Friday, May 29, 2015

Life Lately

These last two months have honestly been a bit of a blur. I can hardly believe that our spring on the farm is almost gone. Makes me want to cry. But it has been a lovely time, and I'm so grateful...so I will treasure the memories and not dwell on regret that it's almost over. 

And now for a little life lately....

-Back in April when we were in Texas we got to spend an afternoon @ Starbucks with the dear kindreds (her + her) pictured above. Can't even say how much we love these women. We can be together for hours and yak our heads off and not even scratch the surface about absolutely anything and everything. From the deep + the serious, to the light-hearted + ridiculous...we've got it covered. =) Such great memories.
As mentioned before in this post, we have been in the throes of deep cleaning @ the Bontrager house.  Ah, how I love it. Gives me such a sense of accomplishment! Had this beautiful metal cross frame for the wall that we've had for years now and only just got it put up the other day. It is so beautiful-I love it on the wall there above the desk in the library/schoolroom.
Yeah, we're perfectionists. It was off by 1/2 an inch so we had to redo it. =)

Hosted a marvelous surprise 21st birthday bash for my sista. It was such fun + a complete success. I couldn't have planned it as well as it turned out, honestly. So thankful for the sweet friends who came! Had such a grand time that I almost forgot to take pictures! All the guys who attended were out playing basketball so we just grabbed a shot with some of the ladies. 
I've managed to squeeze in a few sewing projects. This is one of the latest-can't wait to post a full review on the outfit! It was such fun!
Finally connecting again @ Caribou with this beautiful girl after a whole winter of texting + emailing to stay in touch while I was on tour. So great to talk business + goals + dreams + life again.
I had this grand idea to do a garage sale. 
The purging part was great. Completely overhauled my closet and got rid of so much stuff I didn't need or wear or like. It was fabulous.
The actual garage sale itself however was somewhat of a bust. Oh well.
 Goodwill got many lovely items when it was all said + done. =)
A successful attempt at gluten-free, sugar-free, + dairy-free rhubarb crisp. Normally my sista cooks the healthy stuff like this but she was gone to the south so I had to try my hand at it.
Can't believe I actually pulled this off. Everyone said it was good sooo...wow, maybe I am finally becoming a healthy cook? #score #dreamhealthstatus #notreally
This beautiful gift I wrapped for my cousins bridal shower. The contents are pretty grand, let me tell you. =) There's just nothing quite as fun as a girls' only bridal shower!
Laundry. And laundry. And more laundry. This should really be included in every "life lately" post, ha! #storyofmylife

I don't really have anything to say here. Other than that my sista and I had a few extra minutes when we were downtown one Saturday morning and whilst browsing a vintage shop and looking through the book collection I came across this. The title was unusual.
Nope, I didn't even open the book, or buy it. I can do without.
I texted a friend the picture and she suggested I do a group study of sorts with this book as the study material. I about died. What an idea. =)
I got this flower bed planted, weeded, + mulched. Oh, how I hope the weeds haven't overtaken when I return in August. =/ At any rate, I can enjoy the beauty of the current perfect sight for the next two weeks!
Got to spend a few beautiful hours one windy afternoon with our cousin + cousin-in-love, enjoying many cups of coffee + yummy scones w/ devonshire cream, and the most wonderful conversation. 
I just have to share a picture of these cupcakes that my sista made earlier this month. A friend of ours was having a birthday + she is an extreme cupcake lover, so Alli whipped up six different kinds of scrumptious cupcakes + delivered a box to her front door. Coolest gift idea ever. 
My sister! Seriously...whoever marries her is essentially marrying Scratch Cupcakes, and the Cheesecake Factory, and Chipotle, all rolled into one. #nojoke
Time with these ladies is always the hugest treat. Don't know how in the world I've managed to be blessed with the world's greatest friends. The spice they add to my life is just amazing. 

And that's a tad of life lately! Not pictured are more things like company, and work, and all sorts of other activities + jobs. But these are a few that were captured in action. =)

I will close with a little bit of wisdom from a very wise lady...the one + only Anne of Green Gables.
 I share this quote because I think it it such a good summary of life, and so true:

"Its been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will."

Happy Weekend!
-Chels

Thursday, May 28, 2015

DIY||Making Your Jeans Fit YOU

It can be a little tough sometimes to find the perfect pair of jeans that fit YOU. Or a skirt, for that matter. With denim, period....it is just hard to find the perfect fit sometimes. There are so many different body types, and so many different kinds of denim jeans + skirts, and sometimes it can just seem like a losing battle to find something that fits right in all the necessary places!
But ladies, if you know how to use a sewing machine, than you are ARMED with all you need for this project. It might seem a bit intimidating. You think, "well, I've added length to skirts..and remade tee shirts...and things like that, but remaking DENIM? I can't!". 
Yes, you can. Its just easy as can be. 
This was a pair of flares that I got lately. Flares are out of style + I'm not really fond of the look anyway, so that's what made me think about sewing them in. Goodwill had a "buy one pr get the second pr free" deal going on their jeans, so I got two pairs for basically nothing and went home and got right to work.
First I tried the jeans on, to figure out what kind of a fit exactly I was wanting. I estimated how much I would want taken off of the flare. Then I turned the jeans inside out, and took a permanant marker and yardstick and made little dots all the way down the jeans so I would have an even line to follow when I sewed my seam.
Next I took them over to the machine and sewed along the dots. (if you look closely you can see my seam line)
Next I took my pinking shears and cut a zig zag line along the edge, trimming of the excess.
Finished product. Straight leg jeans that fit just puuuurfect.

I also do this with skirts. I sew in the waist band, or sew in the hips, or even sometimes sew in the both sides all the way down, from waist to hem. This way, I can get the perfect fit that I like. I have a slightly unusual figure to begin with, and so many times the denim items that I buy just doesn't fit right. Sewing things in is a LIFESAVER for me + gives me so many more options.

Okay, so now, a few suggestions for those of you trying something like this for the first time:

1) Start on an inexpensive skirt or pair of jeans. That way, if you mess up the first time or it doesn't turn out quite perfectly, you won't have wasted a bunch of $$. =) Nearly every time I'm trying a brand new idea or concept, I do it as much as possible on an inexpensive item. That way if it doesn't turn out, I don't feel like the whole thing was a waste.

2) Use an item that is at least close to your size. For example, I will sew in a skirt that is a little too big. But typically I won't buy a denim skirt several sizes too big and try to remake that. It just doesn't have much promise of success. Now if it was knit material, not denim, that would be another story entirely. (but more on that next time...=))

3) Don't be discouraged if time #1 isn't perfect. I've had so many flops that went into my trash can instead of my closet. This is NORMAL. You can't have success on every first try. But don't stop trying just because your first item doesn't turn out. If at first you don't succeed, try try again! =) And even if its a flop, you can often salvage the fabric and use it for something else. 

Do any of the rest of you already do this? Do you have an item you have in mind to try it on? Any other helpful sewing tips you have? A success story to share?! Leave a comment!

Happy sewing!
-Chels

Friday, May 22, 2015

Currently

LISTENING to this beautiful cd. I love it, I love it, I love it. Can this be an advertisement, please? Seriously just go buy your own. My current favorite instrumental cd.

THINKING that I have been a horrible blogger lately. As in, nonexistent. (sorry, peoples! its life)

WISHING for a tan. but it seems to be successfully avoiding me. the other day I even scheduled a time to mow yard for my brother so I could get some sun whilst working + still being productive + helping him out. so much good rolled into one.
would you believe it, the mower died on me. DIED.
guess the tan was not meant to be yet. (sigh. #keepingitreal)

WATCHING our house slowly being transformed into a more clean + organized haven. we have been on a deep cleaning streak here-organizing + sorting + scrubbing + such.

DYING laughing over the marriage proposal my sister got in her email inbox.
in.her.inbox. don't even ask.
but seriously. some GUYS....

DRINKING water. and coffee. in constant rotation. =)

SMELLING farm smells. best ever.

LEARNING so much from the sermons at my church. seriously I just cannot thank God enough for giving me constant access to hearing so much truth expounded from the Word. it is such a blessing in my life.

TASTING pineapple meatballs from dinner. so yummy.

MISSING my sista love who is in the south visiting a friend.

READING Colossians. and still memorizing Philippians. love the abounding of truth. Its taking me a while but the memory is coming! slowly but surely....

DREAMING of the day when our new album will finally be finished + released and I will be able to sit back in my chair and eat chocolate bon bons and snooze (ahem) because there will be NO MORE deadlines for, um, a short while at least.

WORKING overtime so I can take off next week for my trip to Colorado! can't believe the insane amount of stuff that got accomplished this week. yay for finishing up projects + home improvement + garden work + stuff like that.
colorado, you are calling my name. #cannotwait

Happy Weekend!
-Chels

Friday, May 8, 2015

All I Need=Jesus

It is all that matters, friends. ALL THAT MATTERS.
Is that you have + KNOW Jesus. That Jesus KNOWS you. In the light of eternity, that's it. 
So simple, so profound, so true.

For a while, around the beginning of this year, I was on a role with posting my goals. Y'all may have noticed that I have discontinued that. Its not that I've stopped setting goals. I'm still a huge fan of goals and spending time wisely. 

But I've just stopped posting them. I realized (after being challenged by a dear friend/mentor) that my motive in posting my goals was to prove that I was accomplishing things. I felt the need to prove that even though I was traveling + touring with my family, I was still getting a lot done and working hard. I was feeling such a need for affirmation in my work. 

This has always been one of my weak areas. I get so driven by my work + finding my identity in what I accomplish. It is so wrong. So backwards, and so messed up. And I'm learning that you can't find affirmation in your work. In your job. In your life.

The only place that really matters for affirmation...is affirmation from Jesus. 
That's all I need; that's all you need. 

Happy Friday!
-Chels

Friday, May 1, 2015

Life Lately

Hello friends! Well, its the end of the Ten Day Tandem and I decided to leave y'all with a "Life Lately" post. For the other posts mentioned in the comments at the beginning of this series...I am still hoping to get to them. I really did make a dent in my drafts folder these past two weeks! There will be more to come eventually.
Its been a pleasure doing this with Hannah once again, + having all of you follow along our little journey. Thanks for your comments + encouragement!
So for the "Life Lately"....
*Car washing with the little bro today. Special times. 
*Lunch + shopping in town with the little sisters while mom was gone to Florida with her sisters. A sweet older gentleman whom we met on our winter tour gave us girls some money to "use for something special that girls like", he said. (so sweet!) We decided to use it to redo our room, so we picked out paint + fabrics, and now the bedroom makeover is the next project on the list!
*Herb Garden project (as mentioned here)
*AFTER! So happy with this! And excited about all those little seeds that are gonna be popping up before too long...

*Attending a family conference with my family in which I got to meet up with many dear old friends, and enjoy some good sessions + discussion time.

*Getting to hear the Benham Brothers live at the above mentioned conference. They are my current favorites---amazing speakers! Stay tuned for a giveaway here of their new book (best book EVER!) coming up soon!

*Being so blessed by the sermons at my church.

*Volunteering at my church's annual youth conference as photographer + music competition arranger/director. Made for a busy weekend but a wonderful time working hard together with others for the cause of Christ!

*Loving that our fridge is getting all covered up with wedding + grad invitations! Favorite time of year!

*The new family album is coming along! Been spending a lot of time working on this project and getting everything together. Also have to coordinate and line up all the projects that come when we get new family pictures-new displays, new promotional flyers, new prayer cards, new business cards, new everything! 

*Working on Labor Day + Family Camp details...so excited for how things are shaping up for these events as well! And along those lines, camp registration is basically full, but the single guy's cabin and also the single girl's cabin still have a few available spaces, so if you are interested in attending, please feel free to email info@bontragerfamilysingers.com and I will send you a brochure.

*Spending a day driving some missionary friends to the Chicago airport, to return to Africa after their furlough. Great conversations with them on the way to the airport, and then great conversations with my cousin + Jesus on the way home. #ilovesolitude
*And last but not least, I've been just lovin' all the time I've been spending with this precious child + her siblings. Fuzzy picture, I know, but its worth it. =) Love her.
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I will still be posting after this (maybe, haha!) so please come back next week!
Have a blessed weekend, y'all!
-Chels