Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: Planting Dandelions

Field Notes from a Semi Domesticated Life

From the author's website:  PLANTING DANDELIONS is what Pittman describes as a “natural history of an American family,” a captivating set of field notes on the living habits of a small group of humans embedded deep in the heart of suburban America. In its eighteen linked, chronological essays, she observes everyday life from the center of the chaos, but with an outsider’s appreciation, wonder and amusement. This perspective isn’t surprising given her provenance.

My thoughts:  In this book, Kyran addresses life, marriage, parenting, daily grind and death.  She does so with honesty, along with kindness and a sense of humor.  When she writes about her father's death, I had to stop reading and cry.  The antics of her three sons made me laugh out loud.  Her marriage isn't anywhere close to perfect, but she and her husband keep trying.  I think that's what makes the book so endearing.  It's kind of messy.  There are dandelions in the yard, the furniture is scruffy, the children are sweet, but don't always play nice.  Kyran says all that out loud!  Thanks!  I kind of needed to hear it! 
;-)  -Marci

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sometimes You Have to Ask for Help!

A climbing Queen Elizabeth rose bush stretches well above our privacy fence.  One perfectly gorgeous rose has been peeking over the fence, nodding 'hello' to our neighbors.

As hard as I tried, I just wasn't quite tall enough to photograph it.

Handsome Husband is such a sweetheart (and way taller than me).
He patiently photographed the pink rose from every angle I requested.  What a great partner!

His photos turned out beautifully!   
Sometimes, you have to ask for help!

;-)  -Marci

Friday, June 27, 2014

Why I Sew

There's an interesting link party at Get Your Crap Together titled Why I Sew.  It seems to be filled with stories of inspiration!
Hmm...  Why do I sew? 
I certainly love the creativity, but there's a practicality as well.  Connecting with readers and other bloggers is fun, too!
If you've read my T-Shirt Makeover Tutorials you already know that I struggle finding things that fit and don't have a huge budget.  T-Shirts are a wonderfully affordable supply of knit fabric to create all kinds of things!
Pictured above:
Whether it's headbands and flowers for a cutie pie in my life or wearables for me that actually fit, T-Shirt Makeovers and Upcycles are some of my favorite things to sew!
Then there's all the stuff my family needs and wants around our home.  We live in an old rock farmhouse built in the 1930s.  Handmade items add so much charm! 
 Is everything I sew perfect?  Of course not!  With each project and every single mistake, I learn.  Will I ever know it all?  Probably not.  I'm OK with that.
Something else I love is connecting with others throughout blog land!  There are so many inspiring sewists.  Some are highly skilled.  Some are like me, still growing.  It is such a joy to share my creations with you, Sweet Reader!  I certainly appreciate each and every encouraging comment!
So, that's why I sew.
I'd love to hear your thoughts!
'Joining this fun party!
;-)  -Marci

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Patterns from My Closet / Why Do I sew?

There's an interesting link party at Get Your Crap Together titled Why I Sew.  I plan to answer that question tomorrow!  Please come back and visit with me about it! 
Here's my latest creation for Sew Our Stash!    An easy, soft pink T.
(Click HERE to see my January Project and THERE for my February Project.  May's Project can be found RIGHT HERE.)  If you’re new to my blog, one of my 20 Wishes is to sew one thing for myself each month so I can participate in Sew Our Stash!  It is the brain child of Marissa at Rae Gun Ramblings and Bev at Flamingo Toes.  They share what they have made for themselves the last Thursday of every month. It started because they wanted to sew more wearables and needed some accountability.  While I'm certainly not at their level yet, hopefully, my skill sets will be stretched throughout the year!
That's the total point of 20 Wishes.  Making time for what I WANT to do and Wish #12 was completely followed on this project!  So, here goes! 

This T is from Maurice's (no, I did not get paid for that, but wouldn't it be cool if I did?!)  It's one of my faves.  While this fabric is seriously cool, I wanted a solid color, too.  So this shirt became my pattern!  I found a soft pink knit at Hancock's and whipped up a T in one afternoon!

  This comfy little top is getting worn a lot!  Now that I know I can sew them, I want one in every color!  If you have any simple tops hanging in your closet, keep in mind you can use them as patterns!

What are you wearing this Summer?

;-)  -Marci

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

LINK PARTY! 20 Wishes {June Update}

It's FINALLY here! Time to link up your May update or get started and share your Twenty Wishes for 2014!  (Here's my original list of  Twenty Wishes 2014 and Twenty Wishes 2013!)

You can read more on why we started this project back in 2013 here, but the gist is that life is too short. Too short to not really strive for those things you really wish to do or wish would happen. SO this year we're all going to make a real effort to mark those wishes off our lists! First you'll write and then link up your list of Twenty Wishes here. In doing so you're entered in this month's giveaway! (There will be a new one each month.) Then you'll work on those wishes throughout this year coming back here the last Wednesday of every month to link up and share your progress. Here's a button to add to your side bar to remind you to come back and link monthly, and to serve as a little encouragement to work on marking off your wishes!!
Truly Lovely
This year we are doing things a little differently. Mostly in an effort to be more organized than last year... But again, the link up will be the last Wednesday of every month. Each month one or two of our ten hostesses will offer a little something as a giveaway for those that link with us. So, allow me to introduce your hostesses for the 2014 Twenty Wishes project...

Kassi & Kayli @ Truly Lovely
Sarah @ SaturDIY
Kristine @ The Foley Fam

We aren't requiring you to follow anyone, the only mandatory entry is linking up to this party with your list of 20 wishes. BUT the more you do the more entries you'll receive and I can personally promise you if you do follow, like, etc andyof these awesome ladies you WILL NOT be disappointed!

So, link your wishes and enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter form below! 

I love seeing everyone's progress!
;-)  -Marci

Link Party Feature - Worthwhile Wednesdays

Features just make me giddy!  ;-)  My post about Upcycling a Thrifted Dress
is one of the stars of 
Crafty Allie

going on right now!  I hope you can join the fun!
It is so exciting to be featured at Crafty Allie!  Thank you, Allie!

;-)  -Marci

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

20 Wishes {June Update}

Is it really the end of June?!  We are halfway through 2014!  I guess this is a good time to pause and evaluate my 20 Wishes Progress!

1.  Celebrate 28 years of marriage!  We had a great time and I posted about it five times!  LOL!  My first post about it is Right HereAnd here is my Second PostThere were actually two posts in April.  HERE and THERE.  The last of the photos are right HERE.

2.  Vacation in Colorado.  Yep!  It was wonderful and I've only just begun to publish the 200 plus pictures PLUS there was a cool sewing project related to the trip!   Check out my  Colorado T-Shirt Makeover!  There's a fun post about Murphy and Windmills!

3.  Attend concerts.  We saw Blake Shelton, The Band Perry, Dan + Shay AND Neil McCoy this last weekend in Little Rock!  It was a GREAT concert!

Fitness Goals - Last year, one of my 20 Wishes led me to a Cross Fit gym.  Working out has taken on a whole new meaning for me and I am usually in the gym five days a week.  Since beginning Cross Fit, I've gone from a size 12 to a size 6, almost to my goal size!!  For the most part, I've worked with two trainers, Chip and Gil.  They deserve a HUGE amount of credit, teaching me the movements as well as motivating me daily and encouraging me to stick with it.  There had to have been some days where they beat their heads against a wall after I left!  ;-)  Thanks, guys!  I couldn't have come this far without you!

4.  I want to be a size 4 by May 1 and maintain it thru the rest of the year my life.  'Not there yet.

5.  Run four 5ks, one in each quarter of the year.  This just isn't going to happen.

6.  Complete an entire workout with REAL Handstand Pushups, no modifications.  Progress continues

7.  Complete an entire workout with REAL Pull Ups, no modifications.  Slow Progress is better than no progress, right?  ;-)

8.  Complete an entire workout with REAL Toes to Bar, no modifications.  I keep trying and am getting really close!

9.  Get stretchy enough that I can do the splits again, both sides.  (You might be asking "Why?" on this one.  I have absolutely no idea.  'Just want to.)  It's going to happen!

If those get accomplished:  Bonus Goals are Double Unders and Ring Dips.  Oh, and I'd like to know how many grandmothers across our great nation are choosing Cross Fit goals?  ;-)  I'm going to need lots of support and a whole lot of tenacity.  Those are going to be tough to achieve!  If you have any quotes, tips or advice, please send them my way!

Sewing Goals

10.  Complete a quilt for each of my children.  One down!  Check it out HERE

11.  Inspired by Marissa at Rae Gun Ramblings, sew something for myself monthly and join the fun at "Sew Our Stash"  This has been a GREAT goal for me!  I am gaining so much confidence in the sewing department!  I've made a Maxi Skirt!  Raglan Sleeve Top!  3 of The Ojai Wrap! and a couple of Commuter Cowls!  Yay, me!  ;-)

12.  Inspired from Adventures in Dressmaking,  follow Susannah's Sewing Resolutions.  Basically, I should fuss and worry over my pattern and fabric choices for ME just as much as when I am sewing for someone else.  Well, DUH!  ;-)  This wish ROCKS!

These goals are being brought forward from my 2013 list!

13.  Take a photography class.

14.  Learn photo shop.

15.  Make my own herbal salad dressing.  I've been goofing around with this one, but not ready to post anything yet.

16.  Create and write down 3 recipes for artisan cheese.  Cheese and yogurt making seems to be something I like to do in the fall.

17.  Re-Vamp my "Herbs:  A Place to Begin" presentation into a one hour program.  Done, twice actually!

18.  Learn more bloggy techy things.  Hmmm...  Surely I've learned something?

19.  Monetize and grow my blog.  I've been working on a Pinterest Board.  My humble little blog continues to pick up new followers here and there, and I *LOVE* meeting new people from around the world!

20.  Read and blog about 26 books.  Definitely on track and I love the monthly Literary Junkies parties!  If you like to read, please join the fun!

Whew!  So, what do you WANT to do?  

;-)  -Marci

LINK PARTY! Tuesdays with a Twist #64

Welcome to Tuesdays with a Twist!

Back to the Basics
We're your co-hosts:
Each co-host will be sharing her own picks for Features. This gives everyone a better chance of being featured.  Be sure to check all of our blogs!
 My feature this week is...  (drum roll please) 

A quite lovely  Serendipitous End to a goal that lasted 12 months.

Sew Serendipity Monique dress

  Clever Erika at Rejoice for the Day created a dress each month for 12 months!  You have to see all of them!  What an inspiration!
If you've been featured we'd love for you to grab a button.

Back to the Basics

We all love comments!  Please hop around and show some love!

The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Friday at 11:59pm.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 

Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features. 
And now for the party!

;-)  -Marci 
Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Great Blog Train Results {June}

God’s Growing Garden
The 18th GREAT BLOG TRAIN was a blast! - We had some technical difficulties but we enjoyed a "Staycation" with a delicious Brunch meal in the Dining Car. It was a wonderful trip with 29 boxcars!! We (the Engineers) would like to thank all of you for travelling with us and we hope that you all had a wonderful time!
The Giveaway Winner is: D.T.
(I have contacted the winner by email)

W   A   N   T   E   D  :

The Great Blog Train by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo BlogTrainDestination_zps2925d251.jpg

(Being a "Destination Cohost" means that you get to pick our next destination!!  It also means that you will post The Great Blog Train on your blog on the first Wednesday of whatever month you will be cohosting (1 different cohost per month).  We (the engineers or hosts) will provide you with the html code for the blog hop & for the Giveaway - all you will have to do is add into that post some information on the destination that you picked (like population, known for, location etc - basic family friendly facts) and add a few pictures.  Also, if you cohost we ask that you promote it on your social media sites) (We are now scheduling for November & December 2014).

If you are interested in being a Co-host for the Great Blog Train then please click HERE and fill out the form (THANK YOU!!)
We are now featuring the top 3 Boxcars!  (These are the links that received the most clicks)
Etsy Shop Announcement  by Clearwater Farm Journal

Make Your Own Hot Pepper Sauce by Living At My Farmhouse

Please join us for the July Great Blog Train on July 2nd, 2014!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dutch Baby Pancakes

This post is going to take some explaining.  Are you comfortable? 
I was visiting Pammy Sue at Scotty's Place, reading THIS POST.  I love hanging out with Pammy Sue!  She is super funny!  So, THIS POST leads me to THAT POST at Posie Gets Cozy where I get to meet Alicia who has wonderful photos!  Well, Alicia's post has YET ANOTHER LINK which is a really yummy recipe for Dutch Baby Pancakes!  Whew!  Did you follow all of that?  ;-)  It's a good thing you were comfortable, huh?  ;-) 

So, yeah, the really yummy recipe for Dutch Pancakes.  Alicia made them and recommended them.  Pammy Sue whipped up some and said they were tasty.  So, guess what?  Yep!  I gave them a try, too!  It  takes three eggs!  Since we have chickens, I'm always looking for ways to use eggs AND we are currently harvesting blackberries! 
We didn't have any lemons for the lemon sugar, so I substituted a lime for that and added some blackberries on top.  Something I especially like about this recipe is that the sugar is added after baking is complete.  None is actually in the batter.  Handsome Husband doesn't like things quite as sweet as I do.  We could each choose the amount of sweetness we preferred! 
Mmmmm...  A lovely Summer breakfast that we enjoyed on our back porch!
'Sending a big THANKS to Pammy Sue and Alicia!  What are you loving about Summer?
;-)  -Marci

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tote Bag for Summer

Today is the official first day of Summer!  Time flies, doesn't it?  Let's head to the pool!

This tote was inspired by Ren's Tote-ally Thankful for our Teachers post at The Inspired Wren!  She has a wonderful FREE Lined Canvas Tote Tutorial!  Thanks, Ren!
My fabric is actually drop cloth for the body plus some fun stripes and a floral, both found at Wal Mart a couple of years ago!

This was my first time to use fusible interfacing.  I purchased a medium weight, which made my bag a little too stiff.  (Another sewing lesson learned!)  The lining should be tucked inside, but the outer shell wouldn't fold over and iron nicely, so I just let the lining peak out and top stitched it in place.  The little pops of pink at the top are kind of nice anyway! 
This was my first attempt at matching stripes, too!  'Not bad!  ;-)  My favorite part, though, is the fussy cut pocket, so there's a big, honkin' flower on the front!
'Got your towel?  Great!  Throw it in my tote and let's enjoy Summer!
;-)  -Marci

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Third Stitch Fix

I've actually received my third Stitch Fix !  (No, I did not get paid for this post, but wouldn't it be cool if I did?  ;-))  For those of you that are new around here, Stitch Fix is a lovely way to purchase clothes without actually shopping!  Their site has a pretty in depth survey you complete about what you like to wear and your current needs.  There is also a spot to choose the price range you prefer.  A stylist then selects five items and mails them to you.  How often they ship is completely up to you.  The things you like, you keep.  The others are mailed back in a return envelope included in your box.  Easy peasy!  All in the comfort of your own home!  In my survey, I specifically asked for business casual items and just recently changed my schedule so I receive a box monthly.
If you would like to see my first Stitch Fix click HERE.  My second Stitch Fix is right THERE.
So, here's what came in my Stitch Fix box this time!  Four tops and a pair of dark wash denim skinnies.

The ones on the left are Stella Colorblock Dolman Sleeve Knit Shirt and Cathleen Striped Tulip Sleeve Blouse.  On the right side, we have Edmond Chevron Print Henley Shirt and Moni Stud Detailed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse.  The pants (not pictured) are Johnny Skinny Jeans. On the hanger, I only liked three of the tops.
What do you think you would keep?
First up is the Moni Stud Detailed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse.  Frankly, this is the one I did NOT like on the hanger!  ;-)  It turned out to be my favorite in this box!  How funny is that?!  It goes to work with white pants and nude heels.  It's a little bit sheer, so I add a plain black cami underneath.  I think it would be cute with cut offs and strappy sandals at upcoming Summer Concerts.  Keeper!
The next photo comes with a 'crazy hair' alert.  You may want to stop reading right now!  (Does your hair ever misbehave?  Please tell me I'm not the only one!  It got shoved into a pony tail, but somehow still managed to stick straight out of the side of my head!  How does that happen?)

Edmond Chevron Print Henley Shirt has very soft fabric.  This is the kind of easy fit I can live in all Summer!  In this photo we were off to the grocery store and about 47 other errands.  For work, it gets tucked into a medium brown skirt.  Keeper!
I also kept the Johnny Skinny Jeans, but didn't photograph them for you.  You've seen dark wash skinnies before, right?
While I love the colors of Stella and Cathleen, neither one fit, so they hopped in the return envelope included in the box and went back.  How easy is that?!
So, what do you think of my Stitch Fix box this time?
;-)  -Marci

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Have you Noticed the Site

Thanks to Aunt Peaches for the introduction!
I've posted a few photos of trains, but Following the Tracks is absolutely amazing.  Dale Wickum's photography is stunning.  Some of the snapshots make me want to sit down and join the conversation, others are a little unsettling.  I hope you'll take a look.  If you do, please let me know what you think!
;-)  -Marci

Monday, June 16, 2014

LINK PARTY! Tuesdays with a Twist #63

Welcome to Tuesdays with a Twist!

Back to the Basics
We're your co-hosts:
Each co-host will be sharing her own picks for Features. This gives everyone a better chance of being featured.  Be sure to check all of our blogs!
 My feature this week is...  (drum roll please) 

These gorgeous Potting Bench 


  from Tracie at Fishtail Cottage!  You have to see it!
If you've been featured we'd love for you to grab a button.

Back to the Basics

We all love comments!  Please hop around and show some love!

The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Friday at 11:59pm.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 

Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features. 
And now for the party!

;-)  -Marci 
Follow on Bloglovin