Opinions & Musings

Horseplay in Heatherland.

When it comes to children’s toys, these days we are offered nothing but plastic.  But I am a sucker for wooden toys, especially when they have sentimental meaning.  Mr. Heatherland and I received this toy rocking horse from his Aunt Sandra, and this very special horse came with it’s own life story…

“I was Mr. Heatherland’s toy rocking horse.  And 30 years ago I was found on the porch with no head.  I was broken and ready for the bone yard.IMG_2493

Mr. Heatherland’s Aunt Sandra saw the state of me, took me in and replaced my head.  This was a great feat, because young Mr. Heatherland proclaimed that I could not be fixed!   For the next 20 years I lived under a baby grand piano in her house.


In 1999 I was moved with Aunt Sandra to a rental house with many other toys.  On Ash Wednesday, the “Great Fire” occurred and the house I was living in burned- but I was saved!


Besides a little smoke damage, and having a tail and mane in bad shape, I’m ready to go. For those 30 years it was Aunt Sandra’s intention to give me back to Mr. Heatherland so I can play with his son or daughter someday.


And that day has come.”

The weekend that we received this rocking horse to take home with us was also the anniversary of Mr. Heatherland’s Father’s passing.  We spent some time picking fruit from blueberry bushes he planted about 30 years ago.  It seemed only right and fitting that we named the horse Blueberry.


And since nothing enters Heatherland without getting a little makeover, let’s explore Blueberry’s Rehab:

Refinish the Body with Chalk PAint

  • Mr. Heatherland took Blueberry apart and primed him for me.  Then I painted all the pieces with one coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Gray (safe to use on children’s toys and while pregnant).


  • Then the pieces first got a coat of clear paste wax, which was allowed to dry.  I sanded the edges and high spots with 180 grit sand paper to expose some of the brown stain underneath for a distressed finish.


  • The last step was a very quick wipe down of Annie Sloan Dark wax (wipe on in small sections and wipe off), which was allowed to dry.  It’s important to note that the coat of clear wax will allow you more creative freedom with your dark wax.  Otherwise, if you dive right into the dark wax the chalk paint will absorb it and you won’t be able to wipe it off to your desired shade.



Make A New Mane

  • We found a hand painted alpaca yarn($36)  on a little trip through Maine.  I bought 2 hanks and I’m glad I did- I used every strand.


  • To make the mane, I made little bundles of cut yarn by first wrapping them around a card, then tying them tightly, and cutting them on the opposite side.  They looked like little yarn bowties.


  • I secured them up the spine of the horse with heavy duty staples.


  • The mane was about 30 of my little bundles of yarn (yes, it took awhile).

Make the saddle


  • I made a template out of a paper bag, then traced it (inverted) into the back of my cowhide.


Make the Tail


  • The Tail was easy.  I separated the remaining yarn into three pieces and braided it.


  • Then I stapled both ends of the yarn tail to the horses saddle, it created a little loop and gives the tail a little more interest.


IMG_4207 2IMG_4212


My, what a fancy saddle!

Even #sisalthesheep approves of the new (old) toy!


Blue Apron Test Drive.

My love for consumerism makes me I’m a sucker for three things:

1.  Freebies

2.  Free Trials

3.  Local Coffee Shop punch cards that lead to any free beverage of your choice


This post is about a wonderful free trial to Blue Apron my beautiful friend Thi Lihn sent my way.  Being pregnant has put a damper on food-related things for me.  Between the nausea, the heightened sense of smell, and the exhaustion, Mr. Heatherland has had to step up to the plate and started to flex his culinary muscles (otherwise we would both starve). Blue Apron is a meal subscription service company that delivers fresh ingredients and recipes to us weekly, saving us time and precious energy.

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Thi Linh is a new mom, a talented artist, and a filmmaker.  Which means she has been adjusting to a whole new life with very limited time for things like making dinner.  She’s been using Blue Apron with great results, and I took her endorsement to heart because she hates to cookand if Blue Apron manages to get her in the kitchen then I thought it must be worth a shot.  Even though I love cooking, I hate grocery shopping, and I wanted to find a streamlined way to have Mr. Heatherland try new recipes with success.


The Investment

I did a quick comparison of the most competitive meal subscription service companies.  The heavy hitters are Blue Apron ($10 per meal, per person), Hello Fresh ($11.50 per meal, per person), and Plated ($12 per meal, per person).  All three companies are the same in concept, some have more flexibility than others, but at $60 a week for three dinners, Blue Apron is the most economical option.



After I signed up I had a small pang of disappointment when I saw the meals that would be coming to me, my initial reaction was. “Meh, that’s pretty basic”.  But then I remembered it’s not about having exotic or complex meals.  The point of this is to simplify our life and make dinnertime easy:

  • Organic, local ingredients cheaper than I could have sourced on my own
  • Mr. Heatherland can cook these meals on nights I get home from work late
  • Healthy, calorie proportioned servings
  • Simplify dinner decisions/shopping so I can focus on being a new mom
  • The fixed price helps streamline budgeting for weekly groceries


The Protocol

Signing up was a simple as it gets as there are only two options: 3 meals a week for 2 people, or 3 meals a week for 4 people.  I placed my order and the lead time was less than a week.  Then the first box arrived.  It’s insulated and contains ice packs to help keep it cold if you can’t be there to accept the shipment.  Inside are all the ingredients you need to create the three meals (everything except salt, pepper, and olive oil), and everything is wrapped and labeled.  blue_apron_one

The recipe cards are each 6 steps and take anywhere between 25 and 45 minutes to prepare; however the timing really depends on your skill level.  The bonus is, they have a whole assortment of online tutorials to help you sharpen your kitchen skills.


The Verdict

I wish I knew about this sooner!  Even though I wasn’t wowed by the menu, I’m wowed by the product.  And Mr. Heatherland is doing great with it.  Meal number one was Chicken and Basil Fettucini Pasta:





Meal number two was a very delicious and impressive Sirloin Steak dish:





Tonight we will have meal number three, a Salmon Caesar Salad.  We have all the fixings in the fridge waiting for us:



It is such a wonderful thing to come home after a long day and see Mr. Heatherland in the kitchen whipping together dinner.  Plus, on the days I don’t work late we can cook these together.  Win-win. This is going to be a very good thing in our life.

Old Bag.

Have you ever looked down at your beloved handbag and realized that it has officially lost it’s luster?  I just had that moment last week with my beautiful white Celine Bittersweet Bag.  I finally saw her for what she is, not what she once was… She was a dirty old bag.

she's seen better days.

she’s seen better days.

Instead of putting her out to pasture, I decided to try and restore her with a fresh coat of dye.


After much research, bought White Leather Dye by TRG.  TRG makes the most highly reviewed leather dye on the market.  And it’s easy to see why: It is very simple to use, comes in a wide variety of colors, and yields amazing results. The one thing I was worried about was the “shine” that was in the description, because I did not want my bag to be shiny- and to my relief it’s leaves a nice finish with only the slightest hint of a shine.


How to Re-Dye A Leather Bag


Grab your dirty old bag and give it a good cleaning.



Then use the Preparer in the dye kit.  They recommended using it with a green Scotch Bright Pad, which I didn’t have (nor did I want to use on my Celine) so instead I saturated a rough towel with it and worked the liquid all over the surface of the bag and that worked just fine.


old_bag_4After it’s been cleaned and prepared, open the dye and start by painting stitching, hard to reach places, and extremely soiled areas first with the brush they have provided.  If dye gets on the metal parts, just wait for it to dry and scrape it off.



The kit also included a little sponge to apply the dye with but it was very small and annoying to use.  So I used a sponge that was in Mr. Heatherland’s shoe polishing supplies.  It had a little handle and did the job just fine.



Here are the straps of the bag, before and after.



This is the body of the bag, as I was working on it.  The dye has amazing coverage even after one coat.



One small bottle of dye gave me enough to do one coat on a medium sized bag.  And a single coat was enough.  If you are trying to change the color completely (which people do with this product) I would estimate 3 bottles for a medium sized bag.



After the dye has dried, I applied a leather conditioner to soften and protect the newly renovated bag.  I am very happy with the end result.  I was toying with the idea of buying a new handbag, but $15 for dye seemed like a much more reasonable investment.





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