gifts for grandma

I adore all things paper. And I adore flowers.

So this crepe paper flower pin has become a staple for me to give on all occasions that deserve a big to-do. And a little to-do (we gave one to my kids’ school secretary on secretary day). It is very fun to clip on a gift, and is a good grown up version of pulling a bow off the top of a gift and sticking it on top of your head. Don’t you think?

So here are a couple pics I’ve snapped of a few I’ve made, with an exact how to, now that I’ve gotten it down to a science.
Supplies
2 lengths of crepe streamers, each about as tall as you (same or contrasting colors)
Needle and length of thread about as long as your arm
Masking tape (optional)
Hair pin or safety pin

Method

  1. Thread and knot the needle. Thread the needle and knot the thread using the traditional method, or just use a small strip of masking tape and fold it over the end of the thread, sticky sides together, in place of a knot.
  2. Match up the streamers. Lay the streamers one on top of another, so you have a double-layer streamer.
  3. Stitch the streamer on one side to create a ruffle. Begin stitching the double layer streamer. Stitch all the way up one side, leaving a small margin on the side where you are stitching so the thread does not tear through. Use a basic running stitch, down from the top, up from the bottom. After sewing several stitches, compact the streamer down on the thread so it is folded into a ruffle. Your ruffle should be tight, but not too packed. The streamer will naturally begin to take a spiral shape that resembles a flower. The extra thread is going to want to tangle as you stitch, so be careful.
  4. Tie off the thread. Once you have sewn through the entire streamer and created a spiral ruffle, tie off the thread using the traditional method or using a small strip of masking tape.
  5. Fluff the layers of streamers, then knot the thread again. Use your fingers to slightly pull the two layers of streamers apart from each other, creating a fuller flower. Prepare the thread to sew again by tying off the end or folding a small strip of masking tape over the end.
  6. Arrange the ruffle into a flower and stitch the bottom together. Begin shaping the ruffle into a flower. The tight stitched sides of the ruffle will be the base of the flower and the unstitched sides will be the top of the petals. Create the center of the spiral by folding the end of the tight stitched side of the ruffle against itself. Push the needle through both sides of the ruffle, right about at the same point where you stitched to create the ruffle. Wrap the ruffle around to create another half loop and stitch through this second layer of the spiral. Continue wrapping half a loop at a time, and stitching the base together until you have created a flower.
  7. Stitch on a pin and finish. Stitch a few loops through the flower and around one leg of a hair pin or around the stationary side of a safety pin. Tie off the thread or secure with a couple small strips of masking tape.


And there you go. You have the perfect I-AM-Special hair piece. simple, festive, and pretty.

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If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to share recipes, gift ideas, pretty wrapping ideas, and whatever else is on my mind. I also own an online chocolate shop, The Ticket Kitchen. Stop by if you get a moment!
Are you ready for a peek at how my new stands turned out? I’m more than a little thrilled with them. It’s great fun transforming a set of thrifted candlesticks into bright summery treat stands for the next shindig. (See the first set I made right here).

Being able to take these apart to switch out plates is a big deal for me. Even though my kitchen now is roomier, much much roomier, than the apartment and condo kitchens I’ve somehow squeezed into through the years, space is still at a premium. Plus I like picking a melamine plate whenever I find one I like and being able to put it to use with the stands I already have.

Best of all, I figured out a new trick that will let you use any candlestick you fall in love with at the thrift store. Not just candlesticks that have a hole through the center.

The shopping is really the best part. (You can get glimpse here of the first set of these I put together.) But for this time around, here’s the list of what I picked up.

Supplies & equipment:
1. Set of thrifted candlesticks. I often find candlesticks at the thrift store that can be disassembled and have a hole all the way through the middle. To find out if a candlestick can do this, just pick one up at the thrift store and try to unscrew. But hole or no hole, any candlestick will work. On my last thrifting trip I fell in love with some sticks that did not have a hole through the middle, I discovered I could still make my stand interchangeable. Here’s my big trick. Are you ready for it? All you need to do is find a…
2. Cork that fits snugly into your candlestick. (You need this only if your candlestick does not have a hole all the way through the middle).
3. Drawer pull that lets you take out the screw. I picked up mine at Lowe’s this time around. Don’t you love the crystal knobs?
4. Allthread that fits your drawer pull. This just looks like a really long screw with no head or point. To make sure it fits my drawer pull, I try screwing it in right in the isles of Lowe’s.
5. Nuts and washers.
6. A few fun melamine plates. I picked up mine at Target.
7. Primer and paint, if you choose. I love Krylon.
6. A hack saw and drill. A wood bit works perfectly for drilling into melamine.


Here is a candlestick I took apart and found I could dissasemble and have two pieces with a hole all the way through the middle of each.

Yea for Krylon. So many possibilities with this stuff.

Now comes the easy part… Here is the how-to for putting it all together, whether your candlestick has a hole through the core or not.
1. Paint. If you’re planning to paint the candlestick, disassemble it, prime, and paint.
2. Drill. Tape the plate in the center and drill through your taped spot. Take it slow and easy, I’ve cracked a couple plates by being in too big of a rush.

3. Cut your allthread. If your candlestick has a hole through the center, use a hack saw to cut your all thread to the length you’ll need to go from the bottom of the candlestick to the top to screw into your drawer pull. Cut carefully so you don’t ruin the thread and are still able to screw a bolt or your drawer pull onto the end. If you are using a cork, cut a tiny piece of the allthread so it is just long enough to screw through the cork and into the allthread.
4. If your candlestick does not have a hole through the center, add a cork. Wedge in a cork where the candle would go. Make sure it is a super snug fit. Cut off any overhang. You want to make sure the plate will rest evenly against the top of the candlestick. Drill a small hole in the center of the cork where the drawer pull will screw in. Make the hole just smaller than the allthread, so it screws in snugly.

Here is a set I assembled by screwing an all thread through the center.

Here is a set I made by using a cork.
3. Assemble.
 Now you get to thread your whole creation together. If your candlestick has a hole down the middle, put the washer and screw at the bottom, then thread the allthread through your candlestick piece, then add the plate, and finally, screw on the drawer pull at the top. If you are using a cork, simply screw one end of the allthread into the drawer pull, then put the other end through the hole in the plate and screw it into the cork in the candlestick. That’s it. Now your stands are ready to party, or to fit neatly in your cupboard.Good luck! If you make a set, I’d love to hear how it goes.

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I wanted to show you what we ended up doing with our Meant to Be Calligraphy stamp that we’re giving my son’s totally amazing kindergarten teacher.

I always think it’s fun to let the kids in on making a gift for their teacher. They always feel so proud. Even if it’s just a note to go with the gift, which is usually the simplest solution. But this time we thought we’d use our stamp to create some handmade stationary. We really tried to keep it simple and my son loved the project. We packaged it all up with some fun supplies from my favorite Japanese packaging shop, and I’m really satisfied with how it turned out.

I used the giant drawing paper you find at the art store because I love the colors and texture.
We folded it in half and ran it through my paper cutter, then my son got to work with his watercolors and a toothbrush.
I love how it turned out.
We also made some fabric name tape using this method.
Then wrapped it all up with some tape and envelopes from UGUiSU (i want to buy everything there).

And now it is all set to give to one amazing kindergarten teacher.
(p.s. If you’re still searching around for a last-minute teacher gift idea, you might find something to spark your creativity here, here, or here.)

 

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If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to share recipes, gift ideas, pretty wrapping ideas, and whatever else is on my mind. I also own an online chocolate shop, The Ticket Kitchen. Stop by if you get a moment!

A few months after discovering how to make this tiered cupcake stand, I walked into Pottery Barn and saw their awesome, summery, tiered stand and—being the incurable DIYer that I am—thought, I wonder if I could make that.

It is a serious condition sometimes. My husband claims he can’t take me anywhere without me wanting to try to build some part of something I saw when I get home.
I picked up the supplies a few months ago, when I was in Micheal’s with my half-off coupon, and have been waiting for an open Saturday to give it a shot. I ran across Lizard & Ladybug who had been thinking the same thing as me, and am glad I did. She made her stand with a length of conduit, and made it look so good that I returned the curtain rod I’d been planning to use.

This weekend I got to work and love the result. Though I have to admit, about half way through the process was wondering if I should have just shelled out for the Pottery Barn original. But hopefully I have a few tips that will make it simpler if you’re like me and love a good DIY.
supplies
tiered cake pans ($18 with my coupon)
drawer pull that lets you take out the screw (I found mine at Lowe’s, $3)
all thread that is compatible with your drawer pull (I try screwing it in right in the isles of Lowe’s, $2)
conduit ($3)
bolts and washers
melamine plate

hack saw, clamp, file (UPDATE: see below, you may not need these at all)
hammer and nail
drill
Don’t forget to use your coupon when you go to pick up your tiered pans. I used my JoAnne’s coupon at Michaels (you knew you could do that, right?)
I opted for a thicker length of conduit to keep things sturdier. I cut three lengths that were just over six inches long. If I did it again I think I’d cut them right at six inches.

The most challenging part was cutting the conduit. Cuts need to be perfectly straight in order to avoid a leaning stand.

UPDATE: Thanks to Layne and Nicole, I now know you can skip this part, entirely. You can pick up a pipe cutter for just a few bucks (thanks, Layne!), or you can have your conduit cut right in the plumbing section (thanks for letting me in on that little secret, Nicole! )

I started by using my hack saw to score a dotted line all the way around the conduit, to make sure it was even and matched up all the way around. Clamp the conduit, saw a couple times just to score the surface, open the clamp and rotate the conduit just a little. Repeat.

Then I used the same technique to slowly saw around the conduit, sawing little by little, opening the clamp and rotating as I went, until I had a nice even cut.

I then used my file to finish evening off the end. Hold the conduit close to the file to make the work quicker. Just don’t file away your fingers.
Now all the hard work is over. If you can get through this part you’re practically finished.

I marked the center of the top pan and used a hammer and nail to pierce a hole. I then lined it up with the other pans to find the spot to pierce the last two holes.
For the base, I used a melamine plate I had left over from my DIY cupcake stand. Lizard and Ladybug uses the smallest pan from the nesting set for the base, which turned out great. I just wanted to save that pan for actual baking. I think it will turn out the perfect sized personal birthday cake.

Drilling a hole in the center is not too tough. Just use a wood bit in your drill and take your time so you don’t crack the plate.

Finally, the only thing left to do is assemble everything.
That’s it. Now all it needs is some cupcakes or cups full of strawberries.
I think one of my favorite parts is the storage. Mine is now stored away inconspicuously in the cupboard above my fridge, waiting for our first summer shindig.

 

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This spring I have been a little in denial. I know the time is coming soon when I have to decide if I’m going to start a garden. But I just don’t know if I’m ready to commit! I dropped by a farmer’s market yesterday and was told, here in Cali, I have two weeks left to decide. I’ve been totally inspired by this hydroponic herb garden, and this DIY green house trick, but I just need something to push me over the edge, or pull me back.

(btw, if you’re thinking of starting an herb garden, don’t miss my 13 tips for starting an herb garden I picked up last year)

While I’m putting off the garden commitment, we did manage to pick out a few strands of seeds to plant a small caterpillar and butterfly garden. We stopped by our nursery and asked what plants might be good to attract local critters. We decided to make seed tape (see my seed tape tutorial here), because it is my kids’ favorite.
Seed tape is great for my kids, they love putting globs of paste on the strips of newspaper. And seed tape is also a great way to store seeds so they’re ready to plant in seconds.

Of course we had to make an extra to give away and add a few embellishments. Butterfly garden seeds on top, caterpillar seeds on bottom. All that’s left to do is lay the strips on soil, sprinkle with a little extra soil, water, and watch!

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I am excited to introduce you to the next talented woman joining us for our gift retreat. If we were all spending the weekend together turning out handmade gifts, this woman would be busy at work in the kitchen making yummy things.

Please help me welcome Marisa of Food in Jars. Marisa lives and teaches canning classes in Philly, and I adore her because she makes me feel brave about canning. I love her canning 101 series, and of course, I love all her recipes. I want to have a picnic and bring my own canned pear butter and garlic pickles, and would love to start making my own stock for fall soups. If you need yummy gift ideas this year, her blog is the place to go.

And now I’ll leave you with Marisa.

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As the days turn colder (a blessed relief after the hot summer we had in Philly) I’ve been thinking a lot about holiday gifts. The recipe that keeps springing to mind is the one I developed around the holidays last year. It’s a sweet, spicy and herb-y roasted nut mix that is completely addictive and super easy (and who doesn’t like an easy homemade gift!) It’s also a good one because the ingredients aren’t seasonal, like so many of the other recipes on my website. That means you can cook it up at the last minute, without having to make any major substitutions.

I make it with peanuts and cashews because they’re my favorites, but you could do it with any combination of nuts that you like. The only thing to keep in mind is that since there are so few ingredients, you must use good ones. Get high quality butter, real maple syrup and check to ensure that your dried rosemary is fresh and fragrant. And of course, use the best, freshest nuts you can afford. Packed in jars or tied up in brown paper and baker’s twine, these nuts are tasty addition to any holiday gift basket. Visit here for the full recipe for Rosemary Maple-Glazed Nuts.

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Thanks, Marisa! Be sure to stick around through October and into November to meet the rest of the talented women joining us on our gift retreat!

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So it has taken a little longer than expected, but I finally have for you the final game gift promised from this post. Here’s a little project I did with my kids as a follow-up to our Tahoe vacation.

I am always looking for ways to use pictures from favorite trips or memorable periods of our life. I like the pictures not only of the people but of the details that were important to us at that moment that we could easily forget.

Did anyone play with shrinkie dinks as a kid? I remember having a Rainbow Bright set. Did you know you can get blank sheets of them for your printer? It’s almost more fun than I can handle.

We printed off a few pictures from our trip. For photos to work on shrinkie dinks, they  need to be a bit washed out to make the final color true. We had fun picking out the pics. For this project we picked out several subjects that were in transit.

We added a little hand-drawn detail with a water-based marker.

Then cut along the lines.

And then came the fun part, we popped them in the oven. It is so much fun watching them curl up and become itty-bitty versions of themselves. Note, if you have an emergency and some curl over themselves, don’t panic! Just put them back in a little longer and they should flatten. Use a butter knife to carefully and gently flatten them a bit if you need to.

We added stands and have a pretty fun final product. Candy Land, anyone?

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I am a fan of family game nights.

And I love the idea of making games from pictures of all of your family’s favorite people, places, or things. Here, a few of my favorite personalized game ideas. With one more coming tomorrow.

Totally beautiful memory game by Say Yes to Hoboken. Get the full tutorial here.
Also love this bottle cap version.

I was completely blown away by the method for making these photo bean bags.

And a few favorite ideas for photo puzzles from here,

here,

and here (via here).

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A Good Morning

07.13.10

Yesterday was a good morning. The blackberries all around our pasture are just starting to come on. I love this stage, because all the still-green blackberries make me feel like there are lots of summer days left ahead.

I am especially holding on to this summer. It is my last before sending my boy off to Kindergarten. Please, let it be a slow summer.

My daughter was headed off for a girl’s day with Grandma yesterday. She woke up bright and early and asked if she could take Grandma some blackberries. So we all pulled on our pasture boots and spent the morning picking. She was very proud. Doesn’t she look it? I am adding fruit picking as a definite possibility for future gifts for grandmas and grandpas.

She decorated the pint bowl herself, the same way we decorated these, and we sent her off to grandma’s. In the evening, she returned to us with quite a booty, including her second-ever pair of earrings and painted nails. Thanks, Mom!

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Garnish

Find fun ways to package up your fruit right here. Including pint bowls and pretty berry baskets.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the Silhouette fun here over the last week. I am so excited to get to share one of these machines with one of you tomorrow. If you haven’t had a chance to enter the giveaway on facebook, you can like me there and leave a comment there to enter, or if you missed the original giveaway, you can find it and leave a comment right here.

I want to share one final project with you. A favorite project and an appropriate one for the Silhoutte SD; a drink tray I made for my mom with the silhouettes of her grandchildren.

I started with photos of the kiddos.

My favorite way to take silhouette shots is indoors in front of a light window. The backlight makes a great contrast. You can find an excellent set of tips for creating silhouettes from Inchmark, I find it especially true that it is important to make the kids smile and look up a bit, and for long hair to go in ponytails.

I created my silhouettes with Adobe Illustrator, but if you don’t have a drawing program, you can print your photo and snip the silhouettes out of dark paper, then take a picture of the new silhouette on light paper. This should create a crisp shot that the Silhouette SD will turn into an image it can cut with no problem. You just use the “get outline” button, and you can create an outline from any graphic.

I was tickled to pull away the extra vinyl to see perfect miniatures of my children’s profiles.

The vinyl transfer paper made it easy for me to position and reposition the silhouettes until I had them just where I wanted them.

And there you have it. The final product. Ready for serving and for hanging proudly on a wall between service.

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Darling Clementine

If you’re looking for more pretty things to hang on a kitchen wall, don’t miss the mini-goals chalk boards by Mary Kate McDevitt. She also has a new Lincoln wall quote that I just love.

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Have you ever played with glass etching before? Once you invest in a bottle of etching cream the possibilities are endless. We decided to make a mirror for a  little friend of ours, so I thought I’d share.

Materials:
Glass etching cream
Sponge brush
Vinyl or contact paper and something to cut it with (I used my Silhouette, but you can use scissors or a craft knife)
Something pretty to etch

I picked up this mirror at Target and wish I would have picked up more than just one. Isn’t it the perfect thing for a little girl to admire herself in?

I used my Silhouette to cut out a sweet tiara. Did you notice I used regular contact paper? I wanted to save my premium Silhouette vinyl for other purposes (I have about a million things I want to try), and since I had a whole roll of contact paper, and the Silhouette can cut anything thin, I went with the contact paper.

I ran it through my Silhouette with the backing still on, then peeled off just the negative space of the design and stuck it on the mirror. Run your finger over the design a few extra times and make sure all the corners are stuck down.

I loaded up my sponge brush with etching cream and brushed it on. A good friend taught me to paint it on heavy in multiple directions, and give it a few minutes longer to sit than the bottle directs, so I usually do.

Once the time is up, you just rinse, dry and peel away the contact paper.

And that’s it. The perfect mirror for a little princess.

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Silhouette SD

I hope you’re enjoying my Silhouette fest! Don’t forget to enter my GIVEAWAY for a Silhouette SD of your very own. You have until Wednesday. And don’t miss the great discounts offered by Silhouette for GiversLog readers. Once you have this machine, your head will spin with the possibilities.

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A country girl just isn’t a country girl without her pasture boots. And my last pair had given all they had. I was in desperate need of a new pair. And though I’d love a pretty pair of wellies, they weren’t quite in the budget this month. But I came across this pair, totally affordable, and all made from a solid piece of something sturdy, so I brought them home.

I walked in the door and put them down, then looked at my Silhouette. Then back at my boots, than at my Silhouette. Wait. a. second. I found a friendly doily shape that came with my Silhouette and thought it was just the thing.

I sized the doily shape to work on my boot toes, loaded a page of vinyl on my Silhouette, and put it to work, purring away and cutting out my doilies.

I have never worked with vinyl before. So this vinyl transfer paper was new to me. It is a dream come true. You peel off the negative parts of your design from the vinyl you’ve cut, then stick vinyl transfer paper right on top of the smooth side of your vinyl. Then peel off the bottom of your vinyl to reveal the sticky side. This lets you place your vinyl right where you like it. Once it’s in place, you peel off the transfer paper.

After placing my vinyl stencil, all that was left to do was color in with my sharpie, let them dry, then peel away the vinyl.

Do you like how they turned out? I’m very satisfied. My daughter is dying to design her own.

Steel-toed boots are great and all, but doily-toed boots? You can’t beat that.

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Silhouette SD

I hope you’re enjoying my Silhouette fest! Don’t forget to enter my GIVEAWAY for a Silhouette SD of your very own. You have until next Wednesday. And don’t miss the great discounts offered by Silhouette for GiversLog readers. It’s okay to email this to someone who loves you as a hint for an early Christmas. A very early, very good Christmas.

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One reason I love writing this blog is that I find out about some of the coolest companies and their offerings. This sponsor is one of those. When I found out about Audio Heirlooms, I had to run here and share. Just wait, I’m sure your mind will be racing like mine, running through possibilities and people who you could completely delight with this new find.

Meet Evan Roberts.

Evan has pieces on radio stations  across the U.S., and has worked for a couple places that may sound familiar, like WNYC and the New York Times. He’s worked on some weighty pieces, ranging from refugees in the Middle East to exonerated prisoners in California. You can see a few more shots of Evan at work on the Audio Heirlooms Facebook Page. Including a shot of him gathering audio in a chicken coop (Evan?) I’m telling you, the man takes this job seriously.

Now I’d like to introduce you to what Evan does.


Evan makes personalized Audio Heirlooms. Do your realize what this means? You can have a personalized audio documentary (ahh! I love documentaries!) An audio documentary with crisp audio, artful timing, and all of that good stuff, made just for you. Audio Heirlooms has dropped in and recorded a baby’s early moments, bridesmaids prepping for a weddinga pre-wedding manicure (how great is that?), and more, which you can check out on their site.

I love that Audio Heirlooms makes the whole process simple and fun. With an audio card, for example, Audio Heirlooms will give you a toll-free number to pass out to all your friends and family who you want to make an audio appearance in your piece. Everyone can dial in from home and leave their fond wishes by  phone, simple as that. This would be so ideal for my family, we are spread out everywhere.

Audio Heirlooms has all kinds of happy customers, including Scott Hamilton (the Scott Hamilton) and Kimberly Williams-Paisley (wife to Brad Paisley, the Brad Paisley). I already feel cooler just for knowing about this company.

If you’re like me and are stowing this idea away for a few big upcoming celebrations and honorees, you can subscribe to the Audio Heirlooms newsletter to stay posted and get some samples and inspiration. Or contact Audio Heirlooms and get a free sample CD.

I’ve already started putting together my Audio Heirlooms wish list.
I would love an audio of memories of each of my grandmothers. One I’m really close to and the other I never got the chance to know. (These are a couple pics of them. Aren’t they lovely?) Would love to pass this on to my daughter.

I’d love to get an audio card of wishes either for my baby or for my daughter when she is baptized next year.

Do you know whate else I would love? An audio cookbook. I have some relatives who can share a recipe the same way some people tell a good story or joke. Would this not be the perfect grad gift?

Also, would really love to get a series of bedtime stories for my little ones to drift off into their dreams to the sound of beloved grandmas and grandpas, uncles and aunts.

I’d love to hear, who would you like to get on tape? and what would you want them to share?

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I’m thrilled to introduce you to my new sponsor, which  may already be a favorite shop of yours, like it is mine.

Pi’lo is chalk full of handmade goods made by Heather Shaw in her home-based Toronto studio. If you’ve never seen her work, prepare to be awed. Everything she makes and everything she blogs is a breath of fresh air. She creates one piece after another that will instantly become an heirloom. Below just a few favorites.

toothfairy pillow

alphabet book

pretty hankie

reusable crackers

party goodies

photo ornament

pretty apron

printed napkins

So much gift inspiration. Be sure to stop by her shop.

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pilo

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