Monday, September 30, 2013

Review & Giveaway: Room on the Broom Gift Set - Children's Book, DVD, and Plush Toy

This is a sponsored post.  Complimentary products were provided for review.  The experiences and opinions are both personal, unbiased, and completely my own. No other compensation was provided.

Lets start off the week with a giveaway!  I have an awesome collection from NCircle Entertainment for one of my readers that includes a Room on the Broom Gift Set AND 2 more great NCircle Halloween DVD's!  It's a terrific giveaway that's will have you all set for October fun!

Giveaway Package
"Room on the Broom” DVD
"Room on the Broom" softcover book
"Room on the Broom" plush toy - may differ from the Dragon shown
The Wiggles "Wiggly Halloween" DVD
Pocoyo "Boo" DVD
Total Prize Value: $65

"Room on the Broom" is the story of a kind witch who invites some unexpected animals to join her on her broom, much to the frustration of her cat. Just as the witch is about to be eaten by a hungry dragon, all the animals use their wits to work together and save her.
It's not your average Halloween book, and other than the main character being a witch it's not holiday-ish at all.  What it is, is a funny, heartwarming tale with adventure about friendship and working together.  It's a story both kids and parents can enjoy.

I really liked the charming illustrations by Axel Scheffler and how the story is more substantial than you might first expect.  It's a true read aloud that engages the reader and help establish a love of literature.  That's something this former kindergarten teacher really appreciates.
I love it when there is a way to extend the readers experience with well written and imaginative children's books.  "Room on the Broom," is an enchanting animated program starring "the voice" of Gillian Anderson, along with several other tantalizing prizes. It is based on the top-selling, perennially popular book of the same title by Julia Donaldson, and was created by the production company responsible for "The Gruffalo" and "The Gruffalo's Child."

If I was still in the classroom I would be all about using Room on the Boom as my centerpiece for a week long witch theme during October.  We'd read the book throughout the week and do thematic activities, such as a writing activity like this: "If I had room on the broom, I'd take along a...."  I can just imagine all the fabulous creatures students would finish that statement with!
Then on Friday I'd show this excellent DVD version of the book.  It's spot on for bringing the book to life.  No weird deviations and it's really thrilling to see the dragon brought to life!

My kids were mesmerized by the DVD, not just the featured program but also by the special features.  My seven year old really liked the animation gallery and the live retelling with the author.  She said it was like seeing a play without leaving your home and that it was cool to have a third version of the story.
You might have noticed my two kiddos were joined by a new friend while watching the Room on the Broom DVD.  Also included in the gift set is this sweet character plush!  We received the Dragon in our review pack but the winner may receive another one based on the book.

Dragon is super cute for such a ferocious beast, who just loves to eat witches with a side of fries.  My little guy got a hold of him and hasn't wanted to let go since.  It's very sweet to see him go grab the book and bring along his Dragon so both of them can listen to the story.

Can you tell I am super excited about this book and DVD combo?!  I've already emailed all my teacher friends to recommend they check Room on the Broom out.  I highly recommend it for classroom teachers because it's perfect for October, but it doesn't actually mention Halloween or the holiday.

That's great for those who work in districts that don't allow holidays in the curriculum or for when there is a child in the class who for religious reasons cannot participate in holiday related activities.  Usually, as long as it doesn't talk about trick or treating it can skirt the no holiday rule.  Plus the story has all sorts of great elements than can be used for teaching, like rhyming, the reading extension activity I mentioned above, etc.

Please use Rafflcopter widget below to enter.  Email subscribers will need to click over to access the form and enter.  Good Luck!  Open to US Residents, 18 and older.  Winner will be contacted via email and have 48 hours to respond before a new one is selected.  NCircle is the sponsor for this giveaway and responsible for giveaway fulfillment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fabric Covered Binder Tutorial: Featuring Wholeport Fabric, Sponsor Post

Over the smmer my daughter took a kid's cooking camp and each day she got a copy of the recipe they made and is looking forward to more kitchen adventures.  We didn't really have a place to keep the handouts she had gotten and she needed someplace to keep copies of any new recipes she makes and likes.
As you might already know, Wholeport is one of my blog's sponsors and recently I saw this super cute fabric on their site.  I knew it would be perfect for a making a recipe binder for her.  I was very excited when they sent me a complimentary sample to create with!

We started with a marked up and slightly dinged binder found in the back to school sales clearance section at the store and it was a steal at less than a dollar.  Sure it didn't look the best, but that really didn't matter because we were going to cover it right up.
We're so happy with how it turned out after we gave it new life by covering with the Wholeport fabric!

Cotton Canvas Fabric Cloth-DIY Cloth Art Manual Cloth Smile Design 59" Wide
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
Cutting Mat

To start our simple project, I opened up the binder and laid it on top of the fabric.  The I cut around it, leaving about a 2 inch border on all sides.  A one inch border would be plenty but I wanted a little wiggle room when placing the fabric so I'd like how the fabric appeared on the front.  After cutting, iron the fabric.
Place your binder on top of the fabric and position so you like how it so you are happy with the placement of the fabric's design on the front of the cover.  When satisfied, I put a little hot glue on the front and back of the binder to hold it on place while working with fabric.

Cut a notch at the top and bottom of the spine as shown above.  Fold over at the top and hot glue into place (above).  This creates a smooth seem.  Then fold up and hot glue down underneath the metal binder.
Trim each corner as show, to cut down on bulk while folding to cover your binder.
Fold over side edge.  You can start with either the top or bottom, I just prefer to begin with the side edge.  Hot glue into place, pulling tautly as you do so.
Fold up bottom fabric and hot glue down, tucking in corner as needed.
When you are done hot gluing down each side you should have something like this.  The front is now cute but the inside is not quite there.
Cut extra fabric to cover the inside of the binder.  Hot glue into place to give it a more finished look inside the binder.  You can even use more extra fabric to make yourself a little pocket if you like.
There you have it, a cute recipe binder!  Thank you to Wholeport for sponsoring my blog and providing me with an awesome selection of crafting supplies! Check them out for all your creative needs.

This project has been shared at: Homework: Today's Assignment: Be Inspired, Sugar Bee Crafts, Kathe with an E, and The DIY Dreamer.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Two Quick Cards from Paper Scraps

I haven't shared any cards in awhile, mainly because I haven't made any!  But last weekend, I had a number of letters I needed to send and a paper scrap box filled to overflowing.  It seemed a little card making fun was in order. I had such a fun time turning one large leftover sheet into two quick cards.
The leftover sheet was one of those papers that could be cut into several borders, as it has rows of coordinating designs on it.  I simply cut it to size, no extra layering of papers was needed to add interest.

A scrap of orange checked paper became a mat for a mounted sticker and a little bow gives it the extra bit of embellishment needed to take the card from okay to special.  I also used a little foam tape between the white paper and orange checked mat for a extra dimension.
The second card was sent off to my mother-on-law with a quick note of thanks from E for a back to school clothes shopping gift card Grandma provided.
Once again it's just the leftover paper cut to fit and a tad bit of embellishing for a quick card.  The layers and bow are deluxe additions when used on store bought cards and I think these extra bits of lovely, are simple was to make something thoughtful.

Do you ever make your own cards?  What is your favorite reason for sending a handmade greeting?


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Baby Boy Scrapbook Pages: Mixing Page Sizes

Awhile ago, I rather abruptly stopped my weekly series of Baby Boy Scrapbook Pages. That wasn't because I stopped making progress on my little guy's first year of album. I had just reached a point where there were a lot of seasonal layouts coming up and it didn't seem right to be posting pages of fall activities and pumpkins as summer was beginning.

I decided to hold off sharing those pages until September when they'd be more seasonally appropriate BUT I meant to share a couple more pages, like the ones I have today, and explain why I this scrapbook series was on temporary hiatus. Obviously, I never quite got around to that, guess we were enjoying our summer too much!

I'm excited to start sharing this collection of scrapbook pages again!  There's just one little change, I've decided to move the post day from Monday to Thursday.  So expect to see installments on a regular basis.  I hope they give you some ideas and inspiration for scrapping your baby's precious first memories.  Even if you don't have a little one to document, many of the ideas and layouts can be easily modified to any theme.
Getting back on track, let's start back up with a couple 8.5X11 layouts from LB's first September.  These two layouts are placed in LB's First Year Album Vol. 1 between previously shared layouts Sibling Love and So Happy Together and above, is how they appear within the scrapbook.  As you can see, I've mixed up page protector sizes.

Prior to starting Project Life I pretty much exclusively scrapped 12X12 pages.  Now that I regularly include inserts and all sorts of fun stuff into my Project Life albums, I've gotten way more comfortable mixing page protector sizes.

This really works for me because I have never really been a one photo scrapbook page maker because 12X12 just seem like too big of a scrappy canvas.  I would think the one photo would get lost in such on such a big space.  However, 8.5X11 is the perfect size for highlighting one precious photo.
 {Sweet Little Baby of Mine 8.5X11 Layout}

While planning scrapbook pages, I noticed that once we brought LB home, there was a shortage of photos of just the two of us.  I have never been a willing photography subject, but I know it's important for me to appear within our family's memories so I do try to get in front of the camera from time to time.

I think this oversight was because I had a rough recovery, with post delivery complications that meant I was just trying to get through the day!   Since there aren't many of me with LB I thought it was especially important to scrap them.  This isn't of a particularly special time, just some snuggles on the couch.  It was okay to use rather generic, albeit cutely themed, supplies.  I was able to use a pre-made sticker title, quote sticker, and a onesie epoxy sticker all my stash.  These were all leftover from my now seven year old daughter's baby pages so it was great to revisit older things.   A Project Life journaling grid card, border sticker, and new papers round out the supplies used.
On the other side of the "Sweet Little Baby of Mine" layout is "Snug as a Bug".  I took this photo for a MAM Baby Products review.  While you could say this was taken on assignment, it turned out to be one of my favorite newborn pictures of LB.  He just looks so itty bitty and still has that brand new infant look.  The little hoodie was also a favorite, it has a cute little bug face complete with antenna on it's hood.  It seemed like an obvious place start when picking supplies for the layout and Basic Grey's Bowties 6X6 paper pad gave me the perfectly scaled down papers to use.
{Detail of Snug as a Bug 8.5X11 Layout}

While both of today's layouts are simple, I think they are the perfect size for highlighting a memory when there is only one photo to support it.  So tell me, do you mix up sizes in your albums?  What is your favorite size layout to scrap?


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Gorgeous Sew Fierce Long Sleeve Peasant Dress & Chunky Necklace

My daughter absolutely LOVED the holiday dress I got for her last year from Sew Fierce.  So much that she wanted to keep wearing it long after Christmas had come and gone.  It's so comfortable and easy to put on, with no buttons or zippers to deal with, and it looks equally lovely with or without the sash.
As we planned her fall wardrobe, ER was quick to remind me she really wanted a new long sleeved peasant style dress.  It took just a few messages back and forth with Sew Fierce owner Steph and we were all set up for a new custom made dress.  It just arrived and it is gorgeous!
The long sleeved peasant style has so many pretty details, from the sash to the ruffled hem.
Isn't the fabric Steph picked for us stunning?  It's so pretty and pink, just like E wanted, but a more sophisticated pink that reflects how my little girl is turning into a little lady.  The colors are so rich and vibrant.  When Steph sent me a photo of a swatch to look at, I knew E would flip for it.
Steph also makes the ultimate little girl accessory - chunky necklaces!  They are such a fun statement look.  Youthful, kitchy, with sparkle and glamour, they are what every girly girl loves.  When I surprised E with it, she squealed with delight when she saw the shiny beads and the My Little Pony on it. 
We love all our Sew Fierce Boutique creations.  They are truly high quality heirloom outfits that are so so much nicer than anything you can buy at the store.  Steph has always been wonderful to work with, so much so that we've become friends and not just etsy seller and fan :)  I can't rave enough about her, and know that you'll all love her beautifully detailed work, go check her out!

FYI: Steph recently launched her new Betsy design.  It's so pretty with it's lace sleeves.  Seriously, you have to go check it out, she's even got adorable Halloween dresses in that style! 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Beautiful 2 Sided FRAAS Scarf, Perfect for Fall & Beyond

This is a review post and a complimentary scarf was provided.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions and experiences are both personal and unbiased.  
Fall seems to have finally arrived and we're enjoying the cooler weather a lot.  I love throwing on a couple layers and a really cute and colorful scarf.  I just got a gorgeous new one from FRAAS and it's the perfect seasonal staple to add your wardrobe this year. 
Style 060607 in purple is just lovely, with beautiful rich tones and a super-soft mix of viscose and acrylic it's very soft and comfortable to wear, with a little heavier weight so it is really perfect for this transitional season and all winter long.
It's 14 x72 inches and as it retails for $40, so there's no need to wait and hope it's gifted to you for the holidays.  It's priced right to treat yourself to something fun right now!
Did I mention it's double sided?  Here's a look closer look at multicolored side, so lovely with the mix of blues and purples!  You can arrange it so that one side shows at a time, giving you two options in one scarf.  I love to wear it with both sides peeping out, for a super fun look!
Style 060607 is available petrol, dark red, purple and black.  FRAAS products are sold worldwide via department and specialty stores as well as online retailers. They may also order from the company by calling 212-575-0191. Select styles are available on and


Friday, September 20, 2013

Chronicle Eye Candy Craft Month- Amazing ebook Deals

I just found out about a super cool deal from Chronicle Books that I'm really excited about and I know my crafty friends will be too!  I just happened to be checking out one of my favorite publisher's websites and chanced upon their blog.  I'm so glad I did!  Check out Chronicle Eye Candy for the awesome deals they are running this month on nine of their ebooks, each one starts at just $3.99!  Then make sure you check back as they select new titles for each month!
I immediately spied one title I've had my eye on for awhile: 1,2,3 Sew and scored it for just $2.51 though Google Play!!!  $2.51!!!  Can you believe it?  I'm loving it!   Basically, I'm now planning to go back and purchase pretty much every other book, except for the knit and crochet titles because those are not among my crafting skills.

In case, you are hesitant to purchase a ebook version of a craft book, let me reassure you that you can easily enlarge the photos to get a closer look and there's a download link to get the patterns via a PDF.  My experience on my NookHD has been very good with Chronicle's ebooks.  I hope they release more of their terrific titles in this format.  I would especially like to see Best Lunch Box Ever.


PS: In case you are wondering, since I do frequently post review, this is in no way a sponsored review of either Chronicle Books or NookHD.
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