Roses two ways- Part one

Hi Dears!

I guess you can say this is my first tutorial. There is no better place to start than with flowers! I'm going to show you how to arrange roses two ways. Here is part one!

First of all, we need to pick a good bunch of roses! Here are a few tricks. First don't buy roses that are closed up tight. That usually means they were picked too soon. They often do not open and are not as fragrant. You want to pick blooms that are about 3/4 of the way open. Sometimes that is hard to figure out depending on the type of rose. My rule is that if they look about half open I buy them. I also want them to smell good (remember some roses don't have a fragrance). I look at the petals, are they mushy? browning? limp? It's also a good idea to look at the stems and leaves if there is mold or excessive moisture the flowers may be rotting.

Once I have the perfect bunch picked, it's time to get making! I'm going to make a small bowl arrangement...here goes!

Tools of the trade:

This year I finally invested in some scissors specially made to cut herbs and flowers. These cost me eight dollars at a local hardware store and they work great! The rubber bands in the image will be used in method two and I think anyone who arranges flowers should use them (or something similar). I am not much of a believer in flower food or additives. Sometimes I use it, sometimes I don't. I find my flowers last about the same time regardless.

Of course I need vessels for my arrangement! I like to think outside the box here. I rarely use actual vases. Instead I use jars, bowls, mugs, and many times plain old drinking glasses.

The key is to find the thing you love. Everyone has a different taste so follow yours! Thrift stores are a great place to find unique 'vases' on the cheap. I also look in clearance sections and kitchenwares at regular stores.

Here are my roses. I like to start by removing the leaves. In this image the leaves have already been removed. A note on this: I used to hate working with roses and would rarely buy them. The main thing was they are thorny as hell! Not just on the thick part of the stem (those are easy to spot), but they have tiny super sharp thorns near the bloom. I would always stick myself and not be able to manipulate them the way I wanted. Then I figured something out...

When working with roses hold them by their blooms! This may seem weird and like it will damage the flower, but if you grip them mostly by the base and keep a gentle palm there is no harm done. So that's what I do and it makes things so much easier!

Once I remove the leaves I like to trim the stems down to a more manageable length. This isn't the length they will be at for the arraignment, it just makes them easier to work with as I'm not fumbling with eighteen inch stems!

I grab my scissors and cut the stem at an angle.

I cut each stem individually. Some flowers can be cut in bunches if they have thin stems but it gets a bit messy when with roses and the stems might get jagged or pinched which may cause them to not last as long.

Now the roses are all trimmed and easier to work with!

Next, I choose my vase and fill it with water. I fill it pretty high, just below where the blooms will hit.

Now I grab a rose and set it next to the vase and decide what length I want to trim the stem to. Since I am making a bowl arrangement, where the roses should look like they are pouring out of the vase, I measure the stem to where the bloom is just above the edge of the vase.

Tip! It helps to work at the edge of a counter or table so when measuring the extra length of stem can be out of the way.

I eyeball the place I need to cut. Flowers are pretty forgiving and not being perfect adds some whimsy so I don't worry about doing everything just right.

Once it's cut, I set it in the vase and cut another one.

I eyeball the measurement...

And cut!

It's starting to come together! I gently place each bloom in the vase crossing stems over and under each other to keep them in place.

I keep going until the bowl is almost full. How many flowers should be used in a single vase really differs by what type of flowers I am using. Of course it is also to taste and preference. I like giving roses lots of room to breath and expand. I keep things loose and I notice when I do the roses open and get more beautiful each day!

Here is the finished product! I did have to go through and trim a few stems shorter to give it a nice even look. I like it to look balanced overall but not too fussy.

When making bowl arrangements the key is to not rush it. It's easy to be in a hurry but with a design like this you need to take a slower pace. It also depends on the size of the vase. This one has only a few blooms and is about the size of a large coffee mug, so it's not too bad and great for beginners! Ones with more flowers really take patience and can get very frustrating when the shape goes wrong, so remember to take it slow.

I hope you enjoyed this little lesson! Stay tuned tomorrow for a little different arrangement!

xx, C

A quick note: I am not trained in floristry at all. I am giving my tips and showing the way I do things. This doesn't mean it is the "right" way. I'm not at all an expert here and am only sharing from my own experience.

Note two: all the flowers I buy are certified by the Rainforest Alliance or from local farms, which means they are sustainably and responsibly grown.



I'm at my in-laws house this morning. Don't they have the most beautiful yard? They live about two miles away from us and I come over with the pups on the days our house gets cleaned.

The girls love it here. Cricket gets so excited. She runs laps around the yard like a greyhound! It's so hard to get pictures of Amelia and Isabelle! They don't like making eye contact, especially bashful Amelia and I think she sees the camera as an eye. For some reason the camera doesn't bother Cricket at all.

I'm realizing how much of a puppy Cricket still is. She is over a year but is as flopsy, bouncy, and carefree as ever. I think part of it is that she had such a hard life up until we adopted her at seven months old. She was shy and scared of everything. Now that she has us she has come out of her shell and can finally be a puppy and experience all the things she missed. We just adore her. She is nuts, but so wonderfully wonderful.

Isabelle is a mess right now. She has skin allergies and we have been working with the vet with a weekly check in for a month now. She is so uncomfortable, I hate seeing her this way. She has scratched her ear so much that she is getting bald spots (shih tzus don't shed so it's not normal at all for her to lose hair). We have her on anti-itch medicine, and have tried a bunch of other meds. She is on special food and treats too.

Now we think it might be the redwood chips we have in the dog run. We put those in about two months ago and I can now recall that is when her allergies got worse. Poor baby! We are going to take out all the redwood chips this weekend and put in pea gravel. Until then we are keeping her out of the dog run. I hope so much that is what it is, otherwise we are going to have to run more tests and start from square one.


In other news, I'm still really struggling with depression and anxiety. It's rough going. My therapist is on vacation until August 8th which makes things even more difficult. I'm trying so hard to hold it together.

In good news. I'm working on setting up a second blog. Don't worry, this blog will still be here, for sure! But I want to have a blog that contains more of my daily life and creative pursuits. I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to take some work, but stay tuned.

I've been thinking about how weird life is this morning. We are so alone and so connected at the same time. I wish I could help more people. I wish I had more friends.

Anyway, the day is awaiting...so time to go.



Friday confessional

Hello Friends,

I wanted to do a weekly wrap up post but nothing came to mind. I can hardly remember what happened an hour ago these days, let alone what happened during the week! Instead I will tell the truth about something that I have only recently realized myself.

I talk to myself obsessively. Any time I am alone I have to talk to myself. I think when this first started it was a healthy coping mechanism. I was giving myself positive self-talk, I was telling myself things like "It will be okay.", "Just take a deep breath.", "You are not a bad person and don't need to feel guilty.", etc. Over the last few months though, it has become compulsive. I have to say it, I don't feel safe unless I say it out loud. And I don't say the positive things much any more. I do occasionally but for the most part I am repeating words or phrases that are anxious and fearful.

I say things like "I can't, I can't, I can't" over and over. Other times I say "No! No! No!" or "Stop!". I also say "It's ok. It's ok." and "I'm a bad person. I'm a bad person.". I think I'm going crazy most of the time because it doesn't really stop.

This is one reason I go out all the time. If I am alone for a day I will be out in public for most of it because then the thoughts are mainly occurring in my head instead of out loud, but then when I get in the car they come back even stronger and I talk to myself all the way home. I haven't even told my therapist that it is this bad. I didn't even recognize it myself until yesterday.

I am alone a lot. I like being alone much of the time. But I do deal with bouts of extreme loneliness. I've dealt with those feelings my whole life. I think now the stresses in my life, mixed with my depression, chronic illness, and sense of loneliness have sort of exploded into this OCD pattern.

I'm so exhausted guys, like seriously. I feel like I can't stop or settle no matter what. I have to keep going, keep thinking, keep racing, and I don't know how to stop it. It's so hard to write this out. I am having shortness of breath due to the anxiety I feel and I want to delete this damn post.

I'm worried you will think I'm weird, or crazy. But I'm not going to delete this, because I need my story to be written out.

I'm sad right now. Life is so hard sometimes/all the time. I'm hoping it will be okay one day. Please be okay one day.

Love, C


What I have (and hope) to learn from hard times

I've had a pretty rough go at life so far. I have experienced enough internal turmoil and isolation for a lifetime even though I have only been around twenty-nine years. It has and continues to be awful. I have also learned a lot about myself, others, and this great-weird thing called life. I thought I'd share a few of the things I have learned and am trying/wanting to learn through this process. So here goes...

1) We underestimate ourselves big time. If you would have told me when I was twenty that I would still be dealing with intensive depression at twenty-nine with hardly any let-up, I would have told you that I wouldn't make it and that I would have killed myself by this time. But hey, lookie!--I'm still here. I often ruminate on the bad things that could happen (thanks generalized anxiety disorder) and think of how terrifying these things would be and how I couldn't cope if one of my worst fears came to be reality. The thing is though, one of my worst fears has come true (my depression still being here with vengeance), and I am still here and fighting like hell.

2) Suppressing emotions or problems long term can really fuck you up and almost always makes things worse. I don't mean holding off during your seven day beach vacation kind of suppression. I mean the years of suppression of anger, sadness, jealousy, whatever. That is what gets you. Not only do you have to deal with the emotion or issue at some later date, you also have to break the habit of keeping the emotion suppressed. I can honestly say that emotional suppression has plagued me for years. I have been in therapy for six years working intensively and almost exclusively on experiencing my anger and only now have I been able to recognize and occasionally experience it. This has not only added years of stress and frustration, it has damn near cost me my life dozens of times, as I would focus the anger on myself and end up being suicidal. So for reals: try to get the bad stuff out. Otherwise you are living with poison in your veins.

3) Don't take shit from anyone (including yourself). Seriously. Stand up for yourself! If someone is treating you badly, deal with it. Address the situation or stop spending time with the person. We take it from someone more than we fight back, especially as women I think, because we don't want to look like a bitch. Screw it, look like a bitch. In fact, be proud that some people think you are a bitch- it means you have a backbone. Also, don't be mean to yourself. I still struggle with this so much, it's not even funny. Don't say or think vile things about yourself, it is so hard to dig out of and I mean it when I say the majority of people don't deserve it.

4) Music can save your life. I have made comps of songs for years and now I make one for each month of the year. I choose songs that make me sad because usually they help put some of my feelings into words and I feel less alone. I also choose happy songs, but it varies. I have some lyrics in my head that I hold onto like harnesses when things get really bad. If music isn't your thing, immerse yourself in anything that makes you feel less alone and a little more expressed.

5) It's okay to be sad for a very very very long (or short) time. I really mean this. I thought sadness would kill me if it lasted all this time. That one day I would just drop dead from it for no other reason than that I felt it for so long. Well, it doesn't work that way.  It really is okay to struggle for years and years with something. It doesn't mean you aren't working through it, it doesn't mean you are weak or too sensitive, that you take things too seriously, or just don't know how to be carefree and happy. That's all bullshit. I really don't think people choose to live with sadness long term because they think it is fun or valuable to them in some way. Anyone who tells you to just be happy is probably really out of touch with humanity, drunk, or high.

6) Your dreams wait for you. Because of my depression, I've had to put most of my dreams on hold. All my energy is focused on living each day individually, and my only goal is really to continue those days much of the time. I do have dreams and goals, and I remember them, and make lists of how I will reach them at least once a month. The frustrating thing is no matter how many lists and plans I make, I have yet to reach any of them. The only goal I am reaching is continuing to be here so I can eventually live my dreams. To say 'only' in that sentence is a bit ridiculous as I have to stay alive because all my dreams require it. I'm learning though, and it's a hard lesson, and I hate it...but, I am learning that my dreams are waiting for me. They aren't going anywhere. They may change or be edited over time, but they are still there, perhaps far off, but they exist. It's frustrating and I often feel inadequate because almost everyone I know has reached some of their dreams by now. But going back to lesson 3 above, I can't be so hard on myself. Most people I know don't have depression or chronic illness to deal with. I am just where I need to be. I don't believe that most of the time, but I'm trying to.

7) It's ok/beneficial to be open about your struggles. Have you noticed that when you share something you are dealing with a person they often relate to your struggle in some way? Isn't life about sharing the real things rather than the new shoes we bought, gossiping about a mutual friend, or talking about the new fad diet we are following? I am a pretty honest and deep person. I really don't enjoy talking about superficial things. Don't get me wrong, it's good some of the time. But when a relationship is built only on those things it feels quite empty to me. Share with people you trust and care about. It really does help. Really. I find so many bloggers writing about something difficult in their lives and they often say in the first paragraph: "I don't want my blog to be focused on this. I don't want to share too much. I really am happy most of the time. I'm not trying to be negative." I've said all these things before too, but why do we feel the need to say things like that when all we are doing is being honest? Life isn't unicorns and jellybeans all the time. If you don't like someone's honesty, get over it. The truth is most people end up relating and being helped and encouraged in some way by your honesty. I challenge you to not put disclaimers on your honesty. To not apologize for telling the truth. To foster relationships built on experiencing all of life: both bitter and sweet, and to not hold one higher than the other.


Ok. Ok. This is a lot. Let me know your thoughts on any of these points. Is there something you would add? What are some things you are learning in your life?

xx, C


"I'm so sad, so keep it coming"

Hello Dolls,

I've been in a bit of a shock the last few days. The reason for the shock is that I am depressed again. I was depressed from August 2012 until June of this year. It wasn't just a light depression either. It was probably my very worst, very deepest. The word that comes to mind whenever I think about it is incessant. That's what it was. Never stopping, never letting up, never giving me a chance to breathe. I really can't believe I survived it. And now after less than a months reprieve those sad sallow feelings are returning- still not reaching their fill of my grieving heart, of my little sinews.

I'm so sad. I know I am depressed when I have to think about forming facial expressions. I have to remind myself to smile in social situations, to laugh. When I'm alone my face is blank, I stare off into nothingness wondering how long the baddie will last, how much more I can take. I know I'm depressed when my mind races in ferris wheel circles over and over and over through the same dreaded thoughts. I can't get engrossed in anything, the thoughts don't stop when I am reading, talking to someone, listening, watching a show, doing a project. No matter what they are drilling deeper and deeper into my head trying to strike bloody oil. Even when I sleep they are there. Like a seedling, like a root trying to grab my corpse before I am even dead.

I also feel empty. Drowning. Unable to catch my breath. An enormous weight on my chest. A squeezing sensation in my thick tough heart. It's so awful. I can't tell you or explain it properly.

But life keeps. Somehow I get up. I do laundry. I listen to music while doing chores (how in the fuck?!?). I talk to people, I blog and eat. Sometimes I think I will throw up from the emotional pain. Sometimes I wish it would come out like a badly digested meal. But that's not how it works. It's in there. In there deep. And it doesn't want to come out...ever.

Here's to the day though. Here's to still being here even when it fucking hurts.

Love, C


10 things you don't know about me

I've been seeing this 10 things you don't know about me post going around on some of my favorite blogs so thought I'd give it a shot. Here goes...

1. I love bourbon. I like to drink it straight or in cocktails. Ronald makes infused bourbon and we create  our own cocktails. My alcohol runner up is gin. I probably have a drink twice a week if I'm lucky since it causes me to get a depressed mood sometimes so I'm really careful. I also have never ever been drunk.

2. I empathize a lot with people. Sometimes I can look at a stranger and see something in them, like sadness or hopelessness, and it makes me cry or want to cry. It's hard for me to think about or see people suffering, that's one reason I don't watch the news.

3. I love shoes but I have the most sensitive feet. R and I call them my "princess feet". This year my feet are more sensitive than ever due to fibromyalgia. I am always on the lookout for shoes that are comfortable. I have even tried orthotic shoes with no luck. I have a pair or two that are comfortable but they are so old they have holes in their sole! 

4. I consider myself a so-so cook. I only have a short list of things I make. I actually really like my cooking and consider it comfort food. I definitely am not a "from scratch" cook, I have never cooked a whole chicken, or made homemade pasta sauce. One of my favorite dishes to make is a veggie bake, but having the oven at 450° for an hour and a half is not a good idea in these hot summer days.

5. I have been taking a photo a day with the Project 365  app for almost two years. I rarely miss a day and I don't know how that happens...

6. I wear pajamas whenever I'm home, even if I know I'll be home for just a short time. I can't help it. I go out every day so I do put on makeup and get dressed, but as soon as I'm home I take my makeup off and throw on some sweat pants (I know!) and a tank top, or a maxi dress. I realized that Ronald never really sees me dressed and in makeup other than on the weekends! I try to wear a cute tank top, but don't know if that makes things any better.

7. I love home decorating and room planning. Whenever I am somewhere long enough to let my mind wander a bit I start planning how I would change the space. It doesn't matter if it's the doctors office, Starbucks, or another persons house--I re-design them all in my head. I can easily re-imagine a space or thing as my mind works visually. Most of the time what I picture in my head translates well to whatever it is I am working on. For example, in designing our house most of the way I see things working out in my head is the way things work out in reality.

8. I can't sing for the life of me, but when I'm driving alone I can't help but join in on certain songs. I have to turn the music up super loud because once I hear my voice being so off-key I get embarrassed!

9. I don't have a relationship with my parents. I haven't had any contact with them in years by my own choice. I didn't have a healthy childhood and my relationship with them was continuing to be unhealthy in my adult life so I decided to sever the relationship. I've been in therapy for over six years and I'm still dealing with my childhood pain. I don't regret cutting them out of my life, but I do wish I had parents who were supportive and loving.

10.  Ronald was my first boyfriend. Yesterday marked ten years of us being engaged, and our 10th wedding anniversary is in two months! We are definitely best friends. We joke around a lot and are both super easy-going. We are creatures of habit and home-bodies. We love to spend time with our pups and watch shows or movies together while eating too much watermelon. We still have problems like everyone else, but we make it work. We have tattoos of each others names. Mine is on the inside of my forearm and people often make comments about it and how bad that would be if we got divorced. That doesn't worry us though, we both believe that if we are each willing to change and get better for the other person then nothing can tear us apart.


Well, that's that! If you decide to join in, I'd love for you to share a link to your post!

xx, C


Georgia peach

Yesterday's post where I mentioned my childhood really shook me up. I was anxious all day and by the evening I was sad to all hell. At bedtime I had a cry while talking to Ronald about how much pain I still carry from my childhood. I feel like those memories stalk me and blend into every aspect of my life. I felt like a bad person much of my childhood and that really affected me. I still feel guilty for basically anything I do.

I was extremely lonely as a child. I had an occasional friend but she would always move away within about a year (military life is like that for families). Somehow I stayed put. Living in the same house for about ten years on an old cul-de-sac in my little bedroom. I was homeschooled. I was forgotten. I disappeared to my room. I helped my mom run an in-home daycare when I was twelve for about a year where I watched toddlers get the attention from my parents I had always wanted but never received. I'm still haunted by that and thinking of it can bring me to tears in an instant. I got depressed. I stayed in my room.

I don't know how I survived all that isolation. I don't know how I came out with an ability to function as an adult. I was born with a strong will and stubbornness which I know played a big part in my survival.

Right now I'm so sad. I hate it. I hate thinking on the past. I wish it would just go away. But that's not how it works. Instead I have to go through it.

Love, C


"you cry until you laugh"

So this thing that I have thought was a weed for months is actually a pumpkin vine! I noticed it was growing yellow flowers and today I realized that there is a huge-o pumpkin laying in it! Crazy! I hope it lasts until October so we can have our own Halloween pumpkin!

Ronald has to work Saturday. Sometimes I think I love and need that boy too much for my damn good. But then I remember how wonderful he is and how nice it is to have that sweet fella in my life.

I seriously can't get enough of him. I hate when we aren't sitting together, talking, doing something together, when he isn't holding me or giving me a kiss. I hate when he is focused on his computer when he works from home (even though I know he needs to do it). I hate when he is on the phone, or doing something other than paying attention to me.

This sounds selfish and maybe it is in some ways. I think most of it is how I was raised. I was rarely paid attention to. My parents were constantly distracted. I didn't go to school or have many friends. I was alone. I spent my life in my bedroom. I kept myself occupied somehow, for years and years and years. I think it was because I had to be there. No matter what. I had to live in that hell. I can't express the sadness I felt then, and still feel looking back on it.

I feel like I need to catch up on all of the attention and care I missed as a child. It's like I have an empty tank and I'm trying to get it filled. I can't get enough love and attention from R and whenever I am not getting that attention I sort of panic. I get self-conscious. I feel guilty. I feel like an annoyance. I feel like a bad person. Just as I did as a child.

It's interesting how my past follows me through everything like a rolling pull-toy. I hate how empty I feel sometimes. I hate missing Ronald even when he is right there. But for now, right now, he is miles and cities away, and even though he is going to be home this evening I miss his guts so bad it really fucking hurts.

xx, C


I made something


A quote from this awesome letter makes me want to write so much.

Hi Babes!

I completed one of my DIYs. I made my wall of goals! I have yet to hang them as I'm waiting for my desk to be set up, but I am so happy with how they turned out! I don't have the sources for the background images (sorry!) please know I'm not taking credit for them at all. I did make the writing overlay.

This was super easy and other than card stock to print them on and a printer it is completely free to make! Here is a quick note on what I did (far from a tutorial but just a little peak).

I used Picasa. It is a completely free downloadable program from google. I use it to make picture collages to use as my desktop background. I also use it to make collage images for the blog. It is really easy to use and automatically downloads all the images on your computer into its folders, which saves you a lot of work! Since I don't have photoshop, this is a quick way to do a little editing and creative things to images. 

Picasa also allows you to put words on images, which I love. I used a standard font and then faded it a bit as the tutorial suggests, then I chose my image size when I went to print (5x7), put some card stock in the printer and voila! 

It took me a while to decide what goals to use. I have so many and I wanted ones that weren't overwhelming but actually encouraging- of course. I'm going to tack them to the wall with gold pins. 

This is such an easy and fun DIY! If you are looking for some inspirational reminders or art for a room I really recommend you try it!

Happy making!

xx, C