Small things…big impacts

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 4 months since tornadoes took several rural Alabama towns literally to the ground. For those of us who don’t see the recovery taking place everyday it’s easy to think that things are cleaned up and rebuilding is well underway…but in some areas it literally still looks like the storms came through days ago. It’s shocking how far so many still have to go. Thankfully there are still people working, people donating, and people making a difference. In light of that, I’ve decided to post several small ways that we could all make a small difference. Small differences add-up!

For the cost of a stamp you can: Collect Box Tops & Soup Labels

Box Tops are found on various General Mills products that you already buy, like Avery, Scott, Cottonelle, Pillsbury, and other product packaging. For example we by Cascadian Farms granola bars, and they have Box Tops on them. We cut them off the packaging before it goes into the trash or recycle bin, collect them in a ziplock bag in our kitchen and mail them in once a month or so.  Same goes for Campbell’s soup labels…especially with cooler temperatures just around the corner (hopefully).

Box Tops 4 Hackleburg
This is a grass roots endeavor on Facebook, put together by a Birmingham mom and attorney to collect Box Tops for Hackleburg, Alabama schools. Hackleburg schools were destroyed which means they are starting over.She plans to deliver everything collected mid-September so you still have time to mail them a few!   
Click here for more information & Shipping Information

Box Tops for Schools Damaged by Tornadoes
This is another Facebook group started by a mom in North Alabama.  She is working to collect General Mills Box Tops as well as Campbell’s Labels for Education.  Whereas the group above is focusing on Hackleburg, Alabama schools, this group is working to distribute their collections amoung several schools effected by the April tornadoes.  They have already shipped collections to several schools in multiple states and are working with the coordinators of other effected schools to keep the effort going.  Click here for more information & shipping information

For the cost of shipping you can: Share pre-loved baby items

Boots on the Ground 365
This is a group of moms also near the Birmingham, Alabama area who have set out to help expectant moms who lost everything on April 27th gather the things they need to bring their new babies.  They are looking for new or pre-loved but in great shape baby items to help these families focus on the new blessing in their life, and even throw full baby showers for these moms-to-be.  One of the families they are helping is from my hometown…they lost so much more that most of us could even fathom, and these ladies are making a huge difference.   Click here for more information & Shipping Information

For less than $10 you can: Donate school supplies for devastated areas

Magnolia Disaster Relief

This is a group from the Atlanta, Georgia area.  They came together after the Tuscaloosa tornado, as volunteers from various organizations came together to help get relief items to the more rural areas that were effected by the storms.  Their mission is to aid our neighbors who have been affected by disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, etc.). We especially focus on areas that have been overlooked by national media and national organizations such as the Red Cross or United Way.   They work directly with rescue squads in these areas to make sure that only the needed items are brought in, and that they are taken to places where they can be distributed to those in need.  Now post-tornado they are working to make “hit kits” with all the essentials (water, food, toiletries, tarps, etc) for a small community affected by a disaster (tornado, hurricane, flood, fire, etc). The kits will be stored throughout the Southeast and be delivered to communities directly after a disaster strikes. Then, they will work directly with rescue squads in these areas to match requests for help with resources to meet those requests.

One of the projects they are working on right now is gathering school supplies for the children in these rural areas who are still recovering post-storm.  Click here for a list of items needed & shipping instructions  and click on their logo above to learn a bit more about them and the ways you might be able to help them out!

DIY: Patriotic Napkin Wraps – Stars

Keeping with the red,white, and blue theme this week…today I have one more fun napkin wrap template.

I also noticed recently that I always take photos of the napkin wrap templates using cloth napkins…but the 4th of July is a perfect opportunity to show they work great with paper napkins as well!

(click here to download MS Word template)

I love how this one looks with my dollar store napkins and plastic cutlery!  The great thing is the napkin wrap holds the bundle together so you could make them up ahead of time!  Total Cost $2.14

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The font used in the template above is Lobster 1.4, which is free to download from Pablo Impallari.

New to Napkin Wraps?  No worries, visit this post for step-by-step instructions on how to use my napkin wrap templates!

DIY: Patriotic Napkin Wraps – Flags

I’ve been away and neglected this poor little blog for far too long….and since the 4th of July is just around the corner, this week it’s all about Patriotic crafts!  Let’s get things started with a new napkin wrap template!

(click here to download MS Word template)

The template above uses Monterey BT font which is free to download from SoFontes.

New to Napkin Wraps?  No worries, visit this post for step-by-step instructions on how to use my napkin wrap templates!

And now for a shameless plug….did you know I have an Etsy shop?  While it is 99% to blame for my lack of craft posts recently, I did take a break from custom orders to whip up a few sets of  red,white and blue cupcake flags and flagged straws!

Life: Something blue…

Hello there!  It has been way to long that I’ve been away so I decided to give myself a bit of a red, white, and blue theme to get myself back in the habit of posting.  I have new craft posts coming up soon, but first I thought it only fitting to show you a few photos from one of the many trips that have kept me away from my blog.

So, Blog friends…meet “Blue”

Blue is a wild peacock that seems to migrate through my parent’s area of Alabama, staying for a few months at a time.  He has been showing up for the past 2 or 3 years, and bounces between their property and a neighbors.  From what I hear he is quite the attaction when he decides to perch on a fence post near the road.  Blue is also quite the tease, we keep trying to take a photo of him with his full tail feathers displayed but he refuses to show them off when we have a camera around.  Perhaps he is just modest?  I don’t think any of my photos adequately capture the intense shade of blue and green in his feathers.

When chatting about this odd bird in my parent’s yard, a friend asked if peacocks could fly and if they even had wings.  I think this photo answers the latter of those questions, although sadly I snapped it as he was tucking them in so it doesn’t show the full span.  Dude has a huge wing span, and he does indeed fly for short distances.  His “nest” is in a tree near the neighbor’s house and they have seen him perched on their roof before.

Another random piece of trivia for you: Peacocks have a really interesting “screech”.  And by screech I mean something that sounds akin to a female screaming.  Oh, and by interesting, I mean definitely not my alarm clock of choice.

See that look of indignation… I’m pretty sure Blue is insulted that his screeching first thing in the morning  might not be my favorite sound to awake to .  Oh well… is still pretty funny to see the guy on the parent’s porch and hear the stories of people slamming on their breaks to do a double-take of him perched on a fence post.

DIY: Easter Napkin Wrap Round-Up

Since Easter is just around the corner, I decided to create a one-stop post featuring all my previous year’s related napkin wraps!  Also, I’ll be adding links to the new ones I plan to post here later this week.  To access the post with printable template simply click on the napkin wrap images below:

All templates above use Monterey BT font which is free to download from SoFontes.  New to Napkin Wraps?  No worries, visit this post for step-by-step instructions on how to use my napkin wrap templates!

DIY: Easter Egg Cupcake Toppers for $1

Today I have a super quick, super inexpensive, yet fun way to add a bit of Easter sparkle to cakes, cupcakes, sandwiches, or any yummy treat!

DPPEgg-14

Supplies Needed:
Easter Egg Food Toppers

  • Easter Egg Stickers – 2 for each topper to be made,  I picked up mine from the local dollar store. You can use other types of stickers just make sure they are symmetrical so they line up correctly when you reverse the one for the back.
  • Toothpicks

Instructions:

  1. Remove one sticker from the sheet and carefully adhere your toothpick to the stick back.  Make sure the toothpick is centered.Easter Egg Food Toppers
  2. Remove a second, same sized sticker and carefully line up the edges with the back of the first sticker.Easter Egg Food Toppers
  3. Press down around the edges to seal everything firmly.  Don’t worry if your edges don’t line up exactly, you can always trim with a pair of scissors if necessary.Easter Egg Food Toppers
  4. Repeat and Enjoy decorating your yummy treats!

Easter Egg Food Toppers

Cost Estimate: $1 & up

Stickers – $1.00 from local dollar store, but you could use stickers you already own just make sure they are symmetrical
Toothpicks – Free – On Hand

I love the little touch of shimmer these egg toppers add to even my breakfast doughnut, and for one measly dollar you can’t beat the price!  How will you dress up your yummy Easter treats?

oneprettything

Review: Dutch Monkey Doughnuts

Buttermilk Cake Doughnut from Dutch Monkey

Buttermilk Cake Doughnut

Those of you who follow me on twitter have already heard of my love of these doughnuts, so today I’m sharing that love with the blogosphere.  Dutch Monkey Doughnuts is a small, local doughnut shop in the northern suburbs of Atlanta that believes in making things from scratch and as locally obtained as possible.  I had to smile when they posted the following tweet last week:

“So, a salesman from a doughnut shop supply company just dropped by, looking to add us as customers. The look on his face when I told him that we make all of our fillings, doughs and batters from scratch was priceless! “You make your blackberry jelly from real blackberries?” “Yup.””

These aren’t your standard glazed variety doughnut, with flavors like red velvet cake, carrot cake, jalapeno-cheddar w/bacon,  pineapple coconut lime fritters, and the infamous dutch monkey they take it to the next level.   I’m not a breakfast person but I love their cake doughnuts, they are like having permission to eat dessert for breakfast! 🙂  The standards are available daily (closed on Monday) but the real treat is the daily specials!

Standard Menu Includes: Raised Glazed, Chocolate Iced, Strawberry Iced, Cinnamon Sugar Rings, Buttermilk Cake, Creamsticks, Maple Bars, Apple Fritters, Cinnamon Twists, Buttered Maple Bacon, Lemon Meringue, Boston Creams, Cinnamon Rolls and The Dutch Monkey

Did I mention they also have the cutest little shop ever complete with porthole windows and step stools to allow the curious a glance at them hard at work in the kitchen?  If you are up GA 400 north direction take a detour off Exit 13 and pick up a yummy doughnut…I’m 100% certain you’ll thank me!

Dutch Monkey Doughnuts
3075 Ronald Reagan Blvd
Cumming, GA  30041

Tuesday through Friday – 5:30am – 4pm
Drive-thru open 5:30am – 9:30am  (weekdays only)

Saturday and Sunday – 7am – 1pm

Closed Monday

 

DIY: Valentines Day Round-Up

I hope each of you is having a wonderful Valentines Day!  Things have been very busy in our household this year, so I really haven’t crafted as much as normal.  However, that means I took a look back through the archives at the crafts from years past…and thought you might enjoy reviving some of these oldies but goodies as well!  Just click the link below the image to visit that tutorial.

DIY Large Matchbox Style Valentines (with template)

DPP-2011ValSwap10

Click to View Tutorial

DIY Valentine Napkin Wraps (with template)

Click to View Tutorial

Flower Power Decorated Dog Collar

Click to View Tutorial

Turn Dollar Store Candy into Cute Valentines

Click to View Tutorial

Semi-DIY: Valentines in a Snap for under $1

It’s been way too long since I posted a fun crafty treat and I’ve really missed it (and you guys)! Today’s Semi-DIY project is a quick and cheap way to dress up a simple box of candy.  It would be great for adults and the kiddos alike.  See…cute right?
DPP-2011ValSwap18

Supplies Needed:

  • Boxes of Conversation Hearts Candy – I picked mine up at the local Dollar Tree
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Stickers or other decorative items

Instructions:

  1. Cut your scrapbook paper to the height and circumference of your candy boxes.  For the boxes I used the dimensions of the paper should be 3.5 inches wide by 7.5 inches long.
  2. Add a piece of double-sided tape to one end of the paper, and attach it to the back of your box.
    DPP-2011ValSwap25
  3. Next, you will wrap the paper around the box and attach to the box with an additional piece of double-sided tape.  Do this underneath the overlaid section of the paper.
    DPP-2011ValSwap28
  4. Decorate with stickers and other assorted goodies.DPP-2011ValSwap30
  5. Give to someone special!

Costs:

One of the great things about this project is that in additon to be simple, it’s also quite thrifty.  If you have a stash of scrapbook paper & stickers like I do then it’s virtually free since you just need to buy the candy.  My boxes of candy were purchased from the Dollar Tree in a package of 4 for $1 and you could also pick up fun Valentines stickers there as well.

$1.07 for 4, so 26 cents each!  Can’t beat that!

DPP-2011ValSwap21

Life: Caught in the act…

Fuzzy Dog Watches TVOn the days I work from home I sometimes get a small glimpse of how the fuzz spends her free time.
I think for a moment she forgot I was here and wanted to catch up on her “stories”.  Also note the squished state of the couch cushion above her where she had been napping up there cat-style the first time I wandered down stairs for lunch.  I’ve decided I want her life!!