She art (mixed media painting)

This weekend I took some time to make an idea in real life I'd been carrying around in my head for a few weeks.  As I've mentioned a bajillion times I signed up for an online art class that you take at your own pace.  It's full of videos and advice and instruction that you can log on to the computer and read about or watch whenever you want.  Like at night in your pj's.  Seriously, my kind of class.

The videos are my favorite.  I am such a visual learner.  So this canvas.

I picked up a canvas at the thrift store for $3!  I will probably always buy old canvases when I find them now because it's much, much cheaper than buying new ones at the craft store.  And you're going to cover it up anyway! (sorry artist prior to me...)  
I had so. much. FUN creating this art.  Like seriously I want to make another one after looking at these pictures.   This beauty is displayed on the fireplace mantle, where I can see "her" every time I stand at the kitchen sink.  So a good half of my day! 
Time for her close-up...


I stayed up very, very late making this gal.  And can I just say it was one of THE most relaxing, fun things I've done lately....getting an idea completed, start to finish.  It was rewarding and inspiring.  

I have a few (ok a lot) other art projects up my sleeve I can't wait to share soon. 

What art have you been up to lately?
And please tell me you have. 
There are always loads of laundry, stacks of dishes, meals to cook, babies to change,
errands to run, cleaning to do....

but please, please tell me you make art.
Art (well, Jesus through art) saves.

The end.

Redemption Weekend (thus far)

Happy Sunday! 
Last weekend was spent tending to Anna Ruth's stomach bug.  It was terribly sad and required load after load of laundry.  We holed up inside and watched loads of Blues Clues.  

So THIS weekend has been redemption weekend. 
By far. 
We've had date night with candles and the best cheese and crackers EVER, sausage and hashbrowns for breakfast, mysterious fog...
well, I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.
Because they always do, don't they?

I got the idea to tidy up our dining room and great room shelves a bit. As I was looking for the photos to put on the "after" version I came across these old pictures.  So funny.  This is how our dining room looked once upon a time.....and then,
it went to looking like this,
and then this....
and THEN this.....
and finally:
the final AFTER.  (we can all let out a collective sigh of relief now...ahhh)
Here's our dining room now, I'm happy to say!  
I always, always have ideas for changing things up and decorating in our home.  Lately I've been trying to "reign it in" and make my style and ideas a bit more clean and classy and styled.  We spend at least half of our days around or near this table.  It has stories to tell the walls only dream of telling if they could talk.


Just some little close-ups of the art and plants and jars I moved around a bit.  The plant in the can idea came from my sweet friend Natalie, at Natalie Creates!   You should definitely check out her blog.  I even got to hang at her house last week and can I say it was even more wonderful and beautiful and calming once you get inside!  
I already changed what was inside this...
I just can't help myself people! 
I actually took down my mini She Art canvases I painted and hung them on my new(ish) inspiration wall in the craft room.  I suppose I'll share a photo soon.  :) 
This was the view during the process of restyling all the shelves!  This is what I see when I stand at the kitchen sink.  And I stand at the kitchen sink a lot.  SO, I want it to be a view worth glancing at!  This was the "before"........
and here's the "after"!  I moved some things around on the shelves and simplified the mantle some...
and meet the newest little lady around the Torbett house, the angel on the mantle...
the huge She Art (inspired by Christy Tomlinson's She Art online class I've mentioned a dozen or oh, a hundred times!)....
I'll share more details on this little angel soon.  Or pictures at least! 
Most of the folded quilts came from my momma.  She is an extremely talented seamstress and makes gorgeous......everything.  Quilts especially.  These are worth more to me than gold. (and yes, we really do use them)
We also had the most magical, mysterious fog this weekend!  I just love fog.  Especially when it happens on the days I can run out on the back deck in my jammies to snap a few pictures of it, then run back inside and eat a plate of delicious breakfast food and guzzle coffee. 
I see God everywhere in this picture.




We also spent time in the garden,
ate delicious food at a restaurant (where both girls did so great.....Betsy dipped her fingers in ketchup consistently and I let her so I could eat my fish tacos, lol),
I watched a ridiculous chick flick with popcorn and diet coke in the coziness of my bed,
played "hide and seek" with Anna Ruth in the yard,
tickled Betsy and laid in bed with her for a minute (a rare, so sweet moment),
laughed hard at Brett as he did a stretch to "align his back", (still laughing),
just lived.

Really lived this weekend.  I dumped out some fears and UNconfident thoughts to Brett and let the weekend soar.  And soar it has.

And just think, it's only Sunday.
:)

{DIY} Terrarium

I have a fun project to share with you today! 
Are you in Pinterest? I sure hope so.  This post won't be the first (or the last) one where I declare my love of Pinterest.  I keep many ideas saved for the girls on there and I've been utilizing them a lot more this spring, now that we are free to roam about outdoors! 

I had an idea saved for a terrarium so we decided to take our own spin on it.  First we gathered some moss from our yard.  I actually looked at Lowe's for moss (what was I thinking?!) They sold some in a bag that had hardly any color at all.  So if you're going to do this project I would encourage you to try to find a spot at your house or a friends where you can get some real life moss you dig up yourself.  The bagged kind just isn't the same. 
Next we layered these ingredients in our jar:
rocks first, then charcoal pieces (I read this keeps the soil "fresh"?), then potting soil, and last the moss!
It ended up looking so pretty!  It has been sitting on our dining room table for about a week and still looks vibrant.  The table gets sunlight almost every day.  We just sprinkled some water on the terrarium to keep it moist.
We did fill this up way, way too full.  I think it might have worked better and looked better if the moss was down in the jar, instead of all the way at the top. 
In my defense, I was trying to keep Betsy Grace from attacking the cat (she has a STRONG love for the cat) and eat the ingredients while we made it. :)

Have you ever made a terrarium?  Have any advice for me? I'd love to hear! 

How I spend my time.

I tried to think of a million more interesting ways to title this post, but let's just get down to it.  A question I've been asked a lot is how I decide what to blog about and when I blog.  And paint and craft and.....etc, etc, etc. You get the point.  I don't think that my level of "accomplishments" (if you want to call them that) is anything outstanding or even worth talking about.  It's just me being me.  But since you've asked-I'll tell, how 'bout that?

First, I wake up around 6:10. I always shower and dress before the girls wake up!

Then they wake before 7 usually and it's breakfast time....

We have a variety of things going on during the week that are already scheduled in.  Regardless of the day's activities after breakfast I almost always do the dishes, clean up the kitchen and start a load of laundry.  Sometimes I'll pull something out of the freezer for dinner if necessary too.

In-between breakfast and lunch we make art, read books, play, sometimes watch a show, do a learning activity....etc, etc, etc.

We always eat lunch at home, even if we've been out and about.  The girls usually watch a Baby Einstein or Praise Baby at the table while they eat and I clean up from lunch and make my smoothie/lunch.  I usually empty the dishwasher then too and pick up the house a little.  

They go down for nap at the same time and I usually sit down to finish my lunch and read a few blogs. I also load pictures on the computer, edit them in Picassa, and blog during nap.  I don't worry about blogging every day if I don't have anything I want to share.  I just see what's ended up on my camera and go from there.  My photographs definitely dictate my words.  My heart speaks loudest through the pictures I take and I can usually notice a theme or certain thought in my photos. 

 Sometimes I'll browse Pinterest.  Some times I read a book about photography or a magazine.  I like to make crafts or art journal occasionally at nap time too.  Or take pictures that need to be a bit more styled without two little helpers. 

Basically, I treat myself to doing something creative.
Anna Ruth doesn't nap long at all so this is a pretty quick break typically. 

Anna Ruth always wakes up from nap first because she sleeps half of the time Betsy Grace does.  Anna and I sometimes watch another show together, or sometimes go in the craft room.  We also like to play in her big girl room together and read books. 

After Betsy Grace wakes up we have a little snack and do our special activity for the day.  Some kind of learning, imagining, art, baking, and playing goes on at this time! 

Next up is dinner prep (least favorite time of day, just being honest), and clean up.  I try most days to have the house picked up at least a little before Brett comes home.  I also try to fold the last load of laundry then and freshen my makeup/hair up.  (this takes like 2 minutes)  
And cook! 
(I'll have a fun recipe to share Monday!)
After dinner Brett plays with the girls while I clean up the dishes again (are you noticing a trend here?! I do this a LOT). I also sweep, fold more laundry (if I didn't finish earlier)  Betsy Grace goes to bed first and I almost always put her to bed.  Next is Anna Ruth.  After she goes down for the night I exercise between 2-4 miles on the treadmill most days and then at last, I'm done for the day!  

Brett and I love spending time together in the quiet evening!  Sometimes we watch t.v. (but rarely), read books, talk, go outside to look at the garden, or Brett will come keep me company in the craft room while I make or paint.  This is my favorite. :) 

And that's about it!  
Not included in this schedule are the thousands of questions I answer from the girls, the thousands of messes, the thousands of giggles, or the thousands of discipline/teachable moments.  There is never a moment to just sit down and never a dull moment.  I don't even know what procrastination is anymore! This is a blessing.  :)

{And I have to say, reading back over this my days sound so, so easy.  And they're not.}

What's your schedule like?  Any questions about mine?  

Inch by Inch: my art, garden, and girls

 "Inch by inch, life's a cinch.
Yard by yard, life is hard."
Amen and amen.  

I always feel like I have too many ideas and too many inspirations and too many projects.  I never have the problem of being bored or wondering what to do. Ever.  I think this is a good thing.  But sometimes  it feels like the tiny, daily things take up most of my time and I'm not making progress in other areas.  When really that's a trick and not the case at all.  Every bit of progress counts. 

Inch by inch, things add up to a beautiful picture.
 I've been wanting to get better at my art so I drew on a mug one night while Brett watched PBS and we visited.  This was easy.  I used a $1 mug from Harps and a white painters pen.  
Practicing little watercolors has been fun for me lately too.  I'm SO interested and wanting to learn SO much I have to reign in my excitement when it comes to art.  I'm trying to learn to be patient with having limited time and $$$$$ for online classes and art supplies.  I'm finding you can actually do so much with so little if you put your mind to it. 

This painting was requested by my Papaw.  I was pleased (honored really) to oblige :).
 We're finally starting to see little flowers in the yard....
 The playhouse Brett is building the girls is making progress. 
Isn't it awesome?!
 Inch by inch the girls are getting bigger and louder and sweeter and messier and ornerier and smarter.

 This makes me want to start shoutin' and dancin'! 
The garden is starting to grow!!
:)  Our inches are looking pretty all-right to me.

What's growing in your world?

(p.s.-Did you know you can pin any of my post images on Pinterest? There's always a "Pin It" button at the bottom of each post!  Click that and then you'll be directed to click on the post image you want to save!)

Magical days..

 "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."
-Helen Keller
 Tent building, Betsy's first time with a spoon being wildly successful, daffodils to cheer, toothy grins, Betsy being a "leftie", early morning coffee, first words, walks and wiggles...
Shadows and light, grey spring skies, baby doll playing, baths in the "big" bath tub, footie jammies, imaginations, questions and more questions, lots of "gooks" (books), color, laughter...

these are magical days at home with my two sweets.

My weight doesn't equal my worth.

Do you ever wonder if people you see online and in magazines really eat the way they say?  And exercise as much as it appears?  I do.  I don't mean for that to come across as negative.  I just wonder sometimes, what are real life gals like me doing to stay healthy? 

I've written about my health and eating habits on the blog a lot.  I'm not intending to be a broken record I can assure you.  It's just one of the topics I get asked about the most.  I can't count the number of times someone in real life has quietly mentioned something to me about that "post about food."  So this food topic, it matters.  And as long as we're living and breathing on this earth, it's going to continue to matter and I suppose I'll continue to write about it.  
If you go back and read over my food posts they're pretty positive for the most part.  They detail the healthy ways I've learned to eat and the realization that in order to be healthy you really do have to exercise.  It took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure that one out.  Healthy people don't have a magic trick up their sleeve.  They work really, really hard.  And then I've also realized there are a small number of gals who can, admittedly, eat a lot more freely than I am and still be thinner.  It's just a difference in body type and composition and metabolism I suppose.  

One thing I wouldn't ever want to do is give off the impression that I have it all together.  I want you to see the whole picture on this topic.  This is a subject where I choose to carefully pull out the broken, dirty pieces of the story and put them on display, without bothering to clean them up first.  Because that's real life.  This food topic is such a big one for women, with many, many layers.  Don't think so?  Try to name five gals in your life who have a completely healthy handle on their eating and exercising...

Can hardly do it?  Me either.  So let's get real about this topic.  It's such a game changer when we invite God in to this part of our lives.  I love reading in the Bible when the people feasted and enjoyed food.  I believe in food.  I also believe our bodies are temples made by God Himself and it's worth exploring what "healthy" looks and feels like to you.  
With that said, as I'm writing this we've been taking care of a very sick Anna Ruth all weekend and sleep has been meager. And it's moments like these where my shift changes from eating the most perfectly healthy meals and running 4 miles at night to just eating and making it 'till bedtime. 

That's real life.  On my "good" days, which occur about 75% of the time,
I eat an egg and oatmeal or whole-grain peanut butter toast for breakfast with coffee.

Lunch is leftovers (which are generally healthy), fruit, and a smoothie.  Always a smoothie.  Made with plain Greek yogurt, spinach, fruit, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, ice, and cocoa powder.

An afternoon snack consists of a graham cracker with peanut butter a lot of days with another cup of coffee. 

And dinner is a meat and veggie, or a Mexican dish, or tacos or spaghetti, or a meatless meal once or twice a week.  

Most nights I don't have an evening snack.  Unless I get hungry and then I do.  I don't ever think it's a good idea to make yourself go hungry.  At least for me, I end up getting a massive headache.  So, I eat every time I'm hungry.  I try to reach for a fruit or veggie first, but honestly we love Saltines and graham crackers and probably eat a few too many.  

Treats usually happen on the weekends for me in the form of hash browns and bacon for breakfast, a dessert here or there, and cheese (the good kind) and crackers.  And peanut m and m's.  Not always all those treats in one weekend. (but this one-yep. EEEEEKKKK)
I do pretty well with that eating schedule and exercising after the girls go to bed, most days of the week.  Here's where the not so pretty part comes in though.  The truth is on the days I've been up most of the night (with two gals there are many reasons for this) and I wake up really, really tired I don't do so well.  I almost always make worse eating choices than normal and if I'm so tired I'm about to cry, I skip the exercising.  

I'm not a die-hard exercise addict who makes myself do it anyway.  I probably should.  But I draw the line for myself sometimes and just say "enough."  

And so those kinds of days combined with the super healthy, very disciplined ones add up to a pretty healthy me.  I've also been learning to plan my treats in advance.  Just meaning I don't need a bag of peanut m and m's a day.  Maybe one bag a week.  :)   This way I'm not saying "yes" to every treat ever time every day.

The tricky part about my body type (especially after having two girls so close together) is that after even a few days of not eating perfectly healthy I look and feel different.  And my weight goes up.  I mean, even after like 4 or 5 days.  I don't think that weight matters more than health, but it does matter some to me.  Probably too much.  That's sad to admit because I'm a healthy weight now, and was last spring even when I was about 8 to 10 pounds heavier.

But in our society we've been so ingrained to think we need to be our absolute skinniest selves.  I'm still waiting for a friend to say "Let's enjoy this bread, extra pounds and all. Cheers!"  If you find a friend like this, send her to me! :)  I do know a few people who dig in and they are some of my most favorite, favorite people to be around.  The friends who immediately start discussing their weight or exercise routine as we're eating a treat, in effort to explain that they'll work it off later...I love them but it's hard for me to relate.

I don't think food should always be served with a side of guilt.
And if I feel bad and guilty for gaining a few pounds every now and then (when my overall health is good) well....Houston, we have a problem,
a major one.
Is the point of this post to embarrass myself and others?  No.  I just want you to know to me, a normal healthy lifestyle includes treats and nights where you let yourself have a break.

I certainly do.  I so wish we were all sitting around a table discussing this together.  I'd probably want to make a pact with you before we got up and dishes were cleared.  A pact that we can stop trying to get to our skeleton selves.  A pact to let it be okay that our tummies show we've had babies or turned 30 (when things REALLY do change).  A pact to be healthy and treat our bodies well.  Because we matter so, so much.  And if we totally ignore our eating and exercising it'll catch up to us.

I'd grab your hand and agree to love you on the days this food thing is just hard.  I'd want you to do the same for me.  I'd compliment how beautiful you look because of the light in your eyes and the cute outfit you put together.  Not because you look skinnier than ever.  (I've been complimented for this before and it sends such a confusing message to my brain).  I'd ask you to "pass the dip" and we'd talk about practical ways to be our best, healthiest selves.  The meal would most definitely include black bean and sweet potato tacos.

And then over a reasonable slice of cake, we'd laugh and share our unique personalities.  We'd compliment and appreciate humor, wisdom, grace, accomplishments, funny stories, each other.

Doesn't that sound wonderful?
Let's eat friends.  

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