Aug 27, 2014

DIY gift boxes perfect for any occasion

I love receiving handmade anything because the thought and time behind that creation is a thousand times more meaningful than store bought. I love when greeting cards, gift bags/boxes, wrapping paper, and any part of the gift is personalized and better yet, handmade! 
How awesome would it be to give or receive a fun little handmade gift box!!

Want to learn how to make a small gift box for any special or just because occasion!
This DIY paper bag is perfect for a: 
- small birthday gift
- gift card
- money
- jewelry box
- goody bags for children & adults
- treat bags for welcoming or say good-bye to students
- place setting goody bags >perfect for saying welcome or thank you
- or any other small gift for any occasion
These are just some fun ideas

Please be advised that this is an extremely detailed DIY gift box tutorial. 
It has a picture for every step and it looks like there is a lot going on, but once you get the hang of things, you'll be making little cute boxes for all your little gifts! If you have any questions about any of the steps or any part of the project, please let me know.

One more thought, you can always make this a bigger box using bigger paper& adjusting the measurements, but the concept is still the same!

All materials are listen above.
Small details: 
- I used 8.5 by 11 cardstock paper
- I used the ruler from my paper cutter because it's easier to score the lines, but if you don't have a paper cutter you can use a ruler.
- I used a bone folder to crease all the lines, but you can use your thumb laying on the nail side to crease, or anything that will crease.

Hopefully you made it all the way and you have yourself a cute little gift box!
I love seeing DIY projects, so if you want to try this DIY or have any others you want to share, please do so! Just leave the link to your DIY, so I can go see it!

Happy Crafting & Thanks for stopping by :)

Partying with:

Table for SevenSweet Bella Roos

Aug 18, 2014

Weekend Recap 8/18

Happy Monday Friends!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! My weekend was super busy but also very productive. I had the opportunity to drive back home this weekend to visit my family and grandmother. It's always great when we get a chance to go back home and then Sunday comes and I don't want to come back. 

Home Sweet Home
My high this weekend was being able to visit my family and spending quality time with my grandmother. My low was that my grandmother isn't doing well and it was heartbreaking to see her so fragile and sick, I'm praying that she heals soon.

After a few hours on the road 
After a few hours on the road this is how Riley looks. He lays and looks at us like, "are we there yet?" He's very patient and that's probably because he knows that our long trips mean he get's to see grandma and the other doggies. He loves our second home just as much as we do.

Blogging is slow
I feel like my blogging has been on a slow train and it'll probably be a little slow for the next few weeks. My schedule has been so hectic and whenever I have free time, all I want to do is spent time with the Mr. or sleep. My body needs to adjust and I know once it does my blogging will get on the normal track, hopefully!

How has your blogging been lately?

1 Wish:
"It's easier said than done" I wish it was easy to do both and not just one part.

Random Fact:
- I love chocolate bars with any kind of nuts. 
- Snickers is one of my favorite chocolates.

How was your weekend?
Have a great week and thanks for stopping by :)

Linking up with:

Mingle 240  

Aug 17, 2014

Simple Things Sunday: Sunday's Letters

Dear California every time I see your welcome sign I can't help but to feel jitters that make my body want to jump with excitement. Your sweet smell, the smell of wet dirt and wet grass, remind me that home is where my heart is.

Dear Grandmother spending quality time with you is all I wanted. Your strength and brave soul gave me the opportunity to hold your hands and stroke your beautiful skin one more time. My heart is now peaceful and fearless ready to leave everything in god's hands.

Dear Mom your strength and caring heart amazes me. Your unconditional love sees no limits or restrictions. I see your caring heart everywhere you are, with everyone you come across. I love you with the same unconditional love!

Dear Home Sweet Home all I needed was your comfort, love, smells, food, to see your walls and sleep on my comfortable bed. I will see you soon for another dose of everything you hold.

Spending time with family and my grandmother this weekend was so healing. I can't wait to go back home!

Just in case you missed it
Sunday's Letters {August 10, 2014}
Weekend Recap 8/11
Blogging Tips: How to protect your blog

Aug 15, 2014

Blogging Tips: How to protect your blog content

We talked all about how to take beautiful photos that make your blog shine, but how can you protect your work. How do you protect something you have worked so hard to put together. It can be upsetting to find your work, work that you spent countless hours putting together, displayed somewhere else. It can be even more upsetting to find that there is no link back to your blog or any citation at all. 

With that said you might be asking yourself, what about when I take photos from other places from around the internet, how can I protect myself?

Today we're going talk about how we can protect our content and how we can go about taking someone else's work. Disclaimer, because we're talking copyright, please know that I'm not a lawyer and that the information I'm sharing is based on my personal experience and research.

What is Copyright? 
Copyright means that you have the exclusive legal right of original content you have created. In other words it means that you can pretty much do whatever you desire with your own work.

Why should I copyright my work?
The reason for copyright is so that all your work is not taken without permission. The last thing you want is for work that you put so much work into be taken in a matter of seconds. I know that when I write original content or take original photos, it takes a long time to edit and come up with ideas and writing content, and I don't want for someone to come and take all of that. 

How is original work protected?
Copyright is automatic in most countries and means that every time you publish original content your work is automatically protected, but it's up to you to make it known that your work is protected. 

How to make it known that work is protected?
There are numerous ways you can make it known, one of the best ways to do it is to write a copyright notice and display it in the footer or somewhere on the site where it's visible. Be as explicit as possible when writing these notices. 
- If you don't want any of your work taken write it in your notice. 
- If you're okay with your work being taken write how you want others to give proper attribution to your image. 
You get the idea, be as explicit as possible that way there are no excuses.

Another way to protect work is to add watermarks to your work
A watermark can be displayed in the corner of photos or anywhere it can be visible in the photo. Remember that watermarks don't necessarily need to be ugly or be placed in the middle of the image, your content is already protected, by placing a watermark you're just reminding your readers that the image is protected. 

You have probably already noticed how I watermark my photos. All my DIY and recipe photos are watermarked because those pictures will eventually make it to sites like Pinterest and I want people to be clear that the image belongs to someone.

Below are some examples of how I use my watermarks. I have a black and a white watermark that I use depending on the background of the photo. Sometimes I'll make the watermark translucent enough so you can still see it but it doesn't take a way from the actual object in the photo.

Below are two examples of translucent watermarks.

Another way to protect content 
If you're like me and want to take extra steps to protect your content, and a footer notice or watermark is not enough, there are third party websites that offer protection. I use myfreecopyright service to publicly define my content rights. DMCA  is another great site that provides free services to protect your content.

What to do when someone else takes your work
Hopefully you have already gone through all the measures of protecting your blog content. One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of people think it's okay to take work and simply include a citation and they don't take the time to look for copyright notices or they simply ignore those notices.

Here are a couple of things you can do if you see that your work has been taken and not given the proper attribution:
- Send a friendly email letting the person know that they have taken your content without permission and ask them to provide a link back to your blog.
- If you just don't want any of your work to be displayed on other sites, let them know that your work is protected and that you want your work taken down.
- If for some reason you're having problems with someone else not complying to your requests, contact a professional for guidance.

What to do when you want to display someone else's work on your blog
Basic rules:
- Look for any copyright notice withing the blog or site you want to take work from.
- If you see no notice don't' automatically assume that you can take the work without permission.
- If you really want to include someone else's work and you can't find a copyright notice, email them asking if you can display their work.
- If you are just unsure and don't want to take something without someone else's permission, don't take their work. 

Find sites that give permission to use their images
- My go to is pixabay here you can find free images and even share your own images. Make sure to check their disclaimer and rights of usage.
- Another great site is death to the stock photo when you sign up they send you pictures to your email every month. Also check their disclaimer and rights of usage.
Creative Commons is another site that provides images. Also check their usage rights and disclaimer.
You can find numerous sites that let you use their images, but like I said make sure to check image copyright notice and websites terms of use. 

What about taking images from sites like Pinterest or Google
Pinterest is a site where you can bookmark images but it's not a source. In other words you can't just take an image from Pinterest and source it as Pinterest. There are ways to look for the original source, xomisse is a site where you can find a tutorial on how to find original sources.

Great blog resource
If you want to know more about copyright go over to XOMISSE it's a wonderful resource website where you can not only find copyright information but also blog resources for blogger and wordpress. This is my go to site for anything blogging!!! 

I know this is a lot of information to digest and it can be boring, but it's something that ever blogger should be aware of. We need to protect our work and be courteous with other people's work because the last thing you want is to run into legal troubles. I hope some or all of this information was useful.

Check out my other blogging tips:
Blogging Part I: Blogging tools that changed my life

Blogging Part II: Blogging mistakes that made me a better blogger

Blogging Part III: How to take blog photos

Aug 11, 2014

Weekend Recap 8/11

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a great weekend, my weekend consisted of a lot of thinking, reflecting and a little bit of shoe shopping. My high this weekend was that I was able to find super comfy shoes and that makes my feet super happy, no more tired feet and achy legs. My low is that I have a lot of thought and uncertainty, my Sunday's Letters from yesterday reflect a lot of how I'm feeling as of now. 

Distracting my thoughts
Sewing is a hobby that I don't get to do often but it's one of those hobbies that distracts and relaxes me. Being a novice sewer or that I sew crooked lines doesn't take away from me being relaxed. 

Super exciting finds
I forgot to mention that another high this weekend was finding 26 children's books for only $15! I was super excited about this awesome bargain that I had to show you guys. I found them at a local thrift store and all these books are in great condition besides some of the spines needing a little TLC. I cleaned the covers with Lysol wipes and they look like new. I'm hoping to go back every month and little by little build my classroom library. 

1 wish:
I wish I had my own airplane and fly at any time to any place.

Random Fact:
- My favorite candle scents are gardenia, pumpkin spice, and anything clean and floral.

Have a great Monday and rest of your week friends!
Thanks for stopping by :)

Linking up with:

Mingle 240  

Aug 10, 2014

Simple Things Sunday: Sunday's Letters

Dear Fear you frighten my thoughts and sleep. You can be very persistent at times and worst of all I let you play that game in my head. Your game of what if this happens and i'm so far away keeps haunting me, so please just go away.

Dear Grandmother these are moments that will stay forever in my heart. I'm thankful for holding your hand, for the joy of seeing your smile, for being able to look into your deep stare, and for everything you are. Now I sit here in words of prayer begging for you to heal. I'm praying that I'm able to hold your hand and stare into your eyes one more time, but I'll leave that in the hands of god.

Dear Future sometimes I get all jumbled with uncertainty of what you will look like. Sometimes I wish I could fast forward your time, but I have to remind myself that I have to live my present because the past is gone and future you're not here yet.  

Dear Easy Listening Radio Station you have given me peace lately. I listen to your serene sounds and for a minute or so I'm taken to a beautiful place. I'll keep coming back to you when I feel things are slipping out of my hands and I need to be taken to a peaceful place. 

Dear Friends life can be unpredictable and sometimes all we need is a friend to listen to us in times of need and hardship and happiness. Thank you for being so kind and taking the time to read thoughts and letters that are so meaningful in their own little way. 

Change can be hard and right now I'm going through changes in my personal life that are good but scary. How do you guys deal with life and all it's changes? 

Just in case you missed it
Sunday's Letters {August 3, 2014}
Weekend Recap 8/4
Mexican Rice Recipe
My Fall Shoe Wishlist

Aug 8, 2014

High Five for Friday: My Fall Shoe Wishlist

I keep counting the down the days for cool weather, pumpkin spice, and everything Fall. I've never been so excited about shoes as I am for this fall season. Now that I stand on my feet all day my biggest concern is finding shoes that are comfortable and stylish in some way. I find that a lot of the more comfortable shoes are not as stylish, at least in my book, and that's the reason why I have struggled to find something that fills my eye. I've come to the conclusion that comfortable shoes don't have to be ugly and so I went on the hunt for comfortable and stylish shoes. Looking around I found a couple of shoes that made my work appropriate Fall shoe wishlist.

Why I chose these shoes
- classic look
- neutral colors
- foot support
- rubber outsole cushion
- stylish 
- closed toe
- easy slip on
- they look good with slacks, jeans and skirts 
- They are teacher and school approved

I would love to purchase all of these shoes by Fall and actually try them on. All of the reviews say wonderful things about these shoes, but I think once actually trying them on is when I'll feel for myself how comfortable they really are. 

I have received great tips from some of you about comfortable shoes but I would love to hear some more.
- Do you own shoes that are perfect for standing all day and are comfortable and stylish? If you do I would love to hear all about them. 
- Also what are some shoes that have made it to your Fall wishlist?

Have a wonderful Friday & Thanks for stopping by!
Linking up with these wonderful ladies!

 photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.pngTreasure Tromp

Aug 6, 2014

Mexican Rice Recipe

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite Mexican side dishes, Mexican Rice!
This is one of those recipes where some of the ingredients can be different but the final dish is delicious no matter the ingredients.

You might make this rice with fresh tomatoes maybe garlic or chicken broth it all comes down to personal preference and how generations after generations learn to make it. When my mom first taught me how to make Mexican rice, it looked so simple, but it wasn't as simple as it looked. After sticky, burnt, chewy, overcooked, and rice stuck to the bottom of the pan, I finally learned to make my Mexican rice perfect enough where both the Mr. and I can really enjoy it. For all the ingredients and how to make it you can find the recipe card at the bottom of this post. 

For a little secret on how to cook the rice keep reading...

All ingredients I used are shown above for the purpose of giving you an idea of what the ingredients look like. 

-2 cups of rice
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup thin sliced onions
- 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
- 4 cups of water or chicken broth
- 2 Chicken Bouillon squares (or 2 teaspoons)
- cilantro (about a handful)
- saucepan or pot with lid

Heat pan to medium heat.
Add oil and onions, sauté onions for about 1 minute. Add rice and sauté with onions until some of the rice has browned.

Pour tomato sauce and mix with rice for about 30 seconds until all rice is coated. Pour water and mix everything together.

This step really makes a difference. After the rice is golden (like the above picture) Instead of adding water right away, I add tomato sauce and sauté everything for a few minutes, then I add water. I find that this step keeps the rice from sticking and it makes it fluffy and not sticky at all.

Once I add my liquid, in this case I added water, I add the chicken bouillon and then let everything come to a boil, then I turn the heat all the way to low, and finally I cover and let the rice cook for about 25 minutes or until rice is nice and fluffy.

This is my end result, Mexican Rice that's fluffy and full of flavor.
I hope you have a chance to try this out if you still haven't made Mexican rice.

If you know how to make Mexican rice, I would love to know how you guys make it, because I know everyone has a different way of making Mexican rice.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Wow me Wednesday
Sweet Bella Roos
Wake Up WednesdaysWelcome Party Wednesday Link-Up

Aug 4, 2014

Weekend Recap 8/4

Happy Monday Friends!

This past week has been an exciting one. You guys know and for those that don't know, I'm a year away from becoming a certified elementary teacher and I'm super ecstatic! This past week has been a whirlwind of getting everything together before the students come back, and they come back today!  Aside from school and decorating, I went shopping for some school supplies and hung out with the the Mr. and the little furry child. Overall it was a relaxing weekend! 

First year of many firsts
I'll be doing my students teaching in a first grade classroom with along side a wonderful mentor. We clicked from the beginning and as we were getting to know each other, it turns out we're both chihuahua lovers! Since we're both chihuahua mommies, we decided that our bulletin board would be dog themed, isn't that just awesome! My first year of many firsts is going to be a great one!

I've been drooling over those erin condren planners, you know those pretty fancy ones, and I decided that one day i'll have one but as of now my wallet is screaming, No! You can never go wrong with Target planners and I found a super cute one. It has everything I need and it was super economical. 

Captivating Skies
You guys know I love sunsets and pretty much anything sky related and this weekend the skies were no exception. There was something to captivating about this sunset.

National Sister's Day
Sunday was national sister's day and I instagrammed one of my favorite pictures of my sister and I. "I'm lucky to have a best friend, lucky to have a confidant, lucky to have a beautiful sister." I love you sister <3

1 wish:
I wish it was easier to walk myself to the gym. I just have the hardest time getting motivated to go to the gym. Any tips?

Random Fact:
- I love VW cars.
- I'm the oldest child and I'm 2 1/2 years older than my sister.

How was your weekend?
Have a great week and thanks for stopping by :)

Linking up with:

Mingle 240