Tag Archives: deployment

Happy Veterans Day!

Thank you to all the service men and women who are serving or who have served this great country of ours!
Check out my Free Printables to help celebrate this great day!

As a thank you to all (veteran or not!) I am offering 20% off your purchase in my Etsy Shop for today only! Expires at midnight (central time zone) on 11/11/14. Use code ThankYouVets at checkout to save!

While you’re there, check out some of the new items I listed this week!

This is my favorite – anyone in the military will understand what ‘lima oscar victor echo’ means!


This necklace can be customized with whatever word you’d like (faith, hope, love, or your choice!)DSC_9276




Another one of my favorites! DSC_9362

Huge Etsy Shop Update!

I’ve been working like a busy little bee over the past few weeks and in between getting ready to move and getting all of my existing orders done, I’ve created so many new products!

(Make sure you read through all the way to the end – there might be a little surprise in it for you!)

All items can be found in my Etsy Shop or by clicking on my shop on the sidebar of this page.

I gear many of my items towards people who are looking for long distance relationship gifts, deployment or care package gifts, or just those who want to show support for those in the military, but many of them can be used in so many different ways! I’ve had customers who tell me that they’ve bought my items when they go off to college and are away from friends or family, or to mark a favorite vacation spot, and even someone who wanted to document the special location where she got engaged! There are just so many different possibilities!

On to the items!

First off, I now sell just plain stamped washers – perfect for if you want to hang it on your own chain, on a keychain, or attach it to a shadowbox, scrapbook or other form of memorabilia.  I offer 2 sizes and 2 formats.

1.1DSC_0586 copy


This general “my happy place” can be used in so many different ways! I used it to mark the coordinates of my favorite beach in NJ that I’m missing like crazy, but you could always use it to document where you got married, a favorite vacation location, your hometown, college, etc.



My “one day closer” necklace was so popular, I decided to put it in keychain form too!1DSC_7758


This was a custom request and it was so cute I thought others might like it as well.  “I carry your heart” “I carry it in my heart” is such an adorable quote – especially for those in a military or long distance relationship.1DSC01433


Not just Army Girlfriend, but I can make this in a variety of phrases – air force wife, navy girlfriend, and more!DSC_0505


This is a simple keychain to mark your favorite location – the smaller washer lists the location and the larger washer has the coordinates.



Same idea as my “my happy place” necklace above!DSC_2564


My “one day at a time” collection – bracelet, two necklaces and keychain.DSC_2959





And last, my “faith, trust and pixie dust” bracelet was so popular, I decided to make it into a necklace!1DSC_2574

As a thank you for reading and for checking out my new items, here’s a coupon code for 15% your total purchase (minus shipping) – just enter code HANDMADEISBETTER630 at checkout and the code will be applied!  This is valid through June 30th, 2014 and only in my shop, DanaElyse.

Let me know in the comments – which item is your favorite!  Do you have an idea for something else I should carry- let me know!

Patriotic Air Force Cupcakes

In addition to the Welcome Home Wreath I made for my husbands deployment homecoming, I also made these Air Force Cupcakes to bring to his crew. I knew that they would be flying for almost 12 hours and I figured some homemade cupcakes would be a welcome sight.
Patriotic Air Force Cupcakes

I used a box mix and canned frosting (shock! I know!), but I dolled them up with some of my decorating tips.1DSC_7172

First I started by making the airplanes – to do so, I sketched out a small (about 2 inch) airplane based on some pictures I found online of his plane (the KC-135).1DSC00211

Then I lined my baking sheet with a piece of wax paper and slid my drawing underneath.

In a small pastry bag, I melted about 1/2 cup of Wilton Chocolate melts (I literally put the wafers into the bag and microwaved it on 10 second increments until I could feel that it was mushy.  Don’t put your tip on until after it is melted!1DSC00212

Then, using a #1 tip, I carefully traced over my airplane shape on the wax paper.  I started out with a #2 tip, but those airplanes (top row- the two on the right) were very messy, so I went down to my #1 tip.  Make more than you’ll think you need because #1, you’ll get better as you go along and the first few aren’t going to look too pretty and #2, just in case some break as you’re peeling them off the paper – none of mine did, but you never know!1DSC00213

Here they all are– you can see the top row looks gross!1DSC00215

I went from bad….1DSC00216

To much better!  I also learned that if you tap the tray on the table several times, it’ll help even out the chocolate and get rid of any bubbles.1DSC00217

I also piped out some words (wow was this ever so difficult!  I think I piped out “welcome” 6 times before it looked normal!)

Allow the chocolate to dry (I let mine dry overnight, but you could always throw it in the fridge to speed it up) and carefully peel it off of the wax paper and stick it to your frosted cupcakes.1DSC_7162

To make the flag cupcakes, I split my icing into 3 bowls – one bowl had about 40% of my total icing, and the other two had about 20% each.  Blue food coloring went into the 40% bowl, and red food coloring went into one of the 20% bowls (the third was left white).  Mix the food coloring thoroughly.

To start, I filled my pastry bag with the blue frosting and a #21 star tip.  I piped little stars onto 1/4 of the cupcake (to make up the field of blue on the flag). I did this on 12 out of my 24 cupcakes.  On the other 12, I swirled the remainder  of the blue to make the sky for my chocolate airplanes.

Next I switched out the blue to red and piped little stars into 4 rows (see photo below for placement), and then finally, I piped white stars to finish off the flag. (see below on what to do with the remainder of the white)1DSC_7151 1DSC_7149 To make the sky look more sky-like, I swirled a bit of white to make little clouds for the chocolate plane to fly through.  After that, I carefully placed my chocolate planes on top.1DSC_7153

One more shot, just because I can’t stop looking at them!1DSC_7146

“Orange You Glad” Care Package

Deployments suck.  Pardon my French, but they do.  In order to make them less suck-y, I try to keep myself occupied (which hasn’t been too hard since starting this blog! I love sharing my crafts/wedding planning/recipes with you!).  One way to keep myself occupied and feeling productive is by planning care packages to send to my fiancé while he’s deployed.  Our first deployment together, I sent him two or three care packages, but they weren’t anything special- my mom and I bought a bunch of food and toiletries and stuff we thought he’d like and threw it in a box.  I’m sure he appreciated them, but there wasn’t any fun or wow factor going on.

Then I discovered the Love From Home blog where she showed off these ah-maze-ing care packages she was sending to her fiancé. They were themed, they were colorful, they made me wonder why hadn’t I been doing this all along? So for his second deployment, I stepped up my game and sent him a combo Birthday/Halloween/Bits from home care package– still not themed to the hilt, but it was a start. Then, I got real creative with my 12 Days of Christmas Care Package. I sent him 12 different gifts, each corresponding to the number of the day, for him to open in the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Each gift was separately wrapped, with a tag, the box was lined with wrapping paper, and I even made him a little Air Force stocking. Ahhhh…much better.

Now we’re on our third deployment. And I must admit, I’ve slacked a little bit. I’ve been wedding planning (our wedding is in 40 days today!), so while I have been gathering things for his care package (I actually started before he even left…) I just got around to sending it today- on the halfway point of his deployment. I did send him a few cards and postcards, so it wasn’t as if I completely ignored him, it’s just that this is the only box I sent.

Enough babbling….onto my care package. I call it the “Orange You Glad” care package– everything inside is orange and on the flaps of the box, I wrote “Orange You Glad We’re Getting Married Soon?” (He gets home less than a week before our wedding!)

Orange You Glad Care Package

A quick overview of everything
Orange You glad care package

Just the food items- we’re both trying to get fit and healthy for our wedding, so I tried to stick with healthy things, but I couldn’t resist sending him a bag of Reeses.  Besides that there’s: Monster Trail Mix from Target (his favorite), Kashi peanut butter granola bars, Goldfish crackers, peanut butter/cheese crackers, a chocolate bar (hey- it was orange!) and 3 containers of his favorite cereal, Krave (for those days when we FaceTime for too long and he misses breakfast).

Some clothing- The NJ shirt is from Dunkin Donuts (his absolute favorite place)- and it raises money for Hurricane Sandy.  Even though he doesn’t live in NJ anymore, it’s still where we grew up, and many of our favorite beaches and boardwalks were destroyed in the storm, so I thought this shirt would be nice.  I also sent him Blistex (another favorite of his), a pair of Mets flip flops (shower shoes perhaps?) and as a little joke a pair of “hot stuff” boxer shorts and orange t-shirt.  I figured he could wear them to bed– just a little something to put a smile on his face :)

And last– a big puzzle book (because he keeps saying he gets bored in his downtime) and the Knot Guide For the Groom– it’s a humorous book about weddings and wedding planning written especially for guys.  I went through and highlighted/added notes for him– I hope he actually reads it!

Last, I made this little keychain– it’s something I sell in my Etsy Shop, but I thought he might like it too. It’s a metal stamped “lucky penny” keychain that says “lucky us” and our initials.


And here’s everything all packed up– is it just me or did Priority Mail boxes get smaller? lol

Side Note- you can go to your post office and ask for the Military Priority Mail boxes- they say “America Salutes You” on the outside and, if you use them, you get a $2 discount on shipping.  It’s not much, but it’s something!

I’ll have to post pictures when he gets it– I love to FaceTime with him when he opens his care packages, so I’ll try to get some screen shots!

Military Collage

Metal Stamping {Etsy}

If you have never heard of Etsy before, I’ll wait while you click here. Just promise me you won’t get lost in the handmade goodness and you come back and finish reading this!

Etsy is an amazing platform for crafters to sell their wares worldwide. It’s also a great place for people to find unique, handmade, one of a kind gifts, housewares, decorations, party/wedding supplies, etc.

As long as I can remember, I’ve dabbled in selling my crafts, I’ve tried craft shows, word of mouth, etc, but was never too successful. Back in 2007, I was a recent college grad looking for a way to supplement my income while I looked for a ‘big girl’ job and I signed up for Etsy. I listed my items on there for 3 months, with no success, and I pretty much gave up hope for the site.

Recently, the thought of re-opening my Etsy shop crossed my mind as I started to think about what kind of career I could have as a future military wife who will be moving around every few years. I thought about selling military themed metal stamped jewelry, and even went as far as to purchase all the supplies needed to make these items, but never really did anything other than make a few items for myself.

Fast forward to last October. Hurricane Sandy ripped through NJ/NY and more importantly, the Jersey Shore. In the days after Hurricane Sandy as the images of our destroyed beaches and boardwalks started to appear in the media, I went through my archives of pictures and began posting pictures of the now devastated areas to facebook. Friends began asking where they could get copies of my photographs, so Etsy was re-born for me. I listed my photos for $15, with $10 of the sale of each photo going to the American Red Cross, Jersey Shore chapter. I also began making Jersey Shore themed jewelry- bracelets that said “Jersey Strong” or “beach bum” and even “jersey shore” customized with your favorite shore town.

Before I knew it, my little shop, a dream I have had for so long, took off! After the first two months, the Jersey Shore items faded off (I still get an order here and there!), but I finally have added my original ideas– military themed jewelry, and they have proved to be very popular.
Click here to visit my shop. Below is just a sampling of the items for sale. I also have subway art, photographs of the Jersey Shore, and Disney-themed metal stamped jewelry, in addition to more military themed jewelry!
I love Etsy because it allows me to connect with people from all over the country. My most popular items are my latitude/longitude keychain and necklace. I created them because I am in a long distance relationship and it was a way to show my support in a subtle way. I get messages from people all the time telling me how they are in the same situation and we end up having great conversations on what helps us get through the time apart!

A small sampling of what is offered in my “Military Support” section:
Military Collage

And a small sampling of my Jersey Shore themed jewelry (side note: if you have your own particular beach, be it in Jersey or not, I can customize these to say whatever you want!)
Jersey Collage

I do hope you’ll take a moment to check out my Etsy Shop. As a thank you for doing so, here’s a coupon for free shipping to any domestic address: handmadeisbetter613
Enter the above code in the coupon code box at checkout. This code will expire in 2 weeks, on June 14, 2013.

Are you interested in starting to sell on Etsy? It can be overwhelming at first, but I have read many articles on tips for Etsy success, and I believe it has really helped me. Check out (and follow!) my Etsy board on Pinterest to read these articles. There’s so much helpful information out there!

*Please note– This post was not sponsored, I just love Etsy that much!

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