Monthly Archives: March 2009

Review of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Reviewed by sk8tergirl

The Story

Twilight is about a high school girl who moves from sunny Arizona to rainy Washington to live with her dad. . . and ends up falling for a boy at her new school who turns out to be a vampire.


Bella Swan

Edward Cullen


5 stars! Plus googleplex stars!

What I liked

O.M.G.! I LOVE this book SO much! Twilight has it all: suspense, action, and drama all together! Even a little mystery. Not so good for guys, though. Really mushy, lovey-dovey. Cliff-hangers. Edge-gripping. CAN’T PUT IT DOWN! I liked the first book the best.

Other Books in Series

I could not put Twilight down, and I read the first book in one day.  I tried to get the next one at the library . . . but was number 422 on the waiting list at the LA County Library! The suspense was killing me, so  I had to go out and buy book 2.  Read that in one night.  Found I would have hundreds on the waiting list in front of me at the library for book 3, so I went and bought that one, too.  And then book 4.  You can now buy the series as a collection on Amazon, and if you do not have any of the books yet, that is what I would do. You save a lot of money that way.  And believe me, you are going to want them all right away!

New Moon


Breaking Dawn

The Movie

Twilight the movie
The movie was a hit and now it’s out on DVD. I can’t wait to see it. You can get it now through the first link at Amazon. Or pre-order the Amazon exclusive Blu-ray collector set version at the second link.

The Author

Stephenie Meyer

According to her official bio, Stephenie Meyer graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in English. She lives with her husband, an accountant, and three young sons in Phoenix, Arizona. The idea for Twilight came from a dream she had, and she did most of her writing for the book, her first, at night after the kids were asleep. She finished the first draft in just a few months.  She is in her 30s and is Mormon.

Awards and Praise

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
  • An Amazon “Best Book of the Decade…So Far”
  • A Teen People “Hot List” pick
  • An American Library Association “Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults” and “Top Ten Books for Reluctant Readers”
  • Has been translated into 20 languages

Accelerated Reading

Level 4.9

Points 18

Number of pages



Little, Brown Young Readers

  • ISBN-10: 0316015849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316015844

If you just want to get the first book in paperback, here’s the link.

See my review of Indie Girl.

Amazon has some cool Twilight merchandise. Here are my favs.

Review of Indie Girl by Kavita Daswani

Reviewed by sk8tergirl

The Story

Indie Girl is about an Indian girl who absolutely loves fashion. So when the editor of her fav fashion magazine comes to her school, she will do anything to try to land a summer internship with her . . . even babysit the administrator’s two-year-old son. When Indie finds out the magazine is going down the toilet, she finds out some juicy info. She saves the fashion diva’s job! But the editor gives no thanks. Indie’s parents do not approve of her choice to help. Indie wonders: will Aaralyn, the diva editor, ever see her as anything more than “the sitter.”

The Characters

Indie Konkipuddi, a 15-year-old girl who has always dreamed of being a reporter.

Aaralyn Taylor, the fashion editor of Celebrity Style, who visits her school for an assembly.


4 stars

What I liked

Great plot.  Even though it was about celebrity fashion, the book had a new twist because the main character is Indian. You learn about a whole new culture. I loved Indie Girl.

The Author

Kavita Daswani started her writing career when she was just 17 in Hong Kong. She moved to Los Angeles when she married.  She has been a fashion correspondent and has written several books including For Matrimonial Purposes, Salaam, Paris and The Village Bride of Beverly Hills.

Daswani also writes articles in our hometown newspaper, The Los Angeles Times.

Accelerated Reading
AR Quiz No. 119691 EN Fiction
Level 6.5 – AR Pts: 9.0


Simon and Schuster, 2007

Kindle Version

See my review of Twilight.

How to Make a Birthday Card That’s a Mobile

Mobile Greeting Card Craft

front of birthday card as it hangs
front of birthday card as it hangs

My sister made me this beautiful card for my birthday. I loved it so much I started making similar cards.

All you need to do is cut out some shapes out of scrapbook paper. She used hearts but you can so any shape you like. My daughter made a cute one with just rectangles.

You can use special scissors to make interesting edges.

Make several sizes of the shape and layer it.

If you are artistic like my sister, you can paint little images, like she did, (see the gallery for photos) and glue them on top.

My daughter made some images on the computer and printed them out. You could even cut images out of old cards or magazines.

Next find some pretty ribbon and attach.

Make another set of shapes the same size and glue these on the back.  That way both sides of the card are pretty when it hangs. My sister made the back different so that each heart is unique (see pic below).

You can personalize the card by writing saying on some of the shapes.

Special scrapbook glitter on my mobile makes it sparkle every time I walk by it. You could also try scrapbook embellishments. See links below if you need to buy.

The great thing about this card it that it can fold up into an envelope easy.

But when the recipient opens the card, the card turns out to be a small gift.

This little mobile looks great hanging up almost anywhere.  Much better than store-bought cards that are usually just discarded. I show my birthday card here, but you can make these for Mother’s Day, weddings, thank you cards etc. Any time you want to make a really personal card that can be treasured.

View all the artwork for this card in my gallery. Click on images to view them larger. You may use the images for personal use only under the creative commons license.

Thanks for looking and please let me know if you like this clever idea.

back of card

Related posts:
free birthday card art
how to make a poster in the Obama style

prize winning scarecrows

How to Make a Prize Winning Scarecrow

Let me know what you think by commenting below. Show your support by “digging” this post. Just click the digg button above.

Related post: how to make a tassel

Birthday Card Art—Free!

Free Birthday Card Art

Spice up your homemade birthday cards with free photos and illustrations. New images coming soon! Click on an image to get a larger version. Images are free to use for personal use only under the creative commons license.  Let me know if like these images, and give me suggestions for more.

Ginger, the labradoodle puppy, is ready to party.
Ginger, the labradoodle puppy, is ready to party.

See my post on how to make a card that is a mobile. Close-up photos of the mobile art are in my gallery.

How to Make Designer Baby Burp Cloths Using Ribbon

Easy Custom-Made Baby Gift

New moms really treasure handmade baby gifts. Here’s an easy craft you can do with just cloth diapers, ribbon, and a straight stitch on a sewing machine. These cloths are perfect for throwing on your shoulder when holding baby.

Click on pics to see larger version.

Buy a set of cloth diapers and some ribbon.

Prewash and iron diapers to avoid shrinkage after you put ribbon on.

Measure and cut two pieces of ribbon that are the length of the diaper. These will go down the center.

Next pin on the ribbon about a third of the way in from each side.

Sew down.

Next cut the ribbon for the bottom.  Make it about an inch longer than the width of the diaper so that you can fold over the ends to prevent fraying.

Use an iron to fold over the ends twice to create a nice edge.

Wrap the folded edge around the back of the diaper, then pin the ribbon on at the edge.

Now pin into place.

Sew it down along both edges of the ribbon.

Trim off an excess threads, and you are done!

Use coordinating ribbons if you are making a set of baby burp cloths as a gift.

Every time the new mom uses these pretty handmade cloths she will think of how much her friends love and support her . . . the best gift of all for a new mom who may not be getting enough sleep and may be overwhelmed by motherhood. Let me know if you like this idea or if you have other suggestions. Did you know that Amazon has great deals on baby gifts? You can read real customer reviews, which makes shopping easy. And many of them qualify for free shipping.

Check out my post on donating umbilical cord blood. I tell about my experience donating cord blood. If you want details on how and why to donate, read my hubpage on umbilical cord donating. I highly recommend donating cord blood. It is a precious fluid that is discarded if not banked for private use or donated.

Donating umbilical cord blood is free, and it may save a life.

Check out my post on how to make bookmarks from a photo. You could make a cute bookmark with baby pics.

Yoga is a great way for a new mom to get in shape and relax. Here’s my post on how to make a yoga mat tote bag.

Creative Halloween Ideas for Halloween Decorating

Bestsellers in Baby at Amazon

Donating Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord Blood

“Cord-blood banking: worth it or not?” That’s the headline in an article in the Health Section of today’s Los Angeles Times. But I think a better question is: Cord-blood donation: why isn’t is easier?

It has been 10 years now since I donated by baby’s cord blood. I only knew about this option because a friend of mine had a son with leukemia. She had told me that an experimental treatment using donated umbilical cord blood had saved his life. Once I learned about the magical powers of the stem-cell-rich cord blood that is routinely discarded after a baby is born, I jumped at the chance to donate the blood from the umbilical cord I shared with my baby.

It took a little research to figure out how to donate. But I started researching early in my pregnancy. I filled out the proper paperwork and talked to my doctor. She had collected cord blood a couple times for private banking but was unaware that you even could donate.

After I gave birth, all it took was a few minutes for her to collect the blood, and the package was picked up by UPS I think. That was it. So simple.

My baby daughter soon after her cord was cut. We donated our umbilical cord blood.
My baby daughter soon after her cord was cut. We donated our umbilical cord blood.

But a couple years later when my son was born I could not find public umbilical cord bank willing to accept a donation. So this time, our precious fluid was simply discarded.

In the decade since I first donated, doctors have learned more about the healing power of umbilical cord blood. A growing for-profit industry sprung up. Private banking allows parents store their own cord blood in the off chance that their child will need it some day. I can understand parents who can afford it wanting to pay for private banking, especially when the public cord banks may not have an exact match of blood type. But only wealthy families can afford the hundreds of dollars in collection and storage fees. And the chances of any one baby needing the blood is small.

As a public policy issue, what we need is a cord blood bank system similar to the regular blood bank system.

As the Times article put it:

“The number of privately stored units of cord blood, estimated at 500,000 nationwide, far exceeds those in public banks even though cord blood in public banks is much more likely to be used. An estimated 300,000 units of donor cord blood are available worldwide.”

It just so happens that my friend had a neighbor who ended up running for an assembly seat in California. He had also been inspired to try to donate cord blood when his daughter was born and found it difficult. The first bill Assemblyman Anthony J. Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) introduced after he was elected was to try to establish a network of hospitals in California to harvest umbilical cord blood. That hasn’t happened yet. But it should.

Collecting and storing cord blood is expensive. But since cord blood is rich in stem cells and holds promise of helping in difficult medical cases, I think we should be able to come up with a way to support better public banking.

I feel lucky that my daughter and I were able to donate our cord blood 10 years ago. I only wish my son and I could have done the same, and that all parents-to-be had this option easily available.

If you want more information on donating, visit the Parents Guide to Cord Blood. It lists which banks are accepting public donations and gives a great overview of how and why to donate.

If you have donated, or have a child who has benefited from cord-blood treatment, please share your experience below.

I really like this crib. And it is a great price!

If you do not already have a good digital camera, get one before your baby is born. You are going to use it.

Check out my post on making baby burp cloths.

Profile of David Foster Wallace in New Yorker

A profile of the late author and Claremont resident David Foster Wallace, who taught at Pomona College, is now up on the New Yorker site. The article describes the struggles he went through that ultimately caused him to commit suicide.

An illustration by Philip Burke accompanies the article.

News is out that Wallace’s publisher, Little, Brown, plans to publish an unfinished novel titled The Pale King in early 2010. The New Yorker is running an excerpt. The book is set in an Internal Revenue Service office in Illinois in the 1980s.

Related post: Philip Burke exhibit in Ananheim

Bags, Bottles & Bulbs . . . and Butts?

Why I now love scratchy toilet paper

Like a lot of people, these days I am always looking for ways to “be green.”

Last year I spearheaded an Earth Day campaign at my kids elementary school I coined “Bags, Bottles & Bulbs.” The kids made posters about how they could help save the planet in three simple ways: by not using plastic shopping bags, not using plastic water bottles, and switching to energy efficient light bulbs.

Now I think I want to add a fourth “B.” Butts. I was reading an article in the New York Times a couple days ago while my daughter was at her piano lesson, and I saw that Americans are hooked on super-soft toilet paper. We are cutting down forests just to get the deluxe fibers for this TP!

According to the Times:

“But fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada. Although toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them.”

The article goes on to describe all the ways in which producing the plusher paper hurts the environment. It notes that in Europe and most other areas of the world, people are more wiling to use the rougher TP made from recycled paper.

I read another article on this topic in the British Guardian.

I have to admit, our family always buys the soft TP, even though it costs more. But not anymore. I do not want to feel guilty over harming Mother Earth for such a mundane comfort.

As I get ready for Earth Day activities at our school, I am wondering if I would get too many laughs if I added the fourth B to the Bags Bottles & Bulbs campaign. I asked my third-grade son if maybe he could help come up with a “Captain Underpants” type of Superhero to spread the word about the harm of plush toilet paper.

If any kind of product called for recycled paper, surely it must be toilet paper?

Maybe we could have some sort of disclosure legislation: all TP would have to label how much of it came from virgin forests vs. recycled paper. I think most people would be willing to give up the super-soft paper if they knew that when they flush the soft stuff, they flush the forest. So please, as Earth Day approaches, join me and make the switch. It’s a small price to pay.

If you need help picking a new brand of TP, check out Greenpeace’s forest-friendly recommendations.

By the way, I’ve heard that soft facial tissues like Kleenex also use virgin forest fibers. So that may be next. Although, if you’ve actually got a cold, you might need the softer tissue.

I designed the “Don’t Flush the Forest” logo above in Photoshop to encourage consumers to buy toilet paper that is made from recycled material. Feel free to download it for personal use under the Creative Commons license. If you use it, please do not alter it (keep my credit on it). If you distribute, you must attach a copy of the license to it with the same conditions. Thanks.

By the way, some of my eco designs are now available on tote bags (a great alternative to plastic shopping bags) at printfection, a great custom print place that has a money-back guarantee.

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