Friday, February 26, 2010

playful pillows

those of us in the northeast have gotten slammed with snow this winter and this week was no exception! despite watching way too much on bravo i still managed to get some crafting done. and when i say done that means i actually completed the project i set out to do. might not sound like a big deal but for some reason i have trouble finishing projects. did i just admit that? yikes. it's true though. i'm great on the initial start but then i tend to get bored or tired and put it away. but not this!

last weekend i took a trip to ikea with some of my siblings and my nieces. my sister-in-law kesh is in the process of turning her dining room into a playroom for her 2 little girls. so we went to ikea to pick up some storage. along the way she grabbed some pillows. as we were browsing the pillow covers, nothing caught our eye. i daringly offered to make the covers if she bought the fabric. so on wednesday we headed to joann's (with coupon in hand) and she got all the fabric for about $23. we were covering 5 pillows so $23 split 5 ways... well i'm no mathematician but i know that's cheap.

yesterday i started and sewed the covers for the 2 small pillows and the 1 medium sized one. i did a cute flower applique that mimics the rug she picked up at ikea. they turned out super cute! i did the flap style pillows which make it ideal for her with 2 little ones. if they get dirty she can just pop them off and spot-clean or throw it in the wash. and if she ever decides to change up the look of the playroom we can make new ones.

today i tackled the 2 big pillows. they're 26"x26" but they'll be perfect for cozying up with a good book. i decided to do a little stripe action on the big pillows... you know for visual interest. haha! i'm pretty happy with the way they turned out, too. and again, it's the flap style so they're really easy to get on/off.

i can't wait to see the playroom when it gets painted and all the finishing touches get put in. i'm so glad i got to add a little flare to the room and contribute something. sewing is a new outlet for me, but i'm really enjoying the freedom to create and especially seeing others get joy from the things i make for them!

i can't believe i managed to get this project done so quick. i tend to procrastinate so knowing this is complete makes me so happy!

oh and ps- i won an awesome giveaway today! i am so excited! i'll post about it soon! all i have to say is that the recipient of the goodies hasn't been born yet, but i know she'll love them when she makes her appearance into this world. :)

ps- sorry for the bad photos... they were taken with my iphone.

Friday, February 19, 2010

show us your life

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner

i've never participated in this before but i thought today would be a good day to start! seeing as how i'm in full-time ministry i thought i'd share a little bit about it for anyone who might not already know.

almost 2 years ago exactly i was deep into the grieving process over the unexpected murder of 2 friends of mine at a missionary training school in colorado. you can read more about that here. i was in a time of transition and had no idea what i should be doing. it was at that time that i started to talk with a friend of mine who was in the process of starting a local non-profit that would focus on urban & international development. he and his wife were in a place of transition as well and were looking for someone to come on board and help them start something new.

i knew right away that it was where i was supposed to be and soon after that hope beyond borders was born. our heart is to see communities transformed through the empowerment of leaders and individuals within those communities. we believe that there is so much untapped potential in communities around the world and if given the proper tools then change is possible. we've seen this so clearly in a small village in northern zambia, africa.

over 2 years ago we helped establish a self-help arts & education center (called the mango tree) in the village of kaombe... a place once known for it's hopelessness. it was a forgotten and looked down upon village that no one wanted to go to. but since the birth of the mango tree center things have changed. there is now a library full of books where everyone can come and read and study. there are 7 sewing machines training vulnerable women and widows a trade that they will hopefully be able to use to one day support their families. there are leaders who used to be street kids, now empowering the younger generation and showing them that anything is possible. there is a mini-van operating as a taxi service providing much needed transportation for the community. and as of last thanksgiving there is now a water piping system transporting water to over a dozen locations in the village. what was once a tedious task of walking 1 or 2km to fetch water is now a short walk. what's even more amazing is that the outsiders view of kaombe is changing. no longer is it known as a place that people want to avoid, but instead it's become a refuge... a place full of hope and possibility!!!

this project has a special place in my heart because i've traveled there 3 times... it's also a project that i help to oversee. i coordinate teams to travel there every year and co-lead in what is certainly a life-changing experience. going there means having your eyes opened but you realize when leaving that your heart has opened as well.

as you can tell i could talk a lot about my love for zambia! but hope beyond borders (hbb as we call it) isn't just about zambia. we're also committed to our local community and have partnered with local churches and organizations to pioneer what we call "coatesville community night." every wednesday night we open our doors and feed whoever will come (averaging around 80-100). we then provide various classes for kids through adults. classes have ranged from finance, to parenting, to art, etc. it's been an awesome time of bringing people together and i've loved getting to know the people who come through our doors.

there's a lot that i do behind the scenes, too like all the financial record-keeping, website administration, email updates, mailings, etc. i wear many hats around this office, but i really enjoy it. i know God has so much in store for us and if we keep Him at the center of all we do that He'll continue to provide and expand the areas that we are able to reach.

if you want to learn more about what we do you can visit our website at

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

the winter blues

i know i'm not the only one who suffers the winter blues. it always hits me bad this time of year. the time when the final snowstorms are trying to squeeze their way in. when the thought of spring is just taunting you and it feels like it will never arrive. it also always seems to be the time that you get sick, etc etc.

well in the last week we've been hit with several major snowstorms, dumping well over 3 feet of snow. that left me stuck in my house for days. needless to say, i was really looking forward to getting back to my office yesterday and then i woke up with the worst sinus headache ever. no amount of medicine helped. it was awful. and then today i wake up and i can hardly move! somehow during my sleep i messed up my back. so frustrating!

so here's hoping that i feel good tomorrow. i have so much work to get done.

i'll leave you with a couple photos of my nieces that i took when they were snowed in with us a week ago. love these girls.

miss kylie joy (19 months)

kyra jean (3 1/2)

hope the winter blues aren't hitting you! here's to wishing for spring!

Friday, February 12, 2010

swap excitement

i was going to write a post today about the ridiculous amounts of snow we've been having, but then the mailman showed up. you see, i have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my simply love swap package from my amazing swap partner jocelyn. i was actually just lamenting to my sister katie today that i was hoping it would get here before valentines day. it literally showed up 5 minutes after katie left my house today. i was on the phone with her (yes i know she had just left my house, but we still somehow ended up on the phone within 5 minutes) when i heard the mailman walk up to the door and hung up quickly telling her that i would call her back.

so after almost giving the mailman a heart attack and basically ripping the package out of his hands i ran inside to open it. as soon as i got the package opened i think i starting screaming like a little school girl because gosh darnit, it was just so pretty! see for yourself!

so being the good girl that i am i opened the card first (handmade of course) and out fell a starbucks gift card! hello chai latte! then i opened up that cute polka-dotted bag to find a post-it note holder (with post-its inside) which i am pretty sure jocelyn made as well. perfect timing, too because i just ran out of post-its at my desk. hooray!

then i opened that cute little box and inside was a bottle of nail polish, 2 burt's bees chapsticks and the most adorable flower headband (handmade again). seriously, is jocelyn amazing or what? so of course i jumped up and put it on and then snapped a picture for you to enjoy. please pardon the messy hair.

then i saw it. the holy grail of valentines day gifts. CHOCOLATE! this adorable container (of course once again decorated by jocelyn) was filled with all kinds of yummy chocolate... m&m's, hershey kisses and hershey's miniatures. literally... all my favorite candy! hallelujah! here's a shot of the inside.

and i may or may not have already eaten one of those squares of m&m's... hahaha

here's a shot of all my loot!

so all that to say- THANK YOU to the best swap partner ever- JOCELYN at Inside Brucrew Life. you made my day... errr week... maybe even year. thank you for the time and effort you put into making my package so special! it means so much!

and another big THANK YOU to my amazing sister- KATIE at Loves of Life for hosting this swap and helping me to meet such amazing women!

i used to really hate valentines day... being single year after year can be tough. this swap gave me something to look forward to! plus i have amazing family who make it special for me. katie and declan are taking me to dinner and a movie tonight, tomorrow my brother jim, his wife kesh and my 2 adorable nieces are taking me to lunch and on sunday night my pastor's wife is hosting a dinner for all the single ladies in our church.

i feel so loved! that is the point, right?