Friday, January 29, 2010

I Won - I Really - Really WON!

I'm one of those people that say they Never Win Anything. I've entered the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway, bought dozens of raffle tickets at school functions, submitted my name for a Kitchen Make Over and still - Nothing. Maybe the door prize at Bunco, but other than that, not too many freebies have come into this house.

That all changed when I WON this beautiful Necklace. Don't I look Happy!

It was made by my Uber Crafty friend Roma. She saw someone wearing one - did some research on YouTube, and now she's beading up a storm.

She had the greatest giveaway on her blog (I'd send some Link Love her way, but it's an invite only Family Blog). You had to guess how many beads were used to make this Swarovski Crystal Puffy Heart Pendant.

I must admit - I cheated. I looked on YouTube myself. Unfortunately I found several versions. And to make it more complicated....Roma hinted that she may have been a little clever in her bead counting.

It turns out she counted not only the crystal beads you see, but there are also 2 big round ones inside to keep it the silver beads used to make the bale.

I guess Cheaters DO win - sometimes.

Thank You So Much Roma. I've gotten lots of compliments on it today! I'll be taking orders and sending them your way.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ooh La La

Little K was invited to a Birthday Party where the theme was "Pink Poodle in Paris". I had some ideas of what to get the Birthday Girl. We had a "Back to the 50's" party for Little K a few years ago, so I had done some poodle shopping before.

Somehow as we were talking about what gift to get, the conversation morphed into the grand idea of making her a Clothespin Doll - so that's what we did.

I wasn't thinking - I shouldn't have painted the base pink - because when it came time to make the polymer clay Poodle - pink would have blended in. So we ended up making it a White Poodle (who just happens to look more like a Labradoodle). Close enough!

I think my favorite part are the glasses. The Birthday Girls wears them, so of course her look alike doll had to have them as well.

I also like the beret a lot - but I think I made 6 other versions before I got it just right, so I'm still a little fed up with it to like it very much.

I'm working on another one right now - something else I have never attempted - but it's coming along very nicely - so stay tuned.

I was going to close with some cute french saying...but I have no idea how to spell in French (or English for that matter) - so I think I'll skip it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I Love Packages

It never fails - every time we make a trip home to visit family - we seem to forget something. Luckily my Mom know this, and as she's cleaning up after our onslaught - she simply gathers up the little bits we have left behind - boxes them up - and sends them out to us.

It's nice to have our belongings returned, but it's even nicer when the package contains some extra fun little goodies.

This time - she included these adorable Bendable Kitchen Utensils.

Have you ever seen anything so cute? Look at their feet - they are suction cups so they stick to the counter.

I think she intended for them to be for Little K - but hubby has been having just as much fun with them. Every time I go into the kitchen, they are in a new position.

To answer your question...NO - they have not yet been used for cooking.

So THANKS Mom! The whole family is enjoying your fun surprise package.

(Sorry - I just couldn't resist)

PS - They are made by Fiesta and they are called "Head Chefs". I found them on Amazon here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ballet and Baby Mice

It might not seem like those two things go together - but in our world they do, especially during the month of December.

This year Little K was cast as a Baby Mouse in Ballet Etudes Production of The Nutcracker. It was a step up from last year when she was a Doll in the same production. Plus, she was one of only two mice who did cartwheels (whoo hoo - that gymnastics training is paying off).

The production ran for 3 weekends this year - 12 performances. By the end of the run, the girls get to know each other pretty well and have the opportunity to make lots of new friends. It's a tradition for the cast members to exchange simple little gifts at the last show.

See - that's the problem. I'm not sure I know the meaning of the word "simple".

This is what we made:

Each Baby Mouse in Little K's cast received one. It's only 6 girls! They are only a few inches tall! How hard could it be?

As usual - the idea in my head turned out to be a little more involved than I thought. My typical dilemma - they were not difficult to make - only a little time consuming. And certainly not something you want to tackle if you've had too much coffee....way to many tiny parts for jittery hands to handle.

Thanks (again) to my mom who helped me get them done. Phew!

They are made from Skulpy Polymer Clay. Various sized little balls of clay, some flattened, some rolled, stuck together and then baked.

I glued them to a wooden disc painted pink. Added a little sparkle paint and an embroidery floss bow.

Each one was personalized with their name. On the bottom I added a note with the year.

We found these simple silver Chinese take out containers (at the dollar store) to pack them in. Embellished with a pink snowflake and tulle ribbon and they were packed and ready to go.

Then it was time to make a little something for her Ballet Teacher - and the two teenage assistants who help in her classes.

Did I mention I don't know the meaning of the word "little".

This is what we made:

A Clothespin Doll for her Teacher Miss Sharon.

And one for each of her two assistants - Perry and Kelsey - who just happen to be identical Twins. They were deliberately made to look alike (I wasn't just being lazy) with a few subtle differences.

The girls were principal dancers in the Nutcracker this year, that's why they get fluffy tutu's on their dolls.

There is that little mouse again.

Not only does it represent Little K and her role, but Kelsey and Perry were also Baby Mice when they first danced in the Nutcracker 8 years ago.

Just in case that wasn't sappy enough. I added this poem to the bottom of each figurine:

Eyes Upon a Dance Teacher

There are little eyes upon you, they are watching night and day.
There are little ears that quickly take in every word you say.
There are little hands all eager to do anything you do;
And a little girl who's dreaming of the day she'll be like you.

There's a wide eyed little girl who believes you're always right;
And her eyes are always opened, and she watches day and night.
You are setting an example every day in all you do,
for the little girl who's waiting to grow up to be like you.

Note: This all took place in December...but I haven't had a chance to edit and post until now. So Sorry.

Friday, January 8, 2010

All That...and a Box of Doughnuts Too

I you have never had a Krispy Kreme Doughnut - I'm sorry.

I first had them about 12 years ago when I was on a Business Trip in New York. One of the vendors I was working with brought them to the meeting we were having (along with fresh squeezed orange juice). Luckily, I'm a girl who can keep my wits about me during a stressful situation - because man-oh-man was it hard to concentrate on the business at hand when that amazing box of fluffy freshness was just inches away - calling my name!

Yes - I know what you are saying. They are just doughnuts, come on, how good could they be? I can't explain it - you just have to try one to know. And if you can eat them while they are hot, fresh off the line - all the better. You can even watch them being made, fried, dropped, glazed all the way down the line.

(photos from Krispy Kreme Website)

Just in case you haven't figured out how much I love these things - I just discovered another reason:

I heard through the grapevine that they will give a FREE doughnut for every A Grade that a child receives on their Report Card. So we decided to give it a try. I didn't look it up first to see if it wast true (because, you know we needed an excuse to go on a doughnut run anyway). I also wasn't sure if Little K's report card would qualify since she is graded on a Number Scale of 1-4 vs. Letter Grades.

But it did. That's her report card...and that's the big box of a dozen that we purchased, and a small box of FREEBIES on top that Little K earned with her grades.

I'm not a big fan of rewarding with food, no matter how good it is. We also don't have any kind of set reward (like money or gifts) for report card time. Trying hard, and hopefully having it reflected with Good Grades is just what is expected. However we do try to give tons of praise, brag about her accomplishments to the Grandparents, share with her all the positive comments discussed with her teacher and generally encourage and appreciate her efforts. It's what works for our family. So in this case, I was perfectly fine with Little K bringing home a box of glazed goodness of her own.

Her good grades were motivated by her own drive to succeed (with maybe just a little parental nudging), and not for any specific reward. The doughnuts were just the icing on the cake - or should I say Glaze on the Doughnut.

I encourage you to seek one out and see for yourself. It will be worth the trip, however long it takes. But be careful - you'll find yourself going back again and again.