I Got A Heat Press!!

Okay guys, I have big news! I got a heat press!!! I’m so excited! My mom and dad got it for me as a birthday/Christmas gift, and this has been such a game changer for me with shirt making! This is the one I got:

It came with attachments to also do hats, 2 sizes of plates, and 2 sizes of mugs. This thing is so awesome! Not only is it crazy faster than applying heat transfer vinyl with an iron, the quality of the finished product is miles better! What really surprised me though was the fact that you can re-press old projects that have maybe started to peel a bit and fix them! I’ve been playing with htv for about a year now, and I’ve loved working with it, but I’ve always been a little disappointed that it didn’t seem to hold up very well in the wash. Well this has been the answer to that for sure. My new projects as well as old ones that I repaired are now holding up perfectly in the washing machine! And I have LOVED being able to rescue some ragged favorites that seemed destined for the trash. I had just assumed that once an item had gone through the laundry there would be no way to make the htv stick. Not that every single project I did with an iron started to peel, but well, a good percentage of them eventually did. So if I’ve made you a gift with htv in the past and it’s starting to come off, bring it back and I’ll fix it right up!
My nephew Levi’s birthday party is this Saturday. He’s going to be four, and he looooves superheros, Batman especially. I made him this t-shirt, as well as a pillow with Superman fabric on one side and Batman fabric on the other. I also added his name to the pillow in htv. The Batman decal below is actually a 3D rubber applique that I found at Walmart for $3.97. The instructions included were for a household iron, but I took a chance and applied it with the heat press, and it turned out amazing!

Lily wanted a superhero shirt for her birthday to wear to Levi’s party. She originally wanted a Wonder Woman shirt, but then she saw a pink and black Batman shirt online and wanted it instead. So what’s a mama with a brand new heat press supposed to do besides make them both? The Batman shirt she saw had a matching bow, so I made one to match each shirt. I even used the heat press for the bows! I don’t know why the Wonder Woman set looks pink in the picture below, but as you can see in the shot with her wearing them they are red. Both shirts were the basic $2.97 boys tees from Walmart, and I had the ribbon and htv on hand, so this was a really inexpensive gift.

The gold HTV on this shirt was in an Expressions Vinyl grab bag that arrived on her birthday, and it was perfect for this project. I mentioned when I shared this picture on Instagram, isn’t it neat how God loves on us in little ways as well as big ways?
Sawyer wants a superhero shirt too, but he keeps going back and forth on what kind, so I will be making one or two for him as well. 
I plan on offering some items in my shop soon too.
Heat press for the win!
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My Craft Room Tanker Desk and One for Rachael

The tanker desk in my craft room is one of my favorite things ever. It came originally from my brother Cary and sister-in-law Rachael (who incidentally is Nick’s sister). It was in their basement when they bought their house several years ago, and Cary didn’t want it. It was in good shape, but it was old and kind of ugly, standard government gray, and it went into our garage for lack of a better place to put it. Nick told me that I could have it for a craft desk when I got a craft room, so this year for Mother’s Day I told him I wanted him to paint it for me.

Guys! Isn’t she gorgeous!! I love her so much! The thing is, every time Rachael came over and saw how amazing it turned out, she seemed a little wistful. Then Nick found a Craigslist ad offering free office furniture. We went to check it out, and we came home with FOUR tanker desks, a huge wooden desk, and a big kitchen table, all for free! 
One tanker desk is at home in the garage for Nick, two are eventually destined for my craft room, the wooden one will be my cutting table, and the kitchen table will eventually replace the one we have now (once we refinish it). But the fourth tanker desk – that one was for Rachael. It was her birthday last week, and we’ve been working on this thing for a couple of months now. We cleaned it up, fixed a few dings, painted it her favorite color and cut a pretty monogram for the big drawer. We even found the key buried in the mound of debris stuck behind one of the drawers when we brought it home. We delivered it to her last Friday and she loved it!

Here it is in her craft room. Now I can’t wait to get the other two painted for my craft room!

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Handmade Gifts

Guys, the craft room is coming together! I’ve still got a little organizing to do, but I’m getting there. So anyway, I wanted to show you some of the handmade gifts I’ve made and given over the last few months. Fair warning, a lot of these are quick cell phone pictures I grabbed on my way out the door rather than pretty staged shots, but I’m going on the theory that done is better than perfect.

Let’s start with a few things I made for Christmas gifts.

I made paracord fishing flies for the dads and brothers in my life, and I really liked the way they turned out. They were quick and easy, and you can find the tutorial I followed here. I wrapped mine with fishing line instead of an interior filament of the paracord and sealed it with super glue, and I was really pleased with the way they looked. I made some from bright colors and some from muted shades, which made them good for different applications.

I also made several of these paracord lanyards that hang from the straps of waders and hold the tools used in fly fishing.

I made this shirt for my cousin. You can buy a similar one here if you don’t want to DIY your own. (Not an affiliate link)

I made Taylor and her best friend Lexye each a Taco Bell Is Life pillow from hand dyed drop cloth.

These were various bracelets I made for moms, aunts, and sisters.

 (I might have kept this one for myself. Shhhh!)

This was the shirt I made Lily for Valentines Day. It was her very specific design.

This was the shirt I made for Levi, which matched the one I made for Sawyer, although Sawyer’s said Heartbreaker.

 (No, I have no idea why he was wearing a helmet)

They also got matching Plex shirts.They’re both big Yo Gabba Gabba fans.

Speaking of Yo Gabba Gabba, I made Sawyer this Brobee shirt. I passed this little green striped shirt at the thrift store 4 or 5 times before I bought it. I really liked the stripes, but I couldn’t think what I wanted to do with it, and Sawyer has a ton of t-shirts. Then one day it just clicked what a perfect Brobee shirt it would make, so into my cart it went. It’s one of his favorites.
These little Jesus Loves Me shirts for Lily and my niece Adelaide were made at the request of Adelaide’s mom Rachael. You can buy a similar one here. (Not an affiliate link)

This was Lily’s St. Patrick’s Day shirt.
This little shirt was for my nephew Lawrence who looooves his little guitar!
My brother Cary is a huge duck hunter, so as part of his birthday gift Nick and I made him this duck hunting themed key fob. It was a metal tag from the Target Dollar Spot. I cut a stencil out of vinyl, and Nick sand blasted it. The quote on the back is a scripture reference. We also sand blasted his favorite sports logo into a metal tumbler, but I didn’t get a picture of it. (I know, lame.)

This was Lily’s shirt for Dr. Seuss Day at school.
This coral earrings and bracelet set was for my sister-in-law Leah’s birthday.
Just before we moved into the new house we had the biggest blessing! A lovely lady from our church got some new furniture for her living room and gifted us her previous couch, chair, and recliner. They were in pristine condition – she just wanted some smaller pieces, and they were perfect for our living room! She is a pilot, and I made her this bracelet as a thank you.
This Minnie shirt was for my niece Adelaide’s 2nd birthday.
I also found these sweet leggings and made shirts to match them.

 
For Mother’s Day I made a few of these fun potholder purse organizers. The floral one came from Walmart and the quatrefoil one came from Target.

On Mother’s Day our church gives a small gift to every woman and girl there. This year we gave these lovely fancy paper clips. My mom, Taylor, her friend Lexye, and I added the buttons to the clips, and I cut, punched, and stamped all the cards.
I added vinyl to these cups as thank you gifts for our realty team and they loved them! FYI, these are the Ozark Trail brand from Walmart. I have the same cup in the 30 ounce, and it is identical in looks and performance to Nick’s 30 ounce Yeti tumbler for oh, 1/4 of the price. Seriously. Get one.

My friend Melissa’s birthday was a few weeks ago, and I made her this sweet little cross stitch necklace. 

This wreath was for Lily’s room. It has been on my to do list since I saw it on Capture the Details like six years ago, but I couldn’t ever seem to find the fun fur yarn in this shade of green. Then when we were “in storage” as I refer to the time of our life when we were on the market and everything fun that I own was in a storage unit, I found a couple of skeins at a thrift store. I finally got to put it together a couple of weeks ago.  
These were gifts for Nick’s grandmother for Mother’s Day (the yellow set) and her birthday (the red white and blue set and the cards).

The cards are blank inside and were hand embroidered. I made them using this Amy Tangerine Stitched set I found at Tuesday Morning. They were actually pretty time consuming to make, but also kind of a soothing activity, and I hope she likes them.

   

These were the cards I made her to give her with the gifts, and I am SO excited with how they turned out. Okay, here’s the deal. As I was going through all the mountains of stuff I was putting away in my craft room I came across a couple of sheets of 4×6 photo paper. I have tons of this stuff. Tons of it. But I never print my own pictures. I have a photo lab that I love, and I just couldn’t begin to touch their quality on a home printer. But several people have given me boxes of the paper, and I was always at kind of a loss what to do with it. I was on the verge of tossing the couple of loose sheets in the trash when my eyes fell on the box housing my ridiculously large collection of embossing folders. I grabbed my Big Shot and some dies and cranked out the coolest paper elements ever! Okay, maybe not really, but I love, love, LOVE the way the photo paper looks with some embossing!

Anyway, that’s some of what I’ve been up to. What have you been making?
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The Tale of the Happiest Birthday

People, I had the best birthday I’ve had in years! I don’t know why, but historically, my birthday has usually been a bad day. Not the sort of I-can’t-believe-I’m-so-oooolllllldddd sort of bad day. Just the kind of day where you have to work and it’s raining and you get in a fight with your mom and the bank account is empty and it’s hot dogs again for dinner and you get stuck in traffic and you get bleach on your favorite shirt…you get the idea. Oddly enough, the day after is usually much better. But this year my birthday was on a Saturday and the whole weekend was awesome!

Friday Nick was off, and we had dinner with my brother and his wife and son in their new house, so I didn’t have to cook and the meal was awesome! This was our first visit to their house since they moved in, and it was really neat to see them settled after a long struggle to find the right home. Before we stopped there we swung by my parents’ house to drop something off, and my mom gave me my gift – a gift certificate for a massage! I’ve never had a professional massage, and I can’t wait to use it!

Even though Nick had to work on my actual birthday, he got to come home early which never happens. But before he came home he called me with some good news about the house situation. Then when he got home he took us out to dinner and then dropped me off at Tuesday Morning and Joann and Michael’s while he watched the kids. I found some great stuff at Tuesday Morning, including a couple of Christmas gifts that I saw last time and was afraid would get gone before I could get back and buy them. I had a gift card at Joann from Nick, so I got to go crazy in there. I came out with some AWESOME clearance stuff and still only spent half the gift card! Then at Michael’s I had three coupons which allowed me to knock two things off my longtime Amazon wish list as well as buy a jewelry tool I didn’t even realize how bad I needed until I found out it existed (hello, one step ear wire maker!). And I had a couple gift cards there from my awesome in laws that brought my out of pocket total to under $1! Then I got to go home and hop on Joann.com and use the rest of my Joann gift card on some more cool stuff, including the We R Memory Keepers Banner Punch Board, which I can’t wait to get! I’m a total sucker for craft tools.

The next morning I got to go to church, and my mother and father in law handed me a card with some birthday money. The message was great, and after the service we went to lunch with my brother and his wife, after which they gave me my birthday gift from them, which was an Amazon gift card (yay!!). I’m still debating what I’m going to buy with it, but I’m thinking a Pick Punch (not an affiliate link).

But here is one of the coolest things that happened. There was recently a store opened near our house called Bargain Hunt. Now I had never heard of them before they opened a location here, but they’re a pretty awesome store. They get random merchandise from other stores and mark it down to a great price. If it hasn’t sold after a month, they mark it down 10% every day until it’s 90% off their price. Sort of like Big Lots and an Easter egg hunt had a baby. My mom has found Lily a few dresses there that retailed originally for around $50.00 each and paid $1.49 for them. So anyway, Friday I was looked for a gift for someone there, and I walked down the craft aisle, and out of the corner of my eye I spied, way back under a shelf…a Minc Machine! The big one!

The box was a little battered, but it was still sealed up, and I almost hurt myself getting it in my buggy so fast. I looked at the price, and it was $61! That’s 60% off retail! I’ve wanted one since they came out, but I just couldn’t spend $150 on one when we’re trying to buy a new house. Now granted, you can find them for around $100 now, but I’ve never seen one priced that low. I’m so excited! I try not to buy anything that’s technically unnecessary that costs very much without asking Nick first, just out of respect for him as my husband and also the guy who works so I can stay home with the kids. So I actually saved the receipt just in case he wanted me to take it back, but then I got birthday money, which mostly paid for it anyway. Not that he was likely to tell me to return it in the face of the starry look in my eyes, haha!

I actually already had some accessories for it that I had gotten on clearance at Joann months ago, some foil and tags and scrapbook/journal embellishments. I had grabbed them because I wanted to try foiling with my laminator, and it worked okay, but I saved most of them in case I ever did get a Minc. And I’m glad I did, because it does a much better job with foiling than just a plain laminator because of all the different temperature settings. Not that I don’t love my laminator. I might have laminated the first three papers Lily brought home from kindergarten. #thatleeeeetlebitcrazymom When I get my craft room I’m going to go nuts with the foiled prints for my walls. I’ve already got a strong start on a Minc themed Pinterest board. And I have big plans for the kids’ rooms too!

In the meantime, I wanted to try it on something run on a copier, so I may or may not have foiled the church bulletin from last month that was hanging out in my car. Fancy!

Anyway, that’s the amazing tale of how Tracy turned 38 in crafty/shopping mostly for free/no cooking/awesome family/really blessed style! I want to do this every year!

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Lily’s Birthday Skates

My Lily girl turned 6 on October 5. S-I-X! I never gave permission for this growing up business. Hmph!

Anyway, last year I made most of her gifts, and we did the whole awesome Adopt-A-Baby Party. We decided not to do big friend birthday parties for the kids this year because of the house being on the market, and with most of my craft supplies in storage, I didn’t do much with handmade gifts.

We did have a small family gathering at the house though, and I did do a bit of upcycling on one gift, which turned out to be her favorite. A month or so ago she was invited to her first school friend birthday party. Have I mentioned that this girl started kindergarten in August? I didn’t? Oh that’s right, it’s because I’m still in denial. But pushing onward, this birthday party was held at the skating rink. Let me just inject a hard earned word of wisdom for you here: don’t wear flip-flops to a 6 year old’s skating party, and no I don’t care to discuss it further. Lesson learned. Anyway, she started out very scared of the whole concept of skating, but by the end of the party I had to dodge speeding skaters to make my way out to the center of the rink to rescue her where she had ventured out and ended up on the floor with no nearby rails on which to pull herself up. She was sold on the wheeled lifestyle.

A few days before her birthday I was at the thrift store and came across these well loved Barbie skates in her size for $3.99.

As you can see, they had some major scuffing on the toes.
So I headed to Walmart where I grabbed a 75 cent clearance fat quarter and a $1 roll of pompom trim from their Halloween ribbon selection. I used a piece of scrap fabric to lay over the toe of one skate to trace around and get a rough idea of the shape I would need to cover the damage, then used that as a template to cut the pieces out of my fat quarter. Then I used Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue to adhere the fabric to the toe, and carefully trimmed away any excess with my Xacto knife. I cut two pieces of trim for each skate, one to go across the top edge of the fabric and one to go around the base of the toe, then hot glued them down using my glue gun on the high setting. Then I snipped off the bows and made new ones using the fat quarter, although I did reuse the center bands since they were in good shape. I just hot glued these back on using the high setting again.

If I do this again, I will seal the fabric with Mod Podge to make them easier to wipe down, but this was completed just a little while before she got home from school, so there wasn’t really time to let it dry.
As you can see, she was pretty excited about them. In fact, she stopped everything to go find a pair of socks and put them on immediately. Her Nana and Papaw bought her knee and elbow pads and a helmet a few days later, and she’s been skating her heart out in the garage ever since. She’s gotten really steady on them, and I’m excited to get to take her back to the skating rink.

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Poking my head up…

I’ve been trying to post for like a week now, but I’m sick, and it just seems like by the time I finish all the necessary tasks like feeding the kids and putting on pants, I have nothing left in me. It’s nothing terribly serious, just a sore throat, but I’m on antibiotics now, so hopefully it’s on its way out.

So here’s what’s happening. We have a contract on the house. Yay us! Actually, we had a contract before this one, but the buyer backed out because the inspection turned up some foundation damage. Boo! BUT, we are getting it fixed in 10 days, with a lifetime transferable warranty, so it shouldn’t be an issue. Even with that, the first buyer didn’t want to stay on board. Fortunately, he’d been in a bit of a bidding war with another buyer, and they were happy to take his place with the assurance that the foundation work is being done.

So now the race is on to find our next house. We found one that we really liked, but it sold the day before the contract went on ours. And we’ve since found one that we really love, but there are some issues with it that would have to be resolved for it to be an actual option for us. It’s all very much up in the air from our viewpoint, but God has definitely been moving and providing, so we will see what happens.

So as far as crafting goes, there’s been a little bit. Not much, but a little. And I don’t have any tutorials for you right now, but here are a few things I’ve made.

Back in July a little girl at our church had a birthday, and I made her this fun candy colored paracord bracelet and earrings set. The bracelet actually ended up being a little small for her, so I made her a bigger one and she sent this one back to Lily.

My friend Melissa just had her gorgeous baby girl MacKenzie. Her nursery is done in gray and yellow with accents of teal in an elephant motif. So back in August for her baby shower I made her a few gifts. First was this paper banner with bows made using my Sizzix Bow Die.

I found this yellow and gray photo box at Hobby Lobby to put it in for gifting, and she can use the box in baby girl’s room.

I made her a couple of curved burp cloths out of white terry cloth and this super soft cuddle minky.
And I also made her a faux chenille blanket. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely happy with how the blanket turned out. The blue looked more teal in the store, and I should have used it as the one of the chenille layers and not the base fabric on the back. I should have sewn the lines half as far apart so the chenille strips would have been more even and stuck out less from the blanket. But it’s still super cuddly, and she said she loves it.

My mother-in-law Brenda’s birthday was also in August, and I made her this card.

It’s very simple, but I like it. I’d really like to get into making cards on a more regular basis. I’ve got stamps, stamp pads, and embossing folders for days, but not much of a place to do it right now. And most of my stamps and ink pads are in storage right now anyway. When I get a craft room one of these days I plan on making up a bunch of different elements and having my girlfriends/sisters in law over for a card making party.

I also made Brenda this pretty patchwork zipper pouch.

The mint fabric was a duck cloth remnant from Hobby Lobby I think, and the coral polka dot fabric was from a pair of pants in the giveaway pile. I made my Mom a very similar one for her birthday in July.
Inside the pouch for Brenda I included this simple bead and chain set I made with these awesome metal filigree beads I got on clearance at Hobby Lobby.
We also had another Walridge Baptist Church Ladies Craft Meeting last month, but that one deserves a post of its own.
We could really use your prayers that God will show us to the house He has for us and that everything will go smoothly with the sale/closing on our own house. It looks like the timing may end up pretty tight on it – for us to close on the new home the same day as we close on the old home we will have to find the right house and have an offer accepted in the next week or so. Exciting times, people!
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Behind the Scenes

Yikes, I’ve been a bad blogger! It’s been crazy hereabout though. My birthday was the day after my last post, and it was so great! I got to spend some time with my awesome friend LaDonna, who I rarely get to see anymore, although we’re working to remedy that! And she brought me a pumpkin spice latte, and Nick sent me these GORGEOUS flowers!

Then my parents in-law and brother and sister-in-law came by and showered me with gifts and cake (well, there was no actual cake shower, but there was cake presented.) There was a lovely cozy sweater/wrap, some pretty earrings, a cool paper bow maker, and some envelope stickers. Then we went to my parents’ house, where they presented me with (heavy breathing here) another punch board! This one was the gift box punch board, and I’ve been having so much fun with it! They also kept {ALL THREE} kids for us so Nick could take me out for a birthday dinner! The festivity! The romance! The meal with no one spilling their tea in my plate!

I also received some terrific embossing folders from another brother and sister-in-law, birthday money from Nick’s grandmother, a gift card from Nick’s other sister and her husband, and a certificate for a manicure from my other brother. My parents also got me a couple of outfits. I’m totally spoiled!

I’ve been at my sewing machine doing some mending jobs, and also making up some note cards for a charity fundraiser. And I’ve had some photo shoots on the books, including some senior pics for a couple of my very favorite girls from church camp. They are just gorgeous, and they are every bit as lovely inside as out, which should tell you something. Take a look at these beauties:

I have another shoot on Saturday, but of course Halloween is the day before, so I’ve got to get going on a fairy princess tutu to go with the sweet light up Tinkerbell wings I scored at the thrift store for a cool 99ยข! Also, there may be a red tutu in the works for a Superman themed costume, and can I tell you how excited I am that Sawyer’s costume requires no more input on my part than putting it on him? Not that I mind making costumes, but this week I’ll take store bought, especially when it’s a crazy cool gorilla costume I scored at the same thrift store for $2.99. Ahem.
Anyway, coming soon on the blog, we’ll be talking about that cool gift box punch board, the pinwheel punch board, a few of my favorite 30-minutes-to-the-table meals, a The Fault In Our Stars themed craft, some fun leather key fobs, a darling pin cushion, and a sweet baby headband. See you soon!
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Lily’s 5th Birthday Party

On the 11th we had a birthday party for Lily at the Life Center at our church. We’ve always had small family celebrations for her, but this was her very first friend party, and it went so well!

We went with an Adopt-A-Baby theme, and it was easy breezy to put together. Now here’s the part where I realize that I am ridiculous and forgot to get a picture of the the baby table before all the adoptive mothers descended on it. These two are the sum total of the pictures I got before the babies were all passed out.

But here’s what they all got: a baby, two felt diapers, a blanket, a diaper bag, a gown, a felt bib, a baby bracelet, a pacifier, a baby headband, and a baby bottle.

The babies were collected over the last few months from various thrift stores and lovingly (and thoroughly) cleaned. What I loved about this (beyond the cost effectiveness) was that each baby was unique. Because there was a range of sizes, I made the diapers specifically for each baby. I just free-handed a couple of sizes based on baby diapers we already had, and made each baby one solid color diaper and one print diaper. They closed with Babyville plastic snaps.

I bought a pattern for the gowns (Simplicity 1937), and my mom sewed up the gowns using vintage fabric. The pattern was for a 15 inch doll, so for the smaller dolls I just flipped the gowns inside out and moved in the seam allowance. I added Babyville snaps to each gown to close it up the front.

The bibs were just cut from a couple of free-handed paper patterns and also closed with a Babyville snap.

I got the pretty ruffled elastic for the headbands from Tuesday Morning, and each headband had a different embellishment, some handmade, some purchased, all of them from my stash. I also made my sweet niece Adelaide one to match. ๐Ÿ™‚

My mom made the blankets from fleece and flannel, and she found the diaper bags at the Dollar Tree. The bracelets were leftover cupcake embellishments from a baby shower, and the bottles and pacifiers came from the Dollar Tree as well.

There were a few boys there too, and they got to choose from an assortment of stuffed animals since baby dolls weren’t really their bag. ๐Ÿ™‚ The boys who were big enough got to make Shrinky Dink name tags for their chosen animals while the girls played with dolls, and we tied them on with leather cord.

Since a lot of the accessories were crafted from materials already on hand, I think our total outlay for eight babies and accessories was about $30, or less than $4/each for what was a stunningly successful party favor. I saw a number of the adopted babies make an appearance at church the next day. ๐Ÿ™‚

The animals cost even less, since I averaged about 50ยข each for those, and the Shrinky Dinks and leather were things I had in my stash.

There were no formal games at the party. What I did instead was cart in all our big baby doll items, including 3 beds, 2 bath tubs, a baby changing station, 2 cradles, a high chair, a bouncy seat, and numerous baby accessories. My mom also brought in two dollar store doctor kits and a box of princess Band-Aids, the latter of which lasted about 17 seconds lol.

Levi wasn’t interested in babies, but he did think he might like a nap!

My mom graciously did the decorating and the food, and I couldn’t have made the party happen without her! She made some delicious pudding filled lemon cupcakes, and supplemented them with store-bought Sofia the First cupcakes and a small sheet cake to hold the all important Number Five Birthday Candle. She also made up some fun butterfly snack bags that had a different type of cereal in each wing, and little daffodil accented containers filled with fruit snacks. For drinks there were various fruit drinks with twist off tops, and pineapple-orange cream punch – yum!

Lily was so blessed with all the gifts she received, and she was thrilled with them all! I loved watching her enthusiasm, whether she was opening a giant Frozen themed pen from the Target $1 Spot from her dad and I or an awesome Queen Elsa doll from my cousin Maggie, who always spoils me and mine rotten. ๐Ÿ™‚

She had plenty of helping hands to assist in opening the gifts lol.

Aunt Rachael made her this gorgeous lace crown, and one other, along with a beautiful lace trimmed pink gown. I got pictures of her opening the other gifts, but things were moving so fast that I’m afraid they were a bit blurry.

This party was so much fun, and it thrilled my heart to get to see how engrossed all the kids were in playing! A huge thank you to everyone who came and played along!

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What’s been going on lately…

I know I’ve been scarce around here, but it’s not because I haven’t had anything to post about! It’s just been very, very busy. A few things that have been occupying me:

My SIL Rachael’s birthday was just a few days after my last post. I got her a Marvy Uchida Border Punch System a few weeks ago, but I wanted her to have something special on her actual birthday too, so I whipped up this fun little window pillow box and packed it with a couple pairs of handmade earrings.

To make the pillow box I used my WRMK Pillow Box Punch Board, then just used a large scalloped circle paper punch to create the window. Then I cut a piece of transparency film to cover the opening, adhered it to the inside with an adhesive roller, then folded the box up and glued it.

The ball shaped earrings were one of the pairs I featured a few weeks ago. The second pair looks really impressive, but truthfully, they almost don’t qualify as handmade. The wire wrapped circles came in a string of four from Walmart, and I literally just added the ear hooks and backings. She really seemed to love them though, and she’s worn them several times already. ๐Ÿ™‚

I used a Sizzix die and embossing folder I got recently to create a mason jar themed card. I added various buttons as filler for the “jar”, and on the envelope I added a fun little pennant I got at Tuesday Morning.

The day after was my BIL Scott’s birthday. He and his family live in Texas, so his gift needed to be something that would do well in shipping. He does a lot of traveling, so I thought he might like a new Dopp kit.

I sewed him up a good sized zipper pouch using men’s tweed suiting and sturdy cotton, and filled it with some nice poured soaps, a new razor, and some shave cream. He loves to grill, so I also sent him a bratwurst grill cage that very narrowly escaped staying here with Nick. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Lily girl turned 5 a few days later on October 5th! That morning before church she woke up to a new baby doll that looks just like her baby cousin Adelaide :), and this assortment of pillow boxes:

My girl loves accessories (as you can tell lol), so each one contained a new piece (or pieces) of jewelry:

This necklace and bracelet set was a clearance find at Hobby Lobby.

The charm bracelet was one I put together using charms from Walmart and basic findings.

The rings are actually midi rings from Rue 21, but they fit her 5 year old fingers like regular rings.

The rose necklace was one I made. The rose pendant came from Hobby Lobby on clearance, and I added the crown and chain. The crown was another charm from Walmart. I cut the top ring off, then sealed it into the well of the rose using Lisa Pavelka Magic-Glos.

The rhinestone crown necklace was yet another Walmart charm added to a chain, and it ended up being one of her favorites.

We had a party for her on the 11th, and I’ll tell you about that in my next post!

I’ve also been having some fun playing with my new Pinwheel Punch Board, which We R Memory Keepers was kind enough to send me to try.

It was my intention to make some pinwheels for Lily’s party to use as favors and decorations, but I wasn’t able to get my hands on any of the pinwheel attachments that makes the pinwheels functional. Every craft store I’ve gone to has been sold out of them, but as soon as I find some to snatch up I’m going to do a review post on the punch board.

In between everything else I’ve also been doing some mending and altering jobs, as well as giving the growing laundry a meaningful glance and a promise. But hopefully I’ll have a bit more time to post now that the cluster of birthdays is past!

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Wire Bead Jewelry Set

My mom’s birthday was last month. She loves handmade jewelry, so I decided to make her a necklace and matching earrings.

I’ve had surprisingly good luck in the past finding reasonably priced and pretty beads in Walmart’s craft department, and when I went looking for supplies for this set, I was not disappointed. I found some pretty round beads that look either blue or black, depending on how you look at them, for the bulk of the necklace, but the real star of the show were these gorgeous silver tone wire ball beads!

You can buy them on Amazon, as sourced above (not an affiliate link), but they were much cheaper at Walmart, like half of Amazon’s price.
This set was very simple to put together. I used stretch cording. I looped one end of the cording a short distance over a split ring, then added a crimp bead and squeezed it shut to hold it in place. Then I strung 50 blue/black beads. Then I added a wire bead, blue/black bead, wire bead, blue/black bead, wire bead, then 50 more blue/black beads. Then I threaded on a crimp bead, then a spring ring clasp, then threaded the end of the cord back down through the crimp bead and crimped closed.
The earrings were a little more complicated, but once I figured out what my plan was they were easy enough. 
I looped the cording down through the ball, around a wire inside, then back up through the top. Then, with both ends of the cord together, I threaded two blue/black beads onto it. Then I threaded a crimp bead onto one end of the cord, then looped the other end through a wire earring hook, then fed that end back down through the crimp bead and squeezed it shut. There was just a tiny bit of cord end protruding down from the crimp bead, so I snipped that off. Then I just added a silicone earring back and I was all done!
I also had enough blue/black beads left for Lily to string her a bracelet to match. I had her use stretch cording for that also, and I just double knotted it to close it off.
I love how these came out, and more importantly, my mom loved them too! She’s worn them to church several times since I gave them to her a few weeks ago. 
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