Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January to February

Last day of January already? Where has the month gone?  The 2012 train is rolling and there isn't any stopping it.

I devoted a good portion of January into transporting and learning how to use my new sewing machine. I love it and can't really go a day without sewing something. Brandon has been on a couple work trips and hunting quite a bit. Today is the last day of the season so my hubby will be home again! Our fun date this month was to the Blake Shelton concert in Columbus, GA. Amazing!! I'll get to a full recap with photos soon. January has been good to us.

There is SO much to look forward to in February. My main goal is to have new items in my storenvy shop. I've been thinking about whether I should do this or not. Then if I could.  I have no reason not to. Brandon starts work again and so will I. I'm still working on the details and the products I want to offer and then the business-y side of things. It's fun for me and I'm taking it slow this time so that this is something that can last and grow! I hate to admit it but this hasn't been the case in the past. I tend to rush into things before thinking and planning for them. Then there is finding balance between the blog and shop and my focus may be more on the shop this month than the blog. I'll do my best to share this journey with you.

Here is a tiny preview of something I've been working on. If you follow me on  Instagram @larnlevydickson then you will probably get frequent sneak peeks.

Don't forget - giveaway ends tonight at 10 p.m. Excited to see who the lucky winner is. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Living With a Woman

It is highly unlikely my husband will ever make his blogging debut here. This post is written by me and my husband has not said any of the following. This is just what I would imagine he might say. I also think he will laugh when he reads it, at least I hope so. 

There are so many differences around the house when you live with a woman. I love my wife to death but there is definitely a presence of a female here.

There are hair ties and bobby pins everywhere. Bottles of nail polish are on the coffee table.There is hair all over the bathroom and cords from multiple hair styling tools. I have no clue what half the bottles are that cover our bathroom counter. Good thing I don't have mess issues because I would flip just looking at our dining room table. Her latest gig, sewing, has taken over. I love seeing what she can come up with it's cool. It's okay though, I know the mess will drive her nuts before me and it will get cleaned up. I could probably do with a little less 'stuff' everywhere but I'm such a laid back guy it doesn't bother me. 

I reckon she is pretty awesome to have around. I don't have to move from the couch to get a refill or a late night milkshake. She warns me when she is about to sew letting me know I probably need to turn up the TV which is normally on Animal Planet or The Discovery Channel. She hasn't asked me for clothing advice to much thankfully. I probably have asked her opinion more than she has mine. The everyday tasks are more enjoyable when they are shared between two people.

I have to give her LOTS of credit because my camouflage has not been replaced. Has she told you about our camo? NO! She will love me for telling ya'll. I love my camo and she knows it and I love that she lets me love it. We I have a camouflage recliner, (holla where I'm blogging from) curtains on almost all the windows, shower curtain, and bedspread. I also have a camo ipad cover, duffle bag(s), toiletry bag, and of course my hunting gear. I pulled a tiny stunt at our wedding and got all my groomsmen camo shoes to wear. She was okay with it thankfully. My wedding ring is camo. Hi, my name is Brandon and I'm addicted to camouflage. She sometimes threatens to accidentally ruin the camo decor, but I know she never could. I also know that when the time comes and we build a house, the camouflage will be restricted to one room of the house, and one room only. 

By the way, thanks darlin for letting the camo stay. We are a good team. I thoroughly enjoy having someone to share this home with and look forward to all the years to come.


That's love huh? He really does love his camo and it's slooooowly growing on me. I don't love it, but I don't hate it. We don't live here full time and if we did I know  we would do a little bit of switching up. Until then, we'll enjoy our little camo casa.

Don't forget to enter the mystery giveaway

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Two Years & A Giveaway!

Congratulations Michelle. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy your goodies! 

Winner was chosen via Random.org 

Time flies when you're having fun blogging! 

I've been writing this blog for two whole years. So much has changed since then her on the blog. I've changed names several times, oops probably not the best idea. I've designed my own layout and icons. (Still needing help with feedburner if anyone is knowledgeable). I've made some excellent blogging friends that I feel like I've met them. I have posted about a larger variety of topics including wedding planning, recipes, moving, Brandon's career, and more. It's been fun!!

When I started blogging I wasn't concerned with photos and presentation or even my writing style. As I've grown, and this blog has grown, these things have developed and become a passion of mine. I enjoy taking pictures of EVERYTHING, then try to hide it, and still get weird looks from the mr. I'm sure we'll be getting over that soon. I know I'll enjoy every picture I take even if its just of my shoes, fabric swatch, or him sleeping. HeHe. 

I love sharing our life with you, mostly the highlights and the crafty parts but I've stared sharing some of the knitty gritty. Lessons in marriage. Loss. Genetics or lack there of. I'm slowly starting to open up more and more. I'm looking forward to many more years of writing and sharing. 

I love to document our life and the changes we are going through. In just a few short weeks we will be packing up, again, and heading south to Florida for spring training. This will be BRAND NEW to me and I can't wait. Then the season begins and that too will be a new experience for us. Of course I'll do my best to keep you up to date about all of it!

If you're new to Lauren Darlings I can't do a full recap of the last two years but my highlights of 2011 is a good place to start. It captures some of my favorite posts and projects and a little bit about who am I and why I blog. I also encourage you to start a blog too. It's a great online diary of life and a good way to remember important memories and milestones in life.

Now for the giveaway portion of the post. YIPPIE!! As a thank you to my new and old readers I'd like to giveaway something special. This beautiful cosmetic bag made by yours truly. Isn't that fabric dreamy? I have a major crush on it. But..... that's not all. Inside will be some goodies and you won't know what they are until you win. I promise they will be good!  I do appreciate all the sweet comments and support along the way - THANK YOU!

bag measures 10x5

To enter this mystery giveaway you must be a follower of Lauren Darlings and leave me a comment about whatever your lil heart desires.

For extra entries: (make sure you comment for each extra...)

Follow @larnlevy on Twitter
Like Lauren Darlings via Facebook
Tweet about this mystery giveaway

Giveaway ends this SUNDAY January 29 at midnight. 
Thanks again for reading - you all are the best!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ten Reasons...

Ten reasons dishes end up in the sink not the dishwasher.

10. Don't own a dishwasher.
9. The house design is awful and dishwasher is on other side of kitchen.
8. Major refrigerator purge that requires soaking of all leftover containers for at least an hour.
7. Gives your spouse a chance to get out of the doghouse.
6. To use as a barter in swapping chores with your spouse.
5. In a food coma from an amazing meal.
4. Running late.
3. Let spouse earn brownie points.
2. Everyone else is doing it.
1. You're lazy.

I'll admit it. I had a huge sink full of dirty dishes tonight. I blame it on reasons 8 and 1. As a matter of fact we often go to sleep with a few dishes in our sink. Shocker right? I don't need an excuse for having dirty dishes. WE ALL DO. Yes it's okay to leave them every now and then even for a couple days. Although I am not the best at putting the dishes straight into the dishwasher, I married someone who is.  It is a blessing to have dirty dishes. Dirty dishes means meals eaten, which means food on the table which means happy hubby. 

I find myself hating the sink full of dishes or baskets of clean laundry. They will get washed and laundry will get put away. Sometimes there are more important things to do. One thing I know, I'll never look back on my life and say I should have folded that laundry sooner or made sure my sink was always clean. Think about it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Big Secret Dream

I wrote this post yesterday, then I found out our internet was out. As I read through it today I didn't have near the excitement and almost didn't want to post it. Enjoy. 

Lately, I have had the 'I can do anything I put my mind to' mindset. This is a great feeling. Have you had it? You think up an idea that is genius and start brainstorming. Too soon your discovering all the road blocks, speed bumps, and hurdles that you will have to go through, over, and around to achieve that brilliant unfailing idea. 

Then you let it fade away. This can be a vicious cycle. I've been through it several times. 
Although there is one idea  that I keep coming back to. The mind game starts again. This could work, this could work, wait THIS COULD WORK?  I figure what the heck lets jot this down on paper  or blog post and see how crazy this idea sounds in a day or two.  

I want to own a little shop. A boutique.  

I think I've wanted this for at least a year and a half, maybe even before I decided to start my wee lil ol' blog here. And I could make this happen. Ah ha there's that mindset I was talking about.  Let me tell you a little about my shop. Cue imagination sound bit.

I'd choose a location that looks something like this.  Old fashioned, but renovated. 

Inside would be a sea of vintage, rustic, and whimsy all in one. There would be old furniture pieces covered with baskets of sewn goodies like cosmetic bags, pouches, purses. There would be shelves with my signs or signs ready to be painted and personalized for you. There will be baby onesies, blankets, diaper cloths ,bibs, etc. This will be the place to get your one of a kind baby shower or wedding gifts.

I would have old apothecary jars with candy and sweets. I would always have fresh coffee,teas, or hot cocoa available, Keurig style. The background music would be Pandora set to the station of Adele. There would be a chalk board wall and play area to occupy the more adventurous children (ones who want to touch everything). 

Then I'd ask several family and friends to help me get this going. In no particular order:

My good friend Renner. Her real name is Stefany but I never call her that. We have teased about opening up a store together called Craft Baked. I'd have the craft side and she would do the baking. I wish she could bring me some mini cupcakes NOW. So it's actually been longer than two years I've talked about it because when we worked together in '09 we emailed about it. Anyway, she wanted to open our store in Manhattan that always freaked me out. Uh.. cha-ching much? She will be there to help with my business plan, I hope. 

My sister. She would hopefully do all of our designing. Business cards, signs, fliers, promotions. She is amazing with that stuff. I want to learn BUT I always love that I can rely on her when I need something like that and then I can be working on other things.  She can help pick out paint colors and do our space planning  along with be a tester for new products aka free stuff.

My mom. Only if she promises NOT to bring the entire basement with her. I would love for her to have a place she can display some of her work. She does custom embroidery so she could also design any shirts for the boutique employees. People would be able to place and pick up orders at the boutique as well.

My friend and old boss. She worked in retail for 16 years and recently decided to leave her job. We also tease about having a boutique for fun accessories, bags, kids and baby things. She would be the one in charge of displays and merchandising and all that fun stuff. It has also been a dream of hers to own her own boutique.. I would need someone to run the place especially since home would be somewhere different during the off season or even the season for that matter. She would be perfect.

My best friend's mom. I've written about her before and she would also be a HUGE help in getting the show room set up. She has such a knack for finding and refinishing a vintage piece and that's the feel I'd be going for. 

Then I have THREE accountant friends I could rely on to help with financial side of this whole project. 

Being in a community online of handmade crafters I would reach out to them to see if they would like to stock items in the boutique. 

It's hard to have a dream of a brick and mortar store when our future location is always so up in the air. I know there will be time after Brandon's career when we won't be traveling and then this might be the time chase that dream full on. Guess I better start board for pinning future store ideas. 


Ah well.... A girl can dream for now.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lined Zipper Pouch

Ok please refrain from throwing anything at me. You might hate me after this post. I tried to warn you with my brain wiring post that sewing is coming pretty easy to me. With that said, here is my lined zipper pouch. I din't have fusible interfacing but that's nothing an easy trip to the store can't fix. It's not perfect, trust me and I have photos to prove it if you must see. I'm trying to keep in positive over here and not be my worst critique for once.  


Brain Wiring

Brandon and I have an inside joke. I'm bad at math. Anytime he asks me a question whether related to math or not, I'll blurt out, "I don't know, I'm bad at math." Honestly, I'm not though and it's no longer an inside joke. I've just given some really dumb answers to some really simple questions. Brain farts. We all get them. I do prefer a calculator though.

Math was probably my favorite subject ironically. With math there is usually one answer. It's black and white. Now there are several ways to get to that answer, but still, its one answer. 

Chemistry wasn't my best. I was always afraid of accidentally making an explosive device by combining the wrong chemicals. It was cool to see what things created, but the danger scared me off.

When it comes to English, well I just ain't good at it. I always got confused when we studied the parts of a sentence. Subject predicate blah blah. I love to write now for fun. Because no one, at least to my knowledge, prints out my blog posts and corrects them with a red ink pen. Oh I can feel the haunting now, my 9th grade english teacher was SO hard, but man I wished I would have paid more attention. 

I got bored with History and as they say it will repeat itself, I should have paid attention more in that class too but.. boring to this girl.

I'm just not a school person. Even in college I had very few classes that excited me. What did excite me was skipping class! I could have gotten an A in that subject. Skipping. Just thinking about it makes me smile. I couldn't help it. I was either a few minutes tardy which for me automatically meant I couldn't show up. Or I would be walking into the building where my class was and go right to the computer lab to kill time. Even after I drove 15 minutes to campus. Luckily I wasn't the avid blog reader/writer that I am today or I may would have failed out. 

I wonder how come I never ended up in any art classes or graphic design. What would I be doing differently today if my degree hadn't been in Marketing?

As I've sat at my sewing machine the last few nights, figuring out patterns with ease, I feel silly by how natural it feels. Just like dancing and coordination. How come my mind works so at ease with these types of activities but give me Algebra and a paper to write and I want to go CRAZY! Maybe for you you'd love the assignment of a paper or test but the idea of hot glue and glitter gives you the heeby jeebies. 

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Glad I'm figuring out how my brain is wired before it's to late. That's all, thanks for listening.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Semi Fail

As promised.. my first semi fail.
See I found this adorable bag on Pinterest - duh where else - and knew I had to try it.

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Now that I have a sewing machine I decided what better way to start than with something I've admired from afar that looks relatively simple. I can read and follow directions so I didn't think this would be too difficult and it wasn't. I started this project knowing it wouldn't be perfect but just to figure out what my weaknesses and strengths are. Now I said I could follow directions I just chose to skip some on purpose. I knew from the beginning I didn't have intentions of this pouch actually being of any use. 

  • I used the wrong color thread. Not really a big deal on practice items.
  • I skipped the lining process. Again..no big deal I chose to save this for later lesson.
  • I  didn't have velcro or a flex frame to actually close the bag - skipped it. 
  • The whole project turned out smaller than I thought. I can adjust im the future to make bigger.
  • My peek-a-boos (pleats) turned out pretty good, will definitely try again.

I learned those lessons that's the best part about this. I wasn't even bummed that it didn't turn out perfect. Sometimes you learn more from the semi fails. I skipped the lining because I wasn't 100% sure how to do it. I've since done lots of research online and now found resources so I know how to line a pouch.Tonight I will be attempting just that - a lined zipper pouch - for my cosmetics. Wish me luck.

Ps. That IS my favorite nail color ever -- Geranium by Essie. If they every discontinue it, I'll be crushed!

Carry On

I'm sure you were wondering how to transport a sewing machine if you aren't traveling by land. 

First, there is the option of shipping it and waiting an extra long few days for the already highly anticipated new gadget.

Secondly, there is checking it with other luggage on an aircraft. Um fragile!?

Third (and also counting for an arm workout), - carry that bad boy on!
And carry it on I did. Can't say I've ever had that many people staring at me walking through the airport but I'm sure i wasn't the first to do it. 

I was worried that it wasn't going to fit in the overhead compartment. I called the customer service number to see what my best option was. They didn't seem concerned that it wasn't going to fit, but I wasn't convinced. Not until we landed back in Alabama. It made it, it's set up, and sewing. Traveling can be stressful as it is but way to go me for throwing another element into the equation. 

Later on I'll tell you about my latest sewing project. It wasn't a total fail but an excellent learning experience. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Love Affair and Treat Sacks

I never told you how our first date ended. 
Well we are madly in love. 
And we will be heading home tomorrow..arm in arm. 

I was ready to sew instantly and sew I did. Haha.
My mom was taught to sew on old flour sacks.
Sure enough, I learned the same way. 
I hemmed all four edges and it was a little rough.
But the practice was good and I can tell my kids someday how I was taught, just like her.

I wanted something harder, more of a challenge.
An apron. I watched mostly but did sew several of the pieces together. 
It became a bit tricky so I let mom finish it & don't consider this my first project.
Then I lowered my expectations just a tad.

I started a project on my own and I'm a  little extremely excited about them.
I hit the fabric store to pick out something new.
I found myself touching every bolt of fabric in sight. 
I can see this being a problem in the future. I wanted it ALL.

I settled for a turquoise, pink plaid, and some muslin. 
I whipped up these adorable reusable treat sacks.

These bags will be perfect for Valentine's Day coming up and every other holiday.
Fill them up with you favorite sweet treats! 

It feels SO good to have made a project on my own! 
So simple and adorable. 

Linkin' up with I {heart} Naptime's Sundae Scoop and Tatertots & Jello

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tag - I'm It.

It's going around in bloggy town. 
I've been tagged by Katie
I didn't know I'd signed up to play tag but I'm up for it.

The Rules
1. You must post the rules. (and then break or create your own) 
2. Post eleven fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create eleven how ever many new questions to ask the people you've tagged.
4. Tag eleven a few other people and link them on your post
5. Let them know you've tagged them! 

Because SO many people have already been tagged I'm throwing out some of the rules.

My Questions from Katie:

{1.} If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?
Hawaii was my first thought. 
{2.} Why did you start your blog?
I was scrapbooking and wanted to put some of my cards and craft projects I've made online.
They were paper shoes and dresses go check them out from almost TWO years ago.
{3.} Who is your favorite Disney Character?
Tiana from The Princess and the Frog - cause she chases her dreams and makes them happen.
{4.} What's your biggest pet peeve?
Used to be when toilet paper came from the underneath side. 
{5.} How many pets do you have?
Me and the Mr.... none together. Both our families have dogs and cats.
{6.} What is your favorite feature about yourself?
I take pride in my finger nails. Also very thankful for my straight teeth and smile.
{7.} Favorite color?
I love all colors. Red, navy, purple are top favorites.
{8.} Would you rather go to the zoo or the aquarium?
Aquarium, it seems romantic.
{9.} Favorite ice cream flavor?
I love the basics. Vanilla. Chocolate. Cookie dough. Cookies and Cream. Dip'N'Dots. Moose Tracks.
{10.} Your roommate/spouse calls because your house is burning down. They have time to grab 2 things for you. What are they?
I hate thinking about this. I don't think I'd know if I'm panicked - just for HIM to get out of the house mostly. ALso I guess my laptop because I have so many photos and memories on this thing. I better back it up now just in case.
{11.} Favorite way to waste time?
Pinterest. Facebook. Twitter. I don't see that as wasting time though if I'm enjoying it.

Tag your it....

BLAIR @ Oh you know..
HANNAH @ Snitkerdoodle
KAREN @ Journalista
SARAH @ Pracht Party of 3
LAUREN @ boy loves girl

...and if you don't want to play I WON'T be offended. 

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ask some questions.

1. What is your go to snack this week.
2. If you had the whole week off what would you spend it doing?
3. What accomplishment are you the most proud of?
4. Favorite photo from 2011.
5. What are your guilty pleasure(s)?
6. What is something you wish you were better skilled to do?
7. Flats or heels?
8. If we hung out, what craft would you want to make together, if any?
9.  Favorite movie?
10. Are you doing something sweet for your Valentine this year?
 (I'm going totally cheesy by the way including lots of mushy stuff.) 


I'm not typically good with change but seasons I've always known. 
Now I live in Alabama where the seasons are not quite the same as Missouri's.
When we stepped off the plane on Thursday out into the fierce cold and snow flurries I was so excited. Finally winter. Anyways I'm over it after a while, like most but I do enjoy at least one snowfall and a very cold day or two. 
On those days I usually almost always daydream, at least once, about a hot hot summer day. Be honest, you know you do it too.



Spring arrives or doesn't depending on mother nature and if she fast forwards straight to summer. I love spring too. Fresh air and beautiful flowers.  Even the rainy days are not so bad.


Summers go by so quick. I spend many of these days at the ball park. I love the long evenings, sandals, and the pool on very hot days.


To settle down from the summer vacations Fall keeps us in check with the cooler weather, beautiful array of ever changing leaves, and routines of back-to-school. 

I don't have a favorite. I have favorites about each season but I love them all. 
Enjoying these cold temperatures made me thankful for the always changing unexpected weather we may have.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

First Date

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Today...I get my new sewing machine. I'm just going to warn you from here on out you will hopefully be seeing lots of sewing projects.

I always used to dread going into fabric stores with my mom. 
Not anymore. I guess deep down she did pass on her love of fabric.I know that she is SO excited and can't wait to see what I come up with.

I've been contemplating a sewing machine for quite some time. As our move to FL for a 
short 6 weeks approaches, I've decided I have to choose which craft stuff I will be toting along. Of course naturally you'd say ALL OF IT, but it won't fit and I won't stay organized. We have a small studio apartment and I don't feel right junking the thing up. Instead I'm gonna focus on learning something new that is more portable. 

I've been brainstorming projects and pinning things like crazy. I have high hopes and big ideas but these are semi long term goals.

I have been waiting for this all week and I'm ready for our first date. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

BCS Champions

Here's the dealy-o. 

I am a midwestern gal.
Graduate and Alum to the University of Missouri.

I married a southern boy.
Born and raised Alabama fan.

In Alabama you have to choose. 
When I moved here I remember that being the most common question I was asked.
"Are you an Alabama or Auburn fan?"
Neither - Mizzou (they had not a clue what Mizzou is) 

Until now..when the University of Missouri decided to join the SEC.
Suddenly my Mizzou apparel that used to go unnoticed is now noticed.

Now around the house he might sport his Mizzou shirt (kudos to my brothers for hooking him up)
I wear my Alabama shirt.

I'll cheer for the ol Crimson Tide. 
I'll be a good sport because I find it funny when my husband yells at the TV which doesn't happen often.
I do this because these southerners LIVE and DIE for their football. 
And because it makes him happy.
I even went to the trouble of decorating our mantle with the Tide's colors, this year. 
Next year I will find a way to incorporate some black and gold. 

Don't mind the stache, its covering a hole.

Congrats again to the Crimson Tide.
And to the state of Alabama for defending the title for the last three years. 

We already have HUGE plans for October 13. 
We will be at the Missouri/Alabama game.g
I will be wearing my black and gold
He will be wearing his crimson and white.
A household divided.