Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Vacation

We’re off for Florida to spend Thanksgiving with our family. I’ll be back in Tucson and blogging again on Dec. 7. Please come back to visit as I’m offering a give-away that day.

Source: I just plain don’t know, but I like the graphic.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Organizing Computer Info

Yesterday I read an article on MSN that says we get dumber after the age of 53. While they were referring to financial decisions, I’m beginning to think it might be true—at least for me. My memory seems to be going as I cannot remember all the accounts, user names, and passwords I’ve created online.

We’re forced to create so many online identities to keep ourselves safe, it’s a wonder we’re not all schizophrenic. It’s a quagmire, I tell you, and my brain is a big ol’ mushy thing as a result.

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I took all the little disorganized notes and index cards cluttered with my scribbled computer data and made a small book to hold everything as inspired by a tutorial found at Mish Mash blog.

However, I didn't use the tutorial as I had my own ideas about what I wanted. I cut a piece of chipboard into two pieces 4-inches by 6.25 inches. Some pretty paper and a couple of embellishments finished both covers.

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Plain white 4x6-inch index cards were used to make divider pages. I drew tabs, one for each letter in the alphabet and labeled them with stick-on letters. Some simple decorations for the dividers were made by punching flowers out of paper scraps.

Next I trimmed colored 4x6-inch index cards to make the width shorter so they’d line up with the edges of the dividers and leave the tabs clearly visible.

Finally my wee book was bound using my Zutter Bind-it-All machine which is one of the better things I’ve spent my money on lately. Maybe that purchase balances out the brain cells I’m reputed to have lost since I’m over 53.

That’s okay, I may be old and can’t remember various online identities, but every one of my selves is still cute.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coupon Organizer

Rolls and rolls of cookie dough were made at my house yesterday and carefully wrapped before tucking in the fridge for chilling—ready for baking Christmas cookies. After cleaning up the big mess I made all over the kitchen, I finally sat down long enough to finish the binding on my sewing project.

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I’ve been testing a new Coupon Organizer pattern created by Ginny of iSew blog, taking my time with each of the steps so I could provide reasonable feedback.

As I worked on the binding today, it dawned on me I was using almost the same fabric colors I chose the last time I tested a pattern for her (the Diana Bag, see my post here). It’s weird how that happened.

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There are eight super roomy sections with dividers tabbed with whatever category you choose. Since my end result is going to be a gift, I chose categories fitting to my recipient. The tabs are printed on iron-on fabric using the mirror imaging feature on my printer settings.

The organizer has a magnetic snap closure, but I added the button detail on the front just for fun. I love the way the accordion-style sections expand or compress as needed.

I like working with Ginny’s patterns; she pays careful attention to every detail. You can find her patterns here as well as already-sewn items in case you don’t sew.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Project Planning

We’re leaving this Saturday for Florida where we annually spend the Thanksgiving holidays. We won’t be back until midnight on Dec. 1, so I thought I’d better organize my project planning schedule.

Today: Sewing Day

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Today I’m finishing a sewing project which I’ll reveal soon.

Wednesday: Baking Day

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I’m attending a cookie exchange three days after I get home and need to have twelve packages of cookies ready, one dozen cookies in each package. I’ll bake them tomorrow and store them in the freezer until party time.

Thursday: Craft Day

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These index cards are what I’ve been using for years to store my online accounts and passwords information. It’s driving me crazy trying to sort through them all to find what I need. So I’m going to make a Computer Info Notebook as inspired by one featured on the Mish Mash blog.

Friday: Packing Day

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Along with the regular packing, I always pack a project bag with my latest knitting mission. I’m making one of our daughters (a Twilight fan) a set of Bella’s Mittens and a cable knit cap. Both Christmas gifts will be finished while we’re in Florida.


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Although I met the NaNoWriMo word count, that doesn’t mean I consider my novel done. I’m editing and revising as needed. I’m taking my laptop to Florida to work on this and will add the new draft to the NaNoWriMo site for the final word count due by midnight on Nov. 30. Even after that, I’m going to revise until it’s ready for submission to an agent.


  • Bella’s Mittens free pattern: Subliminal Rabbit blog
  • Cable Knit Cap free pattern: Head Huggers blog
  • Computer Info Notebook tutorial: Mish Mash blog

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend Projects

What in the world does WoOT mean? That was my question when I left you on Friday. Based on everyone’s comments, WoOT is the verbal equivalent of a celebratory fist punched in the air, as in totally rad, far out, cool, hooray, and so on.

Kristie of Fresh on Fridays blog is the winner of my November giveaway. For once I actually know a winner’s address, so I will get your package to you this week, Kristie.

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Thank you everyone for playing along, it was fun discovering new names visiting my blog. Stay tuned for another giveaway in December.

A change to colder weather in Tucson has made my body unhappy and everything I’m doing seems to be in slow motion. I even slept late this morning, very odd for me.

I finished a scrapbook Friday, attended my craft group’s monthly meeting Saturday, and worked on a sewing project for Ginny at iSew Blog yesterday. Ginny’s project is super easy, but my arthritic hands and a really bad headache remind me Super Junie Moon is but a figment of my imagination.

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The scrapbook is a Christmas gift for my niece Rachel who turned 16 over the summer. Fair warning, people, she’s out there somewhere on the road having now undergone the requisite driver’s license rite of passage.

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My sister Carolyn arranged a luncheon for Rachel and her girlfriends at Wrightsville Beach (NC). I bet money the girls used WoOT or its equivalent a lot that day.

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The culmination of Rachel’s celebrations was a dinner dance for all her classmates. Many of the photos Carolyn sent me feature Rachel and her friends in these very strange poses. What’s with that? Never mind, WoOT was enough for me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blessings Friday: It’s a Lucky Day for Someone

Although I’m superstitious about a few things, Friday the 13th isn’t one of them. However, there are people who suffer with paraskevidekatriaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th). Take heart if you’re one of them as the next time such a day appears on the calendar won’t be until the year 2015. UPDATE 11/16/09: Well, dang, I lied. Chris let me know there are indeed Friday the 13ths on the calendar (such as August next year). That's what I get for researching on Wikipedia; so, lesson learned. Thanks, Chris!

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My husband and I visited one of our favorite places last Sunday, the Tucson Botanical Gardens. The butterfly exhibit opened again in October (runs until March), but they also have a series of scarecrows on exhibit right now. I’ll only share a few as there were a lot of scarecrows. The one in the photo was labeled Voodoo Medusa.

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This is La Famous Philomena; she’s apparently trying to stay out of the prickly pear.

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And here we have Matilda ready to bless everyone with happy wishes; that ought to ward off any worries over bad luck today.

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Yesterday I made pumpkin bread, but I added a few ingredients to give it extra oomph. It’s takes only about five minutes to assemble before popping it in the oven. It’s insanely delicious.

Pumpkin Bread with Applesauce and Chocolate Chips

  • 1 box Pillsbury Pumpkin Quick Bread
  • ½ cup applesauce (doesn’t matter if it’s plain or cinnamon, but I did use the cinnamon version)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Make the bread according to the instructions on the box, add the last two ingredients, stir and pour into a greased loaf pan. Insert into a preheated 375 oven and bake about 45 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes.


Let’s see, what else can I do to help make Friday the 13th a lucky one? How about a giveaway?

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My offer includes Heather Bailey’s Strawberry Pincushion Kit, Chronicle Book’s Stitch-it Kit, and a copy of Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching.

Just leave a comment on this post. I’ll draw a winner on Sunday night and announce it Monday morning.

Although not a requirement, I’d greatly appreciate it if someone would explain to me what this nonsensical word means: WoOT. I keep seeing it on various blogs and can’t figure out its meaning. Colicky owl? What?

Have a lucky day and a great weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mermaid Artist Trading Cards

December is fast approaching and my Unfinished Objects (UFO) group’s Christmas luncheon is coming soon. We meet once a month on a Saturday to work on projects we’d like to get done or participate in a workshop. There’s also a weekend retreat in the Catalina Mountains each summer.

One of our tasks for the December luncheon is creating artist trading cards (ATCs) to exchange with our contact information on it. Each member bought a Seven Gypsie’s ATC carousel to hold the cards we’ll exchange.

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I added a silver heart and a gingham bow to mine. The black index dividers will be decorated later incorporating the acetate alphabet cards somehow. My stand is bare right now as the whole ATC thing is new to me. It is going to be fun adding to the carousel by starting with my UFO friends’ cards next month.

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My mermaid-themed card was made by printing a graphic liberated from the internet on cardstock and using one of the cards from my carousel kit as a template for cutting them out.

Ranger’s Stickles Glitter Glue in the color star dust was used to add glitter to the flowers in her hair. Plaid’s FolkArt Extreme Glitter in turquoise helped me imbue sugar glitter shimmers to bits of the water and highlighting the mermaid’s tail.

The tab holes were made with Seven Gypsies’ ATC punch. I found a set of 12 mermaid beads on eBay just for this project and added one to the card after inserting a tiny eyelet. The result seemed overdone to me and the bead hangs too low when tested on the card carousel. So I’ll use the beads for some future project.

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Here are my finished ATC cards; simple makes me happy. My contact information is on the back, so I’m not going to show a photo of that.


  • Plaid’s FolkArt Extreme Glitter
  • Ranger’s Stickles Glitter Glue
  • Seven Gypsies Revolving Carousel and associated products

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Over the summer, I read numerous articles about the ancient wonders of the world after seeing an article on MSN entitled “Uncovering Ancient Mysteries.” It inspired me to consider my own idea of what constitutes a thaumata, a list of places I would love to visit. Thaumata, loosely translated from the Greek, is, “things to be seen.”


Maps fascinate me, pictorial invitations to explore the world. While looking at historic maps while creating my thaumata, I found this 540 piece Ravensburger Puzzleball kit. It depicts an ancient world map. Wouldn’t this make an awesome Christmas gift? You can buy it at

Junie Moon’s Thaumata

  • Bora Bora: This French Polynesian island fascinates me and although it relies predominantly on tourism today, I want to see what Herman Melville saw when he wrote about it and Paul Gauguin painted it, feel the romance evoked by the Broadway musical/movie South Pacific, and view the scenery depicted in De Laurentis’ 1979 move Hurricane.
  • Easter Island: It would be awesome to see the mysterious Moai (statues) and petroglyphs on this Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean.
  • Galápagos Islands: The official name is Archipiélago de Colón and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. I’d like to pretend to be Darwin and make the same finds he did when arriving on the HMS Beagle.
  • Great Barrier Reef: I’ve always wanted to dive/snorkel this famous reef in the Coral Sea.
  • Great Pyramid of Giza: It’s also known as the Khufu's Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu, and Pyramid of Cheops. One of my dream avocations as a child was to be an archaeologist. Visiting Egypt and pretending to be the fictional Amelia Peabody would be wonderful.
  • Panama Canal: Besides the historical context of this engineering wonder located on the isthmus of Panama, my husband attended Balboa High School here and actually paddled a dugout canoe on the canal itself.
  • Stonehenge: Sadly but understandably, we can no longer touch the actual stones due to age and wear, but I still want to stand in the presence of these famous stones.
  • The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights): Often seen from September to October and then from March to April, this was one sight we’d hoped to see on our Alaskan cruise a few years ago but, alas, missed this amazing light display.
  • Hypogeum at Hal Saflieni, Malta: the Hypogeum is an underground temple and a World Heritage Site. Within you’ll find the Oracle Chamber with its amazing acoustical properties. Jennifer Berezan recorded her CD ReTurning here, a lengthy healing chant I find quite comforting.
Who knows, maybe I’ll see one or two of these before my end time. What’s on your thaumata list?

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm a NaNoWriMo Winner!

Dear Friends:

At 7 a.m. on Nov. 1 I began my effort to write my first novel. At approximately 5:30 this morning, I finished. In doing so, I earned the following official designation:

I am overwhelmed with joy for having met the National Novel Writing Month challenge and conquering a major goal I’ve had my entire life.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Blessings Friday: The Next Queen of Heaven and One Yard Wonders

Want a free book? Concord Free Press is offering a free copy of The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire (Wicked). The only thing the publisher asks in return is that you make a voluntary donation to a charity or someone in need.

Source: Concord Free Press

I happily endorse charitable activities, but getting a free book is a really lovely thank-you for doing so. Copies are limited so hurry while you can to the Concord Free Press web site and sign up.

By the way, it wasn’t my shining brilliance that made this great discovery; it was my daughter Lindsay who ordered a book for me. My copy arrived yesterday and I’m looking forward to reading it.

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My contributor copy of One Yard Wonders still hasn’t arrived. Not being able to stand the wait another second, I bought a copy.

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The minute I had the book in my eager hands, I flipped to the contributors’ names in the back to view my own entry. So vain, I know, but ever so fun. If you look at the photo, you’ll also see my buddy FinnyKnits in the left-hand column.

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The table of contents told me where to find the section holding my projects. I’m in Chapter 2: Dwell Redux (FYI, starts on page 41). Yes, indeed, all four of my projects are there in a four-page spread. Four pages, people! My husband and I danced around the kitchen in pure glee. We’re mushy like that.

A little confusion as to what defines projects (plural) ensued last week when I received a letter and check in payment for my project (as in singular) contribution. The actual printed book in my eager hands has me with four, not one. Finally I realized my four offerings are categorized as one “Bathroom Makeover” project. The mystery is finally solved.

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Out of respect for the then-pending publication, I kept quiet about the fabric the authors mailed to me to recreate my contributions for the photographer. Now the book is out, I feel free to share that detail. It’s Heather Ross’ Mendocino line featuring mermaids. Is that not the most perfect choice they could have made for me? I was and still am ecstatic.

So, a book that helps charity and a book in which I have a contributor’s role are truly great blessings for which to be thankful this week.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. I’m going back to work writing my very own book.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My NaNoWriMo Word Count: 14,637 words thus far!

While I am enthusiastically embracing November’s NaNoWriMo project and my fingers are flying across my keyboard hour after hour, other things also demand my attention.

Yesterday I fulfilled a promise I’d made to make little eye masks for babies in Neonatal Intensive Care Units.

I thought I’d share this project with you in case you’d like to help, too. The heartbreaking but inspiring story may be found at My Baby’s Bling blog where you can find the easy tutorial and pattern for making the masks.

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My masks are made in honor of Ireland Rose Brady whose presence in the world was far too brief.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Camera Strap Sleeves

My NaNoWriMo Word Count: 8,056 words thus far!

In July I made new camera strap sleeves for my husband and me. You can read that post here which has links to various online tutorials.

Over the summer, we wandered about taking pictures of everything in sight and the new straps became terribly dirty.While I could easily wash them, I had not made them quite long enough to account for the stretching of our original straps which I used as the base material. So, I made new ones for our cruise which I forgot to share with you until now.

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This time I made the strap covers 2.5 times the length of the stretchy OpTech straps. This one is my husband’s.

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Here is my new strap cover sleeve. Blue is our favorite color.

The new strap sleeves were really helpful on our vacation as we visited extremely humid islands which meant we were glistening (i.e., sweating) quite a lot. Now I can just slip off the dirty strap sleeves for a quick wash and put them back on our straps.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Making Things and Keeping Warm

My NaNoWriMo Word Count: 6,048 words thus far!

I’ve finished a new knitting project and found a way to show it to you that doesn't involve twisting myself in a knot trying to wear my new creation and photograph it at the same time.
All it required was a quick trip to Michael’s yesterday to buy a wood plaque meant for making a clock, a length of dowel rod, a Styrofoam ball, and a small bottle of blue acrylic paint.

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Back at home, I painted the wood pieces and let them dry. I stuck the Styrofoam ball on the dowel rod about an inch or so to make a hole in which I dripped craft glue before placing the ball back on the rod.

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A fat quarter meant for something else was put in use for this project instead. I trimmed all four sides with pinking shears, wrapped it around the foam ball, and secured the whole shebang with a rubber band disguised with a blue ribbon.

So, what is this very odd balloon-appearing contraption?

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It’s a hat stand so I can show you the new cabled hat I knitted. Giddy with my success on the balaclava a couple of weeks ago, I jumped right on a hat project for me. looking at my photo, I'm thinking a set of these balloon things would make for great party table decorations. Isn't it amazing how one thing leads to another?

Anyway, it’s awfully cold early in the mornings lately when I’m out walking. A hat is needed to cover my ears and forestall my predilection for ear infections. I used the free pattern found at the Head Huggers blog.

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By the way, my husband and I performed our civic duty and voted by mail for today's elections.