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!

Teachers of Good Things Fabric Pumpkins

So clearly I’m making up for lost time with the posting tonight, but it’s about to get CA-RAZY up in here, so I’m doing it while I can. I mentioned a couple posts ago that we did another Walridge Baptist Church Teachers of Good Things Quarterly Craft Meeting. You know, the WBCToGTQCM for short. This month was so fun! We made fabric pumpkins, and they turned out SO CUTE!

We took our inspiration and general game plan from this post at Coastal Farmhouse, and if I can ever get my hands on some of that gorgeous snowy vintage chenille I’m going to make some just like hers!
Rachael and I hit Joann’s for supplies and went a little nuts (within the budget of course). I’m so pleased with the fabrics we ended up with! Rachael graciously took on the task of cutting all the circles out because, hello, have you met my scissor skills? She cut 2 sizes, 18 inches and 9 inches, which made roughly 12 and 6 inch pumpkins. The tutorial linked very helpfully gives you measurements for a lot more sizes. We also cut freehand leaves out of all the fabric.

This is more of a list tutorial than a photo tutorial, because I was so busy making pumpkins that I mostly got photos of finished items. But here are the basics:

Supplies:
Fabric circles in various sizes
Polyfil
Needles and thread
Deer corn
Stems/short sticks
Various embellishments like buttons and twine
Hot glue guns

Start by threading your needle, tying a large knot in the end, and sewing a loose running stitch all the away around your circle, about a half inch from the edge. Loosely gather the circle into a pouch, right side out.

Add between 1/2-1 cup of deer corn in the pouch, then fill the rest with Polyfil. Carefully pull the thread tight to close the circle at the top. Tie the thread off, then choose a stem.

Squirt a good glob of hot glue down into the top of the pumpkin, then push the stem in all the way to the bottom and twist. Hold it there for a second to let the glue set.

Add embellishments of your choice like fabric leaves, buttons, and twine.

About our supplies:

The deer corn came in a 40 pound bag from Walmart for something like $6. We had plenty left of course, but we also play cornhole at church camp every year, and the bags have to be repaired about once a year, so any excess will be used for that. Funny detail – the first bag we bought was actually half deer kibble, which we didn’t realize until we opened it up right before the event. Fortunately Walmart is about 5 minutes from the church. 🙂

You will need lots of Polyfil for this project. If you’re doing this for a group, you will probably need more than a 3lb bag.

While we did have a few real pumpkin stems, most of our stems were just short sticks Rachael gathered from around her home, and I liked them even better than the real stems. Before using, you will want to bake any natural items like this in your oven for a couple of hours at 175 degrees or so, checking every 15 minutes to make sure they don’t catch fire. This will kill any little creepy crawlies that may be hiding in the bark. Another awesome (but more expensive) option is to use a small bundle of cinnamon sticks as a stem.

The twine was just basic $1.97 a spool stuff from Walmart. We bought a 1/2 inch wooden dowel at Hobby Lobby, and I wrapped it tightly with the twine, then coated it with fabric stiffener and let it dry for 24 hours. The dowel was 36″ long, and we cut it in small sections when it was dry, but we still ran out, so I would recommend making more than you think you’ll need.

We got our buttons in big bags at Hobby Lobby for $5.99 minus the coupon savings, and I couldn’t get enough of them! (Not an affiliate link)
This craft was a huge hit, and most ladies made more than one. My mom and my sister-in-law Leah, who is the pastor’s wife, were on vacation with my dad and my brother and nephew, so I made some for them too.
These were my Mom’s.
And these were Leah’s. When she got back from vacation, she made a couple as a thank you gift for the neighbor who got their mail while they were gone.
I made these for the sweet lady who did the cooking for the event and for a dear church sister who unfortunately lost her husband the morning of the event and of course was not able to attend.
I also made some for Lily’s teachers at school for Teacher Appreciation Week, and when I went for a parent teacher meeting this week with her main teacher she had them proudly displayed on her desk and told me how much she loved them!
This was a craft that was doable for everyone, and even Lily made a couple.

We all had a great time, and they were all so different, yet all so adorable! I just couldn’t quit with them. I think I made 15 in all. The five at the top were the ones I took home, and they make me smile every time I see them. 

A few tips:
More corn means a heavier pumpkin that is going to stay put, but if your fabric is light and thin (like the muslin one above), it may show through if you add too much. Also, if your pumpkin is heavy, you will need to leave it sitting on the table while you’re pulling the thread closed at the top so you don’t break the thread. If you are making your pumpkin from burlap, it helps to tie the end of the thread to the burlap before running your stitch so that it doesn’t just pull through. Also, burlap will tend to poke out around the stem if you stitch too close to the edge, so it’s best to make your stitching line about an inch from the edge and tuck the raw edges into the top of the pumpkin before inserting your stem.
This was such a great craft, easy and inexpensive, especially if you are doing it for a group. Of course if you are just making a few for yourself and don’t want to buy a 40 pound bag of corn, you can weight them with rice, dried beans, dried pasta, or poly pellets. Or you can leave them unweighted and just stuff them with Polyfil or scrap fabric. Rachael made a few from old sweaters as a test run that were unweighted and they turned out amazing!
Hopefully we will be in a new house next Thanksgiving, and I just want to make these and put them everywhere! And I love that they can be made to match or complement any color scheme. Make up a few for your holiday decor or to take as a thank you gift for your host on Thanksgiving – there’s still plenty of time!

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.

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!

Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange

A couple of times a year Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous hosts a Handmade Gift Exchange. This is always so much fun! I’ve participated several times now, and I love getting to know new crafty people! My partner this time was a very cool lady named Laura, and she really nailed it with my gift! She sent me this amazing twine wrapped letter, and she captured my style perfectly!

Isn’t it gorgeous? And with most of our decorative things packed away in storage, it was awesome to get something like this right now.

I sent her a sort of motley assortment of things. She’s a pretty free form pinner, interested in a lot of different things, so it was hard for me to decide what to do. But she did tell me that she does some mixed media art pieces, and I recently discovered something pretty awesome with my Sizzix machine and some embossing folders, so I decided to send her some materials she can hopefully incorporate into her own creations.

Hobby Lobby sells 12″ x 30″ rolls of 36 gauge copper and aluminum and 40 gauge copper. For church camp this year we used copper and leather to make stamped bracelets like these that I made for a friend’s daughter last year.

That worked pretty well for camp, but we had 3 hours a day to work with crafts, and I was looking for a way to adapt the concept to the 20 minute craft times we would have at Vacation Bible School this month. So I pulled out my Sizzix machine and my embossing folders and played around a bit, and I sent my crafty sisters these cell phone photos in the wee hours of the morning:

The coffee cups! I swoon!

Success! I was addicted! And it went very well at VBS. But anyway, I decided to send Laura some embossed sheets of copper and aluminum.

I also made her a leather cuff.

I even embossed some patent leather, and the effect is subtle, but I like it.

I also made her some note cards with coordinating envelopes.

Lastly, I sent her this pair of fun dangly earrings that I made. I hope to do a tutorial on them soon.

Of course I neglected to take a good picture of the whole gift, but Laura kindly took one when she got it, so I’m stealing it from her Facebook. It kind of looks like she has the same kitchen table as me.

As always, this was a blast, and I can’t wait till the next one in December!

*This post did not contain any affiliate links.

Where We Are

I know I’ve been absent here. I’ve kind of had the blog on hiatus while we were dealing with selling the house, and while we’re still dealing with that, this seems like a good time to update.

So here’s what’s been happening since my last post. Both of our families came together on a couple of days to help with the final push getting our house to market. And they (and we) worked HARD! And we got it all finished. A few days later a very sweet photographer showed up to take listing photos, and we went live a few days later on May 2.

We started getting showings right away, 5 in the first couple of days. And though it eventually slowed down some, it’s been very steady. But we’ve not found the right buyer yet. And the contingency contract we signed on the home we wanted to buy ran out 6 days ago. We contacted the home owners, and they agreed to renew if we wanted, but we wanted to go see the home again. So we went to see it 3 days ago, and we noticed a few things that hadn’t really stood out to us before. We still love the home, but basically there are too many things that would need to be taken care of as soon as we move in for us to be able to afford with the combination of their asking price and the profit we’re likely to get from selling our current home. So after much prayer and discussion, we opted not to renew our contract with them. And we’ve not ruled it out completely, but there are a few things that would have to change if we do buy it. And of course it may sell before ours does, so we’re just trusting God to work things according to His plan. 
So anyway, here are a few pics of our current home. You know, if you’re in the market.
The Kitchen. We painted the cabinets white a few months ago, and I couldn’t believe how much it brightened up the whole space. 
That pantry cabinet holds a TON.

That hallways leads down to a bathroom and two bedrooms, plus a linen closet. And that door you see just down the hall is a pretty roomy under-stairs storage closet.

The Living Room. First of all, I feel that I should point out that the stuffed fish, deer head, and ducks on the walls are not actually part of the building structure. This might seem obvious, but we did in fact have one viewer that left feedback that they didn’t like the house because of the taxidermy. Those are, uh, ours. Fear not, they will be moving with us.

I realize that the couches and chair we chose are a maybe bit large for the room, but frankly we spend most of our time in this room, and it’s nice with a family of 5 to have space to comfortably seat 8 so that we can all sit with some space around us. Assuming I can untangle Sawyer from my hair and get Lily off my shoulder.

The Downstairs Bedrooms. 
Bonus picture of Sawyer helping paint before the new carpet went in.

When we just had Taylor, this one was our family room/den. It’s very roomy.

The Downstairs Bath. I hate trying to get pictures of bathrooms, don’t you? Anyway, it’s a full bath.

The Master Bedroom. This is where all the magic happens.*

I can’t quit staring at my crooked bedspread. What happened? Anyway, lots of room and his and hers closets.

The En Suite Bathroom. Also a full bath.
The Great Outdoors. This deck has a fresh paint job here. And by fresh paint job, I mean we decided the night before the photographer came to go ahead and paint it, and we did much of this by…flashlight. Fortunately it proved quite passable by the light of day.

The Back Yard.

One last shot of the outside. The roof is 3 years old, and the HVAC unit with air purifier is 5 years old.
If you or anyone you know in the area is interested in a great starter home in a quiet older neighborhood, please feel free to contact our Realtor using the form on the listing page.
So anyway, that’s la casa. Meanwhile, we’re still planning and praying (but praying more than planning). The really excellent news is that all this waiting and showing is getting the whole family in excellent practice for keeping a neat and tidy house, and with so much of our stuff in storage, we’re really finding out just how much we can live without. Except for my craft stuff. I need all of that. All of it.

*I just ruined this post, and possibly this whole blog for my mom. Sorry, Mom. Mystery of the grandkids revealed.

Home

Gratuitous shot of my cute kiddos, because what’s a post without a picture?

Okay, so I’m still here. I even have projects to blog about. It’s just that there have been such big things going on in my life that I can’t seem to put them all into words. It seems hard to post about small things without talking about big things. But God has been moving here, and it is important that I talk about that.

So I’ve mentioned that we’ve been getting our house ready to list. And it’s a process that has stretched out longer than we’ve wanted, but God’s timing is in everything. There is a house that we had been looking at since January. We really liked it, and it had many, many of the things we want/need in a new home. A big garage for Nick, bedrooms for all the kids, a space for a craft room for me, even a bit of extra room for a play room. And it was close to the price we were looking for. We had been to view it inside a couple of times, and we were just waiting to get our own house on the market before we made an offer.

Finally, after talking to our Realtor (who was also their Realtor), he indicated that the homeowners would be open to a contingency offer since we were so close to listing. So we made an offer. And we waited. And they had another offer from another buyer. And they came back to both of us and asked us both to submit our very best offers. So we gave them our walk-away price, and we waited and prayed. And finally they decided – on the other offer.

And while we had prayed and prayed that God’s will would be done here, whether or not that meant us getting this particular house, it was hard for me for a bit. Because I’m silly and human and imperfect and eventhoughIknowbetter, sometimes I get impatient with God. And this feeling sad and a little teary went on for about an hour.

Then Nick found a listing online that we had never seen before, mostly, I’m sure, because it had only been on the market for 9 days, and we were concentrating on the other house. It looked very interesting to say the least, and we decided to see if we could go see it the next day. As luck would have it, the owners were happy to let us come by.

The home is partially renovated, with most of the major work done, but there is still a lot to do. Most of it is relatively minor, tile installation, painting, etc, all things we can do ourselves, although there are a few bigger things still to be done too. A lot of work. A lot.

We fell head over heels in love. In. Love. We prayed about it, and we felt liberty to put in an offer. So I texted the homeowners to thank them for letting us look and tell them that we would like to make an offer. Then we called our Realtor to let him know. I think he was caught off guard, because this was just a day or two after he had to deliver the news that our offer on the other house had been rejected, but he was happy to contact the owners of this new listing for us.

Longish story shortish, the owners decided to accept our offer, even though we’ve not officially listed our house yet, and we have a signed contract! We also have 90 days (a bit less now) to sell our own home. We go to market next Monday, ready or not, and tomorrow we’ve got (hopefully) lots of help coming to knock out the last bit that we have left to do. Guys, I don’t want to share too many details about the new house at this point, but I just have to say that it has things I never in my wildest dreams believed we would have. God is SO very good to us, ALL THE TIME, and He constantly amazes me with how He blesses us.

He’s already moving us through this process, starting with the homeowners accepting an offer from us when we didn’t even have our own house listed yet (and yes, they knew this). And today brought another big answer to prayer. One of the biggest things about the first house we were looking at that was not ideal for us was the high school it would have Taylor zoned for. It’s not a bad school, but it’s also not our first choice, or even our second or third. Our first choice is the high school attached to (like in the same parking lot as) the middle school she’s in now, but due to the crazy zoning in our area, even if we stayed right where we are, next year she would go to a high school in the next community.

So a few months ago we put in a request for a transfer to our first choice high school. And to be honest, I wasn’t holding out great hope that we would be approved. Transfers around here are notoriously hard to get unless you are a teacher zoned outside of your school of employment or your kid is highly involved in a school specific program. But we submitted the transfer request and prayed for the best. And it turns out that this house we have an offer in on now is zoned for the same high school as the first house we tried to buy. But we felt God telling us to put in the offer, so we were trusting that He had a plan for that too, whether that meant that He wanted Taylor there for a reason or whether He had another plan.

Today we got a letter in the mail telling us that Taylor has been approved to attend the high school we want her to attend! There are still hurdles to overcome, the biggest of which is going to be selling our house in the next two and a half months for the right price, but I believe that God’s hand is in this as well, and we want to give Him all the glory for whatever comes out of this situation.

I can’t see the whole picture yet, but I can see some of the ways He has been blessing us, guiding things with His hand and timing even when we’ve been impatient. If we had been able to get our house listed when we wanted to, we would have doubtless made an earlier offer on that first house. And it probably would have been accepted. That home was on the market for over a year before it sold, and the offers from us and the buyer they sold it to were the first offers they had gotten on it. When we lost it, I thought “Man! If we hadn’t waited so long we would have gotten it!” And that’s probably true. But that was not the house God had for us.

The house we have a contract on now is so much more perfect for us in so many ways, and it offers things I never imagined. And if we had gotten an earlier answer on that first house, we would have completely missed seeing this house, because they didn’t even list it until the day after we decided to finally submit an offer on the first house. He kept us interested in and mentally committed to that first house until this one was ready. Even if we had been told no on the first house earlier, we might have tried to buy another house before this one became available, and we might have missed out! God always knows what’s best for us, and, something that I think I sometimes forget, He always wants what’s best for us.

So I can’t say 100% for sure at this point that our house will sell in our time frame, but I can say that if it does not, if for some reason the path we are on suddenly veers to the left, God’s hand will be on it. It won’t be because it was just too big of an obstacle for Him to handle. He loves us, and He has a plan for our lives, and if He doesn’t put us in that home, it’s because He has something for us to do somewhere else, or even right where we are. And if we are where He wants us to be, wherever that is, it will be Home.

We R Memory Keepers Gift Box Punch Board

Hi, guys. It’s been…busy…around here. Obviously by “around here” I mean around my house and not around here on the blog, because, well, I’ve had a few other things going on. Like putting down the last of the new flooring (in the kitchen) and painting ceilings (also the kitchen), and more painting, painting, painting, PAINTING (like, everywhere). We are slowly but surely getting there though. Just a few more little things and we will be ready to list.

So between that and the soul freezing winter weather Tennessee has been hit with lately, things have been a little uncrafty. But last night I finally had a chance to sit down and put together a post about one of my favorite crafty tools, the We R Memory Keepers Gift Box Punch Board.

First of all, I want to make a disclaimer – these pictures, guys, they’re not my favorite. Late night crafting with incandescent lighting is almost always a bad combo, but we work with what we’ve got here. And my poor, poor kitchen table that is (somewhere) on the to-do list to get a makeover makes for a pretty lame backdrop. What’s really sad is that my mom passed this table on to us several years back, and when she did she had just refinished it. Three kids, one crafting momma, and all the abuse of being a staging area during our house revamp has left it looking a bit worse for the wear. No judgment though, someday she’ll have a fresh white coat of paint (if I have anything to do with it), and all will be redeemed.

So anyway, that out of the way, here’s the Gift Box Punch Board.

My mom bought me this board for my birthday, and I love it! In fact, I bought my SIL Leah one for Christmas. Basically it makes a self closing box (no separate lid!) with one square of paper. And they can be made in a variety of sizes of course, depending on your starting paper size and the shape instructions you choose.

I started out with a 6×6 sheet I cut down from this fun Disney paper. I scored the whole 24 sheet pad at a local dry goods store for $1.99!

As always with the WRMK punch boards, the instructions are printed right on the board, and the score tool stores in a slot on the underside of the board, so there’s nothing to keep track of.

I chose to make a 1.75 x 1.75 x 1.75 inch box. Based on that, here are the measurement instructions to follow.

Using this board is a lot like using the Envelope Punch Board – just punch and score. It’s important to pay attention to the line instructions, because they may not both be the same depending on your box size. If your box is taller or shorter than it is wide, your start and diagonal lines will be different.

Start out by lining the left edge of your paper up with the appropriate start line, in this case the small (S) line.

Punch using the button.

Now score using the tool along all three score lines, the two lines leading off the button (follow the little guides trailing off the button to find the grooves) and the diagonal line.

Now rotate your paper 90 degrees to the left and repeat all steps.

This is what your paper will look like at this point.

Also, our paper is small enough to fit entirely on the punch board, but if you’re making a bigger box, there is an arm that swings out to extend your score line surface.

Now, flip it over and do all the punching and scoring again.

Now you have two notches on each side.

Here you can see the score lines a little better.
Now insert each corner into the punch at the top of the button and punch again to cut the curved slits you will need to lock the box flaps together. It’s very important to make sure your corner is well seated into the corner of the punch before punching, otherwise your slits will be off and the corner will not round well.

Just make sure you have the same side of the paper facing up during the punching of each corner. This is what it should look like at this point.
Go ahead and crease your scored lines, starting with the longest ones.
Now bring your sides up and crease the diagonal lines inward so they are toward the inside of the box.

You can leave these interior flaps as is if you would like the box to be able to be flattened back out when opened, but I like to adhere them with either glue or an adhesive runner. I find it easiest to go ahead and add the adhesive to all 4 sides before folding up the box.

If you look closely, you can see the lines of adhesive.

When folded up, they will adhere the interior flaps to the sides of the box.

Now you will gently hook the opposite flaps together using the curved slits we punched earlier. Be careful here as these can be easy to tear, especially if you used thinner paper.

All done! Isn’t it cute? This size is perfect for gifting jewelry, or it would be just right for holding a cake ball or truffle at a wedding or baby shower. 
Since you can’t see the date on that ring, we’re going to say I graduated 5 years ago.
Here’s one I didn’t adhere the sides on. Okay, fine, I graduated in ’95. Whatever.
I made a whole stack of these for Lily, who loves anything Disney. And now I’m kicking myself for not buying up all the cheapo paper stacks!
These are really cute using just about any paper. Here’s one I made using some cool printed vellum I found at Tuesday Morning.
Oh, and how cute would these be in craft paper for a gender reveal party, with a pink or blue cupcake inside? So many possibilities! I can’t get enough of these punch boards, and I can’t wait to see if they come out with any more!

Simple Ornament to Year Round Display

Guys, we are hardcore into this getting-ready-for-market thing over here. The storage unit is rented and more or less filled, the new linoleum is down in the bathrooms, and the new carpet is in (squeeeeee!) People, we have pulled back out the baby gates. That’s right, we are doing whatever it takes to keep little kiddos with crumbs and exuberant puppies well away from the deliciously soft and fluffy goodness carpeting our bedrooms and hallway.

And moooooost of the painting is done. By which I mean we still have to paint the ceilings (how do ceilings get dirty?) and do some touch ups here and there. And we are right smack in the middle of painting all the kitchen cabinets white and ohmygoodnessIlovethem! Why didn’t we do it years ago? SO. A bit slow here on the blog. But crazy, overwhelming, Ijustwantanap busy behind the scenes.

But I managed to break away to slip in a post here. A few weeks ago I became aware of the imaginative world of Patience Brewster. Patience Brewster is a one-artist company featuring the whimsical renderings of Patience in the format of stationary, home goods, art, accessories, and Christmas ornaments. I’m dying a little over this gorgeous Zelda Zebra ornament and think she would look great in my craft room (when it happens).

Like Zelda, many of her pieces are versatile enough to be displayed year round, and I thought I would share with you one of my favorite Christmas ornaments that stays out all year.

I collect Willow Tree figures, and I have a number of them displayed on a shelf in my living room. Several years ago Nick’s grandmother Gail gifted me with this beautiful Heart of Gold ornament, and it’s very special to me.

I normally have it hanging on the wall above the shelf displaying my collection of figurines, but this year I decided to up my game on the display to tie it in with Valentine’s day. This was a super simple project. I grabbed a two pack of 6×8 burlap canvases from Walmart for under $4 and wrapped one around the top with narrow satin ribbon in red. I crossed the ribbon through the elastic string on the ornament and tied it in a bow, then wrapped a bit more ribbon around the center of the bow to finish it off. Then I just hung it up!

This is easy to change the ribbon on to keep the display fresh for the current season, and the neutral colors and the gold of the heart will play just as well with springy blues and greens as it does with the red. And if I decide to use the canvas for something else, it couldn’t be easier to take apart!

I am not affiliated with Patience Brewster, was not compensated for mentioning or linking to her products, and there are no affiliate links in this post.

Vintage Tart Tin Pincushions

Guys, we’re getting ready to put our house on the market. This little home has been oh so good to us, but we’re bursting at the seams, so we’re working on saying goodbye. We’ve (well mostly I’ve, since Nick’s been working) been packing up a good 45ish% of our stuff, and we’ve been stacking it all up in the garage in anticipation of renting a storage unit here in a few weeks. People, we’ve got boxes for days. And the number of boxes that are labeled Craft Room (faith, guys, it’s called faith) is kind of embarrassing, in no small part because I’ve kept back the stuff I feel like I can’t live without for potentially the next few months, and there’s still enough stuff out there to build a pretty respectable igloo. You know, assuming igloos were made of boxes of fabric and happiness.

Once all this stuff is safely in storage, the carpet people are going to come and lay new carpet and we will be putting new flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms and basically making it seem like 13 years of kids and mechanic’s boots never happened. And after the floors and the painting and the cleaning and the threatening the kids with doom if they spill anything, we plan on listing this bad boy and continuing to pray that God will send just the right family (come quickly, Lord).

In the meantime, my crafting is going to have to be, of necessity, a bit more streamlined. So while I still have my sewing machine and enough fabric to take care of any Etsy orders I may get, all my friends and family are forbidden to have any babies until I’m reunited with my box(es) of minky and flannel. And it may be a bit before I get to show you some of the cool crafting tools I got for Christmas.

But if (when please, Lord) I get my craft room, I’m going to not only have access to all my stuff, but I’ve got all kinds of decorating plans to share! For right now though, I wanted to show you the darling little pincushions I made for Christmas.

Any time I come across little vintage tin/aluminum tart/cupcake tins I snatch them right up. I’ve got several different styles collected, but these just begged me to turn them into pincushions.

This is another not-really-a-tutorial tutorials for you. It’s really so simple that anyone at all can make them, but here are the steps.

  • Gather your glue gun (high temp is better, but be safe), tin, scrap of fabric, bit of Polyfil or other stuffing material, scissors, needle, thread, and something to trace a circle with. I used a salad plate that was about 7 1/4 inches in diameter. I would keep the circle between say 6.5 to 8 inches across.
  • Trace a circle right onto your fabric with ball point pen. It doesn’t have to be flawless, but recognizably round is preferable.
  • Cut out the circle. It doesn’t even matter if the pen marks show, because the edges of the circle will be hidden when the pincushion is done.
  • Thread your needle and run a loose basting stitch around the circle by hand.
  • Pull the ends of the thread to gather your circle into a pouch-like shape, with the wrong side of the fabric on the inside. 
  • Stuff your pouch with Polyfil/other filling material.
  • Pull the threads tight to close off the stuffed circle into a ball shape. It needs to be stuffed firmly, but not so full that you break your thread trying to close it up. I didn’t do that or anything. Ahem.
  • Carefully squirt hot glue onto the underside of your ball (where the gather is) and quickly press it into your tart tin. Keep in mind that you’re pressing hot glue onto a metal object that you’re holding, so you may want to hold the tin with a towel/hot pad to keep from getting burned.
  • Now fill your new pincushion with pretty pins and admire! 

Aren’t they lovely? I just love the pairing of the fresh new fabric with the worn patina of the metal! And aren’t those gold pins fun? These were so quick and easy, and the ladies who got them all loved them!