Archive for November, 2009

I hope you had as fabulous of a Thanksgiving weekend as we did.  In the words of my father-in-law, “It’s been the best Thanksgiving of my life.”

The Halls got a late start in the marriage and grandchildren department but have made up for lost time over the last couple of years.  So, while last Christmas when we were all together we had three little munchkins running around (all from the same family), we have doubled the number of grandkids during 2009.  Let’s just say that things were a little different this year at the Hall house than they have been in the past!

It truly has been a wonderful weekend and I loved every second.

Since all these new babies have been on my mind this weekend, I thought I would share this download with you for your holiday frame (click here).  I also designed a Christmas card for our sister-in-law on Saturday and decided that these would work fabulously on your own holiday cards as well as in your frame.

Enjoy the download – and ’tis the season!

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I know, I know….I didn’t do a download last week.  Some weeks are just like that.  But it’s back today and I have had requests this week for some Christmas downloads for our holiday frame (click here for more info about our holiday frame idea).  If you’re like me, you want to get those Christmas decorations up!  If you’re like Jason, you are determined to wait till after Thanksgiving to make sure it gets some attention, too.  I believe that Thanksgiving and Christmas share the same purpose – being grateful, giving to others, etc. – so I don’t mind lumping them together in the “spirit of the season.”  I do hold off on listening to Christmas music till after Thanksgiving, though.

No matter how you do it, the time has come for a Christmas download.  This week I decided to do something that will work for many situations.  Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I think that this message applies to all of us during the holiday season.  So, here you go – you even have two color combos to choose from this week.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays (including Thanksgiving) to all of you!

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Jason and I love to go to Broadway shows.  When we lived in Connecticut we were just outside of New York City and would head into Manhattan on a regular basis to check out the new plays and shows.  We started collecting the window card posters of our favorites, thinking that we would use them someday in our home.

Someday has arrived.  For Christmas to each other, we decided to frame our window cards so that we could put them up in our home.  We have this big tall wall that is right in front of you when you go down our stairway.  It’s a challenge to know what to do with a space like that but inspiration struck and we decided to put all of our window cards there.

Collections have the most impact when you group them together so we chose 18 window cards, had them framed all the same and then sat them on the landing in piles until I could put them up.

They sat there….and sat there….and sat there….for the last month and a half.  I admit, I was scared to put them up.  I knew we wanted three columns and six rows but I was nervous about getting everything straight and evenly spaced, etc.  Plus, the top row would end up about 18 feet above the landing and I was a little apprehensive of that height.

Last night we had our neighbor, Kevin, come over to fix a few things for us and Jason asked him to help us put the pictures up.  I had gotten halfway up the wall with the first three rows – and trust me, there were many more nail holes in the wall than just the nine that were supposed to be there.  It was really hard to make them look right!

But Kevin, a true professional, pulled out his level and his laser surveyor (I wish I had one of those!) and went to work measuring and marking until he had nine more holes placed in the wall – the top three rows.  When I handed him each picture I was shocked and DELIGHTED to see that his system of measuring and planning lead to perfect placement of each picture – on the first nail hole try.  I felt like I was watching our own show on HGTV.  Kevin was a rock star.

So now we have all of our window cards up on the wall and they look stunning, if I do say so myself.  And Kevin’s perfection on the top three rows help my rows look even better.  As a whole, they really make an impact.

Thanks, Kevin.  I’m grateful that you stuck with us so long to hang our pictures in such a professional way.  I’m grateful that you are so easy-going and kind.  I’m grateful that now we have such great memories in a place that we can enjoy them every day.

And I’m grateful that you were the one on top of the ladder instead of me.

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I just received an email from my cute cousin, Janae.  Here’s what she said:

Hi Kolette!

I wanted to write to tell you I used your cute “Gobble till you wobble” download, and I love it. I have never purchased Thanksgiving decorations before, and after cleaning up my Halloween stuff my front table was looking a little bare. I didn’t want to have to buy anything, so your download fit my budget perfectly! I even found a frame that I’ve never used (wedding present) that was perfect. I was just so proud of my my (your!) free creation that I thought you should know your work is being put to good use!

Thanks again!


It’s music to my ears.  I love giving you a chance to try something that you haven’t done before because it is so simple and accessible.  High impact, unique, and easy.  Those are three words that really get me going when I am thinking about projects.  So, thanks Janae!  Thanks for taking the leap and then telling me about it.  You rock, girl!

Now that you have your frame all set to go – next I’ll be giving you some Christmas downloads that will fit perfectly in there also.  Easy-peasy.

Have a fabulous Wednesday!

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One of my favorite things about the new iPhone 3G is the fact that you have an instant video camera at your fingertips.  Then, to make it even better, you can now text video and photos.  Before I upgraded my phone I analyzed the features and really didn’t think that I would use or care about these particular ones very much.

I was wrong.  I take and text videos all the time.  As a matter of fact, just tonight when I was giving Cole his bath I videoed a little clip of a new crazy splashing thing that he has been doing and texted it to Jason who’s aide had already laid him down for the night.

Yes, we were in the same house.  But I love that I can take quick photos and videos and easily text them to Jason or our parents.  It keeps everyone in the loop in a fun and quick way.  I really love this feature of my phone.  Really.

So here is the photo I captured today simply because I had my phone handy.  Click here to see it on Jason’s blog.

I’m learning that this photo is what parenthood is all about.


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The Mantra

kh logo

Jim served as a Marine.  Hence, the military-style workouts he concocts.  I find myself just running (ok, sort of jogging) between exercises each day without paying a lot of attention to what I’m supposed to do next.  Following blindly, is more like it.  It’s hard enough to do the workout much less have to remember all kinds of things along the way.  This is the beauty of having a trainer, though.  They are supposed to remember for you…even when you have a case of “exercise dementia,” as Jim likes to call it.

It’s a phenomenon, I think.  An unexplained mystery of the universe that occurs the moment you walk through the doors of the gym.  I feel like I’ve left my brain outside as I look at a machine and wonder what in the heck I’m supposed to do with it even though I had just been watching the person in front of me finish.  Then, I hear the all to familiar voice of Jim bark, “Hey Kolette!  What are you doing just standing there!?”  I turn to look at him with a blank stare, waiting for him to tell me what to do.  That’s exercise dementia.

  • ex-er-cise de-men-tia: n. a state in which a normally intelligent person becomes a complete idiot due to intense weight lifting, too many crunches on the exercise ball, being forced to complete 20 reps of mountain climbers after running a mile and a half or trying to decide which handles to use on the pull-up machine.

I thought I was relatively smart before I started exercising but it’s in those moments that I’m not so sure.  Ever had this happen to you before?  Is there hope for a brighter future for those of us suffering from exercise dementia?  Is there a cure….?

Oh, Jim.  Perhaps the only cure is to work hard enough to eventually reach the loftier place called “EXTRAORDINARY.”  Here’s his “mantra”- the quote of the day…no, the week….no, the month….

People who exercise with normal standards = ordinary.

People who exercise with my standards = EXTRA-ordinary.

Which do you want to be?  Ordinary or extraordinary?  Ordinary or extraordinary?  – Jim

I think you might have been waiting on pins and needles for me to post your mantra, Jim.  Well, all of your dreams have come true.  You have repeated it so many times that it is etched in our brains in spite of our exercise dementia.

And to demonstrate the mantra in action, Jason has created the following video for me:

So here’s to being extraordinary, everyone!  Whether you are doing step-ups at the speed of light or not, I know that we are so much more than just ordinary.

Have a fabulous weekend, friends.

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I love etsy.com.  Not only can you find just about anything handmade or vintage there, but you also get an ever-changing crop of treasures to choose from.  Talent and creativity simply oozes from the screen with each click of the mouse.  The personal touch is ever-present and having a “convo” with each shop owner is simple – you can ask questions and even order custom products.

revamp boutique

However, I think what I love the most is getting a package like this in the mail.  Not only did I receive the one-of-a-kind products I ordered but I also got a hand-written note from the seller, revampboutique.  See it tucked in there?  Also, a few weeks ago I ordered some darling burp cloths (click here) from funkylaundy and asked them to be sent directly to my friend who just had a baby.  Not only did the seller include a personalized note from me but she also took it a step further and gift wrapped them.  So sweet!

It would be a treat to buy from revampboutique and funkylaundry again.  No doubt about it.

My latest purchases?  Some dishtowels from sweetwaterscrapbook that highlight their “Authentic” line and some place mats from kainkain.  Seriously, I could choose anything from her because her shop is so fabulous.  In fact, I’m even willing to pay the international shipping to get her unique designs.

If you’re wondering what I’m going to do with the custom knob that you see in the above photo then just stay-tuned.  I have plans.

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You have requested the pieces and parts to my simple version of the Gratitude Journal (click here) and so here you go – click on the image to see the various color options.


gratitude journal

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Odds and Ends + Giveaway

Today is an odds and ends day.  There are things that have to be taken care of but aren’t urgent and so I collect them in a pile on my desk to be dealt with later.   The same goes with my blog.  I have a few odds and ends that I want to share today.

First, here is what I did with the last two downloads that we have had.  It took about 5 minutes to switch out my holiday frames for instant festive-ness.  We had a neighborhood party here last night and I continue to get compliments on them – no matter the holiday – so it might be worth your while to get yourself set up with your frame.  It’s a little work at the beginning but then it’s a cinch to create quick and unique holiday decor.



And here’s the latest from Jim’s Gym….


The Fabulous Becky!

Quote of the Day from Jim:  “I’m going to find you a 5K to do before Thanksgiving.”

Uhhh……I don’t know what to say to that.

In the meantime, Becky asked if she and I could be a part of Jim’s team when they run an upcoming 100 miler or some crazy distance like that.  He said no.  Come on, Jim!  We’re speedy, remember?


Next, Jason is doing a giveaway on his blog.  Click here and leave your comment before Sunday to win one of his DVDs and some scrapbook goodies from me!  Yum!

Finally, here’s one of the latest photos of our little munchkin who is crawling and pulling himself up on everything.  Current favorite activity: Hanging out with Dad and exploring all the parts of his wheelchair.


Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you next week!

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I always think of you as being so very balanced and sensible, such an excellent woman.

I love that quote because I like to think of myself as balanced and sensible.  If you haven’t read the book it comes from, Excellent Women by Barbara Pym, then I encourage you to pick it up.  It’s quaint, not flashy, but very endearing.  I bring it up because I know that I have talked about gratitude journals on my blog before but I’m going to do it again because gratitude is a tool that I use to try and keep myself “balanced and sensible.”  I can’t think of a more empowering gift that I could give to someone that is important to me – especially the “excellent women” in my life.

And that’s why we’re going to talk about gratitude journals again as we think about the upcoming gift-giving season.  Not only are they a way to share gratitude for those whom are important to us through the gift itself, but it is the kind of gift that only gives back to the recipient – and I love that idea.



The first Gratitude Journal I created was for a BPS workshop and I used the MyBook “Changeable Photo Planner.  I just received the 2010 version of this book from my friend Lisa and I encourage you to try one for yourself.  It is a planner with “sheet protectors” inserted each month so you can scrap a page or just add some photos to every month of your 2010 life.  It comes in two sizes and can be used as a traditional planner but also as a scrapbook like I did with my Gratitude Journal.


Maybe you want to record your family’s sports activities or travels for the year.  Perhaps you want to document a change that you are going through or a new baby’s life.  Just think of a theme and let that be your focus for one year.  Journal about your theme in the daily spaces, add some photos and you have an instant scrapbook that you will probably find is incredibly meaningful because of the daily thoughts that go in it.

Order one from Per Annum (click here) in time for the new year and you are on your way.

A couple of years ago we did a different version of a gratitude journal in our church women’s group – it needed to be less expensive and ultra simple.  The amazing thing about it was that even people who weren’t very crafty were able to participate in the project and many people used them as gifts that year for their sisters, friends, mothers, and other “excellent women” in their lives.

gratitude journal

This particular version needed to be simple and easy for non-crafters to complete so I started with a small store-bought 5″ x 7″ spiral-bound notebook.  I found them for only $1.00 in the school supply section and if you keep an eye out, you’ll be able to find great choices as well.

Because I used a store-bought notebook, I needed to adapt the design to the notebook itself instead of the other way around.  I used coordinating papers as monthly tabs and simply divided up the number of pages in the notebook by 12 months and placed a circle tab at each month.

The cover was simple because the pattern on the notebook was already fun and easy to work with.  I added a title and one flower as the embellishment then finished it off by tying a few ribbons to the spiral binding.

Tip:  In order to get the ribbon through the spiral binding, use a toothpick to push one end through the spiral.  The natural bite of the wood will grab the ribbon and help you thread the ribbon quickly and without fraying the ends.

The inside cover of my notebook had a pocket built in and I loved this feature.  I placed a quote in the front pocket along with a brief statement from me that explained what the journal was for.  I also added an excerpt about the value of gratitude journal writing in the pocket to reinforce my thoughts and feelings about the gift.


That was it.  I let the notebook do the work and I simply embellished it and took the concept of the gift to a personal level.  The project only cost a few dollars and came together very quickly.  Even an inexperienced crafter was able to finish one in about 20 minutes.

Not only did I love the meaningful feature of the project itself but I was given an unexpected gift while helping the women in our group to complete their journals.  Whether they were seasoned crafters or gun-shy of anything involving adhesive, they were all successful with this project.  I was surprised when non-crafters were helping others with their project – for the first time feeling like they had accomplished something crafty.  They were proud of themselves and proud of the opportunity to share this project with those that were important to them.

Gratitude is magical.  It is powerful.  There is nothing quite like the way we feel when we open our hearts to gratitude – and sharing that principle with those around us creates the same effect.  Do I talk about gratitude journals a lot?  Yes.  But it’s only because I believe in them and I want you to give them a try as well.


UPDATE: click here for templates that I used for my simple gratitude journal.  Happy Day!

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