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Lifestyle Seasonal Tutorial Uncategorized

DIY Gift Card Frame Tutorial

April 13, 2017
DIY Gift Card Frame

This week I’ll be sharing my tutorial for a DIY Gift Card Frame. Hold on tight, ya’ll, because I’ve decided to make DIY surprise gifts my thing, and you are along for the ride. It’s great, because I get to be a little craft and creative, but I’m not just filling my home with my DIY projects. (Now I’m just filling other people’s homes with my DIY projects.) Plus it makes me look like what a Jane Austen character would call “accomplished.”

Recently, I had the change to stretch my crafty muscles and create a DIY Gift Card Frame for a member of my church. The recipient is going away to school and our goal was to stock her up with gift cards. There are lots of cute ways to package a gift card, but not a ton of ways to package a lot of gift cards. My earlier joking aside, I don’t want to give a young woman who is going to be sharing an apartment something that’s going to clutter up her space. That’s why I loved this DIY Gift Card Frame. It can easily be reused to hold pictures, movie or concert tickets(unless you’re The Hubs, and you need a whole scrapbook.) or little notes. It’s functional now in the gift giving process, and functional later. Win win!

Did I mention that this DIY Gift Card Frame ridiculously easy to make? Seriously, I made this is one evening while my husband cooked dinner. It took, like, zero time. Here’s how it’s made:

DIY Gift Card Frame


-Large picture frame

-O hooks

-Jute or twine

-Small clothespins

-Embellishments (optional)

DIY Gift Card Frame Step 1

Step 1: Remove glass and back from frame, push flat metal backing tabs with a butter knife if needed.

DIY Gift Card Frame Step 2DIY Gift Card Frame Step 2


Step 2: Screw 3 pairs of O hooks into the inner sides of the frame at even intervals. I just eyeballed this, but feel free to measure if you are picky. Also, I had a hard time keeping a hold of these little hooks, so I used a pair of tweezers to help until they grabbed into the wood.

DIY Gift Card Frame Step 3

Step 3: Beginning on one side, tie a length of string around the O hook. Stretch the string across and tie on the opposite ring. It’s okay if there is a little bit of slack in the string, because you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to get it perfectly tight, just make sure it doesn’t look saggy. Repeat on the next pairs of hooks. Trim string. Dab a little bit of superglue on the knots if you are worried about them coming loose.

DIY Gift Card Frame Step 3

Step 4: Add clothespins and embellish. Now, you can stop at this point and just leave the frame as is. If you would prefer, however, you can add a little embellishment. I found these flowers on clearance at Michael’s and honestly, how could I not? The wooden letter was something I dyed to match the flowers (look for a tutorial on this soon!), and isn’t it the cutest?? Personalize however you like at this point, and by that, I mean used your cutest clearance finds. I used a hot glue gun to attach my embellishment, but a super glue would work as well.

Set it up, add your clothespins and gift cards and admire how dang cute this is.

DIY Gift Card Frame

There you have it! I told you it was easy. It’s cute, versatile and quick to put together. So literally everything you’d want in a DIY craft. Think this is something you’d end up making? Let me know if you do and how you choose to use it!

Cost breakdown:

-Clearance Frame -$6.00

-Hooks – $1.99

-String – $1.99

-Embellishments – Approx. $3

Clothespins: $3

Total – $16.48 – Less than $20!

Lifestyle Tutorial Uncategorized

Condolence Care Package: How to Make One and What to Include

April 6, 2017
Condolence Care Package: How to make one and what to include

As I mentioned in my previous posts, we recently lost a good friend. While it is comforting to know that she is finally free of her sick body, I couldn’t help but feel a little helpless about the whole situation. I always worry about mistepping in situations like these. I don’t want to say the wrong thing or offend someone at an emotional time. At the same time, I wanted to show that I cared. Making a meal for those left behind is customary, but there were some dietary restrictions in play that I needed to respect. As a compromise, I created a condolence care package.

There were a few ideas for condolence care packages on Pinterest, but not a ton. They can be called so many different things. Bereavement care packages, loss of loved one care packages and empathy care packages all pull up ideas. I pulled together a few different ideas while creating my care package, so I thought I’d share them here. In my opinion, the more ideas, the better.

I was drawn to the idea of the condolence care package because it was personal without being too pushy. After the loss of a loved one, there are a lot of demands on the surviving family member’s time. Between planning the funeral and memorial service and hosting out of town family members, I knew that my presence could be a burden. With a condolence care package, I could drop the gift, pay my respects and leave, allowing the family to focus on the people who mattered most.

I’ve detailed how I created my package below, but feel free to put your own interpretation on things. A personal touch is always better in these situations.

Condolence Care Package: How to make one and what to include

The Vessel:

You’re going to need a way to transport your condolence care package. Small baskets and crates work well. If you are a DIYer, a crocheted basket might be a nice touch. I found some small cardboard trays in the party section of Hobby Lobby for $1.99 that fit the bill on a budget.

Condolence Care Package: How to make one and what to include

Items to include in your condolence care package:

-Picture Frame

This can be an empty frame, or filled with a picture of the lost loved one or a reassuring verse or quote. I’m always taking pictures, so that’s what I used. I think that a nicely lettered sign or pretty painting or picture would be appropriate as well. Take the time to feel out your relationship with the grieving party and determine what the best fit would be in your situation.


This is not the time to whip our your most exciting scents here. The simpler, the better. Look for a plain pillar candle with a subtle scent like vanilla. This candle from Amazon is a good example. The idea is to have something to light in remembrance of the deceased, so go subtle on this one.

-Tissues or Handkerchief

You can’t really go wrong here. These are always useful and appropriate. I buy our tissues in bulk from Amazon (Kleenex 2-Ply Facial Tissues; Flat Box, 100 Sheets/Box, 10 Boxes/Pack), so I just grabbed a little box from our normal stock. A small box of tissues or little to go pack would work well in a care package. Don’t go for the massive sized tissue box unless you’re doing a BIG care package. Alternatively, you could use handkerchiefs. but I couldn’t find any without “mother of the bride” and rhinestones glued on them.


You grieving friend or family member probably has someone bringing them meals, but not much in the way of snacks. They may be hosting family members from out of town or well-wishers who stop by. Help them by stocking them up with some simple snacks. I used a small package of gluten free cookies for my box (the recipient has celiac) and some nice chocolates. Coffee or tea would be good additions too if you know their preferences.

-Small vase of flowers

This one may or may not work depending on your basket. I ended up bringing flowers separately. Don’t give something that would spill easily. White is the most appropriate flower color for funerals. I’ve heard that yellow is not an appropriate color in some cultures. However, I’ve also been to a memorial service that used exclusively yellow flowers, so who knows. Trader Joe’s is great for small, affordable bouquets.

-Card or handwritten note

You don’t have to say much. Just that you’re praying for or thinking of this person. Trader Joe’s has a lovely selection of cards that I usually resort to. Emily McDowell makes some great empathy cards as well.

These are the main components that I used to make up my condolence care package.  You can arrange them to fit your vessel with some packaging as needed. As for delivering it, you can drop it off yourself, leave it on their porch or bring in to the memorial service. If your care package has to be mailed, be mindful of packing things that might melt, like the candles (look for a jarred candle over a stand alone pillar) or chocolate. Have you ever a condolence care package for someone after a loss? What did you decide to include?

Lifestyle Mini Monday Seasonal Uncategorized

10 Thoughts I had while watching Beauty and the Beast

April 3, 2017
10 Thoughts I had while watching Beauty and the Beast

Happy Monday to you all. You guys are getting two Mini Monday posts in a row because, quite frankly, I was attending a funeral last Thursday and blogging didn’t feel right. It was a good time to reflect on the people close to me and think about how we’d all like to be remembered, and I sparked some good family bonding time.

One of the things that we did during family  bonding time was go and see the new Beauty and the Beast movie with my cousin. This was her fourth time seeing it, but my first. I enjoyed the movie, but I had a few thoughts. My family refuses to entertain my thoughts any longer, so you get to hear them. Please keep in mind that critiquing movies is how I enjoy movies, and I really did like Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast. Also, please note that I have a history degree. That is all.

Also, if you haven’t noticed, this is your last chance for no spoilers. You’ve been warned.

1. When is Beauty and the Beast set?

I know, I know. “But Tori, this is a fairy tale”. But Beauty and the Beast is also trying to evoke a certain time period(kinda). From the attire of the townspeople, and the assertion of people in production, this movie is set in the 18th century. If I had to guess, I’d say the 1780’s or 1790’s. That being said…

10 Thoughts I had while watching Beauty and the Beast

Left: Historical Interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, Right: Ren Faire

2. What is Belle wearing?

I recall reading that Emma Watson insisted that Belle should not wear a corset because she is an “active” princess. It makes me want to show her pictures of the historical interpreters in Colonial Williamsburg doing manual labor in period correct undergarments. And yes, I am weirdly passionate about period correct undergarments.  But girlfriend was like centuries off in every costume. Her blue dress is some sort of Ren Faire kirtle (the pockets are period accurate though), and her yellow dress, while pretty and swooshy is like…1830’s or beyond? Don’t even get me started about the celebration dress at the end…The fabric prints on some of Belle’s village attire is pretty accurate though. Like, I’m pretty sure you can buy it at Colonial Williamsburg…

3. What is “the war” that Gaston keeps referencing?

Please let it be the American revolution. That would be amazing. Gaston would have fun in America. I’m still clinging to the late 1700’s here…Also, Luke Evans was excellent as Gaston. His performance probably amused me the most. I didn’t think I’d like him as much as I did.

10 Thoughts I had while watching Beauty and the Beast

4. New songs! Yuss!

Seriously, the new songs that were added to this Beauty and the Beast film fit seamlessly with the rest of the music and I really enjoyed the additions. The obvious favorite is “Evermore”, of course, but Belle’s song’s were very sweet as well.

5. So Belle’s washing machine…

One of the new story developments in this Beauty and the Beast is that Belle is also an inventor and she makes a washing machine. I’ve heard that this is part of the reason that Belle has so much time to read. I was hoping that it would explain why her dress is always tucked up into her waistband like some toilet tragedy, but no luck. Maybe we get more details in a deleted scene. Also, Isn’t Belle totally monopolizing the washing area with her invention? No wonder they dumped her stuff out!

6. Why do all the castle furniture manage French accents, but everyone else sounds British?

Except for Ian McKellen. He can do what he wants. But like no one outside the castle really attempted a French Accent. Also, props to Ewan McGregor. I didn’t know he had all that in him and he did a great job.

10 Thoughts I had while watching Beauty and the Beast

7. Fricking Black Plague??

This is where I lose it. This version of Beauty and the Beast delves into some backstory about the death of Belle’s mother, but quite frankly does more harm than good. They chalk up her death to the Black Plague…yeah, like the medieval disease. The one that had it’s heydey in the 1300’s. Where are they pulling this from?! They had like the leather bird mask and everything. This was supposed to be the catalyst for Belle and her father to leave Paris for the remove countryside. We presume that Maurice went to a “poor provincial town” to escape the spread of the Plague. But for real? The last outbreak of the Plague is Paris is in 1643…so not even close to the 1700’s. And Belle’s mom already had oozing sores and all by the time that Belle and Maurice left so…they probably would have caught it by then anyways.

Why does this bug me so much? First, you didn’t need to explain how she died. The Beast gets his dead mom backstory too, but her exact cause of death is never named. Why even go there? Second, you had a perfectly legitimate disease that would have worked just as well and been historically accurate. It’s called smallpox!

8. The Storming of the Castle/Fight Scene was delightful.

I love that the furniture got to have a little more agency in the defense of the castle. Plus this was just a really amusing and well done scene. It was very creative in how the furniture got to use their cursed forms to fight. Cadenza is my new fave.

9. Dan Stevens is pretty. That wig is not.

If you’re going to make allowances and stray away from historical accuracy, when why oh why did you force Dan Stevens to wear the curly wig? Ya’ll couldn’t have gone with a nice low ponytail? You had to have the struggle curls? Dan is an attractive man (Helloooo, Downton Abbey!) but you’ll killing me here!

10 Thoughts I had while watching Beauty and the Beast

10. Soo…when is the French Revolution?

Has it happened yet? Are Belle and her new man candy gonna get killed in a few years? There was a guillotine joke during Be Our Guest, so the movie is totally acknowledging that it’s a thing. Did it already happen and the Beast’s castle got missed because of the curse? That could be cool, but unlikely. This is usually the point where my family tells me to chill.

And I gently remind them that this IS how I chill. Honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed the new Beauty and the Beast movie. It was really pretty and fun. I’m not sure it can totally recapture the childhood love I had for the cartoon (now that I am old and jaded), but I still enjoyed it immensely.