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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Be a Dick: The Secret of Social Media Success

Marc Ensign spoke to our Florida Chapter of MWA today, explaining how he became a success in social media. Shortly after the Ensign family (Marc, his wife Amy, their two kids Bella and Zak, and their Bichon mix pup Gracie) moved to Florida, Marc had a life-changing encounter with a new neighbor, a man named Dick.

Dick's genuine concern and interest in the young family made the Ensigns feel instantly at home in their new surroundings. Consequently, Marc realized that if he could emulate Dick--if he could adapt Dick's generosity of spirit to his online world--that he could be just as much of an asset to his blog followers.

Here are the precepts that Marc learned from Dick: 

Be engaged
Be valuable
Be first
Be welcoming
Be humble
Be authentic
Be generous
Be transparent
Be perceptive

Be awesome 

These are great concepts. My pledge to each of you is that I'll do my best to follow Dick and Marc's examples. I'll do everything I can to reach out to each and every one of you in my social media family.(That's what you are, my extended family.)  I'll try to offer you valuable information and insights. I'll try to be the first to share interesting information with you. I promise to honor your opinions even if they differ from mine. I'll try to stay humble, and never get a big head. I'll be honest with you, and let you know the real me. As much as possible, I'll be generous, with my time, talents, and expertise. When there's a conflict or when I have a motive, I'll be upfront with you. And all the while, I'll try to be perceptive, putting myself in your place, trying to suss out what you need that I can provide. If I do all that, I have no doubt that we'll have an awesome relationship.

So tell me, how can I provide value to you?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Giveaway--A Miniature Easter Egg

Yes, this adorable Easter Egg is OOAK (One of a Kind), and I made it myself so it's totally imperfect! The outside is a luscious spring green, trimmed with gold lace. Inside as you can see, there's a vintage scene of Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny.

I'll tell you how I made it in another post! Can you say, "tutorial"? Suffice it to say, I tried several methods and most of them were abject failures.

Starting tomorrow (3/19/2014) you can enter to win. The contest will run for one week. To enter, visit my Facebook page at  Under the large picture of me with a Diet Dr Pepper, you'll see a blue box labeled GIVEAWAY. Click on that box and follow the instructions.

Or you can try this link:

Monday, March 17, 2014

How to Make Miniature Mosiacs--Or How to Have Your Egg and Eat It, Too

There are tons of ways to make miniature tiles, usually involving Fimo or paper coated with a thick glossy agent, but I think I've stumbled on a method that's easier and more long as you're okay with tiles in random shapes. Best of all, it's a way to recycle and upcycle common items.

Behold! (Ha, ha.) A protein snack that recycles into a table with mosaic inlays or a birdbath.

A hard-boiled egg. (an old one is best, if it float when it's raw, that's wonderful because that means the inner shell membrane has pulled away from the shell)
In the upper right, you can see some of the various eggshell pieces that I colored. Don't despair if you miss a piece or two! A white "tile" here and there will look cool. In the lower left is a finished mosaic table top. By putting big pieces of shell on the glue and then breaking the big pieces and moving them around, you save yourself a lot of aggravation trying to glue down smaller pieces.
Waxed paper.
Acrylic paints(and brush) or markers.

1. Roll your hard-boiled egg on a surface and gently peel away the shell. Set on the waxed paper.
2. Let the shell dry. Check that the membrane is dry.
3. Color the shell with the marker or paints. A variety of shades will work best.
4. Let dry.

Supplies for the birdbath. You can also see the weird little plastic stand that's supposed to be some sort of a kid's party favor. (Beats me!) Oh, and you can save the lid. Use the foil side as a mirror somewhere else.)
Blogger won't let me edit the caption above, but you'll use the same base as shown there for the mosaic table.

1. Small plastic base. (I used some sort of weird kid's party favor that came in a bag of six or so from the Dollar Store. I have NO idea what a kid is supposed to do with one of these! If you can't find these, you could stack beads or use a wooden turning or a spool from thread or even make something out of Fimo.)
2. Emery board.
3. Round disk. (You can use chipboard, foam, or wood.)
4. Tacky glue.
5. Acrylic paint. (White)
6. Glue spreader. (I like coffee stirrers from Starbucks.)
7. Gold nail polish.
8. Clear nail polish.
9. X-acto Knife
10. Gold trim if desired.


1. Chip off that weird half circle loop on the side of your plastic stand. (Save it. It makes a great handle when painted. I used cuticle clippers to cut mine off.)
2. Sand the stand smooth.
3. Paint the one flat surface of the round disk white.
4. Paint the stand, the other flat surface of your disk and the edge of the disk with gold nail polish. (You will probably need to put on two coats, especially on the plastic. Thin coats work best.) You can add gold trim to the outside edge/rim, if desired. (For example, a thin gold braid or cord.)
5. When all parts are dry, smear thin layer of tacky glue on a quarter of the white side of the disk.
6. With tweezers, pick up some of the eggshells. Push them color side up into the glue.
7. With your X-acto knife, press down. This will break apart the shells. Move the pieces far enough apart that you can add pieces of a different color.
8. Repeat with a different color until surface is covered.
9. Let dry.
10. Paint with a thin layer of clear nail polish. Be careful! If you use too much, the colors might run. You are aiming to put down a coating so this won't happen.
11. Add a thicker layer.
12. Glue the mosaic top to the plastic stand.
13. Admire.


ADDITIONAL SUPPLY: Metal jelly or honey tub. (Mine came from a lunch at Cracker Barrel.)

1. Prepare the mosaic tiles as per above.
2. Paint the tub and the stand as per above.
3. Add eggshells as per above, but with this difference--when you get to a curve or an edge, you can put glue on the flat side and glue on the edge, then add a piece of eggshell that OVERLAPS the flat side and smoosh into the edge or curve.
4. Assemble.
5. Admire greatly.


1. Prepare the mosiacs (colored eggshells) as above.
2. Glue them to chipboard letters or glue them around a mat on a photo.
3. Or glue them to a long strip of paper and use as a decorative border.

This is my FIRST miniatures tutorial. I know it's a little skimpy on the photos, but otherwise, how did I do?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Desperately Seeking OOAK

So I'm cruising Pinterest and Etsy looking at dollhouse miniatures, and I keep seeing OOAK by the listings. Wow. I was so impressed by the detailed workmanship. And so many different types of items!

I was thinking to myself, "This OOAK really knows her stuff. She must be crafting from sun up to sun down."

Then I got to thinking, "I bet OOAK is the name of a company. Yeah, that's got to be it. I wonder if they offer tutorials."

In the miniature world, almost all the best artists (and manufacturers) share wonderful tutorials (or "tutes") on their websites. As one of them explained in an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) post, the tutorials are a way of giving back. Another admitted that once someone sees all that's involved in crafting an object, well, the viewer gets to thinking, "I could never do that. I'll cave in and make a purchase."

My dollhouse is definitely OOAK. Whoever made it did not adhere to 1:12. Actually he/she ignored any coherent sense of scale. And guess what? That's been a blessing because it's forced me to make stuff myself. For example, I decided to make these sliding screen doors for the bathroom. This attempt will be scraped for a variety of reasons, but I learned a lot while crafting these doors. I don't mind that they are OOAK, but I do mind that they make the rest of a pretty room look squatty.
Many of the tutorials are in languages other than English. Thanks to modern technology, you can often hit a button and a tutorial will be instantly translated. Even if the translation isn't very good, when added to good pictures, the information is still useful.

So I searched through foreign sites and what do you know? My old friend OOAK kept popping up! Over and over.

Then one night as I was indulging in my new favorite pre-sleep ritual of cruising tutorials, I spied a phrase "one-of-a-kind."

You've probably already sussed out that OOAK is an acronym for "one of a kind."

That got me thinking. We're all OOAK. Everything handmade is OOAK. OOAK has wonderful, intrinsic value, because it's so uniquely human. Even when our work is slightly wonky or imperfect or just plain weird, it's utterly delightful and perfectly imperfect. It's OOAK, a quality worth searching for.

Have you ever misinterpreted an acronym? Or am I the only idiot out there?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

On the Back Foot -- What Does That Mean?

If you're looking for colorful language, there's no better place to start than the wide world of sports. Recently I heard casters for a League of Legends game saying that one team was definitely "on the back foot."

Since it was clear that the team in question was losing, I could surmise that "on the back foot" was not a good position to be in. But more to the point, what exactly did that mean?

As with many English idioms, no one has a definitive answer. However, the most likely explanation comes from boxing, where being "on the back foot" means that the fighter is in a defensive position, rather than the more aggressive offensive stance. It's also possible that the phrase comes from cricket, where "on the back foot" suggests that a player is protecting his territory.

Of course, a more familiar idiom is "backpedaling," which clearly implies a hasty retreat.

I love looking up the origins of phrases. Sometimes there are shades of meaning that only become apparent when you know the background behind the saying. In this case, "on the back foot" seems much more clear to me now that I know where it came from.

Have you ever heard this term? What did you think it meant?

Here's a link with more information: