Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear Post Office

Dear Delivery Supervisor,

How nice of you to take a personal interest in my sidewalk. I am sorry I have not met you, maybe you could deliver the mail to my mailbox one day. Knock on the door and introduce yourself! The sidewalk is shoveled.

It is also great to know that you have the safety of our mail carrier in mind. When you come to deliver my mail, you will be able to see that my mail carrier never actually uses my sidewalk. He tramps across the middle of the yard every day, no matter how much snow there is or isn't. Does he know that he is supposed to be using the sidewalk? Also when you come to deliver my mail, you can see that the mailbox is at the foot of the stairs. There is no need for the mail carrier to use the steps or the porch.

Yes, I understand that what I received is a form letter. Since that is your preferred way of communicating, I am working on a couple of my own in hopes our relationship will become closer:
  • When the mail carrier leaves the mailbox open in the rain...
  • Not removing the outgoing mail before placing incoming mail in the box...
  • Delivering mail that belongs to everyone on my street, into my mailbox (by the way, whenever that happens, I deliver the mail for you... maybe if I leave a shovel at the sidewalk, the mail carrier can shovel it for me??)...
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night,
Your friend,
Normal Girl

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Humble Acceptance?

Ugh, skip the beginning part of this, the part I am talking about starts about 25 seconds in....

I saw this clip a couple days ago on TV and it has been on my mind since. I ceased to be a fan of Oprah many years ago, but this puts a new light on her personality.

Since it has been on my mind for three days, I think it is a little message to me from God. And when I saw the clip again this morning, I knew it. I wish gift giving would be extracted from the Christmas experience. I wish we could have the Christmas spirit, make cookies, send cards, decorate the house, sing carols, and look for the things we can do for people who need help instead of giving each other presents we surely do not need.

For the last couple of years, I have tried to find things to do that are servant oriented, for people who could use some encouragement. It gives me a Christmas feeling that far exceeds the giving and receiving of wrapped presents.

And God knows that I need much work on humility and I start thinking how good I am to be doing these tiny bits of service and thinking about imposing my thoughts on everyone else's Christmas plans. OY!

Oprah's interview is my message this week. I really do wish you all a Merry Christmas, even if exhausting yourself and your bank account brings you joy!
Normal Girl

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sing it Loud!

My office is singing!

This is what I did today with my snow day. I completely copied this from another blog. These are some of the lyrics from Joy to the World. It might look a bit better in a larger room, but, I put it in my office anyway.

Now I have in mind many other applications for this! Had fun doing this while watching the worst Christmas movies ever made, on Lifetime. Yikes, who watches those things every year??

Putting some socks on so I can go do some shoveling.
Normal Girl

Friday, December 10, 2010


Had a fun night tonight with some girls from church who came to learn how to decoupage. We made a couple of easy projects. I had fun, I think they did too.

While we worked we listened to Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. I can honestly say that never before has Tiffany and Debbie Gibson music played in my house. Yep, they are somewhat younger than I. It is always fun to listen to the music of your youth, isn't it?

So, JOY! And decoupage.
Normal Girl

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Color of the Year 2011

I am having a little sadness today as Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2011. That means my turquoise has only 22 1/2 days left to reign as the color of the year 2010.

And to my friends to whom I mentioned that mauve seemed to be having a comeback from the 80's....and we all said ewwwww.... I am sorry to inform you that the 2011 color of the year is.......

Yep, Pantone is calling it Honeysuckle so that we don't go screaming to the hills, but it is pretty mauve if you ask me.
Pantone is the company that sets the color standards for designers and artists. So, if I am designing a new bead, I tell the mfg that I want the color to be PM18-2120. He knows exactly what color I am asking for. Mauve. Um, I mean Honeysuckle. Otherwise, it would be really hard to get on the same wavelength about colors. Imagine if I told you yesterday that I loved Honeysuckle. What color would you have had in mind? The last honeysuckle bush I saw had yellow flowers on it.

I don't think I will be introducing any honeysuckle into my home decor. For those who are all about the trends and brought in turquoise last year, and now can't afford to completely change colors this year.....and might add a bit of honeysuckle to the least the look will not be totally reminiscent of the 80's. Turquoise and pink is more from the 50's. That will make a vintage look which is still very trendy this year. See how it all works?

Yeah, me neither,
Normal Girl

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Penny For Them

When did we get a new penny? Am I living under a rock? Is nothing sacred?

Normal Girl

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Next Cool Thing

I stopped into the Christmas Tree Store this afternoon. I saw this tree. It looked very cool in the store. The trunk is a clear plastic tube. There is a rope light that runs inside it from top to bottom. You fill the tube with water and as the light changes colors, the water bubbles up from the bottom. It was so cool! It comes in white and in green.

I asked how much for the tree. The answer was $159. I thought that was too much, but you pay for innovation, right? Next year, it will be cheaper. Then I looked it up online tonight and it was $359. All of a sudden $159 looks good.

I think I could make one, hahahaha!
Normal Girl

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cookies for Niece 3

The Sequoia Niece 3 turned 18 this weekend. I know. How do you process that the kid was just toothless and is 18 this week? Now, Redwood Nephew 4 is the only non-adult we have left. By the way, Redwood Nephew 4 is now 6'5". How does that happen?

So, a couple weeks ago, my pals Amy and Amanda taught me how to make the fancy cookies with royal icing and decorations. I had fun and tried it on my own for the birthday this weekend. Niece 3 said, "You made those? I thought you bought them in Frankenmuth!" HA, success!

Things I learned about making royal icing cookies:
  • these cookies need a better name
  • they take a lot of time to make
  • if I give you one of these cookies, it means I value you, I love you, or I am bribing you
Looking forward to making Christmas cookies!
Normal Girl

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stick a Fork in it

This was my morning activity instead of Black Friday shopping....which I would rather clean all of your ovens than do. I went to the flea market and found some old forks and turned them onto photo easels. I think they might be part of the table decorations for a bridal shower I am working on. I was lucky to find some nice old silver forks with pretty patterns.

What are all of you doing for Black Friday?
Normal Girl

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Good Idea that Just Didn't Work

I walked by these poinsettias this afternoon and had to utter a reflexive "OH!" I am sorry the photo does not do them justice and I cannot describe the color. Electric blue? Neon blue? I for sure do not have a problem with non traditional colors for Christmas, I do own some lime green and turquoise poinsettias, but this was shocking.

If they are perfect for your own holiday decorating, head on over to Michaels. My guess is that nobody else has bought them yet.

I'll not have a blue Christmas,
Normal Girl

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ch Ch Ch Chia

I stopped into Rite Aid this afternoon and this caught my eye and made me laugh. At first look, Chia Abraham Lincoln and Chia George Washington felt disrespectful and Chia Lady Liberty is just wrong. But then I noticed Chia Obama. I am still laughing.

I am not exactly sure why I find it funny, but I do.

Do not buy me one for Christmas,
Normal Girl

Friday, November 19, 2010

That's Right Dolly!

Fresh from the kiln. Painters call these Dolly Parton hearts.

Funny, right?
Normal Girl

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Heart You

I worked on Valentine's Day projects today. Like that better then Christmas. I tried for two very different feeling bracelets to appeal to two different groups of people. Although, I like them both. Maybe I am in all groups of people when it comes to jewelry.

Imagine that,
Normal Girl

Monday, November 15, 2010

Seeking Parental Advice

The issue is hair. The girls on my dance team absolutely refuse to pull their hair out of their faces for rehearsal. I am not saying it has to be a ponytail, just the front part of the hair pulled back from the face.

That means they play with their hair, shoving it out of their faces approximately 45 times per minute. That makes for zero concentration on what they are trying to do while rehearsing. I have asked nicely. I have explained why and how it will help them. I have emailed reminders. I have even brought them headbands to wear. Finally, I offered bribes. Wouldn't you know? That did the trick.

Each week that their hair is pulled back, they get a prize from the "Yay, my hair is out of my face treat bag."

Now I have a different problem. Of course, they are complying for the wrong reason, and I am going to go broke bribing them.

Dear parents out there, how do I stop this with a good ending?

Normal Girl

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Check One Item Off My List

I have been wanting to learn how to make these cute cutout cookies where you float the royal icing over them. For my study break today, I spent 3 hours in the kitchen with Amy, Amanda, Anita, and Denise. They showed me the steps. They had the cookies all baked and most of them iced. But they saved some of each step for me.

Amanda is pretty artistic with the decorating bag, and she let me go for it. The plan was to make a pile of cookies for a wedding reception tomorrow. Lots of them have the initials of the bride and groom on them. The rest we just made cute.

Mixing up the icing. I was surprised at how easy it is, just meringue powder, water and powdered sugar. Who in the world made this sound so hard? It wasn't.

Here is one tray of mine. I had fun and am taking my coupons to Jo-Ann's and Michaels for supplies. Ready to try it on my own!

Maybe some pilgrim hats....
Normal Girl

P.S. Even with a 3 hour break, I still got 10 pages in today, woohoo!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Study Break

Reflecting my new love of button rings (thanks Helen!) and my four days spent in the offices of Blumenthal Lansing looking at 234098343 buttons that I wished were in my possession, this is what I did on my study break tonight. Beads, buttons and elastic cord. Pretty cute!

I have been writing most of the day. Ya, I know. I can hear your applause.

Back to work,
Normal Girl

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One Door Closes

Martha is having a contest to win a vendor table at the annual Martha Stewart Christmas Craft Sale at their office in NYC. They are expecting 2500 shoppers. I entered my fiber wrapped bangles along with my spare tire bangles. I thought I might have a shot. They selected 8 crafters and their work, published the finalists on their blog, and the world gets to vote. The top 5 get in the craft sale. I am not a finalist. But among the finalists are these....
What do you do with these?

Hahahaha. Really?

What is the message for me in this?
1. Selling finished goods is not going to be where I excel.
2. Finish the thesis!!

Alright already!
Normal Girl

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Putting Stuff on Other Stuff

I went to a bridal shower today. Dawn is marrying Steve and they are adorable. I know Dawn from church where she and I have worked together on set design, spending hours cutting styrofoam and painting. She is an artist and very creative.

It hurts me to buy salt and pepper shakers for someone, so she was forced to have a homemade present. Handmade presents can either be rejected as junk or adored because the person making it puts a little of herself into it. When I make presents for a specific person, it gives me the opportunity to pray for that person as I work. What an honor to be able to do that.

So, Dawn and Steve received this cross today at the shower. Hope they like it and it always reminds them who is in charge in their marriage.

And, how sweet it was that ladies at the shower liked the cross and passed it all over the room to check it out. So, here is another example of something that comes easy to me, that impresses other people. It's just what I do....put stuff on other stuff. It is the second time this week that I have found that I might have something to share, and I am wondering how to turn this into a job that is also a ministry.

Shoot me ideas (that are more than just selling stuff) if you have them.

To Dawn and Steve... I hope your life together is way beyond your expectations!
Normal Girl

Friday, November 5, 2010

Presentation Week

This is my week of presentations. I have spent a lot of time preparing (aka not writing my thesis) and some time with two groups of women (aka not writing my thesis). If my Mother knew about this, she would warn me about my priorities. And rightly so! I did enjoy the time I spent with the Mom groups at church on my two presentations. Wednesday night, I gave a presentation on decorating on a small budget. I think the most exciting thing the young Moms found out about that night was decoupage. You know, for the most part, the generation behind me does not craft. Weird and shocking, but true.

Here is the piece I took to show how to decoupage. The picture is actually a magazine ad. For something. I don't know what. The ad did not work for the people who paid for it, but it worked great for me. I decoupaged black and white dot fabric to cover the canvas, then decoupaged the paper on top. Cute. Easy.

This morning I did a craft with another Mom group, to supplement a talk that Wonder Woman did on adoption. November is adoption month, in case you did not know. WW gave a very touching and informative talk, and I taught everyone to make button rings. They have little heart charms on them to remind us that we are all adopted into the family of God and that we are always in His heart.

I think the ladies enjoyed it. It was a quicky, they paid attention very well, and crafted nice rings.

Some are even planning to make more for Christmas presents.

Things I learned this week:
  • I need to move back in with my Mother so she can make me do my homework.
  • I made a vow this morning to say NO to everything presented to me until the thesis is finished. I actually said NO twice already today before noon. A record for me!
  • I think I have some skills that could be teachable and shareable. I never think about it that way. But, whenever I do these things, the women like it, ask me questions, and invite me to do it with their friends. All of the knowledge I have accumulated over my life is new to a non-crafting generation (two generations actually). Maybe there is a job for me in here someplace. I have to think about it. After thesis writing.
And so, I have one more presentation this week. Sunday morning I am speaking for a few minutes in front of the whole church. Yeah, I am not looking forward to that one. But, what good is a great mission trip experience if I do not share with everyone who will listen, what God did through us on the trip?

Someone please get over here and tie me to my computer!
Normal Girl

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Someone to Watch Over Me

Warning....Post Overkill!

I have been singing this song all day. I heard from 20 year old Niece 1 that she is going to audition for a Cabaret night at college singing this Gershwin song. I was surprised. This is the kind of song Dad sang around the house when I was growing up. Guess that is why I like it. How do 20 year olds know this song? Well, duh, apparently everyone who ever sang a note has a recording of this song.

I did research.

I forgot they sang it in the new Fame movie....I guess I forgot because that movie was a totally lame copy of the original. By the way, there was a version of the song in the TV show version of Fame by Nia Peeples.

And Katherine McFee sang it on Idol. Missed that one. Once she gets past being pitchy dawg, she does a decent job with it.

Sting??? Not sure about this......

This one made me shake my head. Lady Gaga, I had no idea you could really sing! P.S. Button up your shirt, your underwear is showing.

Amy Winehouse has the voice for this classic, in my humble opinion. Of course, if you go to YouTube, in the comments section, people say every artist who sings this song has the best version. Maybe it is harder to wreck a classic.

I have the Linda Rondstadt/Nelson Riddle version on my iPod.

Who can compare to Ella?

Yep, Old Blue Eyes! The Chairman of the Board. Frankie.

I could not pick my favorite. Is the mark of a classic, that it is the song not the artist that drives it? There are lots more artists singing this song on YouTube. I found a particularly bad version by Julie Andrews. She should sue YouTube. And get it off there.

Is it in your head now?
You are welcome,
Normal Girl

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The West Wing

My current viewing project is The West Wing. Did you know that show had seven seasons? I did not watch it while it was on, but have seen some reruns.

The reason I did not watch it when it was on every week, is because I am the least political person you know. Politics makes me disgusted. I feel like politicians cannot be trusted, they have hidden agendas, and anyone who is a politician is inherently the kind of person I do not want representing me. On what is that based? I am not really sure, but campaign TV ads alone are enough to make me run screaming for the hills.

But, I am mesmerized by this show. All of the characters have redeeming qualities, can tell right from wrong and act on that knowledge, and place the good of other people before their own good. God's commands are actually taken into consideration when decisions are being made. If I were to design the people that ran the White House and our government, I would make them like these characters.

Have you watched the show? How close do you think it comes to reality? I think not much. And if I was given the opportunity to spend a month in the west wing of the White House, I would go in an instant. Just to see.........

I would guess that politicians started out just this way.....but have gotten really sidetracked in 200 years. It is not good for this country. If only the writers of this show were making the country's decisions, I think we would be in a better place. Weird , huh?

Why aren't there more shows with morals? It lasted 7 years, that is a long time for a TV series, something about it worked....
Normal Girl

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Avoidance Project

I accomplished approximately one thing this week. OK, well, two things. If you count finding 23432348 reasons not to sit down and work on my thesis. I seem to excel at avoidance lately. I need some anti-avoidance medication. Or a slap upside the head. Or a time machine that will transport me to January when my thesis will be finished.

But, I did manage to get a new set on stage for the next sermon series. Mind you, the old one is not cleaned up yet, but the new one is ready for the techies. They will be fixing up four or five projectors to show lots of stuff on these stretched fabric screens. That is a lot of white swim suit fabric up there. And isn't that a better use of white stretchy fabric than for swim suits????

Off to,
Normal Girl

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I went to a hugh school sporting event tonight. The national anthem was played before the game. Good. But my sister and I were the only people in the gym that sang the words of our national anthem. There was total silence except for us. I was appalled. No hands over hearts, no singing. What is that?

Is it a trend? Tell me, please. It felt like disrespect. Is this what is happening at sporting events or at schools? People were watching us like we had grown extra heads. How do you hear the national anthem playing and not sing it???? Seriously. Do people not know the words or do they not care?

What about our hard won independence? What about the thousands of service men and women who gave their lives so that we could sing that song? What about national pride? I really have no understanding of this.

Or am I a dinosaur? Thoughts, my friends????
Normal Girl

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dream a Little Dream

When I sleep deeply for the whole night, I have some hysterical dreams. Seems like age or something is not allowing me to do that very much anymore. But last night, I slept Nyquil induced sleep and had a crazy dream.

Yeah, my dreams do not always make sense and the places and people in them change without explanation. Are yours like that?

So, I was in a hotel suite with an older woman, not sure who she was...and The Human Pinball's two youngest kids. No idea what we were doing there. One of the kids had just left to find a bathroom when the room did an abrupt movement that a hotel room could never really make, and suddenly we are in a sharply banking airplane.

The plane was diving and when I looked out the window, there were hundreds of airplanes in the sky, all diving (some going straight down), and all traveling in the same direction. Older woman and I go to look out the front window. No pilots, but that did not seem to be a problem in my dream. It was snowing heavily and I asked the woman to turn the windshield wipers on. Well, of course, she did.

I see we are landing on a road. Somehow, I know we are in Dallas. People are in the way. I knock on the window, like they can hear me, and we land nice as you please on the road. Other planes are landing and some are crashing into buildings. It seems like every plane in the air all over the world is landing or crashing in Dallas.

We exit the plane and I am wondering where in the world we can hide so giant airliners do not land on top of us, when I woke up.

Ok, you dream experts, what in the world did that mean????? I never did find the kid that left the hotel to go to the bathroom. I just kept thinking I did not have to worry because she is smart enough to tell people how to get her back home.

Happy Landings,
Normal (hahahahaha) Girl

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

Even though they make me a year older, birthdays are usually fun for me. Mine was fairly eventful.

I had a surprise this morning when Pastor D read an email to the congregation that I had written to him Lesson: never assume your emails are private, hahahaha! And how pathetic is it that an email that I wrote brought tears to my own eyes? It was about Girls' Night In and I was sort of bragging about the women who went. I am proud of them.

After lunch (which was my favorite growing up lunch, which I will not describe to you so you are not grossed out), I went to a flea market. I spent $5. Got two metal chairs. I am going to use them in a talk I will be giving in November on decorating without spending much money. They have possibilities, don't you think?

And after a really short cat nap, my girls took me for Mexican (my adult favorite) dinner at an authentic Mexican restaurant. I am stuffed. It was good.

Now I have enough time for a sci fi movie before bed.

Good day,
Normal Girl

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rosette Experimentation

Thanks to my very creative friend Helen, I have been making fabric rosettes. Love them. Very trendy.

And, I cannot leave well enough alone, so I had a little rosette experimentation today. I really wanted to add a gold cord, didn't have any, so I added a gold ribbon to the rosette.

And then I added a strand of seed beads.

Naturally, I like the beaded rosette. Which do you like best?
Normal Girl

Friday, October 1, 2010

Girls' Night In Awesomeness

Tonight when we went to Grace Center of Hope, we had a record 21 women in our group. It really was a terrific night. There was a lot of one on one chatting and I watched connections being made.

For our craft, we did bead soup. We all had fun and nearly everyone made at least one bracelet out of the soup.

The kids had their own table and strung beads like nobody's business!

Some played a crazy game. It was kind of dumb. I am not sure anyone liked it, but they gave it a try and at least they sat together and worked on it. Six teenage girls came with us tonight. Sometimes the prospect of spending an evening in a rescue mission with women who we don't really relate to can be daunting for even the most seasoned of us. But, those 6 girls were incredible. They pitched in, playing with the little kids, and visiting with the adults like they had been doing it all their lives. It was humbling to see them so accomplished.

We put together one big long table, brought in extra chairs and sifted through the soup.

Nuthin' better than bead soup baby!

Oh the concentration required to select beads!

Even the little kids had plenty of attention tonight.

It truly was an awesome night. We snacked, we talked, we played, and we made bracelets. We stayed later than we ever have before, and got applause when we said good night!

God is good!
Normal Girl