being green.

For a while now, issues regarding the environment have been nagging me more and more frequently. Topics that range from climate change, efficiency of recycling and even the recent popularity of Marie Kondo. All of those and many more have allowed me to really analyze not only the items I already have, but the ones I am considering purchasing.

Starting in the new year, a neighboring county to mine has officially banned plastic bags in shopping. I can’t lie, I love every bit of it. Every time there is someone who makes a joke about straws ending up in the ocean, I want to scream. Because, on the whole, we are a hot damn mess when it comes to using single use plastics frivolously and for a fact, they are ending up in the ocean and whole love other places that are directly affecting our health and our society.

I will probably NEVER be a person who can live 100% footprint free….I am adding the “probably” just in case I ever run for political office and they find this particular blog post to hold against me (there is probably much more they could hold over me!). However, I will stand behind the following statement.

Each and every one of us can do better. Should do better. Need to do better.

It goes much farther than using plastic bags, but it’s a hell of a start.

Here is my bigger challenge to you. Buy the market bag. Purchase the store offered grocery bag. Make one a shopping bag out of a old t-shirt.

If you’re interested in one, I have some on my Facebook page and will be posting a couple more soon!

Then use the living crap out of it until it is threadbare and can no longer hold even a clementine.

I love me some Marie Kondo and I am ALL for diminishing the amount of items we have cluttering our lives. But I am also all for living with the things you enjoy…and for me that means having multiple water bottles so I don’t have to wash them daily. Hey, it’s better than plastic bottles and I won’t be purchasing anymore until one of the current stash dies.

Recently, I watched a really informative documentary (currently on Netflix and more info can be found here) called The Minimalists. Once again, I am not telling you that you should get rid of everything and live under a rock. However, I do believe that if start to pay more attention to what we have, what we bring into our worlds and how we use what we do have….it would help a lot of things in this world. I would suggest with starting with watching The Minimalists and see what conversations it sparks within yourself and those you love.

So, with the new, fresh and shiny New Year upon us, ask yourself…what can I do? It might be one simple, little change that you do only once a week, but it’s a start! Who knows where it will take us, but I believe we all have a responsibility to do a little better. Do you want to know if you have too much stuff? Check out this quick read to get an idea!

If you are up for another eye opener, check out the documentary The True Cost or explore some other documentaries here!

Happy New Year.

Peace out peeps.

(I know it wasn’t exciting, but this post is for you Aunt S.! I finally got around to writing SOMETHING!)

18.

Little did I know that exactly 18 days after I wrote the blog post titled, “solo.“, that I would actually have a Solo in my life.

Fast forward to Monday, August 5th. I am back to school in training every day and I am definitely trying to adjust to still getting all of the work at the house done with being back to work. I get home late, after completing barn chores, and I decide to water plants.

Of course.

So, I water all the potted stuff out front. After completing that, I figured I should probably go ahead and start making my lunch for the next day. Knowing full well that if I sit down, I am a goner! I turn on the radio in the kitchen and start all of those fun kitchen chores up. I am finishing up my lunch when the inspiration sparks to check and see if there are any blackberries left in the garden. As soon as I head outside, I hear something.

Is it a bird?

Is it a kitten?

No, it’s not a kitten.

It’s got to be a bird.

But, man, that sounds like a kitten.

I should go look for it.

No, it’s a bird.

But it sounds like a kitten.

Don’t look for it.

LOOK FOR IT you horrible human.

Over the kitchen radio, the radio in the girl cave and the road noise, I realize I am most definitely hearing a kitten.

So, I start searching, entirely expecting to find a pile of kittens somewhere. I walk into the back yard and I am looking around waiting for the kitten/bird thing to make noise again.

“Man, look at that weird mushroom!”

The mushroom’s mouth moved. Yep, there is the kitten.

One kitten.

Solo.

Please excuse the my attire, I was in work mode…NOT EXPECTING TO TAKE A SELFIE WITH A KITTEN!!

Now, true confession, I grew up with kittens. However, I have never really considered myself a “cat” person. I believe it has something to do with the entire stigma of “cat ladies” that I can dig into later when I am not nearly as tired.

Thankfully, I found the Kitten Lady, where I learned all of the basic necessities to bottle raising an orphan kitten. If you don’t know who she is, you should totally check her out!

I am pretty proud to say that 6 weeks later, we’re both still alive. He has been fully vetted and has been deemed healthy, minus having a wee bit of a “little shit” attitude.

With all of that, meet the newest member of my little family. Solo.

I am now a cat person.

Peace out peeps.

solo.

One of the reoccurring themes of my life can be summed up in one little word.

Solo.

For years, the idea of even writing a post like this was painful. Apparently, I have done a pretty fabulous job of building some walls up around the word and then was able to reinforce the idea with stigmas and beliefs I have developed and adopted to validate my relationship with being….solo.

One of the most comment battles I have struggled with in owning this identifier is the one where you feel like a failure. In order to combat that, I worked even harder to prove that not only can I do solo life, but I ENJOY IT DAMNIT!! When the reality is, I do truly into about 87.5% of living a solo life, however there are obviously always situations where I would enjoy the companionship (like when it’s time to check the mail box….”Oh, sweetie!”).

However, the in last couple of years, for a variety of reasons, I have been becoming a little too comfortable in my solo skin. I would like to believe it’s because I work my ass off and that by time I get home, shower and have a chance to relax, the last thing I want to do is leave and go do something else. Although, I know it is because it is EASIER to stay home and chat with the dogs, versus a complete stranger.

Even Google has a skewed perception of eating alone. While researching images for this post, I Googled “Eating Alone” and the very first sub-category is “sad”.

Then I had a conversation with a few of my girlfriends.

Y’all, there are women out there who LOVE to do the solo thing!!! They look forward to it, it empowers them, it frees them to do exactly what they want to do and most importantly, it means they are LIVING this life, not just cruising through it.

I currently have a pal who on her like 326th solo vacation, this time at the beach, and she’s loving and OWNING it! She also shared this pretty amazing article on the topic, which I of course will share with y’all!

I have a friend who eats out solo almost weekly…AT THE BAR!! WHAT!?!?! This is even possible?? My armpits start sweating just thinking of this possibility.

So, I decided to poll my friends. I was pleased to see that I am definitely not the only person who is uncomfortable with the idea of eating alone. However, I was shocked to learn that many of my friends have or currently enjoy eating out or entertaining themselves solo (don’t twist that people, that is another post for another day!).

Now that I had started to poke around on the topic, I felt that it was only fair that I make a goal for myself to try eating solo over my summer break. So, about a month ago, I was out, treating myself to an evening to run some errands and shop for Father’s Day and I decided what the hell, let’s do this!

Dear Lord.

I pulled in 6 different restaurant parking lots if I pulled into one. But I was not about to let indecisiveness be my downfall. I ended up the solid choice of Applebee’s.

I ate at the bar.

I ordered steak and a beer.

There was hardly anyone there, so the conversation was pathetic at best.

My overall feeling on the experience was mixed. If I am going to spend the money eating out, I would much prefer to do it with people I ENJOY and make it a memory. I eat by my damn self all the time and I can do it much cheaper at home.

HOWEVER!!!!!

I am not done. I am going to do it again. I WANT to do it again.

Frankly, I want to shift my thinking to that philosphy that it’s empowering and fun to do what you want, when you want. Versus suffering under the binds that eating solo means you are some sort of failure based on societal standards.

So gals, let’s do this! Own it and do what you want, when you want! I like to think, “What would Wonder Woman do?”

Share in the comments! Thoughts? Opinions? Personal goals?

Peace out peeps!

23.

Not that I would expect any of you to be keeping track of this number, but 23 is an important number to me right now. For those North Ohioans who revel in the good ‘ole days, it might conjure this image.

Nope, for me, 23 the exact number of days I have left in my summer break.

Oy.

The kicker is, I have been working on projects and stuff every day. But there has been nothing exciting to post!

I mean, I put up new gutters on the porch and the front of the garage.

Not fun.

I did start pouring concrete into a walkway form for the back patio, but it’s only 1/3 of the way done and I would love to just wait and make an entire post about it. However, I do enjoy a good sneak peek, so here ya go!

Last week, I was house sitting for my parents and I did tackle putting up their new vinyl railing. That was fun! But not at my house.

So, in the next 23 days, I have a huge amount to still get done. The anxiety is once again on and pressing on my soul. None of it fun stuff, but necessary! For example. getting the old furnace out, pouring base and getting the new one in! Heat this winter would be glorious!

In other news, I had my first blackberry!

So, until next time! Don’t panic if you don’t hear from me in the next 23 days, I am still here…just busting ass on the To Do list…as usual.

Peace out peeps.

to-nisian or not to-nisian, part 2.

See what I did there??? You love it. You know it.

Corny plays on the English language are classic and always elicit a good chuckle.

Anywho.

My Tunisian project, the final ruling.

I think I MIGHT like it! I have actually started a second project, who knew!

If you are completely lost at this point, please check out this post for the first part of this saga….if you have anxiously been awaiting this post, here ya go pals!

In case you’re a visual person, here was the beginning of it. Shocker, I ended up ripping most of it out from this point and I pretty much started over. I was thrilled with the end result! I still definitely need to figure out how to join it better when making an infinity and if anyone has any advice on this, feel free to comment below!

check out my new mannequin!

I also managed to put a hell of a dent in the scrap stash in the trunk….which means there is more room again to go yarn shopping!

So there ya go! My first run at a Tunisian crochet stitch! Have you tried it yet?? If you have. share your pics in the comments!!

Speaking of which, any of you follow the #wearwhatyoumake on Instagram?? Or if you really want to be blown away, check out #crochetersofinstagram!

Not on Instagram?? No worries! Just search either of those hashtags in Google and click on images!

It is so inspirational (in my opinion) to see all of the gorgeous items out there that people make, love and wear daily!

#wearwhatyoumake

Finally, for those of you who are right with me on the countdown to spring, check it out! We can so make it! I CAN NOT wait to see the first green plant pop through the ground!

Have a fabulous day everyone! Peace out peeps.

if I had a kid, chapter 2

A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away….called the internet….I wrote a blog post about “if I had a kid”. The concept was that I would use this title to share little tidbits of wisdom that I have come to value throughout my life journey.

The first one was about showering.

Probably a good thing I haven’t had kids.

However, if you’re dying to read it, here ya go…click away! lol!

Anyway, today’s contribution is hopefully a little more deep that keeping up with basic hygiene. I want to take a moment to dig into something super important to me, which is taking a moment to realize that every single person around you is going through a laundry list of stressful items that are playing on their souls every damn day.

Putting it shortly.

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

I myself am so guilty of getting caught up in my own drama (even though I work so hard to cut drama out left and right!). It is SO easy to let your life become all consuming. To the point where you come across that person while your in a store, or a restaurant and you snap at them. The innocent victim. You have not idea what’s going on with them and frankly vice versa.

At the end of the day, we are ALL bogged down with too much stress. We are ALL doing the very best we can to keep our boats from sinking. We are ALL juggling mental, physical and emotional health battles.

However, I believe taking those moments to breathe, step back….reassess and just remember, we are all human. We are ALL in this mess together. So, here is a quick list of some of the things that I have to remind myself to do sometimes that might help someone have a better day.

  • be kind
  • let them chose what is for dinner
  • practice a random act of kindness
  • hold the door for someone
  • make them a cup of tea or coffee
  • when they ask for a ride, give it
  • smile at strangers (they might think you’re creepy, but they might smile back, ya never know!)
  • crack a joke and get someone laughing
  • check in on people
  • don’t go out of your way to be a jerk
  • actually comment on their social media instead of the distant “like” button
  • call them (especially if they actually like to talk on the phone)
  • compliments are always a solid choice, especially when they are legit
  • park farther away and let someone else get a closer spot
  • be patient with people
  • do not lose your mind over a piece of limp lettuce on a sandwich on the poor cashier
  • thank people, thank them a lot
  • prizes, everyone loves prizes
  • fill up your brother’s car when he lets you borrow it
  • clean up the dog crap
  • if they need a hug, give it…it won’t kill ya
  • put things in perspective
  • let someone have control of the tv remote
  • empathically listen when they are talking, there doesn’t always need to be a fix
  • when someone trusts you, don’t break it

Now, some of these might seem super specific, they are! lol! Some of these are examples of what some of my friends have gone through this week alone.

So, take a moment, breath…you got this! So do your friends….but we all need each other.

Next post….the finished Tunisian scarf! I know you are just tingling with anticipation.

Peace out peeps.

it will be fun they said…

I am sitting here laughing at myself….mainly because that title could apply to my ENTIRE LIFE.

Buy a century home….it will be fun they said.

Own horses…it will be fun they said.

Become a teacher…it will be fun they said.

Try Tunisian crochet…it will be fun they said.

Ok, ok, ok….in FAIRNESS, all of those and my entire life do have some fabulous shining moments and I wouldn’t trade a single bit of it.

To clarify, this post is about Tunisian crochet and my lame attempt at it so far. So, if you just read those words and thought, “Um, stupid.”. My feelings will not be hurt when you dip out right now.

I have been crocheting for about 20 years and I have never tried any of the Tunisian stitches. Funny fact, neither has Momma D….which shocked the living hell out of me, because she if it falls under the crafting umbrella, I thought she had done it!

So, I was finally ready to give it a whirl and I found this beautiful scarf pattern on Pinterest (where else, duh?!)

I loved it. Who wouldn’t?? It drapes beautifully. It appears to be exceptionally warm and snuggly. It would match so many outfits.

I was SOLD!

One little problem…or a few. I did not have that gorgeous yarn on hand or anything even remotely similar and I am on a yarn purchasing hold. The trunk is overflowing and I have restricted all yarn purchases until I use up some of the stash.

would you look at that hot mess express???

So, the next best thing was this Red Heart super hot pink, right?! Well, it’s what I went with. You can see the culprit right there on top of the pile. Honest, the biggest reason I selected it was because there was an ample amount of it left.

Next issue was that the original pattern called for it to be twice as wide than what is shown. As soon as I got a couple of rows in, I realized because of the weight and texture difference in the yarns, that was going to be a terrible idea. So, I ripped and ripped, starting over at 1/2 the width.

Now, the next issue is….Tunisian crochet turns out, feels very knit-like. I do not mind knitting, but I am terrible at it. I don’t have the patience and I suck at fixing mistakes. With the Tunisian, a huge bonus is it is easy to fix mistakes (in my experience so far).

But man, it works up SLOW.

Over the last couple of evenings working on it, I have started to enjoy the methodical slowness to the project, but it has taken a minute of getting used too.

Then last night, I ran into a new issue. I ran out of the pink.

Ugh.

It is too wide to be a cowl, it is too short to be an infinity. So, I broke into the trunk and dug out some other colors, thinking that I might try going the “scrap” look route??

I am still not sure about it. My edges are horrible and obviously need some more practice.

So, what do I do? Rock it out for exactly what it is, a practice piece and just let it work up however it’s little heart wants too?? Rip it out, narrow it again and just keep practicing and hopefully get an infinity out of it as a single color?

HELP!!!

Also, feel free to share pics and helpful hints in the comments! ALL ADVICE IS WELCOME!

Parting Friday thought…

Dead serious. You have zero idea of how much you mean to so many people. You might not see or hear it, but you are!

Peace out peeps.

#DoSomethingForNothing

Mornin’ darlings!

Recently, I was faced with some heating issues at the old house. Nothing too seriously and eventually (when the weather breaks) fixable. However, it did leave me in the midst of the Great Polar Vortex with no heat. I stayed in the house for 24 hours with supplemental heat before the decision was made to winterize the house and move out until the worst was over.

straight up…first world problems and I was a baby.

However, in that small window of time, I had a lot of time to think….and stress. Now, mind you, the house was maintaining at about 45-50 degrees! I personally found this amazingly impressive since we were being hit with wind chills of -20 to -25.

just a wee bit of frost going on

Back to the point.

I could not help but think of the homeless who were out suffering in the arctic temps. Northeast Ohio isn’t any more or less special than the rest of the country in this regard. In Akron, there has been a bit of a battle between the city and a private resident who has been using his property to provide shelter for the local homeless. The biggest point made from the entire argument is that there is a huge problem when people are living homelessly for prolonged periods and we as a society move right on by.

Chicago was nationally reported on for the issues they were facing and the amazing good samaritans who stepped up to help. Hats off to you Candice Payne for everything you did and are now doing to help! Not to mention, the city of Chicago for using their transit buses and mobile warming centers. Now that is thinking creatively!

Then, I was watching the Netflix documentary The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman, and one of the episodes talked about a gentleman in the UK who goes around and gives homeless people free haircuts. In the process of his generosity, he developed the #DoSomethingForNothing. Joshua Coombes, you also sir…are a saint.

Morgan Freeman watches as Hair Stylist, Joshua Coombes, gives homeless man, Stuart Durkin, a free haircut. (National Geographic/Maria Bohe)

Do you ever feel like the universe is throwing signs in your face? Like hello you dumb ass, wake up and pay attention?

Enough rambling, get to the point girl.

In the past, I have donated goods I have made to the homeless. Truthfully, it is when I have items that have not sold and need be rotated through to make room for new stock. Mainly, because I am addicted to crochet and will ALWAYS be making stuff until my little fingers fall right off.

I seriously feel bad just saying that. They were discards. I know they helped people. I do. I just recently donated two trash bags of scarves to the homeless around the school where I work. I know the people who received them probably greatly valued them, especially during the Polar Vortex.

One piece was missing though. The personal connection.

So, my goal for the winter of 2019-2020 is this. I want to make 20 beautiful, warm and snuggly scarves/hats/blankets and I want to personally donate them and shake the hands of the recipients. I want them to know that I see them and they are not just the underbelly of society to me.

I do feel like it is a pathetically small thing. So small. But it’s a start. Who knows where it will grow. However, hopefully my teeny-tiny step will spark a little flame in someone around me…because the world needs more love. It definitely can’t hurt, right??

So, thoughts? Opinions? Inspirations?

Peace out peeps.

Painting Pets.

Hey hey everyone!

So, we have been busy lately painting a lot of really cool pets.  I have had the privilege of meeting some really cool people and I LOVE it!

A few months ago, I was approached by a friend who has asked if I would consider teaching a Paint your Pet type class.  It’s kind of funny, I had never considered it.  Ironic, given how much my life revolves around pets of some sort.  Honestly, I think I was scared of failure.  The fear of letting people down.  One of the primary goals in teaching classes was that people would be able to relax, socialize and truly enjoy what they created.  Pets seemed scary.

But I said, sure….let’s give it a whirl.  I had a ton of response!  Apparently, people really love their pets.  WHO KNEW?!?!?!

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For the pet classes, I did manage to get my new easels made.  I was actually pretty impressed with these little guys.  1.  I made them from scrap materials pretty much. 2.  They actually seem to work pretty well!

In this class, I had a couple of newbies and I can not lie….I was super nervous for them, because I didn’t want to let them down! But as they started to work and I started to see their paintings come together, I got really excited for each of them.  As they worked through each of the individual challenges of their pets, I could see their excitement grow. By the end of the class, I can not express how happy I was with them!

By the end, I think everyone was thrilled!  I even have some who want to come back to paint the rest of their 4-leggeds!  “B” in particular has 6 more to go because she is a saint who works with rescues!

Thank you for your dedication my friend.

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Also, if you happened to notice the abnormally high amount of injuries in this group…for the record…. they were all injured BEFORE they came to my class.  I had NOTHING to do with it!

For the second group, they broke ALL the rules.  Just had to put that out there.  I have never had a group of such intense workers.  We had a blast.  It was also the first group who actually asked if I had tunes to listen to….which melted my heart.  I am a music junkie!

This group also had some newbies….a few who were probably more qualified than myself to teach this class!  To see each of them work, it was truly cool.  The best part, regardless of each of their previous experience, they each made their own progress in their work.  It’s all about challenging yourself sometimes, weather you are a veteran at something, or a new kid on the block, push your boundaries!

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So, after the marathon painting session, I can honestly say that I think everyone left feeling accomplished with what they had created.  I had one…and maybe two…who might try to work on theirs a little more outside of class.  I was promised pics of completed works!  Which was another first, but it was great to see their dedication to their creations.

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Check out the photo bomb job from Beau.  He’s the best!

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Here was another first.  They aren’t spoiled or anything.

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I have noticed a couple of things about teaching these classes.  People tend to be very nervous to put that first mark on a nice clean canvas.  I think that idea applies to life in general.  Some of the greatest journeys have to start with a step and it can be terrifying.  Who wants to make the wrong line, take the wrong steps or ruin what they think is a perfect canvas?  But at the end of the day….putting that first mark on, taking that first step…can lead to something truly beautiful and amazing.  Take pride in the journey.  Love to results of process.  It’s just all little decisions that come together to make something wonderful.

Wow.

That was deep.

On that note…the hallway debacle is up next!  Ohhhhh, what a debacle it was…still is…lol!

Peace out peeps!

 

Do it.

Ok, let’s do this!

5 Things that make you happy!  All 5 should be something you will experience in the next 24 hours (or the past 24)!  They can be little…like having the time to actually tweeze your eyebrows…I’m just saying!

So, here are mine!  Depending on if anyone actually participates, there might be a prize involved.  But for the internet being endless, it seems rather lonely at this point!

  1. I didn’t have to pay in our weekly weight loss challenge, and it was the week of Thanksgiving.  That is practically miracle worthy!
  2. I got to see something that looked like sunshine today!
  3. I ate chocolate today….and frankly, it was delicious…and well worth it!
  4. I started my Christmas shopping…and almost finished it (in about two hours mind you).
  5. I got to have a conversation with a friend and as a result, got to see her smile for being happy about something!

Ok, go ahead…be brave…add your 5 in the comments.  If I knew how to call out other bloggers, I would.  That might be my next mission!

vintage-good-luck-happiness-card-450x286