Friday, June 29, 2012

Patriotic Tree

I started off with this....
a little pink tree I bought at the Dollar Store back before Easter.
(You may remember I dolled this same tree up for Valentine's Day.)

I made some stars out of different types of red, white, and blue scrapbook paper with twine or ribbon as hangers, bought a 97 cent patriotic bucket at WalMart, and added some shredded tissue filler and came up with this:

(Linking up to the parties listed in my sidebar)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chevron Flag

When I was thinking about my Patriotic Mantel I knew that I wanted a flag in some form. I decided I wanted to put a modern spin on the flag so I decided to make a Chevron striped flag. 

This was easy and inexpensive to make! In order to make your own, you will need:
Canvas, Plaque, or Board of some kind (I used an 8x10 tacky plaque from the Dollar Tree.)
White paint
Red, Blue, and White Cardstock
Star shaped punch
Mod Podge
Foam Brush

What You'll Do: 
1. If you are using a plaque that already has a picture or something on it, like I did, you'll need to sand it before painting it. This will help the paint adhere better. After sanding it, be sure and take a rag and wipe it down to get rid of any debris. 
2. Paint your plaque white. I used 3 coats. 
3. Cut your red chevron stripes out of red cardstock. I used my Silhouette machine to do this but if you don't have one, you could find a chevron pattern online and use that instead. 
4. Brush some Mod Podge onto your painted plaque and glue down your red chevron stripes leaving an equal amount of space in between each stripe. Brush a layer of Mod Podge over all the stripes once you have them all down.
5. Cut a blue square out of the blue cardstock and use Mod Podge to adhere it to your board over the stripes.  
6. Cut out some stars with your star punch and adhere those to the blue square with Mod Podge.
7. Lastly, brush a layer of Mod Podge over the entire thing. And you are finished!

Proudly display your modern twist on the grand old flag!

(Linking up to the parties listed on my sidebar)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Raiding the Fridge

Last week, Noah got kind of quiet so I went to see what he was up to and I found this......

Raiding the fridge just like a typical teenager!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Patriotic Collage

Lately I have seen a lot of mixed media collages like
this one or that one. I love how unique they look and decided I want to give it a try and make a patriotic collage.

Since I was making this as a part of my patriotic decor I decided to use sheet music for the Star Spangled Banner which I found online. I printed it out and then mod podged it to my canvas. I cut letters out of vinyl using my Silhouette machine that said "Land of the free and the brave." 

I adhered them to my canvas and then painted the entire thing blue. I let it dry and then peeled off my vinyl letters. Then I gave the entire thing a couple of coats of Mod Podge. 

I can't say I am in love with it but I don't hate it either. I wanted to give this method of collaging a try and I did. I do think perhaps these type of collages aren't my style but I'm glad I gave it a try.

And I do like it enough to proudly display it above my mantle. 

Especially once I added the red frame! 

(Linking up to the craft parties listed in my sidebar)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Quote of the Week: Surround Yourself

"Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher." 
- Oprah

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekend Wonders: Patriotic Decor

With the 4th of July just around the corner, lots of patriotic decor is popping up amongst the blogosphere. Below are some of my faves. 

Design Sponge shares this cute stars and stripes banner made from paint chips. 

This adorable patriotic pinwheel pin  at A Glimpse Inside will dress up any outfit. 

Bits of Everything shares this free printable for 4th of July themed subway art. Just print and pop into a frame for instant decor. 
This patriotic yarn wreath at The Creative Imperative is easy and inexpensive to make and a great way to dress up your door. 

This cute artwork was made by the gals at Eighteen 25 with a little vinyl, scrapbook paper, and a frame. Cute! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Angel Anniversary and Revelations

Seven years ago today our baby, Darcy Quinn, became an angel before she was even born. At some point, I thought these anniversary dates might become easier and I might be able to not acknowledge them but when someone grew inside of you, even if you never lay eyes on them, they are a part of you forever and I will probably always need to acknowledge that on days like today. Darcy deserves that remembrance.

This year has actually been a good one in terms of healing and growth I think. I can no longer only think of Darcy and feel sadness. I think of her and smile. Part of this is in part to watching the episode of 19Kids and Counting where Michelle Duggar lost and buried her baby Jubilee. Michelle talked about how her daughter never opened her eyes on Earth so her first view of anything was the glorious wonders of Jesus and Heaven! I cried watching Michelle talk about that but she was right, my Darcy’s first sights were in heaven. I am humbled knowing that. And I know one day she’ll be sitting there waiting for me when it’s my time and I’ll finally get to hold her in my arms.

My second revelation came after talking to another birthmother who is having trouble conceiving. Both of my pregnancies with Noah and Charlie were unplanned and my circumstances in life when I got pregnant with each of them were not the best so the pregnancies were stressful trying to figure out what to do. No one congratulated me and I didn’t celebrate those pregnancies.

I longed for a planned pregnancy where my life was in the right circumstances for a baby, where people would congratulate me, and my pregnancy would be filled with planning a nursery, choosing a name, having a baby shower, and dreaming of my baby.

With Darcy, I got that dream. I had a planned pregnancy. My life was in the right circumstances. People congratulated me. People sent cards and were already buying gifts. Baby shower plans were already underway. It was night and day different compared to my other pregnancies. It was bliss……

And then her heart stopped beating and it all changed in a minute. But you know what? Although I never carried that pregnancy to term, although Darcy was never actually born, I got my wish. I had the planned pregnancy in the right circumstances filled with love, well wishes, and congratulations. That is something I will never forget. I will never forget how good it felt. And that’s something special that Darcy gave. And since I’ll probably never be able to get pregnant again, it will remain something special just between Darcy and I.

So, yes my heart does hurt on days like today but it also smiles for what I gained and what Darcy gave me.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Quote of the Week: Choose our Friends

"God gave us relatives but 
lets us choose our friends." 

- Addison Misner

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekend Wonders: Summer Decor

It's Summer! I've seen lots of great summer decor popping up amongst the blogosphere. Below are some of my favorites.

I'm in love with everything about this summer mantle over at Kristin Duke Photography. The bright colors, the bike with candy "fruit", the sunshine art; it all screams summer. 

I adore this cute flip flop welcome sign over at Burton Avenue and as a bonus, there is a free file to help you create your own welcome sign.
Of course, you've got to have some subway art! This summer subway art offered as a free printable at Eighteen 25 is bright and fun.
This vacation memory jar at Echoes of Laughter is a great way to display vacations from summer's past. 
Craft Goodies shares this fun beach scape. I feel calmer just looking at it! 

Have you created anything fun for summer lately? Leave me a link so I can check it out. 

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there but most especially to the two most important Dads in my life, my own Dad and Noah's Daddy. We're lucky to have you!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Path Less Traveled

It’s Friday – the day where I join other bloggers and take five short minutes to just write from the heart. Five Minute Friday is hosted by Gypsy Mama and this week’s prompt is PATH.

In 2001, I was faced with a dilemma. For me, there were two paths I could take and I took the one less traveled......

When I chose to place my second son, Charlie, in an open adoption directly following his birth, I knew there would be lots of loss but I didn’t realize there would be gains as well. Because I chose that path, I became part of a community of people, the adoption community more importantly the birthmother community that I never would have been a part of if it weren’t for that choice.

I met Lani, (often referred to as my BFF on this blog) my very best, dearest friend because of adoption. She is, as she so eloquently puts it, “the sister God let me choose.” Had I not chosen the path of adoption, I wouldn’t have her in my life and that makes her very sad.

Honestly, many of my closest, dearest friends are other birthmothers and had I not chosen adoption my paths probably never would have crossed theirs.

The heart ache I initially felt after placing Charlie into the arms of his adoptive parents is what led me to find my writing voice again and what led Lani and I to start BirthMom Buds. Writing and BirthMom Buds have helped me feel useful and given me another purpose in life.

Does all of that make the hole in my heart from relinquishing Charlie smaller? No absolutely not! But it has made the path more bearable. 

Patriotic Candle Holders

This is an under fifteen minute, thrifty, green, and patriotic craft perfect for 4th of July decorating! 

You will need:

3 jars (I recycled some pasta sauce jars.)

scrapbook paper (patterned and solid)
pop dots or dimensionals
star punch
candles (I use the battery operated tea lights.)

What you'll do: 
1. Cut your scrapbook paper to fit your jars and tape it in the back. I use tape so I can easily remove it and use the jars for something else after the holiday is over. 
2. Cut out the letters USA. I used my Silhouette machine to do this but you could use a stencil or even use sticker letters. 
3. Adhere the letters to your jars with pop dots. 
4. Punch out some stars with the star punch and adhere them to the letters. 
5. Pop in your candles.

And there you have it!
I have these on my mantel but they would also look adorable on a front porch as well! 

(Linking to the crafty parties listed in my sidebar)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Noah's New Wheels

After nearly a year of paperwork, appeals, patience, and prayers Noah finally has new wheels! The process of getting a new wheelchair is typically a slow one but this one set a record for Noah. We began the process in August of 2011! We all (including his physical therapy team) were shocked to see the chair when it arrived!

I call Noah’s new wheels the Cadillac of wheelchairs because it’s so big and fancy. Check out that seat! 

Even with the success of the Scoliosis surgery, Noah continues to lean to one side and this seat is a contour seat. They sat him into something that sort of resembles a bean bag and molded it around him and use that to create the seat so it gives Noah more support where he specifically needs it.

It’s hard to tell but the metal base of the wheelchair is actually a very dark purple. He chose that himself. 

He is having a smidge of trouble getting used to using the chair in the house. Since it is bigger than the old chair, he has trouble making some of the turns. He can't make them as wide as he used to but is trying very hard and seems very determined to learn how to maneuver his new chair on his own. 

There is one big change for all of us with the new chair. Since it is much bigger and heavier than the old chair, it is difficult for J to put it in the back of our SUV and it doesn't fit in the back unless the wheels are down, so we have had to add the wheelchair carrier to the back of the truck which we have currently only used for long car trips. 

Overall, we are so happy and thankful to have Noah's new wheels! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dollar Store Basket Makeover

I needed a basket for a for a baby gift and I wanted something fun and cute that would match the decor so that it could be used for storage in the baby's room later. 

I found this basket at The Dollar Tree. It's kind of cute as is. But I knew I could make it cuter. 

So I gathered the basket, some scissors, my hot glue gun, and some ribbons that I knew would match the baby's bedding.

I simply weaved the ribbon in and out through the holes in the basket. Just make sure it is straight and doesn't turn and keep weaving it all the way around. 

When you get all the way around the basket, you will just tuck the ribbon into one of the holes and glue it down on the inside of the basket. 

Do that for all the rows on the basket and you'll have an adorable basket! You could use all the same kind of ribbon or use different contrasting ribbons as I did. 

Then just fill up your basket with whatever! I added some baby socks, onesies that I decorated, bottles, and some other baby necessities. Then I covered the basket in cellophane, tied a bow with some of the left over ribbon, and hung a little ducky from the bow and voila! 

An adorable baby gift in a cute basket that once started out as a plain ole' boring basket. 

The sky is the limit with this project - you could make some that match your child's bedroom decor for storage, you could use fun colors and make a birthday basket, use college colored ribbons and make a survival kit for someone heading off to school in the fall, etc! 

Linking up to the parties listed in my sidebar 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quote of the Week: Aim for the Moon

"Aim for the moon. If you miss, 
you may hit a star." 
- W. Clement Stone

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Setting the Table - Noah Style

You may remember me writing about Noah setting the table for the first time a month ago. Now it's become a pretty normal thing for him. He loves to do it. But I am trying to teach him that the forks should go on the napkins beside the plate on the napkin but he prefers for it to go ON the plate. You'll notice in the picture above that one of the forks is on the side of the plate on the napkin that's because I put it there, Noah promptly moved it! 

Oh well, that smile is so bright, I'll leave it that way for now. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Quote of the Week: Light Shine

"When you let your own light shine, you unconsciously give permission 
to others to do the same." 
- Nelson Mandela 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weekend Wonders: Father's Day

Father's Day is right around the corner and lots of Father's Day printables, projects, and gift ideas are starting to pop up around on various blogs. Some of my faves are listed below.

Father's Day Gifts at Zazzle

Shirts, mugs, and more!

Dressed Up Snack Mix
The girls over at Eighteen 25 show us how to dress up Dad's favorite snack mix. 
Amanda's Parties to Go shares this adorable Father's Day printable set which includes cupcake picks, a banner, and more.

Father's Day Candy Gram
This adorable candy gram at Bits of Everything is sure to make any Dad smile.

Father's Day Plaque
Handmade Home shares how to make this sweet plaque for Dad featuring his children's hand prints. 
Give the coffee drinking Dad an adorable mustache mug. Check out the how to on Tortoise and the Hare

Seen anything cute for Dad in your blog travels? Share the link below!