Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inspiration Mojo

Today turned out to be one of those days.  The first day back from vacation and there was a lot of catching up to do at work, but it all went smoothly!  This fall has been busy, happy, but seemed to be lacking a little bit of that inspiration that drives me to look at things and makes me want to create.  Don't get me wrong, I have been productive, but just not quite feeling it.

The tide really turned when I was driving the kids home from school tonight.  Like so many other's this fall, the sunset quickly put on a show, changing every second as it reached it's twilight crescendo.  What was different about this one?  I am not sure, the frosty and very windy air, that makes you quicken your step gave it a breathless feel.  Giving me the warmth that winter brings to your soul as you rush in the door at home to ward off the cold.  I snapped a number of shots and I was taken by each one. 

Then I hurried into the house to put together the Norwex order that arrived from one of my shows.  That done, went straight into making cookie dough for a cookie exchange that I am going to on Thursday.  Each dough was decadent and outrageously good raw, I'll share more about them once they are cooked tomorrow!  I then busied myself with a simple pasta sauce all made from garden items that we are storing...(aside, I have no idea why I decided to run a scene from American Horror through my head when I went into the root cellar tonight, but I sure beat feeted it out of there)!  As dinner is simmering away, I sit with a glass of wine and plug in the camera to see if any of the shots look as good SOOC as they did through the view finder.  I asked B to come over and check out the sunset from tonight.  His first comment was wow, so striped and with the deep blue, that looks like the flag.  What do you think??

I think I am getting my inspiration mojo back!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Just Open Your Eyes

Colorful Cabbage
I was running to get gas the other day, cruising down a road that I often travel and saw this rainbow of cabbage.  What struck me, other than the gorgeous color, was how I had missed this during it's growth?  Surprisingly, from "America's Dairyland" we are also a large producer of the nations cranberries and cabbage.  In fact, my township of Franksville, was once home to volumes of open sauerkraut fields.  If you have ever seen Franks Pure Foods Co. it began here in 1907 and the label you will find on many a bottle of sauerkraut. 

Aside from this little history lesson, this is about what happens when you just open your eyes and look beyond whatever your current distraction is and find joy and appreciation from the simple beauties that surround us.  Since we are staying home for Thanksgiving this year, last night B and I went out to the garden and pulled beautiful fennel bulbs, leeks, carrots, celeriac and arugula that we will incorporate into today's meal.  What a lovely thing, to be able to harvest produce for our harvest meal.
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder  
A Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Just Sit And Create

Front of Purse
We are on Thanksgiving break this week and due to a number of circumstances, we are spending it at home this year as just our immediate family.  The last few days have been peppered with sleep overs and play dates.  Last night, Sidney and her friend were up until 1:20 am diligently working on a duck tape project.
Wallet Outside
They each made their own unique purses and wallets.  Sid's reflected what most consumes her thoughts these days...can you guess?
Back of Purse
I was stunned at the thought that went into these, and how they just made up the patterns and went with it.  Sidney even has an iPod holder (pocket) built into her bag!
Wallet Inside
Now, I love to craft, but this pure ability to just sit and create, from nothing?  It is all hers, and I am so proud!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Buttoned Up

The last few days have been our final closing up.  The garden is stripped (except for abundant cool weather greens and radishes), the leaves are collected, and the compost is cooking up a storm.  We have gotten cold weather housing completed for all the critters, and everything has taken on the barren look of the coming winter.  We had our final bonfire of the season to dispose of things that won't compost for us; woody berry canes and asparagus fronds.
The light is now gone at just about 4:30 pm and last night, the glowing warmth cut through the cold air enough for a few of us adults to stand around the fire reflecting on how amazing our fall has been.  We have so many things to be thankful for, today I am thankful that we are all buttoned up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My First Annual 39th

 Funny thing, I come from two conflicting perspectives.  I always send e-cards for birthdays, Mother's Day, Fathers Day etc.  It's better for the environment  and then there's the disposal in general.  I always feel guilty getting rid of cards because I want to save the sentiments.

On the other hand, I have loads of beautiful note and post cards for sending on random occasions for the purpose of the written (handwritten) word not getting lost in our ever digital lives.  I'll tell you though, it sure is nice to open a couple of honest to goodness birthday cards from loved ones.  You know, the moms and dads who knew no different in their coming of age.

I used to save the cards, then cut them apart and put them into my intricate scrapbooks.  Alas, I haven't scrapbooked for several years, what with blogging to have a legacy of writing.  Now there are a pile of cards.

Hmmm, I think I just figured it out.  Take a pic of the lovely cards, and then blog about them!  Problem solved.  See I'm getting smarter and smarter and all on this my first annual 39th!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How Fast The Weekend Goes!

I can't believe that I let the weekend go past without a post, and here we are already Tuesday!  It's not for a lack of things, going on. Rather, there is a ton of fun stuff going on.  My new business is up, running and keeping me on my toes as I learn the ins and outs.   We had an amazing day with friends celebrating an early thanksgiving.  These kinds of get togethers are so much fun.  Lot's of food and drink, conversation and hysterical laughter, and an impromptu game of charades...what could be better?  Maybe just that on an occasion when you get 18 or so adults together with the kids, we are handily outnumbered by the latter,which is always an adventure! 

It's hard to believe how much the kids have grown!  Sid spent her shadow day at middle school yesterday, to try it out before the real thing next fall.  She absolutely loved it, and she's grown so lean and tall, she really looked the part.  Being a "middle schooler yesterday" was the first thing out of her mouth this morning when she met up with her friends.   We walked in our town's holiday parade this weekend with The Northcentral Maltese Rescue, not only a client and friend, but the origin of our crazy farm poodle Xander, who joined in the parade! It never ceases to amaze me how fast the weekend (and time in general) goes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Crafty Mamas

 I am not ready to thrust myself into Christmas shopping.  The bulk of that will happen after Thanksgiving and final harvests.  However, when thinking about hostess gifts, teachers gifts, and nice little things that are homemade, you do need to get a bit of a jump on it.  A small group of ladies decided in September that maybe we should gather a few times before the holidays, drink wine, and make gifts.

Last night was the first such session and was filled with laughter, friendship, storytelling and snacking with a little bit of crafting mixed in.  I chose two crafts.  The first was making a chai tea mix.  The recipe was simple and came highly rated.  Trying to keep the powdered mix as natural as possible I substituted the powdered vanilla creamer with the vanilla sugar that I had made with the remnants of the vanilla extract beans.  This worked perfectly, but altered the final volume amounts so I didn't end up with as much as I'd anticipated.  I was about three cups short for filling jars, (we got 14 half pint jars from a double recipe) but I was pretty happy with the ease of it.  With the jars will be a tag for use instructions and a recipe card with the chai cake from Domestic Sensualist (check it out)!

The second craft smelled amazing and I am excited to try.  We did bath teas.  Little tea bags filled with floral goodies, salts, and essential oils that can hang from the bath faucet with the water flowing through, or just bob in the tub.  The unbleached satchels I had for putting the mixture in may also be used to rub the skin.  They smell fantastic and are the perfect little hostess gift wrapped in a box in twos or threes. (with a double recipe of this we ended up with 35 generously filled bags)

Not to shabby for a crafty mama's night where trust me, we did more gabbing than actual crafting in the end!

Happy Friday!! 

Bath Tea
(single recipe)
1 C sea salt
1 C Epsom salt
8-10 drops clove oil
10-15 drops sweet orange oil
mix the above together, then add
1 1/2 C hibiscus flowers
1/2 C chamomile 
1/2 C lavender

Then place 3 Tbs. into each bag

There are tons of variations so if you're interested peruse online.  I don't think the proportions are are set in stone, just make a mixture based on preference.   I like the idea of adding oatmeal to them too.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise Sunset 
The fall light is nothing short of spectacular.  After yesterday's sunrise, I made a point to be prepared to capture the sunset just so we could see how a day that began so beautifully would end.  It did not disappoint.  Happy Monday!

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Fiddler on the Roof

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thanksgiving Comes First

golden moon
In our right now, twenty-four hour society, everyone is always looking to the next best thing.  The grass is always greener. So much so that it seems there is no time to savor or be thankful for the present moment.  If you do not watch out you can get swallowed up by life.  It just keeps going faster and faster.  No need for any retailer to tell you that you need to be prepared for the next thing around the corner.  Now I know, I am guilty of being busy, thriving on it.  But, when it comes to seasons, holidays, family, I slow down and soak in the energy around me.

I wrote last year about memories of my youth, the special Thanksgiving moments.  This year I write as someone who wants to linger in memories of the past yet savor every precious moment of the present.  This time last year I had just lost my Gram.  Last week, my other grandmother was given the information that her time on this earth is very limited.  Why is it we all choose to live life in fast forward?  Why rush?  Why choose to minimize one thing so that we can hurriedly get to the next.  By doing such, don't we completely miss all that is important?

Moral of the story?  I am by no means anti-holiday.  To me, as we approach year's end the holidays are very special.  Thanksgiving does come first.  It is a time to celebrate the bounty of fall harvest.  To take comfort in the enduring love of family and friends.  Tonight, we "fall back"  why don't we take that as a cue to slow down and enjoy the many blessings around us.  Each. one. at. a. time.

Please join Suldog for Thanksgiving Comes First!

What's Better Than Jumping In The Leaves?

Jumping on a trampoline covered in leaves!
Alas, the trampoline comes down for the season tomorrow.
Don't forget to fall back!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Hunter

At sunset
This morning Sid came running up to the house, "Mama!  see what Sage brought me!"  I went to the porch and she presented me with a deceased mouse (in a paper towel).  She said "Sage came up to me with it in her mouth, dropped at my feet, looked up at me and mewed!"  As any good hunter should do, I'm sure.  I asked her if she praised the grand hunter?  She said "of course" and trotted on her way.  Tonight, we got to see a little bit of our hunter in action.
the hunt begins
She's a cute mouser isn't she?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

OK By Me

Our house is now empty, our guests have returned home.
November is upon us, a time for reflection and thanks.
This weekend we fall back and the light will be shorter
and shorter as we approach the solstice in December. 
If this is an example of the sunsets we have to look forward to
during the darker time, then it's ok by me. Beauty

Shameless Self Promotion

I  mentioned last week that I was contemplating a new business venture.  Well I made the decision and jumped in.  Over the summer I was introduced to a line of exciting home care products that I fell in love with.  So much of my life is focused on what is healthy and sustainable for our family.  I began making my own cleaning products a little over a year ago with different combinations of vinegar, water, castille soap, essential oils (that have antibacterial qualities), and baking soda.  After observing the compelling demonstrations and then using these products I embraced them fully. 

There are so many health and environmental reasons for reducing the chemicals in our homes.  Norwex allows us to get rid of these products of multi-colored liquids by using just WATER and an amazing microfiber cloth that has properties that will not only clean but kill nasty germs too!  Over all what's in it for you?   If you're interested in saving time, saving money, and more effective cleaning that is better for the environment to boot, then it's for you.  Sounds like a win, win, win!  For those of you for whom it's important, this is no fly by night or un-tested thing, it is EPA and FDA approved.  You may or may not have heard of Norwex.  If you haven't check it out!!  My website is amyray.norwex.biz  Feel free to ask me about it, I'd be more than happy to fill you in!

***End**Shameless Self Promotion**** 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October in Review

It's hard to believe how quickly October went!  Now that soccer season is taking a reprieve and the last of the garden duty and leaf collection should be completed soon, I'm looking forward to moving toward a creative holiday season.  Here is a little glimpse of the treats that October had to offer viewed through my lens.  Happy October!

October in Review


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