Saturday, May 30, 2009

I like this lady's beard.

This lady likes beards.
I like her beards, too.

Do you like her beards?

She makes them and sells them on Etsy.
(Don't I show you just the weirdest coolest stuff on Etsy? I know, right?)

(Can you tell I have a teenager at home?)

Last time I checked her shop, she had beard-y stuff for sale. When I contacted her for permission to republish this coolness for you to see, I discovered another related bit o' fun:
Old Time-y photos.

These gave me gigglefits. It's not just the photos, either. You have to know the story behind these people. Her descriptions start out like this:

Wish your family was a little more exciting? Tired of hearing the same old stories every time the photo album gets dragged out? Add a little spice to your family line with a hand painted vintage photo from my series of Bearded Family Portraits.

These are the Bearded Sisters, a trio that will never be forgotten. These three troublemakers were kicked out of every speakeasy in Brooklyn during the twenties. Each of them were expert pickpockets, only caught once, but their beards made them the talk of the town anyway.

This is Andy. Isn't he a charming chap? He grew the moustache during a long period in Paris, where he was often teased about his boyish good looks. Returning to America, he found that the moustache won over all the ladies, so it stayed.

This is Peter. He's not really very friendly, but every family needs a black sheep. The moustache only adds to his sinister expression, but Peter prefers it that way. He doesn't want to make friends.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Spelling Bee Gigglefest

On the news yesterday morning was a blurb about a home schooled 7th grader up in the Portland area who made it to the spelling bee semifinals in Washington DC. Unfortunately the word pterylosis put an end to his part in the competition. (Do ya blame him? Sheesh. That's a hard word.)

While searching for the results today I came across some video from past competitors that totally cracked me up. I think all these kids (except I'm not too sure about the screaming girl) are absolutely silly and I would be proud to chaperone any school field trip with these jokers.

That's high praise, I tell ya.

This guy quotes a movie that Rachel and I frequently quote. If I was in the spelling bee audience when he makes his joke, I'd be rolling on the floor. Apparently, the commentators and judges haven't seen this cult classic movie...

In the news article along with this video she says she has been more aware of her performance and she has started to whisper the letters into her hand first. Good girl. But holy moley, she sure made an impression!

Oh, and yes, her enthusiasm would be great fun on a school field trip and if she can control the volume while I'm in earshot, I'd love to volunteer to be a chaperone.

Moving on...
Hah! That's what I thought the guy said, too!

And last... I got the giggles along with this guy and giggled through the entire video. Kudos to him for spelling it right, regardless of how he got there. (I like his question about the word "kingdom." Clever tactic...)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Cubes

Here is the "Before" picture.

The cubes., originally uploaded by passitonplates.

These cubes used to be some stacking shelf thing that my dad gave to me when we moved to Oregon. We were desperate for furniture, since a lot of our old furniture had to be left behind and was since demolished along with the house. (Long story.)

One day, out of the blue, I decided they'd be a heck of a lot more useful if they could roll around instead of standing stacked up. So I went out and bought casters.

I'd love to add casters to most of my furniture, by the way. I rearrange my rooms a lot. I'm sure I drive my poor hubby crazy with my rearranging.

Oh. If you add casters to anything, here's a one tip: if you want swivel casters, so they can roll in any direction, make sure that ALL FOUR casters swivel. I didn't think about that until I was at the checkout at the hardware store and was lucky I fixed the problem then instead of when I was trying to roll my cubes around the kitchen later.

Checking the screw length, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

When it was time to install the casters, I rummaged through my box of screws to find the right length. The screw couldn't be too long or it would snag on whatever I wanted to put in the cube.

Instead of fiddling with a measuring tape, I cheated and eyeballed it. That's good enough for me, it's not rocket science.

Setting the screw, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

The holes were marked with a pencil, then I set each screw by tapping the screwdriver with a hammer. This is particleboard, so no need to pre-drill the holes.

Caster secure, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

Repeat with all four screws, then repeat for each caster.
Easy peasy.

This one's done, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

I only put casters on two of the four cubes.
This is the first one, done.

Here are all four cubes. This is in our apartment, when they held kitchen stuff like Frank's big green pot (mmm green pot stew...), his panini press, and the lunch bags. The bottoms held some other appliances and stuff. That was one crowded space, I tell you...

Rollie Cubes (like roll-ee), originally uploaded by passitonplates.

... But I'm a dork. The top cubes are not attached to the bottom cubes, so pushing them around is fun. Especially on carpet. {{sarcasm!!}}

I just can't decide if I want to hinge them or how I want to attach them. I figure I'll know what I want when the right time comes...

Now that we're in the condo, I have them stacked in the same configuration at the front door. It's straight ahead as kind of a half-wall to separate the entry from the living room. They're great cubbies for stashing the green (reuseable) shopping bags, finished library books or rented movies so I can grab them on the way out the door.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Kyle's Birthday Present

This past weekend we went to a birthday party for our nephew Kyle. He and Rachel are only about a year and a half apart in age and they're very good friends.

For his gift, we got him a Tie Dye kit and all kinds of (white) things that he can tie dye.

We can never do anything normal. Instead of packing it all together in one box, we wrapped each thing separately, with instructions to open each thing in numerical order. We figured he should open the tie dye kit last, after opening all the white things to be dyed.

Getting ready to wrap #4, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

In this picture, Rachel and I are getting ready to wrap #4.

"Here mom, cut this for me."
Rachel's job was to draw numbers, Pam wrapped the gifts and cut out the numbers. (Rachel failed scissors class. No really, she's a lefty and cutting out shapes is a pain in the butt for her.) The package was given back to her to glue the number on it.

For my entertainment (I think?) Rachel added goofy drawings to each number, too.

(You should see her science notebook in school. Her teacher showed us during Parent-Teacher conferences and it was a HOOT!)

Everything is boxed and wrapped and ready for the next step.
These are very cool looking as-is. (The black and white paper is from Ikea, of course.)

All the numbered gifts were placed in another white pillowcase, with #7 on the bottom, #1 on top, and all other boxes in between. Spaces were filled in with packing peanuts because it's not only fun to unwrap a lot of presents, but it's fun to make a mess!

(Yes, Rachel and I immediately cleaned up the mess after he opened it.)

You know how boys are, they don't verbalize liking stuff, especially when asked by the weird Aunt, but we both got the feeling he really liked this gift. If we see him wearing a tie dye shirt this summer, we'll know we picked a winner...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bottlecap Craft project

bottlecap magnets

People give me bottlecaps. Bags and bags of them. I don't mind, because they're cool and you can do neat crafty things with them.

Here is a quick and easy craft project for bottlecaps:
Easy peasy.

1. Plug in your glue gun to heat it up.

2. While waiting for the glue to heat up, drink a bottle of pop for the cap. Or you can have a beer. Just make sure that the cap doesn't get warped by the bottle opener. Have you been collecting bottle caps for such a project? Go find em. We'll wait for you.

3. Pump about 3 or 4 triggers of glue into the bottle cap, and let cool until just barely firm. This will elevate the surface the magnet sits on so the magnet will be able to make full contact with the surface you'll stick it to. Like the fridge, as it holds up your grocery list.
...the list that reminds you to buy more pop. Or beer.

4. Squeeze a blob of glue to one flat side of the magnet and carefully place it glue side down in the center of the cap. Be careful not to burn yourself as you hold it in the center. The magnet will want to slide to the rim and stick there. The rim is metal, after all. Push on the magnet, if necessary, to level it out, but make sure it is higher than the metal edge of the cap.

5. When cool, stick it on the fridge. Or wherever. I stuck three to a card and sent it to a friend half way across the country.

She said she likes beer, so hopefully they'll make her happy. Maybe she'll stick it to her fridge, so it can hold up her grocery list.

...the list that reminds her to buy more pop. Or beer...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Calorie-free brownies? Really??

The ceramic paint pens I sell with Pass It On Plates have a variety of uses.
Have you tried one yet?

A recent pot luck dinner dilemma had me wondering if I would ever see my shiny new cake pan after the party. No prob. I whipped out a few of these special paint pens and went to work on the cake pan. Not only is it distinctly mine, it's prettier, too.

The paint pens are designed to be used on ceramic plates, ceramic tiles, and other dishes, but since they become permanent and food safe in the oven, I figured what the heck and tried them on the metal cake pan.

Using the two green colors and dots in pearly white, I drew leaves and vines on one side.

Originally uploaded by passitonplates

Then I took the pearly white color and wrote a little message on one end. It's only visible when the light hits it right. I wanted this to be a funny surprise when noticed.

Funny thing now, this is the end that people always start to cut from.

(I had to take a little cut, myself. For quality control purposes, of course.)

Originally uploaded by passitonplates

Last, make no mistake, this is my cake pan. More importantly, the extra big name says "Pam Hawk MADE THIS FOOD."

People trust my cooking. I don't know why;
when it comes to practical jokes they don't trust me...

Cake pan name side
Originally uploaded by passitonplates

The instructions on the pen say to bake it in the oven at 300F for 30 minutes. I cheated and baked it at 350F for about 20 minutes. The cake brownies were in the pan and I didn't want to mess them up. (Yeah, this was a last minute project thought up at the last minute while I was making the brownies.) I don't recommend cheating, but I figured the retained heat in the pan would continue cooking the pen for a little while longer. Everything stayed intact through the dishwasher, so that's a good sign. The pan's been washed about 4 times since I did this so I'd say it's definitely dishwasher safe.

Do you want one of these pens? They're available here in my Etsy shop.

The brownies are made from scratch. I'll have to post the recipe for you soon. They're pretty darn easy and really good.
Cakey. Yum.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's our 16th Anniversary on Friday

(That's 16 years of wedded bliss, not 16 years of blogging. Just wanted to clarify.)

Look what came in the mail from Mom & John!

An awesome anniversary gift - the book Lifeskills for Success by Dave Anderson of Famous Dave's restaurants. Dave and Frank are both Ojibwe chefs, and Frank has always admired Dave and his success.

On top of that, Dave's book brings up the same subject of the power of the mind, just like many other classic books such as The Secret, Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad, The Richest Man in Babylon, and others.

Frank enjoys part of our anniversary gift

Lifeskills for Success

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Good idea, Caesar

Hey! Where'd the dog go?, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

One very hot day last summer, we decided to go over to our storage unit and do a little cleaning out. Rachel was still at Grandma's on the farm in Wisconsin, so it was just Pam, Frank, and the dog.

At first, Caesar was sniffing around and checking his 'pee-mail' but then Frank stopped and asked,
"Hey! Where'd the dog go?"

Of course.
Five minutes after we arrived and started working, Caesar was back in the car, ready to go for another ride.

I like the way that dog thinks.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Portland Road Trip #2

Continued from last week's SFFD post...

While we were in Portland's Nob Hill neighborhood, we strolled up one side of West 23rd and down the other. It was Sunday, so a lot of places were really quiet, but it was still nice to window shop. Care to join us?

DSCN0552, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

(The guy in the gray jacket is Frank. I was snapping pictures when he got impatient and ditched me.)

DSCN0567, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

I just love the colors in this outfit. Rachel visibly gagged (she's a young teen; what does she know?) and Frank raised one eyebrow. If they had it in my size - and price - I would have gotten it just to be seen with them in public.

Unfortunately the size and price were too little and too big for me. But I still love it.

DSCN0563, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wordle, part II

Ok. Yesterday I told you a long long story about myself that led up to a single word:

To recap from yesterday,
"What the heck is Wordle? It's a super-nifty thingy (technical term, here) that changes text into art. You can either type in words or give it a URL to pull out words from.

Wordle then arranges the words into a word cloud. You can choose from a long list of interesting fonts that I (the "font queen" at home) have never heard of, and you also get to mold the shape of the words. You also control the color.

I absolutely love this. I think I'm going to have to put this on a shirt or tote bag.

Yes, you could use your Wordle on promotional items such as shirts, hats, tote bags, jeans, book covers, magnets, business cards, your website, pillow cases, baby onsies, program an embroidery sewing machine with it, coffee mugs, mouse pads, etc etc etc, ad nauseum. And you're allowed to sell these items for a profit. I checked the Wordle FAQ and they say it's ok.

So this is my Wordle, in all it's happy-colored glory.

wordle from 7-21-08, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

I have to give credit to the fun artists who got me on to this. I first read about Wordle in a post at KMC Designs entitled: Duct tape wallet with an American Trilogy. Next, I read the comments under the post and wanted to check out Eskimimi's word cloud.

Are you as intrigued about this as I am? Go to Wordle and make your own word cloud. Save it, and then please leave a comment here with a link to your own wordle. If mine is a visual wordle-y representation of my personality, I'd love to see what yours looks like.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wordle, part I

When I was about 8 years old, my mom joined the local theatre group and I spent the rest of my growing-up years backstage, on stage, or involved in a theatrical production one way or another. Part of the fun was learning how to take on the characteristics of the people portrayed on stage. Even as a props girl or running a follow spot light, it was fun to pretend to be someone else (and the other back stage personnel was my only audience.)

One year, Mom directed the Rogers and Hammerstein musical "Oklahoma!" and the title song required nearly all the members of the cast to take turns and sing one solo line. Some people could sing very well; others couldn't carry a tune if you put it in a bucket for them. I learned how to mimic the singing voices of the entire cast. (What can I say? I was bored one evening at rehearsal.) With an operatic old lady voice I would belt out "Flowers on the prairie where the June bugs zoom," then I'd change my voice to a soft and gravelly gentleman's voice "Plenty of air and plenty of room." For a week or two I kept it to myself, then one day I sang the whole song with all the voices for my mom. She was dumbfounded as I began, then burst into fits of laughter as I sang the line from the one guy who could not sing no matter how much coaching he had. I warbled out his line just like he did and Mom just lost it. From then on, I loved learning how to mimic voices and accents. I only do phrases that I've practiced, but it's a lot of fun.

A little footnote here: In 2005, Mom was cast as the Old Woman in an indie horror film, "Harvest."

Have you ever seen the ad on tv for the Magic Bullet blender? At one point the Australian guy exclaims that you can blend and serve smoothies "Right in it's own frosty mug!" We make smoothies for breakfast at least once a week and when I serve them, the Aussie guy's exclamation comes out of my mouth. And my too cool for words 12 year old daughter rolls her eyes, takes the smoothie, and exits the room. (I secretly think she's impressed.)

In fact, most of the time I like to embarrass my very hip 12 year old daughter by not acting my age or demographic. At home, I keep the voices alive by using a fake French accent, a fake Indian accent (which Indian? Both feathers and dots; I'm lousy at both,) as well as talking like I'm from the 'hood, Marlon Brando, Casablanca, you name it. Poor embarrassed Rachel nearly blanches when I refer to her friends as her homies (and I say that in my best suburban-mom-goody-two-shoes accent) and when she questions my authority, I give her my little speech about 'respecting the mom' and end it with "Word."

Why so I do this to my tortured middle schooler? Control. I can threaten to talk like this in front of her friends if she "disses" (disrespects) me. No, I don't threaten-threaten her; we have a strict rule at home about treating people with respect, regardless of the situation at hand. But she does know that I can break out in Valley Girl if she's with her friends and things get out of hand. I know she doesn't want any funny talking from me and she knows I don't want any back talking from her. One snotty comment out of her, especially in front of her friends and it's "OMG! Gag me with a spoon!" She's very polite after my outburst.

On the other hand, she's just as goofy as I am, talking like a German Chancellor while making spaghetti with me, or her latest: "LOL Speak" via email to me while I'm at work. What's LOL speak? A sample email from her would go like this.


(Hi, mom. Do you know where I can find my blue hat? If you don't know, can I have your blue scarf? Let me know, ok?)

At home we love words. A few years ago, Mr. Pass It On Plates and I built a ten foot wide by six foot tall wooden bookcase to hold all our books. (Problem is, it doesn't hold them all.) Words are interesting in print and interesting when spoken. The funny thing is that even though we're fascinated by words, Mr. Pass It On Plates is Deaf and we communicate at home in sign language. Yes, I have a fascination with signs and that's a whole 'nother blog post.

That said... (*sigh* ok you have just been exposed to my innate weirdness. I had been holding it back for several months now. Yes, I agree - I think it is hereditary. Maybe the last 9 paragraphs were just TMI - Too Much Information?)

Here's a 180-degree turn from what I just told you but ... (and BTW, I love the name of this website and my have to work it into my various languages with my 12 year old punk.)

What the heck is Wordle? It's a super-nifty bit of programming that takes text that you type in OR it takes text from a URL that you provide and pulls out words. Wordle then arranges the words into a word cloud. You can choose from a long list of interesting fonts that I (the "font queen" at home) have never heard of, and you also get to mold the shape of the words. You also control the color.

I absolutely love this. I think I'm going to have to put this on a shirt or tote bag.

Click here for Wordle, part II
You'll see what I'm talking about. I bet you'll love it too.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's Spam-dandy

SPAM-dandy, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

We have an affinity for the kitschy, weird stuff that just screams "FUN!!"

Of course, this calendar caught our eye and we had to have it.

It is so difficult for us to be normal that it hurts to try.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Unwelcome Visitors...

The image says it all...

Off to the store to buy some boric acid baits...

Portland Road Trip #1

One nice day (ok, overcast but warm,) the three of us piled into the car, picked up Rachel's best friend Ashley on our way out of town, and hit the road.

Destination: West 23rd in Nob Hill, Portland, Oregon.
Okay, it was only about 45 minutes on the road, but it's still a road trip. A mini road trip.

We do go up there as often as possible, since I think we are all really city people at heart. Of course, I brought the camera so I can take a little bit of the city back home with me to Salem. I always find delight in seeing designs and patterns and color juxtapositions, and I wanted to share some of this with you.

While we were wandered around the neighborhood I spied this interesting grassy boulevard along a sidewalk. The legs belong to two silly girls named Rachel and Ashley.

DSCN0574, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

Isn't that a cool artsy fartsy sidewalk? I like how the grass cuts in and out, punctuated by trees.

In the same spot, I turned and spied this lovely "back yard." The homeowner may lament that it's messy or needs more work but how nice would it be to sit at that little table and sip a morning coffee when the air is still cool?

DSCN0575, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

This was shot early in the season, so the flowers have surely exploded into a million brilliant colors by now. Above the table you can see the bright green rhododendron leaves. Those evergreen shrubs blossom into huge ruffled flowers in the springtime. I bet it's stunning.

There is something about the color of terra cotta and green plants that seem so peaceful, and the plant and stone textures in this tidy little yard just add to the mood.

Mark this up as a possible dream home/neighborhood for me, ok?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Almost magical

Last week Rachel and I went up to Portland. We were driving down Stark street when she yelled,
"Oooh! Turn around! You have to see this cool bike!"

Bicycle on Stark St

Here it is.
And the crab apple blossoms were falling like snow at the moment she shot this picture.
What I want to know is: How does the driver stop at stop signs without falling over? Does he/she hang onto the car in the next lane?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Missing Mpls Food

We have lived in Oregon for only a few years. Before that, we lived in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St Paul) for over a dozen years. Our lives out here in the Pacific Northwest are flavored by a Midwestern perspective.
  • We're still impressed by the snow-covered mountains visible from our neighborhood... in the middle of July.
  • We can't get enough of the ocean.
  • Every winter day that we can wear sandals and shorts with our fleece jacket (most any winter day) is deeply appreciated.
  • The absence of mosquitos ... well I don't have to explain how happy we are about that.

On the other hand, being foodies, we miss Minneapolis food. Until just this year we couldn't define Mpls food, and it's still surprising when we realize that the signature dishes of that Scandinavian town are Italian...

...and BBQ. Go figure.

(I'll explain Al Capone's Italian influence on the city later.) Buffalo Wings are another food that Mpls does well, and Oregon seems to overlook, but a recent trip to the fairly new Buffalo Wild Wings (at The Streets of tanasbourne, Beaverton) satisfied that craving.

So about BBQ, we're still on the lookout for decent ribs. If anyone sees (Famous) Dave Anderson, will ya tell him to please hurry and get his butt out here? Or at least his restaurants.

Here's a picture I took of my most recent visit to Famous Dave's BBQ.
This particular one is located at Calhoun Square in Uptown Mpls, a hip and upscale shopping mall. This restaurant has a "train" that passes overhead. Ok, it's just sound and theatrical effects, but it makes the atmosphere as good as the food.

Here is Rachel and the rack of ribs that we shared that day at Dave's. This was taken in 2006.

Yeah, it's been that long.

... now if only Dave's would open a location here in Oregon...

Friday, May 1, 2009

How to dress up a pre-wrapped gift box

"Perma-Bow", originally uploaded by passitonplates.

I love pre-decorated gift boxes but sometimes they just need a little extra something. I also like putting collections of gifts (like gift basket kind of stuff) in the boxes, which means sometimes items are added to the box over a period of days and/or shopping trips.

This makes it easy to gift wrap what I have so far and still add to it as I create/shop.

Of course, I only do this for gifts I'm taking to a friend's house or shipping out of state, because I think the temptation would be too much for certain family members at home who always look for ways to sneak a peek into their own presents... Rachel.

This is super easy and I made (and photographed) this one morning while I was having my first cup of coffee. (Decaf!!) And if I can make this with bleary eyes and only decaf in my brain, you could do it too.
Materials needed:
Sturdy gift box with lid
Length of ribbon to coordinate with the box
Heavy-duty glue, such as hot glue or E-6000
Glue stick
Note: You'll need enough ribbon to go around the box bottom + 4" and enough ribbon to go across the lid x 6. For example, if the box is 4" on all sides, you'll need a total of 16" of ribbon for the bottom of the box. If the lid is 4"x4" with a 1" lip, you'll need 24" of ribbon for the lid.
To start, tie a length of ribbon around the lid, finishing with a bow and trimming the ends as necessary. Secure the bow with a dot of heavy duty glue in a hidden area.
When it looks perfect, turn the lid over.

Cut, glue, and clamp, originally uploaded by passitonplates.
Cut the ribbon so you can form it to the lip on the lid. Apply a line of gluestick glue to the underside of the ribbon, starting at the bow on top, and ending at the cut ends. Use some sort of clip to hold it in place while it dries.

Mark the box, originally uploaded by passitonplates.
To make sure the ribbon on the box lines up with the ribbon on the lid, put the lid on the box and make little pencil marks as a guide.

Measure and cut the ribbon for the box.

Glue and clamp, originally uploaded by passitonplates.
Glue and clamp the ribbon to the box. Make sure the ribbon lines up with your pencil marks.

Let it sit until the glue dries.

Ta-dah! Dressed up gift box!
Oh, and my cost? About $1.25 for the box, ribbon, and glue.