Note: - to change the width and height of thumbnails, modify the 110px and 100px values in red - to change the color and size of related posts titles, change the #333 color value in blue - remove the line in violet if you want the related posts to be displayed both in homepage and post pages. Step 5. Find the line below (you will find two times, but you need to stop at the second one):

Welcome


I am happy to share my thoughts, interests with you.
For all my other creative ideas please check the links to my other blogs.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wonder what the New Year will bring?

I wish everyone a happy, joyous New Year!

Curious what the New Year will have in store for us? For one, based on Numerology it is going to be a very special year that carries the number 11/2. 11 is a master number and so amplifies everything that the number 2 represents. On top of it the last time we had an 11 year was in 1910, that is almost 100 years ago and few of us were around that time.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 Monitor Calendar Strips

I finally printed my own monitor calendar strip for 2009 even though I created them early in October, but just never got around to print one. I originally created the calendars in 2008 and the feedback was so positive that I just had to keep on repeating it. I really like to have the calendar attached to the frame of the monitor, it is very helpful.

While I am on the subject of calendars. I also have the 2009 version of the popular dodecahedron calendar with different backgrounds. It is easy to make if you glue it in the right order.

My CD case calendars were quite popular Christmas presents. I give them to my friends and family in the case the first year and then I can them send refills the next year.
I created my version to be printed on double sided brochure paper (I get mine at Staples), this way there are not too many pages to cram into the case.

All calendar templates are free and you can download them at the following pages:
I can created custom calendars with your own pictures that you can then print out. If you are interested email me.

Monday, December 29, 2008

January 09 Wallpaper with and without Calendar

With December's changeable weather the lake did not stay frozen the whole time and this picture is from one of the warmer days when the ice was braking up. I hope that during the cool days of January it will remind me that it will get warmer again soon.

Wallpaper with Calendar

Wallpaper without Calendar

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Hanukkah

It is Hanukkah and I wish everybody happy holidays regardlesss of which holiday you celebrate. Have a wonderful time with your family and friends.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Grilling Crusty Chicken on the Foreman Grill

This summer I bought a Forman grill and have surprised myself at how often I am using it. It is perfect for a 2 person household and my frying pan and oven hardly get any use. I like the fact that the cooking time is half of what it would be on a bbq or in the frying pan.

I often made oven backed chicken as it uses less fat than pan frying, but how do you do that on the grill? Well, one day I had the inspiration. I mixed my breadcrumbs and seasoning and then I added 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the mix and coated the chicken pieces with the mix and it worked. I have tried it with chicken legs with the bone in and just the boneless thigh parts or breasts. The coating seems to stick to the chicken and turns out wonderfully crusty and any excess fat just drips away.

This is how the boneless chicken thighs
looked the last time I made them, yummy!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Using Icons as Pictures

I love fonts and pictures and icons. Recently I noticed that many icons come now as png files and they are really pretty. So, I have started to collect them as well as the regular ico files.

This week I have been using some of those icons as pictures for my posts. They are small but at the same time are perfect to convey the idea of the post. The image to the right is an icon.

I am curious if I am the only one who has started to use icons as pictures or if there are others like me. I would love to hear your answers and am looking forward to reading your comments.

I also use the ico files with my still Windows XP computer to help me find the folders I am looking for faster.
  • Right click on the icon you want to change
  • Select properties -> customize -> change icon
  • Now look through the default folder or browse to the folder where you have your downloaded icons save -> select your icon -> select OK
  • The folder will now display the new icon
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Millennials - Generation Y Explained

Recently I came across another great article summarizing the Millennial generation also called Generation Y.

A few points to explain Generation Y (read the full article to get the whole picture):
  • craves personal development
  • pursues unconventional paths
  • values company culture
  • is not afraid to ask
  • embraces transparency
  • wants to do what they love

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Validation - Award Winning Short Film


I came across this 16 minutes short film today. Its positive message was so uplifting. The film uses the concept of validating a parking ticket to validating the person who has the ticket. I love to be validated like this.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Free Online Beading Pattern Maker

After the struggle I had to get my firefox icon pattern translated correctly for beads in Photoshop, I can totally appreciate the this free online site called Patterns for You.

The site translates the picture or photo for the 'loom, brick, peyote or right angle stitch'. I haven't tried it yet and so cannot report more about it, but I will definitely give it a try and then report back.

December 31/2008
I just tried to make a pattern and it did not work. Too bad, this would have been a great resource.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

Recently I came across this technique called 'Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and the more I read and learn about it the more I am impressed. I seems to go hand in hand with 'the law of attraction'. I created a page dedicated to EFT on my main website.

What is EFT? Here is a quick summary from Dr. Mercola's website:

EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over five thousand years, but without the invasiveness of needles. Instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to input kinetic energy onto specific meridians on the head and chest while you think about your specific problem - whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, etc. -- and voice positive affirmations.

This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the "short-circuit" - the emotional block -- from your body's bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body's balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical disease.

This video is a quick demo of the simplicity and non-invasiveness of the technique





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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tips for good blog content

I just had been thinking about what to write next about on my blog when I came across this very timely and helpful article on Chris Brogan's blog called: 40 ways to deliver killer blog content

This is the first time in my life when my brevity with the written word and not the spoken word, you can't shut me up at times, is to my advantage. Keeping the blog article short and to the point gives your article a pretty good chance that it will be read as nobody has the time to read a 'book' online in a blog. I remember my first essay I wrote, in an English course I took at the age of 18 in Bournemouth, England, that had the teacher's comment on it: good but brief. First of all, I had to look up what brief meant. I also painfully remember what chore it was after the holidays to write thank you cards. My mother hovering over me and ridiculing me for not being able to express myself in writing. Well, all I can say not everybody is comfortable writing long essays.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Reminising - old TV Shows

I just got reminded me of my favorite episode of Benny Hill: "The fastest milkman in the West". A quick Google search told me that it dates back to December 11/1971 and was 4 weeks at #1 and 17 weeks on chart. Wow, that brings back memories, I was almost 19 that December and my English was my school English, not like today my every day language.



Monday, December 1, 2008

Paper Embroidery Cards

I came across this lovely link at Wide Eyed Wonderfuls with a lovely pattern for a Christmas tree done in paper embroidery. It is simple but the result is quite stunning.

I followed the pattern and made a card and promptly sent it on to Switzerland before taking a picture, I guess I was in a hurry. Then I had the idea of working with the design in Photoshop and created a background for the card from that one tree, print it out and then embroider it. I went through a few version and still don't know which one I like best. First I left the tree to be embroidered unprinted, then I printed it like the rest of the background and finally I reduced the saturation.

Then the embroidery part also went through a few version. First I had no sequins, so I used glass seed beads. Then once I got some sequins I had to give that a try.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

December Desktop Wallpaper

Looking through my pictures I took during November, I realized that the one with the bicycle in the snow was perfect for December.

December wallpaperWallpaper with Calendar

Wallpaper without Calendar

Friday, November 28, 2008

Writing a blog that catches readers attention

Now that I have been blogging for a few months, I am starting to figure out how to make it a more effective blog that attracts readers. I have found a few blogs that offer helpful info and added them to my RSS feed.

Here are a few helpful articles:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The snow is already gone again

What a difference 5 days make. Saturdays snow did not stay around for a very long time. The last few days saw temperatures that were hovering around almost 10° C and the snow just faded away. I am not complaining, it is now easy to walk around the lake again as the snow turned to ice making walking dangerous. So I just had to take another picture of my backyard to record the difference.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winter has arrived in Nova Scotia

Well, there is now no more doubt, winter has arrived. On Thursday we had about 2 inches of snow and everything just had a 'sugar coating' of snow. The storm came from the North and all the North sides of the trees had a line of snow on them.

Then yesterday morning we woke up to a foot (25 cm) of snow. It didn't matter that is was Saturday morning, we had our work cut out. On top of it the city had plowed the street narrow, that meant we had an extra 6 feet to clear on the street that was 2 feet high. It took hubby and me an hour and a half to shovel out or drive way. All I can say that we got our daily work out and the opportunity to take some more pictures to share.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sweet Potato Stir Fry

Sweet potato, an indigenous tuber found in Nat...Image via Wikipedia I am finally catching up on my accumulated emails. One of them was from hubby with a link to this NY Times recipe for 'Sweet Potato Stir Fry'. He must have really thought it was yummy to send me the link. Well, I got the hint and I have to say I was impressed, so now I will have to go and buy some sweet potatoes to try it out. After searching for some more recipes by Mark Bittman and discovering his food blog I am sold and I have added the blog to my RSS feeds.

The recipes are simple and healthy and you don't need a ton of gadgets to cook with. I really liked the article about Bittman's kitchen (link is below). Also with Chanuka just around the corner, changing the sweet potato stir fry recipe to make a latke (pancake) appeals to me. Will have to give this also a try.

I will have to go and look through all the videos and check out the various recipes. One that caught my attention was the 'chestnut shrimp stir fry'. Growing up in Switzerland where Chestnuts are an annual fall and winter treat, has me always on the lookout for recipes with chestnuts.

vermicelles dessertVermicelles dessert in Appenzell, Switzerland



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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Son's Company is the Startup of the Week

I am so proud to see that my son's company, Enomaly, is the startup of the week. I hope that in some small way I also had something to do with it. When the twins were 10 years old, (1987) they wanted a Nintendo for Christmas and I said no, and bought a Tandy computer instead. That computer didn't even have a hard drive, but 2 5¼" floppy drives. I explained that with a computer they could play games and so much more. I think my reasoning panned out.


Monday, November 17, 2008

"Star Wars" tribute a capella YouTube video

Yesterday I came across a link to this cool YouTube video of one guy singing a capella "Star Wars". I love science fiction and especially the "Star Wars" movies. So when I saw this video I thought this is just brilliant.

"Star Wars" - an a cappella tribute to John Williams

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Home-made Christmas Gifts

Yes, it is this time of the year again and money is tight. So how about making your own gifts? My youngest daughter just voiced this sentiment and I suggested that she bake some cookies as gifts. Well, no sooner had I thought about it when I came across this article at "Get Rich Slowly" will a list of 34 ideas for home-made gifts.

Being a crafty person, I have also accumulated a few ideas of my own for handmade gifts. I try to stick with simple and fun projects and sometimes integrate some recycling into them. Like this pair of little angels below

boy angel girl angel

Saturday, November 15, 2008

First Name Day - Namestage

Yesterday morning in my inbox was an email from a European ecard company with the idea of sending a greeting card for the First Name Day of the person. At first I was puzzled, but then looking at the email I realized that today's names are: Albert, Leopold, Ilona, Helena, Arthur.

So my next step was to do some research and figure this out. According to the My Name Day website
This is an old European tradition. Every day of the year is someone's Name Day. People all across Europe have been celebrating their first names for centuries in the same way you celebrate your birthday.
Here are a couple of links to websites that offer a list of names and the dates they are associated with.
The following links are in German, but a name is name and maybe it might even give some prospective parents some name ideas they had never considered.
This whole subject got me thinking about my interest in Numerology and how our names offer us also insight into who we are.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Huge Collection of Sewing Tutorials

This morning as I was going through my RSS feeds I came across this link at Whipup.net to the Princess and the Monkey blog with this huge list of sewing tutorials.

Wow, this is so cool. With the holidays coming up, there is a great chance that something will be just perfect to make for somebody on the gift list. Giving a homemade gift, especially in this tough economic time, is just so special. Each gift is imbued with the love that created it.

Also with the arrival of my first grandchild just around the corner, I will probably find something special to make for his arrival.

The list is broken down into the following groups:
  • Hand Bags
  • Tote Bags
  • Wristlets & Wallets
  • Crafty Bags
  • Baby Stuff
  • For In Your Bag
  • For Your Sewing/Crafting Supplies
  • Around the House
  • Others
  • Quilts & Manchester
  • Kids Stuff
  • Softies
  • Softies - Food
  • Ornaments
  • Kids Clothing
  • Clothing
  • Aprons
  • Embroidery
  • Sewing How-Tos

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How much is your website worth?

Cleaning up my emails I came across one I sent myself in September with a link to the website YourWebsiteValue.com. I thought it was a cute website and had planned to write about it some time, well, it got buried, but today I decided it was worth checking again.

Here are the results of my searches for my own websites:
  • Dappled Air - my blog's value is a paltry $60
  • Marlies' Creative Universe - my main website I have since 1997, now has a value of $9'599
  • My son's company website Enomaly had a value of $887 in September, but that has now jumped to $15'133 and has the potential value of $76'028
  • My son's personal website has a value $2'639 with a potential value of $45,624
There is even a Firefox plugin that will show the value of the website you are visiting.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gay Marriage is a Question of Love

I just came across a link to this powerful segment from MSNBC by Keith Olberman. It is plea to think about rights and how we can deny one segment of the population a right that we enjoy. It does not matter if it is gay marriage or as in the past white people marrying black people or even further back black people marrying black people. Ultimately it boils down to the golden rule: do unto others a you would have them do unto you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day

Growing up in Switzerland I had never heard of Remembrance Day. Yes, Switzerland is a neutral country, but during both wars there were soldiers guarding the borders and my dad was one of the soldiers in active duty. In our cutlery drawer was a silver coffee spoon that said Soldier's Christmas 1940 and it was my dad's.

The other connotation of November 11 for me is the beginning of the Carnival season in Europe. It starts at 11:11 am on the November 11.

So my first November 11 in Canada, I was introduced the concept of Remembrance Day and to my surprise it uses the same times and dates the carnival season.

I took this picture yesterday morning on my walk. I know it is not of poppies, but the red maple leaves still on that one tiny tree are my interpretation of Remembrance Day in Canada.

I gathered some of the information above at Wikipedia.org

Monday, November 10, 2008

Listen to your Dreams

I happen to have the privilege to be married to a guy who is fantastic at helping me and others understand their dreams. He does not interpret the dream for you, but relives it with you and then asks questions, so that in the end you end up interpreting your own dream. Please check out his website.

But back to the YouTube videos by Dr. Judith Orloff, the one below is called Listen to your Dreams and here is the link to the one about The Art of Remembering & Interpreting your Dreams.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Using your Intuition

This past week has just flown by. Everything was hectic and I just had a hard time getting to my blog. Then tonight I came across a YouTube video by Dr. Judith Orloff. A long, long time I go I bought her book 'Second Sight' and really enjoyed it. Then I promptly forgot about it until tonight. I really enjoy her short videos and tips.

The one that caught my attention tonight was about dieting and with the holidays just around the corner I think a lot of us can relate to it.




Also check out my favorite YouTube videos

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Going Shopping with Daughter by Phone

I wonder how many mothers are doing what my youngest daughter and I do quite frequently, we go shopping together by phone. My daughter goes to universtity in Toronto and I live in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Since she has added my phone number to her 5 most called numbers, she does not incur long- distance charges any longer. So I keep on getting phone calls from whatever she happens to be doing at the moment. Her favorite time to call is when she is grocery shopping. She walks up and down the isles and tells me what she is looking for and asks me if she's getting a good deal or not. I enjoy our time together and feel much more invovled in her life than I would be without those phone calls.

I really would like to know if other children do the same or if it is more unusual. I am looking forward to your comments.


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Monday, November 3, 2008

Lake Banook on a Cold Early November Sunday

Lake Banook looking North ->
The sun was out and it looked beautiful, but a strong North wind and temperatures around 4°C did not stop us from going for a long walk around Lake Banook checking out what the city was doing. The city is putting in a new sewer line and lowering the water level of the lake. We dressed warmly and had a great walk and I was able to take some lovely pictures.

<- output from the 4 diesel pumps
The city blocked off the connection between Lake Banook and MicMac Lake and were lowering the water levels in Lake Banook at the Western end with 4 powerful diesel pumps. They sure look impressive. I took some great pictures on our walk around the lake. View all the picture I took here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I love to collect quotes

I love to collect quotes. I don't quite remember when it started, but I have hundreds of them. At first the little pieces of paper just floated around and when I was looking for inspiration I first had to go and find those papers. Then one day I decided to start a section on my main website only with quotes.

I decided that I would put 50 quotes on a page and then keep on adding. Well, this morning I found I had another 100 quotes floating around that needed to be added to the website. To my surprise I realized that I have now 16 pages with 50 quotes each. Wow, that is 800 quotes. Just writing down those quotes on the page was like meditation and very inspiring.

I also make fontplays. Fontplays are pictures with quotes to show off a particular font. This way I can combine my love of taking photos with my love of fonts and quotes. I sell these pictures as postcards.

Here are a few examples:
"Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude." ~Denis Waitley

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." ~Albert Einstein

"The truth will set you free, but first it will annoy you big time." ~Unknown

"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." ~James A. Baldwin

"We face each karmic event time and time again until we react with gratitude. Only then do we move into a new dimension of life. The law of grace transcends the law of karma." ~Robert Coon

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." ~Winston Churchill

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." ~Edgar Degas

"The purpose of life is joy." ~Dalai Lama

"The life you lead is the lesson you teach."

"The only thing that holds you back from getting what you want, is paying attention to what you don't want." ~Abraham Hicks

"To evolve each day, you simply take something that annoys you, and you learn not to be annoyed by it. This is real growth." ~Chris Walker

"Those that irk you have come by your invitation to help you find peace where you once thought it absent." ~Alan Cohen

"Creativity is a typoe of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual." ~Arthur Koestler

"Only those who are willing to risk going to far will be able to find out how far on can go." ~T.S. Elliott

"The best way to feel better is to become better at feeling." "The best teachers are ALWAYS learning, often from their students." ~Anne Strieber

"We give up leisure in order that we may have leisure, just as we go to war in order that we may have peace." ~Aristotle

"When we are no longer able to change a situation. We are challenged to change ourselves." ~Victor Frankl

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." ~Pablo Picasso

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ooops, yesterday's wallpaper calendar has wrong dates

This morning when I looked at my desktop with the new wallpaper, I realized that in my hurry to make the wallpaper I had copied October's calendar and forgot to adjust the days to 30 for November. I have fixed the error and all the calendars now show November correctly.

I guess my error is not so bad as the one I found one day on my car windshield after an oil change. There it said February 30 was the next time I needed an oil change.

Friday, October 31, 2008

November Desktop Wallpaper

How time flies, I just realized that tomorrow is already November. So I quickly looked through my photos I took during October to find one that would make a great wallpaper. I picked the one of the flog lifting off Oat Hill Lake.

Wallpaper with Calendar

Wallpaper without Calendar

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Taming Plastic Grocery Bags

I got a reminder today about folding plastic grocery bags as I have done for years so that they take up less space. The website shows pictures on how to do it. I learned to do that from my mom from Switzerland. She was visiting one time and showed me what she had be taught by a friend from South Africa.

It does only work with all plastic bags, only the ones that have the long side handles and not the ones that have a hole at the top of the bag type handle or are made with thick plastic. Now as grocery stores are more and more encouraging using other bags, taming the plastic grocery bags has become less of an issue.

The way I remember how to do it is, that you fold the bag like they do in the movies with the American flag when it is not flying.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Beaded Goddess Bag Featured at Etsy


I was just informed that my beaded goddess bag was included in the great beadwork treasury at Etsy. It came as a total surprise, I am not quite sure what to say.

I guess this means that it is time to add some more of my creations to my Etsy store. In the meantime all my craft creations are also available at the marketplace section of my Marlies' Creative Universe website.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Finding a good beading mat

I love to work with beads, but they have a tendency to run away on me. So I have experimented with various materials I had at home. First I tried paper, then a tray, then some felt. The paper was too slippery, the tray I did not like and the felt, well the needle got stuck in it when I tried to pick up a bead.

Then one day when I was shopping I came across this cool shelf liner that had a slightly spongy and sticky feeling to it. It has a diamond design on one side and it plain on the other. I lost the label and don't know what it was called. It wasn't too expensive and came in various colors. I picked off white and cut a piece about 12 inches long, it is 9 inches wide and got to work. The first thing I noticed was that the beads did not slip around any more. So it looks like I have found my beading mat.

March 2009: I found the label. It is called 'All purpose storage mat', 12" x 30" non-slip.

On my searches around the web I came across this very helpful beading site with a huge link section to help with beading basics, from stitches to tutorials.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

PhotoFunia

Yesterday I found a link from the Pink Paper Peppermints blog to this cool website called PhotoFunia. Be forwarned that you get lost at that site as it is just too much fun to play with the different options.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Recycling Business Cards

Yesterday I came across a question on how to recycle business cards at about.com family crafts That reminded me that I had the same question a few years back and found a really useful way to recycle all those business cards by turning them into a small box that is 2.25 inches square.

When you buy them commercially you end up often with way too many as the information on them seems to change just too fast and you have to get new ones. By making your own cards you can print only what you need and make the changes as they occur.

I don't remember where I got the idea from, but I created a step by step tutorial on how to turn 19 business cards into a little box with a lid. The cool thing about it is that it does not use any glue or staples and there is no cutting involved. All you do is fold the cards and then slot them together.

Without a lid the current business cards can also be store in the box. Multiple boxes can be connected together with other business cards.

I have also made some boxes by making my own business cards with quotes on them and then folded into boxes and given them to friends as gifts or painted the finished boxes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

York Redoubt - Halifax, NS

Yesterday's Sunday outing took us the the York Redoubt. "York Redoubt was the heart of the defenses protecting the outer harbour approaches to Halifax. It is currently a national historic site of Canada."

The last time we were there was when we first moved to Halifax and I did not have a digital camera yet. The fall colors were beautiful and the temperatures still quite nice. My favorite picture of the afternoon is the one above. It is a shot of the interior of the quaint little wooden church (1846). I took one picture, but it looks like I took a few and put them together in Photoshop, but I did not.

left: Closeup of gears in the canon
right: broken trees still show the damage from hurricane Juan in 2003


Check out the other pictures I took here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

An anthropological introduction to YouTube

computer keyboard - photo taken by Marlies CohenEarlier this week I came across this really interesting video, given by Professor Michael Wesch from Kansas State University at the Library of Congress. After watching this 55 minutes video, I was thinking, why could not all teachers or professors be as interesting as this guy. Anthropology was no longer a subject that dealt with things from the past, this was an up-to-date, current learning experience. It helped me put the Internet and YouTube into perspective. I really recommend this video.


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