Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Since Spring isn't quite here yet, I splurged at Trader Joe's and bought myself a $5.99 bouquet of Easter flowers.  Who says money can't buy happiness?

Joining in with Helena's meme this week.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Memorandum Monday

To:  All My Blog Friends
From: Cheri
Date: March 28, 2016
Re: Your Health

I have been reading Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter.  It follows closely with Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis that I read a few years ago. Both books espouse the theory that our grain-laden diets (and especially the GMO grains) are responsible for a myriad of medical problems from type 2 diabetes and obesity to skin conditions, headaches, and a host of inflammatory diseases. Grain Brain goes beyond the physical conditions and claims that grains and sugar are responsible for (or negatively affect) conditions such as Alzheimers, Parkinson's, bi-polar disorder, and even ADHD.

I'm not that far into the book, but this past weekend I read that studies as far back as nineteen years ago (and the book was published in 2013, so even longer than that) showed no correlation between high cholesterol levels and the incidence of heart attack or stroke. In fact, Perlmutter claims that people with high cholesterol levels (240+) fared better on memory and cognitive testing and had lower incidence of dementia than people with low cholesterol levels.  Say what now?   Yet, the medical and pharma communities are still pushing us to eat low-fat, low-cholesterol diets and to take statins if cholesterol levels hit over the 200 mark. So glad I passed on that statin prescription last year!

As I said, I'm not that far into the book, and I'm not taking it as gospel, but it is a strong reminder as to why I went to a Paleo lifestyle several years ago and a reminder that I need to get back to it. Unfortunately the convenience (grab and go) of grain-based products always seems to pull me back.

Today, Cathy Zielski shared this article on our FIT group.  It's a very condensed version of some of the same thoughts if you want a quick read!

recycling an old photo to add some happy to this post!
Joining in with Sian and all the Memorandum Monday folks. Hope you all have a healthy and happy week!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Pick Of The Week

This week's Pick - picked at a firehouse flea market on Sunday morning - a pair of cast aluminum wall plaques depicting soldiers from the Revolutionary War period. The black coat is from the Continental Army, the green coat is a Minuteman.  These were created by the Sexton company from Raytown, Missouri circa 1960's and measure about 21" tall each.  The Sexton company created cast metal wall decor in a variety of themes (vehicles, military, household items, historical figures, etc.) before going out of business in 2001.

I just thought they looked cool!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Memorandum Monday

Linking up with Sian and all the other Memo Monday folks!

My weekend was pretty routine.  The one thing I did that was new for me was spend TWO HOURS on the phone with my daughter Sarah.  She is a bridesmaid in a wedding this June and has tapped me for creative help planning the Bachelorette Party.  She had a theme and ideas, I just helped flesh them out and volunteered my crafting services. But TWO HOURS non-stop on the phone - WOW!

Saw this on St. Patrick's Day. It literally only lasted a few minutes. But it was gorgeous while it was there!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Pick Of The Week - A Mystery

This one is a total mystery to me!

The size is 14" square and about 4" high.  Which is highly suggestive of a cake platform (like they use at weddings).  Or maybe a pot stand for indoor plants? My web searches of cake platforms, plates, and risers turned up nothing with a patterned top like this.  Indeed, I couldn't imagine putting a cake on top of inlaid enamel.  And my search for plant or pot stands came up empty handed as well.

This is a shot down on the inlaid enamel top. The pattern appears too "perfect" for the leading to be hand laid, so I'm guessing it is machine made. But I'm not positive.  The colors are actually very bright and jewel-toned.  But my web searches of inlaid enamel turned up jewelry, vases, and trinket boxes - nothing like this!

The floral and striped detailing on the sides appears to be embossed tin, wrapped around the edges of side and tacked down with very tiny finish nails or pins.  Reminds me of tin ceiling tiles.

The claw feet are attached to the base with slotted rather than Phillips head screws, which suggest that it is an older piece.

There is nothing anywhere on the piece to identify a manufacturer, country of origin, or date.

So can any of you help me solve this mystery?  Ever seen anything like this before?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Memorandum Monday (Tuesday Edition) - The Computer Saga

Linking up with Sian and all the other Memo Monday folks!

My story for Memorandum Monday goes like this.  On February 23, after doing some work on my home computer (which was my OLD work laptop hooked up to a large monitor and full size keyboard and still running Windows XP), I went out to the grocery store.  When I came home, my screen was black. I tried rebooting -  nothing.  Jay came home and ran some utility, but was unable to "see" the hard drive.  On February 24 he took the laptop apart and ran the drive through some reader machine. Still nothing. Diagnosis - catastrophic hard drive failure.  UGH.

Now two things I should tell you right off the bat - First, this did not affect my External Hard Drive which has all of my digiscrap supplies and photos on it. That drive was still fully functional. Hallelujah. And second, I wasn't terribly worried about the rest of it as I've been running "BackBlaze" on my computer for several years - since the last time I had a hard drive fail and had to learn the hard way about the importance of a back-up service. I knew that my files were backed up and should be retrievable through the BackBlaze online service.

Thankfully, I had my current work laptop, which has most of my "stuff" on it, so I was able to stay operational, albeit not in the ways to which I was accustomed.  I had to access home email through my webmail account which had none of my email folders, archives, contacts, etc. Which meant if your comment on a blog post came through without your email attached, I had no way to reply! And trying to complete layouts on my laptop screen was .... excruciating.  Which is why I ultimately quit the LOAD challenge without finishing out the month.  On the 24th I downloaded my backed up files from Backblaze - the biggest "issue" I faced was that all the work I had done on Excel spreadsheets for The Shop was a week out of date and I had to recreate the last week worth of work, which was actually a lot, but I got it done.

On Sunday evening, February 28, Jay finally pushed the "buy" button for my new computer. And then the waiting game began.  I waited. And waited. And waited some more.

And that, my friends, is the very long back-story to all the new things I learned in the last week.

My new computer finally arrived on the evening of  March 10. Check it out - That big silver and black box next to my monitor is my new HP Envy 750.  Jay & I both thought the new box would be much smaller - so not!

On Thursday night, after Jay unboxed and booted up the computer, I installed PSE13.  Yes, PRIORITIES ladies. Or else, just that it was something I knew how to do and was comfortable with.  I tried to install LR5 but ran into a snag with serial numbers and had to email the support group to get the serial number. I learned to write the serial number ON THE BOX so you don't have to look for the paper you saved it on or the old email (to which I still did not have access) where it might have been.  On Friday March 11, having received the errant serial number, I installed LR5 and learned how to import my old LR catalog so that all my photos with all the tagging would show up. Ta Da!

At this point Jay still hadn't ordered or installed any Microsoft Office product and I was wanting my email back.  So I went online and after conferring with him, ordered Microsoft Home and Business, downloaded, and installed the program.  Having access to Word and Excel, I began moving the personal files that I had downloaded from Backblaze to my work laptop onto my new computer. Using a thumb drive and moving 2-3 gigs of data at a time.

On Saturday, having gotten tired of waiting on Jay to set up my Outlook email account, I got online and learned how to set up .pop and .smtp email accounts - all by myself. AND I learned how to import my Outlook .pst backup file into the new account.  As if by magic, all of my old email and folders were restored! Hallelujah!  Yes, I'm a bit proud of my very non-techie self on that account! I'm only missing whatever email had downloaded to my computer on the day it died.  The rest of it was safely in the .pst back-up or still on my webmail account awaiting download. And I learned to set my webmail account to hold copies for two weeks after download before deleting from the server, so I won't have any missing emails again!

I also learned that I save a lot of stuff I really don't need. Being without all that back-up email for over two weeks, I realized that there was very little of it I would likely ever refer to again. And transferring files, I found stuff I hadn't opened in years and no longer had any need for. Which meant a fair bit of purging, but I feel very good about that. A little less digital clutter in my life!

I'm slowly reloading other programs, getting screens set up the way I want, and learning my way around Windows 10, which is VERY different from the Windows XP interface. Today I learned how to move my Backblaze account to my new computer and start the back-up process all over again. That was a lot of learning for one week!

Lest you think my entire weekend was consumed by computers, it wasn't.  My mother had given Jay & I a gift certificate for Bucks County Playhouse for Christmas.  We went on Sunday (an otherwise grey and dismal day) to see (NEW to us) the final showing of "Defending the Caveman"   The only thing I knew about the show is that it's a comedic play about relationships between men and women.  I didn't realize when booking the tickets that it was a one-man show. And I'm not sure what rock I've been living under, but the show has been running for 16 years and I had never heard of it.  Turns out it was great! We had great seats in the second row. The actor for our show was Vince Valentine, a Philadelphia native, and his version incorporated references that only folks from this area would understand.  It was hilariously funny and informative and we both laughed a lot.  A totally enjoyable experience.  Thanks Mom!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

One Little Word - "SIMPLE" Vision Boards

The One Little Word assignment for March is to create a Vision Board for your word.  This is probably my favorite prompt of the year and this year was no exception.

Initially, I went straight to making a digital version.  My Pinterest Boards and a few bits of digi-scrapbook stash allowed me to create this version.  And I was pretty happy with it.

But I still wanted to try my hand at a cut and paste and get messy version.  That required a trip to the thrift store to pick up some magazines.  By choosing only the ones that had blue tickets (blue tickets were 75% off that day), I was able to snag eight different magazines (Oprah, Real Simple, Fitness, Martha Stewart Living, Family Circle, and Everyday with Rachel Ray) for the princely sum of fifty three cents!  One evening of clipping in front of the television and a week of play later....
I've got layered images and words, a little bit of play with paints and textures, a couple of rub-ons, and some dimensional butterflies sprinkled around. All based on a 14 x 18" canvas board which I am going to hang in my office. I love the bright happy colors I was able to incorporate and all the positive words and messages.

What surprised me about this exercise is that for a gal whose word is "SIMPLE", my creations ended up being anything but!  In fact, I think both feel a little chaotic and wild, but in a good way, if that makes any sense. Maybe just a reflection of how my life feels right now. Seeing them together, do you see any themes jumping out at you to which I should be paying attention? Do you prefer one over the other? Why?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Pick of the Week

Since shopping the thrift stores and flea markets has become such a prominent part of my life, I was trying to figure out a way to share that here that would be interesting and informative but not be the primary thing I'm always adding to Memorandum Monday.  So here is the first installment of "Pick of the Week."  I will try to do a post for each week when I have an interesting find to share.

 This week's pick was found at a local thrift store.  It is a cast iron CASE train engine floor toy.  Cast iron toys were originally manufactured in America as children's playthings from the 1870's through World War II.  According to this eBay buying guide the one we found is likely a later reproduction because of the coarseness of the finish.  I also read that original pieces did not have gold paint.  In either case, we thought it was a cool piece that will likely sell quickly in our shop!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Memorandum Monday - You've Got {HAPPY} Mail!

Joining in with Sian and all my fellow Memorandum Monday-ers.  What "new" thing did I do last weekend?  Well, I had a very special surprise when this showed up in my mail:

Sian has knitted me the prettiest pair of striped socks! The foot part fits perfectly and the calf part is nice and slouchy loose - they may just become my new favorite sleeping socks! (yes, I am one of those people who wears socks to bed until the weather turns to sleeping-with-the-windows-open warm).  The socks were so prettily wrapped up in their little cuff, I almost didn't want to open them. But actually wearing them takes precedence and that cute little paper cuff with the washing instructions will likely find a home in my Simple Album as a remembrance of some very special happy mail.  THANK YOU so much Sian! I love them!

Friday, March 4, 2016

FIT & OLW Update

It occurs to me that I haven't really updated on my FIT and OLW (SIMPLE) journey since I posted some ridiculously embarassing numbers at the beginning of the year.  Here is what has been happening:

I closed out January with this mini layout. Just because I loved the meme when it popped up on Facebook!
My starting numbers and plan for February. Change is happening excruciatingly slowly, but it is happening!

I upped my daily step goal to 5500 steps.

 And I tried to keep the FIT mantra in mind as I was checking (or not checking as the case may be) boxes ... strive for PROGRESS, not perfection!

By the end of February, I had met my step goals 20 out of 29 days. That is roughly 66% which wasn't enough to convince me to push the goal to the next level just yet. But in the process, I've gone from rarely working out to going regularly to a Fitness Class, Tai Chi, and visiting a gym with my friend Rachel where we get to talk while hitting the treadmill for a half hour. That has been a HUGE change for me!

The prompt for One Little Word for February was "Practice" something for 30 days and chart it. I decided to "practice" making sure to log my food everyday. I managed 25 out of 29 days.  I have found being out and about on the weekends makes it harder to track. It may be time to download an app to my phone and stop making excuses.  Wanting to add that little enamel dot every day really helped keep me honest.  And keeping honest led to this:

My numbers for March 1st.  I am down a total of 6 pounds and 6 1/2" from the beginning of the year.  It is slow, but it is all in the right direction. I'm somewhat amazed at how much WORK it takes to get rid of a single pound and I'm hoping to keep my attitude and my work ethic strong so I can accomplish my goals.  I have had a few days (hmmm, maybe more than a few) where my inner critic has strongly suggested that I throw in the towel and eat the cookies. I've succumbed a few times, but I am finding it is getting a little easier to resist that nasty little voice in my head!

The March prompt for One Little Work is to create a vision board of our word.  I had so much fun playing with a digi version:

I uploaded this one in a slightly larger format, so you should be able to click on it and make it bigger to read all the smaller items.  Although my vision board doesn't seem all that focused on the concept of "SIMPLE", it is clearly focused on the things I am working on right now.  And I plan to make a cut and paste version too, but need to source some magazines first.  I'm also reusing February's prompt and will be practicing decluttering for the month of March.  Seriously hoping to fill that card!!!

Even if you aren't in these classes, are you practicing anything specific in March?