Monday, December 15, 2014

'Tis a Gift to Be Simple

Simple gifts.

Oftentimes, it is the simple gifts I remember most.

The knitting magazine an anonymous coworker left on my desk.

The card in the mail thanking us for our hard work and dedication, letting us know we're appreciated in spite of what others may say. 

A cup of coffee on a dreary, slow Friday at work.

A helpful and encouraging friend during a major life transition. 

The plate of cookies and candle brought over by a neighbor to welcome us to the neighborhood. 

For some, this kind of simple gift giving comes naturally. For others, we have to work at it. Like me.

I love gift giving. I love going overboard, spending hours looking for that one, perfect gift. And in the process, something is lost. It can be easy to forget why we're giving the gifts, and instead focus on the gifts themselves. 

Christmas 2014 was a time for me to slow down and put the simple, hand-made, and thoughtful aspects back into my gift-giving. And you know what? I don't regret it one bit. It was relaxing and freeing. 

So this year, I'm challenging myself. To keep the mindset of simplicity in gift giving. There are lots of birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays coming up I this year. May we once again find joy in the simple gifts.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Handmade Fall

Continuing in my quest to produce handmade gifts for my loved ones this fall and winter, I tried out a few new recipes this weekend. I hope others love these as much as I do!

Homemade, all-natural sugar scrubs! Two different recipes: vanilla chai and pumpkin spice. They both smell amazing, and my hands felt great after using a little bit while I filled the jars. 

This was also my first time using coconut oil. I'll admit, it intimidated me a bit, but the lady at our local health foods store was super helpful in making sure I bought the right kind for what I needed. My one little 7 ounce jar of oil was enough for both recipes! I was worried there wouldn't be enough, but it worked out perfectly. 

The vanilla chai recipe made 3 (4oz) jars of scrub, and the pumpkin spice recipe made 8 (4oz) jars. Some of these jars will be donated to the Harvest Festival at church, the rest will be given as gifts.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Kitchens and Christmas Plans

This weekend I've got a case of peaches to process. Two years ago when we bought these peaches, I only froze them. This year, I'm venturing into the canning world and making some crockpot peach butter. I've got a great family recipe that calls for peach butter, so I can't wait to try this out! Andrew's especially excited for this adventure, haha!

I'm also planning on making some of this year's Christmas presents over the weekend. Every year, I strive to give as many homemade gifts as possible, for a few reasons.

One, I believe that handmade gifts are even more special than store bought gifts. There is thought, planning, time, energy, and love that goes into handmade gifts. In a way, I think they're more expensive than even the most sought after gifts of the commercial season.

Two, I love using my gifts and talents to let others know I'm thinking about them. Sentimentality is a huge deal to me, even if it may not be to all the recipients.

Three, there's something so nice about seeing all my visions, plans, and hard work turn into something tangible and useful. I'm all about the useful Christmas gifts!

Can't wait to see how successful these items are! Should be a fun and busy weekend!

Friday, August 1, 2014

versatile patriotic bunting

About a week ago, I posted this photo on my facebook page:

Well, those 80 some triangles were trimmed with pinking shears and exposed to spray starch for durability.

Hung on twine, they got lots of compliments at our Red, White, and BOOM! Summer Celebration at work (because, you know.... we can't have birthday parties anymore).. I forgot to take a picture of them hanging at the party, but they're now decorating my cubicle at work. I love it when things are festive and colorful!

And 80? That was waaaaaayyy too many for what I needed. Only a couple dozen were hung on the wall and a few more decorated the table under the cupcakes. (I even left about 20 un-starched.) But the best part? Because they're not sewn and just threaded onto the twine instead (I had good intentions to sew them up... I just ran out of time during the Weekend of All the Events), I can use them for lots of other holidays. Wouldn't those red and white polka dot ones be so adorable for Valentine's Day?

What crafty projects have you been working on this summer? Are you breaking out of your crafting comfort zones?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

birthday cake

buttermilk pound cake with cherries and a powdered sugar glaze. sometimes the simple, non-traditional birthday cakes are the best.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Caffeinated Sheep: Etsy Update and SALE!

Take a few minutes to browse all the new stitch marker varieties I've listed in my Etsy shop. Everything is 10% off until July 28 in honor of my birthday!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

summer bounty

all from generous friends who shared the abundance of their summer gardens. yes, that is a sink full of green beans. good thing andrew likes green bean casserole!