this is it… meet my book!

surprise!
This is it… Let’s Sew Together!!! This is my book! Book, meet all my dear readers, and dear readers, meet my book!

It’s all so strange, so nerve-wracking, but also super exciting! Let’s Sew Together officially goes on sale on May 20th, but if you pre-order it now (from the retailer of your choice, see my sidebar for suggestions!) before the official release, you will receive a special digital project booklet. Once you order it, just forward your receipt (attach the receipt or a screenshot) to LetsSewTogether@Randomhouse.com. There are a ton of projects in the book, and I made so many, that we had to overflow some into this special pack. I was bummed when because of page count and the sheer amount of good stuff we put in the book, we had to take some things out, but I’m glad you can still get it this way. It’s a sweet little pack (with 6 projects) and you’ll love them for sure!

You can see a quick flip through of the book, but it doesn’t even show all the projects. The focus is on sewing and teaching you the basics, and how to incorporate kids into it. Making and creating with your kids is really something special. It’s not always about the project, but more so about being together. There are also non-sewing projects and activities, as well as a list of books to read along with almost every project. Sort of like the “Read & Make” series I do here on the blog. And, don’t worry, there are definitely boy friendly projects in here too. I borrowed my friends’ son and he was my faux-son for the book.

I know many of you in the past have wanted me to make a pattern for my giant dollhouse pillow, or my world map quilt, and some of my softies. Well, these things are in the book (you can learn how make your own giant dollhouse pillow and you own world map quilt!), plus a whole lot of other projects I’ve never shared on the blog.  Some of you might have been reading from back in the day when I used to make and sell my wool felt crowns, and you can get a pattern and how-to for those too, but it’s in the special pack if you pre-order the book.

One of the most special things about the book, is that besides True and Brave working on the projects (we did this together after all), their illustrations are littered throughout the book. My biggest gals are published illustrators! I think they are already starting off with an impressive resume. Their names are even listed in the ISBN mumbo jumbo stuff at the beginning, and they were so excited to see that. This moment I shared on instagram was super special because this was them looking at their hard work in the book for the very first time.

There’s so much and I can’t wait to keep sharing more about this whole book thing. It’s so surreal and to have the people over at Random House (Potter Craft) behind me is truly a dream! There will be more posts about the process and how balancing (and unbalancing) in our home took place during the whole thing. I’m so excited about it and I hope you guys are too! So if you want to get more up close and personal with my book, you can pre-order it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, or Indiebound. You should get it on or around May 20th, just in time for filling up those summer days. Come on guys, let’s sew together!!!

RULES
To receive an exclusive .pdf with a previously unavailable Rubyellen Bratcher sewing pattern please forward preorder confirmation to LetsSewTogether@RandomHouse.com

Offer good through 11:59pm EST on Monday, May 19, 2014.

Open only to residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. No groups, clubs or organizations may participate.

Limited to one gift per completed submission form and transaction information.

A link will be supplied upon submission of this form. Download the .pdf documents upon receipt.

Random House, Inc., Rubyellen Bratcher and Cakies are not responsible for lost or misrouted submissions, interrupted or unavailable network or server connections, or other computer or technical issues.

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decipher the clues for the big news…

surprise!
AHHH!!! Did you guess it?!!

I’ve been sitting on this big secret for so long and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it with you!!! It’s been a dream come true and I can’t wait to share more with you in the next few weeks. It’s done and (almost) ready to go, so you will be able to get it in your hands before the summer starts (just in time for when you’ll want some projects to fill those summer days). I’m really nervous and excited about it… I don’t think it’s hit me yet. I’m sure you all have many more questions for me, so I promise I will share more really soon. If you want to learn how to sew, more specifically sew with, and for, the little ones in your life (or just learn the basics so you can eventually make dresses like this and this), this is it guys… I’ll teach you!

Hip hip, hooray!
Today I can finally say,
I’ve got a book,
And it’s coming your way!

 

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gold and gemstones

gold and gemstones
gold and gemstones
gold and gemstones
gold and gemstones
gold and gemstones
gold and gemstones
gold and gemstones
My good friend, Reese, celebrated a birthday this past weekend and her husband enlisted our help in plotting out a surprise party for her. We provided the place, decor, and some snacks, and the rest of our friends pitched in with more snacks and lots of cheer to pull off the surprise. I did a “gold and gemstone” theme because it’s sort of an inside joke. I picked up gold fringe garland from the party store and (30 minutes before the party started) I drew gemstones on bright colored poster board, cut those out, added some wooden skewers, and inserted them into the various snacks for the par-tay! I cut off a branch of bougainvillea from our yard, put out a couple little plates of tea light candles, and we were good to go. Then we just had to wait for the birthday girl to arrive!

The birthday girl isn’t much of a sweets person, so crackers, cheese (served on this bark cheese board), hummus, and chips were mostly what dominated. The snack winner of the night was brie with a little bit of the jalapeño raspberry jam on top of some crackers; that combo was so deliciously good!

Reese was definitely surprised and declared, “This is the best birthday ever!” Apparently, she always wanted a surprise party and this was her first! The evening continued on with everyone hanging out singing worship music together and giving Reese words of encouragement. It was just such a great night of celebrating what God’s been doing in her life thus far.

Sunday was spent at my mom and dad’s house celebrating their second engagement. Yes, you read that right, second engagement. My mom and dad got married quite young (20 & 21), and the first time around my mom kind of proposed to my dad. Since they were so young (and didn’t have money), my dad just got my mom the tiniest diamond ring he could afford. Fast forward 33 years later, he upgraded that rock and planned a romantic proposal (this time he did it, and one knee) for her when their wedding anniversary came around this past Valentine’s Day. Yup, my parents got married on Valentine’s day in 1981. My mom called me after it happened all giggly and saying it went too fast, and how she wished she could relive that moment again. I just laughed because they are already married! HA!

My parents are the sweetest. Sure! They have fights and can both get crazy on each other (I remember tons of times my dad got kicked out), but they are also very much crazy in love. It’s because they are passionate when they fight and they are passionate when they love. They set a good example of marriage for me (and my siblings) growing up, and it’s one of the reasons I was excited to get married myself. My parents didn’t make it look easy, but they would go through the good, bad, and ugliness of marriage trying to love each other and Christ through all the selfishness. Though I kinda laugh at the silliness of my parents wanting to have another wedding (we are really planning another wedding for them two years from now), I’m really so thankful that my parents are still are madly in love with each other and that they want to share that with all their family and friends. Thanks mom and dad for the good example you set for us! 

Obviously, our weekend was full and busy, but is was for sure good as there were a lot of good things to celebrate! But oh man, oh man, I’m so tired today. #draggingmyfeetmonday

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happiness floats

happiness floats
Balloon Time sent us a tank of helium and some balloons and wanted us to figure out how we could share an extra dose of happy. We identified 4 people we wanted to share these bits of floating happiness with, and then, the two older girls wrote down a sweet message on each of the balloons. There was a bit of yelping here and there because balloons kept popping on us as they were writing on them, and the girls were giggling because I kept getting freaked out. After I think 7 (loud) balloon pops, we finally had 4 balloons with some delightful messages to share with some neighbors.
happiness floats
happiness floats
happiness floats
The girls loved this idea! There were so excited to be able to write on balloons! Seriously, who needs fancy toys when you can give a sharpie and a balloon?! Just make sure to supervise because you don’t want that sharpie to end up on the wall.

True’s message was, “Good morning!” and we gave that balloon along with some baked goodies to the people who serve us weekly at the local aquatic center…

happiness floats
Brave’s message was, “It’s springtime!” and that went to one of our neighbors…
happiness floats
Soul chose to share, “Hello sunshine!” to another neighbor friend…
happiness floats
Glow’s balloon said, “Yippee!” and that went to another neighbor friend…
happiness floats
happiness floats
I said, “We have one more balloon for us to keep, so what message do you want to put on it?” And they said, “We’re so excited!!!” so that’s just what True wrote down.

It’s totally cute how they get all about this kind of stuff. My girls light up when it comes to creating presents for each other, for Ben and me, or other people. They are all about making and giving. It makes me so thankful for their very loving hearts.

happiness floats
happiness floats
happiness floats
In the evening, we went to deliver to the balloons and messages (along with a little treat from a local bakery) to our neighbor friends. We brought the first balloon with us to swim class in the morning. Everyone was so excited to know the girls thought of them and loved their fun messages! We don’t know all our neighbors really well, but we’ve been trying to reach out and make an effort. Ben and I are by nature introverted (I’m an extroverted introvert), so it really takes a lot of us to get out of our comfort zone (leave our house), but we’re totally working on it.

Our girls are super shy (it takes about 30 minutes to get them to talk to someone new), but we want them to love serving people (and giving to people), and one of the ways to encourage that is to model that behavior, which is another reason we do our Dinner Club Thursdays. I loved this little #HappinessFloats challenge Balloon Time had for us. It also goes perfectly with yesterday’s Fairy Birds story of giving.

Balloons were a simple gesture and it really doesn’t take much to bring a little sunshine into someone’s day. It could be a simple hand-picked flower (my girls do this all the time!), a little hand written note (I like to sneak it in Ben’s lunch), or even just a hug. Just that wee bit of extra effort really does make a difference!

Happy first day of spring! Maybe there’s a little special surprise you can do for someone today to celebrate it.

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lots of green and rainbows

2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
Sunday afternoon, True came up to me and said, “Oh mommy! I can’t wait until Saint Patrick’s Day tomorrow! I can’t wait for the surprises!” I had totally forgotten and in my head I said, “Oh crap. What am I going to do?!” Then, the rest of the afternoon was a whirlwind and I forgot about it, until it was time to put the girls to bed, and then I started coming up with a plan.

Luckily, I had a helium tank, so I started blowing up tiny balloons and putting them all on a string in rainbow order. I would have done an air pump, but we couldn’t find our hand held one, so it was helium tank it is! I made a quick little note, added that to the beginning of the string at the top of the stairs and the whole string of balloons led to their pot of “gold” at the bottom of the stairs. For the prizes, thankfully I had some little things I had bought from the dollar section at target (was saving it for a rainy day) and each of the girls got one little special treat: Glow got sunglasses, Soul got a My Little Pony coloring book, and True and Brave got those skip-hop-rope-ball things.

I woke up before them, so that I can make one more little string of rainbow ordered balloons. I attached that to their pot, so it would still be floating when they discovered it, and waited for them to wake up. Once they did, they saw the note, and started following the rainbow to their pot of gold. They were all so excited to get their “magical” treats.

The day proceeded like normal, but they all just made sure to wear green, and they made sure I wore green too! We had breakfast together, did school, then lunch, then more school, and then they played and crafted up their own St. Paddy’s Day treats for Ben and me.

2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
st. paddy's day 2014
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
Snack time yesterday afternoon was a little bit special too. I took out some ice cream, we just happen to have vanilla and mint chocolate chip on hand (totally perfect for the occasion!), and some rainbow colored sprinkles (the sprinkles and containers are from Layer Cake Shop), and we had ourselves a nice little ice cream celebration. The girls loved it and were totally relishing that they got ice cream as a snack. The rest of the afternoon was a blur of play and crafts, and while we did have some unlucky news regarding Ben’s car yesterday (it bit the dust and now we’re down to one car), our Saint Patrick’s Day was definitely a good day. These girls get so excited about the simplest holidays and it’s fun to feed off their excitement and make those days special for them (even if my ideas did come last minute!).

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