Saturday, December 31, 2011


I have to say that making t-shirt yarn is fun.  I love the idea of taking something that appears worn out and useless and turning it into something useful and completely different than the original.  However, t-shirt yarn is not the best choice for the dishcloths I was hoping to make from it.  It is at least as thick as rug yarn if not thicker.  While it is not difficult to crochet with, it is more suitable for a project that loves bulk.  I'm thinking rugs, totes, coasters, baskets, maybe placemats.  Things like that will be fantastic with t-shirt yarn.  But I like my dishcloths to be easy to handle and not so bulky.  Terry cloth is my idea of an ideal weight for washing dishes with.  Maybe that's just because it's what I'm accustomed to using.  But I think I will just stick with it.

So, I will be shopping for my dark colored kitchen textiles in the next few weeks.  And as for the old t-shirts begging for new life, I will continue to search the web for fabulous ideas for projects.  With so much creativity floating around the web, I'm sure there will be a plethora of projects to be found.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

First Goal Accomplished.....

Yes, that's right!  I have already accomplished my first goal for 2012 and it's not even the new year yet!  Would it be fair to say I'm on top of the game so far?

I completed transferring all my contact info into my iPod today.  No, I did not toss my old address book.  Well, I did toss it...into a drawer.  If my iPod crashes or gets lost I may need to refer to the book again, but I hope that doesn't happen,

Now, for my next feat of New Year's Goals daring.... I shall replace all white and light colored kitchen textiles with dark colors that do not show stains.  This may take a bit more time since I want to combine this  with a crafty idea I found on Pinterest.  BTW, if you haven't discovered Pinterest yet, I highly recommend it.  Just Google it and take a look.  It is amazing!

The  crafty idea is to make t-shirt yarn, (what a great recycling idea) and crochet it into kitchen cloths.  I'll have to try one to see how I like it first as I am pretty fond of terry cloth to wash my dishes with. ( And no, I do not own a dishwasher.)  And I'm not sure if a crocheted cloth would work well for a kitchen towel.  But I promise to let you all know once I have made and tried them.  Should be interesting at the least.

I read a blog post today from Jonathon Roche, fitness guru:  (you can find him at the link below.)

and he said that we should set big goals.  He thinks that most of us set goals that are too easy to achieve and when we achieve them we are living way below our potential.  He may be right, but what about us who set easy goals and still don't achieve them?  Therein lies a dilemma. However, on his advice I am going to think of a few 'big' goals just for the fun of it.  I'll have to ponder on them for awhile because I don't want them to be so outlandish as to be totally impossible for an old gramma like me.  I am open to suggestions if you care to leave me a comment.  If you do, please keep it nice.

So for now, I'm off to make dishcloths.  Now that's a goal any granny can achieve, right?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Goals for 2012

Well, it's time again to reflect on the past year and set a few goals for the year coming up.  I've been giving this some thought, as I am wont to do this time of year.  I know that there are many folks out there that do not set goals or make resolutions for various reasons.  If you are one of said people, bless you!  It's your life.  Live it as you choose.  But I, for one, love doing this each year.  

Now I will confess up front that I seldom reach my goals or keep my resolutions.  It seems that my pleasure is more in the making than the keeping.  But just because my follow through is weak is no reason to stop.  I always go into the new year with the best of intentions and renewed determination to 'get fit', 'lose some weight', 'keep my house clean', 'de-clutter' or whatever.  And I really do think I make a bit of progress in some areas each year.  And every little improvement counts in my book.  So, here I go again.

This year I am starting out with random things that come to mind, so they will not be in any certain order or listed by importance.  

                      #1.  Transfer all names, addresses and phone# from my address book to my IPod contact list.

I have already started this and expect to complete it.  This will put all my contact info at my fingertips and hopefully make connecting with others easier.

So that's as far as I have gotten at this point.  But, hey, it's Christmas and I have other things to do right now.  Still, it's a start and I feel good about it.

I'll try to keep you all posted on my progress and on any other goals that come to mind.  In the meantime......

Merry Christmas!!!!!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

White is NOT My Color

No, I'm not talking about fashion or skin color.  I'm talking about laundry.  White never stays white for very long.  A few washings, and I have a dingy shade of grey, brown or multicolored stains.

 My mom used to have sparkling whites.  My daughter seems to manage to keep her whites sparkling as well.  I used to do the same. But these days I just can't seem to do it.  On laundry day it's all I can do to keep myself from just tossing it all in together.  I do sort lights from darks, but that's about as far as my laundry sorting goes.  I used to wash almost everything in hot water and add a good amount of bleach to the white load.  But it seems that no one washes in hot water anymore and utility prices have caused me to follow suit.  Bleach is hard on clothes and doesn't seem to do what it used to in getting my clothes sparkling white when I do take the time to sort and bleach my whites.

Then there are the emotional issues.  Every time I pull out a stained dish cloth or a dingy pair of white socks I feel like an epic fail.  This is the worst part for me.  I don't know why that should matter after all these years.  It must be because of my upbringing.  Yeah!  That's it.  I'll blame it on Mom!  It's all her fault for doing things right and expecting the same from her daughters. ;-) 

Actually, my mom was an amazing woman!  And she did teach us all excellent housekeeping skills.    I love her and miss her a lot.  So, Mom, in honor of you, I will give it one last shot.  Hot water and bleach for the whites.  If they don't come out sparkling this time, I'm replacing all white items with dark colors.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pinterest....A world of Wonder!

Here are my versions of two handmade greetings from Pinterest.  I simply adore the colors and the way these are put together.  Of course the originals are much more striking than my copies, but I try to use the materials I have on hand.  I also have to cut out some of the images by hand since I don't have a large collection of cutting dies.  This makes it quite time intensive.  However, I am delighted with the finished products and these cards will go to some special people on my list this year.
A special thanks to my Sis, who always sends these special 'pins' my way.
 Love you, Sissy!!!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Days Off!

Ahh, I have two days off!  I like my job, but I love my days off.  Plan for today is to tidy the house and finish a crocheted Viking Helmet for one of my grandsons.  I'm making one for each of the little ones.  Hopefully their mom will send me a pic of them wearing their new headgear and I'll get to post one here.  I haven't done any crocheting for awhile, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Normally I go all out for Christmas, but this year I'm scaling back.  Money is tight for most of us these days, and Christmas time brings with it the potential for all kinds of stress.  I've spent years trying to find just the right gift, or the most interesting way to package a gift.  I've given expensive gifts that often end up in the trash, on the floor or at the Goodwill.

I'm opting out of all that this year.  The gifts we give will be small and practical.  I'm hoping the gifts we receive will be small and practical as well.  I would much rather spend some quality time with those I love.  I'd like to have a bushel basket full of sweet memories this year. 

That said, I still love this time of year!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Latest Crafting Adventure

It's been awhile since I posted, and the thumbnails on the left will give you a hint why.  I have found that working with bits and pieces of pretty paper make me happy.    I like working on my  multiple scrapbooks, but I love making greeting cards!  The possibilities are just endless and they generally come together fairly quickly, which is perfect for an impatient person like me.  While I have several cards for sale in my Etsy shop (I need to recoup a little money to help support this habit)  I have just shipped my first package of cards to Operation Write Home, an organization that sends handmade cards to service men and women that they can write in and send back home to their loved ones.  There are no card shops in some of the places overseas where these fine members of our military are sent.  I'm glad to help out with this endeavor and hope you will click on the link and check them out.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Helping Grandma

My grandchildren are the smartest, sweetest, best looking kids I know.  Yeah, I know all of you grandparents feel the same way about yours.  And it's a true statement about them all!  Kids these days are just awesome! I love watching how my grand kids grow and develop in character.  Each of them have special and unique attributes that just amaze me. 

Charity is my 12 year old granddaughter.  She is my housekeeping helper.  She helps me with dishes, dusting and cleaning the floors.  She knows how to shake the rugs and polish the sink.  Since I still work full time, Charity makes my life much easier.  In return for her cheerful help, I give her an allowance.  It's a win-win situation. 

But we actually both get much more than the obvious from this arrangement.  While Charity gets a little spending money and I get a little more free time, we both get the benefits of spending time together.  The laughing, talking and sharing that goes on is priceless!  And need I say that this is a learning experience?   Charity is gaining valuable experience in how to keep house and grandma is gaining more and more insight into the delightful young lady that Charity is and will become.

In Charity I see a tenderness of heart that is uncommon in most kids her age.  She is very sensitive to the feelings of others.  And she seems to have understanding that many adults lack in what makes people do the things they do.

When I was growing up, I didn't have a lot interaction with my grandparents.  Time constraints and distance prevented it.  But as a grandma, I realize that I have a place in the lives of my grand kids and I cherish that place.  I hope that I will influence them in a positive way as they are growing up.  They are way to precious to be ignored or neglected.  They are a gift from God.  I love each of them so much!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Long-Distance Grand-parenting with a new Twist

I was having a conversation with my elderly dad the other day and the subject of long distance relatives came up.  He seemed a bit intrigued that folks these days go to such measures to stay in contact with their children and grandchildren who live many miles away. 

"I don't remember people doing that so much when I was younger,"  he said.  "People would just write a letter once in a while, but you just kind of lost touch."

Well, these days it's much easier to keep in touch with distant relatives than it used to be.  I used to tell my kids that I was as close as the nearest telephone when they were far from home. And now cell phones make long distance calling much less expensive.  But I an totally sold on my little apple ipod with facetime capabilities.  One touch can connect my husband and I face to face with our little grandson in another state in seconds.   We can look at Sammy's booboo's and even blow kisses at him.  He can show us his latest favorite toy, or we can just make funny faces at one another and share some giggle time. There is just something about eye contact that makes all the difference in the world. 

If you have loved ones who live too far away to visit frequently, I highly recommend one of these little treasures.  Actually, it takes two of them, one at each household.  But I deem it one of the best investments we have ever made.  It keeps us connected in a whole new way and now we don't have to feel like  strangers in our grand children's lives.

Thank God for technology!  But lately I've been wondering what it would be like to facetime on the new iPad with it's nice large screen rather than the 2 inch ipod screen.  So, what next?  A hologram of Sammy in our living room?  Or maybe one day we'll just 'beam' on over from one location to another.  Technology is a fascinating thing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Creating Greeting Cards

After going for a month or two without doing anything crafty, I found that my enjoyment of life was a bit diminished.  It seems that creating things is just a part of my nature that cannot be denied.  There is just something about watching an item take shape and color and become something of use.

My latest passion, (and I've had many), is working with paper.  I never thought of paper as a craft medium that would capture my attention.  That's something I did in grade school.  It didn't seem like something for a mature adult to play with.

Well, maybe I'm not a mature adult after all, or perhaps I was just wrong about paper.  Several family members have given me gifts of scrapbooking supplies along with ,of course, some scrapbooks.  I dabbled with them a bit and then laid them aside.  At one point, while in a cleaning, decluttering frenzy, I gave all my scrapbooking supplies away. 

Having come across a tote of family pictures about a year ago, I decided to take up scraping again and try to put the best of the pics in a pleasant, interesting format.  Not long after, my daughter sent me a lovely handmade card which caused me to start taking notice of other cards I received.  I noticed that the handmade ones were so special.  They were more personal and unique.  An item to be treasured as a special greeting from someone who goes the extra mile to choose or to make the card themselves.

It seemed to me that making a card would be sort of like creating a mini scrapbook page, only without the pictures, and with a personal sentiment added.  So I began making cards for special occasions for my family and friends. 

I am particularly fond of the iris folding techniques and love to come up with my own unique templates as well as use patterns I've seen on the internet.  Iris folding is a rather time consuming technique, but the effect is an image with dimension and resembling the iris of a camera.  Just changing the patterns of paper or the colors can change the whole look from one card to the next.

Die cut shapes and stamp and ink lend themselves well to unlimited designs.  I never know just how a card will turn out from beginning to end.  I just kind of wing it usually with no specific pattern in mind.  A piece of paper here, a ribbon there and voila!  a card has been born.  It's fun.

So now I have an ever growing stash of greeting cards and I need to do something with them.  Hence my online shops at Etsy and Artfire.  My user name in both of those shops is  RenysDesigns.  So stop in and have a look.  Maybe you'll see something you like, or think of a custom card you would like to have created.  My prices are very reasonable since I'm really just looking to support my habit.  And tell your friends.  I would appreciate it.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Me???? Scrapbook????

Through the years I have always been one to take pictures, save memorabilia and toss it all into a box.  My collection  of pics, etc. has no rhyme or reason.  Yet, deep inside I have always felt that these things were just too precious to toss.  Actually, quite a few of the pics have found their way into albums, yet drawers and boxes full of them still seem to abound in our home.

Recently, (and I fear it's due to the aging process) I find myself wanting to organize these items so that our children and grandchildren will not be clueless when they look at them in years to come.  And while I've never been particularly interested in family trees, (that's my sister's thing)  I do want my children and grandchildren to know who their ancestors are and how they lived.   This family has a rich heritage and fascinating history.  The stories are worthy of documenting in some form.

I am pretty much in awe of some of the scrapbookers I have encountered.  Some of the scrapbooks I've seen are literally works of art.  I would love to be so creative.  However, my scrapbooking is mostly functional with a little room to endulge my artsy side, such as it is.  I've found that I enjoy creating pretty pages with lots of meaning.  Going through the the pictures and scraps of paper I've collected over the years has brought back many fond memories.  I'm excited about sharing them with the younger generation of this family.

My grand-daughters are my frequent scraping  buddies.  When they come to visit we almost always end up creating a page or two.  Usually those pages will consist of pics, etc of their parents when they were young.  It's a great time for me to share funny little stories with them that add a bit of interest to the whole scraping session.  And I get one or two more pages completed in the process.  It's all good.

I have collected all loose pics, etc. into one tote, and my goal is to eventually have them all in scrapbooks.  No, my scraping style is not fancy like some I have seen.  I can't color coordinate an entire scrapbook.  I do well to manage a page at a time.  But someday I'll have the job completed, and I expect to have hours of enjoyment looking through them either alone or with someone else.  I know you can't live in the past, but the past has made me who I am presently.  So I embrace the past, relish the present and anticipate the future. 

To those who started young compiling scrapbooks of notable events in the lives of yourselves and your children, I commend you!  What a great past-time.  Wish I had had the foresight to do that.  But from my late start, I say, "carry on".  One day you will look back and be so glad that you did.  It's the story of your life dressed up in pretty paper, brads and ribbons.  What better way to present it to future generations!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Revisiting What Works

I confess..... I have been a major slacker.  I have lost ground in my fitness goals due to plain, outright laziness for the past 2 months.  Don't ask me why, but I seem to fall into this same rut every few months.  I am faithful to my low carb eating and exercising program for 2 or 3 months and then....Bam!!   I revert back to my old habits, telling myself that 'at my age it shouldn't matter' or 'this just isn't worth it' or some other lame excuse for my slackery.

After a few weeks of the old, bad habits, I begin to feel tired, listless, achy and in generally poor health.  Then I begin to relate very closely to the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:24.  Although I'm pretty sure he wasn't talking about physical fitness, the concept still rings true.  I do what I know I should not do (eat junk, get lazy)  and I do not do what I know I should, (eat right, drink plenty of water, exercise).  It is, however, some consolation that Paul had struggles too.  Yep....Paul and I;   both wretched, both forgiven, and neither ready to chuck it all and give up.

So I am revisiting the things that have worked for me in the past.  As I chug my water and fire up my treadmill, I look forward to feeling like a million dollars in a week or so.  Granted, I will probably look no different, but I will embrace the feeling of well being that I know will come with this return to healthier habits. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not My Favorite Subject

I have been putting off writing this post for some time.  It's hard, you see, to write about eating habits and the effects of them when I have such a problem with them myself.  I am a carbohydrate craver.  I love em, and every time I eat them I want more.  So I have a love/hate relationship with food.  Can any of you relate?  Ice cream and macaroni and cheese are my comfort foods.  Chocolate pudding with a healthy (read large) serving of vanilla ice cream in the center of it can make everything alright.  Well, at least for a few minutes.  After that the realization of my chronic failure in self control kicks in and I start 'kicking' myself emotionally.  I suspect that this issue haunts many more of us than we could ever imagine.  It ruins health, robs us of energy and destroys our self-esteem.  Yet, as I look around at people in general, I see that the majority of us are in the overweight category.  How can this be?!

My feelings for some time is that there is something in our food,  (notice I didn't say something in our diet), that is exacerbating this problem.  And we are now finding out that high-fructose-corn-syrup is almost certainly a contributing factor.  Dr. Robert Lustig has studied the effects of this food additive on his patients and explains how it affects the human body in the link above.  I think the food industry will do just about anything to make a buck and since sick people are big money in many different ways, no one cares to challenge them.  So we just blame the victim, in this case the fatty. 

Now, I'm not saying that overweight people are not to blame.  We do have to take a lion's share of the responsibility for the shape we are in.  However, the wealth of conflicting information does not make this an easy task for the majority of us.  Just google HFCS or any diet information and you will get several hundred pages of info that will support just about any viewpoint you choose to take on the subject.  No wonder many of us throw up our hands in defeat and carry on trying to enjoy life as much as we can in whatever state of health and fitness we find ourselves.

The answer?   I wish I had one.  My best advice is this.  Do your homework on how different foods affect the body.  This is especially important if you have a metabolic problem like diabetes or insulin resistance.  If you are over 40, try to understand how your hormones are working, or not working in many instances.  If possible, find a doctor who will take the time to help you learn about your hormone levels and assist you with optimization of your existing hormones and possibly discuss hormone replacement with you.  As a side note here, I believe that synthetic hormones carry much more risk than bio-identical hormones.  Learn as much as you can about both before agreeing to replacement therapy.  Try to eat the best food you can afford including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Stay away from concentrated carbs as much as possible.  Concentrated, meaning sweets and pasta, breads and pastries.  And drink plenty of good, clean water.

Do I do all this?  Not nearly enough.  I tend to do well for days and sometimes weeks, then fall off the wagon and binge on something totally bad for me, like ice cream.  I drink way too many diet soda's and not enough water.  I don't workout nearly often enough.  And I don't do hormone replacement therapy.    But I do keep trying.  I hope that counts for something.  Without that, I'm sure I would be pushing 300 pounds.  So I'll just keep on doing what I am doing and hope that at some point my cravings will disappear and my energy level will increase to the point that workouts will be fun instead of a drag.  In the meantime, will someone please tell the food industry to stop trying to kill us and instead, try to help us become healthier?!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

More Retirement Fitness Info

In keeping with the subject of being fit to enjoy retirement, I ran across this article in the American Profile a couple of weeks ago.  It has some very good tips on aging well and avoiding injuries.   Wouldn't it be cool to be 96 years old and still live in our own homes and see to our own duties and needs?

I highly recommend this article.  Thanks to Anne Gillem and American Profile for addressing this important health issue for senior citizens.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fit to Retire

Approximately 2 years ago, as I was bemoaning the effects of growing older to my daughter, she told me of a lady she had recently seen on a television talk show named Marjorie Newlin. At the age of 72 she was having difficulty lifting 50# bags of kitty litter without help. Being a feisty and independent type of gal, Marjorie decided to work on getting stronger.  Read her story at the link below.

Well, I decided that if this spunky little lady could do all that, then I , being considerably younger, should be able to improve my physical strength as well.

Let me just say that I am no Marjorie Newlin. However, I realize that what prompted Marjorie should prompt many of the rest of us as well. In the nursing profession we are constantly faced with the effects of loss of strength and vitality in our patients. One of the most devastating accidents for the elderly is a fall resulting in broken bones, and most notably, hip fractures. Sadly, we often take it for granted that this is just one of the 'side effects' of aging. As I researched articles about senior citizens and weight training I came to realize that the lack of strength plays a major role in debilitating falls. When our muscles are strong, our skeletal system has the support it needs to keep us on our feet, so to speak. It made sense to me.

So... I now have a set of dumbells and a treadmill in my back room. I still am not a Marjorie Newlin, but I am a stronger me than I was 2 years ago. Carrying in the groceries is easier, doing my job is easier and I have fewer aches and pains than before. I have increased energy and a more positive outlook on life. I am beginning to feel like I may, after all, have the vitality to enjoy my retirement when the time comes.

Having said all that, let me say this. Embarking on a weight training and fitness program is a great idea, but each program must be individualized to avoid injury. I initially joined a fitness club and even invested in the coaching of a personal trainer for a few sessions. In doing this, I learned proper technique and how often to work out as well as becoming familiar with which muscles were being worked. I found it well worth the money, as I have to confess total ignorance at the beginning.

If you decide to try a similar path to fitness, I suggest that you do your research and find someone who knows to help you learn the correct way to do it. Then just persevere. And remember, fitness is not about how you look. It's about being strong, healthy and full of vitality. The bonus is that the benefits are exponential!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Count Down to Retirement

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon as I grow older. The things that once held great importance for me are taking 2nd place to things much more pressing. Career aspirations have given way to spending more time with family and friends. Material items are losing importance and being replaced by things more worthy of time and energy.

I've noticed that the days fly by, but the nights grow long. My step is a bit slower and the joints occasionally ache. The recliner is becoming a fast friend, and a good book a welcome companion. Things that once were taken for granted are now receiving the appreciation they deserve, such as health, strength, comfortable accommodations, electric blankets and warm fuzzy slippers.

As I look ahead, I relish the idea of being retired. It will be a time of doing what I want, free from the restraints of a work schedule. I'm fortunate to have many interests and hobbies, so I really can't see retirement as a time of boredom or inactivity. I intend to enjoy my retirement to the fullest. But in order to do that, I must have a certain level of health, strength and energy.

I thank God that I am a healthy individual. It helps me continue my work as a nurse, and to do the things I enjoy. But I realize that if I am to enjoy my 'golden years' I need to do a few things to keep myself strong and healthy. I also need to be proactive about exercising my mind to keep it clear and sharp.

In my next few posts I will be sharing some of the things I believe will help me be in a position to enjoy my retirement. I will also be sharing some tips from some of my favorite 'old folks' on how they handle their retirement.

So, if this topic interests you, visit again next week. Until then......

Be Blessed!