DIY Personalized Christmas Gifts


DIY Personalized Christmas gifts

The most treasured of gifts are the homemade ones.  The most expensive gift is not as treasured as the one made with love.  It’s what we all think makes our holiday special.  Holiday treasures are around us in our homes and all it takes is a scanner to create a personalized holiday gift.  These four personalized holiday gifts will make everyone in your family feel so very special!


Family Recipes

Imagine your family’s treasured recipes preserved together in a family cookbook.  Not only will you enjoy the goodies, you can also feel the love seeing the handwritten notes of your family member.   Choose a group of goodies that are especially meaningful.  Don’t be overly ambitious about quantity and limit your total recipes to no more than 50.  You can categorize your recipes by appetizer, main dish, side dish or dessert.  Your Family Recipe book can be kept digitally online or published as a book.


Keepsake Correspondence Collection and Genealogy Book

How often we receive letters and cards that we keep that have special meaning for us.  These treasured correspondences would be wonderful as a collection.  Scan in letters, cards, certificates and other memorabilia for someone you love. Give these as a book or a set of digital files.  What a wonderful way to celebrate a life well lived!


Tabletop Art Book

You have this year or possibly even years of artwork from your kids.  Why not create a personalized holiday gift of art for your family?  Grandparents treasure a book filled with their grands coloring, drawing and art.  Have your child and you work together.  Choose art work wisely and keep 20 items for scanning.  You can scan these or take a photo with your smart phone.  Upload this to make a hard cover coffee table book as a gift.


Antique Photo Collection Display

Take a trip down memory lane with a family antique photo collection. Perhaps it’s a collage to display on a wall. Maybe it’s a collection of frames in a hall way.  Or it could be a family photo book. With leading the way, family genealogy is a favorite.   Choose 5 family photos to group together. These could be your dad in his navy uniform, your parents at their wedding and their 50th anniversary, or you and your siblings throughout the years in Christmas photos.  Sharing family photos keeps your family connected in a special way.



There are many creative ways to use your scanner.  Take advantage of this tool to make your holiday gift giving special.  What ways are you using your scanner this holiday season?


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Easy stress free homemade holiday treats

easy stress free homemade holiday treats



Sharing homemade gifts is a part of holiday traditions.  Our family favorites include toffee bars, holly cookies, oyster crackers and pretzel bites.  These are quick to prepare and easy to wrap.  I make up several batches and share them with family, friends and clients.  I love sharing these easy stress free homemade holiday treats with you this holiday season.


easy holiday toffee bars


holly cookies easy to make and share

Oyster Cracker


Pretzel bites


Add a link in the comments with your favorite easy homemade holiday treats!


Holiday fun on Pinterest!


8 Ways to have a Stress Free Holiday




stress free holiday


It’s easy to be overwhelmed at holiday time. There’s so many activities, so much to accomplish and so many ways to get off track.  Added together, these take away holiday fun.  Staying focused on holiday joy requires holiday organizing.  Choose one of these 8 simple tips for less stress this holiday season.



1. Get a good night’s rest

Life is better with a good night’s sleep.  With so much to do we become bedtime procrastinators and stay up late to get more done.  We get too focused on a small part of holiday preparations.  Be sure to get in bed to get 8 hours of rest.

2. Keep it simple Santa

It’s hard to know what’s enough.  Are there enough presents under the tree? Are there enough lights on the tree?  Simplifying gifts, decorations and even the number of cookies for your exchange makes for more joy at the holidays.

3. Holiday happenings

The holiday season can be when we are really over committed.    Add all your events and your family events to one calendar to be sure you can attend what is most important to you.  Be sure to commit to only those activities with meaning for you and your family.   If you don’t want to be a part of a cookie exchange or attend Handel’s Messiah, graciously decline the invitation.

4. Lists and more lists, either paper or digital

As Santa says, making a list and checking it twice.  Lists are what is needed to be sure no details are overlooked.  My personal favorites that are simple to use are Evernote and Notes.  (Evernote is the green elephant looking app and Notes is the post it note looking app.)  I update it all year along with holiday purchases so I know what I have and what I need.

5. Share the fun by partnering with your family and friends

When you are sharing a job with others, you feel the connection to each other and your work is faster, easier and often with a better result.  Get everyone in on the holiday decorating by hosting a decorating party with snacks and music.  Share the work by asking who wants to do what job.  Everyone wants a job they enjoy.

6. Share joy by doing for others

There is so much need in our community. Whether it’s helping assembling bikes, helping purchase toys or simply asking someone to share your holiday meal, holiday are more meaningful when you are helping others. Include your children in sharing toys with others by choosing an angel that is their age to purchase toys for.

7. Find resources that help make your season merry and bright.

Decorating, baking and food preparation take a lot of time and energy.   This year may be a good time to hire a home decorator, purchase cookies from a local baker on Facebook, or purchase goodies at the grocery store.  If too many obligations keep you from finding holiday joy, delegate one or more parts of holiday preparation.  It’s a gift you give yourself.

8. Immerse yourself in your spirituality

Holidays are truly about spirituality.  Reading your devotional and sharing these stories with your children bring you back to the reason for the holiday.  Spend a few minutes each evening sharing the meaning of the holidays.  Reflection and meditation are important parts of everyone’s day year round.


My wish for you is to find joy and magic in this season of gathering together.  Wishing you a stress free holiday!



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One of my favorite tools for organizing and money is  This site helps you get a clear picture of where you are spending your money, helps you create a budget, and consolidates information so you can prioritize using your resources wisely.  It’s not always simple to understand your money, but Mint makes it easy to be good with your finances.


This week I am honored to be interviewed by Mint.  Check it out!


If you think getting organized is only for Type A, Martha Stewart sorts, then maybe you haven’t heard the biggest perk of attacking that mountain of paperwork and deploying your label maker: unearthing lost funds.

“My clients and I always find money when we are organizing!” says Ellen Delap, certified professional organizer and family manager coach.  ‘


Learn more about how I help coach clients with their money in this interview.

Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons!

with gratitude during the holidays


Wishing you a holiday season filled with hope, love, joy, kindness, comfort, gratitude, laughter and friendship! 

I am grateful for our connection!


Gratitude Ralph Waldo Emerson



Our holiday season begins with a holiday of gratitude.  I love these quotes and wanted to share them with you.  Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with an abundance of blessings and gratitude.


Gratitude Sarah Ban Breathnach



Gratitude Oprah


Gratitude Maya Angelou



Sharing with you Turkey Day times on pinterest.


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Baskets, Bins and Boxes

baskets, bins and boxes organizing products


Organizing is certainly not about the baskets, bins and boxes. Having the perfect bins does not make for a perfectly organized home.  Baskets, bins and boxes can help you categorize, store and contain though.  Many times there are already containers that you have in your home that you can reuse and recycle to get organized.  Already handy and products you love, baskets, bins and boxes can be used many different ways to organize your home.



  • Baskets are attractive storage inside a closet, on a shelf or on the floor.
  • Best for toys, crafts, scarves, or shoes at the back door.
  • Open baskets make it easy to drop items in.


Bins, especially clear bins

  • Bins are durable, water proof storage and can be used inside or out.
  • Best for pantries, garages, or bathrooms.
  • Plastic bins should not be too big for you to move when filled.



  • Shoe boxes are inexpensive organizers.  These are uniform and have lids for easy stacking.
  • Best for over flow office and school supplies, extra travel size toiletries, or kids’ keepsakes under a bed.
  • Boxes can get out of control easily. Set a number to keep and recycle the rest.


 Generally speaking

  • Gather all your options together.  See how many of the same types of containers you have.  Use similar size, shape or color containers in the same spot to organize. Consistent containers make for a more organized appeal of that space.
  • Use attractive containers throughout your home or office. Use clear containers behind doors, inside cabinets, or under sinks.
  • Always use one container for one category you are organizing.  Single category organizing makes it easier to maintain.
  • Label your containers.  Even if you can see in the container,  a label makes it clear what it contains.  Key tags tied with string, chalk board labels and binder clips


Tempted by a new basket, bin or box?  Keep a small area where these can be stored for you to easily find and use what you have first.  Yes, you can have too many organizing products. Be sure to keep just what you love and use.  You can donate your unloved products because someone out there will love those!


Upcycling and recycling are everywhere!  Check out my pinterest board on Sentimental Clutter. 


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Organizing quotes I love

wait for inspiration, get up and go work

5 Basic Rules of Organizing

5 basic rules of home organizing



Wouldn’t it be nice to know the rules when you start a new project? When you put together that new bookshelf, it would be great if there were big bold letters that tell you to double check the front and back of the segments?  Or when you are making a new dish, would you love to know that no matter what it will be delicious?  When I think about organizing, I think there are some basic concepts that will lead to your success.  Here are my favorite 5 basic rules of organizing.


Eliminate what you don’t love or use.

It seems simple enough this rule. What interferes are the “what if’s” in life. What if I need it in a year? What if I lose 5, 10 or 15 pounds?  We can “what if” ourselves into keeping everything.  If you truly love an item, but have not used it, keep it in a less accessible spot.  It’s possible to eliminate what you don’t use or love using the 4 box method.  Get clarity with this rule and your organizing will yield great results.


Store items at their point of use

The concept of keeping items where they are used frequently is nothing new. A little creative storage can be a good thing.  Keeping items at their point of use means you can easily find what you need and easily put it away.  You can create zones in a room to help you stay organized too.  The kitchen is a great area to keep zones in mind. The breakfast zone is where the bowls and cereal are stored together.  The coffee zone is where the Kcups, mugs and sweetener are.  You get the idea that storing what you use together makes life easier.

Create limits and boundaries

When there are no limits, stuff becomes chaotic and stuff is everwhere.  Having natural limits and boundaries for your stuff makes it easier to be organized.  Your clothes limits include your dresser and closet.  Keeping  within these limits helps you with maintenance too.  There’s less laundry to put away.  Create natural boundaries with storage for items in your home or office.  Have one drawer for extra office supplies, one location to keep school supplies and one shelf for extra pantry items.

paper get rid of it. you know you want to


Get rid of paper. You know you want to.

Paper has us all overwhelmed! It’s the number one organizing project in almost everyone’s home.  Our goal is not to store paper, but to get rid of as much as possible.  Seek out other options for the information on paper.  Can you find that information somewhere else?  Can you make a note in Evernote instead?  How long do you need to keep that paper?  Use this chart to help you eliminate more paper.


Keep it simple sweetie

By far my favorite mantra to share!  Keep it all simple, whether it is stuff you are doing, stuff you are organizing, relationships you are in, and ways to live your best life.  How do we keep it simple? By shedding the excess stuff, by eliminating toxic relationships, and finding ways to live life simply.


Check out how these organizing rules come together on my Pinterest board Home Sweet Organized Home.


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Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

failing to prepare, preparing to fail.  Benjamin Franklin

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