February Love Challenge

How is it already almost February?  The new year is going way too fast!  Seriously, it’s tripping me out.  I have so many different goals and plans for 2017.  There’s so much that I want to do.  One of the biggest is to make sure I take the time to really let others know how much I care, appreciate and love them!!

I’m going to be honest here… I don’t love very well.  It’s a challenge fore me.  However, it is something that I want to get better at.  Jesus calls us to love and I want to be obedient to that calling.  What a better time than the month that holds Valentine’s Day!?!

I know there’s a lot of different perspectives on this interesting holiday.  It can be romantic, depressing, sappy, caring.  Some people love the holiday, some people hate it, some people want to love it but feel like they can’t because they’re not in a relationship and some people probably don’t even care one way or the other.

I like Valentine’s Day and I believe it’s a holiday that holds a lot of potential.  I’m excited to celebrate it fully this year, and not with a romantic dinner with my husband (not that I’m refusing that!).  I just want to celebrate this Valentine’s Day a little differently.  I want to celebrate love, appreciation, thankfulness and the like.

So why limit that to one day when we can use the whole month of February!?  I’ve made a list of 28 ways I can show the people around me that I love them, I care for them, and I’m thinking of them.  Instead of documenting my whole month of love in a series of blog posts I thought instead I would offer the same list to you all!  Whether you’re like me and have a hard time expressing love or whether you throw love around like confetti and are just looking for more ways to do it, I’d love for you to get some use out of this challenge.

Introducing the February Love Challenge!

I didn’t break the tasks down by day.  Instead this is a list of things I want to try and do this month.  Almost like a February Bucket List.  I’m excited and I’m also nervous.  I am an emotional person yet I don’t like showing the emotion very often.  Expressing my love towards others makes me very uncomfortable so this will be a fun challenge to tackle this month.  It comes just in time to help me prepare for our little LoveBug’s arrival.  I want to set an example for our sweet Gemma Girl of how to love others well.

Download the February Love Challenge Here!!

FebruaryLoveChallenge

I hope you enjoy taking on this challenge with me!  Don’t feel pressured to check everything off this list.  My hope is that by using this list and others as a guideline we can intentionally live this February with a little more love.

Don’t be shy, leave a comment!!

Brittany-

DIY: Floral Letter Decoration

Have I got a project for you!  I had been thinking about Gemma’s nursery and imagining how it would look when completely decorated.  I’m going for a slight woodsy theme to match the bedding I picked out.  So I started searching Pinterest and I found an awesome DIY project.  It seemed so cheap and easy enough for me to do well so I decided to take it on.

 

flowers, DIY, letter

Floral Letter Decor

The two posts where I first saw this project can be found here and here.  I must admit both of theirs turned out better than mine but I’m still really in love with the finished project. It’s minimal and girly and will fit in her nursery perfectly.

Here are the supplies I used:

  • Cardboard box (we had a bunch because we just moved)
  • Box Cutter
  • Hot Glue
  • Sharpie
  • Fake Flowers (from Dollar Tree)
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Tape
Step – by – Step Instructions

The first thing I did was hand draw a large letter ‘G’ on the side of one of our cardboard boxes.  I wish, now, that I had made the letter so much bigger!!  It seemed so big at the time I didn’t realize it.  However, once you start adding the flowers (trust me) you’d rather have a larger letter.  After drawing the ‘G’ I used the box cutter to cut the letter out.

cardboard box, letter G cut out

cardboard letter G cutout

I used fake flowers from the Dollar Tree.  It’s the perfect time to buy them because spring is right around the corner.  I only spent $6 and I had more than enough for my letter.  The hardest part was choosing which flower and what colors!  Luckily, my sister was there to help and I think the end result looked really great.

Fake Flowers, Letter G, Cardboard
Fake Flowers, cream and pink

 

To prepare the flowers you need to pull off the stems so they’re just the flower part.  I even cut the back of each flower to try and help it lay as flat as possible on the cardboard.  Then you heat up your hot glue gun and get to gluing!

Fake Flowers, cream and pink

I glued the flowers onto the cardboard cut out, trying not to show much of the cardboard underneath.  I was afraid I would run out of flowers so I tried not to bunch them up too close together.  In the end I had more than enough.

hot glue, fake flowers, letter g
letter g, cardboard, fake flowers
fake flowers, letter g, cardboard
fake flowers, letter g, cardboard
fake flowers, letter g, cardboard
End Result

My biggest problem was the size of my letter.  I started to realize that it might be hard to tell that it was a ‘G’ and not a ‘C’ because of how full the flowers were getting.  I had a small freak out moment and then quickly brainstormed many different options (trash and start over, trash and don’t start over, somehow turn into a different style of ‘G’ …)

fake flowers, letter g, cardboard

Per my husband’s idea, I ended up just taking a pair of scissors and trimming the flowers down.  That allowed the space inside the G to be seen a little better.  I really love how it turned out and the only thing I would go back and change would be to make a larger letter.  (Don’t be afraid to go big!)  I used the string and tape to help hang the letter from the nursery room wall.

floral letter g wall decoration

 

Let me know what you think in the comments!  Try out the project at home and feel free to share any changes or modifications you made to your own projects.

 

-Brittany-

 

Learning to Sew

learning to sew*disclaimer: this is not a how-to article. I have no idea how to sew but I have decided to learn how! This is more of a documentary on my first attempt at sewing*

A Crazy Idea

First, I want to start off by saying, I blame all of this on Gemma.  As soon as I discovered I was pregnant with a baby girl I got this idea.  It was a crazy idea but I couldn’t shake it.  I wanted to learn how to sew.  Everywhere I looked there were adorable little sewing creations for baby girls.  Ribbons, bows, bloomers, leggings, dresses, blankets… and the patterns were endless.  So I decided to let friends and family know that I wanted to embark on the adventure of learning to sew.

The Supplies

Next thing I needed after announcing to others that I wanted to sew was actual sewing supplies.  I didn’t own a single needle and thread let alone a sewing machine.  I was in luck because my birthday and Christmas were approaching and all of my family knew of my desire to sew.  Dallas was the first to get me a little bag of sewing supplies.  (Needles, Thread, Cutting Board, Rotary Cutter and more).  Then I got a sewing box with some scissors, and finally a small Brother sewing machine for Christmas.  All I had to do was make a trip down to Jo-Ann’s Fabric, use a coupon, and $8 later I was walking out with a tiny stash of adorable fabric.

Sewing, Minky Fabric, Gathering Supplies

Making A Plan

Then, I scoured Pinterest for some possible projects.  I needed something extremely simple, since I’d never sewn a thing in my life.  (not even a button onto a shirt) With some difficulty I narrowed my project down to a burp rag.  Surely I could take two pieces of fabric, run them through a machine, and stitch them together.  Easy-Peasy, right?  Life With My Littles DIY burp rag post was my main source of reference as I tackled this project.  It seemed simple enough.  I mean, I’m kind of smart (or so I like to think) and I like to figure out new things.

Time to Sew

At some point you just need to jump in!  So I set up my machine and in about 15 minutes figured out how to get the thread to the needle.  Who knew you have thread at the top and bottom of a sewing machine!?!  Once I figured out it was two separate things I was able to thread the needle and get to sewing.

Cutting Fabric, Rotary Cutter

So first thing you have to do is measure your fabric.  I realized besides on the cutting board, I didn’t have a ruler.  Getting a straight edge and even sizes was pretty much impossible and I decided not to be a stickler (first mistake) Also, rotary cutters are super sharp!  I barely touched it and had to wash my finger because I was bleeding.

Align Fabric, Right Sides Together

Next you align your fabric squares making sure that the right (or top) sides are facing each other.  I knew this was an important step so I made sure my adorable grey and floral fabric was facing inwards toward the white minky fabric… I did not however make sure the minky fabric was facing inwards (second big mistake!)

Now You Actually Sew!

I should have a picture of me actually sewing but I don’t.  Somehow they magically disappeared from my camera (or are hidden on my computer unedited because I can’t bare to show you the monstrosity)  I made my third big mistake by not knowing what direction to move the fabric as the machine was sewing.  Once I sewed almost everything together I flipped the cloth the correct way (only to realize the minky fabric was sewed inside out).  Then, as I attempted to sew the little hole closed the machine decided not to work anymore.   When that happens always check the manual first…

check manual, sewing

If you can’t figure out the error with the manual then you should research online and try and figure out why the machine is no longer sewing.  Maybe try tinkering with it yourself…

ReThread Sewing Machine

And ultimately when that does no good it’s time to just stop, turn off the machine and attempt another day.

I did however get a somewhat cute although not exactly efficient burp rag.

Finished Burp Rag

It’s crooked, incomplete, and one side is facing the wrong way but it’s a start.  I attempted to sew and ultimately I did sew… just not very well!  That being said this is what I’ve learned and will take into account on my second attempt:

  • Do not rush through your first sewing project (It might be a disaster either way but at least you can say you actually took your time and did the best you could)
  • Get a ruler… Measure the Fabric… and Pay attention to detail.
  • Maybe watch a tutorial or two on basic sewing.  Know how to move the fabric underneath the needle.
  • Double and triple check the fabric BEFORE you start to sew it together.  Make sure they are turned the correct way.
  • Have someone there to teach you.  Or just do more research before diving in because you don’t know the first thing about sewing!   (Okay, that last sentence is mainly just for me…)

 

There you have it!  I would love to know any tips, tricks or similar stories you may have.  Leave them in the comments below.

-Brittany-

Free Printables to Stay Productive and Organized in 2017

Free Organizational Printables for 2017

This year, like every year, I have some big plans to stay organized. I love technology and I love going paperless.  However, the truth is sometimes I just need a pen and paper to really get my mind and myself ready.

Every year I buy a planner. Every January the planner is packed full. Then by April *cough* February *cough* it’s completely empty, wasting away and collecting dust. Dallas and I have a strict budget for 2017. There is no wiggle room at all. I will be taking an unpaid maternity leave when Gemma arrives and we pay for his schooling without taking out loans. We are on the very long road to being debt free… So finances are IMPORTANT.

That being said I can not justify spending $20 (or really even $5) on a planner that the past has proved I will not use the whole year.  So I came up with a solution!

Free Printables!

There are so many talented people who are so generous with things like calendars, planners, goal lists, habit trackers, meal plans, finance trackers and the like. I’ve spent hours browsing through so many cute and FREE options to help get 2017 started in a productive and organized way. The great thing is, if I slip up for a month or two I can just dust myself off and print out a new copy and start over. It’s perfect for me and I’m sure it’s a great solution for a lot of you out there as well!

Free Printables to Stay Productive and Organized in 2017

So without further ado here are some of my favorite FREE organizational printables to help us through 2017:

Calendars

  1. The Simple as That 2017 Calendar
    (we have it hanging on our refrigerator for birthday reminders)
  2. It’s the Simple Things minimal 2017 Calendar
  3.  This Little Street’s adorable 2017 Calendar
    (I love the design of these!!)
  4.  The Oh So Lovely’s gold tinted 2017 Calendars
    (there are so many GORGEOUS designs to choose from)
  5. The Little Surprises dotted and abstract 2017 calendars
    (I can’t choose between the two)

Planners

  1. Eliza Ellis’s Irma Weekly Planner
    (There are so many options + she has an etsy shop!)
  2. Crafted Love’s Daily and Weekly Planner
    (A perfect option if you don’t want something too girly)
  3. Alice and Lois’s floral weekly to-do list
    (I’m in LOVE!)

Meals, Chores, Financing and More

  1. Lili Luna’s Meal Planner
    (two designs that are simple and easy to use!)
  2. Frugal Mom Eh’s Meal Planner Kitchen Set
    (Meal Plans and Recipe Cards)
  3. Daisy Cottage Designs‘ Habit Tracker
    (Keep track of turning actions into habits)
  4. JustJamarill’s Financial Planner
    (8 pages of goodies!)
  5. Eat Craft Parent’s Handy Cleaning Schedule
    (I will definitely be using this one)

 

Just a few of my favorite printables that I’ve found to keep myself organized and productive this year!  I hope you found some that you want to utilize as well.  Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest for even more.  Let me know how you are choosing to stay organized this year.

-Brittany-

Portrait Photography of the Week [1/52]

One of the photography challenges I’m taking over the new year is to capture a portrait of someone in my family every week for the whole year of 2017. I’m also taking my pictures in manual mode and plan on doing a post on that sometime in the future. It definitely wasn’t as difficult as I thought to learn my way around manual! (And that’s coming from someone who didn’t understand why anyone would shoot in manual when the cameras now-a-days are designed to do all the work for you!)

So here is my first project for week one of 2017. I couldn’t help myself and posted THREE pictures but honestly I want this to be a one picture per person type project. I’ll need to get better at choosing!

Dallas [1/52]

Info

| Canon ESO 60D | ISO: 800 | Aperture (F-Stop): 4.5 | Shutter Speed: 1/25 |

Info

| Canon ESO 60 D | ISO: 1,000 | Aperture (F-Stop): 4.5 | Shutter Speed: 1/125 |

 

Info

| Canon ESO 60 D | ISO: 1,600 | Aperture (F-Stop): 7.1 | Shutter Speed: 1/15 |

I can not wait to see how my photography improves as I embark on this challenge for 2017.  I’d love to hear from anyone doing a photography challenge in 2017!  Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest account to  see more photography inspiration!!

-Brittany-

Welcome to our home

The home is such an important part of life and relationship. A home is where you should feel relaxed, safe, comfortable, welcomed and just able to be yourself.  It’s not necessarily about size or even what decorates the walls. It’s an atmosphere, a feeling that permeates the place.

Dallas and I have dreams for our home this new year. We just moved into a tiny little duplex back in December. The place radiates potential homeyness.  So we have developed goals to simplify and minimize all the stuff we have accumulated since being married and in our years of being single.  We want to declutter our lives and be content with less. We want our home to be open and inviting, a place to build relationships and watch our little girl grow. 

It’s a slow process but one we are dedicated to working on this year.  We’ve already made a lot of progress and I’m excited to show you a few sneak peaks into some of my favorite spots of this little house.

Welcome to the Smith’s Home!

Our Tiny Little Kitchen

The table barely fits and we can only use 3 out of the 4 chairs but we love it.  Our Aloe Vera is the only plant I’ve ever been able to keep alive and I’ve really grown to adore it.  It only took me two minutes to construct the card display.  I used some left over ribbon, gold tacks, from the husband’s toolbox, and some black clothes pins that I pulled off an unused menu board.

 

Photo Collage in the Living Room

In our old apartment the frames hung without pictures for almost eight months.  It was one of the first things I put up in the new house.  Our yellow sofa is worn but in good condition and so far we like the green table bare… but that might change.  I am so excited to see how these pictures change as Gemma is born and grows!

Welcome to Our Room

I’m going to be honest with you… There is a full basket of dirty laundry at the foot of the dresser and a handful of mismatched socks hidden behind the picture frame but other than that invisible “realness” I really love this space!  I love the easy access to the record player and will be researching an easy DIY to hold my vinyls somewhere close by.  All the decor (canvases, wooden sign, and picture frame) were wedding gifts!

I’m in love with the two windows in our bedroom!  The light is just breathtaking.  I try and keep our bed simple and tend not to hang anything over it for fear of it falling and crushing our heads as we sleep.   However, this simple white and gold wooden sign was too good to pass up.  My husband has a habit of hanging things higher than I would like but I think it works for now.

 

Thanks for sticking around if you made it to the end!  Is anyone else purging and minimizing for the new year!?  I would love to hear about or see some of the clutter free and simplistic spaces that you love in your home.  Also, don’t forget to check out my pinterest for more ideas and lovely images of inspiring home spaces.

Leave a comment letting me know about some of your projects to turn your hose into a home!

-Brittany-

Happy New Year!

Birthdays are great, Thanksgiving is meaningful, Christmas is joyous…

But I really do love New Years.  I think it’s that strange balance between reminiscing the year behind you and the aspirations of the year ahead.  It’s beautiful and delicate and so exciting.  2016 was such an adventure for me!  I had been a wife for only 10 days before 2016.  I learned so much about patience, love, teamwork and living alongside another human being that is my complete opposite in almost every single way.  It wasn’t easy but what an amazing blessing!!

img_6881

I, however, can not wait for 2017!  I have so many plans and dreams for this new year that I can not possibly share them all with you.  The post would be way too long.  What I will tell you is I can not wait to meet our little girl.  Gemma has my whole heart and I’m beyond excited to finally hold her in my arms.  I try to imagine what it will be like but I know even my wildest dreams are dull to the reality of her being outside the womb.

Officially I am 26 weeks pregnant.  Only 14 more weeks until her due date.  I wish I could say I have everything under control but in reality the nursery is still more of a storage room, we haven’t done any kind of class or preparation for her arrival (no showers, no crib, no nothing).   I know it will get done but lets just say the next three months will be busy and will be here in the blink of an eye!

photo-dec-31-2-30-19-pm

As far as the pregnancy goes: morning sickness is pretty much over… it rears it’s ugly head every once in a while but nothing like that first trimester.  I feel this little bug move and squirm every single day, she will even respond to poking, prodding and (sometimes) voices.  I am stretching and growing at an almost daily rate now.  My joints pop, my back aches and I seriously go to the bathroom every hour or so.  I LOVE IT!  Carrying this little girl is such a gift that I in no way deserve.

In preparation for the year ahead I have decided that my word for the year 2017 is going to be present (as in the here and now)  I am praying, will pray and already have been praying that through the course of 2017  I will better learn how to be present in the moment, content and in tune with what is right in front of me.  As a dreamer and introvert I so often live in my own head.  So, in this new year I hope to grow more aware and more joyful with what is right in front of me… with THIS day and THIS now.

If you have a word or dream for 2017 please leave a comment and let me know what it is!  I’d love to hear from you.