Friday, May 17, 2019

DIY Handwriting Necklace

This week has been a long one and I can't believe I actually got a craft done (on top of business orders!).  In the spring, my husband is always gone coaching, in meetings or just getting ready for the end of the school year. That makes for some long nights with the kiddos.  The benefit is that I get a lot more 1 on 1 time with my babies and it makes me appreciate all their sweet qualities even more (you know.. and also some more moments of mama going crazy because the kids are crazy. But it all evens out).

For mother's day, my son gave me a card and of course, wrote "MOMMY" on the envelope.  I've seen this a hundred times but I just remember looking at it, feeling like someday he won't call me that anymore, someday his letters will be a little more organized & grown up looking. I want to keep this sweet handwritten "mommy" forever.  So I created this...





I'm going to go ahead and apologize for the low-quality photos.  Pictures in my house are never great, especially on selfie-mode at 10 pm!  But you get the idea. The others are better!



[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to the products you can use to make this project.  Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you.  Thank you for supporting my blog!]



If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen in my stories that I am *obsessed* with Shrinky Dinks right now.  Especially for jewelry.  I can't stop myself!  First I made these amazing motherhood earrings (pictured below) and then I had my kids each draw me pictures which I turned into more earrings for myself. I think I've got enough Shrinky Dink earrings for now...




But back to the necklace.  Here's what you'll need to make this easy DIY:

[Materials]

Crystal Clear Shrinky Dink Paper
- Black Sharpie Marker
Open Jump Rings
Necklace Chain of your choice


[How to Make It]
Simply follow the directions on the packaging.  As for the design, since the shrink paper is clear you can place it directly on top of their sweet handwriting and trace!  Remember that it will shrink to about 1/3 of it's original size so if you need to enlarge your child's drawing before tracing it, don't forget!  I copied his lettering exactly but moved over the shrink paper in between letters so that they were almost touching on my necklace trace. (just the look I wanted). You can see how large it was before and after baking in the photo below:






After it's traced, carefully cut around your letters as best as you can, leaving a small amount around the edge.  If you did not put the letters against each other like I did, make sure you leave some clear shrink paper in between them so it all stays once piece. Don't forget to punch holes on the top edges for the jump rings. Remember they shrink too! (I had to re-do mine)






^^^There's how it looked before...


...and after







Attach the jump rings and hang on your necklace chain!







We love Mouse and he would totally make a necklace like this too- don't you think?


I am feeling all the emotions over this necklace and I think I'll be wearing this for many years to come. I mean, look at that sweet little "Y".  #ohmyheart







What would you put on yours?  Your name, their name or maybe a sweet drawing?  Share yours below or tag me @cutcraftcreate on Instagram and I'd love to share it in my stories!





Friday, May 10, 2019

(Beginner Sewing) Pillow for Mother's Day

As Mother's Day quickly approaches, I'm sure many of you are still trying to think of that perfect gift to give.  If you're here, I'm guessing that you probably are looking for some great do-it-yourself inspiration!  That's why I wanted to share this sweet pillow my son made when he was 3.  I think he may have actually given it as a Valentine's gift to his Mamaw (my mom) but it probably works even better for Mother's Day! 

If you've got a kiddo just learning to sew, this is a great beginner project.  The pillow uses fabrics that don't fray so you don't even have to "turn it" which makes it both easier and faster!  And don't worry- if you don't quite trust your little on the sewing machine just yet, let him or her sit on your lap and help "guide" your own hand.  Then let them stuff the pillow or cut the threads all by themselves!  Either way, it's a gift that mom or grandma will be sure to treasure forever AND something that your child can be proud to have made.






I'm not kidding when I say "something your child will be proud of".  This pillow still brings him pride and joy every time he goes to his Mamaw's house!




So here's how you do it:

First, buy your fabric (you will also need some stuffing/fiber fill).  Both sides are made from fleece (one is blizzard fleece and one is anti-pill I think but it doesn't matter at all).  Then cut out whatever shape you want. I cut out the heart shape myself because I was using a rotary cutter and those things will cut off your finger if you aren't careful! ha! But feel free to give your child free reign over this part as well.






Next, Lay the two pieces on top of each other.  Since you are not turning this, there is no need to put right sides together like with most sewing projects, unless you want to make it more finished looking on the edges. You or your child can now sew along the entire edge, leaving a short opening to put in the stuffing.







I love to watch this kid sew...








Allow your child to "make mistakes" or sew crooked lines.  This pillow is from them and that's part of the learning process.  Every wavy stitch is a perfect element to this thoughtful gift. (I don't know about you, but I treasure the "real" stuff way more than perfect things). I know that comes really hard for a lot of mamas, but try to just let it happen.








After the edges are all sewn (minus the small opening), it's time to fill it.  Let your child rip off pieces of pillow filling and stuff it themselves.  This is something that any age and skill level can do and boy do they enjoy it!







Once it's as full as you'd like it, head back to the sewing machine and stitch closed the opening.  Here's where not turning your fabric really comes in handy because you don't have to try to hide this stitch- it's just visible like the rest of them!  Honestly, it's just a lot easier for little ones to do themselves.







All done!  Front and back:







That's it! 
All they have to do now is wrap it up and share it with a special "mother" in their life.  I'll be honest, I'm a little jealous that I didn't get my son's first real sewing project for myself, but I'm glad that he wanted to make it for the woman who is so special to me, my mother.






Friday, April 5, 2019

Felt "skip counting" board

For those of you with preschool/kindergarden aged kiddos, you know all about the world of learning numbers.  My son is one of those learning-obsessed people who laser focuses on something until he's figured it all out.  Because of that, he quickly earned his status in the "100 club" (counting to 100) and I wasn't sure where to go next.  Then I heard about skip counting.  I found some worksheets online but wanted something that we could use over and over again (and even later when his little sister learns her numbers) so I created this:






[This post contains affiliate links to products you can use to make this project.  Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you.  Thank you for supporting my blog.]


We are big fans of flannelboards and have everything from cars to farm to road construction to money!  So why not work on our numbers that way too?  This is easy to make and helps teach children how to:

- count numbers up to 100
- skip count by 10's
- skip count by 5's
- skip count by 2's (odds and evens)








There's only a few materials you need:

felt by the yard (for background) I get mine at Joann Fabrics.
other felt (sheets or by the yard) for the number pieces.
Heat Transfer Vinyl (or iron on numbers)



I cut all the felt shapes out by hand and then cut the numbers with my Silhouette Cameo.  If you have a Cricut or other cutting machine that work work fine.  No cutting machine?  Just buy a pack of iron on numbers instead!


Here's the important part: Make sure you find ways to differentiate so that you can clearly tell what numbers belong in the 10's, 5's and 2's categories.  It's tricky because the 10's are also 5's and 2's so it has to cover all three!  Here's what I did:

Odd numbers were white,
Even numbers were tan,
Then I cut all the 10's in squares (the rest were circles)
All 5's were numbered in blue (all others in red)





Using different background colors, text colors and shapes allows for this to work.  For example, now the number 20 can easily be identified as an even number, a multiple of 5 and a multiple of 10 all at a quick glance!  Easy peasy.



One thing I would change:
I definitely recommend hanging your background felt on something solid. Ours is hanging on sort of bar stand and because it's not solid underneath, it's hard to press each piece onto the felt.  I'll be moving ours to it's permanent hanging against the wall here soon.   The benefit of the pieces not being pressed on very well is that it is pretty fun to knock them all off onto the floor.

I mean really, look how much joy it bring him to totally destroy all of that!





Whatever you do, have fun.  Learning is an exciting journey that you and your kiddos can take together.  Just make sure you don't put too much pressure on either of you and HAVE FUN!






Thursday, March 21, 2019

Free Spring Printable

It might be spring officially, but it was c-c-c-COLD today in the Hoosier State!  So I was inspired to make some easy spring d├ęcor to brighten things up inside while we wait for things to warm up outside.  Of course, I wanted to share it with you.  So please enjoy this FREE PRINTABLE of one of my favorite quotes (it's even hanging in my daughter's room) in a very clean, crisp design.





Just click on the link below and download your free printable.  Sized to fit an 8x10 but because of it's white background you can easily resize it in whatever program you have and it will work in whatever frame you'd like!  I'm on the hunt for a great square frame to put mine in!







I'd love to see how you display your new printable so make sure to tag me @cutcraftcreate and inspire us all!  Thanks so much for stopping by! 







Thursday, March 14, 2019

DIY Motherhood Earrings

Oooh boy oh boy you guys, I am SO excited to have actually gotten a craft for myself done.  Not to mention- It. Is. Spectacular.  So here's how this came about: a woman from my church started selling handcrafted earrings (check her items out HERE). I love her pieces and asked about custom designs.  She's not currently doing that but I just kept longing for the design I had in mind. The motherhood symbol.  The problem is, I don't have a machine that cuts wood and I wanted something sturdy. So I came up with this solution that only took me about 15 minutes!




[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to products I used to create these earrings. Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.]



Y'all. This is made from Shrinky Dinks.  The process is simple and fast.  Here's how:

Materials:
-'Crystal Clear' Shrinky Dink paper
Sharpie Marker
Dangle Earring Hooks (jewelry making supply)
-(optional) Printoff of your design to trace *I do not own this design.*






STEP 1:
If you are tracing a design, print off your photo. Make sure that it is 3x larger than you want the finished earrings to be. Mine was about 4.75 inches tall to start. If you are blessed with more of an artistic skill than I am, free hand your design! When finished, cut around your shape.  I suggest using the clear Shrinky Dinks so that your design can look detailed without having to cut a bunch of small pieces. Lastly and very importantly: Using a hole punch, make sure to put a hole at the top to hang the earring pieces from. (remember it gets smaller, so use an actual hole punch!)







STEP 2: 
Bake your pieces! Following the instructions on the Shrinky Dinks, bake your design.  It only takes a minute or two so keep an eye on it. This is the exciting part!


[you can see how large the pre-baked pieces are on a baking sheet vs how small they are in my hands after being in the oven!]



When shrink paper bakes, it not only get smaller but much thicker as well.  So the flimsy pieces become thick and sturdy- perfect for a pair of lightweight but strong earrings!






STEP 3:
Attach your new shrunk pieces to the earring hooks using pliers or a small tool (I used tweezers!) and enjoy!






These turned out exactly how I was hoping and that rarely ever happens so perfectly.  You can do any design you want in any color. Just remember that the marker color does darken when you bake it. I am so in love with these earrings and I love being able to wear a piece that is such a beautiful reminder of this crazy amazing journey of motherhood that I've been blessed to be a part of.



[although my eyes look tired, it's actually allergies.  But I thought tired mom eyes made a good photo too! ha!]




What design would you make?  The opportunities are endless! Join me on Instagram & tag me in your own creations. I'd love to see what you make!


Saturday, March 9, 2019

An HONEST review of Apple Valley Natural Soap

If you follow me on Instagram or are a part of my online craft community (facebook) then you may have seen me talk over and over again about how I want NEED to make a change in my life from the single use, chemical ridden junk that is filling every sector of our lives and transition to reusable, sustainable and natural products.  But here's the thing... that does not come naturally to me. At all. I am always forgetting to pack my reusable grocery bags, I frequently ask for a "to go" box at restaurants and dang it.. I really love my boxed mac -n- cheese and pizza rolls.

Needless to say, this transition in my life is difficult but necessary.  The thought of my children's bodies being full of all this junk was the tipping point for me-but now it's about keeping my body healthy for my family and about doing my part to leave this world in a better state than I found it for generations to come.

So... if you're looking for an HONEST review of the most natural, environmentally shampoo/body care I could find from someone who is not at all used to doing this whole "eco-friendly, toxic free" thing... read on.




 [Disclaimer: I have recieved free product in exchange for an honest review.  I reached out to the company for collaboration and all opinions are my own.  Giveaway is sponsored by Apple Valley and facilitated by Cut, Craft, Create]


What's this all about?

Apple Valley Natural Soap is a company owned by a woman named Marianne and her family that creates natural and organic body care products for hair and body.  More specifically, they HAND MAKE these artisan soap products.  They have over 60 soaps and you can even see on their website which ones are currently curing (which I think is super cool)!  When searching online, there were a few things I was looking for.  First- that the soap (shampoo in particular) was free of the toxins and fillers that many of the popular store brands have.   Secondly- I was looking for an environmentally friendly (plastic bottle free) packaging.

AVNS had both of those things, so I went a little deeper, reading customer reviews and searching their products. I found that customers are CRAZY about this company.  More importantly, customers who have tried other "natural soap" products preferred this company over others.  That was important to me because I'm starting from scratch and was worried that if I picked a not-so-good company on my first try that I would be discouraged.


{soap shown is (1) slice from the shampoo sample pack}



Here's what I tried:

I asked to try the Shampoo Bar Sampler Pack (which always comes with a free hair rinse sample as well) and the Soap Placemat.  They also included a sample of the specific shampoo & body bar too!  I picked the "sample pack" instead of the full shampoo bars for a few reasons:

First- I wasn't sure what scent to pick.  Like I said, this whole natural thing doesn't come easily for me and I was worried that I would pick a scent that smelled terrible. So I opted to try 15 different scents and find my favorite!  I also love the idea of the sample pack because it's easy to share.  I let my kids pick one of the "slices" to have in their bathtub upstairs and I picked another one for myself.  If you have a friend who is considering making the switch or has never even heard of it, you can just grab a slice from the sample pack and give it away!




I ended up trying the marshmallow & aloe scent and my kids picked grapefruit patchouliThe sample pack comes with a little pamphlet that lists all the scents in order so you can track which ones you are using and which are your favorites.








Now that I've actually tried them, what do I think?

Lather: I've used bar soaps in the past (never shampoos) and honestly they never had that great of lather- at least not enough to be used as a shampoo. I was skeptical but let me tell you... it lathers like crazy! Just as much as the bottled shampoo I've been buying for years.  I was really surprised. You just take the bar and rub it into your scalp and down the hair.  It's so easy that my kids do it to themselves!


{yes, of course we had to draw their logo on the bathtub. I mean... we have the crayons- why not?!}



Film: The other issue I've had with bar soaps before is that weird dry film that it always seems to leave on my skin.  I was willing to handle that if it wasn't too bad for the sake of using natural products.  In using it on myself and my children, I found that at first it does feel a little different but by the time I rinse off and get out of the shower I don't feel any "film" at all!

Cleanliness: But does it work?  From my experience, yes-but!  I only wash my hair once a week (really) so I was skeptical that it would last as long being made without all those manufactured ingredients that we've grown so used to.  They do say on the website that it will take your hair a few washes to really get used to basically the "lack" of chemicals.  I do feel like my hair got greasy a little sooner than it had before (by a day or so).  My kids wash their hair every couple of days and I have not noticed their hair getting oily more often than it did with their previous shampoo.


{it feels just like 'traditional' shampoo once it's on}



Chemical Free: Every bar on their website lists the ingredients used so there are no secrets.  You'll find that they are free of things like sulfates, preservatives and synthetic detergents. They really are made from natural ingredients.

Packaging: No wasteful plastic bottles here! Not only is this much better for the environment but it takes up a lot less space in your shower.  It also means that you can take these bars with you as you travel, even out in nature because they are biodegradable!






What's a "Hair Rinse"?
This was the hardest thing for me to adjust to.  I'm used to using shampoo and conditioner.  With these products you use the shampoo bar and then a hair rinse.   Below is what their website says about how and why you should use this:

"If you are going to use our shampoo/body bars as part of your hair care regimen, it is important to use a natural vinegar rinse  periodically. After washing your hair with one of our conditioning shampoo bars, either spritz a citric acid or herbal vinegar rinse all over damp hair and scalp. This step can be done before washing the rest of your body so the rinse can soak in. Then rinse it out very briefly. The vinegar smell will go away as your hair dries"




My thoughts? It's a little weird spraying your hair. I was concerned that I wouldn't get enough coverage since it's not something that gets lathered in, so I may have sprayed in more than I needed to! However, I personally believe this is just something that I need to get used to because it's different from the way I've always done it. Different doesn't mean bad and in this case it's good- it means progress! I used the 'Bergamot Orange' scent and didn't notice any vinegar smell at all (and I hate the smell of vinegar).  So definitely something to get used to but worth it. I also used this on my children.  They thought it was odd that I was spraying their hair!  I guess they are creatures of habit like I am. (hehe)



What's a Soap Mat?
Basically it's a little mat that you place your soap bar on so that it lasts longer.  Think- if you just have the soap bar sitting where it gets wet in your shower it's going to "wear away" a little faster since there is no packaging around it.  The mat keeps the bottom of it dry and gives it a little space of it's own. I have one in my shower but not in the kids' baths and I think it does help some.  Long term I think it would save you money for sure.





Some things to note:
- They do not suggest using  the shampoo/body bar on your hair if you have hard water (still okay to use on you body with hard water).  We have VERY hard water in our home but have a water softener and it seemed to be fine .  Read more about that here if you are questioning your water.

- You can use the shampoo bars on your body as well (that's what I do) but you should not use specific body bars on your hair.

-You can SEARCH for the perfect scent (by type: such as masculine scents, curly hair, thin hair, even ones made specifically for kiddos!)


{This gives you an idea of how long each "slice" lasts from the sample pack (actual bars much larger). This was before and after using on the hair AND bodies of two kids. I tried to draw lines to show the size difference but later noticed the soap is sitting differently. Instead- compare the differences based on the height against the hand sticker!}



My final thoughts:
It's a little different than I'm used to, especially the hair rinse.  However, I'm glad that I gave it a try and I'm going to stick with it. Having to learn a new way of doing things for a week or two is worth the long term benefits to my body, my children's bodies and the earth.  I recommend everyone give these products a try and I'd love to hear what you all think about them!


If you think you'd like to give them a try or you're already a fan, they are offering a $50 Gift Certificate to one of you to get whatever you'd like on their website!  Just use the rafflecopter below to enter.  Then once you've entered, head to their website, take a look around and start creating your wish list! I personally can't wait to try their latte brunette and pink lemonade shampoo bars next!

Contest open to US residents 18 or older and ends 12:00AM March 16, 2019. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Custom Speed Portrait [Small Shop Shoutout + Giveaway]

Oh. My. Goodness.  I've said it before and I'll say it again. I LOVE small businesses and creative humans.  Not only do I get real quality (versus the mass produced junk you get at box stores) but I find the most creative random stuff. I was scrolling through Instagram the other  day and stumbled upon a very talented woman under the username lucyrosetillcampbell.  Not only does she draw portraits of people, she does these SPEED PORTRAITS (basically 2 minutes per person in the photo).

How stinkin' cool is that?  I couldn't draw a person that actually looks like a person if I had 200 minutes and she does it in only 2. I contacted her and asked if she could make one for me:

[Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I reached out to the artist Lucy Rose Till Campbell and solicited her work for my blog. She did offer me a discount to pay standard price for commercial use rights. All opinions are my own and giveaway is sponsored by the artist.]







Amazing isn't it?  I even asked her if she could add a coffee cup and a pair of scissors for me because I wanted to use this fun portrait on my blog and blog's social media pages.  She was so responsive and willing to make these additions for me and she was SO SWEET through it all! And guys, these portraits actually look like who they are supposed to look like.  Here's one of the photos I sent to her next to the portraits she drew:






The eyes, the nose, the mouth... it's all so good!  And I totally wear sweaters like that all the time (I didn't even tell her that! haha)  I love the sketched look and the way the color fills the picture, especially on the sweater.  Every time I look at this I like it more and more.  Here's a few other examples I borrowed from her instagram page:





That's right.  She does couples, families, backgrounds and even ANIMALS!  And all in just 2 minutes a body (human or animal). For example, the photo on the left with two people and an animal took 6 minutes to create.  Same for the photo on the right with the two adults and baby.  Full disclosure: she actually spent a few more minutes on mine than the standard "2" but I did ask her for some extras to be added!  Either way, her work shows multiple examples of how awesome her art is!



It's crazy affordable too!
Custom work can often be a pretty penny. And generally, I'm willing to pay because it's worth it for quality, personalized creations.  But these portraits are only $4/person.  If you haven't bought custom art before, that is a STEAL! That means you can get a portrait of your entire family for less than it costs to eat at a restaurant (even the cheapest ones!) There's no reason not to get one.


Maybe the best thing of all? She is just so sweet.  I love building my community and because of this brief collaboration, I've made a new friend.  I feel good sharing her page because she does quality work and really seems to be a good quality person.   Also- holy cow, how creative is her idea to make speed portraits?!




I know you want one now, don't you?  Well today is YOUR LUCKY DAY!  She's offering one of you sweets a FREE speed portrait (up to 4 individuals- *people or animals*) of your choice.  It's super easy to enter, just follow the widget prompts below:



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Contest ends 2/26/19 at 12:00 AM.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.