Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gifts | stationary sets

This is the last installment of the wrap-up of my homemade Christmas gifts. Well, not quite. There are two homemade gifts that I have yet to I can't post about them yet.

Anyways, this was one of my favorite gifts I made this year, because not only do I really like how it turned out, but also since it was perfect for the recipient. My sister loves sending hand-written cards [and I love receiving them], so I made her eight different styles of cards. I am always impressed by how often my sister takes the time to write and send cards. She sends cards for all holidays, including Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, Valentine's Day, etc. [And the cards are always on time, which is extra impressive to me, since I can never seem to send cards on time.] She is also great about sending thank you cards, cards with pictures of my cutie nephew, cards to just say hi, and anything else you can imagine.

When I was cleaning out my old room at my parents' house a few months ago [fun, fun], I found a entire stack of cards, notes and letters my sister sent me while I was in college. When I say stack, I seriously mean a stack that was at least four inches high. Isn't that so sweet? And anybody that sweet deserves some personalized cards to send. :)

The letters and designs were all made using my Cricut. The cards include her first and last initial, thank you's, and just fun designs that can be used for anything.

I punched circles from each of the papers and ran them through my sticker machine for her to use as coordinating envelope seals. I also made stickers out of more K and D cut-outs so she can further embellish the cards or envelopes. I wrapped the cards, envelopes, stickers, an address rubber stamp, and some matching pens all up in a pretty box - that way everything she needs to send a cute card is all together and ready to go. :)

[I linked up to the DIY Project Parade and Lovely Crafty Home - check them out for some DIY, crafty awesomeness.]

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gifts | bulletin and magnet board...

I made customized this bulletin / magnetic board for my precious little nephew's first Christmas. I painted the cork board on the left side with orange craft paint, so it would be a little more exciting looking and match his nursery. [I also painted the push pins, because once I start painting I just don't stop.] Also, the gift will totally grow with him, because I'm sure as his room evolves over the years, there will always be plenty of Longhorn's orange around. :)

The cute little wooden jungle animals were originally from his baby shower - I just glued some magnets on the back. The animals make me smile every time I see them, not only because they are so cute, but also from the memory of when we bought them. At one point while my sister was pregnant, I was shopping with my parents at Jo-Ann's and we must have been hilarious to listen to - literally, every aisle we walked into, at least one of us found something the baby would have to have. Everything from fabric, to stickers, to books, to stuffed animals, to little wood animals - we wanted to get him everything. We were probably the most excited, proudest family to ever shop the aisles of Jo-Ann's. :)

And in true, proudest-aunt-ever fashion, here is the adorable little guy with his first snowman...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gifts | fun frosted flower-holders for family...

Are you impressed by my awesome alliteration in the post title? No? Sorry, I just get super excited when I get to use my frosted glass spraypaint. :)

I made these vases [three of the bazillion vases from our wedding] for my sister using simple techniques with my favorite frosted glass spraypaint. Seriously, it is so fun. And there are so many ways you can use it to personalize things around your home or as gifts. I also used it to make these Longhorns glasses.

But back to the vases [aka fun frosted flower-holders]. Here's the lowdown on each of them...

Left: Wrap painters tape [masking tape works too] around the vase in straight lines. Or you could do diagonal lines for more of a candy cane effect. Give the vase a few light coats of frosted glass spraypaint and then remove the tape carefully.

Center: Do not spray with any spraypaint. Clearly. :)

Right: Put circle-shaped stickers on the vase in your desired design. Give the vase a few light coats of frosted glass spraypaint and then remove the stickers carefully. For these vases, I used silly "You're #1" stickers from the dollar store and they worked perfectly. I have also tried nice scrapbooking stickers that I got on sale and they did not work at all. They were much too high of quality and stuck too well. This is definitely a time when cheaper, less sticky, stickers are better. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gifts | paw necklace...

So, have you ever seen anything cuter than this picture?

It's Mr. W's little sister and their family dog, Goldie. Incredibly sweet, huh? His sister is a huge animal lover and especially loves Goldie, who just joined their family last summer. For Christmas, I made her this little paw necklace using a chain from Michaels and a cute black paw charm from Hobby Lobby. I like how it is very simple but totally fits her personality. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gifts | desk calendar...

I made this calendar for Mr. W this year using a simple template I created in PowerPoint [I clearly have a strange obsession with PowerPoint and use it for everything]. I added major holidays, birthdays and anniversaries to the calendar. Since Mr. W works in public administration, each month has a picture of a city hall from a city we have visited together. I got the calendar pages printed to Office Depot, cut them to size, and then punched a hole in the tops for him to hang the calendar on the wall in his office.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gifts | Big E...

My dad has always gone by Big E [or Dad E to my sister and I], so gifts with a big E are clearly perfect for him. When I saw a big metal E hook in the clearance aisle of Hobby Lobby, I knew I had to get it for him. The hooks come painted white and look like this...

This picture is from Rocky River Farmhouse, partially because I forgot to take a before picture of what they look like to start out. But more importantly, because the project she made with the hooks she bought is amazing. You seriously have to check it out.

My project with the hook is a little less amazing, but was still a fun, personalized gift. I just spraypainted the hook a dark silver, so it would fit in well at my dad's man shed at our family farm. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gifts | tile and coaster sets...

This Christmas I made many personalized, handmade gifts for our family. The first of which were these tile sets which included a plague on a wooden stand and four coordinating coasters. They were made using the same method as this monogram tile set.

The first set was made for my mother and father-in-law. Tiles similar to this would also make a great gift for a wedding, shower, anniversary, or even Valentine's Day gift....

The next set was made for Mr. W's stepmom. I love the saying that is on them. I also like how the tiles can use any quote you want, which means they can also be good gifts for birthdays, graduations, or any other occasion. :)

I don't use anything fancy at all to make my tile designs...actually, I just used PowerPoint for each of these using a variety of different fonts and lines. 

To make the tiles, you have to flip the design over for it to transfer properly. So I "grouped" each of the text boxes and lines. Then I copied the design and did a "paste special" to paste it as a JPEG picture. Then, you can use the rotate option of flip horizontal.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

DIY ornaments...

So, I realize most people have probably put away all of their Christmas decorations already and are not thinking about making any new ones at the moment...but I still wanted to share the three types of ornaments I made this season. And actually the last of the three types was made after Christmas. :)

Glittered cookie cutters: 
I have wanted to make these ever since I saw them last year at Centsational Girl and even posted about them. They were incredibly easy to make and free, since I already had the plastic cookie cutters on hand and the glitter was from my magazine tree project [seen here]. Here's how I made them:
  1. Spray paint the cookie cutters the same color as the glitter. In my case this was white [actually white primer to be exact, because that's what I happened to have on hand].
  2. While the paint is still wet, sprinkle glitter all over them.
  3. Let the ornament dry and then tie on a ribbon. [As I side note, last year I tied sparkly silver ribbon on all of my ornaments in place of the standard ornament hooks and it was definitely time well spent. I was able to catch up on my soap opera and easily add a little extra pizazz to my Christmas tree.]
Metal stars:
Amazingly, the second set of DIY ornaments I made was even easier than the first. :) Also, I made five ornaments for $1. I found a pack of five simple metal stars at a dollar store last summer. They were originally a brassy gold, but I spray painted them a pretty silver instead. I just hung them directly on the tree. In future years, I think they would also be fun hung with ribbon from door knobs or in the center of a wreaths. I love simple, cheap, versatile things. :)

Spool Christmas trees:
I made these spool ornaments with my mom and although more time intensive than the others, they are a lot of fun to make. To make your own, you need 1/2 inch wooden craft spools [we got these at Hobby Lobby], various colors of embroidery floss, clear craft glue [not hot glue], and ribbon. Here's how:
  1. Cover a wooden spool with clear glue and wrap tightly with floss. Put another dot of glue at the end. You will need to make eleven spools for each tree. We always use brown for the tree trunk, yellow for the "star", and all different colors for in between.
  2. After completing the spools, glue them together in the bowling pin formation. We found it is easier to glue each line together first [i.e., three for the bottom and two for the middle]. Then glue the lines together and add the star and trunk.
  3. Cut a piece of ribbon to the desired size to hang your ornament from. Loop the ribbon and make a small knot with the cut ends. Put a drop of the clear glue into the hole in the star spool. Use a toothpick the push the knot of the ribbon into the hole.[I'm not sure these directions made much sense, but they really are very easy to make. :)]

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Goodwill Christmas trees...

Last year after Christmas I picked up these two glass trees at Goodwill. [If I recall correctly, they were $1 each.] They were so much fun to play with during the Christmas season...

First I left them empty for a while. Then I filled them with red and silver strands of beads from IKEA. Then I swirled the red and silver strands together. Here's the evolution: 

I also think they would be cute filled with candies like M&Ms, kisses, or peppermints. Or I could fill them with something like acorns for a more natural look. So many possibilities. This reminds me that I still need to go check if Goodwill has any good Christmas decor this year. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas home tour...

Mr. W and I had a great time decorating our new home for Christmas. Mr. W did the lights outside and I did the inside. Here are [were] the highlights from the inside...

The card holder was simply a red ribbon [hung by a push pin] with clothespins to hold the cards. I spray painted the clothespins a shiny silver to make them a little more festive. :)

The garland on the railing was one of the very few purchases made this year for the Christmas decor. It was $2/strand at Walmart and was quite possibly the best $12 I have ever spent. I wrapped it with extra lights and added in some red and silver ornaments.

The magazine trees were inspired by my friend and I loved how they turned out. If you want to make some yourself next year, I suggest using Real Simple magazine - the pages are thicker than most magazines so they are very sturdy. The red sign in the background is a canvas painting temporarily covered in wrapping paper.

This was one of my favorite areas - I just added the candle in the background and some pretty dollar store ornaments. Love them!

Thanks for checking out my very late Christmas home tour. Hope you all had a very merry Christmas and New Year! :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Beautiful bedding mood board...

I am on a mission lately to finish a bunch of half-done posts, including this mood board that I found on my computer. I made it for a Mood Board Monday, using the Barbara Barry “Poetical” bedding collection as my inspiration. I am officially more than six months late to the party, but I finally made it. :) I am such a goofball, I have had the mood board made and the links saved this entire time and just didn’t ever write the post. Sheesh.

I really love the inspiration bedding – the pattern, the simplicity, the colors…everything. It would make a beautiful, relaxing and elegant master bedroom.

The other items I chose for the room are:
I had also originally selected the leather slipper chair ottoman that is shown in the mood board. I would have used two at the foot of the bed. I can’t find it on the West Elm site now [that’s what happens when you wait six months to post something], but I could substitute this made-over bench. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 | Home goals...

I make lists of everything [seriously, multiple lists a day], so I obviously enjoy making lists of my goals as well. I am really excited about the Nester's home goals link party and thinking specifically about goals for our home.

My first few goals would probably make my mom and grandma cringe that I have to actually list them as goals. They are the type of thing that moms and grandmas make look so easy, but once you have a house of your own, you find out that it is more work than you thought [or at least I did]. I apologize in advance to my mom, but at least she now knows that I'm trying to work on these things. :)
  1. Improve the turnaround time on our dishes. [I tried to use some fancy business lingo to make myself sound less lame, but really I just want to work on always loading and unloading the dishwasher right away and not having dirty dishes sit in the sink...yuck.]
  2. Do laundry before the hamper is overflowing and fold/hang the laundry right away. I always want to work on keeping my closet picked up. [My closet reminds me of "if you give a mouse a cookie." Except that it is "if you put one dirty shirt on the floor."]
  3. Make [and stick to] a schedule of regular cleaning and maintenance that needs done.
  4. Keep our house tidy enough that I would never be embarrassed if someone randomly stopped by.
The rest of the goals are more for fun:
  1. Hang more pictures, art, etc. on the walls. Right now, I can honestly only think of six things that are hanging on the walls in our house - one TV, two frames and three clocks. We tend to overthink what and wear to hang things, which makes us wait forever before hanging anything. 
  2. Finish our rec room, a.k.a. the baseball room. When I asked Mr. W what is home goals were, this was the only thing he mentioned. This is the only room in our house that is not really even usable at the moment. We still have furniture and workout equipment to put together, a TV to setup, things to hang, and about everything else in the world today.
  3. Continue to define our personal style and have it reflected in our home.
  4. Use some cool tools.
  5. Prioritize and work towards finishing projects throughout the house. This goal is really broad, but basically I have ideas of things to do all over our home. Some are needs; some are wants. Some are started; some will probably never be started. Having some priorities on these would definitely be helpful. :)
  6. Host more people in our home. We absolutely love our home and love to share it with friends and family. Whether it be overnight visitors, dinner guests, a party, or just a neighbor stopping by to say hi; we want to enjoy our home with those we care about.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thanksgiving table...

This Thanksgiving Mr. W and I hosted our first family holiday. Not only was it our first holiday to host, but it was also the first time that our families came to stay at our new house. We had so much fun planning, organizing, and just figuring out how to feed and sleep seven guests. One thing that we had to decide on was where all nine of us would sit for Thanksgiving dinner. Our house has an eat-in kitchen with a table that seats four, a bar that seats three, or a dining room that we use a reading / sitting room. Umm...that doesn't really add up to nine very well.

This will all make more sense once I show more pictures of our new house, but we ended up moving the big chairs, coffee table, and end table out of the sitting room to make room for a "dining table." The table actually consisted of two six-foot long folding tables from Lowe's and the tablecloth was a drop cloth from Home Depot. I had this all planned out in my head and kind of completely lucked out that it worked as well as it did - the tables fit perfectly in our dining room, the drop cloth was the perfect size, and the people fit perfectly.

A few days before Thanksgiving, Heart of Light posted about her holiday table planning, including that "You can squeeze in with 18" of space per person around the table if you all like each other - if not, you'll want 24-30" instead." This was the perfect information to put me into full nerd mode - I mapped out our table in PowerPoint to measure that we would in fact all fit and plan how it would look. Here is what I came up with:

As you see, we didn't have enough of any one color of plate or glasses for everyone, but since it was planned out I was able to make it look intentional. The horrible wrinkles in the drop cloth were not so intentional...oops, probably should have ironed. The finished table did end up looking very similar to the plan though. 

We kept it very, very simple and didn't even have a centerpiece so we could all see each other easily. And so we could easily clear the table to start playing our favorite game. :)

This last photo has nothing to do with the table or planning, but it is us with our amazing family the day after Thanksgiving at the boardwalk [and random photos and posts in weird orders seem to be my thing lately]. It was such a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with our families!

[P.S. In case you're just dropping by, I do realize it is now January, but it's better late than never, right? :)]

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Random table photos...

I seriously have random "to-go-on-the-blog-someday" pictures coming out of my ears. Okay, that's just strange, but I really do have random photos all over my computer. So, since I was just talking about my table, here are a few other ways it has been set in the past...

This first photo is from last spring and includes dollar store placemats, Goodwill tealights, and a grocery store bouquet in a glass pitcher. I really like mixing inexpensive items together to make a fun table.

This wine cork centerpiece was originally inspired by Young House Love and now I use variations of it all the time. I think this might be the first time we ever did it, because now we have a much bigger glass container so that many more corks can fit. We have also started writing the date and occasion on each cork. It is fun to look through and see everything from the typical day bottle of wine ["just a Tuesday together"] to the big occasions we have celebrated ["first night in new house"]. Mr. W referred to this particular tablesetting as "granny-ish" based on the dollar store lace table runner, but I don't know too many grannies that shop for candles at IKEA. :)

The last tablesetting [for today] is how our table was set while our housed was staged for sale. The stager was very excited when she came and it already looked just like this. :)

Our Christmas table...

To say that I love setting our table would be a major understatement...I love playing with different place settings. I love walking in the door and seeing the table set. I love mixing everyday items to come up with something that looks nice. I just love everything about it. So, without further ado, here was our table decorated for Christmas this year...

The overall look was very similar to our holiday table last year. The pieces that were the same were: the red scarf as a tablerunner, the silver chargers, the white dishes, the white candle in the centerpiece, and the wine bottle cover.

The pieces I switched up this year were: the red plates and snowman goblets [both were from Walgreens a few years ago], the bread bowl filled with silver and red Walmart ornaments, and the candlesticks/holders [which were a wedding shower gift]. I really liked the mix of playful and elegant. [I say liked because I've already changed the table setting as the Christmas decorations slowly make there way back into the boxes around here. :)]

Better late than never...

I tend to have really grand ideas of posts I am going to write on this blog, but then they never actually get posted. You'll have to trust me on this, but in my head this blog is ridiculously cool. Generally, I have pictures taken, links saved, and even posts half-written. But they still never get posted. I always seem to get busy and run out of time. The next thing I know, the holiday is passed or whatever else I was going to post about happened months ago, so I never end up posting about it.

But, I've realized that we've all been there - you know, when there just isn't enough time for everything you want to get done. So, I'm sure you all understand. :) For now on, I'm going with the motto "better late than never." So what if I post Christmas [or even Thanksgiving] photos in January? So what if I show the first photos of our new home months after we moved in? I want this blog to be all about sharing ideas and little pieces of our lives, and being too busy to post right away is definitely a part of my life right now.

I've got a little [okay, a lot of] catch up to play, but hopefully in the process I'll get better at being more timely. :)

And to prove my point about not finishing is a mood board I made [but never posted] for a Mood Board Monday in June that I just found looking through pictures on my computer. I'm sure I have all the links saved somewhere too and when I find them I'll be sure to post them because it's better late than never. :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011


[Mr. W and I in Vegas this fall]

2010 was quite the year. I feel like about 2,010 major things happened during the year, but in the interest of time, here are just ten of the majorest major things. :)
  1. I coached my first cheerleading squad [and made them cute cookies]
  2. Mr. W and I celebrated a year of living in our first house
  3. Mr. W finished his Masters' degree and got an awesome new job
  4. We welcomed a new sister-in-law into the family [and celebrated with a couples' shower]
  5. We welcomed an adorable new nephew into the world [and celebrated with a baby shower and fun games]
  6. I got a promotion at work and passed the first three parts of the CIA [Certified Internal Auditor] exam
  7. Mr. W and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary
  8. We enjoyed trips to San Jose, Vegas, Dallas, KC, etc.
  9. Mr. W and I made the big move to Texas and built a brand new house
  10. We hosted our first Thanksgiving in our new home
It was certainly a great year and I have no doubt that 2011 will be just as great. :)