Friday, December 19, 2014

paper stocking care packages

My baby sister turned 19 years old on August 3rd. Exactly four months later, on December 3rd, she reported to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah to study for 12 days on becoming a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She will be gone sharing the gospel of Christ with the people of Florida for 18 months, and to say that I am proud of her is an understatement!
I do think that it's a bit unfortunate timing that she left right before Christmas, and I definitely want her to know that she is loved and that we are thinking of her, so I whipped up a couple of Christmas care packages for her companion and her.

I just picked up a few little items that I thought might make good "stocking stuffers" for them, and included in a couple of treats, of course.

Then I traced some some stockings onto ledger sized coverstock, stitched them together, and trimmed off the excess paper. This way they still have some stockings, but they don't need to worry about holding onto them as they move from place to place, and they don't have to feel badly about throwing them out after Christmas! Plus, hopefully the top being stitched shut will keep them form opening their stockings before Christmas morning! :)
This would be a great idea for a college student, or just some happy mail for a friend or family member! It would be so easy to make them cute by having your kiddos color on them, or decorating them with cute stickers too!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

acing the holidays

I LOVE the holidays.
I mean, really , I love any excuse to decorate and celebrate; but the whole cold weather holiday season is a very exciting time for me, from about a week before Thanksgiving all the way through Valentine's Day. I think it's because there's so much love and togetherness associated with Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day!
Of course, it usually ends up being a very hectic time too; don't blink or you'll miss it!
There are definitely some things that help me sail through this time with minuscule stress and maximum joy though, and I thought I'd share them with you now that Christmas is a week away.

{Some links contain affiliates}
1//Diet Coke. Some people need coffee to survive, some people depend on energy drinks, I love me some Diet Coke to help get me through the day! Let's not lie, this one applies all year, but especially during the holidays when sometimes I'm in my car running from one place to another for hours!
2//A fun scarf. I have recently fallen in love with thin cotton scarves. I know, I know, I'm late to the party, but give me a break, I grew up 2 miles from the beach, I've had to wrap my head around warm accessories! They provide fun accents for your outfits, and the lightweight ones really do help keep you warm, without too much bulk!
3//My Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. Yes, this is my smart phone and my camera and it takes great pictures! I have had this for few months now and I have no complaints! It has a great optical zoom and lots of memory, I haven't run out of room yet, even with as many pictures as I keep on there! It has Auto, loads of special presets, and even the ability to take pictures using Aperture and Shutter Priority! During this time of year especially, I really need fast and easy access to a great camera!
4//Cute boots. Ever since we moved somewhere where there are actually seasons, I love wearing boots (my apologies to my southern California roots, I guess there actually are times of the year where flip flops are not the perfect footwear choice). I have found that a nice pair of boots can dress up pretty much any outfits and makes me feel more put together even on my most blah days!
5//My Franklin Covey Planner. I know everyone has got their favorite planner (or you just like to use your devices), but I have been using a Franklin Covey planner for, well, really basically since I graduated from high school. I have the compact size that easily fits in my purse/diaper bag and it doubles as my wallet. I have all my important dates in there, and of course plenty of note pages for jotting down gifts and stocking stuffers! If I ever lost my planner, I really don't know what I would do, especially during the holiday season!
6//Hot Chocolate. One of my favorite things in winter is when the kids are in bed, there's a fire going, and I have a mug of hot chocolate in my hand; whether I'm curled up watching a movie or wrapping presents.

When I asked Mike what some of things were that he relied on during the holiday season, do you want to know what he said?
"Working so I can make money."
Geez honey, thanks.
For those of you that know Mike, that answer probably comes as no surprise, which is exactly why my husband can be so hard to shop for!
Can I get an amen?!
Really, how many of you are in the same boat, just trying to think of something fun and unexpected for Christmas (and, oh yeah, following closely behind is Valentine's Day, then for me I've got Mike's birthday, Father's Day, and our Anniversary!) for the man in your life?

So what I really want to know is, have you heard of Man Crates yet? This is the perfect solution for those hard-to-shop-for men! Check out some of the awesome manly gifts they offer:

This Super Retro Gamer Crate would be perfect for Mike! I can just picture his face as he opens it now. :) Heck, I'd even like this!

When I saw this Exotic Meat Crate I thought it would be perfect for my dad! It's currently sold out, but they also have an Exotic Meat Jerkygram, which is basically just a smaller version and without an awesome crate. 

For my father-in-law I thought he'd enjoy the Outdoor Survival Ammo Can, which really looks like a great gift for anyone who is into emergency preparedness.

Other reasons why I think Man Crates is a cool company:
  • There's still time to order and receive by Christmas!
  • Most boxes really do come in crates that you open with a crow bar that's included!
  • They offer discounts for active and retired military and ship to APO and FPO overseas addresses!
  • They offer gift wrapping in the form of a "Diabolical Duct Tape Cocoon". Yes, it looks as awesome as it sounds!

{I was approached by Man Crates with a fun idea for a post and I wanted to share their great products with you! I was not paid or compensated in any way and all opinions are 100% mine. Except for the statement about men being hard to shop for. That's just a fact.}

Monday, December 15, 2014

"the weary world rejoices" pallet sign

You might have seen this picture on Instagram last week.
Don't worry, I did not actual operate the saw while taking this picture, I value each one of my fingers and limbs.

But I was trying to work as quickly (and safely!) as possible before the rain hit and I couldn't work on any bigger projects for awhile, i.e. cutting and sanding. 
I had had an idea for a sign above the mantel for the holiday season and I really wanted to get it done before the holiday season was over! 
I cut six sections of pallet board (these are about 18 inches long) and sanded the front and sides down. It didn't need to be perfect, but I knew the front needed to be fairly smooth so the vinyl stencil would adhere well. 

Then I cut some more this strips of scrap wood and ran wood glue down the back. After I stuck the glued strip down to the back side of my pallet sign, I pounded some finishing nails in as well.
After the glue was dry and my sign felt pretty stable, I got to work with my sign.

The font I used is called "Janda Stylish Script" and it's a free download
A little tip when you're painting a stencil like this, is paint Mod Podge on the letters first, then once that's dry go over it with paint. That extra step really helps prevent paint from leaking under the letters. It took about three coats of white paint to make sure that no wood grain was showing through.

I really love the way it turned out, although I do wish that I had made the words a little bigger, or at least the word "world" slightly larger.
Oh well, maybe one day I'll quickly sand it over and paint the letters on again...
or not.
I'm thinking probably not.

You know I'm a sucker for lyrics on signs: