Dec 31, 2008

Plethora of Terrariums

One of the things I've been working on for the past few months is this group of moss terrariums. I started them in September. I even blogged about it here! After I made my own and loved it, I decided to make some for my moms, my grandmother, and sister-in-law. Kade and I collected all the moss together, he is now an expert at finding and pointing out good moss!

My sister and I made some clay goodies to add a bit of whimsy. I hadn't made anything with clay in years (since highschool?) and it was so much fun! I'm going to have to think of some more clay projects to use up the rest of the clay! Here is what we made:

And here are a couple of the finished terrariums:

The smaller ones were all made out of recycled jars- I think there is an Adams Peanut Butter, Hershey's Chocolate, and some kind of spice jar. The other jars are from Ben Franklin.

Next, I made some tags to go along, with directions on care. These really are so easy to care for, great for people lacking a green thumb! Just set in indirect light and water lightly twice a month. That's it!

Wrapping them up- I made custom sized boxes out of used USPS shipping boxes. I measured and cut with scissors, taped with packing tape to secure, and covered the box. I used vintage wall paper that had wrapped a present I received 2 years ago. (My brother-in-law always uses awesome recycled paper for wrapping gifts, like wall paper, maps, and blueprints!) I put tissue paper inside the boxes, added the terrarium with the tag around the neck of the jar, and wrapped the whole thing up in cellophane.

I couldn't wait to give these away!

Dec 30, 2008

Gift for a letter-writer

Remember when you had pen-pals? (DID you have pen-pals? I hope so!!!) I had three or four that I can remember. Sadly, I am not in contact with any of them anymore. But they were great friends for the years that I knew them, and it was so exciting to look forward to their next letter!

My niece (who is 7 or 8) just moved down here from very far away, and I heard that she loved to write her friends and classmates from her old town. So I thought a personalized stationary set would be perfect for her! I found a great tutorial at Addicted to Stamping, and I had lots of pink paper already (I barely ever get to use my girlie scrapbooking supplies!). My niece loves the color pink, and has a black kitty named Belle whom she loves dearly, so that became my theme. On with the pictures!

The closed stationary box:
*I don't remember if the decorative band is on the tutorial or not. It is easy enough to make, and not necessary (box stays closed without it), this is just how I chose to embellish the box.

Take off the lid, and the box opens up! There are envelopes, stationary, address labels, an address book, pen, stickers (forgot to add the stickers before the picture) and a small envelope for stamps.

I made this stationary in The Print Shop 2. This is a set of 16.

I went one step further and had a friend of mine carve some stamps, so that my niece could decorate the envelopes and make more of her own stationary when what I made runs out. I put them in a simple kraft box from Ben Franklin, and added a decorative band that matches the stationary box.

Contents of the box: The three stamps, a black and pink stamp pad, and a pink cloth to wrap the stamps in.

I was so excited to see her open this present! She LOVED it, to say the least! One of my favorite things about Christmas is hand making gifts for people. I love trying to create something unique that they will really enjoy, and it is great to see that happy smile :)

Dec 27, 2008

Another Christmas Past...

What a wonderful Christmas it was! We were able to visit all our family despite the crazy snow. We had lots of fun eating delicious food, building snowmen, exchanging presents, playing, and relaxing. Here are a random selection of photos (if I shared ALL the ones I liked, this post would be a mile long!)...

Kade on Christmas Eve morning.

The pretty Christmas Eve Dinner set up.

Jer bringing me coffee on Christmas morning (he must be a glutton for punishment, in the form of walking a mile in knee high snow....)

My cute little niece looking out the window at all the snow.

The 4 foot high pile of snow that Jer has created this past week, shoveling the driveway.

I hope you had a great Christmas too!!!
Now that it is over, I can share some of the things I made. In the next couple days I will do a post about the moss terrariums that I made, plus a few other fun things.

One more thing! Please look on my side bar, I have some new links near the top. Handmade toys and other handmade children items such as clothes, decorations, etc., are in danger of becoming illegal to sell, unless makers like me pay possibly thousands of dollars to have our products tested. This new law will put a lot of small business owners out of business, not to mention, it would be so horrible not to be able to buy unique, handmade items for the kids in my life. Hopefully this law will be amended in some way that will still keep childrens items safe, but allow makers of handmade toys and clothes to keep on creating and selling. Click on the links in my side bar for more information and to see how you can help!

Dec 20, 2008

Signing off...

The "Storm of the Century" is headed my way. We're checking batteries and stocking up on food and gas. I'm turning off my computer in case the power goes out. Hopefully I'll be back soon :)

Winter Wonderland

Keep warm and stay safe!

Dec 19, 2008

quick and easy snowflake craft

There was a corner of my house that was just too empty, and I thought it needed something pretty. I found the *perfect* thing on a great crafty website called The Best of DIY. They always have links to fun, easy projects to do! They linked over to this snowflake tutorial on Cut Out + Keep, another AWESOME crafty website that I love to visit regularly. The tutorial was really easy, this only took me about 15 minutes to complete. All it took was 6 sheets of printer paper and some ribbon I already had. It turned out so pretty!

I used Tacky glue instead of tape or a glue stick. It turns out pretty big, it is about 1.5 feet wide. This would be also be REALLY cool if you used some pretty double sided scrapbooking paper!! If I did that, I would probably store this in a box throughout the year. This one, I'll toss after winter. Here is a picture kind of from the side, so you can see how intricate and complicated it looks - but it's really not :) Try it!

**Edited to add a couple links for cute free gift tags to print out! I'll add more if I find them.

-Christmas Gift Tags from PapaDesign

-Gift Tags from Inside A Black Apple

-Cute Gift Tags from Kitty Genius

-Christmas Gift Tags from Camilla Engman

-Tags for Kids to Write On from Patricia Zapata

-Tags for Handmade Gifts from Sew,Mama,Sew

And if that's not enough, here's another roundup of free gift tag printables!

One less thing to buy, and if you don't have time to make any yourself, these are all really nice and unique gift tags!

Dec 18, 2008

Dashing through the snow

We are snowed in today! Couldn't leave if we wanted to. Maybe we should invest in a snow shovel some day... but then again, sometimes being snowed in is fun :)

I had one more Etsy order to mail out today. I really wanted to mail it today so it would get there in time for Christmas. Our neighbor needed to go to the post office too, and tried to drive there, but got stuck. He and Jer decided to walk! It is about a mile, which isn't bad except if you are struggling through 14 inches of thick snow the whole way there. They did not expect it to be so physically difficult! I'm glad I decided not to go, but so thankful that Jer was willing to do that!

Here are some of the best pics of the day:

Mmm... fresh cold snow!

Santa impersonation!

There is our little red house!

Icicles are so pretty!

Our back yard. I love the trees!

Kade and I having a snuggle.

He was pretending to be a volcano- I bury him up to his neck in snow, and then he bursts out of the pile- very fun, but COLD!

Snow up to his knees!

I hope you all had a safe and fun snow day too!

Dec 12, 2008


I mentioned in my last post that the only thing Kade wants from Santa is a Star Wars toy. Because Star Wars is his daddy's favorite.

The other day, he also started a mental list for more presents.

For me!

There have been some of infomercials on TV lately, and Kade has really latched on to a couple of them. There are two ones that he talks about over and over, saying, "I'm telling Santa to get that for you! You NEED that!!" Every time he sees them, he yells, "come and see this NOW! You need that for Christmas!" Once I didn't make it in time and he started crying because, "it was so perfect for you, and you missed it!"

Here they are, the perfect gifts for me in the eyes of my 5 year old...

Get Snuggie:
Kade says, "You can move your ARMS in it! And you LOVE snuggling and being warm!!!"

The Nicer Dicer:
Kade says, "You can chop it up so fast! You can chop everything to pieces so easy!"

Little kids are so sweet :)

(No this is not a hint, lol)

Dec 10, 2008


Much has been going on over here, as I'm sure is happening at your house as well!

First, THANK YOU to all my Etsy customers, who have made this December the best month for sales I've had so far... and the month isn't even halfway over! The deadline for shipping in time to arrive by Christmas is fast approaching, and I'm expecting it to slow down considerably after that. I am currently all sold out of Green Dinos, but I have a big stack I'm working on. If you would like to reserve one, let me know!

Today I had time to complete a custom order Sock Monkey, and I also listed a new Bella Bunny to the shop:

Last night, we had the privilege of attending the Christmas program at Kade's preschool. It was very sweet! There are always funny/cute things that happen at these... we had a boy run off the stage crying, another boy in the front row flipping his shirt over his head, kids yelling out things like, "YES! This is the one song I know!" or, "YES! This is the last song!!"

I wasn't expecting Kade to stand up there nicely the whole time, but he did! He was very serious, doing all the sign language and hand motions, and singing along heartily to the choruses that he knew the words to. I couldn't figure out how to get my camera to take a good picture, but here is the best (the blurring is intentional):

Well so far in this post I'm moving backwards through time, so I guess I'll go back even further. On Sunday, Kade got to see Santa (he said he wants a Star Wars toy... because it's his daddy's favorite). I've been wondering how much longer he'll believe in Santa. I don't know if I ever *really* believed. It wasn't a big deal at our house. We would get a present from Santa, but I think I always knew it was my parents. I don't push the subject too much with Kade. We go and see Santa every year and he gets one present from Santa. If he ever asks about it, I'll tell him the truth. It's a fun tradition, and I love making Christmas a magical time for Kade, but I don't want him to be let down when he finally learns the truth, or feel like I've lied to him. But for this year, he believes :)

After Santa, we went and got our Christmas tree. It was a rainy, icky day, and two of the places I called were already sold out of trees for the year! We ended up looking for a pre-cut tree at Freddies. After looking around at the 5-7 foot Douglas Firs for a while, Kade passed the 3 footers and was hooked. He ran over to this short, fat tree in the corner. "THIS TREE IS MY BUDDY!! GET THIS ONE! WE HAVE TO!! IT'S JUST MY SIZE!!" He yelled over and over, jumping up and down, giving the tree occasional wet needly hugs. "I actually kind of like it," Jeremy told me. It would sure save space in our little living room. And it was only $14! Plus, I have always wanted to get a Noble. It turned out to be the perfect tree for all of us!

We stuck the little guy in a cart, finished our shopping, and put the tree in the trunk for the ride home. I don't have a picture yet of the tree all decorated up, but it sure is cute :)

Dec 4, 2008

Getting ready for Christmas!

I can't believe how fast Christmas is coming... it's kind of making me all panicky!! Ack! Do you have your tree yet? We always wait until after Kade's birthday to decorate. We're hoping to get a tree on Sunday and bring out the big box of ornaments, stockings, snowflakes, and the nativity.

The main problem is WHERE to put the tree.... going to have to move some furniture and probably block one of the doors.... hmmm...

Look what is up for sale in my shop!

Hopefully he will be sold in time to arrive in his new home by Christmas!

I also have more Dino's ready. Only two are listed at the moment, but I have a stack that I'm working on that will be ready very soon! Some of the ribbon I used isn't being made anymore, so I decided it was time for me to update Dino and make him even better! He now has 7 ribbons instead of 6, and I altered the pattern a tiny bit. Here is his new look:

I'm going to go work on them right now.

Here is one of my favorite Christmas songs to listen to, enjoy :)

Dec 2, 2008

5 years ago

5 years ago at this moment I was sitting in a chair in the NICU, holding my 8 hours old baby boy, stamping his footprints on his birth certificate, and listening with worry to his raspy, gasping breaths. I was wondering if I could really do this - be a mom.

I was debating in my head whether his middle name should be Elisha or Elijah. I was waiting for the ambulance to come and transport him to Childrens Hospital so they could stick a camera down his throat and see what was making that horrible, desperate noise. I was overcome with joy, adoration, and love over this adorable little baby, who was mine. Ours. Somehow, God trusted us enough to give us this precious gift. I was in awe about how tiny he was, and finding it hard to look into the future and see him holding his own bottle, crawling, walking, talking, going to school. I wanted to know if he would be artistic, or love sports, if he would be shy or outgoing, if he would like music, if he would be a daddy's boy or a mamma's boy.

I was also scared, because I knew he faced many hardships in his life to come- broken bones, broken hearts, fear, loneliness, grief, inadequacy, guilt. I wanted only happiness for him.

Today, 5 years later, I can't even believe how much has changed in this amount of time. It feels like a lifetime ago, and at the same time, it feels like it was just yesterday. Many of the questions I had then are now answered, but only to be replaced by hundreds of others, of course. I've done things as a mother that I could never do otherwise.

Kade has already had many hardships, including eye surgery in which he proved to be braver than me, many bumps and scrapes, and the harsh realization that everything that is alive will someday die. I have accepted that these things will happen and the only thing we can do is try and find the good in them. Because of his surgery, he can now see much better. All his bumps and scrapes have helped him learn that if he keeps trying, he can reach his goals. His realization of death has caused him to understand the need for a savior, and just 8 days before his 5th birthday, he asked Jesus into his heart.

Kade is so much more amazing than I ever even imagined, 5 years ago, holding the 6 pound newborn. Daily, he makes me laugh with his hilarious sense of humor, he challenges me with his stubbornness, he asks questions I don't know the answers to, and he showers me with hugs and kisses and sweet words.

I can't wait to see what the next 5 years brings. Happy birthday, Kade!

Dec 1, 2008

Fun Memories

Yesterday, we had a party to celebrate Kade's 5th birthday! A tradition seems to have fallen into place of having themed birthday parties. Kade has chosen them all out except for #1. So far we have had:
#1- Teddy Bears
#2- Cars and Trucks
#3- Mickey Mouse
#4- Yellow Lion
.....and this year we did Spongebob. I'm not sure he'll want to do a "theme" every time... he might be getting too old for that in a few years. I'll enjoy it while it lasts! We always do the parties at one of the grandparents houses, because our house is a bit too small for a crowd. This year we even invited more than normal- there were over 30 people there, and 11 of them were under the age of 8! Everybody was able to make it, which we were very thankful for! I got to see some great friends that I haven't been able to see for a long time! Kade got so excited as each of his cousins and other friends came through the door. I heard him say several times, "HI!!! Welcome to my Spongebob birthday party!!!" I think the best gift for Kade was getting to play with them all together!

So, one of the things that I noticed while browsing the net for ideas, was that there are not many pictures of these ideas! And since I am a visual person, I thought maybe there are others out there who would appreciate the pictures. Many of these things could be applied to any type of birthday party. We made most everything ourselves. It was a fun project to do together, plus it kept costs down, which is always good! First, I made invitations using Print Shop.

I downloaded a free Spongebob font, and found all the images using Google. The little song at the top was an idea from this party website.

Next I created a banner in Print Shop, 4 pages in width. Jer and Kade colored it in for me after it was printed. This was hung above the front door.

I decided to include a game at the party, which is a first. I also got this idea from the party website linked above. I drew and colored Squidward on poster board. I drew, colored, and cut out the 4 funny noses, and about 10 Squidward noses. For the game, I asked the kids what was missing from the picture. I told them I happened to have some noses, and stuck each one on and said, "is this the right nose?" It had all the kids laughing, it was really cute! Finally I found the correct nose, and then each child got a chance to spin around, close their eyes, and try to stick the nose in the right place. They each chose a little prize out from the prize bucket. After the party, I stuck the game up on Kade's door, so he can switch the noses around or play the game whenever he wants.

The party decorations were done by Jer's parents - they went all out! The place looked awesome... here is a view of the atrium:

To top it all off, they had a bubble machine and a fan to blow around the streamers and jelly fish hanging from the ceiling! They did a great job!

I decided to make treat bags this year, but I forgot to take a picture of them. Kade loved picking out special things to include. I made a small coloring book using some of these images. We also put in a few crayons, a noise blower, Spongebob fruit snacks, animal crackers, chocolate coin, gummy krabby patty, bubbles, and a Spongebob tattoo. Kade decorated some lunch bags with stickers, and we tied the tops with blue ribbon and added a tag with the child's name.

Jer's mom made most of the food, and I made little signs for each thing, to keep in the Spongebob theme. We had:

Gary's Favorite Kelp Juice

Sandy's Jelly Fish Jam and Sea-Nut Butter Sandwiches

Spongebob's Pineapple House Special

Krabby Patty Secret Ingredient

Patrick's Crackers and Cheese

Squidward's Shark Fin Surprise

Mrs. Puffs Pirate Booty

Last but not least, the BIRTHDAY CAKE! My mom made it for us. She could sell these cakes that she makes, they are amazing! I always feel bad cutting into them! This cake was so yummy, it disappeared in no time :)

Kade loved his cake, loved the party, loved playing with all his friends, loved all the awesome presents, and had a great time... all the preparation was worth it to see his smiling face!

When the party was over, Kade looked completely overwhelmed, exhausted, and ready to go. Later in the night he came down with a fever, and today he is sick. Maybe he just partied too hard! Or maybe he was just hanging on to get through Thanksgiving and his party, and finally let the fever take over. He hasn't had one in over a month, so it was about due. It's so sad to see him sick, but right now he's cuddled up on the couch in some new Spongebob pj's, watching a new Planet Heroes movie, drinking apple juice, and playing Spiderman checkers. He doesn't let a fever get him down!