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Saturday, April 22

DIY: Make Your Own Tasseled Fabric Banner Wall Hanging in An Afternoon


Every time I passed that Target end cap, the cute spring banners almost jumped into my basket of their own accord. But somehow, every time one thought compelled me to put them back on the shelf, the thought that "I could make this!" 

It's a thought that can often lead an enthusiastic crafter astray. But fear not - today's project really is as easy as they come, and the end results can't be beat! You can make these banners with any phrase of importance to you - honestly, that's the hardest part, just narrowing down the quote options!

Once you've decided, you'll be able to whip up a couple of these in one afternoon. Here's what you'll need: 
  • White cotton fabric - or really, any color of cotton fabric! For your message to be most readable, I recommend keeping it a solid color.
  • Scissors and a ruler
  • A piece of copy paper for your pattern
  • Craft glue
  • Sharpie paint pens, or fabric paint, or a metalic fabric marker, like the copper one I used, that I bought at Joanns. Here's the closest paint I could find on Amazon.
  • A small stick from the backyard, or wood skewers, like you'd use for grilling
  • Embroidery thread for tassels and hanging
  • Pencil, or water soluble pen



Step 1: Make your pattern by marking the center of your piece of paper, and using your ruler to measure up the sides of the paper and connect the dots to mark the triangle sections you'll cut off.


Step 2: Fold your fabric over so that you can cut out two identical pieces at the same time, and place your banner pattern on top. Then, cut out the two pieces.


Step 3: Glue the two pieces together, staying very close to the edges. Glue all the edges together except for the top - leave the top of banner open, so that when the glue dries, you can turn the whole thing inside out. Yes, you could sew the edges, but ain't nobody got time for that.


Step 4: While the glue is drying, make some tassels! These are super easy. Just wrap some thread around your fingers until you have the thickness you'd like.


Slide the thread off your hand, and tie a small piece of thread around it, like so. This will be the top of your tassel.


Then, wrap thread around the tassel a small distance from the top, and tie the ends of the thread together to secure it.


Cut the loop at the bottom of the tassel, and fluff up the threads.


Super easy! Here's another tutorial, just in case.


Step 5: Now that your glue hem has dried, turn the banner inside out to have nice finished edges. Add some glue to the top edge, and fold it over. This will be the back of the banner.


Step 6: Cut two 1 inch wide strips of fabric, and fold them in half. Then glue the ends down to the back of the banner.


Step 7: Now for the fun part! Write your message or draw your design on the front of your banner. I drew mine on paper first, and traced it onto the fabric with the light from a window. I used a water soluble pen, so I could just dab off the blue after I was finished with the painting.


I traced the letters on one banner with my copper fabric marker, and use my gold Sharpie paint pen on the other. I LOVE how both turned out!


Step 8: I did break out the needle and thread to sew on the tassels. Just a couple stitches through the top should do it.

Step 9: Then I slid one banner onto a wooden skewer, after cutting off the pointy end. I hung the other one from a stick from the backyard - a stick that had a previous life as a wizard wand. I tied some embroidery thread to the stick and the skewer for hanging.



This was so much more satisfying than just buying a cheap banner from Target! I'm officially hooked. I'd love to try embroidering on one next, or using navy blue fabric with white fabric paint, or experimenting with pompoms and tassels. There's so many options, I just might need one in every room!

What did you think of this craft? If you liked it, pin it or share it!


Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that when you purchase something, I made a little percentage. Thanks for supporting my craft habit!

Wednesday, April 19

Life Lately: Our Spring


When I text Brian, "Can we just run away?" And he texts back, "Yes," it's time to take a vacation. In March, we didn't really have time to take an actual vacation, but we did squeeze in a day trip to Payson, AZ. That day, it happened to be 90 degrees in Phoenix and a balmy 78 in Payson, so we picked the perfect time for our mini spring break!


After a visit to the Rim County Museum (not recommended for toddlers, but if you do go, FYI there's a bunch of toys UPSTAIRS. Just go up there first, instead of at the end!) We found the perfect place for lunch. We were still on our Whole 30 Challenge for the month of March, and we found great options at the Mongollon Moose!




We stopped at a bike shop (as always) and Edison was quite taken with the rocks he found outside. Then we took a short drive up to a lake, and did a little "hiking"... aka, walking in the woods, ate some snacks, and taught Edison how to throw rocks in the water. 


We had just enough time to stop at an Antique shop before it closed - Granny's Attic Antiques. They gave Edison the baby, and then when I found the carved candlelabra and vintage Mickey Mouse book, they were close to closing, so they gave those to me for free also. That's the best kind of antiquing! Note to self: take a cute kid with you to get good deals.


Very last minute, Brian and I decided to do the Walk for Life. It's a short walk - 2.5 miles - and it doesn't cost anything to participate, but you can raise funds by having people sponsor you, and the funding goes to our local crisis pregnancy centers. In one week, we were able to raise $375!

As part of the 2.5 mile walk, we got to tour the Tempe center. I didn't know exactly what to expect, but I was so impressed by the facility and the staff. The ultrasound and exam rooms were comfortable, welcoming, peaceful, and professional. The center's licensed medical and volunteer staff provides free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, abortion information and risks counseling, low-cost STD testing and treatment, childbirth and parenting classes, men's mentoring, post-abortive recovery groups, and abuse recovery groups. All without ANY government funding - it's completely funded through donations.



At the end of March, we renewed our Zoo membership, which reminded us that this is the perfect time of year to take advantage of it!



We've gone almost every weekend - and it's so fun to see Edison picking up the animal names. The mammal (camel) and monkeys are favorites.


This is how I did my Lent Bible study on weekends - with the company of a little cuddler.


My sister-in-law Andrea visited us for a weekend on her spring break from teaching! Of course that would be the weekend Edison had major allergy issues, which made playing outside a little challenging. All the more cuddles for her, though! Edison missed her when she left - he asked about where "Anya" went.

A few other great #toddlerlife moments: 


When mama doesn't want to wear the shoes you picked out for her to church.


When you ask for a banana, then get so mad when mama peels it before giving it to you that you throw it on the floor, and then immediately regret that decision.


We try to keep a sense of humor about the toddler meltdowns! Overall, this stage has been really fun. Watching him sleep stretched out in his crib, he seems so big, and yet still so small. He's so quickly becoming a boy and not a baby anymore.


This weekend, the temps are supposed to climb to 100 degrees, meaning it's the end of our spring and the start of summer. I'll miss having the doors and windows open all day, and letting the cool breeze fill the house. But I'm happy to say goodbye to spring allergies, and hello to pool time! 

Just like each season brings it's own joys and challenges, I'm learning that parenting really goes in seasons too. Nothing stays the same for long, and just when you think you've got things figured out, there's new growth and change. But the new joys and discoveries make up for the things we leave behind. 

What season of the year is your favorite? Do you have a favorite parenting season as well? Let me know in the comments below. 

Friday, April 14

What A Pile of Trash Taught Me About Good Friday


The first thing I noticed was the smell of rotting meat.

I'd just flown back from a two day conference, where I'd sat elbow to elbow with CEOs and marketers for million (or billion) dollar companies, learning from a multiple time bestselling author and renowned speaker. 

Before the conference, I obsessed over what I would wear, over how I would introduce myself, over the chip in my nail polish that would surely give me away as an impostor who didn't belong there. The stunning location and beautiful event materials made me want to shrink inside my navy blazer and disappear. 

But then, the conference got underway. I stumbled through introductions, and to my shock, no one told me to leave. In fact, they actually listened to my ideas and took my suggestions seriously. No one interrupted me, or made me feel like I was too young, or too idealistic, or just didn't understand the way things worked. They actually listened to what I had to say, and found it valuable. By day two, I felt like I belonged - like I could be confident and speak up, because I'd be taken seriously. I was taken seriously. 

And then the conference ended. And that brings me back to the smell. 

As soon as I walked through the door to my office, I smelled decomposing meat. 

While my colleague and I were gone at the conference, some other team members had been using our workspace, without asking. They'd had some BBQ for dinner, and left their trash on our desks. 

Dirty napkins, empty coffee cups, and of course, the rotting carcass that I'd smelled when I first walked in. 

These just happened to be the same team members that we'd just spent hundreds of hours of our time over the last few weeks in planning for a project for them, and then my colleague spent two solid weeks of travel, and several late nights, early mornings, and squeezing in their phone calls and helping them even while we were at the conference. They're the same team members who don't fill out request forms, and demand 24 hour turnarounds without apologies or even a thank you. 

I bet it's happened to you too, even if you don't work in an office. A few hours after your birthday celebration, you realize that you're the one they all expect to wash the sink full of sticky plates and silverware, and clean the cake out of the carpet. After the Mother's Day service at church, your husband complains about the laundry not being finished, and the kids are whining about what you fixed them for dinner. You come home from coffee with a friend feeling refreshed, only to find the house is in shambles inside and your husband is so happy you're home ... so he can go back to cleaning his car.

The injustice stings. These are the people we're trying to help, and instead of showing appreciation, they just demand more, or respond with outright disrespect.

I set off to find those co-workers. I was going to show them the photos I'd just taken of the evidence. I was going to demand an answer to why they thought that was an ok way to behave.

They weren't in their offices. I felt a little thrill as I thought of being avenged, and I swung by my boss's office. But she wasn't there either. Still angry, I marched back to my office. 

I cleared off and threw away all the trash. The injustice of it still burned. 

Driving home, my mind drifted to weekend plans, and I remembered suddenly that Good Friday was in two days, followed by Easter Sunday. 

And then slowly, like sunlight rising over the edge of the horizon, it began to dawn on me. 

Two thousand years ago this week, Jesus suffered mockery, abuse, torture, and finally death at the hands of the very people he came to serve. 

But it wasn't just for those people in Jerusalem that he willingly suffered and died. It was because he knew that I would sin that he died, so that I could be right with God.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:4-6

Friend, sometimes we will be despised. We may actually suffer at the hands of those we're trying to help.

But thank God, we have a savior who knows what it is to suffer. And he modeled for us servant leadership, and true love. And when he calls us to love the unlovely, he's already shown us what that looks like.

Because he first loved us, when we were still sinners, trash and all.