Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A New Year

A new start, a new leaf... 

Sometimes it's the little things that can really inspire a girl.
Like a brand new shower curtain and a curved curtain rod made by her hubby.

A brand new tablet for Christmas!

And sometimes just thinking about having a little joy in your life again will stoke an ember of creativity.

I made an outdoor

"Moonshine Candlelier"

This is something that I have wanted to make for several years.
Ever since I saw it in a book I picked up, way back when...

"Moonshine Candelier"
may not be an original idea, but it won't really matter if it gives me even more reason to hang out here by the pond.

On the second day of this New Year which just happened to be my birthday...
I  made this awesome

Pineapple and Turmeric Smoothie 
Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

1 cup diced pineapple
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs shredded coconut 
half a lime, peeled
A dash of black pepper

I won't tell you how long ago I bought those chia seeds before actually using them.

But better late than NEVER!

Who knew making healthier choices would feel so good!
And it doesn't taste half bad either.

Last Fall/Winter 
we had 2 fox dens within a stones throw of our house
and they WERE literally that close.

Needless to say we lost almost all our hens.
However 4 of the girls did survive but they stopped laying eggs, even though the attacks stopped.
Not sure how those foxes got relocated but they no longer reside in the neighborhood.
And I am not sad that they are gone!

It has been almost a year since any of our girls produced any eggs, so I broke down and bought our first grocery eggs a couple months ago.
it physically pained me.
But from pain comes growth, right?

I sweet talked Bill into allowing me to get some new girls.
I wanted new chickens so badly I was ready to get a type that wasn't what I wanted.
But guess what?
Where I get my chicks, they only had one kind hatching in a few days and the rest...
not until

and Happy Birthday
to me!
I have new baby chicks.
A dozen Dominique
(plus 6 for the barn)

Like so often with me,
most of my projects originate from necessity.

After all the 70 degree days of winter...
when my babies are ready to ship
we are slapped with actual "Winter" temperatures.

The shop will be too cold for these gals.
So, I need to make room in the "studio"
And before I can do that I have to do some organizing.


These are just some of the sewing/mending projects that I had to move out to the living room to make space for the chick brooder.
Idge-midge the cat
doesn't seem to mind though.

Hopefully being out in the living-room will motivate me a little more than being "out of sight-out of mind"

The chicks have been here 6 days
but I haven't gotten too motivated yet...
But I think that may be because of all the time I am spending in the studio.
And not because I am being crafty.
First because I just couldn't stop watching those cute babies.
But unfortunately, I have one little girl that is starting to struggle.
I got her drinking again, but not eating.
I don't know if she is going to make it.
However, I am hoping for the best.

Believe it or not...
this is a little neater than it was.

Now, check these ladies out!
My 4 remaining hens. 
They must have sensed that there was some new blood in town because the day the chicks arrived, we found 3 eggs, and since then a mini,  then 2  and today...

Three More Eggs

One more thing I have been treating myself to this New Year,
at least once or twice a week...


Let me tell you something about my dear husband, Bill... 
to spend money.
I can't say as I blame him, since these days we don't have much of it to spend.  
One of these store bought babies cost almost 
$4 a pop.
He was grumbling just a little bit about this.

This Pickle Jar 

has been collecting dust on my kitchen shelf for quite some time now.
Can you see the green tea in there too?

My sister-in-law, Celeste sent me home with this jar 3 Christmas ago with the intention of starting to make my own.

As with so many of my good intentions to put my health and well-being at the top of the priority list ...
like that pickle jar 
they have sat collecting dust over the last few years.

I am hopeful for the first time in a long time.
I have to-do lists again.
I am finding my Joy in the things I once loved.
I am looking forward to what tomorrow may bring.

I am hoping that the kombucha I bought today might be some of the last store bought kombucha I will have to buy.
Yesterday I ordered an organic mother scoby to start making my own.

Bill is even on board, he is actually considering trading in his much loved 
Coke-Cola for this healthy pro biotic alternative to soda.

Things are beginning to look a bit brighter at the Marchitelli Home.

I look forward to sharing more as I turn this corner of my journey.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Show Sockwave Spirit!

Mary "shocked" me several weeks ago
when we were at a tournament.

She told me that she wanted a...
Big Ass Bow!

OK, big bows have been a "thing" in softball that we have always kinda 
poked fun at.

It's not like she never wore ribbons or sparkle headbands...

There was a vendor at the tournament in Tennessee with LOTS of bows.
Even with Shockwave colors.
But when I saw how much they cost...
$10 a bow
I told myself...
"I am not going to pay $10 for a I can make"

Well, the next weekend we played in Elizabeth City and guess what was having their 
Grand Opening 
right down the street from the ball field.

I couldn't help myself!
So we stopped before we headed home and I picked up a few supplies.
And the next day she was rocking her very own
 and Ribbons...

It may not be my most creative endeavor
however it is more than
I have done in a while.

So what to do
with the left over ribbon I picked up?

I have one for every girl on the team if they want one now.

It is NOT my masterpiece,
inventory for my Green Gourd Shop
but considering it has been a 
since I have been motivated or inspired to be creative in any way...
This is as good a place as any to 

I am going to challenge myself to post at least once a week from here on out.
So, feel free to 
me if I am not living up to the challenge.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When You Play in RED Tennessee Clay

 I lived in Virginia
until I was 17 years old
and thought I knew a thing or two
about red clay.

However, after the showcase tournament 
Mary played at last weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee...
I have a new level of awareness when it comes to red clay.

I know the REAL reason Tennessee is 
Big Orange Country.

It's NOT because everyone LOVES
The University of Tennessee.

It's because of all that INTENSE red clay
they have over there.
Everything is forever orange once it comes in contact with that stuff.
It is insane.

When I first saw the Shockwave uniforms
I cringed...
But they do look sharp.

how do I keep them looking sharp and white?

In the past
I used a carpet cleaner for tough stains on the white parts on the uniforms
and it worked fairly well.

But as many of you already know,
I like to make a lot of my own cleaning products.

One of which is my

Recently I have been seeing posts on Facebook
about stain removers.

And with the new white uniforms and this recent encounter with Tennessee red clay I thought this might be an excellent opportunity to give them a try...
especially since the carpet cleaner is full of some nasty chemicals.

Because these uniforms are polyester,
hot water and beach are not an option.
what to do with red clay stains?


So, first I used a hard brush and brushed as much of the loose dirt from the uniforms as I could.

I decided to try two different stain removers.

On the "Teal" Uniform 
(teal shirt & orange trim pants)
from tournament day 2 
I decided to use the 


This is an ingredient I use in my 
homemade laundry soap. 
I hate admitting this... 
But, I have never used it alone on a stain.

I got the uniform wet then simply rubbed the bar over the stained areas.

The "White" Uniform 
(white shirt & teal trim pants)
from day 1 of tournament,  
which by the way, was the worse of the two.

I decided to use the

Hydrogen Peroxide & Dawn 

2 parts hydrogen peroxide
and 1 part Dawn dish washing liquid.
From everything I have read it has to be the original "blue" no other.

Spray Bottle 

Then applied to stained areas.
I have to tell you...
Going into this I thought this version of stain-remover would be the least labor intensive.

I was WRONG!

After applying the spray, you must then rub the fabric together and when pretty much the whole uniform is stained...
this is not a "Quick" treatment.

As for quick and easy... 
Fels-Napth is the way to go.

Off to the washing machine...
I used my homemade soap and washed in warm/cold water then hung to dry in the sun.

Not too bad, right?

On the LEFT ~ Fels-Naptha
 There were still some faint clay spots but overall the uniform seemed brighter and whiter.

On the RIGHT ~ hydrogen peroxide mix
A very valiant effort here for sure, but there is still a large area where orange stain is still faintly visible.
Not terrible but... 

To be fair, the hydrogen peroxide & Dawn did have the worst of the two uniforms.

On a whole, I would have to say that the 
Fels-Napth won this round for me.

A brighter white with little to no effort.

So what do you think?

My Laundry Recipe

  • 1/3 bar Fels-Naptha (Ivory, Zote or Purex)
  • 1/2 c. Washing Soda
  • 1/2 c. Borax Powder

Grate bar & put in pan. 
Add 6 c. water & heat till it melts.
Add soda & borax, stir till dissolved.
Remove from heat.
Pour 4 c. HOT water into 5 gallon bucket.
Now add soap mixture & stir.
Then add 1 gallon plus 6 cups & stir.

Let sit for 24 hours & let gel.

Use 1/2 c. per load of laundry.

I can't call any of these 
but they are by far a better choice than some of the alternatives while getting the job done well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Knocking Off Some Rust

I am happy to say that I have finally started having moments of feeling HUMAN again.

It pains me to admit that I have been struggling for so long.
When I don't feel like I have anything positive to share or talk about, I tend to go underground.
Not the healthiest place for me to be...

isolation is NOT pretty!

So, I am pulling out my tool belt and knocking the rust off some of my old reliable tools.

Time to take care of ME!
I started journaling & meditating again, getting more sleep and listening to my body.
And I am trying to listen to more 

Finally my health has taken a drastic turn.
I started seeing a new doctor several months ago that has challenged me to make some aggressive med changes.
I won't lie, it is like WWIII inside my body.
But, I am determined to continue this journey of

I will stop
SHOULDING on myself...
and accept exactly who & where I am at this very moment.
I wasn't able to see the big picture.
What is that expression?
I couldn't see the forest for the trees. 
Acceptance is a POWERFUL thing
and not feeling like crap doesn't suck either!

Removing some of the clutter from my head, creates a ripple effect... 

I can actually sit in my rocking chair, enjoy the view and be inspired.

I found my tattered koi flag that has been MIA for a long time & got it hung as well as some new baskets.

 I re-strung one of my favorite wind chimes yesterday and Bill made a nice brass addition to catch the wind.
 My handy welder husband, seeing my long awaited motivation...
fixed this metal stand to help feed my inspiration.
I know that this may seem very insignificant,
but this is something my youngest brother Pauly gave me.
And it means a lot to me.

Last weekend was the first time in a VERY long time that I got my hands in the dirt.
Only to have my chickens mow it down in less than a day, leaving only stems. 
A week later... I see signs of recovery.
 It is blatantly obvious to me how much my husband has missed the happy, healthy, motivated me.
After seeing the swiss chard massacre,
he finally made sure those gals of mine couldn't get out of the run anymore.
How many years did I bug him about that?

 With the ladies locked up tight, I found a nice cool place to put my very sad kale plants...
in hopes that I might be able to harvest even in the heat of the summer.
Now lets see if I can weed this poison ivy patch.
 I got to cross one more thing off my list of things that I had been meaning to get around to...
a little pruning & transplanting

 Mother of Thousands
 This was a first for me...
it bloomed and kept blooming almost all winter til spring.
I understand this is pretty rare when it is kept as an indoor plant.
I wish that I had gotten a picture of it while it was in full bloom.

 I brought Mary's Japanese Maple out front...
I just can't pull the trigger and put it in the ground.

I do need to get it into a bigger pot if I am not going to put it in the ground.
 I found a new place for an old friend.
I planted this peony 16 or 17 years ago
and it has been sorely neglected.
I can't even remember the last time it bloomed.
Let's see if I can give this baby some TLC.

I have never grown this or even eaten it before.
But I am ready to step outside of the box and try something new.
I am excited!

 Sweet Potatoes!
Bill surprised me and put these in for me.
He isn't a fan...
so I know that they were planted with love.

 False Indigo
I absolutely LOVE this plant!
It is one of those plants that I got several years ago that I knew nothing about.

I got one for each side of the outdoor bathroom/shower.
And I am soooo... glad I did.
They were gangly and didn't do much for a few years.
Then out of the blue...
they just came into their own.

 Star Jasmine
This is what I see & SMELL when I take my showers now.
I am not one of those people that takes a shower EVERY day but when this stuff is in bloom...
I could take two or three.
The smell 
is intoxicating

Bill's red potatoes...

My cousin gave this to me several years ago.
I repotted it a couple times since then.
I finally got this baby in the ground last fall.
Woo hoo...
it is a happy tree.
Tons of big beautiful blooms!

Gardening is ONE of the many things that I do to feed my soul...
It is so nice to know that a rusty tool works just as well as a shiny brand new one.