Share the Love: DIY Stamped Tea Towel

Valentine's Day DIY Stamped Tea Towel Craft
Ever since my stint in the south, my heart gets just a little more excited about the holidays. Southerners love to celebrate special events with themed trinkets and decor. One decor trend I’m particularly fond of is the seasonal tea towel – Christmas trees in December, little American flags in July. I like it because it brings a little bit of flair to my kitchen, but is still useful. I’m not one for knick knacks, since counter space is too precious in the Malinowski household.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought it’d be fun to create my own decorative tea or dish towels…a little throwback to my southern “roots.” While Nick and I don’t really do anything to celebrate, I love using Valentine’s Day as a reason to celebrate all the other loves in my life: friends, family, and great coworkers. This project is an easy and affordable gift that any girl in your life will love.

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DIY Stamped Tea Towel
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Supplies

Plain flour sack dishtowels
Sponge
Sharpie
Scissors
Acrylic paint
Small dish
Sheets of thick scrap paper
Optional: Hot glue gun, Rick rack
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Valentine's Day DIY Stamped Tea Towel Craft

Start by picking out your paint colors and gathering your materials. I went with the classic Valentine’s Day theme of pink and red, but you can roll with any color combo you want.

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Valentine's Day DIY stamped tea towel craft

Use your sharpie to sketch your stamp shapes onto the top of your sponge. Make sure you keep the comparative size of your dish towel in mind. Don’t over think it! Sponge stamps do not lend themselves to detail or perfection. Embrace that handmade look, y’all!

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Valentine's day DIY stamped tea towel craft

Once your stamps are cut, pour your paint into a small dish. Then cut and insert a thick piece of paper behind the front panel of the dishtowel to prevent the paint from seeping through. Alternatively you could spread the towel out, but I like being able to see how the final design will look. I suggest only stamping the front to keep the towel functional. Any section that’s painted won’t absorb water. Let your stamps absorb the paint for about 5 seconds before stamping them onto the fabric. Make sure to press down firmly and let the paint dry for at least 5 minutes before touching. 

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Valentine's Day DIY Stamped Tea Towel Craft

I had extra rick rack around the house that I simply hot glued to the bottom for some extra flare. I originally cut a piece to just lay across the front, but ended up gluing it along the bottom of the front side. Adding a strong of pom-poms would also be cute.

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Valentine's Day DIY stamped tea towel craft

Despite their imperfections, I think they’re just darling! I can’t wait to send a couple sets in the mail later this week as a little southern surprise for my friends.

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Do you have any special plans for Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day this year? Last year Mil and I spent the day together. True love.
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XOXO,
Jules

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What Does Love Look Like?

This past Friday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, citing the liberties protected by the fourteenth amendment. Most of my friends were teary on Friday, Mil and I certainly were. Nick and I have several sets of friends directly impacted by this decision, most likely everyone does. As I read Justice Roberts’ opinion and followed the news coverage over the weekend, I found myself thinking about love: how people choose to define it, what it looks like. Love is not the neat package we see in our favorite rom-coms; it’s messy and full of different shapes, sizes, and genders. We don’t normally get political around here, nor do we intend to, but just this once I had to take the time to celebrate the love and pure joy of this moment in history. #lovewins
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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26:  Arielle Cronig (L) and Elaine Cleary embrace outside of the U.S. Supreme Court after the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage June 26, 2015 in Washington, DC. The high court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 26:  A couple celebrates upon hearing the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage in City Hall June 26, 2013 in San Francisco, United States. The high court struck down DOMA, and will rule on California's Prop 8 as well.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


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XOXO,
Jules
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sources: 1/2/3/4/5/6

On Celebrating Both Marriage and Friendship

Yesterday, Nick and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. He cooked a nice meal and we spent the night reflecting on our highs and lows from the past year. We’re low-key like that. Sorry I don’t have pictures from an exotic vacation to share. You’ll have to head over to another blog for that!

One of the things I love about our marriage is how interconnected it is with some of my closest friendships. My friends have played a key role in our journey as a couple, and it’s something that I will treasure for the duration of our marriage (which better be forever).

Little known fact: Mil knew I was getting engaged months before I did. After about a year of dating, Nick and I started talking about marriage. Of course in classic Julia/Nick style, I was thinking about something happening in three-five years, while he was thinking about something happening in the much more immediate future. Unbeknownst to me, he reached out to Mil on Facebook and asked for her help finding the perfect engagement ring. Since I’d never fantasized about my dream ring, they had very little to work from. They went back and forth looking at different designs and then magically sent each other the same ring. The same ring! I still love thinking about it today. It’s a wonderful thing when your husband-to-be and your bestie get together to plan your future happiness.
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Nick and Mil, post brunch at Lowell’s. For some reason we were visiting Seattle in the spring, instead of the usual Christmas trip. I’m a big fan of Mil’s hair in this picture.

 

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Mil delivering her Maid of Honor speech at the wedding. While I’m smiling in the background, about three minutes later I started sobbing. Thank goodness for waterproof mascara.

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Once the ring was designed and purchased, Nick popped the actual question while we were on a couples trip to Charleston with my good friend Veronica and her fiancé Alex. I had no idea it was coming. All I knew was that I wanted to spend as much time with Veronica as humanly possible. Nick proposed during sunrise on the first morning of the trip, and almost immediately after saying “yes,” I dive-bombed into Veronica and Alex’s bed. I may have been screaming at the top of my lungs. Poor Alex. I forced Nick to let Veronica come with us on a romantic walk on the beach, followed by a celebratory breakfast feast. We spent the rest of the weekend goofy with joy. And while I would have originally thought I would want to celebrate our decision privately, it was actually so much better have a girlfriend to share in my excitement. Veronica and I both took a similar path finding our life partners, so it felt right having her there to see things come full circle.

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veronicaatbeach1

On Folly Beach right after getting engaged. I look so awkward in this picture…

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Balancing both romantic love and platonic love can be tricky. Everyone says all the time that “marriage takes work,” which is without a doubt true. But, I think less often we acknowledge that strong friendships require work as well. Maintaining meaningful longterm friendships requires making extra effort to stay close despite miles of distance, and having to work through rough patches. It can be a lot of work, and I’ve seen many female friendships shift after husbands and babies come into the picture. No one is necessarily to blame. We get put into tough situations where there’s just not enough of us to go around, so we have to make hard choices.

I feel lucky that so far I haven’t had to choose between one or the other – my husband or my friends. My husband understands how important my friendships are to me and has intentionally made them a part of our story. I’m also lucky to have friends that are unbelievably supportive of me and my relationship with my husband. They are invested in our success and having that support makes all the difference.

So this year and every year, as I reflect on our marriage, I will be thinking not just about my husband, but about everyone else who has helped support and strengthen our relationship.

XOXO,
Jules

This Valentine’s Day, Give the Gift of Time

gift of timeValentine’s Day is quickly approaching. Now that you have your cards picked out, thanks to Mil, I thought I’d weigh in on gift giving.

I’m pretty sure Valentine’s Day is the third most commercial holiday, after Christmas and Halloween. Now that it’s less than a week before the big day, the retail industry is starting to hit us hard with commercials and displays hawking expensive heart-shaped jewelry, giant bouquets of roses, and chocolate as symbols of our undying love and devotion. I can barely step into my local Walgreens without being hit in the face (sometimes literally) with shiny helium balloons and overstuffed pink teddy bears. While gifts can certainly be incredibly special, this year’s round of splashy ads has gotten me thinking more about this holiday, and how I share and show my love.

In this day and age of smartphones, ipads, video games, and laptops, it’s become easy to spend time next to your loved ones without spending time with them. The husband and I frequently sit next to each other on our couch separately engaged in skimming Facebook or catching up on blogs. It’s become normal to see a family sitting silently at a restaurant, occupied by their phones while they wait for their meal.

With this in the back of my mind, this year the most meaningful gift I can think of giving is simply spending purposeful time together. Setting aside the phones, turning off the TV, and going on a proper old fashioned date. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that I prefer doing things with (or for) my loved ones. After all, nothing says “I love you” like actually wanting to spend time together!

This Saturday, the husband and I aren’t able to do anything special, so I’ve been keeping track of a few fun date ideas for the hopefully near future. Here are a few from my list:
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1.  Making our own brie. I won’t be able to eat any of it, but baby, that’s love. 

brie

2. Venturing out to the Chainsaw Carving School to pick up something fun. I’m thinking a giant gnome statue? 

chainsaw carving

3. Brewing our own beer at Gallaghers’ Where U Brew. I know we could just do it at home, but this seems more fun! 

gallaghers

4. Co-dominating a Tough Mudder race. If we can survive this together, we can survive anything! 

toughmudder

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Don’t these sound fun?! Maybe some more than others…. I just can’t wait to be old and grey, surrounded by goofy photos of us soaked in mud or squeezing cheese curds. I’d much rather have a house full of crazy pictures and mementos than heart-shaped diamond pendants. Granted, I lose things constantly, so even if Nick gave me a necklace every year, we’d never have a houseful!

Of course I still believe that gifts can be meaningful and memorable, and I certainly still like receiving them! Quality of time is just how I like to share my love for my husband, my family, and my friends.

How do you like to show and share your love? What are you doing this Valentine’s Day?

XOXO,
Jules

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Photo sources: 1/2/3/4

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