July 30, 2014

Crafting with Paige, Drilling a Well, and a Giveaway!

Paige has such a sweet, tender side to her at times.
We recently spent an afternoon together painting and redecorating old metal buttons. She had the time of her like glueing on pompoms and plastic hearts and all manner of tackiness. Each creation was more blingin' and sparkly-fabulous than the last and she was so proud of them! :O) At the end she said she wanted to make more every day and open a shop to sell them to help pay for wells in poor countries.
*heart melted*
And speaking of which, I've wanted for a while now to share something we've been working on here with a few friends. Healing Hands International is an organization that works diligently to show God's love to His people by providing clean water in countries that desperately need it. They have drilled hundreds of community wells in countries like Ethiopia, Haiti, Zambia, India, Honduras and more. They also provide water filtration systems in places where well drilling is not possible, teach agricultural workshops to empower communities to provide for their nutritional needs, have launched a ministry for third world education and many other good works. Check out there website to see everything they're doing!

It takes about $4,800 to drill a community well. And even to this first world, ridiculously blessed girl, that's a lot of money! But my friend Roxanne (along with a few others) started fundraising to build a well with faith filled hearts and I love them for that. And we're getting close! We recently had a yard sale at our house that raised over $1,000 and that was super exciting! We only have about $1,400 left to go!!

I wanted to see if any of you out there might have the heart to help donate to the cause to get the well built! They don't start drilling until the full amount is raised so we are dying to see it fulfilled. The suggested donation on the fundraising page is $10, but you can donate any amount you'd like. You'll just need to sign in, enter your name and address, donation amount, then payment info on their secure site. (They accept VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and Diner's Club.)

If you're worried about donating to charities and where the money actually goes (and hey, I am, too!) you will be impressed by their financials page, where you can see the perfectly transparent breakdown of their expenses, which is almost 90% program expenses. They also have been rewarded 4 (out of 4) stars by Charity Navigator, America's premier independent charity evaluator. You can also see the proof of wells built on Google maps. So, long story short, they're legit. ;o)

If any of you want to help out, I would be so very, very grateful! And if you do donate (no matter the amount) leave a comment here and tell me! After a week I'm going to pick two of you to receive a free signed copy of my book. In fact, I think I'll throw in a few goodies from my craft stash as well. You see, I'm bribing you now. :O) You want my car? My firstborn child?? No, you can't have her. You can have the car though, it's a piece of junk, haha.

Thank you in advance if anyone wants to help! I'm guessing there won't be a ton of entries, so that means your chances will be pretty great for winning! Yay for that!

Have a glorious day! And please do take a moment to be grateful for your life. Your water, your food,  your loved ones...your internet. ;o) We are so, so blessed.
:O) Love you!

*Don't forget to leave a comment once you've donated! Chances to enter your name for the book giveaway will end Wednesday, August 6th. Thanks!*

July 21, 2014

Baby Shower Brunch

We had a sweet little brunch at my house last Saturday for a friend at church who recently had a sweet baby boy. Brunches are my favorite! I love breakfast foods because they are basically just dessert, and mini muffins and cupcakes are the cutest things ever.
Besides the food ;o) my favorite part of the shower was the little ABC book we put together for him. Each guest got to decorate a page with a picture that started with the letter on their page and it was so funny and cute to see what people drew! There were some surprisingly good artists and some great senses of humor. (The "P" page was drawn by baby's grandma. I love her!!) And I loved the Koala shaped straw decorations. I designed them and cut them all out by hand with safety scissors at 2am. It was one of the most relaxed and enjoyable showers I've ever hosted, actually, I had a great time. Which is funny because I started preparing and making things at 11pm the night before. I love living on the edge with deadlines!!

Then I left my own party early to sneak off to my very first book signing, where I learned that I am definitely not famous. Haha. (Just kidding, I'm bigger than Miley, I know that.) But seriously, I did meet one wonderful person (literally one) and it was so worth it!! (Hi, Kara! Thanks for coming! You're so lovely.)  And it was fun to sit and talk to the shop owner and his adorable little blonde, curly-haired, 5 year old boy who gave me hug after hug after hug for two hours. I really wanted to take him home with me. My sweet friend also came with me, which made me feel less pathetic, and I sold two books!! ...To...the shop owner. :O)

But I know you guys will all be there when I come to Portland and Seattle! And I can't wait!! Not sure what those dates will be yet, but I'll definitely let you know.

I hope you're having a great Monday!!
I love you very much.

July 20, 2014

DIY Tissue Flowers!

Here is the tutorial, as promised! OK, not exactly AS promised, because today isn't last Friday, but whatev. I'm just so fabulously busy, you know... ;o)

I was hosting a friend's baby shower earlier this year and I wanted lots of flowers and butterflies so one afternoon at my friends' house I just laid out some tissue paper and started folding and cutting like I knew what I was doing, and it worked!! Yes! It was so satisfying because my friend was totally impressed by my improv-crafting skills and my ego went up like three levels. Which was really good, I really need moments like that once in a while as my daily life is usually just a procession of assorted humiliations. I'm not even kidding, you guys. "Oh, hey stranger, you're reaching for a hug? I love hugs!! ...oh...you were just gesturing with your arm...um. Sorry I hugged you." 
It's so bad. 
Wait-what were we talking about? Oh yeah, flowers. 
So, you can definitely make these, they are so quick and easy. Paige made like infinity of them and they looked awesome! So you can do this. And if you do, can you tag me somewhere? 'Cause I really want to see.  :O) Here we go!
  • Select tissue paper for your flowers. You will need 4-8 sheets, depending on the desired fullness. I used 8 for these, but you can see the 4-sheet version in the very last photo.
  • Layer your tissue paper on top of each other in the order that you want your flower to be. The top layer will be the flower's center. (Unless you turn them upside down in step two like I did...derp.)  Cut in half equally.

  •  Fold each stack in half lengthwise.

  •  Then fold in half widthwise.

  • Trim around the open (non-folded) edges to make it petal shaped.

  •  Open up and begin off setting each layer of tissue slightly, starting at the bottom. My rule of thumb is to shift each petal to the right until it is in the middle of the other two underneath it.

  •  Keep shifting until you get to the top layer.

  •  Place your left hand in the middle of the flower and hold it there...

  •  ...use your right hand to gather the tissue around your left fingers from the bottom. Give it a little twist to hold it in place.

  •  Poke a 12'' (or whatever) dowelling stick through the top.

  •  Cover the top of the dowel with hot glue before sliding down to the center of the flower.

  •  Hot glue sequins or ribbon to the top of the flower "stem".

  •  And finish with a fun pom pom glued inside the center!

 And enjoy!

To make super-giant versions of these like I hung from the ceiling at the friend's baby shower, leave the tissue papers intact instead of cutting them in half in step one.

I hope you have the best day ever! :O)
I love you,

July 17, 2014

Come Meet Me This Weekend!

You guys, I have my first book signing this Saturday!
This is so weirdcrazyscaryembarrassingawkwardcool!! I'm excited! I've made paper flowers for my table, so I guess I'm totally prepared... (How do I even do this??) I also made little bookmarks to pass out and covered my pink and gold sharpies with glitter, so I figure I just need to swing by Dutch Bros for a pom' passion green tea and I'll be set. ;)

Are any of you local?? I would be so excited to meet you!! Even if you don't care about the book, I'd love it if you stopped by to say "hi!" and give me hugs! (Hugs are optional, though, in case you, ya know, have a bubble.)  :O)  Here's the address:

17 Basin St NW
Ephrata, WA

Saturday, July 19th at 2pm.

See you there!!

So much love,

P.S. The tutorial for these flowers should be up tomorrow. *fingers crossed* They're so easy and fun!

July 9, 2014

"Little Fixes" Winner! And My Inner "Moody Artist"...

Congratulations to commenter #3: Kara Meloy!! yay! I'll be in touch to get your address. 
Thanks everyone for entering!! We'll be having lots more giveaways in the future, so don't worry if you didn't win!

And now I have to confess something to you guys. I have just been...a stink pants. That's just all there is to it. For the past few months, I have hated even the thought of my book. I didn't want to think about it, I didn't want to see it, I didn't want people talking about it.
I don't really know why.
I think it might have been a "moody artist" thing? You know, that tendency to create something and then want to destroy it or at the very least never lay eyes on it again. The frustration of feeling like my work is imperfect and there's nothing I can do about it. Or maybe it was just plain old fear of rejection. But all I could see were perceived flaws.

Thankfully! I (with a little help from my husband) have talked myself out of that craziness. I realized how ungrateful I was being and how unhealthy my perfectionistic mindset was! So I slapped myself in the face (not really, that hurts) and then sat down, flipped through the book, and made a list of all the things I love about it! :O) Here's my list:

  • It's a memory book for Paige and her friends. I laughed out loud at one comment on a previous post about how all the kids were "white". I guess maybe some people might think that I went through some sort of kid interview process with certain ethnicities or "looks" in mind. In reality? I just used all the kids from church. Yep! You're looking at Paige's group of homies, right here. These are the kids I see every week, several times a week. And I LOVE them. Their parents are my brothers and sisters, they are my nieces and nephews. I love seeing their goofy, bright, energetic faces on every page. :)

  • And I love the kid quotes that are included on all the lifestyle shots of the kids. Kids say the sweetest and funniest things! I could listen to them all day.

  • This page. I just really love this random page. :O) I love the colors!

  •  The patterns in the back. I made all of these from scratch and I'm so proud of myself! I don't have any fancy software, either, I just fiddled around in a cheap little app called "Pixelmator" until I figured it out. Yay, me!

  •  And finally? It's useful! I really kind of like that about my book. Not that I have any problem at all with "just for fun" sewing books (all sewing books are good sewing books!!) but it makes me happy to think that it might help someone out who doesn't have a ton of money to throw away on new clothes for their children all of the time. Or help someone exercise their creativity and rethink things a little! Yay!

I love that it's a testimony to God's generous, prayer-answering nature. I love that I believed I could do it, so I did. I love that someday I'll be walking through Barnes and Noble and I'll see my little name. Cool.

And I love you guys for cheering me on and making it possible! I love you!! 
"Hug, hug, kiss, kiss, hug, hug, big kiss, little hug, kiss, kiss, little kiss."


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