Saturday, November 27, 2010

Aristotle the great Greek Philosopher

Here is something that I had been working on for several weeks.  It took me several weeks because I would work on it for a few minutes and then put it down for several days - and you get the picture.

My son's school has a history faire every fall.  Usually it's not all that exciting but this year they have a new teacher and she's really into it!  All the kids from 1st grade to 8th grade had to do a project.  The middle schoolers (6th-8th) had to do their projects on a person/community during ancient times (BC).  They had studied Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt etc.

So my Ben decided to do his on Aristotle, the Greek philosopher.  I thought that was pretty fitting because he likes to stand around talking and have people listen to him talk.  Don't know where he gets that from :)

Anyway, it was a pretty extensive project which took weeks to do.  He mostly worked on it on the weekends and he did it at least 95% on his own.  I guided him a little but tried to step back and let him do it.  He really surprised and impressed me with how well he did.  I was so proud of him.  He did all his research by himself and made all the decisions on what to do by himself.  I did make the costume using a picture that he had printed but his teacher said it was ok for me to make the costume, so it wasn't cheating or anything.

ALL the kids did really well.  Having them dress in costume for their part really helped them get excited about it.  I've never seen them so enthusiastic at the history faire before.

Ben made a trifold board all about Aristotle, he built the Parthenon, he made a book with coffee dyed pages so that it would look old, and he did a board on daily life in ancient Greece.
Here he is in costume.  I bought a cheap sheet at Walmart to make the costume - and I do mean cheap.  That fabric was awful.  I was just hoping that it would stay together long enough.  I made the beard and mustache out of felt from instructions I found here

And I just had to show you Anubis, the Egyptian God of Death.  I was so glad Ben didn't pick him because I couldn't figure out how to make a jackals head but one of his classmates did.  Here he is:

I normally don't show other peoples kids but since you can't see his face, I thought it would be ok.
Pretty cool huh?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

EtsyMom Team Huge Black Friday SALE!

The EtsyMom team is having a huge Black Friday Weekend Sale!  It starts at midnight tonight and goes until midnight on November 29th - Cyber Monday.
(My sale starts now!)
I'm having a 30% off sale on all Hair accessories and scented sachets in my shop.  To get the discount, I will either refund you through Paypal or you can wait for me to send a revised invoice to pay.

Click here to see all the participating shops - and there are lots! -
Or search "EtsyMomSale" on etsy for the sale items.

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Last Week's Sweet - Cherry Butter Cookies

Last week's sweet was Cherry Butter Cookies.  I made half with nuts and half without because my son doesn't like any type of nuts.  I have to put his no nut sweets in  a separate container and label them so that my DH won't eat them all. 

These are one of my favorite cookies because I love cherries and I also love the texture.  They aren't ooey gooey like chocolate chip, but instead have more of a shortbread texture.

Here's the recipe:


2 cups butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans which is what I use)
10 ounce jar of chopped maraschino cherries  (drain all the juice off and rinse them well or they will have a chemical taste)

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.In a large bowl, mix together the butter, vanilla and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Mix in salt, then stir in flour by hand until dough is stiff. Add the walnuts and cherries, and mix into the dough.
3.Roll dough into ping pong sized balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets. Press down balls with a fork to make a criss cross pattern on top.
4.Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven. Let stand on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
These are really pretty cookies for the Holidays and also for Valentine's Day because of the red from the cherries.  They are very festive.  And you could also make a batch with the green cherries available during the Christmas season - then you'd have red and green cookies.
I think I'll try that and see how it comes out.

I've entered this recipe in a contest that our local newspaper is having for holiday cookies.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Craft Show Banner

As I mentioned in a previous post, I did the First Christian Church Arts and Crafts show this past weekend.   Well, when I was getting my stuff ready to go, I realized my booth sign that I've been using for awhile (and is totally homemade out of foam board) specifically stated that I sell unique jewelry.  And while I did plan to have a few pieces of my jewelry there, my main focus was my aprons, hair accessories and the little wooden initial pendants that I only make for craft shows.

So I made me a new sign.  I wanted to make a bunting but didn't have the time to make a real fabric one.  So, I used foam board (I recycled my old sign!), scrapbook paper that I already had and letters that I printed off a free site on the internet.

I mod podged the scrapbook paper to the foam board and then glued the letters on.  We clothespinned all the triangles to a jute string and pinned it to the table.  I think it came out pretty good.

Although, it did confuse some of the customers who thought I was selling it by the letter.  I think I probably should have made the triangles smaller.

Ironically, the church always has a bake sale table at the show and they were also selling buntings made out of construction paper by the little kids Sunday school class.  They were very cute.  And I want to say kudos to whoever made the cheesecake brownies that my son bought at the bake sale.  He ate them all so they must have been good. :)  It was the first time he stayed with me through a whole show.  It was nice having him there.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Surgery Day

Today is surgery day. 
Mr. Frankenstien and yellow Duckie need surgery because their guts are coming out.

It was touch and go on yellow Duckie for awhile.  We didn't think he would make it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yummy Shortbread

For several months now, I've been on a "healthy" sweets kick.  I love sweets and I'm not even going to lie and say I try to lay off of them.  I usually eat something for dessert after lunch and dinner, even if it's just a handful of M & M's.  Don't get the wrong idea though.  I'm very careful with my portion size - I don't sit around eating a whole pie or anything. :)

My son also seems to have inherited my love of sweets.   But since my husband and I both have high cholesterol and high triglycerides, it's almost a sure bet that my son will also have them.  And, because of the fat content, preservatives, hydrogenated, saturated etc. goop in all the prepackaged sweets (like Little Debbie for example), I felt like I was poisoning my kid everytime I put something like that in his lunch box.  But you have to put something sweet in their lunch boxes.  I mean, geez, that's the best part of lunch.  **Side note:  I'm also trying to eliminate packaged cake/brownie/cookie mixes because they contain the same hydrogenated preservative poisons that the other packaged sweets have.

That's when I decided to just start making my own.  I have a ton of recipes that I've never tried because we always try not to have too many sweets in the house.  But the fact of the matter is, we are going to eat something sweet after a meal even if we have to scrounge around until we find expired chocolate chips or old stale stuck together marshmallows.  Isn't it healthier for me to make something from scratch that I can control what goes into than to eat whatever we can find because we're desperate for sugar?  Well, I think it is.  (that's my arguement and I'm sticking to it!!)  

So, this past summer, I did some research on the least toxic forms of fat to bake with.  And what I came up with was I Can't Believe It's Not Butter - for margarine, and 100% all vegetable shortening - for shortening.  If a recipe calls for oil, I use (and have for several years) extra light Olive Oil - usually Bertolli brand because I like it best and you can by a large jug of it at Sam's for a good price.  I usually use real eggs though I occassionally use egg substitute but really, eggs are actually good for you.  Yes, they're high in cholesterol but when you're talking about putting 1 or 2 in a cake or cookies, it's not that big a deal.  Plus, they're high in protein.  

So, about once per week, I bake up something yummy from scratch.  I've shared several of the recipes I've made on my blog but I plan to start sharing more.  Some of them I get from (my fav recipe site) and some from cookbooks or magazines.  If it's a new recipe that I'm trying, I write a little note on it saying what we liked or how I can make it better.  If it doesn't come out like I hoped, I chunk the recipe.  This has been really fun for me because I LOVE to bake and now I can without feeling guilty about it.  I've stopped buying packaged sweets almost completely.  I do still occassionally buy reduced fat Oreos, just because I like them.  But for the most part, it's all handmade.

Here is last weeks recipe - Shortbread.  I originally got this recipe from a really old cookbook that my mom had when I was a kid.  I love shortbread because it's crunchy but my son wasn't real crazy about it - ironically for the same reason.  He prefers his cookies to be gooey.

Shortbread Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. double acting baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Measure all ingredients into large bowl except sugar and cinnamon.  Mix at medium speed.  Pat dough into a 9" x 9" baking pan.  In a cup, mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the dough.  Bake 30-35 minutes.  Cut into bars while warm.  Makes about 20 cookies.

**I hope my post doesn't sound too preachy.  I'm not trying to condemn anyone else for what they eat.  This is just something that I'm doing for my family.  It doesn't mean I think you're poisoning your kid for giving them a Little Debbie cookie or anything.  Please don't take it that way.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Holiday Bazaar

This coming Saturday, November the 13th, Handmade Whimzy will be at the Holiday Bazaar at First Christian Church on the corner of Broadway and Loop 323 in Tyler, Texas from 9 am to 4 pm.

I'll be taking all my stock with me and it may or may not come back to my online shop.  SO, if there is an apron that you had your heart set on, nows the time to buy.  I won't be making any more Christmas aprons this year, so when these are gone, they're gone.

Keep your fingers crossed that this will be a great show!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Special Request

Remember the bottle cap pincushions that I made here way back in September?  Well, at that time, my son asked me to make him a mushroom pincushion, like the mushrooms in the Mario game.  He gave me a little metal mushroom, that he had gotten with candy inside, to use as a guide.
So this is what I came up with:

I worked on it most of yesterday.  They're little but it takes a long time to cut out all those little pieces and then sew them on.
I think it came out pretty cute and I got a thumb's up from my Ben, so it must have been good.
(I've been trying to make this post for a week but couldn't upload my pics.  Suddenly, I was able to.  Go figure.)

What is wrong with blogger?

I've been attempting to make a post for several days now but blogger won't let me upload pictures.  Anyone have a clue what's wrong?