Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Two Years

My memories are so bright and vivid, it seems like yesterday in a way, and yet so much has happened and changed that it feels like a long time ago. Our love is so much deeper and firmer, and I feel so honored to be the wife of a man like you! I am deeply grateful that you invited me to join your life journey, Honey. Wherever our path leads, I'm glad to be walking it by your side!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kingdom Spending

Please take a moment to consider the following questions:

  • Do you ever spend money?
  • Are you concerned for the plight of orphans, but you're not currently in the position to adopt?
  • Do you have relatives and friends who have birthdays?
  • Are your pleasures of the non-crafty kind?
  • Do you (or should you) write thank you notes?
  • Do you have artistic ability that you'd love to use to really help someone?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, this post is for you! (If you answered "no" to all of these questions, please check your pulse. If you find that you are alive, turn off your computer and get out of your chair. It's time to get a life.)

I just placed my first order from Cards From Africa. It's a business started by a christian man who wanted to help orphans in Rowanda. All of his employees are orphans over the age of 18 who are responsible for at least one brother or sister. Their business takes waste paper, recycles it and makes their own paper which they turn in to beautiful handmade greeting cards.

Some card from my first order - it won't be my last!

Not only does this provide a steady income for orphaned households, they also invest in the lives of their staff teaching them entrepreneurial and business skills so they can move into different jobs or start their own businesses down the road! They pay a higher than average wage and encourage their staff to save for the future. It's just an all around great idea that invests in the future of young people as well as their country's economy. It's also environmentally friendly, not to mention a sustainable business model.

I can also say they are a great company to work with! Their website ( is easy to use, their service is fast, and pictures just don't to justice to the beauty of the cards. The cards cost about the same as a nice Hallmark card, but the shipping is free over on orders over $10. So if you have some birthdays, graduations or weddings coming up soon - stock up! This is a chance to spend money knowing that it really makes a difference in someone's life!

P. S. For my artistic friends: Card From Africa is always in need of new designs. If you want to make some money, use your gifting to bless others and get a commercially produced product to add to your portfolio, check out their website for details.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Fidelity Dress

Things are moving along right on schedule. I'm done with number two!

I had to change the skirt from the concept sketch. When I went to get the floral fabric cut, there was slightly less of it than what I needed, but the fabric was so gorgeous I thought I would just make it work! I think all the skirts are going to end up being the same because of my fabric constraints. The stomachers, neckline treatments and sleeves will still be different though.

Ta da! While the Merry Dress was all about lighthearted colors and winsome ruffles, the Fidelity Dress puts the focus on delicate details.

A tight zig-zag ribbon trims the stomacher.

The neckline is softened by a hint of dainty lace.

Bows and ribbon edging set off the contrasting sleeve ruffle.

I love the way it's turned out! Seeing each dress come together is so much fun. Of course, now I can't wait to see the next one . . .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Time to update the family and baby fans. :-) Alaina is such fun right now, and I simply can't describe how fast she is learning!

She loves to give us hugs and kisses, and to be right in the middle of things. Waving bye bye to Daddy and greeting him later are part of her favorite routines.

She's not walking yet (unless she is pushing something, then she walks all over) and hasn't tried much, but she loves to scoot around on her little cars!

Sharing with Daddy. She now says "Dada" "Mama" and book ("Booka, booka") and knows what they mean.

She also has several signs in her vocabulary, most of them food related and her most used one being "eat"! That's usually what she tells us as soon as we get her up in the morning - eat!

She's a happy little girl!

On another note, we spent a lovely Valentines Day at home. Kyle made dinner, and we couldn't have eaten better if we had gone out! Hickory smoked steak, fresh made dinner rolls, spinach salad with croutons and eggs - the man is amazing! Dessert wasn't bad either - I'll just say that brownies over snickers ice cream with wild raspberries and a drizzle of carmel is highly recommended!

I am greatly enjoying my lovely roses. I love snow, but at this time of year fresh flowers are such a treat! Thank you Sweetheart!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Merry Dress

Well, I'm now 1/4 of the way through my current sewing project. Right now I'm making four colonial dresses for four delightful sisters, and having great fun doing it!

The dresses are supposed to be done by mid March, but since they were also a Christmas present I made a concept sketch of each dress and sent swatches of the fabrics for the girls to open on Christmas day. Here is my sketch (bad picture, sorry!) of the dress I just finished.

Each dress is slightly different in design, based on each girl's taste and preferences. The fabrics are in their favorite colors.

Here is the real dress, all finished! I started with this dress as this design has the least number of variations from the original pattern. Yes, it's true, I very rarely make something that isn't altered from the pattern in some way. I can't help it, it's my brain type.

Each dress will have an invisible zipper for dressing ease and a hand sewn hem.

The Merry Dress features a double ruffle on the sleeves. Of course, the dresses are greatly benefiting from (and helping to pay for) my new serger.

Criss-cross ribbon trim decorates the stomacher.

A soft, self fabric ruffle at the neckline echos the ruffle motif on the sleeves.

All done! Can't wait to get to work on the next one.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Nursery Before and After

Some time ago I promised to post some pictures of what we began to call "The Kid's Room" even before we were married. Of course, you have to see the before pictures to appreciate the changes. Here is the room as it was.

Haley and her good friend Emily R. came down to help before the wedding. They were great workers and closet painters!

Here is the work in process - a little drywall replacement, painting and getting new pad. I can't tell you how many hours Kyle spent taking up those carpet squares and scraping up the old pad! He was such a trooper!

And now, the finished room!

These pictures were taken at different times, thus the different lightings. I love how everything fits in, yet when you're in the room it doesn't seem crowded. It's hard to capture in pictures.

This shelf treatment was my Mom's idea, and I love the way it turned out - thanks Mom!

Thanks also to all the other people who gave us a hand here and there. You are greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Meet Elna

This is Elna. She arrived at Nitchfield yesterday, and she's going to be living with us, hopefully for a very long time. So far, we're getting along splendidly. She's really easy going, and nice to work with, and she's already helped out a lot! It's going to be nice to have Elna around.

Can you tell I'm excited about my new serger? It took me a while to pick one out (It's supposed to be a Christmas & Birthday gift. And Valentines Day and St. Patricks Day and the 4th of July . . . ). I'm really pleased with it so far, it's simple to work with and I can do so many things! I guess you could sum it up in three words.
  • More
  • Better
  • Faster
More: Now with a serger I'll be able to tackle knits and other tricky fabrics. I'm thinking a maternity/nursing dress that is actually long enough to cover my knees would be a real treat. It even has a stitch that will stretch for making swimwear!

Better: Everything I make not only looks much neater on the inside, it's also better quality. Those serged seams hold up under all kinds of abuse! The rolled hem is lovely too - I have some scraps that are destined to become napkins.

Faster: Of course, it cuts down on sewing time to serge the seams instead of zig-zaging. Yesterday I also did a narrow hem in about 1/5 the time it would normally take me. Yea!

I just couldn't resist posting the good news.
Happy, happy, happy!

Monday, February 1, 2010


Not the kind of piggies that go to market, this is a whole new 'do for the little girl! Although it takes a bit more messing, we like the pigtails.

Now that we're one, it's good to have something a bit more grown up than the whalespout.

Since we have not done a real hair cut yet, we have to do something to keep our long locks out of our eyes!

By the way, Alaina was inspired by her Uncle Nate to take up a new sport - rappelling. :-)

Since we don't have any mountains around, she's learned to make do.