Hello, 2014

Another year, another beautiful batch of memories… I’m sure I’m not the only one who can believe 2013 has come to a close (can I nominate it for fastest year ever?), but at the same time I am so excited for 2014. I have felt a definite shift in my life over the past few months and I just know that 2014 is going to be chock-full of amazing things.

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Learn how to make your own monthly photo board with this tutorial. Follow me on Instagram: @sarah1119.

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Booyah — say hello to my 2014 word. After completing Susannah Conway’s annual work book, Unravelling 2014 (highly recommend!) I learned that in 2014 I’d like to take care of myself in a whole new way. I’m all about nuturing these days. What’s your word?

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Oh yeah, and I pulled the trigger and bought a ‘spensive pair of shoes…

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AND! I finished our 2013 scrapbook! Oh my god, finishing a scrapbook makes me want to punch dance in a field. SUCH a good feeling. I have already purchased our 2014 album and hope to get started soon. I’m continuing the Project Life system because I do find that it’s the easiest way to get our memories down on paper. Excitement!

One more thing… I have updated my About page to better reflect where I am in life. Take a peek if you’d like! I kept the old About and Intro pages also, because I still love going back and re-reading them from time to time, but honestly my life has changed so much in the past year it was time for a little update.

I hope you all had lovely Christmases and that 2014 has gotten off to a great start. Here’s to another year!

Rave on,

Sarah

Handmade Butterfly Mobile

handmade butterfly mobile | sweetandsavorylife.com

In one of my last posts I mentioned that for a baby shower I attended I made a butterfly mobile as my gift to the expectant mother. It’s no secret that I prefer handmade over store bought, and when I saw that this mobile from Pottery Barn Kids had been registered for… the wheels started turning in a pretty much irreversible way. I thought, “I wonder if I could make that?” and it was all over from there.

I set out on this project with no real plan in mind, because 1) I’ve never attempted a project like this before and 2) there were no helpful step-by-step tutorial that I could find. I pillaged on. I purchased some paper, a butterfly die cut punch (this project was pre-Silhouette), and just started.

handmade butterfly mobile | sweetandsavorylife.com

I punched a lot of butterflies. I don’t even know how many.

handmade butterfly mobile | sweetandsavorylife.com

handmade butterfly mobile | sweetandsavorylife.com

I found that translucent beading thread was the best way to hang the butterflies. I used one of my quilling tools to punch two tiny holes in every single butterfly and threaded each butterfly onto the string by hand.

I adore meticulous projects like this. I just get lost in the details in a beautiful way.

handmade butterfly mobile | sweetandsavorylife.com

The mobile top was a wooden hoop like you use for cross stitching. They are very inexpensive. I painted it light pink to match the butterflies. I must admit that the whole time I was working on this project, I had no idea how it was going to turn out. It was definitely the kind of project that you just have to do.

handmade butterfly mobile | sweetandsavorylife.com

I strung the butterflies on alternating lengths of string — from 14″ to 22″. I used our two stools to suspend the mobile. I liken this part of the process to arranging flowers. You just have to start sticking things in the vase and move them around to see how everything is going to look.

handmade butterfly mobile | sweetandsavorylife.com

handmade butterfly mobile | sweetandsavorylife.com

 handmade butterfly mobile | sweetandsavorylife.com

handmade butterfly mobile | sweetandsavorylife.com

I love, love, love how the mobile turned out and it was a humongous hit at the shower. A lot of people I work with don’t know I craft-by-night, so that was fun. I will definitely be making another mobile in the future — I have plenty of ideas, and now that I have the Silhouette Cameo cutting out more die will be a breeze

butterfly mobile | sweetandsavorylife.com

Lovely, lovely, lovely.

-S

I Just Love A Good Shower

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One of the women I work with is just had a baby girl! Babies are so exciting. She announced her pregnancy soon after I was hired, and back in March I remember thinking, “Whoa, I will know so much more about  this job in November.” And truthfully? In many ways I wanted to talk to November Sarah just to make sure that I would in fact survive. Time really does fly, and it’s an exciting thing to see how far you’ve come in just seven months time. And now Baby Chloe is here!

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My supervisor (a good friend of the expectant mother) threw a Pinterest-worthy shower. It was very bright and very pink.

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See that mobile… Yeah, so… I made that. I totally have to brag about this one, because WOW did it come together. It deserves its own post.

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And, um, hello, but is this not the sweetest little girls room? I am in love with this furniture. And paint job. And everything.

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Congrats to the new parents! Can’t wait to meet Baby Chloe in person in a few weeks!

-S

Our Coffee Table Saga

living room copy

The definition of ‘bare bones.’

So… I don’t know if I’ve told you this yet or not, but up until a month ago, our coffee table was a plastic container. You know, like the ones you buy from Walmart to stuff linens in, or old t-shirts, or whatever else you seem to accumulate? Yeah. We moved into our new apartment in May, bought some awesome furniture and used a $8 storage container as the focal point of our living room for almost five months.

That’s just how we roll.

In all seriousness, I just could not stomach spending $200 on a regular looking coffee table when I knew we could make something similar and love it even more. Decorating and nesting has been an interesting journey for me — I love getting inspiration from different stores and Pinterest boards, but I’m learning something about myself: I’m stubborn when it comes to this stuff. If I have even a tiny inkling that I can make something instead of buy it, I refuse to spend any money. I have definitely learned you have to pick these battles, even with yourself, but in the end… I always love homemade anything over store bought anything.

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Over the summer, Shelton came across this DIY from Mr. Kate (ah — such a cute blog — love her s.t.y.l.e) and I became obsessed (read: OBsessed) with the idea of a coffee table with Tiffany-blue legs. Couldn’t get it out of my head. We stole some pallets, but it turns out it’s easier to embark on a project that requires lots of tools + space if you have a garage to work in. We had to scrap the pallet idea halfway through because it was just too labor intensive (pick your battles, remember). Plus, once July/August kicked in and we were both working 6 days a week/10-12 hours a day… the idea of wrestling with pallets in the North Carolina humidity just wasn’t appealing. At all. We kept using the plastic container.

Then it was announced that Mom and Janie would visit in October! We knew we had to get our booties (or is it bootys?) in gear and start doing some real work to make our apartment a cozy home. In a stroke of luck, earlier in the summer we had contacted Ashley Furniture about a blemish in one of our end tables and they gave us two replacement tops. Since the endtables are quite large, we decided it made sense to use one table top as the top of the coffee table. Then all the wood would match, too.

After a few trips to Lowe’s and a few evenings of work, our coffee table was finished. In the end I estimate that we spent around $70 on supplies. I am so happy with the result though — it was worth the wait!

Scroll down for list of supplies we used.

diy coffee table | sweetandsavorylife.com

We bought a long piece of wood and had Lowe’s cut it down for us in 4″x4″ squares. We used wood glue to adhere the wood squares to the underside of the table top. This helped reinforce the table legs.

diy coffee table | sweetandsavorylife.com

diy coffee table | sweetandsavorylife.com

diy coffee table | sweetandsavorylife.com

diy coffee table | sweetandsavorylife.com

diy coffee table | sweetandsavorylife.com

diy coffee table | sweetandsavorylife.com

Just in case you were wondering, the answer is no. I don’t miss the plastic storage container. Not one bit.

-S

Supplies

Valspar 12-oz Tropical Oasis High-Gloss Spray Paint

Waddell 15-1/4-in Country Pine Traditional Wood Table Leg

Blue Hawk 2-Count 5/16-in x 2-in Zinc-Plated Hanger Bolts

Waddell 3-in Table Leg Straight Top Plate

We Chicken Wired A Wall

chicken wired wall | sweetandsavorylife.com

Because, well, why the hell not?

If you ever have the opportunity to walk into our apartment — this is the first thing you’ll see.

It makes me so happy, and I love how interchangeable it can be.

Inspired by Under the Sycamore.

My very own “Pinterest Fail”

Let’s talk. For a while now I’ve been sick of my iPad case. It serves it’s purpose, but it’s boring. Just leather. Just black. Just blah. So, like any able-bodied crafter, I decided I’d give it a revamp. I saw this iPad cover by Free People and loved the feather print. Perfect opportunity for me to finally make some foam stamps, right?

You’ll see.

Pinterest Fail | sweetandsavorylife.com

It all started off innocent enough. Prelim pics of the disaster that was about to strike.

Pinterest Fail | sweetandsavorylife.com

Now — one thing that did turn out right? The feather foam stamps. Hopefully they’ll get used again.

Pinterest Fail | sweetandsavorylife.com

Pinterest Fail | sweetandsavorylife.com

And… yeah. Then this happened. I started by just printing the stamps haphazardly on the cover, but the acrylic paint + leather material + foam stamps just didn’t mesh well together. The stamps (with the acrylic paint) would work much better on paper or fabric — not leather. I got pissed (surprise) and just painted over everything to try a patterned look. Also failed.

Pinterest Fail | sweetandsavorylife.com

Oh well. The phrase “can’t win ‘em all” also applies to crafting.

See more awesome-ly horrible Pinterest Fails here.

Have you ever started a project with good intentions and then watched as it quickly fell apart?

(If your answer is no, then I don’t believe you. Second thought: what are Martha Stewart’s failed projects?)

Rave on,

Sarah

Cute Throw Pillow Applique DIY

You know how I made that String Art a few weeks ago to spruce up our bedroom? Well, I didn’t stop there.

For my second knitting project of the year, I decided that I wanted to knit a cover for a throw pillow. And since anchors are also a thing between Shelton and I, that seemed to be the obvious decoration choice. The great thing about this DIY is that it is totally customize-able to whatever you’re wanting – heck, you don’t even have to knit if you don’t want to!

I feel you warming up to me.

Cute Throw Pillow Applique DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

For this project you’ll need: janky throw pillow from the clearance section, knitting supplies (yarn in your color of choice and needles – I used about 2 skeins of yarn to knit the front cover), felt, design stencil/vector image, embroidery floss or thread, needle, and scissors.

Not a knitter? Go to a thrift shop or dig in your closet and find an old sweater you never wear. As long as it’s big enough to cover the front of your janky throw pillow, then you’re solid. Or, don’t cover your pillow at all. Options, people. Options.

Cute Throw Pillow Applique DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

Do you remember the days when you could purchase 2 cheap throw pillows from Walmart or Target for under $10? Those days are long gone, my friend. I searched high and low until I found this baby hiding on the clearance shelf at TJMaxx, which you know is a store where everything is already on sale. Definite win.

Cute Throw Pillow Applique DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

A hole! It’s my lucky day. In the words of Mr. Burns, “Egggggggsssellent.”

Cute Throw Pillow Applique DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

My finished knitted cover. I tried out circular needles for the first time and fell totally in love with them! Also, I didn’t account for how much the yarn would stretch, so the cover was a little wide. No big deal though – once it was secured with needle and thread it looked perfect. (From the front, but that’s the only side I care about. So there.)

Cute Throw Pillow Applique DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

I love downloading vector images from the internet. You can literally find anything.* I actually altered this vector in Illustrator to have a heart at the top instead of a circle, but you can do the same by drawing/cutting your printout or stencil. Also – I wanted the anchor to fill the center of my pillow so I enlarged it a bit and printed it out on two sheets of paper.

*Download at your own risk, obvi.

Cute Throw Pillow Applique DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

Cut out your design and then tape all the edges to the felt. Then you get to cut it out again!

Cute Throw Pillow Applique DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

Now the really fun part: stitching. I safety pinned the anchor in a few places first to make sure it didn’t move. I love the simplicity of hand stitching and I used the “back stitch” to sew the applique. Check out this really great Back Stitch step-by-step tutorial by Wild Olive!

After your applique is sewn on, then just roughly sew the completed cover to the pillow. Don’t worry about making it perfect, no one will see the back of the pillow anyway.

Cute Throw Pillow Applique DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

I think it helps tie the room together a little bit better! Same boat, an anchor… nautical without being nauseating.

Nightstand

Bonus picture! My nightstand. Pearls, a good book, stack of hair ties, jewelry box… I love being a girl.

What would you applique on your throw pillow?

-Sarah

Repurpose Birchboxes to Store Anything

If you’re like me, you just can’t toss out those cute brown paper boxes each month from Birchbox. I recently reorganized all my make up in our bathroom and was able to free up a ton of space with this Magnetic Make Up Frame DIY and some leftover Birchboxes. Here’s how you can make your own stacking boxes for whatever knick-knacks you have that need organizing…

Repurpose Birchboxes to Store Make Up | sweetandsavorylife.com

Repurpose Birchboxes to Store Make Up | sweetandsavorylife.com

I traced the top and side of the box lids, following the shape of their creases. I left a little extra on the end to tuck inside the lid (to give it a finished look). If you want, you can wrap the whole top of the lid, but I was not feeling that zealous.

Repurpose Birchboxes to Store Make Up | sweetandsavorylife.com

I recently bought this set of acrylic blocks and silicone stamps. At first I was super-nervous about how well these would work. How could the letters stick to the blocks over and over? Altogether the blocks and letters were ~$20… so I really didn’t want them to be a waste of moolah, you know.

Repurpose Birchboxes to Store Make Up | sweetandsavorylife.com

Good news! They’re awesome and I will definitely be adding to my stamp collection with more blocks and silicone letters.

Repurpose Birchboxes to Store Make Up | sweetandsavorylife.com

Once your lid covers are cut and stamped, hot glue them on top of your box. Keep them in line with the corners as you press down.

Repurpose Birchboxes to Store Make Up | sweetandsavorylife.com

Ta-da! Easy peasy.

-Sarah

Magnetic Make Up Frame

I received some great advice a few weeks ago from my friend Renee Do, who I affectionately call Do. As in “Do, a dear, a female dear…” She is pretty special to me for a number of reasons:

1. We traveled through England, Ireland and Wales together when we were teenagers.
2. She is one of the most honest, forthright, yet modest people I know.
3. She likes long emails just as much as I do.

When I started up Swoonful at the beginning of the year, I asked for feedback from friends, fellow bloggers, etc. and each month, Do diligently sends me an email response summing up her thoughts on the most recent edition. As someone who is constantly pushing themselves to do better, I can’t tell you how appreciated her feedback is to me. I guess because her and I are cut from the same cloth – perfectionists to a fault – I am never offended by her criticism, because it is truly constructive. That can be very hard to come by.

One of Do’s comments that stuck with me earlier this month was to actually do a project/recipe from a blogger I featured. Duh, I thought. Why hadn’t that occurred to me? I guess because I was in a rush to get out the Valentine’s Day issue and didn’t have time to get anything made. Well, my goal for the rest of the month was to do more projects. And boy, did I. To get started, I decided I needed to organize my make up situation in the bathroom, because well, it’s a damn mess. The result?

This awesome magnetic make up frame.

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I did some research on make up organization DIYs and found this incredible project from Laura Thoughts. I think it’s the original DIY that started a straight-up Pinterest chain reaction (you know how serious those are).

You can check out Laura’s post for the full how-to, but the steps are pretty simple:

1. Go through your make up and single out the products that you use most often – these items will go in your frame.
2. Purchase a frame, sheet metal, magnets and Command strips. You may need heavy duty clippers to cut the metal, strong glue like E600 or fabric to cover the metal. (I liked the exposed look.)
3. Glue the magnets to the back of your make up items. Let the lay out overnight to dry.
4. Cut your sheet metal to size. Take out the glass and other junk from the frame and replace with metal.
5. When the magnets are securely attached to your make up, test their resistance to ol’ gravity on the frame.
6. Hang your frame and stick your make up magnets on there! Add a pretty note or embellishments. Marvel at your handiwork.

Magnetic Makeup Frame | sweetandsavorylife.com

Before. Ugh. How horrible does this look?

Magnetic Makeup Frame | sweetandsavorylife.com

Behind-the-scenes organization. I let a lot of pieces go, but I feel great about it and don’t miss them at all. (Probably because I haven’t used those eyeshadows in years…)

Magnetic Makeup Frame | sweetandsavorylife.com

After. Everything that I didn’t want on the frame, went into one of these boxes. I repurposed old Birchboxes and this was such a simple DIY (that I’ll share later). Every time I see my little boxes full of treasures it makes my head feel clearer. Seriously.

Tools: make up applicators, blotting sheets, brush cleaner, etc.

Sparkle: “going out” make up, red lipstick, glosses, falsies, glittery things.

Etc: abundance of samples from Birchbox I cannot bring myself to throw away.

Magnetic Makeup Frame | sweetandsavorylife.com

Magnetic Makeup Frame | sweetandsavorylife.com

Magnetic Makeup Frame | sweetandsavorylife.com

In the little drawer I separated tools like tweezers, etc., from hair ties/bands (which I still have way too many of, but oh well).

Magnetic Makeup Frame | sweetandsavorylife.com

I would totally let Martha Stewart use our bathroom. Clean as a whistle.

What is your make up situation like? Would a project like this make getting ready in the morning easier for you?

-Sarah

Make Your Own String Art

After Shelton blew my socks off last week with my early Valentine’s Day gift, I was so excited to surprise him with a homemade piece of art straight from my heart. I’ve been looking for something to put over our bed, but nothing I found while perusing Etsy (or Pier One for that matter) seemed to fit us. When this happens, I know the only solution is to brainstorm a project and do it myself. Once the notion of string art entered my mind… the wheels started turning and well, here we are.

What does “same boat” mean? Glad you asked. Same boat is mine and Shelton’s personal relationship mantra. No matter where we are in life or what’s going on, we always say that we’re forever in the same boat. It’s a simple touchstone, but that’s all I need when the waters get rocky. Same boat means he’s right there with me, that we’re in it together no matter what “it” is.

So yeah. That’s why I couldn’t find what I wanted at Pier One. I needed it to be this personal.

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Before creating your own string art, please read my notes at the end of this post.

You will need: a cork board (whatever size you like), acrylic paint, 11/16″ wire nails, and embroidery thread.

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

Painting the cork is optional, but it reinforces the texture of the cork and also gives it a finished look.

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

I highly recommend anchoring your letters. It makes moving it very easy if you need to and just keeps everything in line.

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

I call this picture The Final Nail.

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

Time to start wrapping. I wish I could tell you there was a pattern to making it look awesome and crazy and random… but there isn’t. Once you double knot your thread on the first nail, just go to town with it. And even though this is a haphazard process… it is not a fast one. Prepare to spend the most time on the first letter and you will get faster as you go. When I was finished with one letter I always looped around each nail to give the letters a straight edge.

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

Progress. Tying off a letter is a bit tricky. Basically, when you’re done looping around each nail, pull the thread towards you with tension (to keep the letter from unraveling) and…

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

…while still holding the thread tight with your left hand, loop the end of the thread behind the nail you finished on and pull it through.

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

Double knot and carefully snip away the ends.

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

The finished product.

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

I have a confession to make. This is the most moving project I have ever completed. Something about it really speaks to me – not just our same boat message – something more. It inspires me greatly, to the point where I want to make more. Lots more. I think most of us work hard to stay inside the lines and make a perfect life, but life is never perfect. It’s a tangled, wonderful, undeniable mess. And I’ve learned that through my relationship with Shelton. To really appreciate the messiness of life, because it’ll never be all-the-way clean.

Shelton really liked it, too. Okay, that’s a lie. He loved it.

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

String Art DIY | sweetandsavorylife.com

It fits.

~

Project Notes & Sources of Inspiration:

  • Your message/design will determine just how much nails and thread you need, so think about that while shopping. I ended up buying extras of everything, which chalked up to three boxes of nails and three skeins of each thread color. I only used one and a half boxes of nails and one skein of thread per color. So, I could’ve saved a little bit of dough, but then again these are not what you call expensive supplies.
  • I referenced a couple other string art DIYs and they called for linoleum nails, but I couldn’t find any at Walmart. I settled on wire nails but wish that I would have chosen nails with bigger, wider heads. This would have helped the process for two reasons: 1) at times it was tricky keeping the thread secured under such a small nail head while wrapping it and 2) literally for days after I completed this project my pointer finger (the one I used to primarily pin the nails) hurt like it had been burned. Painful!
  • I will do another string art project in the future, but plan on adjusting the process. For instance, using another material over cork, different nails, a hammer, etc.
  • DIY String Art Tutorial by Honey & Fitz
  • String Art For A Beachy Room by Creative In Chicago

DIY: Personalized Bookplate

If you’re like me – you’ll do whatever it takes to make a seemingly-ordinary gift unforgettable and special. In this post I talked about a wedding gift I recently gave to a good friend of mine that included a cookbook (Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstach). To make the cookbook a little bit more unique, I created a bookplate using some clear Avery labels I had in my craft stash and Illustrator. The step-by-step DIY is below!

Before you get started, you’ll need the following things:

1. Mailing labels — Whatever size you like. I recommend Avery labels because they have an extensive library of templates online.

2. Specific fonts — Not required, but you can download a ton of great fonts from dafont.com for personal use for free.

3. Vector images — Also not required, but can be used to jazz up any design. Whatever clip art you’re interested in featuring, perform a Google search and see what comes up. For instance, I searched for “swashes free vector” and got a lot of feedback. The swashes I used can be found here. Freepik.com is an excellent resource for vector files.

Note: this tutorial is if you’re creating one (1) bookplate. If you are interested in creating multiple sheets of the same bookplate information, you may want to skim over these initial steps and skip down to the bottom where I prompt you to search for and download the Adobe Illustrator file version of your mailing label template. Then you can design your bookplate as you see fit and copy/paste the design as needed.

STEP ONE: Once you have your mailing labels, vector files downloaded and fonts installed, fire up Illustrator and create a new document. Set the width and height to the mailing label size and make sure to set the document profile to “print.”

book plate 1

STEP TWO: Add your vector file, if you have one. Adjust it to your liking. (For instance, this swash design was initially black. I thought grey was a bit more fitting.)

book plate 2

book plate 3

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STEP THREE: Add in your text. Play around as necessary.

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Ta-da, final product.

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STEP FOUR: Google search for a Adobe Illustrator template for your specific mailing label. Open it alongside your finished bookplate.

Note: This is what I recommend Avery – they have templates for all Adobe programs. If you try to save the image as a .jpeg or .png and copy/paste into a Microsoft Word template of your mailing labels you will be sorely disappointed with the clarity of the text/images. Speaking from experience on this one, so take my word for it.

STEP FIVE: Copy/Paste your items from the original Illustrator file to the Illustrator template, as many times as you want. I only needed one, which is why only one copy of the bookplate is visible below in the print preview window. Print and adjust spacing as necessary. Stick on the inside of your book and BOOM! Done-zo.

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Pretty snazzy, huh?

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I don’t think I’ll ever give a book as a gift the same way again.

-Sarah

February Blog Date

Happy Valentine’s Day to you! Whether you’re in love with someone or just in love with yourself (highly recommended), today is a day of showing appreciation. Send a sweet email to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Send flowers to your mom. If you go out to lunch, bring back a snack for someone you work with. There are so many ways to show you care – that’s probably why I adore this holiday so much! Let’s have a little blog date so that I can share with you a few exciting things that are going on in my neck of the woods, as well as some awesome discoveries I’ve made. I would love it if you’d comment and share as well!

books

On the way back from Alex’s wedding, I finished the most incredible book: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. I’m gonna have to write a whole post about Daring Greatly and the intellectual prowess that is Brene Brown. I’ve talked about Brene once before in this post. Let’s put it this way: I seriously highlighted and dogeared every other page (pretty much) and consider this book the manual to my life. Amazing, mind-bending, eye-opening ways to think about life. I eat that shit up.

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I am so proud of my compliment bouquet DIY! Most of the time when I brainstorm a project I turn to the interwebz + Pinterest for inspiration, but I had no such luck when trying to find a similar DIY. So, I did what any crafty girl does. I created what I wanted from scratch. You know how some people can cook/bake from scratch? Yeah. I am not so great at that. But a craft project? I can do that all day.

Pink TOMS. My new pink cordones need no explanation. They ship tomorrow! (Looks like the style I just ordered isn’t available anymore!)

I am learning French. One of my goals for 2013 was to start learning a new language. I thought about it a lot, and have chosen to give French a try. I bought a book last week to start familiarizing myself with verb tenses, etc., and hope to eventually get Rosetta Stone. I just love the French way of life, and think it would be so cool to go to Paris in the future and be able to speak/read a little bit.

Simplifying + Dreaming. Lately I feel like I’ve had a lot of breakthroughs mentally, emotionally, and creatively. Sometimes I feel like my life is such a mess and that there’s no way to keep it all organized. While that is somewhat true, I’ve been focusing more on my accomplishments (no matter how small) and trying to not compare myself to others. I remind myself that my life is my own, and I get to choose how I want/need to live it. Some days I have to remind myself of this a lot, but that’s okay. It’s sinking in. You can expect a few more changes here on the blog, but I’m really excited to continue pruning my work and this outlet. It’ll be great!

scarf

Knitting, among other things. Look at my finished cowl neck scarf! I finished it a couple weeks ago. My mom got me some knitting supplies for Christmas and I finally pulled them out and re-taught myself. I’m not sure if I love knitting or not, but finishing my scarf was an awesome feeling. I’m going to try to knit more often, and already have my second project planned. Stay tuned!

My new favorite necklace from Shelton + New opportunities! So, the other day Shelton said that a package would be coming for him but that as soon as it came I was not to look at where/who it came from. Read: this package contained my Valentine’s Day gift. (Perk/Downfall of working from home.) I obliged, because I love surprises! When it came on Monday, I did not look and set it on the counter. Monday was an especially exciting day, because Shelton accepted a job offer with an awesome student housing company called American Campus Communities. They are pretty much the Walmart of college apartments and have properties all over the United States. He’ll be working at a complex here in Greenville and it’s a great opportunity for him and, ultimately, us. Since they have locations every where, being with ACC is technically our ticket, well, anywhere. Him wanting to leave his current job and searching for a new position has been a stressful process that I didn’t really want to share here. But – it all worked out and that’s what matters. He came home with a 18-year-old bottle of Chivas Regal (fancy) and said, “Tonight, we drink like Hugh Hefner: in our robes.” I thought it was so cute, so I put on my robe and settled on the couch to enjoy my very delicious scotch-whiskey blend. Shelton opened his compliment bouquet and we relaxed to catch up on some DVR. After a while, he asked for a glass of water. Me, being ultimately lazy, thought oooooooookay, I will get up and get you water. When I reached over to set down my whiskey glass, I felt something in my r0be pocket. Kind of hard? My first thought was why is Shelton’s wallet in my pocket? No lie. “What is this?” I asked, feeling the shape through my robe. Shelton is incredible at playing things off. Remember by birthday? “I don’t know…” he kept saying. I was laughing and smiling, thinking, damn, he got me uh-gain. But then I pulled out the box and all laughing stopped. I gasped. Because the box was a tell-tale blue.

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The whole moment shifted. I was speechless – what was in the box almost didn’t matter, because, wow. Tiffany’s. The ultimate. I unwrapped it to find the most perfect little heart-shaped locket, and very tiny on the front, two letters engraved: “SS.” This is the part where I cried. It was just so sweet, so touching, so us.

I haven’t taken it off since. The end.

~

What a great week it has been. February is halfway over and I am feeling a lot of love and support lately from many different directions. I am motivated to keep working towards my goals and am doing my best to not dwell on any shortcomings. I enjoy moments of clarity like this like you wouldn’t believe.

What have you discovered lately? What breakthroughs have you made in your life?

Remember to share your joys –  it makes your happiness multiply.

-Sarah

How to Make a Compliment Bouquet

I am a girl who loves getting flowers. I know, I know. They die eventually. But for me, the surprise of a fresh bouquet never gets old and is always appreciated. Shelton is great at surprising me when I least expect it. Case in point, last Sunday he came home with this arrangement from the grocery store:

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I’ve said it many times, and will say it many more, I am a very lucky girl.

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I wanted a new way to give flowers as well as sweet compliments. I did some searching online for ways to fold notes into flowers, but nothing really fit what I was envisioning. So, I took the time to plan it all out myself from scratch. I’m really proud of this DIY and hope that you’ll make a bouquet of compliment flowers for someone you love. This is a project that can be given anytime – just like their fresh counterparts. Make it special, make it your own.

This particular bouquet I gave to Shelton, and he loved it.

Opening every flower was like opening a gift, he said.

Compliment Bouquet For Every Occasion: sweetandsavorylife.com

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You’ll need:

  • Flower templates cut out (I cut a dozen from construction paper)
  • Pipe cleaners (2 for each flower you plan to make)
  • Paper squares to write your sweet notes on
  • Leaves in the form of cupcake liners (literally plucked from my Holiday Garland DIY)
  • Hot glue gun and a couple glue sticks
  • Pretend like the hole punch isn’t there

{DOWNLOAD FLOWER TEMPLATE HERE!}

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STEP ONE: Write your sweet compliments on the paper squares. Tip: start each compliment with “You…” This helps focus your mind/heart on the things you love the most about the person you’re giving the bouquet to. I stole the “You make my soul smile.” from my friend Alex’s wedding vows. Fold them up into tiny squares.

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STEP TWO: Take two pipe cleaners and twist together to make one stem. Leave about a half inch untwisted on one end (shown under my thumb). On the untwisted end, take the two pipe cleaners and pull apart to make a “V.” (This will make more sense below.) Do this for all the stems you need.

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STEP THREE: This is where it gets a little tricky, but stay with me on this. To fold your flowers, take one cutout (with the open slit facing your right) and fold down the top petal.

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Moving clockwise, fold the petal pointing to your right over and through the slit of the first petal. The slits will hook on each other.

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Still moving clockwise, fold the bottom petal up and behind the first petal. It will hook into place on the top left.

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Stick in one of your folded notes.

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Take the last petal (should be the one pointing to your left) and fold it to the right and under all of the hooked petals. Pull it up so that it is positioned in the top right corner of the petals.

Practice with one flower cutout until you get comfortable with the motion. Once you get it down, it’s very easy!

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STEP FOUR: Put a dot of hot glue on the center of your cupcake leaves and press your folded flower bud onto it.

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Like this.

Now, I know that the picture shows the stem already attached. I started out doing this, but found that it was much easier to attach the flower to the leaves first, let them cool, and then glue the stems to the bottom of the leaves.

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STEP FIVE: Pretend like there is a flower bud already on the leaves, please. Okay, this is where the “V” comes in. When all your buds are dried and stuck to the leaves, flip them over and glue on the stems. I used one line of hot glue each time and then held the “V” into place until it was dry enough to stand on its’ own in the vase. Tie a pretty ribbon on the vase and you’re done!

Compliment Bouquet For Every Occasion: sweetandsavorylife.com

So lovely and different! This arrangement definitely brightens up a table just like a bouquet of fresh flowers. I was very excited with the end result.

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Here’s a little behind-the-scenes snapshot of how the flower template evolved. I started off just sketching the petals and then eventually moved to Illustrator to design the template. It was important to me that each piece of the template be the same size, otherwise when you fold it all together the petals wouldn’t “hook” right. This wasn’t about perfection – it was more so to set you up for success when cutting everything out. I will say that the cutting is the longest part of this process, but not painfully so.

I really do hope you’ll give this DIY a go. If you do, let me know how it turned out?

Happy early Valentine’s Day,

-Sarah

Scrapbooking Memories from 2012

Raise your hand if you have a love/hate relationship with scrapbooking. (My hand is raised.)

I love the final product of a finished scrapbook – I mean, really, is there anything better? But I hate how much time/money/energy can be required just to get to that final product. In late 2011, I decided to switch things up a bit. I started saving mementos in a jar to haphazardly (read: no precision required) compile into a scrapbook at the end of 2012 and you know what?

Easiest thing I’ve ever done. And that’s why you should do it, too.

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This is my 2012 jar. It’s a glass canister from Walmart painted with chalkboard paint. During 2012, I dropped many things in here – movie tickets, business cards, plane tickets, wristbands, you name it. If it was worth saving, I kept it.

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As 2012 came to a close, I began digging through my jar and organizing the mementos. I started this process in about September or October of 2012 and it didn’t take me long at all to organize everything by month – about an hour. I purchased a scrapbook and decorated a page or two, but that was it. There were still a few months left in 2012 so I didn’t feel the need to get ahead of myself.

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After the holidays is when I really sat down and put everything together. This was a fun, easy going project and I completed a whole year’s worth of scrapbooking in about two evening’s time. I didn’t follow any specific theme – I just let the tidbits from 2012 speak for themselves. I also journaled throughout the book for a more personal touch, but this is not required.

Below are some of my favorite spreads – I hope they’ll inspire you to be less rigid in your memory saving! I think what’s most important is that everything is together – not that it is perfect. I can’t wait to look through this book in years to come…

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The jar is all ready for 2013! I wonder what treasures it will be filled with come this Christmas… Only time will tell.

-Sarah

Valentine’s Day DIY: Mood Wheels! {FREE Printable}

This project is an oldie-but-a-goodie, posted way back in February 2011 on my old blog. It’s super cute, easy and got rave reviews , so I am happy to share again.

I’m shamed to admit that members of my family (and close friends) will be receiving their Valentine’s Day cards/gifts late this year. I finally got them all mailed off this morning, and still have one more to mail tomorrow. I know, terrible, right?

What can I say? I’m just one girl.

Maybe you’re feeling a bit like me–time is going by fast and you’ve got nothing to show for it. I’m here to help though! I have two last minute Valentine’s Day crafts that you can throw together tomorrow and still impress everyone with come the big day. They’ll cost you virtually nothing (if you have a craft stash) and will certainly make all the Valentines in your life feel special.

Without further adieu, I give you…The Mood Wheel.

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You’ll need:

  • Template I created printed on colorful cardstock (Free download here!)
  • Doilies (optional) (And yes, I realize that I spelled “doillies” wrong in the picture.)
  • Double-sided tape (or any kind of thin adhesive)
  • Toothpick
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  • Brads (cutesy ones, or old school gold ones)
  • Magnetic strips (with adhesive, if you can find some)

You’ll like to know that this is a project that you can make as intricate or as simple as you like. Don’t want to use doilies? Don’t! Don’t want to buy magnets? Clean off your fridge and use the promotional magnets that businesses hand out! Make it your own, don’t make it perfect.

First, you’ll want to cut out the arrow and wheel from the template. I mixed it up by never using the same color on one wheel, but do it however you like!

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Punch a hole in the arrow.

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Poke a hole in the wheel.

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Attach the double-sided tape (or whichever adhesive your little crafty heart desires) on the back of the wheel.

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Attach wheel to the doily, press firmly and puncture all the way through.

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Stick the brad through the arrow’s hole and through the hole, placing the magnet over the back of the brad. Turn over and again press down on the top of the wheel to ensure the doily adheres to the magnet.

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Ta-da! The finished products.

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I realized that the mood wheel I had was a bit…edgy, I suppose. Perfect for the college kids I worked with at the time, but not for a household with children. I can see it now:

“Mom, why are you feeling ‘bitchy’ today?”

“Teacher, what does ‘tipsy’ mean?”

Not kosher. So I made another one, a PG version, if you will. It’s available here.

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I want all of the projects I post to have versatility. So, whether you have a six-year-old who needs Valentines for Monday or you work in an office of cynics, there’s a mood wheel for you.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy,

Sarah