Month: October 2008

A Before and After

Since I moved my design blog, I haven’t posted any of the new designs I’ve done – I’ve been too busy trying to keep up with orders!

Here’s a before of a site I recently completed for Ashley of Sassy Gal Glamour. She wanted something fun and bright, with a retro/vintage feel.

This is her old blog after she moved from Blogger to WordPress.com:

We kept the cowgirl, but I added some texture and used some paper elements from Farrah’s Creations (with her absolute permission, of course) for the background and then brushed and painted until I felt it had enough color and texture. A fellow designer friend helped me find the perfect font (since I couldn’t locate her old one) and I put a gradient overlay on the letters to add interest. I think the letters look good enough to eat (they remind me of the Brach’s candies…do you remember those? the coconut ones? yum!).

Here’s the finished product:

I even gave her a cute little signature to match her header – you know I have a thing for birds, right? They pervade almost everything I do. I think it’s a constant reminder for me that if God watches out for the sparrow, then I can rest assured He’s watching over me.

Here’s her siggie:

I thoroughly enjoyed this design from the beginning to the end. It was totally different that anything I’d done before and really stretched me.

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Humble Pie Never Tasted This Good

Yesterday was a day that I will not soon forget. It was a terrible day for many reasons, but something good will come of a lesson I learned and am about to share with you today, of that I am sure.

I am convinced that God is loving, kind, merciful, and forgiving. He is also just. We don’t like to talk about the “just” part much as Christians, because, well, it’s painful. It means that we have to own up to our sins and ask for forgiveness or face the consequences. Thankfully, God doesn’t expect me to be perfect, but he certainly does expect me to try my best to do what’s right in all situations.

I have done something that was so incredibly stupid and wrong that I am compelled to do whatever it takes to make it right, even if that includes publishing it on my blog. I have been feeling convicted about what I’d done long before it came out, but I had yet to take the steps to make it right, so I suppose this is God’s way of pushing me along and encouraging me to own up to my mistakes.

I have a very good friend and mentor who told me yesterday that “the road to greatness is full of swampholes and mudpuddles”. Boy, was she right. You see, I took a shortcut on the road to greatness that I deeply regret – I copied another designer’s work, making very few changes and used it for my design blog. I knew better. And I still did it. I loved her site and her creativity and I wanted it for my own. So I took it. I committed it to memory and designed one from scratch almost exactly like hers. I didn’t realize just how much it was exactly like hers until I saw them side by side and by then…well, you guessed it…I had reasoned in my mind that it was okay because I was in a hurry and I’d make some changes down the road, etc. etc. etc.

But anyone who is a child of God knows that it’s never okay to steal someone’s work. Never. My husband pointed out the fact that I’d had a warning this week on that very subject. I had a potential client contact me and ask me to duplicate one of my existing client’s blogs for her to save time so that she could get hers published faster. I said no. That was wrong – my client had paid for an original design, I wasn’t going to do that to her. I had an uneasy feeling about it too, because I knew that I had done that for myself. Yet I made no move to do the right thing.

So today, I’m making things right. I may lose a ton of my blogging friends and followers, and even clients because of this, but I honestly feel this is the right thing to do. Repentence is not about morals. It is not about good behavior. It is not about doing better. Repentance is a matter of the heart and we need to see our inability to change ourselves without God’s help.

Painful? Yes, without a doubt. But I submit that if God can use me as an example to keep others from taking a shortcut, whether it be in designing or writing, or child-rearing…then let it be so.

And as a side note to Amy, the beautiful designer who discovered that I’d done this – thank you. Thank you for your post and I do hope you can forgive me.

To all of my blogging friends, I hope you can forgive me as well. I feel deeply remorseful about what I’ve “preached” against doing for so long. Can you ever forgive me?

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Like a Thief in the Night…


What’s worse than locking yourself out of the car?

Try locking yourself out of the house when you live in the country…no house key, no cell phone, no tools, nothing. Nada.

Yep. Last night was a stellar night in our neck of the woods. A little backstory:

We have been driving my mom’s van while she’s out of state visiting one of my brothers in Colorado and interestingly enough, it does not have a key to our house on it. Imagine that. So we’ve had to remember to carry a set of our keys along with her keys if we were driving her van.
Obviously, we forgot.

Well, my husband remembered. Or so he thought. You see, he had left his set of keys in my mom’s van the night before “just in case”, but unbeknownst to him, I had brought them inside when I came home, because I thought to myself, “Self, that’s just not like him to leave keys in the car – you’d better take those inside”.

Now, I must admit that I also heard another little voice inside my head (conscience?) saying, “Nah..just leave them in here…in case you lock yourself out or something…” to which I quickly responded (out loud, I must say), “Pshaw! We’re not going to lock ourselves out!”

Famous last words. Could that have been my pride speaking that last statement? Sigh…

So we spent a good thirty minutes trying all the windows and discussing what the most economical thing to do was – call a locksmith (ugh…no phones), break a window, or replace the door knob and lock. So we eventually “broke” into our own house with two heavy-duty screwdrivers that my brother had loaned my husband (we hadn’t returned them yet – one point for procrastination!) and messed up our back door. It’s ugly and will need to be fixed, but at least we didn’t have to spend the night in the car. Oh, and it still locks, too.

I am not, however, feeling too secure at this point. Two bumbling adults in the middle of the black night were able to break in to our house within a matter of 15 minutes. Never mind that it was us.

I’d install a deadbolt, but what if we lock ourselves out again?

(and that photo up top has absolutely nothing to do with this story…it is a photo of the “road” that leads into our feed lot at my husband’s family farm, where his mom lives. And I doctored it in Photoshop CS3 to have the curved frame around it – see what you can do with Photoshop CS3? – Enter the giveaway here)

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My Homeschool Rant for the Year 2008-2009

As a homeschooling parent, as well as a Christian, I am very careful to be respectful of other people’s choices for thier children’s education. I do not believe that homeschooling is for everyone, and though I have many friends IRL who homeschool their children, I have just as many whose children attend public or Christian schools. I would never in a million years, dream of telling them they are making a mistake having their child in a public school. I believe that the public schools need Christian teachers and students – the worst thing we ever did as Christians was to pull our kids out of public schools when we lost the right to pray in school. We are supposed to live in the world, without partaking of it. But that’s another rant altogether.

I am constantly amazed by the attitudes of certain public school educators in our area who believe that we homeschoolers are lazy and that we only allow our children to be homeschooled because we don’t want to teach them. Such is the case for one public school official from just across our city’s border who deems that the decline in their public school numbers is due to “the tragedy” that is called “homeschooling”.

His exact words were: “We are looking into the problems that we see. We know
that homeschooling is an issue, he said. We have about 120 kids that are
currently being homeschooled. I think personally that’s a tragedy. I think most
of those kids are not truly being taught.”

What he’s really saying is that it’s a tragedy that his school doesn’t have higher numbers so he can receive more money for his school district. He went on to say,

“While they do that, it gives them a way of avoiding mandatory requirements,” hesaid, referring to parents and students involved in homeschooling.

I take great exception to this kind of attitude. If you study the Stanford 9 test scores of homeschooled children versus public schooled children, you’ll find that the homeschoolers in the state of Arkansas (where this man’s school district is) ranked higher than kids in public schools in every area except for math.

Y’all. I often joke about being a “lazy homeschooler”…but that’s all it is. A joke. Anyone who homeschools knows that amount of time and money that a homeschooling parent puts into their kid’s education is an investment in their future – I want to see my investments grow and reap bountiful rewards for years to come. But I feel my highest calling as a mother is to instill godly principles and character in my children that will be passed down to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren and their children, and so on.

I know that there are families who homeschool who do not take the time with their kids necessary to ensure they are really learning the material. I don’t understand it, but I know they exist. I can think of a family right now whose daughter is a teenager and can barely read. While I think that’s extremely unfortunate, I submit this – who’s to say that she would have been any better off in a public school? I also know several teens who have graduated locally and can’t even spell or read. Which is worse? I don’t know.

Please don’t misunderstand me – I am not against public schooling. I think there are some incredible and talented, God-called teachers in our public schools. I think there are also some real louses – and as with anything in life, you get the bad with the good.

But I don’t want someone else forming my children’s opinions for them. Call it “brainwashing” if you like, but I want them to understand why we believe what we believe and I want it based on the Bible, not on some silly notion that the world began with a big bang and we all came from primordial soup. I believe that God created the earth in a literal six day span, that each day consisted of 24 hour periods, and that he rested on the seventh day. And I want my kids to believe that too.

But it’s not just because of my spiritual beliefs. I believe that the country’s future depends on our children today. In case you’ve not noticed, we’re not exactly leaving them with something great to work with. I don’t want to raise kids that are dependent on other “educated” people to explain current events to them, or tell them who to vote for. It is imperative that they decide for themselves after reading all the facts presented. I want them to be able to make good choices for their futures based on solid, godly principles. Have I said that before? Do you see a theme here?

I guess all I’m saying is that I think there are quite enough “educated fools” out there. I’d personally like to raise some without the latter part of the equation in their name.

/rant.

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***enter my Photoshop PS3 giveaway right here***

How Cute is this for Fall Decorating?

I receive the Home Made Simple online magazine and though we don’t usually have pumpkins around Halloween time, I’m almost tempted to make an exception this year – look at how absolutely adorable this is!

I’m thinking I might wait until after Halloween and do this for Thanksgiving time instead…as I said yesterday, Fall is my favorite time of the year — is it any wonder why???

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