Grinch Ornaments for Giacomo’s 1st Birthday

It’s crazy to believe a whole year has gone by since my Mr. Man came into the world. I always say that the day he was born it felt like an explosion, that my heart grew 3 sizes that day like the Grinch. So for his first birthday, we had a Grinch themed party. Giacomo had such fun playing with his cousins, family, and friends.

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I would have just had pizza and subs, but my sisters and mom took over and insisted on cooking a feast of antipasto salad (Truffula Salad), chicken cutlets (Roast Beast), sausage and peppers, kielbasa, pierogies, baked beans, pasta, potatoes and peas (Who Hash), and a 6 foot sub.  For I took over and went crazy.I couldn’t have done any of this without their help. I definately have the best family!

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For dessert nieces made chocolate dipped marshmallows and decorated sugar cookies, while I went nuts making cupcakes, chocolate pretzels, Rolo pretzels, Oreo balls, pumpkin cheesecake, Rice Krispie Treats,  a regular cake and a smash cake for Jack, and Who Pudding. The kids even enjoyed a Hot Cocoa bar.

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To thank everyone for celebrating, I made Christmas ornaments of the Grinch and his heart.

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For the Grinch ornaments, I swirled green paint inside the ornaments and left them upside down to dry. After two days I had to recoat. I let them dry about a week before adding the Grinch face.

Grinch

I layered yellow vinyl over black vinyl cuts for the ornament. Using the Cricut Explore, I cut the Grinch face by uploading  as a simple image. (I uploaded it twice, once for the face and once for the eyes). grinch clipart

I’ve made glitter ornaments with Glitter-It in the past, but I finally decided to try the mop & Glo method I’ve seen on craft sites and Pinterest. It does work, and it’s super quick! Just swirl the M&G in the ornament, drain out the excess, add in glitter, shake it up to coat, and tap out the extra glitter. Glitter-It works great, but so does M&G, and the giant bottle is way cheaper.

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I feel like the heart ornaments went with my whole year’s theme. All year I’ve been writing about the joys of the heart as well as heartache. The year started with my heart growing with Jack’s birth, and since then I’ve written about the joys of being a mom, the heartache of leaving baby, The Mighty Quinn’s Heart surgery, my dad’s heart attack, and now again, the joys of being a Mom.

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I was driving home from the party, I was thinking how it was the first time I did something really “Mom,” and it was the first time I felt like Mom. Feeling like mom is subtly different than feeling like a mother or a mommy, and I’m not sure how to explain it, but giving my son a fun birthday made me feel like a Mom, and I loved it.

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Using my Cricut Explore for Giacomo’s First Craft Project

I’ve been dying to use my Christmas gift since Christmas, the new Cricut Explore. I had a Cricut Expressions and thought it was silly to buy a new machine, but I wanted the new model so badly! It has easy material settings, can cut, score, and write on all kinds of material, and the design space online is awesome. All cartridges are uploaded into one space, and you can use multiple cartridges at once while designing each project.  I was so excited when Matt got it for me for Christmas.

I haven’t had the time to play with it until our recently. Giacomo takes up lots of time, and I had to wait for a day Matt was off of work. I started a simple design for Giacomo’s first craft project!  I saw the idea on Pinterest, of course.

Hand Sign

The phrase reads: First we had each other (12/12/00), Then we had you (12/12/14), Now we have everything.

We did the hand prints first. Matt’s first, then mine, then Giacomo’s tiny hand! How cute! I had to wait for him to sleep to do it, but it was still a bit difficult ( I see now why there are so many baby feet crafts as opposed to hand crafts). I did two signs in case one got messed up. Both came out great, so one will go into his memory box and one into his scrapbook.

After the hand prints dried I loaded the pages for the Cricut. I wrote the phrase directly on the page because I didn’t want to cut the letters and have to glue them onto the page, plus I wanted to try out the silver pen the machine came with. Loading the pen is easy. The Explore has a separate pen loading spot because it can simultaneously write and cut.

Cricut Pen

I used the design space to figure out where I wanted the phrase. In hindsight, I should have done the writing first and put the handprints around the phrases, but this happened to work out.

When designing something in design space, if you want your design to print and cut exactly as it looks on screen, you have to select all your design boxes and attach them in the layers panel.  This is as opposed to cutting to conserve paper, like if you were going to glue letters onto a bigger project.

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Just hit print and go! I think it came out great.

print Printing

I put one copy on the lid of his memory box.

Memory Box

So far, his box has his birth announcement, the box of chocolate cigars, His first little toy my niece got him, his hospital bracelets, his first Christmas hat, and the first blanket, shirt, hat, socks, and gloves from the hospital.

Memory Box

So far the box fits right on his bookshelf. Hopefully I won’t need a bigger box by the end of the year!

Memory Box

DIY Necklace: Wearing the Beach all Year

Beach Necklaces

I grew up here, ten minutes from the beach. I can’t imagine having to plan on going to the beach. It’s something I do so casually that I still forget what a special place it is. I usually go to the beach during the week, after work, and alone. We love Island Beach State Park. If you drive past their first two bathing beaches, there is some amazing scenery. I don’t think people realize there is so much beauty right in NJ. Pictures of the walk to the ocean rival some you can find on a tropical island. I love the walk to the ocean. As you walk through the trees and sand, at first all you hear are birds. Then the smell of the ocean comes and you start to hear the sound of waves, and finally you get to the view. When I head to the beach most people are leaving it, so it’s like my own private oasis. I always keep a blanket or chair in my trunk, and if I know Matt will be late coming home from work I just head to the beach and read for an hour or two.

Walk to the Beach

But I didn’t really get to do that this summer. I was afraid of going to the beach alone. I’ve never had fainting spells or anything, but I didn’t want to risk overheating by myself while pregnant. I only went to the beach a few times, and I did have to plan around it. It made me appreciate my proximity more. I don’t think I’ll ever want to live far enough away where I have to plan a beach trip. I know that with a baby I’ll have to be more structured with my beach time next year, but I’m glad that if I ever am bored and we have nothing to do we can always walk to beach to pass the time.

Beach

September is a great time to go to the beach. There aren’t many people and the water is super warm. Matt and I went recently for no reason other than we were bored.  We collected seashells, put our feet in the water, and watched as the tiny clams and sand crabs burrowed into the sand. It made me sad that summer is pretty much over. I can still walk the beach in the fall and winter, but it’s not really the same.

SeaShells

So I’m going to wear the beach all year long. I made these simple beach bottle necklaces to keep the sand close to my heart. I found a set of tiny bottles at Michael’s. Attach the ring to the cork (You might have t trim the metal with some wire cutters. put some sand in the bottle. It’s easier to scoop the sand rather than pour it. Then I used needle nose tweezers to put in a tiny sea shell, apiece of sea glass, and a piece of faux moss (to look like seaweed). Use some leather cord as the necklace, and you viola!

beach necklace

I made a second charm as a message in  a bottle. With less sand, I added some small shells, and I wrote a note on a piece of scrap paper (I ripped the paper so the edges weren’t so straight). I realize I could have just scribbled or not have written anything at all, but I like an ocean quote for my ocean necklace. I know it’s there, after all.  My message is from Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.” I rolled up the scrap and put it in my bottle. How sweet!

message in a bottle

If you don’t live near the beach, you could make your necklace with sand and shells from your favorite vacation destination and keep it close to your heart too.

Easter Wreath & Vacation

Ahhhhhh spring! It has sprung! I love it! We just came back from some time in California (vacation for me, half work half vacation for Matt). It was a nice transition to spring, because I think (hope) while we were out there we missed the last of winter’s fury.

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We spent the first half in Disneyland and LA. I loved it. Sleeping Beauty is my favorite classic princess, so I was very excited to see her castle.

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I went waaaay geeky and wore a pink polka-dot dress one day, and Matt got me matching ears. It’s like we’re twins!

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And I met my boyfriend Donald in his traditional blue Donald outfit for the first time ever.

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We ate at the Blue Bayou. The food was delicious, and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride actually goes through the restaurant. So cool!

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I don’t care what anyone says; you’re never too old for Disney!

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We also went to Universal studios, and it was really cool to take the studio tour and see the actual sets. We planned on seeing more of LA, but we ran out of time because Matt had to be down in San Diego for the Drosophila conference. For the most part, he was at talks and presentations while I did some lounging, reading, and knitting (I just started learning).

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We were able to slip away for a few hours each day and see San Diego’s Old Town, Sea Port Village, the USS Midway Naval Aircraft Museum, and the Gas Lamp District. Last time we were here for the conference, we went to the San Diego Zoo. It was amazing! We didn’t have time for that this year, but hopefully next time we’re out, we’ll have some time for their Safari Park or the San Juan Capistrano Mission Gardens.

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I was sad to get back to reality, but I was glad to start Easter decorating! I pulled down all my Easter decorations and started to decorate. I love Easter.  It’s my favorite Holiday. I actually have several Easter wreaths, but keeping with my wreath resolution I decided to make one. I saw a few on Pinterest that inspired this one.

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This was really easy. I used the green garland around the twig wreath.

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Then I added the small white flowers to the top and bottom of the wreath.

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I wanted the wreath to have lilies because those are the flowers I associate with Easter. I used one bunch of the lilies for the wreath. I just trimmed them and glued them down.

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I painted the cross white and used a small purple quilting square for the pall. Everything was glued down with hot glue.

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I love it!

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St Patrick’s Day Crafty Fun

I started decorating for St. Patrick’s Day last week. I am a bit Irish somewhere down the bloodline; My father’s grandmother, I think. Matt’s birthday is the day after St.Patrick’s Day, and his favorite color is green, so I do like to decorate for the holiday.

So much green

Sara had the idea to use horseshoes for St.Paddy’s Day decor to show “the luck of the Irish.” She picked up a bunch of used horseshoes for about $1 each!

Lucky Horseshoes

For our word display, we spelled out “Lucky,” using a horseshoe as the U.

Lucky

We Modge Podged the letters with scrapbook paper, and embellished them with some decorating moss, berries, and other green foliage.

Anything green goes

We also used some plastic gold coins, and I made several felt four leaf clovers I saw on Pinterest.

We painted the horseshoe gold, and I found these tiny wooden signs at Michael’s. I painted “Leprechaun Crossing” onto the sign and glued it to the horseshoe.

Tiny Sign!

Lucky Leprechaun Crossing

We were also sure to paint the edges of the wooden letters gold for a more finished look.

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I really love the “Lucky” display, but I might decide to fasten the letters onto a wooden board. I’m not sure yet, so for right now they are just resting against the wall on our entry table.

Welcome!

We also used the horseshoes to make the St. Patrick’s Wreath. The first thing we did was add some decorative moss to a twig wreath so that the base was green.

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We the attached the horseshoes with floral wire to the wreaths, and then added the flowers.

 

Attaching HorseshoesAttaching Horseshoes

Daisies, hydrangeas, berries, and leaves were glued on in spots to highlight the horseshoes.  I also added more of the felt clovers and plastic gold coins.

Almost done

Just hot glue the flowers down

Initially, I wasn’t going to paint these horseshoes gold, but when I looked at the wreath while sitting in my car, I noticed that I really couldn’t see the horseshoes.

 

Wreath 1

Unpainted Horseshoes

I think if this were meant for an indoor wreath, or had different color flowers embellishing it, I could have left the horseshoes. But I think painting the horseshoes gold not only makes them more visible, it also makes the wreath even more fitting for St Patrick’s Day.   

Wreath 2

Painted Horseshoes

I think both projects are nice, and I think they’re my favorite wreath and word display yet!

Love Letters

I love decorating for each holiday, especially because it gives me a reason to be crafty. The love letters are the easiest Valentine’s Day decorations you could possibly make. They are very similar to the Noel letters I made for Christmas.

Love

Here, I used a sequence heart for the O in LOVE, and Mod Podged scrap book paper to the other letters. I also added some embellishments to the letter: felt hearts on the L, “pearl” beads on the music notes of the V, and purple and pink rhinestones on the E. I also used different sized letters for a whimsical look.

Most of my Valentine decor is pink and purple, but my friend Sara made her letters in more neutral colors with red accents. Same idea with a totally different look!

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I put my “L-O-V-E”  at my entryway table with pictures of my adorable Valentines, my nieces and nephew.

 

 

I’m also on a penguin kick. I just painted some ceramic penguins and decided they are my new, unofficial mascots of Valentine’s day. How could you look at adorable penguins and not feel love? 

 

 I’m not an overly mushy, romantic person, but I do love Valentine’s Day.I think the idea of celebrating love is a wonderful thing. Many people don’t like Valentine’s Day because it can be superficial, materialistic, cliche, just a reason to spend money, all of the above. But I think we should look at Valentine’s day a bit differently. I know Valentine’s Day is a couples holiday, and I’ll certainly be spending it with my Cheese, but even before then when I didn’t have a boyfriend I’d find ways to celebrate. My Dad would always give me a card and me and my friends would buy each other chocolates. Last year my friend Meg and I hosted a root beer float social at work with pretty heart straws and paper goods.  I’ll bring in some cupcakes this year. I’ll probably pick up some special treats for my pets and some flowers for my Mama.

There are all different kinds of love, and maybe if we focused less on “romance” (and the commercialism attached to it) and more on real, actual LOVE, people would appreciate Valentine’s Day more. Be sure to show the people in your life how much you love them, that goes for your significant other and your friends, family pets, and anyone else lucky enough to have your love. 

 To quote the amazing Jane Austen: 
“There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.” 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Quick and Easy Valentine’s Day Wreaths

I’m trying to keep to my new year’s wreath resolution with a Valentina’s day wreath. Usually, I just have a branch heart wreath on the door, but that isn’t as fun as making something. I made two different wreaths, the first is a topsy, turvey owl frame.

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I painted a laser cut wood frame and heart for the main elements, and tied the two pieces with pink ribbon so the heart dangled in the middle of the frame. I tied another ribbon at the top of the frame for hanging. I then dressed up the piece by hot gluing a sparkly pink her, ribbon, crystals, paper flowers, and a wooden owl ornament. It was really simple and came out really cute!

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You don’t have to make the frame crooked, and having the inner heart centered more traditionally is just as sweet.

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It turned out that I liked the owl frame better on the wall than on the door, so I decided to fix up the branch heart wrath I already had. It was very simple and only took a few minutes.

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I first wrapped the wreath in heart tinsel garland, and then with beaded garland. I adjusted she beads so they all faced the front of the wreath. I then hot glued some felt owls and hearts to the front. How stinking adorable!

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Sara’s wreath is very similar, but instead of wrapping her wrath in beaded garland, she glued on some beaded bushels. Quick, easy, and pretty!

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Texas Craft House

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