OUR 2018 CHRISTMAS CARD

Holiday cards! I live for these. Absolutely love them. Love designing them, writing them, getting them, decorating with them, seeing the changes in our family and friends’ families year after year, all of it.

But also, I want to recognize that many things about holiday cards can feel stressful. The photoshoot (if you choose to do one), getting everyone to look at a camera, dealing with the tantrums and emotions of toddlers and/or multiple children and babies, the picking of the photo, the design, the getting the updated addresses, the mailing. It can feel…overwhelming, to say the least, not to mention expensive. I get why people opt out. I have a few tricks up my sleeve to take as much stress out of the holiday card as possible. Here is how that went for us this year:

We traded a photoshoot with a friend (at their generous suggestion, not ours), who is an actual, real-life, full-time, professional photographer. (Thank you, Joe). How I feel about that is this: I tried so hard to return the favor, and good luck editing your batch.

We spent the morning on a ferry ride, and it was mostly just fun to hang out and catch up. We got photos as a bonus, but it did feel very non-stressed, not the point of that Saturday morning. We also happened to get great weather which is kind of like winning the lottery in the late fall in Seattle.

For the design, I went with Postable, who I’ve used before, when Trey was 6 months. (See that card here.) I absolutely love this company and think their concept is so brilliant. I use their (free) address book to keep my addresses up to date throughout the year, and when I need an updated contact I can press one button and it emails my contact for me, and they enter their contact info, saving me mulitple steps. Genius. You can also use their address book without using their cards - just as a way to keep yourself organized.

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I picked my design, edited the card, and wrote a little something about our year on the back. That Christmas tree photo was taken at a local Christmas tree farm, and I followed the same formula I usually do to get the majority of our family photos, which goes like this: I bring my big camera and tripod, set the 10 second timer, and run for it. Free photoshoot! We got this in about 5 takes since the battery was dying and the boys were over it. But we got it. Done and done.

The feature I love the most about Postable is not only will they address your cards for you, but they have an option to send them out for you. This saves me hours, and I don’t have to lick a single envelope. Some people love the art of handwriting the addresses and writing a note, and I get that, so you can also choose to have them sent to yourself. But in this season of life, anything that saves me time around the holidays is a win for me.

Love love love these. Happy holidays!

Thank you to Postable for partnering with me on this post.

MODERN FARMHOUSE PLAYSET DIY

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A playset has been on my wish list for a while now, but even the ones at Costco run about $1,000, so when our friends were giving away their well loved set for free, we jumped on the opportunity. Getting it was probably the hardest part. Daniel spent a couple days dissembling it into a few main pieces with our friends, and then rented a huge u-haul truck to transport it still mostly in tact.

When we reassembled it it looked like this:

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The bones were in great shape but the stain was peeling in lots of places. We pressure washed it and transformed it with paint in one afternoon.

This paint sprayer is one of my favorite tools for big DIY projects. We used it previously to spray all the doors in our house, and if we ever do walls again, I'd use this instead of rolling. It makes big project go so incredibly fast. They are pricey, but you might be able to rent one or borrow one.

It has a bit of a learning curve - there is a lot of paint loading, getting the air out, priming the pump, and troubleshooting throughout. But it really is a game changer for a project like this one.

We used two gallons of Behr Exterior Satin paint in Simply White by Benjamin Moore and a quart of the black. I can't remember the name of the black but I think it's something standard by Behr.

We debated priming but decided to just go for it without it. This is a playhouse, not Pinterest. It doesn't need to be perfect and we really wanted this project to go as fast as possible since we were racing against the weather and naptime. We just sprayed white paint all over the interior and exterior, on the already assembled play set (we did remove the swings, door, and rock climbing holds - on the back, not pictured).  It didn't matter than some paint got on the grass because it will grow and get mowed, and the slide we kept yellow and I didn't care about the over spray there. We only did one coat of white and it took almost exactly two gallons for interior and exterior. Once that was dry Daniel hand painted the roof in black and I did the windows with a small brush.

This playset is literally the playset of my dreams and I can't believe we got it for free. The total cost for us was about $72 - just the cost of paint. While not very much money, the difference it makes it absolutely incredible. Hopefully this inspires someone to scour Craigslist and OfferUp to find a great deal and then refinish it inexpensively. The hours of outside play and entertainment this has already provided has been well worth it. And the summer is only just beginning.

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Trey likes to come up to this window and pretend play. He'll ask me, "Mama order a coffee? Mama order a taco?" Yes please to both.

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So happy with this! We're calling it Trey's second birthday gift - just a few weeks early. This will be a gift that literally keeps on giving.

NEW PRINT IN THE SHOP

I designed and lettered this alphabet print for our nursery, and wanted to make it available to purchase as a download.

I love this print, I feel like it's perfect in a nursery without being too "babyish" and can easily grow with our child into a future toddler's room. Gender neutral and sophisticated, while still being playful and whimsical. 

Details: once purchased, the downloadable file will be immediately emailed to your inbox. File is formatted to print at 8.5 x 11" at 300 dpi. If you'd like a larger size (16 x 20" pictured here) just note that in the comments. You can print on any type of paper, or send to be printed at your local print shop.

Perfect in a nursery, child's room, or gift for your favorite teacher. Available here. Enjoy!