Friday, August 28, 2015

A scrapbook of time (DIY)

Yesterday we dove straight down into our hearts, to the truest stuff of life.  We reflected on the middle moments that are really the bulk of our breathing here on Earth. It's lovely to sit and reflect on the rosy, merry, and treasured times we know we each have.  But what happens when real life comes rolling along, or the dishes come calling, or the laundry knocking?  Where are the treasured thoughts then?  

I found myself missing a practice I used to do regularly and decided to dust the 'ol idea off again. 
Scrapbooking, in a modern way.
For some reason I've never been one to delve into my deepest thoughts and desires into a journal that just anyone might happen upon.  And by just anyone I mean my toddlers or the other moms I have over for playdates.  But still, these thoughts are usually tucked away where even I can't find the journal half the time.  So this particular scrapbook I wanted to be kept light and loose, a little mini vacation of sorts when I flipped through it.  
I filled the rusty, chippy tin full of scrapbook cards and embellishments I had laying around but was meaning to get to "someday", added a blank journal found for 40% off at Hobby Lobby, some Instax photos (I'm still mad at this camera, but these were from my one and only roll of film), and some watercolors. 

Each day I reach down into my bucket of happy thoughts tucked away and spill them over onto the page.  Little blessings or laughs here and there, moments of kindness between the girls, a slight breeze that interrupted a hot day, this is the stuff my worship is made of.

What's a do-able way you can start writing your story today? 

(Don't forget, sign-ups are ending soon for the Photography Rosy Retreat, coming September 19th!  Photos are an excellent, visual way to capture your unique story! Read more here or email me at sunshinebysara@hotmail.com)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

middle moments


I read something this week that really stuck with me.  It was about the middle moments.  The author was writing truthfully about the fact that sometimes she'll be too skinny, sometimes bigger.  Sometimes exhausted, other times very well rested.  Either way, she decides to show up. 

It was at this point I found myself nodding along, the 'ol familiar lump of tears stuck in my throat.  All the best things make me react that way.  Sometimes I'll even stop mid-sentence and look at Brett, point to my throat and just shrug.  He understands every single time.  Some moments or thoughts or truths make my heart swell so big it's as if it says "Hey, let me up there, into the eyes where I can help you see better, feel better, love better, and accept love better" and out come these tears.  

Through reading Simply Tuesday, learning to be content with myself, and a year or two of trying to "make it big" as an artist, this summer I've traded my crown and scale in for the slow.  It's rather hard to constantly measure up and hold a crown on one's head anyway.  My heart, hands, and head all feel lighter, yet deeper.  Change has been on the rise for the last year for us.  And friends, although it was scary at first and often painful, it is now good.  So good. 
Last fall our family entered into a new season for us, leaving our traditional church and starting a home church instead.  In my art world, although some of my big ideas went great last year, a whole lot more of them didn't.  Silence, cancellations, and dead ends seemed to fill the spaces.  Had I the choice to do it all over again, I would.  These taught me not to value my worth on how many likes, stats, IG followers, or whatever else it is people are paying attention to these days.  Instead, make art to make God smile. 

Through our home church we've discovered family.  At any given moment of any given day, I have a small group of ladies I can call on, for any reason.  The same is true of my dearest friend who lives down the street.  By putting in the time and letting myself be vulnerable and open and a real friend…I have gained the truest friend.  All of this is possible because we were brave enough to jump into something new last year we felt God calling us too.  Our faith and knowledge of Christ has grown roots deep into the soil. Definitely not without some growing pains, but we're growing.  

Here's my take on the author's statement about simply showing up anyway: 
Sometimes I'll be smaller, sometimes bigger.  I'm showing up and feeling pretty either way.
Sometimes my house will be organized and clean, other times it will look very, very lived in.  We'll still be here, either way. 

Some days we'll eat roasted veggies and rice and other times Taco Bell or Chick-fil-a drive thru because although you may cringe, we actually like that food. :)

Some days I'll feel happy and joyful and full of ideas, other times I'll feel like the news and disciplining my kids and letdowns in the art world and chores are closing in on me.  Either way, I'll decide to show up, looking for the rosy in the routine.  

Some days I'll be deeply exhausted, but ok.  Lots of days actually.  Sometimes I'll be truly rested and refreshed.  I'll simply show up to my life both times, hopefully laying complaining aside.  Tiredness is not a terminal illness.  Sometimes it will be from something out of my grasp (ornery toddlers who wake), other times it will be because I'm slipping back into perfectionism and need to give it a rest.  

Some days things will look like they're changing around here.  The change may be slow and steady or come all of a sudden.  As the last year has taught us, both are good and we can be okay through it. 

All that to say, I am a work in progress.  You are too.  And we are both more than okay.  
We can look change in the face and walk right through if Jesus is in our side.  And He is on our side.  
I feel Him in the good tears, see Him in the spiderwebs, hear Him in the sound of the bugs.
For all the middle moments, which is really where most of life is, 
let's celebrate the merry. 
The rosy in the routine,
the merry in the middle moments,
the treasures in the time we have. 

Signing up for my Photography Rosy Retreat is a great way to take a day for yourself to learn how to savor and capture your story.  Read more here or email sunshinebysara@hotmail.com

(see you tomorrow for another DIY post!)



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

diy butterfly poster (vintage inspired)

The air is crisp this morning, the bird's chatter quite loud.  And of course, we can't forget the poor 'ol rooster across the street who crows morning, afternoon, and evening.  The world feels alive, although the darker mornings and cooler temperatures have the girls and I begging to stay under the covers just one more minute.  Whatever will we do,  come winter?  I'm just not quite sure.  

Just as the weather is hinting at the change in season and schedule, it's also spurred along some change on the blog as well.  I'm excited to be adding more DIY posts, decorating ideas, and simple ways to live an artful life right in your own home, within your own rich world this fall and winter.  Starting with this vintage inspired butterfly poster.  I have wanted one of the vintage butterfly/insect charts for a long time but after checking out the price range on Etsy (between $15-$80) I decided I'd have to come up with an idea of my own.  

I gathered some vintage book pages from my old book stash, most found 1/2 off at the thrift store.  I created the background for the poster by simply hot gluing the pages together.  Thank goodness for hot glue!  I find it to be my bff when doing home projects. 
Next, I started cutting out butterflies and moths from this vintage book I also thrifted a while back.  I suppose I wasn't technically correct because when cutting these I left the antennae out.  The tiny lines were too difficult to cut around and although I intended to go back and add them with marker, I'm just now remembering.  This is real life folks!  This type of book is one I would buy for maybe a dollar or two if I saw it, just because there are so many uses for it.  I've also cut out these butterflies and used them in my art before and they'd make lovely additions to place cards or a table centerpiece as well.  
To finish I hot glued the butterflies and moths onto my vintage book page poster, added some string, and was done! I would say this project maybe cost $1, if we're stretching it. 
The best part was watching the girls notice the poster on their own and hearing them ooooh and ahhh over it.  We truly love nature in our home!

Do you have any vintage books laying around you could make something with?  The next time you're thrifting, keep an eye out for any books on insects, butterflies, etc. You can always browse Etsy as well!  I found several books that would work perfect for this project for around $5.  

Happy creating!  If you make your own poster and post it to IG, use the hashtag #therosylifeblog to share!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Play, work, make art, repeat.

Good morning everyone!  How are things in your part of the world? We are starting to feel the first hints of fall around here and it sure feels exciting.  Lately it seems like when I'm asked what we've been up to my answer seems to be the same.  Play and learn with the girls, work around the house doing chores, make art at some point in the week, and then repeat.  Our days have been pretty packed full this summer, with visits to the library, botanical garden, playdates, trips to our new children's museum, etc.  Wow, it's been a great summer!  
The girls are starting preschool a couple of mornings a week soon so I'm hoping to get the ball rolling on some blog ideas I've had all summer long.  Things like tutorials/DIY posts, art videos, a mail exchange, and some decorating posts.  I hope you'll join me! 
In the meantime, this is a look at some art I've been making lately.  I've been rising early (as I shared on IG) to get dressed, drink coffee and read the bible, and make art.  It sure starts my day off right.  Going to bed at a decent hour the night before helps too.  With the art pictured in this post I didn't start the painting process with a goal or end result in mind.  I just simply started.  

That's probably my most favorite way to create.  To simply start.  That way if something ends up looking different than what I pictured, it's no big deal.  I can just run with it.  
(finished canvas)
(finished canvas)
A lesson I've truly embraced this summer is to create in pockets of time.  For the longest time I simply wouldn't paint or create anything because I thought I didn't have enough time or good enough ideas.  The truth is, painting matters so much to me.  There isn't going to be a magical time for me to create, I just need to find 5 minutes here or 20 there and do it.  As for having "good" ideas, my personal favorite ideas are when I've started without really over thinking things.  
Take these pieces for example.  I started off with a painted background and decided to stitch something over the top. 


I really liked how this turned out and was especially surprised when I saw the back of the paper.
All that messy stitching is my fave.



Holding this gal up to the window, with the light seeping in the stitches, felt magical. 

This must be what a peek inside my brain would look like!
Although I haven't added any of these to my shop (yet), you can always check out my Etsy shop for more favorites. 

Well, we're off to start another full, good week. 
How about you? What will this week bring your way? 
I hope it includes a paintbrush, coffee, a whole lot of Jesus, and something to make you belly laugh. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Answering reader questions!

"I truly adore your style and optimism. You are very gifted, too. I was wondering how you push through hard moments in the day, like when lack of motivation hits? I'm a play at home mom, too, and wow, those moments can be tricky to overcome."

Good morning everyone! We made it to Friday! Woohoooooo! This is always great cause for celebration in our house.  Of course, I'm all about celebrating the everyday but Friday means my sweet husband is home from work and that is something all three of us girls get super excited about! 

I wanted to jump back to a reader question I got a couple of weeks back and answer it today because maybe it will clear up any illusions you have of my life or at the very least, free you up a bit.  
I loved this question, wondering how I push through the lack of motivation moments.  The truth is sometimes I feel like I'm pressing my nose against the glass window of everyone else's life on the internet, sucking my breath in and wondering how they're just so darn happy about everything all the time.  I'm not, even when I should be and have many days where I lack serious motivation to do much of anything.  The ugly truth.  Being a stay-at-home mama means there are certain aspects of my day that do need to stay the same in order for our lives to run well.  The dishes, tidying the house, laundry, and cooking are all very high on my priority list.  I stay motivated to keep these up by having them set in our regular schedule and sticking with it every single day.  This keeps my motivation up because it's just a natural part of our day.  My girls will tell you that mom is going to do "morning chores" after breakfast, which consists of dishes and laundry, every single day.  The same goes for lunch time and after dinner chores.
As far as motivation with my girls, I genuinely love playing with them so this one isn't hard for me.  I make it a point to have at least one or two days a week where we stay home all day long.  Too much running around wears on us and I think the girls need time to be at home and play, go outside, read books, and just learn how to be without rushing around all the time. Or maybe it's me that needs that, lol.  

Anyhow, I have noticed the girls keep their spirits bright and imaginations strong when I mix things up as far as playtime goes.  For example, letting them have a tea party for afternoon snack (and doing it with them), building a giant fort on a rainy day, or planning special art activities once or twice a week.  This keeps them excited about the world around them and never uttering the word "bored". 
(sidenote: I also believe in free time for them where they have to figure out how to play on their own too!)


Last, I keep myself motivated by rising early, reading my bible and drinking my coffee, taking photos, journaling a gratitude list, and making art.  Touching base with friends via text or a night out sure helps too.  I also love to watch t.v. shows on the computer since we don't have cable, or take a walk around outside with Brett in the evenings.  Running on the treadmill is super hard for me to be motivated to do, but rids my body almost entirely of anxiety so it's a must too.  I don't do all these things all in one day but within the span of a week, these are the little moments that keep me motivated.  Because let's face it.  Taking care of a house and kiddos can sometimes feel challenging in that it's lots of hard work….no compliments or anyone noticing what you're doing really.  It would be easy to complain about, but what we're doing is really, really, really important.  It matters.  

The biggest motivator for me? Prayer and scripture. I have moments where I wake up and wonder how I'll possibly load that dishwasher one more time but I pray.  Scripture floods my mind and I think on THAT or turn on worship music and get an attitude fix.  I'm not perfect at this by any means, but I'm trying to do better.  I've learned in the last few months to not feel guilty for tucking in moments to motivate during the day, like spending time on my art and painting.  It has freed up my whole life deciding not to worry about what other people think when I spend my time on art. 

How do you stay motivated? Do you have other questions for me? 
I hope and pray I've been real and transparent and encouraging for you today. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

September Photography Retreat (sign-ups)

 Last Spring I let an idea free that I'd been carrying around in my mind and heart for a long time.  I decided to host my first ever Photography Rosy Retreat on the farm, teaching and encouraging others how to document the rosy in their routine through the use of phone cameras, digital cameras, and everything in-between.  

 5 women showed up and we gathered around the table together to fellowship, share, eat, and learn together.  I guided the group through the Photography handbook I wrote and designed myself, which covered everything from capturing mood and emotions, depth and perception, lighting, interesting props and backgrounds, favorite editing programs, favorite sources of inspiration, and what to do with all your photos.  

I also answered any questions the ladies had about their cameras or phone cameras.  



 After our soul-searching and learning time we gathered around a different table at the cabin on our farm property, for lunch.  I encouraged the ladies to take pictures of anything, all day!  
 Last, we ended the day on the farm, surrounded by the natural beauty and fun props we'd brought along from my house.  Each gal had ample time to wander, snap, click, and roam, using the lessons learned that morning.  
 Here's what one participant had to say about the day: 
"You did a wonderful job with the retreat! You combined heart, practical information and inspirational experiences beautifully. "
This day was so much fun and such a breath of fresh air for me, 
you're sure to love it too! 

The next retreat is coming right up and I'd love to see you there. 
Taking place Saturday, September 19th on the farm, this Photography Retreat will leave you refreshed and equipped to capture your everyday life as art. 
Snacks, coffee, and lunch will all be provided as well as a handbook. 
Of course, a few other goodies made by me will be included as well! 

This retreat has a special aspect to it because my girls will join us in the pasture and we'll practice capturing them delighting in play.  We'll also have time to roam on the farm.

All camera types are welcome and all learning levels are welcome as well! I shoot in manual mode on my DLSR, but am also experienced with a $30 Walmart cell phone (what my Instagram photos are taken with) as well as an iPhone camera.   All questions are welcomed before, during, or after the retreat as well.  

The retreat will take place from 9-2:30 and the cost is $125.
Sign-ups are easy, simply email sunshinebysara@hotmail.com! 
I can't wait to experience a day of photography with you! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Morning on the lake (the art of noticing)

We took a little adventure on the lake last weekend.  I would say that's something we've earned an A+ in this summer, adventuring that is.  We used to err on the side of always trying to accomplish something and there's nothing wrong with that.  But having two kiddos and raising them well is accomplishing something!  The greatest something!  So adventure in our free time it is. 


I quickly packed an easy breakfast in our thrifted picnic basket, which consisted of boiled eggs, cheese slices, apples, and homemade bread with natural peanut butter.  Coffee got to come along too, of course.

We drifted along and leisurely ate our breakfast, taking in the sights and sounds around us. 









Of course, life calls for a treat every now and then so ring pops it was.  






We were out for maybe an hour?  However long it was the girls did nothing but chatter happily, point at birds and flowers, ask questions, and enjoy themselves.  





My favorite was when Brett pulled right up next to this feather so that I could grab it and get a picture.  There is an art to this noticing that brings a life of deep gratitude and joy. 

Out on the water or at the campground with my favorite people is my favorite.  There's no place I'd rather be.  

This week I'm also starting a new scrapbook to document my findings from noticing.  
How do you make the time and space available to notice the mini miracles, sweet surprises, and tiny treasures around you? 
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