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!

Early Fall

Okay, a reasonable person might be expected to believe that I had dropped off the face of the earth. In reality, the settling in to the school year along with various other unexpected occurrences has hit us like a freight train and blogging has gotten pushed to the back burner. But I’m here now! So I hope you’re ready for some pictures, because I’ve got a few to share.

This is a little half octagon table Nick and I refinished. Okay, it was way more him than me, but I helped a little. I am so terribly sad that I didn’t get a picture before he started tearing it apart, but trust me, it was UH-GLEE. Think sea foam crackle paint all over, and the veneer on two of the doors was badly damaged. That’s where he really impressed me – he smoothed it all out with Wood Bondo, and you can’t even tell it’s not original. The top was in good condition, so we just stripped, sanded, and stained it. We used a Rustoleum stain in Kona.

I shared this image over on Instagram. These lovely little banners were inspired by the one made by the adorable Bethany at Pitter & Glink. I made a cardstock template for my banners using my We R Memory Keepers Banner Punch Board, then cut two for each banner from dropcloth. I machine stitched them together with pink thread, then cut the words from htv using my Cameo. The font I used was Magnolia Sky, which is free for personal use. The flowers and bow are a variety of purchased and handmade pieces. I punched holes in the corners and added eyelets using my Crop-a-Dile Punch and Eyelet Setter, threaded in some random satin ribbon I had on hand, and knotted the ends on the front. On the back of each banner I hot glued a wooden skewer cut to size along the top to keep the banner hanging straight. The Create Beauty banner is hanging in my craft room (as pictured below), and the Be Kind is part of Lily’s gallery wall.

So this happened in late August. Sawyer wasn’t feeling well at all and we couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment, so I took him to the ER. By the time we got there he was having some breathing distress and they ended up keeping us for two days. We never did find out exactly what the problem was, but the best guess was that he had a virus combined with an allergic reaction to something that really hit him hard. Below is a picture of him hanging out with his buddy Chase, who brought him Play-Doh, cars, and snacks and spent some time looking suitably impressed with Sawyer’s grand tour of his hospital room.

Nick works for Lexus and they sent him this amazing gift basket, which was such an awesome thing for them to do!

Nick’s cousin got married last month, and we stayed at an amazing chalet near the wedding venue where they had this gorgeous handmade quilt on the bed. I’m in love!

We got to see Nick’s sister Kristin and her family, which was awesome. They live in Texas, and it had been over a year since we’d seen most of them. It was so much fun to get the kids together with their cousins!

Our Lily girl got baptized a couple of weeks ago, and she couldn’t have been more precious.

So those are a few of the things that have been keeping us busy lately. What have you been working on?
*There are no affiliate links in this post. I have not been compensated for using any product mentioned in this post. I just like to share what I have used in case you might want to use it too!

Veggie Chicken and Dumplins

School started back for us this week, and it’s a whole new routine here at our new house. We live close enough to the school to be disqualified for bus service, which in turn qualifies us to wait 30 minutes in the drop off/pick up line. Since it’s a 10 minute walk, that’s what we’re going with, and I have loved it so far. One on one time with my middle kiddo, 10 minutes to myself on the way back, and easy exercise to boot!

But, it does mean I don’t want to spend hours on dinner if I can help it, so last night I made one of our very favorite fast and easy meals. It might actually be my very very favorite. Lily especially can be very picky, and this is one where she will always ask for seconds. And bonus – you get to get some veggies in them!
Okay, a couple of disclaimers: I am not a food blogger, so I don’t have amazing presentation pictures here. It’s hard to stage things when you’re trying not to eat your subject first. Second of all, this is the FAST MAMA version. Yes, this can absolutely be made healthier. You can use fresh chicken and fresh veggies and homemade cream of whatever soup mix and skim milk etc. etc. And it’s very good that way. But it’s amazing this way too, and it’s not only quick, but cheap. So if you are looking for a way to get something yummy, hot, and comforting in their bellies between homework and bedtime, this is the ticket.
This recipe was adapted from a recipe my friend Rebecca gave me seven years ago, and it has never not been a hit. I added the veggies and adjusted the soup/milk ratio some to stretch it out and it is so very, very good! This amount feeds my family of five with just enough left over to send Nick lunch to work the next day (if we show great restraint and don’t make poor decisions about how much is actually a reasonable amount to eat for one meal. This is not a single serve portion, even if you believe you can).
Start out with the following:
26 Ounce Can of Cream of Chicken Soup
29 Ounce Can of Veg-All/Mixed Vegetables
2 Cups Bisquick/Baking Mix
3 2/3 Cups of milk, divided
2 10 ounce Cans of Chicken/2-3 cooked chicken breasts, cut into chunks

Your milk will need to be divided into 3 cups and 2/3 cup

Add 3 cups milk, vegetables, soup, and chicken to large pot on high. My chicken was a tomato herb flavor, just because it’s what I had on hand, but plain chicken is just fine. 

While this heats, mix Bisquick and remaining 2/3 cup milk. 
Form into small dumplins about the size of a heaping tablespoon and add to soup mixture.

Bring to a boil, then set heat on low. Simmer for 10 minutes, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes more. Stir occasionally. Before removing from heat check to make sure your dumplins are not gooey. If they are undercooked, leave it on the heat for another 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
And you’re done! I love this with black pepper, which is weird, because I don’t like black pepper on really anything, but it’s SO good on this dish. Nick’s papaw passed away a few years ago, and he put copious amounts of black pepper on everything he ate, so this dish always makes me think about him. 
This stuff is so yummy! I’m super jealous that Nick got to take the rest of it for lunch today. Let me know if you try it!

Easy Cardboard Rocket Craft

This year’s Vacation Bible School curriculum was called To The Edge, and it was space themed. My sister-in-law Rachael was in charge of the decorations, and people, it was out of this world! (Bahahahaha! Snort. Okay, just ignore me) Seriously though, she did an amazing job. Check out a few of the pictures (Excuse the quality of some of them. The lighting wasn’t the best in some areas. I plan to post some of the pictures from the actual event on a later post.):

The black light hallway was a huge hit.

My mom and dad put these rockets together, and Rachael made that awesome astronaut herself!

The “computer screens” at the control panels even lit up!

This robot. How amazing is this? Of course I think the guy standing next to him is pretty amazing too. 🙂
I can’t believe how detailed everything was. Have I mentioned that she’s five months pregnant and has two kids under four? Yeah, serious supermom stuff.
Anyway, I was really surprised at the lack of VBS friendly space themed crafts out there on Pinterest. There were a lot of space themed projects, but very little that could be done with multiple kids in 20 minutes. So I wanted to share these awesome rockets we made!
This is a super quick and simple craft, even for a group, especially if you have your paper pre-cut. Materials needed are as follows:
5 inch cardstock circle
Toilet paper roll or other cardboard tube about 4 inches in height
Scrapbook paper or plain white copy paper 4×8 inches
3-4 wood half circles
Hot glue gun

At VBS we used plain white paper to wrap the rockets and let the kids color on them. You can absolutely use toilet paper rolls, but a friend at church brought me a massive bag of these heavy duty cardboard shipping tubes from his job. They were already 4 inches long, and they were perfect for this craft!

First run a line of hot glue down the side of your cardboard tube.

Glue down your paper on the short edge, wrap all the way around the rocket and glue down the other end.

Cut a slit halfway across your 5 inch circle and form into a cone shape.
Glue the cone closed.

 Run a thick line of hot glue around the rim of your tube and set the cone on top. Make sure to put it on straight, and make sure it touches the glue all the way around.

Glue on your wooden half circles as feet. (Or a stand maybe? thrusters? I don’t know.) I found these in bags of 100 pieces at Hobby Lobby. However, they were in the clearance section for about $4, so I don’t know if they stock them anymore,  but if you are making a bunch of these and can’t find the half circles, you could buy wood circles to cut in half. If you are just making one or two, you could use any number of things in their place – paper straws, popsicle sticks, short lengths of dowel rod, etc.

The kids had a blast (hehe) with these, and they were appealing to a wide age group. At VBS I had the kids glue on the paper around the side and glue the cones closed with glue sticks for safety reasons. I and another worker glued the cones to the top and glued the feet on with hot glue. I made some extras for our nursery age kids who didn’t get to participate in craft time, and they were a universal hit (ha! I can’t stop!).

Clay Typography Wall Art

It’s honestly kind of rare for me to have a project turn out exactly how I envisioned it, but this one did just that. A few days ago the kids wanted to play with clay, so I got out my molds and Sculpey. I have a bunch of the Martha Stewart Clay Molds as well as a bunch of the Mod Molds. The great thing about all of these is that you can bake the clay right in them. I don’t know if it’s actually recommended, but I’ve done it many times and don’t have any sort of damage to my molds. That said, the Sculpey I usually use bakes at 275° F, so I would be cautious baking the molds at any higher temperatures.

I’ve been making a lot of little wood burned pieces for Sawyer’s and Lily’s rooms, which I love, but I wanted something with a little more color. So I used various colors of Sculpey and my Mod Molds alphabet mold to make letters spelling out Sawyer the Brave and Lily the Lovely.

These were easy peasy, although they took a little over an hour to make because the mold has one of each letter and Lily had 4 L’s on her piece and there were 5 E’s between the two. Most of that time was bake time though. Actual working time was probably 10 minutes.

Materials needed(non affiliate links):

Sculpey oven bake clay in various colors (I think mine was Sculpey III)
Mod Molds Alphabet Mold
Unfinished 3.5 inch wood circle (Mine came in a 6 pack at Walmart for $1.47)
Hot glue gun

Knead your clay until soft, then fill mold letters needed for your message.

Bake according to package directions. Allow to cool enough to remove from molds.

When you have all your letters baked, lay out your message as you want it to be on the finished piece.

Pick up one letter at a time and glue in place with hot glue.

Clean up any glue strings and you’re done!

These pieces are so fun! I had to make Lily and Sawyer both bring them back so I could get pictures of them, because they took off with them as soon as they saw them! And they are easy enough that they would make a great kid craft just so long as you help with the hot gluing.

You can add a picture hanger to the back if you want, but the wood is thin, so I’ve found that sticky back velcro dots are a better option. Most of the items on Sawyer’s gallery wall are hung with these, including his big letters, and I’ve had no problem with anything falling off. Yes, I know the clay piece isn’t up there yet. Baby steps, people.

If you make a Sculpey art piece like this I’d love to see it!

Showers of Blessings

Guys, I just had to pop in for a minute and tell you how God has blessed me over the last few days. And because every post needs a picture, I’m sharing a quick snap of Sawyer’s gallery wall in progress. Everything on it was either thrifted, on clearance, or handmade. Sometime soon I plan to post about all that wood burned art.

Anyway, I just wanted to share how good to me God has been this week. I’ve been kind of stressed the last few days. We just finished up Vacation Bible School at our church (which was awesome – eight kids saved!). I’m in charge of the crafts every year, which I love, but it’s always exhausting. And this month it just seems like the bills have been rolling in and I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that school starts back in less than two weeks and it didn’t look like Sawyer was going to be able to get into the preschool program we were hoping for and I was trying to figure out the school clothes situation for these kiddos that are growing like weeds, etc. etc. etc.

Man, I tell you what – God has got us covered! A few days ago a friend at church shared a link to Schoola.  Full disclosure, that is my referral link, but this is not a compensated post. I’m sharing it because I got some amazing deals and I want to share the love. Schoola is a program that collects gently used clothing and resells them at awesome prices to benefit schools. When you sign up (for
free) through a referral link like mine you get a $20 credit. Then if you create a collection (also free),
you get another $10 credit. They also immediately email you a 50% off coupon which makes your $30 in credit worth $60. And shipping is free! And if you go through my link, I get a $20 credit too.

So let me tell you what I’ve gotten with my sign up credits and referral credits so far: for Taylor I got 3 shirts, 2 sweaters, one pair of jeans, one pair of shorts, and a hoodie. For Lily I got 2 shirts, 7 pairs of pants, 3 dresses, 2 skirts, and a coat. For Sawyer I got 6 shirts, one pair of pants, one pair of shorts, and a pair of shoes. And I even got a shirt for me! That’s $351.50 worth of clothes, and I’ve spent $3.30 out of pocket. I’ve gotten to use a coupon on every order so far, and I’m hoping to get a few more referrals to round out a few more pairs of pants for Sawyer, so if you want to sign up and get
some awesome name brand clothes for your kids or yourself for free, I would really appreciate you using my link above.

And speaking of Sawyer and school, I got a call today that Sawyer is going to be able to participate in the preschool program we wanted after all! Guys, this is a HUGE blessing, and a very direct answer to a specific prayer!

I also got a couple of surprise cards earlier this week – one from a sweet lady at church that was just a very precious and encouraging note that really brightened my day, and one from my secret sister with a gift card in it! That’s going to be the start of my fund for my Workbox 2.0!

Kind of the icing on the cake today was this little reminder I got when I was fixing dinner:

This was on the back of the bag of chicken I was baking, and it is my very favorite verse! Isn’t it neat how God loves on us?

Happy Tuesday, guys!

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?

Home. Finally

Hello. Remember me? So the blog has been on hiatus for a few months, but I’m just about ready to start up regular posting again. Here’s what’s been going on: we bought a house!

Here is a somewhat condensed version of the whole long, painful process: when I last posted about the house situation at the end of the year, we were still on the market and had had two contracts fall through. This was…disheartening to say the least. Then in February we finally had another buyer! Our closing date was set for March 24, and the race was on to find a new house.

We. Looked. At. So. Many. Houses. Our realtor Matt Cupp of the Derek Maples Team at Keller Williams Realty was soooo incredibly patient with us. We were looking for 4 bedrooms, 2+ baths, a 2 car garage, roughly the area we were already in, with a still reasonable commute to work for Nick, fenced in back yard, AND a bonus room/5th bedroom for a craft room. It was the craft room that was a killer for us. There were 4 bedroom houses galore, but very little with a space for me.

Then we found this amazing house that we fell in love with. It had everything we wanted. Everything. And the craft space was a detached space the size of an extra long single car garage, with its own bathroom and huge closet. It was a foreclosure, bank owned, and bidding was open. So we put in our very best, maybe even stretched a little too far bid. But we felt pretty confident that we would get it. Our bid was solid, we had a closing date already set for the sale of our old house, and had already been through inspection on it. Nick’s dad has years of construction experience, and he checked out the new property for us, so we were even submitting our bid with no inspection contingency.

Nick’s parents loved it, my parents loved it, we loved it, the kids loved it. This was it. THE HOUSE. And then…

A cash offer came in. They went with the other buyers. We were devastated. But we knew God had a reason. And the old house was sold, so we had to pick ourselves up and start looking again. Nothing we saw appealed to us. Everything looked so unsuitable next to the house we had lost. We ran poor Matt all over Knoxville and Powell and Maynardville and Clinton. There were a couple of houses that would have technically worked, but our heart just wasn’t in them. We actually signed a contract on one, but were relieved when the inspection came back with issues that allowed us to back out of it, because we just didn’t love it like the one we had lost.

Then Matt showed us the newly listed house on Cartmill Dr. And we loved it. And we bought it. We closed on April 22 and moved in the same day. Right now there are still a lot of boxes in sight, but we are making progress. And there’s even a craft room!

Here’s a quick recap of the journey over the last year with selling and buying: 136 showings, 3 contracts, foundation damage and repair, 5 (FIVE!) extensions on the closing date, 4 weeks living with my parents, and 1 contract extension on the contract for the new house (because of the 5th extension for the buyer on the old house). This was the 5th house we had made an offer on, and the 3rd one we had had a contract on.

I have to give a shout out to our whole realty team. Derek Maples of the Derek Maples Team of Keller Williams listed our house for us last year in a very slow market and kept a constant stream of buyers coming through. As I mentioned, we had 136 showings. And he was a serious rock star when it came to getting us through closing. Unfortunately our buyer’s finance company dropped the ball a number of times, causing the 5 extensions, which resulted in our closing getting delayed 29 days. Derek really advocated for us and ended up getting that finance company to reimburse us for the expenses we incurred due to those delays, which was a huge lifesaver for us.

Matt Cupp showed us house after house, and often checking listings out in person without us beforehand when we were unavailable for showings. He showed us houses as early as 7AM and as late as 9PM, every day of the week. He worked hard to get us the price we needed on the house we bought, and he showed up at closing with a lovely etched glass casserole dish as a housewarming gift. He was almost always available to take my call, and he was awesome about getting back to me quickly if he was unable to answer. Even though we went through way more listings that most of his clients, he never got impatient or tried to push us into buying a house that we wouldn’t be happy with. We always felt safe in his care, and we could tell that his goal was our happiness, not his commission.

Brandon White is the Director of Operations for the Derek Maples Team, and he really is the glue that holds it all together. I could always call him if I had a question, and he was there to hold my hand at closing on the old house. He followed up on a lot of items for me, especially during the drawn out closing process.

This was a really long process for all of us, through no fault at all of anyone (except maybe our buyer’s finance company, but that was only the last few weeks), and they never gave up on us or lost patience with us. I can’t say enough about how much we love them. If we ever decide to sell this house (not that I can even imagine that at this point), we will definitely go with them again.

Most important to us was the fact that this is a team that puts God first. Their motto is God, Family, Real Estate, in that order, and they have a weekly prayer meeting for their clients every Thursday morning.

So anyway, that is what the last 5 months have looked like. Now that we are finally home, we can start settling in, and I can start sharing a few of the crafty things I’ve managed to squeeze in!

Since right now we’re not quite ready for pictures, I’m going to leave you with the listing photos, courtesy of Zillow. We have put up a fan in the master bedroom, but otherwise we’ve not done much else.

LOVE all the wainscoting!

My new Craft Room!

A laundry room! No more laundry in the garage!

This closet. I die!

Secret pass through door between Sawyer’s and Lily’s room.

Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange Winter 2015

For several years now I’ve participated in the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange, and it’s always a blast! This round I was paired with the lovely Lisa Hickey of Caron Designs. She sent me such neat things! This was round one (yes, round one).

First was this gorgeous flattened wine bottle cheese tray. I’ve been fascinated with flattened glassware for years, but as I’m lacking a kiln it’s not really a craft I can do, so I was thrilled with it. Unfortunately this beautiful piece got cracked in shipping. However, it worked out, as you will see.

She also sent this adorable handpainted flattened jar soap dish which currently lives beside my kitchen sink.

There were also these two delicious smelling soaps, one of which is in the above soap dish in my kitchen and the other of which is in our downstairs bath.
Last were these awesome original artwork greeting cards.
I contacted Lisa to let her know how much I loved everything, and I mentioned that the cheese platter had been cracked in shipping. The break was a very clean one, and I wanted to ask her advice on the best glue to use to repair it. I also wanted to let her know in case she wanted to contact her shipping company to be reimbursed for this damage. She generously told me that she would take care of it and that I should expect a new one later in the week! I promise I was not trying to wrangle a new one from her, but I was so touched by her generosity!
So a few days later I got another package in the mail, and sure enough there was another gorgeous platter, this one clear.
But also included was this lovely pair of glass bead earrings.
And this beautiful fused glass star ornament. When I was getting to know her work online these stars were one of the creations that really caught my eye, so I was thrilled to get one! It went waaaaay up high on my Christmas tree to keep it away from the grabby hands of the short people in my house.
So here’s what I sent Lisa:
I made her these two little Christmas pillows from drop cloth and heat transfer vinyl. This one was made from drop cloth I hand dyed a deep cranberry red. The bell shape was purchased from the Silhouette Design Store. My favorite part of it is the tiny bell dotting the i in Jingle.
This one was left the natural color, and the heat transfer vinyl was cut from a Tulip Twilight Shimmer Transfer Sheet. (Not an affiliate link) I actually found these on clearance at one of the discount stores (Ross? Burkes? TJ Maxx? I can’t remember).  I was a little nervous cutting it with my Cameo, but it worked great.
Next I made her three memory wire bracelets. I love these as gifts because they work for any size wrist and are easy to put on and take off for little hands that can’t manage clasps well yet and older hands that struggle with arthritis and everybody in between. I wanted them to work well for Christmas yet still be versatile enough to wear the rest of the year, so I chose the colors accordingly.
I also made these fun snowman earrings, and they were embarrassingly easy to put together. 
They started out like this, so all I did was literally add the ear wires and backings.
Like always, this was so much fun, and I’m so grateful to Linda of Craftaholics Anonymous for hosting again and Lisa for partnering with me! I’ll be linking up at the Handmade Gift Exchange Linky Party.

Hodge Podge End of Year Update

Guys. Come on now. You didn’t really think I was going to go the whole rest of 2015 without blogging again, did you? Okay, okay, so I’m cutting it close, but I’ve been a little busy. Here’s all that’s been happening:

First of all, the house. We got the foundation work all completed, and it is now completely steady and under a transferable lifetime warranty. Unfortunately, the buyer ended up backing out with no real explanation the very day we were having the work done. So that was disappointing, but the foundation repair needed to be done either way, so we are more prepared than ever for when the right buyer comes along. We also put in new kitchen counter tops and new backsplash along the sink wall, so it went from this:

to this:

Halloween was definitely better this year than last, but I didn’t do anything crafty in the costume department. Or take really any pictures, apparently. This seems to be the sole picture I have of the two littles who trick or treated. Lily was either Rapunzel or Sophia the First, depending on her mood and whether or not she wanted to wear the wig. Sawyer was a little more put together as a pirate. But seriously, what was the deal with this picture? Mom/photographer/blogger fail.

We also had a couple of things going on with the ladies ministries at church. Our Teachers of Good Things group had their quarterly craft meeting, and this time around we made easy burlap wreaths. Nick came up with a pile of wire coat hangers and helped me (mostly just did it for me) shape them into wreath forms. Then we just unhooked the top, accordion folded burlap ribbon, threaded it on, and rehooked the top. My awesome mom, who is a licensed florist, whipped up burlap bows for everyone.

My SIL Leah the wreath model.

We used basically this tutorial on Just Call Me Homegirl although as I mentioned, we accordion folded the burlap instead of zigzagging/twisting to save on time because our church life center had a second event happening after ours. In retrospect, I wish we had followed Homegirl’s tutorial more exactly, because folding it the way we did required more burlap (about 15 yards a wreath) and I found that over time it tends to compress and sag down to the bottom. I think it would work well this way if you were to first use a fabric stiffener on the ribbon.
We also did a fun Christmas Sock Exchange/Cookie Party. Everyone brought a fun pair of new Christmas socks filled with goodies and we all baked cookies and exchanged socks. So fun!
In other news, I finally got to upgrade to a Cameo, and I did a lot of fun projects for Christmas with it, I made a couple of cool guy gifts out of paracord, I made some awesome drop cloth Christmas stockings, and I participated in the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange again, all of which deserve their own post. Happy New Year, guys!