Sunday, May 26, 2013

Blink - 2 years Later

Today we took advantage of the beautiful weather to take some pictures at a nearby park. I thought it would be interesting to see how much my girls have changed from when we took similar pictures at the same park two years ago. Enjoy!

The Girls - 2011

The Girls - 2013

Sophia - 2011

Sophia - 2013

Piper - 2011

Piper - 2013

Riley - 2011

Riley - 2013

The Girls - 2011

The Girls - 2013

I love these girls so much and am amazed at how quickly they are growing up. They are such good little girls. Sure, they argue sometimes, but they are best friends and love playing together. They love their mom and dad, are grateful for all that Jesus has done for them, and have generous, caring hearts. They are smart, athletic, and full of life. As much as I'd love them to stay little girls forever, I am also so proud of them and ever thankful I am their momma. I get to watch them continue to grow in this incredible life God has planned for our family.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Threads -- My Little Sewing Business

A couple of friends recently kept encouraging me to start my own little sewing business. So, I began Threads Custom Fabric Creations and have been busy ever since.

Come "like" me on facebook! Threads Custom Fabric Creations

I have already sewn at least twenty drapes, some lined and some unlined. Here are just a few:

I've played with all types of fabrics and textures. One client even had me make cafe curtains out of painter's drop cloth. I love her enthusiasm and out-of-the-box thinking.

I've made several Monogrammed Tooth Fairy Pillows which come with a poem in the pocket ($15/ea.). These make adorable gifts for children and parents The Tooth Fairy likes the ease of finding the tooth in the pocket rather than spending a ridiculous amount of time searching under the pillow for her oldest daughter's sacred tooth. mean...these pillows are great to hang on the outside of the bedroom door.

This week I'll be sewing looped ribbon security blanket "lovies" ($15/ea.) for a couple of baby showers. They are ultra soft and coordinate with each baby's nursery theme. I'll post pictures of them as soon as they are finished. Here are a few I've previously sewn for other babies:

Now that I'm sewing as a business, it's about time I get some of my own labels. What fun!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

DIY Memo Board (No Cork Required)

I'd like to show you how I changed old wall art into a memo board (bulletin board). No cork boards were harmed in this project.

Once upon a time there was a large cafe/bistro framed picture. And as much as we loved it when we purchased it ten years ago, alas, like all fads, the bistro style for interior design had long since faded.

I decided to reuse the frame to create a bulletin board (memo board). I did not want to use a cork board in this project for two reasons. #1 most cork boards are expensive. #2 most (not all) cork purchased by the roll or square for DIY projects is so thin that once installed, it hardly holds a push pin.

I decided to go to the fabric store, 50% off coupon in hand, and buy one yard of 1/2 inch green foam. This is the kind of foam that is on a roll and is purchased by the yard, not the prepackaged foam which often is more expensive.

From the bistro picture I removed the glass and art but kept the cardboard backing and frame. I traced around the cardboard piece onto the larger green foam and cut out a piece of foam the same size as the cardboard.

Next, I simply wrapped leftover scrap fabric around the foam and used packing tape to secure it onto the back of the cardboard. I had a fabric layer on the front, foam layer in the middle, and cardboard layer in the back.

Finally, I placed placed it back in the frame and folded the little frame staples back down to keep the memory board in place. Viola! Total Price: $5.50 for the foam.

Oh, and push pins remain in this board because the foam is 1/2 inch thick.

Dining Room Before and After

This is how I changed my formal dining room from luscious red to aged faux.



I used these pictures found on Pinterest as my inspiration for technique (not color):

My husband used a roller to paint the ceiling with the Behr Paint in Shelburne Buff - full strength - not diluted and I worked on the walls. First I used Behr Paint and Primer In One (Benjamin Moore color in Shelburne Buff) diluted with water and Martha (Stewart) Living Faux Finishing Glaze (clear - no color).

I brushed that on using a 3 inch brush. Yes, I painted the entire room with a brush. I used mostly vertical strokes with some horizontal strokes too (no diagonals, no sponge, no swirls). I was going for a very specific look. I wanted the red to peek through so I wasn't trying to cover every bit of red color.


Next, I hand-brushed on a layer of brown glaze. I used Valspar Translucent Color Glaze in Mocha.

This shows the buff paint/glaze layer plus the Mocha glaze layer. I also glazed the crown molding with the Mocha glaze wiping most of it off and leaving the rest in the molding details.

Finally, I brushed on a few swipes of Martha (Stewart) Living Metallic Paint in Vintage Gold mixed with the clear glaze. I didn't want the gold to overpower the rest of the colors. It was just an accent brushed on here and there to create a little more drama and light reflection.

And we ended up with this:

So, to recap --

Before - I know the red is pretty, but the light remained off almost all the time. The room was a dark, cold space and we never used it.

After - This room is being transformed into my new sewing room. It's brighter, lighter, warmer, and inviting. I basically live in this space now and love it!

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Quit!

This is the story of how I gave up what I swore I'd never give up.

Ode to Coffee

Oh, how I have loved you for decades my sweet and creamy friend!

When I was a child my parents spooned you into tiny plastic coffee creamer cups so my siblings and I could enjoy miniature cups of coffee. I felt special, included, and grown-up like Mom and Dad. It was a rite of passage.

When I was in college and frequently pulled all-nighters to study, you were the drink that kept me going. You didn't mind that my friends and I spent more time socializing than actually memorizing information.

I've spend thousands of dollars over the years perfecting you. I even received an espresso machine from my parents for my wedding gift.

When my mom died you were there for me like a liquid hug reminding me of all the times I'd seen my parents enjoy you.

How excited I have been every year when Starbucks rings in the holiday season with their Red Cups!

When I had three children under the age of two and couldn't remember what week, let alone day it was, you were there giving me energy to make it through another day or night.

I've fought hard to keep you in my life even when money was very tight. When I chose to become fit and healthy I threw out the cookies, ice cream, chips, processed foods, fried foods, and pop, but refused to let you go. I held tightly to you even though you made me dehydrated and made my workouts that much harder. I knew that I could do anything, make it through any day, complete any task, keep any diet or exercise regimen as long as I had you. I'd NEVER give you up! I placed you on a throne and called you sacred.


I realized you were my god. I truly, sincerely loved you, Coffee. I couldn't wouldn't make it through one day without you. I started going to Starbucks twice a day and longed for a third trip. If I didn't drink you by 10 AM, I felt nauseated by a horrible headache. Hundreds of times I've made all three of my little girls climb out of the car, walk into Starbucks, climb back in the car, and buckle their car seats, over and over and over and over rain, snow, sleet, or shine just so I could have my coffee.

You are not my god. You should not be my comforter, my reward, my coping mechanism, my strength to make it through the day. I should not depend on you or long for you throughout the day. I should not be having an affair with you.

And so I have decided...

I am not a victim. I can and will choose to stop being addicted to you.


I have gone ten days now without any coffee and couldn't be happier. Detox was no fun. I did have terrible headaches off and on for six days. I spent the first Thanksgiving I can remember without a cup of coffee in hand. Now I just drive down the street right past Starbucks without it calling my name. The first several days I was very tired without coffee but my body regulated itself. Now my energy level stays fairly consistent all day long. My appetite has decreased too since I don't have the cream and sugar spiking my blood sugar levels. I do find myself wanting to go to bed earlier at night which is a great thing.

Erica McMullen, my fitness boot camp trainer, is always asking our group, "Why are you here? Why are you doing this?" I had an epiphany that it was crazy to get up at 4:45 AM for boot camp three times a week "to take care of my body and improve my health" then go mess my system up with sugary, creamy coffee twice a day. No more! Once I decided in my heart that I was ready to quit coffee, I shared that decision with some members of F.I.T. Boot Camp. I did this to hold myself accountable to them. Knowing someone was bound to ask me if I'd had any coffee forced me to stay committed when the going got tough.
I know most people do not have the addiction problem with coffee that I do. Most people use it correctly. A cup of java can play a helpful role in giving one energy for a workout or the ability to drop some water weight. I am by no means suggesting others should also quit coffee. My husband still drinks it every day and it's not a temptation for me because I already decided I'm not drinking coffee -- period. I finally got to the point where I was able to give up what I swore I'd never give up and I gained confidence by following through with a goal I set out to reach. I've gained back the time I used to spend driving to and from the coffee shop twice a day. I've kept the money I would have spent on my drinks and can use it toward other things.

I don't feel deprived.

                               I feel free.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lululemon Exercise Pants $3.99 -- Say What!?!


I spent an hour last night and another hour today bidding on various exercise clothes on ebay. I go to boot camp three days a week and try to run one or two days a week so I need lots of exercise clothes. Unfortunately, I kept getting outbid on things at the last second. But that's okay with me because...

My weekly trip to the thrift store today turned up this pair of NEW Lululemon belted exercise pants --for $3.99! I seriously just about freaked when I saw they were my size! Even if they weren't my size I would have bought them just to turn around and sell them for some serious cash on ebay. Okay, that's not true. I would have just kept them in my closet so I could see that I bought $145 exercise pants for $3.99. Since they do fit I'll be wearing these babies often. They are so comfy.

My New Lululemon Pants

These are brand spankin' new pants, People!

Another pair of these same exact pants are selling on Ebay today: Starting big $110 or Buy it Now $130 + $15 for shipping!

Someone else's Ebay posting and picture. Their picture quality is way better than mine. I'm over it.

 Often I find great deals on less expensive brands, like GAP. Last week I bought this GAP fully lined, side-zip, herringbone wool pleated skirt. Because it had the week's 50% off number on the tag, I only paid $1.98 for it. It's perfect for fall.

Snub your nose at me and my thrift stores if you want. I don't care. I'll be happy to keep dressing cute and saving thousands of dollars a year on my high quality thrift store finds. It's the only way (for now) I could afford to wear such lovely brands like Saks Fifth Avenue and Lululemon. I have many other things to do with the money I save.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lentil, Sausage, and Bean Soup

Most of the time my three girls tend to be pretty picky eaters, and so I can count on one hand the number of meals all five members of our family like to eat. Today I decided to let my three-year-old twins, Piper and Riley, create their own recipe for dinner. I took them to Target with the instructions to pick ingredients they would like to eat in a soup. What they created turned out to be delicious!

Lentil, Sausage, and Bean Soup

8 oz. dry lentils (cook according to directions)
32 oz. chicken broth (we use fat free, 33% less sodium)
2 large carrots, shredded
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can light red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 pound ground turkey sausage
1 Tablespoon processed garlic

In large pot, brown turkey sausage with shredded carrots and garlic. In another pot, cook lentils according to directions. When sausage is thoroughly cooked, add all of the ingredients, including the cooked lentils, to the pot. Stir and simmer until ready to eat.

We topped off our soup with Parmesan cheese and enjoyed it with hearty artisan fresh-baked bread.

I snagged this picture off google images because it looks somewhat similar to our soup and I'm taking the lazy way out.

I think I'll let the girls be in charge of our menu from now on!