Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions...11 in 2011

11 goals for 2011.

Crafty goals
1. Learn to quilt, make at least 1
2. Open an Etsy shop and actually sell something!
3. By end of year have 500 followers on Were The Joneses, 1000 on Todays Top 20
4. By end of year monetize blogs with sponsors - not really to make a million, but rather just to get some new fabric! :) I loooove me some fabric!
5. Take better pictures!! Well.  And remember to actually take the darn pictures when I'm done with whatever I just made!! How frustrating is it to work on something ... and forget the darn picture!
6. Write my posts earlier.  And quit using the fact that for some reason my post scheduler is whack as my excuse as to why I can't post in advance! :) {Anyone else's post scheduler never ever work!? GRRRR}
7. Start my Christmas gift crafting in January.  And really do it this time.  I would *love* for next December NOT to be a repeat of the sweat shop I did this year!

Personal Goals
8.  Host a blanket drive for Project Linus - read about it here
2. Lose weight - get healthy.  Isn't this every one's goal at some point?  Well guess what? I got chosen to be on Win, Lose or Blog so I better get my butt in gear!!!
3. Go to Bible study...regularly.  I know I know I'm bad.  But 2011.  I'm going.  Each week.  And certain boys are going too.  And that includes my big boy and little boy.  
4. Be a little more patient.  Sometimes having a child with special needs is hard.  And really...just because he's pacing and bouncing around....for the past 4 hours non stop....he's not really hurting anything.  Just let it go.  And he lost his lunch money.  3 days in a row.  I guess shame on me too. I was the dummy who kept sending cash huh?   

What are your goals for 2011?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My super special and important announcement!

Gabe's Gifts
I've never blogged about this, because I have rarely talked about it.  However, I knew that I wanted to do something positive.  And in order to do that... I have to share my story. 

Earlier this year I was pregnant.  And over the moon excited.  We moved so the baby could have his own room.  We started buying baby stuff.  We told our friends and family.  We picked out a name.  Everything was going well.  In fact that day I had bought a new stroller.  My due date?  My birthday.  

At the time, I was a part time manager at Gymboree.  I went into work that night and came home as usual.  Andy left for work when I got home (He works 3rd shift).  I fell asleep on the couch,  but kept having horrible dreams.  Something was wrong.  I prayed.  Somewhere I had heard that a Mother's prayer for her children was one that GOD listened to with the most urgency.  I tried to tell myself it was nothing.  A few hours later I knew, I was losing our baby. 

I didn't call Andy.  I couldn't tell him, mostly because I couldn't say the words myself.  I just laid there crying.  Praying.  And then yelling - I wasn't sure GOD had heard me.  When Andy got home he rushed me to the hospital.  We lost our little boy, Gabriel Austin Smith, on August 28. 

I walked into the hospital pregnant.  And later that day, I left.  Childless.  I was tired.  I was in shock. I was sad.  I was angry.  I was frustrated.  

Healing has been hard.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of our baby.  I have an extra room in our house with baby clothes hung up in the closet.  My craft stuff thrown in the closet in the front room.  I just can't bring myself to turn the baby's room into anything other than a baby's room.  My faith was tested beyond testing.  I couldn't understand.  Why had GOD taken away my baby, but given babies to people who don't take care of them?  And if something was wrong with my baby, why hadn't GOD just healed him?  I know he has the power to do so!

I quit my job.  {I was planning on quitting, but losing Gabe made me do so earlier.  It killed me seeing people come in and with their babies buying the same clothes that I have hanging in his closet.  Pregnant women were everywhere.  And I was no longer one of them.}  That's when I started blogging.  It's given me some sort of refuge.

Everyone (well, a lot) of people told me, "It's ok.  You're young.  You can try again."  I know that during a time like this people don't know what to say.  But, that was not what I wanted to hear.  It made me feel like I was just supposed to forget.  A do over.  Like how Joshua erases a mistake on his homework.  I vowed that I wouldn't forget.  And that I would do something -- something that would make Gabe proud.  Something that when I say his name I associate it with goodness, not tragedy.

So I decided to start a blanket drive.  Have you heard of Project Linus? Their mission is  mission to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.”  I can't think of a better way than to honor Gabe. 

Starting in January (well, you can start making one now!)  Gabe's Gifts will begin.  It is a year long blanket drive.  Each Monday I will feature a blanket tutorial and the last Monday of each month we can host a linky party showcasing any blankets made.  I am in the process of creating tags for you to print off and fill out with your blanket (including what it's made of, any special washing instructions, your name and email if you wish).  As you finish your blankets I ask that you mail them to me and I will make one large donation in Gabe's name.  (Also why I am making tags!  I want you creative ladies to get the credit you deserve on your awesome work!) Also, if there is a special child you would like your blanket to be donated to honor please include that information with your blanket.  I can't speak for everyone, but even just trying to put together this project - knowing something good will be attached to Gabe's name has helped the healing process more than I can express.

If you are a blogger and have a blanket tutorial (can be crochet, knit, how to bind, quilt patterns, sewing tutorials) and would like it featured (both on this blog and on Today's Top 20) please e-mail me. 

I would also REALLY appreciate anyone taking Gabe's button (top left corner) and helping pass the word along for me!   I'm hoping to have enough blankets to make the first donation on my birthday and Gabe's due date (3/14).  I know that it is going to be a hard day for me and this would really help. 

I know I pledge to make at least 12 blankets.  One each month to donate.  I hope I can count on you to help too!  Thanks for reading this -- I know it's long.  But I don't think you know how much I really appreciate it. :)

Any questions, comments, tutorial submissions or for my address to send in a blanket please e-mail me: amandaandandy(at)yahoo(dot)com

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm putting Christmas away....To make room for Valentine's Day

It's ok.  You can roll your eyes.  My husband thinks I'm crazy.  Who decorates for Valentine's Day in December?  NOT me! Seriously. Not me.  I'm just making room.  Starting to craft.  And then January 2nd.  (Because January 1st is all about New Years Day...resolution/goal making).  January 2nd.  I will start to decorate! 
And because I'm a lister (any other compulsive list makers out there?) I have a list (about a page long) of Valentine's Day crafts that I've thought of so far (I'm sure they've all been done at some point somewhere).  I ALSO have a page of about 30 boy valentine phrases that I came up with .  I'm thinking cool boy t-shirts!!!

Stay tuned!

And tomorrow. Something really important.  And totally special. So be sure to come back!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas gifts - and a stocking

So it's been a hot minute since I've posted what I've been working on.  Only because I haven't had time to take pictures!  But here are a few gifts I've done in the past week:

This is a bag for my mom.  Just a simple tote bag.  Red is her favorite color so I thought this fabric would be perfect.  I love the addition of the ribbon and little bow on the front.  Makes it very pretty.
My mom goes to water aerobics so the bag is lined with a thick plastic table cloth.  Which makes it water proof.  So she can toss her swim suit and towel in after she's done and not worry about it getting the whole bag wet.  There is also a pocket for her to store keys and such in. {Wish I had a differnent color besides blue, but I need to go tablecloth shopping! I got this one {It's Better Homes & Garden} at Wal-Mart on clearance for about $4.  I love working with tableclothes lining bags, lunch bags and such.  Just make sure the tablecloth you get says it is safe for food.  I can't remember what it's called right now, but you will see it on the package. Surprisingly not all of them have it.  And the thicker ones are good to work with -- the stuff on the back of them cling to the fabric making it a sinch.
This bag (REALLY needs to be ironed before I package it up!) is for my little sister.  Big enough for books, sleepover clothes, really anything! 

The pink fabric has polka dots on it.  And I free handed the puppy.  The colar is just some ric rac that I need to trim up a little! :)

2 big bags and then this little one.  This is for my grandma.  Somewhere in my pile of gifts I have a set of 3 bingo dabbers that I wrapped in scrapbook paper.  They say "I'm feeling lucky tonight", "Phyllis' lucky dabber", and "Show me the money!" They are going to go in the front pockets.  And I'd like to sew up a quick little change purse to throw in there.  This isn't meant to be carried as a purse (obviously look at those straps!) but rather a little bag to hold bingo supplies.

Joshua's stocking.  Since all of our Christmas decorations got lost when we moved :( But I do like his stocking!  I love the tree fabric!

Linking up here

What have you been making?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Just have to say...the phone book mixed up my number...WITH WALMART

Yup.  They did.  My phone has been ringing all week, randomly for Wal-Mart.  Weird.  Well today it's been OFF THE HOOK.  Then Walmart called me .... looking for Walmart (another store was calling, uh my store?)

If this phone does not stop ringing. I am going to go CRAZY.

Good job ATT.  If I were boss....I'd fire you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hooded Scarf -- Genius!

Gosh this morning is busy already.  Santa had to run to Kmart...they were giving away $50 game vouchers for a Wii purchase --- and had 1 left.  2 hour morning is already all funky. 

But anywho...Hooded Scarf.  Brilliant idea.

My blog buddy Emily from The Boy Trifecta has this super tutorial on how to make one here.  I needed one.  (Fingers crossed Josh doesn't lose it at school today!)

{Monster flannel -- perfect for a boy}

I had some flannel but I wanted it super warm.  But I didn't have any fleece.  I thought about cutting up a blanket.  But then I thought nooo....Joshua's bathrobe (that's to small anyway and yet he wants to keep it --- double score!).  This sucker is WARM.  I wear it - husband laughs at me.  But it's perfect.
{Plush bathrobe all cut up - I love the piping that are on each end of the scarf}

{And the piping lines the hood}

This is probably the most brilliant thing I've made -- you need one!

With the hood (and esp. with some fluffy fabric in there) wind can't blow inside.  And it's soooo warm and comfy.

 {front view -- all bundled up -- please ignore the backpack straps it drives me crazy that he doesn't put it on all the way!!!}
 {side view -- you see how it covers the whole neck - no gaps -- and it covers the cheeks!}
{Again it covers the whole back of the neck and tucks in perfectly with a coat.  Love it!}

This was a super easy (and quick!) project to make -- go check out Emily's site and make one for EVERYONE you know.   

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If you do one thing this Christmas....DO THIS!!!

So I just got told (and I may be the very last person to find this out...)
that if you go to Santa will video message your kids!!!!

And not just any video message.  This is a WAY cool one.  And FREE!!!!!

You type in their name, what they want for Christmas, one thing you asked them to do, if they've been good (or you can tell Santa on them for being naughty - maybe coming from Santa Claus will shape them up!) :)

You upload their picture and it is emailed to you in a snap. 

Josh was PUMPED.  He was jumping up and down and couldn't wait to call grandmas and grandpas to tell them. 

Seriously go.  NOW! :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Homemade Smell Dough...Read QUICK, CHEAP, GREAT gift!

I used to teach preschool so I've got lots of art supply recipes around.  One of our favorites to make was play dough.  It's quick (5 minutes), it's easy, chances are you have everything on hand and the possibilities are endless. 

Add spices or extracts (like I did with these), add glitter, make it edible, any color you can imagine. 

The recipe is easy. 
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 Tablespoon Cream of Tartar (I suggest Wal Mart.  It was $2.  Kroger it was $4)
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon oil

Any additives you would like.

Mix it in a pot.  Turn the stove on medium.  Stir constantly!  It will start to pull away from the sides, get a few lumps.  Turn into dough.  You'll see.  Pull it out.  Put it in a bowl with a little flour.  Knead for a minute.  There you go. 

I had some little containers - I need to order more -
Each batch of dough made 4 small containers. 

I made: Gingerbread (adding cinnamon, cloves, ginger)
Peppermint (adding peppermint extract)
Cherry (adding cherry extract and red food coloring)

The grocery store has lots of extracts you can add.  Banana, raspberry, lime, rum (although you probably shouldn't make rum scented play dough....).  You can also add cocoa powder for chocolate scented.  Or pumpkin pie spice.  Or make apple pie dough with cinnamon, cloves and all spice. 

Sorry for the crappy pictures (and lack there of...) this goes together super quick.  I'm off to the store to pick up some sticker paper so I'll take a picture of the package all wrapped up soon!

Linking up!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm Back....hooray for not being sick!

So while I was laying around, not doing much of anything the past few days (oh my gosh.  Friday -- I woke up, put Josh on the bus went back to sleep until 3:00.  Then back in bed by 10.  I don't think I've EVER slept that much) I was thinking.  This is my craft blog.  I love crafts.  {That's why I've got 2 craft blogs} hehe.

But I also want to talk about mommy stuff.  You know.  So I've decided -- I know - you all have heard it before.  I've started another blog. 

We're The Joneses is going to be strictly craftsy stuff from now on.  {That's why your here right??}  I may not post as much but it will be way cool stuff.  Promise.

But IF you are interested... The Supermom Club.  It's the place to be.  You know where all the cool mom's hang out.  (aka. right
I will be posting daily over there. 

Mondays - I'm starting a series called Millionaire Mommy.  Goal: Save a million big ones.  I've got to live rich on a little budget. 

Tuesdays - Recipes.  Here at Joneses we've got sweet Saturdays (which has been neglected.  Sorry..) But at Super Mom it's how to sneak veggies in, recipes, meal planning.  Basically - quick, easy, yummy, healthy, cheap.

Wednesday - Make cleaning more effective and quicker.  Organizing tips.  Simplify.

Thursdays - Things that work.  Or don't.  Reviews on products you want to know about.  And giveaways.  Yea for free!

Fridays - Family days.  Fun family activities.  Cool "holidays'' and kid friendly activities.  {And I'll show some love for the hubby's in our lives!}

Saturdays-  All about us!! We're talking about getting healthy {I know I've gained a few lbs...} beauty secrets, cool clothes {no more showering and putting lounge pants back on for me!}.  Basically.  I thought.  I've got a hot hubby (see picture below) He needs a hot wife!! {I can't honestly say how long this picture will be up...until he notices...And makes me take it down.  That...And I'm SO glad I made him buy that hat!} :)

Sunday - sharing day.  Come share what your kids did this week that was soo funny.  What you made for dinner.  What genius solution you came up with so we don't have to dust.  Anything.
I want this to be a blog-unity (made that word  Get it?)  Not just be writing for someone to read.  But everyone getting to know one another.  Meeting new friends.  Having a good time.

Oh and I wish for world peace too.

But please come join me!! In about 8 hours...I'll have up a new craft for you guys here... and my first post over at SuperMom Club.  {Starting with the first Millionaire Mommy post -- an easy way to save $200!!}

Talk soon!!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Have you used this?? Purex Complete 3 in 1 Laundry Sheets Review

So I've never reviewed anything before.  And please note that no one contacted me asking me to.  I just am.  And these are my honest to goodness opinions.  No freebies for me, no cash (although...) :)

So I bought these:

I got them at Wal Mart for $5.47 and I had a coupon.  I thought Why not?

I really did not expect much from them.  I'm a Tide with Febreze kind of girl. But I figured 24 loads for $4.50 (19 cents/load) I would have them on hand for my emergency stash.  Aka. When I run out of laundry detergent and something needs washed.

Well I didn't have to wait long.  HOW do 3 people create sooo much laundry?

I tried.  And I liked.  I really liked.

I was shocked.  So easy (I know -- how difficult is it to measure out detergent and then grab a dryer sheet) but after you do this you get spoiled.  Plus I had a coupon in my package.  $3 off.  Which means my next buy was only $2.47!!! That's 10 cents a load people!! 

{My Tide with Febreze was 25 cents/load}

And just because I'm a numbers freak geak person...
I spend about $130/year on Tide.  (10 loads a week)
PLUS $26/year on Bounce dryer sheets
Total: $156/year on laundry

Switching to Purex 3 in 1 $98.80/year 

I just saved myself $57.20!
*Prices were taken from

I'm buying them...not only cheaper - and easier - but my clothes are soft and smell yummy.  Way important.

And, when my box was empty I couldn't throw it away.
Before: Under my Kitchen sink


haha yea I'm silly.  But it's holding all those plastic bags.  {I plan on pretty-ing it up here someday.  Silly I know.  But I like pretty.} Plus when I need one I don't have to get a bag that's holding a bag that has 2 bags inside it.  And it's nice and neat.

  I'm really glad I tried this.  Otherwise when Kroger had the liquid Purex on sale for $1.99 (24 loads) I would have kept walking.  I bought them this time!

Have you ever tried something and were pleasantly surprised?

P.S. This was not a slam Tide post.  :) I do like Tide.  Esp. those little tablets they have now!