Sunday, November 28, 2010

S you V

The next SUV?  Airplane ACEO

Ever noticed how popular Sport utility vehicles have become?  And notice further how all the names appeal to those with high levels of testosterone?  They have become bigger and badder and seek to own the road. Just you try and see what is going on two car lengths in front while driving your smart car behind one of these monsters.  Americans lean towards these gargantuan modes of transportation and car makers continually come up with names that make even the geekiest driver feel like Davy Crockett, or even Indiana Jones.

Names like Safari, Yukon, Sequoia, all embody power.  In this post I am proposing some names for future models.  So if one day you come across these names, remember you heard it here first

1.     Kong
2.     77,747
3.     T-rex
4.     Borealis
5.     Enterprise-ing
6.     G series Zilla
7.     Waterloo
8.      Wham-u
9.      USS
10.  Tiny.  Now let me explain.  You go to a restaurant and the extremely tall Valet asks you for your keys to retrieve your car, you smile and say, “Hey Shorty, it’s the Black Tiny over there.”

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas past

The Black Friday mania is almost over.  The tents in front of the mall and big box stores are gone.  Those who participated are now home most likely sleeping.  Hopefully there were no brawls over certain currently hot items.  Hopefully everyone waited their turns and was polite and kind to others.  Personally I remember a much simpler time.  I remember when Christmas wasn’t such a commercially promoted thing…

December…a long, long time ago in a seemingly galaxy far, far away, a 10-year-old girl opened her Christmas present and saw a new doll. The doll’s name was Tammy and while she was similar in size to her Barbie, she looked, well younger.  She didn’t have heavy makeup painted on her face and she wore tennis shoes instead of stiletto high heels. This little girl hadn’t asked for Tammy and her parents didn’t go on a hunt for the hottest toy on the market.  They simply chose a doll.

As the years past the little girl put down her dolls and her family relocated.  Her dolls were somehow lost.  She didn’t mind at the time, she was a teenager then and her interests had changed.

The little girl grew up and had a daughter, and what do you think her daughter wanted for Christmas one year?  She wanted a Barbie. Oh yes, the mother went out and purchased a Barbie for her daughter, and she was happy on that Christmas morning. The woman saw her daughter smile and the memory of the past rose in her heart and she wondered if her doll was still out there somewhere.

In a moment of utter impulse, she perused Ebay and put a bid on a Tammy doll.  She won.  A few days later the package arrived and she took out the doll and the memories flooded back.  Memories of simpler times when we were happy with simple things and no one camped out in tents waiting for stores to open.  She breathed in that faint plastic smell that was once so potent.

She placed Tammy on a shelf in her bedroom.  Occasionally she takes her down and holds her in her hands, gently stroking her hair. Almost magically she becomes that 10-year-old girl once again.  She knows that this doll is most likely not her original doll, but she likes to think that maybe, just maybe its is.

So, to conclude, I wish you all find a wonderful, magical, but simple Christmas present under your tree, from Crystal, the grown up little girl.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful thoughts

Thanksgiving is a time for thanks.  It isn’t supposed to be the precursor to Black Friday.  So what are you thankful for?  Thanks can be totally anatomical.  Yes that is what I said…so lets examine the anatomy of Thankfulness.

I am thankful for my eyes that can see all the beauty of this world.  They can read and educate my mind. My eyes can see the good but also the bad.  Because I see, I can enjoy the good and do my best to try to change the bad.

I am thankful for my hands that they may create.  They can create beauty with paint and brush. They can write.  Most of all they can create love with a simple hug, pat on the back or warm handshake.

I am thankful for my legs.  They can take me to places of wonder.

I am thankful for my sense of smell, without which I would not be able to enjoy the pine of the forest, the grass after the rain, the flowers in spring, the coffee in the morning, and the turkey in the oven.

I am thankful for my voice.  My voice can tell those most dear that I love them.  It can encourage someone who is without hope.  It can sing. 

I am thankful for my ears.  They can hear the soft murmurings of a baby as he sleeps.  They can hear the purr of a kitten, and they can hear laughter.  And just imagine a world without music.

I am thankful for my mind.  A mind can remember.  Those who are no longer with us in body are always with us in our memories.

I am thankful for my lungs that can breathe.  I can take in the fresh mountain air.  I can run and play and blow bubbles with children.

I am thankful for the pains I experience whether they are physical or mental.  They are what allow me to enjoy the times of no pain so much more.

I am thankful for my heart.  Even though it is only poetically I am so very thankful it allows me to love.

And finally….

I am thankful for those who even without these things I have mentioned have managed to soar above them and excel for they are the ones who are truly inspirational.

Happy Thanksgiving!  J

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shoe fever

Red Christmas shoes ACEO

My husband recently informed me that I have a disease.  It is not the infectious kind that causes worldwide epidemics.  The disease from which I suffer is only apparent when I am in the vicinity of a shoe store.  Yes, you read it right, I did say shoe store.

How many of you are shoe fanatics?  Don’t just sit there now raise that hand.  I know you’re out there.  I saw you when I was standing in the line at DSW waiting to pay for yet another pair…or two. 

Men just don’t understand red patent leather.  They don’t get the fact that the more uncomfortable the shoe, the more attractive it is.  They don’t suffer for vanity sake.  They wear docksiders.  They wear Nikes. 

I have just returned from yet another shoe expedition with two more pairs.  I am aware that I only have two feet, so why do I own shoes in the triple digits?

There are 365 days in the year, silly.   The real question is-- why do I have only one closet?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quick and Easy to make Ornament Gift Card Holder

Its Wednesday, middle of the week and time for another quick and easy craft project J

The best value for gift-giving these days seems to be a simple gift card. It allows the recipient to go to a store they like and choose an item they actually want and can use.  As an added bonus most of the times after the holidays are over, many of the same items purchased a week previously are marked down.  The main drawback is the impersonal nature of the gift card itself.  Why not make an easy to create gift card holder that fits the person to whom the gift is intended? A gift card holder that is also an ornament is a gift in itself. This project is easy so why not make few with your children?  You can even put a small Holiday wish note in the pocket instead of a gift card if desired.

Gift Card Holder

You will need:

Felt in desired color, embossed felt is a nice touch.

Card stock, in white or a coordinated color

9 inches of thin gold cord

Tacky glue ( I recommend tacky glue since it has a thicker consistency and does not bleed through the felt)



Small jingle bell or button for closure

Decorative buttons, felt or foam shapes or miniature trinkets (This is the area to personalize for the recipient.)

1.     Cut the card stock into a 6-inch by 8-inch rectangle.

2.     Fold the cardstock in half meeting end to end.

3.     Rotate and fold in half again. (See photo)

Turn and fold again

4.     Open the folded piece of cardstock.  Fold up the lower right hand corner using the fold line as a guide. (See photo)  Refold the card.  You have formed a little pocket.  Put a dab of glue at the lower corner to secure the pocket.

5.     Cut a piece of felt for the cover 6-inches by 4-inches.

6.     Cut two pieces of gold cord, 5 inch for the hanging cord and 4 inch for the closure.

7.     Turn the folded cardstock over and put a dab of glue on the back center fold.  Make sure the pocket opening is facing up on the left side. Make a loop with the 5-inch gold cord and glue to the top.

8.     Continuing on the back of the card, measure two inches down from the left side, make a loop with the 4-inch gold cord and attach. This will be the closure loop. Check to make sure the pocket is positioned correctly.

9.     Spread a generous amount of tacky glue onto the entire back and attach the felt.  Let dry.

10. Glue a button or small jingle bell onto the front of the card holder to correspond with the gold closure cord and let dry. 

11. Decorate the front of the holder.  Using the tacky glue attach buttons, felt or foam shapes or any miniature trinkets as desired.  

Monday, November 15, 2010


Horse in Barn ACEO

Recently, I posted a list of gift ideas for young horse lovers. I don’t, however, want to leave out horse lovers/owners who are older than twelve. So what follows are items in all price ranges for all ages.  Some of the following ideas are for those on your list who own a horse or two, or three…

Gift ideas for Horse Lovers/owners

Many of these items may be purchased at Tack Shop’s or online

1.      Horse themed apparel is always a good choice.  Sweaters, sweatshirts or tees are items to consider and are found almost everywhere.

2.     Horse Treats.

3.     Horse jewelry. Jewelry items are found in almost any price range, from Sterling Silver to gold.  A good stock pin is a nice gift for someone who shows. 

4.     Pajamas in a horse print.  Search online or peruse catalogs.

5.     Frame a photo of their horse.  Or commission an artist to do an original painting.

6.     Horse Calendars. Bookstores like Borders stock a wide variety of calendars.

7.     If you know the recipient’s size, a pair of paddock boots or rubber boots is always welcome around a barn.

8.     Horse figurines.

9.     Halter and matching lead line.  Make sure you know the correct size.  They are Lg. Horse, standard horse, cobb, pony, and yearling.    Many barns have certain color schemes they follow so be sure to buy the appropriate color. 

10.  Books on Horse training.  There are many books published on the care and training of horses.  Check local Tack Shops, bookstores,  and for ideas.

11. Horse related DVD’s. 

12. For a horse owner a personalized Halter plate, saddle plate or stall plate is a much-appreciated gift.  Most tack shops do the engraving or send it out for you.  You can also get these done online.

13. Riding gloves in leather or cotton are a wonderful and useful gift.  You may even purchase ones that are lined in fleece for winter use.

14. Leather punch, a necessity around any barn.

15. Leather cleaner and supplies.

16. If your intended recipient is a trail rider then you cannot go wrong with saddlebags, cantle bag, or a drink holder that attaches with a snap.

17. Colorful horse themed socks or boot socks for use with field or dress boots.

18. Helmet cover.  These covers come in colorful fabrics or in velvet like fabrics that make your schooling helmet look just like a show helmet.

19.  Throw with a horse theme that can be used in any room for a bit of extra warmth.

20. Half-chaps or schooling chaps.  You will have to know an approximate size.  These are usually sized in xsm-xl

21. Flat back buckets are a basic item and as an added bonus you can even use it as a container to give your gift!

22. Note cards.  Leaning Tree cards are available in tack shops and gift shops.

23. A magazine subscription to a horse magazine, like Equus, Horse Illustrated, Horse and rider, Dressage, etc.

24. If you just cannot come up with anything that you think will be right, you just cannot go wrong with a gift card from a local Tack shop

25. Saddle cover, helmet case or bridle bag.  These items will protect the owner’s valuable riding equipment.

Extras:  For a thoughtful little stocking stuffer I don’t know any horse person that doesn’t need hardware like Chicago screws for fixing bridles, double end snaps, and trigger snaps.  It would look really cute presented in a mason jar with a bow on top. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Easy Kid's Craft, Autumn Leaf Party Favors

Easy Kids Craft Project- Autumn leaf party favors

When you are setting your table this Thanksgiving how about including a little party favor by each place setting.  This is a festive and decorative way to dress up your holiday tables.  So why not make some that are as individual and colorful as the autumn leaves that decorate your own back yard? These autumn leaf party favors are easy enough for kids and make a fun project to do as a family.

You will need:

Felt squares in autumn colors

Tacky Glue (I used clear Tacky glue, but regular Tacky Glue is fine)

Dimensional Fabric paint in a corresponding color

 Leaf from your yard

Cardboard to make a pattern (cereal boxes are great for this use)


Pinking Shears (optional)

Optional 8-inch length of ribbon

Waxed paper or anything to cover your work surface

1.     Go outside and look for nice shaped leaves.  Collect a couple in an appropriate size.  They should be no wider than 6 inches horizontally and no taller than 6 inches vertically.

Place the leaf onto cardboard and trace around to make a pattern.  Cut out.

3.     Transfer the leaf pattern onto the felt color of choice and cut out with scissors or pinking shears. Repeat for another felt leaf.  You may use a different color for the back or use the same color for front and back as desired. 

Line up the leaf pieces to make sure they fit together and trim any excess.  Draw a bead of Tacky glue around the edges of the back leaf. If you want to have a handle, cut an 8-inch piece of ribbon and glue to the back before you attach the front leaf.  Leave one inch on each side unglued at the top of the leaf. This will allow for a 4-inch opening.  Attach the top to the bottom and let dry. (see photo)

5.     Use the real leaf as a guide to draw vein lines with the dimensional fabric paint.  If you want these favors to act as place cards, you may write names on them instead of vein lines.  Let dry completely, overnight is best.

6.     When dry fill with candy or small treats and enjoy. 

Follow the first six steps to make as many party favors as needed.   I recommend Tacky glue because it is a thicker consistency and will not bleed through the felt.  When using dimensional fabric paints test on paper first to remove bubbles, and shake downward occasionally while using to keep lines smooth.

These also look festive hanging from a doorknob!   

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Greek Parent's code

Greek Lighthouse Pastel

The Greek parent’s code

I was born in the United States. My parents were born in the United States. Their parents were born in Greece.  I’m not crazy about apple pie so I guess I am as American as Baklava.

Since my parents were both born in America they spoke English but being the children of immigrants, they also spoke Greek.  My mother attended Greek School and could also read and write in Greek.  My father spoke “Greekish” a combination of Greek and English. 

You would think that they would teach their children to speak Greek since it is always a boon to be bi-lingual.  In their defense, I do understand that having four children who are always listening in to conversations can be a bit daunting.  So they shrewdly came upon the solution.  Use the Greek language as a code.  Teaching their children to speak Greek would be counter-productive.

Whenever they wanted to discuss something and not include us, they spoke Greek. My brother and I being the two oldest and the most curious, broke the code.  Dad’s “Greekish” turned out to be our Rosetta stone.

Voila!  We could understand Greek and Mom and Dad would just have to devise another plan, American Sign Language perhaps?

The downside to learning a language in self-defense is that we can understand but to form actual sentences takes a little more time.  And most Greeks speak a blue streak. As a result, when I am in the company of fellow Greeks, I cannot answer a question I totally understand.

Practice they say makes perfect so I will go back to the basics and work on my language skills…so when I visit the land of my ancestors I will answer…efcharisto very much.

Please note:  The pastel painting above was photographed under glass and there is some distortion to the color when posted online.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Easy Kid's Craft, Autumn Napkin Rings (an inexpensive recycled craft)

Easy Kids craft, autumn napkin rings (an inexpensive recycled craft)

You will need:

One cardboard tube from the inside of a paper towel


Tacky Glue (Tacky glue has a thick consistency and does not bleed through the felt

Embossed felt



Autumn Felt shapes available at Craft stores

Fall leaves purchased in Craft stores

Clothespins are handy for holding the napkin rings till the glue dries.

Measure and cut four pieces off the cardboard tube to 1 ½” lengths.  Trim the rings evenly around.

Measure a piece of felt 1 ½” x 6”.  Cut four.

It is a good idea to put two fingers inside the ring to hold it while you are gluing.  Spread a generous amount of glue all over the outside of the ring. Attach the felt piece working around to cover. Overlap and glue the ends.  Let dry.  Trim the felt to the edges of the cardboard.  Ring base is made.

To decorate the rings glue pre-cut shapes over the seam line to cover.  Be creative.  A faux fall leaf looks great under a felt shape.  Use clothespins to hold the shapes on until completely dry. 

Enjoy your napkin rings. They are great family craft to keep the kids busy before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Note:  You can use regular felt if embossed is not available but the embossed gives the napkin rings a nicer look.  Make sure to use Tacky glue.  Other glues will bleed through the felt.  When cutting the tubes it is perfectly okay if it flattens slightly.  Just puff it up again with your fingers.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gift ideas for young Horse Lovers (12 and under)

Black and white horse ACEO

The holidays will soon be upon us and your gift list is getting longer by the day.  Now, it seems that you have several on your list who are horse lovers and you would love to buy them a unique gift that they will really appreciate.  The following list will give you some ideas making this less of a chore and more of a fun experience.

1.     Quality coloring books are a always a good idea.  You can include crayons or colored pencils.  Dover books have a wide assortment of coloring books that are a step above those purchased in Dept. Stores.  You can find them on the Internet, in gift shops, and tack shops.

2.     Collectible model horses are a good choice for children over the age of 3.  Breyer, Peter Stone, and others are some of the names to check out.  You can even get some that are unpainted with supplies included to allow the child to create their own original model. 

3.     Horse print T-Shirts, sweatshirts, or other horsey apparel are a welcome gift. You can find these almost everywhere and in every price range.

4.     Horse themed jewelry is a good choice.  What child doesn’t like big-girl jewelry?  It doesn’t have to be costly and there are many inexpensive jewelry items available.  An online resource such as is a wonderful source for a handmade one of a kind item.  Tack shops, gift shops and other retailers also carry horsey jewelry.

5.     If your intended giftee is a horse owner, horse treats and grooming supplies available at Tack Shops and online are always appreciated.  Make sure when purchasing grooming supplies they are colorful and geared for children.  Many times you can find totes that contain the needed items, perfect for gift giving.

6.     Calendars depicting horses are a great gift and can be found in many stores and online.

7.     A magazine subscription to a magazine featuring horses gives a year’s worth of enjoyment.

8.     If you can get a nice photo of the child’s horse or pony, blow it up and frame it.  You can also commission an artist to create a one of a kind heirloom painting.  Check in your area for local artists or search online.

9.     Horse note cards, or stationary/diaries are great for tweens.

10.  A good horse book is a great choice.  Keep the book age appropriate.  Tack shops, Bookstores and many online retailers carry books about horses.  Fiction, grooming, and how to books are some of the many choices. 

11.  Horse videos, need I say more?  What child does not enjoy videos?  Whether it is educational or fictional they are always treasured.

12.  Horse bedding such as sheets, blankets, comforters and throws is a functional and useful gift.

13.  Games are fun.  Make sure you buy the ones for the appropriate age level. Horseopoly is a game modeled after the original monopoly game and is available online and in Tack shops.

14. A horse puzzle makes a wonderful gift.

15. If all else fails, tweens especially will cherish a gift card at a local Tack shop.
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