Friday, March 13, 2015

Leprechaun POOP!!

After Christmas I stumbled upon a large bag of red and green M&M's on clearance at the grocery store.  I came home and separated out all of the red from the green.  The red one's I included in Matt's Valentine's package and the green I saved for St. Patrick's Day.

(Yeah, I know the purple and green don't really match but I couldn't's SPRING!!)

Using a poem that I found on Crazy Little Projects (click here for the link) I whipped up this little sandwich bag topper and filled the bag with the green M&M's and some Rolo's.  It would work with any kind of candy that are green or gold.  Just the gold Rolo's would be so funny!

(click here to download)

I included our messages that we wrote at our last Bash for our family missionaries (click here for the post), some green cookies (Thanks, Tonya!) and this Irish Blessing for the package topper.  Simple.

(click here to download)

Leprechaun Mail

We had our family Bash recently and I had all the cousins write short notes to our family missionaries.  I tend to get better participation if I keep things quick and simple.  Too complicated or time consuming and their eyes tend to glaze over.  I found these cute St. Patrick's Day lunch box notes from Heather at The Chickabug Blog (click here for the free printable*) that worked perfectly. Some of them even have a question or wording on the top for those who can't think up something to write.

I wanted to put all the notes (there was quite a pile of them) into a small vellum envelope but I didn't have any on hand so I made my own out of waxed paper.  Not the perfect solution but I didn't have to go to the store.  Free is always better...just ask my husband.  After cutting out the envelopes, I closed them with a bit of Washi tape.  Cute.  Free.  Easy.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!

click here to download the envelope template

*Used with permission from Heather at The Chickabug Blog.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Aromatherapy Rice Bag

For my birthday this year our Relief Society gave me a Rice Bag.  Not sure what they're know, those bags that are filled with rice, wheat, corn or beans that you can stick in the microwave? This will make a brilliant addition to my Baby it's Cold Outside care package!  I purchased a yard of two coordinating flannels - so they don't mix up theirs with their companions. If you are only doing a package for your missionary you can get away with just 1/4 yard. You can get 6 bags per yard.

Aromatherapy Wheat Bag tutorial:
- 1 -
Fold fabric in half and cut a rectangle measuring 8"x18"  (or whatever size you want it to be)

- 2 -
With right sides together stitch all the way around the outside edge leaving about a 2" opening on one of the short ends for turning and filling your bag.  Clip corners.

Optional ribbon tag:  You can add this if you choose...just cut a scrap piece of ribbon and tuck it into one of the long sides, pin in place and continue with step 2.  The ribbon just gives your missionary something cool to grab onto when they remove their bag from the microwave.

- 3 -
Turn your bag right side out.  Press.

- 4 -
 Using a cone made from an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, fill your bag with 2 1/2 cups of whatever filling material you choose.  (I used wheat because I have a lot of that in my food storage.  I poured it into a metal bowl and added some lavender essential oil for fragrance.  Don't use too's pretty powerful stuff but it's so soothing.)  Note:  I tried to use a funnel but it seemed to take for-e-ver.  A cone is much faster...

- 5 -
Fold your fabric in half and press giving you a stitch line.  Stitch in half.  (Stitching half-way ensures that your filler stays more evenly distributed and not all down at one end.)

- 6 -
Add an additional 2 1/2 cups of filler and stitch closed using a blind stitch.
If you're not sure how to do that, click here for a tutorial.

There you have it!  All done!
I folded mine in half and taped a tag on with a bit of coordinating Washi tape.  The instructions for warming and cooling the bag are on the back of the tag.
(You could just as easily punch a hole in the top corner and use it as a bag tag.) 
Place it all in a cellophane bag and tie it off with a cute ribbon.
(insert my missionary rolling his eyes here)

Click  on the photo's below to download the tag.
(I saved mine to a flash drive and had the copy shop print it so 
the back was lined up with the front when I cut it out.

bag tag front

bag tag back - instructions
(who knew you could also put them in the freezer?)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

True Crew Temple Socks!

The night before my daughter's birthday I received an email from Stacey at True Crew Socks.  She had stumbled up on my blog while she was setting up a Pinterest account for their new sock company based out of Bellevue, Washington - where my son is serving. These athletic socks are based on the popular skyline socks that started in Seattle a few years ago only they feature the silhouette of an LDS temple instead! How brilliant is that?!

I quickly looked up their company and ordered a few pair.  Maren is a sports fanatic and has a particular obsession with athletic socks.  Go figure...most girls love Barbies...but not mine. Want to figure out something that will thrill her?  Go to the boys section of a sports store.  Girly-girls I have none.  I ordered two pair of the Seattle Temple - one for Maren and one for Matt; and a Salt Lake Temple pair in black and red.  She has a ton of black and red athletic gear.  I printed off photos of the socks and tied a ribbon around them.  Maren was so excited when she opened them!  Then the wait by the mailbox began..."Mom, did my socks come?"  Lucky for her they were here in no time!

For the moment the socks only come in one size - adult (one size fits most 7-11).  They don't have plans to do any in youth sizes unless there is a large demand in the future.  Do not despair!  Maren is 13 and wears a size 7 youth. Both pair were too big but I called True Crew and they suggested that I wash and dry them to get them to shrink.  Maren decided to give the Salt Lake Temple ones (which run a little bigger) to her big brother who is 17 and wears a size...big.  I don't know what size he wears, just normal for a teenage boy.  They fit him perfectly. We washed the Seattle ones in hot and then dried them on hot. We did this four times and each time they would shrink just a bit more.  They fit her perfectly now and she couldn't be more thrilled.  They've been washed several times since then and have stayed put but I usually only wash on warm or cold. If you're buying them for your missionary you won't have to worry.  They will fit great! Currently they carry:

Salt Lake
San Diego
Washington D.C.

The Seattle temple is their 10th and latest design.  If sales continue to grow they plan to introduce a new temple or color every quarter although they can "create any temple in any color with a pre-order of 50 pair - so if your family wants the Atlanta Temple in pink because that's Grandma's favorite temple and color, they can do that.  Socks for all the cousins!" (That's a direct quote from Stacey.)

Currently they only ship stateside however, if you need shipping outside of the United States you can email them via the 'Contact' tab on their website and they can price shipping options.  AND, just in time for Christmas, they have added gift wrapping with a customized gift tag!  Just add 'Gift Wrap' as a product when you order. Not only will they take care of the gift wrapping, but they'll "tackle the lines at the post office too, sending direct to your missionary (or college student, etc.) saving you time and shipping costs." (That's another Stacey quote.)

My son has been serving in the Washington Seattle Mission for the past 16 months and the Seattle Skyline socks have been his go-to gift for each of his siblings birthdays.  We are so excited to send him a pair with the Seattle temple for Christmas.  He will LOVE them! Now, get online and order a pair for my nephew in  Vancouver, Washington...oh, and one for each of their companions...and...

Disclosure of material connection:  
I received one of the products mentioned for posting and reviewing their product.  Regardless, I only recommend products that I love and feel that my readers will enjoy.  All opinions are mine.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, part 255, "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"

Friday, November 14, 2014

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree - Simplified

I discovered that there are a lot of busy ladies out there and a lot that don't feel too confident in their sewing/crafting skills. My sister, Katherine and I decided to come up with a simplified version that would require nothing but straight zigzag stitching - I think that's an oxymoron.  It is so easy and with the two of us working together it only took us about three and a half hours to make four of them.  It was probably a bit faster for us because we kind of tag-teamed it - I would pin and she would sew while I was pinning the next one. Jackie's is oh, so pretty and ours is cute. They both work great and our two missionaries certainly won't care.  Here's what we did:

Materials Needed:
old white sheet or 1.5 yards white fabric for the background
(I used one sheet cut in half width-wise for each tree)
1.25 yards of green fabric for the tree
(this amount will do three trees, you could also turn your fabric the other way 
and have a smaller tree which would use less fabric, see photos below)
.25 yard or a fat quarter of yellow fabric for the star
.25 yard or a fat quarter of brown fabric for the trunk 
.25 yard of 2 coordinating fabrics for the two packages
(or you could just use the same fabric and have both packages match and just get .25 yard)
5 yards trim for the tinsel
1 yard coordinating ribbon for the two package bows
(.50 yards for each package)
coordinating thread
2 sticky back Velcro dots or squares
(for pocket closure - or you could use buttons and make button holes)

BACKGROUND:  I used an old twin sheet cut in half.  Cut off the top wide hem then fold the remaining fabric in half width-wise and cut.  Give your cut sides a hem by pressing under one inch all along the side then fold the cut edge in to meet your pressed edge.  Now you should have two pressed edges which you can fold together and then stitch.  It's much easier to stitch after the hem has been pressed in.  This is called a double half inch hem.  You are essentially folding in, one half inch then folding again.  Gives you a nice pretty hem that will sit nice and flat.  You shouldn't need to hem the top and bottom of the sheet unless the factory hems aren't in good shape.  My sister used white on white fabric for her background.  It was so pretty.  Her missionary is a girl.  My missionary is a boy. He doesn't care, so I used what I had.

TRUNK:  Cut a piece of brown fabric to measure 6"x 10". Lay your hemmed sheet on a flat surface and then place your tree on top.  Make sure the right side is up! Place the star and the trunk in place and adjust so they are centered left to right and top to bottom.  Pin your trunk in place then remove the tree and star.  Using brown thread, sew around the outside edge of the trunk using a zigzag stitch. Your entire zigzag stitch should be on the edge of the fabric and not overlapping onto the white background.  Hint:  It is not necessary to have the same color thread in the bobbin.  I used white on the entire project so that it matched the background when the project is viewed from the back.

TREE:  Here are a couple of diagrams for cutting your tree.  If you use 1.25 yards, you actually have enough fabric to cut out three trees.  (see diagram #1)  OR you could just purchase half a yard of unfolded fabric and use the entire width of the fabric for your tree.  This gives you one slightly smaller tree but you won't have fabric left over.  (see diagram #2)

diagram #1

diagram #2

Lay your background on a flat surface and then place your tree on top centering the tree over the trunk.  Place the star and make any adjustments so they are centered left to right and top to bottom. Remove star and pin the tree in place.  Using green thread, sew around the outside edge using a zigzag stitch.

STAR:  Jackie made a Star of David using two triangles.  I just Googled 'country star' and clicked on images.  I wanted it to be a bit funky.  There are quite a few options but you'll have to weed through a few Brad Paisley's and  Carrie Underwood's to find them. When you find the one you like just cut and paste it onto a document and make it into your desired size.  Lay your project back on a flat surface, place your star and pin in place.  Mine overlapped onto the tree a bit. Using yellow thread, sew around the outside edge using a zigzag stitch.

TRIM:  Jackie used some RicRac that belonged to her grandmother and that's what I thought I would do as well...but...that stuff is hard to find (because it's so popular at the moment...somebody must have Pinned something really, really CUTE on Pinterest) and it's pretty pricey.  I found some trim at the fabric store that I could buy by the yard.  It is gold and kind of, I don't know...tinsely?  It had a great price point at $1.09 a yard.  You will need almost exactly 5 yards.  I tried 'swagging' it like Jackie did but it didn't look great.  I decided to just keep it geometric.  Pin it in place and using coordinating thread, just zigzag right over it.

PACKAGE(S):  IF there was a difficult part of this project, this would be it.  It's not rocket science though...just follow the step by step instructions, and IF I can explain it clearly, you will be just fine. Here goes:

1. Cut two pieces of fabric measuring 7"x 21"

2.  Using a pencil, lightly mark the fold lines on the wrong side of the fabric.

3. Fold and press 1/4" on the short sides of both packages making a small hem. 
(see photo below)

4. Using coordinating thread, stitch your pressed hem in place.  I was too lazy to change my bobbin thread to match so I flipped my fabric over and stitched on the right side of the fabric so the white stitching didn't show.  (see photo below)

5. With the right side of the fabric facing up, fold the left side over on the marked fold line.

6.  Now fold the right side over on the marked fold line.  Pin.
The two side hemmed edges should meet.  (see photo below)

7. Stitch down both sides of both pockets using a 5/8" seam allowance.
(see photo below)

8. Turn right side out.  Using a pair of scissors (closed), gently push the corners out.  Be gentle, you don't want to cut through the fabric, you are just trying to make a nice point on your corner.  Do this on all of the corners.  Press.
(see photo below)

9. Fold the top (smaller fold) closed and press in place.
(see photo below)

10. Cut the yard of ribbon in half, giving you 1/2 yard for the bow on each pocket.  Fold one piece of ribbon in half and press with your fingers just to mark the center.  Place the center mark of the ribbon about one inch from the top of your pocket and pin in place.  Make sure that you only pin through the pocket flap.  Open pocket flap and sew in place as shown in the photos below.

11. Tie ribbon then trim the ends.
(see photo below)

12.  With the flap closed, lift up on the front flap and center one half of the Velcro centered on the pocket.  Repeat on the other pocket.  (see photo below)

13.  Now place the other half of the Velcro on top of the Velcro that you just adhered.  This is MUCH easier than trying to center it on the top flap so they line up correctly.  Close the top flap and press firmly.  I tried to sew through the sticky back Velcro but the glue just gummed up my sewing machine needle.  Just press firmly.  The glue will take 24 hours to cure and then it's on there pretty good.  (see photo below)

14. Lay your background on a flat surface and position the packages on either side of the tree.  Remember to lift UP the top flap so you don't sew your package closed!  Pin in place and sew using a zigzag stitch and coordinating thread.  When you sew across the top of the pocket you will actually be sewing with the flap open.  (see photos below)

That's it!  You did it!

My daughter has a Silhouette Cameo vinyl cutter so I borrowed that and printed the scriptures onto heat transfer vinyl.  If your daughter doesn't have one and you would like to use the scriptures in your project you can just write it on using a fabric marker.  Don't forget to send a few push pins for them to use when hanging their tree.

The scriptures that I used were:

For unto you
is born this day
in the city of David,
a Savior,
which is Christ
the Lord.
Luke 2: 11


...and his name
shall be called
The Mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

I cut out a bajillion ornament shapes at my local craft store using my own paper and their die cut machine.  Our family will work on their ornaments this weekend and I will put the ornaments in the pockets along with some mini gold safety pins.  At our family gathering this Thanksgiving everyone will have a chance to decorate their ornament and write notes to our family missionaries.  The ornaments will be mailed randomly during the Christmas season in each family's Christmas card.  For an idea on how to do that, click here.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Those of you who follow this blog may remember how petrified I was that Matt might get called to one of the missions where you are prohibited from sending packages.  Seriously.  Well, he was called to the Washington Seattle Mission and I can breath and send him pretty much whatever he/I want to send for not very much at all...compared to some of my friends and my sister who have missionaries serving outside of the United States.  Sometimes, it is just WAY too expensive to send what you want to send AND they may or may not get it...OR it takes two or three months to get there.  Sheesh! Don't know how you momma's do it!

A dear friend of mine had a brilliant idea on how to send a Christmas tree to her son serving a mission in England.  Me?  I just mailed a pre-lit tree and a few ornaments.  Jackie?  Her's is straight from the heart.  Thanks for sharing, Jackie!

"I had this thought:  Since my son might not have a Christmas tree in his flat on his mission, I needed to come up with something that would be festive. Something that would help make his flat feel "decorated" and help bring the Christmas spirit.  PLUS, if they get little gifts and such there MUST be a tree of some sort to put the gifts around or under.  Right?

I knew it needed to be something that wouldn't weigh much and could be folded up super small. I was thinking of painting a tree onto butcher paper - easy and cheap but I didn't want it all wrinkled by the time it got to England.  Then I considered muslin - and instead found an old, white, flat sheet that would be perfect.  I considered using paint for the tree but was worried that it would peel or crack in transit.  I decided to use green fabric.

I found the shape of a tree that I liked in a coloring book and recreated it the best I could onto a piece of green fabric.  The green fabric is the ONLY thing I had to purchase, everything else I had around the house.  After I got it cut out, I laid the tree onto the sheet and using a zigzag stitch, stitched all around the tree.  I used some yellow fabric and made the star and stitched that on as well.  I used the star of David.  I had some ric rac from my grandmother and thought it would make the tree even more meaningful to my missionary because she has passed away. I went back and forth with the rick rack to represent tinsel or string to hang the ornaments on.

When I finished, I thought: "They can hang this and then they will have something to put their presents under.  Presents?!  There were NONE!  I must make some presents!"  So, the gift boxes at the bottom were an after-thought but it added a lot.  I gave the 'gifts' a button down lid and then it became the perfect place to put all the decorated ornaments.  When he received the tree, all the ornaments we sent as a family were in the gift box 'pockets.'  I went to the craft store and used their die-cut machine to punch out 100 ornaments.  I sent them to friends, cousins, and family and they decorated them with scriptures, thoughts, pictures, or notes and sent them to my missionary.  My hope was that all through the month of December he would keep getting new ornaments in the mail with fun Christmas wishes on them from family and friends.  How fun is that?!?

When I was cutting out the ornaments there was a lot of extra paper so using the die-cut machine I cut out TONS of little Christmas lights that he can add to the tree as well.  I also strung some onto string so he can hang them around the flat.

I wanted to make it as religious and Christ centered as possible, so a neighbor helped me by making the vinyl fabric lettering.  The scripture I chose was:  "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."  Luke 2:11  I placed the quote in the top left corner.

The sheet was so soft it folded really well.  It weighed about 1.2 lbs (with instructions and the paper lights) and fit perfectly into a gallon sized resealable bag which he can save and use to store the tree in until next Christmas.  Easy shipping AND storage!  I sent a small package of tiny, gold safety pins for him to use to hang the ornaments and lights on the tree. The whole project was very inexpensive to make and I mailed it in a padded envelope so it wasn't too expensive to mail either.

I hope that it helped his "home away from home" feel more like Christmas and that it gave he and his companion a tree to decorate and a place to hang their Christmas cards, etc."


The finished product!  In my son's flat in England...
along with the his birthday poster from our ward Primary.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Amazon Prime - I LOVE IT!!!

The 14th of July was Matt's Hump Day.  The half-way mark of his two year grand adventure in Seattle.  I sent Nerf machine guns. (You can read about that here.)  A neighbor had mentioned that she hadn't seen machine guns in quite a while in the stores.  Freaked me out just a bit because I had been planning on sending these for over a year now...yup...had this package planned even before he left.  I'm a little crazy like that.  My daughter suggested that I try looking on Amazon and if I found some I could use her Amazon Prime account and get free shipping.  What?!?  There's such a thing?  Why yes, Victoria!  Not only IS there a Santa Clause but he delivers for free right to the mission home.

The next letter I received from Matt mentioned:  "It gets light here at about 4:30 in the morning and I can't get back to sleep!  Can you send me a sleep mask?  Sorry that I'm so high maintenance..." Funny kid.  No worries.  Logged into Amazon and quickly found two for him to try.  They were about $5 a piece guessed it.  Free shipping right to the mission home.

This weeks letter had a little post script asking me to send Strawberries & Cream Muscle Milk protein powder. You guessed it:  Got back online. Clicked into Amazon and within five minutes it was on it's merry little way to the mission home...shipped for free.  Am I a good mom or what?  I LOVE Amazon Prime!

Want to find out more?  Go to to find out more.  I'm not in any way affiliated with Amazon.  Just think it's an amazing deal and wanted to share.

OH!!  Do you have a missionary serving overseas?  You can have items sent from an Amazon closer to where they are serving.  You can't use Amazon Prime for this so there is no 'free' shipping  (it's only available for the contiguous states) but it will cut the cost.  It just keeps on getting better and better.