A Valentine Gift Banner

If you are thinking of something a little different to give a loved one for Valentine's Day, I have a suggestion...this Valentine Gift Banner.  It happens to be offered at my Etsy Shop :).  As you will see the banner is made of individual hand stenciled muslin bags attached to dual ribbons for extra support.  These bags can be filled with all sorts of little gifts and/or candies, while the banner can be hung as a Valentine decoration before and during Valentine's Day.  It could also be wrapped up as a boxed gift.  It is very multi-functional!

I decided to fill my muslin bags with candies.  I started with mini dark chocolate (my husband's favorite) candy squares, along with Valentine conversation hearts and some Russell Stover candies.

Here you can see I filled each muslin bag with the various candies.  I put a different kind of candy in each bag.  I suppose you could make an assortment in each bag if you like that choice better.

  If you wanted, you certainly could fill the bags with little presents or trinkets.  The options are as great as your imagination!  I decided to go with the obvious and chose candy :).

As you may guess, the banner spells out L O V E but, other sentiments like I LOVE YOU or a person's name, of course, would be nice, as well :).

Here you can see the dual ribbons that create the strength for the base for the banner.  I sewed red buttons to the ribbon, giving the stringed muslin bags a point at which to be tied.  This allows for easy filling and refilling.  It's a good little system, I think!

And, here we go with the end product.  I thinks it is cute and offers a unique gift idea for Valentine's Day.  I'm thinking of making a few banners for different members of my family...if I have time!


You could also use the banners tied to the back of dining chairs and used as party favors or seating                                                    designators, if you'd like.   As I said, "multi-functional".

I also wondered if the banner would be neat used as somewhat of an advent decoration leading up to Valentine's Day.  The bags could be opened one day at a time a few days before Valentine's Day or the                                     other way around, depending on your preference.   Just a thought!

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Winter White Vignettes

It's winter and things are a little blah but, regardless of that fact, I am still drawn to and intrigued by the winter white colors of this time of year. I seem to be an "in the moment" kind of person and with the snow on the ground and the freezing temperatures outside, white seems to be it for me.  So, with that in mind, I thought I would share some of my winter white vignettes with you.

Every magazine in January tells us how to organize our lives.  Here is my attempt at organizing craft supplies.  Most likely this is where it will end but, I do love shadow boxes and I love filling them with all sorts of things.  Don't you?

Snow had fallen the night before I took this photo.  The snow landed on the the flower pods of a sedum plant which grows right outside my kitchen window.  I had debated earlier in the month whether to cut the plant down or not.  I'm glad I decided to keep the stems and faded blossoms intact. The temperature was below freezing so, the "poof balls" remained on the pods for most of the day.  I thought it looked like winter art.

This is a photo of my kitchen shelf as it was last January.  I really liked how it looked with the silver and clear glass. Very clean and neat. This year I have changed it up a little.  No matter how much you like something I guess you can never sit on your laurels when it comes to design!   

 This was a centerpiece I created years ago.  It was for a February event in my home.  My photography and staging skills have improved since then but, at least, there is some texture in the photo.

Curling up with a good book and some chocolate, what says winter better than that!?

It doesn't look like it but, this picture was taken a month ago in December of 2015.  This arrangement was made from the left-over flowers from my Christmas Wedding.  It was so warm that month that I was still able to take photos outside.  Such a bonus!

This was a hot chocolate station I set up one winter.  We had so much snow that year that I could use the snowbank next to my driveway as a table.  So much fun!  I am not able to set up a snowbank station this year, however.  So far, there are only four inches of snow on the ground.  Of course, a storm is predicted for later in the week.  We could get a foot!  Time to buy some marshmallows!

Finally, here is the kitchen shelf I spoke of earlier.  It is there in the background. This year I used treasured photographs in silver frames to take centerstage on the shelves.  It's an easy way to create a gallery wall without having to put nails in your walls.  I did use a few other items like the candlestick holder, plate and vase filled with dried gray berries to add a different kind of interest this year.  The orchid, in real life, is a bright fushsia.  It's quite lovely.

Well, there you have it...my winter white vignettes.  Hopefully, as time goes by, I will gravitate to more color :).

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Transitioning a Tablescape from Christmas to Winter

 After clearing away my Christmas decorations I realized I needed to take the "bland" out of my living room and do something festive with my dining table..  I looked around and thought there were some things left over from Christmas that I could use, as long as I added some elements that better represented winter.
I started with a white damask tablecloth as the base for my "tablescape". Next I found a mint colored tablerunner at Homegoods.  At first, I wasn't sure about the mint color.  It isn't a common decor color.  However, once I placed it on the table, I started to like it. It grew on me.

 The tablecloth and the runner alone did not seem to create enough texture for me so, I added some gray felt material to give the center of the table more depth.  I have been into gray lately.  I think much of the decorating world is as well but, I thought it worked here :).

Not being able to give up the barnboard piece of wood quite yet, I placed that on top of all the layers of fabric.  I still really like it!
I almost forgot another element I added.  Do you see the gray chevron strip?  That is ribbon I found in the after Christmas sale bin at JoAnn Fabrics.  I just love it.  I think it tied the fabric layers all together!
I used various styles of trees to fill in the tablescape and to create the winter look.  I figured it was still OK to use the trees.  After all, trees should work all through the winter, right?

I have been collecting these cardboard houses for the last two years.  I think I found them at Homegoods.  They are battery powered and light up; very pretty at night.  They took up just the right amount of space on the table. I hope because they are white they do not look too "Christmassy".

Most likely, this tablescape will only last for a few more weeks, anyway.  Then, I will start thinking about changing it up for Valentine's Day and, perhaps, even spring!  Until then I am going to enjoy the winter scenery!

Linking With:  Stonegableblog

Writing Thank You Notes

Since we have just come out of the most gift-giving time of the year, it only stands to reason that many people will be writing thank you notes.  Times have changed, however.  With social media, email and texts, people don't do the handwriting thing like they used to anymore and that's OK.  As long as people are being thanked, it's all good.  However, I am still one who tries to hand write her thank you notes, if at all possible.  I don't always succeed but, I do try :).

Part of the reason I like to write thank you notes; aside from the fact that the practice was drilled into my head as a child by my mom; is because I love to go out and buy pretty note cards.  I've always loved looking at lovely cards, invitations, papers, etc.  I can't seem to help myself!  That must be why I still hang onto the old way of letter writing.


Anyway, on January 2nd I headed to my local Paper Store to purchase some thank you cards since it is the closest and best stocked store in my area.  I also wanted to buy some New Year cards.  I hadn't sent out all of my Christmas cards in time and I still had a few friends left on my list I needed to connect with.   I found these in a six-card pack and thought they would work.  They are somewhat flashy with a nice sentiment.  I even managed to get them into the mail the next day.  The thank you notes, on the other hand, are taking a bit longer to get done. Hopefully, they will be done by NEXT Christmas!

 These were the thank you cards I ended up purchasing.  They were in the after Christmas section of The Paper Store.  I liked the artwork and thought the verse was nice, simple and sweet. They were just right for the job at hand. 

As I started the task of writing the notes, I began to wonder if there was such a thing as thank you card etiquette.  As it turns out, there is.  I was worried that I was showing my age by sending them out at all.  Most likely, I should simply send a text or and email, right?  I did a little research online and discovered that handwritten notes are "by and far" the best way to convey thankfulness but, modern times call for modern messages and with the busyness of our lives, texts and emails are perfectly fine.  Well, that was good, I thought.  It's still OK to write thank you notes.  I'm not showing my age... totally... anyway.     

With that issue settled, I decided to see what kind of thank you note options there are out in the world.  For that, I looked to Etsy.  I wish I had thought of Etsy for this purpose weeks ago because the options are pretty cool.

Check out a few I found!

This one is from Printstitchandpaste .  The cards are sold in a set of eight. I love the colors and the font type. The shipping for the cards is very reasonable and it is probably worth your while to choose a few different styles of cards just to have them on hand. After finding shops like this one on Etsy, I'm pretty sure I will be shopping from the comfort of my home the next time I need a special card or invitation.  There are so many wonderful choices and it is so convenient!  Just order and in a few days they arrive at your house.  Not bad.

What a cool idea this is from Your Blissful Day!  These are fill-in note cards for kids.  Isn't that a great idea for children?!  It makes everything easy for them and, at the same time, teaches kids how to express gratefulness.  Way to go Your Blissful Day!  Take a look at this shop for printables for every occasion.

Here is another printable from CAprintables.  I like the polka dots! These cards would be good for any occasion, don't you think? Since this is a printable like the one from Your Blissful Day, it means as soon as you make your purchase from the shop you are able to download the file to your computer. From there you are able to print it and you are ready to go.  I have done party invitations this way and it was really fun and convenient.  I worked with the shop owner and customized the invitation to my needs. Very cool!

I also found some really cute handmade cards at McCarty Originals.  I would have shown a photo of the cards but, I like to get the owner's permission before sharing pictures of their products in a post. As of this moment I haven't heard back from her so, the link to her shop will have to do.

I found one more shop that offered printables, as well.  Instead of regular cards, these printables are for thank you postcards. I thought that was a neat idea. Unfortunately, I didn't hear back from that shop owner either but, you can check out the postcard here


The other side of thank you notes is the receiving of thank you cards.  A funny thing happened while I was writing this post.  A thank you card arrived in the mail from my niece in California. 
She was thanking me for a gift I had sent her for Christmas.  You know it was really nice hearing from her and it was reassuring to know that she had received my gift.  It was also kind of neat to receive something other than a bill or flyer in the mail.  So I guess, in the end, my mother was right.  A handwritten note, when possible, is "by and far" the best way to convey thankfulness :).  (I must confess, however, the longer I take to write my thank you notes the greater the chance I'll be sending an email.  Ha!)

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2015 in Review

I thought it would be fun to look back on 2015 one more time to revisit some of my experiences and designs.  Here is a journey down "Memory Lane".

Tom and I went to Quebec City on January 1, 2015.  It was a magical time.  It was like visiting a romantic North Pole.  You can read about Christmas designs and the Chateau Frontenac here.

Later that year, I decided to make a floral design using a three-tiered glass server.  This was the result.
I played around with free printables and terrariums in this post.

I was lucky enough to go on another wonderful trip last year.  This time it was to Arizona with a visit to Sedona and The Grand Canyon.  All firsts for me!

I discovered the Meaning of the Tussie Mussie  in this post.

I enjoyed setting up for iced tea here.

I did the floral arrangements for a bridal shower in August.

I totally enjoyed doing the flowers for Jenny and Ben's Wedding in September.

These were some of the flowers for a very special Mini Baby Shower in November.
And, finally the Christmas Wedding for Laura and Ben.

It really has been quite a year and I look forward to even more excitement in 2016!
Happy New Year!!!
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