Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nevermore Wreath {tutorial}

Welcome to another edition of Blog with Friends!  It's almost Halloween, so we have some spooky, kooky, yummy, and fun projects for those of all ages!

*          *          *          *          *
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
'Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, 'art sure no craven,

Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'  
-Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven"
  • 1 skein white yarn
  • Roll of ribbon - users choice
  • 3 (more or less) 5 inch ravens
  • Red vase fillers
  • Black leaves/flowers
  • Hot glue/gun

I did this one a little differently than all the others... literally all of them.  Not only was this way faster and less painful on my hands, the texture is way better!

I started it like any other - tied the yarn around the wreath and knotted it, then added a dab of hot glue to keep it still.  Instead of trying to create a single flawless layer of yarn, I was more imprecise, but still tried to make a clean first layer.

When I was finished with the first layer, I went around the whole wreath again, still keeping it loose.  As you can see from the picture below, it gives the wreath more texture and (I hope) lessens the stress on the wreath form, which in turn (I hope), will keep it from breaking.  

It's happened.  Twice.  No, I don't want to talk about it.

Now, aren't these the most adorable, non-intimidating ravens ever?  I think they may be mad at me - I had to cut off their feet.  I had hoped to use their feet/wires to anchor them to the wreath, but the wires were too weak.  I may have also... ruffled some feathers.  I hope that doesn't come back to haunt me... 

Fall back adhesive: hot glue, from my charming mini glue gun.

There is a total of three on this wreath, because they were so tiny.  I figured, why not use them all!?  At least I'll know where they all are.  If one goes missing, I see karmic revenge in my future.  *shudders*  I hate dislike birds. (No jokes about my name, now...)

To keep with the Gothic theme that a Nevermore wreath begs for, on my trip to the craft store I went in search of ribbon.  I had something very specific in mind, which means I didn't find anything remotely like the ribbon I wanted, so I improvised.

This ribbon was in the regular ribbon section, not the targeted Halloween section, in white.  With the white yarn, the black filigree can stand out.

Then I found a the shimmering black leaves in the floral section.  It may or may not be part of the holiday collection.  I snipped a few off the branch and hot-glued them down.

The flower was actually a clip or barrette of some kind.  I was able to remove it from the clip so as to better glue it down.  It still isn't sitting quite right, but I'll take it.

The red "gems" are simple vase fillers.  I wanted a pop of color in the seemingly monochromatic wreath.  I find it fitting.

I hope you find inspiration everywhere you look!

Here are the links to the rest of the Boo Crew:

Who needs caramel apples when you can have Bloody Buddies from Karen!?

Want to decorate, but don't want to spend a lot of moolah?  Lydia has a solution with her Spooky Kooky Halloween:

Here's another DIY Halloween decoration from Shellybean - a creative, fun Halloween Gate:

If your children need a mellow Hallows Eve, Melissa has a Not So Spooky Halloween for you:

...and I don't know a girl who wouldn't love this DIY Anna Cape from Stacy - I know I want one!

Happy Haunting!

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Kids. 'Nuff Said.

"The masses of flies over the dirt do not state their unity; it is the dirt that brings them together."

It is Fly on the Wall day, so you must be here for the dirt!  Come on in, wipe your feet, and make yourself comfortable.  I'm here to dish it out, along with 12 other bloggers.  At the end of the post, you will find links to them, so make sure you visit.  You won't be disappointed!

Me (to B): Go put on shoes and a shirt, then go out and mow the lawn before it starts raining.
MIL: It is raining.
Me: “Raining” raining or sprinkling?
MIL: Sprinkling.
Me: Well, then he better hurry, before it does start raining.
TBG: He doesn't have to do it today.
Me: Yes, he does.
TBG: No, he doesn't. It's raining.
Me: It's not raining, it's sprinkling!
TBG: It's raining.
Me: Fine. (yelling up to B) Nevermind! You're daddy's being an ass!
B (yelling down): Thank you, Daddy!

TBG was swinging a dog tag-shaped necklace at LS. With it being reflective, it caught the color of TBG's hand. As I was looking at it:
Me: That looks like a little weiner.
After some dirty looks, the necklace is tossed:
TBG: Here, LS – here's mommy's weiner.
LS: Ewwww.
Me: Don't worry, bud. My weiner is still attached to me.
LS: Phew. Good.

"Ask me about my wiener!"
Here in Utah we have a surplus of stupid drivers. The one referenced here had stopped on an on-ramp, causing slow traffic. This person created this conversation:
TBG: God! Sometimes people are so stupid!
Me: Everyone has their dumb moments – like me, or our daughter.
TBG: Well, that last one takes the cake. Right, LMSP?
LMSP: Yep! … Wait, what?
Me: Thank you for proving the point.

B (trying to open a fortune cookie): I can't open it!
(still trying... still trying... got it!)
TBG: What's your fortune?
B: You will attain the highest level of intelligence! (with gusto and pride)
(silence from me - - - - TBG laughing)
Me: Did you seriously get that fortune after you couldn't open the package?
TBG: Yes, yes he did.

B: Did you know that yellow cheddar cheese is actually diet cheese?
Me: What?
B: Yeah. Cheddar cheese starts out white, so the yellow is diet.
Me: I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as diet cheese.
(TBG laughs)
B: It's true! Cheddar cheese is white!
Me: Ummm, hello? All cheese starts out white; it's made from milk.
(I'm still trying to figure out how we got started talking about cheese.)

LMSP: I got a bloody nose on the way home.
Me: I'm sorry.
LMSP: Why does my nose randomly bleed like that?
Me: 'Cause you get it from your daddy. Sometimes people just get bloody noses. It's not a big deal.
LMSP: The weird thing is, it always comes out of the same nose!
(silence) - - - - (hysterical laughing ensues)
TBG: Well, you only have the one nose, so if it's not coming out of that one...
LMSP: Nostril! I meant to say nostril!

Watching B pick onions off his burger:
Me: Hey, I don't like onions either, but I ate them anyway. Suck it up!
B: You don't like onions?
Me: Nope... well, I like onion flavor, just not the onions themselves. C'mon! You ate a green vegetable today – take a chance!
B: But the celery had peanut butter on it!
Me: Do you want me to put peanut butter on your onions?


LMSP spent the weekend at her bestie's house. I had her come home early on Sunday so we could attend a birthday party. While at this party, my phone chimes with a new text. Apparently LMSP and her bestie sneaked out of the house after curfew and were talking to boys. She's eleven. So yeah, that happened.
Later, flies! (As a side note, you should Google peanut butter and onions - it's a thing.)

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Friday, October 10, 2014

A Whiff of Childhood

It's another Friday, so you know what that means!  Blogging Challenge!  This week is Use Your Words, where participating bloggers pick 4 - 6 words or short phrases for someone else to use in a post.  The blogger must use each word/phrase at least once and each post will be unique, as each blogger gets their own set of words.  

Here's the twist: no one knows who got their words, until now.  At the bottom of the post, you'll find the links to all the other blogs featuring the challenge.  Make sure you stop over!

My words are: link, boy, cyborg, green straw, smile, pancakes

I'd like to tell you a little story about a boy named Link.  He had clothes of green, straw colored hair, and a few hearts.  This boy takes me back - back to my childhood.  For all intents and purposes, at least.  I actually didn't play any Legend of Zelda until I was an adult, but the original came out when I was 4.

While boys were obsessed with the cyborgs of Terminator (and sometimes still are), I wanted to rescue Princess Zelda and wander Hyrule with that little boy named Link.  Just thinking about all the time I spent playing his character makes me smile.

Thinking about my childhood makes me want pancakes. Hope you didn't find one of these getting here:

The End.  Told you it was a little story.  Visit my friends!!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

"Uniquely Portable Magic"

It's Friday and you know what that means!  Time for a blogging challenge: Secret Subject Swap.  This week 14 bloggers braved the unknown by coming up with a secret subject for another blogger, while getting one in return.  No one knows who got what... until now!

Secret Subject Swap

At the end of this post, you will find links to the other participating bloggers.  Don't miss out on the fun.  Visit them all and see what the fuss is about.  And you can always join us, just ask!

My Subject is:  As Stephen King says, "Books are uniquely portable magic."  What if you could magically make a book world become reality?  What book world would you choose?  What would be the best things about that world?  The worst?  Would you trade it for the reality you live in now or just visit now and then?  (if you're not an avid reader, feel free to substitute a film or television reality).

Submitted by:  Climaxed (thanks, Jenniy!) 

Talk about a subject tailor-made just for me!  I make no secret of my love of Stephen King and, as it happens, this is one of my all-time favorite quotes.


This quote is also apt because the number one book world I would love to visit is Harry Potter.  Always.

Believe it or not, I heard about the Harry Potter books from my mom, who introduced us on one of my breaks home from boarding school.  I was hooked immediately; I counted down the days for the release of each of the next books.

The good things far outweigh the bad in this case.  Magic, mythical beasts, Professor McGonagall, Hagrid, Quidditch, Alistair Moody, Sirius Black, Dumbledore, not to mention Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  I could go on forever, baby - (name that movie!).

I'm not sure I'd have the strength to deal with the bad: Death Eaters, Voldemort, owls everywhere (ornithophobia), Lucius Malfoy, Umbridge.  Someone would get punched in the face, starting with Lucius, then Umbridge, and finally Voldemort.  I'm not sure a punch in the face would make much of a difference to that last one - I mean, he doesn't have a nose!

Having picked this book world, I feel lucky.  I wouldn't have to choose whether to stay permanently or just visit, because it IS our world.  I could live my life and the other simultaneously.  To raise my children not to just believe in magic, but know it truly exists in things outside the mundane.

Also, with respect to the master himself (Stephen King, in case you didn't know), I think it would be interesting to visit Mid-World and all that accompanies it.  His Dark Tower series is truly awe-inspiring and quite the adventure, especially since so many of SK's books tie into some aspect of Mid-World and the series.  Only visit, though.  There's some scary sh-- in there that I don't want to meet.  There will be no face punching there, that's for sure!

And since I'm an over-achiever, I thought I'd throw in a movie world, too.  Something I would only visit, because I love my husband and kids, and couldn't leave them behind.  I only have two words:  Indiana Jones.  Aside from the constant danger while on adventures, I really don't see a down side, except maybe Hitler.  Nothing good can come from me meeting Hitler - you know, with my penchant for punching people in the face metaphorically.



Mmm mm mm mm mmm.  'Nuff said.

Now onward, my preciousess...
Baking In A Tornado
The Bergham's Life Chronicles                                             

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The System

Come, tailgate with us!  Virtual tailgating, that is.
Our Mission: to bring you a diverse group of projects and recipes to help you better enjoy the party that is tailgating!

Here's a quick preview of what's to come:

Here's what I got for ya:

I stepped out of the box for this one, my preciousess.  Way, way out.  Welcome to the wonderful world of non-fiction and football!

The Future of College Football

Title:  The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football
Author(s):  Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian 
Genre:  Non-Fiction

Synopsis:  COLLEGE FOOTBALL has never been more popular—or more chaotic. Millions fill 100,000-seat stadiums every Saturday; tens of millions more watch on television every weekend. The 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama had a viewership of 26.4 million people, second only to the Super Bowl. Billions of dollars from television deals now flow into the game; the average budget for a top-ten team is $80 million; top coaches make more than $3 million a year; the highest paid, more than $5 million.
But behind this glittering success are darker truths: “athlete-students” working essentially full-time jobs with no share in the oceans of money; players who often don’t graduate and end their careers with broken bodies; “janitors” who clean up player misconduct; football “hostesses” willing to do whatever it takes to land a top recruit; seven-figure black box recruiting slush funds. And this: Despite the millions of dollars pouring into the game, 90 percent of major athletic departments still lose money. Yet schools remain caught up in an ever-escalating “arms race”—at the expense of academic scholarships, facilities and faculty.
Celebrated investigative journalists Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian were granted unprecedented access during the 2012 season to programs at the highest levels across the country at a time of convulsive change in college football. Through dogged reporting, they explored every nook and cranny of this high-powered machine, and reveal how it operates from the inside out. The result: the system through the eyes of athletic directors and coaches, high-flying boosters and high-profile TV stars, five-star recruits and tireless NCAA investigators and the kids on whom the whole vast enterprise depends.
Both a celebration of the power and pageantry of NCAA football and a groundbreaking, thought-provoking critique of its excesses, The System is the definitive book on the college game. 

(synopsis found on book page at Amazon.com here)

About the Author(s):  Jeff Benedict is an author with a law degree.  He has written many non-fiction books, on top of being a regular contributor to Sports Illustrated online and a professor of English at Southern Virginia University.  For his full bio and bibliography, visit Amazon here.
Armen Keteyian is a television journalist as well as an author.  He's won 8 Emmy's for his work on the sports beat on several major networks, including CBS.  For his bio, please visit CBS News here.

First Impression:  I'm always up to try something new - this time, non-fiction is it!
Confession time: I didn't finish this book.  In fact, I only made it about 30% through before throwing in the towel.

Why, you ask?  Because I was effing bored!  That's all there was to it.  I did my best; I tried and was able to power through that 30 percent, but no more.  I can't take it.

It's no secret that I'm not a huge football sports fan.  I have my team (Green Bay Packers), whom I cheer for, mostly in silence or on Twitter, but I hate dislike watching the games.  Unfortunately for me, TBG is a huge sports guy: baseball, basketball, football - I am subjected to it all (Go Rockies and Utah Jazz).  If you know how the sports seasons work, you'll realize there is no down time, at all.  It's all sports, all year.

With that out of the way, from what I read, it's incredibly well written.  Given the background of the authors, it's not surprising.  It covers everything: the good, the bad, and the really ugly aspects of the system of college football.  A lot of information gets thrown at you - statistics, names, colleges - most of which I couldn't care less about, as I didn't attend a major college/university.

The only interesting parts I found in my 30 percent were when I recognized a name or remembered a breaking story when TBG reigned over the remote and I got stuck watching listening to SportsCenter.  With the amount of hours that has added up to over the 13 years we've been together... well, something was bound to stick, despite my best efforts.

I will say this: if my sons ever come to the point where there are colleges scouting them for an athletic scholarship - or just scouting them in general, I will be extra vigilant.  There is no telling what lengths a college [recruiter] will go to in order to ensure the students they want commit to attend their school.  The process seems to have the tendency to get intense and not completely honest.

Final Thoughts:  Although I did not appreciate this book, it doesn't mean that you won't.  It's had great reviews across the board.  But, in my opinion, you really have to love and understand college football for this book to be worth reading.

My Suggestion:  If football isn't your thing, avoid this.  If it might be, get it from the library.  If you're a fanatic, add it to your collection.

Star Rating: (which reflects only my opinion on the book)

While my contribution may not be fun, the rest of these projects are amazing!  Check 'em out:

Diane from Canning and Cooking at Home brought her Spicy Mustard Relish:

Eileen at Eileen's Perpetually Busy brought a handmade Team Color Cushion with Handle, a major step up from the uncomfortable bleachers we're all used to:

Karen from Baking in a Tornado has this tasty Glazed Kielbasa Sandwich:

Lydia from Cluttered Genius made this awesome DIY Tailgating Garland, sporting team colors and using stuff you probably already have on hand:

Melissa from Home on Deranged is bringing us to the techno-age with Technology and Tailgating:

Shawn at Literary Litter made this adorable crocheted Snap Caps:

Shellybean over at Follow Me Home. . . made these handy Busy Bags:

Stacy from Stacy Sews and Schools is keeping us warm with DIY Team Color Headband Earmuffs:

Happy Tailgating!!

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for this review and all opinions contained herein are my own and in no way reflect the ideas or opinions of people or sites I may reference.  This is intended for entertainment purposes only

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