21 May 2015

Making home feel like home

I was recently told about the 'Starter Stories' project by Compass, a company that specializes in helping people find their perfect home.  They wanted to hear about what I did to make our first home in the US feel like home, so I thought I'd 'paint a picture' of what I did....

Last year, I knew it was coming that I would only be able to take a small few things with me when we moved - I had to choose carefully and considerately about what to bring, what to leave, what can I live without, what can I 'just go buy on a very tight budget' when we get there, and most importantly: what can I bring that is going to make home feel like home for each one of us?

When we got to our apartment, I began.

Bunting (a garland/banner/flags).  Makes a big bare wall, warm and inviting.

Kiwiana tea-towels I bought from local gift-shops before we left.

Our favorite blankets.

Artwork (by me) in the lounge, dining room.

Drawings from a friend, stuck on the dining room wall.

My own favorite tea-towels.  Just because!

My son's special toys and special gifts from special people.

A special wedding photo of ours.

Crochet coasters I made last year.

My favorite pillowcase.

So, here are just a few ways I made our little apartment feel like home, thus far.  Some things are 'just stuff' but some things have a lot of sentimental value for us.

I do make new things for my home often and I always share what I'm 'currently-making' on my Instagram account.  I'd love to hear from you if you're stuck with ideas of how to make your home feel like home, just comment below.

Do you have any more ideas on how to make the most of what you have to make home feel like home?


14 May 2015

Grand Canyon Part 3

Wow, the Grand Canyon!  That's all I can say.  Photos just don't do it justice, but I'll try.

From left to right, featuring Jess (my Sister in Law), me, LJ and Roy (the hubby).


30 April 2015

Grand Canyon Part 2

Let's begin with Sedona.  It was 'on the way' to Flagstaff, where we stayed the night.

The weather came in and rained all over us.  IT was AWESOME!  Gilbert, where we live, is 1.237ft (377m) above sea level.  Sedona is 4,500ft (1,372m) above sea level.  So, we drove up a whole kilometre to get to Sedona!  Two hours driving.  Our ears were popping a bit.  Mine were blocked most of the time because I had (still have) a cold.

Back to rain.  Have I mentioned how much I loooove the rain?  It's the best thing ever.  I'm not a 'go-outside-and-dance' kind of girl.  More like a 'listen-to-the-rain-while-relaxing-inside-all-warm-and-cosy-and-feel-delighted' kind of girl.

If you follow my instagram feed (a mix of personal and business) you will have seen all the photos I shared about the rain.  BUT, if you missed it... here it goes again.  Because, well, rain!

I started off with a photo of the hillside while leaving Phoenix (that's 65mph, it later goes to 75mph).  Note the Saguaro Cacti.  This shot doesn't have many of the famous Saguaro Cacti, but I wanted to show a little of how they grow out here.  It's a forest of Saguaros everywhere.  Seriously.  And they are BIG.  There are other cacti around, but these are the famous cacti in the cowboy movies you've seen.  Some interesting trivia from Wikipedia:
"Saguaros have a relatively long lifespan. They may grow their first side arm
any time from 75–100 years of age, but some never grow one at all."

So, if you see one that has a side-arm, you know it's at least 75 years old!  It is illegal to cut them down, they are protected.

And then it rained.  If you look closely, you can see the rain falling in the distance in the images below.  I was doing little happy dances in my seat.


No more Saguaros, more trees.  And, then, we got to Sedona.  The rain let off a little and the wet mountains came alive after getting some water on them.

We drove up to the airport lookout.  And, wow!

This panorama photo is small, but if you click on it, it'll open up a little bigger.

Feature: my son's head.

The clouds covering the beauty above.

The sun shining on it.

I tried, but I really couldn't get a photo that did it justice.  The buttes (rhymes with ute, but with a 'b',  kind of like buewt) were all over the  place and looked amazing half rained on and in the sunlight.  Amazing.

We were still on the road to the Grand Canyon, but I'll make you wait for the next installment before I share more photos.

Until next time... !


27 April 2015

Grand Canyon Part 1

Ok, so in the last couple of weeks we went to "all the stores" I wanted to, and we visited a few [awesome] places.

We've been to Tortilla Flat, Sedona, Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon!

I'll be honest, I've been procrastinating blogging about it because there's just SO much to talk about... which ends up in nothing being talked about.  Shame on me.

Next post I'll show you a bunch of photos of our adventures, BUT, here goes as a teaser...

My two favorite people at the Grand Canyon.  That place is amazing!  It's just SO huge that it's hard to take it all in, how vast, how far across, how deep down, how it was made, how it just 'is' now.  Mega-huge-awesome-ness.

Not pictured is my sister-in-law who has been staying with us for a couple weeks.  She's been so much fun and our little man is going to miss her (Roy and I will, too) when she heads off to Alaska next week.  Alaska!!


10 April 2015

We're (finally) Mobile!

I can't get over these colors.  I hope I never do.

Something about this sunset just makes my soul sing.

And sing we are!  My husband had a look at several cars, some were awesome in 'this way' but way too not-awesome in 'another way'.  So, we kept searching.  Finally, we found one.  Praise Jesus!  Thank you, Lord, for letting us not settle for something cruddy, and for always providing us with everything we need.  Amen!

The new problem on the horizon is this:  where do we go FIRST and SECOND and THIRD?!  OH gosh.  My husband and I have quite different ideas of where we want to go.  To put it in perspective, I've been car-less since November, 2014 (4+ months).  He has been car-less since March, 2014 (a YEAR).

I'm all, "Lets go to IKEA and The Home Depot, and I want to go back to Michaels, (etc, you get the drift)."

He's all, "Grand Canyon, baby!"  "Flagstaff."  "Hoover Dam."  OK, he didn't say, "Hoover Dam," but he could have.

I'm all, "Yes, I totally want to visit those places, but, these places are just up the road (kinda)."

He's all, "One YEAR."  (no he didn't say that)

I'm all, "Pretty furniture!"  (no I didn't say that either)

(but maybe we did... subliminally)


[EDIT:  Oh, and TODAY (tomorrow, the 11th) is our 6 year wedding anniversary... now we can go OUT and celebrate, TOGETHER! Our last wedding anniversary we were SO FAR APART]

02 April 2015

Custom Wedding Invitations

A happy Bride, a happy Groom.  I had the pleasure of designing this beautiful wedding invitation and I just had to show it off.  It could very well be the beginning of a something awesome (in more ways than one).   Special thanks to Vanilla and John for entrusting me with the design of your precious wedding invitations.


30 March 2015

March was big

This last month has seen us celebrate a few different things...  my birthday (I'm 30); my husband's birthday; my husband's 1-year anniversary of arriving in the US while our son and I waited in New Zealand for our visas to work out (also 4 month anniversary of ALL of us being together in the US); us hitting a savings target where we can [finally] buy a car to get us from A to B; my husband's cousin's son's birthday (not to mention other family members' birthdays in other countries).  March is a full month for us!

Next month we have Easter, our wedding anniversary and more birthdays to celebrate.  And, hopefully we'll be celebrating that we have a car!

We've had a couple of weeks now where we've been searching for the right car, and at the beginning, it's always exciting.  Soon, though, reality sets in.  Most cars don't look as awesome in real-life as they do in-person.  Or, if there's a great looking car, but the seller speaks only Spanish... language barrier.  Time to learn a different language, then!

And my God will
meet all your needs
according to the riches
of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

I don't enjoy living in 'want'; tomorrow, it'll be better; if we just have this, then it'll be ok; if we just get that then all our problems will be solved.  No.  It's not living in the 'now'.  Living in 'want' sucks you dry.  It destroys your ability to enjoy today, to enjoy what you have and to be content and peaceful.  It stirs up anxiety and doubt.  It does not edify.

I painted this piece of artwork for our home.  One day, maybe, I'll get it framed and hung on the wall, but for now, a piece of string and a thumb tack will do.  It will serve as a tangible reminder that my God does provide my family with all we need (and always has - when was I ever without what I need?).  Goodbye, doubt.  Hello, joy, hope, peace and faith.  Amen!