Make Mom Proud

My first 28 years of writing thank you notes was child’s play compared to wedding thank yous. A note seems to hardly suffice for the overwhelming generosity of so many (oh so very many), so a special thank you card is even more important.

I got a few questions on my last handmade stationery post. So I’m back to detail a bit more of my process in pictures.

And I’m including a free printable to make it a bit easier. So just click here, follow the photo instructions below, write a few thank you notes, and make mom proud!

Here’s the free printable of the handwritten “thank you” part of the card. Just cut along the lines and then use double-sided tape to attach it!

The Paper Source is a great one stop shop for all things stationery. So check there for cool paper, pre-cut cards of any color, matching envelopes, and envelope liner templates.

PS: All you engaged ladies out there do not have time to be making your own thank you cards. So you better keep an eye on your mail… 


Project Defeminization

For the last 8 years, I’ve been collecting pretty accessories, curtains, paintings, lamps, etc, with the hope of some day compiling it into an Anthropologie-esque dream home.

Then I got engaged.

And Alex said, “Do you think that, maybe, when we get married, our apartment could like, um, maybe, you know, no offense or anything, but be a little less…feminine?”

I got his point. I’ve certainly kept his very gentle request in mind, but it’s been harder than I thought to neutralize all those pinks and flowers. So this weekend I went to work.

Project #1: The Entryway

Here’s what our entryway has looked like for a while. We bought this card catalog together at an antique shop, and we love it. But it’s had a few pretty little afore-mentioned accessories sitting on it. With a pretty, flowery painting hanging above.

No more. This weekend I used my incredible defeminization powers and Zap!

Bold, graphic, orange print in a bigger and thicker black frame. More clear space showing off that masculine metal surface. Accompanied only by Mr Bird. (Who, by the way, went from dumb and boring to slick and cool with a few coats of glossy white spray paint…)

But back to the project at hand. This entryway no longer says “Good day, sir, welcome home to your lovely abode. May I pour you a cup of tea.” It says, “Hey man, come on in. You’re just in time for our co-ed crafternoon.”

Just what every guy wants to hear, right?

Well, if not completely defeminized, hopefully the aesthetic at least falls a bit more in the middle on the scale of lace to movie posters.

Home Cookin: Chocolate Chip Bites

Everyone has a chocolate chip cookie recipe they rarely stray from, I know. But seriously, you gotta try these. Then thank Mama Schmunk for passing on the recipe. You can tell mine is oft used already.

The secret weapon? Canola oil. Butter can leave cookies crunchy in the long run. But the canola oil ensures soft chewy cookies immediately out of the oven, or thawed from the freezer weeks down the road. (If they last that long.)

Once the chips are mixed in (a few extra certainly doesn’t hurt), drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. It goes against every fiber of my being to say so, but smaller spoonfuls tend to work better. Just means you can eat more of them.

The other secret to getting these just right? Bake them for 8 minutes. They should look just underdone. But they’ll continue cooking once they’re out of the oven, and mature to perfection from there.

These will definitely make you, and whoever you share them with, feel special today. So pull out the red plate.

Here’s the recipe for Mama Schmunk’s Chocolate Chip Bites:

1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large egg
2 egg whites
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the sugars and oil. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake until just light brown.

PS: With just 8 ingredients and a short baking time, these are perfect for budgets of both time and money. And of course, my favorite kind of before and after.

Enter the Flat Forest

Today I’d like to take a moment to brag on my very talented husband. He’s very brag-worthy. You see, he just launched an Etsy shop. It’s called…

I whole-heartedly supported this Etsy shop idea because he’s very good at drawing. And after he draws things, I like to turn them into frame-able prints and sets of notecards, like this:

and this…

But you better just go see for yourself. Enter Flat Forest.


Welcome to The Handmaden! Yep, I’m the proud owner of

I have my wonderfully clever husband to thank for this new blog name.

Although the name has changed, the purpose of this blog has not. I simply want you, yes you, to know that you are creative! And you can do creative things, even though you might think you can’t.

The truth is, creativity shows itself in so many different ways: crafting, cooking, singing, drawing, journaling, playing games, decorating, traveling, doing something thoughtful for someone else. The Handmaden wants to explore all of those things as I try them out myself. And hopefully give you a few ideas (and pointers) for when you get stuck.

PS: Of course, a URL alone isn’t enough. You can now find The Handmaden at:

My First Love

Well, my first crafting love anyway. Stationery. It just soothes my soul to pull out my trusty little paper cutter and see that stack of brightly colored envelopes just waiting for a pretty little card to hold.

I had a couple of dear friends with birthdays this week, so I happily nabbed the opportunity to put together a little personalized package for them. One enjoyable Saturday crafternoon later, here’s what I had in my hands:

Personalized flat cards with handmade envelopes for Sara.

Personalized flat cards with fancy Norman Rockwell envelope liners for Anna:

Think you can’t do this? You can! Here are my secret weapons:

  • Paper Source envelope templates
  • Paper Source envelope liner templates
  • Paper Source envelopes in any color you can imagine
  • Large sheets of paper for envelopes. Try wrapping paper, or the 12×12″ sheets you can find at craft stores.
  • Interesting designs/patterns/photos for envelope liners. I’ve used sheet music, comics, and best of all, thrift store coffee table books (like Norman Rockwell paintings). Get creative!
  • Card stock in any color you like. Print someone’s monogram or name in a cool font to make simple flat cards.
  • Double-sided tape (It’s easy to work with and glue falls apart, trust me.)

So go get to crafting already! 

PS: A sneak peek at Crafternoon madness

Custom Handmade Valentines by You!

Alright friends. I’m trying something new here. And I’m pretty darn excited about it. Introducing Custom Handmade Valentines by You!

Once you’ve followed my simple instructions, your Valentine will look like this:

I’m making it easy for you this year. All you have to do is download the PDF, fill in your sweetie’s name, print, and give to said sweetie on Feb 14.

This printable (that’s the industry term I learned recently) includes: 

  • Custom heart bunting folded card in two (yes, two!) color schemes
  • Custom matching Valentines coupons (makes gift giving easy, thoughtful, and free!)
  • Two patterned pages for envelope liners, gift tags for the bouquet of flowers you got me, I mean, your wife, or just a special love note
I printed a girlie version on white paper (above), and made it a bit more masculine with this brown paper bag style.

(For all you gaming nerds out there — you know who you are — this is one of Alex’s coupons: “Choose one: +2 actions; +3 cards; +7 kisses”.)

So get to work! Make sure you have Adobe Reader (you can download it here) and then print your printable. (See how they got the name? Clever.)

A few technical notes: Depending on your browser, when you click the link, it might appear like you can edit the PDF right in your browser. Don’t fall for it. Save the document, open it in Adobe Reader, then edit it. Also, when you print, choose the print option that says “actual size.”

If it doesn’t work quite right, you have permission to email me. Like I said, I’m new at this and did all kinds of testing on PCs and Macs, but not quite sure that I caught everything.