Tuesday, May 31, 2011

California Beaches = Happy Memorial Day!

Hope your Memorial Day was SPECTACULAR!

We spent ours on the beaches of California.
Specifically Newport Beach.

I went to High School out here,
{Esperanza High School, in case any one is familiar with Orange County.}
and we are back visiting friends for a few days.

Don't worry... your bag orders are all cut and ready to be sewn together when we get back this weekend.
I still expect to have them all out to you by the 22nd of June.

With the time change, our kids are waking up around 5am.
But it allowed us to beat the Memorial Day beach rush.

Little Bug loved the sand and wasn't too afraid of the water.

Lady Bug lounged around like the Princess that she is.
{and may or may not have eaten some sand.}

There was lots of lovin' going on.

And cute suits to show off!

Ahhhh what a nice day.

Thanks for reading and joining me here.
I have made some incredible friendships because you have taken the time to comment and share your lives with me.
I'm so blessed to know you and be able to write here.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Found this quote on Pinterest the other day.

Really got me thinking.

Yeah, I quit after 2 weeks.

Well, I quit writing them down, but those 2 weeks made me REMEMBER to be thankful more.
That quote helped, too.

Any other favorite quotes on being thankful?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fourth of July Better Life Bags

We have gotten five new members to the Better Life Bag Kiva team!
I'm assuming the rest of you just forgot?!
Remember, I will be doing a giveaway on June 4th and only BLB Kiva members can enter.
{it's totally free to join... minus the 5 minutes you'll lose signing up.  And you won't receive spam emails, either!}


Fourth of July is almost upon us.
{ok, well it's not even June yet, but I've got summer on the mind!}

A Facebook fan asked about bags specifically for Fourth of July.
And I thought it would be fun to post some of my favorite
and blue combos!

This is the Emily bag, but these fabrics look great on any bag!
Made here with add on fabric covered buttons.
Also a great addition to any bag!
Fabric #2 and #3 used.

Probably one of my favorite fabric combinations below.
#1 combined with #16.

The Clara Lynn Market Tote
This Carla bag is made in fabrics #6 and #7.
Totally cute.

Another Emily bag with plain red fabric.

And how chic is this Maggie bag below.
I love the navy and solid red.

Made with Fabric #24
All bags were designed by previous customers.

And how cute is this Fourth of July tiara?
 Found it at Joanns for $1.
Think it will look perfect in my Fourth of July photo shoot.
{Remember Valentine's Day?  and St. Patrick's Day?  and Easter?}

Prepare in advance for Fourth Of July and design your bag, now!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Kiva Loans and a chance for a GIVEAWAY!!!

Your incredible boost in sales allowed me to make 

Every time I go to make a loan to someone who is trying to make it in their own corner of the world, my heart gets excited.
Hearing {or reading} their story and how they will use the money loaned to them from Better Life Bags encourages my heart and makes me feel like I am making a difference
at least

Here are the recent recipients of Better Life Bag loans THANKS to your purchases!

Alvaro from Costa Rica - using the loan to increase his crop yield of coffee.
Amale from Iraq - using the loan to buy a new sewing machine for her tailoring business.
Aralkul from Kyrgystan - will use the loan to purchase two cows for breeding.
Eddy from Peru - will use the loan to modernize her weaving tools for her business.

 Now, I have a favor to ask.
that makes me sad.
I KNOW I have more than 14 people reading this blog and following along on Facebook!
Please consider signing up under our team.
You don't HAVE to make a loan to sign up.
There is just power in numbers!

Here are some stats on our little team so far.
{who, may I add, are made up of some incredibly generous and amazing people!}
We've given 34 loans for a total of $1,350!!!
All with JUST 14 PEOPLE.

Remember, you don't HAVE to loan any money to sign up under our team.
Just get in with the BLB KIVA team and do some looking around the KIVA site.
I won't judge you if you decide to loan after that! :)

I've made a goal for our team to reach 50 members by June 4th.
Help us get there!
On June 4th, if we reach 50 members, I'm going to have a giveaway.
But  only the people who joined our KIVA team are allowed to enter.
{or are already a part of it}
Is that enough convincing?!

Need that link one more time?

Thanks so much for joining me in making lives better around the world.
Anything we do is being used by God to share His love.
I'm confident of that.

{ps... if anyone is already a part of the BLB Team and can attest to how great KIVA is, please comment below!!}

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Garden. He speaks. {hidden sin}

A friend of mine planted a garden for me to tend to in our back yard.

He told me to weed it once a week and be sure it gets some water.

I've always wanted to have a garden,
and today I went out to weed for the first time.

The quietness and hands-to-the-earth atmosphere forced me to think.
No music.
No internet.
No sewing machine.

To think.
and to listen.

{And I think I heard a lot.}

You know, Jesus used plants and farms and soil often in His teachings.
It seems appropriate that He would continue to reveal some truths to me through my garden.

I garden.  Jesus speaks.

 Here is what He said today:
 Dirt under my fingernails.

I came in from weeding and immediately went to the sink to wash my hands.
They were covered in dirt.
As soon as the water hit my skin, the dirt melted off.
But the dirt wasn't completely gone.
It still lingered there stuck underneath my fingernails.
It was hidden.
and hard to get rid of.

That is my sin.
The big sins - the obvious ones are like the dirt on the outside of my hands.
{you know... sins like murder, stealing, cursing... the ones everyone can see.}

But what hidden dirt do I have?
The ones harder to get rid of because no one can see them.
{maybe sins like lying, or copying DVD's from the library, or anger, or HATE}

That dirt would be invisible if I had just painted my nails a pretty red or pink.
What am I trying to cover up the impurities of my heart with?
A smile?
An "everything's alright" attitude?

For me, one of those deep hidden sins is pride.
It comes in different forms at different times.
Sometimes HIGH pride.
Often LOW pride.
Either way it's selfish because I only think of myself.
Either how good I am.
Or how awful I am.

But Jesus is there.
In my mess.
In my dirt.
Painting over it.
But not with fingernail polish.
With His blood.

His sacrifice washes pride from my life like water.
Then he takes a sharp file and scrapes out the hard to reach places so I can be clean.
I'm not sure how.
And I'm not exactly sure why.
Just that He does.
It's the kind of business He's into.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How to Recover a Lampshade

You saw it here yesterday.

The lamp shade I recovered with that amazing Joel Dewberry fabric you all have been using to design your bags!

And some of you asked how it was done.

First, find yourself a lamp shade that needs some lovin'.

Then follow the instructions in this video! :)

I would show you what I did, but I made it up as I went along and made quite a few blunders.
You really wouldn't want to follow along with my tutorial this time.
I promise.
Plus this video is exactly what I SHOULD have done.

In case you're wondering, I actually took the lampshade off and opened it up at the seam (since it was falling apart there anyway and needed reglued).
And since I couldn't find my spray adhesive, I shimmied that lamp shade underneath my sewing machine and sewed the fabric on.

Not recommended.
Too hard.
Just spray and glue :)

Trust me.
Watch the video.
It's much easier!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Joel Dewberry Obsession

I have been loving me some Joel Dewberry lately.

In case you are wondering, his are the ever popular fabric numbers 11-16 and 22-24.
Seen here.

There have been some amazing bags made with these fabrics.


And the latest projects:

And because my work space needed a little brightening up, I recovered this lamp shade with some Joel Dewberry yumminess.

Which fabrics are you drooling over lately?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bags, Bags, and more Bags

If you aren't a Facebook fan of Better Life Bags, then you missed out.

Last week I ran a THREE HOUR SALE.

Let's just say it was a HIT.

Here are the bags I finished today.

Three Tracey bags.

Don't worry.
As soon as I hit "publish", I'm off to make some more!

Snack bags this time.

But before I go, you'll let me share these adorable pictures of my kids from the past weekend, right?

I have been WAITING for it to rain so he could wear this!
Went to BUTLER UNIVERSITY to watch my brother graduate this past weekend.
She hung around with too many college boys.  Made me nervous.
He already WANTS to be a college boy.  Oh dear.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Craft Hope Project #12 {Bracelets for Orphans}

Have you heard of the book Craft Hope?

 Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause

Although I don't physically own the book, I've been hanging out over on their blog for quite some time now.

What they are doing is AMAZING.
And I want US to join up with them.
{We are all a part of this BETTER LIFE Bag community, after all!  And I want to make lives better with you.}

Every few months or so Craft Hope introduces a new handmade craft project to send somewhere where there is a need.

For example:
One time they got everyone to make pillowcases for terminally ill kids in hospitals... you know, so they would have beautiful pillowcases behind their precious heads.

Another time they made red scarves to give to foster kids who have "aged out" of the system and were heading to college.

Once they made beanbags with letters, numbers, colors, etc... for a school in Liberia.

This month they are making bracelets to give to orphans in Russia.
You can read more about the current project here.

So, join me, will you?
 I made a bunch of these last night using THIS tutorial.

They were totally easy.

And totally fun.


You can do that right?

If you choose to join me, here are the requirements:
Bracelets can be any form of handmade {fabric, beads, hemp, etc...}.
Deadline is June 15th, 2011.

Make as many as you can and mail completed bracelets to:
Carin Vogelzang
630 Griswold SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
If you make some and send them to Carin {who will then send them off to Russia}, leave a comment here letting me know!

{and I'd LOVE to SEE your creations, too!}

Let's join together to make lives better!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

New Bag Style!!! {Point and Shoot Camera Case}

My mother desperately needed a new camera.
So I got her the easiest one to use on the market.
She still said she had to read the directions. :)
I love you, mom.

But I also made her a case to go with her camera.

One that is padded for extra protection.
 And closes with a magnetic snap.

And has a handy little loop for the camera strap to go through.

One that hangs on as you take a picture.
{no more losing your case!}
{and no more excuses for why there are scratch marks on your lens!}

You can have one, too!
I'm now selling them over in the ETSY shop.

Christie at Lemon Squeezy Home actually came up with the pattern and is letting me sell them!
Thanks Christie!

Design your Lana Camera Case here.
{fits point and shoot cameras perfectly}

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Create Your Own Subway Art with Wordle

Came across a fun site last night:

It allows you to enter a bunch of words and create your own Subway art!

If you have a blog, you can create a Wordle from words used on your blog!

One of our 31 Days to Clean challenges was to think about a mission statement for your home.

So, I wrote down a bunch of words that I wanted to embody my home.
Entered them into Wordle and let it create an art piece to remind me WHY I want a clean house!

Seriously, Wordle is SO GREAT.

It even let me pick the font, colors, layout, etc..
You'll have a BLAST playing around with the options.

When you get it the way you like, just push print...
and out comes a perfect piece of art.

Maybe create one of these for your Mom... Mother's Day is on Sunday you know.

Or maybe your hubby needs some lovin' in the form of Subway Art.
Teacher Appreciation week is this week, too... any teacher would love this on his or her classroom wall!
And it only takes 5 minutes to make.

Head over to Wordle now and have some fun!
{tip: if you want certain words to be bigger than other, type that word multiple times.  The more times you type it into Wordle, the bigger the word will be.}
If you're joining me on the 31 Days to Clean Challenge,
I'd love to hear your mission statement for your home.
Leave me some comment love with it!
{beware... if I like some of your words, I might add them to my Wordle Art!}

I also found this FREE printable this week.

It was a good reminder that while I love decorating my home and fancying it up, what I love MOST about my home is my husband and children.
They come before any house project,
any renovation,
any cleaning frenzy.
{It's hard for me to remember that when laundry and dishes are screaming my name.  This will be a helpful reminder on my wall}

Download one for your house here.
The ladies from Eighteen25 have lots of color options to choose from!

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