Saturday, December 7, 2013

DIY Paper Flower Wall Take 2: The End Results

So, the second take of the paper flower wall was finished a few months ago...but since the news our of adoption we've been pretty tied up in paperwork and I haven't had the chance to update with pictures!

I was contacted by someone who had seen my original paper flower wall on my blog and asked if they could use it for an adoption party they were throwing for a friend. Now this was before adoption was on our hearts and looking back I think this is so cool :). What I do know is that even though we needed the money I offered to make a brand new wall for them to use for free and I'd eventually use back in my office. When I was up at 4am multiple nights in a row I questioned this decision (HA) but I am so happy with how it turned out, how it's first use was at an adoption party, and I'll always look at the wall that is now hanging in my office and constantly be reminded of our adoption journey and the many others that are out there.

So, below are photos taken at the event that I received in return for supplying the wall :) I love how they used it. This wall was three canvases and they hung them from the trees in the yard. What do you think?! Obviously these girls know how to throw a party, the table is beyond gorgeous!

Event Planners:

And here is the wall in it's new home at my office:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thrift Thursday.....Say CHEESE!

I'm sure my mom's loyal followers were disappointed to see a Thursday go by without a Thrift Thursday post, and that is entirely my fault as we were travelling. Sad thing is, I received one of the best posts from my mom with her weekly installment. So, two weeks later here it is. This gives smile for the camera a whole different meaning.
Well here we are, it's Thursday and I'm sure you're wondering what this week in thrift has to offer.  Not to worry, I won't disappoint,  or shall I say those that donate won't disappoint!  I have found that my heady interest in "how the brain works" has been peaked since navigating the isles of random stuff that people all over the globe have put good money to!!!!  This is what I often refer to as "good money gone bad"!  Is there any chance that 90% of what's in these stores were once actually purchased as prank gifts or what some might call white elephant gifts?  If that were the case, then we have what I would consider a global crisis.  One aspect of the crisis, is for us to consider the individuals/companies who are producing these "things", the other side is to consider those who bought them!  What we do know is that only a fraction of people take the time to donate their "goods", the rest bag them and put them on the curb.  So ... Al Gore, stop spending so much time worrying about eliminating plastic water bottles ...take a closer look at what that trash really is at the landfills!  You might just spot some of your own Al Gore bobble heads from your movie promo in there!  Moving on, so for the 10% of items that are worthy , I refuse to bore you with those.  Instead, the item I am featuring this week clearly proves that some people clearly don't understand why a donated item is donated.  Just to be clear ... a donated item is to be passed on so that someone can reuse, repurpose, regift or for that matter reshove into their closet for redonating in the future.   Got it?????  There are some things that obviously should not be donated ... NO ONE would want to buy it!!!!  I am stunned for two reasons on this one.  I won't even bother with the first reason, but the second reason is what was the crew in the store thinking when they unboxed this and priced it????????   Just in case you're not sure what your looking at .... it's someones dental impressions ... I was left Speechless!!!!   

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ethiopia Adoption: Paperwork Updates

Happy October! Pumpkin time :) Of course we didn't pick the traditional orange pumpkins but we found this little creature and we painted it:

So, the paperwork is pretty intense but surprisingly not as bad as I imagined at this point. I'm sure it will get worse ;) We've sent back about 80% of the paperwork they need for our home-study. Then there are various things we have to wait for like background checks, driving records, child abuse registries, etc. But we were fingerprinted and sent all of the requests in. So that is probably where we will see a big wait as we have to wait for records to be checked and then sent back. Going through this I have so much empathy for military families who decide to adopt as you need all sorts of background info etc. from every state you've lived in!

We also started our first online class that we need to complete, it's called "Because They Waited" and it is through Heart of the Matters Seminars. We just finished it this weekend after watching a module every few nights around midnight when we finally had a minute to slow down. They've talked about the consequences on brain development for children that spend time in less-than-optimal care and what can be done for these kiddos when they come home. There are so many really simple things you'd normally never pay attention to, or that traditional parenting books would tell you never to do, that you have to consider and do when you have an adoptive child. I can't decide if it's harder as first-time parents or an added benefit because we're starting with a clean slate and don't really have our previous experiences we'll have to either change or adapt. Probably both.

One of the saddest things they were talking about is how some children came come home and can be extremely quiet, "out-of-it," or seemingly complacent.  One woman gave an example of how everyone told her how great her baby was because she was so quiet and didn't make a peep, however now when she looks back she realizes that that was how her baby was panicking by disassociating and just being "quiet." To think of a little teeny one internalizing all of their fear and knowing that crying is useless since they aren't used to having their needs met is really heartbreaking! At our orientation (more about this later) we were told a story about walking into an orphanage that was completely quiet and what a terrible experience this was. If you think about how unnatural that would be, and what that really means, it makes my stomach hurt. :( 

We're about to start another seminar which is actually free through the month of November for anyone to take, and if any family members or friends want to take it, you should think about it. They are offering it for free for November which is National Orphan Awareness Month. You can find it here. After our online seminars are finished, we  have to read a book and answer a few questions about it: The Connected Child. 

Last but not least, we talked earlier about how this adoption process is really a chance for us to share our faith in God and His hand in this process and that has been really awesome these past few weeks. Whether it be friends, family, colleagues, etsy-friends (yes they get their own category) or whatever, we've had some really great conversations with people when they ask us why we're adopting. We've had people say, "you know I didn't have the courage to do it, but I'm really going to pray about it now," or "even though we don't know eachother outside of a professional environment, could you email me and let me know your story and whatever you want to share - I really want to know more," or "I totally believe in God and his plan for you and I'm so glad I can talk with you about this now, never realized I could." Honestly, probably 2 out of 3 people have said something of the sort to us and that has been really awesome to experience.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thrifty Thursday.....Say Whaaaaat!!!!!!!! "Post Traumatic Concrete Drop Syndrome"

If you didn't catch the first installment last Thursday, welcome to our latest installment. Weird thrift store finds by mom super-thrifty mom: Thrifty Thursday........Say Whaaaaaaaaat!!!
Well itsThursday and another fabulous thrift store find to share.  This one not only caught me by surprise but had me backup in the isle to look a second time just in case I didn't get what it was the first time around.  I think this is a great physical example of how the thrift store process works, so bare with me as I fill you in.  

Lets get a quick once over of what most likely goes down behind the scenes.  First, someone carefully wraps and boxes their donation in hopes that someone else will appreciate their once loved treasure.  Second, it gets dropped off at their donation center of choice and placed in the hands of the crew that works there.  Here's where the rubber meets the road ... This is where I begin to unravel the mystery of what happens in the back room of my local thrift shops and most likely yours too.  As I wander the isles of the thrift listening to music piped into the store and humming to some of my old time favorites, behind the scenes the crew is opening those carefully packaged boxes filled with awesome treasures!!!!  Now it's time for these once loved treasures to be put to the 3 foot drop on the concrete floor test.  There's nothing quite like the sound of glass, china, pottery, etc. etc. hitting concrete!  As you can imagine or certainly as I do, how many amazing things never actually make it to the store shelves and for that matter I am in awe of the things that do!  

Back to the process ... Apparently, once it is determined that it is shelf worthy, an incredibly annoying super sticky sticker (which often takes the finish off of wood, metal, art and so on) is placed randomly on the item with a price that is determined by what most likely is osmosis.  

So here we are, this weeks find.  This bunny surely was once a happy and possibly funny bunny, with ears I might add, in someone's home!  However, now it appears to be suffering from what most likely is PTCDS (post traumatic concrete drop syndrome).  No, I didn't buy it and yes it remains on the shelf for someone to .... purchase it?????????  I remain confused on where things go from here!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ethiopia Adoption: The Paper Chase Begins!

Wow! We met our family coordinator who will be our contact helping us through the adoption process, she seems great and emailed us a very long email of things we need to do now.

They say this paper chasing process takes anywhere from 4-6 months to complete, now I can see why! The paperwork that we compile over the next few months is called the "dossier" and includes all kinds of vital records, financial information, personal information and our homestudy. As soon as the paperwork is complete and approved we then begin our wait. It's estimated that it will take between 30-36 months to receive a referral for a child, and that is AFTER we submit the dossier to the Ethiopian government. So we could be at the 4 year mark! But that's ok :) I love the intro page and what it says: Welcome to the "Paper Pregnancy!"

For now we are both ordering our passports and new copies of our birth certificates and beginning to read over all of the forms. We also registered for our first online class that we're required to take.

We knew there would be a lot of paperwork, but with everything being online these days, you really just don't understand how much until you print it out. This gave us such awareness at how quickly things can be done now with the internet. Imagining a million face-to-face visits and picking up documents and bringing them back, etc. sounds crazy!

Our binder is already full with over 200 pages of documents to sign and go over...also yes, that is a bear-skin rug coaster for my pitcher of orange juice :)

In other news... we were talking about how we really didn't know anyone who has adopted a child and specifically from Ethiopia. Later that day a friend messaged me introducing us to a close friend of hers that adopted a child from Ethiopia and is in the process again now, so that was wonderful timing on God's part! We have to attend an orientation at our agency and we'll hopefully meet other families in our area adopting at that time also.

We also received such kind words and encouragement from close friends (and also those who we don't stay in touch with that often) at just the right moments when we needed it. Including a note that said this:

I just finished reading 1 Peter and chapter 5 verse 2a says, "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under
your care, watching over them not because you must, but because you are willing."


Next step: awesome self-pics when we turn in each and every single piece of paperwork. One "selfie" per form, get ready friends!! On a more serious note, we'll be posting what we are required to read and watch in case any family or friends want to read or watch along with us and know what we are learning and discussing. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thrifty Thursday ... Say Whaaaaaat!

Dear Readers - 

A new guest installment has been created, "Thrifty Thursday...Say Whaaaaaat!" penned by my one and only mom. For those of you that know my mom personally and are entertained by her Facebook updates from the thrift store, I know you'll be excited to read these. Be patient as I'm sure you'll recognize the first few. And without further ado: 

I have been asked by my daughter the artist and blogster to share with you some of my amazing thrift store finds.  I am relatively new to the whole "thrifting" world and I still have a lot to learn.  I have found that I am quite entertained by the idea of scavenging for treasures and often coming upon "things" that are truly one of a kind!  In fact, I believe my family and friends are living through my thrifting experiences and find themselves excitedly waiting for the next great find.  It seems whenever Jackie and I chat, she's quick to ask; "Did you find anything good at the thrift store today Mom?"  So in response to the great demand, I am accepting her invitation to post on her blog.  Don't worry, I won't bore you with the awesome beautiful treasures I find.  Nope, instead I will share the incredible, strange and often bizarre goodies I stumble upon as I'm digging for the good stuff.  It will be a weekly segment under the title "Thrifty Thursday ... Say Whaaaaaat!

Todays entry is a painting that left me speechless and quite frankly curious of the artist who painted it.  WHO IS THIS CHILD and what's up with the hair???  Do they really expect someone to buy this and if so, who?

Halloween and Fall Decor: Glitter & Gold

I don't really like Halloween or the colors orange and black, but I do love fall! I'm never inspired to decorate for fall but I think this year I might try to do a few things here or there.

I found this pin on pinterest and checked out her blog, I love her idea of decorating with gold, click the picture to go to her blog. I love the gold lanterns in the bottom right with small pumpkins.
Also, I'm really liking white pumpkins, who knew they existed:
piles of orange and white pumpkins
I think I want to try something I saw on Pinterest with gold glitter mason jars, but on white pumpkins, these are from Etsy - click to go to the shop: 
                                          3 Shining gold glitter mason jars vase centerpiece by JaxandJos
Now, I remember how the glitter from my 10th grade homecoming dress stayed in my car for approximately 8 years so I'm not 100% sure if I'm going to attempt this, but I think it could be really pretty so I might try! I just need to find where I can get one of these white pumpkins, or three. 
Of course, I'm acting like this is a novel idea - but then I remembered I already liked gold glitter last year when I spray painted the sticks and pinecones. By the way, I still love these and I actually have all of the gold glitter sticks in a large vase on our table right now. 
I'll post an update when it's done, I'm sure it will be completely different from my original ideas - but that's ok!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Craft Fair Nightmares, 30 Days & Counting

I think I have more nightmares about my first craft fair than anything else going on right now.

What if there are craft-fair bullies who tell me my stuff looks like a 5 year old made it?

What if people come to look at my table and then point and laugh at me?

What if I don't sell a single thing and instead just buy a bunch of things from other people and come back in debt?


This is my biggest question right now, which my craft-mentor mother and I disagree about: If you're walking around a craft show, do you want the different artists and vendors to engage you in small talk as you approach and browse, or just let you browse peacefully without any pressure. (You can tell my stance from the way I worded this.)

This coming from the girl who really hated trick or treating because I didn't want to ask for Candy and also the girl who would have an anxiety attack when the school fundraisers went around and I'd just hope that my mom would buy the minimum number of orders herself and it would all be over. ;)

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sick Day: Cook Out, Sasquatch, JFK & Ramen.

Because you didn't ask, here is a fieldtrip into my brian on a sick day, when I have lots of time to think:

Cook Out. It's a fast-food chain. It's awesome. But seriously. $4.69 for a jumbo sized sweet tea, a grilled chicken sandwhich BBQ style, a side of hushpuppies, and another side of a chicken wrap. Yes, a chicken wrap. Also yes, a chicken wrap could be an entire separate meal but they have ridiculous choices for sides like: a quesadilla, a chicken wrap, a corn dog, a hot dog. Also they have that really good crushed ice that tastes like a slushie. And John 3:16 is on all of their styrofoam cups. Check it out here: My venti soy vanilla latte is $4.69. Sheesh. What a deal.

Believe. Bigfoot Does Exist Large Giclee PrintFinding Bigfoot really bothers me. I really want to know if Sasquatch is real but they literally never find anything convincing. Why don't they just use all of the money they get from the show to put tracking cameras in every single forest instead of relying on their little cameras. Am I right? Seriously. I just want to know already. This thought made me search Etsy for Sasquatch related items, of course. I came across the neatest shop: ShopAmySullivan where you can find the print to the right. LOVE it.

Moving on, next thought - What's going to be the next popular color for weddings and baby showers? Blush and ivory or blush and grey are popular and my yellow and grey items are really popular right now, but I want to start making things for the next popular color idea what it will be.

My 11 year old sister-in-law showed me this music video and I'm so mad at her for doing so. I mean seriously? What on earth? In case you're wondering, I can make all of the sounds they make in this video.

I met a lady who works at the post-office who said she met JFK when he came to drop off mail when she worked in NYC. He was wearing a mask because he was riding his bike in between all of the taxis. She told him she couldn't process what he requested without ID and without him taking his mask off. Then she found out it was JFK. She told me this because my name is Jacqueline and her daughter's name is Jacqueline and she named her after Jackie O. Anyway, I'm just randomly thinking about that.

I really like Ramen noodles and I wanted some right now, but when you leave them alone for like 30 minutes to an hour they turn into this weird jello. Whenever I see that I hate the fact that I love them.

I think Adam is going to win The Voice this year. Well, maybe Cee-lo. Who knows.

You're welcome.

DIY Painted Lamp with Hot Glue

It has taken me a month or so to post this, but this is one of my favorite recent DIY projects. All you need is an old lamp, a paint sample and a hot glue gun. Admittedly, I was only about 10% sure this project would be successful, which made it even better when it was! 

I picked up a paint sample at Lowe's and it is more than enough paint to cover the lamp. 

I painted the lamp, two coats of this color.

Then, the tricky part, I used my hot glue gun to draw a design all over the lamp. I started pretty complicated here and it takes some practice. Something abstract without straight lines is best as it's practically impossible to get your glue gun to draw straight lines. This has lots of swirls and flowers.

Once you're done covering it with your hot glue, take time with tweezers to remove all of the small strings of glue that probably landed everywhere while you were designing the pattern. If you don't remove them, they get all tangled in your paintbrush and it looks like a mess. So, it's worth it take the time to pick all of them off and then re-paint over the hot glue. I used two coats here. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Ethiopia Adoption: Telling Family & Friends

We've received such positive support in expected and unexpected ways from family and friends, and are feeling really confident in our decision to make this journey public. In all honesty though, and I wonder if this is the same for other adoptive parents, we've really received confirmation and strength in some of the negative responses we've received.

We knew we would receive negative reactions for a variety of reasons, having read a lot about others' experiences, and as people who always like to please others it's difficult for us not to quickly fight back with the intention of "winning people over." What negative reactions have helped us see is first, where our hearts truly lie. Where previously we may have sought to win the hearts of our friends and family, this isn't our priority. We won't feel fulfilled personally or spiritually, to know that we have logicially and philosophically settled all differences in regards to views on adoption. It's not what we set out to do, we aren't policy makers or negotiators here. We truly feel called by God to adopt our first child and we are 100% stepping out in our faith to do so. Attempting to rationalize and reason with others would be fruitless, even if we think we could "convince" or "win them over." When we stepped out in faith to do this, this meant (and still means) that we don't have all of the answers and we don't know the ultimate plan. For us to conquer every fear regarding finances and logistics, or draft a pros-and-cons list to provide confirmation, counters our original purpose. We would essentially be telling our friends, "we trust in the Lord to open and close doors and to guide us through this process, however we have back up plans in case He falls through." 

I can only hope that other adoptive families that read this, or really or anyone stepping out in faith in any aspect of their life, have the courage and strength to stand firm in their faith and not feel required to justify or calm others worries that they really aren't able to do. You won't look  "stupid" or "immature" if your answer to others' concerns is "we're stepping out in faith and trusting in the Lord to provide during this process." In fact, quite the contrary. 

We're supposed to be assigned our family coordinator this week which is exciting! 

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding" Proverbs 3:5
"Therefore, let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother's way." Romans 14:13

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ethiopia Adoption: Paper Flower Africa?!

September 8, 2013 was our one year wedding anniversary! Time has gone by so incredibly fast and when we stop and think about where we are now and what we're up to its amazing at how perfect God's plans are.

This blog, for instance, has been a random assortment of our activities -seeming to change focus every few months from wedding planning, to Sunday school crafts, to paper flowers and the start of my Etsy shop, and also our travel adventures. This time it's going to take a different turn and that's to tell the story of our journey to adopt from Africa.


Yup. How cool, right?! We think so. I know right, everyone is bummed to see the posts on paper flowers go, worry not my friends - they will continue to exist and with a vengence as we hope my Etsy store will be a great fundraising source for our mission.

Let's rewind back to our first wedding anniversary. I think the Lord has a funny thing with timing as I honestly think at the exact hour and minute of our anniversary I was utterly overwhelmed with the feeling that I wanted a baby. For those of you that know me, you know I love babies and children, but this time was different. This time it hurt. I can't exactly put into words how it "hurt" but it was so overwhelming that it made me step back and really take some time in prayer to figure out why I was so overcome with this, and in such an unfamiliar way. I started saying things to Andrew, when we were off galavanting in Colonial Williamsburg looking at sheep and horses, etc. you know, all the usual things, about how this would be such a fun place to raise a kid. He agreed, but noted that the timing really wasn't that optimal as he was only a few weeks into Law School - ok, yes, obviously not that optimal. So I tried to squish those feelings away by looking at all of my friends' kids on Facebook, kidding - no I'm not kidding, especially our two year old neice taking Ballerina lessons - I mean COME ON! However, again, for those of you that know me you'll know it's really hard for me to let something go and not get obsessed! I did an OK job, but even when I would bring up the idea of having a kid to Andrew something about it wouldn't feel quite right inside and he would point out, again, that he just spent the last 14 straight hours reading about torts, (whatever they are, some fancy dessert or something.) And I would always agree that the timing wasn't optimal - but I'd be so confused about why my heart really just said "do it" but my mind really said no to having a biological child.

A week later I talked to him again and asked why he thought this was so overwhelming for me, I'd get really emotional about it without warning. Again - for those of you that know me, I didn't even cry on my wedding day, no tears here. But all of the sudden, WHAM. All the time. I'd pray about "letting things go" and being patient. One morning, I honestly can't remember what morning or what caused it, but I woke up and I was 100% positive that I wanted to adopt a baby from Africa. And, I didn't feel that just I was called to do this, I felt called that Andrew and I as a team were specifically designed to do this. We've spent a lot of time loving on others' little ones through Sunday School and coaching and we've watched eachother and really gotten to know eachother in our first year of marriage through teaching and coaching the little ones.

I thought for sure over the next few weeks that I would start to question this decision, however I became more convicted as everything around us seemed to fall into place. To watch Andrew pray about this and consider this during the most stressful time in his life was awesome. He would take whatever few minutes of the day he had that wasn't consumed with highlighting to think and to pray. I didn't expect this to happen quickly. Trust me, I wanted this to happen quickly, but I did NOT expect this to happen quickly. I thought we honestly wouldn't submit any pre-application or info packet materials until after finals first semester, if we ever did. Well on 9/29/2013 we were in Target and I was doing my usual "Oh, you know I don't really need anything else just need to go check for, you know,...the CLEARANCE AISLES that always have amazing things for .98 cents or something." And he looked at me and was like "listen Jacqueline if you want to fill out an application for this baby you better get OUT of the clearance aisles." I just looked at him and pretended it wasn't a big deal. But my mind was like "woah, he just casually joked about this - he's IN!"

We got into the car after checking out and I starting eating my 10lb bucket of peanut-butter filled pretzels when Andrew all of the sudden said "I'm ready to fill out the application, we are supposed to do this, we are meant to do this." And I THREW all of my peanut butter pretzels in the air, yelled CONFETTI! and we were both so excited! This is actually not a joke, I did this. We went to vaccuum out my car the next day at the gas station. I asked "are you sure" about 1,000 times. But it's such a great thing to know that he prayed about it, found his answer and to know that we didn't make the decision to do this independently- we each made the decision to listen to the Lord, and pretty quickly I'd say.

So, now here we are and we've applied and were accepted to an Ethiopia Program. We've already received 9 forms to fill out, and since Andrew's a month into law school we totally understand the binding legal contracts ;). We also are very aware of the finances involved with adoption, but we recognize that the harder it is to let go of a worry the harder you lean on the Lord - and that's a fair tradeoff, right? ;) The Lord takes all of our worries and stress and also provide for us, how awesome. Something from last week's message at our service spoke to me, Luke 12:34 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If someone looked at our credit card bill or our recent transactions in our checking account, would they be able to tell what we cared about? Netflix, clothes, eating fancy dinners? It put our finances into perspective. We know adoption is expensive, but we know that in stepping out in faith on this, things will proceed exactly as their supposed to.

We are normally really private people, so know that this is huge for us to put out there in the blog-o-sphere and more generally, the world, so early. This process will probably take about 36-40 months, which is a lifetime away (and hopefully after law school), but we feel that this is something worth sharing and updating as we go through the process. I've read so many amazing blogs that have really helped us understand the process and what to expect (if you can really even be prepared.) Also, Andrew and I feel that this is a really great way for people to witness God's role in this process. We aren't really vocal Christians who go out on missions, stand on the street corner, pass out Bibles or information to strangers - and sometimes not even to our friends when we really should, but our faith is a huge part of who we are and we feel that this adoption process is God's vehicle to help us share our faith with those we know, and those we don't know.

We're excited for what he has in store, and yes - even if that means this doesn't work out, because that's always a chance as well.  Adoption is a completely new thing for many of our friends and families so please be kind and realize we've already started this, no changing our minds now.

Thanks for your love and prayers we'll keep you updated!

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  James 1:27

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

DIY Paper Flower Wall Take 2: Part 2 Card-stock Large Flowers

Recap for those coming to this post first:

Last post I talked about the canvases and the coffee filter flowers to be used as filler. Since last writing I've finished two full coffee filter packs (200 each pack) worth of flowers which made 60. 

Now, it's time to get started making the bigger flowers. The next step after making a good amount of base flowers is to make the largest flowers on the board so you can get an idea of how much space is left when creating the medium and small sized flowers. When I say large flowers, the ones that I'll show how to make next range from 18" to 24" in diameter. 

First - the basic petal flower. This flower is the easiest to make.  In the picture below you'll see the shape of the petal you need to make. Next to the cut out petal, you'll see a full 8.5x11" piece of paper for scale. Each petal should be the size of a full piece of paper. 

Once you've made 6 petals, stop and fold each petal in half using the point of the petal as your guide for the center. It's ok if this isn't perfect. 

You'll see in the picture above that the petals have been folded in half to create more dimension.  There are six petals here and they are easy to arrange.  The petals all line up in sets of two. See below:

Once you've glued the three sets of petals you can arrange them on top of one another as shown here:

Then, you'll recognize the center of the flower- which is one of the coffee filter flowers from part 1 of this post.

I made five of these big guys, three for the center canvas and one for each of the smaller side canvases.  You can see how things are starting to fill up here:

Sidenote: I didn't put all of the coffee filter flowers on yet because that's the fun part at the end where it will look complete as soon as you fill in the small gaps! Don't be tempted ;)

The End Results!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

DIY Paper Flower Wall Take 2: Part 1

It was definitely daunting to start over with this again now that I know how much time and effort went into the first one - but for those of you hoping to make one of these, it is definitely worth it!

Recap for those coming to this post first:
Original Paper Flower Wall
Paper Flower Wall Take 2

I started with two main supplies this time. A pack of 200 coffee filters and a pack of 100 sheets of thick cardstock paper. Last time we used any type of cardstock or thick paper we found, and honestly a year later the flowers are still keeping shape pretty well! This time, I decided to try a thicker paper. (Mostly because it was all they had and yes, that is how most of my decisions are made!) I bought cardstock from Michael's that says "heavyweight" on it and also says 110lb. Now, did it weigh 110 pounds? No. So why it says 110 pounds, got me. But I bought it anyway. I'm also going to keep track of how much this wall is costing me as I make it, which is something we didn't do last time. So the paper was $12.99 but with my 40% off coupon, seriously don't even walk into Michael's if you don't have the Michael's coupon app on your phone!!, it was $8.00.  Then the coffee filters from Target were $1.00 for 200.

So, first step - making the small, filler flowers. This can be a little discouraging and I did this last on my previous wall. I decided to start with this first this time around. When you are finished making large flowers there are often gaps between the flowers, some of you may not mind that - especially if your canvas is white and your flowers are white - I however, am OCD and need to have every square inch of this covered. So, under some of the large petals that poke up or in between two odd shaped flowers you need small filler flowers to fill the gaps. The coffee filter flowers are the best for this.

Each coffee filter flower takes 6 coffee filters: 2 cut for the base layer, 2 cut for the middle layer and 2 cut for the top layer.

Base Layer: Fold the coffee filter in half, three times.  Then cut the shape as shown below.
Middle Layer: Fold the coffee filter in half, four times. Then cut the shape as shown below.
Top Layer: Fold the coffee filter in half, four times. Then cut the shape as shown below. 

You need to fold and cut two of each layer to make the flower, I suggest you keep all of the leftovers, just wait for the following step. Hot glue all six of these on top of each other, placing a dab of glue between each layer in the following order: 2 base, 2 middle, 2 top. Now all that is left is the center of your flower.

I used the left over trimmings of my coffee filter to make the center of the flower.  After you cut out one of each of the layers, your leftovers look like this:

You can use any that you want, but I used the one in the bottom right (the trimmings from the base layer). I grabbed this and squished it together and it instantly looks nice because of the style of the coffee filter itself. See below:

Then, with no real method to my madness, I used way too much glue and covered the bottom of this and pressed it onto the flower. Alternatively these could look really cute with buttons in the center, circles cut out from a different color paper, etc. 

The pack of 200 coffee filters will make about 33 flowers which is a really great start to filling your flower wall. Now, it obviously isn't going to look like much progress is made, but you'll be really happy you have these towards the end of the project. I am planning to use two full packs and make about 60 flowers. 

So far for today: total of $10 for a pack of cardstock (to be discussed in Part 2 coming soon - subscribe to follow by email to get my updates as I post them throughout the next few weeks) and two packs of coffee filters. 

Next Step: Large Card-stock Flowers
Final Product: It's finished!

DIY Paper Flower Wall Take 2!

The most popular page on my blog is the paper flower wall I created for our wedding. That wall was created with magnets and three large magnetic pieces of sheet metal. Now that we've moved, any requests I get about the flower wall are really just not feasible because of the travel and logistics. However, I was recently asked if someone could use the wall at an adoption party they were throwing for a friend (more to come on this). I wanted to be able to provide the wall, but knowing that I just wouldn't be able to drive to go get it and then transport it made me think it was time to create another one.

This time I'm going to make the wall on canvases with hot glue.  It will still be in three segments like before, but the canvases will be up on artist's easels. This is still going to be large and create a statement, but it's also much easier to transport, store and use in my home!

The canvases are the following dimensions 24"x48", 36"x48" and 24"x48".  They are really quite substantial and when I lay the three of them together they cover about a 7 foot by 4 foot space. I am planning to stand them up tall - so they will be 48" high PLUS the height of the easel which I'm hoping will make the whole thing right around 7 feet tall. With the three separated and then placed on easels it's also going to give more flexibility for the set-up. I'll be able to arrange them in one straight row either lined up flush, or with a gap between them to make it appear larger. I'll also be able to position the two end canvases at an angle which is something I thought would have looked interesting with the last wall, but wasn't possible.

I'm planning to post updates here with a DIY on each flower included and finish up with how I arranged them. Also, this time the flower wall isn't going to be bright white this time, it will be soft white and ivory. With the last wall, pictures came out great but sometimes it was difficult to see the definition depending on if you were using a flash or what the lighting was like. Once it is finished I plan to hang it in my office covering an entire wall when it isn't in use, which I'm really excited about!

Since I'm starting all over again, if you have any suggests please comment! Love to hear what you guys think :)

Updates Posted Here!
PART 1 - Coffee Filter Filler Flowers
PART 2 - Large Card Stock Flowers

Sunday School: Heaven & Angels

One of my first goals for this blog was to be able to document our Sunday School crafts for the toddler's. I search for a lot of inspiration on Pinterest and other sites and hope that these posts will be helpful to someone else out there!

The first craft I'm posting is one of our most recent ones before we left and I honestly think it was my favorite of the whole year and a half.  We talked about Heaven and all of the marvelous things they'll find there one day. We talked about a tree with all types of fruit on it, (they weren't too impressed) and we talked about Angels. The little ones also informed me that in heaven we will all be able to climb trees like monkeys and there will likely be an unlimited supply of goldfish. (Wish I would have planned my craft around that!)

The first step to this craft was to trace one of their little hands in the middle of a large sheet of paper. We then gave them markers, stampers, etc to decorate the entire big sheet of paper.

Next time, I'll use poster board instead of light weight paper for this. After they have their artwork, I folded the paper in half and cut out two of their hands.  (You could have traced both, but they stand still for exactly .03 seconds and it was easier for me to cut them like this.)

I also had large Popsicle sticks ready with a smiley face and the word "Angel" or "Heaven" written on them since some of them are beginning to learn their letters/words.

I then took the two hands that I cut out and glued them on the back of the stick.  I put the thumbs facing down and overlapping. See below: 
Then, when you turn the Angel over you have beautiful wings:

I loved how these came out!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Guest Blog - Innovations That Changed the World: A Man’s Take on “Color”

Below you'll find a guest blog entry written by my husband, whose ridiculous idea outlined below was cause for a good amount of laughter and heated discussion. I hope you enjoy his thoughts on "color" as much as I do. 

From the wheel roughly 10,000 years ago to penicillin in the late 1920s to the new color system invented in the summer of 2013, the history of man has been altered and dare I say bettered by men bold enough to change the world they live in for the common good.

I can’t say for sure how the wheel was invented. Can anyone really? But, as all great minds do I have my theories. The thread that connects them is one simple fact - one day a man, probably sick from bouncing around and pulling carts with square tires thought there had to be a better way. He thought to himself – what causes my stomach to churn with every bump in the road and my back to ache with every rotation of this square rock attached to the bottom of my cart? He probably stared at his square wheels for a brief moment of time as a crow circled above him waiting for the tired soul to give up, but then he noticed the culprit, the corners. Take away the corners and we are smooth sailing. Well technically smooth riding – the guy probably didn’t also invent a system to utilize wind for transportation, someone had already beaten him to it. You are probably asking yourself why I am pontificating on this word picture and I will tell you. Just such an important innovation has finally been realized and for the greater good I will now share it with you. I give to you people of this simplistic world, children, creatures and blog readers the newly improved color system.

If you follow my wife’s quite impressive, creative and overall just plain adorable blog you have probably figured out she is fond of incorporating various colors into her creations and manipulates often unknown colors to add the perfect touch. As a supportive husband and fan I actually do care to listen to her ideas and plans. So when she tells me that she is going to use chalk paint on a china hutch (if anyone can answer what a china hutch is I would appreciate it – I think she might be painting our nice plates) well I was more than supportive. I have to admit though that I hesitated when she told me what color she was going to paint it. She proclaimed she was going to use a mixture of white and provenḉe. My first thought was that the city of Providence, Rhode Island had its own color. My next thought was that I actually have no clue what that color is. For all I know she just told me our china hutch was going to be painted white and chicken. I let this one slide though because, per usual, I am confident she will make it look good. Not too much longer after this provenḉe incident we had, one could say, a little misunderstanding. Home Depot played the set to our next little adventure. She was looking for a new color for her office and pointed at a color on an example sheet and said, “This looks nice.” I agreed and said that’s a nice light blue. “What? It’s Sea Breeze.” UNCONTROLLABLE FACE SEIZURE. Oh excuse me, sea breeze, of course. When you say sea breeze I immediately think of one specific color. Oh wait, no I do not. Are we talking the Atlantic Ocean near Maryland breezy color, or perhaps the old classic Oahu breeze hue, or dare I bring up the BLACK SEA. Who names a color after a noun, it’s ridiculous and dare I say on behalf of supportive significant others everywhere it is bordering on irresponsible. In an effort to not show my complete bewilderment in such a fine establishment I once again, let this one go. I cannot say the same for the last incident, the catalyst for my invention. While driving to the in-laws and once again talking about colors another ambiguous hue was strewn about in our conversation like an algebra problem on an English test. I cannot remember in what context this color was brought up, but it was and I cannot forget it. My wonderful wife mentioned painting something, somewhere grass green. GRASS GREEN. Whose lawn are we talking about here because in the car at that very instant I was looking at her neighbor’s grass and I saw 15 different shades of green and because the guy is a little lazy on his lawn maintenance I saw a couple shades of brown too. Sorry for throwing you under the bus buddy, but you are proving a point here for me. Are we talking about Alabama creeping green, Bermuda grass, or for heaven’s sake Kentucky BLUE grass?! Yes blue green grass. Try to wrap your head around the guy who invented the name for blue grass and you can understand my frustration. At this point I lost it and immediately my fantastical brain got to work and the idea came to me like lightning. We, as a society, need to stop naming colors ridiculous things like malachite, provenḉe, and razzmatazz (honestly razzmatazz – I know what color grass the guy was smoking who named that one) and come up with a simple number system.

Here is how the system works. Each color is given a number on a scale of 0-1. You take the basic primary colors, for this example let’s use blue. A normal, everyday blue is 0.5 blue. A darker blue say navy blue for some color snobs out there is now a 0.75 blue. Your night sky blue, yup that’s about a 0.9 blue. That light blue I discussed earlier, cough sea breeze cough, is now 0.2 blue. Now instead of asking me what I think about the color of that wall in sea breeze and my brain freezes up like I just consumed a large Wendy’s Frosty in one gulp you can say “what do you think of that wall in oh let’s say a 0.2 blue” and BAM I know exactly what you’re talking about. You can now describe anything to me or anyone else using the new color system, and your every day, nay not just every day, your peasant off the street who has lived on an uninhabited island for his entire life will be able to follow you.

Let’s try a little exercise. You say, picture the BP logo it is forest green with an inner layer of grass green, followed by another inside layer of icterine hue and then some white. Okay, now let’s pretend I’ve never seen the BP logo. You just mentioned an inner layer of icterine and I’m a bit worried that the icterine is malignant or possibly spreading throughout my body because I’m so confused by what you just said, but I move on, unable to complete your simple task of picturing the BP logo. Now let’s use my system. In that system you would describe the BP logo as an 18-point flower with the first, most outer layer of the flower, being a 0.65 green, followed by the next layer of the flower as a 0.3 green, once again followed by a 0.6 yellow and finally 0.5 white. I would then say “wait are you talking about this thing I see on the side of the road all the time and now sponsoring ridiculously cheesy ‘Visit the Gulf because we didn’t screw it up too too bad’ commercials?”

Now my lovely wife was helpful enough to point out what she thought was a flaw in this system (turns out it was just an innovation to my innovation). She pointed to my shirt, she described as “teal” and said “what color is that?” First I thought – what did she just say…teal? Did she bite her tongue trying to talk about seals? What is this teal you speak of? I responded that the new system can be used like latitude-longitude. This shirt is a 0.3 blue and 0.7 green. BOOM. Now that may equate to a 0.5 teal but no one knows what on Earth that is so let’s go with my system.

As a reader and follower to this creative work of genius my wife has created you may be hesitant to accept this innovation in color, but do me a favor, go grab your husband, boyfriend, father, brother or nearest guy to you and run the idea by him. I’m pretty sure he will say it’s like seeing 0.5 blue sky for the first time.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Our New Place! Williamsburg: Home of the Frogs

Well, we are here! Finally moved in and most of our stuff is unpacked. Everything went really smoothly with the help of our families.

We drove up on Friday night to drop off a lot of fragile items and take a look at the place before everyone joined us on Monday. We decided we needed to paint the downstairs bedroom which was previously a pretty bright shade of green. After unloading the cars we took a trip to Lowe's where we met a really nice paint guy, people here are reallllly nice. Anyway, we got some paint and all of the supplies we needed and headed back. We unloaded them into the front bedroom and then turned the light switch. Well, you guessed it, no light. And no - of course we didn't bring lamps with us our first trip down. So instead of saving the task for another day (it's 9pm by the way) we scramble through all of our boxes and find a very small desk lamp I had in my old office.  The lamp literally served NO purpose in my old office beyond looking cute but we plugged it in anyway. It lit up about a 1' radius. So we took of the lamp shade, sat there for awhile and waited for our eyes to adjust to the darkness and decided midnight painting in the dark was certainly in our plans.


Finally around 1:30am we finished up and drove 3 hours back to the DC area.

So, for the biggest surprise of the evening/early morning...our patio is home to a whole large extended family of frogs and salamanders. And they aren't the ugly croaking frogs, they are teeny tiny little bright green guys! And they are everywhere. When you open the door they fall from the sky, like one of the plagues, and they smack their bellies on the ground - that's a little stressful for me. Here's one of the little guys that lives on our door frame.

This past Monday we drove down again to check out our midnight paint mess and to move in the rest of our stuff.

I wasn't able to spend as much time as I wanted getting all of our things together because of some orders that came in over the moving days!

More picture updates to come soon!