goodbye 2010, hello 2011.

as 2010 nears to a close, i've started thinking about this past year and how it has changed me. as much as i wish i had the power to change so many things that have taken place - those events have ultimately made me a different person and altered my path in life significantly. and it was not all bad this year - there were many wonderful things that happened as well! let's just say i'm ready to get 2010 behind me and start a new year.

so what do i have planned for this next year? i've written down a few things that i'd like to take charge of. because if i've learned anything this year, it's that life is fragile and you don't know what will happen tomorrow.

my health. it's not that i eat junk food all the time or don't get any exercise... but i could stand to do more than i do right now, and that will be a priority starting now.

my family. is there much to say here other than i need to spend more time with them?

my organizational skills. those need some help. i need to put on my big girl pants and purge the stuff that i really don't need and organize what i do.

my sanity. i've been feeling the urge to paint (not the walls) and i've got a few ideas in mind with where to start. art was always an outlet for me and even though it's now my job to be creative, i've still got to do my own thing every once in a while.

my house. it needs some tlc. there are still projects unfinished that are driving me crazy and i'd like to get some work done on it this year. we're not going to live there forever, and i would prefer not to wait until selling time to fix it up a little.

my blog. i am really going to try and post more content: more photography and design stuff. definitely more house updates, diys and tutorials.

what do you want to do in 2011?


diy photo calendar.

now that christmas is over, i figured i would go ahead and post a little tutorial on these fun little calendars. this idea branched from wanting to share my photography with my family, friends and coworkers. i wanted to give something useful, but pretty to look at.

the idea of a calendar had already crossed my mind when i found this martha calendar posted on another blog. i figured i could substitute the frame with a wooden block and go from there.

so, this isn't so much original, as it is borrowed and improvised. and my directions are a little vague, but it's not rocket science! and you could use whatever photo you'd like, some pretty patterned paper, cool fabric or even glue something 3d to the top.

acrylic gloss medium, metallic acrylic paint, wooden blocks (cut to 4x6), and photos, not pictured (4x6)

my father-in-law was kind enough to cut these blocks for me out of scrap wood. he also sanded everything down for me. if you own tools, this would be easy for you to do at home or the guys at the hardware store could probably cut the wood down for a price. i painted the edges and some of the top in case the photo didn't quite make it to the edge. if i had these to do over again, i would have probably stained the edges dark for a different look.

once the paint dried, i brushed acrylic medium over the top of the block, being careful not to get any on the painted sides. i handled my photos by their edges and carefully placed them on top of the glue. adjust the photo to get it in the right spot and then turn it over on top of a clean piece of paper and stack with books until dry (a few hours).

you may wonder why i didn't use mod podge... i don't have very good luck with that product, so i didn't even try it for this project. basically, i can never get it to not bubble up on me. however, acrylic medium dries clear and has an incredibly strong bond. it never once produced bubbles while i was adhering my photos, and i was very happy with the end result. feel free to use whichever adhesive you would like for this project though.

very small cup hooks and picture hangers

after your photo is glued down, now the cup hooks and hanger can be added on (technically this can be done before the glue... it's your call really).

i found the cup hooks at home depot. they were the smallest i could find anywhere, and were only sold in packages of 4. very disappointing when you need 40. basically, i measured half an inch in on the bottom edge and pushed a dent into the wood with a pen. this gave me a guide to screw the hooks into.

the picture hangers are from walmart and are sold in packs of 5. these are the type that you hammer directly into the wood. you could also glue ribbon to the back, or route out some of the wood for a more flush look. to attach these, i measured in from the sides to the middle and marked the center. i then placed the hanger over that center dot and pushed down (i kept my ruler straight across so the hanger wouldn't be lopsided) to mark my spot and then hammered them into place.

for the actual calendar, i created my own in indesign, printed them onto cardstock and had them trimmed by a friend with an industrial cutter. i used my small hole punch to create holes half an inch from the edge to match my hooks. it's not shown here, but i actually made a template to place over my calendar pages so that i would know exactly where to punch. i will try to upload/link to the calendar template so that you don't have to figure that out on your own! i just have to find it on my old computer first...

then just place the pages on the hooks, hang on your wall and enjoy... or give it to a friend! these calendars were what was packaged in this post if you need some wrapping ideas. these would be great new years gifts or just something thoughtful for a friend.

i received lots of positive feedback on the calendars i gave to my family, friends and coworkers, and i guess next year i'll need to print out a 2012 calendar for those that i've given these to! i was a little apprehensive to be giving handmade gifts to so many people, but everyone seemed to enjoy and appreciate the work that went into them.


thursday link love.

i'm having a hard time believing that christmas is only a few days away. it will probably sink in once the baking madness starts tomorrow morning (i volunteered to make coconut cream pie - my favorite! also my first attempt...)

these last few evenings have been spent finishing up a few last minute small diy gifts and cleaning the house. i'm happy that i'll get to spend some time with my family. after all the things that have happened this year (none that i've shared here, i don't think), i feel extremely lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life - i just wish i could spend more time with them.

let's get on with the links...

tracey mason's paper roses are beautiful, and she shared a video on how to make them!

these water balloon luminaries are smart and inexpensive to make. i could see these used for decorations at a wedding or party... i just wonder how long they would hold up? from wisdom of the moon.

felted ball garland tutorial on say yes to hoboken. these are so cute! i should really make a few colorful ones for future parties and showers! thanks grosgrain for the tutorial (who also posted a fabulous embellish knit month you should check out).

i usually make these awesome cookies every year around christmas, but i haven't had a chance to this year. kevin & amanda's version is a little more time intensive. i usually just buy the mini peanut butter ritz crackers that are already assembled!

cute reindeer cutout and tutorial on eat drink chic. these would make great gift tags or ornaments!

diy snowglobes? awesome. design mom used her kiddo's photos, but this would be cool with pretty paper as well.

i LOVED di overton's sneak peek over on design*sponge. i would love to pull off the light colored walls with pops of subtle hues... but it's just not how i decorate. bright colored walls are my thing, and i've come to terms with it.

these paper snowflakes are amazing. that's all. via just something i made.


friday link love.

eeep! only one week left, my friends. i am happy that i won't be venturing out into the shopping world this weekend, because i can imagine that it will be scary out there.

so, how about some links?

i love this idea for a handmade gift ornament exchange between friends from linwood avenue. we do a little chinese christmas throwdown, but this would be super fun too. new ornaments every year? yes, please.

dying over this home transformation posted on design*sponge. it doesn't even look like the same house!

this hand-painted (chalkboard!) christmas tree over at the city cradle is a clever idea. want to redecorate your tree every day? no problem! this would be perfect for those with small spaces and small children to entertain...

there are some cute freebie gift tags over on eat drink chic.

also, this is a really cool tutorial for those of you with a camera (which should be everyone!) and a christmas tree with lights (don't ask). i tried it with a point and shoot last week and it worked perfectly.

have a great weekend!!!

flowers and packages.

just a few images from right before our girly party last night. i made quiche, and it was wonderful. i always swear that i am going to take photos of it before it gets devoured, but that never happens. i'm always in such a rush to get it to the party while it's still hot! i love our dinner potlucks... so much good food to eat! i always leave very satisfied, but feeling that i must have gained 10 pounds over the course of the evening.

these little flowers i made make great gift toppers. and they have an alligator clip on the back so you can wear it pretty much anywhere! i would share a tutorial, but there are already so many out there, i don't know that it would do any good. these are super easy and fast to make though.

the gifts i needed to wrap were a little oddly shaped, but the kraft paper was perfect. and i didn't have time to make tags, so i pulled out my alphabet stamps, and that did the trick. i will have to remember this in the future, i can't believe how cute it turned out.

i really wish now that i had wrapped all our christmas presents like this. so simple, but they turned out so perfect. it's trying to snow here, but not succeeding very well. as beautiful as the snow is, i'd rather it not ruin my travel plans for the weekend.



i had such grand plans. diy gifts, ornaments and gift toppers. pretty things, made by me. unfortunately, i only got around to a few diy gifts and no gift toppers. mass-produced wrapping all the way, baby.

anyway, i thought i would post some fun diy ornaments i've found recently to get your gears turning. you could always throw a few together this weekend or keep them in the back of your mind until next year.

these would be cute to print onto fabric and stuff!

there's always next year, right? i should probably make these now to get ahead of the game. i'll try to share my diy gift here pretty soon. even though it will probably be too late for christmas, it would still make a great new year's gift :)


friday link love.

i don't think i'm the only one ready to head home for the weekend. it's been a long week - with everyone trying to wrap up projects before christmas!

i also received my silhouette machine today. wasn't sure when it would make it since i didn't receive any notification that it had shipped... but oh well. i'm glad it made it safely and i can't wait to play!!

now for the links...

i love this roundup of crate photos over at decor8. i could see this trend staying around for awhile, but i certainly wouldn't spend major bucks on this look. i scored a few fruit crates for free on freecycle, and they just need a little love (and cleaning!)

maggie makes has a great tutorial on making your own molded package toppers. these would be beautiful ornaments or just everyday artwork too!

these hand sanitizer holders seem really handy (and cute!) visit a lemon squeezy home for the tutorial.

design mom posted a great tutorial on making bleached out tees. these would be perfect, inexpensive gifts for the kiddos in your life.

these painted pillows are really beautiful... i could see these being a pretty simple diy. found on hindsvik.

i guess that's it folks. have a wonderful weekend!!!


friday links & update.

where has the week gone? it felt extremely long, but went by rather quickly. i also can't believe it's already december. luckily, we have most of our holiday shopping done (ahhh, and spent too much money last week!), but i still need to do some wrapping and maybe some decorating. i'm almost embarrassed to post a photo of our 'tree'... i just can't bear to lug out the big one and rearrange our furniture. it's okay since we don't really entertain, right?

in other exciting news, i took advantage of a special earlier this week and bought a silhouette machine!!! i am so freaking excited for it to arrive so i can start playing with it. i already have a few projects in mind...

anyway, let's get to the links...

love these chairs posted by little green notebook. i have some extra chairs that were hand-me-downs, and have highly considered plastering paper or fabric all over them.

as much as i love painted furniture, seeing a dresser makeover like this makes me remember just how much i love the texture of stained wood. props to the painted hive for keeping it natural!

this ribbon stamped with an eraser stamp would be perfect to wrap around my gifts this year! i guess i'll have to make some for myself! via creature comforts.

welcome to the goodlife shares basic tailoring tips to make your clothes work better for you.

these paper stars would make great (cheap!) ornaments for your tree. visit annekata for the tutorial.

i guess that's it for the week... have a good weekend!