This little card was a long over due “Thank You” and “Thinking of You” card for a truly sweet and giving lady. She was married to my uncle but was also my Sunday School Teacher for many years as I was growing up. She would give us scraps of fabric and lovely buttons to sew and then would read to us the story of Joseph & his coat of many colors. The sewing would take us awhile and would illustrate the care that it took to make Joseph’s fine coat, but also the care that God has in taking care of us. Even while I was in college I would receive lovely care packages from her. One included autumn leaves in contact paper with a magnet on back which lived on my fridge for years.
A few years ago she was diagnosed with a particularly virulent type of cancer and she lost her battle last month. I made and sent her this card only two weeks before her passing. She loved hand made and crafty items and never met a bottle of glitter that she didn’t like. I am glad that I followed through and sent the card, otherwise, she might not have known how much each of those care packages and Sunday School lessons meant to me.
I hope that I can always thank those folks in my life who have shaped and influenced me in this life.
This is a very Clean and Simple card that I wanted to make for my mom. The idea came about back around Valentine’s Day but I made her this mixed media project instead. I saved the idea and created the card that I will send to her for Mother’s Day.
It is a simple concept but was painstaking when applying all the pearls to each little flower but I am happy with how it turned out. These are definitely flowers that won’t wilt.
As I was preparing for Lydia’s 3rd Birthday, I spent a lot of time searching through Pinterest for party ideas and inspiration. She had been insistent on having a Hello Kitty party and because I knew we would have a small party at home, I wanted to have a lot of decorations that would be unique and created by me. And let me be honest, after 8 years of Thomas the Tank Engine, SpongeBob Squarepants, Angry Bird and Lego parties, I was ready to pinkafy a birthday!
I found many Hello Kitty party ideas on Pinterest and during one of my searches, discovered pom pom garlands. I am a big fan of pom poms, so much so that I even made a virtual board dedicated to all things pom pom! I have crafted with pom poms many times but had never made a garland. It was so simple and easy that I can’t believe that I hadn’t done it sooner! And as far as decorations go, it is quite inexpensive to make yourself.
You will need a bag of pom poms, a needle, and embroidery thread. I purchased a bag of 100 pink pom poms from Hancock Fabrics for $1.99. Many other craft stores sell bags of pom poms most of which contain muticolors and various sizes of balls. I knew that I wanted uniform sizes and colors and the only place I could find them was at Hancock Fabrics. I picked a fancy (i.e. more expensive) embroidery thread because I knew it would show on my garland and it matched the color of the pom poms best, but you can go with any type of embroidery thread. In fact, I bet fishing line would work if you were making garland and the balls all touched. I used a needle I had on hand but was sure to pick one with a sharp point and a large eye. It is very important to pick a needle with a sharp point. Making the garland did not take long because I didn’t need to struggle to thread the balls together.
Once you have your materials, determine how long you want your garland to be and cut your thread accordingly. Make a small knot on the tail end and trim the excess. Begin to add your pom poms by spearing each one in the center with the needle. Continue with each pom pom until your garland is the desired length and knot the end.
It was so simple and easy that I made two while watching TV in about a half hour.
Trendy grandma names have become the norm in my neck of the woods. So much so, that it is hard to find a grandma anywhere. The former matriarchs of my family included a Mam-maw, Granny, Grandmother and a Grandmother Mimi. I never had the privilege of meeting them but I also had a Big Mama and a Granny Great. All those sweet ladies have gone on to their great reward and so have their monikers.
In my family alone, we now have a GG, Mim, Gram, Mimi, Nana (we have an abundant amount of nanas) and a Nette. I know of a Peach, Oma, Tish, Wisty and Chick. And according to my friend Rebekah Sanderlin, a journalist who wrote this article for NPR on the phenomenon, it is not a situation unique to my friends and family.
Trendy names aren’t just for the grandmas who wish to belay aging or the appearance there of. I wasn’t entirely surprised when my dad refused to be called Grand-anything. He never wanted anyone to know his age and wasn’t keen on celebrating his birthday. For awhile he was Daddy Jim to my nieces and nephew but by the time my kids came along, he was simply Jim. I must point out that I was never allowed to call him by his first name but we all know what happens to our parents when the grandkids come along. They go soft in the discipline department and mayhem is allowed and sometimes encouraged.
Mom’s logic for a grandma name was pretty complicated as well. When you are wife to a Jim you can’t exactly be a “Grandmother”. She wanted something short and sweet but also didn’t want anything associated with nannies or goats.
So the problem with holidays when you have a trendy and unique grandma name is that you can’t find a pre-made card with that particular moniker. Hallmark and American Greetings haven’t quite caught up to the trend. I will say one can find a Nana card here and there. Plus, I am realistic that there will never be a Nette card. This Valentine’s Day I was feeling extremely crafty and productive so I decided to make Valentines for my family.
I started with my mom. I knew she should get something more than just an ordinary card. I found paper mache letters at Hobby Lobby and picked out the N for “Nette”. I decorated it with mixed media. Much of it was Stampin’ Up! papers using Stampin’ Up! tools. When I finished it, I asked my hubby what he thought of my finished “N”. He said it was pretty, but wanted to know its function. He asked, “What does it do?” (This came from a man who doesn’t like hushpuppies, and can’t appreciate the artistic nuances of fried bread balls!) He is also an engineer which explains a lot. Well, it may not turn on lights or solve complicated mathematical problems, but it did bring a smile to my mom’s face and reminded her that her daughter and grandchildren love her. Sometimes that can be the best function of all.
When you or someone you love has a peanut or tree nut allergy you may struggle to find chocolate treats. As I was shopping for Valentine’s Day treats for my mom’s treat box to mail to her, I came across Sixlets. We had a phone conversation about them just the day before because I bought pink ones for baby girl’s upcoming birthday party. My mom said she had never seen any so when I found them in the dollar bin at my local Target, I had to add them to her Vanlentine box. I also bought a bag for Baby Girl because it is safe for her and chocolate flavored. (Hey, beggars can’t be choosers, right?)
What I found amusing is the wording of the allergy label, “Made in a facility that does not process nuts.” It was the first time I had seen a label with that particular wording and I read it several times because it threw me off. Usually, I see “Made in a Peanut Free Facility” or “May Contain Peanuts or Tree Nuts.” It seemed peculiar to me but it just points out that there is really no standard format for allergen labeling by the FDA when it concerns cross-contamination. Many manufacturers include a warning that the facility does process allergens but it is not required to do so. The FDA requires labeling only if the product contains an allergen as an ingredient. So for now, I am thankful for all those companies that include allergy advisory labels.
The eyes have it, all 100 of them. Our family members are no strangers to 100th day celebrations. The United States Military Academy, who boasts a long history of creating traditions that seem to filter down to the civilian world, seems to be able to claim 100th Day Celebrations as well as the senior class ring. Beginning in 1871, the senior class, or Firsties, as they are called, started the tradition with a night of skits and revelry to celebrate only 100 days left till graduation. The first time I ever heard of celebrating the 100th Day was when I was invited to the 100th Night Banquet at West Point by a handsome cadet who later proposed that night. ( I said “yes”, by the way, and we have celebrated over sixty 100th days together now!)
I wasn’t aware that our elementary schools had begun to mark the 100th day as well until my little man came home from kindergarten with coloring pages, special stickers and needed 100 pipe cleaners to count in class. The difference is that the schools are celebrating the 100th day of attendance whereas West Point is counting down to the last 100 days of school. Perhaps I am dating myself to the dark ages, but we never celebrated 100th Day when I was in school. I may be feeling a bit left out right now, until I realize that these 100 day projects are really mine to accomplish because I am not crazy enough yet to let my 2nd grader use the hot glue gun.
These projects seem to escalate quickly. In first grade, Dylan had to decorate a hat with 100 things. Little Man and I spent an afternoon counting out foam stickers to hot glue on a black foam top hat that Dylan proudly insisted was an “Abraham Lincoln” hat. He even put notes inside the hat because that is what Abe Lincoln did with his speeches. This year, for second grade, we were told that the students could wear a shirt with 100 things on it for that Friday. The email with the assignment came in on Sunday so of course, I forgot about it until Tuesday which meant shopping on Wednesday and creating on Thursday. Nothing like waiting till the last minute, but that is my typical M.O.
On Thursday night I found myself staring at a blank white tshirt and 100 googlie eyes. I could have glued all the eyes onto the shirt but I didn’t think they stood out enough, that and I am a craft overachiever. I did a little “research” on Pinterest to cement some ideas on how to make the eyes stand out and make the shirt boyish. Many of the ideas that I found were great for girls but not so much for boys. I was inspired by Sara and the 100th day shirt she created. I really liked this idea for girls and maybe will remember this idea in a few years for Lydia. I need something for a boy that was an easy silhouette and could be made with fabric scraps that I had left over from other projects. I saw a few drawn on alien shirts and thought that a monster shirt might be the way to go. I free handed a monster body on my brown fabric scraps. To make sure that it was symmetric, I folded the monster in half before cutting. I finally found some red fabric that I cut in a semi-circle for the mouth. He is a friendly monster so he’s smiling of course. I also knew that Dylan would not be thrilled with the pink felt I first found for the monster’s mouth. After all the cutting and gluing it only took about an hour to an hour and a half for this project. I was pretty please with the finished project. Dylan was too. He loved it and wants to keep it for next year!
How bad is it that my Christmas tree is still up?! A part of me (the child-like part) is reasonably happy and content to have the tree still up. She says that the tree is so pretty and should stay up all year. Besides, it was so much trouble to drag all that stuff down from the attic and will be even worse trying to put it away. Why is it that the decorations never go back into the boxes exactly the same way? The adult (anxiety-ridden) part of me is going crazy and won’t open any of the blinds for fear that the neighbors will see and know! We normally leave the tree up till Epiphany but that has come and gone, as has my excuse to keep the tree up.
But it is such a pretty tree and I am having a hard time parting with it. Right now, I am just consoling myself by telling myself and anyone else who looks at me askew when they notice or ask if my tree is still up that I am just breaking it in.
It is a new tree. I just bought it this November on Black Friday from Sears and it is fabulous! It is a 7.5 foot Sonoma Spruce Color Switch Plus with 800 pre-strung warm white and multi LED lights. The diameter is 54 inches at the base and a rotating tree stand although we did not make use of that feature. The kids however loved the remote control switch which allows for turning on the three functions, solid multi, solid white, or flashing back and forth from multi to white. Baby girl loved the remote so much that she hid it from her big brother in one of the compartments of the advent calendar. We were still able to turn the tree on and off at the switch underneath the tree but one gets spoiled with a remote control. My only wish for this tree is to have it twinkle white light only or multi light only as well. It has realistic branches that are soft plastic, not the rough, stringy pieces that you see on most artificial trees (note that the inside does have those for filler but the vast majority are the realistic branches). I think the bottle brush (2183 PE/PVC branch tips) look nicest. Overall, very happy with this tree but unfortunately, it will come down today!
First off, apologies for the horrible pun! It is late and I have been enduring 2nd grade knock knock jokes for a week so my threshold for good humor is dangerously low.
What is Caramel Flan you may ask; it is a creamy custard with a caramel sauce. If you haven’t had the actual dessert stop what you are doing and head to your nearest Mexican restaurant and order the #10 and for dessert, the flan. If you are counting calories, skip the margaritas and order dessert, it is that good! (Unless you are my husband and think that dessert must have some chocolate component.) Sadly for chocoholics, there is no chocolate in traditional flan. It is a concoction of condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
I can see how Starbucks was able to translate most of the ingredients into a latte. I had one the other day from my local Target Starbucks barista. It was sweet and creamy and had a rich caramel sauce not unlike a Caramel Macchiato. The Caramel Flan Latte is much sweeter and the barista said that the caramel sauces are different. It was tasty, rich and nice for something different but it will not replace my two favs … the Caramel Macchiato and the Peppermint Mocha.
So, if you like sweet and creamy lattes this might be a worth a try. If you have tried it I would love to hear your thoughts!
Facebook is one of the universe’s newest conspiracies against my time management plan. I find that in those few moments that I have before running an errand or picking up the kids from school, I have a choice; fold the clothes that are rapidly turning into a mountain on my couch or pick up my iPhone and check on Facebook. Facebook usually wins. However, just before Christmas an ad popped up on my feed from Shutterfly; 20% off of Photo Cubes. I am a huge fan of Shutterfly and have been for years. I have bought photos, calendars, frames, and phone covers but never saw photo cubes before. Instantly intrigued, I hopped on over to their website and was so excited at what I found. The description said that you could take your photos and turn them into a 3 dimensional decorative wooden display. The example looked great and upon reading further, I saw that one can choose from several different designs.
The photo cube is 4×4 and allows for 5 photos . The coolest thing was that I could display 5 photos in a compact and unusual way! I finally had a wonderful display option for those incredibly expensive boutique photos that I had bought the digital images (and rights to reprint them, of course). It didn’t take long to upload my photos and assign them to a panel. In no time I had that bad boy in my cart and was ready to have it shipped.
When it arrived, well before Christmas, I was pleasantly surprised. The cube itself was a bit bigger than I had imagined. What I wasn’t expecting was the missing 6th panel. Remember back to your high school geometry class or if that is too traumatic remember your kids building blocks. For a true cube, there are six sides but the Shutterfly Photo Cube is missing the bottom plane. It is hollow which makes for a lighter product. Be aware that the wood is really more like MDF (no splinters, I guess) and the pictures have a photo effect on them that is pearlescent. Perhaps it serves as a protectant for the pictures or is simply an effect of the lamination process. Whatever the cause or reason for it the pictures tend to lose some sharpness from the originals. It isn’t unpleasant but just don’t expect really sharp pics on your cube.
The cubes are normally $29.99 plus tax and shipping but like in my case, Shutterfly is known to give discounts and even free shipping. If you have time to bargain shop before you need your cube, you can always check Shutterfly’s web site regularly to see what specials they have or like them on Facebook and see what specials pop up in your newsfeed.
I really like my Shutterfly Photo Cube. It was a great conversation starter during the holidays. I can see so many great gift ideas for this: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, to document a special birthday or event. Because mine turned out so lovely, many of my friends and relatives may get these for gifts this year! For once Facebook may have proven more fruitful than otherwise thought.
Yesterday I posted my experience with Pillsbury Gluten Free Cookie Dough. Today, I will talk about my experience with the Pillsbury Gluten Free Pizza Dough. When we were nons (a non allergy family) I would make a kick-butt BBQ chicken pizza using Publix pizza dough. If you haven’t tried it and like to make homemade pizza, I implore you to try Publix’s pizza dough which can be found in the refrigerator case in the bakery. It is more than just a conduit for cheesey, sausey goodness. The Publix dough is tasty, soft and bubbles up nicely. Dare I say that it is better than many frozen pizza crusts out there that can taste a bit like cardboard. In short it is yum, but like 99% of things sold in any grocery store bakery my daughter, who has a peanut and tree nut allergy, cannot eat it. Those pesky warning lables always remind us that anything in the bakery may have come in contact with peanut and/or tree nuts and we always err on the side of caution. After buying Pillsbury’s gluten free cookie dough and being happy with it, I was happy to see Pillsbury has gluten free pizza dough. I made a cajun shrimp pizza with a creamy white sauce and the topping was delicious! The kids liked the crust especially my non-allergic son but my husband and I were not crazy about the crust. It was hard on the outer edges and gummy toward the center. The dough had a sweetness to it that I attribute to the tapioca starch, brown sugar, and rice flour which was somewhat pleasent but the texture was too much for me and I just ate the toppings off the crust.
In all fairness, it may be user error on my part. I used a pizza stone and the directions did not address the use of one. Also, the dough is very sticky out of the tub, reminiscent of cookie dough. The directions instruct you to oil your hands, the surface you roll the dough on and the dough itself. Perhaps I overdid it on the oil. The dough warms up quickly and gets even sticker then. It was unworkable at one point and like normal pie crust, I balled it up and put it back in the fridge to chill. Perhaps that rendered the death knell.
I might try it again, if I had a coupon. These gluten free products are not cheap…they run in the $4.00 – $5.00 price range depending on your region and store for a 15oz tub. I would not use the pizza stone this time and I wouldn’t re-chill the dough which means I would need to work quickly. Like I said, the kids enjoyed it and that would make it worth it. Perhaps mini pizzas for the kids would be a fun way to go.
It is worth a try and perhaps you’ll have better luck with it. If you try it, let me know how you like it!