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Keeping With It

I’m excited to have been able to take this week to get organized and hopefully make this year’s resolutions a way of life. Focusing on making other’s feel important and appreciated is something that can do us all some good. I wish all of you luck and determination in what you resolved to do in 2012. Tell us what some of your resolutions are, we would love to hear them! I’ll leave you with one of my all time favorite resolution lists from Woody Guthrie, circa 1942.

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Finding a Balance

I think a part of growing up is learning to say no and realizing it’s ok to take time for yourself. I’m horribly bad at both of these things so in 2012 I am resolving to find a better balance between personal time and time with friends and family but more importantly, making that time count. A couple of months ago I came across a new magazine, Kinfolk, and I immediately fell in love. I ordered a copy and when it arrived in the mail it was one of those simply beautiful packages that you want to make an event out of – and I did. I have since read through it 3 times and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next volume (any day now!). Not only is the magazine wonderfully designed with every attention to detail – it has become my new coffee table book; I enjoy so much of what Kinfolk is about.

“Kinfolk is a growing community of artists with a shared interest in small gatherings. We recognize that there is something about a table shared by friends, not just a wedding or once-a-year holiday extravaganza, that anchors our relationships and energizes us. We have come together to create Kinfolk as our collaborative way of advocating the natural approach to entertaining that we love.”

I realized that in preparing for this post I had already accomplished the first part of my resolution. I stopped and took time for myself. I curled up with my cats, a lit candle and a cup of tea to thoroughly enjoy a treasured new magazine. And what’s better is that I took on a new appreciation for small gatherings and dinner parties. As I look forward to moving into my new house I want it to be a place filled with friends and family and good times. I am a perfectionist to a fault sometimes and I often choose not to have impromptu get togethers at my house because I haven’t had time to vacuum or my dishes don’t match. I am resolving to let go of that and realize that good friends would rather be together and eat off paper plates than hearing about how I cleaned house.

I look forward to blogging about the many brunches and dinner parties soon to be in all of their imperfect glory and the “me” time I take in preparing for them. In the meantime, I highly suggest you purchase yourself a copy of Kinfolk and peruse their just as gorgeous blog. Enjoy.

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Celebrating Birthdays

One of my favorite thing to do is celebrating others birthdays and making people feel special on their special day. It doesn’t take much to show someone you are thinking of them whether it be handpicked flowers on their doorstep or simply a written note. I find that I have more fun getting things together for someone’s birthday when I have ample time to prepare for it. Enter my birthday calendar. This was so simple to make and you can jazz it up as much as you’d like or keep it super simple. I used the same brown paper I purchased for yesterday’s project and fit two months on each 8.5″ x 11″ sheet. Just print out the correct number of days for said month (ex. 31 for 31 days in October) and put a little line next to each number. I chose to give mine a more handmade feel so once I printed those out and cut them in half I stamped the corresponding month on the top of each one (I am LOVING my new white stamp pad) and did some very simple illustrations.

All in all this took me about 2 hours – perfect for a weekend or evening craft. All you do then is write in your friends’ names on their birthdate. You can keep this from year to year since the dates don’t correspond with a day in the week – it’s just simply a date reminder! It’s always a good resolution to put a smile on someone’s face.

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Written Correspondence

One thing I’m resolving to be better about is writing letters and sending cards. I am awful with sending a birthday card and having it actually arrive in time for someone’s birthday. I usually just end up handing it to them in person, tying it to a gift or foregoing the card all together and calling instead. It’s always been really important to me to make people feel special on their birthday and receiving a little something in the mail shows you remembered them and put a little thought into their special day. I realized that if I have cards readily available, I will send them! Which brings me to my card catalog. I went to the craft store and picked up a simple box and some brown cardstock. I cut nine pieces to the size of the box, each with a little tab. I decided it would be best to have cards in preparation for 1) birthdays, 2) anniversaries, 3) engagements, 4)  babies, 5) weddings, 6) thank you’s, 7) just because, 8) sympathy and 9) holiday. Now when I go to the stationary store and see a card I like I will purchase and file it away in my card catalog until the perfect occasion arises. And even better, I can make a card here and there when I have time and file that away too. I’ve found people love receiving handmade cards. I clipped a little label – “cards + greetings” to the outside of the box, which also serves as a perfect place to hold a sheet of stamps. I then put my return address labels in the box and now I have everything I need to send a timely written correspondence in one tidy little box.

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Twenty Twelve

It is so hard to believe that 2011 has bid us farewell and we have welcomed in the new year. Kelly and I rarely get too personal on this blog but I thought I would take this week to reflect a little and share a bit more of my life with all of you. 2011 seemed like it was a tough year and unfortunately I feel as though I’ve heard that from quite a few people. As I look back on the last year it seems impossible to look past the hard times, nor should we, but what I should be focusing on are the blessings 2011 brought with it. I made some wonderful new friends, I spent time with my family, my own little family grew with the addition of a new kitty and I purchased my first home(!). All wonderful things, not to mention, I am employed which is something to be oh so grateful for these days.

I had a long conversation with my mom yesterday and as we wished each other that this year would be better than the last, she asked me if I had any resolutions for 2012. I spouted off the usual: be healthier, more organized, etc. and then after I hung up I thought about it. What is really going to make me happy this year? Once I actually took a minute to really give it some thought the answer was immediate and so obvious – quality time with family and friends and taking more time out of my schedule to remember and appreciate others. With the hustle and bustle of daily life and the piling up of jobs and projects I find myself often feeling selfish and so exhausted at the end of the day to even pick up the phone or write a note.

This week, as Kelly returns home from Texas and life settles back into the post-holiday groove, Anna Lee Co. is taking a little break from our normal blog content. Each day I will be focusing on a real, heartfelt resolution and either crafting or showing you how I intend to make my resolution a reality. Maybe this act in itself is a bit selfish as I am in a way, forcing all of you to hold me accountable for what I would like to achieve in the upcoming year but what I hope this week’s projects do is help everyone take a few minutes alone with their thoughts and find what is going to make 2012 a happy and sincere year for you.

All of our best and very warmest of wishes for a happy, happy new year.

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  ~Abraham Lincoln

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