My C-Reactive Protein is High!

Recently I found out that I have high C-reactive protein levels. C-Reactive Protein is a measure of systemic body inflammation. High levels of chronic inflammation in the body can cause problems with the heart, joints, brain and can even be a marker of underlying diseases like cancer. My level was 22.6 mg/L. Normal levels of C-reactive protein usually less than 3 mg/L. My new goal is to try and figure out how to lower this high level of chronic systemic inflammation in my body! I’m only 41 so I’m at a very young age to have such a high level of C-reactive protein.

Since I’ve been having inflammation in my right knee for most of 2021 and all of 2022 (so far) I’m guessing my high C-reactive protein was due to rheumatoid arthritis in my knee, specifically. Hopefully no other area of my body is being damaged! Hopefully I’m not experiencing underlying atherosclerosis or some kind of insidious degeneration of my brain or heart.

But to be safe, I’ve initiated radical changes in my lifestyle starting last week Tuesday (January 25, 2021). I have removed sugary treats from my diet. I still eat rice, pasta, potatoes and breads occasionally; but no ice cream, cookies, cakes, pies…you get the idea. I have also started an exercise routine where I exercise vigorously on the Peloton at least 20 minutes a day.

Today is Sunday January 30, 2022 and I started my first fast. I last ate yesterday around 7pm, so I won’t consume any food until around 1 or 2pm on Monday.

My first day of Intermittent (18 hour) fasting has taught me a lot about myself. It’s dawning on me that I’m an impulsive and thoughtless eater. I’m constantly putting blueberries, apples or random food fragments from the counter into my mouth. I brainlessly place them into my mouth and then I realize, whoops, I’m fasting! Then I spit them out and start again. Thankfully I’ve never swallowed anything yet so as not to waste my effort fasting!

There are so many things I do that are impulsive and mindless so fasting has been a very enlightening experience. Now, if I could just start a cleaning/picking up messes fast where I only allowed myself to tidy the house for a 6 hour window of the day. Imagine how much more I could get done during the other 18 hours?!?!?!?

I will be back very soon to blog about my progress fasting, exercising more and eating less sugar and any changes I’ve witnessed in my knee inflammation.

Pencil Box from Old Baseboards

Pencil Box from Old Baseboards

Last year when our family was still living in Alaska we decided to remodel our kitchen.

Many baseboards needed to be torn out in the process. I thought, why not start making containers and pencil boxes from the old damaged baseboards instead of tossing them?

I used my Hart saw to cut pieces to size and then glued them together. I finished them off with painted pictures and some epoxy.

Here is how one turned out.

Blogging is Hard

Blogging is hard. I haven’t posted in well over 2 years and I’m finally logging into my account again.

The thing I have to keep reminding myself is:

It’s hard to dedicate time each week to “write” but I’m doing it for myself. If other people happen to stop by on my journey of creativity and self growth that’s an extra bonus!

It’s hard to dredge up content. It’s hard to do anything half-ass because most of us are ‘do nothing if it isn’t’ perfect’ people.

OLD STAINED T-SHIRTS TURNED INTO A SKIRT!

OLD STAINED T-SHIRTS TURNED INTO A SKIRT!

What do I do with all of my husband’s old T-Shirts? Turn them into skirts, of course! This idea recently popped into my brain so I thought I would share.

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I used this other skirt as my template:

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Then I made a pattern like this from leftover paper and cereal boxes.

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You just put the pattern layers on your fabric, kinda like this. Cut them out. Sew one set (of the 4) for the front of your skirt and one set (of the 4 layers) for the back of your skirt.

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TA DA!

Lots of busyness lately! But hopefully more posts soon 🙂

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Window Sill Gardens and Recycling Plant Containers

Kitchen Window Sill Gardens and Recycling Plant Containers

This is a fun idea I thought up the other day. I was in the garage and I noticed some of those plastic containers for plants (the one’s that your annuals and perennials come in at the store).

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I thought, why not make this plastic container into a real pot? So we got out the glue gun and some of those fancy glass stones and tiles from the craft closet.

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And we glued the stones onto the container like this:

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Over the past few weeks we’ve been trying to propagate multiple geraniums from one geranium plant. You simply cut off a stem portion like this:

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You can stick it in water to see if it will start shooting out roots.

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Or, you can simply insert the stem into a pot. We filled our newly crafted container with potting soil and stuck in our geranium stem.

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And here is our kitchen window sill with all our recent greenery. A big thanks to my Mom who propagated both of the philodendron plants from an original “Mamma” plant and gave them to me. I brought both of these plants up to Alaska from Oregon (in my suitcase on the plane). They made if safely here and are surviving.

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I hope that our new geranium plant takes off. We will keep you updated.

My Vinyl Wasn’t Final

My Vinyl Wasn’t Final

You may have remembered when I had a couple vinyl chair that looked like this:

 

These were rather dirty vinyl chairs from the 1960’s. They were airport terminal chairs that came from France. Together they cost me 70 euros at an antique store in Germany. Also, the board which the cushion was sitting on was particle board that was crumbling apart, as pictured below.

My father cut me a couple new boards for the cushions to rest on. Instead of particle board that was 60 years old and disintegrating, he used ply wood like this:

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I changed the vinyl to look like this (my first upholstery attempt). My first attempt at sewing with vinyl too. You may remember when I blogged about it here: Vinyl Chairs My First Try

 

But I realized that I actually really liked the original white look of the chairs so I went and bought white vinyl and started the process again.

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And I did both chairs this time in white vinyl. Slightly different pattern.

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And I did the other chair in the same original style but with a seam down the middle to effectively use my vinyl without having to purchase more, if you know what I mean. I button tufted the seat cushion (first attempt at button tufting too!). I can’t wait to do more button tufting!

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And here they are together with some semi-cute pillows I sewed.

 

One of the reasons why cultivating a spirit of thankfulness is so important, is because it prevents your mind from taking for granted all the things that you do have.

When you focus on what you don’t have you start a pity party for yourself. You begin to feel sorry for yourself and think of yourself as a victim.

Gaining Resilience Through Vulnerability

Gaining Resilience Through Vulnerability

I hear people use the term “vulnerable” a lot these days. They speak of being vulnerable in favorable terms. It’s vogue to say, “I get strength from my vulnerability.”

When I think of vulnerability, I think of the likelihood of being subject to the ridicule, the disappointment, the rejection, the distancing or the undue scrutiny of others.

Being vulnerable seems to be putting yourself in a position where other people can weigh in. Being vulnerable is being dependent on other people. It’s being subject to other people.

Other people can do the following: fault you for your personality, your physicality, your political or religious affiliations, your cognitive function and how you handle situations, your sense of humor, your efforts, the things you say and do, the talents (you think) you have… your possessions (or lack thereof)—the list goes on. At that point they can remove their friendship from you. They can shame you and judge you. They can cut off any resources they were giving to you including encouragement, insight and knowledge.

Vulnerability might also be thought of as just being less physically or financially able as the average person. (And yes, I, too, hate it when celebrities make grandiose proclamations about “Gaining strength from their vulnerability.” (Sorry, you don’t get to call yourself “vulnerable” if you’re not disabled and you have enough money to depend entirely ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL SELF for several life-spans.).

For the rest of though, to develop a sense of strength and mental fortitude, we must stick our necks out the window of life and be courageous. We must try. We must try and become something. We must act and not simply spectate. When you act, other people will inevitably notice and they are going to respond. People are going to either like you more or dislike you more.

Nothing comes for free. Often, it’s these risky, “vulnerable” moves in life that will offer the greatest rewards in the long run. But you must take them. The cost is taking the risk. Agreed, you’ll be the one negatively impacted if the risky move turns bad. You might gain the disapproval and shaming from others. Sometimes, this can result in soul-crushing anxiety and despair. Rejection is one of the worst feelings to live with.

Remember though, it is through our vulnerability that we ultimately develop resilience. Make that be your life’s motto. This tough, persistent “I can take it” attitude is what needs to be developed.

What do you do when you feel rejected or rebuffed…when you feel as though you’re always trying to win the approval of others but often met with either some sort of condescending lip-service or outright disappointment?

One of my recent strategies is to just say aloud “Be resilient. Be resilient. This is going to take some time. You are currently in the moment. Give it a few hours—or maybe 3 days, but by then, you’ll be fine again. Those strong feelings will have passed.

You want to get past those strong torrents of emotion because that is when your behavior and reactions are likely to be unstable. You want to imagine yourself riding through those moments, almost like you’re on a boat in the sea, floating to stable land, but you must get there first.

Reminding myself that I must reestablish my mindset and focus on resilience provides me with an escape from my current feelings.