Dec 15, 2014

Santa Ornaments and Decorations



It's official - we are moved in.  I unpacked my last box on Saturday and then shortly after I spent several hours hanging out in the craft room making things.  To my long time followers, you know it's been a long time since I've done that.  It was wonderful.

So, just in time for Christmas I made some ornaments and a few more popcorn gifts. They are different from last time though, I mean, can you spot the popcorn in the photo above?  (I'm kinda addicted to this whole popcorn as a gift thing - it has seriously made neighbor and friend gifts so easy)

The great thing about what I was making the other night is that even though I made three different things, they all follow pretty much the same steps.  The sizes and quantities may be different but the over-all idea is the same.

Dec 6, 2014

Popcorn Treat Christmas Gift

Are you on the search for a fun little gift for your neighbors this holiday season?  Well, you are in luck.  I've got a great idea for you.  First though, here's a little back story.

(Miss M affectionately hugging her popcorn, because well - it's just that good)

I live in a pretty cool town.  Fort Collins has this great part on the northern end called Old Town.  It's full of quirky shops, great restaurants, fun music festivals, and all kinds of charm.  We head up there quite often to do photo shoots in the back alleys and sometimes to just roam.  

A few weeks back Fort Collins kicked off the holiday season by having a lighting ceremony.  It's when they turn on all the beautiful holiday lights that outline the trees down the main road and in Old Town square.  It's charming, it really is. Miss M and a friend headed out to enjoy the festivities and when she returned she had a bag of the most amazing kettle corn I have ever had.  I'd like to tell you that we had great restraint and only ate a handful but that would be a lie, a big one.  It was so good. 

Needless to say, we wanted more and now are dedicated fans of a local small business called A-Maize'n Kettle Corn.  So, when it came time to find some thank you gifts for some friends who helped us move last week, it was a no-brainer.  Kettle Corn!  Of course, Kettle Corn!  


We bought bags of popcorn as thank you gifts however with Christmas coming up, I thought this would make a great idea for neighbor gifts too so I'm passing along the idea.

Dec 1, 2014

Welcome December!


Hello December!

How did we make it to you already?  You are the last month of the year and usually the most stressful.  Yet, I find that having the calendar turn is a calming thought for me.  I welcome you, December, into my life.

You bring hope and love, family and friends.  Craft projects.  Colorful decorations.  Happy children.  Warm blankets.  Hot chocolate.  Surprises and snowflakes.  And, most of all, the reminder that there is still goodness in the world.

So, welcome December - I'm happy to have you here.

Love,
Amy



 In other news,

Nov 6, 2014

DIY Frozen Breakfast Burritos

I posted on my private Facebook page last night about making breakfast burritos that you can make in large amounts, freeze, and then heat up for a quick breakfast on the go.  As a result of that post a friend and also my sister asked for my recipe.  So, this blog entry is for them.

I must say, I'm not inventing the wheel here.  This is not my original idea and I know if you Google it, you'll get several pages of results.  I didn't follow a specific recipe though and instead made up my own.  So, for my seester & my friend, here's what I did...

 (photos by cell phone - sorry they are lacking)

Ingredients

Oct 10, 2014

Homecoming Dress Fix

So, I've been away for awhile.  I'm not really sure where, seems life just caught me up in it's swift moving currents and now we have washed ashore into October.  I've done a few little creative projects here and there and thought it might be time to check back in and share.

Up first is the Homecoming dress fix.  This cute girl of mine decided last minute, and by last minute I mean the night before, to go to her Homecoming dance.  That was on a Friday, the dance was Saturday.  This is all great and everything BUT she didn't have a dress!

So, in between some already scheduled events on Saturday afternoon we hit a store, bought a $30 dress that was cute but, meh - it was lacking, and we dressed it up a bit.

We wanted to make it better and a little more modest.  Granted, compared to some dresses we looked at, this one was pretty conservative.  Still though, a little more length and a little more coverage on the shoulders was desired.

Here's the before....



It really was pretty cute.  She didn't think she would like it but when she tried it on, she loved it.  It had a Aubrey Hepburn feel to it in some way and Miss M has always had more of a classic style so it fit her own personality really well.  We still needed to make it better though.

Aug 31, 2014

DIY $16 Tulle Skirt


Miss M had the bright idea that she wanted to make a skirt.  I've been her mom for long enough that I should know "I want to make a skirt" really means " I want YOU to make me a skirt".  Seems I never learn, or maybe I do because this time it really was a collaborated effort.

She pinned a tutorial she liked from Pinterest.  She wanted fun and flirty but still classy and modest.  I think we hit the mark.

Aug 28, 2014

DIY Phone Stand


Last spring we took the plunge and upgraded my whole crew to new phones.  We've been very happy with the decision with one exception.  The phone cases we got.  The girls all wanted cases with stand built in.  In theory I think it's a great idea but in practicality, well, not so much.  All the stands snapped off or broke within just a week.

I didn't have a stand on my phone case. Which, after seeing what happened to theirs, I was glad I didn't. However, I use my phone for music, tv shows, and for watching movies all the time and I found myself having to be creative in ways to prop it up.  And, since I've been working on the computer a lot lately doing photo edits and I have my phone near by, I really wanted something other than a pile of CD's and book to hold my phone up.

Aug 24, 2014

Is It Time?



Is it time?  

Yep, It's time!

Ok, please don't shoot me for this post.  I know, I know.  It's still August.  But, I'm happy to announce that I have re-opened my Etsy shop and you can now order... wait for it..... Christmas ornaments!

Aug 17, 2014

All the Important things


Today I turned old.

Ok, ok, I am not old but sometimes my body feels old.  My mind feels forgetful,  I feel outdated, and I'm more and more stuck in my ways which means I'm becoming stubborn like my grandmas were. I like routine, the spontaneity of my youth has disappeared . I'm not very trusting anymore.  I have gray hairs.  And, I feel like this last year and all that happened, has made me feel older than I should feel.  When your parents die, somehow mortality seems a lot shorter.

However, I also believe that every journey we go on does, eventually, awaken the soul and while this past year was a dark one on my life path, it has ended with bright spots and I do feel like all that has happened has awakened my soul in ways that I didn't expect. My perspective has changed.

One thing that has been on my mind lately is how much I want my girls to know the things that I feel are important in navigating everyday life and difficult times.

Years ago I started a project where I intended to do the same but because I started with the visual, crafty side of it - I never finished.  I'm glad I didn't finish because now I have the opportunity to do it with meaning.

Aug 7, 2014

Fresh Peach White Chocolate Scones

Last Sunday we had the most delightful knock on our door.  Some friends were dropping off some fresh picked peaches - lots of them!  Happiness may truly be in nature's bounty.  Or, is it, happiness is in the kindness of others? Either way, that box of peaches has sure brought a lot of happiness to our home.  We've enjoyed them tremendously.

Just look at this deliciousness.


We've eaten a lot of them and I even put some in a bag and passed them on to another friend but we still had some left so yesterday morning, since I couldn't sleep, I got up before work and made a batch of Peach White Chocolate Scones.  It's just my White Chocolate Raspberry Scone recipe but made some minor changes.  Here's the recipe should you have fresh peaches at your house that you are wondering what do with them.  I promise, these are heavenly!  (and there's fruit in them so they are healthy, right?!)

Jul 24, 2014

Shoe Holder Storage Solutions


A few weeks ago my girls headed off to their first Girls Camp.  Girls Camp, in my faith, is a camp that is held once a year and is just for the 12-18 year old girls in our congregation.  It really is a lot of fun for the girls.  They go on hikes, have devotionals, play in the sun, giggle and stay up way to late in their tents, serve each other, and just over all have a great time.

One of the traditions at Girl's Camp is to do Secret Sisters gifts.  This means they are assigned another girls name and they do little things for that girl, without the girl knowing who it is - that's the secret part, for the whole time they are at camp.  It can be something simple like leaving a bottle of nail polish with a note, or getting them their favorite candy treat.  It's fun.  My girls were really excited to shop for their secret sisters.

Jul 19, 2014

Cookie Club


I know they say you should leave the past in the past but I must admit I've been having a great time walking down memory lane lately.  I've taken on the big task of clearing out, cleaning up and organizing all my digital photos.  Now, that might not be a big deal but when you have two photographers and you've been shooting digital for the last 9 years, well, it adds up to a pretty big task.

The benefit of it all is how quickly a photo can bring back a memory.  Like these cookies.  Yummm!  Years ago my family started a little monthly service activity.  We called it "cookie club".  I'm sure I've mentioned it somewhere, at some point, on this blog but since I stumbled on these photos I thought it was worth mentioning again as it was a highlight for my family and a really positive service activity.

So what is Cookie Club?  

Jul 16, 2014

DIY Picture Holder & Room Re-do


Miss M has been away but now she is back.

While she was away she turned 17 and since we weren't with her to celebrate her birthday we decided to give her bedroom a little make-over as a birthday surprise.  She's been wanting a more "grown-up" room for awhile now and keeps mentioning how she'd like a room that she can take with her to college.  (FYI:  As her mother, I think the word "college" is a swear word.  Every time she mentions it my body cringes as I am reminded that I have one year left before "college" gets my girl)

As part of our make-over we cleared out the old, painted the walls, added a ceiling light, made new curtains, bought new bedding, swapped out a desk for a bookshelf and constructed a few little projects based off of ideas she pinned on Pinterest.

One of those projects was a framed wire picture holder.  She had a bunch of different versions of these posted on her boards so I knew she liked them.   I showed the idea to Mr. K and he used his smarts to create one for her.  Of course we documented the process so you can make one too should you have the desire.

Here's what you need to get started:

Jul 2, 2014

Another DIY Easy-Peasy Gift Bag


I've been traveling a little lately which explains my absence.  We took Miss M to the airport in Salt Lake City (yes, we drove her 7 hours to SLC instead of 1 to Denver so she could fly with other girls going on the same trip - it was worth it.  I didn't want her flying alone.)  After we dropped her off Mr. K, Bug, Jet and myself hit the road and took a vacation.

We haven't had a vacation is several years.  Well, we have but not like this one.  When you live away from family, your vacations usually consist of going to visit them.  Without my Dad around though, it's different now.  Utah seems so foreign and even though Kent's family is there and my siblings are there, it's just not the same for me and I really wasn't ready yet to be there long term.

So, instead, we were given the opportunity to go to Yellowstone and we took it.  It was fantastic.  We camped and explored - nature is amazing.... Oh, wait, this post isn't supposed to be about my trip.  It is about a super easy little gift bag though.

I found these cute little bags in the Target Dollar Spot a few weeks ago.

Jun 15, 2014

Father's Day - My Dad's Hands!



I wasn't going to do it. 

I wasn't going to think about him today.

I just figured if I did my best to smile and laugh and think about positive things that today wouldn't hurt so much. I thought if I just didn't think about him,  I could make it through it.  

I lied to myself.

I stumbled on a photo of my dad this morning and realized I can't ignore it.  He may not be with me in flesh and body but he is in my heart and his love and influence is still blessing me everyday.  So, as a tribute to him, here are the words I shared at his funeral just 10 months ago.

Jun 14, 2014

Decorative Paper Mache Trinket Boxes


Soooo, I was planning to get this post up a few days ago, you know, in case your kids needed a Father's craft but I let life happen instead.

We are gearing up to send my Miss M to Ecuador and it is seriously consuming my mind.  She will turn 17 while she is there.  17!  She's currently working two jobs.  She is really independent and smart, has a college and a wedding board, both filled with ideas, on Pinterest, and she can't wait to be older.  Yet just two days ago I bought her a pillow pet, per her request.  My point in all this, I'm just trying to enjoy these days.  Smiling at her growth and excitement at life but yet, at the same time, trying to hang on to my little girl.  Needless to say, that's where my mind and heart have been this week.  Plus, as you know, Father's day, especially this year is a little tough for me so I'm trying to not focus on it.

With all that said, I still have a craft for you though.  And, really, it can be used for any occasion not just Father's day.

Jun 11, 2014

Life Is About...


Remember the blue guy in the middle?  Well, it seems he needed friends so I made him some.  Besides being his bot friends, they had other purposes too.


One of my daughters has been struggling a little bit.  She is trying to figure out what is special about her. She's caught in that trap that so many of us get into where we compare ourselves to others and then we start to feel crappy or worthless.

I totally get it.  

Jun 6, 2014

Little Bird, Little Bird Tutorial


Earlier this week I mentioned a tutorial might be in order for  my little bird.  Well, who wants to make a little clay bird?  If you do, here's the tutorial, enjoy!  

Jun 1, 2014

Hello! My name is...


A little bird sent me an email the other night.  He let me know that my blog was one of his ways of knowing what was going on in my life.  Since I hadn't blogged in over a month, well, he was just checking in. So, for him, and for you if you were wondering the same thing.  I'm ok.  I feel like I have to start over in many respects though.

So.....

Hello!  My name is Amy!  I'm the mind behind Then She Made... and I am returning after a much needed break.   What have I been up to while I was away, you ask.  Well, here's a few of the things...

1- Hanging on with all my might while my kids finished up their school year.  Seems May is a crazy month of projects and parties.  It's over now though, school's out and I'm pretty happy about that!  (So are my girls)


2- I've been creating a little.  If you are a regular reader you know I kinda have a thing for robots.  I like to doodle them.  I have sketch books and scraps of paper lying around with little robots on them.  Plus, you know I like to work with clay so I decided to turn my doodles into into sculptures.  Wanna see?  Here you go...

    

The blue bot is my favorite.  He keeps me company at work and stares at me while I do my job.  I like the green guy too, especially his flowers, but the blue bot is my fav.  I created him first and I think because of that, he holds a special place in my heart.

I also made the little bird at the top of the page - I'm thinking some tutorials are in order.  Yes?

3- I've been changing up the blog. Did you notice?  I toyed with a whole complete re-do but didn't like it much so I just changed the colors and updated a few other things.  Got rid of the orange.  I like orange though so in the future it might come back.



4- I've been doing a little bit more photography.  My camera died for a bit, which was hard to deal with but it's back and so am I.  It's been good to be behind the lens again.  Tonight Miss M and I went out at sunset for a quick little mini Senior photo session.  Yes, my Miss M is headed into her senior year - eeek!

5- And, speaking of photography, I've made a little home over at Instagram.  If you'd like to follow me over there you can find me at thenshemade.  Seems I'm on Instagram more than any other social media platform these days.
6- And, last but not least, I've just been working on trying to find my happiness again.  It's been a crazy year and I feel like these last few months I've just been trying to find my place and where I fit best.  There's been happiness and sadness, family issues, health concerns, and well, just life - it happens.  I've learned that most of the time you can't control the things that happen to you so the best thing to do is just to work on becoming your best self. 


Life is about creating yourself and remembering that you are your own best work of art!  I'm working hard on trying to remember that because it really does affect your over-all happiness.

Anyway, I'm back - thanks for sticking with me!

Apr 21, 2014

Left Over Egg Cartons?

Hey, you know how you just painted and decorated a whole slew of eggs this past weekend?  You know how now you are trying to find clever ways to use hard-boiled eggs in every recipe?  Ya, I know.  I feel your pain.  I can't really help you will the recipes but if you are looking for a way to recycle those egg cartons once the eggs are all used up, well here you go....

It's a flash back craft but a good one no less!  Enjoy!

Egg Carton Flowers


So here's what you do...

Apr 14, 2014

Flash Back Craft of the Day: Bunny Card

I've been getting some emails about craft projects seen on Pinterest.  I guess a lot of them aren't link to the actual post which makes it hard for people to find the tutorials.  Soooo, this week I'll be doing some flash back craft posts.

First up, drum roll please......   The Bunny Card!  (First posted in 2012)


I made this, it's a fun little Easter card. If you want to make one for yourself here's the supplies you will need and a quick tutorial.

Apr 13, 2014

Making Modest out of Immodest

Tonight was Prom night.  This night has been a year in the making, kinda.  We found a dress last year on clearance, it was a $109 and marked down to just $22 buckaroos.  Miss M wasn't even old enough to date at the time but she loved the color and it had potential and we knew that at some point in the future she'd have the opportunity to wear it.  

The problem though, despite the great price, it was not modest.  

Now, I know my idea of a modest dress is probably different from most.  I've seen lots of girls wearin' similar things.  Strapless dresses seem to be the norm but I've never been the norm and that's how I like it.  I fully believe that the way you dress sends a message, good or bad, it sends a message.  What message would my 16 year old daughter, with cut-out pieces on the side and a strapless dress be sending?  Not the kind of message I want her to be sending, that's for sure.  

She's beautiful, talented, smart, and amazing and she doesn't need to dress in less to get attention - period!  And, if she did, is that attention the kind of attention she wants?  I hope not.

Also, our church encourages our youth (and adults too) to dress modestly.  We have a booklet that is for teenagers called For The Strength of Youth that talks about a lot of different areas on how to be exemplar youth in God's eyes.  One of the topics is dress and appearance.  I love that it breaks down the reasons why modesty is important and I agree whole heartily with what it says.

Any way....  my point.  Here's the dress before (yes, she is wearing a shirt under it, you know, for modesty reasons)


The dress had lattice work up the sides that showed bare skin underneath - not so good.  
Those areas needed to be filled in. 

Apr 2, 2014

Light Released


Light Released
By Amy J Williams

Another light has been released from my life
The sorrow, the sadness, the darkness, the strife

My heart aches, my head pounds, my eyes burn
I question why Death has so quickly returned

I’m alone in my home, there's no laughter or joy
My God, why this pain do you deploy?

But then in my solitude, I no longer feel alone
He reminds me, life is eternal beyond body or bone

In that I find comfort, peace fills my anguished soul
Her light has released but through Him her spirit remains whole

..........................

Written tonight as I waited for the call, I knew it wouldn't be long as my family had gathered together in Utah and my brothers gave her one last blessing. A blessing of release.

I love you Merrleen - thank you for being my "mom" for the last 28 years!

Mar 28, 2014

Go Do A Liz Thing

(Want to print this tag?  Here you go.  Click here)

Mr. K and I had a rare opportunity to sneak away this afternoon for an impromptu mini date.  My schedule was unexpectedly open and he was fed up with work and feeling a frustrated.  As you know, frustration on a Friday is just not a good thing and we decided to skip out and go get a smoothie - hot date, right?

The best thing happened to us though and we had yet another reminder that while life can be heavy, sad, and often burdened down, there is a lot of goodness in the world around us.  My regular readers know my favorite saying, "kindness matters!", well today I want to tell you why it matters so much.

Mar 20, 2014

Wafer Cookie Baskets

My kiddos are on spring break this week.  We've been planning for months to take a four state road trip to scout out colleges for Miss M but as it turns out, she really didn't want to go.  And, with blowing snowing in Wyoming and a lack of desire, it was just best to cancel.

I was fine with cancelling.  It would have been fun for the girls and I to hit the open road but at the same time, 25 hours in the car over the course of three days really wasn't where my heart was either.  So, what do we do instead?  We've hit a bunch of stores, went to lunch a few times, did make-overs and nails, worked on a prom dress, did a photo shoot, played Mine Craft (not me, them), stalked Imagine Dragons online (we just went to their concert - it was fabulous), hit the library, watched Frozen a few hundred times and today we made these...


Little Jet found the idea in a kids book she checked out from the library - I can't remember the name of the book.  It had some other cute food crafts in it, too. For this project we didn't follow the directions in the book.  They called for other ingredients that we didn't have but the visual idea was good and sparked some imagination.  So we tweaked the idea to make it our own and this is what we came up with. These little basket are pretty easy to make and honestly they are fun for kids to make because after some simple instructions, they can dive in and make their own with very little help.

Mar 13, 2014

Spring!


Today I've been seeing a lot of post on Facebook about the big storm back East.  I'm slightly jealous of the fact that my East Coast buddies got a snow day.  There is something nice about staying in, staying warm and hanging with the fam.  However, I wouldn't trade my day.  Today in Colorado the sun was out, the breeze was light, and it was time for some spring flowers.

Mar 10, 2014

Creating and Coping




It's been a full week since my last post.  Did you know putting your very honest and raw thoughts on your blog for the public to read is like dropping a boulder into a very still body of water.  What was calm became chaotic.  Upon initial publication the drop of information created a few large waves.  Now, as time is passing, things are calming back down and all that is left is a few small ripples.  

I like to think, based off of the comments and emails I received, that some how my honesty helped somebody.  Those of you that reached out to me and shared this sentiment, thank you!  It's like those small ripples have reached you and you and I are now connected.  And, even though we don't know each, neither of us are alone in our trials.  

At least that's what I like to think.

Something else I've been thinking about this week is coping.  So how does one cope when they have created waves, are looking for answers, and are still chipping away at their golden Buddha?  Well, here's what helped me this week....

Mar 2, 2014

An Atheist, A Christian, and Buddha



When you are lost, you look for direction.
When you are hidden, you look for ways to be seen

Both statements ring true for me lately.

I've made it known that I've been struggling for awhile.  I also feel that with everything that is happening, I feel that I've hidden myself away under a facade.  A facade that is cracking, is not genuine, and needs to be removed.

I expressed myself today at church, probably a mistake because the words never match the intent of my heart but I did it anyway.  I kept thinking about some lyrics to a hymn, "in the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see".

Those words kept repeating over and over in my mind and since I was sitting in the back of the chapel I started looking at those in front of me and wondering, how many of these people are hidden away under their own facades?  How many people are struggling but nobody knows?  I'm convinced more than a few people in that chapel are struggling privately with something and I wanted them to know they aren't alone.  It's okay to struggle!  It's ok to let go of the appearance of perfection.

I'm tired of pretending that I'm ok.  I'm tired of putting on the appearance that all is well.  I'm tired of giving the "church answers" because that's what I'm supposed to do.

A few weeks ago my little Jet over-heard a conversation Mr. K and I were having and she interrupted and said, "but Mom, your not struggling!"

What an injustice I am doing for my girls if I keep pretending everything is ok.  How will they ever know what to do when they hit a similar low in life.  I don't want to burden them with my problems, I want to shelter them, but I also need to be honest with them too.

Miss M already struggles and an interesting thing has happened with her.  Recently I gave her permission to not be perfect.  I gave her permission to stop pretending that an uncomfortable situation she has been in for a long time was "ok".   I gave her permission to find a better place to be in even if those around her didn't understand.

It's only been two weeks but letting her know that it was ok and that she could make her own choices in how she handled the situation was all she needed.  It empowered her.  She just needed to know it was ok to be honest with herself about how she was feeling.  She needed to know it was ok to stop pretending.

I'm learning from her. She's braver lately.  She is slowly putting herself back into the situation but is doing so on her own terms and I can see the peace she has because of it.

I'm trying to do the same.



So what does this all have to do with an Atheist, A Christian, and a Buddha?

Well, last week, as you know, I made a 15 hour round-trip journey to say good-bye to a loved one.  I can't really speak about the 20 minute, timer controlled, visit yet - it still hurts too much.  But I can share with you the experience I had afterward.

My brother - the atheist, and I - the Christian, met for lunch and that's where we found Buddha.

We had a great conversation, we shared our frustration and sadness about the current family situation.  We talked about raising our own kids and being the parents now.  And we talked about the sense of purpose, that as we age, we are both trying to fine tune in our lives.

I told him how I feel like I've lost my quirk.  My spark is gone. How my outer facade doesn't match the inner feelings I have about who I am, like I'm hiding myself.  I told him about the note I found that my dad, a dedicated man of faith, wrote that expressed some of his concerns about what would happen after death.  I told my brother how that note rocked my faith and made me question my own views.

And my atheist brother, without even knowing it, directed me to the answer I've been looking for.  I see it as a God-send, he sees it as the result of deep human connection. He shared with me a conversation he had with my dad when he told my dad that he was leaving our faith. My dad asked him if ever felt the church we belong to was true.  My brother had said yes but that his opinion, because of doubts, had changed and my dad, this giant figure of religious faith, told him that sometimes he had doubts too.

My dad, MY DAD! the man that read his scriptures, served in bishoprics, faithfully did his home teaching, worked in the temple and said prayers regularly, had doubts!  How is it that I never knew this?

and then my brother continued to tell me what my dad told him. When my dad had doubts instead of dwelling on them, he went back to those times that there were no doubts, to those times that he witnessed God's active hand in his life and as he reviewed those moments, the doubts -the not having all the answers - didn't matter because he was reminded of those things that he did know and that he could not deny.

I just needed to hear that.  I needed to know that it was ok to struggle with the questions I was having but that I shouldn't let those questions over-rule what I had already had witnessed to me on so many other occasions.

As we were leaving my brother opened a newspaper sitting on the table and said we should read our horoscopes.  My mom loved reading, and looking for meaning, in her horoscope so the tradition has kind of carried on to us kids.  My brother read mine first.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
A large plaster Buddha statue was housed at a modest temple in Bangkok, Thailand from 1935 - 1955.  No one knew its age or origins.  In May of 1955, workers were struggling to move the heavy ten-foot icon to a new building on the temple grounds when it accidentally broke free of the ropes that secured it.  As it hit the ground, a chunk of plaster fell off, revealing a sheen of gold beneath.  Religious leaders authorized the removal of the remaining plaster surface.  Hidden inside was a solid gold Buddha that is today worth $250 million dollars.  Research later revealed that the plaster had been applied by 18th century monks to prevent the statue from being looted.  I foresee a comparable sequence unfolding in the coming weeks for you, Leo. What will it take to free a valuable resource that's concealed within a cheap veneer?

So, there we were, wrapping up our lunch.  The Atheist, the Christian and now we have Buddha. Sometimes our answers come in the most unlikeliest ways.

When I returned home I sent my brother a text letting him know I'd arrived safely and he responded by saying.

"Glad you are safe, good luck chipping away at your golden Buddha!"

I'm not perfect.  I've always known that but I've pretended to be for far too long.  I was too scared to let out the real me, the imperfect me, because of what others would think or for fear that I'd be seen or judged in the wrong way.  But in my quiet heart I've kept too many things hidden and it IS time to start chipping away at that facade.

It makes people uncomfortable to tell them it's ok to struggle.  I did that today at church and noticed how after the service people didn't know how to respond to me.  Or maybe it was I didn't know how to act after putting so much out there.  Either way, it was lonely but that's ok, much like my daughter, I'd rather be alone and honest about what is happening, than suffering in the group trying to pretend everything's perfect.

I tell my young women that I serve with that they are amazing.  I tell them all the time that they have divine potential inside of them and you know what, I know that is true.  It's true for me too.  I will get through this hard time.  I will move past the struggles.  It will be a slow process but as I work through it honestly I will be slowly chipping away at my golden Buddha, my own divine potential, that I have sadly hidden away for far too long.

NOW, moving on....  I've written a lot of deep posts lately, thank you for sticking with me.  I have decided to keep these post to a minimum going forward.  We still have a funeral coming up, there will still be sadness but unless I feel really inspired to share, the crafting will once again return and be the main focus of this blog. And, one more time, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for your support and encouragement.

Feb 20, 2014

If you only had 20 minutes



Tomorrow I will be getting in a rental car and driving 7+ hours to say a final good-bye to another family member.  It's a drive that I don't want to make.  It's a drive that I didn't expect to have to make just six months after losing my dad.

I made that drive for him and now I am making that drive for his beloved wife of 28 years.

I found out today that once I'm there, I can only have 20 minutes of visit time.  How do you wrap up 28 years with someone you love in only 20 minutes?  Do I start with  "thank you for marrying my dad!"  or "remember that time you made me a prom dress..."

What would you say to someone who has been a pivotal part of your life, who guided you, loved you, and taught you, if you only had 20 minutes?

I will probably say nothing more than "I love you and thank you" and those words, although they can be powerful at times, they seem so small in a situation like this.

I am devastated.

Feb 13, 2014

It's ok, I'm ok!

(photo and poster credit unknown - found it on Pinterest!)

It's ok.

I'm ok.

I can not thank you enough for the love that you sent to me. If you think about it, Blogland is a strange place. How is it that people I don't even know can touch my heart and lift my spirits in ways that I didn't think was possible?  You reminded me that I'm not alone. My worries, my fears, my struggles - everyone has them and it doesn't mean I'm damaged or flawed or ruined.  It just means that I'm normal.

So, THANK YOU!  I am just now starting to reply to messages, I appreciated them all so much but some of them touched my heart so much that I tear up when I try to write so I had to table my responses until I could respond clearly.  Your stories and your experiences are uplifting, thank you for commenting both here and for sending me private messages, I appreciate all the love!

Am I out of the woods?  No.  Do I still struggle?  Yes  But it's ok.  The good news is I'm heading in the right direction.  I did open my shop again which means that creativity is returning, even if it's returning slowly.

With all my heart,
Thank you!

Feb 6, 2014

The Moment I Knew


I've been gone for awhile.  Blogging really hasn't been on my interest list lately.  Actually, creativity in general has been like a black hole with a big question mark floating in the middle.  Truth be told I've been struggling for a long time but still managed to pull through and post last fall and into the Christmas season.  Once January hit though, I had to step back and face the issues that I've been trying so hard to pretend didn't exist.

Is it depression?  Ya, maybe.
Do I miss my dad?  Every day! Losing him has been much harder than I let on
Am I worried about my kids?  Always
Am I reconsidering friendships?  Sadly, yes (were they really friendships? Not sure)
Other than my little family of 5, do I feel alone?  Totally, completely!
Is my faith suffering? Yup!
Do people just like me because of what I can do and not because of who I am?  Seems that way

So, there it is.  The seven questions that I had to seriously address and answer honestly and it was really hard.  Not facing these issues was just adding to the problem. Every bit of joy that I would normally get doing the things I love, was gone.  I used to love to create!  Didn't matter what it was, creating was my thing.  It was my stress relief, and in some ways it was my identity too, but over the last few months it just added more stress.  So I stopped.  I closed up the shop.  Both the photo business I did with my hubs and my Etsy shop. Closed!

Jan 16, 2014

Yoda Love of My Life

Last year, on Valentine's Day, I posted about the best Valentine I never made.  It was a great idea that sadly, just stayed an idea.  On that post I had shared a conversation I had had with my husband about it.
Here's how that convo went...

Me:  "Tomorrow I'm going to make a Yoda valentine."
Fred:  no comment, just silence
Me:  "It will be cool.  It's going to have Yoda on it and it will say - 'Yoda love of my life'."
Fred:  no comment, just silence
Me:  "Do you get it?"
Fred: no comment, just silence

Then after what felt like a very long pause he said...

Fred:  "Very amusing you are!"

After that, well, that was the end of it.  Valentine's Day passed and clever Yoda sayings left my mind.   However, guess what I found in the $1 spot at Target the other day?  I think I might have squealed out loud with happiness.  


I was "yoda-lighted"!  (ya, that was pretty bad, I meant ... "so delighted!") 

Jan 11, 2014

January Update

Wow!  It's already the 11th of January!  I finally feel like I'm getting back into my routine.  The house is completely void of all things holiday and to be honest, it looks a little bare now.  Good thing Valentine's day is coming up as it gives me a reason to decorate again.

I've been looking back at 2013, kind of considering doing a year-in-review post but since we had some big time sadness last year, I'm not really sure I'm ready to do that review right now.   The emotions from losing my dad are still pretty close to the surface. Over all though, 2013 was ok but 2014 will be better!  I fully believe the lessons I learned from the trials I dealt with last year will help navigate my way through 2014.


Also, just a few updates.  I've had some emails about my Etsy shop.  It's been restocked.  I continue to get requests for flower bobby pins.   Check out the cute Valentine set above.  It's new.  The pinks and reds are perfect for the upcoming holiday.  The heart necklaces are back as well.  You can see some of them below.



And, last but not least, I've had some questions about my Christmas ornaments.  I pulled them from my shop because, well, Christmas is over.  But, because I've had some requests, I've listed them again.  They won't go towards Miss M's fundraiser any more, she's working on other things now, so I will be flying solo on making them for you.

Custom orders for both Flower pins, necklaces and ornaments are always welcome!


Finally, THANK YOU to all of you who went and voted for our friend, Dalton, in the free braces contest. He didn't win but came close with a second place finish and was awarded with a great discount.  So, your votes still helped and I appreciate that - so THANK YOU!