daily to-do notes inspire, not overwhelm

Small mission accomplished! Daily to-do notes are making my long list of home improvements feel manageable. Read on to print your own!

If you’re like me, your 2015 “clean slate” rapidly became scrawled with a to-do list. In the calm that followed our holiday travel, Andrea and I decided to tackle some home projects. Trouble is, that quiet time in early January became stressful as I imagined ALL the improvements our Lustron needs. The more I thought about my punch list, the more it sprawled (get better kitchen lighting, clean out the closets, shape the topiary pine, find the perfect fireplace, and on and on).

Just as DIY paralysis was creeping in, I remembered some advice from Jen Mazer, a teacher who helped me define a vision for Finely Crafted. Knowing that long to-do lists are overwhelming — and often lead this gal to plant her head in the sand — she told me to focus on a single task each day. Do one thing today to move your business forward, I recalled her saying, even if it’s as small as returning an e-mail you’ve been putting off. I decided to break my epic home enhancement list into single servings too, designing kitschy notes to announce the day’s chosen task. It was a fun project that tightened my grip on Photoshop drawing, and . . .  it’s working! Here’s a sample of back burner projects we wrapped this month:

Setting daily DIY goals has helped us tackle lots of home projects this year without getting overwhelmed.

Want to check off some boxes of your own? Follow me after the jump to print sheets of to-do notes with midcentury style!

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tart cherry old-fashioned cocktail

Pitcher of tart cherry cocktail

I made this wintry cocktail for my friend Shannon’s wedding last month, and I think it’s the perfect drink to clink on New Year’s Eve, too! (Plus this photo shoot was a convenient excuse for breaking in my new silver-foiled glassware, heh heh!) Pure tart cherry juice has an earthy, almost herbal flavor that I like to balance with spicy ginger and sweet navel orange (avoid cherry juice blends, which are dulled with apple and grape). The booze is added separately, so any kids and designated drivers at your party can enjoy a virgin punch. Assemble as many hours in advance as you can to allow the orange peels to release their oils. Two days ahead is ideal, but I know, I know — this post is a bit late for that.

get the recipe after the jump!

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diner-inspired holiday place cards

Diner-style holiday place card

Tis the season of entertaining. And while we may have extra time off work to polish the teak-handled flatware and iron the poinsettia linens, all that holiday prep and socializing can feel so heavy! You can lighten the mood at your table with these fun place cards inspired by 50s diner signs, designed for my blog by Cindy Tomczyk of Paper Parasol Press. Download and print your own cards for free here (choose from two color palettes).

Diner-inspired holiday place cards with vintage silver tableware

Thank you to one of my favorite Atlanta antique stores, City Issue, for lending me midcentury table props! You can take my Shop Spy photo tour and read an interview with owner Jennifer Sams here.

what real men want for the holidays: part 2


I’ve bought the typical wallets, pint glasses, and even the cufflinks that I know will languish in a drawer. But what do men really want for the holidays? I asked two more creative guys in my circle to give us some out-of-the-box ideas. Read on for their wish lists and buying info! (And catch up on part 1 of the series here.)


Davis Petterson’s over-the-top personality is in sharp contrast to his gentle percussion for his band, the Ghosts Project. He’s an old friend who’s overflowing with enthusiasm for fellow artists, and we have an unspoken barter: he buys his wife gifts from my shop, and I buy cocktails at his local gigs. Let’s see what this music man wants to unwrap for himself!


1. Black and tan polka dot belt by Jon Wye // 2. Gift certificate to Nadine’s Triple Crown salon // 3. Waxed canvas drumstick roll-up bag by Tackle Instrument Supply Co.  // 4. The Hope Conspiracy: The Art of Chris Hamer by Urbnpop // 5. Hellboy library edition vol. 1

Up next, see the wish list a modern architect built!

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what real men want for the holidays: part 1


It’s hard to buy for guys. Lots of blogs and magazines make manly gift suggestions, but they’re usually steered by women’s ideas of what men like (cufflinks, wallets, and cedar-scented potions galore). I decided to go straight to the source, asking four creative Atlanta men for their real wish lists. Turns out they want museum memberships, wooden coffee makers, and lots of other products beyond the beard. Their picks surprised and inspired me, and I hope you’ll feel the same. Away we go with the first two contributors!

Photo by Jess Smith of Lady Flashback

At the holiday Indie Craft Experience, the prints of ranch homes in my booth reeled in the dapper Cameron Adams. We connected over midcentury architecture, and he introduced me to his Atlanta street style blog. While he expressed no interest in snapping my picture, I’m going to take this as a challenge instead of a snub. Coming in 2015: more daring hair and outfits! (Just teasing, sweet Cameron.) But enough about me — let’s find out what this southern gentleman wants for Christmas!


1. Cyclist’s leather trouser strap by Brooks England // 2. 1960s mohair sweater from Rusty Zipper // 3. Vintage gold-foiled barware from Montage // 4. Museum of Design Atlanta membership // 5. Photographer Slim Aaron’s midcentury book about pretty people making a splash

On the next page, see the wish list of a marketing man who’s choosy about his coffee and socks.

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