Friday, July 31, 2015

Month in Review: July 2015

And just like that... July is over.

This was a pretty good month for me.  In thinking about this post, I went back through my planner, Facebook timeline, instagram, and blog to see what all I actually did.  It was really cool to see a list of what happened during this month.  I definitely will do this again!  So here's my month in review for July.

7/2:  My friend Cherie shared this video on my Facebook .  It is absolutely ridiculous and I cried laughing ^.^

7/3:  I did my first two scrapbook pages and the first person I showed them to (after Lamar duh!) was my mom.

7/4:  Bee and I flew kites together.  Read about that -here-.

7/5:  I created blog post tracking stickers for my planner.  I really credit my consistent blogging to this new bit of organization!

7/11:  Miss Bee started her blog - Sugar Sweet Bee!  I'm always excited to see my friends starting new projects.  I'm eager to see where blogging takes her :) Check her out -here-!

7/18:  Lamar turned 35! Whooo hoooo!!!And like grown-ups, we went to a trampoline arena and jumped around like the kids we actually are on the inside ^.^  See the photos -here-.

7/23:  I made these watercolor journal cards for my scrapbook.  I've been itching to get into watercolor painting and now that I've done these, I wanna create some new ones!  Plus, I've been watching hand lettering videos on Youtube so I want to try that soon.  Wish me luck on that ^.^

7/24:  On this night, I was rebraiding my hair and noticed how crazy my "kitchen" was (the kitchen is the hair on your neck... just in case you were wondering lol). So I asked Lamar to shape it up for me.  This was a special moment for me because the last person to give me a shape up , besides a stylist, was my dad.

7/25:  We danced the night away with friends!  It was so much fun paying Dance Central and A LOT of exercise!

7/27:  I sold the Leo baby blanket! (See progress shots of it -here-)  It was such a motivating feeling to know that my crochet work can sell!

7/28:  I took that motivation and positivity and put in some real Etsy work!  I started writing my descriptions and made a list of other housekeeping things.

7/29:  Lamar and I had a date day!!  We bought some boiled peanuts from a roadside market and then had lunch at Steak&Shake.  Then we stopped at Ross, the library, and the Dollar Tree.  When we got home, we worked on a puzzle.  A 500 piece puzzle... as frustrating as those teeny tiny pieces were, it was a really fun thing to do with him. :)

7/31:  I got my eyes checked... they haven't gotten worse! Whoop!  Now I wanna go and find some 'fun & funky' glasses!

Throughout the Month
  • I blogged regularly and promoted the posts over my Facebook and Instagram. (working on that #30by30!)
  • I haven't killed my garden... though it's quite the struggle.
  • I finished my first scrapbook, but then decided to add in more pages ^.^
  • I've made it through Joshua & Judges in my Bible reading.  I discovered that my iPad Bible app has an audio setting, awesome!
Goals & Plans for August
  • Finish Cherie & Kwame's wedding photobook
  • Get all products listed on Etsy
  • Design logo and look for Etsy shop
  • Crochet a top or shirt
  • Organize a Suicide Awareness yarn bombing
  • Look into Bible journaling and maybe start 
Welp, there you have it! July in the life of Caleisha... I just realized how long this post is so if you got this far you are a rockstar! Thanks for reading and I hope your July was awesome!

What are some of your goals/plans for August?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Garden Update: The Balancing Act

This week's garden update is not a typical one.  I recently thrifted a book called "Knit Together: Discover God's Pattern for Your Life."  In the first chapter, the author, Debbie Macomber, made a very interesting comment about being patient while trying to find your passion/purpose.  She wrote,
 "I understand what it means to be impatient for your dream to take rood and grow.  Even though I knew from my own experience how important patience was, once I sold that first novel, I found myself in a competitive trap, walking faster and faster on a treadmill, comparing my career with others', wanting what they had.  Eventually, I discovered the need for balance, for insight and emotional strength.  I made it my goal to enjoy every step of the journey instead of being greedy for more and more."
Strangely enough, while reading this bit I kept thinking about my gardening experience.  More often than not I am grumbling about the slow going of raising a container garden.  I'm comparing myself to my friends that have these beautiful, flourishing gardens that seemingly grow effortlessly.  There are veggies everywhere and even surprise sweet potatoes that pop up while weeding!  It's like everyone else is literally seeing the fruits of their labor, and here I am struggling.  I'm plodding along trying to keep the pests at bay and praying everyday for ONE cucumber.  Just one!  I think, if my plant bears one cucumber I'll know I'm not a failure.  If my plant bears one cucumber I'll know I didn't waste my time and money.  If my plant bears just one. single. solitary. cucumber I'll know that I can accomplish that new thing I set out to do.  I just need that one cucumber...

I'll be honest, I don't know how to balance wanting my garden to succeed and enjoying the journey.  It's very hard to say "I am glad to be doing this" when there seems to be no forward motion.  It's hard to enjoy the journey when the road is so full of potholes and setbacks.

This is my life.

Constantly wondering if my time is being wasted.  Thinking if I land that one job everything will be right.  It is a balancing act.  Very true.  Walking a tightrope between dreams and reality... between what I want and what I have... what I want to be and what I am.  I wish I could tie this post up with a neat bow, a happy ending... some wonderful epiphany about how the light switch flipped and suddenly I understood exactly how to walk that rope, but I can't.  I just have to wait and see what grows.

At least cucumber flowers are pretty.

yellow cucumber blossom flower

Monday, July 27, 2015

Simple Things: Go Fly a Kite!

flying kites with friends

A few weeks ago one of my friends posted a Facebook status and tagged it #InNeedOfACatharsis.  I responded to it in the most logical and adult way possible and suggested we fly kites. ^.^ as it turned out, she had never flown a kite before. Hurray for first time kite flyers!

flying kites with friends

So after church one Sabbath we got together for lunch and kite flying.  It was really cool to be able to introduce her to a new thing.  There was lots of screaming when we thought the kite was going to crash and lots of excitement when we saved it. We even got it stuck in a tree, lol! And check out that awesome rainbow behind her! I wish I could've gotten a shot with her, the rainbow, and the kite... but alas we were at the mercy of the wind :)

One of the best things she said about flying the kite was something like 'why do I spend so much money to do things when something as simple as flying a kite is so much fun'...  That is such a true statement.

flying kites with friends sunny day activity

Often times we get caught up wanting to do something "awesome" when the simple pleasures would be enough.  Now the big fancy activities are all well and good, don't get me wrong! But there's something to be said of simpler things, like flying a kite, taking a bike ride, going on a hike, or playing board games.

So yeah, do something simple this week ^.^

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Holy Thou Art God

We sang part of this song during choir rehearsal tonight. It is such a moving song and I just wanted to share it with you. :) 

Holy Thou Art God - Richard Smallwood & Vision


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lamar's Birthday at Airheads Arena

Lamar's birthday was this past Saturday and we celebrated by going to Airheads Trampoline Arena.  It was a whole lot of fun!
airheads arena orlando florida
Brianna channeled her inner cheerleader and spelled out Lamar's name :)
airheads arena orlando florida

The plan was to have an epic dunk contest and photograph everyone's attempts.  That turned out to be quite the interesting experience.

airheads arena orlando florida

When I was younger, my friend down the street had a trampoline and we spent a lot of time jumping on it.  Let me tell you, I don't remember it being such a workout!  We weren't there 20 minutes before everyone was sweating our faces off.

At first, I was worried that our friends wouldn't really enjoy going to the trampoline arena.  I thought they would find it too juvenile, but everyone had a great time. Hurray!  Here are a few more photos of us jumping.
airheads arena orlando florida
Here we have some synchronized jumping by Brianna and Tiffany.

airheads arena orlando florida
The guys started a game of dodgeball and some of the other kids joined it too.

airheads arena orlando florida
Lamar and me racing across the trampolines.  He lost ^.^

airheads arena orlando florida
A pretty awesome group photo despite the awkward composition, lol.
(the composition is what happens when you ask a stranger to take a pic -___-)
PS. I also get to check off another list item from my 30before30 list!  I'm glad I was able to share this memory with our family and friends.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Story Time! I had a Dream

A couple days ago I had a rather interesting dream.  In this dream, there were hundreds and hundreds of bat looking demons.  They were locking themselves together in the sky to block out the sun.  From where I stood, I could see more and more of these things coming from underground.

Soon they had blocked the sun to the point that it was just a dark spot that didn't even hurt to look at and everything was bathed in this dark red color.  All the people were afraid and everyone was crying and yelling "They've blocked out the sun! What do we do!?"

In the midst of the chaos, a person came forward and started singing worship songs to God.  As the person sang, some others joined in and the demons started to fall from the sky.  More people joined in and more demons fell.  As long as the people kept worshiping God the demons failed, but when they stopped worshiping, the demons would start trying to block the sun again.

That was the whole dream. 

Now I have a theory about dreams... most dreams I forget upon waking and try as I might, I cannot recall them.  Sometimes, as in the case of this dream, I remember them after waking and all throughout the day.  These are the dreams that I believe are meant to be shared and always have some sort of lesson in them.

When I woke up, I immediately related the dream to my emotional life.  To me, the demons represented depression/anxiety and the sky was me.  There are days when I feel like the sadness is flooding me and threatening to block out all the light.  It seems like there is no way out from under it, but it is in those darkest times when my spirit is crying out, "The light is gone! What do I do!?" that I should stop and worship God.

He is the all powerful One who is full of mercy.  He will clear away the darkness and bring me back to the light as long as I keep my eyes and heart on Him.

I just wanted to share this with you :) Have a wonderful day!

Friday, July 17, 2015

DIY: Saddle Stitched Notebooks

A couple months ago, I came across these cute little notebooks while browsing at Joann's.  I loved their size and simplicity so I bought the set (there were 3 but I used one for my May Listers Gotta List challenge).  The size was perfect for making me feel comfortable as a new papercrafter... not too much space, but enough to get artsy.

inspiration photo

As I was working through the May challenge, I kept thinking... I can make a book just like this.  So I watched a couple videos on YouTube on saddle stitch binding and set out to make my own notebook.
(If you want to see a really well explained video on how to do the saddle stitch, watch Sea Lemon's -here-.  She also has a playlist of a bunch of different binding methods.)

Here are the supplies you'll need:

supplies needed
Paper trimmer/scissors, small hammer, yarn needles, embroidery thread, ruler, awl/pointed object. 
Not pictured: binder clips.
paper selections
Printer paper or whatever paper you want for the pages, cardstock or other heavyweight scrapbook paper for the cover.

[Measurements: small books 8"x5.5" / medium books 9.5"x6.5"]

Step 1: Measure the cover paper and page papers to desired size.  Using a paper trimmer or scissors, cut all the sheets down. (I went with the measurements for the medium size book.)

cutting the pages

Step 2: Clamp pages together using binder clips to make sure they don't move.  Use a ruler to find the center of the cover page and make marks every .5" down that center line.  This is where you will pierce holes for the stitching.

marking the stitching holes

Step 3: To pierce the holes, the proper tool to use is an awl.  But if you're like me and don't have one, a small hammer and a pointed object will work.  (I have used a nail, a yarn needle, and a knitting needle.)  Use the hammer and pointed object to punch holes down through all the pages.

punching the stitching holes

Step 4: Now to do the saddle stitching.  Thread the yarn needle with embroidery thread (waxed bookbinding thread is recommended, but I didn't have any and embroidery thread is more colorful) and starting on the center hole on the inside of the book, bring the needle through and to the outside.  Sew a running stitch through the rest of the holes going to the right.  Loop around the edge of the book and sew a running stitch through the same holes going all the way back to the left edge.  Loop around that edge and finish sewing a running stitch back towards the center.  Tie the ends together and tuck your ends under the other stitches.

sewing a saddle stitch book

Step 5: Fold the cover outward and the pages inward.  Then fold the cover over the pages and press down.

folding the pages

Whew!  Your book is pretty much done from here.  The following steps are purely aesthetic and optional.

finished handmade book

Step 6: Using a paper trimmer/scissors/rotary cutter and trim the edges of the pages so they are flush.

trimming raw page edges

Step 7: Corner round the pages. (Because who doesn't love rounded corners, right?)

corner rounding punch

Step 8: Use washi tape or fabric tape to cover binding and to add extra sass!

washi tape spine cover

Step 9: Stamp the date on the back cover of your new one-of-a-kind notebook.


Now you have a cute little notebook for your poems, stories, diary entries, or crochet ideas!  I love making these so much that I have to resist :)  I mean, I only need so many little notebooks after all.  They are so easy to make in less than an hour and would make a unique gift.  If you make one take a photo and tag me on instagram (@nadiratani) I'd love to see it ^.^

two sizes of DIY handmade saddle stitched notebooks

two sizes of diy handmade saddle stitched notebooks
This photo shows a couple binding options: top- stitching every inch, middle- stitching every 1/2 inch,
bottom- stitching every 1/2 inch with fabric tape covering.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

All About Us Scrapbook: Part 1

In my last post I mentioned that I've recently gotten into scrapbooking. I've always been a hoarder of photos but I never really did anything with them. My digital photos were in folders on my computer (if they were lucky... The unlucky ones are on some sd card) and the printed ones were in boxes.  Back when we were wedding planning, I got a '101 free prints' offer for signing up on shutterfly and so I went and printed out photos that we had taken throughout our relationship. It was a lot of fun going through all the old photos and reminiscing.  When the prints came, I put them all in a photo album and that was that.

Fast forward a year.  I somehow stumbled upon the planner community on YouTube which led me to @theresetgirl and her Listers Gotta List monthly challenges (see May -here- & June -here-).  I loved the decorating that I was doing and it was nice to reconnect with my love of papers and stickers and cutting and pasting ^.^ As I created the different daily designs, I would show them to my friends. One particular friend is a scrapbooker and she kept telling me that somewhere hidden beneath all my crochet hooks and yarn is a scrapbooker waiting to emerge! I would just shrug. To give me the shove I needed to start, she gave me my first album.
black and silver scrapbook album
This is the 12x12 album Tiffany gave me.  It is perfect for the All About Us theme I decided to do!
The day I did a YouTube search for 'scrapbooking for beginners,' I knew that I was going to make the plunge.  I started watching lots of videos about regular scrapbooks and project life ones and I couldn't decide what style I wanted to do.  Eventually I decided to do half and half.  I think that decision made my first foray into scrapbooking much easier.  So without much more ado, here are the first pages and layouts I've completed in my All About Us album.  I'm super proud of them and I can't wait to finish this book so I can start another!

me and you scrapbook page

I love that Lamar and I favor the color green.  It makes color choice verrry easy ^.^  When I was arranging this title page, I went back and forth about leaving that empty space in the upper right corner.  I'm glad I did because the negative space turned out quite balancing.

scrapbooking dogs

This page was a little frustrating but also a lot of fun.  The frustration came from the pawprint paper.  I started laying out my photos on the page and realized that the pawprint paper was not 12x12... understandable because I got it from an estate sale.  So I ended up having to look for another paper to go behind to fill the dimensions.  When that was done, I went to add in the title and all the words on the photos.

project life layout family and favorite things

This page was to highlight some of our favorite things.  The top left is on a train to the airport in DC, top right is our family, middle left us at Monte Sano in Huntsville, middle right us after photographing our first wedding, bottom left our brothers, and bottom right us at Donut King.

project life love and kisses

This was the first project life style layout I completed.  I wanted to use all the cuddly photos.  The bottom left photo is my favorite, I have it framed also :)  It's from when we first started dating.  It was a really nice fall night and we were walking around Big Spring Park in Huntsville.  Good times ^.^

simple scrapbook layout

This was the first traditional scrapbook page I made.  I love the paper colors.  The photos were taken at Lamar's apartment in Huntsville.  His beard and mustache are always quite prickly, but it makes me laugh :)

remember when scrapbook page layout

This page is just a mishmash of photos from a bunch of different things we've done together.  I love the weird faces we're making in the top left photo, but neither of us can remember what or where we were!  So it went on the page with a "no idea" caption ^.^

engagement photos and big spring park at nighttime

This page gives me a little homesick for Huntsville feeling.  The bottom photos are of Big Spring Park at nighttime.  Lamar and I loved walking around there.  We'd take the dogs out there and feed the ducks and fish.  I really want to find a place down here that's sorta like Big Spring Park.  The photos at the top are from our engagement photo shoot.  We had a lot of fun :)

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of my journey into the land of scrapbooks!  I'm still working on finishing the album.  I can say, though, that I am totally hooked!  I'm already thinking about what my next album can be.  Maybe our wedding... but I have a shutterfly photo book... Do I need both? What do you think?

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Craft Supplies Haul

Today I'm doing something I haven't done in a looooong time... A haul! :) I remember way back when I first started blogging I loved sharing thrift hauls. It was always fun to talk about the awesome finds I came across.  These days I'm not thrifting as much, but my craftiness is at an all time high ^.^

I amassed The bits in this haul over... ummm... 2-3 months.  It's centered around scrapbooking and planner supplies. As you can tell I've been enjoying starting up a new hobby :) But can you blame me? There are just too many cute things!  Anywho, on to the haul!
Paper pads, phrase cards, and embellishments

Pebbles 12x12 paper pad ($6.99 from Tuesday Morning), My Minds Eye paper embellishments ($1.49 from Joann's), Hampton Art 6x6 cardstock paper pad ($0.99 from Tuesday Morning), Colorbok photo mats and phrase cards ($3 each from Walmart) and Studio112 6x12 paper pad ($3 from Joann's).

clear stamps, acrylic block, letter stickers, sticker books

Cricut Premium Stamps ($1.97 clearance from Joann's), Acrylic stamping block ($1 from Joann's), Various letter stickers ($1-$3.99 from Joann's/Michaels/Dollar Tree), Sticker Books ($1 from Joann's/Michaels) and Scrapbook/Photo Stickers ($4.99 from Joann's/ $1.99 from Tuesday Morning).

Scrapbook album, project life pages, washi tape, journaling cards, water color paint

Scrapbook Album ($5.99 from Michaels)/ We R Memory Keepers pocket pages ($3.97 from Walmart), Washi/ Fabric tape ($1-$3.99 from Dollar Tree/Joann's/Michaels), Journaling Cards ($1.99-$3.97 from Walmart/Tuesday Morning) and Watercolor set ($1 from Dollar Tree).

Le Pen pens ($0.97 clearance from Joann's) and Gelly Roll gel pen ($1.99 from Michaels).

As you can see, I've been squirreling away all the crafty bits and I'm really proud of myself for actually using them :)  I have set up a little scrapbook area with all my papers and whatnot.  I'm really enjoying this new hobby! 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Finally I'm Finished: Bellatrix in Purple

Back in March a friend of mine asked me to make a blanket for his soon-to-be baby girl.  He asked that it be shades of purple and of course I obliged. At the time I was working on my first Bellatrix blanket and figured I'd use this as an opportunity to get more familiar with the color changes.
crochet gift
I chose 3 shades of purple and a cream.  There's something quite satisfying about a nice monochromatic color scheme.  I think I'll be doing more monochrome. Anywho, I really enjoyed working with the colors.  Plus, I was able to use up some of my yarn stash (which is always nice).  Since I knew this baby's gender, I chose to use a scalloped edging instead of the original reverse single crochet to make it more girly.
crochet gift
The baby shower was about 2 weeks ago and they loved the blanket!  I was secretly hoping that some of the guests would ask me to make them one, but alas no one did. I got lots of compliments tho. So hopefully in the future someone will remember me and my awesome crochet skills :)
crochet gift

Thursday, July 9, 2015

WIP Wednesday (on a thursday): Leo Baby Blanket

A few months ago a past coworker of mine asked me to make a crochet blanket from her grandbaby coming in august.  She sent me this photo from pinterest with the colors she wanted and I decided on the pattern.
The pinterest pin
I've been working on this blanket on and off for a couple weeks now and I'm probably half way done.  I must say that the chevron pattern is kinda boring, lol. Its repetitive fashion is really peaceful but since every row is the same and the stripes are the same size, it tends to wear on me.  I find myself only wanting to working on it a little bit at a time.  Hopefully I'll be done with it within the next couple weeks.  It is a really pretty color combo and I'm sure I'll log the pattern away as an item to list in my etsy shop.  We'll see :)
I named this blanket Leo after the constellation since the baby is due within that astrological sign.  Leo is also one of the first constellations I was able to identify.   It also shows a juxtaposition of ideas... a soft vulnerable baby and a powerful lion.  As I'm typing this so many other ideas are running though my head stemming from the baby & lion image. Thoughts of protection and Heaven.
I hope you like this blanket & I cannot wait to finish it and get it to it's new home!