Dec 31, 2013


This is a last minute effort to rally the troops.  Can you help?

We've been following the Free Braces contest, as you know, little Jet won last year.  It was a huge help for our family - HUGE!!!  We had another friend enter this year but found out she isn't qualified to win so we are now really pushing for this guy.  He is a last minute entry and is currently in third but still pretty far behind the leader so he needs help.  He's an awesome young man that goes to our same church.  In fact, just last Saturday he rode in my car as I transported a bunch of youth to a dance.  He is pretty awesome and I want to help him out.  Can you go vote for him?

To vote click on the link below his picture.  It will take you to the contests Facebook page, Once there it might require you to "like" the facebook first and then be sure to click on the VOTE button - just liking the page doesn't count, you do have to actually vote.  It's pretty simple and would really help a lot.

Entry Photo

Thank you!  I'd love it if some else I know could win this great contest and he is a really great kid!

And, thank you all so much for the ideas and recipes you shared in response to my last post.  I got enough ideas to make some braces friendly treats that I'm sure my kiddos will love.

Happy New Year!

Dec 28, 2013

New Year's Treat Dilemma

Well, I'm bummed.  Not sure if you saw my post from early today (it has since been taken down) but I was all geared up to help a little friend win free braces.  We won last year and it's been a huge blessing so we wanted to spread the love and help her win, however, we just found out that she wasn't eligible to win so she can no longer be in the contest.  I do want to thank you though, if you already made an effort to vote for her - THANK YOU!!!  She was making some headway today and your vote would have helped take over the lead.  So, thank you.

Ok, in other news... are you gearing up for New Year's?  We are too.  We will just have a quiet evening of game playing at home.  My hubby will most likely make us some yummy teriyaki udon noodles and I will bake us a treat.

Every year we make this...

You can get the recipe here:  New Year's Eve Treat  It is absolutely delightful and my most favorite of treats, however, this year we have kiddos in braces and this treat really isn't braces-friendly so I have to come up with something new to make.

This has been a bit of a dilemma, I like my tradition.  I could just make it for those in my house who don't have metal on their teeth but that really wouldn't be very nice.  So, instead, I've been browsing and pinning recipes on Pinterest but I've yet to find anything that seems to compare.  This is where you come in,  I'm officially asking for your help.

What's your favorite New Year's treat?  I'd love it if you'd share.  My family would love it too!

And, I guess, if all else fails I could just make bacon.  That's a good back up.

Dec 18, 2013

Here's Mine

Remember my previous post about the holiday cards?  And, remember how I mentioned it being super easy to order them?  And remember how I said Katie is awesome?  Well, I wasn't lying.  After I posted I went and ordered my own.  She had a proof to me right away and I love them.  Wanna see?

It's also my early wish you for you all, normally I post our card on Christmas Eve but I might just avoid the computer on that day this year.

(check out little Jet's attitude!  We did these with the self timer so there was no one behind the camera encouraging her smile and we didn't even see the "tude" until we got home.  We love it anyway, attitude and all, it makes us laugh and reminds us of the stage in life we are in.)

Anyway, Katie is still taking orders and after you get the file from her, and  if you send them to your 1-hr printer, you really can get them in the mail and they will still make it in time, and even if they don't, the sentiment is still really nice.  Remember to use the coupon code "AMYSTHEBEST" at check out and you'll get a discount off your order.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas, or should I say "kiss-mas!"

Dec 13, 2013

Need Holiday Cards?

I'm knee deep in Christmas prep. I know I'm not the only one.  With all my to-do's on my to-do list, I kind of forgot to add a big one - I forgot to do Christmas cards this year.

Did you, too?

Christmas, Holiday or New Years greeting card, burlap, ANY COLORS digital, printable file (item 830)

If so, I have great news.  I'm lucky enough to be friends with a very talented gal.  I'm pretty sure I've mentioned her before.  It's Katie from Katiedidesigns.  Katie has always been really great about supporting my kids, especially Miss M and her fundraisers so I want to return the favor and share some love.

Today, Katie is spreading the word to everyone, who like me put off getting cards, that there is still time to order.  I saw her Facebook message and about did a cartwheel in my living room.  I resisted though, cartwheels and me don't mix and trips to the emergency room aren't on my to-do list either.

Katie's card designs are super cute and really easy to order, plus, once they are designed she'll send you the digital file.  You send them off to your one-hour photo center and poof!  another thing you can cross off your list.  Or, you can order them printed from her too, if you'd prefer.

Plus, because she must have known that my Language of love is "Words of Affirmation"  she has created an awesome discount code for any of my readers who order from her.  When you place your order, enter ..... AMYSTHEBEST .... and she'll give you a sweet discount.  

So, want to see some of her work?  She has three pages of Holiday Card designs that you can choose from, here are some of my favs.

Christmas, Holiday or New Years greeting card, chalkboard year in review newsletter, any colors digital, printable file (item 852)

Holiday or Christmas card, Merry Christmas Card Happy New year Christmas lights printable, digital file (item 845)

Christmas card, Holiday or New Years greeting card, bold colors with photos, digital, printable file (item 854)

Plus, she can make photo collages for you, too!

Go check out her shop and if you order from her, be sure to use the discount code - AMYSTHEBEST - and tell her Amy sent you!

Dec 9, 2013

Gift Giving: The $5 DIY Jewelry gift set

I'm sure you are aware but Christmas is coming.  Shocker, I know.  And, if you are like me, you have multiple people to get gifts for.  This year, which is no different from years passed, my daughters also want to give gifts to their friends.    I don't mind.  I'm happy to help them show kindness to others, however, it can get pretty expensive and the cost of gifts can add up quickly.  Because of this, I'm a big fan of gifts that are usable, cute, and low cost.  If you need an idea for something that easy to make and won't break the bank, here you go.  Here's a jewelry set that you can make for under $5 and I've even included steps on how to make and fold the card.

Let's start with the Earrings

You will need the items shown above.
2- earring hooks
2- jewelry pins
2- small copper beads (or color of choice)
4- Spacers
2- small pearl beads
2- medium red beads

You will also need:

Wire cutters and a pair of Needle nose pliers

Start by adding your items to the jewelry pins like shown.  First add the small copper bead, then a spacer, then the red bead, another spacer, and finally the small white pearl.

When you get done adding all your pieces, you will have something like the above.  Repeat the steps so that both pins are stacked in the same order.

Then, using your needle nose pliers, bend the jewelry at a 90 degree angle.  The bend should be really close to the top of the white pearl.

Then, pinching the wire between the pliers, bend the wire around the pliers to make a loop.  

Thread the wire through the loop on your earring hook, cut off the excess wire and close up the loop so that both pieces are connected.

When you have them attached they will look something like the above photo and you are done with the earrings.  Not too hard, right?

Now, let's do the necklace

I already did a tutorial on this necklace earlier in the year so instead of re-writing it, follow the link below for the steps.  Just be sure to come back so you can see how to create the packaging.  

Ok, now how to package your jewelry set?  It's great to make jewelry but if you don't have a way to store it and package it, it just doesn't look like a nice gift.  Packaging it can be really simple though.  
Here's one way I do it.

 The easiest way to do this is to take a 8.5 x 11 piece of cardstock and fold it in fourths.  The image below shows it kind of, I forgot to take a photo with it just folded before I cut it up - oops

The first thing you want to do though is print or stamp a design on the bottom right section of your cardstock.  (When it is folded, that part of your paper will actually be the front of the card.)  Mine just says Merry Christmas and I printed it, it's really simple and clean. 

Then, after you have printed it, take your paper and score and fold it in half length wise and also width wise.  this divides it into fourths like mentioned above.  

Next, carefully cut out, and discard, the upper right section like shown in the image above.    

Then turn the paper over so that your printed design is no longer showing and take the remaining top piece and fold it down and on top of the bottom one.  

Then, and I'm sorry, I don't have photos of this, punch two holes where the necklace will thread through and two small holes were the earrings will hang from.  Use the photo above for a reference.  

Put your jewelry in place, secure your necklace chain with jewelry holders or low-tack tape, and then attach the paper down so the back of your jewelry is hidden.

 Wrap it up with a cute ribbon, tie a bow and there you have it, a cute, low cost jewelry set that is ready to give and it all cost under $5!

So, if you don't already have all the jewelry supplies and pieces, when you shop you will have to buy packages of each items.  For example, the jewelry pins I used, come in a pack of 30 for $1.99.  I bought them when they were 50% at Hobby Lobby so I only paid 99 cents.  That means I can get 15 sets of earrings out of it which, just for the pins only is like .07 cents.  Same with all the beads and spacers, so when you shop, just realize that each package will let you create many jewelry sets.  Hope that helps!

Merry Christmas

Dec 8, 2013

Updates, Stocking Stuffers and More!

THANK YOU - THANK YOU - THANK YOU!!!  Miss M and I really appreciate all the support we got from the Ornament sales.  We have pulled them and are no longer taking orders but really wanted to send out a heart felt thanks to let you know we greatly appreciated your support.  She did really well on meeting her goals.

Also, just for fun, I was going through old Christmas card photos.  Brought back some great memories. Here's two of my favorites. 



Have a great week and Merry Christmas to you all!

Dec 5, 2013

Christmas Nativity

This past week I've had several emails in my inbox about my Nativity.  Seems it's on a few to-do lists this month which is awesome.

I thought I'd try and make it as easy as I could for you to find all the tutorials for the individual pieces, so here you go.....

Merry Christmas!

Dec 2, 2013

DIY Christmas Cards From Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

This post is a re-peat from last year.  I posted it just two days before Christmas last year but because it was so late in the season, I'm pretty sure everyone but me had made their holiday cards by then.  Because of that, I thought a re-post was in order.  Especially if you are looking for a kid-friendly, easy idea

When we made these last year, my girls and I spent the afternoon around the table laughing and creating.  It was one of the highlights of the season as we worked side-by-side to create cards to go with our Christmas treats that we give to neighbors and friends.

It's a very simple project idea.  If you are looking for something easy to do with your own kids, maybe something to attach to a plate of goodies, this is one idea to save because, well, it's just that, easy.  It's also really inexpensive.

If you want to try this, you will need the following...

- Craft Paint in Christmas colors
- Cardboard tubes.  I used two sizes, one from a paper towel and one from an empty tin foil roll
- Marker
- Card stock cut down to card sizes, mine were 4"x7"
- Tape
- Paint Brushes

Step 1:  Paint the ends of your tube.  I painted the larger tube first.

Step 2:  Use the painted end like a stamp and "stamp" a circle onto the front of your card

Step 3:  Just repeat the process, using different sizes and different colors until you have three circles on your card.  Tip:  If you want the circles to look like they are behind/in front of each other, then after you apply the paint to the tube end, take a piece of tape and put it over one part of the paint end.  Then stamp.  This will give you a circle that will have a space in it.  Then, when you do your next circle, just stamp it into that open space.  

Don't forget that your tubes have two ends so you can use different paint colors on each end.

Step 4:  Next, take your marker and draw on a little "cap" at the top of each circle.  This will be the ornament top.  Then add lines from the top of the card down to each cap.  And, that's it.  You now have a simple card that looks like hanging ornaments.  Don't forget to add "Merry Christmas"

After we got done making cards, we played around with the paper scraps and made some gift tags.  I know snowmen aren't normally green but I kind of like my little green snowman.  So, that's all.  It was easy.  My girls loved it and it's something that kids, even pretty young ones could do.

Nov 27, 2013

Turkey Name Holder

I do realize it's the night before Thanksgiving, and this tutorial may not actually help you until next year but I still wanted to share.   I was at Target the other day and my mind just doesn't see things as it should.  You might be standing in line and see a package of Ice Breakers on sale and think, "cool, discount.  Yummy mints!"

But I saw that same package, thought the discount was awesome and saw Turkey' place holders instead of yummy mints.  

I know.  I'm a little weird.  It's just how my brain works.

If you are looking for a last minute detail to add to your Thanksgiving table, here's how I made them.

Supplies needed:

1 - Package of Ice Breakers
2- Tan pipe cleaners
4 to 8 - cut out feathers from scrapbook paper
1- 1 large circle cut from brown paper
1- 1 head from brown paper
1- beak
2 - feet
glue dots

Step 1:  Start by turning your pipe cleaners into the design above.  Take one and fold in half, like into a "v".  Tie knots for the knees on each leg.  Then make a loop for thread the arms into.  Fold the pipe cleaner just under the loop at a 90 degree angle.

Step 2:  Using a glue dot, attach the Ice breakers to pipe cleaners

Step 3:  Add the body, head and beak.  And then draw on two little eyes.

Step 4:  Add the feathers to the back and if desired, make a little name sign.  These can be used to mark place settings or just to help add decoration to your Thanksgiving table.  You could even turn the kiddos loose and let them craft while you cook!

Enjoy and most importantly, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 5, 2013

New Ornaments

Update: 11/30/2013 - THANK YOU!!!  The response to our first round of orders was fantastic.  I've had several emails about ordering so I want you to know we have restocked and we are up and running again.  All new orders MUST be placed by December 7th in order to get them to you in time for Holiday gift giving!  If you are local, you can email me your order.  If not, you can purchase them through Etsy.

Yesterday was registration day for Miss M's big Humanitarian trip.  I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of freaking out.  I mentioned to my friends that I'm having this back and forth conversation in my head.  One side is saying, "yes, this is awesome and will be a great experience for her!"  The other side, the fearful side, is saying, "Ecuador is really, really, really far away - ARE YOU CRAZY?!"

So, if you are just tuning in and have no idea what I'm talking about, my daughter has a desire, and has been working really hard to save money, to go on a Humanitarian trip to South America next summer.  She wants to go build rooms in a special needs orphanage and I think it's pretty cool.  She's done well with saving her money but is still short.  I posted about it awhile ago and explained how she is going to sell ornaments to help earn the money.  (Yes, I'm one of those parents who believe the trip will be more meaningful to her if she works for it so she has to do her part to get there.) Since we registered yesterday and she paid her deposit, it's all becoming very real.

Here's were you come in, if you are still looking for a fun little personalized Christmas gift, or just want some cute new ornaments for yourself, please consider supporting her fundraising efforts.  We even, yes I helped, came up with some new designs.  Here are all the ornaments that she will be making and selling.  I've noted specific info about them below and you can find more details in my Etsy shop too.

Religious Designs:

Left to right:  Mary and Baby Jesus (new), LDS Temples- we will do custom orders if you are looking for something other than the SLC temple, and the Nativity (new) .....  $8.50 each - all of these can be personalized with names and dates on the back

Snowmen Designs:
Left to right:  Snowman with stars (new),  Snowman Reaching (new), and Snowman Flakes Large size ..... all are $8.50 - all of these can be personalized with names on the front or the back

Christmas Trees:
Left to right:  Tree with ornaments (new), Full Tree ..... both are $8.50 - both can be personalized with names, dates or sayings on the front or on the back

Other Designs:

 Left to right:  Dove with Olive branch round - $8.50, Let it Snow Snowman - $9.25, Red Peace Dove - $8.50.  All can be personalized with names on back or on the snowman, a name can replace the "let it snow" statement

 Left to right:  Angel, Skating Penguin (new), and cropped Snowman ... all are $8:50 - for the smaller size shown, personal names can be added to back, if you'd like it personalized on the front, the ornament will be slightly larger

Thanks so much for considering supporting her in the adventure.  If you have any questions or specific requests please drop me a quick email:  thenshemade (at) gmail (dot) com. and be sure to check out the listings on Etsy by following the link below: