Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Working on New Arrivals

I hope you can endure these terrible pictures.  I just wanted to give you a sneak peek at the baby/New Arrival door decor I have been working on.  I have an It's a Girl and an It's A Boy baby bottle and baby rattles.  

I am hoping to add vinyl to these soon and get one off in the mail for a special blog follower-turned-friend of mine.  I do have about 1,200 things planned for tomorrow and I have typically been getting 2 things done in a day, so......we will see how far I get, if I get vinyl on these babies before my photo shoot this weekend.  

Otherwise we will be back next week, with a little luck.

Happy Wednesday!

So Hoppy To Be Crafting With Friends!

I am so sneaky!  I invited all these ladies over to my house to craft and didn't tell them until the very last moment that they had to get their picture taken!  HA!

I am totally joking, but seriously, I had the best time the past 2 days crafting with so many Minnesota friends!!!  

Since this past Christmas selling season, I just have not been able to get myself to craft.  I guess it is a side effect of making what you love as your job.  Eventually, you get tired of it!

Well, after a few online requests for my big bunny Sir-Hops-Alot, I thought I would just throw him out there on our local RS FB page and see if any of the sisters would like to make one.  Wohoo!  I was so excited to have 14 lovely ladies jump on the opportunity.

*staring blankly at a stack of uncut wood*....What have I DONE!

I volunteered myself for 3 days in the garage, between kid drop-offs and errands, that is.  It was totally worth it though.

This pile of pieces, when put into the hands of these talented painters, turned into hoppy, bright spring masterpieces!

Focus on the cute faces of my friends ;0}

Do not notice the messy disaster of a house behind them....

Morning and night Tuesday and Wednesday 13 of the 14 ladies smashed into my tiny space to make their bunnies.  

Tonight Emmalee and her BFF also painted bunnies while I got to chat with BFF's awesome mom.  My emotional bucket is officially filled!  Tonight we squeezed Me, Madison, Emmalee and BFF and BFF's mom, and 4 fabulous Eagan ward ladies in my little crafting space and had a blast.  Everyone got creative and painted their bunnies a little different.  It was so fun to see the difference and chat the entire night.

Emmalee went Mint, Coral, and Gold with her bunny.  I love the bow around the head instead of neck!

Girl bunnies ROCK!

BFF added yellow to her egg to match her hair bow...I guess it is her hare bow ...hehe.

Priya knows how to paint.  She brought a personal assistant ;0}  I love these ladies.  They both have such happy, friendly personalities it makes me smile just being around them.

I let my last two guests off the hook.  We took pics of their bunnies alone.  Apparently I get nicer as the night goes on.  Love the Coral/Gold/Purple egg on Sara's bunny!

And Loren's orange egg with green zigzag is very carrot-esque!  I love them all!

It makes me want to cut out 12 eggs and decorate them all differently....and then I remember I am exhausted.

Sadly, I only got pictures of the first few and last few of my friends, but it has been a SERIOUSLY long time since I had this much fun.  I can't wait to do it all again.  We have requests for hair bows and neck ties before Easter, promises of a Mother's Day and Father's Day and Patriotic door signs.  Then the phones started coming out and a flood of Pinterest Pins were presented, each of which I responded..."Oh, I can make that.  We can totally do that!"

I think we are going to need to buy some more paint.

Be back soon.  Mads and I have a photo shoot this weekend with live chicks and we are booked Friday and Saturday SOLID!  Sister Kallie and brand new baby will have to be there to help and next week I will be back with some cute, cute photos to show you!

p.s.  There was also sadness the past couple days as I thought back on my craft parties back in AZ.  My original crafting buddies.  I miss them so much ;0(  I hope you are craft-partying without me!  It is good for the soul

Saturday, March 5, 2016

With Littles

Emmalee is the best at making an event out of a normal everyday day.  She decided we HAD to go to the Disney Store at the Mall of America and attend the Zootopia event they were hosting.  While we were at the MOA we might as well see the movie....and how better to enjoy it all than with BFF Ruthie!

Madison and I were allowed to go along incase these cute littles needed someone to hold the American Girl Dolls at the Disney store and the Disney dolls in the American Girl Store.  Whatever.  Share some hot theater popcorn with me and I will go along with just about anything ;0}

We checked out the Lea Adventure Academy they are having over spring break.  If you are near an American Girl store be sure to sign up!  Last year we just happened to show up at the store on one of the days and were so sad to miss out on all of it because prior registration was required.

I had already decided, premeditated style, to buy these girls a matching outfit for their dolls since they play together with their dolls so much.  We walked the entire store twice studying each and every outfit.  In the end, after a little arm twisting, these girlies decided they HAD TO HAVE musical instruments for their dolls instead of clothes.  

I love it!  I knew when this blond babe was in my belly that she would love music.  Every time a song played she jumped in my belly.  Ruthie loves music too, joined the band at school this year, so the doll instruments were pretty much perfect for these two.

After enduring several impromptu concerts I convinced the girls we should sew.

Serious fashion designs were sketched.  Two small knit t-shirts were lovingly sewn by excited little fingers.  Emmalee decided to put a violin on her t-shirt for her doll.

Ruthie designed a flute for the front of hers.  

We played until nearly 10pm when Ruthie had to go and our party dissolved into bedtime.

Ruthie went home, Emmers went to bed, and I sat there so totally happy.  I was in heaven today playing and sewing with these Littles.  The giggles and smiles and squeals of delight were simply intoxicating.  I have come to discover I REALLY ENJOY teaching other people, no matter their size, how to sew and paint and create.  What a fulfilling way to spend your time, using your energy and mind and all the working parts you are blessed with to shape and mold and create something from ingredients.  

Do yourself a favor.  Create something today.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Feed My Starving Children

Madison and I got to go on a CyberSchool field trip last week to a great organization in Eagan, Minnesota called Feed My Starving Children.  

Anyone can sign up to volunteer.  Our church youth group has gone to Feed My Starving Children several times over the past few years, but this was a first time for Madison and I.  

We started out in the "classroom" where we were educated on the goals of the foundation, what was going into the meal we would be packaging, and exactly how the work would be done.  This kind man explained that the kids getting food, most of them are absolutely starving.  One bag we were about to pack was enough food to make 6 cups of prepared food.  One bag was enough to feed 6 people, each getting one cup of rice/ingredients a day.  He explained that while we might think one cup is not very much, most have been starving so long that their tummies can't actually handle a whole cup of food.  They may only be able to eat 1/3 or 1/2 cup for a while until their stomachs stretch and adjust to having food again.

Each bag got a scoop of vitamins and flavor, a scoop of dehydrated veggies, like potatoes and carrots for color and flavor, a coffee mug of soy for protein, and a coffee mug of rice for carbohydrates.

Everyone gets to wear one of these stylish hair nets.  

The level of organization and thought put into their process is commendable.  We watched a video that showed just what order to put the ingredients in, how to measure properly so that each bag meets the nutritional requirements and is packaged safely, complete with tips and tricks to make each station more efficient.  I am a freak about organizing large group projects and I was super impressed!

Each volunteer had a spot.  Each station could function with 6-10 people.  In addition to the video we watched before coming into the packing room, there were laminated cards everywhere with instructions just in case someone forgot or didn't listen.  Once we started packing, we were a flurry of excitement for an hour.  Little guys were passing quickly through the isles refilling soy and rice constantly.  Our group here worked pretty quickly and we never had the chance to run out of supplies.  

Bags were opened and placed on the funnel, scoops of vitamins, veggies, soy and rice were added.  Each bag was weighed, sealed, then packed by 36 into boxes.  The goal is one box per volunteer by the end of an hour.  We had 90 volunteers that day and we managed to all pack 144 boxes of meals.

I was also amazed to see a table or two of special needs volunteers.  It warmed my heart to see an organization not only ready to accommodate 90 or more unskilled workers, many there for the first time, but also with a plan in place for volunteers with special needs.  They were able to dig in and participate, leaving with a feeling of accomplishment.

So our 144 boxes of packages would provide 30,240 meals to children in the Dominican Republic.  Isn't that great!  They can even tell us exactly where our food will go and when it should get there.  Those packets are enough to feed 83 children for one year.  

The ingredients from our one hour of work cost $6,653, so Feed My Starving Children relies heavily on the kindhearted donations of people around our blessed country.  We are lucky enough to live about 10 minutes from the warehouse, but Feed My Starving Children will come to you, bring all the supplies and equipment necessary for your group to participate in the effort.  They have a minimum amount of money that must be raised before they come, but they will come.  

One sister from our congregation talked about her mom's experience with the organization out in Southern California.  She told a few ladies about it and they all wanted to participate.  They held community fund raisers, raised $150,000 and Feed My Starving Children came to them in Southern California with all the supplies and their stellar organization.  They had a packing event and the members of their community were able to package the food bought with their own money.  Pallets and pallets of food packets were distributed around the world thanks to the work of those good women, their community, and Feed My Starving Children.

There are multiple locations in Minnesota, Illinois, and one location in Mesa, AZ if you just want to schedule a visit.

I just can't say enough good about this group.  This is not a sponsored post either!

These are the bins of soy and rice distributed to each station and refilled constantly throughout the process.

These are the stations, just one row of stations where we worked.  After the work is done, any food that is spilled on the table is scooped into bins and given to a local hog farmer to use as pig feed.  I was super impressed at Feed My Starving Children's attitude toward their donated product.  They respect the donations given to them and go to great lengths to make sure no food is lost.  Not a crumb is wasted.  I was also impressed by motto, that we need to live on less so that others can have a little more.  We are so, so blessed here in America.  There is no end to our wealth.  Imagine all the good that can be done if we all consumed less and gave to organizations such as this.

Following the packing hour, all were invited to participate in a blessing on the food before it was shipped out.  We were given the choice to be there for the blessing or head back to the classroom area for the closing presentation.  

This is where we learned how many boxes we packed and how many children would be fed by our work.  Stories were shared, complete with photos of just a few children fed by the organization.  They come into a village for one year.  This little girl was 3 when they arrived.  She weighed 9 lbs.  Can you believe that!  A 3 yr old that weighs 9 lbs!

After one month she already had meat on her bones and her weight was up to 11 lbs.  You could just see the change in her face.

There is a gift shop next to the classroom where they sell goods from these countries they serve.  All proceeds go to more ingredients for more packets of food.

What a great activity for a field trip.  We met so many different people from all over Minnesota, all gathered together hoping to do a little big of good.  If you are looking for a worthy organization to serve, check out Feed My Starving Children.  They totally impressed me.  Their facility is clean, modest, but organized.  Every employee was anxiously engaged in the cause, kind, friendly, and totally approachable.  I just can't say enough about Feed My Starving Children!

Novelty Print Quilt Pattern

I have had a hard time finding good quilt patterns for novelty prints the past couple times I purchased them.  I made up this pattern so tha...