Merry Christmas!


This is BIG!

When we married, Kyle and I did what every other couple in his family has done: we moved into his grandmother's house. His granfather dug out the basement to create an apartment for Kyle's aunt and uncle when they married in the 1950s; my in-laws followed in the 1960s. Each of Kyle's first cousins also called the basement home when they began their married life. I guess you can say it's a tradition.

I don't do basements. As in, I don't go into our basement, so there was no way I was going to live in one. But by the time I came around, Kyle's grandparents had passed away and the house was being rented. So...we bought it and tried to make it our own, which is hard when everyone in the family either grew up in or grew up going to your house.

We didn't talk timeline when we married, but we both knew that this would not be our forever house. It's small (I call it a 1-1/2 bedroom, since Avery's room is a walk-through), very chopped up, and lacks wall space, which makes furniture arrangement nearly impossible. We literally had to make a cut out in a built-in cabinet and close off a closet to have space for a TV and couch. The house was built in 1929 as a summer home, and the windows and doors are original. Charming, but cold. As in $500 electric bills in the winter.

Needless to say, I have been looking at house plans ever since we married six and a half years ago. Dreaming of our someday home. About three years ago I came across THE PLAN. I loved it. Three years later, I still gasp when I look at it. And it was the first place that Kyle and I were both in love with. It's huge, though, and I really thought I'd be 50 before we could afford it, so I started looking at other options. Nothing compared, and we weren't willing to settle since we know the house we build will be the forever house. (Avery is 7th generation to live on this land; leaving is not an option.)

Fast forward to this past June. As we looked at our savings we started to wonder if maybe we had enough to actually make this dream a reality. I ran into the builder we were considering in the bank one day, and two weeks later we were ordering blueprints. We held our breath waiting for the bids, and though they were higher than we hoped, they were less than we expected. It took 90 days for the Health Dept. to approve our land for septic, a job that should have taken 2 weeks. Then something happened with the loan documents and closing was delayed, but if you are reading this (I've scheduled it so I can delete it if something goes wrong!) then we have closed on the construction loan and are ready to finally break ground, 2-1/2 months behind schedule. And in the long run, the delay could save us money as subs are coming back with lower bids now that winter is upon us. As long as this is our last winter in this house, I'll be happy.

I am shocked and feel so blessed that we are going to be in our dream home shortly after I turn 30---a far cry from the 50 something I really thought it'd be. This house is the last one we will live in, and given Kyle's family's love of the land, it will likely house many more generations. We are certainly building with that in mind.

Okay...so you want to see it??

Ta Da!!!! Isn't it gorgeous?!?! At 4400 square feet, it's way more than we need, but we love it, and know that by going big it will meet our needs for years to come.

If you are interested, you can click here to see the floorplan. We are making very few changes to the plan (another reason we knew it was the house for us), basically just removing a door between the library and the master and eliminating the "morning kitchen." I am so excited about getting to choose everything that goes into this house, and not feeling limited by it as I do in this home. Where we are now we cannot expand our family, cannot place furniture like we'd like...there are many things. This house I feel will help me feel more centered and in control. And the best part? I. will. have. a. dishwasher. Maybe two, just because I can.

So guess where most of my creative energy is going to go for the next several months? I am so excited and can't wait to share the process and gather ideas from blogland.


Happy National Day on Writing!!

Visit the National Gallery of Writing

I am a writer. There. I said it. It has taken me years to be able to say this about myself, though, truly, I always have been. As a senior in high school, my English teacher Mr. Callis said my final analysis paper was "stupendous" and that some of the analysis was "awe-inspiring." Coming from him, who did not lavish praise just for the sake of doing so, this meant everything to me. Still, I had no confidence as a writer. In Advanced Comp class in college, one piece I shared had my professor and classmates rolling with laughter, asking to hear more. Still, I didn't think I was any good.

Then came the National Writing Project. I stalked this organization for 7 years before finding a local site, and was accepted into their Invitational Summer Institute in 2007. It changed me. Professionally. Personally. Finally, I was starting to see myself as a writer. In 2008 an essay I collaborated on with my graduate Shakespeare class was published in a scholarly journal, and finding an audience for my work became important, but still scary for me. It's hard to share something so personal as writing with people. I wrote a memoir for my final graduate class that caused my professor to claim "I was wondering why a rhet comp person was taking a creative writing class. I get it now." Most of that piece was eaten my by computer, and I could cry about it at pretty much any time. Still, Dr. Rigby was the only person to read it.

That same semester my Advanced Comp teacher from so many years before stopped me in Cherry Hall. "I had you in class, didn't I?" he asked. "You write that wonderful piece about the tire swing and loving language..." Validation. It had been 8 years since that class, and yet he remembered it. He who read hundreds of student essays a term. My writing had made an impression on him, and that simple comment changed how I respond to student work and made me seek opportunities to publish.

And so this summer during ISI, I finally wrote about my experience with epilepsy. When the time was right, it wrote itself. I'm so proud of this piece, as it was the first time I consciously tried to incorporate the styles of mentor authors (Laurie Halse Anderson, specifically, If you haven't read her, go to B&N NOW), and really worked at revision even though little changed in the end. And though I wrote it for myself, others appreciated it, too. My friend Shannon, who I regard as one of the best writers I have ever known, told me my writing was some of the only work she was able to listen to aloud without her mind drifting. The comments on the NWP eAnthology were glowingly supportive.

And then, in late July, an email came asking me to submit my piece to the National Gallery of Writing. I have no idea how many pieces were solicited, but I was and am honored to have been asked. Today, the first National Day on Writing, my memoir "Falling" is published in the gallery for all to see. I hope you will read it. I hope you will write today. Writing is thinking. It is therapy. It is essential.


It's Flitterific!

I have really tried hard to steer Avery away from characters. And princesses. Especially princesses. You see, I teach 16 and 17 year old girls, many of whom have been told their whole lives that they are princesses, and they believe it. I really do not want that for Avery. But I am not the only one who buys her things. I've stood firm on character clothing (underwear only), but we now have several dressup boxes filled with princess clothes and at least 5 Disney princess dolls. I tried.

This desire to avoid the commercial also applies to Halloween costumes; so far she has been a bumble bee, a flower and a butterfly. This year, though, she really wanted to be Tinkerbell. She has been in love with this little fairy for over a year, and since Avery is pixie petite herself, I decided to go with it. Besides, she's not a princess. I'm going to Hobby Lobby in a little bit to shop for supplies for her costume, but in the meantime I thought I'd post a little Tinksperation...

Pretty cute, huh? I would love those green glitter shoes for Ave, but the Disney Store is sold out of them. We'll just use her "Tinkerbell shoes" (pewter mary janes from Target--they go with everything). One thing I hate about Disney costumes is that they put a picture of the character on the costume. Something about that is just off to me. Besides, few costumes fit Avery. At three and a half, she wears an 18-24 month in most clothes. It's just easier for me to make them. They fit and meet my standards.

For this costume I'm going with a tutu dress cinched at the waist and some wings we already have. I'm going to attempt to make a lantern candy bag, but we'll see about that.

So what are your kids going to be this year? Leave a comment and let me know!!


Technical Difficulties Over!!

I have been so frustrated by the way my blog was behaving in Firefox, especially since that is my favorite browser. I couldn't find a fix, even though I was pretty sure the problem was stemming from the change I made to make my header extend the width of the browser (which I LOVE, by the way). Since I am on Fall Break this week, I decided to devote some time to fixing this, and after finding another tutorial and backtracking everything, the layout finally seems to be working in FF. In the end I decided the problem was actually with something in the sidebar, which meant reinstallling EVERYTHING over there. That was a major pain, something I'm still not done with. But, after spending so much time redesigning my blog, I'm happy to have it looking right finally.

Check back tomorrow for another crafty post!


I'm Not Above Begging...

Edited: 9/24/09
If you vote for my project, please leave a comment and let me know. I'm getting votes from other sources, but have know way to know where they are coming from.

know, I know. I haven't blogged in over a month. But I've been busy. Reeeaaallllyyyy busy. So busy I haven't even read blogs in a month. Or watched TV. Or cooked dinner. Or even grocery shopped, for that matter. Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating, but not much.

But if you're still reading, despite the utter lack of posting, I really hope you'll do me a favor. You probably know that I teach high school English, 11th grade specifically. I love my kids this year. Love. Them. This is year 8, and it's the best so far. One thing that is making this year so magical is the amount of reading my kids are doing. They BEG for time to read!! They are reading so much that we are running out of books. I've been checking them out of the Nashville Public Library and bringing them to them, but it's still not enough.

So I submitted a project to Limeade's for Learning to get 43 new titles for our class library, and am really trying to get it funded. If you go to Sonic and buy a drink, would you please please pretty please use the sticker on the cup to vote for my project??? Just go to Limeadesforlearning.com, and under FIND A PROJECT search for gallatin. The project is called "Putting Books in Kids Hands." If you know me, you can just mail them to me or even email me the codes (they're case sensitive, though).

Thanks in advance for your help from my 70 darlings and me!


Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Anyone a FireFox expert? I use IE at home because I prefer the way it organizes feeds, and though I use FireFox at school, my blog is blocked by our web fliter (I find this really funny, considering what makes it through), so I was unaware that my blog looked weird in FF until Heidi told me. Everything is skewed and centered and I have no idea why. It's part of the reason I haven't been posting...knowing it was all going to look wrong made me not want to bother. I've exasperated google for an answer, so now I'm turning to you, dear readers. Help!


Looking for My Muse

So I haven't been crafting much lately. Mostly because I don't have any ideas, but that's mostly because I've been sooooo busy that I haven't had time to think of anything!

The upside to this is that it's a good kind of busy. We're in the third week of school already, so of course that occupies much of my time. I found out just before school started that I was needed to teach AP Lit. I've been teaching AP Language for the past three years, and was just starting to figure out what I was doing. I'll teach that one again next year, but for now I'm reading and planning like crazy. I also decided last winter that I wanted to completely revamp my approach with my juniors. It's going REALLY well, and the kids are very receptive to what I'm trying, but it's a lot of planning. I also started a creative writing club. 20 kids showed up to the organizational meeting! I'm excited about the possibilities of this. We have a lot of talented kids who need an audience.

MTWP's Fall Conference is coming up one month from today, and I'm presenting in addition to my responsibilities with technology. And we're starting professional chats next month. And we'll start planning for next summer soon. I. love. this. organization. The work is nothing because I find it so meaningful...I only worry that I'm not able to give it as much time as I need to.

My friend Cortney's wedding is in about 5 weeks. I'm her wedding planner/director/cake baker/crafter/possibly florist, and am nervous about making all of that work so that her day is beautiful. And it's the day after Homecoming, of which I am Assembly co-chair.

And there's something else BIG about to begin here, but I dare not blog about it until it's official! I don't want to jinx it (and no, it's not a baby).

So, see? I've been busy! But I can't post without something creative, so I'll share a really quick project I completed last month. It took about 20 minutes, which is about all the time I have these days! My friend Shyla just had baby number 7. Babies in her house start life sleeping in the closet since the kids bedrooms are all upstairs...and who wants to climb stairs with a baby? I'm guessing this also has something to do with space, since they do not have an 8-bedroom house. I thought baby Grace could use a little something to dress up her digs, so I threw some fun papers on the Cricut and whipped out this banner. You see these a lot for parties, but they are also perfect for room decor. Pretty cute, right? I hope she likes it, Shyla!

Okay, so I feel like I've made it back to blog land. I'll try to be more regular in my posting. Promise. And stay tuned for something BIG in the next few weeks!


I Scream, You Scream

When Avery was about 18 months, my dad started picking her up from daycare on Fridays for "Bugs and Worms." That's their code for Baskin Robbins. They get ice cream and then go back to Pop Pop's to play. Avery looks so forward to this each week, and so I should not have been suprised when she informed me a month or so ago that she wanted a "Bugs and Worms" party for her 4th birthday. Which is not until April :). I've had a lot of school-related things going on lately, so I had not given it much thought. That is until this showed up in my feed reader:

Jess is upto it again! She has the best party ideas and tends to post them just when I need them.
And that got me thinking. (My doctor's office called to reschedule my appointment, as he had an emergency that was going to push back my appointment to 5:30! I had some unexpected time.) Here are a few other sweet treats I dug up on Etsy.

And this one may be my favorite....

Okay, so maybe I need to go ahead and get in party planning mode. The early planner finds the deals! Of course before Avery started talking ice cream, she had also mentioned Tinker Bell and Zoo Animals. So maybe I'll wait just a little longer...


More Vinyl

I know, I know, enough with the vinyl and the Cricut. But it's so versatile! Just look what I did with it in about 20 minutes Saturday afternoon:

I found this cute apron at Joann's Saturday. I wasn't looking for it; it was a complete impulse t was buy. But it was only $4! I looked around for iron on monograms for it, but everything was too small.

Then inspiration struck.

Yep. You've got it. The Cricut.

I'm seriously going to wear the thing out. Maybe then I can get the big bug...hmmm...another reason to use it.

I cut the "H" from the Stone Script cartridge in a color vinyl I don't love and probably won't use much. But wait...that's not the part you want.

You want the negative. Get it now? It's a stencil! The sticky back of the vinyl keeps it in place while you paint, plus the paint won't seep through it.

Simply line up the stencil in the center of your surface and paint. I use a very complicated method of finding the center called "folding in half."

And voila! I really like it, and since I've never had an apron (I know, with all the cake stuff I do you'd think I 'd have twenty), it really does have a function. I'd recommend setting it with an iron before washing.

Just think about all the thins you can stencil now! And if you're not looking to paint, you could also use the positive image stuck to fabric to give you a guide to cut around. Happy crafting!


Ballard Designs in My Dining Room

Sarah posted about it first. Then Xazmin. Ballard Designs. I probably should know more about his company, but I really had never heard of them. Or if I had, I don’t remember it. But look at this beautiful piece of art. Simple, and yet impressive.

That thrifty chick Sarah made her own version using….SCRAPBOOK PAPER! Now, if you know me at all, or even if you don't, but have read this blog more than once, you know that I L.O.V.E. paper. I hoard it. And so when I saw his idea knew i would be perfect for my dining room.

Our dining room might be my favorite room in the house, which is funny since before a couple of months ago we pretty much never used it. Now that Avery is getting bigger we eat dinner there as the kitchen table was getting cramped. Anyway, the walls are painted "Dark Dove Gray." It's beautiful, especially with the white trim. We have talked about using that color throughout our new home when we build (which might be a lot sooner than I had ever dreamed!). The in-laws bought us a rug for Christmas one year, and it took me until June to decide which one I wanted! That's a big purchase, and I knew it would determine my color scheme for many years. The one I kept coming back to is a checkerboard pattern of melons, corals, greens and taupes. Again, I love it!

But back to the project. I needed some MDF, so I called Dad to see if he could cut some for me on his table saw. Just so happened he had some MDF lying around his shop, left from some packing materials. Free! I already had spray adhesive. Free! And brown spray paint. Free! It took awhile for me to find the right papers (especially since we don't have any scrapbook stores around here--just Michaels, Joann and Hobby Lobby), but I finally settled on this:

It's "Dill Blossom" by SEI. It has a good mix of large and small floral, stripes, solids and some geometrics. It was only $10 with my Micheal's coupon for 48 sheets. Fortunately there are two each of 24 designs, because I did make a few mistakes.

Isn't it lovely?! Hanging it took forever, but the actual project went really quickly. Like maybe 30 minutes not including dry time for the paint. I hot glued hanging hardware on the back since the MDF was to thin for the tacks that came with them. Sarah nailed hers right to the wall, but I was afraid the nails would show too much on the papers I chose. Besides, this way I can take them down and replace them with plaques that match my Christmas decor during that season.

Here's the view of it in room:

The table is missing its centerpiece, but I beefed it up and replaced it Sunday. I added a piece of fabric that I have had for at least eight years under it (it was the wall color inspiration) and added some silver pieces. Now I need moss balls, I think. Kyle really liked it, too, though he thought I should have centered it on the wall. I chose to center it on the entire wall, including the doorway, so that it would be centered on the table. I figure if we ever get a buffet it would go under the art, and would need to line up with the table. I may add another column, though, because he's right: there's a lot of blank space to the left.

Ooohhh! I must tell you about my table. I found it at Sam's before we got married for $250! It's solid wood with veneer inlays on the top and TWO leaves. Our chairs (purchased later at another store) are huge, and we can comfortable fit eight of them around it.

So there you go: a project and a tour. Have a wonderful day of creating. I'm off to the library and then to meet my favorite person for lunch (that would be my husband, in case you are wondering!).


A Little Help, Please

Remember the shower I posted about here? Well, it’s Saturday, and I have a tabletop design dilemma. I’m using china for the plates, and my silverware, but I do not have enough glasses for everyone. Will plastic glasses look completely awful with the “real” stuff for everything else? Other suggestions? I have some really cute things cooked up for Saturday, and can’t wait to show you.


Blog Makeover Tips -- Creating a Background

Kyle got me Photoshop Elements for Christmas, and I have loved playing with it to create layered documents for logos, invites, and other fun things. And the more I play, the more I learn, which is always nice.

The tutorial I used is from The Cutest Blog on the Block. It gives all the details, but basically you create a document in Photoshop or another photo editing program that is 14" by 11" at 100 ppi resolution.

From there you just play with colors and designs. Coming up with the design is the hardest part by far. Once you've done that, go to the tutorial above to find out how to host it and change the html for your site.

My house is calling to me to be cleaned, so that's it for this one!


Extreme Makeover, Blog Edition

So what do you think? I was getting really tired of the polka dots, and was wanting something a little more modern, but still cute. It took me forever to decide on a design, but once I did it went pretty quick. And I learned soooo much about Photoshop in the process!

There are still a few kinks to work out--like the fact that my label cloud has disappeared and that weird box around my siggy--but for the most part everything is functional. With the writing project's summer institute over and this little project out of the way, I can now focus on the things I really need to do, like clean the house. And get back to losing weight. And plan next semester. And they say teachers get the summer off!

I'll be posting soon about some of the fun things I included in this design--maybe I'll start a weekly series??--but for now, leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the new look, and grab my button for your own blog if you'd like!


Free Paint Anyone?

Yes, I said free. Gratis. On the house. Glidden will send you a free quart of paint in your choice of a bajillion colors. Peony Pink is on its way to me. I have no idea what I will do with it, but I figure I can always use some pink paint lying around. And get this: they don't even charge shipping!! What a great way to give something in your house a new look. Hurrry, though, because the offer is only good until July 2nd. Click here to go to the offer.

And speaking of new looks....I'm working on a new look for this blog, and will hopefully have it up this week sometime. Stay tuned!

Update: I checked back at the Glidden site last night, and they've given away all the paint. Hope you got yours!


May Craft Challenge

craft challenge

It's that time again! Heidi over at Blue Eyed Blessings has challenged us all to create something with a monogram. Well, anyone who knows me knows I love a monogram, so this was pretty easy for me.

First, a couple of older projects.

Remember the playhouse? The inside is finally coming together. I still need to make curtains (if I could ever decide on a style), and I need to make a cushion for the window seat, but that foam is ridiculously expensive! But here is the art I made last summer, finally hung over the bookcase that I love. We're slowly filling it up.

The backgrounds are painted, the details are mostly paper but also have dimensional elements such as the flowers and ribbon on the "A" canvas. LOVE them!!!

Next is Avery's outfit for her birthday party. I made the pillowcase dress, but someone else did the embroidery. Just goes to show you how a simple initial can really dress up an outfit.

I don't know if you would technically call this next one a monogram since it's a whole name, but I like it and I've never blogged about it, and this seems like a good post to put it in. These plaques are over Ave's bed:

The gingham is painted with a glass paint to keep it translucent and the letters are wooden ones from Michael's glued on. No one knew what Avery's name was going to be until she was born, but I knew if we didn't hang those suckers prior to her arrival her would never get hung. So, we hung them to get the placement and the nails in and whatnot, then took them down and hid them. Kyle went home for a couple of hours to feed the dog while she was in the nursery getting cleaned up and all, and the first thing he did was hang her letters! I thought that was so sweet.

Okay. New projects. My grandmother found these chairs for $5 at RiteAid, and bought all they had (three). We put one on the playhouse porch, but didn't have room for the others. So...I took them to the in-law's patio so Avery would have a place to sit when wwe're over there for cookouts and things. A little vinyl and my Cricut, and now Avery and her cousin Kaylee each have their own seats.

And finally, my favorite thing I've crafted in a while...

How stinkin' cute is that?! I think it's called a "sports tumbler" and I'm thinking it's by Playtex. I just cut the monogram out of pink vinyl (it's the mini monogram cart) and stuck it on. I also cut a strip with a rotary cutter and added it to the top for a little extra color. The possibilities for this one are endless. I wanted to add a green octopus to Avery's purple cup for our trip to the aquarium, but ran out of time. It held up really well to a gentle wash (no scrubby sponge!), but if it gets worn out I can easily peel it off and cut another one. You'll have to ask someone with a dishwasher if it holds up in the dishwasher :).

So did I rise to the challenge Heidi?! I can't wait for the next one. Nothing like a little crafting accountability to keep the creative juices flowing. And now back to my regualrly scheduled laundry....



So I'm a little (a lot) late in posting my Craft it Forward winners. Sorry! June 1st began my work with the Middle TN Writing Project's Summer Institute. I L.O.V.E. this work, but it makes for looong days. But anyway...

The three people chosen by random.org are:
Raines, Inc.
Mama King
Trendy Tikes

Email me your mailing address at prettypinkparty[at]gmail[dot]com and I'll get your crft out to you ASAP.


Pretty Posies

Isn't she beautiful? My sweet little munchkin. I could seriously stare at her all day, just like any mom.

But that's not the point...see her shirt? I made that. Well, I made the flowers and sewed them on a Target tank. Avery chose the fabrics and insisted on beads for the centers instead of the buttons I planned on. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. She, of course, dripped red cough syrup on it before we made it out of the house. It never fails, does it?!

The flowers go all around the neckline. I washed it yesterday on the gentle cycle and dried it flat. It came out great--some fraying, which I had actually hoped for.

But I couldn't stop there.

I mixed all the fabrics and added pin backs to these to embellish the cuffs of her capris purchased at The Children's Place, one of the few items I've found there without glitter and neon colors.

And I wanted some for myself!

These are three separate pins in two different sizes. Love them! There's more to come with these little flowers. Stay tuned!


Craft it Forward

Have you seen the movie Pay It Forward with Kevin Spacey and the Sixth Sense kid? (I know, I know, he has a name. I'm just not wanting to look up the spelling of it right now...) The main character has an assignment to come up with a plan to make the world a better place. His idea is to do something nice for three people. They each in turn do something nice for three people, and the goodness spirals out exponentially. It's a wonderful concept.

Well, this game uses the same concept to make the world a more creative place. I received my "Craft it Forward" goodies this weekend from Heidi at Blue Eyed Blessings.

A modge-podged frame, a little note pad, a red (I LOVE red!) album and a set of tiny notecards. And they're pink. And polka-dotted!! Thanks, Heidi!
Wanna play? Here are the rules:
1. Comment to this post by Monday, June 1st. I will then select three commenters using random.org (because I've always wanted to use it!).
2. I will then send each "winner" a small gift hand crafted by yours truly.
3. In turn you agree to post about the game after you have received your package and craft it forward to three readers of your blog. You could even just pay it forward with small purchased items if you prefer. And on and on it goes.
And, yes, part of my motivation for participation (a small part) is to solicit comments. I love comments, you lurkers! So get to commenting, and I'll get to crafting.


A Different Kind of Pink

I'm finally getting to plan an adult party! Don't get me wrong--I LOVE planning Avery's parties, but I'm excited to do something a little more sophisticated. My friend Cortney is getting married in a few months and I'm hosting a brunch for her. I'm also making her wedding cake, which both excites and terrifies me. I've done tiered cakes, but never one with so much at stake. Oh, and I'm directing the wedding and helping with a lot og the plans. For about 10 minutes between Freshman and Sophomore year in college I considered switching to business with the idea of becoming a wedding planner. I'm glad I didn't pursue it, but still love the idea of planning weddings.

Cortney's wedding is fuschia and orange, which I think will look great! For her shower I wanted to focus on just the pink, since that is her favorite color.

Pink and my new favorite print: damask. I cannot get enough of it! Did you notice my new damask dress in the prom picture? And Avery has pink damask pillows in her playhouse. I love that it's whimsical and formal at the same time.

For this party I have found some pink damask giftwrap at Tar-jay to use as table runners ala HWTM. That girl is the queen of using paper for table decorations!

I have a few more things in my head, but we'll have to see how far I get. This is going to be a busy summer (and it starts SOON--all kids will be gone Wednesday; most are already done!!!!). One thing I definitely plan to use are these wonderful pom poms. So cheap. So quick. So lovely!

And not that I would begrudge Martha of any of her millions, but I'm not paying for the kits to make these. If you want to support women in business, however, let PomLove or PartyPoms make them for you. Otherwise, grab some tissue and get to folding and cutting.

Oh, this month's craft challenge over at Blue Eyed Blessings is to use a mongram. What I have in mind is actually for Cortney's wedding, too. Check back soon for that!

And finally...if you have any ideas for creating a fun hot pink damask bridal shower brunch, leave a comment! Or have you hosted a bridal shower lately? Let me know--I'd love to feature you!


April Craft Challenge

Heidi over at Blue Eyed Blessings hosts a monthly craft challenge. This month's theme was ribbon. I came across this late, so I scrambled to come up with something. Check it out and then click the button below to see what everyone else created!

craft challenge
I bought these canvas monogram kits back in the fall for $1 each. I'm not sure what I had planned for them; I was probably just excited to find 4x4" canvases for a buck!

Here's a close up of the "A". I originally thought I would paint this one using the pattern given, but my hand wasn't steady enough. You'll see what I did to it with my Cricut in a minute.

See Ave wearing her new smock? It worked great, as it paint on it when we were done, but her clothes did not! We painted each one a different color...

Once they were dry we tied some ribbon scraps around them. They are meant to be hung on the wall, but these are just on my craft room floor for now. See where the Cricit came in?

And now you say, that's pretty cute, but what is it???? What? It's not obvious?? Okay, okay.

It's a hair bow holder! It also works as just an art piece. Not bad for an evening and just using what I already had lying around! Another one of my favorite ribbon projects is here. I use it every day and have had several people try to buy it from me.

Okay. Go check out the other ribbon projects now, and check back to Heidi's blog to find out what the May challenge will be!


Super Quick Smock

Last night was the GHS prom. The theme was "Moonlight in Paris"--complete with 20 foot Eiffel Tower! The tables has a bistro look, a park lined one side, a quaint city sidewalk (with student artwork in the windows!) the other. Even the caterer got in on the game, bringing along a coffee bar and black and white damask platters. And little cones of french fries! So fun.

I love going to prom and seeing the kids all dressed up. And I think they actually like seeing all of old teachers there--especially with our spouses. They forget that we have lives outside our classrooms.

Here is a picture of us before the kids got there:

I can't believe it's been 11 years since our first prom! Of course, that was way before digital, and I'm not in the mood to scan right now. So no pics of that!

Okay, enough of that...here's the project I made last week. My mom found this tablecloth almost a year ago foe eighty-eight cents. 88 cents!!! It had the colors of Avery's playhouse in it, but it was the wrong size and shape for any tables I had planned. But .88! I had to do something with it.

Since the tablecloth is vinyl and easy to wipe off, I immediately thought "art smock." Of course it took me months to actually do it....but once I did it took all of 45 minutes to complete. I drew out a basic pattern on newspaper and then cut it out. A front and a back. That's it! I made sure to do a kind of cap sleeve to help further protect clothes. I sewed the front and back together at the top of the sleeves, left a lot of space for the armholes, and then sewed the rest of the way down the sides. Four seams--that's it. Since it's vinyl, there is no need to hem.

It would depend on the pattern of the tablecloth, but with this one I used the border of the cloth as the bottom of the smock. Not only is it cute that way, but it also has a nice finished edge.

My original plan was to make the arm and neck hole big enough for Ave to slip it on and off over her head, and it is, but it finally occured to me that that was a recipe for getting paint on the very clothes the smock is meant to protect! No problem: I just made a cut down the middle of the back and sewed some ribbon scraps on each side to tie it closed.

I think Avery likes it! I'm playing with a new camera, and though it does a great job of capturing Avery dancing without coming out blurry, I haven't yet figured out where not to put my fingers. Hence the dark spots at the bottom. Oh well, she still looks super cute! Happy crafting everyone!


Modge Podge Mania!

Xazmin over on This is the Year hosts a monthly Modge Podge Mania project. I haven't done much with Modge Podge lately, but I'm always open to new ideas! One of my favorite projects is here: Altered Office Supplies.

Read about it and then go see what everyone else is doing over at This is the Year.

I have another project I need to post, but it might have to wait until after the PROM tomorrow! MOst teachers dread having to chaprerone prom, but I love it! This will be mine and Kyle's 6th prom, including my senior prom in 1998! I love seeing the kids all dressed up.

Happy weekend all!



This past Sunday was my church's annual Mother-Daughter Tea. It's always a fun afternoon of nibbles and catching up with people who no longer attend church there, but are still connected somehow through family and friends. When this started 9? 10? years ago, I think it was a potluck. Then someone got a hold of it and provided a menu. Then themes. And favors. And on and on it went. It ends up being a lot of work for the organizers, but really nice.

This year there was no theme, which created a problem for (one of) the speakers...ME! And so I ended up speaking on that...how difficult it is to navigate like if you have no theme. Beginning with the end in sight, I like to call it. Maybe I'll post my thoughts here sometime.

Another difference this time was that each table was responsible for their own centerpiece. The colors were robin's egg blue and yellow. A few tables included pictures of women in their family; one had grandma's old hats!

This was ours...

Isn't it cute?! It's a series of birds' nests on a cake pedestal surrounded my ffloral garland that I'm pretty sure my mom has been hanging onto for five years. Finally a use! Oh? You're curious about the eggs?? Check them out up close:

LOVE them! They're dyed with silk ties! I found the idea on Our Best Bites. They have a tutorial that explains the process really well. I provided the idea, Mom dyed the eggs (she got the ties at Goodwill for practically nothing), Aunt Connie made the little paper maiche flowers.
Who says dyeing eggs is only for Easter?


Featuring Me!

Imagine my suprise and delight when I updated my feeds this evening, clicked onto one of my new favorite blogs, and found that Avery's party was the featured post! Shannon features all kinds of fun parties and ideas. I think I found her the week after Ave's party, just in time to start planning for next year! And you MUST see the design of her blog. SO CUTE! She does that, too, if you're looking for a new blog design. Be sure to check out all the fun things going on over at Creative Parties and Showers!


30 Minutes and a Cricut

I love my Cricut. What? I've said that before? Well, it's true. I tend to collect craft supplies, but the Bug has seriously eliminated the need for most of them, as it does what the other things do plus some.

I finally got my craft room (okay, so it's a landing created from an old porch that was encloosed during an addition years ago, but you know...) in good shape during a day off in February. It's clean, organized, but lacking in decor. Not that there's much room for decor.

I still had some black vinyl left over from this project, and I thought I could put some to good use over the doorway leading to the kitchen.


Pay no attention to the random card table in the shot. You have to move my desk to open the closet in goes in, and I needed a husband for that, but was unwilling to wait on him before taking the picture!

I really should do a post about my kitchen someday. I love it. LOVE it. I drew a sketch of what I wanted it to look like based on Kyle's description of the space before I had ever been in our house. I still have that picture because the room matches my sketch EXACTLY.

But back to my vinyl...

I cut the "Create" out of George and the "dream" and "inspire" out of Stone Script. Provo Craft sells special tape for keeping everything in line, but I just find the center letter and work my way out. The vinyl is just peel and stick--but totally repositionable. I initially separated the words with asterisks, as I couldn't find anything better. But I got the Storybook cart for my birthday, and so replaced them with tiny chrysanthemums just yesterday. They are way cute!

Thirty minutes and my Cricut. And that was with Avery wanting to help. I love decor projects that can be done in no time for no money and with no skill!

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