Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Baby Blanket Wrapped Up in a Bow

This is already to go. It's a present I made for a friend who just had a little baby boy. I'd made one for her first son and I have to be fair and make one for the second child too.

I love the plush fabrics for babies too. I'd almost like one of these quilts just for me.

The most fun for me is picking out the fabric.

My daughter went with me to help me pick it out. We looked at monkey material, super hero fabrics and finally settled on elephants...don't ask me why. It just looked so cute and cuddly that we both agreed.

And for the flip side, we went with polka dots and believe me, we looked at all sorts of polka dots, big ones, small ones, green ones, brown ones but we finally settled on little brown and green polka dots.

Then I needed the binding...

I went with green.

These are "sew" fun to make and I'm hoping that the little boy will love it for a looooong time. I know my kids sure loved the "blankies" I made for them.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bead Work

I bought some beautiful crystal beads because I wear glasses. Yes those two things are related. You see I wear reading glasses. And, I'm always taking them off and putting them back on because as a writer, I read . . . a LOT. And it's easy to misplace glasses but with this handy-dandy bead-work gadget I never misplace my glasses...well, almost never.

My hubby thinks it looks like an old granny contraption but I don't care. I think it looks like a piece of jewelry and it's not just about's practical.

So, I love to find unusual beads for my glasses. How bout you? Do you wear a chain around your neck that holds your glasses in place? If you do, this is one idea that might help you never misplace your glasses again.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Blinging out the Beams

When we were redoing the upstairs room, we thought about using pretty hemlock beams but they were soooo expensive that we opted for 2X4s instead.

You can see the 2X4 at the back of this picture...Not so pretty.

But that didn't mean I was ready to give up the beauty of a hemlock beam. So, my hubby and his brother went to work making the 2X4s appear to be beautiful beams.

First they bought some beautiful hemlock strips of wood that were 1X5s. Then he built them into little boxes.
That he could slip right over the 2X4s for a fake facade. They still have to be varnished but I think they turned out beautiful.

Friday, April 25, 2014

May Day is Just Around the Corner

When I was a kid, we used to make May Day baskets filled with flowers. Really they were just paper cones that we filled with flowers from our yard and hung a little paper handle on them. We usually used Elmer's Glue but in a pinch we'd use a staple to hold them together. Then we'd stealthily sneak around the neighborhood and hang the baskets on doorknobs and wait...

We'd watch to see what would happen when people opened their doors and found a basket of flowers hanging on their door.

It was fun and no one ever seemed to mind finding flowers on their doorstep...but I wondered where that tradition came from.

So, I looked on Wikipedia:

"The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries."

It's a shame that we are losing this tradition today.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Eggs Goldenrod

In my house this is a tradition...especially at Easter.

Mom used to call daffodils "Goldenrods" and every Easter we had lots of left over hard boiled eggs. So Mom would chop up the whites and mash the yellows and make a white sauce. Then she'd pour the white sauce over toast and crumble some of the whites on top. She'd sprinkle the yellow yolks on top and put just a dash of paprika on top to finish the feast.

I still love to make this on Easter morning.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Making Your Own Easter Basket

It's easy to make a basket - even out of paper. Here's how you do it.

You take a piece of paper and you fold it. Then you cut the edges.

Then you staple or glue the folds in place.

Then you make a handle.

And you fill it with goodies.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bake and Make

I wanted to make a dessert for Easter dinner but my family is pretty picky. I had to use whipped cream for the frosting and fruit for the filling. I wanted to liven it up with some white chocolate Easter Eggs and flowers and a few fondant blooms too. So I did.

I started off with four layer cakes that I tried to cut to make fairly even. Then I frosting the layers with whipped cream and used bananas and strawberries to liven up the filling.

In the end it turned out okay. Not as pretty as total fondant but it tasted better than a fondant cake.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Steampunk Jewelry


I wanted to use some more of the gears I got at the flea market. Here's how I did it.

I took a strip of sheet metal and laid out the gears the way I liked them.

Then I hot glued them in place. After that I bent the metal to fit my arm. And decided to add a few more gears.

And then WAH-LAH some steampunk jewelry.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Clockwork Bracelet

I went to a flea market and bought a bag full of bits and pieces of clockworks.

I laid them out and started piecing them together.

And I have plenty left over to make some necklaces too. It's so fun to make stuff from old broken junk.

Pacific University - Earth Week Events

Here's a list of upcoming Earth Week Events at Pacific University in Forest Grove, (thanks to an email I received at work):

There are several interesting speakers coming to the Forest Grove campus of Pacific University next week as part of the Earth Week festivities.  All events are free and open to the public.

Prof. Mote is the head of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute at Oregon State.  He will be giving a talk called “Five Things I Wish Were True About Climate Change” on Monday the 21st at 6:30 in Taylor Auditorium.

Prof. Trygve Steen from Portland State will give a presentation on Oregon’s awesome old growth forests.  He’s a lively speaker with awesome photos, so this will be fun.  Tuesday the 22nd at 3PM in the Milky Way.

Renowned author and scientist David Montgomery from the University of Washington will give a lecture called “The Need for Global Soil Restoration” on Thursday, April 24 at 6:30 in Taylor Auditorium.

More information on Earth Week as well as directions to campus can be found on the Pacific University website.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bridge City has a New Name for One of its own

The Bridge of the People.  Love the name, love the look, can't wait until it's open.

There's a new "multimodal" bridge in Potland. The Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People. It's a name that comes from the original residents of the Willamette Valley and it's a great name for a bridge that soars above the Willamette river. “Tilikum” means people, tribe and relative.

The bridge will host transit, bicyclists and pedestrians, but no cars. If needed, emergency vehicles can use the bridge.

On the west side, the bridge will connect with the new Southwest Porter Street. The east side will run near the OMSI. 

The 7.3-mile Portland-to-Milwaukie light-rail line will run on the bridge.

The new transit line is scheduled to open Sept. 12, 2015. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 26th is Earth Day

If you're looking for something to do to help support the Earth and Earth Day, you can check out this website for a few good "green" ideas.  Then plan to make a difference. It's easy to volunteer and you might make a few friends while you're helping the earth.

Let's all do a little and it will do a lot!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tax Day - Time for Something Sweet

Tax Day is Time for something sweet. So I was making some more white chocolate dipped marshmallows that I added some sprinkles to.

Plus I made some glitter eggs. Sweet way to spend a tax day ;D

Running is a lot like Writing

Maybe you don't see the connection but I am determined to reach certain goals and whether it's a chapter or a half marathon, it takes the same set of skills to get-er-done.

I have to make time instead of excuses. And believe me, it's much easier to make excuses than to make time. When I run, I have to work it into my life and that means getting up earlier than normal so I can clock my miles. And when I write, I usually stay up later than I'd like so that I can reach my word count.

Both running and writing take determination, setting goals and perseverance. There is no substitute for "butt in the chair" time or "feet on the pavement" time. You can't reach your goals if you aren't willing to make a few sacrifices, which might mean less sleep or perhaps less t.v. time, but no matter what your goals are, you have to set some guidelines.

You can't just decide one day to go outside and run a marathon or tell yourself you'll write the next great novel, if you don't make time to put the hard work in.

So, if you want to run a 5k, 10k, or even a marathon - or write a story, a book or an article - set some goals and find the time to do the work to get you where you want to be.

If you don't, the time will slip past and one day you'll end up wondering never ran the race, wrote the book or did whatever it was you wanted to do. Because time stands still for no man...or woman.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Portland is known for it's scenery...even in its buildings

Its a colorful city

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Another Easter Wreath

First I start with a styrofoam form.

Then I add ribbon.

And feather boas.

Some plastic eggs

And a little Easter grass.

Then I put it on the door to take a peek.

But it didn't feel complete without a ribbon...well another one.

So I made one.

And I was finished.

The Glass Castle

Jeanette Walls The Glass Castle was an interesting story. It's hard to believe it's true. This is the story of a very dysfunctional family. The mother is mentally ill and the father must have been a little too. He was an alcoholic but it would have taken more than that to live with this woman. She had money and a lot of it yet she let her children starve and never took care of them at all. In fact Jeanette caught on fire when she was cooking hotdogs (at the age of 3).

There was one wild story after another about this family and the crazy things they did. So, if you don't want to hear a sad story about the mistreatment of children, then this isn't the story for you. But, if you'd like to hear how children can overcome adversity and rise above their upbringing, then this might be the story for you.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DIY Library

There's an odd spot, behind a chimney, in our house. It's never been used for much of anything except for storage until now.

Now, my husband is reworking the area (with the help of his brother) and creating an entirely new space. Together they have framed in the odd angled walls and slopes and are building me some hidden benches behind the chimney, where I can put cushions and pillows, and they are creating shelves that will store my books. So this odd unused little corner will soon be my very own reading nook - or in my mind, at least, a tiny little library.

And, I'm so excited.

Just wait until it's finished. I can already picture it now. . . it's going to be beautiful.

Monday, April 7, 2014

ReWilding the Apex Predators

Last week we went to see an Oregon Wild presentation. It was the Wild Things movies. No, this wasn't the Maurice Sandek movie of Where the Wild Things Are. It was about apex predators and how they are being driven from our landscape.

These animals include the bear, wolf, coyote, cougar and they are disappearing. The movie talked about ways to live with these "beasts" without killing them.

It was an interesting movie and it is definitely worth seeing. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Making Easter Eggs Out of Chocolate

It's easy to make homemade Easter candies. All you need is some white chocolate, food coloring, a paint brush (food quality) and a mold.

Here's how I made these Easter Eggs.

I took white chocolate and melted it then I added in food coloring to create my colors (you can also buy chocolate in different colors - but I just use food coloring to make my own.

Then I painted the first layer of chocolate onto my molds and let it set it in the refrigerator. After it had hardened, I added my next color and let it set again.

The next morning I unmolded them eggs.

Some of my chocolate had seeped over the edges because (when it comes to food) sometimes I'm too generous.

 So I had to trim away the excess.

Then I put them out on a nice platter - I'll probably get some Easter grass from the store to make it prettier. But I thought these turned out nice and it was fun.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tulip Festival

We went to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon today and we lucked out. We made it between rain showers. It runs from March 28 through May 4th and if you get a chance you should go.

Woodburn is 37 miles from Portland so it takes a little longer than 40 minutes to drive and make it to the tulip festival. But once you're there, it's worth it. It's $10 for a car load of people so pack up the kids and make a day of it.

Where else could you ride on a pink tractor? Or view mountains and fields at the same time?

They also have cow trains for the kiddies and sometimes even facepainting. They also had a man carving wooden shoes right on the fields. And you can get 4 bouquets of flowers for only $15.00. Plus they have food and crafts available. You can wander the booths and look at some great craftman's work and fun kabaubles too.

These barrettes and pins were made from old zippers. And hooks and hangers made from recycled water faucet knobs.

and mobiles and wind chimes made from old cans, forks and watering pots...or maybe coffee pots.

But, if you come, please wear boots and pants (unless it's a sunny day) because otherwise you are going to be walking fields that are damp and sometimes very muddy.

and you're not going to be wanting to be walking in white tennis shoes (which we saw a bunch of young girls wearing...and skirts). You can do that, if you want to stand on the edge of the fields and take a few photos but otherwise, come prepared.

And if you don't want to buy food there, pack a lunch or bring some snacks and a few water bottles.

So, if you're driving from Portland and you make it to the Woodburn Outlet Mall, instead of taking a right at that exit, take a left and go straight for about . . . 5-10 miles (just keep your eyes open for tulip signs) the signs will lead you to the fields.

And then be ready to spend a couple hours wandering the fields, taking pictures, looking at the gift shop and booths and watching the carver . . . plus more.

It's a great way to spend a day.