Today I’m joining up with Melissa at 320 Sycamore to share a few of my favorites things. Now this may seem like an ecclectic bunch of items…and it is. But my favorite things span all my hobbies and interests including my family’s hobbies and interests. These are items that we’ve used and have used and loved for a while. Tried and true. The best kind of recommendation. (This post contains affiliate links, disclosure here)
A couple years back I took an online modern calligraphy class. In that class I was introduced to so many different styles of brush pens. I cannot be more clear – all brush pens are not created equally and if you don’t have a quality pen, it will be hard to be consistent. My very favorite brush pen is made by Tombow and they come in all sorts of fun colors. Because they are a brush pen, over time they brush will start to fray just a bit and then its time to replace them. It helps to only use the pens on really smooth paper (my favorite marker paper is made by Canson).
I have a love hate relationship with toys. With 5 kids we’ve had so many toys come and go. Some toys I think are going to be a hit and they end up sitting on the shelf collecting dust, while other toys are used over and over again with every kid. Magformers are the favorite toy in our house. We were originally given a set as a gift and we’ve added to the set over the years. Unfortunately, they are pricey. In fact the price might deter you from purchasing – but I’m telling you – the kids love them. And the more you have, the more they can build with them. They can stick to your fridge and make patterns. At times I’ve had them in my church bag and they would stick them to the metal chairs in front of us. Bottom line: We’ve had them for 5 years and they’re still played with just as much today as they were 5 years ago.
If you’re up for some cheap holiday fun – pick up some of these Holiday Specs. They are paper glasses that transform Christmas lights into fun holiday shapes. It is such a simple idea, but it’s really quite magical and entertaining. They have all sorts of shapes, and it’s fun to experience all of them. Whether you’re driving the neighborhood or enjoying the tree in your living room – this will add some fun. The best way is to buy a variety pack so you can see several shapes. Buy some for you, drop some off at a neighbors house, buy a few more for you so your kids stop fighting over them!
If you know my husband Steve, you know he’s as traditional as they come. Black suit, with black socks, with black shoes. About a year ago he decided to go “wild” and start wearing colored/patterned socks with his suits. This was a big leap for him! But he hasn’t turned back. My favorite men’s sock is Stance. They have some crazy wild patterns but they also have some moderately wild socks and that’s where we’ve landed. 🙂 They have different fits for their socks but they all seem to be a little heavier and more cushion than typical dress socks.
I get asked this question all the time – my favorite place to print books (blog, photo, special event, etc) is blurb. I’ve printed with a lot of companies and Blurb.com is the best quality for the money. They often have promotions so I typically finish a book and then sit on it until they have a good promotion – which has been about monthly. As it gets closer to Christmas they’ll have some 40% off and even a 50% off.
I typically don’t like any books that have moving pieces/pop ups that my child will ultimately rip and ruin. Robert Sabuda books are the exception – and for our family they’re special occasion books which are supervised. I was introduced to Robert’s work while studying graphic design in college and his use of white and negative space in his pop-ups is mind blowing. I marvel as to how he designed these books. We have a couple of his books but every Christmas eve you’ll find us reading Twas the Night Before Christmas (Steve’s family tradition) with our Robert Sabuda pop-up. Really, any of his work is amazing. You won’t be disappointed.
This is a staple for the church bag and roadtrips. Each kid as their own board and everyone is happy that way. We have multiple versions but my favorite is the scribble and play version – we have three of them. It comes with some extra writing tools and when you write on it it’s rainbow. I suppose I should admit that I often steal my kid’s board at church and practice my handwriting with quotes from the lessons and talks!
BOSE NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES:
I bought these for Steve as a gift a couple years back and he fell in love. So much so when I wanted to borrow them earlier this year for a three day school field trip with Hallie – he kindly declined my request and he got me some for mother’s day. I loved them on the school field trip, I loved them even more on our long summer road trip. I use them all the time. Steve has the wireless, I have the wired because they were cheaper. You can imagine my disappointment when I got a new phone with the lightning port and no headphones jack! I tried the little lightning port adaptor and it didn’t work consistently and I lost control of adjusting volume and pausing from the headphones itself. Luckily, Bose is willing to exchange them (for a cost), which is better than having a pair of fairly new, expensive headphones that are no longer compatible.
Woodworking is in my blood and although I have many tools that are near and dear to my heart and could write a whole favorites post on that alone – this little tool packs a might punch. It’s used on every project. Literally. You may think you have no need for this, but you do! It’s an accurate way to measure small areas and it locks into place to make sure measurements stay even. And it has a little built-in level which comes in handy.
This is a book I read a while ago – then read it again and it’s one I think about often. The pursuit of finding what’s most important in daily life and making that the priority. Of course, I have to keep reading and referencing it because life gets jumbled and busy in no time, but this book will make you think. It’s makes you evaluate what’s working and what’s not working. Love it.
We love playing spikeball – and we think we’re way better than we are. When my family gathers we log so many hours playing this game. We’ve ruined countless patches of grass in the process and we’ve learned it’s best played at the park!
That’s my favorites list! There’s a whole line up of blogs sharing their favorite things with 320 Sycamore. Go check it out and see what else needs to be added to your Christmas list! 😉
12 on Main
Creations by Kara
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Kara! So fun to see you on my sister’s blog. Your family is adorable. Glad all is going well with you.
Okay that is crazy because I had no idea your relation to Melissa! How funny and small is our world?? And now that I know, I think of course they’re sisters – they look a lot alike!
Hello Kara! What a great list! We love spikeball and magformers and love Robert Sabuda as well. Do you know if Blurb still print blogs into books? I really need to do that with our family blog! Thanks so much for a wonderful post ♥
Thanks for inviting me to play along, I had so much fun making my list and limiting it to my tried and true favorites. Unfortunately, Blurb got rid of the blog printing feature a few years back and I don’t think they introduced anything to replace the feature. I design my book in InDesign and then upload the PDF. It’s tedious and time consuming but it as my best option to get them printed to my standard. 🙂
Also, your sister Kelsey made the connection that you two are sisters and I had no idea. Its a small world because we were in Milwaukee together – too fun!
What online calligraphy class did you take? Would you recommend it? I’m looking for one for my teenage daughter.
My daughter and I took an online class from handlettereddesign.com. You can work at your own pace and you can watch it over and over again – it really lit a fire in both of us!