Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sugar Cookies: A Family Tradition

Every year we decorate sugar cookies as a family.

First we baked some of these...


Then we did a little of this...


And added some of these...


While Kota (Dakota) was doing a little of this...


Aren't his eyes cute?!

All photos Courtesy of Allison.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

War Horse Movie Review

In close to a week from today we'll celebrate Christ’s birth, remembering how He came and giving presents for the season. It’s also the day that thousands of people will make the trek to the theater to watch a movie that has nothing to do with Christmas, but with machine guns, bravery and a horse. 

Now I like movies. Especially free ones with horses in them. So of course when we were offered free tickets to go see an early preview, we went.

Say hello to Joey, a beautiful horse purchased by Albert's too prideful father. Albert is then put in charge of the horse and there is an instant bond. BUT when things go wrong and Joey is sold as a war horse Albert can only wait for one thing: being old enough to enlist in the army.  Joey encounters many people and seems to give hope and courage while fleeing from bombs, dodging bullets and sacrificially giving himself until he can finally be reunited to his boy.

Many are calling this PG-13 rated movie a sure family film, and as a war movie coming from Hollywood I'm sure it is. Though the violence can be tense there is very little to no blood shown and 6 profanities (6 more than I would like). It’s got courage, bravery, a heart winning horse and a boy's search to win his horse back.

So far sounds good, where do I buy tickets?

At a glance War Horse is pretty amazing. The horse is beautiful and the complexities of the horse scenes are completely compelling. Everything seems so realistic and humorous. 

Joey’s encounters, though a bit far fetched, are ones that remind you how one person can impact many.  I was heavily disappointed with Albert’s role in the movie. Though he has some tense scenes, he doesn’t do much for himself. It’s his friends that fight for him. Friends fighting for you can be great, but it left Albert looking weak and more or less helpless in certain areas.  

You may think this is one movie that you can guess from beginning to end. You’re wrong.
When Albert is working with Joey in front of a group of people the pressure becomes to much and Albert whips Joey. Even though they accomplish what they wanted later it brings a different perspective to the scene. Though I have nothing against discipline, it gave me a negative opinion of Albert because he was more focused on the pressure than with working with Joey. 

In reality not much of what you expect to happen essentially does. In several scenes this brought a wall making it much harder to enjoy the movie. 


The anti-war message is pretty blunt: War Takes Everything. There are certain realities of war that are worth portraying: killing it not a joy, war it not fun and certain honors that are won some wish forgotten. But when neither side wishes to fight and thousands drop dead in a single battle, when is it going too far? 

Everyone wants to enlist; fighting for your country is the most glorious thing ever. In a way Albert surpasses everyone. The boy whose father has been shunned for his drinking goes to war and is the first to break past enemy lines, his bravery brought him there, he didn’t leave his friend behind. But he doesn’t glory it what he did, no one does. Wars always have two side, both do terrible things yet both are human. Neither really wishes to fight. In fact when brought together by Joey they work together as friends. If only we could just talk and communicate we’d all get along. 

After we watched the movie my Dad said one thing that seemed to stick “Spielberg’s getting older”. When a non-Christians at an old age looks back as his life, what is his impression?  

According to War Horse: Life is not fair. If you do good things you will not always reap good rewards. Bravery is sometimes just staying alive during the hard times. 

Albert’s father has never had a happy life, one full of struggles and hardships. The boy who tries to keep his promise is killed for it. The cherished granddaughter doesn’t survive the war.
“I used to think God gave everyone their share of bad luck. I’m not so sure of that now.”
Every once in a while God will look down a bless someone with luck. Joey was one of those “ones”. It brought up the question of “Why should we have morals?” one that is never fully answered.  In general life is very sad and hopeless. 

Overall Steven Spielberg’s main movie problem was Joey. There are certain characteristics that are not best portrayed through a horse. People are not horses and not everyone likes horses. In fact if you don’t like horses this movie may become much drearier, long, and in ways dark. 

Why? Because Spielberg draws you in through Joey, a beautiful, 1500 pound thoroughbred horse

I have to say I still ‘liked’ this movie, but then again I like just about every animal movie I see.
But with its pelting anti-war message, views of luck and life, and its disappointing plot twist I definitely would not call this “family friendly” movie and have a hard time recommending it. 

Not all war is bad, point of fact, some is necessary; Life it not a purposeless blob with ups and down at random; Horses are not wiser than humans.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Pleated Rose Bracelet Tutorial

Here's another tutorial. Perfect for a last minute Christmas gift!

Ever since I saw Flamingo Toes Romantic Ruffled Bracelet I knew I wanted to give a cuff bracelet a try. Here's what I came up with...


I just love how it turned out! :) It might become a new favorite.

Ready? Here's a tutorial to get ya going.

What you'll need...
Fabric scraps
Assortment of Buttons and Beads
Matching Thread
2 complete snaps
Your necessary sewing tools (ie. Scissors, needle, iron, pins, tape measure)

Lets cut the fabric...
-20sih x 4ish for bracelet
-8.5x1.5 (or desired width) for bracelet backing 
-15x 1.5ish (main flower)
-{2} 12x 1ish (rosetta flowers)

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Taking your bracelet piece being pleating it starting from the middle. The idea is to do the pleats back and forth adding slight diagonals and overlapping it some. First pinch a small section (anywhere from 1/8-1/4) and iron it down.

Then pin it and continue.

After you've finished pining continue by basting around the edges using your sewing machine.

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Taking your bracelet backing pin it to the wrong side and top stitch 1/8 inch around the entire backing piece. Trim it down.

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Now its time to embellish your bracelet! For the main flower begin by taking your piece 15"x1.5" and doing a gathering stitch across the bottom. Pulling the thread until it being to create "natural" circles. Simply "mold" your flower into shape and once your satisfied tack it down using a needle and thread.

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Centering it on your bracelet sew it in place.  Moving on to the rosseta flowers, take your 12x1ish piece and twist like a cord.

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Slowing begin rounding it into a circle stopping to tack it down every 1/3-1/2 turn. Continue process until you get the desired size or run out of fabric.

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Arrange all your buttons, beads and little rose flowers. I used 2 buttons. Then start sewing them all down using a needle and thread.

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Now measure your bracelet. You want it to be 1" longer then a comfortable fit on your wrist. If its too long (like mine was) fold it over the necessary length and sew it down. I did about a 1/2" for each end.
Taking your snaps place two on each side and follow your instructions on the box to secure them in place.

Walla! Your all done. I would have gotten a picture of it on me, but alas the camera was not cooperating.

Linking up with Flamingo Toes.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees are my absolute favorite thing to decorate with during Christmas and there are so many tutorials for so many great trees this year! Here are just a few favorites.

Wire Christmas Tree guest posted on U-Create  from Cream Home Decorating

Ruffled Christmas Tree Guest posted on Southern Institute from Sew Much Ado

Folded Paper Christmas Trees from Landee See Landee Do

Cupcake Liner Christmas Trees guest posted on Tatertots and Jello from the 36th Avenue


Friday, December 16, 2011

Cupcake Liner Tree Tutorial

After seeing these Cupcake Liner Christmas Trees over at Tater Tots and Jello I was immediately inspired to make a "flat" Christmas tree for a Christmas Party. I thought I was so creative until I looked back at the guest post and noticed she suggested the same thing! Oh well, both are great!

What you need:
Cupcake liners. (Not many I think I used 5)
Back Paper
Hot Glue
Twine for the stump (optional)

Start by freehand drawing your tree onto your paper. Mine was about 6" tall and 4.5 wide. Here I've outlined my tree using Gimp so you could see it, in reality its not that perfect!

Then cut the bottom off your cupcake liners.

I decided to use Hot Glue for this project because it dries extremely fast, which is pretty important. Glue your first layer to the side of your tree. My first layer was about the length of 1 cupcake liner. As you move up just trim a little off the cupcake liner.   When you straiten your liner out it will create a U shape. Scrunch the U shape down and glue into place. Continue until you've finished the piece. As you movie higher up on the tree you'll have to scrunch less.

 For the top cut out a small piece, pinch the top together and glue in place.

If you'd like you can now add a stump with paper or twine like I did. For the twine stump cut out 7-8 pieces all the same length and glue them next to each other.

And there you go! A new decor piece for any party or house. 

I'll be linking up with Tatertots and Jello and Flamingo Toes later this week. 


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy National Cupcake Day!

In honor of National Cupcake Day here are some great Christmas Cupcakes to try!

Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes from Bakers Royale

from Half Baked

Rolo Cupcakes from My Baking Addiction 

Polka Dot Christmas Tree Cupcakes from Mrs. Foxes Sweets

Snickerdoodle Duo from Bakerella