Thursday, December 31, 2009

Scrabble Tile Necklaces

Again, this isn't my own idea.  I think I first saw the idea about a year and a half ago.  It's my understanding that it was floating around bloggy world for a while before that.  It's a super cute and super easy idea, and I've actually made some for myself and given it as gifts multiple times.

This year for Christmas, I made some for my friends Laurie and Amanda.

Here are Laurie's
(sorry, there is a little glare)

 and here are Amanda's

They are rather simple to make.
(I say "rather simple" but this would depend on your crafting skills.
I guess I should say for me they were "rather" simple!)

You will need:
*scrabble tiles
*scrapbook paper
*small stamps and ink (if you choose)
*mod podge
*diamond glaze
*E6000 glue (or something very strong)
*silver bails

The hardest part is finding just the right corner of the paper to fit onto the small scrabble tiles.  I've seen people make little guides to help them, but I just eye ball it and start cutting.  I'm just that kind of crafter.  I don't have time to be making templates! :)  Anyway, find the paper/design you want and cut your paper to fit your tile.  I stamped initials on a few of the ones above.  I've also stamped a little birdy on ones I've made in the past.  You can stamp or you can let the scrapbook paper be the statement.

Adhere the little piece of scrapbook paper onto the tile using the mod podge.  Do a coat of mod podge on the top as well.  Allow this to fully dry before moving on.

After your tile is dry, cover the top with a nice coat of diamond glaze.  Be careful!  This stuff bubbles!

Let this dry completely.  I usually let them sit over night.  Then adhere the bail to the back of the tile using the E6000 glue.  Again, let this dry completely.

There you have it.  A cute little necklace.  NOTE: The bails come in many different forms.  If you want the kind you can just glue on (as opposed to drilling a hole and attaching them), you may have to hunt for them.  I ended up ordering a pack of bails off etsy along with the diamond glaze.  I've heard that is also hard to find in the craft stores these days.  They sell similar items though, so it's up to you.

ALSO-- I made some of these for my boss, but added a little twist.  I had Little Man do so art work and turned it into necklace pieces.  One piece was just a page he painted and the other piece was his handprint.  I scanned them into my computer, printed them down (in color) to just the right size and followed the above mentioned steps to make a very special gift.  K obviously LOVED this, but it was much more work getting the paper to print off the right size.  Just be warned if you want to try this! :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas re-cap

Man, I had a great Christmas.  I sure hope you did as well.  We actually had FIVE Christmases, and I had a good time at each one.  We got to enjoy so many fun, lively, hilarious, and special moments with our families.  We are blessed beyond measure, and we don't take that lightly or forget.

I realize Christmas isn't all about the gifts, but since I shared my birthday and Christmas wish list with you a few weeks ago, I thought I'd let you know what I got.  Plus, for the sake of blogging... I'm sure you'd all rather know the fun and exciting gifts I got as opposed to a detailed account of all five Christmases--most of which were with people you don't even know! :)

I'm pleased to say that I got almost everything on my list AND some.  I know, I know... spoiled. :)  Ok, so I didn't get the house or the craft room, but I knew going into it that those were pretty lofty dreams.  Remember a few months ago when I was trying to come up with a list and had no ideas?  I really didn't need anything in the truest sense of the word, but I sure am happy to get a few of my wants.

I got the Pioneer Woman's cookbook I wanted, along with the Karen Kingsbury book. (Yes, I got the book on CD for my birthday.  I will probably exchange one for more books!)  On top of that, I had asked Michael for a few more books and got three others from some of my favorite Christian fiction authors.

I also got the label maker

The basic set of the Willow Tree Nativity

Supplies for the laminator

The Pottery Barn keys

Two non-stick pans 

A Starbucks gift card

A Walmart gift card

Also, after I made my original post, I had decided there were a few more things I wanted.  I made Michael his very own Amazon wish list. (Some of the above items were from him too!)
He got me a Cuttlebug
and 8 different embossing folders for it

I also got the embossing heat tool.

Plus, my friend Kristin and I decided to not exchange gifts, but decided to spend a day together getting pampered.  We went out to lunch and then had a fabulous manicure and pedicure at Charles Penzone.

I also got a Kohl's gift card

and a Mailbox Magazine subscription

Bob Evan's and Olive Garden gift cards

 food items (mug w/ hot chocolate, fancy choc. covered almonds)
Between a few different people I got about $120 in cash

And from the bosses I got a ridiculously soft fur throw,
$100 to Brio
 And a suh-weet Christmas bonus .

Man..... I raked it in this year! :)  30 had been good to me!! LOL!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Painted signs

The thing that got me started on homemade gift this year were all the fun signs I had been seeing.  Of course, I saw them and thought "I can do that".  Most of the signs I saw that I liked were made using vinyl, but I wanted to paint them for a more long last looking.  I thought it would be the perfect gift for my mother-in-law.  They are down to earth type of people who have what they need or go out and get it.  I wanted to give something that had a little meaning to it.  Well, out of that started a homemade gift/crafting frenzie.

This is for Michael's mom and her husband Bob

a different view with the flash off...

Then I saw an idea with an "H" like this, and decided to make one for my mom and her husband Ken

 and another view without the flash...

You can't tell in the picture, but some of the paint is shimmery.

I thought that was going to bit it.
Let's be honest.  That was already a lot of work to paint those by hand.
BUT... I was shopping with my sister for her new house and we were looking at things to put in her entryway.
We had looked at a few signs and then I said, "or I could just make you one".
You should have seen her reaction.
I can't even type it.
She practically jumped out of her skin and said, "Yeah, you could"
Like she couldn't believe I was leaving her out this whole time and she was pleased the idea finally "dawned" on me.

SO... I made her a sign too.

I went with more subtle colors for her.
She wants to paint her entry way and I didn't want my sign to class.
The words are a green and the fancy lettering is a bronze.
The white scrolly stuff was suppose to just be a glaze, but it turned out a little darker.
However, in different light you can't hardly see it, so I just left it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Birthday Re-cap

Well, I survived turning 30.  It actually isn't that big of a deal to me to be "the big 3-0".  I think society just tries to make it a big deal.  Oh well...

Anyway, I had a very low key day, but it was still good.  I was able to enjoy some of my favorite things, which is always nice.

First, I slept in.  I had the day off, and it was so nice to not have to do anything for once.  I had been so busy with Christmas "stuff", that sleeping in was actually a treat.  Once I woke up, I watched Hoda and Kathi Lee.   I try to watch them every day... even if it means setting the DVR and watching them during nap time.  Hey--it's better than soap operas!!  I got to chit chat with my college roommate.  It's always good to catch up with her.  We can go months without talking, but always pick up right where we left off.  I love that.  To me, that's true friendship.  I got myself ready for the day and headed out.  I had planned to pick up Starbucks, because really--whats a birthday without it?  But instead I went through the McDonald's drive thru.  I was just going to get some fries (and then make my coffee stop), but they had egg nog milkshakes.  Can we say "yum"?!  I'm not much of a milkshake kind of girl, but every year I need at least one egg nog milkshake and one shamrock milkshake.  I left McDonald's and headed to Target.  Hello?!  Who doesn't love Target??  I then bought myself some clothes and jewelry.  I'd call the day a success!  Once Michael got home we we to dinner at Brio.  I love being anywhere with my husband.  We had very yummy food and good conversation.  Oh--and lets not forget the tiramisu!  We had planned to go to a movie, but it was getting a little late.  So we went home and watched Sing Off.  Nice.

 Of course, a birthday wouldn't be a birthday without the gifts.  So here's what I got.

Umm....hello!  A hot pink camera?  Are you kidding me?  LOVE IT!
Ok, I don't just love it because it's pink.  I really wanted a Canon.
It's what I use for work and have no issues with it.
I know you probably thought I was just a terrible photographer and blaming it on the camera.
That could be the case--time will tell--but my old camera was having issues.
Any time you turned the flash off you came out with a ridiculously blurry picture.
Plus, it would just randomly freeze and the only way to get it to do anything was to take the battery out.
When you took the battery out, it would eat the last 2 or 3 pictures you took.
Needless to say, this new camera was needed!
I already ordered a very cute camera case from etsy.  My camera case was red.  You can't have a pink camera with a red case, so I just had to get a new one! :)

I also got one of these

and a blanket my friend Laurie made me

and my friend Kristin got me this (on CD)...

I also got a Michael's gift card from my sister.
I can't wait to get more crafting supplies! :)

Michael's grandma got me the laminator I wanted.

My brother gave me a gift card to Walmart.

And I got a birthday mug, measuring spoons and $50 to Starbucks from my bosses.

I am blessed!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Family Frame

Here's another homemade gift for my sister.  She wants to do a collage of pictures going up her staircase.  She saw an idea of this with some of the vinyl letters that say something about "family".  I decided to play off this idea and make her a fun frame.  Sh can put it in the middle of all her family pictures, or she can put it in a totally different place in her house.  It doesn't matter to me.  I just think it's cute and I had a blast making it! :)

I was having some trouble getting a good picture of it (old crappy camera), so I'm just going to put a few up here.  You can get the idea.  I did try to take a picture of each square, but my camera was not cooperating.  You can always click on the pictures if you want to see the details better.

I used ribbons, buttons, jewels, stickers with sayings of "family" on them and scrapbook paper.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ribbon Wreath (from hell!)

I made my sister three different things this year for Christmas.  She moved into a new house this summer and I have been helping her decorate.  I've given her a few ideas for her entry way.  One of the ideas I gave her was to hang a wreath on her mirror.  She can change it out for the season, or keep a wreath there that fits the decor she's going for.  She liked this idea, so I decided to go ahead and make her a wreath to get started.  I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to make, but I knew I didn't really want greenery.  You can buy wreaths like that everywhere.  I found a ribbon wreath tutorial online and thought it sounded simple enough.

So I bought one styrofoam wreaths and some ribbon.  Originally I had been paying attention to cost of the ribbon.  I didn't want to spend too much on it, since I was making her other things and you can buy a nice wreath for $30 to $35.  However, somewhere along the way (after looking at 50 different spools to try to find what I wanted!), I guess I quit looking at the price.  I found the ribbon I wanted to use and bought a few spools (?) of it.  I got home and started making the thing.  I had used up all the ribbon I had bought and was only a 4th of the way done...oh, and did I mention the budget for it was already spent?  Well, at this point, I was invested.  I went to the store and bought FIVE MORE spools of ribbon.  Yeah.  You guessed it.  It still wasn't covered.  I had to go back and buy two more spools.  Ugh.  This darn wreath ended up costing me a fortune.  I don't really mind so much about how much I spent.  I mean, it is for my wonderful sister. ;)  I'm more annoyed that I spent so much on a wreath.  I could have made something much better if I had only known.  Oh well.  That's the thing with crafting--you have to "live and learn".

I told her that she better hang it up whether she likes it or not and if anyone (i.e. her boyfriend) decides they don't like it, or takes it down... I will personally inflict bodily harm.  I'm just saying....

(This is hanging on my wall.  Maybe I'll get some of it hanging on the mirror so you can see.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

'For unto us a child is born, onto us a son is given,

and the government will be upon his shoulders.

And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God,

The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.'

Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Well, I don't have much for you today.  The Christmas festivities begin for me today and will continue until Sunday!  I am looking forward to some quality time with Michael and our families.

I have so much I want to share with you, but I have been put on hold.  It's kind of annoying, but that's how it goes.  I plan on giving you a birthday update, but I haven't even received half of my gifts yet.  People just wait until they see me for Christmas to give me my birthday gifts.  Annoying? YES.  But... what can you do?  I also plan on sharing with you TONS of homemade gifts I made.  However, that has to wait until the people actually open their gifts! :)  So for now, we shall wait.

But while we wait, I wanted to share with you a fun website to check out.  It's  I'm guessing most of you have heard of Etsy.  I thought everyone knew about Etsy.  Michael even knows about Etsy.  However, just this past week I've talked to 3 different people that said, "What's Etsy?"  So... I guess it's not as common as I thought.  Etsy has been around for a few years now.  It's a website where people can have their own business and sell their handmade items.  (Kind of like how people are always telling me "you could sell that".  If I wanted to sell "that", I could start an etsy shop.)  You can also buy supplies used to make some of those fun crafts you see.  There are also vintage items for sale.

I have bought supplies in the past, I've used ideas to make some items myself, and I plan on buying a camera case and a purse very soon!  Check it out if you haven't already!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Nana and Papa Plaques

Ok, so this may seem a bit strange, but I made Nana and Papa a gift from me too.  I don't think most nannies make/give their bosses parents a gift for Christmas.  Sure, they may have the kids make something (using the parent's money, of course), but nothing from themselves.  My situation is a little different.  Nana and Papa are a big part of the equation in my job.  They live a few miles down the road and are there to help out whenever they are needed.  They come at least one time a week (but usually 2 times) and let me go home early.  If I need to leave work early for a dentist appointment, they help me out.  Once I had to go to a funeral, and it was Nana who covered for me.  Not only do they help me out, but they genuinely love talking with me...and not just all about Little Man either.  I am part of their family.  They tell me often how much they appreciate me and the level of care I give to Little Man.  They are like my co-workers, but also my friends! :)

I wanted to get them something this year as a gift from me.  Of course, I have no idea what they want or need and at this point in their life, it's probably not much.  But what grandparent doesn't love to receive something featuring their (favorite) grandchild?!

So I made them these... I think they turned out fan-freaking-tastic!
(Again-sorry about the picture quality.  My camera sucks!
Don't worry though--I got a new one.  More on that in another post!)

(As much as I would LOVE to show you Little Man's stinkin' adorable face, it is blurred out for privacy reasons.)

Remember, you can always click on the picture to see a bigger view, but here are some of the details.


Here's Papa's...


As you can imagine, these were a HUGE hit.  Nana and Papa just gushed over them when they opened them.  Then I got an email from K saying I had done way too much and she couldn't believe how great the frames were.  She also said that Papa was putting his in his work office and that was a "very, very big deal" because nothing every got taken in to the office.  Yay for success! :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Grandparent gifts

Nana and Papa are a big part of Little Man's life, so we try to do all sorts of fun things for them.  Last year we made them this for Christmas.

Cute right?  This was not my idea.  It's all over the internet, so I'm not sure who's idea it really was.
It was rather simple too.  You paint the child's four fingers and top of the palm with white paint.
You place the ornament in the hand to make it look like snowmen. 
I chose blue because I thought it looked the a night's sky.  It wasn't exactly the color I wanted, but it worked (and it was on sale!).  I actually bought an entire box, and I'm glad I did.  I gave some to Nana and Papa, some to mom and dad, and kept one for myself (and a few in the trash that we mess up on!).
The decorations were made with paint pens.  I also wrote Little Man's name and year on the back.

This year, we made Nana and Papa this
 Remember the silhouette I made for K and G?
Well, I took the same picture I had printed out and traced it onto contact paper.
Then I put the contact paper on a canvas and had Little Man go to town with paints.
The contact paper didn't stick as well as I would have liked, but it did the trick.
I just used a baby wipe to clean up the two little areas that had a small smudge/leak.
Little Man had SO much fun making this, and I know Nana and Papa are just going to love it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Yep.  It's true.  Today I turn the big 3-0!  To be honest, I'm not so sure how I feel about it.  For twenty nine years and nine months, I could have cared less about turning 30.  I'm not one of those people that ever cared about the number.  I've never looked my age, so it never really bothered me to be turning another year older.  I still don't think I look my age, so that's not it.  Plus, in my mind I'm still 24.  A few months ago I started thinking about it.  It started to be a little less appealing to me.  I've accomplished a lot in my life, but there is still so more much I'd like to do.  I guess I'm OK with 30, it just makes me a little anxious to get moving on to the next phase of life.  

My twenties were great.  I know most older people looking back don't think so.  I've heard Oprah say things like "nobody knows what they are doing in their 20's".  I've heard people say their life didn't start until 30.  I've also heard how great the 40's are... and these days, even how great the 50's are.

I'm here to tell you that my 20's were great.  I'm a little sad to be leaving them behind... so I decided to take a look back.

My twenties started right in the middle of my college experience.  College, for me, was and still is one of the best times of my life.  Sure, there were a few rough spots, but for the most part it was fabulous.  I made some life long friends during those four years.  I had a blast.  I also graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.  That's something no one can ever take away from me.  I am very proud of that. 

After that great experience, I picked up and moved all of my belongings to Ohio.  I didn't know one single person in Ohio.  I had never lived on my own before.  I had never paid bills (besides a credit card bill here or there in college).  I had never really cooked.  I had no idea what I was doing.  But I did it.  All by myself.  I also had followed my dreams and became a teacher.  I spent six years of my 20's being one of the best First Grade teachers you'll ever find.  I had done everything I always said I was going to.  By 22, I had accomplished my life's biggest dreams.  That's pretty impressive if you ask me.

One of the best things that happened to me in my 20's was that I met the man of my dreams.  I was very patient.  I never doubted he'd come along.  And he did.  I'm so glad I waited too, because he was (and is) perfect for me.  I single handedly planned my entire wedding and enjoyed every single minute of it.  

I also figured out who I really am.  People have been telling me my whole life who I was.  I even started to believe some of it.  For a while, I even acted the way people told me I was.  But most of those things people told me I was/am aren't really true.  That's actually where my blog got it's name.  There are many layers to me.  Sadly, some of those people who told me who I was, still believe those things to be true today.  Or, they only know the top layer of me.  I'm ok with that.  I know who I am.  I have a handful of amazing people who also know who I am, and who love me for it.  That's enough for me.

Along with finding out who I really am, I've also found out what kind of things make me happy.  Things like crafting, decorating my house, cooking, and reading.  Who knew? :)

I've had a great 20's, but I'm bidding it farewell.  Here I am... entering my 30's.  I can only hope it's as good of a decade as the last.  I can't even imagine what's in store, but here are some of my most basic hopes:
  • Be a home owner and not a condo owner
  • Decorate my new home.  Can't wait!! :)
  • Do lots more crafts
  • Become a mother
  • Be a stay at home mom
  • Continue to enjoy a happy, healthy marriage
  • Travel more
  • Become debt free (hopefully within the next year!)
  • Own an SUV--and hopefully pay cash for it! :)
That's not too much to ask for right?
Here's to the next decade...


OH... and guess what?  It just so happens this is the 100th post on my blog too!!
 Happy 100!! 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to my love! (Oh how I love thee #4)

Oh how I love thee... let me count the ways (4)

Dear Michael,

Happy Birthday my love!  I hope you have a wonderful day.  You are an amazing man and deserve only the best.  I am so honored to be walking this life by your side.  There is so much about you that I love and appreciate.  I adore how modest and humble you are.  I also love how caring you are... and not only for me, but for everyone.  I so appreciate your servants heart.  You are so selfless.  There are very few people out there as giving and generous as you.

You are a great friend, a wonderful son, a thoughtful grandson, and a good brother.  Most of all, you are an outstanding husband.  We are all so blessed to have you in our lives.  Thank you for all you do!

I wish you not only a great day, but a great year to come!

Love you with all my heart,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Traditions

I'm a big "traditions" girl.  I love having traditions and keeping them every year.  Even though this is the case... we hardly have any traditions at all.  So sad.  I'd like to change that.  Every year I think about making ones, but have yet to really do so.  You know--like making the same breakfast Christmas morning, or going to a movie, or driving around to see the lights.  Is it because we don't have kids yet?  I hope that's the case.  I really want my kids to have Christmas traditions to do and look forward to every year.

Don't get me wrong.  We do have some of the same things we do every year.  We go to Michael's dad's side for Christmas eve lunch.  Michael and I open our gifts and do our own Christmas on Christmas eve night.  We go to his grandma's (mom's side) for Christmas day, and then hang out at my sisters Christmas night.  But these aren't really "traditions" per se.

One thing I have started is to get a Christmas movie every year.  I'd like to have a good collection of movies, and what better way to collect them.  This is our third (married) Christmas together.  So far we have


The Polar Express
Any suggestions for this year's movie??
What are your Christmas traditions??

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Christmas cards

Our Christmas cards were mailed out yesterday.  Finally.  I decided to go ahead and make them this year.  I've done this in the past.  I've also sent picture cards, and I've also had a year or two when I didn't send anything.  I know most people just send one type of card.  Especially those who make cards.  The hardest part is the planning.  Once you get a plan, you can crank them out fast.  Well, dumb me didn't do that.  I had intended to.  I just couldn't find (or commit) to a scrapbook paper that I liked.  Plus, I had bought a pack of Christmas scrapbook paper for some other projects.  However, they only have 3 sheets of each paper.  You can't make all of your cards with just three sheets.  So, all that to say... we have a variety of cards we are sending this year.  They look like this...

(looks better and more sparkly in person)






with variations of the background paper


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas decorations

So it seems everyone in bloggy world is showing their Christmas decorations/trees this week.  Why not join in the fun?  I've already shown you some of my decorations.  Remember the Noel letters, the garland tree, the centerpiece, and the ribbon card display?!

Well, I don't have a ton of decorations besides that.  Our condo is only 1000 square feet, so there aren't a ton of places to put decorations.

I have a few random snowmen figurines.
For some reason, I'm just drawn to the snowmen. :)

A marine nutcracker in honor of my husband
(next to the ridiculous plant my sister gave me to take care of!)

and our stockings... hung off the entertainment center because we don't have a fireplace
Also, it's hard to see, but there are two silver reindeer too, which both Michael and I love

I also have ornaments in random places
(I bought them to make a wreath, but they have cheap tops and couldn't fit on the hanger)

and, of course, my tree!
When I first moved out on my own seven years ago, I was so excited to have my own grown up tree.
I knew I wanted to have white lights.  I also wanted a red and silver theme.
Somewhere along the way I've added a little gold and a little white in the ornaments.
I love it!

Here's a picture with the flash.  It's not all warm and glowy, but you can get a good look at the gifts and nativity at the bottom.


Pretty right?  Well, Michael wasn't as pleased.  He really wanted colored lights.
So after hearing about it for two years... I went out last year and bought him his own tree.
It has colored lights.  LOTS of colored lights (pre-lit with an extra strand!), and lots of colorful ornaments.

Man, I'm such a good wife! :)