Moments – on living intentionally.

My darling, always-on-the-go Shai has calmed and now sleeps peacefully beside me. His little chest rising and falling softly. His chubby belly peeking out from his shirt. Sleeping in his diaper with no pants, but of course. ;)

20130320-214028.jpgHe is now 16-months-old… I truly feel as though I blinked and here we are. Once again, I’m left stunned at how fast time seems to be flying by!

Which is kind of fitting with what I’ve decided tonight to share tonight. Something that has been on my heart for some time now: time. Even before I became a mother, I have found prioritizing my time difficult. Now…definitely so. I’ve also struggled feeling guilty for doing things that I love and that recharge me, especially with the seemingly endless ‘to do” lists. In reading Organized Simplicity, I’ve found that a lot of these struggles, even my insecurities when it came to do things I that recharge me; like creating, were written out and the author, Tsh, was speaking to my heart;

“Well, here’s the thing – everyone has been allotted the same amount of time. We’re all given twenty-four hours per day. The only difference in time between one person and another is how each person chooses to spend those same hours. Everybody is given the same chance, time-wise, to pursue different things. We each choose to spend those hours in a variety of different ways. And because this means we’ve got finite time to do finite activities, it should be a given that we use that time wisely and intentionally.” – Tsh Oxenreider, Organized Simplicity

Wisely and intentionally.

Each moment of each and every day is valuable. Over the years and on nights like tonight, where I sit stunned that my baby is 16-months-old, I’ve come to realize this more and more.

Every moment is a gift and what we do with this gift is so important.

I have wasted many moments, hours and days even. To even think of what those wasted moments amount to makes my heart sad.

We all have the gift of these moments. We have the choice to use the moments we’ve been given to either give us life and reenergize us or to allow our moments to slip away from us, doing things that may seem like the “right” or appealing thing but in reality they wear us thin, they drain us and over time we realize they are robbing our lives.

How often do we choose to seek after things that aren’t life-giving? How often we let even the mundane steal from us?

They’re robbing us of the precious moments we’ve been given.

Obviously there are things to be done: dishes to wash, clothes to clean, floors to be swept… On top of minds to me nurtured, little knees or hearts to be mended, bodies to be nourished, arguments to be worked through, appointments to go to, jobs to work and bills to be paid…

These moments are our every day. They need to be taken care of, yes.

But what I’m speaking of the moments we’ve been given outside of what needs to be taken care of. You might be thinking, What moments? Who has those? Pause with me for a moment. I know that there are seasons/weeks/days that are overwhelmingly busy and out of our control in some ways. But I think it’s safe to say that each of us has some sort of “down time” or maybe we’ve unknowingly allowed our lives to be so busy when we don’t need them to be.

I have begun to see how powerful it is to say “no” to the things that aren’t truly bringing life to my family and “yes” to the things that are. (Please hear my heart. It is to challenge our way of thinking and to ultimately ENCOURAGE us, you. Please read on, friends.)

“There should be some sort of criteria through which every potential event should pass, and it should only be added to the family calendar when it passes with flying colours.” Tsh Oxenreider, Organized Simplicity

Of course this makes sense. It is just a matter of doing so!

And what about time to be recharged/refreshed/reenergized?

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to find time to do the things the reenergize us. I have to be intentional. And when I am, I rarely regret it (and I only say ‘rarely’ because I get caught up in feeling guilty sometimes.)

For me personally, when I have a “free” moment, I usually chose to create something. It’s just the way I am wired. Just as my momma is wired to organize. She does it effortlessly and often. She maintains a clean home and an organized life. I look at her and wish I had that gene! But also, wonder how she does it because that isn’t my strength, it isn’t my gifting.

We’re each created uniquely – even down to what bring us life and reenergizes us. Organizing does {not} refresh me, usually. Creating, yes!

I often get comments to me, people wondering and asking how do I have time for this sort of thing, you know: creating, decorating, blogging, party planning, DIYs on the blog, ETSY, etc. I think for me personally, this is just a part of who I am. I have to be creating. It’s therapeutic for me, really. It helps bring me life and refreshes me.

Often when I hit publish on a crafty blog or photo post, I always hope that people will be inspired, or understand my heart in sharing. That I won’t be misunderstood. I know that isn’t reality, because the truth is, we all view the things we see and hear through our own filters. Even sometimes through our own insecurities. I’ve come to realize that maybe the comments I’ve heard in regards to ‘how I have time to create or to do the things the refresh me’, maybe it is because we’ve come to a place where we feel that it’s a luxury. A luxury to do the things we love, creating or reading or exercising or whatever refreshes YOU. And that too makes my heart so sad because I know that you can do it. I believe you, too, could do the things you love and that bring you life.

Make it a priority. Set time aside. Plan ahead.

“There’s a big difference between intentional downtime and spacing out, and in a contest, intentional downtime wins hands down. We should recharge our batteries, relax, and get refreshed doing those things we love best.”

I get to make a lot of choices in a day. Choices with what to do with each moment. It’s like what Tsh talks about: intentional downtime or spacing out. The choice is ours to make time and the choice is ours how we spend that time.

I could choose to create, or to write, or to read, or exercise or I could veg out and kill time watching a show or surfing social media sites (I do both, unfortunately more of the social media than I’d like to admit!)

I hope you have “heard my heart” tonight. I hope you know I am by NO MEANS saying, How dare you sit on your bum on the couch and watch a show? Or surf facebook. Or pin on pinterest (um, hello, it’s me talking here). No, no, no.

I just know for myself personally, Setting aside time to do the things you love and that refresh you.

It is LIFE GIVING.

What if we paused and reevaluated our lives and what kinds of things are using up our moments? What are we allowing to fill our days? Are they things that need to be done or perhaps we have things that are robbing precious moments for us? Even the “christiany” things we might do out of habit, take a moment and ask God! Perhaps a quiet time painting or art journaling (okay, that’s totally right up MY alley, but maybe for you that looks different!)

What if we reevaluated in a way that we have allowed time to do the things that bring us life and refresh us? That bring healing to our hearts and minds? I wonder what kinds of things we could accomplish feeling reenergize and refreshed. Feeling healed instead of broken and weary and like we’ve blinked and time is flying by but we can’t exactly say where it’s gone.

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DIY “Love” Frame.

I saw this super cute houndstooth frame on U-Create. It was made with a stencil, but I have many sheets of the pink houndstooth paper below (it reminds me of my Eisley-girl so I grabbed a lot for her scrapbook!) and I already had the frame, so I decided to try and make one myself! I can use it as home decor as well as Valentine decor too :)

Ready for this DIY?

Supplies used:

heart frame – $1 Michaels

modge podge

sponge brush

2 diferent colours of paper

stickers or vinyl or creative handwriting, etc (i used my Cricut and black vinyl)

Modge podge wood lightly and carefully place paper down. (Don’t worry about cutting anything first)

Let it dry and flip it over. Use an xacto knife (totally recommend you buy one!) and cut out the middle carefully.

Use the middle cardboard piece that came with frame and modge podge paper to heart.

Xacto cut it out.

Make sure there are no bubbles in the paper!

This is the part where I cut the letters out with the Cricut with the help of Chasey-boy who LOVES the cricut. He’s in awe of it. He loves to help momma create …in his own way.

Side note: I was talking with a friend the other day and it sparked an idea in me. I decided that I might do a post with creative ways for the little ones create with you (before their old enough to craft)! People often ask me what Chase does when I’m creating and I might just do a little blog post about it and how he joins in and creative ways to involve him. Would that be helpful? or not? (haha) I just feel really passionate about being a momma and still being you, and finding ways to do that, especially now that I know how therapeutic it really can be on a heart or even during grief… maybe soon I’ll do that!

And wa-la! SO simple and cute. And if you don’t have a significant other do something else in the little heart!

Okay, a few more DIYs next.

DIY Paper Heart Garland {1}

I saw pretty paper heart garlands on sale on etsy and decided to give them a try myself. It love how they turned out and the fact that they don’t have to just be Valentine’s decor!

Below is how I made them;

Choose paper. I chose pretty paper from Hobby Lobby (this pink houndstooth one always reminds me of Eisley). You could use plain white paper or even newspaper! I made one with newspaper just to see, and it totally works! So you could just use what you have if you want.

Cut paper into stripes. You can choose the width :) I like the almost 1″ width.

For the layered effect you’ll need to cut the stripes different heights.

Starting from the left side first, lay each piece on top of the other until you reach the middle piece and then do the same starting from the right side.

Staple the pieces together carefully. I honestly think glue would work the best so maybe try that.

I would also maybe buy or use paper that is double-sided. This was my first attempt and I love it but it would be more time effective to have double-sided paper. Although I gotta say, I love how it turned out!!

Chase crushed one beyond fixin’ but oh well, he had fun “helping” momma create.

I also had this sweet girl (my bebe sister) helping me out and a little Mum & Sons playing in the background.

Punch a hole through the middle piece, string fishing line through and hang them!

and you’re done!

Hope you’re inspired to create them. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be a Valentine thing, mine is staying up for a while!

More DIYs coming tonight :)

pretty jewelry holder {a DIY}

“If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.” – St. Clement of Alexandra

Today despite everything in me that aches….I hoped. This is what I did with a bit of that hope.

I’ve needed something to hold my jewelry for some time now because hides away in little boxes in the bathroom. “Out of sight, out of mind”, which means I rarely remember that I have it. So today, I wandered into our crafting room and grabbed a few things to create this.

Supplies I used:

Frame, paint and brushes, hot glue gun, black lace, white lace/doily fabric, cardboard.

That’s it!

How to DIY:

First, I painted the frame (you know me) black :)

Hot glue the fabric to the cardboard and then glue it to the frame.

Cut the lace then braid it.

Glue it to the cardboard.

Wa-la! Handmade hanger! (The frame itself is plastic so this lace will do the job, if your frame is heavier, maybe consider another option?)

Pin and hang jewelry!!

I hope you’re inspired to {create}.

Most importantly I hope you’re inspired to keep hoping “despite_______”.

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A Crafty Soiree

The DIY Show Off

Project ReStyle {01}

I am joining in with A Beautiful Mess and Smile and Wave. in their newly created ‘Project ReStyle’ where you take things that aren’t super awesome and you ReStyle them into amazing treasures!

As I was thinking about what to post, I realized, I already do this quite a bit!! Usually with thrifted finds or old things lying around the house so this will be a lot of fun and very inspirational! Remember my recent Thrifted {Treasures} where I found a punch of frames and a mirror? Well, I finished the mirror yesterday and absolutely {love} how it turned out!

You might have heard me say this many times before but when we get a home, the colours for our living room will be teal (not an ugly teal),  with black and white accents and splashes of this coloured pink (Eisley-inspired)! This is another piece that will someday adorn our home!

Chasey-boy love the mirror too. :) And I am pretty in love with painting everything lately, haha. Paint can transform {anything}…or most anything!

Do you have any ReStyling  you’ve done? Link me to your place for more inspiration or just join in with Elsie (do a double-take, not Eisley ;)) and Rachel and their little movement!

x, jami

OH and last night I was super honoured to be featured on U-Create (made my night!!!!!). Be sure to go and check out Kari’s site, it’s {super} inspirational!

U Create

DIY homemade {inspiration} booklet

Wanna make a cute little book? I made Chase a few learning booklets (out of kix boxes) for Christmas and decided to make myself a little booklet that holds my hopes for 2011. I took pictures of the process so you can make one too if ya want. (or if you don’t have the time or energy or supplies… i am going to try and sell one or two on Etsy to see how they sell)

Supplies used:

Supplies used;

cardboard box (you can probably use chip board but that isn’t free), scissors, modge podge,  paint/sponge brush, paper, hole punch, snap rings (to hold the book together), fabric scraps…

(optional) I used my cricut to cut vinyl letters out, but you can use stickers or your handwriting, or stitching, or whatever works for you. I also use this this book of creative cut outs that I had, which you can find at a hobby store or make some yourself. (just fyi- Joann’s sale racks are AMAZING!)

How to DIY;

-First, cut the cardboard pages to the size you like.

-Second, figure out the layout of your pages

(if you’re a super observant person, you’ll notice later, I never used this paper in my book. That’s because this is actually my sister and one of the pages she did in her book :))

– Then, glue and place paper carefully. I would add my paper on the glued cardboard and then I would cut the scrap paper to match the size of the (miss matched) cardboard.-Punch how ever many holes you want. You can use a regular hole punch too, it’s a little harder but it works just the same!

-Snap on the snap rings.-Cut scraps of fabric and tie them on the rings. (I cut 3″ and 4″ pieces)

– Finally, add whatever else you want into the book, ie. pictures, cut outs, writing…

Here is a peek into my book!I began writing in it before I took photos and realized that some of what I wrote was more personal. Eeee! So I blurred what I had written and then completed it after I took photos.I had a few “silly” goals like this ‘drink more water’ that I needed to incorprate into my daily living. Not huge dreams, but apart of the big picture. Even the little things make a huge difference :)I organized some of my goals, dreams for this year into categories. I placed some into different seasons, some into months, some weekly, etc.

The end. (this pink paper reminds me of Eisley :))

Well… that’s my little {inspiration} booklet. Hope you’re inspired to create one! OR… just lemme know if you want me to make you one and I will put on specifically up for you on Etsy.

Much love, Jami

 

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Gifts made with modge podge.

I am pretty crazy about modge podge and here are a few simple and cute ideas using this amazing stuff! I follow the Prudent Baby and she absolutely inspires me. She posted a few easy coaster DIYs on her blog and I decided to do these as a small gift for a bunch of my extended family members.  Because I know a lot of my family reads our blog, I will post some that I made for our (future) home!

I made gift sets of coasters and magnets and will be sharing both on this post. So heads up, this is probably going to be a long post!

Supplies used to make coasters;

6 3×3 tiles – (16 cents a piece from home depot!)

modge podge

paint brush

crafting paper/scrap paper – (I bought individual sheets at Hobby Lobby because then I could pick, choose and piece together what I thought matched my family member’s homes or personality)

paper cutter (or xacto knife or scissors)

felt (or cork) for the bottoms

hot glue gun (or rubber cement) to put the bottoms on

DIY:

Trace and cut

I cut mine a little less an 3 in by 3 in because I like the white edged look. You’ll see what I mean in a sec :)

paint one layer of glue on tile and carefully place paper

set a timer for 20 min and then add a layer of modge podge on top. Set time again for 20 min. You’ll do this a total of 5 times.

(optional part) Once completely dried,  dampen #400 sandpaper and lightly sand until smooth.

The final step is to add felt or cork to the bottom and then you’re done!

(I did ours to match my dream living room colours. I’ve shared before but our colours are teal, with black and white accents and splashes of pink which remind us of Eisley :))

How to  make magnets:

Supplies used:

glass gems (big pack for $3 at Hobby Lobby)

paper scraps from coasters

modge podge :)

paint brush

scissors or xacto knife

magnets for back

hot glue gun (for magnets)

How to DIY:

Trace and cut.

Add a light layer of modge podge and carefully place paper in center.

I let it try for 20 min, added a layer on top. I did this twice.

Once dried, hot glue magnets to back and you’re finished!

(This is a little saying I like and a cartoon my grandpa cut out for my brother)
These are fairly simple and hopefully the recipients will enjoy them!

This will be my last DIY post for this week (probably). Please keep us in your prayers as it’s already proven to be an incredible hard week but we’re pressing into each other as we miss our sweet E. Thanks for loving us so.

Much love, Jami

Our Winter Wreath (with DIY details)

I am pretty excited to share our winter wreath with you. I used our colours (teal, white) but remember you can use whatever colours you want. Hope you’re inspired to {create}!

I have a new found love in making rolled fabric flowers and once I show you, you might too!

How to DIY:

First buy a wreath. I bought ours at a thrift store for just under $2. I tore it apart and spray painted it white. (If you don’t want to spray paint, use fabric to wrap around the entire wreath)

I went to Wal-Mart and bought it for this great price.I bought 1 1/2 yards of fabric but ended up only using one yard. If you wanted to cover the entire wreath I would buy a more.

Rolled fabric flowers are very popular among the crafting community right now. Used for dressing up shoes, shirts, purses, totes, headbands, etc, etc, etc. I decided to try my hand at rolled fabric flowers (for this project but also for a few gifts) but searched online for the “how to” and really didn’t like how they worked with flannel. So I tried a few things and ended up find this worked the best with the kind of material I had!

How to make the flowers

Step one: lay fabric out and draw circles in different sizes so you can have a variety of flower sizes.

Step two: Cut circles out and cut in a swirl pattern.

Step three: Take the end with the smallest point and roll towards you. I found rolling the very center a little tighter and then losening as I rolled worked best for the look I wanted. I liked the more imperfect rolled look. I used a pen to push the center up in the flowers. Make sure if you do that, you poke from behing the flower, not the front!

step four: admire ;)

step five: hot glue the back and you’re done!

 

I used a hot glue gun to place them on the wreath.

And then I used left over lace I had to hang it. It will go on our front door when we get a wreath hanger but for now;

I {love} it and kinda want to make one for each season!

Hope you’re inspired! I’ll be posting a handmade packaging idea and another gift idea soon.

A fairly simple DIY {winter} display.

Remember my DIY fall display? Well today it was transformed into a winter one!  (Keep in mind you can use any colours you want to do what I’ve done below. Our colours are more wintery then Christmasy)

Spray painted the branch white.

Spray painted the beans.

{love} the colour

I was planning on buying teal fabric but instead searched through the house and found white lace.

which I cut into strips and spray painted (yeah, I got a little carried away with the spray paint today!)

Once everything dried, I tied the lace on the branch to make pretty little bows and trimmed it to look like “leaves”.

I used left over lace and felt from the “falling” felt snowflakes to create this look. I thought of printing off one of the free holiday printables that are going around right now, but nothing seemed fitting for our family currently. The holiday “cheer” is hard to find this year, so I instead  framed joy. Joy isn’t always a smile on your face. Joy is within, it’s amidst sorrow and grief. Joy is healing and is part of what helps you move forward. Joy seemed fitting to frame.

(please ignore the lighting difference ;))

I am super tired and probably shouldn’t even be posting when I can’t even remember how to spell such simple words. (Seriously, writing this post has been amusing) Hope you’re inspired to create.

Much Love,

Jami

Long before she existed…

One of my best friends drove up to visit me last week. We talked about memory she had of when I first told her of Eisley’s name. It was in the little apartment that we shared. I wasn’t even married to Ted yet, but here we were talking about Eisley. Obviously she didn’t exist yet but her name and what it meant to me did. The dreams I had for my little Eisley-girl did. I’ve been dreaming of having my little E long before she existed. Chey told me that when I shared Eisley’s name she thought to herself  “One day I’m going to get to meet that little girl.”  Such a precious memory that now we’ll hold very dear to our hearts.

Then 7ish years later, at our ‘Pink or Blue’ Party we screamed in delight as we found out we were having a little girl. Chey came to me and said to me, “Jam, your finally having your little Eisley!” As Chey and I talked about her, we both just sat crying bittersweet tears. Even though it wasn’t the way I had dreamt it would be, I did indeed have my sweet little Eisley and she’s changed my life forever.

Whenever I dreamt of having my first little girl, my sweet Eisley, I never once imagined losing her. When I dreamt of Eisley, I imagined a little dark haired girl with big brown eyes looking up at me, with her hand in mine. Never once imagined that would actually never happen.

I didn’t actually want to write a blog that was morbid or depressing, because in this moment, I feel so overwhelmed with how blessed I was (and am) to have had my little Eisley. My sweet little girl. Long before she exisited I dreamt of her, I feel like I’ve known her for years.

This is obviously not what I had expected, or dreamt of… yet tonight I sit with a full and thankful heart to have such precious memouries despite how short her time with us was;

  •  the first time I “named her” back when I was just 16-years-old
  • Ted choosing Antalya as her middle name, meaning “beautiful” and “break of day” long before she existed (September 08)
  •  finding out I was pregnant with our “surprise baby” 7 years after picking out her first name
  • the first time I felt her movements within
  • the first time Ted and I (at the same time) felt her movements from the outside.
  • the moment we cut the cake and found out she was indeed our little Eisley ( I feel like I knew the whole time ), to the first time I called her by name and how amazing that felt. My Eisley was here at last.
  • recognizing how perfect and fitting her name really was for her
  • her reacting to my voice when I sang “you are my sunshine” or the song I sang over her throughout our days in the hospital
  • the one day that her heart rate read “143” on the monitor, over and over again. This might seem so little and silly, but this actually was much more than a coincidence for me. “143” was Ted’s way of telling me he loved me before he said “I love you” to me. He always wrote me little stickey notes and put them on my desk at work, or in random things of mine. When I saw her heart kept beating at a rate of 143. I just started crying. She knew her mommy and loved me so. I know that with everything in me.
  • getting to see our baby girl so frequently throughout our pregnancy with her via ultrasounds. We {cherish} those memories so much. Our only time we got to “see” our sweet Eisley, alive and full of movements.
  • the night before she passed away, when Ted talked to her and she reacted to his voice. As if she was saying goodbye. (makes me cry even now.)
  • Even though the time in the hospital was so difficult, I was truly never alone. I got so much alone time with my sweet girl. I often thought that if she would have made it, the deep connection I already felt with her in my womb would have been incredibly strong outside of the womb.

There are little memories throughout that I will always hold dear to my heart. I am so thankful for such precious memories.

This week I was sorting through and organizing all of my crafty stuff and I found a scrapbook my mom had made (and I’m finishing) of when I was pregnant with Chase and everything I ever wrote/documented during that time. It’s incredible and so full. As I flipped through it, I thought to myself “Eisley will never have a scrapbook” but then immediately remembered all of the journal/blog entries I wrote while I was pregnant with her. I decided to put a scrapbook together of my Eisley-girl and our journey with her and how she’s impacted our lives.

I began it just a few days ago and I am already 8 pages in. I actually began with the blog posts/journal entries/letters I wrote after she passed away, which might sound morbid, but I was afraid to start with what I wrote when she was alive. I think it’s going to be incredibly hard to read everything again but this time, knowing she isn’t here with us.

I am putting “everything Eisley” into this album. I am putting my {whole heart} into it as well. If you come visit me, don’t be surprised if I pull it out to show you, so you can catch a snitbit of who Eisley was and is to us, to me. I have realized this week that there are so many memouries and SO many little things going into Eisley’s scrapbook even though she never made it outside of my womb. I am in awe of how many precious memouries we have.

Thank you Jesus for these precious memouries and dreams, even the ones long before she existed. Thank you for our sweet Eisley-girl.