Friday, December 30, 2011

Fabric Flowers for Saipan Quilt (PDLB)

Good morning!

I wanted to take a quick moment to post a couple cute little items I have been working on.  But first, the back story::

When I was in high school, my mom made me the coolest flannel rag quilt ever.  Bright, cheery colors, comfy, wonderful.  That was almost 10 years ago (oh, the horror!) and I still use that quilt to cuddle on the couch for a movie or when I'm going on a trip.  When I started thinking about what to take to Saipan and what to leave, I was very torn on the decision of what to do with my favorite quilt.  That old thing, holes and all, is one of my most treasured possessions, for a couple reasons.  Among the top reasons: 1- My momma made it for me and it always makes me think of her and 2- It's a comfort item that just feels like home.  So you can see my dilemma...of course I want to take it with me.  But let's face it, 85 degree weather with 80% humidity and 5 layers of flannel don't exactly mix.  I get sweaty just thinking about it!  So, my mother, my sister and I concocted a new plan and a new quilt!  This one is going to be made of two cotton sheets with a thin layer of cotton batting for sturdiness.

Check out the totally awesome front!!

My sister Pinned this quilt top as something to do for herself at some point.  She is big into crocheting and all things crafty.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be an really cool idea to adapt for my Saipan Quilt.  It's a little different and pretty quirky, but I'm going to a new place and will be experiencing lots of new things, so why not go out of my normal comfort zone in the quilt-world as well!?  Seeing as I have no idea how to work any types of yarn, I began a search for fabric flowers that I could add. 

Then came my sister's brilliant idea to ask all my friends and family to join in the fun.  I started asking around for volunteers to make a flower, or two, or twelve.  What a neat way to take little pieces of my favorite people with me on our exciting journey!  I've had several great responses and even have a Crafty Friend Day in the works so I can help some friends with different styles of flowers.  (Not to mention, I have all the fabric scraps we could ever need!)  That is when I started pinning fabric flowers like a mad lady.  I want to have several options for my friends to choose from.  I'm under strict orders to let them do whatever they want (my sister knows how to tame my OCD!), but I know they will need ideas and some sort of direction.  I will definitely post our success stories after CFD next month!  (O:

On to my PDLB (Pinned It, Did It, Loved It, Blogged It) portion of this post....(O:  In my abundance of free time (cough cough), I have started trying to put together a flower or two as I go.  That way by Friend Day I have a couple examples to show off, and also I won't have as much pressure to crank a ton out later.  Before I show you what I've completed so far, I have to apologize for the photo quality.  These are photos from my cell phone- I just snapped them quickly to show my mom and sister.  I will link to the Pins I found the tutorials from as well, in case you're interested in making your own fabric flowers!

This was my first flower, taken from this pin.  I let my daughter pick the fabric from my pile of coordinating colors theme (aqua, teal, blue, green, yellow, grey and white).  This was actually just a fabric I threw in there as a "maybe", but I'm really pleased with the look of it!  I still have to add a button or something to the middle, but you get the idea.  This style of flower is super simple and you really can't mess it up.  A very good beginner flower.

This is my second flower so far; I just did this one last night while watching One Day with Anne Hathaway (not her best movie...).  I used the tutorial from this pin.  I'm happy with how it turned out, but I want to try again with a jersey knit type of fabric to see if I can get it closer to the original design.  I also think I made my fabric strip a little wider than suggested, so that might be the real issue.  I haven't attached the buttons yet, and the 2 button combo looks much better in real life, I promise.

With each new flower I create, I get more and more excited about this project!  My sister tagged my in a pin this morning that I'm SUPER stoked about.  It's for some of the stems, check this out!

Obviously I really like using the LLL phrase as often as possible (shocking once you see my blog name, I know!).  I just really think it's a great reminder to enjoy life.  Anyway, I think stitching these words as part of the stems is going to be awesome.  Again, I get more and more excited with each new idea!!  More updates to come.  (O:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Packing Nightmares

Call me crazy, but I really enjoy packing.  Whether it be for a weekend trip or moving somewhere new, I actually look forward to organizing the packing boxes and making my lists of what we will need and when.  Somewhere between our flash move from Herrick last month and now, however, I have lost my love for packing.  It is turning into slightly more of a panic.  Our next move won't be as fun or easy, I'm afraid to say.

Due to the high costs of shipping personal items overseas, Jason and I decided that we would only take what we could pack in suitcases and carry-on bags.  Lucky for us, Saipan is an island on only one season- HOT.  Some of the local blogs we've come across mention a "cooler season", but I'm fairly certain it doesn't go much lower than 80 during the day.  Which, of course, means this hot-natured lady will be living in tank tops and bermuda shorts. (O:  So, at least I don't have to worry about bulky hooded sweatshirts and fleece pants taking up my suitcase space!  I spent some time today trying to find some articles/blogs/tips on packing to move overseas, but there really isn't much out there.  At least, there aren't many people writing about only using suitcases and carry-ons.  I intend to post our final lists of what we packed and how, just in case someone ever comes across this blog while searching for their own packing tips.

Like I said, we are only taking suitcases.  The last time I checked with our airline (yes, I keep calling to make sure nothing has changed...I'm insane), I was told we get our first checked bag for free as well as one carry-on bag.  Any additional checked bags will be $50 each.  After talking this over with Jason, we decided it was a worthwhile investment to each check one additional bag- 6 checked bags total.  My hope is that this will give us plenty of room for our clothes as well as a few personal items and some comfort toys for Emilia.  I'm waiting for yard sale season in hopes of finding some large suitcases for good prices.  We only have 2 of our own so far.  Jason is also checking his golf clubs and bike since it will be cheaper to pay the checked item fee than it would be to purchase something on the island.  I don't really think you can check a sewing machine, but he thinks I will be able to pick one up for relatively cheap once we get there.

I also found out (big victory here!!) that we can bring Emilia's carseat AND stroller for free!!  We can gate check them for no charge!  Talk about great news!  From what Jason had found online, a new carseat on island would have cost at least $300!  I don't even want to know what a replacement jogging stroller would have cost...I'm just so thankful that we will be able to bring ours along.  Jason thinks they will be a annoying to lug through the airport, and he is probably correct.  But, I will take being inconvinienced for 26 hours over trying to squeeze an extra $500ish out of our already tight budget!

Ok, I feel like I got a little off track just now...sorry about that.  (O:  Packing.  Oh, packing.  I have been stocking up on cute(r) tanks and trying to find bermuda shorts.  I actually have a pretty decent collection already.  Now I have to really look at what I have, what I wear, etc. and start making some decisions.  I really don't want to look like a complete slob while we are there, and the only way I think I can keep this from happening is to have a good stock of ruffle/otherwise embellished tanks.  That way I can keep cool and comfy, but look a little put together.  Jason also gave me a few dri-wick tees for Christmas, so those will be super great!  As far as shoes go, I plan to only bring my running shoes and lots of flip flops- Nike ones for everyday and cute ones for dressier days/church/etc.  I don't see myself needing ballet flats over there (*tear*) nor any of my lovely heels (*two tears*).  I will bring a pair or two of jeans because all the photos we see online have people in jeans.  Jason swears he thinks eventually the evening temp of 77 will feel "cool" to me, and I guess we will have to wait and see on that one.  It's not that I don't believe him, I just don't know if our "cool"-meters are the same.  A few neckalces, bracelets, chargers, hair stuff, DEODERANT, and so on and I think I'm good to go.  Like I said, I will post our final packing list once we actually get to that point.

As far as Emilia goes- this is where it gets tricky.  She will be 3 when we leave and I imagine most of her 2t shorts and skirts will still fit.  Tops she will need the 3t for length.  I've been purchasing ahead for her as well, but don't necessarily have to bring it all with us in July.  Jason's parents are coming for a visit in December, I think, and my mom is coming sometime the following summer.  So between them both, as well as shipping if needed, we can get the rest of E's bigger sizes before they are an emergency need.  I'm more worried about figuring out a way to pack several of her favorite toys.  This change is going to be huge for her and I want to be able to offer her as many comfort items as I can.  Not to mention, we have lots of great learning toys/games that I want to be able to utilize once I'm (Finally) a Stay-At-Home-Momma!!  (Can I get a WooHoo!!?)  (O:

Anyway, these are some of the things that have been on my mind lately.  I know it's too early to let packing stress me out too much...but, it feels good to get it off my chest.  I better get back to working on our support letter.  We want to send them out early next week and I'm still trying to finish my research on how to put them together for long-term missions.

Have a great day! (O:

Friday, December 23, 2011

First Little Glimpse

A while back  Jason came across a couple blogs of other couples who are currently living on Saipan!!  He has been following them for a while now and I finally remembered to have him send me the links.  It has been really neat to read through how their day-to-day lives go as well as catch a couple sneak peeks of what the school's apartments look like!  I feel slightly stalker-ish reading through their personal info, but hey- that's what blogging is for, right?!  One of the blogging husbands (I think it was Brian, of Brian and Rachel, as seen here) participated in an on-island triathalon.  So naturally, Jason is super pumped about training for one once we get there!  I think I may stick to light yogging (haha), but I'm glad he is excited about it.  The other couple's blog is here' their names are Grant and Kara.

Both couples seem really nice and very centered in Christ.  They all attend the church Jason will be working at and we will be attending (duh).  From what I can tell, there is a pretty close group of girls that are all teachers out there.  It would be nice to have some ladies around my age to meet.  I don't think any of them have bambinos, so our idea of "activities" may differ slightly.  But still, we all know I'm a people person and I'm excited at the potential of people!

Either way, I explained it to Jason that it was encouraging to see the closeness those women have.  It encourages me that hopefully this sense of community and togetherness is a church-wide thing.  Hopefully we can make friends within the church quickly.  That was one of my biggest struggles when we moved to Herrick.  I am definitely the kind of girl who needs social interaction regularly and sometimes it's hard to cultivate relationships being the newbie.  My hope is that since there will be other new teachers arriving, that meeting new people and making friends won't be so hard.

On a less inspiring (and kind of vain) note...when/if you look through either/both will probably notice quite a bit of perspirartion upon these lovely people's foreheads.  Does this have me worried?  Of course!  It was probably just the gentle little reminder I needed that I'm moving to 24/7 Summer Land.  I've been stocking up on tank tops and bermuda shorts since fall and I think I'm covered there.  I hope to drop some weight before the move--is there anything worse than being sweaty AND feeling fat??  I am easing back in to Lean Cuisines and salads for lunch and plan to start hitting the running/exercising hard after the holidays.  (Wish me luck!)  Also, I noticed all the girls have long, long hair.  It's usually pulled back in pony tails.  So it has taken me back to my original ponder of cutting my hair short before we go.  I don't want to always have my hair up in a pony tail, but I also don't want it to never fit in one either.  How's that for indecisive?  Like I said, this was my vain moment.  Thanks for indulging me. ;-)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Slacker Update


Wow, I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since I have posted anything over here...time flies when you're running around like the flight of the bumblebee!!  In fact, I don't even recall "announcing" our big news about Saipan!  In case I already mention it (darn memory...), I will be brief.

Jason and I decided that God was calling us into the mission field, and more specifically, to the island of Saipan.  We will be leaving for the island next summer and have agreed to work there for a minimum of 2 years.  Jason will work as an associate minister at the church as well as teach at the private school associated with the church.  I will spend my days with Emilia, helping her adjust to a completely new life and looking for any ways to get involved in the community, church, etc.  There are so pieces of this puzzle yet to be put into place, but we are so excited for the opportunity and cannot wait to see what God has in store for us!!

To catch you up--  We moved back to the STL Metro area at the beginning of December after a great job opportunity literally fell in my lap.  I had been looking, applying, etc for any and every job I could find and wasn't hearing anything back.  Since I'm to be our only source of income while Jason travels raising support, this was starting to concern me slightly.  Then, as He does every time, as soon as I turned my worries over to God, He took care of us.  An old co-worker/supervisor called me asking if I was still looking for a temp job.  She explained the job to be as well as the pay and it was all I could do to not hooray for joy at my desk!  It was better pay than I anticapted, the job sounded exciting and I love working with this person!  So, here I am almost a month in and I love it.  I can't remember the last time I enjoyed my work and didn't mind having to get up and ready before the sun!

Jason's last Sunday as Pastor of Herrick Christian Church is this Sunday, Christmas Day.  We will go up for the morning service and say our goodbyes.  We have made so many great friendships and relationships over the past year and a half, and it will surely be a hard morning.  Then, on January 8th, we will officially join a local General Baptist Church and Jason will start traveling to raise support.  He should, hopefully, only be gone a couple days each week, and occasionally on a weekend.  Since he is also going to be paid by the church and school in Saipan, our "big number" to raise isn't too bad and I know God will provide for us.  He's good like that. ;-)

We aren't exactly settled in yet, but we are getting there.  Emilia loves living with Jason's parents, her Grammy and Grampy are awesome!  Jason should hopefully finish up the apartment they own behind their house within the next month and we will all welcome a little space, I think!  As for now, we are gearing up for lots of Christmas gatherings and I even have 2 newborn photo sessions booked!  Life is going by as quickly as ever and we are loving every second!