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Butterfly bouquet will set your heart aflutter

This breathtakingly beautiful butterfly bouquet was recently featured in Martha Stewart Weddings (Summer 2009). Laura Normandin fashioned her bouquet from silk and feather creatures secured on thin wires so that they float and flutter realistically.


Butterfly bouquet

How to Make This Butterfly Bouquet


Tools and Materials


Assorted floral butterflies (floraltrims.com has a bunch of options)

White floral-wire stems


White floral tape
Ribbon


Butterfly Bouquet How-To


Floral butterflies come on wires, making this project super simple. Tape the wires close to the butterfly bodies with white floral tape to cover them and create a uniform appearance. Then gather together a few butterflies and tape their wires together using white floral tape. Stagger the spacing, or tape the wires only at the ends so you'll have lots of wire to bend.


If the wires are short, or if you want the butterflies to be able to be bent farther apart, attach individual butterflies or clusters of butterflies to floral-wire stems (lay the wire from a butterfly alongside a wire stem with a 1- or 2-inch overlap, and tape the two together). Make several clusters, and tape them together to create the desired shape. Finish the stem by wrapping it in ribbon.


Posted by Amanda, in General.

Treat yourself to a root beer float in honor of National Root Beer Float Day

Rachael Ray's Root Beer Float Recipe 


Root beer float by Rachael Ray

This recipe takes 5 minutes and yields 4 servings.


Ingredients


1 pint vanilla bean ice cream

2 quarts root beer


Directions


Hang a large, well packed scoop of vanilla ice cream on the edge of a fountain glass or other tall drinking glass. Fill the glass 3/4 full with root beer. Set the fountain glass on a salad plate, underlining the glass for overflow. Serve floats with straws and parfait spoons. When you are ready to enjoy the floats, knock the ice cream into the root beer and watch it fizz up as the ice cream floats. Yummy! This is the simplest and my most favorite fountain drink!


Bobby Flay's Root Beer Float Recipe 


Root beer floats by Bobby Flay

This recipe serves 4 and only takes 5 minutes to prepare. Add a splash of bourbon and convert this children's favorite into an adult treat.


Ingredients


1 pint vanilla ice cream

2 bottles very cold old-fashioned root beer

Splash bourbon, optional

Freshly whipped cream


Directions


Place a few scoops of vanilla ice cream into 2 tall float glasses. Pour the root beer and bourbon, if using, over the ice cream and top with a dollop of whipped cream.


Source: Food Network

Posted by Amanda, in General.

Sophie the Giraffe is a baby teether but it is so adorable that I can't help but want one myself!

Sophie the Giraffe is designed to stimulate the senses (she makes a happy sound when squeezed) and soothe teething gums (safe for babies' mouths). A French classic for your drooling bundle of joie.  This whimsical, sweet giraffe is handmade in the French Alps from natural rubber and non-toxic food based paint ($22.95 at Land of Nod)

Sophie the Giraffe

Posted by Amanda, in General.

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day so indulge yourself in a chocolate treat

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day!  When you think of chocolate chips, what's the first thing that comes to mind?  With me, it's chocolate chip cookies.  I love everything about them:  the cookie dough, the smell of the cookies while they are baking, taking a bite out of a warm and gooey cookie right out of the oven and then snacking on a homemade cookie once it's cooled!    

Chocolate chips are a required ingredient for making chocolate chip cookies, which were invented in 1933 when Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in the town of Whitman, Massachusetts added cut-up chunks of a semi-sweet Nestle chocolate bar to a cookie recipe. The cookies were a huge success, and Wakefield reached an agreement with Nestlé to add her recipe to the chocolate bar's packaging in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate. Initially, Nestlé included a small chopping tool with the chocolate bars, but in 1939 they started selling the chocolate in chip (or "morsel") form. The Nestlé brand Toll House Cookies is named for the inn.

Originally, chocolate chips were made of semi-sweet chocolate, but today there are many flavors. These include bittersweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, mint chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, and white and dark swirled chocolate chips.

Chocolate chips can be used in cookies, pancakes, waffles, cakes, pudding, muffins, crepes, pies, hot chocolate and various other types of pastry.  They are also found in many other retail foods like granola bars, ice cream and trail mix.

Treat yourself to a some chocolate chips in whatever form is your favorite.  I think I'll have a cookie!

 

Semi-sweet chocolate chips
Chocolate chip cookies

Sources: Wikipedia, Very Best Baking.com

 

Posted by Amanda, in General.

Lomography Diana+ plastic vintage camera from Urban Outfitters creates soft and dreamy images

So here's how the story goes: back in the '60s, a small firm in Hong Kong created an inexpensive camera called the Diana. Crafted entirely of plastic, each camera cost only a dollar at the time of its release! Although it was only produced for about 10 years, Diana became a favorite with avant-garde and lo-fi photographers. They loved its soft and dreamy images, super-saturated colors, unpredictable blurring, and random contrast. Diana shots were raw and gritty, with a character all their own. They couldn't be duplicated by any other camera on Earth! But after the camera was discontinued in the '70s, functional examples became difficult to find and increasingly expensive to purchase. Dianas were in high demand! And given the cameras exceptional images and retro good looks, the fine folks at Lomo decided that it was time for a comeback!
Not satisfied with a simple reissue, Lomo decided to add something to the original. That meant adding all-new functionality to the camera and dramatically expanding its creative potential. They called it Diana+. Its body was re-cast using a duplication of the original mold. The lens was balanced to obtain those "perfectly imperfect" dreamy, gorgeous, color-drenched, sometimes-blurry, and often-mindblowing images. And this Diana knows a few new tricks, too! Features include an integrated hotshoe flash mount for use with the Flash+; 2 shutter speeds: one for day and one for night; the ability to shoot multiple or partial (overlapping) exposures; two image sizes for 12 square shots or 16 square shots on a roll of film; new Pinhole function: remove the lens, set the aperture to a super-small pinhole and shoot a super-wide-angle, severely old-school image through a tiny hole; new endless panorama function: shoot a long, concurrent, and unlimited panoramic image, with almost no space between each individual frame. Includes: Diana+ camera (with lens cap, strap and shutter lock), Diana Vignettes photo and story book and instruction manual; 5"w, 3.75"h, 3"d
(Diana+ camera $55; Diana F+ camera $95 at Urban Outfitters)


Lomography Diana Deluxe Package: The Lomography Diana F+ camera, plus a huge assortment of lenses and accessories! Create an unlimited variety of incredible analog images with the world's first all-plastic medium format and 35mm film camera system. An insane amount of gear, you paparazzo, you. Diana F+, Diana Flash, hotshoe adaptor, cable release collar and cable release, Diana back and 4 masks for 4 kinds of film, viewfinder adapter, universal viewfinder, fisheye viewfinder, splitzer multiple exposure tool, 20mm fisheye lens, 38mm super-wide lens, 55mm wide-angle and close-up lens, 110mm telephoto lens, and "Diana Vignettes" hardcover photo book; 22.75"l, 18"w, 4.25"h (box) ($250 at Urban Outfitters)


Diana+ Camera
Diana F+ Camera
Lomography Diana Deluxe Package

Posted by Amanda, in General.

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