Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another Thing I Love & New Year's Eve

How did I manage to NOT put "wine" on that list? I have to admit, I'm a sucker for an interesting label, and my evaluation expertise is pretty much on the "I like this one, but I liked that one better" level. Those first two bottles are what I refer to as our "house" wines. Readily available, taste good, and they have screw tops which are really handy for camping or for say, when you are on the side of the road in Arizona with 10-20 of your sisters with trailers waiting to get into the campground! Big House Wines has a cute and fun interactive website!

I found these two at the market last night - the selections from Wine Sisterhood are very cute, and Purple Cowboy supports breast cancer research. Check them both out!

We have never been much into New Year's Eve partying, and since I am such a morning person, I just love that the east coast feeds on Direct TV mean we can watch all the festivites and 9:00 PM, I can head for bed, and hubby can get back to his movies!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Update

Miss Libby counting the moments until I'll let her back in the house. Our entire yard had the same footprint pattern... notice that tail wagging at warp speed. Yes, our dogs wear winter coats, but not those frou-frou "fashion" numbers meant for chihuahuas who never have to walk under their own power... these coats are tough-as-nails winter coats made by the same folks who make equally tough winter horse blankets. This particular one is close to 20 years old, nice thick fluffy insulation, ripstop nylon lining, nearly-indestructible Cordura outside, velcro closures and seat belt webbing for trim.

Hubby a.k.a “my patient” is doing very well. We had a period last week where he was, shall we say, “not himself” due to Valium on top of about a dozen painkillers a day, but I pitched the Valium and he’s now down to a mere five Norcos a day - 10/325’s for all you pill experts – and he’s back to his normal humorous self and therefore no longer at risk of being dropped off at a homeless shelter sans identification! (Just kidding, Connie!) He trundles around on his walker, can relocate himself in whatever room he needs to be in, and has his very own wheelchair (I love ebay!) he parks in front of this computer. The home nurse signed off on him today, but we still have P/T coming in twice a week. He's no longer waking up at 3:30 every morning – life is good! Big ol’ bright light at the end of our tunnel! Note to self: No more planning surgeries during winter! Shoveling snow & ice, managing cold, wet, muddy dogs... too much.

I managed to produce a Christmas dinner for two consisting of grilled ribeyes, baked mashed potato casserole with almonds, fresh asparagus, fresh brussel sprouts, our favorite creamy lime gelatin salad, homemade cornmeal rolls (standard white bread recipe with ½ cup of cornmeal thrown in for interest), a mincemeat pie and a pecan pie. Only managed to get one Christmas cookie recipe made, a macadamia eggnog bar. Very good, but almost too sweet for me.

My Christmas Eve excitement was to make a new batch of homemade dry laundry soap, this time with Zote laundry bars (as recommended by one of my sisters) instead of the Fels Naptha brand. I did something different this time – instead of grating the bar soap with the attachment on my Kitchenaid mixer, I cut the bars into about one-inch cubes, added a cup or so of the baking soda, and just did it in two batches in my food processor with the blade. It worked very well and fast.

Here’s the recipe:


approx 4 lb box Borax
approx 4 lb box washing soda
approx 4 lbs baking soda
3 bars Fels Naptha or 1-1/2 bars Zote laundry soap, grated

Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub. Use 1-2 tablespoons of powder per full load.

There are a bunch of laundry soap recipes out there, many of them for liquid, but I love this dry one. Liquid soap takes up way too much room!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Something Christmassy...

Since I didn’t put up a tree or any decorations this year except for a strand of lights on the outside of the house, I thought I’d share some pics of past years. This little tree sits on our dining room table. On it are the vintage pinecones from my grandmother, and these STUNNING pink balls from my dad and stepmom. My Anna Lee critters fit right in!

The pastel dish is also from my stepmother and I just adore it, so I made a little tree skirt to tie the whole thing together. So not my colors, doesn’t match a single thing in our house, but I love it! And it is so much fun to make cookies to match each section...

Here's an old photo of our POWDER BLUE flocked tree with those PINK balls on our GOLD carpet next to the TURQUOISE sofa. Okay, all together now, oooOOOooo!!! I mean YIKES! That color combo is nearly painful to behold!
This was our tree… we have mostly glass ornaments - fruit, pinecones, nuts, and Victorian “clippie” birds, but storing it took up way to much room in the shed that we “remodeled” and reorganized over Thanksgiving, so, it went to the thrift shop along with the other truckloads of stuff I’ve hauled out this fall. I’ll be looking for a slimmer tree for next year.

Margo & Debbie came by on Friday to visit my “patient” and they played Santa Claus! They brought and decorated a big potted rosemary shaped like a Christmas tree (smells wonderful!), a potted poinsettia, the fresh wreath I had ordered, and the cutest little Santa “blizzard” globe – has a fan and snow that whirls at about F-4 level! Hilarious! Isn’t he adorable?? Can’t you just hear him screaming


Friday, December 18, 2009

Patient Update

Breakthrough! Doctor from ER called yesterday to badger Duke - asked him why he couldn't just drive over... is this guy clueless? Duke had to get downright rude to get him off the phone. Then he calls me at work and asks if I had "forgotten" to bring Duke back for bloodwork. I told him I had not forgotten, I just wasn't bringing him over. He finally decided it would be "okay" for the home nurse to come to our house to draw blood and deliver it to the hospital. Imagine that. Still have a few more blisters appearing, but there is no infection, it is merely fluid trying to escape. The physical therapist just left, and she was very pleased with the progress so far. Now I just need to catch up on some of my missing sleep! I am in zombie mode...zzzzz...

Oh, before I forget - yesterday's spontaneous, humorous, drug-induced conversation:

"Six what?"
"Six eyes!"
"What in the heck are you talking about?!"
"You asked me how many eyes I had!"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Elf in for Repair

Well, we had planned on camping over the long Thanksgiving weekend, but as it turned out we only got to spend the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day at the campground with our friends – probably worked out for the best, as I had a lot to do before hubby’s hip replacement on Dec 7th. Surgery went well, daughter Lisa and I stayed in Santa Barbara four days (ooo, a vacation!) and I cannot say enough good things about our doctors at the Sansum Clinic and the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. This is a hospital where a routine part of your pre-op appointment is a warning that YOU WILL GET NO REST! There is at least one person, normally two, every 20 minutes checking to see if you are feeling okay, need something, food, water, nurse, meds, pillows fluffed, whatever. Newspaper is delivered to your bedside table each morning, and the meal bearers are nice young men in dressy black slacks, white shirts, and black ties who merrily say “room service” as they deliver your meal and announce with a flourish what you are being served. And I love their valet parking! This is so unlike other hospitals where I was afraid to leave Duke alone and you could ring for help for upwards of two hours and get NO response! I swear, Duke actually enjoys each visit! He makes the whole experience fun, joking and chatting with all the staff, and this trip they fondly referred to him as their “fun” patient!! His doctor is wonderful, with a sense of humor to match Duke’s. They jumped through hoops to get him discharged and on the road by 9AM (thought there was more snow coming) and we drove the four hours home on Thursday well ahead of the rain. Thank goodness we missed the big snow and ice storm earlier in the week! We had the very best of house sitters, so never had to give a single thought to the house or 24/7 care of our horribly spoiled dogs! It was nasty job getting our perpetually shady lower driveway by the front door cleared of ice before we arrived. Fortunately, our long steep driveway is about the first thing in town that is melted and dry as it faces due south. Duke is doing very well compared to the “other” hip which was broken only one month following the surgery to repair his broken neck. That time he was in the hospital for nearly a whole week and then a rehab center for two more weeks. We did have an issue with some inch-diameter blisters on his foot yesterday, but after conferring with the visiting nurse, visiting physical therapist and doctor by phone, we headed to the emergency room. That too went well, until the doctor called us as soon as we got home and says “I stabbed myself with the needle that I used to drain your blisters and you will have to come right back in to be tested for HIV!” Excuse me?!?! No. You want blood? Send someone over to the house and get it... you know, like maybe the nurse that was just here this morning to draw blood to deliver to you?? They swear… well, the doctor swears… it’s hospital policy to do this onsite. Tough tacks. Duke’s policy is also to do it onsite. Our site. Geesh! Anyway, I made it to work today for a whole four and a half hours, hope to do longer tomorrow. Duke still has to relocate between bed and chair every two hours (even though I had to leave him for five hours today) and he can’t get up out of his chair by himself, and is unable to manage pillows and blankets under and over his various body parts by himself, so I need to work out two trips home during my ten-hour days or do a shorter day and bring work home with me. The only other issue is “someone” hallucinating big time on all the pain meds… no, it’s not me! We’ve had rousing unwinnable arguments about spiders, mice, bats, giant wooden bread boxes and fences that were so NOT sitting in the middle of the living room, but the best episode (so far) was Duke suddenly waking up and yelling “pretty!” while looking at the reflection of our living room lamps in a mirror… sigh… does this qualify me to work in a mental ward?

The “fun” patient!

The fun orthopedist, Dr. Bliss

Here’s a picture of one of the visiting critters - another perk at the Cottage Hospital! Her name is Diamond, she’s 17 months old and her “dad” brings a big selection of homemade jeweled necklaces for her to wear. What a cutie! She visited every single patient and all the waiting rooms – Lisa and I got to see her three times!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Okay, that was unfair. It's ALWAYS gooey chocolate weather, but this recipe is special.


1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12-ounce package) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided
(I used Special Dark Morsels for the 2nd cup)
1 can (14 ounces) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional – I used pecans)
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam


PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

BEAT butter in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in flour, sugar and salt until crumbly. With floured fingers, press 1 3/4 cups crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared baking pan; reserve remaining mixture.

BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

MICROWAVE 1 cup morsels and sweetened condensed milk in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; STIR. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Spread over hot crust.

STIR nuts into reserved crumb mixture; sprinkle over chocolate filling. Drop teaspoonfuls of raspberry jam over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with remaining morsels.

BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack before cutting into squares.

This recipe is from Nestle. Sadly, I miss getting pictures of some of my recipes because by the time something is camera ready… it is already under attack by hubby! So, picture is from Nestle too!

These are so rich, I could barely eat one of them. Everyone who has tried them swears they are making them for Christmas! I highly recommend cutting your "normal" squares in half!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Soup Weather!!

At last, it's cold enough for some hearty soups! Howling winds, clouds so low and thick it looked like a rain storm... my kind of weather... at least until I start whining about how much I miss summer! Here's another incredible recipe from Cuisine At Home - Soups, Stews & Chiles. Again, hubby loves it even though there's not a speck of chile powder anywhere near it! I was also surprised at how quickly this went from "I think I'll make"... to "Dinner's ready!! The only mistake I made was in not doubling the recipe...


2 T olive oil
1 lb bulk Italian sausage (I used the hot one, of course!)
1-1/2 cups diced onion
2 T minced garlic
1 butternut squash peeled, seeded, diced into 1" chunks (1-1/2 lbs)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp sugar
2 cups baby spinach, packed
3 T brandy
salt & pepper to taste

Brown sausage in 1 T olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate; Set aside.

Sweat onion and garlic in 1 T olive oil in large pot over medium heat until soft, 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add squash and pepper flakes, and saute 5 minutes.

Stir in broth and water, bring to a boil, and simmer until squash is very soft, about 10 minutes. Puree soup with a hand blender (or in batches in a standard blender), then add bell pepper, cream, sage, and sugar; simmer until bell pepper is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach, brandy, and sausage, and simmer until spinach wilts and sausage is heated through, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Movies

The Tingler is one of my all time favorite creepy/goofy movies!

"This delightful gimmick film from producer-director William Castle stars Vincent Price as Dr. Chapin, a scientist who discovers a caterpillarlike parasite that grows in the human spine when someone is afraid and that, unless they scream, can grow large enough to kill them. He solemnly dubs this creature the tingler. Philip Coolidge plays the owner of a nearby cinema who befriends the doctor and whose deaf-mute wife suddenly receives all sorts of shocks, like the sight of a bathtub full of blood with a hand reaching out from it. Since she can't scream, she dies, and Chapin gets his hands on her oversize tingler. When it eventually escapes inside the movie theater, the film within the film, and then the film itself, stops for an announcement from Price, out of character, urging the audience to scream their heads off. Castle originally had random seats in theaters equipped to deliver small electric shocks at this key moment, and he hired women to faint and ushers to carry them out, all in his determination to get the audience to scream."

Hocus Pocus is my other favorite - I watch it at least once every Halloween!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Well, I managed to get some more Halloween stuff in place - that's the little sideboard in our entry, and these critters below are my beloved ceramic lanterns which are safe on the woodstove for now - if we get some really cold weather in the next couple of weeks I'll have to move them. All of this came from the now-defunct Illuminations.

Here are my recipes from last night!


1 lb lean ground beef
2 lbs Velveeta, cut in 1/2” cubes
7 ozs diced green chiles
1 can refried beans
1 med bottle salsa

Fry ground beef until well done. Crumble very fine into large crockpot. Add remaining ingredients and salsa to taste. Heat and stir until cheese is melted. Serve with a zillion chips.


1 1/2 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 oz green Crème de Menthe
1/4 oz Jagermeister® liqueur
rimming sugar

Rim shotglass with grenadine and sugar. Add Jagermeister to Baileys, then add Crème de Menthe drop by drop. These were WONDERFUL!!


1 oz Peach Schnapps
1 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream

Add Bailey’s to Schnapps, drizzle grenadine over the glob so that it runs down the “brain” crevices. This one did not work as well as the video indicated:

Brain Hemorrhage Shooter Video


1 part Licor 43® liqueur
1 part Orange Curacao liqueur
1 part cream

Carefully layer on top of each other to resemble the halloween candy. First the Licor 43, then the orange curacao, then finally the cream. This one I never got to try because not a single liquor store or market up here had either of the main ingredients. But it does sound really good!

The following recipes I did not make, but have in the past and they are QUITE successful... if your goal is taste AND creeping people out!!


Very simple – simply make any version of Thai Black Rice Pudding, which is delicious, and rename it... EEEEEWWWWW!!!!!


Another easy one – make a coconut cream pie – just add enough black frosting color to make the pudding part medium to dark grey before you pour it in the pie shell. Top with whipped cream or meringue and lots of black plastic spiders! (frosting color is made by Wilton and available at Michaels)

Okay, somebody stop me – I got a million of these!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Is It Fall Yet???

Ahhh, fall!! In a couple weeks time we went from 100º days to 27º ice-scraping mornings and then here we are back in the 80’s again. I can hardly keep up!

I spent the last full week of September in Kernville with 40 of my sisters but I took very few pictures – too busy relaxing and having fun! I did some lake kayaking, had a massage by the river (new rule – NEVER have a sister event without a masseuse!), helped a little tiny bit with casting for a beginning fly-fishing class, rode my trout decorated bicycle all over camp, went antiquing, and spent a couple of 100 degree afternoons sitting in the nice cool river laughing so hard it’s a miracle none of us drowned. Kinda scary, my campsite looks like I've been there for a month with no intention of leaving!

A couple weeks ago Lisa, Margo, Debbie and I visited a wonderful holiday store in Canoga Park christmastraditions, and I went nuts in the Halloween section! Found some wonderful additions to my original pile of spooky stuff, most of which came from Illuminations which sadly, has gone out of business. Most of the new items I bought are destined for my Kenskill trailer which I hope will debut at Halloween next year. I did get my office all decorated last week, and the Warners got me a whole bag of Halloween goodies for my birthday. One of them was a “door knocker” that looks like a big electrical switch – when you activate it you hear screaming and 80 gazillion watts frying somebody! I laughed so hard, and hubby just looked at me and said “there is something wrong with you.” Yeah, well. Maybe. I'll get some pictures in here next week.

Last weekend I tortured my poor washing machine with winter horse blankets and dog beds. I need to get the blankets to the repair guy – one truly needs repairing, and all three need to have Kar’s name embroidered on patches and sewn to them – it’s tough to pick out “his” hunter green blankets in the dark amongst a pile of 20 other seemingly identical ones. I ordered some bright gold cordura and am having the patches embroidered locally. My other project that weekend was to carefully scoop out all the mosquito fish from the leaky stock tank. The tiniest of the babies are barely ¼” long – the mama fish are nearly 2”. The babies zip and dart all over the place and accidentally wind up in my net. The mamas sit in one spot and don’t move – that way you can’t see them. Good plan, they were the hardest to locate and catch. The other things I carefully scooped out from the muck in the bottom (over an inch of it – YUCK!!!) were tons of critters that trout would consider, as Cathlene says, “yum-yum-yum, munchie-munchie-munchie!” The largest of these nymphs is a big fat juicy 1”. These will most likely grow up to be those stunningly gorgeous red dragonflies that I see all the time around the pond.

Margo and Debbie are planning yet another one of our wine events, but this one will have a Halloween theme! I have some DELECTIBLE things to bring… Hot Chunky Bat Phlegm which is just that old standby nacho cheese with hamburger in the crockpot, and some very visual shooters such as the Brain Hemorrhage and the Blended Frog. For the faint of heart I am also making Candy Corn shooters! Yes, I’ll provide pictures and recipes in my next post!

Last Sunday we had to drive down to Lancaster to pick up a fender for our ’49 Buick. When we arrived at the big sandy lot, what was the first thing I saw? A vintage Kenskill trailer, but not a cute little 9’ one like ours, but a great big 30 foot PARK MODEL – complete with – brace yourself, slidin’ doors! Oooooo… would I love to get my hands on that one! Hubby's in Buick Heaven and therefore oblivious to this stunning trailer... sigh...

And then...
...on the way home we took Sierra Highway because you can NOT go through Rosamond/Mojave without taking a quick look at living legend Gene Winfield’s shop – any of you with hot rod hubbies – just toss that name out and watch their eyes glaze over! He’s 82, still cranking out masterpieces, winning awards, and is the GOD of the lead sleds – Mercs to die for! Not to mention, he is the nicest world famous person I have ever met. We dropped in one day totally unannounced, and he literally put down his sandwich and offered us a tour! Dang. Well, Sunday happened to be the day of his annual event, and although we did not stop, we sure did slow down to look! Awesome. Here is a link to some incredible photos of the event WinfieldWatsonPhotos

Another cool thing on the way home were these solar towers. On the ground are thousands of mirrors that all direct the sun to these towers for collection of the energy. Pictures cannot do them justice, they are absolutely gorgeous but so bright you can barely focus on them!

Oh, I nearly forgot! One trip to the emergency room in the middle of all this! I got home from work, and ten feet from the front door I noticed this DREADFUL odor – and there’s hubby standing in the garage saying “I don’t feel good…” (This is probably why I don't have kids...) Long story short, he opened two cans of tuna to make sandwiches and ONE DIDN’T SMELL VERY GOOD!! So, what were we thinking? That the good can would balance out the stench from the BAD CAN??? Gotta love these ol’ Marines – they’re tough, they’ll eat it anyway!! He’s fine, but I made him read lots of articles online about food poisening. The botulism one really got his attention – he’s temporarily cured of his “I eat expired food” syndrome. Probably not cravin’ tuna for awhile either!
Check back next week, I’ll have more pictures added... I am so unorganzied…

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Done Paintin'

Rats, had to get back to painting! I am so close to being done – this morning I got almost all the remaining trim done – still have the fascia board on the front of the house and the post and beam out by the sliding glass door to do, but that’s it. I applied the new stick-on house numbers – we’ll see how long they’ll last. Wanted to get them somewhat properly aligned, so, I did them first in – you guessed it - a Word document.

Nice new lights are so bright against the light colored house that dining outside at night is a well-lit delight!

Decided that by next summer we’ll have these wonderfully decorative AND shady frames on the other two areas (east, south) of the house where we get blasted by summer sun.
Oh look, isn’t that cute? They painted their house to match their trailer!!! Truly, I was going to go with a darker green for the trim, but every time I thought of matching the trailer it made me laugh, so figured what the heck!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bottle Cap Jewelry

DISCLAIMER: Any sisters coming to Kernville, STOP NOW IF YOU WANT TO BE SEMI-SURPRISED BY WHAT'LL BE HANGING FROM YOUR NAMETAG! (Which IS still a surprise!) Yeah, that'll work!

Any of you who know me well, understand that when I have a keyboard at my disposal, I babble. A lot. So, if you want to do this “project”, read the whole thing first, because I have included everything that went right... as well as everything that went wrong. I found all kinds of stuff that wasn’t in anyone else’s instructions – at least not in the places I looked!

I first saw bottle cap jewelry when I was browsing through ebay to find some really neat silver earrings to wear to my first BIG Sisters on the Fly event in Arizona in 2007. I stumbled across a bunch of these:

They all had this caption:

“Frida Kahlo is a renowned Mexican painter known for her self portraits and preoccupation with female themes.”

Halfway thought about making something for Halloween, then forgot about it. Then a sister at our Ventura event this year had a bottle cap necklace that I really liked, so that got me all interested again and I thought I’d make some to hang as charms on the nametags for our Kernville event. I found a bunch of how-to sites, ordered my stuff, and I was on my way. Craft-wise? Nothing I start ever seems to be as simple as the instructions lead me to believe. It must be me. But, I thought I’d share what I learned!

First thing I learned was NOT to buy bottle caps that have the little plastic seal in them. Find ones that are plain, plain, plain, unless you want your image on the outside, which I did not. I found them in lots of 50 on ebay, every color under the sun. I had hubby drill holes in the edges with a 1/16” drill. Took him no time at all. I’d’ve needed bandaids and words bleeped out.

There are a zillion places to buy “inchies” (those little one inch round images) but I made my own by finding an image online and then copying and pasting it onto a table in Microsoft Word. Make sure your image isn’t copyrighted in some way. My page had 0.5” margins all around; table had 5 columns, each 1.5” wide, and 6 rows, each 1.75” high. Cells were all centered vertically and horizontally. I then set my “zoom” to make the page on the screen the exact size as a piece of real paper. On my flat screen, with my resolution, that means 62%. Yours will probably be different. Paste your image in the first cell and then resize it to fit your one-inch circle. Print the page, cut it out, and test it in your bottle cap. Once you are happy with it, copy and paste it in all the other cells, set all the borders to invisible for printing and there you go - thirty inchies ready to print!! I’ve printed this one for you to see what it looks like before I set the borders to invisible.

I printed them out on a nice piece of buff colored copy paper, punched them out with my one-inch craft punch, and was ready to start gluing them into the inside of the bottle caps. Whoops! Forget to flatten the bottle caps! I used hubby’s metal work table (really sturdy) a rubber mallet, and a block of wood about 3” x 3” x 1”. I placed each bottle cap right side up on a CLEAN paper towel (work table is not what you’d call “clean”), put the block of wood on it, and carefully pounded until the edges of the cap rolled back and it looked like a little picture frame!! How cute is that? They are not totally flat, but I understand some projects do use the really flat ones.

Untouched bottle cap on left, semi-flattened and drilled one on right.
Inside of same bottle caps.
Next I used a fast drying glue to secure my inchies to the inside of the cap. Seemed to work fine, so later that day I applied a “clear dimensional embellishment” to fill the cap and seal the image in there. 3D Crystal Lacquer in some, Glossy Accents in others. Oooo, looks like it’s going to work!

Came back to semi-disaster.

The images had lifted and warped, the dimensional stuff had permeated and discolored the paper, and they were just ugly. Back to the drawing board. Two trips to the local scrapbooking store and here’s what I learned. Copy paper is too lightweight to stand up to the dimensional stuff. Use card stock. The glue I used was not right, so this time I used ZipDry Paper Glue by Beacon. Note: This would be my glue of choice to effectively conceal fingerprints for a bank job… JUST KIDDING!! Place a few of your “inchies” face down on a piece of I’ll-never-use-this-again paper and smear a drop of glue over the entire back of it. Make sure it is completely covered, clear to and beyond the edges. As I placed each one carefully into the bottle cap, (no rapid assembly line here) I noticed the images were STILL lifting! Oh, wait! When I flattened the caps, they did wind up a little “bowed” in the center which you need to push back down – not unlike a badly sealed canning jar lid. I just did this by hand (50 times) but you might want to tap with a padded dowel, or something else. So, that done, I started over, again, and held each image in place (with the one remaining finger NOT covered with glue…) remember – edges are critical!

Once they are all dry, you apply the dimensional stuff. Crystal Lacquer is thinner than Glossy Accents, but both look great. Carefully cover the image making sure all the paper is covered all the way to the edge of the cap. Keep a supply of straight pins handy; you may get tiny bubbles… (Oh great, now THAT song is stuck in my head for like the next week…thank you, Don Ho…my mother is swooning in heaven, I can feel it!! Pearly shells… from the ocean… aarrgghh! Make it stop!)… which will need to be popped by the pin. I did four caps, and now I’m watching them dry… exciting, huh. Stay tuned.

Woohoo!! It worked!! All four came out perfect! No bleeding, no lifting, no warping, perfect.

I just did the other 46 and this time I did not use the little applicator needle-like tip on the Crystal Lacquer. I just carefully poured a dime sized pool/blob in each cap and slowly moved the lid around until the stuff sealed the edge all the way around. Way faster, no bubbles - and no song! Just be careful not to apply too much. Since the Crystal Lacquer is a bit thinner, you can always go back and add another coat since everything is sealed so nicely. I’ll try the thicker Glossy Accents on my next project – Halloween necklace! Muuuaaaahhhaaaahhhaaaa!!!

You will need:
Plain bottle caps, with no plastic seals
Indestructible hard surface for pounding them flat
Small block of wood for same
Rubber mallet for same
Drill to make hole for your size jump rings. (I had to use 13.5mm ones because I also had to hang 1/8” thick birch plywood nametags on them.)
Cardstock for printing inchies
1” craft hole punch
Zip Dry Paper Glue by Beacon
Scrap paper for glue mess
3D Crystal Lacquer Dimensional Glue Effect or,
Glossy Accents Clear Dimensional Embellishment

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to That Pie...

I finally managed to snap a couple shots of this pie before it disappeared! Did you see it? Good thing, because it is GONE! Recipe is down there on July 15th...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The End Is In Sight!!

Well, Friday I ran errands and painted nothing. Margo & Debbie BBQ’d our tri-tip for us so we’d have a good supply of taco meat for the coming week, and they supplied us with some yummy chicken. Dinners during this painting marathon have been a real problem. By the time I get done painting and we get all our stuff cleaned up, it’s after nine, I’m beat, and now I have to fix dinner! Although I was planning to paint on Saturday, we had intermittant T-storms all day, so I opted to lay low w/ice packs for another day. Today, Sunday, a lot of the pain in my hands is gone and, even better, Margo’s hubby Gary came over and sprayed the high areas and eaves on my last three sections! Wahoo! I filled in some lower areas, and all that is left is one wall section that might take me all of 20 minutes after work tomorrow. After that? Nothing but trim! I will provide pictures of the finished product – right now the entire yard looks like a hurricane ripped through it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why Am I Still Painting???

Oh yeah, I’m not done yet! Drat. Sunday the 16th I was up bright and early at 6:00 a.m., ready to hit to ground… I mean ladder... running, but both of my wrists felt like someone had tried to twist my hands off while I was sleeping. I slogged down a couple sips of coffee, some Aleve, and promptly fell asleep on the couch. Until noon. I woke up in more pain than I was earlier and spent the remainder of the day with both wrists swaddled in ice. Drug my ice packs to work with me and used them in place of the wrist rest at my keyboard. So, needless to say, nothing got painted on Sunday or Monday. I painted on Tuesday night until it got too dark, a little more on Wednesday, and I had to work tonight. The wrist pain has eased up, but I have zero strength and now, I THINK I HAVE KILLED MY TRIGGER FINGER!! It hurts worse than both wrists did together. Good thing I can operate left handed. This weekend I only have three (of nine) sections left to get a 2nd coat on and then I’m done except for the trim, which Sister Debbie has been helping with. We also got the new outdoor lights mounted - what a difference. What have I learned? I should have bought TWO guns like I originally wanted to. Typical hubby response, “yeah, you should have.” Why do they always say that after it’s too late? The Ryobi is really so easy to use and we could have had more help from friends if there had been something for them to do. Another plan that I heard about from a couple of people – you know, when I was hanging out in the paint section at Home Depot – was buying the $500 airless sprayer, painting your whole house, and then selling the darn thing in the paper with the standard “only used once” descriptor. Two different people told me they did this and only lost about $75-$100 of the original purchase price. They could take their time and not rack up rental costs. Not a bad plan! Would I do this again? To save all those labor costs? You bet I would. Will I ever quit whining about it? Probably not.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Painting... still.

Proof I’m over that ladder thing… mostly. Still don’t like it!

My elf bit the dust. He’s been putting off the replacement of the other hip, and all these days of standing around handing me tools did him in. Here’s a picture of my not-so-able and willing pit crew. Inspiring, aren’t they? Good thing I’m not paying either one of them a dime! And, they still want dinner - can you believe that? Still nice to have them out there for moral support - that way I'm not whining and cussing to myself all day long. Note to Connie - this proves I am NOT overworking your boyfriend! Note to J. Davenport - I noticed that the 8-foot ladder I'm using has UC-880 stamped on the side!