Coffee Is . . . Print

Are you completely, totally addicted to coffee? Multiple cups a day? Black? Sugar? Creamer? I’m what you might call a part-time coffee drinker. I have family members and friends who drink it all day long, day in and day out. I do love coffee (with decent amounts of cream and sugar, thanks for asking), but not five-cups-a-day love. I actually only buy it when we have company, because Brett doesn’t like it and I don’t want to waste money on coffee for myself. And honestly, coffee is more of a treat when I do get to drink a cup, because that normally means I’m with a friend or at my parents’ house in Ohio or somewhere special.

Coffee actually always reminds me of my church’s youth group growing up. Being with that group is one of my fondest memories of my high school years, and coffee was our thing. We’d be going somewhere, or on a trip, or coming back, (or pretty much anywhere, who am I kidding), and we’d make a Starbucks stop. My youth pastor and his wife would make it for us any time we were over at their house (which was all the time), and they always had the best flavored creamers. I think it got to the point where they knew exactly how some of us liked our coffee and would just bring it out without asking.

This print was created for one of my best friends (Brigitta), who spent an insane amount of time with me at Paul and Gen’s. We totally took advantage of their hospitality and were often oblivious to their tiredness or their poor kids needing to go to bed. (Sorry Paul and Gen, I really don’t know how you guys did it sometimes!) Now Brigitta has the cutest little apartment of her own and is slowly decorating it as she acquires furniture and gets crafty. For one of her walls, she split a huge map into three pieces and put them over canvases above her couch. I’m totally jealous and will definitely be doing that myself someday!

I created this for her kitchen as a Christmas gift with a quote she had pinned on Pinterest. She’d told me that she wanted to make a corner of her [lovely, spacious] kitchen into a coffee bar, so what better to decorate with but some really cute wall art? And the funny thing is, she received two other unique wall prints/decorations from friends for Christmas. So no excuses Brigitta, you have to get that coffee bar going!

Coffee Is .... with Frame

 

And this print is now available on my store! Find it here. Hope you coffee lovers enjoy it!

Coffee

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A Pinterest Success: Christmas M&M Cookies in a Jar

Gifts in jars . . . what could be cuter? I got this idea from a conglomeration of pins that showed pretty much anything you could imagine stuffed into jars as presents: banana bread mixes, drink mixes, foot scrubs, handmade lotions — the possibilities are endless, and mason jars just make everything cute. Am I right? Just look: GiftCookieJar_1You know I’m right.

I made one of these for each of my five co-workers, Brett’s co-teacher, our landlords, and my best friend in Ohio . . . eight in all. The jars came in a package of 12 from Walmart. Target also has them, as does probably every other craft store out there. The ribbon also came from Walmart’s craft aisle. As for the “directions”, I just used a couple fun fonts and printed them myself, adhering to the jar with two small pieces of double-sided tape.

GiftCookieJar_2I actually did a test-run of placing the ingredients in the jar and then making the recipe itself. No way was I going to give away a recipe that was a dud. Luckily I only had to make a couple of adjustments and the cookies were great. But I also learned an important lesson . . . let’s just say it looked like a flour bomb exploded all over my kitchen table, and that’s an understatement. It’s actually really difficult to measure out two cups of flour, mix in some baking soda and salt, and then put the mixture in a jar without spilling, oh, half of it.

So you would think my first step would be to re-visit the canning aisle where I got the mason jars for a canning funnel, right? Oh, you give me too much credit. Of course I didn’t go there. I didn’t even know those funnels existed. I went to the kitchen gadgets aisle, and there aren’t funnels there. None. And when I asked someone where to find them, I was led to — where else — the oil aisle for cars. Well, the good news is there were funnels, and I got so excited to use my new funnel. Seriously, my excitement over a funnel was a little ridiculous, and not long-lasting. The flour immediately got stuck in the mouth. Cue me banging the jar on the table to get the flour down and using a wooden spoon handle to shove it through. It took forever. So the bad news is I didn’t realize until after driving the 20 minutes to Walmart and 20 minutes back that I needed a wide-mouth funnel. Somehow I finally completed all eight jars, but I totally learned that lesson. Never again.

Besides all of that, I really did enjoy making these cute gifts and giving them away. I realize a lot of people make and receive tons of cookies around Christmastime, but to me, here was a major time-saver handed to you in an adorable package: going to a Christmas party and quickly need a dessert to take? Having a few friends over and nothing in the pantry? Or maybe you’re simply craving nice, warm chocolate-y cookies from the oven and don’t have the ingredients to make them from scratch? Well, here you go. All you need besides the mix are two eggs, some butter, and vanilla extract. Yum! Here are the instructions for the jars:

Christmas M&M Cookies in a Jar (adapted from this recipe)

What you need:

  • 1 quart-sized glass jar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. chocolate candies or chocolate chips (I used half mini green and red M&Ms, half mini chocolate chips)
  1. Rinse the jar with hot water and dry thoroughly.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Place this mixture in the bottom of the jar.
  3. Onto this, layer the brown sugar, then the white sugar, and finally the chocolate candies/chips.
  4. Attach the following directions to the jar: (1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (2) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (3) Empty the contents of the jar into a large bowl and mix well. (4) Using your hands, add in 3/4 c. softened butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (5) Beat 2 eggs with 1 t.vanilla extract. Work this into the flour mixture until well-combined. If dough is too crumbly, place in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes. (6) Shape dough into 1 inch-sized balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Slightly flatten the dough balls. (7) Bake for 10-14 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Remove cookies to a rack to cool. Makes about 3 dozen small cookies.

A Creative + Thoughtful Birthday Gift

Before I say anything else this morning, I have to get this out of the way. One of my friends pinned this on Pinterest, and I saw it last night. Maybe it was just the time of night (and I really needed to go to bed) but . . . I could not stop laughing. Just look at it.

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I had tears running down my face. Then when I did get in bed, my poor husband was trying to sleep and I just kept laughing, seriously, for like five minutes straight. Then I kept trying to say “let’s eat ice cream” and that would just start me all over again. So, thank you, Pinterest, for making me laugh uncontrollably and making my husband think I’m completely psycho.

Anyway, now that that’s out of the way . . . today I’m not sharing a new design or recipe, but one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. It was from my hubby, and it’s probably my favorite thing he’s ever gotten me. Besides my plaid winter coat. And my boots. Okay, so it’s up there on the list of things he’s gotten me. Top five for sure . . . (just kidding, Brett!)

The short story is that I really need a new Mac. The long version is that I entered college with no major — I had no clue in the world what I wanted to do with my life, and let’s be honest, most 18-year-olds have no idea. So I took my gen eds first semester. Then I took more second semester. By then I knew I needed to pick something. I loved my college and the friends I’d made, so I knew I wanted to stay no matter what. I went through the catalog so many times, narrowing down what I thought I wanted to do. I knew I wasn’t cut out to be a nurse, business major, or teacher. No way. I thought briefly about Communications, but when I realized that would mean a lot of speeches in my future, I pretty quickly scratched that from the list.

One of the only majors left on the list that sounded appealing was graphic design. But . . . I’d never really taken any art classes after middle school — my high school classes were filled with band and newsmagazine. I couldn’t draw (and still can’t). I didn’t even know much about what graphic designers did, besides seeing some projects a friend of my family’s had made. I was definitely unsure of everything at this point, but, funnily, my friends kept encouraging me to just go for it. They could see the potential in me even though I had no idea what that looked like. One of my unit mates even asked me almost every day in March and April if I’d gone to talk to the head of the graphic design classes yet. Finally, I came to the conclusion I just needed to jump into it. It was literally the only major on my list by this point. And I did.

That’s the long version of my story because I started college with a Dell laptop and no Adobe programs. I didn’t own a Mac until after I graduated! I just used my college’s computers the entire time, and I’m pretty sure I was the only one who did so. It was inconvenient at times, but it worked. The Mac I have now was a huge blessing in itself. The summer after graduation, I worked at the company I’d interned for every summer during college. A few weeks before my last day, the IT guys sent out an email informing everyone that the company was getting brand new Macs, and that there would be a silent auction on the old ones. This was my chance! I was getting married in a few weeks and couldn’t afford to spend money on a lovely new Mac, so I sent in my bid and was able to grab an older iMac. I feel extremely blessed to have gotten it when I did, but it’s starting to get extremely slow. It’s so old I can’t even get the most updated versions of the Adobe Creative Suite. Most new versions of everything (downloads, software, Chrome, Firefox, etc.) don’t work on it. And while I love having the iMac’s big screen to do design with, I’d love to get a MacBook Pro at this point. That way I can work from literally anywhere.

So, I’m saving up for a new Mac. I told Brett not to spend money for my birthday, because any extra cash we have I’m putting towards the computer. I refuse to take money out of our savings for it — I’m literally just using money from my design store, projects, and anything else to buy it. Knowing all of that, Brett made me this as a birthday present:

frontSeriously, how creative was he? I was planning to just shove cash in a container I hadn’t found yet. But he went to Hobby Lobby and grabbed this container, the lettering, and some burlap.

backIt was the perfect container to use. He even cut a slot in the top to slide money and gift cards into: top

No, it’s not perfect, but he spent about an hour trying to cut that thing. It feels like plastic, but once he started cutting, he realized it was aluminum or some type of metal that made it pretty difficult. (And yes, there’s a slot cut in the burlap as well.)

So there you go . . . a creative, thoughtful gift trumps something expensive any day, am I right?