2011 Gift for You

This year I sort of unofficially switched blogs, and I thank you for following along here. I hope you enjoy this Subway Art piece I made a few days ago, feel free to download it and print it off for your own personal use :)

It is a high resolution file and should be able to print up to poster size if desired.
Here’s to wishing you a happier new year, may it be filled with all the things you hope for.

xxoo
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Tulle Princess

I was buying a ridiculous amount of tulle yesterday.

Bubby was being his bubbly self and chatting away with himself and all those who would pass by and oooo and aaah over him. He gets a lot of attention. He’s just a big ball of sunshine.

Anyway, I am a regular at the Hobby Lobby by my house. I am about six or seven dangerous minutes away from this haven. But there are parts of that store that hurt. Like the silk flowers. It aches my heart that I even belong there at all. I pick her new silk flowers about once a month. And the tulle hurts a little too. Especially those adorable fluffy tulle skirts they have on display.

But I still love tulle. I have an obsession with it I think.

There’s something whimsical about it. And don’t even get me started on the rolls of glitter tulle.

So I am gearing up to stock my shop with tons of new items made of tulle.

As the lady behind the counter was cutting away my ridiculous stack of colored tulle, in between smiles at my baby boy she said “Mommy needs a little girl…”. She smiled in her blissful ignorance.

Of course everything inside me wanted to tell her I do have a little girl, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to crush her and sit through the next 10 minutes of cutting tulle in awkward silence.

I don’t feel guilty for not sharing that bit of my life with her. I am just not sure I’ll ever get used to this part of grief.

God-willing, I will continue to buy ridiculous amounts of tulle. I would never even have an online shop if it wasn’t for Jenna.

She is my tulle princess.

My New Year’s Non-Goal

After reading everyone’s thoughtful comments on yesterday’s post I was encouraged to read about some experiences where compassion had been dealt, and how it has made a difference in your lives and the lives of others. With the New Year a day and a half away I thought about revolutionizing my hope for more compassion into something more: my new year’s non-goal.

I feel like a hypocrite making new years’ resolutions because I just end up falling off the bandwagon of good intentions somewhere around mid February. ;)

But maybe this year will be different. I’m not striving to fit in a new dress size, or save a whole bunch of money.

I am plunging into a change of mindset. After yesterday’s post I made myself accountable to having more compassion. People IRL {more than I probably even realize} read this blog and they’ll know whether I meant business or not.

I do.

I won’t turn into Mother Teresa anytime soon ha!, but I am by the grace of God going to start giving others the benefit of doubt, a chance at compassion. I believe in the end this will create more peace in my heart and life. And I guess if you have peace, you have it all, don’t you?

Last year my “Word of the Year” for 2010 was hope. This year I don’t have a word, I just have something to seek for everyday. And I’ll leave it at that. I may not find it everyday, but I will seek it with everything inside me.
“…seek peace, and pursue it.” – Psalms 34:14

What are your goals/ non-goals for 2011? If you post about them on your blog would you share the link? I’d love to read your thoughts on this :)

ps- be sure to stop by the blog tomorrow for a New Year’s freebie! {for everyone!}

The Other End of Compassion







I once went to this job interview shortly after Jenna died. Looking back now I realize how unrealistic it was to think of jumping into a new career so quickly. I was interviewing to be an associate director of a prestigious after-school tutoring program. The job requirements: to be cheerful at all times, bubbly, responsible, dependable… the list went on. The women with the black hair bore a hole through my face that day with her haunting words.

“You look sad…” I was choking back tears as she read the scars on my face. Her words were stone cold, harsh but true.

I was dripping with grief and didn’t know it. Neither did she, all she saw was someone who desperately wanted to fit the bill, but didn’t. Couldn’t.
We are in desperate need of compassion. 



Me included.

What if compassion starts with a new way of thinking


“… whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there beany virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8


For example, instead of thinking of that super slow driver in front of you as a pest who doesn’t belong on the road, what if they actually have an outdated eye prescription that they can’t afford to fill and therefore have trouble seeing? Or what if they’re elderly and couldn’t get their children or grandchildren to take them to the drug store? 


What if that person who is racing through the highway lanes like a wreckless idiot and appears drunk is really just trying to get his very pregnant wife to the hospital because she is in real labor {in which case he is not an idiot}? 

What if the sixteen-year old cashier isn’t just a careless teen but a child who has been forced to raise themselves because of impossible circumstances?


It makes me sick to think of how many times I’ve judged slow drivers, fast drivers, poor customer service folks, etc, etc, etc.. 


But I’d like to change that in my life. I want to give more compassion. Others will notice. It will make a difference. And if nothing else, I’ll do it because I’ve been on that other end. I know what it’s like to be terribly misunderstood and in a situation you can’t explain your way out of. 

What do you feel about this issue of compassion? Be honest. I would love your opinions, your experiences, anything you feel like sharing.

xo

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Missing My Camera + a Peek at New Shop Items

I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas this past weekend :)

I don’t know about you, but for me getting back into the swing of things has been a little hard after such a nice escape from everything. We continued our tradition of ‘skipping Christmas’ though we did spend a little time with the family on Christmas day this year.

Immediately after spending a few hours with the family our trip began. This was our second road trip with our little man and it was thankfully uneventful. He did pretty good on our little excursion to San Antonio.

I had difficulty putting this post together as most of my photos from the trip are MIA, meaning they are still on the camera that I lost. Lost probably forever. Sad. There are few things worse than losing a camera full of memories. Thankfully though – the important ones are already on my computer but it would have been nice to share pieces of our trip with you here.

Bah-humbug.

In spite of losing my camera we had a great time. Our trip included walking around town, past the Alamo, shopping, the zoo and Chinese takeout at 10 pm ;)

Tonight I am just so glad to be home. There’s nothing like snuggling up in your own cozy home on your own cozy couch.

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:::

The new year is just days away and with the new year there will be some lovely new surprises coming to the flourish shop :) Can’t wait to share them with you!

Here is a sneak peek though! Can you guess what it is?? :)

Oh, I should probably pause here and thank you God for the camera we do still have!! It doesn’t work as great as the other but it definitely beats using my phone :)

I am still taking a little ‘vacation’ still from blog designs and other orders and will be back soon {Wednesday to be exact} :)
Hope your holidays have been filled with peace and love.
xxoo

Wishing You Peace

I know for many this time of year is anything but merry and just another reminder of what we have lost. I hope the holidays are gentle on you and that your hearts may be filled with the peace that only God can give.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
-Isaiah 9:6 

DIY Altered Clipboards

I saw this idea on etsy a while back and finally decided to try it myself.

I thought I would share it with you, if you are up to taking a boring old clipboard and making into a fabulous work of art! My hubs is working most likely most of today which leaves me with lots of free time. We will be using the Christmas weekend to celebrate our 4th Anniversary :)

What you will need:

Clipboard
Elmer’s Spray Adhesive
Glue Gun
Glue sticks
Modge Podge
2 1/2 yard pieces of fabric {one pattern and one coordinating solid works best}
Paintbrush
Strings of tulle or ribbon {different coordinating colors}

Step 1:
Say goodbye to the brown, boring old clipboard!
Step 2:
Place fabric and lay it against the metal part of the clipboard. Okay so let me just pause and say that I am NOT a perfectionist, I am a ‘winger’ hands down. So if you like things precise, you may just measure the metal bracket exactly and cut that part out for the fabric to fit around. 
Mine looks like this close up:
The clipboard still shows through a little bit but once the altered clipboard is finished you’d NEVER know :)
Step 3:
If you have never used Elmer’s Adhesive beware. It is not only sticky, it’s just gross and hard to come off of your hands and anything it comes in contact with. You may want to step outside to do this part, or place a covering on your table/ surface area.
When you are ready, spray the front of the clipboard and press the fabric firmly down, smoothing out all bubbles. Be sure to spray around the metal bracket to secure the fabric around it too. It won’t matter if you get some adhesive on the metal part.
Turn the clipboard over and repeat. Spray as needed and smooth all the bubbles out.  The fabric will most likely overlap or you can just cut away what you don’t need.
If you have extra fabric on the bottom of the clipboard you can fold over and adhere it to the back of the clipboard.
If you turn it over it will look something like this:
Be sure to snip the extra fabric at the top, if there is any hanging over.
Step 4:
Now for the second fabric! Grab your coordinating fabric you chose and lay it against the bottom part of the clipboard. You won’t be using a very big piece, but if you have a larger piece you can always snip away what you don’t need.
Now spray the bottom part of the clipboard with the Spray Adhesive and smooth over the second piece of fabric where you would like it. Be sure to smooth out all the bubbles.
Step 5:
Turn it over and repeat.
{you may decide to just cut the bottom part off so it does not overlap unevenly on the backside}
Step 6:
Find a ribbon to conceal the rough border of the second fabric and glue gun the ribbon carefully around the border where the two fabrics meet. A thicker ribbon usually works best here.
Step 7:
The frills! Time to polish off your shabby chic clip board with some ribbons/ tulle/ twine- whatever you choose here is totally up to you! I would recommend up to 4-5 different ribbons/ etc. Cut your selected ribbons about 8″ long. Bundle them together and squeeze them through the openings behind the snap part of the metal bracket.
For best results repeat this 5-6 times, it will create a nice full frilly.
You may have to trim the frills to make them all similar lengths, whatever you decide looks best!
Step 8:
Enjoy your new altered clipboard!
To add text you can use the image/ text transfers found in the store or you can do it yourself using a tutorial like this.
Yay for handmade gifts!! :)

Cherished Memories

Sometimes it feels like yesterday we were saying our vows and sometimes it feels like that day happened ninety-nine years ago.

Either way, God’s been so good to bless me with another year with my husband.

:::

Pete in one word is strong. He really is.

I have seen him fight for what’s right, and grow into someone I love and respect more and more each day.

Someone that I am dearly proud of.

Together we’ve been through more than most couples will face in a lifetime. Recently I glanced at some wedding photos I posted last year on our 3rd year anniversary. I envy the ignorance of that girl in the pictures. The bliss.

Isn’t it beautiful though that I can look back and remember such a perfect day? That’s the beauty in memories, I guess. Things are constantly changing, but memories don’t. They are safe. Always the same, always there. Sometimes I take my cherished memories for granted, but today I won’t.

I remember and reminisce about the day God gave me my loving husband. I am thankful to be sharing today with him. And God-willing the rest of our lives.

I love you Pete.

‘firsts’ + a winner

Bubby has had a ton of ‘firsts’ lately. For some these are probably trivial milestones but I love to try and mark each and every first, though I know I miss a few here and there. 
This past Sunday he wore his first tie & vest :)
If I remember correctly he was less than thrilled and gloated in his ability to roll right off the mat in the middle of changing!
We had a blast with family this past weekend and we found out he’ll chew on just about anything. 

totally Aunt Melinda’s idea! {love you Mel!}
{wearing his first cap! – or Daddy’s rather…}

Okay, so this next ‘first’ is huge in my book. He can now hold himself up in a shopping cart. Weighing in at a whopping 27 pounds+ I am beyond delighted to be able to plop him in a shopping cart rather than fuss with a bulky stroller or one HEAVY carseat. 

When he’s tired he sort of sloaches to the side, but he’s learning :) I’m so proud of my little man.
:::
The winner of the high res JPEG of the Christmas Subway Art Collage {using random.org} is #15 Lauren!

Congrats Lauren, please check your inbox as I will be emailing you your prize :)

Oh, and now you can “Like” the posts by clicking the ‘thumbs up’ below! So fun!

xo

Using Kraft Paper for Gift Wrapping

I am falling in love again. And this time it’s not with chocolate. It’s with brown kraft paper!


This paper is amazing because it is eco-friendly, inexpensive & durable. All super qualities. Look at all the ways you can use kraft paper to wrap up your holiday gifts! :)

Most or at least half of the gifts this year will be wrapped in kraft paper. Once I run out of last year’s snowman printed wrapping paper it will be a thing of the past in our house!

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{yarn pom-poms}

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{dress it up with festive masking tape and ribbon}
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{ribbon and damask print paper}
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{cake decorating ribbon}
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{vintage stamps & twine}
toooo cute!

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So I had to share this one as I am a junkie for text! She used old maps and magazines to cut out the letters!
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{faux leather gift wrapping- a tutorial on the source link!}

Please visit the sources for more info, most of them have instructions or even more to share but this one is the best that I found :)

Happy Wrapping!

new look + a Christmas giveaway :)

I don’t know about you, but for me this time of year feels ridiculously busy. To the point where if I am not careful Christmas and the magic of this beautiful time of year vanishes somewhere around the first week of December. And in the midst of all the busy-ness going on, I forget too quickly what this time of year is really all about.

Jesus Christ.

I was inspired to say the least by CarlyMarie’s post today. I’m taking some of her thoughts to heart and applying them today, starting with listening to some tunes by Josh Groban ;)

:::

So, how do you like the new look? It’s much different than I’ve ever designed my blog in the past or any blog for that matter. And for the first time I feel right at home here. I drew the bird and girl illustrations at the top too :) I have had this vision for the blog header for a loooonnng time, and it finally came to life the other night when I was suddenly inspired to draw again.

Quickly, I will give you a little tour of my new home away from home. At the top {above the header} are the same old links I have had for a while, some longer than others.

To the right there are tons of fun links that take you to most of my projects. Of course you can click the social media icons to follow us on Facebook, Twitter or you can even subscribe to this blog and have the posts come directly to your inbox! The little envelope allows you to send me an email about whatever!

Beneath them are my absolute favorite part of this design, our pictures! :) When you click them they take you to posts about us/ and or Bubby. Jenna’s butterfly pic takes you to her own blog of course :)

So shall we get to the giveaway?

The giveaway to kick off the new blog look is a high resolution file for this Christmas Subway Art piece. The winner will be emailed the file and you can print it any size you wish! I printed mine at home and it fit nicely in an 8″x10″ frame :)

To enter just leave a comment and be sure to include your email address :)

18 months

Today I decided I will stop counting the days/ months/ etc. from the day she died.

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It’s just too sad and quite frankly unproductive. It makes me slide in the direction I don’t want to go and makes me into someone I don’t want to become. I will choose the celebrate the fifth and focus on that instead.

It’s not like grief isn’t already hard enough without marking this day {the 18th}. I don’t think I’ll ever forget, but I just won’t make a to-do about it.

She has been gone exactly 18 months today.

Today was Christmas with Pete’s side of the family and I had a really good time hanging out, eating way too much chocolate and laughing at Bubby make faces when he tasted grapefruit and ham for the first time. I thought about her being there a little. And then to top it all off, while searching for a jacket at the store for Bubby I was bombarded with 6 rows of baby girl clothes. Yea, and there were seriously only two for baby boys. Ugh.

Grief can make me really stupid sometimes, because it shouldn’t matter but today it does.

Ornaments for the NICU

This week we have been working hard on our non-profit‘s first Christmas project: ornaments for NICU babies!

Monday night my dear friend Katie and I broke ground and started the tassle part of the ornaments. We started out with a lovely assortment of Hobby Lobby ribbons and charms :)

We ended up with several different types of ornaments, which turned out to be so much better than just one :)

All week I was incredibly blessed with the help of many friends and even some of the students from the school I teach at :)
They all helped me finish hot gluing the ornaments and package them up. 
Today we made the trip down to the hospital. We rode the elevator to the level III NICU, and asked for the charge nurse. When she came out, I introduced myself and who we were with {With Love} and told her we were here to drop off Christmas ornaments for the NICU babies. I wish I could have captured the look on her face. She was so surprised and pleased. I handed her the bags of ornaments and was thrilled to hear that she would be passing them out right then. :D
It was worth every second, only next year I may look for a simpler ornament! These turned out lovely, but they were a LOT of work!

I want to send out a special thank you to my friends Katie and Hannah, and Andrea, Zange, Christina, Dansha and all the students who helped make this possible. You guys are awesome.
I made a new site With Love {in the NICU} for just our NICU projects too – hope you’ll take a peek, you’ll also find out what we have in store to celebrate Jenna’s second birthday :)

the graham cracker house

A few weeks ago my sweet friend Angela and I embarked on a gingerbread house adventure. Determined not to use a do-it-yourself kit, we settled for graham crackers. We decided baking our own gingerbread was a little too ambitious.

We made a trip to Wal-mart and the Dollar Tree and stocked up on a ridiculous amount of sweets. :D

See?

Yummmm…

After pizza, buffalo wings and Bubby time, we began our house. We seriously lost track of time and couldn’t believe we had spent three hours or so on this house!!

{Building the walls of the gingerbread house}
{front & back}
The only thing is I got the bright idea to use marshmallow cream. Yea, that was a disaster. At first it seemed brilliant but turned out to be waaaayyy too heavy. I don’t have the pictures to show you, but it will make your house collapse ;) Oh, and for us it happened more than once! Good times :)

{Our gingerbread house coming together}
Once we mastered the art of construction with graham crackers and ICING, the decorating was ready to begin. I must say that the marshmallow cream helped fortify the walls to the tin pan at the bottom though, so once it ‘melted’ and fell down the walls it did serve a purpose. That’s what I call a happy accident.
The first time we thought of doing a gingerbread house, we googled ‘gingerbread house’ and found some inspiring examples, and some not so inspiring ones ;) We also got some clever ideas of what to use for our house and where.
{The roof! Isn’t it pretty!?}

It was all worth it!
It’s a simple one, but for both of us it was our first, we were quite pleased :)

new designs

God’s been good. I love what I do and I hope I can always be designing something- be it blogs, collages, cards, labels, stickers… whatever!

I have seriously so much to blog about. I have been on overload with different projects like making a gingerbread house, making handmade Christmas gifts, making NICU “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments, and much much more. Hopefully I will find time to share more about these soon.

:::

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with Jan from My Angels in Heaven.

I also helped Karen redesign her blog. Her design in vintage-inspired - very chic. The scrapbook kit she chose made designing a vintage-look easy and fun!

Last but not least, I had the pleasure of working with Mattie for the second time. Her pictures were stunning, beautifully heartbreaking. She also requested to have me link pictures of each of her children to certain posts. The linked sidebar photos are on the left hand side. I also love the new name of her blog. You can check it out by clicking :)

The wait list for blog designs is closed until January 4 so that I can work through my current wait list and enjoy the holidays with friends and family. I look forward to opening the design shop again soon, and sharing some new things I will be adding with you. :)

xx