Washington DC Art

Washington DC art covers more than the skyline

Washington DC art covers more than the skyline

Washington DC overflows with art.  From the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, where the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in North America is (Ginevra de/Benci) to the Claes Oldenburg’s Typewriter Eraser, Scale X and the visually fantastic Roy Lichtentein House in the sculpture garden, you can spend weeks filling your senses with art. And….it’s almost all FREE!

Seeing the Star Spangled Banner in its new setting (I saw it when it was behind the wall with the pendulum back in the 1990s) was so insanely powerful.

I don't know if Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers count as art but they are part of our national history

I don’t know if Dorothy’s Ruby Red Slippers count as art but they are part of our national history

I remember being at the Louvre and trying to get to the Mona Lisa.  After you fought your way through throngs of tourists snapping photos, you could only look at her behind a velvet rope and she is encased in bullet-proof glass.  There is nothing restful about seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.  Yet I stood all by myself gazing at Ginerva de’Benci in Gallery 6 with no rope, no crowds, no glass.  This painting was overlooked by many people and it amazed me that so many people just walked by. I was able to marvel at the soft, misty atmosphere da Vinci creates without being hurried along.

This is the insanity at the Louve to see the Mona Lisa

This is the insanity at the Louve to see the Mona Lisa

This Washington DC artwork is the only da Vinci in North America

This Washington DC artwork is the only da Vinci in North America

The only thing I didn’t like about the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC was that the numbering of the galleries seemed random and I kept getting lost.  Unlike other museums, the docents here were on the snarky side and acted like I was stupid for getting lost.  Take a look at this floor plan. It’s like a bunch of little cubbies, almost like one of those mazes where you have to figure out how to get out of them.

The floor plan for the Washington DC National Gallery of Art is a mouse-maze

The floor plan for the Washington DC National Gallery of Art is a mouse-maze

House 1 by Roy Lichtenstein looks like a wooden sculpture of his pop-art style…until you walk by it and the house transforms itself into a three-dimensional structure. It’s a mental/visual trick that is stunning. It looks like a house, but it’s not.  Ah-mazing!

This is a surreal sculpture that visually changes as you walk past it. Stunning.

This is a surreal sculpture that visually changes as you walk past it. Stunning.

The Eraser sculpture makes me think of my assistant, who is in her late 20s.  I remember when I showed her carbon paper…she had no idea what that was.  I’m sure she would have no idea of what the Eraser sculpture represents either.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the art I saw in Washington DC.  We spent a week there and I know I could easily spend more time and still not see everything. The Metro is convenient, the city buzzes with excitement, tourists from all around the world are everywhere.

Now it’s Your Turn! Tell us what your favorite piece of artwork is in Washington DC.

Washington DC has art inside and outside

Washington DC has art inside and outside

 

Coronado Artisans Alley

Coronado Artisans Alley

Coronado Artisans Alley is full of Christmas kitch to enjoy

My first craft fair as a vendor was the 2014 Coronado Artisans Alley Craft Faire.  The Coronado Artisans Alley Fair has been an annual event for 42 years, and I was hopeful on the sales results I would get for my Bounds(TM) Beauty Rounds. I didn’t know what to expect but knew that I would learn a lot.

The craft booths were very well-decorated. There were the normal ornaments, masses of booths selling jewelry (I think at least 25% or more were jewelry), wooden Santas, colorful wreaths, wind chimes, body lotion, the normal gamut for a craft faire. Patti Clark-Sanchez had custom-made Day of the Dead Skull purses, very cool! I met Michelle Irvine who, in addition to her lovely jewelry, also had the coolest sheer drapes surrounding her booth, which made it feel very feminine and spa-like. The Coronado Artisans Alley requires that items be at least 80% hand-made and it is a ‘juried’ show. I had to submit samples of my work. I had sent in a photo note card and a sample of my Bounds(TM) beauty rounds, which are a 100% USA cotton handmade makeup remover.

Coronado Artisans Alley Craft Faire

There were fun character-themed hats at the Coronado Artisans Alley Craft Faire

The 2014 Coronado Artisans Alley was not very well attended.  There were multiple empty booth spaces, and the people who came to the faire did not seem to be buying.  I asked some of my booth-neighbors about this and they all agreed that the crowd was really light.  Perhaps it was because we had had three days of rain, an anomaly in San Diego, and Saturday was a glorious and hot day, with blue skies and a nice ocean breeze. Perhaps people weren’t in a shopping mood?

Coronado Artisans Alley

Coronado Artisans Alley had all kinds of cute things for little girls.

I talked to a woman in the booth behind me. She was selling hair bows and crocheted character themed hats. She said that this was her third year and would probably be her last year, based on the price of the booth and the results she had.  She said three years ago she made $800 (on hair bows!), last year she made $400 but it had poured rain, and this year she thought she would be lucky if she made $200.  Considering the booth cost for the Coronado Artisans Alley was $125 for 2014 and is increasing to $140 for next year, she said it doesn’t make economic sense as you have to be here from 9 AM – 3PM.  She said she also works the Otay Ranch (Chula Vista – Eastlake) Mall Farmers Market on Tuesdays from 4PM-8PM, they let you set up as early as 2 PM, and it only costs $35.00 each night. She said she generally makes $200 a night there.

Coronado Artisans Alley

Artisans Alley was my first craft fair to see how my Bounds(TM) Beauty Rounds Makeup Removers would sell

The woman in the booth across from me was selling these really cool baby swaddlers and little girl tutus and tutu-dresses.  She said that it was terribly slow. She has been coming here for years, and this was the worst she had seen it.

I also spoke to Tawnya LaFave of IB Crochet. She had not only a corner booth but a secondary one! She too said the fair was really slow, and she does better at the Imperial Beach Farmers Market. This was good information for me.

I am glad I experienced the show.  I only sold 11 sets of my Bounds(TM), and after paying my friend’s daughter for helping me and the booth rental ($125) I basically broke even.  So for me the Coronado Artisans Alley was great from a learning prospective, but not from an economic one, and I will not be going back as a vendor.

Now it’s Your Turn! Tell us about your experience as a vendor or attendee. Is there a particular vendor you come to every year to buy your holiday gifts?

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Why Use Urban Healing Center HIllcrest?

Urban Healing Center in Hillcrest has over 20 practitioners

Urban Healing Center in Hillcrest has over 20 practitioners

I recently went to the grand opening of the Urban Healing Center in Hillcrest.  It’s tucked at the south end of 10th Street, right off the 163 FWY and Robinson. Street parking can be a bit limited, but it’s free and more importantly, non restricted! That’s different for Hillcrest, kingdom of smart parking meters that zero out your time when you leave the space. Seriously? Okay, that’s a whole different blog topic!

The entry to Urban Healing Center does not prepare you for the huge space it actually is!

The entry to Urban Healing Center does not prepare you for the huge space it actually is!

Back to the Urban Healing Center. Rather than just one service such as massage or acupuncture, Urban Healing Center is a membership-driven center.  There are 20 healers offering a wide variety of services including acupuncture, different types of massage, meditation, chiropractic services, reiki, psychic readings, sound healing ( Teri Wilder using her gong, Maria Theresa Larsen using crystal bowls), feng shui, reflexology, group as well as private yoga classes, smoking cessation, NLP, hypnotherapy and more. Here’s a link to the variety of services the Urban Healing Center offers: http://www.theurbanhealingcenter.com/v/services.htm

A group of the Urban Healing Centers practitioners and friends

A group of the Urban Healing Centers practitioners and friends

There is a large center space where classes, events and workshops are held. There are four smaller treatment rooms surrounding the center space where members and non-members can get individual treatments in privacy.

Urban Healing Center is at the end of 10th street and Robinson. There is free street parking, unusual for Hillcrest!

Urban Healing Center is at the end of 10th street and Robinson. There is free street parking, unusual for Hillcrest!

What I like about Urban Healing Center is unlike a gym, you don’t have to sign up for a two year membership. Clients have the option of purchasing either a monthly or longer membership. The membership gives them discounts on most services and some events are free for members. However, you do not need to be a member of Urban Healing Center to have access. For example, Pauliina Parris is holding a feng shui workshop December 6- $15 for non-members.
You can find Urban membership here:  http://www.theurbanhealingcenter.com/category-s/1823.htm
 

Best Affordable Rosarito Vet

I live in San Diego, and have recently started travelling south of the border to Rosarito for fun, but also for veterinarian visits. It takes about 45 minutes to get to Rosarito from San Diego, so it’s a easy drive, with an ocean view the entire way.

I asked some ex-pat friends for a referral and they sent me to  Dr. Paola of Albeitar Clinica. She is on the free road just off the Cuota (Toll Road). Take the HUGE OXXO station “exit”.  Turn left and she is down the street on the right before the purple-and-pink hotel. She is just south of the main Rosarito shopping area so parking is really easy.

Grumpy LeeLee before Rosarito vet visits

Grumpy LeeLee

Why is Dr. Paola the best Rosarito vet?  Because in the USA I was told by several vets that my rescue dog LeeLee had a myriad of diseases, with the worst prognosis being Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia. This is essentially a death sentence for a dog….but you can treat it with weekly blood tests, possible blood infusions, and medication. When I asked several USA vets the cost for this procedure….oh, a minimum of $200 a month. This diagnosis was given because she one day toppled over without warning. With this treatment I would have to take her weekly for blood tests. Which meant every week I had to force her to be put into a cage and abandoned (in her eyes) which would have terrified her as she is my little dog-limpet.

Rosarito vet

Dr. Paola Diaz and her husband have a modern, clean clinic in Rosarito

 

Enter Dr. Paola, Rosarito vet.  She did some blood work and advised me that LeeLee does not have Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia, but she does have a tumor under her tongue.  Dr. Paola advised me that the only treatment for this is to remove the dog’s tongue. She told me she refuses to do this to a dog.  Thank you!

Dr. Paola then looked inside LeeLee’s ears and said she has masses of hair clumped deep inside her ears, and a yeast/ear infection. This infection was affecting her entire body and was the cause of LeeLee’s horrible smell.  We scheduled a follow up visit where Dr. Paola cleaned her teeth, her ears, and also her eye ducts, plus medication….for about $110.00.  To have LeeLee’s teeth cleaned by an American vet? $400-$500. Rosarito vet pricing is much easier on my wallet and allows me to take my three rescue dogs in to get the care they need.leelee vet 3

Rosarito Vet Dr. Paola Diaz

LeeLee now gets monthly ear trimming. Cost? $18 including visit. Can’t get to a US vet for less than $35 office visit

Dr. Paola then determined through a blood test that LeeLee has hypothyroidism and prescribed dog Levothroid. She told me that it would take a few weeks for the medicine to kick in, but LeeLee should lose weight and become more active.

Oh yeah! LeeLee is a brand new dog! She no longer smells (yeast infection), she has lost 800 gms of chubbiness, and has suddenly developed a zest for life! Before this treatment I had to haul her down the stairs every morning, she growled at everyone, and picked at her food.  Now she trots downstairs and upstairs faster than I can, has bright eyes, is thoroughly interested in the world, and everyone who knows her from before cannot believe that this is the same dog!happy leelee 1

One month after her thyroid meds, LeeLee is doing something she NEVER did in the last four years....jumping up!

One month after her thyroid meds, LeeLee is doing something she NEVER did in the last four years….jumping up!

What I love about Dr. Paola is I can trust her, and that LeeLee’s veterinary care is not going to be either a car or house payment, the way it is in the US. When did pet health care before more expensive than people’s health care?

I think LeeLee toppled over because her ears were plugged and she had no balance. Her grumpiness was from not feeling well.  Now she is frisky and for the first time actually gets up on her hind feet to beg treats (We did not teach her that!). She no longer growls at our other dogs and is a happier dog.

This is why I say Dr. Paola is the best Rosarito vet!

You can see my other post on Dr. Paola’s operation on Maggie….which again was about one-fourth of what it would have been in the USA.

Now it’s Your Turn: Who do you think is the best Mexico vet? Have you used Dr. Paola?

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Buffalo Public House

hillcrest 3Hillcrest has a new restaurant named Buffalo Public house. It opened October 23, and it’s right in Hillcrest Central near University and 5th Avenue….which, BTW is one of the most car-accident-prone sections of San Diego. Probably because Mo’s and other happening eateries are around there, parking is atrocious, and the streets are narrow.

So, back to The Buffalo Public House.  My friend and I went there, quite frankly, because it was 4:00 PM on a Tuesday and very few other eateries were open.  This is a brand spanking-new restaurant so we decided to give it a go.

Interior of Buffalo Pub

Interior of Buffalo Pub

It was….okay.  We started with a Pao de Queijo, which translates to cheese puff balls.  There were six to a plate for $4.00 so the price for an appetizer is reasonable.  However, there was just a smear of the aioli sauce (see photo) and they were so bland that you needed to drench them in the aioli sauce.  Our waitress cheerfully provided more. But they were still pretty bland.

See the eensy-teensy schmear of aioli?

See the eensy-teensy schmear of aioli? Buffalo Pub cheese puffs

hillcrest 2

Buffalo Pub salad. I can see the parmesan crisp but no croutons. Who puts tomatoes in a Caesar salad?

My friend had the salmon salad, which she said was good but not memorable.  I had the chicken Caesar salad, which was okay.  I really, really like croutons on Caesar salad; I find they combat the sometimes overwhelming flavor of the dressing. Here is their description from the website:  romaine in house made caesar dressing with rustic malted brown bread croutons and parmesean crisps (veg). Well, there were no rustic malted brown bread croutons and only a circle of what I guess was the parmesan crisp.  Meh.

We stuck to salads because the rest of the menu is pretty spendy for a very late lunch, but average for a nice restaurant in Hillcrest (average minimum is $20).

Perhaps if we had ordered one of their Brazilian gastro-pub entrees this blog would be different, but the salads were not memorable, and for the hassle of parking in Hillcrest there are other restaurants I would patronize.

Now It’s Your Turn:  What do you think is the best Hillcrest restaurant? Which one is the worst?

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The Buffalo Public House is located at 406 B University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92128.

The Buffalo Public House’s website is www.thebuffalopub.com

 

 

 

El Indio Mexican Restaurant San Diego

My friend took me to El Indio Mexican restaurant this weekend.  El Indio has been in business since 1940 and is a San Diego landmark restaurant.  She said she and her family have been coming to El Indio for over 20 years; it is one of their all-time favorite restaurants. It’s so popular that they have a dedicated parking lot across the street, with a traffic control rent-a-cop monitoring who parks there.  There are cement tables topped by retro red and white metal umbrellas across the street. El Indio is across from Shakespeare Pub, another San Diego institution.

El Indio

El Indio

I’m not a huge Mexican food fan, I acutally am part of the 10% of people who have a genetic predisposition to but hate cilantro; the smell, the taste, everything about it.

I am always game to try something new. It’s part of my mantra of living life to the fullest.  So we walked in and placed our order. She ordered the morditas and I ordered the carnitas plate.

mmm....morditas....

mmm….morditas….

I ordered mine “to go” so I was a little puzzled when it arrived on a regular plastic plate.  “I ordered it to go” I told the young man behind the counter.  He replied “We just snap a lid on it.  Are you ready?” Not yet, as we were eating in.  That’s different!

I tried my friend’s morditas plate.  It’s essentially beef taquitos cut into bite sized pieces, drizzled with nacho sauce and topped by jalapeno peppers.  Nacho sauce always reminds me of Cheese Wiz in its consistency, so I thought it was flavorful but not amazing.

the inside is bright and clean

the inside is bright and clean

Maybe I’m spoiled by going down to Rosarito and eating street tacos, but I felt the carnitas plate was pretty bland.  The meat wasn’t super hot (temperature) and the rice and beans were okay. The corn tortillas (made on site) were average, and I’m a carb nut who loves freshly made tortillas!

Carnitas plate

Carnitas plate

I see YELP and GOOGLE reviews are a mixed bag. It seems like you either absolutely love El Indio or you can pass on it.  I’m glad I went, I’m sure for many people it is delicious, but I will pass next time.

Now It’s Your Turn! What do you think of El Indio? What is your favorite San Diego Mexican Restaurant?

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El Indio Restaurant

3695 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

619-299-0333

Disenchanted An Irreverant Musical

“Disenchanted, the new musical that gives fairytales the Bird” is a funny, articulate, irreverent and honest look at how little girls are programmed to think that one day a man (their prince!) will arrive to save them…and how so not very true that is! Disenchanted is based on the book, music and lyrics of Dennis T. Giacino. The script is adult in nature and not appropriate for children under 13.

The cast of Disenchanted OnStage Playhouse Chula Vista. Author's photo

The cast of Disenchanted OnStage Playhouse Chula Vista. Author’s photo

Disenchanted is a tale emcee’d by Snow White (very well-acted by Kay McNellen).  She weaves her story together with Cinderella (Justine Hince) and Sleeping Beauty (Paula Richardson)…who definitely hysterically lives up to her name.Cinderella (Justine Hince) is constantly being thwarted by the overbearing Snow White, but in the end she gets to do her routine. The jabs between Snow White and Cinderella are hysterical and reminded me of “mean girls” from school.  Who is going to end up being the Queen of the Princesses?

The cabaret-style story focuses on fairy tale princesses and their woes regarding their oversized bosums, teensy tiny waists, horrible high heeled shoes that are oh-so-not-comfortable, and how unrealistic fairy tales are. They poke fun at the myth of Happily Ever After.

A scene from "Disenchanted!" at OnStage Playhouse. Photo credit: Tim Fears sdgln.com-

A scene
from “Disenchanted!” at OnStage Playhouse. Photo credit: Tim Fears sdgln.com-

Belle cannot understand why she would love a Beast. The Little Mermaid bemoans the fact that she gave up a lovely life in the sea for a pair of legs, while Rapunzel is notably Germanic in her drindle dress, long braided blond hair, strong voice…and huge face mole. Tara Kostmayer is splendid in these roles and a solid counterpart to the more “traditional”  Princesses.

The actors of OnStage Playhouse's Disenchanted

The actors of OnStage Playhouse’s Disenchanted

Janessa Herrera is fierce as Hua Mulan (could Mulan be a lesbian? She’s the only princess who doesn’t wear a dress, after all) and Pocahontas. As Pocahontas she asks us if we really think she work such sexy attire. Janessa brings a modern, edgy look to the fairytale Princess.

And finally Brittney Caldwell gives a raucous performance as The Princess from the Frog Prince…..since “Princess finally went Black!” She is fantastic and a great foil to the other princesses.

"I'm not evil; I'm just drawn that way." Jessica Rabbit. photo courtesy of disney.wikia.com-

“I’m not evil; I’m just drawn that way.” Jessica Rabbit. photo courtesy of disney.wikia.com-

This was my first time at the OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista, and I was not disappointed.  It is an extremely small theatre (maybe 50 seats?) and the best seats are in the middle. I don’t know how well you would see from the side seats, even though the theatre is small. I would recommend getting your tickets early to any show they produce. There were prizes given out at the beginning of the show for trivia; as this is my first visit I do not know if they do that normally.

I had no idea such a gem existed in the SouthBay. I was very impressed by the quality of the acting, the theatre, the stage sets, and the musical accompaniment and will definitely come here to see another play.  My friends and I went to dinner at Project Pie before the show and then grabbed some coffee afterward.  It was nice to be able to go to dinner, a show and coffee without having to worry about parking or schlepping up to the Gaslamp area.

Their website is www.onstageplayhouse.org and they operate solely on donations and ticket sales.

They are located at 291 Third Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910. 619-422-7787

OnStage Playhouse Chula Vista upcoming plays

OnStage Playhouse Chula Vista upcoming plays

Upcoming plays include:
Dr Jekyll & Mr. Hyde October 10-Nov 1

Bell, Book and Candle Nov 28-Dec 20

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Jan 16-Feb 14 2015

Our Lady of the Tortilla Mach 13 – APril

Rent May 1-30, 2015

7 Tips to Motel 6

I’ve stayed at Motel 6 since I was a little girl in the 1970’s to now as a middle=aged adult.  What I have found is that some are better than others, but they all share common characteristics of clean beds, polyester bedcovers, small scratchy towels & complimentary slivers of soap.  Here are my tips to make your Motel 6 stay better.

Renovated Motel 6 room

This was one of the nicest Motel 6’s I’ve stayed in.
Great location, looked like they took over another hotel.

  1. Bring your own towel.  Yes, the Motel 6 towels are uniformly thin, scratchy,and small.  I use their towels to dry my hands and my hair, and bring my own towel for the rest of me.  A towel can also function as a blanket or pillow on an airplane.  I’ve even used my towel as seat padding.  Bring a beach towel and it’s an even better blanket. Heck, you can even use it at the pool!
  2. Bring your own pillow. I have found that having my own pillow while travelling has made the difference between tossing and turning, and getting a good nights sleep.  Also if I’m on a driving vacation it makes it easier to sleep—-no more cricked necks.  Don’t forget your travel towel-blanket.  I can also then use the Motel 6 pillows as back bolsters while reading or watching TV in bed.  Plus, for me, I’ve seen some of the other Motel 6 guests, and well, I don’t want to use pillows they have used.
    Motel 6 beer bottle opener

    You have to love a hotel that provides a beer bottle opener! Go Motel 6!

  3. Shower Flip Flops.  I don’t care if it’s Motel 6 or a higher-end hotel, it doesn’t mean people don’t have athletes foot.  I use these at the gym too.  When you have to get ice or walk to the pool, just slip them on.
  4. Bedbugs. I have never seen bedbugs in any Motel 6. Period.  Doesn’t mean I don’t check!
    Flagstaff Motel 6

    This is the Flagstaff Motel 6 that has not been renovated

  5. Which Motel 6 in the same city?  I have found that if there are two Motel 6’s within a few miles of each other, and there is a $20+ price difference per night….there’s a very good reason for that.  $20 a night can make a huge difference between the clientele and the room/hotel condition.  See photos below of a $55 vs $75 a night Motel 6 in Flagstaff, AZ.  I stayed at both.  I will stay at the $74 a night Motel 6 the next time I visit.  The staff was friendly at both locations.  Ice was the same at both.  The difference was newer & nicer amenities, a laminate versus carpet floor (cleaner, fewer allergy problems) and no peeling walls in the bathroom.  You get what you pay for, even within the same chain.
  6. Amenities. You don’t go to Motel 6 or similar quality hotels for the amenities.  There will not be a blow dryer, bathrobes or slippers, huge towels or shampoo.  Ice will generally be on the ground floor and there will be a sign asking you to please not fill your ice chest with their ice. But at $50 versus $124+ a night…well, I’ll bring my own towel and blow dryer sometimes.
    Motel 6 shower curtain

    I love these curved shower curtains in the renovated Motel 6’s

  7. Clientele. This can be a crap shoot.Let’s just say it’s a melting pot of socio-economic diversity.  However, even though on the lower scale of clients, some of whom I would normally cross the street to avoid, I have never been afraid or had people fall against my hotel door at 3AM in a drunken stupor —- which did happen several times on a Carnival Cruise.  You will avoid a certain socio-economic group if you stay at $125+ a night hotels.  But I’d rather spend my money on a long vacation on activities and meals.  (On short trips I go higher end.) Motel 6’s are also usually older, worn out buildings.  But at $50 a night, there’s not a lot of money left over for maintenance and upgrades.
    blow dryer

    BYOB —- Bring Your Own Blow Dryer to Motel 6!
    Image courtesy of John Kasawa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I am not staying at a ‘nice’ hotel and I only have a choice of $50-$90 a night rooms, I generally opt for Motel 6.  Like other chains (McD, Dennys) I know what I’m going to get.  There’s a comfort in predictability when you are on the road and in a strange town.  I leave the crapshoots for meals and experiences.

flip flops

I use flip flops in all hotel showers,not just at Motel 6
Image courtesy of James Barker / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Much like I know what a Quarter Pounder or Grand Slam is going to taste like, I know what I’m going to get with a Motel 6.  I have found that on the road, ‘better’ brand-name chains that have locations near or next to Motel 6 generally charge higher prices for the same quality of room and amenities.  At that point, I am paying for the ‘name’, not the quality. The lobbies are a little larger (Ok, a lot! Motel 6s don’t have lobbies).but they don’t always have free coffee in the morning. I have found those ‘name brand’ hotels have moldy-smelling rooms, cheesy towels, and slivers of soap.  It just cost more.

Tom Bodett, please keep leaving the light on for me. Thanks.

 

Now It’s Your Turn! What do you think of Motel 6? Which is the best one you’ve stayed at? The worst one?

or

 

 

 

Knit Scarves and Relaxation

fancy knit scarf

This knit scarf looks fancy but it’s all in the yarn.

Knitting is a form of meditation for me. The clicking of the needles and the repetition of the patterns soothe and relax me. Each yarn has its own unique feel, whether a soft acrylic, nobbly cotton or a sequined and feathery specialty yarn. If it is a gift, I love knowing the pleasure my gift will bring.

My life is frenetic and stressful. My business, my husband and hobbies keep me busy. Many times it seems like every moment is already accounted for before it exists. That’s when sitting down with a skein of yarn and knitting needles becomes a critical emotional space for me.

I don’t work on fancy, involved patterns that require a lot of focus. I don’t work on patterns that require charts. I like patterns that are easy to memorize. This is a relaxing space for me, so my knitting projects are simple.

IMG_4767

This knit scarfwas made with the basic garter stitch knit pattern

However, my knitting projects are not plain. I have discovered that using the standard knit stitch but adding “dropped stitches” makes a complicated-looking lacy scarf,  yet it requires very little extra effort than if I made a beginning scarf like this pink one:

This knit scarf is made with 1 1/2 skeins of Loops and Threads Charisma yarn in “Think Pink” with size 13 needles. I cast on 13 stitches and worked it up in simple garter stitch. Make sure you buy enough yarn of the same dye lot. It may not seem like a big deal until you run out of yarn and the next dye lot is just different enough to be visible. I bought 3 skeins so I’ll be able to make two gifts.

charisma yarn

This yarn is very easy to knit with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A simple garter stitch scarf is lovely, but with one stitch change the entire feel of a scarf can be transformed from nice to beautiful.

Dropped Stitch Scarf

Dropped stitch knit scarf

This knit scarf I made looks lacy and luxurious, yet it was made with one skein of yarn that cost about $5 and a simple variation on the basic knit stitch. The inspiration for this knitted scarf came from a pattern I found on www.ravelry.com, a knitting site with thousands of free or inexpensive patterns. The original pattern was nice, but as I started knitting I realized that for this particular project I wanted a lacier and thinner scarf. So I made two small adjustments and created this easy lacy scarf that is unique, feminine and sparkly.IMG_4764

I don’t check my gauges with scarves. I cast on, stitch several rows and if the scarf is too wide or narrow I figure out how many stitches I need and start over. With my knitting tension this made a scarf that is six inches wide. So with that caveat, here is my pattern:

Knit Scarf 3YO

This is what the row with the 3 YO looks like before you ‘drop’ it

I used ———yarn in ——— colors with ——- size needles

Cast on 25 stitches

Rows 1-6 knit all stitches.

Row 5 K1, YO twice, K1 * repeat from * to *until end of row

Row 6 K1, drop the two yarn overs, repeat from * to *

That is where the original pattern ended and started repeating. It’s pretty but again I wanted something just a taste lacier.

Row 7-8 knit every row

Row 9 YO every stitch 3x

Row 10 knit across dropping the YO

Row 11-12 knit every row

Row 13 YO every stitch 2x

Row 14-17 knit every row

Row 18 YO every stitch 2x

Row 19-21 knit every row

Repeat rows 5-21 until scarf is desired length.  End with 6 knit rows.

I also use the basketweave pattern to make scarves, especially for men.  Basketweave looks difficult but is extremely easy. I knit this scarf with Red Heart Red Heart Super Saver Super Saver yarn. Basket weave is just alternating between Knit and Purl stitches.

Cast on 26 stitches with Size 8 knitting needles.

Knit Rows 1-5

Rows 6-10, K3, K5, P5,K5,P5, K3

Rows 11-15, K3, P5,K5,P5,K5,K3

I like having the garter stitch on the edges as it keeps the scarf from curling up. Here’s what the scarf looks like:

basketweave scarf

Basket Weave Knit scarf looks complex but is easy to knit

basketweave scarf

Here is a close up of the knit and purl patterns

 

I hope you enjoy these scarf patterns. Please use the pattern for personal use only. If you want to make scarfs to sell from the patterns, give yourself the gift of good karma and make a small donation to pretty horses rescue. This charity rehabilitates starving, abandoned horses. Every dollar helps us rescue and rehabilitate starving horses.

Now it’s Your Turn! What do you do to relax after a stressful day? Are there other crafts you like?

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10 Ways to Save Water

Save Water and Money.

California is facing its worst drought in recorded history.  Governor Jerry Brown declared a Drought Emergency on January 17. Here are 10 simple steps to save water and money:

Replace your faucets. Bathroom faucets use approximately 16% of a family’s monthly water.  One easy way to save money and help the drought is to turn the water off while you brush your teeth.  You can also save by replacing your old faucet aerators with a new, water-efficient one. Better yet? Do both! http://www.epa.gov/watersense/products/bathroom_sink_faucets.html

Take Shorter Showers. You use 2.5 gallons of water a minute in the shower.  So every minute counts! http://www.conserveh2o.org/shower-water-use

Catch the Shower Water. Put a Bucket in each shower to collect the water while it heats up. Use the water collected to flush toilets and water plants

photo courtesy of blog.priscillawoolworth.com

photo courtesy of blog.priscillawoolworth.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flush less Often. I know, kind of off-putting.  But do you really need to flush every single time? Over 27% of household water use comes from the toilet. Still no? Then choose another tip.

photo courtesy of www.bullseye-plumbing.com-

photo courtesy of www.bullseye-plumbing.com-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use a Pool Cover.  This not only keeps your pool clean (less work!) but saves water…and is safer for children! Check this out:

photo courtesy of www.pooldepotsandiego.com

photo courtesy of www.pooldepotsandiego.com

 

Water your plants, not your sidewalk.  Watch your sprinklers and only water as needed. Thoroughly but infrequently is the key. Longer but less frequent watering forces plants to grow deeper roots. Water early in the morning or after 6 pm to minimize evaporation.

California Fuchsia Native Plant photo courtesy of freygardens.com-

California Fuchsia Native Plant photo courtesy of freygardens.com-

garden squash

water saved on the lawn helped turn a front door garden into a feast!

Remove your Lawn.  Plant a vegetable garden or replace it with artificial turf.  You’ll save money and either have delicious food or less maintenance.  It’s win-win either way!

Embrace Native Perennials. Drought-tolerant does not mean boring.  California has hundreds of beautiful native plants that once established require very little water or maintenance.  Plus, they attract birds and butterflies into your garden.  Find an entire list at http://theodorepayne.org/ and visit the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College for classes, ideas and inspiration. http://www.thegarden.org

photo courtesy of simplesojourns.com-

California poppies take very little water. Photo courtesy of www.simplesojourns.com

 

These beautiful birds just started showing up at my hummingbird feeder. Photo courtesy of www.carolinabirds.org-

These beautiful birds just started showing up at my hummingbird feeder. Photo courtesy of www.carolinabirds.org-

Water plants with dropped Ice Cubes.  http://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/

Mulch your plants. This not only saves water, it minimized weeds.

Now it’s Your Turn! What do you do to save water?

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