Dec 16, 2012

God, Save Us

We live in a fallen world.  The Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy only adds to the darkness.  Today we sang about Hosanna in the highest, and our pastor explained that Hosanna literally means God, save us.  He is our light in this dark world.  I am filled with emotions after watching non-stop coverage of the Newtown tragedy.  Our country has turned their backs on God, and following the events on Friday, many have realized the need for our Savior.  Now, more than ever, we are longing for Jesus.  We are a chosen people, and God gives favor to those who love Him.  Second Chronicles 7:14 says "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." We have a long way to go.

Liza Long's post about her son is the most chilling and desperate cry of help.  As I read it, I felt her fear and her pain.  There are more and more young people who are plagued by disorders and illnesses, and doctors do not have the answers.  While I have seen the photos, the vigils, and the President's speeches, I am hoping the media is careful not to glorify the killer by giving him a memorable exit.  I believe our society must to pay more attention to the mental health of the children and young adults instead of simply banning guns. 

Dec 1, 2012

No Post November

Mostly on accident, I have not posted in six weeks.  Life got in the way, so here is the month all wrapped up!

A: All the trees finally changed to their beautiful autumn hues, along with the cool weather.
B: I turned 27, which was easier than I thought.
C: Holiday snowflakes, greenery, twinkle lights, and Christmas trees fill the villages.
D:We practiced parenting...
E: I spent Thanksgiving with the seven people I knew and 32 of my husband's aunt's in-laws.  Whew.
F: Paper whites--now they have tripled in height!
G: Margaret helped me string snowflakes on the porch.  They are hard to see, but in person it is magical.
H: I am no good at horseshoes, but it certainly passes the time out on the farm.
I: Our quadruple layers got us through the Iron Bowl this year.

Oct 22, 2012

Fall Favorites

The past two weeks and the next few weeks are the only autumn days we get all year (and that weather is really only in the morning and evening), so I'm soaking it up.  I carved my first pumpkin (I know!), and it's quite pitiful.  Carved isn't the right word--more like drilled holes into it. All over. Sadly it's already moldy and I'm liking the idea of painting pumpkins more and more.
Lots of people are getting tired of Pinterest, and sometimes I have to agree.  It's as if people cannot even fathom creativity without copying something from Pinterest!  Inspiration can come from all over--like these sweet burlap pennants I spotted in Atlanta.  They will be darling in a little girl's room!

Other than the nice weather and fun projects, my most favorite thing about fall is my birthday!!!  I have secretly been loving this Ex Voto Vintage necklace.  I really want a thick silver toggle chain with a vintage silver locket or charm!!  Philip, are you reading this?  Of course not.
(borrowed from Simply Seleta)
On another random note, I joined a book club!  It's my first one, so I still don't really understand why I was one of two who actually read the book.  By the way, it was one of the worst books I have ever read. The major themes were AIDS, poverty, drugs, and Buddhism.  Really. Maybe that's why no one else read it... Our new book is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  There were 235 holds on it at the library, so I broke down and bought it.  The next meeting is at my house in two weeks, so I better start reading!

Lovely Onesies

I just love little applique onesies, but I don't have an embroidery machine.  Or a baby.  But I do have a friend with one, so I always use her to try out my baby projects.  Following Ellison Lane Quilt's applique tutorial and Daffodil Disign's template (who also has an adorable giraffe!), I made these two darling onesies.  The onesies were $5 each from Old Navy, but I saw the cute ones with puff sleeves at Wal-Mart for $3.  The fabric used is leftover from other baby projects.  No embroidery machine necessary--the tutorial calls for a zigzag stitch around the designs, but my friend really wanted a straight stitch.  It was SO easy to trace the pattern, iron the Heat-n-Bond for two seconds, cut the pieces, iron them on, and stitch.  And, they're SO cute! I can't wait to see how they look on the baby!

Oct 2, 2012

It's Fall, Y'all!

In honor of the best fall month other than my birthday month, I give you the candy corn door hanger!  My friend Jenny and I were so excited to start this project.  Sadly it took much longer than planned, so we had to finish it the following afternoon.  Here are the steps to make it!

1. Cut 9" of orange and yellow burlap, 18" long.  Cut 7" white burlap, 18" long.  Stitch horizontally with a 1/2" seam allowance.  Press seams toward the orange.

2. Guesstimate and cut a piece of brown burlap for the back piece.  Mine is about 24" tall and 18" wide.  Lay it flat over the sewn from piece, and arrange it so that the white part takes up around the top third.

3. Pin pieces together, cut the front to fit the back piece. 

4. Using cardboard or poster board under the top layer, use a Sharpie to write out the letters.  I chose "Trick or Treat!" so I started with the or and tried to center Trick by drawing from the center.  That made the Tr a little difficult.  Fill in the letters with black acrylic paint.  Fabric paint works fine, too.  Add some polka dots!  (This is where Day 1 stopped because the paint was way too sticky to keep going.)

5. Once dry, it's time to put the pieces together.  Leaving a 6" opening at the center bottom, begin stitching at the bottom of the candy corn, all the way around.   

6. Stuff the door hanger with leftover plastic grocery bags.  I used clear bags so the white didn't show through the front.  Sew up the bottom opening, and trim the threads.
(Jenny didn't trust her free-handing skills, so she used curly stencils.  And Massey had to make an appearance.)

7.  Pull the bottom of a wire hanger the opposite way from the hook making a diamond shape.  Cut the hanger about 3" from the hook on both sides.  Bend the wire so the two open ends point straight up when the hanger lies flat on a table.  Push the open ends through the top of the candy corn about 4" from the top.  Use pliers to grip the end of the wire and bend it into a spiral on both sides.

8.  Add a big bow, and hang it up!!

Sep 12, 2012


Phil and I have had a long term relationship with Twice as Nice, the consignment shop in T-town.  The problem is, once we get out all our fall clothes, go through them, make a consignment pile, and commit to driving an hour there and back on a weekend, it's already fall.  That means the consignment shop is no longer taking fall items.  Same problem in the summer.  In the past eight years, I should have learned to save my fall consignment items when I'm packing them up for the spring and summer.  It is now September, and the brisk morning air makes me want to pull out my corduroys, but I won't.  I will wait until it is officially fall on September 22 or until it gets cold enough--maybe by November!  So until I pack up my yet-to-be-unpacked fall clothes, eBay it is. 

As an aside, I know I am not a photographer.  I also know not to take pictures at night, even though I did.  It would seriously be a full time job just taking a million pictures of the clothes and other things I don't want anymore, typing up silly explanations and measurements of everything, and making up estimated prices.  And how do you decide how much to list it for?  It's already something I don't really want, so it certainly doesn't have as much value as something I do want.  I pretty much just guess.  Setting up my 10 listings took me two evenings and only one dress has bids!  I miss the consignment shop.  Anyway, check out my new listings here.  Do any of you sell on ebay?

Aug 29, 2012

Could You Repeat That?

Yes, some years you get a class that just makes you laugh so hard your sides hurt.  I am beyond thankful this is one of those years.  My five-year-olds keep me coming back day after day.  Last week, one of the little girls said that everyday in Kindergarten feels like hitting the pinata and getting all the candy.  But today was one of the best...

Me:  What are some good pets?

Student:  Dogs!

Me:  Well, do you really think dogs are a good idea?  You have to feed them, walk them every day, and pick up their poop.

Student:  Well, my dog eats her poop so that's not really a problem.

Ummm, I nearly fell on the floor I was laughing so hard!  I love these kids!

Aug 28, 2012

It's Football Season!

Well, it's almost here.  Although neither my husband nor I enjoy going to football games, rooting for our Alma Mater, or even sporting any type of collegiate apparel or decor, we (mostly not me) still follow the highlights on ESPN.  That counts, right?  So it was time for another door hanger. 

It's super cute with the big houndstooth bow on the back door!

Aug 26, 2012

Tying the Knot

 This weekend I got to wear the wedding director hat.  It's been a while since I directed my first wedding, and I have learned better ways to be assertive while being kind.  I had so much fun!!  It was so beautiful, everything went smoothly, and I may have another wedding in December.  Hooray!

Aug 6, 2012

Lululemon Look Alike Top

Yesterday I posted about this Lululemon top being easy to recreate, and it was!!!  I started with leftover jersey and a basic workout top with a crew neck.

First I flipped my shirt over and decided where to put the keyhole.  I placed a mixing bowl 1" below the top of the shirt and traced the top half.  Moving it down a few inches, I trace the bottom half of the bowl.  I drew dashed lines to connect the halves, making an oval keyhole.  After cutting the keyhole, I cut the 1" strip right in the middle so my shirt was now open at the neck.

Using leftover jersey scraps, I sewed 1 1/2" strips together on the short sides to make about 4' of bias tape (light pink trim).  Mine varies from the original in that I used the bias to go all the way around the keyhole since I had raw edges.  I folded the tape in half and pressed it to clearly show the halfway line.  Pinning the right side of the jersey to the wrong side of the tee gave the bias tape something to hold onto.  I sewed the neck and finished the trim before beginning the keyhole, and I left the last 1" on both strips unsewn so I could finish it later.

This picture jumps ahead since I completed the neck trim first, but it shows the bias tape pinned around the keyhole. I sewed the first line of stitches with the fabric on the edge of the presser foot, but I would guess it was between 1/4" and 3/8". 

 Once the jersey was attached to the back, I turned the shirt right side out and folded the tape onto the front of the tee.  I tucked the edge under and pinned it in place, as well as pressed it so I could see if the amount of light pink showing was even all the way around.  Sewing on the front of the tee, I tried my hardest to sew almost to the bottom edge of the trim.  This was the trickiest for me because I can sometimes get wayward with my stitches.

Here is the neck complete.  Next, I pinned, stitched, flipped, and sewed the keyhole following the same steps above.  I also used two 3" strips of jersey to make the ties.  Folding the right sides together, I stitched one short side and one long side together and turned them right side out.

By leaving 1" unsewn on both the neck and the keyhole, I could fold the keyhole trim under the neck trim and slide the tie in place before stitching.

And voila!  The finished product.  For $9, it comes super close to the Lululemon version.  I even wore it last night to go walking!!
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Aug 4, 2012

Sewing Inspiration

I'm getting excited for fall since it's pushing 100 degrees and 99% humidity daily.  AND it's the tenth season of Project Runway!  Sewing clothes is much, much more difficult than pillows, quilts, or curtains, but these do not look too tough.

This is just a circle skirt-type pattern with a collar and slit pockets.

I love the wide pleats and waistband here.

I have seen this ruffle halter paired with a yellow cardigan, and it was darling!

I will not pay $100 for a Lululemon t-shirt, but a gray cap sleeve workout shirt from Target and some dark jersey could make this an easy redo.
I'm not completely over buying navy stripes, but I am seeing them everywhere.  What I really like is how this skirt is pleated and sewn with a simple tank tucked in.
  I already have a top very similar to this, so I think a basic pencil skirt pattern and yellow ribbon is a possible project.
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Jul 28, 2012

Hoppity Hooray!

I have been waiting for my sewing fatigue to fade so I could make this sweet softie bunny from Sew4Home, so I finally bought the chenille dot that I didn't have.  That was all the inspiration I needed!  By the way, Chenille Magic has the best clearance section, AND they let your order just a quarter yard.  That is nearly impossible to find!  I got the cotton yellow dot to go with the Amy Butler leftovers from Selah's quilt and a mint dot on clearance to go with my baby bedding for my future children (that's another story).

This was a perfect Saturday morning project because I could catch up on all the Olympics news and cut the pattern pieces.  It took me about 3 hours--4 if you consider the fact that I am terrible at slip stitching and had to watch like 15 YouTube videos and start over twice before kind of figuring it out.  This is a wonderful, simple pattern that is perfect for gifting.  It's just too cute!

Jul 26, 2012

Who I Am Now and Then

I skipped out on the afternoon workshop (it's still summer!) and popped in a CD from my freshman year of college.  I was instantly transported back to my coming of age.  Every song flooded my mind with memories  and reminded me of so many of the feelings I had back then.  I was a year younger than my classmates, but I really did want to be "cool enough" to be liked and accepted.  It was a time where I wasn't really sure who I was or who I wanted to be.  I was certainly caught in the middle of growing up and shaping my character.  The excitement of new people and new experiences made me want to keep up with my friends.  As I found myself in the midst of difficult choices, I clearly remember asking myself, "Is this who I want to be?"  Most of the time my answer was no, so I would follow along with the crowd but not participate.  The other group of girls around me were quickly labeled the goody-two-shoes because they refused to even go to parties or do anything fun (insert sarcasm).  I knew I didn't want to be a part of that group, but I was quickly finding that I didn't really fit into any of my friend groups.  I could blend in with either group, but there were no other Johnnas.

My friend and I were just discussing this exact phenomenon last week... why is it that we suddenly change who we are based on who we are around?  Some days I feel like a chameleon because I am so easily able to befriend and emulate different types of people.  I can comfortably relate and carry on with co-workers who are the same age as my parents.  Just as easily, I can resort back to the same sweet little high school girl that is not at all that sweet as soon as I am around high school friends.  When I think back to recently spending time with high school friends, I can't believe I behaved like that!  Who am I?  Why do I digress back to a high schooler when I am so much more knowledgeable, spiritual, and grown up?  Am I really?

Nine years after that freshman year, I guess I am still trying to figure out who I am. I am a relatively happy and confident person.  That hasn't changed since I can remember.  The people and places have changed, but not how I feel when compared to the others around me.  Although I am surrounded by some truly wonderful and admirable people, I still look to others for their affirmations of my looks and my actions. 

My friend Ashley at Sipsey Valley said it best as she described how the Bible gives us instructions on guarding our hearts and minds from this battle.  Her post is filled with verses that address character and self-worth, but two of my favorite verses are

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things (Philippians 4:8 NIV). 

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)  

The second the CD switched to Martina McBride's I Have Been Blessed, I started crying because I am still working on being more than grateful--being content.  I am quick to forget that I am here with those who love me, among many other blessings.  I am so blessed with much more than I deserve, and I know I want to be a woman with the unfading beauty of a gentle and quite spirit.  I want to build a strong character that doesn't conform to fit those around me.  I realize that who I am now is still changing, and I am glad that I am not a finished work. 

Jul 22, 2012

The Very Best Cookies Anywhere [and dough]

Yes, especially the cookie dough.  I never make a full batch just because I know I'll keep eating the dough straight out of the Glad Ware.  I can't remember exactly when I first had these, except that my sister made them and they were like heaven.  Here is her recipe, including all of her quippy remarks that clearly indicate her doubts about my baking ability.  Which is, in my opinion, much better than my other abilities in the kitchen (other than spraying my sink clean!).

The Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Nut Cookies
1 c, butter (I use real butter, not margarine)
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
2.5 c. oatmeal (instant or regular)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder (yes, you need both)
2 c. chocolate chips (add white too if you want!)
1/2 t. salt
1.5 c. nuts (I use walnuts or pecans)
Cream butter & both sugars.  Add eggs & vanilla. Mix flour, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, chocolate chips, salt, and nuts.  Add liquid mixture & combine thoroughly.  Roll into large balls and drop onto baking sheet.  Bake 375F for 10-12min.
I never have mixed everything separately, I just throw it all in the mixer.  It works just fine for me.  A spoonful of dough is BY FAR the best treat ever!

Jul 21, 2012

Almond Flour Blueberry Goodness

Mmmm, blueberry muffins.  Just one is surprisingly filling, so I am thinking it's the almond flour.  A while back, I tried almond and yogurt waffles with honey orange syrup, and I have kept the flour in my freezer.  At $9 for four cups, there isn't a lot of bang for your buck.  I am not really a gluten-free person, but I thought there may be a recipe already out there for almond flour muffins.  Of course, there are like 275,000 results on google.  I picked the first one that popped up:  The Best Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins.  The chopped pecans made it even better!  Maybe reduce the coconut oil to 1 tablespoon since it leaked beneath the cupcake liners.  On a side not, I'm trying the Google+ instant upload for these iPhone pics of my baking day.  Really easy!

Jul 15, 2012

Italia 2012

We took a two week holiday to Rome, Florence, and Venice and got back in town just in time for our three year anniversary.  We celebrated with both our parents, while reliving only the most adventurous stories from our trip.  Here are the highlights.  I am pleased to say we have multiples of us actually in the photo!

On a side note, Photo Snack is ridiculously easy to use, edit, add music, etc. And they link to facebook, twitter, and google so sign up is a breeze.  Once I narrowed it down to 100 photos, I think it took me about 6 minutes to finish.

Jul 14, 2012

Lilly Capris to Shorts Makeover

All of my dated, flare leg Lilly capri pants were heading to the local consignment shop, until I saw bright, printed shorts in all my summer magazines.  Sadly, I could not master the blind hem, but they really are darling!

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Jun 21, 2012


What better way to fill my garden window than with six new textured succulents and cacti?!

Jun 18, 2012

Geting Better Faster

It's morning.  Sore throat.  Stuffy nose.  Sinus pressure.  Sneezing.  Headache.  What is happening?? Who gets head colds in the summer?  Only children and great-grandparents.  And me.  Determined to be well in less than a week, I read up on my cold remedies.  I'm sure everyone's heard the usual:  drink lots of water, get lots of rest, don't exert too much physical energy, etc.  Well, I've added a few items to my cold fighting arsenal, and I really think I've shortened my typical 10-14 day cold to 5-7 days!!!

One tasty lozenge every 3 hours for the first two days (no more than 6 per day) made my sense of taste and smell nonexistent.

Seriously the best relief for sleeping with a stuffy/sneezy/runny nose.  I have read rave reviews as well as depressing addictions, so be warned.  I only used this the two worst nights.
I 100% believe this Green SuperFood has been the main factor in getting over my cold.  It is unreal!  I have never before had so many vegetables in one day in my life.  It is unfathomable that I could ever eat 30 vegetables (see the end of this post for more info ).  I mixed this berry flavored powder into my breakfast smoothie for the past three days--my new favorite!

Super Dark Green Breakfast Smoothie
1 scoop ORAC Green Superfood
1 T. wheat germ
1 T. flax seed
1 T. peanut butter
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 dropper of Stevia sweetener
1 banana
1 c. unsweetened almond coconut milk blend
1/2 c. ice

Pour milk in blender first and add banana.  Then add powders one at a time, mixing until smooth.  Add ice last.

Tomorrow will be the one week mark of this cold, and I am so glad it is nearly gone!  If I am missing a tried and true remedy, please fill me in!

ORAC Super Food Info:
Borrowed directly from the Amazing Grass website, their experts explain that they use ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) to measure and compare that score to other fruits and vegetables...If you look at ORAC as a baseline, then the new ORAC Green SuperFood has an ORAC score of 15,000 and using the same math would equate to 30 servings of fruits and vegetables in one scoop.  Learn more here!