Sunday, October 16, 2011

Get in the game!!!

Seriously need some crafting time; my creative mojo seems to be coming back after a month long hiatus... a heart ouch and the flu smacked me silly.
- But now, when debating over sleep or fun projects, sleep wins every time! 

Thanksgiving projects, hopefully, in the future...  Because, really, I have SO MUCH  to be thankful for.  Yes, yes I do.

"...Blessing and glory and wisdom and THANKSGIVING [even when it is hard] and honor and power and might, be to MY God forever and ever. Amen." - Rev 7:12

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

See the Lilies of the field...

"Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin..."  Matthew 6:28b





Lord, help me to stop spinning.  Thank you for knowing my heart, and the ache.  Thank you for wanting and choosing ME.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Banner for Mrs. Billups

I have the great pleasure of working with many, many wonderful people - and it just so happens that a great big 'ol handful of those wonderful people are getting married! -sigh-

Now, the men in the office are much too "manly" to receive a wedding shower and they very politely endure, with much disdain,  my constant squeals of joy and obsession with their wedding details - Note to guys: it does not appease my wedding detail hunger to hear you say you are going to have flowers.  SERIOUSLY. Could you please at least tell me what kind???

Enter Malaika.  Beautiful, sweet and wonderfully excited about her upcoming wedding; Malaika.  She patiently allowed me to, literally, greet her every morning with a wedding countdown update and shared any details I could possibly think to ask her about.

I wanted to do something for her... but lost track of time (how? I ask myself, since I counted down the days???)  and before I knew it, it was the day before her last work day.  GIANT "ugh".  Quickie project to the rescue!

I double checked what her new last name would be, use Word to make triangles with the letters printed on them (cheated -ugh) and, a paper trimmer and some scotch tape later had a cute little "Mrs. Billups" banner for her office.




So, congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Billups!  Wishing you many years of happiness and love!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lavish

Matters of the heart turn me into a bit of a basket case… but, man do they make me feel ALIVE!  Whether I am shouldering someone else’s grief, worrying about things I have no control over (more on that later) or dealing with self doubt and disappointment – I read more scripture, pray until there is an indentation in my living room carpet, and have the inexhaustible urge to exercise (hello jeans I haven’t fit in for a while).  
My mantra right now is the first part of Ephesians 3:20~
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…”
When I am “down” and struggle with circumstances, I am holding fast to the promise that what God has planned for me is even better than my WILDEST dreams! – and believe you, me… some of my dreams are pretty extraordinary!  How wonderful to know that God knows the desires of my heart and can “one-up” me – If that is His plan.
Pastor Paul preached a sermon weeks ago and used the word : “lavish” –God is just waiting to LAVISH me with the good plans He has for my life!  Coincidence that my Dad would have a small stone on which he had written “lavish” – I think not… the stone has found a home on display in my living room.  It is my silent reminder to never give up hope… When I pray fervently, I am trusting that God’s will and what I desire are going to line up and the result will be: pure, lavished, awesomeness!!!

*

This does NOT mean that God’s divine plan for me (and specifically: my love story with My Charming) will fit into the cookie cutter ideals that I have.  I know this though: my resolve to stand, and if it has to be alone, FINE, steadfast and without compromise will mean that the things that really matter will all materialize according to God’s plan – even if it does so in an unexpected way.  Does this mean I won’t face difficult times? Goodness no!  But the point of JOY is to have it at all times, in the valleys and the mountain moments.  I don’t aspire to be “happy” at all times… those who have made the mistake of saying that happiness is what God wants for us, have experienced a severe tongue lashing for misquoting/interpreting scripture to their liking… but I do try to find the joy. 
  I know not how it will happen, or even what “it” will be… but I can be, or at least try, to be assured that my God has everything under control.  He may need me to shut up and listen a little more closely (ha!), but He most definitely does not need my help.  Read: if he doesn’t need my help, I don’t need to spend countless hours mulling circumstances over in my mind…   “See the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin…”  man. Have I been doing a lot of spinning lately. 
So, now what?  I pray, relax (maybe enjoy a great glass of wine), and rest in knowing that God knows my heart – and the ache –
“Far more abundantly, Elise… far more abundantly…”

*  Photo props go to my talented friend JR Knox!  Thank you for taking the time to capture my lavish stone in an artistic way...
Thanks Leah for all your help too!!!  <3

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy One Year Anniversary to the Houghs!

Leah – My dependable, reliable friend.  How different life is from when we were 20 and our biggest concern was what concert we would be attending on the weekend!  Life is different, you’re married and celebrating one whole year of marriage, yet our friendship and my love for you remains the same.  I still talk waayy too much (and usually before I properly process all my thoughts) and you are still the observant and patient one I so very much aspire to be one day.  I admire the way you absorb my wacky stories and are always a voice of sound spiritual advice.  I know when I ask you to pray over something in my life I can depend on you to actually pray.  You are always honest, but expertly tender, when dealing with my volatile personality.  I am so thankful for you, and the friend you are to me. 
Justin – A year ago you married one of my besties… thank you for allowing me to have visitation rights!  You have always so graciously allowed me to still “have” my friend; understanding how important it is to me, and how she needs to still have “girl time” too.  The greatest of men understand that love is not about control and possession; angels surely high-fived each other last weekend when you so sweetly kissed her goodbye and told her to have a fun girls day at the beach!  You probably razz me more than any other friend I have, but I know that when push comes to shove, you are always in my corner.  Lord help the man that God has set aside for me; he has many, many people to impress… and you’re one of them.
Houghs – May the love you have for each other only grow and be strengthened as time passes.  Your relationship is God-centered, and it is evident to those around you; I am sure it brings a smile to God’s face to see two of his lovelies living out what He intended for marriage to be.   I look forward to watching you celebrate many more years of marriage, and I am cooking up themes for your 50th wedding anniversary as we speak.
I love you both and I am so thankful to be a part of your lives!

I saved a momento from the wedding: Justin's boutonniere!  - I will spare you the pictures of it in my fridge for the last year... but thought a shadow box would be pretty!


Green and Brown - Their wedding colors

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pirate Cookie Bucket

So I baked some cookies for the firemen who showed up at my place to turn of the building alarm last week, read story {here} and also made a Pirate Cookie Bucket. 
The station is completely decorated in Pirate gear - I know this from the first time I dropped off cookies with Brittany and we received a tour and even got to climb up in the engines.  So I figured it would be cute to make a pirate cookie bucket.
$1 bin at Michaels is so good to me – got the bucket for 80 cents and I already had everything else!  I printed the skull and crossbones graphic on plain white paper and punched out the circle; adhered to the cello baggie with some scotch tape, twist tied it and called it a day. 
The die-cut pirate ship on the front of the bucket looked a little plain, so I slapped a punch on it too!


I couldn’t resist tying some ribbon on the side of the bucket – probably too girly for the boys, but I thought it looked better with it.



A thank you tag was the finishing touch, and off to the station I went…

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Adventure - in the form of a fire alarm...

Last night was an adventure!!! 
I warned the world, via facebook – of course, that I would be grabbing adventure by the horns; well, last night “adventure” actually came and found me!
I was absolutely exhausted last night and decided that I wasn’t going to work out… my tummy was hungry and my hair needed to be washed.  So I dropped all my bags by the door, pulled the clean laundry out of the dryer and jumped into the shower.  I kid you not… I had been in the shower for thirty seconds (just enough to make my hair wet) when my fire-alarm started screaming.  It took a moment for my brain to process what was going on – like I said: exhausted.  Next thing I know, I am in a towel, grabbing my car keys and phone and headed out the door.  As I reached for the door handle my brain stopped me short and screamed:
“I CAN NOT BE THE NAKED GIRL OUTSIDE WHEN THE FIRE DEPARTMENT GETS HERE!!!” 
Thank heavens I had left my pj’s on my bed, so I leaped into them and headed out the door.  My neighbor - Wayne (we “met” out on the sidewalk) – opened his door at the same time I did; when I realized the alarm was not only going off in my apartment, but the whole building, I called 911.  When the dispatcher told me a unit was responding and it appeared to be a false alarm, I went back inside to put more clothes on, fix my dripping wet hair and tidy-up my living room and kitchen (I couldn’t have firemen in my apartment seeing my freshly washed under-roos) and then went back outside.
The engine showed up and the guys put on their full gear and examined a panel on the side of the building.  The alarms were off in a few minutes and the reason was: an exterior alarm was tampered with – so the alarm was really alerting the department.  The engine that responded was from the station that I frequently take cookies to during the holidays, the Southeast Scallywags!  The fireman I was talking to cracked up when I knew their nickname.


Up next: “thank you cookies!”  - I am thinking a bucket of cookies decorated with Pirate skulls and crossbones. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Photo Love

I LOVE photography... and I captured what I think is an amazing photograph at the Keck wedding:



The most adorable ring bearer I have ever laid eyes on; complete with his official "badge."

This is the UNEDITED photo.  I love it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Celebration Cookies

Anthropology class… oh how I loathed you.  I was ecstatic when I finished the WORST 16 weeks of online classes and managed to hold onto a small piece of my sanity in the process.
I suffered through discouragement, failure, and horrible scores on tests – less than perfection is in NO way acceptable!  -with my commuting comrades cheering me on every day.  Sometimes they would ask why I wasn’t doing homework: because I don’t want to, oK??? And they celebrated my mini accomplishments too.
I thought it was fitting then, that when I finished class and somehow had managed to achieve an “A” grade, that we should all celebrate.  - Still don't know how that happened...
So… this project is something I did over a month ago - I baked homemade chocolate chip cookies (commonly known at work as “Elise’s Crack Cookies” – because they are addicting, and decorated baggies with my letter grade and some curling ribbon for a “pretty” touch.

Then one by one, as my train-buddies got on the train, I threw a baggie at them and yelled “I got an A!!!!” 
They were simple but effective and I had fun making them. – which, is that not the most important thing?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Evolution of a Birdcage: From Ordinary to Extraordinary!


Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding



·         First things first: fix the uneven/unfinished wack-a-do color!
Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding

I had so much fun spray painting a flat coat of black paint with my nephews on the Fourth of July.  Shame on me for not capturing that moment on film! –Auntie Elise received just as much spray paint as the birdcage did…but it was all good.
·         Next:  a semi gloss black coat (97₵ can from Home Depot, thankyouverymuch).
·         Ribbon was next: Michaels trip #1
Three dots of hot glue as I want around, and a pair of sharp scissors where the ribbon met on the backside of the cage.
Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding


·         Now for the insanity!!!
I was stumped at how to decorate the rest of the cage.  I knew I didn’t want a cheesy bow on the top; and black silk flowers did not evoke “joy” as a wedding of two such wonderful people should!  So, the “google queen” went to work.  When my search for damask silk flowers returned baren I tried damask silk flowers. Viola!  Origami madness. Reference previous post {here} as to my origami skills; but I gave it a go, and the mock-up turned out to be “not so shabby.” 
Michaels trip # 2:  damask paper

Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding

I managed to get all the paper trimmed to 3 x 3 in one train ride to LA and even educated a few people on the power of a paper trimmer (ahhhh – sang like a castrati).  I then set out to fold 75 individual petals that would eventually (hopefully) make a flower when assembled together five at a time.  I did ALL the folding first and accomplished it in two and a half days.  My index finger was numb, but I was determined. 
Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding

Then came the gluing!  Each petal has had to be glued to itself and allowed to dry.  Thank HEAVENS for a tough guy on my train named Ray; who suggested I binder clip them and allow the glue to dry instead of holding three in my hand for 5-7 minutes at a time. GOLD STAR FOR RAY!

Another petal…
Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding

Then glued to another petal…
Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding

Another petal…
Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding

Seriously??? 
And the vicious cycle continues for one more petal.
Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding
Ta-da! Hallelujah!



Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding

The center is a brad I picked up on the Michaels trip # 3 on the bridal aisle. –My other passion? Coupons.  But that is a WHOLE different topic, and I am trying to stay focused and not blab.  Too late. A big glob of hot glue on the back (one very bad finger burn) and I just plopped them into the center of the flower.
Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding

The brad originally had a gold ring around the edge, and although no one else would care (or even notice)… I KNOW Shauna prefers silver.  So, I used my ever-handy silver metallic pen and CAREFULLY traced the edges until they were a pewter color. GOLD silver star for me! 
Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding

I bunched them together (needed four extra arms, but that’s why God gave us elbows!) until I was happy with the shape and glued them to the cage.  The point where all the flowers met proved to be difficult to manipulate and they would not stay where I wanted them (I took a sunbathe-by-the-pool-break at this point) but I persevered.

Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding
·         The card label was the finishing touch.  One of my favorite elegant fonts printed on simple white cardstock and mounted on black cardstock and adhered –and threatened- within an inch of its life to stay put!

Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding
The bride was happy; and that made me happy.  Ultimately I am glad Brittany suggested a birdcage; the end result really was beautiful!

Black and White Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #blackandwhite #damask #birdcage #wedding


Congrats Shauna & Aaron Keck!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Trying something new...

I was the child who never managed to successfully make an origami crane in school. 
Why would I think I might be able to make over a dozen origami flowers in less than four days????
- because I am a crafting machine!!!

Mock-up Flower # 1



Let's see if I can enlist the help of my "train friends" over the next two days... hehe.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Birdcage Part I

Hi.  I’m the wedding greeter, and welcome to the wedding!  -I am practicing for Shauna’s wedding next weekend.  One of my “greeter duties” is to assemble a card-holding-receptacle; a task Brittany (my co-greeter) decided should be a “beautiful vintage birdcage!”  That would be easy – that is if we lived anywhere besides the surface of the sun Moreno Valley.  The hunt was on!
I pride myself on being able to find practically anything online – all hail the Google Queen – but this project threw me for a loop!  The few cages I did find cost a FORTUNE to ship and the basic-white-generic cages were not what Brittany was looking for. 

Project deadline came and went and my co-greeter left for Minnesota - not to return until the day of the wedding. UGH! 
Leah and I had planned on spending a few hours together over the weekend and thought yard-sale hopping would be fun… all the while keeping our eyes peeled for anything that even slightly resembled a birdcage.  “Lord help us find a stinkin’ birdcage!” – Not my most reverent prayer, but I like being “real” with God… He knows my thoughts anyway.  Besides, if we didn’t find one, I was borrowing the box the Artmans used for their wedding and calling it a day!!!  Leah wanted to pick up paint at Michaels, and being in the vicinity of Marshalls, we went in “just to see.”
From the moment I could see the home goods, I could see BIRDCAGES!!!  The downside: circling the very birdcages I wanted, no. NEEDED; was a swarm of female vultures (haha, bird, get it?) threatening to make off with my prize! Well, praise God they were all eyeballing the one I didn’t want and I walked triumphantly out of the store with my birdcage (for a ROCK BOTTOM price) and giving thanks to God for being faithful in even the smallest things – Like silly birdcages.
Now.  Here is what it looked like in the store.


Stay tuned for the finished result! Yeah!

Finally!

I am finally blogging! -yippee!

I have forgotten just how much I enjoy writing!  So excited for my first REAL post... hopefully later tonight!

-Elise