Wednesday, December 18, 2013

5 Years of Neighbor Gifts at Christmastime

Every year at Christmas I like to make a little something for my neighbors and family friends.
But, this is a busy time of year for Flipzles, so I like to do something that is not too time intensive.

As much as I would like to hand-dip chocolates or make caramels and other delicious candy like my grandma, mom, and sisters do -- it is more up my alley to try to come up with an original but easy idea.

I like to try and do something people might copy and put on their Pinterest boards -- knowing that I didn't find it on Pinterest myself.

Here are a few things that my family has done in the past ---

2012- Geyser Gifts
Tag reads "We think you GEYSER awesome and we hope you have a blast this Christmas!"
We taped instructions to the back of the bottle.

In 2011 we bought cases of gum and altoids at Costco and put them in brown paper bags with this note on them -- "We MINT to bake something scrumptious or make some decadent candies... but by GUM we just didn't get around to it.   Merry Christmas all the same! Love, the Lewis Family"

In 2010 we made large candy bar wraps, and topped them off with gloves for hats.  These make great teacher gifts too!  (I didn't come up with this idea completely on my own, I saw something like it at a craft show and decided to go home and make my own printable version)

It is also fun to cut paper to the correct size and let the kids draw their own design to give as gifts.

In 2009 I came up with another way to use gloves as a gift wrap...
Gretchen the glove filled reindeer - the tag is somewhat corny, but cute nonetheless

Last year while my husband and I were on a ski trip in Idaho, we bought some chocolate covered cinnamon bears to try.  We both loved them, and then and there I decided that would be my next neighbor Christmas gift.  At first I intended to buy cinnamon bears and dip them myself, but once again, that ended up not working out.  So instead I ordered an entire case (27 pounds of chocolate covered cinnamon goodness) from  It made 50 neighbor gifts!

Now the problem was deciding how to wrap them. 

Ribbon & tag on top


Bow on top, tag around paper cup

 In a bag so the chocolate bears can be seen

I couldn't decide, so I did some of each.  Now I just hope my neighbors like these little blasts of cinnamon and chocolate as much as I do.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Night Buddies - Toy Review

Meet the new Night Buddies...
 Lights on!

Lights Off!
These fun plush sea creatures' eyes light up when you squeeze their bellies.
My kids absolutely love them.
My 3 year old had AC the Airplane night buddy first, and he sleeps with him every night and asks for him when it is time for lights out. 
When he saw the new line of sea life Night buddies he was smitten with Mark the Shark.
What little boy doesn't want a shark to protect him and help him feel secure at night!? 
Another great thing about Night Buddies is that even older kids love them. 
This is my 11 year old with Ally the Turtle

My eight year old loves Olivia the Dolphin and her sweet glowing eyes. 
And meet Oliver the Orca cuddling with my 6 year old.
If your kids are like mine they most likely love plush --
I love that these special stuffed animals are not only adorable but that they provide my kiddos the comfort of a night light in a huggable loveable form.
Make sure to like their facebook page
and visit their website to see the original 4 Night Buddies and find a retailer in your area

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Teddy Bears!

Did you know that November 14th is National Teddy Bear Day!?

Growing up one of my most beloved toys was a big blue teddy bear that I called “Bluey” --I wasn’t very creative in the naming arena-- I also had a smaller teddy bear named “Pinky.” All of my siblings and friends also had favorite teddy bears.  They were simply part of everyday life so I didn’t realize that these sweet stuffed toys have only been around since 1902.  

A few weeks ago I came across a story about how Teddy bears were invented and I found it very interesting so I wanted to share it.

According to the Theodore Roosevelt Association this is the “Real Teddy Bear Story”

“It all started with a hunting trip President Roosevelt took in 1902 in Mississippi at the invitation of Mississippi Governor, Andrew H. Longino. After three days of hunting, other members of the party had spotted bears, but not Roosevelt.

Now what? The President's bear hunt would be a failure! The next day, the hunt guides tracked down an old black bear that the dogs had trailed quite a distance and attacked. The guides tied the bear to a willow tree and called for the President. Here was a bear for him to shoot!

But Roosevelt took one look at the old bear and refused to shoot it. He felt doing so would be unsportsmanlike. However, since it was injured and suffering, Roosevelt ordered that the bear be put down to end its pain. Word of this hit newspapers across the country, and political cartoonist Clifford Berryman picked up on the story, drawing a cartoon showing how President Roosevelt refused to shoot the bear while hunting in Mississippi.

The original cartoon, which ran in the Washington Post on November 16, 1902, shows Roosevelt standing in front. The guide and bear are in the background, and they’re about the same size. Later, similar cartoons appeared, but the bear was smaller and shaking with fear. This bear cub then appeared in other cartoons Clifford Berryman drew throughout Roosevelt’s career. That connected bears with President Roosevelt.

The Teddy Bear tie came when a Brooklyn, NY candy shop owner, Morris Michtom, saw Clifford Berryman’s original cartoon of Roosevelt and the bear and had an idea. He put in his shop window two stuffed toy bears his wife had made. Michtom asked permission from President Roosevelt to call these toy bears "Teddy's bears". The rapid popularity of these bears led Michtom to mass-produce them, eventually forming the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.

At about the same time, a Germany company, Steiff, started making stuffed bears. Margaret Steiff earned her living by sewing, first by making stuffed elephants, then other animals. In 1903, an American saw a stuffed bear she had made and ordered many of them. These bears, which also came to be called Teddy Bears, made the international connection."

So have a snuggle with your little ones and their favorite teddy bear today!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Favorite Quote

A few weeks ago one of my friends told me that she had her kids memorize this quote. On days when they gripe and whine she asks them to say it out loud.  I think she is brilliant, so I decided to make a few pictures to hang in my kids rooms ad bathrooms so they can see this quote on a regular basis.  
Maybe it will help just a bit with the amount of whining in our house -- And if it doesn't phase the kids at least it will remind me to keep a positive attitude. 

The photos with the baby are of my youngest, but someone pointed out to me that using his photo in this case might inadvertantly label him as a whiner which I don't want to do --  So I decided to print the ice photo that I took a few years ago with the quote on it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Halloween Candy Wraps

A couple of years ago, I went crazy and made a whole bunch of Halloween candy wraps.

I think they make great gifts for neighbors and teachers and friends this time of year, so I thought I'd share how to make them with my Flipzles fans.

Vampire with Cape

Open the cape to see the message - "I hope your Halloween doesn't Bite"

I used black felt to make his bat-wing cape and glued googly eyes on top of the printed paper that is wrapped around a box of Reese's Pieces.

A BOO "Mint" just for you!

Needed: One size fits all stretchy gloves, ribbon, white felt, junior mints and printable ghost face (or make your own).

Large candy bar Witches with glove hats

Needed: Large candy bars, stretchy gloves, ribbon, and printable witch face.

I also made 3 smaller size gum or kit kat bar wrappers.  Simply print, but and wrap to add a little Halloween fun to the treats you give out.

Here are the other wraps -

Artwork and designs created by Vicki Lewis

I tried to embed the pdf -- but it isn't working right now, so email me if you would like the pdfs to print.
 vicki @ flipzles . com

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

And the Winners Are....

Congratulations to the three winners and thank you to everyone who participated and shared.
Please continue to tell your friends about Flipzles - Word of Mouth is a huge part of my business.

I truly appreciate the support and encouragement I have received throughout my first year in business! Thank You!

And the winners are...
#1 Sochilt Brown - winner of your choice of Flipzles puzzle

#2 R times 5 (Rebecca N.) - winner of a Flipzles Farm :)

#3 Karen Gemin - winner of a Flipzles Pet Mansion

Winners please email me your mailing address

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Flipzles One Year Anniversary Giveaway!

One year ago today I officially launched Flipzles.  My garage was packed full of boxes and boxes of puzzles that had just arrived and I was nervous and excited about my new adventure. I have learned a lot, cried a little, struggled and questioned, cheered and triumphed, sketched, painted and photographed erased and started again.  
I have come a long way, but still have so very far to go.

Throughout this first year Flipzles have been sold in 105 stores and online sites and over 3,800 puzzles have sold.
I know that may not seem like much, but for a stay at home mom of 4 who is shipping from home herself, I am quite happy with my first year. Thanks for your support!

To celebrate I want to giveaway some Flipzles!

How to Enter:
Simply comment on the Giveaway post and you will get one entry.

If you help spread the word about FLIPZLES let me know in your comment and I will add one entry for every unique way of sharing you mention.  (A few options might be to send out an email to friends about FLIPZLES, share the link to the FLIPZLES website or blog on a social networking site, encourage others to enter the contest or any other creative way you can think of. Just make sure to list the ways you shared in your comment). Follows on twitter, Google+, and facebook will also get one entry.

Bonus entries - 5 entries will be given for photos posted of FLIPZLES in action, and 10 entries for links to videos!

  Please number your methods to make it easier for me to award you your entries.  Thanks!)

Entries will be accepted until midnight October 7th, 2013.
Entries will be numbered and the winners will be chosen at random through

The first winner will receive a Flipzles puzzle of their choice.

The second winner will receive a Flipzles Farm.

The third winner will receive a Flipzles Pet Mansion.

If you can't wait to get your hands on these puzzles, now is a great time to order.  I am having a 20% off sale on my website until October 15th.  Just use the code GOODYEAR when you check out.

Thanks for helping me celebrate one year with Flipzles! and Good Luck!

See below for complete official rules - must be 18 to enter and win - prizes will be shipped to addresses in the USA

Monday, September 16, 2013

Toy Recommendation - Rainbow Looms

One of my most supportive stores - Smarty Pants Kids, in Eden Prairie, Minnesota posted an article about Rainbow Looms on Facebook. 

I read and loved the story.  Rainbow Looms started with a father making something for his daughters to use. It was a great idea so he developed it and started a company in his home and it has grown and grown.  Of course I love stories like this, because they are an inspiration to me as I continue to develop and ship Flipzles out of my basement.

When I saw the bracelets I knew my kids would love the looms, so I ordered some from my friend at Smarty Pants Kids.  We received the looms on Saturday afternoon and since then my kids have been using them non-stop.  They brought them to church and sat quietly listening and looming. They haven't asked to play video games because they are making bracelets instead.  

They have watched several youtube videos of different patterns and have blown me away with how fast they have learned to make what were tagged as "expert" designs.  Tasha even packed hers to take with her to her 6th grade outdoor school this week, so she could make bracelets on the bus ride.

As a mother and toymaker myself, I value finding toys that inspire kids to create.
So in case you haven't heard of Rainbow Looms -- I definitely recommend them.

To read the story about Rainbow Looms -- click here

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Class Art Projects

With school coming to a close I thought it would be fun to post a few of the art lessons I have taught with Ms. Hagee this year.  We art docent together as volunteers at our kiddos' elementary school.

Warm and Cool Colors - Tree silhouettes.
We used oil pastel for the background and black paper for the tree
The top picture is a second grade class and the second one is a 5th grade class.
This lesson plan was inspired by a tint painting lesson I found on pinterest. 

The next lesson focused on contrast, pattern and line.  The students could make any type of animal (or creature they wanted) They made circle heads and cut triangular-ish shaped bodies. Used two similar patterns on the bodies and one unique one to stand out.  
This lesson also worked for 2nd grade and 5th grade.

This final lesson I did with my daughter's 2nd grade class.  We discussed the use of line and Op Art.  Lines can create illusion of depth so each student chose one color of marker and started making straight or curved lines at the corners and worked their way in until there was just a small opening in the middle.  Then they colored the opening yellow so it would look the cave opening.  They are learning about dinosaurs in class so I decided to have them each draw a colored pencil dinosaur and outline it in black and glue it in their cave.
I am pretty sure my sister Ashlee taught me how to make a similar line doodle when I was in elementary school.  I used to draw these cave like things over and over.  So glad I could use it now.  The kids thought it was awesome and adding the dinosaurs definitely made the project more interesting and added a fun focal point.

The one below is my second grade daughter's  and the above ones are the examples that my 5th grader and I did before the lesson.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

In honor of Mother's Day I want to share my favorite poem about moms with you!

Somebody's Mother
- Mary Dow Brine (1816-1913)

    The woman was old and ragged and gray 
    And bent with the chill of the Winter's day.

    The street was wet with a recent snow 
    And the woman's feet were aged and slow.

    She stood at the crossing and waited long, 
    Alone, uncared for, amid the throng

    Of human beings who passed her by 
    Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eyes.

    Down the street, with laughter and shout, 
    Glad in the freedom of "school let out,"

    Came the boys like a flock of sheep, 
    Hailing the snow piled white and deep.

    Past the woman so old and gray 
    Hastened the children on their way.

    Nor offered a helping hand to her - 
    So meek, so timid, afraid to stir

    Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet 
    Should crowd her down in the slippery street.

    At last came one of the merry troop, 
    The gayest laddie of all the group;

    He paused beside her and whispered low, 
    "I'll help you cross, if you wish to go."

    Her aged hand on his strong young arm 
    She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,

    He guided the trembling feet along, 
    Proud that his own were firm and strong.

    Then back again to his friends he went, 
    His young heart happy and well content.

    "She's somebody's mother, boys, you know, 
    For all she's aged and poor and slow,

    "And I hope some fellow will lend a hand 
    To help my mother, you understand,

    "If ever she's poor and old and gray, 
    When her own dear boy is far away."

    And "somebody's mother" bowed low her head 
    In her home that night, and the prayer she said

    Was "God be kind to the noble boy, 
    Who is somebody's son, and pride and joy!"

My gorgeous mom with my Grandma Allie (my dad's mom) and Grandpa Hillary, my little brother, older sister and me.  Not positive, but guessing the reason why I know this poem is because of Grandma Allie. 

My Mom holding my brother -- that is me in the front.

My husband and his mom

My Grandma Charleen doing double dutch, and my mom spinning the rope.  How many other great grandma's have you seen still willing to jump in?

My Grandma Charleen with her mom Carol

Jake's maternal Grandma with my oldest daughter N.

Jakes paternal grandma with N.

Jakes Great Grandma with my girls

 A line of moms (a couple dad's too) that leads to my kiddos.

I am so grateful for the heritage of amazing women in my life and in my children's lives.

Happy Mother's Day!