Nov 30, 2012

Tangled Up Snowman

For Thanksgiving this year my sisters in law, my mother in law and myself made these super cute snowmen.  They are made out of 4x4's with twig branches for the arms.  I brought mine home to put on the finishing touches.  At the same time I was trying to multi-task and make some of these:
Easy and gorgeous!  To Do: Gather old Christmas lights, paint glue on, dip in glitter, display in a big clear jar...I might do all gold or all silver with blue
Glitter lights.  I was planning on filling a large glass jar with these as part of my holiday decor.  I thought I was so smart because I found a set of these old fashioned (old fashioned as in when I was a kid-the 80's) Christmas lights at the thrift store for $1.00.  The only problem was that when I actually opened the package I discovered that there were only 12 light bulbs total in it (what a rip off for both me and the original owner). It wasn't even enough to fill the bottom layer of the jar.  So, totally bummed (especially since I had already glittered them using spray glue and my fabulous Martha Stewart glitters) I was going to just toss them but then I looked at my Mr.  snowman and had a great idea.  I wrapped the cord (that I pulled out of the trash can) around his head and body, screwed in the lights and TADA...one super cute tangled up snowman.  And since I didn't glue the lights to him any place I could take the whole thing off and keep the snowman up in Jan and Feb as a winter decoration.
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Nov 28, 2012

Keeping Memories: Made Simple Part 4

I wanted to share one final installment in my keeping memories series.  I was going to stop at 3 but I felt that these last ideas just needed to be shared.  

Idea #1: The Day You Were Born Albums
I got this idea after Small Fry was born.  It was inspired by two things: an 8x8 album I found on clearance at Walmart and a ton (and I mean a ton) of pictures from the hospital of both the day she was born and the following day.  I decided to make an album completely dedicated to those 2 very special days.  I loved the way it turned out so much that I made one for every child.  They are very simple.  I buy a scrapbook paper pack that is a theme I like, a few embellishments, and just hand write all the notes.  
 This is a look at Mr. T's (my sweetpie boy) album.  In his case because I felt like I was waiting forever for him to arrive I had the whole thing made before he was born and then just had to add in the pictures and the captions afterwards.  I was able to make all of my kids' albums within the first week after they came home because I kept them as simple as possible.  The girls love looking at theirs and seeing themselves as a baby.

 Idea #2: Keeping Cards
This could be done with birthday cards or Christmas cards.  In the case of this picture this is a stack of cards my husband has given me over the years.  He isn't always good at verbally saying how he feels but he buys the most wonderful cards for me all the time and they are a treasure to me so I want to keep them all together in a safe place.  I punched a hole in the corner of each card and put them on a ring.  I keep them tucked away in my keepsake drawer.  So before you toss a card that comes in the mail consider the message on it...because it could be a treasure.

 Idea #3: Kids journals
These are your basic composition books (I bought them at the Dollar Store).  I covered them with some cute paper and added my girls names.  In these I write letters to my kids.  I don't do it nearly as regularly as I would like but I try to write something down especially when they have done something funny or brave or have had a birthday or been in some other special event.  I try to keep them about positive things but occasionally I write when it has been a rough day and I have felt frustrated and I write about how I have felt but express my deep and never ending love.  I write them in letter format starting with "Dear..." and ending with "Love you. Mom".  These are something that I want to keep up for as long as I can and of course I want to add one for my Mr. T.  I hope they will be both a treasured keepsake for my kids but also a teaching resource for when they become parents.

 Idea #4: Family Gratitude Journal
I got this idea when I was at my parents house this spring for a talk given at church on journaling.  The man mentioned that his family kept a gratitude journal and that idea hit me so strongly that we needed to do the same thing.  We write in it every Monday night as part of our family home evening.  Each family member (and friend or extended family member-who ever is there at the time) gets a turn to share what they are grateful for.  At first when we started the girls could hardly think of a thing to share.  It was kind of frustrating because we did all kinds of things, there were friends and family get togethers, trips out of town and to the park, birthdays and other celebrations and they would always say, "I am thankful for the yummy dinner." Sometimes we would try and prompt them with ideas of things to be thankful for but then I felt like we weren't teaching them to think of and find things on their own.  So we just went with it and they have come a long way.  They are learning to think back and remember things better and it is so fun to hear the things that stand out to them which we often miss.  I am super in love with this idea.


Idea #4: Digital Scrapbooks
Even though I am not good at scrapbooking I do love the look of well planned and put together pages.  I still don't have the time for it though.  I know some people are die hard paper and glue scrapbookers and don't like the look of digital scrapbook pages at all but I am not one of those.  I think that there are so many beautiful ideas in the digital scrapbooking world that I want to try them all.  I made these pages using Smilebox.  It is one of the simplest digital scrapbooking companies out there (you can make cards, collages, DVD's and more with their program).  These "albums" are 8 pages long.  You choose a theme, add in pictures, type in text and are given the ability to change the colors and embellishments somewhat.  I can literally do one start to finish in less than an hour.  If you have a payed membership then you are given the option to print them at home or send them off to print.  I print mine through Sam's Club and they end up costing about $11.00.  I always keep my eye open for 8x8 albums on sale and buy one for each kid.  I make these after the kids have had a birthday or when we do something special with one of the kids.  I still include these pictures in a family photobook but this way each kid will then get a copy of their own special events.

 Idea #5: Kid Binders
I started these because I was getting a stack of papers that the girls had drawn or little projects they had made, plus pictures that I once had framed and then I updated them and didn't know what to do with the ones I had taken down, and just odds and ends that I wanted to keep for my kids but I didn't know where.  I do have memory boxes for each kid that I keep baby clothes, first shoes, special toys, first blankets and stuff like that in but I wanted something to keep the papers in so I made these simple binders.  They don't have much rhyme or reason to them but I try and label the things with at least a date on them as best I can.  I also don't keep everything because that would be impossible so I just keep some of the cutest.
 Another thing that I put in these are Valentines "101 Things I Love About You" lists that I write for my kids each year.
 I also try and include regular pictures of things like handprints that show how much they are growing.
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Nov 22, 2012

Keeping Memories: Made Simple (Part 3)

Have you found a memory keeping idea that is just right for you yet?  Well here are a few more ideas that are simple and easy ways for you to record memories of your children, or family or spouse, grandparents, you name it.

Idea #1: Name picture book
I bought a set of chip board pieces and decided to turn them into a name book for my little pumpkin.  On each page I put a picture of her and then a little label with a word starting with each letter of her name.  This is a simple way to save pictures and express how you feel about someone else.  This would be fun to do for your spouse also.


Idea #2: 10 Things I Love About You
I bought this premade book for this one but you could easily do the same thing yourself.  The idea is on each page you have a little picture (wallet sized) and then you write something you love about your child (or whomever you are making this for).  This is a great and easy idea because you only need 10 of everything (pages, pictures and ideas).  So easy to do in a short amount of time.  You could fancy up the pages and cover if you want but it is beautiful simple and plain also.



Idea #3
Photo collage books.  I love photo books.  They are so easy to make and can look as scrapbooky as you want them too.  There are tons of places to make photo books and there are always good deals on these.  Snapfish, Shutterfly, My Publisher, even Walmart have photo book making options.  My favorite easy thing to do is make photo collages (I use Picassa to do this) and then upload them as the pages in the book.  It is so easy and a great way to use lots of pictures (if you are like me and can't delete any of your adorable kids).


Idea #4: Paper Bag Pocket book
To make one of these you need to cut paper bags down to your desired size.  Put these together (eyelets work the best) with the open end out (these become pockets for extra pictures).  Once your book is assembled you can embellish however you like.  These are such cute mini scrapbooks.  The possibilities are endless and you can change the size to fit different photos.  This one used 3x5 photos.  I like these because they are a great way to make a special memory album of a certain event (this one was of all fall pictures).  It is something different and I love the pockets (they would be great places to store little journal entries).

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Nov 19, 2012

Keeping Memories: Made Simple (Part 2)

Here is another set of easy memory keeping ideas.  These are things that can both be made in a few hours or ideas that you can add to over a period of time.  Sometimes I just get a little bit of time in which I try and get something put together as quick as possible and other times I start something that I only have time to add to periodically.  Here are some examples of both.
Idea #1. A sisters picture book.  This is actually the second one of these I have made.  I intend to make one a year (and now that we have a baby brother in our family they will become siblings books).  These are so easy to make.  The best thing to do is look for an online picture ordering deal (like sometimes Snapfish has 200 prints for only a few dollars).  I never can think of 200 pictures to order or why I would want that many but for something like this it is perfect.  I always make one for each child when I am doing it.  I order a bunch of prints of them together, punch holes in them and make a cute cover.  Add rings and it is done.  You can write on each picture what they are doing but of course that adds time.  I did that on the first one I made but this second installment I did not.  It is just a fun little album showing them together.


Idea #2: A mini family album.
Last year after we got family pictures done I ordered extra prints for each girl of some of the family pictures and some of the individual pictures.  I made one for each girl-specifically with pictures of them.  I wrote a personal note on the inside cover of the album, laminated it and bound them.  It is just a simple little book with a specific theme.  And this is a good place to put in a plug for getting your own laminator and binding machine.  I ordered both from LTD and love them.  They are fairly cheap models (both in price and quality) but they do the job and are so handy for memory keeping ideas.  Just a thought for Christmas gift ideas.


Idea #3: Girly scrapbook. 
Like I said in the first of the series, I am not a good scrapbooker.  I found this cute set of scrapbook paper though that had all these great prompts for memory keeping.  It was meant for an actual scrapbook I know but I just cut the paper apart, wrote in the spaces provided, and added pictures in between and punched holes in the corner and put them all on a ring.  They turned out to be wonderful little mini albums about each girl.


Idea #4: Picture DVD's.  
There are lots of programs out there to create DVD's of pictures.  I use Smilebox. It is super easy and user friendly.  They have lots of different themes to choose from.  You can choose to add their music options or if you pay for their service you can add your own music.  I try and create one of these each year-either per child or of the family.  

Idea #5
A "What you Said" book.  My friend gave me this when Small Fry was a baby.  I don't have one for my other children and it is one of those memory ideas that is hard to keep up-especially if you have more than one child but it is fun and worth giving a try.  I didn't use it really as it was intended.  The pages had specific spots on which to record different things your child said.  I just basically wrote entry's like a journal.  I tried to record some of the super funny things she would say as well as make little entries of things she was able to do at certain ages (like "at 20 months you could do.....).  I only kept it up until she was a little over 2 I think but it is still going to be a fun record for her.  I tried to record things my little pumpkin said in my journal from time to time but I know I didn't write down nearly as many things for her.
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Nov 16, 2012

Keeping Memories: Made Simple (Part 1)

Let's face it-I am not in any position to sit down and make a full on scrapbook of anything probably ever again.  I have one started of my wedding but it abruptly ends with only a few honeymoon pictures with the rest tucked away in a box to be finished "when I get some time."  My own mom gave me my baby book and a box of pictures and said, "maybe you will have time to finish this someday."  Ya right.  Memory keeping is hard.  It takes time to plan, it takes time to gather supplies and it takes time to actually do and guess what...I don't have the time just like so many others.  I do want to have some records of all the wonderful things there are in life however to leave for my children-both with photos and just in words.  So while I am not good at, nor will I ever be good at, making a full on scrapbook for my children, I am good at (or try to be good at) creating more simple records of our lives to leave for my children and grandchildren.  This is the first of a mini series of simple memory keeping ideas.

Idea #1: A holiday recipe book.  
 I got the pages for this book at Michael's a couple of years ago.  I covered each page with scrapbook paper and made recipe card pockets for each page too.  I came up with a few holiday categories like: desserts, pie and breads.  I wrote out a couple of my favorite recipes on recipes cards that I also bought and tucked them in the pockets.  On the front of the pockets I wrote a little note about why this recipe was meaningful, or a little story about the recipe or who it was that first made it.  I love the idea of leaving behind some of my favorite food recipes written in my own handwriting with a story attached to each one. Hopefully I can create a memory with my kids with each recipe too.

 Idea #2: Super simple mini album
 When Small Fry was 17 months old I took her to New York City to visit my brother.  I wanted to put all the pictures together from our trip but I needed to have it be quick.  I made a super simple album of cardstock, added a background paper to each page, added pictures with a few embellishments and wrote a caption about each picture.  I know that my own handwriting is not as neat as typing but I actually really love the idea of leaving as many handwritten notes as possible.  The point of this album is that you don't have to have the fanciest paper, or coordinating scrapbook packs to make an album.  It is the memories that matter-not the paper.

 Idea #3: Simple Scrapbook with no embellishments
 I made this when small fry was just a baby.  I just loved every picture I took of her and couldn't find enough ways to preserve them.  This one is made from a 5x7 scrapbook paper pack.  I attached each photo to the front and back of the pages and wrote a brief description.  Simple as simple can get.
 This one is the same idea just with horizontal pictures instead.


 Idea #4: Fold out paper bag album
 This is one of my favorites.  In fact I had forgotten about it until I went to gather up all these little memory books.  Now I want to make another one.  This is made from 4 paper bags that overlap in the middle.  There are enough places to put 12 different pictures so I made it with 1 picture from each month of Small Fry's first year.  The paper bags create nice little pockets too to put pictures in.  I again hand wrote everything. There are a few simple embellishments but overall it was really easy but turned out so interesting and cute.

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Nov 13, 2012

Ruffle Front Christmas Towel

I wanted to make a set of Christmas towels for my kitchen that were festive and easy. You may recall my ruffle front apron tutorial from almost exactly a year ago this time-well it became my inspiration for these towels.  They are really simple to make and super festive for the holidays coming up.
You will need:
flour sack towels (I got a pack of 2 at Walmart for $1.79 but you can get a 12 pack at Sam's Club for $12.98)
1 pot holder for each towel (I got a set of 2 at the dollar store)
Fabric ( I found a fat quarter pack at Walmart I believe it was)
 Begin by cutting 3 strips from each fabric that you want to use.  I decided to go with 3 different prints.  My lowest ruffle and the one I sew on first was 3 3/4" wide.  The second was 3 1/2" and the third was 3 1/4" wide.  Press these with an iron and then sew them end to end to make one long strip.
 If desired you can fold and hem them but I decided to just serge the edges.  I like how it looks and it is easy that way.  Which ever you choose-finish all your edges.
 Now on your towel mark with dashes a line where you will attach your ruffle.  Mine is 3 1/4" up from the bottom of the towel because I want my bottom ruffle to hang over the edge.  Spacing is really up to you.
 Normally I would just use my cheaters method for gathering but the towel fabric is too light weight in this case so I sewed a basting stitch along one end, pulled my strings to gather the fabric and then pinned it in place.  Next sew along the top edge of the ruffle.  Then repeat the same process with the remaining fabric strips making sure to overlap each ruffle slightly.
 When you fold your towel into thirds it should look pretty and frilly like this:
 Now with the towel still in thirds, fold the whole thing in half vertically and press with an iron to get a center crease.  Pin the towel layers together on this crease.
 Sew along the crease with a basting stitch.
 Pull the strings in order to gather the towel to be slightly narrower than your potholder.
 Fold the pot holder in half to find the center.  I ironed it to get sort of a crease line to use as a guide.  Pin the pot holder in place with the pattern side down and the loop hanger at the top like this:
 Sew along the pot holder.  If you look closer I didn't start at the exact edge of the pot holder but rather just inside the seam binding.  That is where the edges of my towel meet the pot holder-making the hanging holder part just a bit wider than the towel.
 It will look like this now.
 Finally sew a big button to the outside of the potholder on the ruffled side of the towel.  Then wrap the pot holder around your oven door handle, and wrap the loop hanger around the button.  DONE!!!
Pretty festive don't you think!!
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