Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words may be encouragement to them. Ephesians 4:29b

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Words for Your Hearts...

The Lord said through Moses...

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments I give you are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates."
--Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Last week we read this verse in my Bible study group.  I was instantly drawn to these verses and the words in bold.  They made me think deeper about how I can keep His commandments and more of His Word on my heart.  I find that, for me, reading, memorizing and/or visually seeing displays of Scripture are the best way for me to do this.

Every morning, I wake up to a daily verse, devotional and Bible reading.  Among these, there is always some Scripture I feel He is encouraging me to share, and I do so via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  In recent months, I have felt Him nudging me to do something more with my "little passions."  I felt I should connect sharing His Word with my personal hobby of digitally-created crafts.

So, I have begun a new endeavor. I'm calling them 
On Your Hearts Scripture Printables.  

They are digitally-designed verse printables. I so enjoyed creating them and hope to create more!  My prayer is that they might help others to keep His Word on their hearts, just as they do for me.

As you can see, my first set of printables has 'Love' as a theme. I actually created a set of 10 'Love' verses...and lots of fun backgrounds and colors! Here's one for you!

Your Free 'On Your Hearts' LOVE Printable!
Click the image to download the file.  
It is an 8x10" design, but can be resized. Enjoy!

Keeping Him in Mind,

Friday, March 27, 2015

My Little Man's Shower Curtain

Since we moved into our leased Montreal home in July, I'd been distracted by an item in my home - a specific decor item. You'd think it was something prominent like a room paint color, one of the 7 hanging chandeliers in the house, or a the terrible kitchen curtains!  Nope, it was far less important - it was my son's shower curtain.  LOL!  Yup, a pretty low-priority item in the scheme of things, but it really got to me.  Why, you ask?

Well, first, his bathroom is a little odd.  It's large at 10 x 5.5 sqft! Too much space for a 9-year-old boy, but it's nearest his room and his sister has her own.  We added storage and some A&M flair to only a toilet and a pedestal sink in the grand space...

 Listing Photo
Post Move-in: Mirror+Shelf+Towels+Mats

As you can see from the listing photo, the shower is the main oddity in the room.  It's underneath the roof angle of the house, giving it a triangular ceiling.  It's a standard height under the nozzle and short at the back end of the tub.  I'm 5'6. The shower rod is at 5 feet.  No sneaking up on anyone in here!  So, it's a usable shower, just weird, and a little inconvenient to any potential tall visitors who may want to shower dance. :-P

Fortunately, we have a basement inlaw suite for our guests. AND...it's the perfect fit for my "Little Man!"

The problem I was having was this...

Sheer, beige, plaid...and 5 feet long.  The window had the same fabric, both were homemade. I guess they were trying to go neutral. But the curtain rings...wait for it....

Ha! Yep, those were gone fast. ;) So NOW does it seem more like a priority?? Probably not...but that's OK. Moving on...

I found clearanced A&M bins and a window topper online and got mini-blinds, but the shower curtain had me stuck.  Obviously, it would have to be a custom-made curtain, and it came down to 2 options:
  1. Make a curtain using my new sewing machine
  2. Buy a curtain and cut the length off the bottom
Option 1 was great and all, but the process of (1) researching material (being new to the sewing world), (2) cost (fabric type, source, shipping, etc.), (3) taking the time to find/receive/see it, and, my personal biggie, (4) making a dozen ring holes (aka: button holes) or loops for the rings. 

I really preferred Option 2. It just seemed like the easier option. However, licensed A&M curtains online were either too pricey for this short-term purpose (+ international shipping/taxes), or I was unable to cut them due to a centered logo. 

I moved to solid maroon, but found zero in stores here.  I looked at gray options....but they had loud prints, feminine patterns or textures that just didn't fit my boy and his decor.  Even the college dorm options failed. :(   I was not up for the trial and error of ordering online because I wanted to see and feel it in person and avoid what I went through finding my daughter's bathroom shower curtain. Nope.

Over a span of months I regularly checked all the shower curtain aisles where I was willing to pay for them. I wasn't about to buy one at Hudson's Bay (like Dillard's) only to cut it, use it for 3 years and never use it again.  

Then a funny story happened...

Right after our move-in, I bought this two-toned gray shower curtain at Ikea for $12. It was my "this will work 'til I find something" curtain that I didn't love.  I'd thought of adding an adhesive vinyl logo to it, but realized it may not withstand the steam and moisture. So, I stuck it in a closet and forgot about it. 

I rediscovered it during my winter sewing organization and endeavors.  I also discovered that the material was actually 100% polyester. This was good because it wasn't a vinyl but a fabric!  Light bulb!!  Since sewing, I've been inspired by some awesome appliqued items out there by a dear friend and others on Pinterest/Etsy.  It was this inspiration that led me to my decision. I would use my Fightin' Texas Aggie status to its fullest by giving that shower curtain the Biggest. Applique. Ever.  That's right...my first true applique.  Why not? :) It would be a combination of Option 1 AND Option 2! Score!

I got to work immediately.  First step: Cut the curtain to fit!  The old curtain was right at 5 feet, so I cut the bottom off the new one and hemmed it up to the same length.

Next, was the applique.  I applied Heat N Bond Lite (an iron-on fabric adhesive) to the back of a large piece of licensed A&M print cotton I had on hand. (HNB smooths and supports the fabric when applied to the curtain.)  I created a card stock stencil of the A&M logo with my Silhouette Cameo and traced the stencil onto of the heat-bonded fabric with a chalk pen.  The T was just over 12x12" (larger than my Silhouette cutting mat), so I traced/cut the letters all by hand, instead of using my Silhouette to cut them.  There are many tutorials out there on cutting appliqued fabric with a Silhouette, for those of you interested.  I just needed more practice first.

Next, I ironed the fabric to the center of the curtain (Heat N Bond's final step) using the recommended heat settings.

It bonded perfectly!  Next, I wanted to do an applique stitch on the edges to give it a more finished look. NOTE: Heat N Bond Lite is for sewn appliques, whereas Heat N Bond Ultrastrong is used for no-sew appliques.

The applique stitch was definitely the most time consuming part of the project. Plus, I chose a more tedious stitch - the blanket stitch - because I liked the look with this design.  With white thread in my brand new machine, I took my sweet time for my first applique stitching. :)

And it wasn't only because I was taking it slow.  Stitching an applique with right angles in the center of a huge piece of fabric can be a bit of a bulky tangle. :) 

The stitching caused rippling in the material around the letters that I hoped would iron out.  This was either caused by the type of polyester, the type of stitch, or both (most likely).  This is a good FYI for anyone considering this project. This kind of slick fabric like this isn't going to accept this type of stitch the same way softer fabrics do.

 Once I ironed the entire area out, it definitely looked better...not perfect, but better. And I doubted my 9-year-old would mind too much. :)

 Pretty cool, huh?  After ironing out the entire curtain, my project was complete! I just LOVE the stitched finish, regardless of the flaws. :) I was pleased and I truly love this look more than if I'd bought/made one in licensed A&M print, solid maroon or a boring old gray.  It's perfect for my boy and his Aggie theme!  What do you think?

Here's the rest of the room! Gig'em!

I surprised my son with it after school and he thinks it's very cool.  I've since decided that I WILL try to reuse it after our Montreal adventure. I can either add maroon to the bottom, making it a standard length again, or I can use the applique some other way in his room or bathroom. There are all sorts of ways to show this off! 

Although this was a fun project for me, I must try not to get caught up in the smaller, less important things that cloud my mind, keeping me distracted.  When I use the talents God gave me, I must constantly remind myself of this:

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength He provides, so that in all things He may be praised..." 
1 Peter 4:10-11a

Yes, this project was in service to my son, but it was also too self-serving along the way.  May my focus be less distracted, and more about serving others while showing His love through the gifts He bestowed upon me. 

Keeping Him in Mind,

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blown Away...Literally!

I had to share this little miracle that happened two days ago! But first, let me give you a little back story...

Texas:  I sold my table from the Texas house because it didn't fit the kitchen dining area here in Montreal, not to mention that it looked awful.  After a 3yo+baby to now an 8yo+6yo, adding lots of friends & family and everyday use, it was covered in scratches, worn edges...and heat spots.  Placemats became essential for covering up the flaws and protecting it from more.  I wanted redo and DIY it, but wasn't the right fit, so I decided to Craigslist it and buy new (cheaper than buying new here).  The day of the move, I bought a World Market table and put it on the truck, still in the box!

Montreal:  Our things got here before I came, so hubby had to put it together.  He wasn't sure about it at first, but I think it has grown on him.  It's very textured in comparison to our old one.  I wanted something that wouldn't show as much wear.  It does fit the room well. You can see it in this post.  I've still been a "placemat nazi" with my family, mainly to avoid heat stains. Paranoia at its finest!

Now, fast-forward to Friday (2 days ago):  I am eating lunch while "Pinteresting" at the kitchen table.  I have a placemat, but my laptop had pushed it out of place and I didn't notice that my reheated meal (in 2 tupperwares) was actually sitting on the wood.  When I noticed and picked them up I screamed.  You can imagine my nightmare....EEEEEK!!!

I tried wiping and adding cold water to see if it would take the heat out of it, but that only made it lighter!  Already being on Pinterest, I typed in  "remove+heat+stains+wood" in the search box and found lots of mayo, iron, oil, and wax solutions, but I decided to try one remedy in particular that looked the fastest:  a blow dryer set on high heat!  That's when I decided to take the pic above - just in case one of these remedies actually worked.

Coincidentally, I had just purchased a brand new hair dryer (that I absolutely love!) from Amazon.  I think I was in denial and not expecting it to work, so I didn't even think to take a photo until the very end of the miracle!  This was after about ~3ish minutes on high!

After.... WOW.
You can see it was still slightly hazy, so I added some polish.

Here it is 40 minutes later (completely cooled).
And here it is yesterday. 
We have been using the spot and cleaning regularly (no polish) after meals. No change today.  One of the Pin captions said that water gets trapped under the clear coat on the table and the heat removes it.  If so, heat stains are essentially just hot water stains when steam moisture gets underneath vs. cold water rings setting in.  Interesting, if true!  I'm sure it helped that I did something asap, vs. finding it hours later.  Regardless, I'd say this was a Pinterest success for me!  Keep this one in your back pocket, friends.  You may just need it!
Thanks for visiting and sharing in my joy!
Keeping Him in mind,

"Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one in mind." Philippians 2:2

Monday, September 29, 2014

Beefin' Up My Bags!

Lately, I've been stocking up Clearly Candace on Etsy with more party sacks!  I will blame a lot of this on my geeky love for creating the designs.  The software I use is kind of nerdy fun for me.  I have also learned that new/current party themes sell pretty well, if there's not as much else out there.  Boys seem to want the latest greatest themes, and my son is no exception!  It's always the brand new movie/show/character themes that have no party goods in stores they like, forcing moms to turn to Etsy. :) (Can I get an "Amen" moms?) 

My son's party bags were my inspiration as my first trial-and-error Etsy items.  Along the way, I learned a little more about Etsy and licensed characters (I draw my own), and I provide my Ninjago-inspired masks for free. FYI, the "brick company" is a little more nitpicky. ;)

TMNT masks on Etsy in color or black and white

Lately, the bags have been more geared to boys, but I plan to start some girl ideas soon. 
If you missed them, here are my most recent printables...
So, if you know of any kiddos or moms wanting/planning any of these themed birthdays, send them to the shop!  A cheap idea that's easy and creative and fun for the kids! 
Thanks for visiting!
Keeping Him in mind,

1 Peter 4:10

Sunday, September 7, 2014

American Girls and Master Builders

Apologies on a much-delayed birthday celebration post for my kiddos!  It's been a busy Spring/Summer 2014!

It actually happened.  2014 was the first year my kids had actual separate birthday parties!  I cannot believe I managed to make it this long!!  It was a money-saver, but in the end, I knew the separated party demands would come.  Lucky for us, it turned out to be easier than it could have been.

American Girl Store or Bust!

E wanted to go to the American Girl Store, so we planned a trip to see/meet family in DFW, including her little BFF who's grandparents live in Dallas, too.  We met up for an official AG Birthday lunch in their restaurant, complete with party hats and favors.  Afterwards, she got to shop with family and top it off with family pedis! Let's just say her day was MADE! :)

I didn't create anything for this party, believe it or not!  The store provided favors for E and her friend and invitations for the family.  Since we wouldn't be local to home, this really helped make it a fun, low-stress party. SCORE!  I also found a cute "in-theme" gift for her. This adorable Aggie outfit from Etsy for her doll.  It even came from a woman in TXK - my hometown - Crazy!  I think her doll Emily digs it. ;)

Everything Was Awesome!!

Now, I did pull a few things out of my creativity hat for B's party.  He wanted a LEGO Movie-themed sleepover, so we let him invite three friends for a movie out and cake/game time/sleepover.  I found this invitation to hand to his buddies after school. Quick and easy!

Next, I got to work on party favors - my favorite part!  I decided that since there were only 4 boys, I would go bigger.  I came up with an idea for t-shirts to wear to the movie!  Let me tell you, these were--and still are--a HIT with the boys!  They wore them to school every week before summer! :)  For the front, I used my Silhouette to create a Lego cube stencil.  I painted in the stencil with white glow-in-the-dark fabric paint.  I created a Lego font stencil for the back.  I filled the letters with the same glow paint, but added a little black paint for edging to make them pop more.  They took a little longer than I liked, but they turned out well!

To hold the favors, I got yellow beach buckets from Dollar Tree.  I then created Lego Movie character faces using  my Silhouette and applied the black adhesive vinyl faces to the buckets.  I decided on Emmett, Benny, Bad Cop, Lord Business and Wild Style (for sister).  I filled the buckets with the t-shirt, a Lego mini-figure and some candy treats.  For sister (and her friend), instead of a shirt, I hot-glued a Lego piece to a colorful hair bow for some "Wild Style" hair flare. :)

This year and didn't have to (or get to?) to make cakes/cupcakes.  AG made E's cake and both my kids wanted American Cookie Company cakes on their actual birthdays.  No cake-making took a big chunk of time out of party prep, but I was still a little sad they didn't request Mom make a cool cake for their themes. :-/  Oh well...I honestly don't blame them.  I'd eat a cookie cake over a regular cake any day!  I guess they take after mine and Daddy's sweet tooth!

The fun "in-theme" gift for B this year was a small DIY project.  My mom found a golf ball shelf on ebay that we decided we could turn into a Lego mini figure display shelf.  I simply spray painted it black and hot glued 72 black flat square Legos (cheap on ebay) into each hole.  He was pretty stoked about it.  It never got officially hung in TX, but it's now hung up in Montreal!  He likes to use it as the "Think Tank" from the movie where Lord Business had all the Master Builders captured.  :)

And with that, we had another year of successful, fun birthdays!  It did help that they were planned two weeks apart. :)  Now to figure out what to do for their first international birthdays!  A good (or bad?) thing for them is that we will be on Spring Break during both their birthdays.  I vote for an island beach party venue...on a REAL ISLAND! :)  No really...they may have some epic birthdays these next 3 years.  Who wouldn't enjoy taking in some of God's tropical beauty for their birthday? I can hear the ocean waves now....

I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!
Now I am deeply discouraged,
but I will remember you--
I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
But each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.
(‭Psalms‬ ‭42‬:‭5b-6a,7-8‬ NLT)

Thanks for visiting!

With Him in mind,