Have a Hoppy Spring Silhouette Tutorial

You would never believe that with the snow that we have had in Virginia, we are into our first full week of spring. Crazy, right?

Well, it is! And to continue the decoration that I started with my Luck o’ the Irish sign, I thought that we needed one for the springtime. Since I am Jewish and Tim is Christian, I didn’t want a purely Easter sign (although I love the pastel colors), so I decided to use the colors and have a bunny theme. Hey, normally I try to keep it far from feminine in our house, but this is my one corner to cutesy it out.

Have a Hoppy Spring - The Doyle Dispatch

So, I used the essentially the same steps as I originally found on The Sensory Emporium, but I wanted to write my own tutorial since I have changed a few things.

Silhouette Studio Offsetting & Shape Words - The Doyle Dispatch

Start by piecing out the words that you will want to use. I have “Have a,” then “hoppy” will go inside the bunny (so I saved it for later), and then “spring.” You can also see that I was playing around with what I wanted my bunny to look like. I found these images through a Google search (you can actually do a safe search to be sure that you are allowed to use the images), then I traced them. To find directions on tracing shapes, look at my tutorial hereHave a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch

Next, I wrote “HOPPY” in all capital letters and placed it inside the bunny.Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch

Then I chose my font and readjusted the size. I am currently obsessed with Oh {Photo} Shoot!, which I believe I got for free from KevinAndAmanda.com.Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch

Then, I ungrouped the letters, which allows me to move, resize, and alter each letter individually.

Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch

Before I did too much readjusting, I duplicated Mr. Bunny, as I would need another copy of him later. I then readjusted all of the letters so that they will go past the outline of the bunny.
Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch

Next, I selected the image of the bunny and all of the letters and clicked Object –> Modify –> Crop.
Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch

As you can see, this then cuts off all of the extra parts of the letter that are outside of the bunny. This also gets rid of the bunny (which is why you needed to have an extra copy of him earlier).Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch

Then, you can slide the duplicated bunny over again and do some last adjusting of the letters. Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch

This isn’t the most simplistic font, so I had to clean up a few points.Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch

Then, I figured out what I wanted to cut on one color of my vinyl and I put it on the page. Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch

I always like using as little vinyl as possible, so I get creative with my spacing.

Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch

Once that was cut out, I realized that I wanted a little extra to the finished sign, so I highlighted the text and used the offset tool to outline the letters. Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle Dispatch

Then, I sent these backgrounds to the cutter. Have a Hoppy Spring Tutorial - The Doyle DispatchI am so excited with how it turned out!

Have a Hoppy Spring - The Doyle Dispatch

Oh Christmas Tree


Before the tree goes down, I wanted to post some pictures of our tree and some of the featured ornaments. This is the first time in a couple of years that we didn’t just have the Hokie tree. Two years ago, I loved the idea of a silver and gold tree, so we have many of those ornaments (so classic!). We also got many of Tim’s childhood ornaments, and I am so happy that they now have a home on our tree!


The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012 ornament from my mom to commemorate my brother’s 2nd appearance in the parade!


My favorite of the ornaments: one made by “Timothy” probably when he was 2. His mom was very kind to let me have this, as I knew it needed a safe home on our tree. I love this one most of all!


The Carnival Miracle: our honeymoon cruise ship.


The ornament that Tim’s grandmother gave me the year before she passed away. I am so happy that I was able to meet that extraordinary woman.


One of the sparkly “gold” ornaments. Those that know me will be shocked that it is glittery.


An Irish ornament. I think my mom gave this to us last Christmas.


One of Tim’s childhood ornaments.


An ornament that we inherited from Tim’s mom last Christmas.


A beautiful glass ornament with a menorah on one side and a Christmas tree on the other. My Aunt Liz and Uncle Lee gave this to us.


The ring bowl that we used for our wedding.


An old dreidel ornament that I inherited from my family.


“Our First Christmas Together 2009″ (our first married Christmas… our 7th together)


“New Home, 2008″ (the year we bought our home)


Tim’s TMNT ornament

And now for some other pictures of our Christmas decorations:



The Christmas/holiday cards


I loved having a way to display our cards this year!


The dining room


Our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree


A way to display unused ornaments


More ornaments on display


The Hokie Tree


The stockings from Pottery Barn. Love them!

Mailbox Vinyl

Updated 11/17:

Yes, I have had more fun with my Silhouette and the premium vinyl: mailbox fun! Now, our mailbox has some great style!


Nail Art Love

I have a Pinterest board called “Nail Love.” For years, I was a nail-biter, cuticle-picker, and all around hand-hider (I was so ashamed).

Last summer, however, I beat the habit! I decided to go and pay for an “expensive” manicure on my ugly nails. Well, I am cheap at heart, and I knew that once I paid for that, I would want to protect and take care of those nails. So for that week, I didn’t bite.

The next week, I went back and got another manicure. I didn’t bite during that week either. I kept paying $15 each week, and I kept keeping my nails looking pretty.

So, 20+ years later, and I finally beat that awful habit. When I am super-stressed, I might bite 1 nail, but I instantly regret it and won’t bite the rest.

Now, I’m obsessed with my fingernails. I have over 20 bottles of nail polish in bright, dull, and exotic colors. I have top coats, bottom coats, detail brushes, cuticle oil, rapid dry items, etc. This fall, I decided to see how many different Hokie patterns I could do for the VT games. While it didn’t bring us luck, here are some of my favorites:

NOTE: Please look past the polish on my fingers, right around the nails. These picture were taken right after painting, which is why they still were a bit messy.

Get it? They are footballs in the Hokie colors!

I absolutely loved these stripes. Preppy but sporty.

Maroon nails with orange glitter on top.

And then I have some pictures of non-Hokie nails:

Charlie Brown nails for the “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” 10th reunion.

I love this dramatic graphite grey color.

Updates to DIY Page and Free to a Good Home

Hello, readers!

I wanted to let you know that I have spent some time on this rainy, cold week to update the DIY page. Take a look at all of the items that I’ve made (although I keep feeling like I have left so many out)!

Want me to make something for you? These are just the start. Let me know what you are looking for, and I will do it! No cost to you, except for supplies and a post on this blog.

At some point, I may start an Etsy page, but for right now, I’m just having fun making cute crafts to occupy my time and relax my brain.

Also, I have some items that I made with my Silhouette that just don’t have a place in my craft room. I will be donating them to the trash can unless someone wants them:

Happy Anniversary, House!

Happy anniversary to our dear, quirky house! We bought you 4 years ago today and immediately noticed your flaws. This is what you looked like when we moved in:

We loved the yellow siding, the red front door, the white trim, and the new roof. There were a few small, minor changes we wanted to make, but we realized that we could wait and we would be very happy with the house. Are you ready for a count of all of the things we have done in 4 years/48 months/1,460 days/35,040 hours?

We moved in that day and began to put things in our walk-in closet in the master. Uh oh! The closet system was wobbly and wasn’t installed correctly. Everything would rip out of the wall immediately.

1. Tear out the closet, patch the drywall, repaint, and rebuild the closet.

The next day, we started to put our things in the new kitchen (in between Trick-or-Treaters. Then, we discovered paint was chipping off the SPRAY-PAINTED CABINETS!!!

2. Renovate the kitchen in Winter 2011.

The boxwoods in front of the house weren’t safe (robbers can hide behind them, after all!).

3. Rip out the boxwoods, take down trees, and hire a landscaper to redo the front flowerbeds.

After the warranty was up on the plants by the landscaper, half of them died.

4. Redo the flowerbeds by ourselves.

More plants died.

5. Buy hardier plants.

Some good friends moved in to a house down the street in a similar neighborhood, and I helped them to take down wallpaper and paint their house.

6. Let’s redo our powder room.

I really liked the toilet paper holder in the new powder room.

7. We need to rework the master bathroom.

We couldn’t get grass to grow- only weeds.

8. Each season, we work on the grass more and more. We are finally getting somewhere.

The clean laundry had a very odd smell… almost like burnt fabri… OH MY GOSH!

9. Get a new HE washer and steam dryer during a Black Friday sale.

I was really tired of having all of my craft supplies spread throughout the house, creating a mess in every room of the house.

10. I’m getting a Craft Room!

We wondered what it would be like if we had our bed and dresser on the opposite wall. Would it give us more room?

11. The master bedroom gets a makeover.

When guests came to stay, they didn’t really have a cohesive space to stay.

12. Oh look! Home Goods had these fantastic linens and curtains for a very inexpensive price!

The front lights were ugly, the flood light didn’t work, and the lights in the back of the house would flicker or not turn on at all.

13. Let’s finally install the lights that we bought years ago!

We didn’t have anywhere to store stuff in the Craft Room.

14. Let’s buy the storage system to build a closet in there.

So, what is still left to do?

-Repaint the living room (gray)

-Repaint the master bedroom (gray or blue)

-Repaint the craft room (cantaloupe or pale watermelon)

-Rewire the old office so the electric switch is by the door

-Move the washer/dryer outlets into the wall so the doors can close fully

-Create adjustable shelves above the washer/dryer

-Add cable TV to the craft room

-Master bathroom renovation: tiled shower, tiled floor, reworked linen closet, new toilet, new vanity and sink, and install a vent

-Turn the deck into a screened-in porch

-Create a patio off the back deck/porch

RVA Vinyl Sticker GIVEAWAY

I’ve had quite a few busy weeks with teaching, but thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I have the day off of school today. We are still waiting for the 1-5 inches of rain and 50+mph winds to reach us, so while we have power, I decided to be crafty with my Silhouette.

The first week that I had my Silhouette Cameo, I made these two Virginia map crafts.


The colors in this are actually all wrong. The Virginia is in black, and the background is an aqua/turquoise color.


Virginia Love: all three cities in which we have lived.

Well, my neighbor was over at the house visiting (and I was showing off my new machine), and she recommended for me to make a Virginia RVA sticker for my car. What a terrific idea! These RVA stickers are huge right now, and after doing some investigating and Google searching, it seemed like the company that created the logo wants people to use it and spread it around (I love this RVA Generator site). Well, okay then! I’ll use it!

So, I took my map and the RVA logo, and I used my Silhouette software to create a RVA vinyl sticker for the car. Here it is! What do you think?

I’ve ordered the premium vinyl that allows for these items to be attached for indoor/outdoor use (currently I just have indoor vinyl). So, do you think I have something here? Is anyone interested in one of these?


Colors are off again. The map will be in white to stand out on cars.

Let’s make it a GIVEAWAY! If you want one for free, just comment “I’m in RVA!” The first 3 people that make a comment will get one in white for their car! I’m also going to work on one for Charlottesville, VT, and UVA!


Loving the Silhouette Cameo

Well, I have had quite the love/hate experience with my Silhouette Cameo over its first few days. I have to now announce that I LOVE MY SILHOUETTE CAMEO! It seems like I figured out all of the troubles, and it is an amazing machine. Here are some of the things that I have made since Thursday evening:


This is a pumpkin for Kevin and Lauryn (Tim’s brother and our soon-to-be sister-in-law!!!), to celebrate their new engagement.


Lots of paper crafts (l-r): pop- up flower card, Virginia map, Virginia map with locations where we have lived, a 3-D football, pumpkin ornament, mini 3-D purse, 3-D house.


The first project: The Doyles’ pumpkin (featuring Lucy, Toby, and some Hokie tracks)

Decoy Duck

When we were in Alabama in earlier this month, we went to a local store called Unclaimed Storage. The owner is like those people you see on Storage Wars, where they buy unclaimed storage lockers and sell their products. This store is a little different, as the owner just has contracts with the storage unit owners. When a renter doesn’t pay, he will cover the cost and legal work so that he can buy the unit and all of the items inside. No auction, just him.

Well, there were quite interesting items in this store. Not all of them were worth the dust that they were collecting. One thing caught my eye, though, and I have not been able to get it off my mind since. It was a decoy duck. These are what hunters use to trick the ducks. I have seen them a lot recently on our favorite tv shows, but something about this duck just called my name. Maybe it was the fact that it was in Alabama, or that we have been wanting to teach Lucy to hunt (as she was born to do). Or the peeling paint. Or the antique weight still attached to the bottom. Sigh.

There were 2 ducks there, priced at $65 each. They were from the 1920s, but they didn’t have any signature (with the right signature, these ducks can be worth thousands). They were both in rough shape with a wooden body, paint peeling, and a fixed broken head. The lowest they would take was $50. We were stubborn, and the lowest we would buy was for $40. They wouldn’t budge. I was heartbroken, but we left.

That was 2 weeks ago. I still am agonizing over leaving my duck in Alabama. I am hoping my family is heading back to Alabama so I can give them the $50 to pick one up. I even have a spot cleared off of my shelf just for him. Sure, it may be more than they are worth, but sometimes you just have to give in. Right? After all, I have been to many stores to look around, and although decoy ducks are not unique, I cannot find any that have that look or draw. EBay, Craigslist, Amazon, antique stores… no luck.

So, what do you think? Am I crazy for being willing to spend so much for something so ragged? Have you ever not bought something, only to change your mind and go to drastic measures to get it? Are you in love with this duck like I am? What should I name him?


Our First Married Christmas

This is our first married Christmas together, and as I have gotten really enthusiastic with decorating, it has carried over into Christmas decorating. I am Jewish, but I have always loved Christmas decorations and this season. Although we didn’t celebrate Christmas, I always enjoyed it. Let’s just say it hasn’t stopped.

This ornament is one that used to belong to my grandmother, who passed away this past summer. I think it is a wonderful way to remember her:

This ornament is from our honeymoon cruise on Carnival Cruise Line’s Miracle:

The rest of these ornaments go along with our gold and silver theme:

I got a smaller tree for our kitchen table. Since we did a silver and gold themed large tree, I wanted a way to display our other fun ornaments:

Here is our holiday mantle. Even Toby got his own Pottery Barn stocking!