Monthly Archives: August 2016

Mini Draw String Crocheted Bag

Ya’ll know I love me a good stash buster.  I have so much leftover yarn from various projects and I’m always looking for fun ways to use it up…even better if I can turn it into a gift and pass it along to someone else! 😉

And for those little gifts that are not made with yarn, you can always use yarn to make the gift wrap!  Cute and perfect for gifting everything from jewelry to small trinkets, this crocheted draw-string bag is an adorable stash buster that I’ll probably come back to again and again.

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I tried out this pattern using just one color of yarn, but you can easily switch between colors to create bags of all kinds.  The pattern can be found on Elisabeth Andree and she does a super cute job of mixing and matching colors!

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This is a particularly great pattern for using up, shall we say, cheaper, lower quality yarn that wouldn’t necessarily make the most comfortable clothing or accessories.

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A super quick and easy weekend project, my little bag worked up in about 2 hours and I already have started working on another one.

Keep in mind, if you use a thinner yarn, you’ll get larger holes in the bag, so you may want to line it with fabric or tissue paper before using it to wrap your gift.

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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The Only Time a Man Can Be Brave

game-of-thrones

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Pistachio Ice Box Cake

What is it about that artificial pistachio flavor that just tastes so freaking good?  Pistachio ice cream…pistachio cake…pistachio pudding…you’d think the toxic neon green color might deter me, but no.  I love me pistachio flavored anything.

And this Pistachio Ice Box Cake is no exception.  A play on the popular Watergate Salad (another guilty pleasure that I can just eat with a wooden spoon while sitting in my pj’s on my couch watching Gossip Girl), this cake combines only a few ingredients to create a tasty n0-bake summer treat that’s great for, well, anything!

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As is custom with most ice box cakes and pies, this treat gets better the longer it sits.  Since it’s made in a small pan, it doesn’t make many servings, so plan ahead if you plan on making this for a party.  However, because this recipe is pretty simple and VERY budget friendly, this is a great party treat if you double the ingredients and use a larger 9 in. x 13 in. pan instead.

Pistachio Ice Box Cake

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.50.16 PMIngredients:

  • 2 (3.4 oz) packages instant pistachio pudding
  • 2¼ cups cold milk
  • 16 oz. frozen whipped topping, defrosted
  • 18 to 20 graham crackers
  • Chopped pistachios for decorating

 

Directions:

  1. Like an 8 in. x 8 in. pan with plastic wrap. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together pudding and milk until combined. Refrigerate 5 minutes.
  3. Fold 8 oz. whipped topping into pudding until combined.
  4. Place one layer graham crackers in prepared pan. Top with half of pistachio pudding. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of graham crackers. Top with remaining 8 oz. whipped topping. Top with chopped pistachios.
  5. Refrigerate overnight.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

911Xmhn9+rLSPOILERS AHEAD.  You’ve been warned.

I am a product of the Harry Potter generation.  Ever since the book release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I’ve been completely hooked and obsessed with the series.  I remember going to Borders (RIP) and Barnes and Nobel for all the midnight release parties (sometimes in costume)…I walked around The Taste of Chicago reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning the day before my friends wedding finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

For as long as I can remember, this book series has been an integral part of my life, so when I learned that J.K. Rowling was working on a new Harry Potter project, I was beyond excited!  While I decided to forgo the insanity of the book release party, I did pre-order my copy and dove in to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as soon as it arrived on my doorstep…

And I kinda wish I hadn’t.

While Cursed Child is not technically meant to be the 8th Harry Potter book and was openly advertised as a much more mature, less magical story, I still found it kind of…dare I say…boring.

Similar in style and feel to A Christmas Carol, Cursed Child tells the story of Harry’s son, Albus, and his desire to right a wrong that his dad was involved with years before (remember Cedric?  Heeeee’s BAAAAACCCK!!).  Together with his best friend, Scorpious (who ironically is the son of Harry’s enemy, Draco Malfoy), the two troublemakers travel through time and try to save Cedric from ever having to be killed by Voldermort.  Why, you ask?  Great question.

I just didn’t feel this story was necessary to the Harry Potter canon.  It didn’t change my feelings about any character and didn’t resolve any unanswered questions from the series itself.  To me, Cursed Child read more like fan fiction…like someone’s attempt to finish a small story line that was abandoned in the HP series…but I really felt no different after reading it.  The story just moved right through me like a House Ghost.

However, despite all the criticism, I do have to say that I was quite impressed with Harry’s character and his very realistic and relatable flaws he has as a parent and a spouse.  There’s no denying that Harry’s past is heartbreaking, and seeing how it has affected him as an adult was quite interesting…but again, didn’t need it.

If you read the end of Deathly Hallows, you know that the storyline wraps up quite nicely.  We see the happily ever afters…all the kids of the kids we knew and loved ready for their next adventures at Hogwarts…and all was well.  J.K. Rowling said it herself!  And sometimes, I think you just have to let a good thing be.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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33 Amazing Wizard of Oz Facts

We’ve been celebrating The Wizard of Oz over the past couple weeks, and today we celebrate the 77th anniversary of its worldwide release!

Though it didn’t open to great reviews or massive success, The Wizard of Oz has found its rightful place in cinematic movie history and now sits at #8 on IMDb’s list of 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

It also shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that this movie is also riddled with crazy rumors about filming and production.  While some of them are true (Toto did make more than The Munchkins), others were not (no, the colored horses were not covered in Jell-O).

To help debunk some of those crazy stories and celebrate this gem of a movie, here are 33 Fun Facts about The Wizard of Oz.

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  1. Judy Garland almost lost the role of Dorothy to America’s sweetheart, Shirley Temple. Metro-Goldwyn Meyer outbid 20th Century Fox for the movie rights and if Fox had won, Shirley Temple would have had the starring role.
  2. Talk about having courage…the Cowardly Lion’s costume was made of real lion skin!
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  3. Toto the Dog reportedly earned $125 a week during filming. Each Munchkin actor earned $50 to $100.
  4. The horses in the Emerald City were colored with vegetable dye, not Jell-O as rumored.
  5. In the book, Dorothy’s slippers are silver…however, the studio didn’t think silver would show up on film, so they changed them to red.
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  6. The Oscar-winning song, “Over the Rainbow”, was almost cut from the film to shorten the length.
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  7. Wanna try on Dorothy’s slippers? She sported a tiny size 5!
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  8. Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West, was a kindergarten teacher before becoming an actress.
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  9. The tornado in the film was actually a 35 foot long muslin stocking spun around with dust and dirt.
  10. The Wicked Witch also has a death certificate, dated May 6, 1938…the 20th anniversary of L. Frank Baum’s death (the author of the book).
  11. Baum apparently invented the name ‘Oz’ when looking at an alphabetical filing cabinet label, ‘O – Z’.
  12. The Munchkins have a collective star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  13. Garland won an Oscar Juvenile Award for her role as Dorothy Gale, which she later called the Munchkin Award.
  14. The Smithsonian exhibit housing Dorothy’s red slippers is so popular, the carpet in front of the slippers has been replaced numerous times due to wear and tear.
  15. The fire that blazes out from Dorothy’s shoes when the Witch tries to touch them was actually apple juice spraying out of them, sped up on film.
    wizard of oz dorothy gale wicked witch ruby slippers wicked witch of the west
  16. Several actors playing Winged Monkeys in the forest were injured when the wires suspending them above the sound stage snapped, sending them falling several feet.
  17. MGM paid $75,000 for the film rights to Baum’s book, equating to about $1.2 million today.
  18. Margaret Hamilton suffered severe burns during the scene in which she vanishes in a cloud of smoke (her skin makeup ignited).
    wizard of oz judy garland wicked witch glinda munchkinland
  19. Production costs for the film were around $2.7 million dollars, equating to about $45.6 million today!!
  20. The actress who played Auntie Em, Clara Blandick, committed suicide in 1962 after battling debilitating arthritis and impending blindess.
  21. Comedian W.C. Fields was offered the chance to play the Wizard, but he wanted $100,00 for the role. MGM offered $75,000, which he turned down.
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  22. Judy Garland was 16 when she starred in The Wizard of Oz.
  23. The cast of The Wizard of Oz was tight off screen as well. Jack Haley (Tin Man) was the godfather of Bert Lahr’s son (Cowardly Lion). Judy Garland’s daughter, Liza Minnelli married Jack Haley Jr., the son of Jack Haley (Tin Man). Ray Bolger (scarecrow) gave the eulogy for the memorial service for Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch).
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  24. The role of Toto was played by a five-year-old female Cairn terrier named Terry. She was owned by Carl Spitz, who started the Carl Spitz Hollywood Dog Training School.
  25. After the film was released, Terry’s name was permanently changed to Toto.
  26. Over her lifetime, Terry/Toto appeared in 17 films!
  27. Judy Garland earned $500 a week for the film, however Ray Bolger and Jack Haley earned roughly $3,000 a week.
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  28. There were four or five pairs of ruby slippers made for the film. Each shoe was made of red satin and covered by 2,300 sequins.
  29. One of those pairs is waiting to be displayed at the future Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. A group of wealthy donors, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Stephen Spielberg, pooled together their funds to purchase this pair. The price they paid has not been released, but it’s thought to be between $2 and $3 million.
  30. It took 22 men one week to make the 40,000 fake flowers that made up the film’s poppy field.
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  31. One of the last surviving actors of the film is Jerry Maren. He played a Munchkin and was a member of the Lollipop Guild. He was the one to hand Dorothy a lollipop.
  32. In the film, the Witch wrote “Surrender Dorothy” with her broom in the sky. In real life, it was written by a production designer with a hypodermic needle filled with dye in a tank of cloudy water. He had to write the words backwards in order to be filmed.
  33. The early Technicolor process required more light than a normal film production, so the set temperatures often exceeded 100 degrees.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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Marbled Clay Coasters

I love to entertain.  I really don’t get to do it enough because…

A) no time
B) no space
C) no time

But when I can, I really enjoy it!  I love putting together themed parties and decorating my space to suit the occasion.  Even if there’s no theme, it’s always a blast eating and drinking with those you love.

So the other day, while indulging in Avalanche Sharks (yes, it’s a real movie), I got an idea for some colorful and fun coasters that would add style to any get-together…PLUS, it’s a great clay buster if you’re looking for a project to use up all those random clay pieces from other projects.

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These Marbled Clay Coasters are awesome!  They’re super colorful and durable and I just love how they turned out.  They also make great gift ideas for that special hostess with the mostess (Christmas is 4 MONTHS AWAY, PEOPLE!!)

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Marbled Clay Coasters

Materials:

  • Various pieces of crafting clay (I used an assortment of Sculpey clay…this much clay gave me 4 coasters)
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  • Clay rolling pin
  • Large circular item to cut out coasters (large drinking glasses, biscuit cutters, or small bowls work well…just make sure they’re slightly larger than a drinking glass – I used the lid for a large candle)
  • Sand paper (optional)
  • Felt (optional)

Directions:

  1. Work the clay pieces individually in your hands until soft and pliable.  Keep in mind that dark clay might stain your skin, so I suggest starting with the light colored clay first, then work the darker colored clays.
  2. Roll clay into logs.  It doesn’t really matter how long or fat the logs are here…just eye ball it and try to keep it somewhat equal.  Here were my logs, with a pen for reference (these logs gave me 2 coasters, then I did the same with the clay on the left for 2 more).
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  3. Gather logs together and twist once.
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  4. Fold logs in half and twist again.
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  5. Gather clay into a ball and work for only a few seconds, as you don’t want the colors to bleed too much.
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  6. Roll out the ball to reveal the neat marbling effect!  Don’t like the look?  Turn your clay over, it’ll look different on the other side!
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  7. Cut out your coasters and transfer to baking sheet (I have a sheet I use specifically for clay, but you can use a regular baking sheet covered with aluminum foil).
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  8. To cut more coasters, you can add more clay to your already marbled clay or start fresh.  Just remember not to work the clay too much or else you’ll just end up with nasty poo brown clay.
  9. Bake your coasters following the instructions on your clay.
  10. Let cool and enjoy!
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  11. If you want, you can sand the edges using sand paper or glue felt to the bottom of the coaster, but neither is necessary.

Here’s a closeup of some of the coasters I made…I clearly had way too much fun here!

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Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Three Most Important Things

parks-and-rec

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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