Wishing, Hoping, and Planning – The Summer Follow Up

weekly wishes june 2014

In June I created this list of things I was wishing, planning, and hoping to get done. I wanted to do a follow up and see how I did and hopefully get an idea of what I should plan for fall/winter.

1. Wash makeup brushes  7/7

2. Wash cloth ipad cover  6/25

3. Paint my nails once a week – I did pretty good with this as it was a great way to spend some time when I was home alone at night.

4. Read at least one book a week – Since posting the original post I have read 26 books so I did double my goal!

5. Mail my brother a list of songs I think he will love – No but sitting in the kitchen is a padded mailer with a CD we made him ready to be mailed!

6. Mail my other brother a list of books I think he will love – No but we have been emailing eachother which in a way accomplishes this as I just wanted to create some sort of contact as he gets older.

7. Workout 5 times a week – Hmmmmm not so much, I have worked out though but with my hip bothering me it has been more sporadic than I would like.

8. Blog at least 4 times a week – Not exactly but I kept up the blog over summer much more than I have in the past.

9. Embroider July and August’s patterns – Yes and as of today I am 99% done with Septembers!

10. Try out one new recipe a week – This started out strong but when the heat wave came I could care less about cooking and went into easy basic mode!

11. Learn a new card game – No again but Mr. H and I did have a 7 day canasta challenge which was really fun.

12. Record at least two vlogs – Yes!!! My grandparents really liked them so now I am trying to come up with some new topics to do.

13. Lastly follow myself and do what makes me happy and one day if it means watch tons of TV do it! – O yeah I did this! Overall I had a really great summer and am now really looking forward to fall and Mr. H starting his last year of nursing school.

The Nectar Collective

Into to Embroidery: Part Two with Video Demonstration

Intro to embroidery

Part One

Welcome to part two of my embroidery series, today I will discuss starting and finishing a project for beginners.

- Pick a pattern – For your first project it is best to pick a pattern that has limited small detail and you can finish in a timely manner like the one pictured below.

February embroidery

- Cut your pattern out and iron on – Give yourself enough of an edge to be able to hold it down while ironing while not infringing on the other patterns in the pack. Also making sure only the pattern you want is there, the picture below you can see the pattern number still there which I would first cut away before ironing on.

December embroidery pattern

- Start Stitching!

Really that is all that you need to do to prep once you have all your essentials I mentioned in post one!

As far as stitches go there are many out there and I recommend to pick one and practice it till it becomes second nature before trying a new one.

After the video I will link to two great tutorial for basic stitches.

Intro to Embroidery from Bailie Hemborg on Vimeo.

Sublime Stitching – Back Stitch

Sublime Stitching – Split Stitch

Thanks for watching and reading and please let me know any questions!

Do You Understand My Words?

Agatha Christie Quote


I read this line last week in the collection of short stories by Agatha Christie I was reading and had to read it out to Mr. H immediately and then could not stop thinking about it.

When I blog I am often so sure of what I want to say but putting it down into words on the screen distorts it slightly and then once it is read it once again gets distorted so I wonder how much of my meaning is felt.

That is how words are though they are uncertain things, we can use them for good and bad and so much in between. We can also  feel that our words do not matter, that we will make no difference with them but I do not think that is true.

I think that even when I get discouraged about blogging putting my ideas and words out for others to read is important. It is important for all stories to be heard even if they are about a housewife in the middle of nowhere Sweden as my life is meaningful and therefore my words are as well.

So I will keep blogging even though I sometimes agonize over the words or what people will think I mean and you should do the same.

Intro to Embroidery: Part I

Intro to embroidery

I have been embroidering for about two years and am mostly self taught. It is a great and relaxing hobby with low costs and great reward. I have embroidered items for our use and to give as presents.

I wanted to share some basic information if anyone is interested in doing their own embroidery. Today I am sharing what you need and next week what to do.

What you need:

Embroidery Hoop – You will want to start with two medium sizes, as you progress you will find what your preference is but for me a large hoop is too big for my hands and I very rarely need a small or mini one. Two medium gives me one to use actively in projects and one to display items

Needles – It is always good to have a few in case they go missing, they sell packs that have a few sizes which I suggest so you can once again find the size that works for you

Needle Threader – The one I prefer is pictured below, now I have four as one of these going missing will halt your whole embroidery project

needle threaderFabric – To start I suggest a tight woven white fabric, it does not need to be 100% cotton but if it is you should wash it in hot water and dry it first. I bought a few meters from a local fabric store cheaply and have been cutting it for my monthly project, an alphabet project, and some nature ones for my dad. You can also try a plain cotton/canvas bag or find some pre-printed pieces from craft stores. The pre-printed pieces can be a great way to start and feel comfortable.

Patterns – If you are not going to use a pre-printed piece you can find a wide variety of patterns for cheap. I really like the Aunt Marthas selection of patterns by Colonial Patterns, this is the month one I have been working on. As the months have gone on I have been able to see my skills improve and they make a fun decoration for us.

Iron  & Ironing Board – You will need to iron the fabric and also the patterns are iron on, I have a table top ironing board from IKEA and the iron Mr. H had before we met.

Thread – For starting out buy a pack of thread like the one pictured below. While you are getting use to everything there is really no need to be using really fancy thread. I am still using thread like this and love it, the only addition I have made is buying some grey for special purposes like Santas beard.


Scissors – I do not have special ones, I would like to get some soon but for starting out scissors that cut clean work great.

Pin cushion – I have two, one of the traditional tomato looking ones and then one my grandma bought me in Chinatown in San Francisco. The key is to have one that is a bit heavy for me as my smaller tomato one tended to roll away from me.

That is all the basic items you need to get started, other items like a way to organize your thread or place to store your other supplies just comes with time and seeing more of what your needs and space will allow. For now I keep my supplies in a bag Mr. H got as part of a nursing union thing, not perfect but it works!

Cinnamon Coffee at Home

cinnamon coffee


This summer my grandma taught me an easy trick to having flavored coffee in a cheap and healthy way.

After adding your coffee to your coffee maker of choice, we use a French Press, sprinkle in some ground cinnamon. I am not sure the exact amount I use as I just sprinkle till I think it looks good! I then gently swirl the French Press to incorporate the cinnamon throughout the coffee. I know my grandmother keeps a jar of coffee that is mixed with cinnamon so it is all done ahead of time but since Mr. H is not a fan I do it per pot.

Then you just continue to make the coffee per usual method of your maker.

French Press and Cinnamon

I am currently using Santa Maria brand because it was on sale at Christmas time but before I was using the ICA brand and it worked just as well. Even though the cinnamon is fine it works with the French Press and I have never felt like the coffee was grainy.

Finished Cinnamon Coffee - Manchester Starbucks Mug

When you are finished you have a nice mug of flavored coffee that is all natural.

I have also heard of people adding chili flavor to their grounds which I have not tried but I think I am going to try a bit of vaniljsocker – Swedish baking must – and see how it goes.

What is your favorite way to drink coffee?

Upcycling at Christmastime

I am the sort of person that is always storing up odd and ends and swearing I am going to use them later for some purpose and then when I am do am immensely chuffed with myself and Mr. H gets to hear about it for at least a week!

O also I am really cheap so that is another reason that upcycling things like packing paper that I did not pay for makes me so very very happy.

So this year I gave myself the mission of wrapping all of Mr. H’s Christmas presents with things I already had rather than buying wrapping paper.

F presents

From the front left I used:

Gift bag I cut open

Amazon packing paper, rubber stamps from college, and ribbon I bought two summer ago

Gold tissue paper I bought sometime before our move in 2011, red ribbon that was the gift bag handle

Brown packing paper also from an Amazon order, same old ribbon

Red tissue paper I found in the gift bag, the candy can I glued on which was an old gift tag

dj fan man

Another thing that I like to do is make the gift giving a bit more fun and silly is instead of putting just putting Mr. H’s name on the presents I like to put some of his nicknames. This one DJ Fan Man is really dorky and has a very long backstory I will not bore you with but it will make Mr. H laugh which is what I was going for!

I also like to deter him from figuring out what is what so I will do things like put a small present in a big box or like that package in gold is a book which I wrapped in big bubble wrap that was from a glass my grandparents sent so all wrapped up it looks more like a shirt than a book!

What do you think would you reuse materials to wrap presents?

Embroidery Transfer How To: The Cheater Way

In my post yesterday I mentioned that I made a pattern myself for one of the embroidered bags. I am going to share how I did it as it was a bit unconventional but used the tools I had on hand.

step one

Once I came up with what I wanted to do I sketched it out on some plain white paper. I made hard and dark lines with a normal pencil so it could be seen from the other side.

step two

Once that was done I flipped the paper over and with a bright light behind me I took a transfer pencil and went over the lines. I also tried to make sure the lines were once again very dark and hard pressed.

Next I ironed the bag and while it was still warm I lined up the paper with the transfer pencil side down and ironed. I used the wool setting and was careful to keep the iron moving as to not burn the paper.

It would have been much easier if I would of had tracing paper but since I did not this method worked fine and will for you to in a pinch. One thing I think to keep in mind is that the paper I used was a good thick quality from a leather bound sketch book, I think if you used regular lined writing paper it might be a bit thin for the iron.

For a First Birthday

rach and dave


That there is my best friend and her now husband, then they were just barely engaged, who now have an adorable house and a baby so wonderful I might have wanted to kidnap her.

Now like I said that is my best friend, we were insta-best friends since camp in 7th grade when she was deciding if she should date the boy who is now her husband.

Totally the cutest story they have and since I have known her for like 17 yrs and her husband for 23 yrs I have decided that I am basically their daughters aunt (makes sense right?).

For her birth I cross stitched two bibs but for her first birthday I want to maker her something really special.

At first was thinking of embroidering a dress with a one on it, but then I was thinking maybe I should make something they can use each year on her birthday.

I wanted to start soon as her birthday is around Christmas and mailing packages can get crazy around that time but I am stuck on what to do.

So mothers out there, or you Rach if you are reading, what would be something useful but meaningful?

I can cross stitch and embroider so I was thinking something along those lines!

Thanks in advance for all of your awesome ideas!!

Blog Everyday in May – From the Kitchen of Life

Day 23, Thursday: Things you’ve learned that school won’t teach you

I often look at the prompt a day ahead so I can have time mulling it over and seeing where it leads me. Well with this one I guess I was being to philosophical but all my ideas were sounding so trite. So I took a step back and thought why not be practical.

So here are some things I have learned in the kitchen:

-When packing and you have sharp knives, use an empty Pringles can.

knives in pringles can

When you are unpacking you do not have to worry about getting cut by a runaway knife.

- If a recipe calls for BBQ sauce but you do not have any, you most likely have the ingredients to simulate the taste. Add some ketchup, soy sauce, worcester sauce, mustard, sugar and mix it will not be exact but it will do the job.

- It is better to give meat a little extra time to defrost and put in the fridge than having a hunk of frozen meat and be starving.

- Keeping a bag of frozen french fries on hand will always give you a quick and easy side dish.

- If time is running short sausages defrost fast and you can speed it up by simmering them in a pan with a lid and then frying them once they are soft.

- Use a food processor to shred the end bits of cheese and it will last about a week in an airtight container in the fridge.

- Always reheat pizza in the oven, it will get crispy and melty again. If you microwave it you will get horrible results.

- There is no need to own a microwave or toaster. All foods that are worth eating can be cooked and subsequently reheated on the stove or in the oven. Toasters solely make toast which can also be done on the stove or in the oven.

- When reheating leftovers on the stove do not preheat the pan, if you allow the pan and food to heat at the save time you will save from scorching the food.

- Cooking is forgiving and some cheese can usually salvage a meal.

- Baking is not forgiving and is best left to those that are not me.

What is your best kitchen tip?

Understanding and Developing Happiness

In a bid to get some easy credits in college I registered for a class at Orange Coast College called Understanding and Developing Happiness and out of all the classes I took in my five years of higher education it has impacted me the most. In the class we went over how happiness is not just something that we can wake up and just have, it is something that needs to be worked at and nurtured.

One example the professor gave that I always go back to is this:

A husband and wife decide to go on a hike one Saturday, they have an amazing time talking together and they exploring the trail. Since it was such a good time the next Saturday they decide to do the hike again, however the second hike does not live up to their expectations. They decide the second hike was just on an off day so they go a third time expecting once again the same results as the first hike. Once again the third hike does not meet their expectations so they give up and are frustrated they cannot capture that same happiness they had on their first hike. 

The teacher explained that this is where developing your happiness comes into play, as doing the same activity again and again will not excite us and leave us feeling lackluster. What the couple should have done to make the hiking experience a happy one each time is to introduce subtle changes. On hike number two they could have brought a picnic so now the hike is combined with the joy of eating, then on hike number three they could bring a pair of binoculars and a bird watching book. So the base activity that brought happiness stays the same but with each change the brain is newly excited extending and developing the happiness that will be achieved.

As I said I go back to this example and over the five years since I took this class I have seen it make a huge impact on my life. It is also something me and Mr. H always talk about in our life and have seen evident since our move to Sundsvall. As each aspect of living in a new climate with new challenges arises there is a joy and happiness that comes with conquering and partaking of the challenge. This week with the arrival of serious snow little things like walking to the store to get groceries or taking the bus to the mall like we have done many times before is new and exciting therefore creating happiness in our life.

bus view

 view from the central city bus station

This is also why kids lean towards happiness because so much of life is new and exciting to them where as adults see around the corners and know what is coming ahead. Knowing what is likely coming though should not hinder us from trying to find happiness in it though especially since as adults we are the ones in control of our futures.

For example this Saturday Mr. H has to go to the hospital for tests, mandatory ones for nursing students, and rather then just write of Saturday as a waste I am going to take the bus into town with him and then when he is done we are going to get coffee while he studies and I read. It would have been so easy to be annoyed at having to pay for the bus, being jabbed at on a Saturday, and the fact that it is at 10 AM but it was even easier to create it into a small part of the day with more exciting things to look forward to.

What do you think, is happiness something that just falls into your lap or something to develop and nurture?