Saturday, January 8, 2011

Be Careful For What You Wish For...

I always took that phrase to have a sinister tone--as in, Be careful for what you wish for because it might turn out awful and then you'll only have yourself to blame.  Or be careful what you wish for because you might not phrase it right and get something stupid (like a sausage stuck to your nose).  For a while there, that fear kept me from wishing for things. (That, and the fact that I didn't have a magic lamp with a genie inside).

Recently, I read a book in which the author tells of a time she wanted a pair of pants because they were so beautiful. Her mother told her, "Be careful for what you wish for"--with the subtext being: because you just might get it. Sure enough, the girl ended up (through a miraculous event) getting the very thing she wanted. Her message was one of happiness and in continuing to wish for things because you might actually get them. Not sinister at all.

Now.  I love illustrations by Sophie Blackall. I posted about her illustrations of missed connection personal ads and a series she illustrates. I check in on her blog once in a while to see what she's posted about. A while back she posted about a display she did for an exhibit at a public library in New York. It looked AWESOME! But, because there was no way I could go to NY to see the exhibit, I was sort of disappointed that there were only a few pictures posted.

I complained to Moo about my disappointment and she said, "Why don't you just email her?"

Right. Email a famous person and ask for photos. ... and then, I realized, Why not?!

So I did it. I emailed her, and THE NEXT MORNING! there was a reply in my inbox from Sophie Blackall herself. Pictures attached.   It was like Christmas! 

Thus, I can add my own story to that of the much-wished-for-pants above to prove to myself that wishes sometimes do come true in happy, wonderful ways.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Children Make Terrible Pets / children's book reviews

Great book, made me laugh, and the illustrations are AWESOME.

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More

This was a smash hit at story time with the 3-4 year olds. (ok, it was a smash hit with me as well). As an added bonus, the song gets stuck in your head!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Favorite Halloween Costume and Makeup Tutorials

This post is a compilation of the videos and links I've been using for inspiration for my homemade costume/makeup this Halloween. 

I'll include some of my own findings about cheap makeup ideas at the bottom of the post (including where to get some uber cheap makeups so you get the look without breaking the bank for Halloween, along with diy recipes for makeup remover and brush cleaner).

Martha's Ghostly Equestrian

Martha's Madame Butterfly

Whether you like her or not, Martha Stewart has some of the BEST costume ideas on the web.
Even if you've seen these before, they are worth looking at again for inspiration--they teach you how to take mundane things and make them something special. 

Martha's Spellbinding Sorceress Costume

New and sort of hidden this year, is the full tutorial of how they created Martha's Enchantress Costume for 2010.  Follow this link to get the step by step instructions!  AMAZING!  And the things they use to create the look probably could all be found at the $1 store or thrift stores (or a substitute anyway).  (images from

This tutorial got me into a fairy wing mess of my own...I'll post pictures when I'm done.

My suggestion would be to keep it simple (notice there is only one color of paint used in the tutorial), have some glitter on hand, and see if your Walmart has incense on clearance like mine did for 75 cents.  Walmart also has really cheap knee highs in little plastic balls (like the kind that come out of vending machines with a toy surprise inside).

I have become quite entranced by the tutorials by MissChevious because makeup is somewhat of a mystery to me, and she makes it much, much less mysterious.  I've done two trial runs using some of the techniques she shows, and even with my dollar store makeup, I'm finding I can get pretty close to her look.  I'm only embedding one tutorial here: check out her website for many, many more.


Never underestimate the deals you can find online. If you give yourself a head start time wise, you can buy good makeup for reasonable prices online. Same goes for craft supplies. Especially if you live in a semi remote location like I do where selection is limited when you do get to an actual store.

The Dollar Tree is your friend for makeup (the larger the store, the better). Don't overlook Ulta (the makeup superstore)--it turns out their house brand Ulta and their other brand Essence can be Very Cheap. And when it comes to cheap, nothing beats E.L.F. makeup--I bought false eyelashes for $1, glue included! And most of their stuff is $1. DON'T ASSUME THE CHEAPEST PLACE IS WALMART! Shop around (even within the store--quickly walk through all the makeup selection and the Halloween section to get an idea of what the price range is).

Moo and I have found E.L.F. at Target and Big Lots, you can also order it online, but you might not get it in time for Halloween...they do have a 50% off eye makeup right now online, which makes a bunch of stuff 50 cents! I wish I had found that deal earlier. Use this link to find a store that sells E.L.F. near you.

HIGHER QUALITY MAKEUP FOR LESS--Just from perusing the nets it seems that NYX is a higher quality but still very reasonably priced makeup brand. I think it can ususally be found at Ulta and online. It's heralded as a cheaper alternative to MAC makeup.


For eyeshadow base, mix foundation and facial lotion (2 parts lotion to 1 part foundation), spread it on/around your eyes and your shadow will stick better and "stronger."

Eyeshadow Mixing Medium makes any eyeshadow more like a paint or into an eyeliner.  Use 3 parts water to 1 part glycerin (at walmart, the glycerin is on the same isle as rubbing alcohol)

I am a goof, I know, but I'm really excited to stick little jewels all over my face this Halloween. The cheapest route I found this year was to pick up scrapbooking jewel stickers at Michaels (on clearance and regularly priced for $1-$2), peel off the sticker back, then put a dab of eyelash glue on them then stick 'em on. Easy, cheap, and very effective. The advantage of looking in the scrapbook section is that they have a larger range of color. I needed browns and goldy-yellows--only found that pallette in the scrapbook section.

Best kept secret is that you can use artist brushes for makeup brushes.  You can buy them for a fraction of the cost of nice makeup brushes, and I saw one video where the guy showed both the makeup brush and the artist brush side by side and they are almost exactly the SAME (e.g. the handle is longer on one)!  Price wise you're looking at $20-60 for a makeup brush and $3-15 for the same artist brush.  The recommended artist brush brand: Loew Cornell.  (don't pay full price, these go on sale at Michaels and Joanns regularly--and you might try a discount art store too).

Brush cleaner can be made using rubbing alcohol, purified water, baby shampoo,'s a link.

Use glitter approved for use by your eyes (duh) but!  one way to get it to stick: Vaseline.  Smear some on, then brush on glitter on top.

If you don't mind using an oil based remover, get a cotton ball or pad and dampen it with water, then pour a few drops of olive oil onto the cotton and rub it over your eyes.  Works like a charm.

Alright, that's enough for now.  If you've found good stuff like this on the nets, let me know!  Happy Haunting!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Momma Done Told Me

In the Looney Tunes cartoon My Favorite Duck, Daffy sings part of "Blues in the Night," and Porky sings part of "Moonlight Bay." Both good classics. Here are two versions I like. Enjoy! Happy Friday!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Next Crazy Coupon Lady

At the risk of becoming that lady you know that RAVES about coupons (I'm not going to rave, not even close) I wanted to share the link to this website (, that a friend shared with me. It's FREE. And it looks like it has some good stuff, namely the part where you click on a store logo and it shows you the best deals of the week from that store and provides links to coupons to make those best deals even bestier.

the end.

I will now resume my regular posts about books, libraries, and story times.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'd Really Like to Eat a Child

This book is hilarious--the little crocodile gets tired of eating bananas and wants to eat a child instead.  You'll have to read this (very) short book to find out if he gets what he wants.  After I read it, I was thinking, "Awesome Storytime Book."  Which, by the way, I'm now a storytime lady (think: You've Got Mail, when character Kathleen Kelly wears a princess hat and reads to little kids, except I don't own a quaint bookshop in New York...but The FP is pretty dang close in many respects.)

I still don't have a sweet hat to wear, but that hasn't stopped us from having a BLAST. Last week's highlight was The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree.

I loved that book as a child, and since there aren't very many words in it (a must when reading to 3yr olds), and because it is sort of Halloween themed, I tried it out on the little kiddies.

At first some of them looked a little apprehensive, like: Maybe this is going to be a scary book, and I don't like scary.   But they got into it (you know, acting out being the bear with the light, the bear with the stick, and the bear with the rope and answering the questions the book poses to the audience: Do you think they went down that spooky old hall???? (so as not to leave you in suspense, they DO go down the spooky old hall.))

Anyway, the kids loved it, so we read it twice and it was requested again for this they get it again, bless their little hearts. So tuck that away as handy information when entertaining three and four year olds, Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree. It's a hit.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Foray into Hobby No. 4,039

Better than an alphabet sampler for a first project.

As hobbies go, embroidery is not on my Exciting Things to Do With My Life list. Though, I should have seen it coming--the fact that I would one day get tangled up in embroidery (literally, at times)--because even when I was a child, my favorite pillowcases were the ones with embroidery on them (same with hand towels, clothes, etc.) Turns out, I like embroidered things.

Recently I reached beyond merely liking embroidered things:  I started creating them.   Hello!  I have my very own Pegasus embroidered entirely by me!  (let's not look too closely at the stitches, friends, because neat, even stitches aren't my strength yet).

The big drawback is that embroidery involves hand sewing--heck, it's just combinations of different hand sewing techniques. And I am not one for sewing pretty and even little stitches by hand, let alone for finagling with needles and thread (I don't even like reading about girls in books  sewing things by hand with pretty, even little stitches.  Yes, that means you Little House on the Prairie).

You know what did me in though? It was a book that I checked out from the library during the summer doldrums that showcased different types of stitches (though I think the book was billed as hand quilting, not as embroidery, which was very sneaky of them). To my delight and surprise, I successfully completed some of the stitches, including a tricky looking flower one.
By "successfully completed" I mean,they look sort of like the ones in the book.

I had a fantastic idea for making little bracelets with embroidery on them, and my practice run turned out to be a beaut.

At this point I figured I was ready to see what the next step was in the world of embroidery.  Thankfully there are two embroidery books on the market right now that quite captured my attention--one, Embroidered Effects by Jenny Hart, has a pattern I love
(cheerfully colored skulls! hoorah!)

and the other, Scandinavian Needlecraft by Clare Youngs, has a pattern I couldn't live without. So I braved dark roads and a snooty parking garage in Scottsdale to get my very own copy (with my 40% off coupon, of course).

Image from country Bumpkin & Inspiration

My pegasus at the top of the post is a modified version of a winged unicorn pattern by Aimee Ray--which can I tell you that I would have LOVED this as a coloring book page when I was 5 years old? Unicorn pegasus with stars on it and a long, flowing mane and tail! Does life get any cooler than that?!

I'll tell you my secret to fun times while embroidering: good audio books. May I recommend Neal Shusterman's Everlost--the reader (Nick Podehl) is INCREDIBLE!--and the story is interesting and creative and the charaters are unforgettable.

Another audio book candidate (I'm only through disk one right now, so the jury is still out on it) The Curse of the Blue Tattoo--focuses on a girl (who in the last book was posing as a boy in the British navy) going to finishing school in Boston (in the Fall, har har) and having to EMBROIDER!

Audio books like these make the minutes fly by--and at the end of the disk or book you have more than just a good story to show for your time.