Monogram It: Favorite Personalized Gifts

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We made a traditional DIY planner for Darby Smart and Michaels semi-recently. The video was so fun to make. Check it out here. Our final touch on the cover of the planner was a monogram. We believe you can never go wrong with a monogram.

Monogram gifts are among our favorite things. We love everything about them. Since gift-giving season is upon us, we’re going to help you get a head start on some shopping, and every item can {and should} be monogrammed.

Mark and Graham Acrylic Cuff | Moon and Lola Acrylic Dalton Charm | GiGi New York All in One Bag Black Embossed Python {this is Jessica’s favorite clutch, thanks to her chic friend, Shannon} | Monogram Belly Mug | Mark and Graham Copper Ice Bucket | Canvas with Leather Weekender Bag | Monogrammed Garland Ring Dish | Glitter Monogram Letter | Dipped Personalized Journal | Patterned Hotel Keychain | Monogrammed Door Mat | Initial Bar Pendant | Monogram Lacquer Tray | Plaid Throw | Raw Wood Board | Monogram Tote | Monogrammed Water Bottle 

DIY Travel Mug for Your Favorite Teacher

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We run out the door every morning with a coffee in hand, so a good travel mug is a worthy investment. Teachers who choose to nurture, teach and discipline our children on a daily basis also deserve a good travel mug. Whether its tea or coffee, we want to make sure our teachers are fueled throughout the day with a memorable mug in hand. In the summer, when they are not in the classroom, they will be reminded of the difference they made in our children’s lives.

Instead of, “You taught me a lot,” we played with fun coffee lingo and turned it into, “You taught me a latte.”

Materials:

Directions:

Design and print your words on Silhouette software and print according to package instructions.

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Place painter’s tape over the design, and pull it up. The words should now be on the tape.

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Press the tape {with the words} onto the mug and use a straight-edge to smooth out any bubbles.

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Remove the tape, strip by strip, to reveal your design.

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Insert a gift card to Starbucks or a local coffee shop and voila.

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Thanks to Silhouette America for providing the vinyl for this DIY project. We would love them even if they didn’t. Thank you for supporting the companies that support us. 

Modern Woodland Nursery

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We ran across a photo of a modern woodland nursery on Mary Gaspar’s instagram account, and found it unique and beautiful. We were intrigued to learn more about the design elements and how it all came together. Luckily she is sharing all the details with us! When we found out Mary is the mother of three girls, we were instant friends, because we know all too well what it’s like to grow up in a house full of women.

Mary is not only a mother to three amazing girls, but also an artist, and has a good eye for interior design, too. We love that she used a mix of store-bought and DIY pieces to bring the whole Scandinavian look together. It’s a cozy black, white and neon pink retreat her daughter can grow into. As moms, sometimes we get so excited to hear the words, “It’s a girl,” we use all the pink, tulle and ruffles we can, and then 4 years down the road, the room requires a makeover. This room is relevant for infants, toddlers, children and tweens.

Mary shares details on her youngest daughter’s room, the inspiration and how it all came together…

Violet is my third little girl and when we found out the sex I was thrilled (again!) cause well, girls are the bomb, and as one of 4 sisters, I know how awesome a house of girls can be! I am an artist and also have a great passion for interior design, which is seen in my home (my play space for decorating)! I had done my other daughter’s room, which they share, in a very girly English Garden theme. I wanted to do something a little more modern and contemporary in feel this time around.
I took my initial inspiration from my own work. I am doing a lot of black and white painting and I draw a ton of inspiration from nature. My work also has a bit of a contemporary edge. That’s when I came up with the idea of doing a “Modern Woodland” theme with a palette of black, white, gold and neon pink. I love the look of Scandinavian inspired decor so I set out for a white crib and flokati rug to start.
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The walls were already painted in Benjamin Moore’s “Moonshine”, a lovely gray, that I use throughout my home. I had a green gingham glider from my other daughter’s nursery that had seen better days, so I added a slipcover in white and presto…looking brand new! I also had a large changing table in a honey brown from a prior nursery that my mom and I took on as a DIY project. We used Annie Sloan chalk paint in white and gave it 3 coats. I changed out the knobs into the sweetest little brass sleeping foxes.
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It’s a small room (11 x 9 ft) and I knew I needed some small, stylish yet effective shelving. I found the arrow shelf and sprayed it gold. That really set the tone for the gallery wall. I framed some of my own woodland inspired drawings, and did a couple of fun DIY crafty wall hangings, like the “Love” sign, made out of wire and bungee cord. The deer silhouette I drew on velvet craft paper and mounted on an oval wooden plaque, and the Animal Head Plaque was ornaments from Land of Nod affixed to wood!
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The room has become my most favorite…a cozy, inspiring retreat for children and adults alike. I love that the decor I have in here will most certainly grow with her. I would use many of these pieces in any other spot in our home, as well!
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Vendor Love
Babyletto Crib: All Modern
Blackout curtains, flokati rug, gold pouf, crib skirt, pink lucite floating shelf and changing pad cover: Land of Nod
White slipcover for glider: Wayfair 
Lamp {feathers were a DIY addition}: T.J. Maxx
Cross Blanket: Modern Burlap
Fox Brass Knobs and Owl hook: Anthropologie
Little gold mirror: vintage
Heart Mirror: Homegoods
Embroidered Deer Pillow: Etsy Shop Sweet Pea and Olive
Crib sheet: Pehr Designs
Art
Let Her Sleep art print: Samantha Ranlet, By Samantha
She Who Is Brave art print: Lisa Congdon
Gallery Wall
Felt Ball Garland: Benzie Design
Giant “V”: Land of Nod
Deer head {spray painted gold}: Homegoods
All other art: Mary Gaspar Art and Etsy shop

Painted Aloe Plant

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We have always had every reason to believe in love. This year our grandparents will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary {once celebrated by our other grandparent’s, also}. Our parents will celebrate 38 years together in August. We had an amazing childhood in a house full of love, and a large family that loved us unconditionally. We fell in love with and married our high school sweet hearts. Love was easy. Until it wasn’t. Love hurt us in 2015. It hurt us, particularly one of us, bad.

For the first time, love wasn’t enough. What? Love is always enough, isn’t it? Well, not when the person on the receiving end stomps on it, cheats on it, is reluctant to receiving it and lies through it without any remorse. Can you tell one of the high school sweet hearts wasn’t really sweet after all?

So, does love really just stink? Some of you may answer yes and some may answer no – either is ok and the answer is likely based on your current situation or your life’s circumstance thus far.

Well, we are not love experts, but we do know that love is complicated and hard, love is essential, love can unite, love can instigate change, love can cause heartbreak, love comes in many forms, love is passion and ultimately love heals.

We have a little aloe plant, also known for it’s healing properties, we lovingly named Hope. Hope because we are hopeful for all the wonderful things love will bring our way. And, because now she has LOVE HEALS and hearts written all over her! It’s a good, hopeful reminder for us all.

This is a 5-minute project anyone can do. And, it may just bring a little love to you.

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Materials:

  • Aloe plant
  • Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Pens

Directions:

All you have to do is draw. Sweet!

Give the DIY painted aloe plant as a gift this Valentine’s Day, or any day! Love isn’t just limited to one day in a calendar year – it lives in us 365 days a year – if we let it!

Maybe it’s not about the fairytale ending, it’s about the journey. Make love a part of your story, in whatever form it may be. There is no sense in living our lives without love.

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YOLO DIY Cosmetic Bag

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My sister-in-law and I went shopping, and I tried on a pair of designer jeans on sale for $100 from $200ish. I liked them, but didn’t really NEED them. You know, that age-old teaching we teach our children and tell ourselves – need vs. want. Do I really need this? Or, do I want this? My sister-in-law said, “Just get them. My new motto in life is YOLO.” I did a semi-smile and nod reaction, then asked, “What the heck does YOLO mean?” You may be thinking that I live under a rock, and perhaps I do, but I honestly had no idea what YOLO meant. She shared her hashtag wisdom upon me that day and told me that YOLO stands for…You Only Live Once. #YOLO

What powerful words that we often forget. You Only Live Once. We have one shot at this ONE beautiful, amazing, hard and miraculous life. Why waste it? Make the most of everyday, and live your best life…and life will give it’s best to you. YOLO!

Long story short, I bought the jeans. And, I learned what YOLO stands for.

Shortly thereafter my sister-in-law embarked on a new journey in a new city with a new job. She was nervous, but brave. I sent her off with a reminder of what she taught me that day, and some tips to go with it.

DIY YOLO Cosmetic Bag

You’ll Need:

  • Cosmetic bag {mine was $3 from Target}
  • Acrylic paint
  • Golden GAC 900 Medium, to make regular paint into fabric paint
  • Freezer paper
  • X-acto knife
  • Paintbrush
  • Gifts to go inside. I found most of my gifts {see below} from my favorite small town bookstore, The Bookworm
  • Watercolor paper
  • Watercolor paint
  • Gold sharpie or gold leaf pen

Directions:

First, I used Microsoft Word to design my YOLO to place in the middle of the bag. Print YOLO on regular computer paper, then trace it onto freezer paper.

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 Use an X-acto knife to cut out the words and a border. Then, iron in onto the costmetic bag.

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Paint YOLO with black ink.

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Design a pattern around YOLO. I chose to do triangles, so I randomly made a geometric triangle shape print with Frog’s Tape. Then, paint inside the triangles.

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Shop for all your small gifts that go inside the YOLO bag.

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Once your YOLO bag design is complete, start to make the tags to go along with each gift. Cut watercolor paper into triangles. Freehand the words of wisdom for your friend in gold sharpie or gold leaf pen. Then, use soft watercolor over it.

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My tags read:

Wear red | red lipstick
Set your own direction | Compass button
Indulge in sweetness | Curly Girl chocolate bar
Remember to laugh | Blue Q funny chewing gum box
Celebrate | Hyrda Soap Hangover Bath Tea Bag
Stop to smell the roses | Paddywax Rose scented candle
Believe in yourself | Quotables The Sky is the Limit matchbox
Be Kind | Be Good to People chapstick

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Attach the labels to each item.

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Place all the fun items inside the DIY YOLO cosmetic bag and gift.

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