another valentine tutorial


Friday, February 12

last year's valentine was one of the few crafty things i made last year in my newborn haze that was planned, prepped for and completed ahead of time. (ahem, take note, please. that still doesn't happen very often.) i came up with the idea after seeing a crayon tutorial at christmas. while perusing everyone else's valentine ideas, i saw this blog and her many, many valentine ideas. i thought it was so cute, i decided to do it this year, so i made sure to purchase mini candy canes during the christmas clearance. (look at me. two februarys in a row.)

so, i had all the materials purchased, but finding a time to accomplish the project was becoming difficult. then, completely unexpectedly, and i do mean completely. unexpectedly. we woke up monday morning to this . . .

once again, i was so thankful for my ray of sunshine in the dark cloud of winter. (btw, winter-i am so over it. so over it. again.) 6 inches of snow without warning. nice. so after playing outside until we couldn't feel our hands, we came in, watched a movie and made candy cane heart suckers.

first, find little hands to help you unwrap all those tiny candy canes. don't worry, all those little fingers were washed first as well. remember, i teach preschool . . . that makes me a handwashing nazi.

it was an all hands on deck kinda craft.

after my extremely particular child had them lined up just so, we placed them in the oven on 300 for approximately 5 minutes or until melty looking (but not too melty).

then, strategically place a child to watch and let you know when that just right melty time occurs.

once they are out of the oven, immediately place 4" lollipop sticks in the middle and smoosh together. i have no picture of the actual smooshing (yes, that is a word) because it might have contained expletive word bubbles. so, you are forewarned, hot candy canes are similar to hot molten lava and may cause your skin to melt.

once they have cooled, wrap and tie to create adorable heart suckers and attach them to your valentines.

happy valentine's weekend!

a handmade vintage birthday


Tuesday, February 9

i am a detail person. i blame it on my parents-they are gifted in math. while i somehow lack the math gene, God gave me the detail gene. i think they are the same except one you use as a business person and one you use as a mommy. one becomes an accountant or a nurse and the other one obnoxiously decorates for every holiday and birthday. the latter one, that's me.

and, the more children i have, the more details i get to create. i think i started thinking about spencer's birthday before i even knew what day it would be on. i looked for inspiration in birth announcements, outfits, gifts we received, and then, i found it in something so ordinary, so everyday. i found it in the 1956 home we live in. we decided we need to move this year and with each passing holiday, i have become more and more sentimental about this house. with a birthday right after christmas, i thought i would continue our vintage touched christmas with a vintage themed birthday.

having lived in old houses for a while, josh and i have a love for the 1950s so i already knew several things i would include. i used vintage photos on flickr and old recipe books for inspiration and accuracy-i told you i was obnoxious. so, on with the party . . .

i created the invites using a vintage greeting card image and rhyme. i just changed the pronouns in the rhyme to suit an invitation and not a greeting card. then, i used stickles to create accents of glitter on the image.

it reads:
she's cute and smart
and bless her heart
she's very, very dear
how did she grow so very sweet
in just one little year?

i also used vintage greeting card images to create the cake shirt. when i accidently printed the image at the wrong size, i decided to use it to greet guests as they arrived.

i made party hats  from scrapbook paper, fun fringe, ribbon, crepe paper, tulle and twill tape.

a special hat for the birthday girl

i couldn't find horns in the color scheme, so i took them apart, created a template and made my own. it's easy . . . i'll show you how soon.

luckily, i found color coordinated blow outs at walmart.

and, again, i made coordinated noisemakers by mod podging scrapbook paper to new year's noisemakers i bought on clearance.

guests dined on a buffet of 1950s themed appetizers including deviled eggs, pigs in a blanket, chips with lipton's french onion dip and a smorgasbord of pickles and olives. (once again, obnoxious about the details, thanks to the 1950s betty crocker cookbook.)

and, as the party concluded, guests created their own treat bag from the 1950s themed candy including rock candy, gum balls, nikle nips and candy necklaces.

i created cupcake toppers from even more vintage greeting cards to adorn the yummy strawberry cupcakes made by my friend.

after changing into the cake shirt i made and singing happy birthday, spencer very delicately pinched off icing bit by bit, very dainty to say the least.

as josh transitioned from film to digital, spencer decided to make a change, too.

in an apparent attempt not to get her hands dirty, she just leaned over and took bites.

once she understood the yumminess of cupcakes, she dove right in.

while spencer got cleaned up, all the big kids played pin the tail on the donkey, homemade style. once again, i couldn't find a vintage game in my color scheme, so i made my own. josh drew the donkey who looks kinda like donkey from shrek  and i added fun fringe around the edge. fun fringe is my new best friend. i love it. i could have put it on everything.

see, i even made fun fringe tails (or utters, in this case).

then, we opened presents. i love the expression on her face. she makes it all the time.

my girls.

oh, yeah, and we had a photobooth. you knew we would, didn't you?

the birthday girl in front of a vintage sheet i found at an estate sale. i love, love, loved it so much i knew i needed it. apparently, i needed it for this. 

her big sister holding an aqua frame, another estate sale find i spray painted my favorite color.

 . . . and big brother holding a handmade mustache i made. other props included vintage glasses and balloons.

another birthday has come and gone. our sweet "baby" is one. because our children's birthdays fall four months apart, i am already in the midst of another one, well, at least the dreaming and planning part. only two months and a few days to go . . . 

you can find even more images here.

i've got sunshine . . .


Friday, February 5

. . . on a cloudy day

after phil decided we have even more winter weather to endure, i found a cure for my weather induced bitterness.

"they're yellow and cute. i'll look like the morton's salt girl." (oh, i miss those girls.)

generation DORA or why my children act this way


Wednesday, February 3

each generation is given a catchy little title that tells a little bit about who they are, like baby boomers or generation X. i have begun to notice a trend in my children and others around their age. i believe it may be the determining factors in their title. and, i believe they are all found in one common place--dora, as in the explorer. some of the things i see the next generation doing include:

yelling- why must dora speak so loudly? and why does she ask our children to speak louder each time she asks a question?

demanding- instead of asking for something, dora demands it. 

example: "say map. say it."
suggestion:  can you say map?  or:  may you say map, please?

impolite/rude-have you ever heard dora say please or thank you? i didn't think so. if you are going to be so demanding, can you at least say please. seriously, dora, help a momma out. 

while these first three are not exactly positive, i do believe that many will find the last one to be somewhat beneficial. it has even been discussed among politicians, but i am not sure this is exactly what they had in mind.

new language-dora teaches bits and pieces of basic spanish during each episode. but, what manifests in real life sounds more like spanglish. as many parents of preschoolers have noticed, our children just mesh the new language with the one they are trying so hard to learn already. so, i may hear something like this:

         "vamanos, mommy! vamanos!" when riding in the car
               or "mas rapido!" when wanting his snack quicker

while i can say that dora has taught my children a few spanish phrases, as you can see above, it is still not delivered with courtesy or civility. my children were so polite before they started watching tv. carter was so soft spoken, people complained they couldn't hear her. now, let's just say, things are different. and, it makes me wonder . . . . . .

is it worth my twenty minutes of kid occupied time??

modales, dora. por favor.

a month in review


Monday, February 1

the first month of the year always kicks me in the hinney and this year is no different. it always seems like i am playing catch up after a full holiday season. this year, the decorating didn't stop in december. in fact, it rolled right into january with a first birthday party. a birthday party i am dying to share with you but cannot because josh's desire to have pretty pictures in film instead of digital requires that i wait the obligatory 5-10 business days for the scans to arrive. 5-10 business days have never seemed as long when waiting for pictures to arrive. i really think it has to do with the fact that digital is an instant gratification thing and i can't have it. it's kinda like if you had tivo and a flat screen and hdtv and all of a sudden you had to order your tv show in a catalog over the phone and wait for it to be delivered by snail mail while all your other friends still had tivo, hdtv and a flat screen. (i know, i know, josh. they are prettier and worth the wait, but it is 5-10 business days after they are mailed. whine, whine, whine.)

so, maybe one day i will have pretty birthday party pictures to share, but until then, i will share our month in pictures. 

miller was in desperate need of new shoes. he picked these out all by his little self. then, because he loved them so much, he slept in them. in fact, he wore them non-stop for several days. seriously. he only removed them to take a bath and sometimes to change clothes. 

winter precipitation is a huge deal here. so big, in fact, that when the weather man even dares to suggest that some form of frozen water might fall from the sky, the entire city reacts. carter's teacher told her to wear her pajamas inside out and backwards. carter did it the first night for practice she said, since snow was not in the forecast. then, another teacher said to flush an ice cube and sleep with three spoons under your pillow. so the next night, she convinced her brother to do it all with her. when they awoke to approximately a quarter of an inch of  a snow-like substance, they totally thought they had single-handedly caused it to occur. see miller's pajama tag there in the front and his cute, but cold ear protruding from his hat. (he does it like that on purpose.)

and, now, we currently have several layers of ice on the ground. yuck! no one likes ice.

we have spent two nights in the dark. two. the first, a car accident that occurred one block up and, the second due to the aforementioned ice storm. thank you, creators of the flameless tea light. you have brought my children hours of entertainment and safe candlelight.

and, finally, this week we had cupcakes, specifically cupcakes for haiti. my sweet friend wanted to do her part to give to the people of haiti. so, she did one of the things she does best-bake. i love cupcakes, but cupcakes for charity-now that is a reason to eat. so yummy. 

that is it for january. wishing everyone a cupcake filled february.


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