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Five Sweet & Short Years Later

When Liv was born, I remember thinking to myself- “wow, that’s not at all how I wanted or expected our winter break to go.” Instead of enjoying the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I spent every moment I could visiting my sweet girl in the NICU. From the very beginning, Olivia has had such a brave and tender heart. I will never forget how strong she was in those early days.

I find myself saying almost the exact same words five years later. We spent Christmas Day in the ER with Olivia as she has been fighting off some sort of crazy, seasonal bug. It has been a long, long week, friends. Not a bit of sleep, quite a few tears, many cancelled family gatherings, lots of snuggles, and a process of figuring out exactly how to help her. The light in these tough moments: my girl’s unending bravery. Fingers are crossed that she took a turn for the better today! Her first request when she perked up a bit? To paint. She got right to work creating rainbows and hearts.

Liv’s one big wish from Santa this year was a stuffed animal unicorn. My darling girl, you help me see rainbows everyday. YOU are magic to me. Happy 5th Birthday, my beautiful Olivia Rose.

Unicorn-Session-1Unicorn-Session-2Unicorn-Session-4Unicorn-Session-5Unicorn-Session-6Unicorn-Session-7Unicorn-Session-8

A big thank you to our photographer, Tiffany Henning of TH Photography & Design, for these incredible photos! The session was pure magic for my girl. Every so often, Liv will remind me with wide eyes, “Mom, do remember when I met a real unicorn?” I’ll treasure these pics forever!

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Hello, 31

Once you’ve hit your 30s, you’re not a day over 29, right?!

birthday31

When I think about this past year, I’m overwhelmed by how much our little family has grown! Olivia is running these days and talking up a storm. I feel so fortunate to have James by my side as we’ve learned new lessons in parenthood {ahem, new levels of patience!}.  When I think about this year, these thoughts come to mind:

…growing as a family… meeting an insane amount of work deadlines… striving to find balance… developing new skills in dealing with toddler tantrums… learning lessons on taking care of my health… attempting to juggle it all and feeling like I’m always short… laughing with family and friends… working with a talented team managing store products at The Dating Divas blog… being fascinated by the current scope of research on essential oils…

I came across this article recently: Tips to Help Millennials Find Meaningful Work. I agree with so many points of this article, especially their focus on how our generation wants/needs to make an impact. Have you found your purpose-driven career? For me, teaching essential oil classes has become a passion area! When I help connect families to tools that will help them on their health journey, I feel like I’m giving back. I’ve gone from being completely skeptical to actively teaching about these natural health solutions because I’ve seen firsthand the difference that they can make in my own family, as well as countless others.

The company that I’m working with offers so much more than just a set of products to enhance your health- their sourcing practices, commitment to education, focus on philanthropy, and generous compensation plan are all visible pieces of their integrity and heart. I’m really excited to see where this journey takes me throughout the rest of the year.

birthday31-2

So what’s next? I’m still chipping away at my 30 During 30 List… So many of these items relate to a lifestyle I’m trying to create– savoring the present moment {however beautiful, chaotic, and messy it might be!}, being a good mama, carving out time with family & friends, and focusing on my own health goals.

I saw this video and thought it was a powerful reminder of the impact our words have in creating our self image.

I’m going to work on being kinder to myself this year. We are all works in progress.

…and that’s ok.

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St. Patrick’s Day Printable Placemats

Top of the Morning to You!

Here’s a fun tradition to start in honor of St. Patty’s Day:

Candice-Placemats-Pin

All you need to do is download the placemats, print, and set your breakfast table. It’s the perfect way to add a little charm to your morning! See my post on The Dating Divas for the full scoop:

Top of the Morning to You Printable Placemats

Candice-Placemats-Table

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Coco Chanel Inspired Baby Shower

Coco Chanel Baby Shower

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that a baby shower I hosted back in March for a dear friend is being featured on Kara’s Party Ideas!

Click HERE for the all the party details!

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Nautical Birthday Party

Nautical Birthday Party

With the end of summer drawing near, I couldn’t resist one more opportunity to use elements from the Ahoy Collection by Carta Bella.  I just love this grouping of anchors, sea sentiments, and ocean inspired designs.  Remember the nautical birthday card I shared last month?  Here are several more ideas to accompany an anchor themed or nautical birthday party using digital scrapbooking products:

Ahoy Banner

Ahoy Banner

I used a generic banner die-cut to make my banner base.  Then, I used the alphabet letters from the nautical collection to spell out the word “AHOY.”  The focal point of this cute banner has to be the gorgeous anchor element.  I used the print and cut feature of my silhouette to cut out a perfectly shaped outline of this graphic.  To make everything pop, I edged the border with aqua glitter.  A few additional paper embellishments and ribbon completed the look!

Ahoy Banner Detail

Treat Bags

The Ahoy collection contains several darling graphics including a boat, a lobster, and a fish.  When I saw these elements, I knew they would be the perfect embellishments for treat bag toppers.

Nautical Birthday Treat

I packaged goldfish with the saying “Catch of the Day,” licorice bites with the phrase “Sailors Sweets,” and sour gummy worms with the sentiment “Live Bait.”

Nautical Birthday Treats 2

Here’s the basic outline of how I made these goodies:

  1. Open a new 4-inches x 2-inches document in PSE.
  2. Drag a piece of coordinating digital scrapbook paper onto your document.  Adjust the size if needed.
  3. Add a text box to the bottom half of the document containing your catch phrase.  I used the font Lobster 1.3.
  4. Print out this document.  Fold in half.
  5. Use the print and cut feature of the silhouette to cut out a digital element to add to the topper.
  6. Adhere this digital element to the topper using double sided foam tape.
  7. Embellish with additional punches or ribbon if desired.
  8. Add your finished topper to a Ziploc bag filled with yummy treats using tape adhesive.

Nautical Birthday Treat 3

Birthday Sign

I love creating little signs to include as part of a dessert table when hosting a party.  I made this framed graphic for my nieces’ birthday using Element 1.

Nautical Birthday Sign

A couple of notes:

  • I used the aqua chevron paper labeled “Seashells” as a base.
  • In PSE, I opened Element 1 and set my foreground color to the same navy color as the bottom portion of the banner.  Then, I selected the paint brush tool and filled in the “1826” date so it wasn’t visible.
  • To make this element easy to cut out using the silhouette, I added a very light aqua stroke line.
  • I added a new “date” to the bottom banner using sticker letters. 2006 is the year my sweet nieces were born.
  • In order to make this sign dimensional, I added a scalloped red punched shape to the center.  I also layered a cut-out anchor in the center using foam tape.
  • For extra sparkle, I edged the anchor element with aqua glitter.

Nautical Birthday Sign Anchor Detail

There you have it…  3 extra ideas for savoring summer memories using the AHOY collection.  Now, go “Seas the Day!” and find some fun ways to incorporate digital design into your next project!

Here’s a peak at my final birthday package to my sweet nieces- all the nautical DIY goodies and 2 books about the sea!

Nautical Birthday Party Gifts

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Nautical Birthday Card

Snap Click Supply Company has been celebrating digital design all month long by offering double the number of items on sale.  To go along with the theme of “double the fun,” I created a quick and easy summer birthday card for my awesome TWIN nieces!  This fun card uses digital elements from both the Ahoy There (Carta Bella) and the Nautical collection (Fancy Pants).

DIY Nautical Card

When I started this project, I didn’t have an exact picture in my mind of how I wanted it to turn out.  I did know, however, that I wanted to use the phrase, “Ahoy! It’s Your Birthday!”

Ahoy Card

I began by using the “print and cut” feature of my silhouette to cut out several awesome digital designs, including an anchor and alphabet letters spelling AHOY.  I also selected a background paper for my card base from the Ahoy There collection… this was a tough pic as there are so many fun nautical choices!

Ahoy Card Detail

With my card base determined, I started experimenting with the placement of the cut out digital designs. I love adding dimension to my hybrid card designs so foam tape is a must!  In the picture below, you can see where I applied foam tape to make various layers pop.

Ahoy Card Layering Detail

A few decisions and embellishments:

  • I punched a hole through the anchor top and added a bow using red baker’s twine.
  • I edged the white background panel with a Krylon gold leafing pen to add a bit of sparkle.
  • I used a Nestability die (Labels 18) to cut out a blue shape to highlight the anchor.  Love the contrast this step provides!

Nautical Card Elements

On the back of the card, I added the rest of the birthday sentiment.  I embellished the text with clear rhinestones in two sizes and a red punched heart.

Birthday Greeting Detail

To compliment my summer theme, I also whipped up a fun envelope design.

Summer Envelope Design 2

Again, I used the “print and cut” feature of the Silhouette to cut out the “Summer” word from Fancy Pant’s Nautical collection.

Tip: This element didn’t have a clear boundary for the Silhouette to recognize.  To remedy this issue, I opened the element up in PSE and added a light stroke to the edge in a coordinating color.  Adding a stroke line made cutting out this element using the Silhouette super easy!

Silhouette tip for digital images

I grouped the fun “Summer” word element with 2 layers of washi tape and a punched star.  I also added the twins’ names with sticker letters.

Summer Envelope Design

This nautical birthday card was fun to make and perfect for any summer birthday!  I hope my sweet nieces have DOUBLE the fun on their 8th birthday!

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DIY Engagement Cards

Two of our friends recently announced their engagement.  To celebrate this exciting news, I created these little DIY engagement cards.  First up is a “Bride” greeting featuring this silhouette design.

Handmade Card for Bride

I layered the graphic element on a fushcia background and edged the panel with pink glitter for extra sparkle.  To complete the look, I added rhinestone and paper heart embellishments.

DIY Bride Card Detail

Tip: To cut very detailed graphic elements that have thin lines, make sure your cutting mat is relatively new and very sticky!  *I might know from experience that the paper will tear very easily if using an older mat!*

DIY Engagement Card

I paired the Bride card with a fun engagement box using this template from Sarah Bailey available in the Silhouette Store for immediate download.  A few additions to this DIY card to make it sparkle:

  • rhinestones on the ring
  • a die-cut of the word “love” on the base box
  • punched hearts
  • a foam sticker behind the diamond element to create dimensionality

I love how these DIY engagement cards turned out! I packaged them in the same envelope for the couple.

Handmade Engagement Cards

Congrats, Eddie and Vanessa!

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Handmade Patriotic Card

It’s almost the 4th of July!  Today, I’m sharing a handmade patriotic card that I made several years ago for a friend –her birthday is actually on Independence Day!

Patriotic Handmade Card

This card happens to be one of my favorite patriotic card creations to date.  It’s super simple to make- as long as you have red and white buttons!

Patriotic Card Detail

Patriotic Card 2

To represent the stars on the flag, I used 2 punched flower shapes embellished with a clear sparkle.  I also dressed up her envelope.  Here was the outer design:

Patriotic Envelope Design

…and a close-up of the embellishment cluster:

Patriotic Envelope 2

Happy Fourth of July!

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Valentine Countdown

Pinterest is exploding with amazing ideas for creative Valentines these days.  When I saw this PIN, I knew I had to try and make these fun airplanes!  As I clicked through to the post for the instructions, I found 7 more darling projects featured on a blog hop.  I instantly realized that these inspiring projects were perfect for creating a little Valentine Countdown to send to my sweet nieces!

Valentine-Countdown

Here’s a peak at how each day turned out:

Day-5

I used Skip to My Lou’s darling printable to complete the first day’s surprise.  My little instruction note encouraged my nieces to help “pick out an outfit for ‘Suzy Sunshine’ each day of the countdown week or to even draw/design one of their own!”  I utilized die-cuts, stamps, a paper heart doily, ribbon, punches, and coordinating papers to finish the design.

Day-4

I combined two of the featured blog hop projects for Day 4.  I used my silhouette to create a fun heart box, which I filled with Hershey Kisses along with the cute printable from Catch my Party.  I lined the bottom of a second handmade box with Skittles and placed the darling printable from P N P Flowers on top.  Aren’t those heart flaps adorable?!

Day-3

I included a stamped tic-tac-toe board to fit inside a small “I LOVE YOU” envelope based on inspiration from Nest of Posies XOXO Tic Tac Toe Valentine post.  I packaged this cute game with printable envelopes from Camille Styles.  I tucked a few favorite pics of my nieces with Olivia into these fun envelope designs.

Day-2

Day 2 was all about racing paper airplanes designed by Kami at NoBiggie.  I bundled these cuties into a little paper bag decorated with Washi Tape and sticker letters.

And, finally… Day 1’s surprise involved quite a few colorful rubber bands:

Rainbow-Loom

I fell in love with the saying featured on Paper and Pigtails: Let’s Band Together and Be Friends Forever!  Kori’s design inspired me to experiment with some digital files from Jessica Sprague’s online store.  I used paper from the Blowing Kisses collection and a shape by Carina Gardner to highlight 4 new rainbow loom bracelets for my nieces.  (I checked the “colorize” button on the paper to transform the pink background into a beautiful aqua!)

Day-1

I packaged everything up in a fun Valentine box from Michael’s.

Valentine-Package

That’s it…  5 Days of fun inspired by super talented bloggers!!  Be sure to check out the Blog Hop to see each blogger’s creative project and free printable designs.

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Valentine Party Ideas: Pinks and Drinks Invitation

As you might have seen in my Instagram feed, we are decorated for Valentine’s Day!  Each February, I look forward to pulling out treasured Valentine’s I’ve received from family and friends over the years.  I came across an invitation I sent out nearly 4 years ago and couldn’t resist sharing it with you.

The inspiration for “Pinks and Drinks” came from the Hostess with the Mostess blog I came across back in 2008: Valentine’s Day Party Invites.  Here was my DIY card version:

Pinks and Drinks Invitation

This stair step card was embellished using Martha Stewart punches, rubber stamps, and a Nestability die.

Pinks and Drinks Invitation 3

Pinks and Drinks Invitation 2

I love how dimensional this card turned out!

Pinks and Drinks 4

Isn’t this a fun theme?  Here are some easy, fun Valentine party decorating ideas!

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