holiday gift wrap: using up my party stash!

Tiny Prints personalized gift tags

I’m a sucker for gift wrapping – especially when it’s HOLIDAY gift wrap. I challenged myself to get more creative this year. I keep a stash of wrap supplies on hand year-round, but a lot of my more holiday-themed stuff is tucked far away in storage while we are in our apartment, pre-move. So I opened up the party/craft supplies I did happen to have on hand, and combined with some adorable personalized labels from Tiny Prints (I went with this design!), I got creative using up what I had on hand to wrap some holiday gifts for our family and friends.

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Using up my embarrassingly large stash of stripey straws, I cut some into pieces and hot glued them into a tree shape, sticking a pom pom drink stirrer into the top as a “star”.

Some leftover fabric became instant “ribbon”…

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And the tags also fit perfectly on these little treat bags I had on hand…even when it’s not yet time to open the gift, the recipient could sneak a little something ahead of time. :)

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Scrap chipboard with a little red paint smeared around the edges further embellished one of the gift tags.

Anyone else employing the “use up what I have!” approach to wrapping this year? I have loved that just by incorporating some personalized tags (and yes, I blurred out baby-to-be’s name hehe!) made all of my other old “on hand” stuff seem suddenly fresh and new!

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a season of thanks.

Tiny Prints Holiday Thank You Cards Between the overwhelming thoughtfulness of friends and family helping us get ready for this baby, and sending out Christmas gift thank yous, I find myself constantly in need of more stationery, lately! When Tiny Prints offered up some holiday-themed thank you notes, I jumped at the chance to browse the fun designs.

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There is no shortage of cute cards out there (and I love girly note cards for myself), but I love the added touch of personalized stationery, and this particular design that is “cool” enough to represent both me and my hubby/son as we get ready to move into what we’ve deemed our “mod lodge” new home – how appropriate! :) As an added bonus, I had the envelopes pre-printed with our new January address.

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I love the orange peel-esque thick stock of these. Can’t wait to put some in the mail to family and friends!

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november house update + thoughts on the building process (keeping it real!)

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The home-building process is not without stress. Not by a long shot. The dollar amounts can be overwhelming at times and the progress seemingly extra-slow. Lists are made, priorities are noted, and items are eliminated. Costs are checked. Timelines are pushed back. Calls are made. Emails are sent. Selections are poured over. Meetings are set. Meetings are re-scheduled. Plans are studied, re-worked, and studied again. There are so many moving pieces and while we’ve done a simpler version of this rodeo once before, we are certainly not experts. We knew we were signing up for a lot of work when we did this, and I think sometimes from the outside the idea of building a home seems luxe and rose-colored. We know we are blessed to be going through this process…but there are definitely two sides to the experience!

Thoughts on Finances:
Sometimes I think, it must be so amazing to walk into an existing house, make an offer, and be done. There is no guessing game about what the rates will be months from now when you close and no magical options being dangled in front of you that of course you drool over and want to add to the growing budget. You just know the price and what you’re paying, that day, and it’s done! With building, you know the price point of your home plan when you start out, but of course the elected and the unplanned things add up. Time costs real money, too. With the multiple delays we’ve had, knowing that we are adding months of interest to our construction loan (cha-ching!) and now month-to-month rent at our apartment (more cha-ching!) the focus is more than ever on the bottom line as we move forward.

Thoughts on Communication:
While yes, it is a CUSTOM build this time around, we realize we are probably extra-involved compared to many other home-building clients. We also know that this home is the ONLY one we are building, and one of several in a portfolio for the builder. The pace and quality of communication isn’t what we expected in this very hands-on process, and it’s not what we would feel comfortable with for our OWN clients as business-owners ourselves, but it seems to be on par with what we hear from others in this industry and local market. Ultimately, we chose the team we did for their talent and finished product, and continue to be impressed with the quality of the work and the end product…we just have to GET to it! We are doing our best to roll with the punches in the interest of crossing this finish line sooner than later.

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THE LATEST:

So after womp-womping you with the less-than-awesome parts of building (just trying to keep it real!), let’s get back to the fun stuff. It’s been a little more than a month since our last update on the build, and several things have been accomplished in recent weeks. Despite some rain and wind that delayed progress prior to the roof (finally!) being built, we can now move forward with hopefully fewer hiccups, since weather is no longer a factor in timeline.

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We selected our exterior paint color for the shake and siding portions of the house. It’s a Sherwin-Williams color, “Cyberspace”, 7076. With white trim all around the house and grey stonework on much of the front, along with some timber accents and a copper accent roof, we’re excited to see all the colors and textures come together. I love THIS example of Cyberspace as an exterior color.

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We completed our electrical walk-through (above) to note exactly where we had any special requests for outlets, or hard-wiring of certain fixtures. One more step checked off the list so progress could continue! Page did an informal walk-through with both the HVAC and plumbing crew to note a few things, and those rough ins are now complete. Windows are in and shingles are being installed. It’s such a relief to see things happening at a visible progress pace!

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To save a little cash, Page repeated his performance as low-voltage electricity runner and installed speaker wire and ethernet cables, himself, in the main living area and in our master and his office. While the builder would have done this for us, Page actually enjoys thinking through exactly how he wants it, and his labor rate is much cheaper for our bottom line. :)

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Decisions have been made for all plumbing fixtures. While it’s a really fun part of the process, that darn budget keeps factoring in. Ah if only there were no prices! ;) Above are a couple of our choices.

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I took on the task of narrowing down electrical fixtures to a list of final choices. Given an overall budget that we could spread however we wanted, I pinned, deleted, pinned some more, and eventually put together a spreadsheet of every fixture in the house, and one or more links to products, for Page’s final buy-in. Above are a couple of my favorites that are on their way. The geometric flush-mounts are from Lowe’s and will be in hallway spaces (ta ta, pun intended, to the boob lights from the last house!). The honeycomb pendants will go in our front entry, and the chandelier in the dining space, both from West Elm.

It is during this next stage (drywall) that, to me, it really starts to take shape and feel real. I’m hopeful that with everything closed in now, different crews can overlap and work uninterrupted by weather. The latest deadline is mid-to-late January…depending on when this little person makes his arrival, I’m still holding out hope that it might be after we can move in. More to come!

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set the table: thanksgiving 2014

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While there is no space (and my dishes are all in storage!) to host Thanksgiving this year, I’m looking ahead to next year, knowing that we’ll be in our house and with a new baby (hopefully meaning less traveling). Thinking ahead, it’s fun to collect ideas for Turkey Day next year.

I bought the same “Give Thanks” banner from Pottery Barn Kids last year on clearance (it’s available again this year), but sadly what is NOT available this year are more of the West Elm salad plates I fell in love with and only bought four of last year — I’m on a mission to find some on eBay or through an outlet, but if not, I’ll have to mix and match with another design. Anyone else planning a Thanksgiving tablescape? I’d love to see and live vicariously!

Feather dinner napkins| Gold rock glasses | White pumpkin
Fox salt + pepper shakers | Leftover labels

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…and the Adamo Design winner is…

Adamo Frame Giveaway | www.lifeinyellow.com

 

Thank you all for playing along in the Adamo frame giveaway! Comments were organized in order of posting date/time, and the random number generator determined that…

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…comment number 33 is the winner! Congrats to Katie Bauder — Tara will be contacting you shortly to arrange delivery of your beautiful prize!

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***Don’t forget! You still have until tomorrow (Nov 1st!) to order your own Adamo frame with a 10% discount when you mention Life In Yellow!*** Happy decorating! :)

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bring it, november!

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We are into the fourth quarter, leading up to Baby Smith’s arrival…so crazy!

Since last month’s update, we celebrated a shower with members of Page’s family, we’ve learned how to use our stroller/car seat, are scheduled for a hospital tour and baby class, and ordered our crib and glider, both of which are (fortunately!) back-ordered, since we’d rather they not arrive until we’re ready to move in. But a friends and family event from PB Kids brought a discount we couldn’t afford to pass up. Baby’s room is, while in pieces now, ready to pull together once we get the keys to our new front door. :)

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November promises to fly by…I’m squeezing in as many photo sessions as possible before giving myself December to relax and regroup before the little guy’s arrival in early January. (While it’s looking like we won’t be moved ahead of time, we will at least be in the final stages of prepping to move, in December, which will keep us busy as well.) I feel like this third trimester is moving so quickly compared to the other two, and will only gain speed as we go. We’re okay with that though; we are getting very anxious to meet this tiny person, and I’m okay to be done being preggo and have a nice big glass of wine ;) We are so looking forward to doing nothing but enjoying a simpler and slower pace of life with a third member of our family (and hopefully doing so sooner than later in our house!).

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How far along: 30 weeks

Gender: BOY

Weight gain:   +14lbs…still on track for the final ten weeks (and crossing fingers things stay that way!)

Maternity clothes: Almost exclusively at this point, with the exception of a few open/drape-style cardigans, and a few swing-cut tops and dresses. My mom bought me a much-appreciated maternity coat…so nice to have one that zips!

Stretch marks: So far, no, but I check daily with paranoia and am guzzling water!

Belly button in or out: quickly becoming flush, but I would still call it an “innie”

Sleep: I hear this is how your body “trains” to be up with a newborn, but between multiple bathroom trips, heartburn, not being able to sleep on my stomach anymore, baby’s STRONG movements, and aches and pains in my hips and lower back, I find myself awake multiple times a night. (Although I must be dozing off at some point… Page reports I now snore…awesome!)

Best moment:  We enjoyed spreading bump love among family at a shower in Missouri last weekend. Page’s family got to feel kicks and we received some much-appreciated items for Baby. I’m so glad we could see everyone that we won’t be able to see at Christmastime, as we’ll be hanging close to home by then.

Worst moment: I can’t complain about much — but the sciatica and hip pain has not been fun! I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for the first time ever, and as a new mom herself, I’ve really enjoyed working with her and am finding some relief from the adjustments.

Miss anything: Solid nights of sleep. And some living space to sprawl out as we move in more baby items. Something as simple as making room for a cradle required some major rethinking on how to fit all the furniture. I’ve been taking a fresh look at things I was originally okay to “make room for” in the apartment…but now that it’s looking like we WILL be bringing a baby home here, more of it is going into storage to make room and create a little more zen for those first weeks.

Movement: I’m supposed to be using this app to count kicks (you pick an active time of day and check for 20+ kicks in a 2-hour period of time each day). Let’s just say, the app is not needed. I could pick any number of times throughout the day and get to 20 within a few minutes’ time. This kid is mobile!

Cravings: Yogurt, salt and vinegar chips, cinnamon rolls :) In general, I feel like I’m starting to eat less. I can be famished, have a few bites of something, and then I’m suddenly full already. More mini-meals, but not room for much at any one time.

Queasy or sick: Not sick at all – just the physical aches and pains!

Looking forward to: My bestie flying in to co-host our second shower, and getting everyone together that day. Also anxious for the continued progress on the house (it has a roof and things are full steam ahead now!) and narrowing down the realistic timeline of when we might be able to close and begin moving things in. I was really hoping to not spend my maternity leave moving, but there are worse things. We’ve been told to “plan for January”… but let’s just say I’m hoping for a Christmas miracle!

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