My favorite thing that I've (recently) made.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

One of my favorite things I've recently made (not counting Liam, of course) is this wallet.
I sewed it using the Oliver + S Have It All Wallet Sewing Pattern and I can't say enough about how perfect this design is. It's plenty big to hold all the cards, coins, and receipts I gather during errands, but not too bulky. The exterior fabric is a black papyrus slub linen from Joann's. The interior fabric is Anna Maria Horner's Coordinates in Saffron. I had both fabrics in my stash, left over from other projects.

It's one of the few things I've sewn for myself that I actually use every day. I'm sure you understand, but I'm always a little critical of my own work - so it's hard to carry something that I made when I see some tiny little flaw. But for this, I made a cup of tea, took my time, chose fabrics I love, and have gotten so much use out of it already.

I'd say the pattern is good for a confident beginner or intermediate seamstress who will take the time to read it through. I wouldn't recommend it for someone who is just able to thread a machine and sew a straight line. It requires putting a zipper in, but is very detailed and well explained. Also, in making a fabric wallet, I would definitely suggest a darker color on the outside as it's bound to gather dirt over time. You could also Scotchgard it, but I think a darker color is a better option.

Ok, your turn! I'd love to see something you've made that you use and love. This is the first time I've used a link up widget, so bear with me. If you'll link up to a specific blog post that you've written to show something you've made, I'd love to see! And it definitely doesn't have to be sewing-related.

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PS - I so wish I could make these for my shop, but alas, the Oliver + S license agreements make it pretty expensive to sell any items made from their patterns. I hope to have wallets in the shop someday!

Backlit photography: A tutorial of sorts.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Last night, I was working in the sunroom just an hour or so before sunset when Shawn and Liam passed by the window. The light caught their hair and silhouettes so beautifully that I put down what I was doing, grabbed the camera, and headed outside. 
Backlit, glowy photos are some of my favorites (I'm sure you can tell if you've been reading the blog for any length of time). While I'm a mostly self-taught photographer and don't know all the terminology, I want to try to give a few tips if you like this look and want to try it out yourself!

My first tip: Timing is key. The lighting for these types of photos is best very early in the morning just after the sun rises, or later in the day about an hour before the sun sets. This obviously changes a lot from season to season, and as it's getting closer to summer, that time becomes earlier (on the front end) and later (at the end of the day). If you're scheduling a shoot, it's a good idea to look online to see when the sun is predicted to set that day - and plan to start about an hour and a half before it does.
Your subjects' position in relation to the sun is also really important. Make sure they aren't facing the sun or you'll get really washed out, squinty subjects, flat backgrounds, and no "glow." If the sun is behind your subjects when it's setting, you'll get this glowy look. Also, I always shoot in manual mode - not automatic - and if you're pursuing photography, you'll need to do the same at some point! Playing with the aperture, ISO, and other settings is another topic for another day - but I really think if you're just starting out with manual mode, this time of day and backlit subjects is really great practice.

I love having a little sun flare in the photos, but sometimes it gets to be too much. Like this: 

 When you first upload these photos into your computer and see them on a bigger screen, don't be worried if some of them look either too dark or too washed out. Those are both pretty easy things to fix. 

I hope that gives you some good ideas. If you'd like to add some tips to the conversation, feel free to comment!

7 months with Liam.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


We can't believe we have a 7 month old! Looking at your face in this picture, you can't believe it either!

This month has been so full: a trip to Florida, an exhausting garage sale weekend, and this week... your first move. You've been a dream through it all, and we have no doubt you'll transition well through our crazy summer. You were made for our adventures, I'm sure of it.

I'm pretty sure you get sweeter every day. We love how you reach for us now, how you crawl with a huge grin on your face toward our arms, and how your smile lights up the room.

We love you, little man. What a privilege to call you ours!

Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Picnics on Memorial Day weekend just feel so appropriate. And so American. 

This weekend, with the stunning weather we had in Nashville, we introduced Liam to his first ever picnic. He liked it for the most part. He definitely enjoyed crawling off the blanket and putting fistfuls of grass in his mouth. (Later, when he spit up a little bit in the bath, there were a couple tiny pieces of grass in it. Awesome.)

We took way too many pictures to document Liam's first picnic and the gorgeous weather, so just indulge me. :)

Happy Memorial Day to you! I hope you take a moment to celebrate the men and women who have given their lives in service to our country so that we can enjoy the freedom that we do. 

PS - Speaking of Memorial Day, have you guys read Unbroken? I started it a few days ago and can't put it down. Louis Zamperini has one incredible story, and it makes me so thankful for his generation who gave so much in World War II. I recommend it for anyone... go pick it up!

I know I should be packing, but...

Friday, May 24, 2013

I've just listed a handful of earrings and will be listing a few bags later today that are all ready to ship and will be sent out within 1-2 days of purchase.

Use the coupon code: MOVINGSALE to get 10% off of your order (and help me clean things out before we move!).


Mommy advice needed.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I'm a work-from-home mom. I think we're all aware of that.

In my head, it's a pretty dreamy set up. While baby naps, I sew and catch up on customer emails. While he's awake, we run errands and play.

In reality, that's far from how it actually goes. In a perfect world, I'd be fully engaged with him whenever he's awake. But in real life, there are often times I have to work and have to keep him occupied at the same time. That's when things get hairy. He is becoming more mobile - not yet crawling, but scooting on his belly and getting where he wants to go - and he's putting everything in his mouth. Because I work with tiny little pieces like buttons and pins and beads, it only takes about 30 seconds for him to find something on the floor and try to put it in his mouth. I usually lay out a blanket for him with lots of toys and books to keep him entertained for a few minutes. But it's not 30 seconds before he's made his way toward the glue gun or a jar of buttons - and while I can keep some things out of his reach, I can't keep it all up and out of the way while I'm working. It's a frustrating scenario. I get nothing done. He gets annoyed that I keep pulling him away from things he shouldn't have.

So what do I do? What do you, moms, do? I've looked into a baby gate or "super yard" that I could section off a part of the room like this one. But is it just me, or does that look like a baby prison? And the fact that they use it for animals, too? (Enter the mommy guilt. It looks like I'm putting my child in a petting zoo.) He does play in his jumperoo for a bit, but would usually rather be free to crawl around.

Ok... you get the idea. Is there something I'm not thinking of?

Our great adventure.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

via Instagram @whitneynewby
Since Friday, we've had two major milestones on our journey to whatever this next season holds:
1. Shawn put in his two weeks notice.
2. We sold about half of our stuff.

Shawn leaving his job has been on our hearts and our prayer lists for months, so it wasn't a quick decision at all. We had just begun praying specifically about him being done at the end of May when we found out we had to be out of our house at the end of May, which actually felt really confirming. I mean, why not do it all at once? :) By June 1, we'll officially have no job and no house. And for some reason, we don't feel anxious about it at all. (More on that later.) Our main reason for him leaving his job is that our business is growing and thriving and I desperately need his help. But we also feel like there's another piece to the puzzle that even we aren't aware of yet. Still, it was a big step of faith to leave a consistent salary, great benefits, and a company car behind.

We also decided to sell lots of our stuff: furniture, baby things, home decor, and just the "stuff" that accumulates over time. We want to be as mobile as possible, without a lot that has to be moved. We set out to have a garage sale on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, it rained for the entire time, but we still had quite a bit of traffic. Saturday was much, much slower, and toward the last couple hours, I told Shawn we'd probably need to have another sale next weekend because we had so much left over. (Oh me of little faith!) Well, toward the end of the sale, we got quite a bit more traffic and things were selling left and right. A microwave, a TV, a large chair, some shelves... it was all finding new homes and we were so happy about it. We'd decided to end at 2:00pm, and right at 2:00, a lady came by and asked what price we could give her if she would buy everything that was left. Only God. We gave her a price, she paid us, we packed it up, and she hauled it off. Every single thing had sold. We sat there, stunned, praising the Lord that He had come through in such a miraculous way.

via Instagram @whitneynewby
We've felt the Lord's presence in these last few weeks more than ever. We know that this next season will (obviously) involve a move. Across town? Across the country? Across the ocean? We don't know. We pray it will involve living in a city, as that's where our hearts really are. We also know that this next season will involve our business, Brighter Day, and we are praying for wild success on that front.

Beyond that, we don't know. We're open to wherever the Lord may send us, and are thankful that we're in a place that requires so much faith that He will continue to lead us and provide for us. We're traveling light, ready to go wherever He opens doors.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Just about anything I have to say tonight feels somewhat petty in light of what's happening in Oklahoma right now. Our prayers go out to them - especially the parents who are not tucking in their little ones tonight. I can't even imagine.

So with no more words, here are some photos from our trip to Florida. Our (found!) camera arrived in the mail this morning, and I am so thankful to have these sweet reminders of how blessed we are with family.

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