You are Fantastic

The past few months at the Holm house have been a bit tougher than usual. Long days, health problems, hurting friends, heavy workloads, lack of sleep– it has all worked together to produce some weariness in both Michael and myself. And while I think we’re handling things well, we’re also tired. I know I haven’t been as cheery as I normally am when he comes home. I am still so happy to see him after a long day of just me and the Bullfrog, but I haven’t been communicating it as well.

Marriage brings together two people and creates something special. But even though you may love your husband and he may love you back, often it takes more than love for a marriage to survive.

Our marriages need to be tended everyday like gardens. You can’t just water your plants once a month or forget to pull the weeds. If you do, then you won’t have a garden very long, but instead a place where the garden used to be. You have to be aware of the conditions outside– has it rained recently? Is it going to get above 90 degrees this week? All of that needs to be taken into account to help you plan how to tend your garden.

There is so much that happens in a given day that can bring you closer to your husband. It can also pull you just a tiny bit farther apart if you aren’t careful. Being aware of those things, and adjusting how you care for one another can really go a long way to helping your marriage survive. If there is distance between you– if you don’t feel close– it’s not going to magically fix itself if you “give it time.” Contrary to popular opinion, time doesn’t heal all wounds… in fact, given enough time, we’ll all die and rot away.

Tending your marriage is going to look different for you than it does for me. For instance, one of the things Michael and I will do when we need to spend time together but we’re too drained for anything else is to play Nintendo. Specifically, Mario Kart. This is probably not going to work for most of you, but for us it’s a fun thing to do where we are interacting, snuggling, joking, and trash talking each other. He always beats me, but that’s okay.

And of course, there are the date nights, flowers, cards, and sweet texts throughout the day– we try to tend to our marriage in as many ways as we can. So when I came across this blog post from How About Orange I decided to stop what I was doing right then and make a banner for Michael. It was during J’s nap and he had already slept for about an hour and a half, so you know I was on borrowed time to try and get anything else done. But, I didn’t file it away to do later, when the ideal circumstances presented themselves. I like to imagine there will come a day when my house is clean and I’ll have a space to myself where my craft supplies are beautifully organized. There will be music playing and a cup of hot tea sitting next to my sewing machine. I will also have more than 15 minutes to spend working on a project. But, that day is not today (or likely to be anytime soon) so instead I furiously printed, cut and pasted, and strung this banner together. I did not design it myself, cut it out perfectly along the lines, or print it on card stock as recommended. This is not an example of me at my creative best; it is instead an example of how I tended to my marriage today. Right Now.

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I love you because…

A few months ago, I decided to find out what all the fuss over Pinerest was about. I resisted for a long time, not because I had any idea what it was, but because I’m aware that I do not always spend my time wisely. Back in 2005, I discovered that there were these blogs out there all about sewing, crafting, and photography. I think I spent an entire summer reading articles about those things instead of doing any sewing, crafting, or photography of my own. Whoops!

I get inspired by color, design, textures, form– I love looking at pretty spaces and further refining my style. Pinning photos via Pinterest has been a fun way to collect ideas for the future, as well as get inspired for different photography related projects. (And I haven’t gotten sucked in to the detriment of my family… yet!)

I recently saw a project where someone had framed a piece of paper that said “I love you because ________.” The idea is that you can write on the line with a dry erase marker and then easily erase and write another message.

This appealed to me for a couple of reasons– 1) I live with someone that I love a whole bunch, but I’m not great about leaving him notes or sending him texts to tell him, 2) I love being crafty and making things, and 3) I love dry erase markers!!

I decided to make one for me and Michael. I wasn’t sure if he was going to play along, but he’s usually pretty supportive of my craftiness, so I thought I would give it a shot. And let me just tell you that I have LOVED having this hanging in my kitchen! Walking in and seeing a message that he’s written for me just makes my day. Sometimes I even take a photo of his note before erasing it– just so I can go back and read it again!

This Christmas, I made a few of these to give as gifts– I figured why not spread the love, ya know? Once I created the design in Photoshop, it was pretty easy to change the color and print them on photo paper. I did end up wearing gloves as I assembled the frames… I have some fingerprint-phobic friends (you know who you are!) Then I wrapped them in brown paper, used some jute string, and made some fun bows out of old text book pages. It was a crafty girl’s dream!

Want your very own “I love you because ______” frame?? You are in luck! I’m including a link to my design– feel free to print it off, frame it, and hang it in your own kitchen. Just be prepared for lots of lovey, heart-warming feelings to overcome you as you walk in to pour a glass of milk and you are reminded how much you are loved!

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Brown Paper Packages

I love brown. I know it makes me weird, but I absolutely love the color brown. Wood floors are brown. Coffee is brown. Six out of the ten rooms in my house are painted some shade of brown. Almost every piece of clothing I own is brown.

And so it makes sense that when it comes to gift giving, I choose to wrap packages in brown paper. It’s just so pretty!

I also really like to make things. Sadly, with the birth of Jeremiah, my available time for making things has been drastically reduced. (That makes it sound like I’m sad that Jeremiah was born– not true!) It’s just that any time for crafting has to be broken up into chunks of 30 minute intervals. All you mamas know… the meal-making and cleaning that it takes to keep a little person alive is sometimes overwhelming.

This year for Christmas I wanted to make all my lovely friends a gift that was really special. I won’t tell you what that was going to be because it turns out that I was overly ambitious and unable to actually make that happen. Instead, I changed course and decided to make them all something a little more manageable. I’m still not going to tell you what that is because I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Instead, I’m showing you them all wrapped up… because wrapping presents is just about my favorite part of Christmas. And this year I decided to make the bows, too! I used this tutorial and found it to be incredibly easy. Actually, that isn’t true. The first couple of bows I made didn’t turn out right and I think it’s because I am spatially challenged. It took me a while to figure out how to twist the paper so it would work each time– but now I have a system and now they are incredibly easy to make.

The tutorial suggests that you use magazine pages, but would you believe that we don’t have a single magazine in the house? I think I went a little crazy one year with decluttering and swore that we would never subscribe to a magazine or the newspaper again. And so, without magazine pages to use, I decided to get all creative. I tried scrapbook paper (too thick) and plain computer paper (kind of boring). I tried fabric (yeah, that didn’t work at all.) Then, I decided it would look cool to use pages out of a dictionary. But I couldn’t find one. What I did find, though, were my old college textbooks. And that is why I made bows out of organic chemistry textbook pages.

I think calculus bows are next… and I know a couple of people that actually might appreciate them!

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