Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Christmas Tradition You Need to be Doing With Your Kids

I'm sure you've seen the seemingly endless Christmas traditions posted across the internet.  Things to do each year, make each year, gift each year.  There are so many awesome ideas out there- which ones to choose (because we can't do them all)?  Have no fear my friend, I'm here with a tradition that is both easy and useful and you can be as creative with it as you please.  The best part about it?  Your child gets to keep the tradition going as they grow and leave the nest *please excuse me while I go cry at the thought* 

I grew up in a household that cherished those "meaningful" ornaments.  You know, the ones from special events we attended, places we have been, passions we have or even ornaments that remind us of those we love the most (like my boxer dog ornament that reminds me of my late dog Buddy).  My husband is completely foreign to this idea and I'm in shock.  He came into our marriage with a Purdue University Santa, a miniature stocking with his name in glitter glue (from college) and... wait for it... a jock-strap ornament.  I kid you not.

That is why I beg you to start this tradition with your kids TODAY.  Don't waste any time, don't wait until next year and for the love of Christmas, don't buy a jock-strap ornament.

It's simple really.  Here's what you do:

STEP 1:. Think of something important that happened in your child's life that year.  If they are old enough to discuss, let them tell you what they cherish most!

Last year, my little guy took his first flight (actually his first several)!  He was a champ and actually won over about half the airplane with his adorable-ness.  He is such a social butterfly.  I had a little trouble finding a bare wood airplane (I wanted the older looking airplanes because I just think they are more cute) but eventually found this one at Hobby Lobby for under $2!

STEP 2: Design your ornament to fit the details of the occasion (or simply purchase if you aren't interested in getting creative).  I wanted this ornament to have as many details as possible so I first painted it to resemble scenes we might see in Colorado (where we went on his first flight).  The bottom half is the ground and the top half is the sky.

On each side I painted mountains and trees and clouds.  Disclaimer: I am NOT gifted at painting but I'm really proud of this.  I think I was channeling Bob Ross when painting my "happy little trees".  If you don't understand that reference, don't tell me or I might feel old.

Since the ornament is so small, basic designs work well.  No need for tiny details.  This is good news if you have zero art skills like myself.

Hello Colorado mountains!

The dusty little clouds are my favorite part!

STEP 3: Using vinyl and your cutting machine (or letter stickers or handwriting if you prefer) add the final details such as: date, location, type of event, etc.  I also covered the vinyl with Mod Podge to get a better seal so it doesn't peel off through the years!

In this particular shape (airplane) this was the hardest step to accomplish.  I don't know how many times I stuck that date on trying to get it centered and straight, especially with that slanted font!

STEP 4: Have your child place their ornament on the tree every year.  This is a great opportunity to remind them of what the ornament means, a funny story behind it, etc.  When your child grows up and moves away, let them take all these ornaments with them.  That way, they not only have a start on collecting their own ornaments but they have a little piece of home with them wherever they may go.

Don't worry, you'll still have plenty of ornaments from them throughout the years that you get to keep as well!

Looking for another easy tradition to do each year that incorporates this one?  Pack a "Christmas Eve Box" that your child can open on Christmas Eve.  There have been many variations of this online but here's what we include:

1. Pajamas (to wear that night!)
2. Slippers
3. Christmas-themed book
4. Their special ornament from that year

{This was my son's Christmas Eve box last year.  He was just over 1 year old}

What do you think?
Whether you create the ornament for them, involve them in the process, put it in a Christmas Eve box or not- this is a tradition you have to start immediately.  As a 27 year old with years of meaningful ornaments, I promise you that this will be an investment well worth your time. 

This year, I've collected sand from his first trip to the ocean and will be filling a clear ornament with it.  Then of course I will have to vinyl up the outside of the ornament with the details!  What would some of your kids' ornaments look like?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Freshly Picked WINNER + More Giveaways!

Thank you all soooo much for being a part of our most recent giveaway for a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins!  I love this product and this company so I am always so tickled to share a pair with you.  Are you the big winner?  Let's find out...

But before I announce the winner- I want to tell you about MORE GIVEAWAYS that I am hosting.  My mom and I own our our small business.  We specialize in infant and toddler apparel but also do a lot of adult and custom apparel as well as home decor and other infant/toddler accessories.  As a way to say thank you and share the love this holiday season, we wanted to do a 12 Days of Giveaways!

Originally we set a cutoff date of December 1 to get the 400 facebook likes and 400 Instagram likes that we asked for in order to host.  However... because we REALLY want to give you all free stuff, here's the new deal:

1. "Like" us on Facebook .

2. "Follow" us on Instagram

3. Tag your friends and family in the giveaway posts on either (or both!) platforms so that they can join in the fun.

As soon as we reach 400 likes/follows we start the giveaway. (example:  If we reach that number today, we start with day 2 of the giveaways- gifting for the next 11 days.  If we reach that number on the 10th, we will still have the final 3 days of giveaways.)

The faster we reach our numbers goal the more prizes we give out so spread the word!  Prizes vary but will be posted each day for you to enter.  One GRAND PRIZE will be given at the end.  Help support small business & get free stuff for yourself, your family or just to give as gifts!

Okay, now onto our Freshly Picked winner...

Thanks for checking out Cut, Craft, Create on facebook Kelly! An e-mail has already been sent your way.  If I don't hear back within 48 hours a new winner will be chosen.  Thanks again everyone who entered and keep watching the facebook page for more giveaways and DIY projects!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Freshly Picked CYBER MONDAY SALE + Giveaway

Raise your hand if you have been shopping every day since Thanksgiving.  I know I have.  I love Black Friday for the spirit of it but I've been doing a lot of my shopping online this year as well.  What I'm most excited about are some of the awesome deals I've scored on gifts that I know people will love.  That's why I'm super excited to share with you today...

Freshly Picked CYBER MONDAY SALE + giveaway!!!

[Disclosure: I received product from Freshly Picked to photograph and share but all opinions are my own. Giveaway items are being offered by Freshly Picked.]

If you've followed me in the past, you know that I adore this company.  They make darling shoes and accessories for your little ones.  Their most popular item is by far their soft sole moccasins.  These moccs are not only cute but made from high quality leather that lasts... even on busy feet!

We've owned two pairs and have really enjoyed them.  My son's very first pair were these fun little ants in a teeny tiny size 2.  He was able to wear these when he learned to walk!

My son's second pair he wears currently.  I actually ordered a size up so that he could wear them more in the summer (we wear a lot of snow boots here in Indiana!) but since we received our package in the mail he keeps insisting on putting them on- so I let him wear them around the house!  I think he likes the "idea" of shoes but since they have a soft sole, he still feels more like when he is barefoot (which he loves).  Just FYI though, I've seen him run over rocks in these moccs and they seem to be pretty protective on his feet.  He can't quite explain that to me yet (he's only 2) but this mama is convinced that they are good shoes.

I love this print (Santa Fe) because it's made from the "weathered brown" leather which is basic enough that it can go with so many different outfits but it's got a little peek-a-boo print on the back that makes it a little more "fun".

{We love that natural "weathered brown" color at our house.  Classic like little wooden toys!}

Onto the SALE...

Anyways, I know you are here for the details on this sale, right?  For today only (November 28, 2016), Freshly Picked is offering 25%  off all their seasonal styles!  This is HUGE because although Freshly Picked runs giveaways frequently, they rarely offer this sort of discount on items.  If you have even considered getting a pair, NOW IS THE TIME.

The sale starts at 10:00 am MST and only lasts for 24 hours.  I would head over to their website now to snag your favorite prints before they run out.

Here are a few of my other favorite prints:

Top row: Pin the PetalCoyote and Daisy
Bottom row: Cactus DaySkate Grip and Anchors Aweigh

Oh... they are also running another Cyber Monday deal on grab bags.  Basically, you pick the gender and size of the shoe and they send you 2 prints of moccs (random) for less than the regular price of 1 pair!  That's a great deal and also kind of fun to see what you will get. Read more about the grab bags here.

So basically you should pick up a pair for your own little one, your nephew and your friend's little girl that you have play dates with, because #christmasgifts

Want a pair for FREE?

Not only can you get these items for 25% off and snatch up a grab bag (or two) for an amazing price but I've also teamed up with Freshly Picked to offer one person a free pair of soft sole moccasins!  Seriously, this company is so great.

Here's what you need to do to be entered to win:
1- Complete the tasks in the giveaway widget below.
2- Be a US resident (sorry, no shipping outside of the US unless you are willing to pay the shipping charges yourself)
3- You cannot have won a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins within the last 60 days.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Goodluck to everyone who entered.  Whether you're hoping for that free pair or not, you won't want to miss out on their Cyber Monday sales because they don't last long and they really don't come around often.  You wont regret it.  Hope this has helped to brighten your day and get you excited about all that money you are saving this holiday season!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Custom Frame DIY in 5 minutes!

There is something so satisfying about completing a project that you have been working on for what seems like forever.  I feeling of accomplishment; a feeling that all the little pieces are finally put together; a feeling like you've really created something with your own hands.  There is also something extremely satisfying about being able to complete a project that you love in 5 minutes.  Now THAT'S what I'm talking about. 

[Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing items through the links gives me a small commission with no extra charge to you.  I only link up products I personally use and trust.  Thank you for supporting my blog.]

I love to craft and I have so many projects in mind (most of them being those "large" time consuming ones) that I sometimes feel like I don't accomplish anything because of my limited schedule.  That's why quick and easy 5 minute projects like this one are always my favorites.  They are the little projects that keep me going in between the big ones.  And hello- how cute is this?

(psst: you've seen it before in this post but here is the tutorial)

Make your own frame in any design or pattern you wish!  I made this frame to use during my son's 2nd birthday party but love the design so much I plan to use it around the house for other decoration or to hold family photos.

Here's what you'll need:

I purchased the frame at Michaels Craft Store (I got several of them in different border shapes for only a dollar or so) and like these because they are made for craft projects.  The wood is actually bare (no paint, stain or sealer) so it takes to these DIY projects much better than an old finished frame.

Ready to start?
It really does take around 5 minutes start to finish to make this frame and only a few simple steps.  I took lots of photos but it will only take you about as long to complete them as it does to read them.

Step 1:
Flip your frame front side down on the scrapbook paper and trace the outline of the frame (the outside and inside both).

Step 2:
Cut out the piece you just traced.  It should look exactly like the wood portion of your frame.

Step 3:
Cover wood frame with Mod Podge using a foam brush.  Make sure to get it all the way to the edges.  You only need enough for the paper to stick so don't go nuts or it will just ooze out the sides.

Step 4:
Place your paper on top of the wet Mod Podge, pressing firmly along the edges.  Finish by covering the top of the paper with another light layer of Mod Podge.  This will give it a more finished look and help protect it from wear.

{That's it!}
There you have it folks.  I told you it would take just as long to read the instructions as it does to make it.  Love this easy way to decorate around the house and how cute would these be as gifts for Christmas or to your kid's school teacher?  Buy a frame with glass in it and make your own dry erase board (tutorial here) which may make an even cooler gift.  (Psst... see how else I used the DIY dry erase board for a party activity!)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Top 5 Things to do with your Craft-reluctant child {Guest Post}

Today I have a very special treat for all you crafty mamas (papas, grandparents, aunts...) out there.  Sometimes kids are hard and planning daily activities with them is hard.  As a stay at home mama I frequently find myself wishing I had planned something more creative for us to do with our time.  I mean, I'm a craft blogger.  Where is the creativity?!  Or... maybe you are a Pinterest addict who frequently pins these amazing crafts online only to find that your child is less-than-impressed with your efforts.  We've had that happen here too.

Whether you are not sure how to go about introducing crafts to your child or burnt out on trying to get them involved in something they just aren't interested in, this guest post is just what you need to read.

About the guest blogger: Teresa is a nurse, lactation consultant, massage therapist, yoga teacher, writer and crafter.  Mother to three boys and one naughty Bichon.

The Back Story
I had an unplugged childhood. I spent hours, and I do mean HOURS, drawing, coloring, gluing, cutting, and creating. I grew up in a rural community. With the notable exception of the library and the city park and pool, there were few resources for leisure time, and <cough, ahem> the internet was decades from inception. Children’s programming was limited to Saturday mornings. There were a handful of regional children’s TV shows that were hosted by ersatz cowboys, music teachers, and homemade puppets.  A few of us that lived in town were fortunate enough to have cable television, but our cable was a fragile thing. Wind and storms routinely knocked out our reception and we were left to our own devices. In my case, I read, or searched my house in desperation for paper. I counted myself lucky if I found a blank piece of lined notebook paper. Some of my greatest creations were drawn on the back of envelopes.

It’s a New Day
Flash forward twenty or so years and I had children of my own—three boys to be exact. We lived in a decent-sized city with lots of resources for entertainment, a world class children’s museum, zoo, gardens, a professional puppet theater, bike trails, and numerous parks. We took advantage of all of these things and enjoyed them tremendously, but what I wanted to share with my boys was my love of all things crafty. My relationship with paper, crayons, and glue was not just the desperate time filler of my youth, it was the visual construction of my imaginings. For me, creating had a pleasant, satisfying, calming effect. I so wanted my boys to know what that felt like.

Crafing? Meh.
Because of my own lack of supplies, I was determined that my boys would have quality materials. I purchased beautiful German block crayons, reams of large newsprint for everyday and good quality drawing pads for the special projects. There were pastels, and water colors, an easel, and paint smock. I spent way too much on special scissors that cut patterns, die cutters in cool shapes, and colored construction paper in a rainbow of hues. In the event that they were more dimensional thinkers, I purchased old school clay, modeling dough, modeling wax, and colored, wax-covered sticks that were easy to mold and sculpt. There was much more, but I think you get the picture.
While I was savvy enough to know not to introduce all of these things at once, all of my attempts at encouraging creativity was met with, “Meh.” How could this be? How could my offspring prefer an online coloring game with limited palette and no shading? “Did you smell that beeswax?—It’s heavenly!” “Look at this beautiful stamp set with colored ink pads!”

Don’t You Walk Away Mister
I did exactly what I shouldn’t have done. I got angry. I tried bargaining—“Spend half an hour modeling dough with me and you can watch a movie.” Nothing worked. At best I would get five fidgety minutes of haphazard coloring and a “Can I go outside?” I felt rejected. I shouldn’t have taken it personally, but I did.

Professional Help
This situation could have gone on inevitably if not for some professional intervention. My boys’ beloved grandmother was a former art teacher and preschool teacher. With her guidance we made some changes. Some of these changes were structural, but honestly—the big change had to take place inside of my head.

Top 5 Things to do with your Craft-reluctant child:

1) Create a craft cabinet with all of your supplies centrally located and easily accessible. The contents of that cabinet will need to be modified with very young children. If this is an activity that you want your children to do then they have to be able to get to the supplies.

2) Some negotiation is OK. If your child is “bored” give them a choice of three things they can do. Make crafting one of those things. This way they are selecting crafting for themselves and you can hopscotch right over the power struggle. This of course means that you have to be OK when they don’t pick crafting.

3) My mother-in-law was fond of reminding me that when creating with young children, it’s the process and not the product that counts. Let go of the perfectly executed Pinterest project. Themed art projects are really more for us than for them. What matters most right now is the exploration.

4) When your child does express interest in a crafting activity pick a single medium and really explore all of the qualities of that medium. Have you ever thought about all the things you can do with crayons? You can melt broken crayons in muffin tins and create your own block crayons. You can grate them with an old cheese grater and melt shavings in between sheets of wax paper. You can create a drawing and then iron to watch the lines blur. The sensory play and experience with the medium is far more important than having a picture-perfect themed project. The exploration of cause and effect and the sensory play with medium was one of the most successful things that helped to engage my left-brained boys in a right-brained crafting activity.

5) Make your peace. I’m sorry to say this. It breaks my heart really it does, but this may not be your kiddo’s favorite activity any more than say, hockey is yours. You can continue to enjoy all those supplies. Pull out the paints, crayons and pastels. Invite your son or daughter to interact with you. Go ahead and role model what an enjoyable and stress-reducing activity crafting can be, but know it may not be their thing.

Given the first paragraph of this blog you can probably guess that my boys are no longer little boys. Two are young adults and one is a teen. The two older boys have gone on to be successful college graduates, hard workers, and productive members of society. I like to think that all the exposure they had to creativity as a child played a role in helping them to develop their dimensional thinking, math skills, and reasoning skills that help them to be successful adults. While I’ve had to give up on my dreams of Christmas craft projects with my adult children, I was successful in creating three well rounded young men, and I’m proud of that. Project completed.


Enjoy this post?  Keep an eye out for the launch of Teresa's new blog: "Postpardum Mama" that will be launching after the start of the new year.  Her focus will be on product reviews, 15-minute one-handed meal prep recipes, weekly postpardum challenges for self-care and more!  Teresa was my very own lactation consultant when my son was born and her knowledge of postpardum topics has been a lifesaver for me time and time again.  I can't wait to see what her new blog has in store!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"My Favorite Books" Themed Birthday Party

My baby big boy turned 2 this week and I wanted to share a few of the elements from his birthday party.  We follow the AAP's recommendations on screen time (no screen time before age 2) so we had some trouble thinking of a "theme" for his party.  Sure, he loves all things Elmo (he's going to flip when he sees Elmo talking on TV for the first time!) and he thinks he likes Dory and Monster's Inc. and Mickey Mouse because they are on his underpants.  None of these are his favorite though.  He's also crazy for tractors but I don't see that trend going anywhere so why have a tractor themed party when we'll have 5 more over the next several years?  So what does he really truly love more than anything?  Books.

Books are the answer.  But how to theme it creatively?  If you've got a reading-loving-kid this book party is easy to put together and personalized just for them!

[Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing items through the links gives me a small commission with no extra charge to you.  I only link up products I personally use and trust.  Thank you for supporting my blog.]

"My Favorite Books" Birthday Party

The food was themed to fit each of his favorite books and his *slightly less but still obsessed* favorite books were used in decor around the house.  We also came up with table decorations that served as activities or information about the birthday boy!

Here are a list of his favorite books and how I related them to food.  Of course, use your child's favorites and get creative (Hint: Dips and Punches can be re-named anything you want if you are struggling to come up with a tie-in!)

- A Tale of Two Beasts - "Strange Beast Party Punch"

101 Dalmatians - "Puppy Chow" Chex Mix

Babybug - "Goldfish" (On the label, I quoted one of the lines from his favorite mini-story in the book- 'and a happy goldfish coming home with me!')

Old MacDonald Had a Farm (this is the BEST version of this book I've ever seen!) - "Wiggly Jig Pigs in a Blanket"

-Bear in a Square - "My favorite shapes" Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

-Caps for Sale - "Monkey Business" chips and dip

-Blueberries for Sal - "Sal's Blueberries (and other yummy fruits!)"

Easy DIY personalized decorations too!

It's important to me that birthday parties tell the story of the person who is having the birthday.  It's all about them because well- it's their birthday after all!  So on each table I included the following decorations/activities:

{A special note for the Birthday Boy}

Using the same tutorial that I did in THIS POST I created a dry erase board out of an old frame and asked guests to write the birthday boy a special message that will later be put into his birthday scrapbook.  I presented it next to his Melissa & Doug Animal Rescue Shape-Sorting Truck (which he loves but calls his "ambulance") with blank cards on top and a stack of pens.

Once guests were finished with their messages they could drop them through the shape-sorting slots in the truck!  I loved how one of his favorite toys could be used as a card-holder!

{Before and After Photos}

On another table I printed off two photos of my son at age 1 and two photos at age 2.  I put them into a small swivel frame (which I think was purchased at the Dollar Store!) so that guests could rotate them back and forth and see what a difference a year makes!

{I apologize for the coloring in many of these photos.  We have the darkest house in the universe which is exactly why I have to stage so many of my craft projects!}

{"My Favorite Things" List}

Sure the party is about his favorite books, but what are his other favorite things?  Using a tutorial (which I'll share next week) in how to make this frame in under 5 minutes I simply wrote in all his favorites at age 2!

{Mantle Decoration}

This was initially going to be the backdrop for photos of my son blowing out candles but again- my house is insanely dark and I didn't think they would turn out.  Nonetheless it made for nice decor. (Again, sorry for the terrible lighting!)

Then on each side I stood up some of his other "favorite" books that didn't make the "very favorites" list for food.

The "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" is very easy to make.  Here's how:

Step 1: Find empty glass jars in varying sizes (some were large Mason jars, some jelly jars and some salsa jars)

Step 2:  Cut your letters from cardstock (Recollections is my favorite brand.  They come in a variety of color packs and cut like a dream on my silhouette!)

(optional) Add stickers to the "holes" of the letters if you didn't cut them out.

Step 3: Using hot glue, apply thick globs onto the top of your jar.  Quickly stick the bottom of the letter into it and hold upright until the glue dries (it doesn't take long!)  Apply more glue to help it stand if needed.

{Hot glue is awesome on glass because it holds up as needed but is also *very* easy to remove.  Once you're done with this project just pull the letter and glue right off with your hands to reuse the jar!}

Step 4: Crumple up tissue paper and shove inside the jars.

Step 5: Set up across your mantel or table and enjoy!

{Balloon Garland}
This is so easy and was my son's favorite part.  The morning of his party he saw it and stopped dead in his tracks, looked up and it and said "wow... wow...." over and over!  Toddlers are so easy to please!

Those are the clear confetti balloons from the Dollar Store and I made the tassels out of the same tissue paper from the mantle craft.  Easy peasy.

{Personalized Shirt}
Are you still with me?  I swear this is the last thing!  Of course we had to get Russell his own special birthday shirt!  After asking around online a friend suggested the phrase 'Tickled to be Two" and I loved it! Perks of owning your own t-shirt business is that you can make your own shirts last minute. (Downfall of owning your own t-shirt business- you wait until the last minute and realize the only raglan style shirt you have on hand is a 3T- oops!  He'll grow into it... maybe).

What a cheesy little grin! If you love this shirt, feel free to message us on facebook or request a custom order in our etsy shop and we can make one up for you!  It's not listed yet because we're working on a whole series but we'd be happy to dress your little one for their upcoming birthday so please just ask about it!

{Wow... that was a lot!}

I threw a lot of information at you there.  This was actually a pretty simple party with a few special elements that made it fun, unique and personalized.  What do you think about a "Favorite Books" theme for your little one?