Saturday, December 22, 2012

bell jar ornaments

We were inspired by these awesome ornaments and decided to make our own. Check the link for great photos and a tutorial on how to make your own using plastic wineglasses from the dollar store!

I used the paper doll illustration from Claudine and made little Shrinky Dink Alfredos. We made about a dozen of these and could easily make more.

Alfredo made most of the scenes himself and then we used a bit of Snow Tex on the base. It was a quick and easy project and the results are dazzling.  

Alfredo made this one for my niece who was married this year.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

christmas gifts and preparations...

I'm thinking about the Sandy Hook families and their great grief. I'm praying for peace for them this Christmas. It seems so out of place to continue about the business of Christmas preparations and share them here. Still, I have my dear little one, his eyes full of wonder, counting down the days. I can't let him down. And I know you are trying to do the same for your loved ones. I hope you won't find it too indelicate to go on.

Let me show you the very simple nativity we made together...

I found these larger pegs here when I was buying tiles for the nativity puzzle. I had the idea that they might make a sweet touchable nativity for Alfredo. I'd also thought it would make a good gift but we ran out of time to make more.

Alfredo is still working on his. He messed up a little and had to repaint Mary and Joseph's faces. Plus we still need to make their head wraps. But, my goodness, The Baby Jesus's unibrow is so adorable! Can you get over it?

I have lots more to show you. I'll take breaks in between the wrapping and the cleaning to share more with you.

Monday, December 17, 2012

so sad

Last night, I held my little angel a little closer, feeling the warmth of his plump cheek on my lips and sending up a prayer for all those families who would do anything to do the same with their sweet babies. It's so incredibly heart-wrenching, the nightmare of Sandy Hook. I wish we could go back in time and somehow save all those sweet little children and heroic adults.
I had lots of fun things to show you, gifts we've made, decorations, and pictures, but it just doesn't seem right to go about that happy business in the wake of that tragedy. It's just so sad.

Friday, December 14, 2012

home for Christmas...

Here's a little peek at our home decorated for Christmas.
Hope you are enjoying all the preparations for the big day. We sure are!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

a few of my favorite things...

I think everyone has favorite pieces that they look forward to seeing every year as they deck their are some of mine.

I love this old shoe stuffed with goodies. I bought it years and years ago at a local craft fair and, as we were just starting out, it was a bit of a splurge. I'm so glad I bought is my favorite!

Another cherished item, this limited edition Santa by Nicol Sayre was a gift from my Debbie's mom years ago. He is so sweet and simple...and I love that he's holding a little doll. 

This started out as an ornament tree from Rachel Ashwell, purchased many seasons ago from Target. (I think it was the same year as her first release there!) Unfortunately, it wasn't packed away properly once and many of the ornaments broke. This year, I decided to add some of my vintage ones and I love how it turned out! I added a fabulous vintage Christmas corsage to the top...isn't that a lovely spot for it?
Show us a few of your favorite things! Do a blog post on them and link it up in the comments! It'll be fun to take a tour of them. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

our little elf

Santa sent us all these super cute elf pajamas as an early Christmas gift. I'll see if I can get Rich to agree to a picture of us all but for now, enjoy this adorable little elf (complete with bedhead and a little breakfast drip)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

nativity puzzle

I'm really into printables this year. Have you noticed? This is another printable from Caravan. I'm making these little nativity puzzles as gifts for Alfredo's little friends. With 20 to make, I figured I'd better get started. Aren't they looking sweet?

Friday, December 7, 2012

gingerbread houses

Whole Foods is selling pre-constructed gingerbread houses. They are perfect for people like Alfredo and me who only really want to decorate the house. Plus they are super solid and, according to Alfredo, delicious. (Also a little pricey at $18 each....shhh...don't tell Rich)
A quick stop by Walmart to pick up favorite find are the cute marshmallows shaped like ice cream cones, cupcakes, and pink and white swirls. At less than a dollar a bag, maybe I made up for the splurge on the house.
I covered the roof with strawberry Frosted Mini Wheats. And isn't the cupcake chimney cute?

Alfredo did a little more licking and eating than actual house decoration. This might be a bit of a work in progress..both the decorating part and the eating part!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I snapped this picture the other night while I was cooking dinner. Alfredo just looked so sweet and so small sitting under to the tree, playing with the train.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

another Christmas countdown...

We've had so much fun with this already! This is another printable, this time from our friend Claudine. It's a cute little cut-and-fold paper train. Claudine gave me the great idea to make 24 boxes and make it into an advent train. There are all sorts of treasures in those boxes, from pencil toppers to chocolate coins. I put the numbers on randomly after I filled the boxes so it's a surprise to me each day, too! I think this one is Alfredo's favorite.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

not a creature was stirring...

We have 4 different countdowns going at once for the big day. What can I say...I love 'em! This one is a new favorite...

It's a printable, found here.
Here's the idea: You put little two-sided mice cut-outs into their little each day passes, one by one, you flip the mice over, put them to bed. Get it? "Not a creature was stirring"
There's a tab at the bottom of each mouse where you can include a message. I wrote a different fun Christmas activity for us to do each day.

Some of the activities include drawing Christmas pictures together, decorating our little room for Christmas, going to see Santa, driving to see the Christmas lights, and making fudge, cookies, etc.

Isn't it adorable?

Monday, December 3, 2012

house of joy class

I had such a great time making this house in the class Pam and Eileen taught together on Saturday. The house is from a die that Eileen designed for Sizzix. (Unfortunately, the die has been discontinued but it can probably still be found out there somewhere. Sizzix is constantly adding new products to their lines so older designs are frequently discontinued.) I love Eileen's style and can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve in the way of new designs.


Pam's part of the class was to help us embrace our own handwriting, in doodle form, and add that to our house. Truth be told, going into the class, I was certain that I would not be writing on my house. (I really don't like my handwriting.) But with Pam's guidance and gentle encouragement, I was soon getting the hang of it. And I liked what I did! As Pam says, practice, practice, practice! I'll keep at it and make my doodle script even better. If you ever have a chance to take a class with Pam, I really encourage you to do so.  Eileen, too! In fact, I'll probably see you there!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

when in doubt, craft!

Do you ever find yourself in this situation? You're getting together with friends close to Christmas and the subject of gifts wasn't brought up. It can be a little don't want to make anyone feel awkward by showing up with a sleighful of gifts. But you'd like to give something.

When in doubt, I say, craft! It's the perfect solution. If nobody else brings a gift, you can just play it off with "Oh, this is just something I whipped up..."

I started with a little bottlebrush wreath. I used to sell these in my online shop back in the day when I had an online shop. They were Easter wreaths with little eggs on them. I plucked them off and replaced them with a bunch of ornaments from Target's dollar spot (1 tube per wreath but more would be even better!)

The best part of this wreath is the sweet little house in the middle. Jenny and Aaron used to sell these fabulous set of 4 Putz-like house ornaments and I happened to have an extra set on hand. I sprayed the wreath, ornaments and all, with glue and then I showered it with mica flakes.


You can easily make this wreath using any kind of plain wreath as the base. Pick up Jenny and Aaron's sticker sheets with the houses. (You can adhere the sticker to cardboard and then carefully trim around it.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

mesh stockings

I love this project my sweet friend Cherie Wilson contributed to the Christmas issue. So much. It's a sweet reminder of the sweet days of my childhood.
And guess what! Cherie is hosting a giveaway for not 1 but 3 of these darling stockings! Head on over and enter to win them.
Or make your own...detailed instructions included in the Christmas issue.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christmas 2012 issue is here!

today's the day!

I think I'm just about set to publish the Christmas 2012 issue of Inspired Ideas! I can't wait for you to see. I'm shooting for 4pm EST.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

a fun class...

Doesn't this look like fun?
My friends Eileen and Pam are cooking up an afternoon of holiday fun. I just signed up. If you want to join us, click here to register. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmas issue...almost here!

I've been working for months on this issue of Inspired Ideas and I can't wait to finish polishing it up and get it to you. I'm shooting for next week. Above is a sneak peek of one of the projects.

Friday, November 2, 2012

coastal living beach house

Okay, have you seen the Coastal Living Beach House for 2012.

Designed by the fabulous Erika Powell, it is so wonderful. Here are my favorite parts...

I love, love, love these bunk rooms...

Seriously? I could climb into one of those beds, ala Goldilocks, and take a nice little nap. And can you imagine how much fun it would be to fill this room with sweet little girls who will stay up all night giggling and hopping from one bed to another...

And for the boys...

I love that each little bunker gets its own privacy curtain. Isn't that so stinking adorable?

And look at this cool movie room...

Isn't that wonderful?
Meet me by the pool for premovie cocktails...
Great job, Erika!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Okay, so this might be a few more photos of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle than you want to see, but goodness, he's cute...

And here's Rich & Alfredo just before they start the trick or treating...


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy halloween!

Happy Halloween!
We survived Sandy...for us it was just a big, windy rainstorm. Even my parents who live yards from a river in Tidewater Virginia were spared any damage. Thank God. I'm so sad for those who were devastated by the storm and I'm sending up prayers for them.
We used the time off Sandy afforded us to do a little crafting...
We made these tiny goody bags for Alfredo's classmates. Each little bag has a set of Halloween tattoos and a super creepy glow in the dark finger with a sharp fingernail on the end or, as Alfredo calls them, "claws".
And then, with inspiration from Pinterest, we made these pudding cups for the class celebration...
Vanilla pudding colored with green food coloring...
placed in a cup with a Sharpie-drawn monster face on the outside...
And topped with oreo crumbs for hair!
Aren't they adorable? I used my Vitamix for the oreo crumbling, which turned out to be a bit overzealous in its crumbling. The oreos were reduced to dust. Alfredo tested one and he said it was super good.
I love making this kind of stuff. It makes me so happy! Crazy that something so silly, like making crazy monster pudding cups, can make a girl so happy. I love this life.
Oh and we installed an automatic light in the tiny room in the wall...
diiiiing dong
"Someone's at the door..."
"Who is it, Alfredo?"
"Oh, look! It's our blog friends!"
"Come on in..."
Welcome to our little hole in the wall...

Please excuse the mess...
We were just making some Halloween art


Looks a bit like a hurricane went through, with that footstool askew like that.

This little gemtype gets me....his expression is priceless. And to think that picture is smaller than a penny? How adorable is that?
Should I decorate for Thanksgiving or skip right to Christmas? What do you think?
Meanwhile, Happy Halloween!
p.s. Alfredo is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. No handmade costume for us. I know...for shame! But Rich is also dressing as a TMNT and is going to let me paint his face so at least I have that. Be safe tonight!