Preparing for Advent

Advent Calendar Printable

I often feel anxious. Some days it’s because I feel stressed about work or money. Some days I wonder if I’m doing enough, while other days maybe too much. Some days I’ve just had an extra cup of coffee. Some days I can’t quite put my finger on a reason at all, but I can’t ignore a nagging restlessness that keeps my mind and heart from being still.

Advent is coming. What a wonderful reminder, these weeks leading up to Christmas, that our lives are not about us. We do not hope in ourselves, we hope in a God who makes all things new, a God for whom all things are possible. So we join in the anticipation of the Israelites, of Mary, of Simeon, who knew something incredible was going to happen that would change everything. Advent is more than a countdown to Christmas. It is a time when peace and hope and joy can break through our anxiety. God sent his Son to save his people, and he has promised he will do the same for us.

That anxiety I feel so often, maybe it actually is more than a caffeine overdose. Maybe at its root, it is a physical longing for the peace and deliverance that God promises us through Jesus. A peace that for now feels just out of reach while it is clouded by earthly circumstances and sin in this life.

While we look forward to Jesus’s birth during Advent, we have permission to stop dwelling on ourselves, our stress, our sin and imperfections. Instead we can focus on the Giver of all good things who promises perfect joy and redemption for those who will take it, and with the wonder of a child look forward to His coming.

Advent is a deep breath.


Make Your Own Advent Calendar

Of course no post is complete without a DIY, so I’ve come up with an easy one for you. Print this, cut out the cards, and string/tape them up above the fireplace, on the fridge, down the hallway, wherever you’ll see them. Advent begins on December 1 this year. We’re planning to draw a picture (Alex) or write a phrase (me) from that day’s Scripture reading on the back of each card.

Advent Calendar Printable

I hope this project helps you and your family enjoy a meaningful Advent season.

Advent Calendar Printable


Go ahead, make my day.

A few months ago I promised you a new series: Absolutely no occasion. In a few words, do this and make someone you love/like a lot feel awesome.

6-pack printable |

So today I bring you…the six pack of love.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your someone’s favorite six pack. (Alex recently discovered a new favorite beer ne’er to be found at the local grocer. So while he worked today and I did not, I took a trip to Binny’s for this most loved Augustiner. But of course, this isn’t really about the beer. So any variety will do the trick.)
  • Six Pack Printable. Six tags that print on a single sheet of paper.
  • Scissors.

Six-pack surprise supplies

Simply cut out the tags, fold on the dotted line, cut slits in the top portion of the tags, and slip onto the bottle necks. When Alex got home from work today and opened the fridge, he gave me the look of giddy delight that I had hoped for. It works!

Now gents, before you give me the ol’, “My lady’s not much of a beer drinker,” let me show you something else:

photo (5)

Yep, these tags are multi-purpose. They fit perfectly on these tiny vases we had. They also worked on candles and wine bottles. (I saved you the trouble and tried it myself.) And let’s not underestimate the power of Scotch tape to attach these tags to any chocolatey treat.

So go ahead, make someone’s day. Heck, make their week! Take something seemingly ordinary and turn it into a reminder of just how cool and appreciated your spouse/BFF/roomie/boo really is.

The Idiot’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

Dear boy readers with sweethearts, if you only ever do one project from this blog, do this one. (Preferably print this on Wednesday at work, because Valentine’s Day is on Thursday.)

Valentine printable 2013

Dear girl readers with sweethearts, you might be surprised by how much your admiration and praise melts even your manliest of men, so you should do this too.

You may have heard of something called the Cost to Income Ratio. Well, this Valentine will net you many many more times what the two sheets of paper will cost.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Print this.
  2. Fold the card in half, and then in half again. Sign it.
  3. Fill in the hearts using the handy little prompts.
  4. Cut the heart paper into six cards.
  5. Tape the cards in places your sweetheart will find them on Valentine’s Day. Like this:

DIY Valentine |

And this:

DIY Valentine |

Or this:

DIY Valentine |

Even if you’re not into Valentine’s Day cheesiness (maybe especially if you’re not into Valentine’s Day cheesiness), you can make someone feel awesome with just a few minutes and some kind words. (Most of the cards could also encourage a coworker or friend.)

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

PS: Here’s last year’s Valentine Printable too…

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… 

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.