Summer Fun & Happy Independence Day!!!!!

First off we would like to wish everyone a Happy & Safe Independence Day! We will be celebrating gymnastics style – handstands of course!

~~ We will also be closed July 3rd & 4th ~~

Summer is finally here in full force, with the heat waves becoming more intense as the weeks pass. People are gradually spending more time outside, and certainly so are we here at Craft-E-Family. With acres of land surrounding our workshop, it’s hard to not take evening walks after the workday is over or during a lunch break when it’s beautiful outside. In our free time, we occasionally take our gator out for a ride or fish at my parent’s ponds. As we watch people come outside, we also see the little ones running through the grass and marveling over the critters. We know firsthand from LeeLoo and our nieces and nephews that children love to catch bugs, so that’s why we created our bug box. Personalized with the child’s name across the lid, it’s perfect for catching whatever small critters they find, whether it’s grasshoppers, ladybugs, or even lizards.

This summer, LeeLoo has shown a preference to stay indoors where she can be more creative. She loves to draw on her computer and iPad or in her sketch books, and she loves to show some creativity when it comes to cooking. Being artsy seems to be her top priority, so we know just what it is like to have pencils and crayons lying around the house. That’s one of the main reasons why we created the crayon holder. Not only does it display the child’s or adult’s name across the front in brightly colored letters, but it also works as a cute display that will encourage kids to put their crayons up when they’re done! It’s like a piece of art standing by to create more works of art.

Whatever you and your family decide to do this summer, we want to be here to help you enjoy it. We also offer sports frames and customizable frames that are perfect for displaying vacation photos. Though there aren’t as many holidays in the summer as there are in the fall and winter, it is still a wonderful season to celebrate and to enjoy more relaxed times.

Until next time Keep it Craft-E!

Family Day and Father’s Day

Perhaps the biggest holiday for my family is our Forever Family Day, which is on June 13th. This year will be our 12th year, and Miss LeeLoo has grown by leaps and bounds. She has already passed me in height as she is now over 5 feet tall, she turned 13 earlier in the year, and she will be starting 8th grade in the fall! She’s become such a smart young girl and is quite the artist. This year she made the Junior National Honor Society with a 4.0 GPA and won 1st place in a local art show. It’s crazy to realize how much she has grown right in front of our eyes in these last 12 years. Occasionally I’ll look at her adoption block, and it seems like just yesterday we were in China getting ready to meet our daughter. On our adoption block, we include the child’s full name, date and location of birth, the names of the parents, and the adoption date. We can also create a personalized Baby Block Picture Frame, which includes a small 2-D block in the bottom right-hand corner of the frame that includes the name, first initial, and birth information of the baby. This way, you can have a picture of the newborn right beside all of his or her information!

Of course, we cannot forget to celebrate the dads! Father’s Day (June 18th this year) is the day when we celebrate dear old Dad and all he has done for us. My dad taught me many things over the years, such as how to catch and clean fish, how to build things here in the workshop, and how to get out of mowing grass – just mow down Mom’s flowers every spring and you’re done for the summer! As LeeLoo grows up, I love watching how she and Cory interact. He has been helping her with math, helping her build her new kitten a “poopy palace,” and teaching her to mow grass. I’m just dreading the teaching her to drive a car! Usually for Father’s Day, Cory is happy with some craft beer, but once she starts driving it will probably be bumped up to a keg of craft beer! But for now, we’ll stick with some bottles and coasters. Cory has actually made custom coasters that say Gold Creek Brewery on them, as he has high hopes to one day have his own brewery. As for our customers, we have done quite a few custom coasters around Father’s Day for man caves. Just e-mail us at info@craftefamily.com to start your custom coasters! In our book, custom coasters always get brownie points. However, if you already have numerous coasters lying around the house, we can make Father’s Day frames, including the 4-block frame we mentioned for Mother’s Day! Just find a couple pictures that captures great memories of dad with the kid(s) and create the frame. No matter what you pick, Dad will be one happy man on Father’s Day when he sees how much he is appreciated.

 

Until next time, Keep It Craft E!

House Warming Gift Ideas

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, spring brings lots of adorable babies. But if we’re being honest, they also come with a lot of extra stuff that takes a lot of extra room. They need cribs, diapers, toys – the list just keeps going. We have found during our time of making baby blocks, that the gifts are most often returned by the post office within the first 3 months of the little one arriving since people tend to move houses to make room for the extras. Even we moved 6 months after LeeLoo came home with us. With all of this in mind, we feel that something special is needed to commemorate the family’s new abode. By tweaking a couple of our products, we have come up with the perfect housewarming gifts. And let’s face it: after the baby comes, mom and dad lose a lot of the attention.

The first product we tweaked was the family name coaster. Now, you can order it with the family name in the center and the address around the edges rather than the names of the family members.

 

 

 

We also have the bubble frame. With this, you can have the name of the family put on the front, then sneak over to snap a picture of the new house so you have a picture to put in it! Imagine how elated they will be when they see the amount of thought and work you put into what could have been a simple gift.

The last product we have is actually a block design that a customer had us create. On the top, the family’s initial is encircled by their new address. The front has their family name along with the first name of each member listed below it. The next side has a compass rose with the GPS coordinates of the house, (a cool website to use for obtaining coordinates is notated on the order form). On the third side, the established month and year are printed above a picture of a house, and there is a blessing for the house on the fourth side. Of course, we stuck to our tradition to let you place who it is from on the bottom. This block is probably my favorite, and, being the geeky nerd, I love the incorporation of the coordinates. It’s a mathematical secret formula!

Until next time, Keep It Craft E!

Spring & Easter

Spring is the season of birth and renewal, making it a special time for religious holidays and private family holidays. With the beginning of April now upon us, we are busy decorating our house for Easter! Our favorite Holiday Blocks are front and center in the living room, giving a warm Hoppy Easter to all those who enter, and LeeLoo’s Baby’s First Easter Block is just beside them.

These baby blocks are perfect for commemorating the little one’s first Easter! Complete with images of a cross, an Easter bunny, and a basket filled with eggs, the inscription of the date and the baby’s name make for an absolutely adorable gift to add to their first Easter basket – plus, the block comes in color or our standard engraved if you prefer!

To add some additional spring colors to our house, we love to do the traditional decoration of Easter eggs. We found our favorite way on Pinterest, and it makes the annoying egg cracks useful! Rather than being extremely careful to not crack the egg shells, you gently crack them from the get-go so you don’t have to worry about it later. Plus, when you peel off the shell, the egg has an awesome marble design! We love to spice up holiday traditions – I think this year LeeLoo will be trying an egg dye that involves shaving cream since she has some left over from the slime recipe she found. Looking at it, I often wonder if kids are just as addicted to Pinterest as their moms!

Until next time, Keep It Craft E!

Responsibly Recycling… Our Gift to our Customers and the Environment

09Here at Craft-E-Family, we believe in a lot of things. Two of those things are

  1. Saving you (our customers) money.
  2. Being resourceful and responsible about what we’ve been given.

As a business owner, it’s important to keep our quality high and our prices affordable enough that you keep coming back. We want Craft-E-Family to be the first business you think of when looking for gifts. So how do we hold true to both of those beliefs?

We believe in recycling and upcycling – both for our family and in our business. One of our family values is to be kind to the earth and to animals. It’s important to teach our daughter to do the same.  Vegetable scraps and beer brewing grains go across the road to our friends for their chickens – which we in turn get some yummy eggs!  What little paper and plastic items we do have we recycle. We try not to buy many things that come in plastic. If making our own lemonade keeps 52 containers a year out of a landfill, then that is what we do. 

Chickens

When we built our home, we went with bamboo flooring. We have geothermal heating; wood-burning fireplace inserts which we fuel with trees that have fallen or died on our property; and LED lighting is being incorporated into the house as well. We have energy efficient windows, metal roofing and even our carpeting is made by Flor, which uses recycled material. If we ever get tired of it, we ship it back for them to recycle again!  How awesome is that?!

From grocery bags to milk purchases – we really try to keep in mind that what we do in our home has a larger ecological impact. We even donate our daughter’s paper books to her school when she’s done with them so more children can benefit from them. E-books would be better, but we’re smart, we choose our battles and this isn’t one of them.

When it comes to business, we try to be equally as conscious about how we’re spending our resources. We’re very deliberate about where our materials come from and we’re thoughtful about making sure we use those materials to the maximum.

One of the examples of our efforts is our gift-wrap. It’s custom and it adds a lot of character to an already personal gift. If they’re looking for something flashy – they’ll likely wrap it themselves. We use recycled kraft paper and recycled chipboard to make our own boxes. We also use some of the scrap kraft paper for packaging.  Scrap maple from our blocks is then used to make custom gift tags and we tie it all together with all natural hemp twine.

In the shop, all paper, cardboard, metal and plastic are recycled.  Scrap blocks are turned into charcoal for personal use. Blocks with too much grain/mineral lines are donated to local schools and head start programs and sawdust is given away for those needing carbon for composting or given to local farmers that need it for bedding in stalls.

heat

We donate scrap, yet viable materials, to local schools for art class (easel backs, paper -discontinued by us, cork sheets, blocks) and scrap picture frame cutouts are used to make company and personal Christmas ornaments. We are also hoping to make the full switch next month from using padded mailers – to using cardboard boxes.

We love hearing ideas from our customers too, so if you have any ideas as to how we can better use our resources – we’re always open to suggestions! Let us know how you try to make a difference through recycling. Maybe we’ll adopt some of your ideas too.

Until next time, Keep It Craft-E! And keep it green!