My lanai

DSC_0533We don’t have yards of any kind in our housing, but we are blessed in the lanai department. We have three. One has an ocean view and the other two overlook the mountains and the sunset each evening. And rainbows abound out there too!

I determined to spruce up my back lanai with my birthday money. I often sit out there to read or talk on the phone to escape the noise inside. We grill out there too. We bought the chairs and rug last year, so we had those things already, we just needed some color! Pillows and succulents really did the trick. I really love this space in the evenings when the patio lights are on and the wind blows the jungle trees and the birds are so chatty.


All of this was from Walmart (literally my least favorite store in the universe, but I don’t have a lot of choices for outdoor stuff in the winter). Luckily, all the pillows were in a big clearance bin! I did that painting at a party. It’s a little cheesey, but it works out here. We hung outdoor lights and the painting with Command strips. Those things are awesome.

Succulents!! Perfect for shady spots … and for people who forget to water their plants often. 12208534_10153100114622750_2763252536988847694_n

My friend Jenn made me this rag wreath!! Super cool. DSC_0002

And then there’s this. Can’t beat that. DSC_0003


Oh, Anthropologie

Honolulu recently got an Anthropologie in the ginormous tourist mall, yippee, hooray! Love that store, I just want to move in. I’ve never owned any clothing from there, but I love picking out a mug or plate here and there. I was just perusing the Christmas catalog. So pretty. Everything they do is so pretty!

I don’t need to point out the gorgeous jewelry, so let’s concentrate on the dishes. These would be so easy to DIY with the Sharpie method. There ya go, fast, inexpensive gift idea. Some doodling skills required, I guess. 
Um, yes please, I’ll take the set … Or at least the one that tells me I look good, who wouldn’t want their cup to tell them that?

I could totally make this bag. I think I’m going to, actually, but my fabric will be cooler than that granny floral, haha. The hardware will require a new skill set … meh, I can do it.

I totally saw cute crochet patterns for these kind of sock stockings on Ravelry today! Like this one. Pretty cute.

Ha! Me:

Oh, Anthropologie.


Miss me? (And giveaway alert!) 

I missed you all too! I am so excited to get back to blogging, I have missed this community so much. I have moved to WordPress, as you can see, and I am not willing to deal with the angst of using a custom domain name OR of redirecting my old blogger site here. I’m doing this the easy way.

Because I missed you all so much, I am going to kickoff with a giveaway! I’m not much of a subscriber to things, but the one magazine I subscribe to and have for a few years now is Everyday with Rachael Ray. Love it! It’s super fun, has easy family-friendly recipes and and it’s just cool to look at. Poolside, preferably 😉 My renewal notice came in the mail and I get to subscribe a friend for FREE! Yippee!! If you’d like to be the friend I subscribe, comment below! I’ll pick a winner Friday.

These peanut butter pretzel bars are from my December issue. Yum.  

I hope you win!! 


Aloha for now.

I’ve come to decision to set blogging aside. I’ve agonized over it for months, but suddenly feel perfectly fine with it! Blogging has changed so much in the last few years and with other means of connecting with others online and the big business that blogging has morphed into, this blog is just no longer something I make time for! I’m in the messy middle of homeschooling my growing children, along with growing my essential oils business and when I have free time, there are other things I find I’d rather do that blog.

HOWEVER, you can still find me and keep up with our family …

As to that last one, part of the reason I updated my blog and changed the name is because I wanted it to mesh with my essential oil business. But the FDA is acting pretty tough on natural medicine companies right now and to protect our business, we are no longer allowed to post about our brand on static websites, including blogs. Add that to the fact that my custom domain was giving me fits, reverting back to my original blogspot URL and deciding to say farewell to blogging … for now … was an easy decision. 
So, Cheers and Aloha … for now 🙂

Summer Ramblings

Aloha, friends! I hope you’re all enjoying Summer so far. Summer in Hawaii is the time I am less likely to be found enjoying outdoor activities, other than the pool or beach, of course. The weather the rest of the year is not quite as hot, so we do the zoo/museum/gardens/hikes during those other months.

My most favorite recent photo:

The weather is not stopping my kids from playing outside all day, every day, though. They are sweaty and tan. Which left me twiddling my thumbs for a few weeks wondering what to do with myself and eventually reminding myself not to feel guilty for free time because my kids are able to have the safe-to-roam summer that many people in our country wish for their kids these days. So I’m thankful.

And I’ve been sewing! I’ve really had to reevaluate my sewing lately, though. After another recent closet clean-out, I tried to figure out what kinds of things I really wear on a daily basis. The answer is mostly easy knit dresses and shorts with tanks. What I don’t make myself these days, I get from Stitch Fix and my most favorite things from Stitch Fix are those same kinds of items. So those are the things I’ve been focusing on making lately.

I got this knit last month at my FabricMart and didn’t really know what to do with it until I remembered I had the Lady Skater pattern in my file box. I’ve attempted a couple of these before, but no longer have either one. The fit just wasn’t right. I decided to pull it out and fix those fit problems and I’m so glad I did!

(Yes, I got a hair cut and I love it).

I think I’ll wear this dress a lot and now that I got the pattern right, I look forward to making more! If you’re wondering, I eliminated the curve at the bottom of the bodice pieces and used a short waist adjustment, as well as adding tiny darts to the arm holes toward the bust (common for me), narrowing the outside shoulders and applying my favorite kind of knit binding rather that using the neck band piece.

In other news, I’m ordering my homeschool curriculum today!! I get super excited about this, I don’t know why. I used to get really excited when that big box of new books came back in the day when I myself was homeschooled too. I went to a used curriculum fair a few weekends ago and scored lots of great books and many on my list! My favorite find, though, was these old art mini books! They were inside a grocery bag, inside a cardboard box marked “free”. YES!! Check it out.

We use Charlotte Mason’s method of art study and my kids (and I!) are now able to recognize the styles of a handful of famous artists. One of the things about homeschooling that makes me giddy is getting to learn about all the things I missed from my own public school education, especially all things related to history. I was homeschooled for a few years and those are the things I really remember–like the European capitals, for instance .. thanks, Mom, those things have been useful.

My tower garden has given me a plethora of cherry tomatoes. Now I know that I’m supposed to prune the tomato plants so they don’t get quite so big, ha! I had birds stealing them right from under my eyes, so I’m picking them and letting them ripen in the window instead.

Happy Summer! 🙂

Let’s Catch Up

Hello, friends! In case you didn’t notice, I took a bit of a hiatus from blogging. After all that work to revamp the site, I found myself in the messy middle of finishing up the homeschool year and just wasn’t finding the time! But Summer is here, yippee, and I find myself with free time. For a couple days, I wandered around the house listlessly wondering what to do with myself until I remembered last night, I have a blog. Hehe.

Instead of trying to go backwards on everything I haven’t blogged lately, I’ll just start with the here and now and share with you what I’ve been Eating, Praying, Diffusing and Sewing (see what I did there?) this week.

Before I start, though, if you’re reading this, could you just comment that you have been able to access my blog since I switched to Bluehost using my own domain? I’ve had some trouble with a “too many redirects” error and I know others have mentioned this too. If you could quickly let me know if you’ve had trouble, so I can deal with Bluehost about it, that would be awesome!


Sometimes I’m not feeling dinner and I make my family Mac & Cheese. The boxed kind (Annie’s organic, that is, which maybe makes it a tiny bit better … ? And I serve it with apples slices, does that help?) My family loves these nights, especially my husband, haha! I, however, do not care for boxed Mac & Cheese. My mom ruined me for it by making the homemade kind, which does occasionally grace our table, when I’m not caring so much about calories. SO, for myself on these nights, I like to make this kale salad. I’ve made it a few times now and it’s my fave of the kale salads I’ve made. I eat the whole bowl myself over a few days. That’s the great thing about kale vs. lettuce–it gets better when left in its dressing overnight! (I leave out the cheese, cause I never have it and I don’t like radishes). Find the recipe here 🙂

(pic is not mine, that belongs to Cookie and Kate)


When we finished school, I really wanted to continue a Bible study routine with the kids. Their Sunday School teacher at our church is so helpful in encouraging us where our kids need growth. She has them memorizing the books of the Bible at home and a few weeks ago asked us to work with them in praying aloud. I love this kind of gentle leading from this woman who is willing to invest in our children and genuinely cares about their spiritual health!

Before I go on, this is the song we purchased for the books of the Bible and it’s the best ever. The kids knew the whole thing in no time.

Anyway, the kids and I have been reading through Long Story Short. I LOVE this series of Bible story books and study books. They are the best I’ve found. The girls take turns with the reading from Scripture, we talk about the questions and then we spend time praying. It’s been lovely and has also helped keep a bit of a routine during the Summer!


My favorite essential oil diffuser blend lately is Calming Blend and Lime! It’s fabulous. The mood oils tend to be my favorite to diffuse. Maybe because I’m moody. Ha! No, really, mood management is a huge part of why I love essential oils, they have empowered me to help myself out of an emotional pit! Email me for more info on that if you’re curious! If you need info on getting some eos in your home, email me at penelopey4(at)yahoo(dot)com. 

And Sew! 

Shamefully, I have not taken any big-camera pics of my recent projects. I’m sorry. Kinda. But really, I’ll try to get better! So instead I’ll post this Instagram pic of the dress I finished this week.

I had nothing but problems with this! I almost tossed it after the first try-on. I used a basic knit dress pattern, but wanted to scoop the neckline in the back. But I accidentally scooped the front piece, making it too low! So I added a wide neck binding, which made it perfect. But then, I felt like it could slip off my shoulders at any time, so I added the strips across the back (now my favorite feature!) I also neglected to do a swayback adjustment because I did a short waist adjustment and thought that would be enough, but nope. So I played with that extra fabric in the back, tried some vertical darts, took them out and settled on a pleat. It’s hard to see in the pic and I’m standing funny to hold the phone, but it looks nice. Whew! In the end, I’m so glad I took the time to fix this because I really love it! And now I have a great sloper for future knit sheath dresses.  Speaking of, I pinned this from the McCall’s Pinterest board this morning and this is the very pattern I used (and obviously modified). Love that striped version, I think I’ll have to copy it.

In other sewing news, have you seen this Sew Over It line of patterns!? They’re in the UK, but they have pdfs available and are not staggeringly expensive (ahem, Papercut Patterns … just saying.) Although when I tried to add to cart just now to see the USD price, there’s no option for that. Sooooo, if and when they’re available to us in the U.S., I for sure am going to purchase The Vintage Shirtdress pattern . Isn’t is GREAT!?

It’s good to be back!

Sew the Show F.R.I.E.N.D.S. !!!

I am soooo excited right now. This Sew the Show month was SO MUCH FUN!! Not only am I proud to have actually done something with a deadline (not my forte), this concept got me out of a sewing rut! I made pieces and tried shapes that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Without further ado, here are my looks for the Friends-inspired Sew-the-Show month!

 It just so happens, Casey and I have been watching Friends again from the beginning, so I knew I wanted to something from those early years. I think the denim vest is classic Rachel for those first few seasons. I had denim and I had Simplicity 2556. Instant inspiration and I got to work. Then I pulled out a crinkly floral knit that a friend gave me and whipped up New Look 6271 for a high-waisted skirt to match. Rachel’s coffee shop look was pretty much a denim vest or a tiny tee (or both) with a flippy skirt or mini skirt. If I had the time and the wherewithall, I’d have hunted down a choker, Keds and a little half apron, but I’m just glad I got this far, ha!

My girls were making fun of me posing for my own pictures. 

Speaking of tiny tees and mini skirts, I tried my vest on with my black scalloped skirt I made awhile ago (love it, wear it all the time) and a recently upcycled black tee. If this doesn’t say Rachel, I don’t know what does! Just a note, I added a placket under the buttonhole side of the vest, so that I can wear it on its own without skin showing through the front.

 I was on a roll and just couldn’t stop! Also, I was surprised how much I liked the cropped tee with high waisted skirt on me, so I wanted to try more things. The same friend recently gave me this crazy rayon too and I didn’t know what I’d ever do with it because this much print near my face isn’t something I’d do. But it screams Phoebe, right!? Phoebe loves her bold maxi skirts! Too bad I didn’t have clogs, haha! This is the same pattern, New Look 6271.

That does it. This was a blast. Added bonus, I only bought buttons. The denim has been in my stash forever and and the other fabrics were given to me. And the patterns were already in my stash. So this was practically free! Not bad.  think next month, you should join in the fun. I’m on pins and needles waiting to see which show she picks next month!

Here’s the linky party so you can see the other entries!