Sandy Hook Elementary remembered with 26 Acts of Kindness, a different New Years Resolution

Posted by Amy Miller on 05 January, 2013

December 14th,2012 was the day I didn't get a lot of work done.  I put my TV on at 11:00am while I ate lunch and I saw on the bottom crawler on CNN that 20 people (at the time) where shot to death at an elementary school in Newtown, CT and the number included children.  My heart sank and I had a dull ache in my stomach. I just shook my head trying to process how someone could do this. I watched the coverage all day until I went to bed about 11:00pm.  While watching the news the visual that kept coming to my mind was a balloon being released into the sky.  Maybe for me that was the children's spirits being lifted up to heaven.  Once the final number of victims were released 26 balloons kept coming to my mind.  While I watched the memorial service a few days after the incident I sketched out the below image that was on my mind:

Sandy Hook Artwork Sketch by Amy Miller Designs

At the time I wasn't sure what I was going to do with this sketch.  I decided to turn it into an 8x10 artwork printable.  Click on the image below or click here to download a pdf file that you can print out.

Sandy Hook Balloon Artwork by Amy Miller Designs

After a tragedy the goodness of people really comes out and I started hearing about 26 Acts of Kindness that Ann Curry from NBC News was sharing on her twitter account.  Here is what the 26 Acts of Kindness is all about (taken directly from their facebook page):  "Newtown's heartbreak has a lot of us asking, "What can I do?" Thinking about this, Ann Curry took to social media and asked people to imagine what would happen if all of us committed to 26 acts of kindness to honor each life lost in Newtown."  I was very moved by this and thought instead of the New Years resolutions we make (and typically never keep) at the being of the year we could switch to doing 26 Acts of Kindness throughout the year.  This would be great to do individually, as a couple or as a family and get your kids involved.  I made a worksheet you can use to write down the 26 Acts of Kindness you would like to do for the year.  Click the image below for a 2 page worksheet to download and print out or click here.

Sandy Hook 26 Acts of Kindness Worksheet by Amy Miller Designs

I put mine up on the refrigerator as a remembrance to Sandy Hook School and a reminder to fill out my list this month and accomplish my 26 Acts throughout 2013.

Sandy Hook Artwork Refrigerator

Sandy Hook Artwork Refrigerator Closeup

If you would like to participate in the 26 Acts of Kindness and are looking for some ideas to add to your list here are some resources: 26 Acts of Kindness Ann Curry's twitter account #26Acts NBC News The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation their Facebook Page Please leave a comment below if you are participating in the 26 Acts of Kindness and what type of ideas you are coming up with to add to your list.

Fun and Sparkly Christmas Wreath

Posted by Amy Miller on 29 December, 2012

Do you have a Holiday decoration that you put up every year just because you have it but don't really like it?  Well that's the story of my Christmas wreath that I hang on my front door.  I made the one below about 10 years ago and liked it at the time but over the years many things have fallen off, the pine cones keep disintegrating and so on.  I read somewhere that a wreath on your front door says something about your personality.  I didn't like what my old wreath was saying about my personality, so this year I pulled my wreath out from the attic and said I'm not putting this up again, I'm making a new one.

Old Christmas Wreath

So off to Michaels I went to get a new wreath, ornaments, ribbon and fun glittery poinsettias and curly-Q picks (love these)!

Wreath Supplies

The first thing I did was make a new bow:

Wreath with Bow

I found my bow maker I made and used for a bunch of pew bows for my wedding about 10 years ago.

Bow Maker

I made my bow maker out of some scrap wood and dowel rods I had.  You can find a similar one here that you can most likely find at one of the mass craft stores.  I haven't used it since my wedding and just stared at it and couldn't remember how to go about using it.  So off to the world wide web I went to see if I could find out how to use it again.  I found this great step by step video that showed how to make a wreath bow and that's exactly how I made my bow. I decided to use floral wire to attach all the decorations to my wreath.  The old wreath I made I just hot glued everything onto it and I live in a very warm weather climate and store my wreath in the attic of my garage.  I think the glue might have kind of come unglued with the hot weather temperature.  We'll see if this new one holds up a little better over the years being attached with wire instead of glue. So here's what my new wreath looks like.  I think it shows my personality a little more than the old one! ; )

Christmas Wreath from Amy Miller Designs

A close up view:

Christmas Wreath Close Up

I didn't get my new wreath made until Dec 24th (can you say procrastination?) so I'm looking forward to putting it up next year!

Butterscotch Haystack Recipe

Posted by Amy Miller on 22 December, 2012

Butterscotch Haystacks

Butterscotch Haystacks are an oldie but a goody.  This is a great one to have in your arsenal of no-bake recipes. What you'll need:

Butterscotch  Haystack Ingredients

How to make them:

Butterscotch Haystack Steps

These are totally easy and the ingredients are basic ones that you can keep supplied in your pantry and be ready to make for those unexpected last minute guests that are headed your way.  These are definitely a crowd pleaser.  Just try not to eat half the batch before your guests arrive.  Keep your portion control to 1 an hour! ; )

Butterscotch Haystacks Group

Butterscotch Haystacks Group

For a printable .pdf recipe click here.  Make, Eat & Enjoy!! FYI:  if you like the Christmas Elf Quote Artwork in the frame of the photo above download it here for FREE! What’s Baking is a section on my blog where I share various items I’ve been making and baking!  I’ve loved to bake since I was little!  Some recipes or creations I’ve made up myself and some are things I’ve made from my way too many Pinterest boards and from way too many bloggers I follow.  To take a look at some other things I’ve been baking go here!

Bakerella Faux Cake Pop Ornament Giveaway

Posted by Amy Miller on 12 December, 2012

What happens when Bakerella and Amy Miller Designs combine forces??  Faux cake pop ornaments!  You can WIN these, keep on reading!

Bakerella Cake Pop Ornaments

Bakerella (aka Angie) approached me in October to see if I could bring a few of her Holiday cake pops to life in the form of Christmas ornaments from her new Cake Pops Holiday book.  With a little time and brainstorming here's what I came up with!

Bakerella Cake Pop Ornaments

I made just a few sets of these unique one of a kind ornaments exclusively for Bakerella.  I won't be selling these, the only way you can get them is to enter the giveaway on Bakerella's blog.  Bakerella is giving away 3 boxed sets that include 5 Holiday Cake Pops in each box PLUS a signed copy of her new Holiday book!  So scoot on over to her blog right now and enter here.  The deadline to enter the giveaway is Thursday, December 13th, 2012 at 7:00 PM ET.

Bakerella Cake Pop Ornaments

Good Luck!!

Kate's Crazy Cool Christmas Gift Card Drive

Posted by Amy Miller on 11 December, 2012

Incase you have a little extra to give this Holiday Season I wanted to share with you a gift card drive going on for Kate's Crazy Cool Christmas.  What's Kate's Crazy Cool Christmas??  This is the 4th year it's been going on and this year Kate's family, the McRaes are collecting gift cards to pass on to families that are battling pediatric cancers. I should probably back this story up a little more.   Kate is a little girl who use to live in my city that has been battling brain cancer for a few years.  I've been following this family from the start of Kate's diagnoses on Kate's mom, Holly's blog.  The first year Kate was diagnosed she had to be in the hospital for treatments during Christmas time and her brother and sister could not visit her in the hospital.  Not being able to be together at Christmas time as a family was pretty devastating and kind of rob them from the joy of the Holiday Season.  To try and bring a little joy and normalcy with a disease that is far from normal they decided to give back to others fighting pediatric cancer and started a Toy Drive to have something fun to look forward to as a family.  I thought that was so awesome at a time of need for their own family they turned that around and gave back to others.  It was a great success.  Each year the donation drive has changed a little and this year to make things a little easier they are gathering gift cards to a variety of stores and matching them up to deserving families. Here are the type of gift cards they are looking for (taken directly from Holly's blog):

"We are looking for a variety of gift cards.... mainly the following~ Target, Walmart, Toys R Us, Visa, Matercard, Starbucks, Best Buy, Game Stop, I tunes, clothing stores (Macys, dept stores, Tillys, JCP, Kohls, Old Navy, Gap, etc) chain grocery stores (we will match them with the appropriate families) gas cards, chain restaurants etc."
I don't personally know Kate or her family but she has really been an inspiration to me.  This little girl has really taught me a lot, especially to fight fear.  She actually inspired me to open my Etsy shop.  Kind of funny that I could learn so much from a 5 year old girl! If you would like to donate a gift card to Kate's Crazy Cool Christmas please go to Holly's blog post dated November 24th here for the address to send your gift card to.  At most large grocery stores you can find many gift cards to mass retailers so you don't need to go all over the place, just grab one when you are out getting groceries.  Please send your donation by December 15th so they have time to gather and distribute the cards by Christmas. Thank You!

Free Elf Movie Christmas Quote Artwork Printable

Posted by Amy Miller on 09 December, 2012

How many of you like the movie Elf?  Me too!  That's one of my favorite movies. One of my favorite lines from the movie is "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear". My other favorite line is "Smiling's my Favorite".

Free Elf Movie Printable

Here's my little Christmas Gift to you, a FREE 8 x 10 Elf quote printable that you can download.  Download, print, cut and pop it in a frame! Click on the image below to download the .pdf file or click here. Happy Holidays!!

Free Elf Christmas Printable

As with any free artwork on my website, please use this for personal use only.  Don't copy my designs.

And the journey begins...

Posted by Amy Miller on 25 November, 2012

Telluride Hike

Hike in the San Juan Mountain Range near Telluride, CO.[/caption] My blogging and online journey begins right here. "Howdy all"...that doesn't sound right..."yo yo yo what up everybody"...that doesn't sound right either...lets go with my signature "Hello All"!  Welcome to my blog! What are you going to find on my blog?  I plan on sharing a variety of fun and cute things.  Such as recipes I try out, new designs I create, some crafting items, a giveaway from time to time (yep FREE stuff), free downloadable designs (yes, I said FREE again) and we'll see what else happens along the way.  I hope to make my blog fun and inspirational. So come follow along with me on this journey! Thanks for stopping by! If you would like to get to know me a little better check out my about page here.

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