Unique, Handmade Valentine’s Day Card + A Free Printable!

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I realize than many people dislike Valentine’s Day, but I am not one of them. I’m all about the love, the chocolate, the hearts, the flowers, and especially the cards! I think one of the reasons a lot of people don’t like this holiday is because of the perceived pressure to spend, spend, spend. I totally get that, and I’m here to tell you that really, the best Valentine gift for your sweetie is one from the heart. A simple, handmade Valentine with a heartfelt sentiment will no doubt be appreciated beyond an expensive dinner in a restaurant or pricey jewelry. Read on to find out how I made this unique bouquet card for Valentine’s Day

When ProFlowers invited me to participate in their DIY challenge to create a beautiful handmade card, I was definitely up for it! I wanted to put a little bit of a twist on my card, and I have to say — I’m quite pleased with my project!

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

The selection of Valentine’s Day flowers at ProFlowers is full of beautiful choices. It was not easy picking something to work with — my head was spinning with dozens of ideas! But I ultimately hose a bouquet of 18 long-stemmed red roses because I wanted something classic. Because I absolutely love roses anytime of year, but especially on Valentine’s Day, I decided to make the flowers part of my card. ProFlowers has some really cute vases to go with their Valentine bouquets, and I absolutely fell in love with the Rustic Heart vase. Not only does it fit right into my home decor, but I immediately knew how I could personalize it.

The first thing I tackled was the vase. It looks like a heart carved into a birch tree, so it seemed obvious to make sure my husband’s and my initials were on there! I cut them them out of silver vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo, but you could easily use stickers or even a paint pen!

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

Next was to create the card. As I arranged the roses in the vase, Shakespeare popped into my head. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!  There was my inspiration! I made a simple folded card out of cardstock and scrapbooking paper. Then, I lettered the beginning of the sonnet. 

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The rest of the “card” is hanging off the roses themselves. I cut tags out of black cardstock and ran a silver paint marker around the edges.

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

Then I wrote out one through eighteen on one side of the tag. I used my favorite oblique holder, a Zebra G nib, and Dr. P.H. Martin’s Bleedproof White ink, my favorite white!

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

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On the other side I wrote down why I love my husband. I tried to include a mix of silly and sappy reasons. I knew that I would enjoy finding each hand-lettered tag and spending time reading over every one of them.

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Then I looped baker’s twine through the holes and attached each tag to one of the roses.

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

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If you’d like to recreate this bouquet card but don’t have calligraphy skills, don’t worry! You can write the numbers in cursive and then thicken the downstrokes to create “faux calligraphy.” Or, you could print out these free tags on cardstock, cut them out, and write your own messages on the back! 

Free Printable Number Tags

Download your free tags here!
Numbers one-nine and numbers ten-eighteen.

I hope you’ll give a homemade card or gift a try. If you do, please make sure to share a photo or a description of your project with me! I want to hear all about how you are going to make it a handmade Valentine’s Day this year!

In order to facilitate this post, ProFlowers provided me with a free floral bouquet and vase. I received no further compensation. All opinions are my own.

Some Recent Silhouette Projects

Since getting my Silhouette Cameo for Christmas, I have really enjoyed using it to kick up my crafts. There are so many possibilities! It can be overwhelming for a newbie, and I’ve read about people who keep their Silhouette in the box for months (or longer). Well, let me tell you — take out the machine, install the software on your computer, read the manual, and just play around with it! Will you mess up your first project or two? Maybe. Probably. But that’s OK. That’s how you learn. Isn’t that what we tell our kids? It’s totally OK to make mistakes! Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from having fun.

Here’s a picture of the first vinyl project I made. (Yes, I did go back and fix the missing apostrophe!) This was just using the Recollections brand vinyl from Michael’s. I wouldn’t say the vinyl is amazing, but the cup has held up for a few months now, and in a pinch I would buy it again.

First vinyl project

After realizing that cutting vinyl wasn’t actually terrifying, I decided to buy the Craft E Vinyl Assortment of glossy permanent vinyl from Amazon. It was easier and faster for me to purchase this instead of tracking down Oracal 651 from a vinyl retailer and I love this stuff! It weeds easily, adheres well, and if you have Amazon Prime in two days you’ll have it in your hot little hands. I used the Craft E Vinyl to create this sign for my dad to hang in his workshop.

Tool Rules sign

For St. Patrick’s Day, Laura needed to wear green to school (obviously!). I still had not ventured very far into the world of HTV (heat transfer vinyl), and all I had was a sheet of metallic gold Cricut vinyl I bought on sale at Joann’s. But it did the job and my little leprechaun made it through the day without being pinched! For this design, I simply found the shamrock wreath online, brought it into the Silhouette Design Studio, traced the image, added my text, and was ready to go. (When cutting vinyl to iron on to clothing, don’t forget to mirror it – I made that mistake!)

St. Patrick's Day shirt

Next is a travel mug I made for Drew’s birthday gift. After Christmas, Target had 2-packs of Contigo brand travel mugs on clearance, so I scooped up a package. My husband is a huge fan of G.I. Joe comics (and even has a Cobra Commander Halloween costume), so this was a no-brainer. I love how it looks, even thought it was incredibly simple!

Cobra (GI Joe) travel mug

After deciding that I was going to want to delve a little futher into making custom creations that used HTV, I placed an order for some better quality supplies. First order of business was to make myself this shirt. Yes, I do think I am very punny!

Calligraphers are always write!

And last I’ll share the Mother’s Day gift I made for my mom. Glass cutting boards were all the rage in the FB groups, so I picked one up at Dollar Tree and made this design from scratch. As you can imagine, it’s not that easy finding anything that says “Babci” on it, so I think she was happy with it. This was another project that required flipping the image before cuting it because you actually stick the vinyl on the underside of the cutting board (that way it is still functional).

Glass cutting board

There are so many other project ideas in my head! I’ve also used it quite a bit to cut complicated shapes out of paper (that’s how I did my son’s Confirmation invitations). And I also use it to cut out envelope templates. Again, it’s just faster and easier than doing it by hand. I look forward to sharing more ideas soon!

{Tutorial} Sew Easy Loopy Scarf

Loopy Scarf Tutorial

It’s been a couple years now since I made my first loopy scarf, but I still enjoy creating them and if you’re looking for a last-minute handmade gift, this is perfect! One scarf takes about an hour to complete from start to finish (maybe a little more for your first one). The best part is that you don’t need to know how to knit or crochet. Yes, it’s true — you really can make a funky handmade scarf without those skills, as long as you have a sewing machine. Grab a drink, put on a movie, and let’s get crafting! 

Here’s what you’ll need:

 
Loopy Scarf Tutorial

  • A sewing machine
  • One skein of Homespun yarn (or a similar bulky yarn)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Basic sewing notions

Set your sewing machine to a zig-zag stitch. Adjust so that the stitch is somewhat narrow.

Loopy Scarf Tutorial

Next, decide how wide you want the scarf. My prefernce is approximately six inches wide, mostly because that width makes the looping easy.  There are about three inches on the left and I use a rubber band to mark three inches to the right (for a total of six inches).

Loopy Scarf Tutorial

Loopy Scarf Tutorial

Now you’re ready to start looping! Holding the end of the yarn, make “loops” going from one side to to the other. Keep doing this this until you have about 1.5-2 inches “looped” and then carefully move up the yarn so that it’s under your needle. Slowly start sewing (let me stress the importance of going slow when working on this scarf), being sure to backstitch at the beginning. Try to get the yarn strands really close to each other, but don’t bunch them up into a pile.

Loopy Scarf Tutorial

Loopy Scarf Tutorial

Loopy Scarf Tutorial

When you finish sewing together the first few loops, make sure to leave your needle down to secure the yarn while you continue making loops. Repeat this process until the scarf is as long as you’d like!

Loopy Scarf Tutorial

Just in case the directions aren’t clear from the photos, here’s a short video that explains how to sew the scarf together.

Hopefully that will clear up any questions. As you sew, you’ll see that your scarf appears flat as it comes out the other end of your machine. Once you’re done, you’ll just fluff out the scarf and voila! You have no-knit, no-crochet scarf that sews up in no time. 

Loopy Scarf Tutorial

 

 This project was originally featured as a guest post on Sugar Bee Crafts.

A Birthday, Rain, Cats, and Lavender

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Hello friends! It’s a wet, humid day here in the Hudson Valley. I don’t mind the rain, but I could certainly do without the mugginess. Is it awful that I’m already starting to look forward to autumn? It hasn’t even been all that hot this summer, and I do remember how I froze all last winter, but… I’m kind of ready for sweaters and fires and general coziness. That’s just me, I guess!

So, first things first… a very happy birthday to my mom today! We called her first thing in the morning and the kids all sang to her. Hope you’re having a great day, Mom!

I’m trying so hard to remember to post more often. Really, I am! It’s not that I don’t think about my blog it’s just that I’ve found myself choosing other things in my spare time. Usually watching a show or working on my Stitchcation blanket, which is oh-so-slowly coming along. The squares that use the FPDC and FPTC stitches take me so long because I have to hook them up ever so carefully or else my stitch counts end up way off. But after tonight I should be half-way there. I seriously doubt it will be finished in time for the end of the challenge (Labor Day), but oh well! It will definitely be finished for my birthday in October. 

Back in June, a friend and I both bought lavender plants at the Country Living Fair. Mine was absolutely flourishing! I was so happy! And then… I overwatered it. Let me tell you, I have learned that lavender does not like a lot of water. It went from healthy to ill beyond repair sooner than I could make it right. I was bummed because it smelled so wonderful. I confessed to my friend what I had done and we laughed over it. (Hers, incidentally, looks great!) How sweet is this: as a thank-you for taking care of her cats while she was away, she gave me a huge, healthy, new lavender plant! It is just gorgeous. I promised to be more careful with this one!

Let’s see, what else is new… Oh, I’m so disgusted with FedEx SmartPost. Back in July I took advantage of a sale on a summer sticker bundle that ErinCondren.com was having. It was some summer-themed repositionable sticker sheets, markers, the new coil clips, and a lotion sample all in a pouch. I had a bunch of referral credits, so I decided to treat myself. I also picked up the original sticker sheets. Here’s where I made my mistake: I decided to save $2 by not using FedEx Ground. Oh, friends, I have learned my lesson. The package was shipped out on 7/29. The last tracking update was from somewhere in Maryland on 8/1. My EDD was last Friday, which came and went. After dealing with “FedEx SmartPost Trace Research” team, they could not locate my package anywhere. It’s just lost. Vanished into this air. I know the issue will get settled, but it’s so frustrating that a company whose business is delivering packages loses them. 

Well, I guess that’s about all… Tomorrow is Jake’s birthday. How can he be 12 years old already? I remember when he was a colicky baby I read this saying somewhere (I’m sure you’ve all heard it too): “The days are long, but the years are short.” How true that is!

Let’s Catch Up!

knick knacks

Good afternoon, everyone! Another month has slinked away, hasn’t it? Hard to believe August is here. I have not forgotten about my little corner of the Internet, but believe me, the last month has been filled with activity (and a little stress… I’ll get to that). I have had time to do quite a bit of reflection, and I really want to get back into posting her regularly, so hold me to it, okay?

All right, first let’s just get to what the stressful situation was. As some may remember, I have a thyroid nodule. Four years ago, my journey with thyroid disease began. Things have been stable. I take my levothyroixine, I feel great, and I get an annual sonogram to check on my thyroid nodule(s) (one came and went!). Last December one of my lymph nodes was enlarged, so my doctor had me repeat the test in June. In June, it was still inflamed and the radiologist recommended an MRI.

Well, I kind of freaked out a little bit. It could be nothing — it could be just regular inflammation associated with my Hashimoto’s, it could be because I had a sore throat, or… obviously it could be something a lot more scary. My insurance wouldn’t agree to an MRI, and after a month of my doctor’s office going back and forth, the insurance agreed to a CT scan. I had no idea what to expect, I had to go to a facility I’d never been to before, Drew was going to be out of town… but somehow I kept it all together. I had my appoinment last Thursday and I have to say it was not at all scary. The tech and the nurse were great. The IV contrast was kind of freaky (as soon as it goes into your veins you feel as hot as if you were standing in the desert — so weird!). The entire appointment took last than an hour (including waiting).

In Saturday’s mail came my results from the imaging center. Thankfully, Drew was back from Kansas by that point. Shaking, I opened the envelope and was so relieved as I read line after line of “Unremarkable.” Never have I been so thrilled to be “unremarkable!” The last line said it all:

good news for me!

What a huge relief, and a heavy weight off my shoulders. A scare like that really makes you put things into perspective, though, trust me. I spent so much time thinking about what’s really important in my life… things I could let go of, as well as things I want to hold on to. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it to many people, and certainly not blogging about it until I knew the outcome. So that happened. And it’s over!

Aside from that, July was a busy month with camps for the kids. Drew spent a week in Kansas City for work. And I kept on plugging away at my Stitchcation Afghan. I’m a little jealous of the ladies who are done. I am just about half-way there, but I’m just taking my time and enjoying it. (Though honestly there are a couple stitches that I will be happy to never do again.)

stitchation squares

Oh! I also got about 6 inches of hair cut off on Friday! With everyone out of the house for one reason or another, I took the opportunity to head to the salon and get a long over-due hair cut. I love it!

justme

 

Ever since I attended the Country Living Fair in June I’ve been thinking a lot about style. There were some women there who had the cutest outfits and one of the things I decided among all this summer soul-searching is that it is high time for me to break out of the jeans-and-tee-shirt “uniform.” In high school in college I always loved clothes, makeup, and doing my hair. That really hasn’t changed but with little ones I didn’t have much time to put forth a great effort. But with all three a little bit older, and certainly come September when they’ll all be in school, I can eek out a little more time everyday to put myself together.

Are you still with me, or have I bored you away? LOL! Anyway. That’s the story from here! What have you all been up to this summer? Are your kids going back to school yet? Fill me in on what’s new with you!

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Guys, last year I had to miss out on the debut of the Country Living Fair here in Rhinebeck at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. We had events that entire weekend and there was no way I could eek out the time to attend. But this year? I wrote it in my planner as soon as I found out the dates and I was not going to miss it again!

The weather was absolutely perfect for a day of walking around and being absolutely inspired by all of the creative ideas I saw. The fairground was transformed! I had just been there for CamporALL with the Cub Scouts, but it didn’t look anywhere near as pretty as this. Check it out — buntings everywhere! And I swear they were misting the scent of lavender and cinnamon because everything smelled wonderful.

Country Living Fair 2014

Obviously the vendors want you to buy their wares, but I couldn’t help but steal a few ideas for finished products that were out of my budget. This “Pickles” sign was one of them. The sign, while super cool, was not coming home with me for over $100. And while I doubt I could do a perfect lettering job, it still provided some inspiration.

Country Living Fair 2014

I loved these chairs with the ragamuffin strips hanging down the sides — kind of like a prim tutu, isn’t it?
Country Living Fair 2014

Here was another project I thought I could replicate with a shabby frame, some ticking, an old BINGO card, and a cute vintage image:
Country Living Fair 2014

And who knew that if I could safely take down a hornet’s nest I could not only use it as a home dec accent, but I could also charge $35 for it? (But I have to admit — it does look cool.)
Country Living Fair 2014

Here are a few more “this and that” photos of pretty things:
Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

I am already excited for next year! I’ll have one more Country Living Fair post this week all about “glamping.” I’d never heard that term before, but if you love the idea of cute caravan/camper decor… just wait! These ladies had more style in their tiny little campers than I do in my entire house, LOL.

This Week

Country Living Fair 2014

Ah… the school year is finally winding down. The last few weeks have been so busy! Four concerts, Field Day, Court of Honor, and Preschool Graduation (just to name a few) have kept us on the go. But summer is actually in sight!

Today was Laura’s preschool graduation. What a sweet ceremony her school put on! Drew wrote and performed a song with the kids — abosultely adorable. She was in tears the other day because she’s going to miss school so much. I reassured her that most of her friends with be in Kindergarten with her in the Fall. “But it won’t be the same!” she said. Awww… So bittersweet.

Laura's preschool graduation

Last weekend a friend and I went to the Country Living Fair here in Rhinebeck. I will have to do an entire post just on the fair because it was SO much fun. Next year I think I’ll opt for the two-day pass and get my mom to come on one of the days. So many pretty things and creative ideas. But more on that soon.

My crochet has been tucked away for now, just because there hasn’t been the time for it. But I have been busy in the garden planting blueberries, rhododendrons, various perennials… My dad was able to get me some lilacs another lady had dug up, so tomorrow my parents are bringing those down and I’ll get them in. I adore lilacs and just pray they take so I can have blooms next year!

Hope you all have been well. I miss my little corner of the bloggy world!