Sweet & Savory Life

Tag: gift (page 1 of 2)

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.


BFF Birthday Gift Box

Today is my childhood best friend’s birthday! Kelsey turns 25 and now is oh-ficially a member of the “25 and older” club. She was really dreading the big two-five, but I have a feeling it’ll grow on her. I decided to put her together a little gift box of sorts. Nothing special, just tiny gifts from the heart, i.e., the best kind.

Birthday Gift Box | sweetandsavorylife.com

What’s inside?

Birthday Gift Box | sweetandsavorylife.com

Kelsey recently learned how to crochet and I have been trying to pick up the skill as well. Knitting is going well, but crocheting, in many ways, is a whole ‘nother ball game. One of Shelton’s work friends is an avid crocheter and a couple weeks ago she gave me a ton of yarn. I thought the little skeins of cotton yarn were too cute for words!

I also had another go-around with my foil stamper and it was the best stamping session yet. I finished Kelsey’s note cards in no time!

I like how the pink ribbon makes a “k.” I’m all about subtleties.

Birthday Gift Box | sweetandsavorylife.com

Thanks to some supplies from The Plaid Barn and scrapbooking paper, I made this little pendant. I have a lot of epoxy dots from The Plaid Barn, and aspirations to start an Etsy store just full of epoxy creations. But of course all the supplies sit neatly on my desk. One day, maybe.

Birthday Gift Box | sweetandsavorylife.com

Birthday Gift Box | sweetandsavorylife.com

This paper envelope was in one of my previous Birchboxes and I saved it just for an occasion like this. A little stamping action, glue, sparklies and boom! Cute packaging.

Birthday Gift Box | sweetandsavorylife.com

All tucked safely inside – and hopefully it made it to the birthday girl in the same condition. I just love sending care packages. It’s pretty much my favorite thing ever.

Happy Birthday, Kelsey!


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

book plate 4

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

book plate 5

book plate 6

Ta-da, final product.

book plate 7

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.

book plate 10

Pretty snazzy, huh?


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


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


Wedding Gift Packaging

My best friend got married last weekend and it was a pretty epic experience. I thought I’d share my gift to the happy couple, as weddings are definitely an opportunity for those close to the bride and groom to be extra-thoughtful. Here’s an interesting twist on a kitchen-themed gift.


Sometimes I really have a problem purchasing frivolous gifts. Call me old-fashioned, but I like buying gifts that will be used and hopefully treasured over time. That’s not too much to ask for, is it? Plus, when it comes to weddings I have learned that I really have to keep my inner Billy Crystal circa When Harry Met Sally in check. But, this is not about me. It’s about this lovely wedding gift.

So, what have we got here?

  • Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstach — I read this whole book before wrapping it up. I love cookbooks that read like stories, and I chose it for Alex and Jeff because Jenny cleverly tells the story of how her and her husband’s cooking evolved over time. It catalogs their early years as newlyweds, how their tastes changed, adjustments they made when they had kids, and so on. I thought it was a beautiful story.
  • All Out Of pad — I have had one of these pads from Knock Knock on my fridge for almost two years. They last a long time and make grocery list making a breeze, I tell you.
  • Bamboo cutting board by Calphalon — I didn’t know the beauty of a good cutting board until Shelton and I really started cooking together. I like the idea of Alex and Jeff pulling it out weekly and using it to start their dinners, chopping vegetables and slicing meet while discussing their days…

Hopeless romantic, much?


The twist! I put my Illustrator skills to use and created a personalized bookplate for Alex and Jeff, paying tribute to their wedding date and also their mutual love of cooking. (DIY coming soon!)


Wrapping materials from Spritz (found at Target) – too cute for words, really.

photo (59)

The finished product! Sorry for the iPhone photo – my camera battery died before I could snap a legit picture. I sent this one to Alex so that she would see my gift in good condition, because there’s no telling what it would look like upon arrival. As I submit this post the happy couple are honeymooning on a remote mountain retreat in Canada… Join me in wishing them well!

Update: Alex and Jeff loved their gift! It was so fun watching them unwrap it and flip through the cookbook together. Ah, love…



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