Friday, May 30, 2014

Checking In

Thank you all for your kind responses to my last post "Honestly" via Facebook, Blogspot and even text messages. I hope that you never get the wrong picture of my real life based on what I show on social media. I want to be as real on here as I am in real life. I have some things that I've been itching to show you, but have been waiting for an "unreal" moment of tidy shelves etc. If I wait for that to happen, I might not ever show you and so...

  • David ingeniously created two work stations for us in our living area when we needed to re-claim our third room from an office/craft room back to a bedroom for Hannah. We have little space to work with and my main concern was how to keep our littles (mostly Micah right now), from wreaking havoc with the computer or my craft supplies. We loved the concept of all in one office cabinets, but we were not loving the price tag that came with them and so, with our limited budget, David came up with an amazing solution. I give you our version of the all-in-one office and the all-in-one craft station!

  • The office is a generic pantry type cabinet with a keyboard tray installed and the shelving arranged in such a way as to accommodate the space needs of our computer. The cords are run through the back of the cupboard or behind the shelves. It works quite slick. I found all these cloth bins at the local dollar store and they work quite nicely for all the supplies we need handy.

  • David ingeniously made them locking cabinets! My favourite feature! Have you seen these magnetic child locks? Well, by adding some washers to one door in order to interlock the doors and the child lock on the other, these are completely secure from the prying hands of my toddlers.

  • My sewing station is mostly to hold and not to work out of, but it's organized in such a way that I know exactly where everything is and I can grab what I need and take it to the kitchen table to work.

  • Here's how it looks in my living room. I wanted to clean up my bookshelves and the tops of the cupboards before I blogged about this, but in reality the clutter is pretty much constant these days and so here's my real life.

  • I have a few small "stolen" moment sewing projects to share. I whipped up a camera strap and lens cover case for our camera. This was a project that I've been wanting to do since we got our camera (2 Christmases ago).

  • I sewed an open wide zipper pouch for my make-up and it's been very handy. Tutorial here.

  • I also whipped up this zipper pouch. I was mostly experimenting with the fancy vinyl. It's fun.

  • I bought the vinyl for a bag pattern that I have to make. When time permits. David bought me fabric for Mother's day and I'm itching to cut into it. I didn't make my traditional new baby new bag and I think it's time for a new one. 
  • I organized a little lunch station in my cupboard. I know that school is almost out for this year, but I'm sure I'll make some picnic lunches before fall when I have more than one box lunch to do a week.
This box has sprinkles, edible eyes, cookie cutters, sandwich cutter, silicone baking cups (I use those as food dividers), Pez dispensers (we're aware that candy is not encouraged, but our summer picnics will include Pez) and toothpicks with washi tape to make flag skewers. Most of these items have been collected over a long time from the dollar store and grocery stores.

The accessories box in the cupboard with the lunch boxes and lunch bag.  Bento inspired lunches do not work if you don't keep them upright, so I need to fix the lunch bag with a handle on top instead of the side. That will do it for now, but I will sew Abby a lunch bag for the fall that allows her to carry her lunch upright.
  • Random story: We've been teaching Abigail about using words instead of physical force (i.e. ask your brother for the toy back, rather than grabbing it). Well, Abby misunderstood or misheard what I said, so now she says things like, "I'm sorry for using musical force, Mommy."
  • Hairstyling has been fun these last few weeks. I do Abby's hair and sometimes she plays with mine. Well, we've put together a little hair dressing kit and in it is a small pair of scissors for cutting out her tiny hair elastics. You can imagine where this is going. Well, I'm sending an email at the computer, holding Hannah in one arm and Abby is doing my hair. Suddenly I hear that sickening sound of hair being cut right behind me. Thankfully is was only a tiny piece of my hair, but boy did she get an earful! It was not my best mommy moment for sure. What is it with children and scissors and hair?! Really, I should've know better.

Friday, May 16, 2014


I have a friend who does crafts with her children everyday, another who plays with her children (I mean drinks fake tea and sells pretend goods) all the time and another who has her children at the park every possible minute the weather allows. Can I be honest? I admire these women and I feel like such a lousy mom in comparison to them. Comparison. A dangerous thing we do. I am created differently than anyone else so, I'm not sure why I expect to be like anyone else. I struggle to accept me for who I am. I don't like kid's crafts or pretend or playgrounds. I do those things to the extent I can before I go crazy, but it's a process and I am working on it. I saw an art project on Pinterest that I knew I needed to try. I "know" who I am in my head, but my heart has a hard time always believing the truth about who I am... in Christ Jesus. That's the identity I want to focus on. Not the identity I have as a mom or wife or daughter or sister or friend or the identity I think I should live up to. I can stand tall because of who I really am. So, here is who I am:

This process what a bit tedious and the results are not as visually exciting as I had hoped. I am not an artist in the drawing sense, but it was a fun medium to try and it's a great visual reminder. The instructions I found said to use an ink pad to imprint your thumb on the middle of a blank paper. You then scan the picture and enlarge it until it's the full size of the page. Then using a light table or a window, trace the lines for your text. Easy peasy, right? Well, getting a clear imprint that I could enlarge to that size was tricky. I ended up photographing the print for a clearer image and then I monkeyed around with it in my photo program to get a darker image to trace. It wasn't perfect, but it got the job done. I traced roughly with pencil and wrote in the words. I basically copied a couple of printables I found on Pinterest. It took a good portion of the afternoon, but I soaked in each sentence as I wrote it down. It's a start, a way to get the head to the heart.

There are other things that have been on my heart lately, too. I am a creative being. That's one of the reason I blog. I love doing creative thing and I often find there isn't enough time to express that creativity in the daily grind of life. By the time I find time to sit down and create, it isn't a whole lot of time and it is always in sacrifice of other things. (I don't "do it all". I often neglect dishes or other housework in order to craft. I have also sacrificed time I could be spending with my David after the littles are in bed, or *gasp* ignore, to some extent, my littles for a half an interrupted hour at a time.) Those times sometimes feel "stolen" and rushed and not nearly as enjoyable as I'd like them to be. How to find balance is a challenge. I don't want my children to be tasks that I need to get through until I can do other things. Honestly, I've felt that. I'm trying not to focus on the guilt that comes with those feelings, but to recognize them and turn them over to God for Him to help me sort them out.

Do you want to know something cool?! God is teaching me something new for this season I am in. This season of little personal time and a lot of tasks that need my daily attention. His soft direction is guiding me to find the ways I can use the creativity, that He's put inside of me, in the ordinary and everyday tasks. For example, the daily task of doing Abby's hair. I discovered that I like to try new hairstyles in her hair. Abby likes to watch Youtube videos with me as we research new ways to do her hair. I don't like to do kids crafts, but I like to do Abby's hair. Her gratitude after each new hairstyle makes me want to cry. We've found something to do together that we both enjoy and can spend special time just the two of us, everyday. Abby has even begun to play around doing my hair and we can extend that time even longer. Dishes can still wait!

I am inspired by Princes Hairstyles, but often just play around with the basics to create new styles.

This was a revelation to me! I can turn the mundane into creative time. Do you want to know what I'm starting to be excited about now? Making my littles' their school lunches. Me!? I hated making lunches growing up to the point that I quit making lunches and just ate apples that my classmates didn't want. I've stumbled upon Bento box inspired lunches. This certainly isn't new, but I'm loving the possibilities. Cheese animals... just because! I'm sorry moms, if your child is in Abby's class this fall and wants lunches like hers and you're thinking "Aint nobody got time for that!" I'm making time for that and for other ridiculous things that I never thought I'd do. It's only that I want to enjoy my children and not just endure the preschool years until I can do a "real" job. The truth is, this is my real job and I want to do a good job of it. If I am created to create, then I can create to benefit my family and to the glory of God. By the way, I did an amateurish version of a bento box lunch for Abby this week and she was thrilled. It made me feel great blessing her with something so simple.

So, Pinterest might have new function for my creative researching these days. Maybe less sewing tutorials and more lunch ideas or hair ideas or whatever other ways I can make the mundane extraordinary!

P.S. In case you're wondering, I am not giving up on finding time to do my favourite creative things, like sewing, I am just finding ways to be creative in more ways and more often.

P.P.S If you follow me on Instagram, that's where you can see the hair-do's and box lunches (in the fall).