Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Making Your Own Jewelry

When you have an outfit that you want to accessorize with jewelry,
sometimes it is just easier, and more fun, to just make your own,
rather than search all over for the right pieces! With just a few basic
skills, I was able to whip up these stretchy bracelets and matching 
earrings in no time. 

I have pretty good luck finding beads at Hobby Lobby (clearance aisle for 
the green ones), Michaels, and JoAnns. All three places often have
their strands and finding on sale for 30-50% off.

There are many video tutorials on jewelry-making, so my suggestion
would be to just Google it and look at a few until you find one
that is clear and concise, and give it a try!

The hardest part for me was learning how to wire wrap an earring.
Again, look at the videos, and practice, practice, practice.
Once you get it, it's easy, peasy!
If I find the video that SPOKE to me, I'll edit this and let you know
where it was. It was a different approach than all the others but worked
for me. Unfortunately, it is saved on my other computer which I do not
have access to for a few weeks.   

And there you have it....

Monday, July 29, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake Dessert

I'm back in action! We returned to our summer home for a few weeks
and once again I found myself without my USP cord to load pictures
from my camera onto this computer. And what is a post without
pictures? Nothing! So I had to get to the trusty Radio Shack to get a
replacement. Thank goodness there is one here! 

I made this yummy dessert a few weeks ago for a dinner party and it
was a big hit. I highly recommend that you MAKE IT THE DAY BEFORE!
It was actually much better after the cake layer was a little softer and it
was very cold. And really, isn't that a good thing, because that's one less thing
to do on the day of the party?

Strawberry Shortcake Dessert

1 white cake mix--make according to package directions in a sheet cake pan
8 oz. cream cheese (I used light)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 large container Cool Whip (I used light)
Strawberry pie glaze (found in the produce section, I used Marzetti brand)
4 cups fresh strawberries--cut in halves

After the cake has cooled, cut so that it will fit in a 9 x 13 pan. Save the remaining 
pieces for another use. Mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar until fluffy and
well blended. Fold in a generous cup of Cool Whip. Spread this mixture over the
cooled cake. Add the strawberry glaze to the strawberries and spoon over the 
cream cheese mixture. REFRIGERATE OVERNIGHT. Serve each piece with a
dollop of Cool Whip. 

So easy and refreshing! You know that I only pass on really good recipes!

This recipe has been adapted from the Strawberry Shortcake Dessert from The Mother Huddle.

Other Strawberry Recipes found here at AS The Card Rack Turns:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Choosing a Back-Up Hand When Playing Mah Jongg

Once you get comfortable with the game, it is very important to be
able to have a second hand in mind if your original hand does not
work out. This may be the case if you are not drawing the tiles you
need, they are not being discarded, or you see that someone else is
using them for her hand also. Or perhaps the tiles you need are being
discarded but you cannot pick hem up! The sooner you realize that you
must ditch this hand and have to make a switch the better off you will be!

If I am working on a hand using one suit, I ALWAYS save the matching
dragons, even if my original hand does not use them. The reason I say this
is because my back-up, or "go-to" hand often turns out to be FFFF11112222DD,
especially if I am trying to do one of the consecutive hands, either 1-5, or 5-9
and it is just not coming together. This hand is a strong possibility if I also start
drawing flowers instead of the numbers I need, and I have not given away
my flowers in the Charleston as I (and the pros) strongly recommend HERE.
Remember, too, that I can use jokers everywhere except for the pair of
matching dragons.

Do you have a favorite "go-to" hand?"

Happy Clicking!

If you know of anyone in the Phoenix area who is interested in learning to
play Mah Jongg, please have them contact me at


Friday, July 19, 2013

Eiffel Tower Book Set

I mentioned the other day that I am having a love affair with French-inspired
crafts lately. I think it's harmless--I don't think my husband will mind. I don't
think anyone will get hurt, not even my bank account. I'm pretty frugal and
get many of my craft supplies at Goodwill! I love a good hunt!

Did I mention I'm going to Paris in September? Oh, I think I did earlier in the
week! I mentioned also that I would be sharing some of my Frnechy crafts so
here's the first one.

One of my favorite blogs is Confessions of a Plate Addict. Debbie writes about
decorating, traveling, and thrifting...all with a French accent, and I don't miss
a post. I love her craft ideas, and pinned her DIY Eiffel Tower Book Bundle
long ago. I finally got around to making my spin-off version.
I started out with the boxed set of paperback
books and covered them in brown paper.
I found a vintage picture of the Eiffel Towel
that seemed the right width and height
and printed it four times in a 4" x 6 " size.
Following Debbie's advise, I used rubber
cement glue, which worked extremely well
to adhere each image. I started with the
middle of the Tower and worked my way to the right
and the left, moving the image gradually.
I covered the box with printed burlap from Joann's
that I adhered with Mod Podge.
Here's the right side of the box.
.      Oh, yes, and a DIY pendant to match!
It's a pendant from the bead store and  an oval
cover. Using an ex-acto  knife, I cut the image
to fit and glue into the pendant. Making sure
there are no air bubbles on the flat side of
the cover, I spread with Mod Podge and laid
it over the image. Press until secure.   
Here's the left side and the back of the box.
Such wonderful burlap!
I should have bought more than one yard!
When I went back,
it was all gone.
Guess I wasn't the only one who liked it!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm Going to Paris!

In September we are going to London to see our daughter-in-law
graduate from her international MBA program. While there, my only
request was to take the train to Paris--a city I have always wanted to
see! Although my sweet husband had no interest, he is taking me
anyway! I am especially intrigued with the Eiffel Tower and can't
wait to see it! I am really into French-inspired crafts at the moment
too and will be sharing some of them with you soon. 

Today I had a wonderful surprise when a dear friend came by with
an awesome gift for my trip.

Pam is a very talented seamstress and makes
these lovely bags.
The appliqued Eiffel Tower on the pocket is
made with the Tim Holtz die that cuts
fabric as well as paper.
She used black and white pin dots for it as
well as for the lining.
There is even another nice big pocket on the inside.
I hope you can make out the Eiffel Towers on the fabric.
Hmm, I wonder what this bag will be filled with on the way
back to London?
I know for sure there will be a French newspaper
and/or magazine.
I love French script--can't get enough of it!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Caprese Tomato Shooters

Although these appetizers may look a little labor-intensive, they really
take no time at all and make a wonderful presentation. I found a sharp
paring knife worked best to scoop out the tomato pulp. First I tried a
melon baller, but it tore up the edges of the tomato.  Here's the easy

Scoop out and discard pulp and stem of the cherry tomatoes. Invert tomatoes
onto paper towels to drain. 
Meanwhile, slice mozzarella cheese stick into rounds, about 1/2 inch thick, and
wash fresh basil leaves. Pat dry. Invert tomatoes, sprinkle with sea salt, and
drizzle with EVOO. Wrap a leaf of basil around the cheese round, then insert
into a tomato.  
Enjoy! My dinner guests did!
This recipe is from

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mah Jongg Chatter--Let's Talk About The Flowers

I have a lot to say about the flowers.

1.We all know that each mah jongg set comes with 16 flowers,
and you only need eight of them to play the game.In my set, eight
flowers have the seasons on them as well as numbers, and the other
eight just have numbers on them.

Because I teach mah jongg, I use the set with the seasons, because
they are easier to distinguish from the troublesome 1 Bam, which is
often mistaken for a flower. I point out to my students that the 1 Bam,
or often called the 1 Birdie Bam, will NOT have lettering on it like a
flower, even though the picture may look very. similar. They are not to
be confused!
 Here is a picture of my set to illustrate my point.

And the numbers and the seasons on the flowers do not
mean a thing! A flower is just a flower! It is a neutral tile--always a  
Blue F on the card.

2. All of the mah jongg instruction books say not to pass flowers during
the Charleston. However, they often times do not go into a lot of explanation
as to why not! And I am always asked "Why not?" So here is what I tell my
students. First of all--If you have a pair or more of them, you want to find a
hand that uses them, and there always are many. But even if you only have
one, there are many reasons not to pass them. If one of your opponents needs
them, you have just handed them CANDY. There is rarely a time when you
don't have other tiles that you can pass instead. Even if you don't THINK you
are going to use them, your hand may change during the game if your intended
hand does not work out, or you start drawing more flowers, and you end up
needing them after all. There are always exceptions to the rules, but hang on to
them if at all possible. 

3. Once the game begins, if you know without a doubt what hand you are doing,
and it does not require flowers, throw them away early. The reason behind this
move is that if an opponent does need flowers, they may need them for a pair, and
it is too early to pick one up, or they need it for a kong (four) and they don't have
enough to pick it up yet. Remember, there are eight of them, so it is easier to get
them than it is a number tile, where is only four of each.

4. The last strategy is to NOT throw a flower at the end of the game. This is
often the hot tile that someone is waiting for to mah jongg on, and you are running
the risk of giving it to them. The mah jongg instructions say to break up your hand
rather than throw a hot tile at the end, even though you are hoping to pull it out for
the win at the last minute I guess it just depends how competitive you want to be
and what you think your chances are for winning. It's your call.

Happy Clicking!

If you know of anyone in the Phoenix area who is interested in learning to
play Mah Jongg, please have them contact me at

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth of July Trivia and a Tribute


Fourth of July trivia:

1. Why do we light fireworks?
The fireworks resemble war, the muskets and cannon firing of war.

2. What is the symbolism of the flag?
The 50 stars represent the 50 states, The 13 stripes represent the original
13 colonies.
As for the colors, white signifies purity and innocence, red; hardiness and
valour, and blue; vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

3. New York Yankees' baseball player Dave Righetti threw a No Hitter on
July 4, 1983.

4. Congress voted to make July 4 a federal holiday in 1870. In 1941, it was
 voted to make it a paid holiday for all federal employees.

5. Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe
died for years later on July 4, 1831.

6. John Hancock was the only person to actually sign the Declaration of
Independence on July 4, 1776. The other 55 signers did not sign it until
August 2 or later.
Benjamin Franklin was the oldest signer at age 70. The youngest signer
was 26-year-old Edward Rutledge. Most of the others were in their 30's
and 40's.

7. Thomas Jefferson was the principal writer of the Declaration of Independence,
the inspiration behind the July 4th holiday.

8. The British recognized America as a free country in 1783, after the last battle,
the Battle of Cuddalore.

9. John Hancock was the president of the Second Continental Congress which
declared independence and approved the declaration.

10. 150 million hot dogs will be consumed in the United States over the Fourth of
July week-end.

As we remember our forefathers who fought for our freedom, let us also 
pay tribute to the 19 courageous young firefighters who lost their lives 
this past week fighting to saves homes and land for the people of 
Yarnell, Arizona.

  May God bless them and their loved ones.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Last Minute Fourth of July Preparations

Are you getting ready for a Fourth of July celebration this week-end
and need a few more Red, White and Blue ideas? Nothing elaborate,
but something easy to add to the fun and festivities. Here's a few ideas:

Creative Cabin

Mom 4 Real

Amanda's Parties TO GO
(Free printable cupcake wrappers, circles, stars, treat cones,
treat cups, papers)

 Free printable simple and fun game for toddlers and kids @
My Sister's Suitcase

No time for Flash Cards


Today's Creative Blog

Mud and Camo

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Garden Wreath

Can you believe that the first half of 2013 is already over? Here we
are starting July. It will be Christmas before we know it, or shouldn't
I mention that quite yet?

I've been busy making non-traditional wreaths for the boutique that
I will be participating in around the second week-end in November.
Although many of my wreaths will be holiday-related, I am making a
few that can be displayed at other times of the year. I am hoping that
people will not just be looking for holiday items! I have seen a few
made with garden hoses on Pinterest, and I decided to try my hand at
one.Mine is a variation--I am happy to say it did not turn out exactly like
 the ones I used for inspiration. Here's my version:

I started with an inexpensive garden hose from Walmart.
I untied the long wire ties holding it together and kept
working with it until I got it the shape that I wanted.
I only wanted a few nicely shaped circles, and I
wanted the two ends to end up opposite each other.
It took a little doing until I got it where I was
happy with the shape.
Then I re-used the wire ties to hold it together.
All the flowers and the pair of garden gloves were
purchased at the dollar store earlier in the spring when the
selection was good.
I am pretty picky about buying inexpensive "silk"
flowers. I only buy the ones that do not look cheesy!
I was able to stick most of flowers under the wire ties
that were holding the hose together and added some
hot glue too.
The wire burlap ribbon was made into a big bow that I 
added in the middle.
See those two little red spots on the loops of the bow,
one on the left and one on the right?
Those are ladybug clothespins to go with the ladybugs
on the garden gloves.
They match perfectly!

And there you have it...
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