I Want To Let Go of Insecurity in 2013

I want to let go of insecurities that keep me from enjoying my life....
  • I want to not think my husband is just being nice when he says he thinks I am beautiful.
  • I want to accept an invitation from a friend to go on a short one hour trip, and not wonder if she really wants to be in a car with me that long.
  •  I want to know that I am still liked even if I am not invited to every party with every person I know.
  • I want to be happy when I am invited to a party, and not wonder if it's obligation or that they like my husband and we are a package deal.
  • I want to believe a friend when she says she values me, instead of thinking she must not really know me if she likes me.
  • I want to not think everyone who loves me will stop loving me if I say or do something wrong.
  • I want the sins of my past to remind of the Grace and Redemption of my Savior and NOT how far and often I have fallen short.....
Sometimes I wonder why I hold onto these insecurities like a warm blanket.  I think because familiarity feels comfortable.  Because of abuse in my past I don't remember ever feeling secure, ever knowing I was loved unconditionally.  When I failed, it was nor forgiven.  When I said the wrong thing, I was then reminded of it every time I failed after that.  I was taught that continually replaying my sins and never forgetting my grief over those failings meant I was repentant. My true road to being a Christ-Follower is based on me finally believing Grace has nothing to do with me at all.  Beth Moore says it best when says, "Even if you are filled with self-loathing, you are filled with yourself."

My prayer to my faithful and loving Heavenly Father is that in 2013 I be filled with YOU, and not my own insecurity.

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

Ugly Christmas Sweater DIY

 After looking at goodwill and other thrift stores, I quickly saw that the trend of ugly Christmas sweater parties had wiped out all my 2nd hand options.  Being the frugal person I am, I was not going to pay full price for a sweater at Walmart that I would only wear once.  I bought a plain red 80's cable knit sweater for husband and  winter polar bear sweater for me, then raided my craft supplies and old Christmas decorations.                                           
If you do not have a stash of old Christmas decor, just check out the holiday section at Goodwill, you will find some truly tacky items to use. 

We transformed our plain holiday sweaters into Prize Winning Ugly Sweaters with the help of a 
hot glue gun, lots of sequins, rhinestones, old Christmas decorations, and puffy fabric paint.  
 My sweater is not too ugly unless you get up close and see all the bedazzling and puffy paint. 
Husband's sweater immediately won ugliest sweater with his homemade Christmas Tree made from
  tacky tinsel and the Christmas lights that really lit up if he stood close enough to an outlet to plug himself in.

FAMILY~Grandparent Christmas Present

My sister-in-law and I came up with a joint present idea for my in-laws.  I have two children and she has four, so we had the right amount of kids to  spell out "Family". Since grandparents already love grand-kid pictures, what  better than ALL their grand-kids in one picture!

Depending on the amount of grand kids, you could spell out any type of word:

  • JOY
  • LOVE
  • HOPE
  • Your last name

Materials for letters:
  • scotch Tape and printed letters
  • Sturdy Cardboard (I used free boxes from an Aldi's run )
  • Exacto knife or box cutter
  • White or cream yarn
  • hot glue gun 

1. Cut letters out of cardboard. Tape printed letter to edges cardboard.  Use exacto knife to cut on lines to create the letter silhouette.  ***Don't forget to put a cutting mat , or something comparable,underneath or you ill damage your table.

2. Wrap yarn around.  A good tutorial can be found here. We used fabric glue to start on bottom of letter, then use on back as you wrap to secure yarn.  

Tip we learned the hard way : ON edges, cut the yarn and glue in lines,like this,  instead of wrapping around difficult corners.  You will see on the "L" we had a big bunch around the corners, but on the "A" we glued them in diagonal  lines.  You may have to click on picture for full size to see difference.

3.  Take Pictures. For the best consistency in your picture use the same background for each of the kids; then black and white really makes the letters pop.  You could do color if you REALLY want but I think it detracts from the point of spelling ONE word with  SIX pictures.

4.  Mat and Frame.  You can buy a six opening collage frame that includes matting at  online. I think a  white matte is best to not detract from the black and white pictures.

** We needed to cut our own matte since my brother in law was making a custom wood frame for the pictures. My husband cut the matting (33 by 9) with six 4x6 openings with an exact-o knife. We did our matte ourselves because due to all the openings, the hobby store quoted us over $70 to get a custom matte done in store.

What I want to be when I grow up...

When I was six years old, I told anyone who would listen that I wanted to be an artist and a teacher.  Let me be clear, I didn't want to an art teacher; I wanted to be an artist AND a teacher. I was very clear in my first grade All About Me book that they were two different jobs.   

 Recently I received some somewhat not kind opinions about the fact that I "only have an Associate's degree".  I was also once told that Associate Degrees were "a dime a dozen and would get me nowhere in life".  I think these opinions were spoken from an earnest belief in my potential to "do more", I  respectfully disagree. While I am extremely proud that I have an associates degree for many many reasons ( a few being that I earned it while being married, paying for college completely by myself, maintaining a 4.0 AND without taking out a single penny in college loans), the most important it has led me to what I want to be when grow up....

I am a Teacher.  I used the student teaching of the A.A in Early Childhood to get hired by a prestigious college's Preschool/Kindergarten and teach along some of, in my opinion, the best teachers in the country. Now I am in the roles I know God has shaped me for since my youth. The skills I learned teaching children 2 years old to kindergarten at the preschool has enabled me to contribute immensely to teaching and help shape my church's kid's ministry .I am also a teacher of my children as we home school.  While I don't at all think you have to be a "certified teacher" to home school your child, I will praise the Lord in how my training has given me the preparation I  personally needed for this challenging call. As an extremely insecure and impatient person, if I had not been given those early opportunities to learn from talented teachers, I would probably have ignored the call to home school.

I am an Artist.  My time working with so many great preschoolers led me to know I never wanted to miss a moment of my own children's preschool years. As my twins grew up I found myself framing pictures  in my minds eye at every wedding I attended.  I saw possible locations for senior pictures wherever I drove. Now I run a successful part time photography business that I began when my twins were two years old.  Now after almost 4 years in business I have grown leaps and  bounds in my abilities and  leaning on God for his leading.  God brought me to something I never knew I loved, and He knew I needed to seek His glory and not my own to be successful.  I have learned so much  how He is sufficient as I rely on him to turn His creation into art. 

I am Teacher.  I am an Artist.  I am everything I wanted to be when I was six years old and so much more than I could have ever imagined. And most importantly, I am everything God wants me to be at such a  time is this.... I know I have a lot more growing up to do :)

Stamped Personalized Bookmarks/ Necklaces

 I love the industrial look of washers as necklaces, and also the personal touch of names.
 These can given as necklaces, or just as easily be used as bookmarks. Make sure you buy  several extra washers because there will be a certain amount of trial and error.

Main Lesson learned was to use a HEAVY HAMMER.  Do no use a cheap light weight hammer or you will have to pound 20 time for one letter, which leads to the  stamp slipping.

  • Various sizes of washer- I got 1/2 and 3/4 inches
  • Letter stamps
  • very heavy hammer
  • fine tip sharpie
  • leather or string for necklaces
  • various beads for color
  • jewelry bags 

personalization ideas:
  • my niece's name
  • my sister's married name and year of they were married on smaller washer
  • meaningful phrase. For two of my young nieces I put the phrase from The Help that the main characters tells the little girl over and over: "U R Kind, Smart & Important" 

1. Stamp letters onto washer. Make sure you use a very heavy hammer.  I tried a cheaper hammer and ended up hitting about 20 times and still not make a clear letter.  With the heavy hammer only 5 to 8 good hits would make the  letter clear. The more  hits you make, the more chances you have of making a mistake with the stamper slipping or dropping the stamper...or worse hitting your finger

2. Use Sharpie on Lettering:  After using the sharpie, if you mess up a bit, you can wipe it off quickly with wet wipe to get off of surface but leaving the sharpie in creases of stamped letter)

3. Attach to necklace. In each bag I also included a second length of leather  or second necklace ribbon so they could change the color of necklace depending on outfit.   I personally think this looks best as just a bit longer than choker length , but I included different and longer lengths so recipients could decide how long they wanted the necklace.

NO SEW~Tie Snakes

Great present to wrap around the tree for Christmas morning!

This project came from having two sons, two nephews who all asked for gifts they could use on "adventures". Through in a pair of inexpensive binoculars, and you have hours of imaginative fun!

Materials needed:
  • old tie (s)
  • hot glue gun 
  • stuffing from an old pillow
  • googly eyes
  • red felt
  • scissors
  • un-sharpened pencil  and marker

1. Stuff Tie I first found an old pillow we didn't use anymore and cut it open to harvest the stuffing.  Then  I used the pencil to slowly put small pieces in the snake.  Stuff from one end, and push till you get to the middle; you will need to bunch the tie over the pencil.  Once one side is stuffed, stuff from other side of tie. Push slowly so you don't tear the seams of the tie.

TIP: At the smaller end, do not over stuff end and even leave the end empty to make gluing easier. At larger end leave room to refold side of tie to original triangle shape. A marker is good for ends to, but the pencils gets the stuffing to middle of tie better without breaking seams.

2. Glue Ends.  I used the hot glue guns to close the ends. Make sure when stuffing to not to over stuff because it could tear seams of tie.  I ended up hot gluing middle seam for extra security since I knew the snakes were going to active boys.

3. Decorate. Glue googly eyes and red felt tongue  to the large end of tie.  If you are giving to girl you could even add some yarn hair or felt bow:) I am thinking if I find a pink tie at the thrift store that my niece may be getting one of these next year:)