Thursday, August 30, 2012

Crafting bug bites again!

Dear Readers,
Between giving birth, having a baby that would only nap on top of me, and the crazy hecticness (yeah, I know that's not a real word) of summer, I became a major slacker in the crafting department. My poor Pinterest account even sat lonely and ignored for a few months. Just thinking about all the homemade bath salts and things involving mason jars I missed out on in all that time makes me want to cry (ha!)

But no fear, dear readers, I'm back! Crafty Kristin is making her triumphant return with not one but two easy project ideas.

I've been trying to find ways of actually doing something with the 10 million pictures I have of Elliot just sitting on my computer. I love the photo canvases you can have made through places like Shutterfly, but we just can't afford them right now. So I decided to make my own:

Both of these projects are super easy, cheap, and fast (totally doable during a long naptime, now that E will actually sleep on his own!)

What you need:

  • White canvases in whatever size(s) you want; I got the two 10X10 canvases last Black Friday when they were on sale at Joann Fabrics for like $2.00 a piece. The 12 mini 4X4 canvases are from Amazon and were something like $17 shipped for all 12. 
  • Plain white tissue paper; I got mine in the gift wrap aisle at Target for $1.99 for a big pack.
  • Mod Podge; I used the glossy coat kind but matte would look really nice as well.
  • Large paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Home printer
  • Regular 8.5X11 printer paper
  • Scotch tape
  • Black acrylic paint (optional)
The first step is to get your pictures ready for printing. I use iPhoto to crop/resize my pictures to the size I am going to print. For the mini canvases I used all instagram pictures because I liked that they were already squares.

To print the pictures on tissue paper, you have to get kind of tricky. First, print your picture out on normal printer paper so you can see where and how its going to be lined up on the paper. Then take a new piece of printer paper and tape a piece of tissue paper around where the picture will be printed. You need to make sure the corners are really secure so it won't get jammed in the printer. Then just print like normal and cut around the taped corners to get your tissue paper print. 

If you want to do quote canvases, you can use to create your picture for printing. There might be easier ways, but what I do is find a 'white background' image/JPG using google images, then go to picmonkey and choose 'edit a picture' and upload the white square. Then you can add text in whatever fonts and colors you want. Works great!

Okay, so once you have all your pictures and/or quotes printed out on tissue paper, you are ready for the fun part--mod podge! Apply a nice thin layer over the entire front surface of the canvas, making sure to get the edges as well. I suggest using a pretty wide brush--the less distinct brush stroke marks, the better.

Working quickly (mod podge dries really fast!), carefully lay your tissue paper picture on top of the canvas. Make sure you have it lined up well because once the delicate tissue paper hits the mod podge, you really can't move it without messing the whole thing up. Once the paper is in place, I use the palm of my hand to press down, then use my fingers to carefully push down any little bubbles and get the edges all smoothed down. It's okay (actually preferred in my opinion!) if it doesn't turn out perfectly--the little bubble marks and brush stroke lines make these look really cool and unique.

Let the canvas dry completely, then add 2-3 thin coats of mod podge over the top, being careful that each coat is totally dry before applying the next one. When you're done, you shouldn't be able to see any paper edges on your canvases--it will look like the pictures are printed right on there, super neat!

For my 10X10 canvases I used black acrylic paint around and slightly on top of the pictures because I wanted them to match the black frame they were going up next to:

I hate to brag, but I'm really happy with how these turned out. I can't wait to stock up on more canvases and cover my walls with even more of my adorable boy--I have just a few photos left on my computer :)

Happy crafting!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

5 months old!

Dear Elliot,
You turned five months old today--on my 27th birthday! Best gift ever!

You have grown and developed an absolutely incredible amount in the last month. You surprise me and Dad pretty much every single day by doing something totally new (and to us, totally exciting!) Most recently its been you all of a sudden trying to be super mobile. You've been kind of toying around with rolling around for a while, but a couple days ago it just clicked and now I can't keep you in one place! You are even trying to crawl! You get your butt up in the air and move around like a little worm. It's so cute. I was sure you were going to be a late crawler because you seemed so content to just hang out and chill, but now I'm thinking you are going to be on the move much sooner than I thought. Like any day now. I guess it's time to baby-proof the house!

I love looking back at your monthly pictures and seeing how you've grown. From a 11 pound, hard to prop up, little old man newborn, to a 19 pound, sitting up by himself, smiley little boy. At each month I swore you couldn't get any cuter, but you just keep getting more and more adorable!

As you're getting older and more and more curious, these pictures are getting harder and harder to take. I got about four shots in before you discovered the sticker on your onesie and it all went downhill from there :)

I remember my birthday one year ago today. I was almost nine weeks pregnant with you and sicker than sick, projectile vomiting Leann Chin all over the place (still can not/will not ever eat there again!), trying to imagine and believe that by my next birthday you'd be here, safe in my arms. I still can't believe my dream came true. That right now you're sleeping next to me, doing the sweet little snoring noise you do. Truly, the best gift in the world.

Happy five months, baby boy! I love you so much.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mama's touch

Dear Elliot,
There's something about being sick that makes you really want your mom. Dads are fun (believe me, I was a big-time Daddy's girl!) but when you're not feeling good, there's just nothing like a mama's touch. When I think of being sick as a kid, I think of my mom setting up a nest full of blankets in the recliner, stirring the bubbles out of a glass of 7-UP to calm my tummy, or making me grilled cheese and Campbell's tomato soup to sooth my sore throat. I picture her gently feeling my forehead to check for fevers, and getting up with me a million times in the middle of the night to hold my hair back as I throw up into a big plastic mixing bowl. Even now that I'm an (almost!) 27 year old adult, when I'm sick I still want my mommy to come take care of me and make everything better.

This weekend you came down with your first cold and sure enough, all you wanted was Mama. I still am in such disbelief sometimes that 'Mama' is me. That I am the person you want to pick you up and cuddle you tight and sing to you when you cry. That the way I feel about my mom is the way you feel about me. Of course I hate seeing you feeling yucky, but the realization that I am someone's mommy, that there is this perfect little human being that depends on me for everything, is kind of amazing and hard to really grasp.

I look at you and I just to take away any discomfort you have. I know this was just a little cold and there will be many, many more (and much, much worse!), but it was my first taste of that slightly powerless feeling where you wish you had a magic wand you could wave to make everything all better.   

You do seem to be feeling much better today, so maybe all those extra mama hugs and snuggles did their job after all:

There are still moments every single day where I just stare at you and think "wow, he's really mine." I am floored and so thankful that I get to be your mom. How did I get so lucky?

I hope you continue to feel better, sweet boy. And I hope that you know I would make that stupid nasty cold go away in an instant if only I could! :)

I love you so much,

Friday, August 17, 2012

The most amazing piece of art ever created

Dear Elliot,
I never understood why Grandma (my mom) felt the need to save what seemed like every single piece of artwork I ever created as a kid. I mean was it really necessary to hang onto like 3,000 stick figure drawings (you know, where the arms and legs are coming out of the head?)

Well, I certainly understand now!

My awesome new 'mom friends,'  Jenni and Kate, put together a little birthday lunch/play date for me yesterday. The best part of the whole thing was that they came up with a craft project for the babies--finger painting! It was so much fun. As soon as your eyes saw the plate full of paint, your little hands couldn't get in there fast enough. You loved it! So much so that while painting you kept doing your adorable leg-kicking thing you do when you get so excited you don't even know how to handle it.

Here's your finished masterpiece:

Kate came prepared with printed captions and everything. Can you tell she's a Kindergarten teacher??

You might look at it and see random smudges of paint, but I see the most amazing, unique work of art ever created. A masterpiece. Of Picasso-like proportions. I get all teary-eyed just thinking about how my son made this--for me! Geez, being a mom makes you really, really sappy! My heart just might beat right out of my chest the day you make me my first fruit loop necklace ;)

I'm thinking there's a basement full of plastic storage tubs full of your creations in my not-too-distant future :)

I love you El. I'm in awe of who you're becoming every single day.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

First night away (freaking out!!)

Dear Elliot,
Tomorrow Dad and I are heading out of town for the night (to a friends' cabin) and you are going to have your first overnight with Grandma and Grandpa Ziemke. To say I am anxious about it would be the understatement of the century. I know you will have a great time being totally spoiled by your grandparents and your uncle Brandon, but I am going to miss you like crazy. You also don't really 'do bottles' (the last time I left you with your dad he had to resort to feeding you with the syringe from the baby tylenol!), so that has me feeling pretty nervous as well.

Anyway, I wrote up like three full pages of detailed instructions for my parents (apparently I have some of Grandma in me after all!):

Then I emailed Dad and asked him if he had anything he thought we should add. Here's what he sent:

"It looks more thorough than anything I could come up with, but you might add that he likes it when you:

  • Put your entire hand in this mouth and make goblin noises
  • Beatbox dubstep while doing a donald duck impression
  • Make him fly through the aie and make explosion noises when his feet touch the ground
  • Sing funk songs out of key
  • And also that he likes to chew on chip bags."
I laughed so hard I literally cried. What weird parents you have! I was thankful for the momentary break from freaking out about leaving you.

But...I'm back to freaking out now. 

I'm used to having my heart outside my body, but I'm not used to having it a two hour drive away from me! (sorry for the dramatics, but it's true!)

I love you so much and I already can't wait to pick you up Saturday afternoon.


Happy birthday to me...

Dear Readers,
So I turn 27 years old in a couple week. That sounds really old to me, like I've officially entered 'real adult' territory. I still get the pity stares, the "is he yours?" comments, and little old ladies patting me on the back and saying "your doing such a good job honey," so I'm pretty sure I still look sort of like a teen mom*, but no--I'm dangerously close to the big 3-0!

Anyway, for my birthday this year I am teaming up with my friend Tiffany to raise money for Faces of Loss by hosting a Stella and Dot online 'trunk show.' Tiffany lost her son Julius to SIDS almost two years ago, and I got to meet her last summer when she make a visit to Minneapolis. We now both have babies close to the same age (her daughter Juliana is 6 months old). She recently became a Stella and Dot stylist and came up with the idea for this fundraiser; 50% of the sales proceeds will go to Faces!

S&D has some super cute jewelry, but my favorite is their charm line. I can't wait to design a charm necklace that represents both of my babies (and I may even get the paw charm for my dog-babies too!) Here's Tiffany's as an example:

You can shop using this link and your purchase will go towards the Faces fundraiser:

Thanks for checking it out! I really appreciate the support!

Okay, I have another post I need to pump out before El wakes up so I'll be back shortly :)

Love you all!


*Random funny story: A few weeks ago I was at the beach with Elliot, and the lifeguard, who was maybe 18 years old was hanging around, kind of hitting on me. Finally I said, "well I need to feed him now," (hint hint--go away!), and he kept standing over us. So then I said, "Like breastfeed him." He got this shocked look on his face and mumbled something about how he hoped we enjoyed our day and  stumbled off. Pretty sure he thought I was the nanny!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The many faces of E

Dear Elliot,
I just can't take it. The cuteness, that is. Seriously, I'm sure every mama feels this way about their kid(s), but all I want to do is stare at you and cuddle you and hug you and bring you places so I can show you off--all day long. Your poor cheeks must be getting so sick of all the kisses by now!

It cracks me up how much you like hammin' it up for the camera already. Here are a few of my favorite E-faces from the last week:












Showing off





Silly (or maybe you're practicing your rock face??)

I love every single face you make. I just love you. So much it's kind of ridiculous.

Well you're stirring in your sleep which means your 'feed me this instant!!!!' face is about to make an appearance any second now. :)

Talk to you soon, Buddy Bear!


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