Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 10 of 2011

2011 was my first full year of blogging.  I think I've learned a lot and made some wonderful bloggy friends over the course of a year. 

In 2011 I participated in my first blog competition - Project Toddler Runway, my first giveway series - Spring Fling hosted by April at Wildflowers and Whimsy, and the first blog competition I hosted - Mother to Be, Being, Been for pregnancy, nursing, and postpartum fashions.  I also had my first guest posts during that competition - thanks ladies!  I gained about 130 followers over Google Friend Connect, and I started getting more lovely comments from readers and features by other bloggers.  I love getting comments, and I try to reply to each one if I can.  You should see me snatch my phone up every time I hear the notification tone to see if it's a comment!  If you've received a response from me, I very likely wrote it while preparing a meal or nursing my daughter - I believe in multitasking!

Hopefully my photography is improving.  I got a big girl camera for my birthday in June and I'm still learning how to use it - but man, what a difference!

So, here are my top posts from 2011:

10. Mother to Be, Being, Been - This competition was a ton of fun to host.  It helped me to get comfortable asking for prize sponsors and guest posters.


9. Little Rascal Cap - This was part of the Inspired by Boy challenge of Project Toddler Runway.  Arden still wears this cute little cap from time to time as part of her dress up bin.


8.  A Jennuine Life: Mother Being Inspiration - This Four Corners Nursing Top was my inspiration piece for the nursing week of Mother to Be, Being, Been.  It's being put to good use now that Hadley has arrived!



7. Ain't No Mom Jeans: Mother Been Inspiration - One of my lovely guest posters for Mother to Be, Being, Been.  Love Ain't No Mom Jeans for fashion inspiration for "real" mommies like me!


6. Baby Shoes - these were posted in December, so to make number six for 2011 means they've received a TON of attention!  This was totally a "what the heck" project - isn't it funny how things work out like that?  Some of the projects I've planned and been super excited aren't nearly as well received as these have been.  They're also getting pinned on Pinterest all over the place...


5.  Plum Pleats - Pinafore Top - A Project Toddler Runway project for the Feathers, Sequins, and Fur Oh My! challenge.


4. Nursery Prep: Alphabet Wall Art - An Etsy purchase and great wall filler for Hadley's nursery.


3. Arden Refashioned Shirt Dress - Project Toddler Runway Shirt Off Your Back challenge entry.  I liked this so much, I made two! 


2. A Mother to Be, Being, Been: Finalists! - I still follow one of the finalists (Miranda from One Little Minute) - she's uh-maz-ing!!


And number 1! Richly Ruffled Dress - And finally, another Project Toddler Runway entry - A Flower in Your Hair.  This one also gained a lot of views from Pinterest.

Friday, December 30, 2011

I Pinned It! 12.30.11

Pinterest Logo

It's time for the second installment of I Pinned It!  I haven't heard much from all you lovely readers out there if you like it or not...  but I like it, so I'm going to keep going!

One of the things I've found that helps me pin things is adding the Pin It button to my toolbar.  You can do this in Pinterest using their Pin Marklet  This adds a little button you can click on from whatever internet page strikes your fancy!  Easy peasy!!

Penguin title page1000
This stuffed penguin is adorable and looks super huggable!  The pattern is for sale in her pattern shop.  Penguins hold a special place in my heart after working with them on a volunteer vacation in South Africa.

What a great idea!  Turn a simple drink box into a lovely classroom gift.  I can see this adapted for lots of different themes...

Jess from Craftiness Is Not Optional did a whole series on felt flowers and I pinned every one of them!  I love them all!

Don't these Pizza Muffins look yummilicious?

Pinned Image
Some knitting love!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lose the Baby Weight with Slim-Fast!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Slim-Fast for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you've been following along, you know I've recently had my second daughter.  With pregnancy comes weight gain, and I never lost all the baby weight from my first daughter.  I've lost weight on my own in the past, but since I obviously didn't do so hot with that nearly three years later, it looks like I need some help!

Slim-Fast

Enter Slim-Fast and their exciting new 3-2-1 Plan! 

  • 3 nourishing snacks a day like Slim-Fast 100-calorie snack bars, fruits, nuts or veggies to help control cravings between meals.
  • 2 Slim-Fast Shakes or Meal Bars per day - delicious and nutritious for up to four hours of hunger control.
  • 1 balanced meal - a balanced 500-calorie meal.  Try to fill half your plate with veggies, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with whole grains.

SF-123-RTD-CreamyMilkChocolate.jpg

The products are available in the pharmacy sections of grocers and retailers nationwide, including Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway and Kroger, as well as online at Amazon.com and the Slim-Fast 3-2-1 Store on Facebook.

I'm excited to try the new shakes, available in great flavors like French Vanilla and Cappuccino Delight.  For more information, 'Like' Slim-Fast on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/slimfast

Slim-Fast

With Slim-Fast's delicious new 1-2-3 program, I know I can make the changes needed to go from now to wow!  I'm on a roll already, having lost all the weight from my second pregnancy and a few more, so I'm excited to try Slim-Fast's program to keep it going.  My twenty year High School reunion is this summer, and I want to look my very best!

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A Simple Apron


One of the Christmas presents I made for Arden was a simple apron to wear when she helps me in the kitchen, or when she gets creative in her play kitchen.


I used more of my deep discount IKEA fabric (are you getting tired of seeing projects made out of this yet?), and made orange bias tape from denim leftover from one of my Project Toddler Runway designs.  Arden is already enjoying it and playing in her little kitchen.  I have pictures of her opening it on Christmas morning that I don't want to share here because she had stripped down to panties and socks earlier in the morning because she wanted to wear some new holiday socks and was wearing footie pajamas.  All our Christmas morning pictures are of a mostly naked two-year-old and a sleeping two-month-old.  Hilarious!


This was super quick and easy - I think making the bias tape took more time than cutting and sewing the apron!  I made it a little big so it will grow with her, and the neck strap adjusts with two d-rings.  I cut two, so I'm going to whip up the other one to sell in my Etsy shop Jennuine Design.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Noro


Mmmmm....  Yummy yarn for some selfish knitting!  This is Noro, a Japanese yarn.  I'm going to make a gorgeous cowl for myself.  Love the colors!!


Hubby Dave gave me a gift certificate for Christmas to my local yarn shop and it was just about exactly enough to cover the two skeins of Noro and the 24" circular needles I needed for this project.  I'm literally moments away from casting on, and I can't wait!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

I'm a Winner!


I entered almost daily for Somewhat Simple's Twelve Days of Christmas giveways, and I was the happy winner of Day 7.

Check out all the goodies I get!  Some of these will be gifts for others, but I know at least a couple that I'm going to keep for myself!!  What a nice Christmas surprise!

Gift One: Maddie Mae Lane is your place for vintage pendants, cabochon earrings, rings, and hair pins, gorgeous bunchy scarves, hair accessories, and floral sashes!!! One winner will get their choice of bunchy scarf with coordinating felt flower brooch. These bunchy scarves are one of our most popular items this season!! Choose between plum, scarlet, grey, or chocolate, each with a coordinating and unique felt flower brooch pin. Keep warm without sacrificing style this Holiday Season!
Gift Two: YOUR Candle Diva sells fantastic candles, melts and accessories from the David Oreck Candle company. One reader will win a candle in their choice of scent. This collection of David Oreck’s favorites is inspired by holiday scents from his farm. The comforting aromas of fresh ginger pumkin bread and red currant cream on a wintery night and the scent of the pepperberry wreath hanging above the mantel will fill your home with soothing scents of simpler times. Each fragrance comes in a 21 oz filled jar.
Gift Three: OfficeMax has launched a Holiday Help Center – a one-stop for holiday needs. From gift wrapping tips to advice on hanging decorations without damaging the walls or mantel, the Holiday Help Center has you covered. Plus, the site features links to purchase your most-used holiday supplies. One lucky reader will receive help with their holiday preparations by winning  Scotch Pop-Up Tape Handband with Pre-Cut Strips for easy gift wrapping, a  Scotch Paper Cutter for safer, faster and more precise cuts for holiday gift wrapping and a  3M three-pack of Command Adhesives Strips to hang stockings and holiday décor without damaging the walls.
Gift Four: Clean Mama Printables is  the best place to get homekeeping printables that REALLY work for you AND make your life easier! Clean Mama Printables specializes in original organizational documents designed to take the work out of organizing your life.  Whether you are starting a Homekeeping Binder or just looking for a couple editable documents, Clean Mama Printables is the place to go to get organized! One winner will receive a $50 Gift Certificate to the Clean Mama Printable Shop. BUT WAIT- everyone can enjoy a special discount! Simply enter “20SOMEWHATSIMPLE” for 20% off your entire order!
Gift Five: Dolce Bella specializes in ‘sweet and beautiful’ clip-on earrings for little princesses (and those young at heart) . One reader will receive a $25 gift card from Dolce Bella. As any mother of a blossoming fashionista knows, accessories are everything. As such mothers, we became frustrated with the minimal selection and lack of quality earrings for young girls, and those young at heart, who don’t have pierced ears. So we created ‘Dolce Bella’, a place to find ‘sweet and beautiful’ clip-on earrings. (And not to leave any princesses out, most styles are also available in pierced earrings upon request.)
Gift Six: Get your site noticed by thousands of readers by winning 30 days of free advertising right here on Somwhat Simple!
Gift Seven: Cut it Out designs darling frames that are not only high-quality, but they are also very affordable! One lucky winner will receive 1- 8×10 frame in the design of their choice!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry, Merry!


Best wishes to you and your family on this merry holiday!  We'll be attending the candlelight service this evening, preceded by dinner at a great Chinese restaurant.  After, we'll spread sparkly oatmeal in the yard to feed Santa's hungry reindeer and set out cookies and milk for the big man himself.  Then we'll open warm jammies from Frosty and head off to dreamland.  I'm planning to enjoy what will likely be the last year before Arden clues in and wakes us up at an unheard-of early hour!

Friday, December 23, 2011

I Pinned It! 12.23.11

Pinterest Logo

Do you Pinterest?  Is that a verb?  Well, it should be...  I've been enjoying Pinterest so much that I thought I'd start sharing my pins with you - maybe you'll find something that you'd like to pin!  If you aren't a member, send me a comment and I'll invite you to join.

Camera handstitched tee
Ca-ute!  I love this Etsy shirt - want one for my daughter!

I think I'll make these for my Father-in-law who gets really cold hands

Perfect gift for grandparents

I'm starting to Pin ideas for Arden's 3rd birthday party.  She wants it to be "pink".  Easy enough!

Adorable yarn-wrapped letters.  Another birthday party idea.

Personalized Vintage Style Nursery Letter Art -- Pink Buttons on Antique White Silk -- Ready To Frame in 8x10 Frame (frame not included)
I really like this Etsy letter art.  I've done something similar on a t-shirt, so I can appreciate how long this must take - she hand-sews each button.

I've never featured items here, so I'd love to hear some comments.  Do you want me to keep doing this, or could you care less?  I'm thinking I'd try to do this each Friday if it's well received.  Should I make a "Featured on A Jennuine Life" button?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Snowman Soup for Daycare


I decided to make up a little gift for Arden to pass out at daycare.  My Mom had introduced me to the concept of Snowman Soup a couple of years ago, and I thought it would be perfect for a bunch of two to four year-olds.
Avery Printable Bags Toppers with Bags 22801 Packaging Image
The bags and labels were Avery printable bag toppers with bags - meant for small business merchandising, so they have a little perforated hole for hanging if needed.


I googled "Snowman Soup poems" and found four different options.  Sorry, I don't remember the source.  We don't have a colored printer, so I can't do one of the nifty printables for this.  We went old-fashioned and put stickers on the front.  Oh, and don't you love the typo I didn't catch until after I had printed them all?  Doh!!  I'm going to blame it on the template having the text sideways.


I think they'll like them... Arden has recently discovered the joys of hot cocoa ("warm cocoa" or she won't drink it), and particularly likes the peppermint hot cocoa from "Donald's House" - her name for the Golden Arches.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Robe Redo - In Color


Remember the adult robe I remade into a kid-sized version for Arden?


Here it is in color!  Arden chose the light pink dye.  I didn't tell her what it was for, only that she could choose her favorite color.


I think she chose the perfect color!  I decided not to wrap it as a Christmas gift - she's got plenty to open on Christmas day.  Plus, then I got to see her in it sooner!


I think this is one of my favorite projects I've made for her, and she really likes it too! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Knitted Earwarmer


I decided to knit up a little earwarmer for Arden after the umpteenth time I decided it wasn't worth the trouble of trying to wrangle a hat over her ponytail.  Since her hair is long and it gets all gummy with food if it's not put back, 90% of the time it's up in a ponytail, twisties, or braids.


At first Dave had to get her to buy into the idea by putting on one of his running earwarmers, but now she gladly keeps it on when we're outside.


Here's the details if you want to make your own:

Size 2T and up, worked in Debby Bliss Baby Cashmerino on size 7 double-pointed needles.
Using long-tail method, cast on 88 stitches split evenly between four needles.  Work 6 rounds in seed stitch. Switch to stockinette and work 12 rounds.  Go back to seed stitch and work 6 rounds more.  Bind off.


Easy peasy!  I only worked on this a few evenings after Arden was asleep.

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