Friday, May 22, 2015

Decorate Your Shoes: Wearable Art

A month or so ago I found these cute shoes on Amazon (I did a Facebook post about them--I don't think I blogged here--but my apologies if you've seen these before).

Shoes by Hot Chocolate Design
That design and many others like them (they're all so cute/pretty!) are available via this page on Amazon.

Then today I found these instructions at Rook No. 17 for taking a pair of ballet flats and using decoupage to decorate them.

shoes decorated with decoupage

As someone who pretty much only wears flats (okay, if I have to attend a wedding, I might wear a low heel), these look like fun. And, of course, I have one or two pairs of shoes that were a mistake buy (those "What was I thinking when I bought these?" shoes). They're great choices for a remake.

You can find decoupage paper and supplies at Etsy or in craft stores or many places on the internet. I haven't quite determined what makes decoupage paper different from other papers yet (weight? coating?), so if you know, I'd love to hear. And, of course, you don't have to use special paper. There are many choices for what you can use to decorate your decoupage project (magazines, old calendars, or, as noted in the video below, even candy wrappers). 

There are, of course, decoupage shoes available on Etsy (mostly comic book designs):

And, if you prefer video instructions for decoupaging shoes, reclaiming old, thrift store or just remaking less than attractive shoes, here you go!

Have fun!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Delta Airlines Creates a Unique Safety Video

I don't fly a lot and I haven't flown Delta in a long time (maybe never). But they did a great job of creating a safety video that holds the viewer's attention. Stocked with internet memes most of us will remember, I had to keep watching to see which forgotten gem would appear next. See what you think.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Do You Have a Favorite Chair (or Other Favorite Item in Your House)?

I am not a decorator-type. I have zero sense of style other than knowing what I like when I see it. So, while I certainly appreciate the way others decorate their homes or manage to pull off fashion coups and wish that I had their talent, all of that is beyond me. I do, however, have a heightened sense of comfort, and the best I hope for when people visit is that they'll at least be comfortable.

One item that is most likely due to disappear soon is The Chair. It has been with us for more years than I care to admit, but I will say that its style is distinctly late 1970's, an era that no one is trying to resurrect, furniture-wise, at least not that I know of.

The Chair has been used and abused. An old-fashioned recliner (meaning that when it leans back, it really leans back and isn't meant to hug the wall), it has to be out in the open. The cushions are no longer brand-new firm, it has dents and nicks and is generally considered to be unattractive.

However (big however), it's the place I love to sit when I read. It's comfortable despite the age of the cushions. I don't worry that I'll spill coffee on it, although it has--amazingly--suffered few spills over the many years of its service. Most importantly, it's the chair everyone gravitates to when they're not feeling well. It has just the right amount of comfort and just the right amount of tilt to make a person feel safe and cosseted when otherwise uncomfortable.

Nonetheless, I think that its days are numbered. Sitting right inside the main door, it's becoming a bit of an embarrassment, and at any rate, I don't know how much longer it can hold together. All I know is that when it goes, it will be a bit like saying goodbye to an old friend.

Do you have any items like that in your house?

Have a great day!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Modernizing Your Name

...or sort of. In the United States, the Social Security Administration keeps lists of the most popular baby names. Here are the top names for 2014, and if you click on the tab, you can find popular names from other years.

Using that information, TIME magazine published a name generator (fill in your name, year of birth and sex, and the generator will figure out what your name's ranking was the year you were born and then tell you what name has the same ranking this year as well as other recent years). Kind of fun.

Clearly my name was never popular in any era. Even in 1954, Myrna was only ranked 422 (not exactly a surprise to me), but here are some of the names I might have been given in other years (I wonder where that Larry came from). I actually like most of these.

Names from different eras

Given your name's ranking from the year you were born, what name did the generator come up with for you?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

If You Could Look into the Future to See What You'll Look Like Down the Road...

This has been circulating and has gone viral, so apologies in advance if you've already seen it. Field Day had a team of makeup artists transform young couples to show them what they would look like as senior citizens. I thought it would be fun, but I didn't expect to get a bit teary-eyed. See what you think.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Do You Still Use Pencils?

For awhile I only used pencils sporadically, know...computers, and I'm a pen-loving kind of gal (especially Pilot pens). But one day when I was cleaning out drawers, I found lots and lots (and lots) of pencils, left over from when my sons were in school and I was buying them by the box.

So, I started using pencils. I found a favorite eraser (because the rubber on the pencils had degraded). This one is by Staedtler, and it's really more of an artist's eraser, but it works perfectly.

plastic eraser by Staedtler

And I bought a good pencil sharpener. I like this one because it sits on the floor beside my desk, and all I have to do is reach down to stick a pencil in. Mere seconds later, I'm back to writing.

electric pencil sharpener

So, I'm becoming very fond of pencils. But I didn't realize just how competitive pencil companies could be. This Wall Street Journal video (via Nag on the Lake) discusses the history and competition involved in making pencils. (Note: I hope this opens internationally. I've never posted a Wall Street Journal video before, and I have my doubts as to whether this one will work outside the states. My apologies in advance if it doesn't). 

Who knew that the pencil business was so cutthroat? 

I have some mechanical pencils (also leftovers from my sons), but I'm on a quest to use up all of these number 2 pencils I have. They're going to keep me in business for a long time.

Have a great day!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Does Anyone Like the Way Cable TV Operates?

We used to be one of the few holdouts regarding cable. These days I think that a lot of young people (and maybe some older ones) are also taking a step back from cable television, because they're trying to save money and cable has become so expensive that it's a bit of a luxury item. There are, admittedly, some shows I wouldn't mind seeing, but since we don't watch a ton of television, it's not cost effective for us.

Other people seriously dislike the way cable is bundled. Funny or Die did a cute video demonstrating what it would be like if other things in life worked the same way cable does.


Quiet Joys

Yesterday was a chore day for me, so even though I didn't get any writing done, I still felt a sense of accomplishment. I couldn't help thinking that there is this silly joy that results from simply having finished something that I know I won't have to do for at least another week. It's as if I'm now free to think about things that hadn't even occurred to me prior to completing the task, because that task was hanging over my head. 

And then, of course, there are so many simple things that have the power to give pleasure, but which we often breeze right by. Because we're busy, or stressed, or not paying attention. 

So, here are some of the little things that make me feel good about my day on those rare days when I really stop to think about them.

Filling the car up with gas

Finishing the grocery shopping

Finishing the laundry

The day after I've cleaned the house

Noticing that a new flower is budding

Finishing a nice long walk

Visiting a local park

Learning the name of a new plant

Reading a good book (always, of course)

Learning how to do something new

Newly sharpened pencils

Having plenty of pens on hand 

Warm socks

An organized work space

The scent of flowers in the air in the spring

The end of the day when the dishes are washed and the household has settled in for the night

I could go on, but I think that's plenty for now. I'm feeling good just thinking about these things (probably because I had guests over and my house is clean, my laundry is done and I've been doing a fair amount of walking lately). 

Have a great day!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Craft Day - Make a Soap Pouch

I think I've made it clear that I love crafts, but I'm a little lazy regarding crafts, I'm...time challenged (meaning that I'd love to be able to write and devote myself to crafting, too, but something has to give) and I also have limited crafting skills. So, anything that can be done easily and quickly and still turn out looking good wins points with me. If that something also ends up being useful, so much the better.

With that in mind, these little soap pouches couldn't be easier, and they're also incredibly economical, since you can make three out of one washcloth. I saw another tutorial where the instructor had made the pouches in coordinating colors, inserted a bar of soap in each and then tied a ribbon around 2 or 3 to make cute gifts. It was a longer video, however, so instead here's the easiest, quickest (and really easy to understand) video I could find.The actual tutorial portion begins at about 1:20 if you want to skip ahead to that. You'll need scissors, thread, a washcloth, a sewing machine, a ruler and a bar of soap (of course). (If you're having a problem, as mentioned in the comments below, and you can't open the video, here's the direct link to the tutorial on YouTube. I can't figure out what the problem is, but we'll get something going one way or another).

Here's what they look like if you want to purchase them rather than sewing your own. These are from Amazon (available here), and they do have cute little strings to hang them by. That's a nice touch. 
soap pouches

Here are some colorful ones on Etsy, available here:

And, if you prefer written instructions, here's a blog entry from Being Inspired which incorporated a cute bit of ribbon trim and a ribbon loop to hang the pouch by.

Have fun!

Best Wishes,


Monday, May 11, 2015

Angel Eyes - Excerpt

Last week I finally uploaded Angel Eyes (no new print version yet, but that's coming soon). I love the cover (by Creative Paramita). She did a great job, didn't she?

Here's an excerpt. I hope you enjoy it.

Have a great day!


Chapter One

“This was a bad move, a major mistake. I can’t believe I’m doing this.” Sarah Tucker’s head pounded. She turned the steering wheel, rounding a curve. Most women who were nearing thirty were leaving home, but not her. No, she was returning to her hometown after nearly twelve years away, and she didn’t want to think about the reasons why.

Pulling up at the stop sign just before one of the last few turns leading to the town of Gold Tree, Wisconsin, Sarah popped the clutch and wrestled the aging beige rustmobile through the gears, negotiating the snaking road. In the winter the road would be slippery with snow that threatened to send a car skidding into the trees, but in the July heat, the tires clung to the asphalt and held tight into the turns.

Ever since she’d made the decision to come home a headache had been threatening, and now the pain blossomed. The steering wheel thrummed beneath her fingers. The licorice road with its yellow center stripes was like a rope pulling her back into the past.

Her younger years had been ordinary, even happy...right up until that day when she had been ten and had had her first vision. After that her world had changed, and nothing had ever been ordinary or right again, especially where her father was concerned. She had turned into his golden goose, no longer free, until she’d finally bolted just after her eighteenth birthday.

She hadn’t been back since. When she’d lost the baby she’d been carrying by a boy who had promised her everything and then left her with nothing, she had swallowed the grief that threatened to consume her and continued to run, knowing that her father and the boy weren’t unique. There were others who would use her or any offspring she might have. A normal life wasn’t in the stars for someone like her.
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