Our New Baby Chicks

Our little baby chick

These are our new baby chicks (we got them Friday), and I must say, they are adorable.

Our Chicks

I don’t know what kind they are (maybe white leghorn?), whether they are girls or boys…They were hatched in biology class at Drew’s and Emily’s high school.

Our new baby chick

Photo: Emily Havrilla

They’re living in a brooder box in our shed. Tim and I made the brooder box from a water heater box.

Chicks in a brooder box

It’s a very big brooder box. The days are warmer now, so during the day I lift the heat lamp up. I use fans to keep the air circulating in the shed (it can be stuffy), but the breeze doesn’t “ruffle their feathers” in the bottom of the box. The temperature is supposed to drop down into the 30s Tuesday and Wednesday, so we’re going to move them into the guest bedroom.

Everybody Poops

(Don’t worry little chickie, everybody poops!)

Hope you’re all getting ready for a great spring break. The chicks and I wish you a happy Easter!

New Personalized Volleyball Cupcake Toppers

Personalized Volleyball Cupcake Toppers

Added these printable volleyball cupcake toppers to my Etsy Shop today, after a customer who bought basketball cupcake toppers asked my to make volleyballs. I hadn’t thought of volleyballs, probably subliminally (I could never serve consistently, or honestly, at all and it was sort of a source of mortification) but here they are now!

closeup of volleyball cupcake toppers

Each is sized to come out with an 1.5 inch hole punch. I’m happy to use any colors for the numbers and I can also do a name and a number. More photos and detailed description in my shop.

I’m really trying to get more listings in my shop. I’d like to take the sea turtle approach (many offspring) rather than the elephant approach (one calf every 2 years). Presently, my goal is to do $20 of business a day. Etsy sellers, have any suggestions?

Free Pole Vault Birthday Cake Topper

Pole Vaulter Cake TopperIt was Drew’s birthday over the weekend, so I was busy making him a pole vaulter birthday cake! He liked it. He’s a pole vaulter, as is my step daughter, Emily. It’s Drew’s second year, and Emily is just starting.

The printable is pictured below, and you may download it for free. The PDF has fillable fields for the numbers, and if you like the colors as is (they are Drew’s school colors), you’re in great shape. If you’d like to change the colors, or you’d like a girl vaulter instead of a boy, a blonde rather than a brunette…I have listing in my Etsy shop to customize it for you.

Pole Vaulter Cake topper pictures

It wasn’t too hard to pull this togther. A box cake in 2, 9-inch round pans put them together with frosting in between. I set aside a small amount of batter and made the “pit” in the way you see in the picture above. What you see there is a piece of aluminum foil held in place with binder clips. I baked it like that and it was fine.

I used a little bit more than one tub of frosting (had some extra on hand) which I whipped in the mixer before I used it (that really improves the store bought frosting). I set aside a bit for the pit and colored it with just a drop of food coloring. For some reason I had it in my head that all pole vault pits are blue, but that is patently untrue.

The pole and the standards (holding up the flags) are made from 8-inch wood skewers. I painted the pole white and used washi tape for the large stripe, a fine-tipped marker for the narrow stripe. My son tells me those colors represent a particular pole vault manufacturer, so I learned something new on his birthday!

To assemble the printables I folded the pennants in half over a piece of string and glued. I glued the disks on either side of the string. I bent the mirror image of the vaulter in half at the hand and attached him to the pole by wrapping his hand around the pole and then glueing both sides together.

Hope you like this printable, and happy vaulting to all you pole vaulters out there!

New Derby Certificates and Pit Passes

Derby Certificates

I’ve made new a new Derby set! These are customizable for any troop, pack, district, team, group, ward, council, unit — you name it.  Great for Powder Puff Derby (or is that Powderpuff?), Pinewood Derby, your school’s derby…

All pieces are fillable PDFs for easy customization.

There are style awards, places awards, and pit passes. Detailed descriptions and more pictures with the listings in my shop. All are available for immediate download.

derby participation awards screenshot

I’ve also got a free participation award here on Cute & Useful, as I usually do. You can download the PDF here.

Happy racing!

Cooking With Gas

My mother used to say this; “We’re cooking with gas!” Well, Mom, we are. I’ve figured out how to redo my PDF download links and in the process found a cleaner way (from the standpoint of the code) to bring in my images. All by uploading everything in one place (a downloads folder and an image folder) — in this case onto the servers at GoDaddy where the site is hosted, and then linking to them from the blog.

I love knowing where everything is kept, and I love knowing that it’s all neat and tidy.

Making headway…

The fellow on the phone said it couldn’t be done. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to import all of my blog posts from Squarespace and redo the link structure, so, I don’t think any of the links are broken.

Is this entire process accompanied by a full-bodied feeling of nervousness? Yes. Have I felt confident at all during this process? Only a little .

I’ll keep getting back with updates on the process — updates will lack pictures for the moment. The next thing is to fix my images, most of which didn’t come over.  I wonder how this will affect my Pinterest links. I think it will be fine, because the Pinterest links go with the web address (URL) for the picture, which are current and working as far as I know.

Free Pie Baking Contest Printables

Pie Baking Contest

Finally, the Pie Contest Printables. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD! I tell ya, whenever I get ready to launch a big project like this one, I have a hard time finishing and posting the project. This, in spite of the fact that I already used all of these for our Relief Society Enrichment pie baking contest at church, everybody loved them, and I’ve improved the design since that time.

In order to deal with myself, I’m trying to adopt a principle of “net positive,” meaning, does something taken as a whole do more good than not good? This works for people, too, and I’ve found that thinking this way helps me be more forgiving of myself and others, escpecially because it helps me look outward at what we’ve all done in this world.

Now, a free printable is certainly doing more good than not, and any dummy can figure that out. Nevertheless, I bog down. Are they good…enough? Specifically on these, I’m not happy with the flag labels in the image. Anyhow, here they are:

A complete collection of pie-baking printables all set up with fillable fields so you can personalize the pieces for your own event. About 20 pages in all. We have:

  1. Invitations (the oven door opens to reveal the event info inside)
  2. Posters (2 sizes; 8.5 x11 and 11×17)
  3. Sign-up sheet
  4. Name tags for the pies
  5. “Style” awards for every baker: 20 certificates
  6. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards with easels that sit up next to the winning pies

We had signups for pies and table decorations, which worked out real well as not all are bakers, but still could participate. Judges, of course, also had to be sisters with no horse in the race. Really, there was a lot of involvement. We had a lot of fun.

Another Cute Week: Dog Origami


dog origami

I love that magical moment in origami — there’s always one particular fold where it goes from looking like not much to, clearly, ah ha! It’s a dog! Experience that magic moment 5 times with these cute origami dogs (OK, probably 4. See #3).

  1. This one inspired this post. I love how A) it looks like a Pit Bull, and B) it’s an orgami doggie bookmark! Now that’s Cute and Useful!
  2. Looks hard but is actually an easy origami dog because it’s made from two peices of paper, and each has not many folds. Nice instructional video.
  3. This one has to be hard, and also the instructions are in a book (non-free) written in Japanese. Many origami books are written in Japanese. It’s not impossible to make something with just the diagrams, but it’s also not a carefree evening of crafting. This one was part of another nice collection of origami dogs.
  4. This one has a very good video, that absolutely has that “ah, ha!” moment I mentioned. Lot of cute details on this little origami terrier.
  5. Origami Dog made of money — I wish my dogs were made of money; I can very decidedly tell you they are not. Just a little strange in the eyes? So very cool it holds a coin in its mouth!

This Week on Cute and Useful:
It took me all week to finish the pie baking contest printables, and it’s not like I worked 20 minutes and spent the rest of the time watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s (I watched it once). Also, Tuesday was my birthday. Anyhow, now it’s done and I am — can’t even think of the right word — relievedly full of intent– and ready to post on Monday.

Next Week:
The pie printables, (doggone it). Also the Warhol-esqe bright holiday papers, some subtle plaid (?) papers, and maybe some washi tape clip art. And, oh, hey, I got a Silhouette Cameo for my birthday!

…is getting a makeover