20 minute crafter. cute photo gift for 50cents!

Today's 20 Minute Crafter is Julie from Joy's Hope.

Say Hello to Julie!
Her craft is super cute and easy...I made a few...just haven't had time to photograph them...so pretend you saw mine and that they were super cute...okay?

Would you believe me if I told you that you could make A.Maz.Ing gifts for less than 50 cents each? (By the way... why don't keyboards have cent signs?)

Seriously, 50 cents.

Take that crappy economy!

Here's what you need to make eighteen gifts.
Why eighteen? Why not eighteen?

A six foot long 1x6 pine board from Lowes or Home Depot cut into 4 inch pieces.
(Bat your eyelashes at the nice lumber man. He just might cut it for you.)
Black paint
Mod Podge
Wire edge ribbon
Foam brush
Staple gun
Cute xeroxed pic of your family, preferably taken by DrewB.


After you or nice lumber man cut your wood, paint each piece and sides black.


Trim your picture. The board is actually a bit less than 6 inches wide. False advertising.
Put a thin even coat of Mod Podge on the board.
Lay your picture on top and smooth out all creases and bubbles.


Cut a 10 inch piece of ribbon.
Admire the cuteness.


Staple the ribbon to the back.
If you want to be fancy, cut a piece of felt the same size and glue it on to hide the mess.
If you are lazy (like me) just write 2009 on it and call it good enough.


Hang the cuteness.
How easy was that?
Give one or a few to your in-laws, your grandparents, the mailman, whoever.
You made eighteen.
No need to be choosy.

Have fun with these. They are my new obsession.

Peace out girl scouts!


Wouldn't they make Valentines? Or birthday gifts for Grandmas?
Mine aren't quite to the photographing stage. :)


artificial sunshine.

Just some photos that make me smile.
In case you are as desperate for spring as I am.

what they never tell you.

As I lay awake at night...unable to fall asleep, I think about a lot of things.
One of the main themes, among others, are the things they never tell you about being a parent.

Yes, we all hear that it is hard.

Um, no.
Calculus is hard. Working out everyday is hard. Learning Latin? Hard.
Avoiding hideous fashion trends...hard. Leaving the last chocolate chip cookie for your cookie loving husband...hard!

Parenting is a whole new level of difficulty.
Parenting, when done right, is like a never. ending. marathon.
It is voluntary forced selflessness. When done right.

It is saying goodbye to sleeping in, worrying about yourself, eating hot food and being alone with your husband.

At least for a while...you DO get these things back, right? Eventually?

You say so long to eating treats during the day...I don't know about you but I eat nothing during the daylight hours that I am not prepared to share...now with TWO other mouths.

You say goodbye to the body of your youth.
You buy diapers instead of new clothes.
You live off of chocolate and coffee.
And less than five hours sleep a night.

You say hello to 24 hour job shifts.
7 days a week.
No sick days or holidays.
Forget pay.

You give yourself over to someone else completely...as completely as a human can.
If you are doing it right.
Your every moment is revolving around the needs of others.
Little others.
Impressionable others.
Who are completely dependent on you.
For everything.
For food, clothing and shelter.

And beyond that...love, kindness, patience, respect, guidance.

And beyond that you have to teach them everything.
What matters, what doesn't.
Who matters and who doesn't.
Colors, shapes and how to be kind to their brother.

They look to you for every answer. Big AND small.

You worry all the time and question every move you make.
You doubt yourself and your abilities.
You doubt you.

You worry and worry.
Are they eating enough veggies?
Are they playing well enough with others?
Are you going to mess them up forever?

You pray. and pray. and PRAY. and pray.
You learn more about God than ever before.

You become DESPERATE for Him.
Because this is a job that you cannot, should not, do alone.

You cuddle and love and savor every moment.
Because time really does fly.

You fall in love with your husband more...as you see the type of father he is.
If you are doing it right.

They never tell you that parenthood is a perpetual cycle of mourning and rejoicing.
You are so happy to see them growing and developing.
You are so sad to realize that they are not babies anymore.
You can't wait to hear them say your name.
You dread the end of being a nursing mom.

You give them everything you have.
Even the things you didn't know you had to give.
You really DO have a lot to give.

They never tell you that by having your own child you
will forever feel and understand the grief of any mother...anywhere.
That by having a child you will be forever baffled by the choices that some parents make.
If you are doing it right.
You learn a lot.
And I can't think of another way I would want to learn it all.
They are the best teachers. Kids.
They are hard on you and don't accept late work.
They demand your best.

And you can't afford to give them anything less.

And I PRAY that I am doing it right.

beautiful and messy.

January has been a rough month.
But you probably guessed that.
Just a lot going on with life.
Some things are being dealt with...
...others we are trying to figure out.
Just moving along and trying to get through winter.
January has also been busy.
Not with stuff, really.
More with stages.
Both boys are in extremely needy stages at the moment.
So of course all my "want to" things get put to the side.
I have been working on new projects in my head.
And devoting my days more to running my family.
Playing cars and looking up animal clips on YouTube.
But when I can't actually create...it takes a toll on me.
Creating is my therapy.
And yesterday I was overdue for a good long session.
So when Aaron went down for his nap...I went to town.
Just creating. With Moses playing nearby.
And these new towels were the result.
Beautiful and messy...charming and quirky...haphazard and perfect.
Beautiful and messy.
Just like my life.
Hmmm...that seems to be a crafty theme for me.
These towels make me happy...their imperfect quirks.
And the beauty they will show after they are washed as well.
Yum. Like a bonus treat.
This one may be my favorite.
Because I can't throw even the smallest of scraps away.
This one is made from all the leftovers of the others.
Even discarded things can be stunning.
A lesson there too.

They will all be in the shop.


why things take me forever(now).

this kid is one of the top five reasons why it takes me forever to get things done.
why i have yet to write my Christmas thank you's.
why laundry piles up.
why emails don't get answered.
i blame him.
and that ridiculously adorable thumb!!!!
do you SEE this cuteness?
that green shiny thing is his lovey.
if you touch his face with it...he HAS to suck his thumb.
he can't help it.
it doesn't matter what he is doing.
he HAS to stop and suck his thumb if lovely comes near.
if he is sitting...he will bend over like this and bury his face in it.
now THAT is love.
I don't know about you...but having a baby who sucks his thumb is like a bonus.
like an extra helping of cute.
there is nothing cuter.
so when he does it, i HAVE to pick him up and cuddle.
have to.
everything else can wait.
this is him keeping me from laundry.
he was literally rolling around on the floor, petting his lovey and sucking his thumb.

extra helping of cuteness i tell you.

more on that 3 year old.

In case you were wondering...
In Moses news...we have seen improvements.
Ever since THAT night things have been getting better.

Here is what we did...just in case...and don't say "my child would never" cause before this crazy three stage...Moses was a poster perfect child...a bump here or there but nothing memorable.
Truly. Never say never.

We took everything out of his room but his bed, a chair and his dresser (facing the wall).

I think that got his attention.
We now put a gate up at his door at night and naps.
He is too smart for door knob covers.

We have severely limited TV.
One 30 minute show IF he stays in his bed at night.

We tell him what behavior we expect.
What the consequence will be for disobeying.
And act IMMEDIATELY if he disobeys.
We also do our best to show NO emotion when he does tantrum.

It took a very short time for him to realize we mean business.
He does not like to lose toys.

These are all things we have always done...but now we have tightened the belt.
I think boys just NEED this type of strong structure.

Last Friday when he went to bed he told us
"I want to be a good boy for you".

I think he really understands that and means it.
You can tell he gets bummed out when his actions have been naughty ones.
Last night he asked if he could clean the kitchen floor.
And did it.
He has been more helpful and loving towards us.

So we are hanging fast to hope.

I hope I didn't just jinx myself.

20 minute crafter. valentines day cards.

Welcome to the newest feature of the Little Bit Funky Blog!

I HOPE to feature a new, fun crafter every week...and not only that...each crafter will be showing YOU that you DO have time for creating beautiful things.
Each Tuesday will feature a fun new craft tutorial that takes about twenty minutes or so.

Are you ready?
Well this week you're stuck with me...
wanna make some cute Valentines cards for minimal cost?
Here's what you need:
paint color chips
invitation sized envelopes (or whatever you have)
sewing machine (or needle and thread)

First, trim your cardstock in half so you have two 4 1/4 by 11in pieces.
If you have standard invite sized envelopes this will give you
TWO cards from each piece of cardstock.
If you have a different sized envelope you can adjust cardstock size as needed.
Fold in half.
Using your sewing machine and contrasting colored thread...
...stitch a heart shape on your paint chip.
(you CAN do this by hand but it will take longer than 20 minutes).
The paint chips that I had (from Lowe's) were the perfect size without trimming but you may need to trim yours. If you would like...you can lightly trace the heart shape on first.
Stitch over and over for a sweet effect.
Switch stitch types if you're feeling crazy.
Glue your heart paint chip onto your folded cardstock and add some cute buttons.
A cute Valentine for pennies!

Someone made an anonymous comment about my use of paint chips and how they felt wrong about my using them for craft purposes, even if they are free.
If you have been following this blog for very long you would know two things...
1) I shop at Lowe's A LOT.
2) I buy a lot of paint from them. I do not feel bad about taking several paint chips in various colors when I am trying to find the right color or shade. What I would feel bad about is just throwing them away when I have made a paint decision.


i HOPE to get a real post up today...
but if I don't...
here is peek at what I am working on for YOU!


do it now.

Like our newest house accessory?
Aaron does not. But I don't care.

Sadly for me it took a nearly tragic event for me to finally
install a permanent gate at the base of our stairs.

A couple of days ago a dear friends little girl fell down some stairs...had a seizure, stopped breathing and had a brain bleed. You might remember seeing the photos I took of her.

Praise the Lord that she is ok...doing well and expected to recover fully.

But the ease at which things could have gone the other way does not escape me.
Almost immediately I was sick to my stomach at the thought that the only thing that had kept me from installing a gate at the base of our stairs was money.
I did not want to pay $65 for a gate.
Shame on me. Shame on me for putting my kids in danger like that over a few bucks.
Moses has already fallen down the same stairs twice...me once.
That should have been enough for me to get my butt in gear.
Sadly it was not.
It took a near tragic experience of a close friend to shake me awake.

And here I am to shake you.

Do it NOW. Right now.
Put it at the top of your to-do list TODAY.
Whatever safety project you have been putting off...DO IT.

Let me be your warning.

Also in the world of "I have nothing to complain about because my kids are healthy"...
my three year old will yet be the death of me.

Let me preface this by saying that I LOVE and ADORE him.
Truly...he is a bright spot in my life.
He is cute and smart and funny and sweet.

But he will be the death of me.
Last night he got up at 2am...the first time.
Then again at 2:45 and 3:30 and 4:30 and 5 and 6:15 and 7:00.
He gets up and comes out.
This has become a nightly occurrence.
And most times he wakes his brother.
He gets up to play...with the loudest toys in his room.
He gets up and turns on every light he can find.

I thought I was going to lose my mind.
At 7am I had a long talk with him and I think he understood that I was very upset with him.
He didn't make a peep but stayed in his room until I got him at 8:30am.

I left him there until I could calm down and figure out what to do with him.
It was best for us both, believe me.
I would never harm him...understand that...but I know when I need to calm down and think.

So when I finally went to get him...I explained some things to him.
I removed everything from his room but his bed, dresser and a chair.

I will be putting up a gate at his door until he learns to stay in there at night.
I will unscrew his light bulbs so he can't turn them onto play at 2am.

I am hoping these things will get through to him.

What really kills me...last night I stayed up reading It's a Boy...(my absolute favorite book about raising boys)...and went to bed very optimistic about our three year old boy...he IS normal. He IS a boy. And then this.

I am deflated and exhausted.
Please pray for me...please pray that these things WILL work.

Any other ideas from someone who has been in this situation?
I would LOVE to hear from you. LOVE.

exhausted in VA.

monarch butterfly cupcakes.

I'm so excited to show you these.
I made them for a friends baby shower.
And you know what?
They were easy.
Time consuming, but easy.
I had the perfect stand for displaying them, too.
You can find the how to in Hello, Cupcake.
Don't be intimidated.
You can do these.
I have never worked with food stuff in this way but was happily surprised at the ease of it all.
My only tip...be sure your kids are asleep for the night. Not just in bed.
Just saying. You are working with melted chocolate here.
No time for going up and down the stairs to get your 3 year old back in bed.
You should have a baby...and buy me a plane ticket...and I will come make some for you.
I'm thinking if I make enough...maybe spring will come sooner?
Happy Friday, peeps.
What are you up to?
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