Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FREEBIE: Stars and Stripes

A grungy word art for the upcoming patriotic holidays - Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day! Download here or click on the image below.

Publish Post

Monday, May 17, 2010

FREEBIE: Father's Day Word Art

With Father's Day approaching next month, I figured I would start making some word art for the holiday. Download here or click on the image below.

Friday, May 14, 2010

FREEBIE: Ten Tiny Toes

Baby fever continues, so I figured I would create a word art! This was actually created from a photo I took of my daughter's feet when she was just a few weeks old. Download here or click on the image below. As always, please link to your layouts!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

FREEBIE: Sandy Toes and Salty Kisses

A little something for summer scrapbooking! Please link to your pages - I'd love to see how people use the word art. Download here or click the image below.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ABC's of Me

I wanted to make a quick (and easy) scrapbook to compile some pictures throughout my daughter's first year and give them to relatives as gifts during Christmas. Artscow.com often has promotions for 'free' 8"x8" 20 page photobooks ($8 for shipping) so I typically try to cash in when those offers come around. They were such a
hit, I think I will have to do them each year!

Below are the pages I created for Natalee's "ABC's of Me" photobook (click on each picture to view a larger version). I had to get creative with some of the letters, such as "x" and "u" but if you Google "words that start with..." you can get a lot of ideas (if you're in a jam). Beneath the book I have a free template you can download.

Now for the template freebie (.psd file). Enjoy! Please post links to your "ABC's of Me" pages! I would love to see what other people come up with. Download here or click on image below.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Baby Fever

It seems like there is another baby boom going on this year! I think my husband and I counted fifteen (or more) of our friends that are having babies this year, including us. It is a very exciting time for so many families. Ironically, most of the babies are GIRLS! As the mother of a 16 month old girl, and another girl due in two months, it is so exciting to know that many of our close friends will also have girls. There is nothing sweeter than seeing the bond between a baby girl and her father.

While baby registries are always so fun to peruse, I figure that I will leave those gift ideas for the not-so crafty. :) I have some cute ideas (many of which I have not yet executed) but with many baby showers approaching, I plan to finally accomplish over the next couple of months, so stay tuned!

While planning a coworker's baby shower (for her baby girl), I made this diaper cake. Not only will it be a useful gift for the proud parents, it will also double as a beautiful center piece for the shower.

This was the first diaper cake I'd ever made, so I plan to come up with some more creative ways to jazz up future cakes.

Ingredients for this cake:
  • Cardboard cake circle (can be purchased in cake making section of a craft store - I went with the 16" size but you can choose a smaller size)
  • Cake doily or lace
  • Wooden dow rods (12" or longer, depending on how high you anticipate your cake to be)
  • Rubberbands
  • Ribbon
  • Diapers (about a case)
  • Glue gun (optional)
  • Any other decorative accessories (stuffed animals, pacifiers, bottles, bibs, etc.)
  1. I first rolled five to six diapers and put a rubber band around each group. You can rubber band each diaper individually, but this would be more time consuming.
  2. Once all of the diapers are rolled, you may need to rearrange the number in each group so that you can stack them in a tiered formation.
  3. Once you have the basic form of the cake developed, you can put it all together.
  4. I purchased white cardboard cake rounds so I didn't have to cover them (although you could cover them with cute fabric). I then adhered the lace to the cake round with a glue gun.
  5. I put the first layer of diapers on the cake round, trying not to leave much excess space around the edges.
  6. I then stacked the second layer and inserted the wooden rods so that the first layer and second layer were 'connected.' (This will make it easier to transport).
  7. I continued this process to the top layer, ensuring that all layers have wooden rods running through the diaper rolls for one or two layers so that you don't have to worry about a massive landslide of diapers.
  8. I put a stuffed animal in the center of the top layer (rather than another roll of diapers) to add a little bit of flare. You could us anything for the top layer...onesies, bottles, etc.
  9. Once the entire cake was stacked, I wrapped thick ribbon around each layer, using a glue gun to keep it tight. You can use additional ribbon, bows, or any other accessories to jazz it up.
  10. Feel free to stuff other goodies in the ribbon and diapers - bibs, onesies, socks, burp clothes, bottles, baby spoons, etc. (perhaps some of these things could be retrieved from the recipient's registry).
Use your imagination! I will post some pics of additional cakes I make, as I am sure there will be many in the next six months!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is Teacher Appreciation week - a time to show teachers (and/or daycare providers, administrators, etc.) just how grateful you are for all that they do for your children.

There are quite a few websites you can go to in order to get ideas of just how to show your appreciation. I tend to go the 'handmade' route when giving gifts, so this year I decided to make chocolate covered pretzels and brownies for my daughter's daycare providers. I hope they like chocolate...but what do they expect from a mom who is 8 months pregnant?

I used two different 'recipes' to make the chocolate covering on the pretzels.

(1) Wilton Candy Melts
I went to Wal-Mart and saw Wilton Candy Melts for $3.25 (usually much more expensive at craft stores such as Joann and Michaels). I thought I would give them a try since their sole purpose for existence is to melt, mold, and harden.

  • 12 ounce bag of Wilton Candy Melts
  • Pour the bag of Candy Melts into microwavable bowl
  • Microwave for 2 minutes at half power (power 5 on my microwave)
  • Mix
  • Microwave for another 25 seconds at half power
After melting the chocolate, I used a silicone scraper to coat pretzels rods with chocolate and placed them on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. A 10 ounce bag of pretzel rods contains about 27 rods but you have to remember that some of them will be broken. I bought two bags of rods and found that the 12 ounce bag of Wilton Candy Melts made about 30 rods. I sprinkled pecans on half of the pretzels and then put them in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

The pretzel rods turned out really well - the chocolate hardened like a charm and didn't get soft after sitting at room temperature.

(2) Nestle Morsels
A recipe I retrieved online was to use semi-sweet morsels and shortening as the chocolate dipping. The recipe was 12 ounce bag of morsels and 1 tablespoon of shortening.

  • Combine 12 ounce bag of morsels and 1 tablespoon of shortening in microwavable bowl
  • Microwave at half power (power 5 on my microwave) for 1 minute
  • Mix
  • Microwave at half power for another 30 seconds, or as needed.
After melting the chocolate, I dipped Snyders Olde Tyme pretzels (regular pretzels) into the chocolate with a pair of tongs. After being dipped, I tapped the pretzel gently (holding it with tongs) to remove excess chocolate. I placed them on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper and put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

While the pretzels covered easily with the chocolate, the chocolate seemed to soften after being set out at room temperature...perhaps it was the shortening? In the future, I will stick to the Wilton Candy Melts.

I put the pretzels in decorative plastic bags and put them in a basket that I decorated with flowers and ribbon for my daughter's two daycare providers. My husband said they would think the pretzels and brownies in the basket were store bought, so I made a little tag stating that they were handmade (by my daughter). I used one of the many fonts I downloaded from Kevin and Amanda.

Shockingly enough, I was unable to find Teacher Appreciation Day greeting cards. So, I decided to take some blank cards and make my own using this Word Art I created. I printed it out on colored paper and glued it onto the front of a blank card. Feel free to download here:

For the administrators and a few other people who work closely with my daughter, I put together bags with some of the chocolate covered pretzels and brownies. I decorated the bags with a little name tag for each, and a little flower to dress it up.

Hope these give you some ideas for future gifts!