Friday, December 30, 2011

Pretty Little Owl

Made with free-for-personal-use digital scrapbook paper.
Insert daughter's name, birthdate, and birth info (weight, etc.) in the bottom part in a fancy font, and there you have the perfect little piece of art!

Will update with her name and info when she is born!

Monday, December 26, 2011

It's A . . .


We are so excited to meet our little princess in just under five months! I am feeling her moving around a lot lately, and Daddy even got to feel her move once. She is growing and developing well, even with Mommy being so sick and on so much medicine. We are so thankful for the Lord's protection of her little life and that He is giving Mommy grace to make it through the pregnancy. The morning sickness (all-the-time-sickness) is not so bad anymore, and only comes and goes when I try to do too much. So I am still taking it easy and trying to rest as much as I can. Elias is already an amazing daddy and has picked up so many of the household responsibilities in order to let me rest and keep my strength for the baby. I could not do it without him!

We have settled on a name, but we have decided not to share it with the world until our pumpkin makes her official we are still trying to find a spelling we agree on and a middle name too!

I finally returned to my pre-pregnancy weight at 20 weeks exactly! I had lost so much weight during the first three months since I was so sick and dehydrated all the time, so it is good to finally be able to eat (and keep things down), and now I feel like I am eating all the time! Food is just so yummy right now! I get really full really quickly though because the baby takes up so much room in my belly!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Am I (Are You) Robbing God?

Recently I was reading Malachi and I really enjoyed each chapter. I studied the book in depth during grad school, but hadn't really come back to it since then, so it was time to return and remember and learn some new stuff too.

The entire book is full of God making statements to the children of Israel, and then getting a question thrown back in His face regarding that statement, such as God: "I have loved you" Israel: "How have you loved us?"; God: "Your priests show contempt for my name" Israel: "How have our priests shown contempt for your name?"; God: "You defiled my altar" Israel: "How have we defiled your altar" OVER and OVER and they just can't believe that God would call them out on, "prove it, God" -- it's so arrogant as you read through the book.

Chapter 3 has a section of verses that start out with God affirming His unchanging nature, how He remains true, and how Israel has gone away from Him. But yet because He is true, He does not wipe Israel out, even though they do not honor Him or their covenant with Him. He pleads for Israel to return to Him. True to form, they question how they can return. God responds by saying, "Will a mortal man rob God? Yet you rob me." And of course, they ask, "How do we rob you?"

God reveals it is through their tithes and offerings (or maybe, lack thereof); He also states that they are under a curse and the reason for the curse is because they are keeping back what He has required of them. He encourages them to abandon this manipulation of their finances and bring to Him what He desires. He knows it will be an act of faith, because He says, "Prove me in this and see if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." It is a test they can give God! He promises He will pass the test--with bonus points! He says He will bless their crops and vineyards to protect the produce and food so that they have what they need. And the end result will be that all the nations will see and called Israel "blessed."

How does this apply today? Trusting God enough to not manipulate my circumstances in order for ME to be comfortable, but placing myself in the hands of my Creator and allowing Him the opportunity to prove His glory. This could be in the realm of finances, but it could be in a lot of other areas too. It could be a "gray" area that if I interpret Scripture one way I can proceed in comfort, telling myself it's okay to manipulate my own comfort because it's a gray area, whereas if I am really honest I might have to do some hard things or go through some hurtful things or give up something that I really want in order to really be true to Scripture, but if I do that, I throw myself into God's merciful care, and the He has the opportunity to do something so wonderful i can't even contain it! How much better HIS best is for me (even though at the moment it might be unknown) than my best ATTEMPT at what what I THINK is good for me. God wants to be able to glorify Himself to a magnitude that is impossible if I manipulate Scripture or circumstances in order to have an easier time, or less pain, or whatever it is that I want to get out of.

Is there a clear command in Scripture that I (or you, or we) are trying to rationalize away in order that we can have what we want? Or are we willing to suspend our handle on things and allow God the opportunity to blow us away with His greatness?

How To: Love in America

Maybe you have seen those ultra cool decor items on Pinterest where the crafty crafter cuts out the shape of her home state and the shape of his home state and "adds" them together with hearts on the approximate place they lived before starting their lives together...kinda like this...

Well, I didn't cut mine out of paper and I thought I'd share how YOU can do it too!

1. Download some free digital scrapbook paper (I got mine from Shabby Princess).

2. Open a free online photo editor like Pixlr. I will be using Pixlr as my example, but you can achieve similar results with Photoshop and other editors like that.

3. Click "Open image from computer." Open whatever background digi-scrap paper that you want as your background.

4. Double click the box for the "background" layer to change it from the lock symbol to being a checked box. Now you can manipulate this layer. Change the image size to whatever size you want. For our purposes we will do a 300 dpi image in a 5"x7" size, so go to IMAGE --> IMAGE SIZE. Uncheck the "constrain proportions" selection. Input 2100 for width and 1500 for height. This will give you a high resolution image that will be printed at a 5x7 size.

5. Search Google (or your preferred search engine!) for an outline of his/her home states. Make sure they are copyright free if you are planning to sell these images (and make sure your digital scrapbook paper is also copyright free if you are selling--Shabby Princess does NOT release rights to sell items made with their paper). Save a copy of the state outlines to your computer.

6. Open a new image from your computer (do this twice--once for each state you have). Using the magic wand tool (3rd down on the left side of the toolbar in Pixlr), select the area outside the state outline. DELETE so that you have only the state showing, with transparency all around it. Go to EDIT --> INVERT SELECTION. This should select only the state. If there are words or anything else around your state you will need to erase them before selecting the state. COPY (Ctrl+C) this selection.

7. Go back to your scrapbook paper background image (via the down arrow under "Login/Sign Up" in the top right corner). PASTE the state selection into this image (Ctrl+V). It will create a new layer automatically. REPEAT with other state.

8. Position each state where you want them. If the size needs to be adjusted, go to EDIT --> FREE TRANSFORM. This will not keep your proportions, so check to make sure you don't totally skew your (or his!) state out of whack! Be sure to leave a little room in between for the plus sign. :)

9. Fill each state with the paint color of your choice. (Or if you want a design like my example, continue through the rest of the "9" steps.)

9a. Open another scrapbook paper with a strong design (with good contrast of lights and darks). I prefer just a design without a lot of extra colors, but you pick what you like! Doubleclick the background layer to make it "manipulatable."

9b. Select your entire paper (Ctrl+A) or use the selection tool (the blue square 2nd from the top left on the toolbar) to select whatever part of the design you want. Define it as a brush (EDIT --> DEFINE BRUSH or Ctrl+K).

9c. Return to your original scrap background page and select the layer with your state. Using the MAGIC WAND tool, select the white interior of your state.

9d. Select the BRUSH tool and pick whatever color you want. Go to the dropdown brush menu (the top light gray tool bar and scroll down through the brush options to the end, where your new creations will be. Select your brush and use it as is, or resize it smaller. Click one time over the white interior of the state. Voila! There is a super cool background on just your state! (Ctrl+Z will undo and you can change color/etc. if you want to adjust it.) REPEAT from 9c for the other state.

10. ADD a layer on top of everything else. On the layer toolbar, the square with a turned up corner next to the recyling can will add a layer. Move the layer to the top.

11. Select the BRUSH tool. Go to the drop down menu for brushes and click MORE. Click the drop down menu and select MISC, then click HEARTS. Select ADD to add all the heart brushes to your brush selection.

12. Select whichever heart brush you like best. I have found the darker looking ones show up better. Resize your heart brush to whatever size you like.

13. Using a contrasting color, click your heart brush once (or twice if it is not dark enough) over the approximate area where you grew up in your state. REPEAT for his state.

14. Using the brush tool with a darker/contrasting color from your background, draw a "plus" sign in between your states. Or, you can do it the hard way by finding a plus sign online and creating a brush like in step 9b. Just delete any white part (you may have to turn up the "tolerance" to get it really good) you want to be transparent, then Ctrl+K to define the brush.

15. Save your image as a jpg and then send it to the store to print!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oregon + Wisconsin = Love (via Pinterest)

Of course, mine is digital, not cut out of paper, but I plan to print it out (5x7 size) and frame it for our home!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The First Christmas

This is my hubby's and my first Christmas being a married couple {yay!} and we are excited to invent some family traditions. Our first tradition is going to be that we are going to reserve Christmas day and our "Christmas celebrations" as a time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, remembering Christ's birth and all that comes with that. On the days leading up to Christmas we will read through different prophecies of Christ throughout the Bible, lighting successively more candles each night as the prophecies shed more light into our understand of God's promised Messiah. Or we might read through the gospels in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Or maybe something else....but we definitely want to take some time each evening to read Scripture and reflect on the wonderful Gift at that very first Christmas.

Then we will enjoy the next week of family time, and on New Year's Eve or New Year's, we will open presents to start out the new year. Hopefully with the presents time being separated from our "Christmas celebration," our {future} children will not confuse Christmas with materialism.

I also want to focus on time with family during the month of December, so I made up an "advent" calendar to use, especially once our children come along. {And next year, one of them WILL be here!}

So I made up this calendar, and I am giving it away as a free printable! You can print it on 12x12 paper at office shops or maybe a scrapbooking store? Not sure exactly...

The idea is, print out the 2 page download. Then cut three edges of each numbered box with an exacto knife and fold back on the uncut edge. Write in activities to do as a family (or a Scripture passage to read together) on the second page in each box. They are lined up to show through if you cut each box carefully. Glue/use double sided tape to attach the first page to the second. Voila!

Scroll down to download!

Download it here! Advent Calendar 2 pages

Monday, August 8, 2011

A DIY apron

This apron is based on one I bought while in Japan several years ago. Here are the specs:

Main apron piece: 26" wide, 17" long
Apron band: 23" long, 3" wide
Ties: (x2) 24.5" long, 2" wide
Ruffle: 31" long, 2.5" wide
Pocket(s): 8" long, 6.5" wide

1. pocket(s)
Hem the top of each pocket with a 1" hem. So fold over 1/2" and iron, then fold that over on itself and iron again. Pin and sew a simple hem.

Fold over each side and the bottom 1/2" and iron.

Topstitch the pocket onto the main apron piece (MAP). Repeat if you are doing two pockets.

2. Ruffle
Pin and sew the ruffle piece to the MAP, gathering as you go, or building in pleats. Lay the ruffle piece RST to the MAP, lining up the end of the MAP with the ruffle.

If you build in pleats, start in the middle and work outward. Pleat towards the middle or away from the middle (not towards the left or towards the right).

To build in pleats, I pinned at the top and bottom of each pleat so it wouldn't fall out when I unpinned to sew.

Sew down the length of the ruffle/MAP, using a 5/8th seam allowance. Iron seam flat.

Sew a narrow hem around the sides of the MAP as well as the bottom of the ruffle.

3. Ties
Fold each tie RST in half and sew a running stitch down the length and up the width of one end.

Pull tie "inside out" to get it facing the right way. Iron down the seam.

4. Apron Band

Fold over all four sides of the apron band about a 1/2" and iron flat.
Fold in half lengthwise and lightly iron; unfold. You can kind of see the crease where I folded it in half.

5. Assembly
Place the apron tie inside the apron band, adjacent to the half-way crease. Place the MAP on top of the edge that is folded up. Pin, building in pleats or gathering along the way.

Fold apron band over and pin.

Sew down the side to anchor your tie, then sew along the the bottom edge of the apron band, keeping your pleats intact or gathering along the way. I placed my pleats about 4 inches from each side. Sew up the other side to anchor that tie. I put a pleat in my ties, but that is extra work that you only do if you really want to.

Enjoy your apron!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Monogram (Verse) Pillow

I decided to make a monogram pillow for a friend and because I can leave nothing easy, I thought I'd add a verse to the back. It kind of morphed into a bigger project than I originally planned. But it was still fun!

First pick out your materials!

I used: ½ yard of pink, ½ yard of white, small scrap of black, a 20” pillow form.

My direction was: Use white as the main pillowcase. The pink was an accent strip on the front of the pillow, and the black was the monogram. I also used pink on the back to frame the verse.

Cut your material.

I measured 22” of white fabric and cut 2 squares of that measurement. At first I was going to use the pink as the monogram, but changed my mind and decided to use as an accent strip, so I ended up sewing a rectangle of pink (8”x22”) to the white and cutting 8” of white off, so if you are planning to go this way from the beginning, just cut one square of white (22”x22”) and one rectangle of white (22”x 14”), along with the rectangle of your accent color (8”x22”).

Get your monogram ready.

I printed out the initial as big as possible, then traced it onto a cereal box and cut it out so I had a sturdy stencil for tracing onto my fabric. Remember to trace onto the wrong side of the fabric, but trace backwards so when you cut it out you will have it the right direction with no marks.

Next I printed out my verses in a reasonably large font—three verses took up almost the whole page. I traced the verses directly onto my white material for the back of the pillow. This step is optional. If this is for a baby, it would be cute to embroider the birth info (date, weight, length, etc.) on the back!) It took me about 4 days to embroider the entire 3 verses. Not too bad!

Put the pillow together.

*Optional step*

Because I printed my verse on the back pillowcase piece, I ended up sewing another piece of white to the back of that and embroidering the two pieces together, so the threads wouldn’t show through the thin white fabric. Then I had a smaller white rectangle showing through (sorry, I didn’t take a picture), so I decided to use the pink accent fabric to make a frame for the verse. I cut two strips of pink fabric 2”x14” and 2 strips 2”x8” (or so…measure the height and width of your embroidery and determine what size is good for you.)

Sew one longer string to one shorter strip at the corner. To do this, lay the short strip on top of the long strip lengthwise, right sides together. Flip the short strip up and to the side, making a triangle of material that is overlapping. This should make a corner. Sew down the line where the triangle overlaps. It’s kind of tricky. Sorry no pictures here either! L Continue to sew each short strip to long strip until you have one square.

I played around with my sewing machine to get the stitch I wanted which was a very tight zigzag. I used this stitch to attach my frame to the back pillowcase piece.

*Back to required steps*

Sew the accent piece to the front pillowcase piece, placing right sides together to make your seam. Iron the seam towards the darker piece of material. Pin your monogram where you want it to go and sew around it. You can see I did both of these steps in this picture.

Put the front pillowcase piece and the back pillowcase piece right sides together and pin around entire pillow, leaving space at the bottom to stuff your pillow into the case. Sew around edges, making sure to reinforce your start point and end point. (I had ended up cutting wrong so I had an extra inch of material at the bottom. It was easy to just cut right off!) I pinned from the beginning of the pink material on the bottom all the way around the pink to the top, continued pinning around the top and side of the white material and about three inches of white on the bottom, leaving the middle for inserting my pillow form.

Clip corners and turn inside out, using a dull object to get corners nicely turned (I use a knitting needle).

Insert pillow. *Use husband or anyone else nearby to wrestle pillow into case. J Fluff to get pillow to fill corners.

Now you have this nice huge pillow in your pillow case. And a hole in the bottom of your pillow case. This is what I did to sew up the bottom. Punch pillow way down, pin closed about two or three inches below the hole. Pin all the way across the hole. Now you can actually pin the hole closed.

Topstitch hole. (*Again, use husband or other handy person to help hold the pillow or lift sewing foot for this tricky part.) Take out all pins. Yay! A beautiful pillow!

graphic design challenge

Dana over at MADE issued a challenge to design a blog header for her. It was a lot of fun!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fairy in Technicolor!

Okay, not really. But I had fun digitally coloring her yesterday. Still haven't done the actual watercolor, as I am still figuring out exactly what I want her to look like. I might try another digital rendering of her as a blond fairy, or maybe with black hair, but we'll see!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Zentangle Challenge

I recently discovered a "new" art form that I am having a lot of fun with! Basically it's the idea of using repetitive strokes to create a pattern, filling empty spaces with beauty. You can find out more about Zentangle here.

So in my quest for inspiration, I came across the diva's blog, where she challenges Zentanglers everywhere to break outside the box and think--and tangle--creatively. I took the recent challenge which was to create a Zentangle fit for a fairy. And since I couldn't sleep last night, I extended it to drawing a fairy and clothing her in tangles.

Do you see the fairy peeking out of her favorite gumball tree?

I transferred her over to some watercolor paper, and I'll be painting her soon...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Proverbs 14:1

I was reading Proverbs 14 with a friend this afternoon and this first verse struck me. Building my house is now my responsibility, and I need to take the responsibility to do so. It won't just happen on its own. I have to be purposeful and determined to build up my house.

It's the difference between taking the hour before Mr. Galaxy comes home to straighten up the clutter, change into a becoming outfit, put on some relaxing music, and meet him at the door with a kiss and smile ... or ... leaving the clutter, staying on the couch with my book or computer and saying "hi" with just a glance when he comes in. Which one will build him up?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so if I want to build my house, then I need to fear the Lord. It's as easy as being the right one instead of looking for the right one. As I learn to be the woman that God wants me to be, the wife He wants me to be, eventually the mother He wants me to be, then He will take care of the other people in my life, my husband, and eventually my children.

If I leave this up to chance then I am foolish indeed.

Little Treasure Bags

So I got my girls necklaces as their bridesmaid gift, so I was trying to come with a creative way to wrap it up. So I came up with this little bag's SUPER easy, SUPER fast, and SUPER cute!


1/4 yard of desired material (actually you only need 1/4 yd. x about 3 inches, so fabric scraps work, but it's super easy to get 1/4 yard from the store, then cut a 3 in. strip off and you can get about 10 out of 44-45" material)



Ribbon in coordinating color


1. Fold material in half and pin one side with right sides together.

2. Start sewing from the top (not the fold) and sew about an inch down, then skip about a half inch and finish sewing down to the bottom fold. I usually reinforce the top and the begining/end of the longer seam.

Gift Bags :  wedding bags favors trinkets diy sewing gifts easy bridesmaids jewelry reception DSC 0008

3. Press open that seam. You can then sew a box around the gap that you left with the seams open to reinforce (this step is optional).

Gift Bags :  wedding bags favors trinkets diy sewing gifts easy bridesmaids jewelry reception DSC 001

4. Pin the other side together and sew all the way down, leaving no gaps.

5. Take your piping and wrap around the top of the bag and insert the ends in through the hole and pull through. Fold the material over the piping and pin.

Gift Bags :  wedding bags favors trinkets diy sewing gifts easy bridesmaids jewelry reception Piping

6. Sew a seam around the top of the bag. By using piping you can put the piping beside your sewing foot and it will make a really even seam all the way around. I usually sew around two times just to keep it a strong seam.

Gift Bags :  wedding bags favors trinkets diy sewing gifts easy bridesmaids jewelry reception DSC 0024

7. Pull the bag right side out.

8. Tie your ribbon to the piping and pull the ribbon through the pocket you made with the piping. So now the piping is out and the ribbon is in.

9. Voila! Add necklace (or other small gift) and tie a bow with the ribbon!

Gift Bags :  wedding bags favors trinkets diy sewing gifts easy bridesmaids jewelry reception DSC 0035