Two Worthy Causes!

Hi people! As we head into the colder seasons, I find myself drawn to more soulful, introspective tunes. Do you ever feel this way? I mean, curling up with a blanket and a pumpkin-something doesn't quite evoke the Beach Boys. Our friends, Caleb and Erin Paxton of the group eine blume (eye-nuh bloom-uh) are, to me, the equivalent of a piping hot mug of cocoa-- rich, sweet and always a treat! 

They are raising funds to release their new album Farewell to Shadowlands: A Narnia Album. We first met the Paxtons at a house concert they were playing in Joplin. I am blown away by their musical talent, profound lyrics and beautiful hearts. Their music has been described as "an ascending into a warm, velvet-y fairytale." I would definitely agree with this assessment and am excited to be a part of making this music available to the public.  

Would you consider joining me in funding this endeavor through Kickstarter? Watch the video, take a listen. You will not be disappointedThey have only 70 hours to go-- let's give as much as we can to extend the reach of their fantastic sound and message!

We have some other really amazing friends (I mean-- wow, how do we meet all these talented people?!) who have developed a portable tornado shield called the Tuuli Armor. After surviving the 2011 EF-5 Tornado that hit Joplin, Steve set out to create a product that would be an affordable option to bridge the gap between no protection whatsoever and a costly safe room. In Steve's words,"We lived just four blocks north of where the destruction started, and we pulled a small mattress off my son's bed and laid it on top of us in the hallway. I realized that wasn't a good option."

90% of tornado injuries are due to lacerations and this bag, made of puncture resistant, ballistic-grade nylon, shields you from the worst of it. As Steve puts it-- "You have no control over the two by four coming at you, but a large bruise is much better than a two by four going through your body." I wholeheartedly agreed. The Tornado Shield can be kept at home or in your car.

Check out their Indiegogo campaign here, watch the video and consider supporting their fundraiser to mass produce the shield or, if you live in Tornado country, pre-order your very own!


Class Is In Session! Vintage Collegiate Fashion

I'm halfway ashamed to say it's been ten years since I graduated college and I still find myself wishing I had an excuse to go buy new notebooks and school clothes in September! Does anyone else feel this way? Something about the leaves changing and the air getting cooler makes me want to burry my nose in a book at a coffee shop or attend a lecture.

I've assembled a few retro, collegiate pieces to get us in the mood for fall. There is just something so timeless and cozy about these duds and I don't think you are ever too old to rock an ivy league inspired look. Unless you want to look like an extra on the set of Happy Days, which is most definitely not a bad thing, I'd wouldn't necesarilly pair all of this together, but a few, choice pieces will go along way in evoking that nostalgic, autumnal feeling!

P.S. Thrift stores are fabulous places to find some sweet, granny plaids, midi-skirts, nubby tweeds and peter pan collared blouses. Just be sure to sniff for eau de mothball before making a purchase!

Your homework: draw from scholarly yesteryear fashion for your fall ensembles. Class adjuorned!



Chair Makeover Before and After

I snagged this chair a few years back at an Atlanta thrift store for less than $10. It was missing a back chushion and so horribly soft that when you sat down on it you needed assistance to get out, but I loved the lines of this sturdy, mid-century construction and saw potential. I had been saving up for a while to have it recovered, along with another chair, and we picked it up from our upholsterer friend, Doug, last week. It has a new seat cushion, a new back cushion, the skirt was removed and I found some cheap wooden legs to replace the chair's not-so-awesome original legs.

I stumbled upon the dreamy dahlia fabric on Ebay for $8.99 a yard. It normally runs at closer to $35 a yard. It looked really familiar to me and I couldn't place where I had seen it before. Oh yeah, it is the same fabric used on the Anthropologie Naive Tropical Astrid Chair which was originally $1298, marked down to $799 and then discontinued. In total, I paid less than a fifth of that price for a brand "new" chair! Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance! 

 So yeah, I love sipping my coffee and reading in our new chair and maybe you think it's loud and crazy, which it kind of is, but it my eyes it's happy and fun and just the right pop I was looking to add to our eclectic living room.

The side table is a fun, marble-topped piece we bought a while back from some friends for $30. It was primed white and we decided to keep it white since the color looked good against the tan marble. Nick painted it in a gloss white and now it's basically our chair's new BFF. Anything smaller/less substantial would have been dwarfed, anything louder would have competed with the busy chair. I'm pleased these two pieces work so well together.

Yay for cozy living room vignettes! Stay tuned for my second chair's transformation!


Toddler and Baby Raves

No, I'm not blogging about wee ones bopping to techno, I thought to share some of the things I always rave about to other friends with kiddos.

We all know there are a million and one products out there, designed to make bringing up bebe easier, but 99% of it is non-essential. I mean, what did people do before Boppies?! The horror. So, I wanted to start off by saying I am confident our children would survive and even thrive in an environment without the highlighted items. That being said, I have run across a few products/books, etc that have been a mainstay in our home during these baby/toddler/early preschooler years and you might be interested in hearing what they are!

1. The OK to Wake Owl Right around the time we transitioned Collin to his big boy bed (at two years), he began waking at the crack of dawn and coming out of his room. This owl is amazing. You program it for the desired wake time and it turns green at the appropriate time. Every time he wakes early and tries to get out of his room, we ask him if his owl is green. He'll go check and if it's not, he's totally cool with reading books in bed until it turns green. You had better believe the minute it lights up Collin flings the door open and yells, "It's greeeeen!" like it's a miracle every time. We love the owl!

2. Rain for Roots are modern Biblical folk songs for children by Sandra McCraken. The slogan is "Making new songs, for children, about the old Story." Such good, Truth-filled music that's fun, singable and easy on mom and dad's ears too!

3. If you haven't picked up a copy of the Jesus Storybook Bible yet, do so now! Even if you don't have kids, you'll benefit from it. It does such a good job of weaving the Bible together and giving children, and adults, such a enlightening, birds-eye view of God's master plan for humanity-- his relentless love and pursuit of his children! Half the time we read this, I am in tears.

4. The Tommee Tippee Explora Easi-Roll Bib is a recent find. I was getting sick of wiping/washing flimsy bibs that took for every to drip dry and looked awful after a month's use. These bibs are comfy on baby's neck, easy to wipe/wash and they roll-up nicely for on-the-go mealtimes!

5. Soft-soled shoes are so good for baby's feet as they learn to stand and walk. With hard soles their feet don't learn to grip and maneuver as well. I didn't know this with Collin and went straight to tennis shoes when he started walking. I have since learned more and have loved having Killian in moccasins. There are some pretty pricey versions out there, but I have fallen in love with designs and price point of Starry Knight Mocs. I've bought them a bit big so that Killian can grown into them. They are truly just so comfy, well-made and cute!

6. Duck Goes Potty. This is a really sweet, fun book that helped Collin during potty training. I first checked out a copy at the library (I'm hoping they sanitize their board books!). Collin loved it so much I decided we should have a copy of our own.

7. Lollacup. This cup was originally introduced to me by a friend who saw the inventor, a mom-trapeneur, pitch it on Shark Tank. I was getting really frustrated with no spill cups that shot liquid out like a geyser when the cool liquid warmed to room temperature-- not to mention they were difficult for Collin to drink out of. Cue in Lollacup. This cute, penguin shaped receptacle has a weighed straw, making for easy drinking as the straw follows the liquid to the lowest point of the cup, when tipped. You can use it with or without the handles. It has been a mainstay for us!


The Long-Awaited Bathroom Reveal!

Friends, family, countrymen we have a complete bathroom! It's been a long, exciting, sometimes tiring process and we are finally done. My husband is truly the most handy and clever man on the planet. He started this project having never remodeled a bathroom, never ripped a room down to the studs, never re-wired a room to this extent, never having replaced plumbing and never having tiled! My contributions were the overall vision for the space along with internet scouring and thrift store/ antique mall visits, so while this is kind of a team effort, he did the lion share of the work and I am ever so grateful!

Let's take a little journey down memory lane...  Please read on, there will be more photos of the completed space at the end.

At first glance, the bathroom wasn't awful. Upon closer inspection, the floors were stick on tile, the walls a stamped particle board of sorts that was meant to look like tile, and the plumbing was in bad shape (no sink and awful pipes). There was no ceiling fan, you couldn't open the window and the wall plaster was cracked. Definitely seemed like a good first room to remodel!

While classic, the mirror was rusty and the wiring was scary. There was a revolving panel of sorts that was above where the sink should have been. I think it was originally to hold a cup and toothbrushes, but it had since corroded and was kind of a waste of space.

Below are some shots of the process.

We encountered all kinds of fun treasures under the floorboards and in the attic floor when Nick was doing the electrical work.

My favorite day ever was when we had a crew of guys swap out the existing tub for the claw foot we found of Craigslist! In it's original state it was a dingy, dirty white. We painted the exterior a charcoal grey and re-glazed the inside of the tub.

So, back to the completed space. Feast your eyes on the finished project! 
Ah, it's so nice to have it all done.

Here I am, taking a selfie with my shelfie!

Thanks for listening to us talk about his for ever and ever! Woohoo!


Peace in Faster Seasons

I am in the midst of a busy and sometimes chaotic season full of amazing things like developmental leaps in both my sweet boys, increased business and exciting, new projects with my graphic design company, co-planning a fall church camp, being a part of the launch of a new women's ministry at our church, finishing and starting lots of projects around our old house, leading a small group in the fall, supporting my husband as he works and takes a theology class, trying to workout more, spending more time in prayer as a couple, seeking out friends in whom we want to invest and the list goes on. Whew!

This season is also full of "fun" as Collin seems to do his best to un-do everything I do. He's all boy-- silly and playful and an absolute explosion of activity at.all.times. The house can start out spic and span in the morning and by the time nap time rolls around, I am scratching my head, wondering how things devolved so quickly! Add Killian's new-found mobility and penchant for plants, cords, the tiniest, most microscopic crumbs and who-knows-whats under the fridge and I am constantly on the go, trying to stay one step ahead of things at home.

It's still blazing hot outside, but the rhythms of autumn have already begun and we have recognized that the only way we can be fully present in all of these things without seeing our marriage, family time and relationship with the Lord suffer, is to be purposeful and organized.

We recently spent a week in Chicagoland with Nick's family and coming off that wonderful week of fun and relaxation, we decided we were ready to get serious about prioritizing what is important. At the end of the day, when the boys are tucked in and we tiredly flop on the couch, it's easy to flip on Netflix and veg. There is nothing wrong with this from time to time, but we have continued to come back to the reality of where we are, where we want to be and what it will take to get there.

So, we sat down and made a weekly schedule of sorts. Chores are spread throughout the week so that things don't pile up for one day or a weekend. Household repair/fixer-upper projects are reserved for Saturdays. Specific nights are blocked out for me to workout while Nick studies or Nick to workout while I do design work. I am mustering up as much strength as I can to wake up when Nick wakes up to go to work, at o'dark thirty, so that we can pray together. Not surprisingly, when we pray together the day goes smoother. Friday and Saturday nights are set aside for relaxing and date/family nights. It's important to know that there is still room to just hangout as a couple and as a family. I think that is one of the only ways our new routine will be sustainable.

What about you? Are there ways you stay organized and on top of things? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! I don't consider myself to be super organized by nature, so I'm in need of some of my more structured friends to share hints and tips to a smoother, more productive routine.

P.S. If you haven't noticed, my Mostaza Seed Facebook Page is now exclusively dedicated to this blog and I have started a new page for Mostaza Seed Graphics on Facebook. Please give me a follow!

(Photo source)


Glorious Glassware!

Am I the only one who thinks a beverage is all the more tasty when it's in a pretty glass? Well, the weather is heating up and it's important to stay hydrated. Why not take a sip from some of these tasty tumblers-- sure to be a hit at your next dinner party!



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