Posts tagged ‘motherhood’

May 23, 2011

You’re Special Today – Part 1

I really, really love family celebrations!  My mother and sisters and I share this passion so our family events range from very large gatherings (family of 23) to over-the-top themed-parties complete with bouncy castles and fondue fountains.

So, for my immediate family, I like to keep it simple. A birthday box is filled with supplies including a birthday banner, birthday lights, birthday plate and candles which come out for each birthday.  The decorations adorn walls and table the night before (0r just before dawn) in preparation for our morning celebration.  Birthdays begin with a sleepily-sung birthday song, candles to blow out and the traditional cupcakes.  For dinner, the guest of honor chooses a special meal & cake (usually carrot cake or strawberry pound cake) served for them on our traditional “You Are Special Today” plate.

Of course, this is a rough draft and each birthday writes it’s own unique script…

Drake’s 16th

Some more of my birthday presents (aren’t the silicone teacups just plain fun?), slated to be transformed into birthday cupcakes for Drake….

Graeme, my baking companion, doing a little taste testing…

Red Velvet ala Sprinkles!!

Yummy cream cheese frosting…

You Are Special Today and every day in my heart!!

You have a special place in my heart. Philippians 4:17a

May 17, 2011

Spot fabric and a birthday

I’m feeling very nostalgic today – my Drake is 16 today! I’m pondering the precious memories of holding Drake & sitting for hours reading his little board books over and over and over and…  When he started speaking, he did so in sentences – “Read this.”  My precocious 9 month old would then grab his little book in his chunky little hands and put his little arms up.  I’d pick him up, plop him in my lap, snuggle close and begin.  Good Night Moon…  Spot… Goodnight Gorilla…  Hungry Caterpillar…  Winnie the Pooh...

I cherished those moments & this fabulous Spot fabric makes my heart full – just look at this monkey full of mischief and cuteness…  I’m not usually into commercialized fabrics, but this Spot fabric won my heart.

Almost too cute to cut into, but I’m excited to transform these fabrics into some more handmade cuteness:)

Happy Birthday to an amazing, talented, kind, wise, smart and incredibly fun son!!  I love you so much!

The Lord your God is with you.
   He is a hero who saves you.
      He happily rejoices over you,
         renews you with his love,
            and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.

Zephaniah 3:17

March 29, 2011

Eureka Experience

Last year, I had a EUREKA experience about gift giving. For one thing, the gap between what I wanted to give and my budget widened last year when I made the leap from earning a paycheck to full-time homemaking. Additionally, I love unique, beautiful, handmade, quality, excellent and inspired creations. With many art, fashion, design, textile and decorating classes (and several degrees) under my belt, my taste runs toward the expensive, the artsy and the just plain different from every other Joe. Also, I was just plain tired of “Made in China,” big box retailers,  and the overly franchised everything – UGH!

Like I said, I had a moment.  It was one of those moments where you just want to pinch yourself really, really hard and ask “what is your problem?”  Why not make gifts? Okay, it’d been a few years since I’d sewn and I’m not feeling as artsy as I was say in college. But, it wouldn’t be “Made in China,” it would be unique, it would be personal, and it would be FUN!

And, then I got the brilliant idea of making things in fours.  With 8 nieces and 4 sons – easy math!  I’ve 4 nieces who are between the ages of 13 and 21, and 4 between ages 3 and 7.  This simple idea revolutionized my whole world and I was inspired (so much easier to do life when you’re inspired!).  Now instead of agonizing over what I’m going to get for so-and-so, I have a plan and I’m constantly finding tutorials, patterns and ideas for my next series of fours.

Last summer, I began my journey with four sundresses each with a matching doll dress for my younger nieces.  They were so cute I wanted to keep them all – my sons thought I was a little touched by that point. At that point, I realized my skill-level needs to dramatically increase to compete with the demands of my demanding & creative side….

Well before Thanksgiving, I’d my holiday gifts planned and I was so excited for the Season (a big coup for me). Christmas was probably the least stressful and more enjoyable I’ve had in years.  I’ll have to blog about Mermaid Land sometime in the future – it was grand!

I’ve started my next round of gifts for the older nieces and had earlier bookmarked a really fun pattern – here.  It’s a reversible purse so I needed fun fabrics….

The pattern was really easy to follow and I loved the results!

Please excuse the really old and ugly ironing board cover…  I’ve found some patterns to replace it, but that project is toward the bottom of the list right now:)

I’m really not sure 4 is enough….  I may have to make a few more for kicks!

How about you?  How are you breaking free today from the norm and finding freedom in the challenging and unchartered waters of your life?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1a

February 24, 2011

Baby Gift Set & Comfort Food

Still battling the flu here with lots of attention, love and comfort foods. Homemade chicken noodle soup (homemade egg noodles), chicken and dumplings, pannekokens, egg salad sandwiches and warm chocolate chip cookies – do you see a trend? Eggs, I find, are very comforting and healing.

My mother requested a pair of baby booties to give as a gift today.

I could not just stop there…

I just had to create a whole set!

So elated!

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3&4

February 23, 2011

My week…

A major snow storm & the flu working it’s way through my family pretty much sums up my week so far.  A glimpse of what I’m attempting to work on now:

More BABY BOOTIE JOY:)

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. Psalm 139:14

January 26, 2011

Handmade: Baby Gift

The birth of a new child is one of the most precious times in life.  The first few days are so fresh and surreal as time seems to stand still.  Then the frenzy begins…  The demands of a new baby and regular life are in daily, even moment to moment, conflict until a steady rhythm is finally achieved (although this is always a delicate balance often upset by growth spurts, tummy aches and teething). Those are beautiful days to be cherished and treasured.

For the new mom, it can be a veritable roller-coaster ride.  The elation of birth, the joy of family and friends, and the beauty beyond description of a newborn baby bring so much wealth to a mother’s soul.  Lack of sleep, recovery from birth and the awesome responsibility of a wee babe who needs her constant attention can weary even the most seasoned of mothers.

It’s a vital time for those who’ve gone before to band together provide their help and support, and to give back, in a way, to those who gave to them. In our congregation, we organize meals for these young families which are delivered warm each evening. New mothers are exceedingly blessed, lifted and loved through this practical service. The newest members of our congregation are watched and waited for, and upon hearing of their arrival the forces that be mobilize.

As life has it, these babies usually come during hectic times. Even though I’m usually juggling several things and putting out a few fires, I still love planning and preparing a meal so vivid are my memories of those days when we brought each of our 4 little ones home.  As a plan, I reminisce. I remember some of the best gifts I received during those days whether word or deed.  I remember the fuzzy, crazy days filled with newness and love. I remember the extreme lack of sleep and difficulties and struggles of nursing.

The last time I was called upon to deliver a meal, I wanted to add a little gift. I had some baby yarn and found this pattern on Lion Yarn’s website and I knit. Knitting a gift affords one a lot of time to prayerfully ponder the recipient which I did with each stitch. For me, there is a joy unspeakable in creating something uniquely special and personal. Since the baby girl had an older brother, I also created a busy gift for him which hopefully would bring him joy and be helpful for mom (I was completely enamoured with busy gifts for my older sons when the littler ones were born!).  I decided on a crayon roll similar to the one I made for my little guy inspired by this tutorial and this tutorial.

All projects are a learning experience.  As a whole, I loved how the sweater turned out, but would definitely change a few things next time I use the pattern. I would convert the pattern to circular needles so it would be a more seamless design.  What do you think?  What is your new baby tradition?  Do you have a go-to baby gift?

Oh, yes – I also made a pink gingham (it’s just a phase) bag for the gifts…

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

May 8, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: Color Burst

Breakfast in Bed this year should be a BURST of COLOR! Color makes me delirious with happiness. I love the British spelling of colour (a little random, I know). I delight in reading paint-chip colors. I dream in color – brilliant blueberries, vibrant violets to rosy red roses. I stare in child-like wonder at brand new boxes of crayola crayons imagining all the possibilities….

(This fantastically fun photo is from flicker.) Breakfast in Bed Color Burst should include the basic elements: a pretty teacup, cloth napkins, a serving tray, and, of course, breakfast.A full spectrum of pretty teacups from The Teapot Shoppe….a colorful array of red tea options from The Republic of Tea

a rainbow of cloth napkins from Jupiter’s Child….

How about a plateful of technicolor pancakes inspired by Every Food Fits?

Or duplicate this edible masterpiece from Whisk Kid….

Breakfast in Bed wouldn’t be complete without a brightly colored serving tray from Crate and Barrel.

But the piece de resistance would be brilliantly painted artwork made with LOVE for Mommy!

Happy Mother’s Day to my gorgeous and colorful Mom. As I age, I hope to be as generous and confident and creative as you (and pretty, too). You live with your arms open wider than anyone I know. To my spectacular sisters, each a dramatic and independent color, you remind me of our mother with your humongous hearts and bold beauty – you inspire me like no one else. To my mother-in-law, a veritable rainbow, you have loved me as your own – I’m truly blessed. And, to my jazzy friends, who are incredible mums and exceptional women, you encourage me and teach me and challenge me. Wishing you all a full-spectrum of blessings and joy on Mother’s Day and beyond!!

May 6, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: Green Style

Perhaps Breakfast in Bed this year should be a bit more…. green….

I just love Zen tea by Tazo – a tasty green tea with a touch of spearment which soothes the tummy and calms the nerves (hence the name)….

And these pretty, potted tea cups from Holy Mountain… I also have a beautiful hand-potted, green tea set. Asian inspired, it includes a bamboo handled pot and a whimsical twist – all the pieces are little green turtles. It’s stunning and a cherished wedding present from a dear friend/mentor. This image also reminds me of my niece who also makes stunning and award-winning handcrafted pottery (she’s incredible!).

These pretty napkins from Etsy completely tie everything together…

And a bamboo tray from Target….

Breakfast in Bed Green-style would not be complete without a yummy asparagus dish. Reminiscent of bamboo, this irresistible green veggie completes the Asian motif. Buy organic asparagus and heighten the greenness (is that even a word?) of this gift.  The perfect recipe is the Asparagus and Leek with Gruyere Quiche from Martha Stewart – delicious! Make it the day before in little tart pans, plate and reheat – it’s that simple (plus you can freeze some for later…).

Add some flowers with simple lines (a single lily or a bunch of tulips), some Green & Black chocolate (organic and fair-trade certified), some exotic fruit, a little yogurt and you’ve a divine celebration of MOM!

For a special hand-made Mother’s Day card, how about an acronym:

G – Gorgeous, You’re make everything gorgeous because…

R – Regal, Our home is a regal palace because…

E – Every, Every day you make me happy because…

E – Each, Each day I thank God for you because…

N – Near, I love when you’re near because…

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you. Isaiah 66:13

May 4, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: A Mother’s Day tradition

Breakfast in Bed is a Mother’s Day tradition. My children started blessing me when they were still wee guys with Breakfast in Bed usually consisting of buttered toast with jam, Earl Grey tea, and lovely handwritten notes. Whatever the fare and presentation, I felt lavished with love on those special mornings.

With Mother’s Day approaching, here are some images and thoughts on what Breakfast in Bed might just look like this year…

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Theme:

Tiffany Blue Teacup (not mine, but a girl can dream…)A Silver Tray (mine is similar)White RosesTiffany Blue Cloth Napkins from Etsy

Sweet decadence in Tiffany blue

With a presentation this stunning, a simple muffin and banana would appear haute cuisine. Add a little more elegance and authenticity, and place a pain au chocolat on a plain white plate. And the icing on the cake…. A well-written love note to Mother expressing love and devotion – You make me smile because… My favorite memory with you… You inspire me because…

Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. The Father doesn’t change like the shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon. James 1:!7

 

 

April 19, 2010

The Power of a Simple Apron

When I get blue and don’t want to budge, I instinctively search for a dose of inspiration (some days, a double dose). Often, I’m inspired by beautiful imagery such a lovely table setting or brilliantly designed floral arrangement. Other days, a powerful quotation will spark a fire in me. Housework, especially laundry – my personal nemesis, is an unending cycle of daily tasks that can bring down even the most dedicated, disciplined and visionary of mothers.

I’ve a secret weapon. Some people wear power ties or power shoes, my self-inspiring garb is a little less glamourous – it’s a power apron. Sure, I’ve been guilty of mocking pictures of mums in fancy apron and pumps, but now I’m in awe of those wise women who went before me. There’s power in a simple apron! When I tie those proverbial strings, my whole persona changes. I become “Mother” in the dearest sense, and I’m ready for work. I’m suddenly the heart of my home wiping noses, baking cookies, kneading dough, folding laundry, and….

My apron inspires me. It lightens my load. Like the glorious and faithful rainbow, we all need something external, tangible and pretty to serve as a remembrance. My apron reminds me of all the quotes I collected, verses memorized, the Martha Stewart magazines devoured, the countless books and articles absorbed, and the cookbooks read cover to cover in an effort to become a better mother, wife and homemaker. My little apron does all that and more (on a practical note, it even protects my clothes from inevitable doughy clumps). It truly is a power apron!

For more super cute aprons, check out:

www.squidoo.com/jessiesteeleaprons

www.flirtyaprons.comLove the cupcakes!

Fabulous color combination! Are you inspired, yet?

“We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love…” 1 Thessalonians 1:3