Making a List, Checking it Twice…. My New Tool for Holiday Gift Planning

Holiday Gift Tracker | Making a list and checking it twice.... It's so helpful to have a chart to help you stay organized with gift brainstorming and budget planning around the holidays! Visit thinkingcloset.com to learn how you get your hands on your own tracker!

I was feeling uncharacteristically relaxed about my holiday gifts this year.  We spent Thanksgiving with Mark's family this year, which means we're not doing Christmas gifts.  And my family is keeping it simple with small stocking-stuffer gifts. However, when I started to think of all the neighbors and co-workers and friends for whom we want to give a little something, I realized I needed to get my game face on and get focused.  Christmas is coming, people.  And apparently the goose is Read more

5 Ways to Boost Your Decorating Confidence

5 Ways to Boost Your Decorating Confidence | Because there's no good reason why we need to let intimidation hold us back any longer. It's time to make our houses homes! And here are some actionable ways you can enjoy the process of discovering your inner decorator! via thinkingcloset.com

Can I be honest with y'all for a moment? Most days, I feel like a decorating dunce, haphazardly throwing together a few picture frames with outdated photos and random knick knacks atop a dusty surface, so that it looks like I tried. Tea candles are my safety blanket.  Mason jars are my cliche.  And admittedly, I couldn't pull together a Christmas house tour this year because the thought of getting even just our living room in decent enough shape to take photos just plain overwhelmed me. Read more

DIY Rustic Pallet Christmas Tree & Silhouette Giveaway!

DIY Rustic Pallet Christmas Tree | A do-able step-by-step tutorial for creating your own Rustic Christmas Tree out of pallet wood and embellished using your Silhouette machine. FREE cut file included!

Last week, I came to Mark with a glint in my eye, and an idea for a collaborative project.  As soon I showed him my sketch and told him it would be made out of pallet wood, he jumped on board to help me make this vision a reality.  And I cannot wait to share it with you. I give you: our Rustic Pallet Christmas Tree! Today, I'm going to give you the run-down for how Mark built the tree and how I embellished it using my handy dandy Silhouette machine.  Then at the end of this post, Read more

Glitter-Dipped Gift Tags

Glitter-Dipped Gift Tags | A simple way to add some rustic glam goodness to your brown paper packages this holiday season.  I just love how easy this tutorial is!

Brown paper packages tied up with string.... ...truly are some of my favorite things! The only way to improve upon them?  Combine them with some glittery kraft paper gift tags, and you have some gift wrap guaranteed to wow your recipient with their rustic glam goodness. The Inspiration Now, you've seen the gold-dipped table legs, right? And the glitter-dipped mugs? Well, I got to thinking, why couldn't create the same fabulous look with some Glitter-Dipped Gift Tags?!  And I turned Read more

Christmas Tree Gift Boxes: FREE Printable

Create your own Christmas Tree Gift Boxes out of paper! Perfect for stocking stuffers, co-worker gifts, jewelry, or even a gift at each place setting for Christmas dinner. Grab your FREE printable template at thinkingcloset.com

What's better than teeny tiny thoughtful gifts for those you love this holiday? Well, wrapping them in teeny tiny adorable gift boxes you made out of scrapbook paper, of course! And this creative gift wrap idea works for everyone because today, I have a FREE cut file for the Silhouette users as well as a FREE printable for the scissorhands in the bunch...so stick around! Now, some of you may be scratching your heads right now because these cutie Christmas Tree Gift Boxes are looking Read more

Epic Silhouette Holiday Sale & Parody Music Video!

"Cutting in a Crafting Wonderland" Parody Music Video by Lauren from The Thinking Closet | For lovers of their Silhouette machine...as well as those who have one on their wish list. Here's a lil entertainment for ya in honor of the EPIC Holiday Silhouette Sales running 11/27 - 12/8! via thinkingcloset.com

Today is the very first day in the EPIC Holiday Sales over at *SilhouetteAmerica.com, and not only am I going to give you a full run-down of all the extra special deals, but I am going to offer you some in-flight entertainment as well.  (Would you expect any less?) My Silhouette Cameo is my absolute favorite crafting tool of all time.  I've created over 60 projects with my machine in just about 2 years, and the inspiration never ends. I get all amped up about Silhouette's annual holiday Read more

Silhouette Portrait Giveaway for 2 Winners!

Giveaway for 2 Silhouette Portrait Machines for 2 Winners | Nov 24 - 28 at thinkingcloset.com | So excited for this opportunity to give away my all-time favorite crafting tool to not one, but two winners!

It's no secret in these parts that my absolute favorite crafting tool is my Silhouette machine.  I received mine as a Christmas gift back in 2012, and since then, I have made over 60 projects with this powerhouse of a digital craft-cutter.  She barely gets put away. I don't know what I love more: the versatility of how many types of materials it can cut (from paper to vinyl to fabric and beyond!) or its ability to enable an ordinary crafter like me to make some truly professional-quality Read more

The Most Surprising Thing about Writing an eBook (That No One Ever Told Me About)

The Most Surprising Thing About Writing an eBook (that no one ever told me about) | Personal insights from Lauren Lanker's self-publishing journey. She thought she had researched everything there was to know about launching an eBook...however, there was one BIG surprise that struck her along the way. One surprise that no one had addressed in all the podcasts, blog articles, and eBooks on eBooks.

This past Monday, I launched my very first eBook, Thinking Outside the Gift Box.  It was a project over a year in the making.  You see, I had never written a book before let alone launched a product.   And I desperately wanted to do right by my readers.  I wanted to create a killer eBook that would help bring more joy and deeper meaning to their gift-giving.  And I wanted its pages to be jam-packed with ten times more value than the price. So, I immersed myself in research: I listened to Read more

Gift-Giving Expert Interviews: Sneak Peeks!

The Expert Interviews - Sneak Peek!

What.  A.  Day! Yesterday was the launch of my first eBook, Thinking Outside the Gift Box, and it was one for the record books: full of encouraging texts, comments, a barrage of social shares, a few mini panic attacks when my sales page was acting glitchy, and over 60 sales (eek!).  Thanks to everyone who took the plunge and joined the #thinkingoutsidethegiftbox revolution!  It's an honor to have you along for the journey. I had been working pretty much around the clock in the days prior Read more

“Thinking Outside the Gift Box” is Officially Released!

Thinking Outside the Gift Box!

Am I dreaming?  Or did I just self-publish my first book?  {Shakes head, pinches self.}  Ack!  I most definitely did. It's true, it's true.  The virtual shelves are stacked with copies of Thinking Outside the Gift Box all ready to be shipped to your email inboxes and downloaded to your computer or favorite eReader.  Here's the sales page to prove it! Wait, what?!  You wrote a book? For those who may just now be tuning in, over a year ago was got inspired to channel my passions for writing Read more

3 Days Till Launch & eBook Sample Chapters!

Hustle time! Gettin' this eBook ready to ship!

Seven years ago, I wrote a bucket list in the back of a book.  30 things I wanted to accomplish by age 30. Some of those dreams became realities... Get my Master's.  Dye my hair red.  Go on a hike. Other faded away or have simply been bumped up to the 40 x 40 list. Ride a bicycle built for two.  Visit Spain.  Perform in a coffeehouse with Lisbeth. And #25 is becoming a reality in three days.  Yes.  Three.  Days. It has been a journey of over a year to get here. 11 months of Read more

FREE Printable Pack: 12 Months of Pre-Planned Dates, Version 2.0

12 Months of Pre-Planned Dates Mini-Book | Such a creative and meaningful gift idea for the loved ones in your life. The FREE Printable Pack also comes with everything you need to create mini-books for Parent-Kid Dates, Friend Dates, and wedding gifts! So many gifts in one!

Some gifts are so much fun to give...they deserve to be given again.  And again.  To all of your loved ones.  And all of your loved ones' loved ones. That's how I feel about the 12 Months of Pre-Planned Dates Mini-Book. It started as a Christmas gift for Mark last year.... ...and then grew to become my most popular freebie by a landslide with over 10,000 downloads (gulp!). Here are just a few of your creative renditions that you've shared with me: And as this mini-gift Read more

The Grand Reveal of my eBook Title, Cover, & Launch Date!

Thinking Outside the Gift Box: 21 Money-Saving & Meaningful Gift Ideas | eBook by Lauren Lanker | coming November 17, 2014 to thinkingcloset.com!

G'day, mateys!  And a very good day it is.  I am biting my nails at a higher rate than usual because of some very exciting eBook updates I get to spill today. As most of you know, one of my biggest bloggy dreams for this year was to write and publish my first eBook.  And after loads of brainstorming, I settled on the topic of gift-giving, and have spent the past few months doing research, writing rough drafts, and most recently, landing on a title, cover art, and launch date.  Whoo Read more

20 Punny Halloween Costume Ideas for Couples

20 Punny Halloween Costume Ideas for Couples | An epically awesome round-up of literal interpretations of the word as portrayed by dynamic duos! There are some great last minute Halloween costume ideas in this mix, too. Prepare to win MOST CREATIVE COUPLE at your Halloween party this year!

So, in 2012, I created my round-up of 20 Punny Halloween Costume Ideas...not knowing how many other pun-lovers there were out there.  But y'all came out of the woodwork! And with your pun-tastic reaction to that post, I just had to follow it up with 20 MORE Punny Halloween Costume Ideas last year.  And you all ate that up like Garfield eats lasagna. So, I'm back this year with more sweet puns, but keep it interesting, I decided to tackle 20 Punny Halloween Costume Ideas for Read more

Punny #Hashtag Halloween Costume Tutorial

Can you guess the pun in this PUNNY Halloween costume? | The knee-slapper of an answer to this visual word-play and the full tutorial for how to create your own couples' Halloween costume over at thinkingcloset.com! It's so much pun!

First, there were The Black Eyed Ps. Then, there was When Life Gives You Lemons....  And his friend, Blessing in Disguise. No, I'm not talking about chart-topping hip hop groups or cliché phrases!  I'm talking about our punny Halloween costumes from the last two years, which you may recall. Of course, the word-play tradition just had to continue, and I'm ecstatic to reveal this year's punny Halloween costume to you today...and it's just as groan-worthy as its predecessors! Are you ready to Read more

Fall Cleaning Before & After Videos with RYOBI’s “Miracle Maker” Pressure Washer

Fall Cleaning with RYOBI's 3100 PSI Pressure Washer

One of the many "perks" to living in the most humid state in the union is that our backyard possesses magical powers to transform into a jungle almost overnight.  In fact, by the end of the rain-soaked summer, a thick layer of dirt, grime, and mold had grown onto our dock, pavers, and fence...blanketing everything in gray.  Well, that's no way to start the fall! We knew we needed a little more power than old-fashioned elbow grease could offer to clean things up...in fact, we needed a Read more

30 D.I.Y. Coaster Gifts

30 DIY Coaster Gifts | A round-up of coaster gift ideas galore, brought to you by thinkingcloset.com. A slew of inspiration for coasters made from tile, cork, leather, fabric, and unconventional materials.

Balance has been my word of the year this year.  And in the words of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, "How do we keep our balance?  That I can tell you in one word: tradition!" The last two Novembers, I've made it a tradition to make a few sets of D.I.Y. coasters: a set to keep, and the rest to give away as gifts! In 2012, I discovered how to get my hands on free wallpaper samples from Anthropologie {read more about that HERE} and used those samples along with some Mod Podge to create some Read more

Reader Showcase: A Look Back at Summer 2014

Summer 2014 Reader Showcase at thinkingcloset.com where we turn the spotlight onto the readers and check out the inspirational creations they've been working on. They knock the ball out of the park, every time!

First, I'm just bursting at the seams to share a piece of exciting news with you all: Wednesday was a big day for me because...I finished the first draft of my eBook!  {Squeal.} There are still many miles to go before I sleep and heaps of behind the scenes work that needs to happen in order to hit a November launch date, but I feel I have summited the highest mountain in the journey.  And I couldn't have done it without all of the support and cheers that y'all have sent my way.  Thank you, Read more

DIY “Give Thanks” Fall Sign

DIY Give Thanks Fall Sign by Crafts by Courtney | The perfect addition to a fall mantel display, especially one of the coastal variety! Courtney offers great tips on how to use a craft-cutter and some paint to transform a plain wood board into an inspirational work of art.

The other day, my MIL and I were talking about how many fantastic friendships I've made as a result of blogging.  And it's true!  Blogging has put me in direct contact with so many women whose interests align with mine...it's almost like meeting dozens of long-lost twins all around the world!  One of those long-lost twins is Courtney.  She shares in my love of Silhouette creations as well as coastal decor.  Plus, in the dictionary, next to "sweet," you'll see Courtney's smiling face.  Meet YOUR Read more

The Beginner’s Guide to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

A Beginner's Guide to Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint & Wax: One Beginner's Tips to Another! | I let my intimidation over using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint keep me from exploring the medium for all too long. Now that I have finally given it a whirl, I'm eager to empower other beginners to give it a go. It's SO much easier than you think it is! Especially with this step by step run-down.

You've heard of the five stages of grief, right?  Well, have you heard of the five stages of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®?  No?  Well, let me enlighten you.... (Perhaps this experience will ring true for some of you.) STAGE #1: Intrigue: "A paint that requires no stripping, sanding, or priming?  Tell me more!" STAGE #2: Intimidation: "Oh wait - - I have to seal it with wax?  Then buff it?  That sounds scary!  I don't think I'm ready for this." STAGE #3: Provocation: "Ugh!  I'm sick and tired Read more

10 Inspiring D.I.Y. Jewelry Displays

10 Inspiring DIY Jewelry Displays

Somedays I wish the internet never existed...and that we could go back to a simpler time when we looked up books in card catalogs and found our way using paper maps.  But then I remember that if it weren't for the internet, I would have never met my kindred spirit who lives and blogs over in Germany.  She sends me real mail, necklaces made from twisted wire, and lets me ramble on her blog sometimes.  Now, it's my turn to host her in my bloggy home.  Readers, meet my friend {and soon to be Read more

“You Make Beautiful Things Out of the Dust” Mirror Decal & Silhouette Promo

Amazing how just some simple text on the edges of a mirror can hold such an impact! "You make beautiful things out of the dust.... You make beautiful things out of us."

One of the wonderful things about living in Orlando, Florida is that our guest room actually serves its intended purpose and isn't just a "catch-all" for junk like our former guest room was. We have friends and family passing through Orlando quite frequently these days: some to visit Mickey, others in town for conferences, and most just to escape the frigid winters up north. Regardless, we love the opportunity to host, and we've been slowly but surely working on making our second bedroom a Read more

Exciting eBook Updates & Blogiversary Giveaway Winners

eBook Updates & Blogiversary Giveaway Winners!

So, I pretty much had a permanent grin slapped on my silly 'ole face starting last Friday and lasting an entire week thanks to you rascals and the barrage of love you poured on me through your Second Blogiversary comments.  Seriously, y'all are too much! I wish I could give each and every one of you a gorilla hug and then secretly leave a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies on your doorstep to surprise you when you get home.  In this hypothetical scenario, no wild critters (or unruly Read more

Second Blogiversary Giveaway: 10 Prizes for 10 Winners!

Join in on The Thinking Closet's Second Blogiversary Giveaway Celebration! 10 prizes for 10 winners at thinkingcloset.com 9/5 - 9/10. Internationals welcome!

Cowabunga, dudes and dudettes!  Today is totally tubular because it marks my Second Blogiversary.  That's right: the Thinking Closet's turning TWO!  {Whoo hoo!} Way Back When... Two years ago, on an ordinary Thursday, I created a Wordpress account, picked a blog theme by the name of Splendio, and published my first post: The Namesake where I told the story behind the original "Thinking Closet" of my youth. In fact, let's take a jaunt back in time for a moment to recall what the blog looked Read more