Friday, November 28, 2008

The Bathroom Remodel is Moving Along

Our bathroom remodel is moving along swimmingly thanks to our four-legged foreman, Ollie.

Shower stall comfortable? Check!

Shower drain big enough? Check!

Does the shower pan taste good? Check!

Time for a catnap? Check!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One More Thing to Be Grateful For

The world's cutest, Pom. This is my 4 year-old Pom, Petey. Ain't he delightful? He's sportin' his lion-cut!

Give Thanks!

I give thanks for the following:

My family is healthy and happy
We have a nice home with plenty of food and clothing
We are employed and able to afford our children a good life
We have a new president coming into office
I am at a place in my life where I thought I'd never be

I've Been Hornswaggled and Bamboozled

To coin a phrase from an cheesy eighties teenage movie, "first I'm gonna sh*t and then I'm gonna kill 'him!"

My dear hubby has exacted his revenge against my holiday "pinkness". During the beginning of November, dear hubby and I had a bet wherein I would be given $500 if he did not complete the remodel on our master bathroom by November 30th. This morning I THOUGHT I gave a subtle reminder about our bet.

When I got home from work today, this was in our living

(every craft item I've NEVER completed has been stored in that bathroom for the last 8 months)

and this:

(new shower enclosure)

and this was in our kitchen

(new tile for our bathroom)

There's one being in the house that finds the upheaval completely wonderful!

Did I mention that I am having guests for Thanksgiving tomorrow?

To quote another cheesy 80's movie "That fargin sneaky bastage! This is fargin' war!"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Plight of the Pumpkin Pie Lover

The question of the day::

Should the pumpkin pie remain untouched?

Scroll down for answer:




I'm a firm believer that if you are going to do something, you need to do it right. Having no willpower blows BUT it sure tastes good!

I am done with my marathon blogging session for today. I need to take a shower and get dressed since it's almost.....NOON!

Lighten Up on The Pink, Hon...

Hubby's last words to me as he skipped out the door this morning were something along the lines of "have fun decorating and please lighten up on the pink, hon." His comment comes from the fact that last year, I had decorated in pink. I think he felt emasculated by all the pink Christmas decor.

I looked at him with this look as I watched him skip out the door:

(Only one person would get this above reference but alas, her and I aren't on speaking terms anymore. Nonetheless, the look still applies.)

Well, after three hours, I have FINALLY finished decorating. I did heed his warning and lightened up on the pinks..........with a twist.

I started out decorating my mantel but it just didn't seem to have enough pink.

So I turned around and decorated my entry table:

Ah yes! I think I have succeeded in "getting my pink on". Of course, I am a firm believer in never having enough so I whipped up these cuties as the pink frosting on the cake:

Of course, I LIVE to please my hubby so I also did our dining room in the standard holiday decor - red and green:

Since my adorable 12 year-old took part in hubby's diabolical plot to sneak in all the ornaments last night while I was sleeping, I put her favorite decoration at her place setting at the dining room table:

I can't see why he would freak her out, can you? (You'll want to click on the above photo to see him in all his glory)

And not to leave hubby out, I put up some extra cheesy garland........I used lots and lots of DECK nails.

Bear in mind that nails are to my husband what Kryptonite is to Superman.

As we are removing the soffet and the adjoining wall during our kitchen remodel, the damage is only fleeting.

They also brought up this little elf. Ain't he cute? And his twin (which I only have a close-up of).

Do you STILL think they're cute? If this isn't a craft project gone wrong, then I don't know what is! Elves with mumps (and squashed mumps thanks to my 12 year-old's curious finger!!) and wrinkles.....Eek!

I didn't want to leave my husband's "Boom-Boom Room" untouched this season.

Look at the pics below and tell me if his room has testosterone written all over it??

The pic above shows his wagon when he was a cute little tot (a million years ago), his dad's baseball bats from the early 20's, a vintage Olympia beer tray, a few awards from car shows and a pics of our son in his baseball uniform.

This is my husband's 52" plasma television and surround sound system, dvd player and other stuff that I don't know how to operate.

My popcorn machine and some vintage drive-inn speakers that he had to have!

Not to leave him out of the Christmas spirit, I moved all the Christmas storage boxes into this room! LIGHTEN UP ON THE PINK HON! He's gonna regret them words. LOL!

And in case you are wondering, the pics are signed autographs of the "Friends" cast, Barbara Billingsley (June Cleaver), Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone from the movie "Casino", the guy who played Mini Me, the man who played the Riddler and the bust belongs to Angelina Jolie. The glossy picture is of my youngest daughter's school photo and her "autograph".

Good Things Come to Those Who DON'T Wait!

While begrudging ironing our Christmas stockings this morning, I felt something inside. I thought it was a year-old candy cane. Imagine my sheer delight, when I found an unopened Target gift card inside!!

I just called their automated line to check the balance and it was for $100! I'm surprised that I was that generous last year. Fortunately for me and unfortunately for my kids, our stockings don't have their names on them. Our four stockings spell out "Noel" and I'm betting that no one remembers their letter from last year.

Well, to be honest, no one is going to have the opportunity to remember the letter on their stocking from last year. Like my 12 year-old used to say when she was a toddler, "finders keepers, losers sweepers!"

Let me extol the virtues of getting ready for Christmas! Well, if I really was enjoying myself, would I find the need to take pictures and post about unused gift cards??

More on that later....

Kris Kringle Disaster

Last night when I went to bed, my house was PERFECTLY clean. By "perfect", I mean there was not ONE lick of any Christmas related item in the house.

Evidently, Santa (hubby) and his evil minions (youngest son and daughter) unloaded EVERY entire Christmas decoration we've ever had and decided to dump them smack dab in the livingroom! Look, you'll even see Santa's boot (youngest daughter's Ugg boot) as evidence!

Imagine the look on my face, when I noticed that Kris Kringle had indeed vomited in my livingroom!

I had taken today off work to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner. I over invited and we have 12 people coming for dinner and in addition to cubing every vegetable known to man (for the stuffing), I am now going to have to scramble and try to clean up this mess.

I'm a Virgo. If you aren't familiar with this astrological sign, we NEED to have neatness and order. I'm not sure what to do or where to start. The Ebenezer Scrooge in me wants to put EVERYTHING back in the box and move it back down to the storeroom!!

You can tell by the look on Bella's face that she has no clue what's going on

Ollie, on the other hand knows a party when he sees one:

Well this disaster isn't going to clean itself. I'll be back with pictures of the finished project. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The inevitable has occurred

Well, the mere thinking about going to Disneyland is officially "over". I just finished wrapping up the details for a REAL Disneyland trip. Looks like we are making the 400+ mile trek to the Magic Kingdom in February.

Our last trip was in January 2007. Evidently, we can't make it more than a few years to this animated Mecca...yay for me...

The last time I visited, I had a terrible bout with IC (interstitial cystitis aka "Painful Bladder Syndrome".) The majority of my trip was spent in the hotel room while hubby and the kids went on every ride in Disneyland and California Disney.

When I was fortunate enough to make it into the park, I spent an inordinate amount of time mapping out the ....facilities. I can honestly state that I have visited EVERY bathroom in Disneyland.

On a good note, I get ANOTHER chance to visit the Carnation Cafe as well as the Popcorn Stand at the entrance to Adventureland.

Strange Phenomena

Everywhere I go, I am already seeing Christmas trees and hearing Christmas music - and it's not just in my local big box store.

Co-workers are humming "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" and on the drive home from work, I am actually seeing Christmas trees in living
room windows and houses all lit up with lights.

My goodness!

I WAS starting to fill a tad guilty like I was denying my family the beauty of Christmas - that was until I looked at the calendar. It's November 23rd folks, Thanksgiving has not come and gone yet.

Wasn't that how it used to be? The early birds would decorate their tree on Thanksgiving. My tree goes up about five or six days before Christmas

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE Christmas but the only time I love the tree is the minute I am done decorating it. After that, every time I walk by the tree in my home, I am mentally cursing its existence and counting down the days until I can take it down. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but that tree comes down right after the last present is opened on Christmas morning. Honest.To.God.

First of all, we have an artificial tree. I have two reasons, I hate to cut down a living tree just to spend it's dying days in my living room, dropping needles EVERYWHERE and two, fresh cut trees are so expensive!

Two years ago, I bought a $220 artificial Christmas tree from Target marked down to $32! I bought it on Christmas eve and packed it away for the next year.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the thought of Christmas but I don't like the idea of a huge bush in our living room.

I feel like such an Ebenezer Scrooge. Maybe I'll capitulate this year and put it up BEFORE December 18th!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Thick, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

(not my recipe - just one of my favorites!)

Thick, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from Sunset


Makes about 28 cookies


  • 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 oz.)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)


1. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

2. In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir or beat into butter mixture until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans, if using.

3. Drop dough in 2-tablespoon (1/8-cup) portions, 2 inches apart, onto buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.

4. Bake in a 400° oven until cookies are lightly browned and no longer wet in the center (break one open to check), 6 to 8 minutes; if baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan positions halfway through baking.

5. With a wide spatula, transfer cookies to racks to cool. If hot cookies start to break, slide a thin spatula under them to release; let stand on pan to firm up, 2 to 5 minutes, then transfer to racks

Thumbprint Cookie Recipe - Oh Yum!

Chocolate Thumbprints

Chocolate Thumbprints from Sunset

Prep and Cook Time: about 1 hour, plus at least 1 hour to chill. Notes: Turbinado sugar is a golden-brown, large-crystal sugar, sometimes labeled raw sugar or Demerara sugar. It is available at natural-foods stores and some well-stocked supermarkets. If you can't find it, substitute additional granulated sugar. These cookies are best the day they are filled, but you can make both the cookies and the filling up to 3 days ahead. Store cookies airtight at room temperature; chill ganache airtight. Melt ganache over hot water and cool before using.


Makes about 50 cookies


  • 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • About 1/3 cup turbinado sugar (see notes)
  • Chocolate ganache (recipe follows)


1. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until well blended, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

2. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture until well blended. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill until dough is firm but pliable, about 30 minutes.

3. Place about 1/3 cup turbinado sugar in a shallow bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in turbinado sugar to coat. Place 1 inch apart on buttered or cooking parchment- lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheets. Press your thumb into the center of each cookie to make a 1/2-inch-deep indentation.

4. Bake cookies in a 325° oven until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes; if baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan positions halfway through baking. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely (if indentations have disappeared, make them again while cookies are warm).

5. Carefully fill each indentation with about 1 teaspoon chocolate ganache. Let stand until ganache is shiny and firm to the touch, about 1 hour (or chill for about 30 minutes).

Chocolate ganache. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (bottom of bowl should not touch water), occasionally stir 6 ounces chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, 2 tablespoons whipping cream, 1 tablespoon corn syrup, and 1 tablespoon butter until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool until thick but not firm, about 15 minutes. Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Wonderful Ribbon

I just purchased a few yards of gorgeous extra wide gold satin double face ribbon from Vogue Fabrics. I can't wait to decorate the backs of my dining room chairs with this gorgeous ribbon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We're on

Our custom-engraved garden rocks and home decor items will be sold on Stop by and pay us a visit. Click on our name to visit our 1000markets shop! Fioresi Designs

Sunday, November 16, 2008


If you've been reading my blog, you'll note that I often talk about my cat Ollie. I finally caught him on camera in his "human"position.

He sits in that position every morning in the hallway (which is right across from bathroom) and watches me get ready for work EVERY morning. Occasionally, he will hop up on the bathroom counter and turn on the faucet to take a drink!

Notice how he has his paw covering his privates. He's quite the gentleman.

Now if I can get a picture of him using his litterbox (where he stand up like a boy), I'm sure you'll find it quite amusing.

Give me a pet and due to the sheer craziness of our household, they wind up turning out just as quirky as their owners. Well, except I sit when using my litter box =o)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Oh Yum!

Is it any wonder given my latest fascination with Japanese bookstores, Japanese craft books and Japan in general, that I am so loving Gwen Stefani's Harajuku "Baby" Eau de Toilette?

Well, technically, it's NOT Japanese but it's got a Japanese name - that counts for something, right?

During a shopping spree at Nordstrom's this evening, I got a chance to smell Gwen Stefani's entire Harajuku line and I fell in the love with the "Baby" scent. Has a wonderful baby powder smell.

Plus, the little doll in the packaging is just too cute!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kawaii Felt Mascot Plushie

To the left is my first attempt at creating a felt plushie; it's obviously not done yet. I still need to stuff and sew up the head and then attach the head to the body but I'm loving the way she's turning out!

A few weeks ago, I visited the Kinokuniya Bookstore in Japantown and picked up a wonderful book. It's all in Japanese but the diagrams are very thorough.

Since this plushie is hand-sewn, it is very tedious and time consuming. Add to the fact I want the stitching to look as perfect as possible and well, I've spent some time on this little thing. Even more difficult than the actual stitching was the cutting of the felt. I have several pairs of shears but because of their size, I could not cut the shapes as precise as I wanted. A new pair of smaller scissors put an end to that problem and now cutting is a breeze. I've been looking into purchasing a cutter but I need to learn more about them to see if they can do what I want.

Hopefully, I'll post a completed pic soon!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Laura Ashley Decorative Glass Candle Holder and Candle

I have a few of these candles available for sale. They are from Laura Ashley and fashioned from her "Rose Trellis" pattern. The price per candle is $4.50. Shipping will be $4.60 and will be via Priority Mail.

Send an email to: if you're interested.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

My venture into Kawaii

My latest craft addiction, "felt plushies" has driven me to the brink of insanity. There's been talk amongst my fellow felt plushy crafters of a book entitled "Mascot Album Book or in Japanese, it's called "想い出マスコットアルバム by あゆみ, 宇山"

Last weekend, I drove into San Francisco to the Kinokinuya Bookstore in Japantown looking for this specific book. The ideal felt plushie book has lots of photos, patterns and easy-to-follow graphics. The graphics must be easy-to-follow BECAUSE the books are printed ENTIRELY in Japanese.

So there I was, a middle-aged Anglo woman in the craft section thumbing through all the books in the middle of a Japanese bookstore. Like a young child, I could not read one word but oh how I marveled over all the wonderful pictures!

Imagine my amusement when another customer told me that I was reading books backwards! I just giggled.

Unfortunately, they didn't have the particular book I was looking for. It was rumored amongst the group, that this elusive book is stocked at Amazon's Japanese website. This week I set off to to that site. That was an experience. The entire website is in Japanese (as it should be). What to do? I wanted that darn book!!!

Just then a brilliant idea popped into my head (occasionally these happen!). I copied the text on Amazon's Japanese webisite and pasted it into Google's Translation page.

Suffice to say, I should be receiving my new book soon!......I hope it's what I wanted. Keep your fingers crossed!