Monday, May 30, 2011

Beach memories

There has been lots of beach talk going on.  Ahhh, summer.  

Sun, sand, waves ... I adore the beach.  It is a favorite place for me.  It puts me at peace.  

I need some beach in my life.  

I have this bottle of sand that I got from one of my favorite beach spots off the PCH in Malibu.  I loved driving the PCH.  Sometimes, when I just needed to get away, I would get in my car and just drive to the PCH (sometimes at 1 in the morning after failed attempts to sleep).  I did not even have to get out of my car.  I would just roll the windows down, smell the ocean, and hear the waves.  When I was moving away from California, I drove 45 minutes out of the way just to fill my Voss water bottle with sand.  I just had to bring some California beach with me :-)

When I long for the beach, I can take out my little sand bottle and look at it ... and then get sad because it is not a 30 minute drive away anymore.  When efforts to sleep fail, I am not able to drive down to the PCH to put my mind at rest.  

Oh how I miss you beach:

I long to see you again: 

I (sniff) think of you (sniff) all the time (sniff):

But I am oh so thankful for all the wonderful memories:

Like my first time to see the California shore in Santa Monica (with Caroline as my tour guide)

That wonderful day that I spent sitting on a rock, just me and God:

Dinner with Caroline at Duke's:

And then a little stop to put our feet in some Malibu sand: 

A trip to Laguna Beach with Abby, Eliza, Dihanna, and Mike (the picture taker) ...

... complete with sand hearts and flip flop tan lines :-)

I miss you Santa Monica pier:

I miss you surfers :-)

I miss you mom ... and wish that I still lived in Cali so we could do it all again:

I could stare out at the sea for hours:

Mom and me at our Huntington visit:

Mom's favorite: Venice beach:

But don't you worry beach.  Oh, we will meet again:

And when we do, I will be ecstatically happy:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Splendid and Great

I just read a blogpost that really warmed my heart.  It was a blogpost about making a very cute ballerina inspired skirt (you can read it here).  It was not the very cute tutorial that warmed my heart (although it is wonderful), but the story behind it is sooo precious.

A little girl asks what she will be when she grows up and is told, "A lovely girl."  Her response to that was “No. I needs to be something splendid and great.  I’ll be a ballerina when I grow up. That’s splendid!” 

Oh my gosh!!!  Those words "splendid and great" coming out of the mouth of a precious little girl absolutely warms my heart.  Not just good.  Not just wonderful.  But SPLENDID and GREAT.

You don't hear the word splendid used very often, so to read about a child using it to describe their future is just the best!!!  I loved it so much I had to share.  How completely precious!!!  I hope your heart is warmed as much as mine was.

I am officially going to try to work the word "splendid" into my conversation more often :-)

I hope that you have a splendid day :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Looking through rose colored water

I posted a little while back about taking leftover roses from church and handing them out to ladies in the community.  It was so wonderful!

But in my previous post, I left out one more wonderful aspect.  Once it started getting a little bit late, we ran out of flower delivery options but had some roses left over.  Since roses can never be put to waste, my friend and I divided up the roses and took some home.  I just love having flowers to look at :-)

The other day all my flowers were showing to be a little worse for the wear, so it was time to throw them out.  I decided to take the left over roses along with some that I already had in my room to make some rose water.

Rose water is really good for your skin and can also be used in cooking.  I wanted to make some rose water to use as a toner.  I really try to do a good job of using natural beauty products.  I just don't like the idea of putting a bunch of chemicals on my body so Lush, Whole Foods, and my own kitchen are where I tend to go for my beauty regime.

I searched the internet and found out how to make rose water.  I don't actually remember where I got the instructions I used, but I would like to get to the point of using this method.

Disclaimer: this was my first time making rose water.  I am not saying that I did it right.  This post is pretty much about sharing my journey - because I enjoyed it :-)

First you remove all the petals from the roses - but just the petals.  No stems or leaves allowed:

Rinse the petals:

So, when making rose water, you are supposed to be sure to use flowers that have not been sprayed with pesticides.  Quite honestly, I did not know if mine had been or not.  Some of them came from Trader Joe's and some of them came from those leftover from church.  So I got a bit experimental.  I know that you can use vinegar to wash chemicals off fruits and vegetables, so I tried it with my petals.  I let them soak in the vinegar for a minute or so, working my hands through to try to make sure every petal got clean.  Then I rinsed them really good.  They did not smell like vinegar, so I moved on.  Like I said before, this was an experimental process.  Next time I will get flowers from a farmer's market or Whole Foods.

Next was the boiling process.  I used two cups of water for each one cup of rose petals.  You are supposed to use distilled water.  Trader Joe's did not have water labeled "distilled", so this is another area where I might have gone wrong (time will tell).  I figured since I was not planning on using my rose water for cooking that it would not make too big of a difference.

Once the water boiled, I poured it over the rose petals that where now in a ceramic bowl:

You leave the rose petals soaking until the water has cooled.  The water starts taking on the color of the roses and the rose petals begin to pale:

Then you take out the petals, squeezing them of all their liquid.  My rose water sort of looks like wine.  It smells wonderful :-)

The squeezed out rose petals:

Unfortunately, I did not think too much about where to put all the rose water, so I resorted to using my Nalgene and another plastic container:

But after a trip to the container store, my rose water is now more properly contained ...

... and being used twice a day :-)  Today, Katie told me that my hands were soft - I blame it on the rosewater :-)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

If the pot needs painting...

Over the weekend, I decided that I needed a plant to take care of.  I actually don't do very well with potted plants and have been known to even kill a cactus.  But, it has been awhile since I have had a little plant and I have been doing pretty well with flower bouquets, so I felt the time was right to give it another try.  So I went to Home Depot and got this little one:

It's called an "Angel Plant" ... and will probably need the help of angels to survive in my care :-)

I wanted a cute little "Tiffany blue" (my own word to describe robin's egg blue because it reminds me of the Tiffany's box) planter.  So I looked around Home Depot, but did not want to pay $10 for a planter.

What do you do when you want a cute planter but don't want to pay $10+ for it ... buy a planter for less than a dollar and pull out the paint.

It's pretty close to the Tiffany's color :-)  Though I just put the bow on for the sake of this post, I kinda like it and think it is a keeper.

And just in case you are wondering ... yes, I do actually save all of my Tiffany's boxes (I have 3 - so far).  My Tiffany items are just so special to me I can't throw away the little blue box with the white ribbon.  They're just so pretty :-)

Today I finished the whole thing by painting the little planter dish as well:

Eat your heart out Home Depot :-)

Yesterday I made some rose water and I plan to post about it soon - stay tuned :-)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Freedom Friday and crafting hope

I saw the following video on the CNN Freedom Project blog for today.  Ahhhh!!!  It warms my heart to see children learning and "joining the fight".

You can read the entire blogpost here.

And a little something else.  I found this book in the bookstore today.

I love love love it!!!  It combines 2 things that I am very passionate about (making things and making a difference) into 144 pages of projects that bring smiles to others in need.  There is even a sock monkey project that benefits Operation Sock Monkey.  If you read my post here, you know how much I love sock monkeys.

Bananas thinks that you should definitely check it out:

He wants others to be as happy as I was when I received him :-)

Nostalgic moments

When I watch a British show, for some reason I feel the need to drink Earl Grey tea with cream and sugar. I guess because I just feel like it is the British thing to do ... and of course I always drink it with my pinky up :-)

The other day I was watching one of my favorite British shows "Keeping Up Appearances" and of course had to make myself a spot of tea :-)

As I was drinking this cup of tea, I had a very nostalgic moment remembering having tea as a little girl at my grandmother's house.  She would let me and my friend Elizabeth use her fine china (at least that is what I thought it was) to have a little tea party.  We would sit in the floor of her sitting room and drink our tea out of fancy cups with the fancy sugar and creamer set; the view of the lake just beyond the glass of the wall of windows.  I am so completely grateful for those little lady moments at my grandmother's house.

It got me to thinking about the special blessings that God has given me through each of my grandparent's and I thought I would take a trip into my childhood to share them with you:

Mama Doris and Papa:

Oh, Mama Doris and Papa.  Tears well up in my eyes just thinking about the huge blessing they have been in my life.  Great, now I am crying.  Come on Melany, pull it together :-)

Mama Doris and Papa have given me oh so much.  They took me on vacations and I have great memories from Gatlinburg, Virginia and DC (now my home), Destin, and that one family vacation to Disney :-)  They have been a huge support in so many ways that I can't even explain (but I know that they will know what I am talking about)

When I was a child, while my Mama Doris and Papa still lived in Memphis, I would go to their house every other weekend.  My mother was a single mom at the time and I guess she needed a little break.  However, I can't imagine why since I was the most angelic child ever put on this planet :-)

The weekend routine at Mama Doris and Papa's house was pretty much the same every time.  We would go out to dinner Saturday night and I would always wonder why we were eating dinner at 5:00 :-)  We would usually go to Applebee's because it was my favorite.  But I also have lots of memories going downtown to Spaghetti Warehouse and reading my Sweet Valley Twins book in the back seat.  Also, when we went to Spaghetti Warehouse, I would always get one of those fireball candies for the ride home.  (Side note - I really love Spaghetti Warehouse.  I could really go for sitting in a bed or a railcar eating their delish bread and herbed butter.  Gonna have to go there next time I am home)

On Saturday night, I would have solo time with my Mama Doris.  We would go to a movie, or to the mall, or Blockbuster to rent a movie.  Saturday nights were Mama Doris time :-)

On Sunday, I had time with my Papa.  He would always be the one to take me home.  We would stop at the 7-11 and I could pick out two snacks and a drink.  We would then start driving home, but he never took me straight home.  We just drove around the backroads.  I loved these car rides with my Papa.  I think they are a huge reason why I love roadtrips so much :-)

My Mama Doris and Papa are so very special to me and I am so grateful that they are a part of my life.

Mama Pritchard:

My Mama Pritchard is a rock.  I have so much admiration for this woman and the strength that she has.  She is such a lady and I remember so many sweet ladylike moments in her presence.

I can remember her teaching me how to eat my soup like a lady, scooping outward one spoonful at a time - and I remember it seeming to take forever to eat my soup :-)  And then of course there was the lovely tea time.  I am so grateful to have memories of tea time :-)  She has also given me the first memory that I have of picking up sewing.  She would give me her tin sewing case and teach me how to make clothes for Barbie.  We were not making clothes for just any Barbie doll.  She would pull out my aunt's old Barbie dolls.  Think vintage Barbie - I grew up playing with vintage Barbie at grandma's house - I'm so lucky.

Grandparent's are awesome.  I am so glad to have the grandparent's that I do.  I love them so very much and they are so very special.  Thank you Lord for grandparent's :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A little "Pick Me Up" playlist

I took a poll on Facebook last week and asked people what their favorite "Pick Me Up" song was.

You know, what you listen to when you are feeling a little down and need a little pick me up.  Over the last few weeks, there were quite a few days when I needed a little pick me up and music always does a great job :-)

I had so much fun seeing everyone's answer ... and then checking them out on itunes :-)

Here is the playlist for your own listening pleasure:

... but be sure to scroll to the end of this post for the most special of all the song suggestions :-)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

BUT WAIT ... there's more.  My mom's song suggestion could not be found while creating the playlist.  So I have posted the video of my very own beautiful sister with her beautiful voice singing "Turpentine" by Brandi Carlisle:

I hope you enjoyed this.  Feel free to come back any time that you need a little "pick me up" :-)

Spreading joy

I found my favorite blog a few weeks ago.  It's "Color Me Katie".  The night I found it, I literally spent hours looking through every post.  It is filled with so much color and happiness.  I love it and it inspires me!!!

I simply adore her blog because she just does so much fun stuff that brightens the world like:

I want to do all of these things!  I just love each and every one of them.  It is the last one that is my favorite though.  I absolutely love the idea of going around brightening peoples day by giving them a flower.  How wonderful!

Well, I received the opportunity to spread joy through flowers the other day.  On Mother's day my church gave a long stemmed rose to each of the ladies at our church.  After the last service of the day, there were dozens and dozens of roses leftover.  I remembered the inspiration I received from Katie's blog and inquired about what was going to happen with the leftover flowers.  I asked if I could take a bunch and pass them out - kind of a spontaneous outreach.  Of course, I was given the go ahead.  So, my friend Terri and I gathered a bucket full of roses and some church cards and went to the Alexandria Waterfront to spread some love.

Ahhhh!!!  It was my favorite thing!!!  Words can't describe the joy that it brought me to see the look on a woman's face for receiving a free rose.  We were able to tell some about church, and tell some that they were lovely, and put a smile on so many faces.  

My favorite was this little girl about 7 or 8 years old.  When I offered her a rose, the smile that came across her face absolutely melted my heart.  Then she shyly dipped her head with that cute smile across her face as she walked on with her family.  Soooo cute!!!  

There were a few others that really stuck out to me.  The Asian girls sitting on the bench, the guy that took some roses to deliver to the gals in Starbucks, the Muslim lady that recognized that God was thinking of her, the waitresses on their dinner break and the smile that crossed their face.  

My prayer is that each of the precious women we gave a rose to felt special, lovely, and loved.  It was such a fun little outreach.  I wonder if I could make this a weekly thing :-)

...and sometimes when a rose with brown spots comes up, you can use it to bring a little bit of beauty to something smelly and ugly ... a trashcan :-)

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