Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to Give Away - sorry for the wait

So this is completely silly and not my main blog for today,

but I wanted to have something for those looking when they woke up. 

So I stayed up and posted in bed...

I would just like to share how much I LOVE my comforter. 
Here is what I needed:

Little Miss Sunshine is obviously representative of me! ;)

And then I....

So that my unbiased husband could...

Yes, we used the tote. It seemed fitting. Don't you think?

Drum roll please............

And the winner is:

CORI! Congrats! 

Keep an eye out for the next giveaway soon, and thanks for being awesome supportive ladies! 



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rewriting The Vows five years and many lives later

Sometimes looking back is sad, and sometimes it is great. Sometimes when the spirit is happy we need to go back for a quick visit.

I remember this girl...

I forget about her sometimes.....

One time she was a blissful newlywed having a blast at life with this guy...

Then we decided to do this...

Which resulted in this....

My beautiful baby boy.

And we moved a lot...
South Carolina

And during that time we did this...

My Hubby took some insane maternity photos for me.

And that resulted in a "she" who spent a week like this...

This is my daughter in the NICU spending time with her Daddy
But when she came home it was....

And suddenly all of those things we vowed to do suddenly seemed like just the tip of the iceberg. 
We have stayed committed to our union for better or worse, through surgeries, and 5ks, through great jobs and job losses. 

All though on paper we've done it all just as we vowed, we both realized that those standard vows were not nearly what we would promise one another now. Not nearly what we are going to teach our children to promise on their wedding day. 

As we washed and dried the day's dishes we began to recite our version of what our vows should be. 

I promise to listen to you and seem interested even if I'm not really.
I promise to protect you after you give birth and allow you to heal without adding stress or worry. 

I promise to move you all over the country and uproot you every chance I get. (Okay that one was really said, and while true, only meant to be funny)
I promise to speak to you the way I did when we were only dating one week. As though you have the option to change your mind even though I know you don't and won't. 

I promise to listen to your feelings even when I think they are offensive. 

I promise to go everywhere you take me and make it work. Even if it is hard at first, after my seemingly eternal, but truly brief depression, I will figure it out.
 I promise to give you a home no matter where it may be that you can come to for comfort and refuge from the rest of the world. 

I promise to look beyond myself and consider ways to meet your needs in the way that you need them met instead of the way I think it would work best.

I won't remember every single mean thing you say to me, but rather write the love notes and compliments on my heart as love keeps no record of wrongs.

Most of all we would promise to face our problems head on and not by attacking one another, but by coming together to find the answer. Like any other problem we will look to the book where the answers can be found. (B.I.B.L.E in case I don't make that clear)

There were a LOT more silly ones and lots of laughter, but we have realized that we are stronger for all of our misunderstandings, and ready to renew and refresh. Starting with some late night laughter and sweet words standing over the kitchen sink. 

Just because a minister told you about budgeting and asked you why you wanted to get married, doesn't mean you are ready or qualified. One thing that will stir up a marriage is if one person is ready to put Jesus first and the other isn't. Knowing who you are in Christ before you "I Do" is a major player in a happy marriage.

Take the time to remember your beginnings. 

Proverbs 5:18 "May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth."

Take the time to reunite and speak kindly in laughter and a good spirit. Often.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - Tu-tu Cute Tote

We can't wait for dance class at our house. 

My girl LOVES to dance,
and this adorable bag will be perfect for her slippers and accessories.

What you'll need:

- Sewing Machine
- Cotton canvas fabric. 
(I got this print at Hobby Lobby. 40% off coupon this week you can print online.)
- Tulle
-Measuring Tape
- Iron
- Scissors
- Pins
- Ribbon

First things first. I cut 2 separate pieces. Unless you have to I don't recommend this for an embellished bag. If you can cut one piece that is 15 and 1/2 x 18. Then you will sew your tulle and ribbon all across that piece. When you get to the stitching all around the bag you follow the same instructions as follows below. 

Now for all of you crazy people like me who cut two pieces or only have 2 pieces with not enough length in one stretch of fabric here we go...

I cut 2 pieces of my fabric both 15 1/2 X 9 inches

I cut 2 9 inch strips of ribbon, and 8 - 22 x 6 inch strips of tulle. 

First I pleated the tulle on the fabric where I wanted it to fall on the bag. 
Next I stitched it into place with a single stitch and added the ribbon over it..

I repeated those steps on both the front and back pieces of the bag. 

Then it was time to hem the top of the bag. 
The first fold you will do at the top is 1/2 inch. Iron into place

The second fold will be 1 inch. Iron into place. No need to sew just yet.
 I then pinned the 2 pieces of the bag (wrong(not the design but the white) sides facing) to one another and stitched a 1/4 in straight stitch around all 3 sides.
Right now it looks like a very unprofessional bag with rough edges. 

Flip it inside out. and sew a triple stitch at 1/2 inch from the edge all the way around the 3 sides. 
This is a seam technique that will eat the fraying edges for you so you avoid all of the folding and ironing and pinning etc. 
My bag is shiny on the inside because I made it vinyl on the inside, but I'll save that for another time. 
Now you'll make the base of your tote. Pull the sides apart making your tote folded down the middles and make a triangle out of one bottom corner:
It is so important to make sure that stitched edge stays facing the same way when you stitch both sides. 
Now measure down 2 inches from the point, draw a line, and triple stitch across it. 
Repeat on other corner. 

Time for the straps. 
Measure and cut 2 - 5X19 inch strips of your fabric. 

Fold one strip in half making it 2.5 x 19, iron the crease, and then open up and fold your edges into that crease:
Fold in half and stitch up both sides the same width from the edge on both sides with a single stitch.

Attach your straps by placing the end UNDER the hem at the top of the bag while tote is still inside out and pin into place. Once all are in place evenly on both sides of the tote, single stitch all the way around the BOTTOM of your hem. 

See what I mean by the bottom of the hem?

Take the loop you just made and flip it up. Pin into place. Repeat on other side. Then with the tote still inside out, single stitch around the TOP of the hem. 

Flip the bag inside out and USE! 

We made ours vinyl because we will be using it as our Sunday School bag to carry our milk cup, paci, etc. until we turn 2 and head off to ballet class! Then it will hold our slippers and bobby pins, etc! 

Happy Tote making


P.S. GIVEAWAY instruction:
- Follow THIS blog
-Comment on this post about why you'd like to win the tote
-Tell me if you follow me @courtiebeth on Twitter
- Like the Evelyn's Closet:Custom Tutus, Bows, and more page on FB
- Share this post on your FB and Twitter.

Be sure to include in your comment all of the ways you participated to get extra chances to win!

Gour-Make It Monday Red Velvet Cake Cookies

Red Velvet cake is my FAVORITE. 

My husband used to surprise me with red velvet minis all the time (before our kids).

Of course it was my wedding cake.

Our photographer was drinking at our reception, so this is the best photo of my cake he got. Seriously??
Anyway back to the cookies. 

I LOVE something that is cost effective for feeding a lot of people. My mother was a caterer for years and years and taught me lots of great shower,party,holiday recipes for things that presented beautifully, tasted heavenly, but didn't cost an arm and a leg. 

This recipe is my own. 

Red Velvet Cake Cookies
All the joy of a red velvet cake in one bite. Icing and all.

I would have done a much better presentation, but we at them all when they came out of the oven.
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package red velvet cake mix
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
In a bowl mix softened cream cheese, and softened butter. 
Beat in Egg, Vanilla extract, and Cake mix. 

Put your confectioner's sugar in a separate bowl and set aside. 

(This is a VERY sticky mixture. To help with that... I coat my hands in the powdered sugar)

Next you'll want to make 1 inch dough balls, BUT again this is sticky, so I just pick up a clump and plop it into the bowl of powdered sugar and roll it around until it makes a ball. 

Throw on baking sheet (I use un-greased air bake or my baking stone) 

Bake on 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes. If they still look shiny or doughy keep on baking. Because they have the cake an cream cheese, they take a little longer. (Be sure to use your middle oven rack to avoid burning top or bottom of cookies)

Cool and Serve (Or eat them hot like me) 

Happy Gour-Making 


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Sneak Peak

I'm so blessed to be entirely too busy with orders to have time for a full post today, but...

Teaser Alert: 

Since there was an abundance of interest in the Veil...

I'm still not going to show it, BUT...

Before the actual wedding there will be a friends reception as the wedding is very intimate with limited guests. 

We were SO excited to begin this project as we were embarking on a version of the birdcage veil that we have never seen before. One with a soft fold being used as the edge instead of a cut edge, or netting. 

After we made the main masterpiece I had a brain child that led to another custom one of a kind piece that will be worn to the pre-wedding reception.

Here it my bedroom...without hair fixed...with a brightly colored watch...

It's incredible how something so small can say so much, and beautiful how one piece of fabric sitting still can have the feeling of movement. Simple. Elegant. A COMPLETE accident turned perfect piece! 

Hope you enjoyed the sneak peak. 

Stay tuned for the real deal and pic of this little cutie from the wedding and party! 


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Putting a most beautiful bird in a cage

Sorry to post so late for today, but I spent all day long with my super talented, beautiful, smart friend who was in town to work on something for her wedding..

Something she is going to wear. Something I am making for her to wear on her actual wedding day! 
Can you believe that?
Me? Are you sure you trust my modest talent for something so extremely important?

Have you guess what it is yet? 

A beautiful birdcage style. 

Sorry, I didn't take any photos for myself as I wouldn't dare share her wedding day look if you paid me, but I can set it up for you. 

Her veil is a bird cage style. Tilted to the side. Soft, understated and elegant. The perfect compliment to her beautiful dress. Long, taffeta, pockets, WOW.

We kept talking about Carrie Bradshaw as we worked on our collaborative avant garde, yet vintage inspired work of art. I was thinking that Carrie's was a bird cage style, but it wasn't. It just had a bird in it...

I can't wait for my friend's wedding so I can share our creation. 
It was difficult to start. I think we both freaked out a bit, but then... something beautiful started happening and... we have a veil! 

Moral of today's blog: Don't ever be afraid to try something. You MIGHT shock yourself and come up with something BEAUTIFUL in the process. 


Friday, March 25, 2011

Birthday Party Planning on a dime part 1 - planning

I realized this week that I have exactly 4 months to plan my daughter's 2nd birthday party. 
Last year she had a big 1st party, but she also shared it with her brother as we lived away from family and wanted both kids to get to celebrate with them. 

I of course as with everything else have grand plans for my sweet girl's birthday bash! 

Disclaimer: It's a GREAT idea to take your child's birthday party upon yourself,and having big ideas is just due to your intense love for your little one. Prepare things like sugar cookies up to a week in advance and freeze them. Make the cake 2 days before and freeze it. Ice it 1 day before and refrigerate it. In the end DON'T skip your shower and self preparation because you're finishing last minute details. Designate helpers or abandon the small stuff. NOBODY will notice if you didn't hang the paper lanterns you wanted because they never got made.

The theme is: TEA PARTY! 

We're not going to a tea room. Instead I'm going to make one in our lovely back yard. We have a gorgeous setting and plenty of space. 

I know the areas where I won't be able to save so I have to find ways to cut the cost in every area that I can control. 

First I'll be making the cake:
I love this, but not necessarily these colors. The level of difficulty, however doesn't look my speed.

No this is more my speed. Trade the yellow a purple blue or something muted and we're in business. 
I'm sure I could find a Teapot cake pan, but I already have the perfect size ball pan from my mother. It has been in our family since my little brother was 3 I think. Great way to save money. 
I will buy the cake mixes when they are on super sale at the grocery over the next few weeks and save them away. I ALWAYS make my mother's decorating icing. 

Next I'll make Cupcakes for the guests and I've been dreaming about these cupcake molds since I found out I was having a girl. 
4 for $15 isn't frugal so I have a few choices. I can serve them ONLY to my daughter's friends and everyone else can get regular cupcakes or I can try to make all of the cupcakes like mini versions of the cake (not my fav. idea because of time). I'm considering buying 1 pack a month until the party, but before I do that I'll be checking my local Sugar Bakers store and the craft stores for anything similar. If I decide against it I will probably make the cupcakes into flowers  to go wit the Garden side of the tea party theme. 

I am NOT a fan of purchasing party favors so I don't really have to worry with saving there. I'll be making tea pot cookies, maybe pink rock candy sticks, and pink candy covered pretzel sticks with sprinkles. 
Making these the week before and freezing them will save a TON of time in the days prior to the party. 


Since we'll be outside I'll have my trees to work with. I found these darling tissue balls and again I already have everything but the foam balls. I will buy them every other week with the 40% off Hobby Lobby Coupon. 

Of course I'll update as I go through the process and show you how I get a completely unique full party on a dime. 

Happy Planning

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Watering The Cash Tree with Crafts and Helpful Hints

So you make something well. 
You might even have friends asking to purchase your something from you. 
A business is born. Now what?

For crafty folks there are so many options. 
Here are some things to keep in mind.

Being excited about your crafty brain children is always a must, but buying up product before you have real orders can put you worse off than you were before. For those of you with children who make kid related items, you can avoid the financial burden by using what you already have and customize it for your child.

Next (and I learned this through trial and error), I'd recommend getting at least semi professional photos of people using or wearing your product. People like to see things in use so that they can imagine it on them or their children, or in their home. The best thing that has happened to my business is my best friend having her daughter photographed in my tutus. Nothing like a walking adorable advertisement.

Give your items as a gift at EVERY opportunity. Baby showers, house warming, birthdays, holidays. When someone else sees someone opening your creations it opens up another market for you.

Be proud of what you make. Wear it! Use it! In PUBLIC often! Word of mouth is your best friend. Be prepared to hand out your information when people ask where you got that item. 

Be sure your items meet the standard. Once you start selling outside of your warm market, people will be a lot tougher critics and the last thing you want is a bad review on a social site. Don't forget fray check, extra stitches, protection on the inside of an appliqued item so it doesn't rash up a baby's skin. Get the idea?

Starting with FREE avenues to sell is a great idea. Facebook will allow you to make a fan page for your business and you can list prices and take orders on that page. 
Etsy. is FABulous, but they do charge you a small fee. If you expect from your order volume to sell a lot then by all means, but saving your advertising and product costs is where a crafter is going to  make money. 

Set up a paypal! RIGHT NOW! Be sure EVERYONE pays in advance. Paypal charges a fee too, so be sure you charge an extra .50 to $1 for your items to cover that. 

Shipping: Research what shipping will be cheapest. Don't do delivery confirmation unless your customer asks for it, and make sure they understand that their shipping fee will go up just a bit for that. The only way to avoid this is to charge enough initially for the product to fully cover shipping. 

People LOVE a discount. Offering an item for say $15 and putting that shipping is FREE is a great way to display a "deal". 

Don't abandon your business. Times get slow and one of the luxuries we have as crafters is that we do our work from home. If there is a lull in sales, start getting loud on FB, Twitter, etc, 

I hope some of this is helpful. It has taken me 2+ years to see any "real" profit, and lots of trial and error.

Be business smart. Get a business license to keep it legal. You'll need it when you get big enough to get invited to markets and craft fairs. I save 10% of everything to go towards what I might owe in taxes and keep ALL of my receipts to write off. I also save a little extra on the side to go towards booth rentals for large fairs. 

Most importantly, be sure you don't infringe on anyone else's business because those relationships with other crafters will help you build your business. Also be a fan. If someone makes something you LOVE, buy it once in a while. That is what keeps us ALL in business. 

Happy Crafting for Cash!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Positive work spaces anyone, and distractions

We just moved. What? It was four months ago? No. 
Okay, it was in December, and I am completely embarrassed to say that while the inside of our home may look unpacked and great, our garage looks like this:
No, don't say it. We're not hoarders! Okay, my husband isn't a hoarder, but the term "pack rat" may or may not have been mentioned in the same sentences as my name a time or two..hundred since birth. 

Most of this though is sadly my work items. My unique special work that I pour myself into. 

I decided to take control today and make a real work space. A happy, organized, official work space. We've done  LOT already, but I want to get it finished before I show you how to make your crafting space less a clutter. For my husband it is difficult when I get in crafty mode because I end up blowing up all over the kitchen table and counters. I then stop mid project, or take on more orders making it impossible for me to pack up all of the items needed for my job. 

I'm taking it on one category at a time and putting it all OUT at my work station in a functional organized way. No more digging for the right ribbon or tulle. 

On a side note, I did get completely distracted from my organized for just a few minutes to make this:

Be watching for the helpful hints for organizing your crafty work space and check the Evelyn's Closet Tab for some amazing new head pieces being added. 


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I am not skilled to understand

Discernment:  judging wisely and objectively; "a man of discernment".
Used in Christianity as one's ability to comprehend God's will for one's life.
  I have had the lyrics to this song in my head all day. 

"I am not skilled to understand, what God has willed, what God has planned."

It is particularly close to me this last week because for the first time in my life I think I might actually grasp it.

You see, I'm a controller. I came into this world during an out of control time in my mother's life, and I think somehow that gave me an intense desire to make sure that my own little bubble always stays under my control. Can you see where this becomes a problem for a Believer? What about leaving my problems, fears, needs at the foot of the cross? 

I found this photo and I just fell in love. I've done it all. I've written my problems on a piece of paper, and nailed them to a cross. I've knelt at the foot and poured my honest heart out, but I've never really been able to just let it go. I find myself thinking about the same issues and worries just a day or an hour later. I will catch myself still trying to find a way to control the issue. 

Knowing that I have to get a grip on my inability to handle every situation that comes my way hasn't really helped me to stop it. It's mildly like knowing that Krispy Kreme's make my tummy upset, but I eat them anyway. It's largely like knowing that God has walked my path for me and prepared the way but still feeling nervous as though there might be some surprise he didn't see. 
It is also sometimes intensely difficult to be in a valley and know that it is his perfect plan for me. Why the valley? 
I heard a discussion on the radio today discussing this very issue. When the future seems impossible, when science says there is NO way, and when man thinks it can't be done there is a reason. I've heard it before, but just really hearing it this time. It is these instances where it is God can "show up and show out",as my friend Lori would say. It is in our weakness that his strength is made perfect. It is during times when I feel like I've failed, that his grace is sufficient for me. 

I have a specific circumstance currently that I was extremely involved in. Mentally, emotionally, and otherwise. For the first time in my entire life that I can remember, I have successfully left my desire to control it at the foot of the cross, and walked away FREE! 

My name is Courtney and I am a recovering controller. I am 6 days free.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3, 5-6

Happy Willing Wednesday


Monday, March 21, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - Faux Flower Clips

These are EVERYWHERE now and range anywhere from $3 to $10 a pop. 

Here is what you'll need:
Excuse again my ugly glue gun station. If you craft for very long you'll have a gross mess like this.
Glue Gun
Rhinestone Buttons
Faux Flower 
(single stems found just about anywhere)
small strip of ribbon
needle and thread
hair clip

To start, pull the flower off of the stem. Remove any plastic parts and pull all layers apart until you have only all single fabric pieces. 
(Helpful hint: Check your flower AT the store! If it is super glued or hot glued together, you won't be able to do this project with it.)

I switched flowers! :)
Next flip the entire flower upside down and grab the bottom piece. 
Stitch your small piece of ribbon to the center like so:

Flip back over and begin to glue layers together. 
Avoid getting glue in the center hole for two reasons: 
You WILL burn yourself with it, AND you need it there for your button! 

Once you have them glued together you will have a hole in the center deep enough to put the loop on the back of the button through. If you just bought a flat back rhinestone this will work the same way. 
If you bought or salvaged a reg. button you'll be glad you didn't glue up the center because sewing through hot glue will break your needle. 

Place a bead of glue (small enough to not bleed out, but large enough to be strong enough to hold button.) in the center and place button pushing it down into the hole. 

Now use that strip of ribbon on the back to attach your clip. 

Happy Crafting!