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Cricut BrightPad Go Unboxing and Review

The Cricut BrightPad Go is a must-have for anyone who needs concentrated light that helps with design for sewing and craft projects, but is perfect for anyone interested in diamond painting or transferring an image to another surface, like copying a design on graphite paper.

What is in the box?

I have an old Fiskars Light Boss that has been a sturdy and helpful companion over the years, but it is limited to a 120v Fluorescent bulb and isn’t very bright. I still use it and love that it was built well and has lasted this long. My vision has not held up as well, and I require a brighter light and need the convenience of being cordless, as I don’t always have access to a plug near my work areas.

The Cricut BrightPad Go isn’t an inexpensive tool, but it is a tool and not a supply for your craft room. It has many uses and will hopefully work for many years. As I show in the unboxing video, I love that I can use the pad to align fabric edges and patterns. This will be especially helpful with dark fabrics. As you can see below, I enjoy to use it when I am working on my diamond paintings. I’ve used a lamp, but the pad is superior, as the light source comes up through the canvas and makes the design legend symbols easier to see. It helps reduce eye strain and doesn’t light up the entire room instead of my work area.

One thing I’d like to point out is that the manual, for lack of a better word, states that once charged, you won’t need to recharge for a few months. This is misleading. I was so excited, believing that I would get a long use out of the pad before it needed charging again. A fully charged pad will work for two hours on the brightest setting. The quoted multiple months are what one can expect when the pad is charged and just on idle waiting to be used. Meaning, the battery doesn’t have a quick drain if you don’t use the pad.

So far I’m really enjoying the Cricut Brightpad Go and look forward to sharing how it holds up!

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Amazon Prime Day Deal: Hiboy Electric Scooters

Hillary, my Siberian Husky, believes that every morning must begin with a run alongside my Hiboy Electric Scooter. Nothing gets her out the door faster than asking if she is ready for her “zoomies” and trip to the park. Every dog needs exercise, but if you’ve ever had a Husky, you know that they have an incredible need and desire to run and get out their energy. A few romps of play in the yard or even a walk in the park isn’t enough exercise for her. The Hiboy Electric Scooter makes us both winners, as my knees are saved from running on concrete, and she gets the much needed running time she loves (and her nails are kept trim as the running on hard surfaces keeps them short).

It is a very sweet ride.

Amazon Prime Day is here and so are the deals on scooters! You can save 20% – a savings of $92.00, plus you get that sweet free shipping, on the following scooter: Hiboy MAX V2 Electric Scooter – 8.5″ Solid Tires, Up to 17 Miles & 18.6 MPH, Front & Rear Suspensions, One Step Fold Electric Scooter for Adults, Commute and Travel

Hiboy S2 Electric Scooter with Seat – 8.5″ Solid Tires – Up to 17 Miles & 18.6 MPH Folding Commuting Scooter for Adults with Double Braking System, Rear Suspension and App

This is the scooter I own. The current deal offers a coupon to be used at checkout for a savings of $50. See the product description on the product information page at Amazon for more details.

One of my favorite things about the scooter is the seat! Yes, you can either stand or sit down! I find it easier to stand when she is running alongside, but the ease of removing and installing the seat is a breeze and makes it an easy transition. The seat is used most often for a leisurely ride when Hillary is home.

photo courtesy of Amazon and Hiboy

Purchased in September 2020, the Hiboy scooter has been a much needed outlet for both of our energies as we have navigated the times of the pandemic. It has really helped keep both of us active during periods of limited travel. The wonderful thing about the scooter is that is is so lightweight (35 lbs) and folds easily for quick runs to the park. Hillary does a thirty minute run every morning, and I only need to charge it once a week.

The scooter is stable and durable. My feet have plenty of room on the deck and the bell and double breaking system make me feel secure while riding. The scooter operates silently and it really can pick up some speed as it approaches 18 miles an hour.

Check out the deals and get ready to give your dog some overdue exercise. *Please be careful when exercising your dog in the heat. We go early morning, but even then there are days where I have to be extra careful with her level of exertion to ensure that she doesn’t approach heat exhaustion. Also be careful with the surfaces you ride/run on, as dogs can burn their paw pads. The only thing missing is a compartment for storage. I keep her water, collapsible bowl, and poop bags in the Hiboy Waterproof Scooter Storage Bag.

She could use a little cleaning, but she is well-loved.

The Hiboy scooter is definitely an investment, but they are quality products that will support your needs for exercise.

Here is a helpful video that I watched prior to my purchase. I’d love to hear your views and see pics of you with your dog in action. Safe scooting!

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Review: Hillary Docu-Series on Hulu Episode One: The Golden Girl

Let me begin by stating that I have a bias in favor of Hillary Clinton. I believe in her as a person, a leader, a feminist, a politician, and as the woman I desperately wanted to call my President. It takes absolutely zero effort to entice me to watch a documentary (my favorite movie genre) about Hillary. Here are my thoughts on the docu-series on Hulu.

Hillary – directed by Nanette Burstein on Hulu

Hillary was born in Chicago, Illinois, and as a little girl, she didn’t grow up thinking she would be the president of the United States. Her childhood female influences did not work outside the home. Contrary to what many think of her, she wasn’t plotting world domination at an early age.

The film covers moments in her youth, from her world in the suburbs of Chicago and involvement in the Methodist church, to the Civil Rights movement. Her time at Wellesley, an all-girls college in Massachusetts is touched on, with friends, classmates, and teachers speaking about how social reform of the time was forming her political beliefs. Senator Edward Brookes was the graduation speaker. His speech essentially told the graduates to embrace their space and not get so worked up about everything, as much protest wasn’t really worth the effort or time. Hillary was chosen as the student speaker, and she went off script and addressed what he said. When you hear Hillary speaking in response to Senator Brookes, the voice of the woman I admire today is heard in the young graduate refuting the Senator who seemed to brush off the impact and importance of civil protest.

Hillary decided to go to law school and sat for the LSAT at Harvard. She was harassed by the male testers, admonishing her for being a female and having the audacity to dream of being a lawyer. She talks about the lack of reward that would have been given for showing emotion in a situation like this versus the world of today where people are constantly looking at your emotional response to any and all stimuli.

I relate to this, as I was raised by a family that believed if you fall and hurt yourself, you don’t cry, you wipe that part of yourself off and move along. Stiff upper lip. My parents were big proponents of phrases like, “never let them see you get upset, cry, etc…,” and I learned to react from a place of seeing myself through the eyes of others. That means you limit reaction when someone does something to you that you don’t appreciate, and you work harder to never be vulnerable to that attention again.

image by Bill Oxford

1969 Yale Law School

Hillary was one of 27 women law students at Yale. This is where she met Bill Clinton. There are personal photographs of their dating period, and President Clinton speaks about his first impressions of her. Bill had a Political and Civil Rights class with Hillary. Bill said, “She had a certain aura about her. “

The photos show a couple who are smitten with each other. That look of his love for her is pure and true and it sparkles in his eyes as he speaks of her today. Bill clearly loves Hillary and has been enamored with her since the first time he met her. “I just had this feeling that this is not going to be normal, and this could change your life.”

I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing President Clinton speak in person. There is an undeniable charisma about him that is easy to see and enjoy. It is also evident why women are so easily drawn to him. He checks most of the boxes – handsome, funny, intelligent, witty, and charming. He “sees” you when he speaks to you. You aren’t one in a crowd. YOU are his audience of one. Very few people truly have this skill, and he excels. When he spoke at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), he was touring on behalf of the campaign for Hillary, and as he spoke about her, even about her political ideals, he spoke of her glowingly.

Hillary took a path all her own in law school. She was a feminist who was interested in women and children’s issues. She attributes her interest to her mother. Her mom never felt loved and left home at thirteen to work as a housekeeper. Hillary worked for Marian Wright Edelman, a civil rights activist and advocate for children.

Amy Chozick is featured in the film and speaks about the article she wrote about Hillary going undercover in Alabama to expose the illegal discrimination on the basis of race in private school academies that had been granted tax-exempt status.

Hillary and Bill graduated from Yale in June 1973. They traveled through Europe together and Bill proposed to her. Hillary requested more time, and Bill said he would wait. Bill knew he was going to return to Arkansas, and Hillary didn’t know in which direction her compass was set.

Upon returning home, she went to Washington, and in 1974, Watergate was the topic of the hour. Hillary worked on the Impeachment Committee. She worked on the memo for the grounds of impeachment, defining what high crimes and misdemeanors meant. Clinton encouraged Hillary to return to Illinois and run for office. She did not believe anyone would vote for a “pushy” woman like her.

1974 Arkansas

Hillary followed her heart to Bill and the University of Arkansas School of Law offered her a job.

Bill and Hillary were once on a walk, and Hillary commented that she thought a house was cute. Bill bought and furnished it and said she had to marry him since they now how this adult commitment. She accepted his proposal and they wed.

Within a year, Bill was elected Attorney General and they moved to Little Rock. Hillary went to work for the Rose Law Firm with the distinction of being the first female lawyer at the firm. She would ultimately become partner of the firm.

Bill Clinton served as Attorney General for two years and quickly moved on to become the Governor of Arkansas at the fresh age of 32. Hillary was the First Lady of Arkansas and she raised eyebrows, as she remained a working lawyer and the public also didn’t appreciate that she had kept her maiden name.

This was the beginning of her being picked apart. She was attacked for her hair, her name, her clothes, and her lack of children, just to name a few. I’m sickened by how similar the attacks are on her today in 2020.

In 1980, Chelsea was now part of the family, but Bill lost his reelection campaign. Feeling responsibility for his loss, Hillary took his name. She had a complete makeover. Clothes, hair, and contact lenses. Her transformation worked. Bill became Governor again in 1982, and he appointed Hillary in charge of reforming the public education system.

Can’t forget the emails…

image by Georgia de Lotz

The emails. Why aren’t we over the fact that her private emails were not on the government server when she was Secretary of State? She decided to use the server that had been set up for Bill, there was no regulation against it, and everyone knew it was operational because she responded to their emails from her personal email. What she did was not illegal. Colin Powell used a private email account and previous Secretaries of State did the same thing. She thought this story would go away quickly. We all know how much this didn’t go away. Classified information ended up on the server, and the FBI investigated it. It was determined that there was no deliberate mishandling of information. She was being accused of making her own rules. She admits that she was irritated by this questioning and feels she didn’t successfully handle it. She spoke with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC and Mitchell pressed for an apology from Hillary. She didn’t supply one and that took over the news. She apologized in an interview with David Neal on ABC News. She gave the people what they wanted, but that didn’t make them happy. The emails are still brought up and probably will be until the end of time.

Bernie Sanders

This first episode briefly touches on Sanders. She is heckled by protestors at one of her campaign rallies. As they are escorted out of the building, she declares, “You may not be supporting me, but I’m supporting you.” Yeah, I thought, she really doesn’t give up on doing the best for all of us, even her loudest detractors.

The vitriol coming from the Bernie supporters in 2016 is evident in the presidential race today. Hillary was painted as a centrist, a corporatist, and an old-school democrat who doesn’t care about the little guy. Sound familiar? They are attacking Vice President Joe Biden with the same words as he competes with Bernie Sanders to be the Democratic Presidential Nominee in 2020.

The movie praises Bernie as a powerful messenger. I agree that he is, for he likes to speak in sound bites (Free Tuition For All), and defer his plans for such programs until a later date. Hillary, on the other hand, gets ground to stone for stating the truth and never promising unattainable goals. She was encouraged to get on the “free public education for all” train, but she does not believe it is attainable. It is more difficult to turn, “I believe in affordable, debt-free education with the ability to refinance your current school loan debt” into a rousing chant.

Ironic that we live in a world where so much information is available at our very fingertips and many people still desire ignorance. Hillary didn’t ask you to blindly follow her. She outlined and talked about her plans at every opportunity afforded her. You can’t make the unwilling listen, but the media and her dissenters characterized her as unable to get her message across to the public.

The film is sprinkled with shared moments with her staff as she travels the country for her campaign, reminding me of what we lost. These snapshots of time on her campaign trail reveal a funny, tired, resolute, strong, and devoted human. They reveal her humanity. There is a scene where she is greeting small business owners and she asks one of her staff if they have some money because she doesn’t have her purse. As a woman who often leaves her purse behind when doing things where a purse has no place, I’ve said that very sentence. These are the relatable moments that her detractors claim are non-existent. They would rather view her as cold and calculating in a prolonged effort to dehumanize her. Hillary admits she provokes strong opinions, both positive and negative.

Clips of her campaign to be the 45th President of the United States stir mixed emotions for me. I miss those days, and I miss the version of me who once believed that our nation would embrace a strong, female leader. Ultimately, I’m left in agreement with the summation made early in the film. Hillary is “one of the most admired and most vilified women in American history,” says Jake Sullivan, Senior Policy Advisor for the Clinton campaign.

On to Episode Two: Becoming A Lady

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Knock Knock, Autumn is Here

or so they say….. it is a tad bit difficult to believe when our temps in Charlotte are still in the 90s. A warm Fall is on tap, but I’m ignoring that news with my current favorite things that murmur sweet Autumn coziness to my ears.

Fall TV is returning, and I’m here for it!

When I was growing up, my favorite magazine to get was the TV Guide Fall Preview issue. This was always one of their largest issues and was full of information about the coming season on tv. I highlighted my favorite shows and circled when they would be airing. I was very serious about my tv watching. *They still publish these guides and they are available at your local newsstand. 

Tune in to TV with the Fire TV Stick 4K

This summer I purchased the Fire TV Stick with 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, and it includes the Alexa Voice Remote. My Vizio tv had stopped supporting the apps for HULU and Netflix, and I could barely make it through a show without an error popping up that prevented me from completing the show.  I contacted Vizio and they confirmed that they no longer supported the apps and had no plans to update them. They advised I would continue to see the same errors. I was paying for services that had become unwatchable on my television but were fine on my other devices. 

Seeking a solution, I found the Fire TV Stick 4K, and I’m overjoyed with it. You download the apps you want, like HULU and Netflix, but you can also watch a seemingly endless line-up of other providers, including YouTube! I love that everything is in one place, and if you subscribe to HBO or other subscription channels, you can add those apps as well. 

The voice control is really a nice feature and prevents me from struggling to find a specific button. I just hit the microphone button and tell Alexa to pause or stop what I’m watching. I love seeing someone in a movie and asking Alexa to tell me more about that actor or search for more movies that they can be found in. You think you’ll never use it, but you will, and you’ll love it. 

Amazon music streams beautifully and you can have family karaoke night as the x-ray lyrics play on the screen. Again, you can add apps like Spotify and stream from your subscription service. 

Security Features: 

I’ve recently installed some Wyze lights in the living room, and I can use the remote to simply command, “Turn off the fan lights,” and off they go. This is one of my favorite features.

Additionally, my Wyze cameras are just a voice command away and viewable on the tv when I command Alexa to show me the front door or backyard camera. 

If you don’t have other Alexa devices, you may really dig the fact that you can make announcements to anyone while you are out of the room or away from home. You will need to use your Alexa app on your phone, and once you have entered your message, it will announce it on the tv (and other Alexa devices in your home). Way cool. 

As the time nears for family gatherings, you can choose to display your own photos on the tv screen, too. How excited will your grandmother be to see her photo on the tv? 


Fall Activities and Accessories

Cooler weather means it is a joy to be outside again. This summer has been a miserable one for me, with the high heat and humidity in Charlotte. I’m ready for some cooler weather and any excuse to wear a scarf. 

When I’m ready to look for a new activity, place to eat, or cute accessory, I turn to the deals at Groupon. This jewelry set is just the ticket for my style and wardrobe allowance at 82% off!

sweet small leaves necklace

Groupon has some great event packages that can’t be beat when you want to try a new activity or take on a hobby.

Maybe a trip to the local vineyard would be a great time!
credit: Jassy Onyae

Fall goodness + frugality = a happy Jeannie! 

Scarowinds is back in session at Carowinds. 

I have a love/hate relationship with Scarowinds. I want to love it, but I hate to be scared. The talent do a fantastic job with their makeup and theatrics for the event. If you love to be scared, you will enjoy it! It should definitely be experienced at least once. 

Creature Comforts:

Whether you’ve settled in for a night of tv or just returned home, nothing feels as good as a hot cup of coffee. 

credit: Christiana Rivers


Don’t forget to reward your tired muscles, too!

Relish in the permission Fall allows us to slow down and read. As luck would have it, I have a book to suggest–mine! Lol

Manual Exposure paperback book
Manual Exposure Paperback
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National Coloring Book Day

colored piggy with macaroons for coloring book day
Taking a moment to settle the mind and relax is a great method of self care!
How cute is this piggy I colored?
from coloring book: Color Me! by New Seasons
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Color Me Calm

Have you joined the coloring craze?

I’ve always loved to color, and the great number of adult coloring books that are available today make it an easy option for anyone to grab a few moments for themselves to just clear the mind and declutter the spirit. I don’t need a study to tell me that taking some quiet time alone to color pushes that needed reset button in my mind. 

If you find yourself depressed or filled with anxiety, you’ll undoubtedly benefit from the focused energy and peaceful time spent coloring. Breathing slows down. Thoughts slow down and begin to unfold in ways that help you decompress and find solutions that were previously wrapped in worries. We could all use a push to slow down and live in the moment. 

I love the spiral notebooks, as they allow me to access all parts of the image, and the sheets are perforated should I want to frame the images or send them to someone!
from coloring book: Color Me! by New Seasons

If you haven’t tried coloring, you have very little to lose. This hobby doesn’t have to be expensive, and you can take it with you on your travels. 

Freebie alert:

You can download a free Mini Coloring Book from Dover and register to win one of ten $15 Dover Gift Certificates. I’m not sponsored by Dover, but I do like their products and thought you might enjoy the freebie.

Coloring books have gone digital, too. I’ve tried some coloring phone apps, but they don’t compare to actually holding a pencil, crayon, or marker in my hand. However, some people love them!

from coloring book: Color Me! by New Seasons
from coloring book: Color Me! by New Seasons

Here are some other favorites I am using and love:

Classic Coloring Alice In Wonderland

Classic Coloring: Alice in Wonderland (Adult Coloring Book): 55 Removable Coloring Plates
The back of the prints have book passages on them.
Classic Coloring Alice in Wonderland Coloring Book
The pages disconnect from the spine with ease, making it a breeze to prepare for framing.

Winter Wonderland to Color by Waycott

Winter Wonderland to color by Flora Waycott
Winter Wonderland to Color by Flora Waycott
Happiness is a cup of coffee and a good book. Coloring book image.
There are serene images and many pages that offer beautiful typography, too.
Nathaniel Hawthorne quotation.
Anyone who quotes Nathaniel Hawthorne has me captivated.

Pet Gallery Fur Babies Coloring Book by Patrick Sullivan

Pet Gallery Fur Babies Color Book
Who doesn’t love to color the fur babies?
Hamster to color
They even thought to include a hamster! Fur babies come in all shapes and species!
Bulldog to color
Stop with the cuteness!

Johanna Basford Magical Jungle Coloring Book

Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford Coloring Book
Johanna Basford and her Magical Jungle sparked a great adult coloring book craze.
hippo in water to color
Elephant in the jungle to color.

Cats and Dogs in Style

Dogs & Cats in Style: Create Your World
Dogs & Cats in Style: Create Your World
One cannot have too many cats to color.
Scotty Dog to color
This is a very chic pooch waiting for me to color.

Color the day away…

Colored porcupine
Postcards to color and mail are also a great way to unwind and share the creative spirit!

Some links on my site are part of affiliate programs, and if you click on them or make a purchase from the link, I may make a few pennies.

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See You at the Girls Shopping Network Lifestyle Show in Mooresville, North Carolina

girls shopping network

I’d love to see you at the Girls Shopping Network Vendor and Lifestyle Show in Mooresville, North Carolina!

Come out and pick up a signed paperback of Manual Exposure and my handmade items: embroidered hoops, original coffee mug designs, Cozy to Go! cup wraps, earrings, necklaces, greeting cards, key fobs, and more! Mother’s Day (May 14, 2017) is just around the corner, and Bushnell Unscripted Handmade items make wonderful gifts.

See you there! Look for my banner!

March 18, 2017

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

In the Old Burlington Mill

Merino’s Furniture & Design

This event will have a separate entrance – look for signs!

500 S. Main Street Mooresville, NC, 28115

girls shopping network

 

Visit my shop to see a sampling of the items available:

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Book Review: Crafty Critters by Vickie Clontz, Leisure Arts

felt leaf mug rugs






Crafty Critters Book Cover




Crafty Critters





Vickie Clontz





Nonfiction: Craft: Sew




Leisure Arts, Inc.




printed, digital




32



The craft patterns include shoulder bags with fox and raccoon faces, a big-eyed owl case for eyeglasses or cell phones, cute pincushions and storage cases, leaf coasters, wall pockets, and magnets. The instructions are easy to read and decipher, whether you are a beginner or expert crafter.

The completed projects from this book will become treasured gifts, too!

 

crafty criter book

I was ecstatic to receive a review copy of this book from Leisure Arts. Over the years, I’ve learned many skills from the wonderful publications Leisure Arts produces. I wanted to start with an easy project, and one that will definitely be of use to me, and I hope it will inspire you, too! I thought the leaf mug rugs looked adorable, and I couldn’t wait to create them.

 

felt leaf mug rugs

 

The following method that I use differs slightly from the instructions provided in the book. The directions in the book are fine; this is simply the procedure I used to create the end result.

A Note About Materials Used:

The directions use wool felt, but as a vegan, I don’t use wool. I substituted the wool for my favorite Kunin Eco-fi felt. It is made of polyester from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The felt is made in the US and comes in a number of great colors. I’ve used it for many years and always have a large stash on hand. I am using olive and goldenrod colors. This felt is actually stiffer than a wool felt, so keep that in mind.

Time to craft!

I printed a copy of the leaf I wanted to use and transferred the outline onto the felt. I used a marker, as I knew my lines wouldn’t show once cut.

leaf selection

 

I cut out two leaves from the felt–one for the front and one for the back. The instructions also call for a thin batting to be sandwiched between the layers of felt. I used Insul-Bright, as this is the batting I happen to have on hand, and I know it will help keep my cup warm and toasty.

Insul-bright

 

After all the cutting, you should have the following pieces:

a front and back of the leaf, a liner for the leaf, and a piece of jute

The photo below shows the order the layers should be in. You will be inserting the twine between the leaf layers, sewing around the leaf, and turning the leaf right side out so that the finished product will have the two felt pieces on the outside and the batting on the inside.

cut leaves

 

For the loop:  The instructions call for 10 inches of jute twine, but I used 8 inches of hemp twine.  Sandwich the twine between the leaf layers, placing the hoop on the inside and the loose ends hanging out 1/2″ beyond the raw edges. The key is to place the hemp where the stem of the leaf would be.

 

leaf stem

 

I like to use clips to secure my layers together before heading to the sewing machine. Yes, feel free to use pins, and use as many as you need. There are no judgments here. Also, don’t worry about one heart being a tad larger than the other, and don’t fuss over trying to perfectly align them. As you can see, I have a little wonkiness going on, and that will take care of itself when you sew around the edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance (give or take a little more as needed).

clipped felt leaf

 

With a sewing machine, sew around the perimeter of the leaves, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance and a hole for turning the leaves right side out. You may want to use clips or pins to mark where you want to start and stop for your opening. It is easy to sew past the spot you wanted to leave open for turning.

Tip: Remember when I said this felt was stiffer than wool felt? Well, that becomes important with turning. I needed two inches to turn this fabric right side out.

 

turn and stitch

Once you’ve turned the fabric right side out, you need to use a blunt object, such as a chopstick, blunt crochet hook, or turning tool to round out the leaf and smooth out the curves. Once complete, it is time to sew your leaf closed. Take your time, and you’ll be pleased with your results.

Next, I recommend freehanding the leaf lines with chalk. You don’t need anything fancy. I have a box of sidewalk chalk that works just fine. Again, don’t worry about duplicating the exact lines from the book. It is okay if your lines vary from the project instructions. I used to worry about making everything an exact duplicate of what I saw in a book, and that really took the creativity and fun out of crafting.

leaf marks

Take the leaf to your sewing machine, and stitch along your drawn lines. Before your very eyes, you’ve whipped up a beautiful little mug rug that is sure to make your coffee breaks more enjoyable. These make great gifts, and with four different leaf patterns, you can make an assortment! As you can see, there is plenty of room next to my mug for a cookie or two.

leaf mug rug with coffee

Stay tuned for more crafts created from this adorable book. For more information, or to order the book (as a digital download or print edition), please see the following link:
DIY Crafty Critters

Items I used to create the mug rugs (affiliate links to Amazon products):

Felt:

Kunin Eco-Fi Felt Goldenrod

Kunin Eco-Fi Felt Olive

Hemp
Hemptique Cord Spool 20-Pound Earthy

Liner: Insul-Bright Needlepunched Insulated Lining -45 inches x 1 yard

Clips:
50pcs Sewing Craft Quilt Binding Clips Clamps Clear and Red

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Traveling Author: Epicentre Studio Movie Grill

Epicentre Studio Movie Grill seats

Charlotte has some great movie theaters, and one of my favorites is the Studio Movie Grill at the Epicentre in Uptown Charlotte.

Check out my view from my sweet seats in the theater.

Movie time! #theaccountant #Charlotte #movie

A photo posted by Jeannie M Bushnell (@jmbushnell) on

What Makes it Unique

Studio Movie Grill has the first-run movies you want and alternative/retro movies you can’t wait to see on the big screen. The in-theater dining includes the old popcorn favorite, but they have a full menu to order from, including a black bean burger for your veggie friends! There is a full-service bar, too.

As the video below shows, you push the little button on your seat table and an SMG team member appears at your seat and takes your order. You now sit back and relax in the reclining seats and enjoy the movie. Your food arrives hot (unless you order something chilled) and freshly made. The servers are not a distraction during the movie, and surprisingly enough, the smell of the various foods being eaten are not bothersome. Unless your bladder alerts you, you won’t have to leave your seat for a refill or to purchase the food. All transactions are brought to your seat.

Discounted Tickets

Studio Movie Grill frequently runs a promotion on Groupon for $5.00 movie tickets. If you are like me, and you consider movie tickets to be a nice treat, then you will want to scoop up the frugal ticket price when you see it on Groupon. At 51% off the regular price of a ticket, you will find yourself treating your friends and family to a night on the town and a movie.

Please note, food is not included in the Groupon ticket price, and you cannot use the Groupon discount toward food.

There are restrictions on the Groupon ticket purchase.  For example, the tickets are not valid for movies at 5pm or later on Friday – Sunday. They cannot be used for Special Event movies, Crowd Sourcing, or Film Series Movies. There are extra fees for 3D movies. See the link above for additional restrictions.

Buy Tickets in Advance or in Person

If you are attending a movie where you may be running late, or you anticipate the theater will be full, then you may want to redeem the Groupon tickets online and reserve the exact seat that you want (a $1.50 convenience fee/seat applies).

Otherwise, have your Groupon ticket ready to redeem at the counter, and you can pick your seat from the ones still available. You will know going into the theater what seat number you will be sitting in. Pretty cool, eh?

Parking

Parking in Uptown isn’t scary at all once you realize that SMG validates parking (up to 4 hrs)  in the self-parking area of the EpiCentre parking deck for guests of Studio Movie Grill. Valet parking will not be validated.

Be sure to check out the other restaurants and stores at the Epicentre. Fun events happen every day of the week, and if you are still hungry after the movie, you can swing into Five Guys and feed your french fry addiction. I know I’m not the only one who loves a potato.

Studio Movie Grill Experience from Studio Movie Grill on Vimeo.

Location and Phone

210 E Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202

704-972-1062

 

 

Check out some of the views you can see at the Epicentre!

uptown charlotte
uptown charlotte epicentre

#Charlotte sky is dark and cloudy. #sky #clouds #night

A photo posted by Jeannie M Bushnell (@jmbushnell) on

 

 

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Traveling Author: SCarowinds

terrified man

 

 

scarowinds sign

Starting in September, Carowinds becomes SCarowinds. It is a haunting event for the young and old!

scarowinds tree
A spooky old tree greets park attendees. SCarowinds 2015.

 

Scaredy Pumpkin

 

scared pumpkin

 

For $8.00, you can purchase a plastic necklace that features a glowing pumpkin to alert the costumed employees that you do not want to be scared. I know, there are some of you who think this is ridiculous. After all, you’ve come to SCarowinds to be scared, right? Well, while I didn’t purchase one of the necklaces (because I think they cost too much and I didn’t see them offered until I was leaving the park), having had the experience of the employees getting a little too close for comfort and screaming in my face, I can see the value of purchasing such a necklace.

No, I don’t like to be scared. I like to stand back and admire the scary displays and costumes, but I do not like to be screamed at or grabbed, and I’m not a fan of someone coming up behind me in a darkened walkway to scare the crap out of me. Nope, not a fan.

terrified man

Mazes and Scare Zones

I went through the Seventh Ward maze (aka haunted house), and had the actors refrained from shouting in my face or reaching into my personal space, I would have enjoyed it. The strobe lights and mirrored walls didn’t help. The maze is indoors and very detailed and interesting, but I couldn’t enjoy it due to the constant onslaught of people screaming in my face.

I didn’t want to go in any other mazes after touring the scary “mental institution” that I’d raced to get through. My friends (two adult males in their 40s) went through the Cornstalkers maze (which they found scarier than the Seventh Ward), and the Zombie High maze (which they also found spine-tingling).

There are also established scare zones. The Bloodyard resembles a junkyard where you are surrounded by thirsty vampires waiting to turn you into one of their own. The London Terror scare zone doesn’t look too bad, but the small area in which there is to walk, and the mass of costumed characters waiting to scream at you make it less than a welcoming stroll down the streets of London.

If you love haunted houses, I think you will love SCarowinds. If you don’t, I think you should invest in a glowing pumpkin necklace or just skip SCarowinds and stay home where you can watch a scary movie with the mute button depressed to prevent hearing the horrible scary music and sounds from reaching your sensitive ears and heart. Is that just me?

 

rip buckley train car
A painted train car speaks of the death of Buckley. RIP Buckley the cat. – located in the Bloodyard Scare Zone

 

skeleton key

Delights for the Ears and Eyes

The employee costumes and makeup is definitely my favorite thing about the SCarowinds experience. With over six hundred monsters to create for the event, the work of the makeup artists really shines. Read more on the SCarowinds blog to discover what goes on behind the mask. The article states that each artist is given 8 – 12 minutes to complete the makeup, and as someone who has toiled for hours to get Halloween makeup 1/2 as good as what the employees of the park are sporting, I am amazed at how quickly it all comes together every night of the event.

There are a number of shows offered for the event. I attended the Tribal Terror drum show and I enjoyed it immensely. The musicians did a great job. Showtimes are 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.

Rated PG-13, Leave Your Costume at Home, & You May Not Re-enter

The park states that the event is rated PG-13 and may be too intense for young children. I saw plenty of small children in the park enjoying themselves, but I know that won’t be the case for all young children. The younger children (or scared adults) can always come to Carowinds during the day before SCarowinds opens in the evening, and there is even a Great Pumpkin Fest to enjoy.

There is one extremely odd caveat to the SCarowinds event: guests cannot re-enter the park if they leave for any reason. It is normal for Carowinds guests to receive a stamp on the arm upon exiting so they can re-enter the park during the same-day visit with ease and no extra charge. This is not happening for SCarowinds. Everyone is held captive to this rule, so don’t think you are exempt Gold Card Members. I’m not sure why they’ve put this new rule in place, but that means guests can’t take a break to exit the park during their SCarowinds visit. What makes the SCarowinds event so special that guests cannot leave the park and return? I have no idea. If you find out, let me know. I asked several employees during my visit but none seemed to understand the arbitrary rule, either.

Darkness & Security

The park is too dark during SCarowinds. The regular low lighting that is used at night is made worse by colored bulbs and fog machines that occasionally make it hazardous to walk. There was security presence at the park, but the two people I saw aren’t enough for such a large crowd. The lack of security is one of the features that most people find disconcerting during regular Carowinds hours. Considering that the majority of the employees are teenagers, the park doesn’t exactly feel like the safest place at all times. While I know that many people feel safe allowing their teenagers to go to the park alone, I would not allow a minor to go to the park alone with the current security presence.

monster werewolf

Scary Deals & Dates

The best deal (outside of the regular Carowinds Gold Pass) is the Haunt Pass which allows for unlimited admission to SCarowinds. You can attend every night of the SCarowinds events for a low price of $59.99. If you have a regular Gold Pass to Carowinds, you can also attend every night of SCarowinds, too. If you don’t have a pass, prepare to pay $15.00 to park.

Do yourself a favor and check the site before you head out to the park. If you are looking for some Halloween night fun, the park is open from 7:00 pm until 1:00 am. Have fun, but you won’t see me there. I’ve had my fill with the one night I attended. But then again, I’m a scaredy pumpkin.

I’d love to hear about your visit to SCarowinds!

Hours for SCarowinds:

September
Fridays & Saturdays
7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

October
Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays
7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Late Night Closings
October 24 & October 31
7:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.

 

 

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Banned Books Week 2015: Celebrating Intellectual Freedom

bannedbooks

 

Banned Books Week – September 27, 2015 – October 3, 2015

I love reading banned books. It encourages the tiny rebel that lives in a dark corner of my psyche. Who are YOU to tell ME what to read?

I don’t know about you, but when I look at the titles on the banned book list, I see books that have made a profound impact on my life. The books are deep, thought-provoking literary guideposts that reflect our culture and experience on this planet. What one person labels “dirty” or “inappropriate” shouldn’t be the deciding factor on whether or not another person has the opportunity to read a book. Parents who protest a book’s inclusion into the school library because it speaks about slavery or homosexuality should be allowed to have their child excluded from reading the book, but they shouldn’t be allowed to speak for every parent and child.

There are those who defend the censorship, but when you show them the banned books list, they are dumbfounded when they realize one of their favorite books is included on the list. Well, some people will have this reaction and others will continue to blindly defend the censorship.

It is hard to believe that in 2015 such a thing exists, but readers and writers must continually be on guard against the myopic view of censorship and continue to fight for intellectual freedoms.

 

Watch this clip from Bill Moyers on September 25 2012The Bane of Banned Books“On the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week, Bill explains why censorship is the biggest enemy of truth.”

Celebrate your freedom to read what you want and check out these other pages about banned books and censorship!

100 Most Frequently Challenged Books By Decade

An Interactive Timeline that Celebrates 30 Years of Liberating Literature

Project Censored
National Coalition Against Censorship

Support the ALA and spread the word with these free downloads

banned books poster
“Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.”