New-to-Me Foods

I've been working hard to build out my Fun with Food page. It's already home to Edible Crafts, Recipes from United States History, and Family Cooking Competitions. Now I've completed the fourth category:

There, you'll find all sorts of interesting foods I've tried for the first time (chicken hearts, miracle berries, and dried lily bulbs, for example) along with taste tests and eating challenges. Check out what I've tried and add to your own culinary bucket list. And if there's something else you think I should try, please let me know!



Here's the next page from our April adventures in Europe:

Barcelona (affiliate link)

As always, the first step in making the page was narrowing down which photos to use. It was raining when we were in Barcelona, so we took significantly fewer photos than in other cities. That should have made it easier, but it was actually the opposite. I struggled to find pictures to represent the breadth of what we did. I finally narrowed it down to these nine. I chose yellow and red for this layout to reflect the colors of both the Spanish and Catalonian flags. I had to use tiny writing to fit everything I wanted to say into the two small journaling blocks, but I managed!


Rainbow Name Art Ornament

I've made another name art project.

Yes, I know I already have a lot of name art projects. What can I say? I love name art. Someday, years from now....

Anyway, here's the tutorial. I made mine as a rainbow ornament, but obviously you can use whatever colors you'd like. Affiliate links below.


Rainbow Name Art Ornament



Trace a circular object once on white cardstock and then twice on black cardstock. The size doesn't matter that much - use a saucer or a roll of masking tape or whatever else is handy. 

Use the pencil to lightly write the middle letter of your name in the center of the circle. (For Cindy, that's the N.) It should extend all the way from the top to the bottom. If your name has an even number of letters, write the two middle letters centered in the circle. (For example, Trevor would center EV where I've written N.)

Working toward the right, lightly sketch the additional letters of your name. Each letter should touch the next letter. The last letter should touch as much of the right-side curve as possible. Sketch lightly, as it's hard to get it right on the first try and you'll likely need to erase.

Go back to the center and work toward the left, adding the first letters of your name. Again, each letter should touch the next letter. The first letter of your name should touch as much of the left-side curve as possible. 

When you are happy with your name, trace it with the Sharpie.  

Erase the pencil lines, then use the microtip scissors to cut out your name. 

Color in the letters with the colored pencils. You can use whatever colors you want, but I made a 5-color rainbow from left to right. Work slowly, being careful not to wrinkle or rip your name. I colored mine directly on the table pads you see in the photo because I wanted the texture to show up. I assumed (correctly) that the texture would distract from imperfections better than if the color were uniform. 

Cut out the two black circles and glue the name to one of the circles.  

Cut foot-long lengths of embroidery floss in colors that match your name. Use an overhand knot to tie them together at one end. Twist the colors together very tightly, then knot the other end. Some of the twisting will undo itself. Tape the two ends to the back of the black circle with the name, then use glue to sandwich the other black circle over it to help secure it in place. Everything should line up perfectly, but if it doesn't, just trim a little until you're happy. 

Enjoy your name art ornament!


... that one coworker who...

Steve and I both work from home, but Steve is not the one I refer to when I mention my coworker. My coworker weighs 6 pounds and sits under my chair almost every workday. He answers to Trouble... when he chooses to answer, that is. 

... that one coworker who... (affiliate link)

I've been known to complain about my coworker snatching my papers, sneaking into the craft room, or gooing on the hem of my jeans while I'm trying to get things done. When I took the picture of my coworker sitting innocently under my chair, I knew I wanted to make a page about how we all have that one coworker. I started brainstorming all the wacky things my coworker does and laughed the whole time I was doing the journaling for this page. Silly Trouble! 


Prosopagnosia (Face Blindness)

Well, that was interesting:

Steve sent me a fascinating article about prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness. I've always wondered if, along with my aphantasia, there is something wrong with my ability to recognize people. I joke that I would be the worst-ever person to witness a crime, because I honestly wouldn't have any information to provide to a sketch artist. I used to spend a ridiculous amount of time studying my students' photos during the first few days of school in hopes of recognizing them if they wore a different color shirt to school, or talked to me from somewhere other than the desk I'd assigned them. For whatever reason, my brain wants to associate people with the color of their clothing or the location where I met them instead of anything actually useful, like facial features. I am notorious for not being able to tell movie characters apart, which I think may go a long way in explaining why I don't really enjoy movies. I spend the whole time confused because I don't know who is who. I am also notorious for not recognizing people I know if they're in an unusual setting or wearing sunglasses or something. One of my most embarrassing moments of all time was during a trip with Steve celebrating our first anniversary. We were about two hours away from home, visiting a state park, when someone who obviously knew me said hello and started chatting. He was tall and wearing sunglasses. I had no idea who he was. Instead of following normal social conventions and guiding the conversation so I could figure out who it was, I actually asked. It was my boss. The principal of the school where I taught, a man I'd seen multiple times a day for 9 years. Embarrassing, to say the least. I babbled about never seeing him in sunglasses and wait - you're wearing a hat, too! That's why I didn't recognize you! You never wear hats!

People always joke about how no one ever guessed that Clark Kent was Superman. He probably would have had me fooled.

Anyway, my score of 61% put me a hair above the diagnosis point for prosopagnosia, which sounds about right. I don't have problems finding my friends amongst other people, nor do I unintentionally snub friends regularly (at least, not that I know of...) But I'm definitely below average when it comes to recognizing people.

If you have 20 minutes, take the Cambridge Face Memory Test and let me know in the comments how you do!


Easy Tape-Resist Tree with Fall Leaves

Check out this fall tree I made, with absolutely no drawing or painting skills required. It's like magic! Affiliate links below. 

Tape-Resist Tree with Fall Leaves



Orient your chipboard vertically, then put a strip of 3/4" tape straight down the center to make the tree trunk. Fold the ends around to the back of the chipboard.

Use the 1/2" tape to add branches extending diagonally up from both sides of the trunk. Stagger them with uneven intervals between them for a more realistic look.

With the 1/4" tape, add twigs to the branches. Vary their length and angles. 

Dip the edge of the sponge into sky blue paint. Dab it over the tape, covering about half of the exposed chipboard. 

Put red and yellow paint near each other on a palette. Dip a q-tip into one color, then make dots to fill in the unexposed chipboard. Each time you dip, alternate paint colors between yellow and red. This will create the oranges and give the tree a more realistic, random look. 

Carefully pull up the tape, revealing the unpainted chipboard tree.  

When the paint is completely dry, use a dark brown colored pencil to draw lines on the tree to simulate bark. The lines should always go the length of the trunk, branch, or twig. 

Finally, use a lighter brown colored pencil to color in the tree. 

See? No drawing or painting skills needed! And it's a lot of fun. Give it a try!


The Ultimate San Francisco Bucket List

A friend of mine is planning to follow her son, a recent graduate, out of state. Before she moves, she's making an effort to visit as many San Francisco attractions as she can, figuring that she's unlikely to return to the area often in the future. And despite living just outside of SF for 25 years, there are plenty of places she hasn't yet explored. I was helping her brainstorm a bucket list and wanted to share it with all of you. Obviously, this isn't an exhaustive list of every single cool thing to do in San Francisco; instead, I consider these the most iconic things you can only do in SF and that it would truly be a shame to miss.

"Cindy!" you might be saying. "You have included TWO seafood items on this list!" I know. As someone who doesn't eat seafood, it might seem strange that I would include clam chowder and crab as San Francisco must-do items. But both are iconic, an important part of the SF experience. If you're a fellow seafood-phobe, try a tiny bite of someone else's. I've eaten clam chowder and crab in San Francisco and I never have to again. But I can say that I have!

I've been working hard to update my list of recommended places to go in California. It's taking forever, but this post gave me the motivation I needed to complete the San Francisco section. There, you can find links to everything I've listed above and more. And as we visit more locations in San Francisco, I'll continue to add anything else that I recommend. Despite living near San Francisco my entire life and spending a lot of time exploring, there is always more to see and experience. San Francisco is a city like no other and I'm so glad to live where I do. 


Coffee Filter Folklorico Dancer

Mexico celebrates their independence on September 16 (not May 5, as some mistakenly believe). Celebrate Mexican culture with a craft featuring a beautiful folklorico dancer.

Coffee Filter Folklorico Dancer


  • 4 dyed coffee filters (tutorial here)
  • skin tone construction paper 
  • scissors
  • craft glue


Color the coffee filters and let them dry completely. Fold three coffee filters in half, then layer them inside each other to form the skirt. Set the skirt aside. 

Cut the fourth coffee filter in half, then accordion-fold it. Crease it well, then twist the waist area to hold the folds. 

Cut a head, neck, and arms from the construction paper. 

Add hair by cutting black construction paper to match the shape of the head. Add a piece on top for a bun. Nothing should be glued at this point. 

Take time to refine your shapes. I slimmed up my dancer's face and snipped the blouse to give the impression of sleeves. I put her hair more upright and made her belt smaller. I also gave her legs (both from the same piece of paper, but the light is making it look like two different colors). 

Cut out black shoes. When you're happy with how everything looks, glue it all together. I added a fun flower brad (affiliate link) to her hair as a final touch. You can add a face; I chose to leave it blank.  

To my Mexican and Mexican-American friends and readers, I wish you a joyful independence celebration on Monday!


Plaid's Let's Paint Live - Sunset Cactus

Check out my cactus painting!

This painting was the third I've done from Plaid's Let's Paint Live events. (Click to see my starfish and my other cactus.) The cartoony style of the cactus is unlike anything I've ever painted before, which is exactly why I was so excited to jump in and try it. I always learn so much during these paint events and they always take me out of my comfort zone.

Plaid hosts Let's Paint Live nights on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 pm Eastern. If that time doesn't work for you (it's only 4:30 pm here in California), just watch the recording whenever it's convenient. (As a plus, you can hit pause.) The next FREE Let's Paint Live is Chrysanthemum, by the fabulous Priscilla Hauser, on Thursday, October 3.


A Visit to Glashoff Sculpture Ranch

About 8 years ago, our family started to notice fabulous custom mailboxes popping up in the agricultural area in our city. New ones showed up each month or so. Now nearly every rural property in our area has its own personalized mailbox made from reclaimed materials, each the work of local artist Phillip Glashoff. We'd been admiring Glashoff's work for many years. His whimsical sculptures are all over our area - in restaurants and offices, in the lobby of the Downtown Theater, and in homes. His art is instantly recognizable, yet each piece is one of a kind. 

Last weekend, we made an appointment to visit Glashoff Sculpture Ranch, where Phillip Glashoff lives, works, and displays his art. It is incredible. 

Glashoff Sculpture Ranch is in the Suisun Valley, less than 10 miles from our house, in the heart of wine country. 

The road into the property is lined with dozens of whimsical characters. 


Artwork is on display in every corner of the ranch. There is so much to see. 


Every sculpture starts with reclaimed materials, which Glashoff sources from junkyards. He collects materials he knows will be useful, but doesn't start with a design. Instead, he lets the materials guide the artwork. When you look closely at a sculpture, you recognize the gears, silverware, springs, pipes, garden tools, and other items that inspired the piece.



I am smitten with the many animal sculptures. 

I love the musical instruments, too. 

I love this photo that Steve took...

Yes, that's a full-size real car. 

And it wasn't the only one. 

Here are some oversize keys to go with the cars.

Hey, another Liberty Bell replica

This assortment of mailboxes is for sale. I tried, but it's impossible to pick a favorite. 

We had such a fun time exploring Glashoff Sculpture Ranch together.

I highly recommend a visit to Glashoff Sculpture Ranch. Visits are by appointment only; field trips are available as well. We can't wait to go back and see what's new!