Embroidered Burlap Pennant Banner | #lisagracemade

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Sorry for the super crappy quality of this picture, but you get the jist of how this turned out.

I love, love, love weddings.  They are sources of such contagious joy, are they not?  It may come as a surprise, but my own wedding wasn’t all that crafty.  Sometimes I want to kick my 20-year-old self for not using my crafty skills more but to my own credit, I was more focused on getting to marry my best friend then on what decorations I needed.

But weddings are SO much fun to use my crafty skills for and I love to make things for my friends’ wedding days that will make their day special.  I had so much fun making this pennant banner  for my friend Marina.  We hung it at her Bridal Shower and it will go behind the dessert table at her wedding!  I unfortunately can’t make it to the wedding, but I feel so honored to have something I handmade represent me.

This was so easy, and I don’t think a full out tutorial is really necessary so I’ve listed the supplies I used as well as some tips and tricks.

Supplies:

  • Burlap
  • Yarn
  • Large Darning Needle
  • Lightly colored Marker
  • Scissors
  • Twine
  • Sewing Machine (optional)

Tips & Tricks:

The perfect triangle:  Fold an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper in half (hamburger style if you know what I mean), and cut at an angle.  Unfold and you should have a perfect triangle!

Letter Patterns: I printed out letters that I liked (these are simply “Times New Roman Bold” and used a yellow/orange marker to trace the letters on the burlap.  This way, if I swayed from the pattern while embroidering, you wouldn’t really be able to tell.

The Stitch: I used the “back stitch” for outlining the letters. I think it’s commonly used with cross-stitching and I simply youtube-d how to do it.  It was very easy and quick!

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Happy Crafting!

Recovered Journaling Bible | #lisagracemade

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Something like 3 years ago, my sister Alyssa asked for a Bible for Christmas.  She was 16 and I thought that was pretty cool, so I told her I would get her one.  Now, my sister, who is the best ever and my favorite (I only have one sister, so I can say that), had a little problem of picky-ness in her teen years.  Several gift giving seasons in a row my gifts to her were returned.  So this time, I sent her pictures and descriptions of Bibles I was sure she would like until we finally found a Bible that she approved of – I ordered it and gave it to her for Christmas.  Only to return it shortly thereafter!  I remember telling her that when she found a Bible she liked, to let me know and I would get it for her.

Three years later, and I still hadn’t come through on this gift that I owed.  But also in three years time my sister has not only grown greatly in this area, but I’ve also grown to know her better.  And so my fears of getting (and even more so making) her gifts have since been relieved.

I’ve had this ESV Journaling Bible since I was 18, and I absolutely love it.  Being able to scribble along the pages of my Bible has been so rewarding – some of the connections I’ve made to scripture have been so important to my walk with Christ.  So, when Alyssa moved out of my parents house  last fall, I knew I wanted to fulfill my forgotten gift and give her something that she would hopefully treasure like I have.

Of course, the only Journaling Bible they produce nowadays is all black.  So I set out to make this simple Bible beautiful.

Supplies:

  • ESV Journaling Bible (found here on Amazon)
  • Contact Paper in your color/pattern choice.  I found a nice 11×17 sheet for $2.99 at Joann’s Etc.
  • An Xacto Knife (still need to get one of these, I used my faithful box cutter)
  • Washi Tape for the binding (optional)

Directions:

1.  Start by cutting the contact paper down to roughly the size of the Bible cover, the sheet I used was already a pretty good match as far as size goes.

2.  I found it easier to cut the slits for the elastic band on the back before peeling off the back of the contact paper.  I measured the length of the elastic band and made my slits accordingly.  I didn’t find it necessary to make the slits any wider than they were with just one stroke of the knife.

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3.  Slowly peel off the back of the contact paper and start applying it to the back of the Bible. The elastic band proved the be the trickiest part, so I started there and worked from the edge toward the middle and the binding. The contact paper was actually very forgiving and I could pretty easily smooth out the bumps and bubbles as I went.

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4.  When you get to binding, make sure to gently press the contact paper into the creases so that when you actually use the bible, it can open and close with ease. Be careful not to use your nails or press too hard as the contact paper did start to tear before I realized it!

5.  Keep working your way around the Bible until the cover is completely covered with the contact paper with no bumps or bubbles.

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6. Then I trimmed a little more off with scissors so I had a nice even edge to fold into the inside. I trimmed the piece that would be folded into the binding even shorter so it wouldn’t stick to the pages. Fold all your edges over an orderly fashion.

7.  Lastly, I put some fun Washi Tape on the binding to add a little something extra since the solid teal color seemed just a smidge too boring.

And here you have it! Recovered ESV Journaling Bible!

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Happy crafting!

Up House Pin Cushion | #lisagracemade

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I have amazing friends in my life.  These friends of mine know how much I like to a) make things, b) a challenge and c) giving handmade things to them.  I love getting inspiration from my friends and having a reason to make something new.  One of these friends is Kaylee, here she is:

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It’s pretty obvious how great she is.  Kaylee is always texting me pictures or ideas that I, obviously, need to make for her from scratch.  It usually takes me 6 months too long, but I always catch her inspiration and do my best to make something awesome.  I think I succeeded here.  This pin cushion is based on the “UP” house, and the pins are the balloons – pretty cute right?  I wish I could have found some bigger quilting pins, but these did fine for our little photo shoot.

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This little creation was only my second needle felted project, so I’m still very much an amateur, but I always love learning new crafts!

Etched Beer Glasses | #lisagracemade

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My goal was to hand make every Christmas gift I gave for Christmas 2013. It was crazy. I usually hand make a few gifts, but I have a lot of family and making all of the gifts was a little over ambitious, I will admit.

I wanted to make gifts that everyone would enjoy and appreciate, but I also knew I needed to keep it simple. As in, not make custom gifts for everyone. So for all the boys on my side of the family, I made these etched beer glasses. These were so easy and fun, directions are below.

Just for fun I cut out a small “beer bottle” shape out of cardboard and stuck in a little cash for “beer money.” Had I been in Iowa, I would have bought beer to go along with the gift-but I don’t think shipping beer across the country would have been successful.

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Supplies:

  • Beer Glasses (I found these on Amazon)
  • Contact Paper
  • Xacto Knife (I used a janky box cutter, can’t say I’d recommend)
  • Self healing cutting mat or something to protect your table top
  • Circular objects for tracing the circle
  • Etching Cream
  • Printer (with paper and ink, because I may or may not have bought some just so I could print out letters for this project)

Directions:

  1. Find a font you like and print out letters in a couple different sizes.  Choose which size works best for the glass you’re working with.
  2. Lay contact paper over printed letters and carefully cut out letter.  You’ll be sticking the actual letter on the glass, so be sure not to cut through the letter itself.
  3. Cut a square or rectangle of contact paper (this doesn’t have to be exact), then carefully trace a circle and cut it out.  So you’ll have a square with a hole in it, does that make sense?
  4. Peel off the back of the contact paper and stick on the glass.  I put the circle cut out on first and then lined up the letter inside.
  5. Spread a thick, even coat of etching cream inside the circle, being careful not to move the contact paper – be gentle!
  6. Leave cream on for 15 minutes, then rinse with cold water until all the cream is washed off.  This was a little weird at first, but just trust the running water.  The cream starts to “peel” off (for lack of a better word) after a little while.
  7. Peel off the contact paper and you’re finished!  I used my circle shape for several glasses, but after a few the stickiness started to wear off.

Happy crafting!

Christmas Letter 2013

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Now that all the physical copies of this letter have gone out, I wanted to make sure I posted our Christmas letter on the blog.  Last years was really darn good if I do say so myself, so this year I had to lower everyone’s expectations a little.  It was a little more normal, but hopefully still a pleasure to read – which is always my goal. Enjoy!

It seems my stroke of inspiration for writing our annual Christmas letter comes later and later each year.  I may have had my address list updated in mid-November, but this Christmas letter will most likely get to you after Christmas this year.  I apologize for the tardiness, but you’re very welcome for the treasure that is this letter.  I have to say I’ve been a bit distracted this season as I’m attempting to hand make all of our Christmas gifts this year.  Don’t worry, I probably only have a mild case of carpal tunnel from all the feverish knitting I’ve been doing.

I’ll start this Christmas Letter off with an announcement: we became adults this year.

[Blog Add-In: how many readers were hoping the announcement was that I was pregnant?  (I’m not)  I know at least one…] 

We really made quite the adult move across the country for new job opportunities.  I mean, who moves for “job opportunities?!”  Adults, that’s who.  We’re just two adults living in the Greater Seattle Area now (and by greater, I mean GREATER…we’re about 22 miles south of the city, which basically means 40 minutes away with traffic).  Speaking of traffic, goodness gracious, TRAFFIC!  Who deals with traffic on a daily basis?!  Bryan and I both have an actual commute to work.  Every day.  I didn’t believe in commuting until I became an adult.

That’s right friends, we’re officially in our mid-twenties and the crankiness and gray hairs are upon us.  We live for routine and week nights and dessert binges.  I’m not lying to you (because adults don’t lie) when I confess that I listen to NPR on my commute now.  And I’m also not lying to you when I tell you that Bryan joined a gym.  That’s correct; we actually pay real dollars so that Bryan can stay fit.  Who says “stay fit?!”  Adults, that’s who.

Have you noticed the double spacing between sentences yet?  Yeah, I just learned that is a thing.  Adulthood, I tell you.

Bryan has a great start to his career here in the Seattle area; he’s able to service clients while working to build his own book of business.  Did you understand any of that?!  Was it too adult-y for you?  Yeah, I know – but seriously, it’s all real!  Bryan has a career!  And “building a book of business” is a real phrase!!!  I’m not even pulling your leg.  Get this, I am not allowed to wear jeans to work.  That’s how fancy my job is.  I’m now the proud owner of clothing items such as, “work dresses,” “hosiery” and “designer slacks.”  Who even says “slacks?!”  You guessed it – Adults.

Our TV is mounted to our wall, we now own a Keurig, we shop at Costco, and we wear white shirts.  Yep, it’s a pretty sure thing that we’re adults.

All in all, this year has been a happy, crazy year for us.  It has been a year full of adult decisions and plans.  It’s been a year of settling into a brand new place and making new friends and finding our way.  It’s been a fun adventure!  God has richly blessed me and Bryan and we continue to walk in His grace.  May you take time this season to reflect on the awesomeness that is Jesus coming to earth – He came for you and for me to wipe our sins away!  You don’t have to be an adult to understand that, or to get ridiculously excited about it.   Enjoy the season!   We are so blessed to have you in our lives, our friends and family near and far.

The Merriest of Christmases to you,

 

Bryan & Lisagrace

New Year

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I don’t have any New Year’s Resolutions this year.

I’m really good with that.

I’m really good right here, and I’m really good with the idea of moving forward, pushing myself, being better.

I love the fresh start of the New Year – starting over, clean slate, new budget sheets, new calendars.  It’s always kind of nice to push the last year behind you, shut it doors, and open the new year.  The New Year naturally causes me to reflect on the old one.  I spend a lot of time meditating on the things I’ve slowly and painstakingly learned in the last year.  These are the things that I usually don’t know I’m learning until after the fact.

The most profound thing I learned in 2013 was about time.  I really learned that I only have so much time to accomplish things I love, or things I want or things I need.  It’s kind of like when you always have more money than you need, you don’t fully understand budgeting.  You can pay your bills, buy whatever you need and then some.  That’s how my life has aligned with Time until this last year.  I just…always had enough.

But something changed this year, and I could no longer accomplish everything I wanted and I really felt it.  I wanted to blog more, but I read a lot more instead.  I wanted to cook more, but I crafted more instead.  I wanted to make new friends, but I FaceTimed with old ones instead.  I wanted to spend more time with people, but I worked, slept, crafted more instead.

2013 was the first year in my 25 years that I felt the give and take of time.  I started noticing that I wasn’t getting certain things done because I was actually doing other things – rather than just laziness.

This is a hard lesson to learn, because I don’t know what to do about it.  What can I do?  I’m in a place where no matter what, I have to give up something.  And I don’t want to give up anything. And I want to do more.  It’s interesting, I’ll tell you.

And some how this lesson has led me to having no resolutions for the new year.  I think I’m feeling a little capped out.  But I’m also feeling like resolving a whole year is just not practical for me right now.  I think instead I’ll resolve each day. To make the most of my time, doing things that I love, want and need to do.

God has contented my heart – I’m really content right now.  I’m really good with being right here, right now.  I think I’ll just stick with that.

 

[photo credit]

the secret of nesting

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We are expecting our first visitor this week! I could not be more excited!!!!!!!!!!!! This morning, I woke up like it was the eve of Christmas Eve, when really it’s just two days before September 19th, when one of my dearest friends is coming to me!

Kaylee’s imminent and exciting arrival has sent me into a nesting flurry. If you’re friends with me on facebook, you may have noticed our extremely productive labor day weekend. Our little tiny home is coming together and I’m loving every little piece of the process and our home. (I know, I know, I really promise to post pictures soon!)

This has been my favorite little home of ours so far. We started from scratch after four years of collecting house stuff. Our new apartment here was an empty canvas of sorts, and having absolutely no furniture or decor or anything allowed us to slowly take our time deciding what we valued, what our aesthetic was, and what items/decor were both beautiful and functional to us.

I’m not great at decorating nor do I claim to have an eye for interior design. But I’ve read recently on several different design blogs something to the effect of, “Don’t worry about an item “matching” the rest of your decor, if it’s beautiful to you, it will go with your aesthetic.” Wow, am I right?! That mantra really gave me a lot of freedom and took away a lot of my usual stress about decorating. This idea completely defines how I created each and every space in our home. Some things in our home are beautiful to me because I handmade them, some are beautiful to me because they were $50 instead of $500 and some are beautiful to me because they just are.

The other major factor that defines the decor in our home was that I took my time. I’m notorious for rushing to make important decisions simply because I don’t like making them. But with this home, we didn’t have a couch for a month, or a kitchen table. The piece of plywood that has been sitting in our living room for two months? I just decided what to make of it. And I’ve been so okay with that, because the reality is, in the past two months, I’ve changed my mind three times about that particular art project, and I’m so excited about what I’ve finally decided to do.

I have some friends that are really wonderful at nesting and I’ve always been jealous of them. But I think I’m figuring out their secrets! Knowing myself, and knowing what’s beautiful to me has been the secret of making my apartment into my home. Can’t wait to show you pictures!