Several months ago I attended a class about how best to make and stick to resolutions. It was led by a woman who referred to herself as an intuitive consultant and spiritual advisor. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The session turned out to be a discussion about the impact of positive thinking on our ability to achieve goals.
Something happened during the class that has stuck with me over the months. After listening to one of the other attendees debate the pros and cons of an important decision, the instructor said, “Leap and the net will appear.” Her statement was directed at everyone in the class, but it felt like she knew exactly what I needed to hear. She explained her belief that trusting our intuition and practicing positive self-talk helps us take chances and live more fulfilled lives.
At first I thought it was all a little new age-y, but after paying attention to my own self-talk, I noticed how many times I told myself negative things. Or, I let the negative things others said about me to seep under my skin and take root. It’s dangerous. It threatens my satisfaction or worse, my self-worth.
The instructor suggested daily affirmations – both spoken and written – as a way to rewire how we think about ourselves. I couldn’t find a book or set of affirmation cards that felt right to me so I decided to make my own. (FREE printable here!)
The goal of affirmations is to choose a few affirmations a week that speak to something you’re struggling with. Read them out loud, write them over and over in a notebook, even say them to yourself while looking in a mirror! (I haven’t worked up the ability to do the last one.) With practice, you’ll better trust your instincts, understand your value, and feel confident to take a big leap because you know the net will appear.
If you have a stash of kraft boxes, you are always ready to wrap a gift (I stock them in 2″, 3″ and 4.”) Kraft boxes are the perfect packaging for gifts from your kitchen like jars of jam or lemon curd or homemade crackers, cookies and candies. They also work well for soft items like socks, belts, scarves or gloves. The little tan boxes even make cash and gift cards more festive to give. The beauty of a kraft box is you can tie it with twine and you’re good to go. But sometimes it’s nice to take it to the next level. Here are a five easy ways to embellish a kraft box.
Markers – Kraft boxes are the perfect canvas for doodling. Use markers, crayons, colored pencils, paint… whatever you have on hand. After you finish your masterpiece, add something festive like a sparkler-inspired box topper.
Stickers – Nothing could be easier than decorating with stickers and you probably already have a stash somewhere in your house. If not, you could pick up some neon dot stickers (or white hole reinforcements) from your local drug store. Simple.
Paper – You could wrap your kraft box with beautiful gift wrap, but that’s an obvious solution. Instead, use patterned scrapbook paper to cover just the sides of the box. (It makes opening easier and the box stays pretty!)
Paper Punch – Use a paper punch to cut and paste decorative shapes to the sides of your kraft box. I love this trick the most and do it all the time. (Check out my valentine boxes.)
Washi Tape – Use washi tape to create any pattern you like. You can also use washi in place of ribbon. I like the look of “outlining” a box with washi tape.
There are hundreds of ways to create unique, personalized gift boxes. I hope these five simple ideas spark your creativity. Happy packaging!
What are you doing this weekend? If you’re like the rest of the country, you’re probably baking and entertaining and shopping and wrapping. Maybe you’re addressing your holiday cards while watching your favorite Christmas movie. Is there time to squeeze in a quick decorating DIY? Yes! And I have a free printable for you to make it easy.
For the simple accordion folded garland above, I printed the letters needed on sticker paper I found at Paper Source. I then used a 1-inch circle punch to cut the letters and adhered them to the “garland.” So simple. I created free printables of several color combos so you can make your own garland.
1. Use a 2-inch paper punch to create 18 circles of patterned paper or card stock.
2. Print* one of the PDF templates below and use a 1-inch paper punch to cut out each letter.
3. Adhere one letter to each patterned circle.
4. Use a needle to thread the circles on a piece of embroidery floss or twine.
5. Hang above your bed, from your mantle, or use the garland to wrap a gift.
Have you ever looked around after completing your holiday decorating and thought – it needs something. Maybe it’s more color, more shine, or something new to rest on that shelf you hung a few months ago. Garlands to the rescue! Here are three easy-to-make garlands that will add that needed finishing touch to your holiday decorations.
1. Fa La La Garland This is an accordion garland perfect for a mantle, a desk , a coffee table or as the centerpiece on your holiday buffet. Simply decide what you want to spell out and how long it needs to be and that will determine how many folds you need in your garland. I glued several pieces of card stock end to end to have the length I needed. You can decorate each folded piece in numerous ways. I went for a Nordic/ski lodge feel and used printed letters on stickers to spell out the fa la la. The best part is it folds up neatly which makes it easy to move and store.
2. Santa Hat Garland I collect Santas so I wanted to make a garland that worked well with my collection. For this garland I cut diamond shapes out of red card stock and folded them over bakers twine to form the hats. I folded a white card stock rectangle over each hat for the white fur, and glued a white pompom on each tip. I alternated the hats with tiny jingle bells which I think makes the garland a little more fun. Be sure to use good glue to keep the hats in place. (Note: the card stock was more difficult to keep glued together but regular paper may not be sturdy enough.)
3. Christmas Lights Garland When I was in grade school my dad would line the eaves of our house with big, old-fashioned Christmas lights. I could see them out my bedroom window and sometimes they would be covered in snow, creating a soft glow of red, green, orange and blue. There’s no snow where I live now but I figured out a way to get a colorful holiday glow in my windows.
To make this garland, I used these directions for crayon hearts and this punch from EK Success. (Looks like the punch is discontinued but you could cut the shape by hand.) I spaced the lights out along a piece of black embroidery floss and glued each one to a piece of folded black construction paper. I love how the light shines through the melted crayons making unique patterns on each bulb. This one’s probably my favorite.
When I was little, we always had an advent calendar. They were made of paper and generally depicted a manger scene, but sometimes the image was secular like the Santa advent calendar shown above. Every day my brother and I would take turns opening the tiny paper windows to reveal an image related to Christmas – a star, an angel, a bough of holly. Advent calendars were special and glittery and, at once, increased anticipation and managed expectations. There’s no need to ask, “how many days ’til Christmas?” when there’s an advent calendar in your home.
Advent calendars have morphed (especially if there are kids in the house) from a daily, brief moment of wonder to the added pressure of coming up with 24 tiny gifts or activities to enjoy every day. If you’re scrambling to come up with a last-minute advent calendar, here are five easy-to make versions made with materials that are easy-to-find or you may already have around your house or in your stash of craft supplies.