Decorate with Ribbons: Ribbon Valances

Ribbons are so much fun to decorate with. They are inexpensive and can add a big punch for the cost. That is my kind of decorating!

This is a project that is perfect for springtime or summer, and so easy to make. With windows open for fresh air, the ribbons will be blowing in the breeze. The perfect effect for your princesses’ room.

< You’ll need a tension rod and about 10 yards each of five different ribbons (the amount will vary depending on window size).

< Cut the ribbons a few inches longer than you need in order to reach the sill, then tie each length onto the rod in a necktie knot.

< Alternate colors or patterns.

< Trim to fit.

(these are sewn onto a piece of sheer fabric)

You could also do as I did, and trim the ribbons in more of a valance length. Vary the lengths. This isn’t about precision!

These are so sweet to look at. Go ahead and make one. Let me know if you do.

(basic directions and photo from Good Housekeeping)

(this was originally posted by me at Blissfully Domestic)

Be Inspired

I have, for some time now, felt the Lord nudging me into speaking. Trust me, if it were coming from anyone else, I’d laugh in their face. And even with God, I wrestled and rolled my eyes some.

Me? Speak?

Last year, the first door opened, when I was awarded the scholarship to attend She Speaks. It was such a blessing and I can’t wait to attend next year. I am unable to attend this year, but I have been invited to do some speaking.

Next Monday, I will be speaking at “A Woman Inspired”. If you are unfamiliar with it, you must check it out. It is a fabulous platform, designed by the brilliant “Amies” (both founders are named Amy)


The neatest thing? I don’t have to travel anywhere. And as an attendee, you don’t have to either. It is ALL ONLINE. You will be able to chat with other women during it, and there will even be handouts and such for you to print out and take notes.

How brilliant is that?

So now, those of you who have come to realize that traveling to a conference, let alone purchasing the ticket to attend is just crazy insane (your kids need to eat and the mortgage still must be paid, right?) but are itching for some inspiration and knowledge, can take part as well.

My topic is “Social Media and Your Ministry: how to use Twitter, Facebook and more to Reach More People”.

Want to hear more fun news? I am giving away FIVE tickets to the conference. Don’t worry about whether you will be at home during that time. The sessions will all be available for you to listen to at your leisure as well.

To enter to win, please leave a comment on this post. Of course, I’d love it if you’d spread the word about the conference and about my session, so if you mention it on your blog and Twitter etc you will get an entry for each mention (just be sure to link to the actual post and twitter here as well).

Winners will be announced Saturday, June 6th by 5 pm

Good luck and I hope to “see” you there! There are so many amazing speakers, I’m honored to be a part of it.

Camping With Small Children. Yes, it’s possible

We went on our first camping trip of the season this past weekend.

It was mah-ve-lous. Days were a pleasant 83 and nights dipped down to around 64.

It was a great time. Even the smores were perfect.

Do you ever wonder how people with small kids are able to go camping? Do you think it’s impossible? It’s not. With some simple planning, it can go smoothly. 

Here are some of our tips:
(**for the record, we did this with four children – ages 19 months to 8 years**)

    • Find a campground that is close by for your first camping trips. It may just be a mental thing – but it makes it more bearable to go on a short outing when it doesn’t take an entire day to drive there.

The campground we went to was only 20 minutes away.

    • Plan on a short trip (1 –2 nights). It’s much easier to pack for your first trip if you are only packing a couple of simple meals.

Our menu for our one night trip:
lunch – pb&J, chips, juice and fruit
dinner – hot dogs on the grill, mac-n-cheese (the simple kind that comes with the cheese packet [doesn’t require brining milk or butter]), green beans. Smores for dessert
breakfast – instant oatmeal, juice

    • Take lots of Quart or Gallon size freezer bags. They come in handy for many things – storing wet clothes, sealing up open food containers, holding leaf and rock collections.
    • We didn’t take all of our equipment for this trip. It just seemed like a bit of a hassle to take some of the things we didn’t have to have. For instance, a brief listing of what we took:

      our coleman stove,
      2 pots (for boiling macaroni, heating green beans and boiling water for oatmeal),
      a spoon for stirring,
      a strainer for draining macaroni
      can opener,
      lots and lots and lots of plastic cups
      lots of sippy cups for the two littlest
      plastic utensils and paper plates (this, along with taking plenty of cups and such alleviated the need to wash anything – we just rinsed at the spigot [our camp sites all had spigots])
      a larger cooler
      sleeping tent
      eating tent
      table (though most campgrounds have a picnic table at each site)
      table cloth
      lots and lots of towels and rags
      toys for the kids (this was probably the bulk of what we took. We took bikes and skates)
      plenty of clothes for each of us
      plenty of sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, sheets and air mattresses or cots.

    • Pack several outfits for each child for each day. You’ll have a lot more fun if you just resign yourself to the fact that kids will get wet and dirty and let them.
        • If you have a young child (infant to toddler) take a port-a-crib/playpen with you so that the child can have more of a sense of being secure in a new place. Bring along any favorite blankets or toys.
    • Bring something that will keep the kids occupied while you set up camp, or else be prepared for it to take a bit longer.
        • Try to choose a camping spot that is near the bathroom. Obviously, don’t set up right next to it – otherwise you will hear the troops marching to the potty all night long. But be close enough that the little ones can get there as quickly as possible.
    • While you are there, take note of items you might like to have with you the next time you head out to the woods. When you get back, type your list out, print it out and then slip it into a page protector. Use a dry erase marker on it to keep track of what you’ve packed.
        • Consider how any little kids will sit at a table. Will they need to eat in their stroller? Will there boost seat work?
        • Plan on arriving early in the morning so that you can get the kids settled and the camp set up while it is still cool. Plan on breaking down camp early the next morning as well; between breakfast and lunch.

    We arrived around 10:15, a little later than we had intended, but this allowed me to get lunches made for all of the kids. They ate while we unloaded things. The next morning, we ate breakfast, did devotions, let the children play for a bit and then we started breaking things down.

Yep, it was a brief trip. But it allowed us all to get our camping feet wet again for the year. We came back with our sanity intact. AND we had actually gotten away and reconnected. It was a great time.

Camping is fun if you are prepared, so give yourself to plan. But don’t do so much planning that you end up never going. Get out there!

Your turn – Have you camped with young children? Share your tips in comments.

    What a Bright Idea – a brass lamp makeover

    Most of my married life, I’ve had attic decor – Sean and I both brought some things in to our marriage home. And for the most part, we’ve had what we needed. Other than that, we’ve either purchased a needed item (like a couch), made it (like a side table and entertainment center [I’m lucky to be married to a crafty man]) or reworked something that we already had or that we were given.

    One such item was these lamps.

    I remember when my mom bought them, my dad encouraged her to buy some for the entire house, since she like them so much. So glad she didn’t listen to that logic.

    Otherwise I would have spent all day fixing these suckers up.

    Don’t get me wrong – it was an super easy process. Sandpaper, Textured Spray paint (the kind for metal) and newspaper were all it took.

    But one can only have so many attractive lamps around their home before running out of room. Or something like that.

    So sanding and wiping down two lamps was entirely manageable.

    I swear, I’m not giving anyone the finger. Apparently, I have some inner British to channel.

    Or maybe I just have sandpaper dust issues that make me avoid touching it too much.


    Once I sanded (very lightly sanded… nothing major; just to hold the paint better) and wiped, I got to spray. It took me two cans to do these lamps, though I would have preferred a third to touch up some of the thinner spots.

    But even with the thin spots, they are a vast improvement over the polished brass from before.

    But I’m screwed if polish brass comes back in style.

    Finish it off with a lover-ly tassel from The Nester, and it’s a beauty to behold.

    It’s like ice cream without the cream

    Our usual after church discussion (after we discuss the wonderful sermons) is where to eat. We are fancy folk. So it usually is places that include Kings, Buffet or Golden Arches.

    My daughter loves Taco Bell and has been asking for it for weeks now.

    Yesterday, she finally heard the answer she had been waiting for. We pulled into Taco Bell, unloaded everyone and walked in. As I approached the door, I noticed a sign attached to it that read: "We are sorry: Due to the FDA warnings, like many other restaurants and grocery stores, we are not serving tomatoes. We regret the inconvenience."

    What? No tomatoes on my gorditas?

    Mexican food without tomatoes? That just sounds illegal or sumpin’.

    It took us 2 seconds to turn around and head over to A&W Rootbeer.

    For information on the FDA advisory about tomatoes and if it impacts you, see here.