Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wishing You Joy and Peace

From our families, to yours...
We hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday, one filled with joy and peace. Thanks for sharing the memories. We look forward to all that 2009 brings!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gift Tags for Remembering

Are you looking for fun ways to fill your holiday with memories? Dig out your old holiday photographs and use them to create special one-of-a-kind gift tags that will have everyone tripping down memory lane!
  • Find old holiday pictures. These pictures need to be in digital format, so if they aren't already electronic, get 'em scanned. If you don't have a personal scanner, check your local print shop. They can make this part easy!

    Be sure to save these pictures in a web-friendly format such as .JPEG, .PNG or .GIF.

  • Load your pictures into the photo wizard. Because we are on a shared server, we limit the size of the files that you can upload. The web link includes information on how to reduce file size, if it's needed. We are madly working on a new option that will automatically do this for you. Because we don't want to trip anyone up before the holidays, we won't unveil this feature until after the new year. If you need help, just contact us. We can help you get your pictures loaded into the software.

  • Format pictures. You're on the home stretch. All that's left is fitting the pictures to the window and adding text. This is a perfect way to document the person or date of each memory. Remember that the final picture size is less than two inches, so if you add text, it'll be even smaller. Keep the wording simple and GO BIG!

  • Save changes, add to print list and print the project. You own the .pdf file that you've just created, so be sure to save a copy to your computer. We don't save the file, so we can't help you once the file is deleted. This project will create 10 gift cards (2 per picture). Once you've printed the file (using card stock) cut along indicated lines, fold in half and voila, you have a gift tag. You can punch a hole and add a ribbon if you want a hanging tag.
In an effort to limit pre-holiday gift comparisons, we have been known to disguise the wrapped present using elaborate code names or numbering systems. Sometimes it's so complicated that we have to open the gift to see who gets it!

Last year I featured family photographs on our gift tags. It was fun to hear all the comments as they remembered certain events or asked for more details on events not remembered. No one figured out it was my way of coding the gift! We designed these tags as a SIMPLE way to preserve holiday memories. Feel free to jazz them up with decorative paper, glitter or stickers.

Oh, did we mention that this project is free? The only cost is the price to print the sheet. Be sure to use card stock for sturdy tags!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Greatest Gifts

A wise man once said:
"We all enjoy giving and receiving presents. But there is a difference between presents and gifts. The true gifts may be part of ourselves--giving of the riches of the heart and mind--and therefore more enduring and of far greater worth than presents bought at the store."

Create a tradition that will keep giving all year long. Decorate a wooden block to look like a gift. Perform secret acts of service for family members and leave the small gift at the scene.

A two-inch wooden block might be remembered as the greatest gift you received this year!

Here's how to make your own special memories:

~Materials Needed~
2 inch wooden block
(can be a different size, but we just happened to have 2" blocks available!)
Red or Green Craft Paint
Foam Brush
2x8 inch section of Christmas giftwrap paper (optional)
Mod Podge Glue (for paper version)
Distress Ink (See Distress It for our favorite colors)
Ribbon / Tag

1. Paint block. If you are making the wrapping paper version, you only need to paint the top and bottom of the block.

2. For the gift-wrapped version, cut a strip of paper that is slightly larger than 2x8 inches. Apply to block section by section using Mod Podge glue and brush. Be sure to remove any air bubbles. Let the glue dry before cutting away any excess paper.

3. Sand corners and edges of block. If desired, distress exposed wood to give the gift a time-worn look.

4. All that's left is to add a ribbon and tag. Our tag says:
"An act of service you can give
to family members where you live.
Leave this present, then depart,
the truest gifts come from the heart."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Still Grateful!

Wow! Where did November go? If you've been following our blog, you probably remember our plan to document the things we are grateful for during the month of November. From the looks of our list, we're not very grateful...

Hopefully, you know that's NOT the case.

Like many of you, we are so busy living life that we can't find the time to get everything done. Sadly, some of the important things fall by the way-side. How could we not acknowledge the amazing meals that we've recently enjoyed? (We've been blessed, really blessed with fabulous friends and family who open their homes and hearts and include us around the table at meal times.) We've been fortunate to enjoy good health, for the most part. This is a blessing we like to take for granted, until we're side-lined, usually when least convenient. Our weather has been fabulous! Of course, my interpretation of fabulous weather means warm days and cool nights...just cool enough to bring out the flannel sheets. My snow-loving family has a different interpretation of perfect weather. Either way, the fall colors were spectacular in our corner of the world and they are vividly painted in my mind as we head into the stark whiteness of winter.

Oh to have the time to give thanks to each person and experience that touched our lives this year, made us grow, and gave life new meaning. But life beckons. And so we fondly look back, however briefly, and then we dig in our heels and take off running once again.