Sir Isaac Newton: The Universal Law of Gravitation

AppleGravity…and other Laws of Nature.

  •  What goes up must come down.
  • The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
Sextant (source-Wickimedia.org)

Sextant (source-Wickimedia.org)

  • The earth revolves around the sun, which might be true for you and me, however, in my husband’s world of celestial navigation, the SUN revolves around the EARTH. 

That’s right! A paradigm shift! Just for you!

With regard to celestial nav, you would take the opposite view–you see the sun move from left to right–or right to left–depending on one’s perspective.

In order to properly take a celestial sight of the sun, you need to treat the sun as if it were revolving around the earth! (The captain used to teach celestial nav, so if he says it–it’s true.)

My World

And in MY world–as you’ve prolly realized–in this world that revolves around ME,  there are my very own Laws of Nature.

  • Just like the tides ebb and flow, my tugboat man will come and go.
  • As Archimedes‘ Buoyancy Principle is true for water and solids, it’s also a truism that a tugboat man who comes home must go out to sea again.

All the things that were new are now done in reverse.

The welcome home becomes the farewell.

That first apple pie becomes the last apple pie.

veuve clicquotThe first flute of Veuve Clicquot to toast the end of a journey becomes the last glass raised of leave-taking and hopes for a safe voyage.

The hello kiss becomes the goodbye hug, holding tight as long as possible.

It’s that time once again–being the wife of a tugboat captain–one half of a married couple who are apart as often as they’re at the same latitude and longitude.

Sigh…

The Compleat Apple Pie…Deconstructed

Your apple pie tutorial.
An apple pie with attitude.

If you are one of the many boys and girls (OK, adults) who’ve never made an apple pie from scratch and you don’t want to meet the Grim Reaper without having made at least one perfect apple pie, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m right here, holding your hand, gently walking you through all the steps and twists and turns to create the best apple pie you will ever eat. Guaranteed. Fur realz. I know you can do it! Once you’ve mastered one pie start to finish, you will never be afraid of a little old piecrust again. Pinky swear.

The Apples
The apples you choose are of the utmost importance. They need to be firm and tart and able to stand up to the heat of a 425 degree oven without becoming mushy as the pie bakes. (For my Canandian friends, you’ll have to do the conversion–I’m not that smart.)

I like Granny Smith or Pippin apples for pies. Normally, that would be the green ones. Depending on the size of the apple, I like to use between 6-8 apples per pie.

apple1I enjoy making my pies the old fashioned way. I peel and slice the apples.

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Squeeze a little lemon juice over the slices for a pop of flavor and it’ll help keep the apples from turning brown.
apple3Unless I’m making apple jelly, I put the peels in the compost bin, and so should you!

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This is one time when I use white sugar and don’t feel guilty about it–about 2/3 cup or to taste. Some apples need more sweetness, some need less. The most important ingredient is cinnamon. The right amount of cinnamon elevates the apple pie to a higher level.  I use approximately 3-4 tablespoons. I do a lot of tasting, so it’s a good idea to add a little at a time and taste as you go. My family loves a LOT of cinnamon!

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When you feel that your apples and sugar and cinnamon have reached the zenith of blissful co-existence, sprinkle one tablespoon all-purpose flour over the apples and mix lightly.

stressed is dessert spelled backwardsDon’t be afraid, don’t desert me before the dessert is complete–watch and learn!

It’s not that difficult. It’s like many things in life. Once you try something new and master it, you lose the fear of the unknown.apple8

I like my mom’s favorite cookbook for old-fashioned recipes.

The Crust
It’s not rocket science. This is a tried and true basic recipe for a two-crust pie. I don’t like to use butter in this crust because I don’t want any other flavors to taint the apple+cinnamon perfection. I know you can use a food processor and it cuts the time in half but sometimes the most satisfying part of baking is to be fully immersed in the process as much as the final results!

For a nine-inch pie pan:
Mix together…
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons salt
Cut in…
2/3 cup shortening
Sprinkle with…
Four tablespoons water

What does “cut in” mean? It means you need to distribute the shortening into the flour so that the particles become the size of peas. This is what makes pastry flaky. pastry-blenderUse a pastry blender to cut shortening into flour. If you don’t have one, use two knives and this technique: holding a knife in each hand with blades almost touching, move knives back and forth in opposite directions in a parallel cutting motion. The side of a fork or a wire whisk works, too.

apple11 Mix only until all ingredients are worked in. If you overwork pastry dough, it’ll become tough. Sprinkle the water in a tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly with a fork until all the flour is moistened. Gather dough together and press into two balls for the upper and bottom crust.apple12

Flour the board or counter and the rolling pin so the dough won’t stick. There are all kinds of fancy schmancy rolling pins–I’ve been really happy with this old wooden one. Flatten the balls with your hand. Roll each ball into a sort of circle; don’t go all crazy thinking it has to be perfect at this point. If it breaks or tears, just pinch and push it back together–about 1/8 inch thick. For an apple pie, I think the bottom crust needs to be a bit more sturdy than the top crust–roll accordingly.

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Roll into a circle two inches larger than pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and sides.

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Pile high with the yummy apples.

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Redo the same steps with the other round for the top crust. Cut off the extra dough that hangs over–leaving enough to fold under.

You can either crimp the edges…piecrustedges

or use a fork. Dip fork tines in flour; press tines onto edge of dough. Poke with fork or knife all around to release steam as it bakes.apple18

I wanted to add an enchanted seashell embellishment to the final version.

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I molded leftover dough over a scallop shell, cut off the excess, and placed it on the pie.

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It will bake quicker than the pie–remember to take it out after about ten minutes and place it back on the pie before serving.

I always bake pies on a cookie sheet because they will invariably ooze and turn your oven into a burning, sticky, smoky mess that can set off a smoke alarm and that’s always annoying!apple19

Bake at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes or so until it’s bubbly and the crust is beautifully browned.

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Yummy!

apple21“Alright Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up”
(Norma Desmond, Sunset Blvd.)

finalapple

Come on, add this to your list of goals for 2013 and let me know how it turns out!

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Come Rain or Come Shine

It’s a misty, rainy, foggy Saturday in Southern California. My tugboat man only has about ten days left before he leaves again for a deep ocean assignment. We’re working as an effective team organizing a lot of year-end paperwork. We’ve got some reggae music on while we slice open envelopes, creating piles to save and piles for the recycle bin.  We’re drinking tea with ginger cookies. He’s having a ginseng tea; the last of his stash from Korea. My Yogi Anti-oxident Green Tea bag is memorable and prophetic today:

You must know that you can swim through every tide and change of time.

So true, tea bag, so true. I’m not a very good swimmer, but I can count on my tugboat man to help keep me afloat just as he once told me I was his anchor.

Happy Saturday, y’all!
Sinatra sings, “Come Rain or Come Shine”

Dear Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz

Or, as the world knows you, Jon Stewart, lord and master of The Daily Show.

Shabbat Shalom to you, my Jewish prince.

Four nights a week I watch your wit and candor and passion and rage and humor.

Most of the time I agree with you and LOL (laugh out loud) ‘cos you’re so darn funny.

I love most of the skits and sketches and some of the interviews.

To be perfectly honest with you, I fast forward through a lot of interviews (snooze) to get to Your Moment Of Zen.

I’m not writing to boost your ego, get show tickets, or a fake signed picture of you for my bedroom wall (although I wouldn’t turn it down!)

NO, I feel the need to take pen to paper fire up my MacAir to shake my fist at you, Mr. Lee-boh-vitz!

I take umbrage, sir!

Umbrage I take!

How dare you mock the millions of us who are Etsy creators. HOW DARE YOU!

This is a verbatim quote from The Daily Show, January 23, 2013:

“…it’s all–we get it, you have a glue gun, okay!”

http://archive.org/details/COMW_20130124_070000_The_Daily_Show_With_Jon_Stewart#start/381/end/411

Look at it this way–those of us who are Etsy devotees create beautiful and practical items in a much too harsh and ugly world.

I proudly wield my glue gun and embellish as many things possible with seashells, rocks, and beach glass. From toilets to walls to my front door, there’s a seashell wherever you go. Want a mirror surrounded by seashells? I’ve got several to choose from and I’ll give you a great price, you know, us both being Jewish and all. (Come see me after the show.)

This is a call to arms! Glue gun enthusiasts UNITE! We need to organize and hire a lobbyist and storm the White House and Congress and raise awareness for the plight of the glue gunners. We need some appropriations–we NEED laws protecting our right to bear glue guns.

You really hurt my feelings with your scoffing and derision of Etsy. I think you and I need to sit down and glue a few seashells on a picture frame and you’ll see it from a whole different perspective. Whadddya say?

You could make it all better by inviting me to appear on The Daily Show with my glue gun(s) and a selection of my creative wares–and we’re not talking only gluing here–my tugboat captain husband is an expert in marlinspike seamanship. On long journeys across the oceans he weaves magnificent jewelry and covered bottles and picture frames. 

I’m looking at my schedule right now–I’m free just about anytime.
So…I’ll be waiting for your call.

Yours very truly,
Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

Grudge match: the pissed off surf widow versus the good wife (guess who won)

That wily vixen beeyotch was in rare form today.

Madame Beeyotch has been elegantly restrained lately except for an errant episode or two. Today, however, she wielded the POWER…

The day started out in an innocuous fashion. We woke up, had coffee–hubs had his portion controlled breakfast of homemade granola and low carb high protein flakes of some sort.

We went to the gym to take a Boot Camp/weight training class. So far, so good. On the way home, we ran a few errands–Trader Joe’s, Target, and stopped to get my glasses adjusted.

Still serene–planets in alignment–all is good. Madame Beeyotch, still restrained,  is singing a sweet, calming, and repetitive tune in her head.

Then…Captain Dorko decided we he needed to do a surf check. Stupid ocean. Obviously the waves were looking pretty good as evidenced by the grunts and snorts and exhalations of pleasure that emanated from the driver’s side.

Standup Paddleboard

Standup Paddleboard

Hubs just got a standup paddleboard (SUP) and now that there’s no wave small enough to keep him out of the water, he’s gone ALL THE TIME, and right about now it’s kind of getting on my last nerve.

I know what you might be thinking–cut the poor guy some slack; he’s out to sea a lot and he deserves a little r & r. Blah, blah, blah. That’s what I think!

My inner beeyotch can be held back no longer.

lastnervecatI’m thinking of all kinds of painful tortures to inflict upon the surf-obsessed hubs when I realized that he had been talking for quite a while. I only picked up the last part of it.

Him: “… and it’s so cool, I paddled all the way from the power plant past Old Mans and Warm Waters past the jetty to Tamarack. The waves weren’t big, but with that SUP I can have a lot of fun anyway.”

Crickets-Silence-More crlckets.

I’m thinking to myself. He can’t be talking to me. He just couldn’t be sharing all that stupid surf stuff with me.

Him again: “Look” he said, pointing west as we were stopped at a light, “I caught a wave there, and there, and there and…”

lastnerveyourcardPicture this. I’m sitting in the passenger seat. He’s driving. As he’s droning on and on and on AND on about the fun waves he’s been catching every damn day since he got that hateful SUP, I twist all the way around to look in the back seat. I look to the left-I look to the right– I stretch my body as far as it will go and look down with exaggerated movements to see the floor on the back seat.

Him: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I was looking for whoever you were talking to that must give a shit–’cos I don’t!”
(Whom/who–at that point I didn’t care to be correct.)

Him: {Laughing} “You’re really funny, you know that?”

(He honestly thinks I’m funny, he wasn’t kidding.)

Me: “I mean, I heard your lips flapping, waves, blah blah blah—fun, blah, blah, blah– and I thought to myself, he couldn’t possibly be talking to me because he should know that I don’t give a shit about his stupid surfing experiences!”

“You’re lucky I’m so agreeable to all the time you spend playing in the water and ignoring me.”

“But now that you mention it, you’re really getting on my last nerve, so you should prolly think about cutting back on your playtime in the water or I might just have to run up to South Coast Plaza and see what’s new for Spring. Chanel says tweed and feathers are trending right now.”

“Do we understand each other?”

Him: “Are you threatening me with shopping?”

Me: “How perceptive of you. You didn’t need a crystal ball to see where that was going…do we have a deal?”

Him: Arms folded, giving me that look of having tasted defeat…”Where do you want me to install those shelves?. Muttering half to himself as he walks in the garage, “I know when I’ve lost.”

surfwidowHowever, it is now almost 5pm and he ran off to the beach with a surfboard this time for an evening glass off session.

He will pay. Oh yes. He will pay. The beeyotch has spoken. Meow.

So the question remains. Who won? Who lost? Surf widow or nice wife? I think you know the answer…

10 reasons why seashells are enchanted

I’m still in the throes of harnessing my inner beeyotch (the lady who slammed on her brakes and made a u-turn in front of me got a taste of that new me) but I took a teensy break to ponder the oft-asked question: Why do I love seashells?

1. Just like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. Some are almost perfect twins, but there’s always an individual characteristic if you look close enough.

2. Unlike a snowflake, they don’t disappear.

3. They are all beautiful in color and shape and size.What a treasure!

4. Shells can be worn as jewelry.Abalone necklace with rope work, earrings, pearl bracelet, necklace of polished shell pieces

4. There is appeal in their symmetry and asymmetry.fairshells

5. For me, seashells impart a tangible tactile and visual state of bliss.

6. Shells give birth to episodes of intense creative passions. This is my most recent seashell bouquet; an organic interpretation inspired by a froggy vase acquired at a local thrift shop that helps victims of domestic abuse.newfrogvase

7. Once upon a time, a seashell housed a living creature.

8. Cowry shells were used as currency in China.cowry shell

9. If you love to collect dust, start collecting seashells! They are a dust magnet, prolly their only negative trait.

10. A small grain of sand–a foreign body–inside a seashell grows into a magnificent pearl.  A pearl is an annoyance to the shell,  just exactly like the way I am oftentimes an annoyance to the captain!white-pearl-in-oyster     

Attention! Ladies who lunch…or shop…or dream…some Chanel for your pleasure

Aside

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel

Chanel Haute Couture: For the Bedraggled Black Swan Lady Who Lunches in You

Today in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld presented the Chanel Haute Couture collection for Spring 2013. He told the Independent:

“Chanel is a real couture house and when Pierre Berge said that couture is dead, I’m sorry to tell him it survives very well. There’s a new clientele. In the past, a woman might have bought four or five dresses. Now those women buy 30. It’s a new wealth.”

For the full story and photo gallery:

http://jezebel.com/5978063/chanel-haute-couture-for-the-bedraggled-black-swan-lady-who-lunches-in-you/gallery/1

Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife:

My wonderful friends at IB Designs, USA are gonna be movie stars in the Saven Haven film!! Congrats Kathy!

Originally posted on Ibdesignsusa Weblog:

We are excited that our signal flags are going to be in a movie. Last May we were contacted to make 3 vertical signal flag banners all to spell IVANS for the movie, Safe Haven. We were told that they would be hung in the restaurant named ” IVANS ” in the movie where the main character works. I read the book of course and it’s a excellent book. Here is the Safe Haven Official Trailer:

Source: sheknows.com via Safe on Pinterest

Lastly they also have a Pinterest Boards if you would like to see more pictures- http://pinterest.com/safehavenmovie/

The movie comes out on February 14th,2013 to theaters. We are looking forward to this since this will be the first time we are in the movies :)

IB Designs, USA

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The Princess Guide to Camping

Yawn. Stretch. Sore.
It was grueling. But so much fun.

My tugboat man suggested a quick overnight camping trip to the Anza-Borrego desert because a NW swell was supposed to hit our little beach town on Sunday, the same day as the Mavericks surf contest in Northern Calfornia.

We left on Friday so we could hike during the day, camp at night, and hike again on Saturday before heading home.

From a few of the COMMENTS I received on my previous “Desert Solitude” post, SOME of you think I am incapable of “roughing it”.  I am very offended by your lack of faith in my chameleon-like ability to adapt to all environments.

SOME OF YOU are under the WRONG assumption that a girl who thinks she’s a princess of seashells–enchanted seashells no less–spends her days tottering around the mall on six-inch heels and shops all day with her Chanel on her itty bitty arm, stopping only for a nourishing bite of sushi before heading home to bake and clean compulsively. And create seashell bouquets.

Actually, now that I’ve written it, that sounds pretty damn accurate!

MOST of the time.

But there’s another side to this petite princess.

Although I confess to adore my creature comforts, I love to hike and camp. I love outdoor adventures.

Here’s how I marry the two sides of my personality. It’s not exactly glamping–glamorous camping, but it’s my way to experience the beauty of nature.

I call it…

The Princess Guide to Camping

  • A backpack is of primary importance, not only because you want to be able to carry important items like lots and lots of toilet paper and water, but it makes a statement about who you are.

We went to REI on Thursday because I needed a new daypack. Since I’m short even for short women, a youth pack fits me better than an adult sized pack. I got an Osprey Youth Jet 18 in grey and red. It’s super comfortable. This is a Made in the USA company.backpack harrodsbag

  • I carry the essentials: a Yale/Hello Kitty water bottle, small size Chanel perfume(Chance), and Kiehls Vitamin C cream.** I pack a LOT of tp. I can’t emphasize that enough. Gurrrlz, we don’t want to run out. We. do. not. Since you’re not supposed to throw it on the ground when you’re done using it–the whole “Pack it in, pack it out” mentality–remember to take a plastic bag just for that purpose.
  • And I love my Nivea. I usually use a travel container, but couldn’t find it, so I’m showing the larger size as an example.
  • In the Louis Vuitton makeup case, I carry lipstick (also Chanel), a half dozen or so different types of lip balm, a mirror that is one side actual and one side magnified (also good to use if you get lost and need to signal the rescue helicopter), my new Cha Cha wallet, Altoids,  and a miniature flashlight to light my way to pop a squat at night.
  • The sparkly Harrods case (a gift from DIL) carries a minimum amount of makeup. I always bring an eyeliner, brow pencil, highlighter and blush all-in-one, and tweezers. How embarrassing would it be to have an errant hair or two sprout up in an unsightly location? I know, right? Well, be prepared. Better safe than sorry. You never know who you’re gonna meet. I know someone who met Elton John at the Yosemite Lodge. What a nightmare it would be if he noticed that a little plucking was needed!!
  • Also in my pack, I carry my glasses and contact lens solution, camera, and phone. Oh, and a pair of gloves. Usually two. One to keep warm and the other as protection against the ravages of dust, dirt, and rocks. Rock climbing wreaks havoc with a chicka’s manicure. Very unpleasant. Very. **Tip: coat your nails with a quality clear glaze–I like OPI–because the chips won’t show, and you’ll be somewhat protected.

That’s about it for my load.

Hubs carries everything else: lots more water, our lunch, snacks, first aid kit, and rope. (And when my pack starts to bother me and/or I get tired and all whiny and cranky, he carries mine, too.) We always have a few packets of Emergen-C, protein powder, and sardines. I know what you’re thinking. You either love canned sardines or you hate them, but they’re a great source of protein. I buy the kind in water, unless it’s for my son who needs a lot more fat in his diet ‘cos he has such an efficient metabolism.

I think hubs carries rope just ‘cos he’s a mariner, but I’m not sure. Or maybe he’s anticipating the day I get too scared of heights or I get hurt and he has to pull me down a mountain. Either way, I don’t have to carry it!

  • These are the best. I cut them in half because I’m a thrifty gal (haha) but these are thecleansingcloth BEST for all over body cleansing.
  • Use a lot of good quality sunscreen. We used a 50+. Hubs carries it ‘cos it’s too heavy and I don’t have room for stuff like that.
  • Good hiking boots are invaluable. bootspolesI’ve had these for about five years and they fit like a glove. We both use trek poles, and it’s really helped me navigate through rocky terrain and hills, plus you burn extra calories, so it’s all good.
  • I rock hiking pants with all the little pockets and velcro. This time it’s not really for anything but practicality. The pockets are great for lip balm and if they’re sturdy, you can easily slide down a part of the trail that might be too difficult to navigate standing up.

I slide A LOT.

  • We have our favorite camp dinner; burritos with refried beans mixed with a can of tuna fish (sodium free), freshly made guacamole, and low fat cheddar cheese. I cook it all up on the camp stove while hubs heats the tortillas over the fire, and it is SOOO satisfying after a long hike.  I brought the avocados, onion, cilantro, and tomatoes, and made the guac right there on our little table. I prepared a few extra burritos and wrapped them individually in aluminum foil for lunch the following day. With apples, pears,  oranges, and crudite,  it was a healthy meal on the trail.
  • Bring a lot of clothes. No, really. You never know what you might need and the weather could change unexpectedly. This time, I brought a down jacket, scarf, gloves, two hats, two pairs of hiking socks, two pairs of regular socks, a few long sleeved shirts, Ugg-style boots for around the camp, two sweatshirts, and underwear. So it was a lot, whatever. We weren’t hauling everything on our backs–we were driving in a truck, and I like to be prepared. A good sun/hiking hat is ESSENTIAL!
  • A helpful tip is to always carry nuts and raisins. We like raw almonds and cashews and dried fruit, too. On a long hike, a couple of handfuls give you the energy you need to continue without whining–and by YOU I mean ME.
We're here!

We’re here!

First stop!

First stop!

We found a remote spot of Anza to set up camp. I’m not telling where it is, ‘cos we want to keep it a secret. There aren’t too many places that aren’t filled up with RVs and dune buggies when all we’re after is a little solitude and nature. After we set up the tent, we hiked about six miles.View from our secret campsite

View from our secret campsite

Since it looks like the captain probably won’t be here for our 19th wedding anniversary in February, I thought we’d have an early commemoration of the event. betterrockheart

The night was clear and crisp. We left the tent open to see the stars but the temp dropped to the low thirties and we FROZE.

It was so awesome.

COYOTES
From the moment the sun set to the next morning when it rose, we were serenaded by coyotes-in stereo–all around us–an astounding diversity of beautiful, haunting, melodious animal communication. It was heavenly.

The high was 78 degrees, the low hovered around 35.  That’s thirty-five bone chilling degrees.

It was almost too cold to sleep even though we have an inflatable queen-sized bed in our huge tent. The tent is so big, it’s like a mini-house. We’re talking princess-style, don’t forget. And check out the sun shower-OF COURSE I have a shower! A princess needs to be fresh at all times, right? Hidden inside the shower is a….TOILET! Ha ha! I don’t always run behind a bush and pop.

tablecampstove

A tent fit for a princess!

sunshower:toilet

Of course a shower is essential!

Wine, leave-in spray

Wine, leave-in conditioner, perfume

AND, in case you’re wondering, I do help set up. Just a little.

If you’ve never done so,  put it on your wish list to spend a night or two under the stars in the desert. There is such an overwhelming amount of mystical legend and lore–you really need to check it out for yourself!

Sunrise

The sunrise was magnificent!

hawkorgoldeneaglefeather

A hawk feather we found on the slot canyon hike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t want to bore anyone with a zillion pics, but they really are spectacular–if you have the time, take a few minutes to scroll through.

Photo Gallery of first six-mile hike around the campsite.

Photo Gallery of day two six-mile hike: a slot canyon at Coachwhip Canyon.

Photo Gallery of last stop at Font Pt.

Photo Gallery of trail treasures.

Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife:

While I’m doing a zillion loads of laundry from our camping trip (why so much??), downloading photos, and organizing my thoughts to post “The Princess Guide to Camping”, I thought I’d tempt you with a little old post from a few months ago. Seashells is my name, seashells are my game…just a reminder that it’s not always all about Chanel!

Originally posted on Enchanted Seashells...Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife:

Today is super hot and humid but I went to Pilates anyway, and saw a friend of mine who’s a nurse and she always has a handful of non-latex gloves or figs from her tree for me and I trade her tomatoes and cucumbers and clary sage seedlings, so it’s a win-win for both of us.

I’m really excited about all my clary sage seedlings; I have about 100 of ‘em that look very healthy but will have to wait for the weather to cool down to put them in the ground. Here in So Cal, October is our spring, and that’s the best time I have found to plant natives.

So I have all these seashells, right?  Prolly thousands of them, collected by me or presented as gifts, and I’m not super creative like everyone on Etsy and Pinterest, but I do like to embellish almost everything with…

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