Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DIY: Printed Candles

Whenever we get close to Christmas, I always start stocking* up on DIY gifts. I especially like to collect edible gift ideas. For this purpose, Pinterest is a lifesaver. You should see my DIY Gift board. Some knick-knacks here and there, some bath and beauty products, but it is probably 75% food. That's how I roll.

I found an idea on there today that looks so simple, even I can (and might) do it! The Shabby Creek Cottage explains how to print any design on to tissue paper and then apply it to a candle. The tutorial is very easy to follow and looks very simple to recreate. But it got me thinking: how can I make it even lazier? Again, that's how I roll. If the trick is to apply tissue paper, why not just buy one that is already printed with a neat pattern? I've seen some incredibly cool and detailed tissue papers before, so I went searching on the gool ole internet.

Wow, guys.

Probably the best one I found is here at the Sample House catalog. This one is already designed to look like old newsprint just like the one used in the tutorial (originally designed by The Graphics Fairy). Check it out:

Newsprint: 24 sheets for $4.75

The catalog has a lot of neat options. I found Bamboo pattern, peacock feathers and this really neat pattern called West Indies which is on sale for $2.50 for 24 sheets!

There are fun patterned papers you can find at almost nay store that sells wrapping papers. I'm willing to bet Target and The Container Store have tons of unique and interesting options. So this weekend just might find me blow drying some pillar candles and checking people off of my list in September - woo, go me! Fingers crossed, and good luck!

*See what I did there?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thoughts on Giving

I've had "giving" on my mind a lot lately.

Every March our church sponsors children from the Impact Church of Christ as they go back to school. Basically congregants sign up for one or two children and take them back-to-school shopping, getting school supplies or uniforms. We then take them to dinner, somewhere quick (this all takes about two and a half hours). It is a very fun and fulfilling event that Brad and I have participated in the last several years.

Many people at our church can donate their time and many can donate their money, but quite a few people cannot donate both, so we have a program set up where one can shop with someone else's money. We've often used this as an opportunity to spend more than we could alone. This year we had received a small windfall, and so we intended to use our own funds. For some reason, the administrators of the event had us on the list to receive the extra, so two weeks after the fact we were given an envelope of money. An odd little surprise, but a nice one.

I've been trying to decide what to do with it. My first instinct was to drop it straight into the People Helping Collection and be done with it. But I remembered a challenge our preacher set forth for some people a while back: as I recall, there were five volunteers each given one hundred dollars. They had to "make the most of it" in terms of giving. Anybody (with money) can drop it in a bucket, but there are people who can make mountains out of molehills in this sense. They each told their stories of the maximum impact made with that money, and the biggest factor was investing time and thought.

For example, I can put $20 into a collection plate. Or I can use that $20 to buy groceries for a local food kitchen. Or better yet, I can spend $20 on groceries and cook a few meals for those in need and serve them. Same amount of money, but exponentially more service.

So far I've allocated the funds to three projects. I've given $15 to Light the Night (a fund for Leukemia & Lymphoma research), $15 to #MAKEASTAND which is raising funds to end human trafficking, and I intend to use $50 for a NOH8 photo/contribution come October when they are in Houston.

There go the funds, but is it enough? Can I just throw money at a problem, and then sleep better because "I helped"? What about the times when I don't feel I can spare the change? Am I impotent to help? Of course not, but I'm not much of a doer. I can admit that. I don't go out looking for ways to contribute my time and energy. I pray that is something I learn to change.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Artistic Minister

I've been going through my portable drive, looking at old, unfinished docs. I keep meaning to add to/work on my play (it's been ages) and my church workshop (writing about sex at a time like this?), so I wandered through to see what else I've left undone. I found an idea I chewed on... must have been well over a year ago. When our church was looking for a new Worship Leader, one of the elders came to me and said, "If I thought they'd entertain the idea of a woman song leader, I'd throw your name in this second." Take what you will from that (based on your feelings of women leading), but I was incredibly honored and touched. It got my brain juices flowing, so I started dreaming up a job called Artistic Minister, who would be one of three on a team including the song leader and an In-reach minister.

Basically these three people would work together to cultivate a creative ministry, accessing new venues of worship to bring in more people. It would mostly be small scale, but occasionally for the whole church. I really think Bammel would be up for it, too, seeing as they are slowly including little things like having a sculptor work onstage during a sermon about "being the clay", or having congregants submit photos for the Fingerprints of God display.

Finding this old document has got my creative juices flowing again, and I love it. I doubt the church is ready for someone to hold this position, certainly not a paid position, but I've been thinking a lot lately about vocation. Dave Ramsey has got me dreaming of a life with a job I absolutely love AND that pays the bills. That doesn't happen instantly (for most people), but a girl can dream. I want to keep hashing out these ideas and maybe present them to our women's minister or our in-reach minister; maybe we could start small and gauge the success.

Keep it in your prayers. I'm excited and scared, which I think is the best way to be when stepping forward in faith.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Baby Journal

It's been a while. Let's see, what have I been up to... hmmm... oh yeah, HAVING A BABY!

Hunter Alan Phillips was born Tuesday night, March 20th, weighing in at 8lbs and 8oz. Yeah. So he is now just over 5 weeks old (and currently sleeping on my shoulder). Our little doodlebug has been a great source of joy, and more than once a source of stress and tears. Ah, the learning process, wherein there is no "normal" and the rules seem to change every day. WHEE!

I don't mean to complain; we're extremely blessed. He sleeps through the night really well (so far), he hasn't made any massive or uncontained messes (yet) and he is starting to figure out this smiling business, which rocks our socks off. Every day we seem to learn something new.

Time to get on with the day; running to Target with Hunter can be fun and also hectic. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Prayer Requests

I just wanted to throw these out into the world, so if you're the praying sort I would appreciate you lifting these up:

*My friend Nicole is due (with her third child, all boys) on March 31st and really wanted to have a home birth, but she has been having spikes in her blood pressure. Her doctor has her on bed rest, and at least once has almost induced. She is being a good sport so far, but she would be disappointed to not have her "ideal birth experience". Please pray for her health and for baby Jude's.

*My sister-in-law Jenny is driving to Houston on Sunday for a wedding shower. Please pray for safe travels.

*Brad's cousin Jessie is pregnant with twins - eek - and her body is having a bit of trouble adjusting. She is on IV fluids right now for dehydration, and she is exhausted (first trimester). Please pray that this pregnancy is as smooth as possible and that she can keep her strength, emotionally and physically.

*Our friend Lauren is getting married TOMORROW!!! We're so thrilled for her and for her wonderful hubby-to-be! Please pray for their marriage, that it be strengthened in God (as I know it will be).

*Lastly, please pray that we have an easy, quick labor, and SOON! I think I finally felt contractions last night, but none today. We shall see, we shall see...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekly Loving List: 40

Well, my due date was yesterday. Technically I am now in week 41, but I still haven't written about what I loved last week. Let's see what I can muster.

Week 40: I'm Loving...

*getting the mail. Seriously, it feels like having a birthday that never ends, because there seems to always be something showing up. Maybe it is something I ordered, maybe it is a gift or card, maybe it is a free sample of some baby product. What can I say, who doesn't love getting presents?

*our nursery. We FINALLY got up the vinyl decal on the wall! Every time I think the nursery is "done", I realize another thing (of course), but things are coming along very well. I've made the pelmet box, now I just need to add the fabric and hang it. I've made the mobile, but I have to figure out the best way to hang it. Then I need to pick up this great bookcase I saw at BB&B to replace the weird shelf in there. And I think that is really it! I've been so bad about posting pictures, but I promise to add some soon.

*dates with my husband. We have several free nights together, and we've been having lots of fun; trying new restaurants, renting movies, and just spending quality time together. I'm a bit nervous that it will be harder to come by once the little one arrives, so I'm thrilled we're doing it now.

*working from home. It really is a blessing to have that option. Somehow I manage to focus better at home, which I can't understand, plus I can stay in my jim-jams!

*FOOD! I've been really enjoying snacks lately, and as long as I stay on the healthy end of the spectrum it is good news. Cottage cheese and peaches, yogurt, peanut butter toast, open-faced ham sandwich, raw almonds - I'm chowing down! I'm getting hungry just writing this, in fact... it may be time for a bowl of cereal...

*quiet time. I've been taking advantage of my quiet time when I can, spending it in prayer and in visualization. It really helps me to feel aligned emotionally and spiritually, which is something I need to establish now as best as I can.

I could probably come up with more, but I'm really craving some cereal now, so I'm distracted. ;-)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Maternity Photos

Woohoo, the day has finally arrived! I get to post a few of our maternity photos!

I have to say how much we enjoyed working with Ellen; she is such a blast and very professional. She put together a wonderful slideshow for us with some very cute music:


You can also check out our site where we can purchase the photos; that way you can see them all (for a limited time). Here are a few of Ellen's favorites.