Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Lightkeeper's Daughter

The Lightkeeper's Daughter
by Colleen Coble
Thomas Nelson Publisher

Addie had lived her life in a lighthouse with her parents on the coast of California. She recently lost her father who adored her to consumption while she had never felt loved or accepted by her mother. One day a stranger showed up and told her she wasn't who she thought she was. So, Addie began her quest to find her true identity and find a family who would love her.

In her search for her true identity, Addie Sullivan was attacked, members of her new found family were attacked and the woman that raised her was murdered. Who could she trust in this new world where she didn't know anyone? Who was she really? Where was her real mother?

I was pleasantly surprised with this novel. Originally, I thought that it was going to be just another rags to riches story, but it was so much more. With love & romance and mystery & intrigue filling each page it was difficult to put down. It kept me guessing until the end about who was behind Addie's hidden identity and how things would turn out. The fact that this is a historical fiction novel was pleasing to me, I found it interesting to know that the events in the book were set in a real place, Mercy Falls. I would recommend this book if you enjoy romance and suspense.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Gifts

Can you believe that I forgot to take a picture of a Christmas gift I made? (O.k. I can too.)

I made my brother's 3 boys (a set of twins age 11 and a 4 yr. old) each a pillowcase out of flannel in camo, with safety orange trim with their names embroidered in safety orange also (you can find my inspiration here). I also used the scrap camo fabric and made them each a stocking ornament and put a little cash in it.

I hope to have a tutorial on the stocking ornament soon. (It's never too early to start making gifts for next year - I mean don't do like I do and start at Thanksgiving -or later - to make all your Christmas gifts.) I have been known to stay up in the wee hours of the morning to finish a project that I procrastinated on. (I mean I wouldn't do that on a regular basis or anything, that is just in extreme cases - you know, really it is, you believe me don't you? Forget it, I knew you wouldn't buy it.)

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas and I hope you have a Happy New Year!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sock Snowman

A girl in Anthony's pre-K class made this (or rather her mother and grandmother actually) snowman for all the kids in her class. It is made from socks (turned inside out for a 'snowy' texture), with a baby sock for the hat with a fabric accent on the hat. It has cute googley eyes, a fabric scarf, orange chanille stem for the nose, pom poms for buttons, a painted on mouth and is filled with rice (I assume - could be bean bag filler from the craft section). Very cute!!!! I think he is just adorable.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another Pregnant Belly Cake

A friend of mine (she was also Lee's first grade teacher and Champ's first and second grade teacher and I sincerely hope Anthony and Rance both have her when they get in school) asked me if I would make the pregnant belly cake for her baby shower. She already has 2 girls and is expecting a boy this time and she chose the colors blue and brown. (I love those colors together!) They looked great together on the cake. I am glad that she picked those colors out.

It is not a very big cake so I made some cupcakes to go with it. I was not very pleased with the cupcakes. I iced them in blue and attempted to put brown dots (to go with the dress on the pregnant belly) on the blue icing (I couldn't find brown confetti sprinkles - that was my first choice). I did not get my brown icing dark enough. I had also thought of doing the reverse (brown icing with blue dots) if I could find blue confetti sprinkles - which I couldn't find those either. Oh, well - at least the cake turned out o.k.

This is such a fun cake to do. Maybe it's because of the occasion, but whatever the reason, it is definitely one of my favorite (if not my very favorite) cakes to make.

To see my first attempt at the pregnant belly cake and what I used to make it, you can click here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Girl's 3 Piece Christmas Outfit

I just finished this cute outfit. I saw the adorable red and green polka dot fabric and couldn't resist buying it. Then I saw the cute ruffled pants and thought I had to make an outfit using the fabric and the ruffled pants and hoped it turned out as cute as I had imagined.

The top can also be worn alone as a dress. Don't you think it would be just sweet with a white, long sleeve, turtle neck under it? I got the dress pattern from a Martha Pullen book (you can view it here).

And I have also been wanting to try the korker bows (but with boys didn't really have a reason to), so I used this as an excuse (you can find the directions here). I made it out of grosgrain ribbon (I absolutely love the stuff). Their harder than you think to make them. Maybe I just need practice or maybe there is a little trade secret that would make it easier, who knows? (If you do, let me in on it.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Poodle Skirt

I made this poodle skirt for a friend of a friend (her daughter is in a school production). It is red with a black poodle on the front. I got the pattern for the poodle here (but of course I modified it slightly - I've got to be me). I also found directions on how to make the skirt here. I hope she likes it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

What I've Been Up To

A friend asked me if I would embroider some names onto a couple of stockings for her cousin. I said sure. Her cousin bought these very cute hunting style stockings at Wal-Mart. The names are embroidered in "safety orange." (It doesn't show up well in the pictures.)

I also have been busy (not really) making super hero capes for lego men.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Indian Corn Cake

About 15 years ago, I saw an Indian Corn Cake in Country Woman Magazine (I think). I made it that year for Thanksgiving and then forgot about it. Not sure why, but I thought about it the other day and I thought that the boys might enjoy decorating it, so I got the stuff to do it (trying to go on memory - it's a pretty simple cake, but it has been 15 years).

I got a butter cake mix, I made Wilton's butter cream frosting myself (recipe here) and some Reece's Pieces (I got 4 boxes: 4 boys = 4 boxes, besides I knew that if I got too many they would get eaten anyway and it is better for me if they each have a box so there is no fighting).

I made the cake according to package directions and baked the cake in a 9" round cake pan and let it cool. After I got the cake out of the pan I cut it into a corn shape (not sure where the pics are - sorry), similar to the parentheses ( ). I then iced the cake. (For some reason, I had the hardest time getting the icing to stick to the cake. I got crumbs all in the icing, but it didn't matter because we were covering it up with Reece's pieces.)

Here are some pics of the boys putting the candy on the cake. (I gave each of them a bowl and poured their candies into the bowl to make it easier on them.)

Here are some pics of the cake with all the candy on it.

Here is the completed cake. I used some twisted paper ribbon (that I untwisted and shaped into a corn husk shape). Does it look like Indian Corn? Well, whether it does or not, it was our Thanksgiving Day dessert.

Out of curiosity, I did a search on the Country Woman website and found a picture of the cakes that I saw 15 years ago, you can check it out here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Hair Barrett Tutorial

"A turkey is a funny bird, his head goes wobble, wobble.
All he knows is just one word and that is gobble, gobble."
(That's what Anthony's pre-K class said before their Thanksgiving dinner.)

Well, I've finished my tutorial (that I mentioned here) on making the Turkey Hair Bow/Barrett and I even did it before next Thanksgiving. But I guess it's not in time for you to make one for this Thanksgiving (sorry) - unless of course you already have the supplies on hand (it just takes a few minutes).

You will need 3/8 inch grosgrain ribbon in the following colors: green, yellow, red, brown and orange...

...googly eyes, hair clips... glue gun and glue sticks...

...and optional (not necessary, but really makes things easier) metal cookie sheet, wooden ruler with a metal edge, and a wood burning tool with the chisel tip.

Measure your hair clip either with the green ribbon itself or with a measuring tape and cut ribbon to that length. (Depends on the size of your clip as to how long your green ribbon will be.) I cut my ribbon with the wood burning tool (chisel tip), this heat seals the ribbon and keeps it from fraying. (You can use scissors and fray check if you want.)

Hot glue the green ribbon around the outside of the hair clip (making sure you don't glue the clip together where it won't open).

Cut 3 inches each of brown, yellow, orange and red ribbon.

Cut a piece of orange ribbon slightly smaller than 1/2 inch.

Cut 2 pieces of brown ribbon, one 6 1/2 inches and another 2 1/2 inches.

Fold the small orange piece in half (to form a triangle - this will be the beak) and glue. Fold each of the 3 inch pieces (these will be the tail feathers) and the brown 2 1/2 inch piece of ribbon to form a loop (see picture) and glue.

Take the long brown piece of ribbon (6 1/2 inches) and make a large loop on one end and glue on the back side. (This will be the body of the turkey.)

Make a smaller loop on the top part of the ribbon and glue on the back side. (This will be the head of the turkey.)

Take the 2 1/2 inch piece (that is now a loop) and glue to the underside of the turkey body (see picture).

Glue the orange triangle and the googly eyes onto the brown piece (see picture for placement).

Glue the colored loops (tail feathers) onto the green ribbon covered hair clip in a fan shape (see picture for placement).

Glue the turkey body onto the tail feathers and green covered hair clip. There's your turkey hair bow.

I hope each and everyone of you has a very safe and happy Thanksgiving. Count your blessings.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Easy Shorts

For next summer, if you want an easy way to make shorts for your child, here it is!!!

Bandana Pants!!!!

They are quick and easy, but if you have ever worked with bandanas before, you know that they are not a perfect square or rectangle (so that means your shorts won't be perfect). I figured my boys were so active that they couldn't be still long enough for anyone to notice. These are cute play shorts. They are inexpensive and if they get extremely dirty or ripped (I have 4 very tuff and tumble boys), it won't be the end of the world.

You can find the directions here. There are so many different bandanas out there that your possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Let's Talk Turkey!

O.K. Sorry that I have been MIA. Still not sure how to get everything done since school has started and I am also still having issues with my camera (it actually basically died or as good as dead). I am using my son's camera and I have to get used to it.

Well, here is one thing that I've been up to. I made a Turkey hair bow. A little girl at church had the cutest bow and I just had to try to make it, so I went home (before I forgot what it looked like) and this is what I came up with.

When I asked my DH about it, he said "If you used your imagination it might look like a turkey". Is it me or is it him? (Does it look like a turkey or not?)

I will try to do a tutorial on it later (don't hold your breath, I have no idea how long it will take me - maybe I will get it done before next Thanksgiving). ;o)

UPDATE: 11-25-09, I have finished the tutorial and you can view that here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Color Coded Bread Ties

I have seen this in several e-mails and I just checked snopes (they said it was true) about buying fresh bread.

Bread is delivered fresh to the store 5 days a week (Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri., & Sat.) and each day has a different colored twist tie (or plastic closure).

Mon. - Blue
Tues. - Green
Thurs. - Red
Fri. - White
Sat. - Yellow

So, if today was Thur. I would want a Red Twist Tie (not White - which is Friday, almost a week old). The colors go in alphabetical order and Mon. - Sat. It should be easy to remember, but if you can't you can print it off and carry it in your purse/wallet for a shopping reminder.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Gooey Gunk

Do you have young scientists in your family, do your kids like making concoctions, do you have boys that just like to make a mess (like I do)? If so, you need to check out Kid Concoctions.

I first saw the Thomas' several years ago on the Carol Duvall Show and instantly liked them and thier ideas. I got online and ordered 2 of their books. While I was at the MOPS Convention a couple of weeks ago, I took a workshop that the Thomas' were giving about their Kid Concoctions (I bought another book). Great workshop.

They have 'recipes' for all sorts of things that cost a lot of money at the store, but you can make it at home a whole lot cheaper with ingredients around the house (mostly from your kitchen).

Last night we made GooeyGunk. I used neon green food coloring (thinking that would be cool - instead the boys said it looked like snot - they are right, hint: if you make this use blue or purple or something other than green). *See pictures below.* [If you buy GooeyGunk in the store, it would be called 'Slime.']

See what my boys are doing with it. (That's o.k. I'm not sure either, but they are having fun doing it.)

Love & Respect

I just finished the book 'Love & Respect' by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (Thomas Nelson Publishers).

This book centered around the scripture Ephesians 5:33, "Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." I have often wondered why a man is told to love his wife, but a wife is told to respect her husband. That is one scripture that I never fully understood. I think that Dr. Eggerichs did a good job on explaining the importance of that scripture to a marriage.

He talks about the 'Crazy Cycle' in his book. Without Love -> she reacts -> Without Respect -> he reacts -> Without Love -> (do you see where this is going?). He has a great diagram in his book to explain it better. He also talks about an 'Energizing Cycle' and a 'Rewarded Cycle.' (Why and how you should still try to use his principles on your marriage even if your spouse is not cooperative.)

I really enjoyed the book. It made me look at the way I treat my husband and the way he perceives that he is being treated and vice versa (they are not always the same). On occasion, when Dr. Eggerichs address wives, he asks a very thought provoking question..."Are you treating your husband the way you would want your son to be treated by his wife?" Wow, what an eye opener and since I am the mother of 4 boys, this really hit home with me.

When I was around other couples, I became aware of how they were treating each other and how they perceived they were being treated by their spouse. After reading this book, I am very aware of how people come across (which very often is not the way they think they are coming across) to others. Communication (in all forms - body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, etc.) is extremely important in a marriage.

So if you are struggling in your marriage, or if you have a good marriage, but would like to make it better or if you just want to please Christ with your marriage and your role as a spouse - this is a good read. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How to make a pumpkin

I am sorry that the pictures are not very clear. I really NEED a new camera (maybe for Christmas?). I took and re-took the pictures, adjusted settings and none of them are clear - sorry.

First you will need orange slice candy, plastic wrap, scissors, green floral tape, and a small bowl with a flat bottom (I used a 1/2 C measuring cup).

You will need a fairly large piece (it will need to be quite a bit bigger than your bowl) of plastic wrap.

Now, pay attention, it gets really technical here. Take your fingers and push the plastic wrap into the bottom of your bowl.

Now begin to stand your slices of orange slice candy around the outside edge of your bowl (with the narrow part of the candy toward the center of the bowl and the wide part touching the outside).

Continue to fill the bowl. It will depend on the size of the candies as to how many you will need. In the picture there are 8 candies on the outside and 1 candy in the center (if there are any broken pieces, I usually save them for the center).

Pull the plastic wrap up and lift the candy out of the bowl (keeping plastic wrap tight). Then twist the plastic wrap tightly next to the orage slice candy.

Take your floral tape and while stretching it (this is important - if you do not do this, it will not hold), wrap it around the twisted plastic wrap a couple of times.

Then take your scissors and cut off the excess plastic wrap and then you have a pumpkin. Now you can make a whole pumpkin patch for table decorations, gifts to your co-workers, child's teachers/classmates/friends/etc.

I've made a few batches for my MOPS Disscussion Group, Anthony's Pre-K class including the teachers (they are studying the letter 'P' this week and they are going to the 'Pumpkin Patch' tomorrow, so I thought it would be appropriate). I have been making these since Lee and Champ were in daycare (they are now 10 and 9).

Everyone seems to enjoy them and they are so easy to do. You can make these around Halloween or Thanksgiving.

Sorry that I haven't updated my blog lately. I am having trouble getting adjusted to school this year (this is the first time in about 3 or 4 years that I have taken the boys to school - Frank usually does it). Since Anthony is in Pre-K he gets out at 2:00 and we don't live close to the school, so I have to kill an hour until the other 2 boys get out at 3:00. This year I have 3 children in 3 different schools (this is Champ's last year at the elementary school, this is Lee's first year at the Middle School and the Pre-K is at the High School) makes for more driving. Also, this is the first time that I've had only 1 at home, so I am trying to volunteer at school some. I am not great at time management anyway, but this year seems worse than normal. Maybe I will get the hang of it eventually.

Well, I've finally updated my blog and for those of you that keep on me to update it, this one's for you (Mary). ;o)
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