I can’t believe it’s been one year since the release of my book, Let’s Sew Together! I’m still very thankful for the opportunity to have written a book, and it’s kind of strange to think I’m an author (even if it’s been out for a year). Still weird. I think the hardest part of having written a book is the self promotion that comes along with it. Like I said, blogs are kind of narcissistic already, but then to keep having to remind people that you wrote a book and that they should buy it, that’s kind of tough for me. The whole business aspect of my creative job doesn’t come natural to me.
Since, we are on the topic of my book (duh!), and if you do want to learn how to sew and make some projects for and with the little ones in your life, I think you’ll really like my book! The projects in the book are totally new and have never been shared step-by-step on my blog, so you aren’t just buying blog material that is given here for free (in case you’re wondering). In the past, some of you have asked for a tutorial for my world map quilt and giant dollhouse pillows, and those are both in my book.
The photos above were from the book release party, which was a year ago. I’m totally lame because I’m way so late in sharing this. After the book party, summer happened, off we went to Singapore, then Williamsburg, and then life kept happening, so it just never got shared. Also, I was waiting for the edited pictures from my friend, Reese, and the video from my sister. Here we are a year later and I’m finally sharing it. Better late than never, right?!
Thank you to all those who attended and showed their support! It was so lovely to meet so many of you and it’s so strange for me to sign books. Sorry if I wrote all messy because when I’m nervous, my penmanship is atrocious. I remember I even spelled a simple word wrong! Oh goodness. You all (and all my friends and family who were there too) were so awesome! The whole book thing was such a dream, with the most amazing editor & publisher (shout out to my editor Caitlin over at Potter Craft/Penguin Random House), and I’m just filled with gratitude for it all. While it was an amazing thing to accomplish, I still learned that even an accomplishment like that never fully satisfies, only Jesus can fill my empty hole.
A special thanks to Danni & Oh, Hello Friend for hosting the party at their shop, also to my favorite dynamic duo, Me & Mr. Cassidy, for serenading the crowd. Thank you to Reese Tibayan for your photography skills, and to Reinna Cruz for putting together such a fun video! Another round of thanks goes to these sponsors and their wonderful gifts that were given to the guests at the party: Totes from Hello Apparel, pillar stud earrings from Lisa Leonard, soaps from SQ Apothecary, craft kits from Treehouse Kid & Craft, craft supplies from Oriental Trading Company, fabric bundles from Ann Kelle, and accessories from Burdees.
For Mother’s Day, we took my mom on a picnic. We picked up Lee’s Sandwiches for everyone (our fave), along with some dessert (of course!); my sister brought drinks’ and my brother bought my mom’s favorite chips (Hot Cheetos!!!). We didn’t want our mom to stress or have to worry about anything, but in true Lolita fashion (Lolita is my mom’s name), she brought lots of dessert! That mom of mine oozes with hospitality and giving, that she can’t ever come empty handed. We aren’t gonna complain though, because it was goods from our favorite bakery, and deliciously moist cupcakes from a cupcakery we had never tried before.
We all just enjoyed a lazy Sunday afternoon at the park. My brother and dad napped, Ben played frisbee with the girls, Glow blew bubbles, and the rest of us just chatted. Ben and I also did a lot of shaking our heads because there was a big sign, “Don’t feed the ducks.” And this one lady was throwing so much bread at them, that they couldn’t even finish it; shredded loaves (no exaggeration) were just floating all over the little lake. It was pretty ridiculous, but it reminded us of grace, and just because we don’t do that, we aren’t any better. Everyone needs grace. We have one sister missing from our picnic, but she will be with us in less than 2 weeks, so we did a lot of chatting about our plans for when she comes home. We are all so excited to hug and see her again!
My mom is ridiculously awesome, and I’m so thankful for the love that she pours out into all of our lives. She is a passionate woman and I’m glad to be on the receiving end of that. I wrote a little more about her here too. Love you mom!!!
We had so much fun on our little getaway for True’s birthday weekend. I love hotel birthdays! It’s a time when we can all really just relax and enjoy being together. We were gone for four days in Carlsbad, and all we did was swim, eat, and relax. I even took a nap one afternoon! I really much prefer this type of celebrating, but if they did ask for a regular party with lots of friends, we would be happy to serve them that way too.
Since True turned 9, and it’s her last year in the single digits, I went crazy with the nines! She had a couple theme requests, one was Buddies (the dog movies), and another was Spurs with black and silver colors. I asked her if I could do a little bit of surprise and she agreed, so I did the number thing with a lot of black to pick up on her San Antonio Spurs request. While Ben and the girls were out swimming, I decorated our hotel room. I pretty much just use one of the beds to set everything up on.
I had painted the 9 backdrop at home, and rolled it up for easy transport, and taped it to the wall for the party. I covered the bed in black checkered fabric, and then I made the paper plate cake stands at the hotel too (I bring an arsenal of glue gun, glue sticks, tape, scissors, and dowels with me). She loves Nothing Bundt Cakes, so we bought a dozen, but only set out 9 for her “party,” and I placed those on the cake stands. I got the little tissue paper honeycombs from IKEA, glued them onto a dowel, and inserted them into the cakes. They provided nice little pops of color.
We gave her one box with 9 little gifts inside, which included her birthday dress, this pony dress she wanted, glitter jelly shoes, mechanical pencils, rubber bands, sunglasses, and other little things that added up to 9. She makes a wish list (the mechanical pencils and rubber bands were on it, along with other things like the dresses), but we always tell them, you don’t get everything you want, so there were some things she had on the list, that she didn’t get. Of course, Brave and Soul made her a million and one handmade gifts too (like the paper puppet above)!
She came into the room after swimming and her face lit up! We were beaming from the smile she had, and then we let her open her presents, and she immediately changed into her birthday outfit. Then the party proceeded with a round of “Happy Birthday” and everyone indulging in 9 bundt cakes! The girls went to town eating those! We relaxed the rest of the afternoon together, enjoying our celebrant, then we went back to the pool to go swimming, and after that, we took her out to dinner at a local place of her choice.
We are so thankful for the Lord blessing us with her for these 9 years thus far, and for the beautiful little lady she is becoming. I tend to be tough on her, and I forget she’s still a kid, but she is always so gracious to forgive. We’ve hit a couple bumps in the road with her as she has started with some major attitudes here and there, but God is good in teaching all of us through it. It really has brought me to my knees, and made me realize how much I lacked grace in the parenting department (probably all departments really). My True is such a special girl with her sweet and reserved personality, but bossy at home, and always abounding in creativity. We love being able to celebrate the treasure that she is in this very special way on her birthday!
Mother’s Day morning, I was served breakfast in bed (it’s tradition), but I just wanted granola and a cup of milk instead of my usual request for waffles. I knew I wanted indulge in ice cream later, so I chose to go with calories from the ice cream later, than calories from waffles for breakfast. After breakfast, Ben and the girls serenaded me with a sweet little number and it came accompanied with drawings.
I’m so thankful for the thoughtfulness of Ben in leading the girls in this little performance. It was too funny and absolutely perfect! Right after they did this, things kind of went awry and within 30 minutes we had two of the kids throw major tantrums on our way out to church gathering. Then once we were at gathering, Glow decided to go for it and make it 75%, and her tantrum lasted so long that Ben missed half the sermon. Oye! And of course, because Mother’s Day doesn’t really exempt you from these kinds of things, Ben and I decided to have a little fight (and another after we saw my family). The only one we really didn’t have too much trouble with was Brave, but we did get close to her almost having her own moment. Nevertheless, I am so thankful to be their mother (and Ben’s wife), and all these crazy people I live with point me to Jesus through the good times and the chaos. Cheers to continuously learning to selflessly love my family!
Hope your Mother’s Day was just as eventful!
p.s. don’t worry, ben was totally cool with me posting this video. that guy’s such a good sport (even when his morning hair is crazy)!
If you follow on instagram, then you know our biggest girl just turned 9 this past weekend! I can hardly believe it! I remember the day she was born so clearly, just as if it happened yesterday. These past nine years have been really hard, but not because she’s difficult, but it has been a battle of fighting my own self-centeredness. I’m the difficult one. I have no clue how these kids live with me! Being a mother, at least a good mother, is a role that demands a lot of selflessness, and honestly, that doesn’t come natural to me. It’s taken a long time for my heart to understand denying myself, trusting in Jesus, and living out grace. Even still, I suck at it and that is precisely why I need more Jesus. Every single day goes like this… I mess up, ask for forgiveness, pray my heart believes the grace and mercy given at the cross, and things are fine and dandy, but then… boom! And repeat all of that about twenty times over.
I chose a pink fabric for her birthday dress because pink is her favorite color. I was going to do grey and something similar to my eye dress, but knew she would like pink much more. Just like the eye dress, I had initially planned to do a shift style, but with the girly glitter shoes she was going to get for her birthday, I thought a drop waist would be much more adorable. To make the nine tally marks, I just used black fabric paint and hand-painted them on. If you have my book, you know we are all about creating our own patterns on fabric. And of course, before you do any painting or sewing on your fabric, it is best to wash your fabric first. Next, iron it, and then go to town painting (or sewing). To heat set the design on, I allowed the paint to dry completely, and then press the fabric again to heat set in place (use some scrap fabric between in case any of the paint bleeds off).
Happy birthday my dear True! We love you whole heck of a lot!
Today, I’m especially thankful that life’s not fair. If it was fair, that should have been me hanging naked on that cross. If it was fair, it should have been me wearing the crown of thorns. If it was fair, it should have been me dying for my own sin. If it was fair, an innocent man should not have died a criminal’s death, but He did. On that cross, He cried, “It is finished.”
I think of my lying and harsh tongue, arrogant and covetous heart, evil thoughts, love of self… and I’m totally guilty. This separates me from God. Romans 5:8 says, “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” What good news that is! I can’t redeem myself. Jesus already did that. It’s not about what I do, but what Jesus did. It’s only through Jesus that I can be restored to God.
With the girls, we try to keep things fair, but it doesn’t always happen that way. And when they complain that someone got something they didn’t, I tell them, “Life isn’t fair.” It’s a truth that we really want them to understand; I totally didn’t (and probably still don’t). Growing up, I kept score of all the good I did and all the bad my siblings did. I wanted everything to be exactly fair, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. Not that I was treated unfairly (my parents were more than gracious), but in my score-keeping heart, I felt entitled to so much (and still struggle with it). How arrogant I was (I still am)! I pray my daughters have a better understanding of grace than me.
Thinking about all of this makes me so thankful for grace and that life isn’t fair. I’m glad it’s not. Things won’t always make sense to us, and we like to rationalize the heck out of things, so it makes grace hard to swallow. When someone buys me lunch, I automatically feel the next time we hang out, I have to buy them lunch. If someone brings me a gift, I will probably make sure to return the gesture. Accepting something freely is really hard. We feel we need to make up for it, but in our relationship with God, we can never make up for it. Nothing we do will ever be good enough.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift, not from works, so that no one can boast.” I’m thankful for this gift of grace through Jesus. I’m thankful for new life I’m given because of Jesus. Jesus paid it all, and this day reminds of the grace I’ve been given. I’m really so glad life isn’t fair.
If you’re in the Inland Empire, and are looking for a church, I would love if you were able to join our church for Easter gathering (or any Sunday). Get information about our church gathering here.
There’s no picture to go with this post because just thinking about this day, and Jesus on that cross, is enough of a visual for me.