Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Currently in progress

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
 This is the mock up I made of the skirt tutorial I am in the process of writing.  Hopefully it will be done this evening. (to be posted on another blog- I'll let you know as soon as it's up)
I kept feeling that I needed to make a nativity set of figurines.  The baby Jesus comes out of the manger (my 2 year old loves this feature) and they sit on blocks that read "Silent Night".  I'm pretty happy with the results.  I am in the process of making up some sets for sale.  Let me know if you're interested.  Hopefully these last sets of figurines will be the end of my production for the season.  I'm ready to relax and enjoy my family and the season and some creativity that's just for the fun of it. :)
Hope you're having a wonderful Tuesday!
xoxo,
Amy

Monday, November 28, 2011

Finding the Joy {Monday is Mom-day}

Monday, November 28, 2011
Sorry about the blurry photo, he's doing his Touchdown Dance. :)
I have another blog.  A family blog. (don't bother clicking over, it hasn't been updated in a year ;) )  I mention it because I named the blog Finding Joy.  With a subtitle that reads- "And if you can't find it, Make it!"

Motherhood is hard.  I think we've covered that fact plenty in the last few Mom-day posts.  I won't stop doing the "man this really isn't what I thought I was signing up for" posts, because I feel like blog-land needs a lot more of reality thrown in.  But, I also wanted to make sure that I don't become a voice of negativity and a major downer when it comes to talking about motherhood in general, and my personal experience in particular. 

The reality is that I love being a mother.  I love these smiles, and dimples (all my kids have them) and hugs and laughter.  I love watching them learn and grow and achieve things that were hard at one point for them.  I love when they call "meetings" in my daughter's room to discuss what they're going to do next.  I love watching my son get a wet rag to wipe the chocolate off my daughter's face.

Motherhood is hard, but it is also joyous.  Sometimes, it's just a matter of looking for the Joy.  And other times it's about Making the joy happen.  The fact of the matter is that motherhood wouldn't be so rewarding if it wasn't so hard.
So excited for cub scouts!
So my challenge is to take a moment each day to just find a bit of joy.  In the smile of your brand new cub scout, in the sticky hug of a 2 year old, in the touchdown dance of your 4 year old or the excitement of your 10 year old who just scored the highest on her test.  To really look for those moments, and then to stop- and take it in, and smile, and know that it's all been worth it for this very moment.

Happy Mom-day!
XOXO,
Amy

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monster Buddies

Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Made this little lady yesterday morning.  My sister needed a baby shower gift so she asked me to make a monster for her.
A couple of weeks ago I needed to come up with a gift for my 1 year old nephew.  It came to me the morning of the party that I could just make him a softie- a monster one to be exact.  I googled some different tutorials to see suggestions for assembly and then just went for it.  I posted it on Facebook and my comment was- "Sometimes it's nice to have a craft store in the basement!" :)
I have been collecting remnants and different textured fabrics from the clearance section of Joann's for a while- so I have all kinds of fluffy fleeces, textured velvets and felt in my stash- and they sure come in handy for a project like this.
Even the second one came completely from my stash and I know I'm making at least one more for a Christmas gift for my 14 year old nephew.  Yes you read that right- he's 14 and when he saw his cousin's he said he wanted one too.  Ask and ye shall receive. :)
They make good buddies.  I think she might need one too. :)
Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving.  I am NOT black Friday shopping for the first time in more than a decade and I'm suffering withdrawls already. :(  Go score a deal for me will you?
Talk to you soon.
XOXO,
Amy

Friday, November 18, 2011

Point of View Reveal- Gifts

Friday, November 18, 2011
I was pretty excited for this month's theme for Point of View.  It's not very often that I get a jump start on getting gifts crossed off my list.  But I think it backfired on me because looking at the awesome projects on the collage, I'm thinking that now I have to make many more gifts. :)
Are you interested in finding out more about these projects?  Click on the links below to find more details:
Michelle's adorable doughnut snowman at A Little Tipsy
Leanne from Organize and Decorate everything has a great idea for personalizing napkins.
Me- scroll down
Gwen has a tutorial for these adorable fleece hats at Gwenny Penny
Debra from Housewife Eclectic- one of our Guest posters for the month (please head over and give her some love)- has a gift with a secret- go check out what it is.
Caitlin from Cait Create  (another guest that we are so excited to have- please say hi to her) Has an inexpensive but lovely gift that would be great to keep on hand for those unexpected moments when you need something to give.
Jonie from Just Between Friends is back from having a new baby and we are so glad to have her!  Angry birds are a big hit at our house, I think this one is going on my to make list for sure. :)
Now- on to the full disclosure of my project:

I am all about cute handmade gifts, but even more about gifts that have a catchy saying to go with them.  For instance one of my favorite neighbor gifts I have ever received is a can of chili and a 2-liter of root beer with a tag that said "Have a Rootin' Tootin' Christmas!"  I still laugh about it. :)  So when I saw these cute dishtowels (made even cuter with some fabric scraps) at IKEA for $.49 I knew I would love to use them as gifts for my friends, but that it needed a cute card or saying to go with it to complete the effect.  So I came up with this:

In case it's hard to read it says: "A good friend sees you through the messes in life.  A better friend stays and helps you clean up!  Thank you for being the best kind of friend"  It would be cute to use this quote with some great cleaning supplies, hand knit or crocheted dishcloths or anything else along those lines.
For a quick and dirty tutorial on how I embellished the towels:
I used Heat n Bond lite (the sewable kind) because I know they are going to get a lot of use at my house so I wanted to sew them down.  To make this a no sew project just use the regular Heat n Bond that doesn't require sewing- it can still be washed but you won't want to use it as heavily.

Trace your shape on the wrong side of the heat n bond (the paper side), if your shape is directional, you will want to trace the reverse image.  Iron the heat n bond to the wrong side of your fabric (follow manufacturers instructions).  Cut out shape and arrange on fabric, remove paper backing and iron down.  If you are using heat n bond lite you will want to stitch down the fabric.  I used a decorative blanket stitch on mine.
Package it up and you have a cute, custom and inexpensive gift to give friends, neighbors, sisters- everyone! :)  You don't have to make these seasonal, you could choose fabrics that match the recipient's decor, monogram them or just keep them simple- the possibilities are endless.
Now it's your turn.  What gifts have you come up with?  Remember they can be new or old, your own ideas or someone else's you've implemented yourself.  Just come party with us and let your Point of View be heard.  You can join the fun at Leann's blog here.
We will be taking December off from Point of View and resuming in January so watch for announcements about upcoming themes and dates, and as always, we love having guests participate with us, so if you'd like to join in the fun leave a comment or e-mail any of the POV blogs and let us know, we'll get you on our list. :)
Have a great Friday!
xoxo,
Amy
p.s. Am I the only one slightly panicked that next week is Thanksgiving?  I have SO much to do! :) monogramhttp://i745.photobucket.com/albums/xx93/SaSites/freeforallfriday1.jpg" />

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Juggler {A Mom-day Post}

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I just had to throw in a Halloween shot because they're awesome!
I have been wanting to write this post for a while, but I'm not sure how to do it without sounding holier-than-thou, or condescending or judgmental.  So as you read, please keep in mind that I am sharing my opinion and life decisions only- and not making a commentary on the decisions anyone else is making in their own lives. :)
I have always known that I wanted to be a mother.  I wanted to stay at home and raise children and take care of my house and bake cookies and be happy.  And I wanted to be a doctor.  And get my M.D. PhD. and study diseases at the CDC.  And be a geneticist.  And maybe teach school too.
When it came time to take the MCAT (the entrance exam for medical school) I sat in the big auditorium looking at all the people around me and their intensity.  They wanted this so badly, most of them.  In fact, when the guy a couple seats down from me dropped his pencil mid test- he would have been dead many times over if looks could kill.  It was in that moment that I realized I didn't want it as badly as most of them- my heart was really someplace else- it was in my future home with my as yet unborn children.
Fast forward a few years.  I met my husband, we got married, moved into a home and decided to have children.  It was scary.  I quit my job only to take it back again a year later when money was tight.  I worked 20-30 hours a week between the hours of 4 pm and 2 a.m.   With now 2 children who would wake up at 6 a.m. it was hard.  I wasn't a very good mother but we thought we needed the money.  I quit my job.
Move ahead a few more years.  A couple of moves and two more children and we find ourselves in our current house.  Inaccurate estimates on our mortgage left us tighter than we thought we'd be in this house, add to that a recession and a husband who works for a GM dealership and you find things are pretty tight financially.  Going back to work is the obvious choice.  I have a degree and technical skills that would provide a pretty decent income.  It would not be easy, but it would sure help in the money department.
I fight to hang on to the lessons I learned all those years ago, to remember where my heart really is.
Someone once told me that I was lucky to be a stay at home mother.  And I am.  But it's not because my husband makes so much money that I am able to be here.  We are fighting tooth and nail to keep me here.  We give up a lot of things to make it possible for me to remain the full time mother.  I work harder now than I have ever worked at any other point in my life.  I am the full time mom, plus I make things to sell to supplement our family income, and I have this blog, which keeps me sane and gives me a place to escape, if only for a moment, the incredible pressure of life.
I read this article yesterday and it resounded with me so strongly.  The work ball will bounce (in this case the blogging/crafty making and selling) but the family ball, especially while my children are still so young and needy, must be guarded at all costs.  I am striving mightily to keep all of them in the air, but there are times I admit to needing to let something go, if only for a moment.  And lately that has been my blog.
So, this is not a goodbye, but a hello again!  Now that my boutique is over and the pressure is off in the major production category, I look forward to creating just for fun.  To inspire and be inspired and share in the love and fun that is the online craft blogging community.  So I hope you'll be patient just a bit longer as I stretch my creative legs and start ramping up the projects- I'm ready to play.  But I also hope you'll understand if I (or any other mother who also blogs) fails to put posting any higher on the priority list.  I love you all and you hold such a special place in my life and my heart.  But I have a big responsibility, one only I can do, and I am striving to keep it first.
XOXO,
Amy

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude

Friday, November 11, 2011
You are still here.  Still reading.  Still following.  I could not be more grateful.  I am surrounded by kind, supportive and loving people who lift me up and encourage me and help me be more than I could be without them.
Thank you to you all.  We are nearing the home stretch.  My fingers ache and my hands go numb if I put too much pressure on them because they are so swollen.  I was up until 2 a.m. throwing together more totes for the boutique- but through it all I am blessed beyond words.  I wish I could give each of you a treasure to show you how much you mean to me- but since words are all I can afford ;) here they are:
THANK YOU!!
And I love you!
The end.
xoxo,
Amy

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Point of View Burlap Feature

Sunday, November 6, 2011
Isn't this absolutely gorgeous?  Cath from Avery and Winslow created it!  Then she linked it up to the Burlap Point of View reveal.  I never would have thought to use burlap as a canvas- but I am absolutely loving the texture it adds to this fantastic needle art.  Just amazing!  For more details on how she did it- go to her post here.
I am thinking that my new craft room is going to need something just like this.  Thanks for the inspiration Cath!
xoxo,
Amy
p.s. only one more week of boutique craziness.  thank you for bearing with me. I love you all. xoxo
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