Day 106: Thrifty Gifty – my brother is Fifty!

Birthday present ready for mailing - check!

Birthday present ready for mailing – check!

Tonight I’m still working on the gift for my brother’s birthday.  Fortunately I bought the actual gift last weekend while I was in Chicago.  Now all I need to do is wrap it up and make a card.  Naturally I decided to make a Pinterest project now that I know all about free downloads.

I found a pin for a card that I liked at a site called Greetings Island.  They had lots of cute cards that you can just download and print for free.  Here’s the link for the card I chose:  http://www.greetingsisland.com/prints/PrintPosting.aspx?card=Birthday-bicycle&id=3879.  The card was really easy to print.  You can personalize the inside if you want or just print it out and write your own message.  Since I bought a pack of multi-colored card stock, all I had to do was pick a color I liked and stick it in the printer.  Voila – free card without having to go to the store.

I'm always surprised at how easy it is to make a professional looking card!

I’m always surprised at how easy it is to make a professional looking card!

Once I printed it out, I decided it needed a little embellishment so I pulled out my great mini-bow trick that I learned a few weeks ago.  It’s so easy and cute.  I hope my brother appreciates the cuteness!  If I was really crafty I bet I could make some really amazing cards, but I was pretty impressed with my finished product.  Here’s the link to the tiny bow site: http://pinterest.com/pin/22518066858961985/

Once the card was made I just had to scrounge thru my stash of crafty wrapping paper supplies to find something kind of many  – I have quite a lot of pink stuff that would have hardly been appropriate.  I found some blue stripe paper with a matching ribbon.  It looked fairly masculine and turned out quite nice (if I do say so myself!).

I couldn't get a great picture of my beautiful package.

I couldn’t get a great picture of my beautiful package.

That’s about it for tonight.  I had fun making this project and I hope my brother has a great birthday.  Also hope he doesn’t mind me mentioning his age!

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Day 83: Easter Basket & Card – I’m feeling pretty crafty tonight!

Easter basket 10

Today I’m working on an Easter Basket to send to my daughter in Arkansas.  I’m not very good about sending things thru the mail, but I thought this would be the perfect occasion.  I can (as always) combine a few Pinterest projects with a gift – what could be more efficient?  I’m banking on the fact that she won’t really read this, at least before she gets it in the mail.  My daughter Brooke told me she never reads my blog unless it’s not about food.  She’s uninterested in food, so she might be reading this.  I think Lauren is more interested in food so she may skip the Easter Basket stuff.

This is how my basket started.  Pretty Christmas-y

This is how my basket started. Pretty Christmas-y

I’m using a couple of things I’ve already made, including the cute felt Easter Bunny bag and the lemon cookies from yesterday.  I also spray painted a little Christmas basket I found up in my attic.  It was a very Christmas-y green when I started and now it’s white.  I found a cute pink embroidered hand towel or napkin or something that I’m using inside the basket.  It’s pretty nice – I almost hate to part with it.  Good thing it’s for one of my three favorite daughters!

I stopped at the store and picked up a few items I needed to finish this project.  Lots of candy of course and a Starbuck’s gift card because I know Lauren drinks a lot of coffee.  That should be a nice little surprise just in time for Easter.

Remember my Easter Bunny?  I filled it with candy

Remember my Easter Bunny? I filled it with candy

I wanted to dress up the basket, so I added some things from my scrapbook “stash” in the basement.  Some ribbon and stick-on decorations made it look more festive.  I also put a pretty pink striped paper in the bottom, although you can’t see it in the picture.

My crafty Easter Basket

My crafty Easter Basket

I also thought I should add a card and of course thought of the free downloads that are available.  I searched until I found a cute Easter card at a site called Inkyco.  Wow – so many adorable things there.  Here’s the link:  ttp://www.inkyco.com.au/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=271:free-easter-gift-cards&Itemid=111 .  I  printed it out on a sheet of cardstock and “Voila” – you can see the results.  This is the reason I love Pinterest.  It seems like you can find almost anything you need.

Homemade card - notice the cute "tiny bow".  I think I'll be making these all the time!

Homemade card – notice the cute “tiny bow”. I think I’ll be making these all the time!

I also added something I’ve had pinned for quite awhile but never got around to doing.  It’s directions for making “tiny bows”.  I’ve always wanted to learn how to make better bows and I thought this would be a good way to start.  It’s actually pretty easy and just involves a fork and a ribbon.  I won’t go into great detail on this because you can see the process if you look at the pin.  Sorry, you can’t go to the original site, but I was able to figure it out from the picture on the pin:  http://pinterest.com/pin/22518066858961985/. It did work well even for a low-skill crafter such as me.

I’ll get this package in the mail tomorrow and Lauren should have it by Easter.  I sure do miss the days of having three little girls at home for the excitement of Easter Egg hunts and all going to church together.  But the upside is that I’m not frantically sewing dresses like I used to and of course there’s always the new granddaughter to spoil once she gets up and running!

Day 79 – Baking for a birthday – Irish Pound Cake

Pound cake - well, I didn't give all of it away!

Pound cake – well, I didn’t give all of it away!

Today I decided to combine a Pinterest project with a birthday gift for a friend.  That’s the kind of thinking that I need to keep myself on track!  I saw  a cute idea at a site called thinkgarnish.com.   Here’s the link: http://www.thinkgarnish.com/blog/2012/07/19/pound-cake-blueberries-and-whipped-cream-oh-my/.  They have all kinds of ideas for wrapping and packaging things and something about the idea of pound cake and blueberries just sounded really good.  It was a simple wrapping idea and all I needed was to find a recipe for a pound cake.  No store-bought pound cake for this Pinterest girl!

I started looking around and found a blog called Laura’s Sweet Spot.  Perfect!  She has a recipe for something called Irish Pound Cake made with Bailey’s Irish Creme.  It sounded fabulous and I thought it would be a nice nod to the recent St. Patrick’s Day  holiday. Here’s the link: http://laurassweetspot.com/2013/03/07/irish-cream-pound-cake/

Pound cake ingredients - not exactly health food.

Pound cake ingredients – not exactly health food.

I gathered all the ingredients and mixed everything up in my handy-dandy KitchenAid Standmixer.  I can’t imagine living without it!  The recipe was easy – just add lots of sugar, butter, eggs and flour.  I’m not saying this is a diet cake – far from it.  But if you just eat a little bit it shouldn’t be a problem – at least that’s what I’ll tell myself!

It took a little longer to bake then the recipe said – probably about an hour and 20 minutes.  I haven’t baked with a Bundt cake pan for quite awhile and I didn’t have complete confidence that it would come out, but it did.  I let it cool for a bit and then mixed up the glaze.  I really like how simple this is to make.

A pretty box for the Birthday Girl

A pretty box for the Birthday Girl

I quickly wrapped a little jar of blueberries and a section of the cake in a box I found during one of my recent craft store forays and hurried off to dinner.  I hope it will be a nice treat for the birthday girl and her husband!  I know that Big Daddio and I enjoyed having a piece while we watched The Amazing Race tonight.

Day 74: Cute Bunny Bag – Time to start getting ready for Easter

The finished and filled Easter Bunny Bag

The finished and filled Easter Bunny Bag

Tonight I decided to take a break from all my cooking and painting and try a cute Easter craft that I found at MerMag Blog.  She has a lot of really great ideas for little kids, including this adorable Easy Bunny Bag.  Here’s the link:  http://mermagblog.com/2012/03/31/easy-bunny-candy-pouch/.

I don’t think it’s too soon to start some cute Easter projects.  After all, I made the Velveteen Rabbit repurposed box for Kennedy a couple of weeks ago.  I sent it down to her this weekend and filled it with the reversible flannel blanket I made quite awhile ago, a cute little “mouse” coat I found at Hannah Andersen and an adorable little summer dress I found at a baby boutique while shopping last weekend.  Now I have to make some cute things to send to my other “babies” – Brooke and Lauren.

This little bunny bag is really cute and easy.  I bought a few pieces of white felt at the store the other day. Each sheet was only $.23 and you can make one bunny bag per sheet.  Can’t really beat that, can you?

Cutting out the bunny with my newly found scissors!

Cutting out the bunny with my newly found scissors!

I love that the site includes a downloadable template that you can print on your computer.  You just pin it on a double layer of felt and cut out two layers at a time.  I was very happy that I found my good sewing scissors while I was looking for something in my craft room yesterday.  They had been missing for quite awhile and Big Daddio was always complaining that I “am not using the proper tools for the job”.  Haha, half the time I do that stuff just to bug him!  It’s always entertaining to use the “wrong” knife and listen to him launch into a list of the dangers and inefficiencies of using the wrong equipment!  He’s such an engineer.

Anyway, this is so easy.  You cut out the pieces and then stitch on a little face.  I just followed her directions because I’m not very creative, but I’m sure there are lots of other  things you could try.

After sewing and before filling.

After sewing and before filling.

After I got the face done, I turned on my sewing machine and stitched around the edges, leaving an opening between the ears to put candy or other treats (I can’t give away all my secrets just in case they are actually reading this!).

Another view of the Easter Bunny

Another view of the Easter Bunny

Sometimes things like this don’t turn out quite as cute as the picture when I make them, but I have to say that this is just as nice as the picture and only took a few minutes to make.  I could really turn these out fast if I had a little assembly line set up.  I would also suggest looking at the other ideas on this blog if you’re interested in other easy and fun Easter crafts.

Day 64: Repurposed Easter Bunny Box – for guess who?

Bunny Box ready for filling!

Whew! I thought I was going to have my first real Pinterest failure tonight. But I pulled it out in the nick of time with the quick thinking of Big Daddio.  This just goes to proves that you should never give up – even when American Idol top 10 results are on and you really just want to lay on the couch!

Today’s project started because of the new baby in a couple of ways.  First, I brought home a box from my daughter’s house.  It was from a gift that Jay got her as a birth present.  She couldn’t eat unprocessed foods while she was pregnant and he ordered her a whole assortment of wonderful cheeses – brie, blue cheese and some others I don’t know the name of but were really good (Jordan shared with us).

The box was cute - but I had other ideas!

The box was cute – but I had other ideas!

Anyway, it all came in a box that was cute and could have been reused as it was.  But I had bigger ideas!  I brought it home and got to work.  I found a can of pink spray paint – my new favorite.  I sprayed it several times to cover the red lettering.  Then I started thinking about how to decorate it.  I’m not really artistic which is too bad, because I had a great idea to freehand draw an Easter Bunny and write the baby’s name and birthdate in beautiful handwriting.  Unfortunately, I know this wasn’t going to look good if I did it myself so I had to search Pinterest for alternatives.

I found a really cute pin with a downloadable print from The Velveteen Rabbit.  This was my youngest daughter’s favorite stuffed animal when she was young.  She carried a ratty and deteriorating Velveteen Rabbit that she called “Bun-Bun” everywhere she went.  Anyone who knows her has a story about Bun-Bun.  So this definitely has a special place in my heart.

The link is for a download you can buy on Etsy:  http://www.etsy.com/listing/86886971/digital-download-image-vintage-velveteen?utm_campaign=Share&utm_medium=PageTools&utm_source=Pinterest.  Now I have to be honest – I’ve heard about Etsy but was never really sure what it was.  I had to set up an account and then purchase the download for $1.oo.  Once I got into my account, I quickly discovered a whole new world of things to want!  There’s a million unique and handcrafted things!  It’s probably a good thing I didn’t have much time to look around – yet.

Another view of the box

Another view of the box

My first attempt was rather unsuccessful.  I tried using my spray glue and then Mod-Podging the print to the top of the box.  I don’t think I’ve really mastered Mod-Podge, because it kind of buckled and wrinkled like it did the last time I tried it on the wall hanging for Brooke’s room.  Anyway, Big Daddio took one look at it and said “Why is it so wrinkled?  You should tear it off and start over.”  Which is what I did!

I added some cute lining to the inside - ready for some great Easter stuff

I added some cute lining to the inside – ready for some great Easter stuff

The second time I decided that simpler might be better.  I just glued the print to the top with my spray glue and then got really crafty.  I sprayed a little glue around the top and sprinkled on some glitter.  Voila! I added the cute little stick-on jewels I found down in the basement and it turned out really cute.  Now I have a box for the baby’s first Easter.  I can’t wait to start looking for things to fill it with.

Glad I didn’t give up on this one!

Day 56: Time to catch up – that baby got me off track!

Cute Cookie Wrappers - an easy down-loadable project

Cute Cookie Wrappers – an easy down-loadable project

Well, I’m not going to lie.  I kind of got behind on my Pinterest postings during the first few days after my granddaughter was born.  I spent literally hours just holding her and watching her sleep.  By the time we got home from the hospital it was too late to get my postings done.

I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t keep up better, but the good news is that  I was working hard on lots of projects.  I just didn’t get everything posted.  I did a lot of cooking to keep everyone fed and of course I did Pinterest recipes and took lots of pictures.  So, I’m going to spend the next couple of nights trying to get caught up on what my readers missed out on and then just try to stay on track.

First, a quick update on the baby – she’s wonderful and beautiful!  It’s amazing how much she changes even within a few hours.  It’s going to be so much fun to get to know her and spoil her rotten.

The project I tried today is a cute cookie package that I found on Pinterest.  It just intrigued me because it was so simple and could easily be adapted to a lot of uses.  It’s from a blog called “Coming Home to Roost” with lots of cute ideas.  Here’s the link: http://www.goinghometoroost.com/2012/diy-craft-projects/printable-cooking-envelope/

Two examples  - you could personalize these however you want

Two examples – you could personalize these however you want

This is a simple down-loadable project.  I love these – all I had to do was print them on cardstock that I bought in a variety pack at the craft store.  They’re so cute and we discussed this weekend how you could personalize these for a birthday party or a shower.  You could print them on different color cardstock or add more ribbons or trims.  You could even cut the liner out of a colored paper.

There's also a pattern for a simple wax paper liner.

There’s also a pattern for a simple wax paper liner.

For my project, I used a cookie that I’ll show in my post for tomorrow.  I packaged a couple and sent them home with my daughter for her boyfriend.  He pretty much likes any kind of food.  The cuteness of the packaging may be lost on him, but that’s ok!

What's inside the cookie package

What’s inside the cookie package

I’m definitely going to remember this project for some events I have coming up.  The only downside is that there’s a lot of cutting involved.  But I really don’t mind doing that while I’m watching one of my favorite shows – like The Bachelor or Project Runway!

Have a great evening.  I’ll post my elaborate cookie project tomorrow.

Day 49: Sweet Easy Chili and a dress for the baby

Good chili supper - perfect for a cold winter night

Good chili supper – perfect for a cold winter night

I’m working on a couple of things today, although I have to admit to being a little distracted.  It sounds like we’re getting really close to baby “D-Day” and I frequently find myself staring off into space with a goofy grin on my face, imagining that sweet little baby girl who is so close to meeting her crazy family!  I hope she’s ready for this.  Kind of like when the Bachelor goes on the hometown visit and sometimes the girl’s family is a bunch of nuts.  If you watched The Bachelor last night you’ll know what I’m talking about!

Anyway, this morning I put this good sounding chili in my crock pot.  It’s from a site I’ve visited before called The First Year, link:   http://thefirstyearblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/sweet-easy-chili/ .  This recipe sounded easy and a little different.  I’m always looking for that perfect chili recipe and this is pretty good.  I don’t know about perfect.  It all depends on what kind of chili you like -this might be a little sweet for Big Daddio but he’s at a meeting tonight anyway.  It kind of reminds me of Cincinnati Chili – which you really should try if you haven’t already.

This was a great night to come home to something warm in the crock pot.  It’s very cold and blustery today, so I curled right up on the couch with my bowl of chili after I added a little cheese and sour cream.  I was tempted to grab a beer, but I still have a lot of work to do tonight and I thought I might never get off the couch if I started drinking.  Anyway, the chili was good and my stomach is very happy now.  The only thing I changed in the recipe was to only add 1 can of corn.  I thought Big Daddio might object if I added two whole cans of vegetables.

Pot O ' Chili

Pot O ‘ Chili

My other project is a crazy little idea to make a cute dress for my new granddaughter.  Remember the shower curtain I used for the bathroom curtain?  Well, there was a lot of fabric left and it has a pretty lavender border around the bottom.  My crafty mind started thinking that it looked like the beginning of a cute little baby sundress.  So I picked up a Laura Ashley pattern while at the fabric store on the weekend.  As usual, I had some other things laying around – lace and some ribbon left from the curtain.

Baby dress - but I think it'll be awhile until she's big enough

Baby dress – but I think it’ll be awhile until she’s big enough

I cut everything out and sewed – FAST – to get this ready for tonight’s post.  I’m actually a pretty quick sewer and use every shortcut known to man (or woman).  This comes from my history of making three little dresses for every occasion when my girls were all young.  And sometimes I threw in a doll dress or two.  Still not sure how I got all that stuff done!

I think the dress turned out really cute.   Hopefully the baby won’t mind having a dress that was inspired by a curtain!  I think I’ll have to wait a couple of years until she’s big enough to wear it, but that’s ok – I’m patient!

Day 44: Washcloth Rosebud Bouquet

The Rosebud Bouquet - pretty crafty, huh?

The Rosebud Bouquet – pretty crafty, huh?

Tonight I chose a quick project because I had to second coat my floor from last night and do a final coat on my cabinet doors.  No, really.  This time it’s final and I’m going to beg John to help me hang them tomorrow night.  I know it will be Valentine’s Day, but it shouldn’t take long and we’ll still have time for a nice dinner.  I bought a couple of steaks to use as bribery.  That should work, right?

I found this cute idea for a Washcloth Rosebud Bouquet for a new baby gift.  Wish I would have seen this before the baby shower!   Here’s the link: http://www.etsy.com/listing/74035331/new-price-washcloth-rosebud-bouquet-baby?ref=sr_gallery_34&ga_search_query=gifts&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=ZZ&ga_min=0&ga_max=0&ga_page=14&ga_search_type=handmade

It’s actually something you can order online, but I figured that I could make something similar.  I bought a couple of packages of cute washcloths at the store tonight and hurried home to get started.

Can't go wrong with a glue gun!

Can’t go wrong with a glue gun!

This project involved making another cone like the one I tried the other night with the nuts.  This involves one of my favorite craft tools – the hot glue gun.  There’s almost nothing that a hot glue gun cannot do.  Never doubt that two things can be attached with one of these babies – including your fingers, so watch out for that.

Another view of my craftiness

Another view of my craftiness

I didn’t really have any instructions, but it looked simple enough.  I made the cone and glued on the matching ribbons.  Then I rolled up all the washcloths and arranged them artfully  inside.  I think it turned out pretty cute and will make a cute gift for the baby – who is now due within the next two weeks!  We’re getting very excited now!!!

I also want to say “Happy Birthday” to Jordan.  I hope you read this (just ignore the part about the baby gift) and that you are having a fun last birthday before you become a mom.  Next year, you and the baby can celebrate together.  I can’t wait!

 

Day 33: Tulip Petal Sun Hat for the baby

Funny hat for the babyToday’s post is a little late  – I apologize to anyone who may have been waiting impatiently to see what I’ve been up to.  Although I hope you all have better things to do than sit around waiting to see my Pinterest blog!  I am not late posting because I haven’t been doing anything, but rather that I’ve been doing a lot of things.

Big Daddio and I spent a lot of time (like over 2 hours) at Lowe’s this afternoon picking out things for our bathroom facelift.  Now I understand why people say it’s so exhausting to make decisions about building a whole house.  I only had to pick out paint, some lights and a few fixtures and I had to come home and take a nap.  It’s one thing to just generally think about doing one of these projects, but when it comes down to actually making the decision I’m not very good.

We did manage to pick out paint for our vanity and got started on the actual painting today.  Unfortunately, it will be a couple of days until I can show the finished project.  My husband insists on all kinds of steps in the process – like priming and double coating things.  If it was up to me, I’d slap that paint on and we’d be done by now.  So I guess it’s a good thing it’s not up to me.

Once I realized that the vanity wasn’t going to be finished in time to serve as my project of the day, I had to come up with another idea fast.  As usual, this is where things got interesting.  Because I started out with the idea of making this cute little rosette thing out of rick rack.  You could then attach it to a headband or a clip or something and use it to make a hairless baby look more gender specific.  It wasn’t a very ambitious project, but it looked easy and I had leftover rick rack from the blanket project.

The rosette - didn't really turn on like the picture in the pin

The rosette – didn’t really turn out like the picture in the pin

Once I got going on the project, I looked over at the extra fabric from the blanket and it seemed to be calling to me.  Something like “make me into a cute hat for the baby!”  At least that’s what I thought I heard.  At first I had the notion to dream up my own design, but sanity prevailed and I decided to look on, you guessed it, Pinterest for a pattern or at least a good idea.  I saw lots of cute knitted hats but figured I didn’t have time for that.  So I finally settled on the tulip-hat that you see in the picture above.

The pattern for this come from a really, really cute site called “The Cottage Home”.  Oh, my gosh – she has some really adorable things and I think I’m going to have to try several more of her patterns.  This time I tried the Tulip Petal Sun Hat: http://thecottagehome.blogspot.com/2012/04/tulip-petal-sun-hat-pattern-and.html?m=1

The pattern piece - printable from the website

The pattern piece – printable from the website

It was a fairly easy process – just cut a bunch of little pieces (you can download the piece and print), sew everything together and Ta Da – you have a cute hat for a baby.  And it’s kind of funny, which will appeal to my daughter who says she wants all of her baby’s clothes to be funny.  Which has me a little worried!

My husband suggested I have our cat model the hat - The Cat in the Hat.  But Pumpkin wasn't interested

My husband suggested I have our cat model the hat – The Cat in the Hat. But Pumpkin wasn’t interested

At the end, I was able to attach my little rosette (which is where this whole thing started) to the top of the hat to add to the funniness factor.  I have added the link for the rosette, but I have to say that I’m not sure I’d mess around with that again.  I’d probably just go to the store and look for one that was already made.  And just to warn you, the site is in Chinese so you have to work from the pictures.  My finished product didn’t look like the picture, but it wasn’t too bad.  Rick rack rosette:  http://www.duitang.com/people/mblog/46568845/detail/

So that’s it for today.  I have to get back to painting.  I’ll be back with another exciting project tomorrow.

Day 32: Reversible hooded blanket for the new baby

Cute reversible hooded blanket for the new baby

Cute reversible hooded blanket for the new baby

February 1st!  One thing about this blogging thing is that it makes you really aware of what the date is.  I can’t believe we’re already into February.  From past experience I know that once January is over, the rest of the year flies by and  before I know it I’ll be trying to get my Christmas cards done again.  And I have to admit that I just mailed my New Year’s cards this week – so I’m already behind.  Or maybe ahead depending on how you look at it.

Anyway, I was feeling a little down in the dumps today and I think it’s because it’s so cold and miserable and gloomy. And then I remembered that this time last year I was leaving to go on a cruise – which means that instead of struggling thru a parking lot that looks like the Russian Tundra, I was wearing a bathing suit and sitting on the deck of a  beautiful cruise ship.  And drinking over-priced beers with a bunch of good friends.  Hmmm, no wonder I’m a little depressed.

But no February vacation for me this year, because I’m waiting for the birth of our new baby (I know, I know it’s not TECHNICALLY ours).  So in honor of the big event that should be coming up in just a couple of weeks, I decided to make a baby blanket that I found at a site called Blissful Sewing for Your Little Fashionista.  http://blissfulsewing.blogspot.com/2012/06/reversible-hooded-baby-flannel-free.html#.UQxzEI4gI20.  There are lots of cute ideas, but this is one that looked pretty easy.  Which is good, because as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little out of practice.

The project involved a trip to the fabric store.  I had forgotten how much fun it is to wander thru the aisles imagining all the projects I could make if I had the time.  I found some fabric that I thought would work well.  The pattern suggests using solid color fleece but I couldn’t resist these cute cat and striped fabrics.  Then I saw the pink rick-rack and decided to do things a little differently then the pattern showed.

Couldn't resist the cats - in honor of our cat Pumpkin

Couldn’t resist the cats – in honor of our cat Pumpkin

I still had some of the eyelet fabric left from my earlier stool project.  I decided to use that to make the hood, which eliminated the need to finish the edges.  I also decided to add some little ears at the top.  And of course when I got it all finished I decided I needed to go around the edges with some decorative stiching. Which explains why this took me considerably more then the “less than a half hour” that was described in the instructions.  Haha  – kind of like how a 30 minute Rachel Ray meal takes 4 hours to make!

Of course I had to alter the pattern a little!

Of course I had to alter the pattern a little!

But anyway, I really like the finished results and I’m hoping the new baby will enjoy it.  I guess it won’t be a surprise, since my daughter is one of my most faithful readers!  But I did have a good time making it and am already thinking of some other great projects I probably need to make.