Saturday, September 22, 2012

Texans still speculating on their Yellow Rose

Talk about your tough Texans. “Women and the Texas Revolution” shares stories of history makers who stood by their state. Mary L. Scheer edited this University of North Texas Press release with stories from around the Lone Star. Jeffery D. Dunn includes theories of The Yellow Rose of Texas, a woman who could have been with Santa Anna at The Battle of San Jacinto. This chapter is called “To the Devil with Your Glorious History,” a quote from a woman who wanted the losers bodies collected from her property, pronto.
A gem of an evening
Brian R. Alter of Alter’s Gem Jewelry gave a fascinating talk at the McFaddin-Ward Home regarding the myths and lore of gems. My mother and I had a memorable time learning tidbits how ancient cultures used gems for healing. Ground turquoise was ingested to calm the stomach, because of its mineral makeup. Gems pressed to the eye area were used to heal, as the stones were cold. Alter shared how jewelers date jewelry with clues from the clasps, settings, etc. He also had one of those great anecdotes about a woman who brought an old ring in to clean before she gave it to her housekeeper. An appraisal made her look for the matching pieces, which all sold for a huge amount.
I’m heading back to the McFaddin to see “The Birds,” 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Your phone's Halloween costume

Does your smart phone have its Halloween costume yet? Dress it up with a Bubble Buttons monster, which has no calories at all. Or those of us “into food” can stick on a fried egg, doughnut or pizza image to help us navigate our phone world better. The resin-coated bubble really does feel good on that home button you push all day. I’d never have guessed a cute little bit of texture could feel so good. Phone fans into sports, music, mustaches, etc. can also turn their concave iPhone, iPad and iTouch button into a bubblicious experience. Visit or head to Urban Outfitters.

And now, a word

LIVE is the message on the front of my just-right pink v-neck long-sleeved shirt. Live, Imagine, Value and Embrace (LIVE) is spelled out on the back. Chewy Loud Designs has some inspirational words to wear. Positive thought can heal, believes Alyssa Dinowitz, who created a line after supporting her mother through chemotherapy sessions for breast cancer. Chemo Companions are designed to promote physical and spiritual strength. I don’t think you can have a bad day while wearing such good thoughts. I love the way Dinowitz thinks.

How about your own word?

Some people already romance license plates. can help you personalize your plates like never before. I spoke to representatives who showed me some cool ideas about branding your ride. They are a Texas Department of Motor Vehicles vendor you might want to check out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spoon and steam get the laundry done

Did you know a spoon could help you iron around buttons? Rowenta offers laundry tips. This company sells high-end steam irons and other tools that look like kind of space age when placed by my iron. They sure look like they’d get the job done, and therefore be worth the investment. I’ve never used a Rowenta product, but I encourage you to look at their site and they’ve encouraged me to share these:

DIY Ironing and Garment Care Tips


· Do not put on the garment immediately after ironing. This can actually cause new wrinkles to form. Instead, let it sit for 5 minutes, which enables the press to set.

· Many people like the extra crispness that spray starch can provide, particularly with shirts. The correct way to obtain that look is to spray the starch on the shirt, roll the shirt into a ball, and wait about 30 seconds before pressing. This allows the fabric to absorb the starch.

· Large items should be ironed at the wide end of the ironing board. To help keep the item clean, lay a plastic table cloth or old sheet on the floor beneath the board.

· To reduce shine caused by over-pressing or wear, soak a press cloth in water, and then ring it out. Place the damp cloth on top of the shiny surface and press. Repeat several times until the area is almost dry, then, using a soft brush raise the nap of the fabric.

· For razor sharp creases, iron the crease and then set it with a burst of steam.

· When ironing over delicate buttons, cover them with the bowl of spoon and press the surrounding fabric.


· Pleats should be ironed from the bottom, starting with the inside of the pleat, and then moving to the outside of the pleat. If necessary, pin pleats to the ironing board at top and bottom; avoid ironing over the pins. To set pleats, use a burst of steam.

Gee, your hair smells like lemon verbena

Remember the TasselAire I just wrote about? Dip the center of a decorative tassel into a sent and you get the double pleasure of viewing and inhaling. Agraria has a whole line of candles, perfumed burning sheets, bath salts, etc. I just treated myself to a lemon verbena shampoo that has layers of scents. I keep finding reasons to need another shower. Here’s the description from the site: Bright & brisk, Lemon Verbena evokes the fresh, clear exuberance of lemon-scented verbena leaves, enhanced with a touch of Caribbean lime & hints of rose & jasmine.

I want to make this bottle last as long as possible, but there are other shampoos and bath gels to try: Lavender and Rosemary, Balsam and Bitter Orange, which sounds delightful as we head into fall.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ready for lunch and deep fried football

I ran across the old plaid lunch box that I used in elementary school. It had been my sister’s before that, so I considered it a relic of pride. It came with drawings inside of children playing safely and picking up litter. I covered it in stickers. It’s now a little rusty, so I ran it through the dishwasher. The best part was inside, and I forgot about it. Remember those tapes you’d run through a clicker and dial out our message that would get stamped onto the tape? Inside I’d used one of those to spell out “Debbie is Great.” And, I must have loved her a lot, because I used the fancy wood-grain tape that looked like a station wagon door.

Debbie is still great.

Fry up some football

The Dallas pages are offered in the spirit of Thanksgiving, for cowboys and city slickers: Deep Fried Turkey, Deep Fried Stuffing and Deep Fried Mashed Potatoes in Gravy Batter.

Texas Tots on the Houston spread offer a “Taste as big as Texas,” along with John T. Gueseman.

His handy little book is “Driveway Chef’s Cookbook for the Football Season: A Deep Frying Cookbook” and works just as well in driveways outside of Texas.

Our neighbors in New Orleans get a recipe for fried Angel Food Cake, a heavenly food for any Saint.

Gusemen has humor and fry skills, serving up Raven’s Eggs for Baltimore fans. With easy steps and photos of finished feasts, he’ll guide you through frying up meat loaf, spaghetti, apples, potatoes and other touchdowns.

Here’s a quickie “gateway food” to represent St. Louis:

Fried Ravioli

2 pounds ravioli, cooked

Garnish, marinara sauce

Deep fr cooked ravioli for 2 to 3 mntes, depending on the size of your ravioli, stirring often, then drain.

Garnish in a saintly fashion.

Deep Fried Pineapple

1 can lemon lime soda

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

2 20-ounce cans sliced pineapples, drained and patted dry

Garnish: Powedered sugar

Mix the soda, four and sugar to form a batter

Dip the pineapple slices into the batter

Deep fry for 2 minutes, turning after 1 minute, then drain.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve like you are the best of the best.