Sunday, January 29, 2012


 I have really short hair. And no curl anymore. Perms are no good because the hair on the top of my head won't take the curl; I always had to use a curling iron anyway.  I had a lovely 1/2" barrel iron when I lived in Germany! But it did not compute to 120v back home. I always stop at the curling iron displays looking for the elusive 1/2" one.  I bought a 1" one years ago but can only use it just before a haircut, when my straight, short hair makes me resemble a dandelion. 

 It seems I was shopping in the wrong megastore. Last week I was in Walmart to return an online purchase and checked out the curling iron display. And voila!


It has 30 heat  settings which means I can keep it really low and use it on the top of my hair daily.  This one is by Revlon. And it was $10. 

So there is hope for those of us with really short hair who would like a little curl. Just so you know.  


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Instant Oatmeal

 Are you tempted by those little bags of flavored instant oatmeal?  Peaches and Cream sound so yummy.  Have you looked at the sugar content?  Have you seen the amount the manufacturer considers a serving (to keep the price down)?  Have you tasted it?  Does it have any texture at all?  Yes to every question but the last one, which is No.

Want to have the yummy flavor and solve the rest of the issues with the product?  

1.  Get out your sieve or strainer and hold it over the sink. Open that little bag and dump the contents into it and shake; watch all that sugar and powdered nondairy creamer go down the drain

2.  Pour  the remaining product into a microwave safe bowl.

3.  Add a nice scoop of old fashioned dry oatmeal from the cardboard canister. It needs to be old fashioned for the texture you want. 

4.  Pour enough water over the oatmeal mixture to just cover it and make sure it is nice and wet. 

5.  Microwave on high for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. 

6.  Stir in your choice of liquid;  I use almond milk and a shot of flavored  nondairy creamer. 

You get your flavor, texture and that cloyingly sweet taste is gone.  You also actually have a proper sized serving. 

Give it a try!  And if you don't think the oatmeal in the package is too sweet, try it anyway; you can choose something sweet later in the day with no guilt. 

 Quaker is the most common brand, but you can do the same trick with any brand, if you have the same problems with the sweetness and portion size. 



Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gulfoss and Geysir

The two must-see attractions in Iceland in the 70's were Gulfoss and Geysir.  Today, Gulfoss is still there in all its vastness, but Geysir does not erupt with enough regularity to attract impatient tourists, and Strokkur has taken over the top spot to see. Notice on the Gulfoss you see any guardrails?  No, you don't!  We simply found the unpaved road with the basic sign that said "Gulfoss" and drove up to a parking area and walked to the edge of the falls.

Now, courtesy of searching the internet, I found current photos and there is both a railing and a wooden observation deck.  Spoil sports!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

5 Extraordinary Things I did in the Seventies

I found a blog called and jumped right into their challenge of the week.  This is the page I did, and it will go into The Iceland Years scrapbook.  Enjoy.

Oops...comment lost

I had a comment from my last post from a new reader.  Blogger dropped it off somehow.  So, if you are the delightful person who has never had air conditioning, please comment again and maybe I can keep it from getting erased, and follow your blog, if you have one.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I have stories to tell

Most people who know me know we lived in Iceland back in the early 1970's, pre-kids.  Many have heard my stories.  Nobody has seen the pictures, unless they were willing to sit through slide shows back then.  I digitized some of these slides and am going to tell the story of the Iceland Years.  LOL.  Here is where we first lived.
I know you can't read the scrapbook page on this blog, so :

This was our first “house” in Iceland.  More of a was half of a duplex attached to a quonset hut that was the third apartment.  Halfway through the winter, the front door blew off and we only had our inside door; the front entrance stayed full of snow.  We used duct tape around the door jamb  to keep the snow out of the living room.  The horses were our garbage system...Keflavik would not pick up the garbage because we could not keep the local “neighbors” from rooting about and tossing away what they did not want, decorating the hillside.  We had paneled walls, and a very tiny kitchen with pegboard cabinet doors, a plywood counter covered with woodgrained contact paper. This “apartment complex” had been built for the American crew that built the military base, and we did have a large American style fridge that ran off of a huge transformer.  That was a bonus.  We lived on top of a hill, overlooking the town of Keflavik, the harbor, and a glacier.  It was certainly quiet up there! And a never to be forgotten experience

The backstory on why we lived in such a strange looking place:  This was during the Draft and pretty much everybody our age had to do military service.  Larry got really lucky (?) and was sent to Iceland.  If I wanted to join him, he had to find a place off base.  Those places were at a premium, and were all weird.  One place he looked at was three apartments in a row, and you walked through each one to get to the next.  Like train cars.  We knew a couple who had a one room place with a hot plate, a twin bed, and a bathroom down the hall, in a converted warehouse.  My friend, Bette, lived in a pretty nice apartment above a dentist's office, but her bathroom was on the outside landing, her fridge was the balcony off the kitchen, and her "sink" was her bathtub.  Other families got lucky with better accomodations, but there was very little on offer in Keflavik and nobody made much money.

Larry found this place, I got on an airplane for the first time,  and we moved in on a day that snowed, sleeted, hailed, rained, and the sun shone....prepping me for the weather over the next two years in one fell swoop.  Awful though the little hut was, I remember it the most of anywhere we have lived, sort of fondly.  And am constantly grateful we moved on base after one year.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beef Stew with tarragon???

 I have not made beef stew in years. In fact I did not eat beef for several years. I have begun to eat steak on occasion and decided to make an old fashioned crock pot beef stew, much to Larry's delight. Bought some gorgeous stew meat at Aldi's for an excellent price. 

For the stew, I diced carrots and onions and browned them along with the beef in my Mom's cast iron skillet. For seasoning I did several things. Salt and pepper, coriander, celery salt, smoked paprika to start. Put it in the crock pot, added a chopped onion, chopped carrot, and some beef broth, turned it to high and went to aerobics class

When I came home the house smelled wonderful. I turned the pot to low and decided to add some more seasonings. Worcestershire, soy, Siracha sauce, red wine vinegar, a bay leaf, and, hmmmmm...some tarragon. What on earth???  I have never used tarragon in anything. A neighbor gave me a brand new jar when she moved. It smelled nicely floral.  So I used some. And it added just the right herbal note to the stew. Give it a try...



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Quite a shopping day

I woke up this morning with a strong urge to go shopping. I generally hate shopping, but when this particular urge hits for buying specific things, I try and listen. I am glad I did. Larry probably not so glad.  

My main focus was to see if I could find a smallish cross body bag  in real, soft leather for under $100.  I have bought various fake ones and nylon ones and have made them out of decorator fabric. But I wanted the real thing. 

I drove around the corner to Nordstrom's Rack. There was one display of smallish crossbody bags. Most were very small. But, there it was!  Super soft, magnetic closure, and the most wonderful shade of taupe leather. And under $100. It was just under $80, actually. 

Clutching my bag, I walked to the other side of the store to my favorite department: shoes.  Our trip to Alaska is in six months and I know, from having lived in Iceland, hiking boots are in order, paved paths for tourists or not!  Hiking boots are not a big demand item around here, and I certainly did not expect to find these. Whoopee.  My size, black, less than $75. Grabbed them and then found some hiking style socks. So I left Nordie's quite pleased. 

But then I just could not resist a peek into Kohls, right next door.  I picked up a pair of ear warmers for this cold wind this winter, then drifted to the purse section, Of course, specifically clearance. There just might be a bargain waiting for me. And there was.....a $99.00 Vera Wang satchel for $9.99. Handles and crossbody/shoulder strap. I liked the color, the feel of the synthetic leather, and it would hold my iPad and Kindle for the cruise, as well as any other time I need those items with me.

I am glad followed up on my shopping urge!


Good Neighbors

We moved onto our cul de sac when Jenni was two years old.  She is now a grown woman, and got married this past May.  When we moved onto the cul de sac, it was a magic kingdom of kids, who grew up together as their parents became friends.  These kids are now all grown, many of them married with children.  But the neighbors remain friends.  Several of these neighbors, who watched Jenni grow up, shared in her wedding at Ocean Isle Beach.  As a tribute to good friends and neighbors I made this page for her wedding scrapbook.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beautiful Iceland

Have begun scrapping the Iceland Years.  And the 'Beautiful' word art is to describe the frozen bushes, not the 1970's version of me.   FYI there were no trees on the island, just these little bushes.  We did see trees when we drove up to the north coast to the Arboretum.  Pics of that later.  For now, enjoy this first tidbit.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Onward with the Digi Challenges

I need to constantly challenge myself with my art and hobbies; I get bored really fast.  With the start of 2012 I needed a new focus for digiscrap, since I have gotten reasonably proficient with PSE.  At least as much as I need to know for now.  So I need something new to learn.

Since it is always fun to interact with people, I have been eager to start posting in some digiscrap galleries, but any I had found were difficult to join, required you to use only kits purchased from their designers, and an exhaustive listing of all elements and papers used on the scrapbook page.  I checked 'no' beside all these requirements.

Well, lo and behold, I have discovered two digi sites recently with galleries and challenges that don't care what kits you use and don't ask you to list everything used on the page.  They just let you have fun.  If you use their designers' kits, you can  earn points.  I will get around to doing that eventually.  Baby steps and all.

So for now I am keeping digital boredom at bay.  Today I made this design for a template challenge at StufftoScrap.  It is actually going to be a page to add to Jenni's wedding album.  The photos are the candids of our friends and family on the beach waiting for the lovely bride to appear!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

2011 is gone, but there are memories

It seems appropriate as I look forward to 2012, that I take a glance back at 2011 and list some of the big moments. This page was done for a word art challenge at Gotta Pixel. The designer sponsoring the challenge provided the basic template.  (And yes, that is me doing yoga......LOL.. wish I really looked like that!)

Friday, January 06, 2012

January Blahs

The weather is gorgeous, so why am I blah?  I am always blah in January.  The new year spreads out before me and I don't know what I want to do first, so I just sit and read on my Kindle!!  I made this page for a digi challenge at Gotta Pixel and thought I would share it on my blog, too.  I stopped and made this while I was hanging up a pile of clothes.  Oh well...

Random Tutorial Generator

I love crafts; at least the idea of crafts. And sometimes I get off the computer and make something.  Mostly, however, I like to daydream about handmade stuff. The Internet  certainly aids and abets this dreaming.  And now I have found a web site that puts those dreams into overdrive.  It is the Random Tutorial Generator and is completely addictive.  Not that I am going to make that stuff anytime soon, but a girl can dream.  Check it out and go for a crafty ride. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Tutorial: Knotted Purse (No sew!)

Tutorial: Knotted Purse (No sew!)

I love interesting purses and this certainly qualifies! Although my current faces are slouchy cross-body bags from fun fabrics, I can see doing this sometime. And anybody can make one.

Time for a new calendar.

This year I am ushering a new year in with a calendar I designed myself. Last year I made several custom calendars for gifts but used a freebie calendar for myself.  Granted it was from Reynold's Landing and the photos were of the beautiful golf courses, but.....

Every year I make my friend Nina a bird calendar.  Actually I made her one last year using bird photos from a bird watcher's blog I found. For 2012 I found lovely prints on the Graphic Fairy's blog.  It turned out so pretty that I ordered two so I can enjoy it too.  

So Happy New Year!  


I really want to be able to blog from somewhere besides my desktop up in the corner of the rec room/my 'studio'. I have a brand new iPad that I can actually see the screen and type properly. 

I tend to write blogs in my head and never manage to go upstairs and get those ideas into the blogosphere.  Now along comes Blogsy and it says I can use it to blog, format, even upload my pictures, if the are on my iPad. And since Photosync app makes that doable with a single button push, I might be able to blog anywhere in the house. So let's see what happens. 

I did some scrap booking in the car from this iPad. Let's see if I can show it on the blog. 

And, yes, my grandson's name is Griff instead of Grif. I edited it but somehow it did not get into my library.