Baby Quilt Made With Love, With An Iron I Love Just As Much

Creativity and Crafts
baby quilt pink black white

I am a big believer in the importance that creativity plays in crafting a happy, meaningful, and fierce life. In my opinion, creative expression ranks very high on the list of human necessity, not very far after air, water, food, and shelter. 

When I’m talking about creative expression, I mean creating something original, something that comes from your own brain and heart and soul. When it comes to crafting, I consider originality the ideal.

But sometimes the ideal is out of reach. Sometimes life simply bowls you over with a whole avalanche of crazy you never saw coming. Forget originality, you’re just fighting your way to the top of the mess and so you can breathe! That’s where I’ve been for the last few weeks, tumbling along with the avalanche and feeling overwhelmed. 

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Fall Charcuterie Board Ideas for Your Autumn Gatherings

Food for Grownups
fall charcuterie board

A very fierce, red-headed girl once said, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” That girl was Anne of Green Gables and that girl was right on the money.

I’d like to build upon her wisdom, if I may. Here’s another true statement, “I’m so glad I live in a world with charcuterie boards.”

There, I said it. Charcuterie boards are amazing entertaining tools. They have transformed my interest and ability to have friends over last minute and to actually enjoy my own parties instead of working myself to the bone. continue reading

Fall Craft Ideas: Easy, Fun Ideas for your Home

Home Matters

If you’ve been around here long, you’ll know that I love all things fall. And all things arts and crafts. That’s why this post on Fall Craft Ideas is basically my theme song.

I make it a point to bless my home with the appropriate autumnal decor. I’m not talking a total redo of my decorations, but before I get the actual holiday decorations out, I make time to really soak in those Fall hues of crimson, gold, and auburn.

While my husband might not completely understand this, why would I approach a new season without the appropriate sense of decorum? To help him understand, I always make sure he knows that I make my own seasonal swag. Between you and me, the do-it-yourself route can actually be more expensive than just buying something from the store, but where’s the fun in that?

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Walking The Cotswolds, Part 2

Adventure and Travel

(This post is part 2 of of a series, Walking The Cotswolds – part 1 can be found here)

Before I continue my earlier post about our walking holiday in the Cotswolds, I thought It would be a good idea to talk about equipment you’ll need for a cross country walking tour.

Because the Cotswolds Walks company booked our rooms and arranged for luggage transfers from one hotel to the next, we did not have to carry heavy backpacks. This made our walks easier and much more fun. However, as we were walking an average of eight miles per day, we did need some equipment for safety and comfort.

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3 Days In Paris: My Time In The City Of Lights

Adventure and Travel
3 days in paris

As I explained in my last post about shopping for fabrics and fiber, my Paris itinerary was far too ambitious for a 3-day visit. I knew that even before we arrived.

But the way I see it, no one has ever died from a surfeit of aspiration. And so, before we left home, I decided to make a very long list of all the things I wanted to do, see, and buy during my time there and simply do as much as I could.

All things considered, we ticked quite a few things off the list.

We started off with a sunset boat tour on the Seine with Bateaux Mouches. It was definitely touristy but this turned out to be one of our favorite activities while in Paris and gave me a good overview of the history and geography of the city, as well as some stunning photo ops!

They offer dinner and champagne cruises but we just went with the basic tour, which was quite reasonable, and saved our money for dinner at one of the city’s many lovely cafes. (We never had a disappointing meal while in Paris; it’s reputation for gastronomic excellence is well-deserved.)

 

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One-point Tomato Lentil Soup Recipe with Turmeric & Lemon

Food for Grownups
lentil soup recipe

True story: it snowed here today. Not even October and I’m pulling on my snow boots and stuffing Showgirl into a sweater.

This weather certainly took me by surprise, not just because of general weather trends that I’ve grown to trust, but my body just isn’t quite ready for below freezing temps yet. I needed to be eased into it a little more gently and ceremoniously.  Despite my goosebumps and a chill that I can’t seem to quite kick, I’m thrilled for the snow and the seasons and the winter wonderland that came early. Because it brings two truths to mind: it won’t be hot forever (AMEN!) and the holidays are around the corner (a.k.a. my favorite time of the year). continue reading

Walking The Cotswolds, Part 1

Adventure and Travel
walking cotswold way

Many people have a travel bucket list. Taking a walking holiday in the Cotswolds has long been at the top of mine. 

In 1968, the Cotswolds was designated An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. That makes it the second largest protected landscape in England. Encompassing more than 750 square miles in south central and south west England, the Cotswolds is home to picturesque villages that could have been plucked out a fairy tale and mile upon mile of bucolic, unspoiled scenery. It is also home to the Cotswolds Way, a 102-mile National Trail that goes from Bath to Chipping Campden.

A thriving tourist industry has sprung up around people who want to walk the entire length of Cotswolds Way, with tour companies that book walkers into B&Bs and transfer luggage from one village to the next along the route. Though taking a hundred-mile hike and staying a rustic little B&Bs along the way sounded like heaven to me, the same couldn’t necessarily be said of my husband. 

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Pumpkin Spice Up Your Life: A Few Pumpkin Spice Recipes to Kick off Fall

Food for Grownups

Yesterday morning, I sported a sweater and took the dog for a walk. I reveled in the slight chill in the air and the gold and auburn hues peeping their way through the trees. My Cavalier King Charles, Showgirl, seemed to have an extra pep in her step, too.

We are officially in Fall, or autumn, as some would say. While I know that an arbitrary date on the calendar doesn’t mean much when it’s obvious that temperatures and climates vary greatly throughout the country, it’s certainly feeling cooler where I am in Central Oregon. It brings a feeling of anticipation of the weeks ahead – the vibrant fall foliage, the pumpkins standing guard on the porch, the savory fall flavors and food like sage, apple, cinnamon, and butternut squash. The holidays off in the not so distant future. It’s one of my favorite times of year. Of course, I say that about every season. But the changing of the seasons is one of life’s most profound but simple everyday miracles. Simple or not, miracles should be savored and celebrated, none more so than the arrival Fall. continue reading

Finances and Football: How to Create a Financial Plan

Finances
how to create a financial plan

I’m thrilled to welcome back my fierce friend, Peggy Doviak, to share her wisdom on how to create a financial plan.

Peggy is the author of 52 Weeks to Prosperity along with other blogs posts you can find on Fierce Beyond 50 like: paying for college, advice about prosperity vs. money, setting financial goals, saving for retirement and curbing your holiday spending. She has a wealth of advice and we’re all better served by having a professional like Peggy in our corner!

Is there anything more fun than college football? Possibly, creating a financial plan. You don’t agree? You might be surprised to learn that football and finance have more in common than you might think. They both require a good offense, a solid defense, and some effective special teams.

Here’s how to create a financial plan that will set you up for success!

Football Starts With Offense

To play financial offense, you have to be proactive with your money. Your game plan begins by creating a budget. Take a nonjudgmental look at both your income and your spending. Once you know where you are, organize your information into expense categories and reasonable targets. You can make some spending adjustments if necessary.

Your budget and cash flow analysis provide the information that will drive the creation of your emergency fund, life insurance needs, and retirement requirements.

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Proper English Tea: The Perfect Downton Abbey Watch Party

Hospitality and Entertaining
proper english tea

Taking an afternoon break to enjoy a soothing cup of hot tea has long been a part of my workday. But my recent trip to England and a visit to Highclere Castle have renewed my appreciation for serving and enjoying that most satisfying and civilized of snacking rituals, A Proper English Tea.

(Grammar snobs: please don’t write to me about the incorrect usage of capital letters here. I’m just trying to indicate that a truly proper tea is something of an occasion. I’m also trying to be funny. Thank you.)

Even if you’re the only guest, and perhaps especially then, hosting and enjoying a proper tea is a wonderful way to add touch of elegance and tranquility to your life. It’s also a lot easier to accomplish than you might suppose.

Yes, a proper tea may involve multiple courses and a full-blown decorating scheme with accompanying floral arrangements but simpler variations on the theme can be just as proper and just as enjoyable. The point of a proper tea is to make space in your day to nourish your body, renew your energy, and refresh your spirit.

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