Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Stash

The Stash!

I was recently given an enormous amount of fabric and patterns by a two very dear friends Linnea and her daughter Rachael. She actually is my mother-in-law's best friend, but I claim her and Rachael as my own and as another long distance mother and sister. One can never have too many adopted mothers and sisters.  

Needless to say I have great great plans for my 'stash'. More quilts, dresses, pillows, drapes, aprons, pajamas, table runners. I can barely contain myself I am just that excited about it. It also means that my sweet hard working husband does not need to worry about me buying for fabric for a long time! Double win. 

The cowboy quilt I just made used gorgeous cowboys prints from the 'stash'. I am very happy with it and I cannot wait to get it back from the quilting shop. Its Jonas' baby quilt. I know that it is sad that it is his 'baby' quilt and he is already 1 1/2 but I did not quilt when he was a baby. :) At least he is getting his sooner that his sister got hers. Deirdre did not get her baby quilt until she was three! 

Deirdre's Strawberry Flower Fairy 'Baby' Quilt

A simple outline quilt with a double front and back panel. The back is the Alphabet Fairies. 


At any rate I have narrowed my sewing to do list to three projects for the next two weeks. 
-Summer Table Runner 

On another very positive note, Craig and I did a walk-through today of the house we hope to rent staring in August for the next 3 years. The rent is higher than we pay now so we will have to cut back..a lot. But we both absolutely love the house, the yard (its huge!!!), the neighborhood, and the school (if we go the school route eventually- not at least until 1st grade). So here is hoping it all works out. Please pray for discernment for us in the meantime. We will keep you posted!!!

Where the crafting, scrapbooking, and sewing magic happens.

I love my cricut! 

My 3rd child, my brother sewing machine! 


Daily Verse:
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. – Psalm 33:20-21 (NIV)

PS: Yes in the first photo above the stash, that is a dagger. Its a Berber's dagger from Morocco. I did not know where else to put it! I brought it back- in my backpack- for Craig. It is still sharp too. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

{this moment}

This week I was inspired to do this by Amanda Soule. She writes a daily blog and is an author of two of my favorite books. Visit her at soulemama.com .
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Homemade Easter!

Dressed Up!


Yes I know, its about a month and a half late! I have a good excuse though. We recently got a new computer (yay) but all my Easter photos we on the old one, thus the delay. It is not much fun to blog about homemade Easter baskets if -well- you have no pictures of them, right? 


OK so here are the finished results! 


Jonas' (Left) and Deirdre's (Right)


Deirdre's up close

Jonas' Up Close

So happy! 

Very Excited- He knew exactly what to do! 

Bunny

Sharing the wealth


Ah so yes. Many hours of love were put into making these baskets. They both were old and ugly thrifted wicker baskets that needed a lot of TLC. I sanded and painted them yellow with a shimmer finish. Then I made matching peach and green Peter Rabbit basket liners. I stole the idea from the new pottery barn liners, which were a ridiculous $25 each, and made my own version! All together the baskets and liner cost me $15. Yes thats right $15. For the paint, fabric, baskets, and all! 

As for the contents the only things that I bought outright new were the chocolates, modeling wax, and crayons. So they are not 100% homemade, but I am sorry, I can't do that just yet and nor do I want to. I love Lindt chocolates and I am not interested in making crayons or wax. So there ;)


The books are all used that I got in a thrift store for 50 cents each. They were in brand new condition. I think my best finds were all three of the "Pat the Bunny" series books as well as two vintage Beatrix Potter hardback books. I know right, perfect for Easter time?

Now for my pride and joy, the knitted animals! For Easter I knitted 2 bunnies, 1 lamb, a chicken & chick, a duck & duckling, and a goose. I also sewed 2 tomatoes and two strawberries   It took me a few days to a week per animal to finish. I used The "Knitted Animals" book by Anne-Dorthe Grigaff. She is an awesome writer. Her instructions were clear and easy. As a beginner I really appreciated that. I also learned the rest of my basics from her gradually by using all the different patterns. Truly a must-have for knitting play animals for kids. 

So at any rate I feel it was a huge success and personal victory for me. I set out to have a handmade Easter, and I did it. My children watched me knitting all those weeks before and were so intrigued and excited. It warmed my heart to hear my daughter asking to learn to knit and requesting em to make her more "babies". All the oohs and ahhhs from her as they came alive on my needles were very encouraging! 

After the easter basket opening was all done she remarked, "Mommy, I love it when you knit things for us. They're soo "pree-cious"! 

Ah so that my friends if why I felt/feel it is important to have homemade holiday and gifts- when one can do it. They come from the heart and instill a sense of appreciation of effort as well as dissuasion of consumerism. A win-win in my book! 

Daily Verse: (Today it is a favorite quote!)
“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.”-Pablo Cascals



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Going green is hard indeed!

Ah yes going green. The phrase that haunts me at night. Not really- but I have recently been devoting a lot more time than normal on what that means for our family. I am by no means an environmentalist (but that is not because I wouldn't want to be one) and due to studying history in college, I am not well versed on the whole going green movement. However our family feels called to be good stewards of our earth and so we have recently chosen to make some practical 'green' changes in our home and daily life. And let me tell you these were not easy changes for us. I did not cloth diaper my first child and just this March switched my second over (for eco and money reasons). But now we do recycle, compost, buy organic and local when we can, donate vs. landfill, freecycle, garden, keep chickens, and cloth diaper. All of the above things we enjoy doing.

But what is the difference between going green and just being safe? I hate to be an alarmist, but the more I read about the chemicals in our plastics, toys, clothes, on/in our food, and in our mattresses even- I can't help but feel overwhelmed. The research I have to do as a consumer sometimes due to compaines' deceptive labeling amazes me. There has to be a law against that right? And then on I go...!

At any rate, I really do not want to hear the whole "well you turned out fine" argument. Sure I am 'fine' minus chronic bronchitis and starting my period way too young. But I would rather be "safe than sorry" when it comes to what goes in or near my babies and myself. I believe it is important to be an empowered consumer to make smart choices for your family. Granted not everyone feels this way and thats cool. To each his own. Every little bit counts.

Some of our awesome cloth diapers. We love them- poop and all.  
And Jonas' bum is much happier.

When a baby sleeps this close to the mattress who can't help wondering, "Is it safe?"

But if I ever see you littering on MY beach in MY hometown- you'll get an earful from this Momma!

No Daily Verse Today- Why don't you share yours with me? Quotes count too. It does not need to be religious! 


Resources for mamas to check on Safety and Green issues:


http://safemama.com/about/
A great source for quick reputable references on safe products for our kids and ways to go green. Turns out Johnson and Johnson does NOT make the cut! 


http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
I love this site. Its a working group so there is no bias. Just plug in your cosmetics' name and you can check what is in it and how safe it is. 


http://www.saferchemicals.org/safe-chemicals-act/index.html
In their words, "the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition is working with Congress to repair our broken chemical system so that chemicals are proven safe before being added to our homes, schools, and places of work." Check them out and sign on! 




Monday, May 23, 2011

Quilts Galore

This November my loving husband got me a sewing machine for my birthday. I was ecstatic since it was a  complete surprise and also because I had asked for one!  Since then I have been slowly learning how to sew with lots of help from my mother-in-law Pam. During winter break and earlier this spring (when I was not so busy with school) I sewed a lot! I made my first quilt, softie tomatoes and strawberries, 2 pillowcases dresses, a pillow cover, bibs, a blanket, and 2 table runners. 


But alas my steam puttered out as well as my time and I had to put other projects on hold. But now since I am no longer in school- and hopefully will never have to go back again-I have the time and money to start again in earnest :) So in the past week I have finished 2 quilts and have sent them off to be machine quilted. I am quite happy with them and will post finished pictures when I get them back. Now I have two new oliver and s patterns beckoning me and a log cabin quilt class in June! 


Jonas' cowboy baby quilt

Gnome play quilt- unfinished 
Until next time!

Daily verse:
Boldly and without hindrance he [Paul] preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ. 
    Acts 28:31


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Libertas

It has been a week since my graduation. I do not feel substantially different but I will say that I am relieved and have more peace since I do not have the unfinished degree hanging over my head anymore! The ceremony was wonderful and I will post more about that another day.


I really enjoyed my party and being surrounded by those I love the most. I think achievements in life are never reached alone. There are many loving people behind you, helping you, and supporting you along the way.  All my people where there- minus a few notable ones like Mabel and Tom (but a huge congrats to their daughter and my friend Sue whom also graduated with her Masters). I am so blessed to have my church and home group in my life. They were in the trenches with me day to day (especially Craig, Chris ,MK&DK) from the beginning in Fall 2005.


I suppose the surprise of the day was also receiving my Masters of Arts degree in Teaching. I had been in the program and was very close to completing my coursework before I took time off in May 2009. So when I finished my Bachelors in History this May, I just let the MAT be and did not revisit the the idea of completing it. However, much to my surprise I had indeed finished it and my Bachelors in History on the same day. So here is to finishing it all! 


Now much to my pleasant surprise I have loads of free time. I have finished 2 quilts this week and have many more projects, crafts, trips, and packing planned for the upcoming summer! However my prayer is that the Lord would provide ways for me to bless others with the gifts he gave me through my education in the coming year. 









Until then I leave you with my daily verse:

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. - James 1:12

Friday, May 13, 2011

The lighting of my fire

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." 
 W.B. Yeats


I have once again neglected my blog. With the busyness of finishing up my semester, exams, and my impending graduation this weekend, oh and my family... I have been swamped with life's happenings! 


Since I was very young it was always expected of me that I would attend college and graduate. It did not matter really what I studied to an extent, but not going to college wasn't an option. I was always a bright student with drive. And to this very day I still absolutely love to learn, which was partially imparted to me by my Grandfather - but it mostly is a gift from God. 


High school was a breeze and college was too in retrospect. I have always been a good student. But life is not easy nor is it something I am good at yet :)  When I got pregnant with Deirdre, college got harder. Even then I still made Dean's List and did well. I worked hard and I am happy to say I (as well as the village whom helped me) did earn my degree. Yes it did take longer and yes I did screw up along the way, but one awesome husband and two darling kids later, I do have the elusive degree.  


I suppose what I am trying to get at is that while I did learn a lot at CNU in the grand scheme of life my degree is just a piece of paper- an expensive one at that! I met my husband, by God's grace, on my first day at CNU. I just am so ridiculously blessed to even have the opportunity to go to college when so many around the world are denied education, even in my backyard- let alone to also finish. Degree or no degree, I am still God's beloved daughter. During these past 6 years I have grown tremendously in my faith, marriage, and motherhood. I have never worked harder on anything in my life than those three things. And while in this life I will not receive accolades for those three, I will in the next. And that is worth the work and the wait. 


So all in all once my call to stay at home with my kids is not  as strong I will use my degree in one tangible way or another. I am extremely grateful for the whole of my college experience and I believe I am a better world citizen for it. The things I have seen, studied, and learned in college  are so rich and amaze me to this day. 


My fire has been lit and I am content to close the book on this season of life. But the best lesson I have learned is that God is indeed faithful and good. 


Goodnight! Gute Nacht! Bonne nuit! Vale! صبح على الخير my friends!


Baking my first apple pie with Craig. Taken November 2005 when we first started dating! 




PS: Not to mention, my professors at CNU ( & VCU) ROCK. Drs. Kreydatus, Hamilton, Gustafsson, Spalding, Pollio, Adamitis, Carter, Puacas, and Hyland (even though I know you won't see this), you all made my time at CNU rich and memorable. You all were the lighting of my fire. Everything I learned there that was worthwhile I learned from you all collectively. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 


Some of the places CNU helped me visit through grants for research!


Mount Blanc's Glacier - Chamonix France
The view of Mount Blanc and the glacier from my Gite- Chamonix France
Carcassonne France

The Burren, Co Clare, Ireland 

A restaurant outside Fes Morocco 

My gifts from college ;)