Fun, games, nostalgia, and stencils

Hello Smiling Human!
Cynthia Silveri’s Fun & Games StencilClub Set for April 2019 is chock full of nostalgia for me.
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The 6×6 stencil depicts the gameboard. The real board was wooden and reversible, and the corner pockets were mesh. I never recall us using cue sticks, just flicking the red and green plastic discs into the pockets with our thumb and forefinger (nail beds bruised by the time the game was over).
I wish I could find a picture of us all playing “pool” because those were good times!
I did find this snapshot with the gameboard and a bunch of irrelevant stuff, but is it?
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Tip of the day: Don’t crop the background out of your old pictures because you think the foreground is all that is important:
1. Me and my brother’s dog Xanthippe. We got my dog, Socrates, a year later.
2. I am sure that is a calendar I made/colored on the wall.
3. Quilt frame and ironing board — a quilt must have been getting ready to go up although I think that is a (now classic) tablecloth behind me.
4. My Mom’s purse is hanging off the quilt frame too. Her purses were heavy (a true bag of infinite holding) and when we would travel overnight with Aunt Peggy and stay in a hotel, the pillows were too soft so Mom’d put her purse underneath as ballast. Or maybe she just thought no one could sneak into the room and steal it.
Thank’s for letting me share my story. Here are the present fun and games:
Ouch card (extra stencil used: Hands by Jessica Sporn)
It seemed only fitting that me, my “Bruncle” Bruce, brother Wayne, and my mom should be the discs headed for the pockets as they are the people I recall playing against. This time, instead of sore nail beds, I have paint on my thumbs and forefingers to tell the tale of my fun and games.
You need to be a member of StencilClub to get this stencil set. You can join here.
More card-making fun I had with the set:
Winner, Winner card (inside stencil used: Chicken Cat by Judy Wise)
Alternate sentiment: What the cluck. You thought you were gettin’ a cool Million bucks?!
It’s All Fun and Games Until…. card (inside sentiment: Parchesi me please. I’m sorry I was THAT person.)
Insurrection card
It’s possible the green dudes need more embellishment, eh?
May you enjoy your little insurrections and don’t cry over spilled paint,

StencilGirl & Kraft-Tex Blog Hop: Floppy Hat and A Writer’s Kindle Cover

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Welcome to my corner of the StencilGirl & Kraft Tex blog hop. Making projects for this hop was so fun!

What feels like dyed leather, grabs paint and takes stitches easily? Kraft Tex Fiber Paper. This hop gave me the opportunity to sew on a textile I might not have thought to sew.

Easy project first! I have wanted a cover for my kindle so I could slip it into my purse or suitcase. I am really pleased with how it turned out!



StencilGirl Typewriter Stencil S128 6″x6″ & Your Thoughts L102 9″x12″ Stencil

Paints, Painter’s Tape, Sewing Machine, Needle and Thread

Brown Velour (50 cent thrift store find), Lime Kraft-Tex Fabric Paper, & Button


  1. Measure and cut your pattern.
  2. Stencil the velour: To achieve a crisp outline with the Typewriter stencil on velour I made several tries – roller, pouncing with a dauber, a stencil brush, and pouncing with a sponge.

Velour is thick and soft. Make sure you are stenciling with, not against, the fibers.

     What finally worked was pouncing with a sponge. I used painter’s tape over the “keys”, stenciled the top half first and then did the bottom half.  I also held the stencil from moving with my fingertips.


  1. Stencil the Fabric Paper. (I saw lime, mahogany and white in a magazine and really liked the color trio.)your-thoughts.jpg
  2. Stencil the top flap with the typewriter portion so it lines up with the velour typewriter.
  3. Stencil the back cover and write on it with permanent pens.
  4. Fold the bottom and side edges of the back cover paper over the velour and sew.

I had planned to make a little cell phone case, then I said to myself, “I think I’ll make a hat.” Never mind that I have only made one other paper hat in the past 4 decades. Besides, I only need a book and a hat and a towel for the beach!


Come. Journey with me. I’ll share with you what I have learned as I made this floppy head covering.

  1. I am eager to try it again.
  2. You’ll need to use Pi.
  3. You’ll deserve pie when you are done!

I used elements from 2 large StencilClub stencils: July and April 2016, both designed by Mary Beth Shaw.

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july 2016 stencilclub.jpg

I primarily used 3 paint colors: pale yellow, coral, lavender, plus a few bits of sea blue.

  1. Cut a circle as wide as the Kraft Tex Paper, set aside.1.jpg2.jpg
  2. Measure around your head and from the crown to the band.
  3. Make the crown or dome of the hat: Divide the length of the band by 4 or 5 (My hat dome has 4 sides, if I did this again I would make 5 because that would make it more circular. I think.) and add 3/8th inch on all sides. (I had looked up how to sew a felt beanie on the web and, forgetting that felt has more give than paper, only added 1/4 inch so by the time I sewed the hat was an inch too small for my head…) I am eager to try this again in another color!
  4. Trace patterns and cut a pointed dome.
  5. Stencil your pattern on all of the paper.3.jpg4.jpg
  6. Match the edges of the dome the way you want (I used a, b,c,d) and machine sew about 1/4″ from the edges.5.jpg
  7. Carefully snip the curved part of the dome so when you turn the hat inside out it will shape properly. Be sure not to cut through the stitches!6.jpg
  8. Turn dome part of hat inside out.7.jpg
  9. Measure the circumference of your dome, divide by pi (3.14) and that is the width of the circle you must cut from the center of your hat. I folded the circular portion in fourth’s and marked the center then measured 3 1/2″ from that point all around. (Where, oh where is my circle cutter?)8.jpg
  10. Put the dome of the hat inside the circle of the brim, line it up where you want the patterns and pin it in place. I only needed 4 pins.9.jpg
  11. Set up your sewing machine like you plan to sew a sleeve and sew the brim to the dome. (I did not care that the cut portion was on the outside because it is covered by the ribbon.)
  12. Add ribbon or other trim. (As I am writing this post, I think my next hat will have a button at the top.)

CONGRATULATIONS! You have made yourself a floppy hat! You deserve a nice slice of your  favorite pie while you are getting paper and stencils to make your next hat.

I hope you have enjoyed all the amazing projects on this hop!

Carol, Wearer of Many Hats

February Blog Hop GIVEAWAY image.jpg

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products

AND a $25 Gift Certificate for C&T Publishing!!
Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance to win!

February 15
Mary C. Nasser       Janet Joehlin       Lindsay Conner

February 16
Gwen Lafleur       Teri Lucas       Tristan Gallagher

February 17
Tina Walker       Veronica Lovvorn       Carol Baxter (you are here)

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per blog please.)
You have until Saturday, February 18th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

Winner will be announced on
StencilGirl’s Facebook page and C&T Publishing’s Blog on Sunday, February 19.








115 prompts to get you writing your life story:

  1. What lesson in life did you learn the hard way?
  2. Describe a time when your life took an unpredictable turn.
  3. Who do you think of when you imagine someone saying, “I believe in you.” Now, write about a time in your life when just knowing someone believed in you made a difference.
  4. Tell about a friend from each major stage of your life, and let us know why you think of that person as your friend.
  5. What slice of your life would you like your children to know that shed light on what has meant the most to you?
  6. What do you wish you could have asked your parents?
  7. What message would you like to send to your Mother? Your Father?
  8. As you look back over your life what threads do you recognize?
  9. So far, what are your sacred moments that come to mind?
  10. Write about several moments in your life that touched your deepest feelings.
  11. What one thing did you save that belonged to your parents? As you look at it, what do you think? What are your feelings when you touch it?
  12. Write about a time when you went through a spiritual crisis.
  13. Write about some places of beauty that touched your heart and that you cherish even to this day.
  14. What is the most surprising gift you ever received? Explain the circumstances around receiving this gift.
  15. What is the most enjoyable gift you gave to someone else? Explain.
  16. Write of several qualities of your grandparents that you would most like your grandchildren to possess.
  17. Write about the greatest peer pressure you felt as a teen since your grandkids feel it every day.
  18. Write about the hardest phone call you ever made. Write about the hardest letter you ever wrote. How about the hardest received?
  19. Write about the worst rejection you experienced as a teenager. How did you handle the situation?
  20. Write about how your family handled the bad times during your early years: divorce, death, arguments, lawsuits, and/or estrangements.
  21. Were there any cautionary tales within your family when you were growing up? Write about one.
  22. Write of one specific time when you felt hopeless and alone. What helped you through the experience? As you write, think of how best your grandchildren can learn from this experience.
  23. When you were a kid who could you always go to for honest answers? Explain who, explain why.
  24. Write of a single experience out of your past that found you caring and supportive of someone who was going through difficult times.
  25. Write of an instance when time seemed to stop and you knew you were part of a moment that held great significance.
  26. Write how you would choose to die plus the timing. Explain why.
  27. Explain to your children some of the things you want to experience before you die. Write a list. Explain why.
  28. Share your feelings about being left alone should your spouse die first.
  29. What apprehensions do you have about suffering? How will you explain these feelings to your grandchildren?
  30. Write about a time when you struggled with your identity and self-worth. This may be helpful to a grandchild.
  31. Write about the mirror of comparison that might have distorted a part of your early life; the comparison of telling you how much you lacked.
  32. What is your faith and how do you experience it?
  33. List five things you like about yourself and write a 50 word paragraph on each.
  34. Write about something you learned from forgiveness.
  35. Write about something you learned from fear.
  36. Write about something you learned from contentment.
  37. Write about something you learned from discipline.
  38. Write about something you learned from joy.
  39. Write about an experience in your life when you and your family experienced a flood. Describe it.
  40. Write about an early drought that impacted you and your family.
  41. Describe a dust storm you experienced as a kid. What was it like?
  42. Describe the coldest and harshest winter you can remember.
  43. What kind of heat did your house have when you were growing up? How did you keep warm? What was the process of staying warm in dead winter as a kid?
  44. What was the biggest snowstorm or blizzard you remember as a kid? What things did you have to do to survive such a storm?
  45. Were people more secure in their family values when you were growing up than they are now? Why? Why not?
  46. How common was working mothers in your day? Have working mothers been good or bad for our society? Explain why or why not.
  47. Write about a time in your childhood when father knew best.
  48. Write about a time when your father knew least.
  49. What was the balance between freedom and authority in your home when you were young? Write an experience from both.
  50. Write about a time when you and your new spouse/significant other  had an experience that was fun, wild, and spontaneous.
  51. Make a list for your grandchildren of some things you currently consider romantic.
  52. Describe a getaway experience you and your spouse/significant other had that was memorable.
  53. Write about an early experience when you and your spouse/significant other were aggressive and extravagant in your romance.
  54. Write about an experience where your romance was so predictable and boring that it was humorous.
  55. Where did you live during your childhood days and who lived with you?
  56. What kinds of make-believe do you remember playing as a child?
  57. Name and describe the pets you had when you were in grade school. Write about them.
  58. What do you remember feeling the first day of school? Describe it.
  59. What do you see going on around you at meal time when you were a child?
  60. Write a memory of the kind of music you typically heard as a child.
  61. Write a memory of the kind of music you typically heard as a teenager.
  62. Write a memory of the kind of music you typically heard as an adults.
  63. What fills up your senses?
  64. What is your favorite meal and why?
  65. What do you love to look at?
  66. What thrills your taste buds?
  67. What scents entice you? Why? What scents repulse you? Why?
  68. Describe the cars you have owned in your lifetime.
  69. Write about a memorable fishing trip.
  70. Write about a memorable camping trip.
  71. Write about a memorable vacation.
  72. If you were baptized, what were the circumstances around the event?
  73. What were the circumstances around your baptism?
  74. Did you have a memorable babysitting experience when you were a teenager? Explain.
  75. Write of one significant Depression experience that has stayed in your memory all these years.
  76. Write a memory of your first few days in Navy boot camp, or Army basic training.
  77. Write about some of the ways you carry a positive influence of your parents. List them and explain each.  Write of some ways you carry a negative influence.
  78. Write of an experience out of your past that found you in a very deep and powerful relationship with your parents.
  79. Write of an experience out of your past that found you in a very deep and powerful relationship with your children.
  80. Write of an experience out of your past that found you in a very deep and powerful relationship with your grandparents.
  81. Write of a childhood experience of genuine solitude you had that impacted your life? Explain the circumstances and what you learned.
  82. Write of your most romantic experience s ever.
  83. What roles did you have as (choose one): an only child; as the oldest child; as the middle child; as the youngest child.
  84. Describe the house your family lived in the first years of your life.
  85. Describe all the nicknames of your siblings and friends and the history behind them.
  86. Write about your weirdest  Christmas eve.
  87. List some of your favorite things and explain why they are your favorites.
  88. What is/was your profession?
  89. What was the worst thing that ever happened to you at work?
  90. Who is the one person I really miss in my life during the holidays? Why?
  91. Write about one childhood Christmas that really stands out? Why?
  92. Write what the word “blessed” mean to me? Why?
  93. Who’s the  Most Social
  94. Who’s the  Best Cook
  95. Who’s the  Most into Politics
  96. Who’s the  is the Funniest
  97. Who’s the  Most Creative
  98. Who’s the  the Wildest!
  99. Who’s the  Most Reclusive
  100. Who’s the  Most Generous
  101. Who’s the  Best Storyteller
  102. Who’s the  Most Traveled
  103. Who’s the  Best Organized
  104. Of those elections that you remember, what do you remember most about each?
  105. Which election was the first that you participated in (actually voted)?
  106. What are your current political views and have they changed over the years?
  107. Describe your teenage hangout.
  108. Describe the view from a particular window.
  109. Describe a sport you play or played.
  110. What is your all-consuming hobby?
  111. Are you a sports nut?
  112. What makes you crazy—pet peeves? How do you handle them?
  113. City-born or country-bred?
  114. Describe a favorite teacher or business mentor.
  115. What is your sense of humor like? Your favorite joke? Were you the class clown?

5 Nom Noms Near Places I’ve Lived

Delicious “har gow” aka shrimp dumplings. Not to be confused with icky slippery noodles.

I suppose that list of 100 foods to eat before you die going around Facebook sparked this. Di the authors bet we’d merely tasted 20, or was that just a gimmick to get those who answered to say to themselves, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll prove you wrong.’ ? (Most people I know who have taken the survey have eaten 60+ things. It’s because we grew up with our mother’s telling us, ‘Taste one bite.’

Here is my list of restaurants with nom noms.

House of Louie – Yum! If you are near West Covina at lunch time and love Dim Sum, this is THE place. Dim Sum has been my favorite food since “Toddles” introduced me to it when I lived in So Cal. It was sooo much fun to go with him to Chinatown on Sunday for brunch.

Laura’s Small Café – If you are in Payson, I highly recommend the garden tamale for breakfast or lunch.

Gardens of Taxco – Melody gets all the credit for introducing me to this West Hollywood icon. I see that the menu is online, but when I ate there, there was not a menu to be had and the waiter would ask you what kind of entrée you would like, chicken, shrimp, et cetera, then he would describe in delicious detail the ways the chef could prepare each dish.

Organ Stop Pizza – The pizza is fine, but it is the music, played by amazing musicians, on one of the largest theatre pipe organs in the world. It is crowded during Arizona’s snowbird season. I kinda grew up here, but that is another story.

Monkut Thai – When we go to San Clemente, we eat here or get take-out at least once.

Pizza Hut – The Great ‘Za can most likely be found in your neighborhood. Folk who like pizza have a favorite and this happens to be mine. When I eat pizza made by some other restaurant, I wish I had just gotten take-out from Pizza Hut. Pepperoni pan pizza, extra pepperoni, easy sauce, no extra cheese.

What are you hungry for now?

One Magazine

I have not blogged for myself in ages, but it has been on my To Do List. The other day it moved closer to the top of the list, but I must have a theme that is not binding so I chose Lists. I am a list maker. I can be compulsive about it but I have to tell you that I find satisfaction in marking though a task accomplished.


Can you judge a person by their magazines? I do buy magazines that catch my eye in single copies however, I only subscribe to one in print, because one is all I can keep up with cover to cover. On my list of writing goals is to find a brilliant article idea and get an affirmative answer to my pitch to… drumroll… WIRED.

I subscribed in 2002 when Spielberg was on the cover.

WIRED is where I first learned that a blind man’s brain could be wired to a portable computer so he could see the world, at least as a negative.  I was so captivated by this true story that I wrote a fantasy of my own, “The Bone Flute Maker”, published in Vampires, Zombies and Ghosts, Oh My!

Carol La Valley

I grew up on a steady diet of science fiction and I long for Richard Branson to make one of those dreams available as science fact.

WIRED is where I laugh at Predict What’s Next and where I used to laugh at Japanese School Girl Watch.

Science news, gadget news, movie news, intelligent articles on people with vision, sometimes skewed, but vision none the less. The DIY issue is a recent favorite.

I know life is busy when I have to make the time to savor my geekiness and read two issues back to back. Ohhh. Instead of writing this blog post, I could be reading WIRED.