Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sugar and Spice Winner

Congratulations #6!! 

Stuff Mummy Makes is going to be making something fabulous with this charm pack and yard of coordinating fabric by Riley Blake!

For all you who didn't win, check out the selection of super cool designer fabric at Plum Patchwork's Etsy shop -- Enter the Fabric Shoppe

Until the next Freebie Friday... 

Let the joy of the Lord be your strength! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To The Farm We Go

The end of a long chapter, we moved out of our home on The Ranch today. 

We moved our things into the shop at The Farm... Bummer it's not into the house.  But!  At last we are there.  We didn't exactly finish the project by today, but at least a few rooms are mostly done.  Not sure where my laptop is at the moment so I can't post any pictures, but things are crankin' right along!  Shoudn't be too much longer before it all comes together.

The boys (Dad, Jordan, and Samuel) slept there tonight in our room.  Breaking it in for us girls, I suppose.  We (Mom, Nia, and Eligh) came back to Papa and Grammey's for another night.  So, we'll see how much we can get done tomorrow! 

Good news/Bad news on the well.  We should have water flowing freely in a few days (good)...We need a new well (bad).  My dad... Oh, my dad.  He's been the more supportive and helpful than anyone and now, he's got the connections to help us get water.  Thank you Dad.

Pictures.  Gotta have pictures.  I know!  They are coming... beware.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice -- Freebie Friday

Calling all sewers, crafters, and creators -- those who love fabric or at least have an affinity toward it!

What is up for grabs today??
A Riley Blake Sugar and Spice charm pack and one yard of coordinating fabric is!!

I met a great gal on Etsy who LOVES fabric so much that she married it!  Hehe!  No, she didn't marry it, but she opened a fabulous fabric shop called Plum Patchwork.  Her name is Jessica... an automotive engineer by day and a quilt master extrordinaire by night. 

She is generously providing today's giveaway!

She started Plum Patchwork when she realized that as much as she loves quilting, her greatest love is keeping on top of the latest fabric trends and shopping for the newest and hottest collections. Opening a fabric shop was the natural way to indulge that passion without the need to appear on a very special episode of "Hoarders: Buried Alive."  
She an expert at identifying and hunting down specific fabrics - so if you're looking for something specific, contact her via her Etsy shop and she'll do her best to find it for you!

SO -- What can you do with Charm Packs?



Check out Moda Bake Shop's section on Charm Packs here.  Be sure to click  on "older posts" on the bottom right to see more and more great ideas!

Also, Blue Bird Studio has compiled a short list of cool ideas here.

To ENTER:  (This giveaway is open internationally!  So don't just look...  Participate!)

#1 -- Check out Plumpatchwork's shop click here.  And leave a comment with your email address (so I can contact you in the event that you are the winner) letting me know you were there.

After you've entered according to #1, there are four more ways to enter!!  (You must  have done #1 to qualify for the extra entries.) 
Bonus #1 -- Follow my blog.  Click the follow button on the upper right side of this blog page.  Leave a comment (with your email address) saying you have "followed" my blog.  Old followers are also eligible.

Bonus #2 -- Post this giveaway to Facebook.  (At the end of the post there is a list of icons... just click on the "f" to post to Facebook.)  Leave a comment saying you did.

Bonus #3 -- Post this giveaway to Twitter.  (At the end of the post there is a list of icons... just click on the "t" to post to Twitter.)  Leave a comment saying you did.

Bonus #4 -- Like Plum Patchwork's fan page here.  And of course... Leave a comment!

This weeks giveaway will run through Wednesday at 11:58 am.  It's quick and easy to enter so get right on it and you could be this weeks Big Winner!

Thank you Jessica!!!

Alicia Grace

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Patchwork Walls and That's Not All

If only plaster was as pleasing to the eye as some lovely fabric is --

Oooo... and there is so much more!  (But, I'm sure you are catching my drift...)

The Bedroom is almost ready!  This is the floor after the first coat of varnish --

The second coat is done and looks amazing!

Moving along, here we have Ben working on the well.  Yes, the all consuming well that has taken weeks is still not working properly. 

We got water yesterday. There we were, cheering, laughing, hugging, kissing, hi-fiving, jumping up and down, taking pictures, everything short of back-handsprings (the ol' wrists aren't what they used to be!) --

*Notice the grin

For a whole 30 seconds -- then it stopped.  Just stopped. In a split second it went from a fire hydrant spray to zilch.

We are praying (and please pray with us) that we will not need to drill a new well. 

We've got doors now, so that's nice...

Water would be even more exciting, right?  At least the little things that don't mean anything without water are coming along...  I'm almost laughing.  I'm at least smiling today!

Here we have the girl's room.  Almost done here.  A few replacement trim pieces... A little paint on the baseboards and then we're on to the floors.

That's it for today... I'm off to The Farm.

Alicia Grace

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's not Friday, but it's still FREE!

I just ordered an 8x10  canvas of this photograph.

It was free.
 (Well -- there was shipping)

I am thrilled!

Now, go get yours at: Canvas People.
Don't forget to Google search: "Canvas People free shipping promo codes" before you check-out!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Days and Progress and Set Backs and Friends

1. We have four children.  The youngest still cruising on her hands and knees.  The youngest needing constant attention.

2. We have a home in extreme disrepair.

The two are hard to bring together.

My main short-term goal is to get one room FINISHED -- top to bottom -- so we can have a safe, clean place to keep our youngsters from the cold (and the snow that is, yet again, falling), give the little one a nap or two, and cook and eat as we continue to restore this, our new dwelling.







Our pressure tank... out in the root cellar. The trench... that takes the water out and back.



Also, I would like to thank my friend, Kelly, who has so so graciously given up her plans and comfort to take all four of our children, for entire days, to allow me to get over and help.  THANK YOU!  You have been the biggest blessing to our family at this time!  It's big deal to take on four extra kids and you have done it so willingly. Thank you my dear friend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Into the Wild Blue Yonder - Wild Wednesday

The torrent of bird calls outside bids the windows to open despite the still unfriendly temperatures.  I can't stand the sound when it spills from speakers playing "nature sounds", but the trueness of nature, flooding in through the open windows, is a pure delight. 

We welcome you, Spring, with all your splendor!

We did our best to put the rush on Spring... we made pinecone bird feeders and planted flower seeds.  With warmer temps and rain, rain, rain, instead of snow, snow, snow... I'd say we're getting there! 

This week will be an adventure!  The family that explores together, soars together... (like it?)


Meet in the driveway with a picnic, a sweater, and a sense of adventure. 

Load up and head off (or, if you are walking -- just head off) into the "Wild Blue Yonder" (how far and for how long will depend on your whim and schedule -- and perhaps gas tank!).  Decide once you are on your way where you are headed!  Aim for somewhere you've never been... a tour of the city or head for the hills and scout for your first camping spot of the season.  Lord willing the weather is good and you can dine on your picnic when you "arrive" at your destination.  Be sure to regale each other with strange travel tales along the way!  Not that creative??  I'm not!  Make sure to take some fun travel books, or tell a make-it-up-as-you-go story where everyone gets a turn telling a portion of the story... 


Be blessed as you make an effort to focus more on the joys of being a family vs. the struggles of it...

Come back and share where you ended up... I'd love to hear it!
-Alicia Grace

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

God, Your Love Is Enough

A lesson from Peter:

(An excerpt from Fish, Peter!)
One night I was in a boat with friends.
A wind pitched the boat up pand down.
Waves nearly drowned us.

Then we saw Jesus walking on the water!
It can't be Jesus, I thought, nobody walks on water.
"Maybe it's a ghost," someone whispered.

"Don't be afraid," we heard him say.
"Jesus, if it is you," I shivered,
"Tell me to come to you."
"Come," he said.

I jumped out of the boat- and walked!
The wind hit me like a wall.
A wave slapped my chin.
I got scared -- and started to sink.

"Help, Lord!" I screamed.
Jesus caught me.
"Why did you stop believing?" he asked...

The Farmhouse Version:

We have so much to do in so little time.
Flooring, wall repairs, kitchen installation, purchases, bathroom installation, getting the well working, getting water heater and pressure tank coordinated and working, painting, lighting, doors...
So much -- we are nearly crumbling under the weight of it all.

Then I heard His voice beckon me through the words of a children's book.
It can't be Jesus.  He doesn't talk to me like that.
Maybe I'm just imagining this is for me.

"I am here.  I am in control."  I heard Him say.
"Jesus.  If this is really you, bid my heart be still." I begged.
"Be still." He said.

I stepped out in peace.  I entered the chaos with a sure foot.
Time flew by in a hurry -- the dust in it's wake stinging my eyes.
Lack of imperitive progress -- it's fist offered a punch to my gut.
I became fearful -- I floundered in the mire.

"Help, Lord!  Things are going awry!" I wailed.
Jesus touched my heart.
"Why did you stop believing?" He asked...

Was this farm not a gift from Him?

Will he give us a fixer-upper yet fail to help us fix it up?

The task at hand appears more and more impossible by the day.  BUT...

My God is God of the impossible. 

I will rest in that.

Let the waters rise...

(You will want to pause the piano music player to watch this.)

*Note:  At the very top of this page I added a bar that makes it easy to donate to World Vision.  Please help in the Japan relief effort!  World Vision is a credible Christian organization that specializes in helping impoverished countries and relief efforts.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Best is Yet to Come!

You bet it is!  So I'm taking you on somewhat of a tour today. 

 A tour of my mind! 

I'll show you some of what we have, some of what I love, and some of what is yet to be...

First up...
I found this house on Country Living's website.  I love every single thing about it.
  • the walls and entry table.
  • the armoire and the loooong table. I've wanted one of those for years. 
  • that we actually have awesome trees to hook a hammock up to!
  • this outdoor dining set up.  We will have a screened porch that is going to be fabulous!
  • this kitchen. Our sink will be skirted and we will have mostly open shelving.
  • this bathroom.  Notice the shelf and hooks, as well as, the wall detail. 
  • the outdoor paint color scheme.  Not sure if we should go for the cream as our roof is white tin... but either way: green/cream/dark brown or green/white/dark brown... I'm in love with it 

Out in the shop the other day, I saw, tucked back in a dark corner, an old cabinet of some sort... I haven't thoroughly inspected it, but I'm thinking: kitchen island...

We were going to forgo an island for a dining table, but I brainstormed lastnight.  I searched my idea in Google and sure as shootin'... it's already been done.
With a family of six, presently, the idea is a bit of a challenge, but i'm thinking squared instead of rounded and seating for seven.  ...It'll work.  It's even more exciting because of the added storage to the existing deficiency in that area!

We have another idea, but I can't find any pictures of anyone else who's done something similar.  We have high ceilings in our house (which does a lot for the house since the sqare footage is so little) but the closets in the children's rooms have tiny doors.  So, we are thinking we'll make little reading nook/hide-outs above the closets since it is all wasted, unusable space up there anyway!  They'll be about the size of a twin bed.  Fun!

The following are most of the light fixtures we've purchased.  The only missing are the bathroom fixtures.  I do adore the chandelier which will be going in the girls bedroom.  The fans will go in the other two bedrooms, the pendants and semi-flush mount in the kitchen and the sconces in the living room.
Our tub!  It's tiny. 

The bathroom is so small that it only has room for a 54" bathtub.  For as short as it is, it makes up for it in depth.  I can't wait to get this thing installed! We got it from  Incredible prices and even better savings when you purchase a tub package.  We searched everywhere from Craigslist for a used to for a bargain.  Nowhere came even remotely close... and these are brand new with the entire set up!  I am a fan.

There.  Just a glimpse of the promise.
(and it is promising... we've got some great help!)

Happy Saturday!  The sun is shining and it's warming up...
-Alicia Grace

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kitchen Interest

As much fun as freebies every week would be... it is possible the rule that "less is more" applies here.  Never fear, it's not done for, I'm just going to add a few more f's to Friday's.  Along with Freebie Friday's, we will also have Fun Friday's (date night ideas), Frugal Friday's (anything cheap or free goes) and Feature Friday's... which is today's "f".  I will highlight products, ideas, how-to's, etc... that we integrate and/or utilize during our remodel process.

Today's feature is something I haven't seen before.  If I have, I must have thought it was ordinary wallpaper.  Alas, it is NOT wallpaper...

Wall stencils from Royal Design Studio...

I needed some sort of design element somewhere in the living area. Something to break up the monotony of my style.  I found this shop as I was perusing Etsy the other day and have not been able to stop fantasizing over putting this all over my kitchen walls:

So, I'm going to do it... I'm going to buy it today. Yay!

Here is just a small sampling of what else you'll find when you visit their site...

They literally have hundreds of designs and they come in all sizes from the size of your hand to 26" or bigger!

These stencils come to the rescue in three ways for us:
  1. I can buy just one durable, reusable stencil instead of eight+ rolls of wallpaper (SAVES $$$)
  2. I just removed wallpaper from three rooms... I don't want to go there again.  Ever. (SAVES time, frustration, and my right arm... both now and in the future!)
  3. Our walls are bad.  This is a way to camoflauge all of the little (and BIG) imperfections! (SAVES my mind... if you can't fix it, work with it.)
(I love this! ^)

Use these to transform ceilings, walls, floors, furniture, and even fabric.  These are relatively cheap, they are easy to use (they have a no-brainer system for application) and in a few short hours you have something that is more than just "sigh... it'll do." I think I may have a small desire to set a stool in the middle of the kitchen and just stare for a few hours after it's finished. 

I once did that when we got our front loading washing machine. Hahaha!  Though, it wasn't a few hours... I'd say more like 10 minutes.. I am all too easily amazed.

Check out their Etsy store here.
Check out their Facebook page here.
For how-to's, inspiration and other ways to use the stencils visit their main website here.

Let me know what you think of this plan, as well as, if you find any favorites in your browings that you can't stop thinking about and planning for!

Have FUN this weekend!  Don't forget to help us put a RUSH on Spring this week!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rush the Spring - Wild Wednesday

"Where's my tie?"

In with Eligh.

"Uh... Mom?  I need a belt."

Haha! Yes you do! Unfortunately, it is also in with the little sleeping beauty...

"My tights??"

Why didn't you guys get all your things out before I put her down?

"I don't know..."

"I don't know..."


As doing something as effort-full as this usually goes... we were short on time and everyone needed something. 

Everything needed ironed. Oh, and we should be leaving now, but no one's hair is done. And make-up.

We manage.

We made our way out the door, through six inches of snow, in our fanciest of attire and in to town for lunch at Pizza Hut.  Boy howdy, do we ever know how to do fancy!

It was a big day after all...  Not only were we celebrating life as us, but we had a couple of readers on our hands that had earned their Book-it's last month!

Here are a couple of pictures of another participating Wild Wednesday family!

I love it!! Thanks for sharing!


On to this weeks Family Fun Challenge!

In honor of this weeks snow, today's challenge is: "The Spring Rush" from a book called "Let's Make a Memory (here).

Google Image

Choose at least one but, if you are so inclined to do more, please do

Before Spring actually arrives, watch for it's promises.  When the snow is still on the ground in late February or early March:  (All you fun-in-the-sun-all-year-'round bunnies, just play along, would you?)

  • Pick limbs of pussy willows and bring them inside.  Put them in water and watch spring pop out!
  • Pick forsythia (click here for picture) or any other limb at the first sign of budding, and bring it in and put in water
  • Plant tulip, daffodil, or hycinth bulbs inside.  Keep them watered and in a sunny window.
  • Fill the house with construction paper daisies.  Tape them to windows, doors, refrigerator, and hang them with thread from the ceilings, etc....
  • Welcome the birds with suet, tiny balls of meat, and seeds.
  • Cut off the tops of milk cartons. Fill the carons with soil and plant dwarf marigold seeds.  They come up and grow quickly, and they may even be ready to bloom by the time it is warm enough to transplant them outside!
  • Have a contest of Spring First's.  Make a sign from a poster board or chalk board, etc... and title it "Spring Firsts".  Place it in a prominent place in your home.  Discuss typical signs of Spring and make a list on the board. (Ex: A Robin, a tree blossom, green grass, crocus, etc...)  Then, as the season starts to change, little by little, everyone is to be on the look out for the items on the list.  Whoever is the first to spot a "first sight of Spring" gets to put their name next to it.  Make it a competition or just make it a fun way to explore God's gift of SPRING together!

Google Image

It has taken a bit of extra effort and a lot of just plain committing to do these challenges, but I (and my husband and children as well) have been exceedingly blessed by doing these simple things once a week! 

I can't wait to get a rush on Spring!

Alicia Grace