This past Saturday we hosted a Friendsgiving with five couples and at the last minute decided to make a Thanksgiving banner. I really should have made this weeks ago because it took me just a half hour and it looks so cute on my mantle I almost don’t want to take it down in three days. (But I will… because Christmas is coming!).
Here’s how I made it:
- Glitter paper
- Stencil (or just be cheap like me and print out large letters to trace)
- String or yarn or twine
First, trace all of the letters on the glitter paper. I got a few sheets at Michael’s for $1 each and it only took me about a page and a half to trace all the letters. Maybe I’ll make a birthday banner with the leftover paper. :) Then cut the letters, make a hole (I used an ice pick) and string the letters.
Boom, that’s it. It really doesn’t require a tutorial, but I’m giving you one anyways so you can see just how easy and cheap this is. It adds some glam to our living room, and is a nice visible reminder to give thanks, something I need to do more of on a daily basis.
What Thanksgiving decorations do you have up? Or have you skipped to Christmas decorations already? :)
Y’all — I have some really talented friends who have turned their creative hobbies into businesses. I thought it would be fun to put together a little gift guide for the holidays, to help get the word about their adorable, affordable shops.
Allison Parker Designs - My friend Allison started creating custom onesies as baby gifts and got so many requests from friends she decided to open her own shop. There are some super cute patterns (including holiday ones!), and they make great gifts for pregnant friends or new moms.
Cotton & Crumb - My friend Christen makes and sells everything from scarves to jewelry to dog beds and pillows. She’s also a contributor for Darby Smart. I have one of her pillows on my guest bed and LOVE it. See it here.
Cotton & Crumb code: Use the code BETHANKFUL2013 for 15% off any order between now and Monday Dec 2nd
Olivia Jane Accessories- My friend Kim sells jewelry and scarves and it’s all very affordable. I’ve ordered two necklaces and two earrings and always get compliments when I wear them.
Olivia Jane code: Use the code THANKFUL20 for 20% off all orders for the holidays
Toddler Trends - My friend Aubrey has an adorable toddler that wears the cutest bows and dresses. She started to make her own and is now selling them. There are even some bow ties. What’s cuter than a little toddler in a bow tie? (A: nothing.)
Handwritten – My friend Page started a graphic design/paper business and has cute Christmas card designs for sale to customize your holiday card. If I hadn’t ordered mine three weeks ago (I know, I know, too soon), then I would have gotten one of these. So cute!
5. I love the week of Thanksgiving. Work slows down and there’s such good energy in the air with the holidays officially beginning. That energy starts this weekend, as we plan to go to the Raleigh Christmas parade (but maybe not, I think it will rain?), then a party at my SIL’s house to watch the NC State vs. ECU game, then we are hosting a Friendsgiving at our house. And that’s just Saturday!
A week or so ago Amazon announced a new site: Amazon Smile — the exact same site you know and love, except every time you buy something Amazon will donate 0.5% of every sale to a charity of your choice. (With a few exceptions like digital items, such as mp3s or kindle books… but you can still purchase it on that site, it just don’t be applicable to donate.)
Isn’t that awesome? Sure it’s a very small percentage, but every little bit counts right?
- Change your bookmark to http://smile.amazon.com.
- At the top, change the charity that you want to support.
- Shop and start changing the world! :)
I was thrilled to see how many non-profits are available — even very small organizations! We support Tiny Hands, a small non-profit working in Nepal to rescue women trafficked across the border to India (anyone read the book Sold? They support women just like that.), so that’s where our donations are going. We are Amazon Prime members, so we shop there all the time, and it’s really nice to think that just a tiny little bit of everything we buy is going to good.
Had you heard of Smile Amazon? What organization or non-profit will you support?
PS – For charities or non-profit organizations, you can be added to this list by signing up here.
“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment. Part of that, then, is honoring the way God made our bodies, and feeding them in ways they need to be fed.” – Shauna Niequest in Bread and Wine
“I think preparing food and feeding people brings nourishment not only to our bodies but to our spirits. Feeding people is a way of loving them, in the same way that feeding ourselves is a way of honoring our own createdness and fragility.” Shauna Niequest in Bittersweet
One of my biggest desires for our house is that it will be used to bless others. I’m not sure what that will look like over the years, but I long for it to be a place for people to gather, a safe haven to meet needs and bring comfort and community. One of my favorite books (and reinforcer of this desire) is Shauna Niequest’s Bread and Wine(quoted above). She paints a gorgeous picture of what life looks like when you open your messy home and invite people in.
As I’ve mentioned before, hosting doesn’t come naturally to me. The reason is easy, really: I’m afraid people won’t have a good time or things won’t be perfect or people won’t like me. Again, why I think that is silly, but there it is.
Most of that, I just need to get over. But some of these fears can be eliminated by preparing and planning head.
The first thing I do when I start to plan a party is think about what worked and didn’t work from previous events. But a lot of times the details are a little foggy. That birthday dinner — did that pasta dish have shrimp or chicken in it? Where was that recipe from? Do people respond better via email or Evite? Who did I originally invite and how many people came?
I decided to create a hospitality journal, to help remember these events and make notes for future reference on what worked and what didn’t.
Here’s a little preview into what this journal looks like:
First, find a journal that you can devote to record any time that you had people over, hosted a party, or had overnight guests over. Some examples of what to record, include:
Parties / Dinners:
Date of party
Invitation format – ex: word of mouth, evite, mailed invitation)
Menu – what the host cooked/prepared, what guests brought
Music – what playlist or station?
Who is invited and how many came
Summary of party, highlights
What would you do differently?
Who stayed over
Occasion / reason
Meals at home (ex: what did you keep in your fridge for snacks, breakfast, etc.)
Summary of overnight stay, etc.
What would you do differently?
Here’s an example from a dinner party I had the other day:
Maybe it’s a little silly to have record of only parties and hosting, but I think having a guide to reference later should be VERY helpful for future events. (Also, it’s not any stranger than having a journal full of dinners.:)
Do you host a lot of events at your house? Do you have any tips for preparing for parties?
I’m not sure why, but console tables are a little intimidating to shop for and scream I’m an adult! more than any other piece of furniture. (Okay, maybe buying nursery furniture says that too, but I’m not there yet). I’ve never had a console or entryway table before because I have never lived in a space big enough to need one. But upon entering this house, I had one of those I-need-something-here moments, and thus started the hunt for the perfect table.
Our front hallway needs two tables, really. One for the entryway by the front door and one at the end of the hallway to anchor that long narrow wall right by the garage door, half bathroom, and dining room. (Here’s a full home tour when we first moved in). Both hallway and wall are very small, so it was important to find two that were narrow, functional, and (most importantly) pretty.
The end of the hall table needed to be closed to help hide clutter and anchor the tall wall. I intended to find an old vintage dresser, but every one that I came across was too wide, and this spot in particular needed to be very narrow as it’s in the line of walking from three different directions. Plus all of the antique ones were more than I wanted to spend (anyone have that problem??).
One week in September Target was having a 20% off sale on all their cabinets and console tables. Perfecto! I was trying to decide between this one or this one, and decided to go with the half-moon shaped one because it had closed doors and I really don’t need another thing to style and try to make pretty. (Sometimes you just need a place to stuff stuff — amiright?)
So here’s my first table:
It has a gray antique finish, so it looks more expensive than it actually was. On sale it was $115 (including my 5% target card discount), so using $100 from my birthday I only had to pay $15 out of pocket. Cha-ching!
In case you’re curious, the frames above are from Ikea and hold six images from the mini 2013 garden Rifle paper calendar. On the table is a white tray (from Target, last year), white pitcher (from Target, this year), and a plant. Inside the cabinet I store random stuff like like vases or paper plates or bowls that are functional but not really pretty. It’s very nice to have a spot to hide things. :)
Back in July, after we were under contract for the house, I was idea collecting. God bless my Pinterest followers because every half hour I was pinning any little thing I thought would be a possibility in the house. During that time I decided I fell in love with the industrial wood+metal look. I don’t want my whole house covered in it, but thought it would be perfect for the front door, so long as it was narrow enough to fit in the small hallway and long enough that it spanned the office doorway. Kind of like this, except without the wheels.
One day in August I found the perfect table at Marshall’s. It had dark wood on the top and bottom in between a black metal frame, exactly what I was looking for. The price was $150, which at the time felt really steep. I texted J to see what he thought; he liked it and said go for it (he’s a keeper, that one). But I thought $150 was too much to spend and decided to sleep on it and come back the next day if I really wanted it.
As you can guess from all stories that start with I found it at Marshall’s but decided to mull it over… the next day the entry table of my dreams was gone. The two side tables that matched were still there, just sitting there mocking my indecision. I went back a few times in hopes that one would magically reappear, but after a few weeks decided it wasn’t meant to be.
Fast forward to October 25, I went back to Marshall’s (on a hunt for boots) and wouldn’t you know it, that entry table was sitting in the middle of the floor. Huzzah! Forget the boots — let’s buy a table! I maneuvered it awkwardly to the front of the store and thanked a nice clerk to help haul it in my car. Of course, a better way to end this is to tell you I got it at 80% off or something like that… but nope, I spent full price on that sucker and haven’t looked back since.
Here she is:
There isn’t a lot of space for mirrors in this house (aka, there are a lot of windows… a wonderful problem to have!), so I decided to put this mirror here to light up the space. There isn’t an outlet nearby (there’s a large pendant hanging from the second story) so to add length I used a vase (from West Elm) with some cotton branches. Other little trinkets include frame (from Target — I know, I shop there too much), candles, a candy jar with candy corn, and a pumpkin. The baskets underneath hold winter things, like gloves and hats and slippers, and mail. I will probably change it up eventually, but for now it works.
Here’s a picture of both tables, looking from the doorway:
All I need is a rug, a storm door, a fresh coat of paint and I can call this hallway DONE. :) And thus ends the tale of two console tables.
What piece of furniture feels most “adult” to you? Do you have a console table in your home?