DIY Engagement Cards

Two of our friends recently announced their engagement.  To celebrate this exciting news, I created these little DIY engagement cards.  First up is a “Bride” greeting featuring this silhouette design.

Handmade Card for Bride

I layered the graphic element on a fushcia background and edged the panel with pink glitter for extra sparkle.  To complete the look, I added rhinestone and paper heart embellishments.

DIY Bride Card Detail

Tip: To cut very detailed graphic elements that have thin lines, make sure your cutting mat is relatively new and very sticky!  *I might know from experience that the paper will tear very easily if using an older mat!*

DIY Engagement Card

I paired the Bride card with a fun engagement box using this template from Sarah Bailey available in the Silhouette Store for immediate download.  A few additions to this DIY card to make it sparkle:

  • rhinestones on the ring
  • a die-cut of the word “love” on the base box
  • punched hearts
  • a foam sticker behind the diamond element to create dimensionality

I love how these DIY engagement cards turned out! I packaged them in the same envelope for the couple.

Handmade Engagement Cards

Congrats, Eddie and Vanessa!

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Thoughts on Motherhood and Traveling: Part 2

To read Part 1, click HERE!

Aerial View

During a recent flight, I had the chance to sit next to the window and gaze out at some incredible cloud formations.  Perhaps I was just focused on missing Olivia, but the clouds (and really the whole process of flying) made me think about motherhood.

Some similarities that I was struck by:

… on both types of journeys, you alternate between periods of clarity and complete overwhelm.  As a new mother, you might feel like you are permanently stuck in a never-ending haze of confusion, panic, and stress… Similarly, to get to your cruising altitude, a plane must ascend through a dense and often murky layer of clouds.  I think I involuntary hold my breath for these moments- you can’t see anything and it feels like you’re traveling through a giant marshmallow!  Both scenarios require patience and trust that you are slowly getting closer to your destination.

Navigating Motherhood

… and then you emerge on the other side and it’s just grand.  This higher perspective fuels both gratitude and reflection.  These moments make the journey worthwhile and truly inspiring!

Clouds from the Plane

I’m still trying to navigate and find my footing on this precious journey of motherhood.  The highs and lows just seem so darn extreme!  Moods cycle so easily between clarity and overwhelm.  These days we are focusing on the good.

… precious baby smiles and laughter… watching new learning take place before our eyes….sweet baby snuggles and embraces… her joy in discovering something new… her delight in new independence and skills….

Flying

… all the steps and stages of learning to fly.

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Essential Oils: 101

doTerra Oils

About a year ago, I had no idea what essential oils were or how helpful they could be in promoting a healthy lifestyle and strong immune system.  Here’s a handy primer:

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are the regenerating, oxygenating, and immune defense properties of plants. They are composed of natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Read MORE HERE.

Does It Matter What Brand of Oil You Use?

Short answer: YES!

Long Answer: To achieve the maximum therapeutic value from an oil, it is vital to source your product from a reputable company dedicated to practicing careful extraction methods and rigorous testing standards. An individual essential oil may contain anywhere from 200-800 different chemical constituents.  These constituents are influenced by soil condition, geographical region, climate, altitude, harvest season and methods, and the distillation process… to name a few variables!

A growing number of products, ranging in price and quality, claim to contain essential oils.  Many, however, use fragrant synthetic chemical substitutes to dilute or replace more expensive essential oil extracts.  Since there is no single governing body over the world of essential oils to regulate quality, it is even more important to do your research and know what kind of oils you are using!

In light of this reality, dōTERRA decided to implement its own protocol to ensure that each bottle meets rigorous standards for purity and potency.  The company’s CPTG (certified pure therapeutic grade) label refers to the process dōTERRA employs to verify the chemical constituents in all of their oils.  Currently, dōTERRA uses: gas chromatography, mass spectometry, FTIR Scan, microbial testing, and organoleptic testing to analyze each oil batch.  You can read a description of this process HERE.

doTerra Essential Oils 5mL

How Do You Use Essential Oils?

There are 3 ways to use oils:

  1. Diffusing: aromatic application via a nebulizing diffuser or by simply placing 1-2 drops into your hands and cupping them to your nose.
  2. Topical: applying the oils directly to your skin.
  3. Internal: consuming by mouth (NOTE: Only pure, therapeutic oils should be used for internal use.  The FDA has approved some oils for consumption by giving them the designation of GRAS.  Never ingest an oil without this qualification.)

 Are There Safety Considerations?

Short Answer: Yes!

Long Answer: While essential oils are natural and don’t carry the side effects of typical pharmaceutical drugs, there are a few safety guidelines to know upfront:

  • Essential oils should not be used in the eyes, inside the ear canal, or directly in open wounds.
  • Do NOT consume essential oils internally unless the bottle is specifically labeled with a Supplemental Facts box that contains dietary use and warnings.
  • Less is more!  I always recommend diluting an essential oil with a carrier oil.  Common carrier oils include: fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, and almond oil.  Using a carrier oil will not dilute the potency of the essential oil as it simply helps spread out the oil over a greater surface area, thereby reducing the risk of a potential localized skin sensitivity.  ALWAYS DILUTE WHEN APPLYING TO CHILDREN.
  • Remember the rule: water drives an oil IN.  If you accidentally apply too much of an oil to your skin, don’t try to wash it off.  This action will only intensify the effect.  Instead, apply a carrier oil.

doTerra Family Physician Kit

How Can I Find Out More?

Excellent ways to continue your learning journey:

  1. Check out the education modules on aromaticscience.com.
  2. Explore the essential oils archives on my blog.  I will be updating this section frequently.  You can also read about my burn story HERE.
  3. Email me! I love to chat about oils! (designing.delicious.adventures [at] gmail [dot] com)
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Olivia’s Nursery Update: A Reading Nook

We just officially completed a little reading nook in Olivia’s room and can’t wait to share it!

Reading Nook

When James’ parents came to visit Olivia in March 2013, they helped us create a custom bookshelf based on this popular Pottery Barn product.  James and his Dad worked all weekend to craft this beautiful piece so our precious babe would have a library at her fingertips.  Notice the curved lines?  I am still amazed at their craftsmanship!

Last week, James helped me hang this gorgeous petal shaped mirror above the space.

Reading Nook Mirror

With this new piece, Olivia’s reading nook is complete!  …And, I think our sweet girl might love this space just as much as I do!

Baby Girl Nursery

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dōTERRA Research

For the past year, my family has been using dōTERRA essential oils to support our immune systems and promote a healthy lifestyle. I absolutely LOVE this company’s commitment to sourcing the highest quality oils, AS WELL as its dedication to expanding scientific research. If you haven’t been on aromaticscience.com, head over there now to explore 2,500 (and growing!) studies detailing the benefits of essential oil usage.

Did you know?

  1. The natural anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties of Oregano were found to be more effective than 18 pharmaceutical drugs.  THIS ARTICLE explains why and discusses potential uses for essential oils in treating MRSA.
  2. dōTERRA’s proprietary blend, On Guard, was found to attenuate the flu.  READ this study!  It’s also been investigated for it’s potential to kill MRSA.  Read Jennifer Eddins’ study conclusions HERE.
  3. Lemongrass, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree oil were found to have larger “zones of inhibition” than 2 traditional anti-septic products.  For study details, click HERE.

Here’s a short clip of Dr. Paul Winterton talking about how essential oils can incredibly helpful in combating super bacteria strains that are already showing resistance to existing antibiotics.  The Modern Essentials reference book explains that individual oils may have between 200 and 800 different chemical constituents.  That’s a whole lot of biodiversity!

Another staggering fact: Prescription drugs are the #1 source of accidental death in the United States.  Wow!  Read People magazine’s feature story on this phenomenon.  In light of this fact, I am even more hopeful for a future healthcare model that embraces both traditional western medicines AND proven holistic, natural products.

I love that essential oils have helped my family take a proactive approach to our health care.

  • Today, we aren’t as reliant on over-the-counter medicines– many of which have serious side effects. Before our wellness journey started, I had no idea that Tylenol is the #1 cause of acute liver failure.
  • We feel better prepared to deal with what life throws at us.  We can, for instance, use oils to help our daughter’s ears feel better when she awakens in the middle of the night.  Having an effective, natural alternative to provide instant relief is invaluable- especially at 3am!  (Not to mention that you don’t have to wait to call the doctor’s office when they first open, then wait for an appointment, and finally wait for a prescription.)  Same story if you’ve spent one too many hours in the sun… I love knowing that the combination of lavender and peppermint will provide instant cooling and skin relief!  AND THE LIST GOES ON!
  • BONUS side effect of our wellness journey: I feel so much more knowledgeable about the human body.  Studying essential oils has given me a deeper understanding of how various systems work together and effective ways to promote wellness.

I am SO EXCITED to see what comes out next as far as research on essential oils.  dōTERRA has partnered with Vanderbilt University to study the implementation of oils in direct patient care.  It’s truly an exciting time!  During the first phase of their research, they diffused citrus oils at Vanderbilt’s Level 1 Trauma Center and found a significant decrease in stress levels and increase of energy among staff.   Here is a short video of their findings:

I’m hopeful they will release the second phase of their research efforts on patient care at their next annual convention in September.

If you are open to learning more about essential oils and the impact they can have on your health, email me at: designing.delicious.adventures [at] gmail [dot] com

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Around Here: June 2014

Busy, busy, busy….  This month has been spent:

…enjoying this gorgeous view while in Florida.  The Breakers Hotel review coming soon.

TheBreakers

…taking our baby girl to the pool.

Olivia Swimming June 2014

…looking through a camera lens.  I took on several large photography projects for The Dating Divas blog.  They are launching several amazing products over the next few months- here’s a peak at my work:

Anniversary Printable Pack

Dating Divas Anniversary

Couples Group Date Night

Dating Divas Group Date Night

Printable Summer Activities Pack

Dating Divas Summer Pack

Babysitting Co-op Printable Pack

Dating Divas Babysitting Co-op

…reading these articles on motherhood:

…taking stock.  By Kara Anne sent out an email with the subject, “Is June the fresh start you need?”  This one-liner got me thinking about my OLW for the year, as well as my 30 During 30 Goals.  #12 on the list was to make and send 30 cards.  I wrote down a quick list of projects that came to mind and realized that not only had I met this goal but exceeded it by quite a bit!  2014 has demanded an outpouring of creative products.  My goal for the reminder of the year is to figure out how to lighten my load, focus on what’s important, and let the rest take care of itself.  Easier said than done!

…visiting my Grandma after her fall.  I hope Olivia inherits her grit and determination!

…writing many blog posts.  Curious what goes into a post?  Read THIS and THIS for a thoughtful breakdown.  When I got into blogging, I had no clue that you needed to be an amazing photographer, eloquent writer, expert WordPress user, marketing genius, and part-time HTML coder to be successful.  I am far from where I’d love to be in this industry BUT I’ve made great strides with my photography skills over the past year.

…learning why I hate cilantro!  And, I picked up a new phrase: single-nucleotide polymorphism.

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Fourth of July 2014

For the past several years, our Fourth of July’s have been a mixture of boating, sunshine, and fireworks on the lake.  This year, however, we spent our Holiday talking to doctors and visiting care facilities after my sweet 93 year old Grandma fell and broke her hip.

Grandma Surgery

Three: the number of places she broke the top of her femur bone.  Fortunately, the position of the breaks were such that she didn’t need a full hip replacement.  The orthopedic surgeons opted to place 1 rod and several pins into her leg to secure her broken joint area.

I’m so glad to report that Grandma is making wonderful progress.  In fact, she walked across the hospital room the day after surgery!  I so admire her strength and determination.  On July 4th, we moved her to a rehab facility where she will spend the next few weeks receiving an intense dose of physical therapy.

One of my favorite generational pics from Olivia’s first birthday:

Three generations

I’ve been taking Olivia up to visit daily- Grandma adores seeing her.  So much so, that she insisted that we place Olivia on her lap as she was wheeled down the hallway to dinner.  We ever so gently placed our very active toddler on her non-broken leg and held our breath!  I think my whole family was braced to immediately swoop in if our baby moved an inch.  Guess what?  Olivia leaned back, enjoyed the ride, and didn’t move a muscle!

Grandma after surgery

How was your July 4th?  My Mom surprised us over the weekend with this festive package filled with a few yummy treats:

4th of July gift 2014

…and some dear friends delivered a food care package with a darling July 4th themed cake:

4th of July Cake

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Handmade Patriotic Card

It’s almost the 4th of July!  Today, I’m sharing a handmade patriotic card that I made several years ago for a friend –her birthday is actually on Independence Day!

Patriotic Handmade Card

This card happens to be one of my favorite patriotic card creations to date.  It’s super simple to make- as long as you have red and white buttons!

Patriotic Card Detail

Patriotic Card 2

To represent the stars on the flag, I used 2 punched flower shapes embellished with a clear sparkle.  I also dressed up her envelope.  Here was the outer design:

Patriotic Envelope Design

…and a close-up of the embellishment cluster:

Patriotic Envelope 2

Happy Fourth of July!

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7 Projects Celebrating Digital Scrapbooking & Design

Last week, I shared 7 fun digital projects on the Snap Click Supply Co’s blog in honor of JessicaSprague.com turning 7!  What a milestone!  Jessica and her team are truly leaders in the world of digital scrapbooking and design.

Digital Scrapbooking Projects JS June

I just LOOOVE the Fresh Cut digital collection- the digital designs are perfect for your Spring and Summer projects.  Here’s what I came up with:

1.  Bottle Tag

DIY Bottle Tag 2 JS June

I attached Element 60 from Element Pack 1 to a bottle of bubbly that I was giving as an anniversary present to our good friends.  I threaded 2 strands of pink and orange ribbon through the festive tag to secure it to the bottle.  A little “B” letter monogram (for their last name) and pink heart were the perfect embellishments to complete this DIY gift.

DIY Bottle Tag JS June

2.  DIY Card

DIY Card JS June

To accompany the bottle, I included this cheerful card.  Here’s a quick tutorial:

  • Create a 4×6 transparent document in PSE.
  • Open the beautiful floral background paper included in the Fresh Cut collection AND the vertical “4″ element from the Basics Life Cards Number pack.
  • Drag the “4″ to your new document and size it take up most of the space.
  • Clip the floral paper to the number element.
  • Save this file as a PNG.
  • Open this file in your Silhouette software.
  • Trace the outer edges of the graphic and then use the print and cut features of the Silhouette.
  • Add gold sticker letters to the bottom.
  • Embellish with ribbon, a small punched pink heart, and swirl element.

DIY Card 2 JS June

3.  Dressed Up Envelope

Pretty Envelope Design JS June

Be gone boring envelopes!  To dress up my mail, I glued Element 7 from Element Pack 3 to a plain envelope.  This gorgeous graphic instantly became the perfect frame to house the recipient’s address!  Don’t you love happy mail!?  Tip: Definitely use thin copy paper to this project so you don’t weigh down your envelope and have to pay extra postage!

4.  Photo Embellishment

Photo Embellishment JS June

The Fresh Cut collection is FULL of awesome elements to add to your photos.  I couldn’t resist placing this scalloped embellishment at the top of a treasured pic!

5.  Project Life Layout

Digital Project Life Page JS June

This fully digital layout was made almost exclusively using papers and elements from the Fresh Cut collection clipped to a Life Template.  The Fresh Cut journaling cards are so handy for documenting your summer memories!

6.  Unique Recipe Card

DIY Recipe Card JS June

This project features a reinterpretation of “the classic recipe card”!  I used Element 22 from Element Pack 1 and Element 9 from Element Pack 2 to create a one-of-a-kind interactive recipe.  The darling DRINK UP journaling card swivels out of the way to reveal a delicious smoothie recipe.  A jeweled brad set this project in motion! :)

7. DIY Art Print

DIY Art Print JS June

When I think of summer, I think of swimming, lazy days, sunshine, AND strawberries!  To celebrate the season, I created a little art print featuring Element 45 from Element Pack 3.  Here’s a brief tutorial:

  • Open an 8×10 new document in PSE.
  • Drag Paper 3 from Paper Pack 2 onto your document.
  • Print this out and place in a frame.
  • Open a new 8×10 transparent document in PSE.
  • Drag Element 45 from Element Pack 3 onto your document and size it so there’s about a 1-1.5 inch margin around the top and bottom.
  • Save this file as a PNG.
  • Open your new file using your Silhouette software.
  • Trace the outer edges of the graphic and then use the print and cut features of the Silhouette.
  • Attach this cut-out element to your frame using double sided foam tape.

DIY Art Print 2 JS June

I took this project one step further by adding 2 banner elements.  I glittered the edges of the ENJOY banner and attached it to the main strawberry stamp using 2 layers of foam tape.  Two small pink pearls glued to the “My Favorite” element completed the look!

I hope these 7 ideas inspire you to create something TODAY from this beautiful designer collection!  Definitely head over to the Snap Click Supply Co.’s blog for more fun projects from our Create Inspiration Team.  I adore Betsy’s whimsical Garden Mini-Album.  The watercolors are just perfect paired with the digital elements.  Tammy’s baseball wreath is pure genius for celebrating my favorite summer sport.  Her step-by-step tutorial shows you exactly how to turn a heavy wire into a wreath base.  Love Julie’s travel layout capturing memories of NYC- her post will definitely inspire you to do something creative with your photos!  Also, be sure to take a peak at Debbie’s Full of Treat Cakes post.  I think her darling treat boxes would make a perfect centerpiece at your next party!

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Father’s Day Gift 2014

To celebrate Father’s Day this year, I knew I wanted to do something special for James.  We’ve had quite a year of ups and downs!  When I saw a template for adorable printable book on the blog I Heart Nap Time, I knew it would be the perfect gift for our superhero!  Here’s how my version turned out:

Super Dad Book

I used Photoshop Elements to superimpose James’ head on all the pages.  A bit of washi tape, a “Dad” rubber stamp, and a personalized message embellished my project.  To bind my book, I used the Sew Easy Paper Stitching Piercing tool to create an evenly spaced row of holes.  Then, I threaded blue baker’s twine to complete the spine.

Super Dad Book Binding

I was so excited to see Erin of Strawberry Mommycakes as the designer of this awesome printable.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with Erin several times on projects for The Dating Divas (check out my recent posts: Mother’s Day Adventure and The Puzzle Date for more of her amazing work!).

Super Dad Treats

….Definitely had to include these adorable snack toppers filled with James’ favorite treats: Skittles and Peanut Butter M&Ms!

Olivia wore her Super Girl t-shirt from Target and presented her SUPER DAD with his gift and candy!  What a great day filled with wonderful memories and the perfect Father’s Day gift.

Super Dad Fathers Day 2

In case you missed it, here’s what we did LAST YEAR.

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