Bailey’s Guilt Offering

BaileysGiftThis caption is so happening on a gift under our tree this year!

To: Big Ruff (Master)
From: Small Ruff (Dog)

Ruff, Ruff, Ruff, Ruff, Barooo, Ruff, Sniff, Ruff, Scratch, Ruff, Grr, Ruff (Translation Below)

Dear Master, (Dada)

I am so sorry that I ate your slippers…again.  I don’t know what comes over me but when I see the Christmas tree come out I get so excited that I must kill something.  The insoles of your slippers beckoned me with the reek of your wonderful foot stink.  They were simply irresistible.  I had no choice really. I had to kill them.  So Lady-Master made me get you another pair.  Hope you like them.

Love, Bailey

P.S.  If they are satisfactory, can I please finish off your old ones? They still have a bit of chew left in them and the imprint of the soul scent lingers.

For those of us whose love language is gifts, this is one of the most anticipated times of year.  I love gifts…both giving and receiving.  A gift can communicate such a powerful message of love, value and thoughtfulness.  With such a simple thing, one can transform a moment into a memory.  But all too often, the stress associated with obligatory giving, social expectations, and a guilty realization that we have not fostered a close enough relationship with the recipient to know them well enough to bless them, distracts us from the beauty found in the grace of giving and receiving.  Let’s not give up on blessing others, and practicing thankfulness just because busyness threatens to steal from our relationships.  Perhaps we can make an early New Year’s resolution to become better students of the people in our life and more present in our interactions with them so that when we bless them from a place of abiding in the “Prince of Peace” who was gifted to us so long ago, they truly discover the treasure they were created to be!

Inspirational Scripture:

“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:14

“…‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
Acts 20:35

A Light to Expose the Illusive Approval of Man

MiniChandelierOne of the reasons we do not rest is because of our quest for the illusive approval of man. That is a “churchy” phrase, that basically means we look to the opinion of someone else to determine if we are in a state of “okay-ness”.  Many of us do what we do for an unseen audience. We may shine outwardly, but inwardly we perform for an imaginary screaming crowd, a dead parent, an ex-lover, a critic, a hero, or an enemy. Someone to whom we have given power. Power over us to define what we look like in perfect success. Someone to whom we unwittingly abdicated responsibility to chew up our goals, values, dreams and reason only to regurgitate them back to us according to their approval. We strive for this elusive vision of dimly-lit half truth, serving a decaying idol of fickle imaginations. Instead, we must seek to discover the gift that only we can offer to the world, an identity visible solely under heaven’s revelatory light, intended as an extension of the hands who created it. Dear created gift, look only into the face of the One who created, for there in the presence of His gaze do we finally discover the joy of perfect love, acceptance, and purpose. It is found in the twinkle of His eye that knows what the rest of the world cannot see.

Ok, probably enough of my musings for today… now for a DIY upgrade for a mini chandelier from Hobby Lobby…

I purchased the white chandelier at my favorite store, Hobby Lobby, using a 40% off coupon to get a fabulous deal.  The size was perfect, but I wanted a black chandelier, with clear “crystals”, a socket that could support a single 60 watt light bulb, and I didn’t like the way the cord snaked from the bottom of the fixture up through the beads and frame to the top.  So I removed the little acrylic beads that lined the metal frame, took the entire piece apart, spray painted it black, turned it upside down so the light would shine down instead of up, rewired it with a better/higher rated socket (also spray painted black), rearranged the parts to put it back together, and finally re-distributed the “crystal” garlands… adding a few magnetic “crystal drops” (really acrylic) to complete the look.

*Disclaimer* I am not an electrician, I had only once before “re-wired” a fixture, and I don’t know much about electricity except that it can kill you, so please find your own expert in that field to consult with if you have any questions or concerns. I have done this project twice.  The first time, I cut off the plug-end, kept the light socket small for the smaller, low watt candelabra bulb, and had my husband put on a different plug at the bottom once I was finished.  That piece was for the “Glamper” (Picture of RV) we remodeled.  This time I kept the plug-end intact and cut the wire close to the socket, assembling as pictured below, so I could safely use a brighter bulb in my mini chandelier for home.  I still need to make a cord cover for the chain, but below is a picture without the cover so that you can see how easily it hangs from a ceiling hook.

SocketMiniChandelieratHomeInspirational Scripture:
“The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.”
Proverbs 20:27 (NLT)

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (NASB)



Bailey’s Boutique Squeaks

BoutiqueSqueaksThis is Bailey’s favorite toy.  She love’s them.  I mean she absolutely loves them!  And because they bring her so much joy, they just might delight a little creature you know. Therefore, I have to share.  I used the word creature because although I designed these with a puppy in mind, I have had multiple people say that a baby would love them too. There are 3 bone plushies as well as a kitty and puppy plushy on each fat quarter of fabric.  Insert disclaimer here…Hopefully it is obvious that I wouldn’t be suggesting someone should give their kid a bone but one never knows who might read this in bloggy land…Animals for the kiddo and bones for the pets…capisce? But really it doesn’t matter…I know some of your senses of humor…you are going to let your kids have the bone.  Disclaimer part 2…Some dogs literally EAT squeak toys.  These doggies must be supervised so that they don’t choke if you put a squeaker inside the plushy.  My doggie prefers to fetch with hers, snuggle it, and race around the house with it in her mouth, holding it by its tag.

“How does one make one of these beauties,” you ask?  Why, I am delighted you asked, inquisitive reader…continue reading for the complete tutorial below!

Supplies needed to complete this project:

  • Fat Quarter of Boutique Squeak fabric design of your choice
  • Sewing Machine
  • Squeakers
  • Stuffing (method A) or Quilt Batting (method B)
  • 1/2 inch double fold bias tape (if you choose method B)
  • Thread
  • Scissors

There are four different Cut and Sew panels to choose from.
0_SqueakPanel

Boutique Squeak Blaze’s Favorite (pictured above)
Boutique Squeak Good Dog Bad Dog
Boutique Squeak Linen Looks
Boutique Squeak Painted Linen
Boutique Squeak Sampler (All 4 of the above sized to fit on one yard)

First, cut out the designs along the outer lines, then chose desired method to assemble.

A1_CutOut

Method A:  

1. Sew right sides together leaving an opening to turn

A2_SewA3_LeaveOpening

2. Clip corners.  When doing the kitty or puppy shapes, clip and trim the seams a bit to make turning easier.

A4_ClipCurves

A4B_ClipCurves

3. Turn right sides out, insert stuffing and squeaker, and then topstitch closed

A567_TurnStuffTpStch

Method B:

(NOTE:  This is NOT my favorite method.  I tried it for the dogs I know that must kill stuffing, and their owners therefore try to have minimal fluffing arround.  It works for the bone shapes, but I wasn’t pleased with the results/lack of neatness of the bias application. And I even bought a special attachment for my sewing machine to try to assemble it all in one fell swoop.  However, if your machine and/or sewing skills are exceptional, then this could be a viable option, so I included it just in case!)

1. Trim batting slightly smaller than the circumference of the bone shape.

B1_CutOut

2. Sandwich squeaker between layers of batting with rights sides of design outward.

B2_LayoutSqueaker

3. Pin and then staystich .25″ around edge and encase seam with 1/2 inch double fold bias tape.

B345_PinBiasSew

Present to one lucky creature and watch them joyfully play!

Inspirational Scripture:
“The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” Proverbs 12:10 (NIV)



Gift Wrapped

GiftWrapped

This season can either be my most favorite or most dreaded season of all.  I absolutely love fall.  On one hand it is full of beautiful autumn colors, crisp air (where I live), apple cider, and family birthdays.  On the other, as the leaves fall, it reminds me that life is fleeting, and winter is coming.  Perhaps it is because I grew up in Alaska, that winter has such an effect on me. To be sure, there is beauty to be found in the diamond encrusted branches and glistening snow, not to mention a good cup of hot chocolate, but the dormant season can be hard, and it can be long. Nevertheless, hope lives on! I have read that even in winter, although trees enter a “resting phase,” they still “maintain a readiness to grow.”

We all need “resting phases” throughout life’s seasons and although I must admit <cough> resting has not traditionally been my strong suit, I am called to learn how to rest.  It could take me months to share what I have been learning over the past few years about burn-out, rest, and recovery.  I hesitate to begin because I feel like I am still in the middle…or maybe at the beginning…of the journey.  Then I see the weariness in people around me.  Like a heavy blanket, the hunger for the truth that we can “cease striving” smothers the hope out of their eyes.  We must know and remember that God is God and He grants sleep to those (the whole world) He loves.  We can come to Him when we are weary and heavy laden.  Rest is a gift.  Peace is a gift.  Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  John 14:27 (NLT).  The word for peace here is eirene, meaning peace, prosperity, quietness, rest. This truth compels me to begin to offer up the bits of wisdom I have grown to treasure, not as one who has arrived or figured everything out, but as a sister who is walking this journey as well.  So accept my musings or don’t, as you would a physical gift that you can receive and use or pass on to someone else!

GiftWrap

Oh, and for anyone curious what was in one of the presents above, one was a toy for my kiddo’s birthday, and the other a pair of Pajama bottoms made from Bailey’s Good Dog Bad Dog fabric.  I was so excited that my order of gift-wrap came in time to wrap my first gifts for October Birthdays! At the moment he is the only one in the universe with a pair and so he feels quite special.PJsChild

Inspirational Music:
Nichole Nordeman’s song “Every Season“.  She has such a poetic way with words, and a beautiful way of recognizing her Heavenly Father at work in each season.

Inspirational Scripture:
“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 
Acts 20:35 (NLT)

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Psalms 51:12 (NIV)

“They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV)


Vintage Tea Towels

JBalyeatTeaTowelsGiftSummer is finally here! Perhaps it is the idea of a peaceful cup of tea juxtaposed against the sounds of a barking puppy and little boy busily at play that make me smile when I look across my table strewn with a few thousand legos and see these little tea towels hanging from my oven. Regardless, I love them and the vintage charm they add to my kitchen. They are a snap to sew up, and four different designs come on one yard of Linen-Cotton Canvas from Spoonflower. There are two background pattern/color options. One is the black and cream version that is pictured, and the other is more of a burlap/linen color.

JBalyeatTeaTowelStoveI just finished sewing up the 4th towel in the set.

JBalyeatTeaTowels4If you would like a tutorial on how to sew these, check out my blog on making cloth dinner napkins here!

Inspirational Scripture:
“He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.”
Psalm 113:9 (NIV)