February 2014Occasionally Crafty: February 2014

Tuesday, February 25

DIY Door Post!

As a dog owner, I end up walking around our neighborhood more frequently than most. This gives me a chance to secretly spy on my neighbor's decorations and steal them (the ideas!) for myself. One house I passed had a simple post with a hook on it, and she would change what was hanging on the hook to reflect the seasons. I knew I just had to make one for myself. 
To get it started my mom found this post at the thrift store for $4!

All I had to do was sand it, stain it (or paint it if you want), and get it a base to stand on. My friend helped me make a few cuts on the wood and cut out a base for me.
While the stain was drying I got to work on a sign to hang from the hook I picked up at Lowe's. I might eventually have something for each little holiday/season, but I started with something that will work all year round and can be used right away; a welcome sign!
I picked up this wood sign at the thrift store for $2. It may be a cute saying, but definitely not my style. I sanded the paint (and sharpie!) off, cut off the hearts, and spray painted it white.
Once it was white, I had a clean slate to work with. I've been a bit obsessed with Herringbone, and thought this was my opportunity to make a cute stencil out of vinyl. Never mind the pink, it's just a scrap of vinyl I had, and it just covered the areas that I wanted to remain white. I painted the rest of the sign gray, let it dry, peeled off the pink vinyl, slapped on WELCOME in black, and voila!
Cutest sign ever! Much improved over the original :)
Now all that was left to do was put everything together. Maybe someday drills and I will become friends, but the work was worth the outcome! 
What kind of things would you hang on a post like this?
I linked this up at The Link Party Palooza at Tatertots and Jello!
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Thursday, February 20

St. Patrick's/Best Friends Printable- and a Shout Out to MY Best Friends

I've been lucky in my life to have some wonderful friends.  I've been thinking about them a lot lately because I've been dealing with a group of former "friends" how have slowly excluded me from everything we used to do together.  It's hard to feel like you're not wanted.  It's made me question who I am and what I might have done wrong.  And, it's been comforting to know there are special people throughout my life who have always been there for me, and continue to be there for me now.

My first best friend was a neighbor kid named Steffi.  We lived in the same neighborhood, went to the same school, and did all the same crazy things together.  I moved away when I was 9, but we've kept in touch through the years.

My best friend Dawn and I met officially in 7th grade, though we knew of each other.  It took a boy's football game and very little time for us to realize were were soulmate besties!  

We're still good friends to this day, though over 1500 miles separate us.  She's the friend where you can pick up the phone after a year and pick up the conversation as if no time had passed!

My band buddies loved me even when I tried to break out of my "nerd" shell and be friends with new people.  We live all over the country, but still email and chat on Facebook.
I was also blessed to have great friends at church, who helped me navigate those teenage years with a strong foundation.  If only my kids have friends like these growing up! (Old picture alert!)

My college roommates (third and fourth years) are amazing!  I met them after a horrible year at college where I was bullied and shamed into moving out of my apartment.  They were all friends, yet took me in immediately and became some of my best friends!  We all keep in touch, and we're even having a roommate reunion this summer! 

Nowadays my best friend here in Phoenix is someone I met when were both newly married.  We hit it off right away, and have kept in touch over the last 12 years despite many moves.  Now she lives just down the street from me, and it has been a lifesaver to me to have her near!

And of course, I consider my husband my best friend of all! 

There are many more friends who have been a light to me over the years.  I appreciate their friendship with all my heart.  But, if you have had a best friend, you know how special, and important, that person's friendship is.

This is why I made up this printable.  I want each of my besties, in every stage of life, to know how special you are and how thankful I am for you.  Maybe you can do the same- print this out, frame it, and send it to your best friend!  Or, in a smaller size, this would make a great card!  Don't take your friends for granted- show them you love them.  
To download this 8x10 print, click here, or you can open the image below in a new tab, and right-click to save to your computer. 
Tell me about your best friend!  And do you think it's as important to have a best (girl) friend when you are grown and married?  
P.S.  I'm linking up to some of these parties- come check them out with me!

P.P.S:  I'm over the moon to be featured from The Link Party Palooza at Lil' Luna! 


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Wednesday, February 12

Valentine's Day Card and Silhouette Stamping tutorial

As we are nearing Valentine's Day, I had to keep with my yearly tradition of making an awesome Valentine's Day card for my husband. This year I tried something new by creating my own stamp using Silhouette's new stamp material. (note: this is not a sponsored post, just a lover of all things Silhouette!)

For me, the Silhouette had my attention when I found I could edit my own images, input my own fonts, and keep everything personal. The stamping products are no different. They provide you with cuttable material which sticks to clear stamp blocks. That means anything my head can create, can turn into a stamp.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do for my husband's card. Get ready for something a little cheesy. See, when we were dating we used to chat back and forth about being the luckiest person. I'd say, "No, I'm the luckiest!" And he'd say no, "I'm the luckiest, everest!" And then we'd just keep adding EST to the end of words and get all schmoozy and googly eyed at each other. Then I had 'EST' inscribed on the inside of his wedding ring so it was like the never ending EST. To this day we leave little 'est' notes laying around for each other. So I just HAD to make an EST stamp! I mean, where could I ever buy such a thing?? I made my own!

The directions that come with the stamping kit are pretty clear, but I wanted to add one note. You do not need to cut the image in reverse, but you do need to put it on the block backwards so that when you turn it over to stamp your craft, it will turn out the right way. I'm glad I caught it before I put ink on it. :)

Once I had my EST stamp ready to go, I covered my card with lots of stamps.

 I wanted one to stand out in red, so I used my silhouette software to create an outline of the word I had just cut into my stamp material. I did one in the same material as my card, and one a little bit bigger in black glitter card stock. 

Another side note: It's normal to get ink all over your block. I didn't get any of that extra ink on my card.

 I put my red EST on with some foam tape to make it pop. Now it's ready for me to write a sappy love note inside! I think he'll love it. AND I can use my EST stamp to leave little love notes throughout the year!

 So a little review of the stamp experience itself. I love that I can create my own designs, but I will need some time to get the actual stamping process clean. Notice some of my ESTs are a little blotchy and almost grungy looking. That wasn't on purpose. In the end it looked kind of cool, but you may not always want that look. I used the black ink that came with the starter kit, and after a few stamps it started coming out clearer. The red ink i bought at Michael's and it was always blotchy. Not quite sure how to fix that. Also, a few times the letters peeled off of the clear block while i was trying to ink it up. I'll give it some more practice and share any tips I find!

 Are any of you stampers? Share your tips with me!

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Tuesday, February 11

Deliberate Motherhood Series: The Power of Love

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.

I know you sang the Celine Dion song in your head when you saw the title of my post.

*crickets chirping*

Or maybe I'm the only odd one.  Am I dating myself?  That song is pretty old....

Last month, I talked about how I would be working on being a better mother this year as I read and apply the inspiration I found in Deliberate Motherhood.  I talked about acceptance and how learning to accept the not-so-pretty parts of being a mom would help make mothering easier and more meaningful.  I have to say it was always in the back of my head the entire month.

This month, it's all about Love.  How fitting for the month that contains Valentine's Day!  I, ahem, love, love, loved this chapter of the book.  It was so inspiring to me. 

 Is anyone else out there the "mean" parent?  By that, I mean, you're the one who disciplines, who (often) nags, is in charge of making sure the homework and the chores and the studying gets done, etc.  It really makes me feel like a mean mom!  Sometimes I feel like my days are just endless checklists of things I am getting my kids to do/accomplish/attend/finish.  School, homework, chores, activities/practice, etc. As I hug and kiss my kids at night, I realize this is probably the only time I am truly showing them love through the whole day!  

Did I listen to them talk about their day at school?  Did I come see my four-year-old's eleventh picture that he drew for me?  Did I check out the Lego creation in my son's room?  Did I give my daughter a hug when she was frustrated?  All too often the answer is "no".

This month, my goal is to show my children I love them.  I say it every day, multiple times even.  But now I need to do better showing them.  

That endless list of things to do I mentioned above?  It is essential to remember that love is "the explicit motivator behind what we do".  When we do, "everyday, mundane tasks suddenly become meaningful" (DM, p.25)   All those things on my to-do lists are important-- but only if I approach them with love and if my family feels loved as I do them.  My love for my family and children is the reason I do all those things.

So, what can we do to show our love as we go about our day?
  • Learn the "love language" your children speak.  Are they encouraged by physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, or gifts?  Figure it out, and apply it to your interactions with your kids.
  • Build "Love Rituals" into your daily routines- things you deliberately to help your children feel loved.  Lunchbox notes, spending time one on one, a shoulder or foot massage, tickles and silliness, bedtime stories, eating snacks with them after school as chat, or more.  Find your own rituals, even if it feels awkward at first.  When you find the ones that truly work, you'll know.

  • Complete your tasks with your family in mind.  Remember why you are doing what you're doing.

I would love to hear some things you do to show love to your children.  I have no trouble being the mom (enforcing the rules and chores our family finds important) vs. being the best friend, but I also don't want my children to have any doubt that I love them fiercely.  Can you share things you do in the comments?

A final thought on this subject:

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Friday, February 7

Valentine's Day Party Invitation: Free Editable Download

We've got a Love-themed activity coming up for the Relief Society (women's group at church).  I'm in charge of the flier inviting the sisters to come.  

We've had some troubles with attendance at activities in our ward, so I like to make eye-catching, memorable fliers for the sisters, rather than just colored paper with words on it.  I usually make these up in PicMonkey, then have them printed on photo paper.  There are always great coupons, so the cost of the prints is worth it to me.  

Here's what I came up with for this month's activity:

Since our activity is in February, we thought it would be easy to tie in Valentine's day decor, and all things "LOVE" to help us "love one another".  We're talking about how Visiting Teaching is more than just visiting each woman in their home- but instead giving ideas to take visiting teaching to a whole new level, learning to value each woman in our ward, and becoming inspired through other's special experiences with visiting teaching.

I thought I'd print up a blank version of this invitation that you can use for your own Valentine's themed parties or activities.  You can even use them as simple valentines!  

Simply right click to open the image in a new tab, download the picture to your computer, then open it in an image-editing software program to add your own words in the box.

I hope it's helpful!  

Wednesday, February 5

2014 Primary Bulletin Board

As a part of my church I help out in the Primary, which is the children's organization. There is a theme each year which all of the lessons focus on. For 2014 the theme is 'Families can be together forever', and I was asked to make a bulletin board centered around that theme. 
I have to be honest, this was my first time doing a bulletin board since having my silhouette. I've always wanted to but never had the opportunity. It was a lot of fun!
I used brown packing paper and a black border to set the scene. For the title I cut out the letters on my silhouette and attached them to black cardstock and hung them with tiny paper clips off of some silver elastic banding i found in the jewelry section of Michael's.

I cut out the temple from a sheet of 22x28 white posterboard. This was very time consuming, but it turned out awesome. I patterned the temple off of an image on the Silhouette image store. I cut the spires and the windows out with an exacto knife. My hand is still sore! The angel Moroni at the top of the temple was part of that same image and I cut that out using my Silhouette with some yellow glitter cardstock. I placed black cardstock behind the temple to create some contrast against the brown paper.

Lastly I used vinyl to do the silhouette of a family holding hands in front of the temple. This is one of my favorite things about the silhouette. You can copy images from the internet and turn them into cuttable images. This family took a lot of work since sometimes copying and pasting create sloppy lines. There were all sorts of weird things inside their bodies that i had to edit or delete so I could get one clean image. I think it was worth the work! In fact, the more I look at it, the more this looks like Valerie's family! Haha..

I love how it turned out and I can't wait for all the kids to see it on Sunday!

Side note: if you are curious about the posters, our stake presidency made them for each ward using the digital Stampin' Up software. 
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Monday, February 3

Giveaway! $125 Amazon Gift Card and Party in a Box!

My friend Tia at Events to Celebrate has had an incredible first year blogging and sharing ideas with you for parties, showers, weddings and holidays! I've teamed up with her and some fantastic bloggers to bring you a GIVEAWAY in celebration!

Birthday Party in a Box Giveaway

One lucky winner will get a $125 AMAZON Gift Card AND a Birthday Party in a Box complete with:
Party Hats
Happy Birthday Banner
A Balloon pump
Party Blowers
Party Favors

Don't delay! Enter using the form below and get to know these incredible bloggers in the process!

What will you spend the gift card on and who will you throw the party for?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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