December 12th, 2012
This has been a long time coming—my tea towels are in the shop! These towels are massive at roughly 30″ x 30″, made of 100% cotton, and my hand drawn designs were silk-screened in two colors. My favorite kitchen towels are flour sack towels, because they get softer and more absorbent with every use. I’ve been using these for a few weeks to test them out, and I totally love them. Hopefully you will too!
December 10th, 2012
I nearly forgot about Christmastime while we were on our trip, so when we got back I asked Daniel to help me put the tree up first thing.
While listening to good ol’ Bing of course!
The dogs even get excited when we pull out the boxes of decorations and give them their Christmas toys.
Growing up my family always decorated the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. That evening we would turn off all the lights, sit around the twinkling tree, and my dad would read us a short story that turned the tree into so much more than a meaningless ritual. If anyone is interested in starting a new tradition, my dad posted a pdf of the story God’s Three Trees and even an mp3 of himself reading it right here on his blog!
December 5th, 2012
We’re traveling home from New Zealand today! Actually it’s taking us two days to get home, but because of the time zone changes we’ll squeeze it all into one day. I still don’t quite understand how that works, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same as time travel. Awesome.
The shop will reopen tomorrow (or possibly late tonight if I’m not too jet lagged to remember how the internet works). In the mean time, here are a few of my latest sketchbook pages.
December 3rd, 2012
A while back I made my own suet cakes for our backyard birds, and they absolutely loved them. I have never seen so many birds in our yard before—it was like The Birds but in a good way. When I ran out of homemade and refilled the feeder with store bought suet, the birds didn’t touch it for weeks. Homemade is always better, even if you’re a bird!
Homemade suet would be such a thoughtful gift for someone who is partial to our feathered friends. Suet feeders are especially good for apartment dwellers, because the birds don’t make a mess by scattering seeds everywhere.
Here’s my suet recipe. It’s really easy! When it’s done wrap each cake in wax paper, and tie it up with baker’s twine. You can pick up a wire suet feeder for less than $5.00 at your local hardware store or on amazon.
If you want to spend a bit more, you could include a regional bird field guide like this, a small pair of binoculars, or even a bird house. I’ve had my eye on this gorgeous wren house for a while now.
Two in one—a great gift for bird lovers and for the birds!
November 30th, 2012
It’s widely accepted that terrariums are awesome, which means they also make awesome gifts. It’s hard to wrap a terrarium though, so a DIY kit is the perfect solution. It would be easy to whip up a whole bunch of these kits if you need a lot of inexpensive, creative gifts. Or wouldn’t they make amazing party/wedding favors? I designed some free printable cards with planting and care instructions for you to download and include in your terrarium kit. The recipient will just need to add soil and plants!
To make your kit, first put about an inch of small stones in the bottom of a jar. You can buy pretty river rocks at your local garden shop or just collect some stones outside. I picked up this 3 1/2″ x 7″ canning jar at my local craft store for a couple bucks.
Print a 3 1/2″ x 5 1/4″ terrarium instruction card on card stock, and cut it out (download printable cards here—for personal use only please). Slide an instruction card into the jar. Pour a few tablespoons of activated charcoal into a small ziplock bag and put that in the jar as well. Activated charcoal is available in any pet store’s aquarium section.
If you’re feeling ambitious you could make a few polymer clay mushrooms to include in your terrarium kit. Here’s the tutorial.
Tie some twine or ribbon around the jar, and you’re done. You don’t even need to wrap it!
November 28th, 2012
A hand painted chalkboard mug is a great gift for anyone. Fill it with an assortment of loose teas and an infuser, or some coffee beans and biscotti. Personally I’d want my chalkboard mug gift to include cocoa, since I can’t get enough chocolate around the holidays (or the rest of the year for that matter).
Follow this DIY Chalkboard Mug tutorial to make your own mug with Pebeo’s porcelain paint.
Don’t forget to include some chalk with your mug gift. I’m loving this box from West Elm.
Whip up some homemade marshmallows with this Smitten Kitchen recipe, or buy these caramel marshmallows from Whimsy & Spice.
For cocoa mix, I’d include this Silly Cow Farms hot chocolate from Mignon Kitchen Co.
Wrap it all up in a cute gift box, and top it off with a festive candy cane or two!
November 26th, 2012
I think any garden lover would be happy to receive a new planter, but how much more special would it be if you painted it yourself and made a set of garden markers to go with it?
Follow this DIY tutorial to paint a color block terra cotta pot for the gardener in your life. Don’t forget to use their favorite color!
Then follow this DIY tutorial to make a set of herb markers. They would look great bundled together with twine and tucked inside the pot.
If you want to add more, you could include a few herb seed packets. West Elm sells a lovely set.
You could even include some new garden gloves (or some more manly garden gloves if your garden lover is a dude.)
Or maybe a trowel like this one.
Stuff the planter with some of that crinkly shredded paper stuff, and arrange everything else inside like you would a gift basket. The perfect gift for a gardener!
November 23rd, 2012
Exciting news—Daniel and I will be living in a camper van for the next few weeks while we explore New Zealand! I have some great DIY gift ideas lined up for you while I’m away, so you will hardly know I’m gone (except that I won’t be around to reply to/approve new comments). Hopefully I’ll come back with some great photos to share. I’m not sure how much internet access we’ll have, but I’ll try to Instagram when I can, so if you’d like to keep up with our travels my Instagram username is witandwhistle.
My shop will be open for browsing, but I won’t be accepting new orders until December 6. I know, such terrible timing with the holidays around the corner! To make it up to you, you’ll be able to use the coupon code HOLLYJOLLY2012 to take 10% off your purchases through the end of December. If you’d like me to send you an email when the shop reopens, just fill out this form and I will!
Speaking of traveling, a few months ago Daniel’s cousin got married in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Sadly we weren’t able to make the trip, but lucky for us Velare Imaginarium shot Nate and Amber’s wedding. After watching it, it feels like we were there after all. The video is gorgeous and so well done that Daniel and I watched it multiple times with our mouths hanging open. Tim Twinem is so talented that it makes me sick in the good, inspiring way! Make sure you click to watch it in full screen mode—the small window doesn’t do it justice. Thanks for sharing with us, Nate and Amber!
November 22nd, 2012
Happy Thanksgiving! I started sketching some Thanksgiving card ideas earlier this year, but never followed through on them. There’s always next year! You know, I don’t like turkey nearly as much as I like mashed potatoes and gravy. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
November 20th, 2012
Three years ago I bought a massive roll of kraft paper for wrapping gifts, and so far I’ve only used about half of it. It’s the cheapest, best wrapping paper EVER! It’s recyclable, it matches everything, and you can use it plain or customize it for the occasion with paint markers (white and silver Sharpie paint markers are my favorites). Stars for Christmas, hearts for Valentine’s Day, balloons for birthdays… Really anything looks great drawn on kraft paper!
By the way, the gift tags are available in my shop right here!