Simple Handmade Gift Idea

Simple Handmade Gift Idea

 

One of the things I learned in the process of writing this book is that it takes a village to make it all happen.

No author is an island.

There are editors and copy editors and a marketing team and a PR specialists and publicists and people who check to make sure you’ve turned in every last exclamation point.

It’s awe-inspiring and humbling and amazing to watch.

Especially when your village is brilliant.Continue reading

What You Can Make With a Piece of Floor

What You Can Make With a Piece of Floor

 

The year for Christmas, my sister gave me a piece of ordinary.

Something everyday.

Something simple.

Something underestimated.

Something we see and overlook and walk and stomp and dance and tiptoe and tread on every single day.

A piece of floor.Continue reading

Lessons From a Desk Drawer

Lessons From a Desk Drawer

 

Sometimes when I think of my father–when I think of his twinkling eyes and the stories he’d tell and the songs he’d sing and the amazing way he had of making you feel like you could be more than you ever dreamed you could be–I laugh with the sheer joy of it.

He was only 5’6″ tall with a lifetime of living on his face and the mischievousness of a million pranks in his grin.

He was a teacher and a soccer coach and a geography whiz and a listener and an ice cream eater and a Monopoly marathoner and he could keep you on the edge of your seat with the entire history of the Revolutionary War–told with more drama and intrigue than a million dollar movie.

I asked him once for advice.  I was about to be a parent and I was nervous and overwhelmed and worried I would make mistakes.  I poured out my heart and told him about my fears and asked him how he learned how to be such a great dad.

He paused for a while and thought for a moment and then turned and fixed his eyes on mine with a serious look.

“Don’t worry about making mistakes,” he told me.  “Because you will.  You’ll make mistakes and learn from them and make a few more while you’re learning how to fix the first ones.  The secret is not about making mistakes–it’s about being willing to try and try and try some more.  When you are a parent it’s part of the job.”

He stopped for a moment and then laughed out loud.

“Shhh.  Don’t tell your mother, but I don’t think too much about the hows and whys and whens and ifs of being a parent.  I leave all that to her.” 

Then he grinned at me conspiratorially and added,

“Just between you and me….

….all I really do is show up.”Continue reading

A Journey Well-Carved

A Journey Well-Carved

 

Welcome to handmade Christmas gift edition 2016.

If you are new here and you’ve never celebrated the holidays with us, I need to start with a little explanation.

Our family makes gifts for each other every year.  We started small.  Someone made soap and then someone knitted something and then there was the year someone made trash cans with faces.

And then all that soaping and knitting and trash-can decorating turned into something a little more elaborate.

Like a picture of a thistle composed entirely of words from my blog.

Or a bowl carved from a tree that my father grew from a sapling.

Or a stone doormat created from pebbles collected from every state in the union and stamped with each state’s bird (no one actually did that, but you never know…it might happen next year).

And so it was on Christmas morning 2016….

….I opened this from my brother.

Continue reading

The Year of Handmade

The Year of Handmade

 
joy-handmade-gift-ideas

Twelve years ago we started with the handmade gifts.

It was born of necessity.  There were brothers and sisters and dads and moms and cousins and grandmas and nieces and nephews who gathered around the Christmas tree every year.

And none of us were millionaires.

Not even close.

It helps that we are all a little competitive, my siblings and I.  We all wanted to be the best.  We all wanted to make Santa proud.  So there were gifts of lampshades made from my father’s old slides and bowls carved from fallen trees and entire books created from old love letters and a thistle created from the first 750 words from my blog.

So today, on the last day of November with December knocking at the door, I thought I would share some of my favorite ideas for a handmade Christmas.  Some are easy.  Some are a little harder.

But all are hand-crafted.

Hand-loved.

Handmade from the heart.
Continue reading

How to Make a Leather Mason Jar Mug

How to Make a Leather Mason Jar Mug

 
How to Make A Mason Jar Mug

Yesterday I fell in love with a word.

Aren’t words funny like that?  You’re making an all day trip to Target and buying enough organizational supplies from the dollar section to organize a small country (seriously cutest organizational supplies ever) and having an amazing hair day and all of a sudden you hear a word….

….and fall in love.

And the word?

Splendid.

Spppllllllleeeennnnnnddddddiiiiiiiddddd.

Isn’t that the most wonderful, amazing, incredible word?

When you say it just rolls off your tongue.

And somehow you feel smarter and kinder and like you need to go up to your room at Downton Abbey and get ready for dinner.Continue reading

A Heartbeat In Every Line

A Heartbeat In Every Line

 
Scandinavian Star

My father was a geologist.

And with every trip and every car ride and every journey to a new state or mountain range or coastline, it was inevitable that he would excitedly exclaim and point and swerve the car to the edge of the road to show us an outcropping.

Or layer of shale.

Or a metamorphic or an igneous or a sedimentary rock.

And with great protests and eye rolls and shared glances, we would all stop what we were doing and begrudgingly listen to the rock lecture.

With an extra helping of grudgingly.Continue reading

The Gift for the House Who Has Everything (and the Winner)

The Gift for the House Who Has Everything (and the Winner)

 
house pillow diy how to

I literally have the slowest internet on the planet.

Maybe even the universe.

Truly.

In the time I spend waiting for pictures to upload, e-mails to download, blog posts to pull up, trying to read posts….

….I could have written the sequel to war and peace.

And even with the slowest internet on the planet, it only took me thirty minutes to make this pillow.

Easiest. DIY. Ever.

Need a present idea for the house (or the person) who has everything?

This is the project for you.Continue reading