Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

This weekend I enjoyed having a little extra time to let Christmas happen in my heart.  To reflect on this year and prepare for the one to come.  To be thankful for family, friends, and the tiny babe born on this day so long ago.

I wanted to say a special thank you to you, as well.  Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing here.  It means more to me than you'll ever know!  I wish so many blessings upon you and yours this season (and beyond).

Look for a few posts later this week!

Much love,


P.S.  Don't you love that photo?  See more of the session here (all photos by Joy Prouty)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last minute Gift Tags

This being my first year with a child in school, I just remembered that we should be giving a gift to her teachers a couple of days ago.  Oops.  I asked a few teacher friends what their favorite gifts from years past have been.  Both of them said "Starbucks cards" without hesitation, and then added that they always love something homemade. 

So, I whipped up a batch of lemon shortbread (my favorite!) to go along with a Starbucks card for each of Ellie's teachers. 

I packaged the cookies in plastic bags first (to prevent grease marks), made a tag and put them in little brown sacks.  To add a nice touch I decided to stitch the bags closed (attaching the tag in the process).

If you have a last minute gift to make or are still wrapping up your gifts (and need some more variety), you can download my "Merry Christmas to you" tags here.

Happy last minute gift wrapping friends!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No place like home

Sitting in my tree-lit living room tonight and thinking, thinking, thinking. 

Am thinking about my to-do list, still too large and only five days to go.  Am thinking about weddings and pink (finishing up some save the dates for a dear friend this week).  Pondering the fact that 27 people I know are pregnant right now. Yes, 27!

But mostly thinking about home and missing it so badly. 

I love our adventure.  And most of the time I wouldn't trade this path for anything else.

But, tonight I would trade this crazy city adventure to sit on my Grandma's couch, while my Grandpa falls asleep in his chair.  To hear my best friend's laugh in person, watch movies with my cousins, and eat entirely too many of my Aunt's sugar cookies.

"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned."
-Maya Angelou

Perhaps you're feeling the same this year?  Let's make a pact to make the best of it, okay? 

Next year is right around the corner :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

What to wear to a casual party

I LOVE looking through the plethora of Holiday outfit suggestions this time of year.  However, I find that I don't get invited to very many Holiday parties that involve sparkly cocktail dresses with mile-high slits.  If you do, more power to you (so jealous)!

So, what do you wear to a regular old party that will most likely involve board games, homemade cookies and possibly (probably) everyone's kids?  I say go casual with a few dressy elements.

Start with:

I think we all own heels and I know we all own lots of jeans!  This combination is the perfect example of casual chic.

Here are three ways to wear your (sexy) heels and jeans:

Leave your jeans uncuffed, throw on a long coat (bright colors would be great too!), pull your hair into a messy bun.  Add a fun necklace if you have time.

Or, fold your jeans into a nice cuff, put on a thin sweater and tie a little silky scarf around your neck (belt optional.  You can find tips for tying a silk scarf here.  Leave your hair loose and straight.

If you're looking to add a bit more color, layer a solid fitted blazer over a printed shirt. I love this look with the loose waves in her hair, so pretty!

Put on your heels, grab your plate of cookies and have fun at your next Holiday party (no sparkly dress required)!

one / two / three / four

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A bit of news.

Yesterday, Tina from the Canadian Living blog contacted me about featuring my hand warmer project on their blog today (yay!).  You can see the post here.

After reading Tina's post this morning, I realized I forgot to tell you something really important:  one of my projects was published!!!!

Shortly after we moved to California, I was contacted by Mollie Makes, a craft magazine in the UK, about featuring my hanging doily decoration from way back when (you can see the Mollie Makes blog here).  They sent me a copy of the magazine, which came out in October in the UK.

Thanks for reminding me Tina, and thanks again Molly Makes!

Pinterest picks: Pretty packages

If you're like me, you've been wrapping and sending presents all week!  Only second to the joy of giving the gift itself, is the fun of coming up with ways to wrap it up.  Sometimes it's fun to look at pictures of pretty packages to get an idea for your own. 

Happy wrapping!

one via Ez's pin/ two via Danyelle's pin/ three via Helen's pin/ four via Ez's pin/ five via Kelly's pin/ six /
seven via Joke's pin/

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quick gift: Cozy hand warmers

Still have a few people left on your list?  Here's a quick and cute gift you can whip up in 20 minutes or less!

These little hand warmers are filled with rice and are perfect for slipping in your pocket before you run out the door!  I made a few extra for myself for those chilly late evening/early morning walks with my dog.

Supply list:

4 pieces of 3"x3" cotton fabric (no blends)
sewing machine/supplies
uncooked rice

To Make:

Pin two pieces of fabric together, wrong side out
Use your machine to sew around the edges, leaving at least an inch open
Turn square right side out
Fill square 3/4 of the way with rice (I used a spoon)
Hand sew or machine stitch the pocket opening

Package your hand warmers in a cute bag and be sure to include instructions for use (shown in third photo above).

Now you have more time for eggnog and mistletoe (you're welcome).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Highlights from a sunny weekend

I'm happy to say the sun made a grand appearance this weekend!  Despite my comment about missing snow on Friday, I love a sunny afternoon just as much as the next girl.  Especially if I can spend it by the bay.

I was pleased as punch that the whole family wanted to go to the city with me to browse the little craft + letterpress fair at Center for the Book

I didn't get a shot of the little booths, but there were some great cards, tags and prints available.  Ellie even got to pull a Christmas card print on one of the machines.  I'm saving my pennies (and quarters and dollars) to take a few classes this Spring!

The sun was still shining and spirits were high, so we crossed the big red bridge and spent the afternoon in the little tourist town of Sausalito (we also spent a day here last Spring).

Mainly, we spent our time walking the waterfront.  The girls climbed on rocks, gazed at sailboats and pointed at the fishermen.  It was perfect.

Other highlights included ice cream for the girls, late night Christmas present making (look for a post later this week), and new red polish to celebrate the season.

 My favorite moment (unplanned, of course) was on Sunday afternoon.  I was not feeling well and was trying to hide out in my bed for a minute when both the girls found me.  Instead of being their normal wiggly, jumping, screaming selves, they climbed under the covers with me and calmly laid for a while.  We rested and read some books quietly. 

It was like a miracle.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pinterest picks: White Christmas

Happy Friday!

It's hard to believe, but I'm actually missing snow this year!  I would love to play in it for a day and then return to the mild winter we're having here.  Is it snowing where you live?

I hope your weekend is absolutely lovely!  We're planning to go to a letterpress/craft fair here and drink lots of hot cocoa.

P.S. Check back next week for a few more holiday projects and printables! 

one / two / three / four / five / six / seven

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Red lipstick: Do or don't?

Let's talk about red lipstick.  Have you tried it yet?

I was skeptical until a family member gifted me some that happened to be the right shade.  Now I wear it once a week!  I think it adds an unexpected touch to understated outfits, and looks incredibly chic with a simple up do and a little mascara, especially for the holidays.

If you're still unsure:

How to pick the right shade of red
How to apply red lipstick

And for fun: 100 women, 1 shade of red lipstick

photo from here

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Crafts with kids: Salt-dough ornaments.

Since we left our Christmas decor at home, we've been having fun making things this year.  My kids are finally old enough to enjoy making a (quick) craft.  Yesterday, we tried our hand at making ornaments out of salt-dough.

You may have made these as a child, or made them with your kids already, but I never had.  So for all of you salt-dough newbies, here's the how to:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Mix together 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup warm water and 1 cup flour.  Mix well. 

E helped me with this part (I can't say it all stayed in the bowl). 

Roll the dough out and use cookie cutters to make shapes.  Transfer shapes to a cookie sheet. 

We used a few sets of cookie cutters from ikea (animals + random Christmas shapes).  This part was harder for E, but she had fun trying to roll the dough out flat.  The only way our shapes even turned out looking like animals, was because I'm a control freak.  I let her cut the shapes out, but I did the transferring.  I found I had to use lots and lots of flour on the work surface to keep the dough from sticking.

Poke holes in ornaments where you want them to hang.  I used the bottom of a colored pencil for this (classy).  Put ornaments in preheated oven for up to two hours, or until they feel completely hard. 

Once ornaments have cooked and cooled, let the kids go to town on them with acrylic paints.  I was really surprised at A's concentration.  I don't think E ever sat still for that long before age 2!

When the girls were done, I tied twine to the ornaments and then tied them to a ribbon strung on their shelf.

They're so proud of the "Christmas" they made!

P.S. I got my recipe for salt dough from here (but cut it in half)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Printable Reindeer Tags + Stickers

One of my favorite aspects of giving gifts is packaging them up with pretty tags and embellishments.  I think it adds to the anticipation and overall specialness of the gift.  Isn't it so fun to receive a gift that's been thoughtfully wrapped?

I made these reindeer gift tags recently and thought you might want to use them for some of your gifts too!

Just print the tags on to thick paper, punch a hole in the top and tie on some pretty string!

We're mailing most of our gifts this year, so I'm packaging things up in little bags and boxes.  I like the look of a sticker for things like this, so I've also made smaller versions of the reindeer tags that can be printed on full label sheets and cut out.  You can also print the smaller size on to thick paper and use as gift tags.

You can download both the tags and stickers by clicking on the pictures below (print as many as you want!):

Happy wrapping friends!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Favorites

me, circa 1987

Happy Friday friends!  The holiday season seems to be in full swing and I'm loving it.  I'm proud to say I'm done with my Christmas shopping early this year and can just relax and enjoy some candy canes while the postman delivers all of my packages.  Have you braved the mall yet?

We're hoping to try a new restaurant this weekend and possibly drive over to the Alameda Point Antiques Faire.  I guess it's the largest in Nor-Cal!  I'm excited to sift through vintage finds and see an old friend from high school who sets up her bakery booth there.

Whatever your plans are, I hope you have a cozy and blessed weekend!

Here are a few links to enjoy:

Planning to sit down and check out Anthology's free online gift guide this weekend, for sure

A huge 'ole round up of gifts to make by hand

This baby's party has better food than most adult parties do!

5 minutes to pom-pom bliss

Have you ever wondered just how much that picture was Photoshopped?  Soon you can know!

I bought most of my gifts here this year
(use code PINHOLEFAMILY for 25% of all products until midnight tonight!)

P.S. Today is the last day to take 20% off your order in the shop.  Just use code HOLIDAY at check out.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Generosity Project.

A few weeks ago, our Pastor, Chip told a great story about generosity.  When he was younger, a wealthy man took him out for an extravagant lunch and gave him a very important task.  The wealthy man knew he wasn't going to live for more than a couple more years and he wanted to give away as much of his wealth as he could.  He asked Chip to do it for him.

Armed with a blank check book, Chip left that lunch with a profound goal: find people who are in need and help them.  Can you imagine walking around having the power to change peoples lives?  This went on for a few years before the wealthy man passed away.  I'm sure pages could be filled with the stories of the people Chip encountered and the checks that were written during that time.

Growing up with very generous parents I know first hand how generosity can change you. Going out of my way for someone else can be hard and even embarrassing sometimes, but I like how it takes my focus off of me and puts it where it really belongs. 

When I heard the story about Chip and the check book my heart started thumping in my chest.  I knew what I had to do.

I often feel like I don't have much to give, and I must confess I get a bit distracted and may not even notice those who need help the most.  The truth is, most of us are walking around with a blank check book of sorts.  We have talents, time and resources that we can use in big and small ways to help others. 

Inspired by this realization we sat down the other day and decided on an amount of cash we're going to carry with us in December.  The sole purpose of this money is to help someone in some way.  I know I'm going to feel excited walking around, looking and searching for a way to bless someone, in a "pay it forward" sort of way. 

I really struggled with whether I should share this with anyone or not.  I finally decided to share in the hopes that someone else will be inspired.  Will you consider joining me in this project?  Maybe money isn't a thing with you and you'd rather decide to donate something else to someone in need.  The whole point is to be present, aware of those around you, and to give what you can.

If you decide to join in, please let me know.  I'd love to hear about it!

tree photo from the pioneer woman