gifts for the grandkids

Is it hot where you are? It is good and hot here. Summer does not seem to be on its way out any time soon, though last week while I was at Hobby Lobby I did see an employee merrily putting up a Christmas tree display. But I am in no rush. I say bring on more watermelon and popsicles!

We have been thinking of new ways to cool down. And one of my kids’ new favorites is playing a classic game of duck duck goose, but with a car-wash-sized sponge. Usually this ends up in a big water fight. I am okay with that.

This is my newly-turned 3-year old. He is a good sport. And yes, after having him pose for that picture I had to let him unload a sponge over my head.

We thought we’d send a little heat relief to some friends in other hot places in the form of a giant car wash sponge. What could be more instantly refreshing?
We just wrapped a piece of sturdy mailing paper very snugly around the sponge, added some postage,

and it was ready to go. Really, if you found this in the mailbox, how long would it be until you soaked someone?

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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This week, we decided we wanted to mail a disguise.

So we put together a few disguise pieces.
It is no good having just one disguise, you have to have options.
I stuffed everything in a clear box, but it was bulging with all those sneaky disguise options, I think I may just try using a ziplock bag next time and drop that in the mail.
We’ll be sending off this complete, master-of-disguise kit in the mail this afternoon. So someone we know can cloak herself in complete mystery.

And while I have you here, I wanted to share a couple extra notes.

I have a little interview over at Power of Moms in which I bear all about motherhood. It’s an honor to be mentioned among a lot of awesome moms on PoMs.

And speaking of amazing moms, a big giant thank you to Gabrielle of Design Mom for her kind mention. (I had a darling friend call me laughing and squealing as I was starting this post to tell me about the link. Thanks for making me look awesome, Design Mom.)

Happy mailing.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

 

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I have a couple things I’d like to admit.

one. I am in total denial that school is going to be starting. Is anyone else feeling this? Summer, oh summer, where did you go?

two. Despite that, when I walked into Target and and was met by all the school supplies last week, and then saw all of this back to school goodness pop up on my google reader, I couldn’t help but get just a little of that back-to-school buzz.

So, even though I am going to spend the last days of summer cramming in all the swimming, snow cones, and late night reading I can, I am kind of getting into the back-to-school thing on the side.

I thought you’d like to see something I mailed off yesterday.

Remember when my friend Sherry and I exchanged bottles of goodies via post? Well, when I came home with a bag full of school supplies, I couldn’t help myself.
I started with colored pencils.
I wrapped up a few other back-to-school goodies in tissue paper and stuffed them in too.
And of course, with all those colored pencils, there had to be something to color. So I rolled up a few coloring pages.
In it all went,
and the lid went on.
On went the stamps. (I checked USPS postage rates, and 5 first class stamps were enough to mail my 5 ounces of goodies.)
And the only thing left to do was drop it in the big blue mailbox.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

 

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Since starting my series about happy mail, I have heard a suggestion from a few of you I’ve been dying to try. And finally this week I did it. I mailed a flip flop.
Just four stamps, and in the big blue box it went.
The other flip flop goes out next week.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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I opened my email one day to find a note with these adorable pics in it.
You are looking at two little cousins, one who decided to mail her cousin a ball, and the other who opened her mail box to find it. Thank you, Brenda, for sending these. I do not think these sweet cousins could be any cuter.

Of course that put me over the edge and we had to try this ourselves.

Sharpies were essential so we pulled out our favorite colors. We stamped a couple balls and decided we needed extra decoration.
So we scribbled on foil with our sharpies and cut out a few stars and ran them through the sticker maker for a little extra flash.
This is my daughter and her cute friend who came along with us for icees and then to the post office to get postage.


I asked my post office worker to just give me stamps so I could take a picture for you before I mailed them. He gave me two 98-cent stamps for each. And now we have the balls all set to send out. We are waiting for a couple certain occasions and I am getting near giggly just thinking about it.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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Eggs in the Mail

04.07.11

It worked.
If you missed it, you can get postage details right here.

I am now sending more little eggs on their way.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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There is something I love about bright plastic Easter eggs. I picked up a row of jumbos at the grocery store last weekend.

I got thinking about the fun of discovering eggs during an egg hunt, and thought it might be fun to discover one or two in a mail box.
So I packed a few up with goodies,
stuck on a label and a few stamps,
and am dropping them in a big blue mailbox today. For all the happy mail I’ve sent up to now, I’ve had postage added at the counter. Mostly because I like to walk up and nonchalantly drop a shovel or something else on the counter, like mailing plastic shovels is just something I do. Also because I love the workers at my post office and because I always meet the nicest people in line. But today I’m trying stamps. We’ll see if they go.

If they do, I will be filling a few eggs for grown ups too. Because when else do you get to be surprised by a plastic egg after the age of 12? I’m just needing a few good things to tuck inside? Sudoku? Hmmm. Any ideas?

<<UPDATE >>
It worked!! I ended up having to change postage, here’s what I used:
I mailed 1-ounce eggs using a 98-cent teton stamp + a postcard stamp
I mailed 2-ounce eggs using a 98-cent teton stamp + a forever stamp
You can see US postage rates for first-class mail right here (scroll down to “packages”).

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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It has been a while since I’ve done a post about happy mail. I am brimming with all kinds of new ideas, so I think you’ll be seeing more happy mail around here. (If you’re new here, you can see more happy mail ideas at the end of this post.)

Did you ever do this with silly putty as a kid? It was my favorite. I also liked to make bubbles in the putty and pop em.
This week I put together a package to mail that was nice and simple. I used an empty plastic spice canister, tucked in a roll of newspaper and couple eggs of silly putty, and mailed it off.

One little canister, hours of fun.

I’m including the label, incase you’d like to use it. I originally made this to send out with my Christmas cards this year, but now I use it for everything. Do you like it?
(I like to print on this full-sheet label paper,which is a complete steal, 100 sheets for ten bucks.)

Either Download from DropBox by clicking here: Mailing Label
or download here: Printable Fold-over Labels (4657)

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or see it all right here):

A Great Big Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

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We made a new discovery over here that I am excited to share. We discovered how to doodle our own shadow puppets. How fun is that?

I always like to keep a few wet erase overhead markers on hand at our house. They are perfect for writing love notes on mirrors or drawing targets on windows for nerf gun shooting practice (yes, I have little boys). We discovered that with our markers and a few overhead projector sheets, we could create a new cast for any shadow performance we could dream up. You can also print right on the transparency paper if you’d like to use an image you already have, or create silhouettes of your own kiddos.

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably seen my shadow puppet theater tutorials (I made a big elaborate version here, and a simple pretty version here). Several of you have written in with beautiful versions you’ve made yourselves.

All you need is a few simple supplies.
transparency sheets (I bought three individual sheets from the photocopy desk at an office supply store)
wooden craft sticks
super glue
wet erase markers

I cut the sheets in half, then folded them in half and creased them well. I inserted the craft stick between the layers, squeezed some superglue on both sides, then set a book on top to keep it in place until it dried, and that was it. A few moments of prep followed by hours of three-act plays in our family room about princesses, Mario, and a host of other characters, real and made up. It was great.

p.s. I have a friend who teaches and talked about making a life sized theatre for her classroom. How cool would that be?

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I’m not sure if you’ve been around long enough to remember the last shadow puppet theater I made for my kids? We love that thing. Just last week we turned down the lights, lit up our Christmas tree, and used our theatre to dramatize our version of the Grinch (the Grinch was played by a green T-Rex toy. Very apropos).

The only problem is, the last time I made a theater, it was an involved project. But I wanted to make another. So I came up with a slightly simpler version. I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Do you like it? I’m including the DIY here because you could totally still whip out one of these in time for Christmas.

supplies & equipment:
-panel of fabric, solid-color and thin enough so light can shine through
-contact paper
-acrylic or fabric paint
-small sponge roller (available for a dollar or two at any craft store)
-extra fabric scraps and fabric glue for embellishments
-paper or plastic to protect your work surface

method:
1. Lay your fabric flat and cut to the size you’d like your theater to be. No need to hem the edges, they won’t fray once we’re done with them (see! so easy.)

2. Lay the contact paper down and sketch the shape of your theatre. The places where you stick the contact paper will be the places where the light is able to shine through the fabric. Cut out the shape, remove the backing, and stick the contact paper onto your fabric.

3. Get out your roller and start painting. Roll paint everywhere fabric is showing. Don’t be stingy. Roll right to the edges.

4. Allow the paint to dry. Peel off and discard the contact paper.  Now notice the fabric edges do not fray because they are painted? Nice.

5. Cut out fabric scraps for any special touches you’d like to add, and glue them on with fabric glue.

Stand back and admire your new theater! When you’re ready to use it, you have a few options, but the simplest is just to tie a piece of string between two chairs and clothespin your theatre to the string. All you need is a flashlight and a puppeteer or two and you’re ready for a performance.


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Today for our handmade gift retreat I’m excited to introduce you to Anna of Noodlehead. Anna is my sewing hero and is one of those women who dreams up beautiful things and then
just
makes them.

You are about to see what I mean.

She also has two adorable daughters who get cool things from their mama, like adorable neck warmers and unicorn dresses. (My kids don’t even know what they’re missing. Maybe by the time the grandkids come along…) So, without further ado, here is Anna.

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Hey gift givers!  Just want to say a huge thanks to Amber for inviting me over today. Well, if you’ve ever read my blog, you’ll know I love making zippered pouches.  I think they’re the perfect gift for any occasion, but especially Christmas.  By just changing up the dimensions a bit or using different fabrics, you can make a completely unique gift for that person on your list.

Go ahead and try my Scrappy Make-up Pouch Tutorial!
The best part about these pouches is what you can fill them with!  It’s a great opportunity to stuff in some special treats.  How about some chap stick, a mini journal and a pen for that teenager?  Or for a preschooler I love to make it a crayon pouch.  Fill it with crayons and markers, maybe some stickers, and wrap it all up with a spiral art journal.  For a special woman in your life you can dream up just about anything to suit their hobbies and tastes, I’d love one with a box of chocolates and a gift card to my favorite bookstore.  And maybe even for that man on your list, you know – that guy.  Yes, just grab some manly fabric and make it a dopp kit, some cologne, fancy men’s products, a gift card for ice cream perhaps?!
I think no matter what you add inside, making it personal to your recipient will make it extra special and show that you really care, and may run a close second to that fancy sports car they’ve been dreaming of.

Happy gift giving!

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This week I’ll be tying up my handmade gift retreat. And like any good party, I’m not ready for it to be over! But I have stellar women to finish it off, and I have something wonderful coming around the corner, so I will try to be brave.

To kick off the week, I hope you’ll help me say Hello to the beautiful Hannah of Sherbet Blossom. Hannah lives in Utah with her adorable family and runs a design shop you really must see. I love her May I Suggest series she has going right now, and before that her Project Organize (don’t you love her for this? you might run across me while you browse). I’m so thrilled to have her here today sharing a dear gift. I’ll leave you in her hands.

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I think we all have ancestors/relatives that we relate to more than others. Relatives that we seem to take after. Someone that shares your same interests, character traits or humor. My Grandma Boo is that relative for me. She was a woman who had a passion for design; she always had the latest fashions in clothing and home decor: not your average grandma. She loved to laugh and she adored her husband. She was always serving other people and thought of herself last. She was the ultimate, glamorous hostess.

I come from a family of cooks and Grandma Boo was the best. When she passed away, my mother made all of Grandma Boo’s descendants a book of my grandmother’s recipes. It is now one of my most prized possessions. I am sad to say this book is not available for purchase, but it SHOULD be!
My copy is full of food stains, kid scribbles and jotted notes. I love this book. I know that I am safe making anything in it. Everything is delicious and most recipes are accompanied by memories of my grandmother. The smells and taste of her food brings in a rush of memories. This is a gift that will keep on giving.

Today, my teary-eyed three-year-old came to me requesting “Grandma Boo’s Cookies” after falling down. How could I refuse him? Grandma’s cookies make any sadness a little sweeter.
Now the she is gone, Grandma’s recipes have become my homemade gift of choice. I pull out the recipe book for every holiday. Many of my friends, neighbors and family members have been the recipients of her fantastic recipes. Nothing can invite a smile like the gift of homemade chocolate chip cookies.

My grandma’s cookies are one of my favorite items in the cookbook, and like my grandma, I don’t believe in secret recipes. Sharing makes cooking even more fun. The recipe is my gift to you today. Enjoy!

GRANDMA BOO’S COOKIES:
3/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
2 c. quick rolled oats
1 pkg. chocolate chips
3/4 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Cream together shortening and sugars. Add eggs. Add remaining
ingredients in order and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees until done.
(About 10-11 minutes.)

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Halloween Tees

10.29.10

My kids had the greatest time with these SEI iron on kits. I think they were the Halloween hit of the year. We even had left over body parts for ironing on other things. You can’t beat that.

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I am here with the next superstar woman I have invited to our gift retreat. She’ll be sharing a gift she’d make if we were all huddled around the craft table this weekend turning out handmade gifts together.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you already know that LoraJean makes beautiful things. She also throws beautiful birthday parties for her little girl, and together the two of them make the sweetest creations. She is also hosting a Free Halloween Challenge, which I love.

But today, LoraJean is here to tell us a little about some of her favorite handmade giving. Take it away, LoraJean!

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What is my favorite gift to give or receive? I have to say hands down it’s a handmade gift!  A handmade gift says, I am willing to spend the time, whether it’s time wrapping it beautifully, time planing out what the gift is, or time making the gift itself.  My most recent favorite gift to receive was a skull and crossbones blanket my mother made for my son.  I love it because my son is obsessed with skeletons, & I love it because my mom went outside her own craft style just for him. (She’s not the scull and crossbones type at all.) I also love it because every night when I tuck him in, he is reminded his grandma loves him.
Thanks mom!

One tradition that I do is I make a plush food toy for each of my kids every year for Christmas. As a kid I loved to play store or pretend cook. My kids are the same. My daughter loves pretend cooking. At three years old she professed the desire to be a chef, now at 6 years old she still plays with the food toys I make. Throughout the years here is some of what I have made, a 3 layered cake, brownies, chocolate cookies, pizza, spaghetti, and a popsicle. (I may be forgetting some.)

Wrapping the gift, for me, is just as fun as making it. A wile ago I fell in love with the cute packaging I was seeing at the craft stores.  But I was unwilling to buy them, I was bent on figuring out some way to do it myself!  And I guess I finally did. This simple origami box has changed my take on wrapping and gift giving. I am obsessed! (Yesterday I even tried to make one out of a 3×3 ft piece of canvas… it didn’t work.)

What was your favorite gift to give or get?

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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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