4th of July Wreath

A few weeks ago, my sister in law and I got together for a craft day. We had a lot of fun and these wreaths are perfect to make with friends or on your own. They are easy to make and we were able to make them start to finish while both of our girls were down for their naps. We used fat quarter bundles to make ours, but this is also a great project if you need to use up your fabric scraps.

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Materials needed:

Fat Quarter Bundles- We used 4 bundles and made 3 wreaths

Wire Wreath Form

Scissors

Rotary Cutter, ruler and mat (if you don’t have one you can use scissors, but this makes it a lot easier)

Start by folding your fat quarter in half and cut the fold with your scissors.

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With one piece of fabric lying on top of the other one, using your ruler, make cuts of your desired width. We made our cuts every 1.5 inches.

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Once you have all of your fabric cut, if you are working with friends or just making multiple wreaths, divide your fabric into equal piles.

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*sorry for the blurry picture… not sure what happened here.

Now it’s time to attach your fabric to your wreath form. With one strip of fabric folded in half, thread the loop end through the front of the wire wreath form so that it is on the back of your wreath and your two tails are on the front.

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Next, take your tails and thread them through the loop end of your fabric.

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Pull the tails tight to secure them to your wreath.

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Keep going until you fill your wreath.

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I did a row of fabric on the outer most wire and the inner most wire. If you would like a fuller wreath, you can add more to the middle.

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Once you are done, make sure all of your strips are facing out. You can choose to either have your wreath lie flatter like this one:

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Or fluff it up a bit like this one:

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I love how cute it looks on my front door! I don’t really have any 4th of July decorations (I’m going to need to change that soon!), so I’m glad to have at least something festive up.

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Let’s Talk Baby Proofing!

   Let me start off by saying that Brynlee is one active little girl, as in she must constantly be on the move, all the time, nonstop. It can be exhausting! But I love how curious she is about everything and while it scares me to death that she is always trying to climb on this or crawl through that, I appreciate that she loves to explore and try new things and thereby learning.

We started our baby proofing adventure by installing one of these baby gates at the bottom of our stairs. We are still planning on installing another one at the top of the stairs, but since most of our time is spent downstairs we haven’t needed one yet. I’ve heard from other moms that their babies were never really interested in the stairs and never paid them much attention. But from the moment that Brynlee started her army crawl to get around before she could fully crawl, she was continually going to the stairs and trying to climb up them. We chose this baby gate because it could be attached to the stair rail or wall and be really secure and sturdy. I’m glad we did because Brynlee is always pulling herself up on it and trying to push or pull it open. We also purchased two of these  installation kits because we really didn’t relish in the thought of drilling into our wood stair rails and it has worked out great!

Another more recent item we added to our baby proofing arsenal is cabinet locks and it wasn’t a moment too soon. Once Brynlee learned how to open the cabinets, it was a nonstop battle with her. We ordered these ones from Amazon and even the 2-day Prime shipping seemed like it took forever!

A few things that I really love about these locks, the cabinet doors don’t open even a little. Before we installed them and I would have to keep Brynlee out on my own, mostly when I was cooking in the kitchen, I would lean my knee against the cabinet, but if Brynlee could get it open even a couple of inches she was reaching her arm in there trying to pull something out.

I also love how easy it is to use with the key. Two really strong magnets are what makes it work and the key will hold itself to the cabinet door if you are getting into the same cabinet multiple times and need it to be unlocked.

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Another really nice feature is that you can completely unlock any cabinet doors you want too. So if Brynlee is already in bed or I am making dinner and Landon is watching her so I don’t have to worry about her coming into the kitchen, I can unlock all the doors that I need and just relock them once I am done. I haven’t needed to use this feature yet, unlocking one door at a time has worked just fine for me. But I can definitely see this coming in handy around the holidays when I am spending a lot more time baking/cooking in the kitchen.

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One thing that I wasn’t fond of, or rather that Landon wasn’t fond of was, the installation. The package comes with templates, but at least for our cabinets, they were really off. After the first one Landon did, he ended up making his own template to use from there on out. After that, installation was fairly easy and quick and these locks have definitely been worth the frustration we had during install. To install, there is one piece that needs to be attached to the cabinet door and one piece to the cabinet opening. An additional feature is that you can choose to install them at the top of your cabinet or on the side, we chose the top, but it was nice to have the option.

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All in all, I love these locks and would recommend them to anyone looking to baby proof their kitchen or any other area that has cabinets. One worry we had was keeping track of the key, but we just make sure to put it in the same place after each use and haven’t had any issues with losing it. It also has a hole in the top if you want to put it on a key chain to hang somewhere. They do sell replacement keys if something does happen to it which is comforting to know.

I’m sure as Brynlee gets older we will find additional things that will need baby/toddler proofing, but these two things have made life so much easier since we installed them and I don’t have to worry about Brynlee getting into things that she shouldn’t.

Disclaimer- I purchased all products mentioned in this post with my own money and am not being compensated by anyone. These products have been so useful for us that I just wanted to share my opinion on them.

Life Unexpected

  When I originally set out to write this post, in my mind it was about how no matter how hard you try, you never really know what is going to happen in life. What emerged once I had finished writing, was a beautiful birth story as told from an Aunt’s perspective. I hope one day my new nephew will read this and know not only how he came into this world, but how much he is loved by his family, especially his Mom.

Isn’t it crazy how life always has a way of throwing you curve balls? I’m a planner, I like to be prepared, I like knowing details, lots of details and I sometimes have a hard time accepting/adjusting to things not going the way I expect/want them to. I guess I frequently forget that life does not follow my plan, but His. This past weekend I must have needed, yet another, reminder of this. The weekend started off great! We celebrated Brynlee’s first birthday at my in-laws up north in Prescott (I’ll write a post on her first birthday as soon as I get a chance to go through all of the pictures) and while there were few minor hiccups, we all had a great time and I know she had a lot of fun!

And then that evening came…

 Unfortunately, my sister had been unable to make it to Brynlee’s party. She had been in the hospital two days earlier with the stomach flu and being 29 weeks pregnant she was having a hard time fighting it and it was wearing her out. At around 7:00 that evening we got a call from my mom saying that my sister was back in the hospital and that she was in labor.  NO. OTHER. DETAILS. Don’t forget I mentioned that she was only 29 weeks pregnant! This did not sit well with my plan, prepare, detail oriented self. My mom was frantic, she was taking care of my sister’s 18 month old daughter and was just giving her a bath when she got the call. She was trying desperately to get out of the house and get to the hospital so we would know more.

Before any of us made it to the hospital, the decision had been made to AirVac her to a Phoenix hospital. For those not familiar with Arizona geography the two hospitals are about 79 miles apart. I ended up beating my mom to the hospital and found out that she was on a magnesium drip in hopes to stop the labor but that they were sending her to Phoenix to a hospital that had a NICU capable of having babies that preterm, Prescott’s limit was 32 weeks.

Forty-five minutes later she was in the air being transported to Phoenix, along with all of our prayers that both her and the baby would be safe.

Information coming in was very slow going from this point on, but finally at 6:30 Sunday morning I was able to talk to my mom and find out that they were able to get her fever down and her labor slowed. The nurse had told my mom that my sister was doing a lot better and that she would have time to run home to get some things and come back that afternoon. Great! Some good news!!! We were all so relieved!

A couple of hours later, I got a text from my mom with this picture:

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The baby had been born via emergency cesarean weighing 3 pounds 2 ounces and 15 ¾ inches long.

Apparently, when they were able to finally get my sister’s temperature to drop it just kept dropping… all the way down to the low number of 94*. Luckily, my mom hadn’t left the hospital yet, but because of the bad infection that was coursing through my sister’s body instead of getting a spinal for the cesarean, they had to put her completely out. This also meant that no one was allowed in the room with her, everyone at the hospital just had to sit by and wait for news. The doctors still don’t know what the infection was or what caused it, but the hope was that it was in her uterus and that after she had the baby she would start getting better.

The baby was immediately taken to the NICU, while my sister was taken to recovery and then moved to ICU where they would hopefully figure out what was wrong with her. After a little over 24 hours in the ICU, they still didn’t know anything about the infection, but she was recovering well enough that she was finally able to be moved up to the labor and delivery wing. At this point she had still not seen her baby boy except through pictures.

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In the meantime, the baby was doing really well. He was a lot bigger than any of the doctors expected and he had really good coloring. When I saw him he looked absolutely perfect, just a little small, he even moved around a little and I heard him cry, which in turn had me on the brink of tears. He is currently breathing on his own, has had some breast milk and seems to be doing really well. With babies this premature we are told that we have to take things hour by hour and the situation can change at any time. But the nurses have nicknamed him Superman by how well he is doing, so we are all continuing our prayers for his health and can’t wait until he can go home with my sister. The doctors have said that if all goes well then he should be able to go home in 7-10 weeks.

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Yesterday, my sister finally got to hold him! While she had been able to visit him and touch him and even change his diaper, she had yet to have the chance to take him in her arms. I can’t imagine what a special experience that was for her. To go through everything the two of them went through and then to be able to hold that tiny baby and look into his eyes. Don’t get me wrong, anytime a mother gets to hold their child for the first time is special, I’ll never forget holding Brynlee that first time. But when you go through everything they both did, how hard they both fought and then having to wait days to be reunited, you know that feeling is unrivaled on both sides.

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So, we will continue to send our prayers for my sister and her baby (any additional are greatly appreciated) and we will be thankful for those that have been answered so far. I will try to remember that all things happen according to His plan and that even through great trials (some of which we don’t understand) the most pure and unparalleled beauty can emerge.

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*Here he is “sunbathing” with is little “sunglasses” on*

Silhouette Portrait

I wanted to share what I made Landon for Father’s Day. I really wanted to make something that was special and that he would really appreciate for his first Father’s Day. Brynlee is growing so fast! She will be one year old this Saturday and I thought doing something to document her as a baby would be just the thing! I’ve always loved silhouettes and can remember getting them done at Disneyland when I was little. Wow! Those people talented!!! I can’t believe how fast and accurate they are! I wasn’t even going to attempt doing something like that freehand, so here is how I cheated my way through making a silhouette for Landon.

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The hardest part of this whole project was getting a picture of Brynlee’s profile! Every time I pulled the camera out to take a picture she would turn her head to look straight at me. I finally got this one and decided it was as good as I was going to get!

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I printed it out and got to work on my silhouette. You will need:

A portrait picture of who you will be creating the silhouette of

Black paper

White paper, cut to the size of your frame (for the background)

A frame

Scissors and tape

First out the head and bust of your child (or whoever), on my first pass, I cut too much and it looked weird without the bust so I just cut that out and puzzle pieced it back together. Thankfully, this project is very forgiving!

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Then trace your picture cutout on your black paper.

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Make sure that you trace it so that the face will point in the direction you want when you flip the black paper over to hide any residual pencil marks. I traced mine with Brynlee facing to the right so that in my finished project she would be facing left. You will also want to draw a curved line connecting the back of the bust to the front.

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All you need to do now is cut out your black paper, flip it over and tape it to the center of your white paper and put it in your frame.

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Since it was a Father’s Day gift, in Photoshop I added “Daddy’s Little Girl” to the top of the picture and “Happy Father’s Day 2014” to the bottom. Also, my frame fit a 5×7 picture so I printed my original portrait picture out in a 4×6, if you have a larger or smaller frame you will want to adjust your picture size accordingly.

*As a side note, you will want to use really sharp scissor and make careful cuts to make sure your silhouette is keeps all of the details of the original picture

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The gift was a hit! Landon loved it!!! Before he left for his fishing trip, I had also given him a coffee thermos and some specialty coffee that I found at Sprouts. I know he got a lot of use out of those on the trip but he really appreciated the thoughtfulness behind the silhouette and that it was something he could keep forever so I know it was a nice surprise for him to come home to.

 

Cooking for a Crowd or Just Stocking Up

Over Father’s Day weekend, my husband and all the boys went on their annual Father’s Day Fly Fishing trip. I decided to make some breakfast burritos for Landon to take with him so they would have something quick to eat for breakfast if they wanted and wrapped them in tin foil so all they would need to do is heat them up in the fire.  This recipe is super easy and also works great for stocking up, just freeze the burritos once you are done and when you are ready to eat one, simply take it out of the tin foil and microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Here’s how I made them:

Ingredients:

1 bag of frozen potatoes

12 eggs

½ c. of milk

Shredded cheese

1 lb of meat of your choice (I used some ham that I cubed from I spiral ham I made a few days before, but bacon, chorizo or sausage would all work great too!)

Tortillas

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I left these next ingredients out because it was requested from the boys for me to do so. But if I were making these for me I would have also included:

2 bell peppers, diced

½ yellow onion, diced

Start by cooking your potatoes and meat. Then add the milk to your eggs and scramble them. If you are adding the bell peppers and onion, sauté them in a little oil and add them to your potatoes. Once everything is cooked, you can start assembling the burritos.

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Tear off a square of tin foil and place your tortilla on top. I layered mine- potatoes, ham, eggs and then sprinkled the cheese on last.

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Then just roll your tortilla up in the tin foil, you can place them in a freezer bag and freeze them to eat later, keep them in the fridge to use within the next few days or throw them in the oven on warm if you are serving them immediately.

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Enjoy!!!

Makes about 12 burritos (more or less depending on how you fill them).

Felt Rose Garland

       I’m back sharing what I did with all the felt flowers I made from earlier this week. I decided that a felt rose garland would go best with my party décor, plus I can use the garland in Brynlee’s nursery once the party it over. I’m not sure yet where my garland will go at Brynlee’s party, I’m trying to decide between lining a table with it or hanging it along a wall or stair railing. I figured I would wait until I start decorating to see where it will fit best.

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If you want to make a garland, make your roses stopping before you glue your felt circles to the back. You will also want to make your leaves.

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I used jute for my garland, but ribbon would work well too. Start by measuring out your spacing. I spaced my 6 inches apart and used a marker to mark where each flower would go.

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Using one of your felt circles, apply a generous amount of glue and attach your leaves and jute.

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If you need to add more glue to either the felt circle or the back of the flower, do so and place your flower to the felt circle pressing down to secure.

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I ran out of pink felt, so I cut my circles from some green I had left over. Since the back of my garland will not show it didn’t matter. If you think yours will, you might want to cut your felt circle from the same color as your flower.

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Continue on until all of your flowers are attached and you are done! I love how versatile this garland is, I think it would be really pretty at a baby or bridal shower. This would also be great for spring décor in your home or you could use it outside for a spring/summer BBQ decoration. I love that I can use this garland over and over again, I always hate throwing away decorations at the end of a party. I can’t wait to use this at Brynlee’s party and will be sure to post pictures of it when I do! This is most likely where it will end up in her nursery.

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Introducing The Large Zipper Pouch

Have you visited my Etsy shop recently? If so, you might have noticed something new! I just added the Large Zipper  Pouch and I couldn’t be more excited!!!

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This bag was a lot of fun to make! I love the geometric pattern design and the faux snakeskin on the bottom.

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The Large Zipper Pouch is the perfect size to carry everything you need! It measures approximately 9 inches wide by 7 inches tall and 2 inches deep at the bottom. It closes with a YKK zipper and has a coordinating fabric lining.

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This bag is the perfect place to stash your toiletries in while you travel and is stylish enough to be used as a clutch when you don’t want to take your whole handbag.

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It’s a great size for all you moms out there! I will be using mine to store some diapers and wipes for Brynlee in my purse when I don’t want to take her diaper bag with me. It would be perfect to keep kids toys organized in your handbag too!

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This bag is so versatile and can be used in so many ways, I look forward to seeing how you use yours!