DIY Project | The Pillow Lounger

In the summer of 2012, I made Samuel a pillow lounger and he threw himself on it for days.  Sometimes with a book. Sometimes it was just for fun – I mean, who wouldn’t want to keep throwing themselves on a pile of soft pillows just for entertainment? Giggles and laughter ensued each time.
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As I was getting ready to make one for his cousin, we agreed to pass Samuel’s down and make him a new one — one with themed fabric of his choosing. We purchased the fabric shortly after we gave Bodhi the original lounger and it sat around for months. I meant to get to it, but something else was always more pressing … truth be told, I was just too lazy to pull out my sewing supplies.

I put the pillow lounger on my summer project list and I am happy to announce that it is done! Samuel has his reading corner back and he couldn’t be happier.
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150720-SamuelLounger2The lounger holds four pillows and measures 27.5 inches by 80 inches.

If you want to make one of these pillow loungers for your little peeps, here are the simple steps…

What you need:
1) 2 pieces of fabric that measure 2 1/3 yards each (I like using two different patterns of fabric because if you get tired of one, you can flip it over on the other side.)
2) coordinating thread (or any thread you have will do)
3) 4 pillows
4) sewing machine

What to do:
Cut three pieces of fabric as shown.  (Note | sketches are not drawn to scale.)
PillowLounger01

Sew long sides of front and back panels together as shown. I used 1/4″ seams. Sew 1/2″ hem lines along the outer edges of the back panels.PillowLounger02

Lay the fabric on the floor and fold the back panels over the front panel. Right side of fabrics together on the inside. The back panels will overlap about 4 inches. (Note | I cut my back panels slightly wider because I cut 44″ fabric in half. Not a good idea because the overlap is too great which makes it somewhat difficult to get the pillows in and out. No zippers or buttons needed here — just the overlap is perfect and holds the pillows in.)PillowLounger03

Pin top and bottom edges together and sew.

You’re almost done. Turn the lounger so the right side of the fabric is facing out. Iron along the seems.  Lay the lounger on the floor and measure 20″ sections.  Use a washable fabric pen or chalk to draw lines across the width of the lounger at 20″, 40″, and 60″.  Sew along the lines — making sure you do some back stitching at the overlapping section to provide extra reinforcement.PillowLounger04Stuff pillows into each section and you’re done! Your littles will love it! It’s also great to lounge on while watching a movie.

Here’s a look at what mine looks like. Samuel is very much into Star Wars and superheroes.  PillowLounger06

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Samuel’s perfect little hide-away. PillowLounger07

Enjoy!

 

March Project Life Blog Hop | Setting up a Project Life Baby Album

JennWelcome to the third of twelve Blog Hops from the 2014 Becky Higgins Project Creative Team! We are all passionate about Project Life & memory keeping and we wanted to continue to inspire each other and you as we move forward in 2015. Here is a look at what I’ve been working on:

In 2014, I set up and gave away about half a dozen Project Life Baby Albums. Recently, I put together another baby book to surprise a mama in my neighborhood.

The new mamas I give the albums to are not scrapbookers — they are friends of mine who admire my work from afar.  They are afraid to dive in — or are intimidated by the whole idea of scrapbooking. But every mama wants to document their baby’s story — it’s my window of opportunity to get them hooked — and hopefully, have them join me at a monthly crop.  The more the merrier, right?!?

Being a mama to a newborn has its challenges so I want to keep things easy for them. I do most of the legwork to make the process less overwhelming. The only thing they have to do is take photos, print them, insert them into the book, and write little stories.

Here’s a look at how I go about putting together the foundation pages of a baby book:

2015 BabyBook-5The title page is pretty simple. I go with what’s in the box and add the baby’s name if I know what it is.

First, I set aside the 4×6 month cards, “Notes to You” cards, and “Highlights & Milestones for this Month” cards. I also pull the 3×4 “This Month’s Stats” cards and add them to this pile (not shown here). I use all of these cards for the monthly layouts.MonthCards

Next, I go through all the prompt cards and pull related ones together.family
I pull the family cards together and put together a two page spread using Design A. I do not use all of the title cards — I often use the 4×6 “my family” card and all of the 3×4 journaling cards.  I also include a Design G pocket page as an insert to allow for some additional photos, especially for vertical images.

2015-03-08-14.37I always create a spread dedicated to the home (and the baby’s room).  Again, I use a spread using Design A with a Design G insert. This allows room for additional photos without it being overwhelming.

ExpectingSame idea for the “Expecting You” layout — I use a spread using Design A and insert a Design G page.

ArrivalFor the “Birth Day”, I use two Design A spreads with a Design G (or Design B or D) insert. I try not to use pages with odd sizes (because the women I give them to do not have cutting tools, etc).

For the monthly layouts, I use the following recipe: Design A spread with Design G, B or D insert. I ran out of Design G pages for the last book I completed, so I alternated between Design B and D for each month. My favorite insert is Design G — mainly because I like changing up the width for inserts.

To do this, lay out all of the 3×4 cards — making sure I turn some over so I know what is on the backside.  Then I randomly pick cards to insert into the 3×4 pockets. I insert two cards into a pocket at one time — this saves me quite a bit of time. Cards2015 BabyBook-14Here’s a look at the monthly layout.  Left side, Design A.  Right side, Design B (insert to allow for more images – especially vertical photos).  I like to include the “This Month’s Stats” near the month card. I included photos of my son in the sample to make the layout seem more complete.

2015 BabyBook-15Close-up image of the left page (Design A).

2015 BabyBook-16Close-up image of the right page (Design B).

2015 BabyBook-22I switched between Design D and B (shown above) for each month.

2015 BabyBook-20I ended the month with Design A and the “Highlights & Milestones” and “A Note for You” cards. The back side of this page would be the start of a new month.

At the end of the book, I included extra pocket pages (Design A, B, D and G – depending on what I have in my stash) so the new mom can add additional pages wherever she wants.

When I give the books away, I always include a hand written note with simple directions — and a reminder to “This is meant to be easy so keep it simple. Don’t complicate the process. Have fun.”  I also include drawings with dimensions for each pocket.

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The entire process takes me somewhere between 2-3 hours.

Have fun setting up your baby book — or one you’re making for a new mama.

For more Creative Team Inspiration, follow the links below:
Bobbi
Donya
Jess
Krista
Kris
Rachel
Tara
Trisha

Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favorite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too! We hope you enjoyed this hop!

Project Life is a memory keeping system from Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and product here.

January Project Life Blog Hop

Good morning and welcome to the first of 12 Blog Hops from the 2014 Becky Higgins’ Project Life Creative Team! We are all passionate about Project Life and memory keeping and we want to continue to inspire each other (and you, of course!) as we move forward in 2015.

As I’m looking around my space, I realize that my house isn’t getting any bigger but I’m bringing in more products, photos and albums. My goal this year is to keep it light (which is my word for the year). I want to keep the year to two volumes (I’ve done three volumes in the past) and record my son’s year in one album (up until this point, I’ve done two albums per year).

Here’s a look at my title page for 2015 |
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This pocket page protector is from October Afternoon and holds 12-3″x3″ photos/cards. I trimmed off a column – mainly because I like playing around with the lengths of the pages. My goal is to stop hoarding Studio Calico cards so I’m putting them to use here.

Here’s a look at week one | January 1-42015 PLWeekOne-18
A few of my friends asked about how I would do week one — they mainly wanted to know if I start on Monday, Dec 29 or Thursday, Jan 1? I like to keep each year separately, so I started with January 1.  It’s a short week so I used a big photo of us on the right to fill in the rest of the layout.  I also included a drawing from my soon-to-be-four-year-old, Samuel. I love his drawings — they just get better every day. By the way, do you like my “bee hive hair”?

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I really enjoyed working with 3×3 prints and think that I will be using more of these pages throughout the album.  By the way, the bottom right photo is one of my son “freakin’ out.” It’s his new thing — the freak out face.  Apparently, I freak out all of the time.

2015 PLWeekOne-9A closer look at Samuel’s drawing of our family — check out my “bee hive hair.”

Week two | January 5-112015 PLWeekOne-12Really making use of my Studio Calico stash that I hoarded last year. 

2015 PLWeekOne-5A closer look at the left page.  Samuel really wants a Star Wars party for his fourth birthday so he agreed to a little photo shoot for his invites (with him as Yoda Vader).

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Big story this week? Samuel stepped into the shower and washed his hair. No goggles. No fear. “I gotta be brave,” he says.

For more Creative Team Inspiration, click on the links below:
Bobbi
Donya
Jess
Krista
Kris
Rachel
Tara

Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favorite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too!

We hope you enjoyed this hop!  Project Life is a memory keeping system from Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and product here.

December Daily 2014 | Days 08-15

I made seven mini-books (6″x8″) and one large (12″x12″) Project Life style album as gifts this past December. Gathering the photos for those books took a lot of time — and then I still had to assemble them in time for Christmas. Those gifts were all special and unique for each recipient but that was just too much.  Glad I did it but that was way too much.

So here were are.  January 2015.  I just finished my December Daily album. The month of November and December are looking bare in my Project Life album.  And the book for 2015 is sitting around waiting for some attention too. Ha!

I’m excited to share my December Daily album – days 08-15.

December 08
2014 DecemberDailyThe story of Samuel’s ornament — Jim and I thought we found the perfect ornament for Samuel (Mickey on a motorcycle to celebrate a big milestone – learning to ride without training wheels) but we failed to look at the details!  The motorcycle had training wheels on it … and that was the first thing my detail-oriented boy noticed.

2014 DecemberDaily-4
I wanted to create a shorter page here so I trimmed off half of the 4-pocket page protector. I then realized that I need more room to complete the story so I stitched the part that I cut off back on.  I must admit — I like the end result.

2014 DecemberDaily-9
After we trimmed the tree, he did a happy dance before settling down to admire the tree. I love the image of him under the tree.

December 09
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I love the idea of documenting nine things I was still looking forward to in December (thanks, Ali) and I did just that (left page). Today was also a big day in shrinky dink art ornaments so I decided to make day nine a two-pager.

December 10
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Samuel asked to make a stocking to surprise his friend.  He made her a shrinky dink ornament and we delivered it to her house by bike. Such a sweet gesture.

December 11
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Our Christmas cards arrived this evening and I spent the evening on the couch addressing envelopes.

2014 DecemberDaily-19I included the family letter that accompanied our cards here.

2014 DecemberDaily-21Back in November, we had a family photo shoot with the talented Jenny Lin.  The session package came with a set of holiday cards so it was appropriate to add here.

December 12
2014 DecemberDaily-22
Wrapped gifts tonight.  I like giving gifts — but I don’t enjoy the wrapping part so much.

December 13
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Family tradition – Santa Parade (which almost did not take place due to a lack of funds).

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We really like parades.

December 14
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Horse riding lessons have become part of our weekend routine. Samuel has been riding regularly for a little over a year now and continues to enjoy it. He looks so confident and proud on that horse.

December 15
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First Santa letter.  He worked so hard.  Proud mama over here.

Will share the rest of my book in the next day or so.  Thanks for visiting.

December Daily 2014 | Days 01-07

The month of November flew by and then before I knew it, December came … and the month is flying by.  Hanukkah is 3 days away.  And Christmas is right around the corner. The list is long but things are getting crossed off.

I’m a bit behind in December Daily.  I have the photos and words for each day but the actual documentation is a bit slow.  Today, I’m sharing days 01-07.

December One
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We started the advent calendar with Samuel last year and he loved it.  This year, we kept things simple — we went with a Playmobil Advent Calendar I picked up on clearance at the end of last year.  It’s working out great so far.  He looks forward to it each morning.  We just keep it on the dining table (where he eats breakfast) and he enjoys playing with it each morning.

December 02
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Samuel and I went to the Lego store for the free mini-build giveaway today.  He’s almost four and has decided that he’s ready for Legos.  The pieces are small and he sometimes struggles to put things together, but he loves the challenge. This evening, we made a little gingerbread house.

1412 DDOneToSeven-5I’m using my sewing machine to add some texture to the layouts. I’m experimenting with other stitches on the machine — really love the x’s here.

December 03
1412 DDOneToSeven-20Crazy weather in Sacramento today.  I left work at 3:20 to pick up Samuel and within 5 minutes of my drive, the heavy rain made it impossible to see.  Freeways were backed up and roads were flooded.  It took me over an hour to get to Samuel.  As soon as we got home, Samuel helped me rake leaves from the gutter to allow for proper drainage on our street. He’s a great little helper and I am so thankful for this little guy.

1412 DDOneToSeven-21A close-up shot of more stitching.  

December 04 (left) & December 05 (right)
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We pulled down our small stash of Holiday decorations and ornaments and gift wrap. Samuel is pretty excited that “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

1412 DDOneToSeven-10The “Bring on the Joy – ‘Tis the Season” masking tape in the Ali Edward’s December Daily kit is pretty bad ass.  I love it and am using it a lot … I will definitely be sad when I use it all up. And I can’t get enough of the gold stars.  

1412 DDOneToSeven-12Saucy, Samuel’s Elf, made a comeback on the fifth of December. I used my sewing machine to stitch the red boxes and a sharpie to write in his name.

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The story of Saucy’s visit is behind the photo.

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The components of Day 05 — I printed a couple photos and adhered them back to back and used the masking tape to attach it to Saucy’s note to Samuel.  It folds up and fits in the 4×6 pocket.

December 06
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We picked up a tree at a new tree lot this year. I’m in love with the place and think we will be back next year. Our favorite tree is the Noble Fir (from Oregon).

1412 DDOneToSeven-29I’m still looking for the perfect journaling pen.  Haven’t found one I really love but  the Uniball Vision Elite is becoming a favorite.

December 07 (Left)1412 DDOneToSeven-30
I spent most of today at home at my computer. I made and ordered our holiday cards.  I also processed and exported photos for several holiday projects.

1412 DDOneToSeven-31A close-up of day 07.

Day 08 is in the works.  And so are days 10-12.  I have a story for day 13 — but want to live out the rest of the day before I decide on which story.

Thanks for visiting!

Shrinky Dink Ornaments

Before going to bed last night, Samuel said, “Can we make more ornaments for our tree?”

“Of course, buddy.  We can definitely make more ornaments.”

So this evening, we made this for our tree …
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Yes, folks.  I’m bringing back the Shrinky Dinks. This method, however, does not use the authentic Shrinky Dink sheets.  Rather, I’m recycling plastic to-go containers that you get when you buy a salad (or bring leftovers home from eating out).

141209-SuppliesI’m using these basic supplies — plastic to-go containers, sharpies, a hole puncher, and a toaster oven.  Not all plastic to-go containers will work — make sure you look at the bottom of the container for the number 6 in the recycle symbol.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-5Cut the top and bottom of the containers.  This will be the writing/drawing surface. Rounding the corners is a good idea — otherwise, you may end up with sharp edges once  it shrinks.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-9
Each container will allow you to make two big Shrinky Dinks (measures approximately 2.25″ x 2.5″ once it shrinks). Or you can make four smaller pieces (size of a dog tag) by cutting the big pieces in half. Because Samuel is learning to write and draw, he needs a bigger surface to work with so I left it as is.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-14I had him sketch his work on a piece of paper about the size of the plastic.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-22I taped the plastic sheet over his artwork and gave him the sharpies to trace his original design. Oh, if you want to string something through it, make sure you punch a cluster of holes at the top.  A single hole will shrink in size and will not be big enough for ribbon or string.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-24Here’s a look at the original artwork and the plastic sheet.

141209-OnTrayOnce we were satisfied with the design, I placed the plastic sheet on a metal tray with a layer of parchment paper between the plastic and tray.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-29I preheated the oven to 325 degrees F and placed the tray in the oven.  We watched it curl and twist and ultimately flatten. There were some suspenseful moments as we watched it curl up on itself.  If it does not come out perfectly flat, use a spatula to flatten it immediately once you remove it from the oven.

141209-SamuelSampleHere’s a look at the original artwork, original size of plastic, and the piece that we shrank. The plastic is thin at the beginning but once it shrinks, it is about a millimeter in thickness.

Isn’t this rad? I absolutely adore his artwork.

That was a lot of work for a three (almost four) year old.  But he loved it so much he wanted to make more.

141209-SamuelSample1When we did it the second time, I did not have him do a rough draft of the artwork. It was a lot of work to draw it out and then trace it. I did not want to discourage him — so I just gave him the plastic and pens and he went at it. He’s learning to draw so I was right there to guide him as needed.

141209-SamuelSample1Shrink
These little pieces of artwork are so perfect for our tree.  I would like him to do at least one per year — to see how his drawings and writing evolve over time.  I plan to keep extra plastic sheets with the Christmas ornaments so that I remember to have him create at least one drawing per year.

141209-SamuelSample3He also drew this for his friend.

141209-CurledUpSampleBut unfortunately, due to some imperfections in the plastic, it never uncurled.  I tried to pry it open once I took it out of the oven but I could not save it.

But hey, that’s how science works sometimes. This process is really an experiment on polymers — and sometimes things turn out the way we predict. And sometimes, the results are surprising and requires a repeated experiment.  It is all part of the learning process.

He wasn’t upset about it.  He had a positive attitude about it and said, “We’ll try again tomorrow.”

Have fun with your littles!  And share your images on Instagram.  Please tag me so I can see your creations.

Around Here | March 2014

ANguyenCTSpotlight05
Around Here is a new addition to my Project Life album this year.  It’s a place where I can add additional photos to tell our story.

140308-Ba74thBday-27Around here, we celebrated my mom’s 74th birthday.  She is beautiful, strong and independent.  I love you, mom.

140305-MSDN-115Around here, I helped organized the 7th Annual Math and Science Discovery Night.  I was thrilled to be able to organize the science portion of the event.  Honestly, I’m good at it and it feels good to be back doing something Jim and I started (and love).

Around here, Samuel and I went to Paradise Beach and enjoyed getting sand between our toes, dipping our toes in the freezing water, trying our best to skip rocks and building a lovely little sand castle equipped with a stick-leaf flag.  Wednesday afternoons are ours – now and for always.

Around here, we were thrilled with the change in daylight savings.  We love the extra hour of light.

Around here, there are lemons and tangerines on our trees.  We are drinking lemonade and fresh tangerine juice daily.

140323-BanhXeoAround here, I am bringing back the Vietnamese dishes (specifically, banh xeo and spring rolls) into our weekly meal rotation.

Around here, spring has sprung and Samuel’s allergies are worse than ever.  We are also noticing a lot of dry spots and bumps on his skin.  We can’t figure out what his skin is allergic too.

Around here, Samuel continues to take riding lessons and music classes.  He decided that soccer isn’t his sport so quit it in the middle of the season.  We are not thrilled that he quit soccer so we continue to have conversations about finishing what we start.  It has not worked yet.

140325-Swing&Birthday-49Around here, Samuel is fascinated by the swing.  It’s about time.  Ha!

Around here, I’m starting an exercise routine (again).  My ankle injury has healed and I am ready to shed some pounds.

Around here, Samuel has been eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for breakfast every morning.

Around here, I just booked our Disneyland vacation.  We are also talking about a couple other summer trips.

Around here, Spring Break is just 9 days away!  And summer vacation is 39 days from today.  Yippee!

Around here, I am thinking about my garden but I haven’t put my thoughts into action yet.

Around here, we have many unfinished projects.  We’re hoping to knock a couple of those projects out during Spring Break.

Around here, I am making smarter financial decisions.

Around here, I am reading Catching Fire (second in the Hunger Game series).

Around here, it feels like winter. I’m really enjoying the much needed rain.

140330-FamilyPhoto-15Around here, I am 3 for 3 for monthly family photos.  I’m hoping to get one where we are all looking at the camera.

Around here, we are happy.  We are having fun.  We are thriving.  That’s how it should be.

Project Life 2014 | Weeks 2, 3, 5 & 6

Last night, I went to our monthly Project Life Crop and got caught up on my 2014 album. 140329Crop

Week 02 | Jan 6-122014-Week02

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Week 03 | Jan 13-19
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2014-Week03R

Week 05 | Jan 27 – Feb 2
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2014-Week05L

2014-Week05R

Week 6 | Samuel’s 3rd Birthday Celebration (just the three of us).
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I am experimenting with how to take decent photos of my pages.  This afternoon, I found myself using my iPhone for all of the photos in this post.  It was way faster — and I didn’t have to fight the glare as much!  Interesting, huh?  How do you take photos of your pages? Feel free to share your tips in the comments.

Weeks 9 – 13 will be on the blog later this week.  Thank you for stopping by!

Project Life 2014 | Samuel is THREE!

I remember lying in the hospital bed after giving birth (via C-section after 40 hours of labor — yeah, crazy right?) and the nurse asked me, “Would you like to hold your baby?”  Really, all that and she wanted me to hold my baby?!?

I vividly recall my quick snarky response, “How am I supposed to do that?”

She looked at me and said three words. “With. Your. Arms.”

I was in a fog and was numb all over.  My response at that point was slow and methodical — “Oh, yessssss.  I doooooo have arms.  Ok, I’ll hold my baby.”  Honestly, I didn’t know what to do with him at that point.  He’s here.  So now what?

I struggled as a new mother.  I questioned myself and everything that I did to care for him. I worried all the time.  But he thrived. We thrived.  And just like that, he turned three.

At three, Samuel is an inquisitive, detailed-oriented, happy, energetic cowboy who has a passion for horses, garbage trucks and stories.  He is a problem solver and loves piecing together puzzles.
140323 RidingChancey-36

We celebrated THREE with a hoe-down at our house.  Here’s a look at what went down …
140301 PLFeb-15I sent out personalized invites.  I spent hours making stick horses and painting cardboard boxes to create an old western town.  My sister made the awesome carrot cake.

140301 PLFeb-25Because of rain, we had the party indoors. Seven toddlers. Seven stick horses. Nobody tripped. Nobody fell. Nobody cried. It was joyful. Jim and I enjoyed watching him interact with everybody.

140301 PLFeb-32I left a basket of blank 3×4 cards out for birthday wishes.

140301 PLFeb-33The stick horses and buildings were a hit.  They didn’t care about the color station or games I had planned.

140301 PLFeb-53He was especially happy because his best friend came for the celebration.

We also had a birthday shindig at my mom’s house the following day for the family.
140302 PLCut&Paste-9Great day for all of us.  

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Products used | Project Life Themed Cards, Celebrate & Coral Edition.  Project Life Cut & Paste kit by Amy Tangerine. Studio Calico wood veneer. Word Stickers from Cosmo Cricket.