Valentine's Day is approaching and we thought it would be fun to give you some cute printable tags, perfect for your treats and gifts! We enlisted the help our our sweet Katelyn to create original artwork, perfect for Valentine's Day! She has thoughtfully painted well wishes of love that we have made into gift tags to share with your family and friends.
We introduced you to Katelyn in Roxie's blog "2017 Is In The Books".
Her delicate use of watercolors, boasting shades of pink and green, are just perfect for this special day. We hope you enjoy putting together your Valentines this year and dress them up with these adorable tags!
If you ever need cute gift ideas, we always have a few! Shop Now!
Save the image below to your computer for printing! Adjust the print size to meet your needs and enjoy!
Happy Valentine's Day from The Southern Mercantile Team!
As I sit here contemplating how to begin this blog, I find myself struggling with the syrupy sweet words I am accustomed to using. Today I do not feel syrupy, but rather very heavy. If you live in our area or have been watching the news, then you are aware of the tragedy that surrounds us. We experienced terrible weather this past weekend which resulted in multiple tornadoes that destroyed countless homes and claimed precious lives. I find it hard to concentrate on my work, carry on small talk, or even drift off to sleep at night. I wonder what I can do to ease the pain and loss of the families in our surrounding counties. I am overwhelmed by the many needs but oh so grateful for the ones who have sprung into action. What I do know is the needs that these areas are currently experiencing and I can start there. I will do what I can to support these families and I will stay informed in the days, weeks and months to come. If you too are interested in donating to the families who have been affected by these storms, I would encourage you to find the nearest collection location and give. A little goes a long way.
Something special happens when you invite someone into your home for dinner. I believe that same magic is present when you bring food to their doorstep. Preparing and cooking a meal takes time, it takes thought, it takes love. A casserole has the ability to minister to someone where words can't reach.
Here in the South, it is customary to deliver a casserole to someone when certain life events take place. (Deaths, births, sickness etc.) Whether the event is tragic or filled with joy, sending food their way is an opportunity to communicate that we care and are willing to help in a time of need.
I believe cooking and baking to be one of my love languages. I blame it on my Southern roots as well as generations of good cooks and caring women. I love having people in my home and at my table. We share more than food--we share life.
Only recently have I started this venture in loving people through food. Now that I am married with a home of our own, I find joy in filling the freezer with delicious casseroles (to make dinner for a hectic night easier, or to share with others). This Christmas I decided to make lots of cookies and casseroles to share. When choosing a casserole, I decided on one of our favorite dinners: Chicken Pot Pie. Who doesn't love Chicken Pot Pie?! I found a recipe last year on Pinterest from Lovely Little Kitchen that we just love.
After tweaking it a bit, I have finally perfected it for us--and for freezing! I would like to share this recipe with you, in hopes that you might share it with others!
Wrap casserole with saran wrap to ensure that it is sealed.
Cover with tin foil, labeling what it is.
*I like to use cute labels, making sure that I give clear directions on how to bake, if it is a gift.
If baking straight from the freezer, uncover, remove saran wrap, and place the tin foil back over the casserole.
Bake at 400 degrees for an hour, or until bubbling.
Be sure to remove the tin foil during the last few minutes of baking to brown your crust!
If thawed, just follow the directions on your recipe card!
*I found that I like to cheat and use canned biscuits to make my crust, but you can use any type of crust you like! This dough works well with freezing, so if you change it up, I would just suggest that you do a little experiment before gifting it!
**Also, if you are having trouble weaving your crust, here are a few helpful tips at Gimme Some Oven!
Sometimes showing love to those around you looks like making a plate of food and taking it to the widow next door. Sometimes it looks like dropping off baked goods at your local DFCS office. Sometimes it even looks like buying canned goods for a local shelter. There are so many ways to love the people right around you, and often times we are too busy to notice.
Though feeding people may be one of my love languages, what is yours? You don't have to bake a casserole to show someone you care--that's just one idea! This world is desperate for love and attention, and if we don't show it to them, they will search elsewhere.
I heard Jen Hatmaker once say that your physical neighbors were not placed there by chance. We were chosen to live alongside one another and care for each other--and if we can't love those directly around us, how can we love the world?
Though you may not be able to reach out to the tornado victims I mentioned in the introduction, I would like to challenge each of our readers to think of someone in your community who may need a little love. Whip up this Chicken Pot Pie, bake a few slice-and-bake cookies, or take them a vase of flowers. Let's consider what others around us may being going through and let them know we care. In the busy-ness of life it is often easy to miss opportunities to love--so let's make one.
I have a great tutorial for you today! This project is a fun way to use beautiful fabric for those of you who don't sew and a great way for you sewers to use those scraps that you just can't bear to throw away. These fabric covered notebooks are easy and quick to create and make excellent gifts (How many days is it until Christmas?! *wide eyed emoji*
I'm a little obsessed with notebooks. I keep all of my notes and plans in one single notebook. I figure if I have that notebook and my planner, then all of my important information will be in one place. If you looked through that notebook, you might think that I'm a crazy person because it skips from design consultation measurements, to drawings of decorations for a birthday party, to fabric orders, to billing notes, to grocery lists… But for me it helps to know it's all in one place so I'm not constantly looking for little scraps of paper. I think most people have a use for a beautiful journal or notebook, so why not make one for them (or one (or 10) for yourself!).
For this post, I'm using a spiral notebook and only covering a portion of the front. At the end of the post, you'll see pictures of the same process used on moleskin notebooks in case you'd rather do that. Both really turn out beautifully. Side note: just make sure that if your notebook has a design on it, like mine does here, to pick a fabric that is dark enough so that you won't be able to see through it. If the notebook is solid colored (like the moleskin) this won't matter.
Ok, these instructions sound a little complicated but I promise it's not AT ALL. You can make these in about 10 minutes. Here we go!
1. Iron your fabric so it's nice and straight and a little easier to work with.
2. Open up your HeatnBond Ultrahold and lay it on your work surface paper side UP.
3. Trace the cover of your notebook onto the paper side of the HeatnBond with your pencil.
4. Cut the HeatnBond about two inches outside of the line that you just traced. DO NOT cut on the line you just traced- cut a larger shape around that line.
5. Following the directions on the package, iron the HeatnBond (I promise this is not an ad for HeatnBond. It's just really good stuff!) onto the BACK of your fabric.
6. Now cut the fabric very close to the paper (so that the fabric is the same size). Then you can pull the paper backing away. Your entire piece of fabric should have a layer of plastic-y film on it.
7. Now position your fabric on the front of your notebook (leaving about two inches hanging off around the sides). Next place your iron CAREFULLY in the middle of the notebook and heat the very center of the fabric until it stick to the front of the notebook. Try really hard not to heat the edges because they are hanging off the notebook and will glue themselves your ironing board!!
8. When you have the front "tacked down" with the iron, turn your notebook over and fold one flap in and iron down.
9. I like to trim out the corners (see photo below) so that there's not a lot of excess fabric and then fold the other sides in and iron them down too.
10. Finally I go back and iron the front and flaps again just to make sure they stick really well. Please be careful though, not to burn the paper. You are using an iron on cardboard so exercise caution! lol
Here's one of the moleskin journals- With these, the only difference is that I didn't use the "flaps." I traced the journal on the the paper side of the HeatnBond and then cut about an inch around my traced shape. I ironed the whole thing to the journal while is was laying flat and then used sharp scissors to cut around the edges really carefully. The HeatnBond (Maybe I should be getting paid for this…) will keep the fabric from fraying, so you don't have to worry about the raw edge.
There you have it! Beautiful fabric covered notebooks…Perfect for gift giving or for making your everyday organization a little bit happier!
These past few months of marriage have been filled with laughs, tears, adventures and plenty of burnt bread. It's amazing to think about how much our lives have changed within the last year and all of the changes to come. This will be our first Christmas as a family—and I have to admit that it seems pretty surreal. We are in a strange but wonderful stage of life, wondering what our Christmas traditions will become.
The one thing that has become a tradition for Phillip and I already is finding a tree in the woods and cutting it down! This was our third Christmas doing so and it is always a treat.
Phillip built a rustic tree box for me that very first year we were together and I just think it is wonderful. It fits our style and looks great with our airy trees.
Last year, since we were engaged, I went ahead and purchased stockings for us to use! I love coordinating, but not matching, stockings! That way you can add to your collection over the years without the stress of finding the exact same thing. We don't have a mantle, so I just hung them along our buffet next to the tree.
The first year that I worked at The Shoppes, Roxie tied an adorable “T” ornament to my Christmas gift. I loved it so much that last year she hunted for a “P” for Phillip! She sadly couldn't find one, but this year she had a surprise waiting for me. She ordered a “P” and a “B” at the beginning of the season! (The “B” is for our sweet puppy Breeze, in case you didn't know) Now our entire family is represented on the tree.
I was so thankful to have had a Christmas shower thrown by a family member when Phillip and I were engaged. It was so fun to receive things that I could use to make our house a home during the most festive time of year. I received the beautiful ornaments you see below on the left. I just can't get over how pretty they are! The ornaments below on the right belonged to my great-grandparents. I love most vintage things--but I especially love having something of theirs hanging in the tree. They add the perfect pop of color while reminding me of the true meaning of Christmas. My great-grandfather, Pap, was a preacher and I know that their Christmas traditions didn't revolve around expensive gifts or rushing around--but rather time spent with family and friends and honoring the birth of Jesus.
At my Christmas shower, I received the glass trees and the angel you see below. I LOVE gold in case you haven't noticed, so you know that I adore these trees!
I carried the gold and green theme throughout my wrapping paper as you can see.
One thing we did this year that I think may become a Christmas tradition was what we gave to our nieces and nephews. With Phillip having nine just on his side, we knew we wouldn't be able to afford gifts for all of them. We decided to make a ticket and treats for each child. The ticket is valid for a day of fun with Aunt Tara and Uncle Phillip. They get to choose an activity (out to a movie, gone fishing, let's get crafty, spa day, or other) and a restaurant they'd like us to take them to. By doing this, we hope that we can begin to build lasting relationships with these children one on one, and become someone they can trust, look up to, and have fun with.
This year, Phillip and I decided that rather than giving each other gifts, we would take a trip! We recently went to Texas on a whim with another couple and had the time of our lives! We will be heading up to Tennessee after Christmas for a little hunting and relaxation. We aren't in need of anything. We are very blessed and are excited to have this opportunity to make memories with one another. Who knows, in the next few years it may be a little more difficult to travel!
Our first Christmas may not be very exciting, but it will be memorable. I can't wait to see what our Christmas traditions become and how our lives change. Though Christmas traditions may come and go--we know one Christmas truth that never changes. If God hadn't chosen to save the world through a baby, born to a virgin, there would be no Christmas. May we always be in awe of what He has done.
If you'd like to put together your very own cookie bags or boxes, we'd love to share our Cookies aren't just for Santa tags with you! We created these cute and clever tags for our signature cookie boxes (as you may have seen in our last blog entry). We hope you'll print and use them to dress up your treats this year! Merry Christmas!
Don't have time to get crafty? Purchase our Cookie Box Kits HERE!
I know it is difficult to find the time to make homemade gifts. That is why we have put together our Cookie Box Kits! You can purchase our kits to fill with your own cookies. Whether the cookies are homemade or not, is up to you! Even if you use store-bought cookies or slice and bake the roll of cookie dough from the refrigerator section, the presentation of the box wrapped with baker’s twine and the tag that says “Cookies aren’t just for Santa” will elicit oohs and ahhs from the person receiving your gift.
You know how there are some people you just don’t know what to give for Christmas? Nothing really big, just a small token to show your gratitude and remembrance of them during the holiday season. Teachers, coaches, co-workers, hairdressers, postal workers, etc., work hard to serve you and your family throughout the year. Maybe you’d like to show your appreciation with a gift, but what do you give them?
What I have found to be the perfect gift for these people is something consumable that will not clutter their home or office or have to be dusted, causing more work. Most folks also love to receive homemade goodies, which shows thoughtfulness and a personal touch, even to those you may not know so well. Faces always light up at the sight of cute little boxes filled with cookies, tied up with adorable gift tags.
Click HERE to purchase a kit!
I like to put 2-3 cookies of 2-3 different types in each box. They look so cute stacked together, and with a variety, you are sure to have at least one of their favorites. Stick with traditional cookies, like chocolate chip or peanut butter, but be sure to have a showy cookie on top, like sugar or thumbprint cookies.
Depending on the size of the cookies, you can fit 6-8 in a box. Sometimes, I use tissue or wax paper to fill in the empty space behind the cookies to be sure you can see them all through the little window of the box.
To me, there is nothing more satisfying than finding the perfect gift for someone and seeing their reaction upon receiving it - except maybe cooking for someone and watching them enjoy the food I’ve prepared. Giving cookie boxes does both! I hope you enjoy preparing and giving cookie boxes as much as I do!
If you do choose to bake your own cookies, here’s one of my favorite recipes:
Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease baking sheets.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, beating to combine. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until combined. Add oats, white chocolate chips, and cranberries, beating until combined. Scoop or drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
**A great tip: If you want to make this cookie dough ahead of time, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Place baking sheet in the freezer overnight. Remove the frozen scoops of dough and store in freezer bags until ready to bake.
Click below for a printable version of this recipe!
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