Printable Christmas Gift Tag Freebie

Hello, All!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving this past Thursday; the Great American Holiday is one of my favorites. But, for me, it pales in comparison to what’s coming!

A thrill of hope
A weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn’

I’m excited to share this printable set of gift tags to enjoy at home.

I don’t know about you, but gathering, buying, stashing, and wrapping gifts for people during this time of year is one of my favorite things. I love to show people I love and think of them. I actually get teased by my family because I cannot stand to wait to give a gift; I insist that my gifts are opened immediately. And keeping a gift a secret is a real struggle for me!

You’ll want to print this on plain ol’ white paper from your printer, or even better, card stock if possible. 🙂 Then, cut them out and glue or tape them to packages as you wrap away.


Christmas Tag FreebieChristmas Tag Freebie color

Merry Christmas and much love from our family to yours; whether you are part of a family of one or twenty, I know our Heavenly Father has made a way for you to be part of His, too!


Deuteronomy 6:5

New Print available in Etsy Shop! IMG_7840One quote comes to mind:

I’m IN LOVE, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!
~Buddy the Elf

Why? Because I love the nautical feeling of two trends; indigo and brass!

IMG_7843Inspired by these, I decided to create this little piece based on some earlier calligraphy practice with one of my favorite scriptures.

Isn’t it fun when multiple passions just go together like PB&J? Memorizing scripture and penmanship practice… Penmanship practice and Adobe Illustrator practice… Adobe Illustrator Practice and a love of home decor…

It all came together to inspire this totally IMperfect piece featuring a totally perfect scripture:

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Deuteronomy 6:5

Available for download at our Etsy shop here.

Hope this little printable brings you some encouragement in your walk to do just that!


Mrs. S


Get It Together

Blissful times are ahead as I prepare, with gladness, for that handsome hubby of mine to come on home after a long leave of absence for work.
To help make the reintegration of two busy lives as smooth as possible, I felt like it was time to update some of our organization systems. IMG_6111.JPGThis little write-on, wipe-off frame is used for evening meal planning. I simply doodled the text with a gold paint pen, used white chalk to highlight the letters, and popped it into the frame.
After trying a system in which I wrote every meal and snack on a complicated grid, I’ve realized that, for the two of us, simply having a detailed plan for dinner is plenty of meal planning.
I use a wet erase marker for writing and clean it off with a damp paper towel.

IMG_6125.JPGThis daily/weekly/monthly cleaning schedule sits below it and keeps me on track where cleaning is concerned. Having a visual checklist has always been very motivational to me, and it actually lets me spend less time cleaning by helping me to stay more efficient. I got it from The Art of Simple here and modified it a few years ago to meet our needs.

IMG_6128.PNGI snagged these wire drawers at Target and they help me to stay on top of all the mail and paperwork for work.

IMG_6129.PNGI decided it was time to make our cork board both prettier and more functional. I don’t know about you, but beauty really does inspire me in my day-to-day. This pretty brass clock, a favorite family photo, some fresh flowers, and a special necklace all bring me happiness as I pay bills and make plans.
I keep a personal planner for my schedule, but I’ve decided we’d benefit from a combined family schedule, too. I hope the calendar on the cork board will do just that. I like when I know things like whether Mr. S has to appear in court in the a.m., if there is an upcoming drill weekend or military special school, if we have social/church church commitments, etc.

IMG_6127-0.JPGThe last improvement around here is my favorite! Brother took the time to come over and build me a shelf above or washer/dryer. I cannot even express how nice it has been to have cleaning products off the washer/dryer! I finally have a flat surface for folding. Heaven! How blessed am I?
Hooray for making preparations for precious homecomings.
This heart is overflowing with praise!


I’ve been keeping busy by sewing cushions for momma’s blue guest room, writing escort cards on silk leaves, arranging flowers, teaching an early-morning Bible study, attending a wedding, chatting with girlfriends, doodling chalkboard signs for my Bible teacher’s parents’ 80th birthday celebration, organizing/hosting a bridal shower, visiting with life-long friends, sewing a desk skirt (small space storage for free from a drop cloth), nestling found ginkgo branches in a demijohn, and serving up so much hot chocolate.
So thankful for every bit of busy blessing. Feeling the close and comforting hand of The Lord through it all. IMG_5609-0.JPG













Table Completed

The day has come! Our new table is in place, and I couldn’t be more grateful! photo (4)Here’s a look back at our first table! This table served us well for nearly three years. It was a moving sale find that cost us under a hundred bucks. I did (and do) love it, but there were a few reasons it wasn’t “just right” for us.

First, it was bar height. As we increasingly have little ones over at our place and look forward to children of our own someday, we realize this isn’t the most family friendly option.

Secondly, It wasn’t ideal for company (and we L-O-V-E having people in our home). The leaf was destroyed before we owned it; the previous owners’ dog had chewed right through it! To entertain, we had to use the leaf and cover it with a table cloth, plus add additional less-than-comfy counter stools.

Thirdly, it needed some TLC. The poly topcoat was failing after some less-than-careful care. If we’d kept it, I planned to sand, touch up dinged corners with a wood stain pen, and completely re-seal the thing.

Lastly, and absolutely in dead-last where importance is concerned, it just wasn’t “me.” Certainly no reason for a major overhaul, but I do enjoy the pursuit of pretty. 🙂 

After the table found a loving new home (its new owner, by the way, style it adorably and made me realize how cute it really was), we were left with four lonely chairs I wrote about here.

They’re definitely “trendy” despite their classic shape because of the wood’s finish and upholstery in linen. I know that my tastes will drift a few years down the road, so I’m glad I got a fantastic deal on these. When the time comes, I won’t feel guilty when I swap ’em out! I can already picture some lovely Windsor chairs down the road for a distinctively American feeling (don’t tell Mr. S these chairs are quite French, or I’ll have to immediately give them the axe). 😉  IMG_2741

And here is the table my dad, brother, and I created (can you guess which one of us was the least helpful?)! I am crazy about its look, but more importantly, I love that it was made with love! It turned out better than I could have imagined. Best of all, it cost us about $200.00 in materials–the deal of the century for a solid wood piece of loveliness.

Brother and I designed it together, and enjoyed sketching out everything from leg styles (we chose a huskier size than normal to give a substantial feel, but went with a traditional look) to the Golden Ratio (we are that weird). Though we considered lots of things when designing it, our most major concern was overall size. We decided on its size because of the space we have now, and because we think our first home will probably just have a small eat-in kitchen. Anything larger may not fit! If, down the road, we also have a larger formal dining room, we’ll purchase a larger table. 🙂

The top is made of a series of boards skillfully selected, perfected, and planed by Daddy. He carefully cut away knots and imperfections that would interfere with the structure of the table while letting me keep the little dings and marks I thought were beautiful. I also learned how to align the boards with the end grain going in different directions to prevent warping over time. It is truly amazing how much wood moves over time with changes in temperature and humidity and Dad made other structural provisions with that in mind.


We chose maple ,a nice hardwood, for the top stained it in a cool tone (Dark Walnut by Minwax), and sealed it carefully with polyurethane. We wanted a surface that was durable and ready for daily use. I adore the way the stain looks with the pickled finish on the chairs. Dad carefully showed me several options for routing the edge, and I think we chose well in the end!


We chose to save money on the base by purchasing softer, more affordable poplar. I painted it with a matte shade of white (while I adore dark and gleaming antiques, I’m much too casual of a girl for all that). The boys patiently let me paint it myself, and didn’t even complain when I insisted on taking the time to apply many super thin, drip-free coats. It’s still waiting for me to slather on Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax (just what I have on hand, but any brand would do if you want to do this yourself) for extra protection.IMG_2750

See those deep, diagonal lines? We left ’em on purpose! Dad and Brother planed the surface by hand. It’s hard work, and they did it not once, but TWICE!

In a frustrating turn of events, after I carefully stained and sealed the top, our last coat of poly was a nightmare–it dried with bubbles you could see when light shined across the surface, and it appeared cloudy. After much strategy talk, we decided to bite the bullet and totally strip it down to bare wood. This meant hours of extra planing and sanding. A lesson in patience to be sure.

Though we could have made it perfectly smooth (we did the first time), this time I insisted on keeping the marks of their second round of hand planing to remember the hard work they put into the table, and because I love the homemade feel it gives the piece.
IMG_2760Momma and I enjoying a breakfast of apple-smoked sausage, fresh apples, and a strawberry-banana-mango smoothie as the first meal enjoyed at the table.







Other delights this weekend included finding an ironstone pitcher for a song while antiquing with a friend, the arrival of my new lesson planner for next school year, a glorious sunset by a loving Father, and a fun couples’ baby shower.

I look forward to sharing meals with family and friends, happily sewing, creating art, and (prayerfully) doing kids’ homework on our table in the years to come.

Hope you’ll come “sit a spell” with us, too!


I’m linking up:

  DIY Showoff: That DIY Party

Table: Apron Complete

There’s progress on our table!

Brother and I measured and cut 8 tenons (two per apron plank) last week.

These are apparently the easy part. Even though I was comfortable doing calculations, scoring, and marking, I was pretty nervous about making such crucial cuts. Thankfully, my brother wasn’t nervous at all and did a fine job. 🙂

It was essential that they were cut well to ensure they’d fit snugly inside the mortises.

Here’s a diagram in case you, like me, hadn’t heard of a mortise and tenon joint before.

Dad and Brother cut the much trickier mortises in each leg, and now the apron and legs are assembled.

We decided to save money on the (pine) legs and (poplar) apron, so they’ll receive coats of fresh, white paint.

It seems to be a trend to build your own furniture from pine or other cheap soft woods, then stain it.

Luckily for me, Dad educated me about the difference in finish on soft and hardwoods. That blotchy, uneven look is not really desirable in the world of woodworking, apparently.

Since I wanted a natural wood finish on at least part of the table, we’ll construct the top from a hardwood, stain it, and seal it. We’re settling for hard maple, which is a cheaper hardwood that will still be suitable for a tabletop. 🙂 This wood will accept a stain more evenly than pine or poplar, and (theoretically) hold up a little better over time.

Maple is apparently still tricky to finish. So far, I’ve ready that seasoning the wood (from “[wood should be] acclimatized to the environmental surroundings in which the project will be used permanently”), sanding with progressively finer sandpaper (giving special care to the edges), and using a pre-stain conditioner will help to minimize uneven absorption.

I’m so thankful to have two guys with years of experience, plenty of know-how, and willingness to spend hours blessing me. 🙂