Friday, April 29, 2011

Thanking Teachers!


I whole heartedly believe it takes a village to raise a child!  With it being Teacher Appreciation Week next week I thought I would give everyone a heads-up on some wonderful sites to help give you ideas for what you can do/for the teachers in your life!


Of course I’d love for you to check out my own list of Teacher Appreciation gifts!!


Cindy at Skip To My Lou has a whole slew of fantastic ideas!!  The above 7 day pill sorter is one of my favorites on her site!  So cute!!  She just had (or is in the middle of) a really fun Teacher Appreciation collaboration (which I was lucky to be a part of) that has some amazing women contributing fantastic Teacher Appreciation Ideas!


Another one of my favorite sites is Rachel’s One Pretty Thing.  Check out this line up of hers.  The above picture is one of Anjeanette of Roots And Wings’ amazing ideas, from that roundup!  Or she has Thousands of other great ideas, and fantastic Teacher Appreciation Roundups!


Need ideas for your kids to make?  Check out one of my favorite preschool sites, dltk!


Other great go-to sites are Family Fun, Tip Junkie, U-Create, Bakerella’s amazingly cute apple cake pops,  and Living Locurto!


And a final favorite of mine is Givers Log.  Here are a host of fantastic teacher appreciation gift ideas from that wonderful site!


What has been your favorite gift that you gave to a teacher?



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

S'More Teacher Appreciation Gift

**This is a repost of one of my favorite Teacher Appreciation Ideas**

I know I keep saying this, but cute, right!? I love the papers that I used for these gifts! I made these tall milk cartons from a template and my own cute paper stash (oh how I have a weakness for paper!). Then, I filled them with all the makings for S'Mores; Graham Crackers, A Hershey Bar, and Marshmallows. Make sure to be able to see all of your ingredients. The Hershey Bar would be lost on either of the sides and so had to be sandwiched in the middle of the marshmallows and graham cracker. I added a tag on the back that was a heart felt letter of thanks from my kids and I and then this saying:
"We Need S'More Teachers Like You!"
To make these I cut out my milk carton template out of my cute papers, having to add a window to see what was inside so that my note made sense. That's the backside of my paper cut out and with fold lines in place.
Hard to see on this one but I'm holding my window cover. I cut up a sheet protector for this and glue it to the inside of the box before you glue the box together!
I have a new favorite glue for paper projects. I really want my paper projects to hold up especially because I tend to do lots of bags and boxes, and who really wants the gifts inside falling out because your glue doesn't hold?! The paper on the left is the front side of my paper after it is cut out and lines folded. The paper on the right shows the box mostly put together. I glued the top part together and then filled the box with my goodies, and the bottom of the box has a tuck in closure (fit tab A into slot B kind of a thing)!

You wont see the box on the right finished. It was an extra one that my daughter asked for. She had another teacher at school that she goes to (for her Project Ideal class) that she wanted to give something to as well. I'm so happy that my daughter likes doing this as well as me and that she thought about another person to give this to. My kids ride the bus and so for Christmas and end of the school year we also include the bus drivers in the gift giving.

I punched 2 holes in the top to tie a pretty ribbon through that will add a cute embellishment as well as tie the card to the gift! My other fun embellishments are my 3-D butterflies on the window part of the box. I cut them out of excess from the boxes. I only glued on the body of the butterfly and folded the wings back so that they would stick out.

As with most gifts, these would also be great for Mother's Day or any other gift giving time!

Don't forget to check here, here, here, here, here, or even here for our other fantastic Teacher Appreciation/Mother's Day gifts!


***All the girls at Roots and Wings Co love to share our patterns and templates. Unfortunately, the template for this milk carton is not ours to share. It is part of a program that I got with one of my cutting systems.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day

garden as of april 2011

What is your impact on our Earth? 

-My completely organic garden is one way I am trying to lesson my impact on our beautiful Earth! 

-We also have 2 composts (that I LOVE).

-We believe in Reduce, Reuse, and Recycling.

-We buy our produce from our local Farmers Market now that there is one! (YAY)


I thought Earth Day was the perfect day to share the progress of my little garden!  I think those half-ripe strawberries are so pretty!  We’ve eaten about a dozen strawberries so far.  Next are my blueberries!  This is my first year growing blueberries.  Below the blueberries are my potatoes and below that is the broccoli that I let flower!  So pretty.

garden as of april 2011 a

Check out my lovely tomatoes!  I have about 15 tomatoes plants this year.  This is my first year with some of the varieties and I can’t wait to see how they turn out.  We’ve already eaten a handful of the cherry tomatoes.

garden as of april 2011 b

I love the vining plants!  Top left are my watermelon plants!  Those leaves are so cool!  To the right are my cucumbers.  Bottom row are my beans and peas!  Wish I had more room to grow way more of those beauties!  The vines are taller than me now!

garden as of april 2011 c

Top left photo is my basil and some of my sunflowers.  To the right are some of my herbs (cilantro, rosemary, parsley, lavender).  Bottom row are my lettuces.  I love how straight the rows are in the bottom left picture!  And the bottom right shows more of my sunflowers as well as some of my spinach and purple lettuce.

We also are growing 2 varieties of radishes, a few varieties of carrots, cauliflower, green peppers, zuchini, yellow squash, cantaloupe, blackberries, green onions, garlic, lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit. 


I am always amazed at how much I can grow, because I live in Phoenix!  But the heat does deter most of the bugs and animals that would eat my food.  The heat also keeps the weeds at bay! 


I’d love to hear what you are doing for Earth Day, and what you do to lower your impact on the Earth!



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Money Tree Teacher Appreciation Gift

teacher appreciation money tree d

Come check me out over at Skip To My Lou!  Hello to all those readers that are visiting my blog, from Cindy’s!  Winking smileI was so excited when Cindy asked me to do a guest post on Teacher Appreciation Gifts!  I shared a tutorial on a fun and super cute Money Tree Gift!  What teacher couldn’t use good ‘ol fashioned money!?  (You know, since teachers are so high paid and all!).


Then go and check out the rest of the fun ladies that are guest posting for Cindy’s Teacher Appreciation Ideas theme!


Thanks Cindy!



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Exciting Easter Eggs!


There are so many great things to make, eat, and do for Easter!  I’m going to share with you some of my favorite Easter Eggs!

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Easter Eggs are so yummy and totally doable!  My parents made these for us growing up.  I remember them having our names on them.  That link above is a whole tutorial for how to make these and the edible grass that they are sitting on.  Now, if you run out of time you can buy chocolate covered marshmallow eggs and just add your own names.  You still might want to check out that tutorial to see how to get the writing on them!  It’s kind of like a Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade type of thing!


Pysanky is a really fun way to decorate Easter Eggs.  It takes a steady hand (which I do NOT have) but is really addictive and can make some beautiful eggs!!


We tried this out last year and now I’m dying to get my own Pysanky tools to be able to do this every year!


This year I made these ribbon eggs for our family Easter Egg Hunt.  Here is the Dangling Easter Egg Tutorial so that you can make your own!


I also made buried eggs and here is the Buried Easter Egg Tutorial!  The dangling egg and buried egg make for some really fun Easter Egg Hunting!


Easter Egg Geodes are a really fun science experiment to do.  The eggs turn out beautiful and the kids learn something new (actually you will probably learn something new too.


Dying Eggs With Natural Dyes is another great thing to do with your kids!  I am leaning more towards doing everything as naturally as I can every year and so this is really great for that.  It is also really cool to see how many colors you can come up with naturally!


String Egg Dioramas are totally from my childhood.  Don’t you remember making these and yarn baskets?  So pretty!


Tonight we will be decorating the first of our Easter Eggs.  I love decorating a few times each Easter.  I also love trying out new ways of decorating the eggs each year.  Check back to see what we try out this year! Winking smile



What are your favorite Easter traditions or ways of decorating Easter Eggs?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Top 15 Thoughts on Attending A Blog Conference (or at least what I walked away from Creative Estates with)

I am so thankful that I went to the Creative Estates Conference in Chandler, AZ.  It was an amazing event with absolutely amazingly talented and beautiful women!  So great to find that many women who “get” the blog and craft side of me (and balancing it with motherhood and jobs!)! 

I learned a ton!  The greatest things was to just be yourself!  And while you are at it, don’t be afraid to let your personality show through, in fact people want to see your personality and not just your “stuff”.  I will also be buying my domain name and I suggest you all do as well.  Another big one for me is to just ask other bloggers if you have questions.  I have done this in the past but wasn’t sure how it was received.  Everyone I met was more than happy to answer and and all questions.  Everyone was so willing to help each other out.  What an awesome community to be a part of!  And I was completely shocked by how many people were from AZ.  I thought I was all alone here! Winking smile


I’ve been nervous to type my true reaction to it.  But here it is; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

1.  Apparently I’m more insecure than I thought.  I had never met anyone at this conference in real life before.  Walking in all alone was as scary as it was exciting.  Which was weird because I was so excited to meet so many of my online friends in real life.

2.  Everyone was super nice!  I was happy to see how open everyone was to just start a conversation with someone they have never met before.  Beverly from Flamingo Toes was one of those that just broke into conversation with you.  It was those kind of talks like you were already comfortable and had known each other for years (I guess because these women “get” you as a crafter and blogger).  Beverly and I discussed Yellowstone vacations, of all randomness for a craft blog conference.  Beverly led a super cute craft time for her amazing necklaces!  Those ladies looked divine in them!  Another woman like this was Leanne from Organize and Decorate Everything.  Just talked to her like she was already my friend.  And I can’t forget Ashlee of I’m Topsy Turvy.  She was so interesting to talk to (I mean she has a pet pig…how can you not find that interesting?!), and again so nice (do you see the theme of sweet and nice here?).

3.  I met some people that I can’t wait to “work with,”  others I can’t wait to be friends with, and others I want to do both with!  Rebecca of Freckles Crafts, I have “known” online for awhile and was so glad to meet her IRL.  Big thanks to those four ladies who “held my hand” so that I wasn’t all alone!  Lauren and Michelle from Coffee at Three, Jessa from Sparkle, and Aimee from Paging Supermom thank you so much you were all so much fun to hang out with!!  Can’t wait to keep in touch with you ladies!



This photo was from Lil Luna (who just had a baby weeks ago and still managed to help throw this amazing shindig!!)

4.  Friday night at the AZ GNO was my favorite part of the weekend!  Those girls really know how to throw a crafty party!  There was a SERIOUS swag bag, filled with amazingly cute stuff!  I already loved Kendra with My Insanity, but now I am more in love with her!  She was wonderful and so nice!!  I did not get enough of a chance to meet the other two ladies (Kristyn of Lil Luna and Stephanie of Somewhat Simple) that put that event together.  Can’t wait to go to the next one in June!!  I set next to the amazing Jen, of Tatertots and Jello!  I’ve loved her blog forever! Yup she’s as amazing IRL as online!

5.  I tried to meet as many different people as I could.  I think that was a bit of a mistake because I did not have enough time with anyone.  There were so many lovely ladies (and trust me, these ladies were LOVE-LY) that I would loved to have spent more time with and can’t wait to do so another time.


I got this picture from Becky Higgins site (Becki, Megan, and Becky)!  Which brings up a side point, at this conference your name either had to be Allison, Katie, or Becky (thankfully I fit into one category!)

6.  There are some amazingly talented people out there and I am so glad I got to actually meet them! How about Becky Higgins, or Becky of Whippy Cake, ….Those two were in an amazing panel about balancing it all.  Don’t we all need more help with that?

7.  There are some REALLY tall crafty women, who totally know how to rock their tall cute shoes!  I’m all of 5 ft 1 and wore my flats because my cute wedge shoe busted on the way there, and my super cute black hills I didn’t dare wear in the rain on Saturday night.  So, those women were TOWERING over me! Winking smile

8.  The cupcakes in Arizona are to die for Yummy!

9.  Apparently SheyB also knows a fantastic guy who makes to-die-for BBQ!  And the recipe for the Mac-A-Roni has people offering up their first born for it (and you know who you are Blue Cricket Design!)!  Shey B and Tauni threw this conference.  I learned so much from Tauni’s PR talk!  Great info!

10.  Twittering during a conference is half the fun!  (just search the hastag #creativeestates and you will see that it is still going on!!)

11.  I can never think of the song, “Forget Me” the same again.  Shelley, from House of Smith’s, rendition was THE best!  She absolutely rocks.  With her, what you see is what you get.  Who doesn’t love what you see on her blog?  Many of us busted a gut because of her.

12.  Some people went out of their way to find me so we could meet.  That is so awesome!  Alison from Oopsey Daisey was one of those.  She is really so sweet!  I missed her fantastic necklace and purse though! Winking smile

13.  The sponsors totally rocked!  I walked away with some AMAZING swag like a gorgeous necklace from The Vintage Pearl, a super cute headband from Katie, @Vintage Rose Wraps (by the way I got to sit next to her in one class and she is sooo nice!!), Amazing business card holder from Taradaramadeit, way cute hair clip from Funky Polka Dot Giraffe, Lovely earrings (that I’m wearing right now) from Lil Luna, stuff from plaid, silhouette, LetterPress, The Ribbon Retreat, and more as well as amazing discounts from countless others!  Love you all!! 

14.  I need to get over being camera shy.  Lesson learned:  Which is why I added that picture of myself to my vinyl record post.  I’m trying to break free of that fear.  Can you believe that as a blogger I am camera shy?  Look back through my blog.  Very few pictures of me!   But I want people to know there is a person behind this blog.  This is me, take me as I am.

15.  The person I walked away the most impressed with was Kim from Today’s Creative Blog.  She is so brilliant!  She is also just as caring and sweet as you think she is (actually even more caring)!  I am in absolute awe of her!  Oh, and Kim could I be in your Skype group?


Thanks to everyone who made this event so amazing!  I would LOVE to go to every conference I can~  there is nothing like meeting all these amazing women in real life!!



Monday, April 11, 2011

Rock and Roll Home Décor-Vinyl Record Guitar Holder

vinyl record guitar holder music room f
We LOVE music in my house!  My Grandpa was a musician, and so a love of music is not just a prerequisite to being a member of this family, but it’s in our blood!  In fact, if you know me you know that I ALWAYS have a song playing in my head.  It’s just how I roll!

So I’ve decided to make a music wall surrounding my entertainment center.  It will kill 2 birds with one stone.  #1 is that it clears the clutter from all of our instruments (from Rock Band and Paper Jamz) being on the floor.  #2 is the decorative side of things.  I think my house is already Rockin’ the look!
vinyl record guitar holder music room b
My first dilemma was how to hang up the guitars on the wall.  I just happened to score a stack of vinyl records at a garage sale for 25 cents for the whole stack!  Oh Yeah!   So, I just melted a record to fit around the guitar head.

If you do this at home here are the basics; 
-You can get your vinyl records soft and pliable by heating them in the oven between 100 and 200 degrees on a cookie sheet.
-What I found is that if you let them go too long, they actually curl up and are hard (though you can just reheat again). 
-You just need to keep checking on them and figure out the perfect moment when they are just pliable. 
-I was able to work with my records straight out of the oven.  They were not hot for me at all (I was using about 150 degrees).
-The records also harden back up really quickly.  When this happens before you are done, just put them back in the oven. 
-For my oven my perfect timing was around 3 minutes for the the perfect softness.
-I would take my records out of the oven and immediately start molding the record around the guitar head. 
-Sometimes it would take 2-3 times to be able to get the exact shape that I wanted (because of the vinyl going back hard so quickly).
-You can see in the above picture how I would pinch the two sides in around the neck and head of the guitar.
-For me, I wanted the song names on the records to be upright when the guitar was not hung up.  So just pay attention to where you are forming the record, if this is important to you too. 
-I also paid attention to what the songs were.  Records are two sided, so I picked my favorite songs to be the ones being seen.  One song was, “We are family.”  Versus one record had a ripped label so I definitely wanted that side towards the wall.
vinyl record guitar holder music room i
Hang the record on the wall.  I used heavy duty double sided tape as well as nailed them up.  I wanted strength as well as stability!
vinyl record guitar holder music room h
Hang the guitar on the record.  Notice my guitar head has a little bit of space in the record holder.  This is because my kids will be taking the guitar off of the wall so it needed to be easy to slide in and out.
vinyl record guitar holder music room g
Well, if one guitar is not enough, go for two!  Make sure to mold around each specific guitar as the heads are all shaped and sized a little differently.
vinyl record guitar holder music room e
Don’t forget to enjoy your music, it’s NOT just for decoration.  We seriously LOVE rocking out in our home!  We hold concerts many times a week (sometimes my kids even set up audiences and have tickets and everything!).  And yes, we do have a disco ball hanging up already!

Does anyone else have rock and roll or music themed décor?  I’d love to check yours out as I am still working on the rest of that wall! 


I'm joining in the fun and linking up to Kim at Today's Creative Blog link party;
Get Your Craft On Tuesday

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fun Easter Eggs For Egg Hunt-Tutorials!

easter egg hunt xeaster egg hunt w

I had so much fun coming up with some new ways of “hiding” eggs for my family’s Easter Egg Hunt this year.  I thought I’d share with you, how to do them.  These Dangling Eggs were so darling!  It was a little windy and so they lightly fluttered in the wind.  All the pretty ribbon bows along the top were fun too!



Easter scrapbook paper


ribbon (mine all differed but were around 24 inches)

Plastic egg that opens length-wise

Double sided tape

easter eggs c1.  Print each child’s name onto a piece of cute Easter scrapbook paper (remember to think about what direction the paper should be looked at, when you print your names).  I also printed the names upside down, as above.  Cut out an up and down flag shape around the names.

2.  Fold your flag shape in half to make a crease.

easter eggs i3.  Cut two slits in the center of your flag shape. 

easter eggs fThe two slits need to be  about 1/2 an inch apart (mine were closer to 1/4 of an inch apart), centered on either side of the fold line.  You can see my slits on the open white flag shape, above.

easter eggs h4.  Thread your ribbon through your flag.  You go in on the printed side, then back through, as seen above.

easter eggs eThis also shows you how the ribbon gets threaded through the flag shape correctly.easter eggs j5.  Fold your flag shape back in half and pull your ribbon through (carefully so that you don’t rip the paper) until the ends are equal.  This leaves your ribbon centered.

6.  Use double sided tape to tape the flag together.

easter eggs k7.  Hold your two ends of ribbon together and place over the opening of one half of your plastic egg (make sure to fill the egg with something first) from top to bottom.  Remember to make sure you are using eggs that open top to bottom or it will look funny.

easter eggs l8.  Put the other half of the egg on and click it together.  I had no problem closing any of my eggs, even with the ribbon at the top and bottom.  I liked the placement of the egg to have at least 1/2 an inch of ribbon between the egg and the flag.  It had more dangle movement to it this way. 

easter eggs m9.  Tie around something to hang it up.  Make a pretty bow at the top! Winking smile





easter egg hunt geaster egg hunt f



Easter scrapbook paper


Colored popsicle sticks

Large size plastic easter eggs

Hot glue gun (and Hot glue)

Double sided sticky tape

Drill with small bit

IMG_00261.  Drill a slit along the top of your egg.  This should be the size of your popsicle stick. (So hard getting a good picture of this by myself! Winking smile)easter eggs n2.  Push the popsicle stick into the slit you just drilled.easter eggs o3.  Hot glue the stick to the egg on the inside of the egg.  I actually super glued my sticks on the outside and inside (and my counter top and fingers…I always do when I use super glue…).  However, I think hot gluing on the inside might be a better way to go.easter eggs p4.  Fill your egg with larger filler.

easter eggs b5.  Print child’s name on Easter scrapbook paper.  I like having a name on the back side as well so I printed the names up twice, side by side with about 1/2-1 inch in between the names.

6.  Cut out a side-ways flag shape around the names. 

7.  Fold flag shape in half to make a crease.

easter eggs q8.  Put double sided tape on the inside of the flag.  Make sure to place tape right along the crease (on both sides) because this will be what the popsicle stick attaches to.

easter eggs r9.  Place the top of the popsicle stick part way into the flag.  I wanted my flags to stick up higher so I did not want the popsicle stick placed all the way to the top of the flag (as shown in the above picture).

easter eggs s10.  Fold the flag closed, around the popsicle stick.

IMG_0296Finished Burried Egg!

To use this kind of egg you will dig a hole just big enough to place the egg in.  Then, you lightly cover the egg with the dirt.

easter egg hunt aaeaster egg hunt ab

This makes it super easy for children to just pull their egg up by the flag!


I would love to see what you guys do for your Easter Egg Hunts!!  I need knew ideas for next year’s hunt!! Winking smile



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