Our Family Christmas Cards

Family Christmas Cards | Pear Tree | PepperDesignBlog.com

Are you guys ready for Thanksgiving? I’m feeling ahead of the curve right now in the Thanksgiving department and (amazingly), our Christmas cards as well. We’ve partnered with Pear Tree for our family holiday cards this year and I’m so happy with how they’ve turned out. We used two photos from our house shoot with Katie Beverley and while you can’t see the giant 8 month pregnant belly, you do get snapshots of the cutest little girls grinning and laughing :).

Family Christmas Cards | Pear Tree | PepperDesignBlog.com

Here’s how I adjusted our pictures a bit in photoshop to get a slightly hazy/seventies look (ps if you don’t have photoshop, Pixlr is a pretty great free online editing tool to play with):

Christmas Card Editing | PepperDesignBlog.com

The above is the original from Katie with the ‘curves’ setting bumped up just a bit.

Below is with ‘Norma’ applied from the A Beautiful Mess photoshop mini collection (essentially an adjustment in exposure, curves, shadows, a tinge of red… I love this collection):

Christmas Card Editing | PepperDesignBlog.com

And finally a bumping in the ‘offset’ (you can find that under: adjustments/exposures/offset) for that slightly faded effect.

Christmas Card Editing | PepperDesignBlog.com

Pear Tree is offering 30% off site wide with code BFRIDAY14 as part of their Black Friday special (though it looks like you can order now through 11/30).

Family Christmas Cards | Pear Tree | PepperDesignBlog.com

As a special little addition for some of our immediate family, I cut up Liv artwork (both from school, home and new watercolors that she loves to make at our kitchen table while I cook) to use as envelope liners. I think it adds a sweet extra layer of personalization.

Family Christmas Cards | Pear Tree | PepperDesignBlog.com

Enjoy these next few days with family and friends!! Sending lots of love to your family from ours.

Family holiday cards from: 20092010, 2011, 2012, 2013 (most with their own roundup of editing tips!)

DIY Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks & Our Thanksgiving Table

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

I spotted this brown plaid at the fabric store in the men’s wear department (or was it the flannel aisle?) and fell in love.

We are expecting family today and tomorrow and things will become cra-zy around here very soon, so while I had a few moments I set out my ideas for our Thanksgiving table.

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

A day later and I’ve already decided to spare the plaid to turkey drippings and butter for another project (one of my handmade Christmas gifts – stay tuned) and plan to reset with something else on Thursday – ha! – but I love it because it looks so pretty with our white dishware, gold leaves, a few eucalyptus branches and the new wooden candlesticks (made from bedposts!).

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

I also used several of the marbled pumpkins that we had made around Halloween and spray painted them gold + glitter gold (I ended up trying a couple of glitter spray paints and liked Krylon best). PS if you skip the gold base you’ll see the orange/white/marbled paint through the glitter.

I also have plans to add the colorful little milk art place cards that Liv made once we figure out who’s sitting where and who else we’re adding to the final table.

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

All you thrifters and garage salers out there, THIS is a really fun project and one with so many possibilities. Believe it or not, these chunks of wood used to be a bedpost (and how many awesomely shaped bedposts can be found at garage sales?).

Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks | Thanksgiving | PepperDesignBlog.com

To turn them into candlesticks:

1. Cut bedpost into cubes and prep for drilling candle holes.

Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks | Thanksgiving | PepperDesignBlog.com

2. With a ruler or measuring tape, find the center of the wooden blocks by drawing an ‘X’ (in hindsight these Xs should be smaller because we’ll be erasing them a little further down…

Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks | Thanksgiving | PepperDesignBlog.com

3. Measure the diameter of your candlesticks (mine are from Ikea that I shortened by a few inches with a knife) and using a paddle drill bit, carefully sink a 1-1.5″ hole into the block.

DIY Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks | Thanksgiving | PepperDesignBlog.com

4. Sand away any of the penciled X that’s still visible.

Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks | Thanksgiving | PepperDesignBlog.com

DIY Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks | Thanksgiving | PepperDesignBlog.com

I love, love how they turned out.

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

I’ve been using these odd bedpost blocks as risers for various outdoor parties during the summer and think that they would be great for so many different handmade projects (kid’s building blocks, topped with a cool stone for bookends…). After figuring this project out, I’m beginning to look at scrap pieces of wood, or already milled wood like the cool legs on an old coffee table, in a whole new way.

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

And then there are the gold pumpkins. I can’t get enough of the vegetable this year. At least my little collection has been playing some serious double duty around the house over the last two months :).

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

These would make great place cards with a little tag and twine for the stem.

Isn’t that plaid great? It’s the perfect base for a cozy table.

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Fabric shops make for the best places to score inexpensive yardage for long table runners and even cloth napkins. I’m off to save this plaid but I have a few backups in mind…. I’m especially looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving in our home this year!

More Thanksgiving ideas including this prep tip (for family and friends!) and these downloadable place cards and ‘grateful for’ notes.

What Does It Mean to Feel Balanced

I’d love to continue my series on thoughts of a working mom (is that the official name? that might be a work in progress, too) because I know that the support that I receive and read out there in the greater web world on what it means to be a ‘good’ mom and a ‘good’ (happy!) employee/employer/entrepreneur have been invaluable to me. Today – thoughts on a pie chart idea that makes us feel whole.

My Time - A Pie Chart Break Down | PepperDesignBlog.com

There are so many great articles out there about ‘balance’, ‘juggling’ and that overall idea of what it means to be a whole person. I’ve been thinking a lot on the topic lately because it’s not an easy one to digest. I think women in general especially struggle with feeding the whole person because we are givers by nature.

I think I’ve finally, after years of struggling with identifying what makes me thrive as a human being, recognized that I am happiest when I’m contributing to many different ‘buckets’ of priorities. If ever I dedicate too much of myself to one slice of the pie over another, I find myself a little edgy and unsatisfied with how my days are going or life in general (you know that feeling… as if something big is missing but you just can’t put your finger on it).

It’s when my time is flexibly allocated to those different areas that I feel most whole, most happy, most like the version of myself that I want to be. It’s that ‘ahhhhhh, this is what the rhythm of life is all about’ feeling.

Passion Quote | Fabienne Fredrickson

The big pie slices are easy – work and family. These are two things that I enjoy (family, immensely, obviously) and that there is no ignoring (compartmentalizing, now that’s a whole nother story). The little slices, well I have to work hard at remembering to include those. Those are the easiest to overlook, push aside or give up on altogether because they don’t always feel necessary. We all have different passions, different areas of our lives that inspire us and lead us. When I think about my pie chart, I know that making time for things like ‘being creative’ or ‘Saturday morning hikes’ will make me feel complete, make me feel whole. Another example: I’ve been working with a tech startup for about a year now and it is a few of the most fulfilling hours of my week to watch their little seed sprout and grow. Had I said no and not dedicated a small sliver of my pie to being an ‘entrepreneur’, I may have missed out on one of my greatest joys.

When we ignore what others will think, say or do (in general, the ‘legitimacy’ with which we dedicate hours of our time), we are working towards our own authenticity.

Liv & Taylor Ocean, Aquarium | PepperDesignBlog.com

The above pie chart doesn’t really even come close to tackling the priority of any of those items (clearly family is way more important than being active), but, I always have to admit at the end of a long week, that unless I am feeding each of those buckets above, I’m feeling less like myself.

I have come to terms (and now embrace) something else that struck me as a bit off when first approaching the idea of whole: many of my pie slices are drastically subdivided, completely cut off from one another (maybe for my own sanity or maybe because the nature of the pie slice calls for it). Separating those buckets of priorities out doesn’t always feel very organic. Previously I’ve mentioned how crazy it is that family really isn’t a topic in the workplace, and while I sometimes get to be artistic in that environment (as a marketing director), it is this blog that gets me to really put on my ‘creative pie slice’ hat: painting with the girls, making paper flowers, fabric tents or cheese boards, baking with Liv. Ah, that makes me so happy! and it’s totally alright with me if my colleagues don’t see this site or if certain friends don’t understand why I dig my day job.

One last read for everyone who wants to continue this conversation – check out this series on balancing work/life/motherhood by Joanna over at Cup of Jo. I commiserated with so many of these stories. What funny thing do many of them have in common? Regular bedtimes are at 2am! Sometimes you really do just need more hours in the day. :-)

Stepping back though with that ‘forest through the trees’ sort of imagery on what feeling whole means in life to me right now (and what I hope it will mean to me when I’m near finished with it), makes me recognize that I would rather work until 2am every night than leave any of my slices – whether they change, grow or condense – completely empty. It’s a lofty goal but such an important one, too.

PS a full-time schedule, it takes a village, finding little moments in busy days (and holding on to them tight!). Beautiful quote artwork featured above.

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