Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!
Merry Christmas to each of you.

I was listening to some Christmas music yesterday which led me to dwell on the baby Jesus. I wondered if he was a fussy baby, if he had croup, if he gave his parent's trouble with sleeping. Did he fall asleep easily, take naps, spit out his veggies. Then I realized how awesome it is that our Lord, our savior, our redeemer was a baby, cried and was cared for by Mary. How awesome is this that I can today ponder these questions that he was fully human and needy of a Mother's affections.
I hope that each of you are able to spend a moment reflecting this. That you are known by him and are loved abundantly. May you realize you were loved so much that God give Jesus to all that will believe in him.
Merry Christmas and may you fully realize the Lord's blessings in your life!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all that celebrate it!

I love making my own Christmas Cards and the Creative Memories Storybook software helps me so much in creating these. Last year I purchased a few vintage postcards and used those to create my cards using the Storybook software. I was in one of my favorite shops around Easter last year and discovered a few vintage Christmas postcards and purchased them. I have so much fun scanning these in and creating my own cards using bits and pieces of each vintage postcard. Above is actually an Easter postcard that I found of Mary. I love this picture of her and cropped her to convert her to a Christmas Card. I think it captures the true meaning of Christmas so wonderfully.
Below are the other three cards I created using the software, our own family pictures and bits and pieces of the vintage post cards. I love the modern card of just the two kids, very different from the traditional feel of the other two. I used some of the tools in the Storybook software and I think this took me literally 2 minutes to create. Sometimes simple is better!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Craft Venture . .this is why I have been absent.

I found the idea for this craft in a holiday craft magazine. I will have to scan the picture in to share. The craft used instant paper mache which I have never worked with before. Well at least since grade school!

I called them snowmen tassels and they came out very unique and very eccentric. They each had a their own personality and should have each had their own name. I would have named each individually if I had time more time! These were a labor of love to say the least. I enjoyed working with the paper mache and the more I made the better I became at working with the medium. I found the fast dry paper mache is better to work with and only takes a couple of days to dry! :-)
I would have taken some action shots but your hands get really messy and honestly no one else was around! I had to make these during naps or bed times as this was not a 3 year old friendly project. Or I should say not a project for a 3 year old while you are trying to sell your house at the same time! :-)

So here is the before picture:

And here are their pictures from their photos shoots. I made about 14 in all. This is just a sampling! I may try and perfect this as the medium was very fun to work with.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I love a good Gingersnap, it has to be crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside. My father-n-law also loves Gingersnap. We had my mother-n-law and father-n-law over for dinner Sunday night and to decorate the tree. I re-discovered the recipe when looking for a cooking recipe other than chocolate chip cookies. This is a great easy recipe and one of my tried and true. Thought I would share this recipe since it is that time of year when you are invited to cookie swaps! Enjoy!!!!
I should note that this recipe was in a publication called The Dinner Bells which was a collection of recipes benefiting St. Jame's church here in Richmond.
The Inn At Little Washington's Gingersnaps
3c flour
1 1/2 T. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 T. unsalted butter, softened & cut into pieces
1/2 cup dark molasses
2 eggs
Extra sugar for dipping dough
Mix all ingredients together. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in sugar. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Loosen cookies with spatula. Cookies will be soft but firm up as they cool. Cool for 30 minutes then transfer to paper towels. Freezes well.
Yields 3 dozen.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Days Til Christmas & Give away

I loved viewing some great advent/Christmas countdown calenders recently on a few blogs. I had one that was victim to a stomach bug last year (you don't want to know, trust me) so I needed to replace it!

Always up for a challenge, I wanted to create one too. I decided to restrict myself to using only items I had on hand. I used some leftover fabric, my Cricut Expression machine with scrap paper, paint, ribbon, glue gun and magnets. The only challenge now is to find items small enough to fit in the 1/2" "bag"! I am hoping stickers, and mini candy canes will work. I also used a secret craft item to get the bags to be removeable from the countdown! One hint, I used them in another craft project I worked on.

Since I haven't done a give-away recently whomever can guess how the magnets on the back of the bags stick to the canvas, I will send them some handmade Christmas tags found in my July post

Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving! I was so thankful for jeans with stretch afterwards! :-) I had visions of Joey on Friends when he borrowed some maternity pants!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A little rock and a LONG story!

I love giving gifts, actually I love creating gifts to give. When my daughter was less than 6 months old God decided to bless me with an encounter with a new Mom. Lori had just formed a playgroup and invited me. These girls have been my most cherished friends ever since. Lori also invited me to her church and had a large part with me re-discovering my Christian faith. I have been creating different gifts for Christmas for them for a few years now. Last year I made aprons out of vintage handkerchiefs. These turned out great and were a very fun project.
So this year I am a little hesitant or lacking confidence I should say and would love your feedback.

A little background first . . . We vacationed in Topsail, NC this year. It was a particular hard week for me as Mr. Jackpot had to work (the wonderful side effect of being your own boss) so I was on my own with my two kids for most of the week. I discovered that Topsail beaches have some wonderful polished rocks. These are thin and smooth and each has their own shape. Being that I was in a particular contemplative mood, I began thinking how God shapes each of us just like these rocks. He works constantly and lovingly to shape us into his image. Sometimes there are rough times just like the sand but it works for His glory to smooth us. Each individual rock gets his attention being placed in the right area of the vast ocean to be shaped, and made in the image he has of us.
I got to thinking that each of my precious girlfriends have been shaped just like each rock. We each carry our own story of how the Lord has worked in us. God is in control of each little tiny grain of sand and controls the vast expanse of oceans. I wanted to create a reminder for my girlfriends of how God’s hand is in everything and working for our good. I decided to pick a rock out for each of them. I took them home and painted a cross with a pink cloth on it. My thought is they could put it in there purse, nightstand, drawer and hopefully each time they see it / feel it they would think of this. I found myself holding a rock in my hand while on the beach and roll it, rubbing it and praying.

Here is the story I am going to place in a handmade pouch along with the painted rock:

I found this rock for you on the beach. It has been touched and created by God! He created this rock, placed it in the ocean and let the sand smooth it. He let the ocean turn it over to smooth and shape each edge against the sand. He let the ocean current carry it from place to place. He then delivered this rock on the beach, where I found it. When you hold this rock remember that God is in the details. He is in control of each grain of sand, each rock, each ocean, and each beach. He does all this for His glory and out of love.
During this Christmas time I am so thankful that His gift, given out of Love has made me holy in His sight, free of accusation. That His Love works on me every day to shape me. Remember that He is in all things both visible and invisible and that even the rough times are meant to shape us in His image just like this rock.
Your sister eternally in Christ.
Please give me your feedback. I am not sure if my “deep thoughts” and the rocks should be kept to me left plain or trust that God is in control and has given me this idea so I should follow through.

Thank you also for allowing me to post this without worrying about being judged or ridiculed!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fibromyalgia . . .some random ramblings

At my first post for October after being "absent" from the blogging world for a while I commented on some on and off health issues. I am not sure why I haven't shared that I have Fibromyalgia before but I am now. I have had a couple months of some severe "flares" as they are called. For those of you not familiar with the condition, the only way I can find to describe what it feels like is to wake up one morning feeling like you have the flu, & not the 24 hour kind! The run over by a mac truck, hurt from your head to your feet and feel like you are walking through quick sand type of flu.
It took me 2 years to be diagnosed and am still struggling. These last couple of weeks have been extremely rough. I know all those crafters out there can relate when you can't craft it actually adds to your stress. I also know that stress is a trigger for this condition but sometimes life stresses can't be avoided. So anyone else out there suffer from this? I am struggling with trying to find a treatment that provides me more "normal" weeks that not. It is truly a journey especially being used to a very active lifestyle and only requiring usually about 6 hrs of sleep. I now require at minimum 8 sometimes more and with a 3 & 7 year old home it is hard to get more than that. My hubby (I love how everyone has nicknames for their hubbys) so to quote someone in my bible study I will forever more call him my "jackpot"! As I was rambling . .Jackpot has been so supportive but also at the same time feels so helpless.
Anyway I wanted to post this out there as I know we all struggle with issues in our daily lives. If you are struggling too I am right along there with you. Funny since I have barely had the energy lately to lift my butt off the recliner your bloggers have been a creative life-line for me. So I guess this is a thank you and a motivation! Please keep crafting and posting because you really are providing a blessing to everyone out there!
I have plans on posting again soon but hey . . .as we all know the best laid plans . . . . .

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Up-cycle and add some bling!

Warning this project does require for some knowledge of sewing. However if you are able to sew a button on and work an iron . .you could sew (he he, sorry I couldn't resist this) do this !
I have been coveting these jeans from Coldwater Creek at the time they weren't on sale. Being that they were $150 these were not in my budget! So I decided to put my education to some use and create my own embroidered jeans. Off to good will where I purchased two pairs of jeans for a total of $6.99 (These were gap jeans by the way). Then off to Jo-Ann fabrics where I found pre-embroidered items that you can iron on. Which most craft stores have a great selection of iron on items these days. I knew that just ironing on wouldn't hold up to wash and wear or denim. So after ironing on the applique (on sale for $3.00/each) I used a blanket stitch to secure them to the denim (you could just use some small stitches and forgo the blanket stitch). I know a little tedious but I also added some bling and the same time, I had purchased some seed beads too. This is not usually me, I am not the bling type . .my Mother-n-law is and I love her style. So we all need a little "out of the box" moment and this was mine. I love how they turned out and for less than $12.00 (including tax) I got a pair of custom "blinged" jeans.

I highly recommend shopping for jeans at goodwill, they are all usually laundered (I actually did find a couple still with tags on them) and you can search through a variety of sizes and styles.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Boys will be boys?

Having had my first child be a girl I am just really getting to discover the differences between boys and girls. Like having to say please don't climb the 2" overhang on the stairs until you are hanging 6 feet in the air. Or how did you get to be hanging from your wall shelf with nothing under you and it is 5 feet off the ground?
So now I get to say remember don't stand on the windowsill or you might break your arm. The pull of seeing a fire truck I will admit is probably strong but seriously. Stand on a windowsill, that is maybe 4" deep? So one fractured humerus later we have a 3 year old boy in a cast. The next dilemma was what can I dress you in!
So for those that need to know now or will need to know in the future here it is. By the way he has a cast that goes from below shoulder to around the thumb. I have found the fake layered t-shirts are working pretty good as I can cut off the sleeve at the short sleeve seam. This allows his good arm (argh I hate saying that) to be warm and use the short sleeve side to go on first over his bright red cast. The bonus is absolutely no sewing as the fake short sleeve is already hemmed! :-) Take a closer look at the photo at the top for the finished shirt! The white arm si the one with the cast. He wouldn't let us take the sleeve off the cast they put on when we left.
Hope this adds some help to other Moms of boys who love to climb and break arms!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sorry , ,so sorry

I apologize for the time between posts. I have good reasons though! The good and bad news is we are in the process of hopefully moving! :-) My husband has his own business which is great . .especially since he has been able to work from home for 8 years. His business is growing and he is needed in Nashville TN! So we have a wonderful house for sale in a suburb of Richmond VA.

In addition to being gone most of August, getting kids ready then settled into school, some off and on health issues and preparing a house for sale I have been a little distracted. Our home has been on the market for not quite 30 days and while the interest has been great no offers yet.

So I am soliciting advice on how to cope with two kids, a hubby who is traveling and keep a company afloat, all while trying to sell a house! :-)

If you have lived, or do live in Nashville some local information would be awesome. We are looking at houses sporadically but it is hard to do util we have a contract on our home here.

Here is a picture of my home for 10 years!

We have done some great updating and I will post later on some of our house features I love! But first could use some advice! Here are two areas in the home that I am debating to paint over. I hate to as they were both labors of love but I am realistic that it doesn't appeal to everyone.

The first up is in my family room. We have a large wall over the sofa and couldn't afford a large piece of art or many frames to fill the space at the time. I painted a block of color then highlighted the edge with a freehand detail to bring in the colors in the rest of the house. I have all intentions of conveying the frames with the house so the future owners could put their photos into the frames. But realistically I know not everyone likes these colors. My hubby is voting for putting a sign that says we could paint over it prior to closing. What do you all think?

The second area in question is the dining room. It is one of the first rooms I finished in the house. I stenciled the border (10 step process) but so worth it in my book. Our realtor is afraid potential buyers might think it is a wallpaper border. I haven't wanted or had the heart to paint over it! What is your opnion paint over it or leave it and offer to paint over it upon purchase. (By the way we have all the paint to paint over or have provie the future owners).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Freebie Friday!

Hope this finds everyone doing well and looking forward to the end of summer as much as I am. I will be traveling heavily the next few weeks off and on so it will be hard for me to do many more freebie Fridays until September. I will try but forgive me if I am not able to! :-)

I have two wonderful children who decided to make their earthly debut both in February. This past birthday I had a lot of fun creating their themed birthday invitations using my Storybook software from Creative Memories.

My son's theme was rockets, he LOVES rockets and is in a different colored "rocket" each night as he blasts off to bed. My daughter loves Barbies so of course this was her theme.

I wanted to share these two invitations with you to show you how you can create wonderful invitations at a fraction of the cost on your own. I haven't purchased invitations or cards for years now.

The rocket invitation below was put together by hand but all the pieces were created on my computer or cut out using my Cricut machine (the greatest hubby on earth gave this to me for Christmas!). The Freebie part of this is the rocket image. Believe it or not I created this totally digitally using the storybook software. I just used the shape tools and cut the shapes I knew I wanted. So feel free to download this and use for your little astronaut!

The Barbie Party we had for my 7 year old daughter was so much fun! I planned a ton of games and will create a post regarding this party soon. If you are planning a barbie party for this age group I have the whole thing planned! Below is her invitation. The Freebie part are the three Barbie pictures. I created this line drawing by hand and scanned into my computer then imported into my Storybook software. My daughter and I had a blast digitally changing her dress color, shoes, present colors etc . . . So let your inner diva have fun with these images or share it with your Barbie lover in your family.

I hope you all enjoy these images and if you love to create your own cards feel free to use these to create some cards. My daughter loves to color her own Barbie in and also use some of my scraps of fabric to dress her barbie! She cuts the fabrics out and glues them on with a glue stick!
Have fun & I hope to post more frequently soon!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Freebie Friday! (and on time)!! :-)

The winner is Kim! (send me an email with your mailing address & your choice of either the ladybug or the rocket fabric. I will get this shipped out to you, congrats!
Still Time left to win the tic tac toe game of your choice!!! Leave a comment by 12 pm tonight!
Freebie Friday!
So I posted this past Sunday that I would make this worth your while and I hope I have! So as my previous post said about bottle caps I have collected quite a few last summer. I have been trying to think of all the different crafts I can do such as the bottle cap magnets. I have come up with a tic tac toe game for kids (or adults who still think they are kids) that can travel with you. Yes using bottle caps . .wait I know you are asking for kids are you sure? Bottle caps will go right into their mouths . .no they won't!
So here is a peek and information on the giveaway that I try to have (failed completely last week).

For the Give away: Reply to this post by Sunday 12pm and on Monday morning I will announce the winner. The winner will be determined by random generator and must be a US citizen (sorry but I can't afford international shipping! :-) You will have your choice of the Rocket baby fabric or the ladybug & dragon fly fabric.

I will post a separate post regarding how to create this tic tac toe game using bottle caps! Here are more pictures of the game. Oh and this is not intended for kids under 3 as they may try to chew on the game pieces which contain magnets.

Here are pictures of the game and the game pieces. There is a triangular pocket on the left that holds the game pieces and it all rolls up to be easy to put in a bag. The pieces are parts of the fabric laminated with a magnet attached. The game "board" has the bottle caps under each square with padding under the bottle cap so it doesn't rip through the bottom. So no little hands getting to those bottle caps (the caps have all been washed but are safely under the fabric).

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tic Tac Toe Game Instructions

Here is my attempt at documenting how to recreate this game. It had several iterations and I had trouble documenting this while my brain worked it out. To those of you that can do this my hat is off to you. This is far more difficult than I ever thought! :-)


Fiberfil (stuffing - that white stuff that you stuff pillows and stuffed animals with.)
9 Bottle caps - washed and dried
10 magnets (make this the pro-magnets or heavy duty ones since they have to go through fabric).
Fabric, you will need two 9 1/2 X 9 1/2" squares. (Use light weight fabric for this as your magnets for your game pieces will need to go through the fabric.
Hot glue gun
>Items for your game pieces

Step one: Cut your square out of your desired fabric using pinking shears. Divide your square into 9, 3" squares (you need about a 1/4" all around for seams). I start by finding the center of the square and then measure from there. You will want to use chalk or pencil for this as you want it to show up. You can make your marked side be the back of the game.

Step two: Using your hot glue gun, place a quarter size portion of glue in the bottle cap (see picture) then place your fiberfill into the cap. You will want to make sure you have enough fiberfill to cover the edges but not too much to make the game too bulky.

Step Three: Place the two squares of fabric on top of each other making sure the marked side is on top. Using your zipper foot (so you can get close to the bottle caps) on your sewing machine sew your first lines to the left and right of the center column of squares. The picture doesn't show it however I recommend making two lines of stitching (see pictures of my freebie Friday post). This allows the game to fold up easier.

Step Four: Place your first bottle cap in the center of the square and then sewing your remaining lines. After the interior lines are sewn you can sew around the perimeter of the square. As you sew place your padded bottle caps into the squares. You will want to make sure that all your bottle caps are facing the right way!

Step Five: Make your game pieces. You can use the bottle cap magnet concept and do Xs and Os. Or as I did laminated fabric pieces, just glue the magnet to the back and you are ready to play. I thought of also using buttons, wood pieces from the craft store etc . . . Use your imagination to create a fun game. My daughter and I have fun with this game and I am always trying to entertain my two kids when we go out to eat.

Enjoy! Oh and I am sorry I don't have instructions to make the wrap to make this game portable. If you are crafty and can sew I know you will have no problems figuring this out. But I do intend plan on opening my Etsy store by the end of the summer and would like to sell these there. Don't want to give away all my secrets! :-)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My apologies!!! Freebie Friday Flop!

Freebie Friday Flop!!!
I apologize to everyone who reads my blog regarding me not posting a freebie Friday item until Sunday August 1st. I had all intentions but Mother Nature took control and wiped out our Electricity and Internet service until late Friday. Then of course kids and visiting family took precedence! (Sorry, I have to confess my blog usually doesn't come before kids)! :-)
So here is my Freebie Friday post much belated with a promise to fulfill my Friday obligation this week (and make it worth your while).
Freebie Cleaning Tip!
I can't claim ownership of this and will warn you that you will hate me after reading the next sentence. My wonderful kindred spirit house keeper (yes I have a house keeper, we eat lunch with her every other Tuesday and anxiously await her arrival) . .told me about a great natural way to keep my stainless steel dishwasher finger print and smudge free for at least a couple of days.
Here is the before picture of my grubby stainless steel dishwasher, now when I went to take this picture I was very pleased to realize it wasn't all that bad, not good for my demonstration but oh well I will NOT complain!

So to clean the dishwasher and keep finger prints from showing immediately, mix 4 tablespoons of olive oil to 1 cup of water. This ratio works for me but feel free to experiment. Oh and I used the extra virgin olive oil I cook with. I put this in a $1.00 spray bottle I purchased from target and use it only about 2XS a week. Very easy and simple. The only other note I have is to shake the bottle a bit before spraying as obviously oil and water don't mix!
Below is the "after" picture!

Hope this is helpful, the tip made me love my wonderful house keeper even more!
Happy Sunday!