Thrifty Thursdays: Holiday Edition

thrifty thursdays

As I was writing out my list of gifts I still need to finish (or hell, even start), I came to the realization that Christmas Eve is five days away! FIVE! To add to that, I opted to buy plain brown craft paper this year to wrap all my gifts, you know – to give it that extra homemade feel. This was back in November, when I was sure I would have time to finish my projects for school and get all my Christmas presents done.

So, you can imagine what the next five days are going to be like. Luckily, school is done and now I can focus on the Holidays…finally! If you are like me, and still haven’t found time to do all of your wrapping yet, here are some fun (and easy) homemade gift wrap ideas that will add a sweet personal touch. Right before they rip it all to shreds!

Photo from The DIY Dreamer

Photo from The DIY Dreamer

This custom wrapping paper from The DIY Dreamer is kind of amazing. She just took a couple branches and placed them on the copy bed of her printer and printed the design out on bright white copy paper! While I was reading the tutorial, I was thinking you may need heavier paper. But then again, you want it light enough you can fold it to wrap the gifts. This would be perfect for smaller gifts. You don’t even need the branches – you can really print out any design you want!

Photo from Artifact Uprising

Photo from Artifact Uprising

I usually stick to sharing DIY tutorials from bloggers. If I see something shared by a big-name store or magazine, chances are there’s a blogger doing it, too. But when I happen upon a business whose beliefs I agree with, and they have a beautiful tutorial like this, I feel inclined to share. Artifact Uprising – a photo goods store – teamed up with photographer Fawn DeViney for this DIY Gift Wrapping tutorial. They used the plain brown paper, and added a print on top! Now, they used their Square Prints Set that comes with 25 prints and sells for $21.95. That’s a pretty good deal, but if you are in a time and budget pinch – find some photos/prints that are lying around and trim them down to size!

Photo from Mini Eco

Photo from Mini Eco

I found this beautifully hand-drawn wrapping paper from Mini Eco on through the MAKE zine. Kate Lilley (who runs Mini Eco) worked as a web designer before becoming a full-time mom and now freelances and writes books while her sons are at school. I think I found the perfect someone for a Yo Momma Monday feature! She has loads of tutorials on her site, including a cross stitch gift wrap printable.

Now, for something to top your beautiful handmade gift wrap…

Photo from Lisa Griffith

Photo from Lia Griffith

I’m not a huge fan of the Christmas bows. I think they look beautiful (most of the time), but they usually get smashed when you’re packing all your Christmas gifts into a car, and one time, a family member politely informed me that I had a bow stuck on my butt. How it got there, I have no idea. Sure, it was cause for a good laugh, but I would rather the bows stick on the gifts. That’s why I like these printable paper bows from Lia Griffith – they actually go around the gift, less of a chance of sticking to everything else but the gift! And Lia offers printables for each style and even blank ones in case you want to design your own!

Photo from Oh Happy Day

Photo from Oh Happy Day

When there comes a time when I am able to make/purchase gifts for my friends again (note to friends: sorry), I’m definitely using this printable gift wrap and tags from Oh Happy Day! Heck, I might even use them for the family this year. I was planning on just painting/writing the names on each gift, but if I need to make some tags, this could definitely be the way to go! This blog is so beautiful in general, and she shares so many good tutorials – like a Christmas forest cake topper.

Do you have any handmade gift wrap ideas you would like to share? Post the link in the comments and share on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter with the hashtag #homamdefortheholidays! Find more handmade gift inspiration on my Pinterest!

Weekly Wishes #8

 

weekly wishes 8Since my daughter has learned to walk, she has also learned to scoot her way off of anything she can scoot off – laps, our couch and sometimes even arms. So when she cried every time I put her down, I knew something was up. Turns out she was sick – and has been since last Wednesday. Therefore – my life has been full of cuddling, hugging, comforting, sleeping and doing homework, making gifts and cleaning when she naps.

This little break from blogging and social media has been refreshing and has given me a good outlook on what I want my life to be. I tend to sign myself up for every creative project under the sun, only to feel beaten down and exhausted when I never seem to get the results I want from them. This has seriously effected my wishes for this week.

Let’s just say that I did not get any of my wishes done last week. But I’m not going to worry about it. I had a little one who needed me more than anything else did. Now that she’s feeling better, it’s a whole new week. My business and fitness goals will clearly have to wait until after Christmas because making gifts at home is a whole lot more work than I thought. But it has pushed me to be creative every day, and I love it.

This week:

Tuesday: Finish Addie and Elena’s gifts (painting – my absolute favorite!). Get them wrapped and ready to go!

Wednesday: Finish my parents gifts (trying something new for my very first time. I’m excited to share my project after Christmas). Get those bad boys ready to go!

Thursday: Start canning (apple butter, pumpkin butter and sugar-free jam for my brother!). Start working on the rest of Sadie’s and Jackson’s gifts (screen printing – my other favorite!)

Friday: Do finishing touches on gifts that need them. Continue canning

Saturday: CANNING, CANNING and more CANNING! Finish the beanie.

Sunday: Make sure everything is wrapped and all of my canning is done.

Monday: Bake-a-thon (gingerbread cupcakes and a whole lot of cookies!) starts!

This list helps me put the week into perspective and by splitting up my projects like this, I think I can actually do it! My posts from now until the end of the season will be more Holiday inspired, since obviously that’s all on that’s on my mind right now.

Once all this is done, I will have a little more than a month off of school and I’m planning on working on my creative business ventures and really getting things done so I will not feel so overwhelmed when school starts. Less creative projects, more focus on the ones I already have.

So,  what are your weekly wishes? Write about them and link up to the Nectar Collective. You can also share them in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Here’s to hoping all of your holiday goals and wishes will be rewarded!

Thrifty Thursdays: Holiday Edition!

thrifty thursdays

There is one thing that is certain when you have a little one: you will never struggle with a gift idea for your parents again. Grandparents LOVE photos of their grandbabies just as much as they love photos of you – if not more. The good thing is that you don’t need to go to a photo studio to get expensive photos of your babes, all you need is a camera and little creativity.

Photo from love grows wild

Photo from love grows wild

These DIY Photo Clipboards from love grows wild are perfect for grandparents because they can change them as the children get older. All you need is some wood, these cute little clips and a photo, of course! You can paint the wood any color you like, or any color you think you parents will like.

Photo from This Heart of Mine

Photo from This Heart of Mine

These Transfer Image Canvases from This Heart of Mine are perfect if you have a photo of your little one with their grandparent (or whoever you are creating this gift for – even yourself!) or if there is a special moment you wanted to share. You just need a gel medium, a canvas, a large high-resolution photo that will cover the canvas, a foam brush, spray bottle and a cloth! Another awesome tutorial from one of my favorite ladies, Amy.

Photo from See Kate Sew

Photo from See Kate Sew

I love these DIY Instagram Magnets from See Kate Sew! Not only are they super cute, they are also super affordable! Use them as stocking stuffers or attach to your gifts as cute photo tags. You just need some adorable photos, adhesive magnetic paper, an x-acto knife for super precise cutting and an acrylic ruler.

Photo from The Gold Jellybean

Photo from The Gold Jellybean

These Waterless Snow Globes with Photos from The Gold Jellybean are perfect for the Holiday season! Since the season is pretty much over after Christmas, I would give it to them for Thanksgiving (obviously this would have to wait for next year) so they can have it up! Or simply turn them into photo frames and decorate them however, and gift them at Christmas! This would also be something cute to decorate your house with for the Holidays.

And what about those Christmas cards that you have been putting off?

Photo from The Paper Mama

Photo from The Paper Mama

This Christmas Card Tutorial from Flavor Pink was featured on The Paper Mama’s 50 DIY Days of Christmas. As a Photoshop newbie myself, I am always excited to see new tutorials – especially when they are for something fun and creative like this! This tutorial centers around Photoshop but I imagine you can get the same effect with most photo editing programs.

Do you have a fun DIY photo Christmas gift tutorial, or did you use one of these tutorials? Share your link in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ with the hashtags #thriftythurdays and #whatimgifting. You can find more DIY Holiday ideas on my Pinterest!

My Healthy Life: A Recipe!

my healthy life

My favorite time of year starts around October 24. Everyone is getting ready for Halloween, and the pumpkin craze is full steam ahead. People don’t look at me weird for adding pumpkin to everything I make and fall is finally in full force. I used to love summer. Now I loathe it, because my daughter gets wayyy too hot if we take her outside, so we’re like little recluses in our house.

With the Holidays surrounding us, it can be rather difficult to maintain your diet. I know that for me, we have a huge leftover pizza from Cecilia’s birthday, and with final projects for school, Christmas projects and trying to get my small business going, I have been living on pizza and cupcakes. Luckily, I treat myself every morning to this wonderful pumpkin muffin I found on Recipe Girl.

Photo from Recipe Girl

Photo from Recipe Girl

I wanted to make the same muffin but a little cleaner, so I consulted my favorite clean eating site – The Gracious Pantry – for the food substitution chart to see what I could do with this recipe. And here are the changes I made:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour  2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour  1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I would have done 3 cups whole wheat flour, if I had enough!)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted  1/4 cup apple sauce, 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar  3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
My version

My version

I also opted out of making the glaze, which was part of the recipe. I’m sure there is a clean glaze I could make, but I didn’t worry about it this time. You can get the full recipe – including the glaze – over at Recipe Girl, and you can download How to Convert Recipes at The Gracious Pantry.

I will be sharing more and more recipes that are cleaned up a little and perfect for the Holidays in the next couple of weeks. If you have a healthy holiday recipe you would like to share, or you would like to see a favorite recipe of yours cleaned up – please let me know in the comments and share on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #healthyholidays. You can find more healthy holiday inspiration on my Pinterest!

Weekly Wishes #7

Right now, my workspace is full of remnants from my daughter’s first birthday, the semester coming to an end and Christmas right around the corner. I have projects upon projects that I need to finish and while I love working around a little chaos in my life, I feel like the chaos is kind of taking over.

This is after I cleaned.

This is after I cleaned.

So, in the midst of all the chaos, I have taken out some time to think about what I want to accomplish for the week. While it’s difficult at times to take a moment out to write a thought-provoking post like this, it saves me in the end because it gives me a chance to sort everything out.

Here’s what I wanted to do last week: Create a directory on Baby Burrito Collective, list Kandyce’s work on Etsy, finish cork/chalkboard, get my yoga routine down and focus on clean eating, turn my workspace into a Christmas wrapping station.

How I did: Well, I haven’t created the directory yet. Still looking up some good resources on how to do something like that. I did list Kandyce’s work on our Etsy site though! You can find Sweet Mariposa here. I just bought the fabric to cover the cork on my cork/chalkboard so hopefully it will be done this week. I did do yoga one day last week…but only one. And my workspace is definitely a Christmas wrapping station, along with everything else.

Repurposed hanging candle holder made by Kandyce

Repurposed hanging candle holder made by Kandyce

This week’s wishes:

Business: Find a resource for adding a directory for Baby Burrito Collective. Start spreading the word about the Collective and getting people to join. Continue listing on Sweet Mariposa and set up a Facebook. Look for spaces to contribute my writing. Make a detailed plan for Vox.

Creative: Add the fabric to my cork/chalkboard and finish it up. Finish my mom’s Christmas gift.

Fitness: Set a yoga goal – practice at least once a day when Cecilia takes her first bottle in her crib. Set a clean eating goal – at least one real meal per day. And a complete real meal.

Home: Compress all of my crafting stuff. Get a metal shelving rack to go in the closet to sort out my projects and what is ready to sell/give as gifts. One shelf for projects to be completed. One shelf for what is ready to sell/gift. And the final shelf for material/supplies. This is going to be my Christmas gift to myself, I think. It would be easy to take down and move when we move.

I know this is a day late, but what are your weekly wishes? Write about them and link up to the Nectar Collective. You can also share them in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Here’s to having another lovely and productive week!

Fridays are for Favorites

18ac2a84412a11e3b44322000a1f92df_8

Today’s post is dedicated to my most favorite person in the entire world: my daughter, who happens to be celebrating her FIRST birthday today! We are having a circus-themed party at a local kids gym, where the little ones can run around like wild banshees for a couple hours – under the supervision of professionals (aka: not us!).

So, today I am sharing some of Cecilia’s favorite things:

BOOKS!

Photo from Good Reads

Photo from Good Reads

Cecilia loves books. She loves eating them, reading them, using them as protection against kisses. I blame it on the fact that she is surrounded by readers. Sometimes when I need to take a moment to myself – you know, to do something luxurious like bathe – I will put her in her crib with a book and she will sit there and point at the pictures and talk to the book in her adorable baby babble. I was just looking up cute baby books and saw Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. I’ve seen this book before but now I feel like I need to get it for her.

Jennifer Petro-Roy shares a collection of good books for one-year olds on Good Life Books, so if you happen to have one on your Christmas list – check it out!

VINTAGE DOLLS!

Photo from Polly's Vintage Bears

Photo from Polly’s Vintage Bears

So, I used to be totally creeped out by dolls. Especially when they would stare at you from afar. Then we took a trip to the Lodi Street Faire in October, and Cecilia’s crazy grandpa bought a vintage doll for her. Of course, this turned out to be one of her favorite toys, and she took this naked doll with her everywhere – striking fear in everyone who saw it. Unfortunately, Cecilia now believes that she can poke any little baby she sees in the eye, like her four-month-old cousin.

You can find beautiful vintage dolls and bears over at Polly’s Vintage Bears on Etsy.

WALKING!

Photo from Friendly Toys

Photo from Friendly Toys

Of all the things Cecilia loves, walking is her all-time ultimate favorite. I fear for the days she starts sleepwalking because she loves it so much. I fondly remember the days I would get super bored just sitting and cuddling all day, because that girl did not want to get put down – ever. Now, I can barely hold her for a few minutes before she’s screaming and wiggling away from me. As much as I would just love to cuddle with her all day, I enjoy watching her grow and develop into her own little person – walking and bossing me around.

I found this super cute walking toy from Friendly Toys on Etsy. All of the toys are eco-friendly, organic and safe for the mouths of our favorite little ones.

I sure hope you enjoyed this little look into Cecilia’s life. If you have a little one, what are his or her favorite things? Share with us in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Look for more little one inspiration on my Pinterest!

Yo Momma Monday: Cody from Lu & Ed

db687036449611e397fd22000ae912c9_8

Meet Cody, a work-at-home mama in her mid-twenties from Kansas City, MO, who runs an eco-friendly monster toy line called Lu & Ed. Before starting her own business, Cody was the head of marketing in a retail store, and before that, she was in line to become a store manager at a local restaurant. Not looking back, Cody says that making mon-stors “is the best job I have ever had!”

She came up with the idea of Mon-stors when she moved from South Carolina to Missouri with her son and lived in the basement of her fiance’s mom’s house. With little room to move around, Cody thought of a storage solution where her son could literally feed toys to a stuffed monster.

Once I posted photos online, I got dozens of requests and soon after, dropped my day job to pursue it full time!

Cody is not only a mama to her son, she is also a mama to seven rescue pets and has another job recording sales for an author. Being a mom has made her more motivated because she has more flexibility as an independent business owner than she would in the workforce, and she is setting a good example for her son to pursue his dreams.

Photo from Lu & Ed

Photo from Lu & Ed

“My son loves what I do and I love that it enables me to stay home with him, that I can be here for him all the time. I am so thankful for everyone who supports my indie business and allows me this opportunity.”

Although it’s hard for Cody to pinpoint her favorite thing about running her own business, she did say that the scariest thing is straightening out her taxes and licenses.

“You always want to make sure you cross your T’s and dot your I’s and it can be scary filing taxes for your first time or applying for a new license when you relocate. There are so many great resources out there now for handmade businesses to help them get their affairs in order, and for that I am thankful!”

Right now, she is a one-mama shop and works in the extra bedroom in the back of her house. Cody says that she is casually looking for an intern to help out with sewing during her busy times – before big events and during the holiday season – but in the meantime, her son has turned out to be quite the helper.

Photo from Lu & Ed

Photo from Lu & Ed

“On take your child to work day last year he worked in the studio with me all day and made two stuffed monsters, and had so much fun doing so! He also loves to make jewelry, sculpt, paint, make soap and draw. ♥”

She describes her workspace as “messy, colorful, fun, full of inspiring quotes, monsters and a huge over flowing closet of fabric.” Speaking of fabric, Cody uses all eco-friendly materials to make Mon-stors and assures that there is absolutely no waste going into landfills. She uses large cuts of fabric to make Mon-stors, then from that, she cuts use the remnants to make small Mon-stors, totes, stuffed monsters, gadget Mon-stors and other productsWhatever is left from that is used for stuffing or to make dog beds that she donates to animal shelters.

“They are all little steps that make a big impact in the environment.”

Cody has always been eco-aware but admits that she didn’t know the impact buying new fabric had on the environment until she took a part-time job at a fabric store to help cover the costs of some dental work she needed. After she witnessed all the waste firsthand, she decided that she could no longer support big-box fabric stores.

Photo from Lu & Ed

Photo from Lu & Ed

“Fabric arrives in a big, plastic wrapped box. The box and plastic wrap are thrown in the trash (not recycled), then each bolt is wrapped in plastic wrap, which is then throw away. All uneven edges are trimmed and just thrown away, as are tiny remnants & the cardboard sleeves the fabric is wrapped around.”

She started buying fabric at thrift stores and after a few months, people were offering her old fabric, sheets, clothing and blankets that they were no longer using. Wanting to do more, she searched for more eco-friendly ways to run her business. She started flipping food boxes inside out and once her family and friends heard she was doing this, they started giving her their old boxes.

“I haven’t had to buy or pick up a box from the post office in over two years! I also found Eco Enclose, a company that makes biodegradable tape from renewable resources, Fabric Recycles, a fabric and crafting notion thrift store where I can buy thread spools second hand at a fraction of the cost (and pollution of production) of new thread, and Moo‘s amazing recycled, biodegradable business cards!”

Cody has witnessed her eco-efforts sparking a revolution among artisans within her community. Business owners are realizing that being eco-friendly in your supplies and packaging actually results in major savings for your business, and more and more people are coming to her for advice on how to make their businesses more sustainable.

Cody's car after a thrifting haul

Cody’s car after a thrifting haul. Photo from Lu & Ed

“Several people I know have stopped purchasing boxes and bubble mailers and started recycling packaging or making their own mailers from reclaimed materials to reduce landfill waste and environmental pollution. I think that it is creating a bit of a ripple effect – as more people close to me make small changes, people close to them will as well, and so on. ♥ If we all make small changes they will have a huge impact on the Earth!”

She says that her eco-conscious efforts are also creating a ripple effect with her son. They pick up litter together all the time, often talk about sustainability and she takes him on all of her thrift store adventures. “My son is a total green-freak,” she says.

“He will grab a robe and say “Wow, this would be a great monster!” We buy all of our clothing, dishes, and home goods like lamps and decor from thrift stores, and my son is aware of the ecological impact factory produced goods creates on the world. My son has a hawk eye for organic products at the grocery store, too. Haha! I hope he will maintain his love for nature and making good choices through adulthood.”

Cody started Team Lu & Ed at the beginning of this year to collaborate with other artists and fulfill customer demands for products she doesn’t offer. It slowly grew into a charitable endeavor, with up to 50% from the sale of each product going to charity. Recently, she partnered with The Mollie Shop to sell super cute bows, and half of the profit will be donated to Drumm Farm Center for Children.

Cody's collaboration with The Mollie Shop. Her first donation was $148. Photo from Lu & Ed

Cody’s collaboration with The Mollie Shop. Her first donation was $148. Photo from Lu & Ed

“It has been a huge success and I have loved helping emerging artists become discovered through our collaborations, and I love bring art & toys together to create change in my local community!”

She says that her favorite thing about what she does is “how happy my products make children. It just makes my heart so happy to see photos of children lovingly playing with their monsters.” She is adding a few new lines to her shop and is working on a few new collaborations. Cody hopes that her green business will continue to inspire her community.

“I am hoping that my eco-mission will inspire other handmade business owners make more conscious decisions about where they source their supplies, and inspire consumers to make slower purchases, really thinking about the product, how it makes them feel and the impact it has on the Earth before buying. ♥”

You can find out more about Cody, Lu & Ed and her mission by visiting her website and connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. If you would like to participate in Yo Momma Monday, please post in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #yomommamonday. You can find more awesome mama inspiration on my Pinterest!