Archive for February, 2011

VistaPrint review

I want to tell you about a well kept secret, VistaPrint.  I discovered VistaPrint several years ago and have been so happy with everything I order.  VistaPrint is a printing company that can make all kinds of things from business cards to t-shirts.  What I love about VistaPrint is that I can use my creative side and make personalized gifts.  My favorite gifts to make are for teachers.  I make them matching notecards, sticky notes and notepad.  The possibilities are endless.  It gets better, I get most of my stuff for FREE.  That’s  right I said FREE.  You just pay the shipping.  How do they do this?  They offer you the freebies as samples in hopes that you will order from them again and their prices are very reasonable.  We ordered our Christmas cards from there and paid $30 for 100 full color folded cards that had a photo on the outside and inside.  This week I am dedicating to VistaPrint and will be showing all the cool things I made and will even give you some step by step instructions as I place my next order.  If you want to join the fun, sign up to get e-mails from VistaPrint and you will see all the awesome freebies they send to your inbox.  Caution: It is very addicting.


With my education background I am always looking for developmentally appropriate toys for my children.  I prefer to get them learning toys instead of the latest fad.  Even if you do not have a education background you can find great toys at Ebeanstalk.  They make it so easy to search for just the right toy.  You can search by age or gender.  If you are looking for a special gift for a first birthday, you can look under toys for 1 year old boys or toys for 1 year old girls.  If you are looking for a unique gift for a baby shower check out baby toys.   They also carry all the great brands like Tiny Love, Melissa and Doug, International Playthings and Green Toys.

My favorite offering is the grow and learn gift .  Every 3 months your child will receive a new toy specifically chosen for their age.  This gift will be remembered long after the party is over.  It is truly the gift that keeps on giving. 


The next time you find yourself searching for something for that special child in your life, check out Ebeanstalk.  It will take the guess work out of finding that special gift.

Let’s get ready to crop!

All weekend I have been getting ready to attend a Create Memories Celebrate crop. I think this will be my 6th year I have attended. I spent the whole weekend doing a modified version of a Power Layout that I learned from a Creative Memories consultant when I started to scrapbook. By laying out your pages ahead of time, you need to take less stuff. If you scrapbook, you know you can never talk all your stash with you. Here is how I prepare for a crop.

First print out the pictures you will use. I think this is the most time consuming part of scrapbooking. My husband takes beautiful picture and it is so hard to narrow them down. After you get your photos they are all jumbled up. Note to photo printing companies: put the pictures in the order we send them. I hate having to go through the pictures and put them in order. Then I group the pictures and put them in piles on my floor. I use a sticky note to mark the date and to group pictures together.


Then I put the picture in an accordion file, to keep then organized and portable.

Next I lay out a bunch of cardboard squares. You usually get these from paper pads or page protector packs. If you look around your stash you will find them. I put down the groups of pictures that will go on each page.


Then I choose a layout. I am a big fan of Becky Fleck’s page maps. You can copy the entire layout or just use parts of it. I print out the maps and put them on index cards. Then I can just put them with my layout, so I remember what I was going to do.

One page at a time, I select and cut paper, ribbon and embellishments. While I am doing this step I use sticky notes to jot down titles and anything else I want to remember to add. On a notepad I make lists of items I need “to buy” and titles or things “to make “ on the wishblade. This makes it easy to do all my computer work at one time.


Finally I use my wishblade to create titles and embellishments.


At the crop all I need to do is adhere everything to the page. This leaves more time to talk to my friends and enjoy myself. No more stressing that I left the perfect thing at home.

Chore checklist

I have been talking with people the past couple of days about how I get my kids to do chores. I posted before about how I use My job chart. The other thing I did was make a checklist for what you need to do when you clean each room. Saying “Clean the bathroom.” can be a little overwhelming and I also don’t want to keep telling them one task at a time. That was too much work for me. So I printed out lists on brightly colored paper and put them around the house.


As you can see, I like to put my lists on the inside of cabinet doors. This makes them easy to see when you reach in to get the cleaner.

I hope this comes across as a clever idea and not that I am a control freak. Because I am far from a control freak.

Here are my lists.

Tie shirt tips

Well, I was so excited to have my little guy wear his tie shirt for Valentine’s Day.  It did not even last a hour in childcare at the YMCA.  He ripped it right off his shirtSad smile  So here is what I learned.  ONLY iron the iron on stuff one direction.  This is what I did wrong.  I thought that if I ironed on the fabric to the shirt from the back side it would “stick” better.  You need to iron it on from the front, otherwise you can pull it right off.  Keep this in mind if you make this tie shirt.

Valentine tie shirt

I am so happy I found the silhouette studio software. It is VERY easy.  I thought I would try to cut fabric on my wishblade.  I browsed etsy and saw lots of cute tie shirts for little boys, so I decided that would be an easy project.  I picked up a long sleeve tee at Walmart and a quilters quarter at JoAnns.  I washed both items.  Then I ironed on some heat transfer material on the back of the fabric.  In the silhouette studio I clicked on the draw a polygon button on the right side.


I then drew my tie. A triangle at the top and then a kite like shape for the bottom.  It took me about 3 tries to get one that I liked.


Then I wanted to ad a heart at the bottom, so I used the draw a curve shape button and drew half of a heart. I copied and pasted the half of a heart.  I then clicked the object button at the top and chose transform and the mirror horizontally.  This gave me two identical heart halves.  I moved them together and erased any excess.


I scaled down the heart and moved it onto the bottom of the tie.


Now you are ready to cut out your design.  In the settings you can choose your material and then cut out your tie.  I had to choose double cut to get it to cut through my fabric, I must have had a thicker fabric.


The last step is to iron it on.  Be sure to use a hot iron and only iron from the front side.  I love how it turned out!  A few days after making this we saw a little boy getting his picture taken in the same kind of shirt.  His Mom obviously had great taste.


Serenity Now Crafty Cutter Party

Valentine jars

I am making a SWEET treat for my kid’s teachers.  I usually make my chocolate popcorn and put it in a popcorn container that you can find at the $ tree or Target’s one spot.  This year I decided to do something a little different.  I picked up some little glass jars with lids at the $ tree.   In silhouette studio I wrote the word “sweet” and put it in a curvy frame.  I made more then I needed in case of mess ups.  I am so glad I did.


I then cut it out of contact paper (my frugal trick) and used glass etching cream.


I rinsed off the cream and washed the jars.  Finally I will fill them with my famous chocolate popcorn recipe and attach the recipe.

Serenity Now Crafty Cutter Party

Review of Silhouette studio 1.3.0

I am a proud owner of a pink Xyron Wishblade.  I have taught myself to cut stuff out of vinyl, use my cutter for glass etching and, of course, scrapbooking.  I am a confident computer user.  I used to make lots of stuff in PowerPoint.  But, the wishblade software is nothing like PowerPoint.  It is not similar to any program used by the masses.  This makes it hard to master.  I have friends that own cricuts and after reading a few simple instructions they are cutting all sorts of things.  I however, have spent a ton of time trying to figure out my machine that not many people like to blog about.  Then while reading one of my user groups I discovered that silhouette offers a FREE program Studio 1.3.0.  I tried it and am in LOVE!

Here is the direct link so you can try it for yourself.

It was so easy to install and it even works on my brand spankin’ new PC.  A feature that I thought was soo cool was it shows exactly where your design is going to cut.  It shows your cutting mat and where your paper should go.  I can’t even count how many times I would cut my mat instead of paper, never again. My favorite part is that there is even 2 projects that you can make with step by step instructions on exactly how to use the program. Here is what I created with the first tutorial.


The other cool part is that each week they offer a free shape to download each week.  They post the shape along with lots of cool ideas on there blog.

If you have a wishblade like me check out their program, you will be surprised at the ease of use.

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