Tuesday, August 16, 2011

DIY Reading Bag

I've been in an extremely crafty mood as of late which is both good and bad. Good in the fact that making stuff relaxes me, and I really enjoy it, but bad in the fact that I really need to be studying for the GACE. Yup. I'll be taking my teacher certification test this Saturday, and I'm nervous! Many people have already told me that it's no big deal, but being me, I still have to get a little worried! I'm also not excited about the fact that I'll be taking 4 tests on the actual test day.... blah! It's going to be a long day!

Anyways, back to arts and crafts!

I love making gifts for people, and packaging is half the fun! It's not nearly as exciting to wrap something in store bought paper after spending so much time creating the present. I feel the same about cards especially now that they've gone up in price. I have a good stock of supplies, so I might as well be productive! (Side Note- I really think this is going to be fun when I actually have my own classroom! I can't wait to use the excuse... "But it's for school!" when I want to make something! YAY!)

Source: Personal Photo

Here's a 'Book Bag' I made for a toddler's 1st birthday party. Everyone needs a special bag to take with them to the library, and although the colors are a bit 'girly', I think he'll still enjoy it! I tried to stay with somewhat neutral colors, so anyone in the family could use it!

It was really easy to make. I got the tote bag as part of a three-pack from Michaels, and used some iron on transfer paper for the back of the bag. I used Photoshop (You can just as easily use Microsoft Word) to edit the colors of the text, and then just printed it out on the inkjet printer. Easy!

For the owl, I didn't have the colors I wanted in any of my fabric scraps, so I bought three bandanas. I used pinking shears to cut out the pattern, and then used fabric glue to piece the owl together. I did sew the eyes onto each piece to hold the whole owl together before gluing it on to the bag.

To finish the present, I bought a couple of board books at a bookstore that was going out of business, and then wrapped them in some Kraft paper that I had on hand. The whole package was tied off in some twine. I used the tote bag as my 'wrapping' for the books, and I loved how the whole thing came out! I definitely think I'll use this idea again. The books were the most expensive part, but it was a very affordable present to make! Depending on what books you added, you could easily make this for under $10 depending on what you had on hand.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Saturday was a crazy day. My fella and I were headed to one of his friend's birthday parties which had morphed into an all day extravaganza. It was exhausting, but completely awesome! The actual locations were a surprise to the birthday guy, so the rest of us had fun talking in code. We did a whole bunch of stuff like laser tag, arcade games at Dave & Busters, and eating lots of yummy food and cookies! But, there was one thing that I had never even heard of.

Let me introduce you to.....


What is Whirlyball, you ask?

Just picture lacrosse on bumper cars! Two teams of five play 15-20 minute games where you try to hit the other team's target with a whiffle ball- all while dodging everyone else. It was intense!

And I was very bad at it.

I sat out the first game with some of the other girlfriends just so I could see what exactly went on in a whirlyball game. It looked pretty slow from the outside, so I was feeling a little more confident. I joined in the second game, and had the hardest time getting my bumper car to steer! Because you have to have one hand free for the scoop there's only one pedal and a crank that you move from side to side to turn. Apparently, this was way too complicated for me.

I spent the majority of the second and third games just staying out of everyone's way, and running into select people who were headed towards our goal. It was still fun, and my steering slowly improved! Of course, I found out a little bit later that it wasn't completely my fault- my little car was fixed after the third game, and suddenly worked so much better! I took the opportunity to let everyone know that clearly I was not as bad a player as I seemed, it was a conspiracy!

Several banged knees, sweaty shirts, and tired hours later, we called it quits. I feel like it's a game that if you could play regularly, you could plan strategics and pick up steering a little quicker! But as a whirlyball newbie, I highly enjoyed it!

Really, you should go try it! They have leagues, national championships, and everything!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Recommended Reading

Happy August 1st Everyone!

I can't believe how quickly this summer has flown by! Of course, summer classes didn't help, but still- where did the time go? Now that I actually have some time for myself, I've been crafting and reading lots more. It's good for the soul!

I read a lot. And I'm a quick reader- as in read a novel or two a day if I don't have to be too productive. It was great for school. I never had to worry about not finishing my reading. I could wait till the night before class and still be ok. Reading for pleasure is another story- I go through things WAY too quickly, so I'm constantly looking for new material.

Recently, I've been branching into more science fiction and fantasy. It's funny because as much as I love scifi movies and television shows, I haven't read a lot of scifi or fantasy novels beyond Michael Chrichton, Orson Scott Card, CS Lewis, and Tolkein. It's been enjoyable so far- they normally come in big series that are rather long! YAY new books!

I've definitely read a mixed stack the past week or two, and I wanted to share a few that I really enjoyed!

1. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

This is the second book in the Millennium series, and I enjoyed it much more than the first! It was fast paced and grabbed my attention from the get-go. I adore the heroine in the series. Lisbeth Salander is witty, devious, and just plain intriguing. Once I started this one, I definitely couldn't put it down and I'm looking forward to continuing the saga with the next book!

2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I still can't get over the wonderful plot and storytelling that emerged in this heartwarming and heartbreaking story. Set in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 60's, The Help tells the story of the complicated relationships between the help and the families that employ them. The Help is a definite must read!

3. Beguilement (Book 1 in the Sharing Knife Series) by Lois McMaster Bujold

This was a series that I stumbled upon while wandering around the library looking for something interesting. Beguilement sets the stage for a romantic fantasy world where the population is divided into farmers and lakewalkers-two groups of people who never mix. All that is changed when special circumstances throws young farmer Fawn Bluefield together with Lakewalker Dag Redwing. I enjoyed the series as we followed the adventures of Dag and Fawn, and I definitely plan to look into other books by Bujold.