Monday, December 26, 2011

What a Christmas!

What a fun week! I LOVE giving gifts; it was so fun for me to watch people open their gifts that I worked for months on. You can ask the hubby, I had taken over the kitchen table for weeks with all my project materials.
I can now post some pics of some things I made for gifts since everyone has opened them!
           I'll start with my most frugal, which was for a contest of 'most bang for the buck' present: This basket is worth $77.76 if you wanted to pay full price for it.  I paid $5.32! Here's the breakdown:
What:                                      Where:                                                  Paid:          Value:
Basket:                                  Dollar store                                             $1.08          $1.08
Walmart gift card                   won via McDonalds Monopoly                $0               $5.00
Au Gratin Potatoes                coupon from All You Magazine                $0               $1.75
Hashbrowns                          coupon from All You Magazine                $0               $1.75
Pens, 10 count                      online coupon & price matching                $0               $2.19
Hand Warmer                        Dicks sporting goods                               $1.08          $1.08
St. Johns Bay Shirt                JCPenneys coupon $10 off $10               $2.16          $37.80
Candle                                  Bath&Body Works coupon                      $0               $10.26
Old Spice Body Wash, large  Walmart, 2 coupons used                         $0               $4.35
Label book (post it notes)      Free sample for my business                    $0               $2.00
2 5oz @ Cherry Berry           partly regifted (we got 4, kept 2 for us)    $0               $5.50
Fake USB cord                     online: ThinkGeek, used reward points     $1.00          $5.00

(you can't see all of these items, some are behind the shirt.) I had more free stuff since I'd had my eyes peeled for months, but decided to keep them for our family. But don't worry, we did buy him some 'real' gifts too! I just had so much fun putting this basket together! I'm motivated to do even better next year! :)

I made several big fleece blankets this year that are so easy and fun to make, and even more fun to snuggle in! Some other fabric projects were pillows and capes:

These were for my little nephews out in California. I loved how they turned out! I might just need one. :)
For my Oklahoma nephews I made personalized pillows for their room. I'm so glad their momma loved them!

Pillows are the hardest thing to give away...I always want to keep them for myself after I make them! :) I really loved how the ones I made for my mother-in-law turned out...sadly, I can't find those pictures anywhere! :( I made one deep red, one brown pillow, both with huge leafs that covered the whole front in the opposite color. (The leaves were place mats from Walmart's fall collection,. They were perfect for these pillow!)

I also made scripture cards for Ry, and two of her other cousins around her age:
Easy peasy! :) Another simple to make item was this keyring:


 It's a cute, large charm from Hobby Lobby with beads strung on bendable wire and two initial beads on the ends, one for each of her kiddos.
In addition to making and buying gifts, I had done my first craft fair earlier in the month selling my famous cake balls and custom candles. I had orders totaling over 400 cake balls!And most of them ordered them wrap in a festive holiday box because they were being given as gifts:

Here are some I made for my family to display as examples:

My favorite gifts to BUY were the ones I bought on Friday after finding out that we were going to host a foster kid from the Laura Dester Shelter. I found out his age and immediately went out shopping with all the other last minute crazy people to find him something that he would like. Len picked him up Christmas morning and he got to open a stocking and 3 presents, along with us, at our house. We were about to pray before opening presents and he asked if he could pray...that was very special. :) We had a fun day taking him to go eat a fabulous Christmas brunch and playing Wii and some football catch with my family. Then we all went bowling and played video games. With the tickets he won, he got US 'Christmas' presents!! Things like a hacky sack for my bro, rings for my sis and I, playing cards for dad, a crown for Rylan, and candy for everyone. That was very special! He's a good kid! My heart aches for those kids that need forever families...makes me wish our adoption process was further along than it is...but that's another post for another day. Goodnight!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thankfulness Is In The Air

Man, the past few weeks have been so full and gone by so fast. I usually look forward to and count down Thanksgiving for it's all of a sudden next week! I did get our Thanksgiving tradition made so it would be available for the month. If you've ever been to my house in November, you've met our annual Thanksgiving Turkey!
He gets reborn every year, and sad to say, this is not his best looking year. :)

Here's what we do:
All month we write on the paper scraps things we are thankful for and stick them in the turkey. Then on Thanksgiving, after the meal, we 'cut open the turkey' and take turns pulling out one piece of paper and reading it. It might be your own or someone else's. I love when our friends and family visit and leave a note in the turkey and then we get to read it on Thanksgiving.

Last year Ry couldn't write so she scribbled what she was thankful for on the paper and then when we read them, so would translate for us. It was so sweet! Here's a video from last year:

I've been working on transferring all our videos online. We are clearing out all our personal stuff out of our desktop computer so we can sell it. We actually have 5 computers in our house...geez. 3 we use regularly. 1 hasn't been turned on in years and 1 we don't use due to all the other computers available. So hit me up if you need a desktop computer. Or a really old has a floppy disk drive. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

For My Fellow Scarf Lovers!

Saw this video and loved it! Then I saw she has a ton of other clothing tutorial videos! She's just the cutest thing! :) Just wanted to share this one with you.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


So...if you know me, you know I've been wanting to get another tattoo for a while now. I knew that I wanted it be from Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."  I had planned on going on my birthday...back in June...then tried to go mid Sept...but it never worked out and even after all my doodles, I never settled on one that I loved enough.
Well Friday night I had access to a babysitter, had just gotten paid, and had a couple hours to sit and work on my at 7:00 I dropped the kids off and headed to the parlor...
My original design was too small and detailed to still look good years from now, so we reworked the design...and reworked it some more. I had the nicest artist, a perfectionist at heart, and he designed such a beautiful was just like 20 times the size of my original! So that wasn't going to work for me! I kept telling him that it was beautiful BUT it would take up my whole arm.! We did eventually decide on a design that I could live with for the rest of my life.  :)  

Enough logistics. Some back story...
Before I got my other tattoo 2.5 years ago, I definitely judged anyone who had tattoos. Not gonna lie about it. I never thought I would get one. If you know the story of my 'more mercy' tattoo, you know it was an audible voice I heard and was prompted from there to go and get that phrase permanently put on my body. It's my reminder. It honors my family. It brings me closer to God.

I had no plan to get another one until last year when a lot of things were revealed to me. In my short little life, it's amazing to have already been able to share and minister to people who have been through things that I have. I've sat across the table from people who were telling me the exact same things I was saying years ago. Romans 8:28 has taken on a new meaning in my life...I know it to be true. I've seen it, felt it, lived it! Being able to share experiences and lessons learned with people has been so humbling and rewarding. And now I have a peace that I don't think many people have. I have peace with whatever may happen in my life. I don't fear bad things happening to me or my family. If I or someone I love really fail, there's no fear that our lives would be destroyed... Anything that happens in my life is just a part of my story. I can't write it as a nice, easy life story. God has all authority to write my story (whether by allowing things to happen or by guiding them to happen) and I will be ok with it. Any pain, any joy, anything I experience in my life, I will be thankful for and just accept it as another part of my story.

I decided this year that my life is an open book. Every single part of it...ask me and I will tell you. Satan's tactic of fear and shame is rendered useless when we give up our lives as our own and say whatever happens, God gets the glory. It's not about's about God using what He's put in my story to bring His kingdom and help His children and those not yet believing in Him.

I told myself that if I was going to get another tattoo I wanted it to bring the focus back to God. That's the point in having these tattoos. People ask me what they mean...I get to explain. I see them and am reminded of what God has done for me and my family. I have to live what I've chosen to display on my arm. I try to 'put God's truth' before our eyes. I have several wall decals and signs around the house that we see everyday. This is like taking that to the next level...carrying them around with me wherever I go, visible to everyone.

I don't have great pics yet since It'll be healing for a while and it kind of wraps around my arm so I can't get it all in one pic, but here ya go. My "All Things" tattoo located by my other one: (you see the size difference now)

And 2 birds for my 2 daughters. (I told the guy to save room for like 4 more someday)

Update: 2 weeks later, all healed up:

Friday, September 30, 2011

While The Hubby Is Away.... Momma Shall Play -My Tradition

So I have this tradition...and it's never been broken...Every time Len goes out of town for a weekend or more, I redo something in the house. Not that there's a goal to redo everything, I just jump on the opportunity to get stuff done while he's away! I can't really work on projects when he's home.
During past times I've:
Repainted our bedroom
Repainted both living rooms
Refinished a bookshelf
Finished Kennley's room
Got a new couch and rearranged the family room
And many other smaller projects and others I'm just not remembering right now.

So this time I did what I'd been wanting to do for a while now...change the TV stand. Now the black TV stand (well, dresser) was nice and better than the huge 'cowboy cabinet' thing we used to have. But hey, that one was free. My goal was to eventually get rid of everything black in the living room. Started with the couch...then the large the TV stand...and someday we'll get a different coffee table...

I knew what I wanted it to look like, but didn't know where to get one from. I looked for days online to get a feel for what styles were out there and then checked Craigslist daily. I figured I needed between $65-90 to purchase one from Craigslist. (Side Note: I believe we are at #92 successful Craigslist transactions...might have a party or something once we reach #100!) I decided to join my neighbor on Saturday and have a garage sale, hoping to make $65-90! Well, on Friday night I was given one of the nicest TV stands I've ever seen...for free!! Thank you Jesus! :)
Here's what it looked like:
(Of course I forgot to take a real Before photo...this is after I sanded it!)
Another view...beautiful wood...almost felt bad painting it.
The process: Primer!
Two coats of fire engine red paint (no cost for supplies since the red paint was leftover from the front door and mom supplied the stain)
(That's how I roll...I always work right on top of the carpet...It's worked for me so far.)
Disclaimer: I am not saying you should do that too! :)
Since when do we pose like this??
Stain (brush one, wipe off...repeat a million times) and a coat of polyurethane applied!
Another view of the stain:
Now I can clean the TV for the last time since no little fingers can touch it now! Bwahaha!

See Ry's pumpkin she grew! :) Oh and that little black thing by the statue is an iPod dock...never heard of that!
So there ya have it...come over and see it sometime...or just see me! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Holy's been awhile :)

Well a lot's been going on and most of it I can't show because it involves Christmas presents...seriously, there is a mountain of fabric that Ry can squat and hide behind in my living room. :) So far we've wrapped 4 Christmas gifts...they are sitting under our barker's rake anxiously awaiting the day they will be under a Christmas tree. :)

When I am able to plan ahead, I love to get things done ahead of time so I'm not stressed for time closer to the date.  With Christmas gifts, I try to start buying, or at least making a list, in July.  We have a 'gift' budget each month and some months I spend it on future gifts, like Christmas.  We also put money from each paycheck in an envelope so that we have money to spend on Christmas gifts.  If you don't have a plan for Christmas gifts, make one! Putting $20 a paycheck aside is an easy thing to do.  I love the freedom that comes with shopping with money that has been set aside specifically for that purpose.

One craft I tried and loved this week was making 'fake makeup'. Ry had been playing with my empty makeup containers so I figured she'd probably like them even more if they had color to them. So I poured a couple different colors of nail polish into the containers and let them dry.  Now she has REAL 'fake makeup'.  :)
I've collected some more containers from other people and plan on making some more and putting them in a cute personalized bag and giving them as a gift for a cute little niece. Shhh. :)

Do you dehydrate? I am slowly learning more recipes, but the main reason I bought a good dehydrator was for fruit roll ups! Banana has been our favorite flavor so far. I was inspired by Kenn's baby food flavored - Mixed Berry Banana....yum! :)  So I added a bunch of blackberries, and a couple raspberries and strawberries to 3 bananas in the food processor, added a touch of agave nectar and...
tastes like a Jamba Juice smoothie! 7 hours later...
20 minutes later... it's all gone...
Yes, it's that good!'s a sneak peak of what I've been working on the past 4 days...will post tomorrow?
(Why is the TV on the floor??)  :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Craft Follow Up

Last post I had these two pictures:

Time for an update: Here's the only picture I could find of the original collage frame. (I had one that said 'Memories' and another that said 'Family'.

They didn't work anymore in our new living room arrangement but I didn't want to just throw them out. So I stripped them completely apart and reused the frame and wooden letters for this project. I spray-painted the frames white, cut some vinyl garden fence to size (instead of chickenwire), colored it with a black Sharpie on the front (it was green) and then superglued clips to each letter so I could attach them and rearrange them as I please and use them to hold up things I want to display. 

Right now I am using them to hold things I want to remember to pray for...or just need to remember, like birthday parties! I have a card from a sweet friend that lost a baby so I remember to pray for them every time I see it. I also have a birth announcement and a card from another friend...

On to the felt circles...This was my first attempt to make a pillow using felt. Here was the inspiration...
And here is my pillow using my colors:

I made smaller circles than the design pillow, but I love the multi-colored look. And it looks great on my couch! I plan on making a few more with different designs. My mother-in-law loved it too and asked if it would be possible to cut out different shapes, like leaves. I thought why not??! And...her birthday just happened to be a couple days away so I quickly began making a pillow for her, trying a leaf design...

She loved it!  :) Now to try some new colors...
More projects and recipes coming soon...

Friday, September 2, 2011

What a nice day to stay inside and get crafty!

Today I worked on a couple different projects and actually started and completed one in a single day! I know, amazing! :) Here was the inspiration:

 It's such a cute idea, but I wouldn't pay $24.95 for this piece that's only 15 inches tall.

Soooo, I bought a plain white 30 inch board and spray painted the edges with a metallic grey. I then typed up all my sayings on my friend's Cricut machine I'm borrowing. (Which is wonderful to have...with the family values frame thing I did, I cut out each letter by hand...) I glued them on and Voila!

I decided to just stick with food related things since I'm going to hang it by the kitchen table. I love that I spent less than $3 to make a bigger replica-type of my inspiration!

Here are 2 sneak peeks of other projects in the works...

Yeah, you're probably thinking "What the heck is that?"  :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

For the love of little boy clothes...

Um, yeah...I don't have a little boy, but I do have a growing collection of little boy clothes in a closet. It all started when we were told last pregnancy that we were having a boy, only to find out otherwise the next ultrasound. During that 2 weeks, I made a major score at! Cutest clothes ever!! :) Well, I gave most of it away to friends and family for presents but still had a few left over. Add to that, I buy boys clothes whenever they are dirt cheap (to me, $2). I mean, come on, that's cheaper than Walmart prices. Most of the stuff in my collection was under $2 and that is so exciting to me. And I only buy what I really really love since I know I'll have plenty of other boy clothes to borrow from my step sis's 2 boys whenever we do have a boy.

Here's a peek at what I got in the past month:
JCPenney sales rock! (and I always have an add 15% off from saving my receipt and doing the online survey)
One is 6-9 months, the other 2T (and SO cute!)...I buy all sizes.

Children's Place: (again with the 15% coupons...they send them out all the time!)

Gotta love it!

So, little future boy...your momma's been preparing for your arrival for some time now...hope you like the clothes someday. :) I work on a sewing project, a glue and paint project, an alteration project, or a quilting project...I mean, its just too hot to go play outside...

Oh, I have been absent the past many days scanning and editing old photos from mom...Sneak peek:
Man, if only I could edit that hairdo...