Trish!!!!!  She is the new owner of a Grace sign.  Here is the verse she picked:

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned to me by the Lord Jesus- the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
Acts 20:24
This was our theme verse on a house building trip to Mexico a few summers back.  We translated it to Spanish and put it on t-shirts.  Love it!  Thank you to everyone for sharing verses with me.  I loved every single one.  Keep on the lookout for more giveaways in the future.   If you have a word you want to see on a sign let me know.  I am always on the hunt for new ideas.
How yummy is this package?  I didn't want to open it... until I ripped into it to look inside. Hurry over to Lemon Tree Studio.  She makes gorgeous cards and goodness.  I am putting this up in Lulu's room... I will post pics later.
What are these little treasures for?  Keep your EYES open to see in the next few days.
This is what I bombarded my mailman with today.  Craziness!  I had the best weekend ever at Etsy.  Yippee!  Thank you to everyone who bought signs from me.  They are excited to find new homes.  The car insurance bill came just in time to eat up all of the money.  (It was right on top of the Pottery Barn Kids catalog I reluctantly put in the trash.  I didn't want to get to depressed.  Or covet.)

Spring time brings trouble around here.  I literally have to go straight from the mailbox to the trash can when the Pottery Barn catalogs come.  Fall, not tempted, Winter, no thanks... but stinky Spring brings out the colors and accessories that could very well steer us straight to the poorhouse.  In honor of all things beachy and aiming for all things free... Ms. Martha has cooked up some stunning nautical downloads perfect for cards and photos.  Enjoy!

Today sign ups start for a sweet little summer apron swap at A Feathered Nest (super cute blog!)  I am going to make this ruffled yumminess done up in Ginger Blossom fabric for the swap.  Who wants to sign up?
Speaking of Ginger Blossom, I wanted to post a pic of what I sent out for my first swap to my new bloggy friend Joy of Joy-full-ness.  I loved making everything in this swap and the fabric is just too yummy for words.  Check out her fun Etsy shop.  It has just what you need to sass up your summer beach bags and hats.
This little package of Paris is going off to Cynthia.  I would put some fancy sounding French words to describe it, but I only know a bit of Spanish.  Why are all things Paris so whimsical and romantic?  It is part of the Sweet Goodness Swaps.  They run fun theme swaps quite regularly... head over to their blog and get on their email list.

Last night the girls' grandma wanted to spend some time with them.  J and I didn't have any plans and didn't feel like going to a movie or out to dinner.  We decided to do something we haven't done since Halley was born, we went to the beach to simply to watch the sunset.  For the first time in four years we actually got to sit in beach chairs and be still. Don't get me wrong, I adore taking the kids to the beach.  But the entire time we are up, playing, building castles and keeping them from drowning.  When we were poor starving college students almost all of our dates were at the beach together.  We picked up 99cent burritos from a little hole in the wall, worked on our homework, took naps and read the Bible.  We are planning more date nights here in the future.  It is so crazy how something so simple is so perfect.  A family of dolphins swam by as we sat and I wished I had my real camera instead of my husband's iPhone.  But then again, the pic quality on the iPhone isn't too shabby.

Are you searching through your Bible concordances for Faith, Grace and Hope verses?  I am enjoying the verses that have been shared with me and I am looking forward to reading more.  A sign is in need of a good home.  Is it yours?

Everyone in this house is sick.  It is way too hot outside and I am borderline grumpy.  I need a treat so I decided instead I will give one away.  I absolutely love to see the Bible through other people's eyes.  I could pass over a verse hundreds of times, but when somebody shares that same exact verse with me it completely ministers to my heart in a way I wasn't expecting.  I am looking for verses with the themes of Faith, Hope or Grace.  Type me your full favorite verse in the comments section and I will randomly pick a winner on Wednesday April 30th.  The special winner will get a sign sent to them that says the same word as their verse.  Get your Bibles out!  Get a treat!

I came across this great site which will make you think twice about the cosmetics in your house.  I look at my sweet girls with their extremely sensitive skin and all I want to do is use the safest products possible.  For me it meant starting from scratch which was difficult, but I think ultimately worth it.  Cosmetic Database will tell you the danger level of any product and you can make a decision if it is safe for your family.  I found this cute body wash at Target today.  I can promise you that it smells better than anything I have ever used and I don't have to worry that it is damaging their little bodies.  Tub time kiddos!

This morning I woke up to screaming.  Terror.  Inconsolable crying.  Why?  Because my daughter who loves order and absolutely panics when anything is broken, kicked a hole through the netting on her bed rail.  "MOMMMMMYYYYYY FIIIXXXXXX  ITTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!"  How do you even begin to fix weird shredded stretchy netting?  Did I feel like going to Babies R Us (2o minutes away) buying a new one ($30) and killing an hour building it (if you have one you know how horrible that is)? Not really.  

So I got out some fabric and made this little cover.  About a 1 on the easy scale... the rail was the exact width of the fabric.  The best part, the girls played nicely (fought, screamed and destroyed the entire house) the whole time I was sewing.  Love that.  Now she can nap in peace while I undo the disaster they created.

I was tagged by Sofee and it goes like this:  grab the book nearest you, go to page 123, cound down five sentences and type the next three sentences. We have a little table with cubbies next to the computer where we keep some of our Bibles (my husband loves different translations, sizes etc... we have a lot).  I picked the one on top and here it goes:

Yes, I have heard the complaints the Israelites are making against me.  Now tell them this: 'As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very things I heard you say.  You will all drop dead in this wilderness!  Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die.  You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you.'  
Numbers 14:27-30

How glad are you that we have Jesus?  By his grace we are free from the law.  Every time I read the Old Testament I take a look at what I think are "problems" in my life and realize I have it pretty good.  I much prefer the knowledge that I am going to heaven than the fear that I "will drop dead in the wilderness."

A simple explanation of this complex word is this: being given something that you do not deserve.  I am daily humbled by the fact that I am saved by the grace of God.   I want so badly to live a life that extends grace to those I come in contact with.

"So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus."
Ephesians 2:7
For those who daily show me grace, thank you.  Your example inspires me to do the same.

My friend bought fabric (how cute is it?!) and asked me to sew a duvet cover for her son's new "big boy bed".  Of course I said yes, duvets are super easy and she is a dear friend.  Today as the girls slept I finished it. For a few seconds I thought it would be fun to have a boy someday.  She came to pick it up and look what she brought me.  Not kidding!  I have secretly wanted a Coach purse forever, but I would never ever buy one for myself. I don't even think I could beg for one as a huge group birthday & Christmas gift.  She was done with hers and graciously passed it along to me.  I am so happy I don't even believe it is real!
So, if you have fabric and would like me to take a Coach bag off your hands I will gladly sew anything for you!

Our little Lulu has some crazy hair.  She won't wear clips, bows or pigtails ( I have learned my lesson after she sneakily pulled out and lost over a dozen) and her hair is quickly approaching a messy mullet.  It is always in her eyes and one side constantly sticks straight out.  I am trying to figure out if she needs a little trim.  It is so hard to think of cutting any of it off since it has taken every day of her last two years to grow the little that she has.  My sweet friend has offered to trim it tomorrow night into a "sassy bob" not sure how sassy or bobby thin, practically nonexistent hair can be.  We'll see.

How fun is the frame on this picture?  I have more time-wasting photo tools for you here.  My next project is making a photo mosaic of all of my fabric choices for custom orders.  I thought I could only make one in Photoshop, but hooray for free and easy.  Enjoy.
P.S.  We didn't put Lulu in a cage... she is in the Sun Wheel at Disney's California Adventure, she just acted like we put her in one.

I just discovered Etsy's new feature called Alchemy.  You can basically put a request in for whatever you would like made, list the price you are willing to pay, and then sit back and wait.  Very soon your inbox will be filled with ideas and bids on how your item can be created.  It is truly collaborative and a brilliant way to have something handmade as well as custom.  
I have been frustrated for months about my diaper clutch dilemma.  I suppose I could have figured out how to make something like this, but it was so much more fun to state the fabric and dimensions I wanted and have it show up at my door days later.  Debi made this for me and it is finally the answer to my problems.  It comfortably fits 3 diapers and a 1/2 full pack of Costco baby wipes (best wipes ever... worth the price of membership alone).  I can just throw it in my purse and I am set for the day.  If you are thinking "I wish I had...." give Alchemy a try.  The worst that could happen is somebody will make it for you! 

Look at this sweet little baby spoon.  I ordered it as a gift for a little girl's first birthday and I am just in love.  My girls are too old to use one, but imagine how cute one would look in their shadowboxes.  Lisa Leonard designs and creates many different kinds of hand stamped jewelry that make the most thoughtful gifts.  I could literally buy one (or more) of every single item. On top of all of that goodness, her blog is so beautiful and always inspiring.

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19

Did you know that there is a Bible verse that corresponds to every day of the year?  It is called Birth Verse and you can just type in the birthday and it will tell you the verse.  I am going to print out the ones for our family and put them in frames.  They all are great encouragement and promise type verses. 

Here is some pics from the Celebrate Banner Swap I participated in.  Can you tell which one is mine?  (Bottom row, second from the right) The bottom half is a chalkboard and one just like it will be in my shop soon.  It would be perfect for those days where you want to celebrate, but don't have decorations for.  (Arbor Day is coming up!)  I am enjoying these fun swaps and just was told about an awesome site called Swapdex to find upcoming crafty-trading goodness.  Go celebrate!

I found this recipe card download a few weeks ago and fell in love.  I saved it to my computer with hopes that someday I would learn how to put words on pictures.  Along came Picnik and cute fonts ensued!  This literally took two minutes to whip up.  I could print it out at home (even though my printer is evil and wastes ink) or where I get my pics normally printed.  How fun would a set of your family's favorite foods be on these beauties.  Oh, the above dip is from my friend Richelle and it is sure to be the hit of your next gathering.  Look for more of these to come.  As I compile my favorites I will post them.  Enjoy!

I have been eyeing this apron pattern for months and finally broke down and bought it.  What finally helped me click "Buy" was the two yards of fabric that came with it.  See my favorite birdies?  The chocolate version is near impossible to find and I couldn't resist.  It will match my kitchen perfectly.    Hopefully I can pull it off.  It has some tricky trim that I have never tried.
I have been using up my random buttons for these fun and easy cards I found from the eye candy blog How About Orange.  I will be including them as a thank you treat in all of my Etsy orders.  I highly recommend using Zots for the buttons.  I am too impatient for glue and Zots are my go to adhesive for all embellishments.  
This is where I would love to post pics of the girls in something from Whimsy Ranch.  Instead I will show you my lame new hubcap.  I guess in all other states you can find your hubcap waiting for you on the side of the road where it fell off.  In California people find them and then sell them on Ebay.

Halley and Critter are inseparable.  They spent the day together at Disney's California Adventure and only separated when we went to the water park.  We have a rule for the girls that if they want a new animal or doll in their beds they have to kick one out.  Critter gave Sleeping Beauty the boot.  Sleeping Beauty used to get invited to Disneyland too...  I hope she isn't bitter, but Critter is cuter and cozier.  Thanks C!

I am in awe of the goodness of our amazing Lord.  I am humbled just to stand back and witness His mighty hand at work, orchestrating circumstances that without Him would be impossible, and then seeing His faithfulness bestowed on His children.  My dear friends met their new son yesterday.  The son that God created and chose for them to raise.  Praise Jesus for turning sorrow to joy.

"Yet I am confident I will see  the Lord's 
goodness while I am in the land of the living."
Psalm 27:13

I am learning to stop saying "I will never..." when it comes to my kids and parenting.  I am humbled by how clueless I actually was an still am.  I have eaten my words a thousand times over and although there are many things I still will not compromise on, there are a few that in the scope of the world don't really matter.  

Example one:  "My kids will NEVER wear character clothes."  Pretty easy when you only have one and they don't talk yet.  Much different when there are two of them and they talk a lot!  It started like this... character (i.e. princess) pajamas. Okay.  Princess costumes only when we are at Disneyland.  Okay.  Princess costumes in the car on the way to drive-thru Starbucks when mom is having a hard day.  Okay.  School.  No.  Church.  No.  On Lucy.  No.  Character socks from the Target dollar section when you are wearing pants and shoes.  Maybe, but only if the pants are long enough to cover them.  
So, all was fine and figured out until I bought Lucy Elmo socks at Target.  She watches Sesame Street at her Grandma and Grandpa's and has a huge crush on the red furry cuteness that is Elmo.  What did she say when I put them on her?  "Thank you mommy!  You are so special!  I love you so much for compromising your snobby values and buying me these!"  Not really.  It went more like this:  "Mommy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Make me Elmo dress! ELLLLLLLLMMMMMMMMOOOOOOOOOO DRESS!!!!!!"  Then buckets of tears, throwing herself on the ground and a good long sit in the naughty chair where she promptly ripped off the evil socks.  
I realized in the midst of her spicy drama that she has never asked me to make her anything.  Many mornings Halley will wake up and ask "What did you sew me when I was sleeping?"  Most days I have something to show her.  So I went to Joann's with a semi-open mind in the hunt for Elmo fabric that I don't hate.  I don't like this fabric, but I can tolerate it.  At home.  At grandma's.  At the Starbucks drive-thru.  For anywhere else it reverses to red and white polka dots.  Elmo safely hidden inside.

15 new high school leader are coming over for dinner.  Do I:
A.  take a shower
B.  Put away laundry so there will be a couch to sit on
C.  Clean up the tornado that two toddlers bring.
D.  Draft a new pattern and start sewing a new dress?
Guess which one I picked?  Guess the look on my husband's face when he came home from work to a crazy house and me sitting at the sewing machine.

It is a billion degrees here today.  Don't hate me if it is cold where you are.  I am sorry!  I just am not genetically inclined to live in an inferno in April.  I am always one second away from heat stroke and have fainted or nearly fainted from overheating more times than I can count.  I ended up being a swimmer all through my childhood and college since that is one sport that you keep marginally cool while participating.  Any whoo... a benefit of the oven that is my backyard, I dried my diapers outside today.   I have read over and over that sunshine is the the best bleach in the world.  I cannot tell you how true that turned out to be.  Some creepy stains are suddenly gone, ones Oxy-clean couldn't even touch.  They smell glorious as well.  That is if you are comfortable with saying diapers and nice smells in the same sentence.  So, I am putting a clothesline in my back yard.  I am getting an apron with big pockets, filling it with clothespins and hanging my sheets, towels and diapers from now on.  My homeowners association is going to have a heart attack, but they can deal.  Besides, it will be a perfect place to take pictures.  The one I am using now is tied to the girls little cabana and it is always too shady and I hit my head on it all of the time.  

This hawaiian beauty came today from Little Bit Funky.  Obsessed.  Just when I think I am over my Hawaii phase it creeps back in.  Perhaps has something to do with the 10 year anniversary trip to Kauai my sweet husband just booked.  The pic to the left of the purse is of Halley learning to walk at San Onofre beach.  Classic.  The one above it is the picture we used for her 1st birthday invite.  Our friend has a green screen in her garage, shot pics of Halley and my surfboard and then photoshopped them into the big wave.  Hilarious.  My poor surfboard... it misses me so.  I miss it too a bit.  The time to wipe off the dust is coming...
Look at what my mailman also brought!  A box of DETERGENT!!!!!  Seems boring doesn't it?  Well look at my detergent jar.  Only enough left for one load of diapers.  EMERGENCY!  Husband needs a shirt washed for church?  Too bad.  Girls need pajamas?  Wear last night's, they aren't too dirty.  I am saving the detergent for Lucy's diapers.  We have been on washing machine lockdown for days all because I forgot to order this junk.  I know what I am doing the rest of the night.  Weird detergent available only online... another lovely side effect of cloth diapers.  Potty training come quickly!

Yesterday I took the girls to a new park about 10 minutes from our house.  When we got home I realized that I left Lucy's shoes in the sand.  If I was thinking rationally, I would have just moved on keeping in mind that I bought them for only 25 cents at a thrift store.  Instead I seriously contemplated packing up two sleepy and grumpy toddlers, driving back and searching for them.  But I didn't since they were already late going down for naps.  The entire nap I stressed and worried that the shoes were gone forever.  They aren't special, only marginally cute, but Lucy hates shoes, constantly takes them off and this is one pair that she will actually tolerate for at least three minutes.  I woke them early so I could get them fed and ready to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house and begged my sweet husband to swing (totally out of the way) by the park on the way to bible study.  There were the shoes, sitting in the sand, waiting for Lucy.  Yay!  So now they are $3.75 shoes when I add in the gas it took driving to fetch them.

This package of springtime happiness arrived today from Joy as part of the Little Bit Funky Swap.  It is as if I picked it all myself, that is how perfect everything is!  How precious is her family?  Look at that card.  Love it!
Where do I even start?  The wreath... perfection.  Brilliant and adorable!  The birdies... my parents' theme for their nearly 40 years of marriage.  The magazine... it's like Martha + Real Simple + Jesus.  I am subscribing today!  The soap... makes washing germy, diaper changing hands so much nicer.  The plate... I am obsessed.  The Zone bars... my daily staple.  
Look at this plate happily fitting in on my entry way table!  How perfect does it look with the orange and turquoise?  The best part... I can write anything I want on it.  Look how cute her "g" is.  I want to change my writing.  My "g's" are boring.  I bet you are wanting your very own little yo-yo flower aren't you?  Check out her brand new Etsy shop because I am not sharing mine!
Bye bye dog leashes.  Hello wreath!
This below is my breakfast every single day.  Two iced lattes from my home Barista machine (hearting Starbucks!) and a Zone bar is about all I can take in the morning.  Look at how low my supply was!   I am beyond blown away!  I cannot believe the time and care that went into this sweet package.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  You are amazing!

I really don't want to send this.  Partly because I love it so much I want to keep it and partly because I hate it so much I want to throw it off a cliff.  Once in a while I will make something and truly not know if it is amazing or hideous.  This was a custom order from Etsy.  The sweet buyer liked my shop banner and trusted me enough to paint something like it.  I used to paint all of the time, but she didn't know that.  She was super patient with me (it took me forever to get to it) and is giving the sign to her Aunt as a thank you gift.  "Cheers Dears" is her Aunt's favorite saying and now it is one I want to incorporate into conversations.  Art is so subjective and custom art that gets put in the mail unseen is even scarier!  I have issues, I know.  I will either wake up tomorrow loving it, or start over completely.  Hopefully choice A. 

I think my girls call the owner of Whimsy Ranch behind my back and tell her what they want to wear.  I could literally buy one of everything in her shop and make my girl's frilly sparkle princess dreams come true!  How cute would this tutu have been at mini horse day.  Every time I have money in my Paypal account I am determined to spend it all here.  Today was the day... until I had to buy a lame hubcap for my van on Ebay.  It went "missing" (or I hit a curb and it fell off... hard to say) and it looks like I am driving around with a spare.  Hubcap or tutu?  Which sounds more fun?