Monday, November 30, 2009

Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing

Mother and son. Am I the only one who sees the wierd similarities? (head cocked to the left, same way of smiling, looking in the same direction??:)
Are you done giggling at my 4th grade picture? Yes, I'm the one on the left, circa 1984. The year that I sang Madonna's "Like a Virgin" over and over, even though I had no idea what it meant. The year that I wore florescent yellow and pink, wore slinky bracelets all the way up my elbows, and traded my hightops converse at school with someone so we both had mismatched colors.

And that is my Logan on the right. My first-born. My first-born is in fourth grade now? How is that possible? He loves to play baseball, basketball, football, well, any sport. He likes to wear "skater clothes" and play Club Penguin on the computer with his brother. Some of his best friends right now are girls and I hope it stays that way for a long time because I am not ready for any of that girlfriend business. He reminded me last night when we were talking about Advent that he had hope because Jesus had already given him the gift of everlasting life.

Sigh...growing up happens too fast.
I just love that boy so much.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monkeys on my back

Is anyone else finding a hard time pulling themselves out of the post-holiday relaxation mode? :)
I have lots of things I want to show you...a tutorial on fabric photo ornaments, some handmade birthday gifts, our Christmas decorations, a revamped Christmas dress for Ava, and the finished and final result of our guest bathroom before and after! But...I have a couple of monkeys on my back to tend to first. I've GOT to finish this custom mosaic~
Did I mention the rough draft to my book is due on Friday? (and why does blogger do that to my pictures sometimes?!?)
and finish up some custom orders~ So I can get to those new ideas that are begging to be born!
It's the first day of advent season too...I need to organize our family activities to celebrate.
Ok, breathe. The monkeys can wait-right?:)
Happy Blessed Sunday

Friday, November 27, 2009

25% off everything in my Etsy shop

I just wanted y'all to know there's a Black Friday sale in my Etsy shop. 25% off any item in the shop, including any custom orders. Feel free to look through the sold items too, and email me with any questions.The sale will end Sunday night. If you order anything, please wait for a new invoice before paying.
I've never personally done the Black Friday shopping thing, but if you are one of the ones getting up at 3 am good luck!:)

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving! We will putting away all of the fall decorations and getting our Christmas tree up and decorations out. I can't wait! Of course I'll be back with some pictures.:)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over...

It was a dreary and wet day outside today, but cozy and warm in our home.
We marveled at the new life...
...raced the awesome handmade wooden cars Grandpa scored at a garage sale for $5 (for a whole lot of them!)...
...played with acorns......started prep work for tomorrow's feast...
...taught someone how to peel 5 pounds of taters...
...received gracious gifts from family...
And then Mama snuck out with a friend to see Blind Side. What a great Thanksgiving movie. I highly recommend it. off to bed with my wonderful husband to count my blessings.
I wish all of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

#29 Volunteer with the kids

I completed the first item on my list! I originally set out to volunteer with the two older boys, but it turned out that even my three year really got into this.
Operation Christmas Child is a program where you collect, package and send out filled shoe boxes for less fortunate boys and girls across the world.
We started by getting on-line and showing the kids the Samaritans Purse Website. I think seeing some children helped them visualize what we were doing. We talked about how some children don't have any toys, very little food, almost no hygiene products. We also talked about how some children don't even have mothers or fathers, and that we would be spending time making them a present to open on Christmas morning.

It really filled my heart with joy to see my children worry about these kids. They were full of questions and I did my best to answer them. We also prayed for all of them.
My mom really got into this too. She had a lot of hotel sized shampoos and soaps. She also brought over combs, bandaids, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and Christmas baggies. Her and Ava spent all afternoon dividing them up, wrapping them in the baggies and tying pretty ribbons.
We gave the kids $6 each and took them to the dollar store. They each picked out very thoughtful gifts: balls, jump-ropes, a doll or stuffie, coloring books and crayons. I picked up some school supplies and some hard candy.
When we got home we filled up the shoeboxes. They were crammed full and the kids were so excited! What fun it is to give! I know it is not even Thanksgiving yet but the whole experience really put me in the Christmas mood. I would like to continue to find situations where the kids could volunteer their time with me to help others. Ava taught me that three is definitely not too early to give!
Speaking of Christmas, I've been wondering how some of you celebrate with your kids. We have decided, for the first year ever, to do three gifts for each child. As a tradition I always give them new pajamas and a book or movie on Christmas Eve, and they will still receive a stocking as well. When I say it out loud like that, it still seems like a lot to me. But I have friends who say NOOOOOO WAyY!!! Christmas is a time to go big! Three gifts is like a deprivation!
We've always gone big, but it's always felt like too much. Overwhelming and greedy is not what I want to feel on Christmas day. So we are focusing on simplicity, and being grateful for what we have.
What about you? Do you love to buy a lot of gifts for your kids, or do you set a limit?
(ps I don't think you are greedy if you like to buy lots for Christmas!!:) It just hasn't been working for our family:)

Monday, November 23, 2009


Before I talk about my new quilt, I just want to say thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a comment here. I know I've said before that I really feel a fellowship here, but I was overwhelmed with the kind and supportive comments you left me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

So, here is quilt #3 for my kids Christmas gifts. I've told you before that red and aqua are currently my favorite color combination, so I joined this disappearing 9 block patch swap. These are all the blocks I received back.
There were 1,000 different ways I could have pieced this together, but I finally just kind of placed it out and went for it. Next time I will take a digital picture and look at it before I sew it, but there's another lesson learned. I also probably would have broken it up with white stripping, but there's another lesson too. Anyway, it is totally wonky and nothing lines up, but I'm still happy with the outcome. This one if for Jackson.

Last week I spent a whole day researching the cost of having these quilt tops quilted and bound. I got estimates on-line and from local quilters. Now please don't get me wrong. I know how time consuming it is, so I don't dispute the cost. But I grossly under-estimated what it would cost, and it would put me waaaaaaay over budget. So it looks like I'll be quilting all four of them myself. Yikes! I was a little disappointed because I don't think I will be able to finish them all by Christmas now. But that is where the gift of perspective has come into my life. It surely isn't the end of the world is it? I guess by the time I'm done with them all I will consider myself a "real quilter". :)

My kids are home from school this week and I'm about to go play Disney's Scene It for the 400th time!
Hope your week is off to a great start!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Maybe you can relate?

I almost didn't post this, because it's not about arts, or crafts, or home decor, or beautiful children. I don't normally discuss personal issues a lot here, but after sleeping on it, I decided I wanted to share. Maybe you can relate?
I think I'm having some sort of a mid-life crisis.
Let me start sort of from the beginning...
I'm pretty much what you would consider a "new" Christian. I was raised in a Presbyterian church but after losing a friend in a drunk driving accident at age 13 I decided if there was a God then bad things wouldn't happen.
I searched for something else for a long time. Mostly dabbling in some Buddhism practices.

I've made some serious mistakes in my life. I won't go into personal details, but I was pretty good at sinning. Hurt some people, made some bad decisions, wasn't very responsible. I started going back to church about six or seven years. While our family was growing, I started to feel like God needed to be at the center of our lives. But it wasn't until almost two years ago that I accepted Jesus into my heart.

Is anyone else out there a "new" Christian? Sometimes I feel like a phony. A fraud. Or that I've changed so much that I don't know the person I used to be. Some of my oldest and dearest friendships are a little akward sometimes. I have a few guilt issues for my old ways. I struggle daily with spending more time with God. I have a lot of idols: the computer and work for instance.

I remember one weekend our pastor was telling us that being a Christian wasn't easy. That people think that when they find God that their lives will get easier, but that sometimes it may even get harder!

I love my life. I am blessed beyond words. I love that God lives in our house and that our children know him. But I am struggling a little right now. Have any of you been through something similar to this? Did you pray your way through?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Without further ado...

The native americans obviously didn't get a lot of attention in our schools this year. Let me introduce you to the pilgrims!

Lucky Logan didn't get a costume this year. I guess in fourth grade it's not obilgatory in school anymore!:)
They are pretty cute pilgrims though, right?

What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year? I'm hosting and cooking this year, with a little bit of a pot-luck theme going on. As you can see our decorations are a mix of homemade and storebought. My favorite is the paper bag turkey.
We started our gratitude tree tree this week. I used leftover ribbon and paper from this project. I had the glass vase and just placed the twig in it and filled it with clear glass marbles. Every night we all write on the paper leaves.
I'm sort of partial to some of the gratitude.;)
Our turkey day menu:
Starting with salami, cream cheese, and green olive rolls, a veggie tray, cranberry pineapple minis, and a cheese and cracker platter
  • Orange-Rosemary Roasted Turkey and orange-rosemary gravy
  • Garlicky mashed potatoes with thyme
  • Squash Casserole
  • Green bean casserole
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • pearl onions
  • cole slaw
  • rolls (would love to make some homemade but not sure it's gonna happen)

Pies: Pumpkin, Sour Cream Apple, and a chocolate surprise
What about you? Are you cooking this year? Are you nervous or excited? I think I'm both!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some of my new Favorites...

I'm playing along with this linky party today from 320 Sycamore. It's really fun so if you haven't joined in, it's not too late!

We don't watch a lot of TV, but the new show Modern Family is my new favorite. I think it's hilarious. Check it out, it's on Wednesday nights on ABC.

I think I've been living under a rock, because I just found out about Brandi Carlile. I can't stop listening to her. Beautiful voice and beautiful lyrics.

Ummm...canned mandarin oranges? They are like my new candy. For lunch I love hummus spread on a whole wheat flat with mandarin oranges and sliced cucumbers. For a snack they are delicious in vanilla yogurt. For Thanksgiving I'm using them to make a "dessert pizza". Tell me if you eat them in any other way...

I know this book was published a long time ago , but I just recently picked up a copy at Goodwill for $1.99. Before bed we've been having family reading (similar to devotions time) and I've chosen a story from this book every night. It is huge! If your children go to public school like mine, there is a chance that they will not hear a lot of important stories that we all know. I love that this book has traditional stories like King Midas, and biblical stories too. In my opinion this is a must have family book!

This part of my favorites could also be subtitled "Wish List". It is a compilation of items that I would love to have:
and these items for my camera:
and this one too.

Wow, that was fun! What are your favorite things right now?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Etsy Update

**UPDATED: The larger "faith" piece went very quickly and I will be making a couple of custom ones if your interested. I'll be making some Christmas plaques this week too.
I also finally printed off some more coloring books and they are now available. :)

I've been making lots of new stuff but it's been a crazy week so far!
I am so excited to finally have made some pillows out of my artwork...and some Christmas ornaments too. I have more plaques as well, in addition to the ones shown.
I will be working on uploading everything to Etsy by tonite, but if you want to reserve any of these just leave me a comment or drop me an email.
I got a couple of emails about custom orders. I would love to do some more custom orders for y'all, my deadline for accepting them will be December 1.
Thanks again to all my faithful readers and bloggy friends...:) I see that I've gotten some new "followers" and I'm slowly making my rounds to visit you!
I am grateful for the fellowship I receive here, and it's all because of you!:)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

35 things to do before I turn 35 (MSAM)

It's Week 4 of Make Some Art Monday and our assignment was to make a list. These to-do lists are going around all over bloggy-land, and I've been wanting to make one. I won't turn 35 until June, but I'm not quite sure I'll finish this whole list by then. I sure am going to try though! I will be updating on my list so I can share my experiences with you.

1. Run a 5K
This is probably the biggest one. I really need to get my body back into good physical shape, and having this tangible goal will help keep me on track.

2. Be able to do 5 pull-ups
I can't even do one. Can you? If you can you are my hero.

3. Plant a veggie garden
My husband are researching the best way to do this for our type of climate, soil, and road distance.

4. Finish paying off all debt.
I started off last January at almost $30,000. That included student loans, car loans, credit cards, a business loan, and dental bills. As of today we are down to 16,506. By the new year we should be down to 15,000, which is half of where we were last year. However, we did also almost fully fill our emergency fund. So we have made big strides, and I want to continue our frugal savings. Thanks Dave.

5. Mosaic backsplash in kitchen

6. Do a Beth Moore study at my church

7. Make cloth baggies to replace plastic ones

8. Make cloth pads

9. Learn to use my bread machine
I bought a really nice one (I think) for $10 at a garage sale last year and still haven't used it yet.

10. Learn how to REALLY use my camera.
I took a class last year and I'm still not happy with my skills. I would like a new lens but I what I really need to do is practice!

11. 365 photos

Starting in January I'm planning on starting a new blog in which I take one photo a day.

12. Go bowling with the family

13. Play putt-putt golf with the family

14. Update all scrapbooks and photo albums
I am way behind on my kids books, and the pictures are piling up. I've got to get a handle on them!

15. Moo cards

16. Sign at least one licensing contract
I've dreamt of this for a long time, and after chasing this dream too hard, I let it go for awhile. But I still want it to happen!

17. Couples Massage
Just Mike and I

18. Contract fourth book

19. Finish my Master Bedroom quilt

20. Go on a real camp out with the kids.
I may end up regretting this one!:)

21. Weekend trip with Mike
We've been so busy having kids that we haven't gone on a trip alone in five years. So we are going to make it happen this year! (the trip, not another baby...:)

22. Bake an apple pie from scratch

23. Learn to can

24. Reach 500 sales in my Etsy shop

25. Rebuild my website

26. Art retreat
This one was hard for me. I feel like it's a very selfish one, but I would still love it.

27. Take more deep breaths.

28. Pray more.

29. Volunteer with Logan and Ashton
The last couple of years Logan and I did some volunteering together and I think Ashton is ready.

30. Go rollerblading.
I used to go with my bf Courtney all the time. I don't have rollerblades anymore, but we'll see what happens.

31. Get down to $500 a month grocery shopping.
We are currently at $600, and for feeding a family of six that's pretty good. But I know if I was better at menu planning and shopping around sales I could get it down even more.

32. Go strawberry picking.

33. Sew from a pattern.
Not a quilt though. I'd like to try an Amy Butler pattern.

34. Go to the park more.
We have a lot of nice parks pretty close by. I'd like to take advantage of them and take the kids more while the weather is nice and not too hot.

35. Start Ava and Jax college funds.

Okay, I want to see your list. Link up, but please remember the rules:

1. Link to your post, not your whole blog.

2. Please link back to this post so we can get traffic flowing both ways.

3. Leave some comment love for those participating.

Remember you can link up any art you've made, it doesn't have to be in this theme!
I will not be doing MSAM next week because my kids will be out of school and we will be preparing for Thanksgiving. But I will come back next weekend with a new theme.
Okay, time to share!:)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jamie's 61

This is my mom's entry for the week. She said she couldn't come up with 61, but I think the 12 she has are all very heartfelt and sincere. Great job Mom!:)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Elephants and Water

Remember this summer when I made these cards? I wanted to bring them to life and made this Mama and baby girl out of wood. Is it wrong to be so in love with them? I want your honest feedback...would they do well in my etsy shop? I would love to offer them in custom colors and sets. Tell me what you think, please. I have been working on some other stuff and will be having an etsy shop update this coming Tuesday, November 17th.
On another note, I'm trying to work on my photography skills. It probably would have helped to iron that white fabric in the background. :) Everything is a learning process and I am a forever student.

More importantly, today is the day to buy your first Christmas present ($10!!!) and save lives.
4500 mothers bury their children EVERY DAY due to contaminated water. The lack of access to clean water is the leading cause of death in underdeveloped nations.and it doesn't have to be.
All donations are tax deductible.
100% of the profit goes directly to clean water solutions in west africa.

Please go there today and spread the news. The blogging community is sooooo huge and we can make a huge impact on many lives! It feels good to be able to do something.

Have a great weekend friends! I'll be back Sunday night with Make Some Art Monday. Get your list ready and link up!

xo, Chrissie

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Sometimes a little confession feels good. I need to learn to Let Go, and Let God.
Until now you have asked nothing in My name.
Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
-John 16:24