Thursday, February 27, 2014

Crochet Beaded Necklace Pattern



My designing mind has been going like crazy this week!
This playful necklace is my latest creation! Done in black with clear crystal beads, or perhaps in bright rainbow colors! It's art for your neck, that you get to create! Have fun, be playful! Experiment with colors and textures!
After you make your creation, come post a picture to inspire everyone on our Facebook Community!

You can find this pattern for sale in our Ravelry store


In the Etsy Store

AND on Amazon for Kindle! (I'll update the link as soon as it is available!)

Living Well, is growing well, and we are loving life!
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As always,
Love,
SuziQue

The Only True FAILURE is in Not Beginning Again! Never Give Up



One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again. - Henry Ford


Everyday is a new opportunity to look back on the one before and take action to make the one infront of you even the smallest bit better!
Never stop growing.
Never stop learning.
Never stop searching and seeking.

We are never "there".
You don't "make it".
There is always something more.

The steady pursuit of "it" is the joy and passion!
Joy, pleasure and growth are in the journey, not the arrival at some mystic destination.

Living Well, Fully and Joyfully are constant acts of discovery, and growth.

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Sharing my journey with you is one of my great joys!

Love,
SuziQue

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Super Simple Shoulder Wrap Free Crochet Pattern

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As a thank you for all of your support and encouragement, I have created this Free Super Simple Shoulder Wrap Crochet Pattern for my readers! Click the link for the PDF.

I used about 275 yards of yarn, but 300 or more would be even better! Use lots of colors and delicious textures! This is a great opportunity to use some of those super fun yarns that you only bought one ball of (we all have those in our stash!)! So mix a bunch of colors and textures together in alternating rows for a one of kind colorful (and dare I say useful!?) masterpiece that you can finish this weekend!

Since I ran out of the llama first, and ended up with a couple extra yards of the fun fur which wasn't enough to anything else with, it was the perfect fringe to finish off this super soft wrap!

Create something beautiful today! For yourself. For a friend! For that special family member! It will surely get lots and lots of love and use!

Now, THAT is

LIVING WELL!

Love,
SuziQue

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gluten Free Biscuit Recipe

Recent lab work has confirmed what I have "known" for 15years. I am allergic to wheat. I am also allergic to gluten, baker's yeast, oatmeal, rye, almonds, garlic, lobster, scallops, safflower, lima beans and a few other things.

For the most part adjusting my eating lifestyle hasn't been too bad. The garlic thing makes me sad ... I ate it like a side dish, not a seasoning!

BUT After 15 years, wheat is still the thing I struggle the most to move on from. I was a school baker, and I grew up baking. I love bread. I love the smell of yeast. And even though it makes me feel sick when I eat it, I have not been able to break that "addiction" Especially fresh homemade, deliciousness! (OK, yes, and Cheese-its!).

I would like that my success is that while the addiction is still an issue, it no longer CONTROLS how I eat! My strength in battle and my resolve to feel healthier hold more power for me now!

After reading this article on GlutenFreeGirl.com I felt more encouraged and he other day I bought some Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour.

Last night I modified my favorite biscuit recipe using this flour, and was SO VERY HAPPY with the result!

Does it taste the SAME? No, but even my husband (who was brave enough to try it in support of my healthier choices!) said "That's not too bad!" :) I still think I will make some more tweeks to it, but, for my first attempt, I'm very happy!

Give it a try ... This is for a very small batch, and it is NOT organic, or fat free, or low sodium, or whatever other thing you want it to be ... One thing at a time people!

1 rounded cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour

1 tablespoon Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Powder

half a stick of butter
a little bit of salt

Using a pastry blender Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly.

All at once, add 1/4 cup of cold milk, and mix quickly.

I made drop biscuits this time, breaking off egg sized balls of the dough, and placing them in the baking dish.
Bake at 425 until golden.
Serve with butter or jam. I had mine with a bowl of soup.

Making healthier food choices for my body is an on-going project.
Feeling healthy is Living Well!

Love SuziQue

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

DIY: How to Repurpose and Reinvent your Sofa Pillows

There is a lot of conversation going on in my circles lately about being "green" and living sustainably, and organically. I think this is great.

While a product of the 80's, and not always living out what I believe, I have always felt a strong connection to pioneer era history, as well as depression era history. I was a secret crocheter all through, even high-school. I didn't want anyone to know that I did such old-fashioned things, never mind liked it!

When I was growing up, my grandma always said, "Make do with what you have." That American Spirit we all love developed out of these generations, because life was hard, and resources were limited. I have always been inspired by that creativity ... necessity is the mother of invention!
People HAD to have certain mindsets just to survive:
"Make do with what you have." 
"Never throw anything thing away." 
"Waste not, want not"
"If you cannot fix it, then make it into something else, or save the parts to fix something else." 

This is where quilting comes from ... Women of the prairie needed blankets to keep their families warm. With little or no money, and stores were days and days away, and often limited selection, women got resourceful! Using scraps of fabric from sewing or mending clothing, they started sewing these little scraps together, until it was a big piece of material. They braided and crocheted and wove these pieces of fabric into rugs. And as this matter of necessity grew, the desire for the items to be not only durable and sustainable and economical but colorful and attractive too!

If someone needed socks, they were knit, by a person, not a machine.
If someone needed a sweater, it was knit, or crocheted. Fancy lace work was crocheted out of thread.
So many times these things were made from re-purposing other items that were worn out and no longer serviceable for their original purpose. Sweaters unraveled, the yarn washed and re-knit or crocheted into something new. The yards and yards of fabric of a woman's skirt might make two dresses for little girls, and a shirt for brother.

Compost was the original fertilizer. 

Popular "modern" catch phrases are "re-purposing" and "up-cycling".

OK. I think you get the picture.

These chenille sofa pillows had seen better days, that's for sure! So, in the spirit of the above "lecture" I decided to reinvent the sofa pillows.

I also had a bed pillow that was hard and flat that no one wanted, and I hated to throw all that poly-fill in the dump ... it's not Eco-friendly at all.




I cut the pillows open and dumped their stuffing in a big box, pulling and shredding as necessary to keep the pieces consistent.

I used 2 old pillow cases destined for the trash, and from the bottom I cut them into 18 inch squares, utilizing where they were already seamed! I sewed one newly cut edge to make a "pouch"

I cut the same size squares out of some upholstery fabric I've had for years. Folded along one edge (right sides together, unlike you see in the pictures, as I wanted you to see the texture), and cutting only 3 sides, this saves a little sewing time. I sewed them into "pouches", starting at a fold, stitching along the cut edge to the corner, turn, and stitch down the next cut edge, leaving one cut edge open for stuffing.


Now is the time to add any fringe or appliques, or other decorations to the outer layer of your pillow. Be sure that you stitch any additions on carefully, so they don't fall off, or get pulled by the little ones. Not only could you end up with a choking hazard, but you'd be very sad to have your hard work ruined so easily.

I filled the the pillowcase pouches with the re-shredded and remixed stuffing and sewed them shut across the top, rather un-ceremoniously I might add, but I tried to keep my seams somewhat straight, even though they wont be seen.
I tucked those inside the now right side out upholstery cases
I folded the raw edges to the inside about 1/2 and inch, and used long sewing pins to hold in closed. I sewed the opening shut with a machine,  being careful to remove the pins before they went under the presser foot, and being careful to keep the stuffing compressed, as it fights against the limited space under the head of my machine. I could have sewn it shut by hand if I wanted and invisible seem, but I was going for completion at the time.

They are nice pillows on my couch now;
and they only cost me a bit of time and creativity!

Thank you to my mom and grandmas and aunties for teaching me to be resourceful and creative!
What a very important part of
Living Well!

Love SuziQue

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Friday, February 14, 2014

At Home Spa Treatment for Your Valentine's Feet: Coconutoil & Sea Salt

Show your sweetie a little lov'n for Valentine's Day, right at the foundation ... Their FEET!

Tonight, I will be treating My Valentine to a well deserved pedicure.

If your Valentine has diabetes, or some other medical condition that compromises their circulation and potential healing, PLEASE consult with a health care professional! Foot care is especially important in these situations, and extra care must be taken to preserve the integrity of the skin!

Try this easy and inexpensive combination of ingredients for a beneficial foot scrub:

(measurements are approximate, and I made enough to apply very generously, maybe even enough left for another massage another day!)

I am not going to go into the health benefits of the various ingredients today, but there are many.

1/4 cup each of coconut oil, sea salt, baking soda.
2 teaspoons tea tree oil (I will say that this is a great anti fungal, so perfect for feet!)

Mix it all up in  a glass bowl. I picked one with a lid, as I mixed it this morning, and wont use it till this evening, and I might have some left over. I use these Pyrex 6022369 Storage 14-Piece Round Set, Clear with Blue Lids the most in my kitchen.

When my Sweetie is ready, I will have him put on shorts, or sweat pants pulled up to the knees. He'll sit in the comfy chair, with his feet resting in the empty foot washing pan ... Really, it's a blue Rubbermaid #2951-AR BISQUE 11.4 QT Bisque Dish Pan
 but whatever works for you. It just needs to hold both feet comfortably, and have room for when you pour in the water later.

If you are squeamish about touching feet, then put on a pair of dish washing gloves!

I put a big bath towel on the floor to keep me from making a mess on the carpet, then set the wash tub on that, so his feet easy and comfortably rest in the tub.

I will sit in front of him on the floor, and gently massage his feet with the foot scrub mixture for a good 5 minutes a foot! He'll be melting! :) Keeping his feet over the tub, as the salt and baking soda often flake and crumble off, and the tub will catch it!

Be gentle, as the salt and baking soda can be quite aggressive, and on the softer skin of the calves in particular, this can actually be uncomfortable. Ask often of your recipient, if what you are doing feels good. Do you need to be more gentle, or scrub harder on the callous areas!?

I like to pay extra attention to the Reflex areas as you can see in this chart I found on Pure & Simple Healing . It really is amazing how God made our bodies to be so integrated! How we can use one part to help sooth and heal another!




If your loved one has a particular issue going on in their body, you might find that the corresponding trigger point in the foot is very sensitive to touch. This does not mean to avoid touching that area, it means that area needs a little extra gentle loving! Let them tell you what pressures feel the best, and try to accommodate as best as you can.

After the relaxing, massaging scrub, let your Sweetie's feet rest in the wash tub while you go get a pitcher of hot water. Now ... By hot, I do not mean scalding!! I mean hot bathwater hot. You will need about a gallon, so a couple of 2 quart juice pitchers, or if, like me, you happen to have a gallon sized one, you only have to make one trip to the sink!

Gently and slowly pour the water over the areas that you applied the scrub. Then gently use your hands to wash and rinse away the salt and baking soda. If tough callouses are present, some extra soaking time, then a gentle scrub with a pumice stone might be in order, but be very careful not to damage the skin (please refer back to the paragraph about compromised foot circulation!)

Your recipient's feet will be super soft for the coconut oil ... this is a good thing! It will absorb in as the molecules of coconut oil are small enough to penetrate human pores. If your Sweetie is planning to be up walking around, please put some clean cotton socks on their feet so they do not slip and fall!!

Tell me how your foot massage/pedicure experience works out!
Gifting your loved ones with your care and attention is one of the most thoughtful and generous gifts you can give, and a true and selfless act of

Living Well!

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Love,
SuziQue

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Free Crochet BookMark Pattern



Make this quick little bookmark as a thoughtful gift for the book lover in your life!
Sharing your skills and talents is wonderful way to be living well!
I ask that you honor this free gift of my work to you, and respect that this is copyrighted 2014,



1 skein of embroidery floss
1 half inch bead (or there abouts)
Size 0 steel crochet hook

Work enough ch st to pass through the bead hole beginning end first, and gently sl st in the first ch to make a loop.

To avoid having to work in the tail later, for the next few stitches, work the loose tail end along with the working thread.

Ch1, turn, sc in the sl st.

Ch2 (counts as first dc here and throughout), turn, 2dc in the sc. (3dc.)

Ch2, turn, dc in next st, dc in top of beginning ch. (3dc)

Repeat until 2-3 inches of thread remain. Tie off. Weave in end.

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Love,

Suzi Que

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Snowy Drive in the Country





I love living in the country! It is so beautiful! It feels like we are WAY out, but we are 3 only miles from our little town. We are 20 miles from the larger shopping areas, what some might call civilization, and the freeway. There are plenty that live even farther out than us, so there is nothing remarkable about it, except the remarkable and stunning scenery!










Living some place that you love is an important part of living well! Being in love with your living environment and the resources it provides is very important to your overall well being. Whether  you live rural, or in the suburbs, or urban doesn't matter as much as much a feeling at home and content!



What do you love about where you live?



Live Well there!

Love SuziQue



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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Red Book Challenge: Writing With Your Spouse and Improving Your Marriage

My husband and I started doing this a few years into our relationship. The original book disappeared several years ago, at an appropriate time at the beginning of our difficult phase. For those of you that have been following along for a while, you know that we have only been married a little over a year at this point, and have been together a total of 7 years now. When we recovered our relationship and decided to get married, I decided to re-institute the Red Book.

I have done this with each of my kids with varying success. I have even done this with my best friend when we lived in different states, and we filled several books, which she holds to this day. We call them "The Tomes".

This is my challenge for you. For your relationship.

This can be started by either partner, but I have written this from the perspective of the woman, since that is my experience.

For my marriage, we have a Red Book. But the color doesn't matter, just choose a blank book that inspires you! It could be a spiral notebook for that matter!

Show the book to your spouse, and tell them that you'd like to write back and forth together in this book. Set any "rules" you need to so you both feel safe with this experience. But keep it light. Keep it fun! This is not HOMEWORK! This is just a way of recording the best things about your life together! If your spouse is not receptive, then do not push the matter. Perhaps you can write in it yourself, and then gift it to him all filled up, on your anniversary. No more words are said about it, once the initial conversation about the purpose of the book is explained.

Note the date, maybe the time if that is important to you.

Write a love note in your book to your spouse.

It doesn't have to be long. But fill a page.

If your sentences are not enough to fill each line of the page, then write huge, or draw some little pictures or characters in between things.

A beautifully crafted but simple "I You!" might be what you need to express!

Share your heart.

Use positive words only.

Write a list of your favorite things about your spouse!

Write a list of things you appreciate.

Write about how your heart aches when you are apart. How you KNOW that you belong together. How you can just know when he's thinking about you.

Use only words that build up your partner. Thank him for being good to you. Thank him for doing some "thing that he does" that makes your life better/easier/more fun.

Write something that makes you feel vulnerable, scared maybe, and follow it immediately with how you know, see, feel, trust, that whatever that situation is, you know you can do it together. You know that you are safe with this person that you chose to have in your life.

Perhaps an apology for a hasty behavior. NOT blaming him for anything, being real ... you acted hastily, or angrily because you felt scared, you felt alone, you felt trapped. And you know that your heart heals past these things by sharing with him, but at that moment, you are feeling very emotional, and feel that perhaps your thoughts might not come out right, and you don't want to cause further drama.

Perhaps you just had a wonderful adventure together, and it made you feel particularly connected, and you want him to know how close you feel.

Write a dream you have for your relationship. Even a little one ... Do you have a wish that you could take a little trip some where special. Do you dream of the day when you will own a home? Or can you envision that time when you will get to build something together? Plans of planting a garden, and working together to grow beautiful food that you will love to eat.

Tell your spouse how excited you are to be doing this life together. How much you appreciate him letting you have these big dreams, even if you cannot act on them now, you can have the dream.

Tell him you love him for letting you cry during sappy movies, or even those commercials with the adorable puppies!

That you love him for loving you, just the way you are! That you want to grow and improve together, because to possibilities together are boundless!

Now, give him the book. Sometimes I hide it in his suitcase when he has to travel. This last time I just left it on his night stand.

This is the hard part for us girls ... The back and forth of the book is not a daily thing. It might be several months before I find that book sitting on my night stand again, or in my purse, or in my suitcase because I've gone on a trip.

This can be super challenging, maybe even scary, for us girls, as we want instant interaction. But it's OK for both you and he to just gift him your words, and let his heart mull them over and absorb them.

I have on occasion had something more that I have wanted to add to the book when it's not my turn. I have on occasion asked if I could have it as I have something I want to share in it. Sometimes he will grant that, and at others, he makes me squirm and wait my turn. That is ok too! It is good for me to wait my turn to respond to his thoughts with out piling more and more of mine on! At those times, I might write a little note on a card, and hold onto it until it is my turn again. Generally, I find that if I still want it recorded in the book, I can then just tape that piece of paper to my page, and continue with my current entry. Other times, that feeling has been expressed in other ways, and I don't feel the need to add it.

Loving Well is Living Well!
Try it, and share your experience.

Love SuziQue

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