Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pretty Dishes

Jaw-dropping cuteness ensues. These little dishes are delightful.

And now...I wait. 
For the sale. 
Because it will happen. 
As soon as all the "$78 is a blink of an eye" quit buying, they'll mark it down for the rest of us. 
I hope. 


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Vintage Effect: Etsy, Blog & Pinterest!

The Vintage Effect (Robin and my new Etsy store) is in full swing!

We have 52 items for sale on our Etsy site, with another 50 or so items soon to be posted!

We are pinning things away on Pinterest that we love to look at, and hope you will, too!

AND, we have a blog that is up and running, and will host lots of outfit ideas and favorite vintage finds for you to peruse and be inspired!

Check us out, follow us, give us feedback, or send us your favorite Vintage/Vintage inspired outfits for us to feature on our blog! We'd love to put your lovely face here. :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Thoughts on Birth Control Pills, IUD Devices, Etc.

Psalm 139:13-14a
For You formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

This one's gonna be tough. I've been waiting a long time to write this. Just never knew how.

In 2008, Garrett and I got married. I went on The Pill in January, we got married in April, and in October, while walking around campus I saw a book that caught my attention. "Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?" (by Randy Alcorn) 

"Ha! That's crazy," I thought. I've never heard that and I'm on the pill. Of COURSE they don't.

*picked it up* *guy told me to take it with me* *took it home and read the first couple of pages*

Birth control pills work in three ways.
1. Prevent Ovulation (right, knew that)
2. Thicken Cervical Mucous to prevent sperm from getting to the eggs. (Gross)
3. Thin the lining of the Uterine wall to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching

Wait. Fertilized egg? That's weird. I believe in life at conception. A fertilized egg is AFTER conception. This can't be right.

*put down book* *go to bathroom and get my BC Pill pack* *read fine print*

Birth control pills work in three ways...
(See above. It was the same)

*sit down*

This can't be true. If this was true wouldn't someone have told me?

My response was quick. To me it was simple. I believed in life at conception. Conception happens when an egg gets fertilized. I believe in the value of human life and that every person, even a four week old baby, is precious. For me to take a pill that works to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting
is to take a pill that goes against what I believe.

I flushed them.
(If you're curious, most birth control works this way. IUD, patch, etc.)

When you start looking for other options of birth control that don't do the above things, the options slim WAY down. Yes, it was a bit of an inconvenience. Not big enough for me to even consider using something that went again what I believe in, though. A minor sacrifice.

I wasn't informed. Maybe you weren't either. Now you are. Do some research. Pray about it.

A couple of other things I want to mention:
  1. Since 2008, when I first came across this information, I looked up every site I could think of, even ones that had differing viewpoints than my own, to make sure that this was true. Since then, some websites have changed the wording on their pages to sound less...harsh? Ortho-Tricyclen (my BC brand) removed the word "fertilized" from in front of egg. Planned Parenthood has taken the third function of BC off of its site altogether.
          When asked how BC Pills work:

           Medicine Net
           medicinenet.com actually seems to say that preventing ovulation isn't the primary function of
           birth control pills. That the other two, a thinned uterine wall and increased mucous is first and
           that the prevention of ovulation occurs in SOME women.
            Planned Parenthood
            Planned Parenthood leaves out the whole third mechanism: 

     2. How often does this happen? It's almost impossible to tell. It would be a very early miscarriage  
     basically, happening at 4 weeks, and would result in what most women would think was their   
     period. However, I tried to work up some numbers just to wrap my head around it. This is basic 
     math, and could be off a little. But even if it's off a little, the numbers seem staggering. Here's what I 
    • Planned Parenthood says there are 62 Million women are in their childbearing years, and of those women, 28% are on the pill.  That's 17,360,000 Women. 
    • Planned Parenthood says that a pregnancy occurs 2-9 women out of 100. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt and use the lowest number, 2, as these are probably the people that used the pill PERFECTLY. So 2 out of 100 is 2% of women who use the pill perfectly end with a pregnancy. 
    • 2% of the 17+ million that are on the pill is...347,200 pregnancies with PERFECT pill usage. That means the Pill typically FAILS that many times in one year. Out of the 3 methods it uses,  (1. preventing Ovulation 2. Increasing Cervical Mucous 3. Preventing Implantation of a Fertilized Egg by Thinning the Uterine Wall) all three fail an average of 347 THOUSAND times. 
    • There's no way of knowing how many times the job of preventing pregnancy is left up to a third and final method, the thinned uterine lining. But to know that all three methods fail at the staggering rate of almost 350,000 times per year makes me think it must be a large enough number to be considered. (Though, isn't 1 a large enough number to be considered?)
     3. Another thing to consider is the effect of BC on our bodies. When I went off The Pill my moods  
     leveled immediately. It was totally effecting my quality of life. I know this is subjective. What I'm
      not sure is subjective is the increasing number of miscarriages that women go through on their
      first pregnancy. Could a large number of these be a result of our uterine wall still not being
      hospitable enough to be able to host a baby? I think this is something important to consider.

     4. What about women with a medical condition that use The Pill to maintain bearable levels of
     cramps as well as help increase chances of fertility?

     This isn't my situation, but obviously effects a number of women. Randy Alcorn's daughter, the guy
     who wrote the book I mentioned above, is on The Pill for a medical condition and he addressed that
     in a radio interview he did. She uses other forms of birth control at the same time (condoms, etc.) to
     override how The Pill works, basically making condoms her main form of birth control to prevent
     sperm from even entering the equation (haha...wow). You could also avoid having sex on days that
     you are the most fertile to reduce the likelihood of this happening. Obviously, condoms don't always
     work, so there would be the occasional time that The Pill would then be on backup, and that's a
     tough thing to consider. He said this was a tough choice she had to make and does everything she
     can to reduce this chance.

   Some Links for further reading:
  • "The mommypotamus"writes a much clearer blog about this with definitions on contraception and some quotes, etc. from sources. Very easy reading and insightful. 
  • Facts and quotes from doctors and medical personnel can be found at www.abort73.com and    www.prolife.com 
  • I also highly recommend the book by Randy Alcorn, "Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?" It's written in FAQ format and based on years of research. 
Thanks for reading. I know it's a lot.
Please consider doing some research and making informed and prayerful decisions.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Can these bones live?

"For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

Let me start this off by saying: I have been redeemed. 

There was a period of my life where sin ruled. Where I wasn't being sensitive to the Holy Spirit, which is actually a huge understatement. Not being sensitive = completely and totally ignoring.

God delivered me from my sin. But its effect on me maintained a tight grip.

For years I was so focused on my failures that I began to dry up. In my guilt, I avoided God. The longer I avoided Him, the farther I felt from Him. It was a distance that I was creating because of this feeling that I had that I needed to pay for my sin. It was over the summer of 2011, at a church in Chicago, that a pastor spoke about allowing the message of Grace to truly take hold of our hearts. Do I have a higher standard than God himself? Surely not. Then why in the world do I continue to hold my failures above my head, if God has already forgiven them? Do I not believe that the Jesus' death on the cross was big enough to pay for my sins?

What I have gotten caught up with in the past is the idea that because I chose to rebel, it is my duty to somehow pay for those sins. Because I have no way of doing that, I've often felt like if I show my deepest regret over them, I would somehow be able to come out from under their weight.

My payment was despair.

That summer was foundational for me in my walk with the Lord. It was the day I found freedom. It was a long time coming. Since then, God has slowly, but surely, been drawing me back to himself. And He is faithful to give me reminders that the Cross alone can pay for my sin.

In church this week, Erik (one of our teaching elders) said that whether you are in rebellion or despair, you're actually operating out of two scenarios that stem from the same cause - a focus on self.
(To watch the sermon, go here)

In rebellion, you're doing what self wants to do. It's acting in opposition to what you know God is asking of you or calling you to. It's a denial of the Holy Spirit's tapping, sometimes to the point where the tapping fades and you no longer hear it. "Our rebellion leads us to circumstances in life that break us."

In despair, your focus is on self. Self-pity, self-blame, self-loathing...lots of types of despair. It starts with depravity, "moral corruption or degradation", and as it continues, leads to despair.

At least that's how it was in my case.

To continue to stay focused on my own guilt, my own wrong doings or past sin, is to continue to reject the power of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross. It's to believe the lie that somehow, I have to pay for my own sins. This is an impossibility. It's through the Cross alone that sins can be covered. This is FREEDOM; from sin and from guilt. It's a call to quit with the self-loathing, and live in a new life that has been provided by the free gift of Grace.

I have a new favorite Bible Story.
It's The Valley of Dry Bones. Ezekiel 37: 1-15.

"The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley, it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold they were very dry. (Emphasis on the impossibility of bringing these dry bones back to life) And he said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered "O Lord God, you know." Then he said to me, "Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD." So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, "prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, THus says the Lord God: Come form the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live." So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived an stood on their feet, and exceedingly great army. 

I didn't muster up enough breath for myself and cause myself to go from dead to living. And to be honest, I'm still probably at the point where the bones are rattling and still trying to come back together.
But there is new life forming. And I'm excited about it.

Can these bones live? Absolutely. And I give God all the glory.

Turn my eyes to Your face
Let me draw from Your strength
And bathe in Your grace
Let me soar with wings to win this race
Let me have Your peace it's not a hopeless chase
'Cause I lose sight of all You have called me to be
And it takes so much to drop me to my knees

But I can't wait to be free
From this life of mindless sin that compromises me
I know one day I will be
There is a victory that You've won for me
And when You come back again
I'll be free

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sustaining Love

I haven't really ever written much on this blog that I would consider of "serious" matter. Maybe a better way to put that is I have written much that I would consider of true importance. A couple of outfit posts, some pictures of mugs, me in a Santa outfit. You know...trivial. I think that's about to change.

I want to start this post off by saying, it's going to get worse before it gets better. If I were to describe my marriage, I think I would akin it to the Rocky Mountains and the Mojave Desert. Long, high mountain tops with weeks of fun between the two of us and pretty solid communication. But these experiences are almost always followed by some sand and grit.

I...was a terrible wife this week. Dreadful. I found myself in the Desert and decided to set up camp.
That's right, I chose to wallow.

I think that I've confessed this already to almost every person that I've had a conversation with. For some reason, if I've had a moment alone with a friend, I haven't been able to hold it in. I think I have felt so despicable that it seemed like the only way to redeem my "horrible wife week" was to confess it. To every.single.person.i.know. It's come up a lot.

It all started pretty harmlessly. Marriage is tough, ya know? I absolutely love my husband, I truly believe he is God's gift to me, but sometimes I just get a little irritated. The annoying things stand out a little more. And if you're married, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Because you, my friend, are 1.married, but 2. human and 3. married to another human. We love each other, but every now and then we get annoyed/irritated/fed up with/angry at/moody to...each other. It can be the teeniest, tiniest little thing that set it off, but then it starts to snowball. This annoying thing leads to that annoying thing, and before long you've got the Abominable staring you in the face.

And when that happens, my gut reaction is: alone time. Leave me alone. I hole up. I find reasons to avoid. I don't answer questions with full sentences...or even half sentences...and sometimes not even with WORDS. Grunts, head nods, etc. I'm SUPER mature this way. How MISERABLE. He tells me details about his day. "That's cool." He tells me it's fun to have me working from home. "Yeeeaaaah." He continues, in spite of my snark-i-ness, to pursue me. And I continue, because of my snark-i-ness, to chafe at his pursuit.

Oh, I notice I'm doing it. That's the worst part. After each one of my half-hearted, let-me-show-you-just-how-much-you're-annoying-me responses, when G walks away without success again, I have a pang of guilt. Something is tapping at my little soul. My little ungrateful, caught-up-in-my-self again soul. And hour after hour, day after day, I continue to ignore the tap. It's telling me I'm being rude. Ignore. It's telling me that I'm not demonstrating love. Ignore. It's telling me I'm putting myself above him. Ignore.

And I continued to ignore it. Until a week and a half later, I've built a wall up that's higher than a hot air balloon on a windy day. (Pretty high, right?)

And then one day, now that the tension in our little apartment is thicker than my own head-o-hair (wow), I realize that I don't even have a valid reason to have pushed him away, and suddenly my cards are showing. I'm now vulnerable, because I'm left with needing to explain what is wrong...and I've got nothing. A couple of annoyances? Really, Beth?

Wow. What a lame duck I am sometimes.

All I can do is apologize. And pray that this instance will prove to be useful in future instances. That I'll remember how not beneficial this has been. How damaging and hurtful it was to avoid.

Thank goodness that I'm married to man and serving a God who both love me in spite of myself!

I read an incredible quote today about marriage from Dietrich Bonhoeffer (no, I can't claim I was reading his book. This is a stolen from facebook.)

It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, 
the marriage that sustains your love.

I do admit, sometimes in leaning on the Covenant of Marriage that I made with my husband, I find myself falling back in love with him all over again. The Covenant that we made keeps us together, even when we have a hard time loving each other. And by staying together, we continue to find love in ways we never expected. It's a pretty beautiful thing. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Who says you can't have favorites?

I realize that I write about very inconsequential things.
Woah, big word.
Sometimes I have no idea where those come from.
Believe it or not, I actually looked it up in google to make sure I was using the right word.
Hahaha. Wow.


I play favorites.
I do.
There are many a neglected mug in my cabinets, because I have one mug that I love. I bought it back in 2006 when I was an Admissions Counselor for Bethel College. Myself and another rep, Shannon, from Huntington University, spent about two weeks together that October, going to college fairs and high school visits and splitting hotel room costs. It was a blast. We stopped at Starbucks at one point and grabbed breakfast and saw these lovely mugs that we just couldn't leave there. She got one color and I got the other, and it's been my favorite mug ever since. Garrett chipped the bottom of it one time, but we got it all glued back together just fine. She's one of the two items I own that I, halfway unashamedly, don't share. She, and my purple down blanket I got at high school graduation from my pastor's wife. Inseparable.

Well TODAY is a monumental day.
I have a NEW favorite.
I must first say that she doesn't replace my old favorite by any means.
But the feelings are starting off pretty strong.
I now wouldn't mind grabbing for EITHER of these two lovely ladies. :)
The original favorite is on the right.
The new addition on the left.
Welcome to our kitchen, pretty little dots. :)

For anyone interested, Dottie is from Target. :) 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Honey Butter

Whipped up a quick batch of honey butter tonight. Literally the easiest thing I've ever made.

1/2 cup butter (cold)
1/2 cup honey

Beat till light and creamy.

And we highly recommend it! It comes out of the refrigerator creamy and spreadable. Yum!
Just imagine it for pancakes, or crescents, or biscuits...or...wow...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Who do YOU think makes the better Santa?

Christmas is just around the corner, and Santa keeps showing up everywhere! :)
Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's fall downhill from here...

No. Not a typo. University Day is OVER. That means the rest of Fall is a breeze, for the most part, and we don't have to get stressed again until Spring Preview Day, which is in February.

We had 799 people show up. I'd rather it were 798. Ha! Missing 800 by 1 person is just silly.
But it went well. A couple of hiccups, but there are always things to learn from.

And THIS is how we feel about it.

Keren, the Eagle and I are leaping for joy.

LEAPING. (Or, as the Eagle calls it SOARING)

Michelle was delighted, too. She's just not in the picture. :)

Now it's relaxation time with Hubs. We're currently 1/2 a mile from the Grand Canyon, gonna venture into its depths tomorrow, and then start the trek towards Colorado Springs on Sunday to spend Thanksgiving with Jamie & Tiffany and the kiddos. DELIGHTED.

We have lots to be thankful for. :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I am delighted to announce that I am HOME.
For two whole weeks.
Geeked is probably a better term to use.

My parents are taking a trip to Israel with our church.
And they're taking my 87 year old Grandma Johnson with them.
But in order for Dad to leave anywhere, he's gotta get his chores covered.
Chores meaning, someone to clean kennels, feed, water, and of course play with our collection of Brittanys.
I think at this point we have somewhere around 15-20 adult dogs, and two litters of puppies, 5 days old and 4 weeks old. Throw in a mare and her colt, and four cute little ponies, and you've got yourself a...well...I don't know if I'd call it a farm, but something of the sort. There's a pigeon, too. And the girls, of course, a pit bull and shih-tzu that tolerate each other, but have wormed their way in to becoming part of the family.
So...a collection. And I'm taking care of them for the next two weeks.

I was a little nervous to ask for the time off, since it's quite a stint, but my job is decently flexible and I can do most of my work from a computer. So, I got the "ok" as long as I'm keeping up with my events via the world wide web. :)

So here I am. Gorgeous Virginia country, in the very beginnings of Fall, trees about to change over, and just loving being home. I haven't seen Fall since 2007, so I'm thrilled.

I thought maybe I would use the next couple of weeks to try and practice taking pictures. We'll see how that goes.

I also get to do some babysitting (sweet little nephew), so there's going to be lots of hugging and kissing those sweet little cheeks of my newest nephew.  Plus loads of Sister/Bro-in-Law time! And even some special stop by trips from the Mr.'s side of the family. Stoked! 

Here's to holdin' down the Homestead and enjoying the view!
(Wish you were here, G.) 

Dad with a 4 month old Brittany he calls Pup.
Do you see what I see? Dixie Dog head peering from the window?
Dixie Dog just can't stand being alone.
Bella Boo, on the other hand, is quite content lounging by the feet of sweet, gentle, reading a book Grandma J.
My two favorite ladies in the whole entire world.
Grandpa just can't get enough.
Kisses from Grandma.
If only you could HEAR this picture. :)
More pictures to come, I'm sure.
Lovely. It's just lovely to be home.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mediterranean Omelet

I am a recent inductee (within the last year) to the world of artichokes. I was first introduced to them by our friends, Patrick and Gioia. Skeptical as I was, I couldn't get over the delicious flavor and salty taste. They are very convincing little buggers.

Gioia prepared hers as full artichokes, stuffed with deliciousness. You would break off a section and scrape off the stuffing with your teeth. So yummy.

Since then, I've been more apt to try out various meals with artichokes, something I never would have done before. Last year, on a weekend away with my Hubs, we discovered artichoke omelets and just about died. Delicious.

The trend I've seen is that if the omelet includes artichokes, it is usually referred to as a Mediterranean Omelet and usually also contains spinach.

Friends, we bought artichoke hearts ourselves at the store this week. Call that a milestone in the marriage if you want to. :)

So tonight, I made my own Mediterranean Omelet.
I included spinach, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and mozzarella cheese.

How's that for domesticated? :) 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Caprese Salad Deliciousness

While up yonder in Nor Cal land over Labor Day, the G and I went to the little town's Farmer's Market to sample some delicious eats.

We got tri-tip skewers, tomales, blueberry pie, and caprese salad.
I'd never heard of caprese salad before, but I'll tell ya what. It rocked my world.

It's a simple little combination of tomato, salt, mozzarella cheese, basil, and olive oil or balsamic.
So simple.
So good.
So fresh.

So...easy to make myself! :)

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever.....ever....will I claim to be a chef.

So when I can find something easy to make, by golly, I make it.

Ready for this recipe?

Get some tomatoes. I got red ones. But the yellow ones are so sweet and scrumptious. Next time.
Get some salt.
Get some mozzarella. Preferably the big block.
Get some basil. I prefer to chop it up. Makes it easier to eat.
Get some olive oil.

Slice the tomatoes. Put on plate. Sprinkle with some salt. Slice the mozzarella. Put on top of tomatoes. Chop the basil. Put on top of mozzarella. Drizzle with olive oil or balsamic.

Here's another fun option. Eat chilled, or eat heated! Yowza's!

Tonight I tossed mine into our little toaster oven for a couple of minutes, let the cheese melt a little, then pulled 'em out and sunk my fork into those puppies.


I dare ya to try it. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nationball: Dodgeball on Steroids

In my last post, I shared a little bit of the stresses of my job. Those overwhelming 80's themed trips to the local roller skate rink just stress me out! (dripping...dripping with sarcasm)

So what is it that keeps G from sleeping at night? If you thought 80's roller skating was bad, this is almost unbearable. :)

Every year, near the middle of September, when students are still getting settled into their dorms and familiar with their new class schedules, there is an event that makes all else jump one number down on the priority list. All inhibitions are thrown out the window. All worry of making a good impression? Tossed. Costumes are mandatory, throwing arms a must, and music is blaring as students line up, dorm against dorm, in the biggest dodgeball tournament most have ever seen.

It's crazy.

Stewart (our dorm) is in the red. 
Yes, we consider each one of those red-wearing t-shirts one of our kids. 
We don't start at the infant stage. 
We start at the 18 year old, what's your name again?, really loud college stage. 
They're pretty cool. 

This is Stewart (red) taking on Horton (black). 
There is really hardly any room left to play dodgeball. 
There's a lot of dancing, costume strutting, goofing going on. :) 

One rule that they hold to that I've never seen before is that once you get knocked out, you can still actually play. You can run to the back of the other team, get your team to throw the balls over their heads, and then get them out from the other side. So near the end of the game, 
you've got dodge balls flying at you from all angles. 

A good shot of most of the colors. 

Here are more pictures, with lots of the costumes highlighted. 

And finally, here's a video made by one of the students: 
It highlights Horton, but shows a lot of the crazy that goes on. 
You'll notice some "rescuing" near the middle of the film. 
The green team is Emerson, a smaller dorm that usually doesn't have a chance at winning so they make it theatrical. This year they were dressed as doctors and nurses and were putting band-aids on the fallen and doing shock treatment on the "mortally wounded". Clever. :) 

There's always something going on around campus. 
Keeps us young, I guess. :) 

We love it. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

The 80's & Overly Edited Photos

Sometimes...sooooometimes...I get a little convicted about only posting really polished pictures or writing blogs about successful projects. Why? Because only about 1.8% of my life feels polished, or super successful.

It feels chaotic.

Here's to the 98.2% of my life that makes up the ridiculous, not acting like a 28 year old portion of which I wouldn't change a thing. (Except in those moments where I wish I had a successfully run etsy shop, a thriving photography business, and a morning routine that included a small town cafe where the waitress knew my name and never had to ask what I wanted to eat...an omelet, a cup of coffee and some toast with blueberry jam, thank you!)

A weekend of Student Ambassador Training.
Lots of crazy kids.
An 80's themed trip to the local skating rink.
A salvaged thrift store dress.
A couple of very dramatic side pony tails.

Thanks, Biola kids students, for letting me hang out with you and not making me your late 20's supervisors feel like the old fogies. :) Even though only one or two of you were ACTUALLY alive in the 80's...and it was like (like) 1989 and a half.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Labor Day Tradition

As far as holiday tradition goes, Garrett and I don't have much that we do the same each year. We've spent a Christmas in Colorado with friends, a Christmas by ourselves in Utah, and a Christmas back home with family. I feel like every year we're asking ourselves what we're going to do, 'cause it's never been the same. 

But there's one holiday that we automatically know what we're gonna do. No question about it. 

Labor Day. 

For the past four years, we've driven the long road North to Brad & Sharon's in Calistoga. (Brad is one of Garrett's older brothers) They have two girls that we adore, and they live in a small town where the pace is slower. All the locals know each other, and they know who the tourists are, so we usually get asked where we're from. The weekend is always so relaxing, a nice break from the much more crowded Southern California. It's a place riding bikes to the store, or to a bakery in the morning for fresh coffee and quiche is the norm. On our way in to town this year, as we rode behind Brad, Sharon and the girls on their bikes, Garrett and I looked at each other and said, "We've got to live in a small town." We love it. It feels so very right. 

In the summer months, May through October, there is a local farmer's market in town where townies bring their delicious foods, crafts, flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables (the list goes on) to a parking lot where they set up canopies and sell these delights to the crowds that gather. There's usually music playing in the background, and it's so fun to walk around with our four year old niece, who takes her money to the tamale tent and orders up her regular. She knows so many people in town, and they all smile at her and say "Good morning, Monica!" as she makes her way around the temporary thoroughfare. We enjoyed some tri-tip kabobs, a tomato/mozzarella/basil/oil salad, and blackberry pie. 

Brad, who owns the town's bike shop, usually stays pretty busy while we're there, as Labor Day is a great weekend for business. He does sneak away as much as he can to join us for whatever little adventure we're doing. This year we spent a couple of afternoons at the pool, where Monica has become quite the little swimmer. She's jumping off the diving board now, with no floaties, swimming to the edge of the pool, climbing out and doing it all over again. 

We also always come knowing that we're going to eat some very good food. This year we had all kinds of stuff, from tuna steaks and delicious salads, to gourmet burgers and sweet potato fries, broccoli salad, grilled pizzas, guacamole, corn on the cob, and many more mouth watering treats. For dessert, Brad whipped up a delicious strawberry/blackberry topping for vanilla ice cream that I just couldn't get enough of. So good. 

The drive is long at 7-10 hours (depending on traffic), but it's so very worth it. The company is great, we always get lots of good time outside, biking or hiking, running or walking around town. And it's just nice to be with family, even if it's a quick trip. 

Here are some pictures from the weekend. So fun. 

Vineyards in Napa Valley. It's beautiful this time of year. The grapes are almost ready to go! 

A castle at one of the vineyards! 

Uncle G throwing Mo in to the air! :)

Makin' silly faces with Myka and Monica

Sweet girls. 

Mykie was a little wary of Uncle G at first, but when she discovered that he was the only one who could teach her how to shell peanuts (we all pretended we didn't know), she eventually warmed up to him and ended up sitting on his lap the last day we were there! Win! We think the beard throws her off.

Already lookin' forward to our next trip up! :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Do it Yourself: Framed Fabric

For the three years we've lived in our little apartment, I've had 3 plates hanging on the wall in the kitchen. I love the idea of plates hanging on a wall. I ripped out a page from a magazine several years ago with plates that had various shades of green and gold hung on the wall. But in that case, as in most, there are several plates involved. For example:

Awesome, right?

But, I don't have that many plates right now. It's something you've got to work at over time. (grin)
Hand picking just the right combination of plates from various estate sales and thrift stores till your collection just can't keep itself off of your walls!

You can see my measley attempt at a wall hang in the corner of this picture. 

And again in this picture...

Ok, let's be honest. I just wanted to show you my sweet husband in a pretty apron. :)
One more time...

Haha. Well played, baby. Well played.

ANYWAYS...I have three plates. 
They aren't pretty, hand-picked estate sale plates, and I need the big one to serve deliciousness in from time to time.  

So they had to come down.

I needed something else. Something that would go in the plate holders that I'd already screwed into the wall. (Sorry, facilities!) Something, cheap, quick and round...

Embroidery hoops + Pretty fabric = cheap, quick and round!

I can't recall where I originally saw this idea, but I've wanted to try it for a while.

Here's the quick how to:

#1 Pick out some pretty fabrics. I just grabbed a couple of the small fabric quarters at Joanne's. 
I think they were something like .99 a piece. 

Then I picked up some embroidery hoops at a thrift store, ranging from 50 cents to a dollar a piece.

I laid each hoop on the selected fabric, and then cut a generous square out. 
Then I placed the fabric in the hoop, stretched it taut, and tightened the hoop down. 

I then flipped the hoop over, and cut the excess fabric off with a sharp pair of fabric scissors. 

Flip it over. 

I feel silly even making a tutorial. Ha! 

Aaaaaaand, put it on your wall! 

This whole process took...abooooout...15 minutes. Tops. 
Cheap. Quick. Effective. 

For more ideas on what you can do with embroidery hoops and 
fabric (like use it as a pinboard!), check out some of these creative crafts on Etsy!