Business Owner · Girly Girl

Broken Jewlery Crafting

You may remember a while back when I made a few broken jewelry projects for Charming Charlie.  Well now that things have settled down, I wanted to use the rest of the jewelry they sent me to make a jeweled wood letter for one of my readers!
On a whim, I uploaded a giveaway onto Tip Junkie a week later, I picked a random winner.  Of course, her letter was “E” one of the biggest letters in the alphabet.  {{giggle}}  That thing used SO much jewelry and was HEAVY!  Poor thing – I don’t envy her trying to mount that bad boy on a frame.  {{snicker}}
I think it turned out gorgeous!  It took me 6 hours to make as my jewelry supply was quickly diminishing and I was having to make cute pieces out of random pieces by hot gluing them together.  It was quite the project – but a stunning end result.  The picture doesn’t do it justice – it’s breathtaking.
Afterwards, I was so bummed that I didn’t make one for ME!  {{d’oh!}}  Dude, I’m a looser.  But I’m so glad that I was able to make one for a deserving reader.
My index finger on my left hand got in the way at one point and now I have the grodiest hot glue gun burn on it.  Drake was so grossed out he wouldn’t let me touch him for 2 days after seeing it!  Now I have to promise that it’s almost healed before he’ll kiss me.
{{yeah – it’s that gross}}  So I’ll spare you the shock and won’t upload a photo.
This is the “C” that I made for Chanda.  She’s been working for me on Tip Junkie and I cannot tell you how much her help has meant to me.  To say that she’s been a lifesaver is an understatement.  I wanted to do something for her to let her know how much I appreciate all her hard work!  This is how it turned out! 

What do you think?

Business Owner · Family Cruise Director

Reliving Christmas Memories {cuz I’m finally uploading them – HA!}

{Visiting Nana}
 Ahhh, Christmas memories…  This year December was a complete blur as I overcommitted myself with work.  It was a good kind of work which brought once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and made this Christmas extra special for our family.
I worked with TJ Maxx/Marshalls and GameStop which was a lot of fun and once again made me get out of my comfort zone and learn something new.  
Free Printable Crafts Homemade Gift Ideas
DIY Party Ideas Homemade Christmas Crafts

I also launched 4 new sites, which took me 2 months just to design on paper {{giggle}}:
I adore these new sites!  Not only are the Tip Junkie girls all dressed up cute, but these new blogs feature “the best of the best” within their niche.  They are perfect for quick browsing with powerful search functionality. {{love it!}}  
They have exceeded my expectations and I believe are the next generation of “content aggregation” blogs. Believe it or not, they are only in phase 1 – as I have big plans for these new Tip Junkie girls.  {{evil laugh}}
{Drake w/ Barry’s Kids}
I was teaching them to tilt their head for the photo.  HA!

We visited a lot of family before Christmas.  Scott {my 3rd brother} game up from College Station for a quick visit.  It was great to see him and the boys LOVED rough-housing with him.  He reminded me so much of the time when Jason was in college and I was working.  Man, that was such a stressful time in our lives.  Being broke and not knowing what the future holds – just sucks!  {{poor Scott}}
Then we headed over to Houston and saw my Mom and Barry’s family {my 2nd brother}.  My mother flew in from California for Christmas.  Sadly, I only took one picture while we were visiting.  I was having so much fun – I completely forgot to capture the moments on film.  {{“L” on forehead}}

Lastly, we spent a couple days with Jason’s family.  Betty {Jason’s mom} and Gary live on the river.  So the boys had so much fun fishing, shooting, and all things outdoors.

After several attempts, Drakie finally successfully fed the cat 1/2 a fish.  Yep, we had just caught it from the river and Gramma chopped it up for Drake to feed it to the cat.  {{grodie}}  Not your everyday occurrence in the burbs where we live.  {{snicker}}

As the sun was setting I took a quick picture of Jason and I on the dock.  {{awe!}}

It just goes to show that “environment” has a LOT to do with your upbringing.  Who would have known that three little computer nerds would love being outdoors so much!  I can’t pay them to play in the back yard at home.  I guess I need a … lake… dead fish … tractor… ?

{sigh} Ok.  So I married a native Texan.  Yes, when I met Jason he was a wrangler wearing cowboy who ironed his jeans.  {no kidding} I’ve done a great job at prepping him up – but a girl can only do so much.

Jason fondly remembers getting his first gun when he was 10.  Therefore, he’s been wanting to get the boys a gun for quite a while now. Living in the burbs – I’ve been able to successfully dodge this issue for quite some time now.  Well, no longer…

As of this Christmas, my boys are now the proud owners of their own air pellet gun.  {{what?!?}}  I know, I know.  I assure you it was beyond my control.  
We let them open it up early since we were in the country at Gramma’s & Grandpas.  They have their own little shooting range all set up and ready to go.  So Jason and the older boys spent days shooting guns.  
Seeing how strict Jason and Grandpa were with them, and how particular they were with the rules, I have to say that I’m no longer freaked out.  I was seriously impressed at how careful the boys were and how much they respected the rules and understood the seriousness of holding a rifle.  They spent hours just learning about guns, safety, and proper technique.  I would have thought they would have gotten majorly bored – but they didn’t.
It’s so weird seeing my little boys grow up right before my eyes!
Christmas Morning

So the ONLY thing Drake wanted for Christmas was the Trio Batcave.  Santa did not disappoint. Drake could not have been happier Christmas morning.  Although, to this day – he has yet to play with it alone.  {{pulling hair out!}}  He’ll only play with it if I make on of the boys play with him.  Dude – I don’t get this kid.  He spent 2 months asking for it.  {{scratching head}}
For the older boys, I set up a 3 clue scavenger hunt for them to find their big gift from Jason and me.  Sorry Santa – you don’t get credit for this one.  It’s all mine!  {{evil laugh}}
After running up and down and around the house, the boys arrived into the study where their new computers where waiting for them!  They were blown away and completely shocked.  It was a cool moment as a parent.

Jason’s work has this program where they earn “reward points”.  Over the year, he had earned enough points for 2 free computer monitors.  {{squeal}}  Shhhh… don’t tell the boys but their gifts were not as expensive as they appear.  Jason built the CPU’s.  Now Jason, Davis, and Dylan can all play their game against each other at the same time!  They’re loving it.

It’s not very often that you get to look like a rockstar in your child’s eyes.  Jason and I thoroughly enjoyed this moment. {{boy do we have them fooled}}

I have a philosophy for Christmas morning fun for everyone. Therefore, I try to get the boys:

Something to build
A video game to play
A toy for their imagination (usually the toy to build)
Something to play with outside
A board game
A big gift from Santa

Pre-Christmas work is mine, but Christmas Day work is a Jason!  He’s the one that gets to put batteries in everything, put things together, and do all the dude stuff.  He’s great at it.
Like last year, most of the kiddos gifts came from the companies I worked with.  GameStop sent Drake a new DSi and some games.  {{thank heaven}}  He loves it.

Jason got a smoker and a gaming mouse for WOW.  My gifts came from TJ Maxx & Marshalls.  I was boring and very practical:  new plates, pot, towels, and bathroom decor for Dylan’s bathroom.  I know, I’m so boring. I can’t help it.

{Davis is always good at being overly grateful}}

Christmas morning was a wonderful memory that we’ll all cherish for years to come.  Looking back, I’m just so flippin’ grateful for the opportunities that Tip Junkie has given us.

Even the boys have expressed their gratitude for “my store”.  That’s what I started calling it years ago when they were too young to understand what a blog was.  Our lives have most certainly been enriched.  I’ll always be most grateful for this ride and this special opportunity of doing what I love.  It’s so rare.

Business Owner

My Gig with Marhsalls & TJ Maxx

Do you remember when Proctor and Gamble flew me out and I got to meet Tim Gunn?  Well, I got another great trip this time to the head offices at Marshalls & TJ Maxx. I already blogged about it over on Tip Junkie and that lead to another great gig.

They have contracted me out to create three gift guides for them.

  1. 12 Days of Christmas for the Family – complete with printable tags and poems
  2. Gift Guide for Men – I’m giving away a $200 gift card {enter quick!}
  3. Gift Guide for Kids

So that’s what I’ve been doing – shopping! {{giggle}}  It has actually really opened my eyes to a completely new way of buying brand names.  I tell ya, this one has been life changing.  I do not like to dig through stuff – I want to see it laid out pretty on a cute rack.  Well, they do that at both TJ Maxx and Marshalls – it just takes a bit getting used to the layout of the stores.

HA!  Who knew I would be the one to learn so much and have such a great time showing people how to shop.  I’m so grateful for this new gig and completely humbled for the opportunity.  I just hope I don’t screw it up.  {{crossing fingers!}}

Business Owner · Girly Girl

DIY Crafts: Broken Jewelry Initial

I landed the coolest job with Charming Charlie in October. I made three broken jewelry projects they’ve posted them on all onto their site.  My favorite by far was the broken jewelry initial that I made entirely out of Charming Charlie accessories.  {{squeal}}

I’ve hooked you up with video as well as pictured instructions.  Here you go:

I’m such a dork in the videos but I really like how the projects turned out.  Each one has it’s own vibe and it was such an amazing opportunity. The silver “C” I made is my favorite.  I believe they’re going to give it away on but I haven’t seen it live yet.

About Laurie · Business Owner

How I Celebrated My Birthday

Thanks to my dear friend Lisa for the cake!  A little piece of heaven.

This year I spent my birthday in the most beautiful place on earth for a crafty mom-preneur, The Creative Connection Event. I blogged all about what I learned and who I met over on Tip Junkie:

How to Launch a Business
How to Use Social Media as a Marketing Tool
Entrepreneur Lunch Panel
Taking Business to the Next Level
Getting Published and Editorial Credit
The Future Face of Retail ~ The Digital Marketplace

    As an aspiring business woman myself, I was honored to rub shoulders with uber successful women like Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, blogger, turned business woman, turned author, she’s the next “Rachael Ray”.  Ree is so gracious and it was a highlight getting to chat with her several times throughout the weekend.

    Heather Bailey, graphics designer and blogger, who now licenses her designs with major corporations and has a fabric line, pattern line, and stationary line. I’m sure we’ll see her in Target very soon if she’s not already.  She’ll be a household name very soon as I’m sure she’ll pattern her product  line like “Martha Stewart Crafts”.  I’m in awe of her talent.

    Amy Butler is already uber famous as her patterns and fabrics are out of this world! She’s cute and kind as can be.

    I was at the event on an official capacity as one of the social media corespondents.  However, it wasn’t all work.  We headed over to the Mall of America, rode some roller coasters and a fabulous dinner.

    We went shopping at the Junk Bonanza!  It was really cool and reminded me of Canton but a lot more eclectic.  It was incredible to experience.

    It was completely appropriate to spend my birthday with these amazing women and fellow bloggers.  This year I decided to “go big or quit” with Tip Junkie.  Instead of riding the trends, I decided to take the bull by the horns and really see if I could make a career and full time living with

    It’s been a heck of a lot of work and I’ve had to really focus on my goals and keep moving forward.  However, all the long hours have finally paid off and my goals have been realized.  Was it worth the sacrifices my family and I have made the past year?  Absolutely!  I’ve always believed that short-term sacrifice for long-term results is something that’s worth it for sure.

    What’s next? Well, I’m not quite sure.  I know that I’m going to sleep, a lot!  I’m going to start asking for help and collaborating more.  I’ll still be traveling, speaking, and attending events.  I’m open to what the future brings… so we’ll see.

    My entire childhood I grew up feeling like I was different and that my talents were very peculiar and unusual.  I cannot even begin to share with you the joy and gratitude I feel now as an adult finding my place and being able to use those strange talents to help others and make life a little more beautiful.  I have found purpose, a career, and a heck of a lot of joy in what I do.

    Being surrounded by women who also share my passions and unique talents has been a huge surprise and a major bonus! 

    I’m honored to be among such a talented and driven group of women.  They get me and I get them.  We have really formed long-lasting friendship and are constantly lifting each other up. We Skype, text, chat on the phone, email, Facebook, and even Tweet each other.  I consider this crazy online sisterhood a true gift and one I don’t take for granted.

    My friends in  real life also did not disappoint.  They threw me a delightful lunch where I accidentally insulted the waiter {“L” on forehead}, laughed so hard my side hurt, and teared up as I genuinely adore these women.  They are the women I rely on every day to help me carpool, plan fun outings with, get advice from, and gain strength from.  We vacation together as families, celebrate birthdays with, and they are amazing examples of who I am trying to become. 

    Ah, and then there’s my sister.  She has truly become my rock and best friend.  Honestly, I have no idea how she puts up with me, my work schedule, and all of my responsibilities.  But she’s always there and encouraging.  I hope to return the favor from here on out.  She most certainly deserves everything that life has to offer.  She’s the most generous, sincere, and thoughtful person you’ll ever meet.  Plus she’s so sarcastic and a hell of a lot of fun!

    Huge thanks to everyone for making my birthday so much fun.  It’s one I’ll never forget or take for granted.  I feel honored to have so many genuine friends who each have their own unique talents that I just adore them for.  You’re the best!

    Business Owner · Reader

    My First eBook is Here!

    It’s finally here! After months of soul searching, writing, and editing, I’m finally ready to launch my first e-Book: Moments that Endure are Memories that Matter.

    It’s a free and a quick read. It’s also jam-packed with real life experiences as well as tried & true strategies I’ve used for years. We can each turn around what is endured in our lives by embellishing life with fun celebrations and loving memories.

    • Do you ever feel the need to create and you don’t know why?
    • Do you see others lives as more memorable than your own?
    • Would you like some simple ways to combine your talents to save time and create beautiful memories?

    I feel like if you know something, you should share it. So that’s my goal. I’m going to expose my simple strategies for making moments that matter for you, your family, and friends.

    “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
    – Abraham Lincoln

    You see, to me Tip Junkie isn’t just a craft blog, it’s a way to embellish life and to help those little moments endure in our memories forever. Life is tough! My job is to add the glitter. {{wink}}

    As a bonus gift in the eBook, the fabulous Amy Locurto has designed a “Girls Night Out” party pack with “Memories that Matter” photo mats just for Tip Junkies! {{squeal in delight}}

    To Get the free eBook and printables: 
    Subscribe to the Tip Junkie Newsletter

    You can also get this coordinating party favor purse over on Amy’s Blog.
    Blogger · Business Owner

    Fabric Care University with Tim Gunn

    Last week Proctor and Gamble flew me out to attend the Fabric Care University and edu-macated moi on the process of cleaning laundry.

    I was stoked! Finally I will get the ins and outs on how to get my whites white and stains out of my boys clothing.  Better late than never!  {{wink}}

    Friday night we all met up at a gallery for a little get-to-know-you party and our host was Tim Gunn from Project Runway! {{squeal in delight}}

    He was completely delightful and exactly how he is on the show; engaging, kind, and fabulous.  He did a quick introduction of Proctor and Gamble and Tide then surprised us with a challenge.

    That’s right, we were divided into groups according to the colors on our name badges and then had 30 minutes to turn a plain white t shirt into something completely different and unexpected only using a few items and a glue gun from a bag on the counter.

    The pressure was on people!  I’ve watched every episode of Project Runway and I wasn’t going down with out fight.  Luckily, I had a group who felt exactly the same way and we went to town.

    Our goal was to use the items in unexpected ways and to eliminate all the white from the shirt.  The blue at the bottom was actually the inside of the bag that all of our supplies were in!  No one else use the bag, and no one else covered the entire t shirt.

    As we were preparing to present to Tim Gunn, Daniel suggested that we say that we were inspired by “Tide yellow”.  That dude is brilliant!

    The back was crisscross black lace.  It’s not practical by any means but it won us FIRST PLACE, baby!  Yep, that’s right.  Out of all 5 of the contenders Tim Gunn thought our was the best.  {{shoot yeah}

    Each member of our team won a $50 gift certificate.

    It was such a crazy fun night.  I was able to recconnect with some amazing women I’ve been in the blog conference circuit as well as meet some new fabulous women.

    Yes, I had a blast but I also learned SO much!


    Q.  How to get Whites the Whitest:

    Did you know that people in different parts of the world have different opinions on what is white?  For instance, we in the US want our whites to have a blue hugh while someone in another country wants a yellow hugh.  Who knew?!?

    Well, Proctor and Gamble does.  They can recreate any water condition anywhere on the planet and that’s how they test their products.  They use microscopes to compare their cleaning enzymes with their competitors to make sure that Tide is the best.

    A.  Tide power with Bleach
    If you want your whites to be white with a blue hugh use poweredered Tide with Bleach.  Fill your water and when it’s 1/2 way full, drop in your Tide.  Once it’s full then put in all of your clothing.

    {{I don’t have time for that so I’ll have to stick with my method of dump in Tide, let fill a little and then put in my clothes.  Sorry P&G}}

    Q.  When & Why do you Use Fabric Softener?

    I had no idea the importance of fabric softener.  I actually thought it was a gimmick used to make more money.  HA!

    A.  Fabric Softener is used to keep the fibers in your clothing from splitting
    which causes fade and wear.  You put it in the fabric softener compartment of your washer and it will distribute during the spin cycle.  OR if you don’t have a dispenser because you threw it away {{like I did}} you can use the Downy Ball.

    Why is it important?  Because the nicer your clothes look and feel, the longer you’ll keep them.  It saves you money, honey.

    Q.  Why is there so many Tide options these days?

    Again, I thought this was a total gimmick to try and make more money with a marketing effort.  {{yes I’m a bit jaded}}But Dude!  You would not believe the science that goes into Tide.  It’s seriously impressive. 

    A.  Due to the changes in fabric each season and for different fabrics, the folks over at Tide are constantly evolving as we evolve.  For instance, the coolest thing I learned was about Tide Sport.  You know the Under Armor that takes away your sweat when you work out?  Well that fabric is specifically designed to trap the sweat inside it.

    The problem:  Your washing machine doesn’t get the trapped sweat out of the Under Armor!  No ma’am.  That is why certain types of clothing stink even after they are washed.  It’s because all of that grodie mess didn’t get out.   {{yuck!}}  Tide Sport has a special enzyme that opens up the fabric particles that trapped the sweat – then another enzyme that grabs the sweat and traps it so that it is drained into the water in your machine.


    Yes, it’s that cool.  I learned even more but I’m waiting on some cool materials that they’ll be sending me so I can give it to you straight and not give you my lay-mans rendition.  {{wink}}

    Q.  What Did You Walk Away Learning The Most?

    A.  You can use just one Tide product and you’ll get by just fine.  It’s designed for that.  Tide is forumated with some cool enzymes that no other product on the market has.  However, if you want really awesome clothes that look great longer, well, then you need to have a couple differnent Tides.

    Laurie’s Laundry Suggestions:

    Use Tide with Bleach Power for your Whites and White Sheets – wash on hot.
    Use regular Tide for colored sheets and towels – was on hot.
    Use Tide Sport for Under Armor, Sport Clothes, Mowing the Lawn Clothes, etc.
    Use Tide Coldwater for everything else – wash on cold to save money honey!
    Must buy a Downy ball.
    I’m not going to go out and buy them all at once, just over time I’ll start my collection.  I have all boys and doing laundry right is a big deal.  I spend way too much money on new clothes because I don’t wash them correctly and take care of them like I should.

    Stay Tuned – More to Come…

    Business Owner · Girly Girl

    Lisa’s Birthday Party

    This year for Lisa’s birthday I tried to pull out all the stops. It was a crazy week as it was the kids last week of school with all of their events, ceremonies, and traditions. But we made it work.

    I cooked Lisa’s birthday luncheon from scratch! This is a huge labor of love since I hate to cook and I’m terrible at it. I wanted to show Lisa how much I appreciate her and our relationship. She’s an amazing sister.

    I also made her a birthday board game customized just for her! You can find the tutorial over on Executive Homemaker if you’re interested. We learned a ton about Lisa and laughed so hard.

    Her cards and presents were fabulous.  We were in stitches pretty much the entire afternoon.

    Lisa got a head messager that gives you the weirdest sensation.  Lisa loved it…

    but I couln’t stand it!  I almost smacked poor Elise as it sent tremors down my entire body.  Seriously, they should use that instead of waterboarding to torture people.  I’d say and do anything to make it stop!

    It was such a crazy fun lunch with some of the most genuine and hysterical people we know.  Lisa has some amazing people in her life and I couldn’t be more proud of her and the woman she is today.

    Business Owner · Mother of Boys

    The Best Teachers Ev-ah!

    Since the day I featured these beauties on Tip Junkie; I just knew that one day I would have to make them. Well it finally happened last week!  I printed out this darling apple circle card which comes with a coordinating tag. {{squeal in delight}}

    I made the teachers end of the school year appreciation gifts – Crayon Initial Plaques. They were so much fun to make and were really easy.

    (I printed their names on textured white paper, cut the crayons, and hot glued them to frames. I took out the glass but you could also use shadow boxes.)

    Davis had the best year thanks to this lovely lady!  Seriously, these four angels were brought into our lives at just the right year.  With Jason traveling and getting his MBA this year has been so hard on me.  I took SO much comfort knowing that the boys were in good hands.

    Being this was Davis’ first year in Intermediate school – it could have been disastrous.  Instead he said it was amazing!

    You can just tell how much these women just adore Davis.  I adore them as well!!

    Dylan is so sad to be leaving Christina’s class.  {{She was also Davis’ 3rd grade teacher.}}  Luckily they’ll be seeing her often now that the Bachelorette is back on the tube.  Can you say “Girls Night!”  {{giggle}}

    These teachers were deliberately brought into my boys life this year and they made all the difference in the world.  Dylan only missed 2 on the Reading TAKS and Davis only missed 2 on the Math TAKS.  {{total opposites as usual}}  
    They will both be in Gifted & Talented next year and I believe whole-heartedly it is because they have had the most dedicated and understanding teachers who have pushed when they needed to and have loved them always.  I feel so very blessed to be acquainted with such amazing women.  They are truly teachers who go above and beyond. 

    Business Owner

    Tip Junkie Birthday Bash!

    I am hosting the 3rd Annual Birthday Bash June 14th – 19th with fabulous prizes and over 120 birthday party ideas and tutorials.

    I’d love for you to be included:

    • Do you have a birthday party file or printable you’d like to share with other mothers?  Submit it so we can all save time and enjoy it too.

    YAY!  It’s actually my favorite week out of the year as I feature the most creative and cool parties.  You know how I like a party.  {{wink}}