Friday, November 5, 2010

Ode to Fashion, Friends and Mostly My Mother

Isn't it funny how friends influence us? This week I began an Art Everyday Challenge--the challenge to do something creative everyday in November. Luckily the "Something Creative" is a very flexible guideline one that will let me count creative ways I get my 10 month old to eat something other than applesauce. I digress...anyhow, I learned of that challenge from a friend on facebook who I often stalk for good ideas, thank you Rachel! My first get creative project is one that has been on my list since a second college friend, Kelsey showed it to me via her wish lists for fall 2010 fashion. Kelsey is my fashion icon. I will never be able to pull things together and look like this incredible Jackie-O/Audrey Hepburn in modern day vogue when I roll out the door but Kelsey is the epitome of fashionable in my life. She always has been and she always will be. And I will admire her from a distance and occasionally steal a neat combo that I never would have come up with on my own from her page. So a few months ago, Kelsey showed me this...



A $1200 caplet jacket that I had to have. But that's right, I have no job and even if I did the moral dilemma of spending THAT MUCH on a jacket is just about sinful to even think of. Especially for myself who lives for digging through thrift store racks. Anyhow, one more piece for the puzzle of friends, fashion and mostly my mother...

Confession alert--there will be a lot of confessions in this blog, but this is the first. I was a 4-H kid. If you've never read the history of Sandcastle Jewelry, which I really don't blame you, a dreadful 4-H project lead to the beginning of my bead infatuation. But, let's back up a few years to 4-H. I was a sewer. Yippie skippy, every girl in 4-H has to sew. If I was really good to you all I would have dug up some fabulous home ade project photos and put them in but I didn't so you can imagine the sunflower prints and the permed hair all on your own. But 4-H sewing brings me to my best friend from childhood, Janeal. Janeal is better at me than everything. She always has been. She's smarter, she's cleaner, she's more organized and today she's a history teacher that I'm sure will head straight to the Kansas Teacher's Hall of Fame because that's just the kind of girl she is. But Janeal was also in 4-H. And she was a sewer. And of course, she was better at that too. But in 4-H the most dreadful thing was that they would turn your garmet inside out and examine your seams! Who honestly cares what the inside looks like?! I thought that then, I still than me. The judges asked Janeal once how she got her seams so steady and she said, my mother's motto is "Slow and Steady, Steady and Slow that's the way we learn to sew." I remember looking at her and saying, my mother's motto is "Get it right the first time or I'll cuss you out." I also remember my mom's face when i said that. In my defense, my perfect mother only used one four letter word and I really can't recall it being used ever outside of sewing. And if your daughter had the lead pedal foot that I do and you had to tear out 6 inseams in one pair of pants, I don't think even Janeal's mother could have maintained her motto with a sewer like me. So bless my mother's heart and her patience that she ever actually got much accomplished on teaching me to sew. And while I walked away from sewing for a long, long time, when I got my machine after I got married (a tribute to reasons why you shouldn't stay up late watching the Home Shopping Network with a credit card in hand) I have actually been very thankful that my mother was determined to teach me how to sew if it killed her. And if looks could have, I'm sure I would have a number of times during our fun fest of 4-H. But I'm also thankful that it didn't kill her, I don't know what I would do without her. That being said, I decided that my time in 4-H meant that I could make this caplet jacket. And I was determined to do so. And then, because I think $1200 jackets are beyond absurd, I will show you how I did this. And you can totally do it to. Here's the warnings, if you are a perfect sewer like Janeal, don't try this. You will hate me, you will hate you and you will hate this whole process. If you're not willing to scrap the whole thing and turn it into a toss pillow, you also might not want to start. But if you can go with the flow and follow my craziness, I'd love love love for you to have a caplet jacket. And I promise not to swear at you if you dont' get it right...or check your inside stitching. (And if you don't want the step by steps included, you can scroll to the bottom for the end of this blog and the final photo of the knockoff.)



First, I bought a couple yards of double thickness camel colored fleece and a yard of $1.50 mystery fabric that looks kinda like raw silk but had the sheen of satin. It was a $1.50 and I loved it, so it came home. Fabric to me is like Chinese food, just pick what looks pretty and enjoy. So I pulled up the caplet photo on my computer and sat it near my sewing machine.




I think sketched and idea of how I could make it with as few seams as possible. I decided on a big celtic cross like shape with a slit for my head.

From there I folded my fabric in half and stood holding it up to myself in-front of a full-length mirror. think about holding up a shirt from your closet and checking the length of the sleeves, that's what I did basically. Then I took a piece of chalk and drew lines about 2 inches further down than I thought i'd actually like both on the bottom and on one sleeve. Marking both the side seam and the cuff on the sleeve, and the sideseam and the bottom of the bodice (fancy 4-h word for body here).



I then laid the fabric on the floor and folded it in half again. Think about trying to fold a square piece of paper into 4 sections, that's what you're doing. The top should show two layers of folded fabric, the right side shows one fold of fabric and the left and bottom will show four unfolded pieces of fabric. I then finished out my previous chalk markings to make a big upside-down L shape and I cut that shape out. A couple suggestions on those markings, I made my bodice twice the size of my waist measurement minus 6" so if you're looking for easy measuring and marking at this point, I'd measure your waist, double that, subtract 3 and divide it in half (since our fabric is folded) and you should have really good measurements for this. You also want nice flappy arms, so make that measurement about two and a half times your actual arm circumference at the fattest part, or um, biggest muscle ;) Also I recommend always cutting too big over too small. Taking things in is much easier than adding to them.



Ok, so at this point you should now have a lovely large X or cross looking shape of fleece. From here you are going to fold your shape in half so that the two body pieces lay together and the arms are folded in half. If your fabric has a front side, make sure it is to the inside (so outside on top!. Then s take your fabric and sew along the underarm and side seam. You should just be sewing an L, not -[_]- if that shape makes any sense at all. Just the upside down L not the bottom. 2 seams. Ok? I just randomly pick a mark on the sewing machine and follow that line. It works, just don't change lines. I think I did 3/4 inch seams. but who really knows?!

Now it's time for the cool neck collar that makes this piece so fabulous. I measured the thickness of my favorite scarf and then added a couple inches for creasing and seams. I also measured from the center of my collarbone to the center of the other collarbone and doubled that for the length. Because I was using two different fabrics I cut this measured rectangle out of both fabrics. I then laid the inside of the fabrics together and sewed along just the long sides to connect the two. I then turned it rightside out and handstitched the two short sides together tucking the edge in as I went to create a hemless seam.



Don't judge my handstitching...

I placed the seam in the back and laid my collar loop on the top (where the head hole will be) of the caplet. I then took scissors and cut a slit in the caplet about a half inch smaller on both sides than the edge of the collar. (It works much better to have a smaller hole than one that is too big!) Once cut, I handstitched the collar into place.

Now if you'd like, you can totally stop there and love the caplet jacket you have. I wanted a few additional touches because I really like details so I went on and added a couple things. I folded the sleeves into themselves about 3 inches. Think about rolling your sleeves up, but just to the inside and with only one fold. I then sewed a hem-like seam along the very outer edge of the fold to give the jacket sleeves a neat piping look. I think finished them off with a very small hem along the bottom of the sleeve.

I also really like the sweatshirt style band at the bottom of the caplet complete with the gathering. This was a bit of a challenge for me, I'll admit! And there's probably a better way to get more concise gathers, but this worked ok. My caplet was a bit longer than I wanted so I cut the bottom 3 inches or so off. In a moment I'll explain how that strip became my band. I then took a large needle and loosely threaded a piece of string about a half inch up from the bottom all the way around the caplet. I made really big stitches, like 2 inch ones. When I reached the end I pulled the strings to gather the caplet to my desired scrutchiness and tied the ends together.

I then took my excess trimming from earlier and hemmed about a 1/2 inch seam in the bottom and then cut the length down to match my gathered jacket and pinned the two pieces (right side) together and sewed them.

There was only one part left--a pocket! Partially because I like sweatshirt kangaroo pouch pockets and partially because they're just easier, that's what I put in the jacket. I cut a large square out of fabric, sewed the long ends together to create a tube for the pocket. I then laid it on top of the caplet front and made chalk marks for where I wanted the pockets to be. I carefully cut slits in only the front of the caplet. Because I was having so much fun at this point...hehehehe, I made a couple fun stitched squares and sewed them on top of the slits to make decorative little pocket folds. I then handstiched the tube into place and voila! Done!



So, there it is my $11 knockoff an ode to wonderful friendships and my beautifully determined mother. :) Love you all, Rachel for your inspiring networking, Janeal for pushing me to be almost as good as you ;), Kelsey for your unsurpassed eye for fashion and mostly my mother who knew that despite my kicking and screaming I would one day be thankful that she made me learn to sew. And I am, but not for the ability to create as much as the time she faithfully spent teaching me far more than four letter words and how to cut a hema but the life lessons that can only be taught by a mother lovingly invested in her daughter. You're the best mom, even if our projects weren't always. :)

Because this was getting terribly long typing out all these instructions I started cutting them short. If you're undertaking this project and feel short-changed, shoot me and email at sandcastlejewelry at gmail.com to explain anything you might need! have a blessed day!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lessons from the DG parking lot...

The bad thing about using the pronoun "we" with your child is that in every statement you include yourself. This is how I learned that tough lesson...

It started a few months ago, News has a friend who is a fit thrower. This friend has been throwing one constant fit since I met him. I'm not sure he sleeps. The problem with letting Newell "play" with the fit thrower is that Newell is a mocker. He could be a professional. Most of the time Newell mocks me, he fake drinks coffee from my empty cup, he fake talks on the phone, and much to his father's dismay, he really likes strings of beads and my hairdryer. Eventually I'll break him of the last two... Anyhow, you can see where I'm going with this. Newell likes to mimick everything. And then we met the fit thrower. And while I'd like to say that I know that Newell would have some day figured out how to throw fits all on his own...right now I like to believe he picked it up from this annoyingly angry little friend. So, the first time I saw the fits I said what just came naturally, "Newell Simeon, WE DO NOT THROW FITS!" And albeit to my surprise, Newell stopped. And most of the time this works, although occasionally I have to bust out a whole little speech, which I will get to...

It started this morning, like 2am. Newell got up, threw a fit and then went back to bed until 5:30, and then was up again at 6 something. At some point looking at a clock just depresses you so you choose to get up. So, here I am my day started early, thinking of all the things I should/could get done if I tried really hard. Did I mention we have 20ish people visiting over the weekend. Yup. And what am I doing? Yes, blogging. Don't judge. SO anyway, I make a list and Newell takes the worlds shortest nap and I'm afforded a minute and a half shower that did not get to include my hair being washed so i'm living on dry shampoo, a cup of reheated coffee and a danish that I found in the pantry. Yup, welcome to my life. I have a meeting at 1 and I'm thinking that I could take my grocery list, run and shop, come home, feed Newell, grab my stuff and head over to the church office. Oh and did I mention I'm going to do this all in an hour and half? Yes, the lack of sleep is seriously impairing my time judgement. So I hit up Dollar General first. I found a surprising amount of things I both had on the list and couldn't live without so I was feeling pretty good about life as I wheeled my little cart out to the car. Ha. The car....

I load up, start the car and attempt to pull it out of park. Nothing happened. I mean nothing. I couldn't budge my gear shift to save my soul. And I should now mention that our other car is in the shop so I'm already sharing wheels with the hubby. The hubby who happens to be flying at this very moment and is not capable of answering his phone. So, I'm in the car, broken. About a mile from home. Thirty minutes away from needing to be at the meeting and...about ready to pitch a fit. And for those of you who have never seen it. I pitch a pretty mean fit. Just ask my husband about the Starbucks in Ardmore OK...ok, don't actually. So as I look at a little round face in my mirror I can hear my own words taunting me. So I just told them to myself, "We DO NOT throw fits..." I needed the whole speech. "Throwing a fit right now will not help anything and NO ONE feels sorry for you." So I had to try to fix it. And I had to look at the good things...

It was a good thing that I didn't make it to Dillons because then I would have had cold stuff in the car to worry about. It was a good thing that I had towing insurance on my car. It was good thing that I was at Dollar General who while they do not carry baby food, they did carry applesauce, toys and spoons all of which would help get Newell through a meeting and be his makeshift lunch. It was a good thing that I didn't cancel the web plan on my phone and could call the car place and the insurance guy. It was a good thing that the only person I knew who would be at the meeting called my phone last night and we were able to get a ride from her. And it was a good thing that I had to wait it out at DG for a while because it let me do a much needed clean out of my car. But perhaps most importantly, it was a good thing because I learned we do not throw fits.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Green is for Go...

It's amazing how just pulling on my favorite pair of running shorts is somehow motivating. They are a two tone green pair of Nike shorts, made out of some sort of magic parachute material that sends me skydiving into a day full of tasks...ok, I think they're really some synthetic material but that makes them no less magical. I jump out of the shower and pull on my magic pants and get my day started. No need to know that this is all happening around 10:30am...no judging. Was your kid up for an hour at 3 am? I think not.

Speaking of kids, Newell is now actively mobile. He's not walking yet but cruising (this is apparently the made up mom word for pulling up on furniture, walls, or anything else within reach and walking alongside said object) This mobile thing is a dangerous cat. You see, while part of me now thinks he must be at least 5 years old and ready for kindergarten, the other part things that I must hover non-stop to keep him from killing himself. He's a daredevil. He climbs things and then summersaults off them. And he eats things. Which kept me on poison control watch last week. Awesome. On a related note, if any parents out there would like a poison control magnet or sticker, they sent me a good dozen of each. Apparently I worried them enough that they're hoping I tatoo the number on my arm...perhaps I should.

Ok, sorry, this is Monday and I'm polishing off my first cup of coffee so this is quite scattered. As for jewelry, here's where I'm at...I'm looking for models who want to wear stuff for my new website--anyone?! I'm working to keep this blog things rolling a little better, finishing organizing the craft room (this is really an ongoing and never ending task), finalizing some great custom works, (I'll post pics soon!) and waiting patiently for some new materials that are going to open up a whole new line of Sandcastle. Stay tuned, lots of new stuff ahead, and hopefully a few less scattered, less boring blogs!

So here I am, Monday morning trying to get all my ducks in a row. This week is already so full but I'm looking forward to all of it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Strange Journey


I'm writing this blog as a fill-in/catch up/rejoicing that God has done some incredible things in the life of our family over the past year and half or so. So, in order for any of this to make sense let's buzz back to Spring 2009. Caleb and I , trying to decide what direction God may be calling us, began to research life as mission pilots. Or rather, a mission pilot and spouse seeing that I don't fly. We talked to several organizations, even met with a recruiter until May 5th, 2009. Happy Cinco De Mayo, Jill finds out she's pregnant. This exciting and terrifying news sent us on a whirl wind of questions and quests, as we were hoping that when we started a family I would be able to stay at home with our kids. And on Cinco De Mayo, 2009--that looked unlikely. Needless to say, a baby closed the mission pilot doors for the time being. I wasn't really ready to do my first baby experience in a 3rd world country. Sure, I'm a chicken. :)

Anyhow, with our news and our questions, we began seeking and praying that God would open a door for me to be a stay at home mom with our baby. Meanwhile, our due date drew closer and we were still doctoring 2 hours away from our current home. With no new job outlooks on the horizon for Caleb, we decided to move to Hillsboro. My job was a huge blessing because I was able to stay home to work often and it provided health insurance. We were also blessed that Caleb's self-employment as a flight instructor and painter allowed for us to move in between Emporia and Salina to be closer to our Dr and split the commute for both of us. How blessed I am to have a husband who put in some awfully long days there in Hillsboro. We rented a darling little house that the land-lords were willing to do on a month-to-month basis and about 5 weeks later, we brought our little boy home to it.

And that was when things got tough for me. Newell was born on the 5th of January and I knew my maternity leave was up the end of February. Granted some of this was probably complicated by postpartum, but I seriously couldn't even look at Valentine's displays in stores because I knew that was very close to when I would have to begin work. Caleb and I had decided that if I wasn't going to be able to be home all the time, we would alternate so that when I did have to make trips for work Caleb would stay with Newell. During those trips I would beg and plead with God to change something so that I didn't have to leave my sweet little boy. It absolutely tore me up. The days working at home weren't bad because he was with me, but being away from him was terrible. But rather than trusting God and His plan I badgered Him. I'd get angry. I'd cry. I felt very alone and childish and self centered. The only thing I could remember praying for consistently was a way to stay home with Newell. God opened my eyes to my selfishness but my heart was becoming hardened as I waited. Impatiently. In my head God was going to give me a way out before Newell was born. But then he was born and I was still working. Then I thought, surely by the time my maternity leave is over. And nothing... Then I thought, by the end of my contract, God will have something in store...but I watched that date slide near and I wasn't sure how I was going to handle it. But, I was feeling better about things. Newell was getting older and his time with his Dad was really good. I was working from home about 80% of the time and had quite a few vacation days on the horizon which would be good too. And honestly, I really liked my job. I worked with great people and enjoyed what I did. I just really missed my baby. And when I saw days on the calendar filling up with several days in a row that I was going to have to be away, it was painful.

But, 2 Timothy 2:13 says, "If we are faithless, he remains faithful--for he cannot deny himself." Little did I know that God was getting ready to show me this in a way I couldn't imagine...

Sometime that spring Caleb got a call from (hang in here now) his dad, who talked to a friend, who talked to a guy named Dick, who heard through the grapevine (yes as if this isn't grapevine enough!) that there was an opening for the manager at the El Dorado Airport and that Caleb might be interested. Caleb quickly called and checked into it, but the guy in charge said that they were almost done with the hiring process. They said he could turn in his resume, but they'd basically already hired their guy. Because at this point we're really good at jumping through hoops, we jumped and sent the resume anyway. They hired the other guy.

But then, several weeks later Caleb got a call from his Dad's friend who talked again to Dick who'd talked to someone who said the position was open and they were interested in Caleb but didn't know how to reach him. Thinking this whole thing was really weird but once again knowing we'd jumped through stranger hoops, Caleb sent out some feelers. Come to find out, the guy they had hired walked away for a better job 2 days into the Airport Manager position. Caleb was being looked at again. They called him for an interview and we tried not to hold our breath. Guessing what God's doing is never a game you're going to win. That much we'd learned. But, I had vacation to spare so Newell and I drove around a bit and looked at the town and did some shopping. Caleb got a second interview...

The next week, his job offer came in. As only God could arrange, he was taking a job that was going to let me stay home. We house shopped, packed up, bought a home, moved in, and are settling nicely. Newell started crawling the week we moved in mid-July and in the last 2 weeks has started pulling up to walking around--I can't imagine trying to get real work done with him motoring around the house, starting all sorts of mischief! But I don't have to because God was faithful. In blessing us in ways we do not deserve. Despite our questions, despite our doubts. His plan is greater than we can see in our tiny box. For those of you still with me reading, thank you. Thank you for your prayers, your love, your support during the challenging year or so of our life. We have learned so much but above all we have learned to be truly dependent on him. For He never fails us. And even when we feel alone, He is there.

Jilli

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dear Ethel

A few weeks ago I went to my cousin's dance recital in Minneapolis. She was the best of course and we went out to have a Coke and celebrate and that was when I encountered Ethel. Sitting on a table at the gas station was her auction bill with a date for this past Saturday. As I read over the listing I couldn't help but feel like I would really like Ethel. I decided that I was going to that auction. Several hours, a sunburn and a nice drive later I returned home with several purchases of inspiration for new jewelry. If I was writing Ethel, this is what I would say...

Dear Ethel,
One glance at your auction bill could tell anyone you were a lady of many loves. The trailers of doilies, china dolls, paintings, music, glass and linens attest to this on a hot Saturday in May. And while your things tell many stories of your life, the people gathered around have told me even more.
As I delicately sorted through your fine rhinestone pins and pierced earrings a friend of yours explained your love for jewelry. "Ethel always wore it," she said smiling, "even when she didn't feel well, you could always count on Ethel wearing her jewelry." Many spoke of your incredible kindness and love for Christ. And as I directly and indirectly picked up information about you I thought, this woman has lived life well. Touching as many others in the process as possible. Did you know you have stories from teaching that are still being told? Did you know you are "the favorite aunt"? I spent some of the time at your auction wondering what of these things were your favorites. I wondered if this was my auction if I would want to know what happened to some of my things. I wondered if you wanted to know what I was going to do with the things I purchased. As I went through the treasures I found I thought of all the loving care with which you had removed every button collected, un-stitched every zipper saved and I want you to know that I will love these things as much as you did. I will never again search for a button or the perfect zipper because i have a lifetime supply. I sorted each zipper into a little basket in my studio falling in love with a few favorites. I spent time taking each button and sorting them by color and material. The buttons you saved are simply un-matched by any I've ever seen before and I can not thank you enough for saving them. I am so grateful for your collection that you shared with me and I am anxious to turn some of them into beautiful jewelry that I too wear everyday. And somehow, though it makes me sad for you to think of all the things sold at that auction, I feel as though I met you a little bit that day and I feel as though we are friends. I promise you my dear friend Ethel, I will be a safe home for your years of collecting. It will not be in vain.

With a thankful heart for yours,
Jillian

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

By the numbers...

In honor of my brother Nick graduating Sunday with his degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education, today's blog will be by the numbers in reference to my 1st run with my jogging stroller yesterday.

1 is the number of times I've been out with the jogging sroller, the number of tires needing replaced and the number of half marathons I've ran.

2 is the number of years since that run, close to the number of miles I actually ran yesterday and the number of stable tires on my jogging stroller.

3 miles was the goal to run, the number of tires that needed air during the run and the number of blocks I walked during this endeavor.

4 (and a half) months is the age of my running buddy, the number of times I SHOULD be running a week and the number of times I thought about stopping for a Snickers and Pepsi.

5 the number of pounds left to get to pre-baby weight, the size of jeans I can squeeze into on a good day, the number of months that have seemed to fly by this year, the number of necklaces I have to make today and the final number of this short numerically organized blog!

Jilli

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Patchwork

If you know me at all then you know my driving desire for a good deal. My husband Caleb said of me a couple weeks ago, “It’s really probably a good thing we don’t have a lot of money because if we did, I don’t think shopping would be nearly as fun for you!” I think he’s probably quite right. I love the thrill of a good bargain. The moment when the racks part at the Goodwill and “ahhhh!!!” (that’s heavenly choruses) the perfect pair of Gap khakis in your exact fit appears, on 99 cent day none the less…
However, despite my oversized zeal for a deal, there was one time I broke down for the perfect pair of jeans. You laugh, but I have seriously never NEVER dropped more than a $20 for a pair of jeans, until I found these…

It happened my Junior year of college and we have been best buds for going on 5 years this fall. Yes, I know but these are just that grand. Let me explain…my junior year the jeans that were “in” were the stretch fit. And by stretch fit I mean, painted to your thighs look. My thighs do not look good painted. Furthermore, I was starting a job with the football team and really didn’t want to stand out any more on the sidelines than my then 2 foot ponytail would already ensure. So my friend Donya and I spent a day at the mall searching out the perfect jeans. And I found them at AE. And I for the first time in my life dropped more than a 20 on them--$50 dollars (which was probably at LEAST half of my checkbook balance and probably the cause of the trip home for gas that didn’t quite work out…I got so close though!). So yes, I once spent $50 on jeans. 5 years ago. Let me tell you where all those friends have been…
First, they served their original purpose as my uniform for EVERY football game (including the 2 national playoff games!) that year. But during those weeks I fell in love with these jeans and generally have worn them 2-3 times a week during the fall and winter. I was wearing these jeans when I went on the mission trip that I met my husband on, I wore them even after I dropped a lot of weight playing soccer my senior year, I wore them when I moved into my very first own place outside of college, they made an appearance on normal days and abnormal days and made gloomy days feel better. This past year I was actually able to wear them until around my 7th month of pregnancy with Newell but alas all this wearing was well…wearing. But frugality in my life once again overcame common sense and rather than retiring these dear old friends, a few Saturdays ago I broke down and busted out my random fabric scraps to patch my old pals. It was while I patched these jeans that I started seeing the beauty in all the colors of scraps that I’ve collected (yes, in addition to being unbelievably tight I also have a difficulty parting with things that I have forked over even a quarter for, especially in the name of creativity). It was during this revelation that I decided to put together a few jewelry pieces with found scraps of fabric. With that, I unveil the Spring 2010 Fabric Sandcastle Collection, although a name for these pieces is still in the works, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Garnet in the Rough

Shortly before I got married, a dear friend told me that being married was like constantly looking at yourself in the mirror—you quickly become aware of all your imperfections as you constantly have someone else to live life with. If that statement was true, having a baby is like having that mirror and a parrot. A really smart parrot that does all that good mimicking stuff.

And at some point in time during my pregnancy with Newell, it occurred to me that I was going to have a parrot. After all, aren’t we all parrots for a while? Think about this--at the beginning of your life, everything you have ever known or learned you’ve learned from someone else. You learn to copy, mimic and mock the sounds and actions of those around you. And as I thought about this little baby-to-be I realized that I wasn’t sure I was ready for a parrot…

When you think about having a little someone with you almost 24-7 watching everything you do and say knowing that these are the things they will someday do and say, you suddenly remember all the flaws in that mirror! As I thought on these things the old “diamond in the rough” expression came to mind. And as I became growingly aware of my own flaws and this perfect little moldable child Caleb and I were bringing into the world, no expression seemed more appropriate. Here I was, flawed and imperfect, yet, getting ready to be given one of the greatest gifts possible, pure and perfect (or stinking close to it :) ).

It was somewhere in the midst of all these random thoughts of motherhood that made me create the piece “A Garnet in the Rough.” The low grade turquoise disc holds a 5mm cut and polished Garnet (Newell’s birth stone) while his name “Newell Simeon Marsh” is hand hammered into the silver bezel holding everything together. In short, it symbolizes my time preparing for the unknown blessing and the impact he’s had on my life thus far. And perhaps the most promising hope I found in my thoughts and ramblings was Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train a child in the way he should go and he will not turn from it.”

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Fashion of Mommyhood


The first thing any parent will tell you when you find out your expecting is "your life will never be the same." While I can say I believed this overused statement (why else would people be so quick to use it if it weren't true?!) I can say there is one extent of the statement I never anticipated. It is not the late nights/early mornings, the inability to get out of the house on time for anything, or the incredible amount of laundry one tiny little soul can create. It is my personal style. Never did it cross my mind that a little baby would have any effect on my personal fashion choices. Never have I been so wrong.

During my 9th month of pregnancy, while weighing more than I ever thought my 5'3'' frame could handle (I might have just given myself an inch actually) I went shopping with my mother. Now, those of you who have been pregnant are scolding me from your screen as we speak (or sort-of speak). Truth be told, i wasn't looking for any new additions to my closet, I was trying to up the contractions I'd been having and move Newell's arrival along. Instead, I had a charming conversation with a 6 year old ("I noticed you're having a baby," she said. "I am," I replied. "You have a really large belly," she noted aloud. Fantastic.)

Anyhow, while 'shopping' Mom pulled out a shirt she thought would be cute for me. I distinctively remember telling her that once I wasn't pregnant, I probably wouldn't wear big fluffy shirts that I could have worn while I was. After all, I hadn't been in normal clothing for the better part of a year during which time my selection had become a little more picky.

Then Newell arrived! While I did anticipate the whole still being bigger than "normal" and had even purchased some additional sizes of pants, the real changes had only just begun...

First off, being a nursing mom leads to a fashion dilemma all of its own. After 24 years of working to keep particular things covered in the name of modesty-I now actually analyze how quickly and easily I can get certain things out. This particularly feels wrong when I'm getting ready for church.

After the potentially topless endeavor, I then became aware of my desire for a new hairstyle. Initially I thought growing my hair back out to its former length was a desirable style I wished to return to. After the one time I actually flat ironed it post birth resulted in not one, but two sticky spit-up jobs, I scheduled the chop. And Kelsy, you did fantastic! Less drying time, easy fix, and too short to spit-up in-that's pretty much my hairstyle qualifications these days! A great fix I've found for my super hectic days, I've become re-acquainted with the headband. Such a classic accessory I had no idea I had missed so much! Of course, I have made a few that while they do serve their original purpose, have a little more jazz than your average Dollar General half-circle.

Finally, and perhaps the most challenging for me was my style of jewelry. While I know kid proof will be just around the corner. My style of big chunky necklaces is being invaded by a little face that prefers similar positioning a great deal of the time. My latest piece is a compromise-made in part with satin cloth and metallic embroidery floss, Newell gets a soft head mat and I still get my classic statement jewelry piece (oh and it's large enough to be clasp-free, for easy nursing removal)
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My upcoming fashion change-large movable earrings. Once just a fun accessory for going out, these now serve as entertaining mobiles for my growing son. I suppose I should take advantage before he gets quicker at grabbing things...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Queen of Excuses

I am the queen of excuses, but opening a blog to only enter 2 postings is hard to excuse, even for me. So here I am, a year after starting Lessons from the Sand working on only my third post. Pitiful I know. As I type this long overdue entry, I am forcing myself past my usual excuses--I don't have time to type it in to Word first to edit and spellcheck--I don't have any photos taken or any earth-shattering wisdom to impart. So basically, here I am without excuse, sharing the updates of life at the Marsh house over the past eleven months.

The first big change is about nine pounds and should be in bed right now but instead is laying across my lap making sweet faces sleepy smiles at me, his mama. I haven't been a mom for very long--Newell Simeon joined our family on January 5th and he's been a fabulous addition. There's nothing more rewarding than his responses to my husband and I making faces and talking to him. He's stirring now which may mean I'll cut this short...

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Like most things in life right now, I had to put this on hold a few hours, I'm now up to feed at 1:3oam and mastering the type with one hand drill. Anyway, 11months, 3 jewelry shows, 1 move, 55lbs and a baby later, I'm inspired to attempt this blogging gig again--mostly in response to my best friend's blog http://daylehogue.wordpress.com/ I've realized that I too could make time for blogging if I'd just give a little better effort.

Ok, enough with the rambling, here's where Sandcastle Jewelry is at today...Things will be inevitably different now that there is a baby in the mix. However, with Newell being a GREAT baby complete with pretty good sleeping habits and a strong love for his sling time, I have actually gotten back in the Studio (which is lovely by the way since we moved! I'll post photos soon) and have made a couple new designs since his birth.

So what can you expect from Sandcastle this year? I have no idea! But as of right now, the sound of a sewing machine is more constant and calming than a hammer so look for some interesting new fabric concoctions and possibly a branch into some hair pieces (mainly because I'm really into those right now). But no matter where I head with designs, motherhood, etc, I will try to keep you posted...yay lame pun, but it is 2am, so let's let it slide eh?