Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide

I was asked to teach a little fun class for church for preparing for a stress free holiday.  Talking about gift giving and different ideas to do.  I thought "hey this will be great!  I start planning Christmas gifts starting in October, so this will really get me organized."  I love making gifts and using my talents and resources, but I also love buying gifts and using the sales on Black Friday (yes I am one of those people who shop on black Friday, or should I say thanksgiving evening.)  I realized while preparing for this that I have a lot to say on the matter and advice to give so yall get to hear it too:)

1. DIY or BUY$ ?
-I love making gifts, when it is things that I littereally have in my house already and don't have to go purchase all the things to make it.  To me, DIY = Cheap.  I don't really enjoy all things crafty, so I don't go and buy a bunch of supplies for things I will probably never make again.  I have quite the sewing studio any way with my business and with such a large brand and range of product, I have a lot in my drawers for making something different.  Chances are I may need just one little thing to complete a project and that's fine, I will go buy it.  Buuuut there are people out there who just love crafting and giving great unique gifts and they are definitely fine with spending the money to make it.  So whatever your budget is you can do it.  Find something you know you can do with what budget you have. 
  *wood diy tips- Pallets are often free when you look on your local craigslist site.  Also Wood is really cheap and you get a lot of it, usually more than what you need for a small project, so make multiple of the same thing for different people.  Don't have a saw? That's fine! they can cut it for you no problem.  I go up there so often now, Eric, sees me coming with the blasted race car shopping cart and laughs.  He asks to see the project I did before and then we get to the current reason for my weekly visit.  Be friendly with them.  They love seeing your projects and they love to help. 
 *coupons!!!!  With smart phones taking over the cellular world, most craft stores have a store app with craft ideas and mobile coupons.  Save them up and use them.
   -Michaels only takes 1 coupon per transaction with a different form of payment.  They will take JoAnn's 40% and 50% off coupons as well. 
   -Joanns coupons come in the mail all the time.  Here is a secret about their coupons.  You can use how ever many coupons you have in one transaction per item you have.  Use your 50% and 40% off first for however many items you have with coupon capabitlity.  Then use your discount off total purchase coupon for the rest of the transaction that hasn't used any coupons yet!  I can't tell you how many times I threw away extra coupons thinking I could only use one per transaction. 
   -Hobby Lobby has been my favorite store for anything.  They have so much to offer in the hobby and craft sections its just so fun to walk the isles.  There fabric department is really small, but I find their quality and selection is really good.

  Don't craft?  Great!!!  You can still give unique, one of a kind gifts!  I mentioned earlier that I do black Friday shopping.  I have found that Kohls has great unique gifts and their sales are great and you get Kohls cash.  win win.  There are more deals to be had on the internet.  So many businesses carry more online and the possibilities are endless.  We have such great resources now to help with gift giving. 
Do you have a friend or family member who seems to have everything?  Its hard to buy for them huh? sometimes they also don't appreciate unique gifts, so what do you do for them?  Make a donation to a charity in their name and make them or buy them a nice card.  They will appreciate it.
Now to shopping!!
  Here are some websites and info about them for purchasing. 
Amazon smile is shopping on  amazon, but it donates a percentage of your purchase to an organization of your choice.  So instead of going to Amazon.com, head over to Amazonsmile.com
log in using your amazon account info and get shopping!  Also often times you can qualify for free shipping!

We all love Etsy right?  I admire all the creative out there living the American Dream.  I love that you can shop by category and you are destined to find a unique item that you love.  Etsy.com

Don't be scared of Target cause of the breach that happened last year.  It has happened to a bunch of other large corporations and they are on top of it.  Now because of mishap last year, Target is offering free shipping to everyone, not just Red Card Holders.  I love Target.  They have the great Cartwheel app that allows you to add various coupons to your list that are for specific items in the store and you get an additional discount anywhere from 5%- 50% off.  I have saved a lot with that, and price matching and using coupons and then my Red Card for an additional 5% off your entire purchase.  Did you know that you can double up on coupons for Target?  If you look at the coupons you get from them, most of them say "Target Coupon" on the back.  You can use these WITH a manufacturer coupon to get even more savings on the product.  Make sure you read all the fine print.  And you totally score when your item has a gift card deal attached to it.  I got a ton of shaving cream and razors for free one day.  Just paid for tax.  I also got Dove Shampoo AND Conditioner for 50 cents each!  So Make your shopping list, then go through cartwheel, if you don't have a smart phone you can also do this from your computer, then print out the cartwheel barcode to scan for the discounts at checkout.  I love Target!!!!

We all love Pinterest right?  Man I am so thankful for it.  I can't believe how much I turn to it for most aspects of my life.  It's like using google or something.  I also Love their categories you can browse by, then click and be directed to the source!  Yay!!

Now this I hold dear because I am one of those "locals".  I am a small business living the American Dream.  There are lots of boutiques and craft fairs so you can shop shop shop all the goodies in your area.  I try not to say no to business cause when I am busy, it allows me to hire someone to help giving them extra income.  Also, small businesses have a sense of loyalty and love their customers.  Be different and support a small business near you!  They also usually have one of a kind gifts for you.  Chances are you know someone with a small business.  They would much appreciate your support and business.  Whether it is your hair dresser and you you get a gift card from her, or your buddy who makes skate boards.  That's why I love my Instagram community so much.  I have lots of resources with I need something different. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

An Inspiration to us all...Be The Change part 3

I love these three stories!

-@saragprice said: I will nominate my sister Gina.  On November 12, 2012 she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  The tumor sits on top of the motor skills portion of her brain.  She has lost the use of her left arm and most of the use in her left leg.  She has lost the ability to live on her own (she's only 48).  She is now living with her oldest son and his sweet little family.  She is a mom of 6 kids.  She has lost the to her ex-husband because he told the courts she can't take care of them.  We were helping her with it, but the courts felt they knew better.  This has turned her life and world upside down.  However, she still calls to check on me, to tell me she loves me.  She is still on of my kids most favorite people because she genuinely loves them.  She is still fighting cancer, she's winning, but is a daily fight.  She's had chemo every two weeks for the last two years almost.  Her spirit is amazing and strong to win this, would brighten her life so very much! 

-@candrawynne said: I want to nominate Ani @servetogether.  Ive never met her in person but I read about her daughter Ruby a little over 3 years ago as she struggled to live while waiting for a liver transplant. She passed away at a little 7 months old but not without teaching thousands of people of the importance of organ donation.  Ani and her husband have worked hard to continue on with the work and have done and incredible job.  Because of Ruby I am a registered donor :) this week marks 3 years since Ruby passed away and Ani has once again gone above and beyond and is starting @servetogether where everyone can "be the change" and serve their fellow man.  Ani also has two beautiful girls including one born since Ruby's passing that would look adorable in BP designs clothing.  My hope is that if Ani won this contest, she would wear a smile through eh anniversary of Ruby's passing and know that there are so many people that still remember Ruby's story and know that they are forever grateful for the work that they are doing to bring awareness for organ donation.

Take a moment to checkout the Site HERE that ANI started.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday Gifts for the whole Family

Stumped on what to get Him or Her?  Need some more affordable gifts?  Here is a list for Him Her and the Kids.  Some are DIY and some you can BUY and hey that's great.  You can't make everything can ya? Well maybe you can but I sure can't ;0)

For HIM                                                          For HER                                                   For the KIDS
Clip Board Calander                            Magazine Subscription                                           Fort Kit   
Survival Kit                                             Dollar Store Gift Basket                                  Movie Pillows
Personalized gifts                                   Photo Books                                           Painted wood blocks
fishing/camping/golf trip                 'ME" Day- favorite things to do                  Art Books/Craft Boxes
iPhone gadgets                                                                                                           Play Dough Kit
                                                                                                                                        DIY  Tents
                                                                                                                                 Photo puzzles

Especially for the kids, they will want of course something/character from their favorite movie, I always designate those as Santa gifts.  Have fun and be original!!!  What are things on your list?  I like to see your ideas!!



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fall Feather Garland Tutorial

Once Halloween is over, I am usually pooped out from decorating until Christmas comes around.  This year was no different, but I have been trying to do more holiday activities and crafts with the kids instead of just for Halloween and Christmas.  Also since we are having company for Thanksgiving this year I wanted to have at least my mantel decorated a little.  It was perfect when Michaels was having 80% off fall décor and crafts the day after Halloween.  The littles and I popped on over and we picked some stuff out.  They each picked out little foam craft kits and I picked up some leaves and these awesome feathers.  I instantly knew I wanted to make a feather garland and some Indian Headbands with the kids.  The colors of feathers just caught my eye.  The different textures and colors were perfect! 
So Grab your glue gun, feathers and hemp rope and let's get to it!
cut your rope as long as you want it.

This bag has quite the pile of feathers so I went through them and picked out my favorite and created a pattern.

Start hot glueing the feather stems to the rope.

I had some left over pallet wood from making my cemetery fence so I grabbed my gold paint marker and wrote a pretty harvest saying and then glued some feathers to each end.

I love my "hello" sign and love decorating it different for each holiday.

Then I also made little feather ornaments to hang from each hook along with the kids foam crafts they made.

Have fun using these feathers and don't forget to vacuum after your done :)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Finding Joy in Parenthood- Hope Hansen Mom All Day Hook All Nite

 I am excited to announce that I will be doing a new series on my blog.  Once a week.  Every Sunday, you can be inspired and uplifted by men and women of social media.  The mom's and dad's around us that are trying their best everyday.  We live in a new world of technology and many great things.  I find that I compare my self way too much to others in my social media circles, I forget there is a real life behind the picture I am looking at.  Not everything is as it seems.  I have had people compare themselves to me...boy do they not see the behind the scenes.  We all know how hard it is to be a parent, trying to stay true to ourselves as a person and not just a mom, or husband, or wife.  I think it is our job as a community to lift each other up.  Share our strengths and weaknesses and give advise to those who seek a solution.  I love learning from other parents.  I love hearing their stories and struggles.  It reminds me that everyone has an imperfectly beautiful life.  A photo can capture a great scene but what is the story behind it?  How will you know that "she" was crying her eyes out just 10 minutes before sharing a photo of a beautiful kiss she shared with her sweet baby?  So with out further waiting....here is Hope from Mom all Day Hook all nite.  I have know her for about 10 years now back when we worked in the same salon in Logan Utah.  Here her story of how she Finds Joy in Motherhood.

Follow Hope on Instagram and shop HERE

I knew how to crochet and knit when I was little.  I learned from my mom and also from leaders in my church, through different activities.  Like many things in our lives, I stopped doing it, and in doing so, lost that talent.

Fast forward to pregnancy #2.  I didn't know what I was having yet, but I wanted to have something special to bless my new baby in.  I wanted to make my baby a crocheted blanket for that special day.  Something they could keep forever and pass down to their kids.  Something tangible they could remember me by, and one day their kids could say, "Grandma made this!"  I was talking to a friend, telling her I wanted to do this, but didn't remember enough from my youth to get it done.  She gladly offered to come to my house to show me how to make a blanket.  She had found a very cute, simple pattern online.  She printed it out and came on over.  It was so cute and girly!  Very basic stitches.  She showed me the basics of a single crochet stitch and a double crochet stitch.  Luckily, I'm a visual learner, so with that and my previous memories, I was able to pick it up pretty quick.  (In the end, I ended up not using that specific blanket, because it was girly and I had a boy.  Luckily I had a blanket that my grandma had made!  So I can tell me little man, "Great Grandma made this!"
I had so much fun with the blanket, I decided to try something new.  My sister talked me into buying a few hat patterns.  I did, and things just took off from there!  I made my first hat and people started showing interest.  Anytime I came across something I didn't know how to do, I looked on YouTube to learn how.  Things just progressed from there, and soon I was making all sorts of things.

I have a friend who had an etsy shop, and she answered all my questions about opening an etsy shop.  I (being my usual self) was a little afraid to commit.  She calmed my fears, and my sister-in-law said I'd be stupid if I didn't open a shop and try.  So here I am today!

I've had my etsy shop open for two and half years now.  I remember my first sale.  A pair of crocheted earrings for a woman's wedding!  I was super intimidated, but reminded myself that I was confident in the products I sold.  I made sure everything was perfect, just how I wanted it, and she loved them!  Of course it started out slow, but things picked up as I went along.  I had slow periods and busy periods, just like everyone else.

Just over a year ago, I started up an Instagram business account.  That's when things really went crazy for me.  I was getting more sales, and I was LOVING it.  Crocheting was something I was confident in, good at, and really enjoyed doing.  It was addicting.  I'd text my husband at work and tell him how many orders I'd gotten that day.  To me, more orders translated into more debt paid off.  More Christmas money to spend.  More money to "save".
Last Christmas rolled around, and I was BUSY!  I had orders rolling in.  It was so exciting.  People needing things rushed, and I'd do it.  More people needing orders for Christmas, so I'd do it.  I didn't want to turn any possible order away.

I didn't know how to say no.  But really, I did.  I was saying no to my family, unfortunately.  My kids would ask to go play outside, and I'd say, "Let me finish these booties first, then we'll go!"  But I'd finish, and they'd be entertained with something else, so I'd just start one more project.  Things got away from me.  I'd committed orders to people, I didn't want to let them down or get a bad name for my business.  In turn, realistically, I'd let my kids down.  And that wasn't ok with me.

I have learned SO much through having this little business.  I totally enjoy it.  I love making new things.  I love creating something to bring joy to other people.  I love doing something that stays done!  I at times got my priorities mixed up.  I've gotten carried away.  I still absolutely love what I do, but I've learned my limits.  I've been reminded of what is most important in my life.  It's my family, obviously, right!  There's an excellent talk out there given by Dallin H. Oaks that talks about things in life that are good, other things that are better, and other things that are best.  He says, "Some uses of individual and family time are better, and others are best. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best."  This is something I've REALLY tried to focus on, and it has really helped me so much.  Making a little money to help pay off debt is good.  Serving others around my is better.  Serving and focusing on my family is best.  It's all about finding a balance.  Let me just say, "I don't have it mastered yet.  Not even close.  My house still turns into a hurricane disaster often.  I resort to frozen pizza often.  I skip story time sometimes because I really need to get an order out.  BUT, I'm learning to say no.  I'm reminded often of why I'm even here on this earth.  To me, it's being a mom, a wife, and daughter of God.  THIS is what is best, and this is what I choose to focus on when prioritizing my business life.  It's helped me find balance, and helped me enjoy the fullness of joy in all aspects of my life. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

An Inspiration to us all...Be The Change

-@Southernadornments said: This is the sweetest!  My bestie is not only the best friends a gal could ever ask for, she's my biggest cheerleader, support system and all around awesome.  She's always so selfless.  She asks (and cares) about others well being, even if she's had a doozy of a day.  She MAKES time to make others feel special and deserves to know that her never ending effort to be a great person is greatly appreciated. 

-@junstme_jennyd said: I know of a wonderful woman who has had an incredible journey and turned it into a way to help others!  Kate from @projectsloopy is my hero!  A few ;years ago she was blessed with a beautiful baby!! Unfortunately, baby Ana only survived for a little under a year, but Kate took this, not as a loss, but as a way to reach out!! She started her own organization helping other families get the costly medical supplies they need.  She did this on her own!  Traveling across the USA picking up unused supplies and dropping them off to others that need them! She is wonder woman and is always looking out to help another!!  She works tirelessly and is soooo very deserving of this honor.

-@bowsandseams said: I want to nominate my friend CHarlene, she is superwoman, seriously She is the strongest, kindest, most genuine and honest person I know.  She has been through so much the past few years, starting and getting a divorce and being left with 3 young girls to care fore, forced to go back to school and get a job to support them and through all of this she trusted God and kept a good attitude, she forgave and didn't let circumstances keep her down,  She pulled herself up and out and she decided to use the things that happened to her as inspiration and motivation to start a ministry in our church for single moms who are struggling g and needing help, monetary help, spiritual healing, companionship and a place to belong... She always has a smile on her face and is always the first to help someone in need and never asks for help when she needs it.  She is selfless and so giving and the biggest thing I admire in her is her ability to love freely and forgive time and time again.  That is such a hard thing to do, she so deserves to be pampered and spoiled and just have a little mommy time away from her three girls. 

-@marcyb33 said: I want to nominate my momma, Robin.  My parents divorced when I was 8 and from the moments my mom, sister and I left, she worked tirelessly.  Through the years of jr. high, high school and even college, she managed to meet every need our family of three had.  Looking back it seems nearly impossible, but she id it.  At some point while in Jr. High, mom found God which has increased her awesomeness on so many levels.  She went from the low man on the totem pole at work to a manager of several people and locations.  Here's to a woman who give and gives and gives to anyone in need.  Her children, grandchildren, and even strangers know the love of Christ through her generosity!

-@chelseahadden said: I would LOVE to nominate my friend @ktbraz17..She just lost her husband n Friday in a devastating work accident.  They just celebrated their 5th year of marriage and have a beautiful little girl.  Finances have always been tight for them and I don't even know the last time she's really gotten to go shopping and her little daughter would love something pretty.  Especially since she is so obsessed with always wearing a skirt or dress!  She is also such a gem of a person and I know something like this would really lift her spirits in such a difficult time!

I hope these stories were good for you to hear.  If you have one you would like to share, please email me. bellapiadesigns@yahoo.com.  God Bless!!