Up-cycled Christmas Decorations

November was an extremely busy month with preparation for house guest and the Thanksgiving holiday.

Even though I have not had a lot of time for crafting I have managed to make a few Christmas decorations. I have also successfully made a Christmas stocking for each of my family members.

When possible I prefer to up-cycle materials, creating something new and different from items and materials of little or no value. Many of the materials I use are items that would normally be thrown into the recycle bin and/or materials given to me by others (i.e., fabric, yarn…).

A couple of the up-cycled decorations I have finished for my old fashioned Christmas are as follows:

– Beads for Christmas tree garland

– Little winter hats Christmas tree ornaments

Winter Hats decorations made from plastic bags

How I made the Beads and materials used:

A couple of years ago someone gave me a box full of cheap bead necklaces of different colors, designs and styles.

Box full of cheap but colorful beaded necklaces

 

These beads are cheap and were a little challenging to work with. I cut each necklace to create a little sting of beads. I then had to drill a small hole through each of the end beads of each little string. After I had all the little beads strings drilled I used thin wire to connect each small string together to make one long sting, making a wire loop on either end of the long string to easily attach to the tree.

I still have a lot of these cheap beaded necklaces and look forward to seeing what else I can create with them.

How I made the little winter hats:

The materials used for these little hats include a toilet paper cardboard tube and plastic bags. The white hat was made using plastic grocery bags and the colorful hat was made using plastic bread bags. Cut the toilet paper cardboard tube into ½” to ¾” wide circles and cut the plastic bags into strips about 1/2 “ wide. I then folded the strips in half inserting the loop end through the cardboard circle and then looped the two open ends of the strips through the looped end of the plastic. Pull this tight and continue this step until the tube circle is full of the plastic. Gather the plastic strips to create a ball (pompom) on the top of the hat, tie off with yarn and then trim the ball to make it look like a pompom. The last thing to be done is to create some sort of loop hanger. These can be used as Christmas tree decorations, as a gift decoration, to create a garland or any other idea one might come up with.

Currently I am working on some other decorations and hope to share those with you soon.

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Comments are always welcomed!

Childlike Excitement about Christmas

I can remember being a child and having daydreams about Christmas. I would dream about how wonderful it would be to have a Christmas tree filled with lights and decorations, stockings hung on the wall, the smell of Christmas cookies and candies in the air and the sound of Christmas music playing in the background. Unfortunately, Christmas as well as most of the holidays, was not celebrated at our house.

Once I got married I vowed to decorate and celebrate for Christmas every year. Christmas season would draw near and I could feel a childlike excitement well up within me. I enjoyed decorating and celebrating year after year. I loved Christmas!

Life has a way of sucking the joy right out of you if you let it, and that is what I have done (let it). I lost that childlike Christmas excitement. I have barely decorated for the past seven years and I have only celebrated the holiday out of obligation. Honestly, I forgot about the true meaning of Christmas.

Recently during my one-on-one time with God I was reminded that Christmas is a celebration of the greatest gift of all, Jesus. Christmas is a celebration of love and of life and there is much life that should be celebrated in our home, not only at Christmas time but each and every day.

Christmas is a celebration of love and of life and I am looking forward to celebrating an old fashioned Christmas with friends and family this year. Thanks to God, that childlike excitement has returned!

Let’s spread the joy of Christmas!

Thank you for visiting my blog,

Comments are always welcomed!

P.S. I recently purchased an inexpensive Christmas tree and I am excited to decorate it!

Learning Patience through Pain

For the past several weeks I have been struggling with severe back and leg pain. The pain is so intense that I have to spend the majority of my days sitting. Because I am someone who is always up and doing, being stopped in my tracks (no pun intended) has really been a mental and emotional battle.

What I have noticed is that even though the pain level is the same (intense) some days are good while others are bad. Certainly causes me to ask why, what is the difference?

I start most days spending one-on-one time with God and each day I have asked to be healed of this physical pain. To date I am still in a great deal of physical pain and even though the pain remains I am becoming aware of God working in my life.

I am learning to trust God more, I may not understand the whys or what for but I know that He is on the throne and in control. He is also teaching me to be more patience. The definition for patience according to Google is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset (Google Search). Granted some days my patience goes out the window but for the most part I am hanging in there.

When I find myself starting to get down, depressed and angry over the situation I remind myself that God is in control and He has only his best for me, I may not understand why I am going through this but I know that He (God) will work out all things for the best.

I hope and pray for this pain in my body to leave but regardless of what happens I know and believe that God’s plan is much greater than anything I could possibly think or imagine.

Note: I do want to note here that I have gone to the doctor about this several times. The doctor ordered an MRI but the insurance company denied it and almost a week ago the doctor ordered another test, I am still waiting to see if this will be approved by the insurance company? If not, I have no idea what to do next.

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Comments are always welcomed!

Living in Regret

I am not sure if it is human nature or just the way I am wired, but I have a tendency of taking the negative out of tough situations and dwelling on it instead of the positive aspects.

For example; I had a successful career and after about 20 years with the company I decided I wanted to try a slightly different field of work. This decision was not made in hast but I analyzed the pros and cons for over a year before making the decision. My thoughts at the time were that I would regret not trying and would always wonder “what if” so that is what I did.

Needless to say the new career path did not work out, and that is when I let regret take over my life. I have spent the past few years regretting this career move and have focused so much time, energy and thought on this regret that I have been blinded to all of the positive aspects of taking a chance.

I have let this regret take over my life and not in a good way either. I need to stop living in the past and move forward. I have never been much of a risk taker; I took one and landed on my face. It is way past time for me to pick myself up, dust myself off and use what I learned to move forward.

The decision to change careers and it not turning out the way that I thought it would, has actually been a time of much growth. I just did not realize it until now because of my focus on the negative instead of the positive. I hope to share some of these growing pains with you in upcoming posts.

If you have been living in regret I hope this post is of help. It’s time to close that chapter of life and start a new happier, healthier chapter.

Thank you for visiting my blog,

Comments are always welcomed!

Update: I have been working diligently every day to focus on the silver lining (so to speak) of my day and it is making a positive difference. Instead of focusing on what I do not have or what I cannot do I am trying to be more focused on what I do have and what I can do.

Stop Focusing on what you Don’t Have

I have been even more down in the back than usual for the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately my inability to get around has caused me to get “into my head” way too much. Needless to say, this has caused me to be extremely depressed.

I know that one’s mood; attitude… is a direct reflection on what one is focused on, I also know that I need to think about what I am thinking about and shift my thinking into a more positive direction. I know what to do, so why am I not doing it?

Knowing something and doing it are two different things and I am not sure why I struggle so much with the “doing” part. Honestly I think I spend too much of my time focusing on what I do not have verses focusing on what I do have.

I have spent the past few years too focused on what I can no longer do because of my back and issues related to this problem. When I should be more focused on what I can do and so many other things that God has blessed me with.

My exercise for the next seven days is to list and think about what I do have (can do) verses what I do not have or can no longer do.

Today’s list is as follows:

  • I may not be able to take the long walks I used to enjoy but I can still walk.
  • It may take me 50% longer to get stuff done (around the house, shopping…) but I can still do most of them.
  • My inability to be up and doing all the time has caused me to spend more time exploring other options for self-growth (i.e., my online business).

I know, and I need to start focusing on, that I am walking through this (no pun intended) for a reason and I believe with all my heart that God will turn what seems like something bad into an amazing blessing.

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Comments are always welcomed!

Failed Again!

It has been a while since my last post. Why? Well because I have been busy beating myself up (emotionally).

I failed again and started smoking. I cannot blame anyone but myself. I do not know why I struggle so much with this habit/addiction. I hate it and yet I continue to do it!

It is what it is and I need to stop focusing on my failures and start focusing more on my successes.

I am trying really hard to stop myself (when I realize what I am doing) from thinking about the negative and change my thought process to something more positive.

I know there is a lot more positive in my life then negative so why do I seem to put so much focus on the negative? I really, really need to work on this.

Thank you for visiting my blog,

Comments are always welcomed!

My Kind of Therapy

With all the changes lately (quit smoking, plant based diet…) there are days I feel like I am going nuts. I have a lot of nervous energy. In my attempt to harness some of this energy, I have started sewing again. I have not really sewn a lot over the years, even though I used to really enjoy it when I was young.

What I am finding out is that sewing is therapeutic, at least for me. Not only does it tap into my creative side, sewing also keeps me busy and is productive. I have even started selling some of my creations in my Etsy shop (RockenCo) https://www.etsy.com/people/rockenco

I really like the baby bandanas and have been asked to start making these for fur babies as well. My most recent attempt at sewing/quilting is the mug rug pictured in the introduction and below. I really enjoyed the cutting out and sewing of this project and plan to do more of these cute rugs. I have not decided yet if I should put them in my Etsy shop. What do you think – should I?

I have been trying different activities; drawing, bead work, crochet… in hopes of finding something to lift my mood/spirit and I do believe that, at least for now, sewing is my kind of therapy.

What do you do to help ease stress, depression or whatever puts you in a funk?

Thank you for visiting my blog,

Comments are always welcomed!

The Blame Game

Do you ever blame others or circumstances for your actions and/or behavior? I know I have and I could probably give hundreds of examples.

Let’s take smoking for example: I started smoking when I was about 12 or 13 years old – young I know! Why, well for one thing my mom said I could (what was she thinking)?

For many years I blamed my nicotine addiction on my mom, “if it weren’t for her I would have never started smoking.” That was my justification, my excuse. When in reality I probably would have started smoking (we will never know).

My excuse for giving up on my last quit attempt was my husband. He smokes and leaves partial packs of cigarettes everywhere (granted it is more difficult to quit under these circumstances but not impossible). So I blamed him for my failure.

So many excuses: “It’s my mom’s fault”; “It’s my husband’s fault”; “life is too stressful, it’s life’s fault”…and on and on. It is so much easier to blame others instead of holding ourselves accountable for our actions, our feelings, our beliefs about self… In doing so we are not being fair to ourselves or others.

I could continue to blame others and or circumstance for my nicotine addition, my weight, my whatever it is I do not like about myself, but that will not change anything. If I really want to change for the better, than I need to hold myself accountable instead of placing the blame on others.

I am responsible for my own success, failures, happiness…

Thank you for visiting my blog,

Comments are always welcomed!

Whole Plant Based Diet

As promised in my last post, I want to tell the readers a little about the whole plant based diet I started the same day I quit smoking. I use the word “diet” but it is really more of a lifestyle change.

Something I have learned from my previous failed attempts at quitting smoking is that each time I gained weight and did so at an alarming rate. Naturally, as I approached my quit date I was concerned about this not only because I do not want to trade one unhealthy habit/addiction for another, but also because I am already 40 pounds overweight and unhappy with my current weight (yet another issue on my “What I do not like about myself list”).

For several months now (over a year) I have been asking God to heal my body. I have numerous issues making it difficult for me to enjoy anything physical; it is painful even walking to check my mail. I used to love walking and hiking but currently can no longer do so because of my hip and back.  Around the same time as I was lead to start this blog I believe that God started opening my eyes. He does not wave a magic wand, poof you are healed! I believe that if I do my part God will do his part. Do I want to be healed yes, well then I need to take steps that are within my power to do so to improve my health, quit smoking, start eating healthy, stop all of the hateful self-thoughts and other self-destructive behavior. No more being fickle, it is about accountability.

Several days before my quit date I watched a documentary titled, “What the Health” and really believe that I was lead to follow this lifestyle change. I believe that my health will improve, that my body, with God’s help, will undo some of the damage that I have done through some of my poor lifestyle choices. The whole plant based diet just feels right for me.

I am enjoying trying new recipes, creating some of my own recipes and trying new foods I have never tried before. Key work enjoying, yes this is bringing me a great deal of joy.

This is a new world full of discovery for me and I hope to share with you some of the recipes I create and any tidbits I may learn along the way.

Thank you for visiting my blog,

Comments are always welcomed!

Updates:

This is day ten of my quit smoking journey and I am getting more energy, my lungs are still cleaning themselves and my sense of smell continues to improve.

After the first week on the whole plant based diet, while quitting smoking at the same time, I lost 2 ½ lbs. This is the first time I have ever lost weight when quitting smoking!

Quit Smoking – Day 4

Smells so good!

I am already starting to reap the benefits of not smoking.

Yesterday, after my shower I notice how good my cloths smelled. My sense of smell is starting to come back. I know based of my previous attempts to quit that my sense of smell has not fully recovered yet. Right now I am only getting glimpses, but when I do get a real good smell of something with it comes an overwhelming joy.

I so look forward to really smelling the good smells again (i.e., flowers, rain, the smell of clean…) and with that I also know the bad or negative smells will be heightened (you can’t have one without the other).

Something else that is beginning to heal are my lungs, they (as gross as it is) are starting to clean the tar and other nastiness caused by smoking.

It is amazing how something that seems so small, like being about to really smell, especially for those of us who have taken it for granted (like myself) can make such a huge impact. When we start doing the right things to take care of our temple (our body) it is amazing how God will also do his part. He (God) created the body to heal itself – awesome.

If there is something about yourself that you want to change, I want to encourage you to start today. Start with something small, one step at a time, trust God, do your part and God will take care of the rest.

Thank you for visiting my blog,

Comments are always welcomed!

P.S. On the same day I quit smoking I also started a whole plant based diet and plan to share more on this soon.