Thursday, December 30, 2010

Atomic Lobster - My Book Review

Atomic Lobster (Serge a. Storms)Atomic Lobster by Tim Dorsey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have mixed emotions about this book. When I first started reading I didn't like it. I felt like things were all over the place. I would be reading and all of the sudden it would change to something else and I wouldn't know what was going on.

Example:I was lost during the Greek religious festival. I think if I had known that the young boys standing in their swim suits, the priest officiating, the boys jumping in the water, Serge talking about this being the sponge capital of the world, the boys diving and coming up frustrated, then Serge coming up with a white cross to have his buddy take pictures with, would have made a lot more sense to me if I had known that the boys were looking for something, namely the white cross and not, perhaps, sponges.

As it got further into the book and I figured out the Serge character a little I began enjoying it more. Like when his therapist told him to go to an anger management support group and he gets thrown out for fighting, she sends him to the Non-Confrontationalist Anonymous support group to try and have some sympathy for the other side of the spectrum. The group goes on a field trip to the zoo (staring down lions and tigers in cages to build courage), the bus ride reminds Serge of field trips in Kindergarten and gets everyone on the bus singing "If You're Happy and You Know It".

Then later in the book he gets the group together, puts everyone in masks and starts a "Fight Club" sort of thing to get them expressing themselves.

There are some pretty funny escapades that everyone eventually ends up in the same local and mishaps aplenty ensue. I did actually laugh out loud a couple times.

I take one star off this book, and feel I can't recommend it to most of my friends, because of the very liberal use of the F-bomb.

I won this book from First Reads and am now off to read Nuclear Jellyfish which I also won.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 23, 2010

BESTeam Feature: Fluttering Flowers

I am so excited to share this Etsy shop with you.   Welcome to Fluttering Flowers.

Everything in this shop is teeny tiny and so cute you just almost can't believe it and the prices are beyond reasonable. This is a polymer clay paradise and since a picture is worth a thousand words I am just going to get to the pictures so you can see for yourself.

bwahahahaha - Squished bug!! - only $1.80!

Small Sleeping Baby - $1.20

Small Bonsai Tree - $2.40

Toadstool Buttons - $4.80

Three Tiered Cake - $2.40

Giraffe - $2.40

Girl and friends - $6.00

I don't know how she does it.  Everything is so detailed and yet so small.  It just makes me happy looking at all this cuteness.  You need to check out the cute bunnies! 

Take a minute and visit Fluttering Flowers and see all the other fun items available. You can also find Fluttering Flowers at her blog Polymer Playtime where you can keep up on her polymer creations and see some pictures of her big fat turkeys!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

BESTeam Feature: Elizabeth MD

Meet Elizabeth of ElizabethMD. No, she isn't an MD she is Elizabeth M Duquette.  A daughter a creative parents who has been drawing and designing jewelry and clothing since she was 15.

She graduated from Fashion Merchandising at Fanshawe College in 2004 and has turned her love of design, into a love of one of a kind handmade jewelry. She started designing jewelry when she wasn't finding the kind of jewelry that made her excited to wear it.

You're one of a kind, so why shouldn't your jewelry be? This is the philosophy behind ElizabethMD.  Come look at a few of my favorite one of a kind pieces.

Red Berry earrings.  ONLY $5!!!
I love these berry earrings.  So festive for the holidays.  Only $5!!

Copper Bouquet necklace, $16
I absolutely love this necklace.  "A bouquet of flowers trickle down from this necklace."

Double Stranded Lampwork and Agate Stone Necklace, $31

This is such a versatile piece that would go with just about any outfit.

Gift Certificate, $10
For that woman who has everything, how about a gift card, available for $10, $15, or $25, so she can choose what she wants!

You can also find Elizabeth at her blog Elizabeth MD Jewelry Designs.  Stop on by for her latest updates and deals.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Request a Tutorial

I would love to put some more tutorials on my blog. I did one in 2006, a cute little tote out of a placemat. and it still gets tons of traffic.  This tells me there are other crafty bloggers wanting to expand their crafty abilities.
So -  I am asking for your input. 

What would you like to see as a tutorial?  

Give me some ideas of what you would like to see demonstrated.

  • Visit my etsy shop.  Is there something there you would like to learn how to do?  
  • Is there a craft or project you want to make after I figure out how to do it first?
  • Have you seen something in a magazine or on a website that you want to try and make?

Leave me a comment with your tutorial wish list. 
Make sure to follow my blog so you know when your tutorial goes up!

If I use your suggestion for a tutorial I will send you a little gift of crafty goodness.  
(maybe even the thing you wanted demonstrated)

Let's get our crafty on and make some stuff!

BESTeam Feature: Our Home To Yours

What could be better than buying handmade goodness from a Mother/Daughter/Daughter etsy shop?  You probably think I am talking about my Etsy store, which is a great place to shop, but this time I'm not.  I found another shop that has that same trio as ours.

You will find things to keep you warm, things to accessorize, things for weddings, home decor and more.

 Debbi (the mom) and Amanda use yarn, thread, beads, paper and paint and Alison uses any and all material she can get her hands on. (sounds like my kind of crafters!)

  Here are a few of my favorite things from "their home".

Crayon Roll, $12

For the person you know with a touch of OCD that loves crayons (and who doesn't). My 19 year old wants one!

Eternity Scarf, $20

 I love this scarf idea.  It is made in the round so their are no seams.  You loop it around your neck one, two, or three times depending on how loose you want it.

2 Rosette Headband, $10

Headbands with adorable wrapped roses.

Crocheted Tam, $10

Something for that man in your life to keep his noggin warm!  No girly colors here!!
Pink and Purple fuzzy scarf, $12

I just loved this picture. We used to wrap things around our girls faces when they were little and pretend they were flowers.  This would be a "scarf flower".

Come on over and visit this fun little shop Our Home To Yours.  You can also find them at their blog under the same name.

Friday, November 26, 2010

BESTeam Feature: Elle's Beads

Here is some great holiday shopping without all the chaos and potential battle scars of Black Friday shopping.  Plus you can stay in your jammies.  

Take a look at Elle's Beads.  

This shop offers one of a kind (OOAK) funky handmade jewelry. You can also find brooches, book marks, cell phone charms and barrettes. Her shop is a lot of fun to look at too.  She has make her pages into a beautiful palate of color.  Looking for red jewelry?  They are all together.  Need blue jewelry?  All the blues are together.  Not only is that very helpful when you are shopping but it is beautiful to look at. Yellows fade into orange which then turn to red then on to pinks etc. I am amazed by it.  Don't really know how she keeps it this way.

Here are some of my favorites.

Mosso is for Music Lovers - Antique Silver Charm, $10.00


I thought this was beautiful.  The silver with the aged piece of sheet music.  A great find for that music lover in your life!

Vintage Pearl and Diamond Charm Necklace with Sterling Silver Chain, $20

 I know a few lovers of vintage, pearls and diamonds.  I am guessing you do too. 

Swirling Silver and Black Crystazzi Beaded Earrings, $20

I love the design of these earrings.  This is a great pair that would go with just about anything.  You could use these for New Year's Eve dress up or go casual with a pair of jeans.

Stop on by Elle's Beads to find some fabulous Christmas (or any time) buys.  You can also find Elle at her blog. You can sign up for her newsletter and follow her blog to stay abreast of the new items that are put up.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

BESTeam Feature: Midnight Chalk

Today I want to share a fun little shop from UK.  Midnight Chalk.

Sandra from Midnight Chalk is a mom of two who likes to explore the countryside, find beautiful things and record them, either as photographs or as fine art sketches and drawings.

Upon first inspection of her Etsy shop you find three photos offered there.  But like looking for hidden treasure, if you search a little deeper you will find much more.  Here are two of my favorites:

If you see a picture that you like, you can convo Sandra about ordering different sizes.  You can also find additional photos on Sandra's blog.

Here is a photo from her blog that I think is absolutely adorable:

Midnight Chalk is a fairly new shop, opening this year in April.  Take a minute to visit her and give her some Etsy love.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Driving With Familiarity; What Does it Really Breed?

Article first published as Driving With Familiarity; What Does it Really Breed?, by Linda Voss, on Technorati.

The saying goes “Familiarity breeds contempt”. Lately I have been wondering if it breeds something else.

There has been a lot of road construction happening on our freeways of late. It has become apparent that we are busting at the seams and need more lanes. While this construction is going on there are a lot of road detours, orange barrels, and wonky lane changes. There are sections of the freeway where you will have narrowed lanes, others where you will make a curve to the far right then a curve back to the left, and times when you will actually be driving on the other side of the freeway.

When the construction first started it was scary driving on these new sections of the freeway. You weren’t exactly sure where you were supposed to be going. The cement barriers that were put up along the sides of the lanes made you feel boxed in and like you were going to crash into them. (Ok, they make me feel that way).

The posted speed limit in these construction zones is 55 mph (miles per hour). In the beginning that speed was all too fast. Now that construction has been going on for several months people are more accustomed to the changes and know to expect the unexpected. Mostly we keep an eye on the traffic ahead of us, watch for speed traps, and slow down when we see a friendly policeman reminding us of the speed limit.

One day I was driving home on a straight section of freeway that wasn’t actively being worked on. I was driving a little faster than the posted limit, 80 mph, when in my rear view mirror I saw a big truck coming closer and gaining on me. I was just about to turn on my blinker to move into the middle lane, because I am a considerate driver like that, when he zoomed into the middle lane, passed me, zoomed back into the left lane and sped off into the horizon.

Remember I mentioned I was going just a little teeny bit over the speed limit? It makes me wonder how fast he was going. This is when I started thinking about the familiarity thing. It bred something in him but I am not quite sure what it was. Apathy, confidence, stupidity, or was it just plain familiarity. At times we get so familiar with things that we become comfortable with them. In that comfort we stop being so careful.

Maybe this is why teenagers text while driving. They are so familiar with one thing that it doesn’t seem like adding it to another will do any harm. That and teenagers tend to feel invincible.

An accident injury law firm cites the following statistics of accidents in highway construction zones: “Crashes in highway work zones have killed at least 4,700 Americans – more than two a day – and injured 200,000 in the last five years alone.About 85% of people killed in work zones are motorists, not workers.”

You would think that this thought process and my knowledge that I am NOT invincible would make me more wary of driving fast. I was on the freeway again yesterday and thought I would stay in the right lane and go slower. That lasted about 15 minutes. I can relate to Sammy Hagar when he sings “I can’t drive 55”. Going 55 mph stinks.

I speak with that bravado now but wait until it snows. Maybe then I will be back in the right lane.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

BESTeam Feature: CyndesPlace

Welcome to CyndesPlace.  Where handmade and whimsy meet.

CyndesPlace feels the most perfect of days "starts with a steaming cup of cinnamon coffee and the whole day to sew." This type of day is when she will make the handbags and accessories that you will find in her shop.

Here is a sample of what you will find:
Peaceful (get it!) Night on the Town, $26.50

Weekend in Wonderland, Extral Large Duffle, $160

Felted Fall Handbag, $60

Madalin Carries it all Handbag, $75

Money Envelope Clutch, $8.00

Like a style but want a different fabric or color combo?  Convo her and she will make something to your specific needs, or wants.  

You can also find CyndesPlace at her blog Hip Chic Designs.  Stop on by.  She has giveaways, tutorials, and will introduce you to wonderful Etsy finds that she makes.

Monday, November 08, 2010

I never thought I'd say "I knitted a cozy"

I never thought I'd say I had knitted a cozy.  That is something that we tend to make fun of in our house.  "Oh, why don't you make a cozy for it". 

You know.  People, I guess those who haven't discovered amigurumi and don't know what else to knit or crochet, make covers for everything.  Toasters, tea sets, coffee pots, tissue boxes, calculators.

Tea cozy, click here for the pattern
Tissue box cozy, click here for pattern

But now I can join the ranks. Hopefully mine will be in the "hey, that's really cute" category and not the "why on earth would you make that" category.

Here is my cozy.

I made a few to try and sell on my Etsy shop FromShirlee.  They are MP3/cell phone/iPod cozies.

My girls think they are cute.  Now we just have to see if anyone will be willing to pay me for one!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Is what you write free for the taking?

Article first published as Cooks Source Magazine Bagged for Printing Writer Article Without Permission, by Linda Voss, on Technorati.

Writing seems to be a hard knock business. Most people who are writers write for the love of words and writing. To actually get to a place of note and maybe earning a little money takes a lot of time, experience, and possibly luck.

That being said you would think that someone who has been in the business for 30 some odd years would know that taking an article written by someone else and publishing it in your for-profit print magazine, without their permission or even their knowledge, is wrong.

You would think. Enter Judith Griggs, editor of Cooks Source Magazine. This is exactly what she did. The article she printed without permission is a Tale of Two Tarts, Redactions of two English apple pie recipes and a discussion of how they changed over time, by Monica Gaudio.

Monica recounts her experience of learning about this, through a friend who wanted to know how she got published, on her blog

Aside from the whole intellectual property infringement, going against good taste, and doing something that even a high school student would know was wrong, the truly amazing part of this tale is the response Judith gave to Monica’s request of an apology, acknowledgement and a donation to her alma mater.

Judith’s response, which was quite snarky, said in part: “But honestly Monica, the web is considered "public domain" and you should be happy we just didn't "lift" your whole article and put someone else's name on it!” . . . .
“I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me!”

The internet, Facebook, and Twitter is all a buzz about this event. Bloggers are in an uproar. The Cooks Source Facebook page has increased a fan base by over 2000 people since this happened. It isn’t that they are truly fans of this magazine it is so they can post comments and flames on the page.

Judith is responding with the likes of “you children should go to bed” and “you would think people would understand”. Her personal Facebook page says “Why are all these people so mad at me? I was just helping that silly girl, and I get treated like this?!?”

There is also some talk on these same bandwidths that this all may be a big hoax. If it is a hoax it is a doozie. Monica is getting a lot of publicity about her apple pie article and a lot of traffic to her blog. Will the traffic be sustained? I don’t think so.

One thing you can take from this, true or not, is that what is on the internet stays on the internet and travels like wild fire. Take care what you put out there because you can ruin a reputation in the blink of an eye, the turn of a phrase, or the theft of an article.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

BESTeam Feature: Arm Candy For You

Today we are going to go to India for some fun candy for your arm.  Yes my dears, we are talking about purses.  I am going to introduce you to Priti.  She is the force behind Arm Candy For You.

The purses you will find in this Etsy shop are made from materials like Indian Silk, Indian Brocade, Velvet, Vegan Rubber, Vinyl and Faux Leather.  You can even buy patterns if you feel like tackling the job of sewing your own bag.

If, however, you are like me and like buying purses more than sewing them, you are in luck.  There are bags ranging in price from a $15 Wristlet to bags for $170.  Here are some of my favorites:

Plaid Vinyl Tote, $85

I love this bag.  The plaid is so cute and there are pockets galore inside.  I love me some pockets!

Chocolate Brown Leather, $80

You have to love a purse made out of Chocolate, even if it is chocolate leather.  Isn't the flower cute!

Dalmation print Wristlet, $15

Maybe I am getting a bit of my Cruella DeVille on but I love this little number.  The print is adorable.

Vegan Rubber Tote, $65

I've never had a rubber purse before but this one could make it on my list.

When Priti isn't busy sewing some Arm Candy, she can be found at her blog.  You may want to visit.  She shares some mighty tasty looking recipes.  You can also find her on twitter and her Facebook page.

Stop on by and get your self some candy that is calorie free and will look fantastic on your arm.

My New Badge

I have written a few articles for Technorati and I now get to proudly display this on my blog.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

My craft table. Stuff needing to be put on etsy. I need to get busy!!!! 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

BESTeam Feature: Nevita

If you are in the need of something warm and snuggly I have a great Etsy find for you.  Nevita, From My Hands to Yours.

Nevita is in Bulgaria but her wonderful knitted accessories are as close as your keyboard.  Most items free or for the low price of $5.

Here is just a sampling of what is offered here:

Fingerless Gloves, $24

I love fingerless gloves.  They are perfect for wearing when you are typing or crafting and get those freezy cold fingers.

Cable Shrug, $69

This is just adorable. She lists that the knitting time is up to 7 days so I am guessing this will be custom made for you.  With this in mind you could request different color choices.  Convo her!

Gobelin Needlepoint, $699

This tapestry is absolutely stunning.  I can't even imagine the time that went into making this.  There are several tapestries available on the site but this was my favorite. Nevita even tells you about the symbolism of the butterfly.
Hat and Glove set, $49

Doesn't this make you feel warm and cozy just by looking at it!  Imagine how you would feel wearing it.

Chunky Scarf, $32

I thought this black and white fuzzy scarf was cute and funky.  It would look great with just about any item you paired it with.

As you can see there is a lot to choose from at Nevita, From My Hands to Yours so swing on over and give her some Etsy love.
 You can also visit Nevita at her blog Boutiqueaholic.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How much does YOUR dentist charge?

Article first published as Editor Skips Out on $45,000 Dental Bill , by Linda Voss, on Technorati.

When I think of going to the dentist I plan on a bill that is maybe $100 - $200. My braces cost me a bit over $3000. If I were hit with a $45,000 (you read that right, 45 thousand) dental bill I don’t know what I would do. Those would have to be some pretty amazing teeth for a bill like that. I would be expecting a little “bling” for that price.

Lyss Stern
This is the bill that the editor of the New York Observer’s Playground magazine, Lyss Stern, received and didn’t pay. In lieu of paying the bill she offered to publish a positive review, in a three to four page article, about her dentist and his being at the forefront of cosmetic dentistry.

Why do we know about this? Lyss didn’t publish the article as promised and the Manhattan dentist, Lowenberg & Lituchy DDS, filed suit against Stern.

Why do we care about this? People are questioning her journalistic integrity and posing questions about a similar trade-off involved in another issue. What? We can’t trust what we read? If it’s in print it must be true. It may be true but it may be biased. Marketing rules the world and may be running into journalism.

The question I ask is what kind of work was she having done for $45,000. That is more than a good majority of American’s earn in a year. I can’t imagine why, given the opportunity to write an article in exchange for paying that bill, she didn’t just write the article. I bet if you went up to any person on the street and told them you would waive $45,000 of their debt, in exchange for writing a glowing recommendation piece for publication, they would do it in a heartbeat. Granted, we would have some really crummy articles out there, but they would jump at the chance!

Something I find even more puzzling is that after the story ran on Monday the lawyer for the dentist, Michael Laufer, said they would no longer be suing Stern. No reason was given for the suit being withdrawn. I wonder if we will be seeing a glowing recommendation after all.

All I can say is I am glad I don’t go to her dentist.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gordon Ramsey Won't Eat at My House

Article first published as Gordon Ramsey Won't Eat at My House, by Linda Voss, on Technorati.

I’ve decided that Gordon Ramsay wouldn’t like to eat dinner at my house. If you have ever watched him on Hell’s Kitchen or Master Chef, you know he is extremely picky about what food not only tastes like but looks like. I think he would be mortified by the fact that I make casseroles. I happen to like casseroles. They taste good. My family thinks they taste good. What more could you ask for.

I think my meals, presented on his shows, would end up in the trash can followed by a “donkey” and several expletives then I would probably get thrown out of the kitchen. This is why I don’t try out for his shows. Well that and the fact that I don’t want to be a chef. I don’t enjoy cooking that much and wouldn’t want to work under that pressure.

I am all about fast and easy when it comes to cooking. I figure if I am able to open a can of Cream of Mushroom soup to put in something, why would I spend the time and effort to make my own cream of something sauce to add. It’s me and Betty Crocker all the way baby! I don’t think a caper has ever found its way into my house. What is a caper anyway?

I understand that what I serve for dinner doesn’t come anywhere close to what Chef Ramsay would serve in his restaurants but who needs high priced fancy schmancy food all the time. There is something to be said for good home cooking and comfort foods. I think casseroles fit into the comfort food role.

Don’t get me wrong. I like to have a nice meal every once in a while; especially when someone else cooks it for me. If Gordon Ramsey showed up on my doorstep one day just aching to cook dinner for me I wouldn’t turn him away. I’d even go buy the capers.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I told my Young Women's group that I would bring treats to volleyball.  This is today's treat.  They turned out so cute and yummy I thought I'd share.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups pumpkin
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
4 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Cream butter and brown sugar.  Add eggs, pumpkin and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients.
Drop from teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degree for 8-10 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.
Makes about 80 little  mini cookies.

Some tips:
If you cook these enough they will be a cakey cookie.  If you don't cook it enough they will be gooey and doughy but not in a good way.
I used a cookie scoop.  They pretty much stayed about the same size and shape as the cookie scoop. They are cute little mini cookies.  They don't expand and grow like a chocolate chip cookie will.  You can fit a lot  more on the pan while you are baking.

It's like a little cookie colony.

These are a favorite autumn cookie at our house.  I hope you enjoy them too.