include everyone in your home.

That is one reason I refuse to use the word “diet”. That word has negative connotations everywhere. It is thought of as temporary. A punishment. Something you do that isn’t enjoyable or fun. Sort of like “exercise”.

Yeah, that word. 🙂

So, in the meantime, I’d like you to think about what you have in your pantry, where you like to eat, what you like to eat and what you might like to try.

This isn’t homework in the sense that you will be graded. It is homework in the sense that you will be setting yourself up to succeed and enjoy a new adventure.


Kitchen Thoughts

Kitchen Thoughts

Fall is the time we seem to be ready to plan more or at least organize more in the kitchen.

With the kids back to school, schedules are a bit hectic and if both parents work outside the home, life can be a bit…crazy. If they work at home … crazier? LOL!

A while back I started thinking about our relationship to food and health and all the hype that is included. Part of this came from a group I belong to on Facebook. Several members are looking for ways to lose weight and get healthy. Some are learning that food is, in itself, a whole new world.

I started digging around looking for food lists and ideas and realized that for pretty much every “diet” or “food plan” out there, there is a list. A list of what you can eat and what you can’t and all the “by the way”s that go with the plan.

So, I decided to avoid the pitfalls of preparing food lists for you, but to build on some simple, easy to manage ideas that could help you make the most of your budget, your pantry, your time and your interest.

The biggest thing that everyone needs to deal with in relation to “diet” is determining their level of engagement.

There is no “best” plan or “best” organization. Every body is different and the way that particular body deals with food is different from any other body.

What that means is that you, as the guide on this cruise, decides the level of engagement. Are you in full time or going to test the waters? Have you made up your mind to live the life or just until you get bored?

Hey, I know how that sounds, but over the years I’ve learned that the biggest obstacle to weight loss or health success is the person doing the work. Around here “diet” is a no-no. Why? Because it has a negative connotation. People see or hear that word and they think “punishment”.

To be honest, living a healthy or healthier lifestyle is a 24/7/365 way of life. No, it won’t be 100% perfect, because no Human Being is 100% perfect. We all have our good days and our bad.

So, all that being said, whatever direction you choose to go is up to you. Here, I will be talking about ways to make your experience more livable. I’d like to share tips and tricks that will help you be successful with whatever plan you decide to use.

I’m a firm believer that if you have good information you will be able to make better tasting meals that will help you achieve your goals. If you are not on a food plan, but looking for ways to get your food budget in check, I can help with that, too.

You can visit my Facebook page and follow the conversation there or comment below. I’d like to hear what issues you are dealing with when it comes to preparing menus, saving time in the kitchen and finding recipes that you could include in your cooking.

A word of caution: I will be providing recipes that might, or might not, work for whatever plan you are using. I will also be providing recipes that won’t meet any plan guidelines. My particular journey is to eat foods as close to the farm as possible using some convenience products that are accessible in most grocery stores. I do not use any artificial sweeteners or margarine. I also do not care for overly spicy foods.

Hey, I love it when you “like” my posts, but I’d be absolutely thrilled to hear your comments and questions. 🙂

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Wistful Thinking

As I write this, the new Downton Abbey movie will open in the United States on Friday, 9/20/2019.

I can’t help but feel a bit wistful. I watched the entire series when it appeared on PBS. I even occasionally delve into favorite episodes on Amazon.

The trials and tribulations of the Crawley family and their staff have been comfortable companions for many years, but it is the house that captivates me.

You see, at the very core of the series (and the film) is the house. The house was the whole reason for anyone to be there at all. It sustained those who lived within it and around it. The care and tending of such an amazing structure was the sole purpose of all.

As a person who lives in a country where homes simply haven’t existed more than 300 years (and I’m padding that because the country itself isn’t that old) I can’t wrap my head around a family home that goes back several hundred years.

I can’t explain it any more than others. There is something about the history, the architecture, the people that captivate and encourage attention.

In the meantime, I’ll ponder yet again the history of Downton and wonder what everyone has been up to. All while imagining taking tea in the garden with the flowers in bloom.

Like I said, wistful thinking. 🙂