Posts Tagged ‘Family’

10 Life Skills We Want Our Kids to Know Before Leaving Home

10 Basic Life Skills we want our kids to know before leaving home | Bringing Design Home

It’s always much later in life, as a young adult, when you are stranded with your first flat tire, that suddenly you find yourself wishing you had a few more tools in your life skills’ tool belt. You can read the instructions all you want, but actually doing the dirty work of changing your first tire, is the only way you’ll really know how to do it.

When Cale was growing up his parents were very intentional about how and what they taught their children. Before I was married I never considered life skills as something to look for in a husband. 6+ years of marriage later, I have to say… Cale’s been quite the catch! Not only in appearance, but the guy can actually cook (better than me when we first met!), assemble furniture out of a box, and even sew on his own buttons! Of course he’s naturally better at some things than others, but at least he’s familiar with the basics! Looking back, I’m so thankful that Cale’s parents took the time to teach him some basic life skills that have helped shape him into the amazing, well-rounded, handyman that he is today.

Although both of our boys are still in diapers, we believe that we are laying the foundation today for the young men they’ll become tomorrow. It’s important for us to think about ways we can use everyday responsibilities and mistakes as teaching opportunities while they are still under our “parental-umbrella” so to speak (just made that word up!). I know as parents we say we are going to be tough and make our kids help out around the house, but often times it’s just “easier” if we handle it ourselves. Involving our kids in the daily tasks like the laundry, the sewing (yes… boys needs to learn this too!), and the cooking provides them with key learning opportunities they’ll be thankful for later on in life (along with their girlfriend/boyfriend, roommate, and spouse).

Here is our list of life skills we plan on teaching our kids (male or female):

  1. How to… Change a Tire.
  2. How to… Boil Water (so they can cook a basic meal like pasta, potatoes, boiled eggs, etc!).
  3. How to… Wash and Fold their own Laundry.
  4. How to… Hammer a Nail.
  5. How to… Start a Fire.
  6. How to… Read a Map (the old fashion paper kind!).
  7. How to… Balance a Checkbook.
  8. How to… Store, Clean, Load, and Shoot a firearm Safely (and accurately)
  9. How to… Sew on a Button.
  10. How to… Drive a Stick Shift.

Whether we like it or not we’ve all had to learn some of these skills a bit later on in life. Even if our parents taught us we were too “cool” (or bored) in the moment to pay attention. Truth is providing our kids with life skills won’t guarantee they’ll land that amazing job or make the best financial decisions. Our goal in teaching life skills is bigger than just checking them off a list. Our hope is that through them our kids will learn how to transition better as they take on more responsibilities, not be as afraid to try new things, and remain motivated to become the best versions of themselves as possible.

And yes, that includes knowing how to drive a manual sports car so you can give your mom a joy ride or at least be able to haul sheep shit in the farm truck (whichever comes first!). :)

What life skills would you add to our list? What life skills will you teach your kids? We’d love to hear from you!

From The Farm

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Halloween Trunk or Treat Family Costume Theme: No More Monkey’s Jumping on The Bed!

No More Monkey's Jumping on the Bed! Trunk or Treat Halloween Family Costume Theme | Bringing Design Home

These days our family has turned into a little zoo! That’s why for Halloween, instead of tying the kids down, we thought we’d let em run loose and enjoy being monkeys for a day! Or at least an evening. We may have bribed them with a few pieces of candy to keep them close by, but it did work (at least for the first hour or so)!

This is the third year that Cale and I have been involved in the Trunk or Treat at our church. Every year we try and come up with an original theme that includes a large group of people; typically all 5 of Cale’s siblings, spouses, a few friends, and nieces and nephews! Since we have all been busy having more babies it’s been harder to get everyone involved and on the same page. We know we could always just go with a trunk based on the latest popular kid’s movie, but coming up with an original theme is always way more exciting!

A few brown thrift store hoodies, sheets of felt, and some fabric glue and we were good to go! Using this DIY for a monkey hoodie costume we were able to simply repeat it for all the kids involved. Plus, we got to sit on a comfy bed and pass out candy to adorable children the whole night!

This is our littlest monkey Hardy Boy. He’s nearly four months old now and if you don’t watch out he will steal your heart (and your Snickers)!

We had a few surprise monkeys show up too! The sock monkey’s from another trunk didn’t want to miss out on the party so we invited them over. :)

The tails were my favorite part! We actually just bought them as-is at a local craft store and attached them to the back of the hoodies. ADORABLE!

Of course we wouldn’t give the book justice without representing The Doctor and The Momma! I love that my little nephew (monkey #2) and I have the exact same facial expression. Let’s do this candy thing!

Girl monkeys gotta represent!

Hard to believe our oldest Monkey, James David, turned 2 this past September (tear)!

Of course my costume was really annoying to have to wear all. night. long. But, I suffered through. :)

Our No More Monkey’s Jumping on The Bed Trunk was a huge hit! It was so much fun seeing families walk through our candy line and immediately get the theme. Hearing everyone comment on how cute our little monkeys were made it all worth it. And honestly, it was super easy! We spent one evening going through thrift shops looking for hoodies and buying supplies and another hour or so creating the actual costumes. The rest of the time needed was just gathering up a few pillows and blankets, a head board, and a few toddler mattresses and we were good to go!

Did you have any monkey’s running around this Halloween? Or maybe a princess, a dinosaur, or a mini Captain America (those fake fabric muscles are so awesome!)? :)

Happy (belated) Halloween friends!

From The Farm

Get inspired for next year by checking out our roundup of 8 Easy and Adorable Halloween Hoodie Costumes

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Around Here: Skipping Church/Birthdays/Homemade Sandbox/Waiting for Baby/Fireworks/Pickin’ Peaches/Toddler + Baby Room Sneak Peak

Around Here: Skipping Church, Birthdays, Homemade Sandbox, Waiting for Baby, Fireworks, Pickin Peaches, Toddler + Baby Room | Bringing Design Home

Talk about the ultimate pregnant summer dream… 70 degree weather in July! In Oklahoma!? Believe me, I’m not complaining, I’m bragging and am so thankful. I’m enjoying everyday that my ankles don’t swell up like an elephant’s trunk. I just wish I could be picking blackberries right now! The extended family has banned me from the berry patches. Something about ticks and being pregnant just don’t go together I guess?! Talk about this being the PERFECT berry season though. Usually we only have a 2-3 week window because of the heat, but this year we could get 6 weeks worth of blackberry picking in!

Ok, ok… I gotta stop talking about it. It makes me sad. :(

What a beautiful summer we are having here in the midwest. It’s been wonderful and we’ve enjoyed slowing life down, even more, and taking in every last moment as a family of three. To be honest we’ve been skipping a lot of Sunday church lately just to enjoy being home and getting things done before baby #2. Although we are thankful for our church home and fellowship, there is something just so wonderful about a slow sunday morning. I love a good excuse to make a fancy brunch so I like having the morning to fix myself something a little special. I used to make enough for the boys (Cale and James), but they are just as excited to eat a bowl of cereal and drink the milk from their bowls.

Lame! :/

We continued our Fourth of July tradition for the third year in a row by spending the morning picking peaches at the Wind Drift Orchards in Harrah, Oklahoma. It’s so perfect for the kids cause you can fill up your box or bag in about 30 minutes and spend the rest of the time frolicking and filling your bellies with fresh peaches and nectarines. We only picked enough for one box, but I can tell you it was gone within the week. We made a nectarine cobbler for a Fourth of July get together, grilled some for our favorite summer salad (we add grilled chicken too!), gave some away as the ultimate Fourth of July hostess gift, and saved a few to snack on throughout the rest of the week.

Typically, if I wasn’t 39 weeks pregnant, I would have canned some with honey and fresh basil, but I’ll have to save that for next year!

The summer is always full of celebrations from our anniversary to my birthday. As you get older there are some years where your birthday is a non-event and others, where it just seems to keep going on and on. For me, this was one of those years! I think it was because I’m pregnant, but it seemed like everyone wanted to spoil me a bit extra this year. Cale’s Grandparents gave me a stash of cash (apparently they are VERY excited that I’m giving them TWO Grand Baby Boys!), a girlfriend offered to take me out for pedis, Cale’s mom made me homemade strawberry shortcake, and then my parents visited from KS with a salmon dinner and homemade current wine. They did all the cooking and cleanup, and even helped us get on top of some of the lawn maintenance around here. I know that last part doesn’t sound too exciting, but with Cale working extra hours to meet a big deadline August 1st, we haven’t been able to keep up with some of the lawn maintenance around here. Not only did my parents spend three hours helping us get caught up on weedeating, but they sprayed most of the yard so that the grass would die in certain areas and we wouldn’t have to weedeat those particular areas for the rest of the summer!

Who whooooooo!!

It was completely overwhelming to get served in a such away and to have my family gather around us and help us out so selfishly. Just another reason why I’ve learned that the best gift is to be a giver. You just never know when life will pay it forward (see #5 on my 10 Things I’ve Learned).

I think my nesting is getting to Cale now cause he’s getting all the honey do’s that have been on his list for the past year or two completed! And this momma couldn’t be more happy about it! From cleaning out old barns and wood piles to making a sandbox, he’s been going at it hardcore. My favorite part was watching him and James out our kitchen windows dink around and create the sandbox together. Cale is such a great daddy and he just lets James get in there, even at 20 months old, and pickup the hammer and the level and carry em around. He doesn’t know what exactly they do, but he is daddy’s little shadow and is taking in every move he makes.

We kicked off our Fourth of July celebration with our Oklahoma family by making these DIY Firecracker T-shirts with all the kids. It’s hard to believe just a few years ago we didn’t have babies running around and now we’ve completely exploded! It’s so much fun, and a little overwhelming at times, but we love it. As you can see from the photo below, James’ shirt was completely covered in watermelon juice before the end of the night. :/

My friend Shelley took this photo of James and I just can’t stand the way it captures him so perfectly (checkout more of her work here!). We had bought several different types of kid-friendly fireworks, but as you can guess once we did the “firetruck” firework all he wanted to do was play with it for the rest of the night.

Never in my life did I think I would know so many different variations of trucks; dump truck. bucket truck, garbage truck, cement truck, firetruck, flatbed truck…

And lastly, I’m excited to announce that we have officially finished our nursery + toddler room!! Hear that baby #2!? That means you can come out anytime now?! We are ready to meet you! :) I’m working on editing the photos and can’t wait to share with you all the final design. Cale and I had many fights discussions about the function, layout, and look. Overall, we are VERY happy with the finished product and feel like it’s something the boys can really grow into… at least until we move into our Modern Farmhouse someday! :D

We hope to share with you guys more of our process of designing and building our own Modern Farmhouse in the future. Look for more posts from Cale coming up soon.

Happy summer, happy berry picking and preserving, and happy birthday month to our baby boy #2! :)

From The Farm

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Around Here: Mud Puddles/Road Trips/Building a Cob House/Spring Rain/Tools with Dad/Summer Canning/Lots of Naps

mudpuddlesthumb2

The first few weeks of summer have been jam packed full of family and fun. It seems we have been trying to fit in as much as possible before baby #2 makes his grand arrival in Mid-July. With each new day we welcome more and more of the summer’s heat and with that comes the inevitable pregnancy symptom; swollen feet! :/ It’s making it harder for us to get around and be active like we want, but we’re enjoying the slow pace and trying to get in as much rest as possible before we are waking up every 2-3 hours!

Overall we are very excited that our little family is growing and actually looking forward to our second home birth! Besides growing a human being, here are a few other things we’ve been up too:

From Oklahoma to Texas, Oklahoma to Tulsa, and Oklahoma to Kansas we’ve driven our little family all over the Midwest! We’ve had the pleasure of celebrating Grandma’s and Great Grandma’s Birthdays’, Confirmation for Meg’s little brother, IKEA pit-stops, and even a trip to an indoor waterpark!

No pregnancy is complete without having to squeeze yourself into a maternity swim suit at least once, right?! ;)

We had the pleasure of meeting our dream client two years too early! Ever have that happen? :(  No really, we had a couple reach out to us about building a modern farmhouse. It seems they are planning to build their own and heard, through our blog, that we were doing the same thing! We setup a Skype meeting and had a blast sharing ideas, hearing their current process, and what inspired them to build their own sustainable farmhouse in the first place. It’s so encouraging to meet other couples out there that are planning and saving and want the storta same simple life we are striving for. Not that everyone has to do it “our way”, it’s just neat to meet other couples in our shoes who are trying to figure it all out.

One of the amazing things that we found out about our new friends, Craig and Michelle, is that they actually built their own cob house on their land in Stillwater, OK! The photo above is an interior shot and you can visit their blog to see more of their process. You guys these people are legit! They don’t mind getting their hands dirty and although they realized, once the summer heat hit, that a cob house in Oklahoma just doesn’t hold up to the climate, it’s still amazing that they did their own research and decided to try it out!?

Better yet, they made it a family affair and managed to get the kids involved too!

The Midwest has had its share of rain this spring and we’ve enjoyed every little drop that Mother Nature has given us! Rainy days are a favorite around here and James is just starting to really appreciate the mud puddles beauty of a good rainfall! There are moments where he is all little boy and then suddenly he becomes a little man, just sitting back taking it all in.

We love our little intuitive first born! ;)

We had to share just one more photo of the Cob House built by Craig and Michelle! We look forward to keeping in touch with them and sharing our process as we both figure out how to design and build a custom modern farmhouse. Our vision for Green Couch is that in the future we primarly offer residential home design services. Right now Cale is pursuing his architectural license, working full-time so that we can get out of debt as soon as possible, and establishing the capital to fund our own home design. We want to gain as much knowledge in home construction as possible. In our opinion hands on experience and actually walking through that process is the best way we can learn and become experts from start to finish!

All in all our conversation with Craig and Michelle reminded us that our biggest passion is still family and design. Our hearts long to help families create spaces that they love and can ultimatly flourish in. We’re still figuring out what all that looks like; blogging, possibly consulting, to actually walking clients through a step by step process of design and home construction. Regardless, our Skype date was a refreshing reminder of our ultimate vision for home, family, and ultimately Bringing Design Home

I know we keep saying that we are ALMOST done with the Nursery + Toddler Room Combo, but seriously we are ALMOST DONE!! After our pit-stop to IKEA we picked up a few last minute details and with the help of James, and Dad, we quickly had everything assembled.

Except that we hated how it all fit into the room! :(

Truth is, Cale and I got into a huge argument over the items we bought at IKEA. We thought they would be perfect, but once we saw them in the room, we realized they were over the top and that we had crossed the line. You know? The designer line? The modern elements balanced with the handmade/upcycled items were not coming together like we had envisioned. We didn’t go crazy and buy a bunch of stuff at IKEA, but it was obvious that the items we had purchased didn’t quite work with the existing layout and style of the room.

Meg’s been barefoot in the kitchen canning away! Ain’t no shame here, she’s obviously obsessed and has put together three amazing canning recipes that we will be sharing with you at the beginning of June, July, and August. Here’s a sneak peak at the recipes you can look forward to trying!

Can you tell spicy foods have been a craving of hers for the last 9 months!? ;)

And lastly, our little boy is going to be an official toddler at the beginning of September. He is so much fun and we can’t wait to give him a little brother to terrorize love. We officially moved him to a toddler bed and the transition has been unbelieveably smooth! We just can’t figure out if it’s because he feels like a “big boy” or the fact that he can sneak and grab cars to play with in bed?! Either way, he seems to fall asleep on his own so we are letting him keep his “little secret” (at least for now!). You gotta pick your battles!

Next up, potty training a toddler while keeping a newborn alive and well! :/

Say a prayer for us…

From the Farm

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Around Here: Homemade Cobbler/Fields of Green/Gender Reveal/Trains/Porch Sitting/Rocking Chairs

Around Here: March 2014 | Bringing Design Home

We are officially 14 weeks till baby #2 is in our arms. Life has been SO full. It’s the kind of full that leaves you tired of running and going, but so glad you’ve had the time to visit old friends and family. From girls’ trips to Boston and KC, to spring break in Wichita we are looking forward to spending most of April at home. Not to mention there are some really exciting things happening around our little corner of the interweb. We are praying through lots of changes and updates. The good kind! We are brain storming and organizing our task list for Bringing Design Home, updating the nursery & toddler room combo, and Cale is continuing to study for his architectural license. Not to mention we ALSO picked out the perfect spot to build our dream house, of course now we can’t stop designing our future farmhouse, and Meg has officially started to waddle like a duck.

It’s definitely a busy season, but an exciting one! And to be honest, we don’t really see it slowing down anytime soon.

We’re trying to take it one day at time!

Learning to spend more time TRUSTING and less time WORRYING about ALLLLLLL the details.

Over spring break we visited this really cool train museum where the kids can climb on and inside all kinds of old trains in Wichita, Kansas! If James was a little bit older, we could seriously just let him roam around freely. The museum is just small enough you can keep tabs on the kiddos, and the train tracks run right by it (separated by a giant fence of course!) so the kids get to see real-life moving trains up close and personal.

If you are ever in the area pick a nice day and definitely visit the Great Plains Transportation Museum.

Don’t know about you all, but there is something extra refreshing about having a few extra hours left in the day. Thanks to daylight savings we’ve been enjoying lots of evening walks in the field next to our house. Now that James is old enough to run walk by himself, it’s so exhausting fun watching him explore every. little. detail.

We’ve also been thankful for some quality family porch time discussing deep thoughts on life with our 19 month old. Pretty sure Cale has waited his WHOLE life for THIS daddy moment. :)

Meg made it her mission to use up ALL of her canned fruit from 2013. Apparently she thinks that when we run out spring will get the HINT and hurry up and get here! We’re ready for fresh garden veggies, fruits, and more!

Anyone else?!

In the mean time we’ll be stuffing our faces with cobbler and homemade skillet desserts before the weather gets to hot to bake anything in our current farmhouse! :)

And lastly, we revealed the gender of baby#2 with a silly string fight! Any guesses on the gender?! :D

Looks like our life is gonna be surrounded by even MORE cars, trucks, plains, and trains.

It’s a boy!

Full speed ahead! :)

From The Farm

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Our Growing Family :)

baby#2announcement2

We’ve been keeping a little secret from you guys that’s not so little anymore! ;) It’s hard to believe we are nearly halfway there and about to find out if we’re having another boy or a girl!?

Now, it’s time to get working on that nursery and toddler room combo!

Have a great weekend everyone.

From The Farm

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Lesson #5: Rhythm vs. Balance

Hello | Bringing Design Home

As a parent you struggle with wanting to give your children your whole world, but also making sure that your whole world doesn’t revolve entirely around them. You need time for yourself, time to dream, time with your spouse, time for real sex (not JUST “Business Time” Sex), and time to feel like a real person who gets to pursue their own desires every once in a while! As a parent we all still have dreams! When our kids come along it’s easy to feel like those ambitions get pushed out of the rhythm of simply maintaining a family.

I know this has been a struggle of ours.

How do we build a business that our family can happily live off of while raising our kids at home?

For the longest time I thought it was all about maintaining the balancing act of family and work. Similar to the scales of justice the minute you take your time and focus off of one, the other has to sacrifice, and in return be neglected. I thought it was about doing it all and making it all look really good, but that’s not real life at all! Running a home based business, heck even if you work a 9-5 job and have a family, there are weeks where you can barely catch up with the laundry, let alone have dinner ready on time! It’s a lot of hard work, but changing my perspective from balancing it all to allowing life and work to flow within a steady rhythm has given me a new found peace for the journey a head. Finding my rhythm in the busy and quiet places, being in tune to my individual needs, my family’s needs, and my professional needs have all given me permission to ebb and flow within the different seasons that life brings. It’s not up to me to balance work and life, it’s up to me to listen to the ever changing rhythm and give in to how the two become my life. It’s about enjoying the journey of pursuing our dreams while being ok with the process.

A few years back Cale went from being home full-time working for Green Couch to working full-time at a local architecture firm. Between that and having a kid our design business went from two full-time employees to about one half. I’ve often times felt like we sold out to get a pay check, but looking back our reason to put Cale back in the work force was so much more than that. His degree is in architecture, but in order to get his architectural license and design like we hope to in the future, he had to put in more hours at an actual architecture firm. Since then he has collected all the hours he needs and has started testing for his license (2 tests passed, only 5 more to go!). It’s been a SLOW process, but one that has helped us move forward in so many more ways than I could have ever expected.

What felt like 10 steps back was actually 10 steps forward.

When we started Green Couch Design we had no plan, we had no savings. It was a whirl wind and a lot fun, but it was also a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice. Taking the last two years to intentionally slow down the growth of our design firm has given us time to enjoy growing into a family. It’s given us financial stability to become fully debt free AND build up savings so that we are in a better place when Cale does come home full-time. It’s given Cale work experience and connections in the architecture and construction industry that would have taken him YEARS to gain by working from home. Lastly, it’s allowed me to enjoy just being a mom and taking on clients at my own pace, instead of designing out of a need for a pay check.

As “creative entrepreneurs” it feels like we are not truly legit unless we are the starving artist. But there has got to be a way to do what we love and make a lot of money doing it without selling our souls. :) For Cale and I we want to pay for our kids’ college so that they can start their life as debt free as possible. We want to go on vacations all over the world for weeks at a time. We want to grow and cook our own food. We want to design and build our own modern farm house–in the next five years! ALL of these goals take money, and planning, and dreaming BIG! I understand that life can throw curve balls. There are moments where you finally get your savings to a healthy place and BOTH cars randomly need major repairs (like this last week!). None of our dreams become real without true intention, focus, and drive. Life is gonna throw random events your way that, for a season, will take more of your time, money, and energy. It’s how you allow those obstacles to flow within the pursuit of your dreams that will determine their ultimate effect.

There are days, like today, where I have to remind myself that we are making progress.

We are learning how to make smarter and better choices.

Our dreams are becoming real and tangible things.

It’s a slow process.

At times it’s VERY tedious, but step by step we are getting there.

 

 

There are so many dreams in Cale and I’s hearts that are way bigger than our children. We are constantly asking God how do all these things fit together into one melting pot? Like it or not you can’t separate life and work. The stress at work is gonna carry over into your home life and vice versa. Giving myself permission to move within the rhythm of life and work has made it less about choosing one over the other, and more about enjoying this season, this moment, and the task at hand. If I can’t stay on top of the laundry and have dinner ready in this moment, then how will I set my own deadlines and stay on top of them with our clients? Who knows what this season of motherhood is preparing me for in the future? I just gotta treat each task like the world depends on it. And it does! My kids depend on me being there. Being present in the day to day and not constantly checking my phone, or the latest blog post. Finding my rhythm has given me permission to focus on my design skills AND my mommy skills while not feeling guilty when I’m focused on one more than the other.

It’s given me the freedom and grace to adjust, adapt, make mistakes, and be ok with starting all over again.

This journey of Green Couch Design and ultimately Bringing Design Home is gonna look different than I thought. Sometimes we start down a path and it changes, but if we flow within the rhythm, within the song that is our life, God still manages to turn it into something amazing. Our rhythm is gonna look different than anything the world has ever seen, because there is no other Cale and Meg (or Male & Ceg as our friends call us). I can’t tell you exactly how or draw it in a picture. It’s not up to the world to define that for us. It’s not up to the latest social media fad, or the top 5 steps on how to grow our business. It’s up to us, and us listening to the beats in our hearts each moment, each day. It’s up to us flowing in this rhythm of life and work, enjoying the dance, and not being afraid to share it with others. Instead of being afraid of neglecting my home life for my work life, I get to choose both and do them both well. There is freedom in this journey of children and the pursuit our dreams. When the combination of life and work is less about balance and more about rhythm it becomes a celebration of the dance.

Of our song.

Of our story.

I know all this might sound like bunch of creative mumble jumble, but we are about to change things up around here. We are about to go into new directions as well as straighten up some existing paths. We’re still praying through it all and re-establishing vision, but we are excited to jump back in. With no strings attached. With no preconceived ideas.

Only a song in our hearts of a business that bridges family and work with a reality and a freedom that says you can be successful at both without compromising your beliefs, your time, or your quality in any area… And that’s exactly what we plan to do.

Thanks for joining us!

From The Farm

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DIY: Cross-Stitch Family Portrait

DIY Cross-Stitch Family Portrait | Bringing Design Home

I can’t tell you how excited I have been to share my latest homemade gift with you all! To be honest I was a bit overambitious last Christmas, and didn’t complete any of the FOUR projects I started (surly I’m not the only one… !?). :( This year I was determined to complete ALL my projects from last year, and I’m happy to announce that I reached my goal just in time for Christmas! :)

Tis true, me and Martha Stewart became besties this holiday season, and I couldn’t be any more happier with the results!

Once you plan out your portrait the cross-stitching isn’t that hard, but it does take time. Personally, I enjoyed spending my evenings with the tv off, bundled under a blanket, working away while Cale studied for his latest Architecture Exam. You might think of cross-stitching as an old lady sport, but it was really fun giving an old craft an updated design.

SUPPLIES:

  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Embroidery Thread (Just ask around and borrow some from your crafty friends if you don’t want to buy a bunch–thanks Courtney!) :)
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Embroidery Aida Cloth (I started with 22 count and the stitches were way to small and close together. Definitely aim for 11-14 count squares, or even 8 if you would like a bigger design.)
  • Scissors
  • Graph Paper (I just stole a few pages from Cale’s Moleskine Journal, shhh… don’t tell!) ;)
  • Colored Pencils
  • Scotch Tape

HELPFUL TIPS:

  • Select a Wider (smaller) Embroidery Aida Cloth Count: I started my first portrait with a 22 count and hated the whole process. The wider squares (11-14 count) show off fun details better, and you won’t be cussing as much as you try and poke your thread through tiny, TINY, little holes! :)
  • General Size/Scale Chart: 8 stitches across for adult heads, 7 stitches across for teen/kids heads, and 3 stitches across for babies.
  • Plan it Out: Use graph paper and colored pencils to plan out every detail. Having a solid plan creates a smooth transition once you start cross-stitching.
  • Customize each family member: I found the inspiration for this project sifting through an old subscription of Martha Stewart Living. Visit her page for ideas and suggestions on how to each person in your portrait their own unique style. Think about the person’s hair, the type of clothes they wear, and even fun accessories.
  • Use Back Stitching for Small Details: This simple technique allows you to create fine details like glasses, baby eye’s and mouth’s, letters, and numbers.

This was my first cross-stitch project so don’t feel intimidated if you have never done this before. I stitched two full portraits of the same family until I got the style, layout, and the scale just right.

You can do it! Old ladies unite! ;)

What new Christmas projects did you take on this year? How did they turn out?

From the Farm

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Trunk or Treat Halloween Family Costume Theme: Sweet Treats Bakery

A Sweet & Easy Homemade Family Halloween Costume

Halloween seems like ancient history now, but we just had to share our family costume from this year! It’s become a tradition that Cale’s family come up with the best Trunk or Treat Theme. In the past we have done Transformers with homemade costumes that actually change from robots to cars, and even Mario Brothers. This year, with all of our kids under the age of three (don’t drink the water!), we we’re all feeling a little pressed for time. Our little bakery theme was a simple solution to dress the kids up in ridiculously cute outfits (providing us with future blackmail material!), and keep the adults happy with an easy baker’s costume.

It was a little crazy getting us all there (with costumes, props, naps, juice cups, snacks, diapers, etc.), but once it was all said and done, we had a blast baking our little Halloween Treats. Enjoy!

Although we we’re gypped out of 1st place by Woody, Jessie, and the whole Toy Story Gang (It was rigged!), our sweet theme was definitely the cutest trunk we’ve done so far. Don’t you just love our pumpkins painted like cupcakes with sprinkles?! :)

Now, back to turkey prep people, Halloween is so last year!

From the Farm

Our apologies for the late delay on posting these pics. We left for a vacation in Panama the day after Halloween!

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Bath Time With a 10 Month Old

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Bath time has become a very busy time for us. We are learning to swim, and standup, and fall down, and standup, and fall down, and standup… Life is new, and marvelous, and wonderful. We are loving every new moment with our little ginger! :)

From the Farm

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High class design in overalls. It's the simple life of a farm through the eyes of a couple of crazy designers. We call ourselves Green Couch Design and we are Bringing Design Home.

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