Monday, August 21, 2017

Zula Fashion Rules #2 Bam! Color!

Repeat introduction: I am on a crusade to bring back class. Class, you might ask, is defined by taste, color palette awareness, and style. Last week we talked a little about rules. Bottom line. Don't wear pajama pants out in public.

Today is all about color.

Color palettes. Color makes the world spin, dears! And color is one of your ways to be you. You have your primaries and secondaries and monochromatic— of which a version is now called ombre near as I can figure out. 

Here are some tips for figuring out what colors to rock and rule the fashion in your life.

Which colors do you get compliments in? If it's yellow you are a rare creature. 

What eye color do you possess? If it's yellow you should see your doctor yesterday. Ha. Ha. Ha. 

Skin tone? See previous note. Sorry. I just couldn't resist. Eye color and skin tones do make a difference on what colors look great on you. Your biggest hint is the color you get compliments in.

Rule #1: Look through your closet. Hold items of different colors against your throat in a well lit room. Does black wash you out and make you almost disappear? Or look too harsh? Does yellow make you look ready for Shady Rest Nursing Home or cemetary? Does blue add depth to your eyes? How about red or pink bringing a healthy pink to your cheeks?

If pastels look divine against your hair, skin and eyes? By all means dress like a princess. Sparkles and pinks and lavenders and glittery mint and baby blue. Princess Divine.

Perchance you are the Madame of brights and bolds and look glorious in colors like lime, turquoise and flamingo. These are the staples of Florida. And with the Florida tan chances are you look stunning in these colors. This is the grown up sister to the pastel club. Add sequins and rock this palette, Madame! 

If you are more hippie in nature, dress to hide among the weeds in grays, beiges and browns. Fern rocks these colors. Make sure the fabrics are things like cotton, linen and hemp. We will call this category the Duchesses of Drab, or Earth if you must. When Fern is out of the bungalow, I can snap a photo of her closet and share it with you all, clothing lined up like boring little soldiers, not a hint of glitter anywhere. Her most poppy piece is the golden rain jacket I insisted she get. She does look pretty in that one.

Finally, do you have a very pale complexion and vivid blue eyes with dark, dark or shot through with silver hair? Well, then, dear, you are in the Divine Villain category of color. Queen of jewel tones should wear garnets, ruby, sapphire, emerald, and never, never, never be without cubic zirconia or crystals. Blood red, black, stark white, maroon. Embrace your inner daring diva. This style wears a single blood red ruby teardrop well. Or black leather. Leather and Florida are a tough sell, but you get the picture. Animal prints, anyone? Yes.

If you are lucky you can cross genres and find some in each category that you can pull off beautifully!

Get out there and be you, but a better version of you as you follow my advice. May you always shine with sequins and glow with uniqueness as you waft through life as the queen or princess you were meant to be. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Zula's Style Rules #1

I spent quite a bit of time shopping last week. I found plenty of bargains and unfortunately, some really, really, really horrendous sights!

So now, I am on a crusade to bring back class. If you have ever been told you look like Jackie O, Princess Di or Nancy Reagan you are dismissed. If not let's begin with the basics. What is class, you might ask, class is defined by taste, color palette awareness, and style. 

We’ll start with style. Something that can be taught. And caught! A-hem! Listen up!

First lesson: 

Pajama pants are an abomination. Wearing hideous, oft-stained and shapeless garments in public should be punishable by firing squad. I'm sorry if this seems bold . . . wait a minute. No. No I'm not. Let me just say the next time I see pajama pants out in public there may be a depantsing. And just because I'm in my sixties and wear spiked heels doesn't mean I can't pull it off. Fern has me doing her yoga and Pilates moves. I can downward-face dog in seconds and I'm pretty sure that would be all it takes. As a matter of fact...Ladies, and for everything that is holy, Gentlemen, get rid of those pajama pants. Right now. I will file my nails while you are on your way to the dumpster. Don't even think about stepping a toe my direction until this is done. Feel free to start a fire and toss all of them into it. 

There. It took you so long to complete that task you get to partake of my freshly glossed Hibiscus Honey nail polish. In spite of the turtle's pace, thank you for your immediate obedience. I’m talking to those of you who did. If you have not, if you merely continued on reading while your neighbors removed fashion's most ghastly objects from their drawers, well, shame on you. 

Lesson 2: 

When I was a girl, pink and orange together was considered clashing. And white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day was nearly a scandal. I'd like to suggest you not be bound by all the fashion rules. Feel free to just use mine. 

If two colors look good together, they are fair game. Especially if you have a scarf or necklace that pulls the colors together. Di-VINE!

If multiple patterns scream fun to you, bring it on.

Dressing in two pieces like pants and top is yawn...boring. Your signature should include a third piece! A statement necklace, scarf, cardigan or vest! Easy peasy. Put on the two basics then crank the dial to Di-VINE and uniquely you by adding the cherry to the top of the sundae!!!

Should you need to command attention, dress bold and loud. Your ensemble should suggest the Price is Right theme song rather than a funeral dirge when you waltz into the room. 

Hone your style. Your style will be made up of the garments that are uniquely you. For example, the only way I'll wear anything from Fern's closet (any of the 30 items she has...yes, she is one of those kinds of people—30 items total) is if I'm dead before her and she dresses me. (In this event please look in the Classic Betty Crocker Cookbook page 32 for my wishes regarding which clothing I want to be buried in. I may be a fashion firecracker but I'm also practical. ) Try to shop for clothes where no one else goes. Or embellish the items you have. Embellishing guarantees uniqueness. Try a painting class and fabric paints. Oh, I have seen some doozies. Fern refuses to help me in this department so I'm forced to sew and bedazzle. 

Add a signature scent. Your signature scent should announce you to the room before you are seen and slowly dissipate after your departure. Feel free to use an already claimed scent but add embellishment there also. Such as lemon or other citrus oils, lavender, almond or vanilla. Add vanilla if you are shopping for love. More on that later.

Next week:  

Color palette is kindergarten level. We will be going back to preschool next week. Bring your sleeping mat and paste, kids!

Monday, August 7, 2017

GOLD MEDAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BETTER THAN BLUE RIBBONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my Goodness! My heart is nearly pounding out of my chest. (Fanning my face rapidly! No swooning when the news is this good, Zula! Getting a grip. Back to earth!) 

I have an announcement! 

Can you imagine anything more exciting than discovering a murder? And then the murderer? Right in our neighborhood? How about taking one "for the team?" Let's not forget my major injury! 

Well!!!! The book containing OUR STORY hit #1 in TWO that is TWO, not a typo. TWO CATEGORIES! 

Don't go look. We aren't there any more. But for shining, GLORIOUS hours in time we were the number #1! ONE!!!!! Doesn't get better than that!!! NUMBER #1 in TWO categories of Amazon Kindle book sales. (I am most offended the author who discovered this did NOT take a picture!) 

I told buyers (okay, it was a free download, but still, they had to invest!!!) that I'd give them a free Zula-extrodinaire recipe for their trouble. 

I'm going to make it spectacular. It's going to be a creation. And that takes time, and tweaking. It will have to be GOLD medal, BLUE ribbon and #1 in TWO categories good. 

In the meantime. A little teaser... a life hint that can make three ho-hum good-enough ingredients SHINE like a golden hued mirage on the dessert table. Take this token idea and own it. You deserve the treat. The GOLDEN MEDAL preview if you will. Ready? 

Grab some ice cream. Any flavor. Place it on the counter for about 10-15 minutes. Now. If your house is as cool as a crypt you might need a bit longer. If you are in the humid, hot-as-hades region of the southerly states, a little less. You want the ice cream to soften. Not melt, soften. Take chocolate-chip or sugar cookies. Those dreadful store brand in the package if you'd like. Even the ones at the Dollar Store, those crunchy, blah, semi-cardboard sugar-bombs of meh. While your ice cream is softening scrounge around for sprinkles, chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, crushed candy bars, toasted coconut whatever you think would be a nice touch with the flavors you've chosen. Sugar cookies with orange sherbet and toasted coconut. Chocolate chip cookies with strawberry ice cream and sprinkles or mini chocolate chips. Chocolate chip with chocolate chip cookie dough rolled in mini chocolate chips. Oh my! The sea of possibilities. Chocolate chip cookies filled with oreo cookie ice cream and rolled in crushed cookie crumbs. Cookie Delight! 

Plop a scoop of ice cream onto a cookie backside. Cover with another cookie backside and squeeze just a little til ice cream comes to the edge. If too much mooshes out use your finger to remove it so you don't end up with a hump. Don't serve friends cookies with humps (you can save those for yourself!) Roll the edge with the ice cream peeking out into whatever bits you found. Place back into the freezer for a half hour or longer to let it firm back up. Then redip/reroll your cookie ice cream sandwich again, pressing a little to pick up any more goodness or to cover any bald spots! Place back into the freezer until you are ready to eat them!!!! Fake Gourmet deliciousness. 

Now if you want to truly make this GOLD MEDAL worthy make your own cookies and ice cream. That'll wow them. 

Stay tuned for "the" recipe. The queen mother of deliciousness.  And thanks for making our story #1 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Manpreciation ~ Southern Style

I get a lot of questions about my sense of style and my cooking. These have come from my love of everything southern. I adore the south and all its romance and have embraced it as part of who I am. 

Fern would tell you I'm not southern. She’s wrong. I may have been raised in the midwest but it was a southerly county into which I was born. And I currently reside in Florida so I am indeed southern. (I'm even using the Georgia font. Doesn't get more southern than that.)

I also get asked questions about my ways in making a man feel like a man. So, today, I'll share a few manpreciation tips.

Darlin’, let me tell ya . . . there is no one better than a southern gal at making a man feel appreciated. 

Case in point. Scarlet O'Hara (at the beginning -- no, the middle because Ashley was just foolish and Rhett went insane when he left her. But Rhett was passionately besotted before he lost his senses.)

A southern lady knows how to be soft. Like a juicy Georgia peach. And bonus points for being soft yet not melting like butter on a mound of my homemade mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar and pecans. Not PEECANS but Peckans. This is important, Ladies.

Back to manpreciation. You see, one of the secrets I've discovered is that a man likes a woman who swoons. This, my dear friends, is EASY to do in the inferno of summer. I've swooned so hard, seemingly over a muscular bicep that I nearly needed smelling salts. However, as much as this impressed the gentleman in question, it wasn't his physique at all, merely a wee bit of dehydration and a sudden rise from the overstuffed couch. I grabbed his bicep, commented on his strength and wilted like an end of the season peony. Mercy. Don't risk your lives on this one, subtle is fine. Just make him aware you think he's strong. 

Fluttering. This cannot be stressed enough. And this too, is easy to accomplish with the summer heat. Simply keep those eyes a blinkin’. Not only can you create a small, focused breeze but you can also create interest level from across the room, especially if you add a tiny peek at a gentleman and a gentle half smile. Men LOVE this. 

Of course the accent can make anything sound charmin, darlin. Try a few insults and see what I mean . . .
"Oh, what an intuhrestun chil’. I'll jus bet his papa is quite a man." I'm not sure if I'm insulting the child, the man or the woman's taste—but neither is she. She's just basking in the glow of slow molasses conversation style of the south.

Another favorite of mine . . . "Well, aren't you precious?"
Now this sounds like a compliment and can be sincere but a southern lady knows how to sugar up sarcasm. Moral of this story: if you can make an insult as delectable as pecan bars, then imagine the deliciousness of flirting. Be still my heart. 

Finally, the south has given its ladies a demure reputation. You can be spicy with your girlfriends and as innocent as a freshly washed lamb when you meet up with your beau. A man is just compelled to open doors and bend gallantly at the waist to plant a sweet kiss on the back of a lady's hand. Even if she could karate flip him right over her shoulder and make him cry for his mama. 

Add the smile, the hair toss, a few bows and some lace, and the man you want will be putty. As malleable as taffy in July. Want a proposal and he seems stubborn? A well-timed pout can do the trick. Now, this is a weapon and must be used with care. Overuse can build up his immunity. The best pouting technique is to take his hand, look him in the eye and smile, a sad little smile that doesn't reach your cheeks. And add a quiet sigh and an immediate Pollyanna upsweep of attitude to leave him a little tweaked about maybe hurting your delicate heart. 

A pout done well is an epic thing. 

And make sure you send me the photo of your ring and your wedding.

Monday, July 24, 2017

An Idea to be Explored by Pinterest - That is all I'm Saying

I feel the need to share an idea that is not mine. And I am struggling mightily doing so. I'm not even going to mention the name of the person bringing this inspired treat. But suffice it to say that she is a competitor in my little world and by golly I sure don't want this to look like I'm giving her a nod. But I overheard that the idea was not hers, either. So I will share then. And give the credit to Pinterest. Where it belongs. And mention that I will make this "good idea" sing like a Diva. I will use homemade ice creams and creative twists and it will become Grand Prize winning in my hands! 

I didn't take any pictures. You certainly can guess how that'd look!  She would have seen me snapping away and gotten all smug and puffed up and popped a few buttons. I could not have that. Not at all. So you will need to use your imaginations. (I did include a picture of another creation of mine, lime and toasted coconut...)

The Pinterest idea was: 

In a muffin tin, silicone muffin liners, or foil muffin liners place an Oreo type cookie. I highly recommend the silicone for the lower mess potential. If you are using a muffin tin or foil liners I would recommend greasing them first. (I might do half the cookie because it's frozen and I sure wouldn't want someone losing a partial or crown on my watch.) 

Plog some slightly softened ice-cream on top of the cookie. Any flavor. Fill it about 2/3 of the way, so about 1/4 a cup or 2-3 TBSPs should do. (Zula change-ups would include two flavors with a ribbon of deliciousness between like raspberry sorbet, raspberry jam, chocolate ice cream or I'd use a hand crafted blizzard like ice cream.) 

Cover this with chocolate sauce. Freeze until ready to serve. (Here's where I'd have so much fun!!! I'd use my signature ice cream toppings including the State Fair Blue Ribbon Fudge Sauce, my Newspaper Contest Winning Caramel Delight topping, and my Banana Split Dazzler. Then I'd top with a dusting of delicious items or perfectly placed "piece de resistances" that would compliment the ice cream such as chocolate covered half cookies or a dollop of cookie dough drizzled with chocolate or a flourish of sugar glazed nuts or lemon peel ribbons, oh, the endless possibilities here. 

The ones I saw were just plain jane rather than works of art. So the potential. Oh my! I feel giddy about the possibilities!!!!! 

Don't forget to enter the contest the writers are running. One day left!!!! Just one day! 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Back on Track

Mavene Bennett has a degree in psychology. She thinks that Fifi was responding to my "Stage Mom" stress energy. So her recommendation is to put that doggie right back on that horse. There is a pet show event in a neighboring community in September. Mavene says that if I low-key it and simplify my designs Fifi and I might be just fine. 

I think I'll go with an Amish theme. No pompoms or doodads that she can chow down on and she'll be adorable in a sun bonnet or prayer kapp! I could maybe even do a tiny Amish quilt that could drape over one side. I feel better already. 

And now that Fifi has processed the pompoms I think she's back to normal, too. 

I have another RECIPE!!!!! Ready for this one? So EASY!

Buffalo Potato Salad. Yes. Really! 

Now my measurements are going to need to be tweaked to your taste level. I apologize for doing a Fern but I was inspired and going rogue in the kitchen. With such delicious results! So good. So easy. 

I boiled 6 potatoes. And hardboiled 4 eggs. 

Let them cool. Peel the eggs, dice eggs and potatoes into a bowl. Add tiny diced celery (three good sized ribs) Add chopped green onions. The green section from a bunch or about 10 if you grow your own. And fresh chopped parsley to taste. (I used about 1/2 cup.) Mix this all together. 

In a smaller bowl add about 3/4ish bottle of ranch dressing (the normal sized 16 ounce bottle, I used Ken's) and add 1/8 cup of Frank's Red Hot. Mix well and taste. You want the Frank's to slightly take the edge off the ranch and leave a nice afterburn. Too little and the ranch overpowers the spice, too much and your guests will be whining like little babies. Add either ranch or Frank's to get it where you want it. Then dump it over the veggies and stir well until it looks like a light orange dream. You can make it the night before even. Easy-peasy-delicious!!!!!!

Monday, July 10, 2017


I will not blather on about my disappointment over the 4th's parade. 

Fifi had a snit. I don't know if the outfits were too much, or that she was around too many strangers. She growled at a judge. She refused to prance so the feathers danced. Then she literally ate two pompoms right off the most visible part of the finale gown. Of course, she didn't win. She didn't even get an honorable mention. It's so bad between us that Fern is even trying to smooth things over. Fifi has been sleeping on the couch. I'll forgive Fifi. But I just can't see us ever trying a pageant style event ever again.  

Fortunately, even though the pooch took a little doodie on my dreams, there was something good that came out of the 4th. 

I made a cake. Now. That's not unusual. But this year, because I had an epic sewing responsibility, ahem, I didn't focus on my desserts as I usually do. In an attempt to simplify I was able to make something grand and easy. 

I'll call it Patriotic Poke Cake

I made my award winning white cake. Those of you who do not have an award winning white cake, feel free to use a white cake mix, follow the directions for a 9 x 13 cake and bake it. 

When it cools poke a bunch of holes. Many, many holes. Use a handle from a wooden spoon or skewer. 

Take a jar of home canned blueberry jam or preserves and microwave it for about 30 seconds. Poor over the cake or every other hole if you like. Do the same with a jar of strawberry preserves. (If you don't can your own, well then, simply use store bought jams and you can use the frozen tubs of sweetened strawberries from the freezer case if you'd rather instead of strawberry preserves). Layer the strawberry jam over the blueberry or fill alternate holes. Use the whole jars. 

Let set up in the fridge for a few minutes. While cooling then whip up homemade vanilla whipped cream. Of course, since we are going for easy vs award winning (which seems to be the theme of the day, right Fifi?) use the fake whip in the freezer case. Spread over the top of the cake until the cake is covered with white fluff. If you want to get really fancy you can place fresh fruit in whatever floats your boat across the top of the cake. This tastes like strawberry shortcake with less fuss and bother. 

Boom! Done! 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Ooooohhhh! The Parade is a Coming!!!

Sweet Mercy! I may have taken on more than I can chew! But, since this is only our second 4th of July together I really wanted to go all out. Fifi loved prancing around in her Star-Spangled lycra last year! She was soooooooo adorable! And such a diva. You could not tell her what to do when she had her sparkle on. And  I don't know what she hoovered up off the ground that made her smell like a bus full of college athletes who'd played in 100 degree heat then got rained on but she has promised to never eat that again! And I've promised that I will put Fern up in the nice hotel in the city if Fifi repeats that unfortunate choice! That was a rude awakening to doggie ownership!!!! 

But back to the costumes! I have blisters on two of my fingers due to all the handwork. I wanted to share the completed ensembles with y'all but Fifi gets a little annoyed with the fittings and so far I've not gotten any good photos. Plus, the two prize winning outfits are in various stages of done. I did snap a few quickies to set the mood, though. Her bandana is just for around the house. Like a great housecoat back in the day. A housecoat would be equivalent to today's pajama pants. When did housecoats disappear? Hmmmm. I'll have to look into that. I'm curious. Maybe I'll design a line of modern housecoats. I'm going to go write that down. 

Okay. I'm back. Now the sunglasses and headband. Oh, precious widdle pupper wooks so CUTE! She's going to rock that little attitude on the way to the parade. I also have a victory costume for her to prance home in and a special frock for the parade that will literally make her look like a firework. That's the blister maker right there. The post parade party will be a little more demure but will play up Fifi's attributes. And there may be a small flower arrangement involved. I'm still cooking that idea. Sometimes restraint can make an outfit. I also have an eye and ear on the competition and may not have to pull out the excess. My main competitor, Marvene Arkfeld, from Sand and Sun Estates has had her grandchildren for two weeks and a couple are in rough stages right now. Thanks to the Terrible Twos and a pre-tween attitude Fifi may have a win without me even needing to break out into a glow!   

I hope you have a bang of a 4th. We will. Bring it on! Mama's got a spot cleared for Fifi's first trophy!!!!!!! 

If you need a great summer read Out of the Frying Pan is just a click away. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Fifi is So Excited...

I have been working my fingers to the bone this past week on Fifi's parade costume. Look at all the delicious materials I've found. She's going to look like a dream. 

And don't be fooled by her nonchalant look, she's so excited! As a matter of fact her little tail was just going crazy when I took this picture. 

I will be honest though. The fawn tones of Fifi's facial fur is kind of bothersome. 

I don't want to speak of it, but Ralph and Suzette have this little white fluff of a dog and I can't help being a little jealous. I'd love my head piece to pop a little more against fluffy white fur. Do you think I could paint Fifi's fur white, temporarily? Or wait? The headpiece could have a built in mask component. Like a ski mask. For dogs. Oh MY! That could solve everything!!!!!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Official List:Drum Roll, Please!!!!

We have winners.  You are all winners. Yes. You, lovely reader, are a winner. 

I wanted to pick our favorites for each category. But...Fern put her foot down. She said I couldn't make up my mind and was being a "crazy woman." I don't see anything wrong with having a 5 category voting system. Or special notes that keep someone in the running for that "IT"element even if they didn't cut it on the technical. 

But she did point out that it would take until June of next year to do the voting the way I set out to do it and that wouldn't be fair to you all. So I agreed. 

Zula's Choice went to Pam Graber! A Hobby Lobby gift card is coming to you!!! Use it to beautify the world, Grasshopper! I know you can. I saw your picture. With the bee...squeee!!!!!! (I have to say Pam's picture was one of my favorites! So I am thrilled. But then the others...sweet mercy. The others! ) 

Fern's Choice goes to Beverly Snyder! Yay, Beverly. She's the one that had the baby as a prop. Well, prop might not be the best word. She made the lovely bouquets for the baby after all. So the point was the baby outfit for the wedding...but...the baby made a lovely display piece. Beverly wins a Trader Joe's gift card. Yay! Beverly! 

And then finally. Our Wild Card/Wild Hair award goes to Nora St. Laurent. She will win an Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of Out of the Frying Pan. Yay, Nora! She also tweeted about our contest like a champion. So thank you for that, Nora. And since you are the friend of books it's great you landed a prize in the random drawing. 

The rest of you, I'm so sorry. If it was up to me I'd have chosen every single one of you. Every. Single. One. But as Fern said, that kind of defeats the purpose of a contest...and more importantly, it would completely wipe out my clearance flower fund nest egg buying all those gift cards. 

Thank you for playing!!!! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Best TIME of the YEAR! (After Christmas. And Easter. And Well...It's a Great Time of the Year!!!!!

The contest. I want to talk about the contest and how excited I am about the entries. We got one that included a real live bee! Not the cute little chenille ones covered in black and yellow glitter at the five-and-dime but a flying buzzy bee. So precious. Fern says we have so many entries we are going to have to do random choices. Don't tell her I agree but it would be hard to pick just one for each category as the winner. So many beautiful bouquets!!!! 

But I also want to talk about the 4th! Of JULY!!! One of my favorite holidays. I love cozying up to a strong hunk-a-lunk of a man and squealing at the fireworks. Well, I don't really care for the fellas that squeal, I prefer to be the squealer! Oh, fireworks!  Exploding lights and booms and colors! They get better every year. Have you seen the ones that make huge floating hearts? Squeeeee! 

The other best thing about the 4th is the fair we attend. Well, it's not really a fair. More of a friendly contest between talented adults. Some more talented than others, of course, who shall all remain nameless for various and obvious reasons. I enter (and win) the creative pie contest. Almost every single year. Last year was a fluke and I'll swear as I have been that Miriam somehow cheated. But I have been warned by Fern not to mention that allegation again. Ever. So I didn't just say that. 

The best thing, the thing that will take away all my sad feelings about Miriam and her cheating pie is that this year will be my first in the Doggie-Dress-Up event! I am going to sparkle and glitter the stuffing right out of my little Fifi princess. I intend to make her a corset and a train as well as tiny little paw covers. All in red, white and blue and all dazzling!!!!!! I've been working on the designs for a week and as soon as this contest is over I'll be sewing, glueing and bedazzling like nobody's business. 

Now. Join the contest in the last few days so I can move on. Feel free to include little furry friends in the bouquet pictures. Those are my favorite!!! 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Times a Ticking'

I'm so MAD at Fern. I had a shopping cart loaded down at the dollar store. And by golly, my darn bladder, I had to find the lady's room. Coffee, excitement, GRAVITY! Sweet mercy, the trifecta of annoyance!  The thing has always been the size of a Lima bean and now it's the size of a kidney bean as far as capacity goes. 

Anyhoo. When I came back Fern had "organized" the cart. I say EDITED!!!! As in I know I had a dozen each of each color of silk zinnia. And the tiny precious rosebuds with the little fake raindrop, at least two dozen of the white ones. She claims I'm over-exaggerating. 

Ohhhkayyy. I know how she rolls! And this is not our first rodeo. 

I managed to grab a few bundles extra as we headed toward the line. Next time I take her flower shopping I'll wear a depends. That's a promise! And a threat!

Now. Next week is the end of the contest. 
We have three great prizes. 

Hobby Lobby $20, 

Trader Joe's $20, 

Amazon $10 plus a copy of our story in paperback!!!! 

Three prizes. So far we have the following bouquets representing  YOUR creativity. 

Let's AMP this party UP!

RULES: Through June 15th at 11:59 p.m. 

Take a picture of a bouquet. 

Post it on Facebook with the following: (Just copy and paste into the Say something about)

Just entered this beauty for a fabulous giveaway. @KellyKlepfer and @FernandZula See rules here.


Post your picture on Twitter with the following: 

Just entered for a fabulous #giveaway. @KellyKlepfer @MichelleGriep #FernandZula See rules here.

And then, just to make sure we don't miss the entry email the writer at and tell her what you did! Easy peasy. Enter as often as you like. Go crazy with bouquets. You do not have to make them, just take a picture of one. 

Or, just go buy 10 copies of our story on Amazon and we'll gladly enter you for that. Send your receipt to the email addy above. Just kidding. But if you wanted to we sure wouldn't be upset...just sayin. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Oh Glorious DAY!

You know what today is? Don't you? If you know me at all you know that this might be the best day of the year. 

Two days after Christmas is a close second. The day after Valentine's is up there. But the day after Memorial Day!!!! I adore this day!!! 

Now I don't have much time. Nor do I have the ability to sit still and type this. Gracious, my feet are tap-tapping right along with my fingers. I'm giddy. Just giddy!!!

I am taking Fern with me. She insisted. I'm not sure why she is so interested in flower gathering but I'll take her help. I might find enough that I can't even carry it! She can be my blossom mule! 

 (Fern here: You know why I'm helping her? Someone has to be the voice of reason. Last year she "borrowed" half of my closet for a "few weeks." Yeah. That's not going to happen again. For months, every time I opened my closet door I was terrified of losing an eye.)

I've got to tell you this, too. I don't know for certain. But I think there might be a wedding on the horizon. I just feel it in my bones. There is an unverified wedding and I will be intimately involved in the planning. Today my goal is to dumpster dive, buy at 75% off or more every white or ivory flower I see. 

I hope your day is full of flowers. Just FULL of them. Join the contest. Send a picture. Here's the information you need. 

TIP: You need this. If you see a bedraggled flower that you feel like you must rescue but just can't see how. You can reinvigorate a faded beauty past her prime. Spray glue and glitter. Or glitter spray. Not even kidding. Silks can become dazzling damsels with just a little TLC! 

Fern's up and moving around. We'll be ready to hit the Dollarama and Hobbyville in no time at all. (This is the one day a year I'm thankful Fern has no beauty routine!) 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tap! Tap! Tap! Enter the Contest! And Make a Treat to Encourage You Do Just That!!!

Don't forget to send your pictures! You know what I'm talking about, right? What? You missed it? Go HERE. Right now!!!! Not even kidding. I'm waiting. Now send those pictures. Facething them. Twirp, tweet or toot them. But just do it! 

Now. Here's a bonus, fun recipe.  So easy!!!!! And tasty!!!! 

1 bag chocolate chips
2 TBSP peanut butter
Melt together. 
Add 4 cups rice krispy cereal. 

Drop and press into greased muffin tins. Sprinkle the top with crushed candy bars or mini m&m's and press with the back of a spoon. Pop into fridge. Makes 18-24. It's like a crackle bar or nestles bar on steroids. (And not the ones to help you breathe or lessen your arthritis pain. Ha. Ha. A little retirement park humor!)

Pop them out when solid. Place in a container. Keep in the fridge so you don't have melty hot messes. Enjoy. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Announcement, Announcement, Announcement!!!!

Oh, the craft sale was glorious! I sold so many beautiful bouquets. One sweet gal told me that she follows me! That she had been counting down the days to the craft sale so she could restock her arrangements.

Oh my! I had to fan my face for a full 15 minutes after that. Little ol me has a groupie. Or is it a roadie if they travel to get to you? Oh, whatever it is. I'm so thrilled!

Since the shops are still full of Mother's Day goodies (at a discount now!) and since Memorial Day is just around the corner. Anyone can find some great silks at a decent price.

We are going to have a contest. Yes. That's right!!!!!!

A contest showcasing your beautiful bouquet pictures. All you have to do to enter is tweet or FB a photo of a glorious bouquet put together by you or someone else. No matter. Enter as often as you like.

Contest closes on 6-15-17 at midnight. 

Three categories.

Three prizes!!!!!!!!!!

Zula's Favorite - A gift card to Hobby Lobby in the amount of $20.00. (Winner chosen by Zula.)

Fern's Favorite - A gift card to Trader Joe's where you can buy inexpensive and beautiful real flowers. (Winner chosen by Fern.) 

Wild Card - A signed copy of the novel Out of the Frying Pan plus a $10.00 Amazon e-card. (This is a random winner, no floral expertise needed. Enter as often as you like with the same picture sharing on Twitter and sharing on Facebook.)

Two ways to enter.

1)  Post the jpg picture to twitter and copy and paste this:  "Zu-fer bouquet explosion! #contest #giveaway #giftcard #freebook and @KellyKlepfer Enter to win!"

2)  Post the jpg picture to Facebook with the following copied and pasted (or link if you prefer once there.): "FernandZula Kelly Klepfer. Zu-fer bouquet explosion. Enter to win. #contest #giveaway. 

Tell me which of the above you did and send your picture to me at You will get an entry to the wild card prize for each time you do the Twitter and Facebook options so tweet every day if you'd like. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

One More Week! Then Bam!

I wish this was how I felt. Tranquilly floating on the water, soaking up sunshine!

But how I really feel is like my hair-rollers-were-wound-too-tight-and-my-shoes-pinch-my-pinkies-and-I'm-wearing-my-most-uncomfortable-intimate-garment crazy. 

I know. I know! I bring this upon myself. No one forced me to sign up for the big craft fair. But I just love crafts so much. And flowers. So I must carry on! 

Next weekend is the big blitz. My Friday and Saturday I'll be making some mad money as those glorious bouquets find a new home. My stuff will be flying off the table. It will be worth it. 

Until next week. I do remind you to check out Fern's ongoing saga here

Monday, May 1, 2017

Balls of JOY and FLOWERS!

Whoooeeee. You'd think that Fern was the cook and dessert diva in these parts right about now. Not true in any sense of ANY of those words. I just happen to be decollate deep in flowers right now. Oh, what a problem to have!

Not real flowers. Silk bouquets. There is a craft sale of all craft sales down the road a bit in three weeks and I have been finding treasures to turn into display pieces. Oh, if only you could see them.

Anyway. Fern has been cooking for both of us while I slave away and burn off my fingerprints with the glue gun. Did you know that if you burn your skin enough times that can happen? Wait. Apparently that's not true. Fern just googled it. Sigh. But it seems like it would be permanent, but any aspiring criminals need to know that they grow back in the same pattern. Turn back, repent of your plans.

Fern made dessert last night. She's on a super health kick. No added sugar. Only naturally occurring sugar. Like frozen bananas whirred into ice cream. That's real. And tasty. I did add a spoonful of peanut butter to mine, and maybe a handful of chocolate chips. Delicious. I may add that to my recipe repertoire.

She "couldn't" give me an actual recipe for her Almond Joy Bites. I watched her and it appeared that she used about even amounts (approx 1 cup each) of almonds and pitted dates, about a 1/2 cup of toasted coconut and 1/3 cup of cocoa nibs (these are totally unsweetened cocoa bits but taste completely like bitter chocolate. They are pricey so you could use chocolate chips and get away with it, but do NOT say this to her, she will give you the stinko face.) She then whipped those ingredients together in her food processor until uniform and mixed. Squeeze a bit between your fingers and try to form a ball or bar shape. If too sticky she said to add more nuts, a handful, if too prone to fall apart 3-4 dates. They should stay together and form tight little nuggets of deliciousness. And they are delicious!!!!

Gotta go take care of my flowers. I hear them screaming for my attention. "Zula! Zula!" 

And don't forget Fern's Portrait! (the ongoing story saga...dnh, duduh, dnh (dramatic music!) 

Ta! Loves, TA! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Stories from Paradise - Fern's Portrait
Fern and I are doing a little storytelling for fun. 

Every day we'll load lines into this post and build an ongoing tale and we'll uhhh toot? No, chirp but it's a bird symbol webbie thing. Anyway. We'll add a bit of the story there at that website thing with the bird and here and people can click on it and come see the whole thing as it unfolds here. Does that sound like fun? You know it. So fun! So come back every single day. 

So first we will start with Fern. 

We will call it. 

Fern's Portrait

A fog of Brut announced Delbert's arrival a full minute before Fern heard the scritch-scratch of his shoes sliding across the linoleum. The tension in her shoulders ratcheted righty-tighty. She couldn't stop a sigh. Not that he'd hear it. As bad as that sounded, the thought really wasn't an unkind one about a shuffling elderly man, half deaf because of infirmary. Instead it was just the dad-blamed truth about a man as stubborn and clueless as any could be. And she had a bounty of experience with stubborn and clueless in her 67 years. 

"Ferny. How's it going today?" 

Following a snort-laugh, Delbert's unwelcome words destroyed her peace as she set her paintbrush down on her palette and turned to face him. 

"Great, Delbert. I hope you won't be offended if I continue to work on my project."  

She turned sideways, back to the canvas, hoping and wishing that today he wouldn't take the conversation to the bad place. But he always did.

"Makes no difference to me. I like any view." He hacked and spit into her sink.

She fought a gag.

"So." He chuckled slightly. Here it came. It was coming. 
Maybe she didn't need to hear the words again. With a quick flick of the wrist she tipped her water over and it sloshed onto the linoleum. "Oh, goodness. How clumsy.You better stay back, you don't want to slip."

Welcome silence reigned for a moment while she bent to sop up the liquid, then came the wheezy chortle. "This might be my favorite view."

A small, white-hot flame of indignation burned in her gut as she wiped up the water.
In not wanting to hear his disgusting request, she was subjected again to his disrespect. How did one turn the other cheek in this type of situation? Or was it time to once and for all put the absolute fear of God into this pompous and offensive man with some of her well practiced Tai Chi moves that would be more than fast enough to disable him?

But he hadn't acted out physically. Instead he was trying to subdue her emotionally, wasn't he? Power, control, diminishing her. This battle was psychological.

How many times had men taken this approach and left behind broken women?

Men who were not real men at all, but men who hid their snaky souls behind backward "compliments" and demeaning sweet-nothings. She stood. "Delbert. It's time for you to leave. You are not welcome here."

He straightened then and thrust out his chin. His eyes glinted with something dangerous. There was a little bit of wolf left in the old man. Just enough of a stance to convince her once and for all that he wasn't an innocent fool. But a predator. 

"That's mighty unfriendly of you, Little Lady. I was just showing my respect for the great artist, Fern Hopkins. Offering my modeling services. And I was considering offering other parts of my life." 

Fern grew a bit taller than her 5 foot 4 inches in that moment. "Delbert. Your attention is not flattering. It's creepy.
You do not look at me as if I am a human being to be valued and respected. You treat me like I am nothing but a diversion, someone to toy with, a challenge of some sort. I will not be disrespected." With every word her self-respect grew, as did the volume of her voice and the passion in her words.

Her southern nice lady, sweet little senior citizen "should lists" burst into flames and she let them burn brightly.

"I am not interested in painting you as a nude subject. I am not interested in any other part of your life. I do not find you to be a kind man, nor gentle. I am respectfully asking you to leave me alone. And I'm warning you that if you ever offer to pose nude for me again, that I will at best slap you across your arrogant face. And at worst become a woman of fury unleashed to teach you that I am a human being worthy of respect. Now! Leave!" 

At some point in the middle of her tirade, Delbert's mouth had dropped open.

By the time she finished he was simply a flawed, broken human being again. This time with no hint of danger. Fern's compassion began to bank in the coals of her rage. Oh, the wretchedness of humanity. The choices made for others. The imposition of others wills on weaker souls.
Times of victimization and times of brutality against self and others.

She took in a deep breath. This time the Brut was merely an afterthought instead of a tidal wave on her senses. The smell of the wet paint was stronger. "Delbert. I think it is high time for you to choose to become a better human being.
It is time for all of us, no matter where we are in life, to choose to become better human beings. I hope for you to be able to respect yourself and that will pour out as respect for others. I also hope you choose to live out your final days with a dignity that a man who has lived well deserves."

Delbert nodded his head. "Thank you, Fern.
I hope you have a good night." And he turned and walked a out of the room. Just like that.
The final click of the outer door signaled that he had gone.

Fern picked up her paintbrush. She cleaned it and washed the paint off her plastic palette. The canvas she'd been working on went on its side and she picked different colors.
Tonight she was going to paint a different picture. A very different picture because she was quite certain something in her heart had just changed and she was excited to see what was going to end up on the canvas.
     ...the end