30 August 2011


{Disclaimer: i hope i don't sound self-rightous in saying any of this. it is simply me. simply my thoughts. in no way would i ever think it makes me better than anyone of you. i am full of weaknesses. i think one of the things i love so much about people is that we are all *so* diverse and all have our own strengths and weaknesses. and just because we are stronger in an area than someone else does not make us better-- for we are probably quite weak in an area they are strong. but God made us like this for a purpose. so we could work together and build one another up. sometimes we are encouraged and built up by others weaknesses. sometimes by their strengths. yet all the time we are who God made us to be. made to be different in strengths and weaknesses, yet to be all like Him.}
During my sickness, there were a few days where my headache and fever were so bad that I couldn't do anything-- not even lay and watch a movie. So I would lay and think. I had an awful lot of time to think. Most of the time I thought about how incredible blessed I was. Ironic, I know, since I was laying there sick, without the strength or will power to do anything. But those thoughts of simply feeling so blessed came back to me over and over again. Yes, I was sick-- but there were so many people in worse circumstances than I who even had deadly illnesses! Yes, I had a certain trial in my life right now ... but look at the blessings and good that had come from it already. Yes, I was still working through that one issue but look at how much Jesus had already taught me through it.  
And then as my strength came back a little and I was babysitting siblings-- oh the challenges there! But yet again, each time, after the frustration ebbed a bit and my mental complaining started, all I heard was Jesus saying "look how blessed you are with _______________". Sometimes they were big blessings but more often it was the little things that were continually brought to mind. I have so much to be thankful for! 
Thus, even though from the outside, one might have said it was a very challenging and stressful week {and it truly was difficult on many levels-- along with being sick, I said long-term goodbyes to a few close friends, had several closed doors...} looking back I feel like it was just so full of blessings!! 

In all my think.think.thinking, I also thought a bit about the Burning House Project.
What would I grab if the house were on fire? Truly, what is important to me? 
The more I thought about it the more I realized how immaterial of a person I am. {You're probably thinking "WHAT?! Emily?! You're sure that's not a typo? I mean, c'mon, this whole blog is all about material things for goodness sakes!"} 
Yes I like "things"... I love clothes, decor, books, etc. I love to create with them and use them and I think God is totally okay with that because he created "things" for us. And whatever material things he places in my life, I will love, share, enjoy...maybe even cherish. 
But if at any moment I was asked to walk away from them, I believe I could. They are just things after all and chances are that at sometime or another I'd lose interest in them anyway. You can ask Mama, I am not & have never been sentimental about much, least of all things {maybe this will change as I get older... have a family....?}.  People and places mean the most to me and so memories of people or places mean the most to me. {Ultimately Jesus means the most to me but I think that's a given}

Thus, if there were a fire and I was able to grab anything while helping the family out, I believe I would grab:
my Bible --- 'nough said
personal and family photo albums/image CDs--- because you can never replace those. ever.
my Husband journals---- these contain so many desires, struggles, dreams, answered prayers, memories...
my camera----to capture future memories, both for myself and others
my laptop---- to work with those images
possibly a few special letters--- you can never replace those either
my purse--- if it were handy I'd probably grab it just cause it has my ID

Thank you for bearing with my rambles. They've been floating about my head for a week now and it feels good to have them sorted out:)

adventures.fulfilled | vol. 3, part 1 | Petoskey, MI

Petoskey Michigan. Such a marvelous place! Yet I had no idea it even existed until a few days before we went. You see, it went like this. 
Once upon a time, Daddy really needed a vacation. And since there are 12 of us, it's cheaper these days to rent a house than to get hotel rooms or anything else. And camping for a week with that many people is, to put it frankly, *not* relaxing. So Mama got online and started searching rental houses. Well this was in May or so and by that time most places are completely booked up for the summer. But in June she finally found one house in Boyne City, MI that looked like it'd work well, and though the owners were new to renting and very antsy about renting to a family with 10 kids, they said yes! Mama put the deposit in the mail and we all headed to Ohio to spend 10 days with family. Little did we know that Mrs. Antsy-Owner hadn't received our deposit and was calling our *home* number about it... not reaching us... and getting even more antsy. Eventually to the point that she rented the house to someone else for that week! So we get home from Ohio, listen to all of the voicemails and find out that, four days before we are supposed to leave for Michigan, we don't have a house to go to!
Once again, Mama starts searching up and down vacation rental websites trying to find *something* and  what do you know?! She stumbles upon a house that was previously booked but just got a cancellation for the week we needed!! Right away she called the man up and explained our predicament. Turns out, he and his wife had raised 6 chillens of their own and had no problem with 10 chillens coming to stay in one of their rentals! The house was even better than the one we "lost", in an even better location, and *cheaper* than the first one!! AND they were super gracious and because of the time crunch just let us come and bring the deposit with us. Praise Jesus!! It was *all* HIM! We were so thrilled!
Petoskey was simply wonderful. Very slow paced and relaxing... just what we all needed. 
We were also really close to a few other towns so I've split my posting/pictures up in accordance to that. 

Our first night there-- gorgeous sunset!!

One of the many places with great ice cream. This was decked out retro style!

The view from our house down the street. We were only 6 houses away from the water!! 
Needless to say, we all took walks down there several times a day... typically beginning and ending
our days there. Sitting on the rocks once the sun had completely set and simply listening to the soft crash of the waves as you watched the lights twinkle across the bay was incredible!
Our red rental van could be spotted anywhere;)

Almost everyone!! Just missing Jonathan and Benjamin--

 The rocky beach at the end of our road
 Michael (with the baseball cap) was such an awesome neighbor! He called everyone "friend", became Noah's best buddy and played opera music at night while we all sat on our front porches and read.

 It's all about cherries in Michigan!!!
 Petoskey had some of the best window shopping!! Yes, for the most part everything was ridiculously priced {we're talking boutiques here} but they gave some great inspiration!
{oh and side note: I literally only took a penny with me on this trip. and that penny was accidental. so if it hadn't been for that, I wouldn't have had *even* a penny on this trip! haha As long as I have my mind and camera to capture memories I'm happy... no need for money and material things! (okay. it really helps when you go with your parents and they buy groceries. I probably would have starved if they weren't there. I love good food but I hate spending money on food. problem much?! I think so.)}
We spent some time almost every day at Petoskey State Park beach. It was only 5 miles away so Johann, Benj, Ellyn and I rode our bikes there almost every time.
 Some days were better for just reading and laying in the sun:)

Daddy rented a jetski for all of us one day which was *so.much.FUN*!!!  Between an arm workout from riding the jetski, jogging along the beach and riding our bikes all over Petoskey we kept quite in shape during vacation! I love just having it as part of your lifestyle and it doesn't even feel like you have to push yourself to workout. You just love it and it feels great!
 Best little coffee shop ever!! I captured it around 9 at night so it was pretty cleared out... but if you were there anytime in the morning, you could barely get in the door to get your coffee! It was *the* place to be every morning! Loved stopping in there mid-afternoon when the crowd had wained a bit. The window seat to the right was the best spot to people watch while working on things;) And their Italian Stallion double shot was yummy too. Wish I had snapped a few photos of the inside-- so cool!

 Night time reflections
 ummm yes! definitely on lake time! 

 live music. I wasn't super impressed. I rode by to meet Mama at a shop a block up the street and when
I came back several minutes later he was still singing the same words. He didn't even have an outstanding voice! But the restaurant location was really cool-- perfect ambiance. 
 Looking from downtown Petoskey over Bayfront Park and the Bay

 Petoskey Marina

 Hangin' out on the bay {makes me think of the song, "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay"} with Elisabeth, Abigail and Johann one night.

 The baseball field was right on the water!! 

 Another gorgeous marina sunset
 I rode this bike everywhere all week! It was p.e.r.f.e.c.t!! 
 Very last sunset. It was *stunning*

 Ellyn and I woke up really early the day we left to have one last bike ride around Petoskey
 Ignatius Petoskey keeping watch over the bay

And lastly a shot of our house-- we spent the majority of our time (when we were at the house) on the front porch. We'd wake up and individually fix our coffee/tea/breakfast and take it to the porch to start our day before going down to the rocks or on another bike ride. All meals were eaten there-- I don't think we even realized what the dining room was for! haha And then we'd always end our days there.... cradling our mugs of coffee or tea while we read, had Bible time, talked or simply sat there listening to the neighbors opera music. Those times were some of the best because they were pure relaxation:)

Be on the lookout for the next posts about this vacation!

29 August 2011

altered : vintage cocktail dress

I found this little 50's cocktail dress at a thrift shop in Ohio with my Grandma this summer. The price tag? $5!! Oh, I was so excited about it I practically squealed right there in the store!!
But then when I tried it on, it wouldn't completely zip up in the back! boohoo!!

 Well, no matter.  I was not going to leave that baby on the rack for just $5 so I bought it anyway. 
 There was very little excess fabric near the seams that could be "let out" to give just the two inches of space I needed up the back... but I thought something could be done somehow to alter it.  As I got thinking about it though, I realized that if I tried to alter it, I'd be certain to ruin it! So when Daddy left for TN the day after I got back from Ohio, I sent it with him to pass along to Eleanna. Thankfully she was totally okay with a dress coming at her out of the blue!

{She mailed it back in time for me to wear to the Indy Roof Dance!!}

When I unrolled the dress and took a peek at the seams, I must admit I was slightly skeptical! The only sign of any alteration was a tiny strip of added fabric around the waistband. "Did she forget that I needed  it let out around the torso, not the waist?" I wondered. But as I stepped into the dress and pulled it up, it zipped up simply perfectly! I.was.in.AWE! Eleanna was such an amazing seamstress that she could alter something and it *not look* altered!! wow! 
So here's to best friends and altering vintage dresses!

 The dress has an amazing twirl factor!!

{thanks to Daddy for the photos}

28 August 2011

Upcycled T-shirt Scarves

edit: Somehow I completely missed posting this and it's been sitting in my drafts for weeks now!! So sorry!

Have you seen those upcycled string t-shirt scarves in boutiques and such?! Well I kept seeing them and each time they were priced at $25+ which automatically made me think, "I can make one myself!". Funny how certain price tags automatically make me think that;) Eleanna was in town for our grad party and one Sunday afternoon while watching Psych with Ellyn and Mary we tried our hand at making them. 'Course, being who we are, we didn't exactly look up directions first so our first attempts  had quirks... her's turning out much better than mine. But we learned as we went and it was fun to see what we could come up with:)

And I'm sure y'alls will turn out much better than my first attempt since you're obviously smarter than me and look up directions! haha
I'm sorry I don't have photos to go with the instructions so if you're having trouble with an area, just let me know!

You'll need:  at least one t-shirt {thin, stretchy cotton is best) | a good pair of scissors or a rotary blade
1} Lay the t-shirt flat, matching seams and spreading out wrinkles.
2} Cut off the body of the shirt, from the bottom of the armpits down
3}Now cut 1/2"-1" strips horizontally, keeping the seams intact
4} When you're finished cutting all of the strips, gently stretch each one (pulling the ends) until the fabric rolls
5} Now gather them together and if you wish, intertwine the strands a bit or use an extra strand to wrap around the gathered strands at the top to keep them together.

 My second attempt was much better than the first but I'm still working out a few quirks. These are so much fun because you can use plain or patterned t-shirts or mix and match t-shirts and use rosettes or brooches as accessories

My first attempt (since I didn't look up directions- go figure) went a bit awry and I ended up braiding the  fabric into a necklace.{above} Love how "oops's" turn out like that sometimes!
Want to add a little something to your finished scarf.... or just want to use the rest of the shirt scraps? Follow this rosette tutorial