Sep

11

Pink and Gold First Birthday Party

we finally got to host Berkeley’s Pink and Gold First Birthday Party this past weekend…only a month late, but who’s counting?  :)
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let me just tell you…this party…was the never-ending party!!  we originally planned a big blowout on the beach in the beginning of August, but right as we had just unloaded the cars and brought everything down onto the beach to set up…this happened:

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serves me right for planning a beach party in Florida in August.  i should of known better.  so my dreams of a beautiful beach bash were shattered.  and because right after that, our lives got REALLY CRAZY, we weren’t able to reschedule until this past weekend.  so what you’re going to see in this post are pictures of the four different times i set up for this party….

1) the first time on the beach (not many from there, because it was a mad dash back to the cars to ensure no one got struck by lightening)
2) the second time (on her actual birthday, when our family came over to celebrate since we had to cancel the weekend before, and we didn’t want her bday to go by uncelebrated),
3) the third time (the rescheduled party at our neighborhood pool, because i had too many cupcakes in my freezer and there was no way i was gonna let all that work go to waste, although i definitely contemplated just bagging the whole thing and waiting till she turned two)…

but since it rained right before that party started too, and i had just enough time to throw things on the table, i didn’t get to use all of my decor or take pictures, hence

4) the fourth time (in my backyard for a quick little photo shoot so i could at least capture some more details…and also the reason that the cake looks half eaten…because it was by that point!)

so there you have it….why it looks like i hosted 4 separate parties! :)

okay…now for the details:

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most of the decorations were pretty inexpensive, but they did take some time.  i made the tassels out of tissue paper, and i honestly found them to be somewhat irritating to make…the tissue wasn’t easy to work with.  but once i got the hang of it, it went a lot faster.  the bunting was made with 2 different sized doilies that i just folded in half over ribbon and glued.  i love how elegant and feminine they look.  i have a feeling i’ll be able to get a lot of use out of that bunting.
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 the high chair was my older kiddos’ old wooden high chair.  years ago i had painted it black (back when i painted every piece of furniture black…funny how my styles have changed), but had been wanting to update it anyway before bringing it in the house, so i spray painted it gold, which fit perfectly with the party colors anyway.  i used the same spray paint and sealer that i used on Berkeley’s crib.  although, gotta be honest…i haven’t let her really eat off the tray yet because i’m not sure the best way to seal it to make it food safe.  if any of y’all have suggestions, i’d love to hear them.

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i made smaller tassels to decorate the high chair…DSC_0112 - Version 2 copy

and created the “Berkeley is 1″ circle on a site called peartreegreetings.com.  i also made these banners using those same die cuts, and then built the party colors and decor around them. their website is awesome, and the thing i loved the most was how much i could personalize their products.  i had a blast figuring out the perfect color combinations, photos, and texts to use to make Berkeley’s party one of a kind.  if you are planning on throwing a party, they have a large assortment of pretty awesome Kids Party Decorations and Kids Birthday Invitations.  i’m also kinda pumped about their Christmas Card collection too!

i used the larger die cuts to make banners…
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and the smaller die cuts as toppers to dress up the simple vanilla cupcakes with gold sprinkles:

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i used the Numbers and Pinstripes Theme, and you can see how unique and creative you can get by starting with their templates.  i love things like that…they do the hard, initial legwork, but i get to make it my own!

i also ordered some personalized napkins, even though they technically fall under the wedding decor category, because i kinda fell in love with how the design turned out.  and since i didn’t need plates because all we were serving was cupcakes, i thought it would be fun to have a unique napkin instead!
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i had already created her invitation on Paperless Post so that i could email it out, otherwise i would’ve looked at using one off Pear Tree Greetings, because they have some really adorable ones.  but i did have Paperless Post send me one printed copy so that i could have it as a memory for her.

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this was one of my favorite projects for her party.  i’ve really been enjoying chalkboard art lately, so i knew that i wanted to incorporate this into her party.  i made that gold framed chalkboard years ago, and knew that it would work perfectly to make some chalkboard art all about the Birthday Girl.  DSC_0111 copy

i’ll come back and show you a tutorial for the chalkboard art, because its actually really easy!DSC_0106 - Version 2 copy

i found some gold striped washi tape in the Dollar Stop at Target (best decision Target ever made…i pretty much want to buy everything in there.)  i had to find something to use it for, so i taped some of my favorite photos of Berk onto our bulletin board.DSC_0052

the cake was another fun project because it gave me the chance to learn how to use buttercream frosting to do the petal technique.  super super super easy, and something that i’ll totally try again!!!  i used this tutorial from Wilton.  DSC_0496 - Version 2 copy

i looked everywhere for a gold “1″ candle, but couldn’t find anything, so i bought a regular “1″ (the kind they sell at the grocery store) and made my own with lots of glue…and lots of gold glitter.
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i think the Birthday Girl enjoyed all her celebrations!
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and i’ll leave you with some more pictures, just for fun:DSC_0015 copy

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it rained either during or right before every party attempt…doesn’t that mean good luck?  just kidding.  i think it just means that its summer in Florida…DSC_0471 copy

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Berkeley actually wasn’t that fond of her cake, much to her older siblings’ dismay!  but momma ain’t complaining about that!  

DSC_0557 copythere you have it.  very glad that the never-ending party is now over!  but for sure enjoying our big One Year Old.  i forgot how much fun this age is!!

6 Comments

Sep

03

Easy Car Seat Cover Tutorial

i love y’all.  i really do.  you sure know how to make a girl feel like she’s not crazy!!  THANK YOU for your comments, emails, etc from my last post.  thanks for your encouraging words.  thanks for sticking in here with me.  my favorite thing about this blog is that it reminds me all the time that WE ARE NOT ALONE!!  this is truly an amazing, God-given community.

i’m excited for what i’m going to show you today, because i used this thing EVERYDAY for the first 6 months of Berkeley’s life.  its a sewing tutorial for an Easy Car Seat Cover.

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i made this a long time ago for Berkeley, but i never got around to posting it.  so i’m excited to share it with you today!  this is such a fun way to gussy up a boring old carseat, but its also super functional, because it provides shade, as well as protection from the elements.  i originally sewed it for Baby B’s car seat because i needed something to keep her dry during all those (sometimes daily) Florida afternoon thunderstorms.  i also used it to easily cover her up for those times when i didn’t want anyone getting close to her or touching her (especially for those early weeks!)  it was also great on walks to shield the sun.  Berkeley hated having the sun in her eyes, so this way i always had an easy, yet cool and breathable way of covering her.  and it provided instant shade when on the sidelines of her brother’s games too!  this not only proved to be amazing at all of those things, but i also got comments all the time on how cute it looked.

(can’t believe she’s already outgrown this thing now!  time flies…)

so here you go…this would make an amazing gift too!!  trust me…as a mom, anything that is not only functional but also super cute and can get daily use is the best kind of baby gift!

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all you need is:
- 1 yard of front fabric (the floral…i think it was either a Heather Bailey or Amy Butler design…but i can’t remember for sure.  i bought it at my favorite local quilting shop)
- 1 yard of back fabric (the grey polka dot….i found this one at Joann’s)
- 1/4 yard of fabric for the straps (i used the polka dot for the straps too)
- (2) 3 inch strips of velcro
- 4 1/2 yards of jumbo ric rac
- coordinating thread

(i would suggest washing your fabric before you begin.  i ended up needing to wash this cover many many times, so if you prewash your fabric, it will do all the shrinking its gonna do before you sew it and wash it later, only to find out that it now won’t fit your carseat!  so i would suggest first machine washing and then air drying your fabric)

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lay out your front fabric and, using a bowl, round your corners: DSC_0966 copy

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once all 4 corners have been rounded, repeat on your back fabric:

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lay your back fabric out, right side up, and then lay the ric rac all the way around, making sure that the edge of your fabric is lined up with the outer edge of your ric rac.  in other words, the ric rac should be laying just inside the fabric, with the edges on top of each other:
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sew the ric rac onto the fabric by sewing down the middle of the ric rac.  (make sure you are catching the fabric as you sew):DSC_0978

next, pin the front fabric onto the back fabric, right sides together, with the ric rac sandwiched in between the fabric layers:DSC_0984 copy

using the already sewn line as your guide, sew on top of that same line to attach the front and back pieces of fabric together.  leave a small opening so you can flip it right side out when done (you will close that opening in a minute with a top stitch):

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flip right side out, and then pull the ric rac out from the edge and iron down so it stays in place:
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next, top stitch all the way around.  this will help the ric rac to stay in place, and also adds a finished touch (you can close your opening at this time too.  just tuck in your edges and sew together with your top stitch:DSC_1010

the main part of the cover is now done (see how easy that was?!), so now all you have to do is make the straps so it can hang over the carseat.  so cut two pieces of fabric (i used that same back fabric to give it a coordinating look since it was going to be attached to the front fabric.)  cut two squares, about 8 x 10 inches.

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fold them right sides together, lengthwise, cutting the width in half (so you’ll end up with 2 pieces that are 4×10), and pin the edges.

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sew all 3 sides together, but leave an opening to flip right side out.  once you’ve flipped the fabric, sew a top stitch all the way around, sealing up the opening.
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then you need to sew your velcro pieces onto each strap.  you can see approximately how i did that below, but the best thing to do is to position the strap around the handle of the car seat so you know how your strap is going to be folded and which side your velcro will need to go on.  (this will make sense as you do it.)  pin each piece of the velcro where you need it for the strap to hang on the handle, and then sew in place.  DSC_1017 copy

your final step is to attach the straps to the cover.  the best way i found to do this is to velcro the straps to your handle then actually throw the cover over the carseat and position it how you’d like it to hang (i wanted my fabric to  completely cover the front and the back of the carseat, which meant there was going to be more fabric in the front, so your straps won’t be completely in the center).  also…i didn’t want any fabric hanging in the middle, touching Berkeley’s head, so i made sure to position the straps towards the outside so that it pulled the fabric taunt.  sorry that there is no better technical way of telling you how to measure and hang, but it depends on your car seat and the handle.   once you figure out where you want your straps, pin them on, and sew them onto the cover in a 3 x 3 inch box to give the straps lots of stability and to allow the cover to hang the way its supposed to hang.  (once again, this will make sense as you do it.)

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there you have it!  its a really quick and easy project, but makes a huge difference, both in functionality (is that a word?) and style :)

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you’ll notice that i also made a coordinating arm cushion for the handle.  that thing was a life saver, as it cushioned the crook of my poor arm from all the weight from lugging that car seat in and out of the car.  i’ll show you that tutorial another day if you are interested!

happy sewing,

 

 

4 Comments

Aug

29

Sabbatical is over

well hey there!  remember me?  :)  i’m the one who used to stop by here fairly often.  you used to be able to count on me for something…maybe a recipe, or a photograph, or at least a thought.  we used to be friends, i think.  but i disappeared, didn’t i?  i’m sorry…do you think you still got it in you to give me another chance?

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i keep wondering why i haven’t just thrown in the towel and shut this thing down yet.  after all, the chances of A Small Snippet being just a far off memory at this point are pretty good.  but there’s something about this that continues to draw my heart, and i feel like every time i consider just bagging the whole thing, God won’t let me yet. this blog…it brings me to life.  i just does.  i need to come here and write.  God moves in me through this blog in a way that is unique to other parts of my life.  so if you are still out there, i’m thankful.  you know what has motivated me to come here today?  y’alls sweet emails and comments.  wondering if i’m okay.  you have NO CLUE how an email from a complete stranger brings life to my weary heart.

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so…let me just update you on life.  i actually do have some very good reasons for my absence.  and to spare you details that you don’t want to hear (who am i kidding?  i’m the queen of too many details, even when i try not to be), i’ll bullet point my last 3 months:

- the house that we had been renting for the last year, that was supposed to be a long term rental, that we loved, in a crazy cool neighborhood with best friends as neighbors, and that we fixed up and spent money on to create into our home b/c we were planning on living there a while (dag gummit…i even sewed custom curtains for those 13 foot windows, and had JUST completed a nursery!!)…our landlord suddenly had to sell it, out of the blue…and it got 3 offers within 24 hours of being on the market.  and i crawled into a dark hole and bawled my eyes out for what felt like years.

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- so we moved…6 times since April.  yep.  SIX.  well…technically, we moved all our stuff in April to a storage unit, packed 2 plastic bins per person, and bounced around like crazy Nomads.  our dear friends let us live with them for the first month…and if i believed in Sainthood, they would be getting my nomination.  (i’m pretty sure everything about that sentence is wrong, but you get the gist.)

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it was like Spring Break with your BFF’s for a full month.  and we still love each other after the fact.  that’s grace, y’all.  cause we have a baby, and baby stuff, and older kids, and stuff.  and a teething baby (who was kinda forced to take a paci during that month, because momma went against all her beliefs (which happens, people, as soon as you become a parent…sorry to break the news to you) and was desperate for her to not wake up our friends, and that paci is now what said baby has grown to love, and for which that same momma is gonna be even more desperate to get rid of in a years time, but i digress, and used one too many paraenthesis).  and fighting kids.  and fighting parents.  and stuff.  and that’s why they are saints.

- we then moved to my in-laws.  and they welcomed us (and all our stuff) with open arms and made us feel like we were doing them a favor by living with them.  LIARS!!  but really.  i think they liked us being there.  so they are on my ballot for Sainthood too. :)

- then some people that we didn’t even know but who heard of our situation, let us live in their condo and use ALL of their things…for 6 weeks.

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and their generosity towards us blew me away.  they loved us like Jesus would love us…and they didn’t even know us.  and…Bella’s dream came true, and another one of my worst nightmares got crossed off my list, because we got to take care of their dogs while we were there.  i could say a lot about that experience, but i’ll leave it at that.

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Mourning Doves moved in the same day we did, and built their nest on the porch, and it was God’s message to me that joy and pain can exist at the same time, and He was making His home with us no matter where we lived.  i’ll have to write more about that in another post, cause it was fairly miraculous and supernatural, and there’s a lot more to say about what that taught me.

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- we moved out of the condo and then spent a week in Charleston, SC at the most amazing home of some dear friends, and i felt like i was staying at a 5 star resort.  it was just the escape we needed.  but i’m counting it as a move, because it was the only home we had for that week.

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- we came back from Charleston and moved into our friends’ house while they were on vacation…and once again, i battled feeling like a complete loser vs. my heart wanting to explode over the sheer love and generosity that people were showing us by letting my crazies live all up in their stuff.

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- so…onto number 6:  Jake and i built a house shortly after we were married, about 12 years ago, in a rocking neighborhood with all our friends living in the same hood.  brought C and B home from the hospital there, lots of life lived within those walls.  we lived there until 3.5 years ago, when we rented it out to some great families so that we could live closer to our church plant, and rented some friends’ amazing beach condo for a few years.  our friends that we originally moved in with have since moved out of the hood, and we never anticipated moving back, mainly because its so stinking far away from our life now.  but…and i have NO EARTHLY CLUE why yet…but God moved our tenants out and we got to move back in a few weeks ago…and we are so stinking happy to have a home again, where we get to live, just our family.  i’ve never loved this home more!!  (and that’s saying a lot, because the very first day we moved in after it was built, our builder came by and told me that he’s never in all his life seen someone more excited to move into their home.  if you haven’t figured it out by now, i can be pretty excitable.)  looks like my kids love it too:

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so…we are settling in, my kids are thrilled to have beds, and stuffed animals, and their bikes.  i am thrilled to have my cutting board, and my grain mill, and a changing table for Berkeley.  its the little things, people, that we took for granted before.  and i’m sure we will take for granted again.

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but for today, I’ve never been more thankful for HOME.  we are still far from our daily life.  my kids school is a long drive.  our church is an even longer drive.  our main community of peeps is not out here.  most days i feel isolated.  we really are longing to live closer.  i don’t know what God is doing.  but i do know that HE IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME.  someday it’ll all make sense, but for today, i only need to know His Goodness.  He is ALWAYS in my corner.  He is ALWAYS on my side.  and He is always providing exactly what we need, when we need it.

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i’m learning a lot about my heart…and how connected it is to an idea of a home.  and how stinkin important it is for me to feel home.  and how much i love home and how it makes me come alive, creating a home.   and that during these past months of being without a home, i’ve kinda been hollow, and depressed, and not myself at all.  and that all that is a jumble of idolatry AND Godly longings….and its a big tangled mess and i need Jesus like every single moment i’m awake..and even when i’m asleep, because my dreams sometimes revolve around it too.

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next bullet point…that was a long one.  see…i’m not good at this no details thing…

- during our move, we got word that my Grandpap had stage 4 lung cancer.  he passed away within 3 weeks of his diagnosis.  i’ve lived my whole life in the same place as my grandparents, so its not like losing a distant relative.  life will forever be different without him.  he’s never missed one of my kid’s birthday parties, i’ve never celebrated a holiday without him (with the exception of the Christmas that Jake and I spent in the Philippines)…he’s just always been around.  i got SWEET time with him before he passed away.  Berkeley has only a few words she can say, but PapPap is one of them, and she got to call his name out to him a few days before he died.  And if you follow me on Instagram, you already know that my last memory of him was him blowing a kiss to Berkeley the night before he died as we left Hospice…the youngest and the oldest in the family.  i’ll never forget that.

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- the night we got home from his funeral (last monday), we discovered that all three of my kiddos had high fevers.  so we got them comfortable, and tucked them into bed, thinking they were fighting off a virus.

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turns out all three got much sicker as the days went on, and after running some tests, we found out that all three had Salmonella poisoning (from what we are pretty sure was some infected fruit).  Sweet Berkeley was too small and weak to fight it off on her own, and had to be hospitalized for a few days.

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 and it was heartbreaking and scary, and i hope to God that i never ever have to be in the hospital ever again with my children, but i am SOO grateful that i live in a place where my child can get immediate treatment, whereas so many precious ones die from the same infection all over the world because of lack of resources.  that makes me want to scream and cry and hug my baby as tightly as possible.

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 thankful to report that everyone is much better now, and life is starting to return to our new normal.

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-Berkeley turned ONE.  and i threw myself headfirst into planning a killer bday party for her, because i needed a project and something to distract me from life…but it got rained out within 10 minuets of setting up, so there…there’s that.  it has yet to be rescheduled, because of funerals, and Salmonella, and hospital stays, but by golly…she’s gonna have a first birthday party if it kills me….there are just WAY too many cute decorations sitting in my dining room, and a freezer full of cupcakes cramping my style.

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so here’s where we stand.  we are exhausted by life.  literally exhausted.  its been a complete whirlwind, and i feel like the waves keep crashing over us, with just enough time to catch a quick breath before the next one comes.  i can’t remember the last day that was just fun and not bogged down with the burdens of life.  i’m pretty sure we aren’t meant to live that way, but i’m not sure how to escape that.  my heart longs for Heaven in a way it never has before.  all this stuff here on earth…none of it matters, and yet…it does.  its a bizarre tension that i don’t like and that i want freedom from, but i’m pretty darn sure i’ll never feel the freedom fully on this side of Heaven.

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and the Enemy taunts me with this…”you are SOOO dramatic.  there are a million other things going on in the world that are FAR worse than your plights.  get over yourself.”  but, i hear it as that Sneaky Snake’s voice…and not the Voice of my Creator, who wipes every tear away and stores them up in a bottle (Psalm 56:8), because He’s that compassionate towards me and the pain my heart feels, no matter the cause.

so there you have it.  my heart on paper…well…technically not paper.  but you know what i mean.  i went to text a few friends the other day to ask them to just pray for me, because i was struggling with everything i just wrote above, but stopped myself, because i just feel like there’s been too much drama going on with me and that i’ve been too needy lately.

but later on i realized…isn’t that what this is all about?  don’t we need to know our NEED every single second??  i needed them praying.  cause….i need it.  i cannot do this life on my own.  and there is nothing, NOTHING about that that should embarrass me or make me hold back.

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but you want the honest truth?  its the very reason why i haven’t really blogged during this time.  it all felt like too much to handle.  just a sob story.  i didn’t even know where to start.  and who wants to read it anyway?  i didn’t have the energy to come up with something fun…and besides, i was so deep in a pit, that anything else would’ve been fake anyway.  but…my mess…its all i’ve got to offer you people.  and trust me…you wouldn’t really want anything less.  cause don’t we all ultimately want what’s real?  what’s genuine?  it might be a mess with some good recipes, or DIY projects, or sewing tutorials thrown in (and i’ve got those coming…don’t you worry), but its no where near a life that is all happy and put together and without struggle.  and i am no where near a person who is immune to living in deep, dark pits.  trust me.

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so i hope you stick around.  i need y’all to stick around here, cause this…this is good for my heart!

46 Comments