Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Am Not That Jill Scott

That's right. Whoever you think I am, I'm probably not. Let me explain. There are a lot of Jill Scotts out there, at least three that I know of in my town.

I'm the middle-aged frumpy one.

Back in 1991 when Peanut Head and I were first married, when we were 12, I got a strange phone call from the Maury Povich show. They wanted me to be on their show and they were ready to book me right there on the spot. I was a star. For about ten seconds.  Apparently they were looking for the Mrs. America Jill Scott. This one.

I know. I'm waaaaay cuter, but still, they wanted her. She was being sued by the pageant for failing to reveal that she and her husband were separated. Dang it all. I wanted to throw some chairs on national television. Why can't I get some drama in my life?

You want to know the not so funny part about it? When I got off the phone and told Peanut Head that the Maury Povich show thought I was Mrs. America, he started laughing hysterically. Rolling on the floor, peeing his pants laughing. I gave him my You-Might-Want-To-Rethink-That Look, and shortly after we entered into marriage counseling.

Fast forward another decade or so, and this Jill Scott is famous. 

Now this girl can sing. If Peanut Head started laughing hysterically because someone thought I was her, I would understand it. I can't carry a tune in a bucket, so he would at least have a leg to stand on.

You know, someone did think I was her a couple days ago. I think most of you know that I'm a Creative Memories consultant, right? Well, apparently one of the singer Jill Scott's stalkers found my Creative Memories website and contacted me through it. First it started with an e-mail inquiry that I'll share with you shortly. I don't want to share this person's name with you out of respect for his privacy, but I feel I should tell you that the inquiry was from a man. Now I don't like to make sweeping generalizations, but I can say that I don't get a lot of business from men. I get some, but it's proportionally much smaller than the business that I get from women.

Here was the standard e-mail questionnaire which he filled out, minus his personal information:

Interested in booking a show? TRUE
How did you find out about Creative Memories? I LIKE TO DRA AND STUFF

Now there was a little more information than that, but I'm just sharing the relevant parts. The answer that he likes to "dra and stuff" was a bit of a red flag because it told me that he probably didn't know what type of business Creative Memories is. 

I wasn't sure how to respond, so I just sat on it for a little bit. It didn't take long before he decided to take matters into his own hands and call me. Now I have Caller ID, so I knew it was him when he called. I thought about not answering, but then I decided I needed to be professional and get to the bottom of what was probably a misunderstanding.

CALLER: Is this Jill Scott?

ME: Yes, it is.

CALLER: My name is Blah-de-blah, and I'm calling about booking you for some Hollywood type stuff.

ME: I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure you have the wrong Jill Scott. I'm not the singer.

CALLER: Oh, you not? Well, can I have that numba please?

Okay, sorry, but this guy is funny. And kind of cute. And incredibly polite. But I don't want any stalkers in my life, so let's keep it professional and send him off to stalk someone else.

ME: I'm sorry, I don't have any idea what her number is.

CALLER: Well, okay then. Thank you.

We hang up and he calls back 20 minutes later. 

CALLER: I know you not the sanger, but you don't have a numba for her?

ME: No, I'm sorry, I don't, and I think it's going to be very difficult for you to find her because there are thousands of Jill Scotts out there. I'm one of at least three I know of in my small town.

CALLER: Uh huh.

Long pause. Long, uncomfortable pause. I think he was in shock. Deflated, depressed, exhausted . . .

CALLER: Uh huh.

Oh Geez, this is painful.

ME: Well, what can I help you with, Sir?

CALLER: You know, I like art and stuff, and I like to write. 

Oh stab me in the heart and twist the knife for crying out loud! He's lonely and he just wants someone to listen, and here I am, dying to get him off the phone. I'm such a creep.

ME: I don't know if you know about Creative Memories, but I sell scrapbooking supplies and products to help people get their pictures organized.

CALLER: Uh huh.

Long uncomfortable pause. Pause which I use to writhe on the floor in agony.

CALLER: Okay, thank you. 



Being famous is not all it's cracked up to be.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Double Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Did I ever tell you that I use my croppers as Guinea Pigs? I do, it's true, but maybe not in the way that you think. I use them for testing out new recipes. Usually recipes of the sugar crack variety. My Guinea Pigs gave this recipe a thumbs up. Yep, they said "WEEEEEET! Weet, weet, weet!" Never mind.

I get a little carried away sometimes.

I can't tell you how long I've been searching for a decent oatmeal cookie recipe. I'm talking about the basic recipe too, not all the doodads that have been added to this particular recipe. Doodads that I love, mind you, but it's the underlying recipe here that's a success. I was looking for a recipe that was chewy like an oatmeal cookie is supposed to be, but not thin and wilty so that when you hold the cookie up to the light it looks like a lace doily. Do you know what I'm talking about?

This recipe completely passes that test, so let's get on with it, shall we?

First of all, your recipe card, should you want it.

Here are the ingredients you will need: butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, 1 egg, vanilla extract, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, flour, old-fashioned oats, semisweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and white chocolate.

Please don't use white chocolate chips for the drizzle. Chocolate chips are designed to hold their shape in baked goods, therefore, they don't melt evenly when you attempt to melt them for the drizzle. Trust me on this. You want to use these white chocolate baking squares or some other brand of white chocolate not chips.

By the way, did you know that it is very hard to find real white chocolate in the grocery store? Most of the stuff that is labeled white chocolate is really vanilla. The only way to be sure it's real white chocolate is to check the label.

White chocolate (or cocoa butter) should be listed in the ingredients, preferably as the first ingredient. If it doesn't say either one, then it's not real white chocolate.

These are the dried cranberries I used for this recipe.

And just for kicks I made some of the cookies with dried blueberries. Peanut Head loved them.

I also made some with dried cherries. It's good to have options.

If you're feeling particularly daring you could even use raisins. I know. I'm so adventurous and crazy. Raisins!

This is what the dough looks like. I didn't eat any of it. It was disgusting. Yep.

I should mention that it's important to make sure the butter is room temperature. Do not melt it. You might be tempted to melt the butter in the microwave, but don't. Your cookies will end up looking like that lace doily I was talking about.

Then, when it comes time to form the dough into balls, be gentle and handle them as little as possible. Your hands are warm and oatmeal cookie dough is melty. Save the meltage for the oven.

This is what the cookies should look like coming right out of the oven. See how they're just starting to brown on the edges? Watch them closely and get them out quick.

Let them cool for a bit. While you're waiting, get started melting your white chocolate.

When it's all melty and smooth, put it in a little zippered baggie and snip a tinsy little bit off of one corner for the chocolate to drizzle out.

Drizzle the white chocolate over the cookies in a zig zag pattern like this. Or just fling it around until you're satisfied with the results.

Let the cookies stand until the chocolate sets, about an hour. Or if you're impatient like me, you could slip them in the freezer for 5 minutes and be done with it. These cookies freeze great too, so they make a perfect lunch treat. Even Zoe liked them and she is a picky little petunia.

Please, go and make these cookies and then come back and tell me what you think. Have a nice day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

National Scrapbook Day

Whew! I am happy to be here today. I had my National Scrapbook Day crop on Saturday and, while the crops are always a lot of fun to put on, I'm also always happy to have them behind me. It feels a little bit like a new year with exciting plans and fun stuff to look forward to.

I didn't take any pictures from Saturday, but Peanut Head did manage to snap a couple of me assembling the cake--the Strawberry Cream Cake.

Here I am, slicing strawberries to put between the layers of the cake. I don't know what I was thinking with that uncharacteristic calm look on my face, because I was freaking out most all day.

You see, Friday, the day that I should have been doing scads of food prep for Saturday, I decided to detail my kitchen from top to bottom. It's a classic procrastinating technique. When I was in college, my house was never cleaner than it was during finals week. Cleaning is always better than studying.

The really ironic part is that I've been procrastinating spring cleaning my kitchen for months. Go figure.

So, Friday I took all 45 bottles of alphabetically arranged spices out of my spice rack and dusted each of them individually as well as the spice rack. And while I was at it, why not disassemble the toaster to get all those nasty crumbs out? And take all the rocks out of my bamboo stalk arrangement and wash them? Yes, I washed rocks. And it went on and on and on. You would have been proud of me though, because I drew the line at cleaning my oven. It is still just as nasty as ever. But I'm going to get right on that this week. Yeah, that's what I'm going to do. This week.

So, my kitchen is clean except for inside the oven, the refrigerator and underneath the major appliances. No need to gross myself out.

The problem was, because I went into that cleaning frenzy, it meant that I needed to spend my entire day in the kitchen Saturday, doing the things I should have done Friday. That was a bummer, because I didn't get to visit with my guests. It sounded like they were having a good time though.

I miss them. Sigh.

So, as I was saying, it feels like a new year to me now that this event is behind me. I have lots of things to share with you, starting with the best oatmeal cookie recipe EV-ER. I'm going to try to get that up tonight. Tomorrow at the latest. Well, let's be real here. Sometime this week, okay?

I woke up feeling frisky today, feeling like there is no To Do List that I can't conquer, happy to face my day, I walk in to wake up Zoe Bug . . .

and this is the freaked out, gnarled mess of a head of hair that I found. This hair. This hair that took me 30 minutes to untangle. This hair that turns me into Scary Mommy which causes me to ask my kid over and over "Do I need to shave your head? Perhaps you would like a mohawk? We are getting a boy cut TO-DAY."

And it never fails, at some point in all this panic and wigging out, usually after I've spent 20 minutes working on this rat's nest, I realize that she is going to miss her bus. And since there is nothing I can do about that, a strange sense of calm washes over me and Happy Mommy slips back into my head. Then I start talking real sweet to my poor little bug who is by now freaked out and terrified that I'm going to shave her head and she will be teased on the playground for the rest of her life. She'll be scarred and will require intensive therapy because I screwed her up. Over and over again.

Perhaps needless to say, starting off my day like this sort of discombobulates me.

Yes, I got off to an unsettling start, but like any good superhero would do, I had cake for breakfast and I'm ready to give it another go.

It's good to be back.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Magic Bullet Against Dust Bunnies

This, my friends, is my secret weapon, my magic bullet that enables me rationalize not dusting for extended periods of time. 

You know how icky the top of your refrigerator gets? No? Quick! Run and look right now. I'll wait.

Okay, so now you know what I'm talking about. What if I told you that you never have to clean it again? EV-er. Would you believe me?

I'm glad you're not that gullible. I believe me, so that tells you how gullible I am. But seriously, you will have to clean it one more time. Then when you get it squeaky clean, I want you to cover it with this GLAD Press 'n Seal whatever-it-is. Just lay it down, in a frustrating frenzy of sticks-to-everything purpose, so that it covers the entire surface of the top of your refrigerator. Then just sit back and watch the dust fall.

When it gets a good quarter inch layer of dust on it, peel it off and put a new layer on. You'll never have to dust again, just replace the plasticky magic.

I use the Press 'N Seal because it has magic bubbles that stick to the surface when you press down on it. It works great on the top of the refrigerator too.

For the tops of my cabinets, I lay down wax paper, one big long stretch of it from one end to the other, then I tape it down at the ends so it doesn't slide around. The wax paper is much more manageable to use, and I have a larger area to cover, so I use it instead of the more pricey Press 'N Seal.

Here's my old, dusty layer on top of my cabinets. I don't mind telling you that I get up here to replace this stuff once a year at most. It's not unheard of to go a year or two between replacing the wax paper.

It's not like my mother-in-law gets up here to make sure I'm keeping a clean house, you know.

Look, more dust. The biggest reason for lining the tops of my cabinets and fridge is the greasy dust that tends to accumulate in the kitchen. That stuff doesn't clean up with just a dust rag. It requires soap and elbow grease. I know you know what I'm talking about. It makes me gag.

I keep a couple fake sunflower garlands up top here as well. In order to dust them I just take them outside and blast them to kingdom come with Peanut Head's air compressor. It's extremely gratifying, watching all that dust being forcefully expelled from my life.

So, I'm thinking, do you think anyone would notice if I covered all the furniture with Press 'N Seal too? Or the kids? How cool would that be?

Altered Clipboard Winners!!!

I just finished randomly generating the winners for my altered clipboards, and here they are:

Red/Teal Flowers goes to Beth N. from a past pay it forward giveaway. Now you have to be nice to five people and pay it forward, Beth, okay? That means stop being mean to people too. You promised. 

Flower Power goes to Becky . . .

And I got a little carried away with the Random Integer Generator. Seriously, have you ever played with that thing? It has this dangerous little button that says Again! and I accidentally pressed it.


Oops. So Random Integer Generator wants a couple more people to win, I guess. Well fine. I'll just have to go and get some more clipboards and get on it. Think of it as my punishment for lacking impulse control.

So, Mod Flower goes to Gina . . .

And Little Birdies goes to Stethoscopes and Stilettos

So here's the deal. I need my winners to e-mail me at and give me your address so I can get your clipboards to you. I'll be sending them out early next week on account of my National Scrapbook Day crop is Saturday and I'm freaking out.

Congrats to the winners and thank you to everyone who entered. Y'all left some seriously sweet comments and I know it wasn't because you were trying to butter me up or anything. :0

Monday, April 20, 2009

Altered Clipboards

Boy oh boy, have I been busy. Look at all these clipboards that I've altered. I have so many lists, that I need more clipboards to put them on.

Nah, not really. But I improved upon the clipboards that I've altered in the past, and I want to show you the new and improved way to do them. Well, new to me anyway.

The biggest improvement was that I kicked the spray adhesive to the curb and used Modge Podge for the adhesive part and the protection part and it worked great. I've found that the spray adhesive doesn't hold up very well long-term. Plus, Modge Podge is very forgiving. I ran out half way through this set of clipboards, so I went out and bought my biggest jar of Modge Podge yet.

See. It's like a Big Gulp. And there's even one bigger than this. I'm getting that one next time.

To alter my clipboards, the first thing I did was to paint around the edges on both sides, so that I could cut my paper a little smaller and avoid the whole sanding the edges step. Plus the paint gives the clipboard a more finished look. I got this great idea from Bizzy Bee Creations, after I finished my last batch of clipboards, and I had to smack myself upside the head for being such a bonehead.

After painting the edges of the clipboards, I chose two coordinating papers to cover each clipboard. I've found that the heavier weight printed paper works best and will hold up to the Modge Podge much better and without wrinkling.

I keep my clipboards pretty simple most of the time. I start by cutting the two papers the width of my clipboards. Then I shorten one and mark off the area to cut out where the clipboard hardware is.

Then I get out my Straight Trimmer and cut out that area. 

I tend to start a littler shorter and then keep slicing off strips until it fits perfectly. Sure, I could measure it, but then my topology handicap would rear its ugly head and make me sorry in the end. So I like to not measure and cut many times, which would probably make Bob Vila's head pop off and fly around the room.

Sorry Bob, I can't help myself.

See, it fits perfectly. And no sock pockets.

This is the back of the piece I'm going to adhere to the bottom front of my clipboard. I brushed a generous coat of Modge Podge over the back.

Then I slapped it down, smooshed it into position where I wanted it, then smoothed it out with my hands, being careful to flatten and expel any air bubbles. This was so much easier than using the spray adhesive, and not stinky at all. Modge Podge is very much like white glue in consistency, it looks like white glue, and it even smells like white glue. 

Here's the front of my clipboard with two patterned papers on it. I did the back of the clipboard as well, with the same two papers.

I didn't take pictures of the next steps (B-O-R-I-N-G), so I'll just tell you quickly what I did. I put two coats of Modge Podge on each side of the clipboard, making sure to allow enough time to completely dry between coats. This helps to protect the paper as well as give the clipboard a finish that can be easily cleaned.

Lastly, I tied bits of pretty ribbon willy nilly around the clipboard clip. You can use more or less. This project is an excellent way to rationalize buying more ribbon. Not that I needed to do that or anything. I'm just saying.


TA-DA! Now, I made most of these clipboards for thank you gifts, but two of them are for my bloggy friends. One of them is going to one of my five winners from this post, Beth N. from Oregon. Another one is going to one of my lucky readers in the next 26-1/2 hours. If you want to win one of these clipboards, leave a comment telling me which clipboard is your first choice and which one is your second choice. 

Here are the rest of the clipboards.








I'll randomly choose someone and announce the winner on Wednesday. You have until Tuesday evening, Midnight Pacific time to enter. Please make sure your e-mail address is attached to your Blogger profile, or leave me an e-mail address in your comment. Beth N. from Oregon, I need you to leave me a comment with your choices as well.

Good luck my Bloggy Friends!

For examples of masculine clipboards, go here.