Book Review - Healthy in a Hurry

Before you read any further, please know that I am not a cook. I actually HATE to cook. It is one of my least favorite chores. Thank goodness my husband does the majority of the cooking in our house. Otherwise, there is a good chance our family would starve to death, or die of malnutrition because if I can't cook the entire meal in one container in less than 20 minutes, I would seriously rather go hungry.

That being said, since I have more flexibility now that I am working from home, I know that it helps greatly when I make dinner, especially when my husband has a late meeting. I am really trying to make an effort. I also know that everybody gets bored with the four or five (I'm being generous) dishes that I make well, so I should try something new once in a while.

So, I decided to make something out of the "Healthy in a Hurry" cookbook that my daughter gave her dad for Father's Day. (I tried not to be intimidated by the fact that it is a fancy-shmancy Williams-Sonoma cookbook.)

My favorite thing about this cookbook is the pictures. Like I said before, I am not a cook, so it really helps to have an idea about what my food is supposed to look like before I start. Also, the recipes truly are quick and simple. Most of the recipes have five steps, or less. Even I can handle that. Another plus, the foods in this book are things normal people would eat. I hate cookbooks that tout healthy recipes but either the ingredients are so obscure that you can't find them at your local grocery store or they are so bizarre, that the pickier eaters in your house probably won't give them a try.

I made the Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho. Not only was it delicious, it met my cooking criteria. I was able to create it in a single container, my Ninja blender, and it took less than 20 minutes to prepare. Everybody is happy.

Other recipes we have enjoyed from this cookbook; Spinach, Pear and Pomegranate Salad, Avocado and Black Bean Tortas, Portabello Mushroom Sandwiches with Pickled Vegetables, Fresh Tomato and Basil Pasta and the Spring Stir-Fry with Peas and Shrimp.

Tasty, easy, healthy recipes that even I can cook. I love this book even if I am not a fan of cooking.

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Tie Dye July - Found Objects

I have been practicing different dyeing techniques all month in search of the perfect method for dyeing a summer maxi skirt I created. I ended up using marbles and rubber bands to create a nifty, geometric pattern that kind of looked like bubbles.

After dyeing the skirt, I started thinking about what other objects could be used for dyeing in the same way. I decided to try a sample piece with a few objects that we have around the house - rocks, small plastic word tiles, poker chips, dominoes, jacks, and monkeys from a barrel of monkeys.

The results were not quite what I expected, but kind of interesting.

When I used marbles to dye my "Don't Lose Your Marbles" skirt, I put the marbles on the wrong side of the fabric, draped a small section of material over each one, secured the fabric with rubber bands and applied the dye. It yielded lovely circles.

I used the same process with my found objects and produced more random outlines where the rubber bands were secured. Then I flipped the fabric over to discover that the wrong side of the fabric actually had a more intricate design than the right side. Here's a close-up look at the wrong side patterns made by the different objects.

The monkeys didn't work great, but I thought all of the other objects were project-worthy. Some other objects that may be worth experimenting with - Scrabble tiles, Legos, shells, checkers, wine corks, buttons, bobbins, thread spools, small tiles... The possibilities are limitless.

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Fun Find Friday - Upcycled Pet Gear

'Recycled for pet lovers' by carmenbjornald

Lovely treasures for our 4feeted friends

dog treat bag - Bubimir - PrettyStaff
dog treat bag - Bubimir
Trio Red Scratch Tower - Modern Cardboard Cat Scratching Tower - hauspanther
Trio Red Scratch Tower ...
Wall Street Collection grey tweed upcycled suit set for small dog - DowntownDogClothing
Wall Street Collection ...
TeeBones Dog Toys - Size Large - TeeBones
TeeBones Dog Toys - Siz...
Elevated Dog Bowl Feeder for Small Breeds, in Custom Paint, 100% Recycled Wood - andrewsreclaimed
Elevated Dog Bowl Feede...
Up-cycled Dog Sweater Fairy Pixie Dog Sweater Katwise Style Dog Recycled Wool handmade sweater - AmandaSewAndSooo
Up-cycled Dog Sweater F...
Bike tyre dog collar by Katcha Bilek - Ethical Upcycled rubber bike tyre - Waterproof Eco Pet Fashion. - katchabilek
Bike tyre dog collar by...
Small Dog Coat from Recycled Vintage Neckties - LilDawgs
Small Dog Coat from Rec...
Cat Toy - Catnip Toy - Catnip Eyeballs (Pair) - hannapt
Cat Toy - Catnip Toy - ...
Recycled T-Shirt Pattern for Chihuahuas - minoupitou
Recycled T-Shirt Patter...
Bag Pod, made from recycled, repurposed plastic bags - OakNeedle
Bag Pod, made from recy...
recycled wood dog bone toy stamped you threw it you get it - fisfinds
recycled wood dog bone ...
L'�PICURIEN: Eco-design placemat made from recycled yoga mat. - DotDogs
L'�PICURIEN: Eco-d...
Handmade out of recycled materials.  A  cute throw toy that dogs can't resist. - Uggeedogproducts
Handmade out of recycle...
Make Me a Pet - fabric home deco accessories for cans - replayphoto
Make Me a Pet - fabric ...
Catnip toy mouse Eco friendly pet toy Refillable catnip pocket Kitty cat plushie Upcycled wool sweater Long tail - HereAtSmallGoods
Catnip toy mouse Eco fr...

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Inspirations - Carmen Bjornald

Introducing Carmen Bjornald from CeeBee - The Art of Recycling. She is an amazing artist who is passionate about giving new life to old items.
You can shop for her beautiful creations in her Etsy Shop, CeeBeeRecycle as well as her DaWanda shop, CeeBee

Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Carmen Bjornald. I was born in Germany by a German mother and an African father (Liberia).
I grew up in Sweden where I studied design and moved to Italy in the early 80’s, where I still live with my husband and two sons.

What do you create?
I am a passionate recycler. I make bags, jewelery, home accessories and art using reclaimed materials. Mostly I have been using paper but I don’t want to get stuck only in one corner. I also have a collection of bags made with recycled hot air balloons.(Read Carmen's inspirational post about how she got started with hot air balloons.)

What is your favorite craft or hobby?
I love sewing, cutting, gluing, sawing, drilling, soldering, designing… you name it…!

 When did you realize your creative passion?
I think it all happened in a very natural way. I was lucky enough to grow up with a bunch of very creative people. Everybody around me was creative! Nobody forced me to be, so but I just slipped in naturally because it was fun.


What or who inspires you in your crafting and/or your life?
Everything that happens in my life inspires me! No matter if it’s just a normal day full of things to do or a special day on travel or maybe on an art exhibition. I always find something inspiring. May it be a personality, a beautiful thing or something I did not understand but that stimulated my curiosity.

Why do you create?
I actually think it is a need for me! It makes me feel good! I have had periods in my life when I earned a lot of money creating and others when I had to do other things to earn a living, but even then I would dedicate my free time to creating rather than sleeping or doing other things.

What other interests do you have?
Travel, nature, culture, animals,art… I wish a day would have at least 28 hours to be able to do it all!


What are your favorite materials to work with?
I definitely love recycling! It is much more interesting to make something beautiful out of something nobody appreciates any more, than putting together a diamond into a nice gold setting… Too easy!


Is crafting a hobby, business, or something in between?
Crafting for me has always been a hobby, a business for years and something in between whenever I am not able to earn my living with my crafting.
What project(s) are you the most proud of?
When I start to use a new material, something that has not been used yet to create what I am creating with it and I succeed. 

How do you deal with crafting failures?
I have a good laugh and then store them in a box, far away from my sight. One day I will get those boxes out and make a flea market. If I don’t manage to sell them all … maybe I can manage to make somebody smile at least. 

Where do you do most of your crafting?
In my lovely craft room at home, (I had to close my showroom because of the crises in Italy). If not available… never mind…I craft wherever.

What keeps you busy when you are not creating?
My family, my dog and my garden. I also spend quite a lot of time online.

Stay connected with Carmen:
CeeBee - The Art of Recycling
Etsy - CeeBeeRecycle
DaWanda - CeeBee
Facebook - CeeBee

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Personalized "Made by Me" Tags

For years I have wanted personalized labels that I could attach to my sewing, knit or crocheted projects. You can buy tags at most craft stores that say something like "Made with love by" and then you write in your name, but I was looking for something more professional. I even considered purchasing printed labels, but it seemed rather expensive.

Recently I discovered an inexpensive way to create my own personalized tags. I made an 18 foot spool of tags for less than $5 and it was pretty simple. Seriously. I don't know why I haven't made these before.


  • 18 foot spool of 7/8 inch wide, white polyester ribbon
  • printable, iron-on tee shirt transfer paper
  • paper trimmer or scissors
  • iron


The most complicated part of this entire process is deciding what you want your tag to look like. Use a word processing program or spreadsheet to design your tags.

I used Microsoft Excel to design my tags. I included my Chilly Dog logo, the words "Hand crafted with care by The Chilly Dog," and my blog address.

I can not emphasize this next part enough.

When you print your design on the heat transfer material, make sure the image is mirrored so the words and images appear to be backwards.

If you don't print your tags mirrored, they will end up being backwards when you iron them onto your ribbon. (You can find the "mirror image" option in your print settings.)

Cut the heat transfer material into strips slightly narrower than the ribbon.

Lay out your ribbon on an ironing surface.

Position the first strip of heat transfer material onto the ribbon.

Press the heat transfer material as indicated in the package directions.

Remove the transfer paper to reveal your tags.

I used two sheets of iron on transfers to create an entire spool of tags that are ready to be used whenever I need them. I simply have to cut, fold the tag in half, and sew it onto my project.

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Don't Lose Your Marbles Skirt

I have been practicing different dyeing techniques for weeks to find a method that would compliment a maxi skirt I recently created. I wanted a design that would be feminine and fun for summer. For the sake of full disclosure, I'll tell you that my first attempt, using a different method to dye my perfect summer skirt, was a failure. (Sadly, so was my second.) But, I am not one to give up and the third time was the charm. I was thrilled with the results!

The process is actually quite easy and could be used to dye just about any type of garment from a skirt to a shirt or tank top. I chose to dye my fabric and then assemble my skirt, but it's just fine to use an inexpensive, plain, white skirt, dress, shirt, tank top or cami from the store.


  • clean, white article of clothing or fabric
  • marbles
  • rubber bands
  • RIT liquid fabric dye
  • empty, plastic sports top water bottle
  • cooling rack
  • plastic tub or bucket 
  • large zipper bag
  • rubber gloves (optional)


Assemble your materials.

Use rubber bands to tightly secure the marbles in the fabric. I chose to make an angled stripe across my skirt.

The real trick is to make sure the marbles are as close together as possible. For nicer circles, the rubber bands need to be secured as tightly as possible.

Soak your fabric in hot water while you mix your dye according to the package directions. The RIT dye website has a Color Formula Guide so you can create just about any color imaginable. (If you don't want your fingers to get stained, wear rubber gloves.)

Once your dye is mixed, carefully pour it into a water bottle and attach the lid.

Spread out your fabric, right side up. I set mine on a cooling rack over a plastic container. It helps contain some of the mess so your sink doesn't get stained.

Use the water bottle to apply dye completely and evenly across your fabric.

Place your fabric into a large zipper bag. I also added about 1/4 cup of my dye mixture. Close the bag. Leave the fabric in the bag for about a half hour, turning the bag occasionally to mix up the dye and fabric.

Remove the fabric from the bag and rinse it with water until the water runs clear.

Carefully remove all of the rubber bands and marbles and rinse your fabric again. Wash and dry your fabric separately for the first few time to make sure no  dye  bleeds onto your other clothes.

Once your fabric is dry, you should have lovely, bubbly circles.

Like I said before, I am extremely pleased with how my skirt finally turned out, even if it took me a few attempts. Here's the skirt I created compared to a similar dyed skirt that I bought at the store. Not too bad, if I do say so myself!

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