Friday Wrap: Magazine Gems

Happy Friday, my friends! I hope you’ve had an incredible week. If not, there’s still time.  It was a fairly productive week on my end. I tackled tons of projects at work, made birthday party purchases for next week’s festivities, and finally knocked out the giant pile of magazines on my coffee table. That was a feat.

Real Simple, February

Just a few of the many…

Quick confession: What started out (several weeks ago) as three or four perfectly fanned magazines turned into a heaping mound of business. There were not only magazines, but also catalogs, postcards, a few pieces of junk mail and even some of Avery and Clara’s artwork tucked in there!

Once I sorted through everything, I found a few hidden gems I wanted to share – besides the art from my baby girls.

{ONE} Family Fun: February 2015Family FunCupid Kabobs: Page 18Cupid KabobsValentine’s Day is two weeks away. Eek! Good thing I found a few darling ideas in this issue of Family Fun – including these grape tomato and cheese kabobs. They look easy, too. Super bonus.

{TWO} Real Simple: February 2015Real SimpleArt Caddy: Page 32Art CaddyOne of my favorite things about this magazine is the “new uses for old things” section. This issue didn’t disappoint. I love the idea of using a DVD case as an art caddy for the kiddos. I’m thinking this would be perfect for car rides.

{THREE} Pottery Barn Teen: Spring 2015Pottery Barn Teen, FebruaryBeautiful Bins: Page 27Pottery Barn BinsI don’t officially have teens in my house, but some days it feels that way. (#eightgoingoneighteen) Pottery Barn must know about these days, which is probably why they send me PB Teen catalogs. I will say, there are some seriously beautiful prints and patterns in this edition. You won’t find them in the regular PB magazine, either. These bins are one example. They’re just the right amount of color to jazz up any bookshelf.

{FOUR} Victoria: January/February 2015Victoria January/FebruaryDragonfly Floral: Page 42Dragonfly FloralThis issue was given to me by my mom, who is queen of all things magazine. She might be single-handedly keeping the U.S. Postal Service in business. When this beautiful issue of Victoria made its way over to my house, I practically drooled over this picture of Dragonfly Floral. If I ever own a flower shop, I want it to look just like this gorgeous place in Sonoma Valley, California. Please.

{FIVE} Athleta: February 2015AthletaComfy Clothes: Page 32AthletaLeave it to me to pick the most non-athletic piece of clothing in Athleta’s catalog to want to buy. There are certainly some amazing workout clothes from this store, but when I saw this outfit, I imagined how perfect it would be for pretty much every day of my life.

That’s it for my coffee table discoveries. I have some exciting things in store for next week. If you weren’t aware, National Doodle Day AND National Bubblegum Day are happening. I’m also going to visit my sister in Atlanta. It should be full of adventure, and I’ll be sure to share!

Have a “super” weekend hanging with all of your favorite people. I’ll be watching the big game with my family – and cheering for my favorite commercials. Of course, it will be after I read a few of my favorite blogs:

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Visit Darci, April, Natasha and Christina!

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And don’t forget Friday Confessions from Leslie!

Cheers and kisses!

-Kate

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It’s a Friday Wrap

Happy Friday!! Despite my son nearly breaking his wrist playing indoor soccer (x-rays came back clean, thank goodness), it’s been a pretty good week. The weather has been beautiful, so we’ve tried to play outside as much as possible – knowing wicked winter weather is bound to be on the heels of this warm spell.

With that, here are a few highlights from the week:

{ONE} Explored the outdoors of Crystal Bridges

Exploring Crystal Bridges

This is a quick pick of the girls resting their legs on a rock bridge that spans across a little creek. The day was absolutely gor-geous!

Crystal Bridges Museum is a wondrous place to visit whether you live here or ever plan to visit beautiful Northwest Arkansas. It has taken the art industry by storm with its all-American art collection. (I should be a docent for them or something.) Anyway, curving along the edges of the museum’s gorgeous landscape are several hiking trails, which are sprinkled with sculptures and other fun art displays.

Kids playing with art

This giant frame is found along the Tulip trail. Can you tell which famous pieces of art they’re portraying? (Answer guide: Scream, The Thinker, American Gothic) I should remember this for Halloween!

The kids were out of school on Monday, so we decided to spend the day hitting the trails. We also stopped for a few laughs, because we’re goofy like that.

{TWO} Jazzed up the door with decorFront door wreathOur front door has been naked ever since we removed the holiday decorations! It seems too early for a Valentine wreath, too. Sometimes transitions are hard. When I found this adorable wall hanging on sale at Hobby Lobby, I thought the laurel pattern felt kind of wreathy. I decided to hang it outside, tie a white burlap ribbon from the back hook, and add a bow for some pop. What do you think? Will this get me through until heart season?

{THREE} Started the paperwhite watch

Forcing paperwhite bulbs

Left: What I planted two weeks ago. Right: What it looks like today!

The indoors also felt a tad bland. I thought it would be fun to force paperwhite bulbs for some color – and life. I wasn’t exactly sure how long they’d take to bloom. I started two weeks ago and have been watching these suckers grow like crazy. The first blooms popped open Wednesday. It was like a little party in the vase.

I’m thinking about growing some to give as Valentine’s gifts. If you want to do the same, I’d recommend planting them by early next week so they bloom in time. I’d be happy to post a “how-to” on this if anyone is interested. Just comment to let me know.

{FOUR} Read about moments of grace

Small Victories by Anne Lamott

This is such a great book!

I received Anne Lamott’s latest book for Christmas and finally got around to reading it this past week. It’s a treasure. Her writing is hilarious, honest and spiritual. In fact, it would make a great Valentine gift for a friend if you’re looking for non-food items – other than the gorg paperwhites above. One of my favorite quotes from the book:

“…we stood outside an inner gate, showed our IDs to the guards, and got our hands stamped with fluorescent ink. “You don’t glow, you don’t go,” said one cheerful, pockmarked guard, which was the best spiritual advice I’d had in a long time.”

{FIVE} Caught up on my stash of cards

hallmark_logo

“When you care enough to send the very best.”

I’m still a fan of sending greeting cards – especially for family and close friends. Facebook is awesome, don’t get me wrong. I just like sending the very best when I can. And yes, Hallmark is my favorite greeting card company. They have some of the funniest, prettiest and poignant cards available, IMO.

Once a month, I like to take my list of birthdays and anniversaries and stock up. I use a perpetual calendar like the one pictured below to keep track. Definitely get one of these if you can!

Perepetual calendarWhile I was in the store stacking up for February, I pulled the last card from one of the slots and discovered this funny sign. I noticed there were others, too. I had to share.

Hallmark cards

There were several messages like these behind all of the cards. You know how much I love bunnies?! The top one made me laugh out loud.

That pretty much wraps the week. I’m off to make igneous rock out of Rice Krispies for Avery’s science class. #lifeofamom Have an incredible weekend. I have tons of fun in store for next week, so be sure to stop back by!

In the meantime, check out some amazing bloggers at Five on Friday.FiveonfridayYou can also see some honest, and sometimes hilarious Friday confessions at A Blonde Ambition.HeaderTrans_zpscb139c50<3 Kate

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Five Tips for Holiday Storage

Christmas StorageIf you haven’t put away your holiday decorations, yet, you’re not alone. If it gets to be July and we’re having this conversation, we’ll want to get the decorative balls rolling into some sort of container. For now, it’s perfectly and socially acceptable to still have some lingering lights. When you’re good and ready to start packing, here are a few tips and tricks for closing out the season.

{ONE} Organize your business

Before jumping right in to stuffing a bunch of bins, stop for a moment to sort. Decide if you really want to keep everything. Toss old lights or donate items you know you won’t ever use.keep calm buttonOnce you’ve simplified, decide how you’re going to store your stuff. Some people organize by type of item. For example, all of the lights go in one big bin.

I prefer to pack by location. That means all of the outdoor lights go with the outdoor décor. As long as you liked where everything was situated this year, storing your things this way makes unpacking a cinch next year. Be sure to label the bins with the name of the room to amp up the ease. Speaking of bins…

{TWO} Color-code some bins

Plastic bins are ideal for storing your precious decorations. They’re waterproof in case you have an unfortunate leak in your roof or basement. They’re also pest-proof when they have tight-fitting lids. Nothing freaks me out more than opening a box and finding a spider. #notcool

plastic bin

Rubbermaid bins are durable and have tight-fitting lids.

I like using clear bins so I can see what’s inside. Some people like colored bins, such as red or green for Christmas items. While this makes it easier to distinguish between the holidays up in a dark attic, once you get the bins down, it’s kind of a pain not knowing what’s inside.

Tip: Stick with clear bins, but pick colored lids for each season.

Plastic lids

These are available at Walmart. You could pick red lids for all of your Christmas bins.

If you can’t find assorted lids, use various colors of Duct tape to label your bins. You could use green for Christmas, orange for Halloween, pink for Easter, etc.

{THREE} Divide those ornaments

I’ve had one too many sad moments opening a bin and finding a broken ornament. That’s why I pack them in individual compartments now.

Ornament Storage

This bin is from The Container Store.

You can either purchase special bins like this from The Container Store or take a “plain” bin and make your own dividers with a few cups glued to a piece of cardboard.

DIY Ornament Storage

Get the full DIY instructions at One Good Thing

Don’t forget to pack the ornament hooks. For small items like these and replacement bulbs, use a plastic jewelry organizer.

Organizer

This organizer is from Joann Fabrics.

{FOUR} Wrangle your wreaths and lights

You probably spent a lot on your wreaths – time and money or both! So when it comes to storage, give them some extra TLC. I splurge on plastic wreath holders because they snap shut (no bugs allowed), and they help wreaths hold their shape.

wreath case

This crush-free case is from Spacesavers.

I’ve used heavy-duty trash bags before, and some of my friends use dry cleaner bags. Those work too. You’ll just want to be sure not to stack items on top of them if you’re going this route.

Light storage

Image source: Curbly

When it comes to lights, I like to wrap the strands around pieces of cardboard. You can even jot a note directly on the cardboard about where the lights go.

hose-reel-for-holiday-lights

Image source: Real Simple

If you have a large volume of lights, keep them strung together on a hose reel from the hardware store. Smart, right?

{FIVE} Care for your cards

The last thing I like to do is take a minute to re-read all of the thoughtful cards we received and update my contacts with any new addresses.

Christmas Cards

Image source: BBC

Once that’s done, I always have a hard time throwing the cards away. Brené Brown shared a fantastic idea of snapping pictures of each card with your phone and adding them to your contacts. That way you can see the darling Christmas photo your friend sent every time she calls. Don’t you love that idea? I’m totally doing it this year.

So what have I missed? What’s your favorite way to pack or organize your holiday goods? Give me a shout either in the comments or tag me on Instagram or Twitter @Katejandersen. I’ll be sure to check my accounts between packing all of these bins. Gracious!

Have a great weekend and be sure to check out all of the amazing blogs through Five on Friday.Fiveonfriday

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Friday Wrap and Year Beginnings!

New Year's Cheer

A New Year’s Cheers!

In case you haven’t been properly wished upon, yet, Happy New Year!!!

Our family spent the evening with a group of friends playing all kinds of crazy games – and tricks. It was the kind of fun that literally landed me on the floor laughing. It had nothing to do with the Moscow Mules, either. It was all about the awesome people, which we’re super thankful to have come to know.IMG_5099Then yesterday we kicked off the year with an amazing meal. My SIL served up a proper, southern New Year’s feast of Hoppin’ John (black eyed peas for good luck), collard greens (for wealth and abundance) and cornbread (for good fortune). I made sure to have seconds – for the luck and all. Wink.

hoppin-john

I was so busy eating, I didn’t grab a photo! This is basically what it entailed – a bowl full of delicious rice, black eyed peas and other veggies and seasonings.

This meal, and the past few days to be honest, has left me feeling incredibly blessed. Good food, good friends, good family moments…the best gifts of the season. I hope you’re feeling equally as thankful and are excited to keep the good things going.

Speaking of good things, here are five I’ve truly loved and/or obsessed about this past week that I had to share – outside of my SIL’s incredible food. I wish I could share that, too.

{ONE} Horse Race

horse race

We played with a cool, handmade version of this game.

This was THE best party game of new year’s eve. If you ever have a chance to play horse race, do it. And don’t fall for it when someone tells you it’s a game where you run with stick horses around the kitchen. Just trust me – and the floor I fell on.

{TWO} Melting Moments Cookies

Melting Moments

Seriously so good.

I made a few batches of these for our neighbors over the holidays, and I have since made several more batches (who’s counting?) for our own family to devour. These are seriously sinful. And like the name says, they melt in your mouth.

I tried making a gluten-free version for my parents using GF flour. They didn’t turn out so great. I might have botched things when I melted the butter vs. used room temp. I’m not the best baker in town, so I honestly don’t know if that made the difference? Maybe someone has a better GF version? For now, here’s the real deal from Give Recipe (that even I could bake):

Ingredients

  • 1 and ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup powdered sugar + 1 cup to sprinkle on top
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (not melted!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine flour, cornstarch and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla extract.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture until everything is blended.
  5. Chill the dough for half an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Make mini balls from the dough, and place on the baking sheet leaving about 1-inch space.
  9. Bake for 13 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before sifting powdered sugar over the top.
  11. Eat them. All. Then lick your fingers.

{THREE} Vision Boardssample vision boardEarlier this week I wrote about vision boards. They’re a pretty powerful way to map out your goals if you haven’t tried your hand at making one, yet. I finished mine (for now) and feel pretty good about how things are mapping out this year. I hope you’re able to take some time to do the same for yourself. Once you have an idea of what you want, it makes it so much easier to break things down into mini steps that you can put in your calendar (or gorgeous planner), which so eloquently brings us to number four…

{FOUR} Day Planners!

Day Designer

I’m so in love with this Day Designer. Belle & Blush sells these beautiful planners. They have tons of other amazing things, too. (Thank you notes, anyone?!) They’re definitely worth checking out. Tell ’em The Neat Nook sent ya!

This time of year reminds me of the first day of school. Stocking up on fresh notebooks and new calendars. I plan to kick it old school this year and use a day planner. I think the act of putting pen to paper makes things feel more official – like a contract. I’m going to see if it makes a difference getting things accomplished this year. Wish me luck!

There are so many great planners to choose from. I landed on a Day Designer by Whitney English. When I read, “It was created with creative professionals, busy mamas, and girls-on-the-go in mind,” I was like, um, that pretty much sums up my life. So I looked no further. I’ll be sure to share some of my favorite tips and tricks with the planner as I go!

{FIVE} Solmate Socks

Solmate Socks

These are from Handmade Market right here in Fayetteville. Darling store!

This was the dark horse of all the gifts in my stocking this year. I didn’t realize how much I could love a pair of socks until these precious things came into my life. They are super cozy, yet not too thick to fit inside your favorite boots. I live in them as much as I can – and probably need to get more for this winter we’re about to have. Snowy weather + cozy socks = happiness. Yes?

So, 2015…I feel good vibes about this one.

I’m looking forward to growing friendships, enjoying lots of family time, venturing into new projects and embracing my imperfections through it all. Thanks for being on this journey with me. Let’s make this year memorable!!

Love and creative wishes,

Kate

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Five Holiday Road Trip Tips

Holiday Road TripHappy Friday!! Not that I have to tell you, but Christmas is just six days away. Eek! Many of you are planning a road trip over the river and through the woods to your favorite relative’s house or vacation spot. So before you load up the wagon and roll down the road, here are a few helpful tips to keep you organized, safe and happy.

Organized

{1} Pack the bags: Three important words: make a list. Write down all of the clothes you’ll need, gifts to take, and supplies (like baby bottles or puppy chew toys) that your family requires for happiness. Here are a few list ideas from Real Simple to get you started.

{2} Pack the car: As a mom of three kids, I’ve figured out what our family does (paper towels) and doesn’t (a dozen stuffed animals) need on road trips. I made a printable of a Car Packing List that includes the things we like to pack. Maybe it will help you, too!

Safe

{3} Be prepared: You know Murphy’s Law – anything that could go wrong, probably will. But if you’re ready for any kind of emergency, chances are good you won’t have any. Let’s pray that’s the case. It’s super smart – especially this time of year when road conditions can be tricky – to have a few essential items packed away. Things like a tire repair kit, flashlight and batteries could be lifesavers. Here’s a complete list from Farmer’s Almanac to review.

Happy

{4} Eat right: Just because you’re confined to the car doesn’t mean you have to squeeze out good eating habits. Convenience stores have been improving their selection to include cheeses, fruits and veggies. Go for these options or a carton of yogurt or package of nuts (granted you don’t have allergies). These are a good source of protein, and they fill little tummies longer to last you between stops.

We also bring our Tervis tumblers and fill them with ice water along the way. Most places let you fill your own cups with water for free.

Christmas Tervis

A Christmas-themed Tervis would be a fun gift to start your trip!

{5} Play Games: Nothing makes the miles feel shorter than a few good games. With so many electronics these days, kids are usually plugged into their own worlds. It’s good to mix it up a little with some “unplugged” family fun. Here are a few holiday games to consider:

  • Christmas Scavenger Hunt: Try to find these tried and true decorations while you’re cruising the streets of town. This version is from Daily Messes.scavenger hunt christmas
  • Christmas Spelling Bee: Who can be the first to spell “Christmas” using signs and billboards along the road? Once you’ve spelled that, you can move on to other words, such as: holiday, reindeer and Santa.
  • What’s the Next Line: Play a holiday song from iTunes or a CD. Pause at any point in the song and pick someone in the car to sing the next line. If they guess it wrong, it goes to the next person. You can tally points or hand out small treats for each correct answer, like M&Ms.
  • Guess the Christmas Jingle: Someone hums a song and the first person to guess it correctly gets a prize – like an M&M or Hershey’s kiss.

My friends, wherever you’re headed I hope you have a safe and happy trip!

Lots of love,

-Kate

P.S. I’m linking up with Five on Friday, again. Be sure to check out some of the great blogs on the list! Fiveonfriday

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Friday Wrap

What a week! It was filled to the brim with activities and projects (both personal and work related), and it’s still not over. Give this mama another Starbucks already.

So quick confession, I think I showered maybe twice and pretty much lived in a ball cap all week. I think the number of projects on my plate compared to the number of days lived in a ball cap are directly proportional to each other. I will say, through my blizzard of activities I really did have a good time (still am). Here are a few highlights of the week:

  • {ONE} wedding flowers: My niece, Sarah, and I made these sweet pew markers for a family wedding this weekend. Finding fake greenery that looked natural was a bit of a challenge, but we found nice pine sprigs from Hob Lob and added pretty creme-colored flowers to match the rest of the wedding bouquets. We wrapped them with burlap ribbon and wired on some pew clips so all we have to do is slip them on and go!Wedding FlowersSpeaking of weddings, my niece, Emma, is getting married this June! She’s such a sweetheart and asked me to help with invites and other paper goods. I promise to share my projects and discoveries as I go.
  • {TWO} white elephant gift: My husband’s office party is this weekend, so I had to find a white elephant gift. Talk about a fun shopping project. I knew I’d find something awesome at The Mustache, which I did. I almost went with a boot-shaped shot glass, but I landed on these drink coasters with misheard lyrics. Although, I was like, “Wait, sweet dreams aren’t made of cheese?!” #eurythmics #musicfailMisheard Lyrics
  • {THREE} costumes: Don’t you love it when your child comes home from school (the day before the school play) letting you know she needs a costume? Awesome. I panicked for a moment thinking I had to somehow fashion two costumes (life of a twin mom). Thankfully her twin sister was told to use the sugar bear costume from the music department. Yes, sugar bear. Could you imagine having to come up with that in a night’s time? Avery was selected as a candy cane. Totally doable. I grabbed a white shirt and roll of red Duct tape for instant stripes. Thank the high heavens for Duct tape, btw. It was a little plain, though, so we added a tutu. I took strips of red and white tulle, tied them to a piece of elastic and then secured it around her waist. Done, next!Costumes
  • {FOUR} party clothes: I ordered a couple of cute dresses from LollyWollyDoodle for the first time. Am I late to the party on this one? Regardless, they have some stinkin’ cute stuff on that site. I just hope they arrive in time for our mother-daughter holiday party next week! I’ll be sure to share pics when the dresses get here.Lolly logo
  • {FIVE} genius gift wrap: I’m sure you’ve seen the internet sensation of Japanese gift wrapping – where you wrap a gift in less than 12 seconds with a piece of paper and a few slices of tape. I was in complete awe watching this video. It also inspired me to share some other fun and easy (‘cause that’s how I roll) ways to wrap gifts. So be sure to stop back next week.
Gift Wrap Hack

Watch this video of super-fast wrapping. It should be a sport.

I’m linking up with the fun ladies who sponsor Five on Friday again. Be sure to check them out. As always, they’re amazeblogs! FiveonfridayHave a festive weekend, my sweet friends.

-Kate

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Five Kind Things to Do

Makayla

Meet MaKayla, our Kindness Elf

So our Kindess Elf arrived in the mail on Monday, December 1st #perfecttiming. I got her from Etsy (or a small island west of Norway – whichever you’d like to believe). Our elf’s name is MaKayla, and she’s pretty adorbs. A few things we’ve learned about her so far:

  • She loves mini marshmallows. Like a lot.
  • Her favorite stuffed animal in our house is Mr. Fluffers.
  • It’s okay to touch her – unlike Elf on the Shelf who apparently loses his magic and needs to be immediately sprinkled with cinnamon to reestablish his powers. #highmaintenance
  • She doesn’t mind listening to the same song on the piano over and over again. Maybe she’s actually a saint?

Here are the five ‘kind’ things we’ve done with our elf this week. If you’re lucky enough to have a kindness elf in your life these days, these might help with some ideas…

  1. Went around the dinner table and told each person what we like best about them
  2. Wrote letters to friends or family whom we haven’t seen in a long time
  3. Shared a bowl full of candy with some friends
  4. Made a list of “polite” words to try and use as often as we can
  5. Smiled at as many people as we could

I have to say, she’s been fun and hasn’t been too stressful adding into our Christmas traditions. In fact, she’s been pretty special to have around. Rumor has it she’s going to ask us if we want to make some dog toys for the local shelter this weekend. That MaKayla. Always thinking of others – including those with fur.

Have a super awesome weekend and be sure to check back next week for some creative ideas on teacher gifts! What’s your fave thing to give – besides gift cards?!

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Five Ways to Countdown to Christmas

December1Monday will be December 1st. Whaa? Every year I have a grand master plan to make a lovely advent calendar filled with treats and inspirational sayings, and then December 1st swoops in like a thief in the night. A week or so into the month we usually pull out the same calendar from last year and move on.

Truth is, I adore advent calendars. It can be a beautiful and ceremonial way to prepare for Christmas. It forces you to stop each day, appreciate what you have, think about how you can serve others, and truly enjoy the season of giving. Who couldn’t use a little of that in his or her life?

So…this year, I plan to be prepped and ready. Note that today’s date is still November, and I have a weekend ahead of me. Joy to the world!

After “googling” on Pinterest, I created a top five list of DIY advent calendars. Now to decide which one to make?!

Five DIY Advent Calendars

{links to resources are included in the descriptions}

Advent Tins

Source: Makoodle

< 1 > I love these small tins. They’re perfect for an advent calendar since you can fill with small treats. Attach thin magnet stripping to the backs and display on your refrigerator or cookie sheet.

clothespin wreath

Source: Organized 31

< 2 > This is so pretty and creative. The base is an old 45 record, and it has painted clothespins glued around the edges. If you don’t have an old record lying around, try an embroidery hoop or a wooden plaque from your favorite craft store.

fabric advent calendar

Source: Bella Dia

< 3 > These embroidery hoops have two pieces of fabric stretched across and trimmed around the edges. See how the second piece of fabric is folded in half – forming a pocket? The grouping is then hung on a wall. So smarty pants.

< 4 > These paper sacks are stamped with a holiday design and clipped onto a thin, painted board. Looks so easy, yet pretty with these little white bags.

Picture frame wreath

Source: Kesi’art

< 5 > I was intrigued by this simple idea. The instructions are on a French blog, so bonus points if you can read along! If not, there are enough pictures to guide you. This project would be a nice option if you don’t have an entire wall to dedicate to your advent ritual. I’m thinking you could use a white picture frame for the base and attach a silver binder ring at the top. If you’re a crafty scrapper, you could have a lot of fun making pretty cards to flip through each day.

There you have it! Be sure to take pictures of your advent calendars and tag me on Instagram @Katejandersen.

I’m linking up with Five on Friday again today. It has been so fun meeting new people through this great group of bloggers: April, DarciChristina, and Natasha. #lovethemFiveonfridayBe sure to stop back by on Monday to download your Christmas Gift Planner. Let’s make this the most organized shopping season evah!

Much love and creative wishes, Kate

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Friday Wrap: Five Finds

This week’s Friday Wrap includes five of my favorite finds. They’re are all seasonally inspired, and I hope you’ll enjoy these treasures as much as I do!

>>One: Kindness Elves

I just discovered an adorable alternative to Elf on the Shelf. They’re called Kindness Elves.Kindness ElvesI love the message they send – especially this time of year. My girls are still at an age where they love Mr. Elf on the Shelf and some of his silly antics. My son is a bit older. He’s 11 yo and a bit “grown up” for Mr. Elf. (Silent tear) I think he’d appreciate the challenge of a Kindness Elf, though.

We may not completely replace Mr. Elf, but I think these new and kind creatures will be a good addition to the family this Christmas.

I had trouble finding the ones from The Imagination Tree, but look at these amazing Nordic-inspired elves on Etsy. I’m ordering one today.

Nordic Kindness Elves

I found these adorable elves on Etsy!

>>Two: Minted

If you want some unique art to jazz up your home or one-of-a-kind holiday cards to send to friends, look no further than Minted.com. Minted.comIt’s a marketplace of independent artists – who are all downright amazing. It’s like a less crafty Etsy. Clicking through the fabric section alone will make you want to learn to sew. No lie.

I'm melting with love for these fabric samples on Minted.

I’m melting with love for these fabric samples on Minted.

>>Three: Custom Postage Stamps

Once you order your one-of-a-kind holiday cards from Minted, you’ll want custom postage stamps to go along with them, right?! At Zazzle.com you can order stamps that have a personalized photo.

Custom Postage

Custom postage from Zazzle.

If you want to save the cute family pic for inside the envelope, take a pretty picture of the outside of your home and upload the image to use as your stamps! Use code TISTHESEASON for added discounts.

>>Four: Ugly Sweater

Okay, I may have just found Brandon’s sweater for his company Christmas party.

Elf Sweater from The Buckle

Elf Sweater from The Buckle

They’re having an ugly sweater contest this year, and hubs is always a good sport about these kinds of things. (One of the many reasons why I love him.) This one might take the prize. What do you think?

>>Five: Scarf Tutorial

If you’re obsessed with scarves like I am, you’ll appreciate this video tutorial. One of my cousins who lives in Minnesota shared this on Facebook, and I was so happy to find some new, creative ways to wrap and wear my lovely top layers. I know you will, too!

Scarf Tutorial

Click the pic to access this helpful video.

That’s a Friday Wrap! I’m excited to link up with April, DarciChristina, and Natasha again this week.FiveonfridayBe sure to check my blog next week for some DIY hostess gifts, such as herb-infused honey, that you can make and take to your Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) meal.

Until then, have a blessed weekend, and go be creative!

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Friday Wrap (with Five Faves)

Happy Friday! I’m attempting to link into “Five on Friday” for the first time, so hopefully I’ll meet a few new friends today!

Here we go:

  1. If I had to wrap the week in a word, it would be joyful. Even though I attended a funeral for my friend’s father, it was such a beautiful experience that left everyone feeling inspired. His nickname was “Brownie” and was one of those guys who loved life, was never short on a joke (or prank), and knew how to appreciate a good beer. The stories shared at his service were both heartwarming and hilarious. As I was listening, I made a quiet vow to myself: don’t take life too seriously. Our time here is a quick breath of air in the grand scheme of things. I want to enjoy every second of it – while laughing as often as I can.
  2. I was proud to wish my own dad a happy Veteran’s Day on Tuesday. He was in the Air Force for many years and retired as a Lt. Colonel. He served our country with great pride, and I’m a better American because of him. Love you, Pappa Joe!
    Pappa Joe

    My sweet dad, Pappa Joe!

  3. I saw my first snowflake of the season this morning. And it’s only November! That’s a rare treat in Arkansas. It didn’t stick to anything, but it was alive for all of five seconds. Some may dispute, but I saw it. I hear more is on the way this weekend. Brrr and bring on the cocoa. Or maybe another Chestnut Praline Latte from the ‘Bucks?
    Chestnut Praline Latte

    I tried one this week, and they are sugary goodness in a cup.

  4. The girls started a new thing this week where they put their favorite blanket in the dryer while they’re taking a bath. After they dry off, they literally wrap in a blanket of warmth. Why haven’t we done this sooner?!
    Avery & Clara

    Look at those snuggly little peanuts.

  5. I just pulled out my Hip Hop Abs DVD. Not to get all Bridget Jones’ Diary on you (remember that funny book?) but I’ve been feeling a bit “swollen” lately. I don’t know if I’ve overdone the salt, sweets, carbs or all of the above, but I was prompted to workout. I try to do yoga once a day to get some form of exercise. I just don’t usually do sweaty workouts – unless they’re fun and have good music and make me forget I’m actually working out. That’s where Hip Hop Abs enters the picture. Even though I feel like a total dork doing my “tilt, tuck and tighten” with Shaun T, I pump up the volume and stomp it out in my garage every now and again. Once you get the hang of it, it’s actually pretty fun.

What I feel like:Hip Hop DancerWhat I probably look like:bad-dancerHave a great weekend and I’ll catch you on Monday with some gorgeous DIY ornaments inspired by Pottery Barn. Here’s a sneak peek:

Let's make these glittery initial ornaments!

Let’s make these glittery initial ornaments!

Feather Ornament

Let’s make these gorgeous glass and feather ornaments, too!

Thanks to Liz, DarciChristina, and Natasha for letting me join your fun Friday adventure. I hope to catch you all again next week!Fiveonfriday

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