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Flop or Flourish Motivotions Day- 12 tie wallet

Posted by Amy DeWitt on 7:16 PM
I spent a day in the unfamiliar. Brand new territory for me. Middle school.
It's crazy to think my daughter, the one I brought home from the hospital as a 7lb. baby, is old enough for middle school. She definitely doesn't look old enough to me. Especially after seeing her new peers.
Since I had volunteered during registration, she was able to explore the school, find all of her classes, and practice opening her locker.
When I joined her at her locker, the air was heavy with stress. I noticed a number of students nearly in tears, some leaning their heads on their lockers and banging on the front panel with their fists.
What had them all in such a state of panic? The trauma of figuring out how to open their lockers with this strange combination code.
One parent refused to leave the school until her daughter could figure out how to open her locker. They were in the hallway an hour and a half later as we left the building...
The unfamiliar can be scary. Getting out of your comfort zone can be even scarier.
I'm pushing myself to do more for the Lord this year than ever before. Not for His satisfaction, because He will love me the same, but for myself. This takes me out of my comfort zone, but the payoff for me is far greater.
Bust out of that comfort zone. You'll be glad you did. Flourish in who God created you to be!
Today, I was inspired by some etsy "window" shopping. I found several upcycled tie ideas, and after deciding a tie skirt was way above my skill level at this point, I went for a wallet. Since my husband used to wear a tie almost every week, (Thank God we've been delivered from always having to dress to the nines just to attend church.) he has a huge collection of ties. The good, the bad, the ugly.
I don't have step by step pictures, but I've included the instructions.
First, I cut the thinnest piece of the tie. I cut about a 3 inch piece, and cut in half to make the tab. Then, I cut the tie to the desired length. I wanted it to be just big enough to fit a cell phone. I sewed a hemline before I began the edges.

I then sewed all three edges, placing the tab as I sewed the last edge. A key ring was added to the tab. I will probably add a button of some type to the flap to finish it off. A cell phone fits perfectly behind the diamond shape, and credit cards fit in the pouch. Love this, and going to make more! Let me know what you think!


Flop or Flourish Motivotions Day- 11 Writing away

Posted by Amy DeWitt on 6:17 PM in , , ,
Writing is something I've done since I was very young. I still have a few copies of novels I began when I was about 11 years old.
At that age, my stories were always about a girl who moves to a new house. I think that was because we had never moved. I lived for 19 years in the same house. Since I've been married and in ministry that same amount of time, (13 years) we've now moved at least a dozen times. I'm not entirely sure. I've lost count. But I digress.
I've written story after story, piece after piece. But my favorite piece was one I'd written about my Grandma a few weeks after she passed away. I never wrote more than this first draft. I don't have the heart to polish it up.

Grandma's hands looked bare without all of the rings she usually wore. Her hands were too swollen from the medication to be able to wear them.

I held her right hand in mine. Her skin completely pale against the stark white of the hospital bed sheets. I gently rubbed the wrinkled hand with my thumb.

My memory took me back to a place in time when those hands were much different.

I remembered not too long ago on a trip to visit with Grandma. She hugged me and placed that same right hand on one of my cheeks as she kissed the other. "I love you, Sweetheart." She had smiled and patted my cheek ever so gently. Then she squeezed my hand before I walked out the door.

As I sat at her bedside, I was joined by my mom and younger sister. Tears rolled down all of our cheeks as we faced an unwelcome reality; Grandma wouldn't be with us much longer.

The three of us held onto a part of Grandma's hand. They were hands that had brought so much comfort through the years. Her hands had made necklaces for Christmas gifts. They had smacked teasingly at ours when jokes were made. Most importantly, her hands had folded in prayer time after time for all of her children and grandchildren.

I think it was my sister that spoke up as we sat holding Grandma's hand.

"Did you ever realize how much all of our hands look alike?" I studied the four hands clasped together. My younger sister's hands were soft, dainty and smooth. Mine looked like a slightly older version of hers. Mom's hands were beginning to look more and more like Grandma's.

My aunt, who was across the room came to stand by us, her cell phone in hand. "Put your hands next to each other." She motioned with one hand. "I'll take a picture with my cell phone."

We arranged one of each of our hands around Grandma's. Grandma slept peacefully as that phone captured our memory. A memory that will live on forever in our hearts.

That was the last picture taken with the four of us.

Grandma passed away two days later. I will forever cherish that picture. The picture that will always remind me of the loving times spent holding Grandma's hand.

Don't forget to hang on to the time you have with your loved ones. Sure, flourishing is sometimes accomplished in your "me" time. But don't forget to include those closest to you. You never know how long you will get with your loved ones. Cherish the small moments.


Tolerance... How does it apply to you?

Posted by Amy DeWitt on 8:04 PM in , , ,
Lately I've been thinking about society's idea of tolerance. Everywhere you look, the idea of tolerance is not only presented, but pushed. It's a word that carries controversy all on its own.
As a Christian woman, when I hear this word, it's usually in reference to issues such as homosexuality or alternative lifestyles. And usually it comes with a great deal of anger pointed at the Christian community for not agreeing with these types of living.  Christians are often called intolerant, hateful, and unaccepting for their non-agreement.
Case in point, the Chick-Fil-A controversy.

We are taught by society that we all must be tolerant. But what does that really mean? Does tolerance mean you can disagree with someone, but still love and accept them? If that is the meaning, I can deal with that. Most times, though, the only acceptable versions of "tolerance" are  agreeing, don't say anything negative about the issue, even promote the issue positively at times.
What is the real meaning, and where should a true Christian fall on the spectrum of tolerance?
And are Christians the only ones in this battle, or do those living in their chosen lifestyles need to be tolerant of Christians and their views?
In other words, is tolerance only one-sided?
What's your view, as a Christian? How should a Christian respond to Chick-Fil-A's statements recently? How should we respond to the world around us when they come against those views?
Let me know what you think.


Flop or Flourish Motivotions Day- 10 diy kid's apron refashion

Posted by Amy DeWitt on 7:38 PM
When you're in ministry, sometimes you can spend whole days at church. Attending to business, working on music, and like today...working on months of backlogged attendance, due to a change in systems.
In the summertime my girls end up in the church office with us. They usually have plenty to do. Netflix, craft projects, riding scooters in the fellowship hall... But when we get home, we like to hang out with the girls. Tonight the girls and I planned on dinner and some crafts. Tacos and sewing it is!
I've been a little hooked on sewing lately. My hubby bought me a sewing machine a few years ago, and until lately, it had only been used 3 or 4 times.
Tonight we decided on a kid's apron. My girls liked mine so much that they wanted one of their own. I debated on how to make this particular version. There are so many ideas, but we decided to freestyle and try our own version, made up as we go.
We began with a couple of sleep shirts.
A straight line was cut removing the top portion.
We simply folded over about 2 inches, and sewed a line. Using the second sleep shirt, we cut a pocket shape and sewed to the front.
We took one arm of the second sleep shirt and cut two pieces, folded them over and sewed down the edge.
After we flipped the sleeves inside out, I inserted only the edges into the back side of the apron and sewed down the edges.




Flop or Flourish Motivotions Day-9 DIY Locker organizer

Posted by Amy DeWitt on 9:08 PM
The whole idea of this balanced school year is throwing me for a loop. Kids beginning school on the second day of August is a little crazy. I feel like we have barely begun with summer, and I'm already looking for school supply lists.
With one in first grade and another in middle school, the amount of supplies we need to purchase is outrageous. The teachers have gotten so specific with their supply demands, too. Ari needs a tri-write single Dixon pencil. Who knows what that is? I sure don't.
We made a trip tonight to our favorite place in the whole world. The Mart of Wal. Or, Wal-Mart. While there we were drawn by an irresistible force to the school supply aisle. Of course, no kid wants the plain twenty-cent folders, or the yellow #2 pencils. They want the Lisa Frank folders, (which cost ten times the amount of the plain folders, I'm pretty sure.) the neon mechanical pencils and the Angry Bird notebooks. Ally will have a locker this year, and has already been told she can decorate her locker when she comes for registration.
All these items add up. It's not cheap. Throw in textbook rental, (Indiana is one of the very few states that still has textbook rental.) classroom supply fees, lunch boxes, backpacks... I think I need to get a job to cover it all!
When Ally found the locker organizers she was so excited. Tiny mirrors, dry-erase boards, pockets for pens, all in cute little patterns. But I am so proud of my daughter. She looked at the prices and exclaimed, "Mom, we can so make our own organizer." My own little Proverbs 31 daughter.
This is what we came up with for today's flourish:
I cut this rectangle from an old dress shirt. When folded in half, it measured 8.5 x 11. I folded all the edges in about a quarter inch and ironed them flat for easier sewing.
From Arianna's old skirt, I cut several pockets. I only ended up using one pocket and the long strip. I folded in the edges of these and ironed them as well. (Except the bottom. Since I cut from the bottom of the skirt, this already had a finished edge.) I cut one strip that I had planned on using a metal strip inside for a magnetic strip, but later nixed that idea.
After I had sewn in the hemline, I sewed the gray material together, leaving the top open. To make is sturdier, I ripped the cover and back from a spiral notebook and inserted into the gray material. Yes, I should have sewn on the pockets first, but I didn't. What to do? Well, since it wasn't incredibly thick, I changed out my needle to a heavy-duty needle made for denim, and sewed the pocket over the whole thing. It worked out just fine. I wouldn't recommend doing it that way, but sometimes it's the way things go around here.
I used a stretchy material for the pockets. I underestimated how much it would stretch and move on me. But it's another lesson learned.
I added a tiny calendar with pins to hold it in place. I also added her favorite girl scout SWAP pin that has a mini tic-tac-to game, just for fun. The strip I had cut ended up just being a decorative element. I searched the house for a small mirror, and came up with a contact case.
I figured the case has a mirror, and she can store her lip gloss in the case. Magnets were added to the back so she can attach the organizer to her locker.
Ally loved it. I think I would have failed home-ec with this stitching, but hey, she likes it and it's kind of cute.
So is it a flop or flourish? I guess it's all a matter of opinion. I've learned some more dos and don'ts on my sewing machine, I got to spend time with my girls making it, and Arianna wants me to make one with her as well.

Don't be afraid to take a chance that something may not turn out right. You never know until you try!


Flop or Flourish Motivotions Day- 8 kids -Tshirts into tank tops

Posted by Amy DeWitt on 6:41 PM
Today we managed to surprise our pastor and his wife with a surprise party. Pastor's birthday and anniversary were this past week. We honored them in our service with a video of birthday/anniversary greetings, special thank-you's and a dinner afterwards.
 I know they appreciated all the kind words. In Romans, there is a short passage that came to mind as we honored them.

Romans 12:10

The Message (MSG)
9-10Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
(Taken from )

What a good reminder for us. This should be true of every relationship in our lives!

Today's Flourish actually came from my daughter, Ally. This was her project, so I gave her basic instructions and let her roll with it.
She took an old shirt that was way too long. It's Angelica because she is the oldest cousin, and she likes to boss the younger cousins around.
She cut off both sleeves just inside the seems.
The top was cut off straight across.
She pinned down about 1.5 inches on both sides.
Taking it to the machine, she sewed the pinned-down strips to make a tube.
I took a wire hanger and made a hook. Pushing it through the tube, I grabbed onto the string that would make the ties and pulled the strings through the tubes.
After both strings were added for ties, it looked like this.
From plain T-shirt, to cute tank in about 10 minutes.

And of course, when she was done, little sister wanted one as well....

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you've been inspired!


How to become a follower of my blog, step-by-step instructions

Posted by Amy DeWitt on 12:41 PM
I've had many ask how to join my blog. If you've never followed a blog before, I've taken screen shots to lead you step-by-step through this short, simple process.
1. Go to (Note the "n") Click on the "Join this site" button towards the top of the page. Next click on yellow "Agree" button

2. Sign into your Google, Twitter, Yahoo, AIM, Netlog or OpenID account.

3. Make sure that you follow publicly. If you do not, your name will not show up and be used in the count to determine if I am able to do book reviews or not.

4. Click "Done", and you are...done!

Thanks everyone! I appreciate the help!


Flop or Flourish Day 7- refashioned shirt/jeans into apron

Posted by Amy DeWitt on 7:26 PM
I am having an incredible time working on my motivotions! (Motivation+Devotions)

Today I've been reading in Psalms.
Psalm 31:3-5
You're my cave to hide in, my cliff to climb. Be my safe leader, be my true mountain guide. Free me from hidden traps; I want to hide in you. I've put my life in your hands. You won't drop me, you'll never let me down.
I've been stressing out lately about many things, and this is where I turn when I need comfort, reassurance that God is still there, and that He cares what I'm facing.

Please know that He cares for you as well. No matter what dilemma you are dealing with, know that His strength will get you through. The joy of this knowledge is priceless!

Today's Flop and Flourish:
As I mentioned before, I have never done much sewing, and I'm still learning. I've been watching some tutorials to help me out, and I'm starting to learn a few things. If only I had the patience for sewing correctly...
I don't like the idea of sewing with a pattern and fabric that I have to purchase. One, because it's more expensive than buying new clothes anymore, and two, I like the idea of taking something old and making it new.
I saw an idea for an apron from jeans. I wasn't crazy about that particular apron, so I made my own version.
I started with a pair of Aaron's discarded jeans. I liked the back because it would give me two pockets. I cut them off right above the crotch and cut the front of the jeans completely off, leaving me with a square-ish panel.

Again, an Aaron discard. (He lost some weight over this last year, so these are clothes that no longer fit right.)

I used bar soap and a straight edge to mark my lines. I cut the sleeves at an angle from the corner of the collar, to below the underarm of the sleeve.

I cut the back off entirely, starting behind the side seem edge. But I left the collar. I tucked in the edges and sewed so there would be no fraying.

I placed the halter top looking half shirt onto the dress dummy and pinned on the piece of jeans I had cut. Before I sewed the jeans to the shirt, I changed the needle in my machine to a heavy duty needle made for denim. I also purchased thread made for denim. I used a zig-zag stitch and stitched the top of the jeans to the shirt.

I added an old scarf for the belt. (The skirt looks a little crooked, but that's because the dress dummy is off on one side by a few inches.)

The final result is a super-cute apron that looks like it's part of an outfit, but there's no back except the scarf-belt tie.
Thanks for reading! Make sure you join the blog, or sign up for email updates!
Tomorrow, we will be making over kid's T-shirts into summer tank tops!


Flop or Flourish Day-6 Family Exploding box

Posted by Amy DeWitt on 6:57 PM
Family is of greatest importance in our household. My husband regularly takes our girls out for special daddy-daughter date nights. My favorite time is our family movie nights, where we get out the sleeping bags and spread them across the living room floor. Popcorn and usually cinnamon rolls are usually shared with a Disney backdrop.
Today we picked up Allycat from camp and decided to do nothing for the rest of the day, but relax together. Sure, there are a few dishes to be done, some laundry still waiting in her very large suitcase, and there are always random messes to clean. But time together as a family, ignoring the tasks at hand, is the blessing we had tonight.
This afternoon I spent a few hours working on random crafts with my girls. My Allycat has gotten into making fancy-schmancy friendship bracelets. We used to braid three threads together and tie them when I was a kid. She works with all kinds of different knots to make crazy-cool designs.
So, as the girls worked on bracelets, I put together the exploding box I'd seen on Pinterest. Supplies needed:
4 sheets of 12 x 12 cardstock, scissors, a measuring board or ruler, glue, and embellishments.
Using 3 sheets of the 12x12 cardstock, I cut the following:
9 x 9
8 5/8 x 8 5/8
8 1/4 x 8 1/4

I folded the sides in so there were 3 equal sides.

 Then I turned it and folded it again, making 3 more equal sides. This gave the appearance of 9 boxes.

I cut off the four corners, leaving a "plus sign."
I repeated this process with the other papers I had cut.
Layering the papers from largest to smallest, I glued the centers together. This forms the box.
What you place on the inside flaps is up to you. I was experimenting, so I didn't really have much picked out to do on the inside of the box.

The lid of the box was cut from cardstock as well. I trimmed the page to 6 1/4 x 6 1/4. I folded this piece just like the others, but instead of cutting the four corners, I folded them in 3 inches on each side, to look like this,

 and glued the corners in, thus forming the shape of the lid. I paper-clipped the corners as the glue dried.

Decorate as you wish, and when you open the box, all the flaps are exposed.

 What flourish have you accomplished lately? Tell me about it!


Flop or Flourish Motivotions Day- 5 diy ruffle tank top

Posted by Amy DeWitt on 9:08 PM
Too many times I hold back for fear of failure. I almost didn't even start my blog, that I've wanted to do for a long time, for fear of "flop"
I've had publisher rejections, and the last thing I want is to experience rejection from my lack of response. However, I decided to start living a little differently, and the response has been incredible.

But how do you keep going with something like this? There are only so many projects out there that I know how to do. I have to find things I haven't done, try something totally new. But just like in life, the unfamiliar can be scary.

 I'm reminded of the verse that says, "Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won't be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple." (2 Timothy 2:15, The Message) Now, I realize the projects I've been working on have no spiritual significance, but I'm challenging myself to not only try a new project each day, but to also study something new in God's Word each day. It's amazing how much fun I'm having with all of this, and how much God is speaking to me through His Word each day! I am going to do my best for God, and in all the projects I attempt.

Today's flourish is another repurposed fashion item. I started with a tank top I no longer wear because I'm not crazy about the length.
I got this back when the initial craze first hit.

I used this second tank to slice up and detail the first tank.

I began by cutting off the bottom.

I sewed that strip to the inside edge of the first tank top.
As you can see, I'm very new to the whole sewing thing, and I had a crazy crooked spot! But we'll cover that up later.
I cut several strips that I will bunch up to make ruffle detail.
I hand sewed the strips by running a line of thread down the middle and pulling the string at the end for the bunched effect. I took a fourth strip, bunched it as well, then sewed in a circle for the flower. I added a button in the middle to finish it off.
Remember that lousy machine sewn line? I just added another strip to the side of the shirt to cover that up.
Finished off with some ribbon bows tied on the straps. Not too bad for a girl that has never sewn more than an occasional seem fix, or pant hem.

I'm going to wear this tomorrow to go pick up my daughter from camp. Yay for new projects!

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