Naptime is Stamptime // Stampin' Up! Sponsor Spotlight

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
— 1 Peter 4:10

This has been one of my favorite passages in my adult life. We all have different gifts. What are yours?

Keeping house? I wish this was one of my gifts!

Mothering your children? Oh, how often I feel I fail at this one.

Musical talent? I have a little bit.

Public speaking? Not me.

Teaching? Yes! That one I can do. For several years before kids, I was a teacher. Now I use my teaching skills in different ways every day.

As a mother, I teach my children the simple tasks of life – how to brush your teeth, how to put on your own socks and shoes, how to make your bed. 

But my favorite way to use my teaching skills these days is in my “job” as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator.

I use quotation marks because while I do make a little bit of money doing it, I don’t look at it as a job. For me, teaching others how to make handmade cards and gift packaging or preserve their memories is a creative outlet that lets me use the skills God has given me, and I really enjoy it!

If you’ve never heard of Stampin’ Up! before, you might be wondering what exactly it is. The company started out with rubber stamps, but has grown into much more than that! Now we offer three types of stamps, as well as coordinating cardstock and paper, ink, ribbon and embellishments. And that is one of my favorite things about Stampin’ Up! – everything coordinates so you don’t have to go to the trouble of matching products yourself.

Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite products with you – things that I think anyone could use and enjoy!

The first is called Paper Pumpkin. It is a monthly kit subscription that can be purchased month by month or by a prepaid subscription. It costs $19.95 + tax each month, and you get everything you need to complete a crafty project.

Sometimes the kit includes supplies to make cards, and other times it makes a home décor project or some fun gift packaging. The kit is always a surprise, and it’s such fun mail! 

The other product I wanted to share with you is called Project Life

If you are like me, you have a ton of pictures of your kids and family on your phone or camera. But that’s where they stay. Project Life is a form of scrapbooking, but it’s really just putting your pictures into an album so that your family can enjoy looking at them.

Stampin’ Up! has exclusive Project Life card kits and accessory packs to help you get your pictures into albums. Here are a few pages I’ve done to give you an example – they go together pretty quickly! 

This is just a taste of what Stampin’ Up! has to offer. If you’d like to learn more, you are welcome to join my Naptime is Stamptime Facebook group where I share projects I’m working on, tips for stamping, and sales.

It's Springtime! Butterfly Garland Tutorial

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While shopping the other day I saw a large display of colorful paint sample cards and remembered from Pinterest some ideas to craft with my daughter. Now, before you think that I stole the cards - *shifty eyes* - I asked the employee in that department if I could use the cards for a project without buying any paint and he said yes! Hooray! We grabbed some cards that were the color of the rainbow and were on our way to create our own made-up butterfly garland!

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Items Needed

Favorite music playlist  Paint sample cards (We picked out six cards and had paper for 18 butterflies. Amount/size will vary based on paint company) Cardboard Pencil Scissors Thread (I used hemp) Exacto Knife Cutting Board Tape

 

Directions

1. First, put on some music to listen to while you craft. Why not?

2. Ask your child what color they think each paint card is and then read the actual fun paint name listed. Paint names like Fresh Cut Grass, Windy Sky, Conch Shell, Bee Pollen and others will get you thinking more about springtime!

3. Cut a simple butterfly template out of cardboard for your child to trace onto the back of the cards (great involvement!). The butterflies may be uneven but you can cut along the inside of the pencil markings and adjust the shape as needed.

4. Place the cut butterfly shapes onto a cutting board. Carefully slice two vertical slits through the paper surrounding the mid-section of the butterfly with an exacto knife. If you look closely at the picture below you can see.

 

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3. Cut desired length of thread and help your child thread each butterfly onto the string (another great task for little ones - help them if they get frustrated). Our butterfly pattern was a gradual fade from dark shades of the rainbow to light shades of the rainbow. If you follow the same rainbow pattern you can talk about the rainbow's order of colors.

4. Find a high traffic place to hang your new garland so that the brightness of your springtime butterflies bring cheer to all who come near it.

5. Climb a stool and secure each side of the string with a piece of tape on the wall, a mantle, or window frame.

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! I Corinthians 5:17

 

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Had Myself a Crafty Little Christmas

Every year I have the best intentions to hand make the majority of my Christmas presents. Even with Christmas being plastered everywhere starting November 1st (while everyone is still sick on Halloween candy), I never seem to be able to get anywhere close to hand making much of anything. I always blame it on something. Work, house work, baby, cleaning, that baby again, other stuff... you know, the usual accomplices.

This year was surprisingly different. Sort of, anyway.

I naturally had goals and aspirations higher than the pile of laundry in my bedroom. I didn’t get all of it done. I think I got half. (Baby steps, right?) At any rate, I am still uber proud of my accomplishments and felt the need to share them with more people than were gifted these items (okay, brag. But only a little. And more in a if I can do it, so can you sort of way!)

The first item up for gifting was some hand made soaps. I just love using artisan soap that I buy at Farmer's markets, craft fairs, etc. Making soap is not nearly as daunting as it initially looks, however that is a post for another day. The brief version is: I made three soaps: one for the ladies, one for the gents, and one for the kitchen connoisseurs. The first was "Sweet Tea" that I made with the green tea as the base and added sugar for exfoliating. The second was "Honey Beer" soap using beer as the base and adding honey. The last was "Rosemary Dill" which was made with rosemary essential oil and dill weed. The recipe can be found here. I kept it simple and wrapped them in kraft paper or tissue paper.

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Another gift was little button ornaments. The idea came from my friend Martha Stewart (okay, you caught me. We may not actually be friends...) from here. I would give you a photo of these, but I forgot to take any in decent daylight. I made a little snowman, reindeer (Rudolph specifically. He had a red button nose.), and a Santa. I love this because it can be made with things you have lying around the house and is still really cute!

This next project was a little gift from Penny to her Grandmas. My idea with this one is to create a little picture, painting or something every year to fit in the frame so they can have a little history of Penny's artistic endeavors through the years. This year I had her finger paint with varying shades of green. I cut a Christmas tree out of that (and also made little brown stumps). I mounted the tree atop some burlap and then matted and framed it. It turned out pretty cute. I also thought that if they hated it, they only had to put it up for a month every year!

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Note: Don't bother cutting your shape prior to painting. I ended up having to resize the tree anyway.

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I don't know about you, but I feel like dads are the hardest people to buy gifts for. I remember as a child, my mom would have us get a can of nuts and socks, underwear, or undershirts for my dad from us kids. My sister and I played on that idea this year (minus the undergarments thankfully) and made my dad a little nutty scavenger hunt. We used pistachios, cashews, and roasted pecans. I etched some jars that I found at target for about 4 bucks each with the labels: "Dad's nuts", "Grandpa's nuts", and "Nuts." A little play on words there. A little possessive, a little conjunctive, and well lets just leave nuts as meaning the food (Hey! I thought we were keeping undergarments out of this!) :) For the etching, I outlined the area in painting tape, and then used stickers to write out the phrase. Applied the etching cream and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then just washed it off. I am just itching (or etching?) to get my hands on more jars to organize my trinkets.

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Penny's gift was probably the most fun. We made her a little kitchen sink and oven this year. My husband built it according to the plans from Ana White. We actually have her book, but you can find the plans here for free. The plans were super simple and easy to follow. We then primed and painted the set (the color is Kiwi by Pittsburgh Paints.) I sewed a little curtain for under the sink (the book had a tutorial for that as well.) We spray painted old yogurt/cottage cheese container lids for the burners, and used kitchen knobs for the stove knobs. The faucet is a cheap-o ten dollar bathroom faucet from Menards, and the kitchen sink is a stainless steel bowl. The kitchen dishware we bought is from Green Toys. Penny has a set of stacking cups also by Green Toys that we have been really happy with, and it is made from recycled milk jugs (bonus!), so we thought we'd give the dishware a try. Penny was also blessed with a little play food, a shopping cart, a chef's hat, and an apron from other family to go along with her kitchen.

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I learned a few things along the way during this crafty Christmas. While they do seem somewhat obvious, here are a few key things to remember:

  1. Start early. This is probably where everyone goes wrong. You can't possibly get it all done in a week or two. You have to buckle down and just do it.
  2. Plan ahead. I can't even tell you how many trips I took to Michael's or Joann Fabrics because I forgot something or decided to make something else. They are both at least 20 minutes from my house, so I generally waste an hour just in travel time. Next year, I plan on actually planning! Let's make one list and get it all at once, and get it all early. All those precious hours of traveling I could have been using crafting (or baking and eating Christmas cookies that I never ended up getting to.)
  3. Remember that crafting and making homemade doesn't always mean thrifty. I spent more than I meant to on some gifts. Once you factor the cost of all the items, and the time and effort you put into the project, you may be better off buying something instead.

And since I am in a bragging mood, let's brag for other people! We received a polyester blanket that Josh's Grandma made from goodwill finds. Josh's parents have a bunch of these blankets that we take everywhere. Use them on the beach, outside, in the car, etc. They cannot be destroyed and you don't have to worry about ruining (if that is even possible) because it's cheap-o material. She also made me and the sisters-in-law the warmest pair of mittens. They are the perfect fit and so adorable. She even stitched leather to the palm so we can drive with them. My sister's boyfriend's mother (SO SWEET! She's not even my family!) made me a stack of washcloths. I love love love these washcloth. We got a couple handmade ornaments. My mom embroidered some dish drying towels and sewed me two new wet bags for Penny's stinkies-on-the-go. And lastly, my brother gave me a jar of his homemade vanilla extract (no picture, but it's just a jar) that he started in July (talk about starting early!! I definitely want to try this in the future.)

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So there you have it. A Christmas full of Christ, a little bit of craft and a whole lot of blessings. Did you do any Christmas crafting? Receive any super thoughtful gifts? Already starting the to do list for next year? Do share.

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