Wednesday, December 7, 2011

song for the evening

Album: up up up up up up - 1999

they caught the last poor man on a poor man's vacation
they cuffed him and they confiscated his stuff
and they dragged his black ass down to the station
and said "ok the streets are safe now.
all your pretty white children can come out to see spot run
and they came out of their houses and they looked around
but they didn't see no one.

and my country tis of thee
to take swings at each other on talk show tv
why don't you just go ahead and turn off the sun
'cause we'll never live long enough to
undo everything they've done to you
undo everything they've done to you

and above 96th street,
they're handing out smallpox blankets
so people don't freeze
the old dogs they got a new trick
it's called criminalize the symptoms
while you spread the disease
i hold on hard to something
between my teeth when i'm sleeping
and i wake up and my jaw aches
and the earth is full of earthquakes

and my country tis of thee
to take shots at each other on prime time tv
why don't you just go ahead and turn off the sun
'cause we'll never live long enough to
undo everything they've done to you
undo everything they've done to you

they caught the last poor man 
flying away in a shiny red cape
and they brought him down to the station
and they said "boy you should know better
than to try and escape"
and i ran away with the circus
'cause there's still some honest work left for bearded ladies
but it's not the same goin' town to town
since they put everyone in jail 'cept
the cleavers and the bradys

and my country tis of thee
to take swings at each other on talk show tv
why don't you just go ahead and turn off the sun
'cause we'll never live long enough to
undo everything they've done to you
undo everything they've done to you

Copyright Ani Difranco/Righteous Babe Records

Saturday, November 19, 2011

harry potter halloween - part 3

Now the next part of the family Halloween costume was my husband - who was going to be Harry Potter.

Now purchasing or making a full set of Gryffindor robes was out of the question ( for financial and time reasons).  So I decided instead to take a plain black graduation robe and make a few modifications.

I first got 2 yards of fabric ( black and red).  I cut a large isosceles triangle out of both colors.  Placing them one on top of the other I then cut the top of the triangle so it was curved instead of pointed.  Then fused them together with liquid stitch, leaving one corner open.

I turned the triangle inside out, and then tacked it over the shoulders of the robe so it would lie like a hood ( although non functioning)

Then I searched the internet for an image of the Gryffindor House patch.  I printed it onto an Avery Ink Jet Dark T-Shirt Transfer sheet.  I then ironed the transfer sheet onto a piece of black felt, cut it out and hand stitched it to the robe.

After that was finished it was just a matter of getting a plain grey pull over cardigan.  To that we added a pair of round rimmed glasses that I already had in my costume stash, my husband's own pair of slacks, black shoes and white dress shirt, a Gryffindor tie we borrowed from a friend and the wand I made him.

harry potter halloween - part 2

Well, with my costume done, I set off on working on the baby's Hedwig costume.

After much thought, I decided I'd give it a go and make it out of some sort of white felt, feathers and a white sweatsuit.

Lesson 1: Why is it so hard to find a plain white sweatsuit ( zip up front) for a toddler????

Lesson 2: Simplifying it was best.

Lesson 3: As nice as the fabric glue was -  you can't beat the ol' reliable glue gun.

I basically took a large square of felt and folded it in half to form a triangle.  My intention was to make an owl sort of poncho the baby could wear over a white hooded sweatsuit.

I then traced out what I thought a wingspan, tail and belly of an owl would look like.  I took a bit of a white maribou boa and hand stitched it around the collar.  And then I proceeded to glue feathers upon this poncho.

Then I proceeded to make an owl hat, which I hand stitched over the hood of the sweatsuit.  I then added a few black feathers on the belly of the owl - and I was done!

After it was finished, I had to actually cut it and stitch it to the sweat shirt directly  as my baby didn't want to put it over her head.  But that night, once she got it on - she loved it!

new york comiccon

I'm also a geek . . and quite proud of it.  I had my girlie crush on Wil Wheaton when he was on ST:TNG. (And you geeks reading this know that abbreviation is short for Star Trek: the Next Generation).  I love me some Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter (of course!)  I also am an admitted Ren Faire geek(have plenty of cosplay pics there)

So I decided with the early arrival of my Halloween costume from my aunt,  what better place and time to wear it with folks who would appreciate it was  to go to New York ComicCon.

So far, I only found one photo of me in it on the interwebz.  But  many folks did stop and ask to take pics with me.  And of course, I'm tweeting!

With the permission of the photographer, Jason Persse.  Here are all of his other great photos of the event:

I took a few pics also:

Monday, November 14, 2011

song for the evening

I'm usually not a particularly huge fan of a pop/rock musical . . .I'm an old school type of girl - who loves all the Broadway standards or shows with music done in that style. ( I think that is why I enjoyed Curtains so much.)

I guess it's because a lot of pop/rock music lately sounds to me so overproduced and so similar.  I mean, I can't tell one pop princess from another - their voices seem to be so electronically tweaked that it's hard to know if the person really has any talent and CAN sing - or if they are horribly tone deaf and are just vocally modified to sound somewhat good.

I like singers.  Good singers.  And you don't have to do a hundred vocal riffs in a song to show off.  Please don't.  Most of the time, you do just sound like you are screeching.

Just sing simply, please.  And tell your story.  I sometimes think that some of these newer musicals forget that bit.  It's not all just sing AT the audience.  You should sing TO them.   Act, my dears.  If I just wanted to hear you sing, well then, I'll go to a concert.  It's called musical theatre for a reason.

But that aside, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Now I haven't seen American Idiot, the musical based upon the music of the band Green Day.  But, one song was sent to me to be put into a song compilation and I have to say the arrangement as certainly grown on me.  And here it is, the recording with the original Broadway cast.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

princess gift basket: original faerie tale - the story of princess helena

Some of my crafty princess themed gifts have come accompanied with original faerie tales customized for their recipient.

The story you'll read below went  with the blue and green gift basket for my friend's niece, Hannah.  Hannah is an avid reader - loves the colors of blue and green, books, Rapunzel, ducks and is very close to her little sister.  I was also told that she enjoys playing and reading by herself.

So, as you read, you'll see that Princess Helena is a bit similar . . . . and a few of the items mentioned (ex. the gold key necklace, the diamond ring) that were included in her gift basket were included in the story.


The Story of Princess Helena

Once upon a time, in the middle of a vast misty forest, there stood a tall tower of blue marble, studded with sparkling gems.  The tower rose so high into the sky it often looked like it could touch the moon. During the day it gleamed bright in the sunlight and in the evenings, it glowed in the light of the moon and stars.

This late afternoon, Helena sat in one of the tower windows, her dark, curling hair falling softly around her face.  She had an apple in one hand and a soft leather bound book in the other.  Her light blue silk slippers lay discarded beneath her on the thick rug. She poured over the pages of her book intently, savoring each word.  After she finished the chapter, she sighed heavily, closed the book.  Helena began to daydream of mermaids and ships and of dragons and fairy folk as she watched the summer sun set.

Once the first silvery moon danced within the starlit sky, Helena knew it was time.

She gathered her blue-green gown in one hand and her slippers in the other and made her way slowly down the spiral staircase.  She stopped briefly at each floor to stare at the floor-to-ceiling shelves which filled each room with her personal library.  She smiled, running her fingers lightly over a few of her favorite books as she passed them. 

When she reached the first floor of the tower, Helena walked over to the open door to enjoy the night air for a few moments.  She stepped out into the garden, the dew covered grass felt cool on her bare feet. Humming softly to herself, she bent down to pick the starflowers blooming in the moonlight. As she pinned them in her curls, the young woman, began to circle the tower, stopping for a few moments to turn to the north, south, east and west while whispering softly the enchantments that kept her sanctuary safely hidden in the mists.  The silvery fog began to billow around Helena’s ankles, its tendrils growing and climbing up the marble walls like ivy.  As she stepped back inside, the mist had completely covered the tower, magically hiding it from outsiders.  

Helena turned to take a look at a very large golden hourglass sitting on a table. It was nearly empty - the small pearls which filled the timepiece had almost run out.  She quickly took a last look around the room, and straightened up a fallen book here, a cushion there. 

Clink.  Clink.  Clink.  The last few pearls fell to the bottom of the hourglass.

The young woman sighed.  It was time to go.  She pulled a small golden key from a chain around her neck.  Helena walked to the corner of the room where a heavy tapestry hung on the wall.  Woven into the tapestry was a life size ornate door, upon which she knocked three times.  She then placed the key in a small opening in the cloth where the door’s keyhole was pictured.  After turning the key thrice in the lock, Helena placed the key back around her neck and whispered the words: “Aperi Ianuam” 

The edges of the door glowed with a bright greenish-blue light.  The light quickly faded, revealing a large carved wooden door built into the tapestry.  Helena gave the door a push and stepped through the open portal into another room.

Friday, November 11, 2011

harry potter halloween

I had the great idea a few months ago that we should have a Harry Potter themed Halloween costumes.  I wanted to be Severus Snape (b/c I loved that costume of Alan Rickman's in the movie)

I thought my husband could be Harry Potter, and our toddler could be Hedwig, his owl.

And at the last minute, I thought our dog, Gus, could be a little Dementor from Azkaban.

I started first with the Snape costume. Well, let me say, I started doing the research.  I will admit that I cannot sew.  Or should I say, I can't sew well.  And sewing straight seams (say that 5 times fast) is virtually impossible for me (at this time).  So I knew I had to get help.

I enlisted the help of my very talented aunt.   We had found various people online who had already tackled this costume and got a few ideas.  She picked the pattern for the jacket and modified a pattern for the outer academic robes.  She made the academic robes from a black bedsheet!

I bought a men's white button down dress shirt ( a bit larger than necessary), so the sleeves would be long enough to peak out of the cuffs of the jacket.  I found a remnant of cloth from the fabric store and hand hemmed it so I could use it as a cravat/neckcloth.  I used the mail coach/waterfall method of tying it as mentioned here in this pdf file.  I had a bit of a time matching the pants with the closest shade of black and type of cloth the jacket was made - but it was pretty good.  I think I may still want to take in the sleeves of the jacket more and the lower leg of the pants to make it more like the movie costume, but that may have to happen in the future when I have a bit more cash.  I eventually grew my hair out and even dyed it to a very dark black.

I love it!  Here is a pic of me wearing the costume (before I changed my hair color).

song for the evening

From the Original Broadway Cast recording.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

magic wands - harry potter style

I admit it.  I am a Harry Potter fan.  I love all the books.  I love the movies.  I've even joined Pottermore.

Because I don't really have the funds to purchase one of the Noble Collection's official movie prop replicas -  in particular, the magic wands, I looked to make a few for myself.

After a search on the web, I actually found directions on how to make a wand from a wooden dowel and clay from  a glance on

I first started out on a couple attempts to replicate the Severus Snape wand.


The first try was OK -  but I felt I could do better.

I liked the second try.  But I still think I can improve.

Then, I tried to make a copy of the Harry Potter wand.

It's not an exact replica at all -  but it is good enough for me.

a great source of creative inspiration:

I have to admit, my latest internet addiction has also become an amazing source of creative inspiration for me.  I introduce you to . .

This  website allows you to create individual pin boards and collect pictures/links to anything you find on the web that you have interest in.  You are able to pin anything you can find, once you add a certain button to your bookmark bar on you internet browser.

It's free and very easy . .and you can also repin items on the Pinterest feed ( where you view daily all manner items  that individuals who are also using the site have pinned)

For example, I have boards for food recipes, arts and crafts, entertainment, books, kids items . .the lists can be endless.

I've started 2 accounts -  here for my main one and here for my little on the side craft business.  Links can also be found on the right hand side of my blog.

Join up . .and enjoy pinning!  I can't tell you how many crafts and recipes I'm dying to try!

how to: make a four wheeler diaper cake.

I've been contacted recently by someone who wanted detailed instructions on how to make the 4 wheeler diaper cake that I've posted here before.  I understand the frustration, as I searched all over for some instructions as well and couldn't find any  - so this is what I came up with myself after a little diaper engineering and a lot of trial and error.

Items needed:
Diapers (amount will vary for size of diapers you want to use.  For this example, I used 95 size 1 diapers)
Rubber bands
Double sided tape
Wide Ribbon
Narrow Ribbon
Curling ribbon (usu. white)
A round cake pan/round pyrex dish
4 receiving blankets
6 washcloths
1 baby dishwasher basket
1 pair of socks
1 bib
1 sippy cup with handles OR 1 baby bottle
Foam board/cardboard base
Any other decorations ( flowers, a stuffed animal, etc . .)


I like to start with the wheels.  Take a folded diaper and roll it into a tube.  I like doing it from the base of the diaper to the opening. (If that makes sense).

Add another diaper over that one and another one after that, and then take a rubber band around all three. Now make this center of your wheel tight, but not too tight – you’ll have to fit the axle of the 4 wheeler through it later in the process.

Continue to add diapers around this tube, periodically using rubber bands (or even curling ribbon) to hold the wheel together until you get it to the size you like.

TIP: When it becomes difficult to hold the diapers together in a circular shape, I found it is helpful to have a round cake pan or a round pyrex/baking dish handy.  Place your growing your diaper tube/tire in the center with one end of the tube sticking up.  If your dish has a relatively low side, you’ll find that the diaper wheel will have it’s topmost edge sticking out.  When I find a size I am satisfied with, I then take some curling ribbon and tie it around the circumference of the diapers exposed.  Then I flip the dish over and carefully slide my wheel out.  While doing this, I wiggle my curling ribbon to the center of the wheel, so it holds everything in place nicely.

Also, for the last outer layer of diapers you might want to turn them facing in ( so the designs are not exposed) leaving you with a plain white wheel.

Make sure to make 4 wheels (A lot of people make these cakes as tricycles – but I found it easier with 4 wheels – and you can fit more diapers in that way anyway.)

Take a receiving blanket and roll it into a tube.  Take some rubber bands and use them to hold this tube shape together.

This will become the axle that will hole the 2 front wheels in place.

I usually fiddle around with the width I want (It should be around the width of the dishwasher basket – which will be the seat on the four wheeler plus the added width of the diaper wheels).

Make another “axle” with another blanket.

Take the axle and gently (and this part will take a while) wedge it’s end through the center of one wheel.

Take a single diaper and wrap it around the center of the axle.  Secure this with a rubber band.

Then take the free end of the axle and wedge it through the center of another diaper wheel.

Do this with the other 2 wheels remaining.  You should then have 2 sets of connected wheels for the front and back of your four wheeler.

Place the two sets of wheels on your cardboard base, one behind the other.

Take a length of wide ribbon and wrap it around the center of each wheel.  Secure this with double sided tape.

Take a washcloth and wrap it around the center of one of the axles, covering the diaper you secured their earlier.  Use double sided tape or curling ribbon to hold the washcloth on.  Repeat with the other axle.

Then take some of your wide ribbon, cut a section to place around the center of this washcloth.  Use double sided tape to hold this on.  Repeat with the other axle.

Take a length of narrow ribbon and do the same but over the center of the wide ribbon or on either side of the wide ribbon that you placed on each wheel. Secure this with double sided tape.  Repeat this with the remaining set of wheels.

Take the four remaining washcloths and fold them in half.  Place them over each of the four wheels and secure with double sided tape.

Take one of the receiving blankets and wrap it around the widest part of the dishwasher basket to form the seat.  Secure with double sided tape.

Then place the bib over the wrapped dishwasher basket and secure with double sided tape.

Take your remaining receiving blanket and fold it into a flattened tube.  This will become the handlebars of your four wheeler.

Take the flattened tube and wrap it around one end of the covered dishwasher basket.  Place your sippy cup or bottle in the center ( to become the headlight) and secure the blanket with a rubber band so  handlebars are formed.

TIP: I prefer to use the sippy cups with handles as opposed to those without them or baby bottles because you can then slip the handles of the cup around the sides of the flattened blanket tube, insuring it will not slip out after the cake is done.

Take your pair of socks and put them on the ends of the handlebars.

Take 2 lengths of narrow ribbon and use it to thread through the exposed sides of the dishwasher basket along the bottom.   The narrow ribbon basically go through the front, out the back and around both sets of axles.

 Knot the ribbons together and slide these under the 4 wheeler so they are not seen (unless you tie them with bows  at the front or back of the 4 wheeler because you want them visible.)

TIP: You can either measure off a length of ribbon and thread it through before you wrap the dishwasher basket in a blanket or set the already wrapped basket on it’s end, drop the ribbon in, and let gravity help you thread it through.

Add a bow around the rubberband holding the handlebars together.

At this point, you are pretty much done, unless you want to add any other embellishments.  You can add a stuffed animal sitting on the bike or put bows or flowers in the center of the wheels  .it's all up to you!

If you would like to see other examples of cakes  I've made in the past, you can click here and here.

Then just wrap the whole thing in clear cellophane and you're ready to give a lovely gift!

Happy Diaper Cake Making!

Here is the finished cake:

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