There's a couple flower frames that I couldn't resist in a Target sale, with an additional coupon that made both of them super cheap. Then I made a fabric wreath.
But I was scatterbrained while picking fabric colors (like turquoise). The wreath was cute, didn't really match the frames at all.
So, instead of disassembling it and starting over, I saved it for later. Then I went to the craft store to buy a new wreath and a stack of 1/8th's of a yard of fabric that did match the frames.
I crafted this second wreath up, hung it (there's a loop of ribbon pinned on the back), and realized it's smaller size than the original wreath. I cannot decide if it looks too small the way it's hung. If I use twine or ribbon to hang it lower, it might look better. As you can see, though, I haven't done it.
So better matching, smaller wreath number two remains...and there you go, happy spring.
It barely took anytime for me to think of something I could do...and what I came up with is probably barely a project.
I am going to use watercolors to make one color a day.
I have gathered a couple jars for water, a brush, my pallet, and a stack of one hundred small cards of watercolor paper.
Mixing the colors together has really been my favorite part, so it will be fun to have an excuse to do that for a few minutes everyday.
And, since it will only take a few minutes, I might be able to pull it off for 100 days.
I have curly ribbon scissors. Or is it curling ribbon? Either way, I have scissors from way back in the Hello Kitty/Sanrio era that I have used to curl ribbon on gifts for probably 30 years now. They are one of those random items that end up being a total treasure.
Curling ribbon was one of the very first crafting tricks I learned and, to this day, I still love a gift piled with it.
This was for our neighbor's son's first birthday. I got him, and his older brother, some bubble-blowing supplies. Even though it's not exactly for a one-year old, I figured it's fun to watch bubbles float through the air at any age.
The bubble bucket was a wonky shape, so I used a paper bag, changed-up the card design I recently made for Sean, and grabbed every blue curly/curling ribbon I had.
This is sunlight flooding into my craft room at the top of the stairs around 6pm...after work and after a dinner of leftovers.
This is before unpacking my school bags (I brought play-doh to work this week since I teach college and all) and before heading out for a walk with Sean.
I suppose I should officially start calling this an office, because the crafting portion of room usage feels like it barely takes place.
Next week is spring break, which means it should be time for a relaxing craft-a-thon, but instead I wrote a class planning to-do list with 34 items.
I should write a crafting to-do list with 34 items.
Okay, maybe not 34, but at least some...
Last month Sean and I made Valentine's gifts for each other for the nineteenth time.
My gift wasn't particularly lovey-dovey this year, but it was something he mentioned wanting a few times.
He has been meaning to take the time to send birthday wishes to each of the students on his caseload. He has done this is the past, making a pile of cards as the school year began, but hasn't done it in years.
I put together a couple card designs for him from digital kits I have...one birthday card and one for other notes. I printed a bunch of the cards, bought envelopes and ordered an address stamp with his school address. I figured it would be a nice surprise for his students to get good, old-fashion mail.
I love when the seasons change...even though, technically, they don't change much here in Southern California.
I usually crave something each season. Summer it's the beach as much as possible...fall it's pumpkin scented candles...winter it's hot chocolate and the fireplace on...and spring is all the flowers. I want floral patterned everything and I want a ridiculous amount of flowers planted in our backyard.
I also am looking forward to some spring cleaning, cloudy mornings, Easter brunch and probably even more flowers.
I have been a grading machine this week and have never gotten around to taking pictures of a few small projects to share (despite the extra hour of sunlight), so I thought I didn't have anything to share around here tonight.
But then I remembered I had an old post draft that I never wrote...like fall 2015 old. I was going to share it last year around St. Patrick's Day, but I never did.
So back in fall 2015, I hosted a little lunch for my mom's best friend's daughter's third baby boy. I actually just shared his first birthday build a fort kit gift a couple weeks ago. I loved the chance to host showers for his brothers too in 2012 and 2014. This time we went with an Irish theme since they all have awesome Irish names.
The decorations were super simple, but I loved the chance to put together three hearts into a shamrock and have some Bells of Ireland for the flowers. I sprinkled green fabric hearts over the table too and had fun wrapping up the little favors.
We had a simple lunch with a salad and a make-your-own baked potato bar. I somehow got through my entire life without eating a potato skin from a baked potato. However, once I tried it I was completely hooked and a baked potato has been my go-to easy dinner ever since. I follow these instructions to bake potatoes and they really are perfect.
So glad I remembered to finally share this little Irish themed shower...it really was one of my most favorite celebrations to host.
There is an Ireland flag themed patterned bunting, a rainbow, a shamrock print (I changed it a bit) and an Irish blessing.
Now we just need some stew, some Kerrygold butter spread on buttermilk dill bread, and some Clancy Brother's music playing.
I made a smaller banner for my mom and one more to share here. Unfortunately, it won't arrive in time for this year's celebrating, but if you would like it leave a "pick me" comment and I will email a random winner on Wednesday.
The last time I blogged, all of two whole weeks ago, there was barely a bud on the trees and now they are covered in spring green.
I am happy to be back here with evaluation packets done and classes moving right along. I have a bit of St Patrick's Day stuff to share and by the end of the week we will be buying tomatoes...cannot believe how fast time is going by. Especially today, when we lost an hour. Please tell me I am not the only one that gets a little bitter about that.
It turns out teaching six classes isn't too bad...but add in two different departmental evaluations being due within a couple weeks of each other and I have been a bit overwhelmed lately.
So, I am sharing a little happy thought...the flowers on our kitchen table this past week and the banana bread muffins Sean baked (he uses this recipe from an old Everyday Food magazine) to go with iced coffee on an afternoon off from school.
And just like this banana muffin break, I am going to take a little time away from here to finish up the work I have. I'll be back soon.
Last month we got to celebrate a first birthday for a friend's son. He is the youngest of three boys, so I dug into one of my Pinterest boards and pulled out an idea I had wanted to do forever. A fort kit. Granted, it's not so much for a one year old as it is for three brothers to play with together.
I ordered a couple of twin sheets and sewed ribbon onto each corner. Except Sean sewed it since he is way better at being exact than I am. I got a lantern and clips...and now that I went back to the original post I am realizing I forgot rope.
I didn't forget to go fabric shopping to make a bag to keep the kit in...and again, Sean sewed that too.
I found a fort print on Etsy, tied up the gift and was absolutely way too excited to give it.
A dozen years ago today I started this blog.
This morning I dug into one of the categories I organize with and skimmed through twelve years of crafty posts, pulling out images with "Just Make Stuff" in mind.
Make a scrapbook page, invitation, holiday decoration, something with fabric, a swipe of watercolor, teachers gift, or a tomato plant label.
With the start of the new year (and especially this spring semester teaching six classes) I am posting about twice a week around here. Even though it's less than in the past, it is just as fun to get the chance to make stuff and share it.
Thank you so, so much for being here to share it with.
You know some weeks I don't touch my planner and the pages just sit there completely sad and empty, then other weeks the drawer of pens gets opened and I try to write down all the things...and then there's just a few weeks where all those cute planner supplies I've amassed get used as I write down all the things.
I think this is my third year making page dividers (year one and two) for my planner and my favorite part is that it's an excuse to use up some of my very favorite patterned paper, since I know I will be flipping my planner pages to it constantly and seeing it all year long.
And speaking of planner supplies, I decided to stop my Studio Calico subscription this year, since I can never even come close to using everything. I have shared extras from kits a couple of times before and have one more batch to share. If you would like one, please leave a "pick me" and I will email four people sometime on Sunday to send packages your way.
There is really no point to finally decorate for Valentine's Day at the last minute, but the new year's mantle was pretty old six weeks into the year. This year I added a wood heart from the Target dollar spot that I tied with some ribbon.
Mac has class on Tuesday night, so we are not celebrating Valentine's (with our fondue dinner tradition) until Thursday. If we take the delay into account, I guess I decorated just slightly before the last minute.
I have earlier classes again this semester, so breakfast has to be quick. For the last few weeks I have been making a batch of over-night oatmeal to eat with a sprinkle of granola and almond slices. This recipe gets me four small servings.
Using a small mixing bowl or other container with a cover, stir all the ingredients together until well-mixed. Store in the fridge overnight and up to five days.
You could use any flavor yogurt, a pinch of cinnamon (or I sprinkled in a little apple pie spice last week). You can eat it with fruit like bananas or berries. You could stir in peanut butter and top it with a few chocolate chips. The options go on and on...
Almost ten years ago I was lucky enough to have my sister ask me to be my nephew's Godmother. We went to the meeting at the church together and I tried to stifle my laughter as some massive amounts of Catholicism were discussed. Let's just say I am not the most devout Catholic you'll ever meet.
But at one point during the meeting they shared an idea that I took to heart...baptism (or church) birthdays. Celebrating the day of my nephew's baptism every year. And my niece's since Sean is her Godfather. For years I've bought little stickers or books to give them, but I had an idea now that they are nine, eight and seven (I added my other niece too, even though technically we aren't her Godparents).
Instead of a little gift, I would put aside money for them to decide where to donate it to each year on their baptism birthday. Ultimately, I think community support is one of the very best aspects of every religion and hope this will be a great opportunity for them to think about what might be needed.
Of course a little craftiness had to sneak in too. I made cards to mail to them that they could fill out and send back to me to keep, so one day they could look back through this tiny bit of their childhood.
I bought three sizes of envelopes...one color for each of them. I made the cards for them to fill out and little note cards for me to write to them every year. Then there are address labels to send everything to them and for them to mail their filled out card back to me.
I opened a savings account to put aside money each month and have stationery for the next ten years all set...amazing to think it will probably fly by.
Ever since I saw this planner page idea I had to do it. I decided on three (not so lofty) goals this year. Read ten books...and I know it's sad that ten would be an accomplishment. Go on 150 walks. Sean keeps track, along with his running, and we only went on 100 last year which needs to change. And make three scrapbook-ish type projects. I loved making a couple of books last year, in addition to Project Life, and want to make sure I craft stuff up this year too.
So, at the almost end of January I'm about a third of the way into one book, but thankfully we've gone on about sixteen more walks since I took this photo. I have some stamping to do.
Our one holiday break project was replacing the shelves over our "bar". Granted it hasn't been a bar since we took out the sink seven years ago...and it was never used as a bar, even when it had a sink. Yet, we still call it the bar.
Not a huge change, but freshened up with some neutral paint, a different style of shelves and a few new organizational tools like file folders and a tin for "things".
Tomorrow marks exactly four years since I started teaching my first class (it's actually the same date too, January 23rd).
In the morning I will walk into a 9:30am Sociology of the Family class in the same building as four years ago...except tomorrow will be my 35th class and then 36th at 12:30pm...and Tuesday will be my 37th, 38th and 39th. There's still a couple weeks until my 40th class starts.
Thankfully, the night before is still as exciting as it was the first time.
Just like 2015, I took a few minutes and counted everything up...
In 2016 I put together 124 pages with 1,108 photos.
I finished my last 2016 page on December 31st and immediately ordered prints of the last 40 pages I had for the year. The were all sitting in my album before the first week of the new year ended.
Wish I was that capable with everything in my life.
I know I shared the whole darn book late last week, but may I take another minute to discuss favorite details?
Like a random fluorescent orange tag that was attached to the J. Crew shopping bag for the extra 40% off super cute button-down shirt Sean and I picked out for him in the fifteen minutes we had to kill between dinner and seeing Elf the Musical.
Craftiness is not a regular habit around here anymore, so these kinds of details made me extra happy.
This little tree stamp was by far my favorite holiday craft supply purchase.
These alphabet stamps seem like they are 100 years old by now, but they're still the best.
I did a messy job of cutting out the gift tag for one of the gifts my mom gave Mac.
And I saved some of the gift tags I made.
I'm always happy for the chance to be snarky, like calling a trip to the post office magical.
And my favorite scrapbook detail will always be making note of the day I finish it.
This is my fifth December Daily project (2012//2013//2014//2015), but I've always called it December Daily-ish since I could never get each day of holiday memories recorded in the amazing ways that others do.
I started this book a couple of days into December, got a chance to work on it right before Christmas and finished it up this week.
In the past I would have two or three posts to share it over, but since I haven't taken a single photo of the book until now, here it aaallllllll is.
Well, almost all of it, the book has more pages all filled with photos...so these are the crafty pages.
I have been using the same monthly calendar for the last seven years...since I first went back to a paper planner. It's just a table in a Word document that I switch out each year with new fonts, colors and lots and lots of dates.
I fill up each page as things get scheduled and then use it to fill in my weekly sheets at the start of each month.
I've tried two page monthly calendars and horizontal calendars, but this vertical one with a little extra space at the bottom that I often fill with extra notes, has worked the best.
Here's the PDF... Download 2017 Planner Calendar
I don't know how fresh of a start it is when your planner for 2017 isn't put together until a week into the year, but oh well. Tomorrow Sean goes back to school, which makes it kind of feel like a new year all over again. I still get a couple of weeks at home, but it will be all spring semester prepping all the time from now until I walk into my first classroom.
I did a bunch of planner crafting last week and took pictures of it all today, so I'll be sharing more this week and next.
I actually found these milk frothers last year and tucked them away in my Christmas wrapping storage box with an idea for a hostess gift.
And speaking of last year, I also found a recipe for hot chocolate mix around the same time, but could not find it again no matter how much I Googled and Pinterest-ed. Thank goodness I remembered the ingredients, so I winged it a bit.
Basically you grind up chocolate bars (I used Lindt dark, milk and white chocolate...two bars of each type) in the food processor, then you add a generous pinch of salt (I used fleur de sel), approximately 1/2 a cup of Trader Joe's sipping chocolate and about two teaspoons of vanilla.
I packaged up the mix in mini mason jars and forgot to share any instructions on how to make the hot chocolate. So I went ahead and assumed people know heat up some milk and stir in however much mix you want.
Actually a cup of hot chocolate sounds really good right now...
The holiday decorations have come down and been packed away, but the lights stay on the mantle for a few more weeks. And I decided to do a little New Year's decorating to help make sure it wasn't completely sad and empty.
The fresh start print is actually a card from Push Print Studio, which I have been obsessed with since this past summer. I put together a few fonts to make the 2017 and then just typed out a little card for the clip frame. And I got out the candle sticks so I can get even more winter night glowy-ness going.
Last year was a big one with decade changes (Nora & Mac) and graduation (Mac) and not getting hired (Nora) and starting some college classes (Mac) and getting hired (Mac and Nora). Life looks pretty different than it did a year ago and the vast majority of of the changes are all for the better. That's a pretty lucky thing to get to say at the end of a year.
This upcoming year includes one more decade change (Sean) and who knows what else. It feels really good not to have so many milestones and changes to worry about as much as I did at the beginning of last year. Just hope these feelings of hope and peace continue throughout the year.
Loved collecting up all the best bits & pieces of this past year...
Favorite House Project A small bocce court in our backyard
Favorite Mantle Decorations Even though school started extra early this year
Favorite Scrapbooking A mini book from my 40th birthday trip
Favorite Garden Moment Our first big tomato harvest for the summer
Favorite School Idea Designing cards for student group work
Favorite Hosting But Thanksgiving is always my favorite
Favorite Organizational Project The guest room closet was completely redone
Favorite Planner Project Getting all the cute supplies organized
Favorite Discovery Essential oil foot soaks have been one of the most relaxing things all year
Favorite Gift Wrapping I could make fabric and ribbon tassels all day every day
Favorite Recipe Creamy Tomato Soup
Favorite New Job Definitely one of the bests parts of this year
Favorite Gift Mac's graduation book might be one of the favorite gifts I will ever be able to give
Favorite Moment with Sean Standing in the quiet among the most amazing trees
Favorite Moment with Mac This had the most competition since there have been a lot of favorite moments with Mac this year, but seeing him ride around on a horse like it was no big deal was pretty much the coolest
This week will include reading the holiday magazines I didn't quite get to flip through yet, finishing my December Daily-ish book for the year, catching up on two months worth of television we saved on our DVR (today was Hamilton's America, which was awesome) and profuse amounts of vanilla iced tea and/or iced coffee.
Hope you get to relax a little this week too.
Sean always gives gifts to his amazing instructional aide and his co-teacher. I got Mac's college cheer coaches a little something...and his cheer team had a family they were collecting gifts for. The mom said she liked crafting, so I couldn't resist wrapping up a colorful pile of crafty presents for her.
Sean had a Secret Santa at work...and Mac had a Secret Santa at work...so Nora had lots of fun working to make sure they got cute stuff.
I really, really love wrapping gifts.
Have I ever told you the story of the great Christmas gift guessing fight?
Way back in the year 2000, we had our first Christmas in our new house. I bought a skinny 7.5 foot artificial tree from Target for $80, which is down in our living room now as I type this and really should be replaced soon. I also used to be super good at life and have most of my presents purchased and wrapped by Thanksgiving weekend, which meant Sean's gifts were sitting underneath our new tree at our new house.
Sean's brother had flown in from his sophomore year of college to spend that Thanksgiving weekend with us. Can I just pause there for a second to take in that Sean's brother was in college? Sean was all of 23 years old and I was the super mature 24 year old.
Okay back to the story.
When I wasn't around Sean pointed out the gifts under the tree to his brother and said, "That's my new Playstation and that's the scooter I wanted".
Okay, now Sean sounds 13 years old, not 23. But those were the exact presents he was getting.
His brother told me Sean's correct guesses later that weekend. Apparently Sean was a legendary (in his own mind) gift guesser and his family had worked for years to try to trick him.
I was ticked about Sean's guessing, but never said anything to him until...
We had a fight about something totally unrelated just a few days before Christmas...because remember how mature we were. At some point during the fight I yelled about him being a pompous ass and guessing exactly what he was getting for Christmas. The look on his face confirmed that although he had guessed correctly, he didn't know for sure and now I had ruined the "surprise". I started crying that I had ruined Christmas.
Again, with the maturity.
So, while still sniffling, I decided I just had to make sure he actually did get one surprise gift. I got out the Land's End catalog and called them to order a robe with his initials. I overshared the story of the fight with the person taking my order and they took pity on me, making sure it shipped to get there before Christmas.
And we lived happily ever after.
So at some point between the great gift guessing fight and today, Sean and I started the tradition of writing little notes and hints on tags to each other. This year I took it a step further and made tags to taunt him with...
"Hey, Sean you'll never guess"
"Sean doesn't know what this is"
Aaaannnnd yet again with the maturity.
But, speaking of maturity, since the great gift guessing fight sixteen years ago, Sean has never even tried to guess a gift again.
So we managed to get through pretty much all of 2016 without one decent photo of the three of us together. Instead of trying to get one at the last minute, I relied on a few favorite photos from the year...graduation, prom, my birthday trip and Montana.
The multi-colored stripe obsession made its way onto this year's cards too.
It's a little ridiculous how happy I am to mail all of these each year. I have to walk them into the post office and stand there sending each one through the mail slot, off on its way to family and friends.
In 2013, 2014, and 2015 I had all this merry making done in the first week of December and now we are close to the third. I have been behind on pretty much everything this year, but thankfully there is still some time left to do a few family holiday activities.
Every little detail of merry making continues to be one of my favorite traditions and I can't wait for Mac to start tearing into these packages.
(My brother recommended the brand and said even people who don't like eggnog like this stuff...and he was totally right)
So far Clarence's best trick has been bungee jumping with rubber bands.
I will never consider having elves around without children as something that is normal. No matter its peculiarity, though, it really is pretty fun.
This afternoon at the post office (miraculously with no line!) boxes went off on their way to Oregon, Iowa and Oklahoma. These were the gifts that headed towards "where the winds come sweeping down the plains" to my dad and his family.
I broke out the alphabet stamps again for a couple super simple versions of gift tags this year. Can't wait to get more wrapping done and make a pile under the tree of the gifts that are staying here in California.
This Sunday was filled with a level of peace that can only be achieved by knowing there is not school tomorrow. I am so super-duper lucky to have six of these types of Sundays before I go back for the spring semester.
I worry that I might sound like a teacher who thinks the reason for teaching is the vacation we get, but please know that is not the case. I am actually looking forward to working on the tasks I have on my end-of-semester to do list and had to stop myself from starting on them...figuring that Christmas cards and packages should at least get out the door.
But no matter how much I love work, knowing that I will not be scrambling to get it all done too late on a Sunday night is an awesome feeling.
These are the days where I want to be focused on wrapping paper, but instead I have to be grading papers. I finished up my last classes today, so I just have the last big batch of grading before all the holiday crafting can really get started.
After eighteen years I decided to spring for new Christmas stockings. I had originally purchased four embroidered stockings from Land's End in 1998...Sean, Nora, McIntosh and Meriwhether. Mine had an angel...which is the last thing I'd ever pick, but they only had four designs and I really liked the other three.
West Elm provided stockings 2016...along with a 20% discount and free embroidering and free shipping. Hard to beat that. And they were a cute striped wool felt with no angels anywhere (my apologies to people who like angels--you must be a much nicer person than I am). So now we have Sean, Nora, Mac (since he doesn't like McIntosh) and "dogs"...for Shamrock & Paddington.
The bonus is these stockings hold a lot more. The old ones would seriously hold maybe three little things, so anything bigger than a few inches would be piled on the fireplace. Now there is plenty of room for Santa to stuff my stocking full of craft supplies and chocolate.
Oh the Christmas crafting I want to do...and the work for school that I have to do.
No matter what though, I am definitely doing a fifth year of December Daily-ish documenting. My supplies are all ready and I am getting started this weekend.
I actually made a set of six of these simple cards that I didn't end up using, so I added some matching envelopes and thought I would share the set here.
If you would like it, please leave a "pick me" comment and I will email the random drawing winner on Friday.
Well Wishes...a homemade card shared on Wednesdays.
One of my happiest moments in this past year was on the first night of my little birthday vacation when Sean suggested we order a cheese plate at dinner and then was just as happy as I was devouring it.
I have a Pinterest board of cheese boards.
So last week, when we were shopping for Thanksgiving dinner supplies, I spent too long at the Murray's Cheese Shop counter at our local grocery store. The very, very best part of this is you can ask them to cut smaller pieces of each cheese so you can try each one for just two or three dollars. You know, that way you can try six.
After the turkey was in the oven early Thanksgiving morning, I started cutting and assembling a cheese plate...with a couple kinds of crackers, deli meat, almonds and an amazing fig & orange spread from the cheese counter.
The cheese plate sat waiting on the kitchen table until Sean, Mac and I needed a snack to tide us over until everyone arrived for dinner.
Now I think we need to share a cheese plate snack every Thanksgiving...or maybe just every single week or something.