I almost never give my nieces and nephew gifts on Christmas (or their birthdays). I’m kind of a bad aunt that way. Instead a few years ago I started a tradition of making them an advent calendar. I started it because I thought it would be fun one year, but now it’s expected on December 1st there will 24 gifts for them to open.


This year I created a little DIY advent calendar kit. It comes with almost everything you need to create a simple calendar – bags, stickers and twine. All you have to add is the gifts and optionally some kind of clips. I’ve used the little bags for the past couple of years and they work great for me. The bags fit a nice size gift without being too big for a couple pieces of candy.

There’s plenty of ways these calendars can be displayed – on a wall, a large board or just sitting on top of a sofa table or dresser. The kit comes with 50 feet of twine, giving you plenty to work with.


The first few years it took a lot of thought about what to give, but I have developed a kind of formula over the years. There are 3 kids and I do a 24 day advent calendar, so that gives them each 8 gifts. I alternate kids everyday (marking the bottom or back of the bag with their initial).


  • ornaments – most years I try to make or buy an ornament that reflects the year or is special in some way.
  • fluffy socks (usually ones from Old Navy)
  • inexpensive gloves or mittens
  • hair ties or clips for the girls / golf tees for my nephew
  • stickers or a small notebook
  • chapstick or colored lip balm
  • candy
  • cookies or other favorite treat

Sometimes I give a larger gift to each kid like a promise to bring them to the movies or an itunes card. If they were closer I would give a couple of gifts that were more experience focused like view holiday lights or making them their favorite dinner.

I hope you’ll consider making an advent calendar this year. It’s fun to know even though I don’t get to see them everyday, for 24 days they are getting a little gift from me.


Happy September! Here are some desktops to freshen up your computer this month. Even though it’s been a really long time since I have been in school, September still feels like a new start. My nieces and nephew go back to school, my parents close their pool and all of the organized people start ordering their 2017 planners and calendars. This month my desk is tidied up and there is a little reminder back up telling me it is time to be working.

Hope you a productive September!

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A year or so ago my niece made lots of simple paintings that she hung up in my workroom for an inspiration wall. I loved looking at them everyday, but it was time to take them down. Instead of putting the pieces in a recycle bin or shoving them in a drawer I decided to bind them together into a little book.
kids artwork notebook
The book is supper simple to make (especially if you have access to a binding machine).
– Make sure all of the pages have a straight edge for the binding to go on.
– Decide on a size for the notebook (Mine is about 8.5″ x 5.5″). All of the paper my niece used was from scraps so I had to do a little bit of trimming. Some pages are smaller, but I like the layered look in the book.
– Choose a cover (make sure it’s one of the largest pieces) and cut some chipboard for a back.
– Add holes and binding to make the book. I have a binding machine so I was able to do this myself. If you don’t have one your local office supply store or FedEx office can do this for you. There are some craft binding machines you can get on amazon if you plan on making more books. I haven’t used them, but if I didn’t make notebooks for a living I’m sure I would get one. An alternate binding option is to get binder rings and punch 3 or so holes in the pages and make a loose notebook. They come in plenty of colors and sizes.

Initially the book was curling up a bit so I placed it under some heavy books and overtime it has flattened itself some. There’s still a little curl, but nothing crazy.

Right now the book is in one of the piles on my desk and it’s fun to flip through every now and then. I’m hoping I get the chance to make more books from my niece’s artwork in the future.

after college i did a bunch of camping, including a long road trip to alaska, but since then my camping trips have been few and far apart. after my road trip to yellowstone last year, camping has been on my mind. so i pulled together a bunch of camping themed items in the shop – some new, some old. there’s lots of good stuff to take on a trip (or keep you dreaming about the next one). how cute is that little airstream? i’d love to get one for behind my house.

if you have camp vibes on your mind, use the code “CAMP” during checkout to save 15% off your order. (good until june 27).

free may computer desktop download

happy may. the pattern this month is a favorite – lemonade. it’s adding a little bit of cheer to this dreary day. right now my desk looks is in front of one wall of the booth for the National Stationery Show. soon the whole booth will be set up as a test, product will be placed inside and then it will be torn down, packed up and driven to new york city.

here are some free desktops to brighten up your day.

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