The Candy Fairy for Halloween

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candy fairy

candy fairy

In our house, the Candy Fairy arrives on Halloween or any day following to cut down on the sugar our kids have collected. Sometimes it seems that they need a day or two to indulge and then they are ready to pick 15 pieces they want to keep. Other times they are ready on Halloween night.

Here’s the free Printable the Candy Fairy leaves to help explain what they need to do. It’s simple, our fairy leaves a nonfood treat or gift in exchange for the candy they are picking up.

Click and print: Candy Fairy Printable

Enjoy!

~caroline~

{Thinking of You Thursdays} Let them hear about their talents

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SONY DSCThese jars of honey are beautiful. But this is probably the first time I’ve said that…And, you must be wondering what the heck does this have to do with today’s title, right?… Last Sunday I decided that I would write about a message that struck me in church- it was about talent and it seemed perfect for this Thinking of you Thursday. A break from the busyness we are likely experiencing.  It doesn’t require any materials, no DIY instructions… just thought and words.

The question was: Do our kids and spouses know of their talents? Are they hearing us say they have talents? The message continued: Talents are gifts that  are to be developed,  And, one of our roles as spouses and parents is to recognize them and guide them into development. It got me thinking…

Hmm… my kids and husband hear me say nice things all the time. They know they are talented… Then I stopped and thought about it… Do I really say the words? Have I helped my family to recognize their talents? Probably a bit here and there, but not really stated as a talent, a gift that is unique to them.

And so this brings me back to the honey. I’ve been thinking about it even before Sunday. I noticed more and more as I’ve heard my husband speaking to  bee keepers and people who have issues with honey bees.  He is full of knowledge, he’s been developing tools to remove bees safely from trees and homes, preventing extermination and helping our eco system. (I just learned about almonds and how they depend on bees to grow, for example.) And so, while this hobby requires many hours this time of year, I realized that this is a unique talent, he is not fearful of bees when many are. He is at peace with them and there are so many ways this helps all of us.

There is a lot of talent that goes into producing those jars of honey. After hearing Sunday’s message, I realized that I hadn’t said much to my husband in recognition of his ability to learn all of this on his own.   He’s nurturing the bees, making  beautiful hive boxes and much more.  I’ve been so busy myself with a blog and with kids that I didn’t stop to notice and say the important words. Wow, you have talent!

Two other examples… Our youngest gives the greatest bear hugs. She really makes us feel good when she gives us a hug. I will often say, oh, that was nice, thank you. But this week I told her that she has a talent- to help us feel great with that hug!

And another daughter that loves to volunteer, and was just asked to do an all night event. Yes, stay up all night, leading group activities for a good cause. She would normally say yes and then suffer for days since that is really too much for her.  After a bit of thought, she said, yah, that’s too much for me, but there are lots of other shifts in that event I could do. Normally I might say “oh, good”.  But this time I said the words. This is a talent, to be able to recognize your limits and come up with a great solution!

So, I’ve given you a lot to think about within  our families.  But how  about taking this further, with  people we don’t know. Maybe it’s the grocery cashier that did something pretty ordinary like pack up our groceries- organized by freezer, fridge and pantry. Can we take a second to recognize her talent?  Give it a try, and see  faces light up. And better yet, let your kids see you doing it!

Have a great week recognizing talents.  I would love to hear how it goes.

~caroline~

A Fairy tale ending to my Invisible Mom experience

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Magic Wand BB&BA few weeks ago I shared my horrible experience at two unnamed stores in my post Invisible Mom on a Mission.  A few readers have asked where I finally found the sheets for our project so here’s the Fairytale ending to my almost, turned into a  pumpkin experience.
On my way home from those two stores, if you recall, my 8 year olds’ playdate was minutes from ending, and I had wasted precious time due to lack of  customer service.   Thankfully a light bulb went on: I did have time to call a store  where I had remembered that customers were important!  They immediately connected me to a salesperson that researched my request. That store was sold out in that color but they could order them online for me. I loved that idea, but time didn’t permit this as our flight out to collegeland was 2 days away and they were needed for sewing into a duvet.  They cheerfully offered and checked surrounding stores, located those hot pink sheets in XL and held them for us! (Insert Big Smile Here)
The store was Bed Bath and Beyond and when my daughter and I arrived there the next day, we were pleasantly surprised with not only our sheet set but….  they presented this soon to be College Freshman  with a scanner.  (Lets think Fairy Wand?)  The wishes of an 18-year-old…. this could be dangerous!

The sweet salesperson  printed a list of  necessities for her dorm, suggested by her college. She was told to scan the items she may want and they would be waiting for her at the BB&B in her college town, 2000 miles away. Fairy Magic, don’t you think?  After seeing her new room, we could decide to keep and pay for only the items she still needed.  (That’s when I started to feel better.)  Ok, I’m thinking she won’t need half of these items.

My daughter happily got started. A sales person checked in with us every once in a while, more than happy to help… We were now in Customer Service Heaven!  The story gets better.

Fast Forward 1 week later at the Bed Bath And Beyond in  collegeland, 2000 miles away… Freshman daughter and I are greeted in front of the store. ( Signs on our foreheads must have read: “Incoming Freshman Student and Her Mom.” A friendly lady asked our names and handed us the list from the Fairy Wand at home.

This kind lady described the next steps: Beer and Wine inside for the parents, then head upstairs to look at our bin of reserved items!  (Insert Big smiles from both of us here)

Many items in the bin were no longer needed, no problem at all.  Our 20% off coupon was left at the hotel, no problem either, I was told to bring just the receipt and coupon to any BB&B store for a  refund of the difference!   Happy that I could still save big with that coupon and that I could take care of it when I wasn’t so busy at home.       (Insert more big smiles).

This is not a sponsored post- I just want you to experience awesome customer service the next time you are shopping for home basics and other great things.

I think this store deserves our attention, what do you think?

~caroline~

DIY a reversible duvet cover

college dorm duvet diy

Making a duvet cover from flat sheets is super easy – I learned this trick from family friends we had growing up. They were always up to something really clever and DIY before it was popular, before DIY shows were on TV and before computers. (I know I’m giving away my age here!)  And probably before the term DIY even existed. I think it was just called sewing!   I love this repurpose for many reasons. Sheets have finished edges, and if the size is just right, there’s minimal cutting and measuring.  You can pick almost any colors, making it your own custom look without breaking that piggy bank I keep talking about, (and provided you can find the size and color you would like).

If you’ve followed along, you may recall that I was pretty challenged in my post, Invisible Mom on a Mission, to find that hot pink color in XL for the college dorm bed.  More about how we found them on another post.

My college freshman wanted to do her room in navy, white and hot pink. It would coordinate with her roommate’s bedding without being too matchy matchy.  We love using down comforters and therefore the need for a duvet cover.

We designed ours to be one side hot pink, the other navy blue with chevron covered fabric buttons.  With two opposite colors on the duvet, you can easily turn it over for a different look- I love reversible options.  If you buy in sets, you’ll have coordinating fitted sheets and pillow cases. A cute pattern would be fun as well.

I mentioned it’s super easy… Anyone can do this….A basic old machine will do (Mine is 28 years old and did fine until I got to the button holes) Don’t have a sewing machine? You probably have a friend or relative who does- ask to borrow, I’ve lent mine out several times and I even needed to borrow this time, I’ll explain in a minute…

Let’s get started…
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We started by throwing the sheets in the wash to shrink them. Being all cotton,I’m glad they shrunk to the perfect width.

I then washed the floor.

With the right sides together, lay your sheets flat on the floor. Match up the top hemmed portion of the sheets. The top will have that wide hem that is probably 4 inches wide. If you are lucky the long sides will match up as well and just make it around the comforter. My bottom portion did not match. It appears that different manufacturers make their sheets slightly different in length!

Lay your comforter over the top of the flattened sheets matching the top edge to the sheets’ top edges.

From here, mark your bottom edge, adding only about a half-inch from the bottom edge of the comfortor. (This allows for seam allowance). If you make it too long, it will look wimpy and not full like we want it.

Take your comforter off the sheets and set aside.

This is where you will need to measure a straight line with chalk and then cut.

cutting sheets for duvet

I used pinking shears to minimize the fraying, but regular scissors are fine as well.

Bring to the sewing machine and start your sewing up at the top right corner. Your right sides are already facing together. So start sewing, using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Remember to back-stitch when beginning. (Back stitching is like driving in reverse for a few stitches to anchor your threads, preventing it from falling apart).

You will come down to the bottom right side corner and stop stitching when you get close to a half-inch from that bottom edge. That’s when you need to lift your foot pedal (while the needle is barried in the fabric) and pivot to continue sewing parallel to that bottom edge.

Continue sewing the bottom edge and do the same pivot at the next corner. Work your way to the other top edge, where everything should match up. Back stitch at that top edge.

Turn this all right side out-so those raw edges are inside the cover.

You now have a totally open top edge. This will need closing. I started making the button holes on a sample piece of fabric and unfortunatley it was pretty funky. I posted a picture on Facebook for some advice and got some great ideas.

One follower suggested ties. I liked that idea, in chevron print, that would be cute. Another idea was velcro to keep it closed and still put a button on top for cuteness-no button-hole required.  I like both those ideas- my  daughter had her heart set on functioning buttons, she though velcro was too rough.   From there my very kind friend offered her machine. It did the trick.

So if you want to make button holes here is a great tutorial over at dear hand made life.com where Nicole has a cute story to go with it- about humming songs. Enjoy.

After making the fabric covered buttons (just follow the directions on the covered button kit, they are sold in the notions section of sewing and craft stores) they give you a pattern and it’s very easy). Our buttons were about 1″ in diameter. You will need to measure your button diameter for marking the buttonholes. We used 5 buttons for this Twin comfortor. We measured the width across that top edge and divided by 5 for proper spacing between button holes.

After opening the holes with the seam ripper,as Nicole instructs, Line up your upper open edges of the sheets and pin them together every several inches to keep things aligned. From the open area of each button-hole, mark each center onto the bottom sheet, on its inside. This is where you will sew your button. In our case it was on the pink sheet.
sewing chevron fabric covered buttons

We wanted the buttons to show when viewing from the blue side so we needed to sew buttons onto the pink side. From the inside, facing up through to the blue.

My non sewing daughter got busy both with the covering of the buttons and the cutting cutting fabric for chevron pillows and sewing of the chevron pillows and later the sewing on of the buttons.  We had quite a workshop going on our kitchen table! (Did I mention my youngest was on a very long playdate that day so we could get our DIT (do it together) projects finished. Thank you friends!

Put your down comforter inside with corners matched up and then put those buttons to work and close it up!
There were a lot of details here, please ask any questions in the comment box below. I need to know if anything needs clarification!

Enjoy at least two different looks from this one duvet and ……. peaceful slumber!

~caroline~

ombre mason jar desk organizer

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mason jars in hotel roomThe other day  I mentioned that I did some DIY while in my hotel room in my daughter’s college town. I left off with the picture of painted mason jars. Today I’ll show you how to do this. It’s super simple but needs at least 24 hours to dry before putting objects into the jars.
supplies for mason jar painting
All you need is two colors of craft paint, mason jars and a disposable cup to mix colors in, and a mixing stick.  One  paint color will be your darkest and the other will be your lightest. We chose hot pink for the dark and ivory for the light. We like the nice soft look of ivory, but, if you like white, that also could be used for your lightest color.

Start with your white or ivory craft paint and fill a mason jar about 1/2″ high.

1/2"

1/2″

Turn the jar slowly  to cover the insides of the jar, tilting as you turn the jar so that the paint runs toward the top of  the jar.

Swirl until the paint is close to the top rim.
swirl the paint to cover sides
Place the jar with the opening face down on top of a thick stack of newspapers or cardboard.
upside down jar on newspaper
Every few minutes lift the jar and reposition so the paint doesn’t  stay attached to the newspaper and to prevent a big mess on your rim.

As you keep repositioning, notice when there is no more paint dripping out. That’s when it’s time to sit the jar upright, with the bottom on a clean surface.

Repeat this process with the next jar. Start with mostly light paint and a tiny bit of dark.adding hot pink paint
Mix well with a stick in a plastic recycled cup.  ( I tried mixing right in the jar, but it is difficult to get a good mix and I ended up with  a swirl of two colors, instead  of one homogeneous color).

mix paint color with stick

Pour into jar as above and repeat.

For the 3rd jar mix more dark and smaller portion of light. mix  well.

For the 4th jar, use only your dark color (hot pink in this case).    Let it dry at least 24 hours.

Check for dryness before filling with your pencils, pens, make up brushes or whatever you need handy.

After all have dried, you can wipe the outside with water on a  paper towel to remove paint that may have spilled to the outside.

Add your metal rim if desired and fill with desk items.

I was thinking that kids of many ages would likely enjoy this on their desks. Even boys may like shades of brown, tan and ivory, or any other color scheme.

How would you use painted mason jars? I’d love to hear your ideas in the Reply Box below.

~caroline~

{Thinking of You Thursdays} How I was Thursdayed Back!

thinking of you thursdayed backFor those of you who are new readers, I’ve been coming up with ideas on Thursdays for letting people know we care about them in my {Thinking of You Thursdays} posts.  Well, our favorite aunt and uncle got me back. Or I should say “us” back on a Thursday before our trip…

A big brown box arrived at our front door… the girls were super excited about its appearance and brought it in the house with great curiosity. It  wasn’t anyone’s birthday and it wasn’t any special time of the year… What could it be, we all wondered.  As we carefully opened, we found the box packed full of beautiful clothes - there was something for everyone. (Did I mention they have exceptional style?) There were clothes from our favorite stores, striped T-shirts, a mint colored ombre shirt, and a pretty ivory flower embellished shirt…, sweaters for our college freshman with long arms, and even a giraffe graphic T in neon orange that my 8-year-old claimed.

I felt bad that I hadn’t called to thank them – we were running late for a college send off meeting, but while I was at the meeting, I received a text that said: We hope you received the box, thinking of you on Thursday!  Wow, I wondered how they got the package to arrive precisely on Thursday.  They are really an amazing couple, always thinking one step ahead about how to make friends and family feel special.

And to top this off, when I returned home, I found a message on my bathroom mirror. It was a message my husband wrote to me using his shaving brush and it was outlined with a giant heart. (A man’s version of lipstick writing on the mirrors.)
shaving brush messages on mirror
So sweet and I am quite sure that neither my husband nor our aunt and uncle knew that the other was  doing a Thinking of You Thursday back.

I sure felt loved that day.

And now you have two new ideas for your own Thinking of You Thursdays!

What are your favorite ways to let people know you are thinking of them?  Share your ideas in the Reply Box at the very bottom of the page. Thank you!

~caroline~

The Chartreuse Boots have moved to college

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jumping for joy with first day of schoolOur 8-year-old wasn’t jumping for joy because her sister was leaving  for college, she was so excited that it was her first day back to school!!!  (Insert my big smile here)

It’s been a whirl wind 2 weeks for us. Ones full of cheers and tears. Right after my Take me Away Calgon post, our youngest started 3rd grade and our family flew to the west coast all on the same day.

  This 8-year-old was a lucky girl as she walked the aisle as the flower girl in my sister’s wedding 2 days later. From there we visited with family and I went on to college move-in weekend with our 18 -year- old.

 Yes, the Chartreuse Boots have left the house……….(Insert tears here)

Move in was  impressive. I’ll have to say, her school does a nice job with volunteerism. We drove up at our appointed time, rental car very full of suitcases, purchases from Bed Bath and Beyond and Target.

college move in time

3 cheerful students unloaded our car into a cart. They directed us to find a parking spot from there… when we came back all of those suitcases, boxes and bags  were unloaded into her dorm room!!  What a  pleasant move in experience!

There were many events for parents where I enjoyed meeting others from all over the country. Our students were taken for fun events like a concert and photo booths, and other adventures on campus.

My daughter and I continued to pick up items she needed: snacks, sticky stuff to attach things to the wall, things like that. The two of us had a great time planning things out and arranging…  But it was finally time to say good-bye. (Insert streams of tears here)

I fortunately was able to visit with a dear friend and her new husband right from there and that helped cheer me up!

I even, made it through a 4 hour flight home with not a single tear, by the way. (Those that know me well will  certainly be impressed with this news!)

Soon to share are the DIY projects we were finishing up before leaving on our trip AND some DIY I even tackled from my hotel room in collegeland, (as our youngest calls it).

mason jars in hotel room

Stay tuned… it’s all coming soon.

~caroline~

Taking a Minute to send Thank you Notes {Thinking of You Thursdays}

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Thank you note tipsOk, I guess I exaggerated a bit.  It will take more than a minute to get my Thank you notes into the mail box.  My  list of overdue thankyous is long  and I’m not liking that feeling… I even feel worse that I had hoped to get them out yesterday, yep, it was Thursday yesterday!!  But, hope you’ll understand…   (Please skip forward to the tips, if hearing about our day is too much of a snoozer)

It was the last full day my 18-year-old had off from her lifeguard job, before leaving for college and we had a full day of DIY dorm room decor to complete and my 8 year old had a nice long playdate planned (Thank you dear friend!)

and I didn’t want to be behind my computer putting together a post on this special day (special because she wants to sew and we both have an open day to spend together, this doesn’t happen often when you have four kids)  and she normally wants nothing to do with thread and needles…and, my sweet husband even made dinner for us so we could keep working…

Yes, I know that was a run on sentence, but I’ve got lots to do with my kids…  I promise to do better once they’re back in school… you understand, right?

I am sharing tips below for Thank you notes, but to be honest I didn’t get them out yesterday, except to photograph and share with you! … I will throw them in my purse and write them when I get my hair high lighted and low lighted, (and whatever else is needed there), in a few days.

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Here’s my thank you note tips:

Collect cards while picking up groceries. Trader Joes is my favorite - thick cardstock, fun designs, great value at .99 each, don’t you think?

If you like DIY cards, make enough for the whole year,  so there’s no delay when you need them.  A cute idea, add a rubber stamp to the potato stamped cards in DIY Stationery in a Box.

potato stamped thank you

Throw the cards and stamps in your purse or briefcase - pull them out for simple letter writing while waiting in  carpool lines, waiting for the soccer game to begin or waiting for a favorite doctor or dentist to call your name.

Click pictures of addresses for quick cell phone retrieval.   Birthday invitees addresses usually  collected from more than one location? School directories and home address book for me so, clicking a pic of addressed invites before they are sent keeps the info in one easy to retrieve and portable spot.

Getting the kids to send their Thank you’s.  A simple rule: no use of the gift until the important note has been sent.  (That usually works)

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Two  more reasons why yesterday didn’t work for implementing the above tips:

1. The only time I waited for anything yesterday was while in traffic,  getting to the store that had the sheets (in stock!!!!) from my post Invisible Mom on a Mission.

I’ll share more later about this very helpful store I rediscovered and how we are putting together her room. But here’s a peak for now:

DIY dorm room decor

and the reason those sheets were so important, we are using them to create our own duvet cover… more about that later as well.

2. I didn’t think I would set a good example if I took out my thank you notes behind the wheel (although tempting, as we were stopped in lots of unexpected traffic).

You understand, right?

~caroline~

Invisible Mom on a Mission

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photo (10)

I don’t know what was up today to cause such invisibility. I walked into more than one store  where salespeople pretty much ignored me.

Entering store A.  The salesman kept me waiting while he  finished writing something (very important I’m sure) on his clipboard. I just wanted to know where to find bed sheet sets. When I found the sheets that he pointed me to, there was no one around to help.  I walked half way across the store to find a sales clerk with folded arms standing at her register.

She told me she would need to call someone over to help me find the sheets I was looking for. I guess she couldn’t leave her spot, she must have been guarding thousands in her cash register, as the store had just opened and I was the only customer in the store!

The sales clerk comes over and states that it’s not his department and he’s not sure if the store carries that color in the size I need. I should check online he says.  I’m thinking, If I didn’t need the sheets so soon, I would have stayed home to order from the comfort of my own home, not out in this store where I appear to be invisible.

And in store B… two very young sales clerks, of opposite sexes I might add, were chatting away about the details of their week ends. Do I dare interrupt to get help? At this point I’m kind of wondering how long they will ignore me. And if you can’t tell, I’m just a bit angry.  After doing my own search I did the bold thing and interrupted their very important conversation to verify that they didn’t have hidden sheet sets somewhere.

So why is everyone too busy to help the customer?

Don’t they know I’m a mom on a mission?

That my 8-year-old is on a playdate for 2 hours and I have 4 more stores to get to before I turn into a pumpkin?

That my daughter heading to college very soon needs these XL twin sheets in hot pink and I have money to spend at their store?

That I have promised said daughter we would create a dorm room nicer than the catalogue picture she has dog-eared?

That I would probably pay any price for the right color and size sheets at this point?

.

What’s the possible reason for not helping someone who wants to spend money in their stores???

Is it because I left the house without flat ironing my hair?

What do you think?

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While on the subject of shopping… Grab your cute paper shopping bags.

I’ll share my DIY project for Back to School and Travel.

~caroline~

Stationery in a Box DIY {Thinking of You Thursdays}

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SONY DSCCollege send offs are right around the corner, so we came up with this gift set to encourage mail and help connections in a handwritten form. Voiced from previous students, they still love receiving traditional snail mail!

We put the sets together assembly line style, and my daughter in ‘Chartreuse Boots’ and I had a blast planning, shopping, crafting and giving.

This is how we put them together:

We found the wooden boxes at Joanne’s, used our coupons and bought several. Dimensions for the boxes are: 5 1/2″ x 11 1/2″ and 4 1/2″ high.

We bought packages of plain cards and envelopes, decorated half of them, the other half will remain blank, for their own decorating purposes.

To create the card sets, we used acrylic paint and used a potato for large circles stamps, (smaller polka dots were made with a carrots, our own idea). (Actually my daughter made all the decorated cards while I took pictures, and we stayed up late doing this- I eventually went to bed while she stayed up to finish). 1 A.M. was too late for me that night!

We got the large polka dot stamp idea from Oh Happy Day, where she paints a table cloth using this potato technique. We were thinking of doin this for a duvet cover, but discovered it would clash with my daughter’s new room mate’s decor… so onto stationary it went instead.

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My daughter got creative with rubber stamp letters, dipped them in acrylic paint and stamped out HELLO! Isn’t that cute?

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The paint stamped cards dried over night…

In the morning we were able to put all the parts together.

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To make gift tags, we cut up thick watercolor paper about 2×3″ and punched a hole at the top and threaded baker’s twine through.
We included some decorating items for those blank cards. (A nice study break in a few months, I’m thinking, as these girls are crafty.)

We found the ribbon sets at Michael’s in the dollar section, removed their plastic covers and trimmed the top cardboard piece off so it would fit into the wooden box just right.

We bought glue sticks, thin sharpie pens, mini scissors and tape in quantity packs and divided amoung the boxes.

After tieing up the cards sets with twine, we covered the bottom of the box with brown paper bags cut to the size of the wooden box bottom. We then shredded brown paper bags in the paper shredder (rip them to fit into your shredder in a single layer at a time), and crumpled them up to make a perfect colored filling underneath the stationery items.
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We added a row of stamps to boost the snail mail into the postal system (but it adds to the cuteness factor, don’t you think?)

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They can be wrapped in cellophane with a ribbon, and for mailing, pick up a free, size large, postal box.

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I'm thinking this would be nice for anyone moving away. Young kids up through adults.

And wouldn’t grandparents love a stationary set made by their favorite little people? With hand stamping, you don’t need to be 18 to make cards that are just as cute.

Other additions to the sets would be a stamp pad and monogram letters in rubber stamp form, other mini items like a stapler, scissors…

When the stationery and supplies are all used up, repurpose the wooden box to hold other desk items, washcloths in the bathroom, beauty supplies…

Any other ideas for a personalized stationery set? What would you include?

~caroline~

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