Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thank Heaven!

We co-hosted a baby shower at our house yesterday. It was beautiful. We were 3 lovely women short due to illness, but all in all I would count it a success. We chose a Sugar n' Spice theme and decked the house out in brown and pink polka dots. It looked just like a Baskin Robbins. The guests played "Name that Spice" (12 tiny champagne cups filled w/ different spices to see and smell). And the mother-to-be played "Name that Sugar". This one was really mean and I hope she won't hold it against me. I put different types of candy and 'sugars' into real baby diapers then rolled them up like a real dirty diaper and tied them with a bright bow. She had to identify all 3 items in each 'dirty diaper'. We had applesauce with Sugar Babies and yellow Sour Patch Kids, Tapioca pudding w/ sliced 100 Grand bars and Lemon Heads and such ... the worst ones had things like chocolate pudding, Tootsie Rolls and Milk Duds, raisins, Whoppers .... You get the idea. Eeeew! It was hilarious and she was a great sport! Thanks for all the giggles ladies.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Identity Crisis

And it happened to me just this week. What a mess. What a pain. What a testament to how messed up people are.

I got online to check my bank balance yesterday morning. It's lower than I thought it should be, so I look at the recent transactions. Weird. There's a pending charge from for $50. Autotrader? We've never used it. We're not selling a car. Something's wrong. I call the bank. I call Autotader. Sure enough someone had used my bankcard information to place an ad the night before. They were selling a BMW for $30,000. It was listed under my name. What?

They pulled the ad. I de-activated the card and filed an Internet Crime Report at the Sherif's office today. Tomorrow I need to fax the report to Autotrader's fraud department. Yuck. This whole thing stinks. The only bright side is that I caught it so quickly and the charge was still pending. It sounds like I'll get a refund. Hopefully this will be the end of it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm Going Bananas ... ?

It's the week of Monster Mash, the high school Halloween dance. It's girls' choice. After laying down very clear ground rules, we've decided to let #1 go. She's not allowed to date until she's 16, so we're making it an "un-date". So tonight, after a few days of the normal teenage boy-girl drama ... she asked him. It was really cute too. She laid a big poster on his front porch that said, "I'd go bananas if you'd go to Monster Mash with me!" and scattered bananas all around it. Then, she put a smaller sign that said, "Don't monkey around and answer me quick" on his front door surrounded by monkey faces made from brown latex balloons. So. Cute.

We made tape rolls in the car and hustled to get everything set up, but while I was trying to get a picture his dog starts barking behind the door. We both took off and ran down the stairs to the car and pulled away. Hilarious. We parked a couple houses down and she dialed his number. When he answered, she yelled, "YOUR FRONT DOOR! YOUR FRONT DOOR!" What a great bonding moment.

Now, comes the fun part for me. I get to make her costume. I love making Halloween costumes; in fact, she has never had a store-bought one ... ever. We found some gorgeous purple fabric last night and I sketched the pattern pieces today. Do you like how I use up my old Christmas paper? More photos later as it comes together.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Stitch Happy

As promised, here is a peek at one of my latest projects. This completely fantastic Flickr photo was 'borrowed' for a test run. I used my own printer and chose 5"x7" as a test size. The resolution could have been a lot better ... and honestly, I would have them printed professionally for the final piece.
I got the idea from a lovely woman we met at the ACC show who uses authentic vintage photographs, but I wanted to make some with pictures from my own family as displayable keepsakes. I love what the embroidery adds to it. Now, I just need a little more practice and some nice large photos to scan. I would love to embroider favorite quotes, sayings or scriptures. You could even embroider names or dates, anything to make it personal and beautiful.What do you think so far?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Take it Like a Man?

Winner-winner-chicken-dinner was not the case this weekend. I just received notice that I did NOT make it into the Art Barn Holiday Show. Ouch. I was banking on it too, literally. Nope, just feeling like a big loser today. I'm trying to 'take it like a man' but it's not really working.

Of course, on the upside, I was also notified that one of my photographs in Flickr was chosen to be published in the newly released ninth edition of the Schmap San Diego Guide.I have no idea how they found my photo in the first place or who even uses this program that I've never heard of, but I was flattered anyway. You can have a closer look and download the program here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

80's Flashback

Back to back video posts? Sorry about that, but tonight I just couldn't resist. We just got back from a dinner/movie date with great friends and I have to share. Now normally, just getting a few hours together out of the house is a treat in itself ... but this movie was a complete riot. Somehow, I missed it when it came out in 1984 and had never seen or heard anything about it before tonight. I had NO IDEA what I was in for. Wow! Countless scenes featuring extremely tight pants and gratuitous pelvis shots, the overacting, the earrings and spiked bracelets, bandanas and leg warmers ... see for yourselves.We've come a long way since this B movie's debut. It's funny looking back, isn't it? I completely remember stirrup pants with big sweatshirts and belted button-downs, huge plastic bangles and loud earrings. At one point I even wore an ankle 'bracelet' made from hardware chain that fastened with a big safety pin. (shudder) What was I thinking?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

The last few days have been filled with kid-stuffs: football practice, homework projects, deliver meds to school for a migraine, check out from school due to migraine, carpool, a broken filling, dentist appointment for repair of said filling, Halloween plans, Halloween dance plans, trunk or treat plans, violin practice, correct math assignments, follow-up, follow-up, follow-up, laundry, laundry, laundry. Whew!

Hmm, no craft time. No sewing, painting or photography time. Planned projects coming to a full stop. Sad. What to do? Wait it out I suppose. I just need to keep the ideas coming, even if they have to sit on the back burner for now. I should find out within a day or so if I got into the Art Barn Holiday Show, which will be a first for me. I've never even shopped that one. (crossing fingers) Oh! And two of my dear friends Kanani Hayes and Nanette Amis each had a snippit on Studio 5 today, along with a couple other local artists. Check them out!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Harvest Cooking

We're so lucky to have wonderfully generous family members who live just blocks away from us. My brother and sister-in-law go out of their way to make sure we're alright and have everything we need. They even let us come to reap the spoils of their garden last week. We'd stopped by to check out their batch of pumpkins and came home instead with bags of carrots, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, pumpkins for everyone and even a few elk roasts. They are so good to us. But I have to admit, I had no idea what to do with butternut squash.I'd never eaten one before and wasn't sure what they even tasted like, so I spent an evening reading about squash at and found a recipe that sounded like it fit our family's taste.

Butternut Squash with Onion and Pecans
Submitted by Christine L.

1 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 1/4 pounds butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 - Place pecans on an ungreased baking sheet. Toast at 350 degrees F for 5 to 8 minutes.

2 - Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over low heat; add onion, and saute until very tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in squash, and cover. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender but still holds its shape, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3 - Stir in half the pecans and half the parsley. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining pecans and parsley to serve.

Now, considering how much these little babies smell like pumpkin, I was really nervous when I was getting it ready. Though we've taught the kids to eat what their given, we still have a couple who aren't that adventurous. But I've got to tell you ... the smell and taste changed a lot once they were cooked through. They were slightly sweet, but the savory flavor was a nice touch. The family voted 5-to-2 in favor of the dish! Yay! One squash down, 5 to go. Time to look for more recipes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Feel A Project Coming On ...

Great vintage photos for a test project. I can't wait to get these printed up to try out my next project. This is another one geared toward family Christmas presents. I'll admit right upfront that this isn't my original idea ... but then, they rarely are. I love to see what other people are doing and then take it my own direction. This one is great if you have old photos from your own family that you can scan and have reprinted.Projects, projects ... I LOVE getting my hands on a new project!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." ~ Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

I care. I care a whole awful lot. I care about my kids going to school and attending ALL their classes. I care about the kids checking in with us when they're at friend's houses. I care about them getting their homework done on time, and getting it turned in when it's finished. I care about them being honest and clean and respectful. I care a whole awful lot about all these things.

So, it will get better, right? This week was just a little more ... than I'd anticipated.

It's a good thing I love them all so much.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Introducing: Katie Herzig

I made a happy discovery this week as I made my usual blog-rounds. Now, you should know that I'm a bit of a music junkie, not a fanatic ... I just like to have a large variety of new music to listen to. I get bored fast and HATE listening to the radio, so it's always a treat to find a new artist that I enjoy. I try to steer clear of country and rap, but almost anything else goes.
These songs by Katie Herzig made a great new addition this week AND I got them for FREE!!! I chose the share w/ 5 people option and got to download them immediately. There are 14 songs altogether and the offer is available thru November 1st. Have a listen and see what you think.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Artist Crush: Bykali

Ooh, you've gotta love that Etsy has a 'Shop Local' feature. It's great to see what your neighbors are coming up with when you hit a dry spell. Bykali is one of my favorites. She's a long-time crush that I watch from afar. I've even come across her booth at local craft fairs, but haven't had a chance to meet her yet. I love that her pieces are industrial in design, but have this super glossy finish that gives them a bling all their own.I wonder what your neighbors have come up with.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


OK. So I just needed a few minutes this morning to feel important on a different level. Parenting teenagers can really put you 'in your place' some days .... way down at the bottom of their totem pole. I know that they love me and need me and respect me - on some level. I just needed a boost today and this was a fun and silly way to get it.Starting to feel better.Ooh, that's nice.Aaah! OK. I'm fixed for the day. Go play around with your own pictures at Photofunia and have some fun with it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Confessional

Now, I should preface this by saying that in most instances I exercise a respectable level of self-control. I have to admit though, in the last couple of months I have developed an unhealthy online ... relationship. Yes, ladies, it has caught me too. I have been shopping the big O. Do you know it? I'm sure you've seen their ads all over the web. has now reeled me in. I'm one of those poor suckers getting their O-mails, sifting through the skads of gorgeous products ... with nicely discounted prices.

Haha! Oh, come on. Don't we all deserve a treat once in a while? I never get to go out and drop a load of cash on my own wardrobe. Besides, I hate dealing with the mall and can't afford nicer boutiques, nor do I have the time to be running all over town just to window shop. No, this is perfect for me. I get to peruse all the goodies, sift through designers by style and price and then click to pay straight from my Paypal so it won't affect my bank account. Beautiful! So when they had their watch sale recently ... I couldn't choose and ended up ordering 3, with the intention of returning 2 of them. After seeing them in person, I couldn't help myself. I decided to splurge and keep the first two. The third one just didn't fit right. They've been great to deal with too. I've returned any item I wasn't 100% satisfied with for a full refund. As long as you can keep the packaging intact and return within 30 days, you're pretty much set. So now it's your turn ... what's your guilty pleasure?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Easy-Peasy and Soothing Too: Heat Pack Tutorial

There's nothing like the reality of getting older combined with new and exciting budget concerns to really get your muscles tied up in knots. I use these microwavable heat packs religiously all year long, but they are especially comforting in the colder months. If you already have one, you know the kind of relief I'm talking about. If you don't ... you're in for a real treat! I made three different heat packs to show you a variety. The actual process is very simple and they make a great gift for that hard-to-shop-for person on your Christmas list.

1 new, washed hand towel
20" cotton or nylon webbing
Thread to match
2 1/2 cups rice

1) Cut your hand towel lengthwise so it measures 10" wide.
2) Cut webbing so you have 2 pieces 10" long.
3) Fold towel in half lengthwise, right sides together and pin easing in any difference in length. (the binding edge will be slightly shorter) Stitch twice at 2/8" for extra strength with minimal bulk.4) Tuck one length of webbing to the inside of one of the openings, making sure there are no twists in it. Match up the ends of the webbing with the edge of the fabric. Pin and sew at 5/8" two times. Trim corners.
5) Turn right side out using a blunt chopstick to get the corners square. Now scoop 1/2 cup of rice into the tube and let it fall to the very bottom.
6) Lay the piece out and pin 5" from the bottom securing the rice inside. Stitch here to close the pocket of rice. Add another 1/2 cup of rice and pin 5" from the last segment. Sew. Repeat 3 more times.7) When you reach the last section, turn the fabric inside about 1/2".
8) Tuck both ends of the last webbing piece into this section and pin securely.
9) Stitch twice very close to the edge and you're done!To use: Microwave for 90 seconds to start. Place on neck or back and let the moist heat work its magic. (These are great on your abdomen for cramps too.) If it's not hot enough, heat in 30 second intervals. 2 1/2 - 3 minutes is usually perfect for me, but every microwave is different. DO NOT scorch the rice or you'll never get the smell out. Store in a cool dry place away from food.

Alternate method: Follow steps 1-4 above. Then pin lengthwise 1 1/2" from each side of the tube and 1" from the open end. Stitch to make 3 separate tubes. Pour 3/4 cup of rice into each tube using a funnel. Shake the pack so the rice can fall all the way to the bottom. Once these are all filled, follow steps 7-9 above.Alternate Fabric: These area also great made from polar fleece. Just cut a rectangle measuring 10"x26". Follow all the steps, but make 4 sections 6" long instead.These striped towels from IKEA remind me of candy canes and would be so cute from Christmas. Stay tuned! I'll have another how-to with the remaining towel pieces shortly. Fun!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Loving Fall

I am loving fall right now. I fight the urge to drive up into the canyon almost almost daily. The laundry/cooking/dishes won't allow it ... maybe Saturday. It's finally time to dig out all my sweaters and thick socks and boots. It's time to pull out the flannel sheets for the kids and buy apple cider. I love it! Cold mornings with frost on the grass and sunny afternoons with the most beautiful leaves!I have the beginnings of my Fall book started for Kara's class. Boy, I'm dragging my feet a little on this one. I need to put a lot more creative energy into these to pretty them up and give them more depth. I think I just needed more fall out in the 'hood'. Now maybe I can finish these up and move on to the next project in my head.I'll be working on them this weekend.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Full Facelift: Before & After

Here it is, folks. Just look at those bare walls. We've been in this house for just over two years now and still, not even one picture hung. In fact, my sweet girl had picture frames stashed all over the place ... half of them filled with prints and the rest with the original display pictures still in them. It was time, time to make it look like she actually LIVES in this room, this very bright green room.Where to start? First, a shopping trip to IKEA for some quick fixes. We'll go left to right in the pictures below. 1) I located the four prints I gave her for Christmas. They were in nice bright IKEA frames already and were artsy photographs she had taken herself. We dusted them off and hung them. 2) We replaced the old-fashioned standing mirror with the simple MINDE mirror for cheapie-cheap. 3) I started printing photos to frame her closet, kind of a reversed picture frame with all the photos along the outside. I chose photos from the last 12 months and mixed the sizes, 4x6, 5x5 and 5x7. I also picked up a couple packs of printed cards to mix it up a little and give it some variety. I used heavy duty glue dots to attach these all the way around the door frame. 4) This great little picture mobile was only about $7 and holds 10 images. It was a cinch to put together and I love how it moves. 5) Added the LACK shelf to hold even more pictures, a few figurines and her nerd glasses. 6) A comfy padded butterfly chair from Sears to sit and read in.We topped all this off with the fabric covered stretcher frame and some old records. This girl LOVES music almost as much as she loves reading. I married the two and put quotes from Edward and Jacob in the middle of each record. The black vinyl helped tie in the fabric and the new chair. Her brother also got her this fun paper star lamp to hang over her bed. It is even more delicious at night AND we found it at a great shop in Highland called Anna & Rose that you must go check out. It's run by a dear friend of mine and is simply fantastic.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cupcakes Galore!

The votes came in. The votes were tallied. OK. Truthfully, I decided that I didn't have enough time to mess around with a new recipe and realized we devoured all but 2 bananas this weekend due to massive crepe consumption. So! I split the order ... 1/2 devil's food with milk chocolate frosting and 1/2 carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting. That works, right?The chimi party was a hit as always. I love family get togethers! I really, really do. There's just something about a houseful of people you love, people you know will be there through thick and thin, laughing and chatting, surrounded by good food that just gets me every time. This one was especially nice because we also had family pictures taken by a family friend. We had almost the entire troop there and all the kids were very cooperative. But the grouping that killed me was seeing all the grandkids pose around hubby's parents. Oh! To have that. I want that one day. It was truly beautiful and a real tribute to these two wonderful people. I love them so much!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The 'Fam' Breakdown

There are a lot of issues to take into consideration here, for privacy's sake, so for those of you who don't know me personally ... here is our family.
Haha! Aren't we cute? This is a family portrait I commissioned last Christmas from Jenn, a fantastic Etsy artist. Of course, it's an artistic representation of each of us for fun, but it will give us a starting point. Hubby and I have been married almost 4 years now. We met online if you can believe that. (I still can't believe that this is the story I get to tell my grandchildren) We were each married once before and had children of our own, who I'll call by number in their birth order.

-- Funny side note: When we started dating, we would have them count off by number to make sure we had everyone. They still do it for fun, mostly on our way home from Grandma's house. We change it up too, so at Christmastime they each have a reindeer name and when we're feeling silly they have dwarf names. #5 gets to choose either Happy or Grumpy depending on his mood. --

#1 (pink dress) is my oldest. She is 15 years old, a sophomore in high school, driving with a Learner's Permit and working her first job. She is a creative genius and has a flair for fashion. She's also the second mommy in the house, by choice.

#2 (basketball) is my baby, though he towers a good 7" over me now. He is 14 years old, a freshman at our junior high, student body officer and sports enthusiast. He also has an artistic hand and a super silly sense of humor.

#3 (book) is hubby's oldest. She's the bookworm of the house, 14 years old, 8th grader, on student council and writer extraordinaire. I'm always blown away by how she can pen a story. It's truly amazing for someone her age. Introductions are her specialty. She also has a knack for memorizing sheet music and the lyrics to every song played on the radio.

#4 (soccer ball) is hubby's first son. He's 10 years old, a Webelo, 5th grader, was chosen to be in the Cyber Corp at school and is learning to play the violin. He is an inventor at heart and also loves to draw. It's cute to watch him and #2 sketching together while we're at church.

#5 (cape) is hubby's baby. He's almost 7 now, in the first grade, has a slew of new too-big teeth to show off, and definitely the girl magnet of his class. He reads like a pro when he's having a good day and loves to build with Legos.

Whew! There you go. Us and ours. His and mine. In a nutshell. Full house. Full hearts.