Motherhood moments and Friendship

March 30, 2014
Every now-and-again, there are moments in motherhood that are totally and completely heart-melting. I think that's what makes being a stay-at-home-mom worth it. Amidst the tantrums, Oatmeal, owies, and watching the same movie over again for the one-millionth time, you experience so many of those moments, and they can occur at any time, even while eating an apple.

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"We need each other." This is the message that came through to me last night as I listened to the (now) semi-annual General Women's Conference**. As women, we need deep, satisfying relationships with each other. What a blessing it is to be a woman and to have the ability to connect with others in that deep and satisfying way, but even though the ability is there, effort is required to bring that quality out. Some people are very shy and asking them to open-up to another woman is like asking them to step outside of everything that makes them who they are and put on an entirely new personality. When we do take that brave step towards friendship and connection with others, it's amazing what can follow.

When I moved into our new home, of course, I was concerned about finding and making friends with my neighbors. In October, another family our age moved in down the road. I spoke with the mother at church and we planned to get our children together for a play date. We got together every day that week and since then have become babysitters for each other, confidants, advisers, and friends. We have developed that deep, meaningful, satisfying relationship.

I pray that my daughter is able to find one of these kinds of relationships and that she can be the person that others look to for that companionship. I hope that each of us take some time to reach out to the women around us and find real friendship. What a blessing it is when you find it.

Have a meaningful, and fulfilling Sunday!

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**For more information about the messages shared during this conference, visit https://www.lds.org/general-conference?lang=eng and be sure to tune in for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints General Conference next week on Saturday and Sunday.
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Tutorial: Curtains/Drapes

March 28, 2014
One of my favorite things about being a part of my family is that I always have someone to ask whenever I have questions, whether it be health-related, child-rearing, self-improvement, or home-improvement. Well, I need a little help in all of those departments every once-in-a-while, especially home-improvement, and it just so happens that one of my sisters is a very talented drape-maker. So I called her up and she explained to me the intricacies of making a for-real quality drape (European-pleated style). Unfortunately, to make said for-real quality drape, it is VERY expensive and would have required me to purchase 16 yards of fabric and almost the same amount of blackout lining. There are a lot of corners that you can cut to be able to afford quality drapes, but not enough for this small-business Etsy-budget mama. So, I had to settle for the small-business Etsy-budget mama's curtains, and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Have a look!

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Just one small step in the direction of Operation: Family Room. Next step is to sell our couch, purchase an entertainment center and a new couch, move our bookshelf upstairs, and get all the cutesy decorations up! It's a slow process, but is progress! My favorite part about these curtains is that when they are closed, there is NO way any light is getting in, which is nice for the days when we don't feel like having a glare on our TV as we watch our favorite movies.

I used this tutorial to help me make my curtains and am extremely pleased with how well these turned out, however, I will offer a couple of tips and comments in addition to this tutorial.

  1. I would hang your curtain rod BEFORE you sew these drapes. That way, you can be more precise about the measurement.
  2. If you're adding a blackout lining to your drapes, they are going to be HEAVY. So purchase a quality curtain rod. Wood is the best, but I was able to get away with a sturdy telescope curtain rod from Home Goods, but would definitely suggest the wooden rods. They have some at Hobby Lobby, if you have one of those nearby. **After a while, I started noticing my center bracket bowing down because of the weight of my drapes. I purchased a reed rod from homegoods after that and two new brackets for either side. The center still bows a little, so I plan on either getting a wood rod, or buying another bracket for the center.**
  3. Adding a blackout lining is a really great idea. In addition to being able to block out ANY light, it is great insulation and will actually save you money in your utility bill. You can buy blackout lining at any fabric store. It's a really heavy, white fabric that feels kind of laminated on one side, and it will be labeled as "blackout lining," or an abbreviated version of it.
  4. When it comes to purchasing your drapery fabric, unless there's a certain fabric that you just HAVE to have, search the clearance section of the stores or buy online. Ebay, fabric.com, Online Fabric Store, and Buyfabrics.com have great options with affordable prices.
  5. If you find a curtain that you really love at Target or wherever, but it doesn't have a blackout lining, consider buying the curtain and just adding the lining. This can save you a ton of money, too!
  6. If you're worried about thread and needle strength, I would suggest using an upholstery needle, or needles used to sew denim. I used all-purpose thread, but there are higher-strength threads if that would make you feel more secure.
  7. You are going to be working with a lot of fabric, so make sure you have a lot of space. I had to move my couches around upstairs to have enough room and it occurred to me afterwards that maybe I should have just ironed on the floor with something underneath to protect my carpet rather than having to mess with all the fabric on my ironing board.
  8. IRON! Don't skip this step. This is very important and will make your life SO much easier if you iron when the tutorial tells you to.
  9. Mitering wasn't too difficult, as is mentioned in the tutorial, but she doesn't explain to you how to do it, and it wasn't easy for me to find an explanation online. I figured it out by just playing around with the corner of the fabric until it looked right, which means I wasn't really paying attention to exactly how I did it, but start by folding the bottom corner up and underneath the fabric and go from there.
Other than that, these curtains really aren't too difficult to make, and they are so worth it! I ended up spending $63.00 on my fabric and maybe around $30.00 for blackout lining (Use those coupons for Jo-Ann's, friends!). Altogether, I got some high-quality drapes that I LOVE for barely $100.00.

I can't wait to get the rest of the family room together and will be sure to keep you updated. Good luck with all your sewing and other projects. Keep creating and being the amazing you that you are!

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I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

March 23, 2014
So what do you think of the new look?
I decided to go with a brighter, springy-er look and I'm feeling bright and optimistic already. I love the spring!

I also decided that my "I believe" tab needed some brushing up, and it's been a really great experience to be able to write my testimony and be able to share it, which is what I want to do right now. Thanks for being my reader!



March 23, 2014:
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I believe in and worship the Savior, Jesus Christ. I believe in the institution of the family, that marriage is between a man and a woman legally and lawfully wed. I believe that Joseph Smith went into a grove of trees in Palmyra, New York, the spring of 1820, to pray and saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I believe that he was given the location of golden plates which he translated into the Book of Mormon. I know that what is written in that book is true, and that it testifies of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and tells the history of a people in the Americas who were also visited by Jesus. There has never been a truer book written than the Book of Mormon.

I know that my Savior lives. I know that he lived, taught the gospel, was a perfect example, and then allowed himself to experience pain beyond imagination to atone for the sins of all of us. He then allowed himself to be taken, scourged, hung on a cross, and killed. Three days later, He rose from the dead and was resurrected. I am so grateful for His willingness to suffer for me. I know that He loves me because of his sacrifice, and that through obedience and also through grace that I can be saved to live with Him again.

I testify that all who wish to have this same knowledge can, if they will simply open their hearts and read the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. If you will read with an open heart and contrite spirit, you will feel of His love and come to know Him. This will bring you greater joy and peace than you have ever experienced. I know this to be true because I have felt it. When I read the Book of Mormon, I feel His love and I feel the spirit testify to me that it is true. I thank the Lord for this revelation and for the presence of His spirit in my life. I know these things to be true, and I will always testify of them in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.



If you would like more information about the Book of Mormon, like to receive a free copy of the Book of Mormon, or learn more of what Mormons believe, visit http://www.mormon.org/ or contact the missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
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TIPS FOR PAINTING FURNITURE CONT'D

March 22, 2014
Since I posted yesterday, I have gotten a lot of extra tips and ideas from friends who know. This is EXACTLY the response I wanted. Thanks everyone for your extra tips and ideas, and be sure to check back with the original post, as I will be adding new notes as they come. Thanks everyone for your help and keep it coming! So glad I get to learn from all of you pros!

Have a great weekend!

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DIY: TIPS FOR PAINTING FURNITURE

March 21, 2014
dressercollage02

I was a first-timer when it came to painting furniture and I was SUPER nervous about it. Do I sand the piece of furniture first? How many coats should I do? Should I spray-paint, roller-paint, or just use a paint-brush? What kind of paint should I get? I had no idea, so I called my sister to ask for advice. Here's what she said:

Purchase some sandpaper and sand down the surfaces of the furniture that you're going to paint. Just enough to remove any of the lacquer and make it so that paint will adhere to it.
Buy some Behr Premium paint plus primer (I'm sure any brand of paint will do as long as it's strong paint plus primer) and apply with a brush. Foam brushes are very nice for the hard-to-reach areas.
Apply several coats.

Here's what I did:
I went to Home Depot and bought some Klean-Strip sander and de-glosser and applied two coats with a rag. Then I used a paint brush to apply the paint (behr premium plus primer). I ended up painting three coats over everything with the paint brush except for the detailing, for which I mostly used a foam brush. I finished off with two coats of Polyurethane to, hopefully, protect the paint job from chips etc. The whole process took me three days to complete.

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The dresser didn't turn out too badly, but definitely didn't go the way I expected. Here are my tips and suggestions.

1. Patience:
Take the time to clean up your furniture before you get started, removing knobs, dusting, etc. Accept that this project is going to take a few days and BE PATIENT! Don't try and rush the drying process of the coats or you WILL regret it.

2. Sandpaper:
Stick with sandpaper. When I finished applying two GENEROUS coats of the liquid sander (Klean-STrip sander and de-glosser), I still wasn't sure if it had done it's job and decided to go ahead with the painting, and I think it would have been better if I had just sanded the whole thing myself. You don't have to sand it down to its bones, but make sure you sand it enough so that the paint will be able to adhere.

3. Paint Brush:
The problem with using a paint brush is that it leaves lines where you paint from the bristles. You can eliminate this by sanding between each coat of paint (a fact I learned AFTER I had already finished). Sanding after each coat is a good idea anyway, especially if you're an impatient painter and you end up with paint-run lines and some bits of dried paint fused to your furniture. Some sandpaper and a new coat will fix that for you.

4. Spray Paint:
I haven't tried spray-painting furniture before, but I've been told that you can fore-go the streaks  if you use spray-paint instead. Rustoleum from Home Depot is a good brand to go with for spray-painting furniture.

5. Roller:
A roller will eliminate any lines, as well, but may end up leaving a splotchy look on your furniture. It did on mine, and I decided I'd rather have lines than splotch.

6. Foam Brush:
They are very useful for any detailing in your furniture and for those hard-to-reach places.
**Note: There are also foam roller brushes that you can use that are less likely to make your project splotchy and are great for small projects, but might be a little too small for bigger projects.

7. Coats:
3-5 coats of paint ought to do the trick! This may vary depending on whether you decide to sand or not.

8. Polyurethane:
Polyurethane leaves a nice shiny coating over all the work you've done, but not too shiny. I used the medium shine for my project (there are three types, one that's really shiny, one that's not very shiny, and one that is in the middle). The can suggests three coats, but I just used two and I think it's fine. Added bonus! the Polyurethane smells A LOT better than paint.

**Disclaimer! I was just notified that Polyurethane does have a tendency to yellow over time whether it is water-based or oil-based. I don't know from experience, but I think to be safe, next time I'll do without.

9. Cost:
I ended up spending around $60 for all the products I needed for this project (sander/de-glosser, paint, Polyurethane, paint brush, and rollers). The price for your project will probably vary by what you already have, especially if you already have brushes and sand-paper.

Hope your project exceeds your expectations and that you can keep your patience throughout the process. Also, here are a couple of the pins I wish I had remembered before I started painting with some good advice.

http://www.ruthiehart.com/2012/05/diy-desk-makeover.html
http://www.allthingsthrifty.com/2010/08/everything-i-know-about-spray-paint.html

Good luck, and I'll see you next week. I can't wait to show you how my maternity shirt turned out. See you next week!

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P.S. Also, I have a girlfriend who apparently is very experienced with painting furniture. Why, oh why did I not think to ask her for advice? Lucky for you, she has a blog.

http://theaquaowlblog.weebly.com/20/post/2014/03/paint-tips-for-beginners.html
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BLOGLOVIN

March 17, 2014
Apparently my bloglovin account was deleted or something. To claim my blog in my "new" account with bloglovin, I have to paste a code. So a short and sweet blog post just inviting you to follow me on bloglovin if you aren't already. Sound good? Good. See you later this week!

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/11032483/?claim=r79jt9jpkj5">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

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THE NESTING INSTINCT

March 14, 2014
You know what my favorite part about pregnancy is? The nesting instinct. After about 4.5 months of having absolutely no desire to do any of the things I usually love to do, all of a sudden it's all back, and with a force! Seriously. It's the best.

I've missed blogging so much and am looking forward to making up for lost time. I've got A LOT of fun projects in the works (nesting instinct, remember?). Here's a preview of what you have to look forward to:

1. How-to and how-not-to paint your furniture
2. Re-style your man's t-shirt: Maternity
3. How-to sew your own maternity shirt
4. How-to make a tulle skirt
5. How-to prepare your kids for the hard times: A lesson from the parents who raised 12
6. Various updates on the family and beautifying the house

I am so grateful for this time of pregnancy where everything is exciting and beautiful again! I've missed the feeling of creativity and beauty in my life. Thanks to all of you readers who have asked me how I've been and expressed your desire to have me back. It's good to be here. Promise I'll post pictures of the growing tummy plus all the goody-pregnant information soon, but be patient with me. I may have to jump back into this slowly, but jump - I shall!

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