Question: What do valentines and a blatant marketing ploy have in common?

Remember when I shamelessly stole these from Alyssa last year?

Yep, you guessed it. I'm stealing them again. And the entire time I am making them, I cannot help but wonder at the genius that is Alyssa.

Seriously. These are the bomb.

For the creatively challenged (like me), I thought I would include step-by-step instructions should you decide to steal the idea yourself.

(But if you do and decide to blog about it - please link back to Alyssa. She is the creator of these babies and it's only fair that we fully credit her for them.)

Step One: Take a photo of your child holding their hand out in a fist. Do not worry excessively what the child is wearing or looks like. After all, these photos are going to be handed to a bunch of sticky-fingered kids on Valentine's Day. Add your valentine's day message in photoshop or other similar program.

I ordered mine as press printed cards from the printhouse that I use because I wanted them to be a little better quality than just a 4x6 print. Then I rounded the corners with a punch. (Yes, Marta. I am totally stealing the rounded corner idea from you, my friend.)

Once you have the pictures back, these are the only supplies you will need:

Step Two: Take the x-acto knife and cut a rounded slit above and below your child's hand in the picture.

Step Three: Insert lolly-pop of your choice carefully into the slits. Swear under your breath if you accidentally rip a couple. Be glad you ordered a few extras.

Step Four: Secure lolly on the back with a small piece of tape.

Step Five: Admire your handiwork and, for the billionth time, thank god for Alyssa and her creative genius.

**And for you St. Louis peeps, I've got an offer for you.

Or a shameless marketing ploy.

Whatever you want to call it.

Call me this week and I will come take pictures of your kids for free, add the lettering of your choice, and order the press printed cards for you at MY COST (which, let me tell you, is about what you'll pay for the crappy princess/transformer cards at Target). The only thing I ask is that you let me put my logo and website on the back of the cards in small print.

You know. Getting my business out there and all that?

Plus you can brag to your friends how you had your kids' valentines done by a professional photographer. And be sure to pretend that you have a chef and a live-in masseuse, too, while you're at it. Just so they'll be impressed.

We have to act fast, though. We need to have this done before Friday to give the printer enough time to get the cards shipped and back in our hot little hands.

For the rest of you - happy crafting!

Would you like to super size that ego?


For the first time ever, I am at a loss for words.

How much do I love you, my cute little internet peeps?

I would have logged on here sooner to tell you as much, but I couldn't fit my now-gigantic head through the front door, let alone squeeze it in and be able to sit down in front of the computer.

You have made my day. You have rocked my world. You have given me the will to live.

Well, that last part was maybe a bit dramatic.

But, still, I am humbly honored and thrilled to know you're all out there, somehow connecting with the stuff that gets churned out here at Stie's Thoughts. I love you all. I wish we could go to dinner sometime and have you tell me again how wonderful I am.

Okay. I'll stop now. Really.

I will be drawing a winning comment tonight, and will accept entries until 8 p.m., central time, for anybody coming late to what became the surprise party for Stie.

Thanks, friends.

Best Valentines Ever (you'll thank me for this one)

While trolling innocently through my blog reader yesterday, I stumbled upon the most genius of all genius ideas.

Meet Alissa. Amazing photographer, mother of four beautiful babies, and blogger extraordinaire.

Now meet her genius idea (seriously, go check hers out).

And now see my literal rip-off of her genius idea:

I frantically grabbed my camera and caught the kids wherever they happened to be, and in whatever state they happened to be in. Two of the three were in the sandbox and totally filthy.

I honestly didn't care, so enamored was I with this idea.

I uploaded the pics, added the words in Photoshop, and then sent them online to my local Sam's Club. Within an hour, I had the photos in-hand. I made small slits at their fists with an xacto knife, inserted the lollies, and BAM. Best. valentines. ever. Total effort on my part? Maybe 20 minutes.

And that counts the break I took in the middle to get a snack.

Because sitting in a chair using an xacto knife? Totally nutrient draining.

So thanks, Alissa, and hats off to you, sister. Were it not for you, I would have been resigned to the tacky crap I hate at Target with pictures of Sponge Bob and Sleeping Beauty. These pictures are so much better.

See? All the pretty soldiers, lined up and ready to go:

Now hurry. There's still time to get yours made.

And yeah, you're welcome.