Monday, December 31, 2012

Part 3: Reading List of 2012

Here is part 1 and here is part 2

* indicates a favorite
** indicates a super favorite
53.   **The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath   Classics/Fiction
This book has been on my to read list for quite some time and I am so glad I finally got to it. Although it was written in the 50s, there are so many timeless elements to it. It is quite that kept me thinking about it for some time.  
54.   The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett     Fiction
55.   Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper     Young Adult Fiction
56.    Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs       YA Fiction/Fantasy
57.    **The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield       Fiction/Mystery
This is a great book for any book lover out there. There are several stories throughout this book, and it is quite nice when they intertwine. Great characters, a nice mystery, and so many great quotes about the love of books! Writing about this book actually makes me want to reread it again.
58.   **The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd       Fiction
I decided to reread this book again after I finished Kidd’s The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, which is about her journey with feminism. At the end of it she decides to start writing fiction....more specifically, The Secret Life of Bees. I LOVED reading this book knowing the story that lead up to it. I loved this book the first time I read it and loved it even more the the second read through.  
59.   *The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks      Nonfiction/Psych
I picked up this book randomly without knowing anything about it...basically because of the great title. It reminded me of a Gogol title so I was surprised when I started reading and found out that it is a collection of nonfiction story from a psychologist. I really loved the stories and kind of skimmed over his psychology talk sometimes. I tended to read a chapter or two right before bed so my poor husband was forced to listen to a recap as I was so enraptured with them!
60.   *How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran       Memoir/Feminism
On the cover of the book there is a quote that says “The British version of Tina Fey’s Bossypants.” so I wanted desperately to read it as I loved Bossypants. Boy, was I in for a surprise! This book was a lot cruder than I was expecting but once I got over my shock, I enjoyed it! She tells some very funny stories about her growing up and exploring what it means to be a woman. She is super funny and I enjoyed the many rants that she went on. I wouldn’t recommend this book to everybody (mostly because some of the topics she goes into in detail) but I am eager to read more of her work!
61.  Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen      Classics
62.  *The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey        Fiction/Magical Realism
This story is about a barren middle aged couple that is starting over in the undeveloped Alaskan Territory in the 1920s. In their loneliness, they build a snowchild and in the morning, it is gone and only one set of footprints lead from it. Soon enough a young girl is seen in the woods and they befriend her. As their relationship grows, they question whether they are crazy, if she is real, or if she is magical. A really terrific read. Quiet in many ways but quite powerful, too.
63.   **Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon       Nonfiction/Art
This is such a great little read. Very inspiring. A great book to inspire your creativity!
64.   *Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed       Memoir
I put this book on hold at the library and was #175 so I figured I’d never get a chance to read it! Fortunately, I did get a hold of a copy and devoured it. It tells Cheryl’s story as she is grappling with a failed marriage, her mother’s death, and being abandoned by her dad as a young child. As her life gets messier, she takes a break to reorient herself on the PCT and what follows is a great book about her journey. I’m not sure she inspired me to pick up backpacking (she tells some horrible stories about her sore feet), but she tells a powerful story of taking charge of your life when you desperately need to.
65.   American Primitive by Mary Oliver         Poetry
66.   Closing Time by Joe Queenan      Memoir
67.   Letters from Pemberley: The First Year by Jane Dawkins    Historical Fiction
68.   **Thirst by Mary Oliver       Poetry
A great collection of poems that deal with nature, sorrow, and spirituality. Her poetry is simple yet has so much depth. I’m planning on buying this book so I can reread again and again.
69.   *A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers       Memoir
I really was turned off by the cover of this book for a while. Something about it just bothered me. Finally I read some review of the book that made me give it a try...and I’m glad I did. It was a very interesting book. The writing  kind of reminded me of Kerouac's run on style, which seemed appropriate because it was his story as a young 20 something losing both parents and taking on the responsibility of his younger brother. It was wild and chaotic--much like his grieving process.
70.   *The Round House by Louise Erdrich        Fiction
This book deserves all of the praise it has been receiving. I was a bit nervous to read it because it is about a woman who is raped and how she, her family, and her community deals with it. I’m really glad I read it, though. It shows a family grieving and how each of them deals with it. The story is told from the perspective of the child as an adult which gives it a nice removed but personal feel to it. A great glimpse into the Native American culture and the difficulties that they face as a community.
71.   Ariel: The Restored Edition by Sylvia Plath      Poetry
72.   *The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe        Memoir/Nonfiction
As a book lover, how could I not read this book? Will Schwalbe tells the story of him and his mother starting a two person book club while she is going through a terminal illness. Not only does he talk about the books that they read, but he also tells his mother’s life story. It has a nice story with depth so it doesn’t end up being just a collection of book reviews. I would have given this a super 5 star but sometimes it got a bit slow.  
73.   **Just Kids by Patti Smith       Nonfiction/Memoir
Honestly, I didn’t know who Patti Smith was when I put this book on hold at the library. I did know the story of Robert Mapplethorpe so I was intrigued to know some of his back story. I really just loved this book. Patti and Robert were so apart of this amazing, creative movement in NY that I loved reading about. I just felt haunted by this era and I couldn’t stop thinking about it even when I set the book down.  As a powerhouse artist, Patti was in the throes of it all. She experienced so many highs and lows throughout her life and she articulates it so nicely.
74.   Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books, Edited by Leah Price  Nonfiction/Art
75.   The Hobbit

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day 363: Glitter Rudolph on Wooden Plaque

Just a little glittery Rudolph to celebrate the Christmas season! 

I made this a while ago but waited to post about it until I gave it to my friend, Molly! I was originally planning on giving her the first reindeer glitter project that I did but it ended up being too big for my suitcase. When I found this wooden plaque, I knew it would be perfect! I used the same techniques as the first time but added the little red pompom at the end. I also added a hook on the back so it could be hung up if desired.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day 362: Heart & Arrow Carved Ornament

My lovely sister-in-law is getting married TODAY!

I really wanted to make a little something for them but since they are moving across country in the new year it couldn't be too big. They met at a camp earlier this year so when I saw this little ornament idea here...I knew this is what I wanted to make for them. What better than a little woodsy ornament with their initials carved in?!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Day 361: Paperclip Bow Bookmarks

Time: An hour
Listening to: All on the Line

I saw these adorable little bow bookmarks and desperately needed to make them! They are just too cute to not make.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Day 360: Friendly Felt Ornaments!

Time: An hour
Listening to: All On The Line

I am loving on felt animals this holiday season! I saw these guys here and couldn't resist making my own! Aren't they so cute?!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

25 Good Books Every Woman Should Read

Ever since I made my ideal bookshelf on Day 351, I've been thinking a lot about what books I've read and how they have influenced me. Each of these books listed below have influenced my viewpoint on being a woman and what that means. As a recently turned 26 year old, I've been reflecting on the numerous strong, intelligent, and funny female characters and personalities that I've grown up admiring. I thought I'd pay homage to them in this post.

Listed in the general order that I first read them:

1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
2. Their Eyes Were Watching God  by Zora Neale Hurston
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
4. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
5. Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
6. Alice in Wonderland
7. Mrs. Dalloway
8. A Girl Named Zippy
9. The Awakening
10. Jane Eyre 
11. Housekeeping
12.  Traveling Mercies
13. Autobiography of a Face
14. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
15. Room
16. Bossypants
17. The Patron Saint of Liars
18. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
19. Villette
20. Little Women
21.The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
22.  House on Mango Street
23. The Bell Jar
24.  How To Be A Woman
25. Wild

For the year 2013 I'm thinking about doing a challenge of only reading female writers. I think this could be very interesting and help push me along in my journey of becoming the woman that I want to be.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 357: Furry Friends Mobile

Time: An hour?
Listening to: Christmas Mix

Back on day 331 I mentioned there was more to come to this project...and here it has finally arrived! I assembled the furry friends into a little mobile for my lovely little niece. I hope she loves it!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day 356: Two Colored Infinity Scarf

Time: An hour
Listening to: Silence

I wanted to make an infinity scarf (similar to Day 332 ) for a friend for Christmas so I found two pieces of fabric that I love and got to it!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 355: Oreo Peppermint Cookies

Time: 25 minutes
Listening to: Spotify Christmas Radio

I wanted to make some Christmas treats for some neighbors and my employer so I decided to try a variation of this recipe.

I changed it a bit mostly because I couldn't find the lollipop sticks. I also don't always like so much white chocolate so I decided to cover only half of it instead of the whole thing. All you need are double stuffed Oreos, candy canes (I picked chocolate mint flavor), and white melting chocolate. Nice and easy! And cute, too!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Day 354: X Marks the Spot Chalkboard Frame

Time: An hour?
Listening to: The Packers (win!)

Back on Day 340 I wrote about this great frame and mirror that I scored for nice and cheap. I spray painted the mirror then started it on the frame. I painted it white first then added a gold detail by hand. I love how it turned out!

Frame Among Friends

Close Up

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stumbled on Favorites

I'm flying today so I thought that I'd post a few of the favorite things I've stumbled on recently.

I LOVE this spiral at my public library!

Getting an elephant massage is now on my bucket list.

Cotton candy artist? Awesome.

Listener picks for 2012. Good stuff.

Caine's Arcade...seriously had me crying it is so precious.

 I'd like to pop a pair of these on next time I'm stressed out!

Christmas Sweatz...I want my own pair now!

I really like this plastic trash art by Kim Preston.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 352: Drawing What to Pack

Today I did a little drawing to show me what to pack.

When I was in college I attended an art show where an artist drew every single item in her house. It was incredible and ever since I have kind of wanted to do it...maybe this was just the beginning!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Just for Fun: Snow Ice Cream!

In celebration of the first snow fall, we made snow ice cream today! It really barely snowed so I had to go out with a spoon and scoop up enough to make it...but hey! It worked!

Here is the nice and simple recipe:

-Fill a baggy up with snow.
-Add in a Tablespoon of sugar
-Add in 1/2 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
-Pour in some milk

Mix it all up and enjoy!

Day 351: My Ideal Bookshelf

My husband gave me this great book for Christmas (yes, we already exchanged presents...) and I was so inspired that I decided to make my own ideal bookshelf.

In no particular order:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
3. Tinkers by Paul Harding
4. Lovely, Raspberry by Aaron Belz
5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
6. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
7. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut
8. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
10. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
11. The Second Coming by Walker Percy
12. A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
13. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
14. The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland
15. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 350: Christmas Tree Cards

Time: About an hour
Listening to: Murder She Wrote

I made some cute little Christmas cards today!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 349: Gold Animal Magnets

Time: A couple hours
Listening to: Oddities

I've been itching to make some gold animal magnets for quite some time now. I finally gathered all the materials I needed (gold paint, animals, magnets, glue) and got to it! And I'm so happy with how they turned out!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 348: Simple Ribbon Chalkboard

I found these wood mounting pieces at my grandparents' apartment and thought up so many different possibilities for them. I decided to use my chalkboard spray paint on one of them. Lucky for me, my desire to make these and a beautiful blue skied day coincided so I didn't have to spray paint in our creepy basement! After they dried, I found some ribbon and attached it on the back. Nice and simple!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 347: A Series of Oregon Dance Moves

This post goes out to Traci...our first visitor from afar!

make a gif
The Bend the Head, Bend the Knee Dance

gif maker at
The Look at Me Dance

make a gif
The Subtle Shelly Head Bounce Dance

how to make a gif at
The Leaf Wiggle Dance

Thanks for visiting us, Traci!

25 Fun Experiments & Activities to do wtih Kids!

I mentioned a couple days ago that I do a daily experiment or activity with the kids I nanny for to reward them for good behavior. We usually do them at the end of the day so it is a nice thing to look forward to. I love seeing them getting excited about explosions, making their own hypothesis, or even just giggling during a silly activity. Some days go over better than others but they always get really excited to find out what the activity is going to be. They often ask for 3 clues so they can guess what it will be. So far they've never been able to guess but we'll see.

I've been gathering ideas from all over the internet (mostly thanks to Pinterest) and thought I'd share the good ones that I've found and the kids enjoyed.

Science Experiments

Bright Fuzzy Bubbly Explosions 

Blowing up Balloons!

Dancing Raisins!

Ivory Soap Explosions!

Bouncing Egg Experiment

Sink or Float? Experiment

Color Expansion on Milk

make a hanger balance
Hanger Scale--What's Heavier?

Color Absorption Experiments 

Sparkly Explosions!

Shiny Pennies!

Dancing Spaghetti (similar to Dancing Raisins!)

Floating and Sinking Eggs

Fun Activities

Kids Activity: Balloon Five Senses Game
Sensory Balloons

Paint Bag Writing | Fine Motor Practice | Let's Explore
Paint Bag Painting

Guess that Smell Game

The "What's Missing?" Game

Toothpicks + Marshmallow Game

Spy Training!

Mini marshmallow popper
Mini Marshmallow Poppers

Car Markers

Milk Jug Ball Catcher Example
Milk Jug Catcher

Paper Plate Ring Toss Game

Make a Cream Cheese Apple Dip 

Microwave Puffy Paint

With the sad events of today in Newtown, Connecticut...make sure to do something extra special with your kids this weekend. Maybe try one of these experiments...but for sure give em lots of hugs and kisses!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 346: Pom Pom Bookmarks

Time: A couple hours
Listening to: Silence

Today I went crazy with making pom pom bookmarks. I can't believe it has taken me so long to learn how to make pom poms. They are so fun! And easy to make! Here is the link that taught me and inspired this project. Mine are a bit shaggier than the tutorial but I like them that way!