How I Paid for Christmas This Year

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Every year I stress about paying for Christmas presents. I think with my emotions, hormones and all girly feelings when it comes to buying things for other people... and buying Kate Spade goodness for myself :)  My husband goes with the do we need it or do we just want it way of thinking. The answer is almost always NO we don't need it to the Christmas type of purchases. So last January, I was spending hours in a hotel while we waiting for our house to be built and I was gaining inspiration on Pinterest for the upcoming year and I found the most amazing idea... Saving a little each week and then I could use that money saved for Christmas presents. The idea that they proposed was a way to actually save money and put it away in your savings, but saving it for covering our Christmas presents expenses was a better fit for me.

I found this printable through Fresh and Organized. You can click on the photo to visit her blog and download the printable
So each week (well most weeks) I put away the amount of money on the chart. I had to borrow a little from the jar over the months and then replenished as I could. I needed up with about $800 at the end of the year. You can see that you can save a lot more if you stick to it each week and don't take from the pot through the year.

It sounds like a lot of money and when you look at the total, you think dang who needs to spend $800 on Christmas presents. But there are 5 of us and then a small circle of family and friends to buy for... and teachers, etc.

The day after Thanksgiving, I sat at the kitchen table and came up with a budget for each kid.  Since two of mine are older (13 and 9) it helped them to understand what they were working with for Santa.  We all made our lists and I made a Note on my iPhone to keep it all organized and could get started shopping. I've done a pretty good job of sticking to the budget and reminding myself to stay away from impulse buys of junk that the kids don't need anyway and spend more time on meaningful gifts that keep us from feeling like we killed our budget with the holidays.

I'm really excited to get started on saving for next year. I'm even thinking about doing two of them... maybe.

I hope that you are having a wonderful December and are almost ready for Santa.

Michelle

Very Merry Christmas Home Tour 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I am so excited to be featured along with 30+ other amazing and creative bloggers in the Very Merry Christmas Home Tour. Thank you to Carrie, from Lovely Etc. for inviting me to take part in the tour this year! You can follow me on Pinterest or Instagram to see what I'm up to throughout the year.

Christmas Home Tour Teaser

Monday, December 1, 2014


It's that time!! Time for another round of home tours. My home tour will be posted on Thursday, but you will find links to all of the amazing bloggers who are opening up their homes below. Make sure that you visit them and leave lovingly sweet comments. I hope that everyone is having fun getting ready for Christmas festivities. 

Chalkboard Class FUN

Sunday, October 5, 2014


This weekend I had the amazing opportunity to teach a fun Chalkboard Lettering Art class at a beautiful local boutique. I adapted a cute Halloween inspired design that I have used on one of my large chalkboards.

Michelle Lea Designs: Fall Home Tour 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Happy Fall!! The air is cooler and I've been dreaming of apple cider and falling leaves. It's still warm here in Oklahoma, but the inside of my house is getting ready for Fall! Ariean from One Kreiger Chick and Nina from Everyday Enchanting invited me to join in the Fall Home Tour... I was so honored and excited to join in with so many other amazing bloggers. Make sure that you check out the other ladies tours for more awesome Fall ideas.

Fall Home Tour Sneak Peek

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tomorrow is going to be an awesome day at Michelle Lea Designs. It's Fall Home Tour day with the awesome One Krieger Chick and Everyday Enchanting!
FallHomeTourGraphic

Progress not Perfection Print

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Hello. I am so glad that Fall is starting to arrive. It has been football non-stop in our house for the boys. I jump in and out with conversations about the uniforms and get lots of eye rolling. I've been working on getting the house in shape for Fall decorations and an awesome Fall Home tour with One Krieger Chick and Everyday Enchanting in just 10 days!

I needed to fill two frames in my living room. I was running around all week like a crazy girl, trying to keep my head above water... when I came across this quote on Pinterest (is there any other place to get inspirations these days???)

Progress NOT Perfection. Simple and three perfect words. 

DIY Chalkboard: Back to School

Sunday, July 27, 2014


This is one of my favorite back to school posts and I wanted to repost and share it with you! I made this wonderful chalkboard for my daughter's teacher last year. We typically find out who the new teacher for the year a week before school starts, so just enough time to get a sweet personalized gift ready for those first days.

FREE Summer Prints and Postcards

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


School is out and my little girl said bye to her favorite friend this past weekend. That's the bummer of being a military kid. You're either leaving your friends behind or watching your friends move on to the next duty station.

Simplify

Saturday, June 21, 2014

So it has been forever.... or a little over a month since I posted here on the blog. I started this blog close to two years ago as a way to focus on something positive and happiness. I was going through a time of being a little lost and a lot of broken. I haven't kept up with a completely predictable posting schedule, but have posted in clumps as I had crafty and happy things to share. In the last few months life has gotten busy with family, work, and trying to launch my photography fully here in Oklahoma and the etsy shop. There are times that I feel the stress of having to post and so I decided to back off just a little and breath... to work on what matters and not force something to post about, when I'm just not feeling it at that moment. So I think it's time to work on a little change with the blog and get back to what really makes me happy and simplify a little.  So maybe there won't be as frequent postings, more of me- the imperfect me... who has her days that she is pretty broken... mixed in with some kick tail days that make me feel proud of where I am in life as a mom, creative girl and wife. So I hope that you will stick around and keep reading as it comes.

I've been taking a summer photography class and driving my family all around Oklahoma exploring. I'm working on a list... an Oklahoma Passport of the places we've been and want to go. A memento that we can look back at and keep track of our thoughts and impressions of a location. Maybe the kids will use it to record how mom stopped 30 times to take just one more picture on the side of the road or how my daughter exclaimed "I don't want to go to juvie mom" as I was carrying her past a no trespassing sign for the perfect photo. Summer is our chance to drive our kids crazy and their childhood wouldn't be nearly as fun if mom wasn't as crazy as she is. Be Bold :)

There are quite a few photos... hope that you enjoy them.
who sits in that building up on the tipy top of the grain elevator... I would die!

Crafty Party Printable: Goodie Bag Thank You Labels

Monday, May 19, 2014



This past weekend, I had an awesome time crafting with some wonderful ladies. We had a couple of kid free hours to craft away and catch up with each other. At the end of the day I gave each lady a little bag full of paper scraps, twine, buttons, and a cute Oklahoma print to make something cute to brighten their day. Maybe a bookmark or scrapbook embellishment. I attached a cute Thank You to the outside of the bag with washi tape. Today I am sharing a full page of these cute Thank You tags for your next crafting party.

Transcending- Cherish those in your life

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I posted this last year and tonight I feel like it is worth reposting.  My last comment speaks even louder to me a year later...
Cherish your girlfriends and the women in your life... build them up, rely on them, love and respect them... you never know when one of them may be gone from your life forever.
I hope that you enjoy this trip back in time with me-
I sat in the local YMCA tonight watching my daughter rock climb to the left and my son practice basketball to the right... trying to give them both equal attention...

Earlier last week, I had quickly grabbed the latest Real Simple magazine at the grocery store, but life had been busy and hadn't gotten around to reading it yet.  Tonight I got a chance to make it through the first 20 or so pages. I came across an article that was very inspiring to read and subsequently lead to scribbling down this blog post.  



Creative Wall Prints


A few weeks ago I shared this post over on One Krieger Chick and I'm so happy to be sharing it with you today.  It's a couple of creative and inspiring prints to brighten up your creative spaces and home. I believe strongly that staying positive and being kind to those in your life can make even the most difficult situations in life a little sweeter. I also love love love little inspirational prints for my office... which have slowly started to bleed over into my house. 

I feel like this first print has become my life mantra lately and I hope that it inspires you to be creative and enjoy life!

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