Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

‘Tis the Season to Give December 8, 2013

When I was little, one of my favorite thing about the holidays was picking little ornaments off of the Share Christmas trees in the foyer of our church.  Mom would let us pick 2 kids, my brother could pick one and I could pick one, and we’d go shopping on a special trip to purchase things off the list of clothes and toys on the back of the ornament for those children.  I loved knowing that we could share the season with people less fortunate than us, and thoroughly enjoyed picking my items…sometimes Mom would have to coax me out of the store because I was still stuck in the aisles of Target, carefully debating which things I thought the child on my ornament would prefer.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how lucky I am to have the things and opportunities I have in my life.  It’s been freezing cold, in the single digits for the last few days in Denver, and each night I find myself feeling grateful for the warm bed I get to crawl into and a roof over my head.  I’d love to explore some volunteer programs where I get to donate some of my time and love.  For now, though, I was seeking something immediate to be able to share my good fortune.

Jonathan and I stumbled upon the holiday sharing program at our local grocery store, King Soopers, called “The Sharing Tree.” It reminded me so much of Share Christmas from years ago, that I tugged his arm to stop and choose ornaments off the tree in the grocery store foyer on our last trip for dinner items.  I chose a 7 year old girl who wanted a Barbie and purse, and Jonathan couldn’t resist the 4 year old boy who wanted Legos (a kid after his own young-Jonathan Lego building heart!).  We had a lot of fun picking out toys for our kiddos, and I even had to pull a Mom and drag Jonathan out of the toy aisle as he meticulously perused all his Lego options.


Here are some ways you can give back:

What are you doing this season to give?


Lovely Local Businesses December 2, 2013

Saturday was local business day.  Now, I realize that since today is Monday, it has passed and the focus on local businesses might not be as publicized on banners, billboards, and in TV and radio commercials.  However, shopping at local businesses can be lovely all year round, especially with the holidays coming up!  One of the toughest things about gifting is finding items that your friends and family will love, but feel unique and special.  Sometimes that can be difficult to do at big box stores, since it’s something anybody could have gotten from a myriad of stores around the country.  I know I know, your electronics and large items you’ll need to purchase at those big box stores, especially since they often cost less money.  But for the stocking stuffers, accessories, and creative gifts you want otherwise, your local businesses are your go-to shopping destinations.  Today I’m going to highlight some of my favorite local businesses in Denver.


Talulah Jones

  • Website: http://www.talulahonline.com/
  • Location: 1122 East 17th Avenue
  • Highlights: quirky and vintage-inspired home decor, holiday goods, stationery and greeting cards, high-end children’s clothing, unique and natural children’s toys, women’s clothing and accessories
  • Why love it?  It’s inviting right upon entry with adorable decor and lots of fun colors.  Talulah Jones has something for all the ladies and kiddos on your holiday shopping list, and the employees are inviting and willing to strike up a conversation with you!

Hope Tank

  • Website: http://www.hopetank.org/
  • Location: 64 Broadway
  • Highlights: out of the box accessories like fun socks and witty tees, children’s clothing and small toys, women’s resale clothing, hats, random little gift items, jewelry, and lots of locally made goods
  • Why love it? Part of the profit from every item you buy goes to a charity…I mean, how cool is that?! They even give you a slip of paper indicating which charity your profits are going to so you can feel like shopping actually did some good, or the person on the receiving end of a sweet gift from Hope Tank will be informed.

Hazel & Dewey

  • Website: http://hazel-dewey.com/
  • Location: 70 South Broadway
  • Highlights: kitchen items…think a huge selection of adorable towels, tablecloths, and aprons, plus colorfully handled knives and flatware, bowls, mugs, and teapots
  • Why love it?  Everything is unique. It’s not what you’ll find in a lot of big-box homegoods stores.  They also have some neat local flair.


  • Location: 56 South Broadway
  • Highlights: a TON of merchandise…a little something for everyone.  Here’s a sampling: home gifts, men and women’s clothing, greeting cards, special occasion gifts, and many witty little funnies.
  • Why love it?  You can find anything here.  If you’re in a pinch for the holidays, this can be your one-stop shop.

So next time you’re on the hunt for a fun gift or just a little something for yourself, shop local!


Stampin’ Up Some Holiday Cheer December 16, 2010

My teacher friend Penny is a salesperson for the company Stampin Up.  I flippin love to craft and make things, so Penny and I became close over my first 3 years teaching at our school (almost too close, because our friendship cost me everytime I ordered something from one of the Stampin’ Up catalogs hehe).  Some of my favorite days at school were when Penny organized after school stampin’ classes in her classroom where we’d make holiday-themed cards.  At first, I never wanted to give my cards away, because they were so cute and I had worked so hard on them that I was afraid if I gifted them to anyone they wouldn’t appreciate the full effort that went into them! But I got over that.  The trick was to find people who are also crafty who truly understood the beauty of each “work of art.”

When I got Penny’s email about her holiday classes, I knew I had to get the girls to attend one!  There were several that sounded good, but the date that we were all available was for a class where you make 3 Christmas gifts with Stampin’ Up products.  Penny uses some ideas from the company, but really creates some amazing things using her tools and a lot of imagination.  When we got to her “stampin’ attic,” we were immediately excited for the crafting experience that awaited us.

First of all, you would never believe the craft room Penny has going on in her attic.  When I read that we would be having the class in her “stampin’ attic,” I sort of thought it was just a cutesy name for a room she used to craft.  But I was wrong; this room is MADE for crafting and nothing else!  I want one someday: the walls covered in organizers with drawers for every piece of crafting material a girl could dream of, and any remaining space adorned with cards and projects Penny has handcrafted.  It was my own personal slice of heaven.

This class reintroduced me to the familiar feeling of not wanting to actually gift my gifts to anyone because I loved them so much.  We made a cloth pin that I swear could sell for bundles in a boutique, an applique coffee mug with an adorable paper-crafted tag and cocoa/mocha mix inside, and a set of elegant red and white stationery in a handmade box with a satin bow on top.  Everything was a joy to make, and the best part about it was that over crafting we were all able to bond and conversate!  If only I had a glass of wine in my hand, again, a slice of heaven.

Hard at work on our gifts

I think I can speak for all 3 of us Uncharted bloggers who attended this class on Tuesday when I say we will certainly be going back for more stampin’. Now I just have to figure out who will appreciate this next set of crafty wonder…

The finished gifts 🙂


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