Is it Vanity to have a Monogrammed House?

Monogramming gets a bad rap. Lots of people see it as some form of self-centeredness, putting your family initials on things around your home, on your shirts, or on your purses.

In truth, putting a monogram in your home is a celebration of the people who have gone before you who have had that name.

Monograms are ancient. They had the advantage of being a signature, as well as being able to be recognized by a population that, by and large, couldn’t read. Even if the monogram is in another language, it’s easy to recognize after seeing it a few times.

Bathroom Accessories

A brief history of monogramming

The first monograms were used for royalty to mark their property and money.256px-Royal_Monogram_of_King_Henry_VIII_of_England.svg

As the world’s economy transitioned from a barter system to a monetary system, the official who ruled over an area would monogram the coins of the realm to show where those coins came from. Items belonging to a king or queen would be marked so that everyone would know and would leave the items alone. This included knights and armies, horses and swords, castles and clothes.

Today, one of the most famous brands on earth, uses a monogram of a single letter a logo:

6a00e39332d00988340147e37043db970b-500wiMost people around the world wouldn’t need to be told that that’s the symbol for Coca-Cola.

Artists also used monograms to sign their names to their pieces. Using just three letters made it easier to ignore the signature. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is much more conspicuous than RHL.

Once textiles were being mass-manufactured and everyone had the same clothes, monograms became a way to stand out from the crowd. If your monogram for John Q Public are JPQ, you knew whose clothes you were to wear when changing coming out of the mines or simply grabbing clothes in a house were a dozen other people lived.

Monograms were also an acceptable way to sign legal documents. Many people never learned to write their full name, but could memorize three initials and use that to sign contracts.

In the United States, interest in genealogy exploded after Alex Haley’s Roots traced his family from Africa to his desk. That dramatic story was one of the greatest events in television history and it changed how the world saw their own family history.

The next great change was the internet. Now, documents that sat mouldering in a parish in Hungary or a government census document that was formerly only available by traveling to Washington, DC, could be accessed instantly. By indexing all of these documents, finding ancestors and acquiring new information is easy and fast.

Genealogy and Monogramming

Genealogy is the second most popular hobby after gardening in the US. It represents one of the internet’s biggest traffic sources. This popular has given rise to pride in the family name. If your family arrived from Italy through Ellis Island or onto Plymouth Rock or where Native Americans who have been here for thousands of years, you can show your pride by tracing your family’s history back for hundreds of years.

Using the power of the internet, people are able to discover their history dating all the way back to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Every day, new written records are added from government documents, church records, and more.

Monogramming shows your pride in your ancestors and all that they lived through. For most of us, our ancestors were “average” people in their time, but in ours, they were heroes. You might have a family member who explored the wilds of Canada in the 1700’s or who set up a home in the Great Plains when there was no one else around.

For African- Americans, knowing one’s history might not be as pleasant but it can be rewarding to trace a family member’s’ movement from Africa to the US or the Caribbean. While this part of your family’s history might be difficult, it is part of what makes you you and should be celebrated.

What items can be monogrammed?

At Have Faith Boutique, we have everything from shower curtains to coasters that can be monogrammed. Show your pride with a monogrammed baking pan or a baby blanket.

Monogrammed items also make wonderful gifts.You can help someone celebrate their family’s history by simply finding a great gift that has the family initials on it.

The Customized Child(ren) – Giving the Them Their Own Items

One of the things that we will often think of when our mind drifts back to when our child was just a baby is the blankets that she had. Often, she will choose her favorite and that will become a part of her that way her favorite stuffed animal does or her favorite TV show does. Customized baby items, like blankets with baby’s name on them, will end up becoming cherished memories. With dozens of style and patterns, these are distinctive gifts for mom and dad (and baby). But customized blankets are just the start. Of course, the same blanket pattern can be had in a hat. Keeping baby’s head warm is a great thing and often help him to sleep more soundly. For those of us who are older, we can remember people covering a baby’s head to keep him from getting sick. Science says that that’s not necessary, but it doesn’t matter; it’s cute and little bald heads need a bit of coverage. Phone and tablet covers that have baby’s picture can give you something to talk about everywhere you go. Every time you pull out your phone, everyone will see how cute your baby (or grandbaby) is and it will give you lots to talk about. Every baby needs a big, soft towel for after bath time. Many baby towels are thin and cold. A big, absorbent towel is a great gift because it will be able to be used as baby gets older and start to bathe on her own. Giving her a towel with her name on it can make her feel like a Princess. Several children in the home In a house with three or more children, it can be tough for the kids to feel special. Even in a house with just three kids, the middle child often feels forgotten. The little one is cute and helpless. The older one is large and in charge. Giving a middle child his own blanket, towel, area rug or bedding can make him feel less like he has been forgotten. Choosing the right items There are lots of customizable items to choose from. As we mentioned in an earlier blog, it really is the thought that counts, except with children. blob_web_image   Eventually, all kids learn to smile at the hideous sweaters and underwear that they get from grandma, but when they’re younger, it can be a lot harder. Babies, of course, are easy.
  • Customized baby blanket – Made from soft fleece, baby can sleep on a cloud with their name all over it.
  • Customized baby caps – Keeping baby’s head warm in winter is important. A soft cap with the child’s name on it is a great way to do that.
  • Crib sheets – Crib sheets with baby’s name on them is a perfect finish to a lovely nursery.
For older children, there are lots of things that you can get for their rooms that can make it their own space.
  • Customized bed sheets – Even for a teenager, sheets with their name on them can be a call addition.
  • Area rug – Imagine an area rug with your child’s or grandchild’s name on it. Nothing is more distinctive or personal than that.
  • Beach towels – Giving a teenage girl a towel might seem lame, but if your teenager loves to swim or sunbathe, a towel is a perfect gift. Buy her a towel with her name on it.
  • Mousepad- If you have a boy who does a lot of internet surfing, a personalized mouse pad is perfect for him.
  • Mobile phone case – Every teen has a mobile phone. Getting them a personalized phone case is a great way to let them know that you love them and that you are thinking about them as individuals.

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When each child has their own space and their own items, it can make it easier for them to feel like they have a space that they control.

Giving customized gifts to children and teens is a great way to show them that they are individual. As kids are growing up, they start to learn to differentiate between themselves and their parents and siblings. Often, as parents, we struggle to let that happen. We want them to stay the precious, helpless little kid that we met the day they were born. Giving a child a gift that can only be for them is a way of quietly saying, “You’re you and I love you for it!”  

The Rules of Giving Gifts to Teachers

The rules for giving gifts to teachers have changed in recent years. In the old days, you could simply give your child something and tell her to give it to Mrs. Brandt. Today, because some folks might not have been doing things the right way, there are some laws about what you can and cannot give. There are also some rules of etiquette that should be followed. Here are a few considerations:
  • Many states have ethics laws that must be followed. As public employees, teachers are subject to laws restricting the value of a gift. It can range from $25 to $100, with most states falling in the $50 range. It’s worth checking the local laws and rules. If you’re not sure, call the school.
  • Many schools and school districts recommend that you give a gift to classroom or the school itself. Make your gift something that everyone in the room can use and you don’t need to worry about ethics concerns.
  • While it might be instinct to give a teacher some school supplies, they also have a life. You should consider giving a gift that can be used for either. For example, a gift card to Walmart or someplace where the teacher can both buy supplies and stuff for himself can be very nice.
  • The best gifts for teachers can remind them that they’re teacher’s but shouldn’t be something that makes it look like they are your child’s parent. A framed picture of your child on their wall isn’t what they will need.
Gifts for teachers

Best Gifts for Teachers

Many of the best gifts for teachers are a combination of store-bought and homemade. Here are a few examples:
  • Gift card bouquet – A number of gift cards to different stores put onto paper flowers can make a lovely gift.
  • Cookie mix in a jar – A self-contained cookie mix in a canning jar can make baking easy and fun. Try to find a way so that it needs as few extra ingredients as possible.
  • Personalized cup – A cup, either a cold cup or a coffee cup, with the teacher’s name on it can be a nice touch. The teachers’ lounge is filled with coffee cups. This can make it easier to find their own cup.
  • Monogram license plate or car mats – It seems odd, but many teachers live in their cars. They often have many items that they need for the school in their cars so that they don’t have to carry them in and out. Of course, they are simply people, so they have car pride as well.
  • Custom mouse pad – A colorful, customized mouse pad can brighten any desk. Get one that matches his or her personality and they will love to see it every day.
  • Movie pack – A popcorn box with a movie theater gift certificate, a restaurant gift certificate, a DVD and some microwave popcorn can all be a lot of fun. It’s inviting your child’s teacher to relax.
  • Monogram market tote – Carrying things is something that every teacher does. A market tote is a cloth version of the plastic baskets that your grocery store offers. She can carry her books and supplies in and out of the school easily with one of these baskets.
  • Magazine subscriptions – Taking time to relax can be very important for teachers. A great magazine, whether it’s People or Oprah Magazine can be a nice break. If you’re not sure what magazine to purchase, look for a gift card from a publishing house.

Delivering a gift

When the kids are little, up to about 4th grade, you can send them to school with gifts. After that, it might be better to deliver the gifts to the office to drop them off yourself or deliver them to the teacher. Another point to be aware of is that most students have several teachers each day, especially after 4 th grade. If you aren’t giving gifts to everyone, you will want to be careful not to offend anyone.

Several kids – Several teachers

One of the best ways to make sure that all of the teachers in your children’s’ lives get to enjoy something is to deliver something to the teachers’ lounge. Coffee, tea, pizza, donuts, or even just a massive supply of pens and pencils can be a nice gift for teachers. That way, everyone gets a gift and you aren’t having to figure out several personal gifts. Regardless of what you choose, it’s nice to give a gift your children’s teachers. They work hard to help your family and make your kid’s lives better.

Gift-Receiving Etiquette – Being a gracious getter

Gift-receiving etiquette – Being a gracious getter It seems like it should be so simple, but receiving a gift has a set of rules just as giving a gift does.
The perfect gift If someone took the time to think of you, it’s the perfect gift. It really is the thought, not the gift that counts. But never say something like this. Every gift, unless it’s a life-changing gift like a car or a house, should be greeted with the same level of enthusiasm. At the same time, you really should avoid Victorian detachment where you politely say thank you. Even if someone gives you gift from the dollar store, it was them thinking of you.
The “Thank You” card Every gift giver should get a thank-you card from you. A simple card is a great way to make sure that the person who gave you the gift knows that you appreciate it. In fact, according to the etiquette experts, this one of the unbreakable rules that everyone should follow. Send a thank you card for every gift. This is the most important rule of gift-receiving.
Regifting If a gift isn’t perfect for you but might be great for someone else, there is no problem regifting. Don’t do it right away. For example, let’s say that your mother gave you a blender. If it’s still in the box three months later, it might not be the right gift for you. For someone close to you, like your mom, you can simply tell her, “Remember that blender you gave me? Well, it turns out that I don’t use it, even though it’s an awesome gift. My friend, Mike, is getting married and I was thinking that I would give it to him and his new wife. They are health nuts and it will be the perfect gift. I just don’t want you to feel hurt if you don’t see it on my counter.” If the person who has it to you isn’t a very close relative or friend, you don’t even need to say anything. The only way it will be important is if the person who gave it to you might see the other person receive it.
Returning If something is a duplicate or isn’t really right for your needs, there is no shame in returning it or exchanging it. Simply take it back to where the person bought it from. They should have given you a gift receipt. If you didn’t get a gift receipt, you can try to return to a store like Walmart as long as it’s in really good condition and they sell it. If you need to ask for a receipt, be gentle, but don’t be afraid. Gift-giving is never perfect, so hopefully, one’s feelings will be hurt by being told that what they got you wasn’t perfect. The most important key to receiving gifts is to be thankful. Someone spent time thinking of you and wanted you to know that they like you. As long as you are truly thankful, you can’t go wrong.
The Perfect Gift: A Gift-Receiving Disaster We have a friend who talked about a gift that she received from someone who was very important to her. In September 2002, she met a man on an Amtrak train leaving Seattle for Milwaukee. He was from New Jersey taking the train past Milwaukee to New York. To make a long story short, they hit it off on the train and stayed in contact via email, phone, and letters, until she visited him in New Jersey in early December. He took her to a place that she always wanted to go (that every girl wants to go to) Tiffany’s, the real Tiffany’s. She walked through this place a girl from Wisconsin only knew from movies. As they wandered around, he secretly went and bought one of the only things that he could afford, a Tiffany’s silver chain with thick links. As they left, he pulled her aside right in front of the store. She was leaning on a newspaper machine, he against a trash can. He gave her the necklace. She opened the box and said thank you. Slowly, her smile faded and she began to get tears in her eyes. They both held their breath, until he said, “You hate it, don’t you?” She began to cry. “Yes. I’m sorry. I want to like it, but…” She was crying, sad that she might have disappointed him, that she was rejecting a gift from the legendary Tiffany’s. “Will you marry me?” he asked. “Wait. What?” “Will you marry me?” “Um… yes.”

Platinum ring

Another long story short, they traded the necklace in for a Tiffany’s exclusive platinum ring. They were ushered to a private room that was used for the rich and famous and given a phone to call their families. The moral of the story: Sometimes, being honest about one gift can get you an even better one. They got married 5 years later and celebrated their 10th anniversary this year. Gift-receving has rules, but they aren’t set in stone. Not loving a gift is not a bad thing; not appreciating the thought and love that goes behind it is.  

The Rules of Gift-Giving: Some Gift Etiquette Rules

Every year, we struggle with how to give gifts and what to do when we get one. Since we’re in the gift-selling business, we thought it would be nice to give you some simple rules of etiquette. Rules of Etiquette for Gift Giving
  1. Don’t play a game of trying to give the same value that you received. Everyone has their own economic and personal restrictions that you might not be privy to. Get them what you think that they might really want, not a gift that matches what you received. It’s the same idea as if they gave you an expensive gift. Don’t drive yourself into debt trying to keep up. The key to a great gift is to put a lot of thought into it, not to match price tags.
  2. A late gift is better than no gift at all. If you missed Christmas or a birthday, send you gift anyway with a not that apologizes for being late. If you want to be really creative, you can send someone a Presidents’ Day gift when you missed Christmas.
  3. Christmas babies hate Christmas. If you were born on Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother Day, you hate that you only get one gift on that day. If you are giving to someone who was born on a holiday like this, give them two gifts. It’s not too difficult, and the gift can be complementary, like a DVD player and bunch of movies, but if you want to be a hero, bring them two gifts.
  4. Ask for a wish list. If you aren’t sure, or if you’re far away, ask for a wish list. Your recipient can give you a list of items to choose from. This way you will have the perfect gift, but there will still be a surprise in store for them.
  5. Gift wrapping is nice, but there is some leeway here. It can be very nice to wrap a gift in a simple brown paper bag
    Custom Christmas Tree Skirt

    Lovely Customized Christmas Tree Skirts are a great gift.

    if you don’t have time for actually wrapping, try to give a gift bag.
  6. Gift receipts are great, but they can have their place and time. For example, during a baby shower or a wedding reception, you can give the receipt to a parent or a best man. Let them have the receipt and the permission to return the gift if they need to.
  7. Remember the recipient, not what they need. Many times we give or receive gifts that might be practical, but not be very enjoyable. Even more often, people give gifts that they would like or that line-up with their interests, not those of the recipient. Here are some suggestions on how to find out what really interests your recipients:
    •  Ask family members – If you know their family members, ask them what they like. Often, family members around the same age as the person you’re asking about will have better answers than a parent or grandparent.
    • Look at their social media – Each of us can be studied fairly easily through our social media feed. If someone has lots of posts about the Chicago Cubs or horror movies, you can bet that that’s what interests them most.
There is something to be said about the old adage, “It’s the thought that counts.” If you give a gift that comes from a place of love and caring, it will be received well. If it’s something you simply grabbed as an obligation that feeling is conveyed and you will find yourself struggling to make it clear that you really care. Here’s a story that illustrates the point: We know a young man who was struggling with money for one Christmas. He looked around his house and found things that we important to him. To his baby sister, he gave his Bible. This was a copy that he read daily. Although only a few years old, it was dog-eared, dirty and full of notes and slips of paper. She opened the package and everyone laughed. It was an old book that he was giving away (he owns a lot of books). Then she noticed which book it was. To this day, that Bible has its own shelf in her living room. It’s one of the most cherished possessions in her life, not just because it’s a Bible, she has many of those, but because her big brother gave it to her when he had very little to give. These are the guiding rules of etiquette, but like most things in life, let your heart guide you and you can’t go wrong. If you find that you have broken any of these simple rules, don’t panic. They are simply guidelines. If what you did was particularly unkind or thoughtless, apologize. A simple I’m sorry goes a long way to making things better.    

Personalized Swaddling Blanket

Swaddling Blanket

BABY SWADDLING

Baby swaddling is the practice of wrapping an infant in a swaddling blanket from the shoulders to the feet. It helps to promote sleep patterns and can help to comfort your baby. The practice of baby swaddling has been used for centuries and is common in many different cultures throughout the World from America to Europe and the Middle East, as a result of the benefits swaddling provides. From studies, swaddled babies are calmer and less fussy. Swaddling recreates the cozy womb environment and makes babies feel safe and secure.

It has also been shown to also help in lowering the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). At three months of age, the risk for SIDS is at its greatest. It is safer to have young babies sleep on their back rather than on their tummy. To an extent, sleeping on their tummy gives babies a sense of safety and security, but it’s safer sleeping on their back.  It is important to ensure that babies feel just as snug and secure on their back as they would on their tummy. By using the swaddling techniques, the blanket can allow the baby a way to escape.

SWADDLING TECHNIQUE

Several misconceptions surround swaddling; common ones include the views that:
  • *Babies don’t like to have their hands wrapped up tightly
  • *They struggle and fight whenever someone attempts to put them in a wrap
  • *They continue to struggle to get free whenever they are wrapped up.

These views are misguided as swaddling. Provided it is done correctly, it actually makes your baby feel both comfortable and secure. An appropriate swaddling technique places your baby’s hands in a natural position over their chest. You’ll notice that they do this on their own when they are lying unwrapped and contented on their back.

  Below is a step by step guide you can follow to ensure your baby is well swaddled:
  1. 1 – Let the blanket be on a flat surface with the longest edge folded over 10-15 cm
  2. 2 – Ensure your baby is on the blanket with his/her shoulders lying over the folded over flap.
  3. 3 – Bend an arm up under one side of the flap and bring the wrapped arm across their chest and wrap it firmly around and under their back.
  4. 4 – Then do the same with their other arm
  5. 5 – Span out the bottom of the wrap and bring it up to their chest, spread it out and wrap firmly around and under their back
 

BENEFITS OF USING A SWADDLING BLANKET

You might want to consider swaddling if you find your newborn crying excessively. The first three months following the birth of a baby is followed by so many changes. No longer enclosed in a soft, warm environment a baby may have trouble adjusting. One technique that has proven to help is swaddling. Below are the benefits of swaddling.

Babies who are wrapped in a swaddling blanket are said to feel more secure; this feeling is similar to that of how they felt while in their mother’s womb. Have Faith Boutique’s swaddling blanket will wrap your little one up in cozy and warm cuteness. Generously sized and featuring personalized images and design. It’s an adorably soft and comfy blanket for swaddling and also great for after a bath.

Babies can’t efficiently regulate their temperature, therefore, swaddling can help keep them warm at a comfortable temperature if the proper swaddling blanket is used, thus allowing the baby to be warm and cozy while sleeping. At Have Faith Boutique, our personalized swaddling blankets are made of lightweight fleece (100% polyester) which makes it very soft. Furthermore, it is water repellent and provides great insulation to your baby.

Swaddling is also believed to make learning to breastfeed easier by keeping baby’s arms and legs contained within the snug blanket. Swaddling can help the infant focus better and properly latch-on until he or she has learned to breastfeed easily. Once baby has learned to latch-on easily, the new mom can then begin to breastfeed without the swaddle blanket to engage in more contact between infant and mother.

Swaddling Blanket  

The velveteen fabric blanket (seen above) will be a blanket your baby will cherish forever. The Velvet baby Blanket is made from a rich velvet fabric and also approachable and adaptable to the life of your baby. By using low-impact fabrics and non-toxic dyes, each Have Faith Boutique velveteen collection is produced keeping the beauty of your baby in mind.

The swaddling blanket allows the baby to stay in a more stable position while it is asleep, this lowers the SIDS risk. Furthermore, the use of this blanket has been shown to help the baby sleep better and for a longer amount time as well as being more comfortable. The blanket prevents any quick movements that could cause the baby to wake up. This, in turn, helps to improve the parent’s sleep quality too.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Swaddling is a practice many new mothers are discovering. It is an age-old technique and works wonders for those babies who are having trouble learning to live in their new world. It provides a sense of security and restriction from the movement that causes distress especially in the first few weeks of life. However, make sure that your baby is not swaddled all throughout the day because that can be distressing. It can also make your baby feel uncomfortably warm. Surely, your baby wouldn’t want to be wrapped up the whole day. He also has to be given a chance to move around a bit and stretch his little muscles.

These blankets have a personalization option, which means your baby’s name, initials or images can be designed and dyed into the fabric. The blanket comes in various styles, including sets with simple patterns and unique prints. All of these items are made with soft fabric that is gentle enough for a newborn baby’s skin. If you’re looking for a personalized baby blanket, then you’ve certainly come to the right place! At Have Faith Boutique, we are continually engaged in designing the best and finest personalized blanket for your child and at the same time offering you affordable prices.

I Feel So Alone – Is anyone there?

“I feel so alone” – Why?

Have you ever said these words – “I feel so alone”? I can certainly relate. Keep reading to find out how I overcame that feeling. The first and most important thing I can say to you is KEEP GOING! Don’t give up because your story is not over yet. You have much left to do.

I feel so alone - Don't Give Up!


Most of us have felt alone at some point in our lives. You might be laying on your bed right now filling your pillow with tears or in a crowded room full of people, yet still so alone. Let me assure you, you’re not alone! God is right there beside you this very moment. It just takes a little bit of faith…the size of a mustard seed, remember?

Something to stand on

Here are some powerful scriptures to stand on during difficult times no matter what your situation is:

This is a great one to stand on when you are under attack, whether your friends are talking about you behind your back or something much more extreme like a war situation. God will never ever leave you!

Deuteronomy 31:6 (AMP) – Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.


You may be in a situation where you are being abused or neglected or even abandoned by your parents. This verse assures you that God will step in and be the parent you need!

Psalm 27:10 (AMP) – Although my father and my mother have abandoned me, Yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].


There is absolutely NOTHING that can separate you from the wonderful Love of God! He is always there, holding you.

Romans 8:38-39 (AMP) – For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There are may more I could provide, but I encourage you to search some of them out for yourself. Get yourself a concordance and pray about it, asking God to show you the scriptures He wants to use in your life.


How do I do that?


It’s so easy many times for us to throw scripture out that and say, “Here, stand on this”, but HOW are we supposed to do that? Here’s how I encourage you to “stand” on a scripture:


When you hear the little voice say “I feel so alone”, the most important thing to start with is prayer. Ask God to show you a specific scripture that truly speaks to the situation you are facing. When you find a scripture that gives you that “a-ha” moment…that’s YOUR scripture!

Once you have your scripture, don’t let it go! You need to spend your day IN that scripture. Write it on note cards and place them all over your house, in your car, at work…everywhere! Keep the scripture in front of you.

Say your scripture OUT LOUD over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…get the point? lol

As you do this, the scripture will become part of you, it will get in you. You will know that you know that you know…everything it says is true!

Going Higher


I want to give you one more bit of encouragement. As you continue through this journey called life, you may encounter a whole new season of loneliness, causing you to say to yourself again, “I feel so alone.

What am I talking about? Going higher in the things of God. The closer you get to Him, the more purity He will bring to your life. As you begin to make choices that please the Lord, you will find less and less people that are willing to make those choices with you.

A Moment of Honesty


I am finding myself in that place now. My husband I have made many choices over the last few years that are not “popular”. We have answered the call of the Lord asking us to purify ourselves in many areas. We refuse to watch anything that isn’t pleasing to the heart of the Father – anything violent, gory, sexual, etc. We don’t read books that are inappropriate, either. We don’t drink alcohol. This list goes on…

I have also begun to speak much more boldly, refusing to allow the enemy to silence me. Obviously, this doesn’t go over so well with some people. I have chosen, however, to stand my ground and obey the Lord when He tells me to speak.

My breakthrough


I no longer have those thoughts – “I feel so alone”. Instead, my thoughts are these – “I am so thankful you are with me, Lord! There’s no place I’d rather be”. So, even in the midst of being pushed away and feeling like very few people understand where my husband and I are coming from, there is an overwhelming sense of KNOWING that I am NOT alone!!! God is holding me up, pushing me forward. I find joy in knowing that I am bringing pleasure to His heart.

Remember, Keep Going! Don’t give up. You can find your strength in the Lord.


I feel so alone

Did this speak to you where you are or do you have a story that might help encourage someone? Please post in the comments below.



Christmas Tree Decoration

Simple to make, Felt Christmas Tree Decoration – The perfect craft for your Fall afternoon.


I absolutely LOVE to decorate for the holidays, but I always find myself so busy that I don’t plan ahead and then all of a sudden it’s Thanksgiving and I’m scrambling to get everything out of storage. For some reason this year things seem to be different. It’s not even Halloween yet and I’m already planning for Christmas – like this Felt Christmas Tree.

This cute Christmas Tree can be made in one sitting very easily. My daughter and I sat down last Saturday and made this one.

Our family room is a combination of Black, Red & White. You can see the picture on the wall behind the Felt Tree in the photo below. I know these aren’t Traditional colors for a Christmas Tree, but I wanted to coordinate with the room. My ultimate goal is to put another full sized Christmas Tree in this room, using the same colors. For now, though, this mini tree will have to do.


Christmas Tree Completed

Materials Needed:

*Styrofoam Cone for the base (Whatever size you choose – you can even buy multiples in different sizes to group together)
*Hot Glue Gun
*Hot Glue Sticks
*Felt in multiple colors (with or without glitter. I’m a glitter gal all the way! haha You can use different shades of the same color to create an ombre effect)
*Scissors
*Ruler

Christmas Tree Materials

Step 1

Decide which color you want to start with. I chose Red for the base of mine. Cut a 1″ strip of felt long enough to wrap around the base of the Styrofoam cone.


Christmas Tree 1 inch felt strip

Step 2

Next, you will need to prepare your felt for cutting. I chose to make mine 2″ x 1″. The easiest way I found was to use a ruler and draw lines on the back side of the felt so I knew where to cut.

If you have super sharp scissors, you will be able to cut through multiple layers of felt at once, making it much quicker.


Christmas Tree Lines

Step 3

Cut your felt along the lines you just drew and you will have a pretty little pile of felt rectangles like this.


Christmas Tree Cuts

Step 4

One more cutting job before we begin applying our strips to the base.

We need to shape our rectangles into points. Starting at the bottom center of the strip, cut a curve from the bottom center half-way up the side. Repeat the same for the other side.

Now your rectangles have points to be our leaves for the Christmas Tree.


Christmas Tree Points

Step 5

Time to fire up the hot glue gun! You will begin by applying the 1″ strip we cut to the base of the cone. You may notice that there is a gap between the top of the felt and the cone. Don’t stress out over it because the “leaves” we apply next will cover that right up.


Christmas Tree Base

Step 6

Now we will begin adding the leaves to the tree. Starting with your base color, align the point of the strip with the base of the cone. If there is any white showing through from the cone, move the strip down until it’s all covered, so that all you see is the felt.

Continue working your way around the cone until you complete the circle. When you finish one row, simply move up a bit and start the process for the next row.

You can choose how many rows you do of each color, depending on how many colors you use.


Christmas Tree Leaf Application

Step 7

The final row will be done slightly different.

Take one of your felt strips and place it directly on the top of the cone.


Christmas Tree Top

Step 8

Fold the tip over the side and continue around to complete the final row.


Christmas Tree Top

And…..all done!

Christmas Tree Complete

Other Variations

There are obviously a lot of different things you can add to this. Here are just a few ideas…
*Add “ornaments” by gluing beads or sequins to the tip of each leaf.
*Add a tree topper – fuzzy, sparkly ball; star; angel; etc.
*glue strands of beads as garland
*Display several different sizes on a serving tray for a beautiful centerpiece.


Your Turn!

I absolutely LOVE to hear from you. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of this Felt Christmas Tree craft idea. Anything you would change? Anything you would add?
I’d love to see some of your photos, too! You can jump over to our Facebook Page and post a photo of your Felt Christmas Tree on our wall.


Cinnamon Stick Candle

Quick. Cheap. Beautiful: Cinnamon Stick Candle


Who doesn’t love the smell of cinnamon, especially this time of year? This is one of the easiest crafts I have found. If you are looking for a quick way to add a little “holiday” to any room of the house (or even your office), this cinnamon stick candle is a MUST try!

It took me less than 5 minutes to put this together. Seriously! In less than 5 minutes I had a beautiful centerpiece.

Not only does it look great, it smells fantastic! (Yummy yummy!)


Cinnamon Stick Candle Completed

Materials:

*Candle (Whatever size you desire)
*Cinnamon Sticks – I found mine at Hobby Lobby in the Christmas section. Amazon has them HERE if you can’t find them locally.)
*Rubber Band
*Ribbon (or whatever you want to finish it off with – twine, pipe cleaner, etc)
*Scissors


Cinnamon Stick Candle Materials

Step 1

I started by wrapping the rubber band around the candle. I placed it so that it would line up with the center of the cinnamon sticks once I began putting them in place.


Cinnamon Stick Candle Step 1

Step 2

Next, I simply began to add the cinnamon sticks under the rubber band.


Cinnamon Stick Candle Step 2

I continued placing cinnamon sticks around the candle until there are no more gaps. You may have to rearrange a few of them (if you have my OCD, lol) until it’s just perfect for you. I wanted mine to be perfectly “im”perfect. I like the way it varies in height rather than all being the same.


Cinnamon Stick Candle Step 3

Step 3

Finally, I used a ribbon to cover up the rubber band, tying a nice bow in the front. I also made sure to singe the edges of the ribbon with a flame so they wouldn’t fray later on.
Here’s the side view…


Cinnamon Stick Candle Final Step

Here’s the final view of the front…


Cinnamon Stick Candle Front view

ps

You may find that your cinnamon sticks shift or move (even fall out) when you pick the candle up. You have a couple of options at this point. You can either continue adjusting them until they nestle in together (which is what I did), OR you can use a hot glue gun to make them stay put. Using the hot glue gun will, of course, add a little more time to the project, but it will still be fun either way!


Other Variations

There are many, many ways you can customize this craft. Your only limitation is your imagination. Here are a few ways to change it up.
*Use a shorter candle, closer to the size of the cinnamon sticks.
*Hot glue the sticks together so they don’t move
*Use something other than ribbon…twine, burlap, lace, pipe cleaners, etc.
*Add embellishment instead of a bow…pine cones, holly berries, snowflakes, pumpkins, etc.
*Display several different sizes on a serving tray for a beautiful centerpiece.


Your Turn!

I absolutely LOVE to hear from you. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of this cinnamon stick candle craft idea. Anything you would change? Anything you would add?
I’d love to see some of your photos, too! You can jump over to our Facebook Page and post a photo of your cinnamon stick candle on our wall.

What choice do I have?

BRRRRRR…It’s cold! What Choice Do I have this morning?

I woke up to a chilly, chilly house. Hmmm…what choice do I have? This is the first morning this year that we have considered turning on the heat…just enough to take the chill out of the air. It’s supposed to warm back up later today and tomorrow, though, so we decided against the heat. LOL

Instead, I decided to warm myself up in other ways. First, I jumped into a nice, HOT shower. I definitely did NOT want to leave that water. haha I finally forced myself to get out and get dressed. Then, rather than putting on my normal daily work clothes, I chose to make today a PJ day! Those are the best, aren’t they? I have the warmest, cuddliest set of super soft jammies. I could seriously live in them!

Of course I had to add a nice cup of hot tea to my morning. (I used to be a die hard coffee drinker, but recently switched to green tea – that’s a whole different blog post. Maybe I’ll write about that sometime soon.)

Now, here I sit, cuddled up on the couch under my fuzzy Blanket sipping my Hot Chai Tea with a Woodwick Candle crackling beside me.


What Choice Do I Have?

The best morning combo!

THIS is one of the many reasons I love working from a home office. Some days you just don’t feel like going into the office…so you don’t. 😉 You pull your laptop out of the office and sit on the living room couch instead. Today is definitely one of those days.

Um, what?

Why am I sharing all of this with you? Well, If you read my previous blog, you will remember that I’m changing up the way we run things around here. My blog is no longer just a “business/product” blog. I want to serve you by providing much more than a product. I want to provide you with tools or ideas to hopefully make your day a little easier, or at least brighten it up a bit.

As you continue to follow our blog, hopefully you will feel like you get to know me and what makes me tick.

A-Ha Moments!

Last night I had one of those “a-ha” moments. You know, those moments where something just “clicks” in your brain? Yep, one of those.

Let me back up a bit and set the stage for my a-ha moment. A couple of weeks ago I started really noticing that my clothes were not fitting, soooooooo I stepped on the scale and realized I weighed more than I have ever weighed in my life! Who can relate to that? HAHA I’m a short, petite woman, so even just a few pounds adds up quickly. Needless to say I went into semi-panic mode. LOL

My hubby and I decided to start eating healthier and try to get us both in better shape. We added in a daily workout on our Bowflex MaxTrainer in addition to eating better. I downloaded an app called FitnessPal and began tracking my eating habits. OUCH! I quickly learned that sugar is in EVERYTHING! No wonder I had gained so much weight – and turning 40 this year didn’t help.

I’m happy to say, though, that after I started tracking my calories and added the daily workout, I have lost 5lbs in 2 weeks! Woohoo!

This is it!

Here’s where my a-ha moment comes in. Last night on our way to church, we stopped by our local Caribou Coffee and I considered getting a Campfire Mocha instead of a hot tea. Before I made my decision I checked the calories in my Fitness Pal – 430 calories!!! WHAT!?!?!?!? That’s more than a single meal for me! What choice do I have? I had to stop and ask myself, “Self, what is more important…having a fattening cup of mocha (which is only momentary) or enjoying a cup of hot tea and KNOWING you will look good in that sweater dress you want to wear for Christmas?”

I knew in that instant there was no way I was putting that many calories into my body, not after working so hard and seeing results! I made the wise choice and felt SO good about myself…and I truly enjoyed my hot tea! (I bought a Lipton Acai Dragonfruit Melon Hot tea- YUM!)

So, during our Bible Study last night I got this revelation. I began to think about the Fitness Pal and mocha episode. If I had not had that tool (Fitness Pal) to show me how many calories were in the mocha and had not stopped to question how that choice would effect me…I would have have gone ahead and bought the drink just like I had so many times before. buying the high-calorie mocha would have set me back. Instead of stepping on the scale this morning and seeing the number drop, it would have either remained the same or even gone up.

The Parallel

Now, let’s relate this to our Spiritual Walk. How many times to we just make our decisions without checking our “Fitness Pal”? It’s so easy to walk through life without considering how each decision will impact our future. Unfortunately, many of us learn too late that some of those decisions will have a drastic impact on our lives – and not in a good way. We should stop and ask ourselves, “What choice do I have?”

God has given us a tool like the Fitness Pal – the Bible. If you aren’t sure how your choice will impact your life (how many “calories” does this choice have?) you can flip open your Bible and find an answer. Not sure where to find a certain scripture? Get yourself a concordance and find exactly which one you need. We have the Holy Spirit as a “check” inside of us to guide us…listen to that check!

The next step is to ask yourself (just like I did when faced with the choice of buying a mocha or sticking with hot tea), “Which is more important? This brief moment of satisfaction or the lasting impact it will have on my life?” – Again, what choice do I have?

I’ve heard it said, “Every decision you make is either drawing you closer to God or pushing you further away”. Think about that the next time you sit down in front of the TV preparing for hours of entertainment. What is more important? Watching TV all night or spending time with God (reading, praying, worshiping)?

Am I saying that watching TV is bad? NOT AT ALL! I’m simply saying listen to that still, small voice prompting you. If you get the approval to watch TV, then do it! Watching a good “chick flick” with my hubby is one of my favorite ways to spend time together. I also know how quickly that can take over, though…and my time with God gets neglected.

I am sharing this with all of you because I need to hear it, too! By sharing it, I’m keeping myself accountable to follow through. 😉

Your turn! Let me hear your voice.

OK, now it’s your turn. Do you have any a-ha moments you’d like to share? I would love to hear them! Or, has this post convicted you to spend a little more time taking advantage of the tools God gave us (Bible, Holy Spirit)? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below and remember to ask yourself daily, “What choice do I have?”.