Origami Owl Hostess Exclusive

HE_octnovdec2014

Hello! The Hostess Exclusive for the months of October-December was just released and you are going to LOVE IT!

For hosting a party, you will have exclusive access to either purchase or earn FREE this stunning Suede Wrap Bracelet with crystals by Swarovski. These items will not be available to the general public and can only be ordered by our amazing hostesses!

In order to qualify for a party, there must be $125 in retail sales and have four (4) guest orders (one could be a hostess order). And the best part? All hostess rewards are transferable to online parties as well! So if your calendar is super busy this Fall, let’s plan for an Online or catalog party!

If you would love to book a party (either an in-home or an Online party), please contact me today as I would love to get you on my calendar!

 

DIY Fire Breathing Pink Dragon

My bigLittle knew way back in MAY what she wanted to be for Halloween: A Fire Breathing Pink Dragon with Red Spikes & a Heart. OK ‎Good Ol’ Fashioned Homemade Halloween Costume‬ COMING RIGHT UP! But I had my doubts. Is this even possible‬ while on ‪‎bedrest‬!? I had to try, because our other options were in the 30 to FORTY DOLLAR range, for a one time use costume.😳 And with another baby due soon, that $40 could get some better use.

20131008-190307.jpg
I rummaged through my craft stash & my daughter’s closet to see what, if anything, I could use & not have to buy.

I had ribbons leftover from our wedding day, a pink hoodie, a pink tank top, half bottle of Fabri-tac (this had to be a no-sew project or it wasn’t going to happen!) A sheet of thick red felt (leftover from a Kai Lan headband I made for a past costume). My daughter had a pink hand me down hoodie, that was still in good condition, but she’ll grow out of it soon & she has a couple other hoodies she can still use. Underneath she can wear her all pink ballet outfit.

[fyi – Again, this is almost a complete No-Sew project, so when I say FT’d it, know that I Fabri-Tac’d the heck out of it.]

DIY DRAGON BELLY

First thing I tackled was the BODY. I cut up my light pink tank top for the belly skin. Then FT’d it to the front of the jacket.

20131019-061413.jpg

Next, I cut to fit several strips of white sequin ribbon, a remnant from another past project. I call it dragon scales! I glued these across, to act like the belly plates of a dragon.

20131019-075937.jpg

Then I trimmed around the tank top material with thin shiny white ribbon, remnant from my wedding day shoe accent. This hid a lot of crookedness of the tank top & gave it a finished & clean look. & My BigLittle helped me glue on random loose sequins…instead of tossing them.

DIY DRAGON SPIKES

20131019-051813.jpg

I cut triangles from thick felt for the dragon spikes & attached with Fabri-Tac to a strip of ribbon. My bigLittle helped glue the spikes on a pink sash ribbon, that I suspect was from one of her first birthday gift wrap. Yes, I do hoard ribbon scraps. At first I was going to make the spikes detachable, so they wouldn’t get in the way when getting my kid into her car seat. But genius hubby said just attach them, cuz we can just remove her jacket. duh! ok, moving on. So, I FT’d it, starting from the front of the hoodie all the way down the back. Done! Instant dragon look. Could even be a dino costume.

(semi) DIY DRAGON WINGS

I had great plans of making the wings. But one trip to the local Savers & a pair of $7 red glittery “fairy wings” changed that.

20131019-062858.jpg

All I did to Dragon-fy them was to bend the wire to give them more sharp angles & ripped off this huge red rose & replaced it with red dragon spikes. Done.

20131019-062043.jpg

DIY DRAGON TAIL

20131019-144130.jpg

20131019-144158.jpg

20131019-144228.jpg

DIY DRAGON BREATH AKA FIRE BREATHING DRAGON ACTION

My original plan, was to handmake this, using three party blowers, taped together, for more flame action. But I nixed that thought, since one party blower was plenty big already for my little one. I just tied varied lengths of red & orange ribbon around the straw, with forked tips. & added a few flame tips to the end of the paper roll, using trimmed petals from the flower I ripped off the store bought wings we found at Savers. Easy!

20131018-231236.jpg

DIY DRAGON HEADBAND EARS/HORNS

20131018-224501.jpg

I almost didn’t do this. Was feeling so done with this whole costume. But one morning, got a burst of Can-Do spirit & made it happen.

Sorry, no detail step-by-step shots here. I cut up one of Ava’s old baby blankets. FT’d it over a headband. Drew ear shapes onto card stock. Cut out the ears. FT’d the ears to the blanket material. Cut it out close to the edge. then flipped it over & FT’d it again to the blanket & this time, left about a 2 cm edge around the ear. Then I FT’d around that extra flap & folded it over to hide the cardstock edge.

Next, I cut in half a gold fabric covered hair curler (I never use ’em). Then glued them to the headband for dragon horns.

Then I finished it off with dragon scales aka sequin ribbon.

DIY DRAGON TOES + LEG WARMERS

20131018-223623.jpg

20131018-223637.jpg

20131018-233349.jpg

20131019-143513.jpg

20131019-143522.jpg

DRAGON GIRL TUTU

Initially my husband was not a believer in tutu’d dragons. But I made him a believer with 1 1/2 yards each of pink & red tulle, a remnant piece of garter & scissors.

I didn’t bother to take too many detail shots of the tutu, since there are already plenty of diy’s around. Here’s a link to one from Cori @ Read.Write.Run.Mom

The one thing I’d note about this tutu, is that I folded the ends of each tulle strip & cut it at an angle, to give the skirt a more finished look.

DRAGON. DONE.

Because I’m a craft hoarder, we saved a ton by working with what I had in my stash. If you had to buy all the ribbons, fabric, hoodie, etc would easily bump your costs into the $30+ range. Fabri-Tac alone can cost $15.

We spent about $12, since we bought the wings ($7), my mom bought the tulle ($2) & party blowers ($2), and Ava’s ninang Margie picked up the tail at the dollar tree. Not bad!

The costume we almost bought:

20131019-044903.jpg

So glad we didn’t. Even though this ended up taking me several weeks to finish. We love how this turned out. It was what my bigLittle wanted & then some.

20131019-170633.jpg

20131019-170642.jpg

Elijah’s Basket | Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

20131015-232250.jpg
Balloon Release, 2008 Walk to Remember, Banner Desert Arizona, photo by CACTUSmango

In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan Proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”

20131015-232620.jpg

When we lost our first child, baby boy Elijah at 18 weeks gestation due to ‪#‎incompetentcervix‬ in November 2005, we were greatly comforted by the thoughtfully handmade & donated items of miniature clothing, blankets, rosaries & stuffed toys meant for babies born too soon. It was comforting in the sense that someone whom we never met cared enough to take the time for our little baby, during a time when no parent could ever possibly be prepared for.

The program gave us the opportunity to have precious photos of our Elijah with a blanket, mini rosary and mini stuffed bear which my husband carefully chose from the various donated items.

One of the donated items, that we have cherished over the years is the basket the nurses placed our tiny baby nestled in soft blankets, so that we could have time to be close to our baby.

20131016-001656.jpg

Now almost 8 years later, on our 5th pregnancy, 2nd cervical cerclage & expecting our 2nd “Rainbow Baby”, it is our sincere hope that we can return our son’s basket to Banner Desert, on the day our baby Lucy is born, filled with items donated with love for families like us who have angel babies.

20131015-165019.jpg

I received these teeny sweet ‪#‎handmade‬ ‪#‎knitted‬ ‪#‎bows‬ ‪#‎bowties‬ in the mail from my dear friend & fellow crafting enthusiast AdieElaine, all the way from Virginia! They come with the message: “These teeny bows made of yarn are tied together & bonded with a knot as you are with your baby’s soul.” Adie, your kindness, faith and love really shine through in your creations and will touch & comfort many families. Thank you so much for being there throughout all the years & distance.

20131015-165008.jpg

I received a package from another east coast crafting buddy Anna of Anna Sganga Photography, who made These teeny crotchet hearts. They are so precious & have a special place in ‪#‎elijahsbasket‬. She also included a copy of a beautiful poem by E.E. Cummings “I Carry Your Heart with Me”. Thank you so much Anna!

20131015-164954.jpg

Our dear friends Todd & Erica put together these precious items to add to ‪#‎ElijahsBasket‬ Todd chose these cute blue nosed stuffed animals & Erica found these sweet little footprint pins on etsy with a bible verse on the cards. I love them – the items & my friends. Thank you so much Williams5!

20131015-165121.jpg

If you would like to add donations to Elijah’s Basket – you can message me via facebook.com/cactusmango

If you are in Arizona & would like to make a donation or need information/support on coping with the loss of a little one, below is the contact information for the Bereavement Services/RTS at Banner Desert:

Bereavement Services/RTS, Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Group
7 p.m. | 1st Monday of each month

Banner Desert Medical Center
1400 S. Dobson Road
Mesa, AZ 85202
(480) 412-3595

Coconut Cream Cheesecake Bites on a Pretzel Crust

20130926-114435.jpg

ICEBOX CHEESECAKE
I started off with this ice box cheesecake recipe I spied on pinterest. With a few of my own substitutions/additions. Everything’s pretty muchthe same, except instead of whipping cream, I used whipped coconut milk. Instead of a graham cracker crust, I used crushed up pretzels. I added zest from one lemon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

PRETZEL CRUST
For the crust, I followed the quantities in the recipe above. Subbing out graham crackers for crushed pretzels and it turned out delicious!

I put the pans with the pretzel crust in the fridge to firm up, while I tackled the whipped cream. (Note: This recipe was good for one pan of 24 mini cakes and two small springform cakes. I believe the springform pans are 4-5 inches.)

20130927-130716.jpg

20130927-130335.jpg

WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM
I pinned this recipe when I started looking into the Paleo diet & have always wanted to try it. Finally got to do just that, since I didn’t have regular whipped cream for this cheesecake recipe.

I was skeptical about this one. Plus, it calls for a “full fat” coconut milk and I only had “lite”. I stuck that light can in the fridge & hoped for the best. Luckily, we did a quick trip to the grocery store & they had the regular coconut milk. Stuck that in the fridge overnight too. The next day, opened the can, scooped out the thickened coconut milk, but it still didn’t seem like it would be enough, so I did open up the “light” can. It yielded even less than the full fat can. I combined the two & crossed my fingers!

Also, I couldn’t bust out my Kitchenaid Mixer because the thing weighs a ton & in my prego/incompetent cervix state, lifting it to the counter was not an option. So, I had to brave my first attempt at hand whipping cream! Boy was I relieved & surprised that it was actually working! I had to stop & ask my mom to video me whippin’ it real good! [Watch if you dare]

In this photo below, you can see the cream hadn’t fully firmed up, but I just couldn’t wait to taste it!

20130927-131436.jpg

Here they are the next night, nice & firm. When it’s chilled well overnight, the little bites pop out of the pan easily without losing shape or crumbling.

20130927-131142.jpg

RASPBERRY COMPOTE
The raspberry compote was a pure experiment! Never made nor ate compote before so I don’t know if what I made was a good compote! But it sure is tasty to me! I used a small carton of fresh organic raspberries, about a cup of boiling water, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, juice & zest from half a lemon and several sprigs of organic mint leaves. Threw it all in a little pot & boiled it for about 5 minutes. Took out the mint sprigs & transferred it to a mason jar to cool, before chilling in the fridge. It has a thin syrup sauce consistency and has a bright berry mint flavor. Delightful!

20130927-133954.jpg