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A New Year and a New Line of Fun Drawings

The day before yesterday – insanity wolf.”    -By Eric BakerGoogle

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you are having a great start to your new year.  I know I haven’t been here in a long time but life got quite busy and I had to let some things go.  Not that I anticipate 2013 any less busy, but I’ve missed sharing and writing.  So here I am in the new year hoping to do more of what I enjoy.

One of the things I am so excited about sharing with you is a new line of animal drawings.  My son is a young man who has had a love of drawing since he was a wee little one.  He has recently committed himself to drawing and sharing 365 different animals, both real and fictional.  He is doing what is called “rough drawing”, where there is no preliminary or refinement techniques in the final sketch.

He first picks an animal, many of which come from suggestions from the public.  Secondly he does a few gesture drawings to get the pose right.  And thirdly he starts the final piece and sticks with whatever he comes out with.

I hope you will enjoy his drawings as much as he enjoys making them.  Till next time….

Harajuku Lovers – Fragrance

I love perfume.  I wear a bit everyday. I especially love perfume in pretty bottles. And even  more in super cute doll bottles! A few years ago my teenage daughter and I were introduced to the world of “Harajuku Lovers Fragrance”.  She received a lovely perfume set as a Christmas gift. It came with the perfume bottle and a matching solid perfume. We both fell in  love with the adorable bottles.

The one that started our collection, “MUSIC”.

Super cute solid perfume face.

The solid perfume slides open. And smells so pretty.

Ever since her first Harajuku perfume my daughter and I have been collecting them. We have an unspoken agreement for us not to each have the same one.

The first one my daughter gave me for my birthday. Notice the cute cupcake ring I got on the same day. 🙂

The Harajuku Lovers fragrances are part of singer Gwen Stefani’s fashion line of merchandise, inspired by Tokyo’s “Harajuku” street scene.

My daughter gave me this one last Christmas. It’s called “Jingle G”, it came with a velvet ribbon to hang as an ornament.

There are 5 different “doll” perfumes with their own name. There is Baby, Music, Love, Lil’ Angel and G.

I like this summer one with her big sunglasses and hibiscus flower in her hair.

There is also a line of the Wicked fragrances which have a soft, “velvety” feel to their hair/head.  I don’t like them as much and so I haven’t gotten one.

I especially love the hair on this African style dolly.

These 3 are from the “Wicked” line. I picked them out because of their bold hair color. You can’t tell really well from this pic but their perfume is colored to each girl’s hair color.

I gave my daughter the “Super G”, the one on the left. I especially like it because of its big size (compared to the others), and the way the doll is on her side like she is flying.  Those are some pretty yellow triangle stud earrings my daughter had next to her perfumes.  🙂

I received this adorable beach towel as a free gift with purchase from Macy’s. Woohoo!

Do you have a line of perfume or perfume bottles that you collect and just adore?  If you do, I would love to hear about it and see some pics.

The Phoebe Dunn Collection

Below is a brief  introduction to the author, taken from the inside cover of one of the books. I just cannot describe it any better:

Phoebe Dunn was a world-renowned photographer known especially for her pictures of children and animals. Her timeless images, photographed in natural settings, using natural light, uniquely capture the interactions and relationships between children and their pets. A number of her books have been written by her daughter, Judy Dunn. For more than thirty years, Phoebe Dunn photographed the world as she knew it, capturing the feelings and relationships that make us all human.

The Little Duck was the first book in the series that I discovered. It was published in 1976. I don’t remember where we got it from but it has been in our home library since my oldest son was a toddler.  What a darling book it is. It tells the story of the life of a duck from little egg to adulthood. What stands out in these books is the photography. There are no illustrations, the story is completely told in real life photographs.

Sample pages of the baby duck hatching from his egg.

After enjoying The Little Duck for many years I discovered that there was an entire collection of these books. Being the book lover that I am and enjoying the book I already had, I knew I had to have the rest. My local mom-and-pop bookstore were able to order me the rest of the books. I was so excited to get  brand new copies as my original book had been a second had copy and was pretty worn. Unfortunately they were not able to acquire for me a copy of The Little Duck. My next best alternative is to try to find a used/like new copy from an internet source.

Sample page of The Little Kitten.

I am so happy to have these books in my children’s book collection to enjoy with my kids. If you love children’s books as much as I do, I hope you will add these to your collection and enjoy them with a youngster in your life.

Sample page of The Little Dog.

Our Childhood Teddys

~The two lovebirds. ~

This is a story of love. Love represented in two teddy bears. The happy couple sits lovingly on top of our bed every day. Or as long as it’s a day the bed was made, lol. The big teddy is mine and the little teddy is my hubby’s. My teddy has been with me since I was a wee little girl. I don’t just love it because it is mine but because of the sentimental value behind it. It was given to me by my grandma and grandpa. My sweet grandma has been gone now for over 21 years. I can’t even believe it’s been that long since it has flown by. When I think of true love I think of two people – my husband and my grandma. They are the two people in the world that without a doubt,  have loved me unconditionally. She would be so happy to know how much I cherish my teddy because of her.

Teddy has seen better days. 😉

Teddy used to have a wind-up music box. I wish I knew what it sounded like.

As you can see from the pictures my teddy bear has seen better days. Fur missing in countless places, loose/ripped ears, broken music box and marker scribbled on her. These things would be okay – if they were done by me. But, no, they were done by my little sister. She would want my teddy bear so bad and my mom would give it to her to, well frankly, to shut her up, lol.  The sad thing is that not only did my teddy get beaten up but it felt like so did my heart.

I think she looks much prettier in her yellow dress. This little dress was made by hand for my 18 y.o. daughter when she was a baby. The sweet lady that made it is now in her 90's and unable to crochet any longer. But her mind is as sharp as a whistle, lol.

Moral of my story? Parents, please, think twice before:  1. Giving your older child’s toy(s) to a younger sibling just because that sibling is being loud and demanding. To you it might not be a big deal but it is to said child.  AND  2. Giving away, donating your child’s favorite toys because they are just clutter to you or you think your kids don’t want them because they don’t play with them that often. Just because they don’t play with them that much doesn’t mean they don’t mean anything to them. I would encourage parents to decide together with the child and leave the final decision up to them with whom they want to share and whether they want to discard their toy(s).

My hubby's teddy.

And here is more love to add to my story. My mother-in-law saved just about every toy of my husband’s and his siblings childhood. When she saw I had my teddy and always kept her on our bed, she didn’t hesitate to send me his even though she had kept it all those years. A loving and sweet gesture if you ask me.

My little boy with daddy's teddy.

I hope you have a teddy or a favorite childhood toy of your own to enjoy and make you smile. If not, then I hope this post has made you smile today.

Cupcake Fun

Recently I took a course in decorating cupcakes from a local cake and candy supply.  Not only did I have a blast but learned so much in a mere 2-hour class. Everyone who saw my cupcakes thought they were pretty cool and my kids were delighted to eat them. They want me to take more classes, lol!

My cupcake creations.

Spaghetti & Meatball

This spaghetti and meatball cupcake was decorated using a #4 tip for the ‘spaghetti’. The ‘sauce’ is a raspberry sauce that they sell at the shop, they also carried a strawberry flavored sauce.

The "meatball" for the spaghetti and meatball cupcake.

Isn’t this a great idea for the “meatball”?!  Just unwrap and cover with sauce.

Mini grater to grate chocolate "cheese".

We used this mini grater and a white or cream-colored chocolate disk to grate the “cheese” on top. You can find this little grater, inexpensively, at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Chinese Noodles Cupcake

This delightful chinese noodle cupcake was pretty easy to make. The noodles are piped using a bigger holed piping tip, #6. The pink “shrimp” are a Starburst candy piece that I shaped into a “sort-of’ shrimp” shape.

Candy needed to make the broccoli.

To make the adorable broccoli you simply use the above wrapped candy.  Unwrap it and with scissors cut it almost in half lengthwise to create the two-headed broccoli shape. Dab a bit of green frosting at the tips and dip into green “jimmies/nonpareil” like the tiny little balls you can see in the above picture.

Can you see the tiny little slices of celery?

To make the celery, use the green apple licorice like the one in the photo. Simply do a thin slice at a diagonal and voila, you’ve got sliced celery. You can find the green apple flavored licorice at a Henry’s or Sprouts. Winco is also a great place to buy candy inexpensively and they sell it in bulk so you can scoop out just the amount you need.

Two good tips I picked up on cupcake baking is:

1. 325 degrees is the best baking temp for cupcakes.

2. Use a tin pie pan or something similar, with water in it, placed under your cupcakes as they bake. This will help to bake them moist.

In an upcoming post I will go over the other cupcakes and show close up pics. Hope you get inspired to bake up your own cupcake fun!

Wild For Wildflowers

I'm lucky enough to have this view from my kitchen desk window.

Before, I never used to appreciate wildflowers much less think much about them. Except perhaps the ‘Black-Eyed Susan’ whom I used to admire growing wildly from the sides of the freeway off-ramps. When my second son announced that he wanted to grow wildflowers I was a bit dubious as the ‘weeds’ are not very attractive. I would always get on my hired gardener about making sure that he always removed any weeds. When I showed him which ‘weeds’ to leave alone, he even looked dubious. He was like “Those? You don’t want me to touch those? Okay….”

Well thanks to my son my eyes have now been opened to this beautiful part of having a garden. I not only appreciate wildflowers but strongly believe that there is a place for wildflowers in every garden.  I am so thrilled to be able to go out every couple of days and pick flowers to arrange around my house. And the array of color is just breathtaking.

So pretty in pink.

I will now always cherish wildflowers. Not just for the delight they have brought me, but because they are part of my son and his love of God’s handiwork.

I love these pretty white ones growing shyly in the back.

Our cat thinks it's a beautiful place to relax. It is one of her favorite spots.

I love it that I have these pretty flowers to brighten the inside of my home.

Even Mrs. DeVine in the Fancy Nancy books has a wildflower garden. 😉

In the children’s book Fancy Nancy “Explorer Extraordinaire” there is a one page introduction to wildflowers – with fancy names! “Oooh-la-la”!

One reason I love the Fancy Nancy books is how the author incorporates real photography and facts in the stories, making the books educational as well as adorable.

Why Teach Kids To Sew?

It used to be that just about every household had a sewing machine.  Or if not, it was easily accessible from either grandma, an aunt or a good neighbor.  It also used to be that children would learn basic sewing from either mom, grandma, etc.. or at least in school.  Sewing was considered a useful and often times necessary  skill to have.  If a sock got a hole in it, or a button popped off a shirt, an older child or teen would certainly know how to take care of it.

Not in modern times, today most children grow up without ever seeing a sewing machine in person.  ‘Hole in a sock? Fix it by darning it? Are you crazy?!’ Just toss it.  ‘Shoot, shirt is missing a button – guess I can’t wear that shirt anymore’.  Any of my scenarios seem familiar? Maybe a little exaggerated – but really not by much.   With mass production, ready-made clothing can be bought reasonably inexpensive, albeit, low quality. And now a days sewing at home can actually be more expensive than store-bought clothing.  So why teach kids to sew?

My biggest answer would be for the creativity and sense of accomplishment it develops.  It’s so neat when kids get to pick their own fabric and see it go from just flat fabric to something they can handle, feel, it’s useful – and they can wear it! And how awesome that they made it themselves!  In sewing they not only get  to spend time with a person that cares about them but they work on just some of these useful skills: following verbal directions, following visual directions, trouble shooting, decision-making, math, fine motor skills, and patience.

Recently I signed up my daughters for a sewing club/class.  It meets just once a month and we love it. It is our fun and special time together.

Look at the super cute "kitty" print she picked out.

Notice the blue painters tape on the sewing machine. This is a great guide to help the beginner sewer keep straight stitches.

This is daughter #2 working on her skirt. I get a chuckle out of this picture because it reminds me of how much "patience" she had to practice with her project. Being a perfectionist she did not enjoy making any mistakes and most of all having to correct them, lol!

'Ta-Dah'! Made her first skirt ever. Notice the coordinating rick rack on the bottom edge.