Journal

Oliver’s Meadow: Edited

My children’s book, Oliver’s Meadow has been sent out and edited.

This is an exciting step to have completed, along with the hope of launching our Kickstarter Campaign this coming week. With the money raised from our campaign we will be able to fund the rest of the illustrating and design work and to get it listed on IngramSpark for printing.

This is the cover of our book, a beautiful watercolor done by a very talented artist, Hannah Bradford based out of Utah. She has been a gift to work with and through her work my vision for this story is taking shape.

Stay tuned for more details on our campaign!

New Christmas Tradition

I’ve been browsing Pinterest recently (well actually I often do) and fallen in love with the crazy different advent calendars that show up.

Now that my eldest is getting to age where he understands the holidays a bit more I have been wondering what sorts of traditions I want to make in our household with our children.

I mostly like the idea of doing activities with them as opposed to buying them any certain item or taking them shopping. So this year I decided to try the Advent Calendar and to include an activity for each day in December to make the season more memorable for him.

He was so excited each “pocket” I sewed on and will be even more excited once we start on the daily activities. I found a blog on Pinterest, which you can find here to print off activity cards if you don’t have an interest in making a list and creating the cards yourself.

The outer piece of the calendar is made from duck cloth. I happened to pick it up on a remnant sale from Joanne’s for around $10 and maybe used about half of the piece. The fabric I used for the pockets I had on hand. They are a mix of cotton (black and white checker, cream), linen (green) and wool (grey). The fabric I used for the numbers was a canvas material. I used a stencil and craft paint for the numbers.

I didn’t follow a pattern, just liked the look of many different size pockets all places together, so I cut differing sizes and then pieces them out before sewing on the numbers.

Do you have an advent calendar? If so, did you buy it or make it?

Black and White: Week 1

Wow, I really go in spurts with blogging. I’m going to try to post my favorite capture of each week.

This photo was from last week when we celebrated the twins first birthday. At this stage of life it’s nearly impossible to get both of them in the frame and clear. So here is twin beauty, a little hazy and unclear but beautiful just the same.

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Tin Can Makeover

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I’ve been driving my husband a little nuts lately, in a good way. (Is there a good way, kidding!). I will save nearly every container, glass jar, bag, tie or anything that comes because what if there is another use for it?

Sometimes I’m really good at getting to these things in a few days but other times the items line our counters for two weeks at a time! But, I LOVE being able to make/create new stuff using the item you already have, or items in your house laying around. I LOVE thrifting but I think my problem (if it can be called that) is that I see TOO MUCH potential in things. I buy things thinking about the potential in them, not usually to keep them the same.

Anyways, these metal/tin cans sat on my counter for some time. And so I finally got going and set up to give these tin cans a makeover. I envisioned them to be black and white, with a sort of tribal/aztec print on them.

Here is what I used:
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So I used tin cans from tomato sauce,a sponge brush, modge-podge, Waverly chalk paint, a scrap of suede, sandpaper (not pictured) and a permanent marker. I had all of these supplies at home, which is my favorite way to do a DIY project, using what you have. However, lets talk about this chalk paint for a minute. I bought mine at walmart but you can grab some at Amazon using the link below. This paint is high quality and thick and it goes a long way. I have used it for many projects and if you are redoing furniture or even painting picture frames or small decor pieces it gives a really nice finish. Check it out below.

Waverly Inspirations Matte Chalk Finish Acrylic Paint, 16 oz ( White )

So first off I sanded down some remaining paper left on the can and then painted the can. I waited for the first coat to dry and painted on a second coat.If you wanted to leave it a little distressed you could just do the one coat.

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Next, I took the sharpie and drew up the pattern. I had a look in mind but I did freehand it. I’m sure there is a stencil out there if you would want to try that.
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Next I measured out the suede straps. You could also use leather or a stronger material such as upholstery or others if you prefer. I’ve gotten a leather jacket thrifting for as cheap as $5. I measured them to be 2″x0.5″ but you could make them longer or thinner, what ever you fancy!I used Modge Podge to secure them to the can.

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So a little story behind this Modge-Podge. It was probably at least 5 years ago that I saw this huge tub at Walmart for clearance price of $21. At first I just couldn’t get past the price. Fast forward 5 years and I haven’t made a DENT in it, it is still significantly full! A few times I have been tempted to get rid of it, but then I remember the handful of occasions I have used it and it is nice to have it around. So although I cannot package it into tiny little containers and send to all of you I will share that you can get a 16oz bottle in the link before for just under $7.

Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer, Glue and Finish (16-Ounce), CS11302 Matte Finish

This is how my final can turned out, perfect for a pencil holder or plant holder. It would be a perfect gift for someone with the addition of a plant. You know what else it would be perfect for? To decorate your wedding! Inexpensive and fun DIY project.

Posted in DIY

DIY Coffee Paint

We have been moved in and are semi-settled for about a month now. Currently we still have 4 foot high snowbanks, so we are mostly keeping an inside prescence and going a little stir crazy trying to find activities to do.

Here’s what helps, coffee, chocolate muffins, coffee and the occasional bout of sunshine.  

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So, I just happen to buy the Great Value Donut Shop ground coffee and it was horrible. Over the years I’ve become a coffee snob. However, I didn’t want to just throw the coffee away, because I hate throwing things away that could be used for something else.

I’m always looking for activities to do with my 2.5 year old son. He LOVES painting, not big into coloring but loves paint. Since we recently moved I have yet to unpack the box which has our paint, so I decided to make some.

I mixed about 1/4 cup of coffee with a 1/3 cup of water and stirred it, then let it sit for a while. You could add more or less coffee to make a lighter or darker paint. I also did not have paintbrushes so I used q-tips. 

After painting, the paint fades after some hours, but it has a slight coffee smell. So, the next time you buy coffee grounds you don’t like, make some paint. 

Now excuse me while I head to the store to buy some REAL coffee grounds to make a nice hot cup of joe. 

Posted in DIY

10 Savings/Reusing I did

1.) Keep paper scraps and dryer fuzz for starting fires if you have a wood stove or have bonfires.

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2.) Regrow your lettuce, avocados and green onions in water

3.)Make paint with unused coffee grounds for a fun kids activity, see post here. 

4.) Cut up old T-shirts for scrub rags

5.) Save glass bottles or containers and reuse

6.) Rip baby wipes in half, making them last longer

7.) Made applesauce from apples to soft to eat

8.) Save crinkly wipe packages and make a baby sensory book.

9.) Wash plastic bread bags

10.) Use lemon slices to rub over surfaces for a delicious scent

What are ways that you save or reuse items?

New Children’s Book: March 2019

im. not. a writer.

she said.

what are you?

im. a feeler.

what does feeling have anything to do with it?

it. has. EVERYTHING. to. do. with.it

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The other night as my husband and I were finishing story time with our three boys my mind was bursting with many differing thoughts. I asked him: “do you think writers feel emotions deeper.” 

It’s funny, how we can be engaged in mundane tasks and all of sudden feel the need to release a deep thought to find out what others think. His response “I don’t know, why?” with a quizzical expression on his face. 

I replied with: “A moving and powerful story isn’t made with correction punctuation and following all the rules, but rather it is made by telling the story that provokes emotions within you.”

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After thinking about this more, I wrote the piece above. And I feel that it is in the heart of all artists. Art is feeling, its the expression of feeling. The more vulnerable we are to our sense of feelings the more our art reflects what is happening in our life and who we are. 

We, all art in different ways, some through a canvas and paintbrush, others through the art of cutting wood and stacking it in neat, distinct piles. But, lets be honest, it goes back to being vulnerable. When we create, explore, emit feeling we are embracing vulnerability. 

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I had been taught and observed that to practice any amount of vulnerability was to adhere to weakness. I later learned that some individuals chose to not feel or expose themselves to vulnerability as a means of survival, which in essence prohibits them from feeling true joy and unconditional love. 

At first when learning to be vulnerable, after spending sometime shoving it away and banning its existence from your life, its fearful, downright fearful. But just like love, the act of feeling vulnerable isn’t in itself fear, but rather the repercussions, the falling out the love, the possibility of pain or backlash is what creates the fear in us. 

And so the idea of my next children’s book was born. Out of embracing vulnerability, feeling and grieving loss and learning from the best teachers that walk our earth, our children. They don’t think twice about what to express and not to express, they just feel and they express and make peace with all that comes with each and every step of our journey. 

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Each obstacle we meet and each trial we endure is meant for us, for our journey. And last year when we had to say goodbye to a tiny, loving baby boy nephew we questioned, we mourned, we lost, we stumbled, we fell and we broke.

But.

We also were given the chance, to love harder, to cry more openly, to embrace our roles, to reach for dreams, to grow closer to each other and to embrace being vulnerable, so that every aspect we are granted in life, we can absorb more and give more. 

We are here to give our gifts, share them with each other and impact someone else’s journey. My heart aches for all of you mothers and fathers out there who didn’t get to hold your child in your arms, or held them for such a short time. I know that ache is your companion as you journey through the remaining chapters here on earth, and despite knowing its there, I do not know what it feels like. I cannot imagine it. Cannot. 

I can envision my nephew, happy and carefree in his place in heaven, sending us reminders, that we will find peace, that our ache will ebb and our sadness will remain, but happy moments and days will ease it. And that no matter which corner of this earth we call our home, he will be there with us, for we will always carry him in out hearts. 

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The book tells this story, of carrying him in our hearts, of finding reminders in the beauty of nature of him. Explored through the innocence of children, it brings to the life the other side of loss. The acceptance and peace that slowly comes, and the thoughts that he is in a better place. And that when we welcome sunshine back into our hearts and try to walk our journey through our children, we think of him skipping and running through the meadow.

Oliver’s Meadow.

Releasing March 2, 2019.

Thank you for joining us on this journey, please share with all of those who are grieving their loss and missing those little loved ones. 

Moving North to Alaska

 

We’ve been talking about moving to Alaska for about a year, and dreamed about it even longer. When my hubby got a call with a job offer we jumped at the opportunity, so excited yet nervous about the trip. I put together a blog post with tips from our trip for any of you thinking of moving or even driving to Alaska.

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1.) Make sure you have a proper documents:

  For adults (over 18) you need to have a passport, and for children you will need a birth certificate.

2.) Restrictions 

There are restrictions on what can be taken across the border into Canada. For example, guns are prohibited, some may go with the proper paperwork (please see border website for more info). Other items they will ask about include plants, fresh fruits and vegetables and other weapons. Allow extra time for border crossing in case you need.

3.) Plan for gas cost

We drive a Yukon and pulled a 13 foot trailer nearly filled. At best we averaged 9 miles to the gallon, so we filled up nearly every 250 miles. Gas tends to be more expensive in Canada, $1.12 a liter so about $4.48 a gallon, and in some parts of Canada closer to $6. Our total gas cost for the trip was about $1,200. Also we carried two- five gallon gas cans because in the Yukon territory there is a stretch where you can drive further than there are gas stations.

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4.) Bring EXTRA supplies.

We were only 40 miles out of Fargo, ND when one of your trailer tires blew, thankfully we had several spares so we were able to put one on and keep traveling. Other items we brought were tire jack, battery pack, tires, tools, gas cans and wire in case we needed to rewire trailer lights. 

5.) Currency exchange

Obviously a big portion of the trip is through Canada meaning a change of currency. We were going to exchange cash but instead put many of our transactions on a card because then we wouldn’t have to exchange it twice. Some places in Canada accepted US money such as Starbucks and a grocery store, but not all of them gave change with the exchange rate. 

6.) Time

We had awesome weather, in the beginning of April. Although there was snow for most of the way, the roads were clear and we didn’t get any weather on the way there. However, allow for extra time because it can be slow going especially when you reach the Alaskan Highway because the road gets very bumpy and rough in some places. 

7.) Navigation

With our phone plan we could not use the GPS feature in Canada. But with a map and the signs posted we were able to find our way. Check your phone plan to see if you have text and talk internationally. 

8.) If you can set out on this adventure with the intention of stopping to soak in the Liard Hotsprings and off on the random turnoffs for photos as well as those really small towns that have darling giftshops.

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Shop opening June 5th

We have settled in here in Alaska, our new adventurous home. Well, frankly to be honest we haven’t gotten out much, with all the rain and snow in this spring season.

However, we are still enjoying ourselves and are so excited for the summer season to arrive.

GILS will launch June 5 and YOU guys NEED to be here for it! We have so many goodies for you, from soap dishes, moccasin boots, dishcloths, wall hangs and tote bags.

Both the BOLD and EARTH collection have modern and practical gifts for your space and others.

Here at GILS we generally make one of a kind items, sometimes having enough supplies for more than one product. Will you do me a favor and please inquire after anything that captures your interest? Also give a holler if you don’t see something that you would like too!

I will be using Shopify for the store, will link it to this blog once we are live.

YOU GUYS are GREAT and I hope you have an AMAZING day!

Thanks for following along with the reopening, can’t wait to hear from all of you!