Saturday, May 31

Sweet Melty Goodness on a Saturday

It's that dessert that is delectable in its simpleness with a little nostalgia melted in.  Go on.  Add the Rice Krispies* and marshmallows to your shopping list.  You're going to have to make some now.

It's been a pretty nice Saturday. I got up and ran 3 miles, stopped at the store after and made some eggs and an English muffin when I got back. B is hard at work studying for his test, and I've been promising him Rice Krispie treats all week so I made those after breakfast. Then I tackled my shower. I hate cleaning the shower. How can the spot where you constantly use soap get dirty? I loathe soap scum. Coupled with my hate for cleaning the shower, that's not a good combination. I machine washed both curtains, scrubbed all the surfaces and even took the faucet handles off and cleaned the build-up inside those out! I have been meaning to do that for some time. It's the single and most simple thing you can do to make your shower sparkle if your faucets happen to be old and no one ever cleaned them since they were installed.

*Or generic rice crisp cereal like I did 'cause I have to cut corners somewhere with gas at $4 now!

Monday, May 26

From Shakespeare

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt."

Paying the Bills

As some of you know, my graphic design day job is the one that pays the bills, and I just found some stickers that are going to make the time I spend proofreading way more fun - maybe not for my coworkers but fun for me!  Yes, I'm using a ridiculous number of fonts, and good lord, look at this spacing!  There are stickers for those offenses.

If you are a designer who also enjoys the duty of proofreader (what isn't fun about marking up other people's work?), these are sure to brighten your day.

Urban Exploring

I like going places that I shouldn't. As a kid, my best friend and I explored an abandoned house, and we also spent summer afternoons in the creek tunnels in my hometown. The movie Urban Explorers that I saw last month reminded me how much fun that is.

When the opportunity arose to explore an abandoned subway with a group, I jumped aboard. It turned out to be an underground art gallery inhabited by the homeless. We only saw one actual person, but evidence of life in cast off clothing, trash and a fire ring. The pipes still rattled and thumped with steam creating quite a racket in places. Pigeons cooed and flew in and out between the archways. It was a fun day spent underground while cars sped over topside, their inhabitants oblivious to the world below.

Tuesday, May 20

Yay, I Made Good Soup!

I made a successful concoction for dinner last night. It's a rare thing. Usually I have to follow a recipe. I decided I wanted to make a homemade soup using yams. Why not, since you can make potato soup, right? I did look online after I bought a few ingredients to find yam soup recipes do indeed exist, and I used the spices they mentioned to make the soup extra tasty. Here's my recipe that makes about 5 servings.

Ginger's Ginger Yam Soup
2 large yams (Sweet potatoes? The ones with the dark orange skin.)
4 stalks of celery
2/3 cup of onions
1/2 teaspoon ginger
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste*

Dice everything up. Throw it in a pot of water. Wait until it's done. I put the yams in first to give them a little more time to cook; add everything else after 5 minutes.

* To taste. Therein lies the key. I rarely taste soup while I making it, because for one thing it's hot! B and I were watching a cooking show and the judges are forever reprimanding the chefs for not tasting their food before they present it. A lightbulb went off in my head, and I gave it a shot. Lo and behold, it was my best soup ever.

True to form, I don't like to leave well enough alone, so I've got some variations in mind like using fresh ginger or pureeing part or all of the soup next time. B said he likes it chunky though. I may like to take a cup out and puree it with milk and then put it back in to thicken it up. Also I may try a vegetable or chicken broth base. Mess it up real good.

I also made paninis to go with it, and those came out well, too. We are always ordering them at our favorite coffee shop so I kind of followed theirs: turkey, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella and a light amount of balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I had a spectacular episode with the dressing. It had one of those safety seals on it and so after I took it off, I started shaking up the bottle not realizing I'd also loosened the cap. Dressing Hell to breakfast. On my shoulder and dripping down the arm of my shirt, on the cupboards, on the George Forman grill, the full length of the counter and all over the floor. I didn't even curse it was so phenomenal. I have mopped the floor three times and a I swear it's still got a slight greasiness to it. I've washed my shirt twice, and it still smells like the dressing!  Potent organic health-food dressing.

Saturday, May 17

Feature Artist: Debbie Gilroy

I created a custom winged heart bead for Debbie Gilroy and she in turn created this lovely necklace and earring set with Swarovski crystals and Swarovski crystal pearls.

See more from this talented jewelry artist here! The mushroom necklace is my favorite.

It's Real!

In high school, my best friend made a painting - a big painting about 4 feet wide - of a unicorn standing near a flowering tree in a storm of pink petals. Even the grass is coated with them. It hung in the living room of her dad's apartment, and I always loved it.

While out walking this morning, craning my head at the various things that caught my interest - the dog that always growls at me who seemed more subdued today, a beautiful garden the likes of which I will never have because the worm factor keeps me from it, a blue-black bug scuttling along the road - I looked up and there it was: the pink tree, it's bubblegum petals swirling and swarming as if single-minded. I stood delighted watching. There was no evidence of a unicorn though.

Friday, May 16

The Way I Am

B and I went to our favorite coffee shop for dinner, and he was boasting about all the Pepsi points he has on Amazon to buy songs (coworkers are bringing him in bagfuls of Pepsi caps) so I mentioned that there was a song I really wanted. You probably know it from the Old Navy commercial last winter: "...if you are chilly, here take my sweater..."

It is the sweetest love song ever. And I'm a sap for that, so I want it.

When we get home, I Google it and find out that is it by an artist who is performing in my city this Sunday. I'm like, "Oh, THAT'S who Ingrid Michaelson is!" Our cool alternative station, WBER has given her song a bunch of airplay so I have been enjoying it for some time. They are sticklers for telling you who just sang what song which I love them for, but somehow I had not put it together. However, it would not have been as exciting if I knew all along.

Click here to check out her cool sound.

Tuesday, May 13

Two Feet

More thoughts while biking: Between hoping no cars would hit me and knowing that B would be happy I had my helmet on, I was thinking about how far away things are. Hawaii. A dream job. A perfect place to live. I thought about how I had gotten to every place I've ever been and how I've reached goals that I've set. Not that I'm a big goal setter (part of the problem?), but I finished a few marathons and I got down hills that were scary for me on my snowboard and I sell my art. These were things I always wanted to do that actually got done. One thing they had in common is that they all seemed impossible once. What made that change was simply moving in a direction to close the distance between mere hope and blazing sun-in-your-eyes reality. It turns out it's only two feet - mine. Now, if I could just remember that when I find myself standing there staring off into the distance.

Bike Ride Brings Fresh Air to the Brain

Lilacs. Food on the grill. Fresh cut grass. More lilacs.

Have you ever encountered a smell so incredibly eyes-closed, lips-upturned good that you wish you didn't have to exhale? That you could just keep breathing it in?

Scents are so fleeting when you are pedaling past them, but the variety you come across in a mile is delightful.

Monday, May 12

I Got Here 34 Years Ago Today

I was born on Mother's Day so this past weekend has always been full of celebration and this one was no different.  My dad made me pumpkin pie (WAY better than cake any day), my mother-in-law and husband fetched my favorite guilty-pleasure dinner (Johnnys Texas Hots) and on Sunday we had enjoyed Mother's Day brunch at The Old Library Restaurant which never disappoints.  Sweet gifts came in the form of delectable chocolates from B, A at work and my boss.  They know what I like.  B sent me flowers at work and a bar of 85% dark from Godiva.  It will surely be excellent.  We were going to go out and do fun stuff, too, but with the weekend so busy I just wanted to be home.
I'll be the first to admit I'm hard to buy for so my folks gave me birthday money, and my mother-in-law made me this really cool tote with pictures of B and I kayaking.  Very neat.  Other people wanted to light up my life: my sister-in-law got me a ceramic wax melting pot (stills smells like pumpkin in my house from burning it last night, mmm); my brother got me three votives in round glass holders.  My sister picked out a cute picture frame that hangs and has a ladybug dangling off the end, and I was serenaded by my mom and my dear friend V.

My friend Patti is the Queen of fantastic cards and you see it there in the picture.  It says, "...subject is older but appears to be same age."  Yes, I have gotten proofed when buying a lottery ticket within the last year.  Inside, "I smell a conspiracy" and the theme from The X Files plays.  Too funny.  B is now whistling the theme around the house.

Lastly, my dear friend A from out west got me the most surprising things, both pictured.  Where she found these awesome "green" sandals I don't know.  I had been wanting a new pair of shoes and would have never found these.  Besides, who else could get me shoes if they don't have the same shoe size like we do?  They are organic, came with fun stickers and can even be bleached without losing their color.  In addition, I have been bookless for days which is a sorry state to be in, and when I opened her package, viola - a book!  Even better, it's one I don't know anything about and it sounds fascinating.

Thank you my dear friends and family for another happy birthday.  <|=)

Sunday, May 11

My Hawaii on Flickr

I posted about five of the gazillion pictures here that B and I took in Hawaii, but if you want to see more - sunrises, mountains, kayaking, wildlife, food - check out my Flickr.

Thursday, May 8

Things Mom Warned Me Not to Do

I was cutting glass to make fused pendants tonight, and I'll admit I'm a bit challenged with the cutting.  I've seen people do it online, and I've seen people do it in person, but sometimes it's hard for me to get a clean, straight break.  My cut looks perfect, but the break not so much.  The glass I'm working with is very thin so that could be part of the problem.  Yeah, blame it on the glass.  This one piece was so stubborn I got my nibbler pliers out and was just chunking and pulverizing bits of it to get a straighter edge.  That's when I started thinking about two fundamental things that I do that my mom always told me not to: 1. Don't play with fire.  2. Don't touch broken glass.  

I sit with a lit canister of MAP gas at about torso height to make my beads, and I wasn't just touching broken glass, I was breaking it and biting it into bits...with pliers.  Aren't the things you're not supposed to do the most fun?  

I was also using scissors this evening, but I didn't run with them.  

Saturday, May 3

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Here are some of my newest creations.  I've just figured out how to make these neat flowers and leaves to go with them!  My "Get Happy" beads are in the bottom left corner and in the top left corner is a fused pendant.  Most of all I'm in love with the soothing color combination of ivory, lavender and sage that I used to create the necklace at the top.