Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bulletin Board Border

When my older kids were in grade school they used to get these picture button included with each sports picture. As you can imagine I collected quite a few. Of course the question is what to do with all these buttons? I usually just stuck them on the bulletin board and that was that.

Then I put them all around the outside and...a perfect border formed. I took them down for a while, but I really missed them. So back up they go. I love the early ones of the kids who are now in college!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Haunted By Heathcliff

PBS's Masterpiece Theater aired the second part of Wuthering Heights Sunday. I was both disturbed and delighted by it at the same time. I never really cared for Emily Bronte's book, or the previous film versions. I would always think in my head "just get over it already." That's why I'm so surprised that I can't stop thinking about this version. Tom Hardy played a perfect Heathcliff... at first vulnerable then passionate, angry and finally cruel and mad.

Cathy was pretty and spirited but she came off a bit spoiled. The humble abode of Heathcliff and Cathy was so deliciously dreary bleak and barren that it really set the tone of the film.
Now I have to go back and read the book and see how it compares. Hopefully that will help me get Heathcliff out of my head.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday Morning Finds

Look what I found at Tuesday Morning. A beautiful Dee Foust Vintage Spring Wreath! I live the vintage replicas they always have there. Especially the Easter goodies.

I also picked up these adorable pink birds nest baskets.
I'm in love with the silk flowers with mica on them.

On the Today show this morning I saw Julianne Moore on promoting Save The Children Valentines. They are adorable! She got several popular children's artists to make a special card for her collection. There is an adorable Elephant and Piggie card by Mo Willems, An Olivia card by Ian Falconer, and one by Brian Selznick. There are also several others. Kid lit fans should check them out! The link is

I found out today I won a beautiful creation from Elizabeth at Creative Breathing! To me it's better than winning the lottery. If you want a good read check out her blog.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dear First Lady

Dear First Lady

Letters to the White House

From the collections of the Library of Congress & National


Written by Dwight Young and Margaret Johnson

This is a beautiful and fascinating book that I had a hard time putting down. The book shows a photo of an actual letter written to a first lady then gives the story surrounding the circumstances. It is really interesting to see the content of the various letters and how they reflect on the times. Each letter and story reveals interesting facts about the first ladies that I never new. This book shows history from a different perspective. My favorite letter was the one from Kermit Roosevelt to his mother, Edith, which he wrote to her while away at boarding school. He thanks her for smuggling her in a water pistol, and tells her of his exploits in great detail. There is a letter to Hillary Clinton from The Dalai Lama about which the author quips, " Who knew the Dalai Lama had his own letterhead?" There are letters from queens and from ordinary people. Some offering condolences after tragedy while others very lighthearted. I really enjoyed this book. While I found the The format a little difficult to read at times, it was only a minor annoyance, and the beauty of this book outweighs anything else.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Non Fiction Friday

Change Has Come
An Artist Celebrates Our American Spirit

drawings by Kadir Nelson
Words by Barak Obama

I still haven't gotten rid of my Obama fever, so here's a little dose of medicine to ease the symptoms. This is an inspirational little book filled with quotes from Obama's campaign speeches accompanied by beautiful, timely illustrations by Kadir Nelson. In a note from Nelson he explains his reason for creating this book. He starts by telling where he was when Obama's nomination was announced, and what he was feeling. "Pure Joy." He descibes the magic he feels watching Obama and his family in Grant park. Nelson translates his feelings brilliantly through his artwork.He seems to capture what we all have felt these few short months. It reminds us that we all lived through a major piece of history. This would make a beautiful keepsake book for any child.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Review- Louise: The Adventures of A Chicken

written by Kate DiCamillo

pictures by Harry Bliss

ages preschool-grade4

In this period of my January blues I am looking for any kind of escape and can really relate to Louise's wanderlust. The book is divided into four chapters in which Louise decides she needs adventure, travels , finds an adventure, and decides she misses home so comes home to her roost. I think I would have the same kind of adventures as Louise if I were to venture out. The story is so funny because it is told in such a matter of fact manner. Bliss's illustrations are big and beautiful. This book is a wonderful , silly afternoon adventure!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

To Watch or Not To Watch

Lost Season Premier

O.k Lost....I gave up on you a season and a half ago. I admit I sneaked peaks at the season finale last season. I was most upset that you killed off one of my faves. (pictured above) I try not to hold a grudge how you treated me like an idiot. I'll give you one more chance....but that's only because there is nothing else on. But I'm warning you, I will have the remote and a good book ready,just in case. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Beautiful Day

I feel as though I've spent a whole day watching t.v. I couldn't get enough of the inauguration coverage. I was happily sewing and watching the news all day. I started making these bean bag valentines for my preschoolers class. In the end she confiscated the whole lot and hid them under her bed. We are working on her sharing issues.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Cure for the Winter Blahs (esp. when it's -17)

The Heirloom Tomato
From Garden to Table
Recipes, Portraits, and History of the World's Most Beautiful Fruit
written by Amy Goldman
photographs by Victor Schrager
My first experience growing an heirloom variety of tomato was not that great. I didn't like the texture of the fruit and found it lacking in taste. So I never understood what all the fuss was over heirloom tomatoes. Then last year my garden neighbor (I have a plot in our community garden) who grows heirloom tomatoes exclusively gave me some of here big beautiful, flavor to die for tomatoes. Then I understood. And I was hooked, just like every other gardener who has grown the right variety. In her book Amy Goldman painstakingly examines many of the available varieties and takes the guess work out of it for us. Here lyrical descriptions of the flavors and uses for each tomato left my mouth watering. This is not your average boring garden book. It is at the same time informative and a joy to read. Schrager's photographs of the fruit on vintage pottery proves that the tomato really is the world's most beautiful fruit. But we gardeners already knew that. This book is the perfect accompaniment to the seed catalogs arriving daily in your mailbox. Be forewarned, you will have to put the book down for a while for want of tasting these delicious gems.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Raining Cats and Dogs by Will Moses : Book Review

(A Collection of Irresistible Idioms and Illustrations to Tickle the Funny Bones of Young People)
The title says it all. Grade school children will love the explanations of common sayings mixed with silly yet beautifully rich drawings that accompany each idiom. Examples include "White Elephant" and "My cup of Tea". I remember my older kids asking me what most of the sayings in this book meant. I can't say enough about the wonderful illustrations. The prose and pictures blend perfectly . I hope you check it out!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ultimate Cardmaking Review

Ultimate Cardmaking

A Collection of Over 100 techniques and 50 inspirational
written by Sarah Beaman

This is a big, beautiful book LOADED with really great project ideas. I really loved this book. It is dedicated solely to card making, not scrap booking too. The instructions have lots of photos to go along with each project, so even a first timer would feel comfortable trying these. There are some great Valentines ideas in here if you are looking for some.

I was trying to find a favorite project in her and it's just too hard to choose! I'm telling you they are fantastic. I think I'm going to try the sewing machine punched card first. There is a scented lavender sachet card that I think would be lovely for Valentines Day.Check this one out, it's loaded!

Friday night the girls were feeling bored so we pulled out our card stock and made a few cards ourselves. We were free forming it. We ended up having so much fun!
Have you seen the Amy Butler Lotus Tea Die Cuts? I got them at Michaels and they are awesome. They look like vintage ephemera. I haven't tried her paper yet, but it's on my list!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cookbook Review Sunday

Giada's Kitchen
New Italian Favorites
written by Giada de Laurentis

This is my first time reading
one of Giada's cookbooks. After seeing her on The Today Show and Oprah I thought I'd check her newest one out. Giada says in the intro, "These days, my palate responds most to clean, vibrant, simple flavors, and my eyes can't resist the undeniable freshness of great ingredients and bursts of bright colors." She stays true to her mantra throughout this book. The format is clean and uncomplicated. The photos are nice and helpful. I like how Giada uses ingredients like canned cannellini beans to make a Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup.(yum) Or a simple box of Jiffy Cornbread mix to make Garlic and Sun dried Tomato Corn Muffins. I felt like I could make these recipes and I want to make them. There is a chapter devoted to cooking with kids that is full of fun entrees like Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs and Pizza Pot Pies ,made with a pizza dough crust instead of the traditional pastry crust.

This is a fun and delicious cookbook. I can't help but think this would be a perfect gift for a new bride, because it seems so fresh and vibrant!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

After Christmas Sale Finds

Ever since all the Kmarts by us closed I don't get to go there anymore, maybe once a year. So if we are driving by one I always want to stop and check out the Martha Stewart collection. So not even a snowstorm can stop me.

Check out these adorable Ornaments I picked up for 75% off.
Aren't the wooden matryoshka dolls sweet? I wanted a bottle brush wreath too, and was happy to find one.
Love this brilliant red Martha Stewart tablecloth too! I might be able to use it for valentines day too. $3.75 can't beat it.

Saturday Fun Time

Yes it's snowing again today, but it's kind of fun when you get so much! All you can do is go outside and play! The kids had fun making paths or "roads" in the snow and then being buried by Dad in a giant mound! After being pulled on a sled around the neighborhood, the best part is coming in for hot chocolate.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Baby it's Cold Outside

Winter break is over and e are getting back into the comfort of our regular schedules. Since it's snowing out yet again I thought it would be fun to make a list of some of my favorite winter stories..

Snowflake Bentley
by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
ages 5-8
A true life story about Wilson Bentley, a man who loved snow he devoted his entire life to capturing the ice crystals on film. His family helped Bentley out by buying him a camera with a microscope on it. It took Bentley a couple of years to perfect a way of photographing flakes. He never gave up on his dream. The artwork in this book is beautiful, and it gets better every time you read it.

The Blizzard
by Betty Ren Wright

The sweet story of Billy , his birthday and the way his day goes from bad to great in the middle of a snowstorm. the imagery makes you feel as if you are in the blizzard too, and then warming up in the farmhouse.

The Snowy Day
by Ezra Jack Keats
ages 4-8
I remember reading this book in my school library when I was in grade school. So I love being able to read it to my kids. Keats captures the wonder of a child exploring the snowfall.

Snow, Snow :winter poems for children
by Jane Yolen
This book is just the right length to expose children to a nice bit of poetry. The word can be savoured and the pictures go along beautifully.

Names for Snow
by Judi K. Beach
illustrated by Loretta Krupinski
ages 2-5
I may have liked this book better than my daughter. It is just so darn pretty!
There is almost too much cuteness to look at, but the text is simple for the preschool set.

by Scott E. Franson
ages 2-5
My daughter giggled and giggled when we read this wordless book together. She was mesmerized by the silly thought of a girl going out in the snow in her swimsuit and umbrella, and making spring appear wherever she walked.

Snow Shapes: A Read-And-Do Book
by Judith Moffatt
We all could us a cure for cabin fever for an afternoon!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another treasure from Blue Balliet

The Calder Game
by Blue Balliet

illustrated by Brett Helquist

So I was walking through the library the other day when this red book jacket caught my eye. I went to have a closer look and read the title... The Calder Game by Blue Balliett
The Hallelujah Choir Started playing and I gasped an audible gasp. Could it be the author of Chasing Vermeer and The Wright 3 had come out with a new title in the series and I knew nothing about it?Yes! What a happy surprise.I checked it out, eager to have a great book to read during the last dreary days of winter break.

Balliet did not disappoint with her third installment about three kids from Hyde Park caught in another art mystery.
Every middle school kid should read this book. The main characters are so rich and real. I love the fact that they are all from different multi-ethnic families. The three know each other's strengths and weaknesses and deal with it.

I love the history lesson about England(bonus). Of course learning all the info about the artist Alexander Calder is one of the best things about the book too. The mystery the three find themselves in is a real page turner, and you won't be able to put it down until the last delicious page! Helquist's clue filled illustrations are another reason any kid (or adult ahem) will love this book.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Comfort Food Sunday- Cookbook review

Swedish Cakes and Cookies

by Melody Favish

This is a cookbook that has a place in every one's collection. First of all it's beautiful. The end papers are filled with samples of the goodness inside. It is loaded with color photos throughout. In reading the introduction we discover the recipes were compiled from a newspaper contest in 1945! The recipes have been added to through the years and modern appliance times added. I baked several of the cookie recipes over winter break because I bought this huge can of almond slices at the nut store. The Swedish seem to love using almonds in their cookies, so it worked out well! Put this one on your wish won't be disappointed.

Saturday Afternoon Crafting


by Maura Madden

I have to admit this book sat in my book bag a long time before I finally got around to reading it. After first leafing through it I thought it didn't have sufficiant eye candy for me. I love craft books bursting with beautiful pictures of inspiration. When I finally sat down and read it, boy did I like this book! The author has packed Crafternoon with so many good ideas! Maura Madden devises a crafternoon party for each month of the year...each one being completly different and unique. They are so unique that the first one made me scratch my head and say"HUH???" who would want to do that until I read on and was won over.
I love the ideas of these crafternoons. They are suitable for couples, older groups, teenagers, or a mixture of all. Madden provides good recipies, supply lists, as well as a history of the monthly craft. There is just no way everyone wouldn't have a good time! Please put me on the guest list!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Non-Fiction Friday

Storm Run
The Story of The First Woman To Win The Iditarod Sled Dog Race
by Libby Riddles
illustrated by Shannon Cartwright
ages 6-10
While watching the Rose Bowl Parade yesterday I saw a float featuring a woman sled dog musher. I remembered I had recently got a book about Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.I brought it out again to reread it. As the mother of 4 girls I love books about strong woman and I always try to have them around for inspiration.
Storm Run is filled with beautiful illustraions of the Alaskan wilderness as well as great photos.
It tells the story of Libby's childhood, her journey to Alaska, how she fell in love with sled dogs, and her years of training before the race in 1985. Libby recounts the fascinating story of the 1,000 mile race including driving through blinding snowstorms, accidently getting turned around and following her own tracks, and how her lead dog found the right trail marker despite being asked to go another way.
I love learning just how Libby dealt with the fridgid conditions. As for me...I'm still a wimp about having to run out to start the car. Pick this one up you'll enjoy it!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Little Rabbit Lost

Little Rabbit Lost

by Harry Horse

I first discovered these beautiful Little Rabbit books this past Christmas when I read Little Rabbit's Christmas. Our next trip to the library showed us there is a series of Little Rabbit adventures.

Little Rabbit wakes up on the day of his birthday ready to be a "big rabbit." His loving family has a day of adventure planned for him with a trip to "Rabbit World." Little Rabbit is sad when he can't ride all the rides. After wandering off, Little Rabbit discovers he isn't that big after all.

Harry Horse's illustrations are magical and captivating. My daughter delighted in the details of the amusement park. The text is just right, the story flows from start to finish. The best part is the next trip to the library you can pick up another title!