this year our church participated in advent conspiracy, which challenged us to "worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all." for me, it really motivated me to be more thoughtful and intentional about my gifts. it's easy to just go in a store and pick out something, but knowing that i could save that money and donate it to a worthy cause made me second guess my spending actions this past holiday season. whether it meant coming up with an idea and comparing prices to find the best deal or simply making it myself, i was determined to be more thoughtful and cost-efficient.
one of the names we pulled for christmas on joel's side was his cousin jennifer. she's been in the process of redecorating her and her husband's condo, and her latest project was their dining area, which she made black and red. it came out SO good, and once i saw it, i knew what i could make her. i love personalizing things, and the fact that she enjoys cooking made it all just come together. after playing around in indesign and finding the perfect recipe box at macy's (can't go wrong with something in martha stewart's line!), this was the final result:
as for my friends go, we all decided to draw names again this year. i pulled natalie, and after some brainstorming, i finally thought of a cute gift i could make her. she has the cutest little dog, sicily, that is her world. she is so in love with that dog, and it's the cutest thing ever. sicily doesn't shed or stink, so she's ok in my book. i decided to do something for her room that reflected her and sicily and that matched her decor colors (blue and white). my original idea was to find a white three picture frame and design letters for each window, which would have been N & S. as hard as i looked, i could not find a picture frame that i wanted for a good price. so i went ahead and decided to just find a normal sized picture frame and create a family monogram with her and her precious pup's initials. i looked for some ideas online and found a really cute monogram that i was able to recreate but just made it cuter. :) i ended up finding a good size size frame at goodwill, got it matted how i wanted at hobby lobby, and spray painted it white. i think it came out cuter than my original idea, so i was pleased. plus, the total cost was less than $10, and that always makes me happy. here is what the frame looked like before:
she loved it, and here's a pic with the whole family:
kate decided that she wanted to give val a cookbook. i showed her the cards i made for jennifer, and she thought val would love some too. so i created recipe cards to reflect val's style. she doesn't really have a specific color combo for her kitchen, so i made each divider and meal course a different, fun color. instead of the cookbook, kate ended up giving val the cards and then wrote some of her favorite recipes that she thought val would like or want to try out. it was so thoughtful, and val absolutely loved it! here was her reaction:
here's a closer look on how they came out (not the best pics but i'll post some better ones later):
it was so much fun to see everyone's reactions and hear how much they loved their presents. it even inspired me and joel to make our valentine's day presents this year. i was surprised that he was so willing to make my present, and he informed me that he is quite crafty as well. i'm just excited to see what he has in mind. :) i'm in the process of gathering supplies for his, and i'll be sure to share some pics after v-day. i'm sure i'll love whatever he comes up with, but i did tell him that i didn't want flowers or candy. his response? "oh no, i'm not falling for that one again." haha! i love that man more than my little homemade valentine's day present will ever express.