VBS Decor 2014

Oh my, it is nearly two years later and I am FINALLY posting pictures! I have seriously got to get a handle on that!

We have SO much fun putting together our Epic vacation bible school every year and I wanted to share with you what we have been up to! With it nearing VBS season again I thought I would take a trip down memory lane and share with you some great ideas that you can use for your own VBS! This year (2014) the theme was Wilderness Survival. The vision was to decorate the church with both desert and jungle themes! This was my first time in the role of "lead decor" and I had NO idea what I was doing (picture having to keep this all in fire code, yikes!) but luckily it all came together in the end!

I will try to explain my technique for making things as I go...

 Here we covered the wall in kraft paper (Lowes or Home Depot in the painting section). Using tan wall paint and a large rectangle sponge, we "stamped" the wall to create bricks then went back and outlined sections in dark brown to make them stand out. It goes really fast if you stick to groupings of stone instead of every single one.

The "sand" is just tan fabric by the yard from Joann's. I believe we ordered a few bolts online. The camel prop was ordered from the VBS catalog (we have since created out own VBS curriculum). The rocks are painted pieces of styrofoam. Keep going to see how we did the palm trees and vines.

This large hallway I wanted to look like a cave! We used brown paper bags (amazingly cheap on dollartree.com) and crinkled them up and stapled them to the wall. WARNING: this took forever so I would suggest you stretch them as your staple to cover way more wall with less bag. And MUCH less staples! The effect in here was amazing!

Here are our palm trees! We used pool noodles to create these. Cut a hole in a box a tad smaller than the noodle (so it stands up), cut the bottom off brown paper bags, and string them onto the noodle! I put a large paper plate on top to tape the leaves to. The leaves are just traces and cut from a roll of non-fade green paper. Drape the base in burlap or tan fabric to look like sand.

That last picture is of our class photo area!

The vines were my favorite craft! We used plastic table cloths from the Dollar Tree in a couple of different shades of green. These were really easy and each table cloth yeilds a ton of vines. Fold your tablecloth the long way a few times will it is about 5" wide. Trim the sides so you end up with long strips. Cut diagonal lines to the middle. TIP: make sure you stagger them so you dont ever cut all the way through! And even if you do you can always use short vines too!

We used these EVERYWHERE! They were great fillers and really tied the theme together! As you will see in the second picture, we also used nets and hula skirts (dollartree.com) everywhere!

The monkeys were also ordered online and below I will tell you how we made the rope vines...

These rope vines were made using cut, twisted and staples brown paper bags. If I did this again, I would use skinny strips of rolled kraft paper instead. If would have gotten done much faster! We stapled leaves (again cut out of the non-fade paper) when we were done. These also went everywhere and were great for covering large expanses like the ceiling in the cafe. We also wrapped them around the check in area.

Also on the ceiling you will see colorful paper lanterns. These are from Oriental Trading Company.

This giant tree was my biggest project! The frame is made from PVC. It ended up being 12 feet tall! We used the rolls of brown kraft paper here as well. It is simple... roll it out, wrinkle it up, stretch it out, and tape it on top to bottom! The last picture shows you what it looked like from the inside.

The branches were made the same way but left wrinkled and twisted. I wanted to add more but we ran out of time!

This hallway is always the kids favorite. The black light hallway!

Luckily one wall was already dark, the other we wrapped with a roll of black non-fade paper. The volunteers had fun make fish, octopus, turtles and other sea creatures using white paper and fluorescent paint! These were then stapled onto the wall. The floor was covered in clear balloons that we squirted with the florescent paint on the inside.

The jellyfish are paper lanterns lightly painted with fluorescent paint, with streamers and white string hanging from them. The ceiling also had streamers and nets.

The openeing to this hallways was made to look like a waterfall. We used clear celo wrap, paper bags (done in the same way as the cave hallway) and the flowers were made using more non-fade paper.

And because the nursery kids are important too... we gave them a little decor!

Prayers for Labor

It's amazing to think that a year and a half ago all I wanted in the world was another beautiful baby. I don't know about you, but I seemed to have forgotten how incredibly awful growing and carrying a baby is. Seriously, it sucks! This kid is having a grand time flipping between head down and breech. Its driving me crazy and worse than that, it's making me fear another c-section...

I had a c-section with my girls 3 years ago. The surgery itself was not bad, but my total experience was. Although perfectly fine, they took them before I could see them (I saw a glimpse of Lilly) and pumped me with Morphine, which I do not tolerate well, and wheeled me back to recovery for 2 hours before they brought them to me, bathed and stomachs full of formula. NOT what I had wanted. And although I believe God has a purpose for everything, I know the reason I had a scheduled c-section at 37 weeks was because my doctor was going on vacation.
Sadly this happens too often. I was determined to have a different experience this time! I have been praying to my good Father, with all that I have, for a natural vaginal birth.

But this baby being breech for the last few weeks has turned me into someone completely ungrateful and, dare I say, physco. My poor husband has had to put up with my mood swings and near daily breakdowns over the situation. I have been constantly Google-ing positions, stretches and techniques to turn this baby. I have spent hours upside down. I have tried everything.

What was revealed to me was I was taking something inherently good (exercises and stretches) and turning them into something bad by obsessing over them. I was not relying on God and his grace and power to move inside my body, although my words would say otherwise. Because, if the baby flipped after I did an inversion would I not praise the move for turning my baby? And while I would praise the Lord as well, if anyone asked me how to turn a baby my first answer would be to do the inversion. Not ask the Lord.

One thing that is beautiful (although maddening) about God is his timing. His time table is different than ours. He wants to wait till there is no other way for healing to happen. That when it DOES happen, he and only he could be responsible.

Breakthrough is coming and it is not when our problems are resolved, but when we experience a heavenly reality. When we understand that God's timing is perfect, when we seek the one who breaks through instead of seeking the breakthrough.

Breakthrough was what I needed. I have had my hands clenched tight on what I want out of this pregnancy and labor. And the truth is, if my hands are closed how can I receive anything? So here we are... hands open... heart poured out to my Father who knows his plans for me, plans for good!

So I made the decision to stop everything except prayer; and guess what? The baby flipped! Without any of my own efforts... just those of The One who loves me most.

Here is a little something that I made to help me in labor, I hope it will help you too! It's best printed on card stock (and even laminated), and would make a GREAT gift for an expecting mother! Click here for the free printable!

Have fun pushing!

Crochet Baby Moccasins

I finally have some free crochet time on my hands now that I finished my girls fall sweaters. I had to rip it out and start over twice! All the while these little shoes were tickling my brain saying "make me!" Well, here they are... the cutest little moccasins ever! Here is the free pattern, enjoy!

Size H crochet hook
Worsted weight yarn (I used Vanna White in Honey)
Small beads
Tapestry needle
Super glue (optional)

This pattern is for size 3 months. To make them smaller, go down a hook size. To make them larger, go up a hook size. This pattern is worked in the round. No chaining and no turning.

WARNING: beware small parts


Rnd 1: Work 2 sc into 2nd chain from Hk. Sc 4. Hdc 2. Work 8 Hdc into last chain. Working across other side of chain, Hdc 2. Sc 4. Work 2 Sc into last chain. (24)

Rnd 2: Work 2 sc into the first sc from previous round. Work 2 sc into the next stitch. Sc 7. Work 2 sc into each of the next 6 stitches. Sc 7. Work 2 into the next two stitches. (34)

Rnd 3: Sc 2. Work 2 sc into the next. Sc 10. Work 2 sc into the next two stitches. Sc 4. Work 2 sc into the next 2 stitches. Sc 10. Work 2 sc into the next stitch. Sc 2. (40)

Rnd 4: Sc around in BLO (back loop only) (40)

Rnd 5-6: Sc around (40)

Rnd 7: Sc 14, (sc2tog, sc) four times, Sc 14 (36)

Rnd 8: Sc 13, (sc2tog, sc) three times, Sc 14 (33)

Rnd 9: Sc 9, (sc2tog) seven times, Sc 10 (26)

Rnd 10: Sc2tog, sc 8, sc2tog three times, sc 8, sc2tog. Slip stitch to finish. Tie off and weave in end. (21)

Wrap yarn around your flattened hand many times. Cut one edge, this will leave you with a bunch of strands.

Insert hook from outside pointing in through the top stitches, and pull through a loop. Put cut ends through loop and pull tight. For security, place a drop of super glue on the backside of your fringe. You wont see it or feel it but it will keep the fringe from coming undone.

After you finish all the fringe, give it a 1" hair cut.

Cut a long length of yarn and tie a bow around the very front sc column. Knot it three times.

String beads and tie each end off with three knots on top of each other to keep the beads from being pulled off. You can also use your superglue on the knot as well.

Voila! Please pardon my awful photography... a new camera is on my Christmas list!

Ellie the Elephant Sewing Pattern

I am so excited to share with you my first ever PDF pattern! I have had so much fun making and selling these adorable little elephants and now I feel it's time I stop hogging this beautiful creature and let you make some! The pattern is available in my shop and is ready and waiting for you to create!

Pattern Includes:

Large and small sizes
Full color photos and crystal clear instructions
Lots of ideas on customization!

I hope you enjoy Ellie as much as I have!