Friday, October 17, 2014

Welcome Fall: Decorate a Mantle {Free Printable}

I am not great at decorating. I have a hard time with it and I feel it doesn't usually look good when I'm done. But this time it's different! I love my simple, fall-ish mantle! I shared my Glass Jar Decor (etched baby food tea lights!!) with GYCT Designs for their 31 Days of Halloween. It is still going on, you should check it out! :)

Today, here I am sharing with you my made over fall mantle! :) It's just now starting to feel like fall here, so I'm now just starting to welcome it in, a month later! Here is the messy before...

The Berry Bunch: Welcome Fall: Decorate a Mantle {Free Printable}

Ever since reading Clutterfree with Kids, I've been trying to get more simple. Here is my simpler after...

The Berry Bunch: Welcome Fall: Decorate a Mantle {Free Printable}

Well, I found a quote by John Donne from his poem The Autumnal ... "no spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face." Granted the poem is about the stage of life and more with the beauty that comes with maturity. And, we may not be at that stage of life just yet... but I liked it.

So I printed it out on Inkjet Translucent Vellum (affiliate link) and put it in the picture frame we used for our announcement pictures for when we were going to have baby girl (you can see them here). It is just a simple 12"x14" picture frame. Sort of like this one here 12x14 Satin Black Picture Frame (affiliate link), but a couple inches smaller on the longer side. I backed it with scrapbook paper.

I think it adds a little bit to the mantle, and I like it. Even hubby said that he likes it! Win!

I decided to make them available for you too. That way it can save you some time if you want to use the quote. I have two versions, one with background and one without.

The Berry Bunch: Welcome Fall: Decorate a Mantle {Free Printable}

The Berry Bunch: Welcome Fall: Decorate a Mantle {Free Printable}

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wave of Light: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day October 15th

Today is a day that is observed by those who are aware. We grieve, we are not alone in our grieving. They say 1 out of 5 women experience a loss.

The Berry Bunch: Wave of Light: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day October 15th

On September 11th, 2014 I lost a baby for the third time at 5 weeks gestation. Hubby was out of town and my poor kids had no idea why their mommy was so upset, angry, sad, frustrated. 

We weren't trying to have another baby. We were leaving the possibility of more children to the hands of God, if he so willed to bless us with more babies. 

I am grieving. I am holding the ones I can. I know I will never forget. 

I will look at my two babies that I can still hold and love them as they are. I will think of you as you may have been and cry. Every time your birthday comes and goes without a celebration, I hold you in my heart. Every anniversary I will hold your memory close. I miss you. I love you. 

I am lucky to have support from an amazing group of moms in the MOPs group. I honestly don't know what I would do without them. 

Today I am joining in the Wave of Light. We might not have any specific memorial or event in my area, but I will still light candles and say a prayer for myself and others who have experienced loss. The wave of light is a goal to have a day where there will always be a candle burning across the globe for the babies we lost and heaven gained. Starting at 7pm in your own time zone, light a candle for an hour. Join in the wave of light in remembrance of your own babies or those you know who have experienced loss.

The Berry Bunch: Wave of Light: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day October 15th

To my three babies, until I can hold you in heaven
5-9-2002      4 months
4-14-2008  9 weeks
9-11-2014  5 weeks

Searching pulls up so much information from websites devoted to some sort of loss...
Here are some website that I have spent some time looking at.

The official site for Pregnancy and Infant Remembrance Day

If you wish to start an event in your area.

Monday, October 13, 2014

2014 Finish-Along: Quarter 4 Goals {2014 FAL Q4}

I missed the last quarter post for listing the finishes. Not that I finished anything! So busy! I have been working on Halloween Costumes. I am determined to get them done before Halloween. 1 down, 3 to go!

So... Here is my goal list for this quarter! Is it sad that I am still carrying over the list? ;)

1. Labyrinth Lap Quilt... I am still debating the backing for this, if I really want to use it...but I have nothing else...

The Berry Bunch: 2014 Finish-A-Long: Labyrinth Lap Quilt

2.  My band shirt memory quilt... Still trying to find backing fabric for this... I would like a large print musical theme but that seems hard to find...

The Berry Bunch: 2014 Finish-A-Long: Band Shirt Memory Quilt

3. This is baby girl's baby shower quilt.  No extra signers. I think it is time to just sew it up. She needs a momma made quilt. 

The Berry Bunch: 2014 Finish-A-Long: Baby Shower Quilt

4. This is my checker-board quilt. It is still hanging on the design wall. It should be an easy sew, right?

The Berry Bunch: 2014 Finish-A-Long: Northcott Stonehenge Chess Quilt

The Berry Bunch: 2014 Finish-A-Long: Northcott Stonehenge Chess Quilt

5. Jelly roll quilt... I still need to fins a good enough yellow... Separate the rows and add in the sashing...

The Berry Bunch: 2014 Finish-A-Long: Jelly Roll Quilt

6. The Dinosaur quilt that was *supposed* to be Little Man's birthday present (last year). I think before his birthday I had one border around it. At least I have started the quilting! Sad thing? He says he is scared of dinosaurs now! Oh no! 

The Berry Bunch: 2014 Finish-Along:Dinosaur Quilt

7. This circle quilt. It was supposed to be for the fabric challenge, but honestly, I know I am not going to be finishing it in time. I seem to sew so slow... But it'll be cool when it is done! I am not sharing what it is going to look like when it is done, but you are more than welcome to guess! ;) I just hope it looks as cool finished as it does in my head! LOL

The Berry Bunch: 2014 Finish-A-long: Circle Quilt

8. These are supposed to be some Peasant Tops pattern by Tie Dye Diva Patterns (affiliate link) for Baby Girl. I was working on them, then got carried away with something else and I hadn't gone back to them and now, sitting in a manilla folder in the craft room. Better finish them before she cannot wear them! 

The Berry Bunch: 2014 Finish Along: Peasant Tops

9. This is going to be Little Man's Going to Grandma's/&or/Grandpa's over night bag. It is going to be the Dorothy Day Tripper by Swoon Sewing Patterns (affiliate links) ... 
10. If I have enough left over I also want to make a Tiny Explorer Backpack by Diedelbug Handmade for him when we go to MOPs meetings, the Zoo, and anything else that seems to fit with learning and fun. ;)

The Berry Bunch: 2014 Finish-Along: Dinosaur Bags

So, for now these are my goals... I seem to keep adding and not subtracting. I also have a bag I am working on, but prefer to keep that secret. I am hoping to finish that soon though! It depends because Brandon said he was going to make the hardware for me! So excited! 

I hope to at least finish the Dino and circle quilt... 

Linking up at The Littlest Thistle

Finish Along 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Read a Book: Clutterfree With Kids by Joshua Becker {Book Review}

*This post contains affiliate links. I have not received compensation for this review nor was it requested of me to do so. All opinions are my own.*

I saw someone mention this book, but I cannot remember where. So I decided to pick up a digital copy for the Kindle app on my phone and see what it was about. I know that I could use some help cleaning up, organizing and de-cluttering my home.  Clutterfree with Kids: Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home is about minimalism, not just de-cluttering but about living with less. This book is written by the man behind Becoming Minimalist and his other book Simplify (2.99 for the kindle version right now).   It's about living with simplicity and helping your kids to do so as well.

At first the beginning of the book (the first 1/3) focuses on the benefits of living with less. I know I have accumulated more stuff than necessary. The points that the author makes towards living with less make complete sense. That with less stuff, you spend less time organizing, cleaning, and maintaining said stuff and more time doing things you enjoy doing. I know I would love to spend less time organizing stuff and more time sewing, or playing with my kids!

The chapters are set up nicely with a story that pertains to the subject (toys, pictures, collections, etc) where a person makes a change to live with less. Brief, but gets the point across that there are different reasons for people to take a step towards minimalism. It helps to connect to the process of how to minimize the contents.

Then it gets into the nitty gritty of how to go through things as almost a step by step process. I say almost a step by step process because it is not quite a step by step process. It's more like a series of questions and guidelines to base your needs off of and make your own decisions on how to declutter and de-own. In the section about clothes it mentions project 333 where you limit yourself to 33 articles of clothing for 3 months (don't worry, there are exceptions).  Or the craft room and my fabric supply would be a beneficial place to go through (the opening story for collections is about a knitter and her yarn... close enough!). But, baby steps. I'd rather start with my clothes instead.

As I think about this book, and share my findings with friends, I can only think about the difficulty. Sure, I have started going through and purging damaged items in my sock drawer. I've removed clothing articles that no longer fit me (they are now sitting in a re-purpose pile in the craft room). But, I am horrible at comparison and fall prey to envy often. It's something I am working on.

I still need to get rid of stuff. Several months ago, prior to reading the book, my son and I had a game of tug-o-war about cleaning up toys. After an entire day of making requests, spending time in the corner and more requests, toys got 'taken away'. When this happens, they need to be earned back. Needless to say, most of the toys are not yet earned back. Seriously, that's a lot of toys! And it isn't even all of them!

The Berry Bunch: Read a Book: Clutterfree With Kids by Joshua Becker {Book Review}

You can imagine what his room looked like when we took all those toys down and put them in his room. Can we say overwhelmed child?

This took a while. We got a box for trash and a box for toys to get rid of and started going through them. There is probably a lot more toys we can get rid of that are too young for little man, but a baby wipes box full of broken toys and trash and a huge box that held his desk/easel full of baby toys is not too bad.

One of the biggest helps is having a place for toys. we are still working on a designated place for some toys, but now it is not as much of a fight to get him to clean his room. And, he is even earning a commission for it (that is based on another book to be reviewed later).... But seriously, so much better than when we started! Still have a ways to go but already we are feeling better. Even little man is proud of his hard work when he cleans his room.

I probably would have waited to start going through the toys until they were taking over our entire house. Just looking at this picture is giving me motivation to tackle baby girl's room!  We just have so much stuff. But, we are slowly working our way through it all.

With having developed a better way of budgeting, and us working on eliminating debt, I know that stuff is a bit of a road block for us. This book provides a nice stepping stone with questions to ask yourself as a you prepare to make a purchase, tips for controlling clutter like having designated spaces for stuff (I don't think an old fishtank stand counts as in the first picture of little man's toys), and advise for overcoming envy and comparison. It also gives some lee-way and understanding that one person's version of minimalism may not be exactly the same as another person's.

Check out his books Clutterfree with Kids: Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home or his other book Simplify  and tell me what you think. Was it helpful for you?

Here is to working on living simply. Living within our means and working on having our children growing up with a sense of gratitude without a sense of entitlement.

Live Well,