Monday, March 26, 2012

Relaxing Monday...

This is what greets me when I open the back door.  Spring beauty.  I'm so lucky to have today off.  And I'm too restless to do chores or think of a blog topic.  So here you have it.  Hope your day is filled with peace and beauty as well.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Post card progress...

Well, I've done all I can with the birthday post card project.  The whole thing now hinges on family participation.

I mailed thirteen packets out with post cards and instructions to Carey's siblings, their spouses, and their children / families.  My mother-in-law will (hopefully) receive 21 birthday greetings from it.

Should I get to count any of this massive little project towards this year's 52 letters in 52 weeks? 

I think I will count five...because I added handwritten notes to four of the instruction packets' form letters, and the post card that I mail to mom-in-law will have a handwritten note on it as well.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that everyone participates, and that the post office gets them delivered damage free and on time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Firebird by Janice Graham.  It's another one of my 2012 Reading Challenge selections.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Avert your eyes, Polly...

I'm a little afraid (mortified actually) that my friend Polly, might pop in and see this.  She is a REAL artist, and is working on something very exciting at the moment.

 What follows, however, is NOT the work of a real artist.  It's done by someone (me) who watched a youtube video and assembled some watercolors, a sponge brush, and a whisk broom to work with.  I exagerate, but not by much.

I needed a large picture on heavy paper for a birthday project for my mother-in-law.  So I whipped out the **cough** masterpiece **cough** above.  Now it needs to be cut apart into post cards...which is proving to be a lot more difficult than I had thought.

But if I am able to get it cut apart cleanly into post cards, I'll be mailing each one, pre-addressed and stamped, to each of my husband's siblings and nieces and nephews with a request that they write a little personal note and drop it in the nearest mailbox.  The hope is that my mother-in-law will receive lots of fun birthday greetings, and then she can assemble them, puzzle like, to see the picture of our Texas bluebonnets that are blooming all over at the moment.

It's a fun idea that I came across here.  I'm doing it a little differently, because I want to make it as easy as possible for everybody to get it mailed on time.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What's your sign...

One of the things about this house that drives me absolutely crazy is that there is no restroom access from a public room. There is one in the master bedroom, a jack-and-jill between the two guest rooms, and one in the office/craft room. It seems that guests are always having to ask where they can... umm... freshen up. For some reason this strikes me as kind of I only begrudgingly share my home's comforts.

The half bath in the office is the closest to being easily accessible for guests, since the office is right off of the kitchen.  Even people who have been here before forget which door leads to their destination, so I thought it needed some kind of sign.  

I really like this one, but honestly, I don't think that all of my guests would recognize its meaning. 

I considered that this could kind of do double duty...but thought that some of my guests might not appreciate my sense of humor.

I finally decided that I couldn't go far wrong with the international signage symbol.  I pulled a 99 cent framed wooden plaque from my craft stash, and painted the frame white and the background in a color really close to the wall color.  I found the 'international symbol' online, printed it out on cardstock, and cut out the little people with an Exacto and discarded them.  Then I used the cardstock background as a stencil and sponged on white paint. 

There.  Though some may find it tacky, there's not much chance of missing the correct path.

So what do you think...weird or helpful?
PS: Now I just need to make the black hole of a craft zone presentable enough so that I'm not mortified when someone walks in there.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Today I had the day off, and I tried out a new recipe for Sushi Salad that I found on Pinterest.  The original recipe is from Two Peas And Their PodMy adaptation is up over at my What's Cooking Four Miles North of Nowhere.  It turned out great!  I will definitely be making it again.  It was vegetarian the way I made it today, and it didn't stick to my ribs for long.  Next time I think I will add some cooked fish or shrimp.

I also caught up on my Sky Scarf.  I write down the sky conditions every day on the calendar...just in case I don't knit that evening.  That has made me a little lazy about doing the knitting daily.

I also played with these adorable puppies.

Oh, that little black and white one reminds me of my late Jack Russell.  I'm thinking that these are maybe a Jack Russell and chihuahua mix.  They showed up in the front yard and hung around all afternoon.  The neighbor across the street finally came looking for them.  They're not actually his either, but he's been caring for them, and will be looking for homes for them.  He thinks somebody dumped them, as he found them on his property a week or so ago.  I just do NOT need a puppy at the moment, but boy if I did...

This morning I thought I was going to make some headway on a project for my mother-in-law's birthday.  Maybe tomorrow.  But I'd better hurry, her birthday is quickly approaching.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Still reading Poison by Sara Poole...sort of.  I've made almost no progress on it so far. 

Crazy time change is knocking me silly again...well that and going to work earlier than normal and staying later.  I stopped at the grocery store after work yesterday.  Then when I got home I had to 'lie down for just a minute' and woke up an hour and a half later.  I probably would have slept straight through till the alarm went off in the morning if it hadn't been for some crazy insect or frog outside the window.  It sounded just like a telephone ringing...and ringing...and ringing...  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  Where's the real poison when you need it?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I distinctly remember a question asked one morning in a Sunday School class I attended.  Are you a dreamer of dreams, or a doer of deeds?  I thought about that for awhile before deciding that I was a dreamer of deeds.  I plan to accomplish a lot of things, but action frequently fizzles in the planning stage, or gets pushed behind something of a higher priority.  But like a lot of people, I always do better when I make a list and can scratch through the tasks I actually finish.

I have a real issue with finding just the right calendar/planner too.  I usually end up making my own.  That way I can feel like I'm accomplishing something, even if I am just planning to plan.  The one I just finished will give me a monthly calendar page, and then facing that a weekly task page.  I can keep track of things I want to blog about as well as tasks around the house.  And then at the end of the year, they can go in a 3-ring binder as a sort of work journal.

And if you're wondering why I am just getting this little project done two and a half months into the know...

But now I can scratch it off my list!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Secret World of Arriety...

photo credit: Studio Ghibli 

The Borrowers by Mary Norton was one of my favorite series of books as a child.  I've been wanting to see the newest movie adaptation, The Secret World of Arriety, ever since it came out.  Now that Spring Break week has officially begun, we kept the girls Friday night and took them to see the movie on Saturday.

I didn't have great expectations, since I found the previous movie adaptations pretty disappointing.  But this one is wonderful!  The art and animation of it was just beautiful.  The scenes with the fields of wildflowers were some of my favorites...the sun shining through the delicate flower petals...the sparkling dew drops...gorgeous!

You could definitely recognize the Japanese touches, not just in the animation, but in the buildings and some of the characters.  The Studio Ghibli made a beautiful movie.

The girls loved it as well.  I can't wait to start reading the books with them.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Just thought I'd share a card that I made last night.  My coworker is always eager to see the cards that I make before I seal them in their envelopes and drop them in the mail.  So when she mentioned that her granddaughter's birthday was coming up, I said that I would love to make a card for her.  I asked if there was anything that her granddaughter particularly liked, and she said, 'Just reading, really.'  And since the birthday girl's gifts from her family are to be a Kindle and an Amazon gift card, I knew that would make a good theme for her card.  So I used a printed page in the construction, of course.

The majority of the time spent in making this card went into the assembly of a teeny-tiny book.  I cut the covers from pasteboard and covered them, mitering the corners. Then I fan folded the inside pages, so it would expand with a birthday greeting.  I wanted to put it on the front of the card, but it didn't quite seem to find a home there, so I glued those covers which I had taken meticulous care making and glued them to the inside of the card where they hardly show.  But it does reveal the greeting when the card is opened.

My coworker never minces her words.  They may not always be what you want to hear, but you know they convey her genuine feelings.  So I was very happy when she said how much she liked it.

A valuable compliment in deed.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Two tips...

These are my expensive progressive lens prescription glasses.

These are my expensive progressive lens prescription glasses viewed under an Ott Light full spectrum light.

Tip #1:  Ott Light products are extremely helpful when working on projects where good lighting can assist visibility.

Tip #2: Do NOT wear your expensive prescription glasses when spray painting...especially on a breezy day! 

I spray painted a week and a half ago, and have cleaned my glasses many times in the interim.  I never noticed the fine spray of paint on them until I happened to take them off under the Ott Light.  I have noticed that things haven't been as in focus as I like.

I've tried using my fingernail to gently scrape the specks off.  I've washed them in hot water and soap.  I've tried wiping them with a microfiber cloth.

Obviously the glasses are wearable, and the specks aren't noticeable since I've worn them for a week and a half without seeing them.  That doesn't mean I don't feel like an idiot.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Seven thoughts on the 7th...

1.  I was watching a documentary the other day on Haskell Wexler, and they were talking about his color blindness.  They were showing some of these test patterns, which reminded me of high school biology class.  Can you see the pattern?

2.  I think I will take my blood pressure when I get to work tomorrow.  The commute can be so aggravating.  I heard them talking on the news the other day about future cars being computer operated, where you have to basically file a route and time to reserve your road time, and the car and road do the rest.  That would be pretty cool.  Hey, it could happen.  Remember when they used to talk about video phones?  They made THAT happen in my lifetime.

3.  I made a big pot of beef and vegetable soup last night using the recipe learned at my mother's knee.  Oh, was it good...especially with a fresh pan of cornbread.  The weather is starting to get so warm, that I'm thinking we will soon be wanting to forego soup in favor of more salads and outside grilling.

4.  I gave up Coke for Lent.  I've switched to iced water with lemon...preferably from Sonic.

5.  I whistle a lot around the house.  When I was little (it's a habit of long standing) my great aunt would always say, 'A whistling girl and a crowing hen always come to some bad end.'  I've come to believe that the bad end will probably be old-lady lips with pucker wrinkles.

6.  My coworker and I had lunch today at a Chinese buffet that is within walking distance from our office.  I didn't really want Chinese food, but they have a salad bar, so I opted for that.  I didn't want a heavy dressing, but didn't want an oil and vinegar dressing either.  I chose honey mustard, and topped my salad with it.  One problem.  It wasn't honey mustard salad dresssing.  It was Chinese Hot Mustard.  Not so great on a salad, my friends.

7.  What I'm reading Wednesday...
Poison by Sara Poole.  Novel of the fifteenth century Borgia family goings on.  I will be working more days for the next couple of weeks, so I wanted to start on something that my Kindle can read to me during the commute.  For some reason this struck my fancy...and it was on sale.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Having fun with a new toy...

I got an email the other day from Scrapbook Dimensions about a giveaway and special offer on ArcSoft Perfect365 software.  It's a very simple and quick way to touch up facial photos.  After reading up on it and viewing the samples (I think it even had a free version to try), I used the offer of 50% off to purchase it (I think it was only around $15 after the discount), and I've been playing with it. I thought I'd show you a couple of before and afters that each only took about five minutes.  Both of these photos were taken when I had chopped off all of my hair to let it grow out au's no longer this color or this style.  :) 

 before 1

after 1

before 2

after 2

On these I softened the skin, brightened eyes, whitened teeth, added some eye makeup and blush, and thinned my face a little...I think that's it.

You can also lighten under eye circles, lift cheeks, define brows...I may have done these too, but I can't remember, and it doesn't look really obvious to me.

It's tons o' fun!

I usually stay behind the camera, so I don't have very many photos of myself to play with.  Anybody got a photo of themselves that they would like touched up a it to me.  :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Making it Monday--Sky Scarf progress II...

It was brought to my attention that I neglected to show February's progress on my Sky Scarf.  Truth be told, I was about a week behind on the knitting of it, but I'm all caught up now.  It was rather gloomy for a good bit of February...lots of overcast days and some fog and even another thunderstorm.  And we are so happy for every drop!

The red thread is just a marker showing the end of January...there is now another marking the end of February. Yea!

And thanks for asking, Lynne.  :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Creative recycling...

Call me crazy (okay, that's enough, you can stop now), but I get a lot of satisfaction from the most mundane kinds of creativity.

Enter my trusty paper trimmer and corner rounder punch...

Lately whenever I empty a box of cereal, or crackers, or chocolate covered cherries (Valentine's Day candy), I flatten the box, and then cut it into 7 inch by 1.5 inch pieces.  I love the packaging graphics, so I try to get as many pretty pieces as I can out of the box.  Then I round the corners.

They make great bookmarks...a nice weight...not too bulky...and I never have to worry if I lose one.  This week I sent a bunch to a friend who is an avid recycler and reader.  I thought they would make her happy too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Marking another one off the list...

Here's something that has been on the old to-do list for far too long.  And why?  It only takes maybe five minutes.

 And don't get excited, that's not my toothbrush there in the middle.  I use that extra soft toothbrush to give a final brush to my eyebrows after I fill them in...kind of softens up any hard lines.  The other brushes are all from Bare Minerals.  I love their brushes and their makeup. It goes on so quickly, and in the South Texas heat and humidity it doesn't sweat right off. 

When I first started using makeup brushes, I heard that you should wash them with baby shampoo.  I tried that, but after sudsing and rinsing several times, they still didn't seem really clean.  So I got out my bottle of Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile liquid soap.  I use a drop (literally) in the palm of my hand and suds up the brush in a circular motion in my hand and then rinse well.  They are miraculously clean in no time.  Now I never use anything but Dr. Bronner's on them. (It's good for cleaning all kinds of other things too, so I buy it in the BIG bottle, but they have small bottles too.  It lasts forever.  I've had the bottle above for years.)

I dry the brushes by rubbing the bristles well on a clean wash cloth. Then I lay them out on another clean and dry wash cloth to air dry.

Ahhh.  Don't they look nice and clean? I forgot that the eye shadow and eyeliner brushes were supposed to have white tips.  :) 
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