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Stratejoy Pinterest Contest

Several days ago, Molly Mahar posted a challenge to turn one of her inspiring quotes into a memorable Pinterest graphic… I couldn’t resist putting my spin on these two favorites:

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Love the message on this beauty… Always keep creating.  Always keep believing. The positive possibilities in our life are endless.  I snapped this photo while watching the sunrise at Haleakala in Maui, Hawaii.

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I remember this gorgeous cluster of bougainvillea from our trip to Aruba like it was yesterday.  I really needed to hear this powerful reminder today.  Crafting joy in the present moment can be oh so difficult when the baby is teething and tired, the laundry has piled up, and the sink is full of dishes from about 2 days ago.  But, that’s the secret… practicing gratitude and cultivating a life of beauty amid all the chaos.

Thanks, Molly for the inspiring words!

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Ideas for a “Lucky in Love” Wedding Theme

Two good friends recently took the plunge and said their “I Do’s” at the courthouse.  They have plans to throw a big 1-year anniversary bash next Spring.  In the meantime, the rest of our circle of friends decided to host a party in their honor.  I designed some fun decorations using the theme “Lucky in Love” and highlighting how their personalities are a “winning combination.”

Here’s a glimpse into the design:

Luck-in-Love-Details

The main table featured a “Winning Combination” sign, which was embellished with die-cut images, red sparkles, and a cute photograph of the couple.  I love to use several groupings of flowers when creating a tablescape.  In this case, a small cluster of purple hydrangeas from my garden were paired with gorgeous red roses.

Lucky-in-Love-Table Lucky-in-Love-Sign

Another area of the room displayed a “Love Story” sign complete with important dates in the couple’s relationship.

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The drink area was dressed up with a tiny bunting that spelled out M-A-R-R-I-E-D!

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I saw THIS PIN and knew I had to incorporate the reference to playing cards somehow.  Here’s what I came up with:

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This dimensional banner graced the front door:

Married-Banner Married-Banner-Detail

One of the first projects I worked on was creating a guest book activity.  The couple of the hour recently bought a house so I wanted the end result to be something attractive they could eventually display in their new home.  I was inspired by THIS PIN and started scouting local craft stores for the perfect letters.  I eventually settled on these huge letters from Hobby Lobby.  After a few coats of white paint and some strategically placed sparkle embellishments, these beauties were ready to go!

Lucky-in-Love-Guest-Book Wedding Guest Book

Guests used silver and gold Sharpie pens to write their congrats notes.

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One of the main attractions of the evening was a DIY photo booth.  This activity was SO much fun!  A white sheet served as the backdrop.  To spruce up their outfits, guests could chose from a variety of hats and accessories stored in a nearby trunk.

DIY-photo-booth-signs DIY-photo-booth-props

If you are looking to make some of your own party props, Pinterest is a great resource!  Check out THIS PIN, THIS PIN, and THIS PIN to get started.

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Last (but certainly not least!), I created a multiple choice trivia quiz featuring fun facts about the couple.  The newlyweds revealed the correct answers later in the evening.  This little activity ended up being a great conversation piece.

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It was a wonderful night full of beautiful details, delicious food, and great friends.

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DIY High Contrast Books for Babies

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During our first visit with the Parents as Teachers program, our coordinator emphasized how fascinating black and white images were to infants.  She recommended this popular board book to help stimulate Olivia’s brain development.  It features a total of 10 large and familiar shapes for babies to study.  I loved the concept of this simple book and thought I could replicate the intent using my mom’s library of craft punches.

I made a total of 2 books that incorporated white, black, and red punches.  Here’s the process in action:

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A snapshot of the first high contrast book:

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And, here is the second, smaller book that I created that focuses on different Holidays throughout the year.

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I had so much fun coming up with Halloween and Spring scenes for Olivia to ponder.  I also loved how each of the seasonal images gave me something to talk about- it was like an instant little prompt for me to share a story about a particular event.  We talked about Halloween costumes, Easter traditions, Fourth of July fireworks, and the list goes on!

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“Posting” Our First Father’s Day Memories

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Photo taken by Karen Hendrix

I might be a bit biased, but this beautiful baby girl has the most amazing Dad.  To celebrate Father’s Day this year, I was inspired by Paige’s “Post-It Pictures” idea on The Dating Divas.  Instead of leaving general fun captions, however, I tailored each message to be a specific reason explaining why James is a fantastic Dad.  My project started with these guys…

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…which were turned into 65  little love notes to display on each picture of James or Olivia in our house.  The heart conversation bubble post-it notes were just perfect for this project!  If the picture was of Olivia, I tried to think up something fun that she might say or list how she already takes after her Dad in some small way.

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When James walked in the door, he found this little grouping that explained all the fun:

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The whole process of writing and placing notes took a little longer than I expected but it was so meaningful to walk down memory lane, focus on how our little family has grown in the past couple of months, and make predictions about the future.

Here’s a mini tour of where some of the little messages where placed:

In the Dining Room

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On the Refrigerator

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In the Entryway

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In Olivia’s Room

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James loved the fact that I incorporated a challenge into this Father’s Day gift.  He could only open up a final card once he found all the hearts!

Cheers to all the fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers celebrating this special day!

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In the Workshop: December Greetings

Lots of fun creating Christmas crafts this season!  Here’s a peak at some projects that I have been working on during the month of December:

I taught a class at Checkered Cottage in early December where participants completed 4 cards and a treat box.

December Handmade Cards

Christmas Treat Box

Aside from basic layering and stamping techniques, participants learned how to: fold a single sheet of 12×12 paper into a festive treat box, create a banner shape using a square punch, edge paper borders in Krylon/glitter, and create texture by threading ribbon through die cut shapes.

This cute and simple tag adorned a special Christmas package!  I love using twine as garland on this tree punch.

Christmas Tree Tag Card

And, finally, I couldn’t resist attempting to make my own thumbprint light garland for a recent post with The Dating Divas.  (Original inspiration for this craft came from Pinterest.)

Light Graffiti Date

 For the full scoop on this fun date, check out my full post “You Light Up My Life!”

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In the Workshop: Reindeer Food

When we visited our nieces over Thanksgiving, we surprised them with a special package of magical reindeer food!

Christmas Reindeer Food

Christmas Reindeer Food Detail

I spied these cute little bottles at Read Lead, a local paper-crafting and stamp store, and knew they would be perfect for this project.  A darling printable note from The TomKat Studio provided the perfect description for this fun little tradition.  Can you find one of several silver snowflakes tucked into the mix?

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