Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Musings - December 2017

'Tis the season! And right now, there are two types of people. 
- "The holidays are wonderful!"
- "Ugh, the holidays."

And some days I fall in both camps. It's a complex time of year and can be emotionally challenging for many - including me. So, these were the best and worst of the month.

Books: Sometimes when I'm stressed, I have a hard time sleeping. A little time with a book before bed helps. So I've made it a point the last month to take the time to wind down. Because of that little habit, I managed to finish 5 books! (It only looks like 4, because one has two). I was lured in by Lagom's cover. It really wasn't worth the $13 that I impulsively paid at Target. There is a Swedish flair to the idea of frugality, reduce, take time for the family, etc but it's certainly not new. Anita Blake, vampire hunter, has another outing in Bullet but it's almost formulaic at this point. The Furies was an interesting pick-up at my local Little Free Library (but it will be going back). The best find was a two-in-one pick up of The Innocent Mrs. Duff and The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. At some point in my life, I purchased this two-in-one book of mysteries on a whim. It was a good whim. Her books are brilliantly written and hold up well to the test of time. They are exactly the kind of reading you hope someone would leave behind at beach cottage or holiday rental.


Gratitude: The garden that never stops! We pulled out carrots on December 2nd. (And kept harvesting the parsley, mint and thyme until mid-December.) The carrots intrigued me. Some were nearly full size, some were very small. All were planted in mid-May, so I'm not sure what the difference is!

That some skills, once learned, don't fade. We've been crocheting scores of yarn roses for an upcoming event. La Gram Russe taught me to crochet the summer I was ten. I remember it vividly. And that's good since I hadn't crocheted in about 10 years! But like swimming or riding a bike, it comes back.

Free will. You can choose to change. You are the only one who can make that choice. But if you don't put the choice to action, it's just a wish. I'm also grateful for those who help facilitate self-change by reminding you that you can not change other people. (And may I recommend a book called "Boundaries" to help you learn when to say no, especially to family and how they treat you?)

Listening: Since the latest update, my iPhone has been a little temperamental about pulling up my podcasts. (I do not enjoy hard rebooting every morning to just to pull up podcasts.) It's made listening less easy and if it's not easy - it doesn't happen in my world. I think I hit Sidehustle about once a week and nothing else. Plus, with the season, the soundtrack has been heavy on the holiday playlist. Bonus - a few of the kidlets like Gumbo Christmas and Straight No Chaser, so I have musical allies in the household!

Perfumes: I've been trying to kill off a very large bottle of Paper Flowers, as mentioned last month. And for a change, the occasional splurge of Majalis. I've also tried different lotions to change the base. Small variations. Sometimes that's just what you need.


Recipe of the Month:  This month, it's all about easy in my life. We totally went semi-homemade on a bunch of stuff, including sugar cookies. We had a BLAST decorating them!

Cassie (11) likes to make deviled eggs and pigs-in-blankets. And her teen-age brothers love them. So, we often make those two things during holidays. And this year, The Guy made a delicious treat with cream cheese and crescent rolls. So, with one extra ingredient, we were able to add-on an delicious and easy new treat!

Creamy Crescent Treats
- One pack of cream cheese (we used garden vegetable)
- One pack of crescent rolls
Open and unroll crescents as noted on package. You can use at that size or cut down for more appetizer-sized rolls. Add a dollop (or 3 if using full-sized) of cream cheese and roll up the rolls. Cook according to package directions. Easy!

Tip - you can mix in chopped green onions to the cream cheese for an extra fresh delicious option.

Also, Israel (19, Isy) has taken a liking to the protein balls I make and asked for the recipe.

Peanut Butter Oat Protein Balls
- 1 cup quick cooking oats (also reserve additional for later)
- 1 cup unsweetened, natural peanut butter
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 1/2 cup of chia seeds or flax seeds or a mix, optional
Mix all in a bowl. Scoop out a tablespoon, and on a wax paper surface roll into a ball, then coat with extra oats. Stored tightly, these will last a week in a refrigerator or a cool room.

Self-Care: It is the time of  year when dry skin reigns supreme. In addition to the usual oils (almond, apricot, coconut, olive), I've added some lotions and creams. There was a sampler of Hempz's lotions that caught my fancy this month. My love for roses continues. And I've picked up a rose hand cream (Caswell Massey) and a lovely British rose body cream from the Body Shop. Plus, Caswell Massey has a lovely Apothecary Sampler filled with different kinds of floral waters, including Rose! I've been adding that to my dry clay masks for a gorgeous good skin, scented treat. (Also perfect for toner post-mask.)  And yes, that is a new Rose Miscellar Water I'll be trying this month!

Watching: Binged whole seasons. Yep. Not even guilty. Heavy watching while crafting, wrapping, and writing. Inhumans. Shut Eye. Pure. 

(I track info and details better in large quantities. Weekly watchings just don't work as well.)

These are a few of my favorite wraps this year. I like using "everyday" materials when wrapping and finding ways to make things pretty. I love that the same materials can be used another day! My frugal "waste not" soul rejoices.

Random: I've recently discovered drug store leggings and a really awesome drugstore organic face oil (more soon). I now feel about 100% more confident that if a witness protection situation arises, I can adapt.

Happy holidays!

Take-away - Give yourself the gift of the time and space you need to process whatever gets thrown your way. 


Original musings posts you may enjoy:

All photos by moi! 

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Paint It Purple

Pantone has spoken. And the color of 2018 is....Ultra Violet. Or grape. Like many things, it depends on your perspective.


Spiritual. Regal. Creative. A delicate blend of opposites. Artistic. Complex. Mystic.

Pantone selects the color of the year based on current cultural influences.  Or at least that's the company line.

Sometimes I think they pick what they want to see in the world. Compromise? Less stark distinction? Other times I'm concerned by the implied acceptance the color engenders to some bigger ideal. We live in a democracy. Ultra Violet is not a democratic color. It's the color of royalty. However, the color does have an inherent richness. Perhaps it's a wishful nod at better times to come.   

Take-away -  Experience colors perception. But a fresh start is always possible. 

Other blog posts you might enjoy:
- Color, A Random Post (2016)
An Orchid Year (2014)
Pantone, Again (2013)
- Orange Love (2012)


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