Mini Christmas Wreaths

I’m always on the hunt for simple, beautiful and nature-inspired Christmas decorations and have been making these darling mini christmas wreaths for a few years now. They’re simple to put together and stay fresh all season long, making them a beautiful and inexpensive way to add a little life to your holiday decor. live-mini-window-wreath-diy-world-market-7live-mini-window-wreath-diy-world-market-3Of all of the crafts a friend and I pulled together for a Christmas Crafternoon a couple years ago, these mini christmas wreaths were by far the most popular and most requested to return to subsequent crafting events. Around the holidays it’s easy to find evergreen plants like pine or boxwood to use.

I also love the mini wreaths made with eucalyptus or seasonal grasses for wreaths that look amazing in the house through the spring and summer as well.
diy-christmas-mini-wreaths-1diy-christmas-mini-wreaths-2A little bit of greenery, a little bit of wire, a little bit of ribbon, and you’ve got yourself a wreath! Find the whole, easy DIYon the World Market Discover blog.

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Our Eclectic, Kid-Friendly Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree is such a long-standing tradition and one of the most festive and beautiful parts of the holiday season. Every family does their tree a little bit differently, and I always love seeing the variations on such a beautiful decoration. This year we partnered with At Home to buy a pre-lit artificial tree for the very first time, and added some new ornaments to our eclectic mix, and the result has been a really wonderful, kid-friendly Christmas Tree that we all love. I’ll admit that in the beginning, buying an artificial tree felt a little bit like blasphemy. I grew up cutting down a fresh tree each year in the High Sierras near my grandparents house in Northern California. We would strap it to the top of the van and road-trip it home to Utah to set up and decorate.

When Dave and I were married, we followed suit our first Christmas, bringing home a tree for our tiny apartment. As the years have gone by, we’ve always had a fresh tree, though they weren’t always as magically acquired as a snowy wood in the mountains. Sometimes they were actually kind of a hassle, and most years they’ve died a slow death as the weeks leading up to Christmas pass by. I seem to be really great at houseplants, but haven’t ever been great with the fresh tree.

I do love the smell and experience of a tree lot, and there was also something to be said this year for the ease and simplicity of opening the box, stacking the poles, stretching out the branches, and plugging it in! I went out and bought the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving at 10pm after everyone at my house was asleep. Dave and I had already decided to try an artificial tree this year, and so I thought I’d go grab it. At Home has an expansive assortment of artificial tree options, and I got a simple and pretty 7.5 ft Douglas Fir.

Once home, I thought why not get a closer look, so I opened the box and started following the directions for stacking the center poles of the three different sections together. After about fifteen minutes of stacking and stretching, I plugged it in and the whole thing lit up like magic! It doesn’t get easier than that! I added the bag of pinecones and lengths of wooden cranberry garland  I had bought to add to the tree. It was gorgeous! Even without ornaments I was in love. Rather than use a tree skirt, I had found an extra large basket that fit the tree base beautifully, and set the tree up right inside of it. It’s perfect.The next morning was magical for my kids to wake up to a beautifully lit tree. I didn’t have to worry about making sure the stored light strands worked, or keeping the kids and puppy clear of the water in the tree stand. The kids love helping turn on the lights with the step button, and we’ve been so happy with how beautiful the tree is (and with how clean and easy it is to have around!)In addition to being our first year with an artificial tree, this is also the very first year I have ever bought Christmas ornaments!

Neither of our families were ornament families. You know, like those families who get a new ornament every year, or buy one on every vacation. My parents always had a very beautiful themed tree, with matching ornaments and trimmings. I used to love helping my mom pull a hundred tiny nutcrackers out of their boxes to set in the branches on the “nutcracker tree” years.

When Dave and I had our first Christmas tree we decorated it with little copper gift-toppers from my work at the mall because we didn’t have any ornaments. Over the years we have acquired ornaments through a couple different handmade ornament exchanges (one, two, three years of them in fact), as gifts from friends, and of course all of the darling preschool art projects the kids have brought home each year. Our tree has grown in personality as the years go by, and all of the ornaments are kid-friendly and nothing is too precious. That’s a good feeling for me as a mom, knowing I can let my kids help decorate and rearrange things on the tree without risk of them destroying something!

This year, I fell hard for a few different ornaments out of the thousands that At Home sells, and was excited to add them to our collection. After ten years of marriage, I guess it’s time I buy an ornament or two.

These are the new additions:The criteria was that they should be unbreakable and cozy, which are two of my favorite adjectives. My favorites are the wooden balls, because I’m naturally drawn to natural-looking materials and I love the minimal, geometric designs. Plum has claimed the little llama friend as her own, and regularly takes it off the tree to play with for a little while. The bell feels like an amazing vintage Scandinavian find. And the black and white sweater balls jumped into my cart. We don’t have much sweater weather in Texas, so the tree can wear them.

The new ornaments fit right in with our eclectic assortment, and I love them. 
It has been surprisingly wonderful to know the tree is happy without water, to easily click the light on and off while leaving my tangled mess of strands in storage this year. Our collection of ornaments are like a collection of memories and it was so fun to add some this year that will remind me of this time of our lives working, playing, exploring, and learning together as a family.

I’d love to hear how you decorate your Christmas tree in your home! Matching or non-matching ornaments? Fresh or Faux?

Created in partnership with At Home, all ideas and opinions are my own. 

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Merry Debt Consolidation

Merry Almost Christmas!

Can you feel the extra warmth and coziness in the air? This season is so magical and wonderful, and can also be filled with some anxiety and frustration, especially regarding finances. Beneath the iced gingerbread cookies and start-topped tree there can be an underlying current of wanting and needing more. More money for more gifts for more happiness stuffed into bigger stockings on Christmas Day. Luckily, along with living and believing wholeheartedly in minimizing that feeling of needing more, we also have worked hard in our family to create a culture of self-sufficiency, and together with the financial tools at Capital One can continue to set and achieve goals to live within our means and pay off debt wisely with debt consolidation.After 4 years of Law School at a wonderful, expensive university, you better believe we know a little something about debt. In fact, because of when we went to school, our student debt has a higher interest rate than our home! By about double. The payment is built into our budget in a way that doesn’t feel too expensive, but stepping back I can see how it will be such a relief when that is all paid off.

The feeling of debt is heavy, and during the holidays it can be tempting to ignore the reality of a financial situation in order to meet personal, processional, or social expectations. I don’t even enjoy shopping and I get wrapped up in all of the marketing, email blasts, sales (oh! the sales!) and all of the sudden find myself feeling that I need every single thing.

The truth is that I know for myself that less feels like more, and simplifying my life, my list, my holidays allows me the space and peace of mind to enjoy everything so much more. Less is more. It really is! The intentional LESS expands with the peace and joy and calm of stepping out of the rat race and being still for a moment, sitting in gratitude.

Capital One, which whom we have managed our finances for years, has a whole box of financial tools to help keep things simple. Their debt consolidation program allows people to gather loans from different areas of life (student, credit card, personal) into a single, simple monthly payment, and may even lower the overall interest rate. Keep it simple. The process of making financial changes can feel daunting, and by visiting capitalone.com, you can quickly and easily get a customized rate, and estimated loan amount, and even begin an application, all without impacting your credit score.Although we haven’t yet used these specific resources ourselves, we have been happy with the overall experience working with Capital One and I’m often playing around with our numbers to see what options are available to simplify our finances.

I’ll start with staying in my Christmas budget, leaving those extra cute sweaters and boots on the shelves (who needs sweaters and boots in Texas, anyway?) And enjoy what really matters this holiday season. My family, cultivating love and joy into my home, and focusing on gratitude for all I already have, which is more than enough.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Mini Sweater Garland // Christmas Mantel

What is it about mini things that makes them so cute? I couldn’t leave the store without these darling mini sweater ornaments and decided they’d be most readily enjoyed as a mini sweater garland hanging on the mantle. You know, a little nod to the stockings that we’ll hang on Christmas Eve.

I also decked the mantle out this year with fresh greenery, an extra-long felt ball garland made with select colors from my large Hello Maypole stash. The oversized Santa art was painted by my talented mother on a visit last year. I love those sweet eyes. The other whites and golds were collected over time: a brass doe from The Distillery Market which is an amazing vintage collection shop owned by my friend Catelyn. Those modern ceramic Christmas Trees from Schoolhouse Electric that I won in an instagram giveaway a couple years ago. The small brass geometric ornaments from At Home I added to my holiday appetizer table and then moved on up.The DIY Mini Sweater Garland is pretty straightforward, let’s get started!

You’ll need:

5 or more mini sweaters. I used these, there are also some here and here. (If you’re really ambitious you could even knit your own!)
1 knitting width needle
2-3 yards of twine or yarn

Thread the twine through the needle and stitch into each shoulder of the sweater, piercing only through the back layer.  Stitching along each shoulder will ensure the sweaters hang evenly, as if they were clothes pinned to a dry line.
Add a second sweater, making sure to keep the stitches on the same side, so that the long length of twine is hidden against the wall when it is hung.
Finish adding the rest of your mini sweaters in the same manner, and leave enough twine on either end to reach across the mantel or wherever you hope to hang it. Enjoy!

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Green Chile Cheese Baked Pinwheel Appetizer

Sometimes you need a simple, delicious appetizer that can be thrown together and pulled from the oven all within the twenty minutes you’ve got between now and the holiday party you might have accidentally forgotten about. Not that I would know from personal experience how that feels. Ahem. These green chile cheese baked pinwheels look and taste like you invested a lot more time and attention to them than you really did. What you invest is lots of love and a true appreciation for keeping things simple so you can enjoy what matters most.

Find the 2 ingredient, 20 minute recipe below. You’re welcome.All you’ll need is some pizza dough (I use Trader Joe’s) and a container of La Terra Fina Green Chile & Cheese spread (found at Costco or check your nearby store availability here.) Spread the dough out flat on a lightly floured surface, and spread about half of the container of green chile cheese dip on top, leaving about an inch from the edges. The La Terra Fina dip already contains a mixture of green chiles, cheddar and monterey jack cheeses, onions, a little mayo, jalepeños and garlic for the most wonderful, flavorful filling. Ready to go.
Roll the filled dough lengthwise, keeping the filling inside as you go.Use a little water along the inside edge to help seal the dough back onto itself, finishing the pinwheel.Use a serrated knife to gently cut the filled pinwheel into one inch slices, and lay them flat onto an oiled or non-stick cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, if you’d like, then bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
While you get shoes on the kids, throw on some lipstick, and find the Christmas card you meant to deliver to the hosts last week but haven’t gotten to, yet, your kitchen will fill with a warm, gently spicy smell of baking dough and cheese, and you’ll pat yourself on the back for an appetizer well-made.
These green chile cheese baked pinwheels come out of the oven ready to enjoy. Warm, gooey, cheesy and a little spicy (maybe a little hot for the three-year-old, but the seven-year-old loved them.) Confession: between Dave and I we ate a whole pan and then took chips and salsa from the pantry to the party. Oops.  I’m adding La Terra Fina green chile & cheese dip to my list of have-on-hand items (their other dips would be amazing in this dish, too!) Maybe the next batch will make it to the party, after all.

Created in partnership with La Terra Fina, all ideas an opinions are my own.

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Trail of Lights // Austin Tradition

Every city has their long-standing Christmas traditions, and in Austin, one of the favorites is the Trail of Lights.

This annual event, celebrating 50 years this year, lights up Zilker Park with millions of twinkle lights. We ventured out last year for the first time and were blown away by how festive and fun the experience was. On either side of the walking trail, there are scenes from movies, books, and some silly and bizzare characters all decorated and bright for Christmas. Our favorites were the Spaceship Santa, and the Ambulance covered entirely in rainbow bulbs. It was a wonderful experience, kicking off our family Christmas activities, and I’ve partnered with Austin Trail of Lights to give away two ZIP passes at the bottom of this post, so you can enjoy the crowd-free trail, too! (giveaway closed)
This year was a sweet experience. We bundled up and headed down for a Preview Party of the lights, before the public access, which means no lines, and no crowds. We have heard that during the public hours the trail can be quite busy, so it was totally worthwhile to make an effort and investment to head down early. The kids ran free along the trail, looking at each scene, bright-eyed with excitement.

Milo and Eliot sang “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells…” in the bat-tunnel, laughing as they went. Classic.
In addition to the beautiful and magical lights, there was a mini vintage car show, and I found the one I believe Santa drives when he’s not on-duty. How pretty is this? Made me wish I knew anything about cars, so I could appreciate it fully! We also got our photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Clause, enjoyed incredible hot cocoa from Amy’s, received free books for the kids from the HEB love of reading trailer, danced for candy with the elves in Candyland, introduced the kids to Frito Pies from Top Hat (Milo was impressed!) and got all filled up by the Christmas spirit.

It can be stressful and tiring to brave the cold and the city to get kids out for these holiday activities, but it’s so worth it! Here are a couple tips I have for staying sane and positive:

  1. Pack extra warm clothes. No matter how warmly the kids are dressed, they’ll likely tell you they’re cold. So packing a few extra scarves, hats and jackets means you’ll have a solution on hand.
  2. Pack snacks. It’s amazing what a little blood sugar can do to perk up a cranky kid! Even if you’re planning to get treats on the trail, pack some  Zbars to keep them happy.
  3. Don’t rush. Sometimes kids need more time to absorb and take in the experience. Let them set the pace, and repeat to yourself that you have plenty of time. Even if your don’t see or do everything, but have a really positive experience for the pieces you see, it will have been more worthwhile.

 

I look forward to seeing the Trail of Lights every year. It is a fun way to get out and enjoy some local holiday love. It is also more fun to be there with a little bit of elbow room, so the Zip passes, and if you have a bigger budget even the new Platinum passes might be a great idea to have an extra hour to see evertyihg before the floodgates open!

To enter to win 2 ZIP passes to any night of the Trail of Lights this season to get you in the gate an hour early and access to the cookie and cocoa lounge, simply leave a comment here on the blog and I’ll choose a winner on Monday. Good luck! (Giveaway closed)

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DIY Rosemary Christmas Trees

Christmas is here! We’ve been celebrating by slowing putting up decorations, working on shopping for gifts, and enjoying some festive making. This little project I completed for the World Market Blog brings together my love for fresh greenery and herbs with a simple, rustic Christmas style to create small DIY Rosemary Christmas trees for gifts, centerpieces, or to decorate your home for the season.
rosemary-christmas-tree-diy-7rosemary-christmas-tree-diy-9Our home in Texas has a garden for the first time in our lives, and one of the herbs that has been flourishing into large bushes is Rosemary. I’ve long loved the flavor it adds to breads and drinks, along with meats and basically any meal. I also appreciate the historical symbolism it holds being associated with weddings and prosperity. It is a readily available herb at stores and markets, which makes it perfect to use for this simple project.

The stems are woody and hard, with soft, fragrant needles. They look like small pine trees when cut into pieces and shaped in a small mason jar or vase. Not only do these Rosemary Christmas Trees bring beauty and festivity to the table, but also the most wonderful fragrance.

(Let’s also take a moment to notice those darling little sweaters! DIY sweater garland tutorial coming soon!)
rosemary-christmas-tree-diy-4rosemary-christmas-tree-diy-5Rosemary stays fairly green as it dries, and holds its shape well, so these can be made and enjoyed for the whole season.

For full instructions, head over to my post on Discover. Happy Making!rosemary-christmas-tree-diy-1

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Joy to the World Globe Ornament // Light the World campaign

Tis the season of simple, useful crafts that make the Christmas holiday a bit more special. When I spotted these globe ornaments at World Market the other day for 3 for $5, I immediately grabbed a few. A little hand lettering turns the already cool ornament into a holiday greeting, perfect for sharing with friends or family tied onto a treat or as a gift topper. This Joy to the World Globe Ornament is pretty straightforward, and I’ll walk you though it!
joy-to-the-world-ornament-diyWith all of the divisions we’ve felt as a country and world lately, this ornament and message feel particularly poignant. I’ve been considering in what ways I can teach my family to feel unified with our community and world, and the first idea that always feels right is to reach out in service to those who we might not feel we have much in common with.

Today, December 1st is The Worldwide Day of Service that kicks off a beautiful Light the World campaign for the Christmas season. The ideas is to offer simple acts of service each day for the 25 days of December, turning our hearts and thoughts outside of ourselves. The campaign has a full downloadable calendar of ideas, with simple themes for each day based on characteristics of Jesus. I also love this young-kid version that takes away some of the brainstorming and decision making.

The whole campaign is beautiful and in a lot of ways reminds me of the advent activities that we have done for years. Ours mixed service opportunities with family activities, but when I place them side by side, a lot of the same ideas apply.

Specifically, this Worldwide Day of Service has me thinking of some simple ways I can get out and serve with my kids. Things with little advance preparation, because I was becoming quickly overwhelmed by the feeling of needing to come up with something to add to our schedule each day. I stumbled upon this list of simple service activities to do with young kids and I think we’ll choose from this list for what to do today.

I really like the idea of direct service. Stuffing warm socks with fruit and snacks and giving them to the homeless seems like an activity the kids would enjoy, and also offer a simple way to directly give. (I’m thinking through the car window on some of the stoplight corners downtown.) It’s also something I could prepare for with a quick trip to Costco, and assembly could even happen in the car on the way.

Whatever service we offer won’t be in vain. Even the act of considering what types of projects or service activities we might do fills me up with a desire to reach out and offer help to those in need, both among my own circle of influence, and without.

Maybe that’s a bit of what this ornament is about, too. Coming together, and feeling united with our brothers and sisters in our neighborhoods, communities, as well as the nation and world.
joy-to-the-world-ornament-diy-15You’ll need:

a globe ornament

a paint pen that will stand out against the background. I chose white.

joy-to-the-world-ornament-diy-16You can practice your lettering a few times on paper if you’d like. Remember that the personal touch is what makes this little craft special, so it is totally okay to use your normal handwriting if you (like I) don’t have a lot of hand lettering experience under your belt.

Also, you can pencil in your letters before you begin. But I just went for it.

Start with the “Joy”, making it large enough to be seen from a few feet away.

Add “to the” slightly smaller and not in cursive script

Finish with a large “World, to balance out the “Joy” and wrap most of the way around the ornament.joy-to-the-world-ornament-diy-20In this Christmas season, let us create Joy in the World through our service to others. Doing so will share the light of Christ far and wide.

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Family Photo Tips + Christmas Cards

It’s not even December and I’ve almost got all of my Christmas cards addressed and ready to send! One helpful factor was that we took our family photos this year back in early October, the day before Dave and my 10th wedding anniversary. The anniversary was a great motivation to get them done far before the Holiday Season began, and funny enough even though I was set with photos months ago, I just ordered my cards from Minted last week, and they arrived a few days later. So if you’re feeling a bit behind, don’t fret. You have plenty of time! I’ve also partnered with Minted to give away two $125 credits at the end of this post. Make sure not to miss it!christmas-card-family-photo-tips-1I want to share a family photo tips that will help get just what you want this year. We’ve done them every year since Dave and I were married, so we’ve had some practice! (I started writing a post about our anniversary that has each of the photos in it…but it’s in draft still. I’ll get to it sometime before next anniversary!) Some years have turned out better than others, and I believe this year is my very favorite yet. The family photos are beautiful, and very much feel like a great reflection of our family at this stage of our life. There are a couple things I did differently this year that I feel made a huge difference, and a couple things I learned that I will remember for the future. Let’s dive in to the family photo tips!

Create a pinboard to share with the photographer. This year was the first time I had thought to spend a few minutes communicating with photos the types of photos I was hoping for! It makes so much sense, and Pinterest is a great place both to gain inspiration and to share ideas. Melisa Mckinney, our photographer, left comments and added ideas to the family photos pinboard that I shared with her, and I was sure that we went into the session on the same page. christmas-card-family-photo-tips-6Choose a mood rather than thinking too hard about color combinations. In the past I have tried to match, but in a not-too-matchy way, and was sometimes left feeling a little bit lost. It feels much more simple to figure out which types of outfits go together when they’re all pointing towards a mood or a couple key inspiration words. For our photos this year my mood was earthy, dressy, and a little bohemian. For the earthy I kept everyone in neutrals or natural feeling fabrics, and my florals fit right in. Dressy, rather than casual, meant we would be in dresses and ties. And the bohemian feeling came in with the wide, field of flowers shots and kiddos dancing around us. christmas-card-family-photo-tips-16Keep it quick to get the best shots while the kids are still happy. I am always amazed by what type of photos can come out of an hour or less family photo session when all it has felt like to me is craziness. christmas-card-family-photo-tips-2-2Stay positive during the shoot, trying to keep the mood light and go with the flow a little bit as kids run to and fro. The running, chasing, dancing, laughing and tickling can make some of the best candid shots of the whole session!christmas-card-family-photo-tips-4Bring treats for the kids, and a silly hat for the photographer. I did the former, but forgot the latter, which is one reason I think Plum didn’t give out too many smiles in our group shot. It isn’t natural for kids to stand and smile for someone they don’t know (and oftentimes for their own mom!) so, expecting that they’ll grin big just because we tell them to is crazy. Having some small, non-melting treats on hand like fruit snacks or smarties can be just what they need for motivation. And for the youngest ones, having something silly over on the photographer or camera that can be a focus point for laughter could make all the difference in their smiles. I’ll try that for our family photo next year.
christmas-card-family-photo-tips-7christmas-card-family-photo-tips-25 christmas-card-family-photo-tips-19

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DIY Christmas Window Lightbox

I’ve been tiptoeing into the Christmas decorating, taking things corner by corner rather than breaking it all out at once. I also was up the other night trying to figure out if there was a common Christmas phrase that had exactly 25 letters in it that I could use for this simple and really fun DIY Window Lightbox Advent Calendar.

I hit on it!

“Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Man” has 25 letters, one for each day of December leading up into Christmas day. See the details of this minimal holiday corner and the DIY in today’s At Home Inspiration post!
diy-window-lightbox-one-little-minute-19diy-window-lightbox-one-little-minute-21 diy-window-lightbox-one-little-minute-23If you know me at all, you know I’m a little bit of a minimalist, when it comes to design and decor. I get easily overwhelmed and overstimulated by too much stuff or too many decisions, so I have tried to hone my style and stay true to what I know I love. Things on that list include natural wooden decor, modern and graphic designs, textured textiles, and neutral or earthy colors.

It was so fun to go on a hunt in At Home for some Christmas decor that was right up my alley. Luckily, they have something for just about everyone. Seriously, every color, style, look, and price point of ornaments, trees, statues, dishes, furniture….have you visited At Home lately? It’s a superstore. I quickly picked up this natural wooden nutcracker. He makes me so happy (and Eliot told me I should paint him! Ha!) The wire reindeer and modern trees add compliment him well. And this woven wall hanging? How cool is this?
diy-window-lightbox-one-little-minute-33Aaaaand I also found a spinning office chair for my studio that I want to sit in all day. I know, that’s not Christmas decor at all. But it was sort of like a Christmas gift to myself. Right? The Eames-inspired design had me sold on sight. Plus, it’s super comfortable and now I can swivel back and forth between my sewing machines and cutting table without the scooting and twisting I was doing before.

The black wall of my indoor patio room felt like the perfect place to add these modern Christmas touches. I also thought the window lightbox would pop here with the dark wall as an anchor. And, it looks amazing! Although, now that I put all of the letters up at once, to determine the spacing for the washi tape lines, I think I’ll keep it all up rather than using the letters as an advent calendar.

I know, all of that time spent thinking of the perfect phrase! I think this was the right one to remember to keep perspective in this crazy post-election whirlwind. Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Man.
diy-window-lightbox-one-little-minute-19 diy-window-lightbox-one-little-minute-25I made the letters using black cardstock mounted onto clear acrylic, then cut into separate pieces. The idea is that the window becomes the lightbox and the letters glow with the light of the sun.

Let’s make one! Here’s what you need:

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Vintage Eclectic Home in Portland, Oregon

Last month Dave and I went to Portland, Oregon to visit my little brother Taylor and his girlfriend Meagan (and their two dogs, two cats, and five chickens). They bought their first home last summer and we were excited to get a chance to see the space and spend a few days as their houseguests while we explored a little bit around the town.

From the moment we walked in, I was enveloped in this amazing cozy feeling that lives inside a home that is filled will love and intention. These two have designed and collected, arranged and styled their eclectic, vintage-filled home beautifully. Every where I looked there was another little corner to admire and something special to see.

They kindly agreed to let me take a million photos of their awesome home and share them with you here.
vintage-eclectic-portland-bungalow-1 vintage-eclectic-portland-bungalow-3vintage-eclectic-portland-bungalow-35vintage-eclectic-portland-bungalow-41Something you should know about Taylor and Meagan is that they are the real deal. Portland is filled with millennial hipsters who want to #liveauthentic and whatever that really means, but these two walk the walk. They buy used and salvaged all of the time which adds to the incredible character in their home. They eat true food, some grown in their own garden. They are fiercely loyal to their friends, local business, and caring for the environment. They are some of the most genuine and kind-hearted people you may ever meet. And inside their home everything has a story. Layers and layers of stories.

Taylor gave all of the design praise to Meagan who, he says, is rearranging things all the time. I couldn’t get enough of the combinations of pretty brass, natural wood, cozy textiles, and of course lots of plants. She’s a more crazy plant lady than I am, I think! They shared the same sentiment that I’ve always felt, that homes are always a work in progress and how they have plans to take out a piece of one wall, add different flooring upstairs, change out some light fixtures when the right ones come along. And in the meantime, enjoy it all the way it is.

vintage-eclectic-portland-bungalow-4 vintage-eclectic-portland-bungalow-6There was some serendipity to the way they talked about thrifting. Like this amazing cream and read bookcase is actually two pieces that were found at different times. And clearly are part of the same original piece. They’ve filled it to the brim with interesting books about art and nature, politics and history. Also taxidermy and motorcycling, which fit the bill perfectly.
vintage-eclectic-portland-bungalow-7 vintage-eclectic-portland-bungalow-8 vintage-eclectic-portland-bungalow-10 vintage-eclectic-portland-bungalow-11 vintage-eclectic-portland-bungalow-12My theory that plants add life instantly to a space holds true in this cool home as well. Meagan has quite a collection all happy and healthy in classic terra cotta as well as some in amazing vintage tin cans and brass bowls. She also understands the power of thinking through the details. Putting things in a beautiful place and creating vignettes. There were so many interesting places to look and things to see.

And then I fell in love with the chickens.   Read More »

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Scandinavian Gatherings + Hand-Stamped Wrapping

I’m starting to pull out Christmas decorations, snuggle up with a mug of hot wassail at night, and enjoy the cooler weather and coziness of the upcoming holiday season. As I worked on organizing my craft studio last weekend I pulled out this beautiful book Scandinavian Gatherings, written by one of my good blogger friends Melissa Bahen of Lulu The Baker. It was released back in September, and I have oohed and ahhed over the gorgeous craft projects, mouth-watering recipes, and beautiful styling and photography for months. In flipping through again I realized I had on hand everything I needed to dig into one of the DIY projects: Hand-Stamped Wrapping Paper.
scandinavian-gatherings-one-little-minute-blog-6scandinavian-gatherings-one-little-minute-blog-5I’ve been a fan of stamping for a long time, but have mostly used a slightly more complicated hand-carved stamp for block printing. I love the handmade touch that hand-stamped wrapping paper brings to a gift, and its something I also love including my kids in. I usually have rolls of kraft butcher paper on hand for the more rustic and natural feeling wrapping that I love, and the style fits right in with a classic, simple Scandinavian minimalism.
scandinavian-gatherings-one-little-minute-blog-1Melissa’s Hand-Stamped DIY shared in Scandinavian Gatherings is a few steps more simple than my usual carving method, and I loved it!

She uses adhesive-backed foam cut into simple shapes then stuck onto wooden blocks to make the stamps. The book supplies a few simple templates, and I went ahead and freehand cut some of my own including cactus, because…cactus. Rolling out the wrapping paper and using basic colors for the stamping, I was able to create a couple beautiful rolls in just a few minutes.
scandinavian-gatherings-one-little-minute-blog-2 scandinavian-gatherings-one-little-minute-blog-3There is something wonderfully therapeutic about hand crafting, especially around the holidays and this book is filled cover to cover with approachable, lovely crafts and ideas not just for Christmas, but for gatherings year-round. Melissa shares ideas and recipes for a Nordic Brunch, Woodland Tea Party, Midsummer Feast, Afternoon Fika, Summer Seafood Celebration, Heritage Dinner, Lucia Day, Christmas Cookie Exchange, Christmas Eve Supper, and even some Birthday Treats.
scandinavian-gatherings-one-little-minute-blog-4My family heritage is Danish, so some of the specific traditions and recipes are familiar to me, like her spiced cider that is exactly what my mother makes every winter. There are also so many that I have never heard of and can’t wait to try. I have long loved and admired Melissa’s down to earth lifestyle and dedication to simple, beautiful food and crafts, and Scandinavian Gatherings is a perfect celebration of those things she does so well. It is on my list to give to some family and friends this Christmas season (wrapped in hand-stamped paper, of course!) and I am excited to continue working through the recipes and crafts all year long.

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