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Monday, June 18, 2012


Saw this driving down the street and stopped to take a photo
I've been noticing treehouses lately since my husband has mentioned he wants to build one for the kids.  We have a huge Magnolia tree in our front yard that is perfect for a tree house.  I found this one here in Sarasota.
 Free Standing House in Sarasota

This was a photo online.  Cutest treehouse award!

Then I came across THIS at Barbara and was blown away. Her structures are unbelievable.
Barbara Butler Treehouse

Anyway,  my husband will not be making anything like this but at least I can dream. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Painted Studio Door

I hate the plain white door to my "studio" space, a.k.a. my laundry room, and want to replace it with a french door.  In the meantime, I was so tired of looking at it I painted it and hung my plaque.  The sign is wooden, painted black, with white painted letters and glitter.  I screwed in two eye hooks on the top of the plaque and threaded a ribbon through them and staple-gunned it to the top.   It's not a french door but it will do until I get one. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Breakfast Parfait

Another attempt to get the  kids to eat something different for breakfast:  the Breakfast Parfait!
I've discovered that, for my kids, it's all about the presentation.  If it looks like a desert or some sort of junk food then they're all over it!

This is homemade granola (recipe posted here), plain yogurt mixed with a tablespoon of honey, sliced strawberries, and a few chocolate chips on top.  Just layer it up.  That's it.  They both "oohed and awed"
Top it off with a few chocolate chips
Layer it

Linked up to:  Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Simple Chocolate Chip Granola

I made this in a desperate attempt to find something different my kids would eat in their school lunches.  It came out tasty and was a hit!
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tspn vanilla, 1/4 tspn cinnamon, 1/2 tspn salt
**Note to self: add a little more of the binding ingredients because we like it a little more clumped together.
Add 1/2 bag chocolate chips.  Mix everything together.

Preheat oven to 325.   Spread evenly in a baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake 25 minutes or until it tastes crisp, turning several times during cooking.  It helps if the pan has sides so the granola doesn't spill out when you turn it.

Let it cool.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Teachers Rock Paperweights

Made these with my kids for teacher gifts.   These are river rocks (from a landscape supply or Lowe's, etc.) painted with craft paint, acrylic latex, and glitter glue.  Paint pens were used to do the writing.
I put on a coat of Mod Podge after the paint and glitter glue dried to seal them and make them shiny.  Then I hot-glued jewels and sequins. 

About 3 coats of paint to cover the rock

Sequin Flower

Linking up to and and  Sunday Link Parties and

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cupcakes with Pastel Mint Candy Frosting

I made the frosting with butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  Then I crushed a bag of pastel mints.   Cover the bag with a dishcloth and then crush with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin until you have very small pieces.  I added a tiny bit of strawberry jam to the frosting for a light pink color then poured in the crushed mints and mixed it all together.   I used a large ziplock bag and snipped the end to make a frosting bag.  Super easy and much prettier and tastier than using mint flavoring.  You get little bites of candy in the frosting depending on how fine you crush the mints.
Halfway done. 

Crushed mints.
Linking up to  Awesome stuff there!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Botanical Gardens with Kids

Yesterday I went with my daughter's kindergarten class to visit the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens here in Sarasota.   The class had their own tour guide (the extremely knowledgeable "Mr. Jim") and we first visited the butterfly garden and learned all about butterflies.  We looked through small kaleidoscopes to experience how butterflies see and we touched hot rocks where they warm themselves.  Next we saw a huge tree with plants growing on its trunk and limbs.

 Then, the class used turkey basters to extract water from the center of bromeliads and study the contents through a magnifying class (which was really cool).  At the pond, we saw a cotton plant and everyone touched a real cotton ball.

The fragrance garden was filled with herbs, flowers, and had a sweet almond tree. The conservatory had lots of orchids and a cacao tree a.k.a. the "chocolate" tree. We also learned about simple and compound leaf structures and made a "leaf rubbing" with crayons (which I loved because I love doing leaf painting with my art class). We saw huge Koi in the fish pond, learned about bonsai trees, saw the largest bamboo in the world and, finally, the amazing banyan trees with roots that grow in the air!

At the end of the visit we all had lunch under the banyan trees.   What a great field trip!! 
Looking through "Butterfly Eyes"

Cool Epiphytes- Plants that Grow on Trees
Collecting Water from a Bromeliad

Inspecting the Water with a Magnifying Glass

Leaf  Rubbings

Koi Pond
Smelling a Sweet Almond Tree!

A Real Ball of Cotton

Roots of a Banyan Tree
Playing in the Banyan Trees

Looking at the Cacao Tree
Bonsai Trees

Sunday, April 15, 2012


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Reversible Wraparound Skirt

I'm no seamstress, but I saw Kaysi's tutorial for this reversible, wraparound skirt on Keeping It Simple. I thought I could make it since it only requires sewing in a straight line and it looked like I could finish it in one sitting.  If I start sewing and I get interrupted (i.e. kids ages 6 and 9), whatever I'm making usually doesn't get completed.  I've linked up to the Sunday Link Parties at  I Heart Nap Time and
I think it turned out pretty well. Check the tutorial on her blog for the complete instructions.  Here's what I did.

My 2 fabrics pieces were 3/4 of a yard each.  I measured my waist and chose a length I wanted and then added two inches to each for hems.  Then I cut the fabric to those measurements.  I pressed a one inch hem into the top and bottom edges.

Next I pinned on my ribbon to what would be the top of the skirt. Place the ribbon across the entire width of the fabric with about 12 inches extra on each side for the ties. Sew the ribbon onto the fabric all the way across and stop about 1 inch from either side (where the green pin is in the pic).  This will allow the ties to hang when you sew on the other fabric side of the skirt.

Sew a stip of ribbon across the bottom the same width as the skirt.  Then do the same with the other piece of fabric except without the ties on the top. 

So you will end up with two rectangles with ribbon trim on top and bottom. I used aqua ribbon on one side and orange on the other.

I put Fray Check on the edges of my ribbon.

Put right side to right side and pin the SIDES of the skirt together (the edges that don't have ribbon).  Then stitch up those sides.

Turn it right side out and this is what it looks like with the edges sewn together.

Open it up and step inside.  Gather each side at your waist to mark the opening that you will leave to put it on.   Sew across the top of both sides just to where you marked it being careful to leave the ties free.

 This is the reverse side.  Thank you Kaysi!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wooden Ice Cream Spoons, Painted Rocks as Plant Markers

Repurpose wooden ice cream spoons and rocks into plant markers.   I used paint pens to mark the spoons and to paint the rock. 
Seedling Plant Markers

The herb pot

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Decorating from Down Under

Just found the online Australian mag ADORE Home and was so excited since all my favorite subscriptions have gone belly up.  While I still prefer the real deal of paper and print over looking at pictures on a computer screen it's better than having nothing at all.  oh well . . .

Inside the Feb/March issue there's a reference to the book Creative Walls.   Can't wait to pick it up.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Kids in the Kitchen

Hands down this is the best juicer. Kids will juice all day! No electricity necessary.