Monday, September 27, 2010

A lovely Monday, indeed.

Monday is my "free day".  Everyone is at school, even Little Bit, who goes for a four hour pre-school on Mondays. 
When I got home from dropping everyone off, I needed to do laundry.  The breakfast dishes were stacked up and everything needed tidying from the weekend.   But... I decided to quilt instead.

I've been working on these blocks off and on all summer.  You know how it is, 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there.  I finally had all the blocks made and it was time to put them together.
I used this pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew.  It's for my favorite niece's birthday present and I'm hoping she loves it, despite the imperfections.  I never do get them perfect!
I still need to quilt it.  I'm thinking of a loopy quilt like the one I did here.
Sometimes it's necessary to put the chores aside and just create!

I'm linking up to Heather's Life Made Lovely Series.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Speaking of Kids...

Since my focus at home has changed a bit, I'd thought I'd share some kid worthy links with you.  Here are some things I can't wait to try!

I also weeded through our collection of toys, throwing away the little plastic junk toys and donating the ones they have outgrown.  I've kind of got things down to a box of trains and cars, an area with dolls and accessories, wooden blocks and legos, their small collection of stuffed animals, books,  their art supplies, board games, and then one basket with odds and ends.  From now on, I'd like to avoid any plastic and most electronic things.  My goal is for them to forget the Wii and computer completely!  Right now they have a 30 minute limit for the day.

I wanted to expand their play time, so I purchased these two toys yesterday:

They were both good investments, although I wish now I had waited and bought a wooden marble run.
For Christmas I'd like to purchase a wooden tea set and a wooden Noah's ark.  Does anyone have any good suggestions on where I could get those?

My goal is to have toys available to them that help expand their imagination and be somewhat learning in a fun way.  Do you have any suggestions?

Oh, and I'm sorry I didn't do my prayer flag tutorial this week.  I'll have one ready for next week, I promise! :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One of those moms

I am coming to terms with the fact that I can be a bit of an overachiever.  If you know me really well, you are probably laughing right now and saying, Really, Chrissie?  You have just figured that out? :)

I haven't always been that way, but it seems that with each passing child my instincts to multi-task sharpened and I found myself able to juggle more.

But man!  I am slowly realizing that although I can "get a lot done", I end up a lot of days feeling overwhelmed and feeling like I really missed out on "living in the moment".

I could make a concious decision not to make any art any more and still find my hands full with my family and our day to day living.  But art sustains me, it keeps me together, and even if it's only 10  or 15 minutes that I can find in a day, I am learning that it is enough.  It needs to be enough.  Because these kids of mine are growing up waaaaaaaaay too fast.

I thought I didn't want to be one of those moms.
You know, the one who centers her whole life around her kids? 
I'm starting to think maybe that's okay for awhile.
Maybe that's what they (and I) need for a little while.

When they are grown I want them to remember our times together as a family, not of Mom always doing art.
It's a fine balance, isn't it?

If you have all the answers already, please feel free to let me in on the secret.  :)

Have a blessed day,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fabric Flower Barrettes

I got a few emails after I posted some pictures of these fabric flower barrettes.  For those of you who were interested in ordering some, I am listing them here.  Just let me know which ones you want by number, and I'll list them for you in my etsy shop.
They are $5 each, which includes shipping:)
Happy Tuesday! :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Making my surroundings Lovely

Heather has inspired me in many ways.  Lately it is the lovely pictures of her home.  I am gleaning inspiration from her.  Learning to hold onto to decor items that I only really love.  Trying to find a balance between simple, and color and fun.  I am learning that the less items you have, the less you have to clean!  But when I go too simple, I crave some art and color.

We had our guest bathroom redone over a year ago.  After my $30 white garbage can broke last week, I replaced it with a turquoise can from Target's dollar section.  That spurred a little makeover.
I had this scrap piece of wood.  I painted it with a couple different variations of turquoise and aqua craft paint, traced the letters on, and filled them in with white paint.

I bought the shower curtain and rug at Target.  I searched a couple of thrift stores for a shower curtain but this is really what I wanted, so I got it!
The little soap dispenser is from Target too...on sale for $2.  The cross was on sale at Kirklands for $2.99.  I had the frame, and just printed the 11 x 14 print of our family beach picture on my home printer.
Everything on this wall is from the house...I tried to keep it beachy themed, but not too themed.
I've had these blocks for a couple of years now.  I think I bought them at TJ Maxx.  They've been various parts of my home.
So that's it.  I spent about $35 and I feel like we have a lovely little makeover.  :)
Happy Monday Friends!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Prayer Flag Two

Good morning!  :)  I made my second prayer flag yesterday and I am here to share the tutorial with you.  If you remember last week's focus was on gratitude.  This week we are focusing on family.
The method I'm using is from a Cloth Paper Scissors magazine from 2007.  Kelly Rae Roberts wrote the article and I basically tried what she shows in the magazine.  So, let's get started!

Step 1: 
Using canvas paper as a your base, collage some scrapbooking or any other decorative papers on.  I cut out squares and rectangles and laid them out.  Use gel medium to glue them on, and then paint a layer of gel medium over the whole thing when you are done.  Let it dry.
(Just in case you love it, my scrapbooking papers are from an Amy Butler set that I bought at Michaels two years ago)

Step 2:
Pour two different colors of craft paint on a tray.  Using a brayer, roll it through and saturate the roller with your paint.

Step 3:
Roll your brayer all over the papers, spreading the paint around.  While it is still wet, use a paper towel to pick up some of the paint.  There is no exact science to this.  Just play around until you like what you see:)
Let it dry.

Step 4:
Kelly Rae uses a charcoal pencil, but I didn't have one.  I just used a regular pencil to draw a shape of a house.  When I think of my family, I think of "home", so that is the image I chose to convey.  Paint it in with gesso, or I just used white craft paint.  Use a paper towel to wipe off paint to let some of the papers show through.  Let it dry completely.  You can't see it here, but I also glued a heart on top of the roof.

Step 5:
I played around with different decorative stitches on my sewing machine to outline the house.

Step 8:
Cut out a door from a magazine or draw your own.  When I went to sew my on, I thought it would be clever to leave it open so I could leave a message behind the door.  In that case, sew just down the left side of the door.

Step 9:
Using a permanent marker, I wrote the words to a song that I really love (The Words I Would Say, by Sidewalk Prophets).  When I hear it, I always think of my children.

Step 10: 
 Using instructions from Week One, make the back of your flag and your pocket.  My pocket turned out a little wonky, but that's ok

Step 11: 
After sewing the front and back of the flag together, I added these little wooden discs to spell out family.

Step 12:
Add your little message behind the secret door :)

Now you can write your prayer to slip in your pocket. 
I wrote prayers for everyone in my immediate family.  Prayers for my husband, prayers for each of my children, and prayers to keep our family strong in Christ.  This was so enjoyable.  Every child had very unique prayers from me.

Please remember this:  If you are playing along, please don't get too caught up in the instructions.  Feel free to follow your artistic instinct.  You don't have to create exactly what I'm doing.  My instructions are just a guide and to act as a sort of inspiration. 

Have fun!  If you have any questions at all, leave a comment and I will answer them there.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Truth be Told

It is Sunday evening and I just got all my children down for bed.
We had a nice day at the beach today.
Would you like to hear a little story of mine?

I realized today that my two year is my last baby.  At least the last one I will carry in my belly.  I am done with pregnancy.  In a way it is a little liberating, knowing the impending freedom I will gain as he gets older.  But in another way, it is a little sad.  I loooooooooove babies.  I loved all my babies so much.  Of course I still love them, :), but there is something about babies that makes me melt.

I am super blessed to have had four of my own.  About 7 years ago I was surprized with a cyst about the size of a grapefruit on my right ovary.  When I went in for surgery, they found that my ovary was encapsulated inside the cyst, and they took the ovary out with the cyst.  It was also discovered that I had a severe case of endometriosis.
My doctor told me that I had about an 8-10% chance of conceiving another child.  At the time my oldest was four.  I wasn't exactly heartbroken, because I felt I was lucky to at least have one.
But God had other plans for me, because three months later I was pregnant.  I ended up having three more children in five years.
I used to feel a little guilty about being so fertile.  There are so many women in the world who cannot conceive.  So many women who would make excellent mothers.  If you are one of them, I just want you to know that I do pray for you.  I pray that one day you will have a child.  I pray even harder that you will find peace in whatever happens.  Because I know that God has your life, your destiny, in his hands.

Truth be told, I never planned on having such a large family.
But I am grateful and humbled that I am the mother that God intended me to be.
I realize that I am blessed beyond belief.  It is my goal to never, ever forget that.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Quilt-Along

If you have a nice amount of fabric scraps you may want to join Heather's Quilt-Along.  It is a quilt as you go. She has all the directions on her blog.  Here is my first square before I quilted it.  I am using plain muslin on the back.
My square ended up measuring 12.5 x 12.5.  I have really wanted to try the pebble quilting for a while, but I was scared I would mess up!  But I figured this was a great place to try it.  I used my free motion foot, started in the middle, and then made circles.  I sewed around each circle twice.
I love it!  It wasn't hard at all.  What do you think?
Even if you don't want to make a whole quilt, a few blocks would make a nice table runner.  Heck, you could even do one for a pillow! I'm thinking I might do some smaller scale projects with mine...:)


Oh, and "In His Grace" finally jumped on the Facebook wagon.  Most of my local work are custom mosaics, so I'll have regular updates and other "business" stuff :)  I would love if we were Facebook Friends:)