Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Birthday and Other Nonsense

Ok I'll admit it here, but then I'll burn this. Although what's on the web stays there forever, there is so much posted, and I have so few readers, it really doesn't matter. It's my birthday today. Well, it's almost over and I just turned 59 30. Ha Ha. Really. At least I hardly have any gray hair, and if anyone should it's me.

I was taking a bath today and looked at my feet. You would think that after 59 years I might have notice how ridiculously big my big toes were. No wonder I have to wear such wide shoes. I swear they look like gecko toes. I was going to post a pic, but the day was so crazy I didn't have time to take one.

This has been the week from hell, so it was the first chance I had to get my sewing and jewelry done that had to be shipped tomorrow. So this morning I had a relaxing bath and that was it for the day. The rest was all work. I did figure out that I could use an old set of computer speakers we had to listen to my MP3 player with. I hung them on the kitchen wall so I can listen while cleaning. And when I was done with my making, I cleaned the dishes to music, with a little wine, cause it was my birthday.

I had a very nice dinner with the part of the family that showed up. Poppy made me lamb chops. My fave, and also my favorite "cake" a meringue torte with whipped cream frosting.  She also bought me a very cool deep fryer. It's more for the house, but I wanted one, cause I'm tired of the nasty pot on the stove we use. It doesn't really get hot enough and it spatters and boils over.

After dinner I went back to work packaging and I got an urgent email from my client, could I redo two of the designs tonight? And then the 14 year old finally brought me his list of music he wanted to buy from ITunes. So I had to do both of those and then finish my packaging. I finally finished packing and getting my labels on at 11:30 pm.

Oh I forgot to mention that I got a call from my cousin, wishing me a happy birthday and telling me about the details of his brother's visit with the oncologist. That was not a happy thing either. Quite a day to remember. I told Poppy it was my worst birthday, and she said that she thought her 16th was the worst, because she got suspended and had to have 3 fillings at the dentist and she couldn't enjoy dinner. I told her she was a brat back then and probably deserved it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Life on Mars - Family and Kids

An you thought my other weeks were crazy. Last Monday I had a wonderful visit with my cousin, to spend time with him and to find out more (if possible) about his cancer diagnosis. We sat out on their lovely patio in the sun, me, and 3 cousins, one, his daughter. It was so lovely.

We found out some things about each other we didn't even know. I did not know my cousin didn't have a middle name. He didn't know what mine was or why I had it. My middle name was my great aunt's name. She died of tuberculosis in the 1920s. She was my grandfather's only sister and he loved her very much.

The rest of the week was kind of hectic, because I had a lot of aprons to make and designs to work on. My daughter had a lot of running around to do and it was her birthday Tuesday, so not only did I miss a day of work, I had to grocery shop and make a very special 3 layer banana split cake for her.

It was such a pretty week that I took a little time (very little) to sit out in the sun, I can't work on the computer out in the sun, so I took out my jewelry. My daughter took a little time off work, to go out for her birthday, and they took the next day too, to shop and enjoy the sun.

Thursday after the kids got home, we all went to the beach by our house. My eight year old grandson was swimming and playing with a friend. He has a foam board with a cord for the lake. His friend wanted him to pull her, but she was too heavy. But kids don't think and he kept pulling. My daughter and I said to stop, and just then the cord snapped out and he was hit in the face with the plastic T that held the cord to the board. It didn't just hit his head, it hit his eye, and the eye was bleeding.

His parents scooped him up soaking wed and rushed him to the closest ER. They almost sent him home with some eye drops, then the noticed he was bleeding between his iris and cornea. They had to rush him to the children's hospital near downtown Cleveland. The accident happened at 4pm and they finally got home at 1am. In the mean time, I had heard very little and was freaking out so bad I got tons of laundry done and most of the house cleaned.

We still don't know if he will be OK, but it looks like it's healing. He won't be out of possible danger for a week or two. KIDS!!

Saturday was nice. Most of the stress over, my family got together again for a nice evening out at the local pizzeria. But my daughter and I are so behind on our work, we aren't getting any rest and her son needs to see the doctor regularly until we are sure he's OK.

What a crazy week.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What's Cooking? - Garlic Soup

I know this is a little late in the season, but there are still some of you out there with fierce colds and flu. I thought I'd post my favorite cure. I've taken an old Spanish Garlic Soup recipe and altered it over the years. The recipe is for one serving of two bowls. I always eat two. Garlic is a fantastic source of natural antibiotics and the cayenne pepper is great for circulation. 

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Garlic.


2 cloves garlic, diced
2 slices of white bread torn, crusty stale is better
2 T olive oil
2 cups water
one egg, slightly beaten
cayenne pepper
salt to taste

In a medium saucepan add oil, saute garlic until very light brown and soft. Add torn bread pieces and saute stirring constantly until brown. the garlic will brown more too. Add the water and mash the bread until it's incorporated with the water. Add the beaten egg and stir quickly to incorporate with the bread. I usually add about a teaspoon or more of the cayenne. I like spicy. You might want to use a bit less. The more you can tolerate, the better for your cold. Add salt to taste. 

If you want a bigger batch, just increase. This does make 2 small bowls, so you can make for a crown accordingly. It doesn't hurt to add more garlic either. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shops I Like - Totus Mel - Watterose - The Yarnival

This week I'm going to put a little Fiber in your diet. Three wonderful shops, again, each with their own flair style and genre. Yet they all use fiber as their medium.

I fell in love with Totus Mel when I first saw those lovely little tatted Ankle Corsets on the front page of Etsy. Oh how I wish I had lovely little feet and ankles to wear them on. Then I went to her shop and found so much more. Beautiful Masks and Jewelry. So exotic, like rare treasures for a Desert Princess. I love everything.

I've known Rose of Waterrose for a long time. Her embroidery cuffs are what drew me in at first. Such wonderful embroidered detail. Her Queen Anne's Lace is my favorite. She has expanded to do Unisex Denim and Leather cuffs, and wonderfully detailed Hoop Embroidery Art. You must visit this shop.

The Yarnival is a recent Discovery. I Absolutely love the bright colors and Bohemian Style. The crocheted Head Wraps are my favorite. So fun! But they also have charming Arm Warmers, Neck Warmers and more. I can't stand how cute those head wraps are.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 2012 Giveaway

I have been promising you a giveaway and I've been so busy that I haven't taken the time to do it. You are in luck, because I've been so far behind I am going to give away TWENTY, you hear it right twenty brooches. That's $240 worth of lovely merchandise. And it's not even going to be that hard for you to win.

What's the Prize? One of my lovely Pick a Bouquet Brooches So cute to wear for Summer and the Spring holidays and Men can even wear a s boutonniere. These are so cute on a t-shirt with jeans too, or on your purse strap or a fabric headband. Very versatile.

Speaking of Spring Holidays, this giveaway is kind of like an Egg Hunt. Not on the Whitehouse Lawn, but at my New Website

The first 20 people who can find the hidden coupon code on my website will get a brooch of their choice. There are only a few requirements

You must wear the brooch and pass out my business card to interested friends (after all, I'm looking for you for advertising)

You must pay shipping only for your brooch (International buyers will be refunded the difference between priority and first class as I will ship international first class)

You must follow the link to my Artfire shop for your brooch.

You will receive a coupon good for $12 off of the purchase price of the brooch (full price excluding shipping). If you choose to purchase additional items, remember Artfire patrons receive and additional discount.

Here is a clue, the hidden page is on a hidden page on Click a link to find a link to the page.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Traveling in China - Guilin Part Two

Another day in Guilin and we were treated to a wonderful treat, seniors doing their morning exercises in the center of town. After breakfast we set out to find the local markets.

Buying from Chinese markets can be a challenge. At least for me. All prices are up for negotiation, everywhere, with maybe the exception of Walmart and McDonalds. And many brand name stores are fake, like the Apple store I read about recently. Fake store, fake product. If you find an incredible deal on name brand product, chances are, it's a fake.

I'm not great at the bargaining thing, especially where the sellers are so much poorer than I am, and I can afford their already reasonable prices.

I helped out my traveling companions by teaching them how to say too expensive in Chinese. One of the first Chinese expressions I learned. That and chicken without bones, although the Chinese still don't know what that means.
Sometime though, you will get bombarded with little children trying to sell you things like this one who was selling flutes. They are sure that "round eyes" have more money. And they are probably right. But you can't buy from everyone.

Of course it didn't help that we told the little girl that our friend in the picture had all the money. She followed him around the whole time we were there, whining at him to buy, until he finally broke down and bought one of her flutes. Then she chased after another in our group.
 My traveling companions had a blast. They spent the day seeing how much they could talk down the locals, and feeling like they got great bargains. I had a feeling they were still paying more that another local would.

I think this young man did the best actually. He was so proud of his skill. I'm not sure what the camel was for. It might have been for rides, but the whole time we were there, no one rode it. I'm sure the woman in the picture was explaining, but who knows what she was saying.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Life on Mars - A Stinking Lousy Week

This week was not comically bad. Well there was a little bit of comically bad from the next door neighbors. They are as usual, entertaining to observe. Husband spent the weekend with a woman friend (no, she is not interested in him that way, but I think he wishes), wife in the hospital for a fever AGAIN, but this time, no ambulance. She may have maxed her annual uses last month alone. You factor the crack house explosions with the ambulance calls next door, and I think that's what keep our Fire Department in Business. We don't have a police department anymore.

Also the young man next door, once again thinks that as a child he was implanted with eggs and he is having babies. He is really obsessed with thinking that he is pregnant. I know, it's not normal, but what in my life is?

The bad was that a very dear cousin of mine was diagnosed with very serious form of cancer. I hate cancer. We don't have much of it in our family fortunately, so I don't have a lot of first hand family experience with it. But I have had friends and an ex husband with. The good is that we have some of the best Doctors and treatment here in Cleveland. He's going to a Cleveland Clinic facility. Oncology is very good and very advanced here. We don't know all the details yet, but it will be a long road.

So Life on Mars is complicated as usual. What else would you expect?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What's Cooking? - Banana Split Cake

In our family, we don't seem to go for traditional Birthday cakes. My favorite is a meringue torte, Poppy's is a pudding cake and my DS always had to have Pizza with candles. He hates sweets.

When Poppy was a girl her grandmother made a Banana Split cake. After every bite she took, she mmmmed with delight. After that it became her special Birthday cake. It's her birthday this week, so I'd better get the ingredients and make it for her.

I thought I'd share the recipe for those of you who might want to try a sinfully delicious (no calorie, wink) recipe. Originally posted in 2010.

2 cups graham crackers
1 stick oleo margarine (melted)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks softened oleo margarine
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
6 bananas
maraschino cherries
1 can crushed pineapple (in syrup)
1 pkg Dream Whip

Mix graham crackers and melted margarine together and press in a 9” X 13” pan.
Beat powdered sugar and soft margarine together until well blended.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat 10 to 15 minutes until really fluffy.
Spread mixture over graham crackers in pan. Peel bananas, cut in half lengthwise and place over mixture.
Prepare Dream Whip according to package and fold in the pineapple.
Spread the whip topping pineapple mixture over the top of cake.
Sprinkle nuts on top and place cherries so there will be on on each piece.

I cover with foil and refrigerate for 24 hours. I think it tastes better after one day. Not to worry about leftovers, you won't have any. (We have never gotten sick, but always keep extra clean when working with raw eggs)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Traveling in China - Guilin Part One

I've rarely had any vacation time in China. It's mostly business for me. But one trip, by boss brought his 14 year old son on our trip and a business associate, so it was a big party and quite an adventure.

We spent an extra day in Hong Kong, touring the city, including a Buddhist Temple. We sat in an airport all night waiting for a storm to stop, but those are stories for another day. This post is about our mini vacation to Beautiful Guilin, China.

You've probably never even heard of Guilin, but in China it is a very famous city. The town and surrounding areas are a bit staged for tourists. But that makes it more charming.

There was a movie made there about a couple who fell in love. It's a romantic story about traditional life on the River Li. Our tour guide asked us if we knew that movie. When we said no she couldn't believe it. Everyone should know that movie. This is a picture of a Traditional River Li wedding.

Or trip started on the River Li. It's so beautiful. The rock formations are very unique and beautiful.

This one is called Elephant Trunk Hill.

The people on the River Li still use cormorants for fishing. They have a ring on their necks, to keep the birds from swallowing the fish. The birds dive, catch fish and bring them to the fisherman. The birds love their owners, and are fed well for their efforts.

We rode on a huge river boat, down the river and back. There were singing boatmen and girls on the river that we passed. There were farmers herding their Water Buffalo to the water's edge to drink. The weather was perfect and the scenery was idyllic.

There was a litle incident, where another river boat almost crashed into ours. It was a scary. If you get hurt or seriously sick in China, prayers are about the only thing to save your life. Although I had an associate that had a heart attack in China, he survived and was very impressed with his care.

I wish I could describe how wonderful my trip to Guilin was. So steeped in tradition, I started to feel like I understood what it meant to be Chinese and have all this wonderful history of China in my memories. Guilin is where I finally fell in love with China. Those girls singing in their whiny little voices, squat toilets and dirty dishes didn't bother me anymore. I found it charming, and finally found China charming too.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Life on Mars - facebook and other time suckers

Did you ever click through a picture on facebook and follow to the original posting to read the comments? I did the other day. I even shared this so others could read. Now, I thought it was kind of interesting, so I clicked through to the original post. You can too if you want to waste 5-10 minutes of your life.

I was sucked into the comments which were clever, and funny, and sometimes just damn dumb. So I wasted about 5 minutes of my life reading some of them. As a matter of fact, I've wasted about 15 minutes writing this and you've wasted time too.

I really don't consider time on twitter wasted. I love to socialize and I like my twitter friends. Although I can spend an awful lot of time there.

As for my week, I'm still getting over the cold. Resistance low from the flu, so I haven't been out too much to see what my crazy neighbors are doing.

Spring is here (I hope) and the sunshine will bathe our last year of planet Earth in love and light. And if you believe that no bunker in the world is going to protect you, or George Lucas from what's to come.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bizz Buzz - Pinterest and the Law

Like the rest of the World and growing every day, I have so enjoyed browsing and pinning on Pinterest. But lately I've been hearing a lot of Buzz about how Pinterest users might get sued for their pins.

Read this post from a lawyer who is also a photographer. Just to sum it up, you have no legal rights to the photography you pin or repin, even if you are giving credit to the photographer. It's kind of like the stealing of music that was going on at Napster and all those little girls did get sued.

Yes, you heard me right, Napster users got sued and so can you pinners. This is what you signed over at Pinterest to be able to use their site.


"You agree to defend, indemnify, and hold Cold Brew Labs, its officers, directors, employees and agents, harmless from and against any claims, liabilities, damages, losses, and expenses, including, without limitation, reasonable legal and accounting fees, arising out of or in any way connected with (i) your access to or use of the Site, Application, Services or Site Content, (ii) your Member Content, or (iii) your violation of these Terms.”

The thing I hate is the way it is set up. You are not encouraged to post your own work, as a matter of fact it is frowned on, but that really is the only way photos can get legally posted there. Maybe Pinterest should change their rules. Maybe if they don't want themselves or others sued, they should consider allowing members to post their own images for others to repin.

As Pinterest sits right now, is seems that it's ripe for photographers to sue them and it's users. And quite honestly, just because you make a statement that you hold your users responsible for the content, doesn't mean that legal action can't be taken against you. I'm positive that Napster had a similar agreement for users.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Shops I Like - Jaros Design - In Dee Designs - MerCurios

Wow, jewelry. I love it. I even make it. But these three shops. Wow.

Each one has it's own unique product and flavor. I love them all and I wish I could afford to drape myself in their designs. Who needs diamonds when you can have handcrafted silver.

My first shop is Jaros Design. Sparkle and sheen. I love the pearls. Everything here is so elegant. I love these delicate beauties.

Next shop is In Dee Designs. Lovely hand formed and patterned Silver treasures. I'm really drawn to this style. The patterns and rings are wonderful.

Finally I love MerCurios. Edgy, raw, and a little on the dark side. I love the double finger rings with quotes. How wonderful are they?

Please take a moment to stop by these shops and see what they have to offer. I think you'll like them as much as I do.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Coming back to Chardon

Last week as you know there was a tragic event in Chardon, Ohio. One that would affect the community for many years to come. I've mentioned that Chardon is the closest town to my home with a shopping area. We stayed away last week, and shopped in another town, just to stay out of the way. There were so many from other towns, who came to give support or to try to insinuate themselves in the situation. We chose to give the town their space.

Yesterday we decided to return to Chardon. All along our drive, there were black and red ribbons (Chardon High School Colors) tied on the trees and homes and businesses. Not just in Chardon, but also the surrounding communities. We passed the safety center, where the young shooter was held by the police, and my heart sunk with the sadness of the whole incident.

Once we got into Chardon there were one heart signs all over town. There were portable toilets around the park and remnants of the gatherings at the gazebo. The town was eerily quiet, as though everyone had been too exhausted from the weeks events, to do any more. We ate at Wendy's and it was just a normal event. I shopped at Aldi's. Some people walked around in Chardon jackets and red and black, some businesses had ribbons and signs.

Life to an outsider might seem to have returned to normal. I don't think that the residents of Chardon feel normal though. I hope the love that the world has shown to them helps to heal the terrible rip in their lives.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Life on Mars - Is it a Full Moon

This was on of the most Bizarre weeks ever. Monday started with calling the tow truck to take the car to the garage, then news of the shooting at Chardon High school. After the rear brakes were totally taken apart and put together, brakes are still bad. $120 and the car barely stops.

Listening to the news all day, Chardon kids being held at school and no one really knows what happened or how many kids are hurt.

Turns out that the guy who runs the car shop down the street worked at my ex husband's garage as his assistant manager. Funny how life is.

Five kids shot at Chardon and the news kept repeating an interview with a kid whose ear was grazed by a bullet. I wonder what that kid will think for the rest of his life, what would have happened if that bullet was just one inch closer.

That night the first victim died, and I drove our car to the store to pick up some things. The breaks almost completely went out. I did a lot of praying and thank God there were no cars on the road. We won't be driving that car anymore.

Tuesday I call an old associate that wanted me to do some designs for him. I used to freelance for him about 4 years ago. Just out of the blue. So by weeks end I need to design at least 5 new items.

Two more of the kids die. Two in the hospital. One paralyzed.

I can't even begin to tell you how much the shooting in Chardon affected my life. I shop in Chardon, the Walmart that served as a triage for the victims is our Walmart. We buy our groceries at the Chardon, Aldi, and we repair our house with supplies from the Chardon, Home Depot.

It's not just that we shop there that has touched me. It's the great sense of community spirit and support. These people aren't screaming and complaining, they are holding hands and lighting candles. Many have great sympathy for the shooter, who is obviously a very troubled young man. All the trees in Chardon have Red Ribbons and the parents and children all marched back into the school together, from the town park to show solidarity, with other Chardon residents standing all along the route with signs of support. the first High School Basketball game after the shooting, opposing team wore Chardon shirts and colors to support their opponents. They all hugged and cried before and after the game. When the radical Westboro Baptist Church threatened to picket the funerals of the young boys, Chardon residents made a human barricade chain to keep them out.

The Chardon theme "Our Hearts Beat as One" is so true. As described so well in this story at

There was an evil thing that happened here in Chardon, but from the blackness and despair grew a beautiful rose of love and light.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bizz Buzz - Handmadeology

There are so many great resources for handmade sellers online. Handmadeology I think is one of the best. OK so maybe they are linked with Etsy at the hip, and as many know, I have issues with Etsy, big issues. But as you also know, I love my Etsy friends. I actually even buy from Etsy sellers.

Back to Handmadeology. Even though the site is primarily designed to give information to Etsy sellers, most of the advice can be used by any handmade sellers, for that matter, artists and vintage sellers can benefit from many of the tips on Handmadeology.

Not only will you find selling tips, but craft tip, creative ideas, packaging, socializing and the list goes on. The information is all inclusive and resulting from guest bloggers who are able to get more exposure for their shops by posting.

Stop in and take a peek. If you have something to say, you might want to consider guest blogging yourself. Get your shop a little extra exposure too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Shops I Like - World Vintage - Jen's Closet - Callooh Callay

Today we're going into the past. I finally figured out how to post shops I love in a quick and easy way. These are shops and people I love. Today I'm focusing on Vintage, because I really love old things, being one myself. And I think these shops are so often overlooked. Each shop has it's own distinct tone.

World Vintage on Etsy is an awesome shop full of bright, fun, eclectic finds. There is a lot of kitsch going on in this shop, and I for one, could shop here all day.

Jen's Closet on Etsy has a more subdued elegant tone. She has so much lovely China and jewelry. You have to stop by and take a look at her wonderful selection.

Callooh Callay on Etsy has an Earthy feel to her selection. She also has a fantastic selection of vintage buttons and she assembles some of them and other vintage finds into lovely jewelry.

Please take a moment to click on the links and visit them. You won't be sorry you did.

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