Friday, August 30, 2013

Au Revoir

I have the best friends! I showed you the Paris tote bag that one of
them made for me in preparation for my trip. We leave for London
tonight! Now another friend, a very talented paper crafter and jewelry
maker, made this concertina book for me using several die cuts.

 It is absolutely a work of art!
And from another friend, who has been to Paris,
I received this lovely trinket in the mail...
It is postcard size and I love it! I think it's the start of
 my Eiffel Tower collection.
It may be inspiration for future craft projects also!
By the way, we got an email from our tour guide
telling us that they are doing ongoing maintenance on
one of the lifts and due to time constraints of
the tour that we will be on, we will not be
able to go to the top of the Tower!
I am so bummed out!
Au revoir...
see you in about two weeks!
P.S. I'm excited about London and Amsterdam too,
don't get me wrong!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Star-Spangled Wreath

Labor Day is fast-approaching and so I thought it was due time to
show you my patriotic wreath. There are many versions of red, white.
and blue wreaths all over Pinterest, so this is my take on it.

I started with a grapevine wreath and
began attaching the flowers at the top left and working
my way down the wreath. It is not easy to find
blue flowers!
When I got to the second bunch of reds, I attached
the flag, anchoring the top and bottom to the wreath.
Then I utilized the blue flowers for accent
and finished up on the right side of the
I purposely wanted the flowers to be higher
on the left side than on the right.
I read somewhere that to make a wreath look
more realistic, add natural materials, so I added
some thin branches that I gathered from the yard.
They do not show up very well, but they are there.
Then I remembered that I had purchased this star
stand at my favorite store--Goodwill--
a few months ago.
It has a hook on it that was perfect for hanging the wreath.
If I sell this wreath at the boutique in November,
I think the stand may have to be a part of it, as I
think it adds a lot to the whole look.
Do you see the gold stars down by the blue flowers
on the left? They are right off a Christmas bunch.
And there you have it--my Patriotic Wreath.

Linking to:
The Dedicated House--Make It Pretty Monday Week 64
Family Home and Life Wow Us Wednesday

Monday, August 26, 2013

Altered Bottle

I was in a store called Tuesday Morning the other day and picked up a
package of "Frenchy" cocktail napkins entitled "Springtime in Paris."
I'll actually be there in a number of days!! So I took the napkins and
pulled the three plies apart, working only with the tissue-thin top sheet
that I tore into pieces. Using matte Modge Podge, I covered a bottle that
I had, starting at the bottom. It was one of those bottle that used to have
discolored herbs, lemon rind, and peppers stuffed in it, sitting on my
kitchen counter, gathering dust. (I emptied all that gunk out long ago.)

When I was using this technique years ago, 
we called it decoupaging with napkins. I guess altered
bottles does sound a lot more trendy, doesn't it?
I used some silk flowers and feathers to embellish the
front, and pink twine that matched perfectly for the
Did you know--
Upon the German occupation of France in 1940, the French cut the lift cables
of the Eiffel Tower so that
Adolph Hitler would have to climb the steps if he wanted to reach the top.
He chose to stay on the ground.
It is said that Hitler conquered France, but he did not conquer
the Eiffel Tower.

My fascination with the Eiffel Tower continues!
It's something rather recent that I really can't explain.
But I do have French heritage on my father's side of the family.
Maybe that's it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Eclectic Recycled Works of Art

Call it recycling, repurposing, upcycling, reusing--the process 
of changing materials into new products to prevent waste of 
potentially useful materials. What I am talking about today are
those people who can look at something and turn it into
something that is totally unrelated to the raw material. It takes
imagination, creativity, and often just a bit of quirkiness!

Here's some examples I rounded up showing just what some
people have managed to create out of ordinary objects. Rather
than end up in a dumpster and ultimately in the city dump, these
objects have been turned into some really amazing "works of art."
Enjoy the show.

Hubcap Christmas tree @

 Garden mushrooms from old glassware: dishes and floral vases @

 Garden hose wheel turned into wine rack
source unknown

 Car tires upcycled into colorful furniture
source unknown

 Book Christmas tree@

 Window cornice of plates @

Use old picture frame corners like tiles
source unknown

Bicycle used at bathroom vanity
source unknown

 Antique sled becomes a pot rack @

Old ladder used to shelf books
source unknown

Golf club paper towel holder @

Speaks for itself!
source unknown

Wine bottle Christmas tree
source unknown

Water bottle house
source unknown

Aluminum can evergreens @ (tutorial)

 Turn vintage hats into lighting pendants
source  unknown

 Once a birdcage, now a chandelier @

This would make you look twice!
source unknown

The versatile tennis ball
source unknown

Recycled jeans pot plant holder
source unavailable

 Bra purse
source unknown

Pallet tree
source unknown

Bottlecap headpiece adorned by an Ethiopian child
source unknown

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fleurs de Jardin

Here's a simple card I made with some very old Hero Arts stamps.
The stripes is  rectangular stamp that I stamped  a few times to create the
background for the singular flower. The flower stamp was inked with
markers and then huffed before pressed to paper.

 Coreopsis is a lovely perennial that we
have in our garden. Looks like I
have some spent flowers that need
to be plucked! It just keeps blooming
and blooming all summer.

Here's two more of our perennials--
Golbin Blanket Flower, or Gaillardia, on the left,
and Dianthus on the right.

This perennial is Speedwell--Veronica spicata.
I call her Veronica, and I love her long spikes of 
rose flowers!

 This pretty marigold plant brings to mind our dear friend that we lost 
last year whose favorite flower was the marigold.
We have them throughout our garden.

Marigolds are known as the "herbs of the Sun" and are very
symbolic in the east Indian culture. When we traveled to India 
in 2008, single marigolds were left as offerings in temples, used in
garlands, in wedding ceremonies, and sold all over the cities and towns
for every occasion.

This is Russian Sage, another perennial, which borders the back tier
of our garden. Behind you see the tall pines behind our summer home
in northeast Arizona. 

I hope you have a wonderful week-end!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

French Bread Basket

My love of French-inspired crafts continues as my one-day trip 
to Paris gets closer and closer! Oh, I'm excited about London
and Amsterdam too, where we will actually be spending more
time, but this side trip to Paris has me over the moon! I'm already
dreaming of my return trip when I can spend more time there!

So I found this treasure at Goodwill a few months ago and it reminded
me of a bread basket. Then when I found this printed burlap at Joann's
some time later, I thought they made a perfect marriage!

And if you love Paris too, 
here's a wonderful book....

It's a historical fiction with a lot of French history!
It follows the lives of six families through many
generations, so be prepared for a lot of names
and jumping back and forth between centuries.
If you love history, this is for you!

I especially loved the part about the building of the
Eiffel Tower, since I am intrigued by it and
can't wait to see it!

Sharing at:

Monday, August 12, 2013

How To Store Cilantro So It Stays Fresh

When the check-out lady at our supermarket saw that I was
purchasing cilantro a few weeks ago, she shared her method
of storing it that makes it last longer in her refrigerator than
any other way she has ever tried.

If you are like me, I often forget about it and it turns into a
soggy mess before I have a chance to use it all. So I gave her
a suggestion a try and my bunch, which has been in the frig for
two weeks now, looks as fresh as when I bought it.

  Cut off the very ends of the stems. Store it in a plastic container 
(she used one from cottage cheese) with the stems submerged 
in water.

Set the container in a plastic bag (why not the one you 
brought home from the store in)
 and tied it loosely at the top with a twist tie.
Put it in the frig and replace the water if necessary. 

Now find some other good recipes that call for cilantro.
How about Mexican?

This would also work with parsley and other fresh herbs.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mah Jongg Etiquette

Just like any game or sport, there is etiquette in  mah jongg
which makes it a more enjoyable to play if everyone knows
and follows guidelines. Basically, they are not rules, per se,
but simply showing  respect to your fellow players.  

Here are a few:

1. When the tiles are being dealt, wait until after they are all dealt
before you put them on your rack. Until then, just leave them face
down. You can line them up, but do not turn them over until East
has completed the deal.

2. During the game, do not whine about what terrible tiles you have,
or the fact that you did not get dealt any jokers, or are not drawing
any jokers. Be a good sport. The next game may be better. Or some
days the joker gods is just not with you. No one gives a hoot and no
one wants to hear about it. No one will want to play with you.

3. When someone calls mah jongg, first of all, do not throw in your
tiles. Look to make sure she has a legitimate mah jongg, because
if she does not, the game continues. But to be polite, acknowledge
her hand and compliment her on her success before you lament about
the one tile you needed for your mah jongg or whatever else you want
to say about your hand. Because isn't there always something you want
to say about why it just didn't quite come together for you? Or why you
are glad that that game is finally over so that you can move on to the next.

Better luck next time.

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

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kalamata Olive Aioli Dip

Enjoy this delicious appetizer and never tell anyone how easy it is!
Men love it and it looks so pretty. A good cook who tasted it described
the flavor as "bright."

The best part is that you can keep these ingredients on hand.

 4 oz.--about 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
pinch black pepper
1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese--can use dry grated
1/2 tsp. lemon or lime juice
1 clove garlic, peeled
3-4 leaves fresh basil--can use dried when you don't have fresh
1 cup mayo

Combine everything except mayo in a food processor until well blended, then add mayo.
Pulse until just combined.
Serve with pita chips.
Don't be surprised if you find them near the deli section. I am sure it depends on 
the supermarket.But they were not in any of the chip sections I looked in.

Note: This is a W.A.D.E. recipe. If you are wondering what that is--W.A.D.E. 
stands for Women Against Dull Evenings. I have a single friend who opens her 
home to a group of women every month so we can eat and gab and she tries 
all sorts of yummy new recipes out on us! 

This would a great appetizer if you were serving lamb. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Book Recommendation

If you enjoyed Jeannette Walls'memoirs
The Glass Castle and Half Broke  Horses,
you will enjoy her latest book, The Silver Star.
No, I take that back--there were some 
readers who were slightly disappointed,
others very disappointed.
But I enjoyed it just as much as the other two.

So if you would consider reading it, go to,
read the reviews and you decide.
Or just take a chance and give it a try.
See if it grabs you.

It's an easy read--288 pages.
I read it in one day.

It was my first Kindle read.
I could not get it in time from the library
to read it for book club meeting later today
so my friend loaned me her Kindle.
I have been resisting the Kindle as I thought I had 
to hold a real book in my hand to enjoy it, 
but I was wrong.
It was great!
Your thumb is right there on the side to press
for turning the page. You don't have to lift a finger!
And it can rest right on your chest if you are reading in bed.
It is so light-weight!
I was stubborn and I admit it!

Speaking of book clubs,
I found out last week that one of
the ladies in my book club in the Valley (Phoenix) just won
 a million dollars in the lottery!
You can read her story HERE.

She was at the Circle K getting a Big Gulp.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Difference Between Chevrons and Zigzags

Hey, hey, I actually do still make my own cards! Here is a quick one
I put together with my zigzag punch by EK Success, the one that looks
like rick rack ribbon. I remember sewing with that stuff back in the good
old days! 

Have you noticed that the ever so popular
CHEVRON looks just like ZIGZAG...
or is it just me?

Now there seems to be a great debate as to whether there
is a difference between chevrons and zigzags.
It is illustrated and discussed in this article. 
According to some, the above examples would
not be considered chevrons at all because of the continued pattern.
To others, chevron is just an updated, or more modern
name for zigzag.
And to others, the illustrations in the mentioned article are not even

So I guess it can be whatever you want it to be!

And then there is the herringbone...

Ok, I'm seeing zigs, or are they zags?
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