Thursday, June 23, 2011

Butterfly Stained Glass Craft Tutorial

My children love craft projects and recently my little boy was fascinated by all things related to we decided to make stained glass butterflies to put up in the kitchen windows. We made these just like the stained glass crosses we made back in March--which still are up in the windows and looking beautiful!

First I cut out an outline of a butterfly out of black construction paper and adhered it to clear contact paper--I taped that down (sticky side up!) to the kitchen table so that it wouldn't move while my son worked on his project.

He filled the butterfly with squares of tissue paper. When he was done, I put another black butterfly outline over the top (to hide the tissue paper edges) and then covered the top with another layer of contact paper. At this point the butterfly is sandwiched between the contact paper. Then I trimmed the excess contact paper off and the project was done!

His butterfly is a bright and colorful addition to our window--perfect for summer!

Craft shared at: No Time for Flashcards

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

4th of July Decorations

The 4th of July is just around the corner! I don't go all out decorating for this holiday, but I do like to have a few patriotic touches out in the house. I fill my white pitcher with American flags and, this year, I glued red, white, and blue stars (punched out of scrapbook paper) onto clear thread that I tied onto the light fixture above our table. The thread is sandwiched between two stars.
This "shower of stars" is a simple and inexpensive way to add a touch of patriotic flavor to our summer decor.

Linked to: Hookin Up with HOH

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer To-Do List

School ended Friday (finally!) so today I made a summer to-do list with my children. After I reigned in their expectations a bit (no out-of-state trips or overnights at Great Wolf Lodge), we had a lot of fun. They came up with a lot of ideas all on their own, but still cheered at some of my simple suggestions. Now that it is hanging on the wall, they like to look at the list and tell each other "Wow, we are going to have a fun summer!"
I'm not original in coming up with this idea, by any means, but here is how I did it. I bought a poster frame at Michaels--with a 40% off coupon it came to around $5. Then I cut five pieces of scrapbook paper into 1.25 inch strips and used scrapbook adhesive to stick the strips directly to the paper that came in the poster frame. Once the entire piece of paper was covered, I trimmed off the excess paper. So simple!

For the "Happy Summer" pennant print that you see at the top of our list, I used this printable that I found at The Rubber Punkin and just cut it down a bit.

I wrote our list directly on the glass/plastic on the front of the frame with a Sharpie. It comes off with Windex and a bit of scrubbing (I tested it).

Here are some other great summer to-do lists:
  • whatever ~ this one makes me crave an old-fashioned green chalkboard!
  • Laura Winslow ~ this one is done for you--just print it! 101 ideas for summer fun!
  • eighteen25 ~ these ladies always have something going on, and this is no exception!
  • Sunny Side Up ~ Erin's list is on poster board and is cute, colorful, and full of summer fun!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers Day Gifts

I think my husband had a good Father's Day--he smiled a lot, at any rate! The children made him (with my help) a handprint tie and they were so proud when he wore it to Mass. They have also insisted that he wear it to work on Monday. I think this will be the first time he has worn a tie to the office! I found the tie idea on The Littlest Crafter and loved it! Basically you just take a white tie and use fabric markers (mine are Crayola brand and I bought them at Michaels) to trace your children's handprints on the tie. Easy-peasy!
We went to Mass in the morning (and brought Father David cookies and Father's Day cards--he loved them!) and then out to lunch. After lunch my husband finally had time to thoroughly look at more of his gift. I had each child fill out an interview form that I printed out from Big D & Me and they had some great answers. Apparently my husband is 9.5 feet tall and is robbing the cradle because he is 4000 years old!

Happy Dada Day (as we say in our house!) to all the fathers out there!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Digital Project Life Scrapbook

I love to scrapbook, but I am behind. Dreadfully behind. So behind that it feels as though I have a giant snowball rolling along behind me that is going to crush me soon. In fact, I'm not quite sure I still can say that "I love to scrapbook" but rather that I love the idea of scrapbooking. Truth be told, the idea of catching up on all my scrapbooking is overwhelming and daunting! I have the supplies, I have oodles of digital pictures, but I do not have the time!

Enter Project Life by Becky Higgins. Basically it is scrapbooking made simple--putting the focus on the pictures rather than on all the finicky crafting supplies. You can do it in a picture a day format (the 365 projects a lot of people do) or in your own format.

I first heard about Project Life on Erin's blog: Sunny Side Up. Erin has three children and manages to find time to scrapbook using a modified version of Project Life--all of a sudden this scrapbook thing started to seem more I ordered a Project Life kit. Um, that was over a year ago...and I haven't used it yet. *sigh* THEN, for some crazy reason, I ordered a second kit a couple of months ago. I'm not really sure why because now I have TWO unopened Project Life kits. At least they're different colors...

Then--THEN--I saw a video Becky Higgins posted on her Facebook page. That video is what made me realize I can love scrapbooking again. I can keep up with my pictures and not be years and years behind. I can scrapbook and use doo-dads...or not. It is totally up to me!

I am NOT a digital scrapbooker. Not. However, even I was able to make a digital yearbook (easily!!) for my family and it is beautiful. Seriously, BEAUTIFUL. Now I can make digital yearbooks for each year and save my paper scrapbooking for major family vacations or our Christmas album and not worry about scrapping every family moment.

Look at that beautiful book! I was able to customize pretty much anything I wanted on it--and could have done even more than I did. LOVE it.

(Don't mind my finger...just covering up our last name...) The printing in this book is so lovely. Everything is crisp and the pages have a great weight to them.

Here is the month of January, complete with journaling! I thought it would be difficult to select just seven pictures, but it really wasn' the end of this book I really felt as though this gave an excellent picture of our year. I did these monthly pages pretty much using the existing templates, but you can toss the templates and just cover the pages with pictures if that is your choice.

In September we went to Disneyland--here is the regular monthly layout for September. This was the first month where I felt as though I couldn't summarize our month in just seven I added some extra pages!

Here are the Disneyland pages I added right after the September monthly pages. I still plan to do another traditional paper scrapbook for our trip, but I like seeing the trip represented in this yearbook, too.

I covered up the last page that was in the album with more of our own pictures--this album is so easy to customize!

Even the back cover has a full color picture of my babies (yes, they're tossing leaves into the air)!

And of course the title is on the spine of the book--I'm already looking forward to having a whole row of these yearbooks lined up on our shelf.

This yearbook is called "Digital Project Life" on Becky Higgins' site and Facebook page. You can make an entire book and preview it before you pay anything--this is what I did...however I loved the end result so much that I ordered three of them. One for each of my children and one for me to keep.

I shared the finished book with my children last night as they were finishing their dinner--I treated it like storytime. It was so fun to see their faces light up as the pictures sparked various memories. This is something that NEVER happened with the digital pictures all closed up in my computer and the bins and bins of unused scrapbooking supplies. It feels SO GOOD to have my family enjoying these memories because that is what scrapbooking truly is about--it isn't about cutting and pasting and fancy fonts.

Monday, June 13, 2011

First Communion

Last month my daughter celebrated her First Holy Communion. She was doubly blessed because she celebrated twice! Of course only one was truly her "first" First Communion, but she wore her white garments for both.
Our parish priest celebrated the First Communion Mass and he is the same one who baptized her, so that made it extra special. She did a good job with the big chalice, too!
The following weekend, her school had their First Communion celebration and she was invited to celebrate again with her classmates in that parish. Although it was still a Catholic Mass, it was a very different sort of celebration (it was a dedicated First Communion Mass rather than having the celebration integrated into the regular Mass the way our parish does it) so it was interesting to see the differences.
My sweet girl looked beautiful on her special day. She wore a silk dupioni dress from Strasburg Children and I had her veil custom made by the woman who made my wedding veil. It is a child-size version of my wedding veil. Perfect for my bow-loving little girl who really really wanted to wear Mama's veil (that was too big and that was the wrong shade of white).
I bought her this beautiful rosary from Etsy...and, my favorite, a beautiful little clay bowl to keep it in.
This bowl is gorgeous and was packaged SO beautifully! It is personalized for my daughter so I can't show the details, but click over to Etsy to look at the shop for Clarey Clayworks. They make beautiful bowls for all sorts of occasions and will personalize them. It is just lovely and perfectly holds her new rosary.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Shoes or Teva makes Mary Janes ?

(new Teva shoes -- LOVE them!)

Two years ago I blogged about some adorable OKAb shoes that I bought. I still love those shoes...but last week I looked down at my shoes and realized that the sole of one of them was ripping in half! Not a good look. I crossed my fingers and hoped that my shoes would last until I made it home (they did) and promptly went online and ordered myself some new shoes.

The verdict? I'm in love! I had no idea Teva made mary janes, but I love these! The style is the Teva Westwater 2. They are perfect for running around after my children and for my lifestyle. They run about a half a size or more big (I read lots of reviews that referenced this and my experience backs this up). However, I have BIG feet and these do not make my feet look big...and I love that!

Two thumbs up!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

End of Year Teacher Gift

It's that time of year again...the school year is winding down and it is time to let my daughter's teacher know that I appreciate the time and love she has put into teaching my little girl this year. Last year I painted terracotta pots with chalkboard paint and added a little bundle of chalk (tied with twine) plus some packets of herb seeds and a nice little quote. I had my child write a note to the teacher on the back of the note and it made a nice gift that didn't break the bank and that was, I hope, usable for the teacher. Perhaps we'll do the same thing this year since we've changed wheels still are turning on this one!

(Idea originally found here.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Children's Artwork

Displaying my children's art in my home has always been important to me, but lately it has become increasingly important. Although I don't want my house decorated in plastic and primary colors, I do want it to be a place where children are welcome and where it is readily apparent that young people live and are loved. To me, displaying my children's art is one of the best ways to do this.

The refrigerator is a great place to start displaying those crayon creations, but I think it is important to show children that their artwork is important enough to showcase elsewhere in the house. Today I went around the first floor of the house and snapped a few pictures of where my children's artwork is displayed--other than the refrigerator! The first location is in the playroom (aka the room that used to be the dining room!). I've posted about this rod before--it is so easy to clip new artwork onto the rings. Oh, and those wood sculptures were made by my little boy. He is so proud of them--the red one is a fire station and he's still deciding on the other one. They're not out on display all the time, but they do make appearances.

I recently needed a little "something" for this side table in my living room, so I cut some cardstock in the size of these frames and gave one piece to each of my children and had them go to work. My five year old opted to draw a tree with a sunshine, rainbow, and flowers. My seven year old drew a picture of our blue house with a red door. They love seeing their artwork framed and I think their sweet drawings are the perfect "something" for my table.

Whoever designed this house opted to combine the laundry room and powder room--not a good combo in my book. At any rate, this artwork by my little boy is over the commode, but he doesn't mind one bit. I love having these cheery pieces in there because it brightens up a room I spend a lot of time in! His fingerprint rainbow and sweet tulips warm my heart.

My daughter's artwork is also in the laundry room, opposite my son's work. I had them do their paintings and then I cut out their work and mounted them on scrapbook paper before framing them. This tiny room instantly felt 10x more cheery with these additions to the wall. (Of course it would feel even better if I painted the cabinets and we finished installing the trimwork...)

Summer hasn't really arrived here, so I still have this spring bucket of daffodils that my children made two years ago--I love it! The jagged scissor cuts on the daffodils make me smile every time I see them.

In the kitchen these tiles are above my stove. My children made these when they were almost three and almost five--such a simple project that has a lot of impact. The glass is tumbled (so no sharp edges) and glued to plain tiles with white glue. Then the tiles are mounted into frames. Simple!

It isn't just about displaying my children's artwork, it is about incorporating it into our home. I don't want our home's decor to be all about what "I" want--we are a family.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Easy Paper Pennant Banner Tutorial

We recently celebrated my daughter's First Holy Communion and I wanted a simple "Congratulations" banner to hang for the occasion. I made this banner out of scrapbook paper and grosgrain ribbon in an afternoon. I opted to make a very simple banner, but it could be embellished to be as fancy as you would like it to be.

  • scrapbook paper
  • ribbon, twine or yarn
  • adhesive
  • hole punch

Step One:
Cut out your triangles--however many you need for your banner. I needed fifteen to spell out my word.

Step Two:
Cut out your letters. I used my Cricut to cut mine out, but you could use any sort of craft cutter or even use letter stickers (from the scrapbook section of the craft store), a stencil, or just use a marker.

Step Three:
Adhere your letters to the pennants. I used scrapbooking adhesive (a tape runner) for this step, but you could use a glue stick or whatever you have handy.

Step Four:
This step is skippable, but I'm addicted to my corner rounding punch, so I used that on the corners of each pennant. Here you can see that I used it on the "C" but hadn't yet used it on the "O". I think it just gives my simple banner a nice finishing touch. Very skippable though if you don't have this punch.

Step Five:
Punch two holes in the top of each of your triangles and thread your banner! Use ribbon, twine, yarn--whatever looks best!

Step Six:
Hang your banner and admire your creation!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tap Dance Headpieces

Why is it that all projects in my life seem to happen at the same time? Springtime is SO busy around here! I recently finished up thirteen headpieces for one of my daughter's dance classes.

This year her studio's spring performance is Peter Pan and it is fantastic! Seriously--laugh-out-loud funny in parts. Captain Hook sings (really sings) about being "bad" while channeling Michael Jackson. Hilarious stuff. They intersperse the "real" dancers and singers who have been studying for 10-15 years with the little ones who are just beginning and it becomes a great show to watch rather than an agonizing thing to suffer through.
Her tap class is dancing as clocks (to torment Captain Hook...their feet will make the tick-tock noise that he hates) so I was given the task of making clock headpieces...with zero budget...but I was given two feather boas and asked to make them work for all THIRTEEN girls. Yikes! Anything else was up to me (and up to my wallet). Double yikes! Here is what I came up with...I'm not super thrilled, but it looks decent from a distance and it stays on their heads (a comb is attached to the back of each one). They'll be wearing them at an angle on the sides of their heads, not perched right on top.

They're not as cute as the pumpkin headpieces I made two years ago, but my daughter is happy that we're continuing the tradition of me making part of her costuming. This is the fourth year I've made one of her headpieces, so I'm happy to keep the tradition alive for her.

And, by the way, they will not be wearing the bowlers. Can you imagine this feather creation on top of that hat? That wouldn't be pretty! We couldn't figure out how to make the bowlers work with ballet buns.

Hot glue and feathers everywhere...this accounts for some of my absence!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Something about this picture resonates with me. I just love it. It is my favorite picture from our Easter vacation week.
That is my little boy walking up the beach and the church in the background is the Catholic church we attended on Easter Sunday. Such a sweet little church (lots of hand carving and nautical theming on the interior) and very nice people there too.
One last picture to remember our time at the beach this spring--winter hats and coats and rubber rainboots. Chilly temps and some liquid sunshine, but we still made it down to the beach!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Easter Vacation

Happy Easter! It is still the Easter season in the Catholic church, so technically I'm not late with my greetings even if Target has moved on and is selling 4th of July decorations already. We were on vacation for Easter and the week following and it was wonderful! We went on our annual beach trip and it was cold but tons of fun! Before leaving for our trip, we went on an Easter egg hunt.
Yes, the egg hunt was inside our local grocery store! It is fun for the children and perfect for our weather conditions. My children LOVE it and for weeks afterward hope they will find a stray egg leftover from the hunt. (It has never happened, but they still hope!)
Next we set out on our long drive to our vacation destination. Once we arrived, we went for a quick (chilly!) walk and then started getting ready for Easter as it was already Saturday afternoon. First we planted these magic seeds that I came across. (Idea found via Meet the Dubiens) The magic seeds enthralled my children as they had never seen seeds this big!
They planted their seeds in little pots and Easter grass (multi-colored crinkled paper) and put them in front of the "lovely" faux fireplace in the vacation condo. I told them I was pretty sure it would take all night for anything magic to happen, but they still kept checking.
Sure enough, by morning, two bunny lollipops had sprouted out of those pots! So cute! The children were thrilled and hope we come across some magic seeds to plant again next year!
We had a little egg hunt in the condo living area and the children were happy with their baskets. We've used the same baskets since my daughter's first Easter. I bought four identical wicker baskets her first Easter in the hope that I would one day have four children. I have been blessed with two children (and love them dearly, so I don't want to say "only" two children) so it looks like the other two baskets are for Mama and Dada.
These glasses make me smile! I think the Easter Bunny knew that Mama likes to take goofy pictures of her babies and this will make a perfect calendar picture!
Our Easter Sunday Mass was spent at a quaint little ocean front Catholic church. In this picture my children are standing in the church parking lot directly in front of our car. Look at that view! Breathtaking! The church was tiny but so sweet and the priest's message was wonderful. We really enjoyed the service.
One of our family traditions on Easter Sunday is to go for a drive after church and then get ice cream. Well, if you know the area, you can look at this family picture and guess where our vacation drive took us. We had a nice tour of this place and then enjoyed some fresh ice cream. Yum!
And, of course, no Easter is complete in our family without Bunny Cake! This one is rather messy and covered in crumbs and little fingerprints because I had lots of "help", but we had fun working on it together. I baked it home and we decorated it on Easter Sunday.

It was a busy day but so fun and so full of family time. Really a perfect Easter for our family.