Monday, February 28, 2011

Gary Bower Books for Kids

   Hey ladies! Maybe some of you know about these books, -but I had never heard of them until recently. Husband and wife, Gary and Jan Bower, homeschool parents of 12 have written and illustrated some very beautiful children's books.
  I LOVE the gorgeous paintings, and the content is excellent. These are the kinds of books I love to invest in for our home!

The Person I Marry: Things I'll Think About Long Before Saying "I Do" (Bright Future Books)

The Jingle in My Pocket: Sound Money Principles Kids Can Bank on (Bright Future Books)

If you want a chance to 'read' these  before you buy, - head over to the Bower's website, where you can click on their books and read throught the whole thing.  The 'There's a Party in Heaven' brought a tear to my eye when I saw a picture of a mother and baby re-united. For those of us who've miscarried or lost a child that thought is simply amazing. They also have two precious little board books for little hands called 'Mommy Love' and "Daddy Love' that do not seem to be available on other sites where I've looked.

I enjoyed just reading about their family to!

Do you have a favorite children's author or series that helps encourage your children in the Lord? Or just a book that you love to read over and over again?
Leave a comment and let us know! I will post some of my favorites that I grew up with soon.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Does He Want?

So this last weekend while at my friend Emily's, - we were talking about one of our favorite topics... home organization.... : )  She commented that she loved her pared down cup and plate cabinet. I looked at it and said, -" I love it too -  And I HATE mine!! It is a disaster!There just is NOT enough room!"
Then she asked a question and I litterally felt the lightbulb POP over my head.
"What does Andrew like?"
In ONE second I knew what to do. All the way home I couldn't wait to get to my kitchen so I could clean my kitchen cabinet! :)

You see, - HERE is what is has been looking like.... I have tried and tried different ways to sort and organize, but every time I go to put away cups and plates, - they never fit in the same way, - and it drove me crazy!!!

Your thinking 'not bad'? Well what about the stuff in the dishwasher that STILL has to fit? - Oh, - and all the cups I have scattered around the house.... :( I am not kidding when I say, - things just would not fit. The rare times every dish was clean, - it would overflow into other cabinets which I hate!!

In that one question though, - 'what does andrew want?' I felt my focus narrow, and I knew exactly what to do. - You see, - my husband loves eating off of 'real' plates and drinking from 'real' glasses.
 I on the other hand have loved my plastic stuff because I don't have enough of the glass for much company, we have large families, and feed people often, and I  have a 5 year old. 
Ok. Confession. My 5 year old prefers glass too. And though he helps himself to drinks and snacks, and helps with dishes, he has NEVER in his life broken a dish of any kind.
ME on the other hand last spring, - when I was so morning sick, (it must have thrown off my balance) I broke a cup almost once a week for about two months. Not kidding. Finally Justice got fed up and lectured me... "SEE mom, how I am holding this cup caaaaarefulllllly?? - I don't break cups, mom. - See, you just need to be more careful!!! "

I DO need plastic plates and cups.. BUT. Do I need them out all the time? HaHA! This was the lightbulb! Why not put them with the paper goods in the closet?- My husband would be thrilled to be able to open the door and grab the glass he wanted instead of digging for 30 minuntes. Also, - he might try to put them away again someday if he thought the job was now possible! :)

The results!!!
Ahhhh.... HUGE side benefit! - There aren't as many dishes to get dirty! :)

Here is something else I thought I'd share from last spring. I used to have a far far wose cabinet. If someone had to open it I would wish them good luck. You were lucky if  you opened it and nothing dropped on your head! It was the container cabinet for storing left overs. We had accumulated a lot of assorted containers over the years, all different shapes and sizes, with all shapes and sizes of lids. My husband hated this cabinet! So finally I spent a looong time in the container isle in wal-mart and picked out the perfect set. Six sizes, a more shallow or deeper one of small, medium or large, with only three sizes of lids. All the lids snap on the bottom of the containers, or each other. It was pricey, and that is why I hadn't ever done it before.But the results were AmaZing!! My husband tells me all the time how much he loves the new containers, and how it is the best money I ever spent. :)

Unfortunately I don't have a before picture... but it was worse than you can imagine!

  The goal of this post is to encourage you, when making decisions around your house, when you know of areas that bother your husband, - when you are looking for a solution to a problem, - ask, "What does he want?"
Maybe your husband doesn't care about your kitchen cabinets. : )  But he probably wants, like mine, - to be able to get a cup out! And help put the food away after super once in a while, or empty the dishwasher.
  As we go about our daily routine we can get stuck. Lets remember to ask ourselves... what would he want!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sewing Attempt....

So it all began with seeing a very cool blog where a woman takes thrift store clothes, and re-designs them into more (in her opinion) stylish clothing.  Hmm..   Then I saw where a mom took a regular, white onsie and sewed on a skirt…. Hmmm  
I should mention here that you probably know my past with sewing is a somewhat tramatic one. My mom is a great seamstress, and tried very hard to teach me.  But somehow I have always hated it. Becuase nothing I make turns out. Right. And it looks home made. Yet, these blogs, and the 10 year hiatus from any sewing made me start thinking.
 Then I was cleaning out my closet. Which was atrocious. I had one huge tub for all clothes that won’t fit hanging up,  (which in theory would keep the floor picked up enough to walk into said closet. In. Theory. ) It wasn't working. :(
 So I bought a tub for each category, (maternity, summer t’s, sweaters, clothes I will never again wear but for sentimental reasons still can’t throw away. – yes, I know this is very, very pathetic but that is one of my tubs-    my wedding dress, etc. Oh, - and I had the brilliant idea to have a ‘not fit’ tub, so I can switch out my current huge clothes with my little clothes in the future! in the hopes I can someday throw this tub away and feel amazing about myself!)

Believe it or not, - this is 'after'. 

And these are the tubs.
At the end I had a whole sack of clothes I really knew I would never wear, and was ready to give to the thrift store, when sudden inspiration struck.....


One of my favorite waffle knit shirts had gotten a little bleach stain on a very noticible place. :(
Instead of giving all these clothes away,- this was my chance to DO something with them!! :)
I dug through all of Felicity's clothes, looking for what would work best...

A shirt of hers that I thought would make a cuter dress.

An inspiration from an Old Navy dress of hers I love... tons of easy peasy looking ruffles.

Looking up close, - the ruffles are just strips of knit gathered and sewn on. No hem, nothing! Surely I could do that!

With my a vision for what it would be, I made the cut.

It may NOT be a good idea to actually try this project on a week when you have been so incredibly tired, so close to getting really sick, so overwhelmed with all that can fills every evening, that on Tuesday when you look and see that once again it is almost mid-night, and you start crying, begging your husband, - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE lets NOT do this again!!! I have to sleeeeep – When you come home from work tomorrow, (around 7:00 om usually) lets just eat, put the kids to bed and GO TO SLEEP!! I don’t think I can take one more late night!!”
To which he whole heartedly agrees.
That would mean the next day, after running errands, going to the library, building a  lego sea scorpion with your 5 year old, in the late afternoon when you are sooo tired, that your idea of accomplishing something is being awake enough to watch your playing baby and surfing blogs seeing  AMAZING women who come up with AMAZING ideas and are EXTREEMELY productive… 
You decide that you just can’t stand it and ARE GOING to try your idea. -  So on baby’s last nap for the day, (instead of sleeping, cleaning house or working out) you pull out your sewing machine…(du-du-duuuunnn music) and relearn all the basics of how to thread it, how to do different stitches, etc.
   Then after a super of left over soup, (5th straight meal of leftover soup for you and suspicious 5 year old ‘aren’t we going to ever eat anything else?’)  and honey comes home… it is almost kids bedtime and daddy is having a chance to play with them, you think to yourself, - just a few minutes left in the day, - I could wash the dishes, start the mountain of laundry, take a warm bath before bed.. … or,  -‘yah, THIS is the perfect time for starting a possibly impossible, hair pulling, make me want to cry, have never done it before project!’
Becuase that is what I did.

Oh. You also may not want to cut through BOTH sides at once unless you are really really sure they are even, or it will look like this.  :(
Thankfully, - the back was longer than I wanted and I was able to actually fix it easily.

Here I use a jumper she is just growing into (since the shirt is still big) to use as a guide for how long to make the skirt. - I just (more carefully) cut my shirt off at the right height.

There may be a better way to do it, - but this is the way I know to makes gathers... a loose running stitch and pull the bobbin thread tight.

 I wanted the light green shirt to ‘ruffle’ over the skirt so it would look intentional and less home-made so I stitched the front to make a ruffle first. I probably should have marked out a straight line, - but I figured I could ‘eyeball’ it since it was such a short distance on such a little garment.

The front all ruffled. (I think you are suposed to be able to make ruffles while attatching but I don't know how, - so I worked with what I knew)

When you go to do the back, make sure you don’t sew it to the front… Since it is such a little garment. L
Thankfully, - it BARELY caught the edge of the front ruffle, so it was easy to trim off…. Since it’s just a ruffle.

Here is the front.... It actually looks just like I envisioned..... around mid-night. At this point I was dead tired, but my husbands awe and praise at what I had gotten done thus far cheered me up.

Despite the fact that when I decided to take some of the bulk out of the skirt I wasn't careful enough to stretch the knit fabric evenly and it looked like this.. :(  Sooooo, I dug out my seam rippper..... :(

Not bad for not doing any dishes all day.... Hey, - but at least my closet was CLEAN!

The next day I decided to tackle it again.... Oh yes... did I mention the stiching in the back was hideous?
The pucker was fairly centered and almost looked intentional... until the uneven and wild stitching gave away the truth...  :(

Nothing to do but put on more ruffles... Didn't know how much I liked ruffles!

Here is the back... which ironically looks funny in this picture, but held straight up, - it actually looks good.

 I cut out a heart of the waffle knit and after trying to stitch it on the top, and starting to put a hole in the delicate knit I sort of remembered that I think you are suposed to use backing with thin fabric for that reason... So I used iron on easy no sew to attatch it....  I can always go back and hand stitch I guess until I get more practice with TINY details like that on the machine which is much harder than I thought.

Couldn't decide on the hearts, or the flower for the bottom of the dress.... what do you think?

After telling my friend at church about my attempt, she let me borrow some cute dresses she made for her girls out of two sweatshirts and some extra scraps of fabric....

Justice making his best shark face while holding the amazing shark he created out of a lego kit...doing a MUCH better job on his project than mine!!
Ladies, - I know some of you who are sewing masters, who actually can sew a whole dress from a pattern (WOW) and are laughing your heads off at my clumsy attempts.... I don't mind! 
But I did want to share my attempt becuase i LOVE the idea of re-using, and would LOVE to have you show me up....
BTW, - I have been picking up some very very cute printed womans large knit shirts at local thrift stores for 50-75 cents each, - getting soft, cheap fabric for more ideas I have for cute things to make for Felicity...
and this whole project was free, since I had both shirts already...

Part of being a prepared woman is thinking outside the box. - Learning to use what we have, and use it well!

And here are some of the AMAZING blog tutorials that do NOT look home-made and are great ideas to get you really excited.  And yes, some of these have become my favorite sites and you will see other ideas from some of these ladies in later posts about other cool stuff to make.

    Here is a gorgeous dress made from a woman's skirt.

Here is a tunic shirt but could be used as a dress for smaller girls tutorial, very cool.

Here is a mom who used leggings to make a loved tshirt into a cute longsleeved embelished shirt

Here is something I REALLY wish i knew how to do.

I LOVE this technique, - MUCH easier looking than sewing, and yet can look really good... Probablly should have started with this one... - have seen some onsies that look pretty darn cute!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mom with Time

Ok ladies, remember your first child? Back when actually had free moments just to watch them sleep!
Here is a mom that made it magical. - I LOVE the sheep made out of socks!!!
 This is just to brighten your day!

Go here to see the beautiful world she created with her 'laundry!' :)

Ladies, THIS is a woman who is thriving at home! :)  Thanks mom for the link!