Saturday, May 26, 2012

Teacher Gifts

I don't know about you, but I am always scrambling at the end of the school year for teacher gifts. Yes, a gift card will suffice, but I like to give something else with it. Usually I end up spending $10 or more on the little gift - and I'm not even that impressed with it. Well, that changed today!

I kept a promise to myself, that I will use Pinterest for good, not evil! Okay, not evil - just a positive influence and not just a major time suck. (You may have seen my previous post on my Pinterest addiction.)

So I am challenging myself to create some of the things I pin. With such amazing ideas posted every day, surely something would be a great DIY teacher gift to accompany a gift card to Starbucks, right? But it needed to be something I could accomplish with supplies on-hand at 10 o'clock the night before the last day of school. Yup, that's how I roll.

Enter the current project - super simple, inexpensive (most items everyone has on hand) and downright adorable. I followed the links from my pin to a tutorial for a 3-dimensional apple made from an old book. I did modify my supplies, only because I can be a bit lazy and impatient when completing a project. Don't judge! It's still really stinkin' cute.

No worries about deconstructing a good book. This was a children's math logic book that is seriously out of date! (I chose a paperback - I think that is less work than a hardcover.) My book was even tall enough to cut 2 apples from it. One for the teacher and one for the teacher's assistant. 

It was a fairly simple project. I promise!

I used the following supplies:
~ an old book 
~ a pen or pencil
~ sharp exacto knife
~ hot glue gun
~ twigs or even a real apple stem
~ ink or paint 
~ extra embellishments

Now, here's where I get lazy. The original tutorial I found used a template. And you may want to cut a template for yourself, but I like to wing it sometimes. I'm just crazy like that.

First, I tore off the cover. Then I drew a half of a heart shape - but left about 3/4 inch at the bottom for a base. (Very technical, I tell you.) Hopefully, the image below will help. This shows the two heart shapes I cut out of the book. The spine is to the left.

I started by cutting through a couple pages at a time and then increased as I went along. Again, a template could be useful for someone who prefers a less "wing-it" approach.

Once I had my shapes cut out, I took my handy-dandy damp paper towel and and dabbed red ink long the egdes of the curved shape. I found it easier to do this before you open it. You can put on as much or as little as you want. I ended up with two different looks. You could also do yellow or green on the apple if you prefer.

Next, I opened them up (approximately in half) so I could see the spine. Then I used hot glue to adhere my "stems". If you haven't noticed yet, I am a very impromptu kind of gal, so when I realized I needed something to resemble a stem, I ran into my family room and broke off a few tiny branches from my birch twigs in a vase. Hey, they worked perfectly!

Once the hot glue was cool and dry, I fanned open my book shapes and again used hot glue to adhere the front page to the last page. {I didn't feel like waiting for craft glue to dry.} Be careful not to burn your fingers. My hot glue gun must be a low heat type, as it wasn't too hot to burn.

Again, once dry and cool - I continued to fan and fluff the pages until they looked full and even.

Next, I cut a free-hand leaf from green cardstock. I wrote the teacher's name on one side and "Love, Bella" on the other. Then I hot glued the appropriate end in between two book pages at the top. (I left a long stem on the green leaf to make sure it would have something to adhere it.)

Now my apples were finished! Yeah! A homemade gift to include with the gift cards. So cute, and pretty unique if you ask me. And free to boot - I had all items on hand.

I even took a few pages from the cut book to make personalized gift bags.

I used glue dots to adhere the open apple pages to a kraft gift bag. Then I hot glued another "stem" and leaf with the teacher's name. I drew on seeds with an embossing pen. I wrapped the apples in tissue paper and put them in the gift bag. The tissue paper left a good fluffy spot to set a gift card.

These are for preschool teachers. And my 3 year old is very curious, so I decided to tie the bags shut with some red and white twine.

I was so happy with my finished product! And proud of myself for making a craft instead of buying something at the store. I also fulfilled a promise to myself to create some of the fun things I pin on Pinterest.

I'm giving this project an A+. Sorry - I couldn't resist!

~ All images on this post are my own and can be found, where else, on my Pinterest boards. ~

Linking up to the following great parties ...

The 36th AVENUE

Home Stories A2Z

Friday, May 25, 2012


1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

5 Minute Friday: Opportunity

Living in the present. That is what opportunity makes me think about. I am striving to enjoy the moments as the come along. Not wish they were different - or put them off until there is a better opportunity to fulfill them.

My skin has been as creamy as Snow White's for as long as I can remember (and as long as most of my family can remember, too!) But last summer I took every chance I could to go swimming and playing outside with my children. We spent a good majority of our days in the pool or yard. I used 100 SPF on my baby sensitive skin. And by the end of the summer, my dad didn't even recognize me. The Coppertone Momma.

I never strive to look good (I really should put in more effort!) but the color of my skin told me that I had enjoyed the moments. That my kids were outside and not in front of a computer or tv screen.

Opportunities taken. Not taken for granted. I plan to do the same this summer.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Treasures: Vintage keys

Maybe it's because I was enchanted by the book The Secret Garden as a child, but whatever the reason, I have always found vintage keys to be mysterious and romantic. I am not alone. That is certain.

There are all sorts of creative ways people are incorporating them into their decor.

I love this idea of using old skeleton keys with a ribbon and creative tag for placecards. So creative!

Ah...if only I could plan my wedding all over again! 
What a difference Etsy could have made for this bride.

Look at this huge lot of antique European skeleton keys available from 7DeadlySinz {drool-worthy}

I'm loving the display below by HoofAndAntler

The image below is amazing (although I have no idea if they are vintage or reproduction) -
each one has such feminine details.

Another cute idea for a wedding reception or shower...
Keys to a Happy Marriage display asking guests to fill out a card with advice.

Absolutely nothing vintage about these!
But how fun is it to incorporate a love of vintage with the current technology?

An enviable set here from White Flower Farmhouse, though I believe they are sold.

I may need to buy one of these beauties soon! {from PreciousPastimes}

Here are a handful keys from my own collection, on their original key ring.

~ All images unless otherwise noted can be found via my Pinterest boards. ~

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mother's Day Goodie Bags

This past weekend we spent the majority of our Sunday in a cold hockey rink. Not that I'm complaining. I actually love to watch my son and his team play.

And I really love to see my husband coach the team, too. Literally. See him. He is very animated on the bench. Not in a Bobby Knight sort of way. Just very excited. Everyone comments on how exhausted he will be afterwards.

As head coach, my hubby had to go to a meeting with all the other coaches in the league to plan the team's game schedule. He likened this to being on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange. (Although, I'm not sure that means the same thing as it used to mean.) It is just a bunch of coaches scrambling and telling each other no. He was mortified to realize he was left with a double-header on Mother's Day. He knew he was in big trouble. He was able to reschedule one of the games, but the other coach wouldn't budge. So...

Hubby and the assistant coach devised a plan to give the moms flowers and chocolates from the boys on the team. I thought it was so cute. But in true fashion, when I realized he was going to buy the 4 piece boxes of Whitman's, I started my own devising. {Not that there's anything wrong with their idea!} I came up with a little something for the boys each to hand their mom with a tulip before they got on the ice.

Here is what I came up with for a small gift - a token to say thank you to the moms for making time in their Mother's Day to drive their sons to a freezing hockey rink {and incidentally, watch them lose} :[

I used a simple, resealable clear bag (I had extra lying around) - though I'm sure sandwich baggies would do just fine.

An award ribbon diecut on my Cricut on team colored royal blue cardstock tops a paper doily folded over the top of the bag. (Pretty sure these doilies were in a pack of 30 from the dollar store.) I printed the "#1 MOM" from Microsoft Word 12 per sheet and cut out with a circle punch.

Contents of the gift bag included: different chocolates in various blues, a scroll (see below), and a Hershey's bar wrapped in a photo of the team during a huddle before a game

The other moms went crazy over this. They loved the personal touch! And to think I thought of it at 10pm the night before the game. Super simple, though - I cropped a photo to the right dimensions 
{read: trial & error - could have saved a sheet of paper or 2 had I actually measured the candy bar!}
and printed 6 per sheet. I cut them out leaving ample space above and below to wrap around and adhere with double-sided tape {my absolute craft necessity.}

This shows the open side on the bottom - I didn't adhere too stringently in case they wanted to keep it.

The scroll was from a free printable from A Proffittable Life that I found (again - 10pm the night before, while the photo wrappers printed). I did tweak the blue a bit to better match our team color, but I thought its sentiment was perfect. Boys don't want to give a foofy {actual word?} poem to their moms. This was a manly decree! It lets them feel like they are powerful like kings, presidents, moms!
What? Well, it's true. We are typically the rule makers and enforcers. 

I printed 3 to a sheet as a 4x6 in my photo print program and cut them out. Had I been making just one, or if it had been for a party favor and I had more time I would have trimmed with precision on my paper cutter, but this was now getting late on Saturday night - so they got the old, try-to-cut-a-straight-line-with-junk-drawer-scissors treatment. I wasn't sure how to keep them from getting bent in the bags, 
so I decided to roll them up like scrolls and tie with curling ribbon. 

My husband felt so terrible that I spent the night before Mother's Day working on the gifts for myself and the other moms. But as we often say in this house, "It's just who I am."

~ All images were taken by me and can be found on my Pinterest boards. ~

Friday, May 18, 2012

My first 5 minute Friday goes nothing

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

OK, are you ready? The Gypsy Mama Facebook late night crew is my new muse come 10pm Thursday night, so please give me your best five minutes on their choice: Perspective

My first 5 minute Friday goes nothing!

There have been several times in my life that circumstances have drastically changed my perspective. Most likely the winner of all life-changing events was a phone call from an endocrinologist saying that I in fact had cancer. I was 24 years old. My life flashed before my eyes. Not the life I had lived - not the past. The future - or lack thereof. I was in that moment, terrified that I would never have children or see them grow. What is crazy about this revelation is that I had never wanted or entertained the idea of having kids before. I was frozen in fear. But as the days, weeks and months passed I became determined to take any measure to rid my body of cancer so that I could live the future I surprisingly desired. 

I started this 5 minute Friday challenge after reading my good friend Laura's blog. She may remember how restless I was when I was younger. Always needing to move, meet new people, try new things. It's interesting how settled I am now. I even prefer stay-cations. I want stability for myself and my kids. 

11+ years, 1 husband, 2 kids and a neurotic dog later - it's funny what a little perspective can bring your way.

*Okay, in all honesty - this writing challenge was REALLY hard for me. I will try to continue to do this to relax into writing without backspacing. It's just so ingrained to fix mistakes as I'm typing. But I realize it effects the flow of consciousness. I am a conversational writer, at best. But I have always had issues with leaving the errors go until the end! I am a work in progress. :)

Happy Friday! And Laura, even though we haven't seen each other since my wedding day - I love you!

All images unless otherwise noted are via my Pinterest boards.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

There should be a support group for this...

I admit it. I am addicted to Pinterest.

ad·dic·tion /e'dikSHen/
Noun: The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.
official Google definition ('cause I'm official like that)

It started out innocently enough.

I would click around and pin during my daughter's 2 minute time-outs.
It was a nice break and gave me a moment to remove myself from the heat of the moment, as well.
She just turned 3, by the way. We have heated moments already. Yeah, she's that good.

Then, I started pinning at bedtime. [Even long after my hubby falls asleep.]

Now, I'm pinning right during the middle of the day! It is a sickness, I tell you.

I may need a pintervention.

Until then, you can follow my illness here { Pinterest }

Fair warning, for anyone who has not tried it yet, this is seriously habit forming.
It should come with a surgeon general's warning:
"May be bad for your health. Can cause excess weight gain in thighs and butt."
As you will be glued to your computer screen and unable to burn calories
except for your fingers clicking the mouse.

{gotta love Jillian Michaels}

My new resolution might be to only Pin while riding my stationery bike.
Hmmm...I could be so skinny in no time! Uh oh, I'm bargaining already!

As Ben and the Pinterest Team always say, "Happy pinning!"
{It's an inside joke. You had to be there. See I even think they're my real friends,
but they're just feeding my disease.}

* P.S. Please know, this is in no way intended to offend anyone. *

Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism. 
 ~ Carl Jung

~ All images can be found (with original links) on my Pinterest boards. ~