2017 Planner – Create Your Own!


Now that we’re in the 4th quarter, the New Year is just around the corner. It’s time to start planning your 2017 planner!

Get ready for a fantastic and successful 2017 by getting your very own personalized planner set up for exactly the way you need it! Don’t spend a lot of money for a “cookie cutter” planner that you might use for a couple of months and then get bored with it. Set up your own planner that is customized around the way YOU work and features a design style that attracts you so that you get into it every day and stick with your plan!

You can learn how to do this step by step with my class “Create Your Own Planner Essentials“.

free printable plannerIn this class I provide you with links to tons of free stuff to make your own planner such as free 2017 calendar printables. I also teach how to craft your own planner cover page, make your own planner dashboard, create your own planner dividers, and more!

Be sure to check out my Planner Essentials Blog for cool free planner downloads and my DollarDigitals website for lots of awesome digital papers and printables to make an awesome planner that’ll keep you motivated all year long.

Happy Planning! Wishing you the most successful year ever!

Difference Makes Us!

This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated if you make a purchase through these links. All opinions are my own.

We’re all different, and that’s good! What makes you “you”? Who you are, where you live, the people you choose to spend your time with… and the things you love!

Everyone who knows me knows that I love the color purple, going to the beach, taking a relaxing stroll with my hubby, watching my son play, listening to classic rock from the 70s and 80s, and doing crafts! I’m different from you, you are different from me, and that’s great! No two of us are exactly alike. It would be so boring if we were…

Etsy is promoting “Difference Makes Us”. One of my favorite things about Etsy is that all of the products are made by small business people (like me).

Whenever possible I like to buy from mom-preneurs because… well, just because! For solidarity, you know!

I always find such creative things at Etsy, whether I’m looking for something for myself, my house or my family, or a gift for someone special.

Here are some of my current favorites from Etsy:


Boho style handmade wall hanging with butterfly, lace, feathers, hemp, wooden beads, driftwood, and natural cedar beads.

I love the purple and turquoise together with the neutral colors of the lace and driftwood.

These are handmade, so each one is slightly different. If you have specific requests please be sure to make note of them when you order.

il_570xn-1028117388_soobThis Boho Chic Ruffle Tunic in shades of purple has me really wishing my birthday would come a little early this year! It’s eclectic yet soft and feminine at the same time. Love it!

Most Etsy shops accept special requests, so if the size isn’t right or you’d like another color, just ask!


This Amethyst Floral Necklace and Earrings Set with glass leaves, Swarovski pearls and crystals is magically enchanting.

The leaves are variegated light amethyst coloring and greyish tan with a light purple patina.

Is it to early to write a letter to Santa? I’ve been a very good girl!

If you’re not into Boho or purple stuff, take a look at more great products with a “difference” at Etsy: Difference Makes Us!

Card Making: easy printable greeting cards

Recently I was introduced to an easy way to make greeting cards from printables. These are not your standard printable cards. They are printable card making kits that include not only the card front (also called a “card topper”) but typically they also include pieces that you cut out and stack on the main design piece to give the card a layered, handmade look.

The different layers can be added using double-sided foam tape or pre-cut “pop dots” that you peel off a roll or sheet, and affix to the back of the different layers so they stand out from the layer beneath. Card makers and crafters often add their own decorative bits to these cards, such as flat backed pearls or gems, ribbons and bows, etc.

The finished card topper is affixed to a blank card. Depending on the size of the card top you could use it as a hang tag for a gift bag instead, if you prefer.

I decided that I really like this type of card making, because I’m not that creative when it comes to traditional card making. I prefer to start out with a digital design (I’m much more savvy with digital), get it printed, and then start cutting out and sticking the pieces together.

Here are my first 2 designs:

Fairies printable card making kit (A4 or US Letter size) $2 at Etsy (click image for full details)
Fairies printable card making kit (click image for full details)
Shabby wedding / anniversary card making kit (click image for full details)

You can purchase blank cards at Amazon in a variety of sizes. If you would like these card tops in a smaller size, just print them off at 90%, 80%, etc. to fit the blank card of your choice.

Links to a few of my favorite sellers of printable card kits at Etsy:
GertisDesign   SnappyScrappy   TopTopperDownloads   WilmasArt

Here are some snapshots of a few of my favorite cards by the above designers:

printable card making kits 1printable cards 2

Farmhouse Sink

I was asked to share some photos of my farmhouse-style sink. It’s carved from a solid block of stone. The chinks and cracks that normally occur in natural stone have been spackled in a contrasting color, then the whole thing was sealed with paste wax. It’s over 6 years old and I haven’t had to re-wax it yet. I like the warm, casual look and the way it blends nicely with my natural Assisi stone countertops.

Pardon the strange angle of the photo. I had to practically stand inside the pantry to get the whole thing on camera. LOL!
Pardon the strange angle of the photo. I had to stand close to the wall to get the whole thing on camera.
Here’s a front view. Yes, there are dirty dishes in the sink. This is a home, not a magazine. LOL!

It’s not a perfect match with the Assisi stone tiles. I tend to be picky about colors matching (the stone of the sink tends toward pinkish beige and some of the stone tiles are yellowish), but when you see it all together with the travertine window sill, I think the overall effect is quite nice. Warm, cozy and informal… which is the look I wanted.

By the way, the faucet folds down when I need it to be out of the way. The window opens inward. Kind of a pain, but that is how they do windows here. The handle of the faucet used to have a pretty ceramic thingy on it, but I broke it and can’t find a replacement. The faucet is imported from Germany, and nobody seems to sell replacement parts. Oh well!

The linen curtains were handmade by my mother-in-law. She’s awesome with stuff like that.

Easy & Inexpensive Clothing Patterns for Babies, Children & Women

easy sewing patterns with european style

This post contains affiliate links.

If you like to sew your own clothes like I do, whether to save money, choose your own styles and colors, or have the ability to make size adjustments before sewing, I recommend Zierstoff. It’s a somewhat new company started by two moms: one who loves to sew (Ilka), and the other who is just starting out (Joanna).

For example, this Baby Onesie Pattern is so cute and it’s easy to make, even if you are just learning to sew.

The patterns are perfect for both experts and beginners. They’ve also made some helpful videos that show you how to easily perform the most “difficult” steps. You can find the links to their videos on the Zierstoff site (navigate to the Videos page, found in the menu bar).

Check the sidebar for most recent coupons… ==>

Here are just a few previews of the patterns you’ll find at Zierstoff (they even have several FREE patterns!)

download baby sewing patterns

easy patterns for sewing kids clothes

easy sewing patterns for women

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Zierstoff, and will earn a small commission on any purchase you make through my links. All opinions are my own.

Creating Custom Birthday Cakes Without a Big Budget Or Magic Wand

wreck-it-ralph birthday cake

What do you do when your child asks for a birthday cake that is completely out of the “norm”? Sure, it’s easy to find stuff for Frozen, but what if your kid wants a Wreck it Ralph birthday cake several years after the movie was released, and tons of people have never even HEARD of Wreck-it-Ralph ???

This actually happened to me, and yes, I lived to tell the story. LOL!

Wreck it Ralph cake
My 3 layer “Wreck it Ralph” birthday cake featuring screenshot of the online game for kids.

Here’s my “Wreck it Ralph” cake. Turned out pretty nice, if I do say so myself. My kid was thrilled, the other kids were salivating like Pavlov’s dogs when they saw all of the candy, the dads were all wildly complimentary of my skills, and the moms were all soooo jealous! Plus hubby was like “yeah, my wife’s a genius”…(huge satisfaction for me, to hear that!)

Sure, it took several hours to bake all the layers, and another full day to assemble, frost and decorate, but that is typical of me. I always go overboard, but it’s worth it if my child is happy.

My biggest challenge for this cake was that there were not many “pro” examples available on the web, and ZERO cake topper thingies available to make it easy.

So, I decided to focus more on the Sugar Rush part of the movie, using lots of cookies, candies, marshmallows and small desserts (such as frosted and sprinkled cream puffs) to decorate the cake.

The upper level of the cake is a “cobblestone” courtyard (amaretti cookies dipped in melted chocolate and then in sprinkles) with a Jordan-almond pathway that leads to the front door of the apartment building where Fix-it Felix and his neighbors live. I did NOT want to be bothered with making a 3D version of the multi-storied building, so I took a screenshot of the online game and had it made into a photo.

To get the photo to stand up nice and straight, I taped long wooden barbecue sticks (shish-kabob sticks) to the back of it and then taped it to cardboard from a cereal box. I poked the sticks into the cake to secure the photo in position.

I assembled and decorated the cake on a heavy-duty plastic tray (like bakeries use), since it was quite heavy and needed to be transported to the party location.

The year before we had a pirate theme, and I ended up doing 2 cakes for that, since 1 would not have been enough for our guests. I’ll blog about that one soon, as I think you’ll enjoy them!

Marcy Coate may be compensated by some or all of the companies/products mentioned or recommended on this website, in distributed materials, and in newsletters.