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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A Birthday Banner for the Birthday Girl

So this girl turned SEVEN on Wednesday! I can’t even handle this. She just got out of diapers, I swear.

We had a simple family get together at the house on Tuesday, and I made this Happy Birthday Banner to hang in the dining room. I used 4 sheets of kraft cardstock and 2 sheets of scrapbook paper. I cut the cardstock in fourths (I had 3 extra fourths), and cut the scrapbook paper into 3″x 5″ pieces to use in my Alphabet Punch Board. I ran the letters through my Xyron Creative Station to adhere them to the cardstock and strung it all on baker’s twine. I think I’m going to take the BIRTH off now that we’re done so that it just says Happy Day and hang it in her room.
Man, I love banners! This is one I made a couple of weeks ago for a baby shower at church. I cut the flags using my paper cutter, the letters using my Alphabet Punch Board, and the deer using a paper punch. I ran all the letters and the deer through my Xyron Creative Station to turn them into stickers which made the assembly super quick. Colton’s mom is doing his nursery in an outdoorsy theme, so hopefully she can use it in there too. 
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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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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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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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Happy Birthday Nick and Taylor!

Today is a big day in my family. Today is my husband’s and my oldest daughter’s birthday! Taylor turns 13 today, and Nick turns 35. I can’t even tell you how blessed I am to have these two amazing people in my life.

Nick is more than I ever dreamed of as a husband. He’s a awesome father, and he works so hard to provide for our family so that I can stay at home with our kids. I love him more literally every day.
Taylor is so smart and funny, not to mention gorgeous (look at those eyes)! She made me a mom, and it’s the best job ever! She’s such a great kid, and I love her so very much!
Happy Birthday to you both! Love you guys!
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Crafty Birthday Party: The Activities

Fair warning, this post is going to be LONG. I planned a ton of activities for this party. And we got to almost all of them. We had planned to do Sharpie tie dyed shirts, but about half the girls forgot to bring a shirt to dye. We were also going to do nail polish pendants, but we really just ran out of time and energy.
We had the party at our church’s family life center, which was such a blessing and terrific for the space and amenities, but it’s not my favorite place to shoot pictures, so excuse the industrial background.
We started out just letting the girls mingle and have fun. They picked out their party favors and chowed down on the food. A few of them had to come late, so we waited on the crafts until they were all there. My mom did such a great job with the food and decorations.
I made this cupcake banner courtesy of inspiration found here.

Gratuitous shot of my awesome nephew LB.

              Taylor                                    Lily


After the food and presents the girls dove into Taylor’s monstrous collection of nail polish for mani-pedis. A couple of months ago I found a bunch of pedicure flip flops for like 40 cents a pair so I stocked up for the party.
After the nail polish, the girls did chocolate facials. These were SO simple, just coconut oil and cocoa powder. They all said it made their skin super soft, and of course it smelled amazing! I had enough left to package some up to send it home as parting gifts the next day.
While the chocolate facials were setting, I had them making lip balm.
Then I let them dive into my bag of leather remnants, and they cut out leather earrings.
Next they made Shrinky Dinks. This was maybe my favorite activity of the night just because of how entranced they all were by the process. Most of them had never seen them before, and they couldn’t get enough of them! Did you know that you can buy a 50 pack of the sheets for $22.00? Such a better deal than paying $6 for 10 sheets at the craft store!
Then they painted little canvases mounted on magnets.
Next up were bottle cap pins. Images purchased here, here, and here.
Doesn’t that little hipster squirrel just slay you? That whole sheet of images was awesomesauce!
Next (yes, there was more!) I let them dig through my bag of satin remnants to make singed satin flower hair clips.
The last activity of the night was the photo shoot. They were looking a little tired by this point.
All of these accessories were found at the Dollar Tree, and we had enough scarves and sunglasses to send one of each home with each girl.
DSC_0561So this is what I look like at 5:30 in the morning after hosting a bunch of newly minted teenage girls! Keepin’ it real, folks.
After that I put them all to bed and popped Frozen in the DVD player. The next morning I fed them fruit, pop tarts, granola bars, cereal, and milk. All in all I think it was a huge success!

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Crafty Birthday Sleepover Party Favors

Friday my oldest, Taylor is having a crafty birthday party sleepover. She won’t turn 13 until the 24th, but my SIL is due with her baby 4 days later, so we wanted to schedule it a couple of weeks earlier just in case.

So I’m going to be the mom of a teenager. Gah! But let’s not focus on that. Let’s focus on the party! We’re not really big on birthday parties in this family, but we did this last year and it turned out so well that I really wanted to do it again for her big 13th.

I’m planning on having the girls make a number of crafts themselves, but I’ve also made up a few party favors for them to take home too. I’ll have some tutorials and tips coming in the next few weeks, but for now I have a few sneak peeks:

Some simple leather hair bows

Rolled rosette and wrapped washer necklaces.

Little boxy makeup bags,
I mostly crafted from my stash, so I don’t have very much money in any of it. I can’t wait to show you guys everything I’ve got planned!

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