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This past weekend I decided that I wanted to give a diaper cake to a woman in my life who recently had an adorable baby boy. I overlooked one BIG factor, I’d never made a diaper cake nor did I have ANY idea how to make one…

So I took the time to do some research online and then decided it was time to learn the best way I can… Trial by fire! I bought the supplies and put myself to work…. I took a bunch of bad pictures using my cellphone so I could attempt to explain what I did and help anyone else looking to take on this project like I did…

First thing first, I went out and bought the supplies. In this case the baby was born premature, so I knew the Stage 1 diapers would last awhile and bought 92 Stage 1 diapers, for a bigger baby you could do the bottom tier in Stage 2 so that they are all usable… I also bought a package of elastics, 3 baby bottles, a bottle of baby shampoo, as well as various items to decorate with.

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Next take each diaper individually, unfold it and roll it up securing it with a small elastic in the centre. Make sure if there is a design on the front of the diaper you start rolling from the designed side to keep the end result all white like cake 🙂 If you look closely in the picture you can see some showing the yellow design… I learned the hard way 😉

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Take your bottle of baby shampoo (or lotion if you wish) and 2 baby bottles and elastic them together to create the core of your cake. Using a larger elastic to hold them in place proceed to put one full round of rolled up diapers around this base.

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Continue this process to put a second and third row around the bottom tier if making a 3 tiered cake… Which is what I did! After you’re done that tier (securing them with elastics each time) start on the second tier around the same core, adding a first and then second row to create the second tier. Before adding onto the first round on tier one be sure to put it on some sort of a base you can use to move it (I just used a sheet of cardboard wrapped in wrapping paper).

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Next take the third bottle, this will be the centre of your top tier. In the same way you did the bottom two tiers secure a row of diapers around the bottle and then place the bottle ontop of the cake so that the bottom of the bottle fits securely in the centre to hold it in place.

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Now to make it look pretty. First you need ribbon to wrap around each individual tier, covering and hiding all your elastics. Then you can place a bow on the top if you like to finish up the ribbon look.

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Add any decorations you like from soothers to teddy bears, baby socks to spoons… Whatever your heart desires. Voila! You have a completed diaper cake! Here’s mine, I got the wooden letter from Walmart and painted it to match…

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I hope this makes sense and helps someone! I’m sure its clear as mud 😉 Have fun with those diaper cakes!!!

OK, so I know what many of you are thinking, SHE crochets?!??! I have actually gotten that reaction from friends in person on more than one occasion hahaha… truth is ya, I can and I do… BUT there is one thing that I have a bit of an obsession with. I LOVE making baby blankets! I gift them to friends all the time and just have a blast making them…. I love trying new patterns with each one, and seeing what I can come up with… its like some weird obsession.

Here are 3 different ones that I made in the last year or so:

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Here’s the weirder part, the ‘withdrawal’ I am starting to get! You see, none of my friends are far enough in their pregnancy for me to know what they are having and get started on a new one, infact not many friends are expecting right now at all… Instead I am focusing on planning my wedding.

BUT planning a wedding doesn’t mean making baby blankets! Hahaha! I am doing ALL types of DIY projects for the wedding, and yet I still find myself looking up baby blanket patterns online… yep, its official! I am addicted!

I guess I’ll just have to be patient, a few more weeks and I’ll know what the next blanket I’m making is for… I just have to handle a few more weeks withdrawal… I can do this!

So I started reading a new book this morning, Bringing Out the Best in People by Alan Loy McGinnis. Copyright 1985, so its not a new book or new concepts, but how I wish today’s society could learn some of these theories SO much more than they currently do!

Imagine a world where when you go to work, your boss isn’t focused on threatening or punishing the employees, they aren’t focusing on just pointing out where you screwed up or what you didn’t do enough of… Instead they are focused on pointing out what you did do right, and then helping you to build up the areas that you could improve on. You enjoy talking to them because rather than a lecture, its more of a pep talk and a coaching session…. This is what so many professionals are pointing out is the key to leadership, and I fully believe that!

McGinnis lists 12 rules to bringing out the best in people. I challenge each of you to just pick 1 or 2 and try applying them for the next week and see what a difference it makes.

1) Expect the best from people you lead.

2) Make a thorough study of the other person’s needs.

3) Establish high standards for excellence.

4) Create an environment where failure is not fatal.

5) If they are going anywhere near where you want to go, climb on other people’s bandwagons.

6) Employ models to encourage success.

7) Recognize and applaud achievement.

8) Employ a mixture of postiive and negative reinforcement.

9) Appeal sparingly to the competitive urge.

10) Place a premium on collaboration.

11) Build into the group an allowance for storms.

12) Take steps to keep your own motivation high.

Now I know some of you are probably thinking ‘but I’m not a big business leader’, here’s the thing, we’re all called to lead SOMEWHERE in our lives… Maybe you have children, guess what, you’re leading them. What about newer coworkers that look up to you, although you may not be their supervisor they still are looking to you and so in an essence you’re leading them. Coach a sports team? Help run a church group? There are all sorts of opportunities….

So, 1 week, 2 of the 12 rules. I will be doing it too, and after the week share your stories about how it works for you. I am going to start by making failure not fatal. I am a perfectionist and often I find I have a hard time accepting when someone makes a mistake, and although I may not SAY something about it, I am sure my body and facial reactions give me away. I will also been applying achievement and recognizing it more in those around me. We all know how great it feels when someone points something out to you that you did well!

So who’s on board?

Workout Funk

So I have hit the inevitable… after hitting the gym and monitoring my workouts, I have hit the ‘Workout Funk’. I am bored, I’m plateauing and its time to change things up. I know that I need to lose a couple more inches off my waist to hit the goal, so I have to keep myself motivated! I find myself sitting here at work today thinking of all the fun things that DON’T involve working out. I am one of those people that sometimes has a hard time getting started but LOVE it when I am there working out… I know, I’m weird like that!

The question is, what is it going to take to keep my butt in gear.

1) The gorgeous weather is PERFECT for taking my pup for a run. She’s a German Shepherd/Weimaraner and is solid muscle! I mean really, can you say no to that face when she is asking to go out?

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2) Fitting into my dress!!!! I have both a ceremony and a reception dress to take into consideration, and I would like to not only fit into, but look great in both! I am not posting pictures of the ceremony dress, because I don’t want my fiance to stumble across them, but he’s seen the reception dress so its fair game! I ordered this dress, but in white with a red sash…

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3) TOUGH MUDDER!!!!  It started as me looking to see if there was a team I could join. I mentioned it to a friend who took the idea and ran with it… result being now apparently I am captain of a team running it in 2013. Which is AWESOME, don’t get me wrong! I TOTALLY wanna do it!!! BUT it means that I should probably consider getting into shape…. lol

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Ok, so that’s 3 good reasons to get at it…. Now to just get started!

When my fiance and I got engaged, one of the first things that I came up with was a concept for our invitations. I did a mockup of invitations that I absolutely loved, all based around this really pretty scrapbooking border that I had found. I was even more excited when the owner of the store I was talking to said he could bring the border in for me in bulk to do them!

Image<— My ‘mockup’ invitation

Fast forward to today… I just found out that they have actually gone out of business, not just ‘hey look, there’s a sale there’ but like the store is empty and everything is gone already. So much for that idea…. the border was the entire focal point of the invitation so here I am looking through invitation inspiration again trying to figure out what to do!

Nothing like feeling you’ve accomplished something only to take a jump back to square one again… Now since that point I have created invitations for our rehearsal dinner and could try to play up the look of them a little, now there’s a thought… Hmmmm… I did a postcard style rehearsal dinner invite, considering its only going out to the closest friends/family. I also didn’t list our number on it for the RSVP as I know they all have it by now!

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Image <—- Back (the red block is covering the location and address of the resort we’re getting married at/doing the dinner at)

Now the roses are like a central theme, so maybe I can create a rose pattern invite for the invitations? OR I could do something totally off the wall in protest to the fact that my invitations aren’t going to be my first design… That sounds like the most fun plan for me but pretty sure family members would have a thing or two to say about it!

Sometimes I want to just do a grade 2 cut and paste game and send em off!!! Imagine the response that would bring about…. But for now I will go back to the world of researching invitations and see if I find anything that’s worth working on…

Alright, so I made the 4 hour car ride to my sister’s apartment to try on my dress. Now I know there are very few of you reading this that know the story so here’s the background…

When I was 4 I decided I was wearing my mother’s dress when I got married, and continued to tell her that all through my childhood and into my teen years. Once the ring was on my finger and planning had begun I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, you see I REALLY wanted to wear my mother’s dress BUT…. it was TOTALLY 80s with the puffy sleeves and the whole bit, which didn’t fit the vision of our wedding at all. This is where my sister stepped up and saved the day. She went to school for fashion design, and offered to take my mother’s dress and alter it into a more modern dress.

I had some satisfaction of it being a little big on me from the last time we tried it on, so I did lose some weight in the last few months, but definitely not as much as I was hoping! We altered it tight to give me that extra push to lose a bit more in the next 6 months. Bridal boot camp here I come! We also scratched the ‘strapless/backless’ idea when looking at it. You see, I love the backless look, but I also don’t love the idea of taping myself into a dress with no support and just hoping I don’t give a free show to my whole group of family and friends SO we opted for some really subtle straps that attach the front of the dress to the side of the backless dress, and still doing the backless route.

End of the day result? Feeling MUCH better about the whole not knowing exactly what my wedding dress is going to look like 6 months before my big day…. How do people usually handle this stress?!?!?! Or maybe I’m just a little insane 😉 Also a possibility!

Ok, lets be honest – the cost of getting married these days is INSANE!!!! My fiance comes from a large family, and so a ‘small guest list’ wasn’t really an option, I needed to find places to cut costs elsewhere. After doing a bit of research one thing I decided was to try ordering in silk flowers and making my own bouquets. Result: I made my bouquet, my toss bouquet (I want to keep mine), 4 bridesmaids bouquets, the MOH’s bout, the grooms bout, 11 other bouts, 4 corsages, aisle/altar decorations and centrepieces all for around $200. I would spend that much just getting my bouquet easily!

So I was sharing this with some of my fellow ‘Brides-To-Be’ on a facebook group I belonged to and realized it would be SO much easier if I took the time to throw together a little how to.

First trick is to find somewhere with good quality silks. You can pick them up everywhere from craft and specialty stores right through to dollar stores these days! I personally ordered mine from an online site, AFloral. Look for the best looking ones you can find, in the style you want, at the best price available and don’ t be afraid to shop around! This is the joys of the internet and online shopping! Also make sure you have lots of floral tape, its your friend!

Image Here is the first order of flowers! I opted for white roses for bridesmaids, groomsmen and ushers. Stuck with the red roses I loved for my fiance and I, although I did 3 different kinds/styles of red roses to change it up. I mixed red and white roses for the decorations and corsages.

I also decided I wanted there to be some bling in my bouquet, so I went to Michaels and got some of their floral wire stems and some flashy beads. To create the bling I would slide a single bead onto the wire stem approximately 6 inches, bend it over and twist as tightly as I could to hold the bead in place. The wire itself is going to be hidden by the flowers so don’t worry too much about its appearance.

Image I did white for my bouquet, and red/black for the bridesmaids and MOH.

Next step was to start the actual bouquet. I begun with 4 roses held together and taped firmly in place in a circle. This is going to be the centre of the bouquet and give you some structure to build around. I took some of my bling beads and taped them in between a couple flowers around the outside. How many and how often you put them on in this step depends on how ‘blinged out’ you want your bouquet to look.

I then took one rose at a time taping them in place working in a circle around the outside of the bouquet centre you created, until you’ve created another full circle all the way around. Then rinse and repeat – Add gems and add another circle.

As you’re getting closer to the edge, start bending the flowers slightly when adding them so that the bouquet bends down on the sides if that’s the look you’re going for (I did).

Here are pictures of the top of my bouquet and one of the bridesmaid’s bouquets showing the bling. Please ignore the dog hair in the one of mine hahaha, my Shepherd cross was trying to help!

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The next step is to do the handles of the bouquets. I am not sure if how I did it was the ‘right’ way but here’s what I did. I used 2 kinds of ribbon for each bouquet, one really thick satin ribbon for the main colour and one really thin ribbon to accent. I cut a short piece of the thick ribbon and wrapped it over the very end of the stems gluing it all in place. I then took the thick ribbon and wrapped it all the way up, gluing the end inplace to create a base. For glue I used E6000 which holds like CRAZY! I then took the accent ribbon and started at the bottom gluing the middle of a long string of it on the bouquet and started wrapping it loosely on the way up creating a lacing effect, using a bit of glue each time they crossed and tying a bow at the top. You don’t have to glue at each X but I found it much easier. For the final touch I added a rhinestone at each X.

Here are the handles I created:

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I hope this helps someone! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Hopefully before you know it you’ll have all your bouquets laid out for a picture, proud you did them yourself (and happy with how much you saved in the process)!

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