Monday, December 24, 2012

To the sprinkling of readers I have....

Merry Christmas. Let your heart be light. May your troubles be miles away, if only for tonight. Tell your faithful friends and people who are dear to you how much they mean to you. And, if the fates allow, you'll gather together again next year. 

Most of all, may the spirit of Christmas stay with you all year long.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Craft - White Clay Ornaments

I saw the idea for these on Pintrest. The recipe I pinned was actually not very good so I had to find another one. I pieced together 3 different recipes and thankfully was able to salvage the mixture I started with because I barely had enough cornstarch to make it come together. Phew! The clay is really a dough....kind of. If you made salt dough ornaments back in the 70's, this is kind of like that. The difference is salt dough is a cookie color and this dough is white. And it will stay white after baking if you do things correctly. I'll get to that.

These are the ornaments I made...lightbulbs. I got the cutter many years ago from Gooseberry Patch. The dough rolled out nicely and was very smooth to the touch. I'm pleased with how good they turned out. Not hard to make at all. Note, this is a second batch of cutouts. I had enough dough to bake 2 cookie sheets full of ornaments.

The problem I ran into with the first batch was the thickness vs. cook time. None of the recipes I found addressed how long to bake them or how thick to roll them out to. I rolled the dough out to about 1/4 inch because I didn't want them to be to too delicate. After 1 hour in the oven, the tops where perfect but the bottoms were still slightly soft. I put them in for another hour and that helped a little but they didn't dry out completely. I took them out and let them cool and checked them an hour later. I still wasn't happy that the bottoms were just soft enough for me to leave an impression when I pressed the tip of my nail into it. I put them back in the oven and this is what happened:

They started to brown in the center and were no longer stark white. The extra time in the oven did dry them out completely, but I wasn't happy with the color change. The correct thing to do would have been to let them fully dry out in the oven during the first bake without letting them cool off. The key is, if your cutouts are 1/4 or more thick, it's going to take about 2 1/2 hours or more to bake.

There's good news in my case. The discoloration was mostly in the middle and I'd planned on decorating them so most of that would be covered. My test ornament is below. It looks pretty good for being the guinea pig! The surface was all messed up and lumpy but I'm the only one who knows how bad it looked prior to decorating it.

I used a product called Glossy Accents as glue. You don't have to use this, I think regular glue would work ok, too. Since it was my test ornament, I used some really old chunky glitter. I didn't think this test ornament would be something I'd keep, but I think I'll put it on my tree!

White Clay Dough

1 cup cornstarch

2 cups baking soda

1 1/4 cup water

Heat oven to 175 degrees.

Combine ingredients in large sauce pan and stir until dough is thick and can no longer be stirred (takes 5-10 minutes). Dump onto parchment paper and cool completely. I left mine on the counter but you can also put it in the fridge to speed up the cooling.

Knead until smooth and roll out to desired thickness. Cut shapes out with cookie cutters.

Bake for 1 hour and check to see if they are completely dried out. If not, continue to bake at 30 minute increments until they are dry. Mine were 1/4 inch thick and it took them about 2 1/2 hours to dry out completely in the oven. Letting them cool and then putting them back in the oven will result in discoloration.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Life As A Musical

The last time I did this was in 2010.  I answer questions with songs titles from my iTunes list.

Are you female or male:
My Maria - B.W. Stevenson

Describe yourself:
Better Days - Goo Goo Dolls

How do some people feel about you: 
Look What You've Done - Jet

How do you feel about yourself: 
F**kin' Perfect - Pink (chuckles)

Describe your ex girlfriend/boyfriend: 
Shattered - OAR

Describe your current girlfriend/boyfriend:
Superman - Five For Fighting

Describe where you want to be: 
Rocky Mountain High - John Denver

Describe what you want to be: 
Be Yourself - Audioslave

Describe how you live: 
Never Gonna Leave This Bed - Maroon 5

Describe how you love: 
Talk Dirty to Me - Poison

Share a few words of wisdom: 
Make A Memory - Bon Jovi

Friday, November 02, 2012

Steve's Funeral

Steve passed away on 9/18 and when I was typing "Steve's Funeral" as the header, it was shocking to me. I can't believe he's gone. It's so hard. I think of him daily.

The first picture of the flower was taken after the service. Gabby, my nieces daughter, asked "Should we pick flowers for him?".  The last photo is a flag out side the restaurant we went to after for a tribute lunch. They asked about the purple "S" pins were we all wearing and when they leaned the story behind them, they put their flag out to honor him. That was so nice!

"Should we pick flowers for him?" - Gabby

I made "S" pins for everyone. Purple was his favorite color.

Fort Rosecrans

Coming in with the urn and flag

Placing the urn on the stand. We had a family photo attached to the back of it.

Folding the flag

playing taps

while playing taps

presenting the flag to my Dad

Chaplain Jim

Bob reading a few words. He's more than a brother-in-law....he's my big brother now. 
They put the flag out at the restaurant to honor Steve.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Anniversary to my husband Greg. After 21 years, I love you more now than ever. You're my everything.

Well you're the color of a burning brook
You're the color of a sideways look from an undercover
cop in a comic book
You're the color of a storm in June
You're the color of the moon
You're the color of the night that's right
The color of a fiery moonbeam
You're the color of the colored part of the Wizard of Oz movie

We're like Romeo and Juliet
We're like forty dogs, cigarettes
We're like good times that haven't happened yet, but will
I can tell you where we're gonna be
When the whole world falls into the sea
We'll be livin' ever after happily

~40 Dogs, Bon Schneider

Thursday, October 04, 2012

In memory of my brother I want to plant something in my backyard. I got a gardenia plant for my Mom back in May. I'm not sure what to get for Steve. Maybe something with blue flowers. Any suggestions?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wedding Card

This is the wedding card I made for my niece Laura :)

This is the inside.

Friday, September 21, 2012

My brother Steve passed away very suddenly on Tuesday, September 18th. The suspected cause of death is due to a pulmonary embolism. He was 57 years old.

He went to the hospital Monday morning because he was having trouble breathing. Initially, it didn’t seem serious and his nurse told me he was being held over night for observation and that he’d probably be released the next morning. Later that evening is when they determined it was a pulmonary embolism. Tuesday morning I talked to him at about 9:30am. He didn’t sound good and he said he felt terrible, but he joked a little with me before he had to go because they were about to run another test. He told me to call him later that day when I got home from work so we could chat some more and he would probably have more information about the tests they were running. I told him I 
definitely would and we said goodbye. The call was about 10 minutes. He went into cardiac arrest about 45 minutes after I talked to him. They revived him briefly but he went back into cardiac arrest and they were not able to revive him that time.

Steve enjoyed simple pleasures; watching NASCAR, movies, time with his dog Chico, and assembling model airplanes and ships. Cars were a passion of his since he was a little boy, so now the heavens have a top-notch mechanic. He’ll be happy to find the parts he needs are always in stock there. He was a reserved person, but when he was among family and friends, he was a jokester and had a contagious laugh and fun spirit. Steve was very generous and a kind person. His sudden passing has left us all in shock and I find it hard to talk about him without getting watery. It's a painful loss. There's some comfort in knowing that he will be with my Mom who passed away only 5 months ago, but he was too young to leave us. He was on the heels of retirement and had been making preparations for that. I know I'll be asking over and over why we had to lose him now. 

You're gone too soon, Steve. We love and miss you.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Getting Older

I'm sharing this because....well, I'll share why at the end. This is an email someone sent me.

Lost Keys

Several days ago as I left a meeting at our church, I desperately gave myself a personal TSA pat down. I was looking for my keys. They were not in my pockets. A quick search in the meeting room revealed nothing. Suddenly I realized, I must have left them in the car. Frantically I headed for the parking lot. My wife, Diane, has scolded me many times for leaving the keys in the ignition. My theory is the ignition is the best place not to lose them. Her theory is that the car will be stolen. As I burst through the doors of the church, I came to a terrifying conclusion. Her theory was right. The parking lot was empty. I immediately call the police. I gave them my location, confessed that I had left my keys in the car, and that it had been stolen.

Then I made the most difficult call of all, “Honey,” I stammered. I always call her “honey” in times like these. “I left my keys in the car, and it has been stolen.I've called the police.”

There was a period of silence. I thought the call had been dropped, but then I heard Diane’s voice, “Ken,” she barked, “I dropped you off!”

Now it was my time to be silent. Embarrassed, I said, “Well, come and get me.”

Diane retorted, “I will, as soon as I convince this policeman I have not stolen your car!”

The reason I shared this is because I had something similar happen to me. I used to park off campus and walk to work (about 25 min walk) so I didn't have to pay for parking. Parking fees at work are crazy. Anyway, it was raining one day and I was going to be soaked by the time I got to my car so I paged to my department that I needed a ride to my car. We use a chatroom kind of thing that everyone logs into and can page things because so many of us are in different buildings. A guy I hardly knew was also leaving so he offered to drive me to my car. As we turn the corner to where I car wasn't there. A terror like none other came over me and I was saying something like "oh no...oh no" over and over because I thought my car was stolen. Joe, the guy who gave me the ride, was becoming slightly panicked as well because it was clear my car wasn't there...blah, blah, blah. Then it hit me....I used one day parking pass that day and had parked on campus because of the rain! My car was parked right outside our building. I suddenly stopped with the oh no's and became silent because I now had to tell this nice person who gave me a ride to my car that I'm a complete moron and could he take me back to work where my car was. He was looking at me with a confused look because I wasn't saying anything now and that made it worse. Now I'll seem like a crazy moron. I'm fairly sure he tells people the story about the day a crazy girl at work had him driving around campus in the rain looking for her car. He's much too nice to tell me he does that, but I bet he does. We actually became friends after that so something good did come out of it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One Year Ago

A year ago today Calvin passed away. Words cannot express how much we miss him. Hopefully he's playing and sunbathing and we'll see him again someday.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Oprah and Marianne Williamson

I encourage anyone reading this to watch this episode of Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. It's changed the way I think. Honestly. It's thought provoking and the message is powerful. I recorded the show and I've watched it twice. I can't delete it because I think watching it over and over can only be a good reminder. The "pray for your enemies" part is something that really got me. Like Oprah says, it's hard, but due to Marianne's reply to that, I've been doing it. You have to just have to watch (around minute 11:45). Skip to minute 1.50 in the beginning to get past the show intro which is kind of long.

What it HERE.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Fresh

As I was cooking dinner (turkey meatloaf), I realized how pretty all the sauteed veggies looked in the I took a picture.

Then I made dessert and it was pretty, too! Vanilla yogurt, a little raw sugar and fresh blueberries!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


Have you seen Wigs?

No, not the kind you wear on your head.


It's a video series on YouTube. Each video is kinda like a short TV show...only about 8-10 minutes long and there are between 1 - 12 episodes total. I've watched them all...currently watching "Christine". The first series I watched was "Blue". I liked this series because of the main character and found the storyline intriguing.

They're not spectacular but they are a good way to pass time on a break or during lunch. I watched almost the entire "Blue" series one day at lunch because several episodes had already aired. I'd recommend "Blue" as a good one to start with. "Christine" is a good second to try. "Serena" is a single episode and I like that one as well. "Diana" is nothing like the others because it's a documentary....very good. The only series I didn't like the "Jan....but you might love it.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Simon Says Stamp Challenge

I decided to create a card for the card challenge over at the Have you tried Simon Says Stamp blog. Kristina Werner provided the inspiration - her cat Mannie :) Here's what I came up with. Hope you like it!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Photo Opportunity

My camera and I have been estranged. Not sure what happened exactly, but I just put it down and have not had the desire to use it again. The last picture I uploaded to Flickr was on Valentine's Day....7 months ago! I've actually been considering not renewing my Pro account since it doesn't seem worth it.

However, this morning while I was watching Super Soul Sunday (recorded) and painting my toenails, things changed. I have the shutters open to let in the morning light, very early...6:30am, and I looked out the window and saw something inspiring. The plant outside the window had some new growth that I thought was so interesting! I thought to myself....I need to take a picture of this! So I literally dusted off my camera and went out and took pictures. I took a spray bottle with me because I could imagine water droplets on the little curls would be especially pretty. This is what I got....and you must click the photos and view them large to really see them in all their glory.

I like them equally. Which do you like best?

I didn't stop there. I turned my attention to my hydrangeas. They are some of the most beautiful flowers! I mean....look at them - they are perfect little miracles! I love the baby pink ones but the purple/fuchsia ones are spectacular! They almost look fake, but I assure you, they're not. I like them all, but my favorite. Why? See the little green light coming from the center? It's like a magic place nature created. That for me makes the photo. Again, you have to see it large to really appreciate it

I'm so glad I found inspiration and reconnected with the picture-taker inside. Not sure if it will last, but it was fun for today!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I'll be honest, I was only able to watch 30 seconds of this. The guy is certifiable.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I made these muffins this morning and they are sooooo good. Do not skip the farina! It adds a really nice texture to the muffins. I used strawberry jam and they were delicious. Perfect for breakfast or a mid-morning snack.

Best Muffins

1 cup white flour 3/4 cup wheat flour 1/4 farina (Cream of Wheat) 3 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup raw sugar 1 egg 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup half/half 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/3 cup jelly or jam

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Stir together flours, farina, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. In a small bowl, beat egg with a fork. Stir in milk, half/half and oil. Pour into the well in the flour mixture. Mix quickly and lightly with a fork until moistened but do not beat with a mixer. The batter will be lumpy. Fold in jelly or jam.

3. Fill paper lined muffin pan cups 3/4 full.

4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Buckle Up...

....less than 6 months until CHRISTMAS! To get you in the spirit, I give you one of the most addictive songs of the season...Christmas Vacation sung by Mavis Staples.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Unique Art

Check out the article below about a house that looks like it's fallen from the sky and landed on the roof of a building at work.

Exhibit opens to the public

Thursday, May 24, 2012

When I was a little girl and my parents were going to an event of some kind, I always watched my Mom as she was getting ready and as she put her makeup on. As I sit here today, I can actually remember this very clearly. How she'd draw on her perfect eyebrows, apply blush (she called it rogue), mascara and lipstick. It was fascinating and I never tried of watching her do the whole routine. For many years, I also drew on my eyebrows just as she had, although mine were never been as good. Her's were always perfect. All her makeup was perfect. She had this teal dress that was her "go to" dress for these occasions. It was floor length and had sheer bell sleeves. Very fluttery like a butterfly. It was very in style at the time. She's pictured below wearing it. I wonder if it still hangs in her closet? I'll have to look.

On Friday May 18th I went over just as I did nearly every Friday to check in and see how she was doing. She was asleep in her room. I stood at the side of her bed and she was in a very deep sleep so I didn't wake her. On Tuesday of the same week when I saw her, she'd mentioned that she hadn't been sleeping very good so when I saw she was sleeping so deeply, I didn't want to disrupt her. That was the last time I saw her. She passed away in the early hours of May 19th. She was only 77.

She'd been sick for a little over a year so my family knew this was coming. However, it's been hard to cope with even knowing it was going to happen. I just think to myself....I will never see her again. It's mind boggling and sad. I'm having a hard time going into their house which I had not anticipated. As I walked up the driveway later that morning, I stopped and didn't want to go in. She wasn't going to be there. Ever again. Everywhere you look, she's in that house....but she's not. Maybe it will get easier. Maybe not.

Many years ago I went to someone's house and there was a giant scrapbook on one of the tables in the entry way. I was just there to pick something up so while I was standing there waiting, I took a closer look at it. The woman came back and noticed I was looking at it. She explained it was a scrapbook she made in memory of her mom after she'd passed away. She opened it and showed me various pictures and keepsakes in the scrapbook. One page had items from the service they had for her. The thing that stood out to me above everything else in the scrapbook was pretty picture of an angel and below it said her Mom's name and "resting peacefully in the arms of an angel". To this day I have never forgotten that. I can't think a more comforting thought than that.

So that's my wish...that my mom is resting peacefully in the arms of an angel.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

So far....

This year I'm making Mother's Day gifts. It's so hard to find something they will need/like/want so this seemed easiest. Well, kind of. The making part of it is the less easy side of it. The picture below is my inspiration....I decided to make paper rose wreaths.
I think the wreath in the photo is made of newspaper, not positive. I considered a lot of options as far as the paper source and knew right away I would recycle something rather than buying paper. There were going to be a lot of paper roses so buying a ton of paper wasn't something I wanted to do. I liked the idea of the newspaper and the black/white color, but newspaper is messy and too fragile. I have some old books I got at an estate sale for making cards and decided that's what I'd use. And when I say old, I mean old. Not old enough or interesting enough to be worth anything (I think they were .25 cents for each book), but interesting looking due to the aged color and texture. So I started making paper roses out of the pages. Here is what I have so far.
My roses are rolled tighter than the ones in the inspiration wreath and I like mine better. I like how the edge of the old paper is aged and has a slight bit of color to's actually a pinkish hue so it works well for the roses.
It's time consuming to roll each one and then glue the rose so it won't unroll, but it's mindless work and relaxing. It took 55 roses to cover an 8 inch straw wreath. The straw wreath is covered with strips of paper from the book so if any space that shows between the roses wouldn't look bad. This is the back.
Next I'll have to get some antique lace or ribbon to make a bow and possibly add some antiqued glitter. Since the roses are made out of old paper, I'm going with the vintage look. I showed it to Greg and he said it looks like a lot of is, so I hope the Mom's like them :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Removing Glitter Nail Polish

For all the girls who love glitter nail polish as much as I do, but hate taking it off....this is for you.

Glitter nail polish is like cement! Getting it off your nails is a serious pain in the ass. You have to scrub and scrub and then scrub some more to get it off. However, last summer I learned of a way that has taken all the scrubbing out of the picture. It's still a bit of a pain in the ass, but it's worth the time. It takes about 10 minutes. As I was doing this process, I thought "maybe I should blog about this!"

So I took pictures. Forgive the poor lighting and terrible photo quality. I was trying to take a picture of my right hand with my left hand....not easy since the button to take the picture is on the right side of the camera....but I digress.

Items you will need are: Cotton pads, polish remover and foil.

1. Cut 10 squares of foil that are about 3x2 inches.
2. Cut cotton pads into 10 squares that will cover your entire nail with a bit of overhang.
3. Douce the cotton pads with polish remover. I pour some in the cap and dunk the pads in it.
4. Lay the cotton pad over your nail and then wrap the foil around your finger. Continue process for each nail.
5. I let them sit for 3-5 minutes depending on how thick the coat of glitter polish is.

6. When it's time to remove them, grasp the foil ends and twist back and forth so the cotton pad is rubbing against your nail.
7. Pull the foil and cotton pad off together.
8. VoilĂ ! Not a speck of glitter polish remains! a bakery!

I got so excited when I saw this! King Arthur Flour has made digital backgrounds that will work in Zoom, Slack, Teams & GoToMeeting! T...