Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Display

I gain so much inspiration from my friend Becca.  We seem to feed off each others creativity.  An Interior Designer by nature, she always has a vision.  Lately, to be festive, as well as challenge her skill, she's been putting together unique holiday displays.  They're beautiful!!

Becca and I grew up together ... but sadly, four years ago, my job moved me to Canada.  I must admit, it's VERY hard being so far from my best friend.  I miss her in every area of my life.  But we've been trying to find things we can do to better connect over our distance ... and she suggested creating these displays as a common challenge.  So here's my first attempt ... the Spring Display.

  • Vintage Hare Graphic from the Graphic Fairy 
  • Song of Solomon Verse
  • 5x7 and 8x10 frame from Marshalls / TJMaxx / Winners
  • Vintage floral paper, cut to 5x7
  • Acid-free Craft Paper (I used this paper for the Verse)
  • White Cardstock
  • Picture easel
  • Some kind of festive candy dish (Easter candy ... Cadbury chocolate eggs are my favorite!)
  • A Pot from the dollar store
  • An artificial ivy ball from the dollar store
  • A flower - real or fake ... someone gave me a carnation yesterday, so I put that to use
  • A small Bernardin or Ball canning jar (old jelly jar or small vase would look great too!)
  • Early Espresso Ink Pad from Stampin' Up
  • Versamark Ink Pad from Stampin' Up or any local craft store
  • Bliss Stamp Set from Stampin' Up

The frames I found  at my local discount store are a beautiful vintage style.  I printed the images, the Vintage Hare on white cardstock, and the Verse on craft paper, trimmed them down, then distressed the edges with Early Espresso.  I stamped the Bliss graphic with Versamark on the craft paper to accent the vintage feel on the verse, then crumpled the paper (be careful, or it will tear) ... amazingly, the Bliss graphic kind of matched the frame accent - a happy surprise!  The rest was simply loading the frames and arranging to suit.

I love the festive addition it's made to my home.  I walk by this spot at least 50 times a day.  It welcomes me ... and reminds me that God had kept His promise yet again :: Spring is here!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Organized Simpliciy

This week I read a fabulous book - Organized Simplicity, by Tsh Oxenreider.  And it was everything I needed to hear - the perfect "effort" inspiration as my family seemingly emerges from stuffy winter hibernation.

Most people crave simplicity in their lives and homes, yet they keep piling on the activities ... and buying more stuff.  Endless schedules that only bring stress and exhaustion ... and houses so full of "things" they can't help but feel like they're drowning because there's no way to possibly keep up with it all!

I'm a person who purges often, yet I still have so much stuff.  And what I have, I can't seem keep in an organized system, to spite a creative and valiant effort.  I spin circles trying to keep the craziness from taking over, but honestly, I've never really stopped to evaluate what is truly baseline important.  Do I want to run myself ragged constantly zipping about the town, only to go into a panic of cleaning and and organizing every other waking hour I'm at home :: NO!  Ok then, Wendy ... what do you really want to do with my time?  I wrote it down:
  • Spend quality time with my daughter, Morgan
  • Go to the gym four mornings a week
  • Read more
  • Create more
  • Blog more
  • Garden
  • Take a family walk at least once a week
  • Attend Thursday night fitness classes at church
  • Truly relax in my home
Now ... what REALLY stops me from accomplishing these things?  Well, of course work :: I do work full time, BUT - what else?

Answer: My House. 
I love my house and I'm so thankful for it, don't get me wrong.  But I can't get a handle on it.  It takes me all weekend to clean, and even though I have a very helpful husband, I never quite get done ... then, it builds and builds and I just feel so overwhelmed.  Add that on to church activities, school activities, Morgan's sports, friends, family, etc etc etc ... as my mother would say: "We're running around like chickens with our heads cut off!"

But, as Tsh points out in her book, if we can scale back the amount of possessions we own (the clutter), while being more deliberate with the activities we choose to be involved in as a family (learn to say no), it will scale back that stress.  But where to even begin?  Her suggestion: A Family Purpose Statement!  So again, I grabbed my pen and started writing:
  • As a family we strive to put God first in all we do:  the words we speak, the relationships we make and the way we spend our time.
  • We strive to keep a home that’s clean, cozy and clutter-free, providing a relaxing shelter of love and acceptance.
  • We show love by helping each other and spending time together, as well as reaching out to others who need our help and hospitality.
  • We stay active and enjoy the outdoor world God has provided us.
  • We practice wellness by eating locally grown whole, fresh foods that energize our minds as well as our bodies.
  • We encourage all forms of creativity.
  • We keep true to how God made us: understanding that weaknesses only bring our strengths into focus.
Now I can filter every activity and every item in my house through this statement.  Does it somehow fit who we are, what we're doing or what we believe?  If not, it goes.  I can't wait to get started!!! :)

I re-purposed my old mini loaf pans as office storage in my desk.
Cool, huh!  All Tsh's idea ...
Read more about Tsh's inspirational ideas on her blog ... hopefully it inspires you to make an effort to adopt simplicity, as it did for me.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Journaling Challenge

Challenge - that's exactly what it is!  I want to journal, but most the time I just plain forget ... and the days I do remember, I often open my journal and stare at the blank page before me - "What about today was memorable?  Ummmm ... "

BUT!  Last week I came across this little gem ...  

I haven't received it in the mail yet, but I'm ordering it - and I can't wait!  Each date poses a muse or question ... a statement that you can make about your day to help you remember where you've been and what you've experienced, such as:  "Can people change?" ... "What are you reading right now?" ... "What is the oldest thing you are wearing today?" ... "What was the last restaurant you went to?" ... "Was today typical?" ...

I don't just want to glide through life skimming the surface.  I want to be fully immersed in my days.  I will make the effort to document the good times ... and the hard ones too.  I want to live purposefully and inspired ... and when I look back, I want to see a life that paints with a million colours a clear picture of His presence and His guidance.  (Jeremiah 55:8-9)

Blushing Bride Owl

I love the Stampin' Up owl (if you can't tell ;) ) ... and I don't think I'm alone!  I've used the Punch Bunch set or my Two-Step Owl Punch for about every kind of card you could think of.  I appreciate the versatility ... and this pink little owl bride is a prime example.  I made this card for my sister-in-law-to-be, Dena's wedding shower last Saturday - simply pretty, fun, elegant ... just like her!

I attached the veil and the flowers using double-sided tape and dimensional dots.

Materials (All materials are Stampin' Up! products unless otherwise noted):
  • Blushing Bride Ink
  • Blushing Bride Cardstock
  • In-Colour Decorative Paper pack
  • Gelly Roll Pen - Clear Star
  • 2" wide ribbon from the dollar store (for the veil)
  • Pearls and Accents (from the dollar section at Michael's)
  • Double-sided tape and Dimensional Dots
  • Punch Bunch Set
  • Always Elegant Set
  • Itty Bitty Bits Set
  • Tiny Tiny Wishes
  • Two-Step Owl Extra-Large Punch
  • EK Success 1" Scalloped Circle Punch
  • Itty Bitty Shapes Punch Set
  • Scalloped Trim Border Punch

Have fun experimenting with this fun little owl.  Really any combination of stamp sets and embellishments will work - whatever you have on hand!