Rainbow Granny Square Banner {gift it}

I love God's promises. They are constant, true and faithful// never changing. This week I heard a friend was hurting-- feeling alone, and isolated in a new environment without any connections to lean into. I wanted to brighten her day and living space, so I crocheted her a Rainbow Granny Square Banner. 

Rainbow granny square banner. SugarBeans.org

I began with the simple granny square pattern, added some white trim and edging; then connected the squares with a crocheted chain and embellished with strips of vintage fabric. 

Rainbow granny square banner. SugarBeans.org

Just packaged this banner up and shipped it off with prayers for comfort and encouragement to our young friend. Praying God shows me more ways to encourage His people in their hard places. 

Gold + cream granny square banner. SugarBeans.org

I made a few more of these banners and listed them in my Etsy shop. Grab one for you + another for a friend:) Handmade Love is the BEST. 

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A Little Instagram Swap with New Friends

It is amazing that social media has allowed friendships that would otherwise not exist, to flourish or start through common interests, goals or hobbies. I have made a few friends through Instagram that share a common interest in their faith,  parenting, sewing, crocheting or vintage junking. A few of these Lovelies asked if I wanted to join an informal Swap-- we buy a mug and fill it with some handmade or store bought love in the form of small bits that would interest the receiver. This is my third year participating in this type of swap, and I truly love the generosity and friendships that stem from this simple act of giving. 

Mug swap 2015. SugarBeans.org

This is a sample of some of the items that I shipped to my partner: a handmade placemat, bookmark and crocheted coasters, my favorite winter socks, yummy cocoa and cookies, an embroidered bag with needle minder, fabric tape, washi tape and of course, the mug. 

Instagram swap. SugarBeans.org

This is the lovely haul from my partner: love that vintage glass jar, sweet candle, crocheted pin cushion, tea and more. The thought that goes into something like this just blesses me beyond words. I love packing up gifts for friends and look forward to sending off little reminders of remembrances to my loved ones, but when I'm on the receiving end of these gestures, I am in awe. 

Connecting with others is a very good thing. Getting ready to write some snail mail soon, knowing that some college dears look forward to a mailbox filled with a padded envelope and news from home. 

How do you stay connected with friends, new and old??

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School Prep Week

So, last week our teens went back to college and high school. At this stage of parenting there is little I can do to prepare them beyond a trip to Target for supplies {Which I LOVE}. And there really is no way to prepare for your oldest to head to another state for her second year of college. Kleenex, diet coke, and a comfy blanket do help for a short bit. 

There was a little time to create; some of these fun items are going with my Dearies to school. 

Elastic pencil pouch. SugarBeans.org

This little gem is available in my Etsy shop

And you can't send your girl away without some homemade cookies. I made a large batch of these delicious M&M cookies and added them to embroidered pouches for my college girl's dorm mates. 

College Care package. SugarBeans.org

Spending creative time embroidering, sewing or crocheting helps me to use my energy in a productive way versus thinking about the upcoming changes in our home overly much. Plus, it enables me to bless my Teens with some handmade items for them + their friends. 

Vintage Frock. SugarBeans.org

I used a vintage Butterick pattern and made another frock {First frock and pattern info}. This little handmade dress/ frock is getting packed up in a care package this week for my oldest in Ohio. This has become a new favorite patten. 

So, our teens are getting into the new rhythms of school schedules and homework woes; I'm getting used to an empty house for a few hours a day. Creating for my family is always a blessing. 

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Francine the Floral Fox {college gift}

My friend, Beverly of Flamingo Toes recently shared her amazing embroidery pattern, Francine the Floral Fox with me. And I was smitten from the word FOX. My daughter has a love of all things foxy, and so I began to stitch this lovely pattern for her in hopes of having it ready before her college departure next week. 

Francine the floral fox. SugarBeans.org

I stitched the pattern onto unbleached muslin. I love the little bits of darker threads running through the material. The back of the pillow is a piece of a floral sheet. 

Francine the floral fox. SugarBeans.org

Stitching in the sunshine happened a few times, but mostly, I was sitting by a teen as they watched Parks + Recreation on Netflix-- a show they all fell in love with this summer. This pattern was so easy to follow; great pictures, color chart and detailed instructions-- Beverly even has an embroidery page to follow if you get stumped on a certain embroidery stitch.

Francine the fox pillow. SugarBeans.org

Turning this pattern into a pillow was an easy decision. I wanted something handmade + personal for my girl to take to college. Last year, I made my girl the Vintage Strip Quilt to take to her dorm room. {It's still a favorite of mine--it holds so many emotions/ memories of prepping our oldest for her first year away}. 

Head on over to Flamingo Toes to get your own pattern for the adorable Francine the Floral Fox embroidery pattern. It's perfect for any skill level and SO adorable, you may not want to give it away. 

Mini Adventures {Summer 2015}

Our family took a Grand California Adventure earlier this summer to visit the place where my Hubs + I grew up, fell in love, graduated college, married and made lifelong friendships. But, with our size family, it has become increasingly difficult to take long trips for extended periods of time--cost, time, cramped car quarters with big teen people:) But after the big plunge this year, we have decided to seek out small ways to have little adventures of our own, close to home. 

Zionsville, Indiana

Zionsville, Indiana

We have learned a few things from our simple mini adventures with our teens:

  1. It doesn't have to be far to be fun. 
    We have a few beaches within driving distance + love their waves as much as Cali.
  2. It doesn't have to cost a fortune
    I always pack water + simple snacks knowing my teens eat more frequently than newborn kittens. If a full day is on the agenda, we pack a lunch and find a family friendly joint for dinner to add to the experience. 
  3. Laughing is a wonderful stress diffuser.
    Make a purposeful decision to have FUN. 
  4. Food is usually a part of the adventure, so plan accordingly.  
    My Hubs likes researching food places that are known for something or that are off the beaten path--no fast food chains. 
  5. Give the teens some say in the course of the day.
    Usually there are a few hot spots in an area that we visit, so we take a poll and go from there.
  6. Be flexible.
    Traffic happens. Lots of bathroom breaks could be a fact. Relax + Enjoy are the rules.
  7. Bringing a friend along can brighten a family adventure. 
Indiana Dunes

Indiana Dunes

Mini Adventures. SugarBeans.org
Mini adventures. SugarBeans.org

        8. Even the mundane can become an adventure. 
             My boys needed school uniforms--boo. Not a fun shopping experience, but when you add grabbing a beloved burger + fries to the mix, a mini adventure can begin.  

         9. Pull out the calendar and PLAN a few adventures for the coming months
              I find that events may actually happen if I am intentional about planning them. It's fun to be spontaneous, but having something on the calendar can give everyone something to look toward. 

Free tea day. Yes, please! We met my sister + niece at at a local deli for FREE tea while we chatted on the covered patio. Fun + free are a favorite combination of mine:)

Free tea day. Yes, please! We met my sister + niece at at a local deli for FREE tea while we chatted on the covered patio. Fun + free are a favorite combination of mine:)

Mini adventures. SugarBeans.org

Food is always an adventure for me. I love trying new places and flavors. This mini adventure was a double-date with some friends of ours that wanted to share a Tapas restaurant they frequent. It was such a delightful evening!

Mini Adventures.Portillos. SugarBeans.org
Mini adventures. Graeters Ice cream SugarBeans.org

And when a new ice cream shop comes to town, you have to pile in the hot car and plan out flavor combos. It's been a deliberate decision to look at our little family moments as mini adventures. They don't always play out the way I had hoped, but being TOGETHER is the point, and one day these little stolen moments will be what our children will remember + share with their families. 

Keep on keeping on, Mama's. School is just around the corner! 

Vintage Sewing Patterns {sewing for me}

Vintage Sewing Patterns {sewing for me}

A while ago, my Hubs and I had a weekend away in beautiful Michigan. While there we came across a Goodwill that had a TON of vintage sewing patterns for only .10 each!! Of course the only reasonable thing to do was to buy a few; so I thumbed through the stack and found a few patterns that I could see myself sewing/ wearing and purchased them.

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Summer Adventures 2015

Summer Adventures 2015

This summer has been AMAZING! We started our grand California adventure 4 days after school ended and loved our two week stay on the sunny coast. We invested our time and resources intentionally in a once-in-a-lifetime family trip to our home state of California. After twelve years away, we loved every blessed moment surrounded by familiar faces, places and FOOD. 

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Travel Jewelry Cases {gift it + enjoy}

Travel Jewelry Cases {gift it + enjoy}

After a two week family vacation, it sure feels good to be home and step back into our 'normal' routines. Before we left, I made a few of these adorable Travel Jewelry Cases to accompany us on our trip to sunny California. I spotted Jess's Travel jewelry clutch on her Instagram feed and fell in love! But the full tutorial is over at Positively Splendid; lots of pictures and the pattern is downloadable. Go get one for yourself! And make a couple as gifts for your Dearies!

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Vintage Sheet Lap Quilt {make it + gift it}

Vintage Sheet Lap Quilt {make it + gift it}

The sweet and colorful patterns of vintage linens are a favorite fabric of mine to sew with// so many wonderful ways to use the cottony goodness in home crafts and usually found at thrift stores at reasonable prices. Big win! I pulled out a bunch of vintage sheets to make some Friendship Lap Quilts for some of my Dear hearts. 

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