I love the feeling of the Christmas holiday season. The day after Thanksgiving, I break out all the holiday decorations and start decking the halls. I especially love decorating the tree and breaking out all the ornaments we collected along the way. Years ago, we started collecting ornaments while on vacation, so I love to see how our tree grows with new milestones and destinations traveled. This year we had one BIG milestone to add! Like any good mom, I kept the hospital ID tag bracelets that Brielle, Derek and I wore during her birth. They were too bulky to include in her scrapbook, so instead I used them to capture her presence with a keepsake ornament. This will be an ornament I will love to hang up every year! Supplies: Shatterproof plastic ornament | Foam Stickers: Target Dollar Section | Ribbon| Tulle
I’m so happy to share that I’m guest posting today over at Made in a Day!
See how I turned a white boring picture frame into a cute candy stripe design!
And if you’re looking for more Christmas themed crafts, check out her Christmas Linky Party with tons of ideas!
Stopping in for a quick birthday shout out to my hubby, Derek! Brielle helped me create this card for him with her very own handprint (or I guess hand tracing is more like it)!
It’s her first craft project! Happy Birthday Derek!!!
Supplies: patterned paper: Martha Stewart Crafts | Stickers: Sticko, Phrase Cafe
You’ve seen my sister and her handy hubby redo an outdoor bench and their kitchen floor. Now they’re back to show their deck makeover worked on this summer and finished this fall! Take it away, George!
We had a old deck that was not safe for our kids due to poor railings. The deck was also starting to settle in to the ground due to improper footings.
It needed new stable steps and an update overall.
First, we removed all old decking, railings and steps, but left the framing.
Next, we dug 6 new footings, each 36 inch deep.
We installed sonnet tubes and poured concrete.
We installed two new girders and sistered all existing framing to beef up the deck.
The we added new pressure treated decking, railings and steps.
We waited 2 months for the wood to dry out, then stained the deck with a natural sealer.
Finally, we added picture framed lattice underneath and our new deck space was done!
And here you can check out their safer, more stable and beautiful outdoor deck space. Great job George!
As a craft beer guy who works in the industry, we thought it was a fitting to throw my dad a “Hoppy” 60th Birthday which was held in a brewery! Check out some details on his party below!
My mom opted to go the digital route when it came to invites so I whipped up this design that we sent out to friends and family.
Say “hi” to the owner, Rick hanging out in the taproom, who was checking out the digital frame filled with photos of my dad’s 60 years.
The atmosphere of the brewery was enough decoration to set the mood, but I, of course, had to add in a few little crafted pieces.
I sprinkled some of these white frames around on high top tables next to snack bowls.
I recycled brown beer bottles (which were easy to find around my family) then wrapped them with decorative paper and added a tag on front to display a “Hoppy Birthday Ed” message. We set these out on the gifts table.
My uncle, who works at a marketing company, had the above photo blown up to serve as a guest book in this same gift space.
And a birthday for my dad wouldn’t be complete without a handmade card. The photo above shows the beer themed 60th birthday card I made for him which included a gift certificate to one of his favorite Italian restaurants.
Hope you had a hoppy birthday Dad!
Supplies: patterned paper: Martha Stewart Crafts | Stickers: Sticko | Chipboard Letters: Heidi Swapp | Punch: Ek Tools
Today marks Miss Brielle’s three month birthday. While I have posted lots of baby and pregnancy related content, there are still other things I’ve learned or am still learning along the way that I thought I’d share.
- DO document your pregnancy. You might feel like you don’t look your best in the beginning weeks and feel like a beached whale at the end but its great to go back and see the progress of that growing bean inside of you.
- DO say thank you often to your husband or support person. I already knew that Derek was a supportive partner from our years together prior to being married. But once we were pregnant and once we had Brielle, I saw him in a whole new light. He took care of me throughout my beginning sick weeks, put up with me through my uncomfortable end of pregnancy weeks and never complained when asked to help with Brielle once he knew I was at my “I need a break” point. I did not take this support for granted. Whenever I could, I made sure to say “thank you” and whenever I was feeling good, I made sure to do nice things for him as well.
- DO take a childbirth class. As a future FTM, you’re probably reading a lot of books to learn about what’s going on with your body during this crazy time but your significant other probably isn’t as involved in that part. Taking a childbirth class together can help you both understand what can and may happen during the birthing process to prepare you both for many situations. Sure the breathing techniques, calming coping methods and other details discussed in the class might not be used as outlined, but I really feel that taking the course helped us both understand a lot more about the birth and what to expect. We took one at our hospital which gave additional details on best practices, information on their specific procedures and allowed us to get a full tour of the facilities prior to giving birth. We felt it was worth it and I highly recommend the same for you!
- DO start a stockpile. I started hunting out diaper and wipes coupons and watching out for good deals. But in the weeks closer to Brielle’s birth, we also made sure to have enough food in our freezer and non perishable snacks in the cabinet. Hand soap, anti bacterial soaps, paper towels, garbage bags and toilet paper would also be good items to start collecting while you’re still able to get out to shop.
- DO ask for registry advice from other moms! I wrote a mass email to all my mommy friends asking for their opinions/experiences with typical product categories for my registry, such as car seats, bottles and accessories. So many moms wrote me back with great advice and their warnings. I was very surprised at how many said to avoid things like wipe warmers (your baby gets too comforted by warm wipes and cold wipes become a nightmare) or diaper genies (not really needed if you take your garbage out often). Sure there were always exceptions to the group thought but I went with the “majority rules” concept and registered for items most agreed with or avoided items commonly suggested.
- DO make notes ON your gift receipts. Some stores are better than others when it comes to gift receipts. Kohl’s and Carters, for instance, list descriptions and/or item numbers of the products included on the gift receipts. Babies R Us, meanwhile does not! I wish I had done this sooner, but go ahead and write your own little descriptions of the items received at the top of your gift receipts, especially after the shower, so that your stack of receipts can be more helpful than a headache down the road. “6 month whale theme onesie” or some other short description might be helpful if you plan to size up a lot of the adorable outfits received.
- DON’T wash all the clothes before baby’s arrival! Our friends Carrie and Carl generously gave us their daughter’s entire wardrobe as she outgrew them. (Thanks again guys!) Between all their clothes and the gifts we continued to receive for Brielle, we had way too many clothes in some sizes. Prior to going to the hospital, I washed only one newborn and one 3 month outfit as the “coming home” outfit and any bedding, burp clothes and blankets I’d need for the beginning week. Once we were home and knew how big or little our baby girl was, I was able to reassess her closet to see what I wanted to wash in the size as is or which clothes I wanted to size up to a bigger size. Tip: If you do want to size things up to a larger size, do it sooner than later as clothing stores move through season pretty quickly!
- DON’T ignore what your body is telling you. I never had swollen feet before… until I was pregnant. It would come on with extreme heat (hello I was pregnant all summer) or when I ate a lot of salty foods. I also felt the difference in my energy with the lack of protein in my diet or when I was low on water. Take it easy when your body is giving you a sign that you need to take a nap or just slow down. You are growing a human and that’s tough work!
- DO accept the assistance of a lactation consultant. At my hospital, right after you give birth, they put the baby directly on you for skin to skin bonding. Within a few minutes they encourage you to breastfeed. As a FTM, you’re not exactly sure what a “good latch” is supposed to feel like so you assume it’s correct from her first latch. Each day we were visited by a lactation consultant who taught us a new position, gave us some advice, perfected Brielle’s latch and helped us become more successful with our breastfeeding experience. I found each visit really helpful and would highly recommend taking advantage of their help! Who knew that breast feeding can be two handed, there were so many positions, that babies needed to be stimulated to stay awake while feeding or that the colors of their poop said a lot of about the types of milk they were consuming!
- DO buy (or register) for a white noise maker. We created a routine when it came to putting Brielle to sleep in the first few weeks: change her, swaddle her (with her arms out, as she wasn’t one of those babies who liked her arms in), nurse her, hold her for 15-20 minutes and lay her down with her Sleep Sheep, white noise maker, on. We found that the white noise it created helped calm her once she laid down and keep her settled to sleep for a good 1.5 – 4 hours. We carried it with us often in the stroller or car and it helped calm her most times.
- DO say thank you! Make sure to send thank you cards for both your shower gifts before baby and for any gifts received after baby. I also took photos of the outfits and emailed them to myself with a note on who gave them. When I remembered, I tried to take a cute shot of her in said outfit and emailed it to the giver. I’m personally not on Facebook so I like to think the person enjoying receiving this personalized extra thank you in their inbox.
- DO try to think ahead! Of course, there are MANY times when your baby will surprise you and throw you off from the routine or expectations you had at that moment. But there are other times when they like to follow the routine you are setting out. Once she was here, I realized that the items in my diaper bag were not enough, so I bought two car seat organizers and packed them for each car. Each night I did my routine of emptying diaper pails and filling up supplies in each of the diaper stations around the house. When I knew I only had so much time to take a quick shower, I went ahead and held her while setting out all my clothes and accessories needed for that quick post shower change before she got too out of control. Try your best to think ahead so you are a little more prepared for the unexpected.
- DO download useful apps! Sure we can be glued to our phones or other technology pieces, but in the case of pregnancy and being a new mom these items can also be very helpful! I downloaded a contractions app when pregnant and used it on the big day. I no longer needed to pay attention to the clock during that crazy process. Then once baby was here, I downloaded a “Feed Baby” app which I used in the first weeks. It helped me know when her last feeding was and which side I nursed her from. Mommy brain is real people to use these apps to help you out!
- DON’T expect your baby to sleep exactly where or how you outlined when you get home. First, getting used to a newborn’s sleeping routine (which can happen in one 1-3 hour stints in the beginning) is something to get used to. But I didn’t realize that some babies can’t do the open area co-sleeper right off the bat. Think about it: for the last nine months, they’ve been sleeping in a tight, warm womb. Brielle liked sleeping in the napper part of her pack and play since it was contoured to make her feel cozy. After a week of me sleeping on the couch in the living room with the napper on the floor next to us, we moved the whole pack and play upstairs, to switch it with the co-sleeper. We eventually found our routine and were perfectly happy with the process to find a place she enjoyed sleeping in. She’ll move to her nursery in later months once she’s sleeping longer each night.
- DON’T expect the hospital to teach you what to do with your baby. I was SO surprised how little the hospital teaches you about caring for your child. While we had a great staff of post partum nurses and doctors for me, pediatricians who came to visit the baby daily and specialists that gave Brielle her vitamins, shots, and hearing tests, no one gave us the one-on-one basics to take care of our newborn. No one showed us how to swaddle correctly (though we eagerly watched each doctor or specialist that had their own method and asked how it was done). No one showed you how to change a diaper. We had to learn all these things on our own, watching some “caring for your newborn” videos offered by the hospital’s video programs but not by anyone in person. Do your research and ask moms prior to baby’s arrival so you’re somewhat prepared or take a class.
- DON’T shield your newborn from light and sound. Meaning don’t be afraid to talk in a normal volume or keep the lights on when baby is napping during the day. It will train them to be able to sleep while normal life goes around them if you’re out of even when you’re in. Of course, the same should not be said about nighttime. When it’s night, keep the lights low and sounds to a minimum to help baby understand the difference between day and night.
- DON’T forget to eat and drink! It’s so true that taking care of baby distracts you from your normal everyday habits… like eating! Make a list of easy, possibly one handed snacks that you can eat when baby is here and send someone out to get them! Think things like string cheese, raisins, grapes, crackers, peanuts etc. You also need to drink plenty of fluids to product milk if you’re planning to breastfeed! You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn how to do one handed or with your non dominate hand once you little one arrives.
Yep, the best mailbox stalking part of the year, Christmas, is coming! If you don’t already have a Christmas card ordered or bought maybe you’ll be interested in one of my below designs, including a new one just added this week: Christmas Tree Types! Click on each link which will bring you to my Cafepress store for purchase.
In the papercrafting field, there are so many types and designs of adhesive border stickers that come out with new collections. But once you craft that holiday/season/theme, there are sometimes some random extra borders that weren’t used. I challenge YOU to use these pieces in more crafts, even outside of the holiday originally intended!
I needed a few masculine birthday cards recently so I went in my stash and pulled out these fun garland designs from an Americana collection. Sure, if I put these borders next to some stars and stripes, you’d know they were Americana, but with this modern mix of patterns, it works perfectly for these manly birthday wishes.
Supplies: Patterned Paper & Adhesive Border: K&Comany Americana | Stamp: Hero Arts
These adhesive borders are from an older K&Company Christmas line. When paired with these even older canvas tag stickers, these once holiday borders are now ready to be sent for some birthdays.
Supplies: Patterned Paper: Unknown | Adhesive Border: K&Company | Sticker: EK Success Inspirables
This last card may have kept the black and orange Halloween color pallete of this Halloween adhesive border, but the accent pieces bring it on back to the birthday theme!
Supplies: Patterned Paper: Martha Stewart Crafts | Adhesive Border: K&Company Spooktacular | Cardboard Shape: K&Company Smash | Stickers: EK Success Bookworks
You may remember my very talented friend, Jamie, who has shown off her photography skills several times on the blog before. She’s back today to show off another creative side, her beautiful graphic design skills! Pair that with her caring spirit and love for her family and this post will make you smile. Jamie’s mom (whom I’ve only met once but KNOW it’s where Jamie gets her sweetness) turned 75 this past August and Jamie did something very special for her. I’ll let her share the story. Take it away, Jamie!
For my mom’s 75th birthday, I wanted to give her something special. More than just a gift…something that would make her heart happy. I was Inspired by Inchmark’s Dad Turns Seventy post and encouraged our friends and family to fill my mom’s mailbox with birthday wishes on custom postcards.
I decided on 5″ x 7″ postcards to allow people more room for writing than the standard 4″ x 6″. (Keep in mind that a 5″ x 7″ postcard will need a standard first-class postage, and this size is too large for a postcard stamp.) It was important to me to emphasize in my design that this was a BIG birthday! I created the 75 pattern for the back, and decided to go with four different color palettes so that there would be some variety in her mailbox.
For the front, I added my mom’s address and left a large blank area for a handwritten note. I sent the postcards in an envelope with a custom address label and a note explaining what was enclosed. I made it as easy as possible for the recipient by already pre-stamping and addressing the postcards.
My mom called me the day she received the first few cards. She said it took her a few minutes to figure out that they were not 75% off coupons! She was ready to go shopping – how cute is that?! The next day, I received an email from mom that read “13 postcards today!!!!!!!! I just love it!!!!!!! Cannot wait for the mail tomorrow!!!!!! WHAT FUN—-LOVE YOU FOR DOING THIS”. Not only did I make her birthday even more special, but she made my day by just seeing how excited she was. And, I also realized I must have inherited my over use of exclamation points from her!
In surfing around online, I often see this “tone on tone” concept used in papercrafts where the background and foreground items are the same colors. The way that you layer and creates textures between elements is what makes them unique and noticeable. I decide to dip into my stash of scraps and try this technique out on a few cards!
As I recently attended my second nephew (and now godson)’s Christening, I knew I had to have a card for him!
I used this tone on tone concept to layer this diecut paper on the white card base. After pairing it with some sticker embellishments, this simple card was complete.
Supplies: diecut paper: unknown | stickers: Jolee’s Boutique | punches: ekTools