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Friday, September 28, 2012

Walter the Crow finds a home

An Ottawa family nursed Walter back to health. Now he's a part of the family.

lace angels

This angel is approximately 4" when finished. The materials and dimensions given are a guide. The size of the angel can be altered by changing the width of the trim used.
Materials Needed:
  • 2" circle of lightweight muslin or flesh color fabric. (I found a 2" template by using the bottom of a can of spray adhesive.)
  • 12" of 3" wide eyelet -- Cut as follows:
    • One 6" piece for the body
    • Two 3" pieces for the arms
  • Two 5" pieces of 1 to 2" wide pre-gathered lace or eyelet for the wings
  • Quality thread or button and carpet thread
  • A very small amount of stuffing.
  • Fine tip textile marker or Sharpie Pen (to draw face)
  • Doll hair or yarn sewn as described in the yo-yo clown but with a much smaller knitting needle. The hair used in the photos is the strawberry blond curly hair available here
  • glue to attach hair and halo
  • White or light color pipe cleaner for the arms
  • Gold Glitter pipe cleaner for the halo


    The Angel head
    The Angel Head
    • On the edge of the 2" circle, sew a running stitch to pull the edges together.
    • Before you close the gathering, stuff the head.
    • Stitch the back of the head closed.
    • Knot and cut the thread.
    • Roll the head to make it as round as possible.
    • Glue hair to the head in the hair area of the head.
    • Draw the face.
    • Set aside for the glue to dry.
    The Arms and Body
    The Arms and Body
    • Fold the arm and body pieces of eyelet in half matching the raw edges with the right sides together. (The wrong side is the side that has a chain stitch on the binding.)
    • Seam each edge using a small seam allowance and zigzag the seam allowance.
    • Turn right sides out.

    The Angel Arms
    The Angel Arms
    • Place the bound edges of the arm sections inside each other and sew a running stitch through the bindings, leaving the center open.
    • Place the arms on a length of pipe cleaner, leaving pipe cleaner extending beyond the arm edges.
    • Pull the running stitch thread to tighten the arms to the pipe cleaner.
    • Knot off the running stitch thread and cut it.

    The Body and Head
    The Body and Head
    • Center the seam of the body section in the back of the body section.
    • Sew a running stitch through the bound edge and gather the bound edge of the body section.
    • Knot off the top to hold it in place. Do NOT cut the thread!
    • Run the needle up through the head and back down again.
    • Sew the head to the body where it "nests" into the body fabric.
    • Push the needle up through the center of the head.
    • Start to make a stitch in the top of the head to form a loop of thread.
    • Form a thread chain that is long enough to use as a hanger. (about 3"}
    • Anchor the chain back in the top of the head where the thread came up.
    • Knot off in the "neck" area and cut the thread.

    Attach the Arms
    Attach the Arms
    • Bend the arm pipe cleaners to form a circle so the ends of the arms just overlap.
    • Trim and twist the ends of the pipe cleaners together just inside the arms.
    • Slide the body into the arms.
    • Hand sew the seam area of the arms to the back of the body to hold the arms in place.
    • Use a spot of glue or hand stitch the ends of the sleeves in place to conceal the pipe cleaner.

    The Halo
    The Halo
    • Form a circle about the size of the head out of an end of the gold pipe cleaner.
    • Twist the pipe cleaner on itself to hold the circle.
    • Bend the remaining pipe cleaner downward and trim, leaving about a quarter to a half inch of pipe cleaner.
    • Glue the downward part of the halo to the back of the head to hold it in place.

    The Wings
    The Wings
    • Sew a running stitch in the bound edge of the trim.
    • Gather the wing using the running stitch.
    • Fold the trim so that the bond edges are next to each other.
    • Gather the trim so that it will lay flat with the bound edges next to each other.
    • Sew the bound edges to each other forming the wing section.
    • Repeat for the second wing.
    • Place the raw ends of the wings on top of each other (overlapping 1/2 to 1").
    • Gather the ends together and sew the wings to the back of the angel positioning as desired.
    Tip: If your trim lacks oomph, use fabric starch or add glue and glitter to add stiffness.
    Lace Version Angel
    Lace Version Information
    The lace version angel was made using the same principals as the eyelet angel with a few extras due to the lace used.
    • The body was gathered at the part of the lace that ribbon can be run through and the narrower lace edge was folded downward as a collar.
    • The narrow lace was removed for the sleeves and the area where ribbon can be run through was used as sleeve cuffs while the edge of the wide ribbon was gathered and attached t the back of the angel.
    • The wings were made with un-gathered lace by gathering the entire piece of lace and achieving the desired effect.

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

    Ask Maxy

    Dear Maxy ,
    I  met a guy at a social event  who cornered  me and told me  the saddest sob story  about his life .
    I wanted to be nice to him , but it was the wrong setting  to have that type of discussion . Plus , I'm not a therapist . He was so persistant that he got  my card . I don't want to conutine  the conversation , though . I cannot help him  . He needs help .
    When he calls , which I am sure he will , what should I say to him ?
    Dear Cornered ,
    When this man calls  , tell him that  you think he deserves  to have a professional  help to support  him through this time in his life  . Admit  that  you do not  have the skills  to help him  . In the future  , if someone corners  you at an event  , you can end the conversation  . Say goodbye and walk away . If asked to get together privately  , just say you can't .
    Dear Maxy ,
    In our small social group, the wives  insist on attending  a local social event  in which the husbands  have zero interest . When I suggest  politely  that the wives  go without us , they become irritated  and veto this plan .
    I know a husband  who drags  his wife  to sporting events  where she wears earplugs  and reads a novel . Why do people insist  that their  spouses  attend  events whether  they want to or not ? Is it power  and control ? A test of one's loyalty ? Please urge your readers  to attend  these   things  with those that enjoy  them and allow  the rest of us  to bow out .
    Resents Going
    Dear Resents Going , There are myriad reasons that people do this  , although  some  simply want their spouses  to enjoy  what they do  and keep them company . I agree  that if it's the  same event  repeatedly , you shouldn't have to keep going  ... provided  your spouse  has someone  else  with whom  to attend .
    Dear Maxy ,
    What do you think  of parents  who invite everyone  they know  to their birthday parties  for their  children  who are under 5 ? It's like Christmas in January , May and September , and  then it's Christmas .
    Dear Disgusted ,
    I find nothing unusual  here . These parents  are celebrating  their young children's birthdays and hoping  their friends and relatives  want to celebrate , too .
    If you feel the gift giving  is too much , it's perfectly   okay to send regrets .

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    Quick, Cheap and Easy ...Wholesome, comforting Bread Pudding

    Old fashioned 'Bread Pudding' is the epitomy of comfort food. Cheap, easy to make and wholesome it is a staple dessert from past generations that makes kids' tummies feel warm and full. Great on a cold day or if you are running short of ingredients for a good dessert. In a pinch it's good for breakfast too.



    • 5 slices day old bread
    • 3 tbsp butter
    • 1/2 c steamed raisins...( you could add a chopped apple or maybe some dried blueberries or cherries or some chopped dried mango)Optional
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 c sugar (Splenda works just the same)
    • 3 eggs, beaten
    • 3 c scalded milk
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

    How to make it

    • Toast bread and then butter it.
    • Arrange the toast in a shallow baking dish.
    • Sprinkle the raisins over the bread.
    • Mix the sugar (reserving 2 tbsp), salt and eggs.
    • Add the milk to the sugar/egg mixture and stir well.
    • Pour the milk/sugar/egg mixture over the toast and let stand for 10 minutes.
    • Mix remaining 2 tbsp sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over pudding.
    • Bake at 350F for about 35 minutes.
    • Serve warm with cream, whipped cream or ice cream.

    How Does He do It...Sidewalk Artist Draws in 3D

    3D Grafitti
    3D graffiti, whether it’s in chalk or paint, on walls or the street, represents a new way of combining the mastery of Renaissance art techniques with the gritty, ephemeral qualities of amazing street art. These 3D street artists gives graffiti a whole new meaning – one that departs from the conventional interpretation of graffiti as vandalism in the form of images and letters scrawled on public property. Artists like Kurt Wenner, Eduardo Relero and Tracy Lee Stum create street art that is so incredible it is almost impossible to pass by without being sucked in to the worlds they create on asphalt and concrete surfaces.



    Saturday, September 22, 2012

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    Sewing Room Accessory Caddy

    Sewing Room Accessories

    Use decorative stitches to enhance these useful sewing room accessories. A basket with a decoratively stitched liner holds thread and notions. A pretty case protects your favorite scissors. And the caddy slips easily under your machine and provides pockets for your most frequently used tools.
    Finished Sizes:
    • Caddy is 18" x 19"
    • Scissors cover fits up to 9" shears
    • Basket cover is adjustable.

    Materials and Supplies

    • 1-1/2 yards of burgundy cotton fabric, 44/45"wide
    • 1 yard of burgundy quilted cotton fabric
    • 1-1/2 yards of fusible stabilizer
    • Burgundy all-purpose sewing thread
    • 2 yards of decorative gold 1/2"-wide ribbon
    • Gold metallic heavy braid
    • One 1" plastic ring
    • One 3" gold tassel
    • Fabric marking pencil
    • Brother Gold #999 metallic machine embroidery thread
    • Brother rayon decorative machine threads in light and dark shades of each pink and green
    • Brother Pacesetter
    For all three projects, use 1/4" seam allowances.


    1. Cut one piece 20" x 28" from each burgundy fabric and the fusible stabilizer.
    2. Fuse stabilizer to wrong side of non-quilted fabric piece. Mark decorative stitch guidelines using fabric pencil as follows. On long edges, measure down 20”, and draw a line across the shorter width (you now have a 20” square marked). Draw lines from corner to corner, forming an X across the square. Mark edges at 3" intervals and draw diagonal lines using these marks.
    3. Using built-in decorative stitches and metallic gold thread, stitch along each diagonal line, forming diamond shapes.
    4. Using built-in alphabets and metallic gold thread, stitch sewing words (see example) at center of desired diamonds. Decorate remaining diamonds with built-in embroidery designs and rayon threads. Note: Rose design on photographed project is from Brother embroidery card No. 20.
    5. Place embroidered piece and quilted piece right sides together, and stitch around edges, leaving an opening for turning. Clip corners. Turn. Press. Stitch opening closed.
    6. Fold up end with no decorative stitching approximately 7" to form pocket. Pin in place. Topstitch around entire piece 1/4" in from edge.
    7. Stitch vertical lines to divide pocket into various sizes.

    Scissors Pocket

    For Scissors Pocker, draw triangle pattern according to illustration. Cut out patterns for front and back.
    1. Cut two scissors pocket fronts from plain burgundy fabric and two scissors pocket backs from quilted burgundy fabric.
    2. Fuse stabilizer to wrong side of one pocket front piece. Decorate piece with built-in stitches in same manner as caddy.
    3. Right sides together, stitch pocket front pieces, leaving a small opening for turning. Trim seam allowance at point. Turn right side out. Repeat with pocket back pieces.
    4. Matching bottom point, place pocket front and back pieces together. Topstitch 1/4" in from side edges.
    5. Cover ring with metallic braid. Tack ring to top edge and tassel to bottom point.

    Basket Cover

    1. Measure depth and width of basket and total these numbers. Add 4" to this total. Measure the depth and length of basket and total these numbers. Add 4" to this total.
    2. Using dimensions from last step, cut two pieces from non-quilted burgundy fabric and one piece from stabilizer.
    3. Fuse stabilizer to wrong side of one cover piece.
    4.Decorate stabilized piece in same manner as caddy.
    5. Place pieces wrong sides together and serge edges; OR stitch pieces right sides together leaving an opening, clip corners, turn right side out, stitch opening closed, and edgestitch.
    6. Place cover in basket. Pull one corner at a time and tie with 10" piece of ribbon.

    Dangerous Levels of Arsenic Found in Rice

    Rice lovers, beware!
    A new Consumer Reports study found about 60 different types of rice products from the US contained arsenic. The products include white and brown rice, organic rice baby cereal and rice breakfast cereals. The report said many of the products contain arsenic at "worrisome levels." In addition to being a carcinogen, long-term arsenic exposure can lead to chronic conditions, harm children's health later in life.

    Consumer Reports recommends avoiding rice from "Texas, Louisiana, and Missouri," according to CBS News but gave the all-clear to rice from Asia. Philip Landrigan, a New York pediatrician, told CBS News high levels of arsenic are in the soil in Texas and Louisiana from a century of pesticide use for the cotton crop. He also said arsenic causes skin, lung, and bladder cancer.

    The Food and Drug Administration responded to the report, and the concerns it has spawned, on its website.
    "In looking at the research, there is an absence of the necessary scientific data that shows a causal relationship between those who consume higher levels of rice and rice products and the type of illnesses usually associated with arsenic. However, we are continuing to study this and note that other potential factors [of illness], such as other food in peoples’ diets," the FDA said.
    The agency continued:
    "Based on a preliminary review of FDA’s testing of approximately 200 initial samples of rice and rice products, we find that the results from Consumer Reports appear to be consistent with those we are reporting based on our initial testing .... While the levels reported are consistent with those released from Consumer Reports, FDA is continuing to collect and analyze 1,000 more samples in order to adequately cover the wide variety of rice types, geographical regions where rice is grown, and the extraordinary range of foods that contain rice as an ingredient."

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    Ask Maxy

    Dear Maxy ,
    The "Maturing Too Fast" ( whose husband wanted their daughter to cut ties with a 9-year-old friend who had started her period) is on the right tract . Please use this as an opportunity to discuss the subject with her daughter !
    For a variety of reasons , girls seem to be entering puberty sooner , and the better prepared the daughter is , the less traumatic it may be . Not allowing her to associate wirh her friend anymore is just strange ! Where is this dad coming from ?
    Unfortunately with the subject ---I never had "the talk" from them .
    I knew bacially nothing about sex or sexual maturity until I was rudley and horribly awakeened to it when I started being abused at age 9 by a trusted person . I had no clue what was going on , only that I thought it was probably wrong .
    Not talking about things with your kids doesn't make the subject go away . It only makes it more likely to not include you in the loop of their life .
    Been There
    Dear Been There ,
    Parents should talk to their children about their developing bodies , about boundaries , and about appropriate and in appropriate behavior . Creating dialogue when children are young helps them feel confident about talking to parents about anything as they mature .
    Dear Maxy ,
    I went to a party and ran into a woman who had on the same dress as me . I was mortified . Worse still , she wanted to hang out with me all night and take pictures . No way .
    I'm not a fashionista or anything , but I do like to have my own style .
    Was I wrong not want to hang with her ? She's not my friend or anything . She was aguest at the event just like I was .
    Body Double
    Dear Body Double ,
    I would be uncomfortable if I ran into someone dressed identically to me at a party , and I certainly wouldn't want to become her instant twin as a result . You were perfectly right to want to move on . It could be that the twinning was her way of dealing with an awkward situation .
    Your choice to enjoy the party without her was a perfectly fine option as well .
    Dear Maxy ,
    I am engaged to an intelligent beautiful , loving woman . We both work work full time and see eye-to-eye about everything . However , we are becoming increasingly frustrated with our four children when it comes to doing their laundry , putting away dirty dishes in the dishwasher , walking the dog , etc.
    The kids are between 13 and 21 . We want them to take responsibility for their actions and take pride in their home . We have tried making lists and assigning tasks , punishments and rewards , to no avail . During our most recent conversation with the kids , one said , "It's yoo difficult to remember ." Another said , "You can't make us do it." Two of these kids are working . Any suggestions ?
    Dear Frustrated ,
    Some children need to be reminded to help around the house , and the reminder has to stick . Mom should tell them that neither you nor she is a servant and they all need to care more for their living space . Any children over 18 should be nicely encouraged to move into their own places , which will highlight their choics . The younger kids should have privileges restricted if they do not follow the house rules . But mom has to enforce these rules , or nothing will change .

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Tornado of fire caught on tape...Australia

    THERE'S something mean and magical about Australia's Outback. An Alice Springs filmmaker captured both when a whirlwind of fire erupted before his eyes.  Chris Tangey of Alice Springs Film and Television was scouting locations near Curtin Springs station, about 80km from Ularu, last week when confronted by a fiery phenomenon. He had just finished his tour of the station when workers encountered difficulties with a grader. So he went to help them.
    A small fire was burning in nearby bushland, so Mr Tangey decided to start filming.
    He caught the sight of his life. A twister touched down on the spot fire, fanning it into a furious tower of flame.
    "It sounded like a jet fighter going by, yet there wasn't a breath of wind where we were," he told the Northern Territory News.
    "You would have paid $1000 a head if you knew it was about to happen."
    The column of fire danced about the landscape for about 40 minutes, he said, as he and the station workers stood transfixed.

    There was talk of making a quick getaway, Mr Tangey said. But everyone was too hypnotised to feel scared - and he continued furiously filming.
    "The bizarre thing was that it rarely moved," he said.
    "These things just stood there because there was no wind to move them ... but it was flickering incredibly fast."

    Darwin weather forecaster David Matthews said small twisters were common in isolated areas. But the fiery vortex was highly unusual.
    "The flames would have assisted by trying to suck in air and that could have helped generate those circular winds," Mr Matthews said.


    show me the funny ...Russell Peters



    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

    These are sinfully moist and chocolatey and are easy to prepare and bake

    Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
    yields ~30 cupcakes

    1 (18.25 oz.) package Devil's Food cake mix
    1 (5.9 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding mix
    1 cup sour cream
    1 cup vegetable oil
    4 large eggs
    1/2 cup warm water
    2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper baking cups.

    In a large bowl, sift together the cake and pudding mixes. Mix in sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, and water until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into prepared cupcake pans. (I filled each cupcake with 3 tablespoons of batter.)

    Bake for 20-24 minutes, until tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cook in pans for 5 minutes before removing to a cooking rack to cool completely.

    Cookies and Cream Buttercream Frosting

    2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 cup shortening, at room temperature
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    2 lbs. powdered sugar
    4-6 tablespoons very cold milk
    8 crushed Oreo cookies (cream filling removed before crushing)

    Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the salt and vanilla extract; combine well. Begin sifting in the powdered sugar in three or four parts, mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all the sugar has been added and mixed in, begin adding the milk slowly, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved (you may not use all of the milk). Fold in the crushed Oreo cookies. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

    *I had just enough frosting for the 30 cupcakes

    They are good and easy to make...No experience necessary

    Laser injection less painful than needles

    Microjet, laser injector

    When microjet is fired from the laser, the liquid reaches the speed of 30m per second

    A laser device for less painful injections has been developed by South Korean scientists. The system could replace traditional needles, with a jab as painless as being hit with a puff of air.
    The laser is already used in aesthetic skin treatments. The aim now is to make low-cost injectors for clinical use.

    The researchers write that the laser, (erbium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet), or Er:YAG, propels a stream of medicine with the right force to almost painlessly enter the skin. The jet is slightly larger than the width of a human hair and can reach the speed of 30m (100ft) per second.

    "The impacting jet pressure is higher than the skin tensile strength and thus causes the jet to smoothly penetrate into the targeted depth underneath the skin, without any splashback of the drug," said Prof Jack Yoh of Seoul National University, who led the study. Piston-like injectors are already in use, but jet strength and drug dose are more difficult to control.

    "The laser-driven microjet injector can precisely control dose and the depth of drug penetration underneath the skin," said Prof Yoh.   The laser can inject the drug up to several millimetres beneath the skin without any damage to the tissue. The innovators are starting work on injectors for clinical use.

    Sunday, September 16, 2012

    Loyal Shepherd Watches Over Master's Grave For 6 Years

    VILLA CARLOS PAZ, Argentina -
    A widow in Argentina said she knew the bond between their family dog and her late husband was strong, but she never expected Capitán the German shepherd mix to stoically stand watch over his grave every day since his passing six years ago.
    Veronica Guzman told LaVoz that her husband, Miguel Guzman, adopted Capitán in 2005 as a gift for their son. But that it was Miguel who formed the best friendship with him.
    Guzman said when Miguel died in 2006, the dog ran away from home and they were unable to locate him. Not long after, she said she visited Miguel's resting site at the cemetery with her son, Damien, and found Capitán there guarding his master's grave.
    "We searched for him, but he had vanished," Guzman told the newspaper. "We thought he must have got run over and died. The following Sunday we went to the cemetery, and Damian recognized his pet. Capitán came up to us, barking and wailing as if he were crying."
    According to LaVoz, Guzman said she has no clue how the dog could have found the cemetery, or her husband's gravesite since no one had taken him there before.
    Officials at the cemetery said Capitán just showed up one day six years ago and has never left.
    "During the day he sometimes has a walk around the cemetery, but always rushes back to the grave. And every day, at 6 o'clock sharp, he lies down on top of the grave, stays there all night," Cemetery director Hector Baccega said.
    According to Baccega, Capitán seems determined to stand his post, so the cemetery staff has taken to feeding and caring for the loyal canine sentinel as best they can.
    Damian told the newspaper that, "I've tried to bring Capitan home several times, but he always comes straight back to the cemetery. I think he's going to be there until he dies too. He's looking after my dad."

    Lemon Berry Cake With Sumptuous Lemon Frosting

    In the past I’ve always used lemon juice in the frosting, but if I used too much (because I wanted more lemon flavor), it would get too runny. With a nice tart lemon curd, I could add quite a bit without affecting the consistency- which resulted in the Best Lemon Frosting Ever.
    I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of this, but I’m glad I did, as I won’t make any other type of lemon frosting after this. I’ve been spoiled.

    Lemon-Berry Cake and The Best Lemon Frosting Ever

    For the cake:
    • 2 c. flour
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. ground ginger (optional)
    • 1 c. butter (2 sticks)
    • 2 c. sugar
    • 8 eggs
    • 2 lemons, zested and juiced (about 1/2 c. juice)
    • 1 tsp. pure lemon extract (optional, enhances lemon flavor but still lemony without it)
    For the frosting:
    • 3 c. powdered sugar
    • 1 c. butter (2 sticks), softened
    • 2/3 c. lemon curd (or more, depending on taste and consistency)*
    • 1 – 2 Tb. milk, optional if needed to lighten frosting
    For the filling:
    • 1-1/2 c. berry jam or preserves for filling (or 1 c. jam + 1/2 c. lemon curd)
    1. Make the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper and lightly butter the tops of the parchment.
    2. Using a mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light – about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each. Add lemon zest, juice, and extract (if using). Mix until smooth.
    3. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger (if using). Mix on low just until combined. Pour evenly into prepared pans.
    4. Bake 25 – 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove and cool 10 minutes on a rack.
    5. Loosen edges with a knife and invert onto a cooling rack, remove parchment paper, and then turn right-side-up onto another cooling rack. Cool completely.
    6. Make the frosting: Cream the butter and lemon curd in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whipping attachment. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time.
    7. After all the sugar has been added, whip the frosting on high for a minute. Check the spreading consistency. If it seems thick, add a tablespoon of milk and whip again on high for a minute. Repeat if needed. The key to a light and airy frosting is whipping air into it, so keep whipping until it seems easy to spread. *If using a looser, homemade lemon curd start with smaller amount.
    8. Assemble the cake: Cut the cake layers in half to make four layers.
    9. Place one layer on a cake plate and spread with 1/2 c. of jam. Place second layer on top and spread this layer with 1/2 c. jam or lemon curd. Repeat with third layer, spreading with another 1/2 c. of jam and topping with the last layer (top of cake).
    10. Frost the sides of the cake with the lemon frosting, swirling the frosting with a knife. Finish by frosting the top, using the remaining frosting. Sprinkle with decorative, edible sugar pearls if desired.
              It is yummalicious..You are a genius

    P.S. - For the diabetic viewers or viewers who don't want to use a lot of refined sugar , use Equal confectioners' powder for the icing , the measurements are on the package .
    Also use Equal sugar substitute for the cake won't be able to tell the difference .

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

    Kate Middleton : Just Hanging Out

    Kate Middleton and hubby Prince William took their minds of the Duchess' topless photo scandal by scaling a giant tree yesterday during their trip to Sabah, Borneo.

    The royal couple have been touring Southeast Asia, having previously visited Malaysia and Singapore.

    Having already been published in France, an Italian gossip magazine Chi says they too plan to publish the infamous topless pics. The royal family, having already sued the French mag, is mulling their legal options should Chi go through with their plan.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Woman finds ex boyfriend living in attic

    A Rock Hill, N.C., woman knew something was in her attic when she heard a thump and then saw some nails start popping out from her bedroom ceiling one night.
    Tracy, a mother of five, thought it might be an animal. She sent her older sons and nephew to check it out.
    She told the Charlotte Observer she thought "there was some poltergeist stuff going on."
    And what they found was surprising. It wasn't an animal. It was the woman's ex-boyfriend.
    He came down from the attic without any explanation and left with a smile before police could arrive, the Observer reports.
    The man had been living in the attic for about two weeks, WCNC reports, noting that the ex-boyfriend was recently released from jail.
    "He had packed all the old coats and jackets into the heating unit and was sleeping in the heating unit," said Tracy, who did not reveal her last name.
    There were also large plastic cups containing human waste, which explain how he relieved himself in his rooftop hideaway, WCNC reported.
    Tracy's nephew told the Observer the man was able to peek through an air vent in the ceiling of the woman's bedroom.
    "It's got me flabbergasted," she told the newspaper. "How can you look at someone through an air vent?"
    Another mystery is how the man got in and out of the attic because the only access is through the lower level of the house.
    She and the man had dated for about a year more than a decade ago, she told the Observer. She had called it off after he became involved in petty crime, she said. He helped her install some doors in her house about a year ago and that was the last she saw of him—until she saw him come down from her attic.
    Tracy has changed her locks, the newspaper reports. But her children are still afraid to sleep in their bedrooms.
    She hopes the man is located and charged with a crime.
    "I want him to be charged with it," she told the Observer. "It could be somebody else he does the same thing to, but she might not be so lucky."

    Story from Rogers Ron Recinto

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Queen Elizabeth II's Corgi Dies

    LONDON -- Buckingham Palace says one of Queen Elizabeth II's corgis, who took a star turn in the James Bond sketch during the Olympics opening ceremony, has died.

    Monty and two other of the queen's beloved corgis appeared in a James Bond sketch during the opening ceremony, greeting Daniel Craig's James Bond as he arrived at the palace to accept a mission from the monarch.

    The palace on Sunday confirmed that Monty – who was previously owned by the Queen Mother – had died. It did not provide details on when or how Monty died, or the age of the dog, but added that another of the queen's pets, dachshund-corgi crossbreed Cider, also had died.

    With the death of Monty, Queen Elizabeth II now has two corgis in the palace – Willow and Holly – both of whom also appeared in the Olympics sketch.

    PICs know Monty was well loved and will be sadly missed .

    Sympathy to the Queen and her family. No matter what your station in life, the loss of a pet is difficult.

    Pets are very important to people royal or otherwise. Pets are often more reliable and protective than humans I am sorry to say.

    Sunday, September 9, 2012

    Easy Totes

    Here's a great way to re-cycle old sweaters that have served their purpose but have retained their pretty color or pattern.
    You can get a load of these from the thrift store....
    * Get pure wool pullover sweaters and throw them in the washing machine (hot water then lay flat to dry) to shrink and felt them. Do it a few times to make sure the fabric is thick and sturdy and well felted....
    *When you get them nicely felted, carefully remove the sleeves and you basically have your tote....
    * Cut a square section out around the neck, front and back and tidy up  all the raw edges by machine top stitching and then trimming or by using small blanket stitching or even using colored binding tape as an edging....
    * The shoulder pieces are the straps. Fold straps in half with wrong sides together and join edges....
    * Make sure the sweater's side seams are at the front and back of your tote so your handles are in the right position for holding....*All you need is a bottom seam (two choices) either just sew the bottom shut or insert a gusset....See diagram for cutting  below....

    * Leave them plain or decorate with buttons and bows. You be the creative one now.
    * You can add an outside pocket made from one of the sleeves or make decorative roses from the left over fabric....*

    **More ideas....You can make leg warmers from the sleeves or cut squares from old sweaters and make a patchwork blanket or throw

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Ask Maxy

    Dear Maxy ,
    My dad remarried a year ago , about the time I left for college . She was nice and made my dad happy , so I am happy .
    I came home for summer vacation along with my brother , who was also away at school . During our time home , everything changed , My stepmom now thinks she has the final say in our family . She is constantly getting on me and my brother about everything . I'm trying to make do since I;ll be leaving for school in a month , but it can be unbearable at times . I;m afraid I'm going to break any second , and I don't want to hurt my dad .
    What sould I do or say ?
    Friction at Home
    Dear Friction at Home ,
    Getting along with a step-parent takes time . It is natural for you and your brother to bristle over the way your stepmother is behaving , yet her behavior should not be a surprise .
    She is playing the same role your mother did for all her years , which is something your father probably has asked her to do .
    You should work to establish a relationship with your stepmother . Rather than resign yourself to just "making do," ask her if you can have a candid conversation . Tell her that you are happy that she and your father found each other and are building a life together . Explain that you would like to get to know her better .
    Speak to your father as well so that he understands your point of view . Because he was never the one to stand up in these situations , though , it's not likely that he is going to be the assertive one now . A book that may inspire you is ....
    "Stepmothers and Stepdaughters ... by Karen L . Annarino
    Dear Maxy ,
    I am living with a man whose wife dired three years ago . Yet nearly all her clothes and other personal effects are still in the house .
    How should I tactfully ask him to take care if this ? It bothers me , but due to the sensitive nature of the situation , I hate to make a big issue out of it .
    No Name
    Dear No Name ,
    Are her personal effects still in the house because he can't bear to part with them or because the job is too overwhelming ? Ask gently wnether he would like your help packing up these things (not "getting rid" of them ). If he has children , perhaps they would like to go through her belongings and select items that have meaning for them . If he seems reluctant , don't press . You can ask again in a few monyha . And once you get started , please don't appear to be overly eager . You must trat this situation with the respect it deserves .
    Dear Maxy ,
    My office mate went on a planned vacation and had a great time , so great that she stayed an extra week and a half . When she returned , she didn't apologize for her delay in returning . Instead , she chastised me for not completing a project on time . Well , I needed her participation . She had a big role in this . I feel like I need to address the situation . I'm not mad that she had a good vacation , but I am upset that she shirked her responsibilities and is now blaming me for her actions .
    Teed OFF
    Dear Teed Off ,
    By all means , talk to your office mate about what happen . You can genuinely apologize for missing the deadline because she did not do her part . Review the timeline that you two had established , and point out where you see discrepancies .
    State the obvious .... That your office mate overstayed her her vacation and , in turn , was not at the office and focused on the work that she needed to handle .
    Acknowledge that time off is important but that doing what you agree to do for your job is of equal value .

    Scratch Strawberry Cake

    If you ask me, strawberries just might be the world’s most perfect fruit. Well, pretty darn near  perfect as long as they’re ripe and clean. Decadent enough to be considered dessert on their own, they most certainly don’t need artificially flavored Jello and food coloring to bring out the best in them. So here is a strawberry cake from scratch that is light and delicious.

    • For the strawberry puree:
    • 24 oz very ripe strawberries, hulled (or no-sugar-added frozen strawberries)
    • 1-2 tsp sugar (optional)
    • For the cake:
    • 1/4-1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
    • 6 large egg whites, room temperature (4 whole eggs can be substituted, per reader comments)
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
    • 1 3/4 cup sugar
    • 4 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temp
    • 2 stick of butter, at room temp
    • 6 cups powdered sugar
    • 5 Tbsp milk
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 tsp almond extract
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 vanilla bean pod, optional
    • a few drops of food coloring, optional

    1. If frozen strawberries in whatever form (sliced, whole, etc) and in whatever container/bag you have them in. Pour into a fine strainer placed over a bowl and let sit. Lightly toss the strawberries occasionally to remove any pockets of excess liquid. Reserve the liquid for another use or discard (see FAQ above for alternate use of the liquid).
    2. If using fresh strawberries, just hull, slice and toss with a teaspoon or two of sugar and cover. Let them sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, until nice and juicy.
    3. Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree.
    4. Reserve 3/4 cup puree for the cake. (If you are using the cooked puree method from the FAQ above, you will only use 1/2 cup puree.)
    5. Use leftover puree to fill the cake or fold into the frosting, if desired (you will not have leftover puree if you use the cooked puree method). It's also fabulous spooned over ice cream... and eaten straight with a spoon.
    6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8- or 9-inch pans: spray inside with baking spray with flour (or use some sort of grease/flour combination).
    7. In small bowl, combine puree, milk (if you used the cooked puree method in the FAQ above, you'll use 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of puree; if you did not cook your puree, use 1/4 cup of milk and 3/4 cup of puree), egg, vanilla and mix with fork until well blended. In bowl of stand mixer, add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. Continue beating at slow speed and add butter. Mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs.
    8. Add wet ingredients and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until full and evenly combined. Stop mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and hand beat for 30 more seconds.
    9. Note: The batter will not get any pinker in the oven so if you're disappointed in the color from your berries, maybe consider adding a drop or two of pink or red food coloring.
    10. Divide the batter evenly among the pans and smooth tops.
    11. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (time will vary). Let cakes rest in pan for about 10 minutes and turn out onto wire racks. Let cakes cool completely (about 2 hours).


    1. Place all ingredients in your mixer bowl. Beat on low just until you have no more dry streaks of powdered sugar. (Add a bit of food coloring/gel here, if using. If using a vanilla bean, split the pod in half, scrape with the edge of your knife, and add the scrapings to the mixer bowl.)
    2. Turn to high and whip for 3-4 minutes, until light, fluffy, and smooth, stopping once to scrape down the sides.
    3. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (I use a Wilton 1M).
    4. Extra frosting can be stored in the fridge for quite a while. Bring to room temp and whip for a couple of minutes before using.


    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Brown Butter Snickerdoodles....(They have nothing to do with Snicker's candy bars)

    Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

    This recipe has been featured in a post on The Recipe Girl blog: Snickerdoodle Lovers.

    Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

    Yield: 2 to 3 dozen cookies
    Prep Time: 20 min
    Cook Time: 15 min
    Snickerdoodle fanatic and brown butter fan here! Combined, they are a perfect match...


    1 cup butter
    1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons cream of tartar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup granulated white sugar
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


    1. In a small saucepan, melt butter at medium heat. Reduce to simmer and stir until butter turns golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together cooled butter, sugar and eggs.
    3. Sift dry ingredients together and stir into wet mixture. Cover bowl and chill dough in refrigerator until firm.
    4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
    5. Roll dough into small balls (about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of dough per ball). Roll balls in mixture of cinnamon and sugar, and place on ungreased baking sheet.
    6. Bake 8-10 minutes until cookies are flattened and crinkly.
    These are great cookies, I mean yummy great. And they make great milk dunkers for kids ( or grown-ups).

    Five Health Benefits of Concord Grapes

     Dark purple concord grapes are rich in antioxidants and can help keep your immune system healthy. Try them in this healthy Waldorf salad
    Concord grapes
    Concord grapes actually have the power to keep us youthful because they contain high concentrations of antioxidants that protect our skin, brain and heart from inflammation and aging. The healthiest part of the grape is the skin, which is packed with not one but 19 different types of health-supporting nutrients.

    Here are five big reasons to enjoy concord grapes:

    1. Decrease blood pressure with concord grapes:
    Concord grapes contain many flavonoids, including resveratrol, which can help decrease blood pressure by improving the fluidity of the blood. Resveratrol also relaxes the arterial walls to allow adequate circulation and decrease the pressure in the arteries.

    2. Concord grapes are anti-inflammatory: Concord grapes contain a variety of polyphenols that can reduce the inflammatory response in the body. These grapes also have the antioxidant ability to mop up free radicals in the body and keep you looking younger, longer.

    3. Eat grapes to stay sharp: Many degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, begin with the accumulation of certain proteins and foreign bodies in the brain. Concord grapes have been shown to prevent the accumulation of these potentially harmful substances. This helps keep your brain sharp and your nervous system healthy.

    4. Boost your immunity with concord grapes: Concord grapes have been shown to increase the production of the cells in our body that fight off disease and foreign invaders. Boosting these natural killer cells and T-cells will keep your immune system in tip-top shape during cold and flu season.

    5. Concord grapes maintain healthy breast tissue: Concord grapes contain resveratrol, which protects the DNA in our cells against mutations that occur. Studies show that resveratrol is specifically beneficial in protecting breast tissue from the mutations that can take place in certain breast cancers.

    Waldorf salad
    Waldorf salad is often served with a creamy dressing, but in this incredibly healthy version, the sweetness of the grapes speaks for itself. Walnut oil is a source of omega-3 fatty acids that augment the heart and brain benefits of the grapes.

    2 cups red apples, diced
    2 cups green apples, diced
    4 stalks celery, diced
    2 cups concord grapes, seedless
    1 cup walnuts
    4 tablespoons walnut oil
    2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1. Toss together the apples, celery, grapes, and walnuts in a large bowl; set aside.
    2. In a small bowl, whisk together the walnut oil, apple cider vinegar and salt.
    3. Toss together and serve.

    Makes 6 servings.