Thursday, January 28, 2016

Handmade Christmas: Kitty Bags

These kitty bags are the only handmade Christmas gifts that I made last year. But totally worth the time creating.

Due to my grandmother's passing in early December and that I was able to fly to Oregon for the funeral, my schedule for getting gifts finished and sent out got pushed back quite a bit. Thus I ended up spending a late night creating these bags the week of Christmas! 

A little background: Our two youngest nieces ( ages 6 and 11) love cats. I mean, really LOVE cats. I pinned these cat coasters a while back as inspiration for creating a bag or something for the girls. 

Side note: Many of my Pinterest pins are ideas or inspiration for something else, not just because I want to make an identical item. Although sometimes I do! 

Back in early 2015, I found a 2 pack of kitty knee socks on super clearance at Kohl's. I knew the nieces would love them. Sadly, I could only find one pack of  the socks. They wear the same size so I divided the package up with one pair for each girl. I also found in my gift drawer some Hello Kitty pencils and a cat hair clip I'd bought at a craft fair. I had a few other small items as well. 

All these items brought inspiration for a kitty-themed gift! 

I decided to make kitty bags to hold all the loot. I used some thrifted linen-ish fabric for the front of the bag and added lots of colorful scraps for the rest. Everything was from my stash and I just picked things out and used them as I went, no real pre-planning involved! I used the idea from the cat coaster tutorial  and just enlarged and then did the rest accordingly.

The backs of the bags were super fun to make. I created a patchwork design as I went. All the prints made me happy! 

The handles turned out extra long; my plan was long enough to be used as a crossbody bag. They were a little long for a child but can be tied in a knot at the shoulder to adjust a bit. 

Anyways, just wanted to share some handmade creative fun! This was a fun gift to make! And the girls liked them too.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Few Things For 2016

In my last post, I wrote a little about the doozy of a year that 2015 was for us.

I am always eager for a new year. January always feels clean and bright to me. New. Calm. Purposeful.

I tend to be all or nothing. So either I make all kinds of grandiose goals and crash and burn or I set no goals at all. Either way, not a whole lot of progress!

This year, I have a few areas I/we want to make some headway in so I'm writing them here as a way to remember.
  • Health. Returning to a lower carb diet. For us, that means ditching most wheat and sugar products. Losing the extra pounds that have crept on this year. Simple whole foods meals.  Regular exercise. Learning more about natural remedies and ways to boost health.
  • Frugality. Staying within my grocery budget on a weekly/monthly basis. Using some coupons to save extra on food and household items. Saving as much as we can to bump our emergency savings back up to a reasonable amount after a costly 2015. Continuing to save for our adoption. Revamping the budget to allow for extra baby expenses when the time comes. 
  • Organizing. Cleaning, organizing and decluttering the house before baby. I started this in 2015 and continue to do a little at a time. Turning the guest room into a nursery. Get rid of extra stuff we don't need to make room for baby gear. Make some freezer meals each month to create a small stash for when baby comes. (Not knowing when the baby will come makes this planning part tricky. My mindset is to do what I can and not sweat the rest. It will all work out!)
  • Being more home-centered. I worked a lot of hours away from home in 2015. While this was a blessing financially, being away from home so much has taken it's toll. I will not be taking on as many extra hours this year as a way to create some breathing room and allow me to focus more fully on what we feel my greatest priorities are and should be at this time. 
What are you focusing on this year? 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2015: The Year Of Very Few Posts

2015 was not my best blogging year, to say the least.

There are many reasons for this but the biggest one is that 2015 was. a. year. There was good. There was not as good. It was crazy. It was wonderful. It was overwhelming at times. It was exhausting most of the time.

With my Grandma. July 2015.

  • Andy's grandfather(92) passed away in January. My grandmother (94) passed away in December. I also lost 2 great-aunts and 2 great-uncles this year. 
  • We began the adoption process informally in January and formally in March. Our home study began in July and finished up in August. We received notification of approval in October. We are officially a waiting family--our next step is to be chosen by a birth mother to parent her child. 
  • We went to Oregon to visit family in July. I went again for Grandma's funeral in December. 
  • We had 3 yard sale fundraisers for our adoption. Three! Many people donated household items to sell and all proceeds went into our adoption fund. It was a blessing and each sale was a rousing success but by the last one--let's just say we were more than happy to let Goodwill have the leftovers!
  • I worked a LOT of extra hours in 2015. A blessing, yes. I believe I worked more full-time hours than not.
  • We kept our car mechanic in business during the summer. There was a day or two where both vehicles were in the shop at the same time. Crazy! 
  • At the same time, we got good use out of our AAA membership. You know it's bad when the towing company recognizes your name immediately and asks "Where to this time?" 
  • We did lots of paperwork. Hello, adoption!
  • I've met lots of wonderful adoptive moms. Some are in process just like we are. 
  • We didn't do any home projects this year. We didn't garden. There's a reason there were no follow-ups to my Lasagna Gardening post--there was no follow-up! Ha! We hardly even went to the Farmer's Market this year. It was definitely a year of survival!
  • We saw God's hand in our lives in a powerful way. We have felt His Presence. We have seen Him move mightily in not only our lives but the lives around us. 
  • And that, my friends, is why we can face 2016 with hope and confidence. Because God (Immanuel) is with us! 
Christmas at our house.