Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gratitude in Ink


This week one of the items on my to-do list is to write thank you notes for a couple of sweet, unexpected gifts my daughter or I have received recently. As I said in a previous post, it is unfortunate that hand written correspondence has kind of fallen by the wayside, and I see this general trend effecting the specific practice of writing thank you notes.

On the Emily Post website I found that "The rule of thumb is that you should send a written note any time you receive a gift (even a ‘thank you’ gift) and the giver wasn’t there to thank in person."

The website also offers some guidelines for specific situations where a thank you note is called for:

Shower gifts.

Even though the gift giver attended the shower in your honor and you had a chance to say thanks for her gift, you should still send a written note.

Wedding gifts
Each wedding gift should be acknowledged with a written not within three months of receipt of the gift.

Congratulatory gifts or cards

Anyone who sends a present, or a card with a personally written message, should receive a note in return.

Gifts received when sick

Thank-you notes should be written as soon as the patient feels well enough—or a friend or relative can write the notes. It’s okay to call close friends rather than write.

Condolence notes or gifts
Everyone who has sent a personal note, flowers or a donation should get a written thank-you. A close friend or relative can write the notes on the recipient’s behalf.

In addition to these situations that necessitate a thank you note, I think there are many, many other times when a thank you not may not be expected, but is nonetheless appreciated. For example:
- I try to write a thank you note any time someone has us over for dinner.
- When I was interviewing for teaching jobs, I wrote thank you notes to all my potential employers, expressing my appreciation for their time and interest.
- I make an attempt to write a thank you note any time someone goes out of their way for me or our family. For example, several people have offered to babysit Ann Peyton when I have doctor's appointments and whatnot. Since Peyton often works evenings and since both my parents and my in laws live in town, we really haven't had a need for it. However, I can think of one time when I asked a non-relative to babysit. I didn't write a thank you note, but in retrospect, I wish I had and I certainly will if I'm in that situation again.

Finally, here are a few tips I personally think serve to help formulate a well written thank you note. Keeping these personal guidelines in mind helps me write more meaningful, significant notes:
1. Be specific
2. Be detailed
3. Be genuine
When I remember these three things, I think my letters are more personal and more sincere.

My mother is a phenomenal note writer and she always instilled in me the importance of gratitude in ink. It can really brighten the recipient's day and it usually improves the mood of the sender as well!

{Images: 1, 2}
{Source: Emily Post Website}

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lovely Things: Samplers

One thing that I love to have around my house is samplers. I know some people probably think they're super old fashioned and even a little outdated. I'll admit they do have a bit of a "grandma" feel to them. There is NOTHING polished or sophisticated about a sampler. But something about a sampler just says "home" to me. Maybe it's because they were scattered throughout my parents' and my grandmother's house and those are places that felt like home to me growing up. To me, they just convey an air of quaint simplicity.

Here is a little background research I found about samplers, via Wikipedia:
A sampler is a piece of embroidery that demonstrates skill in needlework. The alphabet, figures, motifs, decorative borders are common parts of samplers. Sometimes, the person who makes the sampler will include their name and date as part of the sampler. The word sampler comes from the Latin ‘exemplum’ - an example.

The oldest samplers still in existence date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Because pre-printed patterns did not exist, a stitched model was needed. Whenever a needlewoman saw a stitching pattern that she was fond of, she would quickly sew a small sample of it onto a piece of cloth - this became her 'sampler'. The patterns were sewn randomly onto a peice of fabric to be used later as an example, and the woman would collect different patterns this way throughout her lifetime.

Around the 18th century, samplers had become quite different. Instead of the scattered, random examples that were to be collected and used as a guide throughout a lifetime, they becamed much more organized and symmetrical. They were made by young girls and women to demostrate their expertise in the skill of needlework.

I have several samplers around our house. Some my mom found for me at antique stores, some came from my parents' or grandparents' house, and some my mom cross stitched herself. Here's a peak:

This one is in our kitchen:
Dear House you are so very small. Just big enough for love that's all. It's very special because it hung in my grandmother's kitchen before she passed away. It is the a wonderful reminder that for right now our house is the perfect size.

Here is a collection that is on one of the walls in the guest bathroom. I'm not sure where all these came from, mostly antique stores I'm sure, but my mom did the top one, so it's really special.

A closer look at the ones on top:
A house is made with brick and stone. But a home is made with love alone. What an important thing to remember. Peyton and I are building a home with love for each other and for our children. This is one of my favorites andI think the little family is so precious. This is the one my mom made, so that makes it extra special to me!

The best gifts are tied with heartstrings.
I always think the spirit behind the gift means more than the gift. I love receiving a gift and knowing that the person put thought into it and picked it out especially for me. I try to give gifts in such a way.

Happiness is homemade. Isn't that the truth?

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. There is a reason the Serenity Prayer is so popular and so well known- it is applicable to everyone's life and yet it feels so personal when you read/pray it.

And the ones on the bottom:
Home is where the {heart} is. Clearly I love special sayings about my house/home. Home truly is where the heart is, in my opinion. I still call my parents' house "home", and it took me a long time, but I finally call this house home, too.

Who waits outside the door one may never know, so tarry not my friend, he too may to go. I just think this one is really funny and again, I love the little pictures at the bottom.

This last one is right above my vanity in our bedroom:

A closer look:Love. Faith. Hope. Charity. {Happiness Tree} Work. Play. Laughter. Happiness is catching. We get it from one another. I like this one a lot because I think it's just a neat way to organize a lot of virtues and show what truly brings happiness- other people and a life of faith and integrity.

I think my sampler collection says a lot about what is important to me and the things that I want to be cognizant of as I go through my day. They are like lovely little post-it notes throughout my house!

Photos: C/O my little Canon point and shoot and my mediocre photography skills

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fashion Flashback: Jon Jons

I decided that I am going to do a series of posts about items of clothing (for men, women, and children) that are currently in style, but are very classic and traditional. In these "Fashion Flashback" posts I will share a little history about these timeless pieces of apparel.

We are expecting our second child (we have a seventeen month old little girl) this Spring, and if that baby is a boy, I plan on dressing him very traditionally, much as I have done with Ann Peyton. I like it when babies look like babies, not little mini adults and I like classic things. One of my favorite things to dress a little boy in would be these:



Jon Jons are so so named for John F. Kennedy, Jr. The style gained appeal when his father was in the White House and his mother, Jackie created a fashion trend by dressing little "John John" in the one piece outfits. Incidentally, "John John" was not a name given to the president's son by any family member, but rather by the press. The outfit has held onto it's popularity for over half a century, due to many factors including the increased ease in diaper changes that they provide and the fact that they are ideal for busy toddlers, who would have a harder time keeping on a two piece set.


Prior to Camelot, toddler boys wore shorts or long pants and a shirt. It's funny because I think of that as a much more "modern" look!

I can't wait to dress our little one in some precious jon jons- seersucker for the Summer and flannel in the Winter and gingham all in between!

Sources: Marie, my sewing instructer at Continental Sewing and this Southern Living Message Board

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lovely Things: Hand Written Correspondence


Something that I feel is a lost art in today's culture is hand written correspondence. Yes, I did grow up with a thank-you note Nazi for a mother, but that's not what I'm talking about today.
Today, I am talking about writing a note just to write one. Peyton and I have a dear friend, Virginia, who sent us this card in the mail last week:

Now, congratulations via text and Facebook are wonderful, but there is something so personal about a card that someone took the time to pick out, write a personal note, address, and pay postage for. That, to me, says that she cares a lot about us. Within this brief little note, Virginia congratulated us, complimented us, and encouraged us. She made us feel special.

Isn't that an important thing? A worthy goal? To make the people in our lives feel special? I think so.

I will be the first to say I don't do this often enough. As one of my 101 goals over 1001 days, I intended to write a "letter of encouragement" to someone at least once a week. Well, I was a bit ambitious. Having a child (albeit a very easy going, well behaved child) was a bit more of a time constraint than I anticipated. Ahem. That said, you make time for the things that are important to you and in this endeavor, I have failed mightily. Virginia's note showed me how important such a thing is, though, and that I must not let it go. Corresponding with ink and paper is something I will chose to be diligent about.

***Images in this post courtesy of Country Living and our sweet friend.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back to the Days....


I decided that I wanted to start a "throw-back blog" after becoming interested in a blog Peyton follows called The Art of Manliness. Their tag line is "resolving the lost art of manliness". I feel like there is a lost art to femininity as well, and also just in general there is a lost art to humanity, in many ways. I searched high and low and even e-mailed the creators of AOM, but there really doesn't seem to be a nostalgic blog for women who long for the beauty of yesteryear.

Let me say that there are many "vintage" blogs that showcase vintage clothing, accessories, furniture and the like. There are also quite a few blogs dedicated almost exclusively to homemaking, Biblical femininity, and all things domestic. Neither of these really fit what I was looking for. I definitely want to include those things in this blog, but there are other areas I want address, too.

So, I decided to create the blog I had been so desperately searching for.