the art of letter writing + DIY envelope


Has anyone ever asked you what your love language is?  Probably.  My husband and I always laugh about this, because I always say for guys it’s physical touch and for girls (ok more specifically mamas) it’s acts of service:)  hehe.  Am I right?!?


But really, I wish there was a letter writing category.  Because this is definitely my love language.  Maybe it’s a thing my mom passed down to me … maybe it’s because I love the artsy craftsy stuff … maybe it’s because today, it’s rare that anyone takes the time to sit and think and write.  It truly is an art that I hope will never be fully lost amidst the hustle and bustle of the technology crazed world we live in.  I have never been the best with words when I’m face to face with someone, but there’s something about putting pen to paper that seems to free any insecurity or hesitation I had before.


My daughter sees me writing all the time and is catching on to all that a letter entails — she has learned the hard way WHY momma has to write the address on the envelope for her, and why the stamp must go in the upper righthand corner of the envelope (many a letters have been left in our box!!).



She’s got a couple of go-to pen pals and will often ask me for an envelope after she’s done a little drawing and folded the paper herself.  She’s usually quite impatient while I write the address, I let her do the stamp, and then of course she has to put it in our mailbox “by myself mom!”:)




My friend (hi Heidi!) recently sent me a note that came inside the cutest homemade envelope, and it reminded me that I used to do this all the time.  It’s really so simple and can add a lovely touch to a card or letter.  Any craft store should have a big paper section (usually they come in 12″ x 12″ size) with lots of options.  I picked this cute bird pattern up over the weekend and I have a feeling I’ll be back for more:)



Take a normal envelope, whichever size you’d like to use, and gently tear it apart so you end up with something like the photo above.  Next, trace the outline of it onto your paper of choice.  Cut with scissors on your traced line and you’ll end up with the shape of your envelope.



Using your original envelope as a reference, fold your scrap paper up the same way and use a tiny bit of glue to stick the folds together.  Don’t forget to leave the top flap open!



Done!  Now you have your own personalized envelope ready for use.  Just use another tiny bit of glue to seal the top flap once your letter is inside.  If your pattern is dark or busy, you can glue a small rectangular piece of white paper on top to write the address.  I had some blank stickers that came in handy.  Ta da!



Tell me, when is the last time you sat and wrote a letter?  Think of someone you really care about.  And do it.  I promise it will make their day:)

our kitchen makeover.


We love our house.  Sometimes, I still can’t believe it’s ours — I’m pretty grateful that life in the South is more affordable than my coastal Southern Californian upbringing!  (ok ok, we’re not five minutes from the beach but we’ve got a pretty nice community pool;)


Owning a home is a privilege and allows you to dream about things you’d like to change and make your own — within reason (as my husband likes to remind me).  These days, browsing Pinterest can cultivate feelings of dissatisfaction that work against feeling at rest and content with what you have.  I’m definitely guilty of thinking my dream-this or my dream-that will make me happy when deep down, I know my foolish heart will always be wanting for something.  I’m pretty sure when I was a kid I didn’t notice whether or not my mom’s kitchen had pristine granite countertops or open shelving with cute, perfectly stacked bowls — I just know she was there, serving and loving us with a genuine heart.  I want to be like that.


Anyway — back to our kitchen!  After reading this blog post, I thought ok — maybe we can do this?!  I had Niall read the post too and to my surprise he immediately suggested we go for it.  It’s not that we were totally unhappy, but we both knew a fresh coat of paint (or three) could give our cabinets an entirely different look which was kind of exciting.  I’m not gonna lie, when we first started sanding, I thought we were in way over our heads more than a few times.  It was boring, dirty, monotonous work and most of the time we were in the garage with 90+ degree heat and humidity.  But, after pushing through those first few days, we knew there was no turning back!


I wish we had taken more ‘before’ photos — I snapped these shots shortly after we first moved in.  But you get the gist of it in the picture below — nothing wrong with what we had, we just thought it seemed too … wood-ish?!  We wanted something a little more striking that would break up the wood floors and the cabinets.  We decided to take a bit of a risk and go with something two toned: ‘white veil’ for the top cupboards and ‘submarine grey’ for the bottom ones.




Ta da!



And now, I’ll share some photos that go beyond the finished product — and show more of the blood, sweat and tears that went into our first big home project:)


Taking every cabinet door off and labeling each one so we could remember where it went. Bless Niall’s heart!


Sanding… oh sanding. How I loathe thee. Thank goodness for podcasts!!


Caught him during one of those what-have-we-got-ourselves-into moments:)




We began the job at the start of a weekend hoping the kids would cooperate and give us hours upon hours of uninterrupted productivity time — haha!  Wishful thinking.  That picnic table set up looks picture perfect but I can assure you, they sat there coloring for approximately 1.5 minutes before they were over it.  We ended up hiring a babysitter to stay in the house with them for a couple of hours, but other than that we worked after they were already in bed.  It was NOT EASY sacrificing our evening alone time from 8 – 10:30 pm after the kids were down, but we really wanted to finish the job before leaving for our summer CA trip.  It was do or die!



The dream team — self timer for the win:) Is there anything more romantic that late night DIY home projects?!;)


Getting there…



I’ll be honest this dark color was out of my comfort zone! I freaked out at first but it is definitely growing on me … and bonus — if the kids have marked it up, I haven’t noticed yet:)


On our second weekend of work — this was on a Sunday morning before church. We became slightly obsessed.


We used old paint cans to set the cabinets on for drying and it worked great.



Niall and I took turns painting that Sunday and by evening he was totally over it.  But I hated the idea of yet another week night where we couldn’t just relax.  We were leaving for California early Wednesday morning and I really, really wanted the kitchen put together before we left!  So I hunkered down in the garage for a couple of hours Sunday night, put on a few more podcasts and endured the nasty mosquitoes that kept nipping at my legs (wearing old volleyball spandex was not a good decision — lesson learned).  But sweet victory!  I finished the third and final coat of white paint and the next day Niall put our kitchen back together.




It felt so good to do the finishing touches, like putting all the cabinet handles back on.




What do you think?!  The finish of the cabinets isn’t perfect, but in my opinion it’s pretty darn close.  We were quite pleased with ourselves and happy to have saved a few thousand bucks.  Thinking of doing something similar?  If you have the motivation I definitely say go for it.  I’ll leave you with some tips and tricks we learned along the way — and a blurry photo that my three year old took (I nearly have a heart attack every time she holds my camera).  I couldn’t resist getting a quick picture of Niall and myself in our ‘new’ kitchen:)


  • Don’t overdo the sanding — a light scuff is fine before you start painting.  We probably overdid it and tired ourselves out in the process!  If your cabinets are already painted, then yes, you will need to sand more thoroughly.
  • It is not completely necessary to take the cabinet doors off.  If you don’t have too many wall cabinets, leaving them on saves you from having to remove the hinges (which Niall used an electric drill for).
  • We used a semi gloss enamel, BEHR brand of paint & primer in one.  The darker color only needed two coats and for the top we used three … it will depend what you’re painting over.
  • This is a big project — don’t have some other DIY task going on at the same time.  And consider small changes first, like swapping out cabinet handles or buying a new faucet (that’s still on our to do list!).
  • Be kind and have patience with whoever you’re working with:)  Thanks Niall for putting up with my crappy attitude at times!