Thursday, October 29, 2015

Double Your Fun

Just because I haven't been posting much, doesn't mean I haven't been folding. Didn't these pink beauties turn out so sweet?

When life brings you twins, don't fret. I can make you a duet of books!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Trouble With Men

So it's been a while since I've been on here. I blame men. Two of them specifically.

Exhibit A: this guy

Captain America changed the kind of plane he flies recently. That means he's a lot higher up in seniority and has a much better schedule. He's home now more than ever. (Is that even possible?? And that is not a rhetorical question.)

It's great having him around the house more, but the flip-side is I haven't had as much time to write as I used to.

Exhibit B: this guy

Meet little QuarterPounder. Isn't he the sweetest thing ever? Hard to believe that the last time I wrote on here, we were just finding out if he was a boy or a girl. He showed up at the end of August, and now he weighs about 11 1/2 pounds, eleven of which I'm pretty sure are in his cheeks.


Sorry, I had to stare at that picture for a little longer. <Sigh.>

Anyway, I've been working for several weeks on something special for his room and I finally sent Captain America on enough trips that I got it finished. Taaaaa-daaaa!

His mom and dad decided that they didn't want any particular theme in his room but they wanted it to be filled with lots of books and they wanted the colors to be navy and gray.

Do you know how hard it is to think up something for a baby boy that doesn't involve sports or animals? But as I was looking through a catalog one day I saw a picture of an alarm clock and thought "That's it! I'll make something with a clock and incorporate books somehow, too." 

The first thing I had to do was come up with a saying. Something that incorporated clocks and books. My mom was always one of those who would let you stay up just a little longer if you were reading a book, so I just went with that idea.

Then I started with the paint. TRUE CONFESSION: I'm not a painter! Geez Louise, it was the most nerve-wracking thing ever!

I sketched something on the canvas and then experimented with mixing colors to show shadows and highlights. By the time it was over I felt like a real artiste. TRUE CONFESSION: That was a joke. It was nerve-wracking until the end, but at least it looked sort of like an alarm clock.

For the clock face, I decided to go with a book page mosaic, just like I did with the hearts and the guitar. Remember?

Then I painted the numerals and the hands and finished by Mod Podging on the text. (Is Mod Podging really a verb?) 

I signed it with my new grandma name, Granny Phanie. 

But the best part? After his mom and dad hung it on the nursery wall, I got to go to read to QuarterPounder and see if he liked it.

Sorry, I had to stare at that picture a little longer. <Sigh.> I mean seriously, those cheeks!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Twinkle, Twinkle

The other day we had a few people over to the house for brunch. And by a few, I mean 50. If you're gonna make breakfast, you might as well make enough for a crowd, right?

There was a very popular Bloody Mary bar...

And yogurt and bacon and cookies...


...And did I mention Bloody Marys?

And then we had a baby shower and a gender reveal! That's right! My baby's having a baby! And it's going to be a...

Happy dance! Happy dance!

My fabulous daughter-in-law, Ashley, has wonderful friends and sisters who served as hostesses. They came in a couple of hours before the shower began to cook and decorate.

The theme was Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and it started with these cute invites.

So we decorated with stars everywhere.

But wait what's that on top of the book shelf? Right next to the baby pictures of the new mom and dad and the sonogram?

Yes, that thing!

Why it's a folded book by Reading With Scissors, of course! What shower would be complete with one? (Duh!)

But, Stephanie, you ask, what's with the 28?

Well, dear reader, Ashley is also a reader, and when it came to taking those cute baby bump pictures that everyone's doing these days, she didn't want to do the standard "Baby is the size of a cauliflower" pictures. She wanted to do something with books. (I told you she was fabulous.)

So a few weeks ago, I decoupaged this cool Chapter sign and we've been using RDCBs to mark the weeks. We started at 20 weeks and she's been taking a picture every month since. Here's the first one we did:

...and the next

And now we are at week 28!

Wait...Week 28? That means the baby will be here before we know it! Happy dance! Happy dance!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Book Review: A Spy Among Friends

Title: A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
Author: Ben Macintyre
Format: Paperback
Reading Dates: 08 Apr 2015 - 15 May 2015
Rating: *****

Before I read this book, if you had asked me to play a word association game and given me "Kim Philby," my immediate response would have been "spy." And that would have covered everything I knew about the man. I didn't even know which side he was on or where he was from. (Don't judge.)

That's what made A Spy Among Friends a real-live page-turner for me. I had to keep reading to find out how Kim Philby conned everyone, even his closest friends. Ben Macintyre has created a riveting read that follows Philby from his beginnings as a Soviet agent until his ultimate fate. (Are you like me and don't know the story? I won't spoil the surprise!)

I think what I found most interesting was how the spying seemed less like a James Bond action-adventure kind of job, and more like a Nick Charles witty repartee kind of job. Macintyre's description of Istanbul after WWI, where all the spies from all the sides seemed to know each other and dined and drank in the same restaurants, was especially vivid. Everybody was seemingly watching everyone else and writing home about it in encrypted letters.

This book really held my attention from beginning to end, which, by the way, includes a fascinating postscript from John LeCarre who worked in British intelligence at the same time as Philby. A fascinating book made all the more tantalizing by the fact that it's all true.

Highly recommended!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Book Review: The Signature of All Things

Title: The Signature of All Things
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Format: Kindle
Reading Dates: 17 Feb 2015 - 18 Mar 2015
Rating: **1/2

Hmmm...This is one of those books with beautiful prose that draws you in, but with a storyline that makes you go "what the heck was that all about?"

It is about a woman with a fine scientific mind who can tell you everything about every kind of moss, but who is never able to attract the romantic attention of a man--that is until she reaches middle age. So that's the first third of the book.

And then she does attract the attentions of a man, but that is just a painfully awkward story that results in a painfully awkward situation. So that's the second third of the book.

And then she takes off on a ship for the other side of the world where she discovers. Well, I'm not sure exactly what she figured out there. And that was the last third of the book.

And then it was over and I said "what the heck was that all about?"

Monday, May 11, 2015

Go Big!

Last week we celebrated the lovely Miss Holly's birthday with some southwestern fare in downtown Dallas and...

...iris folding!

Holly had requested an iris folded U.S. map several months ago with a special ask--she wanted it big! This took a little thinking on my part. I needed to find a frame the right size and then I needed to figure out how I was going to cut out a map that big.

How big, you ask? Well, if this is the size of the original iris fold map I did...

...THIS is the size of Holly's map.

I eventually ended up using my Silhouette Cameo to make the map out of two 12" x 12" pieces of cardstock and pieced them together.

Then came the fun part.

I used paper from two different atlases. 

This one...

...and this one.
And two different dictionaries, too. 

A mat and a frame later, and Holly got her big map.

Interested in a giant iris fold for your house? Give me a shout. I have lots of atlases waiting to be swirled.

Book Review: Salvador

Title: Salvador
Author: Joan Didion
Format: Audible
Reading Dates: 27 Mar 2015 - 01 Apr 2015
Rating: **1/2

On one hand I kept thinking this book was really dated and would have made much more of an impression on me if I had read it years ago, closer to when it was published. Salvador is filled with a litany of terror perpetrated by one side then another in the bloody Salvadoran civil war. Thirty years ago those horrors were the stuff of every day headlines, and I'm sure I would have wanted this book to help explain--if it could--what it all meant and who were the good guys.

These many years later, the politics don't seem to matter as much anymore, but that litany--the description of one horrific act after another--seems only to prove that inhumanity knows no decade.