last minute gift ideas

I have a couple things I’d like to admit.

one. I am in total denial that school is going to be starting. Is anyone else feeling this? Summer, oh summer, where did you go?

two. Despite that, when I walked into Target and and was met by all the school supplies last week, and then saw all of this back to school goodness pop up on my google reader, I couldn’t help but get just a little of that back-to-school buzz.

So, even though I am going to spend the last days of summer cramming in all the swimming, snow cones, and late night reading I can, I am kind of getting into the back-to-school thing on the side.

I thought you’d like to see something I mailed off yesterday.

Remember when my friend Sherry and I exchanged bottles of goodies via post? Well, when I came home with a bag full of school supplies, I couldn’t help myself.
I started with colored pencils.
I wrapped up a few other back-to-school goodies in tissue paper and stuffed them in too.
And of course, with all those colored pencils, there had to be something to color. So I rolled up a few coloring pages.
In it all went,
and the lid went on.
On went the stamps. (I checked USPS postage rates, and 5 first class stamps were enough to mail my 5 ounces of goodies.)
And the only thing left to do was drop it in the big blue mailbox.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

 

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Since starting my series about happy mail, I have heard a suggestion from a few of you I’ve been dying to try. And finally this week I did it. I mailed a flip flop.
Just four stamps, and in the big blue box it went.
The other flip flop goes out next week.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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I opened my email one day to find a note with these adorable pics in it.
You are looking at two little cousins, one who decided to mail her cousin a ball, and the other who opened her mail box to find it. Thank you, Brenda, for sending these. I do not think these sweet cousins could be any cuter.

Of course that put me over the edge and we had to try this ourselves.

Sharpies were essential so we pulled out our favorite colors. We stamped a couple balls and decided we needed extra decoration.
So we scribbled on foil with our sharpies and cut out a few stars and ran them through the sticker maker for a little extra flash.
This is my daughter and her cute friend who came along with us for icees and then to the post office to get postage.


I asked my post office worker to just give me stamps so I could take a picture for you before I mailed them. He gave me two 98-cent stamps for each. And now we have the balls all set to send out. We are waiting for a couple certain occasions and I am getting near giggly just thinking about it.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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Eggs in the Mail

04.07.11

It worked.
If you missed it, you can get postage details right here.

I am now sending more little eggs on their way.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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There is something I love about bright plastic Easter eggs. I picked up a row of jumbos at the grocery store last weekend.

I got thinking about the fun of discovering eggs during an egg hunt, and thought it might be fun to discover one or two in a mail box.
So I packed a few up with goodies,
stuck on a label and a few stamps,
and am dropping them in a big blue mailbox today. For all the happy mail I’ve sent up to now, I’ve had postage added at the counter. Mostly because I like to walk up and nonchalantly drop a shovel or something else on the counter, like mailing plastic shovels is just something I do. Also because I love the workers at my post office and because I always meet the nicest people in line. But today I’m trying stamps. We’ll see if they go.

If they do, I will be filling a few eggs for grown ups too. Because when else do you get to be surprised by a plastic egg after the age of 12? I’m just needing a few good things to tuck inside? Sudoku? Hmmm. Any ideas?

<<UPDATE >>
It worked!! I ended up having to change postage, here’s what I used:
I mailed 1-ounce eggs using a 98-cent teton stamp + a postcard stamp
I mailed 2-ounce eggs using a 98-cent teton stamp + a forever stamp
You can see US postage rates for first-class mail right here (scroll down to “packages”).

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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It has been a while since I’ve done a post about happy mail. I am brimming with all kinds of new ideas, so I think you’ll be seeing more happy mail around here. (If you’re new here, you can see more happy mail ideas at the end of this post.)

Did you ever do this with silly putty as a kid? It was my favorite. I also liked to make bubbles in the putty and pop em.
This week I put together a package to mail that was nice and simple. I used an empty plastic spice canister, tucked in a roll of newspaper and couple eggs of silly putty, and mailed it off.

One little canister, hours of fun.

I’m including the label, incase you’d like to use it. I originally made this to send out with my Christmas cards this year, but now I use it for everything. Do you like it?
(I like to print on this full-sheet label paper,which is a complete steal, 100 sheets for ten bucks.)

Either Download from DropBox by clicking here: Mailing Label
or download here: Printable Fold-over Labels (4484)

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or see it all right here):

A Great Big Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

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Hello, and welcome to this week’s shoot-along post. I’m featuring one photo tutorial, photo gift idea, or photo challenge every Wednesday from summer through December. Scroll to the bottom of today’s post to see more from the shoot along.

One of our favorite books in the world is I Like Starsby Margaret Wise Brown. It is sweet and dreamy.

So for my one-year-old niece’s birthday, we decided to give her one copy of the original.
And one special edition.

We used pics of all the cousins, and I had my kids sticking stars all over every page.

The result was pretty great. I’m sure there are other books that would work for this. Ideas? What is your favorite children’s book?

I’m thinking it would also be cool to actually stage photos for a book and keep backgrounds. It would have to be the right book. Hmmm.

Join the Shoot-Along right here

Tutorials to date:
Tell the Story | Light pt I | How to Boss Your Camera Around (shoot in manual) | Work Your Light Meter

Challenges to date:
Sour Face | A Trick for Capturing the Ordinary | Then + Now Scavenger Hunt | Feet Portraits

Gift Ideas to date:
Portrait Buttons | Photo Games | Photo Game Markers |Photo Booth Round Up | Special Edition Book

Thank you, Carrie!

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I am excited to introduce you to the next talented woman joining us for our gift retreat. If we were all spending the weekend together turning out handmade gifts, this woman would be busy at work in the kitchen making yummy things.

Please help me welcome Marisa of Food in Jars. Marisa lives and teaches canning classes in Philly, and I adore her because she makes me feel brave about canning. I love her canning 101 series, and of course, I love all her recipes. I want to have a picnic and bring my own canned pear butter and garlic pickles, and would love to start making my own stock for fall soups. If you need yummy gift ideas this year, her blog is the place to go.

And now I’ll leave you with Marisa.

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As the days turn colder (a blessed relief after the hot summer we had in Philly) I’ve been thinking a lot about holiday gifts. The recipe that keeps springing to mind is the one I developed around the holidays last year. It’s a sweet, spicy and herb-y roasted nut mix that is completely addictive and super easy (and who doesn’t like an easy homemade gift!) It’s also a good one because the ingredients aren’t seasonal, like so many of the other recipes on my website. That means you can cook it up at the last minute, without having to make any major substitutions.

I make it with peanuts and cashews because they’re my favorites, but you could do it with any combination of nuts that you like. The only thing to keep in mind is that since there are so few ingredients, you must use good ones. Get high quality butter, real maple syrup and check to ensure that your dried rosemary is fresh and fragrant. And of course, use the best, freshest nuts you can afford. Packed in jars or tied up in brown paper and baker’s twine, these nuts are tasty addition to any holiday gift basket. Visit here for the full recipe for Rosemary Maple-Glazed Nuts.

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Thanks, Marisa! Be sure to stick around through October and into November to meet the rest of the talented women joining us on our gift retreat!

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Lulatone

09.17.10

Lullatone is a completely charming outfit in Japan that creates music and a few other things, as you’re about to see. I received a note this week from Shawn, the musician behind Lullatone, and wanted to introduce you at once.
This is Shawn.


This is Shawn with his wife, isn’t this a darling picture? (I loved their blog. You will love it too. Stop by right away.)

Besides creating music, Shawn also makes TV tutorials for DIY musical instruments. There are few things I can think of that a preschooler would love more than to build a xylophone from cardboard tubes then play music on it. Check out Shawn’s video here. His tutorial is super simple. And while you’re there, check out Lullatone’s other videos, shop and blog.
Thanks, Shawn!

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You probably remember from this post that I am a fan of bubble wrap.

Well, a little while back, a friend of mine and her adorable family had a big occasion to celebrate. We wanted to plaster a banner on her garage door. And since the occasion was cause for jumping up and down, we decided to make it a bubble-wrap banner. So it could be enjoyed even after it was taken down. Here is my son modeling it before we snuck over to her house to put it up. (Isn’t it fun being sneaky?)

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It’s beginning to feel like summertime here. So to celebrate, today I am going to the post office and mailing a shovel to a little girl I know. My local post office is starting to know what to expect from me, and all of the workers have a great sense of humor. But if they look at me strange, I’ll just explain that tomorrow, I will mail a bucket.

If you decide to give this a try, you can print postage at home and just drop your shovel in a mailbox, but it’s so much more fun handing it to a postal worker and waiting for them to say, um, I guess there’s nothing liquid, perishable, or potentially hazardous?

UPDATE: Just as a little FYI, the shovel was $1.22 to mail. Not bad. And the postal worker didn’t even flinch when he had to find a place for the postage sticker. The bucket goes out tomorrow.

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and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or see it all right here):

A Great Big Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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My brother and SIL are the coolest. For my kids’ birthdays this year they sent this.
Bubble wrap hopscotch. And what do you do when you receive a package of bubble wrap hopscotch in the mail? There is only one thing you can do. Tear it right out of the package and get hopping.

So save your bubble wrap, because this is such a great thing to get in the mail. Writing the numbers is easy, just make sure you’re writing on the bubblewrap’s smooth side.
You might want to make a set for yourself.
Then just package it up and send it off. Ours looked a little like a bubble wrap sandwich.
Incase you’re interested in the rules, here are the official hopscotch rules, according to my playground experience:

1. Lay out numbers as shown.
2. Toss the marker on square one.
3. Skip square one and hop on all the other numbers, using only one foot for single squares, both feet for doubles. Then turn and hop back, stopping one square before the marker (you must balance on one foot if it is a single square), and bend over and pick up your marker. Then finish hopping home.
4. If you over throw the marker or lose balance then you end your turn. Continue with remaining numbers (2, 3, 4, 5…) until done.

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and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

 

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Mom Wants a Bra

05.05.10

Alright ladies, tell me truly, have you ever gone to be fitted for a bra? And then, afterward, did you go out and buy a really nice, really comfortable one? Has your mother?

Confession. I haven’t.

But incase mom might like a fitting and a bra, here is a great resource. The Undie Awards. Every year thousands of women and men weigh in on their favorite bras and undies. You can find 2009′s winner right here. Check out their bra fitting guide here. What a handy resource.

And here are a couple other great resources I’ve come across.
Petit Elephant has an excellet guide for fitting your bra to your body type right here.
—Never one to be left behind, Opra does too. You can find it here.
—And for brand new moms, Cake lingerie makes the most lovely nursing bras you’ll ever find, and they also do their own a great fitting guide. The helpful diagram above is theirs. Who knew that there was so much to know?

p.s. This gift might be best coming from a daughter to a mother. What do you think? Men, if you’d like to get something for the mother of your children, you may be safe going with a great sports bra.

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I am not a black-licorice person, though I do love a good bag of green apple licorice. It is the perfect road trip food. But for those of you who are licorice lovers, or who have licorice lovers in your life, here are a few hard-core licorice treats that may take your love of licorice to the next level.

Kookabura licorice (in the first pic). This stuff is from Australia and comes in amazing flavors like Mango, yum, and even comes enrobed in chocolate.

row 1

Sambo licorace. I found this at a favorite online shop, and love the description “Sambo is the brand of Kólus, the most well-known licorice manufacturer in Iceland. We had a meeting with the 70 year old “Mr. Kólus” and as much as we begged and pleaded he refused to let us see the factory.”

Fazer’s Salmiakki Licorice. A quick FYI, Salmiakki is a type of salty licorice. Sounds intriguing, right? You can read more about it here. This one is also available at kioskkiosk, and here’s what they have to say about it “While in Finland, in search of the perfect licorice and other things for KIOSK, I found this yummy on our first day at a very basic Kioski. Mainstream all the way, the perfect balance of salt and licorice flavor, no added flavoring of any kind.”

Finnska licorace. Another imported version that has a milder flavor, available on Amazon.

row 2

Dubbel Zout. It’s just what it sounds like, double salted disks that are “firm but chewy.” Available here.

Tyrkisk Peber. These sound crazy. “Very hot and salty liquorice sweets with a liquid centre and powder coating.” Available here.

Panda licorice. This brand has a huge following and is probably a great place to start for the person who loves licorice but may not be up for trying the Finnish salted Salmiakki. It’s available on Amazon,and you may also be able to find it in stores at REI.

Golia. This one is an Italian licorice candy that’s hard to come across in the US. I found an online distributor here.

row 3

Darrell Lea & RJs both make some delicious flavors of licorice (the strawberry Darrel Leais popular) that come with rave reviews. Get them at Amazon hereor here,or visit their websites here and here.

Licorice Altoids. how fun are these? Also, this shop looks great for finding several other imported versions of licorice.

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