Sunday, July 1, 2018

Where Is LIfe Taking Me?

Where is life taking me?  A question I have been asking oh too frequently these days.  I was shocked when I opened up my blog and realized I had not written a post since February 2015.  I think with the business of life and the change in social media with the addition of instagram, snap chat to facebook and twitter its too much work to sit down and write and longer post.  Also deep down I do think there are very few people who would even be interested in my life and what I have to say.

What did I have to say today?  There is a plethora of uplifting messages on the World Wide Web these days. One timely link or like and your thoughts can go viral. Whether those thoughts are good or bad.  You can be transposed into another state or even country with one little click which propels you forward with a second click.  It’s wonderful and at times lonely all at the same time.

For me, my soon to be 54 years seems to have been filled mostly with work.  Whether working my way through college and nursing school while becoming a mom to a son and a daughter, to working, at onetime in my life, up to three jobs to provide my family with what I thought they needed , to working on a marriage for the past 33 years, working on relationships with family and what I suspect will be my final career working as a nurse administrator with a man who has been my one constant friend and his family my second family for the past 26 years.  That’s quite a lot of work!  Like with anything in my life, I work at it intensely, full throttle, completely.  But as I sit here on this quiet Sunday, what seems to consume me the most is not the joys of my hard work but the sorrows.  I wouldn’t say I have regrets but I do wish I would have put a few more hours of research or thought into a few of them.  But as they say the past is a place of reference, not a place of residence; the past is a place of learning not a place of living.

I am in a point in my life that feels like a crossroad or mayby a new chapter is the right description.  We have downsized a bit in our home and moved to a new part of town, our children are grown, one teaching english halfway across the world and another midway through his own career, is married with two beautiful children and busy in his own life not needed me or us for much.  That throws you back into what feels like a new relationship and daily routine.  My husband has been retired for the past 8 years, not by choice but by the economy and then by the need of elderly parents who needed his care. He filled the past three years with caring for a grandson but alas all good things come to an end and PaPa is not needed anymore and lives move in different directions.  It also changed the balance in our relationship.  I now am the primary bread winner of the family. Responsibility for our welfare and lifestyle all rides on my shoulders.  With our children living their own lives, it also puts me more into focus for my husband.  He needs more of my attention then he had in the past, wanting to spend more”time with me”.  I’m sure many women can relate and at times it feels like you have no free time at all!  When you are a young married couple you would give anything to spend all your free time with you spouse, but thirty years into it and having done so many things independently, it’s hard to get used to at this stage in my life 😉.

Throughout my adult life I have traveled. Initially to Hawaii or a cruise here or there but when my daughter was in college she wanted the spend a year abroad in England and I planned a trip with a travel agent to Paris and London prior to settling her in Nottingham.  That was the first time I visited Europe and it changed everything.  Over the past 11 years I have traveled as much as possible and it truly feels like an adventure every time.  Most of the time when I traveled out of the country it was with my daughter or Tom and Barbara. My husband, while willing to travel anywhere in the USA or Canada, wasn’t keen on traveling anywhere else.  But he never minded that I went.  Each adventure came about differently.  Mostly because there is a bounty of research now available at your fingertips to guide you.  It gives you confidence in bursting forward into the unknown!  I am VERY good at research and I have not been disappointed with my self planned and guided trips.   I am not even home a day before I am thinking of the next place I want to go. It’s the one thing I keep going back to. It consistently gives me something to look forward to. It consistently makes me happy.  It’s the one thing I would never say no to!  If I could afford it I would quit my job tomorrow and do it full time!!!  But alas, I cannot retire at this point in my life, the whole breadwinner thing gets in the way but it is something to dream about.

That was the case when I returned from a visit to South Korea and Japan last summer.  I have always wanted to go on a river cruise and to see the German Christmas Markets.  But being gone in December might not fly with the hubby.  I had wanted to go this year so I could experience some of the magic with Tom & Barbara who I have shared some of my best travel memories with.  I broached the subject with the ole hubby and to my surprise said he wanted to go too!  Wow what a surprise.  So  I immediately put some time into picking the right ship and the right itinerary.  ( more on that in another post)

So in the end, life moves forward and my next adventure awaits.  I am going to get out what I put in. I am going to make some changes to make my everyday happy! Here’s to my next chapter!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What I am Obsessed with Right Now

I cannot believe I have not written a blog post since July?  What happened?  Well so many things happened to fill my thoughts and my mind preventing me from blogging.  However time has passed and I am finally getting my rhythm back.   I have always worked 60 hours per week but my creativity has been my outlet, my stress relief whether it be memory keeping, sewing or creating.

The new year has brought new thoughts and new priorities.  Of course new obsessions.

My first obsession currently is packing for my trip to Australia in April.  It has turned into a game for me.  I want to pack 15-20 items that would make more than enough outfits for my two week trip.  When I went to china, packing stressed me out as we had a big range of temperatures that required a sundress to a winter coat. My suitcase was heavy and I ended up wearing the same things over and over.  On PinterestI keep seeing capsule wardrobes which inspired me to turn my packing into a capsule wardrobe.  My goal was to have a my final suitcase weigh between 35-38 pounds. That includes all clothes toiletries, everything.

So First I had to find my capsule wardrobe inspiration. This was my inspiration, mainly because of the leopard print that I am partial to.

This inspiration was not made for a two week trip, but it is what got me started.  So I started to build my travel capsule wardrobe based on this inspiration.  I went to my closet and started to pull out items.  When looking at travel capsule wardrobes you will always see a stripped shirt, a chambray shirt and black leggings.  Another common item is thin layers and a scarf.  So I decided if all my layers were thin,  I could take more items.   Thin layers weigh a lot less.  Also leggings and skinny jeans weigh less than regular jeans.  Our weather will be more stable in Australia, but we will be there for their fall. So at this point based on past temperatures I believe I will taking boots for those rainy days or cooler days.  In Melbourne, it is know for having four seasons in one day.  I had to also narrow my other shoes down and my goal was  a total of three pairs.  So you have to have an idea of what you are going to be doing.  For this trip we will be doing some hiking and excursions that involve the beach.  So I decided to take a pair of hiking shoes, in between a tennis shoe and hiking shoe. Light weight. But my hiking shoe is a half size bigger and I do not like how they look with leggings, which was going to be my go to hiking bottom, thus making me re-think my bottoms.  Lastly I needed a cute flat that could be casual and dressy which of course was an easy choice- leopard.  Leopard goes with almost everything and adds fun to your outfits.  

After looking through my closet, it was time to start virtual packing which in turn will give you a list of anything you need to purchase.  You can start your virtual packing on an app called polyvore.  I started with making my base layers.

Here is my initial packing layers.
I was initially happy with this particular set and set out to find the items I did not have.  While I love leopard, it did not have a cute leopard chiffon shirt.  I can tell you currently, I still do not have a cute leopard shirt.  I also loved the black sweater with gold buttons but could not find one similar to it in my price range.  That is what is one thing about polyvore.  You find an item you love but oops its 1500.00 as its designer :(.  However the stripped shirt I did find the stripped shirt on polyvore.  I ordered it and I love it.  I wanted a stripped shirt that was not stripped all over as I do not look the greatest in strips given I am curvey.  So after a month of looking for these two items, I decided I need to find another pattern shirt to take that would go with my leopard flats and figure out what my pop of color would be.  I turned to pinterest again and found this combination that I loved. Navy gingham and pink.
So I set off to buy a navy gingham shirt, which I bought one a banana republic which I love but it was a little too long when I started putting my outfits together as it was more tunic length. I then scored one at Brooks Brothers which was 70% off.  I also pulled out a pink sweater from my closet. Done.
I went back to polymer and changed around my choices to this below.
As you can see , pink will be my pop of color.  I added a different dress and a skirt and took out the black dress.  I took out the red and black sweater and added pink sweater and a thin layering pull over black sweater. I also took out the black med weight coat and added the blue swing coat.  I swapped the black scarp with the baby and white scarf and added a bathing suit, sandals, belt, tights. I also swapped the white shirt with white layering tank and the short sleeve cream top for the pink long sleeve top.  Both my white and pink long sleeve tops are Columbia button ups that the sleeves roll up and have built in sun screen. They are super light but not see thru.

Now the fun part is making the outfits.  I started with first four days.
Now if i have two shoes showing, its because it will depend on the weather in Melbourne.  I hate hats but am taking one as sun I am told is much brighter there and I don't want to get burned or add any more age spots to my face haha.  So fund virtually packing.  But after four days I still had tons of stuff I had not even worn. So moved to next four days.
Again I realized I still had not worn four items in my suitcase so still had a lot of room to play with.  What I started to notice here as I am preparing to make my Sydney outfits is that if the weather is warmer, which could happen, then I am limited on my short sleeve options.  I also realize I have one too many long sleeve tops in my suitcase that I really do not need.  I like 3/4 sleeves but if its really warm for some reason I need a short sleeve option. Thus I am on the hunt for a short sleeve option and it will replace my long sleeve dotted option.  Here is how my packing looked when I tested the weight  of my suitcase. Of course my two puppies thing they are going.

I am happy to say my suitcase weight with everything in it, including toiletries, hair dryer etc the final weight was 36 lbs.  I have won this challenge and I am super happy about it.  It still needs some tweaking but I am confident it will not weigh more!!!

My second obsession right now is my little grandson Brooks.  Richard is watching him now two days per week.  I am so JEALOUS.   He gets to spend the time with him and see him grow and change.  He spends 18 hours a week just playing with him.  How lucky he and brooks are to have this time.  Garrett had this same time with his Nana and until now I did not realize how special it was for both of them.  I have to work so much so I do not get to see him as much but thankfully between Face timing and pictures, I can see him.  Rich has taken some great pictures, capturing how happy brooks is.  He is a great baby and I can see the happiness in his eyes.  So I do what I do best I preserve the memories.  I love how these two layouts turned out.

How can you not be obsessed with this beautiful boy.  He looks so much like Garrett when garrett was young.  So full of color and life.  Such joy he brings.  I just love him to pieces.!!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Moving Forward

Its been a while since I posted here on my blog.  Works been crazy and the weekend never is long enough.  With the recent passing of my sister I took to heart some of her last words to me "make more time to do the things that make you happy".

I have always put work first, my entire career.  Sometimes out of financial responsibilities, but mostly because its my work ethic.  It's instilled down deep and its gonna be hard to change.

If we all knew when we were going to die, we would all live our lives differently I am sure...   Maybe I am becoming more philosophical as my "50th" birthday approaches at the end of the week.   I have been traveling more.  But some of my life is not quite where I would wish it to be.  I am not sure it will ever be.  I have very few people I can truly count on and for that I only have myself to blame.  So I move forward and hope maybe I can changes it piece by piece.  

So in moving forward I have been sewing more.  Preparing for my first grandson.  And today I worked on some  DIY mercury glass.   I saw a couple of tutorials with different methods recently. One here  and a second one here.  I used a combination of both.

I started with two different mason jars and one milk jar.  With the tops taped off.

 And a can of krylon looking glass mirror paint.  I bought mine at Walmart.  Its a 6 oz can and runs around 9 dollars.
I sprayed a thin coat of the paint inside the jars.  The wide mouth mason jars are the easiest to do. The milk bottle more difficult.  You around the jars to coat the inside then i turned them upside down.  Wear gloves as the paint gets all over your fingers.   You need about five thin coats letting each coat dry for 2 minutes.

 What I found however is the milk bottle had a lot of drip marks inside as it was difficult to stay into and the pain would pool so I ended up spraying the outside instead.  The second tutorial I did recommended to stay the vinegar/water mixture on then spray the paint right away.  Once it started to bead up, dab with paper towel.  I started to do this, but its kinda subtle and I wanted a more wiped off look so the third coat I just sprayed the paint without the vinegar.
 When you are done with the five thin coats the inside of the jars look like this on the inside.  The runs that happen on the first two coats are really hard to see now.
Then comes the vinegar find.  Take a spray bottle and put equal amount water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.  Spray inside the mason hard and then wipe with a paper towel.  Dabbing the vinegar makes subtle removal of the mirror paint, wiping takes out bigger areas below, which is what I was going for.
 Keep repeating till you get the look you want.  If you remove too much, just spray another coat of mirror paint inside.

 I love the look of all the jars.  The mild jar with the paint outside required both dabbing and rubbing. The undercoat of vinegar spots really came through once you rubbed a little.
 To finish off the jars I rubbed with a sponge brush some gold paint on the inside. It really increases the mercury look when looking at the jars from the outside.
 Now you can turn them into candle holders or a little vase.  The flower frogs I found at Michaels.
 Or a cute little gift container that you can put a candle in.  The lid I found at Beverly's  I am not sure I will keep this one long, Rachel has her eye on it.  But I think it would be so cute to store thread in.

It was a lot of fun trying to come up with some little "chic" ideas for  a table and I plan on playing with it some more.

Happy Sunday....