Friday, March 20, 2009

Easter Egg Tree

Spring is finally here!!! March 20th is the first day of spring this year. Although it has arrived on the calendar, it really doesn’t look like spring outside. Everything looks drab and bare even though the trees and shrubs look like they could burst out with leaves any minute.

I just made an Easter Egg Tree outside and it looks so pretty. I love it. It is the one bright spot in my seriously dreary and boring yard. I used my Pink Almond Shrub which is totally bare now. It is about 3 feet tall and sits in front of the backyard fence. I bought 2 bags of 18 plastic colored eggs from the dollar store and looped kite string around the egg putting both ends inside the egg. Then, I hung then on my shrub. It is very colorful. In a few weeks my shrub will bloom with tiny pink flowers and tulips will come up around the shrub and it will be really beautiful.

There are many different sizes and kinds of plastic eggs you can buy. You can also tie on ornaments and decorate with ribbons and bows. A large blow up or plastic bunny sitting on the ground would be cute too. You can use your imagination to decorate it any way you wish but your decorations need to be weatherproof and securely attached. Fishing line is very strong and nearly invisible. Kite string works well also.

An Easter Egg Tree also looks pretty inside the house as a decoration or center piece. You can use a plant you already have - a fichus tree is perfect for an Easter Egg Tree or you can put some cut branches from a tree or shrub in an ice bucket, large vase, or painted coffee can. They can be spray painted white or another pastel color. Secure the branches with floral foam or a mixture of rocks and water or sand or even plaster of Paris. Water and rocks are good if you want to use branches from a shrub that is about to bloom such as a forsythia or quince. You can make a tree skirt out of a decorative napkin, a kitchen towel or plastic grass. Decorate with plastic eggs, ribbons, bunnies, ornaments, and bows. For a more delicate tree: blow the contents out of a few dozen eggs and dye. Add silk flowers, ribbon and ornaments. I have some cute crocheted bunnies in my store which would look cute on a tree. You could also hang your Easter candy on the tree.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shoe Addicts Anonymous Review

I just finished reading a really good book: Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison. If you liked the Shopoholic series by Sophie Kinsella or In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner you will love this book. It can really create an emotional response to those of us who are struggling to pay off credit cards and stay out of debt.

Shoe Addicts Anonymous is a fictional story set in Washington D.C. about 3 lonely women who are brought together by their lust for fabulous footwear. Helen Zaharis is tightly controlled by her politician husband who is threatening to cancel her credit cards if she keeps refusing to get pregnant. Her husband is cheating on her and her life is a bore so she rewards and comforts herself with expensive shoes. Lorna Rafferty is a financial disaster - her electricity was just turned off for nonpaymnent and she has an Ebay addiction. She buys shoes believing that if she has the right shoe she will find the Prince charming that goes with the shoe. Sandra Vanderslice can afford to buy any shoe she wants and she wants a lot of shoes. Sandra has issues. She's an agoraphobic who cant leave her apartment and has a job as a phone sex operator. In a moment of desperation, Lorna puts an invitation in Craigslist for a shoe addicts anonymous meeting. You must wear a size 7 1/2 shoe, love shoes but can't buy them any more, and be interested in swapping shoes. On Tuesday nights the three women plus Joss, a nanny who doesn't care about shoes but will do anything to get out of the house, meet to trade shoes and talk. They form lasting friendships that will solve all their problems: bankruptcy, blackmail, relationships, etc.

You will sympathize with these characters and you will laugh and be entertained by their views on life. What a good idea - having a weekly meeting to swap shoes or clothes. I could certainly enjoy something like that. I absolutely love shoes!!!

At the end of the the book there is an exerpt from a sequel which is called : Secrets of a Shoe Addict which looks really good. It is also about debt and four different women who are trying to figure out a way to pay off debt. One of them "accidentally" hires a male prostitute using a PTA credit card while chaperoning a school band trip to Las Vegas. I think this book will be even funnier than the first and I am in the process of searching for it.

I have Shoe Addicts Anonymous up for auction this week on EBay but there are a lot of copies available on the site. I strongly recommend reading this book for enjoyment, escape fiction, and for commiseration!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Coming soon: Spring!!!!!

Just about 2 more weeks until Spring! It comes just a few days after St. Patrick's Day this year. Easter is later on April 12th. It should be pretty warm by then. It has been a long winter!!!

I've always liked St. Pattrick's Day. We have an awesome parade and I love to decorate my home for St. Patrick's Day. I set out green candles and a few leprechaun figures which I have collected. I have a St. Patrick's Day tablecloth and kitchen towels for my kitchen. There are a lot of things you can buy in the store to celebrate the holiday: decorations, candles, tablecloth, towels, coffee cups,etc. For a party or special dinner: you can decorate with green and white candles, baloons, confetti,tableware, baskets, flowers,etc. You can change your lightbulbs to green. You can prepare traditional Irish foods or add a little food coloring to beer, cake or bread batter, serve green jello or pudding or koolade. Make a special green punch.

Martha Stewart has some great recipes for traditional Irish dishes like corned beef and cabbage, Irish Stew, and Soda bread: She also show how to make decorations using a heart shaped ink stamp. You can stamp 3 hearts into a shamrock and draw on a stem to make a shamrock to decorate tablewear, shirts, bags - anything you want.

I make Shamrock Sugar Cookies using a donut hole cutter. For each cookie, you need to cut out 4 circles. Cut one circle in half for the stem and arrange the 3 whole circles on a cookie sheet with the half circle as the stem. These can be made very fast with Slice and Bake cookie dough from the gocery store. The dough can be tinted green and sprinkled with sugar or frosted and decorated after baking.
This is the sugar dough recipe I have used for years:

Sugar Cookies
1. Sift :
2 1/2 C flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2. Beat into a large bowl at high speed for 3 minutes or until fluffy:
3/4 C butter or margaine
1 egg
1 1/4 C sugar
3. Beat in: 2 teaspoons vanilla
4. Stir in flour mixture
5. Wrap in wax paper and chill for 3 hours
6. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness
7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes
8. Cool and frost.

Here is an awesome green punch:

St. Paddy's Day Punch

2 (3 ounce) packages lime flavored gelatin mix
1 quart hot water
1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
2 (12 fluid ounce) cans frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 cups white sugar
4-1/2 cups cold water
2 liters ginger ale
Cooking Instructions
In a large saucepan dissolve the gelatin in 1 quart of hot water. Allow to cool.
When gelatin is cool, pour into a large punch bowl, Stir in pineapple juice, orange juice concentrate, sugar and 4 1/2 cups cold water. Chill. Pour in ginger ale just before serving.

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day so celebrate!!! Have a green beer or some Irish Whiskey! Eat some Irish stew and soda bread or corned beef and cabbage! Write a limerick! Dance an Irish Jig!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!