Focusing on the New Year

Sarah in Illinois is back with her first post of the year. Like me, Sarah was busy making presents before Christmas and she has big plans for 2016.

Hello again from Illinois! It is finally winter-like here. As I am writing this this high today was 16F (-9C for us Canadians). That is the coldest we have had yet this year.

I hope everyone had a nice holiday season. I went to my final holiday party this past Friday. My girlfriends and I decided to draw names to exchange gifts with the one rule that the gifts had to be homemade.

It was so fun to see the creativity that everyone came up with. There were homemade lotions, shave cream and such, a pumpkin roll and necklaces, a burlap wreath, a knitting needle holder.

The gift I received was from my personal trainer cousin. She made me a plyo box and workouts to go with it. We discuss working out quite often and she is always on hand to give me advice and a plyo box gives me new workouts, with more interest than just running up and down my road. A plyo box can be used to jump on, sit on and do workouts off of and I am sure many more things that I haven’t learned yet.

The gift that I gave was for my tea-drinking cousin. I found a few ideas on Pinterest of a tea bag dispensing house.

Tea dispensing house

I didn’t follow any directions and I didn’t take step-by-step pictures, but basically I made a house like you would for a bird house. I made the roof removable so that it could be refilled. The doorway is where you can see and remove the tea bags. I used a sample tea bag to make sure the opening was wide enough for a bag to slide through. Then Steve had the idea to notch out an area for your finger to fit and pull out the bag.

Tea bag dispensing house
That was a great idea and I am so glad that he thought of that. After gluing the walls together and nailing the base on, I sanded and filled in the cracks with wood filler. After a final sand, I gave the whole thing a base coat of acrylic craft paint. Then I hand painted on the windows and greenery. I finished with a coat of clear matte spray paint to seal in the craft paint. I think the receiver was happy with the gift!

The hostess made us a table full of appetizers and also had a hot chocolate bar and a Bellini toast at the end. It was such a great time to visit and such a fun way to end the holidays!

Now that I am really thinking about the New Year, I am of course thinking of resolutions.

I like to have some direction to start the New Year. But this year I am doing something different. Instead of coming up with a list of resolutions I have come up with a word as a theme for this year. It took me a few days to come up with one and I used this website: to help me narrow one down.

The word that I am using for 2016 is “FOCUS.”

I think that is a word that can be used in so many areas for me. I have a bad habit of starting things and not finishing them. Focus can be used to remind me to stay with the project I started. I also let technology distract me. Whether it is Facebook or Instagram or one of the many gaming apps on my phone, I seem to find things to do other than what I should be doing. So focus is going to be the word to try to get me on track!

I can’t wait to get some projects started to share with you. We are definitely adding on to our house this year, so that will be something that I will be sharing throughout the year. We already have received our first seed catalog so that means garden planning is not too far away. I think this is going to be a busy year at our house.

I hope you all have a healthy and happy 2016!

I love the idea of all those handmade gifts. Sounds like you have big plans for the year ahead, Sarah. I’m looking forward to seeing them unfold under your laser focus!

2 thoughts on “Focusing on the New Year

  1. We’ve been thinking about a word or phrase for the year here, too. So far I’ve come up with “power editing” and “letting go”. I’m sensing a theme, I think!
    Your tradition for a homemade gift exchange is a lovely and meaningful tradition. Nice job on the tea house – very cute! Happy 2016 to you and Steve.

  2. Ohhhh, “letting go” could be a really good theme for me too, Jan!

    All of us girls admitted that we were really nervous exchanging something handmade, but I think we all admit that the gifts mean so much more that way!

    Very Happy New Year to you too!

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