Thursday, April 29, 2010

Welcome to Hamtramck

This past weekend we spent a few hours in Hamtramck, MI - the city that we are hoping to settle in and help restore.  We also would like to hire some locals to work for Better Life Bags to help with the economy.

Many of the houses look like those above.  Many are vacant and/or fire damaged.  We are hoping to restore one of these to relieve some of the blight in the neighborhood.

Although, I did come across this beauty while driving around looking for houses for sale.  It's a new construction.  I'm guessing someone tore down an old house and built this in it's place.  Isn't she pretty??

Here are some of the demographics and facts about Hamtramck (for those interested... like my mom).
~ It is known as Michigan's most internationally diverse city.
~ The city has a total area of 2.1 square miles.  It is also the most densely populated city in Michigan.
~ There are 26 native languages spoken by the Hamtramck school children.
~ General Motors has a plant in Hamtramck that is currently manufacturing the new hybrid Volt.
~ Median income = $26,000

We will be living in a house owned by some friends of ours until June and will be storing our boxes in their garage.  This house had a fire a few years back and the family who bought it has done a lot of work to restore it.  They do not live there, but make the house available to anyone moving to Hamtramck with the goals of helping the community.
We cleaned and organized the garage last weekend to make room for our boxes coming next week.
(wait until you see what I did with that picture frame behind Little Bug - it's in the kitchen)!!!

It was super exciting to see all the potential furniture that could just use a little TLC!

This desk captured my attention - probably because it is adorned with my favorite color combo... grey and yellow!  Can't wait to restore this one!

And how fun would this be in some bright colors and new hardware?

I tell ya - this garage was a repurposers dream!! 

 And here was an old friend welcoming me with her open arms and presser foot.

Wecome to Hamtramck!

(and be on the lookout for all these furniture repurposing and decorating before and afters!!!)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Meet Maggie.

Meet Maggie.

Maggie is classy, yet sassy with her rounded curves, ruffle detail, and tied handle.

 I'm not sure the other bags know what to do with her yet.

But she seems to be fitting in fine.

Here she is in a few more angles.

I love how fun she is with her sassy ruffle on the outside and her cute tied strap.
She also comes equipped with a generously large zippered pocket on the inside and a magnetic snap.

She's already been really popular!  Probably on her way to becoming Prom Queen. ;)


You can design YOUR own Maggie at my shop with your own fabric choices.

How fun is that?!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Start to a Good Week...

Nothing beats starting your week with this:
 A grande, nonfat, peppermint mocha.


Even more tasty when your husband has it ready for you at your bedside when he wakes you up at 7am.

Good husband.

I'm starting a new habit in my life... getting up BEFORE Little Bug wakes up.  He usually wakes up between 8:30 and 9:30.  So, if I get up at 7, that should give me plenty of time to start my day.

Here's what I've done so far:
1. Gotten dressed.
2. Put on makeup (when was the last time I had time to do that?!)
3. Spent some time in God's Word.
4. Photographed the new bag style that will hopefully be revealed today. (When our Facebook Fan Page reaches 250 "likes" I will post pictures and start selling it on Etsy!)
5. And now am finishing up a short blog post.

Whew - it usually takes me ALL day to accomplish those tasks when Little Bug is up.

I'm starting to like this new habit.

... can I call it a habit when I've only done it one day?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hello Detroit!

We have officially arrived in Detroit, MI.  I think Little Bug did a great job blogging while Mommy was busy, don't you?

So, we are here.


In Detroit.

Hard to wrap my mind around.

This is the place I'm supposed to launch Better Life Bags.


This is BIG, and I'm having a hard time swallowing it all.

I'm completely scared, excited, nervous, overwhelmed, tired, lonely, and encouraged.  ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  How is that possible?

We went driving around the disadvantaged neighborhood we'd like to live in and employ people from.
I couldn't believe that I had forgotten my camera.  I really wanted to show you the area.

Next time.

For now, the Etsy Shop is open for business.  And I've already had 3 inquiries for custom bags!  You people were ready to order your bags!

In case you haven't clicked on "Fabric Options" at the top, here are the choices we have in stock.

As you can see, only half of our fabric order has made it to Detroit.  We are expecting more to come in soon.

Please have some fun and start designing your custom bag!!

OR, buy a gift certificate from the shop to give to your Mother for Mother's Day!

For now, here's my work space in the basement of the family we are staying with.

I'm working on a new custom bag style.  I will reveal it when the Better Life Bag Facebook Page reaches 250 "likes" (Facebook has changed it from "fans" to "likes").  So share the Fan Page with all your friends so I can reveal this new fun style!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Cousin Miriam!

Little Bug here.  Saturday was my big cousin's birthday!  I asked my mom to make her something REALLY special.

So, she searched and searched for something Cousin Miriam would like.  I, of course, had to give the "ok".

Here are some things Mom has been DYING to make, but I just didn't think they were right for my cousin.

I told Mom that this would take too long, and while we LOVE our cousin Miriam, it was too much for her to take on while we move.

Mom, she's not a baby anymore!  You can't make her this!!

And she's probably not even allowed to touch an iron - even though her mom would enjoy the help!

This was a close winner, but I just wasn't sure if Cousin Miriam would like tools as much as I do.

So, we came up with this!
A crayon roll!  I love how each crayon has it's own little sleeping spot!

Mom found the easy tutorial here.

I sure hope she likes it.

Sorry that it is late, Cousin Miriam.  I kept telling Mom to get it in the mail, but she's having a hard time understanding my grunts and coos.  Guess I'll have to learn her language in order to communicate.

What should my first word be?


Friday, April 16, 2010

What We've Been Up To...

Hi there... Little Bug here again.
It's WAY past my bedtime, but I haven't been sleeping much lately.
Too excited to get to Detroit, I guess.

We are halfway there and decided to stop by Illinois on the way and surprise my Grandpa for his birthday.

It was fun to see his face when we rang the doorbell.

My mom has been taking LOTS of pictures - most of them of me - and I thought I'd share a few of them before I go back to bed.

Here is my best friend.  We stopped to visit him on our way to Grandpa's house.
We had a lot of fun together.

I had my first taste of REAL food - carrots.  I think they're pretty good!  AND they look great with my eyes!

Here's me and my Grandpa after my interview with Caterpillar.  I wore my Little Mister onesie from my mom's shop just for the occasion.  I'll let you know if I get the job.  I'm going for the cutest CAT grandchild and think I have great credentials and qualifications.

Mom keeps sitting me in flowers for some reason.  I'm trying to keep a tough guy image, and this definitely isn't helping.

So, I ripped out a tulip - just to reaffirm my manliness.

Dad's been doing some crazy things...

... just to make me laugh.

That's pretty much it.

Mom's making me go back to bed.  She'll probably wake me up in a few hours anyway - she never lets me sleep the entire night without waking me up to say "hi".
Maybe someday I'll get an entire night's sleep.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

All Our Bags Are Packed, We're Ready to Go...

Hey guys!
Little Bug here.

My parents are both a little too busy to blog today.
So, with this being a family business and all, I thought I could pick up some slack.

We are leaving Georgia in about an hour!

While my parents packed up most of the boxes this week, I wanted to show you the ones I did all by myself.

Ok, so maybe my mom and dad did all of these, but I had fun playing with all the boxes in the house!

Here is our last family picture in Savannah, GA in front of our first little home together.

Boy am I gonna miss this place.  It's all I've ever known.
I sure hope they bring my crib. I noticed it wasn't in the car yet.

I think I'll do most of the blogging this week while we make our way to Detroit!

Oh, and wait until you see the new diaper bag my mom made me!!
I'll try to get pictures on here soon.

Well, better go.  My mom needs my attention at the moment.  Can't get much done when she's awake, ya know?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Homemade Photo Flip Book

I have been working on making these since July of 2009!

So, it's about time I finish them.  And just in time for a summer FULL of weddings!

One of the ways that I found to help make my life and the lives of those around me better is simply to pray for them.  When I first got married, I was sent a Word Document called "31 Days of Prayer for your Husband".

There were 31 different things to pray for him about along with 2 or 3 scriptures to go along with each one.

Now, I like this idea because not only does it make Mr. Bug's life better to have a praying wife, but it makes MY life better too (I've found that many "annoyances" I have with Mr. Bug are suddenly fixed when I pray about them).

Now, if you know me at all, I was seriously bored with looking at the plain Word Document every day.

So I made 31 small digital scrapbook pages!

Here is a sampling.

And here's how I made those calendar flip books (and how you can, too!!)

 Go to Staples and pick up these Photo Pages (Item #462796).

Cut them exactly in half.

And then trim the sides of each photo page.

Until they all look like this.

Take 2 pieces of cardboard (starting size 8.5 x 11).  
Cut them down so the final size is 6.5 x 11.

Don't have cardboard?  Make your own by gluing two pieces of cardstock together 
and cut them to 6.5 x 11!

Fold both cardboard pieces back at the 6 inch mark.

The fold the small flap in half the opposite way.

Overlap the folds and glue them together.

Find your favorite fabric and cut a piece long enough to wrap around your cardboard piece.  Use spray adhesive to adhere it to the outside of your flip book, wrapping it around the edges as you go.

Cut two pieces of white cardstock.  One piece 6 1/4" x 11" and the second piece 6 1/4" x 6".  Spray the adhesive on the remaining cardboard and adhere the cardstock to the back to make a clean look.

One each end, punch hole punches 2" in and about 1" down.
(Look closely below to see the hole punches).

On the cardstock side near the hole punches, place a few pieces of double sided tape.

And close up your flip book (pressing firmly on the double sided tape).

Using 1" binder rings, gather all your photo pages and connect them to your flip book!
(To keep the pictures from falling out, use a tiny piece of double sided tape between the picture and the photo page will do the trick)!

And there you have it!

Perfect for my daily prayers for my husband!

These would also make great gifts if you fill the photo pages with photos!

Now, go make one!

PS - I would LOVE to give my 31 Day of Prayer Scrapbook pages to anyone who follows my blog or becomes a fan on Facebook for FREE!
Just leave me a comment with your email after you follow!

If you already follow or are a fan and want me to send you my scrapbook pages, send me an email at

(It's easy to print these scrapbook pages at CVS or Walgreens just like regular photos)


There were some typos in the original copies of the pages.
Please download each of these pages to insert the corrected page into your flip book!
Day 5 
Day 22
Day 27
Day 29 

**If you have asked for the photo cards AFTER December 18th, 2010, you should have received the corrected pages in the folder. ** 

There have been over 2000 comments left on this post!
As of December 14, 2011, I'm disabling comments on this post only.
You can still get the FREE downloads - just email me at to receive them!

Also, be sure to check out the other prayer card sets I have available.
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