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November 28, 2016

gift guide | gold gala


Gift guide: For the gold lover
Gold never gets old. Okay, maybe it will someday in the future, but I know I'm not tired of it yet. Here are some shinny ideas for the people in your life who are totally on board with all things gilded.

From left to right:

1. headphones | 2. cheeseboard | 3. stapler | 4. barware tool set
5. "hello lovely" pillow | 6. pineapple | 7. watch | 8. scissors

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. How to make your own gold earrings.

Affiliate links are used in this post!

November 24, 2016

happy thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving - the most magical Thursday of the year
From our family to yours - have a happy Thanksgiving (or for our international readers - happy Thursday!). Here are some of the things I'm grateful for this year:

Our pets, Donut & Doria
First snowfalls
Skyping with far away family
Communities that stick together
Peppermint-flavored anything
New opportunities
Activists, advocates, & fighters
Central heating
Quiet moments
Our cozy little home

& I'm thankful for you guys, my lovely readers. I've been blogging for almost three years now, & I've met so many wonderful people along the way. Thank you for sharing along this journey with me. 

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. Download a Turkey Day-themed wallpaper for your phone. 

November 21, 2016

embroidered thanksgiving napkins (+ free pattern!)

Embroidered Thanksgiving Napkins (+ free pattern!)
One of my favorite Thanksgivings of all time was the year my mom decided to do a themed dinner. It was the first in a succession of themed Thanksgivings - including a chocolate-themed year, which made for some amazing desserts & some very strange entrées. The year I loved the most was when my mom cooked cranberry into every dish. I don't remember much of what was made, short of a very, very tart after-dinner parfait (it was that year we all learned the importance of never serving cranberries totally raw). What I do remember is how much fun we all had. My mom cooked from all sorts of inventive recipes that she pulled from the internet - back when there was only one recipe-hosing site, & everything else was on message boards. My older brother, who now runs his own box lunch business, was just discovering his love of cooking & had a blast coming up with experimental ideas. My little brother, a person who has always been a bit adverse to change, kept his eye on the traditional turkey my mom made just for him. Then there was me, who has never been good at cooking, marveling at how my mom managed to make my favorite dish (marshmallow cottage cheese salad) under the Top Chef-like constrictions of the cranberry theme. We all had so much fun was because it was so totally different from how we normally spent Thanksgiving. 

Part of the reason I think Thanksgiving can get such low marks on the "Favorite Holiday" scale is because it can feel so rigid. The traditions are kind of limited (e.g. turkey, football, Black Friday shopping, etc.) which can sometimes feel more like a chore & less like a relaxing holiday tradition. For me, Thanksgiving is what you make of it.  It's simply a whole day off from work (or two, if you're lucky!) to get together with family & be grateful. A whole day to cook good food, hang out, & maybe watch the Macy's Day Parade. Or not. Whatever you end up doing, it's just about enjoying the day, showing a bit of gratitude, & getting stuffed.

If you have a bit of time before Thursday, I have a simple embroidery project to decorate your table's landscape. They're a little cheeky, but like I said before: Thanksgiving is what you make of it. This year I'm making mine cheeky.
Download this "Get Stuffed" embroidery pattern for your holiday napkins
To make these embroidered napkins, you'll need:

NOTE: READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS FIRST BEFORE STARTING! One of the steps calls for quick action, & I don't want you to miss it!
Transferring embroidery patterns is totally easy with mylar paper & a printer
Lay your napkin on a flat surface. Cut the Dura-lar paper down to letter-sized (8.5 x 11") so it fits in your printer. You can do this by holding a piece of regular paper up to your Dura-lar & cutting around the regular paper. Print the "Get Stuffed" pattern on the Dura-lar paper. Immediately press the wet/inked side of the pattern onto your napkin, & rub the paper in a circular motion to transfer the design. The ink will transfer from the Dura-lar to the napkin.
"Get Stuffed" this Thanksgiving with this downloadable embroidered pattern
Follow the lines of the pattern with either a chain stitch or a backstitch, & fill in the leaf. I also added a running stitch along the edges of two of my napkins. 
Happy Thanksgiving. Let's get stuffed.
For timeframe reference on how long it takes to make these, I got them all done in the time it takes to watch a 2.5 star-rated Christmas movie on Netflix (nothing says "the holidays are here" quite like terrible acting & hole-filled plot lines). Cheers!

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. Add this "Things I'm Thankful For" printable to your table for your guests to fill out on Thanksgiving.

Affiliate links are used in this post!

November 18, 2016

life | links

Looking out at Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis, MN
Instagram @wecanmakeanything | Twitter @wcmanything

Things have been quiet around our home lately. The shorter days & chillier weather (among other boding transitions) has me wanting to hibernate in a big way. We're also trying to put away a bit of money for holiday shopping & future plans, so we've been keeping out weekend activities pretty low key. This weekend I still have a bit of menu planning to do for Thursday (man did Thanksgiving creep up quick), I want to really get down to business on my wedding dress, & it's supposed to snow!

HAPPY THOUGHTS

It's finally sociably acceptable to listen to Christmas music (although I haven't been letting that stop me to be completely honest). My current jam is Pandora's "Hipster Holidays" channel. Lots of Sufjan Stevens mixed with the classics.

HAPPY LINKS

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. Download a Thanksgiving-themed wallpaper for your phone!

November 17, 2016

gift guide | plaid party

Gift Ideas: Going Plaid
It's that time of year again, guys. Christmastime's a'comin! Here are a few gift ideas for the people who love plaid in your life (although based on the fashion around here, I suspect they all live in Minnesota). Heather's on a mad plaid kick right now, & it's beginning to wear off on me. I asked her for her input on the matter, & she said the following: "Plaid is where it's at."

From left to right:
1. plaid-band watch | 2. wool throw | 3. outdoor blanket | 4. scarf 

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. See how to make a plaid bomber hat (hint: also makes for a great gift!). 

Affiliate links are used in this post!

November 14, 2016

collective | part 3

Now is the time to try something new.
Happy Monday - here's hoping you all had a restful, peaceful weekend. I'm back with another collection! This time's the hoard-ish stack of fortune cookie notes I've been gathering since high school. 

I'm not sure why I'm impulsed to continue to save fortunes. When I started, I had grand plans of making an dress entirely out of them, but now at 27 years of age it's evident I'll never be able to eat enough Chinese food to accomplish that goal. Which perhaps is for the best - that would be a lot of takeout. Yet I keep collecting them. Rifling through my stash this weekend was kind of sweet. Some of the fortunes are weird (my favorite being one that warned me of "boats and water" in my future), & others I have taken to heart. In looking for hope everywhere I can at present, it was nice to read encouraging little messages, even messages by way of cookies. 

My favorite reads: "Unity is strength." Right now as much as ever I hold that true. We need unity right now, unity for what is sensible & sane, unity in fighting against hate & discrimination. 
Fortune cookie notes on string.
Here's one more from my collection that I'll leave you with:

"The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart." 

Don't lose heart, my friends. Unify, strengthen, be courageous. 

xoxo,
-m.e.

November 7, 2016

diy place card holders

DIY place card holders
Dear 2016,

I think we all can agree, you have been a rough year to stomach. While I'm looking forward to putting you in the past, dang are you flying by.

Dear Halloween,

Oops. My bad. Maybe we'll catch up next year?

Dear Thanksgiving, 

I'm not going to let you sneak up on me like your friend Halloween did. I see you there peeking around the corner. I'm ready for ya.
Make your own marbled, gold-leafed place card holders
Last year Heather & I celebrated Thanksgiving with some of her extended family. This was awesome because A. Heather's family get-togethers are always a loud & rowdy time, & B. We did not have an actual table in our apartment to eat at for our Thanksgiving dinner. This time around we're more prepared. We have a table, we're working up a menu, & I'm attempting to create a happy little tables scape. These place card holders are totally unnecessary at our Thanksgiving (two seats with two people doesn't leave a lot of room for seating debate), but I love any excuse to DIY something.
DIY place card holders: What you'll need
You'll need:
  • Black & white polymer clay
  • An x-acto knife
  • Wire
  • Gold leaf paint
  • Pliers (not pictured)
DIY name card holders: Use variants of gray to make marbled clay
First, mix your white & black clay together to make variants of gray. Your largest amount of clay should be closest to white, with the smallest amount the closest to black. Next, mix all the variants of gray together. Don't mix them thoroughly - just enough to get a marbled look without mixing them to the same hue. Divide your marbled clay in balls roughly the size of a half dollar. 

Place your divided clay in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Cooling the clay will help keep the shape as you handle it in the next step.
Handmade place card holders with wire and Sculpey clay
Using an x-acto knife, cut away at the clay. Cut as randomly as you like, just make sure you cut the bottom flat so the placeholders sit steadily. 

Next, use pliers to bend your wire into a holder. Bend the wire into a triangle about two inches up, bend another triangle behind the first, then wrap the end of the wire underneath both triangles. 

Stick the wire holders into the top of each marbled placeholder. 

Bake for 10 minutes at 275º. 

Once cooled, paint the bottom half of each clay piece with gold leaf. 
Thanksgiving name card holders
Our T-Day menu so far includes some of the standards: a vegan roast (maybe stuffed with cranberries?), some type of green bean, & mashed potatoes with brie cheese.

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. A definite on the menu this year - mini pumpkin cheesecakes

November 4, 2016

life | links

Red leaves in Minnesota
Instagram @wecanmakeanything | Twitter @wcmanything

Happy Friday! This next week is going to be a doozy. Here are some of the things on my docket: I'm going to vote early (hooray!), I'll be doing some major work on my wedding dress (I'll have to write more in a later post about the amazing power of coupons & how I've only paid $100 in materials so far), & we'll be planning our Thanksgiving menu, plus trying to find a vegan roast (fingers crossed our local vegan "butcher" has one).

HAPPY THOUGHTS

Daylight savings ends on Sunday, which means we get a whole extra hour of sleep this weekend! AND THE ELECTION IS ON TUESDAY THANK GOODNESS.

HAPPY LINKS

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. I totally missed National Sandwich Day yesterday, but I put vegan chicken salad sandwiches on the menu for this weekend (yumm-o).
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