pen rainbow

Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday—The Photoshop Gallery

 My pix from this week (ending May 31)

Click HERE to view on flikr

a butterfly at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park

Memorial Day 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday Mini-Post: 2D Furniture

 2D furniture by Japanese design studio, YOY

Thinking out of the box...

_ pix by Yasuko Furukawa _

a printed elastic canvas...

Founded in 2011 by designers, Naoki Ono and Yuki Yamamoto

_ amazing furniture _

a built-in aluminum & wood frame...

functional seating!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for The Home

Handy ribbon holders!

A great way to store ribbon!  Thnx, cousin Jolene

I saw this idea on my cousin, Jolene's, Pinterest page and decided to try it.  These are pant hangers available at Target and The Container Store.  They make great ribbon holders!

Pros:  Accessible, out-of-sight, good use of space, easy to move

Cons:  Takes up closet space, heavy hangers so you need a metal rod

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday's Cupboard—Brown Butter Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies Follow-Up

Last week I posted the recipe — This week I made them!

Like classic chocolate chip with a mocha-butterscotch twist

Click HERE for the recipe (originally from Kevin &

OMIGOSH, these are so good!  This is a coffee-flavored (mocha) cookie.

My Substitutions

The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules.  I used a tablespoon of Starbucks Mocha instant coffee, which is a blend of sugar, coffee & chocolate flavorings, plus a tablespoon of regular Starbucks medium-strength instant House Blend.

These were not available at Safeway, so I substituted Nestle butterscotch chips.

Again, not on the shelf at Safeway, so I substituted Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips

I used flaked salt instead of sea salt because flaked salt is smaller & flatter and fits into the nooks and crannies better than the rock-style sea salt.  A little goes a long way, so just a sprinkle will do.  Also, because the cookies have a relatively smooth surface when they are done, the salt will roll right off if you don't get it onto the cookies immediately.

Things to Know
The cookie dough is very dense, and the chips don't want to stick to the dough, so I rolled them into balls and then flattened them by hand before baking.  They turn out like the big, hearty cookies you get in a deli.

I baked mine on a SILPAT instead of parchment.  Mine took about 14 minutes to bake, rather than 10 minutes as instructed in the recipe.  Mine did not brown on the edges, either.  I just took them out when they appeared to be firm, and they smelled like they were done.

Brown the butter

Dry ingredients — flour, instant coffee, baking soda & salt

Everything except the eggs

My favorite measuring spoons from Asilmar

Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips + Nestle butterscotch chips

Hot out of the oven!  Time to sprinkle on the salt

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday—Memorial Day 2013

Gratitude for service to our country
photo by dsmp — flags on my porch —armed services oath of enlistment

Today is a day to honor those who have served in the military.

✪  Click HERE for stories from the Veterans History Project

✪  Click HERE for the official website of the Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.

✪  U.S. Involvement in Wars Since the American Revolution

Indian War Campaigns (1622 - 1924) — 302 years of ongoing conflicts before & after the American Revolution ending with President Calvin Coolidge
Settlers & U.S. Government v. Native Peoples of North America 

American Revolution  (1775 - 1783) — No sitting president.  President George Washington was elected by the Electoral College in 1789
English Colonists v. Great Britain

Franco - American Naval War (1798 - 1800)  President John Adams
United States v. France

Barbary Wars (1801 - 1805, 1815) — Presidents Thomas Jefferson & James Madison
U.S. v. Morocco, Algiers, Tunis & Tripoli

War of 1812  (1812 - 1815) — President James Madison
United States v. Great Britain

Mexican - American War (1846 - 1848)  President James K. Polk
United States v. Mexico

U.S. Civil War  (1861 - 1865) — President Abraham Lincoln
Union v. Confederacy

Spanish-American War  (1898) — President William McKinley
United States v. Spain

Troop ship Spanish-American War
my great-grandfather, Henry Olinghouse (far right)

Henry Olinghouse (my great-grandfather)
blanket toss - photo taken by my great-grandfather, Henry O.

World War I  (1914 - 1918) — President Woodrow Wilson
Germany, Italy & Austria-Hungary v. Britain, France, Russia & the United States

Ralph Olinghouse (& Ruby) — grandmother's brother & sister

World War II  (1939 - 1945) — Presidents FDR & Harry Truman
Germany, Italy & Japan v. United States, Great Britain, France & Russia

Harold Ballinger  — mother's father
John Robert Reid — mother's uncle
Bobby Reid, Jr — mother's cousin

Korean War (1950 - 1953) — Presidents Harry Truman & Dwight D. Eisenhower
United States as part of the UN & South Korea v. North Korea & Communist China

Reynold Jones — my dad

Vietnam War (1960 - 1975) — Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon & Ford
United States & South Vietnam v. North Vietnam

Bay of Pigs (1961) — President John F. Kennedy
U.S. v. Cuba

Grenada (1983) — President Ronald Reagan
U.S. intervention

US Invasion of Panama (1989) — President George H.W. Bush
U.S. v. Panama

Persian Gulf War (1990 - 1991) — President George H.W. Bush
U.S. & Coalition Forces v. Iraq

Bosnia - Herzegovina (1995 - 1996) — President Bill Clinton
U.S. & NATO intervention

Invasion of Afghanistan (2001 to Present) — President George W. Bush
U.S. & Coalition Forces v. Taliban Regime in Afghanistan

Invasion of Iraq (2003 to 2010) — Presidents George W. Bush & Barack Obama
U.S. & Coalition Forces v. Iraq

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday—Have a Courageous Week

Have this kind of courage this week...

cour • age [kur - ij]
1.  the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear.

1.  fearlessness, dauntlessness, intrepidity, pluck, spirit

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along.'"   ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday, May 25, 2013

tHE sATurDaY sToRE—I Love America Pillow $30

A patriotic little pillow for the summer holidays — Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

"I Love America" hand-embroidered cotton muslin
decorative pillow
Price:  $30 + free shipping


This cute pillow measures 14"L x 9-1/2"W x 4"D.  Colors are rust, taupe, blue, antique gold & dark gray embroidery on natural muslin that has been tea-stained and lightly sprayed with coffee for a rustic look.  Back is a rust, gold & black plaid cotton fabric.  No zippers or buttons, no openings.  Stuffed with Polyfil.  Hand-wipe to clean.

Rust, gold & black cotton back

Corner ties_no zippers, buttons or openings

Sprayed with coffee for a rustic tone

Close-up of the scarecrow's face

Tea-stained cotton muslin (accurate color)

Close-up of embroidered words

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday—The Photoshop Gallery

My pix from this week

This first photo is a lesson about collections. We were supposed to photograph things that we've collected, but since I'm all about decluttering these days, I don't have a lot of collections!  These are minerals I kept from jars of Ojav├án bath salts.

Black tourmaline = alleviate negative thoughts & worry
Amethyst = protection & stress relief
Celestite (blue rocks) = calm & clarity
Rose quartz = soothes the heart
Quartz crystal = energy & amplifies other crystals
Citrine = intellectual energy & creativity

This photo was shot on a white background with a handpainted watercolor spot texture (by Leslie Nicole of French Kiss Collections) applied as a layer on top of the photo.  I erased the texture away from the rocks.

icollect minerals!

It was also apple week!

This one was done in Lightroom + PS3 + PS5 + Radlab

3apples on vintage linen_cropped 1:1

I always like to try it in B&W 

B&W with a slight warming filter & a grunge texture to add softness

This next series started with the first photo in PS.  This variety of apple is called, Pink Lady.  I sent the finished pic out to my iPhone and ran it through different treatments in Autopainter I, II & III.  Then, I sent all of the pix back to my email, then to my iPhoto library, then back into PS to reduce the image size for blogger's photo preferences.

4pinkladies_this is what I started with (PS + 2 textures)

4pinkladies_Autopainter I Benson_soft & bright

4pinkladies_APII  Felt Tip_I love the bold strokes of Felt Tip 

4pinkladies_AP II Book_ kind of a neat sketch treatment

AP III d'Orcia_4pinkladies_I love the rich color & Impressionistic style of d'Orcia
My fave!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday Mini-Post: Hello, Pinterest!

My pins!

i ❤ Pinterest

I set up a new Pinterest page today!  I'm a pinning fool!

Click HERE to see my brand new pins

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Good for You, Good for Your Wardrobe—Men's Suits Under $400

Great menswear advice from this month's issue of GQ — for Memorial Day & Beyond

Suit time machine

Got a wedding to go to this summer?  We do!!  This is the first installment of a series that I'll be writing about affordable formalwear for men.

Men's fashion has really changed in the last few years, and the old style baggy suits (think David Letterman) aren't cutting it anymore.

Here are 6 great-looking ridiculously cheap suits for men, all under $400!  Start with a great combo from Kenneth Cole.  Dress it up with stylish shirts from J. Crew Ludlow.  Update your tie collection with thinned-down understated tones from Alexander Olch or choose from a huge collection of ties to match every ensemble from The Tie Bar.  Finish it off with a great pair of cool & comfy socially conscious Tom Black loafers or for a more formal event, a classic pair of Hugo Boss lace-ups.

Click HERE to see the GQ slideshow, Prime Cuts: The Best Suits Under $400

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday's Cupboard—K&A's Brown Butter Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies

OMG to die for!!

That's right...BROWN BUTTER...and...SALTED CARAMEL...and MOCHA in a divine cookie!

From one of my favorite blogs_kevin & amanda.

Check it out HERE

Brown Butter Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies

2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter

1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup caramel bits
3/4 cup Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter starts to foam, begin whisking constantly. When the butter turns brown, fragrant, and you see little brown bits at the bottom of the pan, immediately remove from heat and and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, coffee, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until well combined, about 3-5 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low-speed just until combined. Add the caramels and chocolate chunks and stir until just combined.

4. Use a medium (1.5 tbsp) cookie scoop to place dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes until edges just start to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with sea salt. Cool on a wire rack.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday—The Facebook Corner: Adorable Fox Family

FB pages like this make facebook a better social platform

photo from the FB Fox facebook page

Sometimes, cool things happen right here in our own back yard, relatively speaking.  Facebook has moved into the old SUN headquarters location in Menlo Park, and apparently, they've been adopted by a little gray fox who set up housekeeping last Fall and decided to raise her family on the grounds.

Click HERE for a link to the FB Fox facebook page

Click HERE for the SFGate article & a cute vid of the babies

One of the fox kits is named, Firefox.  Other names to consider...














Earl (url)



















Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday—Making Good Decisions

Why do people make bad choices?

There is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow

Ironically, the answer is to avoid getting burned based on past experience.  The emotional memory of failed decision-making stays with us and influences our decision-making abilities later on.  And, there is brain science to back it up.

A study at UCLA in 2007 looked at how the brain responds when faced with risky decisions that involve gain or loss.  The research was set up to observe the brain activity of college students in their 20's who were given choices that involved financial gain or loss and differing degrees of risk.  They could strongly agree, weakly agree, weakly refuse, or strongly refuse to take the gamble.

Each person was given $30 and asked a series of 250 questions in which they had a fifty-fifty chance of winning or losing a specific amount of money.  Would they, for instance, gamble the money on a coin toss if they could double their money or lose two-thirds?  We know how much brain researchers love to hook their lab subjects up to MRI's.  That's because an MRI scan shows precisely which parts of the brain are active under certain controlled conditions, and by looking at the brain activity of a particular individual, researchers can also predict how risk-aversive that person will be in making decisions.

What the research found is that the reward centers of the brain were understandably activated when there was a gain or the potential for a gain.  And, these same areas of the brain responded even more as the amount of money increased.

But, when subjects were faced with loss, the same reward areas were dialed down.  What was surprising is that the areas of the brain associated with anxiety and fear were NOT activated under loss conditions.  What happened instead is that the reward centers dialed down much more when faced with loss than they dialed up when faced with gain.  This confirmed earlier behavioral research showing that people are more responsive to loss than they are to gain.  The UCLA study showed that the neural response to loss was larger than the neural response to gain.

So, what this says is that loss aversion is a powerful component of decision-making.  The more sensitized a person is to loss, the more he or she will try to avoid it.  The more sensitized a person becomes to loss, the more risk-aversive they become.  Risk involves the possibility of loss and risk-aversive people are much less likely to gamble on uncertainty because it literally does not feel good when they do.  Once burned, the brain sensitizes to loss and dials down the pleasure centers of the brain whenever risk is involved, particularly when the stakes are high.

Job and career changes, elective surgery, investing in a risky startup, leaving a bad marriage...these are all decisions that involve risk associated with high stakes.  Risk-aversive people will stay in a less than ideal situation before they will take the chance that an alternate choice won't work out.  That keeps them trapped by every bad decision they've ever made.

The script running in their heads is, "Boy, I don't want to make that mistake again!  So, I won't take a chance that it might happen again, and I'll stick with what I know."

So, what is the solution to breaking out of this self-sabotaging way of framing decisions?  From a neurological standpoint, the UCLA study also demonstrates that risk-aversive people will choose to take a gamble if the odds are stacked in their favor and the potential benefits far outweigh the status quo.  Their deactivated reward pathways need a lot more juice to make them feel good about taking a risk.  And, sometimes sadly, even that isn't enough to counter bad decision-making.

The anecdote to a brain that is telling you not to accept change for the better is to counter it with positive thinking and consider all of the wonderful possibilities.  Open up and let positive change happen.  When the gains are overwhelmingly in your favor, it is worth the gamble!

Have a great week, everybody!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

tHE sATurDaY SToRE—Bessie Pease Gutmann Bride © 1918

An original framed print by Bessie Pease Gutmann_Print #659 © 1918 Gutmann and Gutmann N.Y.

A beautiful vintage print for the summer bride 

Condition:  Very Fine to Fine (see pix of condition notes)

Price:  $150 + free shipping!


Print #659 & copyright are stamped in the bottom left corner of the image

back of frame with hanger_professionally framed

THE CHESHIRE CAT LTS. 1050 West Main Street_Ephrata, Pennsylvania 17522_Phone (717) 738-4032

Minor age toning_2 foxing spots nearly indiscernable_no creases or stains

Closeup of frame corner & paper quality

Original beautiful antique gold painted frame