January 31, 2014

Love One Another + Free Resources!

                    "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.

                                Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God."

                                                                                    1 John 4:7

If you follow me on Facebook, you would have seen that I had the joy of participating in a three day craft project this week, emphasizing not only the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday, but more so on the love that God has for us. What an amazing experience to be reminded of this fact on a daily basis, and to share an expression of the love of God to my children as well. 

My dearest friends, David and Johanna Henderson, just posted this FREE resource on their website, Nephilimtheremnants.com! Faith Builders is an exciting FREE resource that they have made available to teach kids the love of God through a total lego-themed-out personal experience! This Valentine's Day craft has been customized out of the FREE Faith Builder's Curriculum. This valuable resource is so customizable for your kids at home, groups of any type, Sunday Schools, VBS, homeschoolers, Bible studies, and so much more! 

Let's take a look at how Nathan and I applied their "God is Love" resource 
to our week in such a fun and easy way!

Nathan and I had fun picking out all the red and white bricks from our modest Lego stash. I used two windows for the M&M's holders, and just placed a piece of card stock on the back to keep the candy in. Nathan wanted a refill right away. We learned today that God doesn't just love us. He IS love. Memorizing Scripture is important so that we can avoid sin (Psalm 119:11).

We loved how easy this one was. Two lego pieces snapped together to form a heart, and tied on with ric-rac. The heart represents God's love for us. On this day we learned that the reason we need (and should want to) love others, is because God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is the One that first loved us (1 JOHN 4:19). His Word says that even while we were sinners (and we ALL STILL ARE) He loves us, and allowed his Son, Jesus, to die for our sins (that we commit EVERY DAY) Romans 5:8. 
That's A-M-A-Z-I-N-G love! I don't know about you, but I can't think of any other who would die for my (constant) mistakes. 

This day we made a interchangeable photo frame. Creating a heart-shaped one would be perfect to do  for Valentine's Day, while here we opted for a simple square to hang on the fridge all year. The pictures just pop in and out, and I hot-glued a magnet to the back (can be peeled off too, if I ever just want the legos back). On this third day, I taught Nathan where love first originated. In 1 John 4:7, we see that love was created by God. 

Nathan and I had such a wonderful time playing with Legos, but more importantly I had such joy in teaching my child more about the love of Christ. 

My same friends also have another FREE faith building resource for you to print today! 
The Armor of God, an invaluable Bible study for kids and adults. They even have one geared for just GIRLS!!! How awesome is that! Head over to their website right now to print off your FREE copies!!! Perfect for home use, church use, small groups, and Sunday Schools!

And...to see an allegorical picture of what living for Christ would look like, download a copy today of David's Book, Nephilim the Remnants (just $5!) and FREE companion guide 
(perfect as well for Bible studies!) to read on your tablet, phone, or PC. You won't be disappointed! His book is so intriguing that you''ll most likely read it in just a day! To see this book in a quick snapshot, check out this VIDEO about it!

Are you getting that my friends here are amazing??!!!! Well, I know them very, very well, and they really would not want you to think they are amazing at all. If I have seen anything as to the theme of their lives, it's complete humbleness, ability to love like Christ (continually!), and what having the heart of Christ looks like. I'm humbled to know them as some of my closest friends! An invaluable treasure. 

Instead, they would want you to know how much God loves you. They want these free resources to be yours to be used for His glory. So, please....go download! Pin them to your board! Share them with your kids! Teach others about the immense and truly unspeakable love gift that God gives us each and every day! 

January 26, 2014

Painting Birthday Party on a Budget

I loved how Nathan's birthday party turned out. Once I settled on an art theme for Nathan, I started pinning "painting" birthday party ideas off of Pinterest. I loved everything I saw, of course, but knew there was no way I was going to spend the kind of money some people do on throwing specialized parties. So, the next question comes up: How do you take these same ideas and save money, while keeping the party still exceptionally fun for all attendees? Well, that kind of challenge is right up my alley, and I will show you how I did it. 

I don't want our honored friends and family to think for a second that I love them or cherish them less, because I chose not to spend big bucks (that I never seem to have around anyways) on an event they were invited to. While the tendency is for all of us to equate "the more I spend, the more I love," experience and truth tell me that "where my treasure is, there my heart is also" (Matthew 6:21). So, it's just smarter to throw a just-as-fun-party for less money, because the people coming and who you are throwing the party for are the real treasure. 

Exit soapbox now, and on to the party details....

The majority of my inspiration came from my Pinboard HERE. I really love all the rainbow, painting themed items found on Petite Party Studio. These people are really amazing. Fortunately, though, I have amazing friends who are just as talented in that arena! I have an incredible friend, Johanna, who does all of my computer graphic design work on my patterns. Trust me...I have NEEDED her expertise! She has made the Princess Anna pattern come together and look so amazing! Also, her and her husband, David, have just launched several free items on their website, such as a free downloadable Bible Study on the Armor of God and Faith Builders, a lego-themed Bible study for young boys. And there's also David's amazing Book, Nephilim the Remnants
But, more on all that soon! 
Another inspiration photo from Petite Party Studio... 
I took their ideas and ran with it....

I made my own invitations (without the watermarks...Nathan was helping me). 
I cut a palette design from plain folded notecards. I quickly drew paint marks with oil pastels (markers or crayons would work too). I mailed a few, but gave most out by hand to save on stamps. You could save even more by replacing a paper invite with a digital one: create a birthday "event" on Facebook, or send out a free custom made one on punchbowl.com.

I liked the paper chains above, but instead bought one multi-colored tissue paper pack at Dollar Tree and made my own DECORATIONS:

I folded the tissue paper in half two times, lengthways, then fan folded it and taped strips of it to the wall. The "Happy Birthday" is cut from free paint chip cards from the hardware store, and threaded onto a ribbon. It was my third year reusing this easy decoration! 
See what I did with it on year #1 and year #2


I made a simple, stacked confetti dot cake from a store bought mix for $1. I used chocolate icing between the layers, and on the sides. The top is butter cream frosting with red sprinkles and two real paintbrushes (you can buy a pack of 8 brushes for just $1 at Dollar Tree). 

The palette cookies I made from scratch just like the ones from my inspiration picture above. I used my Aunt's recipe (follows) and made them round. Once cooled, I iced them with butter cream frosting, leftover from the cake. M&Ms made the paint dots. I just stuck the cookies onto the side of the cake after icing it. And they stayed on just fine. I toped the cake with 3 sparkler candles from Dollar Tree as well. 

My Aunt Peggy's Sugar Cookie Recipe:

2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

**creme these 3 together with a mixer. 
Then add in:

1 egg
4 teaspoons milk (skim, whole, 2%, etc...)
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix well. Form into a large ball with hands. Cover dough. Chill in fridge for a minimum of one hour. 
Rollout dough to 1/4"-1/2". Use a cookie cutter or glass cup to cut out rounds. Place on greased baking sheet, silicone mat, or stoneware pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Let fully cool before icing. 


While I loved the idea of each child getting to paint their own canvas propped up on a mini-easel, it just wasn't practical money wise. Instead, I used the paint tote and mason jars filled with brushes for my art-table centerpiece. I printed off free pictures from online onto card stock for the kids to paint, and drew "faux palettes" onto styrofoam plates with a sharpie marker. They all had a blast, and even got to take home their masterpieces! Nathan's friends ranged from 1-8 years old, and this activity was fun for all!!! 

I used Crayola kids paint ($5 for a box of paints at Walmart) because these paints are extremely washable!! I just love them!!  Or, you could always just make your own paint!


For the food I kept my kid menu pretty simple: 
Peanut butter and Jelly triangles
Red and green jello cups (2 packs, homemade, divided into individual cups)
Candy coated pretzel rods (I used candy melts and coated them in a double boiler on the stove)
vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate wafers
fruit salad (made from fresh fruit and home preserved fruit I had canned)
I made homemade rise krispy treats (cut into rectangles, dipped in chocolate and added a colored popsicle stick (a whole pack at Dollar Tree for $1)
Bags of various flavored potato chips 
various juices and water. Crayola sells small flavored waters (8 for just $2.50). 

For the adults I made (and my husband made it really delicious) chili and cornbread. 

I typically shop at Aldi's grocery store, where I got most of the food above for the best value. 


For the treat bags, I used a pack of brown lunch bags from Dollar Tree ($1). I used the Crayola kids paint (above) to paint a vertical stripe down the front of each bag. I bought the individual paint sets from Dollar Tree as well to go inside, as well as the mini candies I included. I individually wrapped a homemade palette cookie (see above), giving each kid one to take home. I punched a hole in the top of each bag and tied on with twine a free printable paintbrush pattern I found online. I hand-colored them and added each kid's name. I really enjoyed how they turned out. 

And one last thing I created: a CANDY BAR!!!!:
This was one of the best parts of the party, I think. I bought a variety of candy packs at Dollar Tree (and Walmart) and put them each into individual mason jars that I had. I am an avid garden canner, so I had these empty ones in my pantry, but you can typically purchase 10 mason jars for $12 at any large retail store. 

It was such a fun party and we really treasured everyone who came! We hope you all had as much fun with us as well! So, have fun saving a ton of money on your next birthday party!

Nathan is sporting his homemade Waldorf birthday crown (first year I actually got him to wear it)!  See how to make your own crown HERE and another one I made HERE.
...And see even more of our fun painting party festivities HERE!

January 25, 2014

Turning 3.

This past week, our little man turned the big 3. We can hardly believe it. This little guy has brought us endless joy and delight since his birth. He is so full of life, creativity, skill, curiosity, and excitement. Nathan has always known exactly what he wants, and what he doesn't for that matter. Each year with him just gets richer in love and joy. 

We (mostly Nathan) daily practice art in our house between cutting everything with scissors to drawing "houses" with ink pens and markers, to painting wooden cars and planes. It just seemed natural to theme out Nathan's birthday this year with a painting theme. And it was just perfect. We took some paint and threw in some food, cake, and a lot of candy to create a delightful party!

And  we are so thankful to all of our friends and family who came! You all so braved the blizzard, cold temps, and bad roads to come celebrate with us, and we are thankful! You all brought us so much joy and friendship! We love you all!

Here are a few sneak peaks into the painting themed party:
(I'll share more of the how-to soon with you)

Such a fabulous time today with all of you! Happy 3rd Birthday, Nathan!
We love you so incredibly much!

January 23, 2014

Elsa Ice Dress Preview

UPDATE!! As of April 11th, my Elsa Ice Dress Pattern can now be 
purchased in my Craftsy Shop here and my Etsy Shop here.
Today I had the privilege of taking my niece, Lillya, out today: just her and I. We headed to our local art center to take pictures in her new, FROZEN, Princess Elsa dress. This is part of my new pattern that I just released in April!!! The pattern has modifications included to make her ice dress (pictured here), and her coronation outfit with cape (blogged about HERE!). You can currently purchase Anna's complete outfit, and broken into sections, and numerous stencil templates on Joy2Sew Etsy

What amazing pictures this gorgeous little girl takes...I'm just in awe! The best part of the time, though, was just treasuring the time I got to be with her. only her. just priceless. Thank you to my awesome sister, and Mom, for making this special time with her happen for me! 

Some of my favorite picks from today's photo shoot:

I am excited to offer you this one-piece costume. It's easy to sew (depending on the fabric you chose), and quick to put together! There are so many great fabric choices to make your Elsa look come together. And with the velcro back closure, your Princess can easily take it on and off for playtime, if you can get it off of her, that is! 

And a few close ups of some of the details:
velcro back closure, stretch front and back bodice and sleeves, v-sleeves, and front knee slit

And of course we turned the camera on ourselves and created a little silliness:

I just love this girl to pieces! 
And now, Lillya....for your Coronation outfit, Queen Elsa! (And Anna too)!

Full PDF Anna and Elsa Pattern Available on Joy2Sew Etsy and Craftsy!!!! 

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