Archive | December 2011

Happy 2012!

Sam The Conqueror


While he is more laid back than Talia, Sam is an active kid who enjoys games and challenges (especially when they result in Sam winning). Shy around my camera, it was tough to get him to pose for me but you can see him shine in these candid shots.

Enjoy, Mari

Talia The Rock Star


Paul and I had a blast hanging out with our niece and nephews over the holidays. It was so much fun to see how each of their personalities is developing. Talia is a ball of energy and enthusiasm with serious star power. Rock on Tal!

Enjoy, Mari

Jack The Sleeper


Meet Jack The Sleeper, my new nephew who is the cutest and sweetest baby ever! Of course I am a little bit biased but it’s to be expected.

Enjoy, Mari

Happy Merry


Flights Booked for Staging in Dallas, Texas

For the past few weeks Mari and I have been getting ready for our Peace Corps service. We needed boots and gear and have made the hour trip from Danville to Greensboro several times. We booked our flights the other day and are scheduled to leave on January 17 th for a one-day orientation in Dallas. After that and for the next several months we will be at a training center right outside of Quito in Ecuador. The address where you can send us fan mail is on the column to the right.

To learn Spanish we have been watching a telenovela on Telemundo called Casa de al Lado. After 30 episodes, which translates to 30 hours in front of the computer,  I am beginning to understand most of the dialog. One da,y who knows, I may even have dreams in Spanish. Mari reports to already have started dreaming in Spanish.

On Thursday we got into Needham, MA to help out Sarah and Jon with our new nephew Jack. We are staying in a spare room and between entertaining Sam and Talia we are saying our final goodbyes to the Casey family and to our friends Matt, Kerry, and Charlie. The weather has been mild but cold in comparison to the Virgina winters. After 10 months of traveling, the Peace Corps is beginning to feel very real.

We can’t wait.


Happy Birthday Sarah & Jack!


We hope you have the most wonderful birthday ever, Sarah! What a beautiful birthday present to receive – baby Jack Cameron! We’re so excited to see you soon in Boston.

Lots of Love, Mari & Paul

DIY Projects: Holiday Wrapping

Melted Wax Paper

Country Living has this gorgeous project on their website. All you need are crayon shavings, tissue paper, and an iron. I’m definitely going to try this one!


Vintage Games Wrapping

Another one from the folks at Country Living. I love the look of vintage games and I’m all for re-purposing items to serve as gift wrap. I’ve been known to use NYC Subway Maps, magazines, newspaper, and other maps to wrap my gifts.


Shirt Off Your Back Wrapping

Country Living has another great idea up its sleeve with this innovative idea. Not only does this make adorable wrapping, it also serves as a gift in and of itself. Brilliant!


Cookie Gift Tags

This inspiration comes from Martha Stewart. I love that these gift tags are cute and also edible! You could even make a special treat for your pet or to ensure freshness of the cookies for human consumption, add a translucent bag over the cookie and then tie it to the ribbon.


Monogram Gift Tags

Leave it to Martha Stewart to create a simple yet elegant solution for gift tags. Not only are they adorable but they are easy to make, too. Consider using one initial on one side of the package for the TO and another on the reverse for the FROM.


Button Wrapping & Gift Tags

Thanks again Martha! All you need for this wrapping paper is a piece of cork (a great excuse to open a bottle of wine), buttons, and a stamp pad or other ink. Affix the button to the cork and it becomes a stamp. Then, when you’re done stamping, you can wash your original buttons and use them to decorate gift tags.

DIY Projects: Gifts for Makers

Paper Doll Kit

I LOVE this idea from Lisa at Grey Luster Girl. Not only is it clever, it’s obviously made with love. This idea brings together two of my favorite gift ideas: something handmade and a project to do together.


Craft Kit

If you don’t have anyone to give paper dolls to, consider another kind of craft kit you can put together and design yourself. You could even re-purpose old mint tins or cigar boxes to hold your crafty tools and supplies. Another take on this idea is a project-specific tool kit. Always hanging pictures? Put together everything you’ll need for that project together in a photo box. The applications of this idea are endless!


Roll Up Pencil Case

Inspired by our friend **Marianela** whose mother made these for her daughter’s birthday party, I made a version of this pencil case last year. Martha Stewart has this specific tutorial but do a quick web search and you’ll find dozens of diverse variations.


Photo Transfer Tote

People who make things often have a lot of stuff to tote around: supplies, inspirational books, magazines, and tools. What better way to celebrate the maker in your life than with a tote bag you personalize with a photo. This tutorial is from Martha Stewart and can be adapted for any number of gifts made of fabric from t-shirts to sunglasses cases.


Crafter’s Apron

You might remember this adorable apron from my post about Bari J. and her Keeping it Real Sewing Series. I made it last April when we were fixing up Charlie the Camper van and it came in handy to keep all of my tools and supplies on hand.

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