For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
My friend Steven has a delightful family tradition where his entire family brings the Christmas cards they received each winter and vote on the best Christmas card. They give out prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and the kids get to vote too! I entered the contest a few years ago and ended up winning 2nd place with this quilled Christmas tree card.
Yes there's a little hidden treble clef in there ;)
May you and your families have a joyful Christmas season!
Last month I visited my little sister in San Francisco and we discovered a pop-up Golden Gate Bridge greeting card in a gift shop near Lands' End, one of my favorite places in SF. She immediately turned to me and said, "Make this!" So when I saw this pop-up card tutorial, I knew she would love it for her birthday card!
In other news, this past week my friend Kristin ordered a custom card from me for a bridal shower. Her requests for the card were to include a monogram and cats. I used to make lots of animal-themed cards for a florist shop in Saint Louis and cats are one of my favorite things to quill.
It's not even Thanksgiving yet but I'm already looking forward to the Advent season and Christmas. A month ago I made these wood log slice personalized coasters for my brother-in-law's wedding. I had a few wood slices left over so I decided to make a Christmas ornament for my friend Kristin since these logs came from her backyard. I personalized it with Kristin's dog Rooney's name. Rooney is gentle and loving and eats curtains in his spare time. He actually tried to eat these wood slices after we cut the log.
This was a super simple project. Sand the log, apply varnish, write out Rooney's name with a brush marker, applied Modpodge to seal, drill a small hole for the ribbon to go through, and...all DONE!
Andrew and I made these wedding favors a few weeks ago for his brother's wedding, silver organza bags filled with Jordan almonds. We filled the bag with Duke blue (groom's alma mater) and UNC blue (bride's alma mater) Jordan almonds. I designed and printed the favor tags and then we watched Tarzan, which Andrew had never seen before (!) while cutting, punching out small paper hearts, and assembling the 180 favors.
I also did more brushlettering practice to make the guestbook and gift table signs for the reception!
My brother-in-law is getting married this weekend and I decided to gift the newlyweds with monogrammed wood slice coasters!
My friend Alex helped me slice the logs. He was quite the trooper because it took us several tries to a) find the right size log that didn't have cracks and b) he did all the slicing while his wife Kristin held the log steady and closed her eyes because she didn't have extra safety goggles. Do as I say not as I do...wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying pieces of wood!!
If you don't have wood logs/branches laying around and/or a saw, you can buy wood slices here.
My sister surprised me this year with one of the most unique birthday presents I've ever received: an ECOSPHERE ! She noticed me admiring hers sitting on her bookshelf and thoughtfully ordered me one this year. It arrived in a very well-padded/temperature-controlled/protected box from Amazon.
See the little orange and translucent shrimp? They were zooming around the ecosphere when I took this photo, so you can only see little orange blurs around the perimeter.
What is an EcoSphere, exactly? The ecosphere concept has apparently existed since the 1980s but the EcoSpheres that you can order from Amazon are based in Arizona (which makes it even more awesome because Arizona is my birthplace). The shrimp consume the algae, which grows faster when exposed to light. I read the instructional pamphlet that came with the ecosphere from front to back several times because I want to keep my pet shrimp alive as long as possible. The science nerd in me is intrigued by how the enclosed system works and how I'll never have to feed the shrimp. Best. Pets. Ever.
It's already provided me with many cumulative hours of staring at the shrimp, mesmerized by how they move faster when the light is on and become sluggish when I turn off the light.
The "warranty" on it is that if all 4 shrimp die within 6 months, they'll replace the ecosphere. So far, my sister's shrimp have survived for more than a year! *Disclaimer: I was not compensated by Amazon for this post. I just thought I'd share about an awesome gift that I received!
In March I planted a few squash seeds that I had dried and saved last year. I started them indoors near the windowsill without any expectation that they would actually sprout...but sprout they did! Given my indoor planting fails in the past, I was elated---something GREEN was growing!
Fast forward to May. I transplanted 15 of these squash plants into my tiny backyard garden and watched them take over and bloom like crazy. These bamboo stakes helped the leaves climb upward.
Squash blossoms! I love watching busy bees pollinating these flowers and how they transform into actual squash. Unfortunately the deer ate a ton of these blossoms before they became squash. Still, I had plenty of squash growing---about 10 total.
I harvested 8 spaghetti squash this week. You can tell that they are ripe when they become a rich golden yellow, with a tough skin that can't be easily scratched by your fingernail.
But this week I noticed that something was EATING my plants. After more online research I realized that squash borers (moths) were laying eggs in some of my squash and leaving a nasty scar a la Taylor Swift lyrics. Some squash even had small holes drilled in where the eggs had HATCHED into larvae. Yep, definitely threw those squash away pronto while wearing latex gloves. Yes, I wear latex gloves to garden because I happen to have a bunch that I use for the hospital.
Despite having to toss several squash invaded by squash borer larvae (yuck) --which involved my screaming upon cutting them open and discovering said larvae and alarming my poor husband, I was able to salvage a few unaffected squash. I'm loving the ombre effect.
*note the Pinocchio squash at the front of the line
The easiest way to prepare spaghetti squash:
1. Cut squash in half using a strong sharp knife 2. Scoop out the pulpy seeds and toss, or save for planting next year 3. Drizzle the squash with oil, salt, and pepper 4. Bake flesh side down in the pan, for about 30-40 minutes in the oven 5. Let cool, then scoop out the insides, which will be a golden pasta-like consistency perfect for substituting the noodle part of any pasta dish, or topping with bacon and cheese (my personal favorite way to eat it).
This week Andrew and I celebrated FOUR years of marriage! Just saying that makes me feel like an old lady. Andrew surprised me with pink daisies and we had a lovely dinner at a local French restaurant. We also kept up our annual tradition of kayaking at a local lake, this time at Jordan Lake in Apex.
This year I decided to make a hot air balloon-themed card. It reminds me of the movie Up and of the annual St. Louis Hot Air Balloon Race that we used to go to in Forest Park.
The balloons are two paper hearts folded in half, and the baskets are quilled from dark brown paper.
It has been an incredible 4 years of growing together!
I've longed to make letter decor for awhile now, and the perfect opportunity arose when I threw my coworker and friend B a baby shower! I love it when my friends announce their baby name ahead of time because it enables me to go all-out in personalizing their baby gifts and baby shower decor. B chose the name Luke for her baby boy.
It took Andrew a long while to guess what I made these letters from....cereal boxes! We kind of have a problem in our household, AKA consuming mass quantities of cereal--Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Mini Wheats, and our favorite, Honey Bunches of Oats. In college I used to eat cereal for breakfast, afternoon snacks, and midnight snacks. Basically, we have tons of cereal boxes, and I finally found a way to upcycle them!
One year ago my husband and I moved into our townhouse in North Carolina after driving all the way from Saint Louis, MO. We miss Saint Louis and our friends there dearly but have been adjusting well to life in beautiful NC. One of the perks of living in a townhome community where the builders just recently finished constructing the last row of houses is that they have extra unwanted leftover pieces of wood, like this pantry door which has a crack through the side (not pictured below).
My poor husband had to endure this old door sitting around in our garage for several months before I finally came up with a way to upcycle it: organizer for our gardening and grilling tools! We now store this garden organizer in the patio for easy access to all the tools we need.
Father's Day is coming up and I wanted to make a card for my father-in-law that included his love of maps. We recently traveled to Europe with them and I'd saved several of the city maps and decided to upcycle one of them!
Tutorial is below for a simple Father's day card for the globetrotting father!