Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Scrabble Tile Pendant Tutorial Has a Little Competition

If the epitome of wearbale cuteness is a Scrabble Tile Pendant, then make room for something glamorous and sexy. Feast your eyes upon these gorgeous Glass Pendants made from Japanese Chiyogami papers and clear glass tiles.

Each kit includes a full color professionally prepared PDF tutorial with photos which is emailed to you at the time of shipment so once your order arrives you are fully equipped to start crafting.

I select only the most beautiful Chiyogami papers to include in my Glass Pendant kits, selecting from a broad range of papers that include popular elements and colors.

The various Annie Howes DIY Kits offered include:
- Create Your Own Glass Pendant Kit with Japanese Chiyogami Papers
- Create Your Own Glass Pendant Kit with Scrapbook papers
- Create Your Own Glass Pendant Kit with Round Glass Wafers, includes Chiyogami Papers
- Create Your Own Collection Kit for pendants and magnets, includes Chiyogami papers
- Create Your Own Scrabble Tile Pendants Kit

These original kits, which are an Annie Howes exclusive, are packaged with all the materials you need to create 6 gorgeous glass pendants. The beautiful packaging and fabulous tutorial means these kits are perfect for gift giving. But I caution you, this is one gift you'll want to keep for yourself!

You may find these kits at AnnieHowes.com or AnnieHowes on Etsy. Wholesale inquiries welcome. Please visit AnnieHowes.com for more information.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Desperate Times Call for Sushi Rolls

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and these are indeed desperate times. Desperate because I can't find sushi within an hour and a half drive from here, however many miles that translates into, I don't know, let's just call it a wee distance.

Mr. Howes and I took a drive up to Columbus, OH over the weekend and one of my requests, behind a pedicure, behind a good bookstore, behind Belgium chocolate was a decent sushi experience. And so we did.

Thanks to our Garmin, we located Kobe Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar and while the teppanyaki menu looked appealing, I was driven by a mad craving for sushi. The wasabi, the ginger, the sesame and all the yummy goodness packed inside the roll of rice is just something so precious, like a parcel of culinary perfection waiting to be savored. And it was good.

As I left, I thanked the staff in my customary Midwestern manner, and parted with the comment that I don't have access to such delicious sushi where I live. There was such shock (horror?) mixed with sadness that I decided to take matters into my own hands once and for all.

Today I ordered a sushi kit. I'm a DIY kind of gal and a problem solver, so I purchased the Sushi Chef Sushi-Making Kit on amazon.com Other problems I need to solve include finding the right rice locally, getting my hands on some sake (dry county), and the time and the patience to create it all.

I also found this great site online, www.makemysushi.com that has enough information and hand holding to make my adventures in sushi-making a little simpler.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mickey, My Sister, and the Panini Guy

So, my father has been doing a little digital archiving lately with a nifty tool he picked up at Hammacher Schlemmer a few months back. Better he than I because this sort of thing would drive me insane, but I'm so glad he's doing it. He purchase this media converter slide and negative scanner and has been going through the family slides archiving them to DVD. This neat little gadget converts 35mm slides and negatives into digital format with relative ease, according to my father. And he should know, he's already scanned hundreds of slides with this new toy.

Most of the slides he's converted are reassuringly familiar, filled with images of people who were younger and more vibrant, some toddling and reluctantly struggling with the concept of potty training, of Easter Sundays, of pets and loved ones long since passed, and trips around the world.

Then he stumbled across a real gem of a slide with a fun story behind it. A gem we thought was long since lost in the printed format of a photograph. A story of an American couple who traveled to Florence, Italy with their small child and a chance meeting with one of Hollywood's funniest actors. Of course, this all took place before I was born.

In my father's words...

"On my first sabbatical in 1966, Laura Mae (my mother) and I took Laura (my sister)to Europe. We spent a good part of our time abroad living in a charming house on a hill on the south side of Florence with great views of the city. Around the corner from us was a small local piazza with a little mom and pop grocery store where we bought daily necessaries and I practiced my Italian. On one side of this square was a high wall enclosing the grounds of a grand historic villa. One day I saw something really bizarre in the square. A couple of large vans were unloading movie equipment and even a real camel! I learned from my grocer friend that a movie company had rented the grounds of the villa to film a movie set in Renaissance Florence, and this villa with its view of the Duomo etc. was perfect. Moreover, my grocer friend had managed to get the contract to set up a lunch counter inside the wall where the movie people could get sandwiches and drinks during their breaks, and he said he could get us in!

Of course, we were excited to have all this fancy stuff going on right in our quiet little neighborhood. A little later in the morning Laura Mae and I wheeled Laura in her stroller over and my friend got us through the gate. Inside we saw actors, crew setting lights, cameras and cameramen, etc. All the actors were in fancy Renaissance dress, and looked pretty strange when they were on break, smoking cigarettes and drinking cokes! Much to our amazement, we saw an Italian movie star of the period, Vittorio Gassman (he was married for a time to Shelley Winters), and a well-known French actress, also all dressed up. Gassman was unbelievably handsome, even more so in person than in the movies. But the big special treat of the day was seeing, of all people, Mickey Rooney! He was playing a little devil (literally) in this movie. We watched them filming a scene for a while and when they broke for lunch Mickey came over to the lunch counter to get something to eat. I spoke to him, and he was so happy to hear English--with an American accent!--that he almost hugged me. We chatted a while, and a small crowd of locals who had also managed to get through the gate gathered around us. They were much more impressed by Mickey Rooney than by their own movie star. With me acting as interpreter, since I could speak a little Italian, they asked questions about various entertainers and Mickey was in his element, not only talking about his Hollywood friends but doing brilliant imitations of them. I remember that he did Jonathan Winters so perfectly you had to blink to see that it was Mickey and not Jonathan there, and Mickey was warm, friendly, and very very funny. The locals were enthralled, even though they could not understand English, but like the skilled entertainer he is Mickey managed to communicate very well with his impromptu audience. He was delighted with our little blond angel and picked her up and played with her. When he had to go back to work I asked if he'd pose with Laura for a picture, and we got my grocer friend into the picture too."

So there you have it, a gem of a tale with a fabulously converted slide photo that we can guarantee will be duplicated in triplicate and passed on to future generations.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I Love Dogs.

I sometimes wish I was a dog when I see Sam roll in the grass. He has such an expression of pure bliss in moments like these when undoubtedly he's found something super stinky that he must claim as his own. I can't help but marvel at his happy dog face with his tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth and his face pulled in what resembles a grin. Maybe he's laughing at me because I'm too uptight to join him. Maybe I should try rolling in the grass sometime.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Craft Fair to Remember

My very first craft fair was on July 3-4 and it's definitely been entered into my book of Events to Remember. I'm not going to gripe...much, instead I mainly would like to share photos of my amazing booth. Well, it's amazing to me simply because I pulled it all together. I learned a few lessons along the way (like glue dots only stick when you want to remove them, and don't when you want them to stick), and that it always, and I mean always rains in Central Kentucky on the 4th of July.

Please enjoy a few snapshots of my booth while I share all my secrets. I have these photos and more uploaded on my Flickr site.

Here's a basic checklist
- E-Z Up canopy from Walmart
- Tablecloths - $3 twin sheets from Walmart
- Cheap Bunting made with ribbon, glue dots, and sheet scraps (not durable!)
- Peg boards to display pendants with hooks (home improvement store)
- Carousel displays and necklace displays purchased from jewelry store closing.
- Curtain panels from Ikea
- Banner from Wilson Graphics (LOVE it!!!)
- Mirror mounted on pegboards (excellent decision!)
- Guestbook with cheap pens because the pens kept "walking off"

I also brought a roll of ball chain for the pendants and made them on the fly for those customers who wanted a different length, and I had scissors, a money box, snacks, water, and even band-aids.

What would I do next time? I plan to "get around to painting" the peg boards. We didn't finalize that part of the project until the night before the event. I have 2 cans of paint that coordinate with my banner.

I also would like to get something colorful and informational that I can put in front of my booth to attract customers who are at a distance. The only 2 aspects of the fair I will complain about are 1) the location of handmade goods is too far from the entertainment, and 2) all the vendors who disbanded when the rain poured. The end of the street where handmade goods was located looked deserted with the exception of a handful of booths and many potential customers didn't think it was worth the long walk to get to us. There was virtually nothing between us and the entertainment but a long hot and wet walk.

I did have a fabulous time and brought home enough to make me feel the entire experience was worth it. I plan on participating in 3 more fairs this year, one of which is Cow Days in Greensburg and the other is Ham Days in Lebanon. It was a fun and memorable experience!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Let Freedom Ring and Other Musings

Alas, the long awaited July 4th celebration in our small town in Kentucky came to pass, along with my very first craft fair. It was such an enjoyable experience for me despite all the rain and abundance of squeaky wallets, I really have few complaints, if any. I loved the entire experience, from seeing my child's face as she bungee'd to watching my dearly beloved Mr. Howes as President Abraham Lincoln on the Amazon.com float (in the pouring rain, no less!)

I hope you all have had an enjoyable and safe Independence Day!