(photos are all Instagrammed)
Happy Thanksgiving! Whether you’ve been marathon cooking for the last 2 days like me, have the luxury of attending Thanksgiving dinner today as a guest, or are spending a quieter day working or by yourself, I’m wishing you a joyful holiday filled with lots of scrumptious food and a very full belly. Because my sleeping hours have been odd lately with the new baby, I was up early this morning (with my 2 year actually) and had the chance to see the sun rise and take a few quieter moments to reflect on what I’m thankful for this year. I was especially thankful for these quieter moments when I was up, it was quiet, and, my mind was actually lucid! Here’s my gratitude list:
The new possibilities that each day brings (even when new possibilities are hard to see),
The seasons of life,
All the little hands in my life that hold mine,
Friends that bring bursts of happiness,
Family that supports and shows love,
My incredible husband and the new ways we complement each other every day.
And, last but not least, I’m so grateful for this blog and the ways it enhances and enriches my life. It brings such an added dimension to the everyday. The readers and bloggers who follow, comment, and connect have allowed my blog to grow a little more this year. So thank you, thank you, thank you.
See you next week!
Most of us who work in the ‘lifestyle’ genre are inundated with the concept of gratitude on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Gratitude has been linked to everything from improving happiness, body image, sleep, and life satisfaction to decreasing worry, depression, anxiety, and dependence on alcohol, nicotine, and drugs. (If you don’t know about the psychological and physiological benefits gratitude can have on you, try implementing the What Went Well exercise into your daily life and observe the effects for yourself.) Amidst the inherent stress at Thanksgiving of cooking a meal large enough to feed a medieval banquet and managing the traditional Turkey-day minefields–including in-laws, long percolating confrontations, and inappropriate jokes (by you or otherwise)–it can be challenging to take a step back, put the (spiked) apple cider down, and appreciate the fact that Americans have an entire day off intended solely to observe one thing: gratitude. Most Thanksgiving dinners I’ve attended, whether in my childhood or as a guest in adulthood, have included that awkward and anxiety-producing preface, whereby each attendant is asked to offer publicly what he or she is thankful for. This thankfulness round-robin usually occurs just after the main event (where the two family members most at-odds at that particular moment have an all-out throwdown) and just prior to the Thanksgiving gatekeeper proclaiming what everyone’s been waiting for: ‘Let’s eat!’ This prerequisite can be especially unpleasant for introverts such as myself (I not once, but twice, dropped out of Toastmasters). No matter what I plan to say, I always end up resorting to some iteration of the 3 boilerplate Thanksgiving gratitudes: family, health, and this meal. But this year, for the first time since having a family, we are hosting Thanksgiving at our home. To honor the the essence of Thanksgiving, but in a way that is more personal and thoughtful–at least for me– I came up with 5 new creative ways to express gratitude on turkey day to get into the Thanksgiving spirit. Try 1 or 2 for yourself this year.
1. Gratitude tree. Place a small synthetic tree, cut branch, or sticks neatly arranged into a vase. Cut ribbons in various colors 4-5 inches wide. You should have enough colors of ribbon to give your tree a festive look. Set out a sign next to the tree that instructs your guests to pick one color of ribbon and tie that one ribbon onto the tree for every one thing he or she is thankful for. I cut about 10 ribbons for each color giving the guest 10 things to be thankful for. The end result: a festive and meaningful tree that can also be a beautiful centerpiece.
2. Thankful Place cards I made these unique place cards (a how-to coming soon on the blog, no sewing experience required) and included not only the name of my Thanksgiving guests, but also a line for them to write 1 thing the’re thankful for each year. Don’t forget to include a pen for each table setting. Guests can wander about the table taking a peak at what everyone is grateful for (or share outloud) and everyone can take home their card as a gratitude reminder for 2014.
3. Gratitude Messages This idea might be my favorite. I took mini-envelopes and folded a piece of paper accordian-style cut just big enough o fit into the envelope . You should have the same number of folds as the number of invited guests so that each guest gets one fold to write on. Put each guest’s name on the outside of the envelope and place all the envelopes into one basket. Ask each guest to write one thing they are thankful for for every person at Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone will write on one space of the accordian message, skipping his or her own envelope. At the end of dinner, each guest will take home his or her envelope or you can share outloud what everyone wrote. I think it’s entertaining to have all guests write in all envelopes–regardless of whether they know that person or not. You’ll be surprised by what new acquaintances will come up with.
4. Gratitude Drink Identifiers This idea suits more for a mostly adult Thanksgiving affair, particularly where not everyone is well-acquianted. I set out gift tags and ribbons (or you can use string) and a sign that instructed guests to write on the tag 1 thing they are grateful for. The tags are tied to each person’s wine glass (instead of glass identifiers) and act as a great conversation starter. Funnier gratitudes work well here and this can be especially fun for a dinner that has various single people in attendance. At the other end of the spectrum, if you do have lots of kids with various sippy cups and bottles, it is also cute to get them involved and, instead of tying the tag to a champagne glass, secure it to the sippy cup (as you might know, sipply cups do get confused more often than you’d think!).
5. Homemade ‘I’m Thankful for You’ Gifts I love the idea of making a homemade gift for your Thanksgiving guests with an ‘I’m thankful for you’ tag. These can include candy apples (recipe coming soon on the blog), chocolate chip cookies, english toffee, chimichurri rub, jam, or brittle to show your love and appreciation for the fabulous individuals in your life. These can also be made and wrapped well in advance of Thanksgiving and, if you have kids, grandkids, or nephews and nieces to help–major plus.
All of these ideas embrace what George Washington, who first formalized Thanksgiving as a national holiday, proclaimed to be most important: “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God”. And, whatever harmful effects that 3rd piece of pumpkin pie might have on your waistline will be offset by the cascade of psychological and physiological benefits of expressing gratitude–and that fourth glass of (spiked) apple cider.
Happy (gobble) Thanksgiving (gobble, gobble)!
Have you taken a look yet at the holiday cards I made using HP’s newest product, Sprout? Also, check out what my fellow creators came up with for the holidays using Sprout: Inmyownstyle and Faccidesigns.
Want to see more of what I’m up to?
Follow me on facebook here.
Follow me on Instagram here.
Follow me on Twitter here.
Before the HP launch event unveiling HP’s two newest products: Sprout and 3D printing with Multi Jet Fusion technology, I had the incredible opportunity to test drive Sprout at the Martha Stewart Living offices in NYC.
I was one of a handful of people in the world to get my hands on HP’s newest computer before the launch party or its release date. Of course, once I spent 10 minutes on Sprout, I wanted to know when and where I could get my own.
HP asked me to create a few holiday cards using Sprout at Martha’s offices (Martha Stewart and her team assisted with Sprout’s development process before its release). So, not knowing beforehand what Sprout was or what I was in for, I brought with me to NYC a few of my favorite holiday elements straight out of my craft room, including a few Martha Stewart red glitter ribbon ornaments that I found at The Home Depot last year on sale after Christmas; cinnamon sticks/peppermint sticks/and sugar sticks (from my crafting and cookie exchange party last December), gold sparkly fabric and gold spray-painted chestnuts (used in this winter tablescape a few years ago), and the family photos we had taken a week after Wynn’s birth.
I also brought along a few of my dreidels—I have a whole assortment of dreidels that I’ve bought and received as gifts, which I display in a glass bowl every Hanukkah. I also brought along a few gold chocolate coins that we use to celebrate the Hanukkah tradition each year.
HP’s newest invention, Sprout, for the first time ever, blends the physical and digital in the same space—integrating a scanner, touch canvas, keyboard, mouse, 3D camera, and projector –all in one device.
Here’s the first card I created (in about 15 minutes), just by scanning in the gold fabric, which I used for the background of the card, and the red glitter ribbon ornament, which I resized with my fingers and dragged to the four corners of the photo.
Here’s the process.
(1) Lay the 3D objects you want to scan on the touch canvas.
I scanned in the cinnamon sticks, sugar sticks, and peppermint sticks to create a few letters and numbers for the holiday cards (see examples below). The orientation of the 3D objects you want to scan in doesn’t matter, because once Sprout scans it, you use your fingers to rotate and flip the objects around, enlarge/decrease/distort the size of the object, and drag it to any location you wish.
(2) Simply touching the camera tells the computer to take a shot of your 3D object, which is then automatically scanned into the computer.
You can edit the captured image, but I didn’t have to. I used the exact image as it was scanned in the final version of my holiday cards. Did I mention Photoshop was in no way involved….?
(3) All the scanned objects are conveniently displayed and easily accessible on the main screen. Just touch the image you want to use for your project and drag it over.
You can scroll thru using only your finger to view all the images that you’ve scanned in. Here are a few of the objects (gold-spray painted chestnuts, ornaments, dreidels, photos, fabric) that I scanned in and that, as a result, showed up in my gallery.
HP’s brilliant taglines are “Reimagine what you can do” and “Be as free as your imagination.” Sprout allowed me to take a few of my favorite holiday elements and experience them in a whole new way—by scanning them in 3D and manipulating them without the use of a camera, scanner, flash, reflector, whitebox, Photoshop, or Lightroom. In under 15 minutes.
For my next card, I lined up the dreidels on the touch canvas, scanned them in, adjusted the size, and moved the group to the bottom of my card. I did the same with the gold coins and dragged them to the top right corner of my photo. Sprout allows you to treat the objects individually or group them together.
Did I mention I made this without the use of a camera, scanner, flash, reflector, whitebox, Photoshop, or Lightroom? In under 15 minutes?
Sprout also has the same capabilities of a high-end computer, so you can easily add text to anything you create.
And here are the final two holiday cards I made:
I made the “J” with my gold-spray painted chestnuts; the “O” is a spool of gold thread (I punched out the hole with Sprout’s punch editing feature); and created the “Y” out of cinnamon, peppermint, and sugar sticks I pieced together—all objects I scanned in using Sprout.
And here’s another variation with the same elements:
Sprout’s capabilities and possibilities provide a platform that creatives such as myself, without professional training in photography or graphic design, have never had access to before. Sprout easily and quickly facilitates, in a matter of minutes, the manifestation of an idea into a reality–with only one device.
Sprout will be offered for sale beginning November 9, 2014 and available in 50 stores throughout the holidays.
Have you begun to reimagine what you can create?
Thanks so much for joining me for Unveiling of HP’s 2 Newest Products: Sprout and 3D Printing (Part II).
Find out more: #sproutbyhp.
Thank you to HP for graciously sponsoring this post.
On October 29, 2014, I was invited to HP’s launch event in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood to witness the groundbreaking unveiling of HP’s two newest products: Sprout and 3D printing with Multi Jet Fusion technology. On the surface, the event looked much like one might expect: a sea of black and navy sports coats; a swarm of video cameras, photographers, and tech writers/bloggers/reporters waiting in the wings; and an impeccably orchestrated afternoon–from the scrumptious catering to the revolving displays to the venue’s dramatic lighting.
Yet, something was different… First, the utilitarian open-ceiling flex space hosting the event was nestled in the Chelsea neighborhood amidst streets lined with art galleries and cafes, beneath the High Line.Closer inspection of the attendees revealed that the sea of blue and black sports coats was peppered with another ilk—the so-called Creators, including myself (wearing a white jacket), who were there to witness the unveiling of the HP’s groundbreaking new invention: Sprout.
Sprout is the newest product by HP that, for the first time ever, blends the physical and digital in the same space–integrating a scanner, touch canvas, keyboard, mouse, 3D camera, and projector—all in one device. As Executive VP, Dion Wiesler, prefaced from on stage before unveiling the new computer: Sprout was created out of a need to have a “better on ramp into the 3D world.” Bloggers and creatives especially have an acute awareness of this need: we have to be well-versed not only in the craft/product we are creating (whether it’s a card, scrapbook, website, product, or publication/advertisement), but also in the tools necessary to execute our vision, usually photography, Photoshop, and Lightroom at a minimum. Sprout bypasses all of this and allows the artist to focus on the act of creation without requiring all these separate modalities to achieve the final expression.Ron Couglin, Sr VP and General Manager of HP, who spearheaded Sprout’s development, emphasized that Sprout allows users to easily and seamlessly bring things from the physical world into the digital world, “from thought to expression in an instant.” HP worked with and received input from various Creators throughout Sprout’s development process, including Martha Stewart and her team. And the Creators also got a chance to test the technology before HP released it to the public (I’ll be sharing what I made at the Martha Stewart offices in my next post!). The Creators included myself, the Martha Stewart team, artists, graphic designers, and bloggers, who were not only flattered to have been involved in the collaboration process, but, like myself, could not wait to get our hands on the machine for our day-to-day creative endeavors once it is released for sale.(Pictured with me from the right is Ron Coughlin, Sr VP and General Manager of HP and fellow creators Diane Henkler and Linda Facci)(Todd Selby, photographer, illustrator, artist) Perhaps the most telling feature of the afternoon that, indeed, something exciting and different was afoot could be observed at the Sprout display stations. There were paint and watercolors, 3D objects, craft papers and cut-outs, pinned (real) butterflies, homemade cards and …. the visible and tangible act of creation in a way that has never been demonstrated before.Erin Furey, Associate Crafts Editor at Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings, was on hand the day of the launch to demonstrate the capabilities of Sprout, and display some of her designs using the new computer. She also designed the event invitation that was sent out for the HP launch, which I thought was spectacular when I received it.(Erin Furey, Associate Crafts Editor at Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings) “From thought to expression…in an instant.” This is the promise of Sprout. And, with that as a promise, it’s not a far stretch that HP’s tagline is “Reimagine what you can do” and “Be as free as your imagination.” Love. These. Here are a few examples of what Sprout can create/achieve, from trying on items before you buy them, to kids’ art projects, real time collaboration, interior decorating capabilities, and even simplifying the process of selling goods online by streamlining the scanning/photographing/uploading/and resizing process:
Sprout was designed to facilitate a better experience for people who create and to do it intuitively–without the user having to learn or retrain on any other machine, equipment, program, or application. It boasts the democratization of creativity with, by the way, a full high-end desktop at the same time. This new technology is covered by an impressive 71 patents.
Sprout will be offered for sale beginning November 9, 2014 and available in 50 stores throughout the holidays. Don’t be ashamed to forward this post to that treasured gift buyer in your life…I love you my darling! Thanks so much for joining me for Unveiling of HP’s 2 Newest Products: Sprout and 3D Printing (Part I).
Find out more: #sproutbyhp.
Thank you to HP for graciously sponsoring this post.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a lovely things post–so here it is: Lovely Things This Week 10.26.14.
(1) This week I attended HP’s launch event of its 2 newest products: the Sprout by HP and the HP Multi-Jet Fusion, a 3D printer (posts coming soon). I’m still inspired by and mulling over HP’s brillant taglines: “Reimagine what you can do” and “Be as free as your imagination”. Love. These.
On another note, this will be my 3rd trip to NYC this week in less than a month for work, and I’ve been trying to stop at Mood when I can to peruse fabrics. But, I think I’ve finally picked out all the fabric for our home draperies (after living in this condo a year) and won’t have to make any more stops at Mood until my next project.
(2) Watching Wynn grow (she’s 1 month old this week).
(3) Judah’s 3rd pumpkin patch birthday. After much planning, Judah’s birthday (which we had 1 month early to do at the pumpkin patch) was a success: all of his friends came, the cake was beautiful, and it was a wonderful day. Alas, the day was not without its challenges (as I’ve found all good parties have at least 1 major flaw/disaster)–we had to deal with dozens of bees who found the sweets display particularly inviting (just as I was about to tell my husband to start mass murdering them before the guests arrived <<on a sidenote, I don’t even like to accidentally step on an insect out of a respect for all life>>–a quick jaunt to the store took care of the problem with a can of bee repellent); then there were gusty winds that kept blowing over my tablescapes and displays (I spent the majority of the party along with my good friend and mother-in-law taping everything down and covering and re-covering the food with foil), bad lighting, and blurry pictures due to not checking my camera beforehand. Not to mention I was only 2 weeks out from my C-section! But in true Judah form, he has already started talking about his party next year…
(4) Homemade Candy Apples. My mother-in-law is always so supportive and helpful regardless of whatever crazy idea I throw at her–in sort of an Ethel Mertz kind of way. She agreed to take a candy apple making class together a week before Judah’s party and then we made mini-candy apples for the party and put them in pumpkin/orange owl gift bags with ribbon for the kids to take home. I’ll be sharing the recipe and tips we found useful soon on the blog.
(5) Halloween. As I shared in my last post, it was quite entertaining to watch 2,3, and 4 years olds dressed up in miniature costumes run around like capuchin monkeys from house to house asking for candy.
(6) Washington Post Front Page. We got texts and papers from friends on Sunday informing us that Judah was on the front page of the Washington Post. The story was featuring Frederick downtown where we live and showed him riding his tricycle on the streets–one of our favorite family pasttimes.
Have a lovely week!