Wednesday, April 28, 2010

DIY Party Favors: Bookmarks

With Emma's 2nd Birthday Party coming up, I'm in the market for party favors for all the kid's goody bags.  And though I'm going to go with the staples (bubbles, cheesy toy and coloring sheets) I wanted something a little original.

Now, I by no means consider myself artistic.
But I surprised myself with this project. 

We're big fans of reading here so I thought a bookmark would be fitting.

Here's what you'll need:

stencil (not necessary if you can draw really well)
a black marker (I used a sharpie)
a pencil
tape (or those srapbooking glue dots)
colored paper (cardstock or regular construction paper)
scissors (or any kind of cutter~ can use the fancy edge ones too)
laminating sheets
hole punch

Step 1: You're going to trace out your picture.  We used a train stencil because we're having a
Thomas the Train Party.

Step 2: Then you're going to want to outline it in black marker.

Step 3: Trim it up.  I trimmed rather close to the edges because I'm overlapping it on a contrasting color. 
I wanted that second color to show as a boarder.  Here's where I used my scrapbooking cutter with the decorative edge, but scissors are just fine, too.

Step 4: Now that it's the shape and size you want, write the child's name on it. 
Get as creative as you want with your print.

Step 5: Take your contrasting color paper (also trimmed slightly bigger than the first sheet) and place it under your traced picture.  Adhere it with tape or those glue dots.  Leave some space at the top for a hole punch.

Step 6: Next, if you want, you can write a little message on the back thanking them for coming to the party.
This step is optional.

Step 7: Following the instructions on your laminating paper, laminate your bookmark and trim the edges.

Step 8: Hole punch the top and feed some yarn through it, tying it off so it doesn't come undone.

Step 9: Repeat as many times as children there are attending your party!

There you have it!!  A cheap and neat party favor to WOW your guests with...nevermind they are all kids=)!!


Would you help me get to 100 followers??
My goal is to reach that (or more) by May 17th!!
I think we can do it!
And to give you a little extra incentive, on that day ALL of my followers will be entered in a really super, Fantabulous Giveway (details later so stay tuned)!! It might include something pretty and kitchen-y :)!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Every Day is a Gift...

We went home to VA this past weekend to celebrate Emma's birthday with my parents.
It's always challenging traveling with a two-year-old and a dog.
We desperately need a van.
And Emma is cutting her molars.
Away, she will only sleep with Jon and I.

As much as I love spending time with family...
It was good to be back in my own home.
In my own bed.

But while we were gone (and even now that we're back)
something stuck with me.

At my dad's there was a little decorative plaque hanging on a door 
and it said, "Every day is a gift."

Emma kept going back and forth, back and forth to it.  
Touching it.  She even kissed it once.
Then finally she ran up to me, grabbed my hand and pulled me over to it.
She pointed to it.
"Jesus!" she said.
"Jesus is King!"

This lasted for a little bit then she moved on to other things.
And as confused as I was (in that moment) to how she got "Jesus is King" out of the door hanging...
Today I get it.

The wisdom of a toddler...

We all have two-year-old days.
Things aren't comfortable.
We're cranky.
We miss out on sleep.
And life seems like one big road trip in an over crowded sedan.

But Jesus IS King.
And every day IS a gift.
From Him.

Won't you be encouraged in that?
Won't you take some time today to practice being in His Presence, amidst all the craziness of your life?
And be thankful.
Because everything, EVERYTHING (every joy, trial, challenge, blessing, lesson and day) is what it is
Because God loves us.
Have faith in that and let it change how we do life.

(I'm sharing this as part of Motivate Me Monday over at Fifth Street Palace.  Check it out!)

Looking for Marking Monday?

And finally...

Would you help me get to 100 followers??  
My goal is to reach that (or more) by May 17th!!
I think we can do it!
And to give you a little extra incentive, on that day ALL of my followers will be entered in a really super, Fantabulous Giveway (details later so stay tuned)!!  It might include something pretty and kitchen-y :)!!

Marketing Monday!!

 Hey all you Trendy Treehouse Friends!!


I hope you'll stick around and check things out for Marketing Monday!

I have a new style of apron in My Etsy shop and more will be added soon, so make sure you pop on by there as well!!  I'd be happy to talk custom orders :)!!

Also, would you help me get to 100 followers??  My goal is to reach that (or more) by May 17th!!
I think we can do it!
And to give you a little extra incentive, on that day ALL of my followers will be entered in a really super, Fantabulous Giveway (details later so stay tuned)!!  It might include something pretty and kitchen-y :)!!

And if you haven't already, go ahead and check out Marketing Monday over at Trendy Treehouse!!  Your opportunity at getting a "free advertising" day for your blog, etsy shop, etc. and meeting lots of cool people at the same time!!

Blessings to you on this beautiful Monday!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Writing Nooks in the Bedroom: Part Deux

Remember this picture?
You can read all about it HERE!

This of course is the BEFORE shot!!

Let me tell you.  I have been a busy little girl on this writing nook of mine!
I took the desk that was serving as my sewing table and put it in this corner then threw in a few decorative touches and PRESTO!!  Instant creative sanctuary!!

I have to note though, I'm missing a desk chair.
Nannie and Papa are gone, too.  But they will return!!  I promise!!
They were in a frame that was too big for the picture and it just irked me. 
If I'm going to have a space of my own (and in order to crank out masterpieces) it can be nothing short of perfect.  Nannie and Papa are getting a new frame and they will be back where they belong in no time.
For the time being Toulouse Lautrec resides there.

I've also got a few little shelves to put up, but I'm holding off on that.


Are you ready??



And a close-up...

What do you think!?!

I'm all set right!?!  Well, I need a computer, too (note: I'm currently using the hubster's laptop for bloggin' purposes)!  But for now I'm going ole skool and using a trusty pen and notepad.  Yep...that yellow notebook right there holds it all.

Which, by the way, I have most of my outline already mapped out!!  Woohoo!

Have no idea what I'm talking about?
Read about my writing adventure HERE!

Do you have a space you're working on for yourself?  Is tell!!  And get right on it!  You'll be so glad you did!!

I'm sharing this as part of Things I Love Thursday over at the Diaper Diaries!  Check it out!!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Home Is: The Love of Aprons

Grandma's Apron
~Author Unknown

When I used to visit Grandma. I was very much impressed,
by her all-purpose apron, and the power it possessed.
For Grandma, it was everyday to choose one when she dressed.
The strings were tied and freshly washed, and maybe even pressed.
The simple apron that it was, you would never think about;
the things she used it for, that made it look worn out.
She used it for a basket, when she gathered up the eggs,
and flapped it as a weapon, when hens pecked her feet and legs.
She used it to carry kindling when she stoked the kitchen fire.
And to hold a load of laundry, or to wipe the clothesline wire.
She used it for a hot pad, to remove a steaming pan,
and when her brow was heated, she used it for a fan.
It dried our childish tears, when we'd scrape a knee and cry,
and made a hiding place when the little ones were shy.
Farm produce took in season, in the summer, spring and fall,
found its way into the kitchen from Grandma's carry all.
When Grandma went to heaven, God said she now could rest.
I'm sure the apron she chose that day, was her Sunday best.

Aprons, for me, have provided both beauty and feminity in a world of dirty dishes and hot pots.
I love that I can embark on creating a new generation of aprons for my own family and yours as well.
My girl's girl might even be writing an apron poem for me one day!
I can hope!

Please visit Reluctant Entertainer for a whole heap more of aprons today over @ Sandy's Wednesday
"Home Is:" feature!!
Home is...


Over at We Are That Family!!  Check them out!!

The apron shown above and many others can be found at my Etsy shop, Lima Bean Designs.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Sacred Marriage...

I have this vision of what marriage should be.
I went into my own marriage with this very vision.
Unfortunately, I didn't take into account that two sinners were entering into an eternal union, therefore things probably wouldn't turn out exactly as I thought they would.

That's not to say there aren't joys in marriage.  
There certainly are.
But we have to work for them.
We have to wake up each and every morning and make a choice.

A choice to love.
A choice to be selfless.
A choice to keep our sarcasm to ourselves.
A choice to squash the need to always be right.
A choice to not worry about the little things.

I often feel I fail miserably at making these choices...
inevitably choosing wrong everytime.

I started reading a book last night that said something astounding...
a rogue idea really.
An epic sort of statement considering the world we live in.

"If you want to be free to serve Jesus, there's no question- stay single.  Marriage takes a lot of time.  But if you want to become more like Jesus, I can't imagine any better thing to do than to get married.  Being married forces you to face some character issues you'd never have to face otherwise."
~Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy more than Happy
By Gary Thomas

A little scary.

But so hopeful.

Won't you be motivated today in striving to be more like Jesus?  Not just in your marriage, but in all that you do?  It's a challenge, now doubt, but what in this life isn't?
At least we can know we have a good and graceful Savior walking with us every step of the way.  Guiding us in how to live and love, just like Him.

(I'm sharing this as part of Motivate Me Monday over at Fifth Street Palace.  Check it out!)

Blessings friends,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Woman, you are loved...

There's this woman who I see walking near my office building every time I'm headed to work.
In fact, I only work two days a week, but inevitably, it's timed perfectly that I see her both days each week.
If I'm lucky, she even comes to buy cigarettes at the restaurant in my building and I get to see her there.

I think she lives at the apartment complex across the street...
which supposedly houses "the less fortunate."

By "less fortunate" in her case it would have to mean mental stability because when I do see her buying her cigarettes, she pays with a wad of hundreds, not dollar bills.

She talks to herself.  And she's rude.  She wears her winter coat no matter the weather.  And she's a little stinky, too.  I don't think she owns a bra...if she does she doesn't wear it.  She's missing several teeth.  And she speed walks with her cane.  She has a tick.  She also rocks out some pretty cool sunglasses, despite the rest of her disheveled appearance.

She's doubt about it.
And people stare, snicker and whisper when they see her.

But honestly, when I see her I'm reminded how awesome our God is.
That may sound funny, but it's true.
The first time I laid eyes on her I knew immediately I was to pray for her.  
I have every time I've seen her since.
And every time God has reminded me of His love and providence.

She frequently has food in her hand (a sandwich or biscuit), so she's not going hungry.
She is clothed, be it awkwardly.
Because there are organizations that establish housing for "the outsiders" of our society, she is blessed with a roof over her head.
She rides the bus, so she has bus fare.
Her "smarts" might not all be there, but she knows how to get to and from the bus stop and home.
She has cigarette money.
She's may walk with a cane, but at least she can walk.

And she is loved.
By God and by me.

Now...let me try it with do it too.

I had sweet tea this morning and a sausage biscuit with hash browns.
My outfit came from the goodwill, but I love to thrift shop anyway.
I have a beautiful home.
We are blessed to have two cars and are now looking for a minivan.
God has given me a love of words.
I have fabric money.
I run to scoop up my Emma everyday.

And I'm loved.
By God and countless friends and family.

Won't you thank Jesus for all that you have today.

As if food and shelter are not enough...
You are loved.

(I'm sharing this as part of the Mom's 30-minute Blog Challenge over at SteadyMom.)

Blessings friends,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Right where He wants Me...

We all go through things in our lives that leave us feeling...
hopeless, lonely, uninspired and hurt.
It's inevitable seeing as we live in a fallen world.
Life doesn't always go OUR way.
It's sucks, I know...but that's just how the cards fall.
As Christians, we can have faith that despite all this, there is a loving God in control.
And He has our best interests in mind.
It's a difficult concept to understand.
It's an even more difficult practice to put into play...
Faith in those really unruly times of life.
We all know faith is easiest displayed when things are going the way we want them to.
Not so much when they're not.

I've been having days like this as of late.
Days where all I want to know is why...
Why am I me?
Why am I Jon's wife?
I'll never question why I'm Emma's mother...
But why, of all the things God has called me to, do they so rarely go according to how I think they should go?
It's has caused me great strife.
I get mad because I feel like a failure.
I'm upset because I don't feel loved {like I want to be loved}.
I feel lost because parenting, no matter how beautiful, is hard.
I lose sleep over things that most people probably don't even care about.
And half of the time I feel like I'm crazy because of all it.

Times like this, due to the noise I create on my own...
I don't hear God.
And to me, He feels a million miles away.
In my deepest time of need.

It's not that He's not there...I just don't hear Him.
More so, I block Him out.

Have you ever read Sarah Young's Jesus Calling?
I haven't, not in it's entirety.  I just got it recently, having heard really great things about it.
It's a little devotional book that reads as if Jesus is speaking directly to you.
The day I bought it was a day I was having a really hard time...with everything.

Do you play games with God?
"I'll do this...if YOU do that?"
"We can play by Your rules, so long as they line up with mine..."
and so on and so on.
Or am I the only one that does this?

So I get this book on this really bad day and immediately I start to bargain.
I challange God.
"God, you know, You seem like you could care less right now that I'm hurting as bad as I about You prove me wrong.  Give me an let me know you're still there and you do in fact care!"

I opened to the appropriate date in my new devotional and this is what it read...

This is the day that I have made.  Rejoice and be glad in it.  Begin the day with open hands of faith, ready to receive all that I am pouring into this brief portion of your life.  Be careful not to complain about anything, not even the weather, since I am the Author of your circumstances.  The best way to handle unwanted situations is to thank Me for them.  This act of faith frees you from resentment and frees Me to work My ways into the situation, so that good emerges from it.
To find joy in this day, you must live within its boundaries.  I knew what I was doing when I divided time into twenty-four -hour segments.  I understand human frailty, and I know that you can bear the weight of only one day at a time.  Do not worry about tomorrow or get stuck in the past.  There is abundant life in My Presence today.
~Scripture references Psalm 118:24 and Philippians 3:12-14

I said, "Go ahead me whatcha got!"

And then I got sucker punched in the gut...I got the proverbial baseball bat to the head...I hit the brick wall of God.  The truth hurt and I bargained for more than I could handle.

He said, "Okay, you want the it is!"

He showed me that He is all I need.  Anything else that I'm under the impression of needing is meaningless.  And that means sacrifice on my part.  Laying down my hurt, my indiscretions, my worries at His feet and knowing that Jesus has died for all of it.  When He created this world, He knew about this day in my life...better still, when He hung on that cross, my broken heart on this very day, is what kept Him there.

And the same is true for you and the yuck in your life.

That's pretty uncomfortable isn't it...knowing that all our junk is no match for God Almighty.  In fact, we should even be thankful for our junk...because Jesus has taken care of it all!! What amazing news!

Dear Jesus, forgive me for questioning Your love for me.  Was it not that love that sent You to Calvary?  Lord, teach my heart to rely only on You, expecting not my way, but Your way for it is best.
I praise you that when I ask for truth, You supply it, no matter how difficult it is to hear.  And I thank you that when I challenge your intentions, You force the submission and repentance of my heart.  All out of adoration for me.  
God, no matter my woes, may you be glorified in everything.  Thank you simply for giving me life.
I love you.

(I'm sharing this as part of Motivate Me Monday over at The Fifth Street Palace.  Check it out!)




Friday, April 9, 2010

I'm Tickled Pink

I'm so excited to announce that I am the featured Tickled Pink Blogger today over at 504 Main!

Holly has created Tickled Pink Fridays where every week she features bloggers from all around for their writing, products, ideas or recipes!  It's really cool!!

This week I'm paired up with some awesome ladies, too!!

Cheri at It's So Very Cheri has the featured product
and Erin at The Mother Load has the featured Green post.
Check them out!

I’m Tickled Pink at 504 Main

Another great reason to head over to Holly's place is she's hosting a giveaway!!

One lucky winner will win this apron from my Spring Collection! 
All the details on how to enter {& get extra entries} are @ 504 Main!

So thanks Holly for having me over!!  And thanks to everyone who reads and enters!!

It truly Tickles me Pink!!

{As a side note I just have to add that Holly and I met and became friends through blogging!! And I think that's just awesome! She's a great lady, wife, mom, blogger and the bestest wedding planner in all the land! She's a creative little thing, too~ check out her tutes! Oh, and she has quite possibly the best family stories, EVER!! Can you tell I just think the world of her!?! Please pay her a visit!!}

Blessings friends,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Writing Nooks in the Bedroom

In light of my recent post on writing, I have decided to create a special spot for myself to work.  We have a home office, and though lots of time went into painting and arranging it, for me the room is as uninspiring as a room can be.  It suits my husband's taste more than mine, which is fine, but even more reason why I want some space of my own.

In our bedroom we have a corner occupied with a nice chair and ottoman.  That was perfect when I was nursing my girl, but she's two now and it's current job is to hold clean, folded laundry.  As convenient as it is, that area could be put to much better use in my opinion.

Ok, so maybe the clothes aren't always folded, but I assure you they are clean.
Moving on.

I envision this space to be my creative sanctuary.  One that houses all the things I need to jumpstart my brain in writing this book of mine.

I've got a writing desk just waiting to be written on.  An empty vase that would love to hold some pens and pencils.  And that picture hanging on the wall...well, that's my Nannie and Papa smooching in it.  What greater inspiration do I need then that beautiful representaion of love?  I happen to think they would much rather hang over my writing nook then {unfolded} laundry.

Now, some would suggest not putting "work" in the bedroom, but honestly it's where I experience some of my greatest ideas what with it's calming environment.  I need to be able to jump up, in the middle of the night if I have to, and jot stuff down while it's with me.  So really, there is not better place than in my bedroom at this point.

Here's some examples of writing nooks that I hope to fashion my own after...

Photo by William Waldron for Elle Decor (Design by Matthew Patrick Smith- Oct. '06 issue)

Photo and design by Sarah Gilbane Interiors

Aren't they lovely!?!  Despite me drawing from elements of both styles, mine won't be near as ornate or extravigant.  But it will be groovy in it's own little way, and it will be mine which will make it beautiful in my eyes.

I promise to post pics of the AFTER once it's all done.

Do you have a special nook of your own in your house?  Tell me about it and how it inspires you.

Ideas and inspiration for this post (and my nook) can be attributed to the awesome post over at So Haute: Decor & More, titled Writing DESKS in the Bedroom.

(I'm sharing this as part of Things I Love Thursday over at The Diaper Diaires.  Check it out!)

Blessings friends,

Monday, April 5, 2010

On Writing...

I've often eluded to the fact that there is a book floating around in this ole noggin' of mine.
There's no doubt about it.

And this blog is, in and of itself, the greatest writing therapy I could ever have.

Yet, I feel as if I'm always writing about...

Maybe that's the wrong word, because I know I write about something, it just feels as if it lacks purpose sometimes.

It's a strange dynamic that I experience with this here blog and the overwhelming pursuit of moving beyond my piddly musings to a more well thought out and constructed prose...on actual paper.

It's a struggle.  A battle of wills.  And it involves God.  My pride.  Lack of confidence and stage fright (or page fright rather) like you would never believe.

I know with every ounce of my soul that what I write about here at SustainingCreativity is what God has called me to write about.  Most of it pertains to my faith and the messiness of my heart and that's all from Him.  But even the quirky little Kelli-isms of my life are His will, I believe, as well.  I pray that this blog and my meanderings honor Him.  That He touches people through it.  That thoughts are provoked and hearts are stirred.

But it's not enough.

I am to a point, in the here and now of my writing, that I am called to something more.

That more is a book.  It's up there in my brain and God keeps telling me to work it out.  He keeps telling me to put a pen to paper and He'll do the rest.  No matter the writer's block or the incomprehensible flow.  "Don't worry about getting published or being read," He says to me.

Just write it down.
So even though I keep telling you all about one day doing it....I have two choices.  I can either quit running my mouth about it, be obedient and do it. 


I can just not do it.

I think I struggle with this because sometimes I lack understanding in the message that I'm to relay to potential readers.  That scares me being the planner that I am.  But I'm missing the point that God is as big as creating the heavens and the earth, parting seas and much much'd think I'd trust Him to guide my words.

It's just a scary idea.

Excuse #1: I don't have time
Excuse #2: I've never written a book therefore I don't know how
Excuse #3: I don't have a Mac (because all great writer's have Mac's right?)
Excuse #4:  If this blog is all about God, then He won't be so upset if I don't aspire to anything else He wills for me.
Excuse #5: Who would read it anyway?
Excuse #6: It's too hard (as I say in my best whiny voice WHILE stamping my foot)

And Excuse #7...

I have had seasons (I'm currently in one) where I have felt I was out of control and everything was beyond my reach.  But in those times, I have always felt I was in control of my writing.  How can I let that go?  And let it be controlled by someone bigger than me?  Without being certain of the final product?

Ahem (can we say control freak?)...
Yep, like I said, pride.

In any event, as much as I would like to go with choice two, my quiet, still whisper of a God is in full tilt bullhorn mode.  And I can't avoid Him.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, in an act of being held accountable, I'm writing a book.
It's going to be hard.  And it's probably going to be a long process.  One that you will tire of me whining about.
But will you join me in this journey?
Will you pray for me as I embark on this call in my life?
I'd so like it if you did!

I'd also like to hear about what God is calling you to in your life...that you might be meeting with resistance.
Tell me about it, please.  There is such strength (and reassurance) in numbers!  I think we'd all be the better in knowing we're not alone and maybe, just maybe, we can help one another along in placing it at the foot of the Cross; truly relinquishing control and letting God do what He does best.

(I'm sharing this as part of the Mom's 30-minute Blog Challenge over at SteadyMom.  Check it out!)

Blessings friends(and thank you for reading),

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday....

"The planets, their civilizations and their loads of people, all need a central sun- to hold them together, to keep them wheeling in good order, to bequeath them shape and meaning.
History needs a center.  But if that center is empty death, strengthless death, it cannot hold.  Things fly apart into absurdity.  Finally, every deed is hollow, ourselves mere spasms in a mindless infinity, and all our glorious history remembered only so long as it is; forgotten, when it is not, forever: a nothing.  A vanity.  We are the dreams the comets can't recall.  We were, for a while, a walking dust.
But the Creator God put a cross in the very center of human history- to BE it's center, ever.
The Son of God, the gift of God, the love of God, the endless light of the self-sufficient God filled the emptiness which was death at our core.  People, here is eternal life in the very midst of us!!
Now, therefore, it is the person and the passion of Jesus Christ which defines us; and because of him we go no longer down to nothing: our end is the beginning of a perfect union with God, the Beginner of Everything."

~Excerpt from Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin Jr.

Oh how Jesus adores us, that he suffered immense pain and then death so that we might know the love of God.  Remember that today, friends.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Really, that's what she was saying as I shot this!
Gosh I love this girl!

Happy Easter!