why {bother} blogging. part 2.

I know I have been promising this for a while...but I really had to think about how I wanted to get it out there...what I have to say, that is.  WHY I bother blogging.  Why maybe you should too?  

It really all comes down to people.  The good, the bad and the ugly of it all.  

I'm an extrovert on the outside...an introvert on the inside.  My extrovert loves people and gatherings and being with others.  My introvert is controlled by my insecurities and lack of faith in self. 

   Blogging is my therapy.  My cookbook.  My boys baby books.  My spiritual journey.  My journal.  My way of sharing.  My way of encouraging.  My way of giving.  My way of using what I have for good.  My way of BEING the change that I want to see in others.  My way of learning what I need to change about myself. 

I have learned so much from blogging...and I have only been doing it for a little under three years.  Blogging makes me think.  Blogging makes me want to share...and share well.  Which makes me think...a lot.  And share and think and share and think. 

I want my boys to know me well.  For them to have a history of their lives.  I struggled to get their first year baby books filled in and complete (but I did it!).  I have tried to journal and scrapbook and do photo albums and all of that.  None of it has stuck...I still have and do tons of photo albums but they don't always share the whole story.  

Blogging allows me to interact with my history in a way that encourages me and moves me forward.  Like...if you make a scrapbook page...it sits in a book...sometimes people will see it...some times it just sits there.  With a blog you get instant, and often ongoing, feedback.     

I like the back and forth of a blog versus a scrapbook.  I like "meeting" people that I would never have in my real life.  I like making friends, yes REAL friends, with people all over the globe.  

I would have liked to live back in the day...you know...where you drove your little cart across the prairie, found a good spot, built a house and knew everyone in town within a few days.  You would swap favors and crops and take care of each other.  You knew each other well and watched out for each others kids.  

Instead I live in a neighborhood where I am pretty sure that we are the only people who open their blinds on a daily basis...where kids throw rocks at my house and then spit in my grass when I ask them to stop.  I try to be available and kind and friendly...but most of the people here are very guarded.  We do have a couple of good neighbors though...and we are thankful for those.  

Blogging expands my neighborhood.  

Blogging exposes my weaknesses and various issues.  This is usually through "the ugly" part of blogging...but I try and turn and work this for my GOOD.  Usually a negative comment IS a negative comment because it preys on something that I need to work on.  I use that as fuel to refine...to figure out WHY it bothers me and how I can use it to help myself grow as a person. 

Blogging shows me how far have I come.  

Blogging keeps me close to my family.  We don't live close to any of our family really...the closest is 2 1/2 hours away...we don't get to see them much (though we are praying for that to change soon!!)  This blog helps that family to know my kids a little better...to feel a little more like we live down the street...to keep in touch a little more...to hear some of the funny stories...to add another layer to our relationships...blogging knits my family closer together. 

And that...above all...is why I blog.  


this will have to do {and help please}

Well last night I was full of good intentions.  I was all set to sit down after the boys went to bed and write up all of my posts for the week and respond to all my emails...I had them all ready to go in my head...and then we had the worst thunderstorm that I have ever witnessed in my life...there is rumor that it may have been part tornado...and I believe it.  It was wicked bad and this morning sounds of chainsaws and hammers are filling the air as people try to clean up the mess that it made.  There are huge branches and trees down everywhere...we are blessed that there is not much damage.

But it did freak me out enough to throw me off my game, shut down our electricity and internet...and we are heading out of town for a couple of days...so this is all I can muster.  

Above hoho is showing off his new Sour Patch kids shirt...custom made for the biggest stinker that I know...cause generally...first he is sour...then he is sweet.

  And this is another fun new thing I am working on...this one will be available sometime next week...with more to come. :) 

And I need your help...I often get the same kinds of questions in emails...so I've been thinking...why not put together a collaboration that we all work on...

Here are the three main topics:

Blogging Etiquette. 
Advice for newly married.
a third topic that is currently eluding my cloudy brain at the moment. 

And this is where you come in...on this post...please leave your tid bits for blogging etiquette...and then I will compile them in one big post.  

I want to hear all of your do's and don't's...and you can leave them anonymously if that helps you.  When I compile the huge list I won't put any names to it...so you can forward it along to all those people in your life that may or may not need to freshen up their bloggy etiquette.  

Cause we all have those people in our lives right? 

So sorry this is all I have to give you for a few days...you still love me right? :)

Ok...love you...bye. :)

fresh things.

after many tries and mess ups...i think i have finally perfected my poppies...
I found that thin jersey material does well to mimic the delicate petals of a poppy...
And sadly...I only had enough of the red polka dot material to make four of them...so get them while you can...they are available as pins or barrettes...they are cute on a jacket or bag...
And some cute new signs...this on comes with your little ones name and date of birth...available in any color combo we can think of...
And these are the beginning of my {more} or {less} signs...I used some of the ideas for towels that you all offered up...
This one is one of my favorites...

You can find them (and others)in my Etsy shop in the top right hand corner...or in my new Big Cartel Shop...HERE
I'm giving it a go over there for a while...we will see how it goes. :)


mas random.

Can you stand a few more random things?
I know the last couple of posts have been super random...but I feel like they are loose ends that need to be tied in...and are things I want included...when I print this chunk of my blog.
I finally broke down and bought one of THESE...
And now I am working on ways to make it work for me...
like these cute "start of a {happy} family" signs...and some other happy simple signs that I have in mind...you can find this sign HERE...along with all other non sewn goods from here on out. 

I am also thinking of adding some DIY things...like a iron on/stencils, etc...
A new cute towel in the Etsy shop...
Aaron is learning how to use a fork...it's pretty entertaining to watch.  The fork he is holding was Doug's when he was little...it makes me happy to see my boys using it.
And thanks to Uncle B (who you can read more about HERE) the boys have a new little boy sized picnic table.
A couple of weeks ago I hinted to Uncle B that I wanted a simple picnic table for the boys...I was even nice enough to print him out this free pattern for him.
And today Uncle B came for a visit and let Moses help him put it together. 
It is the perfect size for them...and it is SO cute!  I want to paint it red eventually...but for now it is perfect for play doh...or eating lunch...or playing nicely together with your brother. :)

Ok...I think that is the end of my random...I really want to do another segment of "why bother {blogging}" so I will work on that...plus some other fun posts I have in mind...

Feel free to leave me a random comment...you know, to pay me back for all my random posts lately. :)

You guys are super.  And I mean that. Thank you thank you THANK YOU...for the head start on the quilt raffle...you are amazing!! I am so excited!!!

boys {this week}

I'm not a big schedule person...I like to plan...just not schedule.  I like to have days free to do whatever comes our way...these are just some snapshots of our week, that I want to document...
This cheap sprinkler is one of our favorite things...it makes an almost daily appearance.
We also like sidewalk chalk...hoho likes to eat it...
And this was the first time that I have seen Moses draw fingers!  Super cute that boy is...
He is filling in an outline that we did of him...
And here is me and hoho {eating chalk}
And this is a new favorite...we just got it a couple of days ago and it is already worth the eight bucks we paid for it.  He has a little trouble with the run then slide thing...so he would get on his stomach and I would slingshot him down the slide.  Every time he would shout something different...things like "superman lunchbox" and "watch out orcas" or "there's a shark"...I'd give anything to see into that little brain. 
This kid is awesome.  Earlier this week I asked him if he had a happy life.  He said yes.  I asked him why.  He said "Because Jesus loves me".  Ahhhh, yes.  I have to work at that kind of simple faith...he totally gets it at three. 
This is what you get when you ask for his serious face.
And this is hoho's mad face.  I got him to look at me by telling him I had a giggle.  I did not. 
FYI-in hoho language a giggle is anything furry or cuddly...fuzzy blankets...stuffed animals...minky blankets...cats...dogs...squirrels...any animal really.  He actually says the word giggle...which is super cute. :)

That's our week... 

made {this week}

Just some projects I have been working on this week...
This first one is a table runner...but shorter...and it is made with a layer of the heat resistant backing (like you use for pot holders) so it can sit in the middle of the table (out of reach of chubby hands) and act as a hot pad. I saw one on a blog that I can't find at the moment...and made one for myself using a random pattern...I made three 10in squares and home decor weight fabric for the trim.  The other side is a yummy orange fabric for when I need a change of scenery. 

I love having it in the center of the table...though I am sitting at the table right now and can't see it because it is covered...
I finally got around to adding another layer to Aaron's hand print...
Each year I outline the boys hands...and add the bigger one under the previous years...I am a couple of months behind with hoho's. :) 
They are one of my favorite things...like people tree rings. :) 
This I love...for a friends new baby girl.  Can you guess her name?
And a nice big custom order...all finished up and ready to go out. :) 

Just a few of my projects this week...there are a few more but not photographed. :)

I'd love to see what you have been working on this week...leave a link. :) 

And happy fathers day to my doug.  my boys have the best father.  the best.  and we all love him dearly! :)

something for you {a tutorial} how to make a zippered bag.

Thank you thank you thank you...to all you sweet people who left feedback on the previous post.  I love having a place I can share and document not only my kids growth...but mine as well. :) You are all SUPER sweet and I love you to pieces...each and every comment makes my day.  Honestly.  Thank you!

And to say thank you...and prove that I mean what I say...how about a tutorial?
Who doesn't love a nice zippered bag? Once you get the hang of making them...they are as easy as one, two, three.  Just get over your fear of zippers...okay? 
You can click on any of the photos to make them bigger...

Here is what you will need:
2 pieces of outer fabric (OF) (9 by 6 1/2in)
2 pieces of liner fabric (LF) (9 by 6 1/2in)
iron on fabric stabilizer cut to a slightly smaller size than your
fabric(I got it at Joann's)
a zipper--this one is 7in
Iron your backing onto the fabric that is going to be the OUTside of your bag.

Ok...you are going to line up the first items to be sewn. 
Lay your OF face up.
Lay your zipper centered on the OF and face down.
Lay your LF face down on top of that. (I have this folded back in the photo to show you)
Another view to show you...
Line up the top edges as shown and pin.
Sew along the edge...if you have a zipper foot for your machine...Learn how to use it today.  It really does help.  If you don't have one...you will have to sew along the side...butting your sewing foot up against the zipper edge...when you get to the pull part of the zipper...with your needle IN the fabric...lift the foot...and wiggle the pull past the needle...then lower the foot and continue on. :) Otherwise you will wonky up your sewing line.  
But seriously...if you have a zipper foot that you have never used.  Get to it.  Ok?
When you fold back the OF and the LF this is what it will look like.  You can iron it flat if you want to.
Here is the back.  
Then you are going to sew the folds down...use the zipper as your guide.
Now I am going to pretty up the other side of the bag before I sew it to the zipper (you can skip this step and still get a pretty bag)...I'm going to add a ruffle to this one...I like a raw edge so I just cut a piece of fabric yay long and wide.  What ever makes you happy...the longer the piece of fabric...the more ruffle...the more happy your bag will be.  That's a true statement. 
I just centered the ruffle in the middle...and "free ruffled" along the edges as I sewed...tucking in here and there...
Then sew down the opposite side...And we are ready to move on...
Now we're going to make our next little layering...the SAME as before only now the other side of the zipper will have fabric on it...and make sure OF faces OF and LF faces LF.  Ok? Pin. :) Then sew it just like you did the other side...then unfold and sew it down...just like before.
Here is what we have so far...you see how the ends don't quite line up...you can trim them a bit to line them up again...and be sure to un-zip your bag half way.  Don't forget that...ok?
Flip the fabric over and make OF face OF and LF face LF...see photo.
When folding...you are going to want to fold the zipper into a V shape...with the point of the V pointing towards the LF...
Starting about three inches or so from the edge of the bottom of the LF...sew around all sides...leaving a 4in opening on the bottom of the LF...trim corners...
Turn the bag right side out...sew shut the opening in the lining...and tuck into the bag.
Almost done...
I like to use a coordinating color embroidery floss to reinforce the edges of the zipper...using a simple wrap around stitch (whip stitch?).  I actually have another tutorial showing you a different way to do a zipper...coming soon.
Done and done.  You can do this.  I'll answer questions as best I can in the comment section.
Once you get comfortable making them you can dress them up all sorts of ways...have fun and be creative.  Make away friends.  Fill a shop with them...make them for your friends and family...whatever floats your boat. :)

Happy making!

being shown your own ugly.

 This is a weird post.  
Brought together by months worth of this and that...sealed up by a recent event or two.  Are you lost yet?  Hang with me...I will get to a point.  

I'm not sure how to get to the cusp of what I want to say...so bear with me if I ramble.  In my history with Etsy I have had more than an item or two copied.  It has always bugged me.  For some reason Because of selfishness I have been possessive of my ideas.  Being a dumb, sinful human being I convinced myself that MY ideas were MY ideas.  And no one else was to have them.  Period.  They were mine. Mine. MINE.  I have sent more than one email to said copiers asking them to knock it off.  Always, as polite as I know how but still.  I thought *I* did the work to come up with that idea and only *I* should get to use it.  Dumb.  Dumb dumb dumbdumb. 

I have always tried to tread carefully near others ideas as well.  If I thought I was coming too close to *their* idea I would write them and run *my* idea about changing *their* idea by them before I ever dared to sell it or share it.  I have been shot down more than once with a (in a nutshell) "That's my idea, no."  

Bummer cause really it was an original idea that happened to be born off of another idea. 
Isn't that were all ideas come from?  

  I think there are some ideas that are just up for grabs for making your own...pillowcase dresses, fabric flowers, pillows with names on it, headbands, monograms, purses, bags, photo magnets, towels, houses, gardens, wearing clothes...basically if there are enough of them out there...make it your own.  Other wise we would all be driving around in Model T's, right?  Toyota didn't invent the car...just took an idea and figured it out for themselves.  Do we go around saying "Hey, planting a garden-wearing shoes-jumping rope-going to the store was MY idea!!!!"?  No, cause that is dumb.  Follow me? 

Some ideas are like that.  Some aren't.  Claiming that a photo someone else took is yours? No.  Copying and pasting someones words or design work? No.  
Taking ANYTHING and making it exactly as someone else has done.  No. 

I have never, ever used someones idea and called it my own.  Anything that I have claimed to make myself, using my own measurements and know how...is a true claim.  You can bet your life on it.  

But recently I was accused of that. 
This person was not ugly.  But I was shown my own ugly through them.  I saw that even though they were polite and nice...it held a mirror up to me.  And I didn't like it.   Though we cleared things up...it got me thinking.

What would Jesus do about someone using *His* ideas? 

Um wait...aren't they all *His* ideas?
Would I be proud to tell Him (if He didn't already know) that I had written an email asking someone to stop using *my* ideas?  No way.  I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I did that now.  How dumb.  How foolish of me.  I don't want to be known for being greedy or unkind or selfish.  Because I am NOT those things.  So why should I be that way with my ideas?  Isn't every good gift from above?

And I have done it.  I have staked a claim in something that was not *mine* to claim.  
Even if I have formed a design from sketch to product.  It is not MY idea.  I have no right to be possessive of it.   ESPECIALLY if I put it on here for you to see...or in my shop.  Especially if I have never bothered to get an idea copyrighted...which if my idea was SO awesome I should have done...right? 

Duh.  I can SO CLEARLY see that what fuels that "minemineminemine" complex is my own stupid insecurity.  That someone could possibly take my idea and do it better than me.  Or that others will not know that it was MY idea in the first place.  Or that my idea will lead someone to thinking of something better than I thought of...and that somehow that makes me lesser.

Earlier this week my husband said "If you're not part of the solution...you're part of the problem"...we were talking about something totally unrelated but it clicked for me here.  

I need to purpose in knowing that my own skill and touch will stand out...and if someone takes an idea that I had...and uses it for their own...then THEIR own skill and touch will stand out.  

It's like I am trying to hold on to all this *stuff* and while I am busy holding on...I can't take hold of anything new...I'm so busy protecting what is *mine* that I can't move forward.

I don't know what this means for anyone else.  But for me...I'm going to stop trying to hold on to things that don't belong to me.  Consider yourself getting my blessing to go forth and use whatever ideas I have ever shared here or will share...I hope they do you well...and that you do well for others because of them.  God gave me every bit of talent I have...along with every idea and notion.  Who am I not to share it with others freely?

I'm not saying that I would write a book and let you publish under your name.  But I will, from this point on assume the best of people.  Assume that that they just like to create and make and sew.  And that mimicry really is flattering.   

I want to practice what I preach to my boys in this area...
extend grace and be kind and loving to others.   

BE the change.

And I want to live in a world where people extend grace, are kind and loving to each other.  And assume the best.  Always.  That's a solution I can get behind.    

Me being greedy isn't part of that. 

You follow?

(please note this is about ME.  not meant to apply to YOU...unless you want it to...then feel free but this is just my rambling about ME and changes I want to make in ME...but I welcome your (kind) feedback)

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