Sunday, July 31, 2011

Features, Fun and What Should I Sew?

Thanks so much to those who linked up with last week’s Make it by Monday Challenge! I loved everything that was hung on the wall. Here are a few highlights from the party…



Amber painted a chalkboard directly on her basement wall.



Zoe made some great jewelry holders.



And Miranda’s vinyl train art is too much fun!


I’m really excited to show you what I’ve done for this week’s challenge: Organize. And I’m even more excited to use my new camera to photograph it!!!


I’m having a lot of fun learning about how to use my camera. It’s just beautiful and makes me smile.


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(I still have so much to learn!)


Did you know that you don’t have to have a DSLR to take nice pictures? I have had a lot of fun this past year challenging myself to take the best pictures possible with my little point and shoot. Rather than skipping over photography posts and assuming they don’t apply to me, I’ve read them carefully, played with my camera and found there really was a lot I could do with my little Cannon. If you want some great tips for not only using a DSLR, but also just on good photo taking tips—like how to frame your photo, angles, etc. check out these great posts HERE. Also, know that very few beautiful pictures start out looking like they do, it’s amazing what some simple editing can do! I posted about that here.




Have you entered to win an infinity scarf yet? Go here to do so!


And finally, I feel like I’ve hardly done any crafting lately! I have so many projects I want to do! I have two yards of gray knit to make some clothes from. Would you rather see a few different shirts or another dress option?


My shirt inspirations:




My dress inspirations:




I’ll be making tutorials for whichever project I do, so I’d like to make something you want to make as well! Just let me know!


Thanks for stopping by and come back tomorrow for the Make it by Monday Challenge: Organize!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Giveaway: Ooh Baby Designs

I was just introduced to an adorable Etsy shop, Ooh Baby Designs. Stephanie has some adorable products in her shop, like this sweet checkbook cover

And I love this snack mat! I can't tell you how many times I've thought something like this would be great when I take Jace out to eat and have him eat straight off the table.

This sling bag would make the perfect summer bag for going to the pool.

And my favorite item in Stephanie's shop? Just about any of her infinity scarves!

Stephanie is giving away either the nautical blue scarf (pictured above) or the scarf in heather stripe to one of you lucky readers! You get to choose which one you want.

Wouldn't you just love to add one to your wardrobe? To win, just leave a comment for each possible entry:

-Mandatory: visit Stephanie's shop, Ooh Baby Designs, then come back and leave a comment telling me your favorite item.
-Favorite an item in the Shop.
-Like Ooh Baby Designs on Facebook.

In order to enter you must be a follower of this blog. Aren't one already? You can do so in my right sidebar. The giveaway closes on Friday, August 5 at 5 pm PST.

Good luck!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hobby Lobby

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I’m on vacation with Jace, my parents, nephew and niece in California. And I got to go to a Hobby Lobby for the first time. It was everything I hoped it would be. Bigger than any craft store I’ve ever been in. Well priced with plenty of sales. Inspiration and temptation around every corner. Let’s just say it’s a good think it’s the end of the month and I don’t have money left, and that I’ll be flying home with limited packing space. Otherwise, I might have gone a little crazy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

So I was Hijacked.

Right now Jace and I are in California with my parents, niece and nephew. We’re having a lot of fun playing with 2nd cousins…


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Jace & Cannon, just a month apart.


Dressing up like Cinderella…


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Leah (my cousin’s daughter) and Cami (my niece) modeling the dresses my aunt made for them.


Taking cousin pictures…


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And swimming in Great Grandpa’s pool



Jace LOVES the water!



I’ve also been busy having my blog hijacked. Thank you so much for all your sweet comments. I had no clue Nolan was doing it. I only discovered it when I received an email notification for a comment and was all worried and panicked that somehow my blog was hacked. It brought me to tears and I’m going to refer back to that post over and over again. And since I saw several people comment about how they wish their husband would do or say something like that, I want to make sure no bitterness develops toward all the other men of the world.


Nolan’s words, gift and post are treasures to me. He doesn’t normally do or say anything like that. He expresses his love to me through acts of service—he does all the dishes in our house, helps clean, cares for Jace and provides for our family. But words of affirmation are not his thing. Compliments are few and far between. It was hard early in our marriage because I crave affirmation (maybe that’s why I like blogging so much?), but over the years I’ve come to recognize and appreciate the other ways he shows me how much he loves me. So when he writes precious words like those in his blog post, it fills my cup and will continue to do so for a very long time.


And an amazing gift like a camera? I could have never even dreamed of it. Nolan and I live a very budgeted life. Every penny is accounted for. Every purchase discussed. We each get fun money every month, and it’s not uncommon for Nolan to use some of his fun money to buy me a nicer birthday or Christmas gift. This is how he shows me love—he makes his own personal sacrifices for something he knows I will love. But to buy something like a DSLR camera that I thought was a very distant, unrealistic dream? Unimaginable. I am just blown away. And I can’t wait to get it in my hands and start playing!


So I say all this not to criticize my husband, but to simply show why what he did means so much to me (beyond the obvious). And I also just wanted to make sure that no husband out there is being held up next to mine and being seen as falling short because of it.


And now to get back to vacationing! We have more swimming and playing to do!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Iced Caramel Latte

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Last week I showed you my favorite summer time beverage—an iced caramel latte. A few of you asked how I make mine. And since I really don’t have a tip or tutorial for you today, I thought I’d share how I make this drink. (I’m in California on vacation. I had so many projects lined up to make before leaving, and then my child decided to live up being 18 months old. I was lucky just to get us packed!)

And since I didn’t plan to do this post, I don’t have any pictures of the process. Just keep looking at the final product. Mmmm… I’m wanting one right now!

Ingredients Needed:
-Espresso or coffee
-Hershey’s Caramel Syrup (next to the chocolate syrup, for ice cream)
-Whipped Cream (I love the canned vanilla flavored whipped cream!)

I first pull/brew a shot of espresso. I have heard concentrated VIA ready brews from Starbucks can have the equivalent flavor/strength. In a mug or cup I mix that shot with a generous amount of caramel. I really don’t want to taste much of my espresso, so I like a lot of caramel.

Fill a tall glass with ice and then half fill the cup with milk. Pour the espresso caramel over the milk and stir. Add more milk to fill the glass the rest of the way. Add whipped cream. A tip for you for doing whipped cream perfectly (yay! we did get a tip in here!): Start around the glass for the whipped cream, touching it to the outer edge (on the inside if that makes sense?) and then circle inward. Top it off with a drizzle of caramel. You could always use the Torani’s or anything similar flavor syrup, but those are an odd sweetness for me. I prefer the stuff you put over ice cream.

For another variation, I mix a tablespoon of hot chocolate mix when I stir the espresso and caramel together when I make a caramel mocha for my husband.


Monday, July 25, 2011

I am hijacking Jill’s Blog


This is Jill’s husband, Nolan, hijacking Jill’s blog. I became too excited tonight and figured this would be a fun way to share.

Jill, thank you.

Thank you for your constant support.

Thank you for believing in me even when there seemed to be little to be believed in.

Thank you for lifting me up when the world seemed to be pushing me down.

Thank you for sacrificing to meet our frugal budget.

Thank you for always finding a deal.

Thank you for being courageous especially with raising our son.

Thank you for seeking God first and respecting me second.

Thank you for loving the sometimes unlovable in me. (Especially my lack of ability to express myself to you.)

I am truly lucky to have you. I wish I could be generous with you all the time but you know it isn’t always possible. But for today it is. As a thank you, this is waiting for you when you get home.


I love you and I hope I didn’t screw up your blog….

Make it by Monday: Hang it on the Wall

This week’s Make it by Monday Challenge theme is Hang it on the Wall.

This past winter my MIL found an amazing deal on bolts of fabric at a thrift store. All the smaller/standard size bolts are stored nice and neatly on a book shelf laid on its side (which I will show you one of these days, I just need to get my sewing room clean again!). I had a few longer bolts still needing a home though.

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Nolan made the brilliant suggestion to put brackets on the wall and set the bolts across them like shelves. Then, one day, I was in St. Vinnie’s (one of my favorite thrift stores) and they had these brand new wooden brackets for $1.50 each. The original price tags were still on them from before they were donated, and originally they would have cost $7 each. I picked up four.

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I haven’t painted them yet because at the time I didn’t know I’d be getting a craft room in the not so distant future, let alone what color scheme I would want some day. Now that I know what route I’ll be going, a bright cherry red will be perfect for them! I actually have two sets of them and the other hangs on another wall without a dowel through it.

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I also needed some ribbon storage and had seen so many great dowel ideas out in blog land. Nolan drilled holes in two brackets using his new (to him) drill press. Then I just strung the ribbon spools on the dowel and put it through the bracket holes. I love how something so functional became a part of the décor in the room!

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I also have another fun craft room art project in mind using these fun vintage spools of thread. I really wanted to finish it in time for this week’s challenge, but when you’re getting ready to go out of town and your toddler decides to boycott bedtime, fun projects just have to be put on hold.

(Wanting to think ahead to next week’s challenge? Our theme is ORGANIZE.)

So how about you? What did you do/make to hang on the wall? Go ahead and link up. All I ask is that you help get the word out about this challenge and either link back using a text link, or the button (in my right side bar) somewhere on your blog, as well as be a Made it on Monday follower!
Thanks for joining in on the fun! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Shoe Revamp Features!

What a great second week of the Make it by Monday challenge! I was going to just pick my top three favorites, but then I could see the fun everyone had, and had a hard time just picking three, so I thought I’d give you a glimpse at all eight!

amber time
Amber made her flip flops more comfortable.

Rhiannon added flowers to cover up some toe cleavage.

polkadots and pizza
I LOVE how Michelle made over her baby girl’s shoes!

Tanya made some super sweet booties.

she said whaat
Sonia didn’t just revamp shoes, she made shoes!

Shilpa added some flowers to some worn out shoes.

small town stitcher
A strap breaking didn’t stop Kelli from finding a great solution for these sandals!

typical julia
Julie gets the award for most creative interpretation when she revamped her son’s shoes by taking them from this grungy to super bright white!

Thanks so much ladies for linking up! Stop by Monday to join in on this week’s challenge, Hang it on the Wall!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Craft Room Dreams & Plans

I love my house. My kitchen has tons of cupboard and counter space. My master bedroom has two walk in closets and the bath has double sinks and a separate room for the shower and toilet. But there’s an awkwardness to our entryway. It’s a very large entryway for the size of the rest of the downstairs. And it has an 18 foot ceiling. None of the rest of the downstairs has that kind of height. And it has a fun light fixture that we have no way of reaching thanks to it being in the center of that 18 foot ceiling. It’s a boob light with no way of getting to the bulbs. When we moved in, one bulb was burned out already. And six months later when the other burned out, we just plugged in a lamp instead.

(Right after we got the keys 5 years ago. The window above the front door looks into the entry way.)

For years my husband has said that we should just close off the space and make another bedroom. For years I didn’t think there was any way we could afford it… plus, wouldn’t we rather just get a new home? But then the housing market went down. And houses in our neighborhood were foreclosed on and we watched our value sink and sink and sink. What we thought would be a 5-10 year home quickly became a much longer-term housing situation.

I’m happy to stay in this house. I like my neighborhood, I like my neighbors (for the most part!), I like my yard, and I really do like my home. But while our bedrooms are great, the main living space in this house is already maxed out. And as we grow our family someday, all my craft and sewing items will have no place to go (and there is A LOT of it!). While we dreamed of being able to someday add on to our house, the reality of it seemed distant. Nolan’s a civil engineer and his firm specializes in housing development. Which means business has been bad for three years now. I’ve seriously had my heart skip a beat every time he contacted me during the day for three years because I was afraid he’d lost his job. We saved. And saved. And saved in order to build an emergency fund. Because it’s not like there were many other options for him to look into should he lose his job.

For three years he’s watched job listings in the area and even out of state. He’s applied for so many positions because we figured it was better to be proactive than to wait until he was laid off. And with every position he applied for, there was always someone more qualified going for the same spot. It got discouraging, but we always were thankful he at least still had a job.

And then his dream position opened up in our town for the city. He applied. Interviewed. We dreamed. We were confident. And then he didn’t get it. Someone else was more qualified. I was so disappointed. So many dreams were wrapped up in this job—trying for another baby, becoming a stay-at-home mom, adding onto our house, security, better benefits, a little bit more financial flexibility. We both struggled to understand why we were being disappointed once again.

But then he got a call—the other guy’s background check fell through and was Nolan still interested in the position? We couldn’t believe it!!! As of today, he’s been given the official job offer. We won’t need the emergency fund to be what it is and can use it, and even then, we’ll have the ability to save faster to replenish it. So once again we’re dreaming, but this time those dreams are being put on paper, err… computer screen in Auto Cad.

floor plan
(I love that my husband can draw pretty pictures like this one!)

And I am very busily pinning!


The new room will be a craft room/guest room. I’m so thankful for a husband who sees crafting space for me as a priority! I want to paint the walls a pale turquoise (lighter than in the picture above) and have red accents.


And have a long desk where I can set up my sewing machine, serger, printer and silhouette.


I’d love to find a vintage swivel desk chair, paint it white and have a red cushion like this one on it.


And have a counter height island for a cutting/crafting table. I love that Nolan could make this one for me. I’d also want to add casters to the bottom so when the space is used as a guest room we can roll it against a wall.

We’ll be paying cash for everything, so I’m sure there will be some “frills” that will have to come further down the road, but a girl can dream for now, right?

Do you dream of a special space just for sewing and crafting? What are some of the must haves for that space? Do you have a wonderful craft room? What do you love about it and what would you change? I would love your feedback as I start to plan how I’d set this room up!

Thanks for stopping by!

Some of my In-Real-Life friends

I have some pretty incredibly crafty friends, and a few of them have some sweet blogs and Etsy shops! None of them have paid or asked me to do this, I just wanted to share their sweet skills and stories with you!

Becca is an amazing mom of three kids and has been on an incredible journey over the past three years. If you have some time to read her blog about her miracle child (and I mean that literally, I don’t use the word miracle lightly), I’m sure you’ll be blessed! She recently opened a shop full of super sweet diaper bags, pacifier clips, travel wipes cases and other goodies.

Her items are crafted so well and she has great taste in fabrics. Check out her shop, Journey’s Boutique!

I’ve mentioned Natalie a few times. She has a delightful blog, Blonde at Heart, all about her blonde moments. She also recently opened her shop, Lovely Afterthoughts.

She makes beautiful beaded jewelry. And it’s great quality as well! I love the bracelet she made for me this year for our church’s Women’s Retreat.

I also want to tell you about Amy. She blogs at Living a Radical Life and shares a mix of crafts, home décor, and, most importantly, her family’s story of their adoption process as they look forward to having a little girl from Ethiopia join their family. She opened an etsy shop, Living a Radical Life, to help raise money to fund their adoption.


I love the significance of this necklace to her story. She also has fun headbands for little girls! She hasn’t had a sale yet (her shop has only been open since earlier this month). Wouldn’t it be fun to help her get one under her belt?

So hop on over to their blogs and say hi, and take a moment to explore their shops. I can’t even begin to describe just how sweet these ladies are!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tips & Tools: Loop Turner

t and t tuesday

This post is a part of my weekly Tips & Tools Tuesday series. To see past T&T posts, go HERE.

I’d like to introduce you to one of my most favorite tools for sewing projects.

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A Loop Turner. I bought mine at Joann’s, and you can also find it online HERE. I first became acquainted with this tool when I was in middle school and taking sewing lessons after school (as explained in THIS post). That was back in the day when scruchies were super cool. I made so many of them, and my loop turner allowed me to whip them out quickly! As far as projects I’ve made lately using this wonderful tool…

Tips and Tools
1. Ultimate Activity Book (tape strap) 2. Sassy Headband (should have used but couldn’t find the loop turner!) 3. Red Purse (straps) 4. Stockings (hanging strap on 2) 5. Diaper Bag (strap) 6. Headband 7. Dress (straps) 8. Diaper Bag (strap) 9. Sunny Little Miss Dress (straps)

Today I’m going to show you how to use a loop turner while making these adorable bracelets.

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I made them using the tutorial from Women Who Do It All. I followed the tutorial and cut my fabric strips. But I wanted to do something a little different with my bracelets, so I sewed grosgrain ribbon down what would be the center after the bracelet was sewn together. (Something random: it wasn’t until I was talking with my mom the other day that I found out that the “s” in grosgrain is silent.)

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I ironed my strips, then sewed the two raw edges, right sides together.

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And then I got to use my Loop Turner!

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Slide the loop turner through the tube.

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Hook it onto the end of the tube.

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Gently pull through.

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Do it gently and carefully, making sure you don’t wiggle it so much that you cause it to unhook.

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It seriously only took me 10 seconds per strip to turn them right side out. Way faster than using a safety pin!

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I was able to use the loop turner again when pulling the elastic through. Just slide the turner back through tube again

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This time hook it on the elastic, and pull through. Since there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room between the width of the fabric and the elastic, I had to help it along a little bit. But once again, so much faster and easier than using a safety pin.

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Follow the rest of the tutorial directions, and you’re finished!

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I love the way these bracelets turned out!

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Now I’m just going to have to figure out what to wear them with!

And that’s how you use a loop turner. It’s an amazing tool that will save you so much time!

Is there anything you’ve wondered could be done faster or more simply? Is there a tool you have that you don’t know how to use? Let me know and I’ll see about adding it to my list for Tips & Tools Tuesday.

Thanks for stopping by and take a moment to check out the parties I’ll be linking up with!