Tag Archives: gift

Decoupage Memory Box

22 Aug

Many people nostalgically describe college as the best times of their life, but few people warn of the sadness that comes when it’s time to leave. Heading off to college often means saying goodbye to families, friends, homes, and cities that people have known all their lives. And while what lies ahead may be fun and exciting, saying goodbye is one of the hardest imaginable things to do.

I’m lucky because I’m moving only 30 minutes away from home, so I can come home to visit Goose and my family on weekends and even after school some days. It wasn’t just luck though. When you have people in your life as incredible as the ones that I have in mine, it’s impossible to stay away for long.

Saying “See you in November” to friends who you’ve known since kindergarten is tough. On the flip side, knowing that you won’t see them until Thanksgiving makes you appreciate what time you do have with your friends even more. Without seeing friends in school each day, you  have to decide which people are worth going out of your way to maintain relationships with via phone calls, letters, care packages, e-mails, and rare visits.

Packing up boxes of picture frames and sentimental items to take with me to my dorm left my room feeling impersonal and empty. The blank walls and eerily clean bookshelves made the room a constant reminder of my upcoming move, and from my little sisters’ perspective, of my leaving them. In an effort to show them that they will still be as much a part of my life when I go to college as they always have been, I made these memory boxes for them. This project also allowed me to test out the idea of making additional personalized boxes for friends to include in future care packages.

The boxes are really simple to make, as they involve little more than some cutting and pasting; but the personal thought and homemade aspect of the gift make this a wonderful way to show someone you care. Seize the opportunity to get as personal and creative as you want. Draw your own pictures or add text to decorate with. You can even experiment with fabric, wire, mirrors, and other materials.

Decoupage Memory Box

Materials:

  • Wooden box
  • Glue stick
  • Shiny Mod Podge  (or a mixture of 1 part Elmer’s glue to 1 part water)
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife (optional)
  • Foam brush (or other paint brush)
  • Pictures
  • Magazine images
  • Letter or 3-D stickers

Directions:

  1. Take your time in going through old photos and magazines to choose a good selection of pictures that either hold a special memory or that you know will make the recipient smile. This is the most important step of the project. I spent months going through old magazines and a good few hours searching through my computer for the very best pictures. Gather more  images than you think you will need so that you can be selective when it comes time to actually lay out your images.
  2. Use the scissors to cut out each of your images. I chose to cut them right on the edge, but you can leave a slight border if you prefer. Just make sure that you are constant in applying the same method to all of your images.
  3. Layout what images you want on the four sides of the box, being sure to coordinate the tone and color scheme as well as possible. The longer you spend in the first step, the easier this step will be.
  4. Use the glue stick to glue down the images to each face, one face at a time. If you want your images to overlap the space where the lid and the side meet, press the top and the bottom together firmly and glue the image right on top of the seam, then use your Exacto knife to gently cut through the image along the seam. The cut will be unnoticeable in the finished produce, and you will still be able to open and close your box without a problem as long as no glue gets into the seam.
  5. Use the 2-D stickers and remaining images to decorate the top of the box, and even to dress up the sides a bit more.
  6. Coat each face of the box with a generous coat of Mod Podge, then top with any 3-D stickers if desired.
  7. Hide a special note or sentimental object inside the box and give it to someone you love.

Mother’s Day Loving From a True Momma’s Girl

12 May DSC_0450

For years I’ve been told by countless teachers, friends, and family members just haw much I look like my mom. Unlike most teens, I think that there is no greater compliment than being told of my resemblance to this incredible super woman. She has a speech pathology degree, a model-esque body, and endless charm, yet she chose to dedicate her life to raising my three sisters and me. If that kind of pure selflessness doesn’t count as a super power, I don’t know what does.

I owe much of my academic success to my mom’s tireless dedication to doing everything in her power to help me. From dropping me off and picking me up at Habitat for Humanity sights that are almost an hour’s car-ride away to running back and forth among all of the art and building supply stores in town to help get me all of the obscure materials that I needed for my architectural models, my mom has never once refused to help me in any way possible.

Not only has my mom been my biggest cheerleader over the years, she also has been my best friend. She is my closet confidant, my shopping buddy, my kitchen companion, and the person whom I can always rely on to try new things with me. While my mom always tries to encourage me to catch up on my zzz’s, when I end up staying up to the wee hours of teh morning, it’s usually because she’s by my side chit chatting with me all night over a shared orange and a few cups of green tea.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have this amazing woman to enstill a sense of endless possibility and to guide me throughout my life. Without her support and daily readership, this blog would not be possible, so thank you Mom!

If any of you lovely readers want to show your apprecaition for your mommas out there too, check out this quick and easy craft as a great last minute Mother’s Day gift or an idea to tuck away for the future. These sweet little tea cup candles are the perfect way to add a touch of vintage chic to any house or office. The great scents of these decorative gems are an extra bonus!

Teacup Candles

What You’ll Need:

  • small sauce pan or pot
  • teacup, with a saucer if you so desire
  • meltable wax (find this at craft stores like Michaels or melt down existing candle stubs)
  • candle wicks with holder, at leas an inch or two taller than your cup
  • dye and essential oil (skip these if you bought pre dyed and scented wax like me)
  • thermometer
Directions:
  1. First scour your local vintage shops, flea market, or grandmother’s china cabinet for a cute teacup.
  2. Generously measure out the amount of wax that you will need to fill your teacup.
  3. Melt the wax in your pot and place the thermoneter in it to monitor the temperature.
  4. While waiting for the wax to melt, tie the top of your wick around a pencil or popsicle stick.
  5. Once the wax reaches 185 degrees, gently dip the wick into the wax, then place the base of the wick into the teacup and let it set.
  6. Balance the pencil or stick on the teacup’s rim, and place the teacup in the sink.
  7. Gently pour the melted wax into the teacup, making sure to stop 1/2 inch below the rim of the cup.
  8. Let the wax cool for at least an hour, then untie the wick from the pencil or stick and cut it to 1/2 inch above the wax line.
  9. Wrap it up cutely and give it as a gift. Punny tea references encouraged.

Life is like a box of chocolates….or in my case a box of tea

13 Feb

Since my dad is the ultimate movie buff, he made sure to show me all the classics early on. As an 8-year-old, my favorite line from Forest Gump was of course “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.'” At the time I didn’t really understand what that advice meant, but as I’ve grown up, I realize that this idea has power beyond its salivating reference to chocolate. What Gump was saying is that life is full of variety and unexpected surprises. I try to embrace spontaneity, but not to force myself to live spontaneously simply for the sake of doing so. The trick to spontaneity, is not waiting until the last possible moment to make a decision, but rather being open to all possibilities and being willing to go a little out of your comfort zone and take a risk in hopes that it will make you happier, or t least expand your range of experiences.

The advice that my mom gave me a few days ago could also be linked to a box of chocolate, but is of a very different nature. She told me not to expect any single person to fulfill all your needs because you will end up being disappointed. This is my mom’s secret to always seeing the good in people. By viewing your friends like an assorted box of chocolates, and not getting hung up on the idea of having a single best friend/spouse to fulfill all your needs, you will ultimately be happier. By opening yourself up to a variety of people, instead of narrow-mindedly rejecting any people who aren’t perfect, you will make it so that even if one friend cancels on you, you will have a phonebook full of people that you can call for a reassuring chat or an spontaneous day out.

Even if you haven’t actively tried to categorize your friends, think through them now and see what different niches they fill. Do you have a foodie friend who takes you to hip new restaurants, a therapist friend who is happy to listen to you talk then give your his/her two cents, an outdoorsy friend who encourages you to leave your technologic life for a hike very once in a while, an exciting friend who always knows how to distract you from life’s burdens, or a childhood friend who is always happy to go on walks down memory lane with you? Maybe you are even lucky enough to have a best friend who will always be there for you when you need him/her. This person could be your sibling, your boyfriend, your parent, or anyone who you can always count on to have your best interest in mind. Use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to show all of your best friends how much you care or as a reminded to make plans with one of your best friends whom you haven’t seen in a while.

Tea-filled chocolate box with a homemade teacup candle (tutorial for the teacup candle to come in a future post)

Now back to the tea…I’m lucky that my Mom is one of my best friends. Not only does she always have my best interests at heart, she also shares my love of tea. Every afternoon after our hectic lives calm down for at least a bit, we discuss our lives over tea. This is when she gives me wonderful advice, like the bit about friends being like an assorted box of chocolate. To show her how much I love her this Valentine’s Day, I updated a box of chocolates to give it a personalized twist.

Neither bouquets of flowers nor boxes of chocolates can addequately express my love, so I’m combing the two most quintessential valentine’s day gifts to make this one!

Materials

Heartfelt Box of  Tea

You Will Need:

  • An empty heart-shaped chocolate box
  • Mini cupcake/candy liners
  • Blossoming tea buds
  • 2 1/2 inch slips of paper
  • Red or pink pen
  • A heartfelt card

Box with tea and cupcake liners

Directions:

1. Brainstorm reasons why you love the person and write them down (you want one or two reasons per tea bulb), then cut the reasons into strips

2. Fill your empty chocolate box with the mini cupcake liners

3. Place a blossoming tea bulb and one (or two) of the little notes into each cupcake liner

4. Place the lid on the box, wrap it up, and top off your present with a sweet card

Happy Valentine’s Day my lovely readers! What gifts did you make/buy to show the important people in your life how much you love them?