New Years Eve hat making party

A couple of years ago Jon and I had family in town for New Years and we decided to make our own hats to celebrate the festivities (one year we even stuck a sparkler out of the top of Jon's hat and lit it for the count down into the new year!). We had loads of fun doing it and have since started a little tradition of hat making for each New Years Eve.
This year, as we're still in Colorado, we decided to bring the tradition with us to share with all the extended family. Everyone loved it but the nieces and nephews were the ones who really got into it and ran with it.
I laid out piles of white, pink and gold card stock and let everyone decide which color they wanted their hats to be. I used the template for the hats found here. I then set out a number of decorative trimmings, glitter puff paints, markers, etc. and let everyone go at it. (I found that after-Christmas-sales are a great go-to for sparkling New Years fan fare. I made these gold glitter star garlands from old Christmas tags and I used gold baubles from the marked down dollar bins at Target for the other garlands. Their are so many gold and silver holiday items that really work well for New Years festivities).
My sister helped the Littles with puff painted lettering and I adhered some of the more difficult trimmings.
I loved to see what everyone came up with and the Littles were very proud of the specific touches that made their hats their own.
I especially loved my little niece who insisted that she completely color her hat blue, as she wanted to do things different from all the others. Another niece came up with the darling idea of making hers a princess New Years hat, complete with a dangling princess ribbon.
For fun festive confetti I cut circles out of various colored paper with a 1 inch circle punch.

The confetti was a big hit with the Littles and a new favorite of mine to make any simple celebration more festive.

I think all had a great time with this little hat making craft. Little A had a lot of fun with creating the hat but then opted out of the photo shoot early to continue playing his Starwars Lego WII game that Santa has brought him.....He then, sadly, shortly thereafter contracted the flu that Jon and Little O have had, so the poor boys were cooped up in bed with 7-up and saltines while I finished up the photo shoot with my nieces and then wrung in the New Year without so much as a celebratory kiss.

2011 has been a full year complete with changes and many an up and down. I'm happy to say that a great deal of the ups have been in the past couple of months and I'm excited to enter the new year with an air hope and possibility!

So here's to 2012! Happy New Year!


cookie plate for Santa

We're enjoying a White Christmas here in the frigid lands of Colorado visiting family and dear friends. The boys are happy as can be playing with their new treasures and enjoying precious time with cousins. Being with extended family, although at times happily hectic, is one of the most prized gifts for me this time of year.

I can't believe that the season is coming to an end. I still have SO much to share with you. We've been so busy traveling, making, gifting and playing that I haven't had a moment to check in with you all. But I'm more than happy to share all that we have been up to keep the holidays going...for at least a little bit longer.

One thing that I'm excited to share is our new personalized Santa plate. I thought it would be fun to make our milk and cookies gift to Santa a little more special this year so I created a custom plate with playful illustrations of the boys on it.
I used American Crafts Slick Writers to draw on simple images of the boys on a ceramic vintage plate. I then put the year on the back of the plate to commemorate this particular Christmas. If you want to do something similar, but question your drawing abilities, I think a simple assemblage of stick figures would be pretty cute and your children will be sure to love it.

The boys loved the idea that Santa would see images of them sharing their milk and cookies with the Jolly Old Elf. And I loved that we would have an heirloom for years to come.

I have more to share as well as more fun to be had with friends and family (I'm thinking snow forts, midnight movies and outrageous family banter with eggnog and delicious goodies)! In the mean time, happy boxing day to you all. I think we might be doing something like this today!


personalized gift tags with...

I thought it would be fun to personalize our gift tags this year. I knew the boys would be thrilled to run to their presents to see their own faces on the packages. I was just going to go with good old fashioned photos when I thought, "hey, why not spice things up a bit?". So I created some digital photo decals to make things especially festive.
The boys managed to get a sneak peek at these tags and they love them. They couldn't contain their giggles when they saw, not only themselves but mom and dad as silly reindeer.
And to spread some Christmas cheer I'm gifting you with the download for the decals so that you can spruce up your own set of personalized gift tags! Just click HERE.
To use these just open up Photoshop and you will see everything in a layered file. I would recommend turning your photos black and white first (click convert to grayscale in photoshop) and then turning them back into CMYK files before dragging the hat and reindeer decals onto the photo.
Then print out your tags and feel free to add a personal saying or just a good old "love, mom and dad". Then sit back and watch your littles race to their personalize gifts on Christmas morning!


what things really look like around here...

It seems like every year December gets just a bit more busy than the previous year and every year I recommit myself to trying to simplify during this month. Yeah...I'm still working on it. Right now, while little A is at school, I've been busy filling etsy orders, drawing and painting portraits and working on illustration jobs, all while little King Kong does a number on his toys in his room and I try to keep the season merry and bright for all. In actuality, I love having this activity as it adds to the spirit of giving for me. I love to send out packages to customers knowing that they are a special gift for a loved one. I love being able to share in the joy of it all. I do however have to be careful to keep things balanced...well at least to some degree...

So what about you? What is your secret to keeping things in check? Are you like me and love the hustle and bustle, so long as it doesn't start spiraling out of control? Or are you good at just taking things slow, kicking your feet up and warming you bones by the fire?


New Pillows in the shop and a print sale!

I've been having a lot of fun adapting my work to fabric and wanted to share a few items with you. Now in my shop I'm offering some of your most beloved prints in pillow form!
Shop Love is Spoken Here and I Lovely Love My Family pillows here!

Order before Dec. 15 for Christmas delivery.

And this weekend get 20% off all print purchases! Just enter "lovelysale" in the convo section and I'll refund the difference!


[fingerprint Christmas tree cards]

We like to do handmade Christmas cards for the teachers, etc. during the season and apparently we've hit on a tree theme that we just can't shake.
This year we had a lot of fun "finger painting"...but not in typical sense of the craft.
I made a simple tree graphic and printed it out on Recollections 5" x 6.5" white blank cards (found at our local Michaels). We then we pulled out our fingerprint ink pad (from Lakeshore) and went to town.
It was so much fun to see what the boys came up with. There is really no way you can go wrong. Little O did one with a lot of brown and I was worried it would look a little muddy but it ended up looking beautiful to me. I love how they sort of end up looking like a medley of out-of-focus Christmas lights.
And Jon couldn't help but get in on the fun as well which thrilled the boys.
But Little A was the one who really went to town on this. He had a handful of friends from our old haunt, So. Pas, that he wanted to make cards for.
He got really into it and I love that he can write his own cards now. It's very empowing for him and so fulfilling for me to see. My favorite was when he desperately wanted to send one to a particular little girl. He was very serious about this and wanted me to make sure she gets it. I told him I would.

This made him very happy.

If you are interested in doing a few of these cards yourself (you'll get hooked if you do!) then you can download a temple of the simple tree design by clicking here.

Happy finger printing!