April 10, 2011

365/ 61 & 62 Starfish Pillow Birthday Gift

What a week! Work was crazy and for a time so was I (more than usual). BUT...I found time to be creative and that saved me. The last couple of days (Tues/Sat/Sun) I have been working on a special gift for my friend Ken. It was his birthday and I wanted to do something really nice. 

A few years ago he pointed out a starfish pillow that he really liked. That memory is the inspiration for the Starfish Pillow I made him.

The front of the pillow sports a partial wool felt starfish. Figuring out how big to make the starfish and where to center it was a challenge. This pillow is 20" square, so I had to tape sketch paper together to get a proper sized template. 

I divided the paper into thirds (horizontally and vertically) so that the design would be off center and still look good.
Do you like my fabric choice? It is from my generous friend Amy who didn't know what to do with it or even know why she had it. We agreed that it was a terrible minty green color. However, 10 minutes with my pal Jacquard Dye-Naflow and wha-la: a gorgeous beach inspired fabric perfect for the Starfish Pillow. I am telling you changing the fabric color could not be easier! I was shocked and delighted with the new colors.

No less challenging for me was the back of the pillow. I went with an envelope closure, but the math to create it always messes me up. Yes I know, I mess up the math. Math is perfect. Before childbirth: math wiz...after childbirth: dunce.

Ooooopsie not enough painted fabric for the back, so what do I do? Add in more from the stash that matches the starfish on the front. Lucky for me that was white. It turned out nicer with the two colors. A happy accident. I was also more daring with the fabric color on the back so it has "rusty" areas too.

Here is a close-up view of the starfish. I used different colors of DMC and other flosses to create the bumpy texture on the arms. I used  pinkish-grays, peach tones and a peach variegated floss. Recognize the knots? French of course. I got really quick at doing the French Knots. This was the most relaxing part to do.

This is how it would look on my bed if I had made one for me too. Actually, I just might do that.

For now I am entering my pillow in the Blogger's Pillow Party. Click the graphic below to visit their site for details.

Blogger's Pillow Party

April 8, 2011

365/61 How to Make Tropical Yogurt

Belated Post for Tuesday, April 8th

I have finally gotten back to cooking healthy and eating lots of fruits and veggies. What I have discovered is that I don't do well when I have lots of bread or flour based foods. Bready carbs make me sleepy, sluggish and give me lots of heart burn. Does this happen to you too? Some people can tolerate them well, but I need to keep my consumption of them low. 

I have also been trying to cut out white sugar so I no longer eat milk chocolate but have switched back to the darkest chocolate I can find since it tends to have a much lower sugar content. My favorite is the Extra Strong Dark 77% Chocolove Bar..mmmm. love bar. I lie. I am a chocoholic and will eat the milk, but have been feasting on  the dark stuff instead and the 77% is yummy and smooth.

So what does this have to do with yogurt? I used to eat my plain yogurt with a little granola, chocolate chips, and honey on top. I just created a recipe for making a much better and healthier version that I now crave!

Tropical Yogurt
  • Plain low-fat or non-fat yogurt (has no added sugar)
  • cut up cantaloupe or seedless grapes cut in half or hey...both
  • 1/2 to 1tsp of Coconut Nectar or raw honey
  • 1 Tbs finely grated organic coconut flakes (without sugar)
  • 1/2 oz or 4-5 big walnut halves broken up
  • 1/2 Tbs bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli 60% and cut them in half because they are ginormous)

Place yogurt into your favorite bowl and top with the Coconut Nectar. Give the yogurt a light stir --- just enough to swirl the nectar around, but do not completely mix the two. Next add in the fruit, coconut, chocolate chips and finally the walnuts. 

This has become my favorite breakfast and snack. I prefer crunch in my yogurt and this recipe provides that. If you are following the Weight Watchers Points Plus Program then this is about 5 points. Give it a try, I think you will really like it. Let me know what you think.

April 5, 2011

365/60 Easy Face Moisturizer

Belated posting for Monday, April 4, 2010

I have been reading about the benefits of organic coconut oil and coconut milk and how great it is for your health. Just Google it and you will see. Anyway, I finally broke down and spent $8 on a 8oz jar. It smells wonderful and is great to cook with.

However I found another fabulous use for it. My face! I have tried lots of different moisturizers with no positive or lasting effects. For the last few years my face has been so dry and flaky and nothing seemed to make an impact.

I have a simple recipe that I have been using for four days now. Normally I would have to scrape off the dry spots/flakes before moisturizing every morning--ick. After only four days of using coconut oil, my face looks the best it has in a long time with very little to no flaking. There is no greasy residue when applied lightly. I have used less than a teaspoon so far, so an 8oz jar would last an incredibly long time. This makes Coconut Oil the best moisturizer I have used and the least expensive! And...I can eat it. LOL.

Coconut Oil Moisturizer
Ingredients: Organic Coconut Oil

How to Use:

  • Transfer one TBS of Coconut Oil into a small container (like those used for salad dressings when ordering take-out...mmm take-out)
  • After showering rub finger over coconut oil to soften it and apply all over face. It only takes a very small amount!
  • Clean face with Witch Hazel to moisten and clean it, then apply small amount of Coconut Oil to face
For really dry or flaky skin like mine:
  • Apply facial scrub (Depending on your dryness you might do this 2-3 times a week)
  • Apply small amount of Coconut Oil to face.
  • As the dryness and flakiness clears up, there will be less need for the facial scrub.
  • On non-facial scrub days clean face with Witch Hazel to moisten and clean it, then apply small amount of Coconut Oil to face.
It is so simple and works so well. Let me know if you try this and if it worked for you.

356/58 & 59 Making Headway in Embroidery of Quilt

I have been doing data intensive consulting work, so after a day of that I really haven't been into spending more time on the computer. But today is blog catch up day.

Well, I am finally making some good progress with the embroidery of my Dead Parrot Pirate Quilt. Although I would like to be quicker at it, I find that I really am enjoying the process. Its very relaxing--when I'm not ripping out stitches. My hope is that by the time I have embroidered my way back up to the first "Yo" that I will be motivated by my new skills to redo that "Yo". It at least deserves an "o".

Here is a photo of my efforts from Saturday and Sunday night.

The Close Up