Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! And Here's to a Great 2013!

Well, the annual family book exchange is over. We all had a great time getting together to chat. Here are my brother in Dallas and my uncle in Baltimore catching up the new-fangled way.

And here is my other uncle and cousin showing them the book my uncle had just picked from that big pile on the floor.

We had 22 books in the hopper this year, and here's the one I came away with. 

I liked the Harry series so will have to give this one a try in the new year. But before we get too far into the new year I just wanted to thank all of you friends of Reading With Scissors who helped make this year such a fun one for me.

I put away enough money folding books that I was able to surprise Captain America with a new bike for Christmas.

And look at the fancy-dancy tag I made to put on it.

It kind of fell apart as you can see. Maybe if he could have waited for the glue to dry before I gave it to him. But the kids didn't get to our house until late afternoon and he was going crazy not being able to open a present, so I gave him the bike before they got there.

Speaking of gifts a few years ago my parents established a scholarship in my name at my alma mater. And thanks to your help, this year Reading With Scissors was able to make a very nice contribution to the Stephanie Dahlem Pounds Endowed Scholarship.

Thank you for sharing all the book-folding fun with me in 2013 and for buying more than a few of works. Here's to more fun in 2014! Here we go!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I Can't Do Math - The Christmas Edition

I am reading this book right now about this plane that went down in the Dutch New Guinea jungle toward the end of World War II. The survivors of the crash met up with island natives who had had no contact with the rest of the world--ever. 

In today's passage the author is describing the natives and reported that they could only count to three and after that everything was "many."

I've found my people!

At least you would have believed it if you had been at my house this week when I was baking for the annual cookie exchange. Remember last year's exchange? Well, this year was tons better because now I have DIL#1, my daughter-in-law, to help me bake.

Our recipe this year was Caramel Apple Cider Cookies that we stole borrowed from our soon-to-be cousin over at A Little Alana. Kudos to cousin Paul for snagging someone with such mad baking skills. We will be stealing stuff from Alana for the foreseeable future.

The recipe starts with caramel, and frankly we could have just stopped right there and had a winner in my book. The hardest part of the whole baking process was making sure we had enough caramels to fill 7 dozen cookies.

But that's where the problems started. I was never great at my 7 times table and a total loser at my 12s. As the good people in New Guinea would have said, "We just need many."

Thank goodness DIL#1 was there to guide me through. "We need 84," she said. And good thing she mentioned it because at that point we had already used up all our dough and were only at about 70. So we pinched and rerolled and soon we had many. They looked so good coming out of the oven...

...but the hardest part was flipping them upside down to cool to keep the caramel from sticking to the rack.

I take that back. The hardest part was not popping every one of those gooey bites of deliciousness in our mouths before we got them wrapped up.

After the cookies were done we started punching out snowflakes for our cookie bags, like these.

The plan was to punch two small flakes from yellowed paper and one large flake from whiter paper. Earlier in the week I had gone to Michael's to get the large and small punch. When I got home I realized that I already had a large snowflake punch, so I took it back.

On baking night DIL#1 punched away until we 12 white and 24 yellow snowflakes. Then she had to go away to work. :(

I took the snowflakes to my craft room to glue them on the bags. I laid out the 12 large white and the 24 large yellow. Wait. There were supposed to be 24 small yellow.

I checked the punches. I checked the snowflakes. All the snowflakes were the same size. Then I looked again. The large punch and the small punch were both 3" punches. 

So yep you got that right--I bought three snowflake punches and all three were 3" punches. Even my New Guinea friends could have counted that!

I combed through my boxes of punches and came up with another even smaller snowflakey looking thing like this:

It would have to do. Next, I ran to the store to get ribbon to tie the bags shut like this.

And in the end they looked like this.

The ribbons are not the same size because I also cannot measure. They say... 

"Let's snow?" Really? I've never snowed before. So I maybe I can't do math, but I can do English.

Captain America even got in on the act and help me fill the bags with cookies. He was not a fan of Caramel Apple Cider cookies ("Why can't you just make chocolate chip??"), and threatened to add Cheetos to each bag so recipients would have options.

He needn't have worried. After an hour of everyone tasting delicious cookies of all kinds at the cookie exchange, the Caramel Apple Cider cookies all found good homes.

And the fun part was I came home with 12 new kinds of cookies for to share with DIL#1 and munch on this holiday season--AND a new cookbook full of cookie recipes.

Captain America and #1 Son liked that part especially.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Twisted Twas

It's December! Time for giving and receiving. Decorating, wrapping, and surprises!

So what could be behind this festive red cover?

It's a "Twas" book for my friend, Sharon. 

Remember when I made one of these last year? Well, Sharon wanted another...but with a twist. Literally.

Sharon provided this pretty vintage looking paper to cover the endpapers. It is full of all kinds of Christmas quotes and pictures, but Sharon wanted to finish the whole thought behind the word "Twas," so...

...I twisted the design to buy us just a little more room in the bottom corner. Then I used my handy-dandy Silhouette machine to cut out the words to finish the thought!

It turned out really nice, I think. The original red endpaper was in great shape and just the right color to match Sharon's "Twas the Night Before Christmas" dishes in her December dining room hutch! 

Mission accomplished!

I like this new technique and when I get time, I'm going to try it again with more phrases. 

Can you think of any good phrases you'd like to see? Which word would you fold and which would go on the endpapers?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gobble 'Em Up! It's the First Black Friday Sale at Reading With Scissors!

Reading With Scissors is holding its first ever Black Friday sale. Starting at midnight CST on Friday morning, enter BLACKFRIDAY13 in the coupon code at checkout to receive 20% off any book in stock. (Sorry no custom orders. I'm booked! Get it... booked? haha) The coupon lasts until Cyber Monday is over at midnight.

Stay out of the malls and shop online! It's while supply lasts.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Riding With Scissors

Remember this RDCB beauty I picked up earlier this year? 

Well, one of my very good friends claimed it. It's going in a little boy's room. How cute will that be??

I won't show you the finished product until later, but I think it turned out darling!
The best part, though, was I got to meet my friend for lunch today. We live on opposite sides of town so we only get to see each other once a year or so.

And guess what! Today she showed up in a Tesla!

Oh my goodness! If you ever get a chance to ride in one of these, you need to. All electric and 300 horsepower. My friend punched it once and we took off like a rocket--and it didn't make any noise. So freaking amazing!

Here I am pretending I'm the coolest kid in school.

Check out how good Reading With Scissors looks on the giant computer screen/front panel! So good I may double my prices just because. 

(That's a joke.)

Look Barb and Sharon! You're in a Tesla!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

April Showers Bring May Flowers and October Showers Bring Cheeseball Bats

Don't you hate bloggers who make excuses for being so tardy between posts?

Don't be a hater. All of my excuses are excellent.

It's not that I haven't been folding. In fact the opposite is true. In the last few weeks it has been non-stop. Twenty-six orders and I'm only about half way through the list! I've had to put some people on a wait list just in case I find time to do a few more before the holidays.

And I'd love to show you some pictures, but most of them are Christmas presents and I don't want to spoil any surprises. (Wait until January--pictures galore!)

But before October is over, I want to show you a Halloween project.

Wait, what? It's mid-November already? DANG! I should be folding.
But here's a quick look at my Halloween project instead.

You all remember, Barb, right? That's her on the right. And that's her best friend, Sharon on the left. When I moved into my neighborhood 18 years ago, Sharon and Barb were the first two people I met.

The adorable baby is Barb's granddaughter, but Sharon is holding her because she's practicing to be a grandmother, too. And she doesn't have long to practice because her daughter, Kelli, is due in only a couple of months.

And new babies call for showers, so Barb,her daughter Mandi, and I threw one for Kelli.

Let me give you a piece of advice. If you ever have a party thrown for you, make sure Barb is in charge. Remember how I told you that Barb is the reason God invented Pinterest? Well, here is more proof. Check out this spread--and don't miss the homemade diaper cake in the middle.


Those little glass ramekins near the cake pops were full of cinnamon apples with this struesel to die for. Holy cow they were good!

And on the other end of the table was this big bowl of candied popcorn that Mandi made. When I die, someone be sure to tell Mandi to fill my casket full of this before they lower me in the ground and I promise never to leave and haunt anyone.

Here were my contributions. First up goblin guts, Fritos, and monster eyeballs. Also known as Texas caviar and meatballs.


And cheeseball bats. (Barb is not the only one with a Pinterest account.)

Here is the crowd enjoying all the goodies.

And speaking of goodies, here's the pretty mom-to-be opening her presents.

As I've mentioned before, despite appearances to the contrary, this is not a cooking blog. So here was the contribution from Reading With Scissors--sparkly pillow box owl party favors...

with dictionary page eyes...

 ...and candy corn and white chocolate M&M filler (not pictured because they went from my hand to my face too fast).

I wish I could say that I am crafty enough to have designed these myself. I am not. But I am smart enough to buy the pattern for my Silhouette machine and let it do all the work--which leaves me more time for consuming the filler. And folding.

Yikes! What time is it? A week until Thanksgiving?? Got to get back to folding.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pretty as a Peacock

I made this peacock a long time ago, but he's stayed in my workroom because I couldn't figure out how to make him any legs to stand. Today, I realized he's not supposed to stand. He's supposed to hold my business cards!

Woodlands Fall Market and Fair 2013

Reading With Scissors will have a booth at the Woodlands Fall Market and Fair 2013 on Saturday, Oct 26, 2013 from 9 am - 4 pm. It's located at Christ Church United Methodist Church, 6363 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, TX. Here's a look at some of my new stuff!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Upside and a Book

Did you know my son, Brian Pounds, was on The Voice this season? Of course you did. I've told everyone I know and even a lot people I don't know.

I am so, so proud of Brian. He's worked very hard for this. But I'm also proud of myself. Why? Because this whole process has been going on for about a year, and I've kept the secret that long! I know, right?

But now I'm willing to spill the beans. Ok, not all the beans. I'm still under a $5 million confidentiality agreement, but maybe just a couple of beans won't matter. Especially when they're pretty funny.

So here goes.

It was the day of the battle rounds. I had flown in to LA the day before and hadn't slept that much, so I was up early to get dressed. I was wearing this brand new turquoise top I bought at Soft Surroundings and a pair of white sailor pants. You know--the kind with a flap in the front with a column of buttons on both sides? I hadn't worn them in a long time, but I remember thinking the last time I wore them how comfortable they were, and this day I had enough on my mind that I wanted to be comfortable. (Note: Clothes matter in this story so pay attention.) 

We arrived at the studio and we had a bit of a wait while all the contestants got in makeup and costume. I spent that time getting to know Stephanie Anne Johnson's grandma and dad. You may remember seeing them on TV during the blind auditions. What sweet, sweet people! We chit-chatted about family and our kids but I know I spent a lot of time chit-chatting about Captain America and Miss C (aka the future Mrs Brian Pounds) because neither one of  them was there at the moment. 

The night before poor Miss C had pulled an all-night shift at the hospital where she works as a nurse, and Captain America had arrived in Houston from a five-day trip. Both of them were in the air that morning frantically trying to make it to LA before Brian faced the judges.

Captain America landed in LA first, but he had to wait for Miss C's plane to arrive because they were sharing a van to the studio. Miss C texted me that she had made it as far as Dallas, but her plane was an hour late. She was pretty sure she wasn't going to make it to LA on time, but she was going to try anyway.

And so with my stomach in knots already, I just tied another one in there and kept my fingers crossed that they would get to the studio in time. I kept calling Captain America to find out if his situation had changed. I was talking to the producers to see if anything could be done. I was checking FlightTracker about every 3 minutes to see how much closer Miss C's plane was.

And just about the time Captain America called me to say that Miss C had landed, I heard them call my name for the van to go to the set. I knew it was going to be close. Very, very close.

Stephanie Anne's folks and I boarded the van, drove over to the set, and they led us to the green room. It really wasn't green, though. It was just a small area divided by thick black curtains from the rest of backstage with about 12 folding chairs for anxious families to wait their turn. One by one they would lead the families out, and we could hear cheering, and the band playing, and then more cheering and sometimes even more cheering. And as I knew my turn was coming closer and closer, I kept texting Captain America and Miss C to find out how close they were. And Stephanie Anne's Nana and dad kept encouraging me with smiles, assuring me that surely they would make it. 

As I sat there I would have one cold tingle run down my spine as I worried whether Captain America and Miss C would get there on time, and then I'd have another as I realized in just a few minutes Brian would be on national TV singing in front of an arena full of screaming fans. And another as I realized I was going to have to walk into that same arena. And then I would wonder if Captain America and Miss C would get there in time, and the cold tingle circle would start again.  

Then the producer pulled back the curtain and said, "Brian Pounds family?"

I stood up, gulped, gave a weak smile to Stephanie Anne's family, and immediately started doubting my fashion choices for the day. It wasn't the turquoise shirt from Soft Surroundings or the white sailor pants from deep in my closet. It was my shoes. I was wearing high heels. 

For the record, I am not one of those women who can rock high heels. I am a flats kind-of girl. In fact, I work from home, so most of my life I am barefoot. To be sure, each Sunday I put on heels and head for church, hoping that God recognizes that the effort it takes for me to stay upright is a sign of my true devotion. But Sunday or no, every time I wear heels, I feel like I've strapped on a pair of mile-high stilts. Add to that I've got lousy knees, and you see why I'm doubly dangerous.

When I put on my heels that morning, I thought that they would make me look a little more like a fashionista (Stop laughing! Right now! Every last one of you!), but I had grossly underestimated how wobbly my knees would be walking into that arena. I took a few steps toward the producer, and then a few more, and slowly made it to the other side of the curtain.

"This way," she said and pointed to a set of stairs. Yep. Stairs. 

I don't even do stairs well in flats.

I stepped up and I made one riser and then another and eventually I was on the landing. I turned a corner, raised my eyes to look through the tunnel to the arena of screaming fans, and stopped. I was standing on glass--or something that looks very much like it.

Check out this guy walking through the same tunnel. See what I mean?!? 

At this point I've got serious visions of Stephanie Pounds starring in Bambi on Ice. I took one step, wishing that I had one of those long poles that the Flying Wallendas use. I took another step, and I gained a little confidence, and I was beginning to believe that maybe I could actually make it.

And right at that point. Right then, TWO BUTTONS DECIDED TO POP OFF MY PANTS!

I kid you not.

One of them was captured by the turquoise blouse from Soft Surroundings, but the other skittered across the glass floor. In a rush of adrenaline and stupid luck, I raced after it, scooped down to pick it up, and stood up straight. I was still upright.

So now with my elbows plastered to my waistline and my hands out for balance, I shuffled into the first row of fans and took my seat.

The producer smiled at me, oblivious to the drama that had taken place behind her on the glass, and asked, "It's just you, right?"

I looked around to see if by any chance Miss C and Captain America were running through the tunnel, but there was no sign of them.

"Yes, it's just me."

"Ok, this is Sam. He's going to be the camera man shooting you through the performance."

I looked over and smiled at Sam and his camera, which was about 2" from my nose.

I exaggerate.

It was about 4" from my nose.

"Hi," Sam said, "I'm just going to spend a minute here getting the lighting and focus right. I'm going to be right here and have this camera on you the entire time."


"Now when your singer comes out...what's his name?"

"His name is Brian Pounds," I said, and I turned my head to the crowd behind me. "We're yelling for Brian!"

"Ok, so when Brian comes out we need lots of energy."

"Are we going to have to stand up?" I asked.

"Oh yes. Stand up for sure!"

Right then, just for a moment I thought to myself, 'Self, you are about to drop your drawers in front of several million people.' Then I looked beyond Sam and smiled, 'But Self, Adam Levine is sitting right in front of you, so maybe it won't be such a bad deal after all........No, no, no, no, no! It will be a bad deal. A very bad deal.'

The producer yelled, "I need you guys right there to fill in here on the front row," pointing at some kids in the row behind.

Three or four people jumped up and filed into the first row. The pretty little girl who ended up sitting right next to me smiled and asked, "Are you excited?"

"Of course!" I said, "And I've got a secret I'm only going to tell you. I just popped two buttons off my pants on my way out here. If I stand up and my pants fall to the floor, your job is to pick 'em back up for me. Got it?"

She gave me this puzzled look for just a second, and then burst out in laughter. "Yeah, got it!"

Then I heard Carson Daley say "....Brian Pounds." I jumped up, my elbows still plastered to my waistline trying to keep my pants aloft, all the while clapping and screaming like crazy. Think a trained seal at Sea World ork-orking for food and you've pretty much got the picture. And all the while the girl next to me kept doing double-takes to make sure I was still fully clothed. We sat down and a few seconds later the band started playing and the entire place--sans me--rose in one giant swoop.

I tried to show as much energy as I could in a seated position. I bopped my head, and I clapped and screamed. It was all so exciting--even from my chair--and before I knew it, it was all over and they were shuffling me out. I had made it backstage with all my parts still properly covered.

The producer led me around a corner and there were Captain America and Miss C just coming in the door of the set. They had missed it by about 2 minutes.

Of course at that moment I wished that Brian had won his battle, and I also wished that Captain America and Miss C had been 10 minutes earlier, but I was so proud and I'm still so excited. So much good stuff is happening for him right now. The upside is, he'll be known for his music and not for being the guy whose mom lost her pants during that one episode on The Voice. This is a good thing. Trust me.

But wait, you say. This is supposed to be a blog about books.

Oh, yeah. You're right.

So here is a skeleton that I made just in time for Halloween.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Waiting With Scissors

This post is especially for the Russian spammers who up my page count regularly because they are probably the only ones I haven't told that my son, Brian Pounds, is going to be on THE VOICE this season. Tune in!

I got to travel with him to the audition this summer and I've had to keep it secret since then. I am still not allowed to say much, except watch! And I can say that TV life is just like they say it is--a lot of hurry up and wait. 

So what's a book folder to do in such a circumstance? Well in case you ever find yourself in that position, here is my advice in the form of my hotel room. 

First, be sure to bring all the right tools. Zoom in there and see what I mean. I suggest an Exacto knife, a circle cutter, and some scissors at the least. And don't ever leave home without glue. Trust me.

Bring some RDCBs to fold. There are two up there by the TV that I folded while I was there...

...both of which are still available on Etsy.

Bring some plastic ware to hold all the flowers you will make. You may have to eat some extra ham sandwiches before you leave home to make this happen. If you use the plastic for both ham and flowers, wash in between.

The lid of the plastic ware  can also serve nicely for a glue safe work area, by the way.

And of course, no one should think about folding anything--books, flowers, laundry, poker hands--without chips and salsa.

And wine. 

Even box wine will work.

And if you can swing it, bring your goofy kid who knows how to sing. That can make any long day fun.