Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Emma Tales: Chapter V

Emma Pillsbury: Lovely Lass

Chapter IV
Canada is NOT in Scotland

The Plaid Challenge

It's International Day at McKinley! All the faculty members have been assigned countries and the students have signed up to participate. Why on Earth would you want to spend time on schoolwork in your free time? Extra credit and a day off from classes to eat eclairs, sopapillas and crème brulee, that's why! Anyhoo, adorable Emma has been assigned Scotland and she has done her due research on all things kilt-ish. So, she gives the kids their assignments--decorations, food, dancing, costumes, music and sports--and looks forward to the big event.

The kids totally bring it: delicious nibbles, great entertainment and a Braveheart presentation… Freedom! Hold the phone. Stop. Be kind, rewind…Sweet, clueless, Brittany bounces by in what would be the PERFECT outfit, if it weren't for...

"But, isn't Canada in Scotland? Mike Myers is Scottish and he's from Canada. He always wears Canada hockey shirts, and remember when he ate haggises and his dad wore a plaid skirt at his wedding. And then, his dad sang “Do you think I’m sexy?" because Rod Stewart is Scottish, too. That’s what my cat said”

"That was a movie. But, that’s an easy mistake to make. In real life, Scotland and Canada are separate places," Emma says. Oy. Emma squeezes her eyes shut and blinks them open, squeezes and blinks, squeezes and blinks. Rubs them with her fists and and even clicks her perfect Mary Janes, "there's no place like home, there's no place like home"...she's not dreaming! Fer real? Think about it. If it were a dream, Brittany would know on which continent she lives. The End.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Emma Tales: Chapter IV

Emma Pillsbury: Daydream Believer

Chapter IV
Puh-puh-puh, Puh-puh-puh, Pillow Fight

The Nighttime Challenge

Brenda Castle is having a sleep-over and Emma, who has never been to one, is soooo thrilled until she learns that Sinister Sue is also invited, that is. Holy-I'm-gonna-get-my-bra-frozen! Despite the possible danger ahead, Emma jumps at the chance to see Coocoo Bananas' abode. Will there be rotating beds? Zen gardens? A Tiki-themed underground bunker? Emma is dying to know. Brenda's house does not disappoint. She has bamboo papered walls and shelves of Elvis plates, a leg lamp and a shag carpet walled bathroom. She greets the girls with a tray of Jello shots. Hooray! Baby Jello! After a brief Come-to-Madonna meeting (and Sue explains the baby Jello to Em), the girls leave their baggage at the door (okay, steam trunks) and trade their school clothes for jammies, or in Brenda’s case, lounge wear.

They TP Figgins house (If you wanna see your gnome again, you'll put Shasta in the vending machines!) and play Bloody Mary--after a few of their own. Pillow fights ensue. They order 2 dozen pizzas for delivery to Kin's house-- the pizza guy has it programmed in his nav system. Emma learns she's as light as a feather. Sue teaches them the Physical choreography, and Brenda tells their fortunes, (Figgins and Sue? Signs point to no.) Sue tries to wangle Emma into a game of Truth or Dare. Emma cites the Kin debacle and tells Sue her dare days are ovah. Emma shows Sue and Bren the magic of foam rollers. They decide to become blood sisters, but Emma almost faints, so they mix their nail polishes together and paint their pinkies with it. While exchanging dating horror stories, Emma’s the first to fall asleep. Sue and Bren put shaving cream on her hand and tickle her nose with a feather! She jumps up from her bed. It was all a dream! Or was it? **pulls feather from hair** The End.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Emma Tales: Chapter III

Emma Pillsbury: Noble Nightingale

Chapter III
Will Has the Polka Dots

The Polka Dot Challenge

Yikes! Will missed school! He caught the icky polka dots (that's chicken pox to the Pillsburys) from none other than ridiculous Rachel getting all up in his grill (don’t stand so, don’t stand so). After spraying Rachel down with Vanilla and Blossoms Lysol Spray (disinfecting can be pretty), waiting 15 minutes and repeating, Emma decides to help Will get his groove back. So, she packs her favorite train case with all the necessary polka dot fighting items: calamine lotion, rubbing alcohol and cotton balls; gently suggestive reading materials; a stethoscope for looking at, I mean listening to, Will’s chest; some mittens to keep him from scratching the dots on his dimples; and his favorite ice cream treat, Dippin' Dots.

She arrives at his house ready to take care of Mr. McGleemy when, what the cardi clips, Scary Terri opens the door! Terri says she knows how to take care of Will best. Oh really, Fake Preggers McPreggerson? Where were you when he almost forgot to Purel (it’s a verb now) after he used the public-use pencils in the teachers’ lounge? Who stood up to Sue when the performance-fleece-wearing cheerio sponsor dissed Will’s totally adorable houndstooth vest? Emmalicious, that’s who. "It's true, Emma," Will confesses, "she does know how to take care of me best." WTC!!!! Hold the phone! Did that just happen?!

Suddenly, they hear calliope music coming down the street. Is it the ice cream man? What kind of ice cream truck plays ABBA? Like a flash mob, the New Directions flood the street in matching white jumpers doing a mash-up to Waterloo. It’s fabulous! Will jumps in, then Terri, then Sue, then Kin and Figgins, but Emma doesn’t know the steps! They’re dancing around her, bumping her from every side. She falls to the floor and opens her eyes. She’s sprawled on her office floor! She fell asleep at her desk! Whew! No more popsicles at lunchtime! The End.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A View from the Tippy Top

I love decorating my Christmas tree and I often get lots of compliments on it!  I think one of the things that makes my tree look so "put together" is its crown-- the tippy top.  A tree just isn't a Christmas tree without a topper.  My tree is very narrow and my ceilings are pretty low, so I can't make a fabulously grand crown with fruit and ornaments and giant angels, but I can still dress it up-- and you can, too.

You don't need to be a fancy designer-- just a cool chickadee with a couple designer tricks up your sleeve. I've never taken decorating classes or anything, I just pick up ideas whenever I see a beautiful tree at a department store, in a magazine or in a catalog and I have a whole file of clippings to prove it!  So, I thought I'd share an easy way to fancify your tree top featuring an awesome trick that I came up with on my very own.  Enjoy!

Step 1: Gather the Materials

Once you've chosen your theme and color palette, shop for pretty wired ribbon about 3" wide (think grand!) and some glittery floral picks, branches or anything you can add that will coordinate with your trimmings. The best "extras" have long stems that you can just stick into the tree without having to wire them on. Buy 4 or 5 spools of ribbon-- it's always better to have extra than not enough. And you probably don't want to have to run to the store mid-trimming only to find out it has sold out of your ribbon!

Step 2: Make the Bows

(click image to enlarge)

To make a topper like mine, you need 3 or 4 large bows. I make multiple-loop bows with 4 or 6 loops-- depending on the thickness and width of the ribbon. These bows are about 10" wide with 10" tails cut on a diagonal. I prefer shorter tails that don't hang all the way down the tree, but just enough to curl nicely at the top. That way there's more room to show off ornaments. If you need instructions on making multiple-loop bows, check out this Container Store tutorial-- that's basically how I make mine, but I don't do the little loop at the beginning.  The center of the bow won't show anyway so there's no need to hide the wire.  If you look closely at that second picture above, all I do is pinch the center and wrap it tightly with wire.

Step 3: Assemble the Hoop

(click image to enlarge)

Shh, here's the best part-- my super-secret McGuiver-style tree-trimming trick.  This technique allows you to attach all the bows to the tree top while keeping the top branch free for Grandma's favorite angel topper. All you need is an inexpensive embroidery hoop and some wire, pipe cleaners or twist ties. Use the wire to attach each bow to the hoop, then fluff up the bows.  Taddah!  You've just created a gorgeous bow topper that you can reuse year after year!

Step 4: Crown the Tree

Now, all you have to do is place the hoop around the tippy top and let it sit on the top branches. Step back, walk around the tree and adjust the hoop so it sits properly and doesn't lean to one side.  The top branch is now free to add your own tree topper!

Step 5: Dress the Tree!

(click image to enlarge)

Along with the giant bows, I try to find some fun sparkly extras to stick up at the top to draw the eye upward. I found these super cool picks that have curly wire covered in brown sequins. They came as tightly wound coils, but you just stretch them to make cute boingy spirals.  You can either stuff your picks into the bows so they stick up, or under the bow so they hang down. Since my sequined picks were bendable, they looked best cascading under the bow.

Finally, you can add your traditional tree topper to the tippy top like I mentioned before, or just fluff up the bows to hide the top branch. Voila! You have a beautimous tree top and all your friends will think you had it done professionally!

When you are ready to store your decorations, find a box that is big enough to hold your bow hoop without crushing it and use scrunched up tissue paper inside each loop to keep the ribbon from creasing. You'll be glad you did next year!

Check out these fabulous tree tops by truly talented ladies. Thanks for allowing me to share your pics, chickadees!

click on Sue's photo to read her post

click on Annette's photo to read her post

Kraphti Dez's amazing over the top tree toppers

Special thanks to Annette at, Sue at, and Kraphti Dez

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Emma Tales: Chapter II

Emma Pillsbury: Dazzling Deb

Chapter II
And the winner is...not Kin

The Red Carpet Challenge

The invitation arrived. Emma is the 2010 CDC Everyday Hero and her presence is requested at their annual gala! She's over the moon! This is the perfect opportunity to lobby for hand sanitizer machines in every classroom. This is big. She wastes no time creating her ensemble, choosing a 1960s vintage gown that perfectly highlights her peaches 'n cream (not Herb) complexion and accessorizes as only a Pillsbury can. Emma is flawless. The only thing missing: an escort.

She considers her options. Dr. Jesse? No. It's just too uncomfy with the whole Mr. McGleemy thing. Her brother? Unfortunately for Emma, he has a rowing club dinner. Mr. Pillsbury? He's chasing mummies with Dr. Hawass. She's out of choices. It comes to this...

“Kin, you can come to the gala with me. I'll meet you there. Just don't sit at my table or look at me. I'm gonna wear gloves so you can't see my arms, K? And another thing, Kin, just because they're technically pants...”

The evening is here. Emma graciously accepts her award and gasp! She trips down the stairs! Horrified, she scrambles to her feet and runs out the door, breaking her heel as she goes. She jumps in a cab and runs inside her house before her self-imposed curfew. The doorbell rings. Oh no, it’s Kin with her heel! Pretend you’re asleep, pretend you’re asleep. The doorbell rings and rings and buzzes and beeps and sings. Sings? Her alarm clock! Her Sesame Street alarm clock! (I had one and it was awesome. Don't judge.) Thank goodness for Big Bird! She sits up in bed and shakes it off. It was a dream! Thank heavens, it was all a dream. The End.

WWEPW Idol Red Carpet Challenge: And the winner is...not Kin
And the winner is...not Kin by melgarzaallen featuring caparros shoes

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Emma Tales: Chapter I

There's No Place Like Lima
Chapter I
There's No Place Like Lima

The Jeans Challenge

Emma had a wonderful dream. Finn was there and Rachel was there (But, I’m the Dorothy!); Quinn was there and Terri was there (I’ll get you my pretty!); Will was there and Brittany was there (Is she an awesome witch or an alien witch?); there were painted ponies and a path made of gold; a bunch of little munchkins with questionable wardrobes; bluebirds flying over rainbows; lollipop enthusiasts, spontaneous music sequences just like New Directions and she was wearing pants! I know, right?

In her dream, Emma skipped (skipped? As if! Hello! Perspiration!) Strike that. In her dream, Emma rode all the way to Cardi Clip City just to learn that she already possessed the virtues to make her mark on the world (I’m going to make it on my own! *throws cap in air*.) She’s honest, loyal and true with a heart as big as Sue Sylvester’s ego and a beautiful mind with just a touch of OCD (but in a good way) and on top of that, she can pick out a perfect pencil skirt from miles away. As far as courage goes, Emma's a mean motor scooter in the face of bacteria and germies and she isn’t ashamed to show it. In the end, she realized there’s no place like Lima, clicked her ruby reds and awoke in her fluffy hypoallergenic bed ready for another day at McKinley.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Emma Pillsbury: Storybook Heroine

So, you all know how much I love Glee and Emma Pillsbury.  Well, the most awesome blog for all things Emma is WWEPW- What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear.  It's fab!  Not only does WWEPW highlight Miss P's wardrobe, but with the help of several guest bloggers, it also offers a load of ideas for Emmafying your own.  You can find super fun Fashion Challenges, where to shop for Emma-looks online, hilarious episode recaps,  as well as some really great giveaways!

This summer, WWEPW hosted a Polyvore challenge in the style of American Idol.  Each week, there was a different theme that we were to interpret into a fashion set for Emma.  It was sooooo much fun!  While I was building the first theme set (the jeans challenge), an accompanying narrative began to form in my mind; so, I ran with it to see where it would lead.  As the weeks progressed, I realized that the challenges were turning into little mini-episodes and they were pretty darn funny!  I decided to share them with you because I think they're pretty cute.  So if you like Glee, keep on the look-out for a weekly installment of  Emma Tales.  I hope you enjoy them!

Emma Pillsbury:  The Complete Tales
by Silly Bee's Chickadees

  • Chapter I: There's No Place Like Lima- The Jeans Challenge
  • Chapter II: And The Winner Is...Not Kin- The Red Carpet Challenge
  • Chapter III: Will Has The Polka Dots- The Polka Dot Challenge
  • Chapter IV: Puh-puh-puh, Puh-puh-puh Pillow Fight- The Nighttime Challenge
  • Chapter V: Canada Is Not In Scotland- The Plaid Challenge

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dia de los Muertos- Part II

I thought you may like a peek into the making-of the skull I made for the MECA Calavera Rendezvous auction. So, here we go!

Stage I.  Sculpting

MECA supplied me with a 1'x1' block of Styrofoam. I've never done subtractive sculpting before, so that was quite a learning experience. Once you cut it off, it's off!

Anyway, I quickly discovered that a serrated knife wasn't going to work (it pulled off chunks instead of slicing), so I decided to try a butcher knife. It worked really well for shaving away at the Styrofoam so, the shape was easy. The eye sockets, on the other hand, were a bit more of a challenge!

Stage II.  Prepping the Canvas

After sculpting, I used papier-mâché to create a surface for painting. Lots of people do the flour, water and newspaper method, but I find that too messy, so I go with newsprint, Aleene's glue and plain ol' tissue paper. You can also use ModPodge, but I always have Aleene's around, so it's easier (and less expensive) for me. I put a couple layers of newsprint (not newspaper) and a couple layers of tissue paper on top to smooth out the seams.

Stage III.  Design

I had no idea what I was going to paint on the skull. I thought I may paint it white and do a very colorful design, but then while looking at the blank canvas I decided it needed to be red. So, red it was! It's difficult to see in the photos, but I layered several different hues of red to give it more depth. 

Then, I thought some Mexican icons that are often symbolic of life and death would be nice along with a Mexican proverb. So, I blocked out areas for a sparrow, sacred heart, rose, sun, cross and a butterfly.

Stage IV.  Painting


I added details to the icons and began filling in the negative space with a vine pattern.   Along with the acrylic paint, I used some dimensional paint to add texture to the designs.

Stage V.  DONE!

These photos show the completed skull as it was displayed at MECA.  The proverb on the back reads, "La vida es un sueño del que se despierta al morir" which means, "Life is a dream that one awakes from upon death."

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my process!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dia de los Muertos- Part I

Last weekend was the MECA (Multicultural Education and Counseling for the Arts) Dia de los Muertos festival.  This year, they added a new kick-off party on Friday night called Calavera Rendezvous.  The event included a great lineup of singers and dancers, a fashion show by the Art Institute of Houston, an altar exhibit, a silent auction of Day of the Dead skull sculptures, yummy tamales, arroz, frijoles and empanadas! 

My sister and I donated skulls for the auction and together we brought in more than $400 (mostly my sister)! Hers is the blue mosaic glass one above. Mine is the red skull in papier mache and acrylic paint. I'll do another post about my skull sculpture soon.

The fashion show was really fun.  I was pretty excited to see one of the models wearing my mask! (That's her up there wearing all black. She was a tiny little pixie of a girl-- so cute.)  I loaned MECA the two Day of the Dead masks I made last year for the MOCAH gala.  Right now, they are part of the community altar at MECA.

We also attended the outdoor festival on Sunday afternoon where we watched Mariachi MECA and MECA Ballet Folklorico and enjoyed delicious chicken mole, tacos al carbon and mango agua fresca!  Can't wait until next year!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blog, You Look Marvelous, Again!

Last year I wrote a post about some free blog background sites I love to use. Since then, I've found a bunch more and decided to share them with you because they were not easy to find. Sure, it's easy to find a ton of sites with freebie backgrounds, but to find cute ones that aren't cheesy looking is not. I've compiled a lonnnng list of blog designers who offer free backgrounds and blinkies so I'm going to split it up and post a few links at a time. In no particular order, our first group is Smitten, Welling, Allie Brown and Izzie Grace.  Each site has its own instructions for using their backgrounds, so look for those and have fun redecorating!  Note:  Welling Blog Designs has recently closed shop, but they are keeping their free backgrounds up so you can use them.


Izzie Grace Blog Backgrounds

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Silly Bee's is Treasured!

Thanks to a couple awesome Etsy retailers, my pincushions have been featured in Etsy Treasuries! If you haven't been to my Silly Bee's Chickadees shop, find the link on the right sidebar and take a look! Grab some Christmas pressies before the mad rush!

Bottom row, last item-Strawberry Sweet Spoonful

Second row, last item- Strawberry Sweet Spoonful

Friday, October 15, 2010

Silly Bee's Beauty Tip- Revolutionary Shaker Thingy

Today's tip is a no-brainer, but it still took a Sephora guru to clue me in.  When she told me, I totally had a "duh" moment in the middle of the Benefit Cosmetics section!

Problem: Powder Sabotage

Have you ever opened your loose powder only to be greeted with a huge puff of powder smoke? I have and I owe it all to the revolutionary state-of-the-art powder shaker thingy.  Sometimes, it's so bad there's more powder on top than underneath!  By the time I tap and shimmy the container to coax the powder back down through the holes, I have powder all over my lap. When I give up, dunk my brush into the giant powder mound, I end up wasting a bunch of it while tapping off the excess.

Solution:  Duh! 

Resist the urge to yank off the entire sticker covering the holes on the shaker--I know it's fun, but resist. Instead, get a pin and poke through the seal to expose just 4 or 5 holes in the center. Wiggle the pin around to make sure the hole is big enough for powder to go through.  Then, when you're ready to use the powder, just tap some of it onto the inside of the lid. Voila! You'll get just enough powder and minimize waste. Makeup is expensive, y'all!  You can also peel back part of the sticker and cut it off exposing just a few holes. I prefer the pin prick option because the powder will fall from the center and it's less likely to end up in the edge of the cap where sneaky powder falls out to coat your makeup bag.

Hold up.  You tossed the sticker months ago and now have a giant powdery mess? Not to worry. First tap the powder sitting on top of the sifter onto a piece of paper. Then, pull out the divider and pour the powder back in. Next, grab your toner or rubbing alcohol, dab some onto a cotton ball and use it to wipe the shaker piece (I thought of that part all by myself!) Let it dry completely.

Grab some tape, cut a few pieces off and cover some of the holes.  Leave a few in the center. Now, snap your shaker back into the container and you're good to go. Easy peaty, powder cheaty.  (I just made that up.)

Now, why don’t those package designers just put 5 little holes in the center of the sifter in the first place and be done with it? Duh!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Clara's Spice Bars

Yay! Autumn has found her way to us! I have been holding on to this recipe until her arrival because, with their warm spices, I think these are perfect for this time of year. This is Grandma Clara's coveted Spice Bar recipe and you are very lucky that I am sharing it with you! Whenever we visited, Grandma had a big Tupperware full of these yummies waiting for us, so I guess you could say they are one of my favorite comfort foods. One taste and they just may become yours, too!

1 3/4 c plus 2 T sugar
1/2 c honey
2 1/4 c shortening
1 egg
1/2 c molasses
2 t cinnamon
2 t ginger
1 t ground cloves
4 1/4 c flour
1 T plus 1 1/2 t baking soda
1 c raisins

2 T water
1 t lemon juice
1 c confectioners' sugar

1. Cream sugar, honey, shortening and egg.
2. Add molasses.
3. Sift all dry ingredients and add to mixture.
4. Stir in raisins. (I prefer my bars without.)
5. Measure out 1-cup batches. Roll into logs 2" in diameter.
6. Place 2 logs onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Press with fingers to about 1" thick.
8. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.
9. Mix glaze ingredients.
10. Glaze bars while still warm.
11. Cut along a diagonal to create diamond shapes.
12. Serve with a cup of Friendship Tea. Enjoy!

Click on the recipe card below to print out your very own!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bling Out Your Blog

Want some fun blog accessories to dress up your blog? I sifted through dozens of cheesy blog bling sites complete with sparkling fairies and kittens with huge eyeballs until I found some cute ones that I think you may like. Click the links below to go directly to their buttons and blinkies pages!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Silly Bee's Beauty Tip-

Welcome to my first Silly Bee's Beauty feature!  I've been watching a bunch of youtube makeup and beauty videos lately and I decided it would be fun to include some fun beauty tips on Silly Bee's Chickadees!  Today's post is a shopping tip for beauty products! is my latest awesome find. The blog lists cosmetics "gifts with purchase" deals from department stores and beauty boutiques both online and in-store! Awesome, right? No more searching through endless amounts of store circulars to find great beauty deals. Plus, it's updated daily so you can get your foot in the door right away and not fall victim to "while supplies last".

From the blog:

"I am just your average gal who loves a great deal and a certified Gift with Purchase fanatic.  I wanted a simple way to find the BEST gift with purchases available and was not satisfied with getting one free gift with my purchase.  So, I post only the best beauty gift with purchases I can find and leave out all the fluff. Why get one small item with your $25.00 or $50.00 beauty purchase when you can get much more. concentrates on beauty gifts with purchase that give the most bang for your buck and conveys that information in a concise, efficient way."

Gifts with purchase are great when you want to try out new products or colors, or when you are looking to stock up on some trial-size beauty supplies for a trip.  Plan your Christmas shopping ahead of time-- buy your mom a bottle of her fave perfume and keep the GWP yourself!  Some items are available online only, but they may also offer shipping discounts, so don't overlook those!

Here's a great tip from the website:

"Know what foundation shade you are for VARIOUS brands. Next time you are in the mall, have the sales person help you to find out your perfect shade then ask for a sample to try. I know what shade I am for many companies, that way when a promotion comes up I am ready to purchase. Keep a running list and when its promotion time you can buy online with no problems!"

So, go have a look-see and plan your next beauty purchase!  Oh, I almost forgot to mention, I love Bobbi Brown and Benefit and I love floral perfumes. You know, just in case you need to unload a GWP! Have fun!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fiesta Friday- Tea Party Favors!

When I was in grade school, my mom always made friendship tea in cute tins for teacher gifts.  They were always a big hit.  So, when I was thinking about party favors for the Candy in Wonderland Tea Party, I remembered Mom's friendship tea and knew it was a perfect fit!

I shared the recipe for the mix with the other hostesses who put together the prettiest favors for the party.  Cat found some lovely cups and saucers and Lisa created the cute tags which coordinated with the darling invitations she made.

The mix is delicious and is perfect for Secret Santas, Bunco door prizes and Sunday school teacher gifts.   The fun is in finding cute containers to present it in!  To print out (and share) the friendship tea recipe, click on the card below.  Enjoy!

1 - 18 oz jar Tang mix
1 - 4 oz pkg lemonade mix (powder)
1 c instant tea (powder)
2 1/2 c sugar
2 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 t. ground cloves

1. Mix all ingredients and store in an air-tight container.
2. Use 2-3 t. per cup hot water

click to enlarge and print

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