Friday, June 7, 2013

DAD letter blocks

It's been awhile since I posted to our blog. Sorry about that. Life has a way of getting busy. Just thought I'd take a quick minute to post a link for the DAD letter blocks as there have been so many requests.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another 2012 Valentine Project

Ah yes. I forgot to mention the super simple project that we're offering at our upcoming class for those who only have a few pictures...or about 10 minutes to finish a project!

You finish the project the exact same way as we detailed in the previous blog entry. The beauty of this project is that it's so fast that you can make one for each family member!

Free downloadable file for project here: Love Blocks Valentine Project .pdf. Just be sure to use a laser printer!

Beth Graham is an amazing photographer. She shared some darling pictures of her own kids which we used for this sample. Be sure to check out her blog for more examples of her work.

Friday, January 27, 2012

2012 Valentine Love Project

One of the sweet things about going through Grandma's house this past Christmas was the wonderful pile of family photographs that we discovered. Up to that point, I had about 3 photographs from my husband's childhood.

We are gearing up to teach another holiday class at Deseret Book in February. (We'll be there February 4th from 10-12.) Our ornament projects are pretty popular there and with Valentines Day right around the corner, we thought of another simple project that uses the 2" wood block.

Suni was tasked with coming up with our samples. Imagine my joy when she returned these using pictures featuring photos from the life of our mom and grandma that had just passed away. I think it's the perfect way to say I Love You!

Of course, we want to share this project with you...
First, you need to gather some supplies:

2" Wood Blocks
Decorative Paper - or print out our Love Blocks Valentine Project .pdf. Just be sure to use a laser printer!
Decoupage Glue - We like ModPodge's Matte Glue
Foam Brush
2" Pictures (Print these on regular paper using a laser printer.)
Sandpaper / Sanding block
Distress ink / chalk (optional)
Finishing Spray

Step 1:
Prepare your pictures. You have two options. Either print each picture to be at least as large as your blocks. Use the edge of the block to trace around each picture and cut away the excess. Or, you can use the Photo Wizard to get your picture to the exact size that is needed for this project. [Use the Block/Box - ORNAMENT option for the 2" block.] Need help using the Photo Wizard. See our demo. Still need help? We're only a mouse click away. Just email us at mythoughts@storiesbyme.com. Cut each picture to size.

Be sure to print your pictures using a LASER printer! Ink jet colors tend to smear when they get wet!!

Step 2:
The cut ends of the wood absorb more glue than the grained ends. Before beginning this step, apply a layer of glue of glue to the ends with the rougher (cut) surfaces. Let glue dry.

Apply a thin layer of glue to the first side of one block. Place picture over glue and press in to place. Remove any air bubbles.

Check for overhanging paper edges. It is important to WAIT for the glue to dry before attempting to remove any excess paper.

Once all of the picture are in place, add decorative paper to the top and bottom of each block. Don't worry about matching sides. A random look is great!

Step 3:
If you like the vintage look shown in our example, sand all the corners of the block being careful not to sand across the picture.

This step gives the block a worn look; like it's been around for ages. We darken the exposed wood to make the project look even older!

Video of the entire process - long and BORING...but very detailed!

Step 4:
Protect the pictures by adding several layers of decoupage glue over the top of the photos. This process is time-consuming because you must wait for the glue to dry. Instead of glue, we'll sometimes add several light coats of a matte acrylic spray when pressed for time.

Sending much love your way!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grandma's Snicker Doodle Cookies

It's been a busy couple of weeks around here. Our grandmother passed away Christmas morning. Some people would think that it should have been a sad day...but it wasn't. We'll miss her immensely, but we were comforted by the fact that she didn't have to suffer. (She had been diagnosed two weeks earlier with pancreatic cancer.) Right up to the very end, she was thinking of everyone else by leaving earth life when it would be most convenient for family and friends to come together to celebrate her life. Because her funeral was during the Christmas break, everyone got to attend and it really was quite a joyful occasion.

This past Sunday evening I learned that another grandparent had passed away. He wasn't a direct grandfather, but he was a Grandparent Superhero by his incredible love and amazing example.

If you ask my kids about their memories of Grandma, they'll be sure to include stories of her Snicker Doodle cookies. One time, my kids had a cookie eating contest to see who could eat the most Snicker Doodles (I happened to have been out during this grand moment of brain loss.) We got to enjoy the game for weeks as my youngest WON the contest and shared the spoils later that night by literally tossing his cookies all over the car!

As we were clearing out Grandma's things we came across a treasure... a copy of her cookie recipe. I knew immediately what needed to be done! Each of my kids got a copy in ornament form.

These cookies are GOOD! We'll share the cookie recipe here. If you want to finish the project, it's been designed for a 5x6 placard. To finish the backside of the ornament, you can use scrap book paper (pink - on right), fabric (brown dots - on left) or personalize it with a family picture (center one is going to my son in the Netherlands so he can enjoy a little bit of Grandma love!!!)

We'll be offering this project at our March class at Deseret Book for those local to the Salt Lake area.

Get recipe cards here. (BIG file, be patient while it loads!)

Still trying to think of something to keep our memories of Stan close to our heart. More to come!

Friday, December 23, 2011

All I Want For Christmas is a...

Believe it or not, my ONE Christmas wish involves a ring...but not of the jewelry type. In less than 48 hours I get to talk to my missionary son via the telephone. He's been gone now for 7 months [plus 5 days and about 6 hours --but who's counting?]

I get the rules of having missionaries focus on their service efforts and not on what's happening at home. Typically, LDS missionaries get to call home three times the first year they are gone.

I got cheated out of phone call number one!

My husband feels pretty bad about it, maybe because I kind of blamed him for missing the call. My son called from the Atlanta airport as he prepared for his final flight to Belgium. Only problem is that he called the wrong number (Due to some wacky schedules, Dad got the first phone call and suggested that son call my work # even though I had been tethered to the home land-line all day waiting for the call.)

I will NOT miss phone call number two!!

I share the story of the first phone call only because it relates to phone call number two. Yesterday we got the necessary information so we could contact our missionary on Christmas morning. Hubby must be feeling a bit anxious given the events of the last contact so he wanted to make sure everything was working properly. What does he do? He calls the number. Yes, he does. He calls the number and guess who answers? A very shocked missionary son. Hubby quickly hung up so I could enjoy the surprise on Christmas day!

I did get an early Christmas present from a new friendship that has developed out of the Netherlands. T recently had a birthday. This sweet family threw a birthday party for my son and video taped it so I could enjoy the celebration.

Now I just wish I understood Dutch!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More Christmas Memories

When I was a little girl, our Christmas tree was decorated with homemade ornaments, most that were the edible type. It was such a temptation. By the time Christmas arrived, you would be hard pressed to find an untouched 'ornament'. One year, I remember my little brother actually pulled the tree over trying to discretely remove a decoration.

I had BIG plans for this year's tree. I really thought I'd have time to locate all of my mother's old cookie recipes and decorate the entire tree with recipes and homemade cookies. That didn't happen, but I'm still LOVING what I DID ACCOMPLISH!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Long Live Traditions!

I love traditions! Some years I'm better at keeping up with the list of traditions our family has deemed all important than others, but this year I noticed that even the simplest of traditions go a long way to creating the nostalgia that is associated with the holidays.

As my kids get older (and less wanting to help me decorate the house for Christmas) I have found myself cutting corners on the decorating aspect of our traditions. I keep thinking to myself "What goes up, must come down!" This year I almost skipped a few of the decoration boxes. Some of our decorations are now 20-plus-years old (when did THAT HAPPEN?) and are looking more ratty than festive. We have an advent calendar that I made when T was just a little tike. I can still remember those chubby little fingers anxiously moving our Mary and Joseph 'counter' closer to the town of Bethlehem to announce the special day. I honestly didn't think that anyone would notice if it didn't grace the pantry door where it has hung every year since we moved into this house. It's really isn't anything special...

Or it is?

It seems that this calendar is an important part of my kids memories. My 14-year-old was not only genuinely happy to see this treasured decoration, but has faithfully moved the marker forward every day since December 1. In four days he'll move Mary and Joseph to their positions right outside the stable. Once the Babe is placed in the manager, I'm sure his thoughts will turn to the loot stashed under the tree, but at least for a few seconds each day in December, my teenager has been reminded of the reason for the season...and famly.

What are some of my favorite family traditions?

  • Christmas Eve pizza
  • The Hughes Neighborhood Christmas Concert
  • Going downtown to look at the Christmas lights and store windows
  • Secret Santas
  • Having Uncle Earl over for Christmas dinner
  • Opening one present on Christmas Eve...and always finding new PJ's!
  • Putting out my Woof-n-Poof collection and remembering each gift my hubby gave me over the years

What is the one Christmas tradition that you couldn't live without?

For me, it wouldn't be Christmas without the reading of the first Christmas story taken from the pages of Luke.