Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Clippie Tutorial

These two pictures tell it all! ........... They make great "Welcome to the Office" or "Congratultions on your Promotion" gifts!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Otter Napkin Rings

Make your own Otter NapkinRing!
Instructions are right on the print out. Print this page out on a standard size piece of cardstock, cut out the designs, and you are set!
Here is what your table setting could look like:

Here is the page to print out, you can download:

Blank otter napkin rings, kids (or adults!) can color themselves:
(you will need to draw the lines where to slit the rings to connect them, see above example. I forgot to draw them in.)

Blank Ferret napkin rings, to color in:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Otter Voyage

Double click on poem and it'll be big enough to read easily.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sonnenberg Mansion

I love visiting mansions. One of my all-time favorites is Sonnenberg Mansion. I saw it on the way back from a road trip to the Thousand Islands-- I took a dip toward the Finger Lakes, to Canandaigua. Built in 1887, it was the summer home of New York City banker Frederick Ferris Thompson, and his wife Mary Clark Thompson, whose father, Myron Holley Clark, was at one time Governor of New York State. The 40-room Queen Anne style mansion was designed by Francis Allen, a noted Boston architect. Mary Clark Thompson grew up in Canandaigua, and missed the summers here. The Thompsons named it Sonnenberg (German for "Sunny Hill").
Sonnenberg's gardens were designed and built between 1902-1919, and originally consisted of nine gardens in a variety of styles. (Info from Wikipedia.)
The mansion's facade is rusticated graystone with Medina sandstone trim and gables made from timber and stucco. The roof is slate with lead-coated copper.

I visited three mansions/castles on that roadtrip. Each one was more wondrous than the last. Boldt Castle was magnificent; Singer Castle was awesome, and Sonnenberg was awesomely magnificent.

Here is the greenhouse complex. I love the curves of these old-style greenhouses.

What could be a more welcoming view into a greenhouse? I stared at it smiling and dreaming for a very long moment.

The Japanese garden.

This was the peacock house! Can you imagine! The air-conditioned dog house scandal of a few years back can't hold a candle to this! (Wasn't that those religious freaks, the Bakkers/PTL?)

They had a rock garden area. I thought that being early in the season, and that it blooms later in upstate New York, that the gardens would be disappointing. Was I ever wrong. Being able to see the structures of the gardens because they weren't overgrown was a very satisfying and edifying experience.

I could picnic here every day.

The front lawns stretched on and on. The long curves were so elegant and calming.

This was the first room after the entry way. It was medieval and inviting. If I could live in any of the three mansions on this trip, I'd pick Sonnenberg hands-down.

View from above, from the "Minstrel's Gallery," down onto the living room from the last picture.
The picture doesn't capture the warm green light coming from the long window. The panes were green and the room was bathed in soft light.

Another view of the upstairs. Again, like the last two mansions of this trip, you could take all the pictures you want. And like Boldt, you could walk around by yourself without a guide, which was so much fun. Also there was only one other couple touring the house at that time.

View from the balcony of the master bedroom. Aaaaaaah.

The Porte-cochere (fancy french term for carport.)

For more info, visit the website:

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Coolest Toilet Seat in the World

I bought this on in November 2008. Until I saw it, I didn't even know how badly I needed it. Is that not just the most amazing toilet seat ever!

"OMG," I'll be telling my guests, "Do you know what I paid for that thing? Don't SIT on it!!!"

That same artist had done a couple of frogs and a lizard, and a lot of other really nice animals. Unfortunately in the time since 2008, he must have stopped carving, because he no longer has his Etsy store.

And since I know you're wondering, I paid sixty smackers for it, and it was worth every smack.

Of course, you can't see it while you're using it, but it should inspire people to put the lid of the toilet seat down when they're done using it!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fairy Shrine

I saw my first fairy shrine at a Pagan gathering.

I had to have one too! Here is my first attempt:

It got bigger as time went on

and more elaborate.

I put all kinds of pretty things there

and the cat liked it!

I hung things all around

and fancied up the wall.

I think it's really nice now.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chocolate Microwave Mug Cake

This is a recipe for chocolate cake you quickly mix in a mug and even more quickly bake in the microwave in about 5 minutes total. I got it off the internet, and I tried it too! I thought it was great! but I thought it would be even greater if I added walnuts! I did, it was even greater, so I thought I would document it for my blog.

You're supposed to mix up the ingredients in a mug and then pop it in the microwave. I actually mixed it in a dish because after I sprayed the non-stick spray on the cup, I was afraid that stirring might mess it up. But it was simple, quick, and it worked!

Here is the recipe as I got it off the internet:

select a large coffee mug
spray with vegetable spray

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar --- stir 3 items together in mug
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg ---- add to dry ingredients and mix well
3 tablespoons milk ----add these 2 items and mix well
3 tablespoons oil and a small splash of vanilla extract
3 tablespoons chocolate chips --- add and mix well again

Put mug in microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high).
(I found, this is just enough time to clean up the mess before you eat!)

The cake will rise to the top, don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little and eat right from the mug or put on plate

Can be topped with chocolate syrup, ice cream, or whipped cream.

Cooking is not a high priority for me, though I had most of the dry ingredients left over from my last foray into cooking. I won't say when exactly that was, but it was after I bought my house (8 years ago). So for example, it is OK if the cocoa expired in Dec. 2008, and it is OK if the oil, which I keep in the fridge so it doesn't get rancid, has partly turned into white fluff.

Instead of milk (I've become lactose intolerant in my dotage) I used Almond Milk (I like it better--and fewer calories--than soy milk). And also, I added a shotglass full of walnut pieces.

Here is a picture of my kitchen before I tidied it up to cook:

that was actually the most time-consuming part of this recipe.

Here are the ingredients:

I chose this mug to cook it in: it's really large, but I didn't know how big it would expand. Plus it'll be somewhat larger with the added walnuts.

Ingredients mixed up in the bowl:

licking the spoon after pouring the mix into the mug

make sure you don't scrape the bowl too well, or you have nothing to lick.

After being in the microwave for three minutes:

and popped on to a plate:


Well, I know these last few haven't been the funniest blogs, but sometimes ideas are hard to come by.

Here's a hopefully amusing enough addendum:

Whilst googling myself on the internet, I came upon this gem--why they put it online I'll never know, but yes, this is me--over 20 years ago!!! Hard to believe. Did they even HAVE internet then? I don't think so.

click here

Here's a pic of me circa 1990--in those very pants-- (I had to crop some old fling out of the picture). Twenty years ago! Older than many of my readers!

And here's a picture of three my ferrets, just for good measure:

If you liked the cake recipe and want to try another, here is one, though I can't vouch for it because I haven't tried it yet myself. Let me know if you do!