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 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!

 

a big boy bed – the slow transition. and his mostly “hand me down” room.

At around 19 months (last month), we decided to begin transitioning Mr. Tate to his own room and a bigger bed. I know, it seems a bit early for the bigger bed, but he wasn’t utilizing the crib at all and we are thinking a very slow transition to it – starting with naps (for a few months) and then adding in nights. Our older two kiddos used and slept in their cribs so much more than Tate has by this age so we weren’t in any rush to transition them to a different style or kind of bed.

We’ve pretty much co-slept with Tate since birth. And while it’s a little bittersweet to know that the nighttime cuddles will be becoming less and less, our little man is getting big and we are running out of room for the two of us and our crazy horizontal sleeper.

With that being said, naps (we are down to just one a day now) in his own room and his own bed are going so-so – he still likes having a sleepmate. 🙂

All except for a few things in Tate’s first bigger boy room are previously loved (hand me down) items. His bed was his older sister’s up until our move last August. A couple of months ago, I painted it with a blue jean colored chalk paint that I found on clearance at Target and then coated it with a semi satin polyurethane. It was originally a $40 purchase off of Craigslist nearly ten years ago. We have definitely gotten our dollars worth out of it!

Estate sales are most definitely one of my favorite “stores” currently. I’m fascinated at being able to get a peek into how others lived, their travels, their collections, their dreams. I feel like it’s an honor to be able to browse and enjoy others belongings and essentially be able to enter into a summary of their life within walls.

Other finds:

The bottom art is a miniature framed painting I purchased at an estate sale for a couple of dollars. The top print on wood I thrifted for some odd cents.

The below wardrobe was from a thrift store in Alabama. It was gray until I painted it green. 🙂 The rocker is a hand me down from my parents. They inherited it from a great Aunt. The heart pillow I made. The hanging basket was made out of a thrifted basket and some rope.

The fawn pillow, sail boat stacker toy, school bus and hobby horse were newly purchased. The toy top was a gifted thrift store find from my sister. When it’s spinning, this is probably still Tate’s favorite toy. The soda bottle crate (night stand), I purchased several years ago from a flea market.

I thrifted the lighthouse painting several years ago for a couple of dollars (it was framed when I bought it, but I removed it). It reminds me of the northeast and the time I got to spend there when I was a tween/ teen.

All of the blankets were thrifted or found at an estate sale except for the blue/ cream gauze coverlet and gingham sheets. All had hardly been used and were in great condition.

I took the below photo while traveling along the historic Route 66 here in Missouri (outside of The Mule Trading Post). Although a “kitschy” landmark, I liked that it was unique and something that is native to the portion of Route 66 close to where I grew up. And my Father-in-law gifted me the boat diagram prints that he found a garage sale in their retirement community near the gulf in AL. The framed crewel seaside scape was another flea market find I purchased while living in Alabama.

The holtztiger wood animals and figurines are new and we have been gifting them to Tate thus far for special occasions (Christmas, first birthday, baptism, etc) throughout his little life. And my plans are to continue to do so for at least a couple more years. The small barn shelf they are in was thrifted for just a few dollars.

Although it’s a little bit of a hodgepodge, it feels cozy and like home. A little bit like this post (wink, wink).

Just in case you’re not familiar with thrifting and estate sale going, here are a few easy tips or tid bits.

  • Go often. Or in reference to Estate Sales, get items you just have to have on Day 1 and then go back if you can on Days 2 and 3 for any optional items. Prices drop on Day 2 and even more on Day 3.
  • Go alone. Or without kids if possible. Lately, I always have my youngest side kick with me but if you can go alone so that you can actually really think about your needs vs. wants.
  • At flea markets, look for booths that have an extra percentage off or holiday sales.
  • Think about gifts! I know you might be apprehensive about buying used items to give as gifts, but you can find some really nice meaningful items (especially at Estate Sales). Just keep in mind those you are buying for – would they prefer old vs new?
  • Be patient. Eventually you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for! Don’t just buy something because it’s “sort of” what you needed/ wanted. These are the things you will be selling at a garage sale in less than a year.

Links to the newly purchased items in Tate’s current room: Opal house Gauze Coverlet // Fawn Pillow // Boat Stacking Tower // Hobby Horse // School Bus // Holtztiger Wooden Figures // Rising Clouds Print

P.S. – Bed rails will be added when he begins sleeping in it overnight.