Valentine Bottles

Valentine Bottles

I made this sweet Valentine’s gift last year for a friend who really likes M&Ms. I have seen a few versions of this type around Pinterest, but I thought I’d share my take on it so you can make your own for this Valentine’s Day. It’s coming up soon!

Materials:

  • Four or Six pack of bottles – just make sure the mouth is wide enough for what you want to put inside the bottles.
  • Decorative craft paper – any style that your recipient will like. I used four different patterns, but you can use as many or as few as you would like. *Note: I used a cardstock thickness. If I were to do this again, I would use a thinner paper so that it’s easier to adhere to the bottles.
  • Adhesive – I used a clear, double-sided adhesive. I didn’t worry too much about it because once the bottles were filled, you couldn’t see anything anyway.
  • Something to fill the bottles – candy, snacks, notes, sky’s the limit – well actually you are limited by the width of the mouth of the bottle…
  • Miscellaneous supplies: scoring mat and bone folder, die cut machine and dies, rubber stamps and ink, punches, any other decorative items you may like.

For this project you do need to go shopping a little bit early so you can get the bottles you need and drink the contents – that’s the yummy part for you! Once the bottles are empty, you will need to wash and dry them thoroughly. You will also need to remove the labels. If there is a label around the neck, try to get one of them to come off in one piece and save it to make a template. Don’t forget to save the cardboard container they came in, you’ll need it to hold all the bottles when you’re done.

The first step is to cover the cardboard holder. I placed mine sideways on the paper I selected and used it to measure the sides. I chose to cut four panels and adhere them, but you could just cut one long piece and wrap it in place, adhering as you go.

Lay the box down and measure the sides.

Lay the box down and measure the sides.

One side covered, on to the second side.

One side covered, on to the second side.

I even covered the bottom with a solid color.

I even covered the bottom with a solid color.

Now, I didn’t measure as well as I had thought – surprise, surprise! So I had a few gaps. I decided to add a folded strip to each corner to account for that, and fix some of the edges.

Gasp in my measuring.

Gasp in my measuring.

Here's one of the corners I made - creased down the center to equally cover both sides.

Here’s one of the corners I made – creased down the center to equally cover both sides.

Here's a view from the other side.

Here’s a view from the other side.

Now the edges look much better!

Now the edges look much better!

For the handle, I measured the height and cut a strip of paper to go around it on both sides. Next, I folded it around the sides to get creases. That way I could figure out where the hole in the handle should go. Then I just traced the hole onto my paper, cut it out, and adhered it to the handle part of the  box.

Tracing on the paper for the handle.

Tracing on the paper for the handle.

All cut out!

All cut out!

Adhered to the handle.

Adhered to the handle.

Another view of the finished handle.

Another view of the finished handle.

Now it’s time to pretty up the bottles! I apologize, in advance, for the blurriness of the next two photos, but I wanted to show you what I originally used. I could not find a link to this particular stack, but I found this paper (all the papers I used on this project actually came from the same stack) in a stack by DCWV. I love their stacks! It may actually be an addiction now… Anywhoo, I chose this paper because of the lines and thought they would look nice around the center of the bottle. I cut off the pink outsides, and left the cream-colored inside. Then I cut it into four strips long enough to go around the center of the bottles.

Original sheet of paper.

Original sheet of paper.

Now cut into four strips - one for each bottle.

Now cut into four strips – one for each bottle.

One by one, I took each strip and wrapped it around each bottle. Here is where a thinner style paper definitely would have come in handy. It took several attempts with different types of adhesive to get the thicker paper to stay put. But my perseverance paid off and they really looked good.

Strip wrapped around the center of the bottle.

Strip wrapped around the center of the bottle.

Now this next step may be a little tricky. I was fortunate to have the top label of the bottle come off very easily and in one piece. Because of this, I was able to trace it and make four identical wraps. Where this gets tricky is if yours doesn’t come off in one piece and your bottle is wider at the bottom than it is at the top. If you have to create something from scratch, keep in mind the the curve at the top will be shorter than the curve at the bottom in order to get it to wrap smoothly. I hope that makes sense. I apologize, but I don’t have a picture of the original template to show you what I mean.

 

View of the neck wrap.

View of the neck wrap.

Another view of the neck wrap.

Another view of the neck wrap.

Since the bottle cap had the soda’s logo on it, I decided to cover that up too. I took a circle punch that was about the same size as the cap and punched out a piece of black paper. Then I took a smaller punch and cut another circle out of matching pink paper and adhered them to the top. If you don’t have a punch that’s the right size, you can always turn the cap over and trace it.

Cap topped.

Cap topped.

Here are a few views of the finished bottles:

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Now, I thought the bottles looked a little plain. So I took my die cut machine and a label die from Papertrey Ink and cut out four small labels, one for the front of each bottle. Then I stamped a saying on each one and adhered them to the fronts of the bottles.

Bottles with labels.

Bottles with labels.

Now comes the really fun (and delicious) part! Fill each bottle with your treat of choice. I was lucky enough to fill the bottles and have some M&Ms left over. Who am I to waste?

All filled and decked out!

All filled and decked out!

Now they are all ready to give to your sweetheart, your kids, or your best friend! While this one was created for Valentine’s Day, you could make it for any holiday or ‘just because’ – just change up the paper to match the occasion!

Have you ever made something like these? I would love to see your version!

 * This post is linked to: Homemaker’s Challenge and Growing Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessed

Blessed

For a few years now, I’ve been reading people’s “One Word” posts. I even wanted to select a word for myself. But last year, I had three words I liked and I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. So I did what any sensible person would do…

I just gave up on the idea.

Ok, not so sensible. But this year, as soon as I remembered the “One Word” idea, my word was there for me. There was no hemming and hawing. No deciding. It was just there.

BLESSED

Apparently I’ve been having too many pity parties over the last few months. Or maybe I just need to be reminded that, despite my current circumstances, I truly am blessed.

With this being 2014, I thought I’d kick off this year of the BLESSED with 14 blessings I can count in my life right now:

  1. My God ~ My Faith ~ My Salvation – This wonderful God blessed me with the gift of His Son; and, thus, the gift of salvation. This Son, Jesus, died for me, so that I might live. This photo is of my Origami Owl locket. In it is a plate that is stamped ‘Blessed,’ the word ‘Love,” and a cross – all to remind me of the love my God has for me!  Blessed Locket, Origami Owl
  2. LegoFan – I’m listing him first, not because he’s loved more than his sister, but because he was born first. LegoFan has been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, as well as a host of other things. He has taught me some much-needed patience. He has shown me true joy. I am blessed to know him and to be his Mama.  LegoFan Ornament
  3. Diva – Obviously, she was born second. She is developing into a beautiful young lady. She has brought femininity back into my life. She has humbled me. I am blessed to know her and to be her Mama.  Diva Ornament
  4. My Mother – I don’t have a photo she’d be happy with me posting, so this will just be text. My mother is one of the few family members who truly supports me in my endeavors to continue homeschooling the children, despite being a single parent. She has supported my decision in word and deed. I am so blessed to have her in my life and to know that she supports us.
  5. A Place to Live – We are not currently living in a place I would choose to live. But, my children have a safe place to be, play, and learn. We have a place that is warm and shelters us from the elements. We have something soft under our heads when we sleep at night. We are blessed to have somewhere to be each day. A Place To Live
  6. A Car to Drive – Earlier in 2013, my car was a mess. It had dents, a crack in the windshield, a hole in the floor from the driver’s heel, and had parts falling off of it. The worst thing? Two windows wouldn’t stay up and there was no heat. Then the brakes went out… It was time to send it to the auto graveyard. So I looked for used cars. I set my budget and was determined to stick to it. I made a list of cars available at a few different dealers in the area and we set out to look. We had struck out at most of the dealers and there were only two left. We drove onto the lot and were a little disappointed in this little lot with some broken down cars and a trailer for an office. They didn’t have the car I came there to see. But being the good salesman he was, the employee told me he had a few cars come in the night before that had not yet been advertised. He showed me one, but it wasn’t what we needed. Then he showed me another one. It would not have been my first choice, or even my 10th probably, but I gave it a chance. It was $500 less than my budget, that was a good start. He gave me the VIN and told me I could go run a CARFAX on it. I got on my computer and researched the make and model only to discover that it was one of the better made cars out there. I ran the CARFAX to discover that this car had no accidents or any other problems reported in its history. It seemed like this car was supposed to be for me. After I bought it I realized that I had asked God for something safe and reliable; and He delivered. But not only that, like Solomon asking for the right thing in Wisdom and getting more than he asked for; I, too, got more than I asked for. I got some features I’d only dreamed about having! I am very blessed to have been directed to this car; and it has grown on me too! A Car To Drive
  7. Food to Eat – Food has been something of a struggle for us. LegoFan has battled food allergies all of his life, and each time he’s tested, we find something new. This past year, we ended up going gluten-free, and change is not always easy. But we have found things to like, and new ways to prepare some of our favorite foods. It’s a journey. But we have food, and we are able to prepare and enjoy good things to eat. We are blessed to have our daily bread! Gluten-Free French Toast
  8. Clothes to Wear – I am definitely not a fashionista, and I’ve had a love-hate relationship with clothing over the years! So right now, my wardrobe consists of jeans and t-shirts. It’s not where I want to be, as I’d like to feel a bit more feminine most of the time. But I have something to wear. My children have things to wear. My mother sometimes picks things up for them too. And then there’s the time when I found jeans for LegoFan for $2.67 and blouses for Diva at $2 – what blessings! Then Cammie over at A Woman’s Place posted about her thrifty find called thredup. I went over there and found a treasure-trove of dresses for Diva at great prices (if you go over there via my link, you will get $10 off your first order with them, and so will I). We are truly blessed to have such clothing to wear. "New" Dresses
  9. Homeschooling – I love this blessing! To be able to be such an integral part of my children’s education is amazing. I get to see the light bulb go on when they figure out something new. I got to be the one to not only teach them how to read, but also the one to show them the joys of a good book. I was privileged to be there with Diva as she struggled through long division and came out victorious. I am able to encourage LegoFan as he tries to find ways to communicate his knowledge, even if they are a bit unconventional. It’s a road we travel together; one in which we learn and grow together as well. I am blessed with the freedom and ability to be my children’s teacher. Science Experiment
  10. The Internet – I know, this can be a blessing and a curse. It is both to me sometimes. But coming from the perspective of blessings, I have been reunited with friends from college, high school, and even elementary school through facebook. I have had the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals through twitter and facebook. I have the chance to write, explore my thoughts, and share parts of my life via this blog. I have found deals to save money on things we need, as well as ways to earn a little money. I have ‘met’ several wonderful ladies through blogs and homeschool groups. I am blessed by what I have chosen to use on the internet, and what it has to offer.
  11. My Plexus business – I recently decided to join Plexus to help improve my health and to help me earn a living to take care of my babies. This company is dedicated to natural ways to get your body in tip-top shape. Their most notable product is Plexus Slim and I just started taking it. I guess I will have to post before and after photos along this journey.  I am blessed to be in business for myself with a company that helps to improve others’ health.plexus_slim
  12. My Origami Owl Business – This was the first business I really joined. I fell in love with the concept of Living Lockets – I loved being able to design and re-design my own jewelry, and that it told my story! And it’s just plain fun – fun to wear and fun to present! I am blessed to be in a business that is fun and prides itself on being a “Force for Good.” Locket - Heart-Shaped
  13. My Lilla Rose Business – I just love my Lilla Rose business. I ended up joining Lilla Rose at roughly the same time as Origami Owl – and it wasn’t planned that way! Lilla Rose has the most beautiful hair accessories – I call it Hair Jewelry! But it’s not just that they’re beautiful, they actually hold my hair! All of it. All day. And NO headaches! But I got something else when I joined Lilla Rose: I got a Lilla Rose family! We have a group on facebook that is so supportive and encouraging, that it’s impossible not to succeed. I am very blessed to be a part of this company, to be able to wear these lovely products in my hair, and to be a part of the Lilla Rose family. Lilla Rose Flexi Clip
  14. God’s Majesty – God sends reminders of His blessings constantly. Sometimes it just takes me longer to see them. But they’re always there. God is the Master Artist and there is just so much beauty in His world. God’s Majesty fills me with awe. I am blessed to live in a world with so many beautiful sights, that He provides them for my (and your) enjoyment!

Fall GlorySunset on the WaterFlower Up Close

As this year continues forward, I know there will be difficult times. I know there will be days that I have a hard time remembering to be grateful. This post will serve as a reminder ~ and permanent record ~ that I have a lot for which to be grateful.

I am truly blessed!

What is your word for this year? If you’ve written a post about it, feel free to share a link in the comments.

* Disclaimer: Most of the links in this post are for my businesses, one is an affiliate link. All are ways to help me help my family. I am a single parent trying to keep my babies home and take care of them in the way I feel God wants me to. If you click on the links and make a purchase, you will be helping us, and I will be grateful.

This Is Autism

I first read about Suzanne Wright’s op-ed when I read John Elder Robison’s resignation from Autism Speaks. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, and I applaud Mr. Robison’s strength of character.

Her words included: “despair” ~ “fear” ~ “depleted”

I read that my exhaustion is going to make me ill and become broken, leaving my child with no one to care for him.

That may be the way that Suzanne Wright feels about people with autism, but it’s not how I feel about my son. I feel Blessed!

Locket - Autism

And I’m a single mother. And I have a son on the Autism Spectrum.

LegoFan BDay

I may be tired at the end of each day, but I am far from ill and broken. I do not live in despair. I am not depleted.

Driving Range

But there was a time when I lived in fear… It was when I was reading all books written by so-called experts. Like Cammie over at A Woman’s Place, I now focus on my own experiences and that of actual mothers & adults who live with autism day-in and day-out. They paint a much more realistic picture. This is where I read about things like:

“Hope” ~ “Love” ~ “Delight” ~ “Laughter” ~ “Intelligence” ~ “Break Throughs” ~ “Accomplishments” ~ “Amazing”

Cheer

When LegoFan was first diagnosed, I was told there was a possibility he would never leave home and probably never hold a job. I no longer believe that; however, even if it’s true I’d be happy to have him.

Comforting

LegoFan is truly delightful! Our house is never dull. In fact it is the complete opposite! It is full of life, smiles, laughter, and activity.

Bowling

Cammie mentions a cure in her post and it’s something I’ve thought about before. In fact, I told a friend shortly after LegoFan’s diagnosis, that if someone appeared on my doorstep with a magic pill that would “cure” his autism, I didn’t think I’d take it. The caveat to this is that if it would truly improve his quality of life, I might consider it. But at what cost? LegoFan’s contributions to our family are not something I’d like to live without. He is amazingly smart; he remembers things I forget, and he has an incredible way of making a room brighter just by entering it. His heart is huge; and his love is immeasurable.

Allergy - LegoFan

Ok, let me be real for you here. It’s not easy. It is challenging. I have my difficult days. In addition to being a single mom, I home school my children. So I am with LegoFan all day, every day. I am the only one who coordinates his meds and his appointments. I’m the only one who drives him to doctors and groups. So, yes, I am tired. But would I say I’m exhausted to the point of being ill or broken? Most certainly not.

Curiosity

Would I trade my LegoFan for anything? Hmmm…

Back To School 2013

What do you think?

Davidson Family Fundraiser

If you have not already heard, the Davidson family of Little Flowers Family Press lost everything recently in a devastating fire.  You can learn more about the details at the following links (the first is from Rita Davidson herself):

Little Flowers Family Press Blog

News Coverage

Local Story

Here is a facebook page that has been set up for their family – please ‘like’ it: Facebook Page

Three of the four Davidson boys are autistic, as is LegoFan. I know how difficult change is for children on the spectrum. This complete change in their way of life must be wreaking havoc in their young lives in ways many of us cannot understand.

I would like to help the Davidson family, but I am not in a financial position to do so. Last night I had an idea to use my direct sales businesses to help. While I admit it may not be much, I would like to donate 20% of my sales from Lilla Rose and Origami Owl so I have set up a party in each of them. If you are interested in helping in this way, please click on the links and follow the directions below. Most importantly, this family needs your prayers. Please join me in praying for them.

Origami Owl

Locket - AutismLocket - Forever FamilyLocket - FootprintsLocket - Grandma

 

To order Origami Owl Jewelry, please go to my website here. When your order is complete, proceed to check out. On that screen, there will be a section called “Party Information” where there will be a dropdown menu. Please select Little Flowers Family Press as your party then complete your order. What you order will be shipped shortly after payment.

Lilla Rose

FOTM Aug 2013 Tidepool Treasures 4Lilla Rose Accessories CollageLilla Rose Badge Clip CollageLilla Rose Collage

 

To order Lilla Rose Hair Accessories, please go to my website here and place your order. This is a party-specific link so your order will automatically be calculated toward the Davidsons’ total. Any order you place through this link will not ship until I close out the party (which I was planning to keep open until the end of September). However, if you would like your order to ship prior to that I have a way to do it, Please just leave me a comment and I will contact you.

Please feel free to ask questions in the comment section and I will answer them for you.  Also, please share this with anyone you think might want to help. Thank you, in advance, for helping this family and offering them a little hope.

for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me. Matthew 25:35-36, 40

Our Gluten Free Journey – Prologue

Today marks the end of a full month on a gluten free diet. We see the allergist tomorrow to find out where we go next. But it has been a very interesting month!

Why did we go gluten free? LegoFan was diagnosed with several food allergies and asthma in his early years, some life-threatening. So I guess it makes sense to go back to the prologue instead jumping right in to Chapter One.

Allergy - LegoFan

When LegoFan was a baby, he was nursed exclusively until he couldn’t get enough nourishment. I had to start adding cereal at a very early age. He, whether nursing or eating cereal, would develop these horrible rashes on his face and nothing would make them go away. The pediatrician suspected allergies but told us we couldn’t test him until he was a year old.

At one year, he was finally tested. We were blessed to get in to see one of the top allergy specialists in the country at the University of Maryland Medical Center. She was so thorough and asked the right questions. We left with the diagnosis that LegoFan was allergic to eggs, the deadly peanut, and garlic. Garlic was the one that shocked me. Don’t get me wrong, I was horrified over the other two and worried what his life would be like. But it was the garlic that seemed just weird; random. I mean LegoFan has some Italian blood in him; how can he be allergic to garlic? But it was the allergist asking the right questions regarding flare ups that led to her even testing for garlic.

Allergy - Eggs

That was the beginning of our journey with food and the challenges it has had for my son.

At age two, he was given a monitored food challenge to see what effects, if any, the egg would have on him. He “passed” and was cleared to eat foods with eggs in them. I have a great photo (before digital cameras) of him eating his first chocolate chip cookie and ending up with chocolate on his face! He loved it!

He would eventually be cleared of his garlic allergy, but new foods began to give him problems. He could eat red apples, apple sauce, and drink apple juice, but green and yellow apples made him break out in hives. He could eat green pears, but brown pears also gave him hives. Although he can now have brown pears, he still cannot have yellow and green apples.

Allergy - Apples

As he got older, he also developed allergies to grasses, trees, flowers, dogs, cats, horses, mice, and dust. His peanut numbers kept going up, and he started to develop allergies to all the other tree nuts. As you can imagine, grocery shopping has changed for us multiple times and can take forever!

Allergy to TreesAllergy to Grass

Well, we recently moved and saw a new allergist for the first time in ten years. He ran a complete set of tests – 56 skin pricks on his back! He was miserable by #10! He was reacting to almost everything. In the five columns of pricks, one of them had hives so big that they merged into one large hive. It was all I could do to keep him from scratching!

Allergy Skin TestAllergy skin Test - 1Allergy Skin Test - 2Allergy Skin Test - 3

He ended up testing positive to so many things with this test; and then he had to undergo the blood work! Between the two, we had several new things; so many that he would have very little to eat if we eliminated everything. He had been having some strange reactions lately, so we decided to do some sort of elimination diet. LegoFan tested positive to allergies to wheat, barley, rye, and oats. So we decided on a gluten free diet for a month…

This post is linked up with Our Simple Farm, Homemaker’s Challenge, Whole New Mom, Home Sanctuary, and Allergy Free Alaska – go check out what everyone else has this week!

Lilla Rose – June and July

Lilla Rose just introduced the June and July Flexis-of-the-Month. They are so pretty!

For June, we have the Sparkling Summer Solstice – a beautiful gold flexi clip with a sparkly center!

FOTM June 2013 SSS

 

For July, we have the Patriot’s Heart. Love the Red, White, and Blue and the sparkles in the center heart!

FOTM July 2012 Patriots Heart

But we don’t just have new flexi clips, we also have a summer sale to go along with it! From now until Saturday, June 22nd at 11:59 PST, all orders (of anything, not just these new clips) will receive 10% off. Also, any orders over $30 will also receive free shipping as well.

Please head over to my website to get yours today before the sale is over!

Summer Sale 3

Pot of Gold

I made this for a friend for St. Patrick’s Day. However, I don’t think it needs to be limited, so I’m posting the directions in June! It’s called Pots of Gold at the End of the Rainbow, and consists of Skittles and Rolos – Yum!

Pot of Gold Final

The first thing I did was purchase and drink a bottle of fruit-flavored water – this part of the gift was for me! Make sure you wash and dry your bottle and lid before working with them. I removed the manufacturer’s label, but covering it would probably work just as well.

I measured the flat space and cut out a rectangular piece to fit around the bottle. Then, using a double-sided adhesive, I attached the paper to the bottle.

Next, I got out my Big Shot and my Papertrey Ink Fillable Frames Die and die cut two out of dark green paper. I added one to each side of the bottle. One side said, “Pots of Gold at the end of the Rainbow” and the other side said, “Kiss Me, I’m Irish.”

I'm Irish

Then I got to fill the bottle – another fun part for me because not all of the candy fit in the bottle! I put a handful of the Rolos at the bottom for the Pots of Gold. Then I divided the Skittles into colors to recreate the rainbow. I put them in one layer, one color, at a time and put on the lid. I used Skittles, but you could also use M&Ms.

Pot of Gold Reverse

A fun, simple gift to send to someone to let them know you care!

* This post is linked to Home SanctuaryDeep Roots At Home and Homemaker’s Challenge.

Moving – Finally!

My blog has a new home. Over the next few nights I will be transferring all of the content from here to the new domain. What is it, you ask? http://mamacre8s.com

I do not know if those of you who subscribe to emails will also be transferred, but I think you have to stop by and subscribe to the new blog. Please do!

Looking forward to your visits and comments at our new home – Thanks!

Lilla Rose Sale – January 18th ONLY

So, in my last post I mentioned that I joined Lilla Rose… I know it wasn’t so long ago, but I have exciting news already! It seems as if I joined at just the right time.

Three brand new Flexi Clips are being introduced tomorrow – at a 15% discount for tomorrow only!

Jan 18 Styles

Not only that, three popular Flexis of the Month (FOTM) are being introduced into the permanent line – also at a 15% discount.

Jan 18 Sale

And there’s more… There will also be a new pair of Bobbies (Heart-shaped) and a new O-Ring!

Jan 18 Accessories

Exciting! I hope you will join the party and take advantage of this one-day only sale – please let me know if you have any questions about these new items or Lilla Rose! Here are some close ups of the new clips:

Fleur De LisFleur De Lis 2Musical Flexi 2Multi-Cluster in Copper