The New Studio Space

Here are some pics of my new "studio" space upstairs. I think I mentioned before that we hope to have our detatched garage converted into a studio space at some point. When we moved in a few months back I thought I would go ahead and start keeping my crafting/sewing/art supplies out there. Well that didn't quite work out... the bugs that come along with an unfinished garage finally ran me out of there....for now...atleast until the space gets finished.

So this weekend I moved things into our guest bedrrom upstairs. Actually I really like the idea of a guest room doubling as a space that gets used on a regular basis. I think the craft/sewing supplies gives it a cozy feel as well. I have my big sewing table up there (the pics are missing the sewing machine because its in the back of the car right now), my cedar chest filled with fabric, a peg board for holding supplies and another table for a cutting station. Also, the room has built in drawers into the walls which are perfect for housing sewing projects, supplies and a drawer specifically for the boys supplies when they are in their creating with me. I actually really love the space. The room is a soft butter yellow and it has great light for sewing during the day.
Here is a peak at the new quilt I am making as well...

Hope you all have a great holiday weekend. We have 2 parties to attend, an auction, a family hike, and a possible dollar movie of Kung Fu Panda for the boys and Mike. See you in a couple of days if not sooner!

Canaan's wishes and dreams...

Our Family

Canaan came home yesterday with some homework. Somewhat of a "get to know Canaan" assignment. There were some basic questions he had to answer and as much as I feel I know Canaan he continually suprises me. I thought I'd share some of his responses with you

When asked what he wants to be when he grows up he said "a Golfer". Ok, I know he loves to golfin the backyard but I still didn't expect that answer!
When asked what he doesn't like he said "the devil", which I LOVED! Go Canaan! He also said one of his wishes would be to eat 100 marshmallows....he loves marshmallows and talks about them often. He even told me recently he wants to start his own business making different flavors of marshmallows. He said his first flavor would be peach. And the company would be called....Marshmallow.

My New Favorite Magazine

I stumbled on this great magazine a while back at our local independent bookstore. It is entirely in French but it is sooo dreamy and full of amazing ideas for decorating, sewing, entertaining, and such. I can only read like 10 words in French (not much to show for 2 years of French class in high school!) But nonetheless, I sit for hours at a time pouring over the new issues. It comes out once a quarter I think and costs a whopping $10. Usually I just sit and read it at the bookstore but this time I bought one for my own collection.
Last night Mike didn't come home till nearly 11pm after going to a college small group. Our college students are back in full force which means more late nights ahead! The students love the boys so we usually have them around too but with Canaan having a 7:30am school time, late nights are somewhat out of the picture for now. It actually was nice to get the boys in bed and have a few hours to myself. I hadn't laid on the couch and watched TV in MONTHS! I watched some TV and got caught up on my favorite blogs. A nice relaxing night for mama :)

Our busy weekend!

This weekend was a whirlwind. We had some big projects going on around here and on top of it all, our college students were back from summer break and that means we will be busy (good busy) with students in different book/Bible studies, discipleship, hang out time, and planned activites. There were over 150 students there yesterday between the 2 services at church which was really exciting and really overwhelming. We pray for wisdom and guidance in how to meet everyone's needs in an efficient and effective way. We are blessed with so many really cool students that we just absolutely love getting to know and invest in their lives.
As for the house....
Mike's mom and her boyfriend Roscoe came in town to help us with our first major home project since we bought it back in March. The washer and dryer have been in the kitchen up until now and this weekend Mike and Roscoe re-wired and re-plumbed under the house to make it possible to move the washer and dryer into our master bathroom. It took all day on Saturday and an hour or so on Sunday but it is done! and they work! and it is sooooo great having the washer/dryer out of the kitchen!

As they were doing that, I was slowly moving my craft/sewing/painting stuff from our garage to the guest bedroom upstairs. The room is now going to be part studio - part guest room. We hope to convert the detatched garage into a studio someday but for right now there are just a few too many spiders for my taste out there.
And in between all of that Joe Anne and I were starting to paint the forest of trees on the boys ceiling. We are going for a slight "camping" theme in their room. I am trying to keep it simple and not too "themed". The trees will be painted and we'll add the glow in the dark stars and planets to give it a sleeping-under-the-night-sky feel. I'll take more pics when it's done.

So here we are. Monday morning. We are sore and tired and wanting to go back to bed. But we are also elated that we have been able to purchase a home of our own that we can do these fun and exhausting projects on. The boys finally get to have a room of their own that we can paint and make fun for them. We never want to take for granted what God has given to us and to ultimately use our home for His glory through having college students in and out throughout the week, hosting young couples that we disciple, or just break bread with close friends and family that we love and appreciate so much.
Happy Monday to everyone!

Fabric, Fabric, Fabric.

Oh my word. I really am completely exhausted today. Wonder why? Well yesterday morning I woke up and decided to tackle cleaning out, organizing, and moving all of my fabric from the garage to the upstairs guestroom. This was a big task ( I finished 12 hours later!)
I had 5 large tupperware totes and a couple of drawers full of fabric. Fabric I have collected over the years or had given to me. A large portion came from the trash actually--a long story :)
Anyhow, so I brought it all in. Washed, dryed and ironed it all to make it as compact and organized as possible. After hours of hard work I have beautifully organized it all in one cedar chest upstairs. It is all color coordinated and ready for the next project!
One box of random scraps I donated to the thrift store and another box I have set aside to use for the craft days I do with my college girls at church.
Although I am thouroughly exhauseted I am elated that it is done and will give me even more inspiration. sweet!

So, 2 years ago Mike had a picture of he and I printed on canvas for my birthday. As nice as it was, he didn' actually frame it or anything so it was just a picture on canvas. So finally 2 years later we sat down last night and made stretcher bars to strech the canvas to be framed. We had found this amazing frame at a little shop in the mountains of Kentucky for dirt cheap and have always looked forward to using it. The finished product is amazing, wonderful, and fantastic!! Perfect for our quaint home.

Thrift Store finds

Last night after we took dinner to our friends we stopped by one of our favorite thrift stores. I haven't been thrift store shopping in a while. I have MADE myself stay away. Usually I go to do my Ebay shopping but I have put that on hiatus for a while so I really haven't had a need to go and along with getting rid of things that we no longer need and wanting to save money, thrift store shopping hasn't been in the cards.
But last night we stopped and I am so glad we did!! I found this amazing old wooden crate painted one of my favorite colors. It goes PERFECTLY with the house and it will give a nice home to the quilts in the living room this winter.
Secondly I spotted these amazing dishes. The deal with Salvation Army is that if it doesn't have a price tag, they can't sell it to you. How ridiculous is that? It is donated items sold to help people. Anyhow, these dishes didn't have a price tag. I asked one employee who said they'd have to be sent to the back to be re-priced and they'd be back out in a couple of days. A couple of days!? So I put them in the cart and when I finished shopping I had Mike turn on the charm :) to the cashier and explain to her how much we wanted these and that they had no price tag. She understood our dilema and heard our cries. She sold us the whole set for $1.50. I was/am estatic!
I sat down at the end of a long day to embroider a bit. It helps me clear my mind and gives me something to just zone out doing for a bit. I embroidered a little fall scene onto some linen and hung it in our little seasonal thing we have going by the door.

Today I will do a ton of laundry. I need to wash and hang our quilts out on the line, wash some fabric and get it ready for winter sewing projects, and do a couple loads of family laundry before Mike's mom and boyfriend come in this weekend to help us set up plumbing and electricity to move the washer and dryer out of our kitchen and into the master bathroom in the back of the house. Hooray!!


As sad as it is that Canaan is now a big boy and off to school, I am finding that it now gives me time with Ezra. I don't think I had realized how much one-on-one time I DIDN'T have with Ezra because my interaction time with him was with Canaan as well or they were interacting together.
Its been so nice being able to have conversations with him (you know, 2 year old conversations), have cuddle time on the couch, read books, go shopping, and do projects together. I loved that time I had with Canaan before Ezra arrived and now I am appreciating the fact that they were spaced far enough apart in age that I get this time with Ezra.
The task of cleaning out our junk closet was accomplished yesterday. I even cleaned out the crazy office drawers that were stuffed with pens, dead batteries, tape, tools, and whatever else got shoved in over time.

It is all organized now and batteries and such are in their own baggies. I donated about 60 pens (I have about another 60 to donate which are in another drawer) to the Goodwill which was liberating! Its weird things like pens that just continue to collect and accumulate and then you have to delegate like one entire drawer in your house to it. Its crazy! Just learning to live with less and less is so free-ing and makes our life around here alot more simplified. I find I have to clean alot less and there is more room and time for creativity, entertaining, and family.
We were by no means hoarders. In fact I have always been a bit streamlined with my things, but it really has to be an intentional thing for me to purposefully go through our things and think through whether or not I need 120 pens around the house or 100 magazines I will never read again.
I have no idea how I got on that tangent! So today is going to be a low key day. Maybe a trip to the bookstore, some reading on the couch, and possibly an afternoon nap. This evening we will go to our friends house to bring them dinner and see their new place. Its a dreamy place out in the country with a big sunporch and high ceilings.....ahhh....dreamy.

Anticipating Fall

A couple of years ago I found 4 pictures of a farm. Each showed the farm in a different season. I absolutely love things like this. For a while they hung in the boys room but since the move I have decided that we, as an entire family, should get to share in the fun of these pics. I have hung one, framed, by the door with the particular season we are in. Fall is framed now. Yes it isn't quite fall yet, I know, Mike already reminded me, but I am ANTICIPATING fall so I am putting it up! It makes me happy to see it along with our new keyholder (Urban Outfitters) that I found at our huge kick-butt overstock store called Gabriel Brothers for $4.99.
In other news...
My cake won 3rd place at the Kentucky State Fair this year. This is the first time I have ever entered anything into a competition so it was fun to actually place! I was suprised how many cakes were entered. Holy cow! It was fun and I am already looking forward to next year!
My cup of coffee is at the bottom and that means it is time to start the day. Ezra and I will head to the gym for a workout. I am trying to finish a little art project that hopefully I can post about tomorrow. And we will attempt cleaning out our "junk" closet when Mike gets home tonight. Wish us luck!

Lesson #1 __ Don't put crayons in the dryer

So I had intentions to blog about other things today but I am so disgusted with myself and my little "situation" that I am not inspired to write much at all. The situation I am referring to is the fact that after a week of my boys clothes piling up, I washed an enormous load of laundry with nearly ALL of their clothes in it (and I do mean all : new khaki shorts, applique tee's I made for the boys, shirts, socks, jeans, etc...)
When I went to fold them this morning from the dryer my jaw hit the floor when I looked in and the dryer and all of its contents were shades of red and pink. EVERYTHING is stained. And not just little spots here and there. Full on, total destruction stained.
All we can guess is that a red crayon made it into the dryer via a pants pocket? and melted on everything. Totally aweful given the fact that 2 kids entire wardrobes were affected. I was really sad that their embroidered and applique tees that I made them were badly damaged b/c I had hoped to continue making and saving those for them as little memories down the road....well I guess it is still a memory!
So that was the beginning of the day. Ezra has been out of sorts today. Very grouchy and willfull.
Let the day continue! (p.s. it was a brand new dryer :(


This morning I woke up with the word "balance" on my mind. I think this is a lesson God has been teaching me recently and I am still in the classroom :)
The thought usually is that someone fresh out of high school or college seems "ready to take on the world". I think I am just arriving at that stage now. I really feel like I have so much desire to create and dream and plan and serve and give that I might possibly explode :) Maybe it is the realization that I have already completed 29 years of my life and now that I am entering my 30's I want to do and see and experience so much in the next 30.
But the Lord gently reminds me often to slow down. To savor moments with Him and moments with my family. I am so thankful for those reminders to just be and not do.
Which brings me back to finding balance. I want to always be aware of my full reason for being on this earth which is to bring Glory to him. And I want to be able to fully engage in living and using my desires and gifts but to not get so focused on those that they take precidence over my time with Him and my engaging in my relationship with Him.
In the most basic of ways I am trying to find balance here at home. If I gave into my tendencies I would vaccum my floor 3 times a day, do dishes 10 times a day, and pick up toys, clothes, and shoes a million times a day. But what would that accomplish? I have tried, in vain, to keep a "perfect" home at times. But once one mess is cleaned up another is happening behind me (thanks to 2 rambuncious boys!). The balance I am finding for myself in it all is this:
For me, a clean bedroom helps calm me and makes it all feel "ok". The same with the kitchen. So I wake up each morning and make the bed look beautiful. I clean the side tables of any glasses, book, or papers we may have laid there the night before. I pick up shoes, clothes, toys or anything else that has made its way in there. I open the blinds to let it full of light. That starts my day off right. The rest of the house could be in chaos but the balance I find is that I need a retreat to keep me calm and un-messy throughout the day and then I can be ok with buiding blocks scattered around the living room and books fallen off the bookshelf.
The balance I am finding in the rest of my life is learning to say "no". This is a hard one! It is hard not because I want to be a people pleaser but because really I WANT to do everything! I would love the opportunity to plan a wedding shower, volunteer endlessly at the church, launch a business with a friend, etc... As fun and challenging as each thing is that is brought my way, it is impossible for me to say yes to them all. I do say yes to most though but each day I am learning to pick and choose and narrow the focus on things I feel God would lead me to do.
I feel so incredibly, over-the-top blessed in my life. We are RICH! RICH in financial ways compared to most of the world, RICH in health, RICH in spiritual blessings, RICH in creativity and dreams for the future. We are RICH in our relationships as a family and with our friends. There is nothing more in life we need but we continually pursue to grow, dream big and be skillfully crafted by our Maker.

Day 1 -- a success

(here is a picture of Canaan today as he was ready to leave for school. He was really excited to go so all of his pics were super silly. This one he is trying to do a little Elmer Fudd impersonation or something along those lines!)
Well after Canaan left yesterday I cried and boo hoo'd for a couple of hours. I went to the gym and after working out I felt better about it all. I called ahead to the office at church to tell our secretary to send out a memo telling all the guys (the pastors) NOT to ask me about Canaan yesterday unless they wanted me crying again :) They were kind enough not to and I made it through the rest of the day. Mike came home from work a bit early to go pick up Canaan with Ezra and I. It was so fun seeing him walk out of school with his cute backpack and a huge smile on his face. The first thing he said was " I got to do math!!!" He loves math and science and was SOOO excited he got to go to a math class. He also was so excited that I had put 2 marshmellows in his lunch box (marshmellows are his FAVORITE dessert). He had so much he wanted to tell me and kept getting frustrated because Ezra wanted his undivided attention from the moment he saw Canaan.
By 4pm yesterday he was already asking when it would be bed time :) I think the day wore him out. He was in bed by 7pm and up again at 7am ready to get dressed for school.
Today I feel much better about it all. I asked Canaan if he missed Ezra and I yesterday and he said he was too busy doing school work to think about us. Gotta love a childs honesty! :)
So now Ezra and I are sinking into a new routine together. It is nice having time just with him and at this age he needs alot of my attention. Staying tuned into his emotions, frustrations, fits, and such takes alot of time and is so important at this stage to really be consistant and work with him to move past this stage. We are having a blast together though and I am so thankful for both of my fantastic little guys...well all 3 actually if you include Mike :)

Off to Kindergarten....

Oh boy! What a tough day it has been already and I have only been up for about 45 minutes. Ezra and I just sat on the driveway watching Canaan and Dadddy walk to his first day of kindergarten.
It is incredibly emotional on so many levels. I am excited for him because he is so excited. I am nervous that he will encounter unfriendly kids or learn bad habits or bad things that we have tried so hard to prevent in these first 5 years. I am extremely sad to see the end of this "era" in our family. I have had five fantastic years with Canaan each and every day playing, cooking, cleaning, shopping, creating, laughing, talking, learning, and growing together. Now he is growing up and heading off to school all day. Thats tough.
It goes back to the whole principle of teaching them and letting them strengthen their wings so they can leave the nest. Yes, this mostly applies to college students, I know, but of course my little guy just left the nest to venture into the big world albeit right around the corner.
I didn't realize parenting would be so heartwrenching so early on!
So now I will fight back my tears all day ( I had my major boo hoo time a couple of nights ago) and pray for Canaan (as I always do--but now even more) that he will have a great day and will meet wonderful new friends. I pray that he will take with him each day to school the life lessons Mike and I have so painstakenly and patiently tried to teach him so far.
Here comes Mike back up the driveway....I'll see you later.

Maple Syrup and Coffee...

This morning I woke up early and made my 3 boys french toast. Breakfast is usually low key around here - Cherrios, toast, and granola with fruit. But this morning called for the smell of french toast and maple syrup. It was our first cool and crisp morning in a few months. I am SO excited that fall is right around the corner! I had all the doors open to let the cool breeze in and the smell of coffee and breakfast was so comforting and cozy.
This weekend was super busy. We woke up Saturday morning and headed to a local park where our church was organzing an event to give out backpacks filled with supplies to kids who need them for school. We as a family had gone Thursday night to fill the backpacks and it was fun to be able to give them to children who needed them. We love to get the boys in on any volunteer opportunities available so they can always be appreciative of what they have and learn to give back.
Saturday afternoon we drove to Louisville to take 2 of my cakes to the Kentucky State Fair. They will be judged tonight so I'll keep you posted if I win anything!
Yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening at an auction. Its my usual auction house that has an auction every 2 weeks and I love to go and spend the day meeting new people, building relationships with ones I have already met, and looking for a good deal. For years now we have been wanting a TV cabinet. We found a make-shift one at an auction several years ago but it wasn't in good shape to begin with (we only paid $5) and even though we put some TLC into it we have wanted to upgrade. Yesterday I found a really cool "gentlemans armoire" with neat wood cut outs and a great small shape that we were wanting. I bought it for $55 but now that we have it home, Mike wants to sell it and make a profit. It weighs about 300 lb even though it is small. It is SOLID wood, inside and out and online they retail between $1200-$3000dollars. I'll keep you posted on that as well. Mike wants to sell-I want to keep :)

My Berry Pink Dress--literally.

I bought a little dress recently. It was on clearance for $3 b/c the red color had "run" into the white. It fit like a glove and was in perfect condition except for the color mishap. I bought it and brought it home intending to buy some RIT dye and try to color it pink. Last night on the way home from a service project at church I had a little "ah-ha" moment and thought that I would try to dye the dress with some old raspberries we had in the freezer. I got home and dumped abotu 1/2 cup of berries along with a couple of strawberries into water. I boiled them for about 10 minutes to get the color out. I strained out the berries and then I added salt (which is key for dying things) and then dipped my dress. I let it sit for an hour or so, rinsed it, and let it air dry overnight. Today I popped it in the dryer for a minute and then ironed it. It turned out perfectly and it was free to do! I told Mike I am going to experiment with all sorts of stuff now. Blueberries, beets, spinach, etc... I'll let you know how it goes.

Lily's Quilt

A few weeks back a friend of a friend emailed me from Chicago asking if I would make her soon-to-be-born baby girl a quilt. She had seen a quilt I had made my friend Carrie for her son, Elah's arrival into the world.
I was super excited to be asked and we decided to wait until her little one was born so we could make it more gender specific. She emailed when her little girl Lily was born and I immediately got to work. She had said she liked vintage fabrics and I had quite a stash of girly vintage fabric. The front has 100% linen and the back fabric is from a company out in California that I like to order from.
I didn't use a pattern - because I have no idea how to read or use a pattern - but I had in my mind the design I wanted and figured out the math of it all on paper before I started.
It was such a fun project and the momma and baby were happy with it. Onto the next project!