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.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Weekly "Loving" List: 38

Wow... 38 freaking weeks. That's just... sheesh...

Week 38: I'm Loving...

*that the baby is FINALLY starting to drop! HALLELUJAHS! HALLELUJAHS! Maybe now my heartburn will subside and I won't get kicked in the ribs. Ah, a girl can dream, can't she?

*shopping. I've gone a bit crazy, I must admit. We were blessed with SO many gift cards, and I've finally let it all go. Just in the past two days I've bought a car seat, and extra car seat base, a video monitor, a hamper, a waterproof crib sheet protector and a nursing tank. Seriously, I am on a roll. As soon as I hear back from an Etsy seller I'm buying a baby sling. I sure hope it can ship quickly!

*my fitness ball. I love sitting on these things, so ergonomic. Especially now while I'm trying to encourage the baby to drop, it is the best. I try to spend at least 15 minutes on it every night, just rolling and bouncing. Plus, once baby is here it will help me lose weight, assuming I use it to, you know, work out.

*television. I've been watching lots of my shows on Netflix and DVR in the evenings while I unwind from the day, and now I can catch up on Misfits as well (thanks Simon!), because I have this feeling I won't get to do that too much once I've got a sleepy baby. We shall see... headphones?

*sick days. I have had a sinus infection this week, which is miserable, but I've been able to take a few days to catch up on rest, which makes such a huge difference. That and vitamins...

*nesting. I definitely need to get hit by the urge to super-clean, but I've spent some time every night this week organizing the nursery, plotting shopping trips, fixing up the house in one way or another. The rug is rolled out, which makes a big diff, and now I just have to hang up artwork. here's to the weekend!

*maternity photos! We haven't seen them all, but Ellenzilla posted about 10 onto Facebook, so we have a good idea. I cannot wait to see the rest, they look so wonderful!

That's what I've got for now, friends. What blessings have you had this week?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Weekly "Loving" List: 37

Whew, I am exhausted lately! It doesn't help that my nose is a bit stuffy, so I have to sleep with my mouth open to breath, resulting in very sore throat the next morning. But enough complaining, this is about the good things in life!

Week 37: I'm Loving...

*hot tea. I think I've mentioned this one before, but between cold, drizzly days and sore throats, hot tea is a constant source of "Ahh" in a topsy-turvy world.

*birth class. We had our class last weekend and it was surprisingly fun. I have GOT to get one of those exercise balls for the house (and then find a way to keep it safe from cats...). The picture is from class; Brad got to be pregnant while I hepled him through a contraction. The teacher got a sneaky pic.

*days off. I have Thursday off until the baby comes, thanks ot appointments, so I get to have a sleep-in day during the week. It is much needed. Plus, it is Brad's day off, so we get to spend the day together.

*friends. I've gotten lots of encouragement and support from friends, and it makes a big difference. Knowing we have a huge support team takes a bit of the weight off our shoulders.

*Pinterest. This is seriously like crack for those of us with A.D.D.

*prayer. It should go without explanation, but I just have to say that no matter what worry or fear I feel, I find great comfort in laying it at God's feet. Sometimes I just chat with God, just ramble in my car, and it always leaves me feeling lighter (metaphorically of course, I'm getting quite hefty).

*lemon water. I always feel refreshed after gulping down a bottle of lemon water, and I know it helps with my swollen feet.

*free food. I got lots of free lunches this week, thanks ot work activities. I'm heading off to one now, actually!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Weekly "Loving" List: 36

We're getting closer, friends! I'm betting I make it all the way to (or past) my due date; this kid is riding high! Trust me, his feet are in my ribs...

Week 36: I'm Loving...

~maternity shoots. I have been excited about taking those photographs since I found out I was pregnant. What can I say, I love having my picture taken by professionals who edit! it is one of the few times pictures agree with my mirror. We had our shoot with Ellenzilla on Thursday (last week was rained out) at the Mercer Arboretum and Garden. So much fun, and I cannot wait to see the results!

~sleep. I'm doing my best to enjoy it while I can, haha. I wake up a bit during the night, of course, but I don't have much trouble falling back asleep (knock on wood).

~our "guest book". The tree canvas that Erin made is so beautiful, even with only a handful of prints on it so far. This weekend it will EXPLODE with new prints, and I can't wait to see how beautiful it looks. It will make an amazing accent piece in the finished nursery, serving as a visual reminder of the huge family of blessing we have looking out for our child.

~my TeeFury shirt. Last year I bought two mystery shirts on TeeFury, and I have to say I got really random results. One shirt references some video game I don't play, so I've never even worn it, and the other one is Smoky Bear lighting a forest on fire. On top of that, I got them DURING the horrendous fires in Magnolia, so I couldn't wear it out of the house. The twist is it is the most comfortable thing I've worn maybe ever. It makes for the best around-the-house shirt or sleep shirt. Too cozy for words.

I bet there are more, but I'm swamped at work and having trouble focusing (can you tell?) so the list is short this week. See you next week!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Weekly "Loving" List: 35

Somehow I have already skipped a week of my Loving List - surprise! I'm still me, but now my A.D.D. has "baby brain" added to it. Let's begin!

Week 35: I'm Loving...

-decorating a nursery. I'm having so much fun, and now we have one shower under our wing we have even more fun things and essentials. I still need to clean out the closet from when that room was our things-that-have-no-home room, and then I'll be basically done except for the last few big items we need (glider, rug, side table, etc).

-compliments. I have been so vain this week! I finally posted bump pics online (at 34 weeks, those were really the first ones I'd even taken), and I'm loving the response. I feel good about this body, and I really haven't gained much weight outside of the tummy, but it still feels good to hear it from others.

-planning our maternity shoot. Speaking of vanity, we have our professional maternity session tomorrow, so I've become obsessed with clothes - what to wear?!? I am over the moon excited about the shots; we're going to the Houston Arboretum, which will be simply gorgeous, and I have such faith in Ellenzilla and her skills. Wish us luck!

-snacks. I have always been a grazer, so I keep fruit and nuts and such at my desk at work. As long as I always have access to a snack, I'm a happy girl. Still wish I could go through a whole jar of pickles in one sitting, but the sodium might kill my hippo feet. ;-)

-Tylenol. Does this need explaining?

-Pinterest. I waste spend SO much time on there, sometimes finding cute ideas I might actually implement, usually just surfing for fun/cute stuff.

-argyle. I'm falling head over heels for argyle baby clothes, and even for Brad. I just love this print and I'm glad the relaxed preppy look is so "in" now, because I can find it everywhere!

Those are the things to come to my mind this week. I'm sure I'll think of more. What new things will I add next week?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Baby Shower: Failla Family

I'm posting just a few pics from the shower Brad's amazing family threw for us this past weekend. I have to say, waiting until 34 weeks to take and post pictures was an interesting choice...
Here's Grandma Phyllis testing the yarn she cut; they were supposed to guess my belly width. She came pretty close (most people were off by at least six inches), but ultimately she came in third.
Here's me and bradley with our matching bellies (just teasing, I'm bigger than him).

And here's the new daddy-to-be racing to put a bandana diaper on a baby doll. Oh, baby shower games. ;-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nursery Board

I have been fiddling around with Microsoft Publishing and I decided to build a nursery board, highlighting many of the features we're using for Hunter's room. And so I present to you, THE BOARD:
WHEE! How fun is it?!? OK, piece by piece, let's break it down starting in the top left corner and moving clockwise and then inward:

Somerset Crib: Graco from Target
Nightlight and switch plate: Woolrich Woodlands from Target
Bedding: Skip Hop from Target
Name Branch: I found this one on Pinterest, but we're creating one by mod-podging paper onto some wooden letters we bought at Hobby Lobby and hanging them from a branch.
Alphabet Graphic Print: Grace Hester Designs on Etsy
Changing Pad covers: One is Skip Hop (Target) and the other is Kid's Line (Babies'R'Us)
Glider: Delta at Target
Thumb Print Tree: This one is from Pinterest, but I'm having one made by my good and very creative friends David and Erin.
Playset: Skip Hop (Target)
Rug: Mohawk (Target)
Light fixture: This one is from 320 Sycamore, but I have one at home to DIY.
Fox print: Lulufroot on Etsy

Whew! We've got the crib and bedding set up, and I have the makings of many of the other things already. I figure we'll end up getting the rug with gift cards towards the last minute, but we'll see. If I could find the fabric swatch we're using for the pelmet box online, I'd add it. Once things are a bit more complete I'll post some photos.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Weekly "Loving" List

I am inspired to create a weekly list of the things I'm loving, as seen on Just Bella. She has a two month old baby, and it seems she has been making these lists since (at least) her pregnancy. Starting these lists at 33 weeks is a bit ambitious, because things get less fun and more uncomfortable towards the end, but hey, I'm an optimist!

Week 33: I'm Loving...

*cooking. Seriously, I haven't bothered to cook in ages, between fatigue and not wanting to stand once I'm home, but this week I've made two delicious homemade meals; I forgot how satisfying it is! It fills me with pride and a sense of usefulness (something I've been missing). Plus I love being able to provide home-cooked meals for Brad when he gets home; the poor dear has been eating lots of Whataburger, and neither of us like that habit.

*our developing nursery. I promise, I will borrow a camera if I have to and I will post some pics soon. We put up the crib with the gorgeous bedding, and it feels like a nursery! Now to start on wall art projects, namely the name plate. David and Erin are making me a tree canvas to use as a guest book at showers (thumbprint style), and it will go on the wall eventually as well. So excited!

*Earl Grey, hot. This is nothing new, of course, but oh man. Not only is it delicious and warming, it is aroma therapeutic! I steep a weak cup in the mornings and then keep the tea bag at my desk to steep again after lunch. The scent it gives off absolutely raises my spirits.

*getting kicked. Most of the time it is fun or funny how much this little guy moves around. I've got a journal where I keep track of all of the metaphors I've used for the feeling. My favorites include "popcorn popping in my uterus" and "a cartoon octopus playing the drums".

*foot rubs. Brad gets home too late most nights to do it, but when he's home he is usually amenable to helping me out with swollen feet and ankles. He is such a blessing.

*warm, LUSH-scented baths. I've probably seen the last of these until after baby, unless I do it on a night when Brad is there to hoist me out of the tub, but relaxing in warm water that smells of apple and bergamot really chases the blues away.

That ought to do it for now. What are you loving right now?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What's for Dinner?

I have to start by saying how much I love Pinterest. I truly do. Count me among the many, because I can (and occasionally do) waste hours looking at everything from DIYs I'll never accomplish to funny Doctor Who memes.

I definitely have a soft spot for the recipes, though. Of all of the things I might actually utilize in real life, I find the recipes fit the bill. Today I discovered this "Make Your Own Rotisserie Chicken" pin, and I can't wait to try it.

I love buying those pre-cooked chickens at the store, because I can use them for so many things and it saves tons of time. I look forward to trying one myself and seeing it is truly is cheaper (and by how much).

My favorite recipes to make with rotisserie chicken includes:

Typically I slice off the breast meat for the first meal and serve it with simple sides, then I tear up the remaining bits and use them for one of the above recipes. The taquitos are hugely popular in my family; Mom requests them frequently. They are best served with rice and/or beans (I generally make black beans) and with guacamole (HEB or Chipotle, if not homemade). My favorite side dish for them, though, is to simply blend avocado with the salsa verde and a splash of lime juice. I call it Guacoverde... don't be like me.

The Chicken and Wild Rice salad makes a great lunch, especially served with fresh fruit or veggies on the side. It also pairs well or very light white wines, even something crisp like a Sauvignon Blanc. This meal has picnic written all over it.

And now that I'm officially drooling, on to lunch!