Friday, January 23, 2015

Liquid Sunshine

We have lived in our house in Arizona for almost 30 years. I always
say that my husband could part with the house much easier than he
could part with his citrus trees. Once a farmer always a farmer.

The lower branches are the first ones picked, 
but there is still plenty of fruit on the inside 
and on the upper branches.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Recommendation: Gifted Hands, The Ben Carson Story

This was a book recommended to me on Facebook. 
It is an excellent book and I highly recommend that
everyone read it, regardless of what kinds of books
you normally like to read. 

It is the true story of Ben Carson, born in 1951,
 who grew up in inner-city Detroit.
In spite of a lack of motivation at an early age and many adverse
circumstances, Carson became the chief pediatric
neurosurgeon of Johns Hopkins Hospital at the
age of 33.
This memoir is filled with riveting accounts of 
medical miracles he and his staff performed, including the
successful separation of German twins joined at the head
which brought him world-wide acclaim.

But the book is much more than that. 
Through his own struggles and challenges growing up, 
Carson wants young people to know that they can
do anything they set out to do.
Every single person has a talent. 
He uses the last chapter of his book to advocate his message--
These are the principles that were instrumental in his career path
that he wants to share with youth:
I--In-Depth Learning

And in here lies the real beauty of the book.

I believe this is a must read for everyone.
The reviews on Amazon are fantastic!
If you are a teacher, parent, grandparent,
or know someone who needs motivation,
this should be your next read!

"There is no such thing as an average human being.
If you have a normal brain, you are superior."
--Dr. Ben Carson   

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How To Tuesday

There are so many awesome tutorials on Pinterest. It never ceases to
amazes me how willing people are so share their great ideas. Here's
a few projects that I think are quite practical and worth passing on. The
original source is of course credited.

Kleinworth & Co.
No re-wiring necessary!

Sew Much

Just a Little

Made From

Pre-soak in salted water--they will release a bunch of
their moisture before cooking. They they will crisp up
without burning.

Any tips or tricks that you have learned on Pinterest?

I can tell you that my oven fries are a whole lot 
better now that I have learned the trick to making
them crispy!

And I am seriously thinking about replacing some can lights 
in my kitchen. 
The tutorial is amazingly simple. Or at least it appears so.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Burlap Monogram Wreath

I am one of those people who has to have a wreath hanging on the
door at all times. It just doesn't feel right to have a naked door. So
when the Christmas wreath came down, I had the next one in hand.
This one is nice because you can basically leave it up year round
if you are not a holiday person--or um, if you are just not quite ready
for the next holiday to get here like the stores are.

There are a million and one tutorials out there for making this type of ruffled/bubble
wreath, but I do have a few tips to pass on to you. I studied the tutes long and 
hard and experimented a lot before I was satisfied with the finished look.

This is an 18" wire wreath that you can purchase at any craft store. The burlap I
used was one 10 yd. roll. You have to be careful or this will not be enough to go
around without looking skimpy. Having the monogram helped because the
coverage underneath it did not have to be as full. Don't waste what is used on the
backside--pull that part tightly.

Start by attaching the end of the burlap to one of the inner wires of the frame with
a twist tie like most of the tutorials say. Keep the tail to the back side. From this
point on, you are not working with the end of the burlap roll. You are not stringing 
all 10 yds. of it in and out of the wires as some of the tutorials allude to. Instead, 
make a pouf in the burlap and push that under the wire and up on the other 
side of it, thus making your first ruffle or pouf--whatever you want to call it.
Continue in this manner, over and under the wires of  the frame, always working
with the burlap by making these poufs and using up the roll. 

It is easiest if you sit on the floor with the frame and roll of burlap in your lap--
I think. If you start by going to the inside of the frame, then next you are alternating
and going up to the outside of the frame, If you find the burlap slipping, give it one 
twist to hold it in place, but you cannot do this every time because it uses up too 
much burlap. Try to keep the burlap on the back taut. You don't want bubbles on 
the back side. You want it as flat as possible.

Keep pushing the ruffles together as you go around and adjust the size of them. If 
you are not happy with the coverage, you always add another roll. 

The letter is a wooden one I purchased at Hobby Lobby. I painted the back and 
sides black, sprayed it with adhesive, and set it face down on the back side of a 
piece of designer paper. I cut it out with an exacto knife and filed the edges for a 
smooth, finished look. I drilled eye screws onto the back and attached it to the 
wire frame with jute. If you look closely, you can see that I added some burlap 
and jute flowers above and below the letter for added interest.and to fill in some

I find that wire shower hooks are very handy to hang these wire wreaths. Just
remember to attach them to the inside wire of the frame so they are not seen 
from the front when the wreath is hung.

   And there you have it..
I hope this makes some sense.
Remember, the first one is always the hardest.

Friday, January 9, 2015

It Happened in New York City

During the middle of December, our family spent a wonderful week-end
together at our son and dil's home in New Jersey. We always make a point
of going into the City to see a musical and this time it was Cabaret, followed
by a fine dining experience. Before dinner, we saw the upper 2/3's of the tree
in Rockefeller Center--it was impossible to get any closer with so many people.

We decided to go back into New York City on Monday, our last day, to see a few
more sites. At the top of our list was walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, catching a
of the Statue of Liberty from afar, and then going down to the 9/11 Memorial.

Needless to say, the new World Trade Center building is very impressive.

Condé Nast, the publishing company that owns The New Yorker, 
Vanity Fair, and other magazines, was the first tenant to 
move in. They began setting us offices on floors 20 to 44 in November.

 There will be five more buildings in the future.

These six towers will surround the two pools--
the 9/11 Memorial--which have been placed
 in the footprints of the original Twin Towers.

Thirty foot waterfalls cascade into a pool, each then into
a center void.

The names of the victims are inscribed in bronze parapets
 around all  four sides of each pool.

Various factors were used in the arrangement of the names--
where the victims were on that day, the relationships they shared
with other victims, honoring families' requests.

As we were looking at the first pool, I was telling my
children that I had known the gentleman from 
our town who had died that day. 
He was at a business meeting on one of the upper floors.
I had sold a condo for him many, many years ago and yes,
I remembered his name--Gary Bird.

As we were walking from the first pool to 
look at the second pool, right there was his name!

Now, what are the chances that out of almost 3,000 names, 
I would happen upon his name?  
There is no way I would have thought I could find it unless I had
used the electronic directory on the Memorial plaza or
downloaded the app.

Rest in peace.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dear Abby's New Year's Resolutions Printed 2005

Abigail Van Buren--1918-2013
We all knew her as Dear Abby, the syndicated columnist who
offered sound, straight-forward advice to millions of people,
often which made you chuckle or even might have made you shed
a tear or two. 
I was going through a box of clipping earlier today that I have been saving 
for years, and down at the bottom, I found Abby's Resolution List from 2005.
Exactly ten years ago it was printed, so I thought it was an appropriate time 
to be re-visited. Some advice is never out-dated.

Just for today, I will live through this day
only. I will not brood about yesterday or
obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-
reaching goals or try to overcome all my
problems at once. I know that I can do some-
thing for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I
had to keep it up for a lifetime.
Just for today, I will be happy. I will not dwell on 
thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds,
 I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine. 
Just for today, I will accept what is. I will face
reality. I will correct those things I can correct
and accept those I cannot.
Just for today, I will improve my mind. I will read 
something that requires effort, thought and
concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.
Just for today, I will make a conscious effort to be
agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who
cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I'll
improve my appearance, speak softly and not interrupt
when someone else is talking. Just for today, I'll
refrain from improving anybody but myself. 
Just for today, I will do something positive to improve 
my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll quit. If I'm overweight,
I'll eat healthy--if only just for today. I'll get off
the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only 
around the block.
Just for today, I will gather the courage to do what is 
right and take responsibility for my own actions. 
May we find peace and joy
in this New Year.
                                                                                                      ---Love, Abby
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