I liken my life to a crazy quilt. You never know what size or color the next block will be, what print or fabric it will be made from or which stitch, ribbon or charm it will be adorned with.

Welcome to my crazy-quilt life. Hopefully my blog is a reflection of that & me!

Enjoy your visit.

Check out my farm blog too! http://serenitysheepfarmstay.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Words cannot completely describe my day yesterday. I did something I've always wanted to do and that is open our home to anyone who might like to share our meal. Traditionally my mom hosted T-day and when my step dad passed away, she passed the torch to Juliana. With Juliana and Johnathan now in Portland, I really wasn't looking forward to this Thanksgiving.
My plan was hatched at the last winter farmer's market. I purchased items from my friends who sell there to have for our meal. At least then a little bit of them would be at my table too. My desire grew to have the most local meal I could possibly provide. Then I realized it would just be us. Chris, Kelly, Mom, Ray and myself. I am fortunate because I see these people frequently, if not every day, but let's face it, we're a little boring.
I posted an invite here on my face book page and invited anyone! Our table seats 10 comfortably and we had 10 at the table! It was really meant to be.
It was such a great joy to share all of the local harvest with everyone here and to know our kids in Portland were in kind and loving hands with good friends.
The conversations were interesting and lively, the laughter was abundant and soothed my soul. The new faces at our table were a blessing. My heart is full!

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Day Simplicity Training for Women

I joined the gym! Yup! I saw an ad in the local paper for a 30-day Simplicity Training for Women and it happened to be in Manhattan, which is closer for me than actually going to Bozeman. There are gyms in Belgrade, but the ad appealed to me for many reasons. Thirty days. I can take 30 days for ME and do something really positive.
So I am at the end of week one. We meet just 2 evenings a week and we're given "homework" for 3 more. I decided I wanted to write down some of my thoughts during this process so that if just one person reads it and finds inspiration, maybe my words will help.
Day 1 was interesting. We warmed up and then our workout was just 12 minutes long. It's a modified version of cross fit training. Day 2 I was sort of sore and day 3, look out! Sitting down and getting back up again REALLY hurt. I developed this pain in my back below my left shoulder that hurt like mad when I tried to roll over in bed or breathe deeply. I think it's actually just a muscle that is coming back to life after years of little use. I am right -handed and I guess I didn't realize just how much I don't use my left side.

I want to touch on a few thoughts that have been rolling around in my head. It's awkward to let other people see you work out when you're out of shape. I absolutely HATE the fact that I know so many people at the gym. Manhattan is a small town and I know A LOT of people. I am having a hard time coming to terms with this aspect of it. I think it's because of conversations I've had with other people on the subject. "I could never join a gym! I don't want people looking at me" they'd say. Well, what I have found is that they're all there to work out, not to look at you!

There are 5 ladies in the group. Only one is under 50, so that makes it nice. The trainer is super nice and very gentle on us. He's got a helper who watches to make sure we're in position properly too. The exercises of today are not the same we did in gym class! Chin ups, sit ups, push ups are all different. They all still hurt! lol I've done "planks" and "kettle bells", words I've only heard before. This is all new to me!

Oct. 29
I know I am sleeping better with these workouts, that's for sure.
Yesterday I had to go to Manhattan, so I stopped off at the gym to put in 30 minutes. I wound up staying for almost an hour and rode the bike 10 miles. I am still in awe that I could go that far. It's encouraging.
It was really difficult walking into that place alone, knowing my class mates were not there. As it turned out, the trainer was there and he was encouraging. Yes, I knew 90% of the people there! It's very awkward for me.

Oct. 31
Finished up week 2. What a difference a week makes. Robin, the youngest in the class, promised us last week that this week would be better. She's been at it a week longer than the rest of us. Tonight the gym was practically empty, which I like. Well, with the exception of a couple of guys who were apparently weigh-lifting or something. I honestly think they were there to either look at themselves in the mirror or to be seen or both. It was odd. I was about to ask the trainer what was up with the loiterers!
I sweated more tonight and was out of breath for a bit. It was a tough workout for me, but I got through!
We have homework too! On the days we don't work out, the trainer gives us homework. We can go to the gym if we want or do it at home. Today I did laps around the outside of the shop. lol We get the weekends off! YAY!

Here it is Nov. 15. Our 30 day-training has ended. I feel much stronger in a lot of areas and I am glad I did this. It's amazing what a little bit of weights can do, especially if you have someone show you the proper way to use them.

Last night I actually took note of my confidence walking in the gym. I didn't care who was in there! I have formed friendships with my class mates and trainers and it has been a fun thing. Of course I had to sprinkle in my own brand of fun in the class too! For Halloween I gave them each a treat bag with a tea bag inside. "Good Mood Tea"! :-) And on Thursday of last week when the trainer was gone, I brought a hula hoop for his assistant and we threatened him with a hula hoop work out if he was too hard on us. It was all in fun and he did very well! He even did chin ups while twirling the hoop on one leg! Impressive! So I brought it back Tuesday for the trainer and we had more fun!

I really have only kept track of my feelings here so I could go back and see progress. If this inspires anyone to try the gym, all the better. I never thought I would be one of those "gym people", but it helps to keep you focused and on track. I will continue. The program now goes to 3 nights a week (or 5:30 am....no thank you!). I will continue with class 2 nights, but right now I can't work at the mill on Wednesdays and go directly to the gym. I am not physically there. We'll see what the future brings!

December 18 update!
Last week I was really discouraged that I still hurt so bad after workouts. It's not right after or even the day after. It's the second day after, which is the same day we work out again. This week I am MUCH improved! It does get better. It just takes time. I am feeling so much stronger, my range of motion is better and I have more stamina at the gym. I am lucky to have a great bunch to work out with. I think that really does matter!
And...I am working at the mill AND going to the gym on Wednesdays! I can do it!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More "Me" time, part 2!

Florence is an amazing and talented person. She's obviously had many interests in her life. There are many paintings hanging in her home that she painted! This one is in her front entry.

She had Karen take me upstairs and show me some dolls that her mother had collected. This was after I talked about Annabelle and all of her little accessories. They are Nisbet Dolls with beautiful costumes.

He mother's spirit is still in the home. Little touches of her English heritage. The most spectacular thing I saw was this decoupaged screen. It is an assemblage of many things on BOTH sides of four panels! Completely amazing and gorgeous!

And lastly, this is for my fly fishing friend! Wouldn't you love to live on

Monday, November 11, 2013

Some "Me" Time

I have this good friend who recommended I do something just for me. I sort of chuckled and wondered what the heck that might be?! Massage maybe? Weekend at a spa? Oh, that sounds like heaven! Well then along came a lady whom I know from the winter market and her MIL had purchased a yarn CSA from me and shared it with her. She invited me to their once a month knitting gathering. It's a bit of a drive, but a lovely one and you can never be certain about the weather and roads, but this month was my second visit and I am having fun! There are just 3 other women who meet and share projects and discuss gauge and things like that. If you know me, you know gauge and I aren't friends, so that part is funny to me!
I wanted to share a bit here so my good friend can see what I am up to for some "me" time.
This was my view on the trip over. Who can be crabby with a view like that?

This is a cute old mining town. I am unsure of the population, but it still has a little post office....a new one, I might add, and lots of old houses that have so much charm and character. I like to drive the streets and imagine what life was like when it was a bustling community.

Florence told me today that the school hasn't been used since WWII. Sad to see such fabulous old buildings just sitting, but there are barely enough kids to keep the school open in the town down the road.

Florence's home is the one on the left. It's a beautiful old Victorian that has been very well kept. It has a large, wrap-around porch on the front. There are so many details. One could spend the day just observing them all!

Take note of the round window up top! That whole level is her studio. I think I counted 5 looms, a spinning wheel, and this. I had never seen anything like this before. As it turns out, it is for plying yarn and was made by the Hutterites.

She designed and made this stained-glass window and the one on the front door. Someone gave her the panel in the center and she designed the window to fit her door. The round one is the one I mentioned before.

Here's the front door bell! I love it.

She had a large family and I learned today that her mother lived with them for a time. Karen's son always had tea with her in her room promptly at 4:00, if he was visiting!
I had prepared a pop-up tea for us and brought along a tea pot and 4 cups. Lillie had to leave early and didn't join us for tea or lunch, but I set a cup out in honor of Florence's mother. My Tasha Tudor friends were there in spirit. I talked about her and my trip there. I talked about the Valentine tea Linda put on for us and I talked about Clarice's rosemary/lavender tea since that is what I had taken to serve! I also talked about Angie because I had to take my tea cozy along to use and for show and tell! And I talked about Kristen who made the Annabelle dolls and joined us for the Valentine tea all the way from the Boston area!

I got to see many works in progress! These are wingspan shawls made by Karen.

This is a shawl Lillie had on. It's such a pretty pattern and color. It was gorgeous with the deep fuschia top she had on.

This is the sweater Florence had on. She made it of course, but she chose the grays (there are 3 or 4 different shades of gray) to represent stone and then dyed the yellow with lichens and also dyed the burnt orange. Those are her favorite colors and are repeated throughout her home. She wanted her sweater to look like a lichen-cover stone and I think she did a lovely job of it.

I shall finish up tomorrow. I had so much fun today that I just can't get it all down!