Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sister/Friend Gift: Earings

Inspired by Ashley of Lil Blue Boo, I made some of these pretty little earings for some quick Christmas gifts. I loved how she stitched her own cards to hold the earings and had fun trying out a number of random arrangements... not paying to much attention to being exact. Ummm, some of them look like tadpoles. He he, very therapeutic though.

Little Girl Gift: Treasure Box

I guess we're pretty girlie girls around here, but we love pink, sparkles and all kinds of little treasures. My girls will beg me for any kind of box or container that I might be throwing out to keep their little treasures in. If that sounds like someone you know, this is an easy project for you. I found these small lunch-box type tins a the dollar store in Christmas themes. I know they have white ones at the craft supply stores too, but hey, these were $1. We spent a fun afternoon covering these with pretty paper, glitter, ribbons and flowers. Since my niece had a birthday this month we made one for her too. (See my cute, if reluctant, models?) Just the right size for little collections.

For my niece, I also made some of these arm warmers from knee-high socks using the same method as the baby legs here. Then added her favorite, gum & candy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The elves and I have been busy doing little projects to make it look more like Christmas around here. I tried to get creative with some things I had in my stash. I had these three textured paper cones that we painted with a white, pearly paint and covered with white glitter. They looked a little plain still, so we turned over these thimble flower pots and they made a pretty base.

My table runner is a green felt runner with snowmen on it that had a black underside, so I flipped that over and we placed a few glittery paper snowflakes around the trees. Finally I found this black and white small-checked fabric that I hemmed to make into a table cloth... it looks grey in my pictures.

I'd wanted to do some kind of fun advent for the kids to countdown to Christmas... one that had all the activities I wanted to be sure to do with them this month. I had this fruit-loop colored garland that my my was getting rid of from her stash, so again I enlisted the help of my elves and a few neighborhood elves to paint the fruit silver. We had a lot of fun, and I even liked the sloppy result with some of the color – more muted – showing through. To cut the snowflakes I had my dad cut them on his Craft Robo (better known as Silhouette). Yep, he has one for cutting labels and stuff for his business and I've been wanting to try it. Aren't they pretty? Each snowflake has an activity, like baking cookies, driving around to look at Christmas lights, reading a new Christmas book, and service ideas on the back... one a day until Christmas Eve.

I've done most of my Christmas shopping online and am determined to fill this holiday season with more good memories with my family, and making sure they know how I feel about the reason for the season – the birth of Christ.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

They're Here!

My Shutterfly cards just arrived and I'm so pleased with the quality. Putting it together and previewing a number of different styles was so easy using their templates. The ink has a kind of metallic sheen to it, which is very pretty. The premium cardstock is nice. I have to admit that I was a little worried if I would like it as much as the "linen" type paper I've used for past cards but with the offer to try it for free I thought I'd give it a chance. I am not disappointed at all with these. I'm also feeling happy that I can check this part of my long, long and growing holiday to-do list. I hope I can keep up the momentum and get them sent out quickly too. As the Christmas holiday approaches I want to feel less busy and spend more time creating memories with my kids and helping them feel the true Spirit of Christmas.
Thanks to my talented sister for taking the pics. We gave her a very hard time as my girls do NOT like to stand still. Plus, I just received my first Christmas card from a friend today. Thank you Whitesides!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Do you send Christmas Cards?

A few days ago I was watching a local station’s morning show. They were talking about Christmas Cards and whether it was still a good idea to send them anymore, or if it was just a waste of paper… since supposedly in our high tech world everyone is connected all the time and knows everything you are doing anyway. They cautioned that you wouldn’t want to annoy anyone with too many pictures of your kids or bore anyone with a lengthy holiday newsletter. They advised that if you type the message then be sure to hand write the address (as if your holiday cards are so critically scrutinized!) to make it more personal.

I’m curious. Who are these overly critical people who are annoyed with a friendly gesture to stay in touch and wish them a happy holiday season? I’d be happy to take you off my mailing list. I, for one, LOVE Christmas cards. They are one of my favorite treats of the holiday season…especially if they have pictures, and even if you are my Facebook friend. It’s like a present every time I get one in the mail. I proudly display them in my home throughout the holiday season… and yes, I’ve been known to keep my favorites in a photo album that shows the growth of my friends and their families over the years. Just try to bore me with the cute things your kids are saying. Go ahead and brag about every milestone. You won’t find a more appreciative recipient than me.

Because I love to receive Christmas cards, I also send them every year and I’ve been thinking a lot about what card I’ll send this year. I’ve vowed not to put it off until mid-December when it is impossible to get them printed and sent before Christmas. In my search I came across a wonderful offer from Shutterfly: 50 free photocards for bloggers. I had to check it out, and was even more excited when I saw the vast offering of well designed cards they have this year. Here are few of my favorites (click on the images to link to Shutterfly).

Last year we didn’t have time for a formal family portrait, so I ended up making a collage of photos taken throughout the year. I spent a lot of time designing a custom layout, and wish I’d seen this option then:

This year we do have a recent family picture so this card with the option for more pics and individual updates inside might be the perfect fit:

Or this one, where the photo is the focus and the design is fresh and uses non-traditional color-scheme?Two of my daughters were born in the late fall so our Christmas card was mostly a birth announcement. How perfect would this layout be for that?

This one is just interesting to me… perfect for my friends who were married at the beach this year… or for another special black and white portrait.

I have to admit that it has been a number of years since I’ve ordered my cards from Shutterfly. Check them out. I think you might be as surprised as I was by the overwhelming number of classy choices they have.

While you’re at it, put together a calendar for all the grandparents in your life. It's one of the best Christmas presents for family I can think of. I’ve loved both giving and receiving photo calendars over the years, but I have to say this one, with the option of adding special dates and photos within the calendar itself is a step up from what I’ve done in the past:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I don't have a fireplace with a mantle, so this buffet from my husband's grandmother has become one of my seasonal decorating spots, including where we hang the stockings... but before we get to Christmas, I can't stand to give thanksgiving the shaft. I love Thanksgiving! I believe gratitude is one of the most powerful soul-filling emotions. This year my challenge to myself was to decorate without buying anything. When my friend and neighbor shared this black basket of decorative squashes and gourds it sparked an idea. I painted some frames I had in the basement. For the larger one, I mod-podged a fall-colored fabric scrap onto the backing. Then I typed and printed this phrase from one of my favorite Thanksgiving Hymns (#242 in the LDS Hymnal) for the smaller frame. The little squashes on the right actually serve double duty – in addition to being pretty, they keep the frame from sliding forward. If anyone is interested in the print of the Hymn, I'm happy to share, just leave a comment with your email and I'll send it to you the PDF (10.5" x 13.5"), or use the .jpg below for smaller sizes.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Little Mermaid

Well, we survived Halloween... barely. My 2-year old ran around the house screaming for "candy! candy!" This was her first large dose I guess and she's hooked. I'm regretting it. Oh well, the girls looked cute in their costumes. My oldest wanted to be Ariel so we came up with this costume. I loved this fun fabric that was shiny and had the "scales" on it already. It made things pretty simple. My second was Belle, and we just embellished a costume we already had with a few more sparkly touches. Baby girl wore the nice, warm plush Ladybug costume handed down from the others. They collected so much candy just going around the block. They get to pick a piece each day (one for you, three for the trash can)... but I don't want to drag this on forever. I read this idea about the "candy fairy" (see bottom of post) this morning and thought it was genius:

"So, after they get home and look through their stash, they get to pick out a few pieces to keep (5-10ish) and then put the rest under their pillow (or at the foot of their beds since it's supa hard to get that from under a sleeping kid's head). Then, the Halloween Fairy comes and leaves them a present and takes away ALL THAT CANDY outta the house and the kiddos LOVE IT!!!"

I wonder if my girls would go for it. Unfortunately I'm afraid that they love candy more than they'd love a present. I'd have to make it something pretty special.

So, How do y'all handle it? Any more ideas from you veteran moms out there?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Sweet Tooth

I saw this cute idea for a Halloween craft over at A Pumpkin and a Princess. I thought it would be a fun thing to do with my daughter while her big sis was at school and little sister slept. She did a great job painting the pots for me.

I couldn't find the round tea light holders in the right scale so I ended up using empty salsa jars for two of them and a marshmallow creme jar for the third. In this shape I think they look more like lanterns than a gumball machine... even better for Halloween. I just need to find some thin wire to wrap around the top of the jar to look like a lantern handle and some Halloween ribbon to dress up the base a little.

Big sis wants to be my helper too... she wants to help me eat all the candy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Doll Clothes

My youngest just turned two. Her favorite thing right now is playing with dolls. She doesn't go anywhere without her "baby," a well-loved, usually naked doll. For her birthday, my mom thought that poor naked "Sarah baby" (as we call her) could use a new outfit. Just look what she made! This adorable, fully-lined hoodie and shorts with lace at the bottom. It's just so precious. Suddenly my older girls, who haven't been interested in dolls so much lately, want to play too. Sarah baby is back at the top of the list of things we fight over. I think we know one of the things that will be on the wish list for Grandma/Santa.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Happy Haunting

I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of Halloween. I tend to skip right to the Harvest/Thanksgiving stuff when it comes to holiday decorating. Now that I have little kids, however, Halloween is more fun. They dress up almost every day anyway, and the candy!! I'm trying to get into it a little more for them. We picked out some pumpkins this week, which we will carve into jack-o-lanterns closer to Halloween night. We pulled out the Halloween lanterns that we made last year (saw the idea here). Such a fun project to do with kids. They are so proud of them.

Then, I found this amazing banner from Moselle Design over at Blue Cricket Design. It was free to download and print, and the graphics – especially the little circles – were quite charming. I know, not the adjective most associate with Halloween... but I loved them!

I printed and cut them out, then added a little ruffle (natural coffee filter) around the edge of each pennant.

Close up. See? Charming right? I CAN do Halloween decorations. Who knew?

For Thomas

I love to make these cozy little flannel receiving blankets for new babies. Here is a great tutorial if you'd like to try one too.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Beaded Wool Clutch

I've been wanting to make this clutch since I had the idea last fall. The wool makes it a perfect texture for fall and I'm crazy about the olive green... maybe it's because I'm seeing so much of this military trend in clothing right now. The design is so simple it could almost be plain, but the beading gives it some interesting detail as you can see in this close-up of the back.

It's lined with an olive green satin and I used heavyweight fusible interfacing to help it keep it's shape. The clasp is made from two D rings and a clip I actually cut off an old wallet.

The next two pictures, back and front, give a better idea of the scale. It's a big clutch, perfect for my basics of cell phone (with it's own pocket inside), keys, wallet and mini-make-up bag.

My inspiration? Surprise! A thrifted wool sweater:
Someone had apparently washed it in hot water, shrinking it to an unwearable size and stiffness before I got my hands on it at the thrift store. I LOVE felted wool and the beading detail was still beautiful. The minute I saw it I knew exactly what I wanted it to become. When I showed my sis the finished clutch she thought I'd done the beading. I wish I could take credit for it, because it is my favorite detail. It took enough time just to reinforce the lines of beads as I cut the sweater to keep them from coming loose. So there it is. One less project on my to-do list.

It was raining today when I was taking the pictures. The colors of fall are so pretty, but even more vibrant with a little rain. Since I had the camera out, I couldn't resist taking pictures of everything else around. This bright yellow flower was my favorite, so I'm just throwing this in here so you can enjoy it too.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Baby Gifts

I'd been wanting to try out this tutorial for an easy shirred skirt from Creation Corner for a little while now. A baby shower I was recently invited to was a good excuse to get it done. My fabric must have been a lot more lightweight than what was used in the tutorial, because it really gathered up. The first try became a new skirt for my daughter's baby doll. Try number two turned out really well. I added a lot to the width. It still gathered up so the waist looks very small, but it stretches out nicely and still looks gathered. I think this is the perfect alternative to a wide elastic waistband for a little tummy. It keeps the skirt up without being at all constrictive. I embellished some onesies to go with it. Since this was a double shower, for a boy and a girl, I made two more embellished onesies to go with a pair of the baby legwarmers I'd made recently.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Refashion: Blouse to Jacket

I found this blouse on the clearance rack. It was originally $68.00 and i paid $5. I really liked beading, the gathered bell sleeve and the shape of then neckline with the mandarin collar but I couldn't really imagine myself wearing it as a blouse. So I refashioned the bottom to make it look more like a jacket. I experimented with a few different ways to make the bottom band, but in the end I left the band flat in the front and inserted a wide elastic in the band in the back to gather it just a little. Here's a closer shot:

Once again I bribed the 3 year old to take a few pics. Yes, the bribe was necessary. She loves to play with the camera, but takes after her independent mother and does not like to be told what to photograph!

High noon equals unflattering face shadows and squint... so of course I overcompensate with groovy photo effects from

I like it over the black maxi-dress, but think it's an easy way to dress up a slouchy tank and faded jeans too. The light-weight fabric is perfect for this extra warm fall weather we're enjoying.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Money Cuff

Another easy project I put together last night after the kids were asleep was this money cuff. I was trying to find something for my niece's birthday when I came across this tutorial from Christie of A Lemon Squeezy Home. It is such a good idea, and my niece appreciates crafty things. I hope she likes it. I had to work with what was in my stash. When it comes to fabric I have a lot to choose from, but the zipper was a different matter... I stole this one from a pair of jeans I was cutting up for another project. Note to self: keep a few zippers in my stash for spontaneous, late-night projects.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baby Legwarmers

About the time I finished the bridesmaids dresses I started having some health issues. Needless to say, the long list of projects I want to complete got put on the back burner. I'm starting to feel more like myself again and thought I'd ease back into my projects with something simple: baby leg warmers made from knee-high socks. I've seen a number of tutorials for these, all over the web but this is the method I liked best at Little Birdie. I bought these socks in sets of two and used some of the striped socks to make the cuff on the solid pair, and vice versa. I always look for socks that are as smooth on the inside as they are on the outside. I hate socks that have all those little strings from the pattern on the inside.

I've purchased a bunch of the original Baby Legs for my youngest and they are great. My older girls love them too. They are high quality and the elasticity is impressive fitting my smallest to my oldest without losing their shape. I definitely think they are worth the $ but it can add up. As easy as they are to make I think we'll finally have enough to go around. (This is not a sponsored endorsement. Just my opinion.)