Monday, July 8, 2013

Covering my walls with yarn

Earlier this year, I shared a personal art project that I hung in my living room.

I was pretty pleased with how it turned out!

... with the exception of my husband not loving the fabric color on our wall.

So, I undid the whole project (aren't I so loving?!) to remake it with an entirely new fabric color.

At first, I thought I had a marvelous idea:
Why not use felt instead of fabric?! Surely the yarn will stick like those felt boards I enjoyed as a kid!

I bought some white felt, and attached it to the corkboard like I had done with the blue fabric. While it was laying on the ground, I organized the crochet flowers just the way I wanted them. Thinking I was being really smart, I also rubbed them against the felt just a little bit, to try and get that static cling thing working for me.

And after minutes of careful attempts to hang it back up on the wall above my desk (it was not an easy task. I should have waited for my husband to come home, in all honesty), I took one step back to admire my work ... and three of the flowers fell off onto my computer.

To make life a little easier on myself, I decided to leave the corkboard hanging while I reattached each flower with thumb tacks. I had bought some clear ones to mix in with the bight green, so I used those on the mostly blue flowers.

Unfortunately for me, our 'mostly white' walls are actually on the yellow side of white, and the white felt over blue fabric is on the blue side of white. So, the corkboard came off of the wall once more!

And went back up over the fireplace.

Finally, I am satisfied with my artistic creation! (and so is my husband!)

Now to decide what to make for a headboard ...


What custom art projects have you made for your home?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Delightful Little Owls

Update -- Scroll to the bottom to see the newest photo! (super cute!)

-- You can find these cute owls on Etsy!

© Jessica Van Eaton

Sometimes I have a lot of trouble designing new products. Most of the time, it's because I have so many ideas bouncing through my head that I can't land on just one! Other times my perfectionism gets in the way, and all I can see are the 'perceived flaws' and little fixes that I can't quite figure out.

This time, I had too many variations running through my head!

So, I decided to make my favorite two.
(just so you know, they measure about 3.5'' tall. They are too cute!)

Which one is your favorite little owl?

© Jessica Van Eaton

© Jessica Van Eaton

© Jessica Van Eaton

If I get enough feedback, I can have one of these cute little owls in my shop by next Friday!

Your thoughts:   How do you make decisions when there are too many options?


Update:  June 26, 2013 1:30 PM

My cousin had a graduation party this last weekend, and I decided to give her an adorable owl as a gift. I love how this little graduation cap turned out! Don't you?

© Jessica Van Eaton

Also, check back soon for an update (and direct link) on where to buy these cute owls!

I hope you are having a blessed day!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sneak Peak

Here's a little preview of a project I am working on!

I hope to have more adorable (and complete) pictures for you by the end of this week. Don't miss out!

© Jessica Van Eaton

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Colors in season

This past week, my local grocery store has been selling strawberries that have been absolutely delicious! (and not too expensive, either)

I'm rather excited by that, since strawberries are one of my favorite fruits!

Not only that, but I can finally try out this new recipe I created! (created with the help of a variety of recipes online, and some tips from friends who are into healthy eating and getting vegetables into your diet)

© Jessica Van Eaton

A delicious pink smoothie, filled with lots of strawberries and other fruits and veggies!

One of my favorite things about this smoothie is that you can hardly taste the vegetables that are in it. I'd recommend trying it first as-is, but feel free to tweak this recipe into something that you love!

  • 7 Strawberries, quartered
  • 20 Blueberries
  • 8 chunks of Pineapple, 1/2" cubes approx.
    (I cut mine fresh in bulk and then froze them, but a can of pineapple chunks should work)
  • Greek Yogurt (honey and strawberry flavor)
  • 1/2 stalk of Celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 Cucumber slices, thinly diced
  • 4 baby Carrots, sliced thinly
  • 8 baby Spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 Lemon wedge, rind and seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 California Mandarin Orange (or other orange), rind removed
  • V8 V-Fusion, Tropical Orange flavor
  • V8 V-Fusion, Acai Mixed Berry flavor

1. Put the Strawberries, Blueberries and three large scoops of Greek Yogurt into a blender

© Jessica Van Eaton
 2. Add the Celery, Pineapple, Cucumber, Carrots, Orange, Spinach, and Lemon

© Jessica Van Eaton
© Jessica Van Eaton
© Jessica Van Eaton
© Jessica Van Eaton
© Jessica Van Eaton
3. Pour in 1/3 cup of Acai Mixed Berry V8 V-Fusion
4. Pour in 1/4 cup of Tropical Orange V8 V-Fusion
5. Blend the mixture until smooth

© Jessica Van Eaton
6. Drink and enjoy!

I hope you find this smoothie to be absolutely delightful! I have certainly enjoyed making it for myself. :-)

Here is a simpler list of the instructions, all in one place:

1.  Measure out the following into a blender: 1/3 cup of Acai Mixed Berry V8 V-Fusion, 1/4 cup of Tropical Orange V8 V-Fusion, three full scoops of Greek Yogurt.
2.  Add all other ingredients to the blender. Blend until smooth.

Try this recipe out for yourself, and let me know your thoughts, tips and tricks in the comments below!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Simple Update

It's funny how life can change directions in the blink of an eye.

Sometimes, it is as though you weren't paying enough attention and had to do a 'double-take' to really understand how you ended up here.

This past year has had quite the variety of life's experiences for me. Maybe not as varied as some, but it has been a little all over the place.

In March, I learned that I have a higher pain tolerance than I ever thought was possible.

I learned that my 'close to the edge' feeling of unbearable pain really wasn't all that 'unbearable', it just felt really horrible and was constantly distracting. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you wish to see it), I learned that I was not yet anywhere near 'the edge' (Those of you with chronic pain will understand what I mean). I'd have to endure a lot more pain to get to that point.

Which, to be frank, is not something I want to have to endure.
But that might just be a part of the plan for my life...

Here's how I learned those things: I tried a wide variety of prescription drugs (one at a time, over the course of six months) in a desperate attempt to mitigate my muscular and nerve pain. I put these poisons (that's what they are, in many ways) into my body, and all that happened involved a nice long list of side-effects, including more nerve pain.

Even more pain than I already had. Mind you, I didn't even consider these prescription drugs to be an option until I thought I couldn't possibly manage without them.

Apparently I was wrong.

Apparently I can go a lot further 'down' while still 'managing' to maintain my life in the midst of this pain.
I don't really think I do that great of a job at managing (I have trouble doing simple tasks: I have to choose between washing dishes or making dinner because I can't do both; I managed to get a job in the area of childcare but in all honesty my body simply can't handle it), but I'm apparently doing well enough because I can still hold a conversation for a decent amount of time before everything starts getting a little, well, iffy. It's hard to explain. But pain is incredibly distracting, even subconsciously. Things tend to get a little jumbled.

So, in the midst of my long-suffering, I have decided to turn to my 'strong-suits' and those things which inspire me most. (You know, the things you get excited talking about, and actually put a smile on your face no matter what is going on around you)

In case you don't know me very well or haven't been following along, for me those things are:
  • Crocheting
  • Helping Others
  • Singing
  • Things related to God
For the longest time, I have tried having an Etsy shop dedicated to selling crocheted goods almost purely for the sake of charity.
That's what this blog was originally linked to and titled under! (In case you were confused by the name change -- Yes, this was HelpfulBlankets!)

I'm switching it all up now.

My life tends to throw me curve-balls regardless of what is going on, so I may as well be the cause of the chaos this time.

I'm closing my HelpfulBlankets Etsy shop sometime this month, and will be merging it with my ColorMeCrochet shop. It's a one stop shop! :-)

But the side of giving will be (almost) completely separate. (most likely any of my profits will go directly to materials and shipping for the sake of giving...I can just see that happening!)

I'm going to be starting a tiny ministry of prayer, and I hope you will join me. When it's all set up, I will invite you to email me the names of men, women, children and families whom you want to receive prayer (and a prayer shawl or blanket), in addition to any prayer requests you have for them.

I am going to spend the rest of my life helping others.

And since my body isn't so great at doing that, I am going to finally start realizing (and intentionally living out) that the greatest thing I could ever do for someone else is to pray for them. God is bigger and more able than any able-bodied person ever will be, so I'm going to give it all to him ... over and over again, for myself and on behalf of others.

It's not an easy thing to have a disability.

It's even harder to feel dis-abled.

But my God is constrained by no physical bounds.
And I am going to spend my life singing His praise and living as a servant through prayer.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Here's to the Heavy-Laden

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
   Matthew 11:28-30
For those who don't have the entire Bible memorized, or at least a really good picture of who is generally quoted in the New Testament, I want to point out one really important thing about this verse:

the person speaking is JESUS.

Now, why would I consider that something really important to point out?

Here's the thing: if I say that I believe that God created me and all things, and that Jesus is God and a member of the Trinity, and that God always speaks the truth, then

anytime God speaks, we need to listen.

So, Jesus is speaking here. Oh Lord, help us hear!

The scripture quoted above is from the NIV (New International Version of the Bible). Another translation where I have heard teaching on this scripture was NASB (New American Standard Bible), and it uses a really interesting word. Instead of "burdened", NASB uses the word "heavy-laden."


That's an interesting term. It is certainly not a common descriptor these days, so what does it really mean?

To get my point across, I think it would best be done through this picture:

© Jessica Van Eaton 2013

This pine tree is absolutely covered in snow. Probably close to 8 inches at the tallest of mounds. And because it has all of its needles, there are giant blankets of snow weighing down each branch. They are sagging and stooping under the beautiful white blankets of snow.

There is so much weight, it is literally bending over from all of the weight.

It can't stand up straight!

This tree is heavy-laden with snow. It is such a deep descriptor when we look at our lives.
When we are weary (aka. exhausted and tired) and heavy-laden (or deeply burdened), we are so overwhelmed by that which is burdening us and exhausting us that we are not physically, emotionally, or spiritually able to hold ourselves upright!

And it is in those exhaustive moments in our lives that Jesus is speaking to us. Listen to his words: "Come to me ... and I will give you rest." Rest! He will lift away that which is pinning us down and give us the moments we need to be rejuvenated.

" will find rest for your souls."

How beautiful is that image? To have our very souls be at rest. To have our striving, our worry, our panic, our issues, our fears and all other 'problems' be pealed away from our weary souls so that we may finally live in a place of rest. A place of calm. A place of hope. And a place of complete trust. For we can only rest in the midst of the chaos of this world when we are constantly reminding ourselves that we can trust God to have power and dominion over all of it!

But there is a part in the middle that we need to look at. It tells us how we will find that rest. What path we need to take.

"Take my yoke upon you ... For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

What is the yoke that Jesus is speaking about?

For starters, a yoke is commonly used to strap two strong animals together, to use their combined strength for work like tilling or plowing a field. Horses, oxen, and other large animals have often been yoked together by man to make the work faster and easier than with one animal striving on its own.
But for a yoke to work best, both animals must be similar in size, strength and temperament.
Sometimes, though, a yoke can be used to work through some of those differences, especially temperament. The one who is weaker will be lifted up by the stronger, and the one who is restless will be mellowed by the calm.

The labor that is requiring this particular yoke which Jesus is speaking about is the work that we are to do in the world. There is so much 'tilling' and 'plowing' and 'planting' that has to be done! Yes, I am speaking in the spiritual terms of those words: sharing the good news and planting seeds of righteousness! And it is certainly not something that is an easy task. And certainly not a task that can be accomplished alone!

So how can Jesus say that his yoke is easy? And that his burden is light? How can that be true when we already know that the task is daunting?

I believe it is because in 'taking his yoke', you are choosing to be yoked to Jesus for the work that we are called. And he is the strongest and most well-tempered there will ever be! The burden on us is light and easy, for Jesus is the one able to do the 'heavy lifting' when we find ourselves stumbling. He is the one who knows the most straightforward path that must be taken for each task. What a blessing that he even offers to do this for us!

"... learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart ..."

Lastly, we are called to learn the ways of Jesus. By yoking ourselves to him, we are allowing him to teach us -- his temperament, the path that he follows, where he gathers his strength -- and allowing our spirit to learn from his guidance.
And in the midst of teaching us, he is promising to do so with gentleness and kindheartedness. I also believe he is saying that we are called to learn the qualities of a gentle and humble heart from him.

Learning by being yoked is not an instant fix for our struggles and ineptitude. But God is patient! 

What a beautiful gift he is constantly giving us -- his time, his patience, Him!
At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to the little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure."
   Matthew 11:25-26

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

True Beauty

All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
  Song of Songs 4:7
In this fast-paced, first-class world of America, there never ceases to be a barrage of information and opinions about anything and everything.
And by anything and everything, I pretty much mean everything that really doesn't matter.
At least not in how it's being approached.

One such thing, in my opinion, is beauty.

Men, here are my questions that I want you to ponder:
What does it mean for a woman to be beautiful?
Have you ever met a beautiful woman?

Much of what I am going to write will be geared toward women (since I am one), but I believe there are still many good nuggets of truth for you to find. So, please keep reading!

Here is my question for you women reading this:

Are you beautiful?

Zing. There it is. One of the most dreaded questions I have ever faced.

Go ahead, write down your answer!
Elaborate in all of your jumbles of thoughts, opinions and descriptions or yourself. Write out the details of everything you deem notable, anything to support your answer.

Have you finished writing yet? No rush! I want you to be utterly and completely honest with yourself.
After all, this isn't some homework assignment you are required to turn in. It is perfectly acceptable to shred the evidence after all is said and done! (Though I would recommend keeping it ... you'll see why)

Now, what did you answer?

In high school, which is a pretty tough time for most people, my answer would have been a meek yet final


I say meek because I was very shy, and in many ways not outspoken ... at least when it came to my own feelings of self-worth. I was great at sharing my opinions in the classroom (well, at least by senior year), and pointing out the misrepresentation of some of my fellow believers, outspokenly imploring them to change their behaviors and be an example to others. But none of these people really knew me. Maybe they think they knew me, but I am almost positive they didn't. The me that never saw much value in myself; the me that constantly compared every aspect of myself (looks, height, voice, friendliness, intellect, the ability to be fun) to other girls in my class, and the me that never truly believed I would one day be married.

High school, especially the first three years, was a very rough time for me. My senior year was rough for a different reason, but all in all I am thankful it is over and done with.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.
  1 Peter 3:3

Thankfully, high school was a long time ago. I graduated almost 6 years ago! And, in that time, there has been a lot of changing and growing.

I am now no longer a girl.

I am a woman.

But, on many days, that little question scares the living daylights out of me. Because there are still a good number of days where, if I am really honest with myself, the answer would still be 'no.'

On those days, I could write really long lists detailing my flaws and failures, my struggles and inadequacies, my every slip-up and my overall ineptitude.

On those days, I have succumbed to


Thankfully, today is not one of 'those days.' Which is why I can write this post.
And, by God's grace alone, those days are constantly getting fewer and farther between.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
  1 Peter 3:3-4

Ladies -- are you beautiful?

Take a moment and re-read what you wrote down. I pray most of you wrote Yes!, though I have a sinking feeling that is not the case.

Now I want to ask you a different question. One the guys were supposed to ponder over and answer.

What does it mean to be beautiful?

DOVE did this really cool project to help show women how they are too hard on themselves in terms of beauty. That they are misrepresenting themselves in their own minds. That their self-view of beauty needs to be changed and grown to accurately reflect what the world sees.

I really enjoyed the video, and I believe it will help many women take a step in the right direction.

But I have one really big problem with this project.

We shouldn't be putting any merit on what the world sees.

To have the world's view be our end goal in growth, is like saying that a 5-year old is mature.
A five-year old is not mature! There is so much more room to grow!

In light of those comments, I want to change your question, ladies. Here is your new question:

Did God make me beautiful?

Every time the world presents you with a new image or opinion or statement pertaining to beauty, I want you to return to this question. NOT the first question I gave you!

Because, in reality, your opinion of you does not matter. Your thoughts on what is beautiful, your like or dislike of your chin, your comparison to others, or even whether you are doing a good job at not comparing yourself to others. None of that is of any importance.

What matters is what God sees in you.

Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
  1 Peter 3:4-6
"Do not give way to fear"! No more worrying about your appearance or your struggles or your failures, no more succumbing to fear and lies that you are not sufficient for the roles in which God has placed you.

For God sees beauty.

Because that is how He made you! In His image, in His grace, in His strength, in His feminine beauty!

Your beauty shows God to the whole world.

And that is what I want the world to be seeing! God! Not me, not my opinions, not my physical, temporal beauty, and not my fears and failures. God!

Did God make you beautiful? Yes! 
And yes again!

Below your written answer, I want you to write this down:

My unfading beauty will display my God to the world!

"... the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit ..." All you who are able, come near and hear! Let your ears be opened to the lies being fed to this generation!

There is great strength in humility. There is great strength and power in a calm, gentle, kind woman.
There is great power in the simplicity of God-given beauty.

And your beauty shines brightest for the world ... when you are no longer struggling to be beautiful.

Even if it is hidden under years of lies, struggles and battle scars, the beauty given to you by God is something you can never lose. Anything else is a lie by the Devil. Because he is jealous of your beauty. And he is afraid of it's strength.

You are a woman of great power, able to be used by God for His glory. Able to show the world the deep and abiding beauty that comes from confidence in the way you have been made, unwavering faith in God's intimate love for you, and unfailing peace in your view of self, for it comes directly from how God views you. How He made you.

Perfect. Designed with purpose.
Every little quirk intended just for you. Every little nuance designed specifically for the Path you have been made for.

Ladies, you are beautiful in the eyes of God, the one who made you.

Gentlemen, the women around you are in a battlefield. They are blinded to the beauty of God that has been placed inside of them. Pray! Fight for them! And never cease to share His Words and His compassion with them, for this battle is sapping their strength. (Which is what the Devil wants!) Lend them your strength, your prayers, your confidence in God's Word and the role of these women for the glory of God. Loose them from this battle so they may press forward into the ones they have been called.

Remind them that they are each a beautiful princess, the daughter of the King above all Kings, whose beauty they have inherited from their Father, and whose gentle confidence and humble servitude will fight many great battles for the glory of the Lord. 

And will let their beauty shine.
 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
  Proverbs 31:25-30