thrifted and made holiday gifts. week two – a blessing book and a little brass and cloth.

Week two’s thrifted and handmade holiday gift idea combines a simple yet lovely pair of slim brass candlesticks (perfect for this time of year), an old linen calendar/ decorative towel, and a handmade 2020 blessing book. I also included a pair of candles that I had, but some handmade beeswax ones would be the perfect addition (if you’re a candle maker).

Thrifted goods:

Handmade goods (excluding the candles):

If you should have a hard time locating some pretty candlesticks, a pair of mugs with a bag of coffee/ tea or some pretty plates for hanging or filled with goodies are also a lovely idea. These are both easy thrift finds! And as for the towel/ cloth, think something vintage, perhaps embroidered, quilted or simply the colors of the season (somewhat why I chose the one I included). Below are examples of the mug and plate ideas.

As for the “Blessing Book”, inspired somewhat by Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts, it’s a handmade booklet where one can write down a few words to describe a blessing or gift from that particular day. It’s straightforward and simple enough for them to stick to and it’s small enough for them to throw into their purse, briefcase or bag and later to hold onto as a keepsake. Such a beautiful idea to look back on “blessings” from year to year and to see how they might change based on age and time!

Supplies:

  • paper – one piece of lightweight card stock (6.25 by 8.25 inches) and six pieces of regular printer paper or something like the weight of a resume paper (6 by 8 inches)
  • twine or string
  • pdf’s – inner pages and cover page (find them at bottom of post
  • printer
  • paper cutter (or you could use a rotary cutter or scissors to cut paper if no paper cutter is available)
  • long arm stapler or hole puncher
  • scissors

Instructions:

1 Cut all of your papers down to size. For inner pages, cut down to 6 x 8 inches and for the one cover page 6.25 x 8.25 inches. Remember the cover or piece of lightweight card stock needs to be slightly larger than the inner pages. I say lightweight because if you use papers that are too heavy in weight they will not fold as easily. However, because you are printing front and back, you may want something just a smidge better than regular printer paper for your inner pages (so that you can’t see the other side through the paper).

2 Print pages. Open the pdf for the inner pages. Once open, it looks a little tricky and confusing, but they are ordered in front, back page order. For example, pages one and two are the front and back of your page 1, pages three and four are the front and back of your page 2 and so on. If you’d like to print all pages at once, print all of the odd pages, place pages back in printer and print all even pages onto the backs of the printed odd pages. How you place them back in your printer (which side is up, etc), is determined somewhat by your printer settings. Once all of your inner pages are printed, print your cover page.

3 Fold all pages in half separately and then place them together like a book and continue to fold. Keep working the fold until you have a really good crease.

4 Stapling or securing book. Make sure that all of your folds are lined up nicely. Line up your long arm stapler with the crease or fold. Then place two staples along the crease or fold of the booklet. To further adorn or secure your booklet, tie some string or twine around the stapled fold. *If you don’t have a long arm stapler, you can simply use the twine to secure your book, use a heavy duty small size hole punch and thread the twine through the holes, or you can even sew the book together with a machine or by hand (this is a nice touch if you have the capability to do so).

5 The End. Enjoy gifting!

Now, hopefully you have a pretty little book(s) for gifting and to pair with your thrift store goodies! I hope you’re having a beautiful November! And please, let me know if you have any questions about the making of your blessing books.

-xoxo- and many blessings to you!

blessingbook2020innerpages.pdf

blessingbook2020cover.pdf

Find week one’s handmade and thrifted gift here.

P.S. – Speaking of thrifted, I found the cutest set of Christmas glasses last week. That little yellow house- swoon. If you are in need of glasses of any kind, secondhand stores always have a great selection.

wreaths. for the season.

same wreath,

from summer/ autumn to autumn/ winter,

with just a few things from around the house (and backyard).

But if I were to have made or purchased a new one, these are all such beauties . . .

top row (l to r): dried orange wreath // star wreath // thread wreath

middle row (l to r): grapevine with bells wreath // pampas grass wreath // felted wreath

bottom row (l to r): white wool wreath // festive wreath // this one was handmade by me a few holidays ago

thrifted and made holiday gifts. week one – “the smell of Christmas”.

As we are getting our first real winter weather of the season today, I find myself suddenly yearning for the cozy of the holidays (unlike yesterday where it was nearly seventy and I wanted nothing to do with it). Therefore to better prepare myself and perhaps you, for the next month, I am going to be sharing some simple yet lovely gift giving ideas that are a little thrifted / a little handmade. Think teachers, neighbors, coworkers, friends, etc.

Week One: “The smell of Christmas”. A festive pot (thrifted) paired with items to make a homemade potpourri (handmade).

It’s an oldie but a goodie.

Items needed:

  • thrifted pot
  • an orange
  • one to two cinnamon sticks
  • a handful or two cranberries
  • greenery
  • a small bag or parchment or scrap fabric
  • an instruction card (I have included mine below if you wish to use it)
  • scissors and a hole puncher (optional)

The red pot was thrifted for a dollar or less and all the other items can be found at your local market, in your fridge or pantry, around the house or in your backyard. I’m thinking this enamel pot once had a lid and was perhaps part of a fondue set; however my thoughts upon finding it automatically turned to the holidays and how pretty it would be on a stove simmering with the smells of the season (cinnamon, orange, cranberries, evergreen). Keep an open mind when thrifting. Your pot doesn’t necessarily have to be red or “Christmasy” or in great condition. A black and white worn enamel pot would be perfect as would just a simple metal or copper pot. Look for something that is a bit unique and nicely made.

As for the brown bags, I had them and just dressed them up a little with a simple tree. However, you could use cellophane, parchment, or even some scrap fabric to enclose the potpourri items in as well.

I grabbed the greenery from the backyard and tied a few hand torn pieces of scrap fabric around the handle. The key (and the fun part) is to just use what you have – all of those odds and ends you have in your craft or sewing cabinet leftover from other projects or from the kids past projects.

Lastly, include an instruction or recipe card. A handwritten one would be sweet but if you wish to use it, I have provided mine below.

Printable instruction card: smell-of-christmas-potpourri.pdf

*You will need just a half of a sheet of paper and it will print two copies.

Enjoy!

-xoxo

P.S. – Now off to enjoy the smell of my bathed babe’s head as he drifts off to sleep in my arms one last time as a one year old. Life is so fun right now, may our days with him as a two year old be even sweeter!

sixteen years.

We celebrated sixteen years of marriage (twenty years together) today with a breakfast date (us and the babe) because of an evening full of practices for the bigger two. We took a car to get fixed at the shop, started preparing for the little’s second birthday party (this weekend), helped with homework, put away laundry, did the dishes (always doing the dishes), worked, picked up kids from school, had a late dinner of pizza and kept five humans and a dog alive one more day. Just another day full of love and life and living. Sixteen years of marriage has given us everything we ever hoped for. Those and every minute more with all of these gifts is so worth celebrating!

-xoxo-

an almost two year old. his favorite books, as of late.

How can it be? In a month, our youngest little will be the big T-W-O. I’m looking so forward to celebrating with him but at the same time I’m finding myself feeling pretty nostalgic about the day he was born and those first few months after. Such beautiful, sweet times for all of us. Before my cheeks become damp, back to some of the sweet and simple times we are sharing now. As of late, some of those special times involve books. Currently, the below are some of his favorites. He’s really into pictures and objects so even though he may not be comprehending all of the words the illustrations still keep him thinking and interested.

1 – Windows by Julie Denos

2 – Before and After by Jean Jullien

3 – Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak

4 – Opposites with Frank Lloyd Wright

5 – Almost Everything by Joelle Jolivet

6 – Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle

7 – Pantone mini board books

8 – Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

9 – One Thousand Things by Anna Kovecses

It’s rainy and dreary here today (and little man is currently napping). So perfect! I’m looking forward to making breakfast for dinner and these biscuits – https://www.momontimeout.com/perfect-biscuits-every-time-recipe/#wprm-recipe-container-19131. I only use about half of the sugar when making them (unless I’m making them as part of a dessert). They really are so so good! These are pretty great (and easy) also!

xoxo

travel. three days in northern california.

The pure beauty of summer break has come and gone. It’s always so magical and I really didn’t want it to end this time ’round. However, with just the one babe at home now, I have a bit more time to reflect on what a sweet and simple summer we all had.  Especially after our crazy summer last year (with the move back to the midwest), simple and easy was more than perfect.  Although we didn’t have the opportunity to take a big family trip, we all did have a little fun of our own.  Maddox went on a mini trout fishing vacation with my brother in Northern Arkansas.  Isla got to attend her first ever week long sleepover Summer Camp and was able to finally experience my hometown County Fair with my mom and family friends multiple days in a row.  And Bryan and I got to spend a few days together in northern California.  He was there for work and I got to tag along.  It was much needed and we had a really lovely time.

Thus far, being back in the Midwest definitely feels like home and the right place to be during this chapter of our lives.  However as much as my homebody self loves the comforts of home, travel, especially spontaneous travel, is always so revigorating and re-inspiring.  Having kids doesn’t always make spontaneity travel possible, but when it is it is cherished – even if its just a few hours or days.

Day One:  I flew into Sacramento with a layover in Denver.  With an afternoon to myself, I did a little sight seeing in downtown Sacramento and visited the Crocker Art Museum.  It was a great museum – such a beautiful blending of the old and new.

Travel –

Crocker Art Museum & a visit to Old Town and Downtown Sacramento –

(the above was a color on silk piece of a home/ yard in Webster Groves, MO – a little of home away from home) 

Day Two:  Bryan had to work most of the morning and afternoon.  I got up and left before the traffic got heavy in and around Sacramento and headed out to explore a small piece of the California Delta Countryside.  I followed or stayed near Route 160 or the River Road Scenic Byway.  It is a rural road that twists and turns through California’s Delta region along the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers.  I had such a lovely time getting to explore and see charming homes and estates (seeing the style and architecture prevalent in another part of the country is always so fascinating), cute bridges, quaint towns, windmills and wide open spaces with beautiful vegetation around every corner.  I went through the small towns/ communities of Isleton, Walnut Grove, Antioch, Rio Vista, and Courtland.  My favorite part was getting out and walking through the downtowns of some of these small towns – some were nearly vacant and some slowly being revived.

Then late afternoon, I met Bryan back in Sacramento and we made the couple hour trip east to Lake Tahoe.  A sight that we both had always wanted to lay eyes on, but never had until now.  The weather was spectacular and of course the view even more so.  After wandering around the lake for a couple of hours, we ate at Sonney’s BBQ Shack. I was prepared to be disappointed (after living near abundant great BBQ in the Midwest and the South for years), but it was really fantastic and worth the long wait. Then we drove back west up and down the mountains through dusk and dark. 

Day 3:  After once again waking early (because of the time change), we headed east towards the coast.  A drive to see the west coastline on this trip was necessary to me.  We landed in Bodega Bay.  Such a fascinating and gorgeous area. On the way there and back we were able to enjoy the scenery of Sonoma County and the area near Napa Valley. We would’ve explored the Napa area a little more, but the weekend traffic was really starting to pick up at this point.  I guess I couldnt leave California without experiencing at least one traffic jam. 🙂

*Tip: Wear layers when visiting this part of the west coast.  Temp ranges varied drastically depending on the time of day and where you are in relationship to the water.  We really wanted to do more hiking higher up (close to the water) but it was so windy and cool that we had to cut our hiking and beautiful views short.

(I ate at In-N-Out Burger for the first time while in CA.)

Day 4: Travel home via Denver again. Such gorgeous views from the sky!

It had been such a long time since Bryan and I were really able to soak up time with each other, drive and go as we pleased, and eat while conversating.  It was such a lovely few days. There are so many more things that I would like to see and do out west and in CA, but for now this was the perfect start.

Now, back to the end of August where the littlest one and I are left to soak up the dog days of these last few weeks of summer on our own.  We will do our best to make the most of them (lots of park, walks, and play time) while the “bigs” are at school and Dad’s at work.

Hope your Summer has been dreamy!