August 30, 2013


I would never classify myself as a camper. Not that I don't enjoy it, I just haven't had much opportunity for it. The times that I did go camping, it normally involved cabins, lodges, showers, fresh water, etc., although I did participate in a survivor three-day camping trip once. Remind me to tell you about that sometime. It was legit.
I actually really enjoy camping, and one of our family goals this summer was to go on a little camping trip. With only a weekend standing between us and "summer's end," as defined by pre-college students in Davis County, we decided to take our trip last weekend with Drew's sister and her husband. Despite being rained on, almost the entire time, dinner being served at 9:00 because the meat took WAY too long to cook, not being able to have a fire because of the rain, and eating s'mores raw (which is actually not too bad, by-the-way), we all had a great time. In fact, C had SUCH a great time that she actually stayed up until 10:30! Wahoo! Seriously, she was wired.

Poker face.

Did you check off most of the summer activities on your to-do list?
Thanks for another great adventure, Lauren and Josh! Have a great weekend, all! And don't forget about the giveaway that Chelsea's hosting over at The Girl who Loved to Write. I'm giving away one of my maxi skirts in gray, so you DON'T want to miss this. Later!

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August 28, 2013


So... after spending literally weeks googling HTML codes to make the perfect layout for my blog, I found out that my brother just so happens to be a MASTER-MIND when it comes to HTML code. Slap on the forehead, cough on the water you're drinking, slip on a banana peel, and miss the last step. But give me a break. It's hard to keep track of 11 siblings and their thousands of skills and talents! Wish I had known this sooner.
In any case, since beginning my blog about a year ago, I've done a lot of blog designing (and re-designing) and learned a few things. When I first started (BEFORE I knew that my darling brother was a genius), I was lucky enough to have a blogging friend introduce some of the basics of blogging and html code to me, which was a HUGE blessing since I knew as much about blogging as Miley Cyrus knows about restraint.
Anyway, I've learned a few things that I thought might be helpful for other beginning bloggers and renovators out there.
One of the first things I learned when I started to become more serious with my blogging was how to make a blog button.

Step 1: Size
Before you start deciding on what picture you want for your blog button, you need to decide on size. Since you're probably kind of new to this, a good idea would be to visit some of your favorite blogs to see what size buttons they offer and consider offering the same. I offer a 200x200 pixels blog button, 200x150, and 200x120. Consider these sizes when you're deciding what photo to use. For instance:

This is a great photo, but if I were trying to make a 200x150 pixels button...
As you can see, this photo would not be the best option, although works well for a 200x200 button.
*Note: A lot of blogs use passionfruit for their ads now, but it's a good idea to have a few button options available on your blog for others who want your button to appear on theirs.

Step 2: Resize, Crop, Edit
Once you've decided the size and selected your photo, you need to make it the correct size. You can use any photo editing program (heck, you could use paint if you wanted), but I would suggest creating an account with Photobucket because you will need an online program that will give you an html code for photos that you upload.
Whatever program you use, you will resize, crop, and edit your photo until it looks "just right!" (PicMonkey
is a great site that allows you to edit photos without having to make an account and is one of my favorites to use).
Step 3: Photobucket
Now that your photo is resized, cropped, and edited to your liking, you will upload it to photobucket. Click on the orange upload button...

select the photo from your files to upload...

then, click on your newly uploaded photo beneath the video ad, and you will be taken to your photo.
*Note: Be sure that you upload your photo to the file on your photobucket where you want it. It will automatically upload to your library, but can be moved. If you want it in a different file, move it now.

Step 4: HTML code
In the right sidebar, just under the advertisement, there's a box that says "Links to share this photo." Click on the code next to HTML and it will automatically copy the code for you.

Open notepad and paste the html code there. It should look kind of like this:
*Note: using a word document for HTML coding is the worst method of coding because sometimes it changes things around so that the code won't work. i used Word in this case for visibility. Notepad is best.
The first part after <a href= " is the website the button will take you to if you click on the picture. Copy your blog web address and paste it between the quotation marks.

My example - I changed what was in red:
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt=" photo 2013-04-30203704200x200_zps5178699a.jpg"/></a>

What mine looks like now:
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt=" photo 2013-04-30203704200x200_zps5178699a.jpg"/></a>

*Note: Do NOT eliminate the quotation marks around your website, and don't forget the "http://" before your web address, either.

The target="_blank" that comes after the website means that when you click on the button, it will open a new tab in the reader's search engine to view the site. To make it so that the reader will be taken to the site without opening a new tab, simply remove target="_blank".

Your button is now finished! Send this new HTML code to your blogging friend and they can paste it with the rest of their buttons.

Having a button is good, but now you need a text box beneath it for easy access.

Step 1: Code
This is the code you will need. The first part in red is the code for your button that we just created. The second part in orange and pink is the code for the text box that will go underneath your button. The blue is the orientation of the button and text.

<a href="" target="_blank" title="Chevron &amp; Lace"><img alt="200x200Button" border="0" src="" /></a> <center>
<textarea cols="13" id="code-source" name="code-source" rows="3"><center>
<a href=""target="_blank"><img border="0" src="" border="0" alt="200x200Button"></a> </center>

Paste your button code that we just made over the red text and again over the orange text, but LEAVE THE PINK AS IT IS. If you want your button and text box to be oriented to the left or right, simply replace all of the times it says center (in blue and some in pink) with left or right.

Step 2: Paste
Copy your new HTML code, the one you just made, and paste it where you want it to appear on your blog.

Good luck in your blogging! Was this helpful? Leave a comment if you have problems and/or questions.

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August 26, 2013


With fall just around the corner and some leftover fabric, it was only logical that I make Chelsea some leggings for extra warmth. Unfortunately, it appears that I made the lime green ones a little too soon because she's growing right out of them! Are we sure that children aren't actually Grow-in-Water toys?

You will need:
1 model pair of leggings
Stretchy fabric (amount is dependent on your child's leg-length)
Double, or Twin needle (opt. but highly recommended)
Pattern paper (opt. but recommended)
3/4" elastic

*Note: Double, or Twin needles are really nice because they make your finished product look more neat. It creates two straight stitches on the top of the fabric and a zig-zag stitch underneath, so it really does three steps in one!

Step 1: Create Pattern
Lay your model leggings out flat, then fold them in half on your pattern paper. Align the legs with the straight edge of your pattern paper, then draw around them with 1/4" s.a. down the bottom to the crotch, and the crotch to the feet. Add an extra 1.5" to the top of the pants, and 1" to the legs. Cut out your pattern.

Step 2: Cut
Fold your fabric in half lengthwise. Pin your pattern piece to the fabric with the straight side on the fold. Cut out the fabric. Repeat this step to create another leg for the leggings.

Step 3: Hem
Lay both leg pieces out flat. Hem the legs of the pants by folding the bottom of the legs under 1" and using a double needle to sew in place with 3/4" s.a. If you don't have a double needle, fold the legs under twice at .5 inch and use a straight stitch to sew in place.

Step 4: Crotch and Bottom
Lay one pant leg out flat with the right side up, and lay the other pant leg on top of it with the right side facing down (right-sides together). Pin the two pieces together along the front and back where the crotch and bottom will be. Use a straight stitch to sew, followed by a zig-zag stitch on the outside of the straight seam to prevent fraying, or use a double needle, both with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Step 5: Legs
Now, with right sides still facing each other, lay out the leggings so that you are no longer looking at the side of the pants, but the behind of the pants, or the front. Pin each leg to itself and use a straight stitch and zig-zag stitch, or a double needle to go around the legs and crotch to sew closed.

Step 6: Waist
Measure how long your child is around the waist using a measuring tape, or just holding the elastic around her waist to see how wide she is (My daughter is 19"). Set the elastic aside. Fold the top of the leggings under 1.5 inches and use a double needle to sew around the entire pant opening except for two inches in the back (fold the top of the leggings down 1" and then .5" under if you're using a straight stitch).

Step 7: Elastic
Slide your elastic through the casing (the tube that's now in the waistband). Overlap the ends by 1 inch and zig-zag stitch them together. Then sew the 2-inch bit of waistband that you left open to insert the elastic closed, with the elastic safely inside.

Get ready for fall! It's crazy how much faster time goes when you've got little ones, don't you think?

I can't believe that school is already starting again and that fall is nearly upon us! For some people, the beginning of the school year is exciting, and for some, it's not. Either way, be sure to stop bThe Girl Who Loved to Write and enter the giveaway. It's sure to brighten your back-to-school mood! Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing!

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August 23, 2013


TA-DA! Welcome to my new blog look! I have been DYING to get it up, but decided to wait until today so that I could work out some kinks. It's been quite the learning experience, in SO many ways!
Have you ever found yourself browsing through your favorite blogs and finding one that made you think, "Oh! I love the look of this one! I want mine to look like that!" Then you go to your blog, mess around a bit until you've made almost a complete replica of your "inspiration" blog.
Growing up as the last of twelve children has made me a master copier. I always wanted to dress just like my best friend, Robyn in elementary school so that we could be twins the next day, until her mom asked me to stop calling so late at night, or early in the morning. In high school, when I would decide what to wear, I'd think, "Do I want to look like Jessica today, Liz, or Linz?" And then there were the extra-curricular activities. Of course, I enjoyed all of them, but a lot of the reason I even considered participating in them was because someone else in my family did it.
So when I came across this article, I knew it applied to me. I had recently completely re-designed my blog after my "inspiration" blog when I read this and realized that what I was doing was copying someone else's art. Sure, the colors were different, but if the artist of my inspiration blog were to stop by my blog, she would recognize it in a second.
Not only did I experience the graphic-designing-artist-copy-cat guilt trip of a lifetime, but I was faced with the dilemma of discovering my own identity. Not only of how my blog looks, but of who I am as a blogger. Am I a fashion blogger? A tutorial blogger? A lifestyle blogger? What am I? Have any of you ever experienced this dilemma?
I'm a think-talker. Talking to people helps me think things out, which actually turns into a breached dam of speech-no filter. And that's why I called my mom. In the midst of my waterfall of words, I discovered that what I do best and enjoy more than anything are the things I do every day (doi!). Although I still love shopping and traveling, they're not really what make me, ME. Plus, I don't have the funds to be a for-real fashion or traveling blogger Maybe someday I'll get more into that, but that's not who I am right now.
No, what I enjoy most is sewing, teaching, graphic designing and photography (a slowly developing talent), and my family. And thus, I came to the conclusion that I will no longer to try to be something I am not, or show a side of me on my blog that I am not.
So, welcome to my blog, readers. I am me, and you are you. Let's get to know each other. Show what we're most proud of, share what we learn, and admit our mistakes. That's what blogging (and social media in general) are for, right? Thanks for stopping by today. I look forward to getting to know you. Please leave a comment with your own blog, instagram, twitter, etc. I would love to meet you.


P.S. I reserve the right to re-design my blog at any time to fit the style that I feel like, because I'm still trying to find what I like best. Thank you!

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August 21, 2013


Before I left for college, my dad sat me down and taught me five principles, or steps that would ensure my  success in college. He taught these steps to my siblings as well and, so far, we have all graduated from college having done well, and have been successful in our careers.

      1. Don't skip class
photo c/o
One of the best things about college is that, in most cases, teachers don't take attendance, and that's great for emergencies so that you don't get penalized, but don't skip class just because you slept in, didn't get your homework done, etc. etc.

      2. Do your homework
photo c/o My Eclectic Loft
It is a psychological fact that reviewing what you've learned in class especially within 20 minutes after learning it, will help you retain the information better. Thus, homework is good to help you remember, and although teachers may not take attendance, they do count homework. If you don't do your homework, your grade will suffer.

      3. Sit in front
Every elementary school kid knows that they can get away with more if they sit in the back of the bus and classroom. In college, it's the same case. The further away you sit, the more likely you are to talk with neighbors, fall asleep, play games on your computer, whatever. The closer you sit to the front, the better you will perform in academics.

      4. Take notes
Note-taking is a really difficult skill to master. When I took Psych 111 at BYU-I, my teacher offered to review our notes and point out the mistakes we were making in note-taking. I went in to see him and find out. He looked over my notes and pointed out one of the notes I took and asked me what he had said that made me take that note. When I tried to explain it, I couldn't because I had forgotten and the note I had made didn't explain it in a way that I would remember. Try a couple of different note-taking methods and decide which one works the best for you, whether it's Cornell-note style, bullet points, numbers and letters, or even pictures help sometimes! Didn't know there were so many ways to take notes, did you?

      5. Read ahead
No one likes to hear this one. You have a hard enough time keeping up with the class as it is, and now you need to read ahead? When you read ahead, you are mentally preparing yourself for the material to come. You go into class with a little confidence and you'll find yourself thinking "I remember that" as he's teaching/lecturing. This will also help you prepare questions about the material that you didn't understand in the reading.

If you follow these steps, I guarantee you will do well in school. You don't have to be perfect all the time with them, but do your best. I would add one more item to the list: Get a tutor. If you're having a little bit of a tough time in a class, get a tutor. A lot of schools provide these for free (at least, BYU-I did) and having a tutor is not something to be ashamed of. College is a luxury that not everyone can afford. Treat it that way. Put in the effort because you've paid for it, and because it's worth it. Do not get stuck in that idea of entitlement, and don't take this experience for granted.
I have one last bit of advice to give you. Most students go through a period of uncertainty where they change their majors a few times until they finally decide what they want to do. That is TOTALLY normal and understandable, but just keep in mind that every major has at least one class that you will not love. Just because you didn't love the English Lit. class required to be an English-Creative Writing major, does not mean that Creative Writing isn't for you, or, in my case, just because cultural diversity is a huge waste of time because all they tell you is not to use racial slurs and to talk to the parents to try to understand their beliefs, doesn't mean that Elementary Education is not for you. Don't give up just because one class deflated you. Remember the reasons why you've chosen your major and go forward with your decision.

 Thanks for the steps to success, Dad!
Hard is good. Just another thing my parents taught me that I hated, but was (and is) true. Good luck, and have fun at school!

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August 19, 2013


Even though I went to college THE DAY after graduation, I still had some time between summer semester and fall semester to enjoy the summer, and I got to take the summer memories with me. One of the best tips I can give you is this:
Don't spend spend so much time looking forward to the beginning of school that you forget that there's still one (two, three, whatever) weeks left of summer break.

No one in our family is starting school this year, but it still affects us (mostly because everyone else is and none of them will have time to do fun stuff anymore), so we're soaking in the summer-time sun and fun while we can. Here's what we did this weekend:

We played in a couple of bounce houses (for maybe 10 seconds each)
We met (and pet) a 14-foot python and a hungry tortoise!
We also met Captain Jack Sparrow on his ship, The Black Pearl, and Leo the Lion of Real Salt Lake!
Well, I was excited to meet Leo. Maybe Chelsea will like him more in a couple of years.
And then, on our way home from the BBQ, we saw an estate sale and met two fine cowboys, a bounty hunter and a giant roadrunner!
But this is why we REALLY stopped.
Can't stand in the way of a man and his love for cars!

My point is, be spontaneous and willing to step out of your comfort zone. Maybe you'll learn more about life and about yourself. Be willing to try new things and make some memories. I always get excited for the first day of school,  but when January comes around and the snow is almost more than I can bear, it's the summer memories that keep me warm (CHEESE!) Keep it real!

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August 16, 2013


Ever since I was born, and all throughout high school, my mother woke up to make our family breakfast before school. We were really lucky that way. Some mornings we just had cereal, but for the most part, we had really good breakfasts. Waffles, Cream of Wheat, eggs, oatmeal with toast, etc. On our birthdays, Mom made us pancakes. One pancake for each year we were old, and we were expected to eat all of them (she made them smaller as we grew older so that we could).
This week's favorite foods linkup is for breakfast, and I want to share a pancake recipe. This recipe is for Cinnamon Banana Pancakes and is the BEST way to wake up in the morning (although waffles are really good, too)!

What do you like to eat for breakfast? Grab a Favorite Foods linkup button and join in the fun! It's a great way to meet new friends and get new followers. Plus, I'll be viewing your recipes and compiling them into a Blogger's Favorites recipe download for anyone who wants it, so be sure to tell your friends!

  • You must link the actual website of the recipe, not just your blog.
  • You must paste the favorite foods button somewhere within the recipe post.
  • You must share the recipe in the post that you link to, not just pictures of the outcome, because that's just mean!
You have all week to linkup and I can't wait to see your recipes! Happy cooking!

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