November 30, 2010

The Second Day of CHRISTmas – the good deed advent

As I mentioned before, there will be a couple of guest bloggers this week.  We brainstormed about our ideas so we didn’t repeat any.  I had an advent I wanted to make and then Christie (from a Lemon Squeezy Home) mentioned the idea of a service advent and I thought that was a great idea.  So, taking her idea and taking an idea from a bucket advent I saw a couple of years ago from Land of Nod (which I would link you to, but they don't sell it anymore)….here’s the good deed advent.

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Instead of just getting candy each day, there is a slip of paper in each bucket listing a service to be performed.  (The candy comes after doing the good deed.)


Christmas is more than a celebration of the birth of Christ, but a celebration of His life.  I believe our adoration of Him is best shown by our emulation of Him.

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I’ll share our list with you in case you want to make one.  That way you won’t have to come up with 25 things on your own.


I made the list with Rex in mind.  I wanted them to be things he could do as a three year old (with a little help at times).  Here we go.

Write a letter to a loved one.

Gather some toys to give away.
Find the home with the best Christmas lights and take them a thank you note with a treat.
Visit someone elderly.
Make an ornament for grandma.
Deliver gifts to the neighbors.
Take some groceries to the food bank.
Go caroling.
Anonymously give flowers to someone.
Say hello and smile at everyone you meet today.
Take in someone’s garbage cans.
Leave change in a vending machine for the next person who comes along.
Call an aunt and tell her you love her.
Take Doggy treats to someone who has a dog.
Make a gift and card for your teacher.
Draw a picture of the Nativity and explain it to your little brother.
Do something kind for the garbage man.
Give five compliments to strangers.
Put money in the Salvation army cup.
Buy and deliver Christmas gifts for a family in need.
Invite a widow over to dinner.
Leave kind notes for Daddy all over the house.
Open the door for someone.
Clear the table after dinner.
Give your gift to Jesus. (There will be an explanation for this one in a different post.)


I tried to schedule them when I put them in the buckets.  For example, I had to put the one that says bring in someone's garbage cans on the day we have garbage pick up.  You can also adjust the ideas to fit your family.

Now, let me explain the crafting part.  I bought the the buckets HERE.  They were sold by the dozen, so I bought 24 total and decided to hang something in the middle for the final day.  If you don't mind the buckets being white I heard they have them in 3-packs in the wedding section of the dollar store.  I cut vinyl numbers for each bucket, but you can easily find numbers in the scrapbook section. 


I bought a giant spool of wired ribbon.  I like the wired stuff because it's easy to make bows with.  I started making the advent by tying knots around each bucket handle, but it was really hard to pull all that ribbon through each time and make sure the numbers were all facing the same way.  I recommend sewing the ribbon as I'll show you here.

I cut 25 strips about 10 inches long.  I looped them through the bucket handle and sewed them onto the long ribbon (being sure to make them all the same distance apart) like in the picture below.  To make life easier, you could also wait until they are all sewn before sticking on the numbers.  That way you don't have to keep making sure they are all facing the same way as you sew.


Lastly, since my ribbon wasn't double sided and because I wanted to hide the sewn loops, I set another ribbon on top and sewed down the middle the entire length of the ribbon.  (I wanted to make it look nice on both sides since I planned to hang it in the doorway.)  I put a bow in the middle and strung up a berry-covered ball in the middle, but you could really put anything in the middle.


It takes a really wide doorway to hang it up in, but you could also string it across a wall.

I am so excited to make this a tradition for our little family and I can't wait to start doing these deeds with Rex.  We'll tell you how it goes :)

Thank you for reading my blog!  See you tomorrow.

November 29, 2010

The First Day of CHRISTmas

Welcome to our first day of CHRISTmas.  I was asked to guest blog at I Heart Naptime today, so you'll find my full explanation of the craft there, but I hope you'll stay here to read my explanation.


I was really excited to start decorating for Christmas with my little side kick, Rex.  I wanted to make sure the decor would be related to the true meaning of Christmas.  Today I'm sharing what we did to our front door.  The scripture is from Matthew 2.  It reads...

1 Now when Jesus was aborn in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

I love the symbol of the star - a shining sign to all the believers of His coming.

Some of the upcoming crafts in the CHRISTmas series will involve kids more, but I wanted to do something involving decorating as well.
As I mentioned you can head over to I Heart Naptime for the full explanation of the crafting.  (No, I didn't make the actual red wreath, but I couldn't part with it when I saw it at Target the other day.)


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Thanks for dropping by!

November 28, 2010

Sunshine Sunday–It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We had a great Thanksgiving day and the next day we headed out to get our tree.  Here’s my friendly, happy boys and I with our tree on the car.

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Rex helped me decorate the tree.  I love how it looks with the lights on at night.  We just need to add our star.

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The stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

stockings

I even got to snap some pictures of my little guys (in hats, of course).

rex and baden

I got a couple of really good ones that I’m turning into black and whites (and using the black Friday Canvas People deal on, which has been extended until Dec 3rd).  I’ll show you them later.

Tomorrow starts CHRISTmas here on the blog.  I’m glad you guys are excited about it, too!  See you tomorrow!

November 27, 2010

Sharing Saturday

Now that Rex is getting older and understanding more, I really want him to understand what Christmas is all about.  I worry that he’ll become this greedy little kid who dreams of the billions of presents Santa will bring, rather than understanding that Christmas is about something bigger and more important than anything that has ever happened in the history of the whole world.  It's about the birth and life of our Savior.  So, I’ve decided to dedicate next week to Christmas ideas and crafts that help us remember Christ in Christmas.

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I have several ideas I’m excited to show you and I have also invited a couple of bloggers to contribute some ideas as well.  I am really excited about it! 

So, for Sharing Saturday today I thought it would be fun to hear some of the things you’ve done to help remember the reason for the season.  That’s the only question for the day.  I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts.

Thank you for stopping by today!

November 26, 2010

Black Friday Baby!

I thought it would be fun to go shopping together today, since it's Black Friday (and most of you are probably at the mall going crazy).  I don't really go out on Black Friday, but I thought I'd tell you about a fun Black Friday deal from the Canvas People and then we can take a quick stroll through my sponsor's shops.  And, you don't even have to put on any makeup or do your hair to go shopping with me today.  Let's go!

So, the Canvas People are offering a great Black Friday special.  Your entire order is 50% off AND FREE SHIPPING!  (It's close to the same deal as before if you're buying one small canvas, but it's a way better deal this time if you need to order more than one canvas.)  Here's my giant shelf I mentioned before with my 11x14 canvas on it.  I love it and I've been trying to get some more updated pictures of my boys so I can order a couple more.  The deal has been extended until Dec 3rd.  Click HERE to get it.


Okay, let's browse a few shops. 

I LOVE this bracelet from Beleza Mia.


And you know I have a things for leaves.  Her shop is packed with gorgeous leaf jewelry.


You can pick up some great Scentsy products from Stephanie, like this fun Christmas-themed warmer.



I think the Scentsy buddies (with a built in zippered fragrance pocket) are so cute.  They would look and smell great in a nursery.


Look at this sweet Peas in a Pod necklace from Three Scoops of Love.


I also think this Shine Bright necklace is absolutley beautiful, also from Three Scoops of Love.


How about sewing a stocking or a little skirt with this fabric from Raspberry Creek Fabric!


They also carry this adorable flannel that would make the cutest little blanket.


Woo-hoo!  We got through quite a bit of shopping without any kids screaming or any potty breaks!  Thanks for coming along.  See you tomorrow for a Sharing Saturday!

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you're all enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving day!  First of all, thank you all SO much for your get well wishes for Baden.  I was really touched by all your comments.  Secondly, I think I figured out the post scheduling because of all of your suggestions.  The time zone was set incorrectly and I used the scheduler yesterday and it actually worked!!!  I was thrilled.  Thank you!

Now, on to Thanksgiving.  I thought of a tradition for our little family to start and you're more than welcome to copy the idea.  Each Thanksgiving I'm going to sit the boys down and ask them what they are thankful for.  I think it will be fun to see how they change and grow and to see how their lists change as well.

Here's our first one.  I didn't prompt Rex in any way.  I wanted to hear what he'd say on his own.  (Baden I had to help obviously.)  I know the video is a bit long, but it's a keepsake for us and I didn't want to cut out too much.  You don't have to watch the whole thing.


(Extra notes: Rex keeps laughing about "Gunny" and if you don't know what he's talking about click HERE for that post.  Also, he's three and the word "poop" is a current favorite.  Yoda?  I let him watch a Star Wars cartoon yesterday with my husband.  He thought it was super cool.)

Thanks for dropping by today.  Now go eat some more turkey!

November 24, 2010

For the Train Lover

Yesterday wasn't the best for me.  I spent a couple of hours in urgent care with little Baden.  He's fine - don't worry.  He's had this nasty cold for over two weeks and it's been getting worse.  They did a chest x-ray where they shoved his body into this clear plastic cylinder while he screamed.  Picture a slightly bigger version of the vacuum can you use at the bank drive through.  (If you're in the medical field I'm sure you're laughing at my description and you probably know what it's called.)  Then the x-ray didn't turn out so we did it all over again.  After 2 hours total of trying to keep this sick little guy happy in the clinic they said he's in the beginning stages of pneumonia and we left with a prescription.  I try to be patient, but sometimes I feel like this post my sister wrote.

Anyhow, the day didn't go as planned.  I finally got both boys down for a nap and went downstairs to sew.  I was working on a shirt for myself and it turned out to be the most hideous thing I've ever made or seen.  Yeah, you won't be seeing that puppy on the blog.  It has to meet the seam ripper first....or a shredder.

So instead of all my grand plans for today's post, I'm going to show you a cool toy at my sister's house.  My brother-in-law loves trains and wanted to have a really fun, unique train table for their boys.  He and my dad made this table and I'll give you a brief explanation of what they did.


Kind of fun, huh?  They bought the storage units/bins from Ikea and put a thick layer of MDF on top.  The MDF is bolted to the storage units.  The best part is the hole they cut in the middle so the boys can play with it more easily.  They painted the tracks and glued them down along with the buildings.  Some of the buildings are from the Thomas line but my sister also bought some unfinished buildings from the craft store and she painted them and then cut holes in them for the train to pass through.


The bins they sit on provide a lot of nice storage.


She even created a lake and beach that has some real sand on it.  Then the whole top got a thick layer of epoxy.


Here's my favorite part.  She painted a cute railway sign, including her boys' initials and handprints.


Every little guy who visits loves to play with it.


Disclaimer:  I cannot provide any technical answers about exactly how they did everything, as I wasn't a part of it.  However, I hope you enjoyed the show.  I think it's a fun homemade option that's a lot cooler than your typical train table.

Thanks for reading.

November 23, 2010

How to Post a Post

Today we're doing a little behind the scenes work.  A while back several of you expressed interest in knowing how I do my posts.  I've come up with a few things that help me post more efficiently and so today I'm going to share my little system with you.

When I first begin working on a project I make sure to take pictures all along the way.  I take 2-3 of every step because it's not uncommon for one to be a little blurry.  I like to have options.  Once the project is completed and my camera has all the photos I've taken, including the final pictures I dump them into my computer.  Recently I started creating files for each project and it's helped me a lot.  I'll show you what I mean.

This is my desktop view below.  See the folders all the way to the right of the screen?  They're labeled "train table, boys, how to post, and tee for baden."  When I dump my pictures I DO NOT just dump them all into one program.  I open them up and copy them into the proper folders.  So, I select all the photos of Baden's tee and drag them into that folder.  Then I'm not searching through thousands of pictures when it's time to edit or post them.


Now I have a file chocked full of the project's pictures.  It's not unusual for me to have 70 pictures for one project.  I take lots when I'm having one of the boys model something because it takes tons of pictures to get a good one.  Next I delete.  I try hard not to keep extra pictures.  I delete everything except the photos I'm using for the actual post (unless there are a few cute extra ones of my kids I want to keep). 


After that my folder looks like this.  Now if I need to upload some to picnik for editing, I won't be searching forever through the thumbnails.  I edit what I need to and make sure when I save them that I'm saving them to the same folder again.


After I have all my photos ready I upload them into the post in the order they go in.  I like to make sure I have a finished picture of the project at the top of the post and at the bottom of the post.  Once the pictures are in order I go through and write the text.  The pictures prompt me through that because I look at them and remember all the steps involved.  Below is a screen shot of me posting this very post.  Whoah...a post within a post...kind of freaky :) 


When I'm all done I proofread the whole thing and save it.  I would schedule it to post, but my schedule to post feature doesn't work for me.  I don't know why.  If any of you do know please feel free to tell me why.  I'll love you forever.

Since I can't schedule my post I head to my computer every morning around 6am (sometimes later if I'm sleepy).  I pull on my sleeper, tiptoe down the stairs so I don't wake my kids, and turn on my computer.  I proofread again and then publish that little baby.

The folder thing has helped me a lot.  It's so frustrating when you're in the middle of six projects and all your pictures are everywhere.  Having a system with phases or steps also helps me if I happen to get interupted, which happens a lot with my little guys.  If any of you have any great posting tips, feel free to share.  I hope you learned something new. 

And because there really weren't any fun pictures in this post, here's Rex giving you "Blue Steel" even though he doesn't know what that means.


Thanks for dropping in!

November 22, 2010

Chevron Tee for B

When I made the Superhero Shoes for Rex, I mentioned that I really wanted to test out the heat transfer vinyl on a shirt.  I wanted to make sure it worked well before talking about it.  Well, I made this little chevron shirt for Baden a couple of weeks ago.  I've washed it a few times and I am really happy with how the heat transfer vinyl held up.  AND, I am excited to show you how I used it without the Silhouette machine.


The vinyl has a clear film layer on it that stays on it until you're done ironing your design on it.  Why does that matter?  Because I could draw all I wanted on that layer to help me get the design right and then I peeled it off when the shirt was done.  Let me show you what I mean.

I made sure I had the clear layer on top and started drawing out my chevron (or zigzag) design.  I wanted to measure it to make it accurate.  I made all the marks I wanted and then drew a "b" on top of it.  See?


Then, since I didn't have anything little or technical to cut out I used my scissors to cut out the design.  The only part I had to use my exacto knife for was the inside of the "b."  I loved that it was so fast and easy.  (Tip: Be sure not to cut any further into the deign than your drawn line because you will still see the cut mark after you iron the vinyl on.  Just take your time and try to be exact.)


I wanted to add another color, so I traced another zigzag onto some heat 'n bond (which I ironed onto a striped fabric and cut out).  Then all I had to do was iron all of it on.  I stitched around the striped fabric with a contrasting green thread and left the edges fray a little.


And that's it.  This little guy is REALLY hard to get a good picture of these days.  He's also got a good-sized belly, so the chevrons are kind of tight on it, which I love.  (I think he's sucking it in here :)


The heat transfer vinyl can be found HERE.  It's $14.99 for a roll of it, but you could make a ton of stuff with one roll, as it's 3 feet long.

That's all for today.  Thank you for reading my blog.

November 21, 2010

Sunshine Sunday - Chocolate, Parents, Holidays

One thing I am grateful for this week is chocolate.  I know it's a little thing, but I really, truly love chocolate - especially when it leaves me encouraging notes like this one. 


Speaking of my mom....my parents just moved here yesterday!  They'll be about 20 minutes away.  While I feel sad for my sisters they used to live by, I am so thrilled to have them close.  I feel so blessed knowing that they will get to see my little guys grow up.  You'll probably see a bit of them here on the blog because they are crazy-talented and love a good project.


Lastly, am thankful for the upcoming holidays.  I love good food.  I love teaching my boys what the holidays are really about.  I love spending time with family.  I love driving around to see Christmas lights.  I love scarfs and hats and hot chocolate.  I love the snow (for the first 2 months, anyhow).   I love picking out a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. 

Here were the boys last year when we picked out a tree.  One year makes a big difference.



What were you grateful for this week?

November 20, 2010

Soapbox Saturday - Raspberry Creek Fabric

Today I get to introduce you to my newest sponsor.  Rasberry Creek Fabric is a new online Etsy shop full of FABULOUS FABRIC!!!  Yeah, it's your kind of place.  As I was thinking about gift ideas for myself the other day I though, what crafter wouldn't love a bunch of new fabric?  Wouldn't that be fun to add to your Christmas list?  Let's take a peek at some of my favorites currently in her store.

This Riley Blake print has got to be one of the cutest boy prints I've ever seen.  I think it would make the cutest nursery, backpack, or tie.  (I would probably never actually make anything with it because it's that adorable.  I would just set it out in my craft room and smile at it everytime I walked by :)


Another Riley Blake print I adore.


If you have any girly projects, jumbo ric rac makes everything ten times cuter.  Really.


She also has listings called blanket bundles, where you get one yard of two different, coordinating prints - all you need to make a cute blanket.


I also always love a pretty damask.


The prices are great and the shipping is really reasonable.  So head on over to Raspberry Creek Fabric to start your Christmas list. 

Thanks for dropping in!

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