Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

The Ultimate Calligraphy Gift Guide

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As Christmas is fast approaching (it’s likely too late for this guide, but I don’t care – I want to put this together anyway), I thought I would post the ultimate gift guide for calligraphers, beginners and calligraphy enthusiasts. I’m always scouring the web for interesting things, I may as well share with you my favorite items along with a few that are on my wishlist as well!

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For the beginning calligrapher:

For the intermediate/advanced calligrapher:

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BOOKS!!

Grow your library with these must-haves:

Art!

Everyone loves pretty letters. Grow your art collection from one of these fabulous artists:

Check out my pin board for more calligraphy-related giftable items.

*Affiliate links are used in this post. This doesn’t change the price of the product, it just gives me a small kick back. Each affiliate link is to a product I personally own and absolutely love.

Halloween Recap Part 1: Black Widow Penelope

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Several months ago I found a gigantic black widow spider in the garden. Since then, Penelope’s been obsessed with them. In a I’m-afraid-of-going-to-my-room-alone-because-I-might-get-bit kind of obsessed. When talking to her about Halloween costumes, she asked what was the scariest thing she could be. I returned the answer by asking her. She quickly responded, “A black widow spider!”

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I can’t remember where I put her costume schematics, but she was the one who planned this whole thing out. I just executed. The girl is so creative! I can’t get over it. In a way, I can’t wait for her ideas next year.

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Executing was simple. I bought an over-sized tee, appliquéd with a red hour glass, cut up the sides and inserted the stuffed legs.

If I had been smart, I would have bought a hoodie instead of a tee, so I added a hood to the tee and stuck on some googly eyes. Done.

Felix’s costume was far easier. I bought it from a neighbor. But it turns out that his head was too big to really fit it over his head. We got some cute Halloween photos of him, but not in costume. Next year I may be more on my game. I’m hoping that will be the case anyway.

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In all, the costume took about an hour to complete. It was a win-win. She got exactly what she wanted and I didn’t have to kill myself to do it!

I also love that we now have another gender-neutral costume that can go down the line to Felix and maybe some day Juniper as they get older. I’m a huge advocate of hand-me-downs!

What did you do for Halloween costumes this year?

Sewing Stockings With Leather & Chambray

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This Christmas threw me for a loop. It fell so close to Thanksgiving (apparently it’s the last time in a million something years it will happen that way). I felt rushed.

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I also got sick. The state of Utah has all been passing around some miserable intestinal bug. And I caught it. I was in bed for two days. Leaving Christmas to the last minute. Literally.

I had the fabric laid out and the patterns all cut, but it wasn’t until 1am Christmas morning that I was able to sew these babies up.

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Instead of embroidering the names on the stockings, I just made quick calligraphed tags and tied them on with baker’s twine. It was simple, but created a really fun, simple Christmas feel.

I was channeling a more traditional style after watching The Polar Express. Has anyone else noticed the calligraphy in the note from Santa at the end? Maybe that’s just a me thing to do? I decided that Santa likes traditional Copperplate stylings.

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I drafted the stocking pattern by hand. I wanted to get as many stockings out of the 3/4 yard of chambray I got from Michael Levine as possible. I used this mocha chambray, courtesy of Michael Levine.

So this was the size I settled on. It’s something like 7 inches by 20 inches. Plenty big for candy bars and art supplies (my ideal stocking stuffers).

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The top of the stocking is made out of an interlock knit, kind of a-typical, but softer and fluffier than cotton but not felt. I didn’t want to do fleece or felt. I feel like sometimes felt doesn’t age well (unless you get the nice stuff, and I didn’t have any around at 1am). If I were to do it again, I might go for a minky or faux fur. But the interlock is soft and simple.

The interior is a simple white cotton poplin.

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I also used a bright red leather for the tabs at the top. It’s a fun little detail that screams “Melissa made this”. Maybe next year I’ll have a mantle to hang these stockings from! We already have the fireplace, I just want some kind of shelf or mantle above!

I hope your Christmas was fun and family-filled! Also, anyone else leave Holiday decor or gifts to the last minute like me? I’d love some solidarity here.

Tutorial: Leather Handbound Book

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I’ve been kinda stumped with Christmas ideas. But another one came to me! Penelope and I made a few of these for gifts for her to give away. They make the perfect gift for guys or girls, too! Once I got all the supplies together, each book takes about 10 minutes to make. Perfect for mass production, or that little extra handmade touch to your perfect holiday gift.

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I’ve styled this purple and liquid gold-leafed leather book in a gift “basket”. Perfect for the young lady needing a respectable purse and purse contents. Details:

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They’re ever so simple to make. I’ve made these with the leather scraps I have on hand (I have a giant overflowing bin full!), but these could easily be made with felt, fabric fused to paper with Heat ‘n Bond. Let’s make one together!

EASY Leather-Bound Pocket Notebook Tutorial

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Supplies

Read more to learn how to assembly this easy easy book!

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Sponsored: Have I Done Any Good?

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Inspired by this month’s give-back theme for the Fiesta Movement, what do you plan on giving this year? I love this idea of paying it backward! I’ve been a lucky recipient of in years past (way before blogs were ever a thing). It’s great how such a small gesture can brighten someone’s day.

 

 

Growing up we did sub-for-santa almost every year. There were some years when we gave to strangers and others to families in our immediate neighborhood. I have such fond memories of door bell ditching presents. I remember the panic I felt when my brother’s pants got caught on a chain link fence. Not panic for my brother’s behalf (or behind), but panic that the unsuspecting family may find out our plans. Good times.

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The most memorable was my first Christmas at college for one of the girls in our complex:

For nearly two years, Hanni’s only contact with her Germany-based family had been email and Instant Messenger. Two guys in our building knew how much she missed her family and saw the most beautiful opportunity. For about a week they canvased the complex for any donations, each of us giving as much as we could.

I remember sitting in my apartment, hearing audible shrieks and sobs coming from the hallway the night those guys ditched the plane ticket on her front door step. I can’t express the joy that filled my heart, knowing that she would be able to have her family near during Christmas break.

After the break she told us about her surprise trip. She didn’t inform her parents about her upcoming arrival. It was Hanni’s sister who picked her up from the airport, wrapped her in a large box and delivered her to her parents on Christmas Eve. For a while, Hanni’s parents insisted they wait until Christmas Day to open the large gift. It didn’t wait.

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I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall at the moment Hanni’s parents realized their whole family would be together at Christmas. For a moment, our complex wasn’t about selfish desires and school finals. Through serving, we were in sync with the real Christmas spirit.

Perhaps one of the most important ways I can “give back” this year is to teach my children that Christmas is not about gifts. It’s about something more. For our family it’s about remembering Christ and about being just a little more patient, kind, loving and giving. All things I’ve been terrible at lately. Holidays stress me out. It’s my goal this week to get out of our house and do something kind for someone else.

What are your favorite ways to give back during the Christmas season? 

This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

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