Gift Ideas

Twenty Great New Children’s Books

Monday, November 14th, 2011

I love to take my kids to the library to borrow books and also to the bookstore to look for new favorites. I’m always on the hunt for new books to add to their library or give as gifts to other children. This past weekend we visited the local bookstore which has a great children’s section. There were so many great books, we stayed for two hours!

I’m really picky when it comes to children’s books, they have to well written and wonderfully illustrated. Great pictures are a must for me, if I don’t love the illustrations I won’t buy the book! Quite a few new books caught my eye while I was at the bookstore, so I thought I’d compile a list with my quick synopsis of the tales within. 

All of these children’s books include either a heartwarming story or a fun adventure combined with great illustrations. I’ve read and love them all, and even bought a few to tuck under the Christmas tree. If you’re looking for a charming gift for boys and girls this holiday season, I highly recommend these for children ages 4 to 9.  Listed in no order of preference.

 twenty great childrens books 2011

 

#1  Kiki & Coco in Paris, Stephanie Rausser and Nina Gruener

kiki and coco in paris

Hot of the presses, and perfect for fans of the famous city of Paris.  Kiki is a girl, Coco is her handmade cloth doll, and the two are inseparable. Together they travel to the City of Lights but Coco gets lost!  This tale of friendship will delight, and is filled with gorgeous photography of Paris seen through the eyes of Kiki & Coco.

 

       #2  Fandango Stew, David Davis

fandango stew cover

Two penniless and famished cowboys ride in to Skinflint and try to convince the stingy townsfolk to help them cook up some fandango stew. Cooperation leads to a tasty concoction everyone loves in this humorous take on the folktale Stone Soup.  It’s as fun to look at as it is to read out loud, filled with all the best of the Old West slang.  

          

#3  E-mergency!  Tom Lichtenheld & Ezra Fields Meyer

e-mergency

The alphabet all lives together in harmony until one day the letter E takes a tumble down the stairs.  Chaos ensues!  How will the world function without the letter E?  While E recovers, the letter O fills in, and the jokes and puns keep readers laughing throughout.  

 

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DIY Wine Glass Charms

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

That time of year is here again – we’ve got guests visiting from all over just about every weekend until the end of the year. With all the festivities planned over the next few months, I wanted to make some wine glass charms to help keep everyone’s glass identified during all the celebrating.

I first found out about an embossing powder called Amazing Glaze that hardens to a resin from my friend Cathe, she had used it to to make a memory pet tag and decal penny pendant in the past and I really wanted to try it out!  I ordered the powder, some pendant bases and earwires, then came up with several versions of DIY wine glass charms. The first are these blingy sparklers which will work for just about any occasion.

diy wine glass charms

 

With the right supplies, these are so easy to make!  Find some earwires, pendant bases, and some Amazing Glaze, and you’re in business (my sources below).

amazing glaze and charms

 

The sparkling gem versions were made with simple colorful glitter from my stash that was layered along the bottom of the pendant base, then topped with a small amount of the powder glaze (seen below). 

glitter and glaze

Using aluminum foil beneath, I simply baked the first layer of powder inside the pendants in a 350 degree oven for two minutes and allowed it to cool for 5 minutes. Then I applied two more thin layers following the same technique, 2 minutes in a 350 degree oven until the powder melts and turns clear.

It hardens into a resin to make these little gems for your wineglass!

diy sparkle wine glass charms

 

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Adventures in Bottle Cutting

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

I can’t recall where or when I saw a bottle cutting kit, but I spied it somewhere a few months ago and thought it was completely cool.  Around the same time, I saw a set of tumblers in a local shop made from the bottoms of wine bottles and thought they were a great way to repurpose old bottles into drinking glasses.

DIYer that I am, I determined bottle cutting was definitely on my ‘learn to do this’ list ASAP.  The kit I bought (seen below) ended up on a shelf in my office shortly after it arrived months ago, but last weekend as I was cleaning and sorting I noticed it again, and decided to give it a try. I spent a fall morning experimenting with the kit with mixed results, but in the end arrived at two decent cut glass vases made from a wine bottle and a champagne bottle. 

Take a peek:

diy cut glass wine bottles cg

 

Here’s the kit I used to cut my bottles and turn them into vases:

bottle cutting kit

 

I must caution you, in my limited experience, this kit was a hit and a miss.  The miss may be attributed to my lack of skills in this craft, but I did not end up with perfect edges.  Read on!

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