Tuesday, December 31, 2013

charge into the new year with the paper antler party cracker - a tutorial

this is it
the very single last final caboose day of 2013
can you believe it

i give one final raised glass to this year
by presenting a tutorial inspired by the symbol of the year
the antler

here is a quick diy to allow your New Year's Eve party to go out with a bang
and to charge into the new year
the paper antler party cracker
designed for the Paper Crepe Company challenge mentioned here in my previous posts
merry and bright christmas and
hipster baby boy's first birthday

new year's eve paper antler party cracker tutorial


{all decorative supplies provided by the Paper Crepe}
tp tube
9" crinkle or thin textured paper
glitter paper
high quality patterned paper
adhesive or hot glue
small prizes and candies

party cracker form


cut your crinkle or thin texture paper to approx 9" x 9" 
place tp tube on the inside centered
apply adhesive
since my cracker was made for a company party display and not to be opened it was not filled with special prizes
to create a functional pop-able cracker add just a couple more steps found here on this tutorial by

tie up party cracker with twine


carefully gather up each end and tie the ends

soften paper by crinkling


here comes the fun part!
remember when you were a kid and you made your own leather by crinkling up paper brown bags until it became so soft
that is the same concept here
this is why you need a high high quality paper so it will crinkle and mold in your hand and not tear
crinkle away
it starts off rough but just keep going
crinkle and crinkle some more until it becomes soft and pliable

cut triangle for party cracker


do not try to flatten the crumpled paper
fold over a corner to form an elongated triangle approx 4" x 2"
and snip

antler branch form


to form a branched antler cut an 1 1/2 to 2" slit starting at the shortest side of triangle toward the folded side of the triangle at an angle

twist to form double branched antler


start twisting the paper to form your antler shape
twist and twist
don't be afraid to twist tightly if you have some serious high quality paper
you want it tight to hold its shape
use adhesives or hot glue to finish off your antlers

party cracker wrapper


cut your wrapper from glitter paper approx 3 1/4" x 6 1/2 "
adhere paper centered on cracker
wrap paper around cracker and then overlap and apply with adhesive or hot glue

mounting antlers on paper cracker


cut a chevron arrow shape out of patterned paper approx 2 3/4" x 1 1/2"
adhere shape to center of glitter paper
glue antlers in the center of the chevron shape

new year's eve paper antler party cracker tutorial diy

and there you have it
the paper antler party cracker

enjoy your New Year's Eve friends
look back with gratitude on the blessings of this past year
and charge forward with conviction to make this next year one with no regrets 
as you love more 
find more courage to those things which will bring the greatest joy for yourself and those around you
and dare to dream and act upon it

here's to living life with passion and conviction

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

merry and bright christmas: simple last minute touches to your holiday table decor

merry and bright christmas simple last minute holiday decor ideas

although the countdown to Christmas is nearly over
there is plenty of time to add those final touches to your holiday table decor

here are a few ideas i designed for The Paper Crepe challenge
last month in collaboration with Amy from Commona My House
as we were hired to create displays for their party tour which hit Sacramento, Dallas, and Chicago
read more about the parameters for the challenge here on my 'hipster baby boy's first birthday' post

so here are some simple last minute decor ideas:
antler party cracker {watch for tutorial coming just in time for your New Year's Eve bash}
3D Christmas tree
triangle trees
glitter paper chain
tissue tassel bunting {here's a great tutorial on green wedding shoes}
two tone glitter pine cones

merry and bright christmas simple last minute holiday decor ideas

may your days be merry and bright
from a gal who's christmas has become very white

merry merry christmas to you all

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

my Christmas wish

as the list of things that i should be doing are adding up in my mind
i am drawn at this time to reflect on some quiet moments that have transpired in our life the past little while
i have missed writing
for this is how i truly am able to reflect on the goodness in my life

as many of you know mike has begun treatments for his MS up here in utah where we have moved for a variety of reasons
but mainly to be close to a specialist we feel confident in and have easy access to
due to the nature of the progression of mike’s disease
some days, lots of days are just plain hard
in my mind and i think in the minds of others 
making this huge change in our life must have equated to the lessening of daily difficulty
if not for that
then why would we have moved
well the truth is that we have seen many moments of illumination that have shown us that indeed this is the place we need to be
we have already seen blessings in various aspects of our life
we know that a path of tremendous growth and hope is before us
but the weight of what remains the same and even the weight of what has changed 
lies heavy

what remains the same

mike continues to struggle in a very big way
physically, emotionally, and mentally
it is a daily battle
hearing him laugh and seeing the relaxation of his face when the pain has lessened are two of my favorite things right now
the humility and gratitude i see in him makes me love him more and more
i feel a tremendous honor to be his wife

what has changed

mike is no longer able to work due to a dramatic decline in his cognition
we have been sustained by the benevolent generosity of family
and i have been giving all i’ve got to my Nerium business
with full confidence that soon it will be able to put us on a path of independence
mike is my biggest champion
as i am my own worst enemy some days
i admire moms who have worked while raising their children
i admire men and women who have the fire of confidence with the skills of communication and the ability to inspire
i admire those who work with laser focus on what they want for the good of their family and don’t let rejection or obstacles get in their way

i tell you i am being stretched and molded into a woman i never knew i could become
one that never would have been uncovered had the need for me to rise not have been there
one who has had to rely heavily on the Lord
as well as newly acquired knowledge though good books of all varieties
and persons of great influence and motivation
all lending to the building up of a woman of greater courage and drive
but along this path of digging for deeper conviction and leadership capabilities
those qualities that need to be attended to most have been widely exposed
and sometimes for a vast public to see
those deeply rooted insecurities or inadequacies are paraded in front of my eyes and in front of so many others
a long line of them
i have put myself out there for all to witness not only my successes but my struggles
but as you see me pick myself up over and over and over
i hope that above all you will see that as i lift my head up again and again 
that my gaze 
my step 
my direction 
continues to be drawn toward what it is i must do and who i must do it for
at times i hope i will glance down to see who it is that is carrying me and give much thanks

two such moments i would like to share with you

a few nights ago
was one of those moments when the weight just seemed so great
one of those times in which the heaviness of what you carry causes the strength in your legs to give out
i found myself flat on my knees alone in our front room 
only the light of the Christmas tree to illuminate the tears running down my cheeks
no one else to hear the gasping cries escaping my lips in bursts of sound
so i thought
i looked up to see Owen standing in the doorway gazing down on me
without word he quickly came to my side 
knelt down next to me
not as i had, flat to my knees
but kneeling tall so that when he wrapped his arm around me at my side he was taller than i
he simply asked me, ‘are you missing grandpa?’ 
to which i replied ‘yes’...i kept the array of other looming thoughts to myself
i looked over at my son and felt his arm around me
not as a child but as a man who had come to comfort and rescue his mother
i felt of his strength
i felt of his faith
and i felt of the love he had for me
and indeed i felt rescued

i knew i had to write this down 
for i never want to forget that moment of tenderness between us

then last night as i came home late
i looked upon our counter to find a lovely basket of food and something peculiar in the center
a mason jar
at first i didn’t comprehend what was inside
could it be, no
a jar full of change and bills
there was a note accompanying it and i quickly reached for it looking to discover the bearer of such a gift
waves of tears overcame me as i read the sweet poem attached 
which in part reads:
we collected all year our dollars and dimes
and hoped we could save enough just in time
we prayed to know who to give this jar to
Heavenly Father’s answer said it was you
we hope you will feel the Savior’s Love
and know that this gift is from Heaven above
this family whoever they are filled their year with the intent to bless the lives of others at just this moment
and God himself knew of our need and directed their sweet hearts to our doorstep
i shook with gratitude and felt the warmth of my Savior’s love

in church this past week
i had the opportunity to address our congregation on a topic that i have been thinking much about
not only believing in Christ, in who He is, but believe Christ, believe His words
believing He will do what He said He would do
to not merely be an advisor or a champion or a counselor
but be our actual Savior, our Redeemer
to trust in His care and heeding His simple admonitions

‘let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid’ *
‘doubt not, fear not’ *
‘be of good cheer, for I will lead you along’ *

when i truly understand what He has done for me
i am happy
i shine forth
i carry myself with a perfect brightness of hope
i let the promises i have made to Him shine through my face 
even in times of difficulty and distress

this is my Christmas wish
to let this Child who was Born unto Us
enter as the Prince of Peace into my heart and life
that with the lifting of my heart and the lightening of my step
the joy returns to my countenance 
and my soul is filled with His redeeming love

Merry Christmas to you my sweet friends
may this Prince of Peace enter into your heart and life
this Christmas season and throughout your coming year

Friday, December 06, 2013

blue christmas blog hop: moments frozen in time

i am so happy to have been able to participate in this year's 
blue christmas blog hop 
with some fabulous bloggers
krista @ The Happy Housie
amber @ Averie Lane
rachel @ Maison de Pax

this week's feature is trees
be sure to check out previous weeks posts

since our tree has yet to be purchased
{can Christmas really be coming so soon}
i decided to highlight some of my favorite Christmas moments from last year
i am so happy that these are frozen in time
since our lives have changed so drastically since then

the giddiness of gifts received
my decision to wrap pretty with homemade touches so that opening presents was pretty too 
it was so worth it
the awe of Legos
the gift from a friend of our tree

homemade cards and presents exchanged amongst the boys
homeruns on mike's gifts

love my little family of six
the attention and careful protection of brothers to sister
little toes venturing on her own

wishing you all a Christmas full of moments worthy of being frozen in time
it was a delight to meet you new readers
i hope you will venture back soon

Saturday, November 30, 2013

a tale of two boys: the arrival of abigail's twin brothers

tonight has been an evening of great reflection
tonight Jani and Jesse
champion parents to our sweet miracle baby Abigail
were once again brought to that moment of greatest anticipation
the birth of their child
and this time the anticipation was doubled
with the birth of twins
twin boys

i know they have been beyond elated to have two new additions to their family
but i can only imagine what entering that hospital felt like to them
did that overwhelming feeling of anticipation become dimmed by a rush of fear
i dare say that it may have
i know i would have let it creep in uninvited

for those of you who have joined our little community within the past two years
you may not be familiar with the story of little Abigail and the fight for her life
born with part of her heart missing
her heart backwards
and on the wrong side
to be then reconstructed several times within such a short period of time
the waiting
the wondering
the holding of ones breath for great lengths of time
i know so many of you journeyed with me
and like me lived from moment to moment on updates regarding her surgeries, setbacks, and recoveries

hers is a story of courage and miracles
fought not only within her own little soul but within that of her valiant father and mother
for many long months

to watch a video i made of the beginnings of her life including that heart wrenching life flight
come visit here
to read more of her journey over those months click here or on the 'abigail' link in the sidebar

this is a family of warriors
tonight two strong boys joined Abigail as children to my fine brother and his superhuman wife
enduring nearly two days of intense labor
jani fought hard to deliver both of her boys naturally
extreme back labor caused an epidural to be necessary at the end of day one
the position of both of the boys allowed for the need for a c-section to be kept at bay
long did she labor
finally help was given for her labor to progress
but it did not
at least not at all in a manner i would deem real progress
slowly it continued
despite the strong contractions

at last this afternoon baby boy one arrived into this world
nicknamed Flex by his grandpa
with his brother baby boy two, nicknamed Blaze, still rather high up
Flex and Blaze
that's how we have known them
little Flex weighed a healthy 5 lbs 1 oz
and looks so much like my brother Jesse i just love it
he arrived doing well
no surprises
he would soon be named
Thomas Russell Dix
a fine name don't you think

i have never experienced a double birth
but i can imagine the sort of mix of emotions
having delivered pure joy after such tribulation
only to have to continue to push and toil once again
for jani this pushing and laboring lasted hours more
to the point where jani just didn't know if she could last much longer
as i am sure you may surmise this woman is one of absolute stamina, faith, and courage
unfortunately Blaze was larger than Thomas and got stuck in the efforts to be delivered
so a c-section was needed
much to jani's dismay
but i know her heart was only directed toward doing what was best for her babies

a time of communication darkness ensued between those there at the hospital and myself
it is ever so difficult to be so far away from my family during moments such as these
during Abigail's birth, surgeries, and fights for her life
i was in california while they were in utah
this time i am the one in utah and they are in california

the next text message i received told me that Blaze was born but was whisked away due to breathing difficulties
my brother was beside himself
i have no doubt that the memories of Abigail's birth flooded his mind
emotions mixed with experiences mixed with logic mixed with faith
all whirling around inside
i could visualize his facial expressions and his stance in my mind
i will say of my brother that he feels the pain of others like no one i have ever known
he feels what they feel
he takes them upon himself

once again a stretch of a communication void
but then there appeared across my phone screen the most beautiful words and photos
the babies were both breathing on their own
both on their own
and daddy and grandma were holding them
jani was in the recovery room resting peacefully

here is jesse with Thomas Russell
and our first glimpse at Blaze...to be named soon

i think i breathed for the first time

and now i am happy to present the first moments Jani was able to see and hold her babies
Jani is the champion of the world
Movember Jesse looks much more worry free
i am so grateful for the miracles that continue to happen in this family
we are continually blessed with watchful heavenly care
and i have no doubt that daddy is able to be close by for occasions such as these
how i wish these little ones could pass on messages from him

photos below:
Jani and Jes with Thomas Russell {baby one}
with Baby Blaze {baby two}
Baby Blaze
Baby Blaze
Thomas Russell whom I can see a lot of Jani in him now
Thomas Russell

i can not wait to see the whole family together
thank you family and friends once again for lifting us up in your prayers
it is an incredible feeling to be surrounded by an army of prayers from those who care for and love you
it is nearly tangible
as it has been many times before
thank you
thank you

Friday, November 29, 2013

blue christmas blog hop: mantles

awww life has a habit of throwing things in the mix that you just didn't plan on
like all four of my children coming down with a nasty bug the week of Thanksgiving
thankfully we recovered and most notably without mike or i coming down with it
knock on wood
mike has his second treatment for his new MS medication next week
so being bugfree for him is an absolute necessity

but alas i was not able to contribute myself this week to the wonderful
Blue Christmas Blog Hop
for decorating mantles

above is my darling friend Amy from Commona My House's contribution
be sure to check out all the other bloggers this week
for their fabulous ideas on incorporating blue into your Christmas decor

Friday, November 22, 2013

radiator grate ornament holder diy tutorial: a blue christmas blog hop

radiator grate Christmas ornament holder with silhouette welding letters diy tutorial

hello again from the Blue Christmas Blog Hop
welcome to all my new readers from around the blogosphere
to see week#1 ornament collection from our lovely bloggers, visit here

this week is wreaths and wall decor
i was inspired by my favorite globe ornament to find a way to highlight it in a non-traditional display
an so the idea of the radiator grate ornament holder began
combined with a fabulous lesson on how to use the welding option on my silhouette cameo

supplies for Christmas ornament holder

radiator grate and frame


high quality glitter paper
a few of your favorite ornaments
jewelry chain
jump rings
jewelry pliers
ornament hangers
tiny hole punch
adhesive dots
radiator grate {i found mine at home depot}
metal sheers
painted frame
metal picture back holders {i found mine in the framing section of michael's}


using your metal sheers, cut your radiator grate to fit perfectly inside your frame
it feels pretty powerful slicing through metal like its nobody's business

cut radiator grate


secure your radiator inside of your frame using metal picture back holders
i placed mine about every 4 inches or so using a putty knife

framed radiator grate


i followed this amazing tutorial on welding letters on your Silhouette by findingnana
my mind was blown at how many uses i could have now for welding letters
you will be floored at how easy it is
i chose to but the reason back into Christmas and typed the words
rejoice He is King

i had to use a little spray adhesive on the back of the glitter paper to get it to secure to the Silhouette cutting mat
i put my blade on the highest setting and it did beautifully
be sure and do a test cut first

welding letters with silhouette cameo
rejoice he is king


measure how long you want your wording to hang on your radiator grate and then cut accordingly with your metal sheers
using your tiny hole punch place two holes on opposite sides of your wording
with your jewelry pliers open your jump rings and place inside the hole
attach one end of the chain inside the ring and close
repeat for the other end
place an ornament hanger at the center of the chain

jewelry making supplies for radiator grate Christmas ornament holder
rejoice he is king merry christmas


hang your wording in the center of your framed radiator grate
i applied a few adhesive dots behind the wording to provide extra stability
hang your ornaments
and drape your Christmas lights over the top corners

framed radiator grate Christmas ornament holder diy tutorial
hang your favorite ornaments
Christmas ornament holder
framed radiator grate Christmas ornament holder diy tutorial


plug in your lights for that added holiday cheer
simple and fun
early Merry Christmas everyone

radiator grate Christmas ornament holder with silhouette welding letters diy tutorial

christmas lights on radiator grate

don't forget to hop on over and see these other fabulous ladies' 
blue christmas wreaths and wall decor

Krista @ The Happy Housie
Amber @ Averie Lane
Rachel @ Maison de Pax

blue christmas blog hop


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