Friday, October 31, 2014

Oh just lots of things.

I always love how a few of my friends do get togethers.  We might not see each other for months but then we bump into one another or meet for coffee and we talk about everything from one end of the gamut to the other.  We laugh, share our hearts, catch up, talk about kids, hubbies, marriage, life, God and then we might even shed a tear or two.  I always leave those times feeling full.  Do you know what I mean?  I'm sitting here today with a whole range of thoughts in my head and undoubtedly, if we were meeting up in real life, it would be one of those visits. Thought I'd take just a second and jot a few biggies down to chat about with you. 

I've been so mad lately, and I've been having angry dreams which is totally unlike me and very odd.  I told my kids that they could invite a "friend or two" to trick or treat with... and my son invited at least a dozen kids.  He hasn't ever been one of those boys that got play date invites or many birthday party invitations, and hasn't got a best buddy. Never has. I watched him call and invite friends and of course they all had plans.  It made me mad to watch him shake off rejection and the fact that that is his story, so I'm doing my best to get over it while I pray frantically that at least one boy shows up.  My angry dreams were of me, doing things like yelling at a house full of kids to eat oatmeal for breakfast but they couldn't hear me for some reason, and one or two kept wandering off every time I tried to get them to all sit at the table!  I had another weird one about walking in to the house filled with kids, and every single room had been taken apart and was a huge mess, and nobody could hear my voice even though I was yelling as loudly as I could.  I think I need a vacation!  Does that ever happen to you?  Of course I take all my dreams apart and analyze them with Adrain.  Somehow it helps.  I believe dreams aren't always random.  Ya know? Apparently I'm freaking out about not being heard in this house (true) and breakfast has been an issue lately (also true), and the thought of having more than two kids in my house is stressing me out. (Again, truth here, as I've always got children that don't belong to me in this house after school.  They just start knocking on the door and lounging on the sofa and eating all the food and even though I know this was part of the ministry God had intended for us several years ago when we felt like He was reshaping how we did life... I think I'm overwhelmed! Maybe just a tad...)

However that brings me to this.  The other day I was reading something about something BIG someone else was doing (Oh I know.. you don't have to tell me not to compare) and I started to feel kind of like a failure in the "Do big things for God" department.  I mean four some odd years ago we thought for sure we would be able to downsize our house (mortgage payment), lifestyle, go on lots of missions trips, etc, etc, etc.  Of course nothing went down like we thought and we were downsized alright, just not voluntarily... yet big things are happening again around here and even the yucky things have been like blazing arrows pointing us down a lighted path that it feels like God is clearing the way for us to walk on.  It might be months until I have details for you.  I look back and can see exactly how God led us through a sort of dessert place to get us to a place flowing with proverbial milk and honey, and all the mission we could possibly want (or handle, truthfully) just in a totally different capacity than we ever imagined.  I can't share details of any of that either but I do know this- Adrain and I have been given a mission as a couple that only he and I could have done and you'll have to take our word for that one.  It was for us and only us.  If all the things we'd thought and prayed to happen had come to pass we would have completely missed out on this thing in our hands today.  And isn't that the glorious, beautiful, messy, heartbreaking way of it sometimes? It might not be moving mountains but it's loving on some individual hearts that are very precious to God and we get to be His hands and feet directly!  Life changing, all around. 

Okay truthfully, I'd love to sit here and chat about a ton of frivolous things but kids are walking in the door in a moment and I've got to hurry.  However before I go here is a whirlwind of by the front door before you head out topics- 1) I have an addiction to latte art youtube videos.  They are crazy awesome.  2) I made a huge neck warmer and I have gotten about two dozen compliments and I'm telling you it stopped traffic at Costco the other day, making my man just roll his eyes and laugh.  I used huge needles and size 6 yarn and it is my very favorite thing- like ever. 3) I rearranged the studio/office/guest room and I hate it but it's got to be this way.  I really will have to share...  4) One of my besties, Alli has been making me almost pee my pants for the past two days over Halloween emails and if you could read what the two of us say to one another you would die laughing too.  She is a bad influence in the best of ways. KnowwhatImean? 5) I have a VERY COOL diy to share on Monday- it's a Pottery Barn knock off advent calendar and I'm getting tingles just looking at how awesomely it's coming together (see above photo).  6) I'll also be having a Younique party on Monday via the virtual world and I'll share more about that as well as a couple new vintage ornament prints that I'm very excited about!  Gonna be a fun week next week! 

Happy Halloween Peeps!
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hair Today... And going gray. A year later- UPDATE.

Keeping things light today and talking about hair.  Which always seems to be a very popular subject  around here.  For those of you who have been with me for the past year, you might remember that it was the fall of last year, when I decided to stop coloring my hair and go... au naturale. 

I first talked about it last September here.  Then again here and then here.  Then I quit talking about it because I hated having short hair and I was just in the process. 

I knew it was going to be a process when I began.  I really did.  We first began by coloring my hair as closely as possible, to my natural color.  (Previously I had partial foils of blonde, meaning the back and underside of my hair was already mostly natural.) The way we did this was by picking out as many of my highlights and coloring ONLY those. I'm not sure what it would have been like if I had been doing all over color.  I'm thinking it might have been a bit painful. 

Step two in "Operation stop coloring my hair" was a cut. Though really I must back way up and say that the first thing you need if you want to begin this process, is a hair stylist you love, adore and totally trust.  (Local peeps I can hook you up if you need one!) You have to have her on board and I am so thankful for my hair stylist!! Anyway... I waited as long as I could but I decided to go for more layers and chop off the back shorter than the front, a couple months into this process, in early November. It was a cute cut... I was simply born a long-hair girl and anything above shoulder length makes me feel all wrong. However, I knew that for the most part, keeping it short over the course of a year, and getting a few trims with plenty of layers would eventually speed the chopping off of the old color. 

At my last hair appointment, my girl did a very selective layer cut where she kind of went seeking pieces with old color out and did her best to cut and blend them in.  It was instantly darker like my natural hair and I have officially trimmed off almost all of the old color. (See photo below) My hair grows extremely fast, but I really did think this process would take longer than a year.

I do have plenty of gray.  It's a silvery color that blends well with all of the red and golden blonde in my natural hair, but if you're in broad daylight you'll totally see it.  I've gotten many compliments from strangers which I always think is a good sign.  Photos don't really show the gray well.  I will tell you that a lot of the streaks that you think are blonde from afar and from a photo with questionable coloring... aren't.  They are gray.

 From the top you can see me with many blonde pieces and differing styles and lengths.  The one with me and the blue phone is where I began thinking about a change both in letting my natural curl do it's thing, and not coloring any more.  I do show my roots in two photos above and those streaks are gray not blonde. The photo with writing on it is where I went back to my natural color and had just left the salon.  All of the photos from then on are mid-process in varying stages.

 Which brings us to today.  A year later. I literally just got up from the computer, snapped a picture and posted it here and I didn't do my hair all cute for you- this was truly of the moment.  Please excuse the fact that I have been spray painting and have had it back in a headband at various points in today and it probably would look a little smoother if that hadn't been the case.  I just wanted you to see.
I have had a few questions from many of you over the year and here are my thoughts.  First if you want to do this, go back and read the previous posts I linked especially the first one as you will most likely find answers to questions there. I have loved this process most of the time.  I thought my grays would stand up all wiry and obnoxious and every now and then I get a short new one that does and I've got about 3 doing that today but again that might be because I've been pulling a headband on and off all afternoon as I worked in the garage.  Once the hair has a bit of weight on it, it smooths right down. 

I have never had healthier, softer hair than I do now.  I think all of the coloring I was doing did damage to my grays and made them seem a bit more threatening than they really were. I have tried a few different hair products but I have been using John Frieda shine products for brunettes lately.  Everyone in my family is always touching my hair now, so that tells you that it's very soft compared to what it used to be. My husband says (and I quote) that he "loves it and thinks it's just gorgeous."  Truthfully that's all I needed because if he hated it, I'd be in my colorists chair in a moment's notice. Now, I just plan to grow it again.  Long.  Lovely, long and gray-streaked.  I love it and am thrilled that I did this.  Not to mention the cash it has saved us over the year.  I estimated about $600!

If you have any questions put them in comments and I'll do my best to answer them in comments so make sure you check back!
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Monday, October 27, 2014

In which I try not to be a hamster on a wheel...

(Sanity saving idea from my boss- Inexpensive ($5) tray from Lowes for muddy shoes, filled with rocks.)
I have to be honest... I'm unable to squeeze a ton of blogging into my life these days, but I've still got about the same amount of things to say.  Huh.  Funny how that works. Ha! I did a little fall flip where I add in my Thanksgiving-y items. (Like my grammy's turkey platter that makes my heart so happy it could burst... even though it makes me miss her like crazy and the way she would always snap her fingers and say "Why hello Sashie" Or how she called me "Darlin'" and nobody on this planet will ever say it quite like she did.)  I didn't make any big changes but I thought I'd toss a few photos into this post because I had my camera out from work today and also because I hate posting with out at least one photo.

(Wee turkey sitting proudly on the counter.)

(Antlers... how I love them with candles.)

(Grammy's turkey platter.  Every childhood thanksgiving has used that platter. )
(Stuff on a tray... and I finally DID get my Pottery barn feather pillow. It was MADE for this sofa!)

Right now if I look to my right I can see my personal desk overflowing with orders waiting to be filled, (Yay and thank you!) prints waiting to be trimmed, wishbones waiting to be painted (more on that to come), sketches waiting to be water colored, vintage ornaments waiting to be photographed, a pair of gloves waiting to be mended, a hot glue gun waiting to cool down so I can put it away, and a magazine clipping with a shirt that I'm waiting to order at some point before the holidays.  Hopefully.  And that's just my desk! Raise your hands if you can relate.  No wait.. just raise one because you're probably multi-tasking and need the other hand for whatever else you're doing, eating, or drinking.  Right?

It's that time of the year again folks.  I don't know about you but I've got a quickly filling up calendar and I just flipped it to November a week early and scribbled the last week of October in the top row of boxes because I couldn't wait til November first to flip it, since I need access to those dates NOW.  Does this happen to you?  And does it make you tired and feel the need to speak in CAPITAL LETTERS and use lots of punctuation?!?  Because that's what it does to me.  It makes me feel frantic. 

I feel like God has given me a word over the past few days and it's the exact opposite of being hamster on a wheel to get through the holiday season- which if I'm honest I'm already kind of doing, dangit. The word... was Peace.  I go to bed and my mind is whirring like a machine, popping out great ideas and thoughts or prayers and worries for loved ones, then I flip through a magazine and start making a mental list of ideas to do or recipes to try.  My kids come home and have this party or that idea, and it starts adding up and robbing me of both sleep and PEACE.  I don't much care for that.  I think to myself that maybe if I just get all my lists organized and written out and get my shopping done in advance I'll find that peace. 

But I don't think so.  I have been giving it some thought and a bit of prayer and digging and wherever I find the word Peace in the bible, it's often something that God has already given us... a gift. Which makes me think that in many cases perhaps Peace is a choice we make... and if we don't have it, all we have to do is choose not to be anxious, but pray and practice THANKSGIVING... and then the Peace of God will settle us down. 

I found two versions of Philippians 4:6-7 that I loved;
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  

And then the message version; 
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

I guess in closing I'd like to encourage both you and myself that if Peace is what we're after, we can begin today thanking Him for every aspect of our day, and doesn't that fit exactly into the season of Thanksgiving anyway?  I suppose a bit of list organizing can't hurt but maybe the thing we need to put at the top of our lists from now on, is time with Him, time spent thanking Him, and time just loving this crazy wild ride He blessed us with.  I'm seeking peace for the season, from here on out and I've got to make the choice to make it an intentional goal.  How about you? Want to join me in a little peace-seeking?
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P.S. I'm running a small sale right now on anything in my shop- 10% off by using code "FALL10" when you check out.  Click here to shop!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Raising up Arrows... and DIY's.

I think it's so amazing how challenging times squeeze creativity out of my veins.  With recent challenges in motherhood I've been hearing talk about raising up arrows at every turn and it's caused my thinking to twist in a new, purposeful direction. It comes from the verse in Psalm 127:4 that says, "Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. I've heard church sermons about it, radio programs touching on it, friends commenting on it.  It felt like the idea of raising arrows has been chasing me around. 

I love the way Family Life today shares perspective on the subject here.  This quote, taken from that article, especially hits me in the season I'm in with a teen and tween. "The point of the arrow reminds us of the last essential quality we want to craft in a child: Every person needs a reason to live, a driving passion or calling that provides meaning and impact. This is a person's mission. We need to ask ourselves, "Have I more passion for the values of this world's system than for the things of God? What are my goals in life—are they ones I want my child to copy?" Every child should be helped to understand that life is a dynamic relationship with God that overflows in love to other people—a love that the Holy Spirit uses to reconcile the lost to God. Everything else, as good or innocuous as it may be, is only a prop to facilitating this mission" 

Kind of gives a nice refocus to MY mission as their mama, raising them up to point outward, into this world.  Oh Lord, let me be worthy of this task!  So I made some artwork out of it and some of the cutest arrows to hang on my wall as a reminder.  I had to share the DIY in case you wanted to do likewise.  I made two because I've been given two children.
 I gathered a few bits of fall to make a mini gallery, and the collage pin board that was previously here is on the wall opposite.  Makes for a fun conversation piece as people are coming and going.  That photo of an 18 month old JJ (as he was called back then) was the moment that I realized I wanted to learn photography for real.  That was the photo, the moment, the magic happened for me.  I'd always had a desire to learn photography but that moment was the one where I went, "YEP I'm doing this!"
 To make your own arrow, you will need the following:
A wooden dowel, a piece of thin wood like balsa wood, 1/8" thick. A pheasant feather, x-acto knife, hot glue, paint colors of your choosing (mine above), and optional- gold leaf paint.

Step 1- paint your wood dowels any way you choose.  I freehanded mine but you could tape things off to make them all perfect-y. I'm not so into that.  I let mine dry overnight. I also left lots of the natural wood showing.
 Step 2- cut a chunk off the bottom of a pheasant feather.  The bottom has the thickest shaft down the center and that's really helpful when you're slicing it in half.  I cut mine about 6 inches long. Slice very carefully, and you should end up with part of the shaft on each feather piece, that way none of the feathery bits will fall off.  You can trim the ends to a point like I did.
 Step 3- hot glue a thin line at the ends and place feather half into it.  Do the same with the opposite side and see photo below.
 This is how it should look once glued.
Step 4- Now I didn't take any photos of this part because I was too busy...but it's pretty basic. The balsa wood piece I used was thin enough to cut a triangle shape out with my scissors.  Then I hot glued it right to the end of the dowel. 
 Step 5- This was my favorite part. I used liquid gold leaf to add finishing touches like stripes and covered the point with it as well.  It kind of gave the hot glued end a finished appearance. 
 Once dry, I used 2" L-hooks" to hang each arrow up on the wall. 
 Before I hung my little mini gallery I laid everything out on the floor and arranged it how I wanted, then snapped a photo of it so I wouldn't forget how it needed to look. 

 I hand-lettered this verse (because I love that sweetly imperfect look) to go along with it, and have made it available in my shop for you, here.  Also, the wheat wreath... LOVE how it turned out.  I used the inside ring of an embroidery hoop that I had and then hot glued the ends of wheat stalks right onto it!  So easy but I did burn myself a few times.  So be careful if you make one!

 This makes my heart happy. 

 (Shh... don't tell anyone that there are still bits of hot glue on this wreath when the light hits it. Ha!)
 Also.  After many months of passing this huge school house light longingly in the garage, in it's box... it now has a home above my island!  EEE!!!  All thanks to my sister in law's friend who is an electrician, who gave us a great "friend deal."  (It's the same color as the one above the sink but the light is making it look more orange and golden- just so you know.  Not that you cared.  I just tend to over share.) This thing is 16"... so perfect for this spot.  (We got our lights at Destination Lighting.)
 And finally... shameless shop plug- Christmas prints are heading out the door and I wanted to show them in case you "needed' one for yourself or a loved one.  Clockwise from left- Come all Ye Faithful,  Vintage Ornament Giclee (also available as a wrapped canvas), and baby deer watercolor.
 Clockwise from left- Quotable Christmas print, Merry Everything (and baby deer again) (Click individual links, or here to shop!)

Okay friends I hope you enjoyed your stop here!  Let's go out and take this parenting gig on with purpose! 
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Weekend thoughts

There was a crushing weight recently.  You may have sensed it here and there from snippets in my writing here and on Instagram.  Mostly I questioned blogging itself in that time period, but of course it went deeper for me.  I questioned those daily happenings because my daily life was in turmoil for various reasons that I won't delve too deeply into here.  Motherhood failures.  Friendship aches.  Life choices gone wrong or looking ahead yet to be made.  Family drama on every side.  It was too much and I know you can relate because we all have seasons that feel just that- "too much." 

I think often, we don't know how deeply we've sunk until we've been pulled out and can see the waves crashing beneath us as we're lifted to safety.  We look down and see the choppy waters that had been inches from dragging us under permanently and we feel strong emotions.  We feel relief, gratitude and often... fear that it will most likely happen again after a period of calm.  And when that next storm hits, will we survive?  Will the waves submerge us to the point of death?  Will the source that pulled us out continue to be reliable and trustworthy... will our rescuer continue to care enough to bother with us?

In these moments of calm, when my heart is full, I make a point to jot it down.  Here, in a journal, out loud to listening ears... someplace so that the ripeness of this solitary moment of calm is felt, remembered, and acknowledged.  I'm in that moment as I write to you this day.  Here in my home it is still.  Quiet.  Good.

 I'm coming off four of the most glorious days of motherhood I've had in months.  I saw a very specific prayer for my son get an answer and with it came a domino effect of good that has weighed me down like new snow on a branch.  Beautiful and clean and blessedly fragile but good nonetheless.  I'll take it.  And I'll document it because the weeks before this string of pearl-like days were ruthless.  They were awful and dark and hopeless and I wasn't sure of anything last weekend, as I shook and cried in Adrain's arms sobbing, "I feel so out of control"... and he held me close and shushed me and gently patted my hair (why does that moment feel so clear) and murmured, "I know sweetie...I know..." A dam was breaking in my heart and I felt that at any moment I was going to fall apart in the worst of ways. 

All around us we see miniature storms swirling around our loved ones and we can't fix any of them.  Adrain and I are both the eldest in our sibling groups and we are identically responsible, efficient, highly motivated and we solve problems.  Yet we're powerless with nearly all the situations around us, and that knowledge has robbed me of much precious sleep this week.  At one point I was wide awake at two am listing off prayers for people I know well and people I have never met in person but have become a part of my life via the internet.  Loved ones, all of them.  

In those dark silent moments this is a favorite from Isaiah 43:2 (The Message) (Also a personal favorite even though Adrain isn't a huge fan of the Message version.) (Whatevs... its speaks to me.) (grin) 

When You’re Between a Rock and a Hard Place

43 1-4 But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
    the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.

I love it.  I hope it lifts you up because it's a sure promise no matter your storm or the burden you're carrying. 

(All images included in this post, were taken from my Instagram feed)
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My {fall} house tour...

I almost didn't share a full-blown fall house tour because everything looks basically the same as it always does... but with a pumpkin on it. Regardless, I had a few of you ask me, "When are you going to share your fall house??"  

Well... er... here ya go!  

My house.  With a pumpkin on it. (grin)

As you know, everything is constantly rotating, evolving and changing, then changing back because "I wasn't fond of that bland pillow from a distance and one small tweak changed the whole look" maybe it's not as bleak and boring as I'm making it out to be.  The older I get, the more minimalistic I tend to be.  My life is more chaotic than it used to be, so I need to walk in and see relatively few clutter spots. 

I'd also like to say for the record, I'm a huge fan of crazy and different pumpkins... BUT... orange will always have my heart and you can't go wrong with them, so this year, I went classic. 
Front porch welcome.  Old blanket, recovered old pillows from fabric I had on hand and a great piece of flannel I purchased for $2.00  I painted the "gather" word on my long pillow to mimic Pottery Barn cuteness that wasn't in my budget. (I used screen printing fabric and a paint brush because that's what I had on hand, but any fabric paint would work.)
 Simple. (The back of our house is painted with the new color but we are still waiting for a friend to come spray the rest of the house.  Supposedly it's happening soon... I'm praying the rains hold off til we can get that done!  However, I am loving the new color and can't wait to share!)
 When you walk in my front door, this is what greets you in the hallway.  Three classic orange pumpkins.  (The  minimalist inside me rejoices.  Ha!)
 Mr. Chickenpox (the cream-painted rooster) came out to sit as well.  I shall never be able to get rid of him because I still remember my kids riding him.  And naming him Mr. Chickenpox. 
 Before you walk into the main part of our home, to your left is our office/guest room/art studio space.  It's our "everything room" and the only thing I added for fall in here, is a hazelnut candle.  But it's a cute room and since we're doing a house tour, I took a couple pictures of it. 

 Walking down the hall and around the corner is our kitchen!  I added a cute lit pumpkin on the counter top and a fall-scented candle. 
 This print is from my shop...
 And this pumpkin was 70% off at Hobby Lobby and was an ugly red color so I spray painted it glossy white and stuffed a string of white lights inside it.  It's my favorite.
 Actually I lied.  This is my favorite.  This old metal drawer I have had for years now... I drilled a hole in the end and we made a little charging station for our kiddo phones!  (I am a firm believer in phones not in rooms after bedtimes.  Trust me... not a good idea no matter how good your kids are.  We've had some learn-the-hard way moments... Luckily not horrific, but enough to remind us to keep a closer watch.)
 We may never get that Seahawks puzzle on the tabletop finished.  It's so hard... We're on month two of it...
 (I already shared these a while ago. Nothing changed.)
 You may notice I went back to the old green and blue corner pillow.  I am drooling over a feather pillow from Pottery Barn... DROOLING!!  I want it so badly but I am gonna have to work on sweet talking my man on that one! (I believe it would be perfect there.)  For now, this is the scene that greets me and I love it.  I moved the (grocery store find) deer antlers from my bedroom where they were hanging, to the space above the lamp. It was instant love.
Grateful pumpkin print from my shop... and I know this wall is so, so bland.  I do have big plans for it...I have been dreaming of what I plan to do here for a year now... it's just not happening any time soon. Sigh.

 My son's feathers...

Peeking out from the hallway in between my kid's rooms.  (Actually, I am standing in the door of our main bathroom.) (Yes our house is that tiny.) (This vintage typewriter print also from my shop. )

 Our cozy nook in our bedroom... aka my hideaway spot!  (This area has paid for itself a million times over for me.) I added a white (real) pumpkin.  I drew a heart and arrow with a pencil, then pressed gold thumb tacks from my junk drawer into it!  I doubt it will last more than a few weeks but it is adorable and I plan to enjoy it while it does last.  (I'm not the biggest fan of those faux pumpkins that look like this, but if you don't mind them, this idea would sure last a lot longer!)

It makes me smile and is a perfect little fall touch for our bedroom.  Happy Fall you guys!
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