Thursday, May 31, 2012

me : weekly loves and some updates

Hi y'all! It's been a while since I've done a "weekly loves" post so it's time to do another one. I've got lots of loves and random things to share with y'all so be prepared, this post may be all over the place. ;) 

I love the aqua & coral red color combination. You might remember my post from earlier this week about that, and let me tell you, my love is just growing stronger as days go by. In fact, I painted my nails yesterday and today I jazzed them up a bit: 

I just did one coat of Sally Hensen's Insta-dri nail color in Sonic Bloom.
Then I placed a dab of Nicole's My Lifesaver on a postcard and used a toothpick to pick up the color and dab it in spots on my nails. After they dried I did one coat of topcoat. And VOILA! I love them! They look very summery and, of course, I love the colors!

I love my mobiles! I love designing them and making them and I love that they are selling!

I love that I finally got something from idea to sketch to prototype to completed product and that it looks just as good as I imagined!

I also love that one of my best friends is opening a photography studio/home decor boutique back home and that she wants to sell my mobiles! I've been working like a mad lady trying to get plenty finished to ship to her! (Which partly explains why I've been a little MIA lately on the blog. Life has been busy!) I'm so excited about this new opportunity and I'm really hoping my mobiles are a hit!!

I love that I already have at least 10 other mobile designs in my head right now... Just sitting there, waiting to be made. I think, I've found my niche. ;) 

I love that I finally got my first shipment sent off to my friend and that I have some breathing room before the next shipment. 

I love that it was my birthday last week and that one of my sweet friends, Ashley, sent me this darling necklace from the new shop she manages called The Vintage Pearl

I love spiffy little DIYs that come out better than you expect! But you'll have to wait till next week to see it!

I love blogging and I love that I've got some brand new weekly features to introduce you to in June (so it starts tomorrow!!). I've been working on some new series/features and finally got a couple that I love and am so looking forward to sharing with you. 

I also love how I'm growing as my blog is also growing and how much my blog has changed me. Anyone else know what I'm talking about?

What do you love this week?

me : A World of Encouragement {Challenge}

Sometimes I get caught up in this "perfect" world of blogging, where it seems that every blogger has the perfect kitchen, perfect hair, perfectly manicured nails, perfect photos, perfect kids, and I look around at my messy kitchen, chipped polish on my nails, fussy kiddo and think, "Gosh, how do they have it so together and I don't?" Anyone else have that problem?

Being a blogger is tough. Non-bloggers (and even some bloggers) don't really get it. You work for hours on a post and you get one comment, sometimes none. You work on a recipe and taking pictures of your food and you don't get any feedback on if someone tries your recipe and likes (or hates) it. You spend hours and hours and HOURS tweaking your blog, getting your buttons just so, working on your header or layout or background and people have no idea how much time you've spent on it. And you still don't grow in followers. I know some people spend lots of money on their blogs, I don't, but some do. And for what? For the comments? The views? The affirmation that your voice is out there, being heard (read)? Or is it for you? Is the whole point of blogging to just blog? To write it out, and if your blog grows, great. If it doesn't, great. 

Blogging has so many benefits. I've met some amazing and lovely people through blogging that I never would have met otherwise. Some have become friends, some just acquaintances. We share our recipes and DIYs, our day to day stories, our celebrations, our pitfalls. It's a community and sometimes, even a family. The bloggers that I've become friends with, they know me. They know more about my dreams, goals, aspirations than most members of my family. They know more about what I like and don't like and the reasons behind both than many of my RL (real life) friends. 

But still, just like with regular life, I experience these moments of self-consciousness, sometimes even self-loathing. Because I start the comparison game and start envying the bloggers I see that always have great clothes and perfect hair. I am jealous of the bloggers that get to go to all these amazing blogger meet-ups and seminars.  Non-bloggers can't understand that. 

I had high hopes for last weekend. I wanted to get BB's room painted. That didn't happen for a few various reasons. I thought it would be okay because I'd get more mobiles made. That didn't happen either. The baby was SUPER fussy all last weekend and needless to say, my nerves were more than just a little frazzled.

And all of my doubts and insecurities and self-pity kept coming back to one question: How does everyone else have it all together, and I don't?

I haven't been blogging as much lately and part of it is because I've really been busy with other things going on in my life, but also because I just didn't feel like I had anything worth blogging about. Who wants to come read a blog post about some frazzled, over-busy mom/wife/woman who can't get it together?

This week I've been really working on these feelings and Monday night I sat down with my laptop and The Bachelorette on DVR and I wrote out several blog posts to use over the next few weeks. I brainstormed about new series, new post ideas, new topics of discussion and it felt good to work that bloggy-part of my brain. I also thought about my feelings of... just being inept. And how much I feel like that, not just as a blogger, but also as a wife, mother, woman. Most of the time, I do pretty well at giving myself a break and realizing that I'm doing a good job at everything. But sometimes, like the past week or so, I let those feelings creep in and it's all I can do to not think I'm just a walking disaster. 

I know that some, if not all, of you reading this right now are nodding your head and thinking, "Mmmhmmm... I'm with you girl! I know exactly what you mean!" Which brings me to my next question: When did we decide to stop being real, and start faking perfection?

Are you perfect? Am I perfect? Is anyone out there perfect? So why do we spend so much time trying to fake perfection?? Do you trust my recipe less if my pictures aren't stunning and my kitchen in the background is littered with sippy cups? Does my DIY mean nothing to you if you see my messy office and countless other projects going on in the background? Does this blog post mean nothing to you if I tell you that I haven't showered or brushed my teeth yet?

Basically... do I lose all credibility/validity if I show you my imperfections? I've realized this week that if that's the case, shame on you. If that's the case, that's your problem. Not mine. 

We live in this world where we critique everyone. We check out the articles about celebrities and what they wore and how terrible they looked and how they messed up again and got arrested. And we sit back in our good-looking outfits, not being arrested and  we roll our eyes at the privilege they have that we don't, and how we think they're abusing it. And it's not just celebs that we critique. We talk about people who do things that we disagree with and we offer our opinions of what they should or should not have done. Even though we weren't there, we aren't them, we don't know what their life is actually like. And even worse... It's also the mothers with the fussy babies, the wives with the piles of laundry and messy kitchens, the women who wear too much makeup or not enough. We've turned on ourselves. We've started tearing down other women, critiquing them, criticizing them. And I can't decide if it's worse when we do that in front of them, or behind their backs. Because either way, you're causing damage. Either way, you're tearing down a person, a woman. 

Which brings me to my final question: What would happen if we built up and encouraged, instead of tore down and criticized? What if instead of making a snarky comment about a mom struggling with her kid(s), you offered a word of encouragement or even a helping hand? What if instead of looking down on the wife with the laundry piles and the dust-covered furniture, you reminded her that you, too, have had weeks like that and it's perfectly okay. What if instead of criticizing the woman who has a different style of makeup/hair/wardrobe than you, you made her feel beautiful from the inside out? What if we started encouraging all the women that we come in to contact with? And eventually, raised our little girls to know how to encourage, instead of how to condescend? What if we took the sarcastic remarks out of our life, and replaced them with words of grace, moments of mercy?

What would a world of encouragement look like?

And finally, a challenge. Maybe you've read through this post and you've agreed with part (or all) of what I've said. Maybe you're doing some self-evaluating right now and trying to decide if you've been more of a critic or more of an encourager. I hope you are. And I hope you'll join me in the challenge for the next 24 hours to send as many words of encouragement as you can. Maybe it's a text to someone who's going through something that's difficult for them. Maybe it's sending a card or note to a friend, or someone at church/work/carpool circle. Maybe it's tweeting a friend or sending someone a facebook message. Maybe it's to your spouse. Maybe... it's to you. Maybe you need to send yourself a word of encouragement. There's no "goal" and there's no limit to the number of encouragements you can send. But try it out. Try out this encouragement thing and see what a world of encouragement looks like. 

And if you accept this challenge, and try this out, come back and tell me how it went. How did it make you feel to give encouragement? To receive encouragement? 

As for me, I'm doing the challenge too! And I'm going to start with you. I don't know who you are or what you're going through in your life, but whether it's big or small, someone else has been there. Whatever it is, you are not alone. I pray that if you are reading this you know that you are loved, that you are treasured, that you were created for a purpose and not by accident. I hope you break away from the comparison game and realize that you are uniquely different from everyone else, and it's completely okay if you like to do things a little different. And mostly, I want you to keep going. Keep doing what you're doing and being as much YOU as you can be. Remember that you're only human, you aren't perfect, and you DO NOT have to act like you are. ♥

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

inspiration : Aqua & Coral Red {office makeover}

Hi everyone!

Like I said last week, I'm itching to makeover all of the rooms in our house. Unfortunately, our budget doesn't allow for that. But, there's plenty of room in our budget for coming up with new makeover inspirations. Right now, I'm completely mad for the color combination of aqua and coral red. I blame Anthropologie and this vase I saw on my first (and only so far) visit to the store. 

Which I've got in my "bag" on right now, I just haven't pulled the trigger yet on it. But I love it!  I love the colors! But like I said, we're not ready for an office makeover yet. We still haven't started the makeover for BB's room, although we did buy the paint last week. So I browsed around on Etsy and put together a cute little treasury of aqua and coral red items to see how they looked together:

And to put this more in perspective, here's a little inspirational board for my office makeover (option 1):

Office Makeover Option 1

It was hard to find the exact colors I am wanting for my inspiration board. But I think you get the idea. Is there a limit to the number of rooms in your house that you can paint grey? Because right now, I want to paint at least 3 rooms grey. I can't help it, it's such a great neutral color to build on. ;) 

What do you think? Do you love this color combination as much as I do?

{and what do you think of my new signature?}

Monday, May 21, 2012

inspiration : room makeover {toddler boy edition}

Hi y'all! We've been living here in this new house for 9 months now, and while I wanted to wait until our other house sold before starting the makeovers for this house, we still have no prospective buyers and I'm itching to get started on this house. Right now, we just have the one foster kiddo, many of you know him as BB or Baby Boy, on here since I can't disclose his real name. I've been thinking and planning on things to do to his room for a while now and I think I've finally just reached a point where I'm going to do it. Or at least get started on it. So, I'm hoping to buy some paint soon and get started on BB's room makeover maybe in the next week or so. 

When thinking about how I wanted to do his room, there were a couple things I knew for sure:

1) It needed to be a room that could easily be converted back and forth between a room for a boy and/or a room for a girl (since being foster parents, those things could change). So no all blue or all pink painted rooms. 

2) Keeping this in mind I knew I wanted the walls to be painted grey with at least one wall (maybe 2) painted with white chevron stripes over the grey. 

3) I wanted some cool (hip) colors that would be great for BB to grow up with (in case we do get to adopt him). So no baby-blues or an over-abundance of pastels. 

4) I'm madly in love with the chevron (aka zig zig) pattern and wanted to incorporate it. 

And so, thinking about all of that, when I was planning his birthday party a while back (something else I couldn't disclose) I picked the colors of teal and lime green for his party and decided they would be great for his bedroom too. Here's a collection of where I'm going with his room:

BB's bedroom makeover

Lovely huh?? Like I said, the walls will all be painted grey with one or two walls painted with a white and grey chevron pattern. And then for the accent colors we are going to do teal and lime green (kind of a chartreuse shade) with lighter greens and aqua blues mixed in as well. 

Here's what his room looks like now:

The boy who lived here previously was sports-obsessed, so he had a sports-themed valance over the vertical blinds. The walls were white, except for the one wall that was painted "baseball field green". 

Joey's mom is working on (or maybe has already finished) an afghan for BB in a chevron pattern with shades of blues, lime greens, greys and white. We already have the blue paper lanterns in the top left corner and the lime green paper lantern strands in the bottom right corner. I also made him a paper pennant banner for his party that is hanging over his bed right now, but will be rearranged when his room is redone. My mom is going to make his bedding and curtains, as soon as I go pick out the fabric and send it to her. I love that the grandmothers can get involved, it makes things so much more meaningful. 

I'm trying to decide on if we should paint his crib white (and if that would be safe) or if we should just buy a new white crib. Painting would definitely be cheaper, I just question the safety of the chemicals in paint. Does anyone know if this is okay or if this is a big no-no?? We're also going to buy new white doors (and maybe new white trim and baseboards for the room and the closet. The doors right now are old, scuffed up a lot, with lots of nicks, scrapes and old tape stuck to them. 

We're going to buy some new blinds (white, wood-like, horizontal blinds). If the valance can be refinished, I might keep it. If not, it's a goner. And I'm also trying to decide what to do about the dresser. Possibly buying a new one, possible just refinishing this one and painting it (maybe chartreuse?). We will need to buy some new shelves and I've got a few DIYs in mind for decorations, including yarn-covered letters, using the leftover yarn from the afghan making. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that Dr. Seuss styled bookshelf in my collection, but it's over $700. Not sure if Joey's dad could build something like that, or if we might save up to be able to buy it, or just forget about it and try something else. But isn't it amazing!!??!?!?!

And, as I am a lover of books and music and want our children to also be lovers of books, I plan to do some paintings with quotes from various books and songs. It'll be grand. I think when the whole thing comes together, it will be amazing. For one, because I actually finished a project (haha), and two, because it will be like something out of a magazine but right here in our home. Eat your heart out Good Housekeeping! ;) 

I'm really excited about everything and I'm definitely looking forward to getting started. I think it would be a great room for him for several years down the road and can easily be updated as his tastes, interests change. And if the unthinkable happens and he goes back to his family and say we end up fostering a little girl, I think swapping out the teal and blue colors for some fuschias and pinks, would be easy and makes the room more versatile and foster-parent friendly. 

What do you think? Do you like my style? And what do you know about repainting cribs? Yay or Nay on that idea?

Friday, May 18, 2012

goodies : Pride & Prejudice

Hi y'all! And happy Friday! I wanted to post this yesterday, but Blogger was being a little temperamental and wouldn't let me. It's okay Blogger, I know you have bad weeks sometimes. 

So for last Christmas I finally got the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice starring Colin Firth (hubba hubba) and Jennifer Ehle. And even though I've been wanting it forever, it took me this long to finally watch it. Friday nights have become my craft nights. The hubby keeps an eye on BB, I go into our bedroom with some crafting stuff and I watch my shows from the week or a movie or something. 
 Last Friday I sat down with my crafting stuff and watched Pride & Prejudice. It was glorious!!! I have to admit, I am a big fan of the Keira Knightley version, and while some people think that makes me less credible as a Jane Austen fan I don't care. I love Matthew Macfayden and think he's a perfect Mr. Darcy. 

After watching the BBC version, I definitely want to watch the other version and re-read the novel. It's one novel that I usually read once a year. And, to share that love of Pride & Prejudice with you, here are some great finds from Etsy that you might love as much as I do:

I have seriously featured Brookish items on my blog more than any other Etsy shop. I have just loved her shop from the instant I discovered it. I have been hinting about wanting several mugs and other delightful things for several birthdays, anniversaries, Christmases and Valentine's Days. So far, I haven't received anything from the hubby. My birthday is next week and I'm giving him ONE MORE CHANCE. If I don't get anything from Brookish from him, I'm taking matters into my own hands and buying my own stuff. Every morning when I have my coffee and sift through the coffee cups I've collected, I wish I had one or three Brookish mugs to use. I'll have them soon, one way or another! ;) 

I've reached another decision. I'm going to makeover the front bathroom with a P & P theme. And I think I need this towel to go in it. Either that or one of the prints, also from Brookish. 

You know you want this shirt.

Fact: I'm kind of a hoarder of tote bags. I just find them insanely useful for taking things to church or coffee shops or road trips when I want to keep some books and things together without using my backpack or my purse. I also use them for organizing. For example, I have one in my office closet full of scrapbooking stuff, one full of Sunday School lessons, one full of VBS stuff, and the list goes on. Seriously, organize with totes, it's easy and when you're ready to work on a project, you can easily take it with you wherever you need to. 

Hmm... maybe I should decorate my office in P&P stuff instead of the bathroom? If so, then I'll need this! ;) 

I'm not a fan of tearing up books. It breaks my heart a little every time I see it. But if it must be done, because the book can't be saved or used for reading anymore, then this is a great idea. So lovely. 

Such an offensive line, but so well said. 

Again with the book pages. But this is so sweet and lovely, I don't even care!

How pretty! I just love this, it's so happy!

I definitely want this for the bathroom makeover!

If the hubby were wise, he would give me my P&P goodies with this card... ;) Someone should really point this blog post out to him. ;) haha!

I love this shirt! In fact, I love it so much, I've already contacted the owner and will hopefully get this shirt soon. I'm getting the blue shirt version, but both are lovely! 

Are you a big Pride & Prejudice fan like I am?

I've decided I need to read another Jane Austen novel, any suggestions? Which novel should I read next?