The latest five book covers.

If you'd like to make your own just go here and if you'd like to see some other ones that I made just check it out here.
Remember this post? I made a few more variations.

My viking costume adventure has continued to the last minute (because that's they way I work... always waiting until the final countdown). And since my time is up here are the final touches on "Hiccup".

My hubby did not get the opportunity to do the dragon artwork for the helmet so I went for it. Not bad... not great either, but I generated something from some other pictures I found and I think it at least can not be mistaken for a bunny or a unicorn or anything else un-viking like. After the helmet project I almost feel like I could do most anything with duct tape and a Sharpie pen!

The shirt used to be mine and it was the right color according to the movie and I wasn't really going to miss it so I donated it to the cause. I put some grommets in the top with my Crop-O-Dile and laced it up with some leather jewelry cording.

Huccup had on a fur vest but Walmart had a couple of brown towels that I found and figured that I wouldn't be able to find faux fur for $5 (say that 10 times fast - ha!) so when tonight is over it will turn into a shower robe. How's that for recycling?!

Now for all this work he has to submit to me some of his haul tonight. Thay all do. The advantages of a large family - more candy. ROFL.

I have read all the books in the How to Train Your Dragon series. I thought it was cute and funny *BUT* it relies heavily on potty-humor. So when I found out there was an animated movie I was excited and wincing at the same time. We queued it on Netflix and took our chances (I don't recommend this parenting technique, by the way). To my absolute delight, the movie adaptation was nothing like the book. And I liked it so much I bought it. Oh, and the boys thought it was pretty cool too.

We are going to a local church harvest fest and the boys want to dress up. Numbers 2, 3 and 4 all wanted to be knights. It's all about the hardware. And they reeeeeaaaalllly get into the part.

And getting back to the whole HTTYD thing... my #1 son thought Hiccup from the movie was pretty cool so he decided that he would like to be "Hiccup the Horrendus".  Maybe he's getting a little old for the dress up thing. Maybe I just want to be in denial that he *is* too old for dress up. Whatever. Don't judge me.

So I set off into online-land to find a viking hat and didn't have a whole lotta luck. One guy even suggested using a "spare bicycle tire fender (??!?!!?). No, I don't have one of those. But I do have duct tape and with a little bit of creativity we got what we were after.

I made it custom for the #1 boy by wrapping a piece of super heavy card stock around his head and then used one inch strip of the same card stock to create the dome of the hat. Then I WENT TO TOWN with the duct tape!

My hubby took three pieces of newspaper and a wire hanger and began the creation of horns. Again, HE went to town with the duct tape. Love that stuff. He left a few inches of the wire coming out of the base of the horn and I was able to engineer it so they wouldn't be floppy. How confident can a floppy horned viking be, after all?

Then I glued those clear floral rock thingies (this is a technical term in my world) to it for the rivets. The last thing is to add a really cool dragon to the sides - that's hubby's "to-do" and he's pretty jazzed to come up with something.

The card stock was packaging that I had kept because "I might need that for something in my lifetime". The duct tape was $3, a few pages of newspaper and a sacrificial wire hanger  helped us a lot. Then I had gotten the floral rock thingies that came in a bag of 50 (?) for a buck at the dollar store - again it was originally for a different project and I hung on to the rest for that "something" in the future. A Sharpie pen will do for the dragon artwork that is in progress.

For a one time use of fun we didn't want to bother with "investing" in a silly dress up item. But we're pretty happy with the outcome. I may need to make some extras for the knights who abandon their post and hit the high seas!!!
{UPDATED 10/11}

I should know better than to do this but I have this "thing" about using new recipes on dinner guests and potluck Sundays. The practical side of me is screaming, "Don't do it!!" And although I've had few occurrences that I was unable to salvage that day is bound to arrive!!

That said - I tried this muffin recipe on my special gals at CBS. And it was well enough received that I thought it was worthy of posting. I got the recipe here and it just sounded yummalicious!! I didn't use the ground flaxseed only because I didn't have it but it still turned out wonderfully. {update - I got some of that flaxseed and although there wasn't any taste/texture difference I'm sure the nutritional benefits went up.} I think they would probably even freeze well if you wanted to double it. FYI: I did make some minor changes to the original recipe to suit my preferences.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 apple chopped
1 cup craisins 
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
2 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  

Whisk together the eggs, honey, applesauce, oil, and vanilla. These are the "wet items".

In a large bowl stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ground flax seed. This is the "dry items".

Combine the carrots, apple, and craisins.

Chop nuts. I just wanted to show what an awesome job this kitchen tool does with nuts (and so many other foods). It's called a Vidalia Chop Wizard and I got it at Target. It is absolutely fabulous! I have replaced my Pampered Chef Food Chopper with this and have *never* been disappointed!!

Whisk the dry items to the wet items together until it is moistened.  Now pour that yummy smelling batter onto the fruits/veggies mix along with the nuts and combine well.

This is such a pretty batter, huh?

I like to use the Pampered Chef Large Stainless Steel Scoop to fill the muffins cups. It keeps the cups tidy (avoids burnt spots where batter was dripped), and they are uniform scoops so they are all evenly baked. And if you are maintaining portion control this scoop holds three tablespoons of batter.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes and let cool (if you can wait that long) on a rack.
This yields about 2 dozen muffins and each muffin is three Weight Watcher points.

After all the posts that I had done about the building of the murphy bed (here, here and here), I have finally taken an opportunity to get pictures of the craftsmanship at work!  

So far the two guests who have slept on the bed have appeared well rested (aside from the fact that they are next door to our one year old who does not sleep through the night yet ) and have commented that it was very comfy. I have to say that I am so glad to not have to apologize for the contraption we had available in the past - but we won't go there...

So here it is all closed up. (My photography skills are, uh, non-existent so you might have to use your imagination just a tad.) Kurt painted it a rather glossy black and attached it to the wall studs - that baby isn't going ANYWHERE!


I found some attractive bedding to match the room decor and, voila!, a charming resting place!

I am so proud of my hubby for taking on this project. He's a little unsure of his abilities around wood working (several years ago he cut the tip of his thumb off with a table saw - long story - shorter thumb...) but this gave him the inspiration to perhaps tackle a new Knock Off Wood project or two. So it's either this one or maybe this one! Let the sawdust FLY!
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Community Bible Study has been a wonderful blessing to me from the start. Being in a new area and my home church being very small with limited meeting times, this source of study and companionship has fed my spirit immensely. I participated as a student for two years and my four boys were in the children's ministry as well. But this year the Lord has called me to be a "Core Leader" to facilitate a class. A huge endeavor and one that I am looking forward to. 

Our studies include a spiral bound workbook that we use for the year and since it's not decked out in the colors that I prefer... I decided to use some fabulous fabric that I got for a deal some time ago and create a fabulous fabric book cover that I can reuse each year. Not only that, but I even went a little insane and personalized it with the names of the books that I've studied with CBS as part of the creation... just wait 'til you see!!!

TA DA!!!!

It not only holds my book but I included pockets for a pen and highlighter, the memory verse cards that are included in our books to cut out and use for reference, a page marker, and a closure to keep it neat and tidy to and from class! Whew! And it was all simple  cuts and straight stitches. Really!!

So, are you interested in a tute?

main fabric
coordinating fabric
craft weight fusible interfacing
hair band
piece of ribbon
matching thread
sewing machine
needle for hand sewing
split ring

Here's the cut list:
cover ~ 13" x 27" (cover)
interior ~ 13"x 27" (I used muslin)
fusible interfacing ~ 12" x 26"
flannel interlining ~ 11" x 25"
pen holder ~ 3" x 5 1/4" - cut 2; one of main fabric, one of coordinating fabric
memory card pocket ~ 3" x 4 3/4" - cut 2; one of main fabric, one of coordinating fabric
ribbon ~ 17" (or so)

Put the two pen holder fabric pieces right sides together and sew with a 1/4" leaving an opening to turn right side out - if you make sure that the opening is on the bottom of the pockets you won't have to do any extra hand sewing. After sewing and turning right side out, fold the opening raw edges inward and press to create a tidy rectangle. Do the same with the card pocket. Set those aside for now.

Take the front cover (main) fabric and put the flannel in the middle then lay the interfacing on top with the fusible side down and iron following the fusible interfacing directions.

Fold the ends in 4 1/4 inches - these will eventually become the pockets that your book cover will slip into. So, when you fold it in half now it will begin to look like your cover. This is how I determined where I wanted the button closure and the pen and note card pockets. You'll want to unfold those flaps as you attach the button and pockets - it's not time to make those flaps yet.

Sew on the button first and then pin the pockets in place. Sew the card pocket close to the edge on the left, bottom and right edges. It's good to give a back stitch at the top corners to ensure a little extra durability. frequently for studying - right??> You'll repeat this same process with the pen pocket ~BUT~ you will sew an extra seam down the middle to create two narrow pockets. Pretty cool, huh?

Now let's start putting this thing together...

Place the cover right side up and take your ribbon for the page marker and place it a little left of center at the top. Carefully place the interior fabric wrong side up on top on the cover - so now the right sides are together, right? Pin at the ribbon and corners to match edges and then the rest.

Sew along all edges with 1/4 inch seam leaving a three inch opening on the bottom for turning. Clip the corners and then turn right side out. Fold those raw edges of the opening neatly inside and press. Now fold those ends in FOUR inches and pin. Set your book into the pinned cover to see if there needs to be any adjustments and to determine what size seam to use. It should be about a 1/4". After you've fine tuned your cover sew your last two seams on the top and bottom.

I used a hair band for the closure and there is probably a better solution to this particular detail of this cover but this is what I did. Nothing fancy, just sewed the band to the back of the cover - I might consider a different approach next time but this seems to work for now.


Next I sewed that split ring to the bottom of the page marker ribbon. Now you can add all sorts of goodies to the ribbon. I took my metal stamps and stamped the books of the Bible on washers that I have studied so far with CBS and attached them. As a special reminder I added a little rhinestone to the "Acts" washer to represent my Core Leader involvement.

I think I will make some extra ones for later. And try some alternate decorated covers. Maybe a rag cover like my purses? Ooh, ooh. That sounds fun. And how about some Anthropolgie inspired covers with those cool lookin' ruffles? Yeah - I'm seeing endless possibilities here...
This zucchini bread recipe I found (and adjusted just a little) has become a hit in my house. We have a back yard garden and a remote garden (at a friend's property) and the zucchini has been pouring in. The neighbors turn off their lights when they see us coming with an arm full of the harvest... no, just kidding. So far they have convinced us that they are enjoying it. I froze some too. I shredded it and measured out two cup baggies full so I can make this recipe over the winter. It's soooooo good warm right out of the oven....

2c whole wheat flour
2/3 c all-purpose flour
1t salt
1t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1T cinnamon (I am liberal with this... mmm)
3/4c egg substitute (or three egg whites) 
1 whole egg
1c sugar
2t vanilla
1/3c EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil for those of you who have 
never seen the hyper Rachel Ray on Food Network
2/3c unsweetened applesauce
2c zucchini, peeled, grated
1/2c walnuts

Heat oven to 350. Grease two bread pans.
Sift together first six items. Set aside.
Combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, EVOO, applesauce and zucchini.
Add dry items to wet.
Fold in nuts.
Divide batter between bread pans and bake for 45 minutes (or until an inserted knife comes out clean).
Each loaf makes ten servings - and that's a pretty good sized serving... you'll see!!

And I did the nutrition facts on this recipe and it came to 139 calories, 7g fat, 2g fiber per slice. Not too shabby, huh? Since I use so much whole wheat flour it raises the fiber content to combat the fat. The all purpose flour always helps a recipe "lighten" up and it didn't take much to do that.

The one thing to be careful about is to not skimp on the zucchini and do not over bake. This will keep the bread moist - I don't care for sawdust bread and when the oil is reduced it happens easier.
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Our buddy at church graduated this year. We were happy for him and wanted to do something a little more than just cash and a card. So, I made him a mini photo album... and, yes, included the cash! Every grad needs the cash, right?? I made it with the same die cut items as this post. This is the cover.

The photo on the left is our grad just before getting all robed up! And the beaming proud parents on the bottom left.

The grad's parents took a photo of the program that had all the names listed and the arrow pointed to our grad. Again, the parents were busting at the seams with pride for their grad!

I used my Cricut to make the cover and this "you did it" die cuts. I had misplaced the power cord and didn't use it for nearly two years because of that fact. I was SO excited to use it again! The people with the grad on the right are his great grandparents.

And here he is with his aunt and cousins on the left. And the right is with his sweetie.

This is the back and is when he arrived home as the GRADUAT*ED* dude!!

I noticed that I don't fry a lot of things for meals. Not because I'm being purposefully healthy but because it's a mess and I always have a bit of a crisis in making sure none of the grease at clean up goes down the drain. But my husband always says, "Anything is better fried."

Anyway, I had a few sweet potatoes and thought I'd make a mess. Here comes the slicing mandolin - no, I did not get these lovely, thin, uniform slices with my knife skills.

And then the real mess begins... the hot oil... I used vegetable oil because it has a higher temp capability without burning. I didn't know this was the case with oils - I just thought oil was oil. In days past I would have just used my EVOO and thought that fried "whatever" tasted bad. Now I know. And my arteries are wincing at this discovery.

Just a little pinch of salt and I'm slappin' hands so we would have some with our dinner! Mmmmmm!

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I know! I know?!! What's the deal, you say. What happened to her? Well, at least I have this fantasy that someone actually reads this and is wondering that...

I have guests right now and have been diverted from regular posting to hang out and take some local trips. Nothing major but my mom and sister take priority over silly things like... blogs.

But while everyone was watching a movie, though, I sat and did another step on my mystery project.

So the other thing I wanted to mention before I was off to be with family was to let you know that we did finish the murphy bed. And when I say "we" I mean my husband. I had no physical interaction with the build of the project - not even the paint. But I will post more on that later. Just let me dream that you're sitting on the edge of your seat just aching to see the finished product. I can dream, right? Right? See you soon!
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Yes, it's coming along. No thanks to me. I was out running some errands and came home to Kurt attacking the paint job. Wow.

I was on the hunt for bedding for the new bed that would match the room but I just don't have the funds to get something super fancy. I wound up at Walmart and settled for something that will do the job. Yeah, I know it's not something that I will see all the time but there is a little part of me that wants my guests to feel like they were *expected*. It always feels nice to be treated special doesn't it??

Kurt called it a night earlier than last night and this is the accomplishment. Whew! He's the man.