Sunday, October 24, 2010

Games People Play

“Mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm!” exclaimed Sally, as I opened the door and motioned her inside.  “What is that delicious smell?”

“Streusel-filled coffee cake,” I replied.

“I simply must have that recipe,” she sighed.  “It smells heavenly.  Did you make it for me?” she asked.

“Of course,” I smiled.  “I knew you would like it, and I will give you the recipe later.  But, first, I wanted to ask you a question.  Do you play any online games?”

“Well, no, I haven’t tried that,” Sally said.  “How about you?”

“Oh, my goodness,” I said.  “I have two that I really like, and wish I were better at both of them.”

“What do you mean?” asked Sally.

“Well,” I continued.  “One game I play is Bejeweled Blitz through Facebook.  Some of my friends play, too, even some of my Boomer friends!  I usually finish third or below each week, and still haven’t figured out how two of my friends are getting half a million points!”

“Just keep working at it,” said Sally.  “I’m sure you will figure it out.”

“I hope so,” I answered.  “But, the one that I find most interesting is Scrabble.  I have been playing that with my daughter, Jill, and she has beaten me more than I have beaten her.  The interesting thing about Scrabble is that you can ask for a Random Opponent, and then you get a game going with people you don’t know, will never see, and wonder where they even are in the world, especially when they are making words at 3 a.m.!   There is no communication function that I know about built into the Scrabble game, so there we are, two opponents in unknown locations, trying to best each other in a game of Scrabble.  And probably both wondering all kinds of things about the other person.”

“How’s that going for you?” smiled Sally.

“Well, actually, not much better than the Bejeweled Blitz!  I’ve won several games, but am still waiting for the number won to surpass the number lost!” I said.  “But it is fun, and I’ll keep trying.  I bet they would all be interested to know about our Boomers and Beyond team and all the neat things we make.”

“Are we going to look at some today…….while we have some of that magnificent-smelling coffee cake?” queried Sally.

“You betcha!” I said.  “You head for the computer, and I’ll get our coffee cake, and then we will look at some of the fabulous creations from the Boomers and Beyond team.”

“Okey dokey,” said Sally.  “I’m on my way.  And don’t forget about that recipe,” she reminded.

sixsisters two


mystic silks














“Totally gorgeous,” sighed Sally.  “Wish they were all mine, mine, mine!”

Streusel-filled coffee cake – easily doubled if you wish!

M ix thoroughly: 3/4 cup sugar; 1/4 cup soft shortening; 1 egg

Stir in:  1/2 cup milk

Sift together and stir in: 1 1/2 cups sifted flour; 2 tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp salt.

Spread half of the batter in a 9-inch pan that has been greased and floured.

Streusel filling:  1/2 cup brown sugar packed; 2 tbsp flour; 2 tbsp butter, melted; 2 tsp cinnamon; 1/2 cup chopped nuts.  Mix well.  Spread half of streusel topping on batter in pan; put remaining batter in pan, and spread other half of streusel mixture on top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes.  (I doubled the recipe and baked it 30 minutes and it passed the clean toothpick in the middle test. So, I’d probably check after 20 minutes and see if it needed five more minutes or so.) – recipe from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook, received as a wedding gift in 1960.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Night Light

Unable to sleep last night? It could be the intense glow of the soon-to-be full moon was keeping you awake. Tonight, October 22, 2010, the northern hemisphere will be basking in the light of the full Hunter's Moon, which will reach its highest point in the sky around midnight. "The hunter's moon—also known as blood moon or sanguine moon—is the first full moon after the harvest moon, which is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox." (Wikipedia) After tonight, the moon will continue to move further north along the eastern horizon for several nights, providing us with longer periods of pre-dawn light than during other full moons. For our ancestors this meant longer hours of autumn moonlight for nighttime hunting, allowing for stockpiling of game meat to last during the long winter months.

The full moon has long been associated with stories of changes in human and animal behavior. For example, supposedly there are more births, dog bites, incidences of crime, and trips to the emergency room on nights when the moon is full. Even though most scientific studies do not corroborate this folklore, the legend of the effects of moonlight persist in our language and culture. Think of the words lunatic, lunacy (derived from the name of Luna, Roman goddess of the moon) and moonstruck, and you are reminded of someone whose mental health is less than optimal. Whether or not science can prove a connection, humans have made a link between the moon and strange occurrences for hundreds, if not thousands of years. "Greek philosopher Aristotle and Roman historian Pliny the Elder suggested that the brain was the 'moistest' organ in the body and thereby most susceptible to the pernicious influences of the moon, which triggers the tides." (Scientific

The full moon is too bright and beautiful to ignore, so it's no wonder the moon has played an important role in art and literature. As we take a look at how some BBEST artisans have been influenced by the moon, let's explore some figures of speech that have lunar inspiration. 

If you "moon over" someone, you are surely feeling the romantic effects of the moon, possibly feeling unrequited love, and likely to be dreamy and lost in thought about your object of desire. 

Feel like celebrating the full moon with dinner and a movie? What better flick to watch than Moonstruck, the 1987 romantic comedy starring Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, and a host of other well-known actors. Cher's character agrees to marry for practical reasons, then falls in love with her fiance's wilder, more emotional brother. Set in a Brooklyn Italian-American neighborhood, the opera and the full moon play havoc with the characters' hearts as they become "moonstruck" - "dazed or distracted with romantic sentiment." (

Loretta, Cher's character in Moonstruck, had a makeover in anticipation of her opera night with her quirky love interest Johnny Cammareri, (played by Nicolas Cage). All dressed to the nines in a black and red dress, red shoes, and a newly coiffured head of curls, perhaps Loretta might have accessorized with a pair of long moonstone earrings. Moonstone's subtle shimmer is reminiscent of moonlight and it has long been surrounded by a  certain mystique. This member of the feldspar mineral group "symbolises our being in its entirety. With its soft shimmer, it strengthens our emotional and subconscious aspects. The associations connected with that make it a 'lovers' stone', evoking tender feelings and safeguarding the true joys of love. It is also said that wearing a moonstone strengthens our intuition and our capacity to understand." (Gem by Gem, International Colored Gemstone Association)

There is something magical and soul-enriching about standing outside under the gentle light of a full moon on a crisp, cool autumn evening. Both humans and animals seem to be more awake and alive as they move through a natural landscape illuminated by the moon's gaze. Perhaps it is the full moon's quality of penetrating light which led it to be used figuratively to represent awareness, enlightenment, or consciousness in many forms of sacred poetry from around the world.

 We'll end with a quote from the musical side of moon lore. Hope this gets you humming and out dancing under the light of the full Hunter's Moon tonight!

"Well, it's a marvelous night for a Moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
'Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I'm trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the night's magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush."
-  Van Morrison, Moondance

Monday, October 18, 2010


We all have many specialized tools that we use in our crafting, and I think we most likely love each of them. It is wonderful to know that the right tool can make us more effective at developing our creations - and especially fun to know that tools on hand can make fabulous art! The BBEST team certainly uses their tools well to develop arts and crafts, and bring amazing skill to their creations - as anyone who browses ETSY with the BBEST tag can see.

One unexpected tool that I can't live without in my crafting is Adobe Photoshop Elements. This is a less expensive version of the Adobe Photoshop, and has been sufficient for many different aspects of digital crafting - as well as helping me manipulate pictures and do online marketing and blog work. Even this "limited capability" software package is very powerful, and despite being able to do some standard photo manipulation I really didn't know how to take advantage of the capabilities of the package. Too many papers to read, too many complex concepts.

Then I found Jessica Sprague. Jessica Sprague is an online scrapbook instructor, and she teaches digital scrapbooking leveraging Adobe's products, among others. I want to introduce you to Jessica's courses - even though they are scrapbook oriented - because they provide some amazing advantages.

First, the online classes are provided for you to take in your own time and schedule. I took about 6 courses (about 8 classes per course) before everything was over, and did about one class session each week.

Second, the classes include a video that you can pause and resume at your leisure, where Jessica shows you every single step of what she is doing with Photoshop. I had the video up and running on my computer in one window, and had Photoshop Elements up in another window. I could stop the video and follow the instructions, restarting when I was ready to go on to the next step.

Third, the classes are available in a variety of formats. For example, I learned with Photoshop Elements, but you can take the classes with Photoshop as well. Even if you take the courses leveraging one format, you can come back later and go through them in the other format, free of charge!

Fourth, the classes are available to you FOREVER. So you can come back to them years after taking them to review a particular concept or remind yourself how things work.

Finally, the classes provide lots of free downloads that give you additional digital materials to work with and even extra support capabilities with Photoshop and associated tools.

I really recommend these digital classes, even though scrapbooking may not be your cup of tea. They are a great way to learn how to get around Photoshop if you are not already super strong with the tool set, and they certainly help to improve your photo handling capabilities as well as give you creative ideas for more!

The classes that I found most informative were Up and Running with Photoshop, Now We're Rockin' with Photoshop, and Digi In Deep.

Leveraging some of the things I learned, I was able to pull together a couple different tributes to the BBEST team's Autumn offerings - and as they say, the possibilities are endless!

Autumn comes alive through the work of the BBEST team, and inspires us to find great gifts to share with all our loved ones. Happy Fall!

These two tribute displays showcase work from the following shops - Asian Expressions, Big Island Rose Designs, ZudaGay, SixSisters, Beth Peardon Productions, PFD Original Art Work, The Creator's Palette, the Knotty Sheep, Aroma Fields, Designs by Christine, and Bags 'N More by Pam.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Feeling of Joy!

I guess there has to be a story, or rather, THE story that is foremost in peoples’ minds that gives the participants and onlookers the most amazing feeling of joy.  The story I am talking about is the successful rescue of 33 Chilean miners.  A truly remarkable feat.  The endurance of the miners having to survive below the surface for all that time as well as all the experts above ground who developed the means of rescuing the miners.  In addition the hardships encountered by the families who ‘camped’ out near the mine opening and can now pack up and go home in the wonderful warm feeling of joy that their loved ones are once again safe.

The feeling of joy can conjure up many visions; all very different depending on the circumstances of the people who are en’joy’ing!  Generally it is the feeling of real happiness about something unfolding.  The joy of watching as each miner was successfully brought to the surface; the joy of watching a newborn entering our wide world; the joy of a feeling or warmth; joy as a feeling of success surrounds us; just plain joy at experiencing some of the amazing adventures nature can throw at us.  The list simply goes on and is so diverse for each one of us.

Now…. I can feel immense joy and pride when I look through the items the BBEST team have produced.  This team doesn’t need to be told how talented they are, each and everyone of them!  Check out some of these diverse items which I hope will bring joy to the creator as well as the viewer.


Flight original watercolour goose by Yankeegirl


Sketchbook Journal by Paper Patches


Wild flowers by PFD Original Artworks


Handmade refillable notebook cover by Circle in the Sand


Yellow brown eyed Susan by Zudagay


Hibiscus by Sixsisters


Carnival tonight by Heron Kate


Black glass fused pendant by Chris1


Genuine pearl earrings by Bridal Jewelry


Flying Witch fused glass pendant by Chauncey

I do hope the selection I have included here will bring you joy!  What sort of things/items bring you joy?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

T is for......


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life!  If you haven't taken it seriously before, now is the time to do so.  My mother celebrated her 92nd birthday earlier this year - she is a breast cancer survivor.  She was brave enough to go for a test in spite of her age, and knew in advance what the results would be.  She coped with a prosthesis in spite of her advancing years, and she is still with us.

Pink is the colour for Breast Cancer Awareness, and the Bbest team do pink very well.  Here are just a few of the items that I couldn't fit into an earlier treasury.


 This selection is only just scratching the surface of all that is available.  To find more just search for bbest team and pink.  But most importantly, don't miss a single check.  You just never know.