Valentine’s Day Gift Wrap: DIY Envelopes



Day Five: Parchment paper envelopes for all your little Valentines.


It’s what’s inside that counts, right? But, it doesn’t hurt if what’s inside comes wrapped in a pretty box, as any girl who has ever received a blue box from Tiffany’s knows.  Sometimes, especially if what you’re giving isn’t homemade or seems too commercial (hello Via Lattes from Starbucks) a sweet envelope or pretty package can express your true feelings. “This might be a bit commercial: but I was thinking of you, just the same!”   

Remember this?



This was the handmade Valentine that I sent to long-distance friends in 2011. I printed it out and glittered the band on his hat. Then I glued it to red card stock and included a lolly. Tucked it into a red envelope and off it went. 

And then I waited. And waited. And discovered, much to my horror: nobody really liked my Valentine. 

Um, it was a dud. I don’t think any of my friends even got the reference — it was just too, “out there”. Too “handmade” (is there such a thing?) I was sad.  I had hoped to create a fun little way of saying, “I’m thinking of you”, but instead just confused people. The whole thing fell flat. 

And I think there still might be glitter in our carpet. 

I’ll confess, when Valentine’s Day rolled around in 2012 I was still stinging from the rejection. “Maybe people just don’t get the idea?” So, instead of sending out handmade cards to friends for the holidays, I opted out.  I’m not sure many people noticed. 

Funny how our feelings get hurt, right?

But, this year, I am determined and frankly, have learned my lesson? The truth is, I miss my long distance friends terribly. And the we often say to one another, “I wish I lived closer so we could grab a cup of coffee.”  So, when Starbucks offered these trial Via Lattes, I scooped up a bunch. I’m sure our barista thought I was some strange sort of coffee hoarder. But, while completely corporate, these little make at home coffee packs say what good old Telly could not! 

Of course, I can’t just mail these as they are. Can I? Noooooo. So, I created these really simple little envelopes for my Via Valentines. They’re easy to make, although they do require a sewing machine. If you don’t have a machine, fear not. Even wrapping your little corporate gift in a bit of parchment paper and tying it up with a ribbon works beautifully. Just that little extra touch can make a very impersonal gift card feel festive!

Not every gift you give has to be handmade. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add a bit of splash and personality to the gift giving process!

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Tutorial: Dyeing Silk Scarves with Permanent Markers


Sometimes, getting permanent marker on your clothes is a good thing!


My Mother’s Day project went off beautifully. Every kid’s scarf was unique and wonderful. And most of us even finished in time to make a card for our Moms. You can see photos of our scarves on our facebook page.

Geo really got into this craft. He’s made several in the recent days for his Grandmother and Aunts. Each one seems better than the next! Originally, I wasn’t going to post a tutorial because the internet is full of these things. But he came up with a few tips that make a difference–ideas I haven’t seen elsewhere. So, I took a few photos of his process to share with you. (those are his hands in the photos!) Plus, I thought I’d list my resources as well. With that in mind: the tutorial is below the fold. Jump jump!

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Teach Me Something: Turkey Fork Bows

Meet Carly. She’s fabulous. She teaches and bakes and quilts and sends delightful emails. She also writes a wonderful blog called Citric Sugar. And she’s responsible for my new found addiction to using a TURKEY FORK. Read on, folks! 


Happy Fall, Y’all. Ok, I’ve been sitting on that one for ages. But seriously, I hope you said goodbye to Summer in an appropriate fashion. I had a weekend, let me tell you. Actually, I just might! In another post. Because today I want to share the other thing I’ve been sitting on — hoarding in fact– waiting for Autumn to arrive so I could share it with you. It’s going to revolutionize your holiday gift-wrapping routine!  But first, a little back-story:

In the Spring, I sent out an inquiry to some of my friends, “Hey come be a star and teach me something on the blog”.  I didn’t have too many requirements, just that it be fun and have good photos. I have such talented friends, I thought it would be cool to share  their unique talents with all of you here on the blog. While the idea was a good one, I think… it’s been fits and starts getting responses. And that’s ok. In time, we’ll get it all worked out.

However, one friend did respond nearly immediately. She promised to send me a tutorial on how to tie a wonderful bow, every time, with a turkey fork. A TURKEY FORK? Really, Carly? You bake and quilt and teach kids, and you want to play with a TURKEY FORK? 

But then Carly sent me a video. And not just any video, but this ridiculously charming, adorable, and educational tutorial on how to tie a bow with a turkey fork. A TURKEY FORK. And now I’m a believer. 

I’m sorry I ever doubted you, Carly. That was poor form, on my part! Thank you for the FABULOUS video. You’ve totally revolutionized my pathetic bow-tying. Now, I just have to go buy a TURKEY FORK. And maybe stop staying TURKEY FORK. 

So, here it is.  The inaugural “Teach Me Something” Post. How to Tie a Perfect Bow with a Turkey Fork by Carly Murray



Want to share a tutorial for a future “Teach Me Something” post? Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a video. Just let me know your idea and let’s get sharing! 

Summer Project: Frosting a Plexiglass Window

Ode to an Opaque Window


This is really a Work in Progress. IZ and I have been contemplating replacing the very scratched plexiglass window on our porch for an opaque or frosted version to help provide some privacy. It’s not an inexpensive project and there are other things in line that need to be done around the house, so we’ve not moved on it. 

But then the neighbors took down privacy hedges a month ago and wow do we feel exposed! We hadn’t realized how much their hedges had provided a visual break and shielded our property. Now, we feel like the porch is a fish bowl. And that point was driven home when another neighbor mentioned her shock at seeing us on our porch one morning, while we were drinking coffee. It wasn’t a complaint as much as she hadn’t noticed our sitting arrangement on the porch from her yard before.


Grab a book? A cup of tea? Settle in for a quiet read.


While I’m fairly certain we’d love having an opaque window in the space, it’s still a big investment and probably not on this year’s agenda. So, I started doing some research on how to “frost” plexiglass as a make-shift solution. Something that will give us a chance to live with the idea without committing funds to something we might regret. 

Originally, I thought I would just “etch” the window like glass. But that’s not possible with plexiglass. Your options are have it sandblasted, use a sander on it, or spray paint it.

Yeah, you heard me, spray paint it. Rust-Oleum makes a product called Frosted Glass Spray that can be used on plexiglass. (though, it’s not mentioned on the can, google assures me it’s ok!) You can pick up  Frosted Glass Spray at your local hardware store for about $5 a can. I had also read online that a can would cover about 20 square feet, so I initially bought 2 cans to complete my project.*

I’m not completely enamored with the results. But it’s a huge improvement over what was there previously. And I think it might be the inspiration I need (read: Kick in the pants) to finally make a bench cushion. Because those slatted seats are oh-so-unkind to the posterior. But really, doesn’t it look like a nice place to read a book? You know, without being watched. 

Photos of the process, step by step, below the fold.

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Linen Spray Recipe

Linen Spray Recipe: Laundry is always a chore, but is should be a sweet one. 


I spent most of yesterday helping Geo deep clean his room. Foolishly, I thought I would get to my chores as well, but his room proved to be a bigger project than I had anticipated. Isn’t that always the case? Geo is a social cleaner. Send him to his room to clean it on his own, he’ll tidy up his floor and then be there for hours wondering what he should do next. He’s always been this way, and I’ve learned to supervise the work and direct his next moves. Then I come in and “help”. And then he says, “Thank you” every 10 minutes, he’s so relieved to not be alone in the endeavor!


See, I wasn’t kidding… the kid is an engineer. Those are zip-lock bags with hand-drawn diagrams for labels.

So today, I’m focusing on the rest of the house and those chores that are worth the effort, though tedious to do. I always feel so much better when our house is clean. I don’t need it to be perfect all the time, but I’m a huge fan of it being disinfected! Clutter I can stand, grime not so much!

 There’s something about clean sheets and softly scented rooms that appeals to me. Cleaning is a chore, I’m not sure anyone really enjoys it. But that smell, when I’m finished, is such a reward. I’m throwing open windows and doors and letting the fresh air in. And I’m cleaning with a vengeance with the promise of a sweetness when I’m done!

 The sachets are filled with lavender and you use them in your dryer! Just toss them in with your wet clothes for an extra layer of “ahhh”. 


One of my favorite “rewards” of cleaning is linen spray. I adore the stuff. It’s easy to make your own, and it makes your sheets smell so lovely. I just sleep better in softly scented linens. Since I was out of linen spray and needed to whip up a batch, I thought I’d share the recipe on the blog as well.

It really is a breeze to make. The recipe is below the jump:

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