A Heart “Felt” Gift

Ever since I started making my hand cut felt sets, I never had the best storage system. To be honest, I didn’t think they would be such a hit in my Etsy Shop and at Market House. I thoroughly enjoy creating these sets so I’m very glad they took off so well.

When I started, I was also living in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment with no storage. All my sewing and felt supplies were boxed up after each use. When we moved to our house, I suddenly had so much room. The fabric took priority over the felt when I started using Erin’s old dresser and changing table for storage. The felt just stayed in the same box. It was hard to keep it organized and very quickly, the box came to look like this:

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Ugh!!! So embarrassed to show you my felt box!

Yeah….not good. And yes, the pile has toppled over a few times.
Last month, I came across an inspiring photo on Pinterest
for organization in a closet. All done by the container store materials. I knew I needed something exactly like it. Yet the sticker shock ($900) from The Container Store brought me to tears. I posted on Facebook asking for my friends to help me find a cheaper solution with the same look. My good friend who lives literally on the other side of the planet found a very similar item at Ikea and suggested it to me. Thanks Ashley!!!  It was a no brainer to add the Algot system to my Christmas list. I put three down each at around $50-60 and waited to see if it ended up under the tree.
Well, I’m so pleased to say that I received one of them from my blessed sister in law!

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ALGOT organization bin system from IKEA

It was a breeze to put together and each bin slides out easily. So, that pile of felt in the brown box was given a new home this afternoon:

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My organized felt!!!!!!!

OMG!!!! THANK YOU ARIANNE LEE!!!!!! YOU ARE TRULY THE BEST SISTER IN LAW EVER!!!!!!!
All of my felt supplies are right in one spot….ORGANIZED!!!
I put two colors in each bin:

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Red and orange felt

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Yellow and green felt

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Blue and pink/purple felt

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Black, Grey and Brown felt

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Cream and White Felt

As you can see, the basket pulls out far enough for me to easily see and reach the back color of felt. I didn’t even know I had that much felt! I always feel like I’m almost out of a needed color! This will definitely help save me some pennies when supply shopping!
As you can see, I put my pre cut felt sets, patterns and embroidery supplies in the bottom basket easy to grab in the same location (they used to be in 2 different rooms)

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Felt patterns and embroidery supplies!

This system will eventually be put in the office closet once someone with a newborn on the way wants the dresser/changer combo. For now, it’s in a great spot too!

Well, I’m off to work on some felt set orders!! Some of my sets are Limited Edition, so act fast as new sets will be introduced soon!

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Last Minute DIY Christmas Craft

It’s 4 days before Christmas and Erin and I have yet to do a Christmas craft together!  We enjoyed making pumpkins, bats and ghosts for our front window during October and I thought I’d keep the momentum going for decor crafts throughout the holidays.

Thanksgiving put us in Seattle unexpectedly, so T-Day will have to be postponed until next year.  However, I did spend a lot of my downtime filling up my crafts and holidays Pinterest folders for some good Christmas craft ideas to work on when we returned home.

Well, illness and Christmas Orders through my Etsy Shop kept these past two weeks really busy, so here we are, 4 days before Christmas and no completed DIY Christmas Decor…until today!

Our Christmas tree is nicely decorated with Martha Stewart bulbs bought last minute at Home Depot last year.  With a three year old, we don’t have much stock in the “vacation ornaments” or the “ornaments that your kids made at school” so ornaments is what we were going to make.

I do confess that I fully intended to make these last week and Erin and I even began the prep work last week, but never got around to anything beyond that.

I chose a simple and quick craft that I found on Pinterest.  The link led me to Red Ted Art where I found a simple tutorial on how to make snowman ornaments from wine corks.  When I first saw this idea, I though, “Awesome!  I have a TON of wine corks laying around” that I can use and we just bought acrylic paint for a Christmas Gift Erin made for her lucky Auntie.  So, off to work we went.  Here’s a link to the tutorial on Red Ted Art.

First, Erin and I headed to the cold basement to my messy craft table (given to us courtesy of my Mother in Law for my Craft Shows.  Thanks Mama Lee!) I spat a good amount of white acrylic paint in a washed out yogurt cup. (Thank God I keep a ton of those lying around!)

Clean, Empty Yogurt Cups.  Thanks Trader Joe's....and my tummy.

Clean, Empty Yogurt Cups. Thanks Trader Joe’s….and my tummy.

We quickly slathered on the paint to 20 wine corks and let them dry (I had every intention of finishing the next day, but just….well…didn’t)

Today, I stayed home sick (my throat really is sore, I swear) from church and found the opportunity to finish these suckers up.  After all, some are supposed to be gifts for the pre-k teachers at Erin’s school.

I grabbed my hot glue gun, the fancy Christmas pipe cleaners and my two sharpie pens and went to town.

20 wine cork snowmen

20 wine cork snowmen

Here is the end result.  And I’m so glad I made them because now, we have more than just bulbs and a few (like 5) special ornaments decorating our tree!

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All those extra ornament hooks come in handy! Just hook them on the ear muffs!

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Love them!

Love them!

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Love, Loss and Christ

It’s that time of year again.  The weeks leading up to the anniversary of Rachel’s birth and death.  It’s hard to put into words that someone who’s never lost a child can understand what this time of the year means for us.  I’ll spare myself the time and effort to do so, because in the end, they still won’t understand.  Physically, I can’t sleep.  My mind feels entrapped in a time warp of trauma that occurred over the span of just a week almost 5 years ago.  My family walks on eggshells because I am the gumpiest, nastiest person to be around.  All the family demands on me give me too little time to rest and breathe through the sadness and hurt that I feel ever so deeply.  I hate how this loss has changed me.  My husband hates it too.

This year, feels a little different.  My focus is divided….pulled in two different directions and I have a new loss to deal with.  My grandmother, Marvel Abercrombie (Nana to me), passed away somewhat unexpectedly a few days before Thanksgiving.  Erin and I got to spend the entire month of November with her.  A blessing that I’ll never thank God enough for.  One of the most influential woman in my life, gone. Just like that.  It still doesn’t seem real to me, but I feel it starting to sink in.  I’m so grateful Erin got to spend 3 wonderful years with her and get to know her, love her and feel blessed by her.

Erin and Nana during her last days with us.

Erin and Nana during her last days with us.

In hindsight, Nana’s passing is somewhat of a blessing this season for me.  I have not been able to focus on both losses much at all.  I have just started focusing on my grief for Nana, which has kept me distracted from the sorrow that I still so deeply have for Rachel.

I expressed this to a friend the other night, but felt my words weren’t very clear.  It sounded very confusing, even for me.

I had just returned home from Nana’s funeral and spent the evening out with friends from Church.  Since we moved last year, we chose a new church to attend known as Maranatha Grace Fort Lee (MGFL).  MGFL is very Gospel centered.  A great place to be for anyone. People freely speak non stop about what God is doing in their lives and how they can advance the Gospel to their friends, family and co-workers.  All a very positive and encouraging place to be.

To be honest, my relationship with the Lord has been, very poor, for the past 5 years.  It’s been extremely hard for me to mend things.  Spending a month away and immersed with my family and the Anglican Common church in Gig Harbor(St. John’s) reminded me of how beautiful God is.  Just an hour service with only a 15 minute sermon is so deep and significant, but only if you really understand the liturgy.  The new priest, Father Eric, has done a fabulous job at bringing the focus of the Gospel back to St. John’s and you can see the results of their labors. His wife Cynthia has done an amazing job at teaching the Children who Christ is and why we worship God the way we do.  It’s amazing when your 3 year old understands what “the light of Christ” is and why we have communion.  It was very fulfilling to me.

Returning home, I felt like I was in shock a little.  An adjustment period if you will.  As I had fun catching up with friends, laughing, and talking, a moment made me turn in for a bit.  Everyone around me was speaking of their amazing God in every sentence.  I felt out of place.  I just wanted to have a conversation without using the word God, Gospel, Jesus in it.  And I realized at that moment I will never get that from these people at MGFL!  These were the words I expressed to my friend in the car.  (I’m sure she was really confused, slightly offended, and weird-ed out by me all at the same time) The response I got was: “pray about it.”

As I sat in my bed that night, preparing to fend myself off the nightmares that were sure to come, I realized something. (something that I’ve always known, but this moment was the epiphany) I’m the one that is broken.  I’m the one that needs Christ.  I’m the one that’s lost. They  love God so much that they want to share Him with others, even fellow believers. They love God so much that they can’t not talk about Him. Seeing how these people act and react to Christ every moment of their lives made me realize I am so far from where I need and should be with Him.  I just hope that I am able to get there, with His help, and without the guilt of my loss I feel when I think about it.