The Life of Jennifer Dawn: May 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Slumber Party Bundle: Sew a Tote and Pillowcase

Have you seen the Baby Bundle or the Naptime Bundle I made using flannel bundles from Raspberry Creek Fabrics? After having made a bundle of items perfect for babies and a bundle of naptime items ideal for toddlers/preschoolers, I decided it was time to make something for my BIG girl who will start kindergarten in the fall. That's when I came up with the Slumber Party Bundle! I love sewing things with the flannel bundles from Raspberry Creek, but for this handmade collection of sleepover essentials, I felt like cotton fabric would work best. Here's the cotton fabric bundle I used...
It's Riley Blake Designs "Madhuri" by the Quilted Fish. Isn't it gorgeous?! I love all of the collections that Raspberry Creek Fabrics carries. The pre-bundled fabrics are especially great for projects like these where coordinating fabrics are needed. The bundles really take the guesswork out of having to piece together different fabric designs yourself. Ready to complete the Slumber Party Bundle? Grab some fabric and let's get started...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fabric Love

I love to sew, and I have a great love for fabrics. The most common question I get asked when I share a sewing project is, "Where did you get your fabric?" Well, it's no secret that my favorite online shop for fabric is Raspberry Creek Fabrics!

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It's become my "go to" source. I always find what I need to complete a sewing project whether it be flannel, trims, or bundles of coordinating fabrics like these...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Little Ones...

A couple of weeks ago, Melissa of Simply Croft Photography did a family photo shoot for us. It's fascinating how a picture--a single moment in time--can capture so much life...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Trail Mix Station

My kids always love opportunities to prepare their own food. Do yours?

Recently I put together a Trail Mix Station for them to make a trail mix snack with the ingredients of their choice. Come take a look...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Happy Sunday

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Father's Day Gift Idea--Snack Bears from Party in a Jar

A fellow blogger has released a new book, and I'm delighted to be sharing it with you today! Vanessa of the blog See Vanessa Craft put together the amazing book Party in a Jar which features kid-friendly craft projects that all use jars.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Moon Sand: Sensory Dough Series

It's time for another installment of the 12 Months of Sensory Dough Series! Each month 11 fellow bloggers and I are sharing our playtime adventures with dough. Last month was Scented Dough.  This month we made Moon Sand!
My "take" throughout this dough series has been to keep the recipes simple with things that you already have handy at home. This recipe certainly sticks to that with only three ingredients...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Collage Craft for Kids

Here's a fun project I tried with the kids! They were each given a tray with card stock, glue, pom poms, paper punches and a few other craft materials. There were no guidelines...
Just an opportunity to make colorful collages. They loved it! Come see how it went...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea

Looking for a lovely and easy teacher appreciation gift? Here's a post I did for See Vanessa Craft that shows some cute ways for your child to tell their teacher, "Thanks for helping me grow!"

Happy gifting!
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Monday, May 12, 2014

Crafting with Kids: Decoupaged Flower Pots


Here is a fun craft for spring! For those who are a bit faint of heart when it comes to crafting with kids, this is an easy one with only a few materials necessary.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tears and Treasures

First, the story of this sweet child flooded across social media. Then I read about this.

And I cried.

Both stories weighing on my heart...
The enormity of having to say goodbye to your child...
Standing in the kitchen imagining the pain another mother's heart was feeling...
Bonded only by the love we have for our children...

I was standing at the kitchen counter heating up leftover spaghetti, and I just wept.
Lydia Grace asked, "Mommy, why are you crying?" I sat on the floor, put her hands in mine, and told her that mommy just loves her and Eli and Caleb so much. I embraced her and felt sweet Eli squeezing in between us to climb into my lap. I held my babies and cried. I cried for the lives of Ryan and Zoe--gone way too soon--and I cried at the mere thought of, "What if that were me?" "What if it were my children?"

How easily it could be...
My independent, strong-willed Lydia Grace has to be reminded repeatedly not to run across the street without mommy or daddy going with her. My sweet Caleb puts everything into his little mouth including his big sister's tiny toys. It could happen to anyone. You think it never will, but no one ever wants to imagine the unthinkable. That so easily could be us grieving the loss of one of our own children. It almost was me...

I wasn't sure I was ever going to share this story. This was all I could muster at the time. It was just too hard to think about what could have been but...

Before Caleb had even turned one, we came very close to losing him. I was gathering a load of laundry when I heard him. He was coughing, but something didn't sound right. Something sounded way too desperate in those coughs. I dropped the laundry and ran the short 10 feet from my bathroom to where he had been playing in his sissy's room. He met me right outside the door of her room. Crawling and coughing... He knew he was in trouble and had the amazing insight at such a tender age to get to me.

My ten-month-old was choking on something. Tim had heard him too and had already come running. I put my finger in his mouth and felt something hard and round lodged in his throat. I yelled for Tim to help me. He immediately grabbed Caleb while I ran to call for help. During the time I was on the phone, Tim yelled, "He's not breathing!" I audibly cried out, "Please, God, help my baby! Please, God, help him!" It was all I knew to do.


In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.
Psalm 18:6

Tim was desperately trying to do something--anything! I heard nothing the emergency dispatcher was saying to me over the phone. I couldn't focus on her words. All I could think about was the fact that my child wasn't breathing and help wasn't going to be able to get here in time. I stared down at my now lifeless child as he lay on his back and memories of the CPR training I had completed as a teen came flooding back to me. I yelled, "Tim, turn him over. DON'T lay him on his back! You have to flip him over to get it out! NOW!" As I was shouting the words, I found myself in a moment of panic running out the door in my pajamas to the neighbor across the street who is a police officer. I knew we needed help immediately. The whole time I kept praying for heavenly intervention. I kept praying for God's help and for a miracle. I rang the bell...

No answer...

Oh, God, please help my child! Please help us!

Just as I was turning away from the door, Tim came running out of the house carrying a now crying baby. Thank you, Jesus! He's crying! Tim was crying too and said, "When you yelled to turn him over, I remembered what to do. I remembered, and I got it out." I grabbed my sweet baby from his arms and just held him and sobbed. Walking back inside still holding Caleb, I saw the culprit sitting in a small amount of blood and spit on the floor. I saw what had almost taken my child from me...

It was the gas tank off a heavy metal truck that a relative had given the kids. The metal cylinder had broken off while he was playing with the toy. A toy that had been in his sister's room.

When the rescue workers arrived, they examined Caleb. I almost didn't want to hand him over. I had just gotten him back from the clutches of a nightmare. My sweet baby was a bit lethargic, but checked out just fine. We showed them the broken piece from the toy. One of them joked that I'd want to keep that as a souvenir. I wanted no part of it though. It wasn't even a toy I would have ever bought my children. I blamed myself thinking that I should have taken it away long ago despite it being a gift. It just wasn't an appropriate toy, and the piece that broke off almost cost my child his life.

Life is so fragile and precious. The frailty of it is scary. Try as I might, I can't protect them from everything. I'm often guilty of "helicoptering" over my children, and I still can't always protect them. Eli falls right in front of me and skins his knees. Lydia Grace darts into the road to retrieve toys just like Ryan did the day he died. God has entrusted these sweet babies into my care and sometimes the love and the fears I have for them are all-consuming. My mom said it best when she told me that sometimes all you can do is commit them into God's care. As the years pass, I will become more and more powerless to protect them as they begin to leave the nest. All I can do is coat them in prayer.

The prayers and cries of a mother's heart are beautiful things. Sometimes my heart's cry forms visible tears. I cry because the love I have for them is so overwhelming. I cry because I can't bear the thought of ever losing them. I cry because they are such precious gifts. I cry for moments I'll never get back. I cry for the future I want with them and for them.

So there I was in the floor crying...
And thanking the Lord for them once again...
Hugging them...
Praying for God to help me protect these gifts he's given me...
Committing them to his loving care...
While I get to hold them here on earth, all I can do is love them and cherish each and every moment.

For Ryan's sake...

For Zoe's sake...

Hug your kids a little tighter. Laugh with them a little more. Cherish each moment for the gift that it is. That is what I'm going to do. I'm sure that is what those sweet, grieving parents would do if they could have their children back with them on this side of heaven.

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 9:9

Much love!
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Happy Sunday

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Custom Wall Art from Artful Life Designs

Bluebird Cottage (The name I gave our home because I'm just sentimental like that.) has three bedrooms. Once upon a time Lydia Grace was in the nursery, and we used the third room as a craft room/office/guest bedroom. Right after finding out our sweet Eli's gender, we turned the house upside down to make room for our new baby boy. The nursery was boy-ized (I know that's not a word, but let's just go with it.) The craft room became a craft closet in another part of the house. Tim's man room was converted to a den/office/confused space to hold some of the things that were previously in the third bedroom...

AND Lydia Grace was moved into the third bedroom. It was a perfect space because the room had my old bedroom furniture (big girl furniture) and shabby chic decor ideal for our girl. Over the years, I've slowly tried to make the room suite Lydia Grace even better by adding new accessories and changing out the old decor. One day I want to do a complete room makeover, but until then I'll just keep sprucing it up a little at a time.

The newest addition to the room is this print from Artful Life Designs that I framed and hung on the wall. It's personalized with Lydia Grace's name which was very exciting for her. This Etsy shop was wonderful to work with in creating a piece that would be lovely for L. G.'s room. The print is a customized version of the Baptism Print. I was able to choose the colors and the verse I wanted on it. That is one of the things I adore about this shop--they have a "you name it and we can do it" attitude.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

DIY Map Art

I don't think I've ever shared with you where I live. Sure, I've openly professed to being a Southern girl, but I've never been more specific than that. I've always referred to places mentioned on the blog as "a local amusement park", "the zoo", "a park"...

I've never said Dollywood, Knoxville Zoo, or Fountain City Park. Leaving out specifics gave me some sort of sense of anonymity since I am so open with other parts of my life. So...why am I using specifics now? Well, I recently accepted a position as a contributor on the Knoxville Moms Blog, and that makes it pretty obvious where I live. Yes, I am currently a Tennessee girl who was born in West Virginia and raised in Georgia.

The places we visit and live play such a big role in our lives and impact a part of who we are as people. Wouldn't it be fun to create something for your home that honors that part of your life. Here's a creative way to make personalized pieces of artwork that show off the places that are important to you...

 Happy creating!
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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fabric Garland for Spring

I recently received a position as a contributor on See Vanessa Craft. For my first post, I shared a tutorial on how I make the fabric garlands I added to my shop last December. I've see a lot of scrap fabric garlands floating around the internet. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I wanted to make mine more intricate than just sewing snipped scraps together. The process I use makes them reversible and more durable. I also love using the coordinated fabric bundles from Raspberry Creek Fabrics when sewing these. It takes the guesswork out pairing fabrics together and allows me to create a garland with a cohesive look. You can click here for the full tutorial.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

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