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.

Easter Mini Garden

Several years ago, I stumbled upon the sweetest project while scrolling through the internets (thank you, Pinterest!). My family and I have enjoyed making an Easter Mini Garden together each Lent season since then. I have a hunch that you will LOVE this idea, so I wanted to pass it along today.

It is such a simple, but beautiful and powerful visual reminder of Christ's death for us and His resurrection from the dead!

easter mini garden hhh To give proper credit where credit is due, you can find the inspiration and instructions for the project here. Click over to see photos for instructions, too!

The Easter Mini Garden is easy and relatively inexpensive to whip up! I've seen a few different variations, but here are the basic supplies and instructions:

(It's possible you can find some/most of these items in your home or yard) shallow terra cotta potting tray terra cotta mini pot (for the tomb) little stones or pebbles grass seed (or moss!) potting soil twine or string a few small twigs (to make the crosses) one stone (to cover and then roll away from "the tomb")

1. Lay the mini pot on its side in the center the potting tray 2. Scoop soil on top of and around the sides of the pot. Pack it in to form a "hill" 3. Sprinkle grass seed all over the soil. Be generous! 4. Pour pebbles in front of the "tomb" opening 5. Use twine to tie together three crosses and then stick the crosses into the soil on the "hill" 6. Place the stone halfway in front of the "tomb" 7. Water the grass with a spray bottle each day to keep the soil moist 8. Place the Easter Mini Garden in a sunny spot in your house and watch the grass grow a bit each day! The grass might even need a trim if it grows well and quickly!

This project is such a joy. It provides yet another opportunity to chat with my child about what our Savior has lovingly done for us. We have not only enjoyed these in our own home, but at church, too! Sunday School kiddos have made them to use as centerpieces for Easter breakfast. They took them home to enjoy afterwards!

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die." ~John 11:25-26

Will you make an Easter Mini Garden? Or do you enjoy making another Easter project each year? Please share it with us!

God bless your Lenten season, dear friends.

RachelSignature

 

Floral Arranging 101: From Grocery to Gorgeous

Title Image I don't know of many women who don't appreciate a nice bouquet of flowers -- in fact, at this moment, I cannot think of a single one. Flowers have always fascinated me: the tens of thousands of variations, the intricate parts, the slightly different shapes to the petals, the stems, the leaves, everything about them is astounding. And to think that God could've achieved pollination in any other, much less beautiful way. . . it is true proof that God loves each and every one of us.

So maybe you are someone who receives flowers a lot. Maybe that special someone in your life fully knows the simple truth that flowers make women smile. Or maybe he doesn't. Or maybe you don't happen to have a special someone but you treat yourself to the lovelies once in a while. If that's you, kudos. With Sweetest Day approaching the weekend (for those of you rolling your eyes, I get it...my husband and I barely even mention it to each other), I thought it might be a good time to explore the possibilities of a grocery bouquet.

As a former floral shoppe employee, I can honestly tell you that the time taken with each stem, the expertise and skill used in each arrangement and the quality sources of the flowers warrant the higher prices paid at such a specialty place. But let's be real for a moment: many of us cannot afford to spend that kind of money on something that seems to be pure luxury. As much as a hundred dollar bouquet of flowers from my husband would look amazing on my dining room table, I think I may be more upset with him than happy if he actually purchased them given our current financial status.

Enter the grocery store. Sure, there may not be anything particularly unique about the mixed arrangements sitting in the buckets at the entrance. They may not be beautifully arranged in a $20 vase. But they are still beautiful. And they're still flowers. And believe it or not, you can make them look a little bit more like something that came out of your local specialty floral shoppe in just a few short minutes..

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One of the main issues when purchasing flowers at the supermarket is that they are all cut to the same height without much thought given to the placing of each variety within the bouquet. Therefore, you get them home, maybe give them a quick fresh cut and place them in a vase -- as a result, you end up with a bouquet of beautiful flowers which were simply cut and thrown into a vase (similar to the "before" picture above) because, well, that's what they are. But with just 10 minutes and the help of a few common household tools, you can create an "after" arrangement which is much more pleasing to the eye!

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Before beginning the steps below, fill your vase with water (within an inch from the top to insure that all stems will be reaching) and gather the proper tools: scissors, tape and a pruners if dealing with particularly thick and rigid stems, such as those of roses. Tip: When determining what temperature of water to use, consider the flowers. In most cases, cold water will be best as it will help your flowers last longer. However, if your goal is to open the blooms a bit quicker, for instance a bouquet of tightly closed roses or lilies, then use somewhat warmer water to encourage the flowers to burst forth in a shorter period of time.

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Step #1: The trick which I was most impressed by after beginning my job at the floral shoppe was that of "gridding" the vase. Take a piece of tape which is long enough to span the vase opening and also reach at minimum 1/2" down the side of the vase and carefully cut it in half lengthwise. Making sure that the top of the vase is as free from moisture as possible, attach the tape to one side and pull it as tightly as possible across the mouth of the vase before attaching it to the opposite side. Continue by placing additional pieces of tape in a parallel and perpendicular fashion, thus creating a grid of sorts across the opening of the vase.

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Step #2: Separate all stems out of the bouquet and arrange according to variety.

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Step #3: Begin with any filling "greens" which the bouquet may contain. Make the most out of the stems by breaking them apart into smaller pieces which can be used to better fill the vase. Place them within the grid at varying angles and heights. Tip: Having a hard time determining how short to cut a particular stem? Don't be afraid to hold it up to your vase to get a rough estimate before making the cut.

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Step #4: Continue on by selecting the most numerous of the flowers in your group. These will work to set the overall frame, shape and height of the finished arrangement. Again, break apart the stems as necessary to make the most of the number of blooms you have. When placing them into the grid, put some low, some high and some angled out a little further than the others. Tip: Keep in mind that you can always cut more stems or cut them shorter, but once they are snipped, they cannot be glued back together. Therefore, start small and cut more if necessary.

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Step #5: Select the next flower by considering which you have just as much of or a little less than the first. If not as numerous as the first, these flowers act more like accents in the arrangement but still can fill in some good holes. In this case, the yellow flowers are alstromeria, which tend not to have long stems which can be broken apart but rather have groupings of blooms at the top of shorter stems. Cut these as before and place where they best fit, being careful to give the bouquet equal amounts of each color throughout for good balance.

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Step #6: Finally, cut and insert any accent or focal point flowers (usually just one or two as to not compete with each other) to complete the arrangement. This is truly the "icing on the cake" as it should tie everything together and add a pop of pizzazz to an otherwise mediocre grouping of flowers.

And there you have it! While it may take a time or two to feel confident in your skills, I know you have it in you to take those supermarket flowers to the next level. Sound too involved and like more work than you're willing to do? Try a simpler method by creating a "hand-tied" bouquet: place all of the stems in your hand, one at a time, arranging them by height and variety as you go. When finished, take a piece of string or twine and tightly bind the stems together to keep them from moving out of place. Cut all of the stems at once and place in a vase!

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these! ~Luke 12:27

 

MelBioEdit

Bad to Fab Reupholstery!

Knowing that my husband and I were moving into a house that our family would call home for more than a year (yay!) I greatly anticipated updating and purchasing a few items that I had put off with our 10+ moves in eight years. Our bed still lay on the floor without a bed frame, our standard Ikea kitchen table for four was outgrown, and our TV that was gifted to me when I graduated high school (10 years ago!) displayed about four colors. It was time to get thrifty! When I was surveying Craigslist and garage sales for these items my friend Amber mentioned at bible study one week how she knew a woman who was motivated to sell her old dining room table set and wanted it out of the house. I could tell by looking at the pictures that the wood was solid quality, had a unique mid-century leg look and its chairs were mid-century awesome. I was sold! I couldn't see the fabric on the chairs well but Amber mentioned in her message, "With some new fabric stapled over the seats they'd be Pinterest drool worthy."

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The price was great and I knew this was a deal we could not miss out on! I was sold! And so was my husband after I talked to him. yay!

Once we unloaded the table into the garage it was clear that there was a little more wear on the seat cushions than I had thought. The beige material was stained and definitely needed to go from bad to fab. I quickly grabbed a box, flat head screw driver and pliers to pull the cushions off and remove the staples. After I pulled off one layer of fabric I found not one but two more layers underneath and the foam cushion was an odd mix of some hair and old foam which when pushed sent out black spores like those weird mushrooms... anyways. I was ready to pull off all the material and do these seats right but it would take me more time than I expected - a lot more. Keep in mind I have never done any reupholstery work before. If I can do it, you can.

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If you are at all inspired to reupholster some chairs (think bare bones here ladies) here's what you'll need! Thankfully I had a 50% off JoAnn Fabrics coupon off my entire purchase including sale items and was able to buy the items that I didn't already have at a reasonable price.

  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Staple Gun & staples
  • 3 yards of batting (good for six dining chairs)
  • 3 yards of material to reupholster the chairs (good for six dining chairs) - I purchased 4 yards to make sure the circle medallion would be center on all chairs.
  • 3 yards of dustcover material for under the cushion

Reupholstery2 1. Unscrew the chair cushion from the seat and remove all the old layers of fabric, foam cushions, staples and nails from the wood frame.

2. Place the wood frame on top of the new foam to trace and measure out the size to cut out.

3. Cut out the traced pattern of the wood frame to be placed on the top side of the seat. You can use a scissors or I have even seen some using an electric carving knife. We don't have one so I tried my luck with the scissors and I think it turned out just fine.

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4. Cut the batting to fit each seat.

5. Place the foam cushion with the underside facing the ceiling and the batting coming from underneath to soften and smooth out the edges of your cushion.

6. Pull snug on the batting and staple using your staple gun around the trim of the wood frame. This will also hold your cushion in place.

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7. Cut the fabric to fit each seat. I had to be extra careful that my fabric's pattern would stay centered and symmetrical. The fabric I purchased is Waverly Sun N Shade Outside - Solar Flair Poolside. I decided to go with something a little more canvas-like in texture as we have little ones who are likely to spill and I wanted to be able to clean up after meals easily. 

8. Place the fabric under the seat cushion and have the underside facing the ceiling again.

9. Pull snug on the fabric and staple using your staple gun around the trim of the wood frame.

10. Fold and staple the edges similar to how you wrap a gift to have straight lines.

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11. Cut excess fabric and batting from the underside of the cushion.

12. Place the cushion on the dustcover material and trace with chalk.

13. Cut the dustcover fabric to fit each seat.

14. Staple the dustcover onto the bottom of the seat cushion.

(PS - I tried ironing out the wrinkles on the dustcover on my lowest iron setting and it got burned onto the bottom... terrible idea. At least no one will be looking at the bottom of my chairs. Except for you now, anyhow. eh!)

15. Screw the chair cushion back onto the chair and exhale! You did it! Well, one chair... now you just have to complete 5 more! Seeing the transformation will hopefully keep you motivated as it did for me.

Here's my official before and after!

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Here is our table with a lovely egg breakfast sandwich that my hubby made for me one day when I wasn't feeling good and he let me sleep in. Feeling more and more like home. <3

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Here's a more clean look at the table with all six chairs (4 regular and 2 captains) for when we have company.

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What do you think? Is the pattern too busy or bright? I went back and forth debating if I should use this fabric or a more neutral beige embroidered fabric and ultimately went with this one. I'm just happy it's done and completed before baby arrives!

AmandaSignature