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Monday, March 31, 2014


Can we sniff out true love?

Photograph by Vincenzo D’Alto
A Montreal duo of scientists wants to know if you can pick a mate based on scent or sound alone.
In a traditional biology experiment, the subjects are clueless. If someone in the maze favours left turns, researchers only care if it affects future experiments. They are not concerned with the daily lives of mice. But those daily lives inspired the “Scientists for Love” and their inaugural public experiment in Montreal, “speed-dating for the senses (and the sensitive),” which used sensory deprivation to introduce 14 men and 14 women to each other.
Amy Chartrand and Leigh Kotsilidis, the two Scientists for Love, were interested in research on the biological basis for attraction. They prepared for their experiment by putting on lab coats and asking people in bars to rate strangers’ voices. “They line up for it,” Chartrand says. The pair began to see potential in experimental constraints.
They recruited participants on Facebook and assembled them at Kotsilidis’s Little Italy loft on a biting night in February. The average participant was single, around 30, and shared their curiosity about the science of attraction. They arrived through separate men’s and women’s doors into the arms of a gang of volunteers in lab coats, who blindfolded them. Conversation spilled out as both groups were a little nervous. “Is attraction scientific? I wanted to test that out myself,” one woman explained in the women’s holding pen before they began. Everyone brought a dirty T-shirt, and some comfort food, which was placed on a steel cart. The women’s cart was dominated by goat cheese and chocolate; the men had brought convenience-store junk, with few exceptions. “Who brought the prunes?” someone asked.
The evening was in two parts: sensory experiments, then party. For the first experiment, the blindfolded singles recited the alphabet one by one, voting for the voices they liked before groping toward the person in the next chair. Then came touch. Still blindfolded, men and women stood in two advancing lines and held hands, “keeping it below the wrist,” as asked. Reactions were powerful. “This guy tried to put his fingers in mine. I’m a lady. I don’t do that on the first date,” scoffed one woman.
Then off came the blindfolds, as the T-shirts in Ziploc bags were passed around for a sniff test. Based directly on Claus Wedekind’s criticized but influential 1994 study that suggested we are attracted to partners whose pheromones indicate significantly different immune systems, this was to be one of the more revealing experiments, but it only works if you get stinky, and this was apparently too much for some. Many men and women brought clean shirts. “One had no soul. There was nothing to this shirt,” said one woman.
And then, the darkly familiar situation of judgment at a distance. The group formed two concentric circles, and men and women stared at each other for 15 seconds in turns. Surprisingly, sight was described as the most intense and difficult experiment. Last, they tried each other’s comfort foods, the men sampling, the women eating everything.
While the volunteers crunched numbers, participants broke the ice again, going in search of “that accent” or whoever brought the identical cheese. When the results were taped to a wall around midnight, it was difficult to get the room’s attention. The participants had already taken over their own lessons. One woman had picked the same guy five times, but when she went up to him, “I didn’t feel much connection,” she reported. Perhaps they should have put their blindfolds back on. People confronted their sensory choices until 4 a.m.
The event confounds labelling. One might call it a participatory work of art, or a semi-scientific perception experiment, and neither captures its childlike excitement. We rarely encounter others in an unfamiliar way, such as our very first time holding hands, but Scientists for Love suggest this kind of experience remains possible. And powerful: Weeks later, the participants are organizing a reunion by themselves. So we have to conclude that some pretty powerful biological reactions, pheromone connections or just plain mutual lust took place during the experiment.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I don't Want Another Sister


DIY Wrapped Ponytail

How to do a wrapped ponytail in seconds flat

Turn a ponytail from plain to party-ready in four easy steps.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
My husband and I moved to Florida  30 years ago  and raised our children here . Some friends  recently retired  and moved to our area . Florida is a large state  and we were  surprised  that both  of these  couples (who don't know each other)  chose to purchase  homes  within a 20-mile radius of us . My husband and I are being pressured  to resume these friendships but frankly, we are not interested  . When these couples  email I keep making excuses and I don't answer the phone when they call . It's been months  and none of them  has figured  it out . They persist .
One of these women was a childhood friend but she is boastful and competitive and her husband is worse . I don't have it in me to level with them . How can we stop  them from calling without creating  hurt  feelings ?
Needs Advice
Dear Needs  Advice ,
Has it occurred  to you that  these couples  may have moved to this location  because they thought they had at least one friend  in this area ? It means they will persist  until they develop  new friends  who occupy  their time . If  you are likely to run into them  at shops  or social events, it may be in your best interests to allow  a limited  friendship  so you are on speaking terms . That means, you answer every fifth call or  email  and arrange  a social  engagement  every few months  . As they become more acclimated  to  their new digs, you can cut back  until you reach the amount  of contact  you can handle . By then your absence  will be  less important  to them .

Dear Maxy ,
My boyfriend  will be  67 in two weeks  and for the third  year in a row I will probably  watch his heart break because  his 90-year-old mother  will not  acknowledge  his  birthday .
He has done nothing to make her feel this way. She lives in our  city  but he has  not  seen her in more than three years . I am so afraid  she will pass  on before they reconcile . What would  cause a woman to  have no feeling  for her own son ?
Dear Baffled ,
I don't  know but if they haven't seen each other  since  she was 87, there is a possibility  of a decline  in her mental faculties  . Did she acknowledge  his  birthday  before . Was  she OK  the last time he saw her ? Is there a sibling, relative  or  friend  who could  intercede on his behalf ? Some children  call their parents on their birthdays  for giving  birth to them . Your boyfriend  might try  this to see whether  it breaks the ice . But if  nothing works, do something for his birthday  that he enjoys  and that will take his mind off of Mom, but remember, she is ninety and should be relieved of family obligations. You and your husband could take the burden off her and assume responsibilty for keeping in touch.

Dear Maxy ,
I love my husband . He is a wonderful man , but when it  comes to his cooking, I would rather  he not step in my kitchen again . Last Saturday, my husband  took the initiative  to make  breakfast; he made pancakes, scrambled eggs  and turkey sausage .
His  goal was to put a smile on my face. Sadly, I threw out  the food he made  because it was terrible . He was upset  because I threw  out the cooked  food  and made breakfast  the right way . I think I could  have  handled  the situation  differently.
Shaky Ground .
Dear Shaky Ground ,
You are tough. It would  have been  far nicer for you to thank your husband  for trying  and to eat what you could . You insulted  him  and surely hurt his feelings. Instead, encourage him to spend  time in the kitchen with you .
You can still thank him  for his efforts  and invite him to make a special meal  with you . Teach him how to make eggs  to your liking, or  choose  another dish . As a couple, you can have fun  learning  about  anything together.  
Attitude is everything !
And  you my dear need an attitude adjustment .

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cute Easter Bunnies

Two different versions of the same pattern: a very simple version and another one with arms and legs and a more detailed face. The simple version is really very easy – absolutely perfect for beginners. And the other version is only a tiny little bit more  fiddly – but not really difficult.

First download the >>> RevoluzZzionary Easter Bunny pattern and print it – cut it out, chose your fabric, pin the pattern on the fabric and cut out:

Simple Easter Bunny:
When you want to stitch the face of your bunny on a fabric it’s good to iron some  interfacing on the inner side of the fabric:
Now make your little bunny a unique face – maybe some cute cheeks, maybe with a little pout. Whatever your like. And you could give your bunny a heart now :-)
Before you sew the front and back of your bunny together, you serge the bottom of the bunny – where you will close it later with a blind stitch. And then: pin the front and the back together – of course the outside in. Sew the parts together and cut the parts between the ears and on the neck. Then serge everything:
And now the most exciting part comes: Turn your bunny inside out!
That’s it! Now you fill your bunny with doll wadding, use a popsicle stick for the ears and close your new friend with a blind stitch.
This cute bunny is perfect for Easter decoration – but it’s also perfect as a toy for babies. It’s perfect for little hands to grab . And it gets even more exciting for babies when you put a rattle in the bunny tummy. OK, that was really easy. Now try the other version.
Easter Bunny Two:
Use the same pattern as before for the body and cut the arm and legs pattern as well. If you want a felt face – cut that one too. Sew the felt face on the bunny – if your machine doesn’t have that special quilt stitch you can just as easily use a zig zag stitch or whatever you like. Then stitch the little face just the way you like it. If you don’t want a smiling mouth – Do a little upside-down vee.


Now pin the the arms and legs outside in, sew them together, serge the edges, turn them inside out and fill them with doll wadding. Use a popsicle stick to reach all parts of the arms and legs.
OK, now it’s getting serious :-)
Some handcrafters pin everything together: the front and back of the body together with the arms and the legs. That’s fine but I don’t do it that way.
First I serge the edges where I will close the body later with a blind stitch. Then I mark with a vanishing pen the points where I want my arms and legs.
I pin front and back of the body together, insert the first arm and – start sewing. I insert the other arm just below the point which I marked.
The same with the legs. Then I cut the parts between the ears and on the neck and serge the edges of the bunnie’s body with a zig zag stitch. This fixes the arms and legs – so rough little kids won’t be able to amputate arms or legs from the bunny .
Another exciting moment: Turning your new friend inside out.
Now you are almost finished. You only have to fill your bunny with wadding, close it with a blind stitch – and that’s it!
And when you really love your bunny – you make it some cute accessories – maybe a scarf? Or a felt collar like I did. If it’s a bunny boy, I’m sure he would like to have some nice pants. Or if it’s a bunny girl – what about a cute skirt? Or an apron? I’m sure there are many things that come to your mind :-)


Monday, March 24, 2014

Technology to the Rescue....No More Wasted Food

Eggs or egg substitute

Imagine a world where you never have to sniff a dubious carton of milk to see if it's gone bad.
Well... that day may be near. Scientists have developed "smart tags" that stick to food containers and change colour when food spoils, indicating changes in temperature and bacteria levels.

It's the latest modern-day technological gadget intended to revolutionize our kitchen habits and make our lives easier. (Egg Minder, anyone? It's an egg tray that tells you when you need to buy eggs. And let's not forget about the smart fridge that offers recipe suggestions based on what's inside.)
The 'smart' tag technology was presented this week at the annual conference for the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. The scientists say the gel-like tags are safe, inexpensive and can adhere to beverages, canned goods, bottles and even medications to keep track of the freshness of what's inside.

The colours indicate a range of freshness from 100 per cent fresh (red) to 100 per cent spoiled (green).
"Over time, the tag changes its colour to orange, yellow and later green, which indicates the food is spoiled," says Chao Zhang, lead researcher from Peking University in Beijing, China.
Researchers tested the tags, which are about the size of a kernel of corn, by exposing milk to different temperatures until E-coli bacteria developed, eventually rendering the milk inedible.

They hope their technology will be used by consumers as well as food manufacturers and supermarkets that need a reliable indication of shelf life for their products. The scientists suggest the tags are more effective than expiration dates because they take into account varying levels of heat exposure.

Thank goodness, this is the invention I have been waiting for. From one germphobe to all you bacteria conscious folks out there, we should be happy that technology has brought us to this wonderful place in time. Surveys say we waste approximately 2,000 pounds of food per family per year. I think that may be a bit on the high side but I am sure it is hundreds of pounds. And I know we all hate waste in a wonky economy like ours. Well now we have hope.

Promposals...Spring is Here...Sort Of

Promposals Are Back -- Teens Take Prom Invites to the Extreme

Prom season is upon us, and apparently, you can't just ask someone to be your date over lunch in the cafeteria anymore. These days, teens are pulling off elaborate stunts in order to invite their crushes to the biggest dance of the year and then posting the results on Instagram, using the hashtag "promposals." From sacrificing their beloved cars to rigging sophisticated electrical experiments to enlisting the help of furry friends, here are some of the most creative promposals. Who would say no?

Hershey's Kiss

post-it prom

Promposalposts bottle cap

Promexpoca promposal stage

lit sign promposals


zombie promposal

lacross ball promposal

sheep prom

banana promposal

Saturday, March 22, 2014


A newlywed couple had only been married for two weeks. The husband,although very much in love, couldn't wait to go out on the town and party with his old buddies. So, he said to his new wife, "Honey, I'll be right back."

"Where are you going, sugar lump?" asked the wife. "I'm going to the bar, pretty face. I'm going to have a beer."

The wife said, "You want a beer, my love?" She opened the door to the refrigerator and showed him 25 different kinds of beer, brands from 12 different countries: Germany, Holland, Japan, India, Etc.

The husband didn't know what to do, and the only thing that he could think of saying was, "Yes, lolly pop...but at the know...they have frozen glasses..."
He didn't get to finish the sentence, because the wife interrupted him by saying, "You want a frozen glass, puppy face? "

She took a huge beer mug out of the freezer, so frozen that she was getting chills just holding it.
The husband, looking a bit pale, said, "Yes, tootsie roll, but at the bar they have those hors d'oeuvres that are really delicious... I won't be long I'll be right back. I promise.

OK?" "You want hors d'oeuvres, poochi pooh?" She opened the oven and took out 5 dishes of different hors d'oeuvres: chicken wings, pigs in blankets, mushroom caps, pork strips, etc.

"But my sweet honey... at the bar... you know... there's swearing, dirty words and all that..."
"You want dirty words, cutie pie?...

...and, they lived happily ever after.

A professor of mathematics left this letter on the kitchen counter.
Dear Wife,
You must realize that you are a 56 years old and I have certain needs which you ar eno longer able to satisy.  I am otherwise happy with you as a wife and I sincerely hope you will not be hurt or offended to learn that by the time you receive this letter, I will be at the Hilton Hotel with my 18 year old teaching assistant.  I'll be home before midnight.
     Your Husband
When he arrived at the hotel, there was a faxed letter waiting for him that read as follows:Dear Husband,
You, too, are 56 years old and by the time you receive this letter, I will be at the Sheraton Hotel with the 18 year old pool boy.  Since you are a mathematician, you will appreciate that 18 goes into 54 more times than 54 goes into 18.  Therefore, don't wait up.
     Your Wife

The Affair
A woman was in bed with her lover when she heard her husband opening the front door.  "Hurry," she said, "stand in the corner." Then she quickly rubbed baby oil all over him and then dusted him with talcum
powder. "Don't move until I tell you to," she whispered. "Just pretend you're a statue." "What's this, honey?" the husband inquired as he entered the room. "Oh, it's a statue," she replied nonchalantly. "The
Smiths bought one for their bedroom. I liked it so much, I got one for us too."

No more was said about the statue, not even later when they went to sleep.  Around two in the morning, the husband got out of bed, went to the kitchen and returned a while later with a sandwich and a glass of milk.
"Here," he said to the statue, "eat something. I stood like an idiot at the Smiths for three days and nobody offered me as much as a glass of water.

Maxy  says these authentic letters will make you chuckle

The following are actual letters that Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby) admitted she was at a total loss to answer:

Dear Abby,  A couple of women moved in across the hall from me.   One is a middle-aged gym teacher, and the other is a social worker in her mid twenties.  These two women go everywhere together, and I've never seen a man go into their apartment or come out.   Do you think they could be Lebanese?
Dear Abby, What can I do about all the sex, nudity, language and violence on my VCR?
Dear Abby, I have a man I never could trust. He cheats so much I'm not sure this baby I'm carrying is even his.
Dear Abby, I am a 23-year-old liberated woman who has been on the pill for two years.   It's getting expensive, and I think my boyfriend should share half the cost, but I don't know him well enough to discuss money with him.
Dear Abby, I suspected that my husband had been fooling around, and when I confronted him with the evidence, he denied everything and said it would never happen again.   Should I believe him?
Dear Abby, My 40-year-old son has been paying a psychiatrist $50 an hour very week for 2 + years.   He must be crazy.
Dear Abby, Do you think it would be all right if I gave my doctor a little gift?   I tried for years to get pregnant and couldn't, and he did it.
Dear Abby, My mother is mean and short tempered.   Do you think she is going through her mental pause?
Dear Abby, You told some woman whose husband had lost all interest in sex to send him to a doctor.   Well, my husband lost all interest in sex years ago and he IS a doctor.   What now?

Winter Fruit Strudel


MetricConversion chart

  • 2 pound(s) (5 to 6 medium) Bartlett or Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 2 pound(s) (5 to 6 medium) Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1/2 cup(s) dried cranberries or raisins

  • 3/4 cup(s) granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup(s) (1 stick) margarine or butter

  • 1/4 cup(s) plain dried bread crumbs

  • 1/4 cup(s) walnuts

  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg

  • 8 sheets (17'- by 12-inch) frozen (thawed) phyllo

  • 1 cup(s) heavy whipping cream

  • 2 tablespoon(s) pear-flavored brandy, such as Piore Williams (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon(s) confectioners' sugar, plus additional for dusting

  • Mint leaves and fresh cranberries for garnish


  1. In 12-inch skillet, cook pears, apples, cranberries, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons butter, uncovered, over medium-high heat 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking 8 to 10 minutes longer or until all liquid evaporates and fruit is tender, stirring frequently. Transfer mixture to medium bowl; cover and refrigerate 1 hour or up to 3 days before assembling strudel.

  2. In food processor with knife blade attached, pulse bread crumbs, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until nuts are finely ground. (Nut mixture can be stored at room temperature in self-sealing plastic bag up to 1 week before using.)

  3. Assemble strudel, up to 6 hours before baking: In 1-quart saucepan, melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Cut two 24-inch-long sheets waxed paper; overlap 2 long sides by about 2 inches. Place 1 sheet phyllo in center of waxed paper; brush with some melted butter, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons nut mixture. Working quickly, continue layering phyllo with butter and nut mixture. (You should have about 1 tablespoon butter left.)

  4. Starting along 1 long side of phyllo, spoon cooled fruit filling to about 3/4 inch from edges to cover about one-third of phyllo rectangle. From fruit filling side, using waxed paper to help lift dough, roll phyllo jelly-roll fashion.

  5. Place roll, seam side down, diagonally on large cookie sheet. Brush with remaining butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.

  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake strudel 35 to 40 minutes (45 to 50 minutes if strudel is cold) or until phyllo is golden. Cool on cookie sheet on wire rack about 20 minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, prepare whipped cream: In medium bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add brandy, if using, and 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar, and beat just until stiff peaks form.

  8. Transfer warm strudel to platter; dust with confectioners' sugar. Garnish with mint leaves and cranberries. Cut strudel crosswise into slices. Serve with whipped cream. Absolutely awesome recipe. You will be so popular at your house, you may receive a gold medal for best baker.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Baby Wakes Up Shaking His Booty ... Cute HUH ???

A little baby wakes up every morning to the sounds of Bruno Mars, and judging from the video, this little one might be the singer's biggest fan.
The baby's name is Christian, and according to YouTube, he's woken up this way every morning. It definitely doesn't look like he minds!

The Huffington Post even goes as far as to say: 'The World Would Be A Better Place If Everyone Woke Up Like This Baby'
Hard to disagree with that one.
The baby's father wrote on Facebook he and his wife were "overwhelmed" by the amount of publicity their booty shakin' baby has received.

He said he's thankful the world has been able to experience their son's joy. Aw.

The Lesson ( To remind me of summer in this endless winter)

In a long ago time, in a far away place,
A young girl reposed with the warmth on her face of summer's Old Sol.
And on the breeze, with such grace, a butterfly danced
A ballet of freedom amid the leaves and the lace.

In a dazzle of hues, it waltzed on the air,
Dipping and darting and devil may care,
It whispered a challenge; come dance and be free,
A butterfly dare

Dappled leaves gently swayed; an enchanted green glade,
The young girl watched from the filigreed shade.
She arose and she danced; she opened herself.
Pirouetted and pranced, a nimble woodland elf.

Her spirit was lifted, released with a sigh.
On butterfly wings, she soared  to the sky.
She danced with abandon; she set herself free.
She danced for the wonder of all she could be.

She glanced as the butterfly paused on a flower,
Fluttered once and departed the lovely green bower.
She smiled , blew a kiss, a grateful goodbye,
For a lesson in freedom from a small butterfly.

The Genie

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Easter Eggs From Fabric Scraps

Easter is in the air
Fabric Easter egg tutorial by Retro Mama

Fabric Easter Egg Tutorial


10"w x 5"h Quilting cotton, linen or other non-stretchy woven fabric in one or more prints
Fiberfill, Nature-fill or other similar polyester or natural stuffing
Disappearing Ink Pen
Hand sewing needle
 Seam allowances are 1/4"

1. Cut out the pieces. Place pattern piece perpendicular to the fabric selvedge, trace the pattern with disappearing ink (see photo below) and cut four pieces from desired fabric prints. You may cut multiple pieces simultaneously from the same print by folding the fabric over one or more times, cutting up to 4 pieces at once. (Tip: If you're using a scrap and don't know which way the selvedge is, test which direction the fabric is stretchiest. The fabric is stretchier going perpendicular to the selvedge, and less stretchy going parallel with the selvedge; you want the stretch going from top to bottom of the egg, not side to side, so your egg doesn't get too "fat" when you stuff it. Hopefully that makes sense.)
Retro Mama: fabric Easter egg tutorial
2. Place pieces together for sewing. Always keeping track of which end is "up", place 2 fabric pieces, right sides together, pinning if desired. Do the same with the remaining two pieces. Transfer the two dots from the pattern to the fabric pieces on top. If using two different fabrics, make sure both pairs have one of each print and that the same print is on the top of both sets.
Retro Mama: fabric Easter egg tutorial
3. Sew a seam along the right side of one set of egg pieces, from top dot to bottom dot, backstitching at the top and bottom. Do the same with the second set of pieces.
Retro Mama: fabric Easter egg tutorial
4. Put the two halves together. Turn one set of egg pieces right side out, and place inside the other set of egg pieces, so that right sides are together on the inside.
Retro Mama: fabric Easter egg tutorial
Match the seams at the top and bottom and pin. (Note the purple ink marks on the lower righthand side in the photo below that indicate where I will leave a hole for stuffing)
Retro Mama: fabric Easter egg tutorial
5. Sew the two halves together. Sew around the outside edge of the egg, leaving a 1" hole on one side for turning and stuffing, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam.

6. Trim the seam allowances, taking care not to snip into the stitches and leaving the seam allowances wide around the open hole.

7. Turn the egg right side out through the hole and it will look something like this
Retro Mama: fabric Easter egg tutorial
8. Stuff the egg firmly with poly-fill or other stuffing, and close the hole with small slip stitches/ladder stitches.
Retro Mama: fabric Easter egg tutorial
 9. Voila! You have a completed egg.
Retro Mama: fabric Easter egg tutorial

Fabric Easter egg tutorial by Retro Mama
Place eggs in a basket, a colander, a cake stand or any container that grabs your fancy...even a clear glass vase. It makes a great center-piece.
If you're looking for unique Easter egg designs, consider this fun project. Gather up your extra fabric scraps and follow this fabric Easter egg tutorial to create a beautiful centerpiece full of soft, colorful eggs.
If you're looking for unique Easter egg designs, consider this fun project. Gather up your extra fabric scraps and follow this fabric Easter egg tutorial to create a beautiful centerpiece full of soft, colorful eggs.
If you're looking for unique Easter egg designs, consider this fun project. Gather up your extra fabric scraps and follow this fabric Easter egg tutorial to create a beautiful centerpiece full of soft, colorful eggs.

Fabric Chick...Easter is on the Way

The Chickummyjig pattern and tutorial

How to Make an Easter Chick

If you would like to make a Steiner-inspired Easter chick, then you have come to the right place.

If you would like to make a Steiner-inspired Easter chick WITH legs – so it can semi-convincingly fly, forage for food, perch, bust-a-move, run and impersonate a dead fly, then you have also come to the right place.

Might I suggest, that the legless chick version without the wiry bits, is somewhat more small-kid-friendly. The wiry leg version with potential pokey bits is more for your entertainment. The entertainment possibilities are seemingly limitless.
Here is a Michael Flatley Riverdance...

And here is Michael Jackson’s Thriller...

For those who doubt their Easter Chick crafting skills, I promise, if you can do blanket stitch, these chickies are EASY PEASY.

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
I've considered  writing  every time  I read  about some one who thinks  their spouse  is having an affair . Facebook and other social media have opened the door  to secret  connections . I didn't  fully understand  the issue  until  I found that my husband  was  communicating with various other women this way .
I never  expected  this . My husband  was an upstanding 
professional  and we had been married  25 years  . When  someone  gets caught  communicating with another and protests  that "nothing  happened," what they mean is  that they aren't  yet sexually  involved . But a lot  has happened . It's  a betrayal . Once a husband  or wife  closes a window  to the  spouse  and opens  it to  another person, it creates  an intimacy .
A better  definition  of an affair  is that  it's something that  violates  trust . My husband  and I now  work every day to keep those windows  open . He finally understands  that  it's not  sex that makes the affair. It's taking your emotional  passion  and giving  it to someone else  other than  your  spouse .
Trusting again
Dear Trusting ,
I agree  that trust  is the bottom line  of  any relationship, providing  the security  and  confidence  that allow  it to survive  for the long haul . I am glad  that you and  your husband  managed  to work  on this  together  and repair  your marriage .
Well done,
Dear  Maxy ,
I am 60-years-old  and feel  that I have accomplished next to nothing . The only worthwhile  things are my husband, two children  and a lovely granddaughter. They are the  lights  of my life .
I was let  go from  a previous job . My current  job  is awful  and it  stresses me out . But I have no computer training so a job change  is not in the cards . Because  my job pays  next to nothing , I began charging things on credit  . I'm now in deep credit-card  debt  and am desperate  to find the funds  to pay  it off.
I'm a hard worker, but feel like a useless failure . Don't tell  me to see a counselor, because there is no money  to pay for it . If my car dies on me, I'll be walking 6 miles to work .
At this time, I thought I'd be  better off . Please tell me I can do it .
End of The  Line
Dear End,
The quality of your life  should  not be based  solely on your financial  situation. Can your husband  help pay off this debt ? Surely he would want to be supportive . Also try Debtors Anonymous ( . For  a  job, contact  your local city hall  or state  government offices  for help .  Then Try AARP ( , which  offers  information  and resources  for senior-friendly companies .
But also, please don't disregard  your depression. There is free  and low-cost  counseling  available  through  your local county services, the YWCA and any graduate  school counseling department  or  medical school psychology department, United Way, the Samaritan Institute ( and the Abraham Low Self-Help Systems ( .
 You are appreciated and loved by your family and you will find  your way. Don't lose heart.

Dear Maxy,
I am a college senior  and I am concerned  about my upcoming journey into the real world . I am preparing  myself  to apply for jobs but I am very shy . I have attended  job fairs on campus, but  when I go, I just briefly greet the recruiter, put my  resume on the table  and run away . What are some networking tips shy people should keep in mind  when approaching  recruiters ?
Shy Senior
Dear Shy Senior ,
Keep your focus on your goal . Be clear  about the type of job you want . Make sure your resume  expresses your interest and your experience . Do your research  to find out  which recruiters  represent jobs in your area  of interest . Seek those particular people out as you move  through the  job fair . It will be easier  for you to go to each targeted recruiter  rather  than feeling  like you have to search  through  an endless sea of people .
When  you approach  a recruiter, make eye contact  and offer a firm handshake . State your name  and say that you have  looked him /or her up  and believe  that  you  might be a good  fit  for the  company .
Having done research in advance shows that  you are a strategic  thinker  and a planner . The recruiter will probably  appreciate that and  invite you to talk . When you talk, stick to the facts at first . Answer  any questions  you are asked . As  you loosen  up share things about yourself  that reveal your uniqueness . Follow up with a thank-you note expressing  gratitude  for the opportunity  to meet  the recruiter . State  that you hope  to be considered  for the position  you discussed . You can do this.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Home-Made Shamrock Shake

(ABC News / McDonalds)
Every year to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, McDonald's releases its beloved Shamrock Shake, a bright green vanilla-mint milkshake. We think we've found a reasonable facsimile. See how easy it is to re-create the shake at home:

2 cups vanilla bean ice cream
1/4 cup half-and-half
5 drops peppermint extract
5-6 drops green food coloring
Whipped cream, for topping
1 maraschino cherry, optional
Directions In a blender, combine ice cream, half-and-half, peppermint extract, and food coloring, and blend for 30 seconds. Pour into a tall glass, top with whipped cream, and garnish with a cherry.  Yield 1 large milkshake .

Cinnamon...Improves Brain Function, Beauty, Arthritis and Much More

Cinnamon: Makes you beautiful inside and out (Thinkstock)

You probably have an old bottle of cinnamon shoved in your pantry, hauling it out only to top off pumpkin pies or cappuccino, but you may not realize the tasty spice is in your makeup bag and on your vanity, too. Among the humble kitchen staple's many uses: It fights acne, encourages hair growth, it repels bugs, reduces tension, stimulates blood flow, helps brain function, improves memory and focus, heals tissue, and fights infection. Plus it makes your lips look plump and sexy. Cinnamon can also lower blood sugar, ease arthritis and improve cholesterol.
Ceylon cinnamon, a milder form of the spice sold in gourmet stores, is healthier than ordinary supermarket cinnamon. 'Ceylon' cinnamon is considered the TRUE cinnamon of all four main varieties available. It's flavor has less 'bite' to it than 'cassia' cinnamon, but for the frequent cinnamon consumer, it is also healthier. All the other cinnamons have a high level of a toxic ingredient called coumarin, while Ceylon cinnamon does not. This is a toxin which can adversely affect one's liver or kidneys when consumed in high quantities. If you consume cinnamon on a frequent or daily basis, it behooves you to imbibe Ceylon cinnamon because of it's super low levels of coumarin.
In ancient times cinnamon was as sought-after as gold. It was often given to kings and queens as well as left as offerings in holy temples for the gods. Long story short: It's one awesome spice.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Decorating a Small Space....Inexpensive but Stylish

At the height of Seattle's real estate market in 2003, when Leah and Chad Steen bought their first home, the property was far from picture perfect. "There was no landscaping; the previous owners even left us a note about the sad-looking Charlie Brown tree in the front yard," says Leah, who owns Revival Home & Garden (, a shop in Capitol Hill. "But the house had tons of character, and there weren't holes in the ceiling, like other places we'd seen."

Inexpensive mingles with high-end
 Mix high and low
Inexpensive furniture mingles with high-end touches in the living room: Ikea curtains hang on plumbing pipe behind a $1,200 chandelier from Leah's shop; custom pillows sit atop a bargain (at $579) settee from Urban Outfitters; a hand-painted chinoi­serie coffee table rests on an old Pakistani rug ($85 on eBay).
How to decorate in a global style

High class with a couple of coats of paint
Update secondhand furnishings
A $10 framed mirror from Goodwill reads "high class" with a couple of coats of high-gloss red paint.
Decorating with second-hand finds

Just $2!
Find treasures at thrift stores
This large oil painting was just $2 from Second Use (

Updated with fabric
Add fancy touches in small doses
The back of a $40 thrift store couch was updated with just a few yards of Leah's favorite fabric (Chiang Mai Dragon in Alabaster by Schumacher; $206/yard;

The benches provide storage
Create multi-purpose areas
With no proper dining room, the breakfast nook functions as such--and doubles as an art table for the Steens' two daughters. Thankfully, the vinyl cushions are specially treated to resist ink "and basically everything known to man," says Leah. The benches provide storage space under their hinged lids. Bold wallpaper (Chinatown Toile by Flavor Paper; $150/15-ft.roll; accents a single wall. "In a small house, sometimes touches have to be small, like with patterned wallpaper and fabric," Leah says.

An old table becomes an island
Repurpose furniture
An old candy making table serves as a mobile kitchen island.

A tray holds ingredients for cocktails
Create attractive storage space
A tray atop a narrow storage cabinet between the living area and the kitchen (really one continuous room) holds ingredients for cocktails.

A fire hydrant serves as a sculpture.
Mix art
A mix of inexpensive art--from eBay, Goodwill, and 5-year-old Piper--hangs above an old (and well-washed) fire hydrant that serves as a sculpture.
More creative ways to display your art

A nice technique for a small space
Use wallpaper as artwork
In 2-year-old Romy's bedroom, playful wallpaper graces a single wall--a nice technique for a small space.

A happy hue on rainy days
Be bold with color
Five-year-old Piper's bedroom is a cheerful orange--a happy hue on Seattle's rainy days.
More tips on making paint work for you

Try local second-hand shops
Shop salvage
The windows and door of the garage-turned-guesthouse came from Second Use (, one of Leah's favorite local secondhand shops.

Split concrete becomes pavers
Reinvent materials
Split concrete from the former backyard parking strip becomes pavers.
More home-decor reinventions

Built from salvaged metal
Showcase artful reuse
The side yard gate was built from salvaged metal.

A barrel becomes a rain harvester
Recycle materials--and resources
A discarded syrup barrel becomes a rain water harvester.

Plumbing pipe becomes a garden gate
More clever reimagining
Plumbing pipe from Pacific Indus­­trial Supply ( becomes a garden gate.
Read on for more tips on living in a small house