Fairy Parties: Recipes, Crafts, and Games for Enchanting Celebrations

A lot of girls go through a fairy phase. I’m not sure I ever actually got out of it. This book is all about creating a perfect fairy themed party .The introduction is only a couple of pages, explaining the basics and a bit of the history of fairies. The chapters are separated by fairy types and the instructions and recipes are planned for a party of 6 girls. The range of fairy types should suit any girl who loves fairies.It’s not all pink and froth or wild woods, there are some great variations and ideas.
Each chapter has costume instructions including a skirt, a top,decorated shoes and a wand. The chapters also have game suggestions, a craft or two, and recipes to fit the theme.
The first chapter, Fairy Sweet is a confection of pink, froth and so very feminine. The drink is a pink punch decorated with sparkling pink decorator’s sugar and the costumes are very flowery.
The second theme is Sugar Plum Fairies, a purple theme with fruity drinks and tarts and a lot of sparkle.
Rainbow Flower Fairies is a multicolor summery party, and where the first two chapters had decorated ballet slippers, this one has decorated sneaker type shoes to suit a garden theme. Fruit kabobs and rainbow parfaits, it’s a very colorful party.
Fairies Rock is for the Diva Fairy. Think rhinestones and hot pink, feather boas wands and stylish elastic headbands. If Fairy Sweet would thrill your average 5 year old, this one suits older girls. The foods include pizza purses and a pomegranate punch.
The last theme is Woodland Fairies. This one is my favorite, and I’m going to adapt some of the ideas adult sized for going to this years Renaissance Fair. It’s a good party for outdoorsy girls, and like the Fairies Rock theme, appropriate for girls who are in the tween set. Flower crowns and bare feet with ankles wrapped in ribbons and flowers. The foods are pizza, strawberry punch and a trail mix.
The final chapters are a collection of fairy themed crafts and one with more games. Some of the crafts can be done by girls with some adult supervision, but most of them are better done by adults to set up for the party. There are only a few games, but they include instructions for setting up a maypole for little fairies to dance around.

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Seed Bead Fusion

Also posted on Beadwork at BellaOnline.
This is not a book geared towards beginner beaders. While it does have instructions in basic stitch techniques, you need to have some familiarity with the basics to tackle most of the projects in this book. That said, I really recommend it for advanced beaders who are comfortable and even a little bored with the basics. The projects are intricate and inspiring, the skills learned in them can be applied very well to pieces you design.
A lot of the projects involve building dimensionality using peyote stitch off of right angle weave bases. The wire projects are amazingly intricate pieces that remind me in form and style of fine jewelry. They are flashy, sparkling and just gorgeous. There is a level of complexity to each project that will make them engrossing to most beaders. Stitch techniques used include peyote, ladders, right angle weave, herringbone, and African helix. The wire pieces are a bit easier but most of them have many pieces that need to be made precisely.
Each project is very well diagrammed so you can get a very good idea of how they are built, made up of supplies that are very easily obtainable. After each project are photos that show how each step looks while you are doing it. The photo sections are done with beads that contrast very well so you can see exactly what is going on.
My favorite projects in this book are the Pacific Waves necklace, a gorgeously ruffled African Helix necklace that starts a bit unconventionally with peyote stitch caps to make it easier to build the helix, the Bhangara Fusion Bangle which is just an amazing striking bangle bracelet made of beads and wire that has a wonderful shape and is so encrusted with crystals and seeds it’s perfect for dressy occasions and the O. Bersten Component Necklace which is a beaded rivoli component used in this project as a simple pendant on a strung necklace, but the other examples of how to use it include a large sparkling bib necklace and a bracelet.
A lovely book and a great addition to your beading library.
The image is an Amazon.com link.

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Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell is just a wonderful collection of recipes of the cake and filling combinations. The photos are fantastic and the art is just darling, which make it a very nice gift for friends who bake. Whoopie pies are becoming increasingly trendy. If you’ve never had one, the basic whoopie pie is a sandwich made of soft moist cake like cookies and a marshmallow fluff filling.
In the introduction they talk about some of the history of the whoopie pie and offer a few pages of combination suggestions like a Death By Chocolate which has chocolate cakes, filling, glaze and is decorated with more chocolate or more exotically, Whoopie Satay which combines peanut butter and chocolate flavors with a bit of curry.
It’s also a great book for your own collection. There are several cake recipes, starting with the traditional chocolate and then going into many others including some vegan and gluten free cakes and non-traditional flavors such as pistachio-cardamom which bring these sweet treats up from being a guilty pleasure to something you could serve at dinner parties.
The fillings start with the traditional marshmallow fluff then the sky is the limit. There are buttercreams, cream cheese, ganache in many flavors and styles, there is a maple-bacon filling even for people who love sweet/salty combinations.
Definitely a book I’ll use often. I think my family will be perfectly happy with stacks of whoopie pies instead of cakes for their birthdays. Since there is so much mix and match possible in here, I can tailor them to individual tastes simply by changing the filling, seasoning a filling or adding favorite fruits. So Dad can have his basic chocolate on chocolate on chocolate, my daughter can have something with a bit of spice and my son can have lots of fresh fruit.
The image is an Amazon.com link.

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Scotch(TM) TL901 Thermal Laminator

I’ve been using a small card size thermal laminator to make cards, bookmarks and jewelry with for a few years now. A friend of mine gave me this one for my birthday as an upgrade.
I love it. It takes about 10 minutes to be ready and has an indicator light to show it’s hot enough. A double roller system sends your document through the laminator smoothly at the right speed.
It’s built for 3mm and 5mm lamination pouches which is fine for home and home office use.
If you do get a jam, the unit has a release button to pull out the document and unjam the machine.
It’s very simple to use, intuitive but it also is illustrated with how to feed your document in as well. You put whatever your laminating into a pouch then put it into the paper feed in the back of the machine.
There are 2 heat settings. One for 3mm and one for 5. It handles US Letter sized items easily.
Possible craft uses:
I use mine for jewelry, cutting out small images and sealing them into small pouches for less waste. After lamination, cut around the image leaving a margin of the clear laminate, use a small punch to make a hole and attach to jump ring
bookmarks- pressed flowers make wonderful mementos of special days out
recipe cards
dry erase boards
use in duct tape crafts with nice images. A couple comic book pages laminated can be taped together to make a very unique purse.
It’s a good home laminator for home office and craft use.
Because of the 10 minute warm up time, I recommend having a few projects ready to go at a time so you can just do them all at once after the unit is heated.
The image is an Amazon.com link.

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50 Heirloom Buttons

50 Heirloom Buttons to Make: A gallery of decorative fabric, needle-lace, crochet, and ribbon and braid closures you can create by Nancy Nehring is a book that’s incredibly dense with information about how to make reproductions of antique buttons. Using several techniques and modern materials that are fairly easy to find, you learn how to weave, crochet, sew and knot special buttons.

Period costume makers specializing in the 1700s to 1800s and dressmakers today can learn a lot from this book, it’s also an excellent resource for lace makers and crocheters who want to try something new.
There is a great deal of information in this book. You’ll use cords, threads and fabric over button forms, some commercial, some adapted to the project like nylon washers. It’s meticulously researched and fairly exhaustive in the things it covers.
Needleworkers will find ideas in here for ways to make buttons and inspiration as well. Many of these techniques could be applied to jewelry.
Where original button molds are now fairly inaccessible, the author offers suggestions to use instead.
Styles covered include thread weaving, lace making techniques, embellishing high quality cotton tulle, embroidery, coiled fabric strips, woven ribbons, simple fabric buttons and knots. My favorite techniques are the thread weaving and the whole chapter on making frog closures that goes well beyond the simple and common cloverleaf frog.
These are not quick projects while your first learning the techniques because of the precision necessary to make matched sets of buttons, but it is very portable. The techniques themselves are simple, it’s the scale and trying to get everything exact that make them challenging. I recommend practicing with thicker threads and bigger washers or even yarn on cheap bangle bracelets while you’re first learning the technique.

The paper version is out of print, but it’s been re-released in Kindle format fairly inexpensively. This review is from the Kindle edition.
The image is an Amazon.com link.

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