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{diy} birthday cards

Tonight. Finally. Tonight! I can’t tell you how much I’ve been yearning to craft over the past few weeks. For whatever reason, it’s always the last thing to go on the list. The thing I won’t do in place of other things. Not tonight, thank goodness. Even better, I got to hang out and catch up with a friend while being creative. It’s always great getting a second opinion.


Tonight’s focus was on greeting cards. I generally buy cards from American Greetings or the like, but I’ve decided to be more budget friendly in December for the holiday. I’m attending a party on Friday night for the boyfriend, his sister-in-law and grandmother, who all had birthdays in or around November. Tonight, I focused on a card for his sister-in-law, Steph. Hopefully she’s not reading the blog. I decided to use my owl stamper from last year’s Christmas card collection. I literally glued together scraps from some paper I had around the house and tied the card together using a simple bookmaking technique. Here’s hoping that Steph has a royal hoot on her birthday.


For the boyfriend’s 91-year-old grandmother, I decided to go classic. I used this leftover paper from a book I once made for a wedding. The flowers, light blues and off-whites seemed great for a more classic look.


Again, I used a bookmaking technique for the string. I think it gives the card a little extra flair. I wrote “Happy Birthday” in cursive, though I’m not too satisfied with it. I have trouble writing like that, and my white pencil was quite dull. Nevertheless, I think it all ties well together.

I’m so thankful, so happy that I got to put my hands to good work tonight. Tomorrow? Perhaps more cards. Or maybe I’ll start brainstorming some DIY Christmas ideas. So far on my list? Homemade bath fizzies and peppermint bark.

Now I’m just wondering why I didn’t start this DIY process sooner.

Home Organizers: A Plan for Healthy Living

When you live with a roommate, separating the chores can be sort of strange. Cat and I sort of had an unwritten system for the past year we’ve been living together. We’d each do the things we didn’t mind doing. At times, the weight would fall upon one dweller more than the other. And so on a recent trip to Target, we decided to go old school and bring back the Chore Chart and Home Organizer.

There are certainly more chores in our household than these, but these seem to be daily tasks that pop up. Over the weekend, we decided to divide the chores based on schedule. When a chore is completed, a star appears indicating the task has been finished. It may seem silly and even rudimentary, but it’s helping us both keep on track. We’re also doing tasks we don’t normally do, which helps distribute the weight a little more evenly.

We also live very active lifestyles but like to eat and cook healthy meals together. We bought this calendar so we could not only write meals for the week but upcoming events and holidays. It’s helpful to know when Cat is attending a yoga session, so I know she is unavailable. It’s also helpful to map out upcoming travel trips or parties.

Again, this all seems very simple, but it took us nearly a year to put these items up on the refrigerator. Now I feel like we are more in tune with each other’s lives and can better plan for food, fun and healthy living.

How do you stay organized?

Aunt Doll’s Healthy Pigs-in-the-Blanket

 

In certain circles, my grandmother went by “Aunt Doll.” I always longed to call her Doll instead of Gram, but it didn’t feel right (with her being my gram and all). Aunt Doll is quite the woman – and known for many things. Large plates of Christmas Cookies. Cards on every occasion (sometimes with a $5 spot inside). But most importantly, Doll is known for her cabbage rolls, a.k.a. “pigs in the blanket.”

Tonight I channeled my inner doll and sought out to make a slightly-healthier version of her cabbage rolls. We have mounds of swiss chard in the garden, and I just received a delivery of ground beef from my grandparents’ farm. The herb garden is being severely neglected. No better time than the present to make my first-ever-batch of pigs-in-the-blanket, this time with a more locally-grown twist.

When I was young, I had no taste whatsoever for cabbage rolls. I turned my nose up at cabbage. Then, for a while, tomato sauce wrecked my existence (and still does, on slight occasion). But with age has come wisdom, and I’m excited to share that I thoroughly enjoyed my first batch in the privacy of my very own backyard.

So no, Aunt Doll didn’t make these. And this isn’t even her recipe. But she deserves the credit/namesake. That woman always made these look like a breeze. Try them for yourself, when you have time. You won’t be disappointed.

{Full Recipe}

My Arts & Crafts

Art has been found in many parts of my life. For me, these experiences with arts and crafts have almost been more empowering than the finished product.

My crafting abilities truly began to flourish during my graduate studies, where I immersed myself in the art of bookmaking. My program (M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts, University of Baltimore) was unique. It stressed not only the written word – but also the physical form that took. The program’s specialization helped it earn a spot as one of the nine most distinctive programs in the United States, according to Poets & Writers Magazine.

I have created books using a variety of formats. Since graduating, I’ve developed into a true bookmaker, specializing in custom-made wedding guest books, albums and journals. I’ve made more than 50 handmade books for clients. I’ve also created books using my own text. I regularly make my own cards and other tiny books for distribution.

If you are interested in a handmade book for a special occasion, contact me.

Reviews

“If you’re ever in need of a touching, unique, and personal gift for someone special, look no further! I knew I’d never be able to find exactly what I was looking for in any store. Rose was able to translate my ideas so wonderfully into a concrete memory book that will always mean so much to us.”
- Maria, who had a custom book made for her sister chronicling their roadtrip adventures

“She loved it!  It’s on our main coffee table now for all to see! She immediately knew who I went to in order to get the book made too…Rose!!! Thank you so much for your help!”
- Jordan, who had a custom book made for his wife on their anniversary.

“I absolutely love my book. I was a little worried that something handmade would be too fragile to enjoy, but my book is very sturdy and looks very professionally done.  It looks as beautiful as anything I’ve ever seen in stores.  I love the especially love the feel of the pages on the inside, which is nicer than any journal I’ve ever had.  My mom loved the one I ordered for her, too–she started using it right away.”
– Hil, who had two custom journals made for both her and her mother

“I asked Rose to make a photo album for my niece’s 1st birthday. With just a little bit of information from me about my niece, she was able to create the perfect book that reflects my little niece’s personality perfectly. I was amazed! Even without any pictures inside, it is the perfect 1st birthday present.”
- Heather, who had a custom baby book made for her niece

Compromise in the Kitchen

Last night was an exercise in patience. Thankfully, it yielded good results.

Days ago, the boyfriend suggested we make a meal together. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to create (and eat) a meal together as a team. Friday, I received a text from him indicating he had picked up some ingredients. When I arrived at his apartment, he was ready to cook.

As I was standing there watching him pull out pots and pans, I found myself feeling helpless. For more than a year, I have been used to cooking meals for myself (or my roommate). I am no longer used to this method of “cooking as a team,” and honestly, I found myself upset that I was not part of the planning process.

Between snapping asparagus stalks and boiling water, I let the boyfriend know my feelings. He indicated that he had picked out ingredients based on my food tolerances. He thought that buying the ingredients was a helpful move. I agree, it was, but I think some of my control issues surrounding the kitchen surfaced. Simply put, I am used to being head chef in the kitchen. I don’t like that power being taken away from me.

As I stood there feeling upset and hurt, I realized something huge: I need to loosen the reins. For the first time in a long time, I am in a happy and healthy relationship. I want to be able to share things that I love (like cooking) with my partner. Thankfully, we have created an open and honest relationship from the start. And despite the initial hiccups of our team cooking, we ended up sharing a beautiful meal with one another that both sustained our bodies and spirits.

When things don’t go as you had expected or planned, it’s best not to get worked up. Just be honest, straightforward and move on. Otherwise, you might miss out on enjoying an incredible meal with someone you love.

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