Thursday, February 28, 2013

mr right and little miss t-shirt tutorial: adventures with freehand cutting and freezer stencils

as promised here is the tutorial for my mr. right and little miss shirts
our valentine shirts this year as per our tradition

mind you, the idea for these shirts came as so many of my ideas come
nearing a deadline
{valentine’s eve}
and i just kind of start and the project takes on a life of its own life
i have to say it is such a fun and addicting process ... that of creating
being inspired and then bam... ideas start flowing... images flash into your mind...
your hand working with a medium...morphing materials into something completely new
something of your own creation
i highly recommend it

my inspiration for this project came from this piece of scrapbook paper that i purchased at the dangerously incredible store Archivers in Minnesota {yes, i promise my post on my trip is coming soon!!!}

oh the restroom icons all cutesied out

*freezer paper
*exacto knife
*acrylic or fabric paint
*foam paint brush
*iron & ironing board
*fabric medium {a good option}
*silhouette cameo machine {makes some things easier, but not necessary}

i decided to use freezer paper to create my design as i have come to love from my first experiment with it on our shirts for last year’s MS walk.... go team MJ vs MS  

i began with my trusty sidekick, my silhouette cameo, to create the rounded rectangular outline and text below.  i chose the spin cycle font.  for my hubby’s shirt the rectangle measured approx 5” x 8” and my baby girl’s measured 4” x 6”.  the boys’ i did at varying sizes in between

SKETCH out your mr. right or little miss.  don’t be afraid to freehand.  my first one took many tries.  use your first one as a base for any additional designs.  of course it was too fun to only design one, so i made each one unique.  when designing your figure, make sure to pay attention to which portions you want painted and which spaces you want left the background color.  click here, here, here, here, and here to print off my rough photo templates for each design.  {remember it was in the wee hours of twilight that my inspiration flourished}

trace your design onto the middle section of the rounded rectangle cut out by your silhouette, making sure to trace it on the non-shiny side of the freezer paper.  using an exacto knife, carefully CUT out your design, making sure to keep all the little pieces that will be ironed on.

place a piece of cardboard inside your shirt beneath where your design will be painted.  place your tshirt on the ironing board. set your iron to dry, medium setting.  situate your freezer paper on your tshirt in the desired location.  IRON over the freezer paper several times paying attention to the edges. i found it was easier to iron everything on lightly and then peel off the little pieces that i wanted exposed.

if using acrylic PAINT, you can add fabric medium instead of using fabric paint, dab your paint onto your stencil in an up and down motion to prevent painting under the freezer paper.  i choose to remove my stencil right away.  i let mine dry overnight.

viola! your own tshirt design. a great alternative to screen printing.

have a go at creating your own t-shirt design and see where your pen takes you
free your mind and the rest will follow
a little wisdom from en vogue

would love to see what you create.
share, please share.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

minette and milo giveaway: the peacock frock

morning to you
today i am giddy to be able to offer you an chance to win this luscious jacket
this ruffled peacoat has an outer quilted layer in a subdued version of the pantone color of the year, emerald
and is lined with a velvety chenille-like material
your sassy little miss will be warm rolling into town no matter snow or shine
 photo minetteandmilologo_zpsee0184fe.jpg
minette and milo is an up and coming online children's designer clothing boutique with big plans in the works
and big hearts
i discovered them through Instagram during one of their giveaways {i'm asking you again if you've joined IG??}
although i didn't win, i was chosen to be a recipient of their '26 gifts of love'
in which 26 others would receive a gift in honor of the 26 souls who lost their lives at Sandy Hook
such a powerful display of good will

today you have a chance to win
worn below by my felicity 

here are a few other items from their shop:
if you follow me on Instagram you may have also seen previews of two items i have purchased from them and have witnessed for yourself their fun, unique style

one lucky Sweet Dreams are Made of These readers will win
*this giveaway will close at midnight on Saturday March 2nd PST
*this giveaway is open to blog readers worldwide
*the winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter and will have 48 hours to respond to the winner notification email.  after 48 hours another winner will be chosen.
*the winner will be able to choose from sizes 2T, 3T, 4T, 5-6, or 7-8

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**don't forget that following my blog as well as following & reposting on Instagram earn you extra entries, so make sure to let me know through Rafflecopter that you are a Sweet Dreams subscriber and Instagram follower**

good luck to you all and i look forward to choosing a lucky winner!

Monday, February 25, 2013

a little fire under my feet: spark- my word for the year

last monday became my new January 1st
there may be a few January 1s throughout the year 
but i was grateful to once again experience that invigorating feeling of renewal that comes with a fresh start

sickness came and stuck around for a ridiculous amount of time
previous to our bout with the flu and bronchitis
in those early days of 2013
i had seen posts of commitments, resolutions, and inspirational words of the year
i too had made my own list

for some reason this year’s list just seems awfully familiar...
hmmm i wonder if the carousel ride of aspiring to overcome my weaknesses may ever stop
up and down
up and down
round and round i go
i’m getting kind of dizzy over here
i hope this year i may find that magic switch to release my carousel horse to the track so that i may finally cross that finish line

well i’m going to do it
i may get distracted and stop off for some cotton candy along the way
or divert to see the glorious colors of those wildflowers in the field aways off
or fall out of the saddle a few times
but i’m going to do it
i will cross that finish line of change, of improvement
of conquering the self sabotage of fear, defeatist thoughts, and lack of planning
and earn myself one of those pretty flowered wreaths... oh wait those are for the horse

my word of the year
{better late than never}

{photo adapted from here}

that’s all i need 
that’s where its going to begin
with something small
but something fiery
something to move me to action
nothing overwhelming
but as it catches hold in varying parts of my life it is going to spread and glow

i have had several experience with SPARKS already this year
the first had nothing to do with my own spark
but the spark of others
one young teenager girl who felt the desire to serve others, told her mom she wanted her family to come clean our house
her mother and dear friend of mine called and asked if they could come do this that night
grateful and feeling overwhelmed by the state of my home, i agreed
of course i spent the following hours cleaning all i could before they got here
but this family of 7 finished the job and our home was beautiful
from that day on, i protected that cleaning and our home stayed clean for an
i felt an enormous weight lifted
i was happier
so were the kids
there was less fighting
peace i tell you, such a peace and a lightening
until....we got that horrible, terrible, no good, very bad flu
even the first couple of days i found myself doing the dishes and sweeping the floor
through my horrible aches, zombie head, dizziness...
fighting to keep up
alas it grounded me
oh i’m determined to get that back 
it will return

but it showed me what a little SPARK can do
it lightens
it enlivens
it empowers
it spreads

more SPARKS i am excited to share with you soon:
*organizational tools
*my incredible Minnesota trip
*recipes given
*recognizing the girl in the mirror
*plans for my blog

i’m getting off this carousel
on this uphill track
but i’m not worried because
i’ve got a little fire under my feet

what is your word for the year?  would love to hear!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

my trail of reminders: awake, for God is a God of miracles

whether it was the looming cloud cover today
or the fact that i sat at the top of the stairs and wept in disbelief as i watched my beloved husband scoot down the stairs one tread at a time 
his legs did not have the strength to step down them
then to stagger as he tried to stand at the bottom
all with determination to make it on his own has been heavy

but there has also been a trail of reminders throughout my day that has culminated into an undeniable divine message for me

as we drove to school under a grey sky this verse of this hymn parted the heavens momentarily to remind me of peace and hope
when dark clouds of trouble hang o’re usand threaten our peace to destroy,there is hope smiling brightly before us,and we know that deliv’rance is nigh.we doubt not the Lord nor his goodness.we’ve proved him in days that are past.
later on i was able to dedicate some time for reflection
and a particular verse spoke out to my heavy spirit
behold he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God.  Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word.
awoke unto God
what a powerful imagery of indescribable brightness
awakening unto him out of the deep sleep of our grief, anger, loneliness, pride
and though we may be in the very midst, heart, core surrounded by our thickest darkness
oh my father’s favorite word
our souls will be illuminated by the light of his promises, his gospel, his love
our hearts will be changed

this is a promise i will cling on to
reach for

the last breadcrumb of my trail to hope amidst my trouble came in an expected way
my stalwart sister in law Jani that you have all come to know through her strength during the scariest of trials,
one that is difficult to summarize briefly
but one of putting faith in the Lord and doctors that Abigail’s newborn heart could be reconstructed and she could live, grow, develop
Jani asked me to make a copy of the video that i created using those first images of their new little family, 
the air flight helicopter, the waiting, the life saving tube, the moments of first connection between parent and child
a video that only showed the beginnings of her long struggle
she wanted to show this as a testament of overcoming adversity to her young women whom she teaches for our church 
youth who by looking at this energetic little one
may never have guessed the treacherous trials she has passed through

as i saw the miracle of abigail unfold before my eyes once again
i wanted to run and hold my vivacious little niece
one who will be undergoing surgery once again in a few short months

she is a living testimony to me that God is a God of miracles 
and that whatever difficulty i am going through, he will lead me through it
I am in his hands
Mike is in his hands
this trail of divine signatures was the perfect reminder today
that i doubt not the Lord nor his goodness
for he has proved it in days that are past
and he will prove it again and again,
each and every day as i awake unto Him
and though i may be surrounded by darkness at times
my soul will be illuminated by that knowledge that i am in His hands
His hands 
a God of endless things but most of all a Father in the truest sense of the title
of all the titles of respect and honor and admiration that are given to Deity,he has asked us to address him as Father

{for the beginning of Abigail's life miracle start here and to read more click here or on the label 'Abigail' in the sidebar
to read more about our journey with Multiple Sclerosis click here }

Saturday, February 16, 2013

3 mr rights and a little miss: a valentine tradition

happy valentine's day
from my mr. rights and little miss

our annual 'matching' valentine's shirts has to be one of my favorite traditions
catch a peak at our past years tees here, here and our first year with wee O and E here
i love seeing how much they have grown in just a single year

felicity steals the show in this one

our traditional jump photo
tate's hair reached rockstar status here

and this is how things ended up
spins in dad's coveted office chair
{our disneyland passes expired, so this is as close to the teacups as we can get at this point}

this year our t-shirt design was inspired by a piece of authentique scrapbook paper i ran across in my travels to Minnesota at the mind boggling store of Archivers
my sketching and x-acto cutting skills were put to the test
here they are up close
my mr rights
and little miss
look for the tutorial here...
to see the tutorial for last year's mr. bowlerman and miss charleston shirts, click here

what are your favorite valentine's traditions?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

handmade valentine swap: helping to revive the art of the pen pal

dwindling is the art of the pen pal and receiving pretty packages and envelopes through the mail
sad to see that mail service will be soon be chopped by a day with only select days of delivering packages
thankfully i have seen a revival of sorts of the snail mail swaps and giftings by the blogging community
many bloggers are making a conscience effort to make online communication extend beyond digitally produced words on a screen
and provide opportunities for people to connect with others through swapping handmade cards and gifts
a means to igniting relations and friendships beyond our screens
and who doesn't love to receive something in the mail {other than bills and ads for maid services reminding you that you need to get back to your laundry}
the anticipation of opening its sealed contents
some may gingerly slice through the top
while others tear it open with abandon
i myself fall somewhere in between

i was delighted to stumble upon through Instagram {have you joined yet?!} a handmade valentine swap by the lovely lyndsey wells from the stationery place
i was placed in a group of 5
2 internationals - norway and the UK
2 in the good ole USA - michigan and pennsylvania

i became quite invested and loved having a reason to break out the wide label maker with valentine red tape
the juxtaposition of the labeler and my silhouette was rather fun
i was drawn into the process of ideas evolving to other ideas 
i laughed seeing my stream of consciousness type of thinking manifested in hearts and paper 

cool cat became my immediate favorite
i want to ride classy on a cobblestone street
if i could keep my balance sitting side saddle that is

my collection

i became rather giddy to open up my mail
each calling out its designer's unique personality and style
it also revamped my desire for handwriting with more pizazz
loved them all
a welcome surprise and immediate blast from the past, namely 1986, had to be the scratch and sniff chocolate paper, what??
my kids had never witnessed such bliss

can't wait for my next swap
unexpected things seem to have stemmed from my first one {you remember the pretty sock exchange} by amanda of oh my little dears
such as a trip to Minnesota to meet my swappers:) {more details to come}
looking forward to what surprises happen from this one

look for swaps from your favorite bloggers and jump in to participate
you'll be glad you do as you find your pretty packages in your mailbox
and new friendships forged

have you participated in a swap before?  would love to hear about it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

hearing my daddy's voice

today i received a phone call...
hello princess.
i heard on the line
a smile immediately formed
Rocky had been calling me that since my high school days
you know, when that homecoming stuff was around
but he has known me for much longer than that
a friend of my family's, father of my dear friend, religious guide, a friend to my father
he even wrote a college recommendation letter for me
he was there with my family and I in the hospital lobby sitting in one of those stiff chairs on one of those long final evenings
he knows me and he cares about me

today he called as he has a few times in these past long months since daddy has passed
just to let me know he was thinking about me and wondering how i was doing
today when he called my initial thoughts were
oh, so kind of him to call, i am doing ok though
he asked me how i was doing and then just let me talk
i proceeded to tell him that we were about to leave for the cemetery where we would be purchasing a flower vase for daddy's gravesite as a gift for mom's birthday
it has been difficult for her to think about selecting daddy's grave marker
but she had mentioned how nice it would be to place flowers there

i then told him about the gift my mother had given me of traveling to Minnesota to meet two talented, gold hearted online friends for the first time and attending their crafting retreat {of which i will share more about soon}
i told him what i had learned there and how grateful i was to have shared so much of the realities of my life and faith with them
...and then it hit me so forcefully
i immediately began to cry nearly uncontrollably
and through the sobs i thanked him for calling, i thanked him so much
i realized at that moment as i was listening to the words that were emerging from my mouth, how grateful i was for his phone call
how much i needed it
for i was telling him all of the things that i would have talked to my daddy about
having the kind of conversation i have missed so much
one of those phone calls i would get from him on a regular basis as he made his long commute home or just sitting next to him on the sofa and him truly wanting to know what was going on in my life
Rocky ended with telling me how proud of me he was
and i felt as if i was hearing my father's voice through his words
it was such a sweet moment
an absolute mercy from a loving Father in Heaven

i have been the recipient of such fatherlike love on multiple occasions over the past while from men who have grown up, worked, served, and laughed alongside my father for many, many years
a fatherly conversation of counsel and concern with Mike and I regarding our marriage, our family, and Mike's health from a man who knows my father better than most, his counselor as daddy served as president over our church stake {the term used for a large geographical grouping of individual church community congregations called wards}
he communicated three words that i believe daddy would have wanted me to remember:
brightness of hope
a wrap-around hug and invitation by my daddy's dear friend and other counselor Stan to come sit with him and his wife Mary as i sat alone in the back of the church my father used to preside over
my uncle Mark rambunctiously sword fighting with my boys and their cousins in the living room at Christmas time
my uncle Brent trying to win over the affections of my baby girl who misses her Papa
my father in law taking Owen on a walk and serving the boys up special 'grandpa style' ice cream
a greeting by another of my daddy's dear friends and golf buddy Lyle at church with a hug and a 'how are you doing lady?' as i melt into his shoulder with tears
all these men
these sweet, loving, strong men
some of them whom have known me since i was a little girl,
communicating the voice of my daddy to me
his love and his pride in who i have become
their actions and words letting me know that my daddy has not left me here alone
he has provided me with earthly men to serve as examples of his fatherly love to me and to my children
and as badly as i long to feel his enveloping hug and soft, secure embrace
i am so grateful for them
i feel joy in my heart to have been blessed with such examples of pure love
the pure love my daddy has for me
and who was always reminiscent of the perfect love my Heavenly Father has for me, his daughter

how have you felt the love of your loved one who has passed on?

{to read more about my daddy and his valiant fight with cancer read here}


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