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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

tassel bookmark {tutorial}






You may have heard in this post that Jake and I have ventured into reading chapter books before bed. It's been a super fun experience and I love retreading some old favorites. 

Jake, never to miss and opportunity, reminds me almost every night that we need a special bookmark to hold our place. 
I may or may not have been using random magazine ordering inserts... 


So I finally took a few minutes to make him a unique bookmark just for our nighttime tale.  

I grabbed a pack of paper clips and decided to go with a really distinctive clip. These can be found in the papercrafting section of your local craft store! I also nabbed some embroidery thread. It's hard to tell from this picture, but this thread is actually an ombré turquoise. 





  I wrapped the thread around three fingers, probably 50 times or so. I used the majority of the thread in the pack. The basic rule of thumb here is that your tassel will be as thick as your wrapping. Smaller tassel? Wrap less. Thicker tassel? Wrap more. 





Next, slip your paperclip onto the thread. I had to rotate this one around thru the arrow to get it to the right spot. 






Slip the thread off your fingers. 






Grab about a ten inch section of your thread and tie it tightly around the top of your bundle. 






The wrap the ends around the same spot a few times and tie off again. 






Now for the scissors! 
Trim the edges of your tie strings. 
Cut the loops at the bottom of your tassel. 
And trim your tassel to the length you're wanting. 





And done! 





You can slide these into any side of the book. Or even more than a book. What about marking the date on a planner or date book! What about a fun extra add on when you give the gift of a book!








Jake was so excited about his new bookmark! And I've convinced myself to make a few more with the extra clips in my pack! 





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Friday, August 19, 2016

eliza's first birthday {the party}



The day of Eliza's birthday party most definitely didn't go as planned. 
I really thought that one of the advantages to her having a summer birthday was that the weather element would be a bit less severe that Jake's March birthday. Wrong.


http://www.livealittlewilderblog.com/2016/08/elizas-first-birthday-invites.html



It was a rainy day and we, of course, had planned an outside party for our gal. We watched the hourly radar and decided to go for it. An hour before the party, tons of rain. But magically right as we were scheduled to get going, the rain clearly and the clouds opened up. There was a mad dash to set some things up in the yard as our guests all arrived and hung out inside. A few minutes later, we all headed out and finally got to celebrate. 

We served a dinner of hamburgers, chips, pasta salad and watermelon slices. 

For dessert, we skipped traditional cake and cupcakes and had a huge ice cream sundae bar! Yum!





No question about it - Eliza enjoyed her smash cake the best. She snacked and shared with other people and just soaked up all the attention (and sugar). Girlfriend had so much fun that she had to go snag a bath mid-party! 



We had lawn games like giant wooden dice, cornhole, and wooden dominos. Of course the kids all went nuts running around on the treehouse and swings. One of the things I so love about our house is the great space we have in the backyard. The shade of the trees is lovely, the privacy is perfect and the kids can all play without adults having to worry. 




In lieu of gifts, we asked that our guests bring a donation for the Ronald McDonald House of Nashville. A year ago, they made an incredible impact on our family when Eliza was in the NICU. We knew that she didn't need any more toys and would much rather give back to help other families stay together while their children are receiving care at Vanderbilt. Our family and friends (as always) were so wonderfully supportive and we raised an awesome amount to take up to the RMDH at Eliza's next clinic visit! I'm so excited!





I hand dipped some Oreos as favors. And I'm not mad that I had a couple left over. 






I also created this pallet display for Eliza's monthly pictures. So many feelings seeing that tiny baby grow!! It'd be great if someone could explain to me how this year went by so fast...





The downside? It was chaotic at best. I didn't get as many pictures as I liked because things were frantic getting started! Woe to the craft blogger! But we all had a great time. Most importantly, our gal had a great day!





Maybe this party is a funny parallel to how this last year has been. Chaotic. Unpredictable. Crazy. Despite all our best plans. But ultimately it has been so wonderfully sweet. Surrounded by friends and family. And with the best, happiest girl we could imagine. 
What else could we ask for?





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Friday, August 12, 2016

eliza's first birthday




Oh my precious beautiful girl! 
What a joy you are! What an amazing year you have had!! 






I remember looking at your perfect face the day you were born, after months of anticipation and thinking, "this is it." 

If I could I would go back 365 days and tell myself so many things. I would tell myself that you are beautiful and that you are brave and that you are strong.






 I would tell myself not to be concerned with the physical limitations put upon you because we serve a faithful God and that you will be able to do so much more than any doctor ever described. 







I would tell myself not to worry about the "what if's" because you will bring so much joy to every person around you that those questions will pale by comparison.






I would tell myself to take it one day at a time. That there will be hard days but the hard days will be overcast by the incredible, amazing days. That the milestones that you reach will be tremendous and inspiring. That you will do so much more than I could even dream of. 

would tell myself to get ready for the most beautiful ride of my life. 






Eliza, you are our special joy. Happiest of birthdays, sweet girl!



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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

eliza's first birthday {the invites}



The countdown is on to my baby girl's first birthday. I know. I just can't, y'all. 
I have a few more days to tame my emotions, so in the meantime, let's focus on these sweet little invites to her birthday party this weekend.





We've planned an ice cream sundae party for our gal that's sure to put a big smile on her face! 

I started with some corrugated paper as a background (grab this in the specialty scrapbook paper section) and laid my printed invite page on top. 






The bunting is made from basic string and washi tape! 
Look how fun those sprinkles are!






I've had quite the time with the endless birthday party projects. It's my very favorite thing! And maybe the best distraction from the fact that my precious babies just keep growing!







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Friday, August 5, 2016

reading together!



Reading has always been a big thing around these parts. J.B. and I are avid readers, and I believe we've officially turned Jake into a bookworm as well. 
(Plus my mom the teacher, who can't see him without bringing him a new book!) 

We began reading to him as a baby and I do give books some great credit as to why he's so verbally advanced and so incredibly curious.



Now that Jake is a bit older, we've entered into a new bedtime tradition with him. 

Chapter books!

It's been so fun to snuggle up each night and see where the story takes us! He gets so invested in it! We've also been fortunately in that our first three big chapter books have also had movie adaptations. So watching the movie after we finish the book has been a fun addition too. We get to talk about how they changed the story in the movie and what parts he liked best.
 



Our first three books have been: 
1. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgrin
2. The BFG by Roald Dahl
3. Matilda by Roald Dahl

Jake and I even made our BFG movie night into a date night and had such a fun time together! 
And I think we're on quite a Roald Dahl kick because I think next we'll be starting The Fantastic Mr. Fox


Add to our reading list and suggest some great kid's chapter books we can enjoy together! 







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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

braided pacifier clip {tutorial}



Pacifier clips are a mandatory baby item around here. 
And they've also always been on the "easier to buy" list in regards to a project I might do myself.

But when Eliza had broken two clips last week and not a single local store carried a decent clip (read: any that weren't a total eyesore), I had to improvise.




And can I just say that I love how these turned out!!
They turned out to be a quick, cheap project after all. Win!


Materials:

 - jersey knit fabric (1/4 of a yard makes about four clips!)
 - fabric adhesive
 - metal pacifier/suspender clip
 - clipboard (optional)


When you're searching for or purchasing fabric for these clips, make sure you have the full length of the fabric. Most fabric off the bolt is between 45-60 inches. Also on the top of fabrics... be conscious about prints. See which way the jersey edges roll. If the fabric rolls in on the print, you won't see it in the braid. For example, the white braided clip pictured below actually has a pretty gold polka dot print on it. But since the fabric rolls in over the print pattern, that's clearly lost in this project. Just something to think about...

Start by cutting a long 2" strip of  the full length your fabric. Just eyeball it. The wonderful thing about jersey knit is that it doesn't fray and the edges roll up. So you don't have to worry about being exact with this one.
 This strip will make one pacifier clip. So a fourth of a yard should allow for four long strips and an eighth should allow for two! Most jersey knit is around $6-$7 a yard. That translates into less than fifty cents each!



Once you have your long strip of fabric, fold it in half and find the center. Cut the strip in half.





Fold one of the strips in half again, grab your clipboard and pin the center fold underneath the clip.






As I was experimenting with making these, I couldn't find a clipboard around the house to save my life. I ended up using a sturdy chip clip and fastening the center of the strip to a caddy box in the middle of my kitchen table. The point is to secure it so you can pull and braid it. Just do what works.

Grab your other piece of fabric and slide it behind the clipped piece. Pull the two ends down and around to cross between the ends of the clipped piece. 
Ugh, that sounds confusing. See the picture, y'all. 




No I'm no braiding expert (confession: I can't even French braid!), but the fishtail braid is really as simple as the basic braid, just with one extra section. But the girl that can't even French braid picked it up in 30 seconds so don't freak out. 

It's basically:
 - Outside left strand over the one closest to it. 
 - Outside right strand over the one closest to it.
 - Then cross the two middle strands.
 - Repeat. 

Grab a video like this one and you get the added benefit of a DIY project and a new hairstyle. You're welcome.





Once the braid is as long as you'd like it to be, string the metal clip onto the braid. 

Fold the braid back up over the metal bar. Then find the longest fabric strand. You want to use this strand to wrap tightly around the base of the folded braid, holding everything in place. 





Secure the wrapped piece with some fabric adhesive. To be honest, superglue worked the best and the quickest. I wrapped tightly a few times, then put a dab of it on the back side of the braid, then wrapped twice more. 
If you're using an adhesive that takes longer to dry or you're just impatient and don't want to stand there holding this thing for a few minutes, grab a chip clip and clip right over the area. Walk away for a bit to make sure it has plenty of time to dry




Finally, come back and trim off your strands! I start with the three folded up, then move over to the wrapped piece.





Tada!!!





I decided to make a few different colors because accessories! I love the stretch of the jersey knit. Eliza is definitely one to pull on and chew all over her paci clips so these have worked out pretty nicely!


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Friday, July 22, 2016

I am a craft mom.


Something you probably know: 

I am a craft mom.

Something you might not know: 

Being a craft mom really stinks sometimes. 

True story, guys. Think about it. You know those moms that decorate for every single stinkin' holiday. Or the ones that make their own Christmas stockings. Their birthday parties are detailed beyond measure and the goodies bags never contain any of that plastic crap that looks sad enough to even be discounted as a happy meal toy.
The moms that make coasters out of rope. Or that create design boards for room makeovers. The moms that prep the end of the year classroom gifts with hand labels tags and would never consider a store bought Valentine.




You know those moms. And so do I. Because I am that mom.  

 Other moms talk about how they are done making their kids’ lives magical and I'm over here making seasonal kids' to do lists and planning birthday party themes for children I haven't even given birth to.

 Other folks talk about how “Pinterest Mommies” are making the rest of the moms feel bad, and I'm just over here making tissue paper garlands for baby showers, door hangers for hospital stays and home cooked meals for new mamas. 

Other moms talk about the judgement they feel, I'm whipping up tutorials and say "you can do this!".





Because here's the thing: I love this. I love the planning and the executing. I love the ridiculous craft supply closet. I love the endless list of potential DIYs. I love the smell of hot glue and putting washi tape on everything. It's my thing! And I'm tired of feeling bad about it. 

You have things too. Maybe you are stellar at keeping up your cleaning eating or meal prep. Maybe you are a fitness diva or a marathon runner. Maybe you're spoiling your puppies or crushing your reading list. Maybe you're setting bones or diagnosing earaches. Maybe you're managing corporate deals or busting it for that big promotion. 

We all have things. You have your thing and I have mine. And while I'm not going to scoff at your six pack, your ten day meal plan, or your big bonus check, you don't need to feel intimidated by my cupcakes, decor design boards, or hand crafted stationary. 

See, it sounds silly now, doesn't it

I'm not a better mom, and I'm not a show off mom. I'm just a mom, doing my thing. I want you to do the same. 

You know what they say: "You don't have to blow out someone else's citronella mason jar to make yours burn brighter."  




 Ok, so maybe they don't word it quite like that. But you guys get my drift.

Look around, y'all! The world needs us all to shine brightly.
Which means this little light is off to make some jersey knit pacifier clips.  


xoxo, 
A craft mom 










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