Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cookie Cutters

I tend to like all things "crafty."  And, I like to cook.  Put those two things together, and I am as happy as a clam!  I started picking up cookie cutters when my children were little to use for special occasions, birthdays, school parties,  snacks at cub scouts or brownies, etc.  I usually just cut out sugar cookies and frosted them, and was always disappointed because they lost their shape, or after I frosted them, you couldn't tell what they were.  So, I put the cutters aside and concentrated on other things (cupcakes!).  Then, I saw some beautifully decorated cookies and wanted to learn how to make them.  I started my internet search and was amazed at the great cookie decorating sites that are available to learn, get ideas, and solve problem when decorating..  So, I jumped right in.  Since my husband is a "cookie monster," I decided to make him cookies for Father's Day.  After all, he is a pretty wonderful father!  This is my third try at this "new craft" and I am slowly improving.  But, my cookies don't compare to the amazing cookies on my favorite cookie website:  After looking at her cookies, please don't judge me too harshly!

These are the cookie cutters that I used from my cookie cutter collection:  large rectangle, birdhouse, large and small heart, scalloped oval, tie, Michigan, and glasses.

And here are the cookies, ta da!  Happy Father's Day Sweetie!  You see, my husband is a scientist and we like to tease him about being a "nerd."  But my son, the engineer, is following close behind!

I used the "scalloped oval" as the "greeting" for the cookie tray.

Although my husband doesn't use a pocket protector, I am not sure it won't creep into his wardrobe one of these days!  This cookies was made by using the birdhouse upside down and cutting off the edges of the roof.

He has a pretty amazing tie collection.  This is like one of his Jerry Garcia ties.  See, he isn't such a nerd after all!

I just had to make a scientific calculator!  Talk about a ton of buttons.  I have no idea what most of them are for.  If I couldn't fit the whole symbol on the button, I just shortened it.  I am waiting for someone to tell me I did it wrong!  Scientists like things to be CORRECT!!  I made this cookie by using the large rectangle and then cutting it smaller.

The beautiful state of Michigan!  "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you!"

Yes, he wears glasses!  I didn't put the white tape between the lenses on this one.

My husband received his "Master's" from the University of Michigan.  So, we have lots of things with"Ms" on them in our house!  This mug was made using the rectangle cutter and trimming it smaller.  The handle was made using the large heart and small heart for the inside and the outside of the handle.

More Jerry Garcia inspired ties!

And yes, he does have a few "Michigan" ties, one even plays the "fight song!"

Needless to say, he was pretty happy with his gift this year.  I had fun, too.  He has two cookies left, both "Michigan" cookies.  I guess they are his favorite!

I will be sharing more of my cookie cutter collection as I attempt to improve my decorating skills!  If I get my act together, I am hoping to try some red, white, and blue cookies for the 4th of July!  

Hope you have a wonderful weekend...summer is finally here!

Friday, June 17, 2011


According to Wikipedia, Monopoly is a board game published by Parker Brothers,  a subsidiary of Hasbro.  The game is named after the economic concept of monopoly, the domination of a market by a single entity.  

The history of Monopoly can be traced back to 1904, when a Quaker woman named Elizabeth J. Magie Phillips created a game through which she hoped to be able to explain the single tax theory of Henry George, (it was intended to illustrate the negative aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies). Her game, The Landlord's Game, was commercially published in 1924.
In 1935, the British version of Monopoly was created in Great Britain, and in 1936 the American version was available.  In 1941, the British secret Service had John Waddington, Ltd., the licensed manufacturer of the game outside the U.S., create a special edition for World War II prisoners of war held by the Nazis. Hidden inside these games were maps, compasses, real money, and other objects useful for escaping. They were distributed to prisoners by secret service-created fake charity groups.

Most of us have played "Monopoly" from time to time.  But, in our family there is one person who really likes board games, and Monopoly is his favorite!  That person is my son, SBV.  He became interested in Monopoly when he was about three years old (he is 24 now) and began playing the game, without help, when he was about five.  Yep, amassing money and real estate, demanding rent, figuring out taxes owed, and financially wiping out his parents seemed to come naturally to him!  It wasn't long before he was a hard person to beat.  I feel a little bit guilty because he was always looking for someone to play with him.  But, it isn't like "Mommy, will you read me a book?"  A Monopoly game takes about 2 hours or more to play!  Of course, that depends on how quickly you are bankrupt.  As it turned out, because he couldn't "find" an opponent, he often played both sides of the board.  I would ask him who who was winning and he always answered, "I am!"

Because of his interest in Monopoly, he began collecting Monopoly games and later, other Monopoly items.  There are a lot of Monopoly games available now, but he has tended to select those games that have some meaning for him.

I will apologize, in advance, for the length of this post.  It was very hard for me to whittle down!

SBV has about 50 "Official" Parker Brothers Monopoly games...he has a connection with "Rich Uncle Pennybags, AKA Mr. Monopoly.

Above is the Chicago Edition, and the New York City Edition.  SBV's sister lived in Chicago when she was in college, and now lives in NYC.  It is always fun to have visited the places that are depicted on the game board.

Trivia-More than 6 billion green houses and 2.25 billion red hotels have been "constructed since 1935.

Disney Special Edition Monopoly-  We took Scott and his sister on a surprise trip to Disney World when he was in the first grade.  It was a wonderful trip with special memories that he will always have.  (This is one of my favorite Monopoly games)

Bass Fishing Monopoly-  Because SBV loves to fish and has taken up fly fishing, this Monopoly Game is very appropriate.   

Trivia-  Over 20 different tokens have been cast since the Monopoly Game was introduced in 1935 such as the rocking horse, dog, car, elephant, purse, and lantern.  Some of these older tokens can be seen later.

Monopoly Millennium-  The different colors are the reflection of the camera flash on the iridescent game board...the board does not light up.  But, it sure looks like it does.  This edition is amazing, from the modernized tokens, to the pale, translucent money, to the unique dice.

As stated earlier, the interest in Monopoly eventually included other items such as this pen that holds a miniature version of the game.

Indiana Jones Monopoly- SBV has always really liked the Indiana Jones movies, so when we were at Walt Disney World, we saw the Indiana Jones "Spectacular."  In fact, that year he was Indiana Jones for Halloween.  When he calls me on my cell phone, the Indiana Jones theme music beckons me.

Trivia: Tokens- In the early 1950s, the lantern, purse, and rocking horse were removed from the game.  They were replaced by the dog, horse and rider, and wheelbarrow.

This Monopoly Game was produced as a "Nostalgia" version and comes in this beautiful wooden box.

Russian Monopoly-  This game is pretty interesting.  SBV took it to our family reunion because his cousin taught Russian at Westpoint.  They had fun.

This is an older version of Monopoly, you can see the tokens that were removed in 1950 from the game:  the rocking horse, the purse, and the lantern (not a very good picture, it is in the upper right corner.)

The Boys Scouts of America Monopoly-  SBV is an Eagle Scout, so adding this version to his collection was a must!

By this time, SBV has quite a few Monopoly Christmas ornaments.  Hallmark has produced some really nice ones.  This picture shows  just a couple of them.

A few more Monopoly items: above, a Monopoly lunch box and Scottie token candle, below left- a Monopoly coin sorter, and below right- a Monopoly key ring and money clip

More Monopoly "stuff"- Monopoly cocoa mix and a mug.

A Collector's Edition Monopoly- the wooden top flips back and becomes the game board. The front drawer pulls out to reveal all of the game components. See below.

This was a nice gift from his aunt and uncle- a Monopoly shower curtain, with matching rings and Monopoly bath towels.


Another game "take off" of the original Monopoly game on the left, and Monopoly chocolates on the right.
Naturally, he needed a Monopoly beach towel.  Most of these items have been gifts,  I was just wondering how many of these games or extra items he actually bought himself.

When SBV was in college, he lived in Paris for two months for a study abroad.  When he was gone we converted one of our bathrooms into a Monopoly bathroom.  It was fun and we have been pretty happy with the results .  SBV was so surprised and so happy when he returned home and saw his new bathroom!

Shower curtain and toiletries shelf.

Scott was "Mr. Monopoly" for Halloween one year.  We made this wall decoration  to fit the theme.

Every bathroom needs a clock.  We used the Monopoly game tokens as the "numerals"
 on the clock face.

America Special Edition Monopoly- This celebrates our country and has extra "challenge" cards as a part of the game.

Scott has three French Monopoly games, since he speaks the language.  This one is the Edition de Touraine, an area of France that we toured when he was in France for his study abroad.

This is the basic Monopoly game, only using the French language.  All the real estate is in French, but has the same locations as the English version.

Electronic Paris Monopoly-  This edition is set in Paris, but has no money.  Each player has a Visa charge card and uses one electronic banking machine.  The tokens are modern; a hamburger, flip cell phone, skate board, in-line skate, jet, and a racing car.

Modern Tokens and red Hi-rise hotels.

Visa cards and electronic banking machine.

Monopoly Here and Now- Another modernized version of Monopoly with new tokens, and money ranging from $10,000 to $5,000,000.  (Real Estate is a bit more expensive!)

New Tokens

Big Bucks!!!

An older Monopoly Game

Trivia- The character locked behind the bars is called "Jake the Jailbird."

Another older Monopoly Game with a built in storage area in the box.

Trivia- The most expensive version of the game was produced by a San Francisco jeweler, Sidney Mobell, valued at $2,000,000.

Another "take off" on the Monopoly board game; this is a card game.

This is a "blow up" Monopoly game board. The board is "built in" and has loops around the edges to hold money and real estate deeds.

The "blow up" game board/table fits into a small carrying case.

Trivia- The longest monopoly game in history lasted for 70 straight days!

Another Monopoly "take off", this one is a dice game.

This Monopoly Game is very old, 1936.  However, it does not have a game board...the box apparently was not made to hold one. I am not sure what the tokens are made out of, but they are very light and somewhat porous.  The rest of the game components are the same as the basic game.

70th Anniversary Monopoly Special Edition- Another modernized version to commemorate 70 years.

Trivia- In 1978, the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog offered a chocolate version of the game priced at $600.

A Monopoly Lottery ticket.....and no, he did not win anything!

Scott has 18 "Unofficial" Monopoly games; these are not Parker Brothers games.

Trivia-  In the 1970's a Braille edition of the Monopoly game was created for the visually impaired.
His favorite "Unofficial" game (I think) is Michiganopoly, set at the University of Michigan, his Alma Mater.

Yep, he even has Monopoly Cereal.  We have no idea how it tastes, it has never been opened!

SBV has two different versions of miniature Monopoly Games key chains and one Monopoly Mint key chain.

Monopoly apparel is a must for the true collector.  These boxers crack me up!  (I didn't ask him to model them for this post...whew!)

Last, but not least....Mr. Monopoly! 

This has really been a fun collection, not only for my son, but for the whole family.   Because of everyone's involvement, Scott has a pretty nice, very creative, Monopoly Collection.   I was going to list all of his Monopoly games, Official and Unofficial, but this is definitely too long already!  Hope you enjoyed the world of "Monopoly."  

Have a wonderful day!

PS:  If you are ever in the mood to play Monopoly, I know that I can find you an opponent!