Wednesday, September 30, 2009




Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Patches.....

About a week ago, after a looong silence, I had mentioned some fun new patches that were added to the shop. I also mentioned that I would fill you in on the making of them, so here it is...

These little happy wonders are a great break from the normal sewing, cutting and designing. They are also a great way for me to use up those fun little scraps that i just cannot bear to throw out. These patches began as a way for me to avoid mending! I HATE mending! But with five kids, you can imagine the need for it. I am shocked sometimes at the things that can end up with holes in them! And I will show you one of them to prove what I claim! I also found that is was a fun way to get more use out of my free motion quilting foot on the dream machine.

When I make my patches, I do it in bulk, which I have found fills two it is the most efficient way to make a mess! It would be a bit of a tragedy to make such a huge mess for one little patch(haha) And second, I have way too many ideas that I just need to try out! So this last time, I believe the count ended up being over 30 patches in the new collection for the shop. I am still working on getting them all listed!

The first thing I do is to pick out some prints that I want for the background on the patches. I cut them into 6 inch strips and iron on interfacing. The interfacing, I believe, makes them durable which is really the point of a patch, right?
Then I cut them into six inch squares. I do make other sizes for special orders, but this is my typical size.
Such a fun little stack full of potential!
All laid out and ready to be built on!
I keep a crate full of fabrics that have been backed with interfacing. About once a month, I take around an hour to iron interfacing on to fabric scraps that I would like to use for patches, buttons, and appliques I use on clothing and totes. That way, I am not going back and forth to the cutting table, ironing board and scrap bins. Digging through the crate for the right fabric scraps is like putting a puzzle together-very fun!
Here are the patches starting to develop. Many layers are added to each one.

All set to head to the sewing machine. I did two full rounds of patches like this.
Here is the first batch all stacked up. I keep them sandwiched between two game boards until I can get them stitched. Keeps me from losing all their pieces. I takes me about a week to get them all sewn. I tend to work through one thread color at a time. Once I run out the bobbin of one color, I move on to other activities around the house.

Now remember I said i would show you what i have used them for. Well here it is. Awhile back, my girls had the basement covered in forts. They were doing their school in the shelter of them one day and as I was working down there, all of the sudden Joslyn jumps out of her fort and says, Madi's fort is on fire! Talk about your heart stopping! Well it was actually not on fire-YET! See, against my better judgement, I let the girls take a light into each of their forts so they could see, and I of course validated my own fears with this occurence. Now, I must make sure Madison does not take the fall for this, she actually did turn her light off like she was supposed to, but my little guy, the curious, angel employer, decided to figure out how to turn her lamp on and then leave the crime scene. As he fled the scene, he knocked the fort down and in turn almost started it on fire. Thanks to Joslyn's keen sense of smell, we were saved! So, when I say, you can't imagine what I need patches for, I mean it! So after being quite strong in my speech of absolutely no lamps in forts and no forts for quite awhile, and me getting the chance to thank Jesus about 20 times for protecting us, for having us all in the basement when the whole thing went down so that we could catch it before real disaster occured, thanking him for the nasty smell fabric puts off when it is MELTING, and then airing out the house of the burnt smell that was extremely nauseating, I cooled down enough to put some creativity into this disaster. I was so upset about my fun little happy blanket being melted! But, it was saved and now has a story to tell. It now has 3 fun patches decorating it.
And now!!!

I make the patches sew on. I have just never been to impressed with the iron on materials out there, they never seem to replace some good old fashion sewing. But the sewing is simple and the product is long lasting.


This has been on my heart for just about a year now. I have been wanting to share a bit on this subject and the Lord was stirring in my heart on this again today. I think it is easy to fall into the thought process that I have given all I can give, or that I have sacrificed enough, but the real truth is that my soul is not at rest because I know the Lord needs to become more so that "stuff" becomes less in my life. And when that "stuff" becomes less in my life, I am able to give more. The other issue is the flaw in the scale that I use all too often. The other people comparison scale. You know, the thought process that can so easily be manipulated in order to give us the results we want. Like, for instance, I bought a new pair of gym shoes this past weekend. Here is the thing, I already have a pair of gym shoes and really did not need them. It has been bothering me because I have been wanting to do without whatever I could, but I caved this time, somewhere in there I justified this purchase. My husband will tell you himself, I am not a what we hear the typical American woman is with a closet full of shoes. I actually hate buying shoes most of the time because I never seem to find what I like. I actually can mark why I had to purchase each pair of shoes I own, Like, my favorite sandals came from standing up in my sister's wedding(thank goodness she was smart and went casual so we could all get a pair of fun tevas!) Because then the one pair of heals I own that actually have layers of dust on them were from a friend's wedding. My good pair of Nikes I had to purchase because I actually had bruised my heal from standing all day on our concrete basement floor! That was a first-did not know your heal could actually turn 4 different lovely shades of purple! So now i can be seen sporting those lovelies while I do laundry and designing for the shop. I have shoes that are still from highschool! I know-blah blah blah-isn't it sad that i can carry on a conversation about shoes! So here is the point I was attempting to make. I can easily convince myself that I am not as bad as what I hear most women are like in the area of shoes, and that it was ok to buy them because of that abstract scale I based my decision on. It was fine because I am not going too far overboard, I am using them, they were paid in full, I still have enough to pay the bills, groceries, tithe, gas, clothes for kids, etc, etc. But then I listen to something that reminds me of my real desire, my real goal "IN LIFE" and I think, what a waste! I could have helped to change a life instead of buy some silly pair of shoes! What if I could live like that all of the time-wouldn't that be ....well.....ridiculous!

Below is the lyrics from a song that is one of my absolute favorites! I will let you know more about it after you read the lyrics.

What if we all lived in small houses
with rooms we all had to share
what if we all wore clothes
that other people said were too old to wear
what if we all drove cars
that other people thought were ready for the junk yard
what if we only had to eat
what was on sale for the week.

wouldn't this be ridiculous
wouldn't this be ridiculous

what if instead of flying to CanCun
went in the back yard to marvel at the moon
what if instead of watching the game
we prayed for our brothers and sisters in chains
what if we instead of driving to a movie
sat in the home and played bingo with the dying
what if we instead of going out for coffee
gave what we saved to that house that feeds the dying.

wouldn't this be ridiculous
wouldn't this be ridiculous

the children are wishing for a well so they can have clean water
the people are waiting
for someone to come so they can hear the gospel
the family is praying
for some way to buy back their daughter
the orphans are dying
for there's no medicine in the cupboard

wouldn't this be ridiculous
wouldn't this be ridiculous
wouldn't this be ridiculous
wouldn't this be ridiculous
~Can You Hear Us?

That is one of the songs written by the group "Can You Hear Us?"
It is a trio of brother and sisters who grew up on the mission field in Albania.
Their music is an incredible reminder of the social injustices that go on around the world and it challenges the listener to move outside of their own comfort to take part in something bigger than themselves. To not just go about your day and week and year gathering for yourself and family the "American" comforts and dreams. I was blessed to be able to hear them in concert at our church this summer after listening to their music for months. The Lord has gifted them with beautiful musical talents as well as a gift of words.

If you would like to check out their sight here is the link

You can read a bit about their story, their music and the ministries they support.

I was grateful to get connected with the group Shared Hope International through their website. Shared Hope International is committed to ending the sex trafficking that has devastated our world and left it's victims hopeless and need of The God who created us to heal them. I have recently read the book "From Congress to the Brothel" that was written by Linda Smith who left Congress after seeing first hand the evilness of a brothel, and has now devoted her time to creating awareness in order to destroy the sextrade industry. Here first hand accounts of what children, boys and girls as well as women have had to endure is very difficult to stomach and will leave you wrestling with the question, "How can man be this evil!?" How can this be going on and go unnoticed. But the book also gives you a glimpse of the hope these women and children are given when Shared Hope International is able to rescue them from their captivity.

Here is a link to Shared Hope International as well

So, this is where my heart rests today, these were the questions, struggles, challenges that I wrestled with and am glad to have wrestled with. I would definately like to think that I could do much better than acquiring a new pair of shoes with what I have earned in my labors!

Monday, September 28, 2009



Saturday, September 19, 2009

What is New...

I thought I would take a bit of time to write while I am waiting for my "drowsy" allergy medicine to kick in. This past month I have been at war with bronchitis. At first I was simply thankful for it not interfering with the activities of my day too much, just was a bit irritating. But the last two weeks as it has been dragging out, it has kind of kicked by butt. restless night due to coughing up a lung, achy ribs and back from-coughing, weary from restarting my sentences over and over again because of-coughing, you get the picture. But with my second trip to the doctor this week, I think i am finally on the mend and starting to breathe again. So, there you go, that is why I have been absent here. As much as i love the blog, it is a bit of a luxury that I must let go of when other priorities leave no room on my plate.

But here are some highlights that I at least had pictures from.
Bell has been enjoying her art easel that she got from her GG(Great Grandma).

Joslyn decided she wanted a horse, so she hijacked my stash of boxes to create her mustang. So we now have a horse residing in our basement-sorry to my lovely customers, my studio is no longer pet free(Haha). Joslyn can bury herself in a project for hours when she gets an idea. I love hearing her say, I LOVE ART. She has been known to very dramatically claim she could not live without art.
Madison is my little lady who loves listening to old records and dancing around. I put together a collection of old record waltzes for her last Christmas. Talk about a fun treasure to hunt down. But this week, the waltzes got to her and she just had to have a partner to dance with her. So I found her digging through crates of Cole's old clothes that do not fit Noah as of yet. This is what she put together for Noah. It really was pretty darn cute! And Noah was quite the sport in it all. He loves hopping around to the music too.

We were able to finally dig up our carrots! They were excellent, kind of ruins it for me wanting to buy them from the store! Next year, there will be a whole lot more carrots growing in our gardens, that is for sure.
While Matt was able to take a vacation day to hang out with an old friend and catch U2's newest tour-which they were able to actually be in the inner circle , center stage for-I am so jealous. I spent the day with my folks, which was wonderful. We sat outside and had lunch and dinner on the deck while the kids played in the tree house my Dad had built for us kids when we were little. Noah took an awesome nap on Grams and gramps floor, thanks to Grandmas's great rocking skills! She has the touch! i can't remember the last time I was able to rock him to sleep!

And speaking of my folks! Dad has now been in his new job for 2 weeks-praise the Lord! After almost 2 years of searching for a job! If you know anyone going through jobloss or difficulty in finding a job, please remember to keep praying, I can tell you from watching my parents go through this, that it is so hard and so discouraging,words could never do it justice. prayer for the Lord's peace, and comfort, and guidance is always needed!

And we are still enjoying the Park across the street from our neighborhood. Our neighborhood is an older one, so it does not have a play ground in it like all the new developments do, but we are blessed to have something even better five minutes walk form our front door! We have Phillips park aquatic center, sledding hills, zoo, island, gardens, and playground and picnic site. Can't beat that! So we are enjoying that all times of the years.
And now, here are a few things I have been working on in the shop.
I love old books that have seen better days. So I have begun to cut tags from the pages of them. The kids love helping me choose what we try to work into the tags. Just a fun little extra to play with. I was blessed with a sizzix die cutting machine last Christmas that my husband brought home from a white elephant exchange!!! I have put it to use -a lot!
I have also had a chance to restock on patches. I enjoyed making them just as much as always! The perfect way to use scraps! I am hoping to begin framing collections of them soon. I will try and write up a post soon on how I make them.

Well, I am very sleepy and need to finally rest my head on the pillow. Toodles lovelies!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Just a quick little note to let everyone know there is a sale in the shop going on this holiday weekend. It is from Friday the 4th and will continue through Monday the 7th. Take 20% off of your entire purchase. This will not include shipping costs. You can view the details of the sale in the shop. Lots of new items have been added this week. Here is a peek.

There are some new bibs.....

There are a lot of new fat quarter bundles in the shop!

As well as many new pillowcase bundles too.

I have started to add some new crayons rolls in time for the Christmas Season.

And then there are many new wee one hats being added to the shelves. All eco friendly being made from reclaimed clothing. Soft an cuddly.

Happy shopping! Send a note while checking out that you have read about the sale in my blog and I will take an additional 5% off of your purchase, giving you a total of 25 % off of your entire purchase.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Fruitful Goodbye to Summer

We have officially been back to homeschooling for almost 2 weeks now. It did not feel like a stranger this year when we returned. It has been a subtle and smooth transition back to a more structured schedule. I did feel the sadness just like the kiddos as we returned though, and it is good to go through the experience with them. The challenge for me is to remember that even though i feel the same as they do, I am the one who will set the tone and example for how to handle disappointment. Being mom is sometimes like being the rudder on a boat, when the rudder turns, so does the boat. And just like that, which ever way I turn in emotions, most of the time, my family turns the same direction. Can be such a good thing, but when I am not checking my attitude and thoughts against what the Lord thinks and says in His Word, it can be SO BAD! I am also learning to face difficulties with a sense of humor. Now going back to school is not a tragedy, although some of my kids may think it at times, but even the little obstacles need humor as we prepare for the bigger obstacles in life! So, on our first day back to school, Matt got up earlier and took the kids on their traditional donut run for the first day back to school. Since we do not have the great excitement of getting on the bus or putting on our new back to school outfit(cause hey! we get to do school in our PJ'S!), we decided to at least get dressed for the first day of school and start off the day with an, OH SO HEALTHY" breakfast-DONUTS! And then, I keep the wee ones with me and plan my newest greeting to the new school year-something that makes them laugh when they walk in the door. So, I years before, I have dressed up like an scary old school teacher with the cat glasses, gaudy make up, crazy hair, and funky dress(which being I sell vintage clothing, it is not too difficult to find one of those!), I have also been a clown and the kids this year said as they left, "You did get rid of that clown costume, right?!) So, I said, yes, don't worry this year I decided not to do anything since I have scared you the last few years instead of making you laugh. And I was being truthful when I said that this time. I figured it was one of those silly ideas I had thought was so much better than it really was, and it was time to let it go. Besides my brain has been feeling a bit burnt on the creative side, so a rest was welcomed, BUT! When I said that, they protested and said that they were expecting something and they didn't want me to stop. Well, nothing like scrambling at the last minute! So, I went with an old faithful to our family. ..Star Wars, can't lose with that! Yes, of course we have a Darth Vader costume! I just had to find it, put batteries in and suffocate while waiting for them to return home! And it was well worth it to remind the kids that "THERE IS NO ESCAPE" when they walked in the door! And I know some of you, my lovely facebook friends, wanted pictures, but I am smart-there is no evidence of the looniness that I reveal within my own home! But Bell did have to wear it once I took it off, so you will certainly enjoy that much more than seeing me!

Nothing like the contrast between good and evil!

It is so nice that our first two weeks back into a school schedule has also brought with it some good memories. I know many of you wonder how I work full time and also school our kids. It is not easy, but it has been a blessing I would never change and know the Lord has given his strength for me to do. I am no supermom! Far from it, I fail everyday in one way or another but the Lord continues to shower his grace and mercy on us, and we learn so much as a family through where he has placed us and what he has given us to do. And I do let a lot of things go so that I can focus on the priorities at hand. I cannot do everything, but I can try to do a few things well! And that is where I am at. Our first conviction and priority that determined how life would be concerning our children was that I would be at home with them no matter what and we would go without in any area we could so that could be accomplished. Next came the passion for teaching our kids at home. That was a natural transition since we had always been at home together anyways. As time went on and we started adding to the size of our family, doors starting opening very subtly and rather easily in that I was able to start selling my creations. At the beginning we were just tickled with the idea that my hobby could be self sustaining as well as bring in a little extra to help around the house and in giving. But what I came to see was that the Lord had been preparing the future for what we would need, before we even realized it! By the time we had our 5th and have now come to have 3 1/2 of them in school(Bell is in a pre K kind of year), the basic expenses could have taken us a bit by surprise! So, working at home was something I have gradually grown in to, it was not something I set out to do, it was something the Lord provided when we needed it. Now, it is just a part of life. And I thought I would show you a small glimpse of how it works. The kids take turns sitting with me at different parts of the day in my studio, so we can go over questions and new concepts in their lessons. It gives me the ability to work in between the lessons and questions. I do alot of my packaging, cutting, pictures, answering emails, listing, etc when they are quietly working on their seat work, but am available to answer questions as well.

We used to have a classroom, but found out very quickly that being chained to one area was actually not very good for any of us. We move around alot. Outside is the best in the fall and spring. But if i am working in the kitchen, they all come and plop down at the kitchen table. If they need silence from the wee ones, they head to my desk in my bedroom. they read in their beds or out in the hammock when they can. We do have desk areas for them in the basement where they work as well when everyone is down there. I love the flexibility, structure has never quite suited me and this does.

And as far as work is concerned, it goes on for many hours every night after the kids go to bed. That is how I do it. Sometimes, every once in awhile I feel the stretch of working and morn the simpler time when I was just mom, but most of the time, and I mean this, I am blessed with work. There are so many parts of scripture I cling to. Of course, Proverbs 31:10-31-I always hope to become this woman some day. I do think I have the selecting wool and flax and works with eager hands part down(haha), but i have a lot more to go! But i have also been very intrigued with the book of Ecclesiastes right now. I am so far from being a scholar, so it takes me awhile to understand sometimes what I am studying. But I have been caught by Ecc 5 :18-20 I have seen what is best for people here on earth. They should eat and drink and enjoy their work, because the life God has given them on earth is short. God gives some people the ability to enjoy the wealth and property he gives them, as well as the ability to accept their state in life and enjoy their work. They do not worry about how short their life is, because God keeps them busy with what they love to do.

It is true in my life. It is busy, being a pastor's wife, mama to 5, school teacher, and full time laborer, amongst the other treasures of family and friends, but I love my work, all of it! My wealth is that of eternity with the Savior who created me, but he has allowed me to enjoy the labors of this earth, even the ones that are toilsome. And Moms, you know that the chores you finish today will have to be done again tomorrow, that is toil, but are you able to enjoy them? Are you able to praise the Lord for having laundry!? I am finding myself, thanking the Lord many days, that I have this insane amount of clothing to wash-can you enjoy your wealth!? We are wealthy here in America, we have a lot!!!!! But why is it, that we forget many of our tasks come from the wealth we have , have you been blessed to enjoy it, to appreciate it? I hope I am making sense. There is also a favorite movie of mine, "Return to Me" and in it, her Grandpa says in one of the scenes, after another long day of work, "I am blessed with work" It really is a privilege to have work and purpose.

This is something we have started as a family at night during our devotions. When I began reading "In His Steps" to the kids, I was struck with the idea that we need to be dwelling more on being thankful as a family. That we needed to "NEED" less and have a need to "GIVE" more. And I am convinced that giving the Lord our gratitude on a daily, if not hourly, basis is one of the biggest ways to extinguish selfishness and have our eyes open to His purpose for us. To really begin to enjoy what He has given us and what He has done for us! So we began a "Thankful" journal in our family. Even Bell who does not write or read yet, has been drawing picture in it. I hope this journal to be the first of countless more! It is back again to the idea of being the rudder in my family, if I can start showing my thankfulness to the Lord in everything, it will hopefully start to take root in my children as well.

One of the other joys of these past weeks was the harvesting of the gardens! Sad in some ways, but so fun to be able to pick some of those long awaited veggies and fruit. I have now pulled out quite a few of the plants in some of the gardens, they are done producing and it was good to clean them up a bit. We got 2 large pumpkins this year! It was quite amazing to see them grow and change so quickly! We got a lot of really yummy fonzy melons which are like a cross between a honeydew melon and a cantaloupe. Too many cucumbers that we are hoping to find new owners for before they rot! Tomatoes finally turned after a pretty cool summer. And my fave-lots of squash!! Bring on the turkey, and roasts, and all the comfort foods of the fall and winter seasons!

Josie has also decided she would really like to learn guitar, so we are needing to find a teacher for her! I would love to have her learn, she has loved music and singing since she was very little, so I am not surprised! She loves to just sit and strum on the guitar and I love to listen!
I was able to find another trash to treasure shelf for helping around here with the clutter! I picked it up for just over $6. And i am proud of myself, it only sat in the garage overnight! Noah was my painting partner this time! Yes, you heard right~ He walked into the room when I had just began painting and declared "I WANT TO PAINT!" I am still a bit shocked by the full sentences, so he of course won that battle all to easily with my overwhelming awe of his intelligence:)- I had fun with him. He is at a tough age, especially at a time in my life that I have more going on than I ever did with the four older kids. So he and I have come to meet in the middle. When he has to tug on my leg to get my attention, I now know, it is time for me to put all else aside and get down to his level and play. We are facing new challenges together! It was fun to paint with him!
Here it is to begin with....

and here is Noah putting on the finishing touches...

And the finished product......
Matt has been very busy with the new school year and all the planning and meetings that go into it. We enjoy his Monday off and then say goodbye Tuesday morning until Friday night it feels like. He gets in to the office around 9 and most weeknights has youth group or meetings that get him home almost always after 10. Even late afternoon and early evening after he leaves the office, he has to set up for the night events so dinner at home doesn't always happen. With an hour here and an hour there, the kids especially miss him during those days. But I have always appreciated and felt blessed that the kids are home schooled because it complimented his schedule and the need for flexibility . Sometimes lunch time is all they will see him in a day, blessing number one. And since the weekend is pretty full since he is a Pastor, Monday, his day off is pretty sacred to us around here and I am glad the kids are not at school when he is home, blessing number 2. And then there are some events he can take them with to that they learn to help with and see what Dad is passionate about, blessing number 3. I am looking forward to blessing number 4 this Friday-A DATE! Matt and I are not real good at getting out. We tend to gravitate to staying home after busy schedules, we are definantly homebodies. But, every once inawhile, I get a bit anxious to have a Friday night date to look forward to! So my baby sis has agreed to come and hold down our fort while we go out and play! I am also so excited for Aunt Molly to hang with the kiddos-they adore her! The only bad thing is I want to hang with her too! Another time I guess~