Monday, December 16, 2019

simple Christmas gift ideas ♥

Merry almost Christmas friends!
we're only a little over a week away from the big day and you might be overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done, but don't be! bake some cookies, put the kettle on and have some tea with me while you browse through some of my pictures - then you'll realize gift giving doesn't have to be complicated or over-thought - 
just simple and from the heart ♥ 

the baking inspired gift pictured above started when i saw this post and decided to make a batch of homemade vanilla extract for Christmas gifts! (just be sure to think ahead when gifting these, since it takes a while for the mixture to infuse before using) i knew i would want to pair the bottles with something before i handed them out - so off to browse the isles of Home Goods i went :) i found the glass measuring cups (because who has enough of those?) some cute spatulas & kitchen towels - then some pretty ribbon for that extra special finish. 
oh and the free printable labels for the bottles are from here - aren't they super cute?!

another idea is to keep a basket or crate by your door - fill it with with multiples of the same gift - something simple, inexpensive & that anyone will love - something that you can hand out to your mail carrier when they delilver packages, the bus driver as the kids head out to school in the morning or for the neighbors that you see outside or beat you to it and pop up at your door first! this year i bought a few of these BIG boxes of chocolates from Costco - at only $10 each they don't break the bank, but still feel like a substantial gift.

 take it up a notch with some ribbon, jingle bells and even a handwritten note or tag! 
boom. a simple store bought gift with a side of thoughtfulness - 
people notice! and they feel special ♥

a few years ago i gave my mom and some friends this super fun slipper filled gift - 
it was received so well and full of things that pamper your recipient.
the slippers were from target at the time but any slippers will work - even for a guy gift.
i tried to color coordinate the items i put inside which is easy to do once you start browsing the isles - first place i go to is the travel section! think nailpolish, chapstick/lip gloss, face masks, lotions, candy even a rolled up magazine or a book if it will fit.

i went next level for my mom's gift by adding a small 
kate spade monogrammed ID holder that i got super cheap during a black friday sale online.

when my girls were still bringing teacher gifts to school, mugs were my go-to starting point when i wanted to build a gift - not too expensive and can be filled with anything! initial mugs make it even more personal - i would put these types of gifts in a simple gift bag with tissue paper if it was travelling to school with my kids - if it is for neighbors or friends, just hand it over as is - with a waving hand & a big smile on your face :)

just a few more ideas i pulled from my camera roll from way back - these felt buckets were in the dollar section at target and the mugs were from pottery barn - they also had a huge sale on monogrammed blankets so i tucked a few of them into gifts for some of the couples we are friends with through my husbands work.

'by the fire' was the theme i had in mind when i put these gifts together (i know, i'm weird)
 sipping cocoa with marshmallows & peppermint sticks, blankets and chocolate ♥

and in the end - if you're in a pinch - grab a box of mandarin oranges - in those really fun crates they come in around Christmas time - and tie a ribbon around it with bells & chocolates tucked in between the fruit - and walk it right next door! (or send your kids ha.) who wouldn't want to have that hand delivered on Christmas day?? with a house full of company that would be just the thing to put out between dinner & dessert. If you have extra time you can make an clementine wreath like the one pictured below using cellophane wrap and bakers twine to separate each one - jingle bells and a bow with a special note and leave that on doorknobs for neighbors who are out for the day - what a fun thing to come home to :)

i hope some of these ideas inspire you to give a few simple Christmas gifts 
to people you don't normally think about or maybe to someone who you think might feel overlooked ♥ happy gift giving friends!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Christmas in my Etsy shop 2019 ♥

Christmas is in full swing in my etsy shop this week!
i feel like i pour my heart & soul into all my products - but especially at Christmas time ♥
it's almost like a culmination of working hard all year then going out with a big bang at the very end :)

i try to think about what you as my small shop customers would love to purchase and give as gifts - those ideas result in me spending months of designing, testing, revising, wrapping and packaging...
the end result is definitely a labor of love.

this year i created a collection of farmhouse style paper products - starting right in the kitchen
with recipe cards, tags, stickers & gift giving cards

even bookmarks! 
do you have a reader on your gift list? slide this bookmark into a good book with a Starbucks gift card
tie a ribbon around it and what a great gift to give! & receive ♥

last year i created a set of Christmas story nativity cards with farm manger animals and it was a best-seller! two new sets - snowy woods animals & fancy holiday florals - are new for this year.

display your Christmas story cards or any scripture cards from my shop on this little wooden easel that can be purchased as an add on to any card set - your easel & card set will come packaged all pretty like in a cute drawstring polka dot bag

buffalo check trucks & polka dots just make everything better
cards can be purchased with envelopes & all notepads come wrapped up pretty with a Christmas pencil attached.

all stickers in my shop come in sets of 20 and are packageds into glassine envelopes

Jesus is the Reason planner charms are sold individually 
and are also included in December's bible verse of the month box!

the subscription boxes come with a set of six cards, 20 matching stickers, 
the planner charm & a treat just for you! the box itself is valued over $35 
and is priced at $25 and bonus - it ships for free! 

the red truck key chain is probably one of my most favorite things in my shop this year ♥ 
maybe because it's really so true for me! all i really want to do during all of December is bake Christmas cookies, drink hot cocoa with lots of whipped cream and sprinkles & have hallmark Christmas movies on repeat.

beaded charm bracelets are totally new for me
 i love learning how to make new things and perfecting a skill over time
tweaking the little details and trying things out
i've learned so many new things from owning my own little business.

i also try to make things that i would love to use and
wear in hopes that is translates to you the same way!

some of the worded bead bracelets are so pretty - i would like to keep them all ♥
when i started making these my younger daughter Jayla was helping me - then she came up with some ideas for some kids style bracelets and she got crafty with me! i think they all turned out so cute.

 i hope you're able to check a few gifts off of your Christmas shopping list and 
as always i am so very thankful for all of the customers/friends who have supported and
shopped in my little store - you are such a blessing to me and i LOVE seeing & knowing your names on my worktable when i pack my orders each week - thankyou so much
you are SO loved ♥

Monday, November 11, 2019

autumn home decor ♥

We are soaking up the last little bits of fall around these parts - even though a major snow storm is expected tonignt. i don't quite feel ready for winter, but who ever really is? :)
i share a lot about my home on instagram, but i thought it might be nice to have it all one place here on my blog - thankyou to everyone who has followed me on here over the years, i appreciate you all ♥ i've also shared about how over the past year or more, i have been simplifying how i decorate and scaling waaaay back on the amount of seasonal stuff i keep and store.

i've designated specific spaces in our home for holiday/seasonal decorations and i try to keep to those same spots to avoid over-buying (we all have those in-store "this is so cute but i don't have a place for it but i will figure it out when i get home and i love it so much so i will buy it" moments) and to keep it simple! I used to love having things & more things to decorate with, but as i get older i'm finding that less is more - and that "less" is so much more appealing... of course i love to decorate our home, of course i love to make our home cozy & comfortable & inviting with beautiful things ♥ but i discovered that the "managing & organizing" all of that stuff was weighing me down and controlling me! i wanted to be rid of the burden of having to always go though & reorganize storage spaces over and overrrrrrr again. 

so by keeping it simple and only applying seasonal changes to a few standard areas in our home, holiday decorating mainly, became a joy as opposed to something that i dreaded or felt like "i had to do" 

here is a short list of the areas on the lower level of our home
 that i decorate & swap/add things seasonally to :

entryway wreath
entryway bench
kitchen table
kitchen wreath
kitchen frame
pantry doors
living room end table
living room faux mantle

i like to add a wreath to the open shelves in our kitchen during the holidays 
(just for fall & Christmas) throughout the rest of the year there is nothing on it.

our kitchen is the most lived in area of our home - our table and island are always occupied and the open cabinets are stocked with things we use on a DAILY basis as opposed to stuff that just looks cute but has no function - the best thing i've discovered/learned throughout this whole process is that when i'm looking for ways to make the spaces in my home work functionally - functional can also look pretty & nice! ...for example, do you need new kitchen towels? look for some that you love and would be pretty to have out on display in a simple wire basket - on a counter or behind your kitchen sink - and all the while freeing up some space in your kitchen drawers :)

the doors to our pantry are white and hold two small wreaths or hangings very nicely.
i find those easy to swap seasonally with minimal storage - i have a few designated shelves in our basement for the wreaths i have - i store them in large white garbage bags that have the cinch pull tie things - i stack them on top of each other with a piece of cardboard in between for the ones i'm worried about getting crush or squished.

when it comes to frames i always buy white - they match and hold anything & everything
and they make whatever is in the frame stand out and pop.
 this frame from hobby lobby is on some corner shelves in our kitchen - there are several pieces of artwork stored in the frame - i swap them out for every holiday or just when it's nice to have a bit of a change.

my husband built this faux mantle for me a few years ago - the collection of white pitchers & laura ingalls wilder home wood sign always stays - the flowers & foliage for every season changes! spring flowers - small American flags for summer - fall sunflowers & white billy balls/wire snowflakes for Christmas. having a consistent neutral base to start with makes seasonal decorating so much easier.

i also like to change this small wreath in our living room 
along with a knick knack or two on the table below it 

this year i found the light up acorns at bed bath & beyond on clearance for only $1
when i saw them i visualized in my decorating head :) right where i wanted them to be.
i didn't have to think about where i would put them even if i didn't have the space 
or decide to just buy them because they were on clearance for a dollar then figure out what to do with them later.
remember just because something is on clearance doesn't mean you need it. 
one dolla is more expensive then no dollas :)

they were the only seasonal decor i purchased for fall this year (apart for some yarn to make the yarn wreath in the picture above) and i'm so glad i did! they fit in with my simple white theme and add a bit of twinkle to our nights in the living room ♥

how has your seasonal decorating changed over the years? are you overwhelmed and dread dragging the Christmas tree out or are you a pro at keeping it simple? i'd love to hear & learn from you all in the comments below & i hope this helps give new perspective on simple everyday ways to manage your home ♥ much love to you

Thursday, October 24, 2019

autumn basket wreath

Fall is in full swing here in upstate NY - the leaves are on fire and the weather is chilly in the evenings
it's one of my favorite times of year here where we live. Life has been so busy and full with field hockey & volleyball games, senior year activities & a new teenage driver with her own car & new job (yes. tell me about it.) but I've been sharing on instagram about how i have been trying to simplify my holiday/seasonal decorating methods by choosing few but meaningful pieces to spread throughout our home while still keeping it cozy ...

I was searching for some simple fall inspiration to replace the lemon wreaths on our pantry doors,
when i stumbled on these $3 tobacco baskets in the target dollar section

with some wool pumpkins i had leftover & wire florals i found on clearance for $2 at Joanns -
i layered all three together with some hot glue

i used command hooks to hang them on our pantry doors
and my fall decorating is now complete :)

If you pick these baskets up to make your own, 
you can fill it with any combination of things for any season or holiday - 
changing it up for Christmas would be so easy.

With life being as busy as it has been, I've been doing lots of reflecting in my down time ... on how this season we're in feels alot like fall too - our girls are getting older and will soon have their own lives apart from us - like everything we've done as parents up to this point is now a culmination of how they will choose to live out life and the paths they choose to take - it's a strange scary feeling - like something is coming to a close and it's almost time to let go. I don't handle lack of control very well that's for  sure...

 As a mother you spend so much time watering, grooming, teaching, protecting, guiding and then just like that their true colors, personalities & individual choices are out on full display -from all the little + big somethings to the end results - like the trees and their leaves outside my window.  

... but as always and as hard as it is to do most days, I am trusting in God to fill in the gaps i left and taking comfort in the absolute knowledge that He's holding on to them much tighter then i ever could. 
what season of life are you in friends? tell me in the comments below
i'd love to hear your stories too. ♥
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