Thursday, October 30, 2008

O Christmas Tree

Chloe started telling me waaaay back in June that she was going to be a Christmas Tree for Halloween. I laughed and told her that was a great idea! Little did I know that she was not going to give up on her brilliant idea. As fall approached and I started looking for costumes for the kids, Chloe insisted that she needed to be a Christmas tree.

Bradley, of course, was easy - I found a cute Thomas the Tank Engine costume online and it was shipped lickety split. I tried to convince Chloe to be one of the other cute costumes I could buy, already made. I offered every princess, fairy, animal.... None would appease her.

She explained how much she LOVES Christmas and Christmas trees. She was special and would be so so sad if she couldn't be a Christmas tree.

So after the excitement of Bradley's party died down, I got to work. And, of course, I'll share with you how to make your very own Christmas Tree Costume.

First, you need 1.5 yards of Green Glitter Felt (on sale last weekend at JoAnn's!).

Fold your felt in half and then use a tape measure to mark a 1/2 circle 22" down. I just pinned the marks since I wasn't going to be cutting the straight circle. (Be sure to leave the wrong side out for all this marking - you don't want to mess up the glitter!)



Take a little bucket (from the Target $1 section) that you WERE going to alter, but it's just been sitting, so it might as well be used as a template for a scallop, and use the edge to mark off where you want your scallops around the edge of the circle. I just used plain old chalk to mark my scallops.

Cut on the chalk lines. Does NOT have to be perfect - your 4-year-old won't notice anyway.

Cut the neck hole by marking another circle (2.5") and cutting it out. Make a 3" slit in the front.

Turn right side out and embellish the heck out of the sucker with beads, foam ornaments, and a LOT of hot glue (only burnt myself once, but it's all nasty and blistered). (I sewed the beading on, but only at the peaks.)
I used my Crop-o-dile to punch the holes around the neckline, and then I just wove ribbon through so that it would fit Chloe better.


Slap some ribbon on a headband, make some present shoes and Woo-hoo! Your very own Custom Christmas Tree Costume sure to please even the pickiest Christmas Tree Costume connoisseur.





I can't even imagine what she is going to be next year!



Monday, October 27, 2008

What are YOU thankful for?

It's the season of Thanks, and Shelli Gardner (of Stampin' Up!) has a contest on her blog that asks us to craft something that documents what we are thankful for. You can visit Shelli's blog HERE.

I was already working on a little project, so I'm going to enter it in the contest.

As you know, I did my first craft fair in my new neighborhood a couple of weekends ago. Not only did I do great selling my hand-stamped items, but I sold quite a bit of SU! products and made a lot of new customer contacts. I had a door prize, and I'm sending every single person who entered a little mini card, plus a letter from me thanking them for visiting my booth and giving them my SU! contact information. (Visit my SU! blog by clicking the link on the right if you've never done it!)

So, one of the things I'm thankful for is my customers! Not only are they loyal customers, they are a great source of inspirataion and creativity. The theme of my blog is "sharing the joy of creativity with others," and my customers and crafty friends (both local and the many Bloggy pals) allow me to do just that. Thank you!

Here are the little cards I made for all of them (118 of them, btw!). I left them blank inside so they could use them as they wish, and I included the little 3x3 envelopes. The sentiment is from the hostess set, Window Dressing - it's a level 3 hostess set and absolutely adorable!



Materials (all SU! unless otherwise mentioned)

Card stock: Old Olive, Elegant Eggplant , scraps of Only Orange, Really Rust, Tangerine Tango, and Pumpkin Pie (not all shown)
Stamps: Window Dressing
(sentiment)
Ink: Old Olive, Craft White
Other: Small Oval Punch, 1" Circle Punch, Old Olive 1/4" grosgrain ribbon, sponge, Stampin' Dimensionals, 2-way Glue

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy.


After an getting up early in the morning, not taking a nap, and enjoying a wild party, this three-year-old boy knows how to wind down.

Mama loves you, Bradley.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How To Make a Thomas the Train Pinata

...when you still can't find one after searching all the local stores, recoiling at prices online, and having no desire to experiment with paper mache.

Step 1, settle for a non-Thomas pull-string pinata in the right color scheme. Hi, Spidey! You are too scary and will soon be banished. (Bradley is scared of "the spidermans!") Only $8 at a party supply store.




Step 2, cover image with Stampin' Up! card stock in the very-nearly-Thomas-blue In Color, Pacific Point. Tape edges. The kids aren't going to notice it...they are three for goodness sakes!





Step 3
, make an old school compass thing. You know how the cute carpenters on DIY network always do it! Grab a string, ruler, and pen - make your circle to cover the scary scary Spiderman. Cut it out and glue to front of pinata with hot glue.





Step 4
, scan the front of your Thomas scrapbook. If your child is as obsessed as mine I know you have one.


Step 5
, smack some Thomas scrapbooking paper, your newly scanned and cropped Thomas photo, and a bunch of Thomas and Friends stickers (to hide the edges that don't quite match up perfectly and upon which is still visible parts of the spidermans.) to the pinata.


Step 6, repeat all this fun for the backside of the pinata.

All this and homemade cookies for school tomorrow. Of course, I won't be able to accept my "Mom of the Year" award because I'll be in the hospital all dehydrated and dying of the dang flu. Good night!

TKO!

Monday evening I thought I was coming down with a sinus infection, so I went to the doctor and he prescribed some antibiotics. Tuesday I felt okay in the morning, but was getting tired by the afternoon. I was exhausted by the time for our normal Wrangling the Children to Bed routine. I even fell asleep in Chloe's bed while Mike was finishing up with the kids' bath.


(aside: isn't that great? Mike always does the bath while I lay out the clothes and just relax for a bit. In the morning I make breakfast and he gets them dressed (I do hair). That's why I was nuts when he was in England! And, also why I will forgive him for the following...)



Mike thought it was funny, so he took a picture. Ha ha. My first question was, You took a picture of me while my children were in the bath ready to drown while not attended?! But, he took it after they were out of the bath and doing the potty routine, so no call for a hangin'.

Well, after the kids were down I put myself to bed only to wake up a couple of hours later with a horrible bout of nausea. Which continued every couple of hours. All. Night. Long. I finally got some Zofran from Urgent Care and that calmed it down some. The rest of my Wednesday was spent in bed, hoping that the mess would subside and I could go to work today.

Not so much, as the fever kicked in Wednesday evening.

So, I am missing my first two days of work due to sickness this school year. I ALMOST made it a full 9-weeks without being sick. Hopefully this will be my only kiss of the flu this season!! And, most importantly, I hope my kids stay healthy - they are scheduled for their flu shots next week!

I will definitely be at work tomorrow since I have to export grades, but I highly recommend increased personal space when visiting my office!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More from the craft fair...

I had my first craft fair in my new neighborhood on Saturday and it was loads of fun! Not only did I have some great sales, but I met some darling women all interested in stamping and scrapbooking. I'm working on the little note cards I'm sending to everyone who entered my door prize, I'll share one later this week.


In the meantime, here's some more pics of some of the things I was selling. The 3x3 boxes and the lip balm holders, btw, sold out! I actually had to make a few more for gifts. :)


Here are some of the checkbook cover designs:






All supplies are SU!, of course, except for the naked check book covers (which I purchased from an online vendor). The checkbook covers were popular, too. I sold serveral to moms who were buying them for their daughters who were getting their FIRST checkbooks.

I remember how thrilled I was when I got my first checkbook - it was plain and simple and not one ounce of cute. I was SO jealous of girls who got the little designer checks and covers with fun characters and such on them. A cover like this would have blown me away!

Anyway, I have a TON of different designs for these - I had fun using up retired paper (and playing with new paper...I broke my rule!). I only have a few left over, so some will be gifts and others will be sold at my next event.

Now I have to get to stampin' the thank you cards!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

National Day of Remembrance


Today is the National Day of Remembrance of Pregnancy & Infant Loss. (click the banner for more information.)

31% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Many of these happen so early in the pregnancy that a woman might not even know she miscarried - these are more commonly known as "chemical pregnancies." But, chances are with this percentage rate you or someone you know has probably suffered this loss.

I had my first miscarriage July 2, 1999. Thus began my long journey through infertility, loss, and miracles. I had several subsequent chemical pregnancies, and 3 more miscarriages. Although I now am Mommy to my two darling children, the pain of pregnancy loss is still quite raw for me.

It's not something one can "get over." And although time does allow for healing and renewed joy, there is always a shadow when I think of lost due dates, birthdays that will never be...

I have many dear friends who I met through infertility and pregnancy groups online who are still in the throes of their quest for a child. I have friends who have had early, mid-term, and even late miscarriages and still births.

Here are some of their stories...

My darling friend, Sammie, has a beautiful blog dedicated to her twin sons - Nathan and Noah. They were born at 24 weeks, 3 days gestation. Sweet Noah passed away at only 12 days old... Nathan is an incredibly smart and precocious 4-year-old.

My friend since high school, Natalie, has been through incredible loss. Not only has she suffered the loss of multiple singleton pregnancies, but also the loss of twins. She and her husband were blessed through adoption with their gorgeous son, Caleb. Then they were confronted with even more loss as the doors to Guatemalan adoption were slammed while they were still in the process of finalizing their adoption of their daughter, Mia. Mia is now lost to bureaucracy and her loss is still profoundly felt. The blessings for their family were not over, though. They have since adopted their 2nd daughter, Caitlyn, and are living their "amazingly blessed" lives.


The stories are many, and the lives touched are exponential.

Please take a moment to think of those who have experienced this incredible grief.

Friday, October 10, 2008

He's the #1 Blue Engine, don't ya know.

When Bradley turned two last year, my friend Natalie bought this for him. Thus began a love affair like our house had never seen.

What started out as one little "twain" with a house turned into two twains, because Thomas needed a friend. So, Thomas and Percy and Bradley were total BFFs. Then Chloe wanted a girl train, so Molly entered the picture. And then I had to get more track, because seriously - that roundhouse did NOT come with enough pieces to build cool cool rail systems.

We are now the proud owners of pretty much all the major engines (Who needs those stupid ol' diesel and narrow line engines? Psht! Not us! Steam all the way, baby!) We are lacking Edward, Henry, and Toby of the Major Eight. Molly isn't a major character, but she was the one Chloe wanted first (she has Emily, now, too). Even Mike has his own Gordon, and the kids always argue over who gets to play with "Daddy's Train!"

Not only do we have all these little Thomas Take Along toys - (The Thomas Take Alongs are small die cast metal trains that run on plastic tracks - they are non-compatible with the original (lead-coated) wooden trains.) but, Bradley's room is also decked out in All Thomas - All the Time. He's got the sheets, pillow case, soft Thomas-shaped pillow, and even wall stickies.

So it wasn't very hard to decide on a party theme for Bradley's third birthday!

Here is the invitation I made (well, one of the 25 of these boogers):






And here is the backside, which you absolutely MUST sing to the "Thomas and Friends" theme song:




Bet you can't guess what Bradley's going to be for Halloween!

PS: HUGE Thanks to Lynda (Chelemom's MIL) for letting me know that these adorable Thomas Stamps were available. :)



Materials (all SU! unless otherwise mentioned)

Card stock: Sahara Sand, Riding Hood Red, Pacific Point, Basic Black

Stamps: Thomas Stamps by Cornish Heritage Farms
Ink: Sahara Sand, Riding Hood Red, Pacific Point, Versamark
Other: SU! Markers, Copic Markers, Blender Pen, Silver Embossing Powder, Ticket Corner Punch, 2-Way Glue, Stampin' Dimensionals, Sponge, Crop-o-dile

Monday, October 6, 2008

E-I-E-I-O

There is this great place just west of Houston called Dewberry Farm - they have all kinds of amazing Fall activities for kids, including a pick-your-own pumpkin patch. We've been taking the kids for the past 3 years and we all love it. If you live in the Houston area I highly recommend you take a little trip out there. We usually go in the evening when it's not as crowded and the weather is a bit cooler.

Here are some pics...

This is Chloe and Bradley the first year they went (2006):



And here they are with all three of their cousins this year. I swear I took this picture 8 times and not ONCE are all of the kids looking at the camera!



The second year we went Bradley was just beginning his tractor obsession (and we had a John Deere party for him that year!), so he was ecstatic about the chance to sit on this big green machine (but a bit nervous when Daddy backed away so Mommy could take the picture and not have to 'shop him out of it later!).



And here he is this year - still lovin' every second of it.



The kids went on a hay ride (out to and back from the actual patch), went down crazy slides, rode swings, and basically ran around enough to wear themselves out so that Chloe did not ONCE get out of bed for water, potty, or reassurance that we haven't left the house or are having a wild party without her!! That, my friends, is totally worth the gas money!



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