Dec 29, 2011

New Year's Eve Treat

If you are looking for a yummy treat to take to an upcoming party, I tell you what, look no more!

I will just be frank though, it's NOT healthy.  It's NOT even close to being good for you.  And, it's kind of addicting.  But man, it is sooooo good and it's easy to make so you can whip it up in minutes.

(sorry the photo is lame - I forgot to take one of it in the bowl)

Dec 26, 2011

Robot Art

I love Christmas break.  It means lots of crafty goodness for me and my girls.  We started yesterday, on Christmas day, and made some fun and easy art projects.  Here's mine.... 

I'm so in love with him!

Dec 21, 2011

Holiday Mood Lighting

I was at Target a few weeks ago and found these pretty darn cute little paint cans in their dollar section.  They are not very tall. They are clear and they are oh so cute.  I had to have one.  Really and truthfully, I was proud of myself for only buying one.  Now though, I'm wishing I had bought more.

You could use them for many different things.  I chose to turn mine into indoor mood lighting. 

Here's what you need if you want to do the same...

- a clear paint can
- 1 sheet of vellum (I used 8.5 x 11 size)
- a battery powered candle light
- decorations if you want them

and here's what you do...

1- Measure the height of your can.

2- Cut your vellum so that it is the same height as your can.

3- loosely roll your vellum up and place it inside your paint can. The ends with overlap slightly, that's ok. Because of the overlap I didn't need tape or anything. It just stayed in place on it's own.

4- This isn't really a step, more of a reminder: DO NOT USE A REAL CANDLE! This little project is meant only to be used with battery powered lights. If you use a real candle you will most likely burn down your house so don't do it!

5- Add your battery powered light to the inside of your can and put the paint can lid back on. Technically you could be done at this point.

Note: you can use more than one light inside. I used three because, while I like the soft light, I did want it to be a little brighter. Just a little!

6- Add a little decoration and there you have it, a super simple way to make some nice holiday mood lighting.

Dec 19, 2011

The Coat: A Story of Charity

Have you seen this?  No?  Really?  Well, gather the kiddos around, it's really cute and has such a great meaning.  Plus, it's pretty short so it won't take much time. And, with that, I'm off to craft.... or sew... or do dishes.  (Nope! Not dishes.  Just felt like joking around a bit.)

Dec 16, 2011

Money Tree Gift

I've been getting a lot of responses and emails lately about my Money Trees.  If you are new here, I originally posted a tutorial on how to make them last Christmas.  Since then, I've been getting questions and comments about them, they are being pinned on Pinterest, and lately, I'm even seeing them recreated.  I love it.

Case in point, my friend, Emily, just sent me an email about the trees she and her daughters made for their teachers.  Here is a photo of hers, I love what she did....

She involved her kiddos by having them draw a picture.  Then Emily used that picture and placed in around the base of the tree.  She did this instead of using fabric to cover the can.  I think that is an awesome idea and I love that it incorporated the child's art work.

Emily also came up with a poem that she included so the teachers would know what the gift was.  I'm passing along the poem, with her permission, because I think others out there might be trying to come up with a teacher's gift and what Emily has done is really awesome. 

Money Tree  
by Emily Baldwin
We wondered what to get you, to put underneath your tree.
A gift card was an option, but not as crafty, you see.
We decided on a money tree, from Lydia to you.
A decoration before Christmas, but it's useful too.
We thought of you as we folded each bill and put it in it's place.
We hope you enjoy spending it and it put's a smile on your face.
We thank you for being a teacher and hope you've enjoyed this rhyme.
We appreciate you very much this Holiday and Christmas time.

Cute right?  Emily also placed her tree inside of cellophane wrap to complete the look of the gift.  She said the teachers loved it!

Thank Emily for sharing your creation!

If you are still looking for gift ideas there are two past tutorials on money trees.  You can see them here:
Money Tree 1 and Money Tree 2 They really do make fun gifts and add a unique twist on giving cash.

Dec 7, 2011

Nativity Experience Q & A

Some of you have contacted me with questions about my previous Nativity Experience post and thought I'd address them here. If you have other questions please let me know.

Q:  What did you make these out of?
A:  Polymer Clay - I'm kind of a addicted to Sculpey.

Q:  How big are they?
A:  They's aren't very big, just over 3 inches tall for the majority of the people and then the animals vary in size

Q:  Did you include a note so the families knew what was happening and can you share it?
A:  Yes, we did.  With their first delivery, which was a wise man, we gave them this certificate.  It states that they have been enrolled in the Nativity of the Month club.  It also states why we were doing it. We also gave them a photo box that I decorated the outside of.  This way they had a special place to keep all of their pieces once they arrived.  An image of the certificate is below but I don't have any more of the boxes to show. 

Q:  Will you share tutorials on how to make these?
A:  Hmmmm, not sure.  It's a possibility but I'll have to think about it.  I just finished making 5 other sets so I'm thinking IF I do a tutorial, it wouldn't be until next year.  It would also depend on the interest level.

Q:  Was it hard to keep up on?
A:  It was something we looked forward to so it was constantly on our minds.  However, life is busy and there were a couple of months that we almost didn't make it.  The deliveries would get made on the last, or near the last, day of the month.  Not ideal but we did it.  I think that helped to keep the families in suspense.  hahaha!

Q:  How did the families react?
A:  The whole experience was very positive. All of the families seemed to have fun with it.  One mom, when we showed up on her door with the final delivery, cried.  She said it had been ta great thing for their family.  We had debated about just keeping the whole thing completely anonymous and never telling it was us.  However, for the sake of my kids, I'm so glad we didn't do that.  My kids got to see the positive outcome from this fun little project.  They got to see how serving someone else and doing kinds deeds blesses everyone involved. 

I think that is all of the questions that have come in so far, if you have others please let me know.

Also, if you are thinking of doing this for someone else, start watching the sales for Nativities.  I made my own but there are some cute ones that you can buy in the stores right now.

Dec 4, 2011

The Nativity Experience

Tonight was a great night in our home, a little bittersweet but still great.  All year long, ever since last January, my little family has been doing a fun family activity and tonight it came to an end.  We call it the Nativity Club but in reality it was more of an experience.  A really great experience for us all!

Last January, as a family, we picked three families to enroll in our Nativity Club.  We created a certificate to let them know what we were doing and then each month we anonymously delivered them 1 piece of a 12 piece Nativity set that I made.  Our first delivery, in January, was a wiseman and tonight we ended with our last delivery which was Baby Jesus in his manger.

With our Nativity Club we had two main goals:

1- To keep the spirit of Christmas with us all year long.
2- To not get caught.   

I'm happy to report we were successful at both.  Our super sneaky ninja skills paid off.

In addition to secretly leaving the nativity piece on the door step we would also include a treat.  The kids had a great time with this because they got to take turns on some of the months to pick what treat we gave.  We did a lot of baked goods but also did things like snappers for the 4th of July and Cider mix in September.  Some of the months the girls would write the notes and other months we'd include poems.  It really gave us something to look forward to each month.  Plus, every time we'd see these families we instantly felt connected to them.

Sadly, during the year, one of our families moved.  We weren't quite sure what to do but ended up just giving them their last few pieces and telling them it was us.  They had no idea and seeing their surprised look was really fun.  It all worked out but it still wasn't the same as being able to make the remaining monthly deliveries.  Luckily we still had the other families.   

So, back to tonight, tonight we made our very last delivery.  It was bittersweet.  It's nice to wrap up this 12 month project but it is also sad to see it end.  Here's what I will miss:

- how we had fun as a family being sneaky with our deliveries
- how silly we must have looked trying to sneak up to the houses 
- how we had fun shopping for and baking treats together.
- how we enjoyed wondering if these families knew it was us.
- And most of all, how it gave us the opportunity to focus on others instead of ourselves.  


All in all, I'm so glad we did this.  It most certainly will be one of those memories that we will talk about in the years to come and one that my kids will remember.  Plus, going into this Christmas season, there is no better way to start December than giving someone a little baby Jesus and knowing that you are starting the holiday season off with Him.

Just a quick little idea.  In January, a lot of stores will put their Christmas decor on clearance.  You could pick up a Nativity set and start your own Nativity Club.  I promise you, it's a lot of fun and will most certainly be an experience you will always remember.   You could also do a 12 days before Christmas and deliver one piece of the set every day prior to Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas!

Dec 2, 2011

Christmas memories/home made decorations

Ok!  It's true, I'm a huge sap.  We pulled out our Christmas decorations this week and I've been walking down memory lane every since.  Do you do that?  Can you remember where all your ornaments came from?  I've thought about swapping out our decor for more polished items, you know, the kind that all coordinate, glimmer, and are beautiful.  I can't do it though.  I just can't.

When my girls pulled out these reindeer made from tracing our feet and hands, my heart almost skipped a beat and then I remembered why I love our hodge-podge of mixed decor - it's us!  It's our creations over time and they tell so many stories.

I've held onto these for 9 Christmases. That's a long time to keep little pieces of paper but aren't they cute? We made these way back in 2002.  My twins were just one, Miss M was 5 and we were poorer than poor just trying to get through grad school with three kids on one part time, minimum wage job.  All our decorations on our tree that year were homemade and most of them were made from paper.

I'm so glad I kept these and I'm also glad I had the right mind-set to put names and dates on them too.  My kids love to compare how much their hands and feet have grown and it's fun for them to re-discover their creations every year.

Seriously, what is cuter than a reindeer made from tracing a 1 yr olds feet?  Not much if you ask this mom.

Here's another example ..... what the heck is this?

I have no idea! But, I know that my daughter, who is now 10, is extremely proud of it. She made it just a few weeks ago.  Interestingly enough, on the same day that she made the creation above she also did this .....

All on her own!

I'm totally loving it too. It smells SOOO good. The pine cones are those cinnamon ones that you can buy for like $3 a pack. I had other plans for them but when I saw what she did, I knew her vision was better than mine. She even put up the berries too.

I love that in one afternoon I was able to see the changes that are taken place in her skills. Still very youthful and childlike but bordering on the tween age of being able to plan things out and create from a vision.

Yup, I wouldn't trade my miss-matched home-made decor for anything right now.   I love it all and the stories and memories it holds for me.  Plus, the visual reminder that my kids are growing and changing is pretty awesome too.  It helps me to embrace this time of year just a little more.  Reminds me to let go of the rushed craze, do more at home and to create opportunities to make things together.  It won't be long before these kiddos of mine will be celebrating Christmas in their own homes with kids of there own so I will love this time while I can. 

And, related to making things at home, I've been working on a family project that I can't wait to share.  It involves other people though so I can't share just yet ... it so hard to wait, I really want to share it with you all.

OH, and if you are still interested in buying some of my jewelry items, you still can.  I just moved the items to their own page.  You can find it near the blog header on the right side listed under "buy me - Then She Made Jewelry."


Nov 19, 2011

Paper Trees

I recently did the decorations for a women's meeting at my church.  The purpose of the meeting was to welcome in the Christmas season and the program focused on the Savior.  It was wonderful night and I must say, I had a lot of fun doing the decorations.  A few of my friends have asked me how I made some center pieces so I thought it was easiest to show the steps here.

These trees are another one of those crafts that you've probably seen online in various places.  In fact, if you go into Hobby Lobby you can buy them pre-made in various sizes and patterns, however, making them is way more fun and easier on the pocket book.

There are a few different variations on how you can make these.  In fact, one of the best tutorials I've seen was by Cyndy at the Creativity Exchange.  She made some out of fabric and poster board.  I liked hers but I wanted something simpler, smaller, and quicker for the tables so I made mine without making a pattern and just used scrapbook papers.  I ended up making 51 trees, here's how I did mine ....
You will need:
Paper - you can do this with any size, 8.5x11 or 12x12. (I mostly used 12x12)
Hot Glue
Trimmings - ribbon, tassels, beads, etc...
Candlesticks (optional)

Step 1: Start at one corner of your paper and begin to roll. You want to keep the paper rolled really tight at the corner but it can be as lose, or as tight, as you want further down.

Step 2: Once it is rolled how you want it, add a little hot glue along the exposed edge of your paper and seal the cone closed.  You could use other adhesives but I like hot glue because it's fast.  With regular glue you have to sit and hold the paper until it dries - ugh, that's a pain.

Step 3: Now that the paper is rolled and glued together you need to trim off the ends. Start cutting where the two edges cross over each other, see photo above.  Then, cut all the way around the paper until you have a flat, even base like shown above.

Step 4: Next you just need to decorate your tree. Trim it with ribbons, tassels, or beads along the bottom and top it off with a bead or two on the top. You could use a little wooden star on top too, that would be cute.

You can totally be creative with the trimmings, add a little or a lot.  Plus, it's fun to use a lot of different styles of trimmings.  Check Hobby Lobby for rolls of trimmings, they are usually 50% off.  If you don't have a Hobby Lobby near by, go to Warmart.  You can buy it on the roll or have it cut by the yard there.

Step 5:
Once you have your trees all completed, gather some candlesticks. This is optional as the trees can stand on their own. However, putting them on the candlesticks will add a nice touch to your project, plus if you plan to make a grouping of trees, it will help to give height to your set.

So, that's it.  Simple, simple, simple!

Oh, and the tan tree on the left that looks fluffy, it was easy to make too.  Start by making a cone just like the steps above.  Then, take some tissue paper and cut it into small 1 inch squares.  Then roll those squares over a pencil eraser, dip in glue and then glue to your cone.  It is time consuming but I like how it looks.

Nov 8, 2011

I'm here...

I'm still here, I'm just working on my "to-do" list, which, despite my best efforts to eliminate tasks, seems to be getting longer.  The good news (always look for the positive, right?) about this is that I will have many fun things to share.

While you wait for me to conquer my list please enjoy this lovely video.  I know the stories of the two women featured in the video and putting their faces with these very moving lyrics fills my heart, and well, my tear ducts.  We've all had those Beautiful Heartbreaks at some point in time, haven't we?

Be back soon!

Oct 31, 2011

DIY Giant Spider

Happy Halloween!

Anybody else having a hard time believing that it's the last day of October already?!  Man, this month went fast.  Super fast! 

As mentioned in my previous post, last weekend I was doing some decorating for a church Halloween party.  It all went great.  The hanging spiders looked cool and the bats added a nice touch to what would have been empty walls.  The Giant haunted house silhouette wasn't so giant but that's ok, it was still big and looked good on the stage.  Did I take any pictures of these things?  NO!  I can't believe I didn't take my camera along - ugh!

The good news though, I do have photos of the giant spider I made and I even have a little DIY tutorial too. I realize it's a little late for you to make your own for this year but you can always tuck this idea away or better yet, Pin it on Pinterest and then you'll have it for next year. And, when I say giant Spider, I really do mean GIANT.  Just for comparison sake, my daughter is 5.5.  Ya, it's kind of big.  My younger daughters named it "Winter" after the dolphin in Dolphin Tale. I kinda thought Charlotte might be more appropriate but, you know, whatever... so here's how I made "Winter."

GIANT Spider Tutorial:  

Supplies Needed:
- Two balls, I used a leftover big bouncy ball from our summer and then a paper mached balloon. If I had a smaller ball I would have just used that.
- Black Fabric
- Glue Gun
- String or Ribbon
- 4 black foam long pipe covers (found at Lowe's for $0.87 cents each)
- 8 elbow pipe connectors (found at Lowe's for, shoot! I can't remember. I think they were only like $0.35 cents each - they were cheap)
- Googlie eyes

Step 1: Glue your two balls together. I just used hot glue but you could probably tape them together instead.

Step 2: Wrap your fabric around the two balls and start securing it in place. You will need to "pull, fold, & secure, then repeat",  the fabric as you go. You want it to keep the round shape as much as possible.  Also, it will look better if you keep all the seams and folds on the underneath side as much as possible.

Step 3: After you get all the fabric wrapped around the form, tie the string or ribbon around the neck.  This will help separate, visually, the head and the body.  Plus, it looks kind of cute with a little bow (see photos of finished spider).

Step 4: I wasn't so great about taking pictures on this part but I think you can kind of figure it out by looking at the completed spider.  Plus, I will try and explain it here.  For the legs, take one foam pipe cover and cut it in half.  Each pipe cover with make two legs, so one half is one leg.  Next take one of the halves and cut it again. This time just cut it about 1/3 the way down.  You want each leg to have a short piece that comes off the body and then a long piece that continues after the "bend".  Does that make sense?

After you have your leg pieces cut, take one pipe elbow piece (the little gray things) and attach the short piece of foam to one side and the long piece of foam to the other.  Then, glue each leg to your spider body.  TIP: When you are attaching the legs the body, it does help if you cut the foam at a slight angle first. This way the legs kind of curve with the body instead of being glued on at a 90% angle.

Step 5: After all the legs are in place, just add eyes and your done.  Pretty easy right?!  This spider may just be the only kind of spider that we love. It's even kissable.

The only thing left to do is put it on display. Currently, "Winter" is hanging out on our porch! I think she is planning on scaring trick-or-treaters. Hehehe!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Oct 26, 2011

Halloween in full swing!

So, a week ago my husband and I got asked to be on the committee to help with what we call the "trunk-or-treat" party at our church.  It was short notice, another couple dropped out and they asked us to step in.  I was cool with it, I like that kind of stuff.  However, I didn't realize that I'd be coming up with the decorations for the whole gym in under a week - eeek!  Now that is scary.

Luckily the tables will mostly be taken care of.  I only have to do 4 tables then I will be doing the rest of the gym, walls, stage, etc...

For the tables I'm doing my Skeleton Trifle bowl, Skeleton jars, my Mummies, and then these:

They are super easy.... here's how I did them.

1- Draw a ghost on white cardstock and then cut it out.  Once it is cut out trace the design onto another piece of cardstock and then cut it out as well.

2-You should have two identical shapes when you are done.

3- Ink the edges.  I used an orange first and then a little bit of black.

4- Next draw on your face and poke holes all the way around your pattern.  (See below)

5- After all the holes have been poked, you are ready to start sewing them together.  This step is a good one for your kiddos to do.  My 10 year old loved being able to sew and it was good practice for her.

6- (not shown)  After you get most of it sewn together, stuff it loosely with some batting and then finish sewing it up.  When you are done, just put it on a stick and attach the stick to a pumpkin.  That's it.  Oh, and you can add a bow too.  I like the bow!

One year, when we lived in Maine, I made a ton of these and we used them on all the tables.  It was for a much small congregation though, we put out like 8 to 10 tables.  Here in Colorado it will be 35 tables - so, so, glad I'm not making 70+ of these.  They are cute but not that cute.

For the rest of the gym, I'll be making over a 100 - yup 100+ - of these in various sizes.  Some really small and some really, super, giant big.  Even making some out of paper mache and plumbing supplies (I'll show you those when I get them done)

Plus, I'm making about 200 - yup 200 - of these cute bats.  The bat idea came from Made
I saw them last year and loved them but forgot about how awesome they were.  They are exactly what I was looking for.  If you want to see how to make them, head on over to Made and tell her I sent ya.

I'm also going to be crafting some sort of GIANT Haunted House silhouette.  I mean like 7 feet tall giant.  Oh, and did I mention I now only have two days to do it.  Eeek!  So, I'm off to finish my decorations.