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What’s been happening? plus chocolate cake!

by admin

I’m sending out a new newsletter, so thought I should add to the blog at the same time. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve had some great shows. We ended up staying in ID for the winter because of Barry’s heart operation, but it was pretty mild, so no problems there.

Puyallup was a great show, back in our old space. Same thing in Phoenix, same old space. It was really fun to re-connect with customers, now that we have our name back. It hardly seemed like 8 years had flown by. I tell you, once you’re out of school, time really does fly.

And back to the old age thing. We do shows with a promoter that hands out the contracts in Dec. for the following year. You check off the shows you want to do and then you have reserved your space in that show. Well, I did that – but then – forgot to e-mail the contract! For the first show in Denver in late March, I got a non-refundable hotel room and waited for the info. for electricity, etc. Never got it. Called the promoter and found out that I hadn’t signed up for the show. Now that really threw me for a loop, as I could really remember signing the contract. Chalked it up to old age, really bad memory. Then, I was going through my business file on the computer and ran across the contract. I had filled it out and signed out. Called the promoter – ready to say ‘You forgot me’ and he said ‘Sue, we never got it. You must not have e-mailed it’. Well that I could totally believe, as they are many things I think I’ve done and then hadn’t. Oh well, good-bye paid for hotel room, non-refundable or transferable! Ugh, hard lesson to learn. Hope your lessons are less expensive.

About a week ago, I did a demonstration at an ASG meeting in Spokane. We live in CdA and I’ve been to Spokane many times, but not during rush hour traffic. I thought an hour was a good amount of time to get there, but I hadn’t looked at the address on the GPS and found it it was on the other end of town – plus the traffic. Carrie called me at 6pm, (my time to start the demo) and wondered where I was. I was about a mile away, and she was fine. But what a way to start a demo. Kind of in a rush, but did fine. Of course, then I rattled on for 70 minutes, I’m sure they were ready for a break by then. Anyway, I love giving talks and demos, so if I’m every in your neighborhood, let’s hook up.

Now for the chocolate cake. I went to college in Menomonie, WI and we ran across this choc. cake recipe. There’s also another name for it, but can’t think of that right now. You put all the dry ingredients in the cake pan, mix, make 3 holes and then add the oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix it all up with a fork. BUT – the secret is the frosting. Of course, over the years, I’ve lost the recipe. Did every search I could think of – could never find the frosting recipes – yes, there are 2 frostings. I finally turned one up, but in the buttercream frosting they used shortening. Of course I tried it – never, ever use shortening in a frosting – OMG – so bad. Total waste of ingredients. The choc. frosting isn’t exactly as I remember it either, but it was fine. You just have to let it sit so that it thickens a little and then you drizzle it on. So, feel very privileged – I’ve never shared this recipe. It’s the only cake I make – because let’s face it – we’re not supposed to have a lot of cake. Very special occasions. The cake is super moist. Don’t overbake. Use the toothpick method.

Crazy Cake (remembered the name) A very special Chocolate Cake

Put in ungreased 9 x 13 pan:

3 c. flour    2 c. sugar   1 t. salt   2 t. baking soda   1/3 c. cocoa   Mix it all up.

Make 3 holes and add: 1 t. vanilla   2 T. vinegar   3/4 c. oil

Pour 2 cups of water over the mixture and blend w/fork. DO NOT BEAT     Bake 35 min. at 350 degrees.   (you need to blend a lot with the fork, get in to the corners of the pan, etc.)

1st frosting: Gradually blend 1/2 c. milk with 2 1/2 T. flour and cook until thick paste. Let it cool. Meanwhile cream:

          1/2 c. butter (this is where they used shortening – ach!) 1/2 c. sugar   1/4 t. salt      Add paste to this mixture and beat until fluffy. Fold in 1/2 t. vanilla and spread on cooled cake.

2nd frosting: 2 T. cocoa  1/4 c. butter  1/4 c. (scant) milk  1/4 c. sugar   2 T. light corn syrup   1/4 t. salt     That is all the direction they gave for the frosting. So, I put it all in a small pan and heat it up and boil it for 2 minutes. Let it cool and as it sits it will thicken. Since I’ve spread the butter frosting on, you can really only drizzle the choc. frosting on anyway.

Dig in – it is amazing. My roommates used to hide their share of the cake because I would eat mine, theirs and the neighbors. I would have included a pic. but then I would have to make the cake and eat all of it also. 🙂

If anyone has the choc. frosting recipe that goes with this cake, I’d love to have it. This one is good, but not exact.

Enjoy your day – have your cake and eat it too!

Old age and your health

by admin

I’ve suddenly realized how old I am. How old am I? I’m so old, that I forgot to hit publish on this last edition of the blog. So – this part is older, but you may enjoy reading it, 🙂

It is truly a bummer. I woke up in Kuna, ID at a show (not at the show, at the hotel – I manage to stay awake at the shows :). And, I could hardly get out of bed. It has happened every day since then, so at my check up in early Oct. I raised the question to the doctor, what it might be. And she said tendinitis or bursitis. Wow, I’ve heard those words before, but not associated with me. She gave me a bunch of exercises to strengthen my back. Ouch, nothing says old age like ‘You NEED to exercise and stretch. There is no choice.

As I’m going through this major realization, my husband Barry goes in complaining of pains in his back and esophagus. The doctor runs some blood test and finds out that Barry is pre-diabetic, high cholesterol and has probably suffered a heart attach at some point. My husband’s favorite saying is ‘the doctor told me I could eat a bucket of grease’. Of course that was 45 years ago. Times do change, but his thinking hadn’t. The pre-diabetic really hit him, and of course the severe blockage in his heart.  He is the original junk food eater and about 3 T. of sugar in each cup of coffee. He really had to change – but he has been really good about it. No more stops at Super 1 for doughnuts, no more cokes, no more ice cream sandwiches. Actually reading a label or two. Of course, the less he eats of these items, there is  less for me to get in trouble with also. Hope it helps my weight!

He went in to see if stints were the answer, but they weren’t. He feels pretty well with his medication and the doctors didn’t feel any immediacy for his surgery. So, we’re off to Houston and Tucson, taking it very easy. So, please think of us and some prayers would help also. Getting old is not for the young, ha.


The Holiday Season

by admin

Christmas time is a great time to look back and think about the last year. Bar and I have been so blessed, that we pinch ourselves all the time. And in looking back and having Sue’s Sparklers back for 6 months – I think that is a blessing also. Which really means I’m comfortable and back in the saddle. I think the best part has been the interaction with ‘old’ customers. You’ve all been so welcoming and I remember a lot of you. That’s fun.

So, to clear up stories from the last time I blogged. Barry made it through Houston and Tucson in good shape. We took our time, he rested, and was a real trooper. He had open heart surgery on Nov. 11th. He came through with flying colors and it’s been hard to make him stay down. I’m sure any wife knows what I mean. They never want to ‘just sit’. I haven’t quite committed to my exercises yet, but the shoveling has helped.

We appreciated the patience of customers who had orders waiting to be shipped. On the home page of our website, at the top left, will be news of our next show and when I won’t be available to ship. I’m hoping that this will help in the future.

Because of Bar’s surgery and getting the business back, we weren’t able to go to AZ this winter. The weather forecasters have been talking a lot about ‘El Nino’ and how it would be a dryer winter. As they say, just wait 24 hours and it will be different. It’s been snowing in Coeur d’Alene for the last 4 days. I think we’ve had about 16″ so far. Which means, I’ve been shoveling every day, sometimes 3 times a day. I’m hoping this results in weight loss, a size a day, correct? I wish. But, we’ll have a white Christmas and it is gorgeous. I’m just hoping that the wet snow doesn’t snap any wires. We had a really bad wind storm in Nov. and no one wants a recurrence of that.

So – to wrap it up: I’m thankful for Barry and my mom. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it, but my mom has lived with us for 7 years. She is 93 and in great health – which we’re really thankful for. We’re all in good health, now, and appreciate everything that God has given us and lead us through. Sue’s Sparklers is a blessing and we’re really grateful for all of our great customers. I hope everyone has a great and blessed Christmas and Happy New Year.

I think I have it under control?

by admin

The title of this blog is how I’m feeling at this point of taking back Sue’s Sparklers. I’ve learned a lot and hopefully I’ve worked out the bugs on the website. There are still questions from time to time, but they are getting fewer. And, your patience has been much appreciated.

I’m in the process of adding the Sue’s Studs designs to the Sue’s Sparklers website. I’ve gotten through most of the iron-on designs, and then will start on the stencils and then the laser-cut appliques.

Back in April, we did a quilt show/junk show in Ellensburg WA. That was quite the combination of shows. But, I love rust and re-claimed materials, so i got to do a bit of shopping myself. That was fun. We made time for an extra day and drove up to Peshastin and Leavenworth WA. We only moved to ID 2 years ago, so we don’t know a lot about ID, let alone WA. We’ve always wanted to live on a river, and the Peshastin creek was a great area. Right now, in CdA, we have some freeway noise. When we went to the property in Peshastin, the realtor asked if we could hear the road. Ha, the river was so loud, we almost thought it was TOO loud. Is that possible? We really loved that river.

Then we went and toured Leavenworth. You have to give a town a lot of credit to re-define themselves and turn themselves in to a town built on tourism, which will give jobs to its residents. The bldgs. are cute and the mountains were gorgeous. We hope to go back in a couple of weeks to check out more property.

In June, we went to Reno to do a sewing and quilt show. That is always a fun show to do. We stay at the hotel where the show is, so everything is very easy. They have a Chinese restaurant in the hotel that is so good. It always makes us wonder if we do the shows for business or for food.

In July, we did the quilt show in Redmond OR. We had high hopes but it wasn’t as good as we had hoped. But, there is always good stuff that happens. After we set up the show, we drove over to Sisters as we had heard so much about the town. It was very charming and the shops were great. Whenever I’m away from home, even if it is with business, I go in to what I call ‘vacation mode’. Money is spent freer, because hey, I’m on vaca! I visited the famous quilt shop, which started the Sisters quilt show from the beginning. Of course, I bought some fabric. The next great thing was the business that set up across from us, had a wireless speaker that worked with Pandora on her phone. Wow, to have music to set up by. That changed our whole attitudes and made the time fly by. So, off to Costco when we came home and we picked up a little speaker for $70.00. We used it in Kuna ID and the time flew by. One of their people had to keep walking by our booth all weekend and when it got slow we put on our station. She was in heaven.

Now, I have 7 weeks off from shows, before we go to Boise ID at the end of Sept. I still have a lot of work to do on the website and I also need to come up with more new designs. Bye for now, and hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.

This last Week

by admin

Where do I begin. Should I tell you how many HOURS I’ve spent on the phone trying to get the bugs fixed on the website? Should I talk about being a vendor at a quilt show, in a building with no air conditioning in 100 degree weather? I’ll start with the first one and go from there.

I used to have an employee that whenever we couldn’t find something or something wasn’t working right, she said we had gremlins. Now, I don’t believe in gremlins, because I know that the cause of problems will usually be human error. But, lately, I’ve been giving the thought more credence.

It seems that I fix 1 problem on the site, then another crops up, right after it. I was changing prices on the site and then when I’d import the file back in to the site, there would be multiple errors. Once, the categories were mixed up and quantity was in place of price. Imagine a gross of 7mm squares was $100. I knew I had serious problems then. So, back to the phone to figure that out. Once that was fixed, I next moved on to the problem of no pictures on the site. All the design descriptions were there, but no pics of the designs.

I’m sure you guys are beginning to think I’m nuts. All of this can’t be happening. It didn’t happen before. I am right there with you. So, each time one of these major problems happened they had to do a system restore, back to a previous date. Can you guess what that means? All the changes I had done in the mean time were gone. Let’s do it again. So, with this last problem of no pictures, we had to do another restore. Some of you have gotten the new prices on the rhinestuds in an order and if anyone else orders them today, they will get the old price. It’s getting to be hysterical. I shut the site down because it isn’t working properly, but the web people don’t regard it as serious, because part of the site works. Did I mention that I pay $200 for this privilege? So, when I went on today, after the system restore, I get an error that there says ‘Products’ have crashed and should be repaired. Back on the phone. Welcome to my life!

Back to the quilt show. I live in Coeur d’Alene, ID and we are under a massive high pressure system that has us at 100 degrees for the past couple of days. One lady asked me what our elevation was. I said 2500 feet. She didn’t think the mountains should get that warm. I said I thought it was because we were closer to the sun. Nope, just plain high pressure. We set the show up on Thursday and started early in the morning and were out of there in 4 hours. Pretty good for us. Heat is a great motivator. We brought fans with us on Friday and that helped a little. We were next to a guy who sold tools, so Barry put a chair next to his with the fan, and they had a great time all weekend. I had a fan by me, but fans don’t help if you’re working with spray paint. It tends to drift. So, I was turning the fan on and off. I left at 2pm and Barry finished up the show. With that heat, not too many customers stuck around in the afternoon. On Saturday morning, I started sweating right away. Hot flashes and that kind of heat does not mix. And then, I did a lot of custom shirts. Now I’m also working with a hot iron. It was not a winning situation. I cut out at 1pm.

I thought of taking a shower when I got home, but was just going back in 3 hours to tear down, so what was the point. That night, a nice cool shower did the trick.

So, that was my week – how was yours?

DIY Rhinestone Peter Pan Necklace

by admin

diy rhinestone peter pan collar necklace

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here is a special Vday DIY. Super pretty & super easy is this necklace’s middle name, squeezed in between totally awesome and smokin hot!

The peter pan necklace is all the rage right now and very on trend. Let us help you create your very own with out breaking the bank. Here we go! Details to rhinestone peter pan collar necklace

Pretty right? We though so. This statement piece can be made in under an hour. You could make this now and tie it on before your hot Valentine’s date tonight!

The key to this DIY are the Sparkly Fabric found here from Hobby Lobby and #1474 Collar Neckline exclusively from Sue’s Sparklers. This iron on rhinestone transfer does practically all the work for you. No messy glue or pain in the hiney tweezers!

Here are the steps:

1. Trim around your transfer. This eases the removal of the white backing. Peel off the backing and press firmly into the sparkle felt.

2. Cover your transfer with either a thin cotton cloth or a teflon pressing cloth.

3. With your iron set to wool and with no steam, press firmly in place for one solid minute. Let cool

4. After the design is cool to the touch, slowly peel off the clear transfer paper. If a stone comes up with the paper, press back in place, cover with the cloth and iron for another 30 seconds with the iron directly on top of the loose piece.

5. Check with your finger for any loose edges on the stones. Touch with the iron if there are any.

6. Use your scissors to trim around your two pieces of the peter pan collar.

7. Attach your jump ring to the two pieces of the collar.

8. Glue or sew on your ribbon ties

Presto! You now have your very own double sparkly accessory!
diy rhinestone peter pan collar necklace

diy rhinestone peter pan collar necklace

diy rhinestone peter pan collar necklace

Make sure to check out more easy DIYs from Home Heart Craft.

Customer Creation Contest Winners Announced

by admin

Dum da da dum!!!! And the winners are….

1st Place Vicky Norris & her absolutely fabulous studded out miniature horse tack. We here at Sue’s Sparklers couldn’t stop grinning every time we saw these cute pix. We enjoyed the fact that Vicky experiments with more that just crystals, but in fact, embellishes with a variety of our metal studs. Way to go Vicky!!!


Here are a few more of her stunners!

Our 2nd Place winner is….. Kelli Powell and her AMAZING SHOES….. You go girl!!! She made these shoes for her wedding and painstakingly set each stone by hand. She used over 3,000 crystals! That is what you call dedication!

And our 3rd place winner is Madeleine Menke… She and her gal pals came in to the shop and created these super cute custom shirts. They used our new crystal woody transfer and embellished it with clear crystals and their choice phrase. This is the perfect example of how to make a design ‘your own’

Congrats to all the winners! Please email or call and we will give you directions on how to redeem your fabulous prizes!

Stay tuned later all through out this week we will be posting images of all the great entries we received! All of you are so creative and we really appreciate your business and support!!!!

xoxo The Sparklers Team

Customer Creations Contest

by admin

The Customer Creations Contest is back in action! Do you want a chance to win some great prizes?!?! Just email us a pic of your latest and greatest sparkly creation made with Sue’s Sparklers products. You can enter up to five different times. Each entry will receive a FREE pack of hot fix Swarovski Navette Crystals! Please email your entries to with your name, contact information and materials used. Please limit the image size to under 2MB. Contest closes at the end of Sunday June 3rd. Winners will be announced on the following Monday.  By entering into the contest you are giving Sue’s Sparklers permission to use the image.

Good Luck!


Customer Creations: Rosalie Hughes

by admin

Customer Creations Rosalie Hughes

How to Bling Out Your Heels With Swarovski (Bejeweler Instructions)

by admin

Hello All Sparkler Lovers! Welcome to our first installment of Sparklers DIY.

This is a very popular DIY that we get asked about all the time. At shows we put a few blinged out heels on our table, and let me tell you , it is like moths to a flame. Ladies just can’t help themselves! They are totally gorgeous! You can see my original post about this fabulous DIY by clicking HERE

This DIY is bejeweler heavy, so get out your magic wand and power it up! Enjoy!

How to Bling Shoes 1

What you need: A Bejeweler with interchangeable tips. You can pick one up HERE
Some Hot Fix Crystals, I recommend 16ss Clear Swarovski Crystal. Swarovski is fabulous. You can pick some up HERE
I grabbed a package of 10 gross or 1440 pieces. You do use a lot of crystal on heels. Size 16ss or 4mm is the best size to start with. Not to big and not to small.
Then you need a pair of suede or fabric heels. It needs to be a porous material so the glue has something to hold on to. Slick leather is a no go.

How to Bling Shoes 2

Oh Swarovski… you are so pretty! See the gray back? That is the hot fix glue, which makes it work with the Bejeweler Heat Setter Tool. Sooooo much easier then applying glue to each crystal & much less mess.

How to Bling Shoes 3

Lay out all of your crystals sparkly side up. Work on a hard flat surface, a wood cutting board works great. Make sure the right tip is screwed into the Bejeweler, it is inscribed on the side of each tip. Plug your Bejeweler in and give it a few minutes to get nice and hot.

How to Bling Shoes 4

To pick up the crystal, very gently place the Bejeweler tip directly on top of the crystal. Do not push down hard. Hold it there for a few seconds, the heat causes the crystal to expand slightly, and the tip will hold the stone.

How to Bling Shoes 5

Pick up the crystal and look at it. This is key. You are watching the back side, the glue, melt. It should bubble slightly and glisten. For a size 16ss or 4mm crystal it takes about 5-8 seconds for it to melt completely.

How to Bling Shoes 6

Gently touch the tip to where you want the crystal. The hot glue will pull the crystal out of the Bejeweler tip and set itself on to the fabric. I will give it a little extra by pushing the crystal on to the fabric to make sure it has a very secure hold. Be very careful! It is hot! Band-aide maybe?
Tip: If the crystal gets stuck in the tip, have a push pin in hand. Slide it into the slot on the tip and gently pull the crystal out. See the slots on the tip in the picture above? Very convenient.

Wha-La!! That is how you use the Bejeweler. Just repeat, repeat and repeat until you have covered what you want or you run out of crystals 🙂 Hope you get addicted to blinging, just like I have! Soon you will start thinking everything you own will look so much better with a little crystal here and there.

How to Bling Shoes 7


How to Bling Shoes 8

Thank you for stopping by and we hope you have a Sparkly Day!


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