Lovely Day


Tuesday was Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate love. But what is love? I have always considered the word love as an action verb, not as a feeling. Feelings are fleeting. Love shouldn’t be. 

Sometimes when you don’t have a significant other, holidays like Valentine’s Day can make you feel all alone. Instead of feeling down, I chose to show myself some love. I had the day off from work, So I chose not to set my alarm. After I woke up, I went to the gym. Because what better way to show your body love than keeping it healthy? On my way home from the gym and friend called and wanted to get lunch at Fuddruckers. 

Next on the agenda was washing clothes while crocheting and watching tv. I still needed to make 5 hats to fulfill some orders and off days = chore days. 


Lunch time was quickly approaching plus I needed to make a yarn run, so off to Micheal’s I went. At Fuddruckers, I got a grilled chicken sandwich topped with bacon, sautéed kale, and melted provolone. It was delicious. 

On my way home, I decided to stop by a boutique called Sick and Tied (they started out making custom bow ties before expanding to carrying women’s apparel) that had recently relocated to my side of town. I bought myself two dresses (because who doesn’t like presents for Valentine’s Day) and talked with the owners about bringing in some of my crocheted goods to sell. They wanted me to bring some items the next day. 

Back home it was to crochet all the things. While crocheting, I received a message from my cousin saying she had a Valentine’s happy for me. I didn’t want her to leave my house empty handed so I hurried to make the chocolate covered strawberries I was planning on treating myself to after dinner. My cousin and I had a good visit, then back to crocheting it was. I finished 4 hats before The night was over. 


Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrong doings. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (I Cor 13:4-8)

Chocolate covered strawberries 
 ⁃ wash off strawberries and make sure they are completely dry 

 ⁃ Melt chocolate of choice (I used nestle dark chocolate chips) in a microwave safe container, stirring every 15-30 seconds 

 ⁃ Dip strawberries and place on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. At this step you can also add sprinkles or a drizzle of some sort (I drizzled with white candy coating) 

 ⁃ Place in refrigerator to set up

P.S. If you would like to purchase a hat, just say so in the comments, email afghansbyaftan@gmail.com, or check out my Instagram page @afghansbyaftan. 

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Homemade Tutus!

I love my family.  Every time we get together it is a celebration.  And as such, we are always looking for reasons to get together.  Our latest excuse for a get together is the St. Patrick’s Day parade that will take place this Saturday.  I’ve attended the parade for the past few years with a few friends and family that live in town.  Although I’ve never been to Mardi Gras, in my mind’s eye the St. Patrick’s Day parade is a close second.  We line the streets as the floats go by throwing out beads.  After the last float has passed we wander around downtown to different tents to hear the various bands playing.

In the past, I just dug around my closet until I could find a green shirt to wear, but this year I decided to go all out with my outfit and make a tutu.  I’ve been wanting a green tutu ever since J told me about the Disney Princess Marathon.  After a few google searches I realized making a tutu would be cheaper than buying one.  Not to mention I couldn’t find a tutu I actually liked.  Either way it was an excuse to head to the craft store.  All I needed was a spool of ribbon and 3 rolls of tulle.  No needle and thread required.  I measured the ribbon around my waist with plenty of room to tie a bow to secure it.  Next, I cut pieces of tulle  twice the length I wanted my finished product to be.  (You should add an extra inch or so to that length to account for the knot you tie.)  Once you have your tulle cut, fold it in half, place it around the ribbon, pull the loose ends through the loop and pull to tighten.

I was very pleased with the finished product and kind of want a tutu in every color now.  All the tutorials I read recommend using elastic if making one for a small child so it would stay secure.  However, needle and thread are required if using elastic waistband instead of ribbon  and it should be cut an inch or two smaller than needed to account for stretching.

 

Always,

A

P.S.  Sorry it’s late.  A had internet issues and J got distracted. 😦  Peace and love! -J

Jamaican Birthday Vacation

J has been all over the world. I grew up watching her travel. Don’t get me wrong, I had been a few places here and there, but none requiring a passport. So for my 30th birthday (yes, I am that old), I decided to not only get a passport, but to get it stamped. Getting the passport was relatively easy, but deciding where to go was a whole different thing. Truth be told, I’m a little apprehensive about traveling by myself. But where there is a will, there is a way. And my way came in the form of my mom’s first cousin that lives in Jamaica for work. (At the time he worked for Margaritaville). During a family reunion, my cousin said that he didn’t know how much longer he would be living in Jamaica, so we better come and visit him while he was still there. Needless to say, he didn’t have to tell me twice. I flew in the day before my birthday and we headed straight to Margaritaville. I tried the fried conch fritters, you know because, when in Rome. They were delicious. The next stop was the office followed by my cousin’s apartment that had not 1, not 2, but 3 balconies. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong with my life, but clearly he was living his right. The next day (my birthday), I was dropped off at the beach (doctor’s cave) while my cousin went to work. The beach was only a couple of blocks away from Margaritaville, so my cousin instructed me to go there when I was ready to eat and they would call him to come pick me up. After some light reading and crocheting (you knew it was coming), it started to rain, so I went to the bar/restaurant on the beach hoping that the rain would let up.  The rain wouldn’t let me be great, so I walked down to Margaritaville and ordered some fish tacos. I was minding my own business, semi flirting with the bartender when another employee walked up the steps and asked if I was Mr. Dixon’s cousin. From then on I got the special treatment. Mr. Dixon (lol) came and picked me up and I cleaned up and changed so that we could go to the best dinner of my life. He took me to a place called Margarites and the chef asked me if I was going to order from the menu or let him cook for me. Whenever presented with this choice, always pick the cook for you option. Dinner was 5 courses of the most delicious food that had ever crossed my pallet.

My third day in Jamaica consisted of going to Port and watching food get photographed for a new menu. Did you know that they use butter in place of ice cream??? The trickery and deceit.  That night, I got dropped back of at Margaritaville so my cousin could go to a wine tasting for the new menu. I was minding my own business, looking out over the balcony when as strange little man approached me and tried to remind me of the time that we met back in the states. I was greatly disturbed because I have a pretty good memory and this man knew my name. Come to find out, my cousin had sent him to befriend me as I waiting on the wine tasting to end. The strange little man turned out to be quite nice and his girlfriend was just as nice. We had a lovely conversation while waiting on my cousin.

Day 4 consisted of zip-lining, a different beach with a pool and a swim up bar, and Chinese food. Side note – add scotch bonnet peppers to your soy sauce, it will change your life. For my last day in Jamaica, it was a good day.

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DIY Presents

My parents are some of the hardest people to shop for.  It’s difficult to think of things they might want or need they don’t already have.  So instead of buying things my siblings and I often try to come up with something meaningful we can make instead.  Last Father’s Day we made this for my dad.

Isaiah 40:31 is our Dad’s favorite Bible verse so we decided to make a sign showcasing it.  Purple and gold are always a good choice for his gifts and match the colors of the fraternity he is a part of.  I spent a lot of time trying to determine how best  to make this.  The first step, of course was determining how big I wanted the sign to be and purchasing the wood.  The second was to determine exactly how to place the words.  I attempted stencils, tracing the letters onto the wood to make an imprint, and more.  I found both of these methods tedious.  I found some sticker letters on sale at Walmart and placed them on the wood.  After all the stickers were placed I took the wood outside and spray painted the entire board gold.  We did three coats followed by a polyurethane coat.  A few hours later we brought it inside and removed all of the stickers.

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The nest step was to take purple paint and fill in all of the blank spots.  There were a few places where the paint got under the sticker and I outlined the full letter in pencil before filling it in with purple paint.  We finished up with a final coat of polyurethane.  This is how it turned out.

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Let us know if you try it out and share your pictures!

 

Always,

 

J

Chimneyville Crafts Festival

Pharmacy school was stressful, but one good thing that came out of it was meeting my friend Donan. We spent many an hours suffering, I mean studying, together. Every now and again, we would try to do something fun and exciting. Most of the time that would just consist of a coffee and candy runs so that we could keep studying. The studying seemed never ending.

Another one of the fun and exciting things we did, was helping out her father at a craft show. Her father is a potter and makes beautiful pieces. Over the years, I have managed to amass quite a collection.  (Shhh, don’t tell)

 

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To this day, I still help him at craft shows and the biggest one he does is called Chimneyville. It is a 3 day show.  The first day consists of unloading the truck, setting up the shelves in the booth and getting all the pottery onto shelves – aka manual labor. Once the booth is set up, we get cleaned up for opening night. Opening night is very glamorous, there is food and wine for all the patrons as they leisurely stroll from one booth to another enjoying the live music. The next 2 days are sell, sell, sell. We get excited when we have a line, because on the last day, whatever didn’t sell has to be loaded back onto the truck. More manual labor. It’s a whirlwind of fun. But the best part is going to dinner on that last night after the last platter is loaded into the truck.

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If you’re intersted in purchasing some of his stoneware you can go to http://josephecklesstoneware.com/index.html.

 

Always,

A

How A Learned to Crochet

My grandma loves to tell people the story of when she taught me how to crochet when I was just 3 years old. And nobody tells the story better than her. The story goes something like this: one fateful day sitting at my grandma’s house, she was crocheting away on the sofa as I was sitting in a chair watching her. The sound of my whimpering made her look up. She saw my alligator tears and asked me why I was crying. I responded that I was crying because she wouldn’t teach my how to crochet (my pronunciation left something to be desired back in those days). Without skipping a beat, my grandma told me to grab a needle (crocheting needles have blunt ends and don’t pose a huge safety risk to children as long as they are sitting down. I would not recommend running around with a crochet needle in hand.) and come sit by her. To help you grasp the immense talent that my grandma possesses, I should point out that she is left handed, but taught me how to crochet right handed. This means she had to teach me everything backwards to the way she was doing it.

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Now crocheting seems like second nature to me.

Always,

 

A

Saturdays at the Farmers Market

Eating healthy can be challenging. One of the things that helps to make it easier for me are my visits to the farmer’s market. The normal person probably likes to sleep in on Saturday mornings, but I like to get up early and head down town. Getting there early ensures that you get the first pick of all the freshly harvested food. Upon arrival I pass by the honey man. I think of him as the gatekeeper as he sits outside of the doors greeting everyone who comes shopping. My first stop is always the farmer’s table, a little café inside of the market. The lovely ladies there know both me and my order – a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. While they cook, I shop. On a good day the coffee stand is set up with locally roasted coffee. They give you a free cup of hot coffee or you can buy the cold brew. The cold brew coffee got me through last summer. With coffee in hand and breakfast ordered, it is now time to roam through the market and see what looks good. Over the years, I’ve learned it is quite difficult to go to the market with a list, because you never know what you will find. I suppose I could go online and see what is in season, but I like the surprise. Last year I discovered figs, peppers with all the taste and none of the heat, kohlrabi, and some weird squash. When you see something you don’t recognize or haven’t tried before, just ask the vendors. Most are willing to give you a sample and will even give you their favorite recipes. Turns out figs are delicious all by themselves. Tasty little peppers do well in omelets because they are thinner than bell peppers. Kohlrabi makes a great snack, you can slice it up and eat in raw or dip it in hummus or ranch dressing. Weird squash can be cooked liked zucchini and is known as pattypan squash or scalloped squash. It goes great in the tomato, zucchini, onion and parm bake by Daphne Oz (recipe can be found on the thechew.com). Also, I didn’t have any tomatoes, but the dish was still delicious to me.
Always,

A