Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Fluff between my ears

Here’s the trouble with Pinterest (other than it being a huge, glorious time sucker, and all the fabulous fattening recipes), Pinterest makes me believe I can do/wear things that I would otherwise never think to do/wear.  All these stylish pin boards full of the latest, greatest fashions, all right at my fingertips.  I start pinning these photos to my own board.  It seems harmless.  I pin so many, so often, that I start confusing my fashion pinboard for my closet.  I walk into a store armed with images of what I think I now look like and I start shopping.  I load my cart up and head to the dressing room.  And here is were reality and fantasy have a head on collision.  Pinterest and the real world are not the same thing.

Example:  I love the layered look.  It looks so fun and carefree!  Like you just open up your closet and wear every darling thing you own all at once, and it magically looks amazing… every.time.

 
Image found on pinterest.

 
Image source
I’ve been reading Shannon’s blog for over a year now and I love her style.  She is the queen of cute preppy layering.

Here’s what happens when I try the “effortless, carefree layering”
  


Turns out it’s not so carefree.  It’s kind of stressful.  You can’t just throw any shirt with any sweater.  Width and color of belts make a big difference.  Shirts and sweaters must be the right length so they don’t look bulky or hit at unflattering places.  And layers add thickness.  I don’t want any additional thickness; thank you very much!  Then you have to struggle through the whole “do I tuck in?”, “leave tails out?” dilemma.  It’s a wonder I ever manage to get dressed.

One hour later I’m no closer to being dressed and this is what my room looks like~

My husband walks in the bedroom and sees the wreckage and knows that this is not a good sign.  He quietly and quickly exits.  He is baffled.

What men don’t understand about the statement, “I don’t have anything to wear” is that we are not having a wardrobe crisis… we are having and identity crisis.  Somewhere, somehow I woke up and had become “frump mom”.  Blue jeans, plain colored tee, flat-wearing… frump mom.  I didn’t mean to turn into “frump mom” but it happened.  I don’t want to be frump mom. I want to be one of these ladies…

I want to be girl in sundress walking down the beach,

or girl in cute jacket pedaling through the country, or bohemian girl in the Indi-rock band, and I’m pretty sure all I need is the appropriate wardrobe to make that happen. And this is the part of the post were I’m supposed to have an epiphany, or come up with some clever, heart-warming solution, but I’ve got nothing.  Some days you look good, some days you look weird, some days you give up and stay in your sweats… and I think that’s all pretty normal.

To continue with my fluffy, utter-lacking-in-substance post, my hair is getting long!

“Long” obviously being a relative term.  I’m still struggling to know what to do with it on a daily basis.  My entire adult life I’ve never had long hair.  There are times I storm into the bathroom with scissors in hand, ready to chop it all off… but I talk myself down from the ledge, remind myself that I promised to let it grow until it gets down to my back and I pull the whole unruly mop into a pony tail. 
ps~this was a good hair day so I took a picture to document the anomaly

So here’s to comfy sweat pants, pony tail holders, and those rare but wonderful “awesome outfit” days.

~April

 

Brothers

Without a doubt, I count being the mother of two boys, as one of the greatest privileges of my life.  Brothers, just twenty months apart, and from the very first day they could not have been more different.  This road I am walking with them has been quite the adventure.

No, it has not been all smiles and ease with these two.  But all the squabbling, fussing, and rough-housing, pales when I hold it up to the beautiful friendship these boys have with each other.

The differences in their personalities is a constant source of amusement and amazement to me. At the same time I love seeing how well they fit together and balancing each other out.  Knocking the edges off each other (which is sometimes a source of real friction )

If you were to watch my boys eat Junior Mints, you would know almost everything there is to know about their personalities.  Hand J 10 Junior Mints and he will eat one… maybe two, and save the rest.  They will be tucked away in some secure little place and savored throughout the following days.  Give G the same 10 Junior mints, and he will pop them all in his mouth at once and grin at you with a big chocolately grin.  Then he will spend the next several days quietly sneaking mints from J‘s stash.


J takes life kind of seriously.  He is a rule follower.  He has a lot of nervous energy.  Even when he is sitting down some part of his body is still moving.  He loves being on the go, and in the thick of things.  He doesn’t know how to take teasing, it stresses him out a little when someone teases him.  He very responsible, and notices everything.  J‘s primary form of communication comes in the form of questions. So having a conversation with him feels a bit like being interrogated. He wears his heart on his sleeve.  He would make a terrible poker player because every thought he thinks is written all over his face. He has the biggest most tender heart.

J is also a saver.  Actually hoarder would be closer to the mark.

He has a corner in his room were he stashes all his valuable and much needed trinkets and items.  The following list is just a small sampling of the things I found while cleaning their room: a sugar cookie from Christmas, the children’s menu from when we went to Chili’s 2 months ago, and unused package of crayons (he doesn’t want to use them because the wouldn’t be new anymore), shoe boxes in a variety of sizes, random clips and ropes… and so on and so forth…


He gets a little nervous when I clean the room.  He knows me well.  I am not a saver.  I am a “what it the world is this, let’s throw it out” kinda girl.


G is a charmer.  He has big dreamy eyes and a slow smile.  He’s not shy but he’s quieter than J.  He moves slower, takes his time, enjoys all of life’s little charms.  He is infatuated with little things.  G tends to fly under the radar most of the time, which is exactly how he likes it.  That way no ones notices that he has helped himself to 10 Oreos, until it has already happened and he is long gone.  G is the most generous soul I know.  He will forfeit any toy, or position of favor he might have, in order to bring peace to an argument.  He has an amazing imagination!  J didn’t know how to play in an imaginative way until G taught him.  He tells me the most interesting stories and uses the most descriptive words.  The other night we were getting in the car to go to Awanas.  G is 10 steps behind (as usual) looking up at the sky.  He then says to me, “Mom, those stars are all really close together.  They are touching each other.  They must be kissing stars. They must be having a star party.”  Kissing stars… how delightful.

Most of all I am so proud of how they treat each other.  They are the first to cheer the other on.  They get heated with each other now and again, but they are so quick to forgive.  They are protective of one another.  Since they were little I have told them, “You two look after each other. Don’t let anyone mess with your brother.  You treat your brother better than you would a friend.”  And for the most part they hold true to that.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these boys.  I gives me great comfort to know that whatever is in store for them, they will face it together.

Friday January 20, 2012

Without a doubt, I count being the mother of two boys, as one of the greatest privileges of my life.  Brothers, just twenty months apart, and from the very first day they could not have been more different.  This road I am walking with them has been quite the adventure.

No, it has not been all smiles and ease with these two.  But all the squabbling, fussing, and rough-housing, pales when I hold it up to the beautiful friendship these boys have with each other.

The differences in their personalities is a constant source of amusement and amazement to me. At the same time I love seeing how well they fit together and balancing each other out.  Knocking the edges off each other (which is sometimes a source of real friction )

If you were to watch my boys eat Junior Mints, you would know almost everything there is to know about their personalities.  Hand J 10 Junior Mints and he will eat one… maybe two, and save the rest.  They will be tucked away in some secure little place and savored throughout the following days.  Give G the same 10 Junior mints, and he will pop them all in his mouth at once and grin at you with a big chocolately grin.  Then he will spend the next several days quietly sneaking mints from J‘s stash.


J takes life kind of seriously.  He is a rule follower.  He has a lot of nervous energy.  Even when he is sitting down some part of his body is still moving.  He loves being on the go, and in the thick of things.  He doesn’t know how to take teasing, it stresses him out a little when someone teases him.  He very responsible, and notices everything.  J‘s primary form of communication comes in the form of questions. So having a conversation with him feels a bit like being interrogated. He wears his heart on his sleeve.  He would make a terrible poker player because every thought he thinks is written all over his face. He has the biggest most tender heart.

J is also a saver.  Actually hoarder would be closer to the mark.

He has a corner in his room were he stashes all his valuable and much needed trinkets and items.  The following list is just a small sampling of the things I found while cleaning their room: a sugar cookie from Christmas, the children’s menu from when we went to Chili’s 2 months ago, and unused package of crayons (he doesn’t want to use them because the wouldn’t be new anymore), shoe boxes in a variety of sizes, random clips and ropes… and so on and so forth…


He gets a little nervous when I clean the room.  He knows me well.  I am not a saver.  I am a “what it the world is this, let’s throw it out” kinda girl.


G is a charmer.  He has big dreamy eyes and a slow smile.  He’s not shy but he’s quieter than J.  He moves slower, takes his time, enjoys all of life’s little charms.  He is infatuated with little things.  G tends to fly under the radar most of the time, which is exactly how he likes it.  That way no ones notices that he has helped himself to 10 Oreos, until it has already happened and he is long gone.  G is the most generous soul I know.  He will forfeit any toy, or position of favor he might have, in order to bring peace to an argument.  He has an amazing imagination!  J didn’t know how to play in an imaginative way until G taught him.  He tells me the most interesting stories and uses the most descriptive words.  The other night we were getting in the car to go to Awanas.  G is 10 steps behind (as usual) looking up at the sky.  He then says to me, “Mom, those stars are all really close together.  They are touching each other.  They must be kissing stars. They must be having a star party.”  Kissing stars… how delightful.

Most of all I am so proud of how they treat each other.  They are the first to cheer the other on.  They get heated with each other now and again, but they are so quick to forgive.  They are protective of one another.  Since they were little I have told them, “You two look after each other. Don’t let anyone mess with your brother.  You treat your brother better than you would a friend.”  And for the most part they hold true to that.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these boys.  I gives me great comfort to know that whatever is in store for them, they will face it together.

Sewing Days


Now that the busyness of the holidays is over, Jude is back in school, and life has resumed a nice easy pace; I’ve been able to do some long overdo sewing.  My sister-in-law Alli is due at the end of this month, and it’s going to be a little boy!  Alli’s good friend Theresa hosted a small baby shower for her last night and I wanted to make sure this baby had small selection of baby basics.


Often I will hand dye onesies before I embellish them, but I know Alli, and she loves her babies in white.

I also made a few bibs.


This fabric right here; I am particularly pleased with.  It is an out of print Michael Miller called “Fly a Kite”.  I bought a half a yard of it on Etsy about a year ago.  I loved it!  I used every square inch of that half yard.  It was the perfect, and oh-so elusive, gender neutral fabric.  When I went to try to find more on Etsy there was none to be found (I found a little on Ebay but it was more than I wanted to pay).  Last week at our local fabric store I strolled past the sale table and saw a whole bolt of it for half off!  I promptly bought 2 yards, and stopped every person from the cutting counter to the check out counter and told them about my excellent find.


I like using buttons to fasten the bibs.  It’s a little more work to put the bib on, but once it’s on it stays on!


I added a few burp rags too.

I made Eliza another  Polka Dot & Summer Dress (from Fig Tree Co)

The dress went so much smoother the second time around and I was able to improve upon some of the techniques I used the first time around.


The box pleats tuned out much better.


This is some darling trim I found at the fabric store.  I have no idea what I’m going to with it; I just had to have it!

Justin bought me this book as a Christmas present.  I have followed Meg’s blog for a long time, and was itching to get her latest book.

Quite a few of her projects involve sewing with knit.  I want to expand my sewing skills and I thought this simple infant tee,

or this pull-over bib would be great beginner projects.  Now that I have my serger I’m feeling more confident about sewing with knit.  The bib and the envelope tee apeal to me becuase they don’t use a lot of fabric.  Which is nice, because knit fabric can be a little pricey and if I make a mistake I haven’t blown a whole yard.

 
These are some of the knit fabric I’ve been eyeing on Etsy.
 
Oliver + S, City Weekends {image source}
 
And these Spoonflower prints. {image source}

I know it’s been ages since I’ve done a real “Show & Tell Wednesday” and I’m hoping to remedy that soon.  I have a few ideas I’m kicking around and I think you’ll like them!

~April

Monday January 9, 2012

Before you read this post it is important for you to understand where I am coming from, what is in my heart.  The following thoughts and questions are the result of my own personal reflections.  Me looking into my life, and my thoughts, and seeing things I don’t like.  Areas that need changing, attitudes that are destructive, focuses that are not healthy or helpful.  Please bear that in mind as you read on.

I have been listening a lot lately.  Asking myself questions.  Trying to get to the bottom of this check I feel in my spirit.  

I look at the woman who gets up an hour early every weekday morning and goes to the gym.  I envy her body, I admire her discipline and her rock firm abs.  But to the woman who gets up early every morning to clip coupons, in an effort to save money and be a good steward of what God has given her, I laugh and roll my eyes.  Why?  Why do I do that?

I speak admirably of the woman with the enviable wardrobe, full of all the styles and brands that I know so well.  While privately I ridicule the woman who treats her husband like a king. The one who, after so many years of marriage still lights up when she sees him, and never passes up an opportunity to praise him.  I shake my head and say, “Oh she’ll grow out of that soon enough” or, “Sheesh you’d think they were newlyweds.”  When truth be told, it’s not something she should ever “grow out of”, and making sarcastic comments about one’s husband is not a sign of maturity (again, this is me pointing a finger in my own chest). 

I sometimes wonder, as women, are we really bringing out the best in each other?  Are we (am I) admiring things that are worthy of my admiration?  What is the message we are sending each other?  When I see a woman who is striving for excellence am I encouraging her, or am I a stumbling block to her?  Do I let my own insecurities get in the way?  I fear that all too often I am a stumbling block.  I am realizing that my own thoughts and attitudes affect more than just myself.  I am learning that we are connected to each other in ways we don’t always acknowledge. 

I want to change.  I want to be a help to my sisters in the Lord, not a hindrance.  I want to cheer for you! Not hold you at a level that makes me feel comfortable and safe.  I have a long way to go, but I’m ready to start.  

Monday January 2, 2012

January is perfect.  So full of possibilities.  Dark branches reaching up to the pale blue sky.  Cozy fire-lit nights.  Completely unflattering but oh-so comfy flannel nightgowns.  A chance to begin again, to remember, and reflect.  Babies with red noses in brightly colored stocking caps.  A time to simplify.  To push back all the noise, glitter, clutter, and flash of the holidays and just be still…

We are off to a good start.

The year started off the way every year should~


 
A delicious candle lit meal with our oldest and dearest friends.


Ringing in the New Year with sparklers (we celebrated our new year on east coast time )…


… and sparkling apple cider in plastic “fancy cups”, because we’re fancy that way.

But the past week hasn’t been all parties and fun.  We’ve been working too.

We spent the better part of the week cleaning and organizing.  The boys room was in desperate need.

These are some of the before pictures.  We had already begun assembling the new furniture when I thought to take pictures so none of these are true “before pictures”, but I wanted you to get some sense of what their room was like before the changes.


I shudder to think of the things I pulled out from under their beds.


We removed the large brown bookshelf and replaced it with several sets of white cubbies.  I like the clean streamlined look and the small cubbies help toys and books stay better organized (that’s the theory anyway).


We bought tote boxes for the bottom self for putting matchbox cars, plastic animals, and blocks in.  Each boy has his own tote for storing their special items and valuable trinkets.


We also bought some silver painted peg board to go above Jude’s desk.  It still needs to be hung up but I thought it would be a great place for storing scissors, tools, flash lights, tape, staplers… all the little things that seem to be so easily lost.  I find myself wandering into their room and just standing in the middle of it with a happy look on my face :)

The sewing room got a much needed sprucing up too.

I didn’t take any before pictures of my fabric cupboards.  Just imagine, instead of neatly stacked boxes of color coordinated fabric, a tangled up heap of crumpled, disorganized material.  Not pretty!

 
This is much better.


Look what I found under the Christmas tree!  I set it in it’s rightful place and the whole sewing room looked happier.  I can’t wait to start using it!  Part of my motivation for getting the rest of the house in order is so I can have some guilt free sewing time.  I have a stack of patterns I am eager to dive into and my new serger is going to make those projects so much easier.

A little bit of sewing happened over the holidays.

I made these little dolly diapers for Eliza’s dolls.  I found the link to this pattern on a wonderful sewing blog called Probable Actually.  It is my new favorite blog.  Do I say “new favorite” a lot?  I spend an hour scrolling through all of Gail’s back posts.  You really should check it out!

Did I mention another one of my favorite winter evening activities?  Sitting in a comfy chair, near the fire with an embroidery needle in my hand an hoop in my lap.

How’s your year going?

~April