Thursday, February 23, 2017

Secret Pockets -- and Aprons, Books, and Connections

A Is for Apron -- ABCs: Aprons, Books, and Connections

Everyone likes a secret and including a secret pocket in a garment is a fun thing to do.  This green apron has a secret pocket -- with a treasure inside.
And another secret as well...  All is revealed in A Is for Apron -- ABCs: Aprons, Books, and Connections
A unique presentation featuring the history of aprons, connections to books, and myriad of ideas for reading, sewing, creating, and building a literacy environment in your community.  A great keynote or luncheon presentation at functions which might include tradesmen, parents, educators, sewing enthusiasts. Sewing guilds.

 
McBookwords has a dozen or more authors that speak with young readers.  If you would like to investigate having this presentation for your organization  --  please contact us at McBookwords. A presentation for  all types of groups that are interested in literacy and  books, and arts such as sewing and creativity with fabric.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Aprons for the Smallest Cooks

Aprons - a Touch of Whimsy.
Just finishing adding the buttons to the latest aprons -- Check them out at Greenfroggifts on Etsy.  
Take a look here!













1 each of designs #1 - #2 - #3
Child's aprons approximately 18 in. x 22 in.
#1 - Fish with pocket and ruffle version: Fish motif, gold wave background. Adjustable neck - three buttons purple, green, and yellow. String ties can be tied in front or back. Pocket. Pleated ruffle at the bottom of the apron body.
Apron is double fabric - fish motif on the front, gold with orange wave on the reverse and as accent.
#2 - Gold fish pocket and full pocket of porthole blue fabric. Pocket same as background. Adjustable neck - with buttons. String ties can be tied in front or back.
Apron is double fabric - tumbling fish motif on the front, porthole fish fabric on the reverse and as a pocket with gold accent.
#3 - Porthole Fish in ocean apron with full pocket with fish in ocean motif across the bottom of the apron (tumbling fish motif fabric is also the apron backing).  White trim.




Do you have a book package that you'd like to order -- suggest something special just for you...  Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices. 
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pecans - a little history, and a couple of recipes

When I published Authors in the Kitchen: Recipes, Stories and More (Libraries Unlimited) I included a recipe shared with me by author and illustrator Bob Barner.  It's the best recipe for pecan pie that I have made.
As part of the book I also researched a little history of the pecan.  Here is that research - and the pecan pie recipe along with a recipe for the best candied pecans.

From page 22 - Authors in the Kitchen
Pecans are the only tree nuts native to North America, and they are particularly plentiful in the Southern states. Pecans were a major source of food for Native Americans as far back as the 1500s. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew pecan trees in their gardens.  In 1919, the pecan tree was named the state tree of Texas. The production of pecans is a major industry in the southeastern United States.  Eighty percent of thew world's pecans are produced in the United States.  Georgia is the leading pecan-producing state in the country, with nearly 55 million pounds of fresh pecans harvested in the fall of  2003.  Okmulgee, Georgia, holds the world record for the largest pecan pie, pecan cookie, and pecan brownie. Albany, Georgia, is the site of the annual National Pecan Festival.  As many as 600,000 pecan trees are growing in Albany—sometimes called the Pecan Capital of the United States.  Because of modern-day grafting techniques there are now more than a thousand varieties of pecans.

Bob Barner's mom has a pecan tree in her backyard, and Bob says. "Today she bakes [pecan] pies with the nuts from her own tree. Not only is the tree home to numerous squirrels, magpies, and a family of robins, but it also produces delicious pecans."

Bob's mother's pecan pie recipe

And this recipe is adapted from my friend Don Krotz's candied pecan recipe:






Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cedar Rapids, Iowa's Hidden Treasure

We have museums, parks, and fine restaurants.  We have sport complexes, and a whole area of town devoted to the Czech heritage.  But nestled in a corner of the NE section of Cedar Rapids is a hidden treasure -- the Noelridge Greenhouse.  Placed in a corner of Noelridge Park the greenhouse supplies plants for the outdoor plantings.  It's a treasure that should not be missed.
Tours are available year round and there is a permanent display of large tropical plants housed there. 

Noelridge Garden and Craft Show
Each year the Noelridge Greenhouse has an open house and flower show (Cedar Rapids, Iowa).   The event is always held on Easter Saturday.  There are plants galore, and several crafts persons come with their art/crafts.  Orchids, handmade cards, honey, and other items.  A year or so ago,  I wanted to find a piece of jewelry made by my friend Jennifer Rotole.   Didn't take me long to spot this necklace and earrings.  The piece is crafted from 1920s vintage buttons and wire.  Jennifer changed out the chain to make it the 30 inches I needed/wanted.  And I was a very happy customer.

Put this event on your list for a quick Mother's Day visit.  A perfect time to get flowers, a piece of jewelry, or other craft items.  The event usually is open 10-5 p.m.

Noelridge Park Greenhouse is one of the city's hidden treasures—a treasure hidden in plain site.  Most communities have a hidden treasure.  Share yours.
 ~~~


Do you have a book package that you'd like to order -- suggest something special just for you...  Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices. 
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.




Thursday, March 10, 2016

Another Reason to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Herbert Hoover gained his greatest achievements
as a humanitarian - his efforts touched many including
Eric Sonneman who arrived in the USA as an immigrant on
St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1939.
In the fall of 2014, I wrote of Herbert Hoover and his humanitarian work and his  Iowa Connection in a blog post at Iowaconnections.com.  In researching information for that blog post I came across information about an immigrant, Eric Sonneman, who had benefited from Hoover's relief efforts.  In e-correspondence with his daughter Toby Sonneman, the author of a fascinating history of the lemon, Lemon: A Global History, I was directed to an essay about her father and St. Patrick's day that appeared in The Scroll: Tablet Magazine on the News.  It seems Eric Sonneman's arrival in the United States as a Jewish immigrant from Germany, coincided with St. Patrick's day
1939. 

 Sonneman family's favorite holiday.  Besides leprechauns, four-leafed clovers, and pots of gold under the rainbow I think Eric Sonneman had the right idea.  St. Patrick's day is a very good day to welcome immigrants to America.  On this coming St. Patrick's day, and all the days that follow, please do something to welcome a new arrival in the United States.  A simple hello, a plate of warm cookies, a hour or two tutoring in a local center, ... do whatever you can to make someone else feel welcome and treasured in our abundant land of opportunity.

His daughter, Toby,  is a writer and has written anecdotes involving her father.  In this specific essay Toby Sonneman shares her father's (and the family's) reason that St. Patrick's day is the family's favorite holiday.

Write and let us know what YOU did to welcome a new immigrant to the USA.  And if you have a favorite holiday we'd like to hear about that too.

 Resources:

McElmeel, Sharron (1 September 2014).  Herbert Hoover - Native Iowan: A President from IOWA.  Iowa History: Bits and Pieces.  (WEB) http://iowahistory.blogspot.com/2014/09/herbert-hoover-native-iowan.html

Soneman, Toby.  (2014) www.tobysonneman.com.

Sonneman, Toby.  (14 March 2014).  Why St. Patrick's Day Is My Jewish Family's Favorite Holiday.  The Scroll: Tablet Magazine on the News.  (WEB) http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/166071/why-st-patricks-day-is-my-jewish-familys-favorite-holiday
~ ~ ~

Do you have a book package that you'd like to order -- suggest something special just for you...  Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices. 
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Strega Nona Returns

A holiday gift -- an idea for all year.

Just before the holidays I learned that my toddler grandson's father had a very favorite tale as a child.  That story was Strega Nona.  Just by chance Tomie dePaola (the author of Strega Nona's books) had just released a collection of the Strega Nona stories.


I was able to order a signed copy of the book from Morgan Hill Bookstore.   http://www.morganhillbookstore.com/book/9780399173455

I had this book inscribed to my grandson but wanted to make it special for his father as well.  Then I went searching for fabric that might coordinate with this book.  Unlike some other favorite authors such as Eric Carle and Dr. Seuss there does not seem to be any illustrator created fabric, but generally I am pretty good at finding fabric that will provide coordinating images -- I envisioned perhaps some fabric with white doves, ... but then I remembered...

In the late 1980s, a reading organization obtained sketches from many illustrators, and permission to reproduce them.  one of the items was tote bags.  I had several in a stash that I have been saving. Saving for what I don't know but now I had an idea.  At first I was going to create  a blanket to use as the two cuddled up to read, but the one image did not seem to lend itself to being included in a blanket of any sort.  So a pillow idea was born.

The tote bags were made of a sturdy cream colored twill.  I cut off the seams, and the top hem which left a piece of 12 1/2 inch square fabric with the Strega Nona image.



The image was printed with a very dark blue ink so I choose a very dark blue twill fabric to use as the border fabric (I wanted an 18 x 18 inch pillow), and used the same fabric to create the envelope style back so the cover could be removed from the pillow form for laundrying.


We gave the book and the pillow to father & son as a "read aloud" kit.  Hope his daddy does read and share the book (and other stories) with him.
But I liked it so much that I made a set for myself too.  My pillow is going in the "reading" guest room.

~~~

Do you have a book package that you'd like to order -- suggest something special just for you...  Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices. 
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Green Mint Chocolate Cake

Green Mint Chocolate Cake

Green Frog Gifts loves anything green -- and this green mint chocolate cake is a great dessert to serve for any holiday get-together or St. Patrick's Day pot luck.  Simple as pie - well simple as cake.

Prepare cake mix as directed.  Substitute 1/4 cup of Creme de Menthe for 1/4 cup of the required water.   Add the oil and eggs as directed.


Optional: If you like a chocolately chunk component (and I do).  Take 3 Hershey's chocolate bars and chop them up.  Put into the batter and stir.

Bake and cool the cake.

Now for the topping - once the cake has cooled you will want to spread on the hot fudge layer.  Since the fudge is so thick I usually warm it in the microwave before spreading on the cake.
It'll still be warm on the cake so I stick the entire cake with the fudge layer into the freezer while I flavor the whipped topping.









I add a tablespoon or so of Creme deMenthe to the whipped topping and stir.  Add green food coloring if you want a deeper shade of green.










Cut the Andes mints into random chunks.
Spread the green Creme deMenthe flavored whipped topping on the cake over the fudge layer.  Randomly drop the Andes mints onto the top of the cake.




Share at your potluck or holiday meal.


Enjoy every crumb.

Do you have a book package that you'd like to order -- suggest something special just for you...  Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices. 
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.