April 24, 2014

Giveaway: Custom Personalized Mother's Day Tee

Mother's Day Giveaway

Because it is never TOO early to start celebrating the mother of all holidays (pun intended), I have teamed up with a bunch of my favorite bloggers to bring you a very special mother's day giveaway! My friend Ellie, who blogs over at Creative Geekery,  is also a graphic designer.  In her words: " A few years back I came up with the idea of creating personalized tees for moms, grammies, great-grammies, aunties and great-aunties that incorporates the names of all of the special kiddos in their lives! "

We will be giving away ONE personalized mom's day tee with whatever nickname you choose (mom, mommy, mama, yaya, grammie, auntie, ANYTHING!) and the names of all of the kids, nieces, nephews, grand and great-grand babies! Don't worry if there are a lot of names- Ellie can get creative!

The tee shirts are a relaxed fit standard weight t-shirt for women from Gildan, 100% pre-shrunk cotton (50%cotton/50%polyester for deep heather color). They come in NINE colors and 5 sizes (S-XXL) and you can choose from 14 ink colors including metallic silver and gold (fancy!). 

Here's how to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you just CANNOT wait to order a tee, go ahead an enter the contest anyway. If you win, you will be refunded the cost of the tee ($25) plus your shipping (standard domestic shipping only)! Plus, if you order your tee before April 29th, you can save 15% with the coupon code HEYMAMA. Please send an email to creativegeekeryblog@gmail.com and Ellie will get the ball rolling on your design! In the meantime, enter to win! Good luck!

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April 22, 2014

Spring Stenciled Canvas Sign

Does it feel like spring where you live?  Here in Phoenix, it's dry, very dry, and already hot!  (It was 97 degrees yesterday!)  Still, I like to remember the days of spring rains, fragrant flowers, and mild temperatures.  I've got just the perfect project to bring spring inside!

Supplies needed:
Vinyl and Transfer Tape (I use clear contact paper)
11x14 Canvas or Canvas Plaque  (heck, you could even use a wood plaque if you prefer)
Painting Supplies
Fabric Scrap
Fusible Interfacing
Paper Scraps
Here we go:
1.  Cut your vinyl design and adhere it to your canvas.  I even have the shape I designed just for you FREE if you want it!  You can download the file for Silhouette Studio  here.  (Inspiration found here.)

Sometimes putting vinyl on canvas is a little tricky.  If you're having trouble getting the vinyl to stick, try "painting" a thin coat of matte Mod Podge on the canvas first.  Be sure to let it dry completely, then try again!
2.  Paint over your vinyl and let it dry completely.  I needed two coats of paint.

See the difference?  

3.  Use tweezers or something similar to pull your letters off.  Don't freak out of some of the paint bled through.  Just use a teeny tiny brush and paint over it with white.  
4.  Now it's time to embellish your design.  Cut an umbrella shape out of fabric using Silhouette's tutorial , or however you like to cut fabric.  Just make sure to use interfacing or some sort of backing, or the fabric will fray over time.
5.  Adhere to the canvas using spray adhesive or other craft glue, smoothing carefully to avoid bumps.
6.  Cut some cute flower shapes out of cardstock or patterned paper, and glue to your canvas.  Add buttons.  I played around with this forever, but in the end decided to keep it simple.
That's it!  Now you can display it on a stand or hang it on the wall with a ribbon.

This is one of my favorite decorations!  Let me know if you make it, kay?  Happy Spring!

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April 18, 2014

Deliberate Motherhood: The Power of Individuality

Welcome to the Deliberate Motherhood series!  If this is your first post, you can see
the rest of them here.  There are 12 Powers that help bring peace, order, and joy
to mothering.  We're focusing on one each month.  You don't need a book to join the discussion-
I'd love to hear your thoughts on each issue.  But if you want one, you can order it here.
When I got married, my mom gave me a book- one of those fill-in-the-blank books where she told me all about her, my dad, how they met, what she learned in the early years of marriage and motherhood, and so on.

One of the pieces of advice that stuck out to me was when she said "Be yourself- and don't lose your identity.  Don't lose Valerie!"

Thirteen years later, I think about that- particularly as it pertains to motherhood.  I've had many roles in my adult life, and one of my favorites is being "Mommy".  But as all mothers know, being "Mommy" means sacrifice, in many different forms.

The big question is: does it have to?  Are we sacrificing things, not because we really need to, but because we somehow feel like we should?  Do we have to give up pursuing our talents, demonstrating our passions, spending time with our friends, eating before our food gets cold, going to the bathroom alone?

More often than we would think, the answer is a resounding "no"!  As April Perry so vividly reminds us, "Mommy is a person too!" 

Certainly there are stages and seasons of life where some things do have to fall lower on the priority list.  We gladly give up sleep (though it isn't necessarily enjoyable) to soothe our newborns.  Needy toddlers can't wait to be served as well as older children can.We spend time tutoring our children so they can succeed at math instead of watching our favorite TV shows.

But let's admit it- your husband can hold the baby while you shower (or a bouncy seat can do the job as well!) A babysitter you trust can give you time away.  You can teach your family to let you eat before plying you with requests.  

Even better,  our children would benefit from seeing their mom as a person with actual interests, hearing about the subjects and topics that excite and interest us, and learning from our example that women can pursue education, talents, and careers while being wonderful mothers!

I am a musician.  I started playing the piano in kindergarten, the flute in fifth grade, and have never really looked back.  I majored in music education in college, was in the marching band, and was a high school band teacher for five years.  

When I had my first child, I left my teaching days behind for two reasons: first, I had always wanted to be home with my babies, and second, because I knew there was no way I could be the mother I wanted to be, and be the committed band director my students needed.  I left behind 12-16 hour days so that someone else could give them what they needed without being distracted by a longing for home and family.  

Somehow, along the way, my pursuit of music also fell by the wayside.  It was too difficult to play the piano with sleeping babies and toddlers, and when they were awake I would be frustrated with their "helpful" banging of the keys as I attempted to play.  As for my flute?  The high sounds caused crying or startled my babies, and as they became toddlers they would try to grab something that was delicate and expensive!  My musical talent was relegated to occasionally playing the piano at church, and once or twice a year being asked to perform on the flute.

As with most talents, in playing an instrument, it's use-it-or-lose-it.  My low point came a while ago when I performed for my church group on my flute, and had so little muscle control that I couldn't play a note that would have been cake at my flute-playing height!  I went home and cried and cried.  What was the point of all those years, all those hundreds of hours of practice, if I could barely play a simple church song?

Then I realized: my children are older.  There is no reason I can't pull out my music and practice- just for fun. Maybe my children would like to hear me play!  Maybe it would inspire one of them to play a musical instrument!  Being a flutist is truly a part of me, one that I don't want to give up.  Because of my husband's responsibilities at church (he's a bishop) I don't have a lot of time to play outside of my home, but I know when the time is right, I can join that orchestra or flute choir.  My children will survive without me for a few hours, and I will feel better about myself.

Happy mom, happy home!

This month's goal:  identify the areas where you are needlessly sacrificing YOU.  What is something you can do to celebrate your individuality as a person and as a mother?  How can you share your passions and interests with your children?

Join the conversation- what are some ways we can regain our sense of selves when we are still busy moms? What works for you?  Or, what do you struggle with? 
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