Saturday, November 22, 2014

Free Printable: Thanksgiving Placemat

Hey everyone!  Thanksgiving LOOMS.  It's one of my favorite holidays--a time to laugh with my family and eat all the best foods together.  But let's be honest, it can add a teensy smidge of stress--especially if you're trying to make it special.  I was trying to figure out how I could add my mark to Thanksgiving at my Mom's this year.  After playing some Thanksgiving-themed games with friends, I knew I had my answer: a placemat we could write on.  The perfect thing to help us focus on being thankful, instead of being distracted by stuffing our faces with our favorite goodies.

Not that I'm dissing the goodies, my friends!  In fact, I was pretty tempted to cook a full course Thanksgiving Feast so I could photograph it with the placemat.

Someday, once I learn to cook a turkey like an actual grownup, I'm going to bust a move like that.

Here's a close-up of the game: Thankfulgories (You know, like Scattergories)!  Everyone tries to think of 10 things they are thankful for that start with the letter "M."  Then, one by one, family members read their list.  Any duplicates get crossed off, and the person with the most blessings listed at the end WINS!!

On the other side, I have listed questions to take turns answering--things like, "What do you appreciate most about the person sitting at your left?" and "Describe something that happened this past week that you are grateful for, and tell us why."

Mostly, I can't wait to see my grumpy uncles' faces when I tell them they have to play along.  It's going to be GREAT!!

Oh, and the back is blank--perfect for the kids to draw the things THEY are thankful for!

You can download the Placemat HERE.

I took the file to a local print shop and had it printed on 11 x 17 cardstock.  Cheap, easy, love it!

As always, I would love, love, LOVE to hear how it goes if you use these!! Drop me a line in the comments, or upload a picture on our Facebook Page

And tell me, please: what Thanksgiving traditions do you have in your family?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Operation Organization: My Craft Space

Dear friends,

We are about to get up close and personal.  Those of you with weak stomachs for disorganization may need to avert your eyes.  I am about to share one of my MANY greatest weaknesses:

I am prone to clutter.

There are other, not so nice ways of saying this, but I prefer not to think of myself as a slob or a messy! Really, I don't know what happens, but it's not very long after I clean my craft space that it looks like this:

The leftovers from former craft projects pile up around my computer and start to take over my husband's space too.  I'm sure the poor dear often feels he's being eaten alive!  The pictures simply cannot communicate the feeling of utter chaos that I start to feel in my space.  It's just sad, because that is not how I want to feel in my creative space!

I want to feel Inspired.   Empowered.   Free.

As I get to know myself better, I have realized that it is my perfectionism that causes most of my problems (say WHAT?!?  Perfectionism can make you messy?!?).  In this case, I become overwhelmed trying to tidy a space when I have to decide, as I go, where to put things.  If everything had a place, I wouldn't fizzle out trying to clear up.  But I am reluctant to jump in and organize an area until I have a plan for the ENTIRE room.  WHAT IF I DO IT WRONG AND HATE IT LATER?!?

But I have four kids who keep me crazy busy, and a mild case of ADHD which keeps me from focusing on any one project for very long, so a full blown plan for any part of my house has yet to happen.  If I want to keep my sanity, I'm going to have to let go of my desire for a perfect plan, and get moving. 

Before my clutter starts eating family members.

I will be researching Pinterest-y ways to organize my various supplies.

Because piling it on my kids' train table isn't working...  for some reason...

I will be adding shelves, drawers, and more counter space one piece at a time (I love you, Ikea!) and slowly but surely making enough places to put my ever growing craft supply (I love you, Pick Your Plum!) and turning this chaos into order.

Will you join me, my friends?  Will you lend me the strength of your listening hearts?  Because if I know you are waiting to watch my journey, I will push myself further.  It's going to be grand--a joyful rebellion against self imposed shackles--and against entropy too.

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P.s. How do you impose order on your craft supplies?

Does keeping your creative space tidy come easy, or is it a constant struggle for you, as it is for me? 

How have you been able to conquer your inner perfectionist?

Tell me all of it in the comments below.  I need your help!!

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Celebrate You Glitter Dahlia Card

I wish I had the photography skills to share this card in its true glory.  How does one photograph glitter?  Teach us how, Lauren and Jamie!!

At any rate, this was my first time playing with Silhouette's double sided adhesive and I'm in love!  I used this shape and the font is Amatic!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Getting My Stripe On :: DIY Striped Magazine Boxes


You know when there's a giveaway that you REEEEAALLY want to win, so you jump through all the hoops and like all 700 people on instagram, facebook, pinterest, etc. etc. etc.? 
I entered one of those once.

I don't do it often, because I'm kind of a streamlining freak, and I get all OCD when my instagram feed gets all cluttered with people and companies I don't really care about. But I thought to myself, "Maybe I'll really like one of these new people/companies/brands--who knows!?" Well, I ended up un-following most after the giveaway ended, but there was one who's posts I enjoy, and I loved THESE from her site. 

Only problem?
I love navy.

That's not the problem.
The problem is that navy (and gold, for that matter) and my color scheme don't hang out all that much right now.

So I decided to hack it. I was walking around IKEA and found these magazine file boxes and knew I had to try. At 2/$5 it wasn't much of a financial risk. I picked up some cheap acrylic paint at Michael's (it was on sale for 6/$2) and some painters tape and totally winged it.

Tip: look closely when buying the file boxes. Sometimes the silver strip across the top isn't perfectly straight, and it will make your stripes look a bit crooked.

I slapped some paint on there--two coats of the coral, three of the robins egg blue.
Tip: Make sure to be slow and careful taking the tape off around the corners where the top coat of cardboard is thinner, or you'll rip it off.

Once the paint is dry, assemble. Which, basically amounts to un-flattening it and putting the corner trim on. 

 Now I just need to label them. I'm still deciding which magazines to put where. 

 I love how they turned out! They're not perfect, but they were fast, cheap, and they give me that extra pop of pattern and color that I wanted.

So tell me--what color will you try?

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Jake and the Neverland Pirates Party

We threw this birthday party for my son who is a big fan of Jake, Izzy, Cubby, Scully, and Bucky. It was very simple, but after all, a five year old doesn't care as long as he gets to eat cake and open presents!

What pirate party would be complete without a treasure hunt?  The kids swung through jungle vines, conquered the Never-Peak, slid down the Never-Falls, and collected coconuts, following instructions "from Jake himself!"  I printed up some treasure maps from the Handmade Home and placed them before each activity. Notice the low-key "coconuts" and the buckets we threw them in.  If you wanted to dress things up, you could cover the buckets with wrapping or butcher paper.  Make sure you say "Oh coconuts!" Cubby-style if you miss the buckets!!

I thought the final treasure was rather clever: the kids got to decorate their own treasure chests and fill them with gold (chocolate) coins and ring pops!!  They had a blast gluing jewels on and covering everything with markers.

They did turn out rather marvelously, don't you think?

If you'd like to play along at home, I've uploaded the Silhouette files:
Box Bottom
Box Top
Simply cut them out attach the top pieces with gold or silver brads--very piratey indeed!

We ate "X Marks the Spot Rice Crispy Treats, Pirates Treasure (popcorn, chocolate and M&Ms), "Scully Want Some Cheese and Crackers" and Jello and orange slice sailboats.

And of course, the exquisite Jake cake!  Perfect it is not, all I cared about as a kid were the plastic characters on top.  Check and check, my friends!  Add to that the delicious chocolate frosting covered rice crispy ship and island?  This was quite tasty!  I have to shout out to my friend who shared her Jake cake on Facebook--she was actually the inspiration for this whole party!

I've made you a Bucky sail, if you would like to build your own Jake cake. It is slightly different than what I have--it has a Happy Birthday medallion on it!
Bucky Sail Download

What other games or food would you have at a Pirate Party?  Do tell!

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Free Printable: Lunch Box Love Notes

It's that time again, and we are up to our necks in the back to school frenzy!  New teachers, new schedules, and blessedly, a return to routine.  I'm hoping one of these days I'll be able to keep up with it all...

Last year, I started sending little love notes in my oldest's lunch box.  At one point he told me how "embarrassing" it was, but I didn't stop because I kind of like to annoy him...When I volunteered in his classroom, I started leaving them at his desk as well.  His teacher let me know how much he loved them, and when he brought home his pencil case this summer, I found a bunch of them that he'd saved.

Can I get an Awwwwww?

Sadly, I got out of the habit of sending the lunch notes.  I was pregnant and tired and my husband started taking care of the morning routine while I...dealt with my morning sickness.

Excuses, excuses...

This year, I am determined that I will send a note every day and see how much I can "embarrass" the child.  And to make it easier, I made a few to print out.  I can fill out a couple ahead of time and if I am busy with the baby in the morning, it will be easy for the husby to slip one in the lunch box.

It occurred to me that perhaps you might like to make your littles feel special too, so feel free to snag the download and print away!

 Free Printable: Lunch Box Love Notes
Click here for the Printable
Click here for a borderless version of the Printable

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

All-Natural Sunburn Relief

Essential Oils. 
Everyone's doing them.

Aaaand a while back my curiosity got the better of me and I just had to try them to find out what all they hype was about. I'm ashamed to admit that they have mostly lived peacefully in the sweet little subdivided box I purchased for them.

There are one or two that I've used several times, but they were blends--designed to perform a specific purpose. No mixing or creativity required. One is designed to help boost your immune system, and the other helps with congestion.

So I've decided to experiment and bit and share my successes (hopefully no failures, right!?) here. 

My first experiment?
Sunburn relief.

We enrolled my girls in swimming lessons this year, but they didn't start until the end of July. And that may have been the first time I've worn my swimsuit this year. Nope--that's false. It was the second time. But that's beside the point. 

The point is that most of my lovely skin hadn't said hello to the summer sun yet, and I got a bit rosy after bobbing around in the pool with my mini-man while the girlies were getting their swim on. When I got home I rolled my eyes a bit, realizing that I didn't have any aloe vera in my house.

But then inspiration hit.
Essential oils!
Hey! I have some of those! Maybe one of my oils provides relief from sunburn! 

After a bit of research on the world wide web, I decided to go with this:


20 drops lavendar oil (for healing and soothing)
25 drops peppermint oil (for cooling and soothing)
water/fractionated coconut oil to fill a 2 ounce spray bottle
(I happened to have a pump bottle of hair spray from my airplane-friendly toiletries stash.)

And that's it! Make sure your pump bottle is clean, put in the oils, and fill with the carrier. I used fractionated coconut oil. Shake well, and spray away. I like to rub it in a bit after I spray.

It wasn't the same sort of instant cool that a bottle of aloe provides, but I felt like the soothing lasted much longer and I healed faster. Plus I always feel sticky when I use aloe, but not with this!

Say WHAT!?

This is the same husband who puts the word essential in little quotation marks with his fingers whenever he talks about them. He sunburned his feet pretty bad when we went paddle boarding last weekend, and I put some of this on his feet when we got home (to the tune of some eye rolling on the Mr.'s part), and what do you know! The next day there was no sign of it. 

The Mr. said (and I quote):
"You've made me a believer!"

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