Thursday, April 26, 2012

Leaves of three, let them be

Even though I am allergic to practically everything in spring and Summer I still love the outdoors. One of my favorite things to do is to go on a daily walk on the rustic trail by my house.  Flora and fauna abound. 


Yes, I sneeze and I pump myself full of allergy meds daily.  Luckily, I am not allergic to Poison Ivy.  (If only at the present time because I am told by my doctor that one can develop an allergy at any time in life) Off the beaten path, the vines hang from every tree.  It almost looks as if Tarzan of the apes could just come swinging down…although he might have some trouble holding on while he scratches.  Visual, anyone?

So can you identify poison ivy? 

The saying goes...“Leaves of three, let them be.”

Ten things to keep in mind, before, during, and after:

1.     Immediately wash off all affected areas, heck, take a long shower, but not before you toss all of your clothes in the washer.  It is imperative to get rid of the oils that produce the itching.

2.     Scrub under your fingernails in case any oil is hiding there!

3.     Keep cool, because sweating only makes it worse.

4.     Use calamine lotion and Benadryl at night if only to help you to sleep.

5.     See a doctor if it is severe.

6.     Don’t assume that it is just the leaves…the roots can also give you a severe rash.

7.     NEVER BURN POISON IVY!   Yes you can get it from breathing the smoke!!

8.     Wash that dog if he has been around poison ivy.  Petting him will be dangerous to you health.

9.     Don’t assume that because you are (like me) currently immune that it will remain that way…stay away from Poison Ivy

10. Learn to identify the plant so you will not inadvertently come in contact.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Diary of a klutz

Have you ever watched reruns of the old 1960’s Dick Van Dyke show on TV or  Netflix?  If you haven’t then you have missed some of the world’s greatest klutzy moments.  Dick Van Dyke was a master of physical comedy and the show opens with him tripping over a misplaced ottoman.  His arms splay out and he lands flat on his face.  In later episodes the show opens with him carefully sidestepping the ottoman, and averting his fall.  At least he learns from experience.

I admit that I am a bit klutzy and I fall often.  I have taken rides down my stairs on my bottom and more often than I’d like to admit walk into glass doors face first. (I mean who cleans glass that streak free anyway?) The bruises I have cultivated can be quite artistic and colorful.  My favorite was one that resembled the Aurora Borealis with the blues and greens changing colors daily.

While I manage to steer clear of ottomans, cobblestones on the other hand get me every time.  The other day, since it was a clear and beautiful spring day my husband and I decided to take a walk in the historic part of town.  Yes, the streets are quaintly cobbled. 

It wasn’t long before my bottom and the sidewalk met in a very embarrassing manner.  My husband stared in disbelief as I flew through the air and not so gracefully landed in front of him.  Fortunately the only thing bruised this time was my pride.  I think I will take a cue from good old Dick Van Dyke and just steer clear of…cobblestones.

Have a great Monday it's rainy here in the old dominion.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


First let me get this right out into the open.  I love my Iphone 4S. It helps me do hundreds of things every day.  It allows me to check my email whenever and wherever. It makes available hundreds if apps.

It even comes with a little person trapped inside.  Her name is Siri and you can ask her all sorts of things and she will attempt an answer.  The only problem is that my particular Siri is 16 years old and doesn’t understand my English. 

I’ve tried, honestly I have, to pronounce my words clearly and enunciate each syllable directly into the phone. Still, I find that Siri has a wicked sense of humor and much like an angst-ridden teenager; she hears what she wants to hear.

Example of an actual conversation…

Me: “Text Jen, it’s ok.”

Siri:  “Yes it is.”

Me: “Well thanks for your feedback but I really wanted to let her know that.”

Siri:  “I found two post offices fairly close to you.”

Me:  “But I don’t want to mail it to her.”

Siri:  “To whom shall I send it?”

Me:  “Never mind.”

Siri:  “Ok.”

Last week I was running late on my way home.  So I decided to give my husband a call to let him know.  Since I can’t dial while driving I figured I would just ask Siri to do it.  I pronounced his name as clearly as I could.  She told me she was calling my sister-in-law in Florida.

“No”, I screamed.

 I repeated my husband’s name.  She was mum.  I repeated it again—still mum.  Guess she got mad at me for yelling at her.  I could have sworn I heard a door slam in the distance. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Five Titanic-ally Embarrassing things about myself

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic which prompted me to admit a few embarrassing things about myself that in the past I would never have admitted in a hundred years.  Before I do though, I would like to say a prayer for the 1500 souls who lost their lives on the Titanic.

1.     I love the movie “Titanic.”  When channel surfing if I happen to pass by a station that is showing the movie, I stop and I watch for the umpteenth thousandth time. Of course I cry every time, but everybody needs to have a good cry now and then don't you think? And yes I plunked down a overpriced amount of hard earned cash to see it in 3-D.  

2.     When I watched the movie I fell in love with Leonardo De Caprio.  I’m over it now.  All I had to do was watch J Edgar and I was cured.

3.     I am jealous of Kate Winslet.  No, it’s not because of Jack.  The reason is simple.  She is just so gosh darned China Doll gorgeous, and I knew that before she played Rose.

4.     I actually like the song in the movie by Celine Dion.

5.     I am scared to death of the water and drowning and the irony of this is that my husband loves the water.  He is practically a fish and he dreamed of being an oceanographer when he was in High School.  As for me, I don’t like getting in water where slimy things like sharks may live.  Guess I’ve watched way too many movies.  Yes, I can swim--well maybe I can swim. I haven’t checked it out of late.  Is it like riding a bicycle where you never forget???

P.S.  To my Greek friends and family today is Greek Easter so from me to you-- Christos Anesti!  :-)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Painting on fabric

Tips and techniques

Fabric Painting:

There is no need to purchase paint specifically designed for fabric.  You can buy fabric medium and simply add to your acrylic paints.  There are several brands to choose from. (I use Liquitex but there are many others available)  The medium will help with the paint adhesion and allow the fabric stay soft.

It is a good idea to wash a new fabric item before painting so as to remove any sizing, although I have painted on new items successfully without washing in the past.

Map out or draw your design on your fabric item with a pastel chalk pencil so if you make a mistake you can easily brush it away.  You can use iron on stencils but be aware if you have a dark item you may need to get one that will show up.

You can also transfer a basic pattern onto the fabric item by tracing your design on a sheet of tracing paper. Turn the image over and go over the lines with the chalk pencil.  Put the chalk side on your fabric and rub with your finger around each line to transfer.  This method will not work for intricate designs but will allow for proper placement and a basic image.

You will need a stiff brush for the initial lay down of the base coat.  Make sure you scrub the paint into the fibers of the fabric.

Before painting attach your fabric item to a stiff board.  You can buy t-shirt forms that will fit clothing items or just use some heavy corrugated cardboard wrapped with waxed paper.  Good sources for large flat pieces of cardboard are wholesale clubs.  The cardboard is usually in a bin and free for the taking.

It is also a good idea to heat set your painting after it is finished.  Simply place piece of fabric over the image and run a medium heat iron over it.


Monday, April 9, 2012

What is wrong with one l---o---n---g book?

Lately trilogies are everywhere. I mean why make one movie when you can make three or even four?  And books have gotten that way as well. Generally I don’t like trilogies in my books, unless all of them are already in print.  I didn’t read the Twilight series until all the books were available.  And I never started reading Harry Potter or the Hunger games until the series was complete.

Recently I read a book called “The Passage” and loved every page, except that it didn’t end.  I later discover it is, in fact, part of a trilogy!!!!  EEEK and the second one is not in print as yet!  This book weighing in at almost 800 pages could have been a trilogy in itself.

I guess it is the modern way to write, but just for fun could you imagine “War and Peace” being three books, “War”, “Peace, and “Whatever?”  Or, maybe “Atlas shrugged” not once but three times?

I’m thinking that some of this trilogy mania has to do with the dollar.  I mean if you are selling a thick slice of cake for $4.00 and you cut it into thirds and sell each piece for $2.00 you are making more money and everybody thinks they are getting a deal.

As for me, I’m hoping that since the kindle and other e-readers are becoming so popular and are usually much more reasonably priced, that maybe it will bring about the resurgence of oh-so heavy thick as a brick tomes.  All in one volume!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I've always fixed Easter baskets for the kids.  Now the "kids" are all grown and I still fix Easter Baskets.  The only difference is that now I have to come up with some different ideas for filling. My daughter is the one that is hard to surprise but this year...I found some unpainted wooden shoes (from Holland no less!) in a thrift shop for practically nothing.  I painted them in the colors of her favorite store (look closely and you will see)

I can't wait to see her face when she sees them.  No jewelry in these shoes though :-(

Happy Easter everyone!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Everlasting geraniums?

Did you know that if you take in your hanging basket geraniums in the Fall and cut them back you can put them in a garage or a basement for the winter?  And did you also know that in the Spring when you take them out again they will start to regain their floral glory in a matter of days?

I used to buy geraniums for my floral baskets every year.  The large ones ran into quite a bit of money.  Then I discovered that I could keep them from year to year. 

Now my geraniums—I have four large ones—are all at least 5 years old! 

This past winter I even tried it with a couple of other plants with great success. 

I know your never supposed to ask a woman her age but no one says you can’t ask a plant…so how old is your geranium?

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