Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Please, please, please!

Have you seen this wonderful giveaway? Oh, how I'd love to win!
(Click on the picture to go to the site.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thank You All Around!

It’s a blur of activity around here and we are loving it!Blur picture

One thing we accomplished while the excitement is high is...
 handmade thank you cards.
Thanks 2Thanks 1Thanks 3

It is so much easier to work on these before Christmas! My girls are happy to make them and even happy to address the envelopes --which we do as the gifts arrive. After the gifts are opened and the excitement dies down, all we have to do is write the thank you note and it is ready to go.
Quick, easy, and no whining!
Thanks 5

And, obviously, these aren’t just for Christmas!

Would you like to make some too?
I will make it even easier for you!
Here are the instructions with several printables to get you on your way.

And, I prepared all of the materials, but my children put most of it together.
 This is just as easy as it looks!

For all cards, cut a piece of cardstock in half “hamburger” style.
Fold each in half.
Smooth and flatten the fold with a bone folder.
(For Thank "ewe” card, print first then cut cardstock.)
Diagram copy
Jumping for Joy Card
To make the little girl (or boy), print out the picture.
(click to enlarge)
TY Cards copyTY Cards Boy
Cut around it in a rectangle shape using a paper cutter.
Add photo corners to each corner and stick it to the front of the card. Thanks 1

Thank “Ewe” Card
Print the message on your cardstock then cut into cards.
(click to enlarge)
Thank ewe copy

Cut 2 inch circles out of cardstock. With paint or a stamp pad, have your child stamp his/her thumb and fingerprints into the shape of a sheep. We added a little distressing ink to the edges to help it pop a little. When it is all dry, just glue it onto the center.
Thanks 3

You can go back and add features if you would like, but it may not improve the look. Use your imagination!
Sheep picture

Embellished “thank you” Card
Cut cardstock and place fold at the top.

Cut strips of scrapbook paper so the length is the same as the width of the card. The width of the strip is up to you.

Print out the “thank you” message sheet.
Cut around it in any shape you would like.
Decorate each shape.
(click to enlarge) TY Phrase copy
Glue it all in place and you're good to go!Thanks 2

Ahhh…I love the feel of this little stack!
Or maybe it is the feeling of having something else done!?
Thanks 4

Anything that minimizes whining, crying, or complaining in my house
is something I want to try!

And, while I am on the subject of “Thank you,” I’d like to tell you how much I appreciate your kind comments and emails.

Thank you for joining me on my crafting adventures!
Merry Christmas!

(I'm linking HERE. )

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It’s My Fave!

This is my current favorite Christmas decoration.

Faith Blocks copy

The pattern came from a magazine and I knew I wanted it the instant I saw it. I wasn’t brave enough to try it on my own so I convinced a friend--who could stand in for Martha Stewart--to do it instead. She taught it for a Super Saturday craft day at church and it was the only craft I did. Unfortunately, it took forever! We ended up meeting at her house to finish these and I still didn’t even finish then. Lucky for me, she feels crazy when projects aren’t finished and she finished mine up for me. Since I don’t have her mad painting talents, I was thrilled!

There are, obviously, no faces still but I kind of like that. It bothers my children that I don’t put faces on a lot of my crafts, but for some reason it works for me. For this one, I just love the simplicity mixed in with all of the detailed painting.
I love it--every time I look over at it!
Yep, this is definitely my favorite right now.

What is your favorite Christmas decoration this year?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Too Much Help!

Ever tried to do some Christmas baking with a little TOO much help? Me, too! Here’s a simple solution for children who can still be distracted. Put your little helper to work making these pretend play gingerbread cookies!

Gather a few materials:
Cookies 2Cookies 8Cookies 5Cookies 3

First we put the cookie “dough” on a tray to bake. (The cookies are actually felt stickers and I just left the paper on the back. They are already nice and stiff.)
Cookies 7
Then we decorated the cookies by trading the plain cookies for the ones with clothing decorations and put them on a festive serving tray.
Cookies 9
 Serve those cookies on a little plate and eat them up!Cookies 4

This is a great way to include and enjoy your children
even when you can’t really include them in the activity you are doing.

It’s a busy time and while I love it, there’s stuff that has to get done!

Here's to checking things off my list and having fun!

Monday, December 13, 2010

(Super Mom) Gingerbread Houses

Today, we had a rare chance to slow down because we had to--thanks to a snow day. With my older girls home from school, I took the opportunity to make gingerbread houses with them. It has been a few years since we did this and I can’t say I was looking forward to it. We usually make the graham cracker kind and you know how crazy that can be.

Gingerbread House 5

But this time was different! While my girls were all outside playing in the snow, I got to work putting the houses together. I couldn’t find my recipe for Royal Icing, so I googled it and found THIS recipe. Oh my—it is perfect! This recipe worked so much better than the one I have been using for years and years. It was so easy to stick these houses together--with no milk cartons in the middle, mind you.

So, grab your stuff and get to work. (It’s more like playing than working!)

I “glued” each house together with Royal Icing and placed it on a paper plate.

Gingerbread House 2

I set out a muffin tin with a variety of decorating materials.

Gingerbread House 1

I instructed my older girls to help the youngest although there was really no need because she only wanted to eat the candy and frosting! Kind of obvious, isn’t it?
 Gingerbread House 3

Then, I visited with some friends while they decorated.
Gingerbread House 4

The best part is that one friend brought her daughter who was also out of school and I was able to whip out another house and she decorated with my girls.
It was one of those rare moments when I looked like Super Mom and, I admit. . .
I basked in it—it never lasts long!

So grab your stuff and get to decorating—the fun and easy way!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Featured Guest: A Vintage Mom

I’ve been sick for several weeks and just can’t seem to rid myself of these germs. Today, I woke up feeling good again and I was especially glad because I had some plans! My husband, my daughter and I spent the entire day (well, until school was out for the older ones!) running around getting the last minute gifts or pieces and parts for gifts. Whew! It was lots of fun, but I am done with the running around.

Which brings me to our featured guest—you will love her!
Wait until you see what she makes. And, you can shop for her stuff online from the comfort of your own home—absolutely no running around at all! Take it away Prudence!

Hi! My name is Prudence and I sew Lollibags. (I sound like I'm speaking at a sewing addiction meeting). My oldest daughter, Lauren, made the very first Lollibag, so I named them after her. Her nickname is Lolli.

I decided to start making them too, a couple years ago, and they have grown into a little business for me.  I also make a mini version of Lollibags for little girls, called Lil Lolli's.  I began by making Lollibags out of vintage fabrics..... I LOVE vintage.  But lately I have been using new fabric too.
I started my blog A Vintage Mom as a way to promote  my Lollibags, but it has become so much more.  I had no idea the blog world was so BIG..... And I have met the most wonderful friends through blogging!  I somehow stumbled across Tammy's blog and I love seeing her creations too!  Actually I started following She Wears Flowers because of the cute baby picture she had as her header, a while back, just a fun tidbit for ya!

Thanks for having me Tammy!

Prudence sells her Lollibags HERE and you really need to stop by to see what she has! I fell in love with this one instantly:
Girls Zipper Purse Lollibag
And, be sure to stop by her blog because it is chock-full of farm fun and lots of thought-provoking thoughts. It is always a pleasure to see what Prudence is up to!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Little Holiday Educating (and fun!)

I love to read the holiday cards and letters that arrive each day in the mail. Unfortunately, they don’t hold a great deal of interest for my children if they don’t know the people who sent the cards or if they can’t read the cards. My older girls like to read them all now because they are at that “nosy” age, but this is new. My youngest doesn’t care at all, but I want to have a few minutes to read the cards myself!

Here’s one of my favorite ways to buy a little time:
Graph 1
As a graphing activity, it is obviously a little bit educational, but you don’t have to make a big deal about that part unless you want to. It can also be adapted lots of ways so feel free to change it and make it work for you.
Graph 3
As the holiday cards arrive, have your little ones check the cards out thoroughly and then show them how to color, make an X or use stickers or treats--marshmallows, raisins, mandm’s-- to fill out this simple graph.

(Click to enlarge or print HERE in landscape view.)
Card Graph

(Cut it in half horizontally so there are only 4 symbols at a time to focus on.)

Just draw in the symbols or use stickers or wrapping paper or scrapbook paper, etc. 
Graph 5
You can change the symbols each time you do it to keep it interesting. Even young children can do this with very little supervision—after all, no one is grading these papers, right? My oldest made these herself.
Graph 6
You could also do a graph about the card/letter itself with simple statements (using pictures) similar to this: (Graph answers using the same color as the envelope.)
  • It’s a card.
  • It’s a letter.
  • It’s a card with a letter.
  • It has a photograph with it.
  • The card is a photograph.
  • There are boys in the photo.
  • There are girls in the photo.
For older children, you can make a continuous graph that they just add on to each day (Print the graphs, cut them up and tape strips together as needed.) as they check out the new cards. And, don’t forget to give them more symbols to look for, too!  Even though it looks like work, my girls fall for it every time!
Graph 2
You can do this as a one-time activity by distributing a few cards to each of your children and having each child graph what the cards hold and then comparing the results with each other.
There are so many possibilities. It is simple, quick, and fun!

For your sake, I’m hoping you don’t get tons of cards each day.

The last thing you need is excited children with sugar overload, right?

(Stick with the zero calorie, no sugar crayon!)
Graph 4

Friday, December 3, 2010

I’m A Guest!

Today I am guest posting at Everyday Mom Ideas.
Julia shares lots of fun ideas and I was honored to be invited to share a tutorial.

You can go HERE to learn how to easily make these two-sided blocks to decorate with. You can use them for the holidays and beyond! (Do I sound just a bit like Buzz Lightyear??) Be sure to head over there to check it out!
Blocks 8Blocks 7
And, in case you are wondering, you don’t have to have vinyl lettering for this project!
Go on—what are you waiting for? Get over there and see how to do it!

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