Monday, December 28, 2015

Book Review ~ The Botanical Hand - Lettering Workbook

This beautiful book was sent to me for a review one day... The Botanical Hand-Lettering Workbook, a step-by-step guide that teaches you how to create pretty letters and different types of flowers. The author Bethany Robertson is a professional illustrator, designer, and typographer based in Brooklyn. She states "I hope this book inspires the botanical letterer in you...". I love doodling, I love flowers; I was so excited to learn from her book!!

She covers everything from the anatomy of letters to...

How to draw adorable various flowers, leaves and other objects, which leads into...

Creating unique logos with what you learned! How wonderful would that be if you could come up with your own cards, banners, tags and other fun projects?

Intrigued? I can't wait to dig in deeper to the book and practice more once the kids go back to school after the Christmas break. If you are someone who wants to create something beautiful with doodling and drawing, this book will inspire you and help you to learn the skills. I LOVED it! :)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Miniature Quilt Shop Reveal!

While I was working on the miniature Christmas rooms I was also working on a miniature quilt shop. I was thinking about what I could use, how I could arrange things, as I was creating this; it took a little bit longer than I wanted it to... well, I finally finished it!

Just like I did with my miniature sewing room, I am going to share the details of the quilt shop in a few separate posts. Let me talk about the left side of the room...

I couldn't find a perfect table for the cutting station, so I used a wooden box from Michael's. I took the bottom panel off and painted it. In the glass dorm, there are rolled fabrics, I used a large button as the bottom, instead of the metal plate that came with it.

The very last thing I made for the shop was this quilt for the wall. It is 4"x 4", and I am quite in love with it. I like the block so much that I might have to make a real person sized quilt with this block.

I felt like the quilt would set tone for the shop; I had a really hard time deciding the quilt design. Seeing the finished quilt on the wall with the other things makes me giddy.

The sewing machine was originally black, but I painted it white and added a little custom touch with flowers and vines...

The cutting mat is made out of card stock, I just drew some lines. The ruler... it was a piece of clear plastic from some food packaging. I cut a small piece and used a yellow sharpie to drew some lines. Doesn't it look like a real ruler?

As I was putting together this shop, thoughts kept coming to my mind... whoever manufactures the miniature accessories needs to produce quilting gadgets! It would be fun to design many miniature accessories for a modern updated style.

I will be back with more posts about other parts of the room next time, stay tuned! :)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Miniature Rooms Reveal and Little Thoughts to Share

A while ago, I shared my miniature sewing room with you. You might wonder if my obsession with tiny things has stopped after the sewing room was put together??? The answer is "NO". I have been working on some Christmas rooms lately.

I hosted a potluck/recipe exchange Christmas party last week. As a host, I really wanted everyone to have a good time and enjoy themselves. With good food and company, we played some games and visited with each other and it was so much fun! I was so happy to see a room full of ladies (17 of us! We missed some of them who couldn't make it) just chatting and laughing away.

One of the games we played was a game I found at Happy Home Fairy. It seemed very simple to prepare, and the people in the picture she posted looked like they were having so much fun, I decided to give it a try.

As prizes for this game, an idea popped in my head... miniature christmas rooms!

Are you ready for a closer look?

This one is very close to my color scheme. Lots of white and a hint of blue. I love the fluffy "giant pillow" by the fire place and the cake stand I created with buttons and beads.

Next one has true Christmas colors: Red, Green and white. I love the star in the background by My Minds Eye. Don't you think it adds a vintage feel to the whole room?

The last one is a tiny suite case. I painted the outside with light gray and metallic berry with the words "Joyeux Noel". When you open it up...

There is a fun little tricycle accompanied by a tiny Christmas tree and snow balls inside. Isn't is so fun?

When the party came to an end and people start leaving one by one, I had mixed feelings inside. A sense of relief for the success of the party mixed with a bit of sadness for the fun time coming to an end.

We all are always busy. On top of our own and family members' schedules, and other obligations to meet. Places to go, things to do... I feel like it never ends! After the party I sat in the empty room feeling so grateful for the people for taking the time to come to the party. Above all I was feeling so grateful for my family who puts up with me and my crazy ideas all the time. The big Christmas party is over, but the party I have with my family continues on. I need to remind myself to pay close attention to details and care for them like I did for the Christmas party.

Who are the important people in your life? How are you going to show them that you love them?

Those are the questions echoing in my mind lately.

Let me say thank you to you all, my beloved readers. I hope you are having a great Christmas season filled with love and joy.



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Counting Down to Christmas ~ Advent Calendar

One of our Christmas traditions is doing an advent calendar for the kids. Years ago, when the kids were still small I read about advent calendars and thought, "That is such a neat way to count down to the special day."

Our first year, I got 25 envelopes and wrote numbers 1 through 25. I stuck them onto the pantry door so they would form the shape of a Christmas tree after I filled them with some notes and candies. When I introduced the calendar and how it is suppose to work to the kids the next morning, they were so excited! Every morning, they couldn't wait to open the envelop to see what's inside. I can still remember their reactions and happy faces...

A few years later, the envelopes were replaced with a wooden advent calendar with tiny doors. This year I bought a new one because one of the doors was broken. Instead of doors, this one has deep drawers and I think I like this one better. Rachel couldn't wait for me to fill up the calendar for this year and she volunteered to write all the dates on the drawers.

I feel like it was so much easier and cheaper to please them when they were little. They would get excited about pretty much anything.

I will give you some of the things I used to put in to the calendar:

Mini candy cane
Chocolate coin
small toys from the dollar store

or papers saying things like:

Family movie night
Family game night
Going through the drive through and get donuts, ice cream and such
Going to the dollar theater

A couple years ago, I decided to do things a little differently since my kids are getting older. We had a discussion about the true meaning of Christmas and it is important to be giving rather than just focusing on receiving. They had the look on their faces like, "Where is she going with this?..." and I didn't feel much excitement from them. I explained that there will still be same type of small gifts, or notes with family activities, BUT, I will be putting in some notes with "giving" types of activities and assignments.

I think they weren't so sure about this, but they went along with it. Well, what other choice did they have?? I am the mom, and I am the one who fills up the calendar... muhahahaha

So, here are the examples of some of the notes:

Do something nice to your siblings without them knowing
Open the door for someone when we go out
Say something nice to 5 people today
Shovel the neighbor's driveway secretly

Then this year, I was looking at a box of candy canes and got new idea. I wrote on the note:

Be a ninja. Give candy canes to 4 people (I divided the dozen candy canes amongst my three kids) without getting caught.

I also told them a couple rules: first, they are not allowed to open someones bags to put it in. The people might think they are trying to steal something, that is the last thing you want! Second, they have to tell me who they gave it to and how when they get home. If they were able to witness the recipient's reaction, that would be better.

The kids were giddy about the new assigment and went to school.

The results? It was awesome. Even better than I expected!

I got to hear their stories of who they gave it to and how. The kids were talking and listening to each other's stories and we laughed about their experiences. Sounds like it is very difficult to be sneaky while giving something to someone! Three out of three kids said it was a lot of fun and they loved the assignment.

I think it comes natural to some to be generous and giving. To some, this needs to be taught.

As a mom, I want to make sure that my kids know giving brings joy. Whether tangible items, service or even a kind smile and kind words. Is there a better way to count down to the special day to celebrate the birth of our Savior?

There are 18 more days to go and I know there are more "giving" notes in the calendar. The thing is that I can't remember which drawer I put it in, so every morning it will be equally surprising and exciting for me as it is to my kids! Hahaha :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Marie Callender's Pie Review

I can't believe the major holidays are just around the corner. What comes to your mind when you think about Thanksgiving and Christmas? Friends and family gatherings, big feast, cooking for a big crowd and cleaning up... sounds exciting but a little overwhelming doesn't it? I love to cook but I do not want to get too stressed about get togethers. Marie Callender's ready made pie shells have been a great “go-to” for me for sometime. They are made from scratch, have a homemade quality and taste great. I was given the chance to try some of the Marie Callender's pies. The pies were Coconut Creme, Chocolate Satin Pie, and Dutch Apple Pie. My family and I happened to love all these pies, so we are very excited to try them! Every Monday is our special family night. No matter how busy our life gets, we try not to schedule anything that would keep us from spending time with each other on Monday nights. We had a couple friends visiting us that night and it was just the perfect time to try the pies with them. First of all, I was very impressed when I pull them out of the box. They. Look. Exactly. The. Same. As the picture. I know, it is supposed to be that way, but when you buy something, how many times does the picture looks amazing, but the actual product doesn't look anything like the picture? This isn't the case.

My family LOVES chocolate, so naturally they were drawn to the Chocolate Satin Pie. It was decorated with real chocolate curls (which by the way, my daughter kept eating off of the pie before I could even cut it!). The rich chocolate filling is very smooth and tasty, yep, it was definitely a hit. One of my sons and I love coconut cream pie. Usually though, even in big family gatherings, because it is not as popular as chocolate pie, we don't have it on the table. I realized that with Marie Callender's that problem is solved! The creaminess of the coconut custard with crunchiness of the real toasted coconut created a great flavor and texture in my mouth. Mmm... heavenly... Now, last but not least, the Dutch Apple Pie became one of our favorites. The delicious aroma of fresh Fuji apples and brown sugar streusel filled our house while it was baking in the oven. Even though I said that my family loves chocolate, the dutch apple pie got eaten the quickest! I loved the combination of the extra flaky crust with the filling. Special occasion or not, having a delicious home made quality dessert by Marie Callender's will be a great help to celebrate our everyday lives with our loved ones.

Don't forget to visit their Facebook page and Pinterest to find out more about their products and coupon offers.

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