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Two New Free Printables for Valentine's Day





Happy Valentine's Day, here are some sweets to tide you over until the 14th.  Yes, some of the best things in life are chocolate. Chocolate and puppies are right up there at the top of my list of serotonin boosters.

I added two new Free Printables to the sidebar.  Click on the label to see all the Free Printables.

These new printables are letter sized sheets of One Inch Circles of acronyms plus Valentine sayings and images. Two different printables for the same holiday.



What could they be used for?  Print, cut them out and stick on the bottom of foiled kisses, on the top of wrapped candies, threaded on a party straw, as a message on a frosted cake, and so on.









Free printable
Valentine Sayings and Acronyms on white background.













Free printable
Valentine Sayings and Symbols on black background.





Happy St. Valentine Day ...

It's Time for Second on the 2nd, Plane to Sea At the Beach Aceo

Waking Up to Rainbows
Water is on my mind.  

An immense, unmeasured body of water that seems to go on forever and is so deep that it's a challenge to navigate, explore, and impossible to control. 

Ever since going on my trip last year I daydream, more than a little bit, about going on another ocean voyage.   If wishes came true, I'd be posting this while looking out to the horizon, where only waves, waves, and more waves surround the ship.

I'm entertained by their songs.  The waves are more than chaotic, small ones, huge ones, little ones being pushed forward and side to side.  They confide, no brag their secrets to the wind and offer to protect the treasures of the third world many fathoms below the hull.

I don't succumb to their calling, more or less their temptations, because I have miles to sail, or is that, cables, before I close my eyes to rest for a while.

It's Groundhog Day, so ocean wistfulness is a far away scheme.

I'm sharing Plane to Sea At the Beach Aceo  with you for Second on the 2nd  linked at Altered Book Lover.  It's a chance to share an older post once a month, on the 2nd of each month.

My aceo was first published way back on  July 25, 2011.  Thanks for visiting.  

Changes to Google Friend Connect Advise Your Blog Followers


"Recently Google made an announcement on their blog an  Update on Google Friend Connect.  Have you read it?  These two paragraphs are the highlights:

    *  As part of this plan, starting the week of January 11, we’ll remove the ability for people with Twitter, Yahoo, Orkut or other OpenId providers to sign in to Google Friend Connect and follow blogs. At the same time, we’ll remove non-Google Account profiles so you may see a decrease in your blog follower count.

We encourage you to tell affected readers (perhaps via a blog post), that if they use a non-Google Account to follow your blog, they need to sign up for a Google Account, and re-follow your blog. With a Google Account, they’ll get blogs added to their Reading List, making it easier for them to see the latest posts and activity of the blogs they follow. *

If you're reading this from your blog's dashboard through Google, you should be okay when the change takes place.

Some of our readers may not know of the change, or don't have a Google account.  Tell them to please consider signing up for one so they may follow our blogs.

If a Google account is not an option, there are other options, some in my sidebar. Thanks.
Reminder, the Google Friend Connect change starts during the week of January 11, 2016. "

Keep reading the how to post of a simple install of a GFC gadget, I first published this on February 12, 2012.

The original post follows:

If your Google Friend Connect gadget stops working, you can install this code below to add a Follow Button to your blog.     The button will not have a count or images of  your followers, but it serves to let them follow the blog, a little convenience.  When  the GFC stops working on non-Blogger blogs sometime this Spring,  March was mentioned, you might try this as a substitute, I have no idea if it will work at that time, but here it is if you need it.

Before you copy and paste the code, write  your Blog Id Number down, you will type that number in the space where I've typed in RED, below.  Don't type in "YOURBLOGIDNUMBER."  You can find your Blog Id number by looking at the address bar after you are signed in and have your draft.blogger page loaded.

Sign in to your account and go to your draft.blogger where you choose Layout and Add a Gadget, choose add HTML.  Paste this code in with your id number and give it a title if you want, Save, and move the gadget where you want to place it.  Preview if you like, and Save Arrangement.

<center><a href="http://www.blogger.com/follow-blog.g?blogID=YOURBLOGIDNUMBER" target='_blank'><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lyvoqBODutQ/TagvjM9vDCI/AAAAAAAADsw/2m38l41mVYY/s1600/Blogger_Follow_Button.PNG" /></a></center>

That's it, simple and quick!  You might want to bookmark this post to come back to after the GFC changes are made or try it out now.

Stick around to read the next post about the new Linky Followers tool, which I'll leave at the top of the page for a while.

Second on the 2nd Nearly Free Wall Art the Possibilities

There's bits of garland strands on the carpet and the kitchen counter is covered with piles and bags of Christmas decorations.  Yes, it is the take down decoration day.  Normally I leave the lights and decorations up until the 6th and take them down on the 7th, but this year I said it's going to be today. The front door decor will come down in a day or two.

In between detangling garland from lights, I watched an old Hallmark movie, Mystery Woman, cooked an early dinner and while blog reading came across the series,
"Second on the 2nd" at Altered Book Lover-Bleubeard & Elizabeth.   Thanks, Elizabeth!

If you like being creative without spending bags of money, my post: Your Nearly Free Wall Art may be right up your alley.  Originally published August 2013:



Do you have $1.00 (plus tax) and an empty picture frame?  That's all you need for this look.

This is the follow up to Paint Your Own Wall Art, A Home Seller's Tip.


decal framed wall art

While decluttering to prepare the house for sale, I found several wood picture frames.  The glass was gone as well as the backing, I had been saving frames to make a Vision Board or Inspiration Board.  I'd also thought of making message boards or just framing groups of aceos or other small works with these frames.

Just hang your empty frame and place the vinyl wall decal inside. That's it.  If you want to decorate the frame or put the decal under glass, those are nice additions.  I'm running down the clock, so just framing it was the way to go for me.

I first saw these decals in one of those $1.00 stores, although in this store, most prices were higher.  I didn't get my first choice of decals since I didn't buy it when I first saw it, but this one seems to have an appropriate message.

The decal came as one connected phrase with the little bird, flower, and butterfly separate.  I moved these around until I got the look I liked.  You just easily peel it off the wall, there's no mess or sticky residue.

I made these wall art pieces because I took down the paintings and photos to get my house ready for sale, but the ideas would suit anytime.  Are you saving broken things for those "some day projects?"

The Blog Focus Funnel Move Forward by Looking at Your Past

Do you know where your blog focus is?  It's not lost.  What topics do you gravitate to as a writer, as a reader? This post isn't about marketing or gaining new readers (Okay, it would be nice to have new readers too.)  No, this post is about looking back and gaining a fresh perspective.

The rollover to the brand new year makes for resolutions, but sometimes, looking where you have been instead of where you want to go (not the gym) can also be the way forward, and not just for blogging.





























Some drastic life changes have been thrown at me in the past few years.  I finally could not face blogging as a writer.  I would read my saved blogs from time to time, but couldn't comment, at least for the most part.  I used the time away from blogging to work on healing, physically and otherwise.

As time passed, I wondered why I hadn't recommitted to blogging.  I knew that having a focus on something would help me stand up wherever I needed to stand.  In other words, put the bad stuff to the side and zero in on something to take my mind and therefore, my feelings, off the problem and on to something that would be a healthy distraction.    Sort of a, "Words don't fail me now" mindset.

That's all well and good, but it didn't work.  If you could see the room in my house where all the arts and crafts stuff await, you might think I need no excuse for tucking in to the boxes, paints, papers, beads, and jars.  All that inspiration is overload sometimes.

Some of the problem was that I didn't know if I wanted to start again.  I missed connecting with other bloggers, but didn't have the energy to keep in touch.  On the other hand, I need to finish what I start or bring it to a satisfying last post, not just drift away.



I Miss Her.


Where to start?

I have a stick-to-it-ness that has helped me through the years.  I don't give up unless it is without a doubt, all things tried, not able to work.

Just last month I fixed the bed frame that "couldn't" be fixed and saved more than a hundred dollars by not giving up.  Not bragging, just saying, sometimes where there's a will, there's a way. I have the bruises to prove it.







Getting back to the blog here for a minute.  I looked at the posts I've published since I started the blog.  I was unfocused, without direction, wanting to dabble in all sorts of subjects.  A racehorse at the gate who wants to be in all the slots, in the excitement of a new lineup, she knows she can run the track lanes inside and outside.  The curves are part of the challenge, but all that zigging and zagging is tiring and makes a very scattered course and a horse pulled in too many directions.


Some of my posts were brief, yet I don't regret some of those shorter posts.  I enjoyed saying, "Thank you" in the meme for November on "Thanks."  30 Days of Thanks put into words without photos, and I did it.  ( I think I will go back and add photos.)  I'm thankful to have stuck with it. The "29 Faces" art challenge was just that, it was fun and difficult and I am glad I persevered.

There were Blog Hops and Giveaways which brought new readers and blogs to me. I received terrific gifts of blogger's art and products.  Sharing my new aceo or other work gave me deadlines and a starting point.

All this said, I was not sure what to write about.  What was I willing to share, how much or little to say, who would want to read?

It takes some of us longer to get "it."  If we want to write, we write.  We take the chance no one will read, no one will comment, no one will understand.

The more critical we are with ourselves, the easier it is to seek perfection and never achieve it. The less perfect, the fewer risks we take; which is when we should take MORE.  More risks, please.



One day I decided to share my oh so less than perfect attempt at creating art. Making art or something close to it was a shocking vulnerability.  It didn't have to be that way.  However, the past can't be overcome if you let it have more power over you than the present.

So I held my breath and published.  The clocked ticked on and no one came banging on the front door to shout their ridicule at me.  If they laughed they did it off the blog.  I said to heck with the critics, they controlled my life far too long.  If I could have the courage to publish once, I could do it again.  Although there are pieces I'm not pleased with, I feel relieved to work on them and try to be a little bit better as I learn, take risks, and experiment.  

You Make My Blog Smell Better
Keeping up a regular blogging schedule can be tiring. You have to fit all of life in.  I think bloggers who post on lots of hops and have daily or weekly posts must have a blog fairy helping them, or at the very least high energy, plus technological knowledge which has eluded me.  I'm so last century...things I use on a daily basis weren't even on the drawing board then.

In my early blogging, I learned a few little html tricks to change the look of the blog.  I didn't have a digital camera and was enamored of the beauty in the blogging world. With my eyes, all the splashes of color looked more intense and the variety was awesome.

There is no way to keep up with all the changes in technology without expending lots of time and a chunk of money.  I don't have those.  It may be old fashioned to want a slower pace, but we all have to do what is best for us. No blog martyrs . (New meme.  Just kidding.)



With that said, I sometimes get that little pinch of disappointment when no one comments on a post.  However, I know that there are many bloggers who write without getting any eyes on their pages and they continue to document their lives and their work.

I recently read that blogs were going to become extinct, that it's an old way of communicating and there is less time for reading and writing in these days of instant everything (almost.)  Then I read that businesses who maintain a blog do better in their balance sheets.




So, are businesses taking over blogs or are bloggers becoming businesses?  We can share the space even when we don't fit those slots.

This is no secret:  If you're looking for an expert, click away.  I'm no expert and I know that.






  • So what's the point of telling you all this? None, except if you want to go over your blog's history and see where you started and where you are now, it wouldn't hurt to take a little look.

  • You may be very happy with yourself. You may say that you enjoyed one subject more than another.  You may wonder what the heck you were going on about. (Raises hand on the last point.)


To make a longish story shorter, I think that I will try and fit more projects into the blog.  I sometimes just do the work and forgo taking photographs and notes along the way.  I do know that some readers only want the highlights and do not have the time to read a quasi-tome such as this. Sorry, it's in my genes, but I'll work to hone it down a bit.

You will find that projects in art and jewelry are going to be more of the focus.  When my eyes allow, I will finish some embroidery projects and share those because I started them and said I would show when they are done, and so I shall.

I don't think that recipes will be appearing very often.  I have always considered myself a non-expert cook kind of woman.  I do better without following a recipe to its exact details, and that's not what you want to know.



Dracula and Germs Stay Away Stew from New End Studio
I once jokingly referred to myself as
Mrs. Letitia Cropley  a character on "The Vicar of Dibley."  I know that's far from the truth, but we both share an adventurous attitude with ingredients and a desire to feed people.

I am going to try and feed you with my words and pictures, and thank goodness, not my recipes. Although, the ones already posted are tasty.  No parsnips or snails among them.

Free Blog Award Buttons

Jellybeans, ladybugs (ladybirds for the British reader), a nice cup of tea are a few of the images on these free blog award buttons.

http://newendstudio.blogspot.com/search/label/Freehttp://newendstudio.blogspot.com/search/label/FreeFrom time to time, okay, when I put off doing things on my "To Do List"  I will get in a daydreamy mood, nearly swallowed up in the maze of photo websites.  So many gorgeous images!

http://newendstudio.blogspot.com/search/label/FreeAre you a Liebster Blogger ?  You are welcome to use any of these images for your blog awards.  A little link to me or a mention would be much appreciated.
http://newendstudio.blogspot.com/search/label/Free
Congratulations on your awards!




http://newendstudio.blogspot.com/search/label/Free




Free Printable Password Log

There has to be a better way to keep track of User Names, Passwords, and the dreaded Security Questions and Answers.  Yep, from my index cards, to Post Its,  also stationery and envelopes, to mini Composition Books, and all the dreaded little scraps of paper, or writing it on  the bottom of tissue boxes... yep, I've done all that and more.  
printable password log sheet newendstudio
Free Printable Password Log

Sometimes I look at my notes and wonder which is the User Name and which is the Password? I've had to phone up to get access and couldn't answer the Security Questions, I mean, you make up the answers too, don't you?

Well, after some trial and error, I designed for you this gift of a Free Printable Password Log.  It is a simplistic form with the basic information to guarantee you (and I) won't get locked out of our online accounts.

Since I am a bit frugal at times, especially when it comes to printer ink and paper, I made the form without big blocks of color.  Print once and save a blank one to make copies as you need - or print as you need.

Hope this makes your Log In to your online accounts a breeze.





A Very Merry to You

christmas package and greetings

The year has gone by and I wish I could add a few more days to it.  It's been a while, longer than I wanted, since I last showed up here to write a few words.

2015 took my challenge and threw a few things at me, which I dodged and almost missed.

On the positive side, I took a trip by air and another one by sea.  Both of those filled me up and will keep me going until I travel again.  You will be able to read about it right here.  I miss the water since moving west and had lots of water views which I repeat as a mantra, "the beach, the waves" when irritations pop up, as they do to all of us from time to time.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Here's to a Blessed and Peaceful New Year!    

Ending 2014 With Thanks

The third memory bracelet is this one in purple with silver charms.  It was part of a group which were made for three friends at a difficult time in my life. I just wanted to thank them for being there in spirit and in words.

I thought it would be nice to end the year on my blog with a Thank You to readers who stopped by on a regular basis and to readers who did a quick drive by just to see if anything was interesting.

2014 kicked me around, and made life difficult. However, I survived bruised and cautious with a deeper understanding. 2015 better watch out!
 



Happy New Year ...
May 2015 be
Generous and Kind
to YOU!

Christmas 2014 Traditions Yes and No

















There's a little dry spell here on the word front, what with packing, unpacking, painting, and other stuff. I looked back at my posts from Christmases past and there are recipes and videos, and lots of Lucy's precious memories.

This year I am going very low key on the cooking, in fact there's a choice of meatloaf or nachos debate going on in my fridge. I bought some sprouts and carrots for roasting, so I may jazz up the meatloaf and mash with some of those veg on the side. Try as I might, I am not a traditionalist when it comes to holiday cooking. Are you?

You don't have to know, nor care, who would? TMI that I still have turkey in the freezer and leftover ham beside it. (That's why meatloaf sounded good.) 

Don't we live in remarkable times when we can just retrieve food from the fridge/freezer? Unlike the Waltons.


This video with silent excerpts from 'The Children's Carol' a Christmas episode has Mariah Carey and a choir singing, 'Silent Night' in the first part. The last 60 seconds is a clip from the episode where the family and friends sing Jason Walton's Christmas song.  

Two British children, temporary refugees from the bombing in London, end up staying with the Walton family. Apart from the seriousness of the war, this episode is a reminder that things never stay the same, they often change and we have to adapt and accept. 
People and other loved ones come in and out of our lives and we come and go in theirs. 

I had the opportunity to visit Schuyler, Virginia some years ago. The 'Walton Mountain Museum' is located in the school. I had a white knuckle grip on my steering wheel driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains- something I'd not like to repeat. But, if I hadn't persevered, I wouldn't have talked to some interesting and likable people who love the Walton stories.  (Earl Hamner, the author, his career includes movies, tv series, and so on. Twilight Zone included!)  

(I feel a dry spell moistening up here, so I better wrap this up.)   
  
I leave you with my wishes for a 
Happy Holiday!
Hope you have a safe and peaceful Christmas.

Enjoy the sprouts and the eggnog!

Playing With My Food Making Corn Muffin Waffles in the Waffle Iron

As if I don't have real work to do at home. Yes, I played with my food again. This time, I made Corn Muffin Waffles, and I liked them. There's a song in there somewhere.

Stuffed French Toast Waffles got me thinking about what else I could cook in the underused waffle iron. I had two boxes in the pantry of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix and decided to sacrifice one in the test.

I made the waffles/muffins according to the directions on the box, and added a tablespoon of vegetable oil. I thought the oil might help the waffles not stick to the waffle iron- and it worked. Whether they would have stuck without the added oil, I don't know.

You can see the results of my experiment, noted A, B, and C. I got sidetracked on C and left them in too long, but they were still edible.  A was me being too anxious to see what was going on. B was because of the little bear's bed, no that's the wrong fairy tale.  But it was nearly perfect.


So, I think the experiment was a success. I got 6 waffles from one box of mix. When I wanted to eat one, I just popped it into the toaster to reheat. Lovely.

These are good topped with a fried egg, the egg keeps the waffle warm and steamy, not hard and crisp. No sawing required.

Sometimes it's okay to play with your food. You might like the result and be inspired to play some more. Not always, but sometimes.



Two Things I'm Happy About

Wanted to share with you two things I'm happy about. One is this beautiful Christmas Cactus. I bought it last week and it's blooming like crazy.

I think it must be enjoying the new Swan White color on the walls of the parlor. I know I am. The previous color(s) were depressing, so although the white is a drastic change, I'm going to see how it feels over the next few months.

The ornaments image was taken last year(?), could have been the year before.

The second thing I'm happy about is sharing the second memory friendship bead bracelet.  I made three bracelets and this is the second one to show you. I showed you the first one in this post, Blending.

This one was made considering how much she enjoys her plants and nature.

I used antique glass seed beads, new charms and new wood beads.

I wanted to give each of the ladies something to recognize them individually and to thank them for their support and good wishes.  I can't measure what that means to me and I think they know that.

It's just a little thing, but making these bracelets helped me, too.


Eggsactly As You Like It Easy Casserole

Hope your December is off to a good start.  The computer hobgoblins visited me last week, so I decided that waiting them out instead of fighting them was the way to go. Things seem normal again, so I am sharing a recipe that is easy for you to make, bake, and hopefully, enjoy.

I call it
Eggsactly As You Like It Easy Casserole. (Corny)

It's been about a month since my last food post. Holiday leftovers could be used in this casserole, so instead of forgetting to share the Sausage and Stuffing Muffins from Thanksgiving of 2013, I thought I'd better get to this one before the leftovers are gone. Thank goodness for freezers.
  • Preheat Oven to 350F
  • Grease or Oil Spray a small baking dish     (Mine was an 8 inch square.)


Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cup Milk or Half and Half
3 slices of bread or enough croutons to cover the bottom of the dish
Dash of salt or omit it
1 cup cooked diced Ham or Turkey or Sausage or combination thereof
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese or other cheese that you like
Spinach, thawed or fresh, chopped, about 1/2 cup, omit if you're not like Popeye.
Spices or Herbs added to your taste including liquid seasonings if you like.
Any other vegetable if you like, cut small or shredded, about 1/2 cup.

Directions:
Cut and fit the bread or croutons into the bottom of the baking dish. I removed the crusts,
     but you can leave them on or not, your preference.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and any spices/herbs/sauces.
Add any vegetable to the wet mixture and stir.
Pour the wet mixture onto the bread.
Top with cheese.
Bake for about 55 minutes.  That's it. 

Note: This could be doubled easily.  I will make this again without the bread and see if it's doable. I made this one with leftover ham and turkey, the next one will be with sausage or sausage and cooked bacon.

I like the ease of this recipe, and I can walk away from the kitchen while it's in the oven. I never used to like casseroles, but they are a help to me. What about you- do you like to eat casseroles?  

Blessings in the palm of my hand

Something's going on - it always is. Sometimes the joys come out of nowhere? We don't expect them and feel unworthy when they come to us.  

A few weeks ago this ------------------------------>
lovely little Blessings heart showed up in a package at my front door.

That morning was going downhill fast and then out of the blue a message from a special friend and the gift. The message was a hug from an understanding friend.

The heart, small and substantial, polished and smooth with indentations.  Not unlike a human heart being welded together, all the broken bits- splits and chips, melding together into one workable, wiser, and defensive thing.

This heart, shiny and new, is weighty, like an anchor in the turmoil of the past few years and months. Focus on the blessings, I tell myself.

I let her know how much this meant to me. With things up and down as they often go, I was blessed from out of nowhere, not actually nowhere, but out of the ordinary. That's what she is. Extraordinary.

I wish everyone of you will have an out of the ordinary day whenever you are most in need of one. You are blessed and a blessing to others.      

Blending New and Old in Friendship and Memory Seed Bead and Charms Bracelet



It's snowing here today, the first of the season. I'd been expecting it, and sure enough, this morning it was all over the trees and the ground. The snow is piled on top of the fence line and the big trash can at the end of the driveway has an inch or more on top of the lid.


A few birds are looking for their early morning feed amongst the unraked leaves in the snow. Squirrels are still laughable as they shake their tails and run in circles up and down the big tree trunk. I have to hold on to these images, for soon these little peeks into the natural world will disappear until Spring.



In a little while I'm going to paint my parlor or living room as it's also known, sorry I have always called it a parlor. I hope this is no more than a three day job, for I am slowwww and meticulous. I still carry the damp rag, to wipe up my accidents. I might be meticulous, but there's still some clumsy in my movements. I'll probably never grow out of clumsy, and not for lack of trying. Just put the table over that spot.

The snow is steady and heavy at the moment, so I am going to distract myself from the white onslaught by sharing this bracelet with you and then start moving the furniture and getting on with the paint job.

When I moved into the house, the parlor had a mucus-like green swirly stripy look and it made me nauseous just to be in or walking through the room. The front door was the same snot-like color. Sorry, I wanted you to know how much the green was a poor choice. Weird, ugly, just repulsive.

I painted the parlor a beigey/tannish color and one wall was a very light yellow- all because I ran out of paint and energy. I wasn't happy with the end result, but had to let it stay those colors for a while.

For a few years I fought the urge to paint it white, but no longer. I have given in and bought a primer and paint-in-one in something called, "Swan White." It should be white enough, not gray and not too glaring.  I hope it's worth the extra money for a primer and paint in one.

I thought this striped design might poke through, even with a primer, so I used some light colored paint leftover from another room to paint over the stripes.  

Some of my furniture has white in it and I bought a small coat rack with iron hooks to put on the wall after I clean and paint it in a white color, too.  More ornamental, but still useful. (Finally, a thrift store score.)


It's been three months since Lucy died, and yesterday was the anniversary of my Mom's passing. It's taking everything I can to muster the energy and do the work in myself to move forward. Setbacks not excluded.


The snow is not helping, but I can't control the weather. That cold blanket of white, just confirms the finality of things. It's going to be a long time before there is life again. No green poking through, the birds, squirrels, and rabbits take themselves to another place.

I don't want any big changes right now. For me, painting is an exercise and a comment that no matter what happens, life doesn't ever stay the same. Even though I'd give anything to have them back with me.

I wanted to show you this bracelet, it went to a friend. It was a labor of love and helped me to make a little inch-hold in moving on. Not quite a foothold, in due time, though.

The glass seed beads are antique, some of the other beads are upcycled, and other charms are new. The bracelet was made with the wearer in mind.


I found the burlap bags in a craft store. I sewed on the flower and button felt. The reverse side has a white heart (to which I added her initial.)

Whatever you're doing this week, be safe, have fun and keep your chins up.

All the best,
Gloria

If You Forget, Just Add Garlic Plus the Necklace is Finished!

Anybody know that expression, "I can't remember half the things I was supposed to forget?"  Or, something like that?

I looked at a picture file on my computer and I saw a half dozen or so nice lookiing meals. I cannot remember what the ingredients or the steps of cooking.

It would be funny except that, this is the way I often cook. Most of the time it turns out fine, if not, add garlic, and no one is the wiser, no really, no one is the wiser.

So, before I forget, I wanted to share with you that I got my courage up and submitted a necklace to the Jewelry Gallery section at Jewelry Making Journal.  Being offline for a bit and not checking emails, I didn't know that I received an email from them (Rena and Alice) to let me know my necklace was included in the latest newsletter and on the website.  Pardon me while I regain my composure.  It's probably not a big deal to any of you, but for me, who doesn't rock the boat or reach for anything too high, it was a lovely little  thrill - and I want you to be a part of it.

If you have a moment, will you please click the link and leave a comment.  The Jewelry Making Journal has a great amount of information and sharing tips among contributors. You could spend hours reading through it and maybe sign up for the newsletter before you leave.  

I showed the necklace here on the blog in a different, unfinished state and received helpful comments.  For some time the necklace and other projects were set aside while I shuffled my way through some bad times.  A couple of weeks ago I finished the necklace and a few other items which had been on my mind.

I'd appreciate if you could comment on the necklace and hope you enjoy reading the JMJ.

Make Stuffed French Toast in the Waffle Iron and Skip the Griddle

Instead of taking out the waffle iron to make waffles every once in a while, try making other things that are just as delicious. Make stuffed french toast and skip the griddle for a change.

I thought it was going to be a messy cleanup and I was proven wrong. The wet bread cooked up brown and tasty. I layered some cooked bacon and slices of cheddar cheese on top of one slice and placed the second slice, closed the lid and in a short time, the cheese was melted.

Pressing my luck, I also made regular french toast, grilled cheese, and toasted sandwich with filling.  Of all that I tried, the grilled cheese was the least favorite, but that's because it takes a lot of butter and I don't want all that cholesterol.


I've used the waffle iron to make chocolate waffles and regular waffles.  When I have the patience, I make about a dozen waffles, cool them on racks, and once cool, sandwich them between waxed paper or parchment paper and freeze them. They taste better than frozen factory made store bought waffles; I know what the ingredients are; and I adjust the flavors to suit.  Bon appetit!

Have you tried something like this, too?  What's your favorite waffle combo?

DIY Personalized Layered Felt Bookmark with Scraps and Assorted Pretties

Back in the olden days (before the Great De-Cluttering of 2013) I bought some brown wool felt to make a Rosary Case as described in this blog post.  The de-cluttering is ongoing and the sewing machine was donated, so any sewing projects will now have to be limited to hand sewing or using glue.

Here is a very easy DIY using some of the remaining wool felt, silk necklace cord, eyelet, wood beads, glue, and a crystal letter "C" purchased for 25 cents.  The silk cord was also a clearance item for 25 cents, just thought I'd throw that info out there, and I have another in the pack.  Bargain shopper.

Cut the felt with pinking shears or whichever scissors you desire. I cut three small rectangles for layering. Eyeball or measure precisely the rectangles or make them circles or triangles if you wish. Iron the crystal letter on the smallest rectangle according to the package directions, let cool before handling.

While the crystal is cooling, decide where you want to place the eyelet on the largest rectangle.
Punch a hole for the eyelet- I used a paper punch- and attach the eyelet.  If you don't have eyelets, no biggie, but they give a smoother, cleaner finish.  A small grommet is another option.



Glue the middle size rectangle on top of the largest rectangle and glue the personalized rectangle on top of the middle one.


Thread the silk cord through the eyelet, make a knot, thread a bead, make a knot. I made this bookmark to slide over the cover and inside a hardback book of about 9.5 inches tall. If you need a bookmark for paperbacks, size the silk cord to that. The cord is doubled. One length goes over the front of the book and one length inside the book.

Near the bottom of the cord, thread beads.  Between the middle and last bead, tie a couple of knots. Tie knots after the last bead and finish off the cord with a bow or however you want it to look.  The other beads can move freely, being sized up to fit snugly on a smaller book.



I considered whip-stitching, beading, and embroidering the bookmark, maybe that'll be another project.  I  hope the printed book never disappears.  Kindles and e-readers are great, but there's comfort in actually turning the pages of a book you hold in your lap.

I am a thousand winds ... Of quiet birds in circled flight ...

Click on image to enlarge.

Can you see these words in motion?

I recently discovered this famous poem when someone asked about it.  I'd never heard it before.

I like to imagine that it gives some comfort to any of us managing loss and grief.

Whether or not it is true, I feel it seems generous and loving, giving great consolation.





This link at Wikipedia says that Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep was written in the 1930's.   There is more background info there, too.

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep 
I am not there. I do not sleep. 
I am a thousand winds that blow. 
I am the diamond glints on snow. 
I am the sunlight on ripened grain. 
I am the gentle autumn rain. 
When you awaken in the morning's hush 
I am the swift uplifting rush 
Of quiet birds in circled flight. 
I am the soft stars that shine at night. 
Do not stand at my grave and cry; 
I am not there. I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Clark Frye

Saying So Long For Now



On August 13, 2014 my gentle good girl, Lucy, left my side.  Funny ladylike loving demure friendly smart soft playful quiet loud precious.  She had all those qualities and more.



Lucy needed a lot of love when I met her.  She had no home stability, was abused and neglected the first eight years of her life.



I earned Lucy's trust and affection, minute by minute.  She gave an inch and I gave a yard until one day Lucy's world was stress-free, happy, and optimistic.   She realized that she was in a home with people who wanted her and accepted her completely.  



Last week she had an emergency health problem which surgery was supposed to have fixed, but the surgery created problems, too big for Lucy to overcome.

There are no definitive answers for why she could not recover.







I searched high and low, asked loads of questions, all without success.  Now there is a huge aching hole in my heart and soul.




Lucy made me a better woman by letting me shower her with love, compassion, kindness, and patience.

She built up my energy each day in return with little triumphs and encouragements.

I'm going to try and remember her life lesson and how it included me.  In time, letting her go, with all the pain and hurt, will probably soften, but never go away.

Paw prints on the heart are indelible.





Good night my sweetie pie, 
you're my best and most good girl.
I love you dearly and completely.
Lucy, you are my treasure. 





Thank you Linda, Stacy, and Debbie for your prayers and positive energies. Knowing that Lucy and I had you encouraging us was a blessing.


I wanted to let friends and readers know that this will be my last blog post for a while.

I hope you all get to experience a great love from a pet you treasure.

Until we meet again - my wish is for you to be well, kind, and content  ...






These Shoes Are Made For Walking, Shoe Makeover

glitter on the sidewalk shoe makeoverHere's a sneak peek at another project which may be completed sometime before the new year.

Joking aside, these shoes haven't been worn in years and the faux suede finish came off on my hand while I was cleaning out the closet.  Not wanting to toss them in the trash I wondered if I could cover the crumbling suede with something sparkly.

Never having worn glitterized shoes, I said I may as well try it even if it's just an art project and not wearable in the end.

So I decided to give the still comfortable shoes a fancy makeover.  First I cleaned and sanded away all the loose bits.  Then I used glue and paint with the glitter.  The black ice glitter was incorrectly named, as you can see it is actually gray on the back of the shoe on the right.

I went and bought some proper black glitter and will give it a another try and post an update once the shoes are ready for their moment in the dance spotlight.  Ahem.  Lucy and I will have a turn around the floor to Adele or Van Morrison, maybe both.

I just realized how clunky those heels look, alright, old-ladyish even.  My three inch heels have been traded in for more stability, especially needed when driving and sidewalk pounding make the feet scream.  I do love a nice heel, just don't have the need for them as often as I did in my fun, yet hard working days.

Now, to just get this song out of my head, love-  Love Shack!  Enjoy the video, glitter on the highway, glitter on the bed ...






Art Helps

Taking time away from the blog seemed like a sensible idea.  Then I discovered that getting mired in the trials and troubles of life and not filling up with inspiration from all of you didn't help to lift the grey veil.

As cycles go, it seems as if there is nothing but troubles. I back away from the internet, tv, radio, and all sorts of media.  I'm trying to salvage some peace.  

Shutting down everything helps for a short while. Sometimes I fill the gaps where the bad news keeps pushing out the positive, with work.

Cooking, cleaning, rearranging furniture, pulling weeds, emptying cupboards, redecoration, throwing things out, and so on ...  Just recently I finally tossed a barely used can of pricey hairspray.  Hairspray which I had kept for more than ten years.  In the old days, I used hairspray nearly every day, these days I use it maybe a few times a year.  I surprise myself with the reasons I save potentially useful things.  

Sometimes when I get bad news I can clean for a few days and not feel the pain.  Or ironing.  I've ironed forty pieces of clothing at one go.  These were clean items and items in the closet not worn.  I still remember that day, the day of ironing and not talking.  Bad news that changed the course of my life. These days it would be a blessing if I could iron for hours, but alas, the body can't do what the mind wants it to do.  

Pain is a funny thing.  You can ignore it or ease into it or face it with all the thunder in your soul.

These past few weeks, past two plus months more or less I have been facing a devil of a dilemma and shut myself off from everything but the necessities to survive.  

A couple of days ago I started to accept that there are more things I cannot do than I can ever do and used to do, so will make myself accept the new me.  You know that prayer, "To accept the things I cannot change ..."  
 
Art helps.  You don't have to be an artist to make art.  You just have to listen to your soul and be kind to yourself.

Your blogs are inspiring me and others to keep going in the places of loneliness and hardships, we keep each other company any time we connect.  With or without comments, with many or few readers, we leave a trail of ourselves, funny, clever, sad, creative; and these true cookies from the heart remain whether we delete or share. Thank you.

The Stinky Albatross and Writing Something New

practice lines and shapes
Limited to 20 shapes
Pencil drawing, New End Studio 

(Pencil drawing- Lines, Shapes, Space, and Directions.  Sorry it's upside down, a little like how I am.)

The situation here is still in flux.  One day it's up and the other day it's down, and around ...

To help pass the time and distract me from the myriad of worries I need a little creative outlet.  The heat and humidity stops me from gardening.  Bless you who can enjoy the sun and the bugs, but give me a screened in breezy porch and I'm happy.

Leaving things unfinished is like bad karma, the albatross on the neck. Stinky and uncomfortable. So, I'm giving myself permission to finish before I start something new. (Update: Two done, a few more to do!)




In the meantime, I started writing a couple of stories.  (No boxes to unpack, only my brain.  lol )  Last week with the first story, I got about 1,900 words in and I thought this one might need a pen name so I put the story aside for now.  With the second one, I was zipping along but my blood sugar was drooping, so I got to about 2,400 words and had to stop.  While I was writing it, I realized that it was going to be longer than a short story, so I named the chapters and scenes and pretty much know what's going to happen to the characters.

Writing with new to me software  (I long for an old typewriter) it's highly rated, but still an unopened book to me, a puzzle book, pun intended.  The software has more features than I have played with- I just want to get the words down and worry about the formatting later.

I don't know if I'll let these stories see the light of day.  How do you feel about pen names?   Don't care one way or the other?  Use initials or be gender neutral?  Or, use real name if at all possible?   (Something to ponder in case I finish these stories.)

If you've published something leave a link in the comments, too.      

Must Finish What I Started, Jewelry Supplies

Last month I got some supplies when I went looking for a soft cord to finish this no clasp necklace. 

Down in the lower right corner there is some ombre cord in two color combos.  I wanted a blue tone, but this was what I found.  I think it will work and I may knot a few of those beads in the middle of the image, if not, I have other beads stored away.

I have a little affection for umbrellas, so when I saw brass Vintaj umbrellas and toadstools, I had to buy them.

The owl earrings are going to become charms or rings, haven't decided on those yet.


The coral, blue, and brass beads were so pretty I couldn't leave them on the rack.    Sparkling round buckles, little birds, and assorted chains jumped into my basket and came home with the others.

We're all such good friends, my supplies, they have ideas of their own and since most have been packed up for moving (since last summer) I decided to look for some new to me items.

chain and ribbon necklaceI will get the necklace finished this week or next at the latest.  I used to always push myself to finish what I started, but with things changing at home and so many things to deal with, I have let things slide.

Sitting on my desk is a present for a blogger, I have not been able to decide how to fix and complete it and this has gone on for more than a year.  The other parts of the gift are ready to go, so maybe I should bite the bullet and send it on.

Tomorrow I am packing up presents for two little ones a 4 year old and 2 year old siblings.  They don't have a birthday, I just feel like sending them something- teddy bears, activity books, crayons, pencils, etc.  Lastly, a birthday card was finally purchased and will be on its way, too.



I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but a decision on moving is still in flux, most of my belongings are packed or donated, and sooner or later I have to either stay or go.  I'll let you know which it is.

I know what I want to do, it's the next step that's the hardest.  Do you close your eyes and jump or stretch out the decision making?

P.S. The necklace is finished and shown here and was included at Jewelry Making Journal.