Sunday, March 28, 2010

Have you ever been stumped on what to buy for that person who has everything? I used to find myself dreading Christmases and birthdays simply because I did not know what to buy for that special person in my life. Not only did I want to purchase a great gift, I wanted it to be able to afford it. Sound familiar?

In this post, I want to share with you some of the gifts that have been important in my gift-giving life. They all have one thing in common. They're personal. Personalized, that is! Personalized gifts are wonderful because they show they gift receiver that you are thoughtful and creative. Plus, who doesn't love to see their name in print?

Last Christmas, the hubs and I gave our families personalized wall art from Alphabet Photography. We simply love the nature-inspired photos and thick frame. Alphabet Photography has over 500 pictures from which to choose, so there is a combination of letters out there to suit your personal style.

I am embarrassed to say this, but a couple of years ago for Valentine's Day, I gave the hubs this...
Yes, I went to, uploaded a picture of us, and made our photo into a puzzle. And if that isn't corny enough, our names are repeated in a scripty font in the red background. As cheesy as this gift may be, we had a blast drinking wine and putting it together.

Next up, the tried and true classic...personalized mugs! These are mugs I purchased from Twisted River Clayworks for the hubs and my sister last year for Christmas.

Unfortunately, the This Young Economist mug did not make the long trek from Montana to Chicago, and now looks like this:

Even though the This Young Economist mug is shattered, the actual This Young Economist is fully intact! Tony Cookson is This Young Economist, and you can check out his blog if you want to read economics articles, participate in economics polls, and learn economics through his YouTube videos. If not, you can stick around Just a Picture of Home!

The wall art, puzzle, and mugs are examples of personalized gifts I have given, but I have also been lucky to receive some personalized pressies. My parents bought my sister and I wire name pins and turtlenecks with our name on them when we were younger. The hubs has written me poems, and last year for my birthday, he wrote me a song and created a music video.

So there you have it; some ideas for personalized presents. What things do you have that are personalized, or what have you had your eye on? Towels, linens, M&M's? Let's get personal(ized).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

We are adding a new element to Just a Picture of Home. And what might this be? Drum roll, please...We are adding PRODUCT REVIEWS, and I am so excited to share my first review with you.

As the hubs and I strolled down one of the main aisles at Target, we were distracted by a large sign and several tubes of toothpaste. We were like magnets attracted to metal, and this toothpaste was our steel. Introducing Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast - Long Lasting Mint...

We had seen the commercials advertisting this new toothpaste. It was supposed to keep your mouth feeling fresher for five times longer than your ordinary toothpaste. But, could Crest Scope Outlast actually live up to the hype?

Yes, yes, and YES! When I first tried Crest Scope Outlast, I was overwhelmed by its strong minty taste, but after a couple of brushings, we were both hooked. I can honestly say that I noticed that my mouth felt healthier. Most importantly, my breath tasted much fresher for a longer period of time than it had with any other toothpaste. In fact, if I could buy Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast - Long Lasting Mint by the truckload, I would do it in a heartbeat. It is that good.

So here's the lowdown on Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast - Long Lasting Mint.

What: Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast - Long Lasting Mint

Cost: $3.69 - $3.89 for a 7.6 oz tube

Where to Buy: Wal*Mart, Walgreens, CVS,


*Actually leaves your mouth feeling fresher and healthier for hours longer than your average toothpaste

*Tastes great!

*Combination of paste and gel


*Unable to buy it in bulk at Costco

So there's the nitty-gritty of our favorite toothpaste. If you suffer from some nasty halitosis, pick up a tube and give it a try. Your significant other, friends, and colleagues will thank you for it.

But before I sign off, I want to know about YOU. What toothpaste do you use? Are you a Crest kid, or is Colgate up your alley? Or maybe you prefer the old-fashioned baking soda and water combo. Do tell.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

FoxTrot has always been my favorite comic strip, mainly because I could identify with none other than Paige Fox.

She always wore her hair in a ponytail. I wore my hair in a ponytail. She loved to shop. I loved to shop (and still do). Paige hated gym so much that she hair-sprayed her ponytail so that it stuck out horizontally, making it look like she was running really fast. When my high school gym teacher wanted us to run laps, I jogged around the track, and...I am really ashamed to say this...but I told my teacher I had asthma. That's bad, I know. I just really hated gym.

FoxTrot was published daily in The Montana Standard, but eventually it only appeared in Sunday's funnies. When I moved to Bozeman and subscribed to The Bozeman Chronicle, FoxTrot was nowhere to be found in the black and white pages. How was I to get my weekly dose of Fox family humor?

As luck would have it, much of Bill Amend's brilliant strip is available online. You can browse through classic strips, read about the primary characters, and learn about the creator of the Fox family. And if tweeting is your thing, you can follow Bill Amend on Twitter!

Without further ado, I leave you with Fox Trot that was published on November 29, 2009. Isn't Paige clever?

This is why Tony and I have four computers. Have a beautiful Saturday, everyone!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

As I was browsing this morning, I stopped clicking for a moment as something funky, hip, and downright cool caught my eye. Take a look at these:

At first glance, I thought they were just ice cube trays, but.......they're not! These are silicon bakeware and ice cube trays rolled into one! They are made by Sillycone, and they can be used in many creative ways.

Like this...

Or this...

Or this...

And if you thought Sillycone made only letters, you were mistaken (you probably weren't mistaken because you noticed the '10' on the birthday cake, unlike me). They also have trays with symbols, numbers, and even Greek letters. Don't these trays seem like a fun addition to your kitchen arsenal? And they are only $14.98 at for a set of letters.

Besides ice, jello, and butter, Sillycone claims that these trays can be be used to make chocolate, sidewalk chalk, crayons, rice krispy treats, and soap. I am not sure I would use them to make soap and then ice, but I could see sticking solely to food and ice. I can even see them looking fabulous while floating in a punch bowl.
So, what do you think? Have any of you tried these or seen someone use them? What was your take? I'd love to know!

All images used in this post were taken from

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I love fonts. I am obsessed with fonts. In fact, I love fonts more than eating peanut butter cups while watching Josh Holloway on Lost during a Kohl's Big Weekend Sale. Now that is true love.

My obsession began in middle school when my classes required me to include a cover page for my reports. On our home computer, we had Print Shop to satisfy my desire to create a variety of cover pages using a plethora of fonts.

Throughout high school, I simply used the fonts on Microsoft Word for all of my projects. However, during college, I became bored with the few fonts available on my laptop. I found myself walking to the computer labs just so I had more font options. Until recently, I thought I was doomed to the fonts already on my computer. Then, I made a discovery.

The web is full of sites offering free downloaded fonts. I was skeptical about attempting to download these fonts for fear of viruses and disappointment when I couldn't get the font to work. However, downloading fonts to your computer could not be easier. Below is a step-by-step tutorial of how to achieve font greatness.

Step 1: Check out sites that offer free fonts. My personal favorites are DaFont and Free Handwriting Fonts.

DaFont is great because you can browse by alphabetical listing, style, theme, or popularity. They even provide a box for you type a word or phrase, and you can see what that word or phrase looks like in all of their fonts.

Free Handwriting Fonts is right up my alley. They offer super cute fonts that are sure to make you grin.

Aren't those two fonts adorable? Please check out their site as they have hundreds of fonts from which to choose. Thank you Kevin and Amanda for providing all of these fonts for free!

Step 2: Find a font you like. If you are using the fonts from Free Handwriting Fonts, click Download Now. Other sites will have a link that says Download.

Step 3: Confirm the download in two easy clicks. A box with the name of your font will appear. All you have to do is click OK.

After you click OK, an image like this will appear in your Downloads folder. Double click on the font you just downloaded. In my example, I already downloaded two other fonts, so now I am just going to double click on the first file.

Step 4: Extract all files. Double-click on the link that says Extract all files. Then, click Next once you are in the Extraction Wizard window.

Now you will want to save your font to a destination. My font will be saved in the Downloads folder under My Documents. Click Next. After you click Next, you should see a box that says Extraction Complete. Click Finish.

After you click Finish, you will see a screen that looks like this. Leave this window open. We will use it again later.

Step 5: The Fonts Folder.
This is probably the trickiest part of the whole process, but fear not, because with Just a Picture of Home, you will achieve all of your font goals.

Right-click on Start in the lower left-hand corner of your screen, and then click Explore. After you perform these two steps, your screen should look something like this:

Click on the Windows folder. The computer might tell you that "These files are hidden." That's okay, just click unhide, or whatever you need to do to get them unhidden. Once you can see the folders under Windows, find the folder labeled Fonts, and double-click on it.

After you double-click on Fonts, you will see every font that is on your computer. It will look something like this:

Remember the window I had you leave open? It is time for that window to come into play. Open that window and place it next to the window that shows all of your fonts (the one that is pictured above). Click on your font and drag it over to the window that shows all the fonts. After you drag your new font over to the window, your computer should say something like Installing for a brief second. You're done! Sound too good to be true? Let's make sure it worked.

Step 6: Playing with your new font. Go into Microsoft Word. Click on the drop-down box where all of your font choices are displayed. Your new font will either be the first font you see or you might have to scroll through to find your new font.

Ta Da! So now you know how to download your favorite fonts into your computer. It's pretty simple once you have done it a few times (or a hundred....but who's counting...).

So, how about you? Have any font favorites you want to share? Any tips of your own for getting your hands on a font? Do you have a go-to site for fonts? Do tell.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Have you ever had an idea for a project, but were challenged by where to begin? And, once you have started, have you ever found yourself overwhelmed with an endless number of options, each bringing you to a different finished product? If so, you’re like me…. today! The project: This new blog!

Over the past couple of years, I have immersed myself into reading blogs related to crafts, recipes, and home d├ęcor. Young House Love and All Bower Power take the cake as my favorite blogs. A loyal reader of decorating blogs, books, and magazines, I became addicted to anything and everything domestic.

Thus, I have been inspired. Inspired by people I have never met. I have been inspired to venture out into the blogging world. All I would have to do is set up a blogger account, pick a background and header, and begin writing. Easy peasy, right?

Wrong. As I searched for a blog background, I was amazed and shocked by the number of free backgrounds, headers, and buttons that are available at the click of a button. With thousands, maybe even millions of backgrounds from which to choose, how is someone to decide on just one?

After spending and enjoying countless hours of template-searching, I made my decision. My next task was to think of a cute, creative, and original blog title that encompassed my theme of embracing the domestic, crafty lifestyle. I began by making a list of words that relate to the home or words that I simply love. I then put the words together to make an interesting title. My first thought was that since my blog will include crafts, maybe I should include “crafty” in the title. I came up with One Crafty Nest, but after doing a Google search with this name, a fabulous blog named Crafty Nest was already established. Crafty Nest is loaded with budget-friendly craft ideas and provides tutorials for nearly every craft.

Isn’t her background and layout simply chic?

Besides thinking of One Crafty Nest, I thought of The Domestic Diva and Home on Cloud Nine, but The Domestic Diva was already taken, and Home on Cloud Nine was too similar to Cloud Nine Home.

It was back to the drawing board for me. I walked around our home looking at all the things I treasure, and then it hit me. I love pictures! I love home! I welcome you to Just a Picture of Home.