Sunday, December 30, 2012

A little bit of this, a little bit of that…

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are excited for the New Year! We loved our time as a little family and with our extended family. I have been enjoying seeing so many bloggers post their “Top __” posts. But when I started looking back at what I created over the past 12 months I found lots of gaps thanks to pregnancy and a new baby. I was feeling like I’ve done so little beyond enjoying the daily mommy moments (which are a great use of my time!) until I was looking back through pictures on my phone and realized I’ve actually done a lot of creating, or used a lot of what I’ve created, over the last three months! So here you have it, a little of this, a little of that, phone pic style!

 

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This was my nightly view during Reese’s feedings. I have absolutely LOVED spending time in her room. I think the best reason for making your baby’s nursery a space you love is so you don’t mind being in it at the awful hours of the night. On a side note, I got really familiar with those awful hours for a few weeks when Reese decided her ideal bedtime was between 2 and 3 am. Since then I’ve become that spoiled mom that everyone else hates because Baby Girl now is in bed by midnight and doesn’t wake up (not even to eat) until almost 9 am. You can see more about Reese’s nursery HERE.

 

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I love this picture of my little boy. Jace found a piece of chalk in some art supplies one day and immediately went to the chalkboard on my GALLERY WALL, pushed his car garage toy under it to use as a stool, and drew and drew and drew!

 

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I once again made the PERFECT PIE CRUST, this time for a caramel apple pie for Thanksgiving with Nolan’s family. I would have loved to fill it with my favorite chocolate cream pie, but sadly, Reese doesn’t like it when I eat chocolate. Or coffee. Or caffeine. Or dark colored soda. Or… we’re still working on the list.

 

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All that sensitivity leads me to loving and utilizing THE PERFECT BURP RAG a lot. Anytime she’s laying down she has one under her head. Any time she’s held one is on your shoulder. She is a spitter. Her hair is in a constant state of crustiness and her neck is stinky. But I still love her. I guess I’m just doomed to babies who spew.

 

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A friend got married in November and I didn’t really have anything that fit well to wear, so I used some ruffle fabric and made a cute tunic dress. One of these days I’ll get a better picture of it than this and show it to you.

 

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For her first two months Reese was only happy while being held. So I’ve spent a lot of time with yarn crocheting. I made these adorable boots for Reese using THIS PATTERN that I bought. It was more than worth the $5.50 I paid for it. I think I need to make a pair in every color.

 

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And as you can see, Reese likes wearing them and they stand up to her constant kicking test.

 

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This picture has nothing to do with anything I made aside from the little boy. Jace did this three times in one day, each time with his eyes closed. He told me he was sleeping. I call it planking two-year-old style.

 

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The other day Jace was watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (I love that show!) and they made strawberry pancakes in the episode. So guess what we had to have for breakfast?

 

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And finally, Reese loves sleeping in her crib. Her favorite part is the BUMPER. If she’s awake, she’s staring at it. If she’s asleep, she scoots toward it while sucking her thumb. Don’t worry, I know about suffocation hazards and bumpers. She also loves the BIRDS hanging over her changing table and the flowers on her MOBILE. She smiles at them and tells them stories.

 

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And finally, the thing I’ve made the most of lately has been over 120 infinity scarves to sell in my SHOP. It was pretty exciting to know that my little business was able to pay for all of our Christmas gifts this year. I’m getting pretty excited about adding some new items to the inventory in the next month—specifically the Soft and Comfy Big Bow Headband (yes Samantha!), crochet boot cuffs and some more burlap table runners. I’m also playing with a few other ideas, but those are the two that I know I could make ahead of time easily so they’re ready to ship when ordered. Oh, and a tip for those of you who want to do a crafting business where you sell what you make but are worried about the stress level around the holidays? Don’t do made to order items. Create your inventory, list it, and then all you have to do for each sale is package it. I know there’s the risk of making something that won’t sell, but not having to worry about whether or not you’re able to make things as they’re bought is so worth it! At least, that’s the way I like to do my business, and it didn’t make my holiday season more stressful.

 

So that’s a glimpse into our life lately. I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating the new year and that 2013 is full of blessings!

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sugar Cookie Sandwiches {Great last minute Christmas treat!}

Sugar Cookie Sandwiches at Made it on Monday

 

I was all set and excited to make sugar cookies with Jace the other day and then realized that I don’t have any Christmas cookie cutters. I was pretty happy when I remembered that my mom gave me a cookie press last year.

 

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I made a batch of cookie dough using THIS recipe (and it is now officially my favorite recipe ever). I didn’t chill my dough at all, just rolled it into a log like the cookie press instructions said, and started clicking away. I even had a little helper at one point.

 

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The press made things go so quickly! I remember my mom’s press being really difficult to use when I was growing up, but this one was so easy. Seriously, one click equals one cookie. I just held the press to the cookie sheet with one hand, clicked with the other, lifted and repeated. I clicked out an entire batch of dough, four cookie sheets worth, in a matter of minutes. After they all baked and cooled (also quickly since the cookies were small), I realized I didn’t want to frost them like typical sugar cookies since half the fun of these is in the design. But I also don’t enjoy the cookies without frosting. So cookie sandwiches was the perfect solution. Just smeared some frosting (using THIS recipe that I also LOVE) on one, topped it with another and then rolled it in sugar sprinkles. Again, this was so fast since I didn’t have to worry about how pretty the frosting looked.

 

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I whipped these out so quickly and they tasted amazing! We took a plate to Nolan’s office, and another one to the mail store where I send off my shop orders. I was left with a lot of frosting, so I made another batch of cookies and have been munching on them ever since. I think I might make some more to give out to friends at church this weekend.

 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope all your Christmas preparations are going well!

 

Parties I like to link up with:

Transformation Thursday The Sunday Scoop, The Sunday Showcase Party, Made By You Monday, Making the World Cuter Monday, Weekend Wrap Up, Just Something I Whipped Up, Get Your Craft On, Real Momma, Real Style, Tutorials and Tips Tuesday, Sew Cute Tuesday, Make it, Wear It, Show and Tell Saturday, Weekend Bloggy Reading, I’m Crafty Party, Take a Look Tuesday, Simply Link Party, Whatever Goes Wednesday

Friday, December 21, 2012

Simple Sparkle Top Tutorial

Simple Sparkle Top Tutorial at Made it on Monday

 

We’re dedicating Reese at our church this Saturday evening, and Jace and Reese have adorable coordinated Christmas outfits to wear. My post-baby-body options were pretty limited, so when I saw this black, sheer, sequined fabric at Joann’s for 50% off, I knew I had to make myself a top so I could look nice with them. It was so simple to pull together and took, at most, an hour to make.

 

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I wanted to make sure it would be easy to slip on and off, and didn’t want to worry about buttons, zippers or anything else to ensure a nice fit, so I made the back with knit from a maternity skirt I cut up. Plus, I like the contrast.

 

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While I like the way it looks all by itself, I know I’d freeze in our church without a sweater on. I LOVE the way this mustard cardigan looks with it. I played around with it belted, too, and clipped a gray leather bow from Stacy’s Bow Envy on the ribbon I tied around my waist. I took a few pictures with my phone along the way, just in case you want to make one too.

 

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I used a top from Quincee’s Boutique as my pattern. I like the shape and sleeves so it made the perfect pattern. If you’re trying to figure out which top from your wardrobe to pick, choose one that has some shape but fits loosely, preferably one that either isn’t stretchy or only has a small amount of stretch to it, that way your sparkle fabric will sit well.

 

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For the back I cut up a maternity skirt that was a hand-me-down when I was pregnant with Jace, but I never wore it during either of my pregnancies. It was the perfect fabric for this shirt because it was light weight with a little bit of a sheen to it, which non of the knits at Joann’s had.

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I used the front piece I cut out as the pattern, but made the back considerably smaller (as seen above) because I wanted it to fit more closely.

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The knit fabric wasn’t as long as the front, so I also cut a piece of lace from the skirt to put around the hem.

 

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Then I sewed the lace to the back, then the back and front together (right sides together) at the shoulders and then sides. I used my serger so it went really quickly, but you can also use your regular machine. See THIS post for tips on sewing with knits. The lace/sequin fabric doesn’t really fray, but I wanted to finish the edges to help keep the dressiness factor for the shirt, so I serged around the arms, neck and hemline. You could easily add bias tape or do a double fold and stitch to finish things off.

 

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I paired it with a black tank top, but it would be fun to play with different color tops under it. And I LOVE the way it turned out. I’m thinking I should try this style with a few other fabrics I’ve bought but haven’t used yet because I didn’t want to put the effort in to make it fit well without using buttons/zippers, etc. I love the contrast, similar to color blocking, of dressy or sheer in the front and casual knit in the back. Kinda like a mullet?

 

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Just another shot to give you a close up look at the sequin pattern and the adorable leather bow that I love. (And, in case you were wondering, I bought the bow. It was not provided for review. I just liked it so much I had to share it with you.)

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Parties I like to link up with:

Transformation Thursday The Sunday Scoop, The Sunday Showcase Party, Made By You Monday, Making the World Cuter Monday, Weekend Wrap Up, Just Something I Whipped Up, Get Your Craft On, Real Momma, Real Style, Tutorials and Tips Tuesday, Sew Cute Tuesday, Make it, Wear It, Show and Tell Saturday, Weekend Bloggy Reading, I’m Crafty Party, Take a Look Tuesday, Simply Link Party, Whatever Goes Wednesday

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tips & Tools: Windows Live Writer

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(She’s wearing one of the Big Bow Headbands I made her. LOVE these! They also make great ear warmers in cold weather!)

 

I’ve been a little absent lately around here thanks to this adorable little bundle. She’s two months old now and, thankfully for me, has decided she’s content to play on her own and doesn’t need to be held at all times anymore! And that means more time for actually making things other than milk these days. Ah, I’m definitely feeling human again. Lucky for her she’s super cute, so I haven’t really missed the creative side of my life.

 

Ok, now that we’ve somewhat caught up a bit on where I’ve been, on to the real post!

 

Do you blog? I mean craft/family/coupon/anything you post to a blog site online? Do you use Blogger? Have you gotten a message recently that you have used up all your available photo storage space for your blog and have to pay to add any more? Do you get frustrated by your limited editing abilities within bloggers posting site? Do you want to have more control over your photo sizes/watermarks/hyperlinking? Then this post is for you! And, in case you’re wondering, I am in no way paid for this post. It is not sponsored. It is purely about a program I LOVE and I’m confident you’ll love it too. Not to mention, it’s free! (Please note that this program is also compatible with other blog services such as Wordpress, but I’m just not familiar with setting it up for that since I use Blogger.)

 

 

I’ve mentioned this program briefly HERE before. If you have a Windows computer with Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Vista Service Pack 1, Windows Vista Service Pack 2, Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP Service Pack 3 then you can enjoy it too! And since I’ve found myself commenting to various friends lately on Facebook about how to use this program, I thought I’d go ahead and do a photo tutorial for all of you! I use this program on a very regular basis… I have three different blogs synced up with it—this one, my family blog and my blog where I wrote a few articles and hopefully will eventually do more.

 

I don’t know if I’ve never received the message about too many photos because of Live Writer, but I’m thinking they might be connected because I know I have more pictures up on this site than many of my friends who do their family blogs.

 

Ok, let’s get started. First, go HERE to download Windows Live Writer.

 

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I can’t remember if when you first open the program it automatically has you enter your blog info or not, but if it doesn’t, or if you’re wanting to add additional blogs, you’ll see the drop down menu next to the publish button. Select “Add Blog Account”.

 

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Select your blog service. For example, I use Blogger so I select, “Other Services” and then click “Next.”

 

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Enter your blog information. Don’t forget to check the “Remember my password” box.

 

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Click “Finish” and you’re set.

 

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I don’t remember if it has you sync your blog theme/look or not at that point with adding a new blog (I just added one I already had to show you this). One of my favorite things about Live Writer is that it syncs with the look/format of your blog, so as you’re writing your post it looks exactly like it’ll appear on the blog—font, picture size, background, etc. If it doesn’t automatically have you sync the blog theme, click on the “Blog Account” tab and select “Update Theme” (not the one highlighted in the picture above).

 

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This means it’s working.

 

Then you’re set to write your post!

 

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Start by writing your post title. Just enter it in the box titled “Enter a post title.”

 

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Add your text by simply typing in the body portion of the screen. You can then add pictures as you go…

 

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Select the “Insert” tab at the top, then click on “Pictures” and select “From Your Computer.”

 

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You can add one picture at a time and then write, then add another picture. Or, you can do it like I typically prefer to do and add them all at once.

 

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I just do the same thing in going to insert/picture/select from computer. Then, in my folder window I hold the control key and select all the pictures I want. This screen will come up, and you’ll want to select the “Inline pictures” option. Give it a second for all the pictures to insert. They might look distorted or pixilated for a few seconds, so just wait before getting worried.

 

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They all are small and right next to each other, so I then go through and add a line or two between pictures. Just use your arrow keys to scroll from picture to picture.

 

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I usually wait until I’m done with my post to resize my pictures because then I can see more as I’m writing.

 

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Then I add my text.

 

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Select all and center it because I like the way it looks like that.

 

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My next step is resizing the images. Click on the image, and then the “Format” tab at the top. In the top left corner is where you can change the dimensions. (You can also crop your images here, but I typically have my images all cropped heading into writing my posts.) Make sure the “Lock Aspect Ratio” is selected, and then adjust either the height or the width using the boxes to the left of that. I have discovered that a 600 wide on landscape pictures works well for the space my posts have. You might do a little playing around to find what you like. On portrait pictures I tend to keep it at a 450 or 500 width so it doesn’t become too long on the post. Go through and change the sizing on all your pictures.

 

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My last editing step is to add a watermark to the photos. One picture at a time select the photo, then under the format tab click on “Watermark”.

 

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Enter you watermark text, select the font, size and location and click OK. Repeat for all your photos.

 

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If you’re wanting to hyperlink anything, simply select the text you’re wanting to link to, click on Hyperlink under the Home tab.

 

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And paste the address of where you’re linking to into the “Web address” box. Make sure you have http:// at the beginning of it or the hyperlink won’t work.

 

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My last two steps are publishing details. Under the home tab I click on the arrow next to “categories” and a drop down menu with all the sorting/tagging categories from the blog appears and I check everything that applies to the post.

 

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And finally, if I’m not wanting to have my post go live immediately, I use the post scheduler feature. Next to the arrow for the categories menu is the “Set post date” box. When you click on it you can select the post date and time. I’m not sure if there is a way to post as a draft, so I just set a further out date for my post date if that’s the case and change it to a draft in Blogger later.

 

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And once I’m all done with the post I hit the big “Publish” button under the Home tab. This window will appear until your post is published at which point it will automatically open in your browser. Once your post is published, if you need to make some edits, you can either do it in Live Writer and just hit publish again, or do it directly in blogger. To see the final product of the post I showed you how I made you can see it HERE.

 

A few other features to pay attention to—you can find out your word count, change other formatting, etc. What I’ve shown in this post are just the functions I use on a regular basis when writing my posts.

 

I hope this helps simplify your blogging! This is a program my husband had to remind me of several times before I finally agreed to try it out and I’ve LOVED it ever since!

 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

 

Parties I like to link up with:

Transformation Thursday The Sunday Scoop, The Sunday Showcase Party, Made By You Monday, Making the World Cuter Monday, Weekend Wrap Up, Just Something I Whipped Up, Get Your Craft On, Real Momma, Real Style, Tutorials and Tips Tuesday, Sew Cute Tuesday, Make it, Wear It, Show and Tell Saturday, Weekend Bloggy Reading, I’m Crafty Party, Take a Look Tuesday, Simply Link Party, Whatever Goes Wednesday