2013 Christmas Cards

Hey all,

It’s been over a month since I last posted. Wow! It doesn’t feel that long. This year, the gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas was shorter than normal, but for me, Thanksgiving seems so long ago. Shortly after Turkey Day, my grandmother (mother’s mother) passed away. I flew to Oklahoma City to remember her life and be with that side of the family. Thankfully I was able to escape from work, which is not a given when working retail during the holiday season. I’m so grateful I got to be with my extended family during the holidays, even though the circumstances surrounding the occasion were somber.

In a way, I do feel like I got to “go home” for the holidays, even though my home is right here in CA. Being with my mom, dad, aunts, uncles, and cousins for Thanksgiving in the Midwest is something we haven’t been able to do in probably close to ten years(!), and this may be as close as we get for a while.

Then, I returned home and hit the ground running when it came to work. The Holidays, people, when many retailers make three months’ worth of revenue in two weeks. Did you know that? It’s totally, absolutely, literally exhausting. Please be gentle on us for a little while. We are still trying to recover.

All this to say, I have been notably absent from the blog. Part of me has missed blogging, and another part of me forgot all about it since life has been so crazy. It is something I enjoy doing, and I’ll try to climb back on the horse (as they say) and come up with some fun and interesting stuff to populate this little corner of the interweb.

This year, amidst all the madness, I wanted to try to illustrate our little family for a card, instead of having our photo taken. It was more work than I anticipated, and that is why I’m getting them sent out today, on the 27th (sad trombone noise). Drawing the sketch was fun, and outlining it in sharpie was stressful. Doug managed to scan it into the computer and used Adobe Illustrator to clean it up (I’ll have to have him show me how to do it).

2013 Christmas Card

Since the photo and message on the back are all black and white, I tried to inject a little pizzaz to the card by using leftover envelopes from Stephanie’s wedding invites. I love how special they are. I’ll probably order metallic envelopes for all my holiday cards from now on!

Thank you all for reading, and especially for commenting throughout 2013. The year went by so fast! I am eager to see what 2014 will bring.

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2-Second Tip: Frame Your Art

There comes a time in a person’s life when sticky-tack may no longer be the best option to hang art.

Don’t be afraid of putting holes in the wall! You can still hang your beloved posters, but putting them in frames dresses them up a bit. Hang them in an orderly fashion and your place will look more “grown up” in no time.

For example: We still love Led Zeppelin, but are no longer living in dorm rooms.

Framed Poster

Another tip: If you really are prohibited from putting holes in the wall, use 3M command strips to hold a frame, instead of a nail. Each package notes the load they can hold–from 2lbs to 8lbs and beyond.

This project took all of about ten minutes. :)

Make sure to check out some more 2-second tips for beautifying your space.

Art from the MarchĂ© aux Puces (Paris)

Has it really been four months since we got back from our summer vacation to Europe?.

My number one priority (aside from showing Doug the best that the City of Lights has to offer) was making it to the famous Paris flea market, the MarchĂ© aux Puces de Clignancourt. While there are several famous flea markets in Paris, this one is the most well-revered by insiders. It is the largest, which means there is something for everybody–ephemera from every era at both high and low price points.

If you find yourself in Paris and would like to visit, don’t fool yourself (like I did) into thinking that just because your hotel is on Rue de Clignancourt (in Montmartre) that you’re close by. Sorry, you’ll be out of luck. It is easy to get to, though. Take the MĂ©tro 4 (fuchsia) north to Porte de Clignancourt, cross a street, and go under a bridge and you’ll be there. Sorry for the lack of detail, but it is large, follow the masses, and there are directional signs.

Clearly, I couldn’t afford (or transport) the incredible inlaid mirrors above, nor did I come away with a bargain on a perfectly aged Turkish rug (which was my secret hope), but I did leaf through one vendor’s extensive collection of magazine advertisements from the 1920s through the 1940s and two stole my heart. They were reasonably priced, in protective plastic, and would fit in the suitcase. WIN! We sandwiched them between a few layers of corrugated cardboard for the trip home to the USA.

You’re probably saying to yourself, well this is awesome, Staci, but why are you sharing this with us now, mid-October, when you bought them in June? 

Well, the good news is that Wednesday night I finally framed the magazine ads I bought at Les Puces, oh so many months later.

The first poster reads “Winter and Spring in Morocco.” If you lived in cold France in the 1920s, wouldn’t you dream of vacationing in one of your warmer colonies? I would too! The chunky and graphic line work first drew me to this, piece, and if you add the fact that I did my study abroad in Morocco, I would be a fool not to buy it. Not everybody can say they own something from 1929!

The second one is for a famous French-made car brand, Renault. This snowy Christmas ad contrasts nicely against the promise of warm weather in Morocco, and the color palette here is right up my alley. I love the blues and greens.

Next week I’ll show you where these ended up hanging in our new apartment!

If you’re like me, and love checking out other people’s vacation photos (it’s true!), check out my Eurotrip posts here, here, and here.

Pssst… just in case you didn’t know… I really love comments.