Sunday, December 22, 2013

11 years of our Family Christmas Cards

Every year since 2003, I've been creating our own Christmas cards.  I used to buy cute and funny ones at the store but then I started thinking that I loved to take pictures,  why don't I use that for my cards to showcase my family and my art?

Of course my beloved Charlie was my baby back then, and I wasn't too keen on being in pictures (really, who is?) that made him and his brother, Louie, become the focus of our cards.

All of the images  that just look like photos were actually inserted into photo cards. I just took them out because the cards were nothing to write home about. It was all about the photos.

2003

It snowed outside and we had some Christmas hats so...... ( this was with my first point and shoot camera)



2004

It's like the baby thing but with doggies!




2005

 We got engaged  a little over  a month before this photo was taken so we figured we should  be in this years card. Problem is, after I sent the card, where's my engagement ring hand?.....That's right, behind J........ Doh!



2006
This year's card was a little over two months since we had been married and I wanted to include a wedding picture but the boys were still part of our family...with the power of Photoshop, there they were! And Santa hats too!



2007
Pregnant with K and feeling huge, I wasn't going to be in this photo. It was also the first Christmas at our new house with a fireplace. I just had to use it. This was another Photoshop marvel. Trust me, they never would have done this on their own.



2008

With our beautiful baby daughter here, I had to include her with the boys this year. Did I mention that I love Photoshop? It was a hit . They all did a great job. I just blended them together.



2009
I was pregnant with S this year and again, did not want to be in any photos. I tried to think of something funny that would still show our photos.



2010
 I saw something like this online and made one of my own.



2011

 We had lost my baby Charlie this year but I still wanted a photo to show how big my girls were getting and just because Charlie was no longer with us didn't mean that Louie couldn't be featured.


2012
 This was the first year we had professional family pictures taken.  I had done the previous years with a tripod. The pictures turned out good so that was our card. The dogs didn't make this year.  Sorry boys!


2013
 We had another professional photo shoot this year and again it turned out great. But this year we included some more shots on the back of these fabulous cards I got for attending a photo conference from ACI  photo lab. The layout was a free card from MCP Actions that I modified to my layout and tastes but it really helps to start with a good base.



Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year !




Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Top Ten Favorite Christmas Songs


 I want to start off by saying that there really isn't a Christmas song I don't like. Nope. Not really.  I love to listen and sing along with them starting in November every year.

My love affair with Christmas music started with my girl scout leader. Mrs. Casey.  She made our troop known for our singing. And every year we would go and perform Christmas carols somewhere  or just walk around and carol door to door  to raise money. When I got my first job at a grocery store, I would stand there all holiday season long and listen to the non-stop no commercial music for 8 hours at a time. It made cleaning a lot more fun.  On to my mall jobs where we got to bring in our own cds to listen to. So I started to amass quite a collection of Christmas cds. This was back before one of the stations here in town would play non-stop Christmas Music and people had Mp3s  of course.  I can't wait for thanksgiving day every year because that is when it starts. Now even my girls can't wait for the music to begin. It just makes my heart happy thinking about it.

These are the songs  that mean the most to me....

1. Oh holy Night  by Lea Michelle from Glee and  Josh Groban



 

This is my most favorite of the favorites.  And no, these two artist did not do a duet. This song has such power and such feeling. Sung by the right people, this song gives me goosebumps every time. Lea Michelle has such a powerful and clear tone to her voice and the same goes for Josh but in the most manly way. Make sure to listen to these two separatley to appreciate the sound and perfect ton of these two artists.

2. Most wonderful time of the year by Andy Williams


Every time i hear this song it just reminds me why I am so happy this time of year.  It really just says everything I am already thinking. It makes me want to grab someone's elbow, link up and dance around in a circle.

3.  Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland
 
Meet me in Saint Louis is one of my all time favorite musicals and not just because it based on my hometown.  It's  a great old fashioned story line, a great set of songs and a great message of family. It gets me every time {sniff sniff} Here's a little clip via YouTube.

4. Happy Holidays by Andy williams
 
This is an inside joke with my dad's family. Basically, by the time we would get to Grandma's house around lunch time on Christmas day, most of the kids would already be fighting and arguing with each other or the parents.  Get it ?"Happy" holidays.

5. Baby, It's cold outside  by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey
 
Yes, I know they got divorced but I like this version of the song.  They are super cute together and you know when they recorded it they were still really in love. 

6. Rockin' around the Christmas tree by Brenda Lee
 

I started liking this song because of the scene in Home Alone when Kevin has the whole house rigged to look like there is a party when there isn't.  It 's such a fun  happy Christmas song that I can't help but dance along to. I love making cookies while listening to this song. K has even started to sing along.

7. The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole



 Who doesn't hear this song and think of Christmas? Such a classic. I'm sure it's been used in millions of movies, tv shows and commercials over the years.


8. Christmas time is here from Charlie Brown
 
This is just a song from my childhood when there weren't fifty million holiday shows. There were just a few and Charlie Brown Christmas was one of them.  Whenever I hear the song, I can see Charlie Brown and his friends walking around in the snow.

9. Mele Kalikiamaka byBing Crosby

Ok, this one is just because of National Lampoon Christmas Vacation which happens to be mine and my husbands favorite Christmas movie to watch together (without the kids around)  It's a fun upbeat Christmas song that just makes me want to hula while wrapping  gifts and drinking cocoa. Hey, don't laugh.

10. Feliz Navidad by JoseFeliciano


Again,  another fun un-traditional song that everyone knows the words to and makes you happy when you sing it. Way to many years in retail working the customer service while listening to this  song.


What are your favorite songs/artists this time of year?  I think I may have to  write a part two to this post.


Monday
What is the Gunny Sack -Making the world Cuter -DIY Show Off
-I should be mopping the Floor


Tuesday

 My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia -The Kurtz Corner
Sugar Bee - Romance On A Dime -The Winthrop Chronicles

Wednesday
 Someday Crafts - Sew Much Ado
 
-SNAP

Thursday

Beyond the Picket Fence - Somewhat Simple - Live Laugh Rowe
- The Shabby Cottage The Taylor House- House of Hepworths  Bloom Designs

Friday
Naptime Crafters - Young and CraftyMy Turn(ForUs)
Delicate Construction
Serenity Now

Saturday


Six Sister's Stuff

Cheerios and Lattes

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 9 : A Good Veterinarian



Good animal vets are like good  people doctors, you have to like them and  you have to trust them.  We have know our veterinarian since before I was born,  he is a friend of my father's.  He's been doing this a long while and has the experience that the fresh out of vet school vets just don't have.  I hope he never retires but when he does, it will be hard to trust someone as much as we trust him. He does hire  newer baby docs and he seems to help them learn what they need to know.

 Our dog, Louie, has been having some issues lately and we've been visiting the vet more than we like but as with older people , it kinda comes with the territory.  We hope that he will be with us as long as he can.  But we know he's in the best hands he can be. If you are in Saint Louis County, Mike Klingler at Valley Vet is the guy for you.

Valley Veterinarian Clinic
590 Vance Rd, Valley Park, MO 63088

(636) 225-1155

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thirty Days of Thanks: The first 8 days


I know you've seen this going on all over the internet so I'll spare you the redundancy.  I want to be more thankful for the good in my life and stop dwelling on the bad. It seems to be a genetic trait with my family so I'm fighting an uphill battle.  In true Emily style here I am eight days in and trying to play catch up.( In my defense, we've been passing around a cold at my house. I love how we share.)

So here I go:

Day  1:  Fall 
 I love the colors, the textures, and the smells of Fall.  I wish we actually had more days with Fall temperatures here in Saint Louis. We seem to slip right into winter. But I will enjoy them and photograph them as long as I can.


Day 2: My health

With the thick of the winter cold season now upon us around here in Saint Louis,  I'm thankful that ,for now, in my family that's all we have to be worried about.... Colds. There are so many other people dealing with such horrible illnesses and life threatening /altering things that I'm thankful right now for the health of my family. May it continue to be strong.

Day 3: A van that works and is still under warranty
This year we finally took the plunge and bought a van.  I know we only have to kids and two dogs but man, it is super nice to have a van on a daily basis let alone for long road trips.  Last week, one of the spark plugs went bad and it needed a  computer upgrade and this and that. But it was under warranty and it didn't cost us anything. pheww ( forehead swipe)

Day 4: Clients that value my photography

I'm a photographer. I love taking photos and one of the only things I love more than taking them is knowing that someone else likes the images I am creating.  I am by no means 100% happy with my craft yet but when folks tell you they love them. That makes all of the learning, practicing, reading, and everything else worth it.

Day 5: Trader Joe's
I LOVE this store. It's affordable and most everything in there is free of preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and a host of other things that my body just can't tolerate.  I don't feel bad feeding my kids anything from there. It's where I discovered my love of almond milk and fresh pineapple juice. Let's no forget about how friendly the people are there. Most of the staff are super friendly and glad to be there.

Day 6: Central Heating

It's only going to get colder and colder in the STL and I am so thankful that we have a house with central heating that works very well.  I'm always cold. Ask my hubby.  I don't know why. It could be because I'm petite and little or just because that's the way I was made. I'm just glad my house is warm when it needs to be warm.


Day 7: A Dentist that rocks

I've been seeing ( now my whole family does) Dr. Ron since I was 11. I'm going to be 36. That's 25 years. He's is an awesome guy that makes you feel like family. Now my girls can't wait to see him twice a year.  He has a tiny little place but that's all he needs. That and a prize treasure chest filled with goodies. He's in is 50s now and I don't want to think about when I'll have to get a new dentist because I hope he works past retirement age.  Right now  I'll just be thankful he's OUR dentist.


Day 8 : Puffs plus with lotion

Yes, I know it's not a deep thing. Now that I have my first fall/winter cold  I am so glad someone thought to invent a product that wouldn't make my nose raw with the 24 hours of blowing and wiping I'm doing at this very moment.  Being sick sucks. This one little thing makes it a little easier.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hanging Felt Mickey Mouse Countdown to Disney World


Ok, I know there are a million and two different ways you can countdown to Disney World. And they are very cute and very easy but you know me... I like to be different.  I had seen something like this done for Christmas, I think with a tree and it was an advent calender.

I  had sketched it out in my trusty notebook and then  went into Photoshop to smooth out the rough edges and  figure everything out without having to cut anything ....yet. The red square was 24"x 24". The Mickey head was 19" wide and 16.5" tall.



When I got my design all figured out,  I printed out just the letters so I could cut them out of felt.  I literally took the printout , laid it over the felt and cut them both together.  I do have a new Silhouette machine and I bet you could cut felt with it but I don't have a fabric blade yet.  That will come soon enough , I'm sure.





I also went to Hobby Lobby and got a huge piece of red felt to be my background.  I designed it to be 24x24" so I have a bunch leftover but I'm sure I'll find something to do with it later.

I took the red felt and  sewed it together around a wooden dowel rod. Then I attached the cute , yellow ribbon I bought from Hobby Lobby  last year.

The mickey head that will be the cut up to be the countdown was a little more difficult to do. I again printed out the mickey head in pieces form Photoshop and then taped them back together and cut out the shape.  Then I took my felt, a yard stick, and some chalk. and made some marks on the backside of the felt. Then cut them with a good pair of scissors. I really do need to get myself a rotary cutter.  I bet it would be easier.



I wanted to give my girls guidelines as they are building their Mickey head. I thought about using my Silhouette machine but I haven't  done too much with heat transfer vinyl.  I wanted to keep it simple.  My mom suggested at just use a Sharpie and trace around the shapes and be done.  It worked out great.  The kids don't care about fancy and now it looks like a big numbered puzzle to them. K is very good with her numbers and this helps her know which square to put it in next, even though counting backwards it still a little awkward to her.



Monday
What is the Gunny Sack -Making the world Cuter -DIY Show Off
-I should be mopping the Floor


Tuesday

 Tip Junkie - My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia -The Kurtz Corner
Sugar Bee - Romance On A Dime -The Winthrop Chronicles

Wednesday
 Someday Crafts - Sew Much Ado
 
-SNAP

Thursday

Beyond the Picket Fence - Somewhat Simple - Live Laugh Rowe
- The Shabby Cottage The Taylor House- House of Hepworths 

Friday
Naptime CraftersStay At Home Nation
Young and CraftyMy Turn(ForUs)
Delicate Construction
Serenity Now

Saturday


Six Sister's Stuff
Cheerios and Lattes

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bye Bye Google Friend Connect, Hello BlogLovin !!

I know I've seen this same message all over the bloggy world this week but I wanted to make sure to let all you guys know if you didn't already that Google Friend Connect and Google reader are shutting down as of Monday.  I didn't want to miss what my other bloggy friends were saying so I  signed up for Blog Lovin and I love it! You get to see little snapshots of everyone's posts to decide if you want to read it now or later. You can also set it up to send you one email a day with new posts or as they get published.


Please come follow me over!  I'll miss you if you don't  :) and you'll miss me and then we'll cry  and sob.  "Ain't no body got time for that!"  Hee Hee

Come follow Entirely Emily on BlogLovin

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Walt Disney World Autograph Books


I have to say I was super excited about the whole getting autographs thing down at Disney world.   I've  been seeing all kinds of cool autograph books that other bloggers and Etsy folk have made. Of course , I wanted to make some of my own. My kid's loved them.

I wanted a big sturdy book with a strong back and front cover because this thing is going to take some abuse, I'm sure of it.  Someone else I read said to make sure that you have the space to be able to put pictures of the kids with the characters. I knew then I was looking for a 5x7"  size notebook of some sort. I went and looked at Michaels and they had some with strong cardboard backs but thin yellow paper covers.  Boo. 

I went ahead and bought a whole bunch of Disney scrapbook paper and stickers. Along with some plain colored/patterned paper for accents.

Then I went to Hobby Lobby and Ta Da !  I found some. They say they are for watercolor and mixed media. The pages are nice and thick and both the front and back covers are strong cardboard.  Yipee!  I was very happy.



I was trying to figure out how to make the paper fit the front cover so I took the original cover of the sketchbooks and used it as a template and cut away.  I even cut all of the little holes out. Then I cut a slit through the middle of each other holes to pop the little ends around the ring part of the sketch pad.




 I took some spray adhesive I ahd , went in the garage , sprayed and then quickly but carefully  put down the paper.  You have to be fast with that stuff. It wanted to stick right away and  I almost lost a piece of my paper. I kinda freaked out a little.

Then I created some vinyl letters and mickey head with my Silhouette machine. What can I say.... that 's things awesome! Also I added the stickers I bought and we had some books! To add an extra layer of protection , I Modge Podged everything.  I figured it would keep everything more in place and keep some dirt off of the paper. 

I listened to what everyone else said about the thick retractable Sharpies and Office Max happened to have a sale on them for .50!  I got K her green and S her blue.



I also didn't want the insides of the covers to be bare so I modge podged those as well.



Here are some pics of just two of the autographs we got. They are all so cute.  I'm also going to put a picture of each girl with the character by the page they signed. So they can open them up and see them anytime. The girls LLLLOOOVVVEEDDD getting the autographs!!!



We got Lady and the Tramp too!  You have to go into Tony's and ask the ladies at the front desk. They'll take your books in back and bring them back to you with their little paw prints on them. awww :)

Have you made a book like this before? Let me know. I'd love to come check them out and pin them.

Monday
What is the Gunny Sack -Making the world Cuter -DIY Show Off
-I should be mopping the Floor


Tuesday

 Tip Junkie - My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia -The Kurtz Corner
Sugar Bee - Romance On A Dime -The Winthrop Chronicles

Wednesday
 Someday Crafts - Sew Much Ado
 
-SNAP

Thursday

Beyond the Picket Fence - Somewhat Simple - Live Laugh Rowe
- The Shabby Cottage The Taylor House- House of Hepworths 

Friday
Naptime CraftersStay At Home Nation
Young and CraftyMy Turn(ForUs)
Delicate Construction
Serenity Now

Saturday


Six Sister's Stuff
Cheerios and Lattes

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pressed Penny Containers for Disney World {with Silhouette file download }


Do you know what one of the cheapest souvenirs is at any theme park or tourist attraction?.....Pressed Pennies!!

Normally they cost around 51 cents. That  is 50 cents and the penny to press.  We get them at the Zoo here in Saint Louis, Grant's Farm and the Transportation Museum just to name a few. The girls love them and I love how inexpensive they are.

I've seen all over the web how to use Mini M&M containers to hold your money for your pressed pennies.  You take  2 quarters, 1 penny, 2 quarters, 1 penny, 2 quarters, 1 penny, 2 quarters, 1 penny.....until you fill up the container.  I had been looking for the Mini M&Ms with no luck  but around Easter I found these really long special Easter colored ones.  They looked kinda big but I hadn't found the small ones yet until 2 weeks after Easter at Party City.  Of course. The big ones looked like too much the smaller ones looked too small. They only way to figure it out was too see how much we could fit in each one.



One roll of quarters will get us 20 pressed pennies. Our books hold 36. I filled up the larger penny holder and got 30 pressed pennies worth of money in there =$15.30. And I put the remaining $6 in the smaller container.  We could get more but with all of the other souvenirs we are getting, I think we're good.

I wanted to be clean and simple. I went into my Silhouette program and created some mickey head shapes and their names to put on the side. I used the Paper Source vinyl that I bought from Hobby Lobby.  It's kinda silly though because K loves green and S loves blue so I really didn't need to put names on them at all.  You could even just use the cool stickers  that you can find at any hobby store.  I saw a ton when I was shopping for all of my Disney crafts.


The mickey head shapes were about a 1x1" size  so they wouldn't wrap around the tubes too much when they were places on. And the font I used was Cheri.  It's so cute.



Pardon the bad Photoshop on the tubes.  I forgot to take the pictures until after I put their names on the tubes. Whoops.

Super easy and super cute.

Here is the Silhouette file you can download : Mickey Silhouette File




Monday
What is the Gunny Sack -Making the world Cuter -Debbie Doo -DIY Show Off
-I should be mopping the Floor


Tuesday

 Tip Junkie - My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia -The Kurtz Corner
Sugar Bee - Romance On A Dime -The Winthrop Chronicles

Wednesday
 Someday Crafts - Sew Much Ado
 
-SNAP

Thursday

Beyond the Picket Fence - Somewhat Simple - Live Laugh Rowe
- The Shabby Cottage The Taylor House- House of Hepworths 
Two In Diapers-Mommy Brain Mixer


Friday
Naptime CraftersStay At Home Nation
Young and CraftyMy Turn(ForUs)
Delicate Construction
Serenity Now

Saturday


Six Sister's Stuff

Cheerios and Lattes

Monday, May 6, 2013

Pressed Penny Books for Disney World ( with Silhouette Files )


So begins my " May: Month of the Mouse" series. There are 6 parts to this series in anticipation of our trip to Walt Disney World. {squeal}


My girls love getting pressed pennies as souvenirs whenever we go to any kind of tourist attraction like our Zoo or Grant's Farm.

When I found out that  WDW had then and there were something like  over 500  different kinds, I was super stoked. This would keep them busy and  maybe distracted from all of the other more expensive stuff there.  Don't get me wrong, we're going to let them get a bunch of other stuff too but I wanted to keep it to a minimum.

I saw on Diseystore.com that they had penny books but they were like  $20 a piece. Ah....no way.  I went to my trusty friend Google and typed in Pressed penny books and up popped Ebay.  Normally Ebay and I don't get along. I've had some bad luck but I ordered two of the pressed penny books from
 seller tranzcollection  for $4.69 a piece and then they discount the shipping when you buy more than one. Pretty sweet, right?

They are 3.5" inches wide and  6.5"  inches tall black with  44 openings, 36 pennies and 8 quarters.  There is a front that's not too pretty and a back I can decorate... so I will :)


I wanted to keep it simple since it's a small space so not a lot of decor on these. And I wanted to use my Silhouette machine my hubby got me for Christmas and make it with vinyl  but I'm sure you could do any and all of this with paper and maybe a little ModgePodge to help it stick on?

K loves green and Mickey Mouse. S loves blue and Tinkerbell.  That made my design decisions easy I went online and found some images I liked and imported them into Silhouette deluxe edition to create my cutouts.  I also used the font Waltograph since it looks all Disney-like.

screen shot of my window open in Silhouette



After the designs were ready I cut them out and  applied them to the books...voila! I did have to double up my vinyl cutouts on the plain green color. It was very kinda transparent. It was Paper Source brand from Hobby Lobby.  The price was great but maybe that's what you get . In fact , all of the vinyl used for this was this brand.  I thought it cut well and did the job.  They have a bunch of colors available and I don't have to order off the internet in a pinch.



Now they aren't as plain as they were before.



I created separate files for the solid color cutouts and then the silhouettes of the characters and test. You can  download the files I created here.  I hope they come in handy for somebody?

Penny Book Micky and Tink Designs Silhouette File
Solid Color  Background Silhouette File

( My opinions are all my own about everything in this post.  Nobody gave me or paid me for anything)

Monday
What is the Gunny Sack -Making the world Cuter -Debbie Doo -DIY Show Off
-I should be mopping the Floor


Tuesday

 Tip Junkie - My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia -The Kurtz Corner
Sugar Bee - Romance On A Dime -The Winthrop Chronicles

Wednesday
 Someday Crafts - Sew Much Ado
 
-SNAP

Thursday

Beyond the Picket Fence - Somewhat Simple - Live Laugh Rowe
- The Shabby Cottage The Taylor House- House of Hepworths 
Two In Diapers-Mommy Brain Mixer


Friday
Naptime CraftersStay At Home Nation
Young and CraftyMy Turn(ForUs)
Delicate Construction
Serenity Now

Saturday


Six Sister's Stuff

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