Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oh. My. Gosh!

So, the awesome giveaway I wrote about in the previous post...I WON!!!!  In fact, I won the top prize, a $100 shopping spree!!  You have no idea how thankful I am, and how happy I was to write to my brother that his gift has once again changed my outlook on life.

My son and I have enjoyed looking at every item in Michelle Allen's Close to my Art store today, but I am still in such shock that I didn't commit to anything.  I do love this Sweet Cupcake clock:
We also love this clock, a cat with a mouse pendulum, because our cat Mina is an accomplished mouser!  (We live in a rural area, with a huge field for a backyard, so mice are a constant problem.)
My favorite thing is how fun her art is.  As an untrained Art Journaler, there are many areas of art I am still too scared to try.  A cube?  No way!  A face?  Nope, unless it is in the cute, smiley-face style of my mom's when I was in elementary school.  I shouldn't take it so seriously....  That's my insight of the day :)

Actually, this is my deeper thought for today:
You never know how something can change another person's life.  My brother was just buying his sad sister a gift, hoping to make her smile.  There's also another story behind my pink girl bank too, about God and my son James and prayers being answered, but it's rather "round-about," so I'm not going into details.  But that girl has really made her presence known around here!  So she deserves two more pictures in the limelight:
Sitting next to my unfinished jewelry box

Sitting next to my treasure box, also by Michelle Allen
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sale at Close to My Art Sale!

I'm not normally a collector of knick-knacks and "shelf-sitters," but I do collect pieces by Michelle Allen, the artist at Close to my Art.  Her designs are whimsical and make me smile.  My first piece, the pink girl bank, was from my brother when I was having a tough time, and I smile whenever I see her.  I also really love her cat banks. 

Her shop is having a sale and a giveaway, and I'm beginning to make a Christmas wishlist, so this is perfect timing!
The pink girl on top and the 2 cats on the middle are by Michelle Allen.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

NPR's Poll Results: Your Favorites: 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels

I love YA novels, and apparently I'm not alone!  This summer, NPR's annual summer reader's survey had 75,220 listeners vote for their favorite young adult novels.

This is the Printable version of the list; for the original article and more details, go here.

I'm marking the ones I've read or have on my to-be-read list, just out of curiosity.  Only 25 read, with another 5 in my home but not read yet.  I thought there would be more.  I'm off to research the rest!
UPDATE 9/23/2012: read Divergent, and realized I'd read 2 other entries, so I've read 28.

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. The Hunger Games (series), by Suzanne Collins
3. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
4. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
5. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
6. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
7. The Lord of the Rings (series), by J.R.R. Tolkien
8. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
9. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
10. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
11. The Giver (series), by Lois Lowry
12. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (series), by Douglas Adams
13. The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
14. Anne of Green Gables (series), by Lucy Maud Montgomery
15. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
16. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
17. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
18. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
19. Divergent (series), by Veronica Roth
20. Paper Towns, by John Green
21. The Mortal Instruments (series), by Cassandra Clare
22. An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green
23. Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
24. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
25. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
26. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
27. Twilight (series), by Stephenie Meyer
28. Uglies (series), by Scott Westerfeld
29. The Infernal Devices (series), by Cassandra Clare
30. Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
31. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
32. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (series), by Anne Brashares
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
34. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green, David Levithan
35. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
36. Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones
37. Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
38. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
39. Vampire Academy (series), by Richelle Mead
40. Abhorsen Trilogy / Old Kingdom Trilogy (series), by Garth Nix
41. Dune, by Frank Herbert
42. Discworld / Tiffany Aching (series, by Terry Pratchett
43. My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
44. The Dark is Rising (series), by Susan Cooper
45. Graceling (series), Kristin Cashore
46. Forever..., by Judy Blume
47. Earthsea (series), by Ursula K. Le Guin
48. Inheritance Cycle (series), by Christopher Paolini
49. The Princess Diaries (series), by Meg Cabot
50. The Song of the Lioness (series), by Tamora Pierce
51. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
52. Delirium (series), by Lauren Oliver
53. Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins
54. Hush, Hush Saga (series), by Stephanie Perkins
55. 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson
56. It's Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini
57. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy (series), by Libba Bray
58. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
59. The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
60. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
61. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
62. Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen
63. A Ring of Endless Light, by Madeleine L'Engle
64. The Truth About Forever, by Sarah Dessen
65. The Bartimaeus Trilogy (series), by Jonathan Stroud
66. Bloodlines (series), by Richelle Mead
67. Fallen (series), by Lauren Kate
68. House of Night (series), by P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast
69. I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
70. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlsit, by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
71. Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
72. Unwind, by Neal Shusterman
73. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
74. The Maze Runner Trilogy (series), by James Dashner
75. If I Stay, by Gayle Forman
76. The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley
77. Crank (series), by Ellen Hopkins
78. Matched (series), by Allie Condie
79. Gallagher Girls (series), by Ally Carter
80. The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale
81. Daughter of the Lioness / Tricksters (series), by Tamora Pierce
82. I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak
83. The Immortals (series), by Tamora Pierce
84. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (series), by Patricia C. Wrede
85. Chaos Walking (series), by Patrick Ness
86. Circle of Magic (series), by Tamora Pierce
87. Daughter of Smoke & Bone, by Laini Taylor
88. Feed, by M.T. Anderson
89. Weetzie Bat (series), by Francesca Lia Block
90. Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen
91. Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (series), by Louise Rennison
92. Leviathan (series), by Scott Westerfeld
93. The House of the Scorpion, by Scott Westerfeld
94. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci (series), by Diana Wynne Jones
95. The Lullaby, by Sarah Dessen
96. Gone (series), by Michael Grant
97. The Shiver Trilogy (series), by Maggie Stiefvater
98. The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley
99. Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson
100. Betsy-Tacy Books (series), by Maud Hart Lovelace
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Best Teacher Gift!

 Here's my Rock Star craft of the school year:

I made 8x10 "tabletop" frames into desktop write on/wipe off message boards for James's teachers.  Now if they're grading papers or otherwise need a moment, they can write "Stop" on the frame and prevent interruptions.  Or use it for a million other things.  I gave his two teachers their gifts in an end-of-year conference, and all of the other teachers were excited about them.  (I didn't know there were going to be other teachers there!  Serious faux pas....)

There are very easy to make, I simply framed fabric and made matching flowers for little accents.  The easiest gifts can be the most successful!  James picked out his favorite fabrics for his two awesome teachers, and we're going to sorely miss them both next year. 

We have been re-zoned, and while it's to another very good school, we've been at the same school for Pre-K and Kindergarten.  Bittersweet!

Thank you Mrs. Garrett and Miss Taylor!  James <3s you both!!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Don't Cook....

I don't cook.  I'm not a person who seeks new recipes and proudly garnishes plates of delicious meals for my family and friends.  I think I used to be, but I don't think so.  I know for certain that I've never been a "baker;" baking requires precise measurement and I'm more of a "pinch of this or that" spontaneous cook.  I've ruined no less than 4 attempts of homemade fudge, so I know for sure that I cannot bake.

But I found this recipe through Pinterest for "Easy No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars," and it sounded truly easy and something my family would love.  So last night while my husband cooked dinner, I made these delicious bars for dessert.  Yum!  No, seriously, they rock!

And here's a few action shots of my son, demonstrating how awesome these taste:

Out of focus, but what a great shot it could have been!
I've found several other recipes on the Six Sisters' Stuff blog that I want to try.  Their recipe list is enormous!  They have crafts too.  I'm so glad I found them through Pinterest!

Recipe: Easy No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars (They adapted this from Baker Lady)

1 cup butter melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (use the boxed kind, or grind them in a food processor. Tiny granules.) I used normal graham crackers and just crushed them while they were still wrapped in the bags; the uneven sizes made these yummier, in my opinion.
2 cups confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar)
1 cup + 4 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan. (I did mine in a 9X9 square pan because I wanted them thicker) (And I used a 7x10 pan, maybe?  No idea, but it wasn't either of these 2 sizes.  As long as the mixture fits with room for the chocolate on top, I don't think it matters.)  

In the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring every 30 seconds until melted until smooth. Spread over the peanut butter layer. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Boards Are Getting a Nip/Tuck!

Wow--my Pinterest pins are rather out-of-control lately--over 2000 before I started today.  Just by removing the pins of accidental multiples, completed projects and being realistic about what I'll really get around to doing, I'm down almost 500 pins.  Yes, five HUNDRED pins!

No wonder Pinterest goes down more often than other sites--I'm one person with less than 150 people following me.  What about the ones that have thousands?

I've added some more boards too, to make finding pins easier--like for mobiles, windchimes, bows, cork/magnet boards, etc.  I already had one for Flowers and for Book Page crafts, and doing this has helped me until now.

I'm happier with my new, lean pin boards!  Now, on towards refilling my empty and depressed boards....  LOL

Follow Me on Pinterest
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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Holy Crafts, Batman! Jewelry Edition

My son is on a serious superhero streak.  His favorites are Spider-Man and Batman.  He even loves the Batman tv show from the 60s with Adam West--hence the title of this post....  Although to be fair, I've loved superhero movies for years now.  Hancock, Unbreakable, Hellboy, Van Helsing, Ghost Rider are all favorites, in addition to the more recent Batman movies starring Christian Bale and the completely awesome Despicable Me.  Have you seen Despicable Me?  You should!  It's BOOGIE!!

Oh, wait, this is supposed to be about crafts...  First up is jewelry.  I've been on a real jewelry streak lately.

I have had this sterling silver bead necklace most of my adult life, and it's my version of a good strand of pearls.  The beads are about 7mm in size.  The problem is that it's way too small for me now.  I prefer 24" chains now, and this one is 18" at most.  My solution is the current trend of combining 2 or more necklaces with a bow or brooch as an accent.  I had the perfect "gunmetal" chain and flower brooch, so I don't even have to polish the beads anymore--woot!

I made this multi-chain bracelet using a tutorial from Flamingo Toes for a Chain and Pearl Multi-Row Bracelet.  I love her tutorials, and her taste in jewelry too!
The chain with the red bead in the center is another sterling silver piece I've had since 1999.  It was a choker back then, and I wore it maybe one time before deciding that only pets need collars ;P  The large chain on the bottom row is from Eve's Addiction, and it too used to be a necklace--and it was h-e-a-v-y!  The other 2 chains are nothing special, from the jewelry section of Michael's or Hobby Lobby.

I wanted to wear this bracelet all the time, yet be able to take it off for baths and dishes, etc.  I discovered that I could use a lever-back earring as a clasp, and it is working perfectly!  I've worn the chain every day for more than 3 weeks, and it's never fallen off--I love everything about it!

(pretend you can't see the pile of flowers in the background)
These cuffs are a work-in-progress.  I've used the Anthropologie Inspired Vintage Cuff Tutorial from Pink Lemonade for these, which I've had on my Jewelry Inspiration list for a looooong time now.  But I'm not happy with them.  In fact, I stopped in the middle of making them, hoping inspiration will strike me.  My main problem is with how they close; I may need to add a bead on one side and a loop on the other.  I love the ribbons, but it's impossible to tie a pretty ribbon with one hand.  So these are hanging out with my other supplies for now.

This next necklace is probably the easiest piece I've ever made: a blinged-out rhinestone button attached to the chain using jump rings; the most difficult part was in choosing which kind of chain to use!

I've made some Scrabble tile pendants using scrapbook paper and rhinestones and beads or buttons.  Excuse the messy background of this photo, but since I didn't take a lot of pictures, it's all I have to work with.

I used a Sharpie to color the edges, glued the scrapbook paper onto the tile with Mod Podge, then Jewel-It for the accents.  Last was the Dimensional Magic, which I love!

Did you see the new Mod Podge products that came out this week?  They have Dimensional Magic with silver or gold now--plus some new formulas of Mod Podge and tools too, like a brayer and silicon fingertips that glue doesn't stick to.  Cool!

I've also done a few experiments.  I love the "wax seal" pendants and thought I would try to create my own with tin foil and wood shapes.  It worked...kind of.  The foil looks great, and I put about 3 layers of glue / Mod Podge / Dimensional Magic on them, so I'm fairly confident the foil will stick to the shape.  The problem is that they're so lightweight they don't work as pendants at all.  Maybe a bunch of them on a charm bracelet would work...hmmmm.

I've seen these 3-ring necklaces on Etsy.  The best ones appear to be soldered together, so all 3 look like they've always been together such as this.  My version looks more like the Olympic Rings...which I didn't realize until my husband said "Oh cool, in honor of the Olympics this year!" when he saw it.  The Olympics are this year?  LOL - It looks like Mickey Mouse ears to me, so it was already destined for the "better luck next time" pile.

There's more, but I'm going to wrap it up now.  Look for crafts in my next post!
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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Books I've Read in 2012: 1-30

My original goal was 50, and it looks like I'll hit that by July 4th.  So I'm setting my goal higher--I'm aiming for 60 books this year now :)

This post has the list of books 1-30 - the sidebar gadget gets too crowded for me to leave the entire list up.
1. A Dirty Job: A Novel by Christopher Moore 4 stars--a subtle, intellectual humor--my favorite scene is Charlie feeding the Hellhounds kitchen appliances ;P I've already bought another book by this author.
2. Spin: A Novel by Catherine McKenzie which I received from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers. 4 stars and a fun read, reviewed here.
3. Frost Moon (Skindancer, Book 1) by Anthony Francis 5 stars! I love this book. My husband says I love all my books lately, but this is a great world I can't wait to get back into in book two!
4. A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler 3.5 stars--see my review here.
5. The Cubicle Next Door by Siri L. Mitchell 1 star, I did not like this one at all. I have nothing nice to say about it.
6. The Ivy by Lauren Kunze 1 star, and once again, nothing nice to say.
7. Hex Hall (Book 1) by Rachel Hawkins 3.5 stars Nothing bad, I'm just rather overloaded on the paranormal school storyline. I'm not going to get the rest of this series.
8. Shadowcry (The Secrets of Wintercraft) by Jenna Burtenshaw 5 stars; similar to Graceling by Kristin Cashore
9. Delirium by Lauren Oliver I like it, I think it's a great idea for a dystopian society. It's a little slow in the beginning, then you get hooked and can't put it down. 4 stars
10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Well, I hate to admit it, but I'm totally hooked. If you've been putting this one aside because of it's "over-hyped" reputation, read it anyway! It will be clear within the first 3 chapters or so why this book is destined to become a Hollywood blockbuster.
11. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne CollinsVery awesome, but a little slow (yet this perfectly embodies Katniss's feelings in this book.)
12. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3) 3 stars :(
13. Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton See my review--5 stars!
14. The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King 2 stars
15. Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell Not bad, kept me interested; 3.5 stars
16. The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda which I received from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers. At times, the story was very exciting, but mostly it dragged. 3 stars
17. The Thirteen: A Novel by Susie Moloney which I received from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers group. I'm at a loss for words. This is not a book I'd recommend at all. 2 stars
18. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor This novel was on Amazon's Best Books of 2011, and I can see why. I was extremely into this book, but then it took a hard left turn and lost me. 3.5 stars
19. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty With this one, I don't know.... How can you forget all 3 of your children being born and growing up? I was curious enough to see where it lead, but it was just...odd.  3 stars I think this is a very talented author though--see #23!
20. White Cat (Curse Workers, Book 1) by Holly Blackwhich was very original, and I even enjoyed reading it a second time – 4 stars
21. Red Glove (Curse Workers, Book 2) by Holly Black which was interesting enough for me to want to continue the series, but I’m giving it only 3 stars
22. Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance by Sara Poole 2 stars for me, but I think it would be better for those more familiar of the time period and politics
23. The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty, an ARC from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers group - This book continued past where I thought it would have ended, and that additional part of the book was the better part (does that make sense?) I liked this more than What Alice Forgot - 4 stars
24. The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan was extremely awesome, with a twist I truly didn’t see coming, and I wish I had the next book already! Don’t you love that feeling? - 5 stars
25. Feed (Newsflesh Book 1) by Mira Grant This was slow going for me, and then my zombies drowned—my book got water damage, lol. So no rating....
25. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Re-Read)
26. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Re-Read)
27. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Re-Read)
28. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Re-Read)
29. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Re-Read)
30. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Re-Read)
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....And I'm Back!

Well, I didn't fall off the edge of Earth, or abandon my blog; we've been "off-line" at home for quite some time.  And it totally changed my life--but we've had both cable tv and internet for less than 24 hours and I've spent the majority of it ONLINE.

Granted, I have missed out on some craft ideas, and I'm not up-to-date on my new releases in books or movies...but I've gotten A TON of crafting and reading done!  I hope I can find a balance between media and real-life.....

I've completed a bunch of jewelry projects, but those pictures will be in another post.  I've read 15 books, including the Harry Potter books, some of which are the size of 2-4 books, but I'm not cheating ;P This brings my list up to 32 books that I've read this year.  My goal was 40, and it looks like I'll hit that by July 4th.  So I'm setting my goal higher--I'm aiming for 60 books this year now :)

This post has the list of books 1-30 - the sidebar gadget gets too crowded for me to leave the entire list up.
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Choosing Colors and Dreaming of Vacations Yet To Come

I wrote part of this last fall, and my palette fascination has only gotten worse....  Are you addicted to palettes?  I can't get enough of them, it's completely ridiculous!  I have managed to group my favorite color combinations color palettes with favorite furniture refabs, etc. on my "Furniture, Painting & Colors" Pinterest board.  I have yet to do anything with them, but they're grouped together, lol!

But I haven't always been so spoiled by Design Seeds!  I actually have a secret and unproven but cool way to see some (only some) design trends and color schemes before they hit their peak.  Find a luxury condo rental company for where you'd like to feel your home is when you're in your house--the beach, the mountains, the ocean floor, whatever, lol.  You'll see some VERY expensive, very RENTED, heavily designed rooms.  And a lot of the time, these trickle down to the rest of us.  The furniture is usually easily damaged cosmetically but photographs beautifully so that people will want to rent their specific condo, even from far away.  The furniture is easily fixed but not worth the effort, so it's sold to someone, who re-sells it, and suddenly a Miami condo sofa is in New Mexico!

Turquoise and lime, which I can't get enough of right now, was the 2nd major trend at luxury condos after the initial re-model from Hurricane Ivan.  Ivan was 2004, condos rebuilt and re-decorated by 2007, furniture lasts at most 2 years, thus we're in Wal-Mart in 2011 dreaming of bright blue seas :)

I'm no decorator, it could be a Southern thing, it could be that I just love turquoise blue, but I think it's worth an evening surfing the web with your loved ones, dreaming of new places to go and seeing what they look like when you get there!
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