Friday, April 18, 2014

Make A Garland With Me

I've always wanted to be a crafty girl.

My mom, sister and myself always push all the chips to the middle when we throw a shindig. We work for days on DIY projects, slaving away for a small party. Wedding time, I can't even explain the madness. Also, both of our weddings were pre-pinterest era. I know. Was there ever even a time? How did we survive as women without it? That blessed internet machine came around at the very end of my wedding endeavors. For that, I'm thankful. Less ideas, less money.

I've prefaced for this reason: I haven't helped throw a party, finagled a paper lantern or designed a sign in quite some time. I guess I've missed making my fingers bleed.
Really though, I've always wanted to pull those creatives into my home. I neglect it because I think "this isn't the home I want to decorate". So I wait for our next move and live in blah beige for the remaining time.

No more Mrs. Beige!

I'm starting small. I've recently purchased new bedding for our guest bedroom. I went to Target, someone needs to keep me out of that place, and found the cutest, cheapest options. I mixed and matched until I got just what I was looking for. I bought two quilts, two shams, two pillow covers, guest bath towels, hand towels, baskets and glass jars for $150. I heard the choir walking out with those bags. My mother spends more than that in the dollar stores! I went cheap because 1. It's my only option and 2. I wasn't looking to go all out because I had a couple projects I've been wanting to do to spruce it up.

Starting with a garland. Photos will be below!
  • All of these products cost me $11. The star cutter was $7 at Michael's and the twine, patterned paper & push pins were $4 at Target.
  • I swung by Home Depot and picked out swatches that would compliment the patterned paper. Be sure to grab enough for you will need to double up the stars. Though this is a great way to have a variety of colors, the backs are white. 
  • I laid my stars in the order I wanted to string them. This kept me from repeating colors and helped maintain the pattern between my different sized stars. 
  • Twine does not fit through a needle so that was out of my options. Using a hole puncher made way too big holes in my teeny tiny stars. I had to resort to making holes with this needle with a fat bottom. This took quite some time. I recommend bigger designs and using a hole puncher. 
  • Hold the stars in place, colors facing out on each side, and cut holes however works best.
  • To keep the twine from fraying, I rolled tape around the end and cut the sides to shape it to a point. This made threading through the stars very easy.
  • String away!

I made two garlands! One is about 6 yards long and the other is near 8 yards long. I didn't measure, I'm just guessing from what's still left on the 10 yard spindles. Together they took me about eight hours to make. If I had a hole puncher and if my stars were colored on both sides, I'm sure that time would be cut in half! You live and you learn, but I don't regret that pretty, free paper. Be sure to save your leftover cutouts! 

I had fun making this! It's helped keep me company while Jareb has been working for Easter. It's also helped my guest bedroom not to look so bare. Even though we will be moving soon, it'll be nice to have all these things instead of worry about them then. There's nothing like putting your things up when you move and it finally starts to feel like home again. Hopefully these stars will have a nice place to hang at our next stop!

Thanks for learning with me. Try one out and send me the photos! I would be glad to see what some of you could add to it.
Also, my friend is starting an Etsy shop! She will be making darling crochet accessories along with all sorts of goodies. Here's a photo of one of the crochet bobby's she made! Follow her on Instagram here.

Happy Living,
Amanda Paige

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CLT Nights + Easter Prep.

Hi ho, hi ho, off to Easter we go!

I had planned to blog earlier tonight but many tasks intervened. One, Jareb was able to come home for dinner so I didn't want to be zoned out while he's here. So, I started working on a little project I'm doing for my guest bedroom. MISTAKE. It was lasting so long. I was hearing "my fingers hurt" from Happy Gilmore drudging in my head + Jareb's snoring had me on edge. So after hours of working, I layed it down and enjoyed some of my shows. Here's a sneak peak of what kept me all night! The first photo is clearly full of anticipation and the second photo is obviously the battle remains. Those battle remains are also killing the spring clean vibe I had going on.

Last weekend was just what Jareb and I needed before this weekend.
Elevation sure knows how to throw a good party! I meant to take photos while I was there but there was so much running around, I didn't have the chance. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Jareb fit his huge body through a hoola-hoop holding a very short child's hand on one arm and, though not small by any means, a smaller adult on his other. Over all it was nice feeling at home. From each seasonal party we have I feel myself getting more comfortable at these events. This one I was barely even with Jareb! I actually ditched Jareb and the team a few times to sneak off and chat. Woops..

The party was followed by meeting up with some new friends at Charlotte's Food Truck Friday. Jareb likes the food truck competition tv shows so I was excited to try one out for myself! Pretty good for gourmet coming out of a window on wheels. We spent that night lounging around, talking about Easter, and being highly entertained by a friend we made. Really though, this guy was so blazed by something I was worried he wouldn't make it home safe. I feel like these types find me. "So is this a light a blunt, listen to some music kind of thing?" Well sir, there are children at your feet! Deduce at your own pace... Also! I am the most naive person when it comes to the such. Really though, if it was a "light a blunt" environment, I would have been of no help in pointing him the right (or wrong) direction. Sorry, Charlie. I'm that boring. Anywho, this night was capped by sitting on a rooftop in the bright city laughing very hard with people I'm beginning to love already. 

It was a fun weekend. It was good start to this crazy week ahead.

When we were moving here all the wives warned me about the holidays. They told me how I wouldn't see Jareb and maybe even family. I clearly remember preparing myself for it. I felt like Charlotte in the Sex and the City episode where she puts up her Christmas tree one last time before converting to be a Jew. I was ready to give it all up to be a part of this vision! I grieved the future prospect of every holiday with my family and kissed them goodbye.

Here's what I overlooked. All the joy! I sort of guessed at what I was preparing for, I just didn't know what it would feel like. Well, it actually feels awesome. I love that my family has been extremely supportive. We both make an effort to communicate as much as possible. I also see my family a lot more than I anticipated I would. I love that they make an effort. I love that Jareb is at work right now. Watching the staff rally together and bunker down is an awesome sight to see. I'm so honored to have a husband who works to serve God. I can't wait to see what he's been up to for the Easter WE's.
Even when I feel like we are catching each other sleep, we both are so content. More than content! Saying content doesn't even feel enough anymore. We are both stoked to see what God is going to do this Easter. 

This blog post is a bit erratic and I blame that on working and coming home to work even more then do a painful craft. Never again. Except maybe tomorrow. 

Happy Living,
Amanda Paige

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Adventures: Atlanta + Savannah

I have so much to tell. How can I possibly do this in one post? 

Hold on tight, we will be traveling!

First, I no longer work for Macy's! Woo-hoo! The job was pretty fun, but it was keeping me away from what we moved to Charlotte for! What's the point in that? I didn't leave Savannah to be isolated in a mall every weekend! Just as God seems to do, an opportunity presented itself and I jumped at it! I now work in eCare at the church! I'm so happy my weekends are free and clear. My family can come visit any time, I am seeing Jareb more, I have a set schedule, I am keeping up with laundry.. I'm not proud of  that last one, but being on different schedules had Jareb and I in a looney house. Anyways, I'm so glad God is faithful. I counted on Him and that allowed me to say "I told you so" to that dirty ole chatterbox. 

Jareb had a weekend off in March so we used that opportunity to it's fullest. One night we were sitting in our living room watching our shows and Jareb said, "I want to go to Atlanta". So to Atlanta we went! Heck, say no more! I was ready to see my brothers and sister-in-law the second he said it! Once we arrived, my mom and sister just couldn't stand being in Savannah while the rest of us were together. So to Atlanta they went with my uncle Tobby as their chauffeur. Brodie didn't know what to think with all of his aunts and uncles in the same room. It only took him a few minutes before he was entertaining the crowd and fighting us all. If you didn't know, he's Batman and you're the bad guy. Always.
Our weekend contained lots of Thaxton insanity. We went into Atlanta and ventured to the top of the Westin. The ride up on the elevator was zero fun for me. I just don't like watching myself being pulled up very high by a cord with a lot of people in a small glass box. To me it seems more barbaric than caveman practices. (Don't even get me started on the magic of planes). Besides terrifying myself, we spent one evening in David and Megan's home just letting Brodie run wild while David cooked us dinner. Mama even made one of our favorite treats as kids, homemade donut holes. I loved sitting around watching my family laugh with each other. We were only missing our dad and Phillip. Other than that small hiccup, we had the absolute best time. It was also the weekend of my wedding anniversary! I couldn't think of any better gift Jareb could have given me. That and, of course, a couple of coveted beauty products that I've been searching for.

Two years with Jareb. I was waiting on God to come down and congratulate me, someone give me a huge check, something to reward me for dealing with living with Jareb for two years. If they did come, I'm sure Jareb was the one rewarded anyhow. I can't believe it's been two years. Boy, have things changed since we got married! Year number two went about like this: moving, moving, what do we do now, moving, we made it. Our relationship was tested and validated this go around. I'm glad we came out on top despite what the enemy wanted us to believe. God proves Himself to Jareb and I. I don't know if it's just because we believe He will or if it's because we paid our dues in that first year.. Either way, I'm glad we choose to follow God together. I'm so grateful to have a smart, funny, handsome and aggravating husband. Right now, I haven't seen him in over a week. Well, I haven't seen him awake in over a week! Between his working and me leaving for the weekend (which will be discussed below), I miss him like crazy. I can't wait to get home and jump in his arms like we are still 13 & 15. I just love that boy.

This weekend, I've been staying with my mom and dad! I came in Wednesday night (even after being sick the night before and at work that day) and I'm leaving tomorrow morning, which is Monday. I came home because I was asked to do Cheyanne's make-up for her pageant and Ashley needed a photo taken. Perfect excuse to come home! Like I said before, Jareb is a busy guy getting ready for Easter, so now was the perfect time to steal away and see some of my family. 
Being in my parent's house is a strange feeling. This is the home I lived in before I was married. I really do miss it. I miss my room, I miss my mom and brother laying in the bed with me. I miss watching shows with Dustin. So many things. It's strange to come home and sleep in Dustin's old room. It makes me wish he was here with me! This home holds so many memories I'll always treasure right before moving out. I just love coming home! 
Friday was spent shopping and wrestling Brodie through stores all day. David made a quick stop-in on his way back from Florida. It was too sad being together without Dustin. Saturday was Cheyanne's day! She was in the Miss SEMS Pageant and my goodness, she was gorgeous. It was so much fun getting her all dolled up for her big night. I was so proud of her. She not only did amazing, but she had such a great attitude when many of the girls did not.. I was pretty shocked to see teenagers and their moms pitching fits when the top ten was announced. Effingham. Never fails to amaze. Moving past my past, we then celebrated at dinner with our star. I was able to have my friends and family all at one table. Geez, it was bliss.
Today, I went to church with my parents! AKA, I was able to see beautiful Savannah. Even in the rain, it was perfect. I ate lunch with Melanie, my parents, uncle Tobby and their friend. My parents treated Melanie and I like we were little girls all day and we can't deny that we loved it. From riding in the backseat of their car to buying us lunch + candy at Savannah Sweets, we were spoiled. This perfect day ended with experimenting gender predictors with Ashley. Because PS, she's pregnant! Yes, I'll be an aunt to yet another baby! That means come Christmas there will be three grandchildren in our family. David & Megan's baby and Ashley & Phillip's two babies. I can't believe our family is in the stages I daydreamed about when I was younger. It's only better than I imagined.
P.S. Apparently, I'll be having three boys and two girls according to a wive's tale we tested ;)

After a refreshing weekend, Milly and I are chanting, "there's no place like home". We are ready to get in our bed and cuddle up to our Giraffe. 

My brother, David, is a vlogger! Social network journaling must run in the family. Click here to watch our weekend in Atlanta!

Happy Living,
Amanda Paige

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Myth Busters

I'm thinking about really dumb things.

The things that keep me awake aren't always worrisome. Tonight, it's comedic. So I'm going to share some things people say to me that I always want blog about. It may be things not worth correcting, things that irk me or simply things that just make me space out. Who knows. I'm tired and blogging from phone again! Beware! 

"Amanda doesn't like to drive, she's like me"
Totally false. I love driving. I had to wait so long before I could drive. I remember dreaming of the days I could be alone with music. Drama, I know. But I love music. I always had headphones in every time I was in the car. From Britney Spears to high school. So I knew driving meant the music wouldn't be in my ears, it would be all around me. So much to look forward to, right? Buying my car from my sister was the best thing I ever did as a teenager. I would proudly roll down all the windows, pull back the sunroof and scream along with Emery. Of course, the car had a temperamental AC so I had to have the windows down anyways. But I loved it. I still do. My friends know I will always volunteer to drive. After all, I like having the control when my body is traveling at high speeds. 

"You're so positive"
I told one of my friends that this was said to me recently. She jabbed "who are you showing them up there?". She laughed and said she was kidding. However, this same friend taught me the phrase, "there's truth in jest". I get it. In Savannah, I was becoming a little bored and boring myself. My life was bored. I had wonderful things! I loved what I did! But I didn't look forward that often. I guess that's what kept me from being "positive". Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a little blunt. I guess something about Charlotte has me pretty mellow. And uh, I actually like it. 

"Love you"
These two words are a pet peeve of mine. They are heavy. It's certainly hard for me to throw them around with no effort. Man, some people toss the term like it's weightless! I guess when you've known someone for a long time you grow to love them, sure. But could ya at least have a conversation with me, about me, before you decide if you love me? Love your neighbor.. yea, yea. I understand. I try. But when people say something rude, and then say "love you" behind it... Well, uh, that doesn't convince me you love me. I also don't think I'd want to reciprocate that. The same goes for "miss you". If someone tells me they miss me and I know it's just a filler, I can not bring myself to say it back. I just can't. Too much pride Mary in me. It is unfathomable why it's said if it's not meant. Here's my interpretation: You're gone. Though that doesn't affect me, I'll pretend a part of me is sad to make you happy. You guys, I'm crazy. This I know to be true. With this said, if you don't want to learn that I don't miss you, just keep the empty words to yourself. If you mean it, I'll know it. How? It's a little impossible to miss something you never acknowledged was there. 

"You look so much older"
Need I go on? 

"You act so much older"
Basically, I'm the room temperature vanilla ice cream sliding down a beige wall in an elevator playing soft music. 

"How did the photos turn out?"
They are digital. They didn't need to turn. They happened. 

"It came aloose"
Why the a? Did John Travolta teach you that? 

"You know what I think?"
I hope you're thinking the answer to that question is obvious. Because obviously, no. 

"You should have been there"
In elementary school, staying home was the coolest thing you could do... Until you get to school the next day and the kid with bad manners was jealous you stayed home so they try to make you jealous for missing school. I could also replace the word "kid" in the previous statement with "adult".

"I was young the first time I was married too"
I've yet to find my reply for this one. 

Here's one that's not a quote. At work, Spanish speaking people spot me and then run up to me with joy on their faces and begin talking. They then see me searching their faces and realize that I am indeed American. I wish English speaking people were that happy to see me. 

Last but not least:

"You're like family"
I talk to my family every day. If a day goes by without hearing from my family, it's because they didn't answer when I called or vice versa. For someone to be like family, it seems as if that means you'd talk to them at least once a week. Melanie, my best friend, I talk to her pretty much every day. Through text, Facebook, all the social networks. About once a week we call each other and spend hours talking over the phone. That's like family. I don't have to tell her that because she knows it. My family doesn't have to tell me they are my family, I know it. I think I've made my point.

Maybe I take everything too seriously.
No, I absolutely take everything too seriously.
Maybe I'm rambling.
No, I absolutely am rambling.

When I was younger, Dustin would fight with me. If he said something mean, my world was ruined. He would tell me I was a baby and I would validate him by crying and failing to say something witty back. I've always taken cuts deep! It's just who I am.

I also love people painfully. I love my family and my husband. I sometimes wonder if it's too much. I argue with Jareb every once in while telling him that I love him more. "Friendships should be symmetrical" says Will Graham on Hannibal. He's right. But I'm the psychopath that likes to be over the edge. When my family visits and leaves, I turn into Arnie Grape the moment they pull away. I only mean that I love my mamma and it makes me sad. (Please know this movie reference). It's hard being away! But loving them is also what keeps me happier than I've ever been.

This post was all over the place. Welcome to my world, you guys.
I think I'll call this one myth busters.

Happy Living,
Amanda Paige

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Way Things Are

We meet again.

I could type so many things. It's how I always feel, but it is much worse when I'm in front of my laptop. My last couple of posts have been typed from my phone. But oh, boy.. These keys are already stirring up some thoughts. Let's recap.

It snowed again! This time it snowed, I was already "under the weather". Of course, this just meant I wore three pairs of pants, a couple shirts and huge jackets to keep me warm while we adventured again. There's something about Jareb when it snows.. He turns into such a giddy guy. It may have just been that we were home two days in a row with each other. Regardless, it was too fun. We walked around our neighborhood, ran into a couple of deer hiding in the woods and almost fell only once. Jareb and I turned into an old couple who drove around looking at houses and saying things like, "Look at those kids". Milly absolutely hates the snow. For one, it came up to her neck. After the snow started turning to ice, she would fall through it while she walked. It was sad, yet mostly hilarious to watch her battle the ground. I never thought I'd be one to say, "I love the snow". If snow days mean watching movies with Jareb beside the space heater with a bright white view out my window, I'd wish for them every day.

Here are some photos that I love from the past few weeks. 

This month has been different. It's hosted a few tears, many fits of laughter, a couple surprises and allergies that turned me into the Hunchback of Notre Dame. This week alone did that, really. I've begun knowing I Am, crashing the chatterbox and I am still counting on it. Basically, '14 has had sermons tailored to my life. Elevation is still a dream I'm walking around in. Every time the skyline pops out of nowhere it jolts me, reminding me that I'm not in Kansas anymore. I am thrilled I'm not in Kansas anymore.

So much is happening not only for me, but for my family and friends. One of my friends just got married. One of my friends just had a baby. One of my friends seems to be conquering the world while the rest of us sleep. My family seems to be coming into a relaxation mode that's been well overdue for the past five years. David and Megan are having a baby this fall. All the seams are closing precisely. Seeing everyone happy makes it easier to miss them.

Predictably, the sun will come out while I'm star gazing. As the good cow in the movie Babe says, "The only way you'll find happiness is to accept that they way things are is the way things are."
So when the ugly from our past tries to announce itself, there's not much I can do but carry on and wish it well as I pass it by.

Happy Living,
Amanda Paige

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Life Through My Mind

I think about certain things way too long and way too much. I'm sure every person on this planet does the same thing, of course I just imagine my state to be more extreme because it's all I know. 

I know Jareb is a one and done guy. He leaves topics easily and doesn't rebel when it comes to passing over a thought.  He's normal, he worries about everyday nuisances like the rest of us. He just worries in his own confines. When Jareb chooses to share something with me, I know it's something out of his routine. He's the kind of person that makes you feel relieved when you unearth they aren't perfect. Sometimes our chemistry mixes a storm. Most of the time it's the potion for the right kind of calm we need. 

My mom and dad both make things up to worry about. Not all necessarily imaginary. Exaggerated. I can tell my mom that it's raining and she will see the absolute worst scenario that can happen in rain. My dad is the same way, he just keeps it to himself or only tells my mom. My mother can make anyone fearful in a hurry. I may be sounding as if this is some horrible, the world is ending always, mindspace. It's not. She just wants everyone to be careful. They both have had many losses in many different, tragic ways. I have this worrisome plague too. But I'll get to me soon. 

My sister keeps everything. She's a solitary unit in matters of what's happening around her. I've never seen a person that I can compare to my sister. I found myself talking about her to a coworker recently and I couldn't believe what I was even saying. My sister works two jobs, is going to school, has a teenager living with her and is raising an absolutely wild two year old son. But if you passed her as a stranger and asked how she was doing, she would say, "I'm doing great. How are you?" It's what everyone says! Ashely could say it with such conviction you'd believe the practiced statement to be true. She doesn't sweat. I know inside she's ready to implode. But she has faith. That's how she does it. 

Both of my brothers are so smart. Dustin's worries or anger slips out in two seconds and it's over before you realize it. His advice is always spot on with a touch of humor to lighten any burden. He is generous and that gets him in trouble because people tend to take advantage of talented, generous people. He is a romantic and he is a gentlemen. He carries his problems on his own accord and handles his business without anyone's help. He is the duck on the water. David is a bit more like me. Racing, always racing against the clock in his mind. We think about what we have to do so much that it delays the start of our tasks. He expresses himself the best of all of us. Obviously, he's a pastor. But he's like Dustin in the chilvarist manner. David can be honest with you until it hurts and mend you past it for victory. They are both stand up guys. 

I had to lay those thoughts down so I could concentrate. Like a formula or something, it's helping me place myself somewhere. 

Here's me. I can mentally build a city and demolish it in the same day. I start the day listing what I will do. What I will wear, what I will eat, the exact times I'll do my tasks, how long it will take me to get there, should I do this, would this be better. I essentially "worry" about details that seem to go awry regardless. I am one of those adorable tea pots. Adorable until I start screaming. I just plan and let the plans rule me to the point they ruin me. I even consider myself "go with the flow". Because even if I'm determining what time I'll be leaving the house, I like spontaneity. I enjoy pulling over to explore a new thrift store. But then it comes down to being awake 5 am, blogging about how my days pass without noticing they are gone far beyond seeing distance. 

So here's where I'm at. It's a scripture I've conceptually recited since I first picked up a bible. "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" No, it doesn't give answers or dress it up. I guess I'm so stubborn and set that I haven't changed because of it. It's just a cynical way to say, "what's the point?" Quit whining. Stop stopping yourself. Don't let fear rule a second. I pretty much make stupid mistakes often. So far, the worst mistake is always thinking about the mistakes. 

One thing Jareb, my main source for sanity, has always reminded me: Seek first His kingdom and it will all be given. In a paraphrased nutshell.. You see, I don't worry about money. I know God provides. He's always done so and beyond for me. On the outside it may not have looked that way, but He has. I worry about making the wrong choices. It's a daily war for me. But like Jesus promises me, if I just seek His righteousness, I can even have clarity. "The clarity of the steps". 

My life is wonderful. It really, truly is. But sometimes, I just need my fingers to tell me how I'm feeling. Tonight, they told me that it will all be okay. 

Below are some photos from this past month. Happy living, you guys.
Amanda Paige