Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our Easter Garden

I did not come up with this creative idea of making an Easter Garden with your child, but I think it's AMAZING, and the other day Cai and I created one together. I've been trying to figure out how to explain Easter to a 2.5 year old and this truly was the perfect way to do it, keeping them actively engaged and truly teaching as you go (Deuteronomy 11:19)

While making it we talked about Jesus, that he died for our sins, and was placed in a tomb. The people thought they had won. But, then God did a miracle, and Jesus conquered death and rose again! He now sits next to God in Heaven and prays for us.

Really, it can be that simple, and you can go into as much detail as you want, but the point is to point them to Jesus!

I also showed Cai the pictures from the Jesus Storybook Bible, and we will be reading the ones up to the resurrection this weekend as a family.

Cai enjoyed the mechanics of putting it all together as any boy would!

The fun thing about this was that all the supplies can be gathered from your yard or shed!

We used:
  • a large bowl
  • Garden soil
  • a small ceramic pot laid on it's side
  • small stones (from our shed floor)
  • rocks from the yard (larger stone to put across the ceramic pot)
  • moss gently scraped up from the yard
  • sticks hot glued into crosses and wrapped with twine
  • a small purple piece of fabric 
I hope to pass on the inspiration to others this Easter and encourage sweet talks with your children about our risen Saviour who is more powerful over any situation you face in your life!

He is risen!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"The Porch" - The Crafting Fiend

Today, on "The Porch" I have the amazing Jen from The Crafting Fiend! She is such a sweet person. I absolutely love her love for her 2 little girls and her unique and fun sewing style! I hope you will enjoy getting to know her better and check out her fun tutorials

Hi! My name is Jen and I blog over at The Crafting Fiend. I want to say a big thanks so much to Vanessa for inviting me to join in on the front porch series!

(This is me - a couple years ago... I look pretty much the same just a bit more sleep deprived now that I have a second kid, and although adorable my youngest does NOT understand the beauty of a full nights sleep. I thought by 6 months old she would be getting it but no such luck. Not yet anyways.)

I have to admit I wasn't sure what to talk about when first asked but knew I wanted to join in. I love Vanessa's blog and the front porch beginnings story really reminded me of my great grandma (who was an amazing lady that I still miss. She was into crafting, so brave in speaking about her faith, and just awesome!)

So I suppose I should actually say something... I am fairly dorkish/nerdy type. I LOVE books and wish I had more time to read, my husband and I love to play video games together for dates and have in home movies. Turns out we are both fairly homebody ish. I've been married 6.5 years now, and it really doesn't seem that long. I honestly have no idea where time goes. We have two daughters a 2.5 year old and a 6 month old. I also still have my Nintendo and super Nintendo  just thought I'd throw that out there to prove the nerd point, and yes I have Mario's duck hunt, and donkey kongs, kirby, and even street fighter :) 

Some things that have been on my mind lately are how to raise my kids to be the adults I want them to be. You know the good peoples type who are responsible and not entitled. compassionate and caring but able to stand up for themselves at the same time. I struggle a lot with how to teach them balance, I know at their ages I still have a lot of time yet, but I feel so exhausted most days I wonder if I will ever find the energy to be the mom I really want to be and imagined I would be. I keep trying to tell myself it will get easier to be a more "fun mom" when we can leave the house again... We live on the Canadian prairies and it is freezing cold for a loooong time over here, and I really hate winter, and my baby catches a cold as soon as a chill hits her.

As far as crafting goes I LOVE sewing girly things! (I guess God knew what He was doing blessing me with 2 girlies). Little girl dresses and shirts and pants and everything - I LOVE it! My sewing goal for this year is to make myself a couple dresses I am proud to wear out. I have one done already using some adorable narwhale fabric, and I have some mermaid and narwhale fabric ready to go for another! (ps. yes I love all things nautical - but especially mermaids). I am trying to be more confident in my sewing. I mean, I know it's cute and well made, but I often feel like I am shy about it and the sharing of it with non interwebs persons.
(This is a me dress, pattern is the Anouk by Victory Patterns and fabric is "out to sea" by Sarah Jane)

Well, are you tired of reading me ramble on yet? haha. I guess I see front porch conversations being a bit of this and a bit of that, but no worries, I am nearly done. Before I go - favourite hot beverage? for me it is apple cider! (and if I am not nursing a babe a bit of shiraz added to it, mmmm)        

and if you did make it this far - here is your reward, a recent pic of me - in a dress I made! (pattern is the Meghan dress by Sisboom). look at all the snow, and a couple weeks after this we got a 20inch dump over 1.5 days... so ya. yay winter* ...and I so totally need a hairstyle. 

*the "yay winter" is meant to be read in a slightly sarcastic voice. 


Oh, Jen, you crack me up! While that much snow is unreal... I'm not sure I could live there as cool as it is! I love seeing your love for your Grandmother and how we have so much in common! Thank you for sharing all your nerdy quirks! Don't we all have them on some level? I know I do!!! Being a mom is tough, and I struggle with the same things, but I know that God gave us the children that we are to be mamas to and no one could do a better job at raising them than you! I pray that you continue to trust Him for your daily struggles and joys! 
Be sure to check out Jen's amazing sewing skills on The Crafting Fiend!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"The Porch" - 2013 Guest Line Up

My very first guest blog post series was called "The Porch" inspired by my Gramie Allie. I invited a few (mostly because I only knew of a few) people that might want to write guest blog posts for little 'ole me waaay back when, and come. sit. share. from their hearts. It was a lot of fun and I knew I had to do it again.

This blog has grown and I've met soooo many more amazing women in person (yay!) and online and I wanted to give them an opportunity to show case more than their amazing sewing talents: their amazing hearts!

I've got quite the line up and I'm excited about having them come share whatever they want with you, not necessarily sewing related (but maybe!) a few times a month throughout the rest of the year!

Who exactly will be joining us throughout the year?

I'm pretty excited, because some of these ladies I know well and others not quite as much, and I know they will each bring something special when they come!

You will find all past and present "The Porch" posts under the "The Porch" tab!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dealer Machines vs. Online? Is it really Machine Snobbery?

I truly find this topic completely interesting. Dealer Sewing Machines vs. Online Mass Produced Sewing Machines and the correlating topic of machine snobbery. Are dealer machines worth the extra money? Are dealers just being snobbish? What really is the difference?

I've been working at a sewing machine dealer for several months now, and my opinions on what you should buy have definitely changed since working there.

I currently sew on two mass produced online machines. Both Brother. I have a Brother SE400 sewing/embroidery machine and a brother 1034D serger. My sewing machine was actually refurbished and I got a great deal on it. When I first started sewing, I bought one of the cheapest Wal-mart brother sewing machines I could buy for around $60. I thought this was a good deal of money at the time and I scrapped my pennies together for it.

About a year after I really started sewing, I got increasingly frustrated with it. I knew I needed a better sewing machine that wouldn't jumble up in the bobbin and kick back all crazy when sewing. I needed better results, so I sold it to a friend (since it did still work well), and being the young internet shopper that I am, we bought me my current brother sewing/embroidery machine. The  quality from a $60 mass produced sewing machine to a $400 mass produced sewing machine is remarkable and I truly have been happy with it in many regards.

At the time of shopping, I did go to a dealer, and I couldn't figure out why they were almost twice as expensive for what I could find online. I decided to just buy online. I mean, you can get almost anything online for cheaper, right? Why limit myself to one dealer and their machines? At least that was my thinking. 

Then, I started working at a dealer. I am a very morally minded person (not a pushy sales person) and I immediately realized that our customers were interested in buying these machines, but also investigated online machines. They wanted to know why we were more expensive. At our dealership, we are not commission based and certainly don't push people into buying more than they can afford, but we do want people to buy what suits their needs. When they start explaining what they want to sew, how they sew, what their sewing consists of, we help them figure out where they can land, which machine is best, etc.  That isn't also based first on budget, because often times they really need more than what they are wanting to put in, in the beginning.

Since working there, I have had some long talks with my boss about the differences between mass produced sewing machines sold online and what we carry. I had to be able to, in good conscious explain the store's machines to customers. There are several brands that you just cannot purchase online. For instance, Babylock, Bernina, Viking, and Pfaff among others. These companies and the like see the value in dealers, what they offer their customers, and have specific criteria each dealer must meet in order to even be a dealer in the first place. They have a specific quality they strive for, and make sure that their dealers meet this for them to even carry their machines.

Then, you have companies that sell their mass produced sewing machines online AND also have dealererships that sell dealer grade machines, such as, Brother, Janome, and Juki. You can buy these from chain fabric stores to Wal-mart and Amazon. But even these companies have a different grade sewing machine that they send to their dealers versus those sold in a box online. I wish I could go to the company and manufacturer and see what is truly the difference, for you. But, I have heard that the mass produced machines do not ALL get tested by real people before being sent to stores, versus individually tested (by humans) dealer machines, for instance. And the dealer machines are made from better quality parts vs. cheaper parts for the online machines.

I personally think brother is a great sewing machine and does compete with Babylock, for instance, but only if you buy a brother machine from a dealer would it be on the same level as a Bablock dealer machine, and even then you would have to sew on them side by side to find your personal preferences. Online brother machines do not compare, in my opinion, to dealer quality Babylock machines. This is also coming from my own experience from sewing on dream machines at work to coming home and sewing on my own online brother box machine. There is a huge difference in my stitches at work versus at home. In a sense, I get spoiled at work!

I have personally taken swatches of fabric and sewn from machine to machine trying to figure out what I like more and what I think is better. I know there are people that will tell you that they have box sewing machines that sew great and they have been using them for 20+ years, and to that, I say, "Wonderful. Glad it works for you." But, I can guarantee it, they have NOT sewn much on dealer quality  higher end machines, or else they would be less than satisfied with what they are working on. That part of things is just harder to convey online, and must be experienced by you.

I know for a fact that my next sewing machine purchase will be at a dealer whether I work there or not, and there are definite reasons for this, besides quality.

  • You gain dealer support. Most dealers not only teach you how to drive your machine, but offer unlimited training on how to work your machine. They will help you, no matter, what's going on. Bird nesting in the bobbin? No problem, let me see what's going on for you. This training also comes really in handy when adventuring into the land of machine embroidery. They train you on the sometimes confusing topic of stabilizers and how to get the best results. It truly is an art. 
  • You get a longer warranty and some even offer a free annual service at the end of your first year. 
  • Then, you often get free access to any of their store clubs, discounts as being a preferred customer, and more! It's just a great combination in my opinion.
Dealers know they can offer more than what is sold online in a box, and while that may appear as "snobbery" to some, I do not think they mean for it to come across that way. They know they are there to help, and you won't get that from a box or Wal-mart. They are striving to offer something better, but it's for your good, not just from the business stand point. They value something different than the typical online shopper can see. I don't think you can deny that getting all of the above is not better than buying a machine in a box and not getting training or other benefits built into the cost of the machine. Not saying you cannot learn quite a lot on your own from the internet (I did!), but it really isn't the same. I've personally been re-trained on a NUMBER of things from how to hoop my stabilizer, to the types of stabilizer to use on a t-shirt to a towel, and then some even in just a plain sewing education working at an independent store. I'm constantly learning new things and gaining sewing knowledge, relearning over my bad habits from being self-taught, and more!

All of the above is why I can no longer say to my sweet friends, "YES! Go buy online!"

With that said, I understand that people can do what they can do budget wise, and like me, sometimes you get an online machine that you will be happy with for awhile. You feel your way through it's use, and research the heck out of things online, but even I will tell you that when I get the machine I know I will have for years upon years to come, I will NOT be being a boxed sewing machine! That's for SURE!

And for that matter, the people in real life that I have seen further along down the line that are "FINALLY!" buying the machine of their dreams, and those that are spending several thousand on a machine, most have had box machines and know the difference first hand. They've seen it first hand, and won't do it again.

So, what machine should you buy? Well, that depends. I believe that if you can buy from a dealer, you should. Maybe that means saving for a few extra months or financing in some cases. I can only recommend what I have personally sewn on and tried, and I recommend you do the same before making a big purchase. Again, that is something you can only do at a dealer, in most cases.

I personally love Babylock and the company behind them and could see myself purchasing from them next. Equally I love Bernina for their stitch quality, inner parts, and their feet. You are going to pay more for a Bernina (it is European! BTW) in most cases over a Babylock. Babylock has some really neat features and things about their machines and in a sense you get more "bang for your buck" with what comes with your machine without sacrificing stitch quality. Between these two brands I know you cannot go wrong. I believe if buying a brother, you should go to a dealer to buy vs. their online machines. And I've heard amazing things about some of the other brands mentioned in this post as well. I just personally have not sewed on them, so I can only give my 2 cents on what I know first hand.

I hope this helps some people out there wondering what the difference is. I hope this doesn't come off as "snobbish" and I certainly understand that everyone is different and their machine choice will reflect a wide variety of needs, as my first three machine purchases (online!) have! I hope it is helpful to see a little bit of the dealer point of view, and help people wondering about this topic. If you would like more reading on what to buy. I really love this post from Coletterie Blog about what machine you should buy

I'd love some discussion on this topic in my comments area below! What are your honest thoughts! Be nice, as we all have different point of views. Anything too mean to another person will be deleted!

Thank you!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Up to the Mountain to Pray

 Thanks Lauren B. for the photo!

I went to the most amazing women's retreat with my church in the mountains of North Carolina this last weekend. I learned so much about control and fear/anxiety taught by the amazing Stacy Hill, but mostly, it was so wonderful because the Holy Spirit met me there and renewed my walk with him.

I was on my knees thinking, "Lord, here I am and yet you are not here. You say, 'Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.' I got on my knees, where are you, Lord? I'm sorry I haven't been running after you. I surrender all that I am to you."

Just in the moment when I thought God wouldn't show, he came. In a song, but the words went straight to my heart.

Here I am down on my knees again (I literally was!)
Surrendering all, surrendering all
Find me here
Lord as you draw me near
I'm desperate for You
Desperate for You
I surrender

I surrender, I surrender
I want to know You more
I want to know You more

Drench my soul as mercy and grace unfold
I hunger and thirst
I hunger and thirst
With arms stretched wide
I know you hear my cry
Speak to me now
Speak to me now

Like a rushing wind Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me
Like a mighty storm stir within my soul
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

It's the song "I Surrender" by Matt Crocker a Hillsong Publishing, but I had never heard it before. 

On Saturday, I was laying on a grassy area of this mountain looking out over the valley basking in the sunshine with the beautiful mountains in the distance. It was perfect weather and the sunshine was so warm and wonderful! As I was laying still before the Lord, I could hear the wind rolling up the mountain. I could hear it long before I felt it wash over me. 

I was reminded of God's grace. Like the rushing wind that rolls up the mountain, often times we hear it or have heard about it, but we don't always let ourselves be washed in it. Sometimes God's grace just pours over us and we can feel it, just like the soft brush of the wind. 

I didn't realize how much I would need the physical reminder of God's grace on that mountain. Literally, I felt like Moses who went up to the mountain to pray and when he came down he had to face all kinds of various trials. 

But even as the toughest of trials come, I can remember God's grace. I can feel it wash over me. I can walk in it, hearing it before it comes, and know that God is more powerful than the darkest sin. God is more amazing than I can ever tell and he mets us right where we are. In the hurt. In the joy. In the deepest pit. 

Jesus takes us by the hand and lifts us up! (Matthew 9:27)  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Make This Look Guest Post & $50 Photography Session!

My DSLR died about a month ago. It was second hand from second hand from my BFF who gave us an amazing deal on it, but as hard as I used it, it doesn't surprise me that it fizzled out. I could probably get it fixed through Canon, but a part of me almost just wants to put that money towards a newer camera that I know would last longer.

Today, I'm over at The Train To Crazy (or will be when the California sun comes up on the West coast! hehee!) for the Make This Look mini-series running on her blog! I cringed inside thinking that my outfit that I made would be photographed with iPhone photos. I do have an older camera, but my last little photo shoot with Cai proved that it was about the same as my iphone, and at least the iphone is slightly faster! Am I right?!

A quick "hey is ANYONE available to trade some publicity for photography" on facebook, yielded this amazing college student that's been on her own for the last 4 years that we used to to go church with, Kelly!

She started her business called PhotosOfGrace Photography and I am SO proud of her growing talents! She was so kind to meet me downtown Columbia and do my very own blog photo shoot! It was amazing having someibe say, "hey, put your hand here" or "look off that way" or "how about a serious face"! I loved her!
And I got the serious face DOWN... I tell ya! 

Kelly is offering Designs By Sessa local readers a special promotion! If you mention this post and contact her you will receive a $25 off coupon for your session! If you just have Kelly for an hour, this coupon would make your shoot only $50! It's WAY too generous in my opinion, because I know there are going to be lots of friends snapping this sweet girl up (pun intended)!

Here is some of her work:
 And one more!

Worth WAAAAY more than $50, am I right!? You can contact Kelly via her Facebook Page PhotosOfGrace Photography to book your session and get your $25 off coupon!

For more outfit details, I would LOVE for you to visit The Train To Crazy today! And if you are new here, please stick around... you never know what concoction I will draft up! Love to you!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

GNO Charlotte: DBS Recap!

We had SO.MUCH.FUN in Charlotte this weekend! I am absolutely exhausted writing this post, because Rachel from Sew Happily Ever After and I didn't get in until around 1am and then I had a rocking and rolling 2 year old that still was on the 1 hour time difference! Whew!

We made sure to go up a few hours early so we could hit up Mary Jo's Cloth Store. It never dissapoints! It was Rachel's first time and my 3rd time, and you still get this overwhelming feeling walking into the store everytime!
 There's just SO. MUCH.FABRIC at amazing prices. (This is just half the store!)

What was so fun was finding other blog friends throughout the store! I was walking through some bolts and I saw two blondes starring at me. As I walked by, they POKED me without saying a word! I spun around and was like "WHO in the world are you!?!?" It was Ashley and Emily from FrancesSuzanne! LOL!

These two ladies were HILARIOUS! I just loved meeting them! They seriously make you laugh contantly! They are so fun! They drove up from ALABAMA and I am SO glad they did!

As we continued shopping, I looked up and was like oh my gosh.... that is... "ALIDA!!!" from Alida Makes It was so fun meeting her across some bolts! :) Just how it should be right?

We had so much fun shopping!

Look at this sweet little Rachel... as tall as the bolt WITH 3 inch heels! haha! I ended up walking out with THE most random fabric!
Because everyone needs chevron fur in their stash, right!?! And hot pink holey 80's fabric? I think so! Obviously, I was half sane, because I found this fun turquoise gingham check and a fun kelly green check fabric and some zippers. We'll see what this becomes!

Of course, it was all about the dinner and getting to meet other bloggers that share this crazy passion!

I think there were 17 people there! Something like that! Enjoy this iPhone panarama picture!

It was so fun also meeting Jessica from Begin to Craft and Zoe from Sew It Girl, as well as the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G Jennifer from Ellison Lane Quilts and Sew South modern sewing retreat. These ladies were just SO easy to talk to!

I really could not contain my excitement at meeting these next two ladies though!
Jessica from The Sewing Rabbit - Me Sew Crazy and Heather Valentine from The Sewing Loft! Jessica is just as incredible as you would think from her blog. It's real in real life, too! Not that I ever doubted that! And Heather is so humble and down to earth and talented! I loved chatting with them, picking their brains about pattern drafting, thoughts on blogging, and laughing over our children! It was priceless! I just wish I could have talked to them longer. Of course, the night was just too short!

The swag was amazing thanks to our amazing sponsors of the evening: Pellon, Jo-Ann Fabric, Coats &Clark, Michael Miller Fabrics, and Fat Quarter Shop! I was too excited to sleep and ended up getting back out of bed to check it all out! Like a child on Christmas morning!

I was "kicking" myself, because I forgot all of my business cards on my dining room table!!! But I enjoyed collecting most of everyone else's, for sure!

I'm not quite sure how I came across...
courtesy of Me Sew Crazy via flickr

Ya, know with my sassy bedazzled bracelet and all... Bahaha! It was fun being myself around these women!

As my first blogger event, I enjoyed myself thoroughly! I had no idea what to expect and now I just want to meet more of you out there in real life! All I can say is THANK YOU for this opportunity Jessica and sponsors!

I'm sure there will be blog round ups to come! You can view the GNO Charlotte Flickr Group and don't forget that today is the last day to enter to win the same swag we received!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

GNO Charlotte Giveaway! Eek!!!

I am SO excited about GNO Charlotte this coming weekend! This is my first opportunity to meet other bloggers that share the same passion that I do! I couldn't be more excited! Since I know you guys want to be JUST as excited about it! How about an amazing giveaway!?!?! One of you will win the same swag bag that we will be getting! Pretty exciting, huh!

The Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores Girl's Night Out Blogger Get Together is a small event where online friends can gather in an intimate setting to meet, laugh, and share their passion for sewing. Knitting together the sewing community in a more personal and binding way. After our success in Salt Lake City this past October, we decided to take it on the road and are having our next dinner in Charlotte this weekend! We are blessed to be able to say that after our blog announcement a couple of weeks ago - the event sold out rather fast.

But just because you might have missed the chance to get a ticket, doesn't mean you have to miss out on all of the fun too!  The incredible Sponsors of Girl's Night Out have teamed up and are offering some amazing prizes for you to win.

ELEVEN to be exact!!!

6 Winners will receive the amazing 200 Year Anniversary Collectible Coats & Clark Tin filled with goodies courtesy of Coats & Clark!


1 lucky winner will receive this fun cutting set courtesy of Fiskars, which includes their Ergo Control Rotary Cutter, Non-Stick Scissors & traveling Folding Scissors!


1 lucky winner will get an incredible bundle of Pellon Product, which includes throw size cotton batting, custom fiber, a package of Shape Flex, Fusible Fleece, Wonder Under, and a package of their new Stick-N-Washaway!


1 winner will get this incredibly fun fat quarter bundle of the new Happy Tones fabric collection from Michael Miller Fabrics!


The most surprising will be this box of fun fabric courtesy of Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores for 1 winner!


And last, but certainly not least, 1 winner will receive the same swag bag all of the Girl's Night Out attendees will be receiving!!! Filled with goodies from Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores, Coats & Clark, Pellon, Michael Miller Fabric, HGTV, and Photojojo


Who's with me that THAT is one incredible bundle of prizes?!!

To enter, simply like all of the Facebook pages below...

***Make sure you only enter ONCE, because this form is shared on participating sites. Duplicate entries will be deleted, and giveaway ends Thursday, March 14th. Good luck!***

& then Tell Us...

Fill out the form below with your answer!

* This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability.

No purchase necessary. For alternate entry, e-mail jgerblick(at)hotmail(dot)com with your full name and the subject line “GNO Charlotte Giveaway.” All prizes will ship within 7 days of the end of the giveaway. Giveaway starts Thursday, March 7th at 3:00 am EST and ends Thursday, March 14th at 8:00 am EST. Once the giveaway ends, winners will be chosen using and contacted within 24 hours by e-mail. A post announcing the winners will go live at with winners’ names on Thursday, March 14th. Winners will need to respond within 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to US contestants only.

Want to see the action live? Follow hashtag #gnocharlotte on Twitter & IG for live updates from attendees and Sponsors!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and GOOD LUCK!!!

Until next time, Happy Sewing!