His name

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Liam Worth Newby
Named after his dad, Shawn William, as well as his paternal great-grandfather William and two maternal great-great-grandfather Williams

Named after Shawn's dear friends, the Whitworths, as well as my great uncle Browning Worth Ware

And now, because I can't help it, a slew of pictures of the last two days. 
We really love this little boy.

Answered prayer.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Liam had a small window of opportunity to make his entrance into the world when his Poppy (my dad) would be in town. We prayed... so many of us... that he would be early, which I know is not the usual for a first baby. But God answered, and Dad was able to see him the night he was born after flying in. You can probably tell, but it was the sweetest moment. 

He's here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

With so much joy and gratitude, we introduce our son
Liam Worth Newby
Born Saturday, October 27, 2012
9:29 am
8 lbs. 2 oz.
21 1/4 inches long

We are home now, reveling in every moment with this little miracle.
So much more to come.

With love,
Shawn, Whitney, and Liam


Friday, October 26, 2012

A couple friends posted this on Facebook this week, and I couldn't help but share it...

Convicting? Thought provoking, at least?
It was for me.

The project that (almost) never ended.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

There are some projects that I start around here that just never get done... and end up in the Goodwill or trash pile after I get too frustrated or unmotivated to finish. This one came this close to that sad fate.

Remember this red chair?

It has inhabited our former sunroom-turned-sewing room.
And also our former sewing-room-turned-nursery.
And even our living room in Chicago.
It was actually handed down from a family I nannied for in Chicago, so it's had many lives already.

When we turned the tiny room off of our bedroom into Baby L's room, it got booted out into our room - but the red didn't really jive with all the blues and neutrals we already had. So I decided to make a slipcover for it out of painter's drop cloth (the canvas kind you find for super cheap at Lowe's).

Having never slipcovered something - or made piping - I found out really quickly that I bit off a little more than I could chew. But with $40 worth of drop cloth and piping, and a chair that desperately needed help if it was going to stay in our house - I couldn't quit. So the chair sat half finished for... oh... 3 months? Maybe even longer. It sat there in our bedroom, staring me down day after day, making me feel like a very inadequate DIY-er.

Well, this morning I woke up motivated. Motivated to finish the chair! I did, and I'm so thankful it's done. And that it turned out!
Because I am no expert (seriously!) and did not measure one thing as I went, I'm not the best one to teach anyone how to do this. But I will tell you that this series by Honeybear Lane was definitely the most helpful information I found on the process. I read through it before I started, and it gave me a great idea on how to approach each step.

All in all, though, it's just a lot of trial and error: laying the fabric onto the arms of the chair (for example), cutting the fabric, pinning it, sewing it, flipping it over to see how it fits, making adjustments, pinning again, sewing again... and over and over. The cushions were by far the easiest part of the project. And I'm pretty sure I won't be slipcovering anything else for a loooong time.

But hey, here's to actually finishing projects even when they seem nearly impossible! And here's to one more thing off my to-do list before Baby L gets here. He can officially come anytime now. :)

What I'm learning...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Over the weekend, Shawn and I met with our business mentor about some exciting potential opportunities for Brighter Day. It stretched us to have to put together a sample package of our most common fabrics, our packaging, and some sample purses to present for this opportunity.

Our business mentor is an entrepreneurial genius and has experienced the blood, sweat, and tears that small business owners have to endure before a business really takes off. What was so encouraging to me is that that's ok. The 14-hour work days, the difficult customers, the paying-way-too-much-for-shipping mistakes, the deadlines... all of these things can feel pretty overwhelming (and have often made me want to throw in the towel). But they all provide such opportunities for growth.

I've often found myself looking at other small businesses and thinking they must have it all together. Glowing reviews, flawless product photos, new product lines coming out all the time. But what I don't see is how much they've struggled along the way... which is exactly how they've learned what they know.

I get emails almost daily asking me questions about certain aspects of what I make to sell - mainly where I get my jewelry/purse supplies or if I'll share my patterns for my purses. While I understand why people ask, I sometimes want to reply, "It will be so much better for you if you do the work... if you struggle a little. It'll be so worth it! You'll learn so much more that way!" If I handed out lists of my suppliers and tutorials for all my bags, I'd literally be giving away my business - but I also would not be providing anyone an opportunity for originality. There's just no shortcut for reading your sewing machine manual, checking out small business books from the library, doing tons of google searches for the best prices for packaging, and a whole lot of trial and error. (I can't emphasize that last part enough.)

So my tip of the day: Try, try, and try again. Be original and creative. Don't give up. If you're passionate about what you make and sell, stick with it! I would even go so far as to say to stop looking around at Etsy and blogs to give you inspiration... create something that's uniquely you and that you're proud of.

Don't be discouraged, friend. None of us have it all figured out... I feel like I learn so much every day and it's almost exclusively by making mistakes. And I'm learning that, simply put, that's ok.

DIY: Chevron frame

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I made this super easy chevron frame over the weekend, and didn't exactly plan to share it as a DIY project on the blog (hence no step-by-step photos). But I hope with a few instructions and photos of the finished project, you'll easily be able to make one if you'd like to!

What you need: 
16x16" piece of plywood
5x7" frame
Hammer & nails
Hanging kit
Electric sander or sandpaper

How you make one: 
First, paint your piece of wood a solid color (white, in this case). Then, using painter's tape or a stencil, paint a design onto the wood. I used a pencil and ruler to make my chevron design. Once the design is painted on, give it some time to dry completely then go crazy with your sander! This is my favorite part. :) Rough up the edges of the wood as well as some of the front, too. This gives it the distressed/weathered look.

Once your piece of plywood is painted, it's time to add the smaller frame. Because I didn't want to glue the frame on (in case I wanted to change the photo out later), I simply measured and hung the 5x7" frame right onto the center of the wood with a nail. That way, it's easy to change the photo out later. Finish it up by adding a hanging kit to the back of the plywood to hang your new chunky frame on the wall.

And that's it! Once you have all the materials, this project can be done in less than 2 hours.

I hope you'll try it!


Monday, October 22, 2012

We have less than 10 days to go until Baby L's official due date, which I've learned is hardly official and very much a "guess date" as it has moved around several times. Because I know so many of you believe in the power of prayer like I do, I'm unashamed to ask you to pray.

Here's what we are praying for L's delivery, and I hope you'll join us...

1. That he comes on his own. 
Because of my gestational diabetes, I won't be allowed to go too far past my due date without being induced. We've prepared for an unmedicated delivery, and while I've heard it's still possible even if I have to be induced, I'm not sure I'm superwoman enough for that. :) I know he'll come at just the right time... it's just that there's a small(er) window that he has to make his debut on his own before medicine will get involved.

2. That he comes before October 30.
My dad will be leaving the country for 12 days after this, and it would be a joy for all of us if he could be around when L is born.

3. That our testimony to the nurses and midwives at the hospital would be glorifying to the Lord.
I've prepared about 50 scriptures that I want Shawn to read to me during labor, along with playlists of calm, sacred music that reminds me of the Gospel (mainly Fernando Ortega with some instrumental music, too). We pray that people entering our room will feel the presence of the Lord in an undeniable way.

4. That fear would not be an issue.
I've woken up several times in the last week with more intense contractions, and in my half-awake state, I'm gripped with fear that I just won't be able to handle real labor. I know that this fear is not from the Lord, and that my body was made to endure this, and I pray that fear would be far from me.

5. That both of us would be healthy and safe.
Obvious, I know. But worth praying for.

Thank you so much, friends. I can't wait to share the news that he's HERE!

I am...

Friday, October 19, 2012

All of us are so different in how we process things, and I often process my inward struggles most effectively when I'm able to work them out in art. Yesterday, it was therapy for me to be reminded who I am in Christ as I painted this sign. I've seen similar versions on Pinterest and wanted these words to be seen in my home and felt in my heart. I've needed this reminder lately... when the self-criticism seems to be much louder than the truth that I am wholly loved, adopted, forgiven, and redeemed because of what Christ did for me.

I planned to hang it in my house, but decided to make a slightly larger version for the spot I'm thinking of. So I put it on Etsy to sell, thinking I'd let you all know about it today, and it sold within a few minutes. I may be making more, though, if anyone's interested (this one measures 7.5" wide and 15.5" tall). Maybe these are words you need to be reminded of, too.
PS - Thanks to everyone for buying up the earrings! Almost every pair sold yesterday, and I will have another round of them coming soon. :)

Stocking stuffers?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

As I'm waiting, waiting, and waiting on baby, I figured I might as well make a few things that are ready to ship for Brighter Day. I'm not so good at sitting still... so I went a little crazy with earrings. :)

All are ready to ship and will arrive beautifully gift wrapped and ready for the holidays. Also, there's only one pair in each kind, so once it's gone, it's gone. Christmas shopping can't start soon enough, right?

From where I sit...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

... there are lots of things making today great.
I look to the right and the left and see no more Brighter Day or Brighter Day Baby packages. Why? Because they're all officially finished and in the mail. I could not be happier!
I look down and see a baby foot poking out next to my right rib and realize that within 3 weeks, no matter what, that baby will be in our arms.
I look out and see the most gorgeous Fall day. I hear the Les Misérables soundtrack blasting. I smell baby laundry and burning wood.

So, so much to be grateful for.

Morning light

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I couldn't help it. The Fall morning light streaming in our house this morning just begged for pictures. When we move someday, I want to remember what this sweet home of ours looked like first thing in the morning. Especially in the Fall.

I adore the Fall, if you couldn't tell. And I'm so, so thankful Baby L is making his entrance into the world during Tennessee's most beautiful season. He's getting in at just the right time... pumpkins, the smell of cinnamon, Thanksgiving, and then right into Christmas. What a lucky boy.

It's clear and breezy and gorgeous today, and I think it would make a fine day for a birthday. 10-16 has a nice ring to it, too. You hear that, L? :)

Monday, Monday.

Monday, October 15, 2012

It's Monday morning (well... afternoon, now) and I'm feeling it. Must be something about being 37+ weeks pregnant, a gorgeous fall day outside, and a long to-do list that's making it hard to get much done.

This first step thing is really true in my life. Is it true in yours, too? Once I just take that first step toward a goal, I feel like I'm halfway there. The rest comes a whole lot easier - it's just the motivation needed at the beginning that can be so tough for me.

... I have a million thank-you notes to write (a great problem!)... the first step is making sure my list is complete, and picking up that first notecard and pen.
... I have 14 more purses to make before the baby comes... the first step is making some tea, turning on my iron and iTunes, and getting going.
... I have quite a few ideas for Brighter Day that will only get come to life if I take that first step. I think you get the idea.

So here's to first steps, big and small. Hope you take a few on this beautiful Monday!

Baby L's room... in progress.

Friday, October 12, 2012

It isn't quite finished yet... still lacking a few things (and a baby!) but Baby L's room is quickly becoming my favorite room in our house. Originally, we used this room as a craft/sewing room, and had already painted it blue. I wish I had a wide angle lens that fit our current camera, and you could get a better picture of how the room is laid out. It's tiny... about 8 feet by 5 feet max, but there is shelving on the left side from floor to ceiling. Perfect for our little guy, and literally about 6 feet from our bed, which will be very convenient in the middle of the night. We're still planning to get a rocking chair for the right corner of the room (our big splurge), and then I think we'll be set!

Crib: Jenny Lind // Crib sheet: Target // Matted frames: Target // Crib skirt: Amazon // Photography prints: taken by me and Shawn (one of Chicago from the top of my dorm; the other of NYC when we took our first trip there together before we were dating) // Whale stuffed animal: made by me // Giraffe: Etsy // Hanging lamp (last photo): Ikea

Fall reading.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fall puts me in the mood for reading. Maybe it's the crisp air that makes me want to cuddle up with a cup of tea and a good story. In part, I think it's because I'm not in school this semester and missing it just a tiny bit.

So I thought I would share three of my very favorite books of all time. These three are some of the only books I've ever read more than once... I tend to be curious to see what else is out there! I don't typically pick up spiritual how-to books or self help books, but I can't resist a well written novel.

So without further ado, I share these in hopes you might tell me some of your favorites too?

1. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. This is the one book I recommend across the board as my very favorite. It's a true story of a couple who meets C.S. Lewis at Oxford and develops a friendship with him. The book contains a series of letters between Sheldon, Davy, and C.S. Lewis that ultimately leads Sheldon and Davy to faith in Christ. It is an exquisitely written, tragic story that will undoubtedly bring you to tears, but will also (hopefully) encourage your faith as it did mine. I can't recommend it highly enough. I even feel a sort of special connection with people who know and love this book like I do. Are any of you out there? :)

2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. This story is set in the French Revolution and reminds me, in some ways, of Les Misérables. (If you like that story, you'll like this one.) The intricacies of how the characters are woven together in the plotline is masterful, and it ends with such a clear picture of the Gospel. I'm so glad this classic was assigned reading in high school... I've read it a couple times since, and love it more every time.

3. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Don't let the title scare you off like it almost did me. It sounds like a super cheesy romance novel, but it's far from it. Krauss's writing is stunning, and I think she could make just about any story come to life. This one, though, weaves together two very unlikely characters that you fall in love with from the get-go. I'm not sure how to summarize the story without giving things away, so just trust me... and read it.
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