Wednesday, September 28, 2011

blogcation here we come!

The kids and I left today for a week vacation at my parent's house.  Yes, I'm flying alone with both kids.  Think of me today!  I'm stocked up on bubbles, coloring books, iPhone apps, and "treats".  

But I did NOT bring stickers this time around.  Do you know how long I scrubbed to get these off the back of the last airplane we were on?  Consider yourself warned.

Isn't going home to the Grandparent's so fun?  I literally squeal with excitement about going home.  The memories my kids are making are so precious.  There will be lots of kissing.  Lots of hugging.  Lots of spoiling.  And hopefully a little relaxing for this momma. 

BayBay will be throwing JoJo a 2nd Birthday party.  We will be attending a University of Illinois game on Saturday where Ditty will be wearing the tiniest 
U of I cheer-leading outfit I've ever seen!  Will I see anyone else there?

It's going to be fun.

Blogging may be sporadic over the next week - I'm going to be taking a little blogcation.  I think it will be healthy for me.  I'm already cringing inside thinking about taking a break from these posts.  I LOVE writing.  I LOVE sharing.  And I'll miss doing it.  I have so many great posts lined up in my head that I want to get out, but they will have to wait until next week.

Until then, you can follow me on Facebook.  See you over there!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

new days of prayer cards are coming!

So many of you expressed how much you enjoyed the 31 Days of Prayer for Your Husband that I've decided to spend some time working on another set!

42 Weeks of Pregnancy Prayers

The basic concept revolves around praying for the different parts of the baby that are developing each week.  For example, the week the heart starts to beat, we pray that our little one's heart will come to know and love Jesus above all else.  And the week the tongue starts to develop?  We are praying for pure speech and encouraging words to flow through it as our baby grows up into an adult.  One to two Bible verses accompany each prayer topic.

As you can see, these prayers go way beyond "I'm praying for a healthy baby."  They lead you in praying for the spiritual life your child.

Here is a small sampling of what you can expect design-wise.

 Images are cropped on purpose - full version will be included in download files.

Just like the husband prayer cards, these can be printed at your local CVS or Walgreens just like they were photographs of your family.  You can then either slip them into a photo album or make the homemade photo flip book I posted awhile back. 

I plan on creating lots more of these prayer cards because the response was so overwhelming for the first set.  I enjoy making these and especially enjoy spurring you on in prayer.  Hey, I can use some accountability and "fun" for my prayer life, too!

If you want to sign up for the newsletter that will announce when new prayer card themes are available for purchase and download, please sign up here.  I promise not to clog up your email (that's what Facebook is for), but I will send out a quick update about each new set of prayer cards as they become available.  

Be looking for these new prayer cards by the middle of October!  I'm in the final editing phase. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bags Shipping Today! (and a new improvement on the Emily)

I love today.
I get to send off some amazing bags to some amazing customers.
AND I get to show off YOUR designs!

Enjoy looking at the results your creative BLB readers!
Excellent designing this week.

I know I showed this Emily last week, but I never showed the improvement I made to the convertible Emily.
(These are the ones that can either be a messenger bag OR a backpack)

When used as a backpack, it can put a lot of stress on the snaps.
Especially if you all are like me and stuff your diaper bags FULL.

And, I was always worried that when the bag was on my back, everything would be falling out without me knowing it.
Not any more!

 Just tie up these two inside ties into knots or bows,
flip over the flap to close with a magnetic snap,
and go!

Design Your Own Emily Convertible Diaper Bag

Now you can be confident of two things:
1. That magnetic snap is not busting at the seams.
2. Your stuff is tucked safely inside.

Also - I've improved the clasps on these bags.
They are super high quality metal - also much sturdier than ones before.
It just keeps getting better!

Made these fun wet bags this week, too.

Design Your Own Wetbags

A cute checkbook cover that make paying bills so much more fun.
Design Your Own Checkbook Cover

And finally, an adorable Cyndi bag.

Design your own Cyndi

Which is your favorite?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Lets Me Down

My favorite holiday, Fall, has not been kind to me so far.
It officially started at 5:04 am.
A RAINY 5:04 am.
It was supposed to be great.
About my amazing, awesome, gigantic 50% ONE HOUR sale.

Well, it was pretty crucial that the INTERNET be working for that small window of time.
I never thought my trusty business partner (the World Wide Web) would decide to SLEEP IN this morning.
I woke up to a frantic phone call from a friend who was trying to order.
The coupon code wasn't working.
I turned on my computer to find that awful exclamation point over my internet connection symbol.
The Internet was DOWN.
I couldn't fix the code.

And I couldn't very well run the entire sale from my iPhone (as smart as it is).

My heart dropped as I envisioned all you sleepy mamas who woke up just to get a deal on a BLB.
I'm so sorry, my friends.
Please accept my sincere apologies.

I want to make it up to you.
 So, if you got up this morning hoping to take advantage of the SALE, and went back to bed because of issues on my end, email me with your order.
I will uphold my end of the deal.

{and have learned my lesson about trusting 'ol InterNUTS for future sales}

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Fall is my absolute FAVORITE season.

Did you know FALL officially starts at 5:04 AM tomorrow morning?!
I always just thought it started at the turn of midnight.
Who knew?

So... to celebrate Fall's official start,
I will be having another FAMOUS 50% off SALE!

The last one was c.r.a.z.y.

I expect this one to be the same.
Especially since you're getting a 20 hour notice.
unlike last time
Get your orders ready on paper NOW, because this sale is only going on for 

Yep - that's it.

And it's early.

5:04 AM - 6:04 AM EASTERN
{just to start fall off with a bang!)

Sorry all your West-Coasters.
That's 2:04 AM your time.
If you love BLB enough, you'll be there!

Here are the details:

Maybe you need a new Fall bag?
Or a late back-to-school purchase?
Or perhaps getting a head start on Christmas gifts?
{now is the time... there will NOT be another sale like this before the Holiday Season}

Just be sure to have your orders ready on paper because the sale is going to go FAST.

See you tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Beloved" by Tenth Avenue North - a LOVE SONG.

When I sew, I listen to Pandora. 
Often on the Shane & Shane Playlist I created. 
The other day, this song came on (by Tenth Avenue North) and I just had to stop sewing and listen.


There are a million reasons why this song speaks straight to my heart.
But mostly, to hear those TRUTHS as if they are coming straight from the mouth of God.

"You are my beloved."
"Death shall not part us.  It's you I died for."

They are incredible vows.
Vows that are deeper and so much stronger than the ones Neil and I said to each other three years ago.

So often I look to Neil to satisfy some deep longing inside me.
To be the perfect fulfillment of the promises he made me on our wedding day.
To protect, to cherish, to love unconditionally.
He can't.

And Neil is an incredible loving, self-sacrificing, generous, caring man.
As close to perfection as I could find.
But can't meet my deepest desires - as much as he wants to.

Only God can.
And this song is a powerful reminder that He HAS vowed himself to me.
And it's ME that's running away from what He can give.

"Love of my life.
Look deep in my eyes.
There you will find what you need.
I'm the giver of life."

And then another reminder of how I screw up the perfect relationship we have.

"Well you've been a mistress, my wife.
Chasing lovers it won't satisfy.
Won't you let me make you my bride."

I have been a mistress.
I have cheated on God.
I have put other people and other things (crafting, the business, my kids, seeking rest. and so much more) in the place He belongs.
I have chased other dreams and desires and left Him in the dust.

And yet, He still wants me back.
He still calls my name and desires to have this dirty, unfaithful girl back in His arms.

That is a mystery.
And an incredible act of forgiveness and unconditional love.
Who wouldn't want that?

It's a Better Life with him as my true husband.
Isaiah 54:4

The Better Life Bag I'm working on today:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Labor Day BBQ - DIY Projects!

Remember these?
The chairs I found inspiration for on Pinterest?

Well I finished them up just in time for our Labor Day BBQ.

Here was the set up when all was said and done.

That is my back yard.
I don't think I've ever shown it here before.

I LOVE the hanging grape vines.
It might be my favorite part about this old house.

But I've been needing a picnic table under it for an entire year.
Has anyone seen the prices on those things?!


These old doors are very easy to come by in the neighborhood.
Most of our houses were built in the 1940s.

So, I brought one up from our neighbor's basement, sanded the thing down, cut some 4 by 4 legs, screwed them on and now have a really awesome table to eat at!

I'm still contemplating painting it.
Definitely at least need to put an outdoor clear finish on it to save it from rotting.

But those chairs.
Everyone loved those chairs.

They were one of the easiest projects I've done to date.
Cheap chairs.
A little spray paint.
{Definitely recommend Rustoleum for this project}
And you have a satisfying, colorful backyard for cheap!

Laid this blanket out for the little ones to eat at.

I made it in college out of old men's suitcoats I found at Goodwill.

The Better Life Bag I'm working on today:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Check out these bags you designed last week!

Here are the Better Life Bags shipping today!

Alicia bag in Fabric #50 plus solid black.

Don't think for a second that this one is boring.

Just check out the awesome INSIDE!

That customer was in the Air Force, and all bags have to meet certain requirements (black on the outside with black stitching).
But they never said anything about the INSIDE!!
Way to still be stylish!

And here are a few more.

Love these interesting fabric combos... beautiful for fall!

Tracey in Fabric #4, 13, and 46

And I'm such a sucker for blue and red.

Emily Convertible Diaper bag in Fabrics #1, 2, solid blue, and 45 for the inside lining.

Great designing ladies!

Which one is your favorite?!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Craft Hope: Christmas Stocking Tutorials!

Craft Hope's new project has been out for awhile.

Have you seen it?

We're making Christmas stockings to send to tornado victims!

Here's some info taken straight from the Craft Hope site:

"For Project 14 :: Christmas in Dixie we have partnered with Christmas in Dixie for Tornado Survivors to provide handmade stockings for the 12,000 families that lost everything to the tornadoes. Yes, 12,000 families that will not be pulling the Christmas ornaments and decorations out of their attic. 12,000 families that have to build their lives again. We know we cannot do everything, but we can do little things. And these little things make a BIG difference."


I LOVE Craft Hope.
They embody my heart.

If only I had thought of the concept first.

BUT, I LOVE that they invite us to join with them in their ventures.
Remember when we all made bracelets for orphans last time?

Here is a picture of a BLB reader who got some girls together to make bracelets!
They made 74 that night!

Stocking deadline for this project is September 23rd.
So get sewing!
And send me pictures of what you make!

And just so you can find lots of free stocking tutorials in one place,
I've done the hard work for you.
You're welcome.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Trick

JoJo learned a new trick this week.

Find zipper...






 Isn't it fun to enjoy all those little accomplishments?!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

YOUR Better Life Bags

Today is the day I feature your orders that are shipping today.
You all sure did love you some environment last week!
Which sure makes me happy because "better life" stands for more than just our hearts!
Here they are:
First up... my NEW addition to the shop!

These babies are not only great for soiled cloth diapers, but for wet swimsuits, pants that have been peed in, etc..!
Every mom needs one.

And I added an additional pleated outside pocket to the ones I sell at BLB - just because I know how much you all LOVE organization and your pockets.

They are BIG, too - fits FOUR double stuffed cloth diapers!
(but you can order them in an size)

Then - everyone waiting to order reusable snack bags suddenly appeared out of the woodwork last week!
Where have you all been hiding?!
This one reminds me of my little family:

And to top it all off...
a reusable market bag - the Clara Lynn!

Thanks for supporting Better Life Bags - and helping me make lives better!

Monday, September 12, 2011

9-11 Ten Years Later - My Thoughts

It's really hard to believe that yesterday marked the 10 year anniversary of 9-11.
I sat riveted to the TV screen yesterday morning - watching the CBS coverage of the memorial ceremony.
I also sat riveted to the TV screen 10 years ago.
I was a freshman in college.
Didn't have a class until 10am, so I was asleep when my roommate flew through the door and turned on the tv.
She had just gotten out of the community showers and as she walked down the hall, every room was open and every tv on.
It was big.

I rolled out of bed just in time to see the 2nd plane hit the towers.
No one said a word.
Classes were cancelled.
We all felt scared.

As reports of each new attack kept pouring in, we wondered what would be next?
Our city?
No one could believe the first plane hitting the tower.
But a second tower?
The pentagon?
A field in PA?
When will it stop?!

This morning was so surreal to live through it again in real time.
The six moments of silence we observed at the exact times of the attacks and the destruction was even more powerful than watching it 10 years ago.

What a horrible morning that was.
What a strange morning yesterday was.
Thinking about how many lives were affected by those events on 9-11 moved me to tears.
I tried to put myself in the shoes of each one.
Could hardly watch as wives, nieces, sons, daughters, and mothers stood up there to read the names of the deceased.

Then it hit me.
What if some of the "masterminds" of this attack were watching the coverage along with us?
Do you think it's possible that God could be touching their hearts as they see the faces of the people they hurt?
Of the lives they destroyed or altered completely?

Do you think it's possible that God could reach even the hearts of them?
I'd like to believe so.

I'd like to think there was at least one terrorist watching today.
One heart that has been molded and shaped over the last 10 years - ready for repentance.

Not because they deserve it.
But because God GIFTS it.

But let's not stop there.
I think the best "memorial" we can place as a reminder of 9-11 is our lives.

How has MY life changed?
Am I becoming the person I hoped I would 10 years ago?
Am I more compassionate?
Less self-seeking?
More loving? 
Am I capturing every moment?
Every second?
Am I keep short accounts with those I love?
And resolving arguments quickly?
Do I tell those around me how much I love them?
Am I kissing enough squishy cheeks?
Am I leaving a legacy behind me?
Legacies that love.
And forgive.
And help others.

Because today I was reminded how quickly life could end.


Friday, September 9, 2011

 Thank you for all of your sweet comments and concerns regarding the previous two posts.
(seen here and here)

The night after the fire, my girlfriends and I brainstormed Bible verses that had to do with

We came up with quite a list.

I decided to turn it into a little Subway Art.
This way, the verses are visible and easily accessible when times get scary.

I thought you might like them, too.

Here are a few different printable options for you to choose from.
I printed mine on cardstock.

Choose your favorite, click the picture to be taken to the file, download, print, and have PEACE!

Ha - if only we could just "download" peace.
Wouldn't that be nice?

One of my FAVORITE verses from the list above is Isaiah 26:3
"He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast - because he trusts in Him."

It seems so obvious that God would give me peace when my mind is focused on Him.
It's when I start to look at the situation and circumstances around me that fear starts to creep in.

Hopefully these verses will help all of us to steady our minds on Him - 

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