Thursday, April 24, 2014

Keepin' it FRESH

Spring is here and the farmers' markets are beginning to carry fresh fruits and vegetables.  Hurray for us!  That is, along as all that freshness doesn't end up uneaten.

I used to buy, for example, a couple onions and by the time the first onion was completely used, the second or third had gone bad.  Now, I purchase a bag of onions and upon arriving home, all the onions are chopped, diced, sliced, or any combination and frozen.  That way the onions are available and ready for use.  In our house, onions are usually cooked and not very often used raw.  If raw onions are going to be used, say in a salad, then a quick trip to the salad bar in the grocery store is in order.  Perhaps a little extra in cost but no waste.
Keeping foods fresh in the refrigerator
Source: PartSelect
When I was asked by PartSelect to share their infograph with you, I didn't really know who they were or their story.  Full disclosure here: I neither was paid nor received any freebies for this post but agreed to share because the information was sound.

The website sells parts for your dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, and other appliances.  PartSelect.com, a division of Eldis Group, has been around since 1999 and their goal is to become the leading source for showing you how to care for your appliances and DIY fixes.

There is one area on the website I think you will absolutely get a kick out of and that is the JustForFun section where you can learn tips and tricks, understand those pesky fault codes, hear about recalls, holiday food storage, and how to make Dishwasher Lasagna Florentine.  That's right!  I said dishwasher.  Did you know that you could cook dinner and wash your dishes at the same time?

Hope this infograph helps you understand and get the most out of your refrigerator.  Have you ever cooked in your dishwasher?





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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bathroom Curtain - DIY Tutorial

DIY Bathroom Curtain by Substance of Living
Are your eyes ever bigger than your stomach when it comes to food?  Mine are all the time and now my brain thought I was up for a challenge - beyond something I've ever done!  I've pledged (unofficially) to not purchase home decor or ready-made clothing this year.  When I talk about home decor, if it is something that can be sewn then it will not be purchased but made.  Purchasing fabric is permissible.

This isn't a new idea and you've probably seen recycling, upcycling, refashioning, and other descriptions of such around the internet and in the book stores for some time now.  Since DH and I moved, we've been downsizing and a lot of the items were donated but now we're to the point that we are into the soft items.  Items that are still in really good shape but no longer wearable for whatever reason.  We don't want to pass along a top if there is a hole in the knit or a stain - so I'm reusing the material to make other things.

A challenge, that I gratefully accepted, was posed to visit 15 websites each day for 5 days and leave a comment somewhere on each site.  Mentioning that because two websites came about that brought me to another challenge.  The first challenge was from Sew Your Own Wardrobe Challenge and the one that I'm unofficially doing is the Goodbye Valentino 2014.  Guess I'm into challenges this year - YIKES!

A couple weeks ago (sorry it's taken me so long with this post - and there are so many more to come), while the weather was so cold and yucky outside, I took apart an old IKEA bed skirt (not able to find a picture and of course forgot to take a picture but it was a box-pleat type) and used the cotton fabric that usually lies on the box spring. Still have the actual skirt portion for another project.


Hometrends Ashdown Shower Curtain
Hometrends Ashdown Shower Curtain
This was what my shower curtain looked like.  It was fairly new but didn't go with the colors in our main bathroom and we have a glassed-in shower with a garden tub in the master bathroom.  The colors are PERFECT for our master bathroom.  Don't you love saying, "Master Bathroom"?  Doesn't it make you feel so royal and posh?  OK, it is just a bathroom that happens to be attached to the "Master Bedroom" hehe got to say Master again!

Now, for the project and then the long-anticipated (it certainly was for me) reveal.

Lilly helps me cut away the skirt portion of the bed skirt so that I can use the main body for the backing on the curtain.  All the window treatments in my home, with the exception of the window dressing in the laundry room, has a white backing so from the outside of the house you only see white if the blinds are open and the curtains are closed.
DIY Curtain for Bathroom Window on Substance of Living
Remember trying to find Waldo or Carmen Diego?  Can you spot Lilly, my wonderful little helper?  You can also find Lilly helping out here and here.  She also likes to help write and read so you may see her in unexpected places.  How many times have you been able to spot her throughout the site?

After cutting out the main portion of the bed skirt, I (with Lilly's help) pinned and sewed around the sides and bottom of the curtain.  The right side of the shower curtain was placed down onto the white fabric and then a 1/2 inch seam was used.  After sewing, turn the fabric right side out.
DIY Bathroom Curtain by Substance of Living

My window is 46 inches long and there was more than enough fabric for the width to make the ruffly effect so nothing needed to be done about the width.

I had this whole complicated explanation which took up waaaay too much time to read and then you would have had to come up with your own measurements for your curtain and rod opening.  Here it is in the down and dirty so you can make your own curtain.

I measured my window from top to bottom and then added additional length for the rod pocket and so my curtain would hang over the window ledge.  Which allowed me to keep all the design in the original shower curtain fabric.

Sewed up the two sides and the bottom.

Sewed up the two sides and the bottom.
Sewed up the two sides and the bottom.

Placed my curtain rod on the back side of the fabric and folded the fabric over.  Didn't actually pin or sew yet.
Curtain Rod Pocket by Substance of Living

Once I figured out how much room was needed for the rod, I cut any remaining fabric from the top and folded each fabric in on itself to make a half inch seam.  By folding the fabric in on itself, what I mean is that each piece was folded to the inside so there aren't any raw edges showing even within the rod pocket.
Recycled Shower Curtain to DIY Window Treatment by Substance of Living
Top portion of Shower Curtain not used in Final Project

In this next picture, you can see my two seams.  One for the actual hemming and the other for the rod pocket.
Refashioning a Bathroom Curtain by Substance of Living


Here is the rod pocket from the right side.
Refashioning project for a DIY bathroom curtain by Substance of Living

I hope you liked this tutorial and it has inspired you to start looking at items you have around the house that can be used in other ways.  Join me this year in reusing what we have and keeping some of our money in our pockets and not in the stores cash registers.





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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Clairol's Age Defy Expert Collection - A Product Review

Clairol Expert Collection Age Defy - Product Review by Substance of Living

I'm so happy to say that I am a BzzAgent and was able to sample Clairol's Age Defy Expert Collection in Light Brown.
Clairol's Age Defy Expert Collection full gray hair coverage by Substance of Living
AARGH the gray hair!

After coloring my hair I received responses and questions that prompted conversations such as: "Did you get your hair cut?"  "You look younger," and "What are you doing differently?"  When I explained that I colored my hair at home they were shocked that it wasn't professionally done.  In fact, my hair dresser complimented my hair color - that's saying A LOT!

Clairol's Age Defy Expert Collection full gray hair coverage by Substance of Living
I feel younger with the gray hair hidden and I really like the softness and manageability.

Clairol's Age Defy Expert Collection that covers the gray
Gray in the new hair growth
If you've never colored your hair or did so many years ago, this is a super easy product to use.  The smell is pleasant and the directions are easy to understand.  There are four individual packets inside each box marked 1, 2a, 2b, and 3.  Packet 1 is a pre-treatment to prepare your hair to fully accept the color.  Next you'll put on the gloves that are included in the box and add 2a into the 2b bottle.  Shake well and start adding according to the directions.  The last packet, number 3, is a color locking conditioner that you'll continue to use in place of your normal conditioner.  This conditioner helps maintain the color, shine and softness.

You may know this from reading this blog or by following me on facebook, twitter, google+, or pinterest but I'm a supporter of PETA and ASPCA.  I'm mentioning that because in my excitement to try this new hair color product that claimed it would give me complete gray hair coverage.  The R&D phase of the product never entered my mind... until the product was doing its thing on my hair and my conscience started speaking to me.  "Has this product ever been tested on animals?"  "Is my vanity to have 100% gray coverage worth any animal being tortured?"

Admittedly, I did allow the hair color to stay in my hair for the full time and completed the process.  I felt that if an animal or animals were hurt, that my completion was for them.  That sounds backwards, doesn't it?  To get to the bottom of matters, research was done through the internet.  Some of the sites visited were Wiki Answers, PETA, and Clairol, with surprising results.
Clairol's Age Defy Expert Collection in Light Brown by Substance of Living
Look - No Gray!  Really like how my hair color truly changed from a dark brown to light brown.

However, I didn't stop there.  I sent an email to Clairol - half expecting not to hear from them or at the most a vague response.

My email went like this: "Hi!  I love your hair color and cosmetic products but am having a personal dilemma.  Recently heard that your products are tested on animals during the research and developmental (or perhaps other) phases.  Can you please tell me the truth, and if you do test on animals which products can I use that have never been tested on animals?"

My email was sent on a Saturday evening and by Monday afternoon a nice response was received by Clairol.

"Thank you for contacting Clairol about our policy on research involving animals.  I appreciate your interest in our products and you giving me the opportunity to assist you. 

We are committed to improving lives with high quality products, and ensuring they are safe for people and the environment.  Animal research is an exceedingly rare event at P&G.  Today, we complete more than 99 percent of all safety evaluations without testing on animals. 

The remaining tiny percentage comes from studies required by law or in cases where there are no alternatives available.  We appreciate your dedication to this cause and support changes in laws and regulations around the world to reduce and eliminate unnecessary testing with animals.

We are passionate about continuing our progress in alternatives to research involving animals.

• We are a leader in alternatives to animal testing investing over $275 million, and helping to develop more than 50 proven alternative methods.
• We collaborate with governments and academia to promote acceptance of alternatives.  We actively share our discoveries so others can benefit from our progress, and our work has appeared in more than 1,000 scientific publications.
• We approach our research with respect, openness, and responsibility by using animals only as a last resort, working with animal welfare organizations, and ensuring the highest standards of care and with the fewest animals possible.

Thanks again for getting in touch with us.  I hope this information is helpful.

Kendrick
The Clairol Team"
Clairol's Age Defy Expert Collection in Light Brown by Substance of Living
I'm LOVING my light brown hair color sans gray!
I'm happy to have found a hair color product that is kind to animals, to my hair, my conscience, and of course covers my gray hair!




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Friday, April 4, 2014

To Achieve Your Dreams, Remember Your ABCs

Follow the brick path to your dreams by Substance of Living
Follow the brick path to your dreams.
Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits.
Believe in yourself.
Consider things from every angle.
Don't give up and don't give in.
Enjoy life today; yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come.
Family and friends are hidden treasures.  Seek them and enjoy their riches.
Give more than you planned to give.
Hang on to your dreams.
Ignore those who try to discourage you.
Just do it!
Keep on trying.  No matter how hard it seems, it will get easier.
Love yourself first and most.
Make it happen.
Never lie, cheat or steal.  Always strike a fair deal.
Open your eyes, and see things as they really are.
Practice makes perfect.
Quitters never win, and winners never quit.
Read, study and learn about everything important in your life.
Stop procrastinating.
Take control of your own destiny.
Understand yourself in order to better understand others.
Visualize it.
Want it more than anything.
Xccelerate your efforts.
You are unique of all God's creations.  No one can replace you.
Zero in on your target and go for it!

A really good friend gave me this years ago and it stayed on my desk so that I could look at it every day.  I suppose this was a sort of visual board without the pictures.  When I left the corporate world, I packed this away and in going through old boxes found it and had to share with you.

You may have something like this or might want to make your own ABC list to keep you motivated.  Which letter spoke to you?  Which letter would you change and how would you word it to help you?







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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Book Club Reading Selection for April 2014

Ever hear of the phrase, "Until death do us part"?  Poor Amanda can't even divorce her husband after his untimely demise.
THE EX WHO WOULDN'T DIE - written by Sally Berneathy
THE EX WHO WOULDN'T DIE - written by Sally Berneathy

A military cop, a lonely stretch of railroad in a small Mississippi town, and a cover-up... 
THE AFFAIR - written by Lee Child
THE AFFAIR - written by Lee Child

Sloane Templeton reluctantly joins the Granny Oakleys Book Club in order to find out if her mother's death was truly a heart attack.  Who knew cooking could be so deadly?
COOKING THE BOOKS - written by Bonnie S. Calhoun
COOKING THE BOOKS - written by Bonnie S. Calhoun

If you've enjoyed reading Jane Austen and watching Downton Abbey or The Grand, then you're going to enjoy the dance of romance between Chad and Gillian.
THE FIVE KISSES - written by Karla Darcy
THE FIVE KISSES - written by Karla Darcy

Last month we really didn't read anything romantic, in fact, we read about (wait for it...) murder.  So, in case you didn't get enough romance last month, here you go!
TEN SHADES OF SEXY - written by Kelly Leigh and Lexi Hunt
TEN SHADES OF SEXY - written by Kelly Leigh and Lexi Hunt
If you're new to our book club this year and would like to get caught up, check January, February, March, our Book Club page or to learn more about Starting a Book Club.





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Please share me with your friends!
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