It's no secret that I big puffy heart fabric.
Every time I think I have an handle on my addiction
a new line comes out.
A new line that calls to me.
A new line that I fall in love with.
Amy Butler knows this.
She knows my weakness.
So she came out with a delicious new line and named it
Because she hates me.

But I love you, and so does Stephanie of Material Gal Fabric.
Meet Stephanie.
I'm sure you will love her too.

Hello "Joy's Hope" fellow readers! I'm Stephanie, owner of Material Gal. I'm a mommy, a wife, and a fabric lover - just like all of you! I started this fabric shop on etsy because it's something I absolutely LOVE! Offering beautiful designer fabrics to all of the amazing talent on etsy, and then being able to see all of the beautiful creations is the reason I do this.

This week I am giving away a "Heart" Fat Quarter Bundle, from Amy Butler's LOVE Collection to one lucky reader. In addition, I will also be offering "Joy's Hope" readers 5% off of your entire purchase in my shop all week long (until Friday, November 6th). Enter the following code in "notes to seller" in order to receive your discount: JH5PCT. Custom orders are also welcome and included in this sale! Hope to *see* you all soon, and happy sewing!
Seriously, how much do you love her?
Giving away a bundle of fabric and a discount as well?
Yes, please!

How can you win some Love?
(remember to leave a separate comment for each entry)

1. Visit Material Gal.
Come back and tell me your favorite print.
While you are there, be sure to heart her sweet shop.
3. Tell me what you would make with the lovely bundle.
4. If you have never sewn before, or had a traumatic
try at sewing and promise to give it another chance,
you get an extra entry. Just let me know.
I might keep you accountable!

A fabric happy winner will be
chosen on Friday November 6th.

In real life.
I am dorky and shy.
But blogging has made me think that it is totally normal to meet new people that I only have previously known from my safe little blog world.
Bethany is one of those people.
I really wish we were neighbors.
But she lives in the inferno called Arizona,
yet longs to be back in beautiful Kansas.
Her family came out to San Diego for vacation
and we planned a little park play date in the middle.

I'm not super familiar with San Diego county parks, so what did I do?
Ask another blogger of course!
Nicole had the perfect place in mind.
Right off the freeway and right on the beach.
So I picked the critters up from school and headed south.
I had to look somewhat cute, because HELLO! she is a blogger and photographer. A photo op was sure to occur. I wore my stolen Allora necklace and my borrowed yellow shoes all in a feigned attempt to mask the nerdy.
She dragged her kind and understanding husband along too.

All I have to say is, if my husband came to me like this:
"I'm going to a park to meet my Fantasy Football friend from Iowa.
Do you want to come and bring the kids?"

My answer would be:
That would be really, really weird."

But for some reason when I go do the same thing
it seems like the most normal thing in the world.

Our kids got along great.
The beach was beautiful.
Her husband is a really good sport.
My nerdiness was changed to awesomeness all thanks to my necklace.
Now I have a new friend in real life.
She even blogged about it here.

Who's going to rock there own version of Allora awesome?
Maybe you can come over, we can meet and
wear our matchy-matchy necklaces together!

Bethany tagged me... so here I go:

4 Jobs I have had:
( I have had a ton, but I will pick my faves.)

1. Lifeguard (Got paid (a lot) to be tan and drive a boat. Miss it.)
2. Paint your own ceramics shop (Got paid (a little) to paint. Miss it.)
3. Innkeeper at a Bed & Breakfast (Got free nights. Miss it.)
4. Manager at my best friend's hair salon (Got paid ( a lot) to get my hair done for free. Miss it.)
I am glad that I get to stay home now, but if I had to have a job I would be happily beg to be rehired at any of the above.

4 Movies I have watched more than once:
(Not counting the ones the girls watch over and over.)

1. Once (Stop reading, go to Blockbuster and rent it right now. I am serious! My Favorite ever. Borrowed it from a friend and plan on never giving it back. Sorry Amy. Buy the soundtrack on iTunes while you are at it.)
2. Emma (The Gwyneth Paltrow one. I based my wedding on Emma's and copied her dress.)
3. Waiting For Guffman (Nothing can make me laugh harder. My husband and I work lines from this movie into everyday conversation. We are huge dorks.)
4. Romeo + Juliet (The Leonardo DiCaprio/ Claire Danes one. Enough cool film making to even out my nerdy love of Shakespeare.)

4 T.V. Shows I cannot miss

1. The Office (We have to put a loud fan in the hallway so our girls don't wake up from our laughter.)
2. Lost (Totally love it, totally hate it. Totally addicted to attempting to figure anything out.)
3. Project Runway (Only wishing I could whip up 1% of the stuff they create.)
4. The Soup (I have a huge crush on Joel McHale.)

4 People who email me regularly:

1. My hubby. (I send pics during the day of the mischief the girls make, he helps me survive said mischief.)
2. Natasha (my sis in law, we're always making some sort of plans.)
3. Alicia (my crafty friend.. we are always sending each other links for things we want to make or buy.)
4. Heather (my blog friend turned real life friend.)

4 Places I have been:

1. I have been to 49 states (only Alaska is missing, my husband was a musician and I used to hitch a ride on the tour bus.)
2. Austrailia for the Hillsongs Conference (I have a intense hatred of flying and I was 15 weeks pregnant. Rough 17 hours, many of them spent in tears. But by far the most beautiful, friendly amazing country ever. Wishing I could teleport there.)
3. Mexico (We take the youth group to build houses there every Summer. Best week ever.)
4. Ontario, Canada (In the Winter. Freezing cold. Beautiful though.)

4 Favorite Foods

1. Pizza (all kinds, I could eat it every single day.)
2. Coffee (maybe not a food, but I am obsessed with it.)
3. Ice Cream (involving lots of chocolate and peanut butter.)
4. REAL Mexican Food (not American-ruined Mexican food.)

4 Places I would like to visit

1. Africa (Jason went to Uganda last Summer and it changed his life.)
2. England (for my dorky love of all things British.)
3. Ireland (I'm 3/4 Irish, and would love to explore my heritage.)
4. Australia (I would love to go back, for vacation this time, and not pregnant.)

4 Things I am looking forward to this year

1. Settling in our new house.
2. Getting a tiny bit more organized.
3. Crafting in my new craft room.
4. My birthday weekend in December (fun adventures await!)

With little notice I had to bring a plate of homemade cookies to an event. I went to my favorite recipe for help. It is a miracle they even made it out of my house, I wanted to stay home and eat them by myself.
You will need a mini muffin pan, Reese's Minatures, and ready to bake peanut butter cookie dough.
If your cookie dough makes 24 you are all set to go. If it makes 12 big cookies like the one I bought you need to break apart each cookie so you get 24 pieces of dough. Just place them in the muffin cups. Bake it for about 5 minutes LESS than the directions say. You need the cookies to be gooey when they come out of the oven.
While they are cooking unwrap 24 Reese's cups. They need to be lined up and ready to go because the next step has to be really quick. When they are unwrapped walk away. Trust me, if you stay in the kitchen they will start disappearing. Go check your email, read my blog, etc.
As soon as you pull the cookies out of the oven push a Reese's in each cookie. Since the cookies are still gooey the Reese's will fit in nicely. Let the cookies cool while still in the muffin tin. The cookies will cook a little bit more while they sit. When they are cooled pop them out and try not to eat them all. Enjoy!

I love being a mom.
Every single part of it.
It is the hardest thing that I have ever done.
Many days I feel like I am a huge failure.
But I would not trade it for anything in the world.

(janey and I
early morning iphone self portrait

I am taking a little break from old skool week because I felt like this post needed to be written. My humor is a bit on the scarcastic side and when my sister in law emailed me the 10 step program from yesterday's post I couldn't stop laughing. We both have three kids of identical ages and go through many of crazy things at the same time. I wish that I wrote it, but someone much funnier than I did. I would love to know who it was.

Anyway, if you don't have kids please don't let the silly illustrations scare you.
Yes. Life as you know it will be over.
But your new life will be so much richer and fuller than you ever imagined.

There will be days where you cry.
Tears of frustration.
Your heart will break.

But then there will be many days when you cry different tears.
Tears of joy.

Every single part of it will be worth it.
You might think back on your old life and miss it.
But then you will see their little faces.
The love they have for you.

You won't want to trade it for anything in the world either.

Then you can come back here, read it again with a whole new set of eyes. Eyes that see the reality in the silliness and not the fear.

If only I knew what I was signing up for. Did anyone warn me that I would have a little Houdini can take off any item of clothing in two seconds flat? Click on this picture to supersize it and then look carefully under the zipper. I had to add hook and eyes to all of her pajamas to keep her in them. She still figured out a way to shimmy her little arm out! Can you believe the mischievous look on her face? One of many things I was unprepared for. If only I had read this first. (I know it is long, but indulge me, it is well worth the laughs I promise you will have.)

Thinking of Having Kids?
Do This 10 Step Program First

Lesson 1
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline
2. Lack of patience
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels
4. Allowing their children to run wild
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.
Lesson 2
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approx. 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly.
2. At 10pm, put the bag down gently, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at midnight and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1am.
4. Set alarm for 3am.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2am and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45.
7. Get up at 3am when alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4am.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive.)
Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.
Lesson 3
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?
Lesson 4
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus in the bag so that none of the arms hang out.
Time allowed for this- all morning.
Lesson 5
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle Cheerios all over the floor, them smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.
Lesson 6
Go to the grocery store. Take the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.
Lesson 7
1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.
You are now ready to feed a 9 month-old baby.
Lesson 8
Learn the names of every character from all shows on PBS, the Disney Channel and Noggin. Watch nothing else on TV but shows from these channels for at least 5 years. (I know, you're thinking "what is Noggin?") Exactly the point.
Lesson 9
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.
Lesson 10
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from lesson 9 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Meet Birdy. He is desperate to live with our family. For two days straight he has been flying into our windows beak and feet first trying to get in. Nothing we do persuades him that his methods are dangerous and futile. Over and over again, he flies up the slope, rests on our neighbor's fence and then dives as fast as he can for the windows. We live in a one story, so he would just have to adjust his trajectory a tiny bit to fly over to wherever he wants to go. He doesn't care. He wants to go where he shouldn't. He wants to be somewhere unsafe. He is disregarding all the laws of birds. He is heading for destruction. We can't stop him. He has made his choice. I am afraid it will not end well. Flying full speed into glass for hours upon hours cannot be good for a little bird brain.
How many times as humans do we act like Birdy? How often do we take the wrong path, go in the wrong direction, disregard what we know is good for us? How even a little adjustment off the plan God has for us leads us into danger? Stop flying into windows. Listen to what the Lord would have you do. His plan is better than ours.

In general I am pretty boring and predictable wardrobe wise. Most days I can be found in dark Curvy Jeans with button back pockets from The Gap, two ribbed tank tops (I call them something else, but it is hardly politically correct) a cardigan or zipped hoodie and flip flops. I hardly stray from the formula. If I do it might involve a skirt with the same tank tops & jean jacket or a dress and jean jacket. I rarely wear prints, pretty much 90% of my wardrobe is black or chocolate and if I do wear something funky it is a necklace, headband, or shoes. That all came to change when The Cheetah came to live with us from a thrift shop in Canada. Many a day I throw it over my same simple jeans, flats and black long sleeve t-shirt and suddenly I am a sassy new person. I see people react differently to me and I feel generally different. It makes me wonder what the original owner was like of this 50 plus year old coat. Was it an everyday wardrobe staple? Or did she pull The Cheetah out when she was feeling a bit more spunky? What is the one thing in your wardrobe that is so completely opposite of you that it actually is 100% you? I just know that this was one of the best things I have ever spent $10 on.

(pic snapped by lulu at the pumpkin patch with my good camera.
I was feeling a little reckless. But she looooooved it.)

Do you click on all of the links on Megan's sidebar when you visit her and her awesomeness? You should. Each and every link is beautiful, thought provoking, funny or all and all amazing.
Anyway, I just read this post from the amazing and talented Ashley Ann.
It made me think about a conversation I had with my sister in law who is also the one behind the camera.

She made this profound observation as we were sorting through photos to give to my parents for Christmas:

"I'm afraid that my kids will wonder were I was when they look through their childhood scrapbooks."

I wonder too.

That makes me really, really sad. So I am going to make a change....

Are you with me?

I hope so.

I am in my new house.
With my new internet.
Sorry for the delay....
but are you wondering who the winner
of the fabulous Doodle Bugs Paper gift certificate is?

Should I pick myself to get change of address cards?
Would that me sort of shady?

Is it you?
Or was I shady?

Off to unpack dozens and zillions of boxes.

Hi Joy’s Hope-ians it’s Mique from 30days. I have a little craft blog where I share ideas and anything creative- feel free to stop by and say hi. I get the honor of filling in for Julie today as she tries hard to remain calm while her internet is down (the horror!) as she moves. I’m a tad nervous- she has big shoes to fill. So I thought….why even try? Instead I want to share a little story. Follow me:
Once there was a girl (fyi, that's me)
who got an email from a fabulous blog friend(that's Julie :).
The fabulous blog friend had a friend in real life that was wearing a ridiculously cute necklace. That blog friend,, contacted the girl , to say that she knew where it came from and loved it. She loved it so much she stole it from her friend in real life.(that's the blog friend wearing the stolen necklace and doesn't she look great wearing it?) The girl connected the shop owner(who the girl knows rather well) with her blog friend.
And what does this all add up to? A giveaway!

But before I get to announce the details, let me introduce you to that shop owner:
{So, what do you do when you have 2 babies (Owen - 2 - the cutest little tasmanian devil/curly-haired tornado/ball of energy you'll ever meet, and Henry- 7 months- the smiliest/squishiest/yummiest/kissable-est baby on the planet), live in a new town, and have a husband (crazy cute and wicked smart - chemical engineering, hello!!) back in school full time? Well, start a business of course!! It definitely was not ever in my plans to start up this little shop of mine - and certainly not in one of the busiest, craziest times of my life. But, that is right where I found myself this past summer. Searching for a way to provide a few more pennies toward the starving student fund, I decided, on a whim really, to go for it. And Allora Handmade was born. Just a few months after Henry. I'm Jessica and I'm the creator and owner of Allora Handmade. I am so excited and honored to be here on Joy's Hope and hope you enjoy my shop!}

If you stuck it out this long, congrats- you get to enter to win this:

The details:
How to win?
(remember to leave a separate comment for each entry.)

1. Visit Allora Handmade.
Find that one thing you can't live without.
Come back here and tell me what it is.
2. Follow her brand new blog.
Be sure to leave some comment love.
3. Make a purchase at her shop.
Mention that you came from Joy's Hope for
10% any purchase.

4. Become an Allora Handmade Facebook Fan.

And that's it. Phew!
Julie will announce a winner on October 30th.

Dear Hershey,

What did I ever do to you? Why must you treat me with such disrespect and hatred. First you go and take away my most favorite candy in the world. Without so much as a warning, leaving me with it's evil stepsister Good & Plenty. (I would rather eat black widow spiders.) I wrote you, I called you, I emailed you, I signed petitions. After years of giving up all hope to see it again, even the chance stumbling upon an old, expired, dusty box in a super shady 7-11, you tease me with this neon box of the same name. My heart nearly stopped when I walked down the wrong row and accidently spied the boxes today at the drugstore. Could it be? Do I really need new glasses that bad? I think I know how to read... the box said Good & Fruity and the candies were the same shape, although that "natural" looking blue one is a bit questionable. I was even sad that I can't send picture texts because I wanted to surprise my husband with the good news during his staff meeting. I couldn't run fast enough to the check stand to buy my newfound dream come true. I hid the treasure in my purse and waited until the girls were sleeping to enter candy paradise. The anticipation, the glee, the joy, like a soap opera character raising from the dead, my beloved licorice and candy shell was back in my life. Just when I most needed it. But no, this story does not have a happy ending. I am renaming your fraudulent candy this:
They are nothing more than super chemically altered Starburst Jelly beans. Sour, acidic, pointless. None of the previous magic, none of the flavor. Goodbye licorice, goodbye shell. Goodbye Good & Fruity forever. I want my $1.29 back. I want my old candy back. Away with this sad, pathetic imitation. Away with my dreams of being reunited with my youthful love. I am going to a corner to wail and mourn. How could you do this to me? I was so faithful. I never gave up faith that I would see it again. Shame on you Hershey, shame on you.

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 (this one is Joyful Juliana) 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!

When I was a kid,
I was all about Little People.

I was one of those parent's dreams.
Playing quietly and happily in my
room for hours.

I have no idea what it is like to have
one of those kids, but I see my childhood
characteristics carry over into my adult life.

Playing quietly with fabric and
my sewing machine for hours.

I wish that my mom saved all of my Little People.
All full of lead paint and small enough to be a choking
hazard. How did I ever survive childhood?
I love the 5oth birthday old skool versions.
Janey loves them too.
But she really, really, really loves the original,
super dangerous one that I got in Kansas the most.
She knows the difference.
Not really. In fact the newer version is much easier for her to grab.

But I will always have a special place in my heart for the old ones.

The next week or so I am digging back into my archives to bring you some old skool posts. Back when I was just figuring out how to sew and blog and had much more free time. Back when maybe two or three of you read my ramblings. Thanks for sticking around and enjoy the flashbacks.

I will be packing and moving, checking your sweet comments on my phone and popping in on Friday to announce this weeks winner, as well as a new giveaway you WILL NOT want to miss.

Have fun kicking it old skool.

I love happy, colorful anything.
I especially love happy, colorful, personalized paper.

So I am happy to introduce you to Kacey.
She is all about happy, colorful, personalized goodness.

"Well, hello there!

My name is Kacey.
And here is my "Doodle Bugs" story..

I started Doodle Bugs Paper in January 2003.
Why? I love paper!
And, I really love personalized paper.
I started Doodle Bugs being a dealer for five major stationery chains.
Quickly, I started designing and printing myself and turned the main focus of the business to my own line of stationery.
My first sales were by word of mouth.
I also started selling on ebay- and was amazed at how quickly my business grew.
The next logical step was a full functioning website. The website went live in November 2004.
I love ice tea, a good hamburger, cold pizza for breakfast, any kind of cake,
a good book, a beach vacation and of course anything personalized.
But, on the other hand, I am not a fan of coffee, doing housework,
tomatoes, snakes, lizards, frogs or mice, and I don't eat any kind of seafood.

Doodle Bugs is MORE than a full time job BUT I also manage to get up everyday and go to work as a first grade teacher.
Why, I simply love kids!
I started the business as a dream to stay home and work.
But, when the time came- I love being a teacher just as much as I love stationery!
So, I teach simple things like the alphabet and numbers by day
and run a business at night and on the weekends.

Life is good."
Couldn't you just order up one of everything?

Kacey is going to give one happy paper loving winner a $30 gift certificate so you can choose your own personalized goodness.

Yes please!

How to win?
(remember to leave a separate comment for each entry.)

Find that one thing you can't live without.
Come back here and tell me what it is.
2. Follow her super fun blog.
Be sure to leave some comment love.
3. Make a purchase at her shop.
4. Write a handwritten note and mail it.
Old school.
Don't you wish you had some Doodle Bugs paper to write it on?

A winner will be chosen on Friday Oct. 23rd.

Happy paper to you!