Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hearts Galore!

A friend with a second grader is planning a Valentine's Day party. I volunteered to make puffy hearts, which you may have noticed, are a favorite Hearts a plenty and Puffy Pins. I have loved hearts my entire life. Not just because of the shape, but because of what they convey. Love really is what it's all about. Love, love, love.

So I made some hearts for my friend and her daughter. It was fun!

There is plenty of time if you want to whip up some of these yourself! This is a pattern I created with inspiration from here. Because I've made these puffy hearts so many times, I've altered the original pattern to suit me and the project at hand. But the bookmark was my original inspiration and I like to give credit.

 “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”  Lao Tzu

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Thoughts about selling.

Why would I put handmade things into an Etsy shop? Especially when this blog is filled with things I make. Well, I'll tell you... Sometimes you just want to buy a thing, not make it. Etsy is filled with things, handmade and not. I decided to list some cowls and scarves on a whim really. I want an outlet for my handwork and I'd already had the shop from before. I feel marginally uncomfortable listing items... primarily because I feel vulnerable. As if the value of what I do is determined by whether or not it has been purchased. In my rational mind, I realize that my items a drop in the bucket. There are literally hundreds of thousands of items listed on Etsy. The chance that someone will happen upon my work is small.

So again, why would I list items on Etsy? Well, I think it's great if someone does find my stuff and buys it. But, the real reason I did it is the joy and the hope and excitement and expectation AND because it makes me feel vulnerable. Really. Since reading Daring Greatly, I've been leaning into the discomfort of situations and have found something really great, really delicious every time I've done it. Whenever I feel like it's 'outside my comfort zone', I know it's the time to lean. Don't get me wrong, I'm not always 100% successful with things - in fact sometimes I fall flat. But, being flawless or perfect is not my goal. My goal is to be a better me. I've found out something about myself each time I've pushed into the void and that is great in a way I've yet to find the right words to describe it.

So, selling things on Etsy... Yes I am. I hope someone finds something they like and enjoys the heck right out of it.

This cowl is my own design. It's lovely and slouchy and warm. As we are in the midst of negative temps, warm is welcome here! Check out the shop if you would like to purchase. Check out the shop, even if you don't. I'm a little proud, can you tell?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Just had to share some pics of the most delicious guacamole ever! Want some, too?

First, let me say that the best tasting avocados are Haas. They are smaller, so it's tempting to go for the larger ones, but resist... resist. The Haas have a better flavor, which Duh! makes a better guacamole.

Second, like everything else, I think it's the most delicious because it's tailored to my tastes.  Your favorite guacamole might vary based on your tastes. But, this is seriously good guac!

2 avocados, diced (I'm just going to assume you know how to do this)
1 Tbs fresh lime juice.
2 green onions, diced
8 grape tomatoes diced
1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeded, diced very small
1 clove garlic, minced
1Tbs fresh cilantro diced.
salt to taste

Begin with the avocados. Once you have the diced avocado in the bowl, add the lime juice and stir to coat all the chunks. Mash the avocado with a fork to the consistency you like. I like mine chunky, so I don't mash until smooth. Add salt and mix again. Taste. Add salt as needed. It's easier to get an even distribution of salt at this point, but you can also taste and add at the end. Add remaining ingredients and stir.  Eat delicious guacamole with chips, on a sandwich, with pitas, by itself. Oooo, did I say that out loud?

As you can see, I like my guac lime-y. It adds excitement and it keeps the avocado green! I remove the seeds from the jalapeno, but when you make your own, feel free to leave them in. In fact, experiment with the ingredients you like and share your results.

Avocados are good for you. They contain "Good Fat". More importantly, they make guacamole, which is SUper delicious!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Scarf!

I'm adding the scarf in the pic to the Etsy shop today. It's one long loop that the wearer wraps as many or as few as they choose. The yarn is an ombre from creamy winter white to black and accented with glistening sequins! It's a scarf and jewelry all at the same time. Visit: justmccaulla on

Sunday, January 19, 2014


As I might have mentioned a time or two :-)  I don't know a whole lot about photography. I've relied on point and shoot cameras or the auto focus feature on my fujifilm. But now that I'm reintroducing my creations to etsy, it's become important to try and get consistently good pics.

So, this week I've been working on pictures of the knitted items I've made and the color is not turning out accurate. Normally, when I need something to be really good, I ask my son who is an excellent photographer, but classes have resumed and he is away. The initial pictures I posted were taken in all artificial light. The color is close, but not exact. So, college students leave and I ordered a wire mannequin to pose with the knitted items. The mannequin finally arrives and yesterday, in full daylight, I took pictures.

Here is an interesting thing I noticed... I took more pictures of the remaining cowls and two scarves I've made. Only one item does not contain wool. Guess what! The non wool item photographed in true color. See the pink scarf... It really looks just like this. It's bright, and fun and you can see the texture really well.

The wool items, the color photographs anywhere from not quite right to really way off. It also doesn't show the depth of color in the photo. See the green scarf... It's actually this beautiful deep forest green with low lights that are completely lost in the photo. In person, this cowl is nubby and textured and makes you want to put it on.

I don't even know what to make of this development. Really.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fermentation Update...

Just in case anyone is interested, but primarily for myself when I can't remember...

Here are my thoughts on fermentation with grocery store produce... Hmm... not sure it's worth the trouble. I've tried onions, carrots, cabbage, salsa and celery and I feel pretty ho hum about it. The only thing that turned out fairly decent were the carrots that I made from large carrots. I tried fermenting the little carrots and they were a fail, but the large carrots, which I cut into sticks and coins, were okay. Not great, but okay. The onions took on a very strong flavor and were not in any way sour. The cabbage is fairly unflavorful, which I have to say is a total bummer. The salsa was complete mush. The tomatoes completely broke down and the whole thing was mush and I just could not abide the texture of that.

So, I guess the rule is to ferment with garden fresh produce. If not from my own garden, then from a farmer's market and to store the fermented items until they are used. Since I gave up my second fridge, this is a dilemma.

I totally pinched this graphic from the UCreate fb page. I hope they don't mind. It so perfectly sums up my adventures in fermentation. I learn something every single time. It perfectly sums up life, too.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Getting into the swing again...

I took two weeks off around the holidays and this was my first week back at work. OhMyGoodness. I'm totally ready to be at work, but boy am I having some trouble getting back on schedule. It is my favorite part of time off, to wander around in my jammies doing what needs doing. The morning is a good time for me to pay bills, look through the mail, read blogs...  But, morning is when my work schedule begins.

I really enjoy having a couple of hours to get things together before leaving the house for the days activities. That is going to be my goal, I think. I'm not sure how to accomplish it, but I'm just going to set that wish free and see what happens. I know I will enjoy discovering how it will all work out!

Onto some fun things I made for friends... I have a circle of friends where our tradition is to celebrate Christmas in January. It's really the end of Christmas when we all get together and yesterday was the day. It's a long story, but there is a longstanding cow theme to our group. This year I turned toys into ornaments and they turned out so stinking cute!

So, it's really the end of Christmas 2013. It was a really good one. I've chosen my name for 2014, but I'm keeping it close to the vest for right now. Hope your week was grand!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Handknit Cowls in my Etsy Shop

Hello All!

I've added three cowls to my Etsy Shop follow this link. I really enjoy knitting and need an outlet for my creations. These cowls are my own design, needles and yarn - just letting the knitting happen. I love the texture and the yarn is delicious!

One day, real soon, I'll post a pic of the cowl being worn... My model is out of commission right this minute and nothing I've tried putting the cowl on shows well. LOL. Can you say amateur? Ah, well, I am new at this. I started the etsy shop a few years ago on a lark, but I was unfocused and the shop reflected that. This go around, I'm focused on knitted and crocheted items and feeling very hopeful.

It's easy to keep putting things off, which is totally fear masquerading as perfectionism or procrastination. Among other things I learned last year, I'm leaning into the discomfort of not being 100% ready and listing items in my shop.

These cowls are infinity style, which you can't see in the pics. There is a bright royal blue, a warm true red and crisp winter white available.  Get yours before they're gone!

I'll be adding some things to shop over the next couple of days.

Perhaps the thing you've been looking for is right there in my shop. :)

Handmade with love <3

This is my Etsy shop:

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Positively I am

I found this half finished blog on New Year's Eve when I was cleaning up the blog...  I decided it's worth publishing. The thoughts are good ones and fit in with the focus of this year! I am happy I found this now!

Well, I don't know if you figured this out or not, but I write this blog as a reminder for myself of things I've done, dreams I have, hopes, wishes and observations.  I could say I'm writing it for all of mankind, but as most of mankind hasn't found it yet... well, I don't know that all mankind is interested in my chickens, but maybe they are.  Besides, I think it's really and truly okay to do things for yourself.

So today's thought is about internal dialogue.  I'm always on a knowledge quest and my focus, of late, has been on understanding and harnessing the internal dialogue I experience.  I don't know about you, but mine was running away with my mind and I was feeling just a little crazy.

I have two concepts that have helped me tremendously.

First:  The chatter of internal dialogue is a habit.  It's not a requirement.  It's some sort of coping mechanism that we develop to handle complex situations.  Pre-planning conversations, reliving past conversations, replaying unsettling events are all about trying to cope with the stresses of your life.  There are better ways to cope that don't include the myriad of conflicting thoughts doing battle for your attention.

Since coping through internal dialogue is not required, it isn't necessary to pay attention to the stray and random thoughts floating through your mind.  You are allowed to just let those thoughts float on by.  The really amazing thing is once you stop paying attention, the thought just naturally peters out and when you do it enough, the chatter quiets down.

Second:  Begin framing your thoughts about your self in positive I am statements.  For instance, let's say you are not as fit as you would like to be: Replace "I need to exercise more" with "I am enjoying exercising more". OR  You just can't seem to remember things as well as you used to:  Replace "I forget everything" with "I am going to keep trying different methods until I find a way to remember this".  Do you describe yourself as: short, cheap, naive?  Try describing yourself as:  I am petite, smart with your money, and always willing to learn.  By framing the thoughts in the positive, you are giving yourself a chance to be more.  You are believing you can and will succeed.  Using positive I am statements will change how you look at the world.  Really. You will first notice how often you think about yourself negatively and the temptation will be to feel bad about that, but we are framing it in the positive so instead consider "I am going to have a lot of opportunities to practice I am positive statements"  or "I am figuring out how to be my own bff".  I like the "I am figuring out..." as a beginning because it let's me catch up to the desire I have from the place that I'm in.  The second thing you will notice is that you will begin framing all your thoughts in the positive and your friends and family will notice, benefit and appreciate it.  Yes, they will.