Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Dreaded Conference Call

The other day I had a conference call at work. It went okay. Nothing out of the ordinary but it made me think of a conference call that still haunts me to this day.

Here’s how it went.

A long time ago in a state not so far away, I was promoted to a very intense position within my company. Three days after moving to Seattle and the start of my new job, my boss (the man who hired me) was fired. (not a good sign).

Boss-less, I received no training and very little communication from the Home Office until . . . my new boss arrived. He was incredibly intimidating and hard to get along with. Basically, he was down right, mean. I called him, Nazi Boss.

One fateful day, Nazi Boss, being the kind man he was, told me I had a corporate conference call in five minutes. The topic of the call - my counterpart in the Rocky Mountain Region and I were to give the company big wigs an overview of what we were dealing with during new store openings. Over 30 people were going to be on the line all wanting to hear information from ME. I had no prep time.

This was just peachy. I was to be on the line with my companies, CEO, CFO, VP of Logistics, VP of Visual Merchandising, VP of Merchandising . . .blah blah blah. Get the picture? Also, on the call was my really irritating counterpart in Denver. Her name was also Ann, but with an E. I’m just plain old A N N.

I, not so lovingly, called Anne, Rocky Mountain Mama, but not to her face.

To add more misery to the situation, Rocky Mountain Mama, was a loud mouth, pushing woman, who interrupted, and got her opinions heard whether or not anyone wanted to hear. She was a favorite at the Home Office and a seasoned veteran. How could I get a word in edgewise with her on the line? This was not looking good.

With three minutes to go, Nazi Boss, asked if I’d like to take the call, in his office or down in mine. Since, I couldn’t imagine bluffing my way through questions, with him staring at me, I opted for my office.

“Office”, is a generous term. My “office” was a 4x4 converted utility closet in the very back of the stockroom. As I slowly weaved through freight and hopped over furniture to get to my office, I remember thinking, Dead Woman Hopping. Then I heard Nazi Boss shout, “Be sure to be vocal on the call. This is going to make or break your reputation in the company.”

My heart stopped pumping. Crap! He knew I hated conference calls. He knew I was still feeling terribly inexperienced.

At high noon, Northwest time, I sat staring at the phone, wishing it would blow up so I wouldn’t have to take the call. No such luck. The operator patched us all in (no connection problems, dang it!).

The CEO, took roll call, and I said, "Yes, I’m here." That was the last time anyone heard from me until the faithful moment of shame.

As the minutes ticked by, Rocky Mountain Mama, was answering all the questions. She commandeered the entire thing. Each time I thought I had an answer or a situation to discuss, she would talk over me and say it louder and clearer. I would start to say something and she would finish whatever it was I was about to say. I had no idea what to do. Utterly frustrated, and feeling tremendous pressure to say something, anything, I . . . I blurted out, “Excuse me.”

There was silence. Oh Holy Night. This was the worst feeling in the world.

“Yes, Ann, in Seattle go ahead,” the CEO’s deep voice answered.

Oh Holy Carmen Miranda!

What had I just done?

I had nothing to say.


I couldn’t contribute; Rocky Mountain Mama, had said everything I could think of. I was in a pickle.

I could feel my lips moving. I couldn’t stop them. I had to say something anything to get the attention off me. So, the meaningless words just fell out. “I agree with what Anne said. I’m having the same issues.”


Complete silence, except for a clearing of a throat, a snicker, and a snort.

Saying I felt like I wanted to die would have been an understatement.  My heart dropped in unison with my head.

The CEO spoke up. “Anything else, Ann in Seattle?”

My mind was blank completely blank. I squeaked, “No.”

The CFO, cleared his throat and said, “Well, thank you Ann in Seattle, for your contribution and insight. Now Anne in Denver, what else have you been dealing with?”

The call dragged on for what seemed like hours. When it was over, I muttered a goodbye and waited for Nazi Boss, to march down to my “office”.

It only took two minute.

He pushed open the door and said, “What the hell was that?” He was shaking his head. I tried not to cry. But I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing as his angry face stared at me. I shrugged my shoulders and muttered that I was sorry. Nazi Boss, turned on his heels and marched back to his office.
Did Nazi Boss, have a heart? I was young and had no experience, no training. I was dropped off in a building and left for dead. Why couldn’t he just help me? Weren’t we a team way up in the big bad Northwest?

Rather dramatic don’t ya think?


It took several months, but Nazi Boss, turned in his swastika for Starbucks Gift Cards and became my ally. He realized I had an aptitude for my job and I realized he was nervous too. We both went on to win several awards and become one of the highest grossing regions in our company.

But my little conference call debacle didn’t quietly go away. At a meeting in Fort Worth, someone asked if I was the Ann that made an ass of herself on the "famous" conference call. I swallowed hard and calmly said, “No, that was Ann with an E, from the Rocky Mountain Region.”

I did feel a little guilty about that one.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Three Things A Girl Needs

There are three things a girl needs. These are critical. Pay close attention.

1. A good Hair Stylist

2. A good Gynecologist

3. A good Dermatologist

After years of searching, I had found my perfect Number 1. My wonderful hairstylist. Then the mean old world, turned ugly. After two years of bliss and bonding, I got "The Call". A call that changed my life forever. Apparently, my hairstylist was in the Big House.

Yeah, you heard me, the Pokey! The Slammer.

I know what you are thinking, 'Where the heck do you get your Do done?' Well, I'll have you know, I get my Do done at a very posh salon in the Pearl District. It's not White Trashville.

To verify this rumor (because I so didn't want it to be true), I called said posh salon. I knew by the tone of the Owners voice, the horrible news was true. My all time favorite hairstylist was in the Slammer and therefore, no longer able to cut my hair.

My perfect universe was crumbling. I had finally found someone who understood my need to color my hair at home, my obsession with trying to make my curly hair straight, my desire to have long hair for the first time in my life before I have to cut it into a respectable shortdo for my approaching old age. My felon stylist had been perfect in every way except for the little fact she was using peoples credit card numbers to buy stuff.

I wanted to scream, 'give me one last haircut, I'll pay cash'. My felon stylist hadn't dipped into my account (I checked). She must have really liked me. Oddly my heart warmed at the thought. Hmmm, what does that say about me? I think it says I've had some really bad hairstylists.

Alas, I have been forced to start hunting for a new, Number 1. So far I'm not satisfied. One desperate day, I almost called my felon stylists old boss,to ask if they knew when she was getting out of the Big House. I really am desperate.

Now, the all important Number 2. The Gyno- Fortunately, I have that covered. She's a British lady and somehow it makes it all better when she speaks with her lovely accent. During these annual visits, I gaze into my gyno's caring eyes and listen to her lovely voice. I see Dame Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, I think of the Queen, the mother of her nation, the figure head of British history, and I know they all have been in the shame situation. Somehow that's comforting. Note: Important to look for a gyno with an accent.

Finally, Number 3. A Dermatologist. After years of so so dermatologists, I have found a keeper. You have to get you one of these. If you are in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Patricia Norris is my lady, give her a call. She listens. She focuses on you. She is open, forward thinking, and hip to all that crap out there. There is not a silly question or problem she isn't afraid to delve into. She knows her stuff. And she recommended I stop wasting money on Lancome and Clinque skin care products and go to an old remedy that I must say, is the best. ~Rosewater And Glycerin Face Spray. She said, sometimes going simple is the best. And all that fancy expensive stuff is just that, fancy expensive stuff.
This is the company she gets hers face spray from. I order it from them also. Very inexpensive.

I have been using the Rosewater and Glycerin as my moisturizer for the last several years and my skin has completely cleared up and feels wonderful. Its just perfect. It smells light and it feels great when you spray it on, especially during those hot summer months. Very refreshing. You can even use it on your hair. It's swell.

In conclusion, it important to get a hairstylist who is not a felon, a gynecologist that has a lovely British accent (Scottish and Irish accents would work also), and a Dermatologist who is sooooo not into all the beauty care hype.
Signing off.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Father's Day Art Work~ A Child's Seasonal Impressions

This weekend was once again raining, cold, and windy here in the Northwest. My little one kept asking me if he could make some sort of project. Of course, I won't turn that down. So I decided it was a perfect day to make a Father's Day gift.

Joe told me he wanted to paint something. Well to be honest I was too lazy to go to the store so I told him he had to work with what I had available, small pieces of watercolor paper. Joe complained that they were too small until I told him he could paint four different pictures. He was all over that. Here is what we came up with.

He had exactly four sheets of paper so we discussed things that came in fours. Joe thought of the four seasons and that's where this art work came from.
These are Joe's impressions of the four season. He thought the paintings would look great in Dad's office.
This present is particularly lovely because it captures a time in your child's life and reflects what they see, and understand. It really is a view into there perception of the world around them.

Here is your opportunity to see what impressions the seasons make on your child.

First we gathered supplies.

Watercolors-we use cheap ones. Any watercolors will work.

Water-I save my Starbucks cups to use as watercolor craft cups.

Paint brushes the fatter the better, since the technique we used was a "wash" you don't need anything fine.

Salt (any type of salt) this was for the winter technique.

A surface that doesn't mind getting wet. HINT: You can go to Home Depot and have particle board cut for you. I have several of theses boards from my days I spent in the University Of Oregon art department. It seems every class I had we needed these particle board work boards. They are a must for any crafter or artist.

Paper-any cheap tablet of watercolor paper will do.

Painter's Tape-you can get it at a local hardware store.

After I taped down his paper (which creates an automatic boarder) I had Joe draw a horizon line. We discussed this important line. For a child this helps them visualize and ground their painting. It also helps them get started because sometimes it's intimidating to stare at a blank canvas. We discussed sky and ground and how you can put the horizon line anywhere on the paper as long as it's horizontal --thus horizon.

I told Joe what watercolor technique we were going to use. It's called a "wash". That means you are using lots of water. Nothing solid, no details. Everything is very fluid. This might be a hard concept for kids because we are so used to everything being exact in this world but once you show them or guide them they really start to like just letting go of form and moving the paint and water about. Remember to keep some white paper showing. Joe kept saying he needed white paint. I had to keep reminding him white paint in watercolor is his white paper.

Joe started with one of his favorite seasons-Winter. I had him put lots of clear water on the paper then add the paint for the sky. After he got that going I told him to drop salt across the sky. He was so excited to see what this would do. I told him it would look like snow once it was dry. When the painting is dry rub off the salt and voila! A snow effect.

Winter was the only season I guided him on because I wanted to show him the snow technique. But the rest of the seasons I let him go. He came up with the colors and impressions and feelings of each of the seasons. I asked him questions out of interest but also to prompt him into thinking about what he sees during a season. His memory served him well. It is soooo cool to hear what your child remembers about a particular time of year.

Once all the paintings were done he stamped the names of each season accordingly.

Then I took over. I distress the edges of each of Joe's painting just for fun. You don't have to if you don't want. I used the distressing ink from Ranger in Vintage Photo.
Because I had nothing else to mount his work on, I cut a canvas off it's frame (it was a painting I had done several years ago and I didn't like it) turned it over to the plain back side and glued Joe's painting onto the back of the old canvas. I punched two grommets in the top corners so we could hang the canvas. I distressed the edges of the old canvas and tried to unravel it abit just for fun. I like a shabby worn look.

Then I asked Joe if he could think of an item that reminds him of each season. But it had to be from nature, couldn't be a Popsicle. He came up with wet green moss for Spring, seashells for Summer, leaves for Autumn, and dead branches for Winter. We hot glued a representation of those items to the coordinating season and ~bingo bango bongo. A present he could give to Dad that showed his creativity and his understanding of the seasons at age 8.
It is a keepsake.
Oh I almost forgot. Lastly, Joe stamped his name and the date on the corner and he puffed his chest out and smiled. What a since of accomplishment. I think his paintings turned out wonderful. His quote, "I think it could be hanging in a gallery somewhere don't you think, Mom?"
Of course, I agreed. He is brilliant and I am his mom. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My "Go To" Cake ~ Black Russian

Last night we had an impromptu get together with friends. I personally love these. A quick text, "Hey, baseball is cancelled. Yippee! Want to come over?"
We open a bottle or two or three of wine, throw some brie and bread on a plate, and make a quick dessert.
One of my favorite desserts for this type of situation is my recipe for Black Russian Cake. It looks impressive and tastes divine and doesn't take all day to make. In fact, I get it in the oven lickity split and then get myself and the house ready for our friends.
I thought I would share the recipe. This is the easiest and best cake every. If you need to wow the crowd. Make this.

18.5 oz. package of yellow cake mix WITHOUT pudding
6 oz. package if instant chocolate pudding
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (3/4 cup is okay to make the cake less fattening but why would you want to do that?)
4 eggs
1/4 cup vodka
4 Tablespoons Kahlua
3/4 cup cold water

1. Heat oven to 350
2. Grease and flour a bundt pan
3. In a large mixer bowl combine the following:
cake mix
pudding mix
4. Blend well
5. Add the below ingredients to the same mixing bowl
6. Beat for 4 min. on medium speed
7. Pour into prepared pan
8. Bake for 55-60 min. Test done-ness by sticking a toothpick into the cake. If it comes out dry, the cake is done. DO NOT OVER BAKE ~UNDER BAKE IF ANYTHING. It will be dry if you over bake.
9. Cool in pan for 10 min.
10. Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients below:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup kahlua
11. Mix until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if glaze is too runny
12. When cake is done, invert onto plate and poke holes in cake with a fork
13. Pour glaze over warm cake
14. Cool
15. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Add a fruit as a garnish strawberries or raspberries are great.
Love this cake. Love it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Decorating With Memories

When friends come to my house I always hear lovely comments such as, "Your house is so comfortable" "Your house is so relaxing" "Can you come decorate my house?". When I hear what they say it confirms that I have hit the right note with my decorating.

But what I always say to my friends is that they can do the same thing in their home. It just takes looking at things a little differently.

My house from the outside looks just like every other newish house in my neighborhood. I don't live in a cool old neighborhood. I don't have a craftsman style bungalow. No I have a very blah standard house. But once you step inside, the fun really begins. I have created my world. A world where I decorate with memories.

And you can do the same. Let's start.

Here is one of my big rules:

I never put anything on my walls that doesn't have a story behind it. Look around your house and see if your can tell a story about everything hanging on your walls. Not just "I got that at Target" but a real story.

If you can't, start acquiring items that have a special meaning or story behind them. Go to garage sales or estate sales and when you buy something ask about it. I'm sure the owner/seller will be more than happy to tell you a little about what you are buying.

How about asking your mom if she could part with items that you remember staring at day after day when you were growing up. I bet you anything, she will be flattered you are taking an interest.

Now that you are on your way with the walls. Here are some simple table top vignettes I have arranged to show you how I decorate with memories.

Starting with the top photo:

Photo 1: The vases are antiques given to me by my mom and sister-in-law. The sand dollar was from the coast. My boys were so excited to find a whole sand dollar. The blue starfish is one my little boy bought for me when we were at Cannon Beach. He was so proud of that purchase with his own money. For added interested I stamped Believe on the sand dollar. The stamping looks great and is easy to do on rocks and shells. It just adds something extra and really makes the item yours.

Photo 2: The books are books that my mom gave to me. The shells and driftwood are ones the kids have collected from the beach. The feather is one we picked up at the lowest tide of the year last year. What a day that was. So fun. The photo is of my dad on his honeymoon of course with my mom but she isn't in the picture. The vintage bottle and the pot with the plant were gifts from a friend. She bought them for me on a girls weekend. When I look at them I smile.

See you are getting the hang of it.

Photo 3: This is a baptism from my husbands side of the family. It come over from Warsaw. An old rosary is a family heirloom draped across the frame for added interest. The other two photos are family photos.

Photo 4: The next photo is a vignette on a bookcase. The heavy frame with glass is an old window converted into a mirror for shaving when the men were out hunting. I begged my sister-in-law for it and repainted it. One of the rocks is from Ireland and the shells and other rocks are what my boys have collected. The frames hold family photos. The Celtic Frame is one my husband gave me for Mother's Day years ago. There is another rosary from my husbands mom. The clock doesn't work but it's from my husbands dad and is very retro and cool.

Photo 5: Vintage spools of thread are from my mother-in-law. The driftwood is from a trip to Cannon Beach. The old vinegar bottle is from my mom. (good memories, she used that bottle to hold our vinegar growing up. I remember pouring almost the entire bottle of vinegar on my spinach. It was the only way I would eat spinach). Now I put colored water in the vinegar jar. My mom told me the jar came with her from the Ozark's.

See what I mean? Everywhere I look around my house I see memories and you should too.

It's really very fun if you start looking at decorating with memories.

Give it a shot.

Serendipitous Moment/Tutorial

As I was compiling my thoughts about my next blog entry one of my projects took a different turn which lead to this entry.

So here goes: As many of you know, I love Anthropologie. No, not the study of humankind (I do like to watch people though, so interesting, more about that later).

and saw the pictures of some old bottles with shells on top of them. They are around $198-200ish. Although cool, way out of my budget.

Later that night I was messing around with ideas about my entry when I happened to place a shell on top of a little bottle-- a la Anthropologie. I loved it. So I quickly gathered together what I needed and whipped it up and I figured you could too. So here goes- your serendipitous tutorial.
The gathering:

1. Find a bottle and a shell that are proportionate. Meaning large bottle, large shell, small bottle, small shell. This doesn't have to be the case but the opening of the bottle or jar or whatever you use can't be too wide for the shell. Play around with your combos. You can get shells at craft stores.

2. At Michael's they have dollar bins and you can get a set of rubber letter stamps for just that, a buck.

3. Round up some distress ink

4. Hall out your glue gun.

5. Grab a piece of jute string. Pull it apart until its frayed.

*6. Optional-Rustle up some pepper corns if you want.

*7. Optional- Find items to go in bottle. Put them in the bottle. I just put some pieces of sea glass for color but you can use anything rocks, tiny notes, sand, or nothing at all.

Now you are ready.

First stamp your message on the shell. My shell was tiny so I used a four letter word. A clean four letter word, mind you. I have kids.

Next I jammed the glass fragments in the jar.

Then I hot glued a ring of glue around the bottom or top, which ever way you look at it, to the shell and placed the shell on the jar minus the lid of the jar. Then I wadded up the jute and used a Popsicle stick to jam it into the front of the jar while the glue was hot. I did this to cover the gap between the jar and the shell and liked it so much I added more jute to create a nest of sorts.

Then I looked at it and it begged for something else so I got into my spices and grabbed some green pepper corns. I think they look like eggs. I added them to the nest of frayed jute for extra pop.

Voila! Done. Your own work of art and it was not $198.
My serendipitous moment.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mystic Circle Club

For as long as I can remember I have loved researching my families history. You could say I am a genealogyaholic ( I just made that word up).

One evening when I was looking through a Historical Society Quarterly of Carroll County, Arkansas, where my mom is from, I found an article and an old photo of The Berryville Mystic Circle Club (above photo). The article says the circle of woman was formed in 1900 and disbanded in 1914. The members would never would say why they disbanded.

The article also says most of the woman are wearing the Mystic pin. What is this Mystic pin??

So I went on line and Googled Mystic Circle Club.

Here are my top choices,

A Mystic Circle song called Dark Passion-hmmm I think not.

A musical group called Mystic Circle/Black Metal. Creators of such heart lifting ballads as Dragon Slayer, We Swore Damnation To All Gods Creatures, and the good old standby, Medina Whore Of Satan. I am pretty sure this has nothing to do with these ladies.

Next was a Masonic Brotherhood website with the slogan, Taking good men and making them better. I am almost 100% sure this has nothing to do with these woman unless it was some sort of Masonic woman's club (while their husbands were busy -- type thing) but I think Masonic stuff is for men thus the word, brotherhood.

Well, the list went on and nothing fit. I can't imagine these woman starting a little Wicca group in the Arkansas woods but who knows.

If anyone has any idea what these woman were up to in Berryville, Arkansas please drop me a line.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Let Freedom Ring Garland Is On Etsy

Just a note to say that I put my 4th of July Garland on Etsy today.

It the only one I will be making.
Grab it while you can.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Robin Hood

I saw Robin Hood last night. Opening night! That's saying a lot because I don't like crowds. So for me to grab a friend and go to opening night means I really wanted to see the movie.

With my heart pounding in anticipation I snuggled into my seat with my friend by my side.

Then it started.

Oh Holy Knight is right.
WOW! And on a horse. Jeepers, that man can ride. (a flash of the Old Spice commercial flickers to life in my brain as I write this. I stamp it out but smile).

Yes, a man on a horse, sumpthin about that combo.

Okay back to the review.

My thoughts on Russell Crowe as Robin Hood- Outstanding. So very perfect. He is such a MAN. Really no other word for it. I think every woman knows what I mean. He is MALE. Sigh. Regardless of his personal life and personality he does have a commanding presence.

My thoughts on Cate Blanchett as Marian- Strong. Beautiful in her own way. A perfect match for Russell's maleness. Perfect casting.

Such a potential combo. Brilliant chemistry.


We want more. There was a surprising lack of the two together. I wish they would have taken out all the stuff around them and only had Robin and his Merry Men and Marian.
Maybe a little of the other stuff but not the entire movie filled with horses and bad guys plotting and old men making speeches and crap.

It was so disappointing.
Not enough time with Cate and Russell together. Long winded speeches by Russell were trying and so not necessary and a bit eye rolling.
I left feeling very disappointed. The acting was great but the storyline veered off target and missed. I won't be buying this one. Dang! A period film I won't want. Why are there so many of those? Why can't they make a period piece that has great actors with a good happy story? Come on!

Oh and I know they were trying to be all historically accurate and all but Little John's teeth were really distracting. Very hard to look at.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Revamp Old Ceramic Coasters

Here is a quick way to revamp old coasters.

I found the Palm Tree coasters at Goodwill. In your search look for old ceramic coaster. They are great because the back is usually already covered with a protective layer of cork or felt.
Next find your design for the coaster. I love ephemera. You could use old books, newspaper, or whatever you want.
What you can't use is anything that is printed from an inkjet printer. The ink will run.
If you want to use an old book but don't want to ruin the book go to Kinko's and have them make copies on their laser printer. I did this for my coasters since I used my rare 1798 London Herald newspapers. It's very inexpensive to make the copies.
Vintage image or ephemera
Diamond Glaze
distress ink pad in vintage photo
* optional fired brick red ink pad and rubber stamp.
A dabber or sponge to rub the ink on
nail file
old butter tub or something to mix Diamond Glaze and a little bit of water. This tub can be tossed out after use
not too coarse of sandpaper
Delta Ceramcoat Satin Varnish

1. Buff off the top layer of graphic with sandpaper. Use a light sandpaper nothing to heavy or coarse. Since you are covering the coasters with paper you don't need to buff off much just enough to make the surface smooth and take off any layer of varnish.
2. Wipe the coaster clean and apply a thin layer of glue. Smooth the glue evenly over the coaster. I like to use my finger, it helps me gauge the thickness of the glue. You don't want clumps. Any glue will do just make sure it is applied in a thin layer. I use Neutral pH Adhesive its brilliant and sticks like crazy. Love it.
3. Carefully lay your paper over the coaster. Apply pressure. Cut off excess paper.
4. Once paper is dry grab your nail file and began in a downward movement to trim paper completely away from the edges of the coaster. (see photo) This is fun because it looks so professional and yet it is so easy. Don't worry if you scrap off too much paper or even a little ceramic coaster, the more uneven the edges of the paper the more vintage the surface of the coaster will look.
5. Next grab your distress ink and dapper the little round sponge thing and dip on distress pad and then rub around the edges of the coaster. Even let the ink bleed on to the surface of the coaster this will give it dimension.
6. I wanted to stamp on top of my coaster but didn't want to stamp anything to elaborate because the stories on the surface of the coaster is art in itself. Plus I wanted to read the coaster if I ever had anyone over that board me. Just kidding.
7. So find an appropriate stamp and use distressing ink in red to stamp an image on the ephemera if you like.
8. Now you are almost done. Next use a little drop of water in a container with a good amount of Diamond Glaze, mix it up. Adding water to diamond glaze will thin it out and make it easier to cover a surface. With a paintbrush cover the surface of the coaster with the diamond glaze water mixture. This will seal it. Let it dry. Then repeat with another layer of diamond glaze and water. Make sure the coaster is covered well to prevent moisture from ruining your graphics.
9. As an added precaution I put a layer of DeltaCeramcoat Satin Interior Varnish. This tones down the shine of the diamond glaze and gives the coasters a matte finish and an extra layer of protection from heat and water.
Once it's set it is good to go. You did it. Beautiful and unique. You want to feel your house with items that are you and your family, not mass produced stuff.
Make it Unique. Make it you.

My Family And Other Animals

I know I am probably a little behind the times but I found the most incredible BBC production from 2007. My Family And Other Animals.

If you haven't seen it you need to.

The music alone will bring a smile to your face. But what really brought a smile to my face was Matthew Goode as Larry.

It's about a family escaping from the dreary weather in England in the 1930's. Of course the family is eccentric like only the British can be. They move to Corfu and then the fun begins.

This movie is based on Gerard Durrell's childhood adventures. He was a well know Zoologist and wrote over 37 books.

Very fun.
A must see

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Let Freedom Ring

When I look at these dresses I picture the Andrew Sisters singing Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree.

The garland is my lastest project.

I know this is early but the 4th always sneaks up on me.

I wish I could have shot the photos outside but its still Northwest weather here.

I will be putting this on Etsy soon.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Best Lemon Cookies EVER!

These little beauties are sooooo good. My boys love them and so do I, which is kinda scary.
Lemon Meltaways
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup powered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (I like to add a bit more. I like the cookies tart)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

In a large mixing bowl combine all cookie ingrediants. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often until well mixed.
Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 8x1" roll. Wrap in plastic refrigerate until firm 1 hour.
Heat oven to 350 cut each roll into 1/4" slices place 2" apart of a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 min. Cookies will not brown.
Lemon Frosting
3/4 cup powered sugar
1/4 cup butter softened
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix at medium speed.

I usually double the frosting because I like alot of frosting on my cookies.

Puzzle Block Art Work

I don't know about you but I have a ton of blocks that my kids used to build with. Sadly my boys no longer play with them. I miss the days of creative play. Sigh.

I was messing around with the blocks and here is what I came up with. Each block has a different image but all relate to WWII. There are photos from my mom's 1944 high school yearbook of the boys that lost their lives. Also a poem to them. There are vintage newspaper clippings, a photo from my dad's buddies and some pins and items from uniforms with other assorted ephemera.

I feel its my tribute to those hard times.

Let Freedom Ring!

I have been working on the above 4th Of July Garland.

I know its early but it always sneaks up on me.

I will be putting it on Etsy soon.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Noble Little Dog Box Is On Etsy

I put my little dog gift box on Etsy.
He looks so noble sitting there.


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