Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tissue Paper Spring Nests

Happy last day of February! I think we might actually make it through this wretched winter. (yea!) I'm a firm believer in using what you have readily available , esp. when it comes to craft projects. When my darling daughter expressed an interest in making some birds nests we looked around to see what we had. We decided on the dollar store tissue paper that was left over from a recent birthday. It comes in such pretty pastel colors!
My DD enjoyed cutting it into little strips. The size makes no difference, so you can't go wrong.
We mixed a little squirt of school glue in some water.I've found if you put a paintbrush in a preschoolers hand, you have them happily busy for hours! So painting the glue/water mixture on anything = happiness!

I used a little glass Pyrex dish as a mold and let her go to town.

Different size little dishes and different color tissue.
After there is a good thick layer on let it dry overnight.

Pop them off the dish when completely dry. Some came right off with a little twist, some needed to be loosened with a butter knife.

Now the little paper nests are ready to embellish!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Favorite Authors : Ruth Krauss

Here are some more finds from the book sale. They are two little paperbacks by Ruth Krauss. The first one is "Everything Under A Mushroom" (pictures by Margot Tomes). The rhyming text is so adorable. All the scenes take place under this giant mushroom. The second one is called "Bears"(1948) and is illustrated by Phyllis Rowand. She does the entire book in black and brown. There are only 26 words! It is equally as sweet as the first book. It starts out.....
Bears, bears, bears, bears, bears
On the stairs,
Under chairs,
Washing hairs,
Giving Stares.....

My first Ruth Krauss book was ,"A Hole Is To Dig". Now I have a little collection going on. I'll have to keep an eye out for her most popular book , "The Carrot Seed."

Monday, February 23, 2009

For Muriel

I went to the used book sale at my library Saturday and came home with some real treasures. I was looking for some vintage looking little books to put on my little knick knack shelf in my dining room. I saw this set of Macmillan Pocket Classics and thought they were the perfect size. I didn't look inside them until I got home. Each little book was inscribed with:

Muriel Hibbets
Ferguson High School
class of '15

in that beautiful handwritten script of old . Then Muriel wrote what year she was in high school. Some say sophomore, some say junior, etc.

She wrote detailed notes on the end pages and made notations throughout the volumes. These books were read, studied and well loved by Muriel Hibbets. Now I will love them just as much.

My eighth grader is in the class of 2013. She will graduate high school 100 years after Muriel. It's so interesting to compare what she reads and studies in comparison. I'll have some more children's books I picked up at the sale later in the week.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Winter's Last Hurrah

We woke up to more snow today!

So the only thing to do

Was to dig out the snow gear again

And make some snow angels.

Winter of 08/09....most fun ever. ( if you're 5)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman

ages : teen

When I saw this book won the 2009 Newbery Award, I knew I wanted to read it. I read some reviews saying boys would especially love it and I had to read it even more. The problem was I don't like dark , downer story lines. I'm determined to do things out of my usual comfort zone, so I dove in.

For about the first hundred pages I was horrified. A sick feeling came into the pit of my stomach and wouldn't go away. The bleakness of the situation in the first part of the book was too much for me. But I was determined to finish this one and I was rewarded greatly for my perseverance.

A beautiful story about a boy named "Nobody" emerged. It's very touching the way he thrived among the dead spirits of the graveyard. The things that made Nobody happy were the simplest of things; snowflakes, the sound of people breathing. But that's not to say Nobody wasn't bright. His guardian Silas made sure he had a proper home school education.His adventures among the spirits are full of history lessons and touched with humor. Nobody recalls each spirit's name the way it is on their gravestone- "Doctor Trefusis (1870-1936, May He Wake To Glory)." An original, fascinating story that makes you think about blooming where you are planted.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Heathcliff Revisited

I was watching Masterpiece Theater on Sunday Night (yeah I'm a dork) and I was happy to find My Heathcliff while watching Oliver Twist. O.k. his real name is Tom Hardy. He was playing the role of Bill Sykes. He was very loathsome, so he played his part very well. It's really hard to like someone who hits kids and treats Nancy so badly. So I'll just have to admire his acting skills in this one. Second half is on next Sunday if you aren't into the Oscars.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sewing Book Review: Sweet Booties

Sweet Booties!
and Blankets, Bonnets, Bibs and More
edited by: Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader
I always want to make something for the new babies in my life and then hesitate, remembering not all moms love homemade gifts. This sweet compilation of cute, hip goodies gives me more confidence. Who wouldn't want any of the lovely little gifts in this book?
My favorites are the mobile made out of yo-yos(My new obsession) and the fun chapter on hats. I'm going to make the "Sprinkles Sunhat" for my DD. The "Birdie Rattles" made out of corduroy are so darn cute that I don't even need a reason to make them!
The instructions are straightforward and easy enough for a beginner to follow. I love that they can all be completed in an afternoon. If you have a little one in your life, check this book out!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday Mr. Lincoln

The Biography of a Writer
by Fred Kaplan

When I visited Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois a couple years ago I started reading Lincoln biographies. I wanted to know how a man ,from such humble beginnings, taught himself to become one of the greatest speech writer in American history.

Among the thousands and thousands of such biographies, a new one emerges that examines Lincoln's writing in the perfect way- through what he read.

I have to admit that I had a hard time getting through this book only because I am such a simpleton. Professor Kaplan's writing is painstakingly thorough and deep. Nonetheless I enjoyed it tremendously. It is a fascinating journey through the life of a self taught writer.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mr. Putter & Tabby , Favorite Series

Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea

by Cynthia Rylant
pictures by Arthur Howard

I love that my 5 year old is smitten by this series of books. We started reading them when she was 3 and she still never tires of them. There are around 15 or so books in this lovely sweet series. Each one has three chapters each. In this first book, Mr. Putter, an elderly gentleman who lives alone, decides he needs a pet to help him feel less lonely. When he goes to the pet store they only have kittens. Mr. Putter finally finds the perfect companion for himself in Tabby. There loving gentle relationship begins!

This is a perfect series to read at bed time (although my daughter always yells again! at the end). It is also a great introduction to chapter books. At the library my daughter knows exactly where they are shelved. She feels very independent finding them and picking a couple out.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Valentine Pennie Pockets

I joined the Heart to Heart valentine swap hosted by Sarah I remembered loving Happy Zombie"s Christmas Pennie Pockets shown here I thought I'd like to make them for the swap. (Happy Zombie made some for Valentine's Day and hers are gorgeous btw.) I had so much fun making these! I used a vintage pillowcase , vintage buttons, and the rest of the fabric was from my stash. Except for that bright blue fabric.

I had to go to JoAnn's for something .(any little reason and I'm there) This was my first time making a fabric yo yo and I think that was my favorite part! When I was finished with them I mounted them on some card stock covered with Tracy Porter paper.

I hope my swap partners like them. I can't wait to see what they make!

Warm Heart Weekend

It's in the 50s today...

Too warm to do projects today.

Or play with bean bags,

Or take a warm winter's nap.

The cupcakes are made,

The valentine tree decked out,

This part of the kitchen clean,

So we're out enjoying this beautiful weather. Here's what I won from Elizabeth at Creative Breathing. Isn't it perfect?

Planthropology by Ken Druse

Non Fiction Friday: Book Review

The Myths, Mysteries, and Miracles of My Garden Favorites

by Ken Druse

I'm going to try and control my enthusiasm for this book. I checked this out of the library looking for a little spirit lifter. This fascinating book was so much more. Druse's love for horticulture comes bursting through with his beautiful photographs.

This isn't the type of garden book you'll thumb through and then go onto something else. You will enjoy reading each chapter . In the intro Druse says " There are so many things calling us away from the garden , which is paradoxically the one place that offers a truly restorative, peaceful retreat." The book is divided in to four parts: Discovery, Attractions, Elegant Design and Growing Forward. Intermingled among the chapters are project pages , tips on pruning hydrangeas, etc.

My favorite section is the one on irises, as well as the extensive information on a glorious collection of trees. I also enjoyed Druse's story about his hunt for the snowball bush he remembered at his grandma's house.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Verdict On "Lost"

I'm hooked again! They seem to have gotten the show back on track. Instead of twists and turns just to mess with us, they are slowly giving us pieces of the puzzle.
First I really love Ben as the villain. To see him in the real world it makes him even more mysterious and truly messed up.
I loved Sawyer watching Kate and showing such emotion in his face. He really has it bad for her.
And of course the best part of the episode...Jin is alive! Now we have to wait and see if Sun is going to loose it before she finds out he's alive.
I'm intrigued by the reference to "The Little Prince" could there be a clue in the book? Locke found the bottle with the french word on it that is taken from the book. Could Locke be The Little Prince?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Really Tom Daschle, Really ?!?

Former Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle withdrew his bid to become the new administration's Secretary of Health and Human Services yesterday. It seems he owed around $130,000 in back taxes for use of a company car provided by a health care company. Many Washington insiders are calling this a big loss for Americans. But do we really want someone in there who appears to already be in some company's pocket? And ahh maybe you should have payed your taxes a little sooner when you thought you might be considered for such a position?

I mean really Tom Daschle...really? Back to you Seth.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Salt Dough Valentines

We tried Jo;i Paquet's recipe for salt dough ornaments shown here It really was an afternoon of fun. As I was kneading the dough endlessly I realized how prairie woman stayed in shape! Then we tried her method of imprinting them with stamps.
The stamps really worked. I added some Martha Stewart tinsel cut glitter 'cause I love everything with glitter. I love the way they look, And we had such a fun crafting afternoon! As #5 proclaimed "This is a great day!"

Can't wait to see how they look tied with a big foofy ribbon!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Woodstock Willie Says....

Six more weeks of winter. Ah well ....why not? My little 5 year old enjoyed playing groundhog today . She gathered up a bucket of little plastic toys and buried them in the snow all over the yard. She said when the snow melts she will find treasures!

How Groundhogs Garden Grew

written by Lynne Cherry

This is a wonderful picture book that we used to celebrate groundhog day. It 's the story of a cute little groundhog who is chided by a cute little squirrel for eating from a garden that is not his.The groundhog says he doesn't know how to grow a garden so the squirrel sets out to teach him.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

....and that's why he's THE BOSS

Sunday's SuperBowl turned out surprisingly awesome! This was the first event I've seen where the commercials weren't the highlights. NBC did a great job with the endless pregame show. I didn't get sick of Bob Costas or Chris Collingsworth. The kept the show interesting and fast paced. Being a Bears fan I wasn't too interested in the game, but even that turned out to be thrilling! Oh and I can't forget Journey(who is that Asian guy) Faith Hill and Jennifer Hudson. They all were great!
But the all time most awesome moment was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Halftime Show. There has never ever been a better spectacle. Like Steve Van Zandt.. I didn't want it to end!