Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words may be encouragement to them. Ephesians 4:29b

Friday, February 7, 2014

Super Sacks!

Ok, I have to admit.  I'm a bit of a geek.  I have a thing for super hero movies.  I think Keaton and Nicholson probably started it with Batman, but ever since Tobey and Kirsten brought us Spiderman, I got into them....X-men, Dark Night, each Avenger's series, Man of Steel., etc....  I love them all!

I also have a love for super hero-themed birthday parties.  However, I have yet to host a hero birthday for my son, oddly enough.  Apparently ninja (Legos & turtles) themes are cooler. ;)  That's ok.  I won't let that hold me back!  With the popularity of the Ninja Turtle party favor sacks, I came up with a new favor idea - Super Hero Party Sacks! (I won't share how geeky giddy I got as I made each one of these because that might ruin me...)

Ok, so I got a little carried away...  I had way too much fun creating them.  (I know... geeeeek!) I got face shape ideas surfing Google Images.  I created PDF sheets of the white face/mask shapes that were printed on white cardstock, cut and glued to colored gift sacks.  The tops of the sacks were then cut into the shape of the heroes' heads!  These shapes are made to fit sacks 5 to 6 inches wide.  The bags I used came from Hobby Lobby, Party City and Wal-Mart.  Michael's packaged colored sacks are too small for these printables.

These super hero printables are now in the Clearly Candace Etsy Shop!  
Avengers-Themed:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/178602941/super-hero-gift-sack-face-printables
Batman-Themed:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/178603991/super-hero-gift-sack-face-printables
Other Super Heroes: https://www.etsy.com/listing/178605625/super-hero-gift-sack-face-printables

Worried about your abilities in cutting the sacks?  Just keep this post handy to keep my photos to help guide you! The shapes to cut can be divided into three "head types"....

"The Baldies"

Just cut the top of the sack into a rounded head for these guys. Simple!

Spiderman, Wolverine, The Flash, Captain America, Thor and Ironman were my "Baldies."

"Dudes With Do's"
The heroes sporting hairdo's are a little trickier.  Just use the photos to guide you to draw the hair shape on the bag with a pencil to make things easier.  I found that freehand cutting isn't easy...especially for The Hulk! ;) Draw it first!

"The Ladies"

My ladies just needed a few curves cut into their bags. Two big curves for Wonder Woman and a few smaller ones for the Black Widow!

"The Ears"

Batman and Catwoman just require drawing and cutting a couple of pointy ears!

I hope these bags might make for a fun addition to a precious child's super hero party! 
If I can't use them for my son's birthday, I'll just live vicariously through moms that can!  :)  Happy party planning!

In Keeping Him in mind....One can give US "super strength!"

"By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see an know was made strong.  It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see." Acts 3:16

Just as super heroes are strong, we can also be made strong by a faith in Jesus.  In this verse, Peter tells us how a man healed and "made strong" by his faith.  May you already know or come to know what a strong faith and healing by Jesus can give.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Do You Want To Build A Snowman?

"What?!  An actual Clearly Candace post?!"  Yes, my friends, the holidays were beyond my control this year.  I could go on for days...  I apologize for being 2013's Worst Blogger, but I plan to come back and fill you in on some missed 2013 goodies (Kelvin The Elf included). Now, on with the post!...

Do You Want To Build A Snowman?

{Cue singing!} I have yet to meet a single person who didn't love the movie Disney's Frozen.  It was SO good! A magical adventure about princesses, that boys even enjoyed!  My son went to see it for a boy's birthday party!  The story and meaning were beautiful. The characters were great. One character, in particular, captured our hearts with smiles and laughter....


This adorably funny snowman comes on the scene with "Hi, everyone, I'm Olaf! And I like warm hugs!"  What's not to love about this snowball of fun chasing his body parts all over the place? He was precious.

We had a Christmas party at our place this year with LOTS of kiddos in attendance.  I decided they needed a craft activity.  Frozen was in its peak, so I came up with an Olaf craft for the kids to enjoy. Sweet and squeezable, meet Marshmallow Olaf!  

I thought he would be a fun keepsake, since marshmallows harden with time.  I opened and aired out the marshmallows for a couple of days to stiffen them some.  This step helped reduce some temptation to eat them, with special warning of the feet (the minis were in the back of my pantry!) Successfully, most of the Olaf's were not eaten and the kids had a great time building them! I also made sure to include some extra (fresh) marshmallows and a orange slices as a treat.  What's a Christmas party without some extra sugar, right? ;-) Unfortunately, I didn't get photos of the building session. :-/

How to Make Your Own Marshmallow Olaf

Each Olaf requires:
2 regular marshmallows (head and chest), 1 jumbo marshmallow (bottom), 2 mini-marshmallows (feet)
1 brown pipe cleaner, cut like so: ____ __ __ (head twig, bent and arms)
2 coffee straws (1 for body, 2nd cut in half to connect feet) or 2 toothpicks, with supervision
1 orange slice or an orange marker (nose)
2 adhesive wiggly eyes (or draw the eyes)
Black marker (eyebrows, mouth, buttons)

To Build Olaf:
Push straw into bottom, through chest and into head (see Olaf craft photo).
Push straw halves through the bottom to attach mini marshmallow feet.
Push arm pieces into the sides of the chest.
Bend the larger pipe cleaner and press into head for head twigs.
Attach/Draw eyes and nose (lick the orange slice or use end of a toothpick for support)
Draw on eyebrows, mouth and buttons.

You can even make true to character by "losing his head" as I did in my first try using toothpicks and leftover eyes. So very...Olaf!

When brainstorming for this craft, I was inspired by all the Frozen birthday parties already pinned on Pinterest!  If I were still a girl, my January birthday would've had a Frozen theme!  Lucky for my husband, I no longer require birthday themes. ;)

Similar to the idea of the Ninja Turtle party favor bag masks (my Etsy bestseller), I drew up a file for an Olaf party favor bag!  I thought it turned decent enough.  What do you think?  Does it look like him?

I hope you said yes, because, the Olaf Party Favor Bag Printable is already in my Etsy Shop!  The PDF file is in color or b&w that can be cut and glued to a folded white lunch sack!  I found my bags on the paper goods aisle at Wal-Mart.  I also trimmed out his upper lip out to give the bag a little more Olaf shape. :)

Maybe this craft and printable will bring a little joy to some birthday parties this wintry season.  
Stay warm out there and be sure to share your own warm hugs!

With Him in mind,

"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A "Boston" Girl After My Own Heart

My 5-year-old daughter has been asking for a "girl bathroom" for a couple of years now.  When we moved into our home almost 5 years ago, we used her bathroom (in her suite bedroom) as the kids' bathroom until big brother was big enough to shower on his own in his bathroom.  Well, that day came and went way back and Mommy had put it off this request long enough!  It was finally time for our first Mommy-Daughter DIY project: E's Bathroom Makeover.

When the idea came around, she originally wanted the typical girl's "pink" bathroom.  She thought of adding butterflies.  The next idea was rainbows, and since the rainbow request included rainbow walls, I had to nip that idea in the bud quickly.  This room was way too tiny for that - and Mommy's not much on extra bold rooms. ;)  As time passed, something else came to mind.

My daughter is a lot like her mommy when it comes to dogs.  She LOVES dogs.  She has more stuffed dogs (and a puppy vet station), than she has babies, cribs and Barbie's.  More than anything, she loves her REAL dog Lucy. :)

I also love this precious dog, and all the other Bostons I have helped love and raise since I was a child in a Boston Terrier-loving family.  My family goes way back with Bostons and I might have been the biggest lover of them all....that is, until E was born. :)  With ideas bouncing around in my mind, I posed this question to her:

"E, what do you think about a Boston Terrier bathroom?"

With a smile ear-to-ear, my girl preceded to jump up and down yelling "YES! YES! YES!  I want a PINK Boston Terrier bathroom!!"  I also grinned ear-to-ear as well, thinking of all the possibilities. It was uber-exciting to take on a DIY project that I was just as excited about as she was! Or more! LOL

Since I didn't take pics of the previous decor, here some from the bathroom in our former home, so you can get why this girl was ready for some PINK! :)

Here are pics of the bathroom before we began painting.  It's tiny...and I knew pink wasn't going to work.

Since bright pink walls seemed a bit much for this tiny room, I told E that if we did a lighter color on the walls, I would get her a pink shower curtain and towels.  Surprisingly, she was good with that!  I already had a color palette in mind that I've been wanting to try somewhere.  It's very fitting for a girl, and since it includes pink, she was good with that too.  Yes!  It was meant to be, I tell ya! :)  My inspiration was a combo of these two pics from Pinterest, adding in the coral to pink, blue and grey. I still smile looking at these two pictures.  These colors are so happy!

E chose the light blue over a light grey. I could've predicted that one. ;)
 We went to Home Depot and chose Behr's Sea Ice. Like?

Let the painting begin!  E got to do two walls as high as she could reach.  She was quite thorough and did great for her first paint job!  I was a little worried the color was too light when we were painting, but by morning it was the perfect shade of blue!  (These phone shots barely give a blue tint, plus it's wet.... )

The next day...Perfection!!

I really wanted E to create her own Boston Terrier artwork to go on the wall, but I knew she'd need a little help.  I found a few different Boston graphic images online and let her choose one to use.  When she chose her favorite one, I created a stencil of it using my Silhouette.  We went to Michael's and got four 6" sqaure canvases and craft paint in the 4 inspiration colors.  I cut out 4 stencils on adhesive vinyl via Silhouette and stuck them to the canvases.  I covered the edges with painter's tape (my vinyl is 4").  E then painted in each stencil in each inspiration color.

Once dry, she got to peel them off for the reveal of her fabulous artwork!  This was her favorite part.

These make me absolutely giddy!  I also loved that she chose this super adorable graphic out of the ones I chose for her. :)

UPDATE:  These adorable pup stencils are now available for purchase (cheap!) in digital cutting format (.svg) via the ClearlyCandace Shop on Etsy! Tell your Boston-loving friends with Cricuts and Silhouettes! :) 

For the wall opposite the toilet, I initially considered some cute Boston Etsy prints, but then I found a graphic surfing Google images that I tweaked and re-created in Silhouette Studio.  Framing this on cardstock was a much more inexpensive idea than Etsy! As all Boston owners know, this is a true depiction of one of the cutest aspects of the breed. :)
As a final wall touch, I had a cute, white wooden "E" on hand from Hobby Lobby that I thought would look nice next to her wall cabinet.  I added this scrapbook paper with ModPodge for a feminine touch of pink.

The focal point of this tiny room is obviously the shower curtain.  Finding one was a painstaking process that pushed things back another week.  I wanted one that didn't cost an arm and a leg, in the right shade of pink, with a feminine touch. NOT. EASY.  No local stores had anything but an occasional hot pink, much too bold for the room.  I wanted a more subtle pink and some kind of flare.  I ordered THREE curtains online before finding it.  Sending the other three back wasn't a piece of cake either.  Tip: Read detailed descriptions AND return policies well!  Here were my returns...

Polka-dot Vinyl. Too see-through, cheap quality...

Pink Ruffle.  Too bright and overbearing...

Solid Pink w/Grommets.  Better shade of pink, but boring...

When the 4th curtain came, it was like the angels were singing when I opened it.  ABSOLUTELY PERFECT.  I don't want to show it just yet.  You'll see it in a few scrolls. :) 

Another reason I passed on the grommet one was because I'd decided that she needed fun shower curtain hooks.  I'd seen cute felt Boston gifts and crafts while surfing Etsy that inspired me to make felt Boston heads for the hooks...with E's help, of course!  Unfortunately, I read the Silhouette doesn't cut felt well, so I opted to hand trace and cut.  Cutting parts for 12 boston heads was the 2nd longest phase of the project.  As a Silhouette girl, cutting by hand has definitely become a pet peeve. ;) Some of you may recall this recent Instagram mystery photo (also via Facebook).  I loved seeing all the guesses of what these were! :)

While I had the "fun" job of tracing and cutting parts, E got the better job of gluing googly eyes and noses.  Why does she always get to do the fun stuff?  :(

 I found these simple metal hooks at Ross - cheap!  Once cut, I hot glued the heads to them.


Since we had no accessories for her counter, I had to get creative.  I happened to have a box of Boston collectibles in my attic.  It was fun going through it after years in storage!  The collectibles were the perfect finishing touch to the room.  As shown, there were antique ceramics to cheesy bobble heads! 


It's FINALLY time to show you the finished product!  
E and I are proud to unveil to you her newly updated Boston Terrier bathroom!

And here are the extra "Boston Pops of Fun," including her new towels!

And how about that shower curtain? 
Nailed it! (as JD on Scrubs would say)

We both totally love it.  We hope you like it and we thank you for allowing us to share our first Mommy-daughter DIY fun with you. :)  My girl is overly-excited about her new bathroom and has been showing it to all her friends.  

We both love how bright and cheery it is when you walk in.  It's funny how a blue room can be brighter than a white one!  The bright pink helps. ;)  And I leave you with a "bright" verse from Proverbs...

"The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day"  Proverbs 4:18

Thanks for visiting!

Keeping Him in Mind,

Thursday, May 16, 2013

More Than Apples: Teacher Appreciation Week, Westside Style!

Ok, so when I sign up to be in charge of something, I tend to go a little overboard on it. :)  Are any of you this way?   Well, last year I was asked to be on the PTA Board for Westside Elementary, but due to my youngest still in preschool and just letting go of the part-time job, I regretfully declined to avoid filling my plate to keep my focus on the family and home.  As a result, I volunteered myself for PTA Chair position instead...and I would aim high.  I owed them that much, right? :-/ I chose Teacher Appreciation Chair.  I honestly couldn't think of a better position to serve our school, our teachers and our parents, while also getting to enjoy some of my little "passions" along the way! ;)

August came and I hit school supply sales.  I aimed for supplies teachers need at the end of the year:  pencils, erasers, dry erase markers, glue sticks....and I threw in hand sanitizer.  I sacrificed some closet space for the year, but it was worth it to cushion our TA Week budget come May.  Throughout the year, I over-pinned TONS of ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week on Pinterest.  Come spring, after our birthday madness, my PTA Board VP (shout-out to Bethany Benson!) connected on details.  We came up with ideas for daily gifting for that week.  Students (and parents) also participated in the daily themes.  We created/purchased the rest as the week approached.  With Pinterest, a few fresh ideas, Bethany's 110% contribution and the PTA Board's help, this is how it all came together!

Westside Elementary Teacher Appreciation Week
May 10th - 16th, 2013

"Thank You For Quenching Our Thirst For Knowledge"
Students were sent home a "cup card" (see below) to gift their teachers with.  PTA (aka: Bethany & I) provided teachers a "Drink Day" in the Teachers' Lounge, complete with a flagged cup for each teacher. 
 I decided to try my straw flag printables on Etsy for anyone needing end-of-the-year gifts!

My friend Emily had a great idea to put the card in a straw cup, so I copied her and made a last-minute straw cup/jar with card and treats inside as my son's gift.  If you'd like the pdf of this card (via DropBox), click here!  PS: Em's cup was definitely cuter than  mine. :)

The adorable "quenching my thirst" theme/graphic came from A Bushel and a Peck blog.

"We Couldn't Have PICKED Better Teachers"
Students "picked" teachers a gift from nature (plants, flowers, fruit, nuts, etc.)  PTA provided teachers a "Fruit Day" in the Teachers' Lounge, with a little thank-you gift for the classroom.  Bethany has a knack at food display!

My son picked wildflowers from our neighborhood preserve for his teacher.

The adorable "Picked" theme tags came from the Eighteen25 Blog. I just altered them a bit.
The tag on the flowers that I've used multiple years came from the Skip To My Lou Blog.

"Westside Teachers are the Sweetest!"
Students gave teachers their "sweetness" (aka: sweet words, hugs and treats).  PTA provided teachers small storage boxes of candy with the help of  some very helpful Board members! (Thanks, gals!)

I put my son's teacher's favorite sweets (Hot Tamales & chocolate bars) in this little polka-dot bag with one of the extra box tags.

These "sweet teacher" heart printables came from the Tater Tots & Jello Blog.

"Westside Teachers are Out of This World!"
Students gave  teachers their shining star smiles, "You ROCK's" and high fives.  PTA provided teachers a "Blast-Off Breakfast" of donuts and breakfast casseroles ("thrown together" by Bethany!) in the Teacher's Lounge.

This day wasn't as "gifty," but I decided to send a little something anyway, keeping with the theme.  A quick Silhouette-made stencil, a Sharpie, some burlap, a cute frame and...wa-la! Mrs. R was all smiles. :)

"Thank You For Your Com-"MITT"-ment to Our Children"
Students made teachers homemade cards of love and thanks.  PTA provided teachers a lunch in the lounge, serving yummy Tex-Mex made by our parents.  Thank-you oven mitts (from Dollar Tree) were stuffed (also by Board members) with the school supplies bought in August!  Teachers loved choosing their mitts among all the colors.
I added the "Com-MITT-ment" tags to my Etsy Shop, as well.
Oh, and I totally forgot to photograph my son's love card to his teacher!  Oops!
I really enjoyed taking time creating these themes, gifts and decorations, even if it did take a little more time, energy and a few late nights. :) I want to, once again, thank our PTA Board, Bethany Benson and our wonderful parents and students for all their help and participation for our teachers.  Westside Teachers are worth all that effort...and MORE! 
A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart.
"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." 1 Peter 4:10.
Teachers have a God-given gift and they serve our families and community each every single day they get up to teach our children.  God bless you, teachers! 
Keeping Him in mind,