Daily Archives: December 14, 2010

Free Gift Tags

As the number of days between now and Christmas decreases, it seems the list of things to do before the magical day increases.  Anyone else with me on this feeling? 

With Handmade Christmas 2010 in full swing, I’m getting down to the nitty gritty – finishing up projects that have been in the works for months, adding the last details to my creations, and wrapping each present with tenderness and love ready to be shipped out to my family and friends across the nation. 

With an always expanding list of tasks, I am ever grateful for a spreadsheet Julie and I started this summer of crafty resources on the web – including a tab of free downloadable printables designed by some of the most genius creative minds we’ve come across.  As I spent some time wrapping gifts this week, I was especially thankful for the wide variety of gift tags and labels available for free download and printing! 

Here are 12 of my favorite designs, for your enjoyment, too:  

Classic House Scene (for your classic holiday)

Merry & Bright (a great added detail for Handmade Christmas Kitchen treats)

Simple & Stylish (and fits on an address label Avery sheet)

 Red or Green  (you can choose)

Adorable Designs (featuring an owl!)

Frosty Friends (because who doesn’t love a penguin?)

Vintage Styled (and oh, so charming)

Fun & Festive (for your gal pals)

Crave-Worthy (beyond belief)

Blush -Worthy (times ten)

Typography (you will swoon)

Perfection (from non-other than Martha)

Magical Simplicity

Hello THS Readers! I’m Laura from Becoming the Odd Duck. I’m here today to talk about something magical: simplicity.

Recently I wrote a post about how I’m trying to make my life more simple in really small ways. This is a task I’ve been working on for some time actually as I’ve been on a larger quest for happiness in my life.  I learned the hard way that bogging yourself down with things that don’t make you happy takes time from the things that do make you happy. These tips aren’t task oriented, such as “meal planning” but rather more introspective tasks that make you lighten the load you carry each day and change your behavior in life.

Here are four steps to a more simple life:

  1. Drop the drama. I say this first because in my mind, it’s the most important. And the hardest. Drama is a part of all our lives, but also we make the choice to participate in drama every day.

    I’ve learned that  at the end of the day you are the only person you control. If someone makes you mad, doesn’t do what you want or hurts your feelings – by all means – be mad. But know that eventually you have to move on, either by forgiving or forgetting that person. All the time spent between those two decisions (being mad/upset, fighting and holding onto it) creates drama and weighs you down every day. It’s so hard to either forgive or forget, but once you do – it’s one less thing you think about every day (read: worry about).

    Dropping the drama could be as simple as deleting someone on facebook (I talk about this in my blog) or telling someone they hurt your feelings. It also could be as simple as calling the person you are fighting with and telling them you want to move on, either with them or without them. It’s your choice.



  1. Do what makes you happy. Here is a challenge for you: Make a list right now of what makes you happy. Now make a list of the things that you spend the most time doing each day. Compare. Contrast. Sigh. I bet most of the things on the happy list aren’t on the done daily list, are they?

    Believe me, I get it. We all have priorities, obligations and responsibilities. But you also have the responsibility to yourself of enjoying your life. So drop the mundane junk that just wastes time and is unnecessary and pencil in some time for the things that make you happy. For example, I love to read. But I never “have time”. I do, however, find time to watch a lot of re-runs of sitcoms on TV each day. Guess what I need to do? It’s really that easy.

    Ultimately as you add more things to your life that make you happy, the less time there is for other things you do that weigh you down. Time is not fluid, it’s finite. So spend more time doing the things that make you smile. Spend less time doing things that make you unproductive, lazy or sad.



  1. De-clutter. There is something in your life right now that is cluttered and makes you crazy, whether you realize it or not. It could be physical clutter – like your junk drawer or messy closet. It could be emotional clutter like – “Hey dude, I’m mad at you but don’t want to tell you”. It could be drama clutter, like all those people you hate but secretly stalk on facebook (it’s time to delete them!). Finally it could be emotional clutter (death in family, breakup, illness, etc) that you are just avoiding.

    Whatever your clutter is, tackle it. Start small – schedule a little time each week to work on this clutter. Maybe it will require outside help like an encouraging friend or a psychologist. Whatever the clutter is start working on simplifying it. Then stick with your schedule. If you remove the clutter that is really bugging you (whether you notice how much it bugs you or not) you will feel like weight is being lifted from your shoulders. I promise this.



  1. Question yourself. I constantly ask myself questions like:
    1. “Do I really need that?”
    2. “Should I really be dwelling on this?”
    3. “Should I be wasting my energy on this?”
    4. “How can I eliminate this from my life?”

      By asking myself these questions daily, I am focused on maintaining a simple life. I am cognizant of what I’m allowing to weigh me down. A great example is when I got rid of my half my possessions about 2 years ago. I was seriously (not even lying) on the verge of being on an episode of hoarders during my early 20s. I sold my house, downgraded to an apartment and donated/sold half the stuff. I realized as I was getting rid of everything that a lot of things had tags, were pointless buys and contributed to my life feeling like havoc every day because my house was so messy. Since then I’m very cautious of the things I buy and only do so after I’ve asked myself these questions. To balance the inevitable new purchases a lot of times, I get rid of something old when I bring something new in.

too much


So those are just a few tips of how to make your life more simple. Ultimately, for me, a simpler life has led me to more happiness. I’ve found that the less I worry/focus/spend time on the things that don’t make me happy – the more time I have for the things that do make me happy. It’s definitely been hard. I’ve made sacrifices. I’ve had heart to hearts with myself when I really didn’t want to. And I’ve changed a lot of the core beliefs and actions I take each day. But I’ve found that simple is worth all the work because it’s led to happiness.

If you have any suggestions to add, feel free to leave them! If you have any questions or want to chat more on the subject – you can contact me at becomingtheoddduck@yahoo.com.