Friday, March 27, 2015

The art of noticing

Mornings are my favorite. 
You can add that statement to the list of things I thought I would never, ever, EVER say.  I mean, it's right up there with my deep and sincere love for cows.  I used to shudder if one even came within 20 feet of me and look at me now! So back to mornings.  They are my fave.
I think it must be the thought of all that possibility ahead.  The world is still and relatively quiet.  I've started a habit of waking before everyone else.  One day this week I was busy as a bee in the studio, packaging art prints for the upcoming sale.  I happened to glance up and immediately gasped.
The fairy houses were back.  No, I don't suppose that's what these are really called but who wants to know what that is anyway?  I don't.  I just want to take in the magic of the little webs spread all over every pasture.  I'm sure there' s a logical explanation for such a phenomena but I sure don't care to know what it is. 
All I know is, come spring, these magic webs appear. 

They're intricate, detailed, so fragile looking yet so strong. 

As I wandered around the pastures, alone with just my camera and God, I had the thought yet again.  That I might not know a lot sometimes, but I know the art of noticing is worth……well, noticing.

I know this because as I got down on my hands and knees I spotted this little web, hung as proud as a handmade quilt.  
Then things got even better.  
As I crouched down by the quilt web, I looked over to see this.
You all know how much a web speaks to me.  
"Don't you think the web itself is a miracle?"

Oh yes, a mighty miracle indeed.

There's an art to this noticing business you know.  A lot of guts and bravery to show up and notice with your own original eyes , heart, and soul.  But when you do……it is heaven on earth. 

I felt and saw and heard God everywhere I looked among the fairy houses. 
And then I got to come in and watch Anna Ruth care for our dog and I saw God there too. 

I pray you notice today.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Outdoor Decorating: Our front porch and back deck reveal!

We are outdoor people. 
100%.  A huge part of our lifestyle in the country is not only playing outside but eating, relaxing, exploring, and just being.  Each year when winter rolls around the porch switches from pretty to practical, as we make room for the stacks and stacks of firewood we go through.  
Then just as winter is about to wear out its welcome the porch invites us to play again.  It's an invitation we gladly accept.  The dirt and dreariness of winter get cleared away and a parade of pretty begins to, once again fill the porch. 
There are a few basic requirements for me as I'm decorating.  First, because I love (like a lot) decorating but love my kids and family even more things must be do-able, both time and money wise.  I'm not willing to sacrifice tons of family time for a decorating project. 

Take this table, for instance.  We bought it a few years ago and it was plain brown.  This year we noticed it looked very weathered and not in the good way either.  So we bought some outdoor white paint and gave it a little makeover.  It took a few evenings and a weekend afternoon or two but then we had a totally different looking table, no sanding or stripping off old paint or stain necessary. 
I also like things that can easily be cleaned! 
This "rug" from Lowe's is actually a plastic kind of material and can easily be scrubbed or sprayed off. 

The chalkboard was purchased from the fabulous Natalie, of Natalie Creates, who happens to also be a local friend of mine.  She has a booth at 410 Vintage Market on College with super cute stuff as well if you're local and like her style!
And then my all-time favorite trick when decorating is to layer things up.  I love a magazine photo or real-life setting with lots and lots of layers. Colors tucked here and there, different textures everywhere you look, and things displayed at different heights.  I love a room or space that gives the eye a lot of different places to roam.  
Brett and I spend quite a bit of time on the porch after the girls are in bed.  This whole row of old metal chairs is the perfect spot for us to unwind.  The bucket was one of my most treasured gifts from Brett.  He found it on the farm and brought it up to the house for me.  

Let me fill you in on the rest of the details of the porch: The lamp was a thrift store find with the base spray-painted, the old barn door behind it was found on the farm, as well as the crates.  The Be Brave sign was painted by yours truly, as well as the yellow shutters.  

I sewed the bunting above the windows with oilcloth from Fashion Fabrics Club and the lights are LED and ordered new from Amazon.

Our girl Bouncy had to sneak in for a pic! 
Another favorite decorating trick of mine is to add lights to just about anything! 
I purchased the neatest lights on a copper wire from Amazon and have them wrapped around these branches from the yard.  At night they are just stunning…you can't see the copper wire at all, just tons of tiny little twinkle lights.  The copper wire is great because you can easily wrap it around just about anything without a big plastic cord being bulky and visible.  

We also spruced up the back deck a bit! 

We added an oilcloth tablecloth, cushions and lanterns from Lowe's, and LED string lights from Amazon.
We've already enjoyed a few dinners out here! 
How about you? 
Do you have an outdoor space you love?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DIY Sewing Pattern Flowers

I sure do love a good DIY blog.  Problem is, I'm terrible at posting DIY projects myself!  I don't mean to be and certainly want to get better.  I think it's a trick to think that creative projects must require a lot of time, money, and skill.  Some most certainly do.  But not most I enjoy! I say "Creativity for all!" 

Today I want to share with you how easy it is to make these sewing pattern flowers.  
You'll start by gathering a few simple supplies: Scissors, a piece of foam (or cotton balls), a sewing pattern, floral wire, and some crepe paper if you want to make a colored version! 
Start by cutting a tiny square out of your foam piece, or simply grab your cotton ball.  If using a square piece of foam, fold it in half creating a ball shape.
Next, cut a small square of colored paper, tissue paper, or fabric.  This will be the middle of your flower so the possibilities are quite endless.Wrap the crepe paper around your piece of foam or cotton ball.
Now is where the wire comes in!  I usually cut a piece about a foot long to create my flower with.  You'll use the same piece of wire for the entire flower so you want to make sure it's long enough.  This stuff is super thin and so easy to cut off the extra when you're done.
Wrap the wire very tightly around the middle of your flower five or six times at least.
It should look a little something like this when you're done, with the extra long piece of wire left hanging down.  Don't cut it yet! You're going to use that piece of wire for your flower petals. 
Now you'll want to cut your flower petal pieces.  I usually cut a whole stack of petals similar to this shape.  You'll only use two or three petals per flower but once you make one flower I can almost guarantee you'll want to make more so go ahead and cut through a big stack of patterns at once.  The thin paper makes it very easy to get a lot done quickly. 
Now here comes the fun part!  The secret to getting your pattern paper to look like flower petals is to scrunch the paper up close together at the bottom.  You want to gather up the bottom of the petal in your hand like this.
You will then place the petal around the flower middle.
Repeat with two or three other flower petals, depending on what kind of look you're going for. 
Remember that long piece of wire I told you not to cut off?  This is why! You're now going to wrap the wire very, very tightly around the entire flower, petals and all.  
And that's it! You're done! 

Isn't she a beauty?!
I repeated these same steps, but created crepe paper petals instead of sewing pattern ones and both were just stunning! 

You can then do so much with your flowers! You could easily wrap the wire around a branch and display them in a vase, attach them to the top of a pretty package, use them as napkin rings, sew them in a long string to create a banner, display them in a basket, or even hot glue them to a frame! 

I chose to hot glue mine to the vintage chalkboard that hangs on our front porch! 
(the rest of the porch reveal coming tomorrow!)

Now wasn't that easy?!

Creating can be quick and fun!
I hope you'll feel inspired to try some of your own this week. 
Let me know how it goes!