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Holidays

In DIY, Freebies, Holidays on
December 2, 2017

Reverse Advent Calendar (FREEBIE!)

 

My 4.5yo preschooler is really into a calendar his Oma gave him earlier this year. We have different symbols for when he goes to preschool, church, doctor/dentist offices, and even when visitors are coming. He adds stickers when it’s someone’s birthday. It’s like a year-long art project. So, it was no brainer that we would get one of those ubiquitous chocolate advent calendars. I mean, they are only 99 cents at Trader Joe’s!

The other day as I was unpacking all our Christmas decorations, I came across a large empty plastic fillable ornament. I think it was something someone used to pack their Christmas gift and because I am a pack rat AND maker, I kept it. I bet I thought I could come up with some need for it. And so the creative juices were going and going and *ding* …light bulb!!

The month of December can easily become stressful and busy. Even more so with my family as we have two December birthdays. While my children are at that age where Christmas is now oh-so exciting with bright shimmering lights and fake snowfall, my ultimate hope for this Christmas is to truly experience the gift of the advent season together. So, as a way to cherish this special time, I created this month’s FREEBIE, a Reverse Advent Calendar, which I am having my preschooler do each day this month. It’s reverse because instead of taking something out, he’s putting something special in(to the ornament).

Here’s how it works:

  • Simply download the FREEBIE file (click here) and print
  • Cut out each tag and either hang them on a string (like a banner) or leave them as a stack
  • For each day, write down (or draw!) a favorite memory
  • Wrap the tag around a pencil to curl it and drop it into your ornament
  • Store your ornament in a safe spot to be opened and read next Christmas or 10 Christmases from now!

Supplies Needed:

  • Printer
  • Two 8.5in x 11in sheets of paper. NOTE: I cut 12in x 12in cardstock into 8.5in x 11in sheets. This way, the back of the tags were colorful. Totally not necessary!
  • Scissors or paper cutter
  • Pen
  • Fillable plastic ornament
  • Ribbon (to tie your ornament closed when finished)

 

We did time capsules for both our kids’ first birthdays, where we asked party guests to write a message for them to read when they turn 18. Pretty cool right? I mean, it sounds like a long time from now but at the same time, if you’re a parent, you know that day will come soon and fast! 

While I’m certain my son won’t remember a single memory from this year’s Christmas, my hope is that when he opens the filled ornament years from now, he will see how much we did together as a family, how many special memories were made, and maybe even laugh at the cute, only-a-kid-would-say “favorite” memory. (I’m not crying, you are…)

I hope you and your kids enjoy this activity! 😊

In DIY, Graphic Design, Holidays on
November 25, 2017

DIY Envelope Addressing

 

One my “crafty” bucket list goals is to learn modern calligraphy. I took a shot at it earlier this year and even practiced a bit on my whirlwind trip to Paris…how romantic and idyllic does that sound? Well, despite being a creative person, I have a long ways to go. It definitely is one of those “practice makes perfect” kind of activity. And I just need to make time for the practicing to happen.

Until then, I am going to stick to my secret weapon when it comes to addressing my Christmas card envelopes. The irony is that my secret weapon really isn’t that secretive. You probably have it in your own home. I’m talking about a printer! 😱 Yup, I have used my home printer to address all my special occasion envelopes. Hooray, no more hand cramping that leads to sloppy handwriting!

In addition to a printer, you just need either Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or if you’re fancy-schmancy, Adobe InDesign. I have a PC so I can only really vouch for Word and InDesign but all three should work just fine.

Below are the basic steps:

  1. First, set up your file to match the size of your envelope.
  2. Then add text (aka your recipient’s mailing address) using your favorite font(s) and playing around with the formatting.
  3. Once you are happy, insert your envelope into your printer paper/envelope tray. NOTE: you may need to flip it upside down depending on how your tray feeds your envelope.
  4. Do a test print to see how your text lines up and make any adjustments if needed.
  5. Once you have your finalized style, print again and the rest of your envelopes.

If you’re like me, you have a long list of addresses. No problem! You can use a “merge” feature that will auto-fill your addresses so that you are not typing (or copying/pasting) each one in. NOTE: After your program merges and autofills, I do recommend going through each record to make sure everything looks right.

For MS Word, check out this youtube video with step-by-step instructions on  using the MS Word’s “Mail Merge” feature.

For InDesign, watch this video to see how to use the “Data Merge” feature (different name across programs but all the same function).

 

You can even have a little fun and add color plus some vector graphics on your envelope template. The possibilities are truly endless! These little design elements will surely make your envelope and Christmas photo card stand out! 🎄

 

 

In Freebies, Holidays on
November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Activity Placemat for Kids (FREEBIE!)

 

Oh my gravy, thanksgiving crept up on us this year! In fact, we nearly missed out on ordering a smoked turkey from our local BBQ restaurant. I’ve never had a smoked turkey before but it sounds delicious. Have you??

Ordering a pre-cooked turkey is the golden ticket when you are a parent of young children. All I have to focus on is making the side dishes, which I enjoy more anyways. Mmm…mashed potatoes and gravy. Lots of gravy. Time to make sure my stretchy pants are clean and ready to wear come Thanksgiving Day!

This year, we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house and now that my youngest is old enough to self-feed, I may be able to enjoy a *hot* Thanksgiving meal! However, to guarantee this actually happens, I decided to whip up a fun activity placemat for my son, who eats just fine (it baffles me how he’s such a beanpole when he eats so much) but cannot keep his bottom on his seat during meal times. Any other parent have the same problem?! 🙋🏻

This FREEBIE Thanksgiving-themed placemat features four areas of activity.

  • From the top left, going clockwise…we start with the classic tic-tac-toe game. This is great for getting two kids to stay put at the dinner table even if it’s only 10 mins. That is a solid parent win.
  • Next, we have the all-time favorite coloring activity so be sure to have some extra crayons on hand. A cute idea is to wrap a napkin around a bundle of crayons and tie it together with ribbon.
  • On the bottom right, before the tryptophan kicks in, we challenge the kiddos’ brains with a little pattern guessing game. My son is really into this at the moment so I know he will have fun trying to figure it out!
  • Lastly, good ‘ol bingo except the goal is to get all the squares filled. Haha! At least that is what the parents will tell the kids! I know firsthand what an ordeal it can be to get little ones to eat. #thestruggleisreal  All that hard work making your family’s Thanksgiving meal…with this simple bingo game, there will be no food left untried on Thanksgiving Day!

Click here for the blank version of the activity placemat. OR click here for the filled-out version.

Once you’ve downloaded the file, simply print it on letter-size paper. I recommend using cardstock as it’s more durable…otherwise, you may get some crayon markings on your tablecloth/table.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all! 🦃🍂🍗

 

In DIY, Holidays, Silhouette on
October 31, 2017

DIY Paw Patrol Chase and Skye Halloween Costumes

 

 

About the middle of summer is when I have a very important conversation with my son…Halloween costumes. We brainstorm all the possibilities and I let him stew on the options. Yup, I use food puns whenever I can.

Two years ago, I made my son a wearable firetruck costume out of a UPS shipping box. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of keeping the costume AND in plain sight (in the garage). So, of course he asked that this year’s costume be made the same way!

If you know any preschooler these days, it’s all about Paw Patrol. My son is obsessed with Chase the police pup while my daughter loves Skye, the Amelia Earhart of the crew. And voila, Halloween costume decision made!

So, knowing that my by-the-book firstborn son would be checking my work, I got started right away. I have no time to waste! I kid you not, he seriously checked my progress each day and said “yes, mommy, that is good. Yup…Mmm-hmm, that’s correct. Great job mommy.”😳

With my Silhouette cutting machine, I was able to replicate many of the designs on Chase’s vehicle, Skye’s pup pack, as well as their pup badge designs. If you ever wondered how much you can create custom work with the Silhouette for your project needs, this is 100% proof right here.

 

How I made the Chase costume:

  • Spray painted a UPS shipping box (12in x 12in x 20in) blue with multiple coats. Cut out a hole to fit my son in the middle and stapled elastic straps to make “suspenders” for a wearable costume.
  • Create custom pieces that were cut by my Silhouette machine, such as the head/tail lights, wheels, decals, front “winch” box, and badges.
  • Inserted submersible LED tealights into Container Store’s Amac colored boxes to create the back “flashers” as well as put two bike flashing lights on the front.
  • Sew hand-cut blue craft foam onto existing black baseball cap. Glued on yellow ribbon, hand-cut felt ears, and paper badge. He wears this everrrrrrrday.

 

How I made the Skye costume:

  • I already had a dark pink tutu dress (bought from Old Navy) from my daughter’s 1st birthday party. Surprisingly it still fit her…a little on the short side but we just add bottoms and it’s all good. I sewed the paper Skye badge over the glitter “one” HTV that was on the front of her dress. Hooray for this quick hack!
  • To make Skye’s pup pack, I wrapped a software box (no joke!) with pink craft felt and hot glued another paper badge on top. For the wings, I simply cut out cardboard from an Amazon shipping box, wrapped it with silver poster board, and added some pink trim. Lastly, I hot glued both the wings to the back of the pup pack as well as two elastic bands to form a backpack. I also stapled the elastic bands for extra security.
  • The last accessory was the headpiece. Luckily, I had a dark pink fabric headband from one of my daugher’s baby headbands (one of many she never really liked wearing 🙄…). I cut out the “googles” out of light pink felt as well as little pup ears out of light brown felt, and sew both of them onto the headband. That was easy and quick to pull together! Whew!

 

 

All in all, everyone’s happy. The kids are stoked and I couldn’t get my son to take off his hat or vest (even with the insane heat wave last week!). I’m pretty happy how both costumes turned out and I’m also pretty happy to be done working on them! Ha! Looking forward to seeing how these costumes hold up on tonight!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the month-long Halloween craft/DIY projects on the blog! Happy Halloween!! 🎃

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In DIY, Freebies, Holidays on
October 29, 2017

Glow Necklace Favor Tags (FREEBIE!)

Will your little one be roaming the streets this Halloween? Maybe with a group of little goblins? Well, unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you might want to put a little glow stick necklace on your child for safety reasons. It’s easy for you (the parent) to identify your child and what munchkin doesn’t like things that glow in the dark?! Um, can we say win-win? And anytime I can win as a parent…count me in!

Since candy is plenty this time of year, this is a great non-candy goodie for the kiddos! Took a walk through Target’s Halloween section (where I…mmmyeah, probably spent a solid hour) and spotted these simple glow necklaces that came 10 in a bag for just $3. Oh Target, just take my wallet!

To go along with the glow necklaces, I designed these adorable candy corn-shaped favor tags that read “Shine bright on Halloween Night!” You, too, can make these super simple goodies by downloading today’s FREEBIE! Below is a super quick tutorial with supplies that you probably already have at home!

 

Where to buy specific craft supplies: hyde and eek glow necklaces

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In DIY, Holidays, Silhouette on
October 26, 2017

Rice Krispie Treat (Horizontal) Toppers

 

I’m a total sugar junkie. My dentists (yes plural! I’ve seen a lot of dentists 🙈) would all agree too. So since I couldn’t wait until Halloween to sink my teeth into something sweet, I made rice krispie treats. Halloween-style of course.

After spreading the gooey rice krispie and marshmallow mixture onto a baking sheet, I added and pressed in Halloween sprinkles. Then, made rice krispie cutouts with my Halloween-themed cookie cutters. Annnnd in case you couldn’t tell I was excited about Halloween, I added some festive toppers!

I thought to myself…hmm, most of the treat toppers we see are upright ones. (You know, like the ones in cupcakes at birthday parties). But why stop there?? Let’s think outside of the box and do something fun…like horizontal toppers! *insert mind-blown meme*

I always like a good crafting challenge so I came up with a couple fun toppers, three of which uses designs from the Silhouette Design Store!

The pumpkin faces are by Hero Arts (Design ID#67247). With my Silhouette CAMEO machine, I cut out ovals out of a clear acetate sheet and the faces using black cardstock. Then, I used craft glue to stick the faces onto the ovals and hot glue gunned a trimmed toothpick to the back of the oval (behind a face piece to conceal the toothpick) to make it a topper.

 

The “boo!” speech bubble is Design ID#152644. A toothpick was glue to the back of the topper and inserted into the side of the rice krispie ghost cutout.

The other “boo” was my own design and the toothpick was placed behind the “b” so that it was hidden, giving the topper a floating look.

 

I think these horizontal toppers really add some visual pizzazz to the treats, which makes the eating more fun! 😊 Such a simple and playful way to dress up Halloween sweets!

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In DIY, Holidays, Home Decor on
October 23, 2017

Spiderweb Table Runner

 

Everrrrrry time I walk past the dollar bins at Michaels to check out, I see paper rolls of all colors and patterns. Usually I have pretty good self-control with these impulse buy type of products but somehow I have acquired hoarded five of these over the years, none of which have been used…until now!

With every holiday, our dining table gets a little festive makeover. For Halloween this year, I made a table runner out of those dang paper rolls and was quite pleased how it turned out! The paper material is thin so I quickly learned a lesson in patience when peeling the paper off the 12in x 24in cutting mat. I used the spiderweb stencil from Design ID#45894, stretched it out to fit my extra-long cutting mat, modified the design a bit to make it into a 12in x 24in piece (a lot of ungrouping, welding, and deleting border), sent it to Silhouette to cut, and voila!

I know I love Halloween but I can’t help but think what kind of runner I can make for Thanksgiving or Christmas?! After all, I do have paper rolls in kraft and red! 🙈

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In DIY, Freebies, Holidays on
October 19, 2017

(Kindness + Monster) Rocks (FREEBIE!)

 

Drum roll please…I am SO excited to share with you today a very special collaboration with Word Rocks Project! The gal behind this beautiful, straight-from-the-heart kindness movement is actually my neighbor, Carol! And when I say neighbor, I mean like she’s literally next door! There is a small slope between our homes and we bypass the front yard/sidewalk route and travel between this little “secret” slope to get to each other’s front door! This is where you can find us exchanging craft supplies (no joke!)…pretty sure there’s glitter scattered over the landscaping!

Carol decorates rocks so artistically and poetically with the sweetest and encouraging words. You have to check out her Instagram! For our collaboration, it was so cool to see her colorful rocks come to life as Halloween monsters while I came up with cute flag printables for our fun creatures to hold.

Word Rocks Project is the first rock project ever (started over six years ago!) and has been touching so many hearts and changing lives! It’s an easy concept that young children can even get in the action!

Want to get your kids to join the kindness movement? It’s a great way to teach lifelong values to our next generation that will make the world a better place. Let’s spread kindness and uplift people’s hearts and doing it with a little Halloween flair! Below is the supply list and a super easy tutorial!

Click here to download today’s FREEBIE (Kindness Flags)!

 

 

 

 

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In DIY, Holidays, Silhouette on
October 16, 2017

Halloween Hanging Flags using Oly*fun

 

Is it just me or is there something nostalgic about Halloween? Flashbacks of sorting, comparing, and trading Halloween candy, breaking open a bag of stretchy cobwebs, and watching Hocus Pocus on repeat. I’m trying to pace myself with the month-long Halloween celebration and will watch the movie when the 31st gets closer. In the meantime, I will just craft about the movie! Amuck! Amuck! Amuck!

Awhile back, I heard from a fellow crafter about this really neat and versatile material called Oly*fun. Calling itself the “everything material,” it can be used indoors or outdoors (water resistant) and it doesn’t tear, fray, or fade. What??? I. must. get. my. hands. on. this. material.

And so I did and got cranking on a…Halloween craft (duh!). Because you can never have enough Halloween decor especially with such an easy material to work with! A felt hanging banner was fun to make earlier this summer but lemme just tell you…using Oly*fun truly made crafting fun and QUICK! I pressed the material firmly on the cutting mat and I actually didn’t need any stabilizer, which is a big time-saving step. My Silhouette CAMEO essentially treated it like paper. TIP: I do recommend double cutting to ensure to clean cut. And you guys, it peeled off so effortlessly. It didn’t curl like paper can from a sticky cutting mat. The edges were always cleanly cut. Not one single fray. Simply amazing!

If you get your hands on this miracle material, here are the cut settings that worked for me!

 

I have a whole bunch of colored “sheets” left and am already brainstorming the next project to make with Oly*fun!

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In DIY, Freebies, Graphic Design, Holidays on
October 12, 2017

Test Tube Treats (FREEBIE!)

 

Something about test tubes just scream Halloween, doesn’t it?! Totally right up Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s alley. My alley too. I’ve been eyeing these test tubes for years (yes YEARS!) but haven’t found a way to use these for my children’s birthday parties, especially since these particular test tubes are made out of glass. But alas, Halloween is a couple weeks away and I’ve waited long enough so I treated myself (ha, pun!) and bought them to give away to my galpals! This is a cute little gift idea for teachers, co-workers, and even neighbors!

I purchased the glass test tubes from Michaels from their dollar bins (although I believe they’re $1.50 each. These were located near the checkout aisle at my local store, FYI). TIP: Buy ones where the labels are new and easily peel off. Otherwise, be ready to wipe down with Goo Gone.

Next, simply fill with tiny Halloween treats (the test tubes are not very wide so the skinnier the candy, the better). I whipped up these fun printable labels that adds a festive finishing touch to your mad lab creation. Today’s FREEBIE even includes a label where you can write in your or your child’s name.

 

 

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