January 16, 2013

On Wanting What My Grandparents Have.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — amandajocrafts @ 12:26 pm

Today’s is my grandparents’ fifty-ninth wedding anniversary.

My pap is also in the ICU today, as he had a heart attack earlier this week. Please send your prayers along to him and my gram.

I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately, as I’ve been thinking about my own upcoming marriage (just about seven months to go, now) to the love of my life. He and I talk all the time about how we just want to be sitting on the front porch together in Adirondack chairs at eighty years old, sipping lemonade and watching our great-grandchildren play in the front yard. This is what my grandparents have.

I know a lot about the “facts” of their courtship, way back in the day, as I somehow managed to swing my long-ago high school senior project into being a scrapbook of them from the years they dated. (I fluffed up some great talk about the importance of legacy in family, grandparents in children’s lives, and learning about the past. Best. Project. Ever.) I know that my pap was in the Coast Guard, as he tried to enlist in both the Army and the Navy during the war, and they were so full they wouldn’t let him in! I know Gram claims she wasn’t bothered by him enlisting. (Now, I just keep thinking about how devastated I would be if my fiance were to sign himself up and go to the Middle East–it hurts just thinking about it. That’s a brave life, and I’m not brave enough for that.) She says “that’s just what everybody did.” I know he got stationed at Atau, Alaska, for a year. It’s a small outpost, and there were only about a dozen men and a dog.

I know silly, so-very-important details, like how Pap had to do his Pre-Cana (Catholic marriage prep) as a correspondence course because he was in the Coast Guard at the time. I know Gram once forgot the hot dogs when they went on a picnic with another couple who was close friends with them. (Pap said they just made toast for lunch with the hot dog buns they did bring.) I know they used to go dancing at the fire hall. I know Gram liked to do cartwheels.

I know that the personalities I see as their granddaughter really weren’t all that different when they were in their teens. She’s always smiling, always positive, always been a talker, and is very social. He’s more reserved, slightly mischievous, and quieter. But they work together, oh so well. It takes just a second to see how much they love each other.

Luckily, Pap has always enjoyed taking pictures, and so our family has a bunch of photos of the two of them from awhile ago. It’s so fun to see the same small smirk and intense eyes on my pap then, as I see now, and that identical beaming grin on my gram’s face.

People get older. I know this. And people get sick sometimes. I’m acutely aware of this fact, as well. But I also know how incredibly special that bond is between two people who are truly, honestly, in love with each other. Fifty-nine years worth of in love, and a legacy of five children, thirteen grandchildren, and an ever-growing number of great-grandchildren.

There are a lot of awful, sad things in this world that keep many people from hitting fifty-nine years together. Sometimes, when I read too much news coverage, it actually feels like a small miracle that any couple can get there at all. I’m selfish; I want that miracle for my fiance and myself, too.

Every single day you get to hold that person’s hand, every day you get to open your eyes and see them there, every single good night kiss, those are all miracles.

So, happy anniversary, Gram and Pap, and I’m praying for your big 60 next year.

January 10, 2013

On Etching Glass.

I’ve been so excited to share this for awhile now, but I’ve had to wait because this was a Christmas gift. I saw this glass etching awhile ago on Pinterest, and I decided to give it a real shot for presents this year!

If you’re looking for something crafty, unique, and useful, with a nice, personal touch, then this is the project for you!

Just FYI, I used this tutorial as a baseline for my project; however, I do not have a fancy Cricut cutter, so my tutorial is a little bit different. If you have a Cricut cutter, head on over to the original tutorial, but if you don’t, stick here with me!


  • The glass to etch (I used Kinetic glasslock containers on Amazon). They worked really well, but note that the dimensions listed on Amazon aren’t accurate, so they were smaller than I thought! When they say 30 oz, they mean the container’s weight, not what it holds.
  • Etching cream. I bought mine from Michael’s (a Martha Stewart brand) but a friend of mine used Armour Etch and that also worked great. Just be sure you’re buying an etching cream, not just something that’s going to sit on the surface of the glass.
  • Brush (that you don’t mind throwing away). My etching cream actually came with one.
  • Clear contact paper. I also got this from Michael’s–one roll lasted me for 16 different containers, so don’t worry about it not being enough! Clear is useful for tracing, which we’ll get to later.
  • X-acto knife. I started with scissors and an epic fail. Spending the couple bucks for the X-acto knife is worth it!
  • Latex gloves.
  • A computer and printer.



1) On the computer, open Microsoft Word (or any other program with different font options) and type in what you eventually want on the glass). Size it so it’s the size you want on the glass, and print it out.

last name

2) Put this piece of paper behind your contact paper and trace it, so that the words are now on the contact paper. It’s going to be a little hard to see, but you’re just getting it down on the contact paper so that you know where you’re going to cut.

3) Cut out the letters on the contact paper. (This is going to take some time; be patient!)

There are a couple things you need to remember when doing this:

  • Using the example above, anything black is what is getting cut out. That means that you don’t want a bunch of cut marks on the part in white, because the etching cream might get through it.
  • If you have letters that have closed circles in them (A, B, D, O, etc.) you need to keep those tiny pieces. In the example above, that font allows for the “a” and “e” to just be completely filled in, but most fonts don’t do that. By keeping those little circles, you can get the letters more accurate.


When you’re finished cutting it out, set the cut-out aside for a moment. Also, if you’re doing more than one glass piece, I would recommend cutting everything out first, and then etching everything together.

4) Clean off the piece of glass with soap and water, and dry it well. This will help the contact paper stick better.

5) Carefully take off the backing of the contact paper and place the stencil on your glass. Be sure that all bubbles are smoothed over and that the contact paper is completely sealed flush onto the glass. Any sneaky bubbles or loose edges will let the etching cream get underneath.

6) (Put your gloves on.) Brush the etching cream on the glass. Obviously, you don’t have to be exact here (that’s why the contact paper is there!) so just make sure to get the exposed glass that you want etched.

7) Leave the etching cream on for 15-20. If you pay attention, you can actually watch the cream kind of slide off the contact paper and head toward the glass part.


8) (Put your gloves on.) Rinse off the etching cream under water. This works best if you use a gloved finger and wipe at the cream, making sure that when it comes off the glass, it ends up down the drain, and not just on another part of the glass. Once all the etching cream is off, peel off the contact paper, and rinse again for good measure.

Voila–you now have a lovely, etched piece of glassware!

Also, you can always put something in the glassware to add an extra touch. For my inlaws to be, I bought dishtowels on Etsy. For the office, I put cookies in 🙂

January 8, 2013

On A Favorite Things Party.

As promised, here are the details from the best ever favorite things party!

I am very blessed to be part of a group of seven friends who are so very dear to me. We’ve all been friends since high school, and through college, and now the “real world,” we’ve really stayed close. We thought having a favorite things party with all of us would be the perfect way to celebrate Christmas!

Our party has a Christmas theme to it, from the wrapping paper and gift bags to the decorations. We made a corner of the room into the food and gift area. In order to make it look particularly festive, we wrapped the card table with wrapping paper, wrapped the frames (which normally have pictures of the Rat Pack!) with wrapping paper, and hung Christmas bulbs from the ceiling.


The gift table got a festive streamer on the front of it.

party - presents table

At the fireplace, we hung tissue paper balls on either side, and (the piece de resistance!) a “Merry Christmas” banner my friend Keri made. Doesn’t it look so professional! (and adorable!)


We all brought our favorite appitizers and desserts. Six layer dip, queso dip, cookies, brownies, devil’s food cupcakes, and mozzarella sticks. A vast majority of this got eaten!

party - food

To start off the night, we played the Favorite Things Game. It’s just like Scattegories–you have a list of favorite things to fill in. Then, you go around and see what everyone had for an answer. If you had the same thing as someone else, you cross it off. The person with the most “unique” answers (answers that no one else had) at the end of the game wins!

fav things

(I can tell you, this took a long time to play–we kept getting distracted by everyone’s favorite things! And then, when we got to the book question, we spent a half hour talking about good books we should all read 🙂 )

Then, for the best part of the night–our Favorite Things! We had seven people, and we each brought 3 $10 gifts, so we each got three gifts. To pick, we wrote our name on a piece of paper three times and put them all in a cup. Once they were all in there, we each drew out three pieces of paper, and we received gifts from those people.

Here is a list of what everyone’s favorite things were:

  • Hanging out with all of us: this was a goody box with things we all loved to do together! It included a coupon code for a free RedBox movie, an old-fashioned Coke bottle, a mini-bottle of wine, a travel game (either Apples to Apples or Uno), and M&Ms.
  • Staying warm! This one was a gift bag full of super cozy Old Navy fuzzy socks, and a pair of fuzzy slippers, as well!
  • Staying warm, again! Yes, two girls had the same favorite thing–we really are quite alike! This one had a mug (either dogs, cats, or birds on it, because she loves animals), a pair of socks, and her favorite tea.
  • Nail Care Kit, and then some: This one embodied quite a few different favorite things! It was her favorite nail polish brand in one of her favorite colors (OPI, dark purple), with a buffer block (4 different sides to the block, for filing, buffing, shining, etc.), and cotton balls. It came in a wine glass (because she likes drinking wine), which had a quote from J.K. Rowling on it in puffy paint: “The stories we love best live in us forever.”
  • Cake Pop Maker: This one is pretty self-explanatory 🙂 but for backstory, the girl who brought it is a fantastic baker, and she loves making us fun treats!
  • Wine Glass: She loves drinking wine, wearing shoes, and the color pink…so the wine glass had a pair of pink shoes painted on it! Pretty perfect combo here!
  • Writer’s Essential’s Kit: Yes, you guessed it, this one was mine :). I finally picked what I wanted to do! (Click here if you want to see what other things I was considering.) This one had a pen, a mini-notebook (courtesy of skeldesign on Etsy) and a mug (because you need a hot beverage to write your best!). On each mug, I wrote a different quote about books using a paint pen that you bake to make it stay on. (Look for the tutorial soon!)

Here are all our favorite things together:

party - gifts

What a wonderful night, and what wonderful friends!

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