Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What I Made Wednesday: Santa's Bag

I'm so glad to be done with the shopping, wrapping, baking & the general hustle and bustle of Christmas! I love this time of year, but it seems like the to do list is never ending. And what do I do when that list is a mile long? I add another project to it!

(Sleep is totally overrated.)

Last week, I saw this Personalize Santa Bag on Pinterest and I pinned it to my Christmas board. After I was done making the ornaments for the boys' teachers last week, I had a bit of burlap left over. So over the weekend, I decided to whip up one of these bags for the boys.

I used my Silhouette to cut the words and the reindeer out of vinyl, then stuck them to the burlap. I used a paintbrush to stencil with black & red paint. Once it was dry, I peeled the vinyl off, then triple-stitched the panels together on three sides. I hemmed the top, tied it with a red ribbon & the bag was done!

I'm so happy with how it turned out & I can't wait to make it part of our Christmas traditions. We spent Christmas morning at home, then spent the rest of the day at my parents house this year-- a bag like this will be perfect to explain to the kids, "Santa dropped of presents at our house, but look! He dropped this bag off here, too!"

I posted a pic on Instagram a few days ago & had quite a few people say that they'd be interested in ordering one for their kids next year, so look for it in the etsy shop in the future! I just need a bit of time to recuperate from the holidays first.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

my heart.

This blurry pic brings tears to my eyes.
The two best things I've done in my life.
My boys. My heart.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Teacher Gifts 2012

Well, hello!

What do you think about the new view? I like it, but I'm not sure it's permanent-- the colors are so soothing, like a trip to the beach, but I'm finding the teal & gray hard to read, especially in the post titles. Anyway, it's a step in the right direction-- lighter, cleaner, brighter. Exactly what I need these days.

But, instead of this:

Here's more what I'm envisioning, with navy headers, links & post titles:

 Still simple-- just easier to read. The problem is, since I'm using a template that I purchased, the colors are all in the code-- no issues customizing my header in Photoshop, but I know almost nothing about HMTL. Luckily, my brother does & he's agreed to help me, so I may try a few things out over the next few weeks until I get it right. Suggestions welcome!

Today was the boys' last day of school until the beginning of the year-- we're sad for the break in our routine but we're so happy that the boys' awesome teachers get a vacation and get to spend time with their families. I love brainstorming ideas for teacher & class gifts-- here's a peek at what we did this year:

 I like to do something small for the boys' classmates & I saw these reindeer noses on Pinterest. I looked at FIFTEEN different stores to find round pretzels but had no luck. So I decided to go with 8 chocolate caramels and a cherry sour ball for my reindeer noses-- worked out perfectly. But the pretzels, I still thought sounded delicious so I've been whipping them up (on checkerboards) for our family Christmas party on Sunday.

When I saw these appliqued monogrammed burlap ornaments I knew that they'd be perfect for the boys' teachers-- they always love their appliqued outfits and I've even done some monogramming for them. I did each of the 4 teachers a red & white chevron burlap ornament with their monogram on them in lime green.

I saw an amazing sounding homemade spiked eggnog recipe on Pinterest, but I just couldn't spend the time making it from scratch. The idea stuck with me though, and I decided to use store-bought eggnog and spike it with Vanilla Vodka & Bailey's. (A perfectly fitting gift for preschool teachers, right?) I used the larger sized Starbucks Frapp bottles, spray-painted the caps, removed the labels and added my own:

The gifts were a big hit-- I hope these wonderful ladies know how much they bring to our boys' lives!

Now, to work on the million projects I have to get done before Christmas...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Time for a change...

I've been itching to change my blog template for a while now... there are lots of changes happening in the Blakely house right now (more on that later) and I'm feeling like a blog facelift is in order.

I made the whale background when I found out that Liam was a boy-- previously when I was TTC, I had a pink & brown ribbon background. 

I'm longing for something a little lighter, a little simpler & a little more my style instead of the boys'.

So, don't be stunned if one day, you don't stumble upon this:

 Things may look a little different around here, but it's still  me!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Parade

Even though it's 70 degrees outside, we're trying to get into the Christmas spirit!

Last Sunday, my mom and I took the boys to their first Christmas parade--  they loved the band, the candy, the dancers & Santa riding on a fire truck!

Liam's favorite part was "driving" one of the vintage fire trucks after the parade-- We had a great day!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Paying it Forward

This morning, I went through the Starbucks drive-thru as I usually do before work on Tuesdays & Thursdays.

When I pulled up to the window, the barista told me that the person behind me had paid for my order.

“Awesome-- Then, I’ll pay for the person behind me!” I said.

“You’re the 9th car in a row to pay for the next person’s coffee,” she told me.

How's that for a little holiday spirit?!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Party Time: Sock Monkeys!

I started thinking about Jack's 1st birthday party back in February when I (finally) mailed out his birth announcements:

I loved the Sock Monkey shots that our photographer took & I loved the red chevron on our announcements-- I knew that I wanted to use a similar theme for Jack's birthday. Sock Monkeys, chevron and pennant style banners are some of my favorite things these days:

I started collecting things, re-purposing things from Liam's party & other parties I've thrown & deciding on food & decorations a few months ago, but I didn't really have a chance to focus on the party until after Liam's birthday. I was really happy with how everything came together!

Here are some pics from the party:

Sweet baby Jack, you were absolutely the best surprise of my life.

Every day you bring me such joy-- you have the most easy-going personality, the cutest smile and the silliest giggle. I love touching your strawberry blonde curls & nuzzling your perfect little nose. You are the apple of your big brother's eye, a built-in best friend.

I love you more than you could ever imagine. Happy first year!


Party Info:
  • Invites, Food Labels, Banner: Me 
  • Burlap Wreaths with Bunting: Me
  • Crocheted Mini Sock Monkeys: Sleepy Hollow Crochet (Etsy) 
  • Paper Mache O-N-E letters (spray-painted), Tissue for Pom-Poms, Chevron Fabric & Candy Jars: Hobby Lobby 
  •  Mini Radio Flyer Wagons, Vintage Coke Crate, Banana Runts, Banana Split Taffy, Push Pop Containers, Stand & Clear Candy Scoops: Ebay 
  • 16x20 enlargements of my photos: Staples  
  • Toy Wagon, Red Suitcases: Amazon 
  • Cake Stand & Cake Topper: Me 
  • Boys' Shirts & Jack's Party Hat: Me  
  • Smash Cake: Publix 
  • Sock Monkey Plates, napkins and cups: Birthday Express  


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Fast Forward

One year ago today:

(The morning after we came home from the hospital-- still one of my favorite pics.)

I'm so in love with the little boy he's growing into:

(Jack's first birthday party on Sunday.)

Birthday Party pics coming up next!

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Little Monkey

I'm way behind on blogging-- I have Pumpkin Patch Train Ride pics to post, along with Trunk or Treat & Halloween pics, but it may or may not get done this week because the countdown is on to...

Jack's 1st Birthday!!

The party is in less than a week & I'm up to my elbows in projects-- I had big plans for a post to show off some of my ideas, but instead, there will just have to be a post after the party. No time!

Among the million things that have been going on during the past two weeks, we had our fall family photo shoot Saturday with Lauren from Peppermint Photography. I am so thankful that we worked with her this year-- she was incredibly patient with our incredibly difficult boys.

You know those days when you just *need* the kids to take a nap? And then they don't? 

Yeah, that. 

I'm pretty sure they cried 90% of the session-- that, or Liam was running away. Such is the life with two little ones! Lauren was great, and bless her heart, thinks that she was able to get some good shots. (She also reassured me of her Photoshop skills-- wink.)

As we were finishing up, I mentioned to Lauren that I had planned to try to take some pics of Jack with his sock monkey hat to display at his party after our session, but that he was so tired, I probably should skip it & try another day. We decided to give it a shot, though, and I'm so glad we did.

We set him up and started snapping away & wouldn't you know it, that little flirt just started posing!! I wasn't going to post these before his party, but I'm so proud of them, I just had to!

These are my shots-- you can see an awesome one that Lauren took, here.

I can't believe this little guy will be ONE in less than a week!!

** Special thanks to Elizabeth for letting us borrow Grayson's adorable sock monkey hat!!**

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What I Made Wednesday: Pumpkin Patch Apparel

(Warning: Long explanation about problems with my embroidery machine, followed by pics of Halloween Shirts.)

My embroidery machine and I are not friends right now.

Back in July, I started having some trouble with the alignment-- the machine would embroider the bottom half of a letter then move ever-so-slightly to embroider the top half. It looked awful. I was able to complete the design on Liam's birthday shirt, but when it came to adding his name, I had someone else do it.

Fall is so event heavy-- that means I make Halloween shirts, a Birthday shirt for Jack, Thanksgiving shirts and Christmas shirts for the boys. So, it was time to get the problem taken care of. Last week, I took my machine to a local sewing shop and had it serviced & cleaned. I described to them what it was doing and they determined that there's not a problem with the alignment of the machine-- they said it was a problem with the memory card.

So I bought a new memory card. I brought it home, loaded my designs & did a test. No go. I thought, maybe it's the design that I created-- maybe the file is corrupt? So, I recreated it. Nope, still doesn't look right. I noticed that there was a recently released update to my software, so I installed it. Nice try.

Out of the 20-something tests I did, at one point, it appeared that if I did an applique design in one file and the lettering in another, it would work. But then, when I tried it tonight, the lettering is still skewed. I thought, well, I could try the built-in fonts on my machine... but even those seem to be hit or miss.

It's really frustrating and I'm not sure what my next step is. I'm definitely going to take back the new memory card, because it's obviously not the issue... but if the repair guy says he can't find anything wrong with the machine, what do I do? These machines are VERY expensive. I make a lot of the boys' clothing (and save a lot of money by doing so!) and I NEED it to work.

Here's the silver lining-- even though the lettering is messed up (Goodbye personalized stuff! Grrr!), my appliques seem to be stitching just fine. So, while I'm not necessarily making the shirts exactly how I want them, I can still do some holiday designs for the kids. And if I *have* to put their names on them, I could always have someone else do them-- although this kills me. I know it'll get fixed eventually-- I just need a new plan. 

So... Halloween Shirts! I sat down today to work on these-- a little late, considering Halloween is two weeks from today, but what else is new? (I rarely make the boys' holiday stuff early enough for them to get a lot of use out of it, unfortunately.) We're going on a train ride to a pumpkin patch this weekend & I wanted the boys to wear their shirts! 

I did Liam's this afternoon & will do Jack's on Friday while the boys are at school. Last year, I did all of the truck appliques: Pumpkin in a Truck, Christmas Tree in a Truck, etc. I wanted to do something different this year. 

A Spider!
(This design had so many stitches-- it took FOREVER, but I think it was worth it!)

First time I've ever appliqued on a tshirt that's not white!
Also, I can't get enough of gingham. Ever.

 Liam LOVES this shirt. When I showed it to him after his nap, he immediately asked to put it on.  When he and Rob went on their nightly walk & I tried to get him to change his shirt, he threw a fit said said "Want to wear it!"

He kept walking around, pointing to it, saying, "Spider!"

Kid Approved-- Liam's Pumpkin Patch ready!
(Maybe this weekend, we'll get shots of him in some pants!)