When you're child is an exception to nearly every rule, he may want to be a "groom" for Halloween.
Forget the popular Disney characters, even something spooky, my little Axel has insisted on being a groom for months now. I've had little success in convincing him otherwise.
Savers provided a sweet little suit for my groom and only one detail was left to my creative devices. The boutonniere.
Here is a quick tutorial of how to make Axel's Daisy Boutonniere.
2 - 2"x2" squares of yellow fabric
1 - cotton ball
2 - 5" pieces of wire
1 - roll of floral tape (you'll only need about 2 yards
1 - sheet of tissue paper
To make the stamen of each flower: Take the fabric, half of the cotton ball and one end of the piece of wire and make a little "package." Seal the fabric bundle to the wire and continue to wrap the wire in floral tape.
Fold your piece of tissue paper accordion style (back and forth like you're making paper-dolls). Cut a piece about 3" high. Scallop the top (no need to measure, just make the scallops as small as you can with your scissors) and cut 3/4 of the way to the bottom, at the base of each scallop.
Begin wrapping your loooong strip of petals around your stamen. You will need to pinch the base of the petals in, but just keep rolling it. When you're finished winding it, secure with floral tape, again wrapping the wire stem.
Make two of these. Wrap them together with the floral tape. Trip the wire stems and wrap the tape around the bottom of them. Arrange petals so they look pretty.
It was Merry Christmas to me last weekend as my mom surprised me with a painting class. Jeff Boutin is a Minnesota native and accomplished painter. His works can be seen in exhibitions throughout the country, but more locally in Hudson, WI and Minneapolis, MN.
This weekend I was lucky enough to participate in his "Fall Birch" oil painting class and was so pleased to come away with something beautiful!
Here are a few pics of what I managed to create!
Here we go! A blank board and lots of ambition.
Was I supposed to bring my own color wheel?
This looks frightening.
I assure you, the red seemed like a good idea at the time.
I forgot to take pictures for a while. Adding the trees was really intense. This was the next time I paused.
My pallet looks like this now.
Leaves are so difficult. I told Jeff (we're on a first name basis) that teaching his techniques is brilliant job security. Right about here I was about to pop into the gallery, choose a gorgeous birch painting off the wall, pay him the several hundred/thousand dollars and be done with it. Seriously, I was starting to think there was no hope in sight.
...and then I brightened it up a bit and started to fall in love.
This is the final picture I snapped of it before taking in home every so gingerly in my trunk. It looks much prettier in person, and I can't wait to frame it.
I'll be sure to post a pic once it is proudly on my wall. What a great x-mas present, from my mom, for me, by myself.
Last night we were the lucky recipients of one very cute "ding-dong-ditch." We opened the door to find the most adorable pumpkin bucket, inside was a lighted ghost and lots of Halloween treats! The idea of the bucket is to pass it on! Who knows where it will head next!!!
Perhaps a few of you remember when I published a book through Blurb featuring the content of my grandfathers scrapbooks? Although I cannot begin to take credit for the nearly half-century of collecting he did to create this wonderful symbol of Saint Paul, I will shamelessly boast about it again as Blurb has translated it into an eBook!
Currently the book price is as follows: hardcover book = $120. The new eBook is being offered at $4.99!
I am so excited that his book, his story and his collection, can now be spread to a wider audience. The book does receive many hits per day, but I'm sure with the printing costs of such an extensive, large picture book, it's just too much for people to buy.
The eBook format right now works with iPad, iTouch and iPhone. Blurb is working on formatting for other devices such as computer, Nook and Kindle. For now, I only have an iTouch (of those devices) but have downloaded it and it looks wonderful!!
I feel like technology is starting to become my friend. To purchase a copy of Papa's eBook, click HERE!
I've only seen these a handful of places and have been looking for a set myself for years. While I'm not entirely well-read on the subject, I have checked out a scholarly source, wikipedia, and am here to report on the reasons you should hang prayer flags in your own yard.
The flags originated from the Buddhist tradition, perhaps in India. Although the original flags were perhaps used in battle, they have now spread throughout the world as a symbol of peace.
The five colors represent the five elements. Blue/sky/space, white/air/wind, red/fire, green/water, yellow/earth.
The center of the flags usually features a "strong horse" carrying jewels. The horse, or "Ta," is the symbol of speed and the transformation of bad fortune to good fortune. (This I find particularly interesting as my fortune has this year turned the corner.)
The Tibetans believe that the flags do not carry prayers to the gods, rather that the wind blows the prayers from the flags and spreads their good will and compassion throughout the entire universe.
The prayers of the flag become a permanent part of the universe as the flag colors fade from exposure to the elements. The Tibetans hang new flags alongside the old, welcoming life's changes, and acknowledging that all beings are part of a greater circle.
For one final word on Banana Bread Muffins (see previous posts), after posting about my Banana-stealing dream, I received a coupon in today's mail for "1 FREE POUND OF BANANAS."
Coincidence? I think not.
Apparently I think about Banana Bread Muffins so frequently that I had a dream about them last night.
I was at someones house, not sure if I knew them or not, and I STOLE their brown bananas. In my head I rationalized, "Brown bananas take at least four days to age, I only have two muffins left from the last batch." I literally lifted this persons old bananas by putting them in my purse.
If this happens to you, while I'm at your house, I have to apologize in advance. There may be something about these muffins that I just can't control.
Without any real measures of my intelligence, not belonging to the "work force," I'm constantly trying to prove myself and think of new ways in which I am "master of my domestic universe."
One thing I have apparently mastered is the art of Banana Bread Muffins. Honestly, I'm quite sure that I've invented the idea. In fact, I'll bet Martha Stewart has been meaning to call me for a chat on baking techniques.
Well, none of the above may be true, but what I do know is that my mother can only make Banana Bread in loaves and has yet to crank out a batch of chow-worthy muffins. She alludes to it being a silly idea and claims she's "above scrubbing a muffin pan." I think my dishwasher does a fine job with the pan** and it's not so much the gear as it is the operator.
For the record, the Banana Bread recipe is my mothers, so I had better give credit where credit is due. Here it is, in-case you get a hankering for one of these delicious treats or feel the need to weigh-in on the debate. Loaves or muffins?
Banana Bread (Loaves or muffins? You choose.)
Preheat to 350 degrees.
1.5 sticks of softened butter
1.5 cups of white sugar
1.5 cups of mashed bananas (3 or 4)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
.5 cup milk
Cream together butter, bananas, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Add flour, soda and salt. Add milk.
Butter or "Pam" your tins.
Spoon mixture into tins. Cover the top with chocolate chips.
Bake until the top is golden brown. Loaves: 30-40 minutes. Muffins: 15 minutes.
**I meant to take a picture of how clean my pan was after removing the pictured batch of 2 dozen, but I hate to brag.
While locally we're dripping in spookiness, this past weekend we thought we'd check out the seasonal awareness in other parts of the state.
In Stillwater, we met up with some average-looking locals who were showing off their extraordinary pumpkins. These monsters were so heavy that they needed to be moved with forklifts and pallets. For Axel this event hybridized his two loves, machinery and the environment.
One by one the giants arrived. Some were disguised in blankets to keep the weigh-in suspenseful.
The farmers attach bags of water to their stems in order to preserve the water weight until it's on the scale.
Thank you stranger who took this picture.
A few pumpkins were hollowed out for the "Pumpkin Regatta." Someone crawled inside and paddled these babies down the Saint Croix River. (We missed the actual race...nap time.)
What's one season without preparing for the next? The girls took a few hours to try a new beading technique. All the stars are wearing wrap bracelets this season...and so are we...and maybe you...if you're on our Christmas list.
I thought this would be such a cute picture...Axel climbing to get at his ghosts, made fresh for our new yard. I didn't take into account that he may be terrified clinging to a limb with only his tiny hands. Bummer.
Here's a close-up of a ghost. Muslin, stuffed with plastic shopping bags, felt eyes. Total cost of these babies, $0. I did have all of the materials already, but if I had to purchase the fabric, I would guess about $2 each.
Trees, pumpkins, what's the difference? This kid will hug anything that grows.
Axel saw a pair of witch legs in a store and thought it was such a funny idea he couldn't stop laughing. Not wanting to spend $20 on them, we stitched up a pair of our own today. Although I again had the materials necessary, if I had to purchase them, 1/4 yard each of two felt colors, the total price would have been about $1 plus a piece of scrap ribbon.
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