Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Trip to London

Days 1-3

I was greeted at Heathrow airport by my high school friend Kathy and the adventure began! She made me feel VERY welcome with Welcome Joan written on this 'chalk' rooster and on their frig. Such a warm welcome!

Kathy pulled this quilt out of the closet - I made it for her son, Alex, 17 years ago! Day 1 was spent getting reacquainted with Kathy, meeting her husband, Ron and her son, Alex.

Day 2

With a Spring party coming up the next day, Kathy and I were off to the nursery for plants to add some color to their window boxes. Getting to the nursery turned out to be quite an adventure on a rainy day. After spending some time in London, I have to admit I'm spoiled with convenience back in the states. We had to walk and walk to get to the nursery in Chelsea and then we had to haul all the plants back to their home - via the bus and walking. We planted the flower boxes and they turned out wonderful!

Day 3

Day 3 was celebrating Spring with a party - I was quite honored being among 30 dignitaries from all over the world - some had even been knighted...we weren't allowed to say the R word since the plan was to have the party outdoors. It turned out to be a perfect day - no R and the weather was warmish.

We found these cute flower pinwheels to dress up the deck. There are no craft stores in London, so we were fortunate to find these.

Here we are later in the party after a few Pimms!!! I was surprised to found out that one of the ladies is moving back home - she happens to live 20 minutes from me!!! New friend? I hope so...

Kathy, her son Alex, me and Kathy's husband Ron.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My bags are packed...

My time in London is drawing to a close and I am grateful for the time with my friend Kathy and her family and for everything I experienced and I experienced a lot!!!  Thanks, Kathy, Ron, Alex and London for a wonderful time!

Until I'm back in the good ol' USA,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

High Tea at the Dorchester Hotel was amazing!!! Who knew you could sip tea for three hours!  They presented me with a beautiful birthday cake and the pianist played Happy Birthday.  Lovely.

I have taken over 500 pictures and will share SOME when I get back home this weekend.'s almost time to head home.

Today holds a going away reception...more fun.

High Tea in London

So much to tell, but we're off to the Dorchester for High Tea this afternoon!!!  

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thai Spring Rolls

This Girl Can Cook!!!

I haven't talked much about Kristin Ball, Cheryl Ball's sister, who is the third person in our Still Crafty After 50 group. Kristin is an amazing chef with vast experience and training including cooking at a golf course country club, Skywalker Ranch and with the number one caterer’s in Santa Rosa and Paso Robles. She designs the menu, prepares the food and even creates tablescapes for the finest wineries in California. She has designed craft projects for over twenty years and many of her designs have appeared in national magazines. She’s always looking for new and fresh ideas for both food and design. Kristin loves making every day things an event with her special touches.
Kristin's YouTube video Easy to Make Thai Spring Rolls was just picked up by chefcommons - congrats Krissy!!! Kristin also revamped the Ball Family Meatloaf Recipe and made it oh so healthy and oh so tasty!
I hosted the video with Kristin and I was amazed at how easy Spring Rolls are to make and not being a big veggie girl, they were outstandingly yummy! And, you can keep the wrappers on your shelf for ages at the ready to make them anytime!
Check out for more ideas from Cheryl, Kristin and me transforming those things from our youth that are hanging around into functional and fun projects and Kristin's healthy recipes for us, our parents and the children in our lives.
Make it a creative day!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wow!  It's been a fabulous few days here in London.  Quick overview - interesting trips to the grocery store - I'm amazed at the differences, lunch at the Ukrainian Embassy yesterday, a party for 30 diplomats last night - very fun!  I had Pimm's for the first time. I'm amazed at how quickly the weather can change - rain one minute, sunshine the next - last night was perfect for the outdoor spring themed party.

We're off to the Chelsea Flower Show this afternoon after a museum visit.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Memorial Day Party Ware

Red, White & Blue Celebration

Here's a simple project to brighten up your weekend. Apply to backs of plates and outside of bowls for an awesome celebration.

Here's What You Need
Aleene's Clear Gel Tacky Glue
Tissue paper: white, red, blue
Paintbrush, foam
Partyware, glass or plastic

Here's How to Make It
~ Cut out different size stars from tissue paper.
~ Brush glue in a small area on partyware. Place stars over glue. Brush glue over stars. Continue adding stars until desired look is achieved.

Use this same idea for all your holidays just change the tissue shapes.
Clean with a damp sponge.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Melted Record Fountain

A Year Ago!!!

It's hard to believe that I posted my How to Make a Fountain From Old Records video on YouTube a year ago. In that time, it's had over 8,500 hits and spawned an e-book Get Those Old Records Off the Shelf with Cheryl Ball featuring a ton of ideas for using old records including how to make a record bowl, room divider, serving trays, birdfeeder, clock, cake stand, jewelry, tablesetting, mail sorter and soooo much more!

Check out the video on YouTube How to Make a Fountain From Old Records and
check out Cheryl Ball (from our old Aleene's Creative Living days) and my Get Those Old Records Off the Shelf ebook for tons of ideas to use old records!

Get those records out of grandma's attic, out of storage or wherever they're at and put your own spin on creativity!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wow! Leaving Paradise is harder than I thought! But I can't wait to experience all that Europe has to offer!!!


Friday, May 15, 2009

Packing List

I found this website for a universal packing list - you choose from several items like where you're going, what you'll be doing and it supplies a packing list - love it!

My Life The Last Couple Weeks

Packing, Generosity, Early Birthday Celebrations, Fabulous Friends and Family

I am so fortunate to be surrounded by very special and caring people. The last couple of weeks have been filled with very different happenings - some I have never experienced in my life and some were plain and simple but very memorable.

I'm getting ready to leave for my two week trip to Europe and so many people have rallied and helped me with things I needed to do before I can get on the plane.

I am the Newsletter Editor for the Newcomers Club in the area and had the newsletter all ready to be mailed off but it had to be put on hold for a situation beyond my control. Knowing that it was delayed and now pressing me for time, a friend took over the entire mailing - love ya Shary! You took a huge load off my shoulders.

I have to say it again. I absolutely LOVE Facebook. I have connected with people I went to high school with that I haven't seen since graduation. Because of Facebook, we're doing a Girls' Weekend after I'm back from my trip. One girl I haven't seen for almost 35 years, one is Betty, who we had the Celebration of Life party for back in December and the other was one of my closest friends in high school. Another high school friend has a place in the town where we're meeting so hopefully she can come too! If you haven't tried Facebook, it's worth a look.

Talk about friend, Kathy, has opened up her home to me for the next couple of weeks in London. I can't wait to see what she has planned. It is a VERY small world - I found out this week that a friend from Fresno will be at the Chelsea Flower Show too...I have my international cell phone set up to send texts to my blog, so we'll see if it works. If not, there'll be tons of pictures here in a couple of weeks.

More generosity...I told a friend I was looking for a red, white and blue tablecloth to take to my friend, Kathy. My friend, Mary Clare, took it upon herself to be on the lookout for the tablecloth while she was out shopping getting ready to leave for Greece today. Mary Clare, you are one in a hundred million - love ya! AND, she mentioned on a shopping trip that she had a suitcase scale. I'd heard stories about people getting to the airport and their luggage being overweight and having to pay huge additional amounts. Mary Clare surprised me last night with my very own scale AND it has a tape measure on the side to measure the luggage - another important thing. MCZ, can't wait to dish when we're both back home.

My birthday is while I'm away, so I've had a couple early celebrations this week. My sister and nephew took me to dinner in a nearby town for fish and chips and surprised me with binoculars. I have been so envious of my next door neighbor - I always see him out on his deck looking out at the ocean with his binoculars. So, now I have my very own. My friend, Valerie took me out to dinner last night for yummy salmon covered with avocado and Bearnaise sauce (only in Callie!). Fabulous! Mary Clare joined us too as a little bon voyage dinner and we had cake to celebrate our birthdays.

A friend needed to get me something a couple of weeks ago, so I offered to go to her house to pick it up. Her house is so delightful - it's huge, has an amazing view, a gourmet kitchen and her basement is an art studio - she's an amazing watercolor artist. It was a rainy, cold day, so we sat, had tea and chatted about life. I believe she's another person brought into my life for a reason I'm not quite sure of yet.

I am looking forward to being on the plane and doing what I call a Brain Dump. It is something I have come accustomed to doing on the first day of a trip. I take a notebook and a smooth writing pen (that's important to me!) and just write and write and see where it takes me. It is a very exciting time - full of ideas - some very old that always pop up when I do my Brain Dump but some new and refreshing ideas always pop up. My book is coming along fantastically and I have had an offer to post some of the projects on a new and growing website. I am hoping to expand on my book projects AND I have a new venture I'm working on. I have a couple of friends already working on the elements and will come up my to do list for when I get home.

My friend, Frances, came for a quick visit earlier this week with her husband and her parents. It was a gorgeous day and we sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful view. I am VERY grateful that Frances volunteered (when you live at the ocean many people volunteer) to house sit while I'm gone. Now, I don't have to worry about my newly planted trees and keeping my yard alive while I'm gone and Frances gets to bring her clay and be creative in a wonderful environment.

It will be VERY hard to leave My Rock and head off to Europe, but I know amazing adventures await me. To all my friends and family, thank you for being a part of my life. Each and every one of you bring such uniqueness to my life. I cherish each and every one of you.

I just wrote someone on Facebook that I'm heading to Europe for two weeks - oh, my gosh! I'm heading to Europe for two weeks!!!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kids Craft Project - Stacking Rock

Rock 'n Roll Rocks

These rock formations make a great paperweight or are fantastic to just display! Collect rocks from different places and write where they're from on the bottom for a great memento! It's perfect for a Father's Day gift!

What You’ll Need
Aleene's® Platinum Bond™ 7800 All-Purpose Adhesive

How to Make It!
Stack ‘em and glue ‘em – that’s it!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Statue of Liberty

The Crown!!!

I heard today that visitors are being allowed up in the crown of The Statue of Liberty for the first time since the attacks on 9/11. The reason I'm so excited is that way, way back in 1965, my sister and I took the 346 steps up the 250 feet to the crown. Our view was cut short by a booming voice over the loudspeakers telling us to meet our parents at the bottom!!! On the news, they said only 30 people at a time can go up, so they hold a lottery. FYI - the statue came in 350 pieces, in 214 crates and took four months to put together.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Make Mom Jewelry Ideas

Victorian Choker and Earrings for Mom

The beautiful roses and leaves are created from white bread and Aleene's Tacky Glue!!!

How to make bread dough roses!!! It's super simple!!!

What You'll Need

Bread, 1 slice white
Aleene's Original Tacky Glue
Aleene's Jewel-It Fabric Glue
Acrylic paint: colors for roses and leaves
Charms, pearls and small buttons
3 Buttons, large for base - approx. 1" diameter
Zip-top plastic bags
Hook and loop tape
Grosgrain ribbon, enough to go around neck, plus 2"
Earring backs
Needle or pin

How to Make It

Bread Dough

Remove crust from bread and discard. Tear bread in small pieces and place in one zip-top bag. Add 1 tablespoon Tacky Glue and close bag. Knead ingredients until smooth. Separate into two balls. Place each ball in a zip-top plastic bag. Add a small drop of acrylic paint into each bag, close and mix. Add more paint as desired. Store in plastic bag while making roses and leaves.

Bread Dough Roses
General info:

Rose buds and petals all start using a small pea size ball of colored dough that is pressed into a thin circle.

1. For bud, start to roll from right to left, lightly turning top of roll back so petal looks as if it is opening.
2. For first petal, roll back top left side and top right side of dough circle a tiny bit. Lay original bud in center of petal and wrap first petal around center bud. Place petals a little bit higher than bud so when edges are curled back petal are same height.
3. For second petal, repeat as on first petal and place opposite first petal.
4. For third petal, repeat.
5. Add three more petals, overlapping. Cut back of rose off with scissors to flatten.
6. For leaves, use a pea size dough ball and mold into tear shape by squeezing one end. Flatten tear shape. For veins, use a needle or pin to mark lines.
7. Let roses and leaves air dry.


1. To keep ends of ribbon from fraying, place a thin line of Jewel-It Glue along each end. Let dry.
2. Separate hook and loop tape. Glue one side to end of ribbon and reverse side on back of ribbon.
3. Glue pearls, charms, buttons, roses and leaves to large button. Let dry. Glue to center of ribbon. Let dry.


Glue pearls, charms, buttons, roses and leaves to large buttons, using Jewel-It Glue. Let dry. Glue earring backs to back of buttons.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Inspired at Home

In case you missed The Crafty Chica and ME talking about my new ebook Guide to Shrink Plastic on the Inspired at Home blog radio show tonight, check it out at listed under "On-Demand Episodes".

Join us - it's going to be sooooo much fun!