Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring Cleaning

This past weekend, the weather here in the Midwest was beautiful! Upper 70’s and low 80’s with no humidity, lots of sunshine, gentle breezes and the first grass mowing of the year. It was the perfect time to switch out storm windows for screens (our house is over 100 years old and still has its original windows), clean out the herb,flower, and veggie beds, clean the windows, wash the drapes, and start spring cleaning.
I love spring cleaning! Years ago, when I began studying herbs and essential oils, the first place I tried them was in my cleaning. I was hooked! I use a homemade window cleaner made of water, vinegar, and essential oils. I usually choose bright, uplifting oils, such as bergamot, citrus, and sometimes a drop or two of eucalyptus to add extra freshness to the air.
I mix up carpet refresher with baking soda, essential oils, and crushed, dried herbs. Once sprinkled on the rugs, and allowed to sit for a bit, the whole room smells fresh and clean. I add a few drops of essential oil to a damp, white washcloth, and toss it into the dryer with my curtains so they have an herbal scent when I hang them back up.
Last night I raided the Dollar Spot at Target and grabbed a cheap planner kit just for my garden this year. The paper is super thin, but I found some fun pencils to use, which means I can doodle out my garden space, make lists of what and where and when I plant things, get my list together for purchases this year, and keep track of harvest times.
As we were busy working on these first stages of spring cleaning, I started thinking about the idea of spring cleaning, fresh starts, blooming flowers, etc… I think it is also a great time to ‘spring clean’ in some other areas.
How about a spring cleaning of the soul? The bible talks about refreshing and renewing our minds. Or how about a spring cleaning for our physical bodies? Maybe some lemon water, detox tea, some fresh fruits and add in some exercise.
For me personally, this spring has brought so many joyful things, I am thinking that I will be taking my own thoughtful advice. Even though I normally do a ton of fresh veggies and fruit, and love a cup of herbal tea at night, I definitely could use some evening walks, a good flush of all my winter comfort food. The older I get, the more I notice how age really does affect our bodies and minds. Sometimes in positive ways, such as maturing attitudes, and sometimes in negative ways, like wrinkles.
So here’s my ‘plan’. Today, I started with some alone time with God, opened the windows, had my coffee, and now I’m moving on to some basic Pilates to stretch out my muscles that are in rebellion from the gardening this weekend. I’ll add in a green smoothie, some water and herb tea, time in my studio, plant some grass, work on my garden planner, finish up some laundry, and figure out the rest of the week ‘plan’.
Here’s to a thorough Spring cleaning this month so we can move into the remainder of the year with joy and refreshing!!!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Chat

I suppose I should begin by sharing that I misspelled the word 'chat'. It should actually be spelled 'spat'. I should also begin with this disclaimer: “All persons represented in this post, DO resemble the living. BUT, only because no one died as a result of The Chat.”

If you are a wife, you will laugh. If you are a husband, you should stop reading. If you are MY husband, you will hear this when I read it to you tonight. 

Let me set the stage for you. It’s a cold, wintry, blustery kind of day. The Wife, busy homeschooling, doing dishes, pretending to do laundry, work, blog, craft, and think of something for dinner, is in a state of what we will call ‘normal’. The Husband is on his way home. Everyone, teen included, is in a perfectly ‘normal’ mood. Fairly even keel really, considering there are TWO females in this picture, one of whom is a TEEN FEMALE. ‘Nuff said there.

Husband comes home, gives presents to the Wife, who does her happy dance. The Husband has brought amazing presents, and they didn’t cost anything. These my friend are the greatest presents, as he has managed to know her well enough to know what things cause happy dances to spontaneously occur AND has managed to secure said items for $0 which everyone knows are the BEST! (I should probably include a note here, just in case – he was given said items with permission, as the owner did not want them. He did not secure items unethically.)

It does not appear any reason exists for a chat, spat, or negativity. AND then, in what can only be described as a loss of sense (possibly someone got hit in the head?), the husband, who was just lauded with praises and singing and dancing…. opens his mouth and speaks, proving that he obviously DOES NOT know his wife very well after all.

It is at this point the teenager heads for the hills, as she is a FEMALE, and heard words come from the mouth of the MALE. It is also at this point the FEMALE wife gives a swift, clear, out loud with words, warning statement to the husband to STOP speaking words out loud. Said husband, unwisely (again, probably due to a blow to the head earlier in the day) chooses to continue to use words, out loud, so others can hear them. He also unwisely ignores the look on said wife’s face.

Let me pause for just a moment, and share that the wife was CLEAR with her words. She did not employ the clever female trick of ‘guess what I just said, using words other than what I meant’. Obviously then, said husband SHOULD have appreciated the effort to clearly state the warning and responded in kind, and follow direction.

Here is where we insert the ‘chat’. If you are a female, and a wife, you began shaking your head as soon as you read ‘opens his mouth.’ If you are a male, and a husband, you read ‘ignored the warning’ and yelled at the screen ‘RUN’! If you are not married, you are confused. Let me urge you to discontinue reading, as married people everywhere would like thoughts of marriage utopia & happily ever after to continue on for you.

I will not bore you with the details, because if you are married, male or female, you have experience in this area already and know that the details are not important. The key things are: He did not heed the warning, and it did not go well.

At the end of this discussion (yes, I am going to call it a discussion, think what you will), while the husband is having alone time in his recliner, and the wife is sitting somewhere else in the house, the teenager is busily filling a bowl with ice cream, knowing full well no one will comment on the lack of nutrition, or the questionable decision to eat it without hot fudge.

What I find amusing in all of this, is how different the husband and wife move on in life. The husband will be unhappy with the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD and EVERYONE who lives in it and EVERYTHING that happens, for days, while the wife will remain unhappy with ONLY the husband. My husband does not find this amusing; he finds it annoying. Go figure.

I share because I find it comical, it was resolved, and the real world goes on. Too many people pretend that they have an idyllic relationship in which no one is ever unhappy with anyone else. ALL my married friends have moments of unrest in their relationships. Some big, some small, some major, some minor, some silly to me, while mine look silly to them. 

I automatically distrust couples who claim they never argue or disagree. Call a spade a spade here people, because you do no one any favors by pretending you are the 'perfect' couple. You may not argue, but some of you actually have some pretty scary & unhealthy ways of coping with your unrest or disagreements. You actually do more harm than good, because your conflict resolution skills do not exist, and you are setting others up for failure. And quiet honestly, no one really believes you anyway. No one is perfect, therefore a perfect marriage can not exist. I often wonder what will happen to those couples when the proverbial brown stuff hits the whirring ceiling fan? 

I have many friends whose marriages I would love to emulate. Guess what? They also have spats, conflicts, disagreements. It's how they choose to resolve it that makes their marriage so super. One of the greatest examples I have ever seen, super cool couple, adore them both. They have disagreed many times over the years, but they always work together to find a solution - even after a chat/spat/discussion. They love each other a ton, and we can all see it!

It is how you handle conflict, resolve, learn from, and grow through it, that matters. Learning to co-exist with another human, different from yourself, can be a beautiful gift. This same person will also laugh with you & at you, comfort you when you’re sad, hold your hand when you’re scared, believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself, and so much more.

I wouldn’t trade my real life for the fake idyllic ever! Alice and Dorothy both learned the same thing – there’s no place like home!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

TODAY is the DAY!

I think I might be a little bit excited! Today is THE day that The Pretty Vintage Studio officially opens its doors!!! I’ve been posting pictures on IG throughout the day, and in about 15 minutes will turn my FB page on! Then we move to some super fun giveaways!!! Oh my gosh am I excited about those!!!

Over the last few weeks and months, God has been giving me what I will lovingly refer to as ‘glimmers’ of the larger picture. Ideas have flooded my brain, steady progress was made, items were sorted, and plans were adjusted. I feel as if I have done nothing but create, sigh, pray, pray some more, and then move along to the next glimmer.

I have learned so much through this process. I learned that God expects us to move when He says it’s time and He wants us to be who He created us to be. I found pieces of myself that due to life and circumstances and whatever, I allowed to slowly slip away. Most of them I let go of due to the insecurity I had in each of them. I have learned that we need to allow others to grow at their own pace, extend grace and mercy, withhold judgement, and what it really means to be who God designed me to be!

Now for the fun stuff! I have paper clips, mini planner accessory sets, handmade paper, vintage items, and more. They will all be available for sale through my FB page, The Pretty Vintage Studio. Since I love the process of creating, and since vintage items are only available when you can find them, some items will be limited in number. As an example: I currently have A group of vintage handkerchiefs, but that is all I have. When they sell out, I have no way to predict when ‘new’ will arrive.

Other items, like the handmade paper, are made in batches, so when a batch sells out, we’ll start again. This process does take a little bit of time, so as of now, the plan is to make sure we have a new batch of paper ready the 1st of each month. This is also a because making paper is killer on your hands, and there’s only so long you can play in water before everything begins to rebel!

Items like our Remembering Yesteryear Ink will always be available. I hope to have scent, color and quantity options available by this summer. For right now, I have black, with a mixed herbal scent. Since the ink must flow as it is supposed to, we are testing, testing, testing. Plus, I have to figure out how to seal it all perfectly so it can be shipped. Ink is a funny thing to play with!

The overall mission of The Pretty Vintage Studio is to ‘discover, create, and encourage beauty in the everyday’. It is a place where old and new meet in a meaningful way. It is the culmination of every hope, dream, idea, thought, and happiness God has ever laid on my heart. It is my fondest dream coming true in the most amazing way, encompassing some of my most favorite things! I can barely wait to share them all with you!!

Thank you for your patience and for following along on this journey!

PS – I bet you are wondering about those giveaway’s right? Well, here’s a clue or two for you – I am so ‘happy’ with the ‘plan’ God has laid out, I will be giving away something you’ll want to shout about! Visit my FB page for all the details!! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


A little list of things that annoy me: running out of coffee; laundry forgotten in the washing machine overnight; sour grapes (both literally & figuratively – if I have spent all this money to eat them, they should at least taste good!); wrinkles; insecurity.

Wrinkles are a by-product of combining age and the list of annoying things. They are caused by all the frowning we do when there is no coffee to fuel us, while we do the same load of laundry for a second time, which we forgot about because the trying to eat the grapes was a total waste of time since they were sour and had to be disposed of, causing us to have to decide if the trash was ‘really’ full enough to have to go out or if there was still a little room left.

The last one on my list, insecurity, is the 2nd most annoying thing in my world. Running out of coffee is obviously #1. Most annoying things in life are just that – annoying. They inconvenience us, cause wrinkles, irritate us, and then we move onto the next moment of our life, as though they didn’t exist.

Running out of coffee causes happiness to cease, the world to stop, and rage to follow behind annoyance at an alarming speed. Coffee is what keeps the world smiling, motivated, and energetically facing all the other little irritants of life. Coffee is good. I should sell coffee. (Sorry, I lost my head there a little – my coffee was cold, and I was down to half of a cup. It’s all about priorities people.)

Insecurity is something that plagues us from a young age, it is rooted in lies and confusion, and has this ability to grow like dandelions in the garden of life. No matter how hard you work to eradicate, it seems to come back with friends. They blow in with the wind, and they sprout overnight, complete with little yellow flowers that lie to us about what odiousness is yet to come.

Confident people struggle with insecurity; insecure people are ruled by it. It will either motivate you to overcome, or it will paralyze you. Have you ever noticed that no one wants to chat about it? We avoid the discussion simply because we might have to reveal our own struggles with insecurity, and then people will judge us, which causes us to feel insecure about our insecurities. The cycle continues.

My hubs and I have been exploring this idea of insecurity, how they impact our daily lives, where they began, and why we hang onto them. Both of us have accomplished some pretty amazing things in our lives, trophies and awards to back us up on that claim. BUT… It is always the BUT that catches us.

Part of the problem is that we are part of a culture that compares everything, and attempts to make itself feel better by putting down or belittling anything that we don’t understand, don’t like personally, or are unable to do ourselves. We are literally creating our own little worlds where we can be superior to anyone, simply because we dread the idea of being inferior to anyone.

I believe, based on my own insecurities and working through some of them, that the best way to overcome, is to DO what we know we CAN, let go of what we can’t, and remember that ‘everyone’ really does not have it all figured it. Everyone is merely doing their best, like us, like me.

This became super clear to me one day, as I struggled with feeling insecure over something fairly small. The comparison game was in overtime as I tried to figure out why I was doing so poorly and someone else was doing so well. I was doing the same thing, the same way, so what the heck? Then, out of nowhere, I learned (I feel like I should put a dunh, dunh, duh here) we weren’t doing the same thing the same way. The person I was comparing myself too had HELP and resources I didn’t! SO, I was feeling insecure and inferior to someone who had an advantage over me.

It is super easy to look like we have it all-together from behind the camera or computer. Social media and easy access to technology is providing us with a false sense of reality. I can put clothes on, do my makeup, and post a selfie about getting groceries, without other people knowing I actually hadn’t gotten dressed, done my makeup or even realized I was out of coffee, until right before I left. (You will never actually see a selfie of me in this fashion because a) I don’t like selfies; b) I would go get more coffee without makeup – it’s all about the priorities!)

The next time you feel insecure about something, stop for just a moment and think about why? Are you using a fair comparison? Are you sure that person didn’t have help? Did you practice as much, as hard, as diligently? Are you sure that YOU are SUPPOSED to be as talented as that person?? I mean, let’s be real here, some of us are just not meant to be the next Van Gogh. I am pretty okay with that. 

Stuffed Mushrooms

'Tis the season for baking, cooking, roasts, etc… The cold weather always leads me into my kitchen, with a need to create hot, warm, fi...