Giveaway!!!

I would like to wrap up this year with a fun giveaway! I loved having a pattern review each month where we dove deep into indie companies, trying out their patterns and also asking them important questions about how they run their companies. I hope to continue this series in the new year and have taken all the comments and feedback you’ve given me and have some ideas on how to make it even better.

I knew I would not have time in December to make and review a pattern and assumed it wouldn’t be great timing for companies either. Instead, I’m having a giveaway celebrating the four companies I talked to this year!

I am giving away one pattern from each of the companies to four lucky winners. All you have to do is comment on this post! You can also comment on the this Youtube video as well as this Instagram post to have multiple entries. I want to hear which company you enjoyed learning about and/or which company you would like me to look into in 2021. I have a list going but am trying to expand it and also make sure that the companies I review have inclusive sizing. I hate talking up a company and then people that follow me can’t actually make their patterns!

I will be taking entries until midnight eastern time December 30th and will announce the winners January 1st. I will let you know which company you won and get in touch with you on how to receive your free PDF pattern. The companies I reviewed were Kosedo Studio, Greenstyle Creations, Love Notions, and Friday Pattern Company.

Thank you for following along with me this year! I hope you’ll hang out next year as I have been busy making allllllll the plans and can’t wait to get started!

Joy!!!

I’m wrapping up my month of joy today. It’s time to quit talking about it and embrace it over here! We’ve been getting the last of Christmas ready and yesterday we took the twins shopping downtown so they could buy gifts for each other and their cousin. We stopped for pics in the elf ice sculpture and danced around to Christmas music blaring from the stores. It was lovely and simple and festive all at the same time.

I have wrapped all my presents and am happy with the shopping I did. No going overboard and the gifts we got are either meaningful or needed. Chris’ stocking stuffers are somewhere in middle America and may not get here in time, but I’m finishing up a handmade gift for him that I think he’ll love. I’ve written and addressed all my cards but have yet to find stamps, so they might be more like New Year cards and I’m sure no one will mind.

I hope you take time this week to feel all the feels, highs and lows. I hope that this weird year at least let’s you slow down a little bit. I hope next year we can all get dressed up and meet at a cool spot downtown and hug and laugh and hurry out the door so we can make that cheesy Christmas concert we got tickets to.

I hope you are able to find some joy in the here and now until then.

I have a fun giveaway coming up Wednesday that I’m very excited about, so I hope you’ll stop by for that.

Merry Christmas everyone! Much joy to you all!

Planning 2021

Listen. You might see the title of this post and think, no Whitney. No. If 2020 has taught us anything it is not to plan!

But hear me out! I’ve been reflecting on the year and it’s been so inspiring. 2020 was awful for so many reasons, but it also held so many good things and has made me want to really embrace where I am in my life and make the best of whatever my situation is. It’s made me realize that my mindset can go a long way and that I want to continue to learn and grow in the new year.

I am listening to this podcast series (Miranda is one of my favorites and I’m sure I will mention her in posts to come!) and it’s made me start planning my year and get excited about a blank page to dream on.

I have no control over whether or not I will be able to travel, whether my kids will be in school or learning virtually. I cannot wait to go out, to concerts and restaurants and movies! But my plans don’t have to revolve around those things. I can look at what worked in 2020 and learn from it, see what I can control moving forward or how I can pivot when things fall through. Thinking this way has given me peace and made me hopeful for the new year.

I use physical planners, I’m a big list maker, and I thought I would share the three planners I have this year.

First up is this diary by Hobonichi. I use it for brainstorming, writing, journaling, taking notes, whatever. It is my big brain dump and is usually with me at all times. The paper quality is great and they are really beautiful. It’s a step up from a notebook for me and has become an essential tool in managing all aspects of my life.

In years past I have purchased Elise’s Get to Work Book and I’ve loved it. A great system for planning and goal setting and I highly recommend. I wanted something different this year and honestly I wanted something a little more colorful and pretty. I picked up this Happy Planner and love all the bright colors but really love the weekly layouts. One side has the days of the week and the other is just spots for lists of different kinds. I think this will work well for me since my tasks are usually more for the week and less daily based!

I also picked up this cute mini planner and it is holding all my plans for this blog, my makes, and my Youtube channel. I would like to see how it is to try and grow this space and I like the idea of all my thoughts and ideas and tasks in one spot. The size is perfect, I don’t need a lot of room to write, and I love the theme.

Those are my planners for the year. I also share a digital calendar with my husband that gets used every day. I just find that physically writing down my ideas or to dos means they actually get done! I don’t need a planner to be pretty, but it does make it more fun to look at every day.

Thank the Teachers

We took some time yesterday to write notes to our amazing teachers. I think we’ve all learned how much teachers do this year and how much they are willing to do for our kids. I have a lot of friends and family that are teachers and I know they are all feeling the burn out. I have one friend who has had a class or schedule change pretty much every month this semester!

Our school and teachers have been such a stable presence for my kids, especially this year when they were starting the year off as the new kids in town. They have gone above and beyond to make sure they are both included (a hard task to do virtually!) and a part of the community. This semester being able to be in the classroom has been a huge gift. I noticed right away a difference in both kids after the first week of school. The stability and the normalcy are just things that we as adults take for granted in regular years.

Whether or not you have kids in school, think of who the essential workers have been in your life this year and let them know they are seen. Thank them for helping life keep going as much as possible in 2020. Words of kindness can go far, especially this year and especially when we are all feeling the weariness that has settled in.

Thank you to all the teachers! All the delivery men and women! All the grocery store employees! All the doctors and nurses! All cooks and waitresses and waiters! To all the people that make our modern world work and have put themselves at risk this year, your actions do not go unnoticed and you have helped people more than you realize.

Send Cards!

I wasn’t going to send out any holiday cards this year, but then I happened to get a great picture of the family at a pumpkin patch we were able to go to and I thought, why not?! Instead of a bulk order of pre-made cards, I’m adding a little handmade touch and making sure to write a note inside each one.

This means I’m scaling back quite a bit, but I think that’s appropriate given the year. I would rather take the time and tell the people that this year has taught me mean the most than send out a bunch of cards to cross people off a list.

Even if you don’t want to do the big Christmas card mail off, think of a handful of people that you couldn’t have made it through the year without. Or people that you miss desperately and can’t wait to see in 2021. Send them a note, Christmasy or otherwise, and let them know!

Opening the mail box this time of year and feeling the connection to friends and family is a wonderful thing. I hope you get to experience it!

Also, please enjoy the first batch of stamps as I wait for my order to come in with Christmas stamps. I feel like Trex is appropriate for 2020?!

Christmas Lights

In Dallas we had quite a few traditions around this time of year that took us around town. We are not in Dallas this year (and because of Covid would most likely not be doing any of those things anyway!) so we decided to look for something new and festive where we are now.

There are ice sculptures set up all around town and we decided to start the trail and go see some of them and look at some Christmas lights along the way. We had a fire in the chiminea, s’mores, and cocoa, and then as the sun went down, we bundled up and headed out to see the sculptures.

We got out and took a picture at each one and oohed and ahhed at all the twinkle lights we passed. We decided Dallas may have better lights, but that everything covered in snow made up for it.

Bundle up (or not!), put cocoa in a thermos, and go see what decorations are around your neighborhood. Turn on the Christmas music as you drive around and feel the joy of the lights in the darkness!

Felt Garland

Ok last project with felt I promise! I saved all the scraps from the past two projects and sewed up a cute little garland. These are fun to hang on your mantle or tree and I’ve used them to decorate for parties throughout the year.

Cut out simple shapes from your felt. Use as many colors as you like/have on hand! Then head to your sewing machine and simply start sewing a basic stitch through the center of each shape. Keep the machine going and they will all be linked together. You can space them out as little or as much as you want!

Hang up and enjoy your colorful garland!

Joyful Banner!

Another project with felt today! I made a little ‘thanks’ banner a few weeks ago and wanted to make one with our favorite word of the moment, ‘Joy!’ This is less a tutorial and more an inspiration. Use what you have for a simple DIY. I’m using some muslin material that was in my stash, a piece of felt that I had on hand, and a dowel that has been in my office all year and I’m not sure what it originally went to!

Cut 2 pieces of fabric into a banner shape. Cut out whatever you want the banner to say, I just write it in pencil and go from there. You could make it more precise with precut letters, dies, or using a font from online as well.

Tack the word down with a little bit of glue and then use a fun stitch to keep it in place. You can use a running stitch in a contrasting thread to make it simple or play around with different stitches like I did.

Sew the banner pieces right sides together leaving the top open. Turn inside out and press to make the edges nice and crisp. Then fold under the top about a quarter inch, then fold again (however big to fit your dowel or however you are hanging it!) and stitch closed. There should be a little pocket to hang up your banner.

Hang and enjoy!

Support the Ballet!

This is usually the time of year when dancers and ballet teachers are sick to death of all things Nutcracker. We’ve usually been rehearsing all fall and are finally to the weekends where we live up at the theater.

For most companies and schools, The Nutcracker is the money maker they can count on to support them through the rest of the year. For many dancers, it is the gig they can count on, traveling around performing lead roles, and giving them a guaranteed income.

I do not know how many of the ballet companies around the country are going to survive this year. I see so many artists getting creative, teaching through, zoom, performing in parks and I’ve been trying to support them however I can!

This year I encourage you to seek out your local ballet school or company and see what they are doing for Nutcracker. I have bought a digital ticket for Ballet Lubbock’s streaming tonight, see if anyone around you is doing the same! Or maybe, if you are able, you could make a donation to their annual fund or see what they need on their website. Or just amplify their posts on social media!

The arts and artists are going to need our help this year. Why not use the holidays as an excuse to support a wonderful tradition however you can this year?

Felt Ornaments

Today I have a craft that I thought I would originally make with my kids, but they weren’t at all interested so I just made them myself! ha! I do think this is one you could absolutely modify for a family craft.

I love working with felt. I think you can make some beautiful, simple projects and I really like the look of embroidery on felt. Today I’m sharing some simple felt ornaments. I ordered some of this felt because the quality was great and I loved the color options. For high quality felt I’ve also used this site before!

I started with a couple of cookie cutter shapes, you could also do simple circles or stars, and traced them out on the felt. I cut out two of each so I could stitch them together.

I made simple stitch designs on the images using embroidery floss. I chose a silk embroidery floss for horse and I will say it was really difficult to work with so for the gingerbread man I used regular floss and the result was much better!

After decorating, I sewed a blanket stitch around the edge (here’s a great tutorial!) and added in a little loop at the top to hang for our tree!

Simple, cute DIY that your kids could help out with (if they wanted to!). I also think these would be really cute present toppers.