My favorite iPhone Photo Collage App…in the whole wide world

iPhone App Montage Magic – in a word….MAGICAL!  A tutorial…..

  • Can you save in Hi-Res? YES!
  • Can you import fonts from the internet? UNBELIEVABLY, YES!!!
  • Can you move stuff around and rotate and scale photos and text by dragging and tilting your finger position? YES!
  • Is there an in-app tutorial? YES!
  • Is it really, really easy to use? YES!
  • Will you show me how to use it? YES YES YES!….if you click on the pictures below to enlarge them!

At this point, just “Go for it!” and play around with it!

I found out about this app through a fantastic blog called iOs Photo Apps and they even have a video tutorial!!  Yay!

By Eleanore Macnish

Friday’s Gift…..have you heard of Fiverr?

Last weekend our neighbors had a crawfish boil!  Sitting in the driveway under a tent strung with lights, at a folding table spread with newspapers drinking a Hurricane while the kids played tag in the yard….a pretty great way to start off the warm weather months!  While drinking aforementioned Hurricane, I started talking to this great artist and blogger, Laura Bruzzese! She is really funny and really talented too – an awesome combination!

Laura told me about this fantastic site called Fiverr.com — I may be completely out-of-the-loop, but it was the first I had heard of it and since hearing about it last weekend, have probably spent 60 minutes of my life trolling the hilarious videos of people telling me what they will do for me for $5 bucks!

One guy will create a video testimonial for you/your company as the “Plastic Bag Man“, another will produce a video in which your message/logo is revealed inside a banana; and there is even a little kid who will sing Happy Birthday while holding her little dog Manny!

Enjoy your weekend!

By Eleanore Macnish

What’s In Your Bag? Mine’s like Mary Poppins’ without the lamp!

Years ago I read about an artist by the name of  Nathalie Lecroc, a Parisian artist.  You make an appointment with Ms. Lecroc, meet her at her apartment and empty the contents of your handbag onto her dining room table. Three hours later, she hands you a watercolor painting of your bag contents. The only rule is that you cannot not edit the contents before you visit Ms. Lecroc….and she can always tell when someone has – usually pharmaceuticals — which I also edited in my photo….seemed like a good idea….

What’s in my bag….

According to Ms. Lecroc, American women always carry mints and more make-up than French women & French women usually carry a good luck charm of some sort.  The oddest things she has seen? Firecrackers, a hula skirt, part of a sandwich & lettuce……hmmm, I wonder what she would think of the little bag of magic tricks I carry around with me (between my purse and the little round box with a red lid in the photo above) – and yes, that is a fake thumb.  I was a little taken aback by how much I carry around – like Mary Poppins’ without the lamp! …..I actually weighed my purse after I photographed everything and it weighed in at 6 lb!

There is also an awesome time-sucking Flickr site where you can spend countless hours looking at the contents other people’s bags…….I don’t even want to think about how much time I have spent looking at What’s In Your Bag [but NOT camera bags] on Flickr!

Contact Nathalie Lecroc at pypaul@club-internet.fr

Google her name for wonderful articles and photos of her work!

By Eleanore Macnish

Friday’s Gift……”Saving Graces”

“Why Ellie Mac – Tart of Life?  Why do you think these things are so “fly”?”

Because they “rock” – that is why!

#1. Bill Atkinson’s Photo Card iPhone App – Ohhhh yes, there are so many photo card apps and I have many of them; but this one is the one I keep going back to time after time! Easy to use, fantastic quality & customer support, 5×7 postcard (laminated front and back) arrives in your mailbox…..love, love, love!  A “saving grace” for me because I tend to document my child’s life on my phone!  I take a picture with my phone, choose it as the front image, type a message on the back (there is plenty of room), add little “stickers” -the heart and basketball in this photo), send it to myself and sometimes others – Done! Yay!!

You buy PayPal credits ahead of time, so you never have to enter your credit card info or “log in” – you just choose if you want to email the card (free) or have it sent in the mail. It costs $2 to send the card by mail.  Particularly helpful when on vacation! – you just compose one card and choose as many recipients as you would like from your contact list!

#2.  Stuck On You ID Labels.  Ok, I know at the outset this might seem like a “no big deal” thing………and in that case you would be wrong…….so very very WRONG!  A friend of mine (April Young) turned me on to these about 5 years ago and I love them so much, I even have a set for myself with my email address!

This is why they are so amazing:

  • They are dishwasher & microwave safe.
  • They are vinyl (not paper!)
  • You can put them on the inside of shoes & coats
  • They are so small, kids are not embarrassed of them (the ones in this link are about the width of your pinkie finger nail) – and you can trim them down to just their name to make them even smaller.
  • They come in “cool” colors.
  • Stick them to everything!  Mobile phones, tools, inside of luggage, loop around the zipper of anything, cameras, chargers (think “Girls weekends” when everyone is plugging their charger into any available socket and everyone’s is the same), iPods, iPads, Nintendos, laptops, key fobs, notebooks – a bottle of wine – ha! – anything you do not want to lose – slap one of these babies on it and you’re good to go!
  • Think: Every single freakin’ thing you send your kid to school with – lunch boxes, cups, supplies – anything you want back or don’t want to have to buy again if it is lost – think about that my friend!

This a NOT a sponsored blog post – these are just things I love and thought you would like to know about – that is if you don’t already know about them!

Enjoy your weekend!

By Eleanore Macnish

How to Re-Wire a lamp…..a Feminist approach…..

Ok, so I found this COMPLETELY AWESOME lamp in a consignment store in a small town east of Albuquerque.  Some friends and I had “road-tripped” (a friend of ours who owns an “Party Planning & Events ” company planned the day to a town 45 minutes east of Albuquerque…..in a limo — (it helps to have friends in high places….or friends who plan things for people in high places!  Ha!) )  It’s an old mining town and we went for lunch and to “look around” in some stores.

In one of the stores, my friend Marci passed this lamp and said “If Eleanore sees that, she’ll buy it.”  Another friend said “Oh I HOPE not! Should we hide it?”….Marci: “No! We can’t hide it!…but she will buy it.”

As I descended the stairway,  I saw HER (the lamp) – the clouds parted – angels sang – she spoke to me – SO trashy that she tips the scale into the “awesome” category and I HAD to buy HER for $15.00 – making one of my friends very worried about my sanity. We loaded her in the trunk with all of the other “finds” from the day and she sat in my studio for months – until one day I had finally had enough! I had to give her the respect she deserved!

I searched YouTube for videos about how to rewire a lamp.  I found a completely objectionable one (see the bottom of this post ….WTH?)  and a completely wonderful one whose narrator is my new boyfriend (he cannot be my husband because I am happily married, but he can be MY JUSTIN BEIBER OF LAMP RE-WIRING — AND HE IS!!!). I love this guy!

He speaks to you like you are someone who doesn’t know how to wire a lamp, but wants to know how to wire a lamp…..so he shows you how to wire a lamp in a concise, straight forward and easy to understand way. He tells you what you need to know—love him!

I rewired her, patched the chips on her base and replaced missing rhinestones in her ears and on her neck – and now she is again truly regal and sits on my desk in my studio!  – A testament to decades gone by and what was once “fashionable”!  I love her because she is so hideously tacky and overdone …so much so – that she is fabulous – like Las Vegas! And I love her because she will always remind me of the wonderful day with my girlfriends!!

Now for my FEMINIST APPROACH TO RE-WIRING A LAMP! Don’t watch the video below.  That is my Feminist approach. Watch the first video and not the one below.

Offensive video: How to Rewire a Table Lamp: A Course for Women.   — I kid you not – click the link and see (even though I just told you not to watch this video).  Here are some of the choice quotes from this video.  Am I being sensitive? I think not!

1. “Even if you have a partner who can do the rewiring, sometimes you end up waiting a looong time to get the job done – know what I mean ladies?”  Cue music track “wah wah wah wah” & picture of a guy asleep on the couch.

2. “Notice that one screw is bronze and the other one is silver. Remember that! We’ll talk about that later. Ok, now pause this video and pair up into teams and dis-assemble your lamp!

PAIR UP INTO TEAMS?????  Really? Do we really need to pair up into teams to REWIRE A LAMP!?!?  I just want to know how to rewire a lamp for God sakes!   The only reason I watched the whole video was to make sure it wasn’t a joke….unfortunately, it is not a joke. It is serious and is narrated by a WOMAN who sounds like she is speaking to Kindergarteners, which makes it even worse! 

Have fun rewiring your lamp – by yourself!

By Eleanore Macnish

Friday’s Gift……Fill in the blanks and make your own crossword puzzle!

Crossword I designed for the child of a friend – kids LOVE this….because it is all about them!

There is a site I truly adore.  I adore everything about it….the aesthetics, the mission, the beautifully honest and charming way she speaks about everything that is who she is, what she makes, why it is important to her, her products and her wonderful sporadic blog (I gather she is quite busy!).  “She” is Lea Redmond and she is refreshing and so great!  Her site is filled with her products and many free projects – my favorite is one of her conceptual knitting projects called the “Sky Scarf“, in which you knit a row of whatever color the sky happens to be everyday; at the end of the year, you end up with a 5 foot long scarf that is a visual sky calendar of the past year.

One day while looking at her blog, I happened upon a link that generates a crossword puzzle with your own words!  -You also write the hints (obviously)!  Such a fun thing for birthdays, holidays…..or any day! Kids love it because it is all about THEM!! — and you can make the answers as simple as can be, so even a 4 year old can enjoy something like this as long as an adult is there to fill in the blanks!  NOTE: Sit down and come up with a list of questions and answers first – then go to the site and plug in your answers & questions!

** #2 across “An old ______ injury makes Eleanore’s (me) back hurt sometimes.”

Answer: Bullfighting (I have an old bullfighting injury that makes my lower back hurt – but only about once a year…..and it is waaaaay cooler than having an old tennis injury!  When I was pregnant and hurting because of it, my OBGYN just looked at me dumbfounded.  I said “I was not fighting a bull yesterday! It was 15 years ago – in Spain no less!!” …..my explanation didn’t seem to make a difference.)

Enjoy your weekend!

By Eleanore Macnish

Manifesto of an 8 year old: “Why I Should Have My Ears Peirst”

This just pulls at my heart strings….

Ooooh the earnestness of youth!  I just love that my daughter does this!  She has only done it twice but each time she has delivered one of these notes, my heart just melts. She does NOT understand why sanctions are imposed on her and she does her best to make a persuasive argument….as only an 8 year old can.  Above is her first Manifesto…..(her second was regarding why she should be allowed to have and play the X-Box game “Assassins Creed”…..but that is a different story.)

Perhaps the reason this so “gets” to me is her persistence (after many conversations about why she could not have pierced ears until she was 12) and the heart-felt earnestness.

I finally caved when she was nine.  We were at Anthropologie when two separate women came up to me, in the space of about 5 minutes, and said “I think your son is looking for you”, as my daughter was calling “Maaaama?!? Maaaaaaaama! Can you hear me?” while walking through the store (I was standing by the sale rack and responding “I’m right here, just follow my voice”….really really softly…kidding – I said it loudly enough for her to hear).

I thought “Really!??  You mean my “son” who is wearing pink sweatpants and a shirt with daisies printed all over it…..who has a Pixie Cut?”  There was just something about the whole experience that irked me…..we got in the car and she said “Where are we going next?” ….and I said “To the mall to get your ears pierced (peirst)!”

I look back on that time and remember thinking: “Yes, I am giving in — will she remember this and learn from it and exploit my emotions in the future? Does getting her ears pierced at nine instead of 12 really matter in the grand scheme of things?  Will it lead to drinking or other self destructive behaviors at an early age? Will she think me weak?  If she does realize my weakness, will she organize elaborate “flash mob” situations without me even knowing, as a teenager to convince me I should extend her curfew?…..just because I let her get her ears pierced at age nine?” – Probably not.

Amazingly enough, no harm done!…..with the exception of having permanent holes in her body!


……..and then I thought, “you know what? I’ll bet this doesn’t really matter…..except it matters a lot to her.”        

UPDATE:  She is now 10, and is feeling “pretty good”, and is trying her best to navigate the “pre-tween”  waters!

Hopefully, she did not hire those women to approach me……….

If anything pops into your mind of stuff that may be coming my way in this regard….please comment with how you handled it – so I can be prepared! Thanks!!

Update: This blog was featured on Daily Buzz Moms – Raising Daughters. Check out other fun blog posts about raising daughters!

By Eleanore Macnish

Friday’s Gift….. Kitchen tips you will love – even if you don’t “cook”

Cook’s Illustrated is my favorite cooking magazine!  I love their scientific approach to cooking and how they explain WHY some things work and some things do not!  I also love, love, love their “Quick Tips” section of suggestions sent in by readers! Nine years ago, Cooks Illustrated published The Best Kitchen Quick Tips – 534 tricks, techniques and shortcuts for the curious cook – be still my heart! Filled with “Duh! I can’t believe I never thought of that!” and “Oh my gosh! That is a fantastic idea – I would have never thought of that!” tricks….at least that is what I think every time I pick it up to read a few pages!

“Friday’s gift” to you is a small collection of my favorite tips (below the photo)and this link to where you can buy this most amazing book!

Illustrations from Cooks Illustrated Best Kitchen Quick Tips

My favorite tips and tricks:

1. You know how cooking spray gets all over the place when you are spraying a pan? Open you dishwasher and place the pan on the opened door of the dishwasher and spray it.  Any “overspray” will get washed away the next time you run the dishwasher! Duh!

2. Line your brownie pan with two rectangles of parchment paper (make diagonal cuts on the corners to allow the paper to fold in on itself when you pour in the batter). Bake and lift out the brownies — you do not even have to wash the pan!  Yay!

Did you know you can get pre-cut stacks of parchment paper?  They are fantastic! Available on Amazon.

3. Twist a potato onto a corkscrew and use the corkscrew as a “handle” while you are peeling the potato = no cut fingers!

4. To remove hard boiled eggs from boiling water, use a pasta spoon – one of those things with the little fingers and holes for water to drain.  One would think I would have figured this out after cracking many an egg trying to remove them with a too shallow spoon or tongs!

One last tip – this one is my own. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne chile powder and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to brownie batter for a wonderfully subtle and delicious mild spicy “heat”.

By Eleanore Macnish

POP-UP OFFICE!

I realize I have a bit of an obsession with being prepared (I keep an SAS Survival Manual in my car emergency kit (I’m serious)….so that I will know how to find pure drinking water inside of a cactus….and how to make a fire without matches (in case mine get wet)….I kid you not – it’s a “thing” with me.  No, I do not store gallons of drinking water and stockpile arms and ammunition….but I still keep the SAS Manual in my car emergency kit, along with 5 year old granola bars……..and candles…..and matches….and weird silver space looking blankets that crinkle really loudly but are super warm.

When I first started doing “Shows” (glass bead/jewlery/craft shows), I brought a good part of my studio and anything else I could possibly need with me — I was PREPARED FOR ANYTHING! – had the Earth been invaded by Aliens, I would have been fine for at least 2 weeks, hiding under my craft show table and assembling jewelry. But alas, over the last 12 years of doing glass bead and jewelry shows…..Aliens have not invaded the Earth and I have spent waaaay too much time and energy being “Prepared” and lugging a plethora of UN-needed items to shows and home!

Now, I only do one show per year (To Bead True Blue) and it is every February in Tucson during the big Gem & Mineral Show; it is a 6 day show. Every year, I return home and say “what did I not use this year – and is there anything I COULD have used that I did not bring?”

I have gotten it down to three bins….and in one of those bins, is my “POP -UP OFFICE”!

Because I have annotated this down to the last “paperclip” so to speak, I will offer no more advice other than this: If you find I have missed an important thing, please comment!!!

Wait! Before you comment!  I bring tissue paper for wrapping, but do not keep it in my POP-UP OFFICE!….so don’t comment on that.

Also, it is really nice when you need to grab it to just go to a little gathering where you are selling your jewelry/beads, between shows – everything will be there when you need it – as long as you throw in your business license and “Square” credit card swipe “thingy” (I keep mine in my cash bag). It has taken a long time for me to learn to do this, but I love it and it takes up so little space and is ready to go when I am!!!

Please comment about things you could not live without at a show or things you might add to a POP-UP OFFICE!

(click on any photo to make it HUGE!)

This is my “traveling office.” I purchased it for $8.00 at a Thrift store and it is a “briefcase” if you are ever looking for one online..although I would suggest visiting your local thrift stores….they ALWAYS have these and it is good to see the size in person! Mine is 18 x 12 x 4.5″

Friday’s Gift…..David Eyre’s Pancake Recipe

I thought it would be fun to post a little “gift” every Friday…..a recipe, a fun website, a cool craft tutorial, etc.  Something fun to get the weekend started!

Today’s “gift” is this recipe for David Eyre’s Pancake Recipe from 1966 (with some changes/additions I have made).

Variations and names abound – Dutch Baby, German Pancake, or David Eyre’s Pancake – call it what you will, just be sure to try it!  It looks tricky but is the easiest thing in the world – I make it for my daughter before school, if that gives you any idea about the ease of making this dish!  It takes about 5 minutes to make and 20 minutes to bake – and works every time!  Be sure to scroll down for single serving ingredient measurements, other ways to serve it, and links to the original recipe!

Serves 2 to 4

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon whole milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Pinch of nutmeg

2-4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (***I only use 2 Tbs butter)

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Juice of half a lemon

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the flour, milk, beaten eggs, and nutmeg in a bowl. Beat lightly with a whisk. Leave the batter a little lumpy and let rest for 5 minutes.
  2. While the batter is resting, put 2 Tbs butter in a 12′ heatproof skillet and put skillet in oven for 3-5 min. – check at around 3 min. to make sure butter is not burning.
  3. When the skillet is very hot, remove from oven (careful!), swirl butter around bottom to coat and pour in the batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pancake is golden brown.
  4. Sprinkle with the sugar and lemon juice, and serve with jelly, jam.
  5. Serve in the pan and rip off pieces (be sure to place pan on a heatproof surface!)

Single Serving 

(Single serving measurements are not exactly half of the full serving, but oddly enough they work. Also, be sure to use a smaller skillet.)

Scant 1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Bake 15 minutes

Additional ways to serve: 

Brunch, lunch or dinner

After the pancake has been baked, add anything you would add to an omelet (shredded ham, mushrooms, spinach, etc) and a bit of shredded cheese to half of the pancake. With a spatula, fold over the other half and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt – or put it back in the still warm oven for a couple of minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve with a simply dressed spinach salad. Served this way, a pancake made in a 12″ skillet will serve three people. 

Links to the original recipe and a history of the family recipe from David Eyer’s daughter!

David Eyer’s Pancake from Food52

David Eyer’s Daughter’s Note – be sure to read this; it is so touching and provides a wonderful context for this recipe!  You will think of it each time you make this!

By Eleanore Macnish