Friday Finds: the Perfect Stamping Tool

Yall, don’t hate cause I’m posting about craft supplies again, okay? Especially because this stamping tool is¬†pretty amazing if you’re kind of a terrible stamper like me. If you’re killer at stamping then you might not need this and if you aren’t a stamper maybe this will make you one (dad). ūüėÄ

Stamping is a pretty new obsession of mine. I used to go to the Stampin Up parties and never bought any because I wasn’t a card maker (still not…I’m okay with buying them.) When I started journaling a few years ago I realized that stamps weren’t just for cards and I started collecting sets that I could use in my books. (I’m especially fond of Unity stamps and have about a billion.)

But even though I stamp quite a bit, I’ve never been very good at it, especially when it comes to placement, so I was super excited when I saw a video demo of the new stamping tool by Hampton Art. I picked one up at Michaels a few weeks ago for about $12 (using a coupon).

So here’s how it works. You hold your page/card/journal/whatever in place with the magnets, position your stamp facedown where you want it on the page, then press the plastic part down onto the stamp. You can then open the lid and the stamp is perfectly positioned for stamping.

Next you ink up your stamp, press onto your page, and voila! perfectly stamped image. Or not. But no worries if you don’t get it right the first time, you can re-ink and re-stamp in exactly the same place until you have a perfect impression. It even makes it easier to use multiple ink colors.

Pretty cool, right? I may even try layering stamps, which have always intimidated me because, hello, horrible stamper.

So that’s my new favorite. I don’t even care that I’m a total nerd. ūüėÄ

 

Week(s) in Review: October 1-15

It’s been for-stinking-ever since I’ve done a week in review, so long, in fact, that I don’t even think I ever shared Susannah’s birthday party or our summer road trip and maybe not even the big family reunion this past spring. (?) ¬†I obviously have some catching up to do, but for now I’ll just share a couple things we’ve been up to for the last few weeks.

School is trucking right along and I don’t think I’ve even taken photos to document the start of new grades this year. Bad mom!

Some highlights:

Susannah’s learning division and loving it, Madeline is all-around causing me to rapidly age because of her utter lack of interest in ANY subject and her closely-held belief that she’s just “too small” to do well in school. She has decided reading is worthwhile, though, helped along greatly by the Pizza Hut Book It program and the Braums reward program. Still, I count that as quite a victory from last year. ¬†We’re studying American history this year and I’m putting my own curriculum together, which is working very well for us so far and has been pretty fun. Here are a few of the drawings we’ve done to go along with our studies so far:

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We try to go camping in October or November every year since *usually* the hot weather is calmed down to something manageable. I agree to one night per year. ūüėČ And obviously it wasn’t cooled off quite enough yet since we saw snakes…

Mad fell in right after I took this photo and gave us small heart attacks because the water is pretty deep right off the bank. Thanks a lot, kid.

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I finally, finally, FINALLY made some progress on the quilt-a-long project that already ended months ago, but that I’m determined to finish NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES ME. It’s utterly ridiculous to me that I couldn’t keep up with one block per month, right?¬†Bad seamstress! Anyway, something went wrong on this block (not sure what exactly), but I’m so elated to have finished a few, that I don’t even care. (In my defense, I did try to fix it, but couldn’t figure out how.)

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I saw this adorable woodland creature pumpkin idea here and knew we had to try it out for ourselves. I love pumpkins and we try something new every year. The girls loved making these little cuties.

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So that about covers it, I think. Okay, probably not really, but that’s all I have ready for now, so it’ll have to do. I do hope to catch up on some of what’s been occupying our time very soon.

Your turn! What have yall been up to lately?

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A Fresh Start

Well, helloooo 2016. I think I’m going to like you. Even though things are already NOT going according to plan, I’m okay with it. This past week has been kind of busy and weird and full of sickness and family visiting (not necessarily a great combination, right?), so I haven’t had the kids fill out the annual Year in Review/Goals for the year sheets yet, but we’ll get to it for sure. I love, love, love having those to look back at and I want to make sure I have the kids participate for as long as they’re willing (or as long as I can force them to).

So, like always at the start of a fresh new year, I’ve been thinking about what my goals are for 2016, and although I won’t bore you with all of them, here are a few interesting things that I’d like to commit to trying:

Unlike the previous few years I’m not going to aim for just a certain number of books to read; instead I’m going to try a couple of different challenges that will force me to expand to other genres and books that I probably normally wouldn’t even consider.

http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2016-reading-challenge/
via Modern Mrs Darcy

First up, I definitely want to join this reading challenge¬† hosted by Modern Mrs Darcy. I don’t have a lot of trouble meeting my reading goals each year, but I love the direction this challenge gives me. Plus, it just sounds fun.

2016BooksFinal I’m also considering this challenge hosted by Bringing Up Burns, because it’s quite a bit different from the first one and I just can’t decide between the two.

Another goal of mine is to continue working on some form of journaling/memory keeping for the entire year of 2016. Last year I did keep up with my Documented Faith journal, and while I don’t think I’ll continue with it this year, it did introduce me to that form of record-keeping and I loved it. The past few months I’ve been experimenting with guided challenges and list challenges and I have really enjoyed myself, so I plan to stick with that for 2016. I’ll include a couple of photos below because I’m sure that my explanations would just confuse everyone. ūüôā

This was from a challenge I completed in November - this was actually supposed to be my life as a comic strip, but I can't draw, so this was my improvise.
This was from a challenge I completed in November – this was actually supposed to be my life as a comic strip, but I can’t draw, so this was my improvise.
Another challenge from Nobember, this was a gratitude journal with guided prompts.
Another challenge from Nobember, this was a gratitude journal with guided prompts.
Another page from the gratitude journal - I won't ever attempt to do two challenges in the same month again!
Another page from the gratitude journal – I won’t ever attempt to do two challenges in the same month again!

On that note, I’m pretty stoked to tell you guys that I’ve been asked to be part of The Ink Road’s new design team! I’ll be sharing my journaling/list challenge projects via my Instagram account, although I may share them here once in a while, too.

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Like I mentioned before, I don’t really have my act totally together yet, so most of my plans are still in-progress, but I’ll try to share more soon. I just love starting a fresh, new year! I know i say that every January, but seriously. How about yall? Any big goals or dreams for 2016?

 

Getting Organized: Give, Save, and Spend Kids Money Jars

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Brother and Blueprint Social. As always, all opinions are my own.

Did you know the January is National Get Organized Month? One of the reasons I love jumping into a new year is all of the list-making, goal-setting, and organizing that happens. ¬†All of these things make me happy. ¬†Yes, I know I’m a nerd. ¬†Today I’m going to share my favorite organizational tips, a tutorial for helping kids organize money, and a giveaway. ¬†Awesome, right?

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Every year in January I get bit by the organizational bug. ¬†I think it’s a combination of being stuck inside the house and the post-holiday clutter, but I generally do most of my organizing right at the beginning of the year. ¬†My top five¬†organizing tips are:

  • Have a plan. ¬†Gather supplies first (lists, boxes for purging, etc.) so you can get right to it once you start.
  • Tackle one space/room at a time. ¬†I’ve attempted to do the whole house all at once and it’s overwhelming, messy, and discouraging. Better to pick one space and concentrate your efforts there before moving to the next.
  • Purge as you sort and organize. ¬†Have separate, clearly labeled boxes for trash, donations/items to sell, and items you want to store. ¬†Be as ruthless as possible, especially if the items haven’t been used in a long time (or ever).
  • Clean as you go. ¬†If you have a shelf cleared, clean it before putting items back. Vacuum out those corners you haven’t seen since last January. ūüėČ
  • Once the organization is complete, immediately deal with the boxes of items you’ve purged. ¬†You don’t want that stuff to find it’s way back to their shelves/closets/drawers.

One of my goals this year is to teach my kids a little about money managing. They have regular chores that they’re required to do daily, but I wanted to give them a chance to earn some money by doing additional work around the house. ¬†My hope is that they’ll start to understand a little about the value of money and hard work, as well as why it’s important to save and give some of what they earn.

I started by writing down some small jobs along with an amount I’ll pay on large craft sticks. ¬†We keep these in a jar and they can pull one whenever they have free time and want to earn a little cash. Then at the end of the week we pay them whatever they’ve accumulated (I haven’t yet, but will be making a spreadsheet to keep track of what jobs they’ve done each week.)

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This system has been in place for a few weeks, but now that they’re getting paid, I needed something to help them divide their earnings into three categories: save, give, and spend.

Supplies:

  • 3 mason jars (per kid)
  • Embellishments (optional) – I used lace and fabric flowers
  • Glue gun
  • Brother P-Touch label maker

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I wanted these jars to be both functional and pretty for my fancy girls, so I added some embellishment by securing lace and flowers with the glue gun.

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Then I broke out my new Brother P-Touch Label Maker to make the labels.  This thing is awesome; you can pick from a variety of fonts, sizes, symbols, and even frames to customize how you like. Just insert the cartridge and batteries, type your word in, and hit print.

IMG_2419  I had a lot of playing around with fonts and borders, but settled on simple so the girls would have no trouble reading their labels.

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The girls love their new jars and I love that they’re learning that money has to be earned (and is more than for just spending).

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To help your own organizational efforts out, Brother is giving away a P-Touch label maker every day in January as well as a Grand Prize pack worth up to $2000! Go here to enter!

For more inspiration on how the Brother P-Touch Label Maker can help you get organized, check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.  And as a bonus, you can check out these other organization projects created by some amazing bloggers:

Check out more great ways to get organized with a Brother P-Touch.

Linking up to: Flamingo Toes

Week(s) in Review: December 21 – January 10

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a recap, mostly due to a LOT of sickness. ¬†Nobody wants to see photos of kleenex and red-rimmed eyes, right?

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We’re all on the (very SLOW) road to recovery now, and settling into our post-holiday routine. A few activities we worked on during the break:

Christmas cookie baking/decorating – tradition.

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We also worked on decorating some paper mache houses. Confession: mine still isn’t quite done. ¬†I blame the bronchitis. Don’t judge.

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We “grew” a candy cane by planting a peppermint in soil and watching is sprout over the course of a few days. Magical, right? (Honestly, I’m pretty shocked that Susannah didn’t put two and two together when she saw the bowl of mini candy canes appear a few days later.)¬† photo (21)

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We had a wonderful Christmas with family Рlots of games and food and fun.  I have to show you guys what Madeline picked out (all on her own, I swear) for her grandma.

IMG_2207 Yes, that is a plunger. ¬†She decided that would be hilarious. ¬†I don’t know where she comes up with this stuff.

The plague hit us right after Christmas, and while it wasn’t really how we wanted to spend the last week of our break, it did make us really slow down and rest quite a bit, which probably isn’t a bad thing.

This past week we started school back up and it went surprisingly smoothly. ¬†Maybe we were all ready to get back to it. I was still feeling under the weather so we didn’t do anything that required me gathering supplies, but we finished up our gigantic stack of holiday books we’d gathered to read over the break and enjoyed snuggling together on the couch. ¬†We’ve decided our favorite holiday book this season is Santa Claus The World’s Number One Toy Expert by Marla Frazee. ¬†It’s pretty adorable. IMG_2275 IMG_2276

 

As always, I had the girls fill out some end-of-year questionnaires, which I’ll file away with all the previous years so I can pull them out and enjoy them when I’m old. ¬†Or next year. ¬†Whichever happens first. ūüôā

It’s always a fun activity and I know someday I’ll be happy I had them do this when they were small.

Apparently Susannah wants to improve her MATHEMATICS this year. ¬†I think that her wish can be accommodated. (I’ve never called it mathematics, so I’m not sure where she even came up with that.)

2014 Review

 

I’ve been thinking over my goals for the year and may post more about them later. I’ve been promising myself I was going to keep an art journal for a couple of years now, so I committed myself to two separate projects to keep myself on task: the Documented Life Project¬†and Documented Faith. ¬†One focuses on new techniques and the other is more of a faith journal; both give weekly prompts and loose guidelines to work within. I may not post my pages every week, but I’ll try to at least occasionally to keep myself accountable. (I’ll probably share more frequently on Instagram – follow along here.) ¬†Here are my first pages.

Documented Life Project
Documented Life Project
Documented Faith
Documented Faith

Hmm, what else? ¬†I’ve got a few small projects in the works that I hope to finish up and share soon. ¬†Here’s a photo of some bookmarks I made this week. ¬†No more receipts and kleenex to hold my place in books! ¬†I used a mix of watercolors, acrylics, and ink, then stitched around the edges with my sewing machine. I kinda love how they turned out.

Watercolor Bookmarks

 

I think that pretty much sums up our last couple of weeks. The holidays are sparkling and fun and awesome, but I almost love the fresh start of a new year even more. ¬†Goal-making and piles of lists are kind of my thing, though, so it’s not really surprising.

What have you been up to over the break?  Did you make any goals for 2015? Please share!

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Family Initial Birch Ornament

I try to make an ornament or two every year to add to our tree, but since I’ve been a total grinch this holiday season ¬†when it came to decorating(we’re lucky the tree made it up…nothing else did), I hadn’t planned on anything. ¬†After a pretty spectacular fail on the sewing front today – Christmas outfits for the girls are NOT happening, apparently – I decided I should at least make an attempt at an ornament. ¬†I don’t want to be a total failure, yall.

I found some birch slices that I picked up a few months ago (totally obsessed with all things birch, you guys) and settled on a super-simple plan: our family initial. ¬†It doesn’t get much easier than one letter.

I didn’t want to cover up much of the natural beauty of the birch wood, so I dug out some black ink and a letter stamp and applied it directly to the wood.

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I thought about drilling an eye hook into the top of the slice but was too lazy to go find the drill (grinch, remember?), so I substitued hot glue and twine.

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It took me all of five minutes and I really like it. ¬†Birch wood is pretty much fail-proof in my eyes, though. ¬†If only I could have motivated myself to make a few more…

Birch ornament

I actually have another ornament I’d like to make with the girls tomorrow, so maybe this years ornament additions won’t be a total bust. ¬†Fingers crossed.

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Week(s) in Review: November 9-22

Man, where does the time go? I swear, I blink and another week has gone by.  This year is just OVER, people.  No really, by the time I hit publish, it probably will be!)

Here’s what we’ve been doing with our time:

Making edible oasis during our studies of the Arabian Penninsula (also, reading about Sinbad – the girls love his stories).

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Since mom and dad have been in and out this past week we stuck to science, history, and reading, along with some practical stuff like baking a welcome cake and getting guest rooms ready. ¬†Hey – that’s something we need to learn too, right? ¬†We studies fossils and attempted to make a few of our own.

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We went to New Orleans last weekend, which I’ve already shared about here in case you missed it.

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We are recording our daily gratitude with our version of a thankful tree. Please excuse the extremely poor lighting in these photos. (We are using these tags, courtesy of Jones Design Company.) photo (16) photo 1

 

My parents are in town for a visit, but I have no photos yet.  Sad!

Susannah got her first letter from her new pen pal and is beyond thrilled to make a new friend. It makes my heart happy to think of my girl and Amber’s girl getting to know each other. If life was fair we would all live close by each other.

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Finally, I had hoped to share a separate review of my November Ipsy bag, but I need to face the fact that it just isn’t going to happen this month. ¬†The next week is going to be full of family and food and thanksgiving and I want to enjoy every moment.

Here’s what I received this month:

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I haven’t even had a chance to try everything yet, but I already know that by far and away my favorite products are the under-eye concealer (works awesomely well!) and the eye base. ¬†I’m not a fan of all the lip products I keep receiving but I will be sure to try them all out in case I don’t know what I’m missing out on. ¬†And the hairspray I may or may not use, but was happy to receive because I was considering buying a small can to have on hand anyway. ¬†The Temptu highlighter I’m just not really sure what to do with. ¬†Anybody have any tips to share?

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

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