Monthly Archives

September 2014

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Apple orchard: take three

September 29, 2014

This past weekend was unseasonably gorgeous. I’m not talking kind of nice, I’ll take what I can get. I’m talking 80 degrees, got a little bit sunburned because I’m out of the habit of sunscreen. GLORIOUS!

After spending all morning on Sunday working on wedding details (no pictures just yet, you’ll have to wait just a few more days before I’ll share), enough was enough and it was time to get outside. A quick run didn’t satiate me, so I grabbed my hubby-to-be and a newly engaged couple and we headed to the apple orchard.

The apple trees are located in fields behind the large oaks that are changing colors…beautiful!

I don’t know what it is about orchards, but I’m a serious fanatic. This is the third time I’ve been to the orchard this year, and I have serious doubts that it will be my last. There’s a quiet excitement to hopping on the tractor trailer and being taken out to the fields where row upon row of trees await, each one bent over with the weight of innumerable apples just waiting to be picked. Even the ground is full of apples, for the trees are often too laden and must shed their load lest their branches break from the weight of their fruit.

After tasting many different varieties, we filled our bags with apples (Keith and I brought over 20 pounds home with us!) and turned our sights to pumpkins. One thing I love about Keith (and believe me, there are an incredible number of things I could share) is that I’m always learning something new. He told me that in Ireland, pumpkins are only used for carving; he’d never seen them used as decoration! I purchased a few despite his (somewhat) confused state, and later that evening, as we were driving in the neighborhood, he started counting all the pumpkins on people’s doorsteps. It averaged out to about one per home (clearly some had none while others had a multitude). He asked what it was about pumpkins that made people use them for decorations, and I really had to think about why exactly we use them. Needless to say, I made a few things up (though they sounded great I’m sure) and we speculated all the way home about autumn in America.

So now my counter is overflowing with apples. Plans include dehydrating, more apple butter (crockpot style, recipe to come), and probably a few apple crisps.

What is your favorite part about fall?

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My standing desk

September 22, 2014
Standing desk
More and more research has been coming out about sitting, and how bad it is for humans. If you haven’t already heard, I’d recommend reading this article from Time or this article from NPR. Do a simple Google search and you’ll find even more information. What’s scary to me is the notion that even if you exercise regularly, you won’t reverse the damage caused by sitting. Say WHAT???
I recently started a new job, and it was about this time that I began reading just how bad sitting is for you. It got me thinking. I know I don’t exercise enough to justify all my sitting even if it DID cancel out (which we now know it doesn’t) so maybe I should think about working standing up.
I’m fortunate to work in an environment where I’m extremely enabled. So when I decided to create my own standing desk out of boxes, nobody batted an eye! Here’s a picture of my ramshackle desk:

I think one of my favorite parts of standing desks is that you don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to have your own. My desk is made from a $10 side table from Target I bought while in college, and a few boxes I rescued from the recycle bin.
One thing I definitely recommend, however, is investing in a good mat. My office floor is tile, and I tried standing without a mat for a few weeks. It wasn’t a very smart idea, to say the least. So I ordered a mat from Imprints, and I am in love! I bought the smaller version and it’s absolutely perfect: squishy enough to give my feet a break, but sturdy enough so I don’t sink too deep and strain my joints.
Overall, I’m super happy with my desk, and honestly with myself. There have been many times when I’ve seen or heard something and thought, wow, that’s a really good idea, I should do that, only to find that I never actually take the steps to do whatever it was that captured my attention. For whatever reason, I was able to take the idea of a standing desk and turn it into a reality. Kind of like what I did with this blog. Maybe I’ve turned a corner in my life…or maybe it’s just a coincidence. Only time will tell!
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Table renovation

September 15, 2014
Last winter, I believe it was around Christmas, my mom and I were thrifting up in central Minnesota. We happened across a shop called For Pet’s Sake and, thinking it had pet supplies and I could find a new carrier for my quickly-growing cat, we stopped in. Turns out the shop wasn’t for pets, but was part of the Humane Society with portions of the profit going to help animals in need. While we didn’t find the carrier we were looking for, we did find an awesome deal: a kitchen table, with three leaves, for only $10! You just can’t pass that up!
I brought the table home with every intention of refinishing it within a few weeks. Instead, it sat in my garage for a few months until I finally said enough! In my defense though, the weather was too cold outside to open the garage door to let the fumes out from the paint stripper.
When the weather broke one weekend, my fiance and I got to work. We stripped the table down and began sanding it. After just one afternoon we had the entire top, leaves included, ready to go. All we needed to do was finish the legs. So we put it back in the garage and went on our merry way.
Another month went by (funny how time flies isn’t it?) until, once again, I couldn’t take looking at the table anymore. Nor could I imagine trying to strip the paint off the legs, which had lots of grooves and ridges. No longer were we going to stain the whole thing one color. No, we were going to get cute with this table and paint the legs something different. While many people would view this as a design choice, really it was all about me not wanting to sand anymore, but shhhh!
After the top was stained and varnished, I tackled the legs. I went to the Home Depot and, with my husband Keith trying his best to help, debated over colors for the legs. After much hemming and hawing, “we” finally chose a lovely color from Behr, a light bluish-green. It looks awesome with the stain color he chose!
Originally we had planned on putting this table in our dining room. Only problem was we didn’t have any chairs for it. While at a swap meet up in central Minnesota, we found four perfect chairs. The wrench in this situation was that you had to buy the table that went with the chairs. Again, it was too great a deal to pass up ($80 for the table and all four chairs, already sanded and stained, just needed to be varnished) so we brought the set back and used them in our dining room.
So what to do with our first table? Why, put it into my craft room, of course! We lugged it down the stairs and managed to squeeze it through the hallway and into my sewing/crafting room. It looks right at home with all of my beads and fabrics strewn on top.

What are your tips for updating your furniture finds? I’d love to hear them, as I’m ready to jump into another project!
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Time to begin!

September 9, 2014
Since starting my new job as the editor of a healthy living magazine (among a number of other titles), I have been toying with the idea of starting a blog. I’ve attempted to maintain blogs before, with varied degrees of success. I’m at the point, however, where I just need to jump in headfirst or things just don’t get done. So here we go!
For my first post, I want to share a bit about my hopes for this blog. One of the main tips other bloggers give for starting a blog is to choose a topic to blog about: food, DIY, fashion, etc. I started a list of possible focus themes, but as I kept brainstorming, the list kept growing! After much thought (and some well-stated advice from a friend), I have decided that my focus is going to be on living a healthy, happy and fulfilled life.
Seems like a big undertaking to me. So within that broad spectrum, I’ve narrowed it down a little bit. I will be focusing on a few specific themes under this huge umbrella guided by the title of the blog: Dirt and Lace.

The “dirt” portion of the blog refers to gardening, recipes, environmental issues, DIY projects and the like. I like digging in and getting my hands dirty, but I also like the nice, completed project. That’s where the “lace” comes into play. Finished pieces, nice things, pretty pictures. So though it seems a bit all over the place, I hope I’ll be able to contain everything within the split personality of the title.

Please stick with me as I find my feet at first. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of not-so-great posts, but hopefully there will be a few diamonds in the rough as well.

Here we go!