Tag Archives: presents

Creating invites calls for this…

25 Jan

As you may remember in my post about our Save the Date card, I designed the stationary for our wedding. It was so important to me that the paper goods had a special meaning to them (more on that later).

After creating, printing, cutting and hand addressing (and cursive is not my strong suit) every invite and envelope, I realized one thing… that I was going to need a return address label – because I sure as heck was not about to write our address 200 times.

After much searching on Etsy, I came across this lovely store, Save the Date and was immediately sold on this self-inking, eco-friendly, customizable stamp.

I was so thrilled at how quick and easy it was to have our own stamp custom designed by Tiffany from this shop. I was even more thrilled at how quick and easy it was to stamp every envelope and response card when I promptly received the return address stamp in the mail. Happy to avoid the hand cramp from writing…

Plus, it was so exciting to see the new address on each of the envelopes and to receive response cards in the mail every day. I always look forward to the fiance telling me who has sent them back to his new home (soon to be our new home!).

What could you see a stamp like this coming in handy for? I’m thinking house-warming gifts, shower presents, etc. Do share!


Project Life

11 Jul

This past weekend I ventured down to Tierra Verde, Florida, home of the wonderful Orobello family, for some fun and a little relaxation. I left with a those two things, but also with something to document the my time over the course of the year. With so many exciting things going on right now and a ton of life change moving into the real world, Mrs. Orobello thought this would be the perfect time to start.

As the owner of Whim So Doodle, Mrs. O knows all about the greatest of scrapbooking goodies, including a product kit called Project Life by Becky Higgins. I used to be an avid scrapbooker back in the day (of high school) but quickly got too busy (and too much of a perfectionist) for such undertakings.

When I first saw my friend, Ryan’s, book, I fell in love. Then, when I noticed that the “Top 5 Reasons People Love Project Life” included “Save time. Save stress.” I knew that Project Life and I were destined for each other. When better way to enjoy crafting than with a time-saver, stress-reducer and smile-provider?

The idea is to journal a bit and take a photo for each day of the year and document it in a book that looks a little something like this:

Photo courtesy of: http://www.beckyhiggins.com

Mine is currently quite a bit more empty, but will soon be full of daily morsels of my life. I don’t think that I have enough going on in my life to take a photo each day, but I am willing to use a couple photos from each event to fill up this daily journal/photo album. I am seriously looking forward to it. The set-up of my book is similar to the one above, but with these colors:

Photo courtesy of: http://www.beckyhiggins.com

Doesn’t that just warm your crafting heart? I will keep you updated on the progress of documenting my daily life. It may not be super exciting and thrilling, but it is the small stuff that counts, right? Here goes nothing…

Easy Bulletin Board Crafting

30 Apr

As you may have discovered by now, I absolutely love crafting, thoughtful gifts and surprising people. So when I recently was surprised with a new MacBook Pro from my bosses at See.Spark.Go (haha, that rhymes), I was:

1. So thrilled (my poor little old MacBook was a serious struggle)

2. So surprised (I was expecting them to whip out a new office printer or Keurig or something. Not a MacBook Pro for me)

3. Determined to thank them in a special way (but without breaking the bank)

We would soon be expecting two awesome clients in town for the week, so we were finalizing our office decorations. My bosses had been complaining about the empty shelves in the intern office for weeks, so I instantly decided I would surprise them with something that was special to See.Spark.Go, could be functional and could add a pop of color.

I present to you: a bulletin board!

I started with just a plain bulletin board, some orange and white paint, a paint brush and a very steady hand.

While I’m no artist, I set out to hand-draw our logo in the center of the board. I wasn’t expecting DaVinci or anything of the sort, but was pretty pleased with how it turned out. It didn’t hurt that I had this little guy to model for me:

The foster dog I was watching the night o'crafting... absolutely precious

Fortunately, I had a thank you notecard and an Athens, I Love You sticker to cover the mess-ups.

When I was finally finished painting and (hair)drying the board, I carefully placed it in my car to drive to my boss’ house. Even though I may have interrupted a family party, they were thrilled to see something designed with their logo on it (and couldn’t believe my art skills, might I add).

Here the board is in its new home with our wonderful spring interns, Maureen and Hannah!

I couldn’t be happier that the gift meant a lot to my bosses and would actually be used for a great purpose, rather than just wasting space in a junk drawer. They absolutely love it, and I love being able to brighten our office walls!

So do you have any ideas for functional, fun-to-make crafts? Any of you ever re-purposed a bulletin board? Share your secrets!

I’m a MacBook Pro.

30 Mar

This blog coming from: my new MacBook Pro!

Yea, that’s right! The best surprise I have ever received from See.Spark.Go (not that I didn’t love the random day I got to babysit the Little Monkey or the day we all had a coffee party in the office.) See my excitement and new baby here:

Way to make my life, See.Spark.Go.

Never have I felt so encouraged from a gift. Who knew that was possible? A total surprise (and absolutely needed). I am loving every bit of my new computer. This is just one of those times that I remember how blessed I am for the people in my life and all that God provides. Pretty cool.

Too bad I wasn't "unbelievably" blessed with supernatural spellcheck skills. We can blame it on my excitement for the day.

Now that I have had a chance to show off my new gadget, have y’all ever experienced something similar where you were overwhelmed by someone’s generosity? Spread the joy and tell us here!

Pay It Forward

25 Feb

First thing that comes to my mind about Random Acts of Kindness… the movie Pay It Forward. Where Haley Joel Osment takes on the challenge to change the world by paying forward a favor to three people, rather than back to one.

Ever since that movie I have always been a huge proponent of Random Acts of Kindness, or RAKs for short. They make the person’s day and ultimately make your day for making someone else’s day (as I make you confused with all of this “making”).

All in all, that’s a win/win!

There is an organization called the “Random Acts of Kindness Foundation” where people can share their stories about RAKs and also get ideas of RAKs for other people. As I was looking through them, I realized how often I witness RAKs or benefit from them.

So here is my RAK story of the week that you can adapt for people in your life:

On Monday, I woke up in the middle of the night very nauseous and with a horrible sore throat. I also had awful dreams, so needless to say, I didn’t get a whole lot of good sleep. After class, I left immediately for work. When I arrived, there was a little surprise on my desk!

My boss, Brittany, brought everyone in the office a Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato! I had never had one before and if you haven’t either, let me just tell you: it was divine. Running on no sleep and having a rough day, there was nothing better than being reminded that someone was thinking of me. Just what I needed!

Photo courtesy of Jessica Henry's mad iPhone picture-taking skills.

It reminded me of how much fun it is to be the receiver (and the giver) of RAKs. I absolutely love to surprise people with little gifts or notes when they least expect it. I think my favorite RAK is probably the easiest of all time… receiving a nice “hello” or a smile from someone who I don’t know. Kind of like when people don’t even realize they are doing anything for me by having a huge smile while they walk through campus. But, you know what they say: smiling is contagious!

It makes me want to be intentional with “paying it forward” by passing on the RAK to someone who needs it. You never know who really needs a good smile on their face that day.

I’m making a list of people to pay it forward to, but I’m open to suggestions!

What are the best RAKs you have ever received? Or given for that matter?

DIY: Melting Pot at Home

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is the one day of the year when all couples spend romantic evenings together and all singletons celebrate “Singles Awareness Day.” However, often, both of those cost quite a bit of money. I am here to tell that that whether you are with that special someone or just having a night with the girls, I have quite the inexpensive, Melting Pot-worthy treat for you!

Cheese fondue. Yep, you know, the gooey goodness of cheese and deliciousness that graces a table of bread, Granny Smith apples and veggies.

Last night, my sweet boyfriend surprised me with a 3-course fondue dinner complete with two (yes, two) different types of chocolate – and he doesn’t even like chocolate. I’m going to toot his horn for a moment and say that not only was it absolutely the sweetest thing ever, but he also is quite the chef.

I’m here to be the first to tell you that you can have Melting Pot taste without the Melting Pot price – and all in the comfort of your own home.

Cheese fondue and Ratatouille: the Perfect Combo

Here are the ingredients for the cheese fondue:

  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Fontina cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Bavarian Bergkase cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Irish Cheddar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

Wait?… corn starch? Yes, corn starch. The boyfriend went to his trusty friend, Alton Brown, for that tidbit of info. Check out around 5:30 for more info.

Important things to know:

  • Start with the liquids in the fondue pot on low heat and bring to a simmer. No need to let it boil too much.
  • Pour the cheese slowly into the liquid to let it melt as you pour and stir.
  • Keep it on low heat while you eat so the cheese doesn’t harden, but make sure to wait a second after dipping so you don’t burn your mouth.
  • Only use cheeses that are not super greasy. We tried Manchego one day, and while we love the taste of it in Spain on some bread with a little tomato and olive oil, it is less than satisfying when the oils take over and make the cheese gloppy. No one likes gloppy fondue.
  • Use dippers like Granny Smith apples, various types of breads, broccoli and carrots. All are delicious and even better covered in cheese fondue.

After a bit of mixing, when the cheese starts to look a lot like this:

Cheesy melted goodness

… get your dippers, take a sip of wine and go to town!


DIY Valentine’s Present

6 Feb

Happy Superbowl Sunday!

As I sit watching the game (and enjoying the  commercials) I decided I would fill you in on a great Valentine’s Day gift for the significant other. If you’re anything like me, you would ten times rather give a handmade gift than a store-bought one. However, it can be tough to come up with endless gifts when you have been dating, engaged or married for a long time. It’s even harder when Christmas is in December, the boyfriend’s birthday is in February and then Valentine’s Day is a week later.

On my hunt initially for a Christmas present, I came across this blog post from YoungHouseLove.com (my idols in DIY & home improvement). They used it for Thanksgiving, I used it for Christmas and now you can use it for Valentine’s Day or for really any holiday where a present is required. I totally geeked out when I saw this post and could not wait to try it for myself.

Enter: the Fun(d). As a college girl dating a guy in medical school, money is tight. Surprise! This way, we have designated money that we set aside whenever we feel like we can. This money can and will only be used on fun things for us to do together that we couldn’t otherwise justify spending the money on. The original plan was to save up for a visit to NYC to see my sister. Expensive, but so much to look forward to, especially when it will (hopefully) seem like free money by the time we get to take a break and fly up there.

Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me to take pictures of the process, so I will give you directions on how to create this lovely bit of fun:

What you need:

  • Any glass container you want
  • Armour Etch Cream
  • Small paintbrush
  • Painter’s tape or contact paper
  • Exacto knife
  • Cutting board
  • A little money
  • Colorful paper

How to: (may seem long, but really actually super easy!)

  1. Choose a font that is bold enough and large enough to easily Exacto-knife it out of the paper.
  2. Type Fun(d) or any other word you want to etch into the glass and print. Don’t worry if you have to print a couple different sizes or fonts to get the exact look you want.
  3. Stick the painter’s tape or contact paper to the cutting board, making sure to get rid of any bubbles.
  4. Tape the printed word (I’ll use “Fun(d) for the sake of easiness) on top of the painter’s tape. I used a couple extra pieces of tape around the edges to make sure the word would fidget or budge while I was Exacto-knifing.
  5. Carefully cut the black letters out making sure you go all the way through the paper and the tape. This will create your “stencil.”
  6. Once you have cut out all of the letters, very slowly peel back the stencil off of the cutting board. Careful. The first time I tried to make the Fun(d) I lost the d). Yikes.
  7. Stick the new “stencil” to the glass. My suggestion is to check out local thrift stores or places like Marshall’s. I scored 4 various sized glass containers for $10 total at TJ Maxx. Totally worth it.
  8. Apply a thick amount of Armour Etch where the black letters used to be. (Warning, don’t get it on your hands. This is meant to essentially burn through glass. No need to burn through your skin, too.) You can find Armour Etch at Michael’s and get it for pretty inexpensive when using a coupon. I never buy anything at Michael’s without a coupon, by the way.
  9. Let the cream sit for about a minute according to the bottle about 5 minutes or until it looks like the cream is eating away at the tape. Then wash it off with water and remove the tape. Voila!
  10. Admire your lovely work, put in some money, adorn with a bow and come up with a few ideas of things you would like to do. Write them on little sheets of paper so you can “check” them off when you finally save up enough money in the Fun(d).

I hope this helps you with a little inspiration for a DIY Valentine’s gift! Plus it makes a nice little mantel decoration!

Thank you notes say it all

1 Feb

Ever since I was old enough to write, my mom always encouraged me to send thank you notes to everyone who gave me a present for the holidays. From the millions of Beanie Babies in one box for obscure holidays like Valentine’s Day, to the $5 bill and a card for Christmas – everyone was to be thanked.

Photo by: William Arthur Fine Stationery

Later in life, I became (and still am) a stationary addict. I can’t turn down a good deal on cute stationary, even though I know I have stacks at home. Let me loose in places like Micheal’s and don’t expect the $1 section to look the same once I’m done.

It must be because I never want to send a thank you note on the same stationary to the same person more than once. The boyfriend laughed when I insisted upon sending his little sister blank note cards while she was counseling away at camp. Fortunately, she loved them equally as much as I did (ok, maybe not equally.)

However, now I can justify my stationary obsession because I just recently I read an article that reminded me that thank you notes should be “heartfelt and handwritten.” Both are made possible by having an abundance of note cards at the ready.

What a way to make someone’s day – send a thank note for something, anything, even if they would never expect to be thanked for it.

The possibilities are endless – your brother, the mailman, the Publix cashier or your long-lost best friend. I bet you’ll be thankful you did!