Friday, May 28, 2010


  I've been trying to find ways to supplement our changing income when I stay home with my new baby and one thing I've had success with is Swagbucks.  Swagbucks are internet currency you earn in various ways.  I've gotten a lot just using their search bar and search engine.  They also give out treasure hunt type clues on their blog, twitter, and facebook.  You can follow these clues for more swagbucks.  Why?  Because you can trade swagbucks for actual products or gift cards. What drew me to swagbucks was Amazon.

A few years ago, Amazon used to be a river, or a rain forest.  Now it's a place to get just about whatever you want! You can get a $5.00 gift card from Amazon by trading 450 swagbucks.  I've used swagbucks for a month and have gotten two gift cards and am about to get another!  Not too shabby for a little internet searching!

I've been hesitant to post about this on my blog, because I want my blog to stay crafty, sewy, and projecty - not all business and whatnot.  But I've had enough success with swagbucks to recommend it to others.  I like treasure hunts, especially when gift cards are the treasure!

If you want to try it out, you can click on the link below.  Everyone gets 30 swagbucks for joining and Fridays are megaswagbucks days where it's easier to earn higher numbers of SB!

Search & Win
NOTE:  If you click that link and you sign up under me, I earn more swagbucks.  If you WANT to, that's fine with me.  That's not the point of this post though.  The point of this post is that I've tried it out and found that it works and am recommending it.  So feel free to sign up on your own at !

Has anyone else had success with this?
Regularly scheduled posting will resume this weekend.  I'm madly at work on some maternity tutorials I hope you will love!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Teaming Up with Becky Higgins

Back when I scrapbooked (my definition of "scrapbooked" was that I collected scrapbooking materials and subscribed to scrapbooking magazines.  I don't actually have any scrapbooks to show for it, but I have made some for other people.) Becky Higgins (or BH in the scrapbook world) was one of my favorite designers.  I've followed her blog ever since.  She has great, creative ideas and cute kids!

Recently, she gave away a photo shoot to a deserving family in her area.  She then had the idea to arrange it so that willing photographers could give away photo shoots in their areas and she would set it up!  I jumped at that chance because I LOVE giving things away!  So, if you are in the Rhode Island or Southern Massachusetts area and you want to enter to win a photoshoot giveaway or you know someone who could use a free photoshoot giveaway, hop on over to Becky's Blog and comment under my post.  You can nominate yourself or someone else.  The details are over there!

By the way, the winner of the laminated envelope was Anna!  Anna, I'll be in touch.  ;)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bag and Fabric Winners - (and another small giveaway)

Good Afternoon!

I hope everyone enjoyed Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day(s)!  I think I have participated in every one and they just get more fun every time!

For each prize, I put all the entries into a spreadsheet and asked a human integer generator (my husband) to pick from the range of numbers.  He apparently couldn't handle the pressure, because he passed the duty on to his assistant at work.  So, winners, you can thank Amanda! 

The winner of the tote bag is #118 and that is A Joyful Chaos!

The winner of the fabric and ribbon is #54 Kimberly!

I will contact the winners and send out the prizes!

In the meantime, if you would like your own laminated envelope without doing the work of the tutorial below, comment on this post.  I'll pick the winner on Sunday!  I didn't photograph the finished product, but I photographed the papers I used. Rest assured, it will arrive in envelope form! ;)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Laminated Envelope Tutorial - (subtitled "Making Your Budget Cute")

Soon (as in next month), my husband and I will be going from two reliable, predictable, incomes down to one reliable income and one not too reliable or predictable income.  It's what we want in order for me to stay home with my new baby when she arrives, but it means the "B" word.  Budget.  We are going on a cash budget for things like groceries, toiletries, diapers, etc.  That means I have to keep the cash in my bag and not succumb to my friend the Debit Card.  So far, I have learned one very important thing:

In order for this budget to work, the envelope I store the cash in needs to be cute.

So, I made it cute.  You could use this for coupons, recipes, or storing receipts.  Anything where cute is required to maintain order.  In my life, cute is always required to maintain order.  Another thing you can add to the envelope is this Organic Produce Guide that I found on my friend Tara's blog.  (It's a cute way to remember what to always buy organic and what isn't as important).

  • A piece of 12x12 scrapbook paper (double sided is best and easiest)
  • Double sided tape
  • Scissors, pencil
  • Laminate

1. First, you need to make an envelope template.  An A2 envelope perfectly fits cash and I wanted my envelope to be small enough to easily fit in my purse.  It also fits well on a 12x12 piece of paper.  I steamed it open using my teapot and some tongs.  [I felt like some kind of secretary spy from the 40s or something.]  Just don't burn yourself on the steam!  Use the oven mitt!  And the tongs!
Use the completely opened envelope to A.  Trace on your 12x12 piece of paper or B. Trace on a piece of cardboard to use as a permanent template.  I chose to do the latter.
I cut out the envelope shape to create the template.

2.  Next, cut out the envelope from your chosen paper.  The template is great because you can see what you are cutting and make sure everything is lining up.
3.  Next, laminate what will be the INSIDE of your envelope (in my case, the flowers).  Trim the laminate so it is even with the edge of the paper.  Once it is laminated, fold all flaps in to pre-crease them. 
4.  Then, using double sided tape (mine I folded in half to make it thinner), assemble the envelope.
Place the double sided tape along the bottom edge of the envelope's side flap.

5.  Laminate the side of the envelope with the pocket.  Cut the laminate slightly larger than the pocket part, then trim the laminate so it is even with the sides of the paper.  This is the laminate I used:
(This laminate is repositionable, so it is easy to use!)

Smooth the laminate as you go to get rid of any air bubbles or wrinkles (you could use a bone folder - I used my fingers).
6.  Lastly, laminate the smooth side of the envelope, including the top flap.  Leave about a 1/8" edge around the envelope, then fold it over to the pocket side to seal it all in!

This is the envelope before it is trimmed to an 1/8" edge.

7. Insert money and go SHOPPING!

Monday, May 17, 2010

May Giveaway Day!

Today is Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day!

 I am going to do two giveaways today.  One is for a handmade tote bag.  It's not my usual color palette, but it's a bright and cheerful bag.  It is decorated with a plaid flower pin that is totally removable, so you could wear it on a sweater, blouse, or belt.
Closeup of the pin:

Giveaway #2 is for some supplies:

The top fabric is a floral poly chiffon (approximately 3 yards)
The bottom fabric is a poly knit (approximately 4 yards)
I'll throw in some ribbon from my abundant ribbon collection too!

I will ship to the US and Canada, but international winners must pay shipping.  The giveaway is open until May 20th and I will announce the winners on May 21st.  Bon Chance!

In the comment section, please tell me WHICH giveaway you would like to enter.
#1 - Totebag and pin
#2 - Fabric and ribbon
or BOTH!

While you are here, follow my blog!  I have lots of giveaways planned for the future, as well as baby projects and maternity projects!  We can be friends!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Celebrating Mothers - Mom

Welcome to Celebrating Mothers - Day Five

Today is my final tribute post (although I still have a post planned for tomorrow) and it is about my mom.

Beth was born in Texas, and lived in Massachusetts, California,and Virginia among other places. She had her tonsils out in Africa while living in Turkey. As an air force brat, she moved - alot. She was always skinny and her thick brown hair was always short. She has one slightly older brother and she was often mistaken for his twin. She liked to talk. She moved back to Rhode Island permanently just as she started high school (as an aside, she lives in Massachusetts now, but she still thinks she lives in Rhode Island).

My mom and dad met at work. She was 19 when they married and they had me a little over a year later when she was 20. My brother came two years after that. My parents just celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary.

There's about a million adjectives that describe my mom: kind, generous, sacrificial, sympathetic, giving, friendly, creative, artistic, selfless, hard-working, and on and on and on. I can think of a hundred instances where she dropped what she was doing to help me finish a project or paper or to take me some place I needed to go. She made my baby food and sewed my clothes. She was one of my Girl Scout leaders and baseball coaches. She drove me to ballet lessons and went to every tennis match. She was always supportive, always willing, always cheering.

She's an incredibly talented person. She makes beautiful cakes (many I've shared on this blog) and has a certificate in decorative painting. She paints furniture and murals. She sews, knits, scrapbooks, etc. (Sound familiar? Yeah, she gave me her crafting ADD)
More importantly, she's an incredible kind person. She has a soft heart, especially for those on the outside. She has a tendency to befriend those who are new, different, or lonely. Currently, she volunteers with women who are overcoming addictions. My mom doesn't judge or mock.  She empathizes and encourages. 

My mom loves her family - her in laws, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, husband, children, and dog.  She's always making someone a cake or going to a recital or graduation.  Everyone loves her back as well.  When I was in Girl Scouts, many girls told me I was lucky, and that they wished she was their mom.  I couldn't agree more.  If she wasn't my mom, I would want her to be! 

She brought my brother and me to church every week.  She made sure that we were in a great youth group and that we were raised to be godly people.  She set a great example for us both as a church going Christian and a person who lives out Christianity in every way, every day.

My mom gave me lots of ummmmm.....interesting....qualities of hers.  For example, you can find both of us up to our eyeballs in craft projects the night before a major event (holiday, party, wedding, etc.).  She also gave me the talent of procrastination - she bought a book on procrastination and never read it.  And there was that book on organizing your life that got lost in a pile of papers. Both of us have a hard time being realistic about time and how many projects can actually be accomplished in a limited amount of time and both of us looooove bonus projects that don't make any sense! 

My mom loves people, loves adventure, loves color, loves travel, loves dogs, loves cooking, loves Lifetime movies, loves learning, loves God, loves memories, and loves me.  I love her back.  She's my best friend and the best mom in the world (sorry, but it's true).  If I'm half as good a mom as she is, I will be very happy!
 I love you, Mom!

If you'd like to celebrate a woman in your life, please blog about it and add your blog link to the MckLinky below!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Celebrating Mothers - Mother-in-Law

Welcome to Day Four of Celebrating Mothers. Today's subject is my mother-in-law, Joan.

Joan is one of six children who lived in Rhode Island most of her life. She was a single mother to my husband and made many sacrifices to make him the priority. She was blessed with a beautiful voice and always was ready to sing in her church. She loves the Lord with all her heart and has a close relationship with Him.

Later, after my husband was grown, she married a loving man named Fred and they moved off to Virginia. I'm sure it was difficult for my mother-in-law and her only son to be separated, but God was in control of everything. I met and married Josh years later and after the wedding they decided to move back to New England. That still took some time, but now they live in a beautiful house in New Hampshire.

Although I had met my future mother-in-law when I was young, it wasn't until I re-met my husband that I really got to know my mother-in-law. She is a deep and spiritual woman with a very giving personality. All those years of prioritizing and relying on God to provide her needs has turned her into a person who understands what is important and what is not. She's not the classic witchy mother-in-law. Not even close!! She loves volunteering in her church in outreach programs, whether it is putting together witnessing packets to help teen girls or pumping gas, she is happiest when she is giving back. She makes beautiful stamped cards and belongs to a program that sends them to soldiers so that the soldiers can write home to their loved ones.
Joan is spontaneous, very funny and an out-of-the-box thinker. She finally has someone to share girly things with (me!) after only having a son, then a husband.  She loves her large extended family and always lends a supportive and listening ear when someone has a problem.

I'm so thankful to her for raising my wonderful, caring, hard-working, giving husband.  Their life was not particularly easy or traditional, but I can see that some of Josh's best qualities came out of some of the trials that he faced.  He loves his mom in a special way  because it was the two of them for so long.  My mother-in-law is wonderful and I look forward to getting to know her even better as the years go by!

If you would like to join in, please add your link to the list below!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Celebrating Mothers - Grandmother

Today, I'm celebrating my other grandmother, Gram!

Jeanne is my mom's mom.  As I said yesterday, I have all four of my grandparents, and this set of my grandparents will be celebrating their 55th anniversary in June.  It's pretty wild to me that between both sets of grandparents, there are 115 years of marriage! 

Anyway, I digress.  My grandfather was in the Air Force, so as a military wife, my grandmother had to move herself, my mom, and my uncle all around the globe, including California, Texas, South Carolina, D.C., and Turkey.  They lived away from their family for their early married life, but my grandparents made friends wherever they went.  Many of these friends they still communicate with today. 

Gram always wanted to be a grandmother and when she was 44, I was born.  She was pretty excited to say the least.  Now I'm having her first great-grandchild and she's even more pretty excited!  I was Gram's little buddy and people often mistook her for my mom because she was so young (and young looking!).  She, of course, couldn't wait to be called Grandma, but when I learned to talk, I called her "Jeanne."  Whoops!  I have many great memories of beach Saturdays with Gram and Pop (my grandfather), trips to get manicures, working with Gram on Saturday mornings, and lots and lots of sleepovers! 

Gram had two children and now has five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild on the way.  She adores her family and prays for us all the time.  She is very active in her church and attends mass every day.  Gram is stylish, hip and modern.  My grandfather got her Nintendo Wii for Christmas and she does her Wii fit religiously.  I don't have a Wii, but my grandmother does!  They are cruising to Bermuda soon and always have something fun and exciting planned.  She's not a person to sit and let experiences pass her by!  Her loads of friends are a testimony to her friendly, loving, social nature. 

My grandmother's life hasn't been a piece of cake. She had to move around a lot before settling back in New England.  She has a pacemaker because of some heart problems and has had to worry through many of my grandfather's health issues.  She's feisty though (yes, Gram, I called you feisty) and very strong. 

I'm pretty confident that all her children and grandchildren adore her back and couldn't imagine having another mother or grandmother! 

I love you, Gram!

If you would like to join in and celebrate the mother figures in your life, add your blog link to the MckLinky below!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Celebrating Mothers - Grandmother

Welcome to Day Two of Celebrating Mothers week!  If you'd like to join in, you don't have to follow my schedule.  You can honor any woman you want at any point this week!

Today, I'm going to celebrate the life of my father's mother, Pauline.  To me, she's Grammy.
I am blessed to have all four of my grandparents still alive.  This is a picture of my Grammy and Grampy's wedding day in 1950.  That means in September, they will be celebrating their 60th year of marriage!  They had four sons (my dad being the second) before they had their daughter (who was a "later in life" baby).  My Grammy knew how to handle her four crazy sons (a wooden spoon was often involved).  She also got to spoil my aunt after those four sons were grown.
Grammy's nine grandchildren range in age from 32 years (and married with 2 kids of his own) down to 4 months!  Four of her grandchildren are married and she also has several great-grandchildren.  She now gets to cherish her second wave of grandchildren - my aunt's four-year-old, two-year-old, and 4-month-old children along with her various great-grandchildren.
 This picture is me at age three or four with Grammy.  It's clear to see where my hair color came from!  Grammy was an accomplished bowler when she was younger and likes to sit down with her sons and daughters-in-law at holidays to play a hand or two of cards (poker, specifically).  Grammy has battled breast cancer and won!  As the family matriarch, she keeps everyone in the know about family news. 
She has a laid-back, positive, encouraging spirit and never misses an opportunity to offer praise for someone's accomplishment.  She likes to keep the peace and makes everyone feel at home.  Grammy's legacy is her large, fun-loving, pack of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren!

If you'd like to honor a woman in your life, write about her and link to the McLinky below!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Celebrating Mothers - Great Grandmothers

Welcome to Celebrating Mothers week at Quaint and Quirky!

All week long, I will be sharing about some of my female relatives.  Join in the fun by grabbing the badge, and adding your blog post link to the link list at the bottom of the post. 

Great Grandmothers
Beatrice was my maternal grandfather's mother.  She was definitely the most notorious of all my great-grandmothers.  She was born in Canada, but lived in the United States most of her life.  Her first husband died in the influenza outbreak of the 19-teens.  She was forced to put her children (she had two) in an orphanage.  My great-grandfather also lost his wife to the influenza outbreak and put his children (he had four) in an orphanage.  They met while visiting their children.  Six children is a large family by today's standards, yet they went on to have more children.  MANY more children.  The count is debated, but there were at least 17 children.  There could have been as many as 21.  My grandfather is the youngest of all of them.  She never learned to read or write in English, but she was a prayerful and devout woman who left a huge legacy.  At one point, she had several sons in World War II and she prayed for them each night.  They had many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-children!
I am thankful to have her sewing machine as my "inheritance."  It was well-used and well-loved!

Sarah was my paternal grandfather's mother.  By contrast to my last great-grandmother, she only had two children.  Here she is pictured with my grandfather.  People called her Sally instead of Sarah.  I called her Great Grammy.  She died when I was in my late teens.  When my grandparents babysat my brother and me, she would occasionally be there.  She was a tough cookie and my dad tells lots of stories about how tough she was.  She liked to tell me a story of how she won a watch at school when she was a young child. 

Rita was my maternal grandmother's mother.  I knew her the best, since she died when I was in my twenties and she lived close by.  I called her Memere.  Memere also had two children:  my grandmother and her sister.  Memere was a fraternal twin - her sister was named Alice. In this picture, Memere is on the right and Alic is on the left.  I guess this is also a picture of my great-GREAT- grandmother as well!
Memere was insistent on seeing me graduate from high school, so when rain limited the number of people I could invite to graduation, she went anyway.  
Memere worked in a factory, loved cats, cards, and baseball.  She never learned to drive, so she took the bus or walked everywhere - even well into her 80s.  She was spunky and feisty and was never afraid to speak her mind. We have lots of beautiful vintage Christmas ornaments that she handmade.  She definitely was proud of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren!

I don't know too much about my other great-grandmothers.  It's something that I should do more research and questioning on!  Time to talk to the grandparents!

Stay tuned tomorrow for my next installment!  

Add your blog link to my mclinky below!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's a .....

First of all, we are so grateful to God that our baby seems to have all perfect little working parts.  We got to see the wiggles and the kicks and the four chambers of the heart. It was such a fascinating, relieving, and moving experience.
I love the blowing a kiss one!
After, we celebrated by buying our baby its first outfit.  We hadn't bought anything up to this point.  We were waiting until we learned the gender.
So we stopped at the baby gap........

And bought.....

A dress!  For our little GIRL! 
I was totally surprised - I really thought it was a boy!  The pictures were pretty clear though and the ultrasound tech was quite certain! 

She has a name, but that will be a birthday surprise!! 

Let the sewing commence!


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