DIY Dreamcatcher

I was invited to do a craft for a local Martin Luther King, Jr. segment on a local T.V. show and a friend recommended a dreamcatcher. I immediately fell in love with the idea (and can't believe I've never made one here on Maker Mama before!). Of course I had to put my own creative reuse twist on it. So I cut up some t-shirt yarn and used the inner ring of an old embroidery hoop.

When I talked about the craft with my youngest daughter, I realized she didn't even know what a dreamcatcher is! I described that they catch all of the bad dreams in their 'web' and only let the good thoughts and dreams trickle down to our minds. She cleverly said, "Maybe we should put them over our beds?" Bingo. Although they are traditionally hung over your bed while you sleep, they're great to hang anywhere. Scroll on down to see a video on how to make your own DIY Dreamcatcher, and I'll be posting soon on how to make your own t-shirt yarn, as well!

What big happy dreams do you have for 2017?

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How to Donate Your Stuff Without Leaving the House

I don't know about y'all, but this time of year always has me itching to clear out the junk in my house. I grew up in a home that wasn't usually tidy. Or if it was, it was fleeting. And I, in turn, am not gifted with natural tendencies towards organization. There was a long time when I let myself feel guilty about this, and although I don't enjoy when my house is messy, I've learned to show myself grace instead. (Working full-time with four kiddos, and keeping the house spick and span on top of that is a tall order.)

I have a bit of a quirky, ideas-always-spinning personality and the cacophony of objects compiled in my home is a part of where my creativity comes from--and a result of it--which came first I can't be sure.  (And I'm not just making this up, check out Elite Daily's article on the psychology behind messy rooms--and their awesome 360° video.)

Looking at clean surfaces (and floors in my kids' rooms) is definitely calming though. So I do try to weed things out at least a couple times of year. My kids' rooms are most definitely the culprit in gobbling up the most stuff to sort through. 

As a result of my semi-regular weeding, I often have another pile of stuff ready to haul to the thrift store. This pile lies out of sight, fortunately, and inside of a vintage wardrobe in my dining room. Ideally I'd only be using it to store the coats, jackets, and reusable grocery bags I also have in there, but I'm showing myself some grace there, too, for now. (Long-lasting organization is all about baby steps for me). 

So I've had a giant mound of old clothes, books, and household odds and ends I've been saving to donate to Goodwill. I keep meaning to empty it, haul it out to my car and swing on by the donation station. And Lord knows I've been to the thrift store a hundred times and have had every opportunity to clean out my closet. (I did a huge weed out of my clothes a couple years back.) 

So when I stumbled across Amazon and Goodwill's partnership to reuse brown boxes to send donations directly to Goodwill--free of charge--I was all over it. I'm an avid Amazon shopper during the holidays (and always)--I couldn't tell you how many times their Prime shipping has saved my hiney. 

I still had a stack of boxes left over from Christmas when I learned about this program. There are actually a number of retailer's boxes you can reuse. The only stipulations are that you can't send anything liquid, hazardous (duh), or electronics. Have some articles of clothing that are less than stellar? Many Goodwills recycle clothing that is not fit for the sales rack. 

And if you're smart, you can sign up to have your packages picked up for free as well. Don't have a Goodwill near you? No worries, they'll find the closest one to ship it to. And you can sign up to receive a tax deductible receipt. I'd say it's a win-win overall. Check out all the details and print out your free shipping labels at

What will you be weeding out of your house in the new year?  

Looking for more ways to get organized? Check out my Recycled Desk Organizer and a roundup of 12 Thrift Store Organizing Ideas.
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Family Photos with Vanessa Velazquez Photography

It's been years since I've had professional photos taken with the kids, but this year I felt compelled to make it happen. After a number of hospital visits this past fall and just a heavy year in general, I wanted to be sure to take a moment and capture the joy of our loud and boisterous family.

We originally scheduled to take photos the weekend after Thanksgiving, but were thwarted when Amelia got a black eye playing in the backyard (we did make it to the Christmas tree farm though), and then it rained the following weekend. We crossed our fingers the third time around and the weather aligned and the magic happened!

Our photographer was Vanessa Velazquez, a wonderful friend, and we chose the park at Landa Library--we've gone there after school for years and it holds such fond memories. And it's a perfect spot for photos. My crew was as crazy as ever, but we had a wonderful time and Vanessa was excellent with the kids. So without further ado, here are a million photos that bring me all the joy. I hope you find the glimpses of joy over your holiday weekend no matter how heavy your year has been!

O Christmas Tree

I think we've discovered a new Christmas tradition. We've bought a real tree each year for a while now, but always from the hardware store or a roadside tent. And I've always been one to wait a little longer to put one up for the season, adamant about making a separation between Advent and Christmas. But life changes and I decided I wanted to soak up every moment of the holidays I could with the kids, so this year we made a trip out to Divine Acre Farms the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

I don't recall ever having a live tree growing up, but I did have a childhood friend who always had one. I remember the scent and playing with our little toys in the pine needles on the floor. It's funny how simple memories like that make their way into our minds. But the memories we keep are so often about the emotions they evoke, aren't they? I think that might be why, despite the perceived hassle of picking out and hauling it home (let alone cutting one down--and then wrestling with the tree stand!), I've made it a point to buy a live one for so long now. And I've always read that it's friendlier for the environment, which pulls at my heartstrings, of course.

Halloween Costumes 2016 Edition

It's been a while since I've popped in here on the blog. Life as a full-time working single mama is definitely a flurry, but creative living is still my passion and what better time to unleash that than Halloween? I didn't do any sewing whatsoever for our costumes this year, but there was certainly thrifting, hot glueing, face painting, and hair dyeing! And I didn't quite get a photo of me and all of the kiddos (Liam the wolf had already run off to a friend's house), but I'll give you the run down on all of their costumes! 
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