Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Finishes- Simple Dish Towel Spruce Up

What do your dish towels look like?  If you're like me, they are stained, dingy, and old.  I was thinking back to when I bought most of them, they're mostly from when I first moved out of my parents house- 10+ years ago!  The majority of the remainder came with my husband when we got married, which was almost 8 years ago.  There's a few here and there that I got as gifts or picked up on clearance at Target or something.  But anyways, the majority are old and dingy.

Why do I keep things that are old and dingy?  Dish towels don't cost that much to replace.  I use them everyday.  Why am I keeping something ratty and discolored when I could have something nice and fresh for minimal investment.

So, I bought some colored tea towels and jazzed them up with some fabric out of my stash.  I just cut a strip about four inches wide and the width of my towel, sewed it down, topstitched all four sides and ta dah!  New dish towels, with a personal touch.

Out with the Old, In with the New

As for the ratty old ones, they're in the rag bin for dusting.

I'm rereading Simple Abundance this year, and one of the things they constantly stress is taking joy in the small things in life.  You need to indulge in simple things: buy yourself fresh flowers, don't save the good china for just when company comes, contemplate life over a cup of tea.  I think making something pretty just for yourself (not for a gift, not because you have to, just for you, just because) is also a way to be joyful in small things.  I know I like looking at my new towels much better than the old ones.

What's something you can do to spread a little joy in your life?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

January Book Recap

So I didn't make t through all four of my books that I had planned on reading this month. I made it through the first three, but got hung up on the biography of Amy Carmichael.  I plan on finishing it, but will be moving on to four more picks for February to read as well.

Here are the books I finished and can now liquidate from my collection as well as new ones I've acquired in the past month.

  • Infinite Grace- It's a devotional I was reading in the mornings along with my Bible and some other books.
  • The Ultimate Gift- (Okay this is the DVD in the picture, I already gave the book to a friend.) The book was kind of hokey.  I mean, the message was good, but it was kind of heavy handed in parts and more than a little unrealistic.  But like I said, the message good.  The DVD was much better than the book.  They followed the book loosely and developed the characters and their backgrounds much more than the book did.
  • The Bookman's Tale- This was a book I got from my Secret Santa swap partner.  I love a good bibliophile mystery and this was a fun ride.  It had murder, secret passages, and three different stories that all wove together.
  • The Invisible Ones- This book was compared to Tana French's books which may be a bit of a stretch, but it was a pretty good read.  I don't recall ever reading anything about modern day gypsies before so that was interesting.  It was well written but I figured out the mystery well before the detective in the book did.  But, it was still a good read.
  • The Lace Reader
  • Gone Girl 
  • Mrs. Peregine's Home for Peculiar Children  (All three aquired in January's Books n Bloggers swap.)
  • Traveling Light
  • Onward and Upward in the Garden
  • A Godward Life (These three all from the St Vinnie's in my friend, Lori's, town.)
  • I'd Know You Anywhere
  • Life Sentences

    The first three are from my Books n Bloggers swap partner, and you can read more about them in my swap reveal post.    The middle three I got from the St Vinnies when I went to visit my friend Lori.  I've been looking for Onward and Upward in the Garden for a while.  It's by EB White's wife, Katherine White and in Simple Abundance, she frequently talks about it.  The last two are both by Laura Lippman and they were on clearance for 99 cents each at Goodwill.  Can't pass that up.
In closing, I acquired more than I read, but I still got rid of some and I'm reading more than I used to.  I also threw some other books in the Goodwill box, so if you take that into account, it may come out about even.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Books N Bloggers Winter 2015 Show Off

It's time!  Are you ready to see the books my partner- Kelly from Kelly's Kinda Crazy picked for me?  Is it weird that I love people picking books for me?  I mean as long as they have a guideline of what I like, I hate to being browsing in the thrift shop and someone recommends a book for me because it is "soooo good" and they have no idea what my tastes are or what I like.  But book swaps are awesome!  I've always been fortunate to have partners who picked awesome books.

Anyway, on to the swap!!!  (And please don't mind my funkily lit pictures, it was getting dark last night when I took them.)

Kelly's Picks!
So, for those of you unfamiliar with Chaotic Goddess' book swap, here's what you do: pick three books for your partner, one off their wishlist, one you've read and think they should try, and one you haven't read but sounds like something they'd enjoy.

For a book off my wishlist she picked:

The Lace Reader
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry.  I don't remember if I read a review for this one on a blog or if Amazon told me I should read it or what, but it sounded good.  Here's how Goodreads describes it.
Look into the lace? When the eyes begin to fill with tears and the patience is long exhausted, there will appear a glimpse of something not quite seen... In this moment, an image will begin to form? in the space between what is real and what is only imagined. Can you read your future in a piece of lace? All of the Whitney women can. But the last time Towner read, it killed her sister and nearly robbed Towner of her own sanity. Vowing never to read lace again, her resolve is tested when faced with the mysterious, unsolvable disappearance of her beloved Great Aunt Eva, Salem's original Lace Reader. Told from opposing and often unreliable perspectives, the story engages the reader's own beliefs. Should we listen to Towner, who may be losing her mind for the second time? Or should we believe John Rafferty, a no nonsense New York detective, who ran away from the city to a simpler place only to find himself inextricably involved in a psychic tug of war with all three generations of Whitney women? Does either have the whole story? Or does the truth lie somewhere in the swirling pattern of the lace?

For the one she's read and think I'll love she picked:

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
 Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs has been on my wishlist for a while.  I think it sounds interesting and the pictures throughout the book are an interesting touch.  Here's Goodreads description:
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography.
Sounds creepily delicious!

And  for a book she hasn't read but thinks I should read, she picked:

Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  This is my third novel by her and while I usually find the endings a bit too fantastic, they are an awesome thrill ride that keep me up way too late.  Here's what Goodreads says about Gone Girl
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

I haven't seen the movie yet, because I usually like to read the book first so I'm not 100% sure how this one goes, although I have gathered bits and pieces from reviews online.  And the crazy thing is, I picked this same book for Kelly as a book I haven't read but sounded like she'd enjoy. 

I'm so excited! I've already put one of the books in my February to read stack.  If you want to see what everyone else got, check out the link up by clicking the picture below.  And if you want to play next time, we'll be doing it all again in March!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Musical Monday- Brownlow by Lapsley

I kind of like female electronic music.  I've already done Musical Monday posts on songs from Zola Jesus, Ritual Union, and Joy Wave so I definitely see the pattern here.  Which is kind of weird, because if someone asked me to name my musical preferences electronica wouldn't even be in the list.

But anyway, here's my latest love.  It's British artist Lapsley's song "Brownlow".  I couldn't find a video to go with it, and had a hard time even finding lyrics.

But the line that really stands out to me is :
It's like I'm jumping to a pool that I don't know where the bottom end is
[?] her and I don't know if I am sure of this
But I live for the moment
My life on the turn when it comes down to this
I mean doesn't that just perfectly sum up life?  Jumping into a a pool and not knowing where the bottom is?  And isn't living for the moment how you want to live?  I know that's me.  Not that I want to just wing it, but I want to enjoy all the little moments that we take for granted every day.  Savor that cup of coffee.  Watch the birds picking at the sunflower seeds on the feeder.  Really watch the fluffy snowflakes falling.

So today, I just want to stress savoring small things.  Pay attention.  It is true that life is made up of small things and if you only live for that trip you're planning, that new job your starting, that jacket you want to buy, well, you're going to miss out on all the little things that life is just waiting to show you.

And, it's Monday, so you should certainly head over to Miss Angie's and see what everyone else is listening to.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Eating Your Vegetables

So, we're in the new year, and everyone is still trying to eat healthy and exercise more,myself included.  I think I eat fairly healthy, not a lot of overly processed foods, but I do love cream cheese, salad dressings, mayo, coffee drinks, ice cream etc.

The other night, I was getting ready for bed, and I caught my reflection in the mirror and for a split second, I had this horrifying thought.  Want to know what it was?  Oh my gosh!  My belly is so big!  What if I'm pregnant and just don't know it! Like seriously, I suddenly felt a rush of sympathy for those ladies on "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant".  Turns out I just had a major case of the bloats.  Major!  I woke up the next day and by the time I got around to showering and getting dressed, I no longer felt/ looked like I could be four months pregnant, but it really made me think that I need to be more careful about what I'm eating. 

One of my favorite winter dishes is roasted veggies.  It's easy, it's a great way to use up produce, and you throw it in the oven and just go about your life, while they roast.  I remembered that Influenster had sent me a free bottle of McCormick Gourmet's new Thyme seasoning in my Frosty Vox Box.  So I sliced up some baby red potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower, drizzled it with olive oil and then sprinkled it with thyme and a little sea salt.
Veggies Ready for the Oven
They cooked about 45 minutes (or until your potatoes are done) at 400 degrees, and when I pulled them out of the oven they smelled heavenly.  They tasted even better!  If you are trying to find a way to get more veggies in your diet, this is a great one because you can use a ton of different veggies, you can use whatever herbs you like, and they taste great warmed up the next day too!

After Roasting
(Don't mind my sad pictures.  I took them on my cell phone, at night, with only nasty fluorescent lighting.  But trust me, they're so good.)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Musical Monday- "To You I Bestow" from Mundy

So last week I was talking about how much I loved "Lord of the Rings", but am just not feeling "The Hobbit".  The overwhelming consensus was that I needed to give "The Hobbit" another chance.

 So, then I got thinking about movies I had loved in high school.  Remember before Netflix when you had to physical go to the store to rent a movie?  We didn't have a Blockbuster here, but there were three main spots to get movies: Video Hut (which also offered tanning in the back), Ace Hardware (yes- the helpful hardware place had a pretty big selection of VHS tapes too), and Eastmart (a gas station in town).

I remember when I was in the eighth grade I stayed overnight at a friend's house and we convinced her older brother to take us uptown to rent a movie.  We had to stop at Radioshack so he could get OMC's "How Bizarre" on CD.  (Crazy that I remember that.)  And then we went to Ace and rented "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet".  We both thought Leonardo DiCaprio was sooo cute.  Needless to say, we loved the movie!  I loved that the setting was updated but the dialogue was kept authentic.  I bought it, and both soundtracks and listened to them all the time!  My brother actually bought me the 10th anniversary edition for my birthday a couple years ago.

But I digress, the soundtrack has aged fairly well.  It has an overall grunge feel, but it's still a good play.  One of my favorite songs on it was Mundy's "To You I Bestow". 

Enjoy the throwback.  How about you?  Any '90s movies you enjoyed?  And want to see what everyone else is listening to?  Go to My So Called Chaos and check out the Musical Monday link up. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Five Things- Halfway Through January

We're already more than half way through the first month of the new year.  Seems crazy.  So hopefully you're all still doing good with your goals and resolutions for the new year, and if you're not, don't worry, you can still start again.  Here are five things that have been going on or crossing my mind this week.

1.  Packers vs. Seahawks!  I love you Beth of Printcess but I really hope the Packers stomp your Seahawks. That is all.

2.  This video from Maroon 5 for "Sugar".  I'm not the biggest Maroon 5 but this video is pretty sweet.  (No pun intended.)  Adam Levine and the guys crashing a bunch of weddings.  Very nice. :)

3.  Doctor Who is leaving Netflix instant play February 1, so if you're like me and that's the platform you watch on, you better get caught up on your episodes.  I don't know if it's going to be temporary or long term.  Also leaving February 1 is Copper and Torchwood so all you BBC buffs better be marathon watching.

4.  I finally got out and went cross country skiing.  It's been below zero for days and days here.  The day I went it was 7 outside and actually felt pretty good once I got going.  I think it was the sun.  Here's a picture I took.
A photo posted by Kayl (@lavender_kay) on

5.  If you're looking for a great deal on fabric, Pattern Jam is currently redoing their store and selling lots of high quality fabrics for just $6 a yard.  It's a great price and I'll be honest, I couldn't resist. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Finishes: Fabric Baskets

So, part of my plan for January was to make at least four things this month.  I've done some tea towel embellishing, a couple zipper pouches, but this is probably my fabric finish this month.  These fabric baskets are great scrap busting projects.  I found the tutorial in an old sewing magazine.  I had left it flipped open on my sewing room floor which is apparently a secret message to cats that you want them to puke on it.  Because that is exactly what Gargoyle did.  Puked on both pages.  It was grand.  Luckily, I found it before it had crusted on forever ruining the pages.  So got rid of the puke and gently scrubbed the pages.  It can still be read and these are actually the fourth and fifth baskets I've made.  I made three of the small size over Christmas and then these two.

Using up some old stuff!

I love them for several reasons.
  • It's a good way to use scraps up.
  • No zippers, buttonholes, or snaps.
  • Only two pieces to cut out.
  • Great for storing things: yarn, beauty supplies, mail, cat toys, and yes- even more fabric.
If you want to see how to make them without looking at cat puke, there's a tutorial on Birch Fabrics which uses the same principles but are different sizes than the tutorial I use.

P.S. These are a great project if you're new to sewing too, so beginners, don't be afraid to give it a try.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Musical Mondays- I See Fire from Ed Sheeran

As part of my Spark homework I had to make a productivity playlist.  I was going through my saved songs on Spotify, and for some reason, I felt like I should put this one in the playlist.  Most of the other songs are really upbeat (maybe too upbeat to write to), but I felt like this one needed to be on the list.  And it's turned out to be one of my favorites of the whole mix.

Then, I went to look for a video for it, I found out it was featured in The Hobbit- The Desolation of Smaug.  I actually have the DVD sitting on my TV stand.  I got it from Netflix about two weeks ago and haven't watched it yet.  Can I be honest for a second- I loved "Lord of the Rings".  Like seriously, no movie or book probably had as much influence on me in my high school years as those did.  But, when I watched The Hobbit, I wasn't impressed.  It seemed long and drawn out and I just wasn't feeling it.  I decided to give "The Desolation of Smaug" a shot so I ordered it up from Netflix, but like I said, I haven't even watched it yet.

After watching this video for "I See Fire" I'm thinking I have to rewatch "The Hobbit".  Like I must have missed something.  If not, this video is great at striking all these emotional cords.  That might be it too.

So, here's the video.  It's a great song even if you're not a Hobbit fan.  And if you are a Hobbit fan, what do you think?  Is the Hobbit over hyped or do I need to re-watch it?

And it's Monday so you know what that means!  It's Musical Monday link up with My So Called Chaos.  You can find the whole link up by clicking below and seeing what everyone else is listening to.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Books 'n' Blogger Swap Sign Up!

Guess what time it is!!!  Time for Chaotic Goddess' Books 'n' Blogger swap!  This is one of my favorite swaps they put on and they're doing it THREE times this year!  Hot dog!  I know what you're thinking, I just stated I have a ton of books to read and they're cluttering up my whole office.  Yes, yes I did.  But it's BOOKS 'N' BLOGGERS you guys!  Come on, I can't sit this one out!  I was so sad when I missed the second round last year.  Besides, I can read three books really fast, I swear I can.  And then I'll pass them on when I'm done with them!  (Why do I feel like I need to justify to you guys why I need new books?!)

Anyhow, last year I was partnered with Jolene from With a Little Help From My Friends and we're still good bloggie friends.  She got me some great books! And I can't wait to play again.  You send your partner one book from their reading list, one that you think they're going to like based on their tastes, and one you read that you really like and think they should try.

Want to join up?  Of course you do!  Just go to  Chaotic Goddess' sign up page and follow the directions.  Sign ups are only open until Monday so get going! 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

5 Things January 4- The First of 2015

We're into the new year.  I love how fresh and possible everything seems at the start of the new year!  I have thoughts like "By the end of 2015, I could be a size 6!" and "I have 365 days to read all these books!" and "It's going to be my most organized most awesome year of blogging ever!"  Ah!  Here's to fresh beginnings!

1.  First "Masterminds" meeting of 2015 went great.  We met yesterday, had fajitas and then drank coffee while we talked about our January goals.  It was fun to see what everyone was hoping to accomplish.  We brainstormed for a while too on some ways to get through roadblocks keeping us from our goals.  It felt fresh and productive and I can't wait for the February meeting.

2.  Yesterday I made my twenty-forth loan on Kiva.  I've had ten that have been fully paid back, and with the repayments I funded more loans.  I only have two that are delinquent.  One is a loan to Sierra Leone, and Kiva sent updates stating some of the borrowers there succumbed to Ebola and the economy has been hit hard, so some loans will not be repaid while others will need to be restructured.  I have not heard if my borrower is okay or not yet.  The other delinquent loan is in Benin, Africa, which has also been affected by Ebola.  But, not getting repaid is risk you take when you use Kiva, and it's happened very rarely to me.  If someone has lost family members to Ebola or their business has folded because people are scared to leave their homes, I'm not really going to sweat my $25.  All my other loans have been repaid or are being repaid without incident.  I really recommend Kiva and if you're interested in trying it out, but have questions, leave me a comment.

3.  Did any of you Doctor Who fans know that David Tennant and Catherine Tate starred in a production of "Much Ado About Nothing" in 2011?  I stumbled across the trailer on Twitter and I really want to see it now.  You can download it online.  Here's the preview.  What do you think?

4.  My dad built me a bird feeder for Christmas.  I have one outside my sewing room window, but the one my dad built is mounted right to my deck.  It' super easy to fill, because I don't have to stomp through snow drifts, it's right outside my kitchen window, and the birds love it.  Consequently, HB loves the feeder, because it gives him an excuse to sit on my kitchen counter and watch the birds.
A photo posted by Kayl (@lavender_kay) on

5.  Good news!  My next working schedule is straight PM shifts!  Yay!  No day shifts for this girl.  It took some finagling but my coworker that loves day shifts and I were able to mash or schedules into her being on straight days and myself being straight PMs!  I'm so happy!  You have no idea!

So, here's to a happy start to 2015 wished for all of you and we'll talk more soon!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 Goals: Exercise!

I hate exercising.  I was doing pretty good this summer, but then got out of the habit this fall and am back to my unmotivated, flabby self.  So, for 2015, I am making it a goal.  I'm planning on exercising 4 times a week in January. 

I felt better when I was exercising regularly.  I had more energy. I felt healthier, even my posture improved.  But now that I've stopped it feel so hard to start again.  So, I'm trying a few things to get/keep me motivated.

I joined Fabletics (personal referral link), and picked the salar baby boot pants, and the miri tank combo.  I like the pants a lot (even if I had to get the x-large).  I have a sway back and tiny waist with big hips, so the tank fits kind of funny, but it'll be fine for around the house when I'm doing pilates or putting in time on the treadmill.

I'm also trying to log my workouts.  Just in my day planner, but I think writing it down helps.  I'm the kind of person that gets great satisfaction from crossing things off my to do list.  So, just writing "work out" in my planner, and then crossing it off after I've done it helps.

Also, I'm not focusing on weight loss.  I know exercise has great benefits for mental health and creativity besides the weight loss, so I'm just focusing on doing it regularly and the weight loss will come.  I don't have a goal of how much or how fast, just focusing on the exercising for now.

Finally, I was going to post some cute Pinterest quote about exercising, but let's just keep it simple, exercise is really not optional if you want to be healthy.  Even if you're one of those lucky people who can weigh 100 pounds while living on potato chips and Mountain Dew, exercise is necessary for your mental health.  So, I just have to make myself do it more.