why thank you, google!

26 <---- number of years old I am today. How weird!

Even stranger was seeing this message from Google when I logged in today:
Sometimes technology freaks me out, but today, it's pretty cool!

Plus, Strider and I get our very first ever, brand new smartphones today...and our own family plan! 
We're super excited.

I have the whole day off work and already got two amazing gifts from my husband: a new necklace chain (mine broke months ago) and Ingrid Michaelson's new album. Yay for tunes and jewelry - what a catch, huh?

It's going to be a great day!


our covenant day

I can hardly believe that it has already been over four months!
Married life is, well, awesome. And now, I am finally able to share
some of the much-anticipated
photos that captured such a special day in our life.
I had a great tutorial for these DIY-ed aisle markers, but it was lost in the blog-tastrophe - oops.
Remember these home-decorated wedding shoes?
Our ridiculously beautiful flowers, done by the very talented Kelley K.
A gorgeous snapshot of my beautiful mom (right) and one of her dearest friends!
Hugely special to me, this is Charlie's pocket-watch and my bouquet with my dad's fire captain's badge --
holding it all day was the closest I could get to having him there with me.
Charlie with his mom - didn't she look lovely? (He isn't bad either!)
For over two years, I wrote letters to Charlie filled with hopes and prayers for our future.
This is the first time he ever read it...my final surprise gift on our wedding day.
Me with my little sis (and stunning maid-of-honor).
Our first look - one of the best decisions of the day. A perfect, quiet moment alone.
Ceremony time! In the spirit of Ruth 1:16b, my new dad (Charlie's dad)
escorted me down the aisle - such a huge blessing to me!

Post "man and wife" silliness in the church garden. Pro tip: act like you aren't actually freezing your tookus off!
Us with the world's most precious flower girl - my niece Reece!
Recognize that homemade guest book? We loved how it turned out once everyone signed it!

Winter Spice Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting....super yum!

Best. Day. Ever.


girl's dress tutorial - aka no clue what I'm doing

In contrast to Tuesday's easy-peasy DIY Boppy Cover tutorial, I now present an infinitely more complicated sewing project with no real instructions because I improvised a lot and have almost no idea how to actually make clothes. 

Apparel sewing is truly an art unto itself. All I can say is that although I am very happy with my final results, I certainly don't envy women throughout history who were Target-deprived.

First, the fabric...so cute and just sitting there all smug, calling out to me at Hancock Fabrics saying, "Wouldn't your niece look adorable in us?" Buy a bit and a pattern so you can pretend you're following the rules. (I should mention that my final product only shares like a 75% resemblance to what the pattern actually calls for)
Open up your pattern, become daunted by what you've decided to do. Spend gobs of time reading tiny instructions and cutting out tissue paper pieces. Accidentally tear some, curse, and watch your ceiling fan turn all your hard work into craft floor fodder. Tissue paper -- who decided that was a reasonable material for patterning?
Next, cut all the pieces out as best you can, pinning everything together so you don't lose bits. Realize you didn't buy liner fabric, go get some, make time to pre-shrink it since it missed out on your earlier mass fabric laundry cycle. Iron everything, cut liner pieces, pin some more. Struggle and doubt your competence for a few hours while constructing the top piece and straps. Make a big mess and spend an hour getting to know your seam ripper...intimately. Finally finish the top and "drop tha mic" because you just can't sew any more till tomorrow.

Get your Rocky face on and re-approach the craft room. Make some bias tape out of the shoulder strap fabric because you're a masochist with mild OCD. Attach the bias tape to the now-assembled skirt and it's liner. Behold the glory of top and bottom pieces both being finished.
Use a basting stitch to gather the skirt folds. Pin everything together like a madwoman and sew it all together. Immediately realize you forgot to remove the basting threads and take a moment of silence to honor them being lost forever, secretly buried in the hem.
Frustrate yourself further by adding a zipper without any kind of zipper attachment for your machine. Use a few hand-stitches to cover up mistakes installing the zipper. 

At this point, you're so freaking pleased with yourself, you add some decorative buttons to the front just to prove that you, and not the dress, are still the one in charge. Put that bad boy on a hanger and then dance around till your husband tells you that he's proud but a little worried about you. 

Final step: Wrap it, gift it, and play it cool while they freak out that "you actually made this!!!" all the while committing to making clothes only in the most dire of future circumstances.


diy boppy pillow cover

Now that the post office has finally finally delivered this gift to my sweet friend, bridesmaid, and new mama Katie, I can share it!

First of all - if you don't know already, a Boppy is a multipurpose u-shaped pillow designed for feeding infants. There's a variety of covers available from the manufacturer in different prints and fabric types, but a homemade one customized to match the nursery colors or in a print the mom likes is a great gift.
Katie is a huge Elvis fan (their dog's name is Presley) so when I saw a bolt of teal Elvis print fabric at Hobby Lobby, I immediately knew I had to come up with something to make for her and new baby Daniel.  

This project really only requires 2 yards of fabric and a zipper. There are lots of homemade patterns online for making Boppy covers, but the one I printed was confusing so I scrapped it and just borrowed an actual Bobby with a store-bought cover from my cousin.

To begin, turn the cover inside out and lay it on top of your two fabric yards - these can be the same or different. I chose to use the cotton print for the top and a simple print flannel for the bottom. Pin the cover to your fabric or trace around it using a washable fabric pencil. Leave around a 1/2" of room for the hem all the way around. Thankfully, given their shape, Boppy's are pretty forgiving so if your hems are a little off, no one will really notice. Cut two "U"s out of your fabric (or one of each if using two different pieces). 

Before sewing, make sure your two pieces of fabric are facing each other with the RIGHT SIDES on the inside. Next, follow the directions on the zipper to install it into the top seam - a longer zipper is nice so it will be easier for mom to take it off and on (I used an 20" I think).
Now, unzip the zipper (so you can turn it inside out once you sew the rest) and sew all the way around the "U" twice to complete the cover and give it a nice, strong hem. The result is one identical floppy Boppy cover!
Lastly, turn your cover right-side out and try it out on the pillow. 
Below is the bottom-side up first with a view of the completed zipper.
And now...right-side up!
Yaayy! Katie loved it and says that Daniel is enjoying it as well. Another project completed!
Next up: another secret gift and some cloth napkins for Strider and I.


completely & entirely

I was poking around online today and came across a question that really struck me:
Have you loved fully today?

I really had to pause to think about it. After all, what is "fully"? Can we approximate it to "a lot"? Not really.

fully – adverb / completely or entirely; to the furthest extent; in every way or detail

Completely. Entirely. In every way and detail.
Are we even capable of that kind of love? Being made in the image of a Creator that truly, fully loves us would make it seem like the answer is yes. But knowing myself, I have doubts.

I am frequently selfish and to be honest, often more judgmental than I'd like to be. So the question becomes, can I fully love someone if there's still focus on me? The answer's seems a bit rhetorical.

So here I sit, looking outside at the beautiful Spring and thinking about my amazing family - my mom and sister, specifically. Am I loving them fully each day? What can I do to set aside frustrations or selfish tendencies? And when I overcome those things, what acts of love can take their place?

Then there's Strider. I know I'm not the first newly-married wife to wonder how she can more fully love her husband, but being intentional about asking the question is a decent start.
      – Can I better trust him to lead our family and to be the "plan-maker"?
      – What are other ways to pray for him and encourage him in His faith?
      – How can I actively set myself aside and choose to serve instead?

Or neighbors. Or co-workers. Or grocery store clerks. Or distant friends who could probably use a phone call or a card, because love in fullness doesn't comprehend "out of sight, out of mind".

Then, one of the hardest of all - yourself. Can you step back and look at your oh-so-imperfect self, and choose to fully love you. In what ways can you cut yourself a little slack and just love being you? Love your life, your body, your joy and talents and all the little things that make you, you. For some people this is easy, but for others maybe not. There's a big difference between being selfish and fully loving yourself for who you are. Unfortunately, like many women, I'm only well-practiced at one - not right one.

So the question I'm asking myself and you today is: Who will you love fully today? How?


pies & paint: the paint

Hold on to your horses, folks: the nightstands are done. That's right - it only took me 4+ months, but as of this morning, they're actually finished!!

Starting line = 2 mismatched antique nightstands and a dream of creating a cute his & hers set for our bedroom
Finish line = refinished, matching and functional bedside guardians! We'll likely be using them forever.
Worth it? Absolutely!

Too tired to share much more so I'm off to eat Sunday lunch with family and bask in the satisfaction of completing a project. Bonus: getting my craft room floor back. 
Happy Sunday!