valentine’s day diy: sparks card & date night jar.

to wrap up my valentine’s day diy {just two days away, eek!}, i have two small projects to share.

first up is a card which is loosely based off of a card i have seen before in stores.

supplies:

  • short matchstick
  • cardstock or blank card
  • thin wire
  • marker or pen – i love the thin sharpies
  • construction paper/paper/envelope
  • washi tape – optional

i cut out a folding card from plain white cardstock. i put the fold on the top edge, but you could put it on the side edge too. then i laid down the matchstick where i wanted it on the card – a bit off-centered – & punched two tiny holes on both sides of the matchstick. then i thread a short piece of wire thru the holes, looping around the matchstick, & putting the ends thru the back of the card. i twisted the wire to secure the matchstick.

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then i wrote out “sparks fly” on the outside of the card, & “when we’re together” in the inside. simple as that.

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the last project i have to share is a fun valentine’s gift for aaron – a date night jar. we have been talking about the fact that two-and-a-half years into marriage that we don’t go on dates really anymore. at least not like we used to. so, i thought it would be fun to compile some ideas so that when we find ourselves looking for something fun to do, we could skip past the brainstorming & move right to the date!

there are lots of “date night jars” on pinterest so definitely search there if you want some more versions of this idea.

supplies:

  • short glass jar – i used a mason jar
  • fat popsicle sticks
  • acrylic paint – i used festive red & pink 
  • sharpie or marker
  • felt
  • twine or string

i started out by brainstorming & writing out all of my date ideas. i tried to make half of them free dates & half of them pay dates. i was with some girlfriends during this process which helped the idea-flowing tremendously, but i tried to think of all of those things that we always say we want to do or only do when out-of-town guests are visiting. then i painted the ends of the sticks {both sides} – red signifying the pay dates & pink the free ones.

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then i put all of the sticks in the jar, painted side up. i traced a heart out of felt & tied it onto the jar with some string.

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it’s not too late to whip up a fun something for your valentine! do you craft or buy for valentine’s day?

M

a shower for baby garner-ballard.

one of the reasons we picked the weekend before last to take a trip to the midwest was so that i could attend meg’s baby shower. {sidenote: meg is a cousin of one of aaron’s cousins, but that is just semantics & i consider meg family!}

one of the really fun parts about the shower is that kendra & i kept our trip on the DL, & showed up as surprise guests for meg. so fun!

aaron’s aunt & cousins – sharon, abbi, & maggi – threw the shower & they did such a wonderful job. the décor was so adorable & i was loving the color scheme. meg knows that she is having a boy, but i love that the shower didn’t scream “BOY!”

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{those cake pops were delish // a fun sign for baby GB}

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{stripey straws for the drinks // fun colored candy}

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{maggi, meg, kendra, & kenley // mama & daughter}

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{meg was spoiled with lots of love in the form of presents!}

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{meg opening presents with her sister kait by her side // kenley wanted in on the present-opening action}

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{meg enjoying a handmade card // i made some art of meg’s nursery}

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{love you meg & happy shower!}

where is the farthest you have flown for a baby shower?

M

p.s. maggi, abbi, meg, & kendra all have blogs, so if you aren’t already a reader, you should definitely check them out!

diy baby shower gift: baby swaddler.

when it came down to the gift that i wanted to give amanda at her baby shower, i knew i wanted to make something. amanda is one who loves things handmade – you should see the beautiful cards she makes! – plus, i liked the idea of hand making something for the new baby (seems more personal).

this could be considered another pinspiration project because i found the idea from pinterest!

from the very little that i know about infants, i do know that swaddling is a way to help them feel like they are back in the womb. however, amanda & her husband are first-time parents & the process of swaddling a baby seems, well, difficult. a wailing infant with flailing arms & legs? no thank you.

so, why not a swaddler. an infant-sized sleeping bag that allows those arms & legs to be gently velcro-ed in. genius! {sidenote: i really hope this was a thoughtful present after all, meaning that i hope it really works!}

*update: the little babe i made this swaddler for was only about 7 pounds when she was born, so the size of this swaddler is too big. if you know how big the baby is, you can adjust the size accordingly.*

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{original tutorial: snuggler}

{sidenote: the gal’s blog who posted the original tutorial makes an amazing amount of things by hand. if you want some inspiration, definitely check out her blog!}

supplies:

  • pattern printed {updated link!}
  • instructions (attached to the pattern pdf)
  • 1 yard fabric – fun fabric for outside of swaddle (i used fabric from pacific fabrics)
  • 1 yard fabric – flannel or soft cotton fabric for inside swaddle (i got organic cotton flannel from this etsy seller)
  • pins
  • fabric scissors
  • fadeout marker (the type of marker that either has disappearing ink or disappears with water)
  • velcro
  • thread (i used white)
  • iron
  • sewing machine
  • ruler (i used it to help me transfer the dart pattern)

{sidenote: please excuse the bad lighting in the last set of photos. i was taking them in the evening without sunlight, so the color is funky. the real color of the green fabric is mint green & is best seen in the first part of the tutorial.}

this was the first time i made something from a pattern, so i was a bit nervous. plus, it was intended to be a gift to a crafty girlfriend who was expecting her first baby – no pressure! after my first read-thru (& second & third!) i found some of the instructions a little confusing. my remedy was to just go ahead & start, & i would work out the finer details as i came to them; turns out, this was a pretty good method!

first, print out, cut out & tape together the pattern (there are two main pieces). then iron your fabrics (after pre-washing them in hot or warm water to prevent later shrinking!).

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fold the printed fabric in half & pin the patterns to the wrong side of the fabric, lining up the folded edge to the inside of the pattern (there is a note on the pattern where it should line up with the folded edge). cut out the fabric along the pattern.

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before removing the pins, trace the dart pattern onto the wrong side of the fabric. i placed a pin at the top point of the dart triangle (so that i could lift the paper to expose the fabric) & then used a ruler to draw very faint dotted lines onto the fabric with my fadeout marker.

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the instructions also tell you to transfer dotted lines where the velcro strips will be placed. {sidenote: i did this, but in hindsight i think it is unnecessary. the velcro “placeholders” that i made were much bigger than the velcro i ended up using & so there was a lot of blotting with water to remove the ink from the fadeout marker. i think that once you are at the point where you add the velcro – later in the tutorial – you can look back to the pattern to determine where the velcro strips should be sewn on.}

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sew the darts into place. this was my first time sewing darts, but it is a fairly easy process. you basically fold the fabric in half (the middle dart line becomes the fold) & pin. then you run a seam towards the raw edge of the fabric. then you cut off the extra fabric.

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{darts completed on both fabrics. you can see the remaining ink lines here; i blotted the ink with a damp washcloth to make it disappear before i sewed the pieces together.}

repeat all above steps with the flannel fabric. then, you should have two identical pieces, one in printed fabric & the other in flannel fabric.

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then you place the flannel piece (inside out) into the fabric piece (inside out) & pin the pieces together. then attach the pieces by sewing around the half moon piece, as well as along the arm pieces, leaving a couple inches at the bottom of the left arm open (to flip the fabric). trim the seams.

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flip the swaddler right-side out. i used a chopstick (clean, of course!) to help turn the corners & edges.

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then hand sew the remainder of the edge shut.

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grab your velcro & lay out the pieces. cut three lengths of velcro (both pieces!) a couple of inches long. one piece goes on the front half-moon piece (middle picture) & two go on the outside left arm/inside right arm (far right picture). i sewed the rough piece of velcro to the front half-moon & also to the front side of the left arm; the soft velcro pieces are placed accordingly so that the velcro will properly close.

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{the final swaddler!}

what do you think of handmade baby shower presents? also, to my readers who have infants or kids, did you swaddle?

M