A New Etsy Shop

I’ve had a long-neglected Etsy shop just sitting around the internet for a while, and I thought it was time to put it to some good use.

In the new shop are two categories of prints. The first is prints for the home. These are prints I have made as gifts for friends or family and have now made them available for purchase. Some are fully customizable and are super fun! My favorite is the Quiver Family Print:

quiver family 1^^ The fun thing about the Quiver Family print is that the name of each family member is hidden in the arrows – so it is extra special. This makes a great gift for just about any occasion, and is even available in a Chalkboard Effect print.

numbers 1^^ Family crest and blessing. Sold separately, these make a perfect set.

chalk effect earth and stars^^ Earth and Stars print. I have always loved this quote and I made this print for Henry’s room. It turned out so well that I just had to share!

Another section of the shop is especially for faith formation for kids. Teaching children the Word of God is something I am passionate about, and I have loved creating these items that are intended for use in the home or church nursery / Sunday School. All children can learn about their faith in language that is accessible and understandable to them, and building a foundation of faith from an early age is invaluable. I also want to enable parents and teachers to communicate with their children and students about their faith, even when they may not know exactly how to explain something to them. Children are sometimes overlooked in the church as being “too young to understand,” and that is simply not true! They can understand a lot if we take the time to sit with them and share our hearts with them on their level.

I have a degree in Elementary Education and have worked in many Sunday School programs and wanted to combine that experience with design. I began by creating these things in collaboration with my friend, Betsy, who started the Early Childhood Faith Formation program at her church. It has been a delight to work with her on creating these things and I would love to be able to share them with you!

Two highlights from this section:

The Ten Commandments for Kids

I hope this is the beginning of a series explaining important Bible passages in ways kids can understand. If you have ideas, comment below and let me know!

Virtue/Fruits of the Spirit Cards

Betsy and I collaborated on this idea and I love it! When she approached me about this, she said she wanted to do something to acknowledge Christ-like behavior in her coworkers. We started by making a version or adults (available soon), but this kid one is so great! Each virtue or fruit of the Spirit is described in a way children will be able to wrap their heads around. It is a digital file, you print it off yourself as often as you want and can give the cards to your children or students. And they can give them to each other! The other side of the card is blank so you can write what it is you saw the person doing to display this virtue, or kids can draw pictures if they aren’t writing yet.
untitled-1766My girls really love it when they see me writing on one of these cards and can’t wait to see what I noticed them doing. They’ll also point things out to me, “Mom, wasn’t I so kind to give Olivia some of my water?” (Humility won’t be one of the cards she’s getting a lot of…)

As a mom it can feel sometimes like I’m spending a lot of time correcting, and it’s pretty nice to make a conscious effort to encourage the good that I see them doing.

Everything in this part of the shop is a digital file you can print yourself! This makes these items available for use over and over again.

Hope you enjoy!

Designed: Backwoods Soap and Body Products

I have had the privilege of working on some design projects lately and I’m so excited to share! I love to design and it’s something I can do from home with my kids, which is a huge plus right now.

A few months ago my sister-in-law asked me to design some business cards and signage for her shop, Backwoods Soap and Body Products. I love the way they turned out!april-8504april-8491-2She makes soaps using beer and hops from my in-laws’ brewing company Backwoods Brewing. They use the beer tree logo on all their cans, so she wanted to incorporate it, and a few bubbles completed the effect.

Her soap is great! I especially love the all-natural Honey Nut Bumbler. It smells incredible and is so sudsy and rich that I use it for shaving instead of having to buy shaving cream. I also use it instead of baby shampoo or body wash for the kids.  In my quest to purchase fewer plastic bottles and have less “things”, this soap is a clear winner.

Designed: Rustic Wedding Invitations

You know when you meet someone and you just click? And it’s like you’re almost immediately best friends and you never run out of things to talk about? I love meeting women who are strong, creative and talented, while also being gracious, kind and inspirational. I had the privilege of meeting Becca of Lady and Gent Photography a few months ago and I feel like we’ve been BFFs ever since. We have kids that link up in ages and who enjoy playing together which means when we combine our clans we can actually get some quality adult time. And all moms can benefit from quality adult time.

In addition to being a wonderful person, Becca is an amazing and inspirational photographer (who did our family portraits) and she recently participated in a wedding inspiration shoot. She asked me to design some fake invitations to go along with the fake wedding and I did!

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Aren’t they so pretty? I wish they had been my wedding invitations. Although, the ones I designed back then were pretty great, too.

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And yes, I did use the name of my own child and Becca’s daughter for this pretend invitation. What can I say? We both picked excellent and rustic names for our children, that just happen to look really great together. Not that we’re making an suggestions. But hey, if in 20ish years they like each other a lot, I might just have to change the date. Ha!

You should really see Becca’s photos from the shoot. They are so gorgeous!

Olivia’s Birthday: Tangled Party

My mother always had a way of making fun themed birthday parties without spending very much money or using disposable things. Growing up, we didn’t have the money to have ridiculous parties with plastic banners and themed tableclothes, but she always made them special. I can still almost taste the homemade calzones I made with my friends one year, and I have some great pictures of a birthday party where she let us raid her closet and play dress up with all her things. It was the thought then that made it special, and I’d like to think that I am passing that on to my children. I enjoy making them pretty party decorations, as inexpensively as possible, and then reusing them throughout the house or giving them to friends. I think we have as much fun planning and prepping for the party as at the actual party itself.

This year, for Olivia’s fourth birthday party, we went with a kind of Tangled theme. Mostly because I could envision cute, homemade decorations. And I thought it would be cool to have a Flynn Rider “Wanted” poster piñata, which we had.

^^ I designed the invitations and had them printed at Staples. I’m kind of obsessed with watercolor backgrounds right now. I want them everywhere.

^^ After I made some of these tissue paper flowers for the girls’ room, I thought they would make really great party decor. These purple and pink ones won’t go to waste after the party, either. The purple flowers are going to Mallory’s new apartment and the pink ones will be added to the girls’ flower wall downstairs. The tissue paper for these cost $12, with a 20% off coupon at Michaels. And if you can believe it, those flowers are just taped up with what I am convinced is the greatest tape in all the world.

^^ I designed the menu for “The Snuggly Duckling Pub” and had it printed as an engineering print at Staples. We served all foods you might find at a German pub. (Because Rapunzel is a German fairytale. I really like to go with the theme): bratwurst, pretzels and a winter vegetable medley (which was a surprisingly big hit – it tasted delicious – but of course, most things taste delicious when they are baked in butter and garlic), royal fruit salad (this perfect fruit salad, using only yellow and purple fruits, in true Tangled colors), kettle corn and chocolate cupcakes with a buttercream frosting.

^^ This cake is possibly the best one I’ve ever made. It was amazing! I used this 3-tier cake recipe to make one 4-inch, 2 layer cake for Olivia and two dozen cupcakes for guests. (I absolutely love this recipe, which I also make my own version of here. It’s so good, and when you’ve found a good thing, why change it?) I frosted the cake and cupcakes in the morning so that by the evening the buttercream had a nice crunchy layer on it, which I love. Melissa was so kind to give me some just in time!

^^ The candle is one of those standard ones you can find in the baking aisle of most grocery stores, but I painted the middle with glue and sprinkled it with gold glitter, because, the color scheme. I’m into it.

^^ I made these floating lanterns, a la “At Last I See The Light” scene out of tissue paper, string and battery-operated tea lights. They look so cute in person. These will stay up for a while, and then, sans tea lights, they will be part of the playroom’s new dollhouse scene. More on that later.

^^ I used a box to make this piñata. I cut off one end and paper-mached it to make a part that would break, because I didn’t have time to make the whole thing out of paper mache. It was wrapped in white wrapping paper with “Wanted” signs taped on. It was filled with gold chocolate coins as the reward and the kids hit it with a frying pan, just like Rapunzel uses against Flynn.

^^ And I can’t forget Steve’s favorite part of the party, this sign that hopefully says something about apple juice for kids and Logyard IPA in German. He was very excited when he looked up the word “logyard” on Google Translate for this. (If you actually speak German, please do not be offended at our inability to.)

As always, Olivia’s favorite part was the chocolate cake. It was my favorite part, too. Well, and the flower wall and floating lanterns. Those were also spot-on.
She’s one of the best people to throw birthday parties for. She gets really excited about all the decorations and the cake. When she saw the lanterns she said, “Wow! They are so beautiful, mom!”

Fruity Valentines (+ Free Printable)

 Every year when Valentine’s rolls around and my kids want to give out those licensed Valentines from the grocery store I try to talk them into something more fun and creative. And this year we finally came to an agreement when I designed these little cards and we washi taped up some little paper bags of cuteness. Also, I love puns, especially fruity ones, as you can see.

“You are simply sub-LIME and I like your smile.” is my favorite. Also, “Hey you, ORANGE you cute!” I was really hoping to find a peach graphic so I could say, “you’re such a peach and I’m glad we’re friends.” But alas, I didn’t find a peach graphic. Maybe next time.

You could put really anything inside. We gave mini homemade cookies (like these Frosted Brownie Cookies) to our friends, because everything is better when it’s mini. But their school has a weird rule about not allowing homemade things for events like this, so the girls packaged theirs up with little Valentine’s erasers or chocolates. I think these would be the cutest with flower seeds inside or even Sour Patch gummies or other fruity candies like Starbursts. (If you are going to put in something baked like brownies or cookies, I suggest wrapping them in clear plastic wrap first, or the oils will bleed through the paper sacks.)

Of course, you could attach these to ziplock bags of actual fruit for a healthy snack! Except maybe not limes… I don’t know how well those would be appreciated.

I made the design using graphics by AF Studio via their Octavia Font on Creative Market. (Can I send a Valentine to Creative Market? I love them so.) Watercolor textures used for the fruit names are via Watercolor Texture Pack.

And guess what? I made all this into a free printable for you! Isn’t that so nice of me? You know, just in case you’re procrastinating about Valentine’s Day and your kids are expected to bring something on Friday. You can get it here. Just download, print on white cardstock and cut along grey lines, then every 2 inches to separate each card (final product should be about 2×3.5″ – standard business card size). Tape onto something cute, or just sign your name and you’re good to go!

Happy Day of Love and Chocolate and Snail Mail! (It’s my favorite.)

Additional sources:
Mini paper bags – 3×4″ (shown) or 4×6″, available at most craft stores

How To: Timeline Cover Photos

As you probably know, Facebook made it’s official, non-negotiable switch to Timeline recently. This snazzy new get-up includes a cover photo in addition to a profile picture. Well, I may have gotten a bit carried away the other day when I figured out how to make cool cover photos using a Photoshop template…

It all started with the page for my father-in-law, who is running for Commissioner in Skamania County, Washington. I’ve done the rest of his ads for him (yard signs mostly). But when he added a Facebook page I just couldn’t bear for it to look too boring. So I requested admin privileges (got ’em!) and then did a little research to find out the easiest way to create an awesome cover photo. And voila!

Is it the coolest thing ever to be created? Certainly not. But it’s an election campaign. We’re going for basic and bold here, people. But I do think it turned out well.

A few years ago I also designed the logo for Carson General Store (another enterprise in the Waters’ family businesses). I thought it was about time to update their sad-looking little Facebook page. (The sad-looking part is entirely mea culpa.)

I might want to improve this one in the future, but for now, I think it nicely incorporates the logo that I designed way back when.

And so then I couldn’t stop there and decided to make my own timeline cover a little extra special. And combine my affinity for instagram. Did you know I only ever use the same filter? You can go ahead and assume I have OCD. I very well might. But! I do think it made the timeline look pretty cool… if I do say so myself:

I definitely like that it allows me to showcase more of my favorite instagrams.

And since I still had the cover photo bug (what the heck is wrong with me?), I decided not only to create a cover photo for this blog, but a whole Facebook page as well! (And just my luck, Facebook is going to nix the timeline in about 3.5 hours…)

So, now you can like The One With the Cupcakes on Facebook to get updates about posts and such on your news feed. Just think of all the time you’ll save coming straight to the blog! It will be so much easier for you to show posts to your friends! And to think that if I hadn’t discovered timeline covers you might have to do that anyway.

And if you’re interested in creating your own unique timeline cover photo, here’s how:

  • Cover photos are 851 x 315 pixels, so open up a file that size in Photoshop and be on your way
  • Check out these AWESOME cover photos people have made. Talk about cool…
  • At the bottom of the article linked above you can find a template for Photoshop that shows you exactly how the cover photo and profile picture interact so you can download it to make sure your picture and cover are aligned correctly if you plan on incorporating the two. Saves a lot of time instead of you having to upload a bunch of trials and errors.

If you use this info to make your own awesome Facebook timeline, I’d love for you to show me a link. As you can see, I’m mildly obssesed with these today.