“Crafty” Like Me

If you’re crafty in the same way that I am, it means that:

A. You’ve started lots and lots of projects and haven’t finished too many of them.

B. You still hang onto these projects because you’re gonna.

C. Over the years, you’ve taken on progressively easier crafts so that you can have the satisfaction (albeit much less satisfaction, proportionate to the project itself) of actually finishing.

One craft activity I enjoy is counted cross stitch. Back in the day, I actually finished a couple of small-to-medium sized projects. My two best, however are this one…


Gorgeous, right? Wait…did you think I made this? No, silly. This is the picture on the package.




THIS is what I have done on it, so far. 10 years and counting.


…and the one of the Marine Corps emblem that I’m making (present tense being used loosely here) for My Marine. I would put up a picture of that one but I haven’t seen it in roughly 9 years. I’m sure I didn’t throw it out, though. It’s got to be here somewhere.


My 10 stitches are in the gray line on the bottom, to the right of the vase. Nice, huh?


Here’s the one that my mom and I made a few years ago. I put the first 10 or so stitches in that bad boy and my mom wrapped up the last 20,000.






Who doesn’t need fridge magnets? They’re decorative AND practical.



Several years back, when I finally began to clue in to my weakening devotion to crafting, I made these little gems to commemorate a trip to San Antonio we took with some friends. I glued magnets to the backs of these tiles I bought while we were there. Even sent some to our friends! BOOM!





Enough for 7 different moods.


What I really wanted to share, though, might be my most ridiculously easy project yet. I was looking for a cute dry erase board and found pretty quickly that there really aren’t any. So I endeavored to make one myself. I purchased an 8×10 frame with glass and some scrapbooking paper. Since the paper was cheap (69 cents for the regular and 1.99 for the sparkly) I got several sheets so that I could change the look of my board to fit my mood. This project literally involved…cutting paper. As it turned out, after I cut out the 8×10 piece, I still have enough left for another 4×6, so I went back to the store for another frame.

And guess what…after I cut out the 4×6, I still had enough for a second 4×6! Too bad I didn’t figure that out until after the second trip to the store. The hardest part of this project was the fact that I didn’t do the math on the measurements ahead of time, and making trips to the store.


Bada bing.


Anyway,  my fellow not-THAT-into-crafting crafters, if you’re looking for a stupidly easy craft with a really cute outcome, here it is, kiddos.





Before you go, I’d like to invite you to take a minute to look around my website. You may notice that it has undergone some construction and has a whole new format and some cool new features, like better/easier to navigate blog categories and also the awesome new rotating review spot that allows me to share some of the very nice comments from some of the reviews that people have written about my books. Take a stroll around the site and if you’ve enjoyed this post, please feel free to share!




A Quick Trip to Chi-Town

My Marine and I are thinking about updating our bathroom. Not a full re-do. Just a couple of tweaks. And, really, we’re still in the kicking-it-around stage. Don’t hold me to it.

Maybe something like this.

Or this.

Last weekend we went into Chicago to look at some specific stores the man had heard about – you know…the ones with fabulous sinks, fabulous tile, fabulous tubs, etc. We looked around, took some pictures, got some ideas. Then we got down to the meat of the trip. First, we went to lunch downtown with a gift card we had. Cha-ching! Free! Then we went to Crate & Barrel and Bloomingdale’s.

Guess how much this mirror costs. Go ahead. Take a stab. (I’ll put the answer at the bottom so you can think it over)

I hadn’t been to Bloomingdale’s before. We specifically wanted to go because the store in Chicago is housed in the old Medinah Temple, which was an ornate auditorium built in 1912 and used for the Shrine Circus, among other things.

Stained glass windows

Domed ceiling

Bloomingdale’s built the store inside the building, but preserved the beautifully restored architectural details. It’s quite lovely and worth a look if you’re in the area. It was a thoughtful and responsible way to merge history and commerce and preserve a Chicago landmark.

Salt and Pepper Shakers

The best part of the trip? My awesome new salt and pepper shakers. Life is good, folks. Life is good.



(The answer to the cost of the mirror is $17,000. Don’t worry, those are real crystals, so it’s totally worth it.)



Furniture Builder (Not So) Extraordinaire

In an effort to class up my office, I decided to replace the chipped up metal file cabinet which has very few files in it. Its main job is to keep the printer off the floor and I figured a more stylish piece of furniture could accomplish that task just as easily. After checking around at a few stores, I ended up at Target, like I always do. I love that place. They carry everything I didn’t realize I needed.

The cabinet in progress

The cabinet in progress

Continue reading Furniture Builder (Not So) Extraordinaire

A Visit to the Alma Mater

My Marine and I took advantage of the nice weather recently and made a trip to my alma mater, Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. It was the first time I’d been there in years…like years. And it was the first time I took my husband. As I showed him around the campus, he became interested to hear all my crazy college stories. Specifically, he asked for details of things that go on in all-girl dorms. It was a sad moment for him when I revealed that I was just as dorky then as I am now. Sorry, guy. No crazy, sexy stories. Fantasy status: Crushed.

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Husband Material

I’ve been married for 23 years. (I got married when I was 6. It was a delightful ceremony attended by all of our closest first grade friends.) By now, I should already be convinced that My Marine is quality, Grade A, inspected and certified husband material. And I am. But he continues to find new ways to remind me.

Now, I’m not that into antiquing, but once in a while the mood hits me. For Mother’s Day, My Marine and my 3 kids (I haven’t come up with cool, bloggy, secret-identity names for them yet, but give it time – I will.) let me pick out a new tree.


Dia de Madre Tree


Yay! I’m soooo into planting new trees! My Marine also offered to take me to a movie. I said, “You know, how about instead of a movie, we hit some antique shops.”

Well, my friends, I’m sure you can imagine the face. It’s the Dear God…NO! face, with the Mother’s Day filter over it. “Sure,” he responds.

So, I described a big place I’d seen off the highway. I wasn’t exactly sure of the town, really, but it looked like a “big, red barn.” I asked if he knew the place and he said he thought so. However, we couldn’t find a name and we didn’t know if it was open so we went to some antique places closer to home.

Creepy doll just like I used to have, complete with cut hair.

antiques hoof lamp

A lamp that needs no words

Now, here’s the part where the man showed his true spirit – the spirit of a warrior.

The next weekend, he approached me and asked if I wanted to go find the “big, red barn” antiques place.

Did you catch that? HE offered to go antiquing again. The very next weekend, no less.

This guy…unbelievable!

Well, we found the big, red barn off the highway. It’s a fireworks place, but we’re both pretty sure that at one time it said Antiques on the building somewhere. Luckily, I had a back-up plan and had found a place nearby with 80, yes 80, consignment booths chock full of antiques. He powered through every booth with me. Never complained, never rushed me in the least.

How cool is this? It’s 3D! And it was only $25. I’m sure I’ll regret not getting it.

Awesome retro kitchen chairs!

Awesome retro kitchen chairs!

When we got outside, he let out a dramatic sigh and I congratulated him. “You did it,” I said. “So, what did you think?”

He shook his head. “That place needs a match.”


Anyone else have a husband material story to share? Of course, I’d love to hear about wife material, too!

My New BFF, David Sedaris

* To those of you who already know David Sedaris – you’re going to love him even more. To those of you who don’t – you’re welcome.

My sister and I had the great pleasure of seeing author David Sedaris in person last night. One of the stops on his book tour was just outside Chicago and we were there with bells on – his #1 fans!

He did an hour of book signing prior to the show, as well as afterward. As his #1 fans, it was appropriate that we be at the early signing. When the doors opened and everyone clamored to secure a spot in line, we ended up somewhere around 20th, maybe 25th. I didn’t count. While we waited, we struck up a conversation with the couple behind us. The guy, as it turned out, was David Sedaris’s #1 fan. After talking with him for a few minutes we decided that he did, in fact, deserve the title slightly more than we did and we became David’s #2 fans.

After a while, I checked my watch, concerned that the line hadn’t moved much. I leaned to the side to see what the holdup was. It was, of course, people. People who were talking to David for too long.

“They need to get a wrangler,” I said to my sister, “so they can tell people to hurry up and get moving.”

Continue reading My New BFF, David Sedaris