Sunday, January 31, 2010


We took advantage of a snowy day yesterday to make our Valentines. I was going to try to make something very crafty, very hands-on but I realized quickly that we needed something quick and easy.

I bought this set of die-cuts by K and Co from Michael's (along with the matching paper pad and some brightly colored notecards). With a glue stick in hand, we cranked them out. It was just the right project for him...quick with stunning results.

He's so proud of them. We just sealed up the last of the envelopes for this batch. Next we have to make some for his little friends and family.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

got tape?

New to my Open Sky shop: Tapeswell decorative tape!

It can be used to decorate outgoing packages, sure...

And just look how stylish it makes a plain manilla envelope. I also really like to use this great tape on those free priority mailing boxes to add just a bit of zing.

But just check out some of these other creative uses...

{jazz up a ho-hum frame}

{make an ordinary lampshade shine!}

{transform plain scrapbooks into works of art}

{decorate a giftbox}

{make a dazzling centerpiece}
my favorite

Don't you love it all? And I know you'll think of a thousand more uses for it. It comes packaged in a sweet little canister and costs $9.99 for 27.5 yards ($6.99 if you want to skip the canister ).

Click here to order.

Let me know what you are going to do with yours, will ya?

all photos courtesy

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

fun things

Dying to see some posts about our day of fun with Charlotte? Visit here and here and here and here. I want to hit rewind and do it all over again. Just so much fun!

Each person won a door prize...this is what I won!

Isn't it adorable? I love the little spool of thread chimney. I want to move in. It's made by Charlotte which makes me love it even more.

And Charlotte made each of us a little coffee cozy...

I think I'm going to convert it to a mug cozy since I almost never get coffee out.

On the train ride home, I did a little needlefelting...

Isn't this the cutest little bear? I'm so pleased with how he turned out...especially since he's from a kit with instructions completely in Japanese! The diagrams were enough for me to figure it out and it was so much fun. Heather told me about these great kits a few weeks ago and I snagged two right away.

Last night I made this one...

And I have mixed feeling about it. I think I made it a little bigger than I should've so it doesn't look as cute as it could be. The head is supposed to be more round but it kind of took on a life of its own. When I tried to fix it, I kind of messed it up.

But could his little teddy bear friend be any cuter?

Speaking of needlefelting, I just added a few needlefelting supplies to my Open Sky shop. My favorite tool is this needlefelting pen. For smallish areas it's perfect for working quick...and it seems safer than a single needle that comes with most kits.

Last night when I was drifting to sleep, I dreamed up a sweet little needlefelting project. It's very involved and who knows when I'll have the time for it. But sometimes you just have to make time when inspiration strikes, don't you think?

And if you'd like to exchange Valentines with Alfredo and me, send me an email to amy (@) along with your address. We'll send you our address and get started making yours.

Monday, January 25, 2010

a cute little penguin

Debbie, a friend I met at Silver Bella and again this weekend at Charlotte's, made Alfredo this adorable little penguin. I thought it would be fun to have a little movie of him playing with it so you can see how much he loves it. Thank you Debbie. It's wonderful.
I'm a little late getting these out...this is a peek at the Valentine matchboxes for Heather's swap.

Valentine's is favorite holiday, second only to my birthday. Alfredo and I are going to be making some Valentines this week. Do you want to be on our list?

a wonderful day and a stitch-tease

We had the most wonderful weekend away crafting at Charlotte's. My sisters and mother and I hopped on the train early Friday morning and were met at the other end by Charlotte herself. She took such care of us.

We arrived on Saturday, bright and early and eager to create. I had so much fun making this bag while chatting and laughing with my friends and sisters and mother. I wish I'd taken photos of the day but I'd forgotten my camera in the hotel room. Maybe I'll snatch some from my friends' blogs to show you later. It was an amazing day. Thank you, sweet Charlotte, for all the care and love you put into making it a wonderful session.

And guess what project is being featured today on Teresa's ezine?

Mine! Today's the day and here's a little tease to get you motivated to sign up. It's not too late to join in the fun. Sign up here.

I'm off to make up for some lost time with this little guy...

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Okay, so let's just ignore the fact that it's been a few days since I posted. Otherwise, every blog post will start with the same pitiful apology mingled with excuses.

First of all, let me give you a little update on our family life. Alfredo's father has been here a full week and everything is working out so well. Alfredo is so happy to have him here and we are too. He's kind, courteous and very helpful around the house. And he's so eager to find a job that just a few hours after he arrived last week, he hit the pavement, filling out applications and talking to people. No luck yet and I'm afraid he's getting a little discouraged. Let's pray that something works out for him soon. It'll help buoy his spirits and feel better about this courageous step across country he just made.

Now for something pretty...

I'm making these little valentines as gifts for my friends at Charlotte's class this weekend. I still have a lot to do to finish them up but I think I'll take them with me to work on while riding the train tomorrow morning. My mother and both my sisters are coming too...we're going to have so much fun.

I have more to tell but my hour glass just emptied!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

what a party!

We had such a fun time on Saturday. Unfortunately, since the party was in the late afternoon into the evening, the lighting wasn't the best for photos.

But just look how happy he is, smiling from head to toe!

Here's a picture of the cake. I just ordered a blank sheet cake from Costco with a green top. I ran a few of his animals through the dishwasher and popped them on top, donning little party hats for the occasion.

Thank you so much for all your happy birthday wishes! He had such a great birthday weekend.

In other news, he is doing so well on the potty! Thank you for all your fabulous suggestions. I can't believe we've done it!

Friday, January 15, 2010

happy birthday, Alfredo!

We are having a wonderful birthday today...and we're so excited about tomorrow's birthday party!

Thanks for all your helpful suggestions...I think I will take you up on your suggestion to hand out the treats as guests leave...much more sensible.

Want to wish Alfredo a happy birthday?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

one down...

We just finished making the treat bags...

here's my helper...

Here's how they turned out...
And here's what's in them...
Animal stamps: 25 cents each, Animal Parachutes: 21 cents each, Safari Cars: 42 cents each, Animals: 48 cents each, Lollipops, 40 cents each.
He's very excited about giving the treat bags out. I think what I'll do is put them in a basket and let him hand them out after he opens each present. I read online about the idea to put two chairs in the middle of the circle of children, one for the birthday boy and one for the person to sit in who gave the gift. I think for this age especially it will bring a nice order to that often chaotic part of the birthday party, helping him to really understand in a very visual way that this special person sitting beside you gave this wonderful thing to you. And then after he opens the present and says thank you, he can give them their treat bags. How does that sound?

There are lots of adults attending the and friends. Maybe he can give grown ups lollipops with that tag that says "Thank you for coming to my party" on it.

making a list

I have lots of stuff going on...trying to keep a level head, stay organized and efficient.

1. Alfredo's birthday is Friday...his birthday party is Saturday. I have a lot to do to get ready for the party.
2. His father arrives Thursday morning from California. I'd like for the house to be as clean as it can be without any danger zones (rooms or closets where I wouldn't want him to open the door) but I think I'll have to get real about that.
3. I need to get my tutorials all ready for the guest spot over at Teresa's ezine.
4. I'm doing a Valentine swap and need to get that ready. Am hoping to make a couple little things for the box...including maybe a little needlefelted thing.
5. Excited about Charlotte's class at the end of next week and am working on little gifts. (Did I tell you that both my sisters and my mother are coming too?!)

Today, I'm going to:
1. Clean and organize the craft room/studio.
2. Make treat bags for the party and work on one of the game ideas. It's a safari theme party and I'm going to make animal tracks for the children to follow to find the animal that made them.
3. Order catering for the adults for the party. This was actually Rich's suggestion and I think it's less thing for me to worry about.

And, if there's time...
4. Clean and organize the office.

You know things are serious when I start making lists! I rarely make lists...only when I have too many pots to tend to. That's about how I'm feeling now.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Hey, guess who has a guest spot over at Teresa's next ezine...

And the ever so talented Holly Abston, too!

If you want in, read all about it and subscribe here.

& starts this Wednesday!

Friday, January 8, 2010

putting away Christmas...

It came and went in the blink of an eye and it was my very favorite Christmas ever.

I announced this morning while Alfredo had his pancakes that we would take down the Christmas tree today. "NOOOOoooooooOOOO!" he said. He thought it was a permanent fixture and it was so upsetting to him to think it was going away until next year. I appeased him by saying we had to decorate for his birthday.


Get a load of that blue ice cream, will ya?

He was so wiggly and excited that his elbow knocked it into the floor, ice cream side down, just a few minutes after this was shot. But really, how much blue ice cream does one little boy need. He was fine with helping us polish off ours.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

he's so smart

Biased? Perhaps. But just now he said "Amy, my spoon is all foggy with macaroni and cheese!" I think that's brilliant. And the other day he was looking at a picture of himself in the pool with Rich and he said "I want to put my water pants on so I can go swimming in the pool some more!" I think he's a genius for making up words and ways to say things. Isn't he?

We're toilet training in ernest around here and it's more of a challenge than I thought. He doesn't seem to mind peeing and pooping in big boy underwear all over the house. It's like having a little puppy. But I think today we're making some progress. We haven't had an accident yet and he's very excited to get a little animal from his potty treat jar everytime he goes. Yesterday, though, not even 60 seconds after my reminder to make a trip to the potty he pee-ed in his pants. I made the rookie mistake of only buying 6 pairs of big boy underwear so I'm doing laundry all day long to keep up. Anyway, today if it's an accident-free day it means a trip to the ice cream parlor for a big ice cream sundae. I'm really hoping it works out. It's looking good since very soon he'll have his nap (with a pull-up on) and then it's just a couple of hours before Rich is home and we can deem it a success. I do think we'll have that ice cream today.

Monday, January 4, 2010

adventures in needlefelting

I got a couple of needlefelting kits for Christmas and...

I'm hooked!
I started with this kit that my sister Jessica gave me for Christmas. And it was a really good place to start. It was fast, fun, and easy. One day last week while Alfredo napped, I worked on it happily and was finished by the time he woke up. (And I think it was a short nap that day!)

The needles are VERY sharp and barbed so you have to be extra careful. I did poke myself once and it still smarts.

After the cupcake, I was inspired to try the backyard birds kit that Rich gave me...
It was fun but the results weren't as pleasing to me. They turned out a little off and creepy to me...

But I do like how sweet the bluebird turned out.
I added a bit of color to the cheeks which made it more cute/less realistic. I think that's one reason I liked it better.
After those kits, I was ready to get a little funky...
Okay, maybe A LOT funky. When I was making the swirl of the cupcake frosting, I kept thinking what a fun beehive it would make.
And then I decided to make a bird of my own...
a little Springtime bird with mary janes and a fun hat. Once I got started, it was hard to stop.
I'm having so much fun working in this new-to-me medium. It feels a bit like sculpture and I'm really getting the hang of it, I think.
I even made an itty bitty version.
Here's my little helper...
Thank you all so much for the kindness and encouragement you sent out in your comments and emails. We are so thrilled by our good news and are so happy this new year.

In other news, Alfredo's birthday is coming in less than two weeks. I have some work to do to get ready. First things first...the invitation. Hopefully I'll get those out in the mail today. I'll give you a sneak peek first though.

Oh, and there are just a few stitch kits up at the etsy shop. This is the last of it...I'm all out of the little books...but I'll start working on another kit soon.