I am passionate about life being nothing but good. I believe that health and happiness is easy to achieve when you nourish your soul and your body with delicious food, natural remedies and herbal solutions. Visit often for new recipes, healthy ideas and encouragement on your journey. Be well. Hyvää Päivää!

Out-Running the Polar Vortex

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Apparently Santa teamed up with Mother Nature to send a bit of his North Pole weather south. What a jerk. After a few weeks of getting blasted with sub-zero highs - and the exorbitant heat bill that goes along with it - I was done; Screw this inside crap. I was pissed; Fuck off, Polar Vortex. And I hurt. 
Winter Running Tips and Clothing
For years I have had pain in my legs, twitching, numbness and other bizarre issues. Doctors never gave it much attention so I stopped asking. Then I started running. Since I don't have much faith in Western medicine, I self-diagnosed with Restless Leg Syndrome and it seems to fit. Running has been the cure to much of the pain I was in. And this ridiculous weather makes me twitch - mentally and physically.

I had heard a rule once from some blogger that if it was below 20 degrees, they didn't run. For some reason I had decided to follow this rule. Maybe it was because these kind of temperatures come around during Christmas and the New Year so it is a good excuse to be lazy. Maybe it was because I didn't have confidence in myself to out-run the cold. Or maybe I have just decided to welcome the challenge. Either way, today I out-ran the Polar Votex and it. was. awesome.

Black Bling Nose Warmer, Teen, Tween, Woman, Nose Cozy, Crocheted, Cold Nose, AdultI was actually over-dressed except for my nose. That could have used a little nose muff. Hint Hint, Santa - this one even has a little bling on it.

Today I layered up and was peeling them off as I went, enjoying looks from passer-byes as I grinned my way through 4 miles. It wasn't a record distance or a record time, but it what I needed to get me back on track. Tomorrow is another 4 as I make my way to the St. Patrick's Day half-marathon in Las Vegas. Polar Vortex - You're a dill-hole but today, I win.

The Gear:
{Sunny but cold, ran at 0 degrees with a real feel of -11}
Knee-High Smartwool Ski Socks
Ankle-High Smartwool Running Socks
Nike Pro Hyperwarm Pants
Lined Nike Windpants (These are old as hell but are lined with a jersey knit material so they do the job)

Smartwool Shirt Baselayer
Adidas Running Tank (This is also old as hell - It was an impulse purchase from Kohl's and has been a favorite)
Whistlestop Wind Finisher Shirt
Avalanche Wear Sweatshirt

Under Armour Beanie Hat
Wind-proof Mittens
Ear Band for around my neck, mouth or over my nose

And my Brooks Ravennas

Remember, back in the day, this was just Winter.

And finally, a little proof of the cold - Boiling hot water turns to powder when thrown into the freezing cold air.

Sew a Sweater Skirt in One Hour

Sunday, December 15, 2013

When I started this sweater-to-skirt project, I went scavenging at my local thrift stores for an ugly Christmas sweater - I had visions of bright red with green trees, jingle bells and all the the trimmings of the classic Ugly Christmas Sweater.
How to Sew a Skirt from an Old Sweater
What I found what this moderately ugly winter sweater zip-front cardigan. I decided to give it a try. I was able to knock out this project quite quickly and sewed this Christmas Sweater Skirt in about an hour. There are extra steps for dealing with a zipper sweater - simply skip those if your sweater does not have one.

What you will need:
Sweater in a size that will fit around your hips {Get creative: I have created sweater skirts out of my husband's discarded sweaters.}
Elastic for waist {I have also scavenged elastics from discarded sweatpants or pajama pants to make these skirts.}
Sewing Machine that has a zig zag stitch option. {I also used an overlock serger for this project but any time this is used, a wide zig zag stitch can be substituted.}
Your Favorite Skirt to use a a pattern

This project is quite forgiving and has a lot of room  for error, given the stretch of the sweater knit.
ugly christmas sweater skirt upcycle
First, lay your favorite skirt over the sweater and cut around the edge, leaving some extra for seam allowance. I followed this shape but straightened it a bit instead of curving at the hips. It made the waist fit better. I also didn't turn the sweater inside-out because I was being mindful of the zipper. For other skirts I made, I have turned prior to cutting. It is up to you. It will work either way.
How to make a sweater skirt
You will be cutting the sleeves off of your sweater. Save these precious items to make matching leg warmers - Tutorial coming soon!
sewater skirt pattern - Sew a Sweater Skirt in One Hour
You will have something that looks like this. Pretty basic. Now turn so right sides are together, wrong sides facing out, and serge (or zig zag stitch) the sides. You have a natural hem because of the bottom of the sweater. I start at the bottom and go toward the top, then if there is shifting, it will be hidden in the waist band.
How to sew a sweater skirt & pattern
Now the zipper. This was a beast. I wanted to leave the pull but that didn't work. This is the quickest and easiest way to deal with a zipper {Skip this part if your ugly Christmas sweater doesn't have a zip}. First, I sewed over the zipper with a wide zig zag - this will prevent any wardrobe malfunctions of it coming undone in the middle of your party - unless you're hoping for that, then by all means, live on the edge and don't secure the zip! Go slow so you can adjust your needle as it may hit the metal teeth of the zipper. At the top, I cut the zipper out so it doesn't poke on my belly at the waistband. Then I zig zagged the edges together, going over the top few teeth of the zipper to secure. This will turn over the elastic.
How to sew a sweater skirt
Next, serge the top {or just stitch with a zig zag}. This will make turning the material around the band much easier and ensure fraying is prevented. You're almost done!
How to make a sweater skirt from an Ugly Christmas Sweater - Sew a Sweater Skirt in One Hour
Measure your waist band. I like to use Non-Roll Elastic. I am a size 14 and used 32" of elastic. I sew my waistbands differently and stitch the elastic ends together instead of threading through then stitching.

After I stitch the elastic, I try it on for fit, then turn the top of the skirt and stitch around the elastic band. I used a wide straight stitch so I didn't grab any of the elastic with a zig zag stitch. I was a little short on length for this skirt and didn't want to waste the space I would have needed for a zig zag stitch. The long straight stitch works but if you can, I would use a zig zag so there is a little more give and you accidentally don't rip any seams.

That's it! Super easy, crazy fast Ugly Christmas Sweater remake. I think I actually like it as a winter sweater skirt...I am still looking for the classic ugly sweater to make a truly Ugly Christmas Sweater Skirt.
How to Make a Sweater Skirt Tutorial & Pattern - Sew a Sweater Skirt in One Hour

Do you want one too - But don't want to make it yourself? Hire me!

Hyvaa Paivaa for hire - custom sewing
You find the ugly sweater of your dreams, then contact me via the comments here or Facebook - and I will give you a quote for your own winter sweater skirt. Ship me your sweater and send your measurements, and within approx. one week, you will be the proud owner of your very own Ugly Christmas Sweater skirt - without any of the hassle! Want the matching leg warmers? I can do that too!

Moving Forward: The First Run of the Winter

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Today began the winter running season in Wisconsin. I could have stayed inside but the more I thought about the run, the more my heart raced with excitement. With the Thanksgiving holiday and hunting season week, it had been too long since I got out there - besides, a brand new pair of Brooks was waiting at my doorstep when I returned home on Sunday.

It was 32 degrees out, sleeting with 3 inches of snow on the ground from the previous night and cloudy. I decked myself out in Smartwool socks that go up to my knees, Nike Pro pants, Moving Comfort capris, an Under Armour tank, a Smartwool shirt and a Leinenkugel's fleece. I love my winter running wardrobe - mismatched warm items from what I have collected mixed with summer gear that can work as base layers. The beer sweater is just the icing on the cake!

As I took off down the icy path, I recalled how I have heard people say they won't wear their new shoes outside because they don't want to get them dirty. I understand, I guess, but I am different. My shoes hold my miles - every puddle, every ditch, every dirt pile. By the time they retire, they are shaped like my feet; perfectly formed just for me. They tell the story that has gotten me to where I am. 

Tonight I can tell I worked, even though my time doesn't show the same. The Wisconsin winter snowshoe shuffle worked my hip flexors, my abs tell me I jump around icy patches and my neck says I lost my footing a few times and had to adjust to stay upright. 

It has begun. The challenges keep it interesting - I welcome the blustery days as I trudge forward toward my goals of finishing a half marathon at 2:15.

Life Lessons: 20 Things I Learned From Dad

Friday, June 14, 2013

20 Things I Learned From Dad #LifeLessons #FathersDay #ThanksDad
This is the second installment of my life lessons - dedicated to Dad - thanks for teaching me when you didn't think I was watching. Happy Father's Day, Gump-pa!

1. Sometimes throwing something DOES make you feel better.

2. When creativity strikes in the middle of the night, get up and use it. It might be gone by morning.

3. Work hard and provide for your family no matter what.

4. Practice your right to bear arms...vigilantly.

5. Teach respect for firearms and know how to use them correctly.

6. If someone is tailgating, sometimes "a skunk runs across the road."

7. Complete sentences CAN be formed with only 4-letter naughty words. It's an art form, really.

8. Napping is required.

9. You're never too old to play.

10. Dream.

11. Forgive.

12. Explore.

13. Be able to take what you know and apply it to understand or create something else...know how to weld a front end loader but use your knowledge to create art.

14. Have adventures and tell other people about them...be a good story-teller.

15. Sometimes you just have to do it yourself to get it done right.

16. Be modest.

17. Help others.

18. Sometimes you mow over plants...but it's ok...

19. Love unconditionally.

20. You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friends nose.

He's taught me much more but the top 20 were the ones he exhibited daily.

Thanks Dad!!

Ready about Mom here

Simple Ingredients: How To Clean A Crock-Pot

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Have you looked at your crock-pot lately? Not the crock, but below, at the metal part where everything seems to drip, burn and crust?

With a little elbow grease and a few simple ingredients found in your kitchen, you can quickly clean your crock-pot before you have to bring it to the next food day at work.

Food days are awesome but you don't want to be known as the one who brings the dirty crock.

You will need:
Baking Soda
Distilled White Vinegar
Dawn Dish Soap (the blue one)

3-Ingredient Crock-Pot Cleaner
Mix the three ingredients, starting with 1/2 cup of vinegar and adding a squirt
of Dawn. Add the baking soda for it's scrubbing properties but
not so much that you make a paste.

3-Ingredient Crock-Pot Cleaner
Grab your sponge or scrubby and go to town! If you have to, let the
suds sit on the metal to get the really tough stains off.

3 Ingredients to clean your crock pot

3-Ingredient Crock-Pot Cleaner
Remember the outside! Turn your pot over and scrub the ridge under the lid.

This crock-pot looks practically new! Try this cleaning method on your other pots and pans, showers and tubs, and other hard to clean items.

Quick & Easy Baking: Awesome Cupcakes

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

 These awesome cupcakes are a family favorite and requested by everyone who has tried them - which makes it even luckier that they are quick and easy to make!

I have had this cake at every birthday party since I could remember, at my baby shower, and now make it for my Little Man on his birthdays. The Hubbs requests it for his special occasions, co-workers want it at food days and everyone wants the recipe!

So, without hesitation, here is the famous Sherry Smith Cake and Frosting Recipe

You will need:

1 white cake mix (I prefer Betty Crocker Super Moist - White)
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil (I use Olive Oil)
4 eggs

1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable shortening
2/3 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 T. almond
Pinch of salt

MIX: Combine all cake ingredients and beat until smooth.

RELAX: Don’t stress - this one is super easy. Enjoy yourself and have a margarita while you wait for it to all come together.

GATHER: Find you cupcake pan and liners or favorite baking cups and give them a light spray of oil. I really like these silicone cupcake liners my friend bought for me.

FILL: Fill your baking cups 2/3 full and bake according to the box (If you are using  cake pans, bake
accordingly). Take care to not over bake - THIS IS THE SECRET!

FROST: When cupcakes are cool, whip your frosting - beat it FOREVER! If it doesn’t whip up, add a tad more flour - just 1 tablespoon at a time.

Don’t fear the pastry bag - find one, pick a tip, fill it and go to town. Practice makes perfect
and your cupcakes will look amazing with a perfect top! I use disposable pastry bags with a flat tip.

How to Make an Adult Tutu

Saturday, May 25, 2013

You can't help but twirl in a tutu - and now that your a big girl in a crazy world, there's no one that deserves a good tutu twirl more than you. Learn how to make an adult tutu quick and easy - you will be twirling in no time!

100 yards of 9" tulle (eFavorMart had the best prices for spools of tulle. If you want a solid color tutu, choose the 100-yard spool, or mix and match 4 25-yard spools for a colorful or themed tutu.)

Ribbon or Elastic

Measuring tape


1. Measure: A tutu rides a little below the waist so measure at the hips. If you are using ribbon, add 12 inches to your measured length for the tie and cut. I cut two lengths of ribbon and zigzag stitched them together to give the ribbon a little bulk for the tulle to hang from. If you chose an elastic waist, cut to length and stitch closed. If possible, I would recommend the elastic waist as it tends to stay put a little better.

2. Measure Again: Now we will determine how long you want your tutu. Measure from your hip down and then double the number. I wanted a longer tutu so I measured 14 inches and cut my tulle strips at 28 inches.

5. Attach: The strips of tulle attach easily to the ribbon or elastic with a simple slip knot. Fold the strips of tulle in half, loop over ribbon and pull loose ends through. I fluffed this tutu by scrunching the tulle. Keep adding as you go until you reach the desired fullness. I initially made the knots really tight and really close, later having to separate and loosen them or I would have need 200 more yards of tulle!

6. Now get out there and twirl - you earned it!
DIY Tutu Tutorial

You find the ugly sweater of your dreams, then contact me via the comments here or Facebook - and I will give you a quote for your own custom tutu. Send your waist measurement and when you need it by, and soon you will be the proud owner of your very own twirling tutu - without any of the hassle! Want a matching one for your favorite little lady? or a bunch for a team costume? I can do that too!

Life Lessons: 20 Things I learned From Mom

Sunday, May 12, 2013

20 Life Lessons I Learned From Mom - Hyvaa Paivaa Textiles
Together, my Mom and I have created Hyvää Päivää Textiles, an outlet for our craft additions and overstock of supplies. This post is dedicated to Mom, owner of Dock Days Designs and the lady who has taught me so much. Through the years, I have learned a lot from my mom...below is a collection of things that have helped me through my life. Things she taught me without realizing I was paying attention.

1. Music is never too loud. Especially in the summer with all the windows open. Go ahead and sing along even though your not all that good at it.

2. If your car starts smoking or making a funny noise, drive faster...you'll be closer to home by the time it breaks down.

3. Crying in the shower is always better than just crying. Sometimes a good cry makes you feel better.

4. Nothing is better than good friends, good coffee and good wine.

5. Never leave the house without your cup of water...and maybe one of coffee too.

6. Wrap apples in a cloth napkin before you pack then in your lunch. You get the benefit of the napkin and the apple won't get bruised...this is brilliant.

7. There is always more wine in the box or more toothpaste in the tube. You just have to know how to get to it.

8. Pick your battles.

9. Always have fun...and water fights in the house aren't that big of a deal. Water dries and it adds humidity to the house.

10. Don't sweat the small stuff and find try to find the good side of things.

11. Love unconditionally and deeply.

12. Be spontaneous. Adventure is out there just waiting to be had...fly by the seat of your pants and see what happens.

13. Learn to follow road signs and read a map. You will never be lost no matter where you go.

14. Don't poke The Bear and stay out of his way when he is fixing things...hiding under an afghan and giggling does not help The Bear but it is fun anyways.

15. There is no shame in peeing in a corn field.

16. Honesty is the best policy.

17. Never be afraid to stick up for what you believe and what is right.

18. Friends are sometimes more family than family.

19. Multitasking is a gift. Who says I shouldn't do laundry, pay bills and hem some pants while watching a movie?

20. Naps are necessary.

There is so much more but the list would be never-ending.

Thanks Mom!

Read about Dad here.

How To Clean Vintage Suede Shoes

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I found these lovely 1960s Mod suede shoes and although they had a few stains and wear marks, I knew I could revive them with these 4 easy steps to cleaning suede. A few things first - always check your material in an unnoticeable spot before starting anything. If you are unsure and the item is precious to you, give it to a professional cleaner, no questions asked. Second, this method will clean dirt and debris that is embedded into the suede. It will also 'clean' water stains by darkening the entire suede leather. Our old things are treasures and I do what I can to restore them - darkening the suede is the easiest way to breathe new life into them.

You will need:
White tissue paper
Soft brush, Like a nail brush or toothbrush
Distilled white vinegar & warm water (mixed at a 1:1 ratio)
Soft Cloth

Here is the original 1960's Mod House Slipper:

 FIRST: Stuff the toe with white tissue paper. The tissue paper will help keep the shape of the shoe while absorbing the moisture while the shoes dry. Be sure to not use newspaper as the ink will make a mess of the inside of the suede shoes and may leak to the surface on lighter suede.

SECOND: Brush loose dirt with a soft brush, going in one direction - take care to not “scrub” the fibers.

THIRD: Mix distilled white vinegar with warm water at a 1:1 ratio and test on an unnoticeable spot.

FOURTH: Dab the vinegar mix onto the stains. Covering all the suede will darken the entire piece but
hide the water stains.

Let dry and then enjoy your new treasure - View the final version here!

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