Wednesday, July 28, 2010

some words I found encouraging today...

"He does not need to transplant us into a different field, but right where we are, with just the circumstances that surround us, He makes His sun to shine and His dew to fall upon us, and transforms the very things that were before our greatest hindrances, into the chiefest and most blessed means of our growth.  No difficulties in your case can baffle Him.  No dwarfing of your growth in years that are past, no apparent dryness of your inward springs of life, no crookedness or deformity in any of your past development, can in the least mar the perfect work that He will accomplish, if you will only put yourselves absolutely into His hands, and let Him have His own way with you." 
--H.W. Smith
from Daily Strength for Daily Needs (2006)

Kelby has been a busy, busy little dude lately--the kind of busy that threatens daily to drive me crazy.  I found this excerpt so encouraging yesterday and even more so today.  It has been so true in my life that God transforms what seem to me my greatest hindrances into means of most blessed growth.  If I can just remember this as my third child enters the terrific twos, maybe instead of whining I'll remember to praise God for the sanctification he is adding to my life just by giving me a two-year-old!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

makin' stuff

I've been in a making mood.  I made a few things today, but can't decide if I should post them all at once or spread them out over a few days.  We'll see how far Kelby lets me get ;)

Do you know how many fun games you can play with bean bags?? No? You should google it, because there are tons.  I've made a few sets of bean bags for other people when asked, but it's about time I made some for our own family to have around. I grabbed some scraps and made a dozen--6 girl ones and 6 boy ones.

Kelby's already had some fun with these today.  I like that he has something he can throw without hurting anyone :)

I have seen lots of these mason jar vases/candle holders around.  We went to a beautiful wedding in Estes park last week and there were some of these on the chairs.  It reminded me that I've been wanting to do that, so when I saw some more baby roses on our bush out back, I grabbed a jar and some wire and turned them into this:

They're hanging on our front porch now, welcoming us home.

Then, since the kids were a little extra whiney this morning and a good art project is always a good remedy for that, we sat down together to make some scribble art.  This project is pretty self-explanatory. You scribble all over a piece of paper, then color in the spaces all kinds of colors. Natalie got really into it. So did Kelby, he's good at scribbling ;) Layla put a smiley face in each space.  It was cute.

AND, since my mom took my girls for the afternoon and Kelby took a long nap, I even sewed some curtains for my sliding glass door! Yep, it was a productive day, but before you go thinking all my days are like this, just know this is more "making things" than I've accomplished in the last month, so I consider today a gift.  (I'll show pics of the curtains when they're hanging up and when the family room is all decorated :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

a bag for bags and ministry resources

Yesterday we stayed home from church.  Casey, Natalie and I all had a short-lived cold bug and I had a migraine on Saturday night, so even though the girls had to miss performing a song from VBS in front of the congregation and even though I had a fun kids' church lesson planned, we decided to stay home.  Casey took Kelby with him on a few errands.  The girls played outside all. day. long.  My parents brought us lunch. Kelby took a three hour nap.  I cleaned my house, I wrote a paper (a day before the due date!) and I made a sewing project from start to finish!!! I went to Barnes & Noble later on, got an iced green tea and looked at books and on the way there, I was thanking the Lord for such a wonderful and relaxing day, such as we have not managed to have since we moved.  "He makes us lie down in green pastures, " is something my Mom has always said.  Anyway, here's the project I finished yesterday.  Previously our plastic bags were kept in a nicer plastic bag.  Now they're kept in this:
Cute, right?  My mom and I have always made these out of tea towels, but this is a step up, I think.  This pattern can be found in the latest (Spring 2010) edition of Stitch magazine. The cute owl fabric is from Fancy Tiger downtown.  If you live near Denver and you sew, or knit, or enjoy looking at inspiring things even a tiny bit, you have to hit this place up.  And, if you're wondering about that awesome apron behind the bag holder, my Mom made that for me this last week. Isn't that nice?? I wear it every day :) Thanks, Mom!

Last night, when our pastor came by to get something from Casey, he said there was a collective groan when it was announced there would be no kids' church.  It's nice to be missed :)  Since I'm on the subject, I have found some good resources that might be helpful for some of you out there.  We don't subscribe to any curriculum so planning lessons requires some creativity, but the following free online resources have been beyond valuable:

  1. I get many of my complete lesson plans from this site, then fill in with coloring pages or game ideas from elsewhere.
  2.  Keys for kids.  You may have heard of them.  I use this site for stories to supplement the lessons.  
  3. This site is by the North American Mission Board and since we're starting a series on missions, is very useful for me.  I has missionaries' stories and full lesson plans for children.  
  4. This site actually has lots and lots of great stuff, but my favorite so far is the printable bingo games.  You can choose a theme or create your own and then print the whole game. Every time you hit "refresh" a new bingo card comes up.  I print half as many as I need, then put the kids in teams.  
I'll continue posting resources as I find them or remember them :) Keep in mind, these sites have great resources for your own kids too, so even if you're not in children's' ministry, go check them out!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Spider Web Sew & Tell

Sooooo, my friend Jenn and I wanted to make a quilt together. We thought these spider web blocks were pretty cool.  I made a few and she made a few (she was cranking them out much faster than me).  I decided they were too time consuming and we decided to pick something else ;)  But, I'm a finisher and I had these four blocks and didn't want them to sit in a drawer for 10 years, so I sewed them together and hand quilted it.  Here's the end result!
I'm thrilled with it, it's sitting on our table as we speak and it's so much fun to look at.  Plus, it reminds me of Jenn, so these blocks are fulfilling their destiny after all :)

It's been awhile since I've participated in Sew & Tell Fridays, maybe because I've been a little preoccupied with house stuff, but it's fun to peruse everyone else's finishes! Puts me in a sewing mood. If you're here from Sew & Tell, thanks for coming :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vote for Kelby's Birthday Cake

We're going to build a sandbox in our backyard as Kelby's birthday present. (He's turning 2 in a few weeks.)  The obvious birthday theme to go along with the sandbox is tractors, so that's what the plan is.  BUT, my Dad has worked on Caterpillars almost my whole life, so John Deere anything is simply not an option :) These are the three cake pics I found online to choose from.  Please cast your vote in the comments (Blogger is having a problem with the poll gadget not showing votes, boo) and I'll let my super-talented friend Melissa know which one wins.  Thanks!! :)

Here's option A:
Obviously, the 3 would be a 2.  (Source)

Here's option B:
These tractors would be yellow and orange rather than green for reasons already stated ;) (Source)

And here's option C:

Thanks for voting!  This is fun, hehe.  Before I go, I have two things to say.  First, THANK YOU for all your kind comments about my kitchen! And, my call to lurkers worked because that's the most comments I've received on a post to date, I think.  Keep 'em coming, it makes blogging that much more fun and I always follow the links and look at your blogs too!

Second, I must send you to check out my friend Melissa's Special Kakes page.  She really does amazing work.  Here's proof:
Alright, that's enough, although I wanted to post 10 more :)  But, CUTE, right???? If you live in the Denver area, now you know who to call. So there ya go :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What a little paint can do

I am so excited to show this kitchen transformation to you.  I know it probably isn't everybody's taste, but when you can't afford a whole kitchen remodel, I hope this inspires you to see the potential in what you already have.  The ONLY thing we bought for this make-over is paint.  So, without further ado, here's what the kitchen looked like before:

Pretty shocking, right?  Well, here's what it looks like now:

Obviously, we still have a few things to do in this room--light switch plates, for instance.  "Add it to the list," is a phrase we've come to use at least hourly around here lately :)  And the other side of the room isn't even done yet, although that wall paper is gone from every wall and the walls behind the wood paneling have been repaired and textured, so the hard part really is done.  The rest just takes time, but somehow it's less bothersome when it's yours and you're putting your own stamp on it!

Please comment and tell me what you think! I need to know how many people really read my blog so I can weigh the benefits of posting a poll here on which cake I should have Melissa make for Kelby's birthday party coming up! I know there are a lot of lurkers out there whom I would love to get to know ;)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tug of War, NPR, and Freshly Ground

We went to the party of the year down in Colorado City on Saturday.  Casey's Uncle Scott and his girlfriend Tara put on a HUGE bash that they've been planning since...well, last year probably.  I didn't take that many pictures, unfortunately, but I did get these of some tug-o'-war action:

There were over 200 people there to enjoy the live band, sand volleyball, horseshoes, a fire pit, some fireworks, and lots more.  It was pretty fun, to say the least :)

I took this one of Layla on the way down there. I love this picture:

And this one of Kelby eating dirt at Gramma's house...again:

On another note completely, I've been listening to a little NPR recently and on the way to Colorado City the other day, they featured a South African band called Freshly Ground.  They recently recorded a song with Shakira, but their own latest album is called Radio Africa and Casey and I both really like it.  For some reason, this album is not available on iTunes, but you can check out the songs and buy their music here.  We love finding new, good music :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Before and After...the first of many!

Well, the first little area of our new house is ready for show and tell! It's just the entryway, but hey, it was quite a bit of work :)
Here's what it looked like before:
Here's a little closer...

And this is what is looks like now!

...and a little farther away:

What do you think??? I think it looks really pretty, I love the colors we chose and really couldn't be happier.  The linoleum is going to stay for now, but someday we'll replace that with tile.  Surprisingly, the new decor kinda just makes it blend in, which is good :)

I'm still busy on the kitchen, it should be ready to show pretty soon, and here's a little sneak peek of the living room:
That beautiful photo up there was taken by my friend Becky.  She had it printed big and framed it, but during a move, she was getting rid of it so I snatched it up.  Whenever I look at it, it makes me smile, because it was taken by such a friend.  I think art should always mean something to us, don't you? Still working on that Charley Harper coffee table book, haha ;)

Saturday, July 3, 2010


We sat down for a little art project together the other day.  We do this pretty often, but the results are not always very blog-worthy :)  However, I recently discovered a wonderful blog called Deep Space Sparkle Art Lessons for Kids and there are sooooo many fun projects on there for all ages.  We got to work on the turtle drawing and here's what we came up with:
Here's Natalie's...
And Layla's...
Here's mine...
And here's what Kelby was doing because I wouldn't let him whack at the chandelier with the fly swatter :)

Speaking of art, I came across a book in the art section of Barnes and Noble this week called Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life.  I started flipping through it and really like his artwork.  I think this would make a great coffee table book for our new house, don't you?  Can you help me convince Casey that this is a good idea????

Thursday, July 1, 2010

minor transformations

I have been working on some little projects in the midst of some big and bigger projects on the new house. I'm not quite ready to share the big things yet because they're not done and if I showed you the state of my walls post-wallpaper-and-paneling and the state of my kitchen without the cabinets and drawers that are outside being painted, you would probably gasp.  It's a mess, but it's our mess and so it's a beautiful mess :)

However, I have been busy in my sewing room, making lots of pretty things. I had an old farm chair that my Dad scored at an auction when I was a kid and we recently found a similar-style chair at a yard sale for $10 with no cushions, so I got some fabric to make the two chairs match.  Here's the garage-sale chair before:

and here it is after...

And see that ottoman up there with that chair??? Here's the before of that...
Not bad, huh?
Oh, and here's the chair being put to good use...

I also have some really cool shutters on my kitchen window.  They have fabric inserts, but the fabric in there was just not my style (with a valance to match) and so I got busy making some new inserts for them. Here's the before:

And here they are now...