Friday, January 27, 2012

The *Personalized* Red Plate Tradition

If you have been following my Dates for a Year ideas, then you might recall mention of a Red Plate as one of the items suggested for October's "bake a cake" date.  Some of you may have heard of the Red Plate Tradition, and even have it integrated in your family.  This is something I heard about a while back, and you can actually buy an "official" Red Plate to begin the tradition.

Basically, the idea is that the red plate gets to be used by a member of your family on their special day. So, when it is your birthday, you got a good grade, you got a promotion at work, you win a soccer game, etc, you get to feel special by using the red plate!  It's a way to recognize and celebrate special days in your family and a simple, extra way to highlight big events!

I think this is a great gift for a wedding or new baby.  Both are big milestones and a great time to start new traditions.  Since I was my sister's maid of honor and was attending several different showers, I knew I needed a few smaller gifts to bring.  I know I didn't have to, but felt like I should bring a little something to each shower.  I had this in the back of my mind as an idea and thought it would be something cheap and easy to be one of my "little" gifts.  Well, when I saw the price of the "official" Red Plate, I got discouraged.  With a regular price of $39.99, there was no way I could afford that in addition to a nice (larger) wedding gift (which ended up being the Dates for a Year Basket).  However, I still had my heart set on giving a Red Plate and initiating a tradition for Kim & Larry.

So...time to improvise!  Surprisingly, it was VERY cheap and easy to come up with my own version of the Red Plate, and I think, actually better!  I started by heading out in search of a red dinner plate.  It was more difficult than I thought to find a single, plain, red plate.  I finally found one in the discount aisle at Tuesday Morning for a cheap price!  The second thing you need is a glass paint marker that will write on glass, ceramic, etc. and stay permanently.  I used this Pebeo Vitrea 160 marker, that I got from Michael's.  You can get them in almost any color!

Instead of writing on the front, where I was worried the marker might chip or come off, I chose to add some personalization on the back.  This was my first time using a glass marker, and I wasn't sure as far as health and sterilization if it would be okay for a surface where food would be eaten from.  I am a pretty simple person, so I didn't do a whole lot of detail.  Actually, all I did was write "Knox" (their married last name) and Est. 2011 (the year they got married).

I also printed this poem on some card stock and enclosed it with the plate.  Kim LOVED it!  This was so much cheaper than the actual read plate and added a personal touch of personalization.  You could customize it for any couple or family.  Maybe even create a special red plate for each member of the family!  

I hope someone else can use this idea.  Anytime you can save money AND personalize a gift, I think it's the better option!  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

January Date - Making Fortune Cookies

Last night I was looking for a photo on my computer and ran across the album that holds all of the upcoming dates for the Spring.  I am PUMPED that we have reached the halfway point.  From here on out, I think the dates are fun, creative, and different.  I'm excited to share them with you!

So, in continuing with the Dates for a Year Basket, here is January! 

January was a month that, like December, I could have gone a lot of different directions with...something "wintery", New Year's related, I even thought about planning some kind of exercising/active date to kick off resolutions.  But, I wasn't sure if that would be something they were focused on and didn't want to be too "themey" with the season.  These are intended to be dates that they can revamp, modify, and recycle throughout their marriage.  Then, I thought about a "dream" date.  

I read about this idea online somewhere and it sounded cute in theory, but when I started to put the envelope together, I decided not to use it.  For this date I would have provided home planning magazines, a baby name book, travel brochures, and other things that we often dream about accomplishing or doing someday but may not be a reality in the present.  During the date, Kim & Larry would plan for a someday house, pick out potential baby names, find fun things to do in vacation spots they want to visit.  Sounds fun, right?  Well...I had a hard time finding a cheap baby name book and was running out of days to find a travel agency to go gather brochures from places other than Nashville.  Plus, the more I thought about it, the more I leaned against it.  (I can sometimes analyze things too much)  I thought there might be a chance that they get frustrated being too far from a dream, or have other plans than what I would include.  Plus, it's kind of like the old-school version of Pinterest.  :o)  So I just opted to find something different. would be a fun date!

After that idea kind of flopped, I started thinking of other things I could do.  Then I thought about the kits that you can buy at bookstores that include supplies and a book to teach you something.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  There are books for stone massages, origami, sushi making, palm reading, magic tricks, aromatherapy, etc, etc, etc.  So, I headed to Barnes & Noble in search of some inspiration and a fun kit to center this date around.  There were a ton of options, but with some of the other dates I had already planned, I kind of struggled to find something completely different that wouldn't blend in and be similar to another date.  I really want the whole basket of dates to be a variety.  Then, I saw a small red box  with a big picture of a fortune cookie.  Perfect!  

Here's what was included in the January envelope:

Here is the date card that was included in the envelope:

This date was one of the easiest ones to plan.  All I needed was the inspiration, and some creative thinking for the card.  Of course, if you want to use this date in your basket, you can purchase the kit here (at the time I'm posting this it is on sale for $4.99 & eligible for free shipping!)  If you didn't want to get the kit, you can Google "how to make fortune cookies" and there are a ton of YouTube videos, blogs, and entire websites dedicated to making these predicting treats.  However, the kit is awesome.  It comes with a book containing a lot of different recipes and party ideas, white gloves for folding your cookies, printed fortunes, origami paper, and a wheel of fortunes.  A lot for such a low price!  Of course, if you didn't like the fortune cookie idea, you could look at other kits and see if there's one you like better.  There are definitely a lot to choose from!  This particular kit wouldn't fit into the standard envelope, so I took out the supplies and tossed the box.  So keep that in mind when planning.  

I put on the card that it would be a good night to order Chinese food for dinner.  If you wanted to turn this date into an entire basket, you could include a gift card for dinner and even get the ingredients to make the cookies.  

So, pretty simple, but I think this is going to be a great date for Kim & Larry.  I've never tried making fortune cookies before, but it seems like a fun and unique thing to learn.  This is date number 7 of 13.  Get pumped up for February's date.  You KNOW I went all out for Valentine's month.  <3

Monday, January 2, 2012

Life Box: Resolution Card

A few short days ago, I posted a tutorial to make a fun project to start for the new year called the Life Box.  I have been extremely overwhelmed and humbled by the fast and steady number of views that sprouted from that simple post.  I'm thrilled to see so many people are intrigued because I'm on day two of my box, and am still so excited about it!  I can already see how some days it will be challenging.  I've had a bit of a cold this weekend, so my days have been kind of boring and "uneventful".  But it's amazing what a little box and commitment of one line on an index card will point out in an uneventful day.

For me, Jan. 1 said "Traditional New Years dinner with the fam!"...something so simple and repetitive to me.  After thinking about it though, it's important to get that down.  Who knows what New Years Day will hold for me next year, let alone 5 years down the road?  It may look completely different, and it may be the same.  Actually, I think the repetitiveness of tradition is something that would be beautiful to see on a card year after year.  Jan. 2 seemed like it would be tough.  My day consisted of sleeping in, staying in my PJs until 2:00, watching TV, cleaning the fridge, grocery shopping...all boring stuff.  However, when I HAD to think of something to put on my card, reflecting on my day made me appreciate it more and draw more importance and meaning than "just another day".  Today, my card said, "Trashed the junk food, stocked up on healthy!"  Something so simple as cleaning out the refrigerator and pantry, tossing all the leftover Christmas goodies and then refilling the space with healthy options IS a big deal.  It could be the start of something incredible.  It definitely is a step towards my commitment to one of my resolutions.  Which brings me to today's post...the Resolution Card.

When I made my Life Box, I added a card that I hadn't seen in others' tutorials before.  A simple card with the year stamped at the top and left blank.

I decided to include this card to record my resolutions/goals for the upcoming year.  It's a good reminder so that I don't just forget about them after a month, and can kind of check in on my progress throughout the year.

I've heard before that until you share your goals with someone else, they're not real to you.  Sure, you have dreams of succeeding in this or that, but until you tell someone else you're going to do it, it's not something you really plan for.  If someone else knows about it, most people will do everything they can to achieve it to avoid embarrassment or disappointment of letting themselves (and/or others) down with failure.  Now I'm really putting myself out there telling you all of that!  I decided to share my resolutions for a few reasons.  One, for self documentation.  It's forever on my blog and shared with the world wide web, so I know where to find it if something should happen to my card.  Two, for the exact reason I just told make them REAL to me, and something I'll try to achieve to prove to all of you that I can!  And finally, to share parts of me so that maybe some of you know that I've got the same goals as you this year.  Possibly to give you some ideas for your own!

So, here they are:  (If you don't care to can skip the rest of this post and come back next time!)

I went with an even 10 resolutions this year.  Some big ones mixed in with some small.  Some that are repeats from years before, some new.  I wanted a good number so that I have several things to try to achieve this year and so that I don't feel like a complete failure when I don't do them all.  Surely, I can at least get a couple of these crossed off!

  • Be a "yes" girl - I mean this in a very specific way.  I've always been a yes girl in the sense that I will agree to do anything for anyone any time.  But I'm not a yes girl when it comes to doing things for me.  I have a lot of excuses, things that come up, ways to back out.  Honestly, I think I have a bit of commitment fear for some reason, and that's something I want to work on this year.  So when I say be a yes girl, I want to go all in when I say yes to something.  I want to say yes to more.  
  • Get healthy & stay active - Isn't this everyone's resolution...every year?  But if you're going to have a repetitive resolution, this would be the one.  For me, it's time to get back to being in shape and feeling good about myself.  This is the first time I'm doing it without a size or number in mind.  I just want to be healthy, active, and feel good about myself.
  • Start an etsy shop - I've had several people suggest this, and asked why I don't have one already. I always had an excuse, no real reason.  It's time to commit, going back to my first resolution.  It's something so simple that I think would bring me a lot of joy...and give me a great reason to craft more!
  • Read at least one book a month - for fun! - I read for community group, and right now I have to read for work.  I love to read for fun and need to make it a habit.  I have a pile of about 20 books waiting on me, I just need to get started!
  • Visit a new state - One of the major things on my life list is to visit every one of the 50 states.  For me, it doesn't count unless I spend more than 24 hours in that state.  So far, my list consists of: Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.  That's 13...why not add to my number this year?  
  • Be intentional with strengthening friendships - old and new - I'll be honest.  I'm horrible about keeping in touch with people.  Life gets busy, and phone conversations and e-mails seem to get squeezed out of my schedule.  This year, I want to aim to be better about making those things priorities.  My friends are too great and awesome to lose touch with...old friends from high school and college as well as my newer ones.
  • Replace my wardrobe! - Maybe it's not realistic to do it completely, but I definitely need an update.  After college I taught elementary school, so style was not at the top of my list.  But now that I'm in adult world, I need to catch up and try to at least look the part.  :o)
  • Smile at strangers - So simple, but something that will be a challenge for me.  I'm outgoing and bubbly once I get to know you, but I am incredibly shy with strangers.  Eye contact and a smile is a struggle, but you never know what can stem from that.  If anything, I hope this new goal/habit will help me get over being so shy around new people.  
  • Save for/purchase a DSLR camera - I've wanted one for a long while, but never made it important enough to budget for.  My parents got me a photography class for Christmas (there's no way I can afford one before then), and it's a passion I want to pursue.  Who knows where it will lead, but I definitely want to learn more about the craft of photography and see what I can do with it.  I wrote save for SLASH purchase because the ability to purchase one sort of depends on my job situation and if that's something I'll be able to afford before the year is over.  
  • Strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman - This is another one that is a repeat for me.  I am constantly trying to be a Godly woman, but in my human-ness fall short daily.  There is no such thing as earthly perfection, but I hope to keep this verse in my heart as I walk with Him this year.  
So, there you have it, friends!  This may have been something I posted just for me, but that's okay!  I hope to be able to tell you that I accomplished at least a couple of these this time next year when I'm giving my new list for 2013!  And if you want to donate to my camera fund or have a place for me to stay in a state I haven't been, let me know!  ;o)

Promise to post again soon with another date and more craft ideas!


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