Monday, June 30, 2008

Chains and Links

Took these pictures on a recent walkabout:




And just to get a little creepy, a face in a tree:

Tree Face

And I blogged about my recent Found Art Tuesday Project over on Create-a-Day. The theme for this one was SUN.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A flickr meme

I am picking up the torch from robayre who posted this cool flickr meme mosaic.

Here's mine.....

My creation

1. Sheila--, 2. Yin - yang, 3. IMG_9247, 4. Bygone Era, 5. Conan Backstage, 6. Glitter / Brillo, 7. Snugness*, 8. McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice Tin, 9. circus girlie with lion, 10. Cookie?, 11. Prepared for Takeoff!, 12. Bzzz.... Bzzzz.... it's a barfly

Here are the questions to the answers above:
1. What is your first name? Sheila
2. What is your favorite food? Avocado
3. Where did you go to high school? Wheatland, California
4. What is your favorite color? Aqua
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Conan O'Brien
6. What is your favorite drink? Wine
7. What is your dream vacation? A cabin in the woods
8. What is your favorite dessert? Pumpkin pie
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? Lion tamer
10. What do you love most in life? Right now at this moment... my dog
11. One word to describe you. Laugh.
12. What is your flickr name? sheiladilling

I would love what other great mosaics people come up with, so if you choose to accept this mission.... leave a comment.

Fruits of the Loom, er, Tree

If I ever own my own property, I want fruit-bearing trees and plenty of room for a garden. While I've been able to get my fix temporarily with the little community garden we got going, I was lucky enough to pick apricots and golden plums from the over-burdened branches of a family friend's backyard.

This is just just a fraction of the fruit we picked:

Right off the Tree

The apricots are so ripe that you can push the pit out with your fingers and pop them right in your mouth. And they are so sweet that they taste like sherbet or jam. I spread one just by itself onto an english muffin and it as PERFECT.


I had never had a golden plum before. These are a little tangier than good old fashioned plums, but make a great snack. I'm trying to find a recipe that uses A LOT of plums to really emphasis their flavor. I'll post what I find.

Golden Plums

In the meantime, I'm trying to think of what I can make out of the multitudes of pits I am collecting. I'm thinking a snazzy anklet or a lanyard, perhaps.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Two Nuns and a Wok

I acquired an excellent thrift find recently:

Art of Chinese Cooking

I love this retro cookbook! It was written by two nuns who fled war-torn china to Japan where they began teaching cooking lessons in Chinese cuisine. This was first published in the 50's (this copy was printed later in the 60's). What really drew me to this as all of the imaginitive illustrations.

Pigs in a Pod Crab

Soup Ba-Gawk!

Put up Your Dukes Beef with Peppers

The cow has a bell pepper for a head! Pigs in a Pod! A mushroom beating up on some spinach!! It's not just a chicken, but a pineapple chicken!! Genius!

Art of Chinese Cooking

It's remarkable how colorful it is considering the time that is was published and the printing processes available at the time. AND scanning the recipes, there aren't a lot of references to weird ingredients like say, canned ham (unlike a lot of vintage cookbooks that use Crisco as a main staple). It even gives tips on cooking rice... without a rice cooker. Imagine that. Who knew there was any other way?

Monday, June 23, 2008

This Post Also Makes an Excellent Cozy

In addition to posting all that is sheasy time, I also contribute to Create-a-Day, a group blog of extremely talented people that make all kinds of STUFF in a manner of different styles and ways. For the most part, if I post something over there, I don't post it here. I'm not sure why I've avoided double posting, maybe I got it in my head that it was cheating. But then today, it hit me. I don't really have a problem with cheating, SO LET'S GET IT ON.

I won't copy whole posts here, but maybe put a link and a picture or something to keep you up to date on my creative notions. We'll call it cross-creative-recyclination. Yeah, it's catching on and it's gonna save the world (first priority: polar bears).

So, my first bit of recycled blogging is my last Found Art Tuesday project:

Found Art Tuesday 6-3-08 WALK

The longer post is here. This piece was based on the theme WALK and I left it pinned to a bench in the park by my home. I made this from materials in my used office supplies stash. I love the notion that remnants from the source of something that can at times make me feel only slightly more animated than your average zombie can be manipulated in such a way that the end result has the potential to inspire a perfect stranger. That and you know, free materials. SCORE!

Since we are still recycling, check out these pictures I stumbled upon on Flickr the other day: recycled computer monitors converted into planters. Made by changedminer. ME WANT. I might need to bring a bigger purse to work in order to get this project off the ground. I kid, I kid.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Making Out Big Time

First, let me tell you I have a weird thing about presents. I like to give little lovelies and send them out into the universe and spread the love, but I find that anticipatory feeling that hangs in the air when opening gifts for myself awkward and paralyzing. I'm literally speechless with a frozen grin on my face as I ruffle through tissue and struggle with all of the strategically placed tape. I usually stall by making a big deal about the wrapping, as if asking about here they got it and when and complimenting the wonders of Target can keep me from the inevitable. I don't worry that I won't like the gift, I fret over whether I will be able to convey just HOW touched I am that somebody thought so kindly of me. Typically I ask that people not get me gifts whenever the topic comes up. I'm always overwhelmed and giddy when people who know me better than myself ignore me and get me something extremely thoughtful and beautiful anyway. I get some pretty cool loot.

For instance, here are a couple of items I scored for the recent turning of another year.

My friend Natalie is an amazing shopper. She has a wicked sense of personal style and knows where all the coolest shops are. If you go to dinner with Natalie, strangers will stop you guys, to comment on something Natalie is wearing. She got me this necklace from a boutique she found:


I love it. If you are fashion challenged like me, you need a necklace like this in your wardrobe because it can give the blah-est of outfits just the right punch.

My cousin, Jo (also an excellent shopper), said only this to me, "I already bought your gift, then I saw this and I had to get it for you". It speaks for itself:


This is perfect because I have been building up my tote bag collection enough that I haven't had to use grocery store bags. Go, Planet Earth!

My sister, Andrea, has a blog. And she found this set in the shop of one of her readers. How to describe..... AMAZING? Just look at this:


It's a teapot service from the 50's with a "silver luster". It's just my style, a little retro and modern at the same time with a dash of art deco. If you can believe this it is PORCELAIN! Made in England, of course, because those gents know a little someting about making tea. It's definitely a piece of art and probably won't ever see a spot of tea.

I have a couple more amazing gifts to share, but I will put them in a separate post where I don't spend the first half complaining about getting TRULY AWESOME gifts.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Get to the Source, Woman!

Overheard at the Public Library:

Visitor: I need a book on fragrance.

Clerk: Do you mean perfume?

Visitor: No fragrance, like where does a scent come from...

Clerk: You mean like your sense of smell?

Visitor: Kinda. My apartment has this really bad smell and I'm trying to figure out what it is.

Clerk: Okaaaaaaay...

Visitor: Sometimes it smells like oranges, but a lot of the time it just smells really bad, like feces.

Clerk: Hmmmm.... let me see what we have...

If only I had my red sparkle capelet with me. Also, this makes me REALLY wish I worked at the library. These people are MY people - the people who are convinced that a book is the best resource for determining the source of a horrid smell permeating their living space. That and they are having free ballroom dance class today. That's it, I'm moving in and I'm bringing my stink with me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oh, so that's why there's cake

Sheila Eating some Birthday Cake

This picture captures exactly how I feel about my birthday - which is, "What day is it, again"? I don't know when I started forgetting my own birthday. I LOVE celebrating other people's birthdays, but for some reason mine barely blips on the radar a day before. It's not that I fret about getting old or anything like that. But it's not a day I make sure I'm wearing best undies, either.

On a side note, my dad took this picture. If you were to look through our family photo album you would see endless pictures of my mom and sister and me, walking through doors with blank faces, standing in lines with blank faces, or sleeping with even less than blank faces, trails of drool creeping out of our mouths. My dad is notorious for his "Gotcha!" style photography. Thanks for the memories, dad. It's good to know I have a history of being easily caught off guard and slow to react. Otherwise I might be worried about all that glue I've been sniffing.

By the way, today IS my birthday and thanks friends and family for all the lovely reminders. You all are the best reasons ever to have a birthday.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


While I was in Arizona, my cousin Jo made some fantastic gazpacho. She refers to it as "power" food since it is chock full of vitamins and healthy natural stuff. All I know is, when I put it in my tummy, my tummy said, "Thank you very much, Jo". I'm posting the recipe below (not sure Jo's source - she is a collector of many fine recipes). The big plus? No stove! So as it gets hotter outside, I'm sure I will be eating more and more of this for lunch or a quick dinner. This is a double batch, so half this and process/blend everything in batches unless you have a large crowd to feed.

Along the same note, the garden is looking great! So when I make my gazpaJO it will be with lots of fresh veggies I helped plant and weed and stuff (you might notice this has a WHOLE lot of ingredients, but trust me every one is worth it). I added more garden pics to my flickr set so check it out, but see what I'm talking about (below)?

Almost ready!


28 oz. can diced tomatoes (low sodium if available)
3 cups tomato juice (low sodium if available)
2 1/2 cups cucumber, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and diced
3/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 shallots
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp Tabasco

In the blender (or food processor), smooth tomatoes, tomato juice, cucumber, carrots, bell peppers, red onion, shallots, and garlic. Once smooth add red wine vinegar, lemon juice, paprika, fresh herbs, pepper, and Tabasco. Chill before serving. Thanks, JoMama!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Well, you take the good, you take the bad....

I've been tagged by Stacy, so here are some weird facts about me.

1. I have one supernatural talent. That is my ability to smell EVERYTHING. If I could figure out how to use this to fight crime, I'd buy some flashy tights and you could start calling me "Super-Sniffy" or maybe "The Nostril Annihilator". I pride myself on describing precisely what I smell..... "Ugh! It smells like a dirty diaper full of boiled cabbage!!!" My least favorite smell, you might wonder? Any place that has a Cinnabon. It's like my Kryptonite.

2. I went to high school with the brother of the girl who was in "The Real Milli Vanilli". Not such a weird fact about me, but being that close to that kind of insanity is something I will hold close to my heart forever and ever. After the scandal, I even got a free tape of The Real Milli Vanilli's album, which I remember as being pretty good. Don't know what happened to that (coaster? wobbly leg fixer?) Assignment: Is The Real Milli Vanilli available on iTunes?

3. I've never opened my eyes under water. I tried. Once as a kid in swimming class, but since then I've been squinting away. NO WANT.

4. I don't like The Sopranos. Nothing personal, I just don't get it.

5. I have keloids, which are raised scars that are kind of pink and "fleshy". From what I understand, they are kind of a mystery of science. When I got appendicitis a couple years ago and the surgeon came in for my consultation, he asked 2 questions regarding my pain and about a dozen questions about my keloids. This is a pretty typical response from most doctors. I got my keloids as a result of having the chicken pox when I was 8. I was pretty self-conscious about them for most of my adolescence, but at some point they became a part of me. The one on my arm used to look like a butterfly shape (keloids stretch out and change shape over time). People would always ask, "Is that a tattoo?" Here it is now (less pink and more stretched):


So, now it's more of a butterfly after it hit a windshield.

6. I lived in Mexico for a month in college, but years later my Spanish is broken at best. I stayed with the sweetest family in Cuernavaca and celebrated the new year and two birthdays with them. They introduced me to homemade paella and pepitas. One of their children had Down's Syndrome and gave the best hugs ever. He also lead every meal with a very hearty, "Salud!" They treated me like family and they barely knew me. I hope to have a home like that some day.

7. In sixth grade, we had to pick nature names. The idea was that you would take the first letter of your name and find an animal or shrub that starts with the same letter. For example, "Sheila Skunk", "Sheila Shellfish", or "Sheila Shrub". Most of the names I came up with did not match my personality. Then I read about the Gila Monster (hee-la monster). It's an orange and black striped lizard with a poisonous bite. I broke the rules and picked "Sheila Monster" as my nature name. My teacher was severely disappointed but the name stuck long after the assignment was over. There are people out there in the world, who if I ran into them today would say, "Sheila Monster!"

I'm tagging the folks on the bottom. I know I'm supposed to do seven, but as you can see above, I don't have a problem tweaking the rules. Speaking of rules (or as I would call them guidelines), here they are:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So, YOU'RE IT, guys!
The Sweet Life

Friday, June 6, 2008

The "Three Ps" of Freeloading


Step 1: Persistence. If you are going to get something for nothing, it's KEY that you be willing to ask for it over and over and over until people forget that they are highly allergic to you. For example, if you show up at the back entrance of an apartment building, stick around for about a year. Eye contact may be avoided. Alternate routes may be taken. Signs may be posted. DO NOT GIVE UP. Remember, you have nothing to lose but everything to gain. FOCUS.

Step 2: Personality. U haz it. People may resist being "freeloaded upon". This is natural. If you sense that someone is avoiding you, then be coy. When you see them drive up, run under their car before they get out, then as they walk away, peer out from under the rear bumper. THIS IS VERY ADORABLE. Trust me. I met my last boyfriend this way. AND Mama didn't lie when she said play hard to get. 'Cause desperation is a very permanent stink. Also, try not to actually stink.

Step 3: Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

On a completely unrelated note: this is a cat in my neighborhood I started calling "Dude". As in, "Dude, get out of my way", "Dude, you can't stay here", "Dude, I am not joking". At some point I started calling him, "Hey, Dude", "Whaddya do today, Dude?" and "Look at yoooooou, Dude"! He is an unofficial tenant and he is the one thing that each neighbor has in common. That and all the lead-based paint.

(By the way, those ARE my legs. I did a twist, drop, and shoot to get this shot. Some of the best pictures I've taken are ones where I stopped, aimed and clicked without looking through the camera. Plus, you can't even tell how stubbly my calves are, so yeah, I'm happy with how this turned out).

(Another side note: I've been TAGGED! So stay tuned for some weird sheasy facts).