Life is GOOD!

Some mornings are frustrating from the very beginning. My first clue, as I am stumbling down the hall with my eyes half closed, I step into cold cat barf. I suppress the urge to scream as I hop down the hall on one foot so I don’t spread the joy.   I grab paper towels and spray cleaner and clean the gross crap off my foot first. When that is cleaned up I run for the coffee which is so very necessary to get me through my mornings. COFFEE!   But wait…..the fancy automated coffee maker did not start. So I push the manual button as I stare longingly at the empty carafe. Must have my coffee.

To kill time, I start my computer only to find there are three bazillion updates waiting to load! I watch the counter 3 of 468, well this is going to take awhile. I really didn’t need to get any work done, at least not in the near future, as my computer continues to count down the numerous updates. COFFEE!

I stumble back down the hall to get my glasses so I can see…..yes that is the kind of morning I am having, I forgot my glasses when I got up and I really need to see.   On my way back out to check on my coffee, I peek into my daughters bedroom to see her peacefully sleeping.   A beautiful calm look on her face and suddenly everything is fine. Life is good.

Visit my new Etsy Shop Dragonfly by the Creek @ https://www.etsy.com/shop/DragonflybytheCreek

#DragonflybytheCreek

DSCN1104

Advertisements

Wake Up!!!!

Wake up and smell the coffee. Well I must be honest, it usually takes drinking at least two cups some mornings.

But don’t you wish you could some times shake people and tell them “Wake Up” the world is passing you by. There is so much to see and do. Smell the roses, the coffee.

My favorite smell is the hint of rain coming. I live in Arizona so rain is rare and the smell in the air, the promise that rain is coming is exciting to me. I usually run to my patio and scan the sky looking for the one cloud that has the rain and then pray it does not pass by my house.

There is nothing like a nice gentle rain while you sit on the patio with your cup of coffee in hand.

Join me on Face Book #DragonAlley https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dragon-Alley-Journals/156515134449134

IMG_0053

Making Soy Candles – A Year of Living Cheap

Soy Candle Making 

This craft is an easy and inexpensive way to make wonderful gifts.  All you need is:

2 lbs Soy Flakes

2- Four cup glass measuring cups (microwave safe)

Scented essential oils

Wax Candle Color

8 Four ounce jelly jars or 10-12 votive jars

HOT PADS!!!!  Do not touch the measuring cup when taking it out of the microwave with your bare hands.  HOT, HOT!!

002

Empty half of the 2 lb bag of soy flakes into each of the glass measuring cups.  Microwave one at a time on high for about 3 minutes.  Add your wax color and microwave one more minute.  If not melted, add 30 seconds at a time.  Mixture must be clear.  Place the measuring cup on a hot pad to protect your counter top.  Remember the hot pads for your hands.

003

After you have melted all your wax, let the containers sit for about an 30 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally.  Add your essential oil at this point.  I used lavender and peppermint which are my favorite.  I get my oils at my local herb shop, Desert Sage Herbs http://www.desertsageherbs.com/Desert_Sage_Herbs/Welcome.html

004

While your soy mixture is cooling down, prep your jars with wicks.  I use wax wicks and not the wood wicks.  This is a personal choice as I have not had any luck with the wood wicks burning.  They usually flare, sizzle and then go out.

005

use Tacky Wax to hold my wicks to the bottom of the jar.  Some people use hot glue, but I have had more success with the Tacky Wax (you can also use it to put posters on your wall without ruining your paint with holes!).

006

After waiting the 60 minutes your mixture should be looking cloudy and a little slushy.  Now is the time to pour your candles.  Again use care as the glass will still be very warm.  After pouring your candles IF you want to add anything to the candle, now is the time.  I add lavender flowers to my lavender candles.  I sprinkle the flowers on top and use a tooth pick to push them down into the candle.

007

Clean up is really easy, just use soap and hot water. 

Let the candles completely cool, then you can move them out of the way.  Wait 24 hours before you add any lids.

The cost for the wax is not too expensive.  I buy mine online and get 10  pounds for $20.00 which includes shipping.  Expect higher prices if you go to a hobby shop.

Go forth and create beautiful gifts for your friends or for yourself!

008

 

Come and visit me on my website at  http://dragonalley.webs.com/

Please leave comments or suggestions on this blog!

 

Celebrate the Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July.  This is the day that the final draft of the  Declaration of Independence was adopted.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Today we celebrate, as a nation, our freedom.  The right to free speech, free thinking, freedom from oppression.  The real heroes of today are our military, firefighters, police, small shop keepers and farmers.  These are the people that keep our nation free.  It is not the Politicians but the people of the United States, you and me.

So today and every day, celebrate your flag, your freedom.

usa-flag

My Summer at Camp

With a title like this, you would think that this was a writing assignment for a kid between the ages of 6 and 16 during their first week back at school. Instead this little rambling came from a 50ish adult. Yes, I spent my summer at camp!

It all started when the high school where I was working laid some of the staff off because of a budget crunch, this was on Monday. The next morning, Tuesday, I drove up to the mountains just outside Prescott, Arizona. My daughter, a counselor at the camp, had forgotten to take a copy of her shot records and besides I now had plenty time on my hands and heavens knows Prescott is much cooler than Phoenix any time of the year. When I arrived at camp it was a nice cool 72 degrees and I, being a long time Phoenician felt a chill in the air. Ah, how nice!

I had timed my arrival to coincide with my daughters break. She showed me the camp, which involved lots of hiking up and down steep paths as this camp is on the side of a mountain. She was quick to point out that I had already broken two camp rules, no sandals and always, always carry water. Of course being the Phoenician I was, I had on sandals (it was summer after all) and carrying not a drop of water. She then took me to the camp director’s office, introduced me and left. Uh oh, something was up. The director sat me down asked me about my tour of the camp and then attacked! She understood I was unemployed and surprise; there was an opening at the camp as the Business Manager. Their current Business Manager had just given her notice and walked off the job and they needed my help. My daughter and her cousin, who was also a counselor at camp, thought I would be wonderful as the business manager, so they conspired, prior to my timely arrival, with the Camp Director. I said yes to the job, as I thought it would be a great opportunity to spend quality time with my daughter. Little did I know this was not the camping experience of my childhood dreams?

By Sunday, I was packed with all the essentials (chocolate two bite brownies and Starbuck’s Frappuccino), I kissed my husband, cat and turtle good-by and I was on my way to camp for the summer. When you think “summer camp” you think of lazy days having fun, taking naps, hiking and sitting around the campfire singing. Well, did I have a lot to learn? By the end of my first hour in camp I was handed my job description shown to a table in the lodge and was busy checking in 120 girls between the ages of 6 and 17. I hadn’t even had time to find my cabin or unpack. The cool weather of the past week was gone, really gone. The temperature was approaching the mid-nineties, the air conditioning in the lodge wasn’t working and I was sweating bullets. Not only did I have 32 staff member names to learn but an additional 120 girls. Well I would never learn all the girls’ names at each camp for the rest of the summer but I will never forget some of them.

Dinner the first night was quite an adventure. Counselors sat at the head and the foot of each table of eight girls with the idea to keep them orderly. Even before it was our turn to line up for our food I had learned that one of the girls wanted to go home as we did not have Starbucks coffee and another little girl announced her brother had been kicked out of three high schools. More information than I needed to know. Each new group of girls was like this, eager to share family secrets.

Your usual job is eight to ten hour days with some overtime. Not camp. We were “on” 24 x 7 through the whole summer, whether it was a three day camp or two weeks. There were few breaks and when you did get that precious break you spent that quality time taking a shower or catching much needed sleep as those little darlings usually kept you up all night.

We had little girls that spit up just for attention. We had little girls that were genuinely home sick and then we had the pretenders. The “pretenders” had “sprained” ankles or wrists and they whined and cried buckets but when they thought you weren’t looking. Then, what a miracle, they were just fine, running and jumping around, having all kinds of fun. I for one, have never before witnessed miracles such as these.

During our two-week long camp, which I have decided is too long for most kids especially when the parents fail to tell the child it is a two-week camp, we were graced with The Drama Queen!! Now she wasn’t in drama, she was in dance, but she was definitely THE drama queen. Everything that happened to her was tragic, sad, or devastating. And if you didn’t notice her performance the first time, she was more than glad to do her whole act all over again. Her counselors and I decided that she would definitely be an actress when she grew up and she would make some poor director pay dearly.

Because I was the newest member of the team, the other staff members delighted in telling me the camp ghost stories. This was ok until my cabin flooded because the water heater sprung a leak and of course I was put in the Big House, which was rumored to be haunted. My first night in the Big House was something I hope to never go through again. Right before I went to sleep, I heard echoing laughter, OK, I was sure that could be explained some how. Then after I did go to sleep I had a nightmare where someone was trying to push me out of my cot. I couldn’t wake up to stop the nightmare and when I did, I was terrified enough that I put myself into a panic attack. The next day I begged the resident manager to fix the water heater so I could move back into my cozy little cabin. He, by the way, was one of the people delighting in telling me about how the camp was haunted. But being a great guy, he fixed the water heater and I went back to my ghost-free cozy little cabin.

By the end of the summer I was five pounds thinner, this was from hiking up and down the mountain to and from meals and for once in my life I had a tan. I had also learned that a golf cart when going at full speed and hitting a bump just right would leave the ground and become airborne! I also now had 30 more daughters I adored and will miss and always remember very fondly.

We never got that campfire. For most of the camp we were in a draught and the last two weeks of camp it rained so much the wood was too wet to burn. The only s’mores we ate came out of the camp microwave oven. I learned lots of new songs; and some of the music and words will haunt me till I die. I hear them over and over in my head. I did learn a lot, I did have fun, and yes I would do it again, even with the ghosts.

For great Vacation Journals  http://stores.ebay.com/Dragon-Alley-Journals

055

Live your life to it’s fullest!

Live your life to its fullest!

Don’t ever feel you have to be what you aren’t just because it’s what someone else wants.  Be you.  Do what makes you happy.  Do what makes your soul sing!  Don’t follow, lead.

It is never to late.  You don’t need money to be happy.  You don’t need a lot of “stuff”.  Sometimes the simplest things are the best things.  A cat’s purr, the moment the sun comes up in the morning and turns the eastern sky a mauve pink.  Writing a “To Do” list for the day and being excited to accomplish them.

Don’t spend another minute hating what you do.  Do what you are passionate about, what makes YOU happy.  Art, writing, gardening, even if it is only for a few hours ad day…….DO IT!  Don’t get stuck in a miserable rut, Seriously, life is too short to be unhappy every day.

Don’t go into the family business, the family career just because that is what your family has done for hundreds of years.  Don’t let someone else structure your life. You are a unique individual.  Find YOUR passion.

002

Create a Nature and Garden Journal

NATURE AND GARDEN JOURNALING

Mother Nature offers us endless resources for personal renewal.  Wild horses running across an empty field or through the desert, new baby kittens or puppies,  a butterfly coming out of its cocoon.  Describe the wonderful smells after a rainstorm.

Sit outside on your porch or patio and write down or draw the beauty you see.

“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” – Confucius

Garden Journaling

1.    Flowers

2.    Bugs

3.    Weeds

4.    Vegetables

Plant a garden then track your success or not so successful journey.  What you planted, what lived what died.  Chart your bulbs and the dates they were planted.  What was the plants progress?  Was it a dry season or a wet season?  Plan your pruning schedule.  Sketch your garden plan and see how it changes season to season.

How often do you water, is it enough, too much? What did you do to enrich the soil.  Make a chart of what you planted and where.  How did all this make you feel?  Describe how you felt the first time one of your seeds sprouted.

“My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view.” ~H. Fred Dale

Backyard Journaling 

1.    Bees

2.    Pets

3.    Birds

4.    Critters

Record the various critters that visit your back yard.  The birds that feed there, the cat from next door that chase them.  Record and describe the butterflies that visit your flower garden.  What flowers attracted the hummingbirds, the butterflies.  Describe the wonderful colors, sounds and smells.

I love the smell of a newly mowed lawn.  The smell of rosemary in the hot sun.  Write down not only what you see but how it makes you feel.

“The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. “~Hanna Rion

Weather Journal 

1.    Temperature

2.    Snow

3.    Wind

4.    Rain

My Father writes in his journal every day and each day starts out with the weather report.  Whether it is monsoons, snowstorms where Aunt Maude lives or wondering if your favorite vacation spot still exists after a really bad storm.  The damage from the storm, be sure to include pictures. How high the snow drifts were during the last GREAT blizzard.

It is always fun to go back and see what the weather was like last week or five years ago.

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” ~John Ruskin