5.12.10

Giftcards make great adult gifts!

The thing I think about with these items I have in my shop is how a lot of times it's just easier to give someone a gift card. Especially if it's for someone you don't know really well. There's a pressure to try and think of something they'd like and don't all ready own. Best thing about gift cards is that they can even be put towards a big purchase of something they were wanting. For instance, with my wedding over 2 years ago, my husband and I were able to put together several of the gift cards to purchase our nice vacuum and also some other items that we hadn't thought of needing. We liked that instead of receiving a lot of things we didn't need and didn't have room for in our small apartment we had these gift cards that we could spend whenever and on whatever we needed. The thing I always noticed is that the tiny envelopes they have for these giftcards are usually pretty boring and are mostly covered in the stores logo or name. By purchasing the pillow boxes that I sell you can create a unique way to present the gift cards. 

Lots of people have office parties where they have to provide small gifts, or play secret Santa, or children maybe have a whole classroom full of friends that they want to try and find something for, even a few favorite teachers. What's easier then a few $5-$25 giftcards to places like Target or Best Buy or a popular restaurant and just wrapping them up in a decorated pillow box?
With all that said, I've been wanting to do something special and exciting for the Christmas holiday coming up.

My first thought was something playing off of the song "12 days of Christmas" Even though the actual 12 Days of Christmas are supposed to begin on Christmas day and continue to January 5th, I was thinking about working with some coupons, giveaway, maybe a contest or two during the 12 days counting down to Christmas.


Another idea was to just do a ordinary coupon of __% off your entire purchase, plus buying more then one item gives you free shipping and just leave it at that.

I'm still trying to think up more ideas but feel free to give me some help!!
I've come up with some new items to add, just haven't added them yet.

As for my lovely baby daughter, Eva, she's growing up well and learning to make all kinds of new coos and noises. I return to work tomorrow and all ready know I'll miss her.

So yea, here's you short and quick update!
Need ideas for giftcards? I've listed some below












15.11.10

Eva's Arrival

At 5am October 24th,  I woke to an odd feeling of tightening. I wasn't sure if it was finally the contractions I was told I should feel or if it was more false labor contractions aka Braxon Hicks contractions. I waited it out but it seemed pretty rhythmic, but not very frequent so I went back to bed. By 8am they were a little more insistent and noticeable so I woke up my husband and told him that his daughter seems to be finally ready. I also sent a text message to my mom (I knew she was at my church's 1st service) letting her know that I think I'm finally feeling the pre-labor contractions.

She left the church and came over and we began to try and decide if it was time to head to the hospital or not. We did some timing and they seemed close together but not consistent. Finally I just called the Labor nurses and they said to keep timing and keep waiting. So Mom went ahead and went home as I promised to call them ASAP if anything changed

Funny thing was, they say a woman will go on a cleaning spree before going into labor, this time though it was my husband cleaning the house, doing the dishes, doing laundry and vacuuming the floors. Anything he could find to keep his mind from allowing himself to get too nervous. The day dragged on and I just wasn't feeling like it was time yet.

Around 7pm the contractions became a little more intense and I called up the nurses station again and they mentioned that with it being my first birth and not being too certain it would be fine if I were to come in and they check my dilation progress, etc. I decided to wait just a little longer and around 9pm finally had George help me pack the car with our bag and the car seat and we headed out to the hospital. On the way I called my parents and told them that we aren't certain and we could be still sent home.

Once we arrived and checked in they said that I was only at 3cm dilated and that wasn't too far and they would check me again at midnight to see if I should go home and rest for a little longer or not. By midnight I was at 4cm and they said I was welcome to stay there overnight. By then my mom had arrived. At this time the contractions had started to hurt and we asked about going ahead with the epidural but they said I couldn't get the epidural until there was a lot of progress.

1:00am I was hurting even  more from the contractions and they went ahead and checked me again and I was up to 7cm! Finally they said that it was certain that Eva was on her way and they would send for the guy to put in my epidural. Unfortunately he was the only anesthesiologist at Augusta Health that night and I had to wait an hour more before he came in because he was having to finish up with another patient.  Needless to say I was having some trouble handling the pain much less get the sleep they kept telling me to do.

Finally the epidural went in,

I was able to doze for about an hour and then I noticed that I was feeling the pain again. I mentioned it to the nurses and it took some convincing for them to understand that it wasn't just the tightening of the contractions I was really feeling the pain as well. The anesthesiologist returned and mentioned that sometimes on rare occasions the epidural can wear off and stop working so he would have to reinsert it.  I was more then ready to be free of the pain.


Dr. Hoover came in not much after and broke my water saying that the pressure was also causing some of the pain. He mentioned to the nurses to let me get some sleep now so I would have more energy when it came time to push. I finally got a couple more hours. they checked me a couple more times through the night, there was just a little more to go, it was being stubborn,the next step would be for me to begin pushing.

Dr. Hoover's shift was ending so Dr. Benefeld took over that morning and  Around 7:45am he decided it was time. It was a long process from that point on, at least 2+ hours of pushing. My husband George was there with me, supporting and cheering me on.  He got to see Eva's head full of hair before she was born. My mom also was in there and got to see Eva also.

Finally at 10:38am Eva shot out and into the Dr.'s hands. The nurse cleared her airways and handed her straight into my arms. Her Daddy, Grammy and I cried a bit at how beautiful and precious she looked. She wasn't breathing quite well enough for the nurses liking so they had to take her away to make sure everything was all right. Soon as she had everything checked out and given the ok she was handed back to us.  Her Daddy couldn't stop smiling as he held her close.  She was born at 7lbs even and with a length of 21inches.

On her 2nd day they told me that they were concerned about how much she'd all ready lost. There is a certain amount that all newborns lose in the hospital but her's was a little more then the average. Part of the problem was that once I could get her to latch on she would instantly fall asleep and not eat very well. We tried all kinds of tricks that the nurses told us about getting her to stay awake longer but they just weren't working. This child loved to sleep! Once home her Daddy and Uncle Andrew tried playing the video game Call of Duty 2,  to see if all the noises, shooting and shouting would help wake her up so that we could try to get her to eat. She slept through it all, didn't even peek an eye out at us.

When she went to her first doctors appt she'd lost a little more weight and was down to 6lbs. 2oz. We discussed a few possible solutions and we took her home that weekend to try everything.  Finally we made the decision to switch to formula and after a day she started taking her eating seriously (There are some reasons that I won't discuss openly that also played into her not being able to nurse very well. Sometimes disappointments happen but through everything just trust that God is there). At her next doctors appointment I won't forget how the doctor tried to make me feel better about my decision and said "Well, I was formula fed and look how smart and handsome I turned out to be!" She had also gained a little under a pound since we'd switched her so we knew that we had made the right choice.

Through out the entire first 2 weeks my Mom was amazing. She stayed with us the first few days and helped us out during the night feedings. My brother was also great with helping out and just being supportive. He'd flown in from Texas just to meet his niece and it was great having him there! Ladies from our congregation also brought over a couple delicious meals for us to enjoy and not have to worry about trying to cook something. While dealing with our newborn. My Dad also helped out with taking care of Eva and letting George and I get some relaxation time. And there there's the uncountable list of friends, family, church members and coworkers who sent well wishes, prayers and even some beautiful flowers to show support and love. To all of these we are truly thankful.

So the latest update on Eva,
Just today, we just took her by the doctors today for one of her check ups and she's now at 9lbs and 6oz! She's taking a 4oz bottle about every 3-4 hours and even starting to have more awake time. 

She's all ready changed so much and we see her looking around and trying to figure out this world everyday. She's even started cooing and "growling" and has rolled to her right side a couple times.
She does really well in her carseat as long as her little ladybug bell is there to keep her intrigued until she falls asleep. She's set a pretty nice sleep/eating schedule and George and I are gradually getting very used to all this new stuff. We can't wait to see what all is in store for us as time moves on. We thank God for this blessing!! Prayer does wonders and trusting Him makes everything seem like it will always turn out ok in the end.

19.10.10

Countdown to Due Date

According to the doctors my due date is tomorrow, October 20th.
My husband and I are so very anxious and excited for our first child's arrival. Our daughter has certainly spoiled me to this whole pregnancy thing. She never gave me a day of morning sickness, she's not caused me too much pain or worry. God has blessed us with a wonderful time, and we know it's only going to get better.

I recently had a fun adventure into working with adhesive vinyl. I designed a butterfly with Eva's name in a cursive font and set it up with the CraftROBO to be cut out.

The hardest part was piecing it back together on the door! Not to mention I found out that if the vinyl lines weren't cut through all the way and are thing that they break pretty easily. I found it fun and am working on some more ideas for inside the nursery. It's going to be a great alternative to these white walls! And I'm certain our landlord will be happy that we resisted painting.

As for my usual craft of choice, the pillow boxes - I've been attempting to motivate myself to work more on them but the motivation has slacked. I'm sure once I'm off of work and taking care of Eva 24/7 I'll find myself needing something to do (other then catch up on sleep time) The items I'm selling will be my only income for 3 weeks since I'm a contract Graphic Designer with the local Newspaper (no benefits) so if you wouldn't mind trying to help increase my sales by passing along my info I'd really appreciate it. http://StormGazerDesigns.etsy.com
As of right now I'm running a special FREE SHIPPING until I go into the hospital to deliver my daughter. Now is a good time to stock up on the pillow boxes!

Anyways, I figured this blog needed a bit of an update - I'm off to go find something on TV to watch while I wait for my husband to return from work.

3.9.10

Making of Pillow boxes

I've been asked by a few people about the process of using my CraftRobo and cutting out the pillow boxes. Here's a short video I did just to show the basic process.
video


26.8.10

More items in my shop!

I've been slowly using my free time to put more items in my shop. I'm still looking for a good paper store that has some really great deals on bulk buys. I've used paper-source.com and checked out their clearance area but then realized that if anyone wants to buy more then what I have to offer I might not be able to purchase more of that paper pattern.

I've also been adding more "supplies" for folks to purchase as an addition to their pillow boxes. Soon I will post up a video of the process of getting just two pillow boxes cut out. A friend of mine once asked about the process and the time it takes to go through so I thought I'd show you all in a video. Probably will be posting that up tomorrow.



Etsy
StormGazerDesigns



2.8.10

Fun baby tickers

 BabyFruit Ticker

 Pregnancy Ticker

 BabyFetus Ticker




21.7.10

"God's Nature" Series

Graphic by Rebecca Brewer
"But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." Job 12:7-11

The logo above is for a series I'd like to work on. It's about appreciating the world around us that was created and designed by God. Look closer at this earth. We walk around daily not always noticing the fine details put into every moment and everything. A simple butterfly crossing your path, or the way the grass sways with the breeze. Referring to the above scripture we're told that the proof of his love and creation is in the very things we see. Take time in your day to sit back and enjoy the brief sunset, or watch the way the birds search for food in the morning. Enjoy this life and world we've been gifted.

There's a play of the meaning of the phrase also. The nature that belongs to God, His creation of this world and all the animals, plants and design he put into it. Imagine how differently God looks at this world and all things in it. His true love and admiration for the fish of the water and the animals hidden in the jungle. Look closely at a leaf and hold it up to the sun and see all the complex veins running through it. God designed the mountains that we climb, the trees that shade us and water to cool us.

Another meaning to take from this logo is the nature or personality of God. Take a look at the Giraffe and then try to tell me that God doesn't have a sense of humor! He devoted His love and hope into everything He designed back in the beginning and then he gave it to us to enjoy. Think of it has how a parents designs that perfect toy for their child and then watches with pure joy and happiness at how they play with it.





This blog won't have something posted daily for this series but I'll make sure to label each post with "God's Nature" and an easy way to be able to see all those posts is to use the column on the right side and click the Tag "God's Nature".




This series begins at a good time as my husband and I are soon to go up into the woods of Maine where in the past I've seen loons, beaver, owls and herons, just to name a few of the common wildlife. So keep an eye out for updates and hopefully you will enjoy this series as much as I plan on enjoying it! I'm not certain about what connection I'll be getting out there so it might not be until my return that the images will start showing up online.


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13.7.10

Recommended Buys!

Here are some items that I've used and think you would find useful also!

When it comes to putting the ribbons around the pillow boxes I use these

Glue Dots Glue Dots 3/16 Inch Mini Dots



I've really found this Craft ROBO handy when it comes to cutting out the boxes. Sure saves a lot of time and hands so that one doesn't have to use scissors. Also makes sure there's lots of precision and exactness.

Craft ROBO

12.7.10

Pitter Patter of little Baby Feet


A while ago a friend of mine and also a great book designer (Linen Laid & Felt)reccommended a website for finding all types of new and exciting papers called http://www.paper-source.com

I went through and purchased some of their sale/clearance items for me to practice on and have some fun with. You've seen one purchase I made with the silver ivy on the frosted paper. And now I'll show you the baby feet on blue and on pink.

Of course because of my current pregnancy I have an interest on trying to think up unique baby shower and "welcome new baby" gift ideas. For these pillow boxes I thought about the pink baby feet paper.

For an added touch a ribbon going around with delicate cherry blossoms decorating it creating an eye catching contrast. While looking at the photos I thought about using a tag design to have go across and be attached by the ribbon that could be customized to have the Child's name with the due date printed on it.

Or if the parents aren't 100% certain on the child's name they could just have an added flower decoration tucked under the ribbon

For attaching the ribbon I thought that the best thing to use is those glue dots (click to purchase from Amazon) you can find almost at any craft store. They are easy to attach without the worry of it running off the ribbon and onto the box. Also it makes it a little easier to open the ribbon and get to whatever goodies were put inside the pillow box.

7.7.10

First Etsy Listing

I've finally posted my first item in my Etsy shop!!
Frosted Pillow Box


This pillow box is made from some very elegant paper. I love the subtle hint of silver shine on the leaves. I see using some of those pastel mints to fill this pillow box.

28.6.10

My vinyl came in today!



I have to laugh a little that the very day I posted about the vinyl I had ordered is the day that it showed up on my door step. All these pretty colors. Now to start sketching out my designs to use with them! I purposely bought extra green for the grass design I've been working on.

On a side note someone seeing my previous blog mentioned to me a great site that has all kinds of cool vinyl art to choose from! It's very inspiring! You can check it out too at http://sejones.uppercaseliving.net/Home.m

Nursery Decorations Ideas

My Aunt(in-law) Jean Shrewsbury introduced me to this new decorating art a few months ago. A lot of stores are starting to sell them too. It's the Vinyl Words(see examples at Amazon.com) Poetry. The great thing about them for me is that they aren't permenant. You can put them up, take them down without worrying about messing up your walls. Being a house renter that's a great thing!

The other day while reading more info on my Craft ROBO I saw that it can be used for coming up with vinyl designs. With a baby on the way my husband and I have been working on preparing a nursery for her and wanting to make it colorful and fun for her. Being limited to our white walls we figured we would have to hang up a lot of things.

But now I have some cool vinyl samples on the way and a few designs in the making for sproosing up her room.
6" x 12" Adhesive-Backed Vinyl - 27 Sheets of Assorted Colors for Craft & Cricut Cutters - V0001
I can't wait for them to arrive! They will certainly save the walls from having a lot of nails and will allow for me to do more designing indoors in the Central AC. For a while I was coming up with wood ideas but that meant going out into the storage shed in this muggy hot weather and using our jigsaw. Not something I was looking forward to.

26.6.10

small box

I've been playing around with various accessories and how to use them on the pillow boxes. And have a few small sample papers that I've been using as well.
Soon I should have this down and really get down to creating.
I also came across this cool box design. Figured it could come in handy for small presents like Jewelry


Other then that I've been busy with doing Vacation Bible School projects for my church and trying to update some other websites that I currently run. I've also been looking into a better design for this blog. There are a lot of cool templates out there.

20.6.10

Happy Fathers Day!

Here's to a wonderful Father! 
My dad.
This photo was taken at my wedding during the father daughter dance. Also something special my dad was the one to marry George and I. :)



And let's add a  
Happy Father's day to my father-in-law! :)


19.6.10

Baby Shower Card

One of our married couple friends, Joey & April, had their baby shower today. In just under 6 weeks they are expecting their son, Kenai, to enter the world.

Just for fun I thought I'd come up with a card to attach to the present George and I got for them. Using a template I had the Craft ROBO cut out the design.


Then pulled it off the carrier sheet.  Which is the sticky sheet that holds the paper firmly while the blade cuts out whatever design you've asked it to cut.



I tested it out to see that it would pull together just right. I didn't have any old shoe strings so a thin ribbon had to do.


Then using some of my metallic paint pens and some star brads I decorated it. Using the green and gray from the diaper bag they'd asked for I put silver on the front of the shoe and green for the sides


I think it turned out well and really only took about an hour to do. I could see these being used for putting in gift cards or money for baby showers too. Also could use them for the first few years of a child's birthdays as envelopes. So I'm certainly going to keep this design and possibly use it for other ideas. Not to mention there are plenty of other pregnant ladies in my church.


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17.6.10

Practice Practice Practice

In an attempt to learn and fine tune a new crafting interest of mine I've been playing around with a few gadgets and looking around for hints and tricks online on how to use them. My first find was the Sizzix Big Shot. I mainly liked the idea of being able to add embossing and impressions to cards and envelopes that I send out.

My second find was the Craft ROBO. I liked the idea of not having to take an exacto knife to everything I try to design. Also this machine is great with cutting out vinyl which I could also use when it comes the the small details of decorating my future daughters nursery.

One thing I soon found was that the Craft ROBO was not so easy a contraption to learn. I had to do a lot of searching and reading to find good worthwhile tutorials on how to create the lines that it knows to cut vs. the lines that it just dots for easier bending. Just figuring out the loading of the paper was my first real challenge.

Last night I did some looking into more information and finally tried out a large pillow box design. It worked! haha. Just for fun I ran it through the Sizzix Big Shot embossing to add a little design and finished it off with some color and a ribbon.


Nothing special but yet I'm happy that I've succeeded in making at least 1 pillow box using cardstock. Next task is to try out various types of paper!

9.6.10

Finally have my Art Area setup!

When we'd first moved into this house I saw that we would have an extra bedroom and I declared it would be my arts, crafts, office room. Well, you know how it is. You unpack the things you need right away and then all the little knick knacks and decorative things remain in the boxes. We slowly piled all those boxes along with all my college art supplies in the spare bedroom. It became more and more filled with half empty boxes.

About 7 months later we decided to try for a child and were instantly successful! So now we're looking at this spare room and realizing we need to clear it out to turn it into a nursery. I was a little disappointed that I'd never gotten to turn it into my art room.

I first started thinking about trying to turn our outdoor storage shed into my art room but soon as the weather warmed up and we stepped into there I realized that I would roast during the summer and freeze in winter. I started looking at our front room where our pool table was. With a little house rearranging I could claim the back wall area!

So our first step was to find a reasonable craft table that I wouldn't feel overly guilty about getting stuff stained onto it or accidentally knicking it with the exacto knife. Using an old Staple giftcard from my aunt we got a nice large 8ft table! My husband then helped me move some of the furniture around and now I have my own art area set up and ready for crafting.

I've started using it test out ideas of mine for things I'd like to create and start selling in Etsy. Below I will show you the progress photos over the couple weeks that this task took to complete. It's really not complete yet. But mainly I just have to organize the items I want on the shelves and table.


(Click each thumbnail to be taken to larger view)

17.4.10

I'm Pregnant!

For those who haven't heard I am pregnant. Which means a lot of my time has been devoted to trying to set up the house and prepare ourselves for the pitter patter of little feet.

April 8th we were told that it is a girl!
We are going to name her Eva Catherine

Note I posted on Facebook:
What will her name be?

I just found out today at 12 weeks 1 day pregnant that I am having a little girl!
Her predicted due date is October 20, 2010 (10-20-2010)

George and I had thought long and hard over the years of what we'd like to name our future children. We knew we weren't ready for them yet (at that time) but we also knew we definitely wanted to have them.

Ever since listening to a song by Nightwish I'd loved the name "Eva"
We considered trying for a longer version (Evangeline or Geneva or Evalynn) and using Eva as a nickname but nothing really seemed to be what we liked and decided to keep as just Eva.

our next step was to think of a good middle name that went well with Eva. I got to thinking about my aunt who'd passed away unexpectedly. Catherine Ladd. That just flowed and sounded perfect. We loved it instantly so that was our first choice for if we had a girl.

So I would like to introduce you all to our future daughter - Eva Catherine Brewer


Ultrasound Photos

Here's the album for her 12 week photos
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2101324&id=54604368&ref=mf
What I'm going to do is show the original photo and then if you click to the next photo I'll have the one I took into Photoshop and pointed out her parts. I know if you weren't actually viewing the moving image of the baby it's sometimes tough to decipher those still images.


At the 12 week ultrasound

First thing the doctor tells me is "well there's only 1 in there!" Talk about a sigh of relief! Twins supposedly run in George's family. And I'd actually poofed out a bit fast.

He zoomed in and there she was moving her fingers, moving her arms. She would bounce a little on her back. She was laying on her back and he couldn't get her to face him so that he could get a good measurement or a look at her gender. He would gently poke at her and at one point we swore it looked like she pushed back. Finally it looked like she was going to move the right way but then she decided to turn on her other side with her back to him. But we got a good look at her spine then!

Dr. Thompson decided that it might help if we gave her a break and allowed me to stand up and stretch and move around with hopes that she would flip around herself.

So we tried again and this time she finally adjusted herself just right and he was able to say for sure that she was a ... well SHE! I don't want to go into deep specifics on how you know but if you Google it you will see what doctors can look for.

There have been many new mothers lately and most of them who've talked to me have had Dr. Thompson as their doctor. They've told me that whatever gender he says it will be, then it WILL be that gender. No one has yet told me that he's been wrong. So I trust what he says!

He was able to see that she's very healthy and has less then 1% chance of down syndrome and other diseases that they're able to look for at this point.

There was one point it really looked like she had the hiccups. It was such a moment and I wish I could have somehow been able to keep the video to review of the ultrasound. I can't wait for the 21 week ultrasound!!

14.4.10

Setting up an Etsy Shop

Wow, I haven't written in this blog for forever. Things go way too hectic!
I'll try to get better at this.

So I've been watching a couple friends of mine crafting their own things and have been feeling the itch to start doing some personal crafting and selling myself.

I'm currently looking into Lampwork beadmaking. Unfortunately I'm having trouble finding a class to learn it (and see if it's something I really will enjoy doing) that isn't over an hour's drive from where I live.

But I've still set up a shop that has nothing listed in it haha
StormGazerdesigns.etsy.com