Staycation

Chris and I have been house sitting at my parents’ lake house since Friday. Even though the weather only cooperated on Saturday to get on the water, we’ve had a lot of fun. We’ll be hanging out until tomorrow, hopefully we’ll get some sunshine and we can play on the water some more! Some snapshots of our weekend …

We went to a new brewery at SML called Sunken City Brewery. It was a fun way to spend a very rainy Friday!

We went to a new brewery at SML called Sunken City Brewery. It was a fun way to spend a very rainy Friday!

Can you find her?

Can you find her?

Fun with the A Beautiful Mess app

Fun with the A Beautiful Mess app

615 Saturday morning: headed to take my FINAL test for my teaching license.

615 Saturday morning: headed to take my FINAL test for my teaching license.

Fishing on the dock

Fishing on the dock

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Lots of this ...

Lots of this …

Meant to be on the water!

Lots of fish around …

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… but no bites!

 

Blizzards! Double Fuge Cookie Dough for Chris, Heath bar for me

Blizzards! Double Fuge Cookie Dough for Chris, Heath bar for me

Meabh hanging out in the living room on this rainy morning

Meabh hanging out in the living room on this rainy morning

Today we’ll probably go into town just to mix it up – we’re getting a little cabin fever! I’m sure I’ll read some more and Chris will go out on the jet ski if this weather clears out!

Have a good start to your week, everyone!

You step a little closer each day …

Happy Monday evening!

We had an awesome weekend in Durham, NC visiting my best friend and her boyfriend. They live in a great area and I LOVED exploring their new city. It is definitely one my favorite trips I’ve taken and I can’t wait to go back. I already miss my best!

Chris and I got home laaate last night and stayed up even later watching 24. Today, I gave myself a rare day to kind of go with the flow and do whatever I wanted to do. Anyone that knows me knows that days that like happen very rarely. I try to work towards becoming the person I want to be … some days there are big steps and some there are little steps. Today felt like a “big step” day, keeping my worries and bay and enjoying this really fantastic life that we’re fortunate enough to have. I don’t know if anyone else struggles with that, but I am consciously trying to change my negative thoughts into  positive ones. Or at least get the negative ones outta there.

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We stayed in bed late, watched even more 24, ran to Target for an adapter for my new iPhone (!) and spent rest of the day relaxing. I had a little coffee-filled afternoon with my neighbor and played with cars with her boys. I read on my porch and worked on some craft projects. I ran to some thrift shops and found some great treasures. Other than almost getting stuck between two crazy fighting people at TJ Maxx, it was a stellar day. I wrapped it up with a homemade vodka sauce, a Target run with my sisterneighbor, and The Voice.

I am always so worried about what is coming next. The hunt for a job is a tough one and 7 months in I’m feeling a little worried, a little scared. Things are kind of up in the air for Chris and me in a lot of ways. But, I decided that for today, all those worries could wait. They will still be there tomorrow and one day of just fun … well, I think it’s allowed.

Days like today are easy to be grateful for. I think they make you stronger for the ones that are harder to find the silver lining. We all deserve a little rest.

Have a wonderful week, y’all.

xo, Mk

Posted in Mk

Google: the thief of happiness

Below is an open letter to myself regarding Googling anything, only excluding: celebrity gossip, recipes, and figuring out what day of the month it is. 

Dear Mary Kate,

You’re writing this letter to yourself to remind you not to Google! You love to Google. You’re a Google addict. Googling leads to a tunnel of links, websites, and UNRELIABLE information for days!

It has to stop. The anxiety you’re trying to relieve while Googling only multiplies when you find out that if you stop taking medication you can have seizures at random. And oh, not taking that other medication exactly one hour before you eat will only lead to heartache and stomachaches.

WebMD is NOT your friend. Ever. That slight pain in your neck – yeah, you have cancer. Your pulled muscle from working out will need surgery. That symptom checker always includes several types of terminal illness, but do you think it ever includes the common cold? Uh, no.

Googling one thing only leads to another, MK. What’s the weather going to be today? Oh, a severe thunderstorm warning you say? Make sure you find out every little bit of information about that one and then go take shelter in the basement. It really is a sickness.

When you Google, “baking polymer clay in the oven” for a cute idea you have, you will feel like you need to buy an entirely new oven because of some mysterious toxin released into the air that will poison all your food! When in all actuality, if you hadn’t read that comment on the blog post found from dear Google, you would have baked that clay in the oven, ON A PLATE THAT YOU EAT OFF OF, no less, and never thought twice of it.

The refrigerator life of that zucchini Chris bought last week? Well, Google says 2 to 3 days in your refrigerator … but it looks fine to you. But, it’s best to be safe and toss that green vegetable away – and throw money right in the trash. Google, you thief of nutrition.

There are very few websites that are appropriate for doing a wide search. Google is not one of them! It is a death trap! Try BuzzFeed for hilarious news and random Supermarket Sweep gifs. Use Wikipedia to find out about the Green Mountain Boys or that random celebrity on The Voice that you, you uncultured gal, can’t quite place!

For your sake and the sanity of your family, friends, and doctor, stop the madness. Stop using Google.

Love (,) yourself

Glimetime Summertime

Summer is nearly here and the Glime household couldn’t be happier. Chris is able to get back out on his bike, I can read on the porch, and the fuzz balls can enjoy the sun. We do the most “stuff” during the summer and fall months, so about this time of year we start making big plans.

Even though Chris’s crazy job has its challenges, the nice part is that when he’s home, he. is. home. He doesn’t have to work unless he’s on site, so he’s all mine those two weeks every month that he’s home. Since I work mainly from home, we have a lot of freedom to spend our time together in whatever way we choose. We really take advantage of that (I promise!), especially in summertime.

I am a perpetual list-maker. This girl loves a list for every single little thing. So, naturally I have a list for “things I would like for us to do together during the rest of the year.” Some of these things won’t happen, but it’s nice to know what we want to do so we can avoid sitting around saying, “Well … what do you want to do?”

Today I give to you, “Things the Glime family would like to do together, Summer 2013 edition”

  1. Play glow-in-the-dark golf at Tiny Town (a local favorite that’s been around forever).
  2. Go back to Douthat State Park. We took a trip there at the end of last summer and it was beautiful. They have fantastic mountain biking, so while Chris bikes I can sit at the campsite and read.
  3. Check out a new state park. We’ve been to quite a few in Virginia, but there are some close to home that we haven’t checked out before.
  4. Bonus** Something that Chris specifically wants to do! Back in college we found this sweet camping spot in the national forest. It was *free*, right by a stream, and had some good biking nearby. He wants to find somewhere like that near where we live now, probably on the AT. I’m not so anxious to do this, as I like having bathrooms.
  5. We are taking a trip down to Charleston at the end of the summer, so I cannot wait for some good beach time and doing some fun things in the city.
  6. We try to go somewhere new every year, and I think we’ll get around to that soon – if Chris’s job cooperates with our plans!
  7. Go fishing. Simple.
  8. Hike along the Appalachian Trail by the river.
  9. Have nightly happy hour on our deck.
  10. I really want to get back to getting our produce from the Farmer’s Market and trying out lots of seasonal recipes. I also like going down to the market on Saturdays for my favorite sweet potato pancakes at Market at Main. Mmmm, good.

I usually have a couple favorite summer songs that come out this time of year. Here are two of my favorites:

What about you guys? Do you have big summer plans that you’re dreaming about? Do you go to the same spot every summer or try out new places? Any other state park lovers out there?

xo, Mk

Quick Typography: His and Hers

Good morning!

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! Chris and I were busy bees with a wedding, attending a baby shower (me), and helping with cabinet installation for our friends (him). We did sneak in some time to finish up a season of 24 and start the seventh season. Aside from my husband … Jack Bauer is my favorite man. I don’t see it as a problem that he’s fictional. Fun fact, Chris and I have decided to name our next dog Bauer in homage to our favorite TV show of all time. I about died when I heard about 24 returning for a mini-season next year.

Chris will be heading out to work on site later this week, and I always get a little sad to see him go. After 3+ years of this we definitely are used to the time apart and luckily he’s not gone for months at a time like he used to be! I’m a sentimental person already, but I think his frequent absences only add to that. In some ways it’s nice because the time we have together is always special, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a “normal” life.

To offset some of my mopey mood over Chris leaving, I try to work on fun little projects. A month or so ago I whipped up some fun art for our bathroom. Since we’ve moved in, the two full baths have stayed mostly untouched. I have ideas for them, but working in such small spaces can be frustrating and I’m just not ready to tackle that yet. But, this quick project is easy to move around when I decide to paint and could end up really anywhere in our house.

I wanted to make a “his and hers” type piece that kind of highlighted our individual quirks and the different parts of our relationship. Chris and I are like oil and water, but we also have the potential to be the perfect balance. Maybe in 50 years or so we’ll reach that balance, ha! Since neither of us can stand to sit still, I think it’s better that we married each other. It’s always exciting and even if we butt heads (a lot), it’s really fun in a weird way (right, babe?).

I ended up resizing my paper to 12 x 12 and just typing little sayings about each of us. To make it look truly square I “justified” my text as I went and just moved my little phrases around until I got a look I liked. After I had my phrases, I added a text box, made the font size gigantic and typed “he” or “she” on the appropriate page. I chose a fun font, FFF Tusj that I had downloaded from dafont.com as the font for that text. I moved the text box to the back so the phrases were on top and readable, and changed the font color to a yellow that would show up, but not overpower the main text.

I printed the 2 pages at Kinkos and the cost for both pages was under 3 bucks! I grabbed two 12 x 12 frames at Michaels and they ended up being less than $20 total with my coupon.

Heshe

This project was super quick and inexpensive. I really love it and it looks great in our bathroom. They hang above our towel hooks, but who knows, I’m sure they’ll move somewhere else at some point! I would show y’all a picture, but it’s almost impossible to get a good photo in a room that small and who knows! Maybe I’ll get myself together enough to revamp that bathroom this summer and we’ll have a grand reveal! If you look closely at “he,” you can see a major grammar mistake from where I decided to change how I was wording it and just didn’t catch it. It sounds crazy if you actually read it out loud, but it makes me laugh!

Best laid plans

Well, friends. I lost all my photos for my original post.

Then I lost all the text for this post.

Clearly, WordPress and I aren’t jiving today.

Thanks for your patience with me.

xo, Mk

happiness

Posted in Mk

Baby Showerin’ Time!

Howdy y’all and happy Monday!

Last weekend I had the honor of hosting a baby shower for my friend, Kathryn. She and I have been friends since the 5th grade (my mom was her teacher, too!) and although we went different ways after high school for a few years – we are now neighbors and have been super close since I moved back to our hometown a 2.5 years ago. I’m not an overly gushy kind of gal most of the time, but her friendship is one of my most cherished relationships. She is like a sister to me (awwww …)

The shower was just fantastic! It went off so well and everyone seemed to enjoy everything. There were about 10 of us in all, mainly Kathryn’s close girlfriends, our moms, and her aunt. She’s a lucky girl and gets to have another shower in a couple weeks with all of her family and friends, so it was nice to keep things a little more intimate.

I didn’t really have a specific “theme” in mind – more just some buzzwords – southern, wildflowers, chic, cute, unique, interactive.

All in all, I am really thrilled with how it came out. From the beginning I knew I wanted to do a sit down lunch, rather than just having a buffet and having us eat while milling around. I wanted us to be able to have conversation as a whole group ….. and I wanted to make these really cute menus.

Most of what I did was handmade by me and a friend who came to visit that I wrangled into being crafty with me (thanks, Kells!) – so that just added more meaning to the day. Kathryn’s mom is a phenomenal baker, cook, general food extraordinare who provided a beautiful and delicious cake and some chicken salad and cucumber sandwiches. Really, I shouldn’t say “some sandwiches.” That should read, “Enough to feed an army.”

It was a really lovely day spent with some of Kathryn (and my!) favorite people. We are all so excited for Kathryn and Ben as they meet their little girl in a few weeks and settle into their life of 3. I am personally excited for baby snuggles. Our little Harker is so on the move these days and I miss those snuggles!

Here are some of my favorite pictures and memories from the day ….

Head of the table for K!

Head of the table for K!

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Our craft for the afternoon! Everyone left their thumbprint as a "firefly" and hopefully Kathryn can find somewhere for this in her nursery!

Our craft for the afternoon! Everyone left their thumbprint as a “firefly” and hopefully Kathryn can find somewhere for this in her nursery! Harker even dropped in and left his little thumbprint.

Bad photo, but I am so proud of this garland! Hot glue, twine, and strips of paper.

Bad photo, but I am so proud of this garland! Hot glue, twine, and strips of paper.

I broke my printer making these menus, but it was SO WORTH IT! I love them to pieces.

I broke my printer making these menus, but it was SO WORTH IT! I love them to pieces.

Wedding china, y'all! First time I've been able to use it!

Wedding china, y’all! First time I’ve been able to use it!

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So. Much. Food. Pesto pasta salad, ham biscuits, chicken salad sandwiches, and cucumber sandwiches. Don’t ask me how many biscuits I ate.

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Strawberry pretzel salad, y’all!
Those little mason jars were everywhere with just a few stems in each.

2 most important beverages in life: sangria and sweet tea

2 most important beverages in life: sangria and sweet tea. Our friend Kendra made fruit kebobs with mint and an amazing dip!

The Baby Jeopardy game came out so well. It was a lot of fun.

The Baby Jeopardy game came out so well. It was a lot of fun.

We made candles for little favors to take home. They came out so well - after some trial and error!

We made candles for little favors to take home. They came out so well – after some trial and error!

Cheesin' in up

Cheesin’ in up

Our mama-to-be getting ready to cut into her cake

Our mama-to-be getting ready to cut into her cake

This photo perfectly captures our friendship (Thanks Mama Layne for capturing this)

This photo perfectly captures our friendship (Thanks Mama Layne for capturing this)

Again .... so us

Again …. so us

Putting this shower together was a lot of fun and I’m glad I was able to share it with everyone! Now all there’s left to do is wait to meet this little girl who is already so very special.

xo, Mary Kate

On Living in the Woods

I grew up in a neighborhood that was right on the edge of backwoods and a quaint country area. Anyone who knows me knows how much I loved that place – that house, those woods, and that way of life. Looking back on it now, we weren’t that far away from civilization, but growing up on Hickory Winds Court with the farm and fields behind my house made me feel like it was just my little family and me out there.

The driveway of the house I grew up in. I'd still live out there if I could.

The driveway of the house I grew up in. I’d still live out there if I could.

Chris and I love the mountains, the woods, the quiet of nothing but trees around us. We spend as much time as we can out there. It’s what brings us together, makes us each whole. When we first started dating, the days we weren’t managing that pizza restaurant were spent on the New River, the Appalachian Trail, or on top of Brush Mountain. Those days are my very favorite days of my life so far. Whenever he and I start to feel that disconnect from the unusual life that we lead, we head up to the mountains, unplug, and remember who we really are. In the spring and summer you can bet that we plan camping trips for each time he’s home from a trip.

Chris on top of Kelly's Knob near Blacksburg. Our first backpacking trip together with sweet Sammie. Crazy long, but one of my favorite memories.

Chris on top of Kelly’s Knob near Blacksburg. Our first backpacking trip together with sweet Sammie. Crazy long, but one of my favorite memories.

We bought our first home just over a year ago, and it is the perfect house for us. Big enough for us to grow into, but not so large that I feel it’s unnecessary. It’s new(ish), but I’ve been working to make our home feel collected, lived in, and really reflect who we are. I love every single thing about our house.

Our home this winter. Makes my heart smile.

Our home this winter. Makes my heart smile.

We looked at houses out in the middle of nowhere, but nothing was in our budget and securing farmland loans wasn’t a possibility for us. So, we live in a neighborhood. A really lovely, cute, small neighborhood with wonderful neighbors for friends and it’s an area that will be great for raising kids. I have no regrets.

But … I constantly struggle with the path not taken. What if we had waited? What if we had found that perfect dream house where we could live forever, raise our kids from the moment they were born, have rescue dogs run around on acres of land, and grow old – all in the same place. What an idyllic notion. One that I think approximately 1% of the population gets to experience.

When I pull into my driveway each day I know that I am truly home. It is where my husband is, where my dogs look through the storm door to greet me. It’s where I play with my nephew in the yard, read on the porch, and catch up with my neighbors. I’m no more than a phone call away from anyone that needs me and I can get where I need to be. Right now, in this season of my life, it’s the perfect place to be.

Sam waiting at the door for something exciting to happen.

Sam waiting at the door for something exciting to happen.

That being said, I know that one day the call of the woods will be too much for either of us to ignore. That simple life with less trips into town, less distraction – that is the life I really, truly crave. I’ve told Chris so many times, “I wish I could take our home and just put it on a patch of land with no one around us.” He agrees.

But, for now, while we continue with the beginning of our life together and think about starting a family one day, I can take those ideals and those desires of living in the woods and put them into practice with the life that I do have.

Sam on our most recent camping trip. Girlfriend loves the woods.

Sam on our most recent camping trip. Girlfriend loves the woods.

I don’t like having rules for myself as an adult, but I definitely need them. Some days I say that I won’t open my Macbook or check my phone a thousand times a minute. When Chris and I go out to dinner, we leave our phones in the car. I try to reuse what we have, instead of running to Target or Lowe’s for every little thing we might need (I fail at this miserably). Being at home is my very favorite place to be. Living in the woods is a commitment to a lifestyle that isn’t very popular right now. For Chris and I, though, I know that one day it will be where we end up, a little more off the grid, back to the basics, and a more organic way of life. For now, I love where we are at and all the things were are able to do. But, I so look forward to the future and allow myself a little bit of time to daydream about what life holds for us.

mountains

xo, Mary Kate

P.S. if you look at my “Dreams” pinboard on Pinterest you’ll find everything that I daydream about. It looks like a fantastic life to me.

P.P.S. image source

Animal Lovin’ Beauty Products

As I get more into my adult years, I hear more and more negative news and appalling information. Sometimes I don’t feel like there’s much I can do about it, but when I can change what I am doing, then I feel that I’m making a small difference in some way.

One of my big “things” is animal cruelty prevention and appropriate treatment of animals – pets, wild, any type of furry friend. I was a vegetarian for a couple of years and now and again I think about going back. I preach about “adopting, not shopping.” But, I just felt called to do something more. Something proactive. Please don’t think that I’m some sort of extremist like those crazies at PETA – I just have a deep love and appreciation for how animals enrich our lives. And, I feel a responsibility to be an advocate for pets without one.

Before I did my research, I thought that animal testing was a thing of the past, but I was way off base with that assumption. From my cleaning products to my make-up, it seemed that almost everything mainstream and affordable was tested on animals.

I spent a few weeks researching what the differences were between designations of “cruelty free” vs. “no animal testing” and figuring what I could afford to do. The distinction isn’t always clear but generally the “cruelty free” designation is reserved for products with no ingredients that were tested on animals as well as the final product. A labeling of “not tested on animals” means only that the final product was not tested on animals and is much more common. For me, I made a personal choice to commit to using cruelty-free products whenever I can. But, using products that aren’t tested on animals also makes a difference!

There are two different logos that I look for. Each represents some type of animal friendly product, but don’t mean the exact same thing.

The first is the “Leaping Bunny” logo.

leaping bunny

This logo means that the product has been made without any animal testing, but it could still include animal products. Basically, it’s not a vegan choice. This is the more common logo, obviously, since it’s more difficult to eliminate all animal products.

The second logo is what I refer to as the “Cruelty Free Bunny.” He’s a cute little guy, but not as common to spot.

crueltyfreelogo

This logo is part of a PETA program for companies that have committed to no animal testing and do not use animal products in their beauty products.

Not all animal friendly products have these logos, so if you are looking for something that is cruelty free, look for wording on the bottle as well!

There was no way I could change over all my make-up at one time or all my cleaning products. I decided that as things ran out, I would make a conscious, animal-friendly choice in replacing it. Eventually, I made a list of affordable brands for all products that I wanted to replace and kept it in my wallet so I could look for it at drugstores, grocers, etc. I have been replacing products over the past year and while not everything I’ve replaced has been cruelty-free (for example, I can’t find a good shampoo that I like and I haven’t had to replace my huge bottle of lotion yet), I think I’ve made some great progress.

Today I want to share with y’all some of my cruelty-free beauty products that are fairly easy to find and won’t cost you your entire grocery budget for a tube of chapstick.

1. ELF products

This line is carried at most Targets and can also be found in their online shop. I like using this cheeeeap make-up for eyeshadows and other “fun” makeup. It’s cheap, I can play around with colors, and if something doesn’t work it’s no big. I don’t use things like their foundation, but I love this tone correcting powder.

2. Mary Kay

I’ve read mixed reviews that question if Mary Kay is really cruelty free, but after reading probably too much about it, I feel confident that they are. The debate is that their product is now being sold in China and they have a policy that all products be tested on animals. This article from Mary Kay just made me feel that they really are committed to continuing their no animal testing policy.

Everything I buy from Mary Kay I love. I do prefer their liquid foundation to the mineral, but I think that is just a personal preference. While their products are a bit expensive compared to Cover Girl – I think the quality more than makes up for it. I regularly use their foundation, blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick. My family and friends all rave about their skincare products, too. We can be a tough crowd when it comes to looking good, so that’s a pretty good plug for Mary Kay!

3. Toms of Maine

Toms of Maine was one of the first companies to take on creating products that are cruelty-free. Out of all the products I use, these are the ones I have the most confidence in. Their deodorant and toothpaste are easy to find at the grocery stores around here.

4. Bath and Body Works

Most of the products at Bath and Body Works are cruelty-free. I’ll be real with y’all – I don’t double check before I buy my particular body wash or lotion, I just get what I want and trust that the company is staying true to their word. This Fresh Picked Tangerines line is probably my favorite thing ever. I got Chris body wash from their men’s line and he uses it, so I’ll take that as he likes it.

A LOT of the more high-end make-up brands like Smashbox, Tarte, and Urban Decay really promote that they are cruelty-free. If you’ve got the money, I’ve heard nothing but good things about their make-up! I am always tempted by this palette every time I walk into Ulta, but so far, I’ve resisted.

There are definitely some beauty products that I have not yet transferred over to the cruelty-free side. Lord, how many types can I type “cruelty-free”?

I have very sensitive skin and I’m hesitant to buy anything other than what I’ve found to work and most cruelty-free facial cleansers are more expensive. I did try a Mary Kay brand, Velocity, but it didn’t work for my skin type. I have also tried a few shampoos, but nothing that I’ve been pleased with. So, I’m still on the lookout for that and use god ole Garnier. My beauty routine is pretty simple, so most of what I use I can get from the 4 sources above, along with some random finds along the way.

I also admit guilt to sometimes impulse buying new products before checking their cruelty-free status. I bought (and love) this Texturizing Sea Salt Spray by Not Your Mother’s. (Hello! $5.99! Volume! Amazing!) Their website states that they are “in the process of registering” their products with some type of animal friendly designation. It isn’t specific, so we’ll see what happens with that. All we can do is work towards this and continue to encourage companies to commit to cruelty-free products. It looks like Not Your Mother’s has heard the consumers and is responding.

Does anyone else try to buy cruelty-free? Got any tips or hidden gems? This post has inspired me to try to corral / organize all my products in my seemingly overflowing basket on our vanity. That’s where you can find me for the next couple hours … probably covered in lots of make-up.

xo, Mary Kate

* Images from this website.

Making Engineer Prints Meaningful

This weekend I was able to finally complete a project that I’d been brainstorming for a long time. It’s a very special DIY and one of the most important things that I own. For a little backstory, when Chris and I got married we had people at our wedding write us 50 notes – one to open every year on our anniversary for 50 years. All of our family members wrote one and we left the remainders on the various tables for our friends to leave us their two cents. We’re coming up on our third wedding anniversary this summer, so we’ve opened two letters so far. One is from my Grandma and Grandpa Garzia. They weren’t able to travel for our wedding, so we wanted their advice as soon as possible. The second note was written by my Grandpa Ramsey on behalf of him and my grandmother.

I am so blessed – lucky, whatever you want to call it – to have such close family and to have such strong relationships with my extended family. My Grandpa Ramsey and I were as thick as thieves. He loved his grandchildren so fiercely and we loved him just the same back. A short time after my wedding my strong as a hurricane grandpa was diagnosed with cancer. He didn’t take it lying down and fought his best – kind of like every other part of his life. He passed just over a year ago and there’s still a hole in all our hearts. That’s where this meaningful DIY comes in using the note he wrote for us to open on our second anniversary.

Original note

The note reads: “Congratulations on making it to your second anniversary!! On ours, we were living on Grandpa McClurg’s farm and Grandma hated the loneliness and isolation that went with farm life. Things were much better for us when we moved to Florida and ultimately got you as our Granddaughter, and things have been more good than bad over the years. Grandma and I wish you a happy 2nd anniversary and pray that you can be writing one of these notes in 50 years. Chris: I hope you’re taking care of our little girl like an honorable man should! Grandma and Grandpa Ramsey”

This obviously means so much to me and I wanted it displayed in a prominent way in our home.

I did a little sprucing up in our kitchen last month, and I’ve had this empty space left that I’ve been brainstorming on. I like a little blank space, but this wall between the cabinets and doors needed something special. I thought of the note that we opened on our second anniversary, with some very special words from my grandpa. Ever since we opened it, I’ve been keeping the note in my studio, trying to decide what to do with it. That wall seemed perfect for something graphic as well as something important to Chris and me.

Please pardon my photos, I'm still learning

Please pardon my photos, I’m still learning

I stumbled across the idea of “Engineer Prints” on Pinterest and I’ve seen them featured on several blogs. But, for a while I was too intimidated to go to Staples and get this cheapo prints made! Don’t ask me why. Finally last weekend I took the plunge, drug my friend Kathryn along with me, and got a picture of Chris and I enlarged for a blank wall in my studio. Apparently the engineer print craze hasn’t caught on so much here in Central Virginia, because the folks at Staples looked at me kind of crazy when I asked for my 4 x 6 photo to be blown up to 24 x 36. But, we got it done and for $3.77 I had a huge black and white print for my studio.

I felt very confident taking my Grandpa’s note in (Kathryn with me again), but they obviously didn’t remember me from the previous weekend. When I explained what I wanted – just a sample of handwriting – I was asked, “Are you a lawyer?” I’m not sure why that asked that, but I’m assuming they thought I was looking into fraudulent signatures. Mhm. MKG, esquire.

Both times I went in, for the picture of Chris and I and for the note, they would say, “Well, this is probably going to end up pixelated because it’s so small. It might not look very good.” I didn’t have that problem with my photo or the note, so don’t let that deter you if you get the same line! I told them to go ahead and try it, and after scanning it in, uploading to their computer, and printing – I had a 24 x 36 inch print of my grandfather’s note to us! I was so thrilled that they could get the whole note on the print, including the date he wrote at the bottom.

Print

On our way home we stopped for a poster frame. They were 40% off and I was able to use my teacher discount making the frame total under $17. All we did was slip the print in the frame, find out where on the wall to hang it, and then I made Kathryn stand on her tiptoes while I rummaged for a hammer and nail. We nailed it in, brushed the lint off the frame, and immediately loved it. For under $20 and about 10 minutes of work time, my space was filled and I get to see such a meaningful note every day.

Finished

I’m so thrilled with how this came out and it already makes my heart feel full seeing what he wrote whenever I pass through the kitchen and dining room. I think it’s also a really interesting piece that will create conversation for family and friends.

Have any of you tried our an engineer print? Can you believe that a color print the same size costs almost $40! The black and white is just fine with me!

xo, MKG, esquire