March 21, 2012

March Madness 2012

It all started with two peach baskets and a soccer ball.
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James Naismith (1861-1939) invented the game of basketball. While teaching physical education at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA, Naismith found himself with a class full of unruly students who were stuck indoors due to harsh weather. The head of his department instructed him to come up with a new game that wouldn't take up too much room nor be too rough, yet would still help to keep the athletes in good shape. Thus, in December of 1891, basketball was born.

The first recorded college basketball game was played between Geneva College and the New Brighton YMCA on April 8, 1893.

Fast forward 119 years.

The 2012 NCAA Tournament dominates the month of March.

We have been following the madness!Photobucket


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Hardwood placemats, made to represent a basketball court, mark each fan's space
at the bar.

Scroll to the end of the post to view how they were made.

Extra large napkins are at hand for drippy, greasy, but oh-so-delicious pub grub.


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Nothin' but Net glasses, lined with paper towels, hold homemade french fries.

Pictures of the materials used for this project are shown below.



Beer steins and individual dip bowls stand ready for the tip-off.
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A yard sale basketball was converted into two chip holders.
Each ball half was glued to a wooden ring for stability.
Scroll down to view the How-To Pictures.
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Oh, I can hear what you're thinking. Yes, it was hand scrubbed inside and out and sent through the dishwasher's heavy cycle twice. I was going to line the inside of the balls with plastic wrap, but never got around to it. Nobody's died of toxic poisoning so far.



A black and white poster-size print, trimmed to fit within an already existing picture, announces the Final Four Menu. I used a font called Chalkdust. It's free for both Windows and Macs.
Kinkos charged $2.42 for printing and paper.
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The salt and pepper set can be found on eBay.
I couldn't resist. Bought two sets.


A basketball pennant is drapped above the television.
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Come claim your seat. We're sitting just behind the bench.

To Super Bowl Sunday

Wooden placements: Laminate flooring, Lowe's; black duct tape, Michaels
Black dinner plates: no markings, yard sale
Flatware, Hammered, Pottery Barn
Napkins: fabric from Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts
French Fry Holders: Glass candleholder/vase, Dollar Tree
Basketball pennant: Party City
Salt and pepper sets: Cosmos Porcelain, eBay; seller: royalsagehome
Individual dip bowls: custard cups, yard sale

PhotobucketA Stroll Thru Life
for Table Top Tuesday
PhotobucketThe Style Sisters
for Centerpiece Wednesday
100Between Naps
on the Porch

for Tablescape Thursday

Hardwood Placemats

PhotobucketPhotobucketTwo pieces of left over laminate flooring from an old remodel were snapped together and cut into a rectangle. The seam is reinforced with packing tape on the underside.

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Edges were bound with black duct tape.

French Fry Holders

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The glasses can be found in the vase section of Dollar Tree.

The paint comes from Michaels.

PhotobucketThis project has taught me one important lesson: Glass painting is not a hobby I should ever consider taking up.
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I bought 8 of these bowls at a yard sale for just pennies. I'm not sure if they were supposed to be prep bowls or custard cups. I've only used them as little dip and sauce bowls. Since I'm NEVER going to use the glass paint again, I slathered the outside of 4 bowls with the same orange paint I used on the fry holders.


Basketball Chip Holder

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Cut two rings from 3/4-inch plywood.
Sand and paint black.

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Place the rings on the ball halves. Using Gorilla Glue, make a ring of glue inside the wooden ring, where the base and the half-ball touch.

Weigh down with something heavy. Allow to dry.

PhotobucketPhotobucketOptional: Cut cardboard dividers like the ones gourmet popcorn companies use to separate different flavors.


March 12, 2012

Meet Flannigan, Hannigan, O'Reilly, and Rourke


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Meet Flannigan, Hannigan, O'Reilly, and Rourke,
And the rest of the wee folk from old County Cork.
They're clever and witty. They have pots full of gold,
And they'll grant you three wishes, or so I've been told.

Of course, there are rules . . . . . that no mortal breaks.
They've stood since St. Patrick drove out the snakes.
You can't wish for love or wish for more wishes,
But other than that, you can wish without glitches.
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Still, they won't grant a wish, don't care what you say,
Till you have one held fast, so he can't get away.
And catching a leprechaun's a hard thing indeed,
It's the Luck of the Irish you'll need to succeed.
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Old men in the pubs know the best ways to trap.
Buy pints all around, and they might draw a map
Of places to go where leprechauns dwell,
And offer some pointers on trapping as well.
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"If you're lookin' for wee folk," the old men will say,
"You can try Glocca Morra, or check Galway Bay."
But it's right here in Cork, where rainbows shine bright,
That most leprechauns live, sipping beer in plain sight.
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Now there's dozens of traps and all kinds of lures.
If you manage to catch one, the gold will be yours,
Plus three wishes too! But this you should heed:
When asking for wishes, think first! Then proceed.
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You can wish for World Peace, or wish to end hunger.
You can wish to lose weight, or wish to look younger.
Or if you're like me, you might use all your wishes,
On an endless supply of fabulous dishes.
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Though it's not really Ireland, we'll pretend for a day.
Wear green, say a prayer, then enjoy the buffet.
And after dessert (which you'll eat with a fork),
Meet Flannigan, Hannigan, O'Reilly, and Rourke.
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For a tutorial on how the little men were made, go here.

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This tablescape was inspired by Alycia Nichols'
March of the Penguins Table
over at Tablescapes at Table 21
(You'll need to scroll down a bit.).
She tucked penguins in all over the place.
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Gold Chargers: Old and cheap
Green dinner plates: Dollar Tree
Gold trimmed salad plates: No information, gift from my mother
Stemware: Rambler Rose, Tiffin Glass Co, inherited
Flatware: Hampton Forge, Kingsley Gold, Macy's
Napkin rings: Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Placemats: Walmart
Black tablecloth: Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Mini plastic caldrons: Halloween trinkets from my friend Kay
Felt Leprechauns: Tutorial can be found here.


I'm linking to:

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Cuisine Kathleen
for the Fourth Annual
St. Patrick's Day
Blog Crawl
100Between Naps
on the Porch

for
Tablescape Thursday
PhotobucketThe Style Sisters
for
Centerpiece Wednesday

March 5, 2012

International Women's Day, 2012

aka: Girls Kick Butt Day
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Thursday is
International Women's Day.

Or, as those who are heavily involved in girls club soccer might be inclined to shout,
"It's Girls Kick Butt Day!"

Admittedly, that's not the most delicate of expressions, but if you have two granddaughters who eat, breathe, and sleep soccer, and relish playing against all-boy teams, well, it sounds a little less distasteful.


Although this tablescape was created as a mini celebration for my granddaughters over a year ago, it seems appropriate to give it some "blog time" in honor of International Women's Day.

When I first set this table, my oldest granddaughter's favorite color was pink. Black is still her sister's favorite color. (Yes, that's what I said. Black. Go ahead and roll your eyes. I understand completely.)Photobucket
If you can't really see what's happening in this picture, perhaps a different angle . . .
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. . . will clear things up.
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Aside from the two Cabbage Patch dolls, a Kick Butt List, pink string lights and a pink doll rain boot filled with a tiny bouquet of impatiens serve as table decorations.

I've never considered turning this blog into a political soapbox, but recent national events have changed that. At least it's changed my attitude for this one particular post, in light of the day's special significance. Photobucket

It seems as though some people in power want to return women to their formally held positions. I wouldn't say those positions could be called that of Second Class Citizens, but rather, positions of Not Quite First Class Citizens. Just thinking about it forms a little layer of ice around my heart.

I turned 15 in 1962. Standing on the sidelines, wearing a pleated skirt, and shaking a pair of pompons while you cheered for the boys playing on the field, was a coveted position back then. Today, girls of all ages, in almost all walks of life, have moved from the sidelines and become players - serious players. And we have started to see boys cheering them on.
But lately, things have begun to turn around.

I hope we don't lose ground. I hope we continue to move forward.
I hope it for the sake of the two girls who ate at this table. I hope it for my newest, two-month old granddaughter.
I hope it for all the little girls who, much too quickly in the eyes of their grandmothers, move steadily on their way to becoming tomorrow's women.

This year's International Women's Day website theme: "Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures."
PhotobucketA Stroll Thru Life
for Table Top Tuesday
100Between Naps
on the Porch

for Tablescape Thursday


Tablecloth: Bed, Bath and Beyond
Placemats: JoAnne Fabrics
Red plates, bowls and mugs: Waechtersbach, Crate and Barrel
Red flatware: Splendente Italian Flatware, NapaStyle
Red star plates: Winterberry, Pfaltzgraff
Heart-rimmed dessert plates: Crate and Barrel
Pink Heart-shaped bowls: Michaels
Cabbage Patch Dolls: Originally belonged to my daughter. Santa brought them to her daughters five years ago.

March 2, 2012

It's Read Across America Day

So Let's Have Fun with Dick and Jane . . . . and Gracie, too!Photobucket

There are a lot of us out there in Bloggerland who learned to read using the famous Dick and Jane series. Although the series has been highly criticized by numerous educational groups (citing repetitious language, its famously manicured lawns, and an all-white cast of characters), it's obvious that Fun with Dick and Jane has left a favorable mark on millions of Americans. Nearly a thousand eBay listings for Dick and Jane memorabilia, museum exhibitions, and the present popularity of The Retro Look help to maintain the nostalgia.

I not only learned to read using these books (I'm holding a 1952 edition in the picture on the left.), but went on to teach, using old 1960 editions. (My school district saved everything!)




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When my oldest grandchild was about to enter kindergarten, I went about creating a personalized Dick and Jane Reader. After taking hundreds of pictures of my grandchildren in different situations, I made up little stories based on the vocabulary and sing-songy text found in the first pre-primer, We Look and See.

All three of my oldest grandchildren have been introduced to the printed word using this book.

ComicLife software was used to design the pages. The Apple iPhoto Store printed the final copy. The book is hardbound with 8½" by 11" pages.

Some of the opening stories are reproduced below.




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Visit Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday.


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