~46~ Christmas Crafts

This weekend, I spent most of the time working on Christmas crafts.  The first two projects were inspirations taken from Pinterest.  I've had them on my list of "to dos" but haven't had the time to work on them until now.

I've had my wedding bouquet drying on my music stand since I brought it home almost a year and a half ago.  It was a beautiful arrangement and I'm so sad that it preserve in the way that I'd hoped.  Someday, I plan to recreate it in silks so that I can display it in a vase in my home.  In the meantime, I haven't had the heart to just throw my bouquet away.  

This project seemed like the perfect way to preserve those special petals.  I had a couple clear ornament balls left over from years past, so I filled that with a combination of the blue and white petals.  Then I used blue acrylic paint to paint on the same monogram used on our wedding day.  I finished it off with a silver ribbon and tada!  A beautiful new ornament for our tree that will forever be a keepsake from that amazing day. 

The second project was a sign similar to the baby stats wall hanging that I posted about a while back. I was inspired by a "ho, ho, ho" sign I had pinned on Pinterest.  All of them were painted using acrylic paint.  The circles, stars, and letters were stenciled on with cutouts using my Cricut machine.  The circle is from George and Basic Shapes, the star is from Winter Frolic, and the letters are from All Mixed Up. The background colors were painted first, then the shapes, and finally the letters.  I hung the 3 signs using grosgrain ribbon I got on Black Friday at JoAnns. 

The final project was a decorative sled.  I picked up a blank one at Michaels a few weeks ago while looking for a wooden tray to paint for a Christmas present.  The words were cut and stenciled on using the All Mixed Up cartridge.  The snowmen are from the Winter Frolic.  I feel that the base of the sled is missing something.  I think that I will add some snow under the snowmen and some snow flakes above them.  What do you think?

What Christmas crafts are you currently working on or inspired by?

I'm off to go bake some sugar cookies, until next time-


~45~ 1st Sale!

It's official, I had my very first Etsy sale!  

I was extremely excited last to night to receive a request for custom made "Will you be my bridesmaid?" cards.  I had made these beauties for my own wedding/bridesmaids, and on a whim added them to my Etsy shop when I set it up in January.  It is now the most viewed and favorited product in my store.  

After messaging back and forth, we settled on a design style and color scheme.  I hope that the bride-to-be and her lovely ladies love the cards as much as I loved making them!


~44~Black Friday

I am not normally a Black Friday enthusiast.  If there's something that catches my eye, I will venture out, but never at the crack of dawn-usually more like around 9 or 10.  This year however was my first time braving the early morning "rush".  However, since Black Friday deals were starting Thursday evening, it really was after the rush.  Jake had to be at work at 6:15AM, so that he could leave early for the Iowa State game.  I decided to drive him to work and then head out to my stores of choice.  The first stop was Walmart (which I have loathing, firey hate for, but Jake wanted to go, so off we went).  The parking lot was DEAD and completely open.  It was very unexpected.  There was nothing too amazing there, just a couple movies.

After I dropped off Jake, I headed to my favorite store-Target, to see if by chance they still had their 32" TV for $147.  They of course did not, but I was pleasantly surprised to find another comparable and possibly even better TV for only a little more.  It's a 32" Westinghouse LED HDTV.  We got it to replace the TV in my craft room-which is a hand-me-down tube TV from the 80's and is so old, it only has 1 antenna input line.  In order to watch a DVD, I have to connect my VCR to the TV and the DVR to the VCR (Ha, that's a lot of letters/acronyms for one paragraph, isn't it?)  We're going to do a bit of a TV shuffle.  Currently we have a 42", and a 32" in our living room-for prime football watching, and a 26" in the bedroom. Now that we have the new TV, we're going to put the new 32" in the living room because it's an LED TV, making it slightly better than the LCD that's there now, put the old 32" in the bedroom, and the 26" from the bedroom into the craft room.  Our 2-year TV upgrade process is finally complete-all Tube TVs are gone!!
Goodbye old TV
Hello new TV!
 Aside from the TV, I was excited about their deal for a 6" pre-lit Christmas tree.  Normally, I am 100% for a real tree, but since we're currently living in an apartment, I have to settle for a fake tree.  I was worried that they'd be all sold out since it was a door buster deal, and  a pretty good price, so I was very pleasantly surprised that they had one for the taking. I already have it up and decorated-and it looks beautiful!

The last stop was JoAnn Fabrics.  They advertised an OttLite for $20 and they normally retail for $100, so I was happy to grab it while I could. I also got a new Cricut cartridge that I had contemplated getting a while back, but wasn't really sure if I would use it, but with them being so cheap today, I decided to finally get it.  It's the Everyday Paper Dolls.  Finally, i got some holiday ribbon for my Christmas cards and another craft that I have in mind, and materials for my Father-in-Law's Christmas present. 

All in all, I think it was a pretty productive day!
I have some Christmas related crafts that I'm already working on.  
Be on the look out for posts about those soon!

~43~My Favorite Things v11.21

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  It is also Wedndesday, so that means it's time for another "Favorite things" post.  For once, I actually have craft-related items on my list!

Between work, grad school, and well, life in general, I sadly have not had any time to craft.  To feed my desire to craft, I've bought some new stamps from Stampin' Up that I am SO excited to use.  I am seriously itching to make cards.  Now that I am no longer working at the Y on Saturdays, I'm hoping to have some more free time to do so. Ha. 

I bought 2 sets of clear stamps.  The first is "Petite Pairs".  The other is "One in a million".  I chose these stamps because I was wanting stamps that I could easily use on cards, and adds to my database of sentiments, something I didn't currently have a lot of. I already have tons of card ideas swirling in my head.  The first I made for a good friend's baby shower next month, but I won't post it until after the fact.  Definitely one of my new favorite cards!

My other favorite thing for this week is something I've had for a while, but just never remembered to share.  If you remember eons ago, in a previous favorite things post, I mentioned my love for scrap book paper.  Well, I have had paper coming out of my ears-I have so much. Being the organized person that I am, I was going crazy having too much paper spilling everywhere.  So, I did a little bit of researching and found exactly what I had been looking for.  It's a ten drawer, moveable cart that holds 12x12 paper.  Best of all, it has a hard top, which can act as a shelf for my Cuttle bug and Cricut Cartidge binder. It has made a huge difference.  I can sort each drawer by color with the first 6 drawers for the ROYGBIV colors (minus indigo), another drawer for neutrals-black, browns, white/cream, a drawer for sparkly paper, and the bottom 2 for my patterned paper.  

Finally, Thanksgiving brings a lot of my favorite things-namely, food.  While yes, I adore my family and getting to spend some stress free, quality time with them, the food is what I really love about this holiday.  That and getting 5 glorious days off. This year, my parents and grandma are coming to Des Moines to spend Thanksgiving here!  Traditionally I drive home and spend a few days with my family and MN friends, so while I will miss seeing my friends, I am very thankful hat I do not have to spend almost 8 hours in the car this break.    The absolute best part of Thanksgiving is pumpkin pie and fresh whipped cream!  It really wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it.  My dad and I will be getting up tomorrow morning to get our baking on-per tradition-and I've got all of the supplies ready to go!

What are your favorite things about Thanksgiving?


~42~ Lame-O

It's probably no surprise to any of you, but I am pretty lame.  It's seriously been three weeks since my last post-and my efforts to get back in the blogging habit have failed.  Miserably.  

This past week I wrapped up round 2 of fall conferences, which went very well-but it definitely makes for a long and exhausting week.  Grad school is also going strong.  I'm currently taking a class about cultural and linguistic diversity in classrooms and how to best teach for those differences.  It's been a very interesting course so far and I am enjoying my learning.  It's hard to believe that after this week, it's already half over!

In addition, I've been eagerly getting ready for my Chicago trip next week.  I will be there from Wednesday evening to Friday evening taking in as much as I can about current math practices and resources to bring back and share with my schools and district.  I'm excited, but also a little nervous.  I just hope everything goes smoothly and that the NCTM conferences is everything that I expect/hope it to be. 

Aside from that, I have had some exciting things occur recently.  My cousin and good friend from high school both got engaged last month, and both have asked me to be a part of their weddings! I am so thrilled for them, and so excited to be included in their planning and festivities! I've never been a bridesmaid before (only a bride) and so this makes it even more exciting!  I have found that I really miss the planning and creative part that I loved so much during my own wedding planning, so to be back in the saddle feels good.  I have an AWESOME, but super secret project going on right now-which I will excitedly share once it goes live, but until then, it has to stay under wraps. 

Tomorrow, I promise to have a fresh new "Favorite Things" post.  
(*I have it all written, I just need to get pictures added before I publish it. *)

Until then, 


~41~ My Favorite Things v10.10

So remember back in the day, eons ago when I blogged about my favorite things on Wednesdays??  Well, they're back!!  I need a way to keep me accountable of updating my blog on a more consistent basis, and this is one way.   
This week, my favorite things are: 

1. Free Trip + Chicago + Math 

For the past few years, I have been dying to go to one of the regional or annual math conferences put on by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NTCM), which I am a current member of.  This year, they are finally hosting it in a city that is relatively close to me.  With fingers crossed, I submitted a proposal to use district professional development funds to go, and they approved it!  I will be leaving on Wednesday, Nov 28 and returning the 30th.  There are over 200 presenters and exhibits all focused on math strategies and instruction, and I am super stoked to go.  I am a tad bit nervous too.  I've never had to travel for business, and while I have definitely traveled by myself numerous times, in the past I've always met up with with a friend or family member-who I would be staying with and seeing.  This time, I'm staying in a hotel by myself.  If I weren't going to be busy all day, I would suggest that Jake come, but he'd be bored out of his gourd.  Luckily, I have made some friends with girls who were planning their weddings at the same time as me, and live in the Chicago area, that I'm hoping to meet up with on that Thursday evening.  So excited!

2. My new phone
I have been up for renewal/upgrade since the beginning of September and finally got around to upgrading my phone.  After a lot of hemming and hawing between the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy sIII, I decided to go with the Samsung.  There were a couple of reasons why I chose to stick with an android (my previous phone was a Droid 2 Global).

1.  Widgets.  It seems so silly, but really-I use them a lot.  I couldn't imagine not having them.  This was a huge deciding factor for  me. 

2. Customization.  I love being able to customize all of my screens exactly how I want them.  While I can choose which apps to put on the front of my pages on an iPhone, I really can't customize them as much as I can on an Android. 

3. Familiarity.  Plain and simple, I'm more familiar with Android.  Also, Jake owns a droid so we're able to share chargers and any new tips or tricks.   

What are your favorite things this week?


~40~ Where has the time gone??

 My dear blog followers, I hope that I haven't lost you over the past 2 months.  Honestly, where has the time gone?? It feels like just yesterday the bells were ringing on the last day of school and now here I am about finishing the 3rd week of the new school year.  Thank goodness for a long weekend to get caught up.  So much happened since my last post, and I will do my best to fill you in on all of the details.

*Our Anniversary*
When I left all of you, I was recapping our wedding in the week leading up to our anniversary, and then left you hanging.  For that, I apologize!  Jake and I had a wonderful and romantic first anniversary together-it will be hard to top.  We were still recovering from the expenses of a wedding, so we didn't plan anything extravagant like a trip, but I really couldn't have asked for anything better.  I had the day off and Jake took off work early.  I had planned our overnight accommodations with a suite at the Radisson (if you recall, that's also where we had our reception) and our next day activities, so I tasked Jake with making dinner arrangements.  After checking in and having a drink, we head off to dinner at a French restaurant downtown Des Moines that neither of us had been to, called Django.  I think I found my new favorite restaurant! We share a delicious fromage (cheese) and charcuterie (meat) platter with cheeses and meats from various countries.  Jake had a delicious pasta and I had beouf bourguignon along side a glass of pinot noir.  One of the cool things we learned about Django is that they let you BYOB without any corking fees.  We will definitely be taking advantage of that the next time we go.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel where we enjoyed some complimentary drinks in the bar, our cake topper (which to our dismay did NOT taste good), and champagne that was given to us by Jake's dad on our wedding day.  We also opened each other's gifts.  I got Jake a new laptop to replace the dying one he had (he had no idea!), and Jake being the extremely thoughtful person that he is followed tradition-both old and new-and got me a crystal time piece to put on my desk at work, and a sterling silver heart pendant necklace, along with the artist's other work (paper).  The only downside to the evening was the lack of air control in our room, which made it uncomfortable to sleep, but the Radisson made up for it by refunding half of our room rate! Talk about great customer service!
The next day, we headed out to explore the Iowa Science Center since I had never been there.  We watched an Imax movie about the Hubble telescope, had fun playing around in the gift shop, and learned all about Mars.  It was no comparison to the MN Science Museum, but it was a fun day none-the-less.  Afterwards, we grabbed Zombie Burger to go and headed home.  A very successful 1st anniversary celebration indeed!
If you look REALLY closely, you can see my face!
Who's Rocket do you think flew better?

*A Superhero Birthday*
My BIL's birthday was in July, and I had seen a cake on Pinterest that was beyond perfect for him, so I gave it a whirl.  It was a Captain American theme using his shield for the cake design with an action figure cake topper.  I also designed a card to match, using the tri-fold shutter card template.
It wouldn't be summer without weddings and this year, we attended 2 in July.  One of them was for close friends and Jake was a groomsman in it.  It was a beautiful and very fun wedding.  It's the last for a while in our circle of friends, so we made sure to live it up.

*Grad School*
On the same day that we celebrated our 1 year anniversary, I also started my very first class in my Master's program, which ended in  the first week of August.  Not only did I get an A in the class, but I actually got 100%!! I was so relieved to know that I can be a teacher AND a student. This past Tuesday, I started my 2nd class in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment design.  So far, I am enjoying the program and finding that it fits my busy schedule well.  I'm hoping that I will continue to do well amidst the demands of teaching, tutoring, and of course crafting, without too much difficulty.

Well, I know that was a lot, but that pretty much catches you up on what went on the past couple of months.  I hope to do better in the coming months, but I can't guarantee anything.

Until then, 


~39~Our Wedding: Reception

It's hard for me to believe that it's been a whole year since our wedding.  I spent most of last night thinking about where we were and what we were doing exactly 1 year ago.  A year go right now, I had just finished getting my hair and make up done and was waiting for my mom to show up with my dress.  It was such an amazing weekend that I would love to do over and over again-so.much.fun!

Yesterday, I caught up with details from our ceremony and pit-stop at the lakes, and now we're on to the reception!
We held our reception at the Radisson-University hotel on the U of M campus in stadium village.  I really wanted to have our reception in the city (not a suburb) to show off my hometown and what I love about it.  

When we first booked the room, I was a little unsure how everything was going to look all set up.  By itself, the room was really ugly with your typical tacky carpet and heavy dark green drapes.  Oh and don't forget the beautiful burgundy and gold chairs to show off the golden Gophers colors.  All of these were going to look great with our royal blue and silver colors...  (you understood my sarcasm font right? When we first walked into the room, I was floored by how amazing the room looked.  Huge props goes to the Radisson catering manager, Sara, and our florist Deven Nelson.  I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful reception hall!

Over the course of the night, we had great food, amazing speeches, and a fantastic dance party with all of our dearest family and friends.  Jake and I were in such awe of the people in our lives having a great time, celebrating our marriage.  We are truly blessed!  One of the craziest things that happened that night was a flash mob performance to ABBA's "Dancing Queen", by my parents and their friends.  They had been planning it for months and even hired a professional choreographer to help them.  

Now I'm off to get ready for Jake and I's anniversary extravaganza.  I'll be sure to come and post more on that later.


~38~Our Wedding: Party Bus!!

Between our ceremony and reception, we wanted to go to my favorite part of Minneapolis, Lake Harriet and take some pictures on their historic trolley and in the rose gardens.  To do so, we hired a bus to take us from the ceremony to the lake, to the reception.  Aside from saying "I do" to my HUSBAND, this was by far my favorite part of the day.  It was just so much fun.  We took our entire wedding party and their dates on, along with some good tunes, and good drinks!  I think it's safe to say-everyone had a blast.

The first stop we made was at the Lake Harriet Trolley.  My mom and I had stopped and talked to the museum manager the day before and he let us know that we'd be able to stop and take pictures as long as it wasn't too busy.  When we got there, there was a whole line of people waiting, so we were given a 5 minutes window.  Our awesome photographer quickly got to work setting up each shot and we definitely got some good ones!

From the trolley, we went around the lake to the rose gardens and took some awesome wedding party pictures 
and my favorite picture of Jake and I. 

Funny Story: Our photographer had us ladies do a race to get some fun action shots with the boys cheering us on behind us.  While we were running, one of my bridesmaids fell and landed on her bottom with her dress up to her waist.  Being that amazing woman that she is, she took it all in stride and laughed it.  We did get some great sequence shots, but I will spare her and not put any of them up ;)

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