Saturday, December 31, 2011

In with the new...

Dear Hearts & Crabs,
I am so sorry for neglecting you. Forgive me and let me give you a hug.
Love, Michelle

Seriously, I could spent a lot of time explaining why I have been so emo this last year, but I am so over it, I don't even want to spend a minute explaining moving on!

I'm not a "New Years Resolution" kind of gal. I don't make resolution lists very often and when I have, I definitely haven't kept them. I use New Years as a starting point but being a perfectionist, if I mess up by January 2nd, I usually throw the whole thing out the window. Yes, I need to work on this.

At the risk of sounding cliche, here is a list of quotes I hope to embrace in 2012...

First of all, the woman in the picture could be me. I am so out of control with my weight that it has reached the dangerous place where things just aren't working the way they should. I'm starting...and that's good enough.

I get so caught up sometimes with the big picture that I rarely see the trees through the forest. How true is this quote? I need to remember it.
I have found myself in a kind of solitude this last year as I found myself questioning much of what I thought made me who I am. My foundation has shifted in a good way but it's been uncomfortable and it's been lonely at times...but I know that in the end it will have been worth it.

A friend pinned this quote the other day (thanks Rachel) and I love it. I love to create and I want to give it more room in my life.

Man oh man. This is a hard one for me. I can apply it to so many areas of my life but I am really going to be challenged with this in my workplace. I left for Christmas break with some open-ended battles and while I don't know the outcome when I return...I know that I need to embrace this. It will be the thing which helps me maintain my sanity.

After I stopped laughing at this quote, I was like, "whoa." So true. I learned a huge lesson this year and this pretty much sums it up. I do not want to learn it again. So...if I don't like where I am...I will change it.

Living in a tiny little guest cottage, this could not be more necessary. It could also not be more difficult. I thought I purged when I moved, but have only found that I could do more. And I need to do more. And this helps guide my decisions. I've heard that Nate guys say the same thing and I like his it must work :)

I spend wayyyy to much time in my own head. Seriously. It must stop. Period.

I think this is the one that speaks to me the most. I have allowed these things to happen already so it's not a matter of not letting it happen's a matter of undoing what I've allowed. I have some work ahead of me and I embrace it.

So that's it....2011 is almost over and 2012 is almost here. My apologies that this may have gotten a tad bit heavy. I promise to get back to the fun stuff involving felt and glue guns and leave the emo Michelle to her journal.

Happy New Year!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Crafting with Leftovers

Is it just me or did October completely fly by? I barely had a chance to enjoy the Halloween season but I will not let this happen to November!

One of the down sides of living in a guest cottage is that I am at the back of the property and there isn't the opportunity to hand out candy to I spent last night going through my craft stash and finishing a project that I've been wanting to do for a while. One of my goals during this Christmas season is to use the enormous stash of crafty goods to make gifts for friends and family in an effort to keep this Christmas simple and enjoyable.

I decided to start early and make my November wreath with things I already had on hand. Whenever I see foam wreath forms at the Dollar Tree, I snatch them up...they are between $4 and $5 at Michaels so it's a good deal! I alread had a skein of brown yarn and plenty of fall folliage from previous years. I grabbed my glue gun and got to work.

Can I just be honest and say what a complete chore it was to wrap the wreath form in yarn? I have seen so many options in Pinterest and I chose to go with the clean, side-by-side wrapping technique and it took FOREVER!

Finally, about an hour and two whole episodes of Friends later, the wrapping was complete.
I added a few leaves, berries and a red/orange sunflowery looking thing and it was done! It now hangs in my entry way and I love it. Simple and it cost me can't get any better than that.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween and I look forward to a November full of crafts!

Partying it up in this link parties...

Made By You Monday on 'Skip To My Lou'

Monday, October 24, 2011

Calling All Crafters!

The only thing that I love more than crafting (family and friends excluded) is crafting for a cause. There are so many people in need all around us and if giving is a part of your life, then awesome...but if you're like many people and money is scarce, you can use your talents to help.

The Mitten Commitment is a call to action to all crafters who knit, crochet or sew. All it takes is some time, your talent and a whole lot of heart to craft a pair of mittens that will be donated to the Salvation Army and distributed to those in need this winter.

I have pledged to make 10 pairs of to join me?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cabinet Transformation

My mom, oh how I miss her. Seriously. Every single day I think of her and imagine conversations with her. She was my rock and even though life goes on and I've slowly learned how to live a life without her, I'm not sure there will ever be anything to fill that emptiness.

When she passed away, I struggled to let go of her things...I think I thought it would be like forgetting her. But I quickly learned that she was not in these "things" and whatever I kept, I wanted it to honor her. I kept a few pieces of furniture, some of her clothes that I want to turn into a pillow case someday and a few things here and there.

On any given Saturday morning you would find my mom driving from yard sale to yard was her thing. One day she came home with a curio cabinet. For years she wanted one but could never afford it. She dreamed of a place to keep her Hummels and knick knacks safely displayed and she was so happy to finally get one. It's one of the pieces that I held onto but wasn't exactly sure how I would ever fit it into my home. As much as I love my mom, I did not love her taste. My mom loved ornate, somewhat gawdy things. She loved rose patterned anything. And she loved, loved, loved heavy oak furniture. The pieces themselves were not bad, but the wood tones are just not my thing.

I wish I had a before picture, but just imagine the old 80's oak look...because that's what it was.

And now, it looks like this...

I removed the hardware cleaned the wood. I was going to spray paint it but decided to hand paint it to make sure I could get the details and I think it turned it out to be a good choice. I chose to line the back of the cabinet with a printed canvas that I picked up at Joanns a few weeks ago and I think it works well with the black. Overall, I'm very happy with it.

And I think my mom is looking down from heaven and smiling :)

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Home Love

So I'm about a week away from moving to my new place and I'm definitely feeling under the wire. As much as I've tried to be prepared, there is always something that I remember and think to myself, "will I ever get this done?" And of course, I know I will.

I am so far from an interior designer, but I've taken this new move as an opportunity to really build a home that will rise up to meet me at the end of a hard day. I have a friend and co-worker who has an awesome blog, Suite Revival. She uses pieces that are totally thrifted from her family or thrift stores and turns them into beautifully unique pieces of home. I have been inspired by her creativity and am thankful that it's rubbed off on me. I've come up with some ideas that I think work well in my small space and I look forward to seeing my ideas turn into reality.

I heart Nate Burkus. I've loved him long before he became Oprah's protoge and had his own show. I read an article where he talked about color choices and the writer shared this color palette:

And then I saw
these curtains at Urban Outfitters...and everything just started to come together after that. I'm liking grey more than the taupe at this point, but I think it still works. I still need to pull in the green.

The black cabinet is an example of one that I plan on refinishing. I inherited a cabinet just like this one from my mom and I have always wondered how I was going to use it and this seems like a good opportunity. I have a few more pieces that need to be worked into the space but it's a work in progress. The two fabric samples in the lower right corner are for either pillows or I may use one to add to the background of the cabinet to lighten up the black...not sure yet.

Overall, I like it and I am excited to see what happens. It will happen a little bit at a time, because I am on a tight budget but I think once it's done I will definitely enjoy the fruits of my labor!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


My poor blog. It has suffered for lack of attention lately. I owe it an apology.

In an attempt to make up for my lack of attention, I have a fresh new look for Hearts & Crabs. I have an amazing and talented colleague at work who insists on remaining anonymous...but she designed my new logo, my business cards and everything blog related. She did it from the goodness of her heart and I am so thankful. I hope y'all likey because I love it!

My lack of blogging is not for lack of inspiration because I have lists of goodies yet to be made. It is simply for lack of time and the reality that my world has been consumed with finding a new home. I'll be honest, I'm picky. I'm not conscious of it, but I am. It also wasn't easy because I have high expectations and sometimes have caviar dreams on a hot dog budget. I have to admit that a part of me enjoyed the search but that enjoyment wavered as my move date crept closer and closer.

June 1st is my moving day and I am happy to report that I have found a home. I visited the property on Friday, made the decision Saturday morning and informed the owner before the end of the day, knowing that they had other possible tenants viewing the property all weekend. I had chosen my home, but would my home choose me? Well, they did and I am excited for the next steps.

I'll share more as I progress through the moving process, thus the picture above. I cannot wait to get back to crafting, but for now, my life is packing, sorting, organizing and moving and I figure, why not share the process with you. My new place is a blank slate and I look forward to making it my own. A designer...I am not. But the blog world is full of inspiration and tutorials and I look forward to making building my little nest.

On a side note...can you believe it's May already? geesh.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow - Proverb

It is spring in Southern wouldn't know it by the crazy amount of rain that we've had lately but this week we will finally break into the 80's and it's going to be beautiful. With the change of seasons, comes so many things that I, gardening, bike rides. It's a very poingnant time of change, because my life seems to be in a season of change as well...but then again, when isn't life such a place. My home, my little cottage that I have grown to love and cherish, is being sold so I must find a new home. At first I was disappointed, because I am not a fan of the unexpected, but the disappointment quickly faded and turned into an unexplainable excitement. I am really taking the time to sit and evaluate my life, my finances and my choices. I am looking for a place to live for a few years while I put some 'Dave Ramsey' advice into action...and ultimately look forward to being debt-free.

Spiritually, I am in a time of personal renaissance. I had been experiencing what I defined as a "faith crisis" for several years and was at a loss for words to articulate what was going on inwardly. I knew that God and I were good...but for some reason, my heart remained unsettled. I realized through lots of prayer, while reading and studying scripture...that my problem never was with God...but with certain beliefs about God. Separating what I've been taught, from what I know and believe. Finding comfort in the "I don't know"s and erring on the side of grace and love until I do know. Accepting that I may never know "for sure" and leaving that in God's hands. I have grown closer to Him as I've come to know who He is...and who He isn't. Establishing my personal theology has been tough, but the rewards are so liberating. I no longer carry the burden of trying to prove that I'm a Christian to myself or others. I am accepted and loved and want to offer that to others.

As I look forward to new things and new opportunities, I am so thankful. I can sit and list so many things that I'd like to change or that I think God should change...but truthfully the list of blessings in my life are so much longer. My relationships with family have healed and are growing. My friends continue to be pillars of strength for me and a constant source of laughter and love that truly mends my soul. My son is healthy and growing into the man he is meant to be. Sigh. My face carries a smile today.

Moving on...

In other news, I spent some time crafting last night and made a cute little Easter pin....the picture is horrible but I think you get the jist...'s a bunny butt :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My personal Lent

This has nothing to do with crafts but it has everything to do with me so please amuse me and allow me to digress from my creativity for a few minutes and share something close to my heart. I'm sure you know that today marks the beginning of Lent and I am humbled to participate.

Lent has never really a part of my life, which is odd considering I grew up in church, but because it tends to be more of a tradition in other denominations than the evangelical one I grew up in, it just wasn't really an observance in my family. As I get older and examine my heart and lean into Jesus Christ more and more, I have come to question and define my own personal theology and discover who God is...and who He isn't...and the difference between what I've been taught and what I truly believe.

For me Lent isn't a Catholic thing...or a Lutheran's a Jesus thing. It's about prayer, self-denial, sacrificing and remembering Jesus Christ, His life and His crucifixion. It's not about doing it because of works...or not doing it out of's a choice that I've consciously made and encourage you to pray and ask God about what it means to you, if anything.

Not unlike most people, my life has been hit hard lately. Finances, family, work...these are all things that have worried me, kept me up at night and divided my attention. My personal prayer time has been intimate and beautiful and spiritually, I am in a good place. But outside of that time, I have been anxious and frazzled. It's not how I've wanted things to be, but it's just the truth of what it is. I have no desire to pretend that all is ok...and I am "giving it to God" and feel this peace. Sometimes I have peace, sometimes I don't. Just the truth.

The other evening, I was sleeping and woke up around 4 in the morning. I was instantly hit with such a profound sense of gratitude for really simple things. I got up and got a drink of water and was moved to tears that I was blessed enough to do that. I turned on a light and was reminded how that alone is such a gift. I climbed back into my warm, snuggly bed and thanked God that I had a roof, a bed and a home that is mine. It seems simple, but it was profound for me and it outlined my focus in my observance of Lent.

There are things that I've chosen to "give up" for Lent. There is a choice that I am making to focus my time and energy on prayer and time with God. I am conscious of the life of Jesus Christ and the time leading up to His crucifixion. And probably, most importantly, I am putting my focus on things, people, situations, issues....and offering this time as a sacrifice to Jesus Christ. There are two causes that I am supporting with prayer and time during this 40 days:

40 Days of Water and 40 Days for Life.

Please take a few minutes and visit each, or maybe ask yourself where your heart lies. It doesn't have to be these two...but I know it lies somewhere. What is your testimony? Where did God bring you from? What are you asking for now? Take that issue or concern outside of yourself and find a person or an organization that you can sacrifice for. It can be time, or it can be money, or it can prayer....there's always something to give.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Random Cool Finds

So every once in a while, I explore the wonderful world wide web and find things that either make me wonder what people are thinking...or they make me wonder why that was never thought of before. These are a few of those finds...

1. Locker Decor

Are you freaking kidding me? Do you know how much happier this would have made my high school days???? Do you see the mini chandelier? Do you see the shag rug???? I'd be all over that green polka dots! Check it out here...

2. These are random and weird and I found them while reading Bakerella this week. They are plush dolls of body organs (insert crickets), (awkward pause). While I know a few people who I can give the black heart to for Christmas...I'm not sure who would enjoy the ovary or uterus plush...or God forbid, the Mammary - Gland of Milk & Honey??? I can't stop laughing...and on a side note. I better not see one under the Christmas tree. Not kidding. Browse the wonderful world of organs here.

3. By far, one of the coolest things EVER! It's a kit of paper, that you put together to create this uber cool park scene. I want it and I must have it. Like now. They have many, many more options...take a gander and make a list of your favorites here!

4. Have you ever visited Funny, strange and random cool things. There are several people who need a tall glass of water with a chill pill...just sayin. This is hilarious.

5. Too funny...and very clever. Another website worth a small tour of your
6. Did you see "Up"? Did you bawl like a baby and use a whole box of tissue like me? I seriously love this movie and I seriously want a house with a huge bunch of balloons at my disposal for easy travel options. Disney has this cool printable on their website...and I heart it!

That's all folks....Happy Friday :)

Crafting is my therapy…it’s what quiets my thoughts and eases my mind. So why do I find it so hard sometimes to just sit down and enjoy some time to myself? Life has been so up and down lately. There’s lots going on in my family, lots going on in my head, lots going on with my health. But life isn’t going anywhere so I am learning to make “me time” a priority, despite the circumstances.

A good friend of mine bought me this creativity journal….and I spent lots of time this week just getting things out of my head and onto paper. I am working on some gifts for a Facebook “pay it forward” challenge I took in January and would love to start getting some gifts out…and then moving on to a special project that I’m working on for a couple of friends who have birthdays in April.

Sometimes you gotta create what you want to be a part of – Geri Weitzman

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Never too late for love...

I spent some time last weekend, pulling together pictures of Valentine's Day, getting ready to post a blog and then it happened. I reached for a glass of water, took a sip...and felt a slight tingle in the back of my throat. If I had only known what was next....sigh.

If you've ever had strep throat, my heart goes out to you. I'm not the dramatic type and I'm usually the kind of girl who has to be forced to see a doctor, but I have to honestly say, short of childbirth, I can't remember having to endure such horrible pain with no end in sight and nothing to take it away. If you've never had it, get on your knees and thank the Good Lord...and then stay on your knees and pray that you never do. Any research and energy that our government puts into biological warfare should be stopped immediately. Strep throat...that's all we need. The strain that I had will stop any enemy in their tracks and they won't even begin to feel a tad bit better for more than 4 days.

Ok....enough of that...just wanted to explain my lack of posts when in my heart I really, really wanted to :)

Valentine's Day came and went without much fanfare but that does not mean that it was not thoroughly enjoyed by myself. I always hear people talking about how hard Valentine's Day is for single people and I just don't get it. I absolutely love, love, love Valentine's Day. I enjoy lavishing some love on the people in my life. I love watching people love each other. I love spending time with my friends and giving them gifts that make them feel loved. Are you feeling the love?

Here's a few highlights from my V-day.....

I did lots of Valentine's Day crafting, but took few pictures of what I was making. I know, big sad face, but I wanted to make sure they were done on time so I lost track of what I was doing and was bummed when I realized I had no pictures. I did snap one of this little frame I pulled together. I had some glitter scrapbooking letters, some pink paper and a frame from the 99 cent store (actually 3 frames for 99 cents) and thought it was a simple little piece of decor for my living room. I felt it needed something more so I grabbed a few fabric scraps and made a few rosettes and glued them to the bottom corner and was very pleased with the final product. Simple, inexpensive but so cute. I heart it.

As a single gal, I'm not one of the girls at the office who gets flowers delivered so I bought myself some roses and a few daisies. They made me smile every time I saw them. Dear Michelle, I love you. Love, Michelle

The absolute love of my life is my son Adam. He's a fairly simple boy to make happy. He loves my homemade salsa so I made him his own batch, wrote him a card, threw in some chocolate and he felt the love.

Whether there are boyfriends in the picture or not, my girlfriends and I have a tradition of getting together to celebrate Valentine's Day and lavishing each other with gifts...this year was no exception. From a love monkey and Edward Cullen conversation hearts and sparkling dietary supplements and giant Reeses Peanut Butter Hearts...the love was not lacking at our table. The lucky patrons of PF Changs heart our laughter, watched us open gifts and witnessed us eat massive amounts of awesome food. It was one of the best years we've ever had and I will never forget it.

So here's to another year of celebrating who we love and why we love them. And may you always have love, laughter, and tiny, naked, glass men hanging from your water glass. Yes, that was another gift from the girls :) Seriously, what's Valentine's Day without them???

I love you all <3>

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I heart Target

Who says Valentine's Day decor for your home has to come from Pier One or Pottery Barn...not in my house. Finances are hard on everyone but that doesn't mean you can't bling out your house a little bit to celebrate the loves in your life. Being a single gal, the loves in my life are my family, my friends and my cat...but don't is love after all. (stop laughing)

When you first walk into a Target, don't rush past the dollar bins. They are seriously my favorite part of the store. Yes there are the lame dollar gifts, but on every trip, I tend to find at least one treasure that makes me smile. These little "I heart U" milk jugs were $2.50 and they were the last ones in the bin. I snatched them up and knew immediately what I wanted to do with them!

I have a ton of felt scraps at home and used some red and pink to cut out a few circles. They don't have to be perfect, just freehand cut in a circle. Once you have a circle, start on the outside and cut a spiral circle toward the center. The arrows show where I started and stopped cutting. Again, it doesn't have to be perfect. It's just you and the felt :)

After cutting the circle, I apparently lost my mind because I thought to myself..."what about making a video about the rest of this?" Seriously, me on video is a nightmare but I did it. Please excuse the poor lighting. Please excuse the sound of Dr. Phil in the background. Just focus on the craft and enjoy yourself. Life is short.

I made two roses in red and one in pink. I had some cloth covered stem wire and cut 3 six-inch pieces. I pushed the stem into the bottom of the rose, put one in each vase and there you have it. Valentine's Day decor for less than $3. There's nothing I love more than a it's kind of appropriate. They will spend their time on my to "The Shack" which gave me a different perspective on God's love and changed my heart....and "How to Know if Someone is Worth Dating in Two Dates or Less"...the book that probably explains why I'm single.

Go ahead, you can laugh at me on that one

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Johnny Nash said it best....

What can I say... it has been a while since I've posted anything and that just makes me sad. So sad that I've been gun-shy on how to get started again. Tonight, I figured the best things to do is to just do it. Open my blog and start writing.

I don't know how to explain in words what the last few months have been, but I can say that it felt like a huge rain cloud, with accompanying fog, settling in around me slowly and I didn't even realize it. I'm not sure when it started but I became aware of it slowly as well. I decorated for Christmas, but not my normal, over-the-top, decor. I celebrated Christmas, but quietly and with family. I turned 40, and if my friends hadn't planned an amazing surprise birthday party, I was ready to let that slip by quietly as well. It was part depression, part reflection and part confusion. I'm not sure why exactly but I'm sure some contributing factors were the anniversary of my mom's death, unhappiness with certain parts of my life and family drama.

Regardless... the fog has lifted, the sun is shining, and I am renewed. Not because my problems have disappeared but because my perspective has shifted. I learned some things about myself, my life and my God. I am a work in progress and ready to start the engine again.

I read this quote and loved it... and was immediately hit by how I had been living myself. It struck a cord and I have not forgotten it and live in awareness of the fear that has held me back. But no more. Simply no more. Happy New Year to me.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

~Marianne Williamson