DIY · Kids · Valentine

Last Minute Valentine’s Cards for Kids – FREE PRINTABLES

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I still remember Valentine’s Day as a kid. I sat at the dining room table for what felt like HOURS addressing and signing cards for every kid in my class. In third grade, we HAD to do them all in cursive, too, which at the time was excruciating. My hand cramped, my eyes blurred, I probably cried once or twice. And it took days. I hated it.

My kids have it so much better. They don’t have to address the cards individually – they only sign their names – and there are less kids in their classes as well. We often finish them in a single night.

I am a big fan of NOT giving candy with their Valentine’s cards. It seems that Valentine’s Day is the new Halloween – they come home with a huge bag of candy that they will never finish and that will linger on top of the refrigerator until it “disappears” one day in April.

Instead, I love giving little non-food items – and if it’s a consumable that can be used up (like bubbles or pencils), even better.

Every year, we roam the Target Dollar Bins or the party aisle for party favors, or we head to the dollar store to find packs of small items for super cheap. Then I come home and design a card around the trinket.

Now, I didn’t come up with this idea – there are hundreds of ideas online that you can easily download and print – just Google “printable dollar store valentines” – I got some of my ideas from there.

But I love designing the cards myself. I can spend hours picking just the right font, just the right clipart, just the right shade of pink. (In fact, I stayed up until midnight on Friday working on this year’s batch. I know. Wild and crazy Friday nights, y’all!)

I took them to FedEx on Saturday to print, and the woman behind counter said, “Oh no! Valentine’s Day is this week! I haven’t gotten the cards for my kids yet.” I told her she should just print mine out and use them. The amount of time I put into making sure the bouncy ball clipart bounced exactly where I want it, other people should get some use out of it, too!

So I’m passing them along to you in case you need a last minute idea. I took them to have them printed because my printer’s out of ink, but they are easy to print at home. (You can download them at the bottom of this post.)

Here’s what we’re doing this year:

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Have a Ball Valentine. Just add bouncy balls (we got them in the party aisle at Target – order online here). I use cheap sandwich bags to make them easier to attach to the cards – I just cut the little fold over flap free to make a basic bag – way cheaper than cellophane bags for things like this. We poked a hole in the corner and then tied the ball and bag to the card with matching yarn (orange, so obviously BB’s cards).

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You Make My Heart Bubble Valentine. These are BG’s cards this year. We attached bubble wands (packs of 8 from the dollar store) with washi tape .

And this is what we did last year:

DSC_0012Just Write Valentine. Just add a pencil. I used an Exacto knife to cut two little slits to hold it in place, but you could just attach with washi tape.

And use your imagination here:DSC_0020-001Magnifying Glass Valentine. Add a mini magnifying glass. I searched and searched my house for one of these magnifying glasses to show you what it looked like. We seem to always have a plethora of them floating around until I need one, and then there are NONE. So imagine those little magnifying glasses with red handles tied to the card with red and white baker’s twine so you could see the heart through the glass. It was adorable. (You’re just going to have to trust me.)

 

Download the FREE PRINTABLE Valentine’s Day cards here:

have a ball valentine

you make my heart bubble valentine

just write valentine

magnifying glass valentine

 

 

 

 

 

 

five things · Food · joy

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

How’s your week been? It’s been good here, but honestly, I was kind of done by Tuesday. Not sure why, but it felt like a very long week. It’s a 3-day weekend for the kids, and Husband is making it a 3-day weekend for himself, too, so we’re looking forward to some fun and downtime.

Also, thank you so much for all the kind, fun, inspiring comments this week here and on Facebook. I’m enjoying posting here more regularly, and your comments are a large part of that joy. So, thanks.

Here are a few things on my mind this week:

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1. Finger Food Friday. I love meal planning. And I REALLY love having a go-to meal for Friday nights – a little family tradition, if you will. And we’ve had a variety of them. Pizza Friday. Nacho Friday. Now we do Finger Food Friday (FFF for short), where I pick up a variety of fun, appetizer-type foods at Trader Joe’s that morning and assemble it on a platter when we get home that night. (Friday afternoons tend to be busy for us, so trying to cook dinner cuts into precious Family Movie Night time. Assembling the platter takes less than 10 minutes.) We take the platter to the den coffee table, pile up with blankets on the sectional, and find a new (to us) movie to watch. It’s one of my favorite rituals of the week, and it always ends the week on a high note.

The FFF menu changes week to week (there are always new cheeses to try!), but some of my favorites are Turkey Summer Sausage, Norwegian Flatbread, Tomato Basil Hummus, and Dolmas. A few raw veggies are a must, and a handful of dates are the kids’ favorites.

PS – Any good family movies you’ve watched recently? Our favorites tend to be older releases and something with a little grown-up appeal. We’ve loved Cheaper by the Dozen (1 AND 2), Beethoven, Home Alone, The Incredibles, and, of course, now and forever, Harry Potter (the first 3). I’d love to hear your recommendations.

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2. Flowers. About a month ago, I read an article (cannot remember where or what context) by a man who wrote of his awe at his friend’s beautiful home – it always looked  ready for a design magazine photo shoot. After several visits, he realized that what made it feel so pretty, so “polished”, was that she always had fresh flowers in the rooms. Then, a week later, I read this article about simple abundance and the author’s decision to buy flowers at Trader Joe’s every week. Then, I went to my friend’s house for book group, and she had a flower arrangement on each table, and it looked fantastic. So last Friday, for “Big Shopping of the Week,” as BG and BB call it, I grabbed a $6.99 bouquet of hydrangeas (at Trader Joe’s, of course – I promise every thing on my list today isn’t about TJ’s) and plunked them in a simple vase on the den coffee table. I cannot begin to tell you the beauty and happiness this simple change has brought this week. Every time I pass through, I see the flowers and smile. They catch my eye, they make the den look “polished”, and they even keep me from making big piles of books on the coffee table. It DOES look more like a design magazine, and it’s a simple thing that brings so much JOY.

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3. Rick Steves. With our crazy school schedule this year (very different drop-off times and different pick up times), I have struggled to create a “schedule” for myself. Some days I work out before the kids get up, some days I do it in the middle of the morning (or not at all). Some days I run errands, some days I play cards and read books with BG. Some days I don’t shower until 1:00pm. (Don’t judge.)

But every Wednesday – and only on Wednesdays – I eat lunch alone. At first, I grabbed slices of ham or a frozen dinner or whatever I could scrounge in the fridge, but after some thought, I realized this was a great opportunity to treat myself.  After a really long walk (I can only do this on Wednesdays, too), I come home, make a REAL lunch (a big salad with poached egg or soup from scratch or a “gourmet” sandwich with herbed mayo, a stack of veggies, white truffle potato chips and a dill pickle spear), and settle in for a show. (I almost never turn the TV on during the day, so this also feels like a treat.) My favorite? Rick Steves’ Europe. I KNOW! But hear me out: First off, it’s beautiful – the sweeping landscapes, the architecture, the gardens, the cobblestone streets, the little shops. The mix of history and modern life. The art and food and wine. And, let’s be honest, Rick Steves is bit dorky but in a charming way. There’s always a moment where you chuckle and sort of roll your eyes. But in the end, you’ve learned something new and possibly added a destination to your future travel plans.

(Note: The photo above is a scene from last night just before dinner. I’ve gotten Husband on the Rick Steves’ bandwagon, so while dinner finished up and the kids did their screen time, we relaxed and talked and got caught up on the day and watched a little Rick Steves. Like my Wednesday lunches, it’s just a little slice of joy.)

the first step in crafting the life you want is getting rid of everything you don'tthe first step in crafting the life you want is getting rid of everything you don't

4. This quote.

5. This video. Wow. And JOY! That’s all I can say.

What are you up to this weekend? I’m having coffee with a friend I haven’t seen in years, and I’m taking dinner to another friend who’s been sidelined by the flu, and we’re planning a hike along the coast. (Side note: How’s the flu in your area? I know a handful of people who’ve had it, and it’s been AWFUL. My friend has been down for 5 weeks now! So scary.) Whatever your plans, I hope you have a delicious weekend full of beauty, inspiration, and joy. Thanks so much for reading!

DIY · Style · Thrifts

5 Things To Do with Thrifted Jeans

 

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If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve had quite a bit of thrifting luck lately. I found a bunch of great shoes, hit on an “Everything’s $1 Day”, and won the vintage lottery with a dress that fits perfectly.

Those $1 Days are my favorite. Not only can I find great dresses and sweaters (with shoulder pads!) for super cheap, but it’s a great time to stock up on jeans.

“Stock up?” you might be asking. Good question. Over the years, I’ve made tons of things out of old jeans – some good, some not so good. (Check out “jean crafts” on Pinterest to see the good, the bad, and the ugly.)

(Note: I may or may not have made a braided denim rug for our first apartment in Tennessee.)

Here are my top 5 things to do with thrift store jeans:

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1.Wear them! Finding jeans that fit well can be hard. Thrifting jeans that fit well is even harder. But sometimes, the stars align, and you find a pair that fits just right, as is – perfect waist, perfect fit, perfect length. This was one of those pairs! I was looking for something above the ankle to wear with boots (or heels) that didn’t have any distressing. When you find a good fit, snatch those jeans up immediately, because when else will you find a just-right pair for less than $10?

DIY distressed denimDIY distressed denim

2. Distress them. I did a post a year ago about how to distress your jeans. I used a newish pair from Target, but thrifted jeans are GREAT for this because they are usually already showing a little age AND you aren’t out much money if it doesn’t go well. Check out the full tutorial for how to distress jeans here.

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3. Crop them. Sometimes the jeans fit pretty well, but they’re too long. Or they are boot cut and you’re looking for a narrower hem. Or you just want to try out the raw hem look. Grab a pair and take your scissors to them. Cut them exactly where you want them to hit or leave a few extra inches to cuff them. Leave the hem to fray. I love the look of “scruffy” raw hem jeans with a pretty, feminine blouse and equally pretty, feminine shoes. I just chopped these up two weeks ago, and I’ve already worn them 8 times – they’re my new favorites.

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4. Patch them. Or use the thrifted jeans to make patches. These were my favorites. I found them at Target years ago, and they fit perfectly. (Sometimes Target jeans aren’t that great, but I’ve had more luck with them in recent years.) However, as happens with less expensive denim, the stretchy fibers started to wear out, so the knees got saggy. To give them new life, I used a pair of my old jeans and a pair of thrifted jeans to make patches. They add texture and character, and I can keep wearing these old favorites. (Tutorial for these patched jeans coming next week!)

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5. Quilt them. I made this rag quilt MANY years ago (maybe 2003?) and even submitted it in a local county fair. (I got 3rd place!) I called it “Family Jeans” (get it?) because it was made with castoffs from our family – old denim shirt from Husband, pants from me, a dress from my mom, jeans from my brother, etc. I used a mix of pink calico fabrics for the backing and sewed all the pieces together, leaving the edges fray. (I don’t remember where I found the tutorial originally, but here’s one that’s pretty close.) We’ve used this quilt on our bed ever since.

I decided it’s time to make another one, but this go-round, I want to use only white denim. It’s a lot harder to find, so I’m hitting thrift stores more frequently in hopes of collecting enough to get started. (Those Everything’s $1 Days are perfect for this!)

I recently had a conversation with a woman I met while combing the aisles of Goodwill, and we chatted about the joys of thrifting. I told her about my quilt plans, she told me about making coasters. Then she said, “I’m pretty sure you could just buy white denim at Joann’s….”

(insert record scratch sound here)

(Oh, guess what! It’s 2018. I can ACTUALLY “insert record scratch sound here”!)

Yeah, okay, sure. I COULD do that. I could just BUY the fabric to make the denim quilt. But I love thrifting. I love the idea of making a quilt out of recycled fabric, I love the thrill of the hunt, and I love those rare vintage treasures you find when you’re not even looking for them.

So I’ll keep searching and collecting, and I’ll be sure to show you how it all turns out when I’m done!

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