Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Personalized Gifts For Her (Something About Silver)

I have been anxiously waiting to show you this great idea for personalized gifts for her. Something About Silver approached me about doing a product review for their Layers of Love necklace. I immediately thought of Christmas and my own mother as I do not yet have children of my own.

If you are like me, parents can be so hard to shop for. They either already have it or don't want it. As the oldest of seven children my siblings seem to think that the responsibility for finding any kind of gift for my parents is up to me. Talk about pressure... the ideas aren't always there.

This Layers of Love necklace is just the kind of idea I needed this year. I had them stamp all seven names of the children in my family. I left out spouses as that would be a lot of names. The final product turned out perfect. It can be simple or classy and has so many applications.

The actual product came with the pendant and chain. I added the other purple necklace to help show some of its versatility. I think the only thing I will change is to get a different chain, something a little longer to suit the look I think my mom will wear more often.

I told Something About Silver about how I have yet to have any of my own children. They happily agreed to also make for me this cute little anniversary pendant. I love that they personalized an item for me regardless of my family's little size.

I could totally see this being used as a necklace or bracelet. It could easily fit onto a charm bracelet and could be used as a personalized gift for those other women in your life that are not yet mothers such as a daughter with her birthday.

Both pendants could easily go from simple, classy and dressy...

to fun and casual.

The best part is that Something About Silver has offered to give one you, my fantastic readers, a $40 gift certificate to their store.

How to Enter

*Mandatory Entry*
Go to their website and come back and tell me what you would use the gift certificate for.

Additional Entries

(1 Entry Each)
-Become a Blog Follower of Sarah Dawn Designs (Leave me a comment)
-Subscribe to Something About Silver's Newsletter (Leave me a comment)

(Up to 5 Entries)
Blog or Tweet about this Giveaway (Leave me a comment each time you share)

This give-away will be open until Midnight on December 7, 2011 and is open to all U. S citizens.

In addition Something About Silver has offered my readers 10% off any purchase ordered by December 10th by using the code sarahdawndesigns .

You can also find Something About Silver on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Is it bad that I feel like an Elf, giddy with excitement at the opportunity to help Santa?

*Please note that I did not receive any form or payment for this review other than the two pendants shown above. All opinions are my own.*

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gift Ideas For Her (Domino)

This week I would like to feature some items that I think would make great gift ideas.

My birthday typically falls during the week of Thanksgiving. Thus starting around the beginning of November my husband asks for a list of "gift ideas for her" to help with both my birthday and Christmas. The problem is that my husband likes to surprise me... thus often times he doesn't choose very many items off of my list if at all.

For at least three years I have been asking for Domino; By Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello & Dara Caponigro. Guess what? I finally got it just this last week and I couldn't be more excited. It has lots of ideas on how to design and decorate you house. There are floorplan suggestions and furniture arrangements. Not quite sure just what your "style" is or what color palette you want to use? No worries there are lots and lots of ideas. It takes you room by room with great design tips. Most of all it is full of page after page of inspiration! I'm itching to take my copy and just lose myself in great design for hours.

It definitely makes it high on my list of suggestions for gift ideas for her. What makes your top ten list?

Be sure to check back tomorrow for another great gift idea for her, this one is more personalized.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt (The Results)

1.) Flowers 2.) Running Water 3.) The Court Building(Historical Buildings) 4.) The Baseball Fields 5.) Toilet Paper 6.) Washing Machine 7.) Scarves
8.) Pomegranates/Fruits 9.) Kitchenaid Mixer 10.) Snow

11.) Fingerless Gloves 12.) Mail 13.) The Family Proclomation 14.) Games 15.) Great - Great Grandmother's Fork (The one I'm named after) 16.) Target 17.) Beautiful Scenery 18.) Warm Down Blankets 19.) Bill Cosby (and my husbands impersonations)
20.) Hot Chocolate Mugs

21.) Fall Scents 22.) Vinegar (it works miracles) 23.) Spaghetti 24.) Besties
25.) Route 66 26.) American Flag, waving to all 27.) Pumpkins
28.) Shoes and Boots 29.) Water and Vitamin C

30.) A printable/sign meant for all of my awesome readers!

I know you've been waiting all day for this post. Above are my finds from the Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt. I found that it was a little harder than I anticipated. For example I would read a category like, "Something Indicative of Your City." Lots of ideas came to mind like the Lumberjack statue that sits in the middle of town. However, I'm not really grateful for that statue. Thus I really had to think on a few of them. I LOVED doing this though and think I will start a new tradition of doing this scavenger hunt each year.

I'm so excited to see all of yours! Be sure to leave a link or email the details and if you still haven't gotten started I will leave the list for this scavenger hunt on my website. It's never to late to find those things we are grateful for.

Let the fun begin!

Check out what my friend Evelyn over at Hanging By a Silver Lining is grateful for.

Chemistrymamma had her kids complete this scavenger hunt as well as do it herself.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2011 Digital Christmas Cards (Teal n Red)

Christmas Definition Card

Christmas Trees Card

Christmas Chevron Card

Teal and Red Christmas Card

As promised I have four more digital Christmas cards to share with you inspired by this cute little family. (Don't you just love the little girl's hair, I know I do). I think their color palette transposed into the Christmas card templates beautifully.

Which brings me to my next item of business. If you browse through my card selection and don't see something you are interested please contact me for pricing on complete custom card or announcement design.

If you are a photographer and interested in purchasing some of my designs for the use of your business please email me for package information.

All four digital Christmas cards are available on my website in the following sizes:

4 x 6
5 x 7
6 x 7 1/2

and in both formats:

PSD (for those with Photoshop)

JPEG (for those who don't have Photoshop, I will place your photos and info into the
template and send you the final jpeg, ready for you to print.)

In addition my Shabby Christmas Cards are also now available on my website.

Do you have your digital Christmas cards selected? Christmas is just around the corner!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Waving U.S. Flag - (A Scavenger Hunt Find)

I know, its only a few short days until the rest of the photos from this hunt will be shared but I just couldn't wait. Part of the Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt is to find a photo that represents your country and I decided that I wanted to get one of the American flag.

I was thrilled to get this shot of a waving U.S. flag and state flag. Yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL day with the wind at just the right speed. I snapped a few shots of the waving U.S. flag on my way home from town and loaded everything on to my computer.

First if you have tried to take a photo of a waving U.S. flag or any flag for that matter you know that it make take several tries to get a decent looking photo. As I went through my photos on my computer I came across this little beauty, completely in focus with great proportions and placement.

I don't feel like I'm a very good photographer. I know when a photo looks good and when things are out of place but something happens between the knowledge in my brain and my squinting eye as I look through the lens. After yesterday I feel like there may be hope for me yet.

Maybe that hope will someday get me away from the manual settings on my camera.

Every time I look at this photo it puts a smile on my face. I'm so grateful for the country I live in, for those who laid its foundations, for the traditions we carry on, and all those who protect our freedoms.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How To Create A Photo Collage Wall

I may have an addiction to photos and have more than one photo collage wall. This means lots of nail holes in my walls which at first was a headache to get it just right. I have a photo collage wall the is asymmetrical and one that is very much symmetrical. Thus I needed to be pretty darn precise.

The first time I laid my photos on the floor until I was happy with my arrangements. Then I would take "rough" measurements, had my husband take the frame and try and figure where the bracket was at and put a hole in the wall. The first time he did this he put the nail in place where the pencil dot was. We use the nail hooks for photos to put less pressure on the nail and hole so that means all my photos were actually hanging lower than I wanted. Being the perfectionist I am I had to go back and create a lot more holes in my wall to get it somewhat more correct. As you can see from the photo above, the whole photo collage wall is a lot lower than is visually pleasing. Then the tornado came and the wall had to be fixed, holes filled in, and I got the opportunity to re-hang everything.

I did things differently this time.

1.) I arranged my photos on the floor making sure that my overall composition created the lines I wanted (like long horizontal lines).

2.) I measured EVERYTHING and made sure it was exact. This took a short amount of time. I would draw a symbol to represent each frame. I would mark where the bottom of the photo was. Another dot was drawn where the top of the frame was. Then I measured in to where the middle of my bracket was (which is rarely the precise middle of the frame) and how far from the top of the frame it was.

3.) I would measure the distance between my frames and any other measurement I thought would be important. This included the overall height of my photo collage so that I could center it with the opening on my wall.

4.) The measurements were then transferred to the wall by small pencil marks that were later erased.

5.) I made sure the bottom of the hook was placed on top of the dot indicating where the bracket is located.

I know it sounds like it was a lot of work but it actually took less time to hang my photos up the second time around and I wasn't angry or frustrated during the process AND I only had to pound in the minimum number of holes. I don't have one extra hole. My photos and other decorative items are exactly where I want them and look like they were professionally hung.

How do you hang photos? Is it a grueling process?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday's Moment (November 14th, 2011)

This edition of Monday's Moment is in honor of the type of family I came from and the type of family I married in to. You may recall the "funny" my father-in-law pulled on me while we were out at the lake one time from last week's post. I am no stranger to this kind of behavior.

I come from a family full of mischief and pranks. My parents use to belong to a group known as "The Birthday Bashers," where they would pull different pranks on their group of friends for their birthdays. Some included building snow walls around their front door, Oreos on the windshield, large paper circles all over the house, and a real cow pie.

These tendencies were passed down to my siblings and I. Lucky for me I married a man who could handle the various unknowns and dish a few out himself. Pictured above is a time when we were engaged and I started an impromptu chocolate fight. Right around the time we were engaged my parents sent him a survey to "Date My Daughter," and the poor guy wasn't positive if they were serious about the whole thing or not. The hubby was well informed by the time we actually got married and was starting to pick up on certain things.

Why this subject for today's Monday's Moment? We are preparing to go see my family. Again, when the husband and I were dating and engaged my brothers would try and short sheet his bed ALL THE TIME. I have the thought that we need to check our bed as soon as we get there, just out of habit.

I love my family and can't wait to see them and to match anything they may have up their sleeves.

Friday, November 11, 2011

2011 Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt - Update

How are your photos coming along for our scavenger hunt? You haven't started? That's ok, I have good news! We have opened up the scavenger hunt for one more week. That means that everyone will be taking photos up until November 20th and then post their finds starting on November 21st.

This is great date night (or day date) activity to do with a loved one, a fun family activity, or something just to do on your own. Really the only rule/s is to get creative and have a great time while doing it.

If you missed the first post, here are the details on our Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt.

You can find the checklist to print off on my website.

Please feel free to share the links with your friends on Facebook or Pin it to Pinterest. The more the merrier!

Happy Photo Taking!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Shabby Christmas Cards 2011 (Preview)

This week has not gone at all like I had planned, not that it has been bad. I had hoped to finish these Shabby Christmas Card Templates and have them up on my website a few days ago, alas I have changed my goal to be the end of this weekend. I'm not sure if they are quite finished, more specifically the middle card. I have an idea for something I'd like to add but that would require actually sitting down and finishing it.

If you couldn't tell these Shabby Christmas Cards were inspired by our family photos that were taken this year. I really like them and now have to choose which one I'm going to send out or if I want to create a whole new one.

I also have in the works another set that were inspired by one of my best friend's family that hopefully I will have ready by next Tuesday. (Hint: It's centered teal, red, and grey).

It's that time to start getting your orders in whether you download a .psd and use your version of Photoshop to make changes or you want me to add your photos in and make changes and send you the final .jpeg file for you to print.

Make sure and check out all of the templates that are available on my website. If you don't see something that suites your fancy don't hesitate to contact me about a "custom made Christmas card."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce (My Favorite!)

Spaghetti is my absolutely, most favorite meal hands down. However, I will rarely order it when we are at an Italian restaurant. Why? Because I am spoiled and grew up with a homemade sauce. I have yet to find a spaghetti sauce that is mass produced that competes with my mom's recipe. I love that in addition to be so tasty it is also so versatile.

The Basic Ingredients:

1 can of stewed tomatoes (though I hope to one day can my own)
1 can tomato soup
1/4 of a large onion
Chile Powder

(I don't have exact measurements for the herbs and spices because I just eyeball it according to taste)

Ingredients That Can be Added:

Hamburger ( I usually put just a little bit in)
Carrot Slivers (using my potato peeler)
Bell Peppers
Small Spoonful of Sugar (to balance the acid)

If I'm using hamburger I will brown it with my onions and throw in my zucchini and/or bell peppers as soon as they are cut up. Then I just mix the rest together and let it all simmer for a 10-20 minutes depending on time.

I myself LOVE the texture of a chunkier sauce however for those that don't or have picky eaters who "don't like" vegetables you could easily throw this sauce into the blender to make it look and feel like a store bought sauce.

I don't always put the extra vegetables in. It will often depend on what is on sale at the store, what is in my fridge, and what we are having the rest of the week. I love though that I can get so many different vegetables into one meal.

In the fall I also like to substitute my wheat noodles with Spaghetti Squash. Once again I like the texture of the squash. I don't know that I could eat it on its own but slathered in sauce and it is divine. It's a healthy substitution and adds variety to this meal. The hardest part is cutting it (you might need a chainsaw) with a hot dog cut, meaning longways. However, once you've cut it in half all you have to do is place it with the open sides facing down in a 9 x 13 glass pan. Fill the pan 1/3 - 1/2 of the way with water and put it into your oven for 30 min at 400 degrees. When you pull it out all you have to do is scrape your fork through it and whalaa... noodles.

Do you have any special ingredients you add to your sauce?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monday's Moment (November 7th, 2011)

I know today's Monday's Moment is a day late. I was out of town, didn't take my laptop with me, and ended up staying an extra night because of weather.

As of late I've been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to have the in-laws that I do. They are both so kind and loving and fun to be around. I love the time I get to spend with them and the little adventures we have.

One particular one that comes to mind takes place at one of our favorite family get-away locations... the lake. The whole family had gone up to the houseboat for a long weekend but had to leave on Monday. My in-laws and I stayed for a while longer. On one of these days my father-in-law and I had taken the jet-skis out to go explore some of the more narrow parts of the lake. It was so pretty getting to see some of the rock formations up so close. After an hour or two we decided to head back to the boat.

I'm still a newbie when it comes to the lake and quickly loose my sense of direction. I was leading to set the pace but was making sure we didn't get to far apart. We came up to a giant rock or a small mountain whatever suits your fancy. I took one side and my father-in-law took the other. This rock was extremely tall and fairly wide. Thus when I came out on the other side I started looking for my father-in-law to make sure we didn't crash into one another... only he wasn't there.

I looked behind me to see if he had changed his mind and decided to come on the same side of the rock as I did but he was nowhere to be seen. Surely he wasn't going fast enough that he would have come out ahead of me and kept going. I sat for a moment and decided to drive around the rock. I couldn't hear his jet ski and as I made my way around could not see any sign of him. "What the heck is going on here?" I started thinking of all the different scenarios as I kept going around the rock. "There's no way he crashed or sank, the jet ski would be floating somewhere if he had. I know he didn't keep going without me. Jet skis and father-in-laws don't just disappear, right?"

I was starting to get worried and had no idea what I should when all a sudden my father-in-law comes around the rock... the same one I had been circling. He had been following behind just enough that I couldn't see him for FIVE minutes. That stinker! I was so mad (in a non serious way). I was worried sick and here he is playing a prank? We both had a good laugh after we got back to the houseboat.

I love that he can be serious in the times he needs to be but knows how to spice up life when it's appropriate. Good thing he can take what he dishes out... Muah ha ha ha.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt (and Blog Hop)

These printables can be found on my website, here.
During November so many people are reminded of the things they are most grateful for. While the is one of the main reasons for Thanksgiving Day I wanted to be able to celebrate this season with more than just my family. Thus some of my online friends and I thought it would be fun to do a Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt for one week and then link up the next. It would be a great activity to do with your kids, spouse, friends, etc. and the challenge is to be creative with it.

Thus here are the details.

-The Scavenger Hunt will start now, November 3rd and go through November 20th. The idea is to try and get as many photos from the list as you can. If you don't finish that's ok too, show us what you did find.

-The following week will be our show and tell week where you can then post your photos in a blog post, on Facebook, or wherever and however you would like. Mine will be going up on Monday, November 21st where I will be linking to those interested in a blog hop.

Not interested in the blog hop? No problem, simply leave the link to your blog post in the comments and I will gladly come see how your hunt turned out.

If you are like me you may want to throw some kind of Gratitude Party in the end to celebrate but it's not a requirement, just another reason to get together with those we care about.

On your mark... get set... GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*If you are interested in a blog hop please email me at *

$50 Amazon Winner

Thanks to all who entered!!!

The winner has been selected thanks to Random Integer, and the lucky reader is...

#30 Elijahs Life, who said

Elijahs Life said...

I love #1. Completely adorable.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Craft - (Wood Blocks)

I am grateful for Craft Club. Once a month I get together will 12 or so other ladies to do one or more crafts. A majority of the time we just talk and catch up. Last year in November we made these wood blocks. Remember how I said I don't necessarily have typical holiday colors throughout my house? This means that when it comes to our craft club I often have to bring my own supplies or some of them to make it work. The ladies made their blocks in orange, yellow, green and brown and they looked great. I had tried so hard to phase green out of everything in my house and while I have copper through the space I don't have a lot of "brown."

I also added a watered down acrylic metallic finish, I think it was called "Champagne," to the blocks which added a little bit of sparkle

This craft was super easy to make. The guy at home depot cut out all of the wood blocks so all we had to do was sand and paint them. The girl hosting used one of the fancy machines (i.e. Silhouette, Cricket) to cut out the letters and then we modge podged them on. Done!

I loved this craft and was so sad that I didn't get to put them up last year, as our house was still under construction from the tornado. What have you made for the Thanksgiving season?

Don't forget to check out my website for November's free downloads including the Chevron Gratitude print seen in the above photo.

P.S. I know the lighting in the photos is terrible. If we owned the house I would definitely put up track lighting in the entry way.