Monday, January 30, 2012

My First Bolt

Guess what? I ordered my very first bolt of something. It felt so official and made me so proud to have a reason to buy a BOLT of sewing related whatever! I ordered a bolt of Sulky Tear Easy stabilizer. This is my favorite stabilizer for doing embroidery, putting in buttonholes, or working with plush fabrics, because it literally just tears right away from where you have sewn. Easy peasy....1. 2. 3!

I believe I actually found the cheapest price on Amazon.com for $38 for 25 yards, compared to $55 - $60 at most other locations. I really enjoyed saving a good $20ish on something I would most definitely be using a lot!

Why would you ever need a bolt of fabric?  
1)You may be wondering when you should buy a bolt of something and honestly, it really depends on your needs. For me, I always seemed to run out of stabilizer for embroidering or monogramming and I got really tired of having to run to the store all the time to get it, usually buying it when it wasn't on sale. Having a bolt of it will make my life so much easier AND save me money. 

2)You may need to consider also ordering a bolt of something when you, obviously, need a whole bunch of fabric. I am currently in the process of sewing some curtains for a client and due to the size of her windows, I needed a lot of fabric. Ordering a bolt in her case is worthwhile so that I can not only cut the fabric at the length I want to use, but also to save some money.

And just to let you in on a little secret.... I have REALLY played around with the idea of eventually having an online fabric store one day on DBS. I have been doing my research and am trying to find out if this is a market I want to venture into.

There are some definite advantages and those would be that I would be able to have another source of income, find and sell fabric that I think is cute, and be able to have a more practical and larger avenue for actually helping families who are adopting. Can you imagine how neat it would be to have a portion of EVERY fabric sale be donated to saving orphans!? I get the butterflies just thinking about it. However, there are some drawbacks that I can see, too... 

LIKE...
  • Storing the bolts in my small house
  • Getting stuck with fabric that for some reason didn't end up selling well
  • Taking over my limited time, if I were always having to single handedly cut, package, and mail out fabric order after fabric order. 
I've been praying through this endeavor and really am just waiting to see if it is the right move for me. What do you think? Would you buy cute designer fabric through me to help save orphans? I know... I totally am playing the guilt trip card... but c'mon... you would, wouldn't you!? 

"The Porch": Erin from Suburban Eutopia

How was your weekend!? My husband actually MADE me lie in our hammock in the backyard! It was a beautiful weekend here in SC, but a little chilly today. I bundled up in some fleece blankets and finished a couple books swinging and looking at the bright blue sky! He told me I need to learn how to REST! Isn't he great?! We are back this week with another awesome guest poster that has willingly come to hang out on "The Porch" here at DBS! You can find past and present guests under the "The Porch" tab at the top of the blog header! Be sure to check out these sweet ladies' blogs that have come to share their talent and hang out with me for a day!
I would say, Erin, from My Suburban Utopia, is my first real "blog" friend that I actually started interacting with when I first got into blogging! I found her through my friend, Chelsey. She was pregnant at the time and always trying new healthy recipes! I have seen her sweet little girl grow up the past year and a half and I wish I knew them in real life, so that she and Cai could have play dates or maybe set up an arranged marriage with those baby blue eyes! JK!

It doesn't take long after reading her blog to wish she were your real life best friend, too! In fact, Erin has such a beautiful confidence and LOVES being a stay at home mom! Whenever I start to struggle with my role being at home, I just go read her blog posts and then I am encouraged that I am most definitely doing the right thing for our family!
meet erin
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Hey, y'all! My name is Erin, and Vanessa was SO sweet to ask me to stop by and chat today. Since becoming a mommy 18 months ago, my blog has pretty much gone the way most blogs go...it's all about the baby! Pictures of the baby, feeding the baby, losing the baby weight, planning parties for the baby...you get the idea!

I'm blessed to stay home with Katherine and play around with things like photography and party-planning in my spare (HA!) time. That's one of my favorite things about being a stay-at-home mommy! I get to blog, bake, try new recipes, take pictures, and plan parties without having to choose one as a career and put the others on the back burner. My home and my family are my career. My days are spent making sure my husband and daughter know how much I love them, and while it's not always glamorous? It's never boring!

Since Vanessa is obviously crafty, and I AM NOT, I thought it would be fun to share an easy, no-sew, no-glue project I did for Katherine's 1st birthday party: A Peter Rabbit Picnic. These carrot napkins are a cute way to dress up something every Beatrix Potter party or Easter brunch can't do without: silverware!

Here's what you'll need:

*Orange napkins
*Green plasticware
*Green Pipecleaners (or "chenille stems" as the girl in Michael's called them)
*Green tissue paper
*Scissors

It's okay if your greens are all different shades. In fact, I think it's cuter that way.


The finished product:


"Served" in a basket of Easter grass, these were a huge hit! I even kept one to put in Kate's baby book...though, I'm not sure how that will work ;)
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Is that Peter Rabbit party not completely precious!? Be sure to check that out and Erin's blog at My Suburban Utopia! Thank you, again, Erin for hanging out with me today on "The Porch"!

Read inspiration for "The Porch" guest post series here. Would you like to come hang out? Email me for dates in March.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Peanut Butter Chicken Satay

Um... what you say? Peanut butter....chicken?

Yes!
Our cupboards were looking bare this evening and I had barely anything to throw together for a quick dinner after being at the doctor with Cai and home with a sick child. A little search on Pinterest led me to search for "easy chicken recipes" and out of those that came up, I found Baltic Maid! She makes this dinner when, like me, she doesn't have much on hand and it is so child friendly. Any kid that loves peanut butter will love this!

You can find this delicious recipe here. All you need is some soy sauce, peanut butter (which I actually ended up borrowing from my neighbor), and brown rice or sides.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flouncy Gym Skirt

I rolled out of bed this morning and threw on some leggings and a t-shirt and thought to myself...man, I wish I had a cute little t-shirt skirt to wear over my bum, then I'd be a cute, hot mom. Okay, that was somewhat my thought process. haha!

So, I started to think about how I could make a skirt and I grabbed two of my husbands "goodwill pile" XL t-shirts and went to work, taking pictures and all that, so that I could make a tutorial for you.

And then something happened. I was utterly convinced this skirt was starting to look like crap and stopped taking pictures. You know the drill....borderline craft FAIL, because you are just making this thing up on a whim and think your "pattern in your head" will work. Let's just say....Stuff got seam ripped and I almost quit thinking this darn thing isn't worth it and Ugh...why does sewing have to be a pain in the rear sometimes...

But, then it did work out and I actually got a decent little skirt out of this whole thing.

Meet my Flouncy Gym Skirt.
This skirt has two different sizes of elastic at the waist and at the bottom around your legs and is lined with another t-shirt on the inside. Do you want a tutorial? Let me know.... a girl always needs two of everything! I think next time I will make it longer and sew a little neater, but it is fine for throwing over your bum!

Monday, January 23, 2012

"The Porch": Anne from Hello Newman's!

Welcome back to "The Porch"! My new guest post blog segment to allow us to share our hearts and more! You can read the inspiration for these posts here.
I hope you enjoyed last week's guest poster, Danielle from This Life I live! You can find all posts from "The Porch" under the "The Porch" button under the DBS header for reference!  


 Today's guest poster is the seriously talented Anne from Hello Newman's! You know how some bloggers just "have it" whatever that "it" is? Well, that is my friend Anne! I actually have been in her house and it just makes me want to sit around and gawk at all the pretty things! You can see a tour of Anne's house here. It does not disappoint! Add to that, pretty much everyone I know goes to Anne for design advice! She's super talented!

One time on Anne's blog, she was giving away a few hours of her time to 2 people that could use her serious organizational skills within the Columbia area. In order to win, you had to have the messiest space. Y'all (yes, I'm southern and I use that word all the time), I won! I had the messiest closet you have ever seen.

  Pictures do not lie. Anne came over to not only organize that, but she also revamped my bookshelf
Um, Anne... I may need you to come back....No...I'm going to go clean that closet again right now! Haha! I'm afraid it is starting to look like the Before picture... yikes!

OKay, I really could go on an on and I have about 10 of my favorite projects pinned on Pinterest from Anne's house, so let me just turn it over to her, so she can reveal one of my most favorite rooms in her house! Her Dining Room! 
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Hi, there!  I'm Anne from Hello Newman's. Happy to be hanging out on "The Porch" today with my super talented and sweet friend Vanessa.

I thought I would share a a few projects we have worked on over the past year in our dining room. We started with what I like to call a "blank canvas."  I think that is a nice way of saying it desperately needed help.
For me, the biggest challenge was to create a space that was a reflection of us - but not spend much money.  Here is where we are today...
So where did it all begin? Well, first things first.  We painted the room.  I guess I should say that Christopher painted it.  The ceilings are like a million feet tall (ok, more like 20ft).  But still - SUPER TALL.  The paint color is Dark Ash by Behr.
And here's a funny but true story.  When I was 8 months pregnant (which was like 2 and 1/2 months ago), I woke up one morning and decided to start ripping molding off of our dining room wall.  With a kitchen knife and screwdriver.  Seriously.
I thought we needed more space for pictures and that higher molding would look really nice.  My husband called me that day to check in and see what I was up to.  When I told him how easy the original molding came off with a knife, he begged me to stop and wait for him to get home. I can't imagine why. Ha.

Here is a snapshot of the work in progress (don't mind my daughter running around in her swim diaper).
We found this adorable little piece at a local thrift store  - I just painted it with a mixture of random paint from our garage.
Super cute Dwell Studio tablecloths from Target worked perfectly as curtains...Love that these required ZERO sewing - I literally just hung them on curtain rod clips.
For the table, I spray painted some old chargers silver...added white plates from the Dollar Tree, and used a 4 pack of napkins from Target (cut in half).  Pretty inexpensive place settings.
Rub'N'Buff - Need I say more?  Didn't even have to take the old brass chandelier down.  I literally stood on a ladder and "painted" it silver.
So what's my favorite part about the room now?  Without a doubt - THE FAMILY PICTURES!  I love having lots of space for memorable moments - the day we got engaged, our wedding, pregnancy, and of course - our sweet babies.
And there you have it!  The evolution of our dining room.  Thanks, Vanessa, for having me today!
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Thank you so much, Anne! I can totally picture you as a crazy pregnant lady pulling that molding off with a kitchen knife while you husband asks you to wait!!! Hilarious! And, I actually have some "table-cloth curtains" inspired by Anne in my living room, too, that I have been meaning to share for quite some time! Hopefully I will get around to that soon! I'm so glad you stopped by "The Porch" to share this lovely space! Stay tuned for future guest posts weekly and please check out Anne's amazing blog!

Something you may not know about me!

To be honest, I don't have a clue who reads my blogs. So, sometimes I just start from scratch with information. Those that are close to me, usually say.... um... DUH! But some of you are new here and might like to know some random information about me! I know a few BFFs that only WISH they could be flies on a wall watching me teach dance! OH yeah! Let's do it!!!

Well, here is something fun!
I'm a DANCE teacher!
These are my darling little kiddies that I teach beginner tap to. They are seriously precious and have pretty awesome rhythm, too!

I teach one day a week at my mom's dance studio. I grew up dancing and tap was always my favorite! I also teach musical theatre and lyrical, as well!
This is us at Halloween! I let them dress up in old dance costumes! It was pretty hilarious! And they had so much fun!
Look at how together they are (above)! Good job, girls!
All iphone photos courtesy of A.Campbell! And if you want to watch a hilarious video of me and my kids practicing "chugs" at our Halloween dance class click here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Our Screened In Porch

 True story: I do not like posts where people show me what they wore. I honestly think to myself... really? you think we care what you WORE!? Ok. Maybe that is mean, but it is kind of true. You seriously may not care about my house or what it looks like. Just pass right on by, because I am sharing!

Another true story: Before these photos were taken, our porch looked NASTY! Cai's toddler table and chairs actually had some mold growing on it that I had to scrub clean. And all surfaces were covered in dirt! My husband and I spent 2 hours cleaning it, so I felt like it deserved a blog post! Abe, our dog, brings in tons of leaves and sticks that accumulate faster than I can even figure out how is possible.

Background: Our screened in porch was built by our friends and owner's of the house prior to us, the Brower's. George hand built this porch for his wife, Gail, and she LOVED being on it! I feel blessed to now be able to enjoy it just as much and make and keep our memories here, as well.
So, here is a little tour that you may or may not care about! Also, I will not claim that this is even designed the best, but an interior designer friend, Abby, did help me with the layout of our porch. We have two areas in the floor plan. All of the furniture was passed down to us or given to us.

The Eating Area and the Conversation Area, and I guess now there is a 3rd area... the Play Area where toys accumulate in a disorganized fashion.
This is the Eating Area and the Kid's area to the left. We plan to finish our outdoor patio area this summer with patio pavers and more shrubbery outside of the door. It was raining, so I set all my plants outside to catch some agua. As you can see, the endless dirt on the carpet. I'd love a new carpet out here eventually.
The toddler table was over to the side, but I moved it in so that there was no chance of it getting wet!
On the other side is the "conversation area" which holds the swing, the papasan chair, wicker rocker and loveseat.
The striped cushions are from JC Penny and the papasan cushions are from World Market.
I usually have plants around here, but like I said...they were getting some agua. I hand painted the small side planter table. It has Isaiah 40:18 painted on it.
And so there you go...won't you come have a seat?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Baby Embroidery

{Sorry if you tried to get onto DBS yesterday. It was down for a bit!}
A friend asked me if I could embroider some burp cloths! I haven't had any babies lately to make anything for, so I was excited to have an order to fulfill... infantino style! Just look at those appliques! I mean, REALLY, can it get any cuter? No, I think not! And... this is why I wanted an embroidery machine SO bad one year ago and why I am super thankful for having it! If you have an embroidery sewing machine and haven't ventured into the world of machine appliques, you really should try it. You can read my "How to Machine Applique" tutorial to discover just how fun it is! You can buy the machine appliques, usually just a few dollars per design, and download them to your computer instantly after purchase. I really liked using Applique Market. I felt like they had a great selection and were priced well for the quality designs. 

Please let me know if you would like to have some embroidery done! I can do a little set like this for under $30.

I now have the ability to make appliques on bibs, burp cloths, onsies and can do pretty much any design you want! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Embrace The Camera: Traylor Style


I read about this linky party on the anderson crew blog. I thought it was a fun idea. I probably won't do it all the time, but this week I was out with my sweet boy taking his 16 month photos, practicing my dslr skills, and thought, even though I don't look as awesome as I would love, I'm going to get some shots with my sweet boy that's growing so fast.
I have a teeny tiny pocket sized tri-pod I set up that is just about 6 inches off the ground. I tilted it back to get us and used a self timer with my 50 mm lens. I love that he actually smiled a tad in that one (above)!

Anyways... kind of fun, right? To see more of our fun little time together click here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Struggle

You know those people that you are completely real with and they love you anyways? The ones that you share those deepest struggles and they help you through it... your friends, you would ACTUALLY hang out with on your porch and share it all with? I'm super blessed beyond words to have many like this in real life. One of which, I have shared, even my "blog struggles" with and she sent me this Money Saving Mom article on Comparison. If you ever struggle with comparison (um...ALL of you!), you need to go read this! It has nothing about being a mom...in case you just were like... "Oh that's a mom site from another MOM!"

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"The Porch": Danielle from This Life I Live

Welcome to "The Porch"! My new guest post blog segment to allow us to share our hearts and more! You can read the inspiration for these posts here.
 For this very first "visit" I have asked sweet Danielle from This Life I Live to come. sit. and share from her heart and she has delivered! I was almost in tears as I read what she wrote below and how she not only took the concept of "The Porch", but I felt like I was right there being a good friend listening! Danielle is a wonderful writer and blogger and I do have the pleasure of knowing her in real life, too!

Here she is!

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When Vanessa asked me to do this, I let her know that there was not a crafty bone in my body.  She was gracious to still want me to share something, so I went to the obvious subject tucked down deep in my repertoire, adoption!  While I think that there is so much to say about adoption, I felt God leading me somewhere else!  I thought about sitting on the porch with friends, chatting it up,  and I realized there were some other more pressing things I would want to talk about.  So.....





Lately I feel like I am completely coming undone.  The story of my salvation is a true testament to God's sovereignty. However, I have spent the entirety of my Christian life, trying to catch up to everyone who had been living it so much longer than I had.  I came from a family that was dysfunctional on so many levels, that I was really unequipped for life in general, but even less so for the Christian life.  I didn't know any of the stories kids learn in Sunday School, I didn't know how to pray, and I didn't know how to live a life that was so contrary to every example I had ever known.

So, I went to work. 

I learned about sin, (confessed it quickly of course) and moved on.  I went to every bible study my church had, never missed a service, and spent as much time as possible with my youth pastor and my pastor (and their wives!).  I knew I had a past, and was determined not to let it define me.  There was freedom in Christ, and I was going to find it if it killed me! I was going to be the girl who came out  of all of that craziness, completely unscathed.

And for a while, it worked!

I went to bible college, married an awesome Christian guy (with an awesome Christian family), did everything I could at church to show that I was moving on, in control, and able to live this Christian life, well! I lived for the praise of others, worked hard to not feel the weight or pain of anything, and kept pushing on towards my sanctification. But, eventually, I couldn't do it anymore.

So, I found ways to cope.

And in my ways to cope there were levels of sin (founded completely on pride, self righteousness, and idolatry) that got so intertwined into the fibers of who I was, that they were unnoticeable to me. Fear, anxiety, and thoughts of an obsessive nature just became who I was.  In all of my working, I somehow managed to completely cut myself off from the sustainer of life-abundant, and began to settle for the piddly little drops of dirty water that Satan offered as he was stealing, killing and destroying.

But God chose me, for Himself, as a vessel to clearly display His glory.

So, He is undoing all of who I am right now.  There are some really surface level practical things that He is starting with, but He is also digging way down deep into the core of who I am.  He is showing me sin upon sin and lie believed, upon lie believed. He is using His Spirit, His Word, and His people to spur me on, speak truth into my life and encourage me to pursue HIM.

For the girl who lived, thrived and hungered to maintain the tightest grip of control over her life, I can honestly say that right now, I have none.  I desperately wish I did, and am dealing with my core beliefs about who God is, so that I can fully surrender that to Him.  He is totally undoing me, and I am terrified yet hungry for  living water that I know He alone supplies. And in this process of undoing, I know that there may be great sorrow and pain during this process, and in this life, but the great comforter is my Father, and the great Counselor brings eternal healing, and in my mind, that is worth the pursuit!

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Thank you, Danielle for that sweet openness that I pray God uses in a mighty way! Thank you for being my first "The Porch" friend to stop by! If you would like to hear more from Danielle and learn more about her life story, be sure to visit her at This Life I Live