September 30, 2019

Sweater Weather Inspired Snail Mail

It is beginning to feel like that time of year--sweater weather! Which means it is time to send out some cozy, warm, sweater-weather snail mail to a handful of people to help them embrace the fall season. I found the cutest paper from Crate Paper called Knit Wit that inspired me to make up these care packages and pockets, which you'll see later on.

Sweater Weather Snail Mail

For the care package, I wanted to have crafting, baking, and self-care treats and goodies. For the craft stash of the recipient, I included some floral elements with a mini-twig wreath so she could make her own fall-inspired window wreath, some washi tape, pipsqueak markers that match the color scheme, journaling cards, giant-rose gold paperclips, and a paper bag of stickers and items from my de-stashing of my own material.

Sweater Weather Snail Mail

Additionally, I've loved putting these mini polymer stamps from Lawn Fawn. They are light-weight which makes them ideal for mailing, and super, super cute--I just had to include this Caramel Apple of My Eye set.

Sweater Weather Snail Mail

For self-care, I'm a big fan of sending these mini-candles from Antique Candle Works Co. (my current favorite candle company) for my friends to try out. Add in some new socks to keep toes cozy and warm, followed by a face mask and one of the fall sanitizers from Bath and Body Works.

Sweater Weather Snail Mail

Current fall favorite sweet are these snackable marshmallows called Smashmallows--eat them by themselves or top off your go-to hot beverage of choice with them for added sweetness. They come in many different flavors to try. Or, to keep with the baking theme (alongside the recipe cards pictured earlier)...

Sweater Weather Snail Mail

Include somethings like a cookie mix, or in this case, an apple crisp kit--all she had to do is add her favorite apples to have a delicious dessert to share.

Sweater Weather Snail Mail

Now it is just a matter of stacking everything in the mailing box--heaviest items go in the bottom.

Sweater Weather Snail Mail

Then comes the fun part--decorating the four flaps of the box. It is a great way to use up leftover scrapbook paper, and when the box is opened it serves as a surprise element to get excited about. I like to always have a flap that outlines the items found in the box and any special reason why; the rest are purely decorative.

Sweater Weather Snail Mail


Sweater Weather Snail Mail

Aside from care packages, I also used the scrapbook paper to sew some pockets, which I tucked with similar craft goodies to send out to some other friends too.

Sweater Weather Snail Mail

September 25, 2019

A Spooktacular Halloween Countdown Banner

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Cats, bats, and all things spooky are in the air with October just around the corner--and with it Halloween. Crate Paper recently release their newest collection for the holiday this year which included the most adorable countdown paper pieces, so I knew exactly what I needed to make for my spooky decor: a Halloween countdown calendar. I took the pieces and made them in cards that could be hung up as a banner. One side has the number pieces and then they can be flipped over as each day passes; both sides are decorated making the banner reversible. Below is the final project...

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Halloween Countdown Calendar

And here they are when reversed to "mark" the days as they go...

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Halloween Countdown Calendar

All that was left to do was to find the perfect spot for this countdown calendar: our big kitchen bay window. I used baker twine and mini clothespins to hang up these darling cards along with some other banners to bring even more balance and texture to the space these will hang for the month of October.

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Also, I had to put up a couple of paper bats--they're a favorite of mine! Happy Halloween!

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Psst!! If you enjoyed this post or are a fellow Crate Paper fan, share the love a little and pin this image below to share with your friends. If you've used any of the products from this year's Halloween line, I'd love to see them--share your links in the comments below for me to check out!

Halloween Countdown Calendar

September 23, 2019

May Your Fall Be Caramel Sweet!

Caramel Apple Treat Bags

It is officially fall now! Time to embrace cooler, sweater-weather days, crunchy leaves, and apple cider (because PSL is overrated). To celebrate the change in the weather here is a super easy and quick DIY for a caramel apple treat.

Caramel Apple Treat Bags

Take apples and individual caramel dips (you can typically find these in bulk at your local grocery store in individual size in order to make several of these treat bags), and stack them in a cellophane bag. 

Caramel Apple Treat Bags


Then you can download a sheet of these little gift tags with the link above. Tie off the bags with twine and the tags and you have a simple fall-themed gift bag for your next event, or to hand out to friends for no other reason than to celebrate it finally being autumn.

Caramel Apple Treat Bags

September 10, 2019

A Pumpkin Porch Cake DIY

I found this idea for a pumpkin cake decoration from Erin over at Cotton Stem and loved it so much I wanted to try my hand at it as a front porch decoration. The basic supplies you need are faux flowers and differing size pumpkins. 

I wel with a fairly neutral look with my faux flowers sticking with whites, creams, and sage colors...

Pumpkin Porch Cake

Next step was to stack up the pumpkins so that in effect they look like a tiered cake...

Pumpkin Porch Cake

Then I filled in the crevices in between my pumpkin layers with the faux greenery and flowers...

Pumpkin Porch Cake

Pumpkin Porch Cake

And that's all there was to it! It ended up making for quite the statement piece for the fall porch decor and it took roughly about 15 minutes to assembly completely. 

Pumpkin Porch Cake

September 3, 2019

Summer of Wonderment and a Child-like Bucket List

Small Wonders Illustrated Faith
We need to develop a palate for what is good, not just for what it can do for us, but for what it is in itself. -Mako Fujimura
We're entering what I *affectionately* refer to as the dog days of summer. They are those last days of summer exhaustion from too much heat, and I hate to say too much summer fun. (I wouldn't mind some stay-at-home, cozy fall and winter days right about now.) Everything in my garden is starting to look worn-out; it just needs a break from sunrays. Me too. This is that time of year where I start to itch with making holiday plans and plans for what I want next year to look like; these plans are in the super beginning baby stage--I'm not marking my calendar and creating goals just yet--but the eagerness to do so is there. 

This does have me reflecting over the summer today. Learning to reflect was one of the most personally beneficially practices my collegiate and teaching career have given me. I can still hear the professors say, "If you're not going to be genuinely reflective here, you've picked the wrong degree program."

Our Women's Bible study group has been beholding and learning about beauty in the Bible and in the world. We've had many rich conversations around utility, pragmatism--and where they come up short in comparison the creation all around us. Many Christians have written through the centuries about the massive role beauty--in all its' forms play a vital part in the amphitheater of the God's world and vision for flourishment on it. To ignore it is to ignore inner aches and longings for goodness, truth, and awe. In response and in reflecting over the verses and our conversations, we each began to illustrate our faith. Here are my pages:

Small Wonders Illustrated Faith

Small Wonders Illustrated Faith
Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. -G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy
Small Wonders Traveler's Notebook

I absolutely loved everything about the Small Wonders set by Eliane Davis from Illustrated Faith this month--from the color scheme to the playful-looking insects. I tried experimenting with lots of pockets on these pages--and even sewed a notebook into the notebook for added space to reflect on the quotes and related scriptures (as seen below).

Small Wonders Traveler's Notebook

Small Wonders Traveler's Notebook

Small Wonders Traveler's Notebook

Small Wonders Traveler's Notebook

At the tail end of summer, I plan to print out some of the photographs of this summer's favorite memories to keep in this miniature file folder flap I created on this particular page.

Summer Bucket List

The set also came with a summer bucket list which I ended up filling out and sticking inside a pocket along with a printed vision board for the summer's theme: wonderment.

Insect Twinkle Lights
Beauty is the word that shall be our first. Beauty is the last thing which the thinking intellect dares to approach since only it dances as an uncontained splendor around the double constellation of the true and the good and their inseparable relation to one another. Beauty is the disinterested one, without which the ancient world refused to understand itself, a word which both imperceptibly and yet unmistakably has bid farewell to our new world, a world of interests, leaving it to its own avarice and sadness. No longer loved or fostered by religion, beauty is lifted from its face as a mask and its absence exposes features on that face which threaten to become incomprehensible to man. We no longer dare to believe in beauty and we make of it a mere appearance in order the more easily to dispose of it. Our situation today shows that beauty demands for itself at least as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness, and she will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance. We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name as if she were the ornament of a bourgeois past — whether he admits it or not — can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love. -Hans Urs von Balthasar in Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Vol. 1 – Seeing the Form
You can read the companion post about the set-up of the Bible study and more resources used here.  
© Natalie Grimm. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.