28 July 2014
The run-up to Natalie and Joe’s wedding was remarkably calm, from my perspective, but there was one aspect of the festivities that was a little nerve-wracking – my other sister-in-law’s due date, which was one week after the wedding! Today is our nephew’s official due date, but despite dancing up a storm at the reception he still hasn’t made an appearance. Though I’m not sure Marget would agree at this point, I’m glad I’m able to make a report of the shower in his mama’s honor before he arrives!
We held the shower in New York, where my sister-in-law lives. We went with a loose “adventurous little boy” theme, since that’s (loosely) the theme of the nursery. Here’s the invite I made to send to guests:
I printed the invitations at FedEx, and sent them out in kraft envelopes from Paper Presentation I had on hand. I actually decided to list these as a download in my Etsy shop, so if you have a use for them, they’re right here!
We kept the decor fairly minimal: one of M’s friends made an adorable gingham garland, we arranged colorful yarrow into little tin buckets, and we displayed some adventurous books, pine cones, and wooden woodland animals. (They were part of my shower gift to Marget – maybe the start of a collection!) I also picked up a few tree trunk slices from A.C. Moore (easy to travel with!) for displaying food and made a special sign with nephew’s nickname.
To make the sign, I spraypainted a wooden craft store plaque white, then hot glued on twigs. Easy!
The favors were little muslin bags stamped with “Adventure is out there” and filled with trail mix! I used a self-inking stamp from RubberStamps.com and it worked beautifully on the fabric.
I really dislike most baby shower games, so we went simple and just had one activity aside from eating, socializing, and opening gifts: we painted blocks for the baby! The blocks were from A.C. Moore, and I picked up craft paint in the nursery accent colors and a multi-pack of brushes. It seemed to go over well; my brothers-in-law even picked up a brush to complete the set post-shower. As a side note, if you’re trying this and planning to have a really young child who might put them in his mouth play with them, I’d recommend adding a food-safe sealant after they’re dry.
Now we just wait eagerly for news of our nephew’s arrival!!
13 February 2014
It’s easy to do something nice for nearby friends on Valentine’s Day — just make them something sweet! I wanted to do something for my faraway friends, too, but treats don’t travel so well. After a bit of brainstorming, I settled on a longer-lasting project that will hopefully help them feel the love long after Valentine’s Day.
I started with several sets of chipboard letters (3/4″ tall) from AC Moore. I spray-painted them gold, then hot glued them to some thin, vintage ribbon I had in my stash. The completed garlands got washi taped to a simple cardstock rectangle penned in gold sharpie. I already had the kraft boxes on hand, but padded mailers would have worked well, too!
I’m imagining them pinned to a bulletin board or taped to a mirror or refrigerator, but obviously the gals are free to hang them wherever they’d like. Hoping they go over as well as something sugary!
5 February 2014
I’ve been meaning to write about John’s 26th birthday present since last July, and now seems as good a time as any: Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I know a lot of y’all are looking for sweet, low-cost, and thoughtful gifts for your significant others! (Me too.) Since his birthday fell on a week day last year, I wrapped up a few small packages — one for every two hours he would be at work — and marked them with the times they were to be opened. I kept the packaging discreet so as not to embarrass him in front of his coworkers :)
I can’t remember all of the gifts, but I know I included a can of his favorite limonata at 12:30 (lunch!), a gift certificate for a bucket of balls at our local driving range, a $10 Chick-fil-a gift card, an issue of a favorite magazine, and a can of tennis balls. The gifts kept rolling after he got home; I even put a late-night one in the freezer — a package of Dove bars! Yep, it was wrapped, too :)
I did get him a larger gift that he opened after work, but I think (hope) the best part of last year’s celebration was the hourly reminder that he was loved and thought of, even if we weren’t together.
P.S. Looking for Valentine’s Day goodies for friends? Here are a few I’ve made in the past: crepe paper chocolate, felt fortune cookies, clever cards, and wrapped chocolate.
9 January 2014
Hi friends! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments on my last post! I loved reading them!
Going back a few more posts, I had mentioned that I was considering DIY-ing this Sugar Paper note card set. And I did! It ended up turning out very well (if I do say so myself!), so I thought I’d share it here.
Supplies needed: white cards (I used A2), colored envelopes (my favorites are from Paper Presentation), metallic gold craft paint, a 12″ bamboo skewer, a small paint brush, something to hold your paint, and an old magazine
There are really no instructions for this project — you’re just making dots, however you think looks best! But I do have two very helpful hints. The first: I like the look of dots going off the card, but if you do so, you’re depositing paint on your work surface with every card, which can make finding a clean place for your next card difficult. My solution: use an old magazine you’re ready to recycle! You can turn the page after every card so you have a clean surface for each one without using an excessive amount of paper.
Second tip: When you use the base of the skewer to deposit the dots, it leaves a tiny peak. I wanted a cleaner look, so I went back over each dot with a small paintbrush to pick up some of the extra paint and smooth things out. It sounds fastidious, but only took a few seconds for each card! Before and after below.
And that’s it! I tied sets of six with satin ribbon for gifting after letting them dry overnight. They may not be letterpress like Sugar Paper’s, but I think they’re pretty fun!
DIY projects don’t always turn out that professional-looking, which can make them hard to give as gifts, but I think this stationery is the perfect candidate. Tuck this one away until next December, or make a set for yourself! :)
6 November 2013
Wowee! Thanks for all your thoughts on our Christmas cards! I haven’t tallied up the opinions yet, but we appear to be almost evenly split between the five designs :)
In other news, you may recall that one of my September goals was to paint a chalkboard wall in our kitchen. John was actually not pleased when he saw this goal, because he was not yet on board with the idea of a chalkboard wall at all. However, we discussed, and realized that his hesitation was not about the wall itself, but about whether it would a) take a long time to execute and/or b) require his manual labor. Once I assured him that neither of those concerns were warranted, he was on board :)
I loved the idea of a chalkboard wall because I loved the idea of an easily-switched-out art installation in a casual part of our home. I wanted somewhere to practice my lettering, to record our weekly menu, to count down to exciting events, and to post a weekly scripture verse. The scripture verse has by far been the best part: it takes me so long to write them out that by the time I finish, I’ve memorized them. Committing favorite verses to memory has been something I aspired to but never made happen, so I’m especially thankful for this chalkboard by-product.
One of my favorites! A few thoughts for those of you looking to make your own:
— There are lots of Pinterest DIYs for mixing custom color chalkboard paint. I love these in some applications, but we decided to go with classic black and white.
— Choose your spot carefully. I knew I didn’t want a potentially messy-looking space where it would be part of a guest’s first impression (say, in our foyer), so the little sliver of wall between our kitchen windows and pantry was perfect.
— Be prepared to roll on lots of coats… and then a few more. I think I did five coats in the end. I used a mini foam roller and Valspar paint, both of which I would recommend.
Do y’all have a chalkboard wall? Any verses I should consider for our weekly installation? :) I’m looking forward to choosing favorite hymns/carols in December!