Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Self Portrait

I was less than enthused about the assignment at I Heart Faces this week to do a self portrait, but I forced myself to do it. I suppose I ended up having some fun in the process.


To view all the other entries this week, click the button below.

Family Photos 2010



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All photos taken by Shonda Barlow Photography.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It’s That Time of Year

“. . . when the world falls in love, every song you hear seems to say . . . Merry Christmas. May your New Year’s dreams come true . . .”

Oh. Sorry. You caught me singing Christmas songs by The Carpenters.

What I meant to say was it’s that time of year when, if we haven’t already, we have to start thinking about Christmas cards.

I love being able to send out Christmas cards. Gathering all the addresses can be a bit of a chore, but since I can’t give gifts to everyone I know, a Christmas card is a fun way to say Merry Christmas. I even end up wishing I could send more Christmas cards than I actually do. This year, I have a head start on my Christmas cards because of Daylight Designs.

Have you heard of Daylight Designs?


I was lucky enough to win a giveaway from Blessed Little Nest featuring Daylight Designs, and I’m so happy with what I got! First off, Melissa (Mel), the shop owner was so easy to work with. When I won the giveaway, we had just had our photos taken, so I didn’t have them yet. (I know. I said I’d show them off, but I haven’t gotten around to it. That will be my next post. Promise.) I asked if I needed to use an older photo or if she would be okay with waiting until I got our photos back, and she was totally fine with waiting. Almost a month later, I sent her a photo with my request. She sent me a proof the very next day, and I had my cards the next week. I am so happy with how they turned out!

Since my cards were part of a giveaway, she printed and mailed them to me with envelopes. Her listings in her shop are for the card design. You send her a picture, she puts it in the design and sends you a file that you can print as many as you want using your favorite photo developer. But if you prefer to have the cards printed out, she also has that option available.

Daylight Designs has plenty of options to choose from. I love how simple and fresh the designs are. These are my three favorite Christmas card designs:il_570xN_93521911



But Mel doesn’t only do Christmas cards. Visit her shop for baby shower invitations, birth announcements, wedding invites, and more.il_570xN_92916354

Thanks, Daylight Designs, for my beautiful Christmas cards!

Psst! I just read on Mel’s blog that she’s hosting another giveaway over at Mama Manifesto! Hurry over there and win some for yourself!

Monday, November 29, 2010

In a Field of Flowers

The theme over at I Heart Faces this week is “scenic B&W.” I haven’t participated in any of their challenges for quite a while, so I thought I’d join in again.


This is my oldest daughter (4yrs old pictured). You wouldn’t know it to look at her, but she had just hiked about 3 miles with us up Cascade Head. As we were packing up the car, she and her sister just played in the flowers.

My husband designed a watermark for me. Isn’t he sweet?

Be sure to check out all the talent shared on I Heart Faces:

Free Music from Amazon!

I have to share this! I found this promo code through Frugal Living NW to download $3 worth of free music on Amazon—today only. Currently (possibly today only), Amazon has quite a few good albums marked down to $1.99 for the whole album, so you can get an entire album with a dollar left over. How cool is that?! I love free stuff!

I tend to get music-deprived because I stopped listening to the radio when I had kids. I never know what words my kids might learn or what songs will be played, so I stick to my iPod. Really the only way I find new music is by listening when I watch TV or movies, and if I hear anything I like, I look up what song it was and hunt it down. I’m rather out of touch with the music world. So a deal like this is just heaven sent. Here are some possibilities (note: all images found on Amazon.com):

51cE7gnUt2L__SL500_AA280_You could get this Christmas album for $1.99. I’m a little bummed I didn’t get it now because I saw that it has “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” which is one of my absolute favorite Christmas songs.61qdoAOBuFL__SL500_AA280_You could get In Between Dreams by Jack Johnson for $1.99. I already have this one, and I love it. Jack Johnson is one of my favorite artists.

51V-AzpfivL__SL500_AA280_I opted to get something besides Christmas music. I’ve been listening to this Christmas album for the past week (which is only $5 right now). I know, I started before Thanksgiving (gasp!). But when I was growing up, my mother always listened to Christmas music while we made the Thanksgiving pies, so it’s sort of tradition. Anyway, I’ve been enjoying “Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles so much, that I decided to give some of her other music a try.

51cQrILhADL__SL500_AA280_I got this album for $1.99 on my $3 credit.

And I got “I Go to the Barn Because I Like the” by Band of Horses. I’ve loved that song since I heard it on a season finale of Psych, and now I will finally own it.

51OTiRjH8iL__SL500_AA280_ And finally, I got a few songs from Little & Ashley because they were free even without the credit. I’ve never heard of them, but the music clips sounded fun.

So hurry and go get some free music today! (I was not paid to post this, I just got the deal and wanted to share.)

What’s your favorite song or artist right now? Is there a certain album you’re listening to over and over? What’s your favorite Christmas CD?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Snapshots of Thanksgiving

There’s a beautiful blog called eighteen25 that started a new link party called Snapshots of Life. You go to their blog on Wednesday to see a listed time. On Thursday, everyone takes pictures of what they were doing at that time of day. And on Friday, we all go back to link up our pictures there on the blog. I’ve never done it before, but I thought it might be fun since this Thursday was Thanksgiving. So here’s what we were up to at 4:00pm yesterday:

101125_0025-1aMy daughters were just finishing watching Sleeping Beauty while playing with doll clothes. These are the same cabbage patch kids and clothes that used to belong to my sister and me as children.101125_0023-1aSee all the clothes? See the sleeping uncle and Grandpa’s resting feet in the background? We ate our Thanksgiving dinner at 2:00, so all the guys were in a turkey coma by this time. Even the dogs are resting (yes, they have their very own couch). 101125_0034-1aTrying to put the clothes on the doll.

101125_0026-1aTrying to put the clothes on herself.

101125_0016-1aMy sweetie, asleep on the couch.

101125_0022-1aMy mother, who was starting to think about pie, as was I.

Hop on over to eighteen25 to see what others were doing on their Thanksgiving afternoon:

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Little Helpers


She sits on my lap. She plays with the pins on my sewing machine. She’s finally learned to resist the temptation to play with the dials . . . most of the time. I pause to let her remove a pin before I continue sewing. Her hair tickles my face.

My projects take a little longer because I have two little helpers. When I cut my fabric, I have two little girls standing by me saying, “trick or treat.” I give them the scraps I don’t need. When I pin the fabric in place, I have small hands wanting to hand me each pin, while I listen to a constant chorus of “here you go, Mommy.” We settle arguments over who gets to sit where to watch me sew. My oldest takes the pins from me and puts them in the box. When they aren’t watching, they are playing close by.

I try to keep things balanced. I try to make sure they still have some of my focus. As they get older, I hope to help them do more than remove pins. I hope they remember these moments, and I hope they learn to value the feeling of making something. I want to teach them all these things I know how to do, and I hope they will feel love in my teaching. Most of all, I want to remember these moments, when she is small enough to sit on my lap while I sew, when her older sister is sitting nearby, peppering me with questions about what I’m making. I want to remember them just like this, because as much as I love watching them get bigger every day, I know I will miss the smallness they leave behind.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shutterfly’s Gift to Bloggers

Have you heard?

Shutterfly is helping us out this Christmas season by offering 50 free Holiday cards just for blogging about their 2010 Holiday Cards. You scratch their back; they scratch yours. Want to learn more about this great deal? Follow THIS link.

I have never ordered anything from Shutterfly, but my friends have had good experiences with the company. I’m excited to give them a try. I think my only problem will be choosing from their HUGE selection of Christmas cards. There are so many that I like!


This one is one of my favorites. I tend to prefer Christmas cards that remind us why we’re celebrating.


I also prefer cards that let the photo be the main focus. This one is a folded 5X7 card, so you have plenty of room to write inside.


I just think the design on this one is fun.


Tired of the same old green and red? Try yellow instead. Order this card, and 10% of your purchase will go to LIVESTRONG.

Besides Christmas cards, you can also find great photo gift ideas, such as ornaments, mugs, and even playing cards. Or maybe you’d like to dress up your packages with some of their personalized gift tags.

I know I’ve got to get started gathering addresses. I put them all on our computer last year, but we switched computers along the way, losing all the addresses. Do you have your holiday cards yet? Are you getting ready for the Christmas season or waiting until after Thanksgiving? Will you write a Christmas letter to go with your cards this year? I’ve written one the last couple years, but since I’m taking on so many projects for gifts, I told my husband he could write the letter this year. We’ll see how that goes. Winking smile

Whatever you do, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season this year!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Look What I’ve Gotten Myself Into


I’ve been having way too much fun on the internet. I’ve been finding so many great tutorials and ideas, and with Christmas right around the bend, I’ve been thinking about gifts. And the more I think about gifts, the more I’ve been thinking it would be really fun to do a homemade Christmas this year. I always tell myself I’ll work on Christmas all year long, but then I don’t do anything. As soon as Halloween is over, I go into a Christmas panic, knowing all too well how quickly that last time flies.

I sat down with my husband the other evening to talk to him about some of the ideas I had, things I could make for different people. I love bouncing ideas off my husband. He has great taste, and he’s way better than me at making decisions. After I showed him several options I had in mind for many of the people on our Christmas list, we narrowed things down to actual decisions of who would receive what. With the decisions out of the way, I could get started making.

I thought I was doing pretty well. I bought fabric and got one project out of the way. When my husband asked me what I was making next, I told him I would have to go pick up supplies for the next project. See, I thought I would take a safe approach, buying things I needed for one project, finishing that project, and then purchasing for the next one. That way, if we’re getting too close to Christmas and I just don’t have time, I can go buy something instead of making the gift I had planned.

My ever-supportive husband had a different idea. He thought my “safe approach” would make it too easy for me to back out. He wanted to help motivate me. So he said I needed to make a supply list. For how many of the projects? All of them. I made the list, the very, very long list. We left in the late afternoon to hit the stores. Considering the time, I figured we could make a good start on the list, and I’d at least have supplies for a few of the projects. We started at the fabric store.

And we stayed at the fabric store.

I made decision after decision after decision.

My daughters ran amok.

I think we gave everyone a headache, including ourselves.

It became quite clear that we weren’t leaving that store until I had fabric and most of the notions for all the projects on my list.

My daughters bickered.

I made some more decisions.

I got nervous every time we picked up fabric that cost more than $6 a yard.

My daughters got fussy.

I broke out the snacks.

We soldiered on. We kept that cutting counter quite busy.

After three grueling hours in a fabric store, we came away with these fabrics and some other supplies for me to make gifts. Then we went to Costco for dinner.

I had used a coupon which helped quite a bit with the supplies, but I still had sticker shock from the whole bill. What had we done? I had never spent that much in one trip to the fabric store. I thought my husband surely was feeling the same way, but it turns out, he was thinking more rationally. He told me to take the total price and divide it by the number of projects for which I had all the supplies. I did, and it turned out to be less than $10. He told me to take the total price and divide it by the number of people to whom we will be giving the projects. It still turned out less than $10 per person. Maybe we will save money this Christmas after all.

Now I just have to deal with the matter of getting it all done in time and trying not to become a basket case in the process. I guess you could say I’ve got my work cut out for me (pun intended). I’m nervous and excited. This will be some really good sewing practice for me since most of the projects are sewn. What a great opportunity to get plenty of practice! Still, I think I might be in over my head. Wish me luck! I might have to wait until after Christmas to blog about it all, since they are gifts.

Are you working on anything for Christmas? Is this a big Christmas or a small Christmas for you this year? What do you do to make gifts feel more personal, more special?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Word Up!

Finally, the Halloween costume reveal! I started out trying to convince the kids to be Thing 1 and Thing 2 because I thought the costumes would be super easy. My oldest went along with that idea at first, but then she started having ideas of her own. After changing her mind a few times, she decided she wanted to be Word Girl. I decided that wouldn’t be too difficult as long as I didn’t have to try to actually sew the clothing. As I’ve mentioned before, this is my first year attempting to do homemade costumes. I found some solid colored clothes at Children’s Place (after removing a few embellishments), and I made the rest. All our festivities were on Saturday, so I got the costumes done in the nick of time on Friday.

Straight from the planet Lexicon, I present to you . . . Word Girl!

101029_0019-1aShe just LOVED shouting out Word Girl’s catch phrase: Word up!

101029_0010-1aAnd we couldn’t have Word Girl without Captain Huggy Face!


If you’re not familiar with these beloved PBS Kids characters, this is what they’re supposed to look like:

wordgirlimage source

101029_0001-1aI think my main frustration with these costumes was their headbands. I didn’t think I had the skills to try to create my own pattern for hats that would look like the characters’ hats, so I decided to try to make wide headbands. The only problem with that is that since they go under the chin and they’re made of satin, they kept wanting to slip forward. You can see Word Girl’s is clipped to her in the picture above. Captain Huggy Face’s stayed on pretty well, except for when I tried to take her picture and she kept yanking it off, saying, “No dank you,” and handing it to me. When we went to the church carnival and trunk-or-treating the next day, I found some red bobby pins to pin on both of their headbands. Much better.101030_0033-1aI don’t think I’ve ever seen a cuter dynamic duo!101030_0034-1aBy the time I was finished with the costumes, I felt like saying, “never again.” I was having a hard time convincing myself one day of fun was worth all that work when I could have dragged them to the store and convinced them to conform to what I could purchase. But then we got to the carnival, and each time we finished at one station, Word Girl ran a loop around the gym floor. She was more excited about flying in her costume than playing games and winning prizes. She happily exclaimed “Word up!” for anyone who stopped and said, “Hey, it’s Word Girl!”

Both my girls were so excited and happy to be all dressed up and showing off their finished costumes. I soaked up their enthusiasm, and it made me feel giddy like I had been waiting for this holiday with the same eagerness they had. And at the end of the day, I told myself that maybe, just maybe, I could be persuaded to do this again.


Jenny at The Southern Institute for Domestic Arts and Crafts is hosting a blog hop so we can all share our Halloween costumes, and I thought I’d join in. Here it is, my first blog hop ever! Please add a link below to your blog post (not your main blog page) that shows off your kids’ costumes. Then, if you’d like to, you can add this blog hop to your own blog. This will be fun!

I’m sharing this post with (a whole bunch of link parties) . . .

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend  wrap    up           party!BWS tips buttonPhotobucketPhotobucket