Friday, March 22, 2013

Getting Ready for a Trip

My sis and I will be howling with the wolves...literally.

We're going to be volunteering down at Wolf Connections for our spring break.

So if you don't hear from me for a while...don't worry...

I'm just going to be in the mountains, running with the wolves...or maybe I'll be shoveling with the wolves...who knows...

But it should be fun and educational. Plus, I'll post all about it when I'm back with the humans.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

SCBWI - Prepare Yourself for the Conference

Saturday morning I went to the workshop to Prepare Myself for the May SCBWI conference.

Nicole Marie Schreiber was the speaker and she gave a lot of great pointers, tips and hints to first-time conference attendees.

Some of her important tips about getting a professional critique, in my opinion, were:

1) Follow the proper manuscript format;
2) Have a critique partner or beta reader read your manuscript; and,
3) Follow the guidelines of submitting your manuscript.

These are all really important things to remember.

She also said to remember the following self-editing tips:

1) Check your spelling and grammar;
2) Show/don't tell;
3) Run through your point of view and verb tenses to make sure you stay consistent;
4) Watch out for adverbs (and cut them out whenever possible) (all "ly" words should get a second look - like she ran quick"ly". You don't really need the quickly.
5) Try to make sure you know who the main character is and that you have a good amount of conflict.

There were lots of other tips but those are the ones that stick out in my head.

Nicole also recommended reading some good books on self-editing. My favorite is Stephen King's book, On Writing.

And one of the great things about this workshop is the way the community gathers around to help each other become better writers.

It was a fun morning, filled with great tips, hints and new friendships :D



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shamrock Run 2013 - Pictures from the Day

In Portland we like to dress up and not in fancy gowns and stiletto heels, no we like banana suits and tutus - even for our dogs.

 


 And if that isn't enough, if we don't want to dress up...we undress...and I'm not talking about in the warmth of the sun...NO! This was a cold, drizzly kind of day...you know, like Portland, Oregon is famous for. And, yet, men (old enough to know better) donned - or perhaps I should say "undonned" their shirts, and went half-naked through the streets.
 Kids dressed up like bugs, ballet dancers and other things I couldn't even begin to figure out.
But all in all it was a fun way to spend a day.

How 'bout you, did you have a fun St. Paddy's Day?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Making Shamrock Suckers

I filled the molds with sprinkles of white candy and little green shamrocks. The only thing was that the green shamrocks didn't show up in the green chocolate. So that was a bit of a fail...or well, they still tasted good.

I stuck the sticks in some floral foam and hide the foam inside a hat then I decorated the top of the hat with green paper grass to hide the floral foam.

I thought it was cute ;D


Monday, March 18, 2013

Family Finale on the Food Fest

It was a St. Paddy's Day filled with food, feasting, family, friends and a lot of fun.

We had seven family members making bolognase sauce which we all put on our plates, then we tasted them and voted. It was an anonymous taste test. We had Fatina put the sauces in the bowls and label them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.

Only Fatina knew who made what . . . or which sauce was whose. Then we all went around and filled up our plates with a dab of each, labeled so we couldn't get confused. We all tasted the sauces then wrote the number of the best sauce on a piece of paper and slipped that paper into the ballot bowl.

That way no one knew who made which sauce, or who voted for whom.



It was super fun and filling :D

Fatina counted the ballots so there could be no cheating because some family members tried to stack the ballot box (not mentioning any names...Steve).



Nikki won! It was a great way to spend a St. Paddy's Day...and next year there will be prizes and a trophy.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dinosaur Cupcakes

Fun shamrock day cupcakes

Here's one with fondant


Friday, March 15, 2013

COOK OFF

So for St. Paddy's Day we're having a family cook-off. You know, blind-taste-testing and all. And what do you think we're cooking...?

Cabbage rolls and corned beef? No, we're not that typical.

Instead we're doing Polonaise...or was it bolognese? I think I should listen more when my brother's talking. He put this contest together. I think because he used to have a restaurant and misses the feasting. But who fixes Italian food on St. Paddy's Day...am I right?

But, we're having the family over to have a celebration of food, family and feasting so it can't be all bad...well, unless I lose the cooking contest. ;D

I'll be sure to take pics and post on Monday.

What are you doing for St. Paddy's Day?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

So Sweet - Yeah, Maybe NOT



We all know eating too much sugar is Bad for you...with a capital B. But, if you've been thinking that eating "sugar free" products will be better, THINK AGAIN.

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame are safer, are chemicals. Chemicals that your body doesn't recognize as food. So don't think you're doing the right thing by using products artificially sweetened with aspartame.

Because you'd be DEAD wrong... well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration but don't be surprised to learn that
corporations, government-sponsored regulatory agencies and politicians are more interested in lining their pockets than protecting your health and the health of your loved ones by confusing the issue and making you think that you'll be watching your weight and eating/drinking more healthy if you delete sugar from your diet.

Marketers and others with financial interests have successfully convinced millions of consumers the chemicals used in artificially sweetened products are safe. Don’t believe them!

If you don't believe me, read this article here by Dr. Mercola or listen to this episode of Dr. Oz.

All I'm saying is that if it's a man-made chemical that you can buy in a store, you might want to avoid lining someone's pockets with your money and doing . . . who knows what to your health. I'd rather consume a little natural sweetness, like honey, sugar, fruit juice, etc.

Any way, it never hurts to read the labels and stay away from high-fructose corn syrup! Oh but that's another blog post for another day. . . or thought for Thursday.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Woman in White - Book Review

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins was our book club book for February.

It's one of the first mystery novels. But it wasn't even written as a novel. It was written in installments, sort of like a sitcom television series but in the written form. The Woman in White is also considered one of the first detective fiction stories.

The Observer listed The Woman in White number 23 in "the top 100 greatest novels of all time" and the novel was listed at number 77 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.

So I really expected to like the book...unfortunately, I didn't like it very much. To me, the story was super slow. I don't usually mind archaic language but this wasn't old English. This was sloth English.

I barely made it through the entire novel but I did. I finished it the night before our book club gathering.

There were a few people who agreed with me and a couple people who loved the story. So, I guess that just goes to show that you can't please everyone.

This would not be a recommended read by me unless you were reading it for a homework assignment.




Tuesday, March 12, 2013

St. Paddy's Cupcakes

Tonight is book club night at my house and I wanted to have something sweet to eat ;D

So I mixed frosting with coconut flakes and blended yellow and blue food coloring together to make green edible grass. I stuck pipe cleaners into the cupcakes and placed gold coins (really foil wrapped around chocolate) on top.

I put the cupcakes into my cupcake holder and wah-lah something sweet!
I'm thinking this will be a festive treat for us all to eat while we talk about the book we read: The Lady in White.

I'm hoping the cupcake treats will be better than the book was :( okay, so there's a hint about what I thought about the story. It wasn't my pick...




Monday, March 11, 2013

Sew EZ - St. Paddy's Day Tablecoth

I saw this cute fabric and wanted to make something out of it. Sew I made a tablecloth.

It's super simple to sew straight lines but even if you don't want to sew or don't have a sewing machine, you could always use iron on Wonder Under. It's easy to turn fun fabrics into something like a tablecloth or curtains. Kids love 'em and they will even make adults smile.

I have a book club meeting at my house on Tuesday "sew" I wanted to have something to make everyone smile.

And don't you think this little guy will do the trick?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fun for Friday

Colored Eggs? What color?

Have you ever thought about stencils? It makes being an artist EZ-smeazy! So, if you want to try it, here are a few free Disney stencils I found on-line.

Or try these. All you need to do is print, cut and paint. Wah-lah instant artist!

Here are some fun ideas too.

Stencils are an easy way to impress your kids with your artistic abilities and a good way to help them develop their skills and talents.

You can also use a crayon to draw your pattern and then dip the egg in the dye. Your eggs will come out looking beautiful.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thought for Thursday - The Shamrock


Why is the shamrock so lucky? 

Legend says that St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach about the Holy Trinity.  Those taught would carry the shamrock around with them believing it to give good luck for its representation of good.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Word for Wednesday - a game for writers

Word: Harbinger

Guess what it means.

Do you know?



Scroll down to find out




Further




FURTHER



THE word Harbinger means to Herald. Anything that foreshadows a coming event.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Oregon Book Awards Finalists - March 21st at 7:00 p.m.

On Thursday, March 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Literary Arts there will be a reading from Oregon Book Awards Finalists, featuring Nicholas Buccola, Brian Doyle, Scott Farris, Katie Kacvinsky, Carrie Seitzinger, Ceiridwen Terrill, and Leni Zumas, with music by special guest Laura Gibson. Don't forget to read the work of this year's finalists, then vote for your favorite to win the 2013 Readers' Choice Award.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Had Me in Stitches

On Saturday I went to the Biggest Antique Show in the country.

I spent hours wandering up and down the aisles and walked away only buying a few pillowcases. When I saw them, I just had to have them.

The embroidery was beautifully done, the edges were scalloped in delicate hand-sewn lace and the colors were perfect. Plus, it's hard to find "antique" linens that don't have any spots, stains or discolorations. These were in perfect condition.

And since I do some embroidery, I know how much time these stitches would take. "Sew" I bought four pillowcases and then took them home and put them right to use.
Then at about noon, I started to get hungry and wanted to get something before I got to grumpy.

So we went to get some lunch. Then I had a homemade cannoli.

All in all, it was a wonderful day.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Craft Day

It was a day spent on crafting.  First I put some lace and fabric together.

And turned it into pillowcases.

Then when the pillowcases were finished, I made some green eggs and ham (bacon) out of white chocolate, M-n-Ms and pretzels.

It was a fun day filled with crafting.