Sage Readers: Amanda Barugh (top left), LaKendra Watts, (top right) and Miranda Leon (bottom)
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Adventures Babywearing In
By: trainsandtutus.com People comment ALL the time about Micah: I carried him in the Moby Wrap. We both “He’s SO happy! Does he just smile ALL day liked it, but I wasn’t experienced enough in long?!?” babywearing to use it as much as I probably should have to stay sane. Ummmmm. No. He likes to smile and does a lot. As long as Momma is holding him. When he was about 4-5 months old, and was And he’s BIG!!! And HEAVY!!! And maybe huge, the Moby just didn’t work quite right. you hadn’t noticed, but I have three other Probably because of the stretchy material. So, I tried to put him in the Baby Bjorn that children, two of which are preschoolers. I used with Gaige and James. It didn’t take So it has been necessary for me to find a long for me to figure out that the Bjorn is comfortable way to wear Micah throughout NOT made for larger babies. We were both the day so that I can go on caring for ALL the uncomfortable, and I’ve since learned that Train Boys. When Micah was a newborn, the Bjorn does not position his legs in the best
tutorials online, and I found this tutorial at www.sleepingbaby.net. Yay! A sewing project!! I’d missed my sewing machine so much….and petting fabric. I ended up making two slings. The first was a lined sling made out of quilter’s cotton and the second was made out of a lightweight denim. The denim was super easy because I did not have to line it, and I decided not to hem the edges leaving it frayed like cutoff jeans. For the rings, I chose to order them from this company that makes and tests each set specifically for baby ring sling carriers.
way to prevent hip displasia. I started researching carriers and came across the Ergo Carrier online. It gets rave reviews, and I wanted one really bad. But, the thing costs $120!!!! I was able to borrow one from a good friend and knew instantly that I needed this carrier. I couldn’t feel any of Micah’s weight on my shoulders. It is just so comfy. So, I broke down and ordered one, and we are both so happy with it! My only regret is that it took 4 kids to finally find THE carrier. Another plus for the Ergo is that it is a great back carrier. I haven’t tried to get Micah back there yet, but James loves it!
I really love the ring slings. They aren’t quite as comfortable as my Ergo, although I can tell the more I use them the more my shoulder and back seem to get used to it. I think Micah likes the sling better than the Ergo. He just snuggles up and will fall right to sleep if he is tired. This morning I used it at church to calm him when he got really overtired. I just wish I’d made it sooner…..I think it would have been really great when he was smaller. I’ll just have to save it for the next one!
Even though we love the Ergo, I’ve been wanting to try a ring sling with Micah to wear around the house because I liked the idea of carrying him on my hip and him having the option of his arms being out. In researching slings, I quickly figured out how expensive they can be, and frankly, I didn’t need to spend another hunk of money when I already have a great carrier. But, I wanted a sling. So, I decided to research ring sling sewing
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Fashionable Reasons to Babywear
Both of my little monkeys each arrived earthside 3 and a half weeks early. While I was pregnant with number 2, doctors told me that I was 90% likely to deliver this one early seeing as number one was early. You think we would have been better prepared, but nope we weren’t.
by: mamagoesbam.com Babywearing came natural to me. With my babies weighing in at less than 6lbs each when we arrived home, they were both sleepy and small, so wearing them just felt right. With my first born, my midwife mentioned the importance of our bodies getting into rhythm with each other to help my milk come in and to help baby get used to life on the outside. Wearing him was one of the easiest ways for us to get into sync with each other and to help ease his early release from my womb.
I guess I’m pretty cruisy when it comes to the business of giving birth, even with all the craziness of moving continent and switching from a midwife to a doctor with number 2, I knew I only needed a few things to safely If you’re on the fence about babywearing welcome my baby into this world. (attachment parenting) but really want to With all the major department stores and be convinced, below are 10 of the more online stores pushing “stuff” necessary for fashionable reasons to babywear. baby it can sometimes be hard to sift through the non-essentials. Really, all baby needs is 1. No time or desire to get to the gym just your love, a place to sleep and to be fed. yet? Hide your 4th trimester muffin top behind a sling. My absolute must-have for the first few days at home with baby is a sling! 2. A sling can be the ultimate fashion accessories coming in an array of colors, patterns, and even fabrics. Switch up your everyday sling so that it color coordinates with a bracelet or shoes. Just because you’re tired, doesn’t mean you can’t be fashionable!
Pocket Wrap Cross Carry Skin to Skin, 6 days old, 2007
3. Actually get things done when you want
to – babies are notorious for falling asleep when worn. Need to make dinner? Place
baby in the sling and you’ll be able to get dinner done…Be careful when eating and wearing, it can sometimes be a hazard. I’d recommend NOT eating or drinking hot food or beverages while wearing your baby
steep stairs. It is probably the same amount of times that I have seen that same woman’s butt crack. I prefer my more dignified walk up the stairs with baby attached to me.
7. Workout without breaking a sweat. Wrap
Wayward lettuce escaped from my sandwich.. .onto her head, Kangaroo Carry, 2011
that baby on, stand up straight and walk! I myself prefer running, but hey, a good walk is good for both you and baby. Ever notice how well baby sleeps after some time in the fresh air? I was lucky to have #1 on the cusp of New Zealand summer so I walked a lot with him. You will naturally build up strength in your back if you concentrate on walking tall.
8. Under eye bags are not cool. I know
cause I have them. Sometimes it is avoidable and babies fuss, but they do settle more when worn…do I have to say it again, wear that baby!
9. I’ve got a running stroller that I love and
4. Because expecting your baby who has
lived in the cocoon of your womb for 9 months to now spend most of her day in a bassinet and sleep by herself is cruel and unusual, especially seeing as you get to sleep with your husband.
5. Don’t forget to let Dad sling it! It’s a
perfect way for him to get some bonding time in. I know my husband appreciates it. Again, if hubby has a “sympathy gut” he can hide it behind the sling as well.
6. Avoid plumbers crack in the subway by
carrying your baby. The amount of times I’ve seen mamas huffing and puffing to fold up their strollers so they can schlep baby, stroller and even sometimes a toddler up
an everyday stroller that i do not love so much. I loved it with Monkey #1, but that was over 4 years ago, it’s seen better days. While I consider my stroller options, I continue to wear Monkey #2 which is far less expensive than a stroller. Check. it.
10. If Ryan Gosling says skin to skin is good…well….
A New Fathers Perspective on
Babywearing Written by Gabriel Dattatreyan, new dad to Baby Jai (5 weeks old), for Carry Me Away
So, I am a new father. Having waited till well into my thirties before my partner and I decided to make a go of it and have our first, I have had considerable time to observe many of my friends have children and proceed to acquire all of the accessories that go along with the endeavor. From thousand dollar strollers to strange little toys meant to stimulate the cognitive development of the baby, I have seen it all and scoffed from afar at the limitless amount of baubles people feel the need to accumulate. I vowed to myself that I would be a minimalist parent and only buy what was absolutely necessary. comfortably took about a dozen attempts; deftly inserting and extracting him from the sling — another dozen. This is not a design flaw of the pouch in the least. Rather, what has made it difficult is a preoccupation with the notion that I might do something wrong and hurt the little guy. At this point I can honestly say that using the sling has become quite natural. It was great to get lessons early on from a sling expert on how to correctly (and safely) wear a baby. The rest has simply been a matter of practice. As he gets older (and heavier) I look forward to trying on other types of slings, but for now the pouch is my sling of choice and my way of spending time with my new son as we Of course, figuring out how to wear him take summer walks together. At this point the only item that I can honestly say has been absolutely essential for me has been the pouch sling that we got as a gift just prior to our son’s arrival. In the first few weeks of his life, Jai has naturally been preoccupied with breastfeeding. As a result the only quality time that I have been able to spend with him has been when I take him out for walks in the sling. As soon as he gets in the sling and outside, my little guy immediately quiets down and observes the world or drifts off into deep sleep. The physical intimacy that the sling offers has been invaluable to me in these first few weeks of his life.
The Sling Lady
Tips on Getting Dad to Use a Baby Carrier
There are Dads who know from the moment their honey gets pregnant that they are going to wear their babies. They instinctively know the benefits of babywearing and they wouldn’t dream of not having a carrier or two of their own. These Dads are often the same Dads who are cool with (or even prefer) baby wraps and will even consider (or prefer) a ring sling. In public!
the baby in a carrier. If he mentions how hard it is to get things done on days when it seems the baby/toddler can never be put down, point out where you keep the baby carrier(s) and show him how to use it.
If you know other Dads that use carriers, strike up a conversation about why they use them (in your sweetie’s presence of course). Men are more likely to listen to other men A lot of men we know aren’t those Dads. in this type of thing, especially if Dad is These Dads are also great fathers, but think concerned about the manliness of carriers. baby carriers (even the ubiquitous Bjorn) are “weird” looking, too complicated or If you can engage him in the conversation, somehow unmasculine. If their honey ask what kind of carrier he’d be most likely wants to use one those contraptions with to use if he HAD to use one. Show him the baby, they might not argue, but they some pictures of different types (preferably have no interest whatsoever in trying one modeled by men) to gauge his reaction. themselves. They prefer to just carry the baby or use a stroller and they won’t even If he refuses to even check out pictures, check out all those cute pictures of other consider buying one of your carriers in a babywearing Dads to see how manly they neutral color that you think he wouldn’t be look. embarrassed to wear. Buckle carriers are generally a good pick for this, as they meet Not using a baby carrier is, of course, a with the least resistance from reluctant Dads. choice that is any Dad’s to make. But if you’d You might also consider a reversible mei tai like to try and change the mind of a man or a neutral pouch. Then, whip it out at a who’s just doesn’t want to babywear, here moment when it would be super convenient are a few suggestions to help him along. for him to use it (e.g. at the beach, on a hike, shopping a crowded street). Set the stage for how convenient babywearing is. Reluctant Dads need to see how using If you manage to get him in the carrier, tell a baby carrier makes their life easier. Rave him how sexy it is to see a Dad cuddling about how much you can get done with with his baby.
Memorial Babies Reborn Artist, Kelley Bentley, has devoted herself to helping heal broken hearts one Memorial Baby at a time. Kelley creates and donates these life like dolls to parents who have lost children. Having lost her own child, Kelley knows first hand how empty a parent’s arms can feel. Reborn dolls go a long way to bring comfort and to fill this need of having a child in your arms. After watching a television special on Reborn dolls, Kelley decided to make her own. It took her six years to find just the right kit for her daughter’s memorial. Not long after making her doll she realized what a help this could be for other families who have lost children. “A bell went off.” she said. “I know how much mine helps me when I am missing my daughter and needing to hold her. If I can just help one mother, one grieving parent. . . that’s great.” The babies come to her as a generic kit containing an unpainted head, arms and legs. Kelley then spends upto three weeks painting and putting together these kits, customizing them to resemble each baby. She even spends hours rooting individual hair and eyelashes. The dolls are so detailed, they have tiny veins showing through the skin. The babies come in various sizes, from
newborn up to older babies and even toddlers. Different kits are available and eye, hair and skin color can all be customized. Kelley often refers to photos sent to her by parents as a guide. Kelley’s friend, Shirey Humphreys, has been helping and supporting her since she started, even donating her time to make the fabric bodies for the dolls. “Bless her heart, she helps me with everything”, Kelley says, “She is the reason this is all possible.” Humphreys has also been on a mission to get the word out about Kelley and her dolls; launching an Internet campaign for the memorial babies which resulted in local media interest and even a trip for the two of them to the Ellen DeGeneres show in May. “Shirey and I are very excited about going on Ellen,” Kelley said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity! It means so much to me and Shirey that Ellen would find my story interesting enough to want us to be on the show. . . I hope being on the show will let grieving parents and grandparents know we are here to help try and ease there pain with the gift of a memorial baby.” Kelley’s Memorial Babies are donation driven but she more often than not funds this out of her own pocket. Currently there are over 100 names on her list waiting for their own Memorial Babies to love. Even without donations, Kelley will still do everything she can to keep donating babies to families who need them.
Along with Shirey, Kelley is thankful for the many people who stand behind her and giver her moral support: Sheila Bentley, Billy Lefeat, Linda Shade & Terry Shade, Douglas Stanley & Maridee Stanley, Stephen Burns Jr & Ashley Burns, Michelle Stanley Buffington, “This is where my heart is. It’s my passion. I Jaunita Bentley and her son, Stephen Burns love it and I have to do it. It’s just the way it Jr, who served two tours: one in Iraq and one is. . . it has to be done.” in Afghanistan.
Adventures in Breaking & En t e r i ng Babysitting by: Julia Pawlik Fincher I was never really into babysitting. I baby sat because all my friends did (and because I was a little nerdy in seventh and eighth grade and all the cool kids did!). When I was a baby sitter, I did take my job seriously- I even took a course offered by the Red Cross. And the kids did like me, I promise! As in typical Julias Math style, I did have some unforgettable experiences… The MOST memorable experience involved taking a door off of its hinges, my father breaking and entering, commando style crawling on a roof, and doing major home repairs (no, I did not break anything) (for once). I think I was about twelve. The family lived in our neighborhood; and both the parents and their children were nice. This particular job should have been very straight forward and easy- watch the kids, feed them dinner, and put them to bed. The evening had gone as planned, and I was in the family room watching TV. I decided I was hungry and so I headed to the kitchen for a snack (remember when you were twelve and could eat anything, anytime? I hope I took as much advantage of that as humanly possible!) My good luck (karma?) chose the moment I went to open the door. It wouldn’t open. The knob wouldn’t even turn!
The family room was on the second floor, so I couldn’t simply open a window, and climb out to save myself. Oh, and I had locked the front door- so even if I had been able to extract myself from the Family Room Prison, I would not have been able to let myself back in. (Before you assume that the kids hated me and locked me in, let me assure they did not. I had checked on them twenty minutes prior to needing a snack and they were snug-as-abug-in-a-rug in their beds.) I took a deep breath. This couldn’t be happening, right? One of my secret fears is being locked in a bathroom at a party. While this situation wasn’t the same, it was close enough to make me extremely uncomfortable. This particular fear of mine came true during college when I monopolized the only bathroom at a fraternity formal for hoursfor the entire formal actually. I shan’t go into details, just know that it involved sour milk and bad mudslides. And a lot of hatred towards me. However, I wasn’t in a bathroom; I was in a family room. With a TV! And a phone! I could handle this! I tried turning the knob left…nothing. I tried
turning the knob right…nothing. I tried jiggling…nothing. Begging, pleading, crying, stomping my feet, and praying all produced the same result…nothing. Things were going from bad to worse- not only was I hungry, I had to use the bathroom. I am not a claustrophobic person, but I was starting to be VERY sympathetic to those who are. I weighed my options, and I did what any girl would do. I called my Daddy.
unfamiliar roof of the porch to a window in the family room. Once I unlocked that window (of course there was drama- the window lock was briefly stuck), he climbed in.
I called my parents and explained the situation- several times in fact. My Dad was having a hard time believing that someone ‘just shutting a door’ would result in said door being totally, entirely, completely stuck. I reminded him who he was dealing with (Accident Queen), and how something like this could happen (Julia’s Math). Sighing deeply, he agreed to come and help me out (literally).
To recap, this is what they saw: a strange man on the second floor landing, sweaty and dirty, the light on and a window open in their bedroom, a door off the hinges and a small mess of paint chips all over the carpet, and no baby sitter in sight.
He arrived at the house. Which was great… except how was he going to get in?! I obviously couldn’t go downstairs and let him in. As Daddy is good in a pinch, he was successful in getting inside via the side door (breaking and entering). Once inside the house, he made his way up the steps to the family room. He tried the knob and came to the same conclusion I did- the door was totally and completely stuck. More stuck than even a credit card could unstick. After the credit card fail, he needed to be on the side of the door that had the hinges on it. (The man is brilliant I tell you!) The family room faced the front of the house- which had a large front porch. The master bedroom also overlooked the porch. My father went into the master bedroom, opened the window, and crawledcommando style, in the dark- across an
Another hour later, he had the door off of the hinges. FREEDOM! I streaked past him to the bathroom; which is where I was when the parents came home….
What a homecoming! I walked out of the bathroom as they were attempting to formulate questions- I mean, where would one start?! Thankfully, they were understanding about the strange man and the violation of their bedroom, horrified by the temporary imprisonment of their babysitter (for a variety of reasons, most importantly the safety of the children and of me), and over generous in their tip. I never baby sat for them again. I cannot remember if this was because they never called again, or because I refused to set foot in their house again….
Julia Pawlik Fincher is a super busy gal: mother, wife, bill-payer, gym-goer, friend. She lives with her (very patient) husband and her (already opinionated) three-yearold daughter outside of Atlanta
Y I D
No Sew, Tee-Shirt Halter
by: Anne Averette Hollabaugh and WobiSobi
Things You Need: Tee-Shirt â€˘ Scissors â€˘ Chalk
Front: Cut where the red lines are.
Back: Cut where the red lines are.
You can view the original post HERE
Back: Cut down the middle of the back cut out.
Front after cutting NOTE* you cut one continuous line from the front to the back.
Back after cutting
Now tie the front wrap around your neck and tie to the two straps in the back.
If you want to trim off the excess off the straps. I am leaving mine so I can play and change it up some more or tie them into a bow.
Building a Raised Garden by: stylewithcents
You Need: 12”x2”x8’ boards metal corner brackets old fence pickets for trim and brace support
Okay. Here’s the deal. I’m not a gardener. I couldn’t keep a plant alive if my life depended on it … but … surprise, surprise, Superman has a green thumb. Add it to the list of EVERYTHING he can do.
people in the world!) In an attempt to create an 8 foot fence on a budget, he used these 12”x2”x8’ boards along the bottom of the fence. Not along the entire length of the fence … just along a 30 foot section. We are ghetto people. And because we aren’t the confrontational type, we let it slide. Even after other neighbors we met at the grocery store asked us what was going on with our weird fence. True story.
So. He’s been wanting a garden for quite a while. And, I’ve put it on the back burner for quite some time because I didn’t want to deal with the preschoolers getting into it. And our kids have been little forever, it seems. But … a week ago, Dude decided ANYWAY … Those neighbors, sadly, have since moved out. Their home sits he was gonna go for it. vacant right now … and Gary decided And that’s where the ghetto in this post while the other lot was vacant, he would begins. :D (There’s always a little ghetto in rob the ghetto out of the fence and use those bottom boards to build his garden everything I post, isn’t there?) box. Because if he’s anything at all: he’s Our shared fence with our neighbors was resourceful! ghetto rigged about 6 years ago by our neighbor. (See? We aren’t the only ghetto And … here we go …
Superman started by placing a corner bracket at every corner of each board. If you are doing a garden box that is two boards high, youâ€™ll need 2 corner brackets per board.
Once he had secured all of the corner brackets, he took some old fence pickets (these happen to be cedar), cut them into braces supports, and put a brace for support every 18â€? or so on the inside of the box. After he had done all the corner brackets and fence picket supports, he decided to line the inside of the garden box with some heavy duty plastic. We happened to have some in the garage from back in the day when Superman worked in construction. Yâ€™all could use some heavy duty garbage bags. Or painters plastic/ drop cloth.
He had to line each side separately, and took advantage of the middle dividing board so he could wrap it around the sides and staple it to the top of the boards.
He had to line each side separately, and took advantage of the middle dividing board so he could wrap it around the sides and staple it to the top of the boards.
Having brace supports on the inside and outside of the garden box means that the 2,000 lbs of compost and dirt that is about to be dumped into the box wonâ€™t warp the box with its weight. He also took the time to trim out the top of the box, which was equally as simple as the brace supports. But, most importantly â€Ś it made it look nice. ;)
But. You know my perfectionist Superman can’t leave it like THAT.
All those old fence pickets with worn out stain showing all over? NEVER. Icky. Can’t have that.
So he dug out the extra fence stain (that we ghetto rigged up for cheap) and sprayed it on with his air compressor. And … bingo.
He successfully satisfied both of us: the box is tall enough to keep out bunnies, our silly puppy, most of the preschoolers … and, it makes weeding it much easier on the back.
And now it’s time for the dirt. We were able to score an awesome deal on compost at our local transfer station (that would be the dump, people). They were selling compost for $18 per cubic yard.
And a whopping $36 later, our giant garden box was filled with dirt. (The ‘whopping’ was a joke, y’all. What a steal!!)
Now, from what we’ve read, we just need to mix in some peat moss and vermiculite and we will be ready to start gardening.
You can view the original post HERE
Jeans to Skirt Tutorial
5 original post can be found HERE
DIY ornament hanger by: Jen Turner
I have a couple Christmas ornaments I’d wanted to display year-round. I’d started looking for ornament stands around Christmas time, but couldn’t find any that I liked or that weren’t Winter or Christmas themed. So, I started brainstorming. Surely I could figure something out. I was so excited when I thought of something using one of my most unused collections, glass door knobs.
You will need:
Door or drawer knob 16 or 18 gauge steel wire or wire coat hanger Pliers (optional) Spray paint (optional) Hot glue
Step 1: Select your knob. It will need to 3/4-1” 90 degrees (this will fit into the knob).
be fairly heavy (heavier than your ornament) If desired, paint your wire. and the front needs to be flat. This will be the base of the stand. Step 4: Dry-fit and test your stand. Insert the 90-degree bend into the knob. HOLDING Step 2: Using wire cutters, cut a length ON TO YOUR ORNAMENT, hang it on the of wire (about 9 inches). I used a wire coat hook end and carefully ensure the wire will hanger from the cleaners (the one with the hold your ornament. (Physics and gravity cardboard tube) and just cut it at the base of are at play here and you don’t want to break the top hook. your treasure.) If the stand tends to tilt under the weight of the ornament, you will need to adjust the curve of your “C” (make the curve more pronounced). Repeat as necessary. The testing step is the most important. Take your time and protect your ornament.
Step 5: Once you have a successful test,
apply hot glue to the center of your knob and insert the hanging wire. Before the hot glue cools completely, hang your ornament and make any last second adjustments, always keeping a protective hand under the ornament. Enjoy!
Step 3: Shape your wire. If you’re using
steel wire, start at one end, making a hook for the ornament (for the coat hanger, you can omit this since the hanger is already shaped into a hook where the wire fits into the cardboard tube). Then, begin shaping the bulk of the wire into a “C”. (Any of the wire products I’ve mentioned are pliable and easily shaped by hand, but you may find it easier wrapping the wire around a can or jar.) At the bottom of the “C”, bend the last
DIYPainted Sign by: Jen Turner
I just love painted signs, but the vintage ones and even a lot of the commercially sold new ones are expensive, the wording isn’t quite right or the color scheme is all wrong. You can make your own painted sign very inexpensively, with a new wood plaque or scrap wood, leftover wall paint or craft paint, it’ll say exactly what you want it to say, and it’s so easy, even if you think you’re craft-impaired.
Step 1: Select your wood piece and cut to size. Before you cut, decide whether the size of the wording or the size of the wall space you wish to fill will dictate the size of the final project. I decided my wood plank looked to “new”. My 4-year-old son and I distressed with a hammer and flathead screwdriver. (SO much fun!) Then, I sanded the edges with an electric hand sander.
Step 2: Map out your phrase and adjust font You will need: Wood board, plank, or plaque (available at size, as necessary. craft stores) Water-based primer (if desired) Step 3: If desired, prime the wood piece, and Water-based paint allow to dry. (I didn’t.) The only thing this Paint brushes in various sizes affects, really, is the number of coats you’ll Printed phrase need to use to get good coverage on your wood. Step 4: I was going for a vintage, chippy look, so I painted the edges of my board in the same color I was going to use for my lettering. If you don’t want the chippy look, skip to Step 6. Step 5: For the chippy look, you will need some kind of masking medium to keep your
topcoat from sticking to your undercoat around the edges. I used petroleum jelly. You can also use a white candle or a liquid or gel medium available at craft stores. For the petroleum jelly, just rub a small amount wherever you don’t want the topcoat to stick. I just rubbed it on without trying to be too random. The jelly will give a random look without looking too intentional. I’ve had similar success by rubbing a used or broken white candle along the edges, but found the petroleum jelly was much easier to clean up.
to prevent shifting. Looking at the back of your phrase, rub over the back of the letters with a pencil. Tape the phrase to your wood piece, right side up. Trace your letters with a pencil, nail set, or some other slender tool. This will transfer the outline of your letters to the painted wood piece. Once all lettering is traced, remove the paper stencil. With a small paint brush, fill in the outlines and allow to dry. *To prevent rubbing off the pencil marks while I was painting, I just used a piece of paper from my stencil to cover the unpainted
Step 6: Apply your background color, allow to dry, and repeat as necessary until there is good coverage on your piece. (Paint right over the masking medium. If you didn’t use a masking medium, skip to Step 8.) Step 7: Once the final topcoat is dry, you’ll need to remove the topcoat where you used the masking medium. I used a small putty knife, pressing firmly, but carefully so as not to strip away the undercoat and expose the wood. You can also use a medium grit sandpaper (80120 grit), but the sandpaper will “clog up” and letters as I worked. Step 9: Hang your piece! I attached “D” rings to the back of my project. You can also use sawtooth hangers, eye hooks, picture wire, etc. Just be sure the hanger you choose will support the weight of your project.
you may have to use a few pieces. Step 8: Now you’re ready to start your lettering! Take your time here. It’ll save you a lot of frustration and a possible do-over. Dry fit your phrase and tape the papers together
There are limitless ways to complete this project. You can also use adhesive letters instead of a paper template (ensure the package says they are removable or reposition-able). In this case, the undercoat will need to be applied to the entire surface of the wood, as this will become the color of the lettering. Once all the letters are applied, apply the topcoat and allow to dry. Then, with a razor knife, remove the letters. (Paint touch-ups may be required. Quote credit: Abraham Lincoln
Stool Remodel by: Jen Turner
I really can’t pass up a good bargain, especially one as pretty as this. I love the shape of it and the detail in the legs. All it needed was a little TLC. It’s so simple to transform a seemingly “ugly duckling” into a “beautiful swan”, to be treasured for years to come. You will need: Chair, bench, or foot stool Sandpaper (optional) Water-based primer (optional) Water-based paint Paint brush(es) Quilt batting (optional) Firm foam (optional, found at fabric stores) Spray adhesive or low-temp hot glue (optional) Fabric Staple gun Screwdriver
Step 2: Look the base over and sand any imperfections. Using a damp cloth, wipe off any sanding residue. Prime the base with a water-based primer (usually only if the wood is very dark and you’ll be using a light-colored paint) and allow to dry according to product directions. *This step isn’t necessary unless your chosen piece needs a little more TLC than the piece featured here. I, for one, like the imperfections age and use has brought to my finds.
Step 1: Turn the piece over and detach the top from the base and set the top aside. (The top is usually held on by four screws at the corners.) Step 3: Using water-based paint, paint the base and allow to dry. Repeat as necessary. Step 4: While the base is drying, examine the top. (If the top fabric and padding is in good shape, there’s no need to disassemble it. Skip to Step 7.) If necessary, remove the damaged fabric, batting, and foam. You will be left with a wood (or similar product) form. My piece had four (yes, FOUR!) layers of fabric, so I just removed the top three layers. The first layer of fabric was in really good shape and it was so pretty, I couldn’t bear to take it off. Step 5: Using the wood form from the top as a template, cut the foam to the exact size and shape of the form (a bread knife works best). Use spray adhesive or low-temp hot glue
to attach the foam to the wood form. This side, and, working from the center, continue prevents shifting during assembly. stapling in uniform, but not exact, intervals. You’ll want to keep the staples fairly close Step 6: Using the foam/form assembly as a together for the best result. Don’t pull the first template, cut the quilt batting 3/4-1” larger side too tight, or there won’t be enough fabric than the foam/form assembly (ensuring the for the opposite long side. Repeat on the batting will slightly overlap to the underside second long side, pulling the fabric taut before of the foam/form assembly). Since the quilt stapling. You can also alternate stapling the batting I had was quite thin, I used two layers. first and second long sides as you progress. Do not attach yet. I’ve done it both ways, but have found there were more chances for dimpling or waves in the fabric by alternating. Repeat the entire process on the short sides. Gather and pleat the corners before stapling.
Step 7: Laying the batting and foam/form assembly (or the fabric covered top only, if you skipped here from Step 4) on the wrong side of the fabric, cut the fabric 1 1/2” larger than the original wood form. I used a combination of Steps 4-7, as seen in the picture. Step 9: Trim extremely excess fabric (may not be necessary). Don’t trim too close to the *Just as a money saving tip, I used a canvas staples or the fabric could begin to fray and be drop cloth from the home improvement store pulled away from the staple that’s holding it to as my fabric. It came out to just under $1.00 the wood form. a yard. I bleached, washed and dried it before use. Also, if you’re new to upholstering, simple, non-geographical (no stripes, checks, etc.) patterns, or fabrics void of pattern are much easier for assembly. Step 8: Starting at the center of a long side, pull the fabric over the back of the top and staple once. Repeat on the opposite long side, only pulling slightly harder on the fabric to create a smooth, taut top. Go back to the first long Step 9: Reattach the top to the dry base. Voila!
Wedding Inspiration Photo Shoot set at the historic Blenheim Palace
Watch the behind the scene video HERE
Acknowledgments & Vendors The team is very grateful to His Grace, The Duke of Marlborough, for granting us such unprecedented access at a time when he was in residence and to the wonderful team at Blenheim Palace for their support and hospitality. Stylist: Cedar Events www.cedar-events.co.uk Wedding Dresses & Evening Dresses: Kosibah - www.kosibah.co.uk Cake, Cupcakes, Cakepops & Sweet Tables: Elizabethâ€™s Cake Emporium www.elizabethscakeemporium.com Photography: Jide Alakija â€“ http://www.alakija.com Videography: Johanna Lawrence & Apos Goris Urban Cinematography http://urbancinematography.com/ Flowers, Thrones & Props: Essential Wedding Design http://www.essentialweddinghire.com Makeup: Kemi Kings http://www.kemikings.com/ Hair Styling: Kasia Fortuna http://kasiafortuna.co.uk/ Venue: Blenheim Palace http://blenheimpalace.com/ with special permission from His Grace, The Duke of Marlborough Stationery & Jewelled Bouquets: The Finer Details www.thefinerdetails.co.uk Jewellery & Headpieces: Rosie Weisencrantz http://www.rosieweisencrantz.com/ Shoes: Marsha Hall Handmade Shoes - http:// www.marshahall.com/ Linen: Over The Top Rentals - http://www. overthetoprentals.co.uk/ Gold Chiavari Chairs & Clear Beaded Chargers: iAM Wedding Hire www.iamweddinghire.com Models: Gayle Thompson-Igwebike, Chloe Penney and Olaya Diez Del Corral
Elizabethâ€™s Cake Emporium Elizabethâ€™s Cake Emporium founded by Elizabeth Solaru was established in 2006 and has a reputation for being one of the most innovative cake companies in the UK. With prestigious list of clients including royalty, celebrities, five star hotels and glamorous west end stores. Our cakes and cupcakes are adorned with the most realistic edible jewelery, sugar flowers and gems and have been featured in numerous blogs and national and international publications including Conde Nast Brides, OK!, Hello, Wedding Cakes - A Design Source, Cake Design Cuccina Chic, Magie de Zuckers and Wedding Venues and Services. Elizabeth has appeared on the BBC Good Food Channel and BBC Radio as a cake expert. She is also a regular on Sky TV being the only three times winner of The Great Cake Bake, a show which featured the best wedding cake makers in the country. The company is ranked as one of the top five wedding cake makers according to the definitive guide to the best cakeries, Great Cake Places and Elizabeth is also on the international panel of Wedding Industry Experts. She is a star speaker, competition judge and host at The Cake and Bake Show alongside baking luminaries such as Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and Eric Lanlard. www.elizabethscakeemporium.com
Avant Garde Princess Brides who like something a little different will adore this cake based on one of the stand out dresses from Alfred Angeloâ€™s 2013 collection. The taupe cake decorated with sugar lace motifs and finished off with a jaunty sugar bow is for the unconventional princess. Photography by: Urban Cinematography
Marie Antoinette A decadent purple ombre cake with edible gold cherubs, cameos and handcrafted sugar flowers, this cake is perfect for the princess bride who wants a statement cake. Photography by: Cristina Rossi Photography
Pearly Queen Taking inspiration from Coco Chanelâ€™s love of multi stranded pearls, this cake is for the bride who strives to be what Coco thought every girl should be classy and fabulous! Photography by: Eliza Claire Photography.
Featuring a spiral cascade of the most realistic classic wedding sugar flowers, including roses, lilies, hydrangeas, parrot tulips, stephanotis and sugar butterflies, this cake represents classic at its best. Photography by: Cristina Rossi Photography
This cake combines the classic black, white and red colors and will bring elegance to a chic and contemporary wedding. Photography by: Cristina Rossi Photography
Queen of Romance
A very tall and grand cake adorned with swags of white and pink sugar flowers with a pomander topper. A cake fit for any palace. Photography by: Cristina Rossi Photography
Inspired by the Lulu Guiness vanity cases, this two tier molten yellow gold cake with itâ€™s crocodile skin detailing on the top tier is a bold choice for the bride who loves travel. Photography by: Cristina Rossi Photography
Decorated with edible sugar lace appliquĂŠ, pearls and delicately colored sugar flowers. Itâ€™s ideal for the bride who loves everything vintage. Photography by: Cristina Rossi Photography
Art Deco Queen
With a strong and striking graphical style that utilizes gold geometrical shapes, it is topped with soft white ostrich feathers and is perfect for an art deco aficionado. Photography by: Cristina Rossi Photography
To submit a question, email email@example.com with the title â€œDear Juliaâ€?
I really really like this super cute guy, but I donâ€™t think he knows I exist in real life. We are friends on Facebook, and through months of Facebook stalking, I know he is single. I also know he will be attending a party at bar close to my house next week and I want to talk to him. What should I do? -Stalker Dear Stalker, Part of me is very impressed with your skills- making social media work for you is indeed important. That said, I do not want you to embarrass yourself by divulging too many details about his life. I am proud of you for wanting your first interaction to be face to face instead of over Facebook! Keep it casual and light, and most importantly be yourself! (Also most importantly #2 Do Not Over Serve Yourself as nothing good will come of that!) Good luck!
My ex-boyfriend keeps blowing up my phone. As much as I donâ€™t want to talk to him, I am scared to change my number. What should I do? -Bothered Dear Bothered, That sucks. How annoying. I assume you are letting it go to voice mail and not engaging with him. Whether you change the number or not is your call- as important as that number is, your sanity is worth more. You could wait it out and see if he gets tired of his silly game, or you could have a fresh start with a new number. Good luck! Either way, he sounds like a jerk- glad he is an ex!
The Host – Book vs. Film Review by: charliederry.com
From Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, The Host is a science fiction romance novel that introduces an unseen alien race known as Souls, which take over Earth and its inhabitants’ bodies. Adapted and directed by Andrew Niccol, the film version, released this month, follows 17-year-old Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) who has been taken over by a Soul known as Wanderer. Melanie refuses to just fade away, however. When Wanderer starts hearing Melanie’s voice inside her head and experiencing memories of her brother Jamie (Chandler Canterbury) and boyfriend Jared (Max Irons), she sets out to risk everything to find Melanie’s loved ones, as she struggles to put aside the strong human emotions that are refusing to let her cooperate. writing style isn’t masterful, but it was an enjoyable read as the story is well-developed Having read and finished The Host novel only and there are a lot of details given about the days before seeing the film, I was eagerly number of futuristic worlds that Wanderer has anticipating the release of this adaptation. experienced. The only major downside of the Despite enjoying the novel, however, The Host novel is the lack of threat and acts/desire for was the biggest disappointment of 2013 so far, revolution. The souls are all too friendly for and it is the worst novel adaptation I have seen them to take any real action, and the humans yet. are too compassionate to want to fight back; it’s a typical flaw in Meyer’s writing as she Let’s put aside that the novel is written by the seems incapable of putting her characters in author of Twilight for a second, though I will any danger. Because of this, The Host once note that I am a fan of both the books and films, again gets all too caught up on love to have the because the only thing worth mentioning that impact that a dystopian novel needs. Whilst I these stories share are a potential love triangle did like it, it was this lack of action against the that once again gets in the way. For one thing, Souls that meant I couldn’t love it, as nothing The Host is much better written. The book itself extreme happens or is built up to despite how not brilliant, and we already know that Meyer’s thick the book is.
On its own, the film doesn’t work at all. It’s not that The Host is an unadaptable story because it could have been done brilliantly, and being adapted by Andrew Niccol I had high hopes. In Time wasn’t the greatest of films but the dystopian future was set up brilliantly, and everybody loves The Truman Show. Having written about two alternative worlds already (I’ve not seen any of his other films to comment further), it was easy to presume that Niccol would have handled the screenplay for this effortlessly. Alas, he did not. The adaptation, instead, was a complete mess. With very little done right, I just can’t get my head around how nobody involved saw how badly they were dealing with Meyer’s work. It could have been as big as Twilight if they wanted it to be, because being adapted from a Meyer novel alone is where a large part of the audience is coming from. With potential sequels being discussed, as well, the film had the chance to introduce compelling characters that a younger audience could have invested in. Unfortunately, I’m not sure even these naive minds will be hoping for more. As an adaptation, The Host constantly strays from its original source, with the biggest flaw straight away being that the futuristic world isn’t given enough explanation. Whilst the film begins well to open up how and why this has happened to our planet, it never expands past these first few seconds. The book may lack any action, but what it does do right is fill the dialogue with Wanda’s experiences, detailing her previous lives on other planets to give some background information about why the Souls invade these planets at all. In the film, however, none of this is discussed. Seeing these different
worlds would not only have been a visual treat (having species live in fire, under water, and on ice), but it would have made the dystopian future believable. Instead, it all comes off as rather pathetic, especially with its diverted focus on “love conquering all”. Admittedly, films that have been adapted from a book always feel a lot flatter in comparison, but I have never seen it done quite this badly before. Not only does the film miss out many
of the important aspects of the novel, from a character named Walter whose death has a big impact on Wanda, to the interactions between her and those of her kind as well as the friendships she makes in the caves, with the Doc, especially, taking a back seat, the film also changes many of the scenes it chooses to pin point. From small factors such as the Seeker waking up at the end of the film and not knowing who she is, to the conflicts around Wanda which meant that she had to sneak out to find Jamie’s medicine because nobody trusted her, these changes were almost and always unnecessarily constant. They weren’t always a flaw as it made the story more dangerous, killing off a couple of additional people because Meyer didn’t have the strength to, but it derived itself from the novel so much
that the trailer alone was confusing. Instead of playing on the novels strengths, the film was more of a bullet point list of the main events, never expanding on anything to give it any meaning. The worst example of this was the end of the film, when Wanda wanted to kill herself to give Melanie’s body back and give Earth a chance of fighting back, not wanting to return to another planet because she couldn’t bear it without the people she had begun to care about herself, something she had never experienced before. This may have been easy to pick up from some of the dialogue, but it was also made to seem irrelevant, much like many of the events that happened beforehand.
In the end, and a lengthy 125 minutes later, even less happened in the film than it did in the book. Without the action that it needed to be a good science fiction film, The Host, instead, was more of a love drama, and a bad one at that. Unlike Twilight, which put a heavy focus on the leading relationships, the chemistries between Melanie/Wanda and Jared and Ian were more or less in-existent. It was easy to presume that the film would play on these romances to entice the young, female audience, but it was yet again handled so terribly that even that didn’t work. Despite how often the characters pleaded their undying love, there was no apparent reason for them
to have any genuine connections, therefore leaving the emotional scenes to constantly fall flat. With just an awful lot of kissing in the rain, the romances seemed forced, instead of being the acts of love that were needed to spark a revolution. The reason I was interested in this film at all was because of Saoirse Ronan in the lead role. She’s one of my favorite young actresses and is incredible in films such as Hanna, Atonement, and The Lovely Bones, but not even she could have saved this. Whilst her performance made it slightly more bearable, it wasn’t a role that I enjoyed. She did well with what she was given, but the script was silly and the voice-over came across as cringey. If this was dealt with better then Ronan may have made this film work, but instead I found myself sighing every time she had something to say, so I couldn’t even come away proclaiming my own undying love for her. Max Irons and Jake Abel were well cast, too, but their characters lacked any depth. Instead of being two men who wanted to fight for what they loved, and their entire existence, they were mere figures for Wanda and the annoying voice in her head to kiss when things got a little tedious. The same can be said for the rest of the supporting cast, as many of them weren’t even given any screen time. Aside from Jeb (William Hurt) and The Seeker (Diane Kruger), who were actually quite dimensional characters, the rest of the cast were pushed too far back for us to care about any of them, despite how likable they could have been. My recommendations would be to read the book if you need something to fill the time, but I wouldn’t bother with the film. What an absolute shame.
WELCOME TO THE PUNCH Film Review by: charliederry.com
Written and directed by Eran Creevy, Welcome To The Punch is a British thriller that follows detective Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) who, along with his partner Sarah (Andrea Riseborough) and scarred by his failure to bring down his nemeses, is given one last chance to catch the man he’s always been after, as ex-criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) is forced to return to London from his Icelandic hideaway when his son is involved in a heist gone wrong. As they face off, they start to uncover a larger conspiracy at work, one that they both need to solve in order to survive. Welcome To The Punch is a confident and stylish British action thriller that, whilst it looks quite average from the outskirts, is a refreshing cinematic experience. With all too much of the same being released lately, it makes a nice change to see some of Britain’s talent coming together to give us something a little different. It may be all guns shooting and cars swerving, but this police thriller is a breath of fresh air to its genre. Full of energy, Welcome To The Punch is brilliantly paced. With an excellent opening sequence, the most noticeable quality straight away is its stunning visual style. Set in London and full of big lights and cityscapes, the setting and set pieces make the films dynamic action sequences even more riveting. Reminding me in part of some of Scorsese’s work, this look compliments its genre perfectly.
of Welcome To The Punch is that the plot gets a little muddled when all of the twists come into play, although it does all get broken down for you near the end if you never quite got the hang of who was on who’s side. What Welcome To The Punch benefits most from, though, is its fantastic British cast. James McAvoy, Mark Strong, and Peter Mullan are all fantastic, and they come together brilliant with one scene, especially, that includes all three actors really standing out. Even Andrea Riseborough makes her place as a strong female lead in this action. Her relationship with McAvoy’s character isn’t well explored, but to have gone any further would have taken the film in a wrong turn.
Welcome To The Punch may not make its way From writer/director Creevy, who gave us the on to your Top 20 list at the end of the year, 2008 thriller Shifty, the one noticeable flaw but it’s definitely a film that you should watch.
OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL Film Review by: charliederry.com
••••• Discovering the origins of L. Frank Baum‘s classic children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and a sort-of prequel to the classic 1939 film of the same name, Oz: The Great and Powerful follows a smalltime magician (James Franco) who arrives in an enchanted land ruled by three witches – Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams). Directed by Sam Raimi, the film focuses on how the Wizard arrived in Oz and became the ruler. But will he be a good man, or a great one? Having read the majority of average reviews for Oz: The Great and Powerful beforehand, I wasn’t expecting a lot as I It was enjoyable in itself to see how Oz took my seat in the cinema. Consequently, came into power. Having not read the book myself, the story was competent I loved it. enough to keep you engaged, even Sam Raimi brings Oz back to life in all though it wasn’t excessively clever. Also its magnificence as the films biggest using the some of the same characters highlights is its visuals. Sharing some of in both worlds to keep the connection the same characteristics as the classic between Kansas and Oz vivid, we are Oz film we all know, Oz: The Great and constantly reminded of the original film, a Powerful begins in black and white and, characteristic that I really enjoyed. Some, as Oz enters into the wonderful land of however, felt that Raimi was trying to live Oz, the scenery bursts into color. With up to a film that he could never better, some brilliant 3D moments, these first but I found the small similarities a friendly few minutes in Oz are beautiful and nod to the classic rather than something show just how far cinema has come. Of that the director should be criticized for. course it wasn’t ever going to live up to It would be beyond ridiculous to expect the original, but it sure makes a fun and anything even close to the 1939 film, so making the comparisons at all wouldn’t magical follow-up.
make for a fair review. What were people expecting, really? The cast alone sets the film up as a strong but also campy and modern reimagination of L. Frank Baum‘s novel. Whilst at times I felt that some of the casting was a little muddled, at the same time I enjoyed how this gave the film a theatrical quality, which in the end is what I liked most about it. James Franco didn’t suit the role perfectly and his character wasn’t particularly likable for most of the film, but he gave a decent performance nonetheless and his role held up pretty well by the end. Yet again, though, it was Michelle Williams who stood out for me, showing that she can play a glamorous, good witch just as much as she can a broken-down wife. I absolutely adore her and I think she was a huge asset to the film overall. Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis are also quite fun to watch, both giving entertaining performances as the bad witches of Oz, although they do have more similarities to the Wicked stage show than they do to the truly terrifying witches of the original. It’s Zach Braff who will have you laughing though, and I certainly laughed a lot! It may not be ground-breaking, but I found Oz: The Great and Powerful thoroughly entertaining. If you go in expecting a bit of fun with the classic story, then that is what you’ll get; we have to remember what we’re promised in the first place, and that was never the masterpiece people were hoping to be surprised by.
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Chick lit by: Kimberly Campbell Moore Blog So. It’s April. The real beginning of spring is here. However, I’m writing from the lovely state of Nebraska. This year it feels like we might be able to change the saying “April showers bring May flowers” to “April snow kills May grow”. It has not been above 45 degrees in days. And while I am writing this at the end of March, a warm up has to happen soon or else April will be one horrible, horrible month here. Regardless, I will trust that spring, with all its new beginnings will be here soon. Life is full of winters and springs. We, as human beings in an imperfect world, experience endings and beginnings every day. Literature reflects the human experience and the best stories are about endings and beginnings.
about the chick lit that you read and feel that you just read the equivalent of a marshmallow. I’m talking about the ones that opened the entire genre. Two of the pioneers of the genre are Jennifer Weiner and Marian Keyes. The genre seems to be breathing its last gasps, yet these two women continue writing lovely, amazing books about endings and beginnings. This month, I read (re-read) and am going to tell you about two of their books. Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes and Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner.
Marian Keyes wrote Sushi for Beginners at the beginning of the millennium. It’s a story that follows three women. Lisa, a career driven brittle woman, seems to have conquered the London world of magazines and dreams of doing the same in New “Chick lit” is one of the best and most York City. Until she’s sent to launch a new clear-cut examples of this. I’m not talking women’s magazine in the “backwaters” of
Dublin, Ireland. Lisa has recently come out of a failed marriage. Ashling is an Irish woman just fired from her job at a very small publication, where she did almost all of the writing. She was fired for making up a tip to use vinegar to clean off cranberry juice. A reader attempted the method with disastrous results. She finds a job as Lisa’s new assistant. Her best friend, Clodagh, a woman married to a wonderful amazing man with two children, living in an amazing house, completes the trio of characters. Also worth mentioning are the characters of Jack (Lisa’s boss) and Boo, a homeless youth who sleeps outside of Ashling’s building and whom she tosses books to. I love this book. I love it for the fact that Keyes makes all three characters more than just chick lit caricatures. I love it for the fact that Keyes gets the reader right into the muck of their endings. You end up reading each woman’s life with a constant wish for them, a wish for the woman to see good in life, and in some cases rooting for them to see the underbelly of life. I also love the women’s beginnings. Keyes doesn’t just tie up some neat little present box of “girl gets boy” for all three and call it good. There are no lotto wins. There are no Prince Charmings of any sort sweeping in to rescue the women in encompassing love and perfection. All three have very real endings and beginnings. Ones that all of us experience in some way throughout our lives. From the woman who gets the man, from the woman who finally gets life as it should be, to the woman who loses it all, Keyes has characters with realistic
endings. I’ll let it remain a mystery as to which woman has which outcome. There is a couple of the fantastical, neat bowtied package moments in the story. Boo is “rescued” by Ashling when she tells Jack of him and Jack hires him for the tv station he also runs. The development of Lisa and Ashling’s relationship has moments of reader disbelief (at least mine) but Keyes ends up rescuing that and turning it into a more realistic relationship. You end this book feeling satisfied, like you dined on something more than just marshmallows. Jennifer Weiner also started publishing at the end of the nineties, beginning of the millennium. Her first book was Good in Bed. There is so much to love about Good in Bed! This book has more of the fantastical chick lit feel to it, but also constitutes something much more than a marshmallow. The main character of Good in Bed is Cannie. Cannie is 28 years old with a relationship that is on hold with a man-child named Bruce, a recently lesbian mother and a father who deserted her and the family years ago. Cannie is also plussize. The story starts with Cannie’s best friend, Samantha, calling her to tell her about a column she has seen in a woman’s magazine. It’s written by the man-child Bruce, and it’s about loving a large woman, with Cannie being named as “C” in the column. Cannie, of course, becomes hurt, enraged and embarrassed by Bruce’s column. She decides to try another weight loss program that is a trial of a new weightloss drug. There she becomes friends with
the doctor in charge and helps the other participants share a reality of what it’s like to be a “large woman”. Bruce and she have an on again, off again for a short while, leaving Cannie constantly on the edge of her seat, either with fury towards Bruce or a desperate need for him to reach out to her. Here’s where the fantastical comes in. Cannie is a pop-culture writer for the Philadelphia Examiner. She is sent to get a review with one of Hollywood’s hottest stars (whose physical description makes her sound a bit like Winona Ryder). She is turned away by the star’s (Maxie Ryder, so maybe the description of her is intentional) publicist. She goes into the hotel’s main bathroom, with the observation that hotel bathrooms make great places to cry. And lo and behold! There is Maxie. They strike up a friendship that lasts through the rest of the book, with Maxie often playing the part of fairy godmother. Cannie slips Maxie her screenplay script that she has written. Cannie ends up with a surprise. She turns the surprise to her liking, and feels really good about the decision she makes. Then a tragedy occurs and Cannie loses it. This book is about Cannie, about her losses, her endings and the beginning of a life completely different than the one she imagined, different from any life she could have imagined. A life infinitely better than the one she sheds during the year that the book covers.
There are so many things to love about this story. Cannie’s sense of humor is snappy, sarcastic and often hits right on the mark. The godmother storyline with Maxie Ryder also adds to the fun and lightheartedness of parts of the book. Weiner also describes Cannie’s breakdown and tragedy with realism, without sugar coating. Just like Sushi for Beginners, not everything gets tied up in a neat bow-tie fairy tale ending. And, unlike many other chick lit books out there that feature a plus sized woman, Cannie doesn’t magically transform into the slender sylph that so many of them do. She remains plus sized and finds how to love her body as it is. Society gives us a message every day. We are told we need to be thin to be loved. Weiner takes that message and throws it on its side and kicks it (I like to imagine with stiletto heels). If you end up loving these books, both women have written so many other amazing books. I bet they might just become two of your favorite authors as well. Other books to read: Reliving your childhood: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. Stuart and Bones Buried in Dirt by David S. Atkinson Fantasy: Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley Chick Lit: In Her Shoes, by Jennifer Weiner Mystery: A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George (begins an amazing series) Kimberly Campbell Moore has spent the last 30 years devouring books and is always on the hunt for a book that will end up devouring her. She believes wearing t-shirts sporting literary quotes, as well in as this quote from C.S. Lewis: “We read to know we are not alone.”