Archives For Christmas

I know I said that I was going to take the rest of the week off, but I couldn’t help sharing a few of these outtakes from our family Christmas photo for those of you who are stuck back at work today.

If you think that my family is so amazingly perfect that adorable pictures like this happen effortlessly, think again:

2013 family picture (407x570)

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If it were only us and Jack things might actually be easy, but pets are people too, or so they think.

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I wasn’t totally committed to including the pets, but once they forced their way in I felt obligated to honor their wishes. So I took the one picture that came out well with Pistachio in it and fused it with another picture where the rest of us looked decent using this technique.

mom dad cat (380x570)

winner (380x570)

Later, after Jack was down for a nap, I coaxed Sheila into sitting on the stairs while Nick snapped a photo so that I could fuse her in as well (I just left my tripod sitting in the same spot so that I could be sure everything lined up). That explains why, as some of my lovely friends commented, she looks like a creepy stalker sitting behind us on the stairs. I’d wanted her to sit a little further down and to the right but she wasn’t having it. I’m crouching down in the photo below so as not to block the camera.

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I’ve learned over the years to just relax and have fun with this sort of thing. Pets and kids are amazing at reading moods and if I’m stressed they absolutely will not cooperate and besides, it’s not like I can really expect to get a perfect photo with a tripod and self-timer anyway. I just do the best I can and whatever happens, happens.

I hope you each had a wonderful holiday and that a relaxing weekend awaits! See you back here Monday!

Happy holidays, my friends! Continuing our tradition from last year, I chose to design an ecard instead of mailing out paper cards. This gave us the flexibility to put off taking our family photo until this past weekend! With lowered expectations (stone-faced baby = no big deal) and LOTS of digital editing (no way could we ever get all three pets into one actual picture), the process was actually pretty painless. And although graphic designer I am not I really enjoy playing around with fonts and such to make a pretty card.

Tryforos Family Christmas 2013

I am all about simplifying the holiday season in whatever way I can (click here to read a post I wrote about exactly that for Red Stick Moms Blog recently), and for us this is a great solution. Plus, as my friend Lauren pointed out, it’s easier for friends and family to hold onto a digital card year after year than a paper one. I’d be lying, though, if I said I didn’t thoroughly enjoy all the cards and Christmas letters that we receive in the mail. This year I hung them all up on the wall in our dining room using some twine and clothespins.

I’ll be taking off the rest of this week to relax and spend time with family. I hope that each of you has an absolutely wonderful Christmas, Kwanza, Solstice, etc. and a very happy new year. Let’s keep in touch!

PS click here to read about how I edit photos to include all our critters

This is surprisingly easy and perfect for a recipient who’s on the outdoorsy side. Just take some rough twine or rope–this is hemp twine–and wrap it around your box a few times and tie it, then slip in a few pieces of greenery. These were clipped from my tree a week ago and still look good.

brown paper, twine, and tree clippings

A couple notes in case you missed the last few posts:

  • I buy my paper from Home Depot–a huge roll is only $10 in the paint aisle. You can also buy it in smaller, more expensive quantities at craft stores or with the shipping materials in grocery or drug stores or you could even cut up paper grocery bags if you’re a total Martha.
  • This year I’m using free printable gift tags from here on all my packaging. I just printed them out on cardstock, cut them out, and punched a hole in each. Voila!
  • This particular type of brown paper does well with tape as long as I run my nail across it to create a good seal, but if tape just won’t stick to your paper try using hot glue instead.

PS: Click here to read all my posts about gift wrap (this one will be at the top but just scroll down to see them all)

I’m breaking away from my typical approach of embellishing gifts with ribbon or string of some sort to share a different idea: decorative tape. I posted last month about this simple technique for making your own washi tape. For this book-loving friend I just applied a piece of double sided tape to an old book page (I use the same old reader’s digest for all these projects so don’t freak out at me about destroying a book), then cut it out and used it to adhere the tag. You could do something similar with any type of paper–tissue paper, notebook paper, wrapping paper, sheet music, maps, even ribbon!

brown paper and DIY book page washi tape

And if you’re looking to get your craft on this weekend, my friend Cassie shared with me this cute idea for making your own tags. She used markers to trace flowers onto vintage dress patterns (you could use any thin paper), then cut them out and decoupaged them to brown kraft paper that she’d cut into tags. A hole punched in the corner makes them easy to attach to any gift bag or package.

diy gift tags (570x254)

Cute, right? You could churn out a bunch in one crafting session and BAM, personal touch on every gift. If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby you could get a similar look with less effort by cutting up some of their seasonally-decorated paper bags

A couple notes in case you missed the last few posts:

  • I buy my paper from Home Depot–a huge roll is only $10 in the paint aisle. You can also buy it in smaller, more expensive quantities at craft stores or with the shipping materials in grocery or drug stores or you could even cut up paper grocery bags if you’re a total Martha.
  • This year I’m using free printable gift tags from here on all my packaging. I just printed them out on cardstock, cut them out, and punched a hole in each. Voila!
  • This particular type of brown paper does well with tape as long as I run my nail across it to create a good seal, but if tape just won’t stick to your paper try using hot glue instead.

PS: Click here to read all my posts about gift wrap (this one will be at the top but just scroll down to see them all)