Saturday, August 20, 2011

Keri Jill is 8

August is an unbelievably busy time of  year for us. I think most of the activity is beginning to wind down.
Jill and family headed back to New York last night but not before joining in the fun of
Keri Jill's 8th birthday party.
 For some fun and inexpensive decorations, I made
tissue pom-poms and streamers.

Pinterest was my inspiration (follow link to see pom-pom's streamers, sunflower, fruit kabobs and piped butterflies).
Remember making pom-poms like these from your childhood?

I went to my paper stash and used my one-and-only paper punch to make the streamers.
After punching the scalloped circles, I simply machine stitched varying lengths and then thumb tacked them to the ceiling.
Getting the room ready the day before
 The Birthday Girl arrives
with her guests
  They ate, made a craft (next post) painted their nails, opened presents and had birthday cupcakes!
Make a wish, Keri...
hope all your dreams come true!
 Cheese & Grapes Sunflower
(see Pinterest link above)
I sliced a block of cheddar cheese into 1/4-inch slices and cut each slice diagonally.
Arranged into a two-layer circle, filled circle with grapes and added a piece of celery for a stalk. 
 Rainbow Fruit Skewers
(see Pinterest link above)
I cut wooden skewers to 6-inches and threaded on a raspberry, Mandarin Orange, pineapple chunk, green grape, blueberry and purple grape.  
 Muffin Bouquet
(from a friend and saw similar on pinterest)

Bake Blueberry mini muffins using two paper liners for each.
Using the same paper punched scalloped circles as those for the streamers, I threaded a circle and muffin onto a wooden skewer.  I added ribbon bows to each and displayed the bouquet in a flower vase.
 Cupcakes with chocolate piped butterflies
(see Pinterest link above)
These are not at all hard to make and look really cute.
The instructions sound way more complicated then it really is.

* First gather several pieces of cardboard or heavy paper.  Fold in half to form a V-shape that will form the butterfly wing shape. 

* cute several 5-inch x 8-inch (depending on the size of your shape) pieces of waxed-paper

*Draw butterflies (I used a google image) or whatever shape you like onto a piece of paper. ( I drew 3 2-inch x 2-inch butterflies, one below the other onto a strip of paper)

* Place the waxed paper on top of the paper with your drawn design. (you will pipe the melted chocolate onto the waxed paper)

* Place about 1/2 cup of melting chocolate disks into a microwavable bowl and melt per package directions.

* Fill piping bag fitted with a writing tip with melted chocolate and pipe onto the waxed paper following the  design. Being mindful of the delicate, lacy design, try to fill so the butterfly won't be too fragile and break.

*After piping the three butterflies, I placed the piece of waxed paper onto the folded cardboard making sure the center of the butterflies aligned with the fold.

*Pop the cardboard into the freezer or refrigerator of a few minutes until  firm.

*I 'glued' the butterflies onto the cupcake with a little additional frosting.
~*~
NOTE: The butterflies held up well but a few lost part of a wing when the room heated up.
(It was a hot, south-facing room at 2 o'clock in the afternoon in Mid-August!)
I don't think would be a problem any other time.


  Click here to see the party craft, Flower Ice Cream Sundaes, the kids made

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Puppy Tale

A storybook
about and just for
Shaela Jamie
As our grandchildren started coming along, I made a special book for Keri, Ryan and Brenna with a story/poem written just for them and included photos of each child as part of the story.
I didn't expect that we would be getting so many grandchildren so quickly and since the books are very time/labor intensive, I decided I would not be making any more. 
Since both her brother and sister each had their own storybook by Mom-Mom, Jill asked if I would make one more for Shaela.
During their visit last August, Shaela dressed up in her cousins princess costume and I snapped a bunch of photos.  The story came quickly to me and I thought I would be able to complete the book for her birthday in November.
I began editing photos to illustrate the story but soon realized that one should write the story first and then gather photos that fit.
Shae's birthday passed and I shot for Christmas.
Christmas passed and I set my goal to finish by their Easter visit.
Little Shaela asked about her book during that visit and I was sad to tell her, Mom-mom hadn't finished it yet.
~*~ 
I had the photos in files that would be merged together for each page to be completed but I had only finished three and felt overwhelmed.
The book needed thirty-six pages plus a cover and title page.
~*~
I turned to someone who I knew could do infinitely better on the illustrations...
Abbey
Bless her heart, she spent hours and hours and did a fantastic job creating page after page, illustrating my story and using my photos (and some she took) to complete the book.
She also created the cover and added all of the text to each page.
~*~
So after the l-o-n-g wait and even after driving all the way here from New York and arriving after midnight, Shaela wanted to see her new book. 
~*~
It blessed my heart to see her listen to her storybook where Princess Shaela was the main character (along with the castle puppy, Sir Raider von Wolfgang) and hear her giggle at the parts she found funny.
(Prince Ryan and Princess Brenna are also part of Princess Shaela's adventure)
Finally finished
(even with a few misspellings despite umpteen proof reading)

I was asked where I had the book printed.  In the past I have used the more common book makers such as Kodak and Snapfish.  This time Abbey did some research and wanted to try MyPublisher. We were very pleased with the quality of the book.  They also have a service available to make a dust jacket.  The book and jacket looked just like a book you would purchased from any leading book store.   We couldn't be more pleased!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ocean City with Family

Jill and Brad are spending the week in Ocean City, as leaders for a Youth for Christ retreat.
There are 75 people part of the group so they are very busy.
John and I met Erin on the beach and were later joined by Jill, Brad and kids for a really beautiful day.
 The weather had been not-so-nice for the previous few days, so on this gorgeous day, the beach was really packed.
 
 
 Walking the boards, miniature golf with Ryan, Brenna and Shae, then pizza for dinner and finally Kohr's Bros  Custard.  Perfect!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hummers and Hummingbird Cake

We haven't been seeing the usual number of butterflies this year but there are lots of hummingbirds!
It doesn't matter if I look out to the front porch, the side door or the kitchen windows, I can usually see a hummer or two. It has been an exciting season for hummer spotting. 
I had been wanting to bake a recipe found on the Duncan Hines website for some time not because it reminded me of hummers but because it has some of my favorite ingredients like pineapple, maraschino cherries, banana and pecans.
As it baked, the cake filled the house with an amazingly wonderful aroma!
It is a simple cake that begins with a box mix.  A few additions and you have a very tasty and moist dessert.
It doesn't call for or need a frosting but I added a confectioners sugar glaze because it looks finished and prettier with one.

Hummingbird Cake
Duncan Hines

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg Duncan Hines® Moist Deluxe® Classic Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 (3.4 oz) pkg vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple
  • reserved pineapple juice plus water equal to 1 cup
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 medium-size ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup chopped Maraschino cherries
  • confectioner's sugar
Baking Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease and flour 10-inch Bundt® or tube pan
  2. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil, pineapple, 1 cup juice and water mixture, eggs and cinnamon in large bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer until moistened. Beat a medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in banana, pecans and cherries. Pour into pan.
  3. Bake at 350°F 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 25 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
Linking to Foodie Friday @Designs by Gollum

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Handmade Necklace Pendant

My super talented, super sweet niece, Eva gave me this beautiful pendant that she made for my birthday.
Here is what Eva says about her work:
Glass is my love, and in some ways, I would say it was one of my first loves.  It’s amazing, once you find something that truly moves you, what it can do for you to enhance your own personal life, encourage you to grow for yourself, and just plainly allow you to become needy for more.  Glass has been that for me, it has given me life and it has given me plenty of reasons to fight for myself. I can only imagine what else it can do for me as I continue to let it breath in my life. 
 She is beautiful , kind and thoughtful and I was so happy she stopped by to visit!
 Eva doing what she loves.
~*~
EVA E. GLASSWORKS
For over ten years, now, I have been working with glass as a medium for creating art and for making jewelry.  I first started to work with the material when I was about 20 years old (around the year 2000) and from there I decided to attend college to increase my education in glass making.  I first started working with glass through taking private lessons in Philadelphia at private high school by the name of The Crefeld School.  From Crefeld, I began working with glass in college at Salem Community College where I learned to work with glass on a torch.  After about two semesters at Salem I transferred to Tyler School of Art, Temple University, where I received my B.F.A. in fine arts, majoring in glass.  I graduated from Tyler in 2005.  My focus at Tyler was in furnace work, casting both hot and cold glass, and fusing glass. Since college, I have been a freelance glass artist and I have also taught a number of classes, mainly in  lampworking, but also in furnace work.
Just before Eva graduated, John and I visited her art exhibition at Tyler School of Art, Temple University.  Above are some of her pieces.
My little daily visitor is helping me model my necklace.  I am not sure about the different techniques Eva uses but I think this piece is fused metallic glass.  I think she used the word dioptic?  
Thank you, Eva for such a lovely gift!
~*~
Eva has an Etsy shop but isn't currently offering any items.
Eva E Glassworks site

Monday, August 15, 2011

Beautiful Eyes

Linking this photo to I Heart Faces Photo Challenge


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