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10 cool things about chewing gum

March 28, 2014

Elvis chewing gum

Elvis chewing gum. Source  

Do you remember the first time you chewed a stick of gum?  I can’t.  Although, I can remember the first time I got in trouble for chewing gum!  That was definitely on my Sunday walk to church with my grandmother – where gum chewing was strictly forbidden!  I can’t even imagine what would have happened to me if I got caught with it in the church based on her reaction when it was discovered I was chewing it on the way to church!

After I posted the tutorial on making a fake gum magnet this week, I really got to thinking about gum in general.  It is amazing how many different types and brands of gum are available today in comparison to years ago.

Birdcage gum quote

When I was a kid, I remember Wrigley’s spearmint, Juicy Fruit, Chiclets, Razzles…around Halloween time; I remember searching for Black Jack gum to use to simulate a lost tooth.  I also remember a more exotic gum no one would try called Teaberry.  For bubblegum…it was all about Bazooka. I certainly don’t remember anywhere near the selection of chewing gum we have in the stores today!

Ben Affleck chewing gum

Ben Affleck chewing gum. Source

Not only are there many more varieties of gum today, but there also seems to be many more cultural references!  Did you know it is illegal to chew gum in Singapore?  Or that the Navy Seals include chewing gum in their survival kits!  For today’s Friday field trip, some fun links showing ten other cool ways chewing gum has become part of our culture:

Nostalgic old television commercials…Remember the Doublemint twins?  The Fruit Stripe zebra?

A legendary gum wall in Seattle

“Don’t tell me you know how to make a bomb out of a stick of gum?”  -McGyver

Squidward vs. gum

Is gum loosing its pop?

I loved making these gum wrapper paper chains when I was a kid

On Seinfeld… Elaine? or Jerry?

A great children’s book on the history of gum

How to remove gum from your hair or couch

A cool gum wrapper sculpture

Hope you enjoyed exploring a little about chewing gum in our culture for today’s Friday field trip.

Have an amazing weekend, Jackie

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april fools’ day gum magnets

March 25, 2014

April Fools' Day gum magnets

This April Fools’ Day, I am creating some fun fake gum magnets!

Years ago, I found similar magnets in a novelty shop and gave them as a gift.  They were such a hit!  I knew I could come up with a way to make some on my own and I quickly found they were super easy and very inexpensive to recreate.

Because these are great magnets for school lockers, they are perfect to slip into your child’s lunch bag on April Fools’ Day.

Fake gum magnets in two colors

To make these you will need:

  • modeling clay
  • ¾ inch round magnets
  • glue (I used Gorilla Glue)
  • rubber bands
  • your oven

That is it!  Other than some protective covering for your teeth and hands (yes, I did say teeth – read on)…

In the interest of safety, I was extremely cautious in handling the modeling material.  I used protective gloves when handling it and never let it come in contact with my body.  I encourage you to do the same.  My teeth marks may have not come out as prominent as they could have, because I had several layers of plastic between me and the modeling material!  I didn’t want to risk having any of it touch my mouth!

fake gum magnet collage

I used round ¾ inch diameter magnets.  Remember, the magnet will determine the size of the ‘gum’ since the modeling material will need to be large enough to conceal the magnet.

Gum comes in all colors these days, but I ‘stuck’ to the more traditional colors – white and bubblegum pink.  As an added bit of fun – the white modeling material I used was also glow-in-the-dark!

So, just pinch a gum-sized piece (wads) of the modeling clay and shape it into a rough oval shape.  You know what chewed gum looks like and that is the look you are trying to simulate.  Look at a real piece of chewed gum if that helps!  I may have exaggerated the size of my pieces a little bit, but I thought that made it fun!

The only thing you have to do, is to put a couple bite marks into the material…like I said, I did this with several layers of plastic over my teeth.  Then, use a magnet to mold the spot where it will later be attached – you will be gluing this on after you set your ‘gum’ pieces in the oven.

Fake gum magnet for April Fools Day

After I got the pieces looking the way I wanted, I followed the directions on the modeling material and put my pieces of ‘gum’ in the oven for half an hour to make the shapes permanent.  I put them directly on the oven rack on a piece of parchment paper.

After the pieces were cooled, I used glue (just a bead or two of Gorilla Glue) to attach the magnets – holding them snug with elastic bands since the glue swells as it dries – and let them dry overnight.

Cool, right?

I think they make a great April Fools’ Day surprise…very practical and sure to leave a smile on the recipient’s face!

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Crafts a la Mode, Craftberry Bush, and  Silver Pennies.


visiting anthro home office

March 21, 2014

Urban Outfitters Headquarters

I checked one off the list!  The ‘places I need to visit in Philly’ list…I visited the Anthropologie Headquarters!

Sign for Urban Outfitter Headquarters

Actually –  the Urban Outfitters home office.  Urban Outfitters is the parent company for Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, and BHLDN.  So, for today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing a few photos of the public areas I visited at the headquarters located at Philadelphia’s Naval Shipyard.  The Navy Yard is a collection of historic buildings (and battleships!) on the waterfront and open daily for public visitation.  It is easily accessible by shuttle just a few miles from the center of the city.  Though it is now closed for any naval activities, the 1,200 acre business campus sits on what was once the country’s very first naval shipyard!

Urban Outfitters offices

The creative and inspiring atmosphere (with great food) inside the Urban home office makes every visitor wish they were an employee!  You can see in this photo, just like in the stores – dogs are welcome!  In the Anthro building, I actually saw a dog watching a TV as he sat in his little dog bed next to his owner’s desk!  (True story!  And, he was watching a show about dogs!)

Dogs allowed at Urban Outfitters corporate

Some of the historic Navy Yard artifacts are clearly embraced in the decor:

Naval decor at Urban Outfitters Corporate
There are two wonderful places to have lunch – both are open to the public.

lunch menu at Urban Outfitters corporate

lunch table at Urban Outfitters corporate

Yup, it is called The Navy Yard for a reason…I don’t know of any other lunch spots with a battleship view!

View from Urban Outfitters corporate

One wall makes for an impromptu museum:

Hallway Urban Outfitters corporate

Like the stores, unique and inspiring surroundings are everywhere:

Urban Outfitters Corporate

Urban Outfitters Corporate

If you look closely at this photo, you may spot the employee exercise area on the upper floor.

Urban Outfitters Headquarters in Philadelphia, PA

And here is my prime destination…Building No. 10…

Anthropologie headquarters in Philadelphia, PA
The building containing the Anthropologie headquarters…I won’t show you the inside since it is not open to the public, but I will say that I was NOT disappointed!  Oh, and here is an example of one of the many daily happenings while walking by one of the company buildings…the beginnings of a photo shoot:

photo session at Urban Outfitters

I hope you enjoyed sharing some photos of the areas open to the public at the Urban Outfitters home office…and, if you should find yourself in Philly sometime – check it out!  Because, like the stores, the home office is unique, fun, and inspiring!

Have a fabulous spring weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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growing grass in an eggshell

March 18, 2014

growing grass in eggshells

The best place to plant Easter grass?  In an eggshell of course!

Planting grass in preparation of Easter has become a tradition in my house.  Containers of many types and varieties have been hijacked over the years for the annual planting, but eggshells remain the favorite vessel of choice!

It is easy to get beautiful results with just a little preparation.   First, decide how many eggs you want to use as planters.  Buy the number of extra-large white eggs you wish to plant.  Obviously, extra-large eggs give you the most room to plant, but you can use any size.  I prefer to use white eggs since I dye them in various colors before I plant in them.

To prepare the egg, use a sharp pointed knife to pierce the pointy end of the egg – this works best with a quick, sharp jab to make a hole.  Once the shell is broken, use your fingers to carefully remove some of the shell to make room for the planting.   (If you prefer, you can turn the egg horizontally, making a hole in the side and planting the grass the long way in the egg.)

growing grass in eggshells for Easter

Empty the contents of the egg.  You can also carefully remove the thin white membrane inside the shell (optional).  Treat the shell gently.  Next, dye the egg as you would any Easter egg.  It is easy to match any décor based on the way the egg is dyed/decorated.  Put the egg in the dye very gently – filling the inside of the egg with the dye so it will sink down and completely submerge into the dye.  (You can dye the eggs before you empty them if you find it easier…I don’t – in case I should ruin one in the emptying process, I haven’t wasted the time dyeing it!)

There is no need to go out and purchase a dye kit…dye is easily created at home with food color.  I like to use paste food color, because it comes in a wide variety of colors and is very vibrant, but liquid food coloring works just as well.  This is the dye I used:

Recipe for Easter egg dye

Once the eggs are dyed and dry, you can start the planting process.  You will need potting soil, grass seed, and a spoon.  If you need to purchase grass seed, go to Home Depot and purchase the smallest bag you can find.  Pick the fast growing seed that is sold for repairing existing lawns – it really does grow fast!

Spoon potting soil carefully into each prepared egg.  I put the eggs in the original carton for the growing process…it is an easy way to keep them in position and it makes for an easy clean up.  Next, spoon grass seed to cover the dirt surface in each egg.  Then, spoon a little more potting soil on top.

grass seed and potting soil

For your first watering, use about 4 teaspoons of water in each egg.  This will give your soil the initial moistness it requires.  For every day forward, add one teaspoon of water each day and keep the carton(s) in the sunniest spot in the house you can find.

grass in eggshells day 1

It is amazing how fast the grass will grow once it is sprouted.  The day grass begins to show, it will gain quite a bit of length.  The photos I am showing here were taken the first and second day the grass started to show.  The grass will be visible in less than a week, so plan accordingly.

day 6 grass in eggshells

Like any grass outside, this grass can be trimmed – just use scissors.

The same planting process can be used for any container…just be sure to protect any surfaces that are not waterproof…I line containers with a plastic sandwich bag if needed.

And that is it!  Very satisfying results in under a week!  What am I planning for these cuties?  I will share that with you in an upcoming post.  Meanwhile…give it a try!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Craftberry BushCrafts a la ModeCoastal Charm and  We Call it Junkin.


top 5 from philly flower show 2014

March 14, 2014

Philly Flower Show 2014

The Philadelphia Flower Show had an amazing theme this year…ARTiculture!

I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the longest-running and largest indoor flower show!

With so much to see, the show was overwhelming. What makes the show special is in the way each attendee has a unique visit – each person sees the show from their own perspective…in this way, the show is a very personal experience.

As a way to share this personal experience with you on Friday field trip this week, I am sharing my personal top 5 from the Philadelphia Flower Show 2014.

THEME. I loved the art theme this year! ARTiculture! Working in collaboration with Philadelphia museums and the local art world made the Flower Show theme the best in years! The art influences were everywhere…but this display, in my estimation, integrated the theme perfectly!

Philly  Flower Show Display

Philly Flower Show canvas

Even food was treated as art in this amazing display:

food at Philly Flower Show

DEMONSTRATION. The lectures and demonstrations offered at the Flower Show are always a high point for me…learning anything new is always fun and I enjoy watching the variety of demonstrations offered on the show schedule.

This year, while attending an evening sponsored by Philadelphia Magazine, I met the talented artist Denise Fike. Denise provided guests with their own fashion portraits…what a fun demonstration and a cool way to incorporate the theme of the show!

Artist Denise Fike at Philly Flower Show

FRIENDS. One great aspect of an annual show is to visit people you have met year after year. I had three in particular that I really enjoyed catching up with in the retail section of the show.

One was Michelle Masters…she creates this

beautiful topiary art…

Michele Masters topiary art

I was happy to have the opportunity to stock up on my notecards and to purchase a few great gifts. ;)

Michele Masters

I also had the chance to spend some time with Jill Schwartz. As owner of Elements, she creates some really awesome jewelry…you may have seen some of her unique pieces in Anthropologie.

Elements by Jill Schwartz

Jill Schwartz necklace

If you are a flower lover and have not seen the products from Chive you are definitely missing something great! It is so inspiring to see all their products ‘up close and personal’ at the flower show each year and to say ‘hi’ to the friendly staff. I love using their products for big events and small parties…they have wonderful pieces to use as favors and as centerpieces.

Chive Flower vases

SCULPTURE. Each year, I am intrigued by some type of sculpture at the show. Of course, everyone attending was mesmerized by the entrance of the show, where masses of flowers were put together and displayed in a ‘frame.’ I found a couple more I enjoyed.

The paper flower sculptures in the hallways leading to the main rooms were awesome and gave any of us dappling in paper flower construction a whole new level of inspiration!

paper sculpture

paper sculpture

paper sculpture

paper sculpture

As a typography lover, I enjoyed this sculpture in the Convention Center hallway.

Typography sculpture

GARDEN INSPIRATION. Admittedly, much of my day was spent oohing and aahing the amazing varieties of flowers on display. It’s great to be inspired to find something to incorporate into my own garden. This year, that inspiration was the witch hazel. As a winter bloomer, I know it would be a lovely way to add some color to the snow next year! My own state (Connecticut) is the witch hazel capital and was the first to harvest and market it for its medicinal purposes…surprisingly, I have not already included it in my garden! This is how it looks in bloom.

witch hazel

That is my little glimpse into the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show. Hope you enjoyed this week’s Friday field trip!

Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend, Jackie

Sharing at Mona’s Picturesque, Crafts a la Mode, and The Tablescaper.


spring obsessions

March 11, 2014

spring 2014 obsessions

We are in the home stretch!  Spring is almost here!

Here are some of the top things I am ‘jonesing for’ as we start the new season!

keil jamespatrick



Even though I already own Kiel James Patrick, there are always plenty of  beautiful nautical-inspired items to add to my collection…for spring, I really want this ‘go with anything’ bracelet!  Anchors away! (photo from the KJP website)


I am totally obsessed with branches during the spring…after the long, snowy winter, I crave any nature I can bring into the house!  They don’t even have to be flowering branches…any branch will do..the bigger, the better…they just look so beautiful indoors!  (Of course flowering branches are always lovely too…I start forcing flowering branches in February.)  I took the photo here on Yale University’s campus, so I didn’t actually pick these – but aren’t they gorgeous!



Okay, if you aren’t already obsessed with these Ray-Ban aviator flash lenses, you certainly should be!  They come in plenty of yummy colors and are the coolest!  (photo from the Ray-Ban website)


decorated eggs


Does it seems strange to see eggs on my list of obsessions?  It is not the actual eggs I am obsessed with…it is the decorating!  I start in February and continue until Easter and beyond!  It is good that eggs are on the less expensive side considering the amount I go through!  It doesn’t stop there…after Easter, I use the leftover pieces of colored egg shells to make mosaics!  Obsessed!


anthro candle

I become obsessed with a lot of the merchandise at Anthropologie – particularly the home goods.  For spring, these little beauties are the obsession of the season – sooo casual chic!  The beauty of the Anthro candle is that the container is always so awesome, that even when the candle is gone, the container finds a new use and lives on!  The Illume land & sky candle is totally gorgeous and the scents are addicting! (photo from the Anthropologie website)



essiemintcandyapplenail polishThe color mint is everywhere this spring…my favorite though, is in nail polish.  I think Essie’s mint candy apple is the perfect fun spring shade and is an easy way to add mint to my spring wardrobe with a very small investment!  (photo from Essie’s website)



Ben & Jerry's salted caramel ice cream



Like me, I am sure most of the country is obsessed with Ben & Jerry’s core ice creams flavors …how has this not been invented earlier?  My biggest obsession is the salted caramel flavor.  Other flavors include That’s My Jam, Hazed & Confused, and Peanut Butter Fudge.  (photo from Ben & Jerry’s website)


Yes, I am totally obsessed with white jeans…actually, it is not just a spring time obsession…I am obsessed with them pretty much any time of year!  I am currently obsessed with a pair offered by  J. Crew  J. Crew white jeanssince they offer a great tall size that accommodates my long legs nicely! :)  Can’t wait to pair them with a pastel sweater or with nautical stripe flats! (photo from the J. Crew website)

Right now, anyone that knows me is reading this and thinking my obsession with Harry Connick, Jr. is definitely not limited to the spring.  You are right…I am now, and always have been, obsessed with Harry.  I have seen him in person more times than any other entertainer…I have been in the front row of many concerts, holiday special tapings, and even his Broadway performance – sitting closer to the stage than Jill (if you are a Harry fan, you know Jill is his wife’s name)…BUT, NEVER until now, have I ever watched American Idol!  What power you have over me Harry! ;)  I am so happy that so many people in America are now discovering what I have always known about Harry…he is the coolest!  (photo from the American Idol website)

Harry Connick, Jr.

So there you have it…a few of my spring obsessions…what are yours?

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Coastal Charm,  Common Ground, and The Shabby Nest.



March 7, 2014

molded hard boiled egg
Inspired by the playful works of art in Japanese character bento boxes, Williams-Sonoma sells a product that changes the shape of a hard-boiled egg!  I was fascinated with the idea of this product when I spotted it at the store…and, with Easter quickly approaching, I knew I had to try it out!  I am sharing the adorable results with you on today’s Friday field trip.

Following the easy directions on the box of the Egg-Design Molds, I set out to create a heart, a star, a rabbit, and a bear from some hard boiled eggs.

molding a hard boiled egg
My true interest was in the rabbit (for Easter), but I also wanted to test the star to use for deviled eggs later this summer – very patriotic for our 4th of July party on the beach!

star shaped molded eggs
Creating these eggs was really easy.  I just followed the simple directions on the box.  Basically:

  1. Cook 4 extra-large eggs
  2. Dip one egg in a bowl of ice water, then peel off the shell
  3. Place egg in a mold
  4. Set in ice water
  5. Repeat for the other 3 eggs
  6. After 10 minutes, remove from molds

Egg Design Molds

Aren’t these sure to be a hit at the ‘kids’ table on Easter?

molded bunny egg

These molds can be purchased on sale online here.  Three sets would make a dozen eggs at a time – or, a half dozen star shaped deviled (half) eggs.

Since I tested my deviled eggs, I included the recipe.  I am not a big mayo fan, so my version cuts the mayo with sour cream.  Enjoy!

deviled eggs recipe

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Silver Pennies, Little Red House, and Crafts a la Mode.


showing of the green

March 4, 2014

packaged St. Pat's cookies
St. Patrick’s Day is coming up…how do I celebrate?

I usually plant some shamrocks in an unexpected container…or make some homemade Irish Cream…this year, in addition, I am adding a little green to my baking.

Irish Blessing

I think anything green goes over well on St. Patrick’s Day…what other holiday could possibly make green bagels or green beer seem like a good idea?

This year, I am adding some green swirls to my cookies!  If you haven’t used this technique in your cookie making, it is relatively easy to do – it just requires a little bit of patience.

making swirl cookies
I have used this technique to create ‘wave’ cookies for a beach themed party (by adding blue paste food coloring) or to create mocha swirl cookies (by adding cocoa and espresso powder).  As you can imagine, it is easily adaptable to a number of different themes/flavors…so keep it in mind for future entertaining!

steps in making swirl cookies
Divide your cookie dough in half, dyeing one half with paste food coloring.  In addition, I added some lime juice and lime zest – just so the green color made some sense!  You can use your favorite butter or sugar cookie dough…I have never tried this with the packages of sugar cookie dough that is sold in the refrigerator section of the grocery store, but I bet they would work out just as well.

Just pat each half of (chilled) dough into a rectangle on a piece of wax paper…measure each piece – so they are the same size.  Wrap each piece separately in wax paper and put into the refrigerator until firm.  Invert the plain piece of dough onto a large, clean piece of wax paper and peel off the top layer of wax paper.  Invert the green rectangle of dough on top of the plain dough so that the edges are aligned.  Peel off the top layer of paper.  With floured hands, pat the dough so that the layers adhere.

Working from a longer side, roll the dough into a cylinder.  If the dough becomes too soft to work with, refrigerate briefly, then continue rolling.  Wrap the cylinder in wax paper and refrigerate until firm or overnight.  Slice and bake the cookies as usual.

daisy for St. Patrick's Day

I added some clear sprinkles before baking to give the cookies a little sparkle. :)

I packaged each cookie I was giving to a friend in a CD envelope – tying it with raffia and a fresh daisy and adding the message ‘Erin go Bragh’ – translation is “Ireland Forever.”


Do you have unexpected ways to add green to your St. Patrick’s Day?

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Coastal Charm,  Craftberry Bush, and Finding Silver Pennies.

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