Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Holiday Cards with Mixbook

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I got to take Penelope to a great event last month with Mixbook. There were all sorts of fun stations for crafting and sending cards. Sending out holiday cards are my absolute favorite part of the Christmas season. I haven’t gotten my cards squared away just yet, but you better believe I’m going to be sending those out soon! 

Penelope didn’t appreciate that I gave her bunny ears. Apparently it means something to elementary school kids that it didn’t mean when I was growing up. lol. 

I’m going to let you in on a not-so-secret secret. I don’t design my own holiday cards. It’s a bit of a waste of time for me since I don’t design cards professionally and I don’t really have anything clever to do. So I buy the pre-designed ones and call it good. I do like adding my own personal touch to the envelopes, and usually there’s an art print slipped into each one, but that’s it. Simplicity and done-ness is my motto. With Mixbook, they have beautiful printing and beautiful designs. So I don’t even have to think about it. I just have to work on getting a family photo… That’s easier said than done. 

I’ve decided that this time of year is about enjoying the good things of the season without putting undue stress on the things we don’t have to do. What about you? You do holiday cards this time of year? Want one of my holiday cards? Fill out the form below if you’d like me to send you one! 

 

Japanese Puzzle Eraser Valentines

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Most holidays I don’t go all-out. But Valentine’s Day is a day for me to have fun with puns and little gifts. I tend to give myself unrealistic expectations (all the time. Constantly. 24/7), I’ve gotten better at ignoring them and being more realistic with my time (because… umm… naps). But for Valentine’s I love doing something a little bit on the ridiculous side. I mean, come on. I could have gone to the grocery store and picked up any number of things that are already done. But this is like a hobby to me. An annual one, but a hobby nonetheless.

Last month while in San Francisco, I made it a point to visit my favorite Daiso store and as I was walking past the aisles of adorable-ness, I spotted a wall of assorted puzzle erasers and piled them in my basket. It just came to me that the kiddos in Penelope’s and Felix’s classes needed these things. And hey, they’re not candy, so my practical mom-self said, “The kids with dietary restrictions will get to enjoy these, too!!”

I found these darling clear plastic pillow boxes at my local packaging supply store (Pak N Wrap), if you’re not in my same area, you can get them on amazon right here

They’re so darling, the temptation to put them in your mouth is real, so I put a little note on the bottom that said, “P.S. This is an eraser.:)” Because heaven forbid a little piece gets lodged somewhere. 

 

My first inclination was to do some fancy-pants lettering like what I did above (I love the snap, so I wanted to throw that in here). But it’s for Kindergarteners and Third graders. They won’t be able to read that, let alone really appreciate it. So I busted out my more casual single-case lettering instead. 

Coming up with something clever to say was just about as stressful as naming a newborn. But instead of something timeless, I wanted it to be clever. Unfortunately, I’m not known for my quick wit. That’s okay. Because this girl can’t be perfect at everything, right? So I phoned it in with a “Hello, adorable”. And I’m happy with it. I wish I had done something a little more fancy and creative with the design of it all, but done is better than perfect any day. 

I didn’t complete these in time for you to use the idea this year, but this could be fun for a little party favor or little gift for future use. I hope you use the idea! Feel free to download the lettering by right-clicking the image below. And you can purchase an adorable assortment of puzzle erasers right here, if you’re like me and don’t have a Daiso store near you. Thanks Amazon!! 

Printable and its contents are free for personal use only. Any alteration or distribution of the file (beyond adding your own text) without permission is prohibited. 

 

6 Tips for Hosting a Gift Exchange Party

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As a last hurrah before we tore up our main floor, I threw a gift exchange party. It was a rather small group of friends, but just perfect. It’s truly such a joy having some of my favorite people under one roof. 

Since Christmas is a hectic time (for business owners and moms, especially), I threw it on the 28th. I also threw the party mid-day and provided childcare so my friends with little ones at home could still enjoy the party. It was easy to find a babysitter since the school kids were out that week, and I just had her party with the kids downstairs and keep them entertained with food and a movie. 

I kept the party festivities rather simple. I used Paperless Post to send out the invites and manage RSVPs, but I think in the future I may try out Evite instead. I’m curious to see which one is better.

I kept the food fairly simple and somewhat dietary-inclusive. My menu: 

  • Quinoa salad (Gluten-free with avocado, cilantro and chopped chicken on the side)
  • Bananas and oranges
  • Kale salad
  • Various herbal teas as a hot drink
  • Chipotle cheddar biscuits
  • Churros

It was a simple spread, but delicious. The churros were definitely the best part of the food situation. 

I teamed up with San Diablo Churros. They catered the event and provided us with mini filled churros. We had dulce de leche, nutella and salted caramel. Each one was made fresh right there. That was the one special thing I wanted about the party. I feel like when it comes to planning a gathering, it’s best to plan one thing you want to be perfect. Everything else is a bonus. Otherwise, I personally spend the whole time focusing on all the things that didn’t go exactly as planned. 


Tips for hosting a simple and fun holiday gift exchange: 

  • Use a digital invitation service
  • Plan it on a day when not a lot is going on (post holidays, is great)
  • Provide childcare during day-time hours so more friends can come
  • Keep the menu simple and ask for help! Get a friend or two to bring a dish, cater what you don’t have time for
  • Introduce everyone, tell everyone your favorite characteristic about each guest (this is especially helpful if you’re inviting friends from different circles)
  • Do White Elephant gift exchange rules. Stealing good gifts from each other is fun!

Have you hosted a holiday gift exchange before? What are your tips for hosting a good one? 

Bohemian Meets Minimalist Christmas Tree

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This year marks the first in 7 years that I haven’t booked my ticket to Alt Summit. As a result, I’ve decorated for Christmas. And I’ve had fun doing it, too! I’ve been slowly growing my collection of decor items, and I’m at a happy place this year with a grown-up tree that’s dressed to my liking. 

I have a few personal hang-ups with holiday decor. One being that it’s impossible to store the other 12 months of the year and the other is that it takes up too much living space while out that everything feels cramped. 

I found our white, pre-lit, minimalist tree a couple of years ago at Walmart for $80. The closest I could find is this one. But I fell in love with the realistic texture of the branches and the tiny box footprint it takes up when in storage. The problem: it’s really sparse. So I got creative.

I don’t like the look of seeing the metallic pole down the center, so I bought a couple of feather boas and wrapped the center of the tree with them. The feathers added richness and weight to the tree that was lacking. 

Many of the ornaments I’ve had in the past are white and silver, but with the white tree, I felt like it’s too cold to have silver details. So I opted for warmer white and soft pink details with pops of green and dark browns. Since the tree is so obviously fake, I thought some realistic tree picks with flocked pine cones added a nice touch. And the flowers. The flowers really did it for me. 

Eco Flower sent me a wood flower bouquet for styling with my calligraphy work. As a quick shout-out, I wish they’d been around when Chris and I got married. They’re beautiful and last forever!

Chris helped me deconstruct the bouquet and add the beautiful blooms to our tree. Since they’re on wire stems, it was easy to wrap them around the branches and affix in place. In fact, most of the decor is firmly stuck to the tree so it’s quite kid-friendly. The only issue I’ve had with the decorations so far is that Junie likes to open up the presents when I’m not looking. She’s having fun and it’s no big deal to re-wrap those boxes.

In addition to the wood flowers, I got out the bunch of paper flowers I made months back out of coffee filters as a craft night with friends. The bigger, fluffier blossoms fill out the tree nicely, too. 

In lieu of a tree skirt, I got a basket from Tai Pan trading to fit the tree. I still have to cover the ugly stand with presents, but that’s a good excuse to get my gift-game on early to cover it all up. At some point, I hope to DIY a wooden stump into a stand. Maybe next year? There’s always next year. 

I’m just so thrilled with how it all turned out. I’m slowly figuring out my personal style when it comes to holiday decor, and I’m enjoying the process. 

RESOURCES: 

  • Wood flowers: Eco Flower c/0
  • 12 days of Christmas: Land of Nod c/o
  • Pink wrapping paper: Tiny Prints
  • Gold wrapping paper: Tai Pan Trading
  • Basket: Tai Pan Trading
  • Picks: Tai Pan Trading & Walmart
  • Paper flowers: handmade

 

Give Thanks this Christmas

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As promised the 2016 “Thank You” printable is here. It just had to stay under wraps untilĀ after Thanksgiving. This year I teamed up with Mormon.org to create a printable in-line with their #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign. Scroll to the bottom if you want to just download the freebie. I’m about to talk religion for a hot second.

I’m a Mormon. I keep it incognito most of the time, but I am a practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We’re Christians, and this time of year I feel so much kinship with other Christian religionsĀ as we celebrate the core of our faith: Jesus Christ. This is one of the seasons of year where I readjust my focus and try to be just a little bit better. A little bit kinder. A little more Christ-like. Because, baby steps. right?

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I’m passionate about gratitude. I love writing out Thank You cards to friends and family. I love sending out snail mail!! It’s a favorite of mine. So I’ve created a printable Thank You suite for the whole family.

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The first (from left, see above) is a fold-over card for grown ups and longer sentiments. The middle is a guided card for younger writers, giving them only a little bit of space to write something. Even a couple of words. The third (which could be use for a short Thank You) is designed for emerging writers, encouraging a child to just make a mark. A picture or a scribble allows him/her to take ownership of the sentiment.

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Included in the Thank You set is a printable envelope. Print, cut and tape together. It’s pretty quick. If I have time, I’ll send the Silhouette Studio file here so you can cut it with your Silhouette machine.

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Last, but not least, I painted and lettered a phrase from D+C 59:7 (some of our modern scripture). I hope that if you’re not of my same faith, you might find this reminder encouraging to get on your knees and give thanks to Him.

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I hope you use this printable!! It’s a real pleasure to make these designs and publish them out to the world. I love seeing them in real-life situations, too. If you use it, tag me (@melissapher) so I can see how you’ve incorporated it into your Christmas.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Want more Thank You’s to print and download? See this list:

Artwork is free for personal use. Distribution and alteration of files without written consent is prohibited. Contact me if you have any questions of the terms of use.

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