2018 Word of the Year

Hello friends! I hope you are excited for an adventurous 2018. I certainly am.

I always like to start each new year by designating a Word of the Year. It helps clarify my goals and intentions and provides a good foundation for my actions in the coming year.

Over the holidays, I like to take time to ruminate about what I want the next year to look like and what I’d like to accomplish.

I ask myself such questions as:

  1. What am I most proud of from 2017?
  2. What disappointments did I experience?
  3. What personal obstacle do I need to overcome or make significant progress on to reach next year’s goals?

After much introspection, this usually allows a theme or word to surface that will serve as a guide – a compass of sorts – over the next year.

In 2018, my word is:

Prepare.

As a creative, focus-challenged adrenaline junkie, I’ve always struggled with creating time to do careful preparation for events, projects, etc. I have often overlooked or procrastinated on the planning phase, opting instead for the thrill of reaction-based, last-minute scrambling. I can’t really explain why I do this. I think I must take pride in coming up with just-in-time solutions that work … that whole “I work best under pressure” claim.

But as I gain wisdom with age, I’m finding that careful preparation will almost always offer the most successful, professional and prosperous results in the end. And it certainly will reduce stress and anxiety.

So this year my word is designed to help me focus on the necessity of careful, proper planning in every area of my life.

Can I plan or anticipate every single thing that will happen this year? Of course not.

Do I need to allow room in my schedule for flexibility, fun and adaptation? Certainly!

This is simply me recognizing that being prepared whenever possible will help create the margin I need to have more flexibility and fun in my life.

Some of you “born organized” people have long understood the need for good preparation and planning. Bear with me on this … this has been a long journey for me. But I’m making good progress and am excited for what this discipline will make possible for me in my personal and professional life.

So now I’ll turn it over to you.

What is your 2018 Word of the Year?

Last-minute DIY gift idea

Hello friends! I hope you are enjoying this wonderful Christmas season. We are, for sure, although I wish (as usual) I was a little more prepared.

Today I wanted to share with you a quick, easy and inexpensive holiday gift you still have time to whip up for the folks on your list. 😉

You can knock about 10 of these out in less than 3 hours.

Step 1: Order 1-hour prints from Walmart.com.

You can pick up a copy of the free printable I used here. I also like to browse Pinterest for “Free holiday printables.” I chose 4×5.3″ prints at about 6 cents apiece. I rounded the edges of each print with scissors.

Step 2: Find a scrap board to use for the backs of the signs.

I chose these 2×6″ scrap boards from my garden shed.

Step 3: Cut 2×6″ boards to length on a miter saw.

This size is perfect because you don’t have to rip off any of the width. You only need to cut the pieces length-wise.

I cut my pieces about 6.5 inches long. (My prints were 4×5.3″ – or true digital size.) After cutting, I cleaned off the boards really well to prepare them for stain.

Step 4: Stain the pieces.

I chose Varathane® Wood Stain in Briarsmoke.* I like to brush stain on and allow it to soak in for a good two minutes before wiping any excess off. It creates a more uniform, rich color.

Step 5: Sand the edges of each piece.

This will give the blocks a weathered appearance and smooth any rough edges. I used an orbital sander for this step to help speed things along.

Step 6: Adhere the prints to the wood blocks using Mod Podge® matte water-based sealer. 

This part always makes me nervous, but the sealer dries clear. I promise. 😉

Done! The wood plaques stand up nicely on their own, making them cute decorations for window sills and tabletops at Christmastime.

Have you DIYed any gifts this holiday season? I’d love for you to share your project(s) in a comment.

* Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link provided and make a purchase through Amazon using my affiliation, I may receive compensation from Amazon. It does not cost you any more to purchase products using affiliate links. This blog is independently owned by me, and the opinions expressed here are my own. Thanks for supporting the quality content provided here through your readership and the use of affiliate links.  

No-cost DIY holiday sign

Hello friends! Today I wanted to share with you a quick and easy, no-cost DIY solution for your outdoor holiday decor.

When our family decorates for Christmas, it takes days … DAYS, people … for me to get just the inside of our home decorated. I’m typically pooped out after that with no motivation to do much in the way of outdoor decor.

My dear husband put out some strands of light and two light show thingies this year, which makes the place look pretty festive. But I also wanted to add something special to the front porch.

Are you familiar with those large (5 feet+) holiday signs you can just lean against the side of your house? Well last week I decided to make one for myself … at no cost.

Step 1: Choose a scrap board and cut it to size.

I found this scrap piece of plywood inside our garden shed. It was already the perfect size for my project. I think it measures about 5 feet by 14 inches or so.

I cleaned it with bleach spray to kill a patch of mold/mildew at the bottom (these stains will bleed through paint).

Then it was ready for a quick coat of Rust-Oleum® Chalked Paint.*

Step 2: Apply one to two coats of paint.

I chose Rust-Oleum® Chalked Paint in Linen White.

This stuff covers really well, with no need for primer to be applied. I applied two coats to the entire front side of the wood. I added the second coat about an hour after the first coat. This paint dries very quickly to a matte, chalk-like finish.

Step 3: Sand the piece after the paint dries.

I used an inexpensive orbital sander to “rough up” the paint finish and edges a bit. This gave the sign a rustic, aged appearance.

Step 4: Pencil on letters.

I simply hand drew my letters for the sign on with a pencil, using a paint stir stick to keep the lines straight and working off an inspiration image from Pinterest. I chose the word “Noel,” but “Joy” would work just as well for a similar project.

Step 5: Fill in the letters with paint, leaving the “O” space blank.

I like the metallic stencil creme line from Royal Design Studio for small craft projects like this. I used a beautiful red metallic paint, which gives a nice shimmer to the piece.

Step 6: Staple garland to the wood in an “O” shape.

I added a few sprigs of faux berries to my evergreen garland strand to complete the missing “O” in my sign. Done! 

I created this piece in one afternoon using leftover wood, paint and holiday garland I had on hand at the house. I love finding ways to decorate using what I already have, don’t you?

What do you think of the final result? Have you DIYed any holiday decor this year? I’d love for you to share the details of your project in a comment.

 

* Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link provided and make a purchase through Amazon using my affiliation, I may receive compensation from Amazon. It does not cost you any more to purchase products using affiliate links. This blog is independently owned by me, and the opinions expressed here are my own. Thanks for supporting the quality content provided here through your readership and the use of affiliate links.