The Christmas Ball that Almost Killed Me

It all started back before Thanksgiving when I took a trip to Hobby Lobby and was sucked into buying Christmas Craft Supplies far in advance. I found these little styrofoam ball covered in glitter and bought two packages. Little did I know that these balls would do their best to make me want to quit crafting forever.

My first thought for these terrible balls was to make a little tree similar to one I saw in ballard designs, but alas I did not have enough to cover the whole tree. I thought to myself, "That's ok. I'll just go buy more."

Fast forward to black Friday when Amie and I went shopping. After spending about 2 hours in JoAnn's draining our bank accounts we went over to Hobby Lobby to get the elusive balls. Upon arrival I was shocked to find all of the white balls were gone! Luckily Hobby Lobby is just a few stores down from Michael's. I thought I had hit the Christmas ball goldmine when I found the white balls in a different brand.

When I returned home I realized they were not the same white. My OCD self would not be able to accept this. So I went back to Hobby Lobby and bought red balls. By now I became very worried about what to do with the balls. I had spent so much time searching for them I didn't want to waste them. I decided to go with what I know best- Wreath Making!

I haven't made a wreath in a while since I went crazy and made a million wreaths last year, but I think this one is well worth the wait.

Behold- The Christmas Balls!

These terrible nighttime pictures do not do them justice. I will try to get a daylight one so you can really take it in. 

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Baby Trend: Hot Pink and Zebra

Two weeks ago I threw a baby shower at work for my old boss along with a few of my colleagues. My old boss is the AVP now so it was kind of nerve-wracking. We went with a Hot Pink and Zebra Theme. At first I thought this was kind of random, but once I got looking this stuff is EVERYWHERE!

I made my first diaper cake and I was so please with it. 

I found these favor boxes at hobby lobby and used them as table decor. 

We ordered these cupcakes. They were so delish. They were apple flavored and had a real baked apple in the middle. Mouth watering!

See the hot pink and zebra streamers and the matching plates? All from Hobby Lobby.

Jess received lots of adorable handmade gifts. There is a little crochet lamb on her lap. Too cute!

The party turned out great, but was so much work. So many people made comments that I should be a party planner because I had real attention to detail. This may be a talent of mine, but I have no desire to make it a business. 

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Dollar Store Ornaments

A few weeks ago, my work held a craft fair and I invited Amie from Kitty Cats and Airplanes to come sell her super cute jewelry. The craft fair was free for employees to sell their items as long as they sold $50 raffle tickets. So I had to sell something, which I have never ever done. I was so ridiculously busy that week throwing a baby shower that I literally threw some ornaments together the night before.

I was totally shocked when people bought all four of the ornaments I brought plus two small wreaths. I really only made them as a technicality so Amie could get the table for free. Even more shockingly I had two people place orders of ten each. At that point, I decided maybe you guys would like to see them.

They are so simple I didn't document the steps, but I found a tutorial from my friend Katie over at Smile Like You Mean It. Hers look way cuter than mine. Plus the fact there is never any daylight during the winter makes my pictures totally crappy.

I placed them in a cookie box for the purchasers. So easy and so cheap!

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If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling 

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I Have an Actual New Year's Resolution!

Last year I didn't even bother with making a new year's resolution. Every year it's about losing weight and going to the gym and it kind of takes away from my motivation knowing every year I said I was gonna and every year I fail. But this year is gonna be different!

This year John and I are making financial resolutions. Our finances are a total mess. We are really blessed to have good jobs, but it seems like the more money you make the less you care about saving money, which is crazy!

When we were first married and totally broke I was super conservative in my spending and I shopped sales and used coupons religiously. I have gotten so lazy! Because I can afford to pay full price I just started doing it. It makes me crazy to think of how much money I have been wasting.

The second thing is our debt has gotten out of control. Between student loans, buying a house, and getting ready to buy a new car. I am getting overwhelmed at the numbers. The easiest thing for me to do is to start eliminating our credit card debt. We have a pretty low interest rate and we have just been carrying it around forever. Why??? It's so dumb. We are just throwing money out the window.

I'm working on our game plan right now so keep an eye out for our specific changes that we are making. Keep in mind I am not a naturally frugal person, I'm a terrible saver, and I am always struggling to not become a shopaholic so lots of this stuff may seem basic to you, but we are going back to basics here!

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Christmas Wishes

My friend Annie asked me to post this on her behalf. This is such a wonderful creative way to help her cousins. Please read her post below:

Nothing can prepare you for those moments when your whole world changes. It happens so suddenly. The seconds crawl while that one moment is seared into your heart and your mind. You lose all track of time while your reality shifts from just-fine to not-anywhere-close-to-fine.

It was sunny. Cold, but that’s normal for early February. I’d had a weird feeling that I should stick around home that day instead of going out with some friends. For once, I didn’t ignore the weird feeling and stayed home, working on various projects.

It was 3:41 p.m. when the phone rang. My mom never calls at that time of day, and I wondered if one of my siblings needed a ride or something. Matt was working from home so I had a car. Good thing, I thought. I hate saying no.

I answered the phone and could hear something was off in Mom’s voice. I wandered into the dining room as she told me that my uncle, Sam LaCara, had been shot at the school where he worked as principle.

My breath caught in my throat. I wonder how long his recovery will take.

“Shortly afterwards, he passed away.”


I looked down at my phone. 3:41 pm. In California that would be…11:41. I have to tell Matt…how is this even possible?

I have to get home.

My family—my huge, loud, hilarious, beautiful family—lives in California. After Matt and I married, we moved 3,000 miles away to Maryland. As much as we love it here, we really miss our friends and family back home.

Never more so than after we lost Sam.

Being so far away has made it difficult to offer consistent support. I stewed for months over what I could do for my aunt and her three young daughters. I wanted to help make things even a little bit better, knowing full well that the holidays would bring a special kind of pain.

The result of all that stewing is a multi-authored storybook called Christmas Wishes: A Collection of Holiday Tales and Truths. Originally I only meant to print a few copies for my aunt Lisa and her daughters, but then the vision expanded a bit. We decided to sell the book and give all proceeds to the girls’ college funds. Education was a huge priority to Sam, a priority that took a back seat to only one thing: his family.

The following video was created to explain a little bit more about Christmas Wishes. Please take a moment to check it out, and please consider purchasing a copy of Christmas Wishes. You can order through Amazon, or go to any bookstore and order it using the following information:

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50% off at Shade PLUS 2-for Deals PLUS Free Shipping

Right now Shade Clothing has a promo code for 50% off EVERYTHING. This includes their 2-for deals. I was able to get two camis for $12 plus free shipping. Just use the pomo code SHADEGIFT.

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So You Know How I Love Wreaths?

Well I found this awesome tutorial from Katie over at Smile Like You Mean It. I would have never thought of using shower rings for a mini wreath form. Check it out here here.

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What I'm Listening to Tuesday

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Major Wall Art

I saw this baby over at Shanty 2 Chic and was really in love with it. I enlisted my husband's help because I am a little freaked about when using giant saws. It was so easy!

As you know large wall out is super pricey and I never actually found anything I love enough to be worth forking over the dough. This cost me about $50 to make and it is one of my favorite craft projects ever.

Here are a few lessons learned with my version:

1. Buy the cheap wood. It actually ended up looking better than the expensive stuff. The more crappy marks, the more weathered and vintage it ends up looking.

2. This baby is HEAVY! Use the hardware made for hanging huge mirrors. It still makes me a little nervous. Please don't rip my wall out :-(

3. I added some holiday bunting. I plan on switching this out for each holiday. It can look a little plain without it.

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A Legit Christmas Project

If you are a regular reader you know I've been skimping on the real content lately. I've actually been doing tons of stuff. I've just been very bad about taking photos. Finally I created a Christmas project worthy of going up on the blog. Sadly, I didn't take step by step photos, but I feel confident you don't need them. Also, this is proof I am no longer afraid of my cricut. Thank you all for your tips and encouragement!

Sorry for the poor photo quality, but I am rarely home during the light of day anymore thanks to daylight savings. 

Let me give you a rundown of what it took to make this baby.

1. I painted it with some satin Martha Stewart Craft Paint. It was pretty sheer so it literally took about three coats to get it where I wanted it. 

2. Next I cut the "Be Merry" vinyl lettering with my cricut. I used the outline to make a stencil. I wanted to paint it rather than just use red vinyl so it would be more shimmery.

3. Next I made some more stencils to create the snow flakes. I also used Martha Stewart Satin paint for this in Mother of Pearl.

4. Finally I cut some tress from holiday paper with my cricut and mod modged them onto the board.

It was kind of tedious, but I love it! I am really into blue and red for Christmas this year. What do you think!

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Inspirational Blind Kitty Get First Toy

This kitty is so adorbs. Maybe it will convince John to let me get a kitty!

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Dog Saves Owner's Life During World Trade Center Attacks

If you are a regular blog reader of mine you know I love animals. Check out this story from the Today Show!

"Computer sales manager Michael Hingson was at his desk on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower on the morning of 9/11 when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the other side of the building, 18 floors above. And he lived to tell the tale because of his guide dog, Roselle.
The yellow lab calmly guided her blind charge 1,463 steps out of the building and, as debris fell and dust billowed, found a subway station and led them both underground to safety.
Roselle died in June at the age 13, but her heroism lives on. At a star-studded red carpet event in L.A. Saturday night the yellow lab was was honored as the American Hero Dog of the Year.
"She saved my life," Hingson wrote on the American Humane Association's site. More than 400,000 people cast votes for Roselle and 7 other finalists. But it was Hingson's moving description of her actions on 9/11 that helped her take the top dog honor.
More from Chimp attack victim reveals new face Six months after a face transplant gave her another chance at life, chimp attack victim Charla Nash grants an exclusive in...

Wood’s sister: Like having to ‘relive her death’ NYC terror suspect was building test bomb Police hunt for mom from ‘People’s Court’ case Who made Consumer Reports’ naughty, nice list? Just as they got out of the building on 9/11, the south tower collapsed. "While everyone ran in panic, Roselle remained totally focused on her job," Hingson wrote. "While debris fell around us, and even hit us, Roselle stayed calm."
Hingson, the seven other finalists and their handlers were flown to Los Angeles to attend the ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hilton where they were joined by another four-legged celebrity, RIN TIN TIN Smith, a twelfth-in-line descendant of the original RIN TIN TIN. These four-legged celebrities were joined by a raft of two-legged ones including celebrity judges Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Kristin Chenoweth, Mark Hamill, Jillian Michaels, Susan Orlean (author of the new book, “RIN TIN TIN: The Life and the Legend”), TODAY's Jill Rappaport and Top Chef Fabio Viviani.
“Every day, across America, dogs protect, comfort, and give their unconditional friendship and affection to the ill, the infirm, the wounded veteran, and the frightened child,” Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of the American Humane Association, said of the awards. “It was time to recognize the contributions of man’s best friends and celebrate the heroic feats they have performed for us every day."

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Wordlessly Wednesday

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Therapy and Scooby Snacks

So I go to therapy and I'm proud of it. I mean how else can I get someone to listen to me talk for an hour straight and be really engaged? So few people in the world actually listen anymore. This is my big chance to get everything off my chest and get some legit and awesome advance from an impartial third party. Totally a golden opportunity.

In addition, I'm pretty proud of the fact that I didn't end up catatonic or an adult film star due to my family's utter dysfunctionality. I see a lot of weird things in the therapist office and not in an unfortunate mental health type of way. For example today the man sitting next to me in the waiting room kept playing the Scooby-Doo theme song over and over on his phone. Out loud. Loudly. I mean really? While waiting I developed a few theories on why this guy would do such a thing:

1. He was craving scooby snacks
2. Maybe he was concerned I was a ghost
3. He is seeing a therapist for his obsession for 90's cartoons
4. He was unable to find the theme song to Magilla Gorilla

I guess I will never know...

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Bloggy Friends and Amazing Jewelry

You know that you are living in the year 2011 when at least half of your current friends have been met online. And not in a creepy, "hey baby" private message on MySpace kind of way.

I've been a follower of Amie over at Kitty Cats and Airplanes for a while. I won a giveaway she had and then we realized we lived super close to each other. Since I don't live in Utah this doesn't happen to me very often. Then a few months later we realized we went to the same church. Weird!

Finally, Amie and I took the big step of meeting face-to-face. In the past this is something that has not gone great for me. For whatever reason a lot of people find me online through the dog forum I participate in or some other webby thing I do and think we should meet. The majority of the time I come home and thank my lucky stars I made it back without my bones being made into wind chimes. There are a lot of weirdos out there people! (If you are one please don't ask me to hang some time.)

Anywho Amie is AWESOME! It was totally not awkward and Amie has taught me some mad sewing skills. I don't think her hilarity and sweetness are totally communicated through her blog because sarcasm doesn't always write well. I should know. I often wonder if people think I am totally bonkers on here or really mean. Amy seems fun on her blog, but she is seriously the illest.  

Besides Amie's serious talent as a sewing teacher, she also makes jewelry. Here are some of her sweet little trinkets from her Etsy Shop.

Go say hello to Amie and experience her awesomeness!!!

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Are You Getting Excited?

I am! At least it's looking way better than twilight did. Hopefully they don't totally ruin the series.

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If Disney Princesses Were Really Real for Real: Pocahontes

Pocahontes looks a little to for my taste, but I'm giving it a shot.

Here is what she should have looked like : Innocent

Here is what she ended up looking like: a hussy.

If you have any other suggestions lay them on me.

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If Disney Princesses Were Really Real for Real: Hot Mess Version

One of my lovelier commenters brought this comparison up the other day. I actually already had this "icon" in mind for this princess ringer.

I always knew Jasmine wasn't ready to settle down. 

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If Disney Princesses Were Really Real for Real: Belle Edition

So Belle is a toughy. This drawing doesn't really strike and as endearing. And in the spirit of my friend Amie's comment yesterday, "She looks like a baby prostitute!"

For no better reason than hilarity you can compare the drawing to the best baby prostitute impersation Lacey Chabert err Gretchen Wieners could muster.

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