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February 27, 2014

oh, sweet nap time

Because it's been a whole week since I've posted a baby picture and because I am proud of the restraint I have used...indulge me a little today.

Our sweet baby boy is two weeks old today.  As you can see he has mastered the art of nap time.

What would it be like to sleep so peacefully...to sleep like a baby?

Since I'm on a bragging role here, I have to say he is the very best baby.  Only cries when he's hungry (which is pretty much every time he's awake) or needs a changing.

He can withstand the noise and rough play of his big brother, who is always close by and the rowdy cheering of a NASCAR race with the volume up way too high.

He has even captured the heart of our sweet Bichon Bear who has been gracious enough to share his sliver of sunshine with him.

What a joy a baby can bring to a topsy turvy world.  God's perfect plan and gracious gift to this imperfect family.

xo, Patty

February 24, 2014

creative branding

I've been talking a lot lately about living my dreams.  I thought it was about time I put some action behind those words.  One of the things I would really like to do is turn my crafting hobby into a legitimate income earning business.  In the past I have gone about this in a haphazard way.  Making a few things and listing them on etsy without any direction or follow through. 

I spent some time last week reading "How To Show & Sell Your Crafts" by Torie Jayne.  What a wealth of information!  So much good, practical advice.  I have already begun implementing a few of the things she suggests and have a long list of others that I plan on doing in the next few weeks.

I love the chapter on branding your business...identifying your colors, style and image and then building your brand around that.

Luckily, I am happy with the little water color logo in my header I painted last year so I decided to use it as my inspiration.  I have already updated my etsy shop and facebook page using a modified version of the same print to tie all the sites together.

I am really big on pretty packaging and love putting a little something special in each purchase I ship off.   Usually that means a blank gift tag or two.

Following the suggestion of cohesive branding I decided to paint some art papers to make the little gift tags out of.  Once again using my header picture for inspiration I pulled out my paints and doodle pen and got to work.  I ended up with four different papers that I photo copied and cut into tags.

I am so happy with how they turned out and can't wait to include this little bit of Lemon Lane with all of the purchases from shop.  I just love it when a creative idea in my brain actually works out on paper.

Have you ever thought about what your brand is?  It's amazing how easy it is to figure out when you start gathering the things you love together.  Take a look at your favorite blogs.  I'll bet you could identify most of them if all you had to go by was a picture or two.  What we surround ourselves with really says a lot about us.

I'll share a little more from the book and more of my dream later in the week...

xo, Patty

I'm joining Brenda at cozy little house for Tweak it Tuesday...

February 21, 2014

our hidden dreams...

I am on full time gramma mode to my five year old grandson for the next two weeks while mommy adjusts to the new babe.  That means tee ball practice and kindergarten drop offs along with the usual "why", "how come" and "just one more time" questions and requests that need answers around the clock.

As I dropped Andrew off at his classroom this morning I was reminded of that old quote by Robert Fulghum, "All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten".

Andrew's class has just started to do show and tell each week.  The kids bring a treasure from home to share with the class, telling them just why it's so special to them.  I watched as one little girl carefully cradled her treasure in her hands, hiding it from her classmates, peeking in through the tiny hole she left exposed by her cupped fingers.

As the other kids watched her they became enthralled with what must certainly be a rare treasure that she was hiding.  The more she kept it hidden, the more they needed to know it's identity.

Finally she uncurled her fingers to expose a small blue plastic ring.  The kids took one look, shrugged their shoulders and went on about their business.  She turned away heart broken.  The thing she kept hidden, her treasure that she had guarded so carefully, meant nothing to them.

Isn't that how we can be, too?  We hide our most secret dreams from others out of fear that they won't be safe once shared.  That our hearts desire will simply be dismissed once exposed...so we hold our tongues, we squelch our passions and we live less than abundant lives.

I remember being that little girl.  I remember the pain of rejection.  It has hindered my creative self my whole life.

I have a dream or two that I hold back from the world but I am slowly learning to trust those closest to me with my heart and am taking baby steps to make those dreams a reality.  Am I scared, you bet.

I am finding that my fear is not in failing but in disappointing...myself and others.

I have decided that I cannot let that fear hold me back.  I don't want to wake up someday filled with regrets.  What about you?  Any dreams that you are holding on to for fear of exposing something that won't be treasured?  I say the fear of regret is much greater than the fear of failure...let's dare to live our dreams together.

xo, Patty

February 19, 2014

in search of flying monkeys...

I stopped off at my favorite local thrift store in search of a couple of stuffed monkeys for our annual UnTea at church (more on that later).  Our theme this year is the Wizard of Oz and I volunteered to make the flying monkeys.  Of course, since I was in there anyway...

I made a bee line for the textile, lace and jewelry sections.

Just look at all this beautiful vintage goodness...

And look at those red price tags...

.95 cents!

Can you believe that?  The most expensive bracelet is the "diamond" one on the top.  I paid a ton for it...$5.95.  And that gorgeous old necklace with all those pretty gems?  $1.95...yep, all of those jewels for $1.95.

I buy old jewelry for the parts and usually disassemble them for other projects but when I got these home I realized there are a couple of bracelets that I just might add to my jewelry box to wear just as is.

I love when I find great stuff especially when I just happen upon it.  I also came home with an old heavy duty metal bar stool, a wooden school house easel and a beautiful vintage sheet.

Oh yeah, and a couple of potential flying monkeys.

xo, Patty

February 17, 2014

finding our rhythmn...

The new baby, my daughter and grandson #1 are all moved in and we are finding our rhythm a little more each day.  Once again I am reminded (and not in a good way) that I have too much stuff.  We have settled my daughter and her little family in the two rooms upstairs.  Moving and rearranging closets filled with things we don't use on a regular basis can quickly remind you that it is time for another great purge.

It is amazing how two people, okay mainly one person, can fill up four bedrooms with all manner of material possessions that we think we just cannot live without.

In the meantime I have boxes stacked on the stairway landing and tucked under furniture and I am filled with a sense of unsettledness.  It seems like I just gave away so much stuff when I last purged and yet I am still feeling the clutter overwhelming me.

On the bright side of all this, baby Jon and big brother Andrew are adding much needed life and laughter to this old house.  I have assumed the four a.m. feeding so that my daughter can get a couple of hours of good sleep and to spite the early hour, combined with the lateness of Olympic coverage, I am loving the quiet time of just me and the little one.

I knew there was a reason I never finished the redo of the upstairs guest room, it has turned into nursery central.  I guess sometimes procrastination does pay off.

Happy Monday and thank you for all the new baby love!

xo, Patty

February 14, 2014

ready or not...

Look who decided to make his debut one week early...

As if we weren't already rushing around trying to ready life for his arrival...

Meet Jon...

My, oh my, how he's captivated each of us already.  Truly a blessing from God.

I am really hoping to be back on some kind of a normal schedule next week.  I hope each of your Valentine's Day is filled with as much love as ours.

Happy Valentines Day!

xo, Patty

February 10, 2014

love at the heart of the home

It promises to be a very busy week.  We are making room for my daughter and grandson to move back under our roof once again.  Without going into details that aren't mine to tell, finances have prompted this temporary move and with it comes both joy and trepidation.

Once you've experienced an empty nest or been out on your own, you become accustomed to a certain way of life...certain freedoms that can be difficult to give up.  So bare with me as we make adjustments to new schedules and crowded cozier living spaces and a little less time to call my own.

And did I mention baby number two (and grandchild number three) is due to join us any day now.  So our house of two will soon become a house of five and all the joyful noise that goes with it!

Buckle your seat belts, I can tell it's going to be a bumpy ride!

xo, Patty

linking up to Imparting Grace...

February 8, 2014

hello saturday - sole hope

Hello Saturday.  I certainly had a hard time opening my eyes to you this morning with your cold, cloudy skies and stay in bed attitude.  But I'm up, I have my second cup of coffee in me and my eyes are open (all though a little bit puffy from a sleepless night) and I am ready to spend some time in the house today cleaning and purging and then I am off to a craft party that I am so excited to attend.

Last Saturday I helped the women at my church cut old denim jeans into shoe parts for an organization called Sole Hope.  The jean fabric and rubber from old tires are used to make shoes for children in Uganda and Zambia whose feet are susceptible to sand fleas (chiggers) which can lead to infections and other diseases.

I encourage you to read the whole story here  and be fully enlightened, but basically we collected old jeans and then gathered together and disassembled the jeans, drew a pattern, cut the shapes and pinned them together assembly line style, to be shipped to Africa so the women there can sew them together and attach them to tire rubber (that has also been collected) to make shoes for the children of their country.

It is a wonderful organization and such a fun and easy way for us who have been blessed to live without this worry to be able to help them to help themselves.  It's that old teach a man to fish quote...

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a life time." Chinese Proverb

As the day progressed and I saw the mountain of unused jean parts growing an idea started brewing in my head as to how those parts could be repurposed.  That's when the idea for these adorable cuff bracelets came to me.   And the isla bracelet was born...

So here's where you come in.  There is a need for financial help as well.  That denim needs to be shipped and the women making the shoes deserve a decent wage for their work, so I will be donating $2.00 from the sale of any denim bracelets sold through my Etsy shop in the month of February to Sole Hope.

The isla bracelet can be made from newborn on up to adult sizes, the adult "vintage lace denim cuff" bracelets have a button and elastic hoop closure and are sized at 6, 6.5 or 7 inches.  The customization of these will be limited to the wording on the bracelet and size, for this fundraiser only.

I have also added a PayPal Sole Hope button on my side bar if you just have a heart to send a donation and not purchase a bracelet or want to help out above and beyond your purchase. I have added the link to my Etsy shop to the side bar as well.

I am not officially connected with the Sole Hope organization but only one person looking for a way to make a difference.

Think about it.  I know there is some little (or big) girl that would love a customized bracelet and I also know there are some children in Africa who would really love some new shoes and moms there who want nothing more than to provide for their families.  It seems like a win, win, win situation to me.

Happy Saturday!

xo, Patty

February 6, 2014

that darn peer pressure

I did it again.  I let an off handed remark by someone I don't even know in real life influence me.  You would think that by this point in my life I wouldn't fall for that, but I do, and I did, and I am regretting it already.

I was reading one of my favorite blogs (aka, one of the cool kids) and the writer was talking about the evolution of blogs and said something to the affect of, remember when we were all starting out and we had a blog roll list on our sidebar, and then she kind of giggled. 

Immediately my thoughts started churning...what, it's not cool to have a blog roll anymore?  I have a blog roll...Is my blog antiquated?  Am I not keeping up?

So here's where the stupid comes in.  I went in and deleted it.  With one stroke I wiped out my friends and favorite reads from my blog.  The trouble is, that's one of the main ways I go visiting and blog rolls are how I found most of the blogs I now love and I think referring other blogs is the neighborly thing to do.

So I am in the process of reloading all the addresses I deleted.  Bare with me and if you would, send me over your blog address so that I can add it.  It's going to take me a while and I may play around with the placement of it but I miss my blog roll...I need my blog roll...

That darn peer pressure...

xo, Patty

All the photos were taking at CHA in January of the Authentique paper company booth.

February 4, 2014

the lure of the garden

I have succumbed to the lure of the garden.  I have spent the better part of the last few days weeding my little patch of perennials and turning over the soil.

My natural tendency is to forgo this part of gardening and get straight away to planting pretty flowers but time and my friends have taught me that this little bit of hard work and patience pays off in the end.

As I clear out the weeds and prune back the dead shoots I notice nature at work bringing forth beauty to be enjoyed in the months to come.  Little plants have reseeded themselves without any help from me.

 I love this part of gardening, the little surprises...

As I clear out the old, I take time to double dig the exposed earth and add natural fertilizers that will help my garden grow come those hot days of August and September.  Adding the extra time now prolongs the quality of life for these pretty roses and the rest of the garden flowers.

I find this true in my life as well.  (Okay, who didn't know a life analogy was coming?) 

Taking the time to enrich my life with fertilizers like love, rich words, simplified schedules, removal of excesses and time spent in prayer, ensures that when the weather turns harsh in my life (which it inevitably will) I will have what it takes to keep going. 

The cool thing about this assurance is that during the spring when everything is blooming, I don't even have to think about the heat of summer because my heart's soil has already been amended...the work to sustain joy has already been done and with daily maintenance I am ready to face whatever lies ahead.  But not without first fully enjoying the beauty of spring.

So, what have you done today to enrich the soil of your heart? 

xo, Patty

February 1, 2014

hello saturday

Hello Saturday, fresh off your night of light rain and cloudy sky day and hello February.  It was so nice to hear the pitter patter of rain fall Thursday night even though the amounts were not significant, it was a nice reminder that the rains will come in due time.

I took full advantage of the way a gentle soaking can loosen up the soil just enough to make weed pulling so much easier and I cleaned out my back perennial bed. 

It felt so good to get a little dirt under my nails and turn over the soil in anticipation of some new flowers going into the garden.

It always surprises me what is hiding just beneath the surface waiting to greet Spring head on.

There was actually more blooming than I thought.  Enough to gather a small bouquet for a friend this morning.

I am heading to the nursery this afternoon for some soil amendments and to see what I want to fill all this gorgeous brown dirt with.

What about you?  What are you up to today?  Whatever it is, I hope the sun shines down on your day.

xo, Patty