We actually made food this year!
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (New American Standard Bible)
8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
I had a conversation with a friend recently about weakness, and I thought I'd share some of what we discovered with you here.
I've mentioned a couple times that we are expecting Baby #4 sometime in early May. It cannot get here fast enough.
I've heard friends talk about how they love being pregnant, and I wish wish WISH I could be one of them. But for some of us, pregnancy is a 9-month struggle through spiritual mud and mire. For me, there are many physical issues that accompany my pregnancies--a couple of which keep me in constant pain. There are also the emotional factors of increased depression and anxiety that make me want to just hibernate until the whole thing is over.
In general, I'd call myself an optimist. At least, mostly and optimist. I can see the bright side of almost any situation, or else see where God is leading us through it. Injury, loneliness, financial struggles, even death--I can take them in stride, knowing that God will carry us through. Nothing shakes me to the core the way that pregnancy does. I am an emotional train wreck!
I don't understand why this is, and when I don't understand something about myself, I try to take it to the Lord. Standing in the bathroom, bawling that I physically could not keep the house up to my standards, and I wasn't being the caliber of mother that I thought I should be, I cried out to Him, "Lord what is it about pregnancy that makes me such a mess? Show me. Help Me!"
And as soon as I got this question out of my heart and into His hands, He responded with this:
"Why are you so afraid of showing weakness?"
All He wants is to carry me through this hard time, to show me how strong He is, how much He loves me, and what He is able to do for me. And here I am whining that I even need His help in the first place.
While I am not good at accepting help, I am starting to realize that it's what God wants. This is how the Body of Christ is supposed to work. We can't always be the helper of others, and we aren't meant to do it all on our own. Sometimes He wants us to sit back and watch the Lover of Our Souls flex His muscles, so He can show us what He can do.
In my heart of hearts, I don't want my pride to keep me from experiencing His Majesty. I don't know what it will look like practically, but for the next two months, I'm going to do my best to allow God's power to be perfected in my weakness. Let some things go. Accept help. Wallow in the pool of His grace.
I'll let you know how it goes.
How do you cope with your own weakness? How will you let God show Himself to you more clearly this week?
p.s. God led me through a different life lesson during my last pregnancy. If you are interested, you can read about it here.
This week Donnie and I started work on our coat rack. I wanted to make one from scratch for two reasons. One, I need to save money, since everything I do this year for the house is coming out of a tiny pocket-change-sized budget. And two, our entryway is long and skinny, so I wanted a rack that really fit the space. How hard could it be?
It turns out, not hard at all!
At the hardware store, I bought three pieces of lumber, making sure they were each nice and straight.
1 - 1x6
1 - 1x2
1 - small piece of decorative molding
I bought 6-ft pieces, so the only thing that needed to be cut was the thin piece of molding. Easily done with a handsaw.
With Donnie's help, I glued and nailed the 1x2 to the top edge of the 1x6, forming a shallow ledge. We used a lot of glue, and lots of clamps to keep things in place:
We also glued the trim right under the ledge formed by the 1x2. The trim won't have any stress from hanging objects, so there was no point in trying to nail such a tiny piece.
Donnie's tip: You can't use too much glue. And you can't have too many clamps. (Clearly!)
Make sure you wipe up any excess glue drips before it dries!
I filled the nail holes with wood filler, sanded down the rough spots, and started painting.
The paint is just the basic, un-mixed bright white by Behr.
I wondered if the trim would even show under the ledge when everything was painted, but I think it offers a nice, subtle detail.
I thought about distressing the corners a little with sandpaper, but since this coat rack is about to be used several times a day by six people, I think it will get all the authentic distressing it needs.
Next step: add some cool, chunky hooks, and hang it up!
Here are some other posts you might want to check out while you wait:
Had a little help with dinner tonight.
It's a homemade pizza crust. She's actually just posing here, because in reality she is terrible at rolling out dough. Really no help at all. But cute.
We found the recipe in one of Pioneer Woman's cookbooks. You can find it here.
We made three of them with simple toppings.
I hope you let your kids in the kitchen sometimes. It's so fun to watch them work, even if their technique could use a little work.
I hope you are having an excellent Spring Break. Enjoy having those babies close this week! That's exactly what we are doing.
I want to also tell you about where we'll be next week. Twice a year, a company called "Just Between Friends" has an enormous consignment sale at the Mesquite Rodeo (southeast of Dallas). This is where I buy 80% of my kids' clothing. All of the clothes are inspected to make sure they don't have holes or stains, so you can be sure you are buying something nice.
You are not going to believe how huge this sale is. There is more than just clothing,too. They also have baby gear, toys, shoes, games, bedding, even maternity clothes. And the prices are amazing. Last fall I got a car seat, 3 winter coats, 3 puffy vests, about 8 pairs of shoes, a tricycle and several outfits, all for around $150. My mom, sister and I call this sale "the gettin' place" because it's where we buy everything.
So when is it? Next week! The sale opens to the public March 21st, and the last day is March 24th. You might want to go more than once, especially since Sunday most items are 1/2 off the tagged price!
Why am I sharing this amazing secret with you? Because it's not a secret. There are hundreds of moms who are taking advantage of these bargains, and I don't want my favorites, my readers, to be left out!
Here are some tips for navigating the sale:
:: Get there early (the first day) and allot plenty of time. My sister and I tried to do it in an hour, and we felt very rushed.
:: Have a list and budget planned before you get there. This is a little tricky since you can't predict what you.'ll find, but I always go in with a plan. Last time I planned to get the car seat, the trike, and three winter coats with $150. I ended up getting much more, and I only went over my budget by about $8. It pays to pre-plan.
:: Go with a buddy. When I get there and see all the amazing prices and cute stuff, I tend to get a little giddy, and start collecting everything that will fit my kids. It helps to have someone there to remind you what you came for, and help narrow down your stash.
:: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Like I said before, this might take awhile. Go with a "flea market" state of mind. There are treasures to be found.
:: If you are running out of time, get in line. The line will be very long, so figure that time into your total. I've always been impressed with how fast the volunteers get the line moving, though. There are many lanes open, and they tend to move quickly.
(You might feel a little overwhelmed by the photos above, but let me assure you of this. I have been to several of these sales in different locations, and the Mesquite one is the biggest, cleanest, well-organized one of them all. My favorite by far.)
Hope you can make it! Hope I see you there!
They also have info on consigning and volunteering.
I was asked to post about the JBF sale in return for compensation, but all of the opinions, tips, and ideas are fully mine. You will not be disappointed.
Click here to see the first part of this tutorial. Then come back and read this one!
(Sorry for the vast change in colors between photos. I was working in weird lighting and had the hardest time getting clear pictures!)
The bow we made in the last tutorial had a tied knot in the center. Today I'll show you how to make a flat center for a more streamlined look.
Like this one:
To start, you'll need the basic layered bow with each layer connected by hot glue. Learn how to make one in part one.
Turn the bow over and glue the clip to the back.
Remember to remove the insert.
Using about 3-4 inches of 1/4 inch ribbon, glue one end to the center of the clip.
Wrap the ribbon around the front, and trim to 1 inch past the glued end of the ribbon.
Place a line of hot glue on the end of this ribbon, about 1/2 inch long. Fold it over to make a clean edge.
Pull the folded end tight and secure it on top of the other end with more hot glue. Make sure it's nice and straight, and pull off any glue strings after the glue has cooled.
Remember to replace the insert so the bow will hold hair securely!
And there you have it.
Remember to seal your ends with a candle the way I showed you last time.
Have you made any hair bows yet using these tutorials? If you have, I want to see them! I love seeing your interpretations of my projects.
And for those of you who are having trouble with these layered/sewn/hot glued bows, I am working on part three right now. No sewing, gluing, or layering required. The easiest bows ever invented. So make sure you come back to check it out!
And if you haven't already, sign up here to get my blog posts sent directly to your inbox.
The morning of my birthday, I woke up to see this hanging in the doorway of my bedroom:
Are you kidding me??? My two oldest (8 and 6) are in this hilarious stage of writing everything down, making up skits and stories, posting signs everywhere. I love it so much. There was more fun in the living room. But before I was allowed to see it, they each brought me a present. In bed.
Ethan picked out the ruler. Donnie had walked them through the craft department at Walmart, and when Ethan saw the ruler, he said I needed it, since mine was broken. As a matter of fact, I've been making do with that broken ruler for years, and he had noticed. I think that boy will make an excellent husband someday.
The box in the back is a carpentry tool that I've had my eye on. I want to make a piece of furniture for the entryway, and the directions call for pocket holes, for which you need a pocket hole jig. And that's what he got me. Is a tool a romantic gift? Well, this one is! I can't wait to try it!
Here's what was waiting in the living room:
And even in the bathroom:
We met some family and a friend at a local restaurant for lunch, where I got a couple of these:
It was a low-key birthday with minimum fanfare, and it was one of my favorites of all time. You can't go wrong spending a birthday with people you love.
I know I had promised a second hair bow tutorial today, but my day has been going something like this:
I plan to regroup during nap time so that I can have that tutorial up for you tomorrow. (What I had planned to do during nap time is sit back and enjoy a Cadbury cream egg, which I had hidden stealthily in the drawer of my nightstand. She found it. And ate it. Through the foil wrapper. Notice that I did not find this amusing enough to get a picture of her face, hands, and dress covered in chocolate and sugary/yolky deliciousness. It was my chocolate!)
So, what naughtiness have your kids been up to this week so far?? Share! It will make us all feel better!
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A couple weeks ago I was looking for some space on a shelf, and I noticed that I had three containers of ribbon. Grosgrain, satin, organza, I love them all, but I'd become a bit of a hoarder. The last time I remembered using a substantial amount of ribbon for a project was at least four years ago.
I have moved twice in the last four years, which means that I have packed up these three containers twice without using much from them. And here they were, taking up valuable storage real estate. No more!
Last week we made a holder for all the hairbows in our lives, but I thought maybe you'd be interested in making some of the actual hairbows, too.
Pretty, layered bows can get really expensive. When I was designing and selling children's clothing on eBay, one of the bow makers in my design group would sometimes get 20-30 bucks for a pair of bows! Ribbon is not expensive, and when you know a couple little tricks, bow making is not too difficult. Save your money!
The first step is gathering supplies. You need ribbon. I like Grosgrain Ribbon, because it holds it's shape a little bit and doesn't get too wrinkled over time. Grosgrain is the ribbon that has little horizontal ridges along the length. For each bow, you'll need about 3/4 yards, per ribbon type. (If you are making a pair of layered bows like the ones in this tutorial, you'll need 1 1/2 yards, times three types of ribbon.) Buy extra ribbon if you like to change your mind--you might want to add extra loops or make an extra bow. It's better to have extra than to run out when you're on a roll. (Are you getting some insight into what made me a ribbon hoarder?)
You'll also need sharp fabric scissors, all-purpose sewing thread, a sharp sewing needle, some blank hairclips, and a hot glue gun. Before you start, thread your needle, double it, and tie a sturdy knot at the end.
Before we get started folding, sewing, cutting, and gluing, I want to tell you about this important trick. Always seal the edges of your cut ribbon to prevent fraying. You don't want to go to all this trouble, just to have your ribbon come apart on you over time. You can use a fray-check liquid on the ends, but I've noticed that it leaves a visible residue.
Here's what I do:
Light a candle, and hold the end of the ribbon just close enough to melt the very tip of the ribbon edge. Be careful not to burn it! If you are unsure whether it worked, wait a second for it to cool, and run your fingers across the edge. You should feel a tiny ridge where the fibers have melded together.
I usually wait until the bows are completely finished to do this, but there are several points at which you might want to stop and seal them. Just wait until you know you are done trimming.
Step One :: Folding
(Before you start folding, make sure your threaded, knotted needle is within arm's reach!)
The secret to perky hairbows is in the folding. My bows are not tied or twisted. Each section is folded, accordion-style, and held next to the other sections for sewing. It might take a couple tries to get right your first time, but the method makes nice, big, fluffy bows every time.
For the bottom layer of these bows, I chose a 1-inch-wide piece of grosgrain. I start by trimming the end into a nice 45-degree point. Don't cut the other end of the ribbon until you are sure you like your bow. I have been known to refold 4-5 times before I'm happy with it. For the first fold, I folded one side down, and one side up, about 2 inches from the end of the ribbon. I like to see a little pucker in the top of the ribbon, since that is what holds to finished bow in place. Pinch tight with your fingers, and start the first loop.
To make your first loop, estimate the size of the loop, and fold it under to meet back at the pinch. Each ribbon is different, so try a couple different folding options to see what looks the best. For this one, I made two pleats again, first down, then up. Lay these pleats next to the first set and proceed to the other side.
You'll notice that I'm working on my measured cutting mat. I don't usually measure the loops, but if you are noticing that yours are looking wildly different, measure them against each other and adjust.
Once you have made all the loops that you want, trim the tail to match the other side. If it is looking too wonky at this point, don't be afraid to let it all go and try again. It does take a little practice to get comfortable. Keep holding all those pleats and grab your threaded needle.
Stab the needle through the center of the pleats, making sure to catch every fold. Pull the thread through, over the top of the bow center, and through the front again. I like to sew through and over three stitches, and then through and under three stitches. Kind of like sewing on a button. When you are finished, tie another sturdy knot and clip the thread.
If you are making a set of matching bows, this is the time to make your second bottom layer bow. Compare the two as you go to keep them the same size.
This is my second layer bow. I made it almost exactly the same size as the bottom layer--maybe a tiny bit smaller. This will make for a fun, poufy bow. I folded this one using a single pleat each time. Down one way, and up the other way. Try out different folds to see what you like.
My top layer is only a two-loop bow, also with a single pleat each time.
Once you have all the elements of your bows made and sewn, line them up and grab your glue gun.
Step Two :: Glue Gun
(I can't believe I'm letting you see how messy my glue gun looks.)
Keep the glue right in the center of all those pinched pleats. Then place the next layer on top and press down to secure. Don't burn your fingers!
Glue each layer and let cool. Tip:: don't pull gluey strings until the glue has cooled. They'll snap right off.
Step Three :: Attach the Clip
Anyone know what these clips are called? I have no idea, but I like them the best for my kids' hair. You can also use those alligator-type clips with no problem. Before attaching the clip to the bow, take out the inserted piece and set it aside. You'll put it back at the end.
Hot glue the length of the clip to the bottom of the bow. Wait for it to cool. You're almost done!
Cut a 3-4 inch length of ribbon that matches the top bow layer. This will be the center knot.
Hot glue the center of the ribbon to the back of the clip. Then flip the bow over and tie a double knot on the top of the bow. This looks cute, but it also helps to hold everything together.
Pop the insert back into the clip.
Now repeat all those steps to make your matching pair! If you haven't already, stop and seal the ribbon edges.
Now that you know how to make a hair bow, and you have a good place to store them, you can make one for every occasion.
Just don't become a ribbon hoarder.
Come back tomorrow and I'll show you how to make a slightly different bow center.
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I've been adding lots of fabric to my vintage fabric shop, ROPE in the last few weeks.
I like to have about 300 items in the shop on average, but my customers won't seem to let me get there lately.
(I LOVE my customers!)
This week we had our 1600th item sold.
I think that's worth celebrating, so I'm offering a discount to my blog readers and facebook fans.
Enter the code "1600SALES" at checkout for 16% off your entire purchase. That's everything. In both shops!
So click on the buttons below, and start shopping!
Sale ends next Friday night, March 8th, at 11:59 pm central.
Questions? Contact Me!