Sunday, July 3, 2011

What I did on my summer holidays!

A huge thank you to the readers who wrote to me to ask if I was okay - I am! I thought I'd put a post saying I'd be on holidays this week, but it turns out I didn't! We enjoyed what is being called a stay-cation, and I took the time to reorganize the house a bit, do some cleaning, make some jam, enjoy some crafts, and generally spend some down time not being ruled by the clock or obligations!

We were jamming! Every year we invite our friends over for jamming and pickling parties. It's strawberry season in the Valley, and you know that meant we had to have a jamming party!!!

I love this jam! It's strawberry balsamic jam and you would be insane not to try making this! I found the recipe on the Bernardin website and it's awesome! The titch of balsamic vinegar really brings out the flavour of the strawberries. We left the pepper out - yes, I hate pepper as much as I hate patchouli - and it was awesome. We had hoped it would be used for meats and cheeses, but it's great as a jam on Raymond's home made bread! (Raymond made an amazing strawberry sorbet - dairy-less for the lactards amongst us - but we ate before I could get a picture of it!) 

I did some stencilling! One of my amazing co-workers, Anne, retired this week, and I wanted to make her an awesome shirt to commemorate the event. When I finished her shirt (not posted here), I figured I would get around to making a few shirts I've wanted to make for a while. Here is Raymond's Planet Express shirt! I love this shirt and need to make one for me!

If you want to learn more about making your own freezer paper stencils please click here or click here for the handouts and information! (And if you like the stencils you see on those pages, let me know and I can send them to you. Or do a search for something you like in google with the word "stencil" to find some pictures you like!)

I learned how to make underpants! (And for many good reasons, I'm not going to model them for you, so you'll have to be content with this picture and my description of how much fun it is to make your own!) This is all part of learning to sew and making all my own clothes! I've been scared of using stretch fabrics, so I took two classes in which I'd be forced to use that material. I made a pair of yoga pants - don't like the fabric, so I'm making them again - and I've been making many pairs of underpants.

If you want to make your own, I suggest using the Cheeky style or the Cheeky plus size style from Burda style (log in to print it out) or the Kwik Sew 3301 pattern.

And I bought a container of Chocolate Brownie Almond lactose free, non-dairy dessert that contained no brownies and no almonds! What's up with that? I have actually written to the company to let them know about it - after all, I can get the chocolate version at home, whereas I have to travel to another town to find this exotic blend of brownies and nuts!

And we found this chair in the local thrift store! It came with a love seat for $25. I'm going to learn how to re-upholster it to match our room! So there's another project! We spent yesterday cleaning our windows, carpet, and air conditioner, washing the bedding and curtains, and generally doing our spring cleaning a little late.

For the love of all that is good, please don't call your holiday time a va-cay or a va-ca-sway or whatever combination you might like out of those words. It's a vacation. You don't need to make it sound cooler! I'm not even a big fan of the concept of the stay-cation, although calling it that means people don't ask where you were on your holidays, so it's acceptable.

Did you notice that the last part of the stay-cation could be read as "cation" as in the positively charged ion used in conditioner products. Yep, everything's about chemistry! 

This week has been good for me as I hadn't realized how tired I've become lately with fighting off one illness or another. (Anyone else read, When the Body Says No by Gabor Mate?) I took this week to organize my life a little, create some schedules, be okay with not going going going all the time, and really enjoy spending time with my mom and my husband. I said a few weeks ago I was back, but I was wrong. I was still pretty tired and run down, but I didn't realize it until I had a few days of feeling awesome!

I think the lesson I've learned is to look after myself, that self-care isn't selfishness, and that I'm no good to someone else if I'm exhausted. (Yes, I know I should know all these things, but us counsellor types are better at offering advice than taking it some times!)

Look for daily posts starting again tomorrow. They might not be at 6:00 AM as I hoped - I'm still enjoying the 10 to 12 hour sleeps - but they'll be here eventually! I missed writing the blog and all the lovely feedback from you, my amazing readers! Thanks for all your kind words of support! I'm feeling back to normal again, and that's a great thing! 


melian1 said...

welcome back! i'm so glad you're feeling great again!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I am going on an actual vacation in a couple of weeks to Colorado. Believe it or not I would rather have a stay-cation. To catch up on the same things you did.

Tara said...

GLAD you're back!! I was almost tempted to write you too (and post a topic on The Dish looking for you), but I thought perhaps you were trying to take a break from your hounders, lol!

Hope you got caught up on your life a little bit. We all need a mental breather now and again :o)

EsseBee said...

Wow, they say a change is as good as a holiday, so I guess that's what you got, even though you were SO BUSY! You've inspired me to start making my own undies. And your jam sounds YUM. I made some lemon butter today - we have a lemon tree, and chooks, so fresh ingredients. Delicious. Keep taking care of your own needs, they're just as important as anyone else's.

Ellbie said...

Welcome Back! Your Stay-cation sounds wonderfully refreshing.

Anonymous said...

Hi. glad to see you back! i have a question that i hope is not too strange: can btms or even incroquat CR be used with another emulsifying wax such as polawax or NatraMulse, for conditioning purposes in a lotion? thanks in advance!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi everyone! Thanks for the kind words! I'm feeling well rested, although I would have liked another week to get more things done!

Yes, you can use BTMS or a conditioning emulsifier with an anionic or non-conditioning emulsifier to get more conditioning. I tend to use things like cationic polymers for conditioning because BTMS can make a lotion feel very dry and I don't like that skin feel, but if you don't mind the skin feel, then go for it!

Lise M Andersen said...

Yay! Welcome back! :)

Anonymous said...

Glad you feel rested!
Have to say I love you mixing up this blog with other hand crafted items instead of all skin care. Was refreshing to tune in to see some new creative adventures. Well done! I want to have my go at some other hand crafted items.

Mich said...

Stay "ca-tion" vs "cat-ion" that!
At least you didn't have to go on a long "Go-anion"!!!!
Take care!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Thanks for all your kind words! Part of me really needs to get away for a bit, but another part of me is glad I had time to stay home and organize a bit (eek, did I just say that???)

Hi melian and Lise! I'm feeling great - but really busy!

Hi Tara! You're always welcome to write - I missed getting e-mail last week!

Hi EsseBee! Fresh lemons! My husband makes lemon curd and it's just lovely! You're so fortunate to have a tree in your yard!!!

As a note, I have tons of other crafts on this site - take a look in the labels section under sewing, craft group, or other crafts and you'll see tons of different crafts.

I make just about everything I use in my life - jewellery, sewing and stencilling clothing, food (jams, pickles, and so on) - but it seems like the posts on those topics aren't interesting to anyone but me, so I don't post much about other crafts!