Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Little Fish




Only the little fish were biting. Someday he'll catch a big one. :)

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Giveaway and Review of Alice's Pawfect Tea-Party from Storybook Tea Kit Company

A little cottontail rabbit popped out of a bush as we took a walk the other day. It stood perfectly still, frozen in place even as my daughter inched closer to it. Then it zipped off, perhaps to a safe hidey-hole somewhere nearby. We didn't try to follow it because we've read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and know full well the dangers of following a rabbit into a hole. :)

However, it is jolly fun PRETENDING to jump into a book. My daughter and one of her friends experienced their own Alice in Wonderland storybook adventure a while back with a little help from Storybook Tea Kit Company.

Alice's Pawfect Tea-Party kit comes with all the ingredients to host your own imaginative Alice in Wonderland inspired tea party. (Sadly no rabbit, but there is a pocket watch and more!) The classic story comes to life for kids as they read a section of the book and enter Lewis Carroll's dreamy Wonderland world, experiencing it one treat at a time.

The kit includes the following:
❀ Alice’s Pawfect Tea-Party Storybook Keepsake Book Box with a magnetic closure
❀ White Rabbit Milk Chocolate Pocket Watch
❀ Mad Hatter Two Pack Vanilla Sugar Cookies
❀ "Eat Me" Alice White & Milk Chocolate 2-Tier Candy Cake
❀ "Drink Me" Bottle with Cork
❀ "Open Me" Herbal Cinnamon Apple Tea Bag
❀ "Read Me" Booklet Chapter Seven “A Mad Tea-Party”, by Lewis Carroll
❀ "Play Me" Interactive Audio CD “Alice’s Pawfect Tea-Party

(Just a note, the kit does not come with a ceramic tea set. You must use your own. It also does not include the an entire copy of the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, only a booklet covering chapter seven, a portion of the book.)

The girls lost no time opening the box and pouring over all the treasures. In fact, they could hardly contain their excitement. I managed to help them open all the treats and I boiled some hot water so we could steep the tea bag. Then we grabbed our own personal copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (a must in every home) and read a few fun parts, including the "Eat Me" and "Drink Me" sections. The girls pretended to shrink and grow like Alice as they ate the little cake and drank from the bottle (the bottle comes empty so we added a little Apple Juice to make it seem more realistic). The shrinking and growing was their favorite part of the afternoon!


Afterwards we moved on to the tea party. Luckily earlier this summer I found a small ceramic tea set at Goodwill and the girls used it for their tea party. They invited a few stuffed animals to attend and their little brothers also "crashed" the party. We divided the chocolate pocket watch and the cookies and distributed them to all attendees, including the little brothers. (No use in being rude like the Hatter.) The kids obviously aren't used to actual tea and didn't really care for the Apple Cinnamon tea flavor, but they ate every last crumb of the rest of the consumables. During the tea party we listened to the kit's CD.




Later on we played with Photoshop and truly sent the girls swirling down the rabbit hole using the twirl effect! If you have your own Alice in Wonderland tea party, I'd recommend taking pictures from different perspectives while the kids enjoy the "Eat Me" and "Drink Me" treats. The girls thought it was hilariously funny that camera tricks could make them look really small and really, really big.



The creators of the kit have seen to every last detail. The tiny "Eat Me" cake comes in a plastic container that looks like a "glass box" as specified in the original story. I was able to grab a few bites of the treats and they are scrumptious! I do wish there were more yummy treats in the single kit, but if you have a really large party planned you can buy a multi setting kit for extra goodies or purchase refills. I really, really adore the storybook keepsake container. It looks like an old fashioned leather book with fancy gold letters and it works wonderfully as a hidden compartment, hollow book perfect for hiding all your treasures once you've consumed the contents of the kit. The company takes great care in shipping the product, using plenty of cushioning wrap and it arrived quickly with the perishable contents fully intact. The kit provides creative kids with wonderful tools to explore a beloved classic and conduct their own tea party all in the course of one afternoon.

The Tea Party Kit normally retails for $40, but during the month of September it is going on sale for $24.99 + tax/shipping! (Another reason to buy -- According to the website, storybookteakit.com donates $1.00 on every purchase of Alice’s Pawfect Tea-Party Kit to the National Bullying Prevention Center™)

Find Storybook Tea Kit Company online at http://storybookteakit.com or http://storybook.predomedia.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.


Storybook Tea Kit Company has kindly offered to giveaway an Alice's Pawfect Tea-Party kit to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

To enter the contest, answer the following question: What book, classic or not, would you like to explore as a tea party kit? (Storybook Tea Kit Company has plans to release more kits including The Princess Collection of Fairy Tales, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Beauty and the Beast and Peter Pan.)

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US/Canada (No PO boxes)
• Contest ends on Monday, September 26th, 2011 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader

Thanks to the Storybook Tea Kit Company for providing a kit for my family to review. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (8/26/11)

I've taken a lackadaisical approach with my FTTB posts lately. The lovely summer days have understandably sapped my desire to search for giveaways. Hope you haven't missed the posts too much and have enjoyed the summer days as well. Today I present a brief, but gem filled edition.

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I *try to* publish "Full to the Brim" every Friday. If I missed your book giveaway, feel free to mention it in the comment section or send me an email. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My Giveaway:
Ladybug Girl Book Set Giveaway - Ends 8/29/11

Book giveaways:
Jump Into a Book - Book Giveaway Ends 9/11
5 books by Kate DiCamillo
The Joys of Home Educating - Book Giveaway Ends 9/3
The Pledge of Allegiance by Lloyd G. Douglas
Two2Read.com - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31
a Mem Fox’s Children’s Book of Your Choice
The Children's Book Review - Book Giveaway Ends 9/8
Sea Monster’s First Day by Kate Messner and Andy Rash
This Mom Loves - Book Giveaway Ends 8/28 Canada Only
Back To School Books From Scholastic
DogTipper - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31
Best in Show by Karen LeFrak
DogTipper - Book Giveaway Ends 9/1
Pick a Pup by Marsha Wilson Chall and illustrated by Jed Henry
Teaching Authors - Book Giveaway Ends 8/26
How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart (middle grade)
A Year with Mom and Dad - Book Giveaway Ends 9/2
The Jesus Storybook Bible
The Children's Nook - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31
Pig Kahuna by Jennifer Sattler
My Four Monkeys - Book Giveaway Ends 9/5
your choice of book from the Human Body Detective series and a copy of See Inside Your Body
Energize Bunnies Mommy Reports - Book Giveaway Ends 9/3
“Back To School” 5 book gift pack from Scholastic
Box Box Daily - Book Giveaway Ends 8/28
signed copy of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater and an original illustration of Shelby by Maggie Stiefvater (teen)
Sweep Tight - Book Giveaway Ends 9/9
DK Eyewitness Books: Predator & Flight


Liesl Shurtliff of Writer Ropes and Hopes is celebrating her new book deal for her middle-grade novel, Rump, with a week-long Knopf book giveaway contest. Make sure to enter to win some great books including The Emerald Atlas by John Stevens, The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen. Enter by midnight 8/26.

Ladybug Girl Book Giveaways
An Island Life Ends 9/4
What's That Smell Ends 8/28
Mundie Kids Ends 8/31
5 Minutes for Mom Ends 9/4
Cookies and Clogs Ends 9/4
Real Moms Real Views Ends 9/1
Chubby Cheeks Thinks Ends 9/5
The Children's Book Review Ends 9/5

Fish for more children's book giveaways at Lori Calabrese's Fish for a Free Book linkup each Friday

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fly Guy Series by Tedd Arnold - Fly Swatter Bubble Blowing Activity

Buzzzzz! Want to know a sure sign of late summer? Houseflies. Every time we open our doors an army of flies enters our home. Our flyswatter is in constant use, waging a seemingly unending battle against the pesky invaders. Honestly, if I was going to pick a creature to write a children's book about, the common housefly would be on the bottom of my list. But Tedd Arnold has managed to create a humorous and very popular early reader series about a special fly, a pet fly -- Fly Guy!

"A boy had a pet fly. The fly was named Fly Guy. Fly Guy could say the boy's name -- BUZZ!"

Despite the shiny, flashy covers, when I first saw the Fly Guy books I just could not understand the appeal. That bug-eyed, hairy Fly Guy character is anything but cute and cuddly. In fact, he borders on disgusting. But the disgusting, yucky aspect is part of his appeal. See, kids love him, particularly boys (even my girly-girl has been charmed by the flying pet). But, it took a recommendation from one of my friends for me to even crack one of the Fly Guy covers open. I'm so glad I gave Fly Guy a chance. The duo of the little boy named Buzz and his pet fly make a rather amusing team and both my kids are now devoted fans.

The first book in the series, Hi, Fly Guy! came out in 2005 and received the prestigious ALA Theodore Geisel Honor Award the next year. Tedd Arnold received the award again in 2010 for another book in the series, I Spy Fly Guy! The Fly Guy series is still going strong. This month, Scholastic released the tenth book in the series, Fly Guy vs. the Flyswatter! We're looking forward to reading that one soon.


Fly Guy Series List:
Hi! Fly Guy (Fly Guy, Book # 1)
Super Fly Guy (Fly Guy, Book # 2)
Shoo, Fly Guy! (Fly Guy, Book # 3)
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Fly Guy (Fly Guy, Book # 4)
Fly High, Fly Guy! (Fly Guy, Book # 5)
Hooray for Fly Guy! (Fly Guy, Book # 6)
I Spy Fly Guy! (Fly Guy, Book # 7)
Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl (Fly Guy, Book # 8)
Buzz Boy and Fly Guy (Fly Guy, Book # 9)
Fly Guy vs. the Flyswatter! (Fly Guy, Book # 10)


I'd love to review all the books in the series but I just don't have the time. Because we're in back-to-school mode, we picked Super Fly Guy (the second book in the series) to review this week.

Super Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold. Scholastic (March 2006); ISBN 978-0439639040
Book Source: Copy from our personal library

Fly Guy attends school with Buzz and meets the lunch lady, Rozz. At first Rozz and Fly Guy don't hit it off, but eventually Fly Guy wins her over setting up a chain of disastrous events in the lunchroom. Picture someone armed with a colorful array of flyswatters and you'll get an idea where the story is headed. All things stinky make an appearance in the book ... dirty dishes, smelly mops, garbage cans, even chicken bones and fish heads in sour milk. As expected for a series about a fly, the disgust level is high, and Arnold's illustrations showcase the stinky, rotting fly heaven in all its glory. Arnold's goofy looking human characters are cartoon-like and feature a similar bug-eyed look to Fly Guy.

One of the aspects I really like about this early chapter book series is the design of the books with large and readable text type. Not at all overwhelming, the type is perfect for kids learning to read in kindergarten on up. Scholastic has classified this series for Level 2 Developing Readers. We've found that the books aren't quite as challenging as others we've come across at that level.


Related Links and Fly Guy Activities:
Tedd Arnold - Author Website
Printable Fly Guy Activities [Scholastic.com]
Housefly Paper Airplanes for Kids - [Tutorial on ActivityTV]
Common Housefly Printout [Enchanted Learning]
Handprint Fly Craft [Free Kids Crafts.com]
Homemade Fly Guy Stuffed Dolls [Happy Birthday Author]
Nearly Flat Fly Guy Bulletin Board Craft [Primary Pallette]


▪ ▪ ▪ Fly Swatter Bubble Play / Housefly Paper Airplanes ▪ ▪ ▪


Fly Guy is pretty adept at avoiding fly swatters. I'm sure he'd much rather kids used fly swatters for other purposes, like bubble blowing, for instance. Seriously, for some extreme bubble fun, try using a fly swatter (preferably a new one, not one covered in squashed fly guts). We purchased a set of two swatters at Wal-Mart for $1. The fly swatters use up the bubble solution pretty quickly, but the output of bubbles from all those tiny holes is impressive. My daughter likes to twirl with her wand, creating a circular trail of little bubbles. Make sure the kids away from others just in case they get a little swat happy with their wands!




We also made and decorated housefly paper airplanes. ActivityTV has a great tutorial on how to fold this paper airplane that looks like a fly!




Shibley Smiles

Add your kids craft post to the Kid's Get Crafty linky at Red Ted Art's Blog. Join in Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word. Wrote a post about play? Join the It's Playtime party! Find more great book tie-ins at JDaniel4's Mom Read, Explore, Learn link-up. Browse more book posts at Little Sprout Books' Feed Me Books Friday.


I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Rescuers by Margery Sharp (NYRB) & Floating Ice Boat Craft for Kids

A few mice, on a perilous mission, risk their lives to rescue someone in need of help. Sound familiar? Probably, especially if you're a Disney movie fan. In the 1970's Disney produced a film called The Rescuers about two brave mice, Miss Bianca and Bernard, who rescue a little girl named Penny. What you may not realize is that this Disney film like so many of their productions is inspired by a children's book, or in this case, a series of books written by English author Margery Sharp.

The New York Review Children's Collection recently brought the first book in the series back into print, with a beautifully designed edition of The Rescuers. Featuring pen-and-ink illustrations by the talented Garth Williams (illustrator of classics such as the Little House series and Charlotte's Web), this is a book to enjoy and cherish.

The Rescuers by Margery Sharp, illustrated by Garth Williams. New York Review Books Children's Collection (July 2011); ISBN 9781590174609; 160 pages
Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher

The star of Sharp's book is Miss Bianca, a beautiful, high-society mouse accustomed to a privileged life as the beloved pet of the Ambassador's son. She wears a silver chain around her neck and lives in a porcelain pagoda. The Prisoners' Aid Society, a group of mice on a mission to help their human friends, recruit Miss Bianca to help rescue a poet jailed in a grim prison called the Black Castle.

A humble little pantry mouse named Bernard is chosen to convince Miss Bianca to abandon her luxurious life and join in the mission. Because the prisoner is Norwegian, Miss Bianca is called upon to locate the bravest Norwegian mouse during her upcoming travels to Norway with her owner. In Norway she finds a gallant mouse named Nils. The two mice voyage back to the Prisoner's Aid Society, only to be dispatched directly to the grim Black Castle, along with Bernard. The three mice face several dangerous situations, including an encounter with Mamelouk, the head jailer's terrible cat. Even though the mission seems unachievable at times, they use their varied talents to devise an elaborate rescue plan, and, along the way, gain self-confidence and discover the importance of friendship.

Sometimes Sharp's sophisticated, elegant phrasing was a bit above my children's comprehension, but the book was, for the most part, an adventurous read aloud. Due to formal nature of the book, it would probably work best as a read aloud for kids around eight and above and as a middle grade and above read-alone. Williams' fine illustrations appear frequently throughout the novel and help keep younger children interested in the story.

Times were different when the book was originally published in 1959, and as such, Miss Bianca is portrayed as a fragile female in need of protection, prone to fainting spells, especially in the beginning. While she does offer much assistance in achieving the rescue goal, she succeeds mainly due to her charming manner. She doesn't even know what compass points are when asked to draw a map (though she does write very insightful poetry). Disney does treat Miss Bianca a little differently, making her more of an adept adventurer and less of a lady in need. The plot of the Disney movie is almost entirely different than the story found in Sharp's The Rescuers, though the movie does retain some of the characters. I prefer Sharp's more refined, intellectual story line to Disney's humorous, Bayou version. I haven't read Sharp's next Rescuer book, titled Miss Bianca. Apparently the mice do rescue a little girl in that story, like in the Disney's The Rescuers.

I must also remark on the excellent physical quality of this book. I first heard about The New York Review Children's Collection books on Read Aloud Dad. Everything he says is true. The books are worthy of a collector's library and the cloth bindings feel wonderful in your hand. The publisher offers an impressive array of formerly out-of-print classic titles. Make sure to take a look at the children's collection, if you haven't already.

▪ ▪ ▪ Floating Ice Boat Craft for Kids ▪ ▪ ▪

Miss Bianca spends much time traveling via waterways in The Rescuers -- by cargo boat, model speedboat and raft. I thought we'd make some boats as a story connection activity. My kids would love to own their own model speedboat like the one in the book, but we opted for something much cheaper. This summer they have been obsessed with making and playing with ice, so I thought we'd try our hand at creating ice boats. Obviously, an ice boat wouldn't be a good watercraft choice for Miss Bianca as it melts fairly rapidly. But, as a kid's summer activity choice, ice boats make perfect sense.

We froze larger ice blocks in plastic sandwich containers. For the mast, we placed a piece of tape across the container and used it to balance a plastic straw inside the water. Once the boat froze we made sails out of paper and taped them to the mast. Miss Bianca, Nils and Bernard seem right at home on their ice raft.






And one of Miss Bianca's "not quite so poetic, but even more heartfelt" poems from the book:

"Raft-Song, By Miss Bianca"

Day and night, between faraway banks,
Smoothly glided a beautiful raft.
Sun and moon and the stars of the sky
Look in blessing on cargo and craft!

Three brave Rafters with hearts of gold --
Four poor Mariners saved from the foam --
Look down in blessing, sun, moon and stars,
Carry them safely, swiftly home!


Shibley Smiles

Add your kids craft post to the Kid's Get Crafty linky at Red Ted Art's Blog. Join in Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word. Wrote a post about play? Join the It's Playtime party! Find more great book tie-ins at JDaniel4's Mom Read, Explore, Learn link-up. Browse more book posts at Little Sprout Books' Feed Me Books Friday.


I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ladybug Girl Books by David Soman and Jacky Davis - Review and Giveaway

If you notice a little girl at your doorstep wearing an adorable red tutu with rainboots costume next Halloween, hopefully you'll be able to correctly identify her dressed up as a new (on the way to becoming a classic) children's book character. Please don't call her a "cute little ladybug" or, even worse, "a red fairy." No, she's Ladybug Girl, everyday superhero, brave explorer and a thoughtful friend to others.

A creation of husband and wife duo David Soman and Jacky Davis, Ladybug Girl is the star of the New York Times bestselling series of children's books about an ordinary but imaginative little girl named Lulu who enjoys dressing up in a red tutu, rainboots, ladybug wings and antenna. Lulu, accompanied by her trusty canine companion, Bingo, goes on everyday adventures and figures out her own solutions to various childhood situations.

The two newest Ladybug Girl book in the series are Ladybug Girl at the Beach and, published just this year, Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad. They follow the first two picture books, Ladybug Girl and Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy.


❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖

Ladybug Girl at the Beach by Jacky Davis and David Soman. Dial / Penguin Books for Young Readers (May 2010); ISBN 9780803734166; 40 pages
Lulu, the brave Ladybug Girl, has never visited the beach before but she is ready for her newest adventure. She and her family spend a day soaking in the rays and experiencing all the wonders of the seaside. She builds sand castles, flies a kite, eats a double scoop ice cream cone, takes a walk on the beach with Bingo her dog, and searches for a few sea shells. She's not so sure though if she's ready for a dip in the big, blue ocean. It's normal for kids to exhibit fear when encountering the unknown. With Ladybug Girl as their role model, they can learn to conquer the waves, too.



David Soman's pen-and-ink watercolor illustrations in the Ladybug books are all fabulous, but his sweeping beach views really impress. One page spread shows Lulu and Bingo standing with hesitation on the beach as a large wave crashes on the sand in front of their feet. The text seems secondary, the waves tell the story. The emotion filled sunset views toward the end provide a spectacular conclusion. The images in the book make me long for a leisurely day at the beach with my kids, watching them play in the sand and splashing in the water. One of my favorite Ladybug Girl stories!

❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖

Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by Jacky Davis and David Soman. Dial / Penguin Books for Young Readers (March 2011); ISBN 9780803734197; 40 pages
Ladybug Girl's friends make a repeat appearance in the newest book in the series by Jacky Davis and David Soman. Lulu excitedly waits for her "Bug Squad" pals to arrive for their first official playdate. After all the members of the group arrive, Sam (Bumblebee Boy), Marley (Dragonfly Girl) and Kiki (Butterfly Girl) follow Ladybug Girl as she leads the way to their Bug Squad base hideout located in a small pine forest nearby. They play make-believe games and end the day with rock painting and a cupcake snack. Lulu tries to be a kind hostess, but at one point ends up hurting one of her friend's feelings with an unthoughtful action. The two eventually work out their conflict and Lulu apologies.


I really love that this series encourages outdoor pretend play and this book, in particular, shows lots of ways kids can use their minds when playing outside with friends. My daughter really got a kick out of the sunflower wall, the imaginary "army of giants" asleep and unaware. I would have liked the book even better if big brother would have somehow cleverly interacted with the younger kids. The authors missed an opportunity and could have briefly portrayed him for once as something other than an innocent, uninterested bystander. My kids hope more Ladybug Girl adventures are planned for future release.

❖❖❖❖❖ Ladybug Girl Costume ❖❖❖❖❖




Just how big of Ladybug Girl fans are we? My daughter dressed up as Ladybug Girl for Halloween last year! She even held a stuffed Basset Hound that resembles the Bingo character. For instructions on how we assembled her costume, visit my previous post: Brimful Curiosities: How to Make a Ladybug Girl Costume.

For more Ladybug Girl fun, make sure to visit the official website, http://www.ladybuggirl.com/. The website includes a couple cute games and several great Ladybug Girl printable pdfs.

A Ladybug Girl Activity Kit with reproducible activities can be found on the Penguin Group website.


Penguin Books for Young Readers has kindly offered to giveaway a set of the two Ladybug Girl books I reviewed above to two (2) Brimful Curiosities readers. 2 Winners!

To enter the contest, answer the following question: If you were going to join the Bug Squad, what insect would you dress up as? (My son thinks he'd like to be a Grasshopper Boy.)
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US
• Contest ends on Monday, August 29th, 2011 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winners will be chosen at random and sent email notifications.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

How to Make a Ladybug Girl Costume


My daughter adores all the Ladybug Girl books by David Soman and Jacky Davis. She dressed up as Ladybug Girl last year for Halloween. Putting together a Ladybug Girl costume is an easy DIY project. All you need to do is make a no-sew red tutu and reconfigure a pair of cheap fairy wings. Add a headband with pipecleaner antenna, a red long-sleeve leotard and pair of ladybug rainboots and you've got yourself a pretty cute children's storybook character costume. (Detail-oriented Ladybug Girls may also want to consider holding a stuffed animal Basset Hound to complete the picture.)



How to Make a Tutu: Do-it-yourself basic tutus are surprisingly easy to create. If you look on YouTube you can find several instructional videos on how to make a tutu using only a roll of tulling and a band of elastic. This YouTube tutu tutorial video shows both the double knot and slip knot techniques. Last year I blogged about my tutu making project: http://www.brimfulcuriosities.com/2010/10/secrets-to-tutu-making-success-dvd.html



How to Make Ladybug Wings: I experimented with a few different wing making techniques including wrestling a pair of panty hose onto a wire coat hanger. Ultimately I decided that the simplest way to make a pair is to buy an inexpensive pair of fairy wings at WalMart (dollar stores also carry them), cut them apart, and transform them into ladybug wings using acrylic paint and black felt dots.

1. Carefully peel back the center stabilizer portion and remove the bottom two fairy wings. I used a scissors to cut them off. In doing so, I also had to cut the armbands. Later I reattached the armbands to the center stabilizer by tacking them down with thread. I also reglued the center stabilizer section down using a glue gun.

2. Use a foam brush and paint the wings with watered down, red acrylic paint. Amazingly, the watered down paint did not adhere to the glitter details, so the wings maintained some of the shimmer. I also painted the elastic armbands red using the watered down paint.

3. After the wings dry, cut out twelve circles out of black felt. Using tacky fabric glue, glue three of the circles to the front and then three to the back of each wing. I used the illustrations in the Ladybug Girl books as a guide to circle placement.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Story Time Café Bundles - Maisy's Bedtime Book & Quilt Set Review


As a book lover, I find it very hard to resist children's book themed bedding and bath products. Several different retailers offer decor featuring beloved characters like Curious George, Winnie-the-Pooh, Mother Goose, Beatrix Potter's animals and Eric Carle's creations. Someday, if I can find the time, I'd love to try making my own quilt using fabric printed with designs inspired by children's books. But for now, if I'm going to give a book themed quilt, I'll have to find one to purchase.

Ciletti Publishing Group recently released an uber cute and cuddly Story Time Café line of book themed bundles. Many of the available bundles feature the Maisy character from the popular children's book series by Lucy Cousins. The bright and cheery illustrations found in the Maisy books provide the perfect subject matter for lovely crib/toddler sized quilts and bath towels. In addition to the Maisy products, the company also offers a Frosty The Snowman Story Time Bundle and a beautiful Alphabet Animals Story Time Bundle inspired by the Caldecott honor book by Suse MacDonald.

My family had the chance to take a look at one of the bundles available: Maisy's Bedtime (with stars) Quilt and Book Set. The set retails for $39.95 and includes:

Maisy's Bedtime paperback picture book (Odyssey Books/Candlewick Press ISBN 9780763656775)
• Crib/Toddler Bed Sized Rectangular Quilt (36 x 48 inches)
• Small "Buddy" Quilt (24 x 24 inches)
• Portable clear vinyl, zippered tote

The Maisy books are intended for the toddler/preschool audience and this bundle gift set also appeals to this age group. I love that the set comes with a small, matching buddy quilt that kids can use to cover up their stuffed animals and dolls.
The machine-made quilts consist of 100% cotton shell and 100% polyester fill. This particular Maisy quilt set has a white cotton binding. While I haven't tried washing the quilts they do look quite durable, and they are machine washable.

On the packaging info I also noticed something worth mentioning -- the words "Made in the U.S.A." Unlike most textile products, the Story Time Café quilts are constructed in America. As unemployment continues to rise and we continue to lose manufacturing jobs in our country, I applaud and support all companies like Story Time Café that make an extra effort to keep jobs in America.

In September 2011 the company is adding a few new sets to their line: Maisy Backpack, Number Time Express Quilt with Seví Numbers Bundle, and an adorable Mother Goose Book and Quilt Bundle inspired by Scott Gustafson’s wonderful Mother Goose illustrations.

When it comes to giving children's gifts for any occasion -- baby showers, birthdays, Christmas, even Easter - consider purchasing one of the Odyssey Books Story Time Café book-themed products. They are conveniently packaged into bundles and provide an instant and fun way to cuddle up and read a book together with your favorite little one!

Thanks to Ciletti Publishing Group for this review opportunity and for providing a Story Time Bundle for my family to review. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Electric Car





Let's take a ride in an electric car! Drawing inspired by the super catchy "Electric Car" song by They Might Be Giants. The kids got a chance to see an actual electric car with Daddy awhile back but didn't get a chance to take a ride.




Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.