10 simple gifts to make + give

There is something just a little extra special about receiving a gift that’s been handmade. The thought, the time, the unique end-product … all of these things make a difference.

handmade-gift-guide It’s not always easy to come up with unique – yet do-able – homemade gift ideas. Just glance at pinterest and you’re sure to be overwhelmed with options! And then once you decide, there is nothing worse than attempting to do a project you find online and ending up with a big craft fail (believe me, I’ve been there).

If you’re going the handmade route this year and need a few tried and tested ideas, I have narrowed it down to 10 simple gifts (I promise you can do these!) to make and give this holiday season. Each one, with step-by-step photos and complete supply lists, are included in the brand new 51-page Handmade Holiday Gift Guide.

In it you’ll find super cute projects like these foot/hand/neck warmers:

warmer

handmade-gift-guide-warmer-steps

These darling modern wood blocks (for baby, of course, or toss them in a pretty bowl for an unexpected coffee table accessory):

handmade-gift-guide---blocks

handmade-gift-guide-wood-blocks-steps For book lovers, try making a few tassel bookmarks to tuck into a new novel:

handmade-gift-guide---bookmarks

or for the techie, sew up a padded ipad cover (the little x stitch on the closure is my favorite):

handmade-gift-guide-ipad-case

What teacher wouldn’t love some precious jewel magnets to use on their whiteboards (hint: they are not actually precious):

handmade-gift-guide-jewel-magnets

and a cozy pom pom blanket is a great choice for your mom or sister or teenage daughter who is impossible to shop for:

handmade-gift-guide-pom-blanket

(I made my first pom blanket with a solid gray throw from IKEA, added the pom poms and it looks so chic! See it in action here)

Get all 10 projects with full steps, supply lists, sources, helpful tips and printable templates in one downloadable 51-page pdf. Your friends and family with love you for it!

handmade-gift-guide-book

grab-your-copy

May your weekend be filled with inspiration and creating!

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christmas card goodness (and TWO $200 gift cards!)

We had our family pictures taken this past weekend in preparation for our annual Christmas card. I just love christmas card season … the mailbox is suddenly filled with pretty envelopes and loved ones faces instead of boring bills and junk mail. It’s like a little gift every time you open the mailbox.

family-photos-christmas-tree

I snapped this photo of our photographer working her magic with the kids and then later she sent me a real sneak peek and – oh my goodness – I can’t wait to see the finished photos so I can make our final card selection.

We ordered our cards from Minted last year (shown above) and will definitely do it again this time around. They have amazing designs, excellent quality, quick turn-around and affordable prices. Plus, they started printing with gold foil! That makes me happy.

Here are a few of my favorites this year (how am I ever going to choose just one for our cards this year?!)

2014-favorite-cards-1 favorite-cards-2

So cute, right? There are a million other great designs with fun options for colors and shapes and they even offer envelope addressing for free.

You can order your cards now

// OR //

enter to win $200 in minted wonderfulness!

minted-giveaway Click here to enter.  Minted will select TWO winners.

Giveaway ends Tuesday November 25th. Good luck!

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hardwood floors – the delivery, the demo, the install

new-hardwood-floors

We have new floors in our house. We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for the right time and finally made it happen. Things have gone smoothly and fairly quickly and we’re now ready to clean out all the dust, move our furniture back in and get ready for hosting Thanksgiving.  I’ll take photos to show you the finished spaces (it looks so good!) once we have everything put back together, but for now let’s talk about the process of replacing our floors.

To recap, we had blonde maple in our entry (see it here), front bathroom and kitchen. The rest was a taupy/gray carpet (we still have it upstairs) in terrible condition from the past 8 years of kids and dog and entertaining and living. It was time for it to go. We ordered a million hardwood flooring samples, narrowed it down to our top picks and after a few days of staring at them, made our choice.

floors-arrive

We ordered from Build Direct and the process was super easy. I measured, the customer service guys helped us figure out what trim pieces and overage we needed and it was official: our floors were on their way! Delivery day was pretty exciting … except when the handtruck couldn’t get the pallet up the driveway so Ryan and I had to carry each box one-by-one into the house. Let’s just say it was good exercise (ps. there were two of those pallets).

The second I had the chance, I tore that first box open to see our new floors.

open-box

We went with the gray-brown (here is the exact floor) and are very happy with the choice. Yes, we knew going into it that dark floors are a pain to maintain, but the matte finish and dirty brown color will hopefully do a good job of camouflaging dirt. Ask us in a few months if we’re still in love.

With the wood delivered, it was time to rip out the downstairs floors. Continue Reading →

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what we’re wearing (family photos 2014)

photo-outfits-2014

Tis the season for family photos. If I could, I would have photos taken every couple of months. But, alas, I live in reality and not only could I not afford it, my kids would probably go crazy if I forced them into outfits and made them smile real smiles more than once per year. Just kidding. They love it. Sort of. For a few minutes.

This year, we’re doing a mini session with the super talented Stacy Jacobsen (if you live in the seattle-tacoma area, she’s your girl!) at a local christmas tree farm. These mini sessions are ideal for us because they are quick, affordable and we’ll definitely get at least one great shot for our christmas card. Part of the fun for me is pulling together coordinating, but not too matchy, outfits for the whole family using as much as I can from our closets, and filling in with a few pieces where needed. I want everyone to feel comfortable and like themselves (not an easy task for boys who prefer athletic shorts and WSU sweatshirts over jeans and collared shirt …) but it is also my one chance to dress the whole family. I kinda love it.

Here are some close-ups of our outfits with sources:

dad-outfit

shirt / sweater / jeans / shoes

mom-outfit

shirt / sweater / jeans / booties / scarf

no1-outfit

shirt / vest / jeans / shoes / gloves

no-2-outfit

shirt / sweatshirt / jeans / scarf / shoes no-3-outfit

sweatshirt / jacket / jeans / shoes

no-4-outfit

shirt / sweater / skirt / shoes / hat + gloves

Hopefully the photos will turn out cute!

(Last year we wore similar styles – jeans, navy, gray – with a few pops of orange. Paige flew in to seattle for the long weekend and gave us the most beautiful family photos – see a bunch here)

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diy thankful string art

string-art-diy

This year, our thankful tree sits on the bar cart in the dining room. I thought it would be fun to have some sort of interesting art to hang nearby and decided to try a technique I’ve seen and loved all over the web. Here are a few of my favorite string art examples (1 / 2 / 3). My version is subtle and the white string and linen backing look pretty next to the vintage gold frame.

thankful-string-art-bar-cart

Want to see how I made it?! Continue Reading →

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