Thursday, June 30, 2011

Storytelling #2

2. What inspires your creativity?

I can't really place it, and it's not always there. It usually stems from the blogs that I get in my Google reader. I subscribe to alot of crafty/diy/fashion blogs (like this, this and this.) and I get inspired to create what I've seen someone else do. It's kind of a 'if they can do that, so can I!' kind of thing.    If I come across something that looks like I could really make it, and there's a tutorial (because I'm not to the point yet where I can just figure out how it's made, most of the time), then I usually attempt it.  But, I have to be in the right mood, and I really don't know when or why the right mood comes along.  When it's there, it's there, and I go for it. Usually you will see a post about it on here.   (My next project is this. So excited.)
All that said, I think that God is really the one that inspires me to use my hands to create.  I think He's the one that gives me my 'groove' when it's time for a lift. Sewing makes my heart happy, but when I'm upset, it's the last thing I want to do. Sometimes when I'm down, that's when the motivation comes, and it might sound cliche, but I'm pretty sure it's from the Lord.  Because it usually revamps me. Reminds me that my life can be productive in a tangible sense; that I can glorify Him by creating something with the gift He gave me.  Don't get me wrong, I know being a wife and a mom is very productive. But I'm sure you other crafters understand me here! It's nice to have something to hold in my hands that I've made for someone else (or myself) to use.

Speaking of that, here is the latest project I made. A nighty for Bell. Or a dress. Not sure which, but works for either purpose. I'm in love and I want one for myself. Check it.

What inspires YOUR creativity?!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Letter to Rowan

Today is June 29th, 2011. You have come so very far in the last year since we moved to Oswego. The ABA therapy that you have had every day has begun to bring you out of your shell. Life has been difficult for you thus far, but thanks to the Lord and his faithfulness, you are beginning to step into the normal world. Slowly but surely, you are coming out of autism!  From the day you started having the therapists visit and play with you, and push your buttons, you've been improving and dealing with life much better. You have learned how to cope with changes around you, and with people or things that bother you. You used to scream, hit, yell, throw things, and now, you just say 'no thank you'. And if it doesn't stop, you either move on, or deal with it. Wow, just amazing! YOU are amazing. We rejoice daily watching you grow.
You can ask for things you want, say 'no thank you' when you don't want something. You're even attempting spontaneous sentences! You know more content than a 6 year old kid who doesn't have any special needs! You are very very smart. Everyone is amazed by how smart you are. You can count by 5s, and 10s, all the way to 100! You know all of your colors, numbers, shapes, animals and their sounds, you can match things, point out what things are different in a  set of like objects…just amazing.  And another thing we just discovered....
We're pretty sure you have perfect pitch.
And you can keep a beat! Just plain amazing.  Even if the music is complicated and crazy, you keep the beat.
You are also starting to want to play with other kids, at least with Asher and Bella. That is such a joy to us. Little by little, you are learning how to do things that will make your life much easier down the road.  I know that you understand more than we think you do, and that you will remember all that we've said and done for you. We pray that you'll remember the way we've invested in you spirutually, as well as educationally. You are so precious to the Lord.
Just remember, when you are having a hard time, you are not alone. We are with you and we love you, and God is always with you and loves you even more.

You have a great destiny in Him, and we can't wait to see it.
You are 5 years old and a miracle to us. We thank God for you every day!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Storytelling #1

1.    Where did your creative spark begin-can you trace the path/timeline that got you to where you are today?

My creative spark began when I was just little girl. Watching my mom sew on her machine. She used to make our clothes! And they were super cute. And of course, there was the dolphin stuffed toy from home-ec.  Then, sometime in high school, I decided to make a dress for myself. That was the beginning of the end for me! I wore that dress, and one other, as much as I could without seeming wierd. 
Then, I went on a quilt binge. I made 3 quilts in a matter of a few weeks, after my mom taught me how to use her machine, of course. I made a few pillows, some graduation presents for some senior friends of mine (i think they were mini-pillows with their names embroidered on?), and a few other small projects.  After that, I took a little break from sewing until my sister in law decided we should do a craft fair table together at college. We each sewed a boatload of tote bags and I had a blast. I think after that, I just decided that rather than buying stuff that I knew was easy to make, I'd just make it and save the money! 
At first, it was an economical issue, and now, it's just plain fun for me. Even therapeutic. I love creating something out of a piece of fabric.  Once I began to see that I could make something from nothing, I realized that maybe I could also do other kinds of projects! That's where the spraypainting, decor stuff came in. 
And now, I'm obsessed. 
And I'm convinced that it's the Lord's gift to me. A way to sort of work towards being the woman in Proverbs 31 who works with her hands and helps provide for her household. This creativity that I can't really ignore, even if I wanted to. When I get the urge to make something, I can't run from it! It's like my machine sits there on my table, grinning, waiting, saying 'Come on. You know you wanna.'


That said, how much do you LOVE this?!
from Cakies.  I'm pretty convinced now that all of my kids need their own patchwork quilt.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Re-connecting and offense.

WARNING: Here's a post that is neither crafty nor kid-related. If you're in the mood for light-hearted and hilarious, go over here

Here goes: Ready?

Offense is not worth it. EVER.

And, it's a sin.

Did I lose you?   It's ok, this is probably more for my sake than yours. :)

Getting offended at people is different than having your feelings hurt by them. Yes, your feelings will get hurt, especially if you decide to invest in a person on a heart level in any way. You will get hurt by those you let get close to you. But being offended...that's not being hurt. That means that you are holding on to those feelings and refusing to let them go; letting them build up until you refuse to forgive.

I just re-connected with a friend who I haven't talked to in almost 8 years.  I was offended at them for several different reasons, and rather than talk with them or decide to let it go, I've held on to it. No, I didn't growl every time I thought about them, nor did I wish anything ill up on them. In fact, I missed them terribly. But every time I remembered how they hurt me, I let it hurt me again, and again. Until finally, it became bitterness and resentment.

It feels yucky, and I hated it. And it only took me 8 years to realize how to fix it. Eight years of maturing, growing, thinking, praying and really, becoming an adult, had taught me that I was actually the one to blame. Taking things out of context. Thinking only of myself and how they were making ME feel, rather than how I may have been making them feel.  Deciding they just didn't care anymore, without even asking. When I realized that I still had way too many issues with them to just keep putting this off, I knew the time was coming to make the call.

So, I called them today. I had my phone in my hand, walking into my kitchen, and something reminded me of them.  I thought about calling so many times before. Nearly every day.  There is a gazillion things that remind me of them, and I suppose that made the pain even worse. (Hello, dramatic much? Sheesh.) Anyway, I dialed and pressed 'send'. I was shaking and nervous and happy and scared. So afraid to be rejected again. Or to feel rejected, anyways.  Now I believe that I never really was.

Anywho, we talked for almost an hour, and I could tell that my friend truly was so happy to be reconnecting with me.  At the end of the call, my friend said, "Jenn, this was such a treat to talk with you." I said, "Really?" And they said "Absolutely, we think about you all the time." And here, I thought they hated me. What the heck?

Offense is stupid and so not worth it.  There is such freedom in clearing the air.  Don't wait eight ridiculous years before you suck it up and make the call.

The end. Thanks. :)

And because I've told you that I refuse to post an entry without a picture, here's one I found on Pinterest that I couldn't resist adding to my 'awesome' folder.
Best ever.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thank you, Pinterest... have stolen hours of my life.

Ok, maybe that's my own fault. But seriously, if you haven't been over there, you must. However, be prepared. You will not get up for another 3 hours so bring coffee, a pillow to sit on, and some snacks. Here's some proof for you: Funny, wierd, or awesome things I've found on Pinterest today.

Um, hello? Yes.
My husband must have this. Not that he likes to punch people in the face. But he likes to joke about it. What better place to keep your potential victims' names?


I laughed out loud at this one. I so remember playing that game in the car when I was little and always wanted to quit halfway! I wish I knew if this sign was real and where it was.

Are you seeing this, ladies? THANK YOU! Now, if the next Barbie I see has a muffin top, you can count me in.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I love making stuff for people.

It's true.  I love making something for someone that I know they'll love. I never give a gift that I wouldn't love for me or my kids. And let me tell you. June is the month of a gazillion birthdays in my family and circle of close friends.  My beautiful friend, and amazing mama of 3, Rachael, had a baby AND a birthday within 2 days, and she requested that I make her a diaper bag. She did NOT have to twist my arm! I love makin' those. Wanna see? Wanna? K.

I especially love that green button on the blue side of the bag. So cute! I think, when I sew something, I always lean towards mismatching everything. I love the whimsy of it. Don't make fun of me for saying 'whimsy'. I like that word.
Then, my little niece had a birthday today, and I thought I'd make her a blanket for her baby doll! I knew that her aunt was buying her a new baby doll, and of course, she was going to need a blankie! I kinda copied this tutorial but instead of just making a plain pillowcase, I added a bunch of cute appliques. Check it!

cute little lace detail at the top! Couldn't resist.

That squirrel is alot smaller than those flowers. Ha. Must be some HUGE flowers!

I had a helper while I was pinning:
"I really wanna touch that pincushion."
I did actually finish 3 projects today: 2 skirts for Bella, and a maxi dress for me! Will take photos of the maxi dress tomorrow. Now that it's done, I'm so motivated to keep sewing for myself! Never thought I'd want to do that, but I am loving it. So fun to make my own wardrobe. Next on the list: another maxi dress made with a PATTERN. (That's not a swear word to me anymore. ha!)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

crafty/decor/fashion round up

Since I don't have any finished projects to post about here, I thought I'd link to some of the websites I 'bookmared' in the past few days. Some crafty, some design, some fashion...have fun surfing!

This blog is one of my favorites for decorating and diy. I just love all the white walls with splashes of color!
I can't wait to make this dress for someone. Me, or Bella? Or both? Oh, to dream...

I don't know why I love this bathroom so much...normally I'm drawn to lighter colored walls but this just sucked me right in! I think it's the blend of modern and vintage decor, and because it seems like something I could actually do in my own home...Hmm! Another ' maybe someday' project. :)

I love love love this idea for planting stuff. I've been bookmarking alot of crafts that involve chalkboard paint, so I think it might be time to go get me some.

I never knew I was into vintage clothes until I started surfing around my new favorite website/blog, Smile and Wave. Head over there if you need a fix of vintage, and maybe a few chuckles. This chick is funny and easy to read!

And lastly, this is the most recent thing I added to my 'sewing' bookmarks folder just this morning. Now that I know how to sew with elastic thread, this will be easy peasy.

Have fun!  Let me know what you think! Do you enjoy any of the same things I do?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Shirr thing.

I just learned to 'shirr'. If you dont know what this is, it's this:

I was inspired by this post here about making your own skirt out a man's XL tshirt: (thanks Danni!)

How cute are those skirts?!! After I saw all of them lined up, I immediately went to the thrift store and bought two of the biggest tshirts I could find.  When I failed my first attempt ( didnt measure right!), I decided to just cut my skirt out of a sheet I'd bought at Goodwill a while ago, to see if I could get it right. And...ta-da!

My very first shirred maxi skirt. I'm in love. You can expect to see more pictures of more skirts on here soon. Don't you love that orange paisley? I didn't think I'd even wear this skirt, as it was just my 'try it out' project, but I'm so pleased that I'm wearing it today! And it is the most comfortable skirt I've worn in a long time.  And no, I'm not pregnant but that first picture kinda makes me look it. I guess 4 babies in 5 years took a toll on my belly! Workin on it. :)

Here are a few of my next projects:
Elle's Striped Cardigan
Prudent Baby's Most Flattering Shirt (with Shirring! Hoorah!)
This Beachcomber Dress for Bell
Some of these cute little beauties for some of my favorite little girles
A few strands of this amazing garland for every single room in my house and maybe yours too.

See you later, if I can tear myself away from my sewing machine!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


What's that you say? You were just wondering how to make the cutest, easiest most perfectest pillow ever?! You are in luck, my friends. Anna from Noodlehead created a tutorial for just such a pillow! When I saw this, I had to make it. And I found this yummy turquoise fabric for it. So, first, here's Anna's pillow:

I love the yellow she used, and how tightly the pillow cover fits. She has great taste! And here's mine...
I love it!! I think I'm going to make it fit a little more snug (snugly? snuggish?) but I'm mostly pleased. Here's a picture of 3 of the new pillow covers I made for my living room. I love the color combo:
The floral one was made from a fat quarter of a vintage sheet that I couldn't bear to part with. I knew that I would use it for something super cute someday and I'm so happy it's on my couch now.
My husband though; not so happy.
He HATES throw pillows.
What is it with men?!!
I see nothing wrong with one hundred throw pillows on my couch, but for some reason, somebody thinks they're annoying and stupid.  Well, men, I bet you're thankful for them when you want one to rest your arm on or to lay on when you lounge on the couch!! :)

Here's some shoppy business, in case you haven't seen them yet. New pillow covers in the shop!

In case you can't tell, I'm a little bit pillow-minded lately.
Today was a long day. I'm gonna go lay my head on one of my new gorgeous pillows.  And dream of making more pillow covers.

Have a pillow good night!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ribbons and cups, and a finished product.

I had a great birthday! Thank you all for the sweet words and comments! You are the best bloggeteers ever. :)

When  my little seester was visiting last week, we went to the thrift store, as is tradition anytime a Blakely visits. We are pro thrifters! Mind you, we don't just buy a bunch of junk, but when we spot awesomeness, there's no holding us back.

On that note, check out these cute goodies!
I love them. I know they're ridiculously retro but thats what I love about them.
Then, my sister-in-love, Ames, took me to Real Deals Dollar Store on Sunday because there were 'some ribbons' she wanted me to see. She claimed there were whole spools of sewing ribbon for just $1.00. Yeah right, Amy, that's too good to be true.  But I took a look anyway. And guess what I came home with?

Yep. A bazillion yards of ribbon for SIX DOLLARS TOTAL.    Amy, I could kiss you!

And lastly, I have a picture of my earring holder that I made but the quality is horrible. I'm sorry, I really need a good camera! But here ya go. And after you see this, you should all go make one and post about it here in the comments! I made this while hanging with Aimee from

Eew. Blurry. Oh well, you get the idea. Hey anyone wanna buy me an SLR camera? That would earn you a spot on my "Love you Forever" list.

Happy Humpday!

Monday, June 13, 2011


I'm turning 28 tomorrow. Ya know what? It doesn't bother me! I'm actually looking forward to each year leading to the impending "30".  Some people dread getting older.  It's like entering a new decade (which I'm not doing for 2 more years but it makes ya think...) all of a sudden means you're about to die. Not so! I feel like I'm gaining wisdom each year and I love that. I love knowing that I am entering a new season to parent my kids. I love that when people ask, and I say "I'm almost 30", they'll say "But you look 18!". Hey, they told me I'd be thankful for my young face and I can tell ya now,  they were right.

My mother in law and 2 sisters in law (missed you, Bek!) took me shopping and then to eat. It was a grand time. We stopped at a yard sale, where I scored a sweet ottoman for TWO DOLLARS, and an old vintage mirror for the same price,  then went to Penneys and got some much needed shirts. And then I got a huge burger and some super greasy onion rings at a local pub/restaurant. Loved it. Loved the conversation, and I  love my family. Then, Joel came home from a 6 day trip he was on with Ryan!  Joel played bass with Ry for several gigs while they were out touring NY. He had a blast and came home joyful. 

Then, last night while we sat around catching up with Ry, I watched this. One of the funniest things I've seen in a very long time. I laughed so hard, I cried.   Just a dude with a camera, mumbling in a crazy southern accent. But seriously hilarious.

 And lastly, a family update.
Bell, who is 2.5, has officially potty trained herself.  I dont know how this happened, but I'm convinced it was the Lord's grace for me.  She still has issues with poo, but ya know, I guess all kids do at first.

Ro hasn't had any ABA therapy for the past few weeks but he has still been wonderful. Very conversational and interactive!  He's been loving the Sesame Street website, which I dont mind at all since he learns from it.

Ash has his preschool 'celebration' tonite, which is basically a little graduation ceremony.  He's going to preschool next fall too and i can't wait to see how well he does then! 

Haven is the most joyful, easy going baby I've had yet. He loves his new ability to get around and pull himself up, and is easy to please with snacks and snuggles. He sleeps well, plays in his bed when he wakes up, and just loves life.

I'm one blessed almost-28-but-feels-23 wife and mama.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What NOT to do with a coffee table.

If you live in a small space,  do not, under any circumstance or for any reason,  paint your coffee table bright emerald green. I repeat, do not paint your coffee table (the central point of focus when you walk in the room) bright emerald green. This would be a mistake and I'm warning you before you do it. DONT.

Not that I know this from experience, because who would be crazy enough to do that?

Sorry about the quality of the photo. Had to use flash in order to get the essence of the green.

So I really do love that green. But not on the coffee table.  Today, I painted that thing black again and decided to bring the green in with the pillows, a picture frame and a little vase.  Once I finish the room, I'll post a pic of the 'after' gorgeosity.  But I think I might permanently have cramping in my finger from all the spray painting I've been doing...and hopefully haven't lost too many brain cells from the fumes...

Hey, anyone out there have any vintage little girl dresses, size 3 and up? I'm looking for some of those for Bella. I think they're so stinking cute!  Leave me a note if you do but be aware. I can't pay you. Your payment will be knowing that the most amazing, cutest little girl on the planet is going to make your dress look even cuter.

I love weekends! Enjoying my days with my family and taking advantage of the beautiful weather outside. Ro and Ash are particularly interested in bubbles of all kinds and sizes, and Bell is a bit obsessed with swinging on our new (very old) swingset. I love my kids!

Happy weekend!

Monday, June 6, 2011

I can't believe it has been a year...

Haven Joel is one year old today! I know all moms say this, but the time really has flown by.
I can remember very clearly the day he was born; the craziest and scariest, most wonderful day of my life.  Wonderful, because the Lord allowed me and my baby boy to live. Scary and crazy because we both almost died. 

I had been struggling with a stubborn headache for a few days, and had been annoyed at the swelling in my aching feet for a few weeks. Docs assured me that the swelling was normal, seeing as how I was in my third trimester and retaining some water.  So, Sunday morning, when I couldn't fall back asleep because of the pain in my head, I took several tylenols, and nothing touched the pain.  I had to go lay down, and Joel called his mom to come help him with the kids.  Thank God he'd gotten overwhelmed, because when Deb came, she told me she was taking me to the ER.  By this time, my vision was in and out and the pain was causing me to not think clearly.

We arrived at the ER, and I was barely coherent. Couldn't even see to sign the insurance forms. The nurses were totally freaked out.  Apparently they still talk about that day. By the time we got back to one of the rooms, I couldn't say who was president, what year it was, or how tall I was.  As soon as the doc saw me, he knew I had to deliver Haven, and ASAP. They rushed me to Syracuse and did the c-section in record time.  I remember none of it.  Was completely blind and unconscious.  I can't even imagine what Joel and our friends and family were thinking. I know that Joel was in a bit of a shock. He was in 'get it done and make it through mode' and prayed in tongues pretty much the entire one-hour ride to the hospital in Syracuse.

The first thing I remember after arriving at the hospital is lying on the bed, post surgery, with my 3.5 pound baby up in the NICU, is hearing my father in law and my good friend Lynda (who is a nurse), talking about what had happened.  Meanwhile, I was on quite a bit of drugs and didn't feel an ounce of pain. Or anything at all.  I just slept for the next 3 days.

When I finally gained consciousness, I learned that I had HELPSS syndrome, which is a form of severe preclempsia. The swelling in my brain had caused the blindness, and I later learned that if I had waited ten more minutes to get to the ER, they didn't think Haven or I would have made it.  Can you even wrap your mind around that?
I can't. God is so good.

After 3 days of drifting in and out of consciousness (thanks to the morphine and the magnesium drip), my vision finally returned and I got to go see Haven up in the NICU. It was amazing. That's the picture you see at the top. My first time meeting my baby. My little miracle boy. He was the size of a little melon.  A precious, amazing, new and alive melon.

I'm thankful for the extreme peace and joy I felt the entire time I was recovering. I knew we were going to be alright. I know that isn't always the case in situations like these, but I just knew.  Even with all of the choas, danger, trauma, etc, the Lord gave me peace. I'm so very thankful that He's on the throne. And I'm so glad that Haven will grow up knowing that God saved him and has a great destiny for him.

Happy birthday, Haven boy. You're gonna do great things.