Thursday, January 22, 2015

Flying With Scissors--Wait...Is That Allowed?

It's been over a month since my last post. I have no excuse except Christmas and New Years and MLK Day...and vacation! Yes, I spent last week in paradise, which is otherwise known as the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii. You need to go there. And if you can arrange it, find a way to stay. It is gorgeous in every way.

See those big waves out there?

Most of the public spaces at the Hapuna Beach are open air, so you get to listen to crashing surf at all times. Morning and...


But fear not! Even though I was away from home hypnotized by beauty and beach, doesn't mean I was away from paper. For instance, there was plenty of paper decorating my drinks! 

 And do you know how much folding you can get done on an eight-hour airplane ride?? At least this much.

And I'll have to show you all the book page drawings I did in another post.

But here was some of my favorite paper. A necklace I found made of paper beads.

(Do you think I look like Jay Leno? People sometimes say I do. I think this picture might prove their point. We of the vast chins.) 
Anyway, back to the beads. I've seen paper beads before, but these are so small! And just exquisite. Plus some of them are covered in GLITTER!

The jewelry comes from 31 Bits and is made by women in Uganda who are working their way out of poverty. It's quite a story, but now wearing the beads makes me feel good inside and out. Kind of like vacation does.

I'll plan to post some more of my own creations soon, but in the meantime, lots of people want Reading With Scissors to fold them a book, and I need to catch up on Downton Abbey, so off to work I go. More later.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Very Retro Supper Club

December is the time for Christmas traditions and at our house that means the supper club progressive dinner. This year the main course was at our house--Vegetable Beef soup, green salad, and crusty rolls. It was really good, but you'll just have to take my word for it. I was so busy being the hostess with the mostess that I didn't get any pictures taken.

Each year we exchange small gifts and here's what I gave this year--festive boxes filled with Warm-Spiced Pecans with Rum Glaze from America's Test Kitchen. (I know, right?!) The pecans were from G&W Family Farms. (This Miss Holly's farm.) And the boxes that I cut with my Silhouette machine are from Jamie Crips.

I love these boxes. So easy to cut and assemble, and when made with double-sided cardstock, the tops are especially cute!

I also gave my friends these very retro ornaments featuring book spirals made from RDCBs.

And featuring book snowflakes from RDCBs.

And book hearts.

These dandies are one of the first things I've ever designed myself on my Silhouette machine.

When I catch up from the holidays, I'll try to post a tutorial for them. If I can ever figure out how to do them again. :)

So I didn't get any pictures of the food, but when I saw Captain America and our friend, Captain Bob, actually doing dishes, I raced for my phone to snap that photo.

The dishwasher was loaded before we even left for dessert. Merry Christmas to me!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Santa Got Run Over By a Birchbox

It's December and you know what that means...Barb's cookie exchange!

My contribution this year started out looking like this...

...and ended up looking like this.

These beauties are called Easy Salted Caramel Turtles and I found them on A Pumpkin and a Princess. Note that the Easy part of Easy Salted Caramel Turtles is a relative term. There are only four ingredients, so how hard can they be to make, right? Well...

Everything started out all Food Network-y. See how nicely the little gobs of caramel and pecan fit on the spoonfuls of melted chocolate?

But word to the wise...let them dry before you try to move them and make sure that you have enough room on your countertop at your final destination or they will slide off your parchment paper like a toddler at the kiddie park. 

I wonder who the lucky recipient of that extra crunchy turtle was?? 

Just kidding!

(No, I'm not.)

(Yes, I am.)


And you want to know what a really talented cook I am? Check this out. 

I fashioned all this deliciousness while wearing a full body Santa apron. It covered me in red and fur from my neck to my knees. When I finished, I went to change clothes, and there was a spot on my white shirt! 

What, you say, didn't you just tell us you were wearing an apron over your shirt?
I know, right?!?

So I whipped off my shirt, looked into the mirror--and I kid you not--I'm staring at a big spot of chocolate on my belly.

What, you say, you mean there was chocolate on your belly that was under the shirt that was under the apron?
I know, right?!?

I would have taken a picture of it, but 
a) that is one selfie you don't need to see. Trust me. And
b) you know me well enough to know that it's true.

I kind of remember when I was breaking the turtles apart a piece of Ghirardelli went flying down the front of my shirt. 

Yep. I'm that good. 

Oxyclean, if you're looking for a spokesperson, I come with my own testimonial.
Me: Are you plagued by belly chocolate ruining your good white shirt? Oxyclean will get it clean!

Anyway, I realized a couple of years ago if your cookies are suspect, the best guarantee of getting people to grab your goodies at the exchange is to put them in a cute package.

So I was browsing my favorite papercraft blog, All Things Paper, and Ann Martin pointed me to Kate's Creative Space where I found the cutest, easiest Santa bags ever. I made them just like Kate says only instead of watercolor paper, I used book pages, of course!

Word to the wise: Anytime you see cutest and easiest in the same sentence--make that craft!

The fun part of these bags is they involve make-up! I used my "How 'Bout Them Apples? Cheek and Lip Cream Palette" that showed up in a Birchbox that my kids got me.

A little dip here...

...and a little dab there...

And ta-daaaaah!!! The cutest, easiest, delicious-est Christmas cookie combo ever. 

Make that craft! And those turtles! (Just watch out for belly chocolate.)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving With Scissors

It takes a long time for fall to make it all the way to Houston, but it's finally here. How do I know?

Because the big trees in my front yard turned a glorious gold this week.

Because it's hard to see my front walk for all those glorious gold leaves...
and there are pansies waiting for me to get busy and put them in the ground.

And because this turkey is on my dining room table.

Thanksgiving Day will mean lots of love and calories with my family. And Dallas Cowboys football. Because we like the Cowboys, of course, but mostly because my very famous brother is producing the halftime show again. Don't miss it!

Wishing you and yours a day of

And go Cowboys!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Wedding With Scissors

Remember when my baby got married? Well, guess what! My other baby got married. Like my baby baby.

It was a glorious wedding and Miss Holly, my new daughter-in-law, is a jewel. Beautiful inside and out.

And speaking of beautiful, the venue was a breathtaking slice of Texas Hill Country. I'm still glowing a week later.

The wedding went off without a hitch--at least that's what we told everyone. Actually there were plenty of hitches, but very few knew about them, because hiding hitches is our best thing. 

The wedding was in Dripping Springs, a sleepy outpost just outside of Austin. I think it is sleepy because there is only one hotel there, so some people can't find a bed. The wedding just happened to be the same weekend as the Formula 1 race in Austin, so there were even fewer beds than normal. What Dripping Springs doesn't have in hotels, however, they make up for in bed-and-breakfast establishments. Luckily, all guests seemed to find lovely places to rest their heads.

It was quite a search, however, to find a place to have the rehearsal dinner. We ended up at Pecan Street Brewing in Johnson City. That's Johnson as in Lyndon B. Johnson. Some family had a chance to tour the Texas White House and check out LBJ's boyhood home.

Captain America and I would have liked to do some sightseeing, but we were too busy trying to get the AV equipment at the restaurant to play nice with the video I made for the evening. We went to the restaurant around noon and found that the projector and all the attendant cords were lashed to a pole about 18' above ground level. (I'm not exaggerating.) The DVD player was only 12' above ground level, so the staff brought us a ladder and up we climbed. We stuck in my DVD. The DVD player sucked it in, took a breath, and then spit it out like a baby spitting back mashed peas. Dang it!

So the next three hours we fiddled with everything trying to get the silly thing to work. I had brought the video on DVD, on a USB stick, and on my computer, but nothing we did seemed to work. We tried another computer; we bought new DVDs at Dollar General and re-recorded the video; we downloaded applications and converted formats; we plugged and unplugged cords--and then did all of it again. Nada.

The rehearsal was scheduled to start at 5. I wanted to be back at the hotel to dress at 3:30. At 3:20, Tim, the owner of Pecan Street came out and said, "Maybe if we plugged this cord into here..." And voila! It worked! So if you are doing the math, we spent 3.5 hours on a ladder for a 2.5 minute video. What we do for love!

We went racing out the door for the hotel, got dressed, and hurried to the venue. The rehearsal went off just as planned and the rehearsal dinner was a big success. Great food! Great friends! When it was time for the video, Captain America climbed on the ladder and pressed the button. It still worked! Yay! (Note how we had to balance the computer on two pizza boxes so the cord would reach.)

If I had anything to do with this party there had to be paper involved, right? And there was. Here are the favor boxes I made with my Silhouette machine. They were stuffed with yummy pecans from G&W Family Farms, which just happens to be owned by Miss Holly's family, and sealed with wedding logo stickers printed by the wonderful Babette at Print Me Prim. If you need pecans or printing this holiday season, click these links!

So first hitch successfully hidden we were ready for the big day. Months and months of planning were at stake. The next morning I was trying to stay calm and out of everyone's way in my hotel room when the next hitch arrived. 

Phone call from the groom: "Mom, I think I left the keys to my car in the cart at the golf course this morning. There's a lot of stuff for the wedding in my car. We need to get it open."

Really? Really?

There were several frantic calls to aunts and cousins who were staying near the golf course, but even if we had found someone to retrieve the keys, the staff at the course couldn't find them.

That was followed by...

Received text: "We may have a problem here at the venue. The wedding planner just fell and may have broken her ankle." 

Oh no! And what the text didn't say was that the wedding planner was also Miss Holly's Aunt Kathleen. Long stories short--someone from Miss Holly's family was able to maneuver a coat hanger through the window to unlock the car, and Miss Kathleen had done such a bang-up job with the advance planning and rehearsal, that we all walked down the aisle at the right time and in the right order--even Captain America got to be charming on his way in.

Hitches got nothing on us!

The bride looked absolutely radiant walking down the aisle.

She carried a gorgeous bouquet. And if you look closely...

Photo courtesy April Skinner

...very closely, you'll see it included flowers made by yours truly.

I call them Holly flowers, and she was so sweet to include them.

Photo courtesy April Skinner
The ceremony took place under a canopy of live oaks and gauzy linen complete with chandelier. And if you look closely at the top of those corner pillars, you'll see more and larger Holly flowers.

She promises to keep my son fed and uses my flowers in her wedding, too?? The woman sure knows a way to her new mother-in-law's heart.

Dinner and dancing followed and I didn't trip over my dress--which had a lot to do with taking some scissors and a needle and thread to my hem earlier in the afternoon. (Thank you, Barb, for reminding me to bring a sewing kit!) Hitch avoided.

All in all a wonderful, hitch-free evening. Congratulations, Brian and Holly! And the golf course called. They found your keys!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Geometry With Scissors

Mathematics textbook + Reading With Scissors = x.

Solve for x.

Ah, here ya go!

Thank you, Pythagoras.

Available for your favorite math lover at the Woodlands Fall Festival and Market  at 
Christ Church United Methodist
this Saturday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sneak Peek 2 - Woodlands Fall Festival and Market

Hands up. How many of you remember textbooks like this from your high school or college days. Yep, just about all of you.

Books like this remind me of some of my favorite people. I was lucky to have been taught by some wonderful English teachers. They have made me a life-long reader, which is a gift indeed.

If there's a language arts teacher on your gift list, here's a great addition to his or her bookshelf.

Available this weekend at the Woodlands Fall Fair and Market at Christ Church United Methodist. Come and get it!