Girl's gathered vintage valance top

I know this really has nothing to do with food but I just love this idea. My friend Melissa has a sewing store called STITCH LOUNGE . The women of Stitch also have a few books all about re-purposing old clothing and fabric in to beautiful new things for you, your kids and even your dog!
They post tutorials on how to do these crafty projects on their site.
Here is an excerpt from the girl's gathered vintage valance top.
Our newest tutorial brings you something for the lovely little lady in your life - a Girl's Gathered Vintage Valance Top!

We love the fabric in vintage valance curtains and they can be found aplenty at your neighborhood thrift store—or in your grandma’s kitchen! Valances (as opposed to longer curtains) are already hemmed on top and bottom, and have a pre-sewn casing in place, making it a super easy, super fast project for a crafty mom on the go!
To see the rest of this cute crafty project go here.

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Cookbook Publishers Try to Think Small

Published: May 14, 2008

At a time when 2-year-olds take cooking classes, trick-or-treaters turn up in chef’s whites and a personalized child’s size spatula costs $20, it is no surprise that the children’s cookbook genre is enjoying a new life.

Not that it had much of a life before.
Children’s cookbooks have long been among the tiniest of literary niches. Rarely taken seriously or invited to the adult cookbook party, they usually end up stuck on the bottom shelf of the children’s activity section in the bookstore. With a couple of notable exceptions in the 1980s and 1990s, children’s cookbooks have made little impact, either in sales or attention.

But that is changing, as parents who have a keen interest in cooking encourage their young children to spend time in the kitchen and new titles take a more sophisticated approach to children’s food. Although no one tracks overall sales of cookbooks aimed at children, some retailers say that sales have shot up. Readers too young to drive don’t yet have their own “Joy of Cooking,” but publishers are looking everywhere for it. And a number of cooking celebrities have joined in, too.

“It’s not like the books didn’t exist five years ago, but they were very introductory, very dessert driven, or very one-size-fits-all,” said Melanie Rhodes, a children’s book buyer for Borders, where sales of children’s cookbooks have jumped by a third in the past year. “What we’re seeing now are publishers who are a little more tuned into the real food audience.”

In the last few years, the children’s cookbook market has moved beyond all-encompassing tomes from Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens. Increasingly customized by age, books now teach toddlers to make lettuce wraps and older children to make entire meals. Some predict that cookbooks for teenagers will be the next break-out category.

The subject matter has been expanding, too. Nursery-school staples like macaroni and cheese, cupcakes and eggs on a raft are still going strong. But the new cookbooks reflect a trend toward better nutrition and health and toward ethnic dishes like sushi or bibimbop. Local and sustainable food are having their moments, too.

If there is a flaw in all this expansion, it’s that some cookbook authors have swung from the simple to the complex.

“We’re seeing some books that are trying to do too much,” said Gillian Engberg, an editor who specializes in books for young people at Booklist, the journal of the American Library Association. She said that some books contain so much information about nutrition or gardening that they might try the already limited patience of young cooks.

But she isn’t too critical of overly ambitious books, because they represent a return to the kitchen. “We are seeing more of these because people are growing more knowledgeable about food,” she said. “Cooking together represents a pause, a chance for families to come together.”

There are also less cozy motives, like money. Children’s cooking gear sells well, as Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table have discovered. Television cooking shows seem to have a magic hold over children, and children’s cooking Web sites continue to pop up. All of that has book editors looking for the genre’s pot of gold. But a breakaway hit remains elusive.

“It’s an area publishers aren’t steady on the ground with yet,” said Bill LeBlond, the editorial director for food and wine at Chronicle Books. “We all have the sense that the audience is out there, but we just can’t figure it out.”

Chronicle recently published “Kitchen Playdates” by Lauren Bank Deen and “The Toddler Café” by Jennifer Carden, which hopes to inspire toddlers to eat more adventurously by teaching them to crimp the edges of an empanada.

Mr. LeBlond also has high hopes for “Cook It in a Cup!” by Julia Myall, which came out in March and is packaged with silicone rubber baking cups.

Celebrity chefs have been prodigious writers of adult cookbooks, and this year two Food Network stars have leapt into the children’s market.
Read more

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The Toddler Café Tips and Tricks Contest- WINNERS

I would like to thank you all for the entries we received for our Toddler Café Tips and Tricks Contest, which was so generously supported by Boon Inc. and Chronicle Books!!

Here are the top ten tips and the grand prize winner!! Congratulations and thank you for all the lovely compliments on my book.
To view the winners go here.

We received a huge amount of entries that were all so inventive and wonderful! It’s amazing that there are so many of you out there who take the time to eat and play with your kids in creative ways! It was difficult to choose a winner, but after a LONG deliberation, I was able to narrow it down.

Just as a reminder, the people who submitted the top ten tips (presented in no particular order) will each receive a Boon Feeding Product and a signed copy of The Toddler Café.

The GRAND PRIZE winner will receive a full line of the Boon Inc feeding utensils and dishes and the super-popular Animal Bag, along with several best-selling parenting books from Chronicle and the signed copy of The Toddler Café.

Keep on Cooking!

Jennifer Carden
Author of The Toddler Café

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Great American Bake Sale

My friend Michelle of Whats Cooking was nearly brought to tears by the enthusiasm of her friends, family and classmates when she told them about the Great American Bake Sale. What began as an attempt at getting a few families to help hungry children by baking together has turned into a series of three separate Bake Sale events…one of which will be a celebration in the park with a band comprised of parents! The details of our events are below - hopefully they will inspire you to take some steps to help hungry kids across America, too!

Holds Bake Sale To End Childhood Hunger
in San Rafael, California

What’s Cooking, a local business that teaches cooking classes to children, is organizing a bake sale, as part of Share Our Strength Great American Bake Sale, a national campaign that mobilizes Americans to end childhood hunger by holding bake sales in their communities.

Local families will be working together to make signs, bake goods and sell items at our 3 bake sales. Our students are enthusiastic about spending time together with their family and friends, knowing that they are making a difference in the lives of other children.

The highlight of our efforts will be an evening of Music in the Park on June 8. Music will be performed by several parents from Glenwood School. All families are welcome to join us for a BBQ Dinner, Baked Goods and Music, with most food items selling for just $1, each.

Why: Nationally, more than 12 million children at risk of hunger. Funds raised through What’s Cooking’s Great American Bake Sale will be used to ensure America’s most vulnerable children - those living in poverty and at risk of hunger get the regular, healthy meals they need, where they live, learn and play.

If YOU would like to contribute to the What’s Cooking Team’s goal of raising $500, but are unable to attend our events, you can make a monetary donation at the What’s Cooking Team’s Bake Sale Web Page.

About Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale®

Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale, presented by Domino® Sugar and C&H®, is a national campaign that mobilizes Americans to end childhood hunger by holding bake sales in their communities. Great American Bake Sale proceeds are granted to organizations in communities across America to help provide at-risk children with nutritious meals when they’re needed most - during the summer, and after school. Additionally, proceeds support Share Our Strength’s Operation Frontline®, a chef-led nutrition education program for low-income children and families. Since 2003, more than 1 million people have participated in Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale, raising nearly $4 million to make sure no child in America grows up hungry. Great American Bake Sale is supported by national television partner Food Network and national magazine partner Family Circle magazine. For more information, visit www.greatamericanbakesale.org

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