Tuesday, October 23, 2012

something old, something new

okay, let's talk about candles. every october, i get obsessed with them. although lots of people have allergies or sensitivity to the smells in candles, so i only burn them when i am here alone. which is almost all of the time. doh.

anyway, i decided to recycle some of my old burned up candles a couple weekends ago. it's SO easy, so i thought i would share. for the record, the candles i used were several years old from pier one...they now retail from $9 to $11 each. the prob with them (and a lot of candles) is that the middles burn down, leaving a weird shell of unused wax.

 which became the basis for my new creations. these guys were pretty much 'shelled.' ha.

 the next thing you need is a new wick - you can get em at hobby lobby, but i ordered these from the internet a few years ago - they are short, coated wicks, which last a little longer than the uncoated kind. candle wicks have a small metal base on them, which you can attach to the bottom of your candle mold (or container).

 this is a thrifted pottery bowl, maybe 5" in diameter and 4" tall. i decided to add three wicks to the bowl, so that it might burn down a little more evenly. there are lots of ways to attach the wicks, i actually used a teeny tiny bit of window putty! but you can also use a chopstick and tape, which you run along the top of the container and lean the wicks up against. it's not too hard to do, trust me. just be careful to get the wicks to stand up as straight as possible.

 the next thing you need is a 'double boiler' - or a way to melt the old candles. i have a small metal pan with a handle that was actually from a craft kit in the 70s, but any small saucepan would do. i do like that it has a 'pour' spout, which makes things not so messy.

put the pan in a larger fry pan half full of water on the stove. the larger pan of water will keep your wax from scorching. heat on low to medium to get it going. wha-la. before long, the old candles are melted and good - you can fish the old wick out with a chopstick at this point.

 be careful when you pour. hot wax is VERY hot. i would not suggest having small children or pets around at this point.

 depending on the size of your container, the wax will start to set up pretty quickly, this photo was taken after about an hour. one thing - most candle makers do a '2 pour' deal - the first layer sometimes settles and makes an uneven surface around the wick. in this case, since i plan to burn the candles right away, i did not care.

i could have done the first pour kind of lower in the container, then added a 2nd pour over the top once the first layer was set. you might want to do this if you are picky, or if you want to give them away as gifts.

and there you go! less than a half hour of work, start to finish, and a whole new candle instead of throwing something away.

recycling is actually kind of rewarding, isn't it?

Monday, October 22, 2012

the dreaded 'b' word

hey everybody,

happy Monday - my devo for today said to 'look for joy in hidden things' - perfect for a monday, don't you think?

i thought i'd give you an update on my 'budget analysis' that i decided to do at the beginning of the month.

i have not been crazy weird about it, but here's what i did. i gave myself a budget to work with for a whole month, not including all of my bills - but just the flex purchases, things like food, gasoline and other items.

i thought i was doing GREAT! i have unsubscribed from a whole bunch of daily emails from places that i love...no temptation. i have not really 'shopped' for anything. i have only gone to the thrift store ONCE. whew.

ummmm...except for one thing. i have all but blown the 'budget' dollars by today, the 22nd of october. with 10 days remaining in the month.

whaaaaaaaa? seriously?

budgeting is not as easy as i thought it would be! i have to admit, i've not really felt restricted, mostly because i have lots of stuff to do/make around here that i did not have to purchase.

admittedly, a lot of my entertainment has been food-related.

I canned the last of the tomatoes....4 more quarts of homegrown goodness.

I started back up with making my homemade yogurt.

I tried a new granola recipe.

i also froze seveal kinds of soup, and roasted a chicken. no, i did not starve :)

i dug down deep and found more stuff to paint. because i will never, ever be caught up with painting around this place!

the dresser went pink, and went to the basement.

the basement became my new 'bunker' home, and my upstairs bedroom became a guestroom.

the living and dining room became a different 'color.' again.

 and then there were the crafts. i have crafts in every nook and cranny, many of them unfinished.

i made candles from candles - blog post to come this week.

and you all have seen the quilt...which i have not gotten very far on...but farther than this!

all in all, it's been a very fun month. i am going to try and finish well, and go the last 10 days without blowing the budget i set....it will probably require a little bit of sacrifice, but i think i can do it.

i think the funniest part of the whole month was the mail i received on saturday. i prefer to think of it as the yin-yang of my finances :) sigh. i have a feeling this battle is going to continue.

have a good day!

Friday, October 19, 2012

'puttin' up

so, it's getting colder here, and that means my thoughts come back to indoors and snuggling inside for the long winter.

usually, that means i think about eating.

i might possibly blame some of this action on my 'kitchen mates' anne and loretta, whom i spend much of the day on wednesday of each week with, as we cook for the church's evening mid-week meal.

in any case, i am on a roll. i have already made several kinds of soup, and a butternut squash lasagna a couple of weeks ago.

 i also chopped up some hot peppers from the garden last weekend for the freezer. my hands actually burned for TWO days. i am going to make a batch of salsa with the last of the tomatoes THIS weekend. i promise not to touch these bad boys again, though!

yesterday, i roasted a chicken using this recipe....it was so delish! in fact, i forgot to photograph it when i took it out of the oven, it smelled THAT good ;) the pan drippings were amazing....and i have lots of leftover chicken to chop and use for other things.

i also made 3 quarts of chicken stock for the freezer after I cleaned the meat from the bones. yeah, i went completely laura ingalls wilder on that chicken!


and lastly, i made a new kind of spicy granola this week...from a new hero of mine...curtis stone. he was here in SF a few weeks ago, and even though i did not go see him, i kind of wish i would have...! curtis rules!

 i know you think i like him because he's cute, but actually, i'm not really into him THAT way.

i guess because he kind of reminds me of HIM. i'm not really a fan of him, although i wish i could make my hair do that :)

but i do like his personality. and i do like his facebook page. and his blog. and apparently, i also like his recipes ;) so here's to a winter of eating real food, instead of 'fast' food and 'junk' food :)

happy cooking!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

if you want your good cry for the day (or maybe that is just me) - watch this video of a baby elephant being freed from a well and reunited with its mother.

i started at the 4 minute mark, because I did not love seeing the struggle too much.

but the crying came between minutes 4 and 5 :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

 is it just me, or do the new nail polishes and designs that you are seeing all over just get you excited?! it's like designing a brochure on your hand :)

ha. well, not exactly. but i have gotten bitten by the bug a LITTLE bit. i have not gone out and spent a ton on new nail polish, but dragged some very old stuff out of the bathroom cabinet.

carey says all the 7-year-olds in mitchell are doing the very same thing :)

ps. there is really nothing more gross than a fingernail close-up! do not zoom!

Monday, October 15, 2012

now i've seen it all.

sigh. this weekend was fabulicious.i'm pretty sure that is a word.

saturday was nearly 70 degrees, so i got to run around outside again, and clean up dead stuff, organize the shed, and just generally be in the sunshine and nature.

little did i know, i took part in a growing 'movement' that oprah has invented. or something like that. it's called 'earthing.'

google it. i did, because my friend kirsten brought it up on her blog last week. according to the 'earthing' website...here's a definition:

Just as the sun gives us warmth and vitamin D, the Earth underfoot gives us food and water, a surface to walk, sit, stand, play, and build on, and something you never, ever thought about—an eternal, natural, and gentle energy.  Think of it perhaps as vitamin G—G for ground. What does that mean to you?  Maybe the difference between feeling good and not so good, of having little or a lot of energy, or sleeping well or not so well.

I love how this 'movement' acts like they are coming up with something new - vitamin G for ground! i'm seriously dumbfounded that people jump into this kind of stuff. the best part is that there are ALL SORTS of products you can purchase, esp. blankets and sheets, etc. which are supposed to emulate sleeping on the ground. um, sure.

most of the stuff also PLUGS IN. 





notice the lovely packaging. this is the point where i become kind of embarrassed for being in marketing. c'mon people, really???! ARE YOU SERIOUSLY BUYING THIS STUFF?




oh man. i wonder what God thinks of us down here. esp. in America, where we have lots and lots of money to invent our new 'religion' every time we turn around. instead of turning to the one true God who actually knows what's what.


seriously. if oprah were here right now (or dr. oz, who endorses this s**t) - i would kick her in the shin. for shame.


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”

So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.

God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.

 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.  
And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”

So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning — the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.

God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

I should market this stuff up here above, it seems like it makes alot of sense, no?

I think I'll call it Genesis I.

:) happy monday!





Thursday, October 11, 2012


i've been meaning to post about this for a few days now. i read awhile ago that facebook is testing a 'want' button with a couple of big retailers.

my biz partner and i have recently decided to jump on the social media bandwagon, and start doing some facebook marketing for our clients. it doesn't look like the 'want' of our consumer society is going away anytime soon.

and no wonder. there are LOTS and lots of things to want when you spend any amount of time on the internet. for me, it's pretty much ALL DAY LONG, so my want list can grow pretty large.

lou told me about some apps that you can get on your phone that let you track your impulses to buy things. i downloaded one, but so far, i've just kept a mental list of the things that have popped into my head to 'want':

I look at these every fall. sometimes multiple times per week. badly 'want'.

i tried to buy a $3.99 thrift store watch, because the battery is dead in all but one of my watches. it hurts my wrist to wear. so i 'want' this one.

a friend is moving next week. looking around for artwork for HER makes me 'want'.

another long-standing 'want.' which would make me 'want' everything new for my whole living room. the chain 'want'.

i debate about this one. i've decided that food purchases are off limits for now - but what about the birds? is caring for them a 'want'?

you see where this is going.

i'm no longer a serial shopper when it comes to driving to stores and gazing around at stuff. however, the internet creates an even STRONGER desire to 'want' more stuff, because the stuff is especially pretty and easy to purchase.

i've given myself October to at least try to tame the 'wants'. some of it is keeping track of them and realizing how foolish it is to want THINGS more than things. you know?

the other aspect of this is to fill that space where 'wanting' lives with the REAL things God wants me to want. by just opening your heart, you can begin to turn on the internet feed to the REAL things that you want, did you know that?

in my devo this morning, God said this to me:

"though i have brought many pleasures into your life, not one of them is essential. receive my blessings with open hands. enjoy my good gifts, but do not cling to them. turn your attention to the GIVER of all good things, and rest in the knowledge that you are complete in Me. the one thing you absolutely need is the one THING you can never lose: my Presence with you."

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

one year ago

This is the photo i have from one year ago. must have been a pretty day. trying not to miss my old house.

Monday, October 08, 2012

bad blogger

i'm in a blogging funk, i think.

on one hand, i think of things i want to tell you.

on the other hand, i feel like i've told you them before.

perhaps, i am coming to the end of blogging. i hope not, because it would make me sad, i think.

well, before we do anything drastic, let's try a random post. those are easy.

 i suppose i am a bit sad. after a very disappointing year of gardening, i had to pull the tomatoes last week. i will miss em. the remaining tray of partially ripe fruit is out in the sun porch. looks like i will get one more batch of canning done. yay.

 all i want to do lately is bake. i have never been much of a cook, but baking, i love. i made caramel rolls over the weekend, and gave them away. it was fun, but i wish i could have eaten just one ;)

 oh, the plants came in from outside too. there are still bunches of them in the 3-season porch. my whole house is green again. no room for this kind of thing, but sigh. i have no other choice. i cannot kill them just. quite. yet.

i've been enjoying the new glasses and new haircut. i feel like maybe i am trying a little bit. it's so hard to be motivated when you work from home. but it's good. i feel good.

okay. so that was not so bad. hopefully, my brain will think of some good posts this week, and i will get back on the wagon. i hope you are still there ;)

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

dog days of, um, october

I actually came armed with a camera, thinking I would take cute pics because Carey cannot take a good photo to save her life.

I quickly found out that chubby, lounging cats are much easier to shoot than tiny, wriggley puppies.

seriously. he did not stop for a SECOND, even when we tried to divert his attention with toys.

as you can tell, he already has quite a few toys.

trust me. he was fast.

 and much more into people-climbing than playing with toys.

 we tried to hold him down and capture his cuteness. but carey needed to make sure that in all instances, his 'man parts' were covered.

sigh. we gave up.

later, we just went outside. we got him to sit still for a second while he checked out sydney.

 i love my syd, and i think she loves me, but HIM - not so much.

crosby, on the other hand, is not one to avoid new friends, even small annoying ones. but she would much rather play ball.

oh good grief. c'mon everyone, just say 'hello' to gunner. he's small, he has attitude, and he just hit the jackpot by getting to live with the most pet-friendly people i know. lucky dog!