Oct 2, 2014

Where I've Been.

Y'all.

Life is......

Whew. 

I'm exhausted. 

I haven't been blogging because life is ca-razy right now.  I plan on blogging about most of these things individually, but I'd like to give you a quick glimpse of where I've been and why I haven't been blogging. 

My Cousin Got Married

I am crazy blessed to have very large families on both my mom and dad's sides of the family.  My cousins are like siblings to me.  So you better believe that when my cousin Amanda asked me to be a part of her wedding, I wasn't missing it.  It was a gorgeous wedding of purple, simplicity and a whooooole lot of Journey music.  My favorite picture from the wedding: 


My sister, two cousins and myself.  It makes me a tiny bit teary. 



Avery Turned Three.  And Had a Birthday Party.

I really struggled when Avery turned one and two.  But three seemed like such a natural progression.  Maybe because we'd been knee-deep in three year old attitude for months before her actual birthday?  This is a topic that's going to get lots more blog post time, so I'll leave you with this video of our local morning radio show giving my sweet girl a shout out.  Be still my heart. 


Family Vacation to Seaside, FL.

My aunt and uncle live near Seaside, Florida, and Marty and I hadn't had a family vacation for just our little family in a very long time.  So we loaded Avery up and traveled to the beach for an incredible, MUCH NEEDED family vacation.  We stayed at my aunt and uncle's house, which is also inhabited by three Jack Russell terriers.  Jude, Sal and Lucky.  Jude and Sal LOVED Avery.  If Avery sat down, they sat down right beside her.  If Avery walked into the bedroom, Jude and Sal followed close behind.  


Meet Jude.  He's obsessed with oyster shells and pine cones.  Pine cones aren't allowed in the house, but shells are...and if you throw one for him to catch, he'll be your best friend forever.  Disclaimer:  you have to throw the shells ALL. DAY. LONG.  He never gets tired of it.  I would hear Avery in the other room saying "Otay Jude.  I'm dunna frow it, but dis is da last time, otay??"


Case in point. 


Meet Sal.  Hyper, uncontrollable, but super snuggly.  He just wants to be exactly like Jude and gets a little.....exuberant in his attempts (don't let this picture fool you).  He loooooooooooved Avery.

Despite that, Avery's favorite was Lucky--the oldest dog that basically does her own thing and doesn't give you the time of day unless you're bothering her.  Avery apparently likes to work for attention?

The disinterest.  The disdain.  Avery ADORED her.  Go figure.

I can't decide though, what was Avery's favorite part of the trip:  the beach, or getting to borrow Aunt Elaine's lipstick and purses for dinner.  


Disney World.  Twice.

Marty and I had our Florida trip planned for a little while.  One day, he came home and surprised Avery and I with MagicBands and told us we'd be spending a few days at Disney after our beach trip was over.  Much more on this trip to come.....


Two weeks after I got back from our short Disney trip, I left again for a girl's weekend at Disney World.  There were 10 of us.  We wore matching pink shirts and the "Mean Girls" jokes were rampant.  It was SO. MUCH. FUN.


Harry Potter World

While in Orlando for the weekend, my cousin Emily, sister Dayna and I visited the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter."  Holy crap, guys.  Are you a HP fan?  Do you practice saying "Wingardium Leviosa?"  Have you been dreaming of the owl that will show up at your house with your acceptance letter to Hogwarts?  Then you HAVE to visit HP World at Universal Studios (actually, first, we HAVE to be best friends.  Then go visit HP World).  More on this trip later too.


I Learned How to Arm Knit

It is exactly what it sounds like....knitting, using your arms.  I used this video by Simply Maggie.  Don't let people lie to you.  Crap's not easy.  That video says you can make one in 15 minutes.  Not your first time you won't (unless you're amazingly talented at knitting to begin with.....which I am not.).  It took me an hour.  But, when you do get the hang of it, it's addictive.  I've already bought 4 more skeins of yarn to make more.  



Avery Started Gymnastics

Tuesday is now Avery's favorite day of the week, because it means gymnastics class.  This kid LOVES gymnastics.  She talks about it all week.  She wears her leotard around the house all week. She asks if it's Tuesday all week.   



I'm About to Launch a New "Business"

Some of you may already know, but I have my 28th and Hudson painting "business."  With my crazy life and the amount of time it takes to paint, I haven't been doing much work on that end.  But I still need a creative outlet.  So, I've decided to launch a new business--"28th and Hudson: Hand Lettering."  Do you have wedding, birthday, baby shower, baby announcement, etc invitations to address?  Want something a little more unique than just a name and address on an envelope?  Then I'm your girl!  I'm hoping to launch this weekend, but I have a few paintings to finish up first.  



Finally, I Planned a Wedding.

Not mine, obviously.  About a year ago, a girl I went to college with approached me about the idea of helping plan her wedding.  I've always said that I wanted to be a wedding planner, so this was the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet in the wedding planning world.  Let me tell you.  Helping plan a wedding isn't easy.  I didn't sleep the entire week before and I ended up getting sick that weekend.  But the wedding went off without a hitch and I couldn't have been more pleased with the results.  Do I still want to be a wedding planner?  Ask me in six months.



So.  That's where I've been and why I've been woefully neglectful of my sweet blog.  Maybe soon, I'll get a chance to stop and take a breather and blog regularly again! 

Sep 19, 2014

Miscarriage: a year later.

I've been absent from the blogging world.  I apologize.  Life is moving at blazing speed and I'm over here just trying to keep up.  It's not that I've had a lack of things to talk about, because Lord knows I could go on and on about our trips to Disney World, Avery's sassy attitude that's rearing its ugly head, sleep issues, my home decor journey, or even random junk that pops in my brain.  It's just that have had no time to even think about blogging.

I thought it might be appropriate to come back to blogging on a very important date in my life.  The date that changed me.

A year ago today, I was sitting in my gynecologist's office, staring at an ultrasound screen, praying that the tech would find something.  I looked through the grey, black and white fuzziness, willing a heartbeat to show up.  Instead, I looked at an empty sac.  The same empty sac that sat beside another empty sac a week before, that Marty and I were told could be our twins.  The same empty sacs that we were told could be a myriad of things.  We were told those two yoke sacs could be twins.  One yoke sac was perfectly round, and the other being irregular and misshapen.  I was told to prepare myself for a variety of options.  Twins, one being healthy, the other one could miscarry.  Twins, one being healthy, one having possible birth defects when it was born.  One baby and one mass of tissue.  Or, the final option that I didn't even want to consider, no babies.  Since I was very early in my pregnancy, we still weren't able to see any heartbeats.  I left that appointment, head spinning.  Twins.  One baby.  No babies.  Birth defects.  Miscarrying.  I didn't even know where to begin my prayers.  Over the course of a week, from one appointment to the next, I found myself just repeating the words "Please let me see heartbeats."

But the next week, a year ago today, we came back.  Only to be greeted with one, little white circle on the ultrasound screen, not two, and still no heartbeat.  I sat in confusion, not knowing what I was looking at.  Did this mean that the second, abnormal circle was a fluke?  Was it just the mass of tissue they talked about and we were looking at one baby?  But at this point, surely by this point, we should be seeing something in the ways of a heartbeat.  The ultrasound tech didn't say much, just told us that she was going to get my gynecologist to get his opinion.  He looked quickly at the screen and told us that he was going to take it to the other doctors in the practice and see what they thought and we could wait for him in a regular room.  By this point, my mind is racing.  I knew, deep down, something was wrong.  In fact, before any of this had happened--before the doctor visits, before the ultrasounds, before we knew anything, other than the fact that I had taken a test and the words "Pregnant" had shown up--I had the feeling that something was wrong.  I had absolutely no evidence to support that, it was just a gut feeling I had that something wasn't right with this pregnancy.  So, here I was, sitting in a sterile room, waiting for confirmation of that gut feeling.  And it came.

A blighted ovum.  The technical definition: "when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop."  In layman's terms, I got pregnant, but nothing ever developed.  No baby.  I eventually miscarried almost a month later, which was a messy story involving the E.R. and tons of blood loss.

So, here I am.  A year later.  It's been a difficult year.  Every day, I struggle with my place in grieving and feeling a sense of loss.  Yes, I was pregnant and yes, I miscarried.  Yes, I am pro-life and believe that life begins at conception.  In my case though, I never had a baby.  It's not like I had a fetus develop and the baby's heart stopped beating.  It's not like I even had a fetus develop who never had a heart.  I had no fetus.  No baby.  Most days, I feel guilty for grieving a baby.  Heartbreakingly, I had so many of you reach out to me when I told you all about my situation.  So many of you that told me your stories of miscarriage and loss.  As someone who technically didn't have a baby to lose, I feel guilty.  These ladies have a true sense of losing their child.  I can't say that.  I feel like a fraud in my grief.  Should I be grieving a fertilized egg?  The pregnancy itself?  The potential for what my life could have been if things had gone the "right way?" Who am I to say that I can count myself one of them in my grief, when I truly feel like I can't?

It's a daily struggle.  Some days are great.  I think about what may have been, with a sense of peace and knowing that I am on the path I'm supposed to be on.  Some days, I cry for no reason.  Pregnancy announcements still get to me.  I can't help but feel jealous.  I've stopped talking about a second child as if it's a guaranteed thing.  I used to say "when we have another child."  Now, I catch myself saying "if we have another."  Don't get me wrong, I desperately want another child.  Avery is incredible.  She is my number one priority in life and loving her is unlike any feeling I've ever experienced.  I am fulfilled being Avery's mom.  But it was never the plan to make her an only child.  The past year has just hardened my optimism a little.  I have stopped planning what a year may look like because I did that in the past and look where I am now.  I never dreamt a miscarriage would be part of my story, but there it is.

A year later, I'm scarred, more sad and empty and a little less hopeful, but I'm here.  I survived that chapter and I've turned a page.  I still have an amazing husband.  Our miscarriage wasn't easy on our marriage.  Extreme amounts of stress on both our ends and my depression and emotional state didn't make for many sunny days, but we're better.  The miscarriage is part of our marital story too.  We're still together and stronger because of it.  It would have been easy in those days for Marty to leave me.  To tell me that he'd had enough and to not be able to understand why I didn't want to get out of bed some days or why our house was a disaster because I couldn't summon the energy to even wipe a counter down.  But he didn't.  He may have been frustrated and unable to understand what I was going through, but at the end of the day, he was still there.  If we can make it through losing his mom and a miscarriage in the span of less than a year, I truly believe Marty and I can make it through anything we face together.

I still have Avery.  I'm still blessed every day to wake up as Avery's mom.  To be able to go to her room, smooth down her sweat-soaked, sleep-tossed hair and know that I have a child that needs me. Avery brings joy and laughter to any situation.  She's constantly asking me for a brother or a sister (primarily, I think, because she reasons that she can ride in one of the double seat carts at Target because there will be two kids in the family).  How do you explain to a toddler that you don't know if you'll ever be able to do that for her?  You don't.  You accept that she's still little and innocent, so you kiss her head and tell her "Someday, I hope!"

I don't tell you all this so you can feel sorry for me.  I've had enough of that.  I tell you this in case one of you is going through the same thing.  Everything you're feeling is normal...but not, all at the same time.  Fighting with your husband, wanting to hide under your blanket and never come out, feeling guilty for grieving?  I've been there.  I'm no expert, but if you need to talk to someone, I'm here.  I know how helpful it was to reach out to other women who knew how I was feeling.  I don't know why, but miscarriage in our society is still such a taboo subject.  Why?  When it's estimated that 10-25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage?  I'm not saying that to scare you either.  That's still a very low percentage when you consider all the pregnancies worldwide.  But why do we act like a woman that has miscarried is an anomaly?  That we should be avoided because you can "catch" what happened to us?  That it's okay to talk about it when it happens to you, but then you need to just "get over it?"  That you shouldn't really be grieving because it wasn't a "real" baby yet.  All rubbish.

If you are or have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth, I'm talking to you right now, sweet sister.  You didn't do this.  You couldn't help that your body decided to do this to you, not taking into account how you felt about the baby you were carrying.  This isn't your fault.  If I were there, I would hug you, because Lord knows, you'd need one right about now.  Don't push your husband away.  I know you're feeling like you're alone, but over there?  That's your husband--a father that just lost his baby too.  This process won't be easy on the two of you.  I think that's normal.  Hold onto each other and love each other through the stormy days.  Grieve.  However you feel necessary.  If that's talking about your baby nonstop, do it.  Yes, people will shy away from you because death is uncomfortable and messy, but please don't hold it against them.  They don't know what this feels like.  Nor do we ever want them to.  They just don't know what its like to look at an ultrasound screen and see anything less than a perfect baby.  They don't know what it's like to sit around and wait for your body to miscarry your baby.  Don't fault them.  They just haven't been in our shoes.  I know what you feel like.  It's like we're in a secret club that none of us ever wanted to join in the first place....but here we are.  We carry a badge of loss and we have that embedded deep in our hearts, but we're stronger because of it.  One day, you'll meet your baby again and be able to give him or her the kisses you couldn't here on Earth.  And the angels will rejoice.  Grieve and miss them, and take as much time as you need, but don't let it keep you from missing out on the life that's happening around you.  I know you want to hide and pretend like it isn't happening, but that doesn't stop the world from spinning around.  There's still so much joy to find.  Carry your grief, but don't forget to live too.

A year later and my miscarriage has changed the way I view things.  It's changed me.  But it hasn't changed everything about me.  I'm still here, I'm still a wife and a mother, and I'm still blessed.

Aug 13, 2014

DIY Pool Noodle Horses

I'm baaack!  Marty, Avery and I just returned from a week vacation from the beach and a very short trip at Disney World.  *sigh*  Why does real life exist and why can't I just live at Disney all the time?

Anyway.  So now it's back to work, back to my dirty house and piles of laundry and back to blogging.  Hooray!

Today's blog post is going to be all about teaching you how to make these bad boys:


For Avery's 3rd birthday, we did a Disney Jr. themed party.  The invitations were Doc McStuffins, some of the decor was Mickey Mouse, her outfit and cake was Sofia the First, so I felt like Sheriff Callie needed to be represented.  The easiest way I could think of was making Sheriff Callie favors.  Sheriff Callie, like every good cowgirl, has a faithful and trusty steed, Sparky.

I decided every little girl at the party would need her own Sparky to ride off on adventures with.  Enter, Pool Noodle Sparky.  Wanna know how to make your own?  Let's do this thing. 

Materials Needed: 
  • Pool Noodles
  • Knee socks
  • Fabric (for mane)
  • Felt (for ears)
  • Buttons
  • Grocery bags
  • Ribbon (for reins) 
  • Hot glue



Assembling:

1.)  Determine what size you want your horses to be.  For an older child, I would recommend leaving the pool noodles whole.  I was making horses for a bunch of toddlers, so I decided to cut my noodles in half to accommodate shorter legs. :)   (Dollar General had primary colored noodles for only $1. I wanted neon colors, so I paid a little more for mine at Walmart).

2.)  Take one knee high sock and stuff the end of the sock with grocery bags, tissue paper or some other type of filler.  You want the sock to be able to stand on its own once it's put on the noodle.


3.)  Slide the sock onto one end of the pool noodle, stopping at the heel.  This makes it seem as if the sock is separated into the horse's head and neck.


4.)  Start adding the fabric for the horse's mane.  I made mine with strips of fabric cut into pieces that were about 4 inches wide by 1 inch thick.  None of this was measured exactly, just eyeballed.  


I did a variety of colors and patterns that I knew would coordinate with the socks that I had bought.  You could also use tulle, ribbon or a variety of other materials to make the mane. 


I started by taking a piece of my fabric, twisting it in the middle and then gluing it down to the sock directly with hot glue.  Some pieces were easy to attach, others needed a bit more glue to make sure it wasn't about to fall off and leave my horse bald.


I continued on, picking two or three different patterns and varying them down the sock until I was happy with the length of the mane.  



5.)  Next, I attached the ears.  For the ears, I picked two different colors of pink felt and cut two ear shaped pieces out of both colors--one set being slightly smaller than the other (to go inside the bigger set).


To attach the ears, I pinched the bottom of the ears (at the widest part) together and then glued it to the side of the sock.  I just eyeballed this part to and placed the ears where I thought they looked best.


When you're gluing the ears on, make sure you glue each layer to each other, or the ears won't be nice and folded together like you see in the picture.  So, when you're gluing, glue:  1.  The hot pink piece to the sock.  2.  The light pink to the hot pink.  3.  The light pink to each other, where the ear will meet in the middle.  4.  The hot pink to the light pink.  

Clear as mud?  Just put glue in between every single layer of the ear. 

6.)  Glue on eyeballs.  I picked buttons in a variety of shapes and colors for my eyes.  You could use pom-pom balls, googly eyes, or just draw them on.  



7.)  Attach the reins.  I used ribbon that I had laying around the house.  First, make a circle around the end of the horse's "nose."  Glue that on.  Then, attach one side of the ribbon to the circle, pull out the ribbon and loop it around the neck and mane, and back on the other side of the circle on the nose.  Glue those two ends down and you have your reins.


You're done!  I made nine of these beauties and Avery had to test ride every single one.


She would ride it around the room, declare it to be a "good Sparky for her fwiends" and then test the next one.  Avery approved pool noodle horses, y'all.   You're welcome.

Jul 30, 2014

To color, or not to color?

I can do a lot of things pretty well.  I'm crafty.  I have an eye for home interior design. I have pretty good handwriting.

There are two things that I don't include in my list of "things I do well."  In fact, they would probably belong in a "things I can't do at all and barely struggle to grasp the basics" list.  Hair and makeup.  They're completely foreign ideas to me.  Kudos to you, girl that watches YouTube videos on contouring and experiments with different colors and types of makeup.  I wish I was you.  I don't know the difference between a lipstick and a lip stain.  I have no idea what colors look good with my skin tone.  I've had pretty much the same makeup routine since high school because I don't have a clue how to vary it.

Don't even get me started on hair.  I am so envious of you, girl that can get up each morning and do different things with your hair.  You know how to French braid?  to do a messy, but adorable updo?  to make your plain ponytail look fancy?  Teach me your ways.  I have three hairstyles:  down, pinned back and a ponytail.  That's it.  I have recently started using a lifting spray, thanks to a recommendation from my cousin.  Other than that, my hair routine is pretty basic.   The idea of changing my hairstyle gives me a slight case of the panic attacks.  I don't know what style looks best with my face shape.  I've pretty much always had the same two hairstyles....long or a bob.  I don't know how to make my hair look better when it's curled.  I had a perm once.  Can we not talk about it?  I still have emotional scars.  I highlighted my hair for a small period in high school.  That took a week's worth of convincing myself that it wouldn't be the end of the world if I put a little color in my hair.  Even so, while my hairstylist was putting the highlights in, I felt the very strong urge to throw up.  I don't do well with changes to my appearance.  You see, I don't have a very good image of myself.  My self-confidence is almost in the negative numbers and I always see the flaws in myself when I look in the mirror.  Maybe that's why I struggle with an update.  I think that, no matter what I do, it's really not going to matter.

Lately though, I've really been feeling down about myself.  I don't have many new clothes that I feel good about.  The clothes that I do have make me feel frumpy.  When I look in the mirror, all I can focus on is my acne that has decided to plague me in my adulthood.  No amount of makeup I apply will cover it and make me feel less self-conscious.  So, I've decided I need a change with my hair to hopefully pump up my self-worth.  My hair is a dark brown color.  It's very, very thin.  Has almost zero volume to it and lays flat on my head.  I'm dying for a new color.  I want to add dimension to my hair to where it doesn't seem so flat and one-dimensional.  Plus, I looked in the mirror on my way to work the other day and saw this:


GREY HAIRS!!!!!! 
I'm 28!  I'm not supposed to have grey hairs!  Curse you, dark hair and the tendency to go grey earlier!! 

So, now I'm freaking out.  I cannot have grey hairs.  Nope.  Nope. Nope.  I'm really feeling the urge to go color my hair like yesterday.

Except, read above where I explain where I'm basically illiterate when it comes to the language of beauty.  

So many colors.  So many styles.  How the heck is a girl, with basically no beauty/cosmetology sense at all, supposed to decide what to do with her hair??

Part of me is tempted to just go to my stylist, plop down in her chair and say "Do your thang."   Except 1.)  I never actually use the word "thang" in real life.  And 2.) I'm too much of a control freak for that.  

Here's where you come in, my totally awesome readers.  Help. Me. 

What you should know:  I have shoulder-ish length hair right now.  I'm working on growing it back out.  I cut it short about a year ago and loved it, but I want it long again.  I have "grass is greener when my hair is whatever my hair isn't right now" syndrome.  I have short, I want it long.  I have long, I want it short.  Oy.  

Back to the color.  I do want to stay in the brunette family.  Don't go suggesting that I go blonde because I have plenty of fun as a brunette, thankyouverymuch.  Red is off-limits.  My sister Dayna is the only redhead in the family and she rocks that shizz.  No way I could ever compete with that. 


Dayna has people come up to her often and ask what number her hair is.  God-given, baby.  I hate her a little for it.  How did my sister get awesomely unique and totally thick hair while I got what I got??

Anyway.  My original thought was to keep the dark shade of my hair and put light in it.  Kind of liking these examples: 


Really love the girl on the left.  But that seems like a big change from what I have right now.  Wuss.  Right here.

So I'm kind of gravitating towards a style that is a little more even and blends really well throughout.


Basically, I'm a chicken and I have no idea what to do with my hair.  Help??


Jul 28, 2014

To my Avery, on your 3rd birthday.

My Avery girl:

1095 days.  It sounds funny when you break it down like that.  1095 days ago, I was laying in a hospital bed, willing my contractions to speed up so I could finally meet you  After all, I'd spent the last 7 months dreaming about this moment and what it would be like.  Would you look like me?  Would you have much hair?  Will I know what to do?  Will you grow up and be shy like me?  Before I knew it, you were here.  All 8 pounds of you.  They laid you on my chest and I loved you from the first moment I met you.  I never knew a human heart could contain the amount of joy I felt.  You were mine.  They were actually going to let me take this beautiful baby home with me to keep.

And here we are.  1095 days later.  Some days have been easy.  Your first steps.  Your first words.  Your first giggles.  The days where you play all day and tell me you love being here and love all your toys and your Mommy and Daddy.  But some days....they're not so fun.  The days where we fight.  I tell you that you have to be a good girl and you push back and assert your independence.  The days where we butt heads from morning to sundown and I go to bed feeling like I've failed you because I don't know that I made you feel loved that day.  Give me the bad days with the good days too, because they're all worth it.  Good days with you and you make me laugh and feel beaming pride and so much joy I think that there's no one in the world that is happier than I am in that moment.  I would take 10 bad days with you in exchange for one good one.  That's how good our good days are.

For 1095 days, I've watched you grow.  Not so very long ago, your little fingers couldn't reach the top of the bathroom counter.  Now, I watch those same little fingers get out your toothbrush and paste and get your stool to go brush your teeth by yourself.  In the recent past, I watched your little feet struggle to fit into even the tiniest of shoes.  Now, your feet are bedazzled with Dora and Minnie kicks that sparkle and shine and I marvel at your fashion sense because you picked them out yourself.  Just a few years ago, I watched your little mouth struggle to form words, learning the language that the big people around you all spoke.  So we developed a language, you and I.  You could say a few words and I would know exactly what you needed.  Now, I marvel at your ability to carry on a conversation with me.  You're constantly amazing me with the new words that you've learned and how well I think you talk.

1095 days.  Three years.  Seems like a fairly short period of time when you put it into numbers.  But for me, it's been a lifetime.  I can't remember what life was like before you arrived and turned the Gaddie household upside down.  What was life like before Disney Jr, Dora, potty training and giggles at the silliest things?  I can't remember.  These last 1095 days have been the happiest, most stressful, most fulfilling days I've ever experienced.  I hope God blesses me with many, many, many more days exactly like these.

Happy 3rd birthday my sweet girl.

Love, Mommy.





Jul 23, 2014

Doc McStuffins-inspired Invitations

I am crazy.  I will be the very first one to admit this.

My Avery is turning three very soon...and I handmade her birthday party invitations.  Again.  As if the first and second years weren't lesson enough.  Do we need a recap?

Year One  (tutorial: part 1 and part 2)



Year Two  (tutorial here)



 About a week ago though, I admitted defeat.  I faced reality and the fact that I had absolutely no time to make Avery's invitations this year.  In the past, it's something that I've done and taken pride in.  This year however, I have a lot on my plate and I did not see how it could happen.  So I got on Etsy and started looking at ready-made downloadable PDF files that I could just pay for, send off to Walgreens to get printed and call it a day.  As I started looking around, I wasn't finding anything that I liked as much as the idea I had in my head for handmade invitations.  Then I talked to my friend Heather, who is super crafty and has her own business, Sincerely Sunshine, and she was all "Devan.  You can do this.  You love making things and it'll be a special touch on Avery's party."  And I'm all "Gosh dang it.  She's right!  I love making invitations for my girl's birthday parties."  So I closed out my Etsy browsing window and Heather and I started brainstorming on how to make these invites.  Heather, do you hate me?

The result was a very, very time consuming, but I think very adorable invitation.

Doc McStuffins jacket!  Complete with lots of freaking glitter.  You're welcome, every person that opened their envelope to be greeted with a pile of glitter in their lap.  

In case you need a recap, we're going on three years now of time consuming, handmade invitations.  Obviously, I have issues. 

First, you gotta buy the paper.  For the jackets, I saved money by picking up a packet of cards and envelopes together, instead of buying pieces of white cardstock and envelopes separately.  I purchased this set of 50 from Michaels.  With a 40% off coupon, I paid $6 plus tax.  Not bad.  Then, it was time to make some doctor lab coats.  Again, thank you to my friend Heather, who whipped up something at work and then sent me step by step directions on how she did it.  I can't take credit for the idea for the folding of the jackets.

First, lay out your unfolded card landscape style (long ways). 



Next, fold the bottom part of the cards upwards.  I did probably a 1 1/2 inch fold.  Just eyeball it.


After you've folded the bottom up, flip the card over, placing the folded piece on the back side.


Then, fold your outsides into the middle, creating the flaps of Doc's jacket.  Since I purchase pre-folded cards, I used the center fold as a guide for how far to bring the sides in.  Repeat for both sides.



See how when you've folded it in, it's created the pocket's for Doc's jackets?  Genius, Heather.

Now, you're just going to fold down little flaps on the top for the lapels.


Now that you have your basic jacket, it's time to add accessories!  I used Doc McStuffins herself as a guide to decide what I wanted.  Of course, Doc's stethoscope was a necessity.


For all of my shapes, I used my handy Silhouette Cameo machine.  I'm telling you. This is only the fourth or fifth time I've gotten to use this baby, but I'm in love with it.  It makes projects like this soooooo much easier.  I wouldn't have even attempted it without one.  I just wish I had more time to sit down and learn about all the cool things it can do!  

I was a little bit rusty on how to use it and create shapes, so I did have to play around with the sizes of things first.  In the beginning, I made the stethoscopes too small (tip:  always have extra paper laying around so you can play with sizes and shapes until you find exactly what you want...that way you're not wasting the paper you bought for your project).  

Too small.
So I went back and adjusted the size.  Too big. 


Once I finally got the size just right (I feel ya, Goldilocks), I loaded my glitter paper into the machine and started cutting a crap ton (yes, that's an official unit of measurement) of these babies.  I offered to pay anyone in leftovers if they'd come help me remove them all from the sticky mat, but no one took me up on it.  Curious.  

To place the stethoscope on the jacket, I wanted to make sure that the envelope could still be opened.  So I chose to do the scope at an angle so I could cut it down the middle and glue it to both sides of the jacket.  I set the stethoscope down, cut it right down the opening line and then glued the two pieces down. 



After that, I just added my other accessories.  I chose to do a nametag, pen and the bandaid from Doc McStuffin's show.  I know a bandaid isn't usually stuck to the outside of a doctor's coat, but it did make it look more "Doc McStuffin-y."  You can add whatever you want....Doc has a variety of tools to choose from.

A blood pressure cuff would have been funny.

Once you have all the pieces cut out, just start assembling.  It's a time consuming process and you'll have glitter in every opening on your body (I think my pores sweated glitter for a week), but I think the end result is worth it.


You could use this basic model (without the pockets) for a variety of different characters.  Having a Jake and the Neverland Pirates party?


Get some navy blue paper, fold the same way (without the bottom fold) and then trim with yellow to make Jake's vest.  Add buttons and his famous sword.

Having a Sheriff Callie party?


Follow the same steps with a brown piece of paper.  Add pink trim, pink bandana and sheriff star.  Maybe even a belt buckle.

Tune in soon for a how-to on Avery's birthday party favors......Sheriff Callie's Horse!

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