Friday, September 9, 2016

Reviewing How To Draw Spongebob: Step By Step

Every Kid Likes To Draw Spongebob Squarepants

If you've been looking for some type of craft project or creative outlet for your child, then you can't go wrong with a How To Draw Spongebob Step-By-Step Guide.
Nickelodeon's Spongebob Squarepants hit TV screens on May 1, 1999.  Since then Spongebob, along with his pet snail Gary and his best friend Patrick Star, have starred in more than 400 episodes of this popular cartoon.

If you've been looking for some type of craft project or creative outlet for your child, then you can't go wrong with a How To Draw Spongebob Step-By-Step Guide.

Kids already know all the characters on the show and what kid doesn't like to draw?  This book will show him step-by-step exactly how to draw his favorite - Spongebob Squarepants.

How to Draw Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants

 How to Draw SpongeBob SquarePants: The Bikini Bottom Collection (Licensed Learn to Draw)
Back Cover Shown Here - Front Cover shown in Introduction
If your child can hold a pencil, he or she is old enough to follow the steps in this book.

Even if they can't read yet, kids can have fun learning how to draw Spongebob Squarepants.   This colorful book shows them every single step they need to take.

How hard can it be?  The guy's a sponge!

That's why this is the ideal first "How To Draw" book for kids who want to learn how to draw cartoons.  Spongebob is basically just a collection of shapes - circles and squares and rectangles.  Put them all together in the right order and Voila!   Spongebob Squarepants! 

Easy, Step-By-Step Guide: Anyone Can Draw Spongebob Squarepants

 Learn to Draw The Best of Nickelodeon: Featuring characters from your favorite TV shows, including SpongeBob SquarePants, The Teenage Mutant Ninja ... and more! (Licensed Learn to Draw)Drawing is fun no matter what your age.  At the end of a stressful day it very relaxing to sit down for a few minutes with a pencil and paper and start sketching away.  You forget all about what went on at the office.  You stop worrying about the kids and their homework, and you just get lost in the simple act of doing something creative.

Kids get even more benefits from learning how to draw.  First, by following along with the steps in this book, they learn how to follow directions.

They also learn what it feels like to try something new, something that forces them to use their imagination and creativity, and they learn what it feels like to accomplish something special.  In our home, I have several framed sketches that our son drew when he was really young.  My mother even framed a drawing he drew for her when he was still in elementary school.  These framed pieces of artwork are cherished treasures to all of us.

You may also enjoy:  How to Draw Monsters Books for Kids

Don't Forget the Drawing Pads, Pencils and Coloring Pencils!

Every kid loves Spongebob.  And most adults do, too.  What better way to introduce your child to drawing than by giving him a guide to draw his favorite cartoon character!   

However, don't forget the drawing and coloring pencils.  Most children use a regular #2 pencil when they doodle on their homework, but they will enjoy art pencils more.  For one thing, they can add color to the sketch.

Now Parents!  
Get ready for the beautiful, frame-able artwork treasure.

Read More Book Reviews On

"How To Draw Spongebob: Step By Step" Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Reviewing Harley Quinn Halloween Costumes

Harley Quinn Halloween Costume Ideas - perfect for ComicCon, Halloween or any fancy dress event! The most popular Harley Quinn Halloween costumes are based on the character of DC Comic’s Harley Quinn and these are the costumes I’m going to look at on this page.

From the origins of the ‘classic’ Harley Quinn costume and how it has evolved through time to become the edgy street look that Margot Robbie wears in the movie Suicide Squad.

The name Harley Quinn is a play on words harking back to harlequins and DC Comics aren’t the first to make this reference – Agatha Christie features the Mysterious Mr Harley Quinn in some of her stories.   
In the comic world Harley Quinn is a female and actually began her life in the comics as Doctor Harleen Quinzel.   

The graphic novel Mad Love recounts how psychiatrist Dr Quinzel falls in love with the Joker while he’s her patient at the Arkham Asyllum.   She ends up as his on-again, off-again sidekick – Harley Quinn.

When I was growing up a harlequin was like a court jester and wore an outfit that consisted of diamond shapes.   A regular character in pantomimes, there was always something mysterious and mischievous about the harlequin.  (You can check out some Court Jester costumes on my Halloween blog)

The classic black and red costume of Harley Quinn is more than a nod to the historical harlequin of the 17th century English Harlequin (which was an evolution of the Harlequin from France first written about around the 11th century).

The Paul Cezanne painting of a Harlequin (middle picture) could possibly be the inspiration for the red and black combination traditionally used in Harley Quinn’s costume.  Between 1888 and 1890 Cezanne painted four different pieces focusing on the Harlequin .

In the Mr Ellar as Harlequin theatrical portrait (top picture) you can see the idea for Harley’s original mask.  I believe that the ruff featured here also probably influenced the white collar used on the original Harley Quinn outfit as well.

The bottom picture of the court jester has the hat that Harley Quinn sports in her first costumes.  The shape is very much the same, although Harley's has just two 'points' on her hat instead of the traditional three.

Here’s an original Harley Quinn costume for you to purchase for Halloween or any other fancy dress event you have in your calendar.

Harley Quinn Classic Costume

The court jester style outfit has been changed over the years with changes being made to her mask, collar & hat.   It has even become a two piece so that some midriff could be shown.

Harley Quinn Cosplay Costumes

The Harley Quinn Arkham Costumes

In Batman: Arkham Asylum (the 2009 video game), the colors are changed from red and black to red and purple.   The traditional outfit is also changed to a an asylum nurse's outfit......mind  you I don't think you'd see a nurse dressed quite like this in any hospital I've ever visited!

We also see the jester hat retired and Harley's blonde hair is worn in two pony tails.  The hat hasn't, as yet, made a re-appearance and I quite like that because the jaunty, blonde two pig tails are a great look on Harley.

As we can see Harley Quinn is no longer looking like court jester, but is developing into a comic book sex symbol!

In the sequel game, Batman: Arkham City, released in 2011, Harley reverts back to the black and red color scheme we all love.

The blonde ponytails remain, but the tips of them are dyed - one side red and the other black in a fun homage to her old jester hat.

She's no longer masquerading as a nurse, but has put a much grittier spin on the traditional harlequin costume. In keeping with her sex symbol status her midriff is showing and the top looks rather like an under-bust corset and bra combo.

Check out the officially licensed Arkham City Harley Quinn costume below.   The outfit has a leather look about it that is designed to show some attitude.   In reality this costume is a mix of polyester, vinyl and latex.

Yet another video game sequel was Batman: Arkham Knight which saw the next outfit change for our Harley.

She kept her trademark red and black colors and wore her blonde hair in pony tails with the black and red tips, but her actual costume resembled that of a french maid gone bad!

The skirt is in the style of a french maid, but is black, her black corset actually covers her midriff now.  Out of the video game reincarnations I think this is probably my favorite.   I love the leather look choker and the fact that the midriff is covered - I think it's a very edgy costume and does justice to Harley's attitude.

Yet another rebirth of the DC characters occurred in 2016 which included changing Harley Quinn's costume once more. This time the familiar red and black was changed to red and blue and Harley Quinn along with members of the Suicide Squad were to star in their own movie as anti-heroes saving the day.

Harley Quinn Suicide Squad Costume

I must admit that I loved the Suicide Squad Halloween costumes and Harley Quinn really did get a great look that is proving very popular with fans.   No more court jester, Harley Quinn just got a punk inspired, edgy street look that I predict will be extremely popular this Halloween.

Brought to life on the big screen by Australian actress Margot Robbie Harley Quinn still has her blonde pigtails, but the ends are dyed pink and blue instead of the black and red.   She's wearing the type of hot pants that fellow Australian Kylie Minogue made famous, although Harley is sporting hers over the top of fishnets!

High heeled sneakers, smudged make up and a jacket thrown over a t-shirt gives Harley a real 'don't mess with me' look.............or that could be the bat she's wielding!

Harley Quinn's outfits have certainly come a long way when you look at the original and the latest next to each other, but they do say that we have to evolve and she's certainly done that.

Collection of Harley Quinn Halloween Costumes through the years
Harley Quinn Costumes through her various incarnations

The images above are from a range of photographs of Harley Quinn costumes in the public domain that have been modified, if you want to check them all out individually we have -

Classic Harley Quinn, Harley Quinn Nurse, Arkham City Harley Quin, Arkham Knight Harley Quinn & Suicide Squad Harley Quinn.

Do you have a favorite Harley Quinn Halloween Costume?

I love the edginess of the Suicide Squad Harley, but I have a nostalgic fondness for the classic Quinn, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Which Harley Quinn costume would you wear

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Book Reviews: Buy a Book for a Child to Celebrate National Buy a Book Day

National Buy a Book Day?

September 7 is National Buy a Book Day. Did you know that? I've always wondered how these little known holidays came into being, and I now know how this one started. Philip Athans, a bestselling author of fantasy and horror novels, admits he made it up.

Book Reviews: Buy a Book for a Child to Celebrate National Buy a Book Day
Photo in Public Domain Courtesy of Grafeek at Pixabay

His heart was in the right place. He saw independent bookstores closing and disappearing from neighborhoods. He wanted to help keep booksellers and publishers in business. He thought if he could encourage millions to buy a book on a certain day, it would bring in new business and help some bookstores stay open. Of course for that to have much of a continuing effect, buying books would have to become a habit. For me it's always been a habit, and my house will testify to that. Truly it now overflows with books. 

Support Independent Used Booksellers 

I still like to support independent booksellers, but most have left my area. One can still support independent used booksellers on line at and the Independent Online Booksellers Associaton. When I was still selling books I was a member of both organizations.

 Although many of those sellers also sell at Amazon, they can provide better service and consolidated shipping if you purchase the same books from them at through the websites listed above. I usually look there first for used and rare books. 

If you have questions, you can even ask the booksellers for more information about the books they have listed. You can usually call them or email them with questions. They can even tell you if they have unlisted books on similar topics.

 Amazon often makes mistakes in transferring information from bookseller databases. They may list paperback books as hardcover editions, and vice versa. Independent sites leave bookseller descriptions intact so that they are more accurate. If you are in doubt about something in a description, you can always call the bookseller and ask. You may even be able to negotiate on prices. Help keep independent booksellers in business., used to be an amazing online book search and selling cooperative, but it no longer lists books for sale. It has retained much of the book reference content written by the members. Book lovers may want to check it out.

Why Buying Books Encourages Children to Read

As my biographical sketch here reveals, I've always had my nose in a book. I have disclosed some of my personal reading history from childhood to college graduation in National Read a Book Day Should Be Every Day. In that post, I not only share my favorite picture books but also some video clips of television shows that were competing for my reading time. The books usually won. I was fortunate because I had a relative who bought books for me on every gift-giving occasion. It helped me acquire my reading habit. 

Every child should have the opportunity that I had. First I had many adults in my family who loved to read to me and I learned to love books that way. The people who gave me books read them to me over and over as I requested them. Those books became part of me. Because I owned them, they were always there for me to look at and read, once I learned how to read at the age of three. If I got stuck on a word, an adult helped me. Having an assortment of books to choose from makes it easy for a child to learn to read and enjoy reading. But a committed adult needs to keep reading aloud those books beyond a child's reading vocabulary. 

Buy Books That Will Hold the Interest of Your Children 

When I was young, excellent picture books were very few. Nonfiction picture books to satisfy children's curiosity about the world around them were as yet not published. Gail Gibbons, a prominent author and illustrator, a pioneer in this new genre, is a year younger than me. When I was young her books weren't even ideas in her head yet. Today you can buy one of her marvelous books for your young child who wants to learn more about sharks, whales, libraries, art, and a number of other subjects.

Each Gibbons book presents a series of pictures that tell a story or explain a process or the way something works. Many pages are divided into several frames, like comic strip frames, but the pictures in each frame are in the style you see in the image below. Children will return to these books repeatedly because of their bold colorful illustrations and the information they impart. 

Book Reviews: Buy a Book for a Child to Celebrate National Buy a Book Day

Some of my favorite books for today's lucky children are about animals. I'm a great fan of cat stories. Click to get more information on books you see below and some of my other favorite animal story picture books. Why not make one of these the book you buy for a child today?

Board Books Your Child Will Love

Are your children too young for books with paper pages? Even babies can discover books without destroying them if the books have board pages.

Be sure to pick the best board books from the hundreds now available. The babies and youngest toddlers need large bold colorful illustrations with distinct shapes. They don't need many words. Some of the books also have textures for children to feel. These can be searched for as Touch and Feel Books. The classic book of this type is Pat the Bunny. 

Young children have loved  Pat the Bunny for decades, but it gets mixed reviews. Some feel the comb binding is too easy to destroy. After looking at my own copy, I can see why this might be true. It appears that some adult supervision may be needed with the youngest children. The pages themselves are not as sturdy as those of a board book. I would recommend this for toddlers, but not babies.

This book is has been in print since 1940 and is still a best seller. It is popular because children can pat what feels like bunny fur, play peek-a-boo with a character in the book, smell flowers, (yes they do have a scent), look in a mirror, feel a daddy's scratchy face, read a book within a book, and put a finger through a ring hole. It is best if parents read this book to children a few times before letting them read it on their own. That will help children better understand the activities. Since the book and its illustrations are so old, all characters are Caucasian, and that may be a drawback for some people.

The Bright Baby board books you see below are perfect for the youngest children. The large uncomplicated pictures are easy for toddler eyes to take in. The colors are bright. The pages I saw had three or less words in large dark print. As with other books for this age, adults should read the book with the child several times and talk about the pictures and words. This helps children develop basic vocabulary as they learn to talk. It also helps them look at the books in a more knowledgeable way independently.

The board books below are examples of the kinds of books to choose for a toddler beginning to be interested in words. I love all of Sandra Boynton's board books. Her pictures invite conversations between the children and the adults reading to them. She is not afraid to use the big words with interesting sounds that children love to learn and speak -- like hippopotamus. But she also uses short rhyming words that are easy to pronounce and read such as cat, rat, frog, and bog. Children adore seeing Boynton's animals do silly things they would never really do. These books are wonderful vocabulary builders that hold children's attention.

Guess How Much I Love You reveals the truth that words can't really explain the limits of love because it has no limits. Parent do love their children more than words can describe.

Diggers and Dumpers is an example of the best type of special interest nonfiction books for young children. My Jason had an avid interest in trucks and construction vehicles. At five years he knew more about big rigs than I did. This is a book that would have been just right for him between one and three, and he would have continued to look at it even longer. The illustrations are large and clear. The words are in large type. They tell children the names of the vehicles they like to watch, and they explain what these vehicles do. That's what children this age want from nonfiction -- a way to talk about what interests them, whether vehicles, flowers, animals, or everyday objects and activities.

Lois Ehlert is a children's author and illustrator known for labeling the objects in her bold colorful pictures that emphasize the shape of things. Click that author link and you will see all her books I discuss here. Planting a Rainbow, shown below, explores the steps in planting a flower garden in very simple terms, with few words, in giant print. Unlike ordinary word books, Ehlert's books tell a story or explain something in a child's world in a way that makes sense to them. She continues the gardening theme in Growing Vegetable Soup and then exhibits the fruits and vegetables that a garden produces in the alphabet book Eating the Alphabet. Most of her subjects are related to art and nature, so it's easy to find one of her books that is just right for your child. 

When choosing a board book or any picture book, try to choose books with originality and style. There are many books with mediocre art or based on popular media and Disney characters that children already see enough of. Give them new fresh characters and art. As your children get to be school age,  give them picture books that will develop an appreciation of many art styles. I personally love the picture books of Thomas Locker that display his magnificent landscape paintings as he tells his stories or explains science concepts. Help your children develop a taste for fine art by choosing the picture books that use it.

Wouldn't you like to celebrate National Buy a Book Day now by buying a book for your favorite child? Publishers, authors, and booksellers will thank you. And don't limit book buying to one day of the year. Let's keep authors and publishers motivated to continue giving us more quality books for our children by helping them earn money through our purchases.

Which book will you buy? What is your favorite picture book? Did your children have a favorite?

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Soft Foods: Potatoes Reviewed

Potatoes Are A Perfect Soft Food For Dentures Or Tender Gums From Oral Surgery

I'll be reviewing ideas for serving potatoes to yourself or the family member who has tender gums from prepping for dentures or oral surgery of any kind, today.

There is the obvious idea of mashed potatoes but they do not have to be the traditional serving. Trust me, you begin to want some kind of variety with your soft foods as it takes months for your gums to heal after having your teeth pulled and while you are adjusting to your new dentures.

So, for some variety in those mashed potatoes add different items to the dish. Personally, I love to add some minced garlic from time to time. They are also good with some shredded cheese. Sour cream and chives is another way to spice up those good old mashed potatoes. One evening I cooked some baby spinach leaves until tender and added those with a touch of sour cream and it was absolutely delicious!

One of my favorite potato dishes is creamed peas with red potatoes. This dish is a great source when soft foods are called for.

Creamed Peas With Red Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds of red potatoes 
1 1/2 cups of frozen baby peas
3 tbsp sliced green onions
4 tsp butter
4 tsp all purpose flour
1 cup milk

Scrub potatoes and cut into fourths (smaller if you like). Cook potatoes in boiled salted water for about 15 to 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and set aside.

Cook peas and onions in a small amount of boiling salted water for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

Make a thin white sauce by melting the butter, slowly adding the flour while stirring. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Slowly add milk while stirring the sauce. 

Combine the peas and potatoes, add the white sauce and mix together well. 

This is a wonderful addition to any meal whether you need soft foods or not! 

Another choice for potatoes is the traditional baked potato. Just make sure that it is cooked soft enough that you can mash it with your fork and you will be able to eat it without hurting those tender gums. Your choice of toppings are up to you, making sure that the toppings are not going to take too much chewing.

Cheesy Potatoes With Olives

Another potato dish that I fix often and even more while my gums have been tender is a cheesy twist on hash browns. 

1 pkg frozen hash browns
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (sharp is really good in this recipe)
10 to 12 Green Olives stuffed with pimento diced
Black Pepper

Allow hash browns to partially thaw enough that you can break them apart easily.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the sour cream, cheese and diced olives in a bowl. Add a dash of salt and black pepper.

Lightly oil a casserole dish. (I actually use butter to coat the sides and bottom). Mix the hash browns with the sour cream and cheese mixture and place into the casserole dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

I am not sure that I would have ever made this recipe if I had not been served it one evening at a friend's house many years ago. Those olives really add a nice variation to cheesy potatoes! Kind of salty and tangy, it is really scrumptious!

These are just a few ideas for preparing potatoes as a soft food option for tender gums. The wonderful thing is that every single one of these potato ideas are delicious at any time! What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, September 5, 2016

Saint Teresa and The Letters Movie Review

The Letters
The Letters is a beautiful movie summarizing how a Catholic nun became a Nobel Peace prize winner based on her humanitarian work with the poorest of the poor in India. On Sunday morning, September 4th, 2016, I woke to the news that this woman has been canonized as Saint Teresa. The Letters gives us an inside look at why this humble and caring woman was so well-loved.  In this movie, we watch bits of the personal journey that moved her from residing within a convent, to Mother Teresa of the Missionaries of Charities working in the slums of Calcutta, and finally to sainthood. Religious or not, I highly recommend the movie The Letters.  

The Letters Movie Review 

The Letters introduces us to a nun, living in a convent in Calcutta, just after World War II.  India has become an independent country and the nation is changing. Sister Teresa saw this change from the convent windows and while traveling by train.

The movie is a quiet and non-linear story line that moves back and forth between Father Celeste van Exem disclosing the content of the letters written by sister Teresa and the scenes of her life as she was living it. 

Father Celeste van Exem reveals to the Vatican priest that she wrote of her loneliness, fears, and doubts as she moved from the convent to the streets of Calcutta. As she transitioned from sister Teresa to Mother Teresa. She never had intended that these letters be made public as that would put the focus on her. She wanted the focus to remain on the people who were in need. And on the Missionaries of Charities work she had begun.

Despite any feelings of doubt she had, we watch this nun advocate that she be allowed to live outside the walls of the convent in order to help the people. And we watch as she effectively helped the poorest of the poor, the sick, and the dying.

Sister Teresa, played by Juliet Stevenson, moved humbly through the streets of Calcutta. For me, her accent, patterns of speech, facial expressions, lowering of her head, and hunched posture all rang as genuine. I believe that Juliet Stevenson remained in character and I feel that the mannerisms portrayed are some of the reasons Sister Teresa, a Christian woman, was accepted in this area of Hindu-Muslim violence and strife.  Acceptance and trust by the residents of the slums was earned over time and we are given a notion of some of the initial distrust of the "Christian Woman". 

What The Letters is Not

There are criticisms that the movie is too slow and boring. And that it is falsely advertised as "a drama that explores the life of Mother Teresa through letters she wrote ..." I do not share these criticisms but that is likely because I went in to the movie with absolutely no expectations. In fact, I half expected to find a heavy-handed religious movie and half expected to shut it off midway through. But for those who have read the advertising or have seen the previews, it is important to know what the movie is not.

  • The movie is not action-packed or drama filled
  • The movie is not reading of or detailed examination of the letters
  • The movie is not an explanation of how a convent came to be in Calcutta, and how/why girls came to live there
  • The movie is not an explanation of the political changes Calcutta was going through at the time
  • The movie is not an in-depth look at the caste system, or why that is such an important factor for some of the nuns as well as the residents of Calcutta

What The Letters is to Me Personally

I had considered writing this movie review because the movie is an amazing movie about compassion and true charity. However, those who know me would literally laugh at the thought of me watching a "religious" movie and following it with a strong recommendation for others to see it too. I am not someone who practices any formal traditions associated with religion. Yes, I was raised with exposure to a variety of beliefs and religions. I can still quote verses learned in countless vacation bible school programs as a child. However, as an adult, I tend to skirt anything "religious".  

Approximately a week ago, I stood at the DVD rental box.  I wanted to watch movies, but I did not know what I wanted to see.  I was in the mood for movies, but wasn't sure what I was in the mood for.  I chose The Letters by chance and with a small hope that the scenes in India would be worth the rental fee.  But truthfully, I expected to be bible-thumped and expected to return it without watching the full thing.  Not only did I watch the full thing, I am considering purchasing it for my permanent movie library.  

I loved the scenes in Calcutta. The movie was far too short to give an in-depth look at the lives of those Mother Teresa touched. But we clearly saw the difficulty of outsiders and Christians being accepted by the residents. Fortunately, Mother Teresa's humility and honesty allowed doors to open.

Despite some negative reviews, I think this was a very good movie given it's length. Had it been longer in length - a mini series perhaps - it would have been able to deeply explore how Sister Teresa earned the trust of the people, obtained the material things she needed in order to be effective, and her doubts as she did all of this amazing work.  I agree that there were creaky parts of the film (as discussed on Roger Ebert reviews) such as the political climate, the news reporting, and so on. But in my opinion, even the "creakiest" portion did not detract from my enjoyment of the movie.  I guess I'm not surprised by clumsy portions when an entire lifetime, leading up to sainthood, is being summarized in less than two hours.

After watching this movie, as a non-believer, my heart is full.  In an overly simplified explanation, I think this movie shows us perfect ways to be a strong woman, the most effective way to provide charity, and the best way to witness for God.  It is good to know that there are quietly strong, humble, generous, and effective women doing good work where it is most needed. I will watch The Letters again.

Related Links:

For more information such as a full cast list, and to view an official trailer, see The Letters on the IMDb site.

The official site for Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Review of Color Choice in Home Decor - The Psychology of Color

My Own Family Room
You Guessed It, Warmth is the Theme
Have You Ever Thought About How the Paint Color You Choose in Your Home Affects Your Mood?

Understanding the psychology of color and knowing what to choose can be a difficult, even stressful process. Whether it's seasonal colors or simply our own taste, it's not easy to finally decide which colors to go with.

If you're doubting that, think about a time you decided to redecorate a space and how long it took you to choose the colors to use ... as well as the planning it took to incorporate those color choices with new or existing furnishings.

The biggest problem with color choice is that we often decide to choose a color before we understand the mood we want people to feel when they walk in.

Warm Tones & Cool Tones & Which Ones Fit the Mood We Want Our Room to Have

WARMTH: If you're looking to decorate a room using warm tones, then you'll want to focus on color tones in these families:
  • Red Tones - Evoke warmth and passion and are the hottest of all the warm tones
  • Yellow Tones - It's warmth is used to liven up a space, giving a room intellectual happiness (Yes, believe it or not, yellow is associated with intellect)
  • Orange Tones - It's a conversation piece that spurs creativity making it an ideal choice for encouragement. Kitchens are often painted in orange. Picture sitting around the kitchen table, interacting, laughing and sharing with friends and family.
Mix and match various tones in each, or simply focus on one of them. Just remember the basic three or four color rule - that is, choose your base color then add 3 or 4 accent colors to complete a cohesive look.

The Above Photo is my own family room, and you can easily see that 'warmth' was the theme of the day for this design. The space includes butterscotch, soft tan, dark tan and a splash of grounding black and white. The area rug has various subtle shades that also tie in, and although you can't see it in this photo, there are plants in the opposite corner adding a pop of green.

COOL: If you're seeking to decorate a space based on calmness, relaxation, serenity and meditation, begin by choosing color tones in these families:
  • Blue Tones - Blue, the color of water, is a wise choice when you're looking to create a spa-like atmosphere in your space.
  • Violet & Indigo Tones - Choose these tones to create a meditative, spiritual environment. Any room where the purity of calmness is your aim, you'll want to be in this color family.
  • Green Tones - The color of nature is a calming cool color and a common choice for bedrooms and baths.
What's the Best Color Tones for Destressing? The Answer COOL colors. However, stay in the pastel shades of these cool colors. In other words don't use navy blue, deep purple or dark green.

What about Blacks, Browns and Whites? 
  • White is used for purity and intellect, and when used proportionally with other colors in a room, white is great for offices, places of study or an environment where you need to do some thinking.
  • Blacks and Browns are normally used as grounding colors and you'll usually find them in various places in a home. As an example, the black TV and white window frames in my family room featured above acts as a grounding color for the space - as do the the lamp bases.
Remember the most important thing: These are general guidelines. Have fun choosing your colors and make choices based on color schemes you and your family prefer.

After all, it's your space, and first and foremost, you need to be happy and comfortable.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Bacon Review

Source: Pixabay
December 30 is designated as Bacon Day and the Saturday before Labor Day is known as  "International Bacon Day!"  There are various sources for who decided that bacon needed to be recognized with its own special day. 

Residents in Bradford, MA claim to have created this day in 2000. A group of Boulder, Colorado graduate students also claim to have created this special day, in 2004. 

Whatever the true source, it's definitely a day to enjoy this tasty treat in your favorite way (breakfast bacon & eggs, a BLT for lunch, or dinner of a bacon cheeseburger or a bacon wrapped steak or scallops).

Today's Motto: Everything tastes better with bacon.


What is Bacon and Why is it so Popular?

Bacon is a pork product that over the years has become one of our most favorite of foods. I'm not sure why this is, but 'Bacon Mania' has certainly taken over in recent years and has spread to more than just a tasty breakfast item eaten plain. 

Bacon dishes have evolved into some crazy creations, such as 'chicken-fried bacon' and chocolate-covered bacon. In a recent survey, 65% of Americans would support bacon as their "national food"!

Bacon Themes

Funny Gift for Men who love BaconUnicorn Tees on Etsy

Bacon themes can now be found on games and clothing, bandaids and duct tape and more. There is even a 'Bacon-opoly' Monopoly Game!

Bacon Terms in Other Countries

While we in America call it a bacon slice, several other countries have their own terms.

  • Canada: Strip
  • Germany: Speck
  • United Kingdom and Ireland: Rasher

Related Bacon Articles:

Review This contributor Brenda Little has a fun article about Bacon Playing Cards, a unique stocking stuffer for the man or teenager in your life.

And Sam Monoco tells us a funny story about how not paying attention while cooking can 'burn the bacon' in his 'Bacon Epic Failure' blog post. 

Cooking with Bacon

Image Source: Pixabay

  • My daughter cooks her bacon in the oven. She lays the bacon slices on a cookie sheet and bakes at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.  This gives her the really crispy bacon she loves, without having to 'watch & turn' the bacon as when it is cooked in a frying pan on the stove.
  • In our family, we have a 'family joke' about my hubby Bob cooking the bacon. He preferred to cook it in a frying pan, BUT each bacon strip had to lay perfectly FLAT to turn out cooked the way he preferred - nice and evenly cooked all over.  Of course bacon likes to 'curl' as it cooks, so this involved lots of turning and flattening each piece using two forks to 'hold' the ends down so they would end up cooking flat. His method also involved a LOT of 'swearing', so the family joke, which my (grown-up) kids like to say today, is that you cannot cook bacon without swearing at it! 
  • It's recommended by cooking shows and website articles to always start cooking your bacon in a cold pan. Lay the bacon strips out in the pan, then turn on the burner to a low to medium temperature. Cook slowly to desired crispness, cook in batches, and drain each batch on a paper towel or brown paper bag. You can also cook bacon in the oven, as my daughter does, or in the microwave (good if only a few slices are needed for a single sandwich or to crumble for bacon bits for a salad).  Line a microwave-safe dish with 4 layers of paper towels, arrange the bacon in a single layer, and cover with 2 more layers of paper towels. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute per slice of bacon and check for doneness. If not done to your preference, microwave in additional 30 second bursts. 


Bacon Cookbook

Available on Amazon
And, finally, every bacon lover needs a Bacon Cookbook for times when just a few strips of bacon with eggs isn't enough for our bacon cravings.

From old favorites to inventive new recipes, the 101 Things To Do With Bacon cookbook will give you plenty of tasty bacon dishes to try.

Bring home the bacon with these delicious recipes from appetizers to salads to dinners.... and even desserts!

Happy Bacon Day and "International Bacon Day"!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Friday, September 2, 2016

The Painted Veil Reviewed - A Poignant & Tragic Love Story

 The Painted Veil id an excellent movie that caught me off-guard.  It is so much more than a romance!
The Painted Veil is an excellent movie that actually caught me quite off-guard.   From the cover and brief description, I expected a romance, but found an example of real love.  This is definitely a drama movie that will pull at your heartstrings.  

Edward Norton plays the part of the devoted husband who falls in love with Kitty, played by Naomi Watts.  Both actors are exceptional in this film.  As a matter of fact, I might not ever be able to watch Edward Norton in another part without assigning the attributes of Dr. Walter Fane to him in every role.  

I should warn you, this is not a movie that I would have expected to like and review.  It deals with betrayal, anger, revenge, selfishness and a lot of really ugly human traits.  Unfortunately, it is very realistic.  Since I have been known many times to say "I prefer movies for entertainment, not reality", it surprised even me that I would highly recommend this particular movie.

The Plot of The Painted Veil 

Synopsis Written by Sylvestermouse

 The Painted VeilIt was love at first sight for Dr. Walter Fane when he first saw Kitty Garstin descending the stairs at a party hosted by her parents in London.  She barely noticed him and even though she danced with him, he was nothing special to her.  She even commented that she didn't really like him when asked.  

Kitty is an arrogant, spoiled, self-centered young woman who isn't the least bit concerned about getting married.  Her mother, on the other hand, constantly derides her for not being married.  It is on one such occasion that Dr. Fane shows up at their door.  Kitty marries Dr. Fane to get away from her mother.  Such a shame!  Dr. Fane deserved someone who loved him and was completely devoted to him.  He deserved so much better, so much more.  And Kitty?  Well, she didn't deserve the man she married, his kindness or his love.  

Dr. Fane is a scientist instead of a clinical doctor.  He specializes in the study of bacteria and bacterial diseases.  Kitty is more than happy to accompany him to China for his work, completely away from her mother's criticism.  However, once there, she is immediately attracted to another man.  Without one thought of Walter or her marriage, she dives right into an affair.  She considers herself to be completely in love with Charles Townsend.  When confronted by Walter with a divorce proposal, she naively believes Charles will leave his wife to marry her.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  

After Charles' rejection, Kitty agrees to accompany Walter to a small town with a cholera epidemic.  Since the year is 1925, America and China also have a very strained relationship.  However, because of his devotion to a cure and his dedication to the people, he becomes a well respected American in the mist of an enemy.  

Throughout the movie, you find many, many reasons to admire and respect Dr. Fane.  Even though he feels the complete betrayal of his wife, is hurt and even lashes out in anger at times, he manages to separate his personal life from his work to put a stop to the cholera epidemic that is killing so many people.  He still loves his wife, but he recognizes who she really is instead of viewing her the way he wanted her to be. 

There is a great irony to this movie, but I won't spoil that for you.  Suffice it to say, the movie did not end as you would hope or even as you expect.  However, it is a most excellent portrayal of one man who stands heads above the rest.  One man who deserves so much more than this life gives him and one man who continues to fight for what is right instead of failing to achieve his destiny even when faced with the greatest of challenges and betrayals.

The Painted Veil is Available in Books, DVD and Amazon Video   

My Conclusion

I suppose there are times in life that we don't get what we deserve.  Sometimes, that is a real blessing.  But, there are other times that it is a real shame.  This movie depicts a character for each of these circumstances.  The unworthy Kitty was greatly blessed while the man who deserved a reward, a blessing, was denied even the very basic need we all possess.  To know he was loved.

It is for that reason that one might read this review and wonder why I would recommend the movie.  There are lots of reasons I would recommend it, but each reason would be different for each person.  I would have to hope that the movie would make everyone stop and think about the consequences of their own actions.  I would hope that it would make them more grateful for their blessings, especially the ones they do not deserve.  The movie also shows us that everything you think you want, may truly not be what would be best for you.  

Quite honestly, I think everyone should watch this movie and take a moment to seriously consider yourself and your own life.  Perhaps, you will find that you deserve better yourself as you watch Dr. Fane's struggle.  Or, you may find you have more to be grateful for than you realized.  Whichever place you find yourself, I hope this movie will touch your heart as it touched mine.    

The Painted Veil Movie Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Home Remedy for Wart Removal

Common warts are harmless but annoying. Try this home remedy for wart removal: Use duct tape!

Reviewing How to Remove Warts With Duct Tape

One of the most frustrating of all skin conditions is the common wart. Though many of us were raised to believe warts are caused by handling frogs or toads, the truth is that warts are caused by viruses that get into the skin. They're especially common in children, though they can occur at any age.

Warts commonly occur on the fingers or on elbows and knees. Warts on the bottom of the foot are called plantar warts and can be painful when walking.

Common warts are harmless, but they can be very annoying and unsightly. Wart removal can be an uncomfortable process consisting of burning, freezing, use of acid, or cutting and paring.

Instead of paying for these painful and sometimes expensive treatments, try this home remedy for wart removal using something you probably already have in your home, duct tape. While not guaranteed, this method is easy, painless, and often suggested by medical doctors.

Worth a try? Having suffered from warts as a child, I'd say definitely so.

Here's what you'll need:
Here's how to do it:
  1. Cut a piece of duct tape just larger than the wart.  Apply the tape to the wart. Wait six days. If the tape comes off during the six days, replace it with another piece.
  2.  After six days, remove the duct tape. Use an emery board to gently and painlessly smooth down the spot.
  3. Repeat the process with another piece of duct tape for another six days.  Often, when it comes time to remove the tape the second time, the wart will come off with the tape.  If not, repeat again. Note that plantar warts can be deep and often take longer to remove, but be patient and watch for progress. 
  • You can buy duct tape at the local discount or hardware store.  
  • For reluctant kids, use colorful duct tape cut in fun shapes to cover the wart. 
  • I am not a doctor and this home remedy recommendation is not to be taken as medical advice. There is, however, plenty of anecdotal evidence that the duct tape method does work to remove common warts and I learned this from a medical doctor.
  • The duct tape method is for use with warts, not moles or skin tags.  See a physician for an expert opinion on the status of moles and for simple removal of most skin tags.  
  • If after a reasonable period of time the wart remains or is painful or bleeds, seek a medical opinion.  

How do you feel about home remedies for common problems such as warts? Think this method will work? 

If you'd like to read more about natural home remedies, you might want to start with this bestseller, The People's Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies: Q&A's For Your Common Ailments. If you can remove warts with duct tape, just think of all the other natural possibilities out there!

More Related Reading: 


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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