Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Slipcover Finale

So here's the big reveal.  The slipcovers are done!  And to be honest I feel like putting my sewing machine away for at least another ten years.  This was a huge project and I'm really glad it's done.  I'm tired to the bone.  But as you can see..... they are beautiful.  Of course they are not perfect.  And I think they probably look better in this picture than in real life.  Almost magical.  Hmmm, must be the lighting, but hey they are good enough, imperfections and all.  Like me.  He he.

I'm really glad that I did this project.  I learned so much.  About sewing, improvising and about myself as well.

What are you working on?

 Keep moving forward,


Sunday, March 20, 2011



Today is officially the first day of spring and it's Sunday.  Everything is fresh and new.

I love beginnings.

Beginnings hold promise, hope and wonder.  Dreams.

I want to be beginning.  And I am.  

We've been given the gift of beginning.  We just need to claim it.  We can choose to begin again each day.  After each mistake.  After each accomplishment or embarrassment.  We can begin again.

We can pick ourselves up after we've been knocked down and crushed.  We can take our brokenness and shattered dreams to the One who "makes all things new" and begin again.  Refreshed, restored, new.

We can start over.  I love that.

I love beginnings.

Happy Spring,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Giving up or Getting?

We are one week into the Lenten Season so I thought I'd post about what I'm giving up for Lent.  In addition to the usual Lenten practices of Fasting and giving up meat on Fridays in addition to increased Prayer and Alms giving I've giving up spending money on nonconsumable/nonnecessary items.   Basically I've given up spending money on myself, the house or anything that is not an essential; like food or soap.  You get the picture.

One week into this and now I'm starting to relax my shoulders a bit and haven't been biting my nails so much.  Yes it was tough the first few days.

The realization that I will not buy myself or my children anything for forty days has been a real eye opener.  Especially since I've been haunted by a pair of cute sandals that I've been on the look out for and recently spotted at Macy's.  I happened to be on a quick errand and just decided to walk through Macy's and give the shoe department a "look-see".   Well there they were, I tried them on and yes Oh so comfy.  I left them there of course.  But back at home I had the urge to see if I could find them on line and I did- for $14 dollars less with no shipping!  Talk about needing willpower. I put them in my online shopping cart then got off the computer.  I even thought about purchasing them on Sunday- some people don't adhere to their Lenten promises on Sundays being that Sundays are Holy days and days of celebration.  So yes I thought- Hmmm... Maybe I could buy 'em on Sunday- that would be alright wouldn't it?  I also thought about having my husband by them for me.  Cuz then technically I wouldn't be buying them and he's not the one who gave up spending money for Lent.  So see I already had two ways out.

So this whole Sandal temptation got me thinking.  What if I tried to give up thinking about "stuff "too?  I felt like way too much of my energy was being wasted on thinking about how I could get those sandals.  Silly I know.  Those sandals will not make my life one bit better nor will they make me truly happier.  Maybe for a moment but not in the long run.  Their euphoric effect will only be temporary.  Then I'll be off to find something else to get me that feeling.

So basically as humans that's what we are really chasing- it's a feeling- not stuff.  We just think we need the stuff to get the feeling.  But that's a lie.  Hmmmm.....

So I think I learned a bit already by giving up "stuff" and we're only one week into Lent.  I can't imagine how much I'll learn after forty days.

See God is so good that He gives to us all the time.  We give up stuff but He gives us so much more.  The giving up of stuff only helps us to see that.  It helps us to ignore the voices of sandals calling out to us -cuz and if we ignore them long enough they fade into whispers in the distance and eventually are gone.  Then they are replaced with an even better voice.  A voice that tells us the Truth.  A voice that awakens us and makes us feel alive.  A voice that upon hearing it gives us the feeling that we were searching for all along.

So what are you giving up for Lent? or should I say getting?

With loving thoughts,


Friday, March 11, 2011

Working From the Inside Out

This is the current project I've been working on.  I've been hesitant to post about it because it seems like I'm in over my head.  I've wanted to back out countless times.  My fingers are sore from the pin pricks.  But then I said  to myself, "You might as well post about it, since you know you're doing it." So here goes...

Remember the fabric store that was closing where I bought the fabric for my dining room chairs and later made slips and the backs of some pillows with?  Well in a moment of temporary insanity (at least I hope it was temporary- we'll see) I bought enough fabric to make slipcovers for my sofa, loveseat and ottoman.  Never mind that I don't know how to make slip covers, nor the fact that I don't even know how to sew all that well.  I just knew I wanted white slip-covered furniture instead of the dark tapestry that I've been starring at in my living room for over 11 years.  I also knew that I didn't want to pay $1,500 to have them custom made (yes I researched how much they would cost) nor could I afford to buy new furniture, heck I had a hard time parting with the $140 it cost to buy 38 yard of fabric (which was a steal).  So I bought the fabric in my momentary lapse and put the two rolls in my garage and worked on the other stuff I had going.  Basically I tried to forget about the endeavor I was about to embark upon.  It just seemed too scary, too hard and might just turn out to be a waste of time, money and effort.  And I hate waste.

So I put it off for a while but every once in a I found myself biting my nails as I thought about the fact that sooner or later I'd have to at least "try" to make the slipcovers.  I consoled myself with the fact that if I failed the fabric would make excellent drop cloth for painting projects.

As you can see I went ahead and bit the bullet.  I took another risk.

So as I've been working on the slipcovers I've learned that in making slipcovers you are primarily working from the inside out. Hmmm... "working from the inside out".  That phrase kept repeating itself to me and it got me thinking.....

I kept thinking about how when I was a young girl of maybe 11 or 12  how my mother had bought me some beginner cross stitch kits.  In teaching me how to cross stitch she would check my progress by immediately flipping the project over to look at the inside.  She'd hardly give the outside a glance.  I hated when she did this.  It almost seemed as if she wasn't concerned about how the project looked on the outside.  She would just flip it over and look at the inside.  That didn't make any sense to me.  I couldn't have cared less what the inside looked like.  She'd explain to me that if the inside looked good you could bet that the outside would be just fine. But if the inside showed a sloppy mess the outside wouldn't be all that great.  She'd tell me to focus on doing a good job on the inside and not worry so much about the outside.

My mother did this with any project that she worked on herself.  She even did it with clothing purchased at the store.  When shopping she'd always check the item's quality by looking at the inside.

So as I've been working on the slipcovers I've learned that you have to do most of the work from the inside out.  And I've been thinking about how that's how it is with us too.  The better we look on the inside the better we'll be on the outside.   

That's pretty important.

I've also been noticing that making slipcovers for sofas is a big job to do all by yourself.  The fabric weighs a ton, the little pieces are pretty easy to handle but as they get put together the project gets bigger and bigger and I keep wishing I had an extra pair of hands to help me hold onto the fabric and to straighten things out every once in a while.

Yes the slipcovers would definitley come out better if I had a partner.
And once again I realized that's how it is with us too. 

See- when we invite the Creator to work on us and with us as our partner- we look fabulous both inside and out.  The job it too big for us to do alone.  He knows this and is just waiting for an invitation.

That doesn't mean the job will be easy.  No I'm sure we'll have to rip out a few mistakes along the way and start over here and there.  And if He's anything like my mother He's way more concerned with how were coming along on the inside.

So come on we've got work to do.

Let's get to work on the inside and keep moving forward.

With loving thoughts,


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stormy Weather

Sometimes life can knock us around a bit.

Like a ship lost in a stormy sea, one wave after another crashes down upon us. We can do our best to steer our ship away from the rocks and try to get to safety, but ultimately it's the One that controls the sea that can set us upon calm waters.

One thing for sure is that every storm has an end.

It may not seem like it when your in the midst of it. At times it may seem inconceivable that you'll even survive.  Some storms are worse than others.

But we can learn from each of them.  We can become better sailors.  We can prepare for the storm.  We can "batten down the hatches" and once we've done all that we can, we just have to let go and sail.

That's the hardest part, the letting go.  The risk involved.  The trust needed to get through.

But what good is a ship if it is stuck on dry land?  We'll never get anywhere if don't set sail.

So let's get into our ships and move forward.  I believe the forecast is calling for sunny weather.

With loving thoughts,


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk

Pillows are one of the best accessories.  They can make a big impact in the look of a room and are a simple way to change things up a bit.  I love to change pillows with the seasons, and although pillows are relatively inexpensive, I don't love spending money buying new pillows several times a year, especially this year when I've worked so hard to get my finances under control.  So I said to myself- Hmmm, Self- it's time to get creative.  How can I get bright new springy colored pillows for little or no $$???

So I looked around to see what I had in mind with regards to colors and I've really been liking the look of a soft aqua- but I didn't have a thing with any blue green tones in it.  Hmm what to do?

Then I remembered some napkins that I bought several months ago on clearance.  They were the perfect color for the look I was going for.  I had bought 3 packs (they came four to a pack) I only needed 6 for the table so that left me with 6 extra.  Originally I had thought about making a table runner for the buffet table with the extra.  But then the idea struck!  The napkins are the same size as most sofa pillows- What if I use left over fabric from the dining room chairs for the backs of the pillow slips and the napkins on the front?


Napkins on the table.

Dining Room with the prized napkins.
So that's what I did.  I placed the napkin on the fabric I had left over from the chairs.  Cut out the same size squares leaving about 1/2 inch extra all around for the seam allowance.  Sewed three sides together, stuffed my pillow inserts from some red winter sofa pillows inside, then closed 'em up.

There she is!  My Lovely Napkin Pillow.

I made a total of five of these.  Two for the sofa, two for the loveseat and one for the chair.  All for next to nothing since I had everything anyhow.  That's a pretty good deal if you ask me.  

What I learned from this simple project though is invaluable, I've learned to look at cloth napkins a bit differently.  I'll be keeping my mind's eye open to some pretty pillow opportunities.

But folks there a bit of a down side to the end of this story- well you know how one thing can lead to another- guess what- I'm not digging my sofa or loveseat too much anymore- the pillows don't go to well with them-they are a dark tapestry print, and like my dining room chairs they are begging for a redo!  

Hmmm I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do about that since I'm not in the market for new sofas.  I've got a couple ideas beginning to take shape up in the old noggin, but I'll have to let them simmer a bit before I figure this one out.  I'll keep you posted. and I'll keep moving forward.

With loving thoughts,


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On Goals and Dreams


I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference between goals and dreams.  I know, I know- who thinks about that stuff??  Well apparently I do! Anyhow the two are similar in many ways yet for me they feel vastly different.  Worlds apart.

Goals are more definable, more concrete.  There are steps you can take, a certain path to follow, a formula so to speak, and if you do your part you can be pretty certain you'll arrive at your desired destination.

Dreams on the other hand are more illusive.  They have a mysterious quality to them.  Sure you can do your best to try to make them happen, follow certain steps, similar to what your do with goals, however there is no guarantee you'll reach your dream.

There seems to be a lot more praying and waiting involved in following dreams.  There's also more spiritual angst that goes along with it.  I believe that's because much of whether our dreams come true depend not on us, but on God.  Of course we have to do our part, but we also have to leave the largest part of it up to Him.

For me that's the hard part.  The believing.  The trusting.  The giving up control.

See I have no problem achieving a goal.  If it's doable, if I can come up with a plan to reach it, chances are I'll do it.

However I have a hard time with dreams.

See- with dreams we put our whole hearts into them and that can be scary.

It's risky to dream.

There's the potential for crushing disappointment, the shame in perceived failure, the humility in admitting our own weakness, the difficulty of facing our smallness.

Ultimately it's God's decision as to whether any of our dreams will come true and we need to embrace that.  We can do our best, we can take the risk, but it's really not up to us.

So while we dream, while we pray, work and wait, It's good to know He has our best interest at heart.

That's what keeps me dreaming.

What about you?

With loving thoughts,