7th House on the Left

Making a List

posted by Ashley  /  38 Comments

…and checking it twice. Fact: There are 121 days left until Christmas! Can you believe that?! That means you’ve let over half of the year slip by without planning for the longest (and largest) holiday season of the year. Okay, so maybe the situation isn’t quite as dire as I make it sound, but, as crazy as it may seam, it’s not too early to start marking things off your “Christmas to-do list”! I’ve been in a major list-making mode this past week and (as crazy and obsessive as it may sound) ventured to make a list of some things I want to get done over the next month to gear up for Christmas. Seeing as how I’m pretty positive there are some fellow serious list-makers out there, I thought it’d be fun to share my list of to-do’s to make our Christmas season a little more jolly…

10 Little Things to Do Now to Have a Jollier Christmas / 7thhouseontheleft.com

01 / Start shopping. Spacing out Christmas shopping over the next few months will be much easier on your wallet than buying everything between Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Buying even just 2 or 3 gifts every month will keep budgeting easy and cut down on the usual hustle and bustle of the Christmas shopping season. Every time you buy a gift, put them in a designated area (I keep ours in the guest room closet). If you tend to have a bad memory (like I sometimes do) stick a post-it on the item to remind yourself who it’s for.

02 / Wrap it up. Go ahead and wrap any presents you buy. Leave the bows off and add them when it’s time to put the gifts under the tree so they’ll look crisp and freshly wrapped. You can find Christmas wrapping paper around this time of year online – at some really great prices too. Pre-wrapping your presents will save you a ton of time as long as you’re diligent about labeling them as to who they go to and what they are. Otherwise, your presents might be as much a surprise to you as your friends and family.

03Start preparing the house now. We’re not talking about cleaning, necessarily; just minor repairs and enhancements. Focus on the rooms your guests will spend the most time in, like the guest bedroom(s), the living room and the kitchen. If you have dents, nicks, or scratches to fix, or even minor enhancements you’d like to make to these rooms, now is the time to get them done. Slowly but surely, you can get everything looking picture perfect before they arrive.

04Be the first to make travel arrangements. Ticket prices aren’t the only reason to make your plans for travel now rather than four months from now. As the holidays approach, you’re going to find it harder and harder to make plans that fit into everyone’s schedules. By scheduling now, you’re sure to be the first person on anybody’s calendar.

05Make your list. While I’m not typically a big fan of “Christmas lists”, sometimes it’s nice to be able to point to a place where your significant other can check out reasonably and a few not-so-reasonably-priced items (just for fun) on my Christmas wish list. We found MyRegistry.com when we were moving into our house. We had a lot of family members ask us what we wanted/needed for the house. It’s always kind of awkward — you know what I mean? My mom asked us to make a “wish list” and after a little Google search, we found MyRegistry.com. And I have to say, it’s a pretty cool website. You can add items from any website and make notes about color, quantity, size, etc. or even where you plan on using it in the house. One major perk about MyRegistry.com is you can put a password on your list so you can share it with family members and close friends only. Greg and I have ended up making our own individual lists for each other to work off of – since I have dubbed him the “hardest person in the world to shop for”. It makes shopping a little easier and fun too.

06What’s Aunt Martha’s new address? This shouldn’t take too much time, but when the Christmas season hits, your time becomes even more valuable. Take a few minutes to make up a Christmas card list and talk to the people on that list to make sure you have their current address. If you’re a bit embarrassed to call your long-lost relatives and tell them you have no idea where they are now or how they got there, just call mom. She’s a mom and she’s bound to have the down low on where and why. Btw, I don’t have an Aunt Martha.

07Get the party started. On top of presents and travel, you need to think about Christmas parties! Let’s face it: Parties are expensive. By planning out your Christmas party now (or parties, if you’re a real party animal), you can be on the look out for things that will complete your party theme. Like I said before, you can make budgeting your Christmas season much easier by spreading out the cost of your party over the next 5-6 months. Like the Christmas presents, keep all of your party supplies in a designated area so you don’t loose track of them between now and then.

08 / Pick a family, any family. Along the same lines as travel, you might want to go ahead and start discussing with your significant other whose family you’re going to spend Christmas with. That way, when your family starts asking who you’re going to spend Christmas with, you’ll have an answer and explanation ready to go.

09 / Prepare to deck the halls! Take a little time to do an inventory of your decorations. The sooner you know what you have, the sooner you can start designing your tree and general decor. That way, when you see a cool decoration or ornament, you can grab it up, knowing it’s going to go great with your overall style. Also, while you’ve got a few of the Christmas boxes down from the attic, take a few minutes to make sure the lights work. There’s nothing worse than getting your whole tree or worse, your whole house, covered in lights, then realizing half of them don’t work. #beentheredonethat

10 / Create a savings plan. As a final tip, try your best to set aside a few dollars every paycheck as a Christmas fund. Vacations, presents, and parties, no matter how well you plan them, can still end up costing more than you’d expect. If you’ve set a few bucks aside, you’ll have less to worry about in the long run and have a credit-free Christmas.

Do you have any helpful tip to add to the list? Share it with us in the comment section…

Thanks to a quick Pinterest search, I have come to realize that anything and everything has been done to an Easter egg. They’ve been gilded, washi-taped, decoupaged, glittered, studded, chalk-boarded and even painted with nail polish. While I still have a major soft spot for the classic PAAS Coloring Kit (the smell of the dye still brings me back to my Grandma’s kitchen island), it’s official to say that we’ve gone way beyond the traditional dying technique from the days of yore and have moved on to more elaborate decorations. Here are a few of my favorites from the World Wide Web…

Not Your Grandma's Easter Eggs // 7 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas // 7thhouseontheleft.com

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

I bought a set of wooden eggs on Amazon about a month or so ago. I planned on decorating them and being able to keep them for next year – as apposed to decorating real eggs and having to throw them away. I had every intention of decorating them by now, but there they are, still sitting in the project pile here in my office. After rounding up this inspiration, I must say I’m a little intimidated. So. Many. Ideas. I still can’t decide what to do with them and I might even end up saving them for next year – we shall see.

Do you have a favorite Easter egg decorating technique? Or do you stick to the tried-and-true PAAS Kit?

My Soapy Valentine

posted by Ashley  /  18 Comments

Growing up, I loved handing out Valentines Day cards to my friends. Most of the time, I made them myself, but there were a few years when I remember picking out a few boxes of the pre-made character ones. When I was 17, I handed out Bob the Builder cards… yeah… I still have no idea why. I haven’t handed out Valentine’s cards in a few years – probably since college. I guess I figured I was too old for it now. You’d think I would have thought that when I was 17, right? But this year, I thought it would be fun to revive my love for Valentine’s Day cards and come up with a fun something special to hand out to my gal pals.

"Grown Up" Dish Soap Valentine / 7thhouseontheleft.com

I kept having trouble coming up with a fun, original, “not completely corny but still cute” idea until I saw these little, freakishly adorable, bottles of Mrs Meyer’s dish soap in the dollar section at Target. Aren’t they cute?? I loved the reddish/coral label – perfect for Valentines – and it smells super yummy too.

"Grown Up" Dish Soap Valentine / 7thhouseontheleft.com

The first thing I did was get to work designing a few tags for the bottles. I asked my brother to help me come up with “punny” soap sayings. You’d think with him being a professional singer/songwriter, he’d be able to come up with something good, right? Well, the first thing he said was, “Just add water…you’ll make my heart bubble”. Umm. No, Abram. No. We ended up with “I was soapin’ you would be my Valentine” (which, as it turns out, with a quick Google search seems to be a pretty popular line among the internet) and “You can always count on me in sticky situations”. Hahahaha… Now that I’m sitting down to write this post, it’s been a few hours since I worked on this project and I still think that’s way too funny.

Since the labels had a lot of straight fonts, I decided to use a fun “scriptish” font for a nice juxtaposition of styles. Is it weird I think about things like that? I was able to print 16 labels per sheet on a piece of 8.5×11 kraft card stock (you can find this at most craft stores, I got mine at Micheals). Click HERE to download the labels! 

"Grown Up" Dish Soap Valentine / 7thhouseontheleft.com

I cut out each label and punched a hole at the top using a 1/4″ hole punch, then fastened the tag to the bottle using some gold and white baker’s twine. Since the baker’s twine was so thin, I had to tie a good amount around the bottle before attaching the tag because it kept slipping between the bottle and the cap. This next bit of info might seem a little obvious, but people have asked before. If you tie a normal “gift bow” to fasten the tag, the tag itself will stick out perpendicular to the bottle. In order for your tag to hang down straight, cut a long piece of twine, bring both ends together, and insert both ends of the twine in the hole at the same time. Bring it through the hole and through the loop of twine on the other side of the tag, then tie your normal bow.

"Grown Up" Dish Soap Valentine / 7thhouseontheleft.com

And there you have it, a perfect “grown up” Valentines to give to your gal pals. Hey, who says you have to be under the age of 12 to hand out Valentines?! ; )