I'm having a prehistoric kind of weekend. Last night I read MAMMOTHS AND MASTODONS, and tonight's CYBILS nominee offering is BORN TO BE GIANTS, by Lita Judge (who started working on dinosaur digs for the Museum of Paleontology in Alberta, Canada, when she was only 15!). Oh, and in case you were wondering- dinosaurs and mammoths/mastodons were not alive at the same time- dinosaurs actually lived about thirty million years before dinosaurs. I learned that last night.

BORN TO BE GIANTS is a kind of continuum of dinosaur parenting styles. Which is something I never really thought about. I knew dinosaurs hatched from eggs, and just kind of assumed that parenting styles were similar to those of modern day reptiles. This is actually not the case at all. Or it is the case sometimes, but not all of the time.

Lita Judge begins with the Saltasaurus, a dinosaur who did, in fact, lay thousands of eggs on a sandy riverbank and then leave them. Judge points out that some dinosaurs, such as Saltasaurus or Argentinosaurus were so large that they really couldn't protect their babies-- they would probably step on them and crush them. Other dinosaurs, like tyrannosaurus rex, however, did stay at their nests. They couldn't sit on their eggs (again, too heavy!) but they did watch over them and guard them from predators. Judge then explains that smaller dinosaurs, such as oviraptors, did sit on their nests, and may also have cared for their young.

Dinosaurs such as the Maiasaura were next along "care continuum." Maiasaura are alricial, meaning the babies have to stay in the nest and taken care of until they grow stronger. Other dinosaurs (and birds like geese) are precocial. They can care for themselves and hunt for food at birth, but stay with the parents for protection. And then there were other dinosaurs like troodon, that grew up with the pack, so that they could learn hunting skills.

Judge's fact-filled text is accompanied by her own water-color (I think) illustrations. Appendices in the back include a timeline and brief paragraph about each featured dinosaur, a glossary, a bibliography, and an author's note about her experiences with dinosaurs.

I loved thinking about dinosaurs through this new and different lens. I also think this would be a great mentor text for helping kids think about how authors organize nonfiction information.


In 2007, ten-year-old Kostia Khudi and his brother, Edik, are gathering firewood in their home in Northern Siberia when they notice a strange lump by the river. At first, they assume it's a dead reindeer, but on further investigation, they find it has a trunk like an elephant. They hurry home to tell their father, a member of the Nemet tribe, who believe that anything that comes from the underworld will bring terrible luck. Yuri first hikes to a sacred place on the tundra to make an offering to the spirits, then hikes 73 miles to report the sighting of the creature, which turns out to be a frozen baby woolly mammoth.

So begins MAMMOTHS AND MASTODONS: TITANS OF THE ICE AGE, written by Cheryl Bardok, in conjunction with an exhibit at The Field Museum in Chicago. This book is everything I could hope for in a nonfiction book for children. First, it's engaging, from beginning to end. There are stories, like the one above. There are imaginary game show scenarios, where the reader is invited to guess whether silhouettes of three different creatures are actually mammoths or mastodons. There are vignettes about what life might have been like during this time on earth--I especially loved "Teen Bull in Trouble," (page 22) where the author describes the last hours of a young Columbian mammoth, who consumes a tasty snack, then finds himself trapped in a slippery-banked South Dakota hot springs.

But what I love most about this book is that it traces the work of actual scientists. Cheryl Bardoe followed Dr. Daniel Fisher (world renowned mammoth expert and professor at the University of Michigan), Dr. Lawrence Agenbroad at the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs in South Dakota, and Jacqueline Codron, a South African biologist and elephant expert, into their work sites in the field and into their laboratories. She interviewed them extensively and took pictures of them at work. Each chapter in the book is based on a different aspect of their work as scientists. There's an entire chapter, for example, on how Dr. Fisher pieces together information about mammoths and mastodons using information from the rings in cross-sections of the tusks. Another chapter explains how Dr. Codron used information from elephant dung and tail hairs to demonstrate that an elephant population was not responsible for destruction of trees needed to feed other herbivores at Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Bardoe continually demonstrates how the work of these scientists impacts our world today. Over and over again, she links mammoths and mastodons with their modern day elephant cousins. She explores theories of why mammoths and mastodons became extinct and wonders whether that could happen to their modern day cousins. She talks about over hunting and global warming. She makes readers care about saving this species.

The book is full, full, full of incredible photographs and watercolor illustrations and maps and diagrams, sure to catch the eye of even the most reluctant of readers. Great sidebar articles such as, "Did Dinosaurs and Mammoths live at the same time?"provide readers with helpful background information. And there are, of course, the typical nonfiction tools such as headings a glossary, and references, and an index. The book would be a great resource for reviewing tools nonfiction authors use with intermediate grade readers.

A rich, rich read for intermediate grade classrooms.

P.S. There was a big discovery in Colorado this week. Read about the find of a woolly mammoth skeleton in Snowmass Village here.

creative craft challenges anniversary/celebration with lots of sponsors

I just wanted to remind you all about our fantastic 1 year anniversary/celebrations challenge over at creative craft challenges
we have loads of sponsors with 5 different prizes made up so you would be mad to miss it lol,
sponsors include
whiff of joy
crafty ribbons
sugar nellie
stitchy bear designs
meljen designs
lily of the valley
and more
please call over and have a look
we would love to see you all over there


If you asked me to name one of my all time favorite read alouds to use with intermediate grade students, I would not think for very long, maybe a millisecond, before I said, HOW TO STEAL A DOG by Barbara O'Connor. It is, by far, one of my favorite, favorite, favorite read alouds (and I'm not one of those teachers who reads the same books over and over and over again, in fact, I rarely read a book two years in a row).

I couldn't wait, then, to get my hands on Barbara O'Connor's newest book, THE FANTASTIC SECRET OF OWEN JESTER. I've been on the wait list at my library for almost a month, but they only have three copies, and it seemed like it was going to be a while. Tonight, while I was waiting for my son to have his hair rebraided, I broke down and bought it. And am so glad I did. It's terrific!!!!!

Owen Jester's father has lost his job at the hardware store, and the Jester family is living with Owen's grandfather, and his grumpy nurse, Earlene. The house is in a fairly rural area, and Owen has spent two weeks capturing an enormous bullfrog, who he names Tooley Graham-- Tooley for a cousin and Graham for Graham Pond, where the bullfrog was captured. Owen is thrilled to have a pet, but Tooley seems not nearly as happy as Owen.

One night, as the train passes through, Owen hears a mysterious thump. After much searching, he discovers the source of the noise-- a mini-submarine has fallen off of the train. Owen and his friends Travis and Stumpy, along with Viola, the neighborhood know-it-all and pest (not to mention the only one who really knows anything about submarines) hatch a plan to launch the submarine…

I know my intermediate grade readers are going to love this book!

Mermaid Themed Cake

 Designed this mermaid themed cake for a special birthday celebration.  Judi and her family surprised their mom with this beautiful cake and surprise party!  Chocolate cake with cookies and cream. Judi, thanks for sharing the photo of your beautiful mom!


Review copy provided by publisher

We interrupt this month (or two) of CYBILS nonfiction picture book nominee reviews to bring you a Friday of Poetry. The ever prolific, ever poetic Lee Bennett Hopkins has collected sixteen poems about people from different cultures. He's gathered poem stories and images from some of today's best known children's poets and authors- people like Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Carole Boston Weatherford, Nikki Grimes, Jane Yolen, Pat Mora, Janet Wong, and Prince Redcloud- to produce a beautiful collection. And just when you think it can't get any better, well, you aren't going to believe this, but it does, because these poems are illustrated by one of my all time favorite children's book artists- Chris Soentpiet. His paintings are lovely, lovely, lovely- sooooo rich in detail and color.

The lead poem in the collection is one of my favorites, Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Today I'm dedicating it to one of my favorite amazing faces, Son #1,
pictured below at homecoming last week.
(If you missed Son #2, you can check him out on last week's Poetry Friday).

"Amazing Face"
Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Amazing, your face.

You will climb stalks,
greet giants,
crawl before you walk.
And you will fly.
And you will fall.
And you will fly again.

Amazing, your face.

Toby Speed and her friend Kashi are hosting POETRY FRIDAY here.

Halloween Cupcakes

Made these cute cupcakes for my little one's school party today.  Jeremy helped me cutting the pumpkins, bats and cats.  So much fun!! 

Two more Life-Size books- Teruyuki


This is my third year as a judge for the CYBILS. After I read the books myself, I always take them to school to try them out with kids. Last year, one of the most-loved, most-borrowed (and most fought-over) Cybils nominees was Teruyuki Komiya's LIFE-SIZE ZOO. I'm not surprised, then, to see two more "Life-Size" books on the list of CYBILS nominees. These books are kid (OK, and adult!) reading magnets.

If you are not familiar with the series, you absolutely need to check it out. Each of these large (12"x 18") books begins with a table of contents cleverly designed as a map similar to what you would pick up when you entered a zoo or aquarium. From there on, though, it's gorgeous photograph after gorgeous photograph after gorgeous photograph of animals. And they are all life-sized! MORE LIFE-SIZE ZOO features a four-fold (ok, this one is a little hard to fold) lion, another four-page spread of a hippopotamus, a baby kangaroo eating a stalk of grass, a two-page polar bear head, a cheetah, a bison, a leopard, a racoon, and several other more unusual animals, such as an okapi and a gibbon. LIFE-SIZE AQUARIUM includes a little of everything you might see in an aquarium- fish, penguins, whales, dolphins, lizards, sea turtles, jellyfish, etc. My favorites were the four-page walrus (close enough to count the hairs on his face and marvel over his long tusks), the four-page orca, and the fin on the sea turtle.

The LIFE-SIZE books are relatively simple in format, but also contain some great textual tools. A bar down the right side of each page highlights the part of the body that's been photographed, a TIME FOR A CLOSE UP section points out four or five key features and sometimes identifies their purpose, then a FACTS section gives four or five important facts. These books, aside from being so dang much fun, would be great mentor texts for young children learning to write research reports.

Can't wait to see Teruyuki Komiya's next LIFE-SIZE book. This series is terrific!

Im going to be featured in jasmines cards newsletter in feb WOO HOO

Im over the moon, its the first time anyone has put my work anywhere and im so excited lol

sam was asking for folks who might be interested and i thought why not try my luck you never know, and she has asked me to be blog of the month!!!!

I couldnt believe it.

so i will be in the feb edition of her newsletter at jasmines cards


Bugs and Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter by Amy S. Hansen

There's a cold wind blowing in Colorado tonight. And even though the trees are still sporting scarves of red and gold, and even though it's supposed to be 71 degrees on Saturday for the boys' last regular season football game, I can't help but think that winter is right around the corner.

It's a perfect night, then, for BUGS AND BUGSICLES. The book begins in late September, when a monarch butterfly, a honey bee, pavement ants, a praying mantis, a field cricket, and an arctic woolly bear caterpillar are just beginning their preparations for winter. Author Amy S. Hansen then follows eight different insects' journey through the winter.

The praying mantis lays three hundred eggs in a sticky, foamy egg sack, then dies. The ladybug engages in a special kind of hibernation (diapause), awakens in spring to mate, then most likely dies before summer. The Monarch Butterfly migrates to Mexico. And most interesting, the Arctic Woolly Bear Caterpillar freezes into a "bugsicle" then thaws out the next spring (and does this seven years in a row!)

The graceful, almost poetic writing in this book is enhanced by wildlife illustrator Robert Kray's beautiful, super-detailed illustrations of insects in a variety of habitats. Appendices include two experiments for young scientists to try. There is a also a list of books and websites for further reading, as well as a glossary and index. And for those of us who are trying to help kids understand text structures, this is a great example of an enumerative text with parallel topics.

Woo hooo, its our anniversary at creative crafts, lots of prizes for you

Wow can you believe a whole year has passed,

we have been super duper busy getting things ready for you over at
creative craft challenges and im very happy to say we have some fab sponsors for you all,

you really ought to pop over and have a nosey as we have 4 new girls who have agreed to join us,

they are extremely talented ladies who i hope will enjoy thier time with us,

The challenge is off course

so pop by and see whats happening,
Here is 1 of my dt cards, the others are over on the challenge blog,

this one is using stitchybear stamp digis and digital papers

i just love this sentiment its beautiful


MEET THE HOWLERS- April Pulley Sayre

MEET THE HOWLERS is an unusual combination of fiction/poetry and nonfiction. Almost every page contains both a short stanza of poetry, e.g.
Meet the howlers!
Living life on the go
Meet the howlers!
and also a chunk of factual information about the howler monkey, e.g.
"Howler monkeys are named for their incredibly loud calls, which can be heard a mile away. Only adult male mantled howler monkeys can actually howl. Infants make quiet "play calls" and young males yip or squeak."
Kids will enjoy chiming in on the repeating refrain, "Woo-hoo-hoo! AH-UH-OH!" I also think they will love learning the factual information. Did you know, for instance that howler monkeys urinate or drop things on the heads of other creatures that get too close? It would be fun, I think, to use this book to talk about the differences between fiction and nonfiction. It would also be interesting to talk about the research the author had to do to enable her to write this book. Appendices include "More About the Howler Monkeys" and also a map of where howlers live.

Halloween Birthday Cake

Designed this  spooky fun cake for a birthday party this weekend.  Mom was thrilled when she picked up the cake.  Bottom cake was a moist vanilla cake filled with strawberry buttercream.  Top was a chocolate cake filled with cookies and cream buttercream. 


I kept wanting to smell the sweet aroma of roses when we were putting together this cake.  The flowers looked so real that it was scary!  The Bride, Sarah, wrote me an e-mail and said the following "Sandra, that cake was beyond anything I could have imagined. Everyone came up to talk about the flowers. I'm considering saving them with the figures. Which, by the way, were SUPER CUTE. It tasted phenomenal and I couldn't have asked for (or found) anything better".  So glad everyone appreciated the labor of love that went into this cake!  Contratulations! This was an amaretto cake filled with alternating layers of vanilla and dulce de leche and a vanilla rum cake filled with passion fruit buttercream.

loads on offer

you really need to pop over to creative craft challenges tomorrow as we have a big celebration and lots of prizes on offer,
we would love to see you there,
also we have our new dt girlies to formally introduce so not to be missed
hope to see you there xxx


Our washing machine is broken. Lest I appear an unfit mother, I will carefully avoid ugly comments about teenagers who leave things in their pockets and damage the water pump on the machine, or two weeks later yank the door of the front loading washing machine open mid-cycle. I will also not make comments about teenagers who seem not to mind at all that their mother is dragging seven laundry bags of clothes to the laundromat each week while they sit home and watch television on a Sunday night.

So anyway, tonight I had to go to the laundromat. And I usually I don't particularly enjoy the laundromat. But tonight it wasn't so bad. Why, you ask? Well, because this afternoon at the library I found CLEMENTINE: FRIEND OF THE WEEK. And I love Clementine! I love that she finds the names of her pets in the bathroom, because there are so many beautiful words in there. I love that she is not perfect. I love her descriptions of her friend, Margaret, who is.

In this fourth book in the series, Clementine has been nominated for friend of the week. She wants people to write nice things in her "Friend of the Week" book, so she works hard at doing nice things for her classmates. She gives lots of compliments, sets up her own tattoo parlor on the playground, and makes big plans to help decorate everyone's bike for a weekend rally. Toward the end of the week, however, she is forced to put aside all of her plans when her kitten, Moisturizer, goes missing.

Clementine made the laundromat a whole lot more enjoyable tonight!

Is It Really That Important?

November 2, 2010 is only a little over a week away! It is Election Day, the Midterm Elections, as it is often called. Most people don't think it's very important! Most people say they only vote in the Presidential Election every four years! But this election is important!

Americans seem to be dissatisfied with the way things in this country are going. I am not saying all is well, but things are heading in the right direction, in my humble opinion. The stock market has been having much better days and weeks, manufacturing appears to be on the up rise, slowly but surely, and unemployment, although still way too high, is leveling off and slowly moving downward!

The Democrats, under President Obama's leadership, are moving this country forward. The recovery has not been as quick as many would like, but it is happening. And it's happening with real change! I know the mantra that Bush got us here is old, but it is TRUE! It took eight long years to get in the shitty shape this country is in, and it may take some time to get the US back out of trouble.

Many think the bailouts of the banks, auto industry, and other assistance cost way too much! I however, disagree! Imagine what this country would look like if the big banks and the big auto companies went totally under! Think unemployment is bad now? Imagine ALL of GM and Chrysler's employees being on the food lines! Imagine ALL the mortgages held by some of the largest banks going under! The Dems have put in place some real regulations on Wall Street! The Repubs want NO regulations! Just the thing that got us here in the first place!

Health Care in the US, often tauted as Obama-Care, is a PLUS for us! It did not go far enough, but it's a start! We cannot simply abandon it and go back! That's what the Repubs and Tea Party people want! "Leave mine alone! Don't fix it for the few!" That was some of the comments heard during the health care debate!

Bottom line: the Repubs don't care about anybody but themselves! The Repubs just want us to go backwards! That is why it is so important to vote on November 2nd! The vote is to move forward, or go backwards!


According to his website, David Adler has written over 200 books. It's not surprising, then, that several of them, at least three that I can count, would end up as CYBILS nominees. Two are related to math

I could have used FRACTIONS, DECIMALS, AND PERCENTS on Friday. I had gone into a sixth grade classroom and was waiting for the teacher to finish a math lesson so we could start writing. Most of the kids have at least some understanding of money-- they visit the neighborhood convenience store on a fairly regular basis. Many of these same students, however, were more than a little confused during Friday's lesson on converting fractions into decimals, and FRACTIONS, DECIMALS, AND PERCENTS would have been a nice segue. Adler uses the prices and signs at a county fair to demonstrate how fractions, decimals, and percentages are related to each other, then review place value and demonstrates how to convert fractions to decimals. He also devotes several pages to explaining when people might use each term, e.g. "If the man at the pie eating contest ate four full pies and half of another pie, he would probably say, 'I ate four and 1/2 pies…he would probably not say 'I ate four pies and 50% of a fifth pie.'" The book would be a terrific math lesson for any intermediate grade teacher, especially if he/she had a document camera so that kids could have some time to examine the illustrations.

Adler's other math-related CYBILS nominee is TIME ZONES. If you have ever had the experience of explaining of trying to explain time zones to a group of eyebrow raising, incredulous/doubtful/non-believing children (and I have, several times) you will definitely appreciate TIME ZONES. Adler opens the book explaining what children in various places around the world would be doing when it is 6 am in Los Angeles. He then covers such topics as how time zones came to be, why time zone lines aren't straight (so they don't go divide major cities), and the International Date Line. The illustrations are clever collage combinations of an astronaut flying children around the world, aliens, clocks, maps, and even a photograph of the International Meridian Conference in 1884. Appendices in the back include a map of U.S. time zones, an explanation of Daylight Savings Time, and an experiment for kids to try.

Another great read aloud for math time.

P.S. I apologize for the way the images are appearing. Not quite sure what I am doing wrong today but everything is going all over the page.


OK, today marks the start of my official CYBILS review. It seems impossible to me that out of the 111 picture books nominated for the best nonfiction picture book, I have only read four! Yes, that's right! Four! That's all! I'm excited, then, about the 107 books I'm going to come to know (and probably love, at least for a lot of them)! So let's get reading…

At the top of the stack is 1+1=5 AND OTHER UNLIKELY ADDITIONS by David LaRochelle. This book kind of reminds me of an old, old friend, the ABC book, Q IS FOR DUCK, except it's focused on math. Each right hand page has the 1+1 math "fact," but each answer is different e.g. 1 +1 =3, or 1+1= 110 or 1+1=0. It's up to the reader to use the clues in Brenda Sexton's bright, digitally produced illustrations, to figure out the meaning of the equation, which is revealed on the next page. 1 +1 =3 (1 unicorn + 1 goat =3 horns), 1+1=hundreds (1 pumpkin +1 watermelon= hundreds of seeds), 1 +1 =0(1 snake +1 worm = 0 legs).

A really clever book that I think kids of all ages are going to absolutely love!

whats your strangest request for a card

It seems to be the chat of my week so i thought id ask you lot,
what is the weirdest/strangest card you have been asked to make for someone?
mine would have to be a retirement card for a man
i was asked to incorporate cruise ships/jack daniels and corkys alcohol
with the added lovely bonis for me of writing the "happy retirement steve" in chinese, yep it took me half an hour to write it and just as long to find it on the net to copy lol,
he was only going to china on holiday so he had no idea what it read as he cant even speak chinese lol,
so back to you!!!
whats yours?????


This picture has absolutely nothing to do with the post
(aside from the fact that this is one of the babies that I pray for every day).
Son#2 at homecoming last week.

I've been a teacher in urban schools for about 25 years. I've heard lots of hard stories. This year, though, has been exceptionally difficult. Story after story after story after story. Every. single. day. The kind that take your breath away- kids being hospitalized in psych wards, drive by shootings, pregnant teenagers, incarcerated parents, kids moving from foster home to foster home to foster home- with no sense of belonging or being loved, family members dying. Kids coming to school every day and needing to be rocked and loved and put back together before they can even begin to think about learning. This morning, when I was thinking about Poetry Friday, I remembered this poem/prayer by one of my heroes, Marion Wright Edelman. And it kinda seemed to fit.

A Prayer for Children


We pray for children
Who sneak popsicles before supper,
Who erase holes in math workbooks,
Who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those
Who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
Who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
Who never "counted potatoes,"
Who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
Who never go to the circus,
Who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
Who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.
And we pray for those
Who never get dessert,
Who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
Who watch their parents watch them die,
Who can't find any bread to steal,
Who don't have any rooms to clean up,
Whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
Whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
Who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
Who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
Who like ghost stories,
Who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub,
Who get visits from the tooth fairy,
Who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
Who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
Whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
Whose nightmares come in the daytime,
Who will eat anything,
Who have never seen a dentist,
Who aren't spoiled by anybody,
Who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
Who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children who want to be carried and for those who must,
For those we never give up on and for those who don't get a second chance.
For those we smother ... and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

We pray for children.


A bit of a weird one but you know what they say...the customer is always right lol

Here is a card my mum asked for,for a friend she is a landlady of the local and a mad bingo lover, so my mum wanted to have a bingo themed card,
I used my glossy accents on the prima flowers and once it had dried it looked like this, nice hey.
looks a bit like glass i thought, now i cant take the credit for this as i saw it somewhere but cant for the life of me remember where. I am entering this into the following challenges
  1. Totallp papercrafts - stick a number on it (definately done that)
  2. Ooh la la - scary stuff (my interpretation is some what different but my theme was you never would want to get in between a lady and her bingo winnings its scary stuff lol)
  3. penny's - circles
  4. Truly scrumptious - easel card


  • prima flowers
  • la pashe flippin stamps
  • computer generated text
  • metal charm from meiflower
  • promarkers
  • ribbon from stash
  • green card stock
  • papers from papermania stash
  • sakuras
  • glossy accents
  • gem brads

What do you think lol


pink and yummy

Here i am again with my cupcake decoupage pad and papers, i must admit i decoupage isnt my fave thing but i do so love these,

I have followed a few challenges for this
OSAAT - embellish with your fave things
OCC - embelishments, the more the merrier
ABC - f is for flowers
What do you think?
glossy accents
scallop 6x6 card blank
pink card stock
dovecraft papers and decoupage pack
card candy
rik rak
hanmade tag
stampin up sentiment
white sakura pen
silk flowers
My fave embellies are of couse my flowers tee hee, i love flowers of all kinds
fabric/paper/silk etc etc

More E2C Scrapathon layouts

For the 35 questions challenge over at Twiddleybitz.
Very grateful to Louise for answering the questions at the recent E2C scrapathon
I initially was going to transfer her answers, but love the personal touch her handwriting gives the layout.
Thanks Lou!!xx
layout inspired by Ann Christin.

Using Wallpaper....loved playing with it at the retreat.
And what Denise E did with it was amazing!!!
and thanks to Wendy for the bit of it.
This is for the punctuation symbol challenge over at Escape2Create

My next class at the Sheoak Cottage.
This gorgeous photo of this gorgeous girl was taken by Amanda Hall.

Using stamps to create a border.

And this one was a very very quick layout..inked the cogs, stuck them on, title and journalling and it was done. Not overly happy with it, but my son thinks its great!! ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!
And also thank you for all your lovely comments lately..I really appreciate them.

Canola photo shoot

I had such a wonderful time at the E2C scrapathon retreat.
a great weekend spent with a gorgeous bunch of girls.
Here is one layout I completed...blogger has decided that now is a good time to do some maintenance and I am unable to upload any more photos  so hope to be back tomorrow with a few more

thanks for stopping by!


Here we are again, how those wednesdays fly by these days,
here is my little desk today,
If you can see i have some of my stamps out that ive been stamping and of course my promarkers although only 1 in my pic i can assure you i have triple figures lol, im what you might call an addict.
ive also got some printed ruby wedding anniversary poems for a commision i have to make,
there are still papers an scraps all over there as i keep everything lol
well you never know if you might want to use it later lol.
why not pop over to WOYWW and have a nosey round the blogs i know i will be.


a simple christmas card for you

I have dozens and dozens of christmas cards to make an so far this one makes 10 ish,
so a long way to go yet, im after simple ones to make but not boring, if you know what i mean lol,
I bought the book of deluxe decoupage last year in the sale an i really like them,
  • stampin up sentiment
  • card candy
  • deluxe dovecraft decoupage booklet
  • holographic card stock
  • red stickles
  • 6x6 in card blank
  • whire gross grain ribbon form stampin up
  • sakura pens
  • memento ink in london fag

It is a very simple card but think it looks ok?

ive been busy lately doing my DT cards so havent a lot to show you at the moment but when i do there will be a few lol xxx



Designed this beautiful cake for Takara's wedding today at Vero Beach Disney Resort.  The design incorporated details of her wedding dress such as the swag and the orchids she would use as part of her centerpieces.  Bottom tier was a yummy chocolate cake filled with raspberry buttercream and a thin layer of chocolate ganache, middle tier was a vanilla rum cake filled with passion fruit buttercream and top was Baileys filled with chocolate buttercream and ganache.

Congratulations once again Takara, I hope your wedding was everything you hoped for and much more!


Review copy provided by publisher.

Yesterday I posted a review of TUTUS AREN'T MY STYLE. Today's review features another main character trying to find her place in a world that doesn't quite fit her, but this time it's a YA novel, SONGS FOR A TEENAGE NOMAD.

Fourteen year old Calle (pronounced Callie) and her mother live a nomadic life. Calle's father left when she was very small, and she has spent most of her life moving from one California town to the next. Each time another relationship ends, Calle's mom, gets out a map, and tosses a coin, then they pack the car and move to wherever the coin has landed. Calle doesn't bother to make friends or put down roots, because she knows she won't be staying anywhere for very long. The one constant in her life is her song journal, where she records vignettes or memories inspired by different songs. Each chapter begins with one of these memories.

At the beginning of this book, Calle and her mom land in San Andreas Bay, one of the prettiest places they have ever lived. Contrary to her usual pattern, Calle become part of the drama crowd at school, and also becomes friends with Sam, a football player who is dealing with his own struggles at home. She also discovers a wooden box, then a drawer containing artifacts about her father and begins to piece together the pieces of that mystery.

This is one of those books where all of the pieces just work. The teenager living on the edge of high school piece. The absent father piece. The song journal. And it reads a little like a mystery, where you can wait to read the next chapter to see how all of the pieces fit together. But the ending, unlike most puzzles but true to most real lives, is more than a little messy. A great read that I will share with our sixth graders tomorrow.


I stumbled onto TUTUS AREN'T MY STYLE on Thursday afternoon. I was visiting a first/second grade class and arrived just in time for read aloud. One of the children had chosen TUTUS AREN'T MY STYLE from a rack of new books that Mrs. J had checked out from her public library. I glanced at the cover, and then at my audience of very wiggly boys and thought, "Uh-oh." I scanned the shelf for other options, and picked up a couple, only to have the class inform me that they had already heard those. Giving a little mental sigh, I sat down in the chair, preparing for a read aloud disaster (ok, so to those of you who are still reading, and are making judgments about pseudo administrators who sigh when they have to read to kids- I love, love, love, love, love reading aloud. If someone told me that I could spend my life traveling from venue to venue reading, I would be a happy woman. And I'm generally pretty good at picking out perfect books for different audiences. I rarely read aloud books that I have not already read myself. Or books that I don't like. And yes, I know that books can be read and enjoyed more than one time).

Anyway, back to TUTUS--
Emma, clad in red cowboy boots, is hunting for bugs and pirate treasure in the front yard, when when the mailman delivers a package from her favorite uncle. She opens it to discover a frilly pink ballet costume. Emma has never really viewed herself as a ballerina, but wants to please Uncle Leo, so with a little advice from the mailman, as well as a neighbor walking her dogs, she takes on this new challenge. With an Emma-ish twist.

The results are predictable. First Emma, accompanied by the family cat, tries dancing outside, but crashes into a flowerbed. Ballet is supposed to be accompanied by music, so Emma gets out her kazoo, which unfortunately (though much to the delight of my seven and eight-year-old audience) sounds a little like burping. When Uncle Leo arrives, Emma is less than prepared to put on a performance…But, as you might expect, there's a really fun twist to the ending…

When we are done with the read aloud, Mrs. J asks if I will review story elements. We use "superstar comprehension" to run through the basics- character, setting, problem, and solution, and then because I am always curious about what children take away from books (and I'm totally fine if all they take away is a great story), I ask kids about the theme or life lesson. "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit!" suggests the burly, football playing E-man. "When someone gives you a present, even if it isn't what you wanted, you are supposed to be grateful," says A., who is supposedly one of the lowest readers in the class. "Everybody doesn't have to dance the same or be the same," declared the spectacled, serious Miss C.

A really fun read with some pretty great life lessons!

Poetry Friday

This is one of those times when I am totally wishing I could be in two places at once. On one hand, I know these two absolutely gorgeous guys who will be playing football on Friday night, then dressing up, and heading off to homecoming with their honeys on Saturday night, and I want to be here to take pictures and admire what amazing young men they are becoming.

But then on the other hand, I would really love to be getting on a plane tomorrow and heading for Portland, Maine, to honor my dear friend, Don Graves, and his wife, Betty, at a memorial service on Saturday morning…

I'm staying in Colorado, but a big chunk of my heart will be in Portland, Maine at 10:00 on Saturday morning.

Gone From My Sight
by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone"

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

And that is dying...