May 29, 2011

Rose Cake

Book club coincided with a member's birthday this month, so we made a birthday cake for the refreshment.  I saw this rose cake HERE at i am baker and had to try it.   Great photos and step by step instructions.

Deceptively simple, but it takes a lot of frosting.  Our birthday girl's favorite color is purple, so we added a light dusting of violet with a can of cake color spray paint.  Yes, they do make that.

A little sign for the birthday girl.

Close ups.

Happy Birthday Vickie!

May 24, 2011

Teacher Gifts: Etched Monogrammed Bowls with Apples

My youngest finished his last day of speech therapy preschool today.  My friend came over for an etched glass tutorial, and I ended up making some last minute teacher thank you gifts with her.   Jamie, I really do think you are my crafting BFF.  It's a good thing our husbands and kids like each other because we have too much fun together.  I mean, we would hang out regardless of their feelings, but at least their happy too, right?  Win win win.

Etched glass is hard to photograph.  Shame on me for not taking that Photography 101 class in college.  I monogrammed bowls for each teacher, just like I did HERE, using vinyl cutouts.  I had the leftover vinyl letters from the project and thought they would look good as the front of my card.  Slap that letter on some folded cardstock, cut strips of lunch sacks with some decorative scissors, fill with some apples (I am nothing but poignant with my gift giving), and tie a bow around the whole thing.  DONE!  Less than an hour for both gifts from start to finish. 

Here is me sticking a piece of cardstock in the bowl, trying to get a better picture of the etching.  It shows up a lot better in real life.  You are just going to have to trust me.....OR try it for yourself.   I suggest you do the latter.

May 19, 2011

Book Review: Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

Cleopatra: A LifeCleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Whew!  I finished it!  I usually finish a book in a couple of days.  This one took me over a week...and not because I didn't like it.  I started reading this book with no knowledge of what it contained, I assumed it was an historical fiction.  No.  It's a nonfiction, bordering on academic history textbook of the famous queen's life and times.  Not that I am complaining, it was very interesting and I learned a lot.  I have a much better grasp of that time period and especially of which Caesar is which.  The writing is excellent and the author has a very subtle way of adding her own little jabs and opinions of what she thinks actually happened.  If you read too fast or skim, you might miss some of them, which would be a shame.  She had me smirking a few times.  It is wordy, however, and it is easy to get all of those names (Roman especially) mixed up.  It takes some concentration to read, but I think worth it in the end.  Give it a try, just pace yourself and know you won't finish it quickly.  Some great glossy images of antiquities in the middle of the book, just when you need a break.

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May 18, 2011

Book Review: The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull

The Candy Shop WarThe Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great book, my favorite from this author so far.  Who wouldn't love a story about magicians that make candy for kids, who then get superpowers after eating it?  But why are they giving out the candy in the first place?  What are the deeper motives to these candy shops?  Great characters and plot, a simple mystery but still fun, and a great plot twist at the end.  Not too scary, which is great for my kid who tends to let his imagination get the better of him at times.  We'll probably read this one as a family when my oldest is 7 or 8.  Great for boys or girls.

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May 17, 2011

Preschool Packs

Inspired by I Am Momma...Hear Me Roar, I decided to make some dry erase activity books for some upcoming birthday parties.  There are multiple free preschool packs HERE.  I am planning on making a few more of these in the future.  Click on pictures to enlarge.

This binder has some custom vinyl work on the cover for our dragon loving friend.   We added some Toy Story pages too.  I added a pack of dry erase markers to go along with the present.  Hope they like them!

May 16, 2011

Doormat Wall Art from Lemon Tree Creations

I'm loving this idea at Lemon Tree Creations.  Don't have time this week to do it, so I'm filing it away here for future projects.

May 14, 2011

Book Review: Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz

Scorpia Rising (Alex Rider #9)Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The last of the Alex Rider series.  First of all, this particular book was good.  Not great, not my favorite, but good.  I enjoyed the way it ended overall and felt it was real and gave me enough closure.  The storyline was a little more forced than usual for me.  The gadgets, situations, and villains are always a little over the top...I love that about these books...but the story didn't flow as well as some of the others.  My favorite part was by far learning more about Smithers.  Hilarious.

Overall, this series is fabulous.  I own all of these and am looking forward to the day when my boys are old enough to read them.  A great series for any spy-loving kid.  Highly recommended.

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May 13, 2011

Fabric Book Display Shelf

Loving this idea for displaying children's books over at Penny Carnival.  There is a good possibility my 3 year old would try to climb in it though.  I should really get that kid a hammock.

May 11, 2011

Book Review: Spindle's End by Robin McKinley

Spindle's EndSpindle's End by Robin McKinley

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have really liked a couple of this author's books (Beauty and The Blue Sword).  A couple of others I trudged through and were glad when the last page was read.  This is the latter I'm afraid.  A retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy was wordy and long and strange and long and a little boring....oh and LONG!  I did like the beginning of the book and it saved it from getting only one star.  It was downhill after about chapter 5 though.  Of course, a normal person would have put the book down halfway through and moved on to greener pastures.  Nope, not me.  I am a finisher.  I finish things.  It's a blessing and a curse.  Not only to I have to finish things I start, but I have an Alice in Wonderland complex which leaves me eternally curious as to the ending of a book if I do not finish.  There are only a small smattering of books I have started and never finished, and those are because they were so bad I would have rather thrown up than finished them.  This one....just a little dry heaving I guess.  So, I finished it.  It's love it or hate it with this author for me.  You have been warned.  Oh, and sorry about the TMI on the dry heaving.

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May 7, 2011

Fat Quarters....the possibilities

I recently won a giveaway over at Creative Chicks and my prize arrived today!  Thanks again, I'm so excited I won something!

  Nine beautiful fat quarters of mind is reeling with the possibilities.  It may take me a while to use each fabric since I don't know for sure what I am going to do with each FQ, but I will post about each fabric adventure as I go.  The blue with polka dots would look great in the next quilt I want to make for my four year old.  I do think I know what I am doing with the purple/red print on the far right.  It's going to be a thank you gift for my son's first grade teacher.  Stay tuned.

May 6, 2011

Library Book Bin

 I started bringing home more children's books home from the library, but was nervous about just sticking them on the shelf with our own books.  I have a very irrational fear of overdue fines at the library.  Those ladies that work there kinda scare me, if I am being completely honest here.

  I decided to make a bin just for library books, thus avoiding the wrath of the librarian squad.  I chose a bin that had low sides, making it possible to see most the books, perfect for catching my little ones attention and luring them in....he he.  I leave it out on my fireplace mantle, very accessible, and my boys are loving it.  My first grader has come home from school the last two days and immediately made for the book bin.  For someone who would rather read than eat or sleep, this is significant and heartwarming.  My baby wants to READ!  YES!

A $7 dollar paper file bin from Walmart, in the office supplies section.  They have several colors.  Cream colored vinyl cut with my Silhouette.  The font is "Albemarle Swash".

May 5, 2011

Glass Etched Bowl

Wedding season has arrived the the invitations are rolling in.  I wanted to come up with a fun, personalized gift for the soon to be newlyweds in my circle.

I bought some pretty glass bowls and etching creme.  I had to go to three different stores for the creme, the first two being sold out.  Popular stuff, that creme.  Maybe these brides and grooms will be getting several of these on their wedding day from different guests.....yikes.  Anyway, I cut out the monogram in the font I liked on vinyl using my Silhouette.  The vinyl is sticky on one side, which  makes it perfect for using it as a stencil on the bowl, no taping required and you get a nice crisp seal.  I brushed on my creme with a basic sponge brush, very liberal with the coat.  Five minutes later, I rinsed it off with tap water and removed my vinyl.  Voila!  Thinking of adding some monogrammed kitchen towels....

They are not perfect, but for my first attempt, I am very happy with them.  I hope the recipients are too.  Congrats newlyweds! 

May 4, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week

Every day this week, the kids at my first grader's school are showing their appreciation for their teacher.  Yesterday, they were supposed to bring a flower.  Since I do not have any flowers on my property (I kill plants by looking at them, I swear), we went and bought a cute little flower pot and "wrapped" it up for his teacher instead.  His teacher is pretty outdoorsy and I think would enjoy taking this home and planting it on her property.  And I'm betting she won't kill it as quickly as I would if it stayed at my house.

Today, he drew a picture for his teacher.  Tomorrow is "wear your teacher's favorite color" day.
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