Organizing: Calendar time

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Once a year I start getting all intense about a deciding on a new calendar. A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a Moleskin calendar that I really loved. It was lightweight, just the right size and thickness – but the downside was that it was only monthly. There were notes pages set between each month, but as my life got busier and busier just having one little box to write in wasn’t cutting it. So last year I decided to try out a Plum Paper calendar. I really loved it at first, but as the year went on I really missed my lightweight Moleskin. The Plum Paper was just too bulky and it had too much going on in it. I realized that if i was going to have to go back to a Moleskin, I was going to have to come up with some sort of daily or weekly calendar to add to it.

I searched everywhere I could think of for some sort of weekly paper pad and couldn’t find one that I liked. While searching, I stumbled upon this tutorial for how to make your own notepad and my calendar issues were solved!

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I purchased this weekly calendar template from Easy Peasy Paper and had it printed at a local copy shop. I went ahead and printed 52 for all the weeks, but decided to only use about half the stack at a time for my planner pad.

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I pretty much followed the directions from the tutorial to a tee and so far it’s turned out perfect.

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I probably did more layers of glue than necessary and like she mentions in the tutorial, you definitely need to splurge and use the e6000. I found these little clamps at Home Depot for 99 cents each and I used a couple of sheets of cardboard to hold the pages in place. The whole project took a day or so – and most of that was just waiting for the glue to dry.

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I love how it turned out and it solved my calendar crisis by giving me back my Moleskin that I love.

 

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Learning to Sew: celebrating with sewing

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The other night I had the joy of celebrating one little girl’s birthday with a little sewing.

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Eleven sweet girls gathered around tables with hoops, needles and a mix of felt flowers and buttons and created these cute little flower hoops. sewing party 2015

It’s always so much fun to watch someone pick up a needle and thread for the first time and then see their joy when they master the rhythm of up and down.

sewing party 2015

I love the creativity and how different everyone’s hoops turned out. Some of the girls went crazy with the flowers, some were slow and meticulous and some went for simplicity. It was great!

Interested in throwing a party like this? I offer these sets individually in the shop and I’m contemplating offering party sets in 2016. But you can put your own set together too. Here’s my suggestions:

Putting together a flower hoop party set:
brown kraft paper (to wrap the tables with)
six inch wooden embroidery hoops
size 22 chenille needles
size 5 cotton pearl embroidery floss (you can find these with all the typical embroidery floss – usually hanging on the wall)
felt flower cut outs in a mix of colors
felt initials (about 3″ in size)
Ribbon for hanging
a mix of flower buttons and regular round buttons
and white felt circles (about an inch larger than your hoops)

Before the party, set all your white felt circles in the hoops and thread all your needles.
I highly recommend having a needle threader (this one is the bomb) handy for those times with needles to come unthreaded)
Lay out your flowers and initials on the table.
Sew on your initials first using a running stitch and then sew on the flowers and buttons. Remind your little party goers to always start from the bottom and bring your needle up and down.
Tie a ribbon through the screw hole and enjoy.

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gratitude chalkboard

If you’ve followed along this blog at all, then you’ve probably heard me whine about my kitchen. It’s a horrible 1980’s melamine white kitchen with a lovely oak trim (aka dirt catcher). I’ve had no issue at all drilling holes in these cabinets, removing doors (most of them have fallen off on their own) and recently I decided to add a little paint to them.

Gratitude board in the kitchen
One of the corkboards.

 

On either side of these tall cabinets the previous owners had hung up these long cork boards. They’ve been our go-to place for displaying art and other papers and I recently had the idea of taking down one of the corkboards and making a giant chalkboard.

Gratitude board in the kitchen
our new gratitude chalkboard

 

One thing I talk about all the time is finding ways to “be thankful”, “be grateful” etc and yet we never really act on that. So this year I decided I was going to take action.

Gratitude board in the kitchen

I took down the corkboard, primed the cabinet and then painted the whole cabinet with 3 coats of chalkboard paint. I bought some chalk markers from the craft store and did a little pinterest “shopping” for ideas of sayings and verses.

I didn’t tell my kids what the board was for until they finally saw me drawing on it today and it was funny how excited they were to add their own first things to be thankful for.

Gratitude board in the kitchen

Here’s hoping that enthusiasm stays around all year and on and on.

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make a letter writing box

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One of the things my daughter loves to do is write notes and letters to people and one of the ways she drives me crazy is digging around the house for paper, envelopes etc in order to do that. So for Christmas this year I decided to put together a letter writing box for her. A box all her own that she could keep all her supplies at the ready – complete with a customized address book filled with the addresses of friends and family.

I did a little research on Pinterest and other places and my dream box would have been one of these cute suitcases from Land of Nod. While they are actually a fair price, I really didn’t need all 3 and I was trying to keep this as low budget as I could. I lucked out and found a cute mustache photo box at Hobby Lobby for 50% off and just went from there.

Letter writing box

I filled the box with

  • a set of stamps with little stamp pads (all from Michael’s)
  • some plain stationary cards and envelopes in various sizes and styles (50% off at Hobby Lobby)
  • and also one set of her own personalized stationary (from this shop on etsy)
  • washi tape (from Michael’s)
  • half a set of these amazing pens (Staples)
  • some word stickers (Michael’s)
  • her own address book (see below for instructions)

 

Letter writing box

For the address book, I got some great tips from my friend Monica and modeled it after her date night book.

First I used a sheet of card stock, folded it in half and then used my scissors to round the edges. I added some washi tape from my stash to the top and then used some mini letter stickers for the label.

 

Letter writing box

For the address pages, I searched around the net until I found some fake notebook paper. I sized it down to fit and then used Pages to add my text. There are plenty of free downloads of address book pages, but I didn’t want all these extra blanks for her to deal with. All she needed to have was the name, address and birthday of her friends. If you are interested in my printable, let me know and I will be happy to email it to you (if I can find it on the computer!)

 

Letter writing box

I took a brown envelope and folded it in half and added it to the outside of my pages. Then I stacked them all up on top of each other with the cover and used my sewing machine to sew the pages down the middle. I did a couple lines of stitches. I added this little envelope to the inside cover for stamps. I attached it first with double sided tape and then added a few stitches with the machine to help hold that down too. Just make sure you don’t go too high up or you won’t have enough space to put anything in the little envelope. This is for stamps and I threw in 10 forever stamps for her to start with. (The idea is that as she needs more, she has to save her money to get more!)

 

Letter writing box

The brown envelope holds a mess of stickers that she can use for making cards etc. For the ABC sections I cut out a little round circle with a punch that I have and then cut it in half. I used some more of those mini letter stickers and some double sided take to attach them to pages throughout the book. I don’t have a photo (geez!), but the back half of the brown envelope I slit open and gave her a few stamped postcards that the post office sells that are ready to mail.

I can’t tell you what a hit this has been! She was at the table writing letters after she opened all the rest of her Christmas gifts on Christmas Day! And she is still writing notes to people. It’s probably been one of the smartest gifts I’ve ever given to her and it saves me the stress of her piddling around the house looking for paper, envelopes and stamps! Another tip was not giving her all the stationary and all the stickers at the same time. I’ve set aside about half of everything to gift her with for Valentine’s Day or any other special days that come up. It’s the gift that keeps on giving…to her and to others mailboxes!

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weekend blur

This past weekend was an absolute blur. On Friday I started to complain about all the responsibilities I had for the weekend…even to the point of whining on facebook (I know, I became one of those people). But not long after I did my whining status it hit me like a brick: I can either face this weekend’s obligations with dread and worry and leaded feet OR I can take each event as it comes and look for all the graces. And wow! What a difference it made in the end.

One of the biggest things I had this weekend was a craft market. There were many things about this market that were causing me to worry, the biggest one being that it was indoors. I’ve never set up for an indoor market and I really was just overwhelmed with how to make it all work in this smaller space versus a 10×10 tent.

Craft market dec 2013

But every moment of this market was full of so many graces. After hours and hours of rain and more to come, the moment we had to unload it stopped. My booth space gave me plenty of extra room for me to breathe and spread out with good “neighbors”. And it doesn’t fail that every market I’ve done I have absolutely hated the first hour…there are aspects of what I’ve done this year with daisyeyes that have been such a blessing to me, but have pushed me WAAAAAY far out of my comfort zone…I came away surpassing my goal by a landslide. It was a huge blessing in the end. So, so many graces piled upon.

We enjoyed an amazing company party with my husband’s job. I will never be able to reconcile the blessings and generosity of the people that my husband works for. It truly is a gift to be part of their working family.

And yesterday we enjoyed celebrating my daughter’s early 7th birthday.

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It was so fun to decorate the house a little and watch some little girls use a needle and thread for the first time! Absolute joy (and a little craziness too!)

We finished out our weekend enjoying some time with the leaders of our church family. It has been amazing to my husband and I how quickly these people have become like family to us.

In the end, this entire weekend filled with parties and responsibilities was a huge reminder to me in how my perspective makes all the difference. I can look at each day as a gift and search for His graces or I can put my head down and get through it. But there are so many things I miss when I don’t keep my eyes open and head up!

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guinea pig day

One of my goals for 2014 is to launch something that has been building in my mind and heart for the past 2 years. While I’ve been puttering around with ideas and a website for the past few months, I knew that one thing that had to happen before the end of 2013 was a sewing practice day. There was no way I could start this home-based or brick and mortar sewing school without a little guinea pig action.

I invited some friend’s children and set up three groups to work through and labeled it “guinea pig sewing day.”

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The first two groups were made up of six to 9 year olds. Each of these groups worked through a pillowcase project.

Sewing day 2013

Sewing day 2013

These girls worked on some hand sewing and then at the end of class had the chance to sew a few straight seams on the sewing machine. Clearly this was the highlight of the day.

Sewing day 2013

Overall it was a great experience to work through this project with two very different groups. I was able to see where the hiccups would be and where I would need to change and adapt some different parts of the process.

Sewing day 2013

It gave me a good idea of what it takes to prep for these groups and also how long it might take for a group of 3-6 to get through a project.

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And even more it let me know how much I could handle on my own!

The last group of the day was made up of a few middle school girls and a lovely high school freshman. They were hilarious and so much fun to work with and truly made me remember why I taught middle school for all those years!

Sewing day 2013

I had both machines set up for their project and it was so much fun to see them working. This group put together totebags from fabric pieces that I had pre-cut.

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I just love this picture and had to include it!

Sewing day 2013

These girls did such a great job and we had so much fun! It was an super fun way to end a whirlwind of a day.

Overall, it truly confirmed in my heart that this is the direction I want to go next year. While I long to keep going with daisyeyes and etsy in some capacity, I do know that my focus is going to change some. Interested in finding out more? Check out the new website for more information and more pictures…and check back often because it’s a work in progress and changing all the time! The launch date is hopefully somewhere around February 2014.

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