Things On My Desk This Week

Thanks to a few antique store visits this weekend and some new purchases, here are the projects on my desk this week.

1. I found these vintage 1980’s patterns at a thrift store in Stillwater. I paid a total of ten cents for the two of them.


In my mind, they translated into the dress I’ve had in my DIY sewing folder for several months. I’m thinking that between the two patterns, I can tweak them to look something like this dress below. I mean, the pattern says, “Ou! C’est Facile!” How hard can it be, right?

2. We have a bar stool we use at our extra tall computer desk that’s begging to be redone. I’ve been thinking of painting it for a long time with a detachable cushion, but found inspiration in a few places this weekend. One was this:

They used bottle caps, but I’m thinking buttons with a built in quilt top cushion.

3. Also on my desk are about 174 embroidery needles that I bought when I couldn’t find the ones I already had, 4 shirts waiting to be upcycled into something I like, and one spool of sequin-y ribbon that I wish was a cocktail dress. Today I think it will be a belt to go with my pajamas. Because what are pajamas without sequin belts?

Photo Attribution: Bar Stool | Desk

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Painting With A Twist

I had so many doubts about moving here. As if God were usually wrong. But Dallas offers herself to me in a new light, yet again. Intro: Painting With a Twist.

One painting. Two hours. 35 dollars. Whatever friends you want to invite. And a unique piece of art to take home at the end of the night. It’s a brilliant business model, but an even better way to stretch your creative abilities and consider yourself an artist. They pick one painting, teach you to paint it step by step, and voila, you’re Van Gogh. Here is my finished product:

The Congress Bridge in Austin, bats and all. It will hang in our home and people will ask where we got it. I will then reply, “Oh I painted it, of course.” And then we’ll giggle to know secretly that it wasn’t nearly as hard as it looks. But it will live forever as something I created, with love, in Dallas.

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Party Mushrooms

This post is a lot less psychedelic that it sounds, though still fun. To continue the excitement of the commencement of the 2010 season, we bring you our favorite tailgate food. Hello, stuffed mushrooms.

Ingredients:

About 30-40 mushrooms

1 brick of cream cheese (Get the real stuff, not fat free. It puts the party in the mushrooms.)

4-5 green onions, chopped

1 cup cheddar cheese

Salt & Pepper to taste (We use a little salt & a lot of pepper)

Optional ingredients: Bacon, American cheese

Directions:

Wash mushrooms and de-stem. I don’t know the technical name for de-stemming, but they should look like this:

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup) and preheat oven to 350.

Mix cream cheese, green onions, cheddar cheese, salt & pepper, & bacon if you wish (tip: a little bacon goes a long way).

Spoon mixture into mushroom tops. Top with little slices of American cheese if you want, sprinkle with cheddar, or forego the cheese altogether.

Bake for 20 minutes.

We’ve never left a party with any mushrooms. They’re simply smashing.

Photo Attribution: Pshycadelica | Shrooms 1 | Shrooms 2

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Why Girls Look Forward to Football Season

We’ll be doing a little 2-part college football “preview” today and tomorrow on the blog. I say “preview” because it’s basically nothing more than a snapshot into both of our (sometimes disturbing, usually entertaining) perspectives of sports. Without further adieu, 5 reasons I (as a girl) am looking forward to college football:

1. Looking Cute – As a twenty-six-year-old married woman, I’m a little bit past this stage, though some would debate if I ever actually took part. But I’ve seen other girls do it, so here goes. Football season means dressing up in your school colors with as many cute accessories as your earlobes, neck, and wrists can handle. For those from the south it means cute dresses with cowboy boots, big curly hair, and anything you can find in direct contrast to the game of football itself. It means sitting with your girlfriends and talking about anything but sports, or sitting by the cute boy you have a crush on and pretending (or not having to pretend) that you need him to teach you everything he knows.

2. Cookouts – Otherwise known as “tailgates,” this tradition finds many a girl cooking up her favorite meal for the boys or, again, talking with her girlfriends about anything but sports. It marks the beginning of a new season (I’m talking autumn, not football) and enjoying the out of doors and the clean, crisp air. It means new possibilities (no, not for the Heisman- don’t kid yourself) and a time where friends and family trump everything else. The holidays are approaching, and with them, another new year full of opportunity and blessings. Fall is great indeed.

3. Perfect Weather – There’s the old saying about the “fair weather fan,” but I, my friends, am truly a fair weather fan. My body can only enjoy football when the temperature finds itself between the degrees of 65 and 75. Anything beyond that on either end of the spectrum and I’d rather watch indoors. Or sometimes I’d be okay with not watching at all. This leaves me with about two games per season that I can enjoy without complaining. Which means two games that Kyle can enjoy. Period.

4. Boys Being Boys – Yes, we roll our eyes when you try and throw the football further than your friends and get it stuck on top of a campus building, but we secretly find it kind of cute. We make you behave in public every other day of the year, and this is the one time we can let you be yourselves. It’s actually pretty fun to watch you run around like children and rattle off sports stats, even though we tune them out. So enjoy it. Because as soon as we get in the car, the fun is over.

5. Football Players – Yes, we notice them. Usually only the quarterbacks because they’re on T.V. the most and they get the ball every play. And because they’re the cutest. We may pretend we don’t care about football, but sometimes the quarterback is the only thing that gets us through the game.

My picks: (I just looked at Kyle and said, “What am I picking?)

Title Game: Alabama and LSU. I have no reasoning for this. But LSU will win.

Heisman: Brandon Weeden. Because he’s literally the only football player I know this season. And I probably would have misspelled his name if I hadn’t looked it up. See #2. I’m my own worst nightmare.

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Monday, Monday

Here are a few things that I can’t stop thinking about this week. Thought they might be worthy of sharing. Happy one week from Labor Day!

1. The Word

I know it shouldn’t be an unusual occurrence for me to be smitten with the gospel, but I’m human, and it is. We had a guest pastor preach the sermon at church this weekend, and while those are always risky (they never tell you in advance because attendance will be severely affected) this guy was dead on. Sure he was mildly entertaining, his story lines were good, but I somehow came away with a hunger for the gospel like I haven’t had in a long time. And to me, that’s the best thing you could ever walk away with.

2. My Impending Employment

Yes, it’s true. I might actually get a job this week. I wouldn’t be climbing any corporate ladders any time soon, but I’d be wrapped up in a place I love with interesting things and inspiring people. More to come. But probably only if I get the job.

3. This Song

I’ve hardly been able to listen to his new album because I’m still dwelling on his old ones. Go Ray.

4. This Machine

Dear Singer Featherweight. It’s true that I didn’t even know you existed until three days ago, but it was love at first sight. I’ll do whatever it takes to make you mine. Love, Jen.

What’s on your mind this week?

Photo Attribution: Bench | Bible | I’m For Hire | Ray Lamontagne | Singer Featherweight

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One Million Pillowcases

So we’ve all heard of Etsy. But you may not have heard about this: The One Million Pillowcase Challenge.

Want to be crafty and make new friends in the name of charity? Here’s the goal: Sew and donate one million pillowcases to local charities while having fun and meeting new people. I’m meeting up with a group in Dallas tonight and there are groups already meeting all over the world. Check out the current list of groups at Meetup.com, or start your own. Etsy has tons of ideas for throwing parties and lots of free patterns. So gather up those old fabric scraps and make them into something wonderful!

Don’t know how to sew? Invite someone who does and you can cut the patterns. You can even make some yourself and give them to the group to donate with all the others. But come on, who doesn’t want to make new craft friends?

I’m in love with the idea of craft parties and I’m pretty sure I’ll want to throw my own after tonight. Stay tuned and happy sewing!

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The Beauty of a Stranger

I feel like I’m hogging the blog this week, but I got home first last night, so I got to write the post and Kyle can wait his turn. Clearly I’m becoming more unselfish in marriage by the day. Ahem.

So last night we got invited to two separate events. I have a feeling that it’s all because of this post, but at this point, we’ll take whatever we can get. Kyle played kickball, I went to a girls night. Now, if you’ve ever walked into a room full of people you barely know, you understand that it can be a little intimidating. These weren’t my friends, they don’t know my struggles, we went to different schools, grew up in different states, it’s just… different. And yet as I was sitting at the table with five almost strangers, the world became a little bit smaller.

I was sitting at a table surrounded by empty plates, glasses of wine, and host of young women I know little about. But as I watched them laugh and interact, they didn’t seem like such strangers after all. They all love Christ, and despite our different careers (or lack thereof) and our different passions, our struggles are all the same.

There’s something beautiful about walking through life in Christian fellowship. Having friends who can call you out on things, who have the same heart, who challenge you in conversation and in life. But there’s almost something more beautiful in knowing that God is so much bigger than my group of friends. He encompasses so much more than we think about on a daily basis. And no matter where we find ourselves, we must remember that it is He who led us here, and He will remain faithful. And we will all glorify Him together.

Today, I am reminded that the body of Christ is much larger than I’ll ever truly know.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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The Book Nook

Lately I’ve been book obsessed. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I remain unemployed with little to do besides housework and grocery shopping. And reading. Today, I share two of my new favorites that I can’t stop talking about.

1. Stepping Heavenward

I hesitate to write about this book for fear I won’t do it justice and no girl will want to read it. And you all need to. First published in 1869, it’s a fictional account of a young woman from childhood through adulthood, as told by her journal. It has the strength and charm of a Jane Austen novel, but with an element of vulnerability as she struggles daily to become more like Christ. It was such a different time, but the struggles are the same as mine today. A friend recently mailed me a copy because reading it made her want to be a better wife and mother. Read it. I know you’ll love it.

2. The Handmade Marketplace

I have to give the disclaimer that I’m not even halfway finished with this book, but if you’re wanting to start your own small business, this is the book to read. It walks you through getting started, creating a brand, networking, marketing, selling, and a lot more. A must have for anyone has ever entertained the idea of taking their creativity (painting, sewing, or making googly-eyed peanuts) to the next level.

And of course I’m always wanting more. What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

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To Have a Friend

Moving to a new city proves to be more challenging in some areas than others. I’ve decided which supermarket I like best, I know how to get to my favorite thrift stores, and can even go most places without a map. Our apartment is shaping up, the days are proving to be much less mundane, and I’m starting to feel more at home all the time. However, we keep coming back to this one tiny issue: We really only have a few friends here.

When we left Stillwater, we were in the middle of everything. I worked for a church, which connected me immediately to 150 volunteers, 9 staff members, their volunteers, and every person who came through our doors on a weekend. Kyle had great community within his work. Our weeks would usually be full of softball or basketball games, coffee with friends, evenings at the church, or great conversation with roommates over dinner and wine. And while we knew a few people coming into this great city, it still provides a stark contrast to the fellowship and friendship we had in our recent past. Here’s a synopsis of our friend making so far:

–       We see a fun looking couple on the street walking their dog. One of us says, “Ooh they look really cool.” The other agrees.

–       We drive by an old woman working in her garden. I say, “Oh Kyle I bet she’s so sweet. I want to be friends with her.” She keeps digging. We keep driving.

–       We shake hands with people sitting next to us at church. But only on the weeks they make us. We make eye contact, sit back down, and one of us says, “They look like a fun couple to hang out with.” The other nods. End of discussion.

–       One week at church Kyle leaves to use restroom. Comes back with fly open. Negates everyone who sat close to us that week as possible future friends.

–       The next week we arrive at church and I realize I’ve forgotten to brush my teeth. Knocks out another 10-12 fun looking couples. Almost literally. No discussion that week.

And the list goes on. We find ourselves surrounded by possible community and fellowship everywhere, and yet it seems very out of reach. So we continue to play “I Spy” with unsuspecting Dallas residents while we wait for small groups to start at church in September. And hope that none of them sat by us for examples 4 or 5.

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The Fear of Marriage

I was talking with Kyle’s sister this past weekend about marriages and divorce rates and parents who leave their families and never take interest in their children. She is single (sorry Kayc, I promise it’s imperative to the story, maybe I can hook you up with a blog reader?) and she finished our discussion with one phrase:

I’m actually really scared of marriage.

I, in all my wisdom, uttered something about why you have to choose the right person and how it could either be the worst thing in the world or the best thing. Despite my lack of eloquence, I still find that statement to be true. However, there’s a lot more depth and beauty behind this mysterious covenant, and it deserves more respect than I can ever give it in words. But I’ll leave you with this:

Marriage was created to be a picture of Christ. He died and gave Himself up for his bride, the Church. So to look upon marriage is to look upon the Lord. It must be feared and viewed with reverence, for a single slight of hand can cause unbearable destruction of the human soul. But when lived the right way, the joy and freedom it brings is like no other experience on this earth. And yet the joy we see in marriage is but a glimpse of His love for us.

How do you view marriage? Is it something to be feared?

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