Well Wishes...a homemade card shared on Wednesdays.
I am sure you have been anxiously waiting to hear how our tomatoes are doing.
Because who would want to see crafts or organizational project, when you could see a plant.
So, yes, for some people tomato growth updates could be like watching paint dry or waiting for a pot to come to a boil, but I love to see the flowers turn into teensy-tiny tomatoes that change color and grow bigger.
And then the harvest happens...a colander full every few days. This means you can pile them on the kitchen table to take pictures before sharing them with family, friends and neighbors.
Roughly calculated, this blog has been around for 4,150 days (almost eleven and half years) and I noticed last week it was just about to pass three thousand posts.
I spent Sunday afternoon tinkering around here...a new banner, a few updates to sidebar images and reorganizing categories a bit.
Now it's on to 4,000. In three to four more years...
For my birthday at the beginning of May, Sean and I took a long weekend and drove north to see the redwood trees and then stayed in San Francisco and Half Moon Bay before driving home. It was an amazing trip, so I really wanted to save the details together in a little book. I started this on NSD (you can see that I changed the design in the bookplate) and worked on it a couple of times before finishing it up last weekend.
My favorite thing with the last few mini albums I've put together is documenting the day I finish making it, so that's the last page of this little book.
I decorated our mantle this morning with previously crafted projects and prints I've gathered.
This year we are happy to be hosting our annual barbecue and fireworks and we are happy that we will not be spending the day before working a cheer fundraiser allllllll day long. After three years, that's going to be a big (wonderful) change.
Hope you have a great 4th of July too!
Fabric Banner...1776 print (I edited it a bit)...America the Beautiful Print (have to scroll down to find it)...Let Freedom Ring Print (I printed it out small to clip in the frame)...and the Patchwork Paper Flag I made a few years ago.
One of the tasks on my graduation party prep list was the guest bathroom door that had an empty hook for month and months...and probably a few more months than that. I took a pile of fabric scraps and stitched together 1x6 inch strips end to end to wrap around a foam wreath. And then I moved onto much more important party planning tasks like food and stuff.
At the beginning of the month, I passed on a file box, a stuffed binder and fifteen other boxes of cheerleading supplies to the new cheer booster president. However I had not finished the littlest, biggest thing yet. I needed to pass on all the electronic files on a flash drive.
I wanted to clean out the duplicates and non-essential files and then take the time to write up "how-to" notes for meetings, fundraisers and events. I finished last Friday afternoon...it was just over 1,000 items including around twenty single-spaced pages of notes...that was longer than writing up the final project for my master's degree.
And then I needed to craft a little chain of wood beads for it, right? I loved these keychains made with leather cord and this tutorial for painting wood beads is a brilliant idea. I was all sentimental that this was my last time crafting with school colors...where did the last four years go?
So this is it...the very, very end of the high school cheer. Thankfully we have a new set of school colors and more cheerleading in our future.
Sometime early in Mac's senior year, I decided I would ask our family, friends and his teachers to write a note to include in a book to give him for graduation.
In early April I printed "Dear Mac" notes on card stock, put together a letter explaining the gift, and asked a friend if she would be willing to have all the notes mailed to her house. Each mailing envelope had the blank note, the letter, and a pre-addressed and postage-paid return envelope inside. For Mac's teachers I went to the school and asked to put them in their mailboxes and everyone else's was mailed to them.
My original plan was to have them all printed into a bound book, but there was a delay with several of the letters, so time for that ran out. Instead I purchased a binder and stack of page protectors.
The notes from everyone were all so incredibly sweet. I put them all together to surprise him when he got home from the graduation ceremony. Then, after we took down the "Mac Wall" graduation decorations, I included all the photos in the book too.
I only planned one homemade-ish decoration for Mac's graduation party. No banners, no crafts...just a bunch of mylar gold star balloons from the dollar store and covering the empty wall in our dining room with photos from Mac's high school years.
I gathered forty favorite photos from the last four years, edited them into black & white squares and had them all printed as 8x8 photos from Costco. while I arranged the order of the photos on the dining room table, Sean made sure a long piece of blue painters tape was level on the wall so we had place to start, and then we stuck each one up with more painters tape on the back.
Mac was less than thrilled, since he decided several of the photos were, "Sooo embarrassing, Mom!", but I knew it would be fun for all of our friends and family to see.
All the photos were then tucked into the other only idea I had for Mac's graduation that I'll share tomorrow.
Mac's graduation party was the largest celebration we have hosted in four years and the largest by far that we have ever cooked a meal for. Mac requested a spaghetti and meatball dinner, so Sean and I made the sauce, meatballs, salad dressing and croutons, garlic bread and assembled ninety desserts. We started prepping on Tuesday and worked every day until Saturday, an hour before the party, when the electricity went out.
As we went outside to see if it was an isolated incident at our house, we heard the transformers blow at the local power station.
Uh oh. (except add bad words)
Saturday was the start of a heatwave and apparently everyone had a little too much power going.
Sean went to the grocery store to get more ice and I started pacing on our front porch as I made phone calls. My sister and her husband, our friends, Mac's dad, his sister and brother-in-law and my brother all came to our rescue. Thankfully all the food was cooked and just needed to be warmed. We had already borrowed several crock pots to serve from, so if we could get them plugged in we figured we could still feed everyone. We gathered a generator, a gas can, an extra ez-up, more coolers with ice and extra hands to help.
Then the power came back on just minutes before the party was supposed to start. My brother helped Sean and I get everything ready to serve, Mac and his dad greeted everyone as they showed up and we had ourselves a party.
Up until now, I think our best worst party story was when the police showed up several years ago. No electricity and almost sixty people to feed now wins the nightmare hosting story contest...may it never, ever have more competition.
I made notes to send to everyone who helped us. Hopefully you'll never need these, but just in case, here's a sheet you can print...electricity thank you notes.
Mac graduates this Thursday so we are in full party-prep mode for a celebration this weekend. This card isn't for him, it was actually for our neighbor who had a college graduation party last weekend. I copied the super cute idea from Kiki and Company and just added school colors. This will officially be my graduation gift for every party until 2020.
Here is the file if you still have grad gifts to give...graduation card.
I would have never guessed that sharing about my recent blogging education going awry, that I would get the chance to read such kind words. Thank you so much for taking the time to say something. I have no intention of changing a thing.
Well, I take that back, I like changing lots of things (it's another one of my one hundred hobbies), but any little change I would make, now or in the future, would be just for fun.
I just wanted to get rid of the neurotically, self-induced "this isn't a purposeful blog" guilt and get back to complete and total sporadic, random details, like the a BLT with the first ripe tomato of the summer.
Oh and sharing good projects too...I just have to finish them.
I have developed a guilty pleasure. Listening and reading about blogging and creative business.
However, I have absolutely no aspirations to have a creative business or to put the efforts into a thriving blog with a significant following.
Actually, the few hundred people that follow along on here are really significant to me already.
So, this new little learning more about blogging past-time has completely backfired. After 11 years of having a blog, I have been feeling as if I am doing it completely wrong.
I am supposed to have a catchy title for each post, I am supposed to use keywords for SEO (still don't totally understand all that stuff), I am supposed to teach you something with long, informative posts, I am supposed to focus in a niche, and I am supposed to build an email list of followers.
Over the years, I have genuinely enjoyed making little blogging-focused improvements like banners, organizing the sidebar, trying to take good photos or having an "about page" because when I find a new blog I love heading to their about page. This is all just a hobby for me though...add it to the list with card-making, cooking, crocheting, scrapbooking, gardening, planners, house decorating, and gift-making.
Not going to lie, seeing a project you crafted up being pinned more than 135,000 times is pretty cool. But, I would never be able to crank out projects with a goal of popularity in mind. In fact, that usually ruins my mind. I will also never be consistent...sometimes there might be one party, organizing idea, or craft project after another. Most of the time it will be just one inane detail after another with just a handful of words...a leaf changing, photos of tomatoes growing or a photo of my desk buried in schoolwork.
I've wanted to write about this for a couple of weeks now...to acknowledge that this little tiny blog will never have any purpose in this great big world. Yet, it's always been purposeful in my world. It's one of my favorite hobbies and, no matter what I learn about how it should or could be, it will be a place where I just make stuff....occasionally.
This week flew by. Five small house projects are each about halfway done. We have Mac's graduation party next weekend, so all the party prep ideas we have need to start real, real soon.
But I figured colors and patterns are more fun to look at than an Ikea aisle. The triangle fabric is being used for a project in our upstairs hallway. The paint samples are for a piece of furniture downstairs, although I decided to go in an entirely different direction. And the other fabric has no purpose other than I just couldn't resist it when I was shopping for the triangle one.
One of the many, many organizational projects involved in the great closet clean-out of 2016 was going through the three boxes where I stuffed everything Mac has made over the years. In addition to school projects, he has made so many cards and crafted up lots of wrapping paper designs (he still does) and I have saved them all.
Now I have just kept my favorites (which is about 3/4 of everything I tucked away since he started preschool sixteen years ago) and cannot wait to reorganize them into themes from over the years.
My favorite finds were the card he made before leaving on a trip with his dad. He decorated the front with the word "bye" except he spelled it "buy". I also loved the "Welcome to Back to School Night" letter he wrote one year that said his favorite subject was art and that he did not like math or science or any of the other subjects. He spoke the truth when he said that, so thankfully he decided to work hard in school despite only liking one subject.
I finish school this week and was not offered a summer school course like last year. Sean's school year shifted three weeks earlier, which means he is officially on summer break. Sadly, since he loves it so much, he did not get a summer school position in his district which means he will be home.
So last summer we had a total of five days off together (while Mac was recovering from wisdom teeth surgery) and this summer we have about seventy.
You know what that means...house projects!
The first project is a whole house clean-out. This weekend we started tackling the closet in the guest bedroom. For years it has kind of felt like Monica Geller's secret messy closet, so I cannot wait for it to be perfectly organized.
Seventy-five graduation announcements were mailed to our family and friends last week. At the beginning of the month Mac and I went to scout out a possible place to take photos. What was intended to be a practice run actually ended up being the super-duper official senior announcement "portraits". I put together the front and had a stack of 5x7's printed, they were then adhered to printed card stock.
Sean and I went back and forth on whether or not to share the little high school summary. Ultimately I sent a text to a group of friends I knew would be brutally honest with me, "Is it okay to list some of his high school accomplishments? Does it read like 'That's pretty cool...way to go Mac' or does it make you think 'get over yourselves Griffin family...pompous asses' " They all voted go for it and I am happy we did. Bragging or not, Mac has done an amazing job in high school and we are so lucky to get to celebrate him.
The announcements went out in metallic envelopes and everyone who lives around us had party invites tucked in there too.
Cannot believe he graduates three weeks from today.
Mac went to prom this past weekend with the same group of friends he went with last year. And, just like last year, I made some decorations. This time the dinner was hosted at someone's house (and the prom theme was Midnight at the Oasis) so there was lots and lots of teal, purple and magenta patterns sewn into table runners and a banner to hang up. Then there were spray painted jars stuffed with flowers. I had a little too much fun with all of this.
Thankfully Mac had lots of fun too.
We have everything (ten feet of a two-sided banner, two seven-foot table runners, one three-foot runner and one smaller one-sided banner) that we won't need again and would love to see someone be able to use. So if you would like some (or all) of it, please leave a comment and I will email you to find out where to send it.
This was the way I had my planner supplies "organized". I used each zipper pouch to group together similar items like stamps or sticky notes. And then everything else was tossed in there.
So I bought a big storage box and divided trays. Now all cute planner items are truly organized. Stamps are not in here, I have another box for them and an organizational idea I have not made happen yet, but everything else is and it makes the box super fun to dig into. Now if only life could be a little less busy, so I could spend more time planning it.
Part of this whole reorganization project was gathering a few bunches of supplies to share since I could never use it all. I have three pouches filled with various items to send to three people. If you would like one leave a "pick me" comment by Wednesday evening. Please make sure the email address linked to your comment is current since I will email three people for their addresses.
Friday was my last day at the state college. We have a Monday/Wednesday 9:30am course, which has the super unlucky Friday at 8am time slot for our final. Silver lining is the usually stuffed parking lots are empty. My final exam is pretty simple, so by about 8:50am I was on my way out of of one of the best classrooms I've ever had at the school...perfect for all the group work we do. When I got to my office I thought it was funny my office mate had accidentally left the "I'm here" sign we have up all week when no one was there. May 13th is my mom's birthday (she was born on a Friday the 13th), so we went out to lunch at one of our favorite places. I had been looking forward to that Chicago hot dog and fries with cheese sauce all week. We ordered a piece of chocolate cake and I proudly had matches and birthday candles in my purse like my mom always brings if we are eating out for our birthday. The letter board is being used for our countdown to summer. We spent Friday night at Joann's picking out fabric for the decorations for Mac's friends prom dinner next week. And using the PicTapGo app at the end of the night this week editing my photos for this.
Mac took the initiative to start some more strength training. For some reason he was willing to do it in our front yard and he told me pretty much everyone of our neighbor's drove by, but he was embarrassed when I went to snap a photo while he was taking a break. My weekend breakfast...half a piece of extra sourdough toast (with too much whipped butter) three pieces of bacon and iced coffee. I decided my stack of 6x6 patterned papers needed to be cleaned out and reorganized into rainbow order. I had a dozen things that needed to be done right away, yet I took 45 minutes to listen to a podcast and do this...and felt much, much better. Sean grabbed strawberries at the farm stand. The flower pots on our front porch right now. They are the leftovers from my mom's gift. While Sean is grocery shopping there are at least three phone calls and/or texts double checking about something...this time it was shrimp. Wrote and mailed my birthday thank you notes. And speaking of notes, we went to Paper Source for the envelopes for Mac's graduation announcements. All these cute colors and he wanted black. Which they didn't have (would have never guessed it would have been that popular) so we both happily agreed to go with metallic gold.
Sunday I can sleep in. I was wide awake at 6am. So I quietly worked on graduation announcement address labels. The fabric from Friday night was being cut and sewn into a banner. After breakfast Sean and I headed to the local garden store with a 20% to get a dwarf avocado tree. He was laughing at me as I gently rubbed it's leaves and whispered, "Guacamole" over and over to it. Then I got a few more things since we had a coupon and all. My favorite little gift shop was closing it's doors today so we had to stop by. At home I was texting photos with a friend discussing changing-out the door to our coat closet as I dream of turning it into a pantry. The late afternoon was spent cooking a ton of stuff for the week, including dill dip to take to a teacher appreciation event at Mac's high school. One of the other things we cooked was dinner. I made Sean stop eating so I get a photo of his plate before I forgot. We made marinated top sirloin, roasted broccoli with freshly grated parmesan cheese and hasselback potatoes which looked cool, but we all decided we like baked potatoes better.
This project certainly takes some extra time, but it is so, so cool to look back at a bunch of details and how they have changed over the last six years. Cannot wait for the next installment.
Skimming lots of magazines on my iPad while getting a pedicure is my mini vacation every three weeks or so. I keep various necessities in my car's center console...a notebook and pens, hand lotion, kleenex, a glass cleaning cloth and a lint roller...today I was reaching for the lint roller for my black t-shirt. Waiting for an estimate on our car since we were rear ended on our trip...it meant that I got to see the Price is Right showcase showdown for the first time in about a decade. Sean sent me photos today, the first one was him on the roof of the junior high gym tossing eggs for a science class. I stopped to grab a sandwich on my way home from the car place. Sean sat at his desk with his super cool lunchbox and CNN...which is why I often hear, "I saw on CNN...". One of my high school intro classes had a test today and snapped a picture of the sixty year old flooring (thankfully you can't see how dirty it is). And that photo means you now know that I will often wear the same thing to different classes during the week, since this the same skirt I had on Monday. The trick is to remember what I wore to what so I don't end up wearing the same thing to the same class. Sean and I ended up waiting for photos at Costco tonight since the super nice person in the photo center was helping me get Mac's grad announcements printed correctly. That meant a little wandering that we hadn't planned on. I snapped this photo of Sean picking out a watermelon before he could smile. Thankfully I also snapped it before he started acting like he was making out with the watermelon thinking I would want to document that.
I worked on some Project Life this morning since my I need to clear out the photos (a ton from our trip) since I keep getting messages that my iCloud is full. Taking Paddington out to the sideyard...you can barely see him in the corner of the rocks. String cheese and wheat thins have been one of my favorite snacks lately. Ran to Costco to grab the test photos for Mac's grad announcements and grabbed a salad for dinner with lots of goat cheese to add to it. Was a little overly dramatic via text when Mac approved the announcements. It was a happy day for Sean, the three pairs of running shoes he ordered arrived...those two different bright ones could burn your eyes out. Sean didn't shave on our little vacation and it has turned into a mini beard that is getting shaved off tonight..."But wait! Let me get a photo of it!". A friend asked me to craft up a cake topper for a bundt cake she ordered for a party for one of her kids this weekend. We used one of our bundt pans as a guide and Sean was my third and fourth hands to get it made.
I did not start taking photos until I was making myself half of a baked potato for an early lunch...this is my favorite way to cook them. The tulips Sean bought me this weekend were so pretty and are completely falling apart. I worked on Mac's graduation announcements and then worked on them some more...this was far from the final draft. I restocked the notepads downstairs since we managed to finish two of them yesterday...good thing I have collected way too many. I came home from work starving and there were 72 freshly baked cookies Sean made to drop off for teacher appreciation at Mac's school...then there were 71 cookies. I refiled all the items from today's class lecture and activity...we finished up a unit on marriage and divorce where the students were marriage experts that had to diagnose the perceived health of various celebrity marriages. As we discuss in class, even if every bit of available information about the relationship are all lies, there are still real consequences for our perceptions of marriage. After dropping off the cookies to the mom collecting everything for teacher appreciation we went to pick up Mac from work. He started another job through the school workability program...you can't see, but he is right inside the front window fixing the rows of carts while his mom was a creeper in the parking lot. Then we ended the night with more graduation announcement drafts.
Started this morning with a big mug of lemon water. I usually am teaching Monday mornings, but my state college finishes up with a final later this week, so I climbed into bed with my laptop to grade my online class. When my class was graded I went downstairs to wash dishes and clean up the kitchen. The mail usually come early here (since we live down the street from the post office) and is pretty much always sorted and handled within minutes of coming in the house. I worked on cheer team tasks (starting to organize everything to hand over to the new president), exercised a bit, took a shower, ran a couple quick errands and came home to grab a late lunch and head to my afternoon class. Today's outfit was blue and pink. The high school classroom I am in for our after-school class is a little messy, but the walls are filled with ideas and enthusiasm, so I love being in there. I ordered a new kind of brush for my Clarisonic after learning about it during the facial I had on my birthday last week. Prom is in less than two weeks and I need to figure out some centerpieces and decorations for these year's theme.
For three years now (2015 & 2014) Sean and I have filled flower pots for my mom's front porch. It's a total "surprise" at this point when the pots go missing Mother's Day weekend and end up back on her porch by Sunday morning. It's become one of my favorite spring traditions.
We have a bunch to do this weekend, but I am really going to try to crank out a mini album of our trip last week. I started on it tonight and will work on it tomorrow and Sunday.
So happy to have pictures and paper spread out all over.
We were going to go to new York since I love it so much...we had a crazy idea about trying to make it to Iceland...we talked about Maine...Nashville...Austin...Sedona.
We finally decided that we would check off the redwood trees from our bucket-list. We headed out Thursday night and stayed in Bakersfield to get a head start and avoid morning traffic through LA. Friday we drove and drove and drove some more. We got rear-ended by a gracious eighty-year-old gentleman as we endured Bay Area traffic. We finally made it to the hotel just before dark. As we waited for our dinner reservations in the hotel dining room we walked down to the creek for Sean to show off his rock skipping skills. We had a cheese plate, a steak, pasta carbonara and a turtle cheesecake...it was one of the best meals we've ever had.
In the morning we packed up, hopped in the car and headed towards Redwoods State Park. It was almost empty and an indescribable dream come true. Getting out of the car into the crisp morning air to see the first towering tree that caught my eye was one of the best moments I have ever had...
We wandered through...not even getting to the touristy stuff, rather we just pulled over a few times to explore...or stand right in the middle of the road.
As we turned around to start to drive out of the park, I caught a glimpse of a sign out of the corner of my eye exclaiming..."That said Griffin!". It was in a spot that was a little tricky to get to, but what are the chances?
We have been lucky enough to travel to some places we have dreamed off...but this might have been the very best.
This photo is actually from three years ago when we went to go see some Redwood trees at a local park.
Tomorrow, Sean and I are headed to Northern California to see the real deal.
On Monday, I turn forty and I will be here.
To say I am excited, is a massive understatement.
In addition to giving "Take Care of Yourself" kits, Sean is giving gifts at his school too. I made a tag with this digital kit and this font. He's also baking a few batches of these Inside Out Cookies to package up in simple brown paper bags.
Here's a sheet of the tags...Download Administrative Professionals Day Gift Tags
I think it's official that my favorite little gifts to give are some version of a kit. This week, for Administrative Professionals Day, I put together little zipper pouches of "Take Care of Yourself" kits.
Just handy items to have in your desk drawer; lotion, lip balm, a glass cleaning cloth, a nail file, band-aids and mints. I could not resist these Orla Kiely bags, but you could also package this up in a little bucket, basket, or other container...even just gather the items in a gift bag.
I made a couple tags, printed on kraft cardstock, to tie to the kits with twine. Here is a PDF that you could print on any shade of cardstock... Download Take Care of Yourself Kit Gift Tags. They fit perfectly in a 2.5 inch punch.
Then tomorrow I will have another printable tag for administrative professionals day since Sean is baking for everyone at his school.
These felt circles have been cut out since early March...just sitting there waiting to be made into a little garland idea I had and ran out of time before it was finished.
This weekend I need to get a bunch of upcoming classes prepped and get a whole bunch of cheer team tasks done. There will be crafting too, but it will be some gift making and wrapping.
So, I will get back to these circles one day, but it's probably not going to be anytime soon.
This year's little thank you gift for each cheer booster board member was a notebook to keep in the car as they run errands and need to remember everything. I actually have always had a binder in the car for coupons and keep a notebook to write something down before I forget, so I combined the two.
I included a note to each of them thanking them for never being too busy and to tell them I will miss working with them so much.
The to-do list is written for the week and it's a bit daunting. The cheer banquet is at the end of the week so I have gifts to make (the "I am very busy" print is part of it), banquet programs to design and print, and those pesky RSVP's to collect. I spent two hours on the phone this afternoon calling families after already sending out four email reminders to the entire cheer mailing list this past week. I still have twenty-one out of forty left to get.
Can I make a request on behalf of everyone and anyone who has ever hosted anything? Please RSVP.
Making some kind of label for each of our tomato plants is really one of my favorite crafts each year.
This year I grabbed some wood pieces from the craft store, painted them with some watered-down acrylic paint, stamped the names (I need a new StazOn stamp pad since mine is really dry) and Sean nailed them together for me.
I have a bunch of cards I've been meaning to share. I made this one for the original owners of our house. After selling they moved to Oregon, but we have kept in touch through the years. They celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2015 and shared it in their Christmas card, so I wanted to send along a little note to say congratulations.
Well Wishes...a homemade card shared on Wednesdays.
I am on the other half of my spring break this week. Last week was the state college and this week is the community college. This means I have every afternoon free so today, during the time I am usually in class, I baked bread for the very first time. I used this focaccia recipe and I didn't mess it up.
As someone who usually cooks without a recipe, actually following along with precise steps is pretty momentous.