Creativity is a passion of mine. And like any other muscle, it needs to be exercised regularly. So I ask, have you had fun today?

If you’re looking for some creative prompts, check out these fun resources:

What creative resources have you stumbled upon lately? Anything worth sharing?

capsulewardrobe2

It has been a bit over a month since I did a serious edit on my wardrobe and filled two giant tubs with clothes that I no longer wore. Clothes that, while perfectly fine, were not comfortable or attractive to me. I cleaned out dresser drawers, emptied closets, and found room to breathe. I’m by no means finished with this process, but rather, have realized that it is just that: a process. I had high hopes of diving in and completing this task cold-turkey – but you know something? It’s tiring – and a bit scary.

The clothes that I have narrowed down to are my favorites, and limiting them further makes me a bit nervous – even knowing that I’m not getting rid of any of them, but saving them for another season makes me a bit antsy. Plus, I hate to do laundry. I HATE IT. Actually, I hate the having to put laundry away part. And knowing that having less in my closet means I’ll be doing laundry more often is not a positive in my book….This has led to me buying more clothes to keep from having to do laundry as often – which, in turn, led to having to put up wayyyy more clothes when I did do laundry. Vicious cycle. But, I’m keeping my eyes on the final product and pushing through. So far, I have successfully limited the number of new clothes I’ve purchased (as in I haven’t bought any), and have a system in place for continuing the reducing process. I’ve spent the last 2 months trying out my limited wardrobe, determining which pieces that I love actually love me. This has been most helpful in the shoe department – considering I adore a beautiful shoe, but have no use for one that I cannot wear comfortably at work.

And, because I realize the truth in the quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery that states “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” I’ve laid out my action steps for completing the wardrobe overhaul below. 

  1. Define Seasons.
  2. Limit everyday clothing items to 50 or less per season. This number should include: dress shirts, dress pants, coats, blazers, and shoes. This does not include workout clothing, weekend clothing, or pajamas. For Weekend Clothing I’ll be doing a mini-capsule wardrobe “add-on” since the majority of my time requires me to be in business casual attire. This mini-wardrobe will be limited to 10 items including jeans, t-shirts, and casual shoes.
  3. Store out-of season items out-of sight to avoid temptation
  4. Enjoy the simplicity

Ok, so written out like that it doesn’t look bad at all. In fact, with so few steps, I’m almost ashamed to even list them. I know that the big step will be #2, but I also know that if I can get through that one, I’ll be set. In fact, it’s actually where I’ll be starting this week. I’ve already defined my seasons, I just hadn’t put it in writing…until now. My four seasons will flow like this: December-February, March-May, June-August, September-November. By grouping the months in this manner, I’ll be keeping similar weather patterns together, and reduce the likelihood of dipping into other seasons for wardrobe items.

It’s my goal this week to get that March-May batch sorted and see if I have any gaps in foundation items. It’s all a numbers game now: how many pants do I have? How many shirts do I need? How many over pieces do I need (blazers, sweaters, etc.)? Which shoes go with the resulting outfits? Am I missing anything to be able to wear these clothes (slips, camisoles, etc.)?

It will be nice to be able to start using my wardrobe at the beginning of a season, and I look forward to sharing how well it’s working.

To my fellow Capsule Wardrobers, did you have difficulty starting the process?

CompassionBloggersDR

Just in case you missed it, the Compassion Bloggers just completed their first trip of the year last week. Twice a year, Compassion International takes a group of well-followed bloggers on the trip of a lifetime – all in an effort to be 100% transparent with the ministry they provide to those in need. Last week, the bloggers were in the Dominican Republic and the posts they’re sharing have already brought me to tears.

Especially this one. This one, where, when asking about the letters dear Braudy receives, he heartbreakingly answers that his sponsor does not write him. This post speaks truth. This post puts a face with the disappointment children feel when no letters come for them. This post encourages more writing. And, as a Compassion Advocate, that’s were I feel my calling – to encourage those that sponsor, to sponsor well. To write. To encourage their kid(s). To share love with simple words. This post brings it all home.

I’m also excited to see all of the photos from this trip in one place – the photographer, Mike Varel, did a really fantastic job!

Want to read more heart-grasping, tear-jerking, full-of-grace, love-poured-out and raw posts from the Dominican Republic? No problem. Even though the bloggers have returned home, you can find all of their posts by visiting the Compassion bloggers website. You can also follow the bloggers on instagram @ thebonniegray, lisaleonard, holleygerth, and ruthsoukup. And Compassion has set up a Twitter list for the trip,. There is even a Compassion Blogging trip Pinterest board you can follow. Use #compassionbloggers to search any of the social media above and find even more photos, tweets, and posts.

Already following along? I’d love to hear which post has been your favorite so far – for me, it’s always the ones where they meet their sponsored children or talk about the letters they receive. 

StashBeeFebBlock

This past October, I signed up to participate in a year-long quilting bee in an effort to grow my sewing skills and continue to use some of the fabric in my stash. The appropriately named StashBee2015 is quite different from the last quilting bee I participated in. This time, each bee member is responsible for posting once a month on the bee’s blog, sharing their selected tutorial on their assigned month, and posting progress photos on instagram/flickr. (You may have seen my instagram photos of the block I made for February yesterday.) Today, I’m sharing my February Block over at the bee’s blog.

Won’t you join me over here?

 

 

I’m continuing my series of copy-able letters to sponsored children. To read more about this series, click here. To view other templates, click the “Sponsor Letter Templates” link under the main blog header (or here, if reading in a feed). 

I’ve got several birthday packets to send out to my sponsored kids over the next few days and thought it might be fun to share what all I send on these special occasions.

EmilyBirthdayPackageWith all of my preparations for traveling to Ecuador to see Emily again, I got behind in mailing her birthday letters/package. Unfortunately, this batch will miss her March birthday – but even so, she will know I love her and am thinking of her. For this year’s goodies, I included:

  • A four page letter telling her how special she is to God, me, and my family; and reminding her to enjoy her childhood years
  • Lots and lots of stickers: flower stickers, Lisa Frank stickers, heart stickers, and more!
  • A card-stock dollhouse (found at the local Dollar Tree. I’ve sent several of these with no problems)
  • A watercolor princess page
  • A Lisa Frank Swan folder to hold it all (it’s even got glitter on it)
  • A paper Birthday Cake

I always enjoy putting together these special occasion packages for my sponsored kids – and will soon be mailing Josué’s. Then, before I can even blink, April will be here and I’ll be flying off to meet them once more. I cannot wait and until that day, I’ll keep mailing my love. If nothing else, they will know someone cares about them, about their future, and about their family.

What do you send your sponsored child(ren) on their birthday?

17. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Sewing · Tags:

It’s finally finished! My giant winter swoon quilt!

I’ve been working on this quilt for nearly 3 months – and honestly, I’ve had it finished for at least one month – just waiting on binding. I started out making this as a gift for a swap I participated in back before Christmas – except when I got it all assembled I realized two things. 1) This is wayyy to big to mail cheaply. 2) I love this quilt too much to part with it. So I kept the big version, and cranked out a mini for the swap.

GiantWinterSwoon_1

With the snow we’re finally experiencing this week (yay snow!!!) I had some time to finish this beauty – and clearly Shinobi wanted to help. She does, after all, claim ALL quilts finished in this house. Seriously, this is a quilt-lovin’ cat.
GiantWinterSwoon_7

Like I said earlier, I’ve had this nearly finished for a while. But I kept debating on adding more quilting to the piece. I thought about going around the snowman circles with quilted circles, and possibly adding a design in the plaid bits, but, after laying it out and looking at all of the straight-line quilting I’d done in the white areas, it just felt complete. Also, as always, finished trumps perfect.GiantWinterSwoon_2

The fabric is all from my stash (except the backing fleece) and includes leftover pieces from my Christmas Tree Skirt and a couple of fat quarters of fun, snowman fabric purchased at a local quilt shop.GiantWinterSwoon_3

For the quilting, I stuck to concentric lines in the all of the white areas, which turned out to me much more quilting than I’m used to – but I love it so much. It’s just crinckley and wrinkley enough to be cuddle-worthy without being too heavy.GiantWinterSwoon_6

For the back, I used some plaid fleece – which makes it extra warm and hides the bobbing threads.GiantWinterSwoon_5

Below you can just see the quilting on the back. Excuse the stray bits – the fleece really does pick up everything.GiantWinterSwoon_8

To bind, I first sewed the bias tape to the backing, and then went along the front edge with a zig-zag stitch. Again, this is not my normal binding method, but I do love how it turned out. It was a perfect choice for this quilt.GiantWinterSwoon_4And, as with all of my quilts, this one is finished with a label and lots of love. That makes another project I can cross of my to-sew list. Also, this one passed the great-quilt test, and was snatched up by my Dad as soon as he got home. The fleece backing did him in – I’m sure of it.

What have you been working on lately?

 

GirlKit

There was a great turn-out for this month’s giveaway, and I am excited to finally announce the winners of the February Correspondence Kits!

Congrats to Jennifer Doiron & Kaitlyn Porter!

Be sure to check you email for a message from me (and be sure to check your spam folder, my messages tend to end up there for some reason)– I’ll need to know what kind of kit you’d like (older boy, older girl, younger girl, younger boy, or birthday) and your mailing address.

Everyone else, Thanks again for participating and remember, I give 2 kits away every month & offer them outside of giveaways.

It’s the second Friday of the month, and you know what that means: Time for another Correspondence Kit Giveaway! (And also time to get those letters out to your sponsored kids - click here to read about how sponsors all over the world are connecting and writing the second Friday every month)

What is it?

Simply put, a Correspondence Kit is, as the name suggests, a kit to help you with correspondence; specifically letter writing to Compassion Sponsored children. Each kit includes a variety of paper, letter templates, and goodies all for you to personalize and send to your sponsored child. I give away 2 kits on the second Friday of each month.

Types of Kits:

I currently offer 4 gender & aged based kits – Young Boy, Young Girl, Older Boy, & Older Girl. I also offer a neutral Birthday kit. The photos below show one girl kit, one boy kit, and the birthday kit.

GirlKit

Each kit will come with an assortment of pattered papers & color copies of the templates I’ve designed and featured on this blog. In the boy & girl kits, there will be enough paper & templates to write your child at least once a month for an entire year. In the birthday kit, there will be enough paper & templates to send a very special birthday packet as well as six months worth of letters.

Each kit will also feature and assortment of goodies that will be age & gender appropriate. These might include: stickers, paper puzzles, coloring sheets, activity pages, gospel tracts, etc.

How to enter:

To enter, simply leave me a comment and let me know that you’d like to win. Easy Peasy!

For an additional entries, follow me on instagramfollow me on twitter, tweet this giveaway, and/or share the giveaway on facebook (you can use the social media buttons at the end of this post). Leave one comment per task you complete to let me know. That’s a total of 4 possible entries.

This giveaway will remain open all weekend, and winners will be announced Monday night, February 16, 2015.

Please note, due to postage costs, this giveaway is limited to those with a mailing address in the United States or Canada.  

Good Luck & Happy Friday!

I also offer these kits outside of giveaways – and ship them all over the world. Click here or on the button in the side bar for more information.

January was a bit of a slow reading month if you look at number of books completed, but, given that these were both audio books if you look at hours listened it was a bit of a marathon with nearly 60 hours of listening time combined.

1Q84

I started off the month listening to Sand: Omnibus Edition. The goodreads description of this one intrigued me, and I’m glad I gave it a shot. Some of the reviews are kind of ehh, so I was a bit worried, evenso I like the read. I especially like it as an introduction to Howey’s work. I think many of the not-so-great reviews were disappointed with the work due to their experience with his other novels. I however, found it well written and captivating. What appears to be a series of short stories quickly blends into an over-arching plot featuring a dystopian world where scavengers dive through sand dunes looking for lost treasure – all the while Howey encourages readers to examine familial ties and interpersonal relationships. And, while I probably won’t read the book again, it did intrigue me enough to want to check out Howey’s other works, specifically Wool.

After Sand, I read 1Q84 - at over 46 hours long, the audio book took me the rest of the month and a few days into February to finish. Originally written in Japanese and then translated to English, the book itself is a bit tricky to explain. At it’s core I would say it’s about a woman, a man, a girl, and how they end-up in and try to escape from an alternate world. Drawing heavily from Orwell’s 1984 there are themes of big brother, espionage, and overtly controlling organizations. There’s also a heavy dose of Bradbury-esque sci-fi with “little people” spinning “air chrysalises” that serve as cocoons for alternate versions of the characters. It can be a bit dense and a bit slow, but was perfect as a sewing companion and later as a “I’m sick in bed and can’t just lie here” read. Overall, I really enjoyed the book – I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say I loved it, but I think it’s one of those that will grow on me as time goes by. There are definitely some themes and scenes that will stick with me.

What about you, what have you been reading lately?

SickinBed

This has been my view for the past five days – needless to say, I haven’t gotten much writing done. I did go to sick-call this morning and picked up some antibiotics, so hopefully I’ll be back up and running in the next couple of days. Please forgive the down time until then. Also, please feel free to send over a Hot Toddy or really any of the drinks mentioned on Friday ;)