Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Day of Silence in Honor of the Victims of Sandy Hook

To honor the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy, I am stepping away from my blog and the responsibilities that always seems to take precedence. I am spending quality time with my children, my family and friends. We need to let them know how much we love them, hug them, and snuggle them, and cherish every moment.  I am praying for all of the victims and their families, and my heart is breaking for them.

To make a donation visit Newtown Youth & Family Services

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Monday, December 17, 2012

What's on YOUR Wishlist??

Do you write out your holiday wishlist? Do you ever hint to the kids in hopes that they will tell dad everything you want? I try to go that route (#shameless), because when I'm at the store with them, they are always saying..."Dad would like that!" "We should get that for dad!" "Mom, we really need to get dad some presents!!" So I figure that they MUST do the same thing to him! I was telling the kids one day just a few of the things that I would LOVE to have! I didn't want to overwhelm them. I know that they can only remember so much, and apparently my little one remembered EVERYTHING on my list!! I'm so proud of my baby. She was telling her cousin while having a play-date about my list, and I overheard the whole thing! Shhh, don't tell her....I wouldn't want her to think I eavesdrop ;)
Do you still have a lot to do?? I'd love to hear what you've been doing to prepare for Christmas! If you like to enter AT&T's #WishADay check it out here http://bit.ly/UFBfE7

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Making new Jewelry and a Special Discount!

Hey! I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the weekend. Just wanted to share with you what I've be up to. I've been working on new pieces to add to Speak Out Loud, as well as getting together what has already been made to send to California! Ellie, the founder of Speak Now is going to begin to try to get into some local shops there, where Speak Now is located and is known! I've never been one to be able to look at anything for very long without changing it (ya know that if you've hung around for any time!) and my jewelry is no different. As my skills and knowledge grow, I always want to make things better. So I made a few changes and improvements (at least I think that they are) to my inventory. I made some new pieces, added on to some of the already made, changed some of the finishes and the patinas, lowered the prices, and then OF COURSE had to re-photograph them all. I was hoping to get it there before the holiday shopping season, but this morning was the day. It's all done and on its way, and will arrive there tomorrow morning, so fingers crossed! I'd love for you to stop by the shop and take a look! I'd like to offer all of you lovelies to a discount! 'Like' Speak Out Loud on Facebook and receive a 20% discount. Here are some of the items for you to check out...

 I also make all of the packaging myself, so I had to make a bunch of DIY bubble wrapped shipping envelopes. They are so easy to make, and you could use them for mailing anything, just customize the size to fit your gift. I'll post a tutorial over the weekend on how I make mine.

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Have a wonderful weekend! I'd love to hear what you've been up to! Have you had any DIY disasters lately?? I had a BIG one!! I'll be sharing that one ASAP...it isn't resolved so I could use some advice ;)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Black and White Surprise Birthday Party (with free printables)

I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful Grandma! She has always been there for me and this year she turned 80. She's the type that has always lied about her age, and would be mortified for anyone to know her true age. But how can we throw her a surprise party for the big 8-0 with out spilling her age? And me, well being me, just wouldn't want to hide it! She should be proud anyway. She is absolutely beautiful! And really, if you keep lying about your age, you might start to look old for your age, instead of looking great for your age, which she does! I was in charge of the decorations, and my cousin was in charge of the food as well as hosting it at her house. I spent a couple of weeks on everything, hoping it would all be perfect, and I just had the best time with everything. Unfortunately, as I was walking out the door with a car full of decorations and the cake the night before the party, I received a call from my grandma telling me that she took a tumble. She fell while walking the dog, and when she called to ask me to meet her at the hospital, I couldn't tell her that I was too busy getting her party together! I took everything out of the car and I met her at the hospital, where she was told that she broke her shoulder, and then I spent 2 hours at Walgreen's trying to get her scripts. What a long night! I didn't get to my cousin's house until about midnight after coming back to the house to pick everything back up. In the process of kissing my daughter goodnight right before I left, I forgot my camera in her room. So these pics were all taken with my phone. The first thing out of my grandma's mouth when she walked in the door, after yelling "surprise!", was "Oh, my face!". She was in a lot of pain, but played if off well. She was so surprised and the night when off without a hitch!
Here are the black and white themed decorations and feel free to print the free printables (at the bottom of the post).....

This banner looked so great in person! I wish that the camera would have shown it :(

I made a yarn wrapped wreath, with felt roses and satin and lace flowers. The 80th was made from cardboard, fabric and felt (I'll post a tutorial for the wreath soon). Again, the camera just doesn't do it justice.

My cousin's entryway didn't have furniture in it, so I was excited to bring over my foyer table that I recently made over with Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Linen! 
A simple inexpensive addition to the table, sticking with the black and white theme, are the spray painted branches that I cut from a near by park in glass vases held up with black rocks (all from the dollar store!). I love adding a natural element.
As I was in search of the cake, I just couldn't find anything that fit the theme that was somewhat affordable, and I didn't want just flowers. I wanted the cake to look elegant. I'm no baker, but I am brave ;). I was at Walmart picking up some other things for the party, and in the baking section, I saw this beautiful demask sugar paper. I had also never worked with fondant but always wanted to. How hard could it be. I did have to buy all of the tools, so that added to the cost, but in terms of just the cake, it was SO much cheaper to do it this way! I made a double layer white cake with white frosting. I used white fondant and Tiffany blue fondant for the dots. The letters are also sugar paper (since my handwriting isn't that great I thought I better go with the paper). It really was simple to make and I will be making my own cakes in the future! The cake itself was super delicious, but the fondant was a bit too gummy for my liking. The only thing that was a bit of a disappointment on the cake was the squiggly lines around the top. When I sent the hubby out for frosting, he bought whipped frosting, which was far too runny to make the pretty row of dots that I had envisioned. I even added some powered sugar, but it didn't get stiff enough....so squiggly lines it got.   
Once I finished the cake, I became concerned that there wouldn't be enough cake. We invited about 40 people. How could one (technically 2) cakes be enough? So I decided I would make cupcakes too. At the last minute I whipped up coordinating cupcake holders, made simple cupcakes, and with an icing bag, swirled on the icing. They looked so professional that I even surprised myself! Aren't the chevron cupcake holders so cute??

Something else that I knew I wanted to do for sure was to have personalized water bottles. I love seeing these through out the web. Notice that I made sure to put her age on EVERYTHING? She sure did haha!
 I printed one sheet using my printer, and then made copies at Kinko's with their laser jet printer, that way the ink wouldn't run. Then I had to think about how to make them water proof since I didn't have water resistant paper. I decided to spray them with a quick drying, poly clear coat. They were pretty stinky for a day or so, so make sure that if you use this technique that you leave plenty of time for them to air out! The spray worked great! The water bottles were the most time consuming part, but SO worth it! Here are some pics of the party...
Getting the table ready. I hadn't even decorated the cake until LITERALLY 15 minutes before the party started!

My dad, me, and my cousin, Nikki
The birthday girl and my dad

The fabulous party planners! My favorite cousin :)

my 2 brothers
my twin brother and I
my older bro
bad family pic
FREE PRINTABLES: CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF FILE without the watermark. You can upload each image to Inkscape which is a free editing software program. There you can change each label to say anything you'd like. These printables are for personal use only. I'd love to see what you use them for!!

The first image is of the cupcake wrapper template. The template doesn't show up on this image, but when you click it to download, it will be there :)

cupcake wrapper template:

water bottle labels:
cupcake labels, food labels, or gift tags:

 monogrammed labels for gifts or anything you'd like:

Happy Birthday Banner: I printed each letter onto heavy card stock, cut to size and rounded the edges, and then glued to black and white print paper. I punched a hole into the corners and put it together with colored twine (from the dollar store). Once you download the PDF file, you will be able to change the "H" to all the letters that you need or to make the banner say anything else while keeping the same font.
The party was such a success! I was so proud of my cousin who did all of the delicious food and so proud that we pulled it off!! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy these printables!!

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fun Halloween Costumes

In all of the craziness this week I didn't get a chance to share with you the costumes that I chose the kids chose for Halloween! I had every intention on buying store made costumes this year. I know that sounds opposite of  what we would normally say. Usually it would sound more like..."I had every intention on making costumes this year, but ended up buying them". With all of the great costume on Pinterest this year, who in their right mind could walk into a store, and find something just as cute? So the decision was made...I would be making the costumes. I only wish I would have made that choice earlier than 4 days before Halloween. I think they turned out great, what do you think?

I made the hat out of card stock, and I thought it really made the look! This picture was the only time she had it on :(

 The penny was the most stressful, and also the only one that kinda bombed...wasn't "the bomb!" I couldn't figure out how to keep it on his shoulder, and ran out of time to do all of the little details. Nick still loved it though, that's all that matters. Girls are much easier! Maybe he'll want to be a cheerleader next year!

Then they had a fun little photo shoot...

 Boot with the fur! I took craft fur and using a hole punch, made holes 1 inch apart, and laced them up with leather lace. I covered her boots with them and realized that these will be cute all winter!

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 What fun costumes did you make this year??

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