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Finding Out… {part 1}

I interrupt my normal slew of DIY and Crafts to bring you a little bit into my life today.  I have pondered for months whether or not to share this information publicly on my blog, but due to recent events in our lives I have come to feel very strongly that I wanted to write about this and I wanted to share it with you.

I love all comments I receive but please know that this is a topic currently very tender to me, these are my very personal thoughts, feelings and beliefs and this is very difficult to share with my closest friends and family, it is extraordinarily difficult to put this on my blog.  So please, please be respectful in your commenting.

The last 11 months have been a whirlwind of ups and downs, of joy and tears and after much contemplation, I finally feel it is time to share a bit of our story with you.  I share this as my experience, and I know many have gone through much worse.  But this is my life, real and raw over the last 11 months.

It was about 11 months ago when we knew it was time to try for baby number three.  We have two amazing, beautiful children, but we knew we were missing a precious baby in our family and we knew it was time to start trying again.

Our first child was a cinch to conceive, I am not even totally sure how we got pregnant when we did, but she came instantly.  The pregnancy had its ups and downs.  I was quite sick during the first trimester, suffered from many severe migraines during the second trimester and was put on bed rest for pre-term labor my third trimester.  But at 39 weeks, after about 8 hours of labor and 40 minutes of pushing, we had a beautiful healthy baby girl and we couldn’t have been more happy!

Finding Out (part 1) - we share our journey to grow our family including all our ups and downs, trials and heartaches and miscarriage.  #miscarriage #children #family

Two years later when we decided to try for a second one, we were hit with a bit more challenging time.  It took us almost a year to conceive our son.  That proved to be difficult at times, many emotional ups and downs.  I know so many others have an even harder time conceiving, and I don’t mean to try to compare, but it was a little trial in that period of our life for us.  There were many tears shed when every month for nearly a year, I had a negative pregnancy test.

Finally, though, we found out that were expecting!  We were thrilled!  But this pregnancy proved more difficult, I had sickness (and this time lots of sprinting to the bathroom) until 22 weeks.  Migraines.  And then at 27 week, I started bleeding and contracting.  I spent from 27 weeks on in and out of the hospital and on 24/7 medication to keep the contractions, and hopefully the bleeding, at bay.

It was determined that I had marginal placenta previa, which was the cause of the bleeding so it was a “me” problem, not a problem with the baby!  Whew.  I was so grateful for a healthy stable baby.  But my dr was so concerned about me bleeding out and excess bleeding during labor that I was on really really strict bed rest.

It was very stressful and I wasn’t able to take care of my 3 year old daughter due to the strictness of the bed rest.  I was so grateful to have amazing parents who came out and stayed with us to help take care of my little family during this time!  We also had some amazing friends who helped out during this time.  I will never be able to express to friends or family how much their support and help meant to us during this time.  We were so lucky!

Thankfully, we were blessed and our dear son arrived at 38 weeks, after only an 1.5 hours of labor (ouch!) and two pushes.  Gratefully, he was as healthy as could be!

Finding Out (part 1) - we share our journey to grow our family including all our ups and downs, trials and heartaches and miscarriage.  #miscarriage #children #family

So when we decided that it was time for number 3, we didn’t know what to expect.  We would have been happy to get pregnant right away, but we prepared ourselves with the fact that it would probably take a long time.

January 18, 2013, after four months of trying, I decided, partially on a whim, to take a pregnancy test.  I was sure it would be negative but to my surprise, and joy, it was positive!!

We were thrilled…and overjoyed…and a bit nervous about how baby #3 would change the dynamic of our family, but mostly we were excited!

And then, one week later, I started to bleed.

I knew, I just knew I was going to lose that baby.  I had so much going on that day that I literally had to drag myself in the shower and to leave the house to go speak at a MOPS group.  And then do several other things I couldn’t get out of.  I anxiously called the dr who sent me to do blood work, which I managed to fit into the crazy day.  And then I went out that night to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  All while knowing I was most likely losing my baby.

The next day my dr called with the news.  

The news you never want to hear.  My hormone levels were all way too low.  Laughably low.  My progesterone was lower then most non-pregnant women, and my hcg level was about what it should be the instant you conceive.  There was no doubt that I was miscarrying.

I had never had a miscarriage before.  And I had no idea how much it would hurt.  Not physically, physically it wasn’t very painful at all (I wasn’t very far along).  But emotionally, it was so hard.  No one knew we were pregnant, no one new we were trying, and no one knew we had lost a baby.  I could barely tell my husband the news.  We were both devastated.

He suggested I tell a friend.  I didn’t want to.  All I could think about was how awkward that would be, “Hi, so I was calling to tell you that I am miscarrying, and oh ya, btw, I was pregnant.  Oh, and I know we didn’t tell you, but we actually have wanted baby number 3 for a while…so uhm, yeah.”  Awkward.  And in my tearful stage, there was no way I was making that phone call.

So my dear sweet amazing husband called a friend of mine and told her for me.  She was over within an hour with flowers, a big hug and took my son to play at her house.  Her kind sweet actions made all the difference in the world.  And having a friend to talk to, a friend who had been through it, proved to be more of a comfort to me then I would ever know during the following days and weeks.  And we can never express to my friends and family who helped us through this time, how grateful we are for them!

We were also so blessed to have faith, hope and religion in our life.  Having hope can get you through so many difficult times.  And having a relationship with our Heavenly Father and our Savior allowed us to feel a sense of peace, strength and comfort during this hard trial in our life.  

We knew it would be a hard road to grieve from our loss, but each day became easier, and days turned into weeks.  And eventually we were doing ok.  We still had our ups and downs, but overall, after some time, it got easier.

Having a miscarriage changes you forever, you never forget your loss.  
But it gets easier with time. 

For me personally, serving others and finding ways to help others helps me get outside myself and helps me heal.  Serving others has proved to help me heal from difficult times often in my life and I knew that I needed to serve others in order to help myself heal  So I looked for ways to reach out to others and help whenever needed and that helped us both heal.

At a certain point, we moved past the heartbreak, but the reality of trying again meant the possibility of losing again, and that was a reality hard to consider.  

So it took us a couple months to decide to try again.

And when we did…we simply were not prepared for what would come next…

{to be continued}

Read PART 2 HERE

SIlhouette Giveaway and May Promotion + Simple Hair Flowers

I am so thrilled to be a part of Silhouette America’s 2nd May Promotion and Giveaway today!  That’s right, today you can ENTER TO WIN A SILHOUETTE on my blog!  Wahoo!!

Silhouette Giveaway - come enter to #win a #Silhouette Portrait  #giveaway #spon

I LOVE my Silhouette Cameo…I honestly would be lost without it.  I use it all the time to complete fun home projects, fun crafts and holiday projects as well!  Even my daughter asks for me to make things with it for her!  So I am of course THRILLED to be able to give my readers a chance to win their very own SILHOUETTE PORTRAIT today!  (giveaway at bottom of post)

And to make the deal a little sweeter, Silhouette is offering some AMAZING May deals right now on their site using code: DESIGNING

Silhouette May Promotions - save BIG on their Fabric Bundle, Silhouette Portrait and Silhouette Cameo!  #silhouette #spon

Go to http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/fabric, and use code: DESIGNING
to take advantage of these amazing deals!

The prices are INCREDIBLE and I am so excited that Silhouette is offering a second promotion this month!  Their Fabric Project Bundle is A.MAZ.ING!  I had so much fun using their clean cut interfacing for a fun project that I can’t wait to show you today!  But…more on that in a minute!

Go HERE and use code: DESIGNING to take advantage of these amazing deals!!
But act soon because the promotion ends May 31, 2013.

I was so thrilled when Silhouette America send me their Fabric Project Bundle to try out!  This bundle includes their sewable fabric interfacing and their clean cut iron-on interfacing plus a fabric blade.  And now is a great time to test it out since you can purchase it on sale for almost 45% OFF!

Silhouette Fabric Interfacing (sewable and clean cut)  #silhouette #spon

I LOVE making my daughter hair flowers, but I don’t love taking the time to cut the fabric out into flower shapes.  But this became really simple with my Silhouette and with the clean cut fabric interfacing.

Hair Flowers for girls using a Silhouette - #silhouette #spon #hairbows #craft

I downloaded a 3D flower shape, sized it and cut it on my fabric lined with clean cut interfacing according to package directions.

Hair Flowers using a Silhouette - #silhouette #spon #hairbows #craft

I was so impressed with how well the Silhouette cut fabric!  It was absolutely perfect…and fast!

Layered Hair Flowers using a Silhouette - #silhouette #spon #hairbows #craft

I simply layered the flower pieces together (I mixed and matched the fabrics) and then hand sewed a button through all the layers.

Fabric Hair Flowers using a Silhouette - #silhouette #spon #hairbows #craft

Then I attached lined alligator clips with a hot glue gun and voila!  Really pretty hair flowers!  (Check out my post on how to line alligator clips here.)

Layered Fabric Hair Flower using a Silhouette - #silhouette #spon #hairbows #craft

Aren’t those so fun!?  There are so many fabulous ways to use Silhouette’s fabric interfacing so if you’ve ever wanted to try it out…now would be a great time!!

And remember to go to http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/fabric, use code: DESIGNING
to take advantage of some pretty amazing deals!

Now it’s time to Enter to WIN a Silhouette Portrait!!

Use the Rafflecopter entry form below and enter to win! Contest will end May 27, 2013, 11:59pm EST, and winner will be announced on May 28, 2013. Winner must contact me within 24 hours or another winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GOOD LUCK!

*Winning entries will be verified. This giveaway is in no way affiliated, administered or endorsed by Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. No information will be disclosed to Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter by entering this giveaway. No purchase necessary to win. Odds of winning are based on number of entrants. Winner for each prize package will be chosen randomly through Rafflecopter. Winner will be announced on May 28th, 2013 in this blog post and the winner will need to respond within 24 hours of announcement / email to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen. Winner must be 18 years of age or older and a US citizen with a US mailing address in order to win. Winner is responsible for paying any necessary taxes on winnings. All prizes will be mailed / emailed / fulfilled by the sponsor and the blog owner(s) involved are not held responsible if the prize is not fulfilled. A list of winners may be requested after the giveaway has ended. Please email me with any questions or to obtain additional information at: simplydesigning@gmail.com

Thank you so much to Silhouette American for allowing me to host this fabulous giveaway and also for sending me some amazing product to test out for purposes of this post!

For MORE Chances to Win a Silhouette, check out these blogs too:

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Let’s Talk about Fireplaces


It all started a couple of months ago…when my son accidentally knocked over our fireplace tool set shattering a tile by our fireplace. Now, we did not select the tiles when our home was built. They weren’t ugly, but they aren’t super pretty or expensive either. So instead of just replacing the one tile…we decided to complicated things and replace all of the tile surrounding the fireplace with a nicer, larger tile!

It has been a really fun project, and we have learned a lot. I can’t wait to share it all with you…as soon as we are done with it. But I wanted to take this opportunity, while I am thinking about my fireplace to talk to you about fireplaces and hearths.

For centuries, families have referred to the fireplace as the hearth and sometimes even the “heart of the home.” Before kitchens became the gathering place, the fireplace (where the food was cooked) was the heart of the home where everyone gathered to eat, talk about their days and tell stories.

Today, since we cook in the kitchen and flip a switch to turn on the fireplace our customs have changed. My family always make a point to have family dinner together as often as possible and chat about our days and we are always looking for new activities to do together as a family.

In a recent article called “10 Ways to Improve Family Communication” by LDS.ORG, the author gives advice on how families can build better communication. The article encourages parents to make the home a haven and sites a survey in which men were asked what they wanted in their homes. The results showed that they preferred tranquility at home to an expensive home or lavish home decor. The author concludes by saying the home should foster peace, and that creating a peaceful climate in the home is vital to the family’s ability to grow together as a unit.

One of the reasons I love designing, decorating and creating is because I feel like it is one way to help create a beautiful home. I know that a beautiful home can feel more comfortable and provide a wonderful atmosphere for families to grow closer together. My home isn’t filled with expensive things: I love fixing up a piece of furniture I found on Craigslist, but I am slowly working to make it OUR home. And a place where love, peace and beauty are present.


I am always looking for ways to bring my family closer together, to give us those bonding experiences and one day, we would love to install a fire pit outside. Like a fireplace of old inside, fire pits outside can become the new center of family activities during nice weather. A place for family and friends to gather, talk and bond.

{via}


From a designer’s point of view, fire pits can be beautiful focal pieces to your outdoor landscaping. They can provide a hearth to gather family and friends around and they can create a warm and inviting atmosphere. And one of the things I think about most when envisioning my one-day fire pit, is the style of it. I want to be sure to pick a fire pit style that matches my home’s interior style so that the interior and exterior design styles match and flow.


If you are a DIYer or an avid researcher, you can probably come up with a lot of great designs that would be a perfect compliment to your backyard. You can also find great ideas and resources from sites like www.AllBackYardFun.com etc to find great fire pits, fire place inserts and other accessories. 

So while I continue to work on setting our tile and leveling it tonight I hope you will take a moment to think about what the center and the heart of your home is and please take a moment to leave me a comment and tell me what family activities you do to bond your family together!

And don’t forget to join me tomorrow for a giveaway so HUGE you aren’t going to want to miss it!!  Over $3,000 in prizes to makeover your home!

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Homemade Butter using a Jar {Boredom Buster}

As part of my on-going adventure to include my kids in crafting, and in an effort to help prevent Summer Boredom, I decided to try a really fun crafty experiment that involved food!  Yum!  We LOVE crafting with food or creating yummy treats at our house but I decided to actually break out of our normal sweet food and go for something a little more savory.  We decided to make our own Homemade Butter: using nothing but our own strength and a jar! (well and a few ingredients too of course!)

Homemade Butter in a Jar | awesome kids activity - definitely doing this this summer! | #recipe #kidsactivity #food #summer

When I heard you could make your own butter, all I could picture was a large old fashioned wooden churn…and I was just mystified.  I had soooo many questions rushing through my head including why would I want to do that, where would I get a churn, do I have to buy one or can I rent one, and oh man my husband is not going to be happy about having to store a churn.  My husband is very very sweet and supportive of my crafting and design craziness, but a churn would take it to a whole new level!

Thankfully, I found a great blog post from Plucky Momo on making your own butter with a jar.  Oh.  I have one of those!!

You Will Need:

  • heavy cream (as much as you want, the more cream, the more butter you will make!)
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • marble
  • jar or other tight sealing container 

So following the instructions on her blog post I took my heavy cream and poured it into my jar with a pinch of salt.  (For some reason a glass jar worried me a bit so I used a freezer jam jar).  Added my marble.

And we shook.

And we shook.

And after about 15 minutes of shaking…my jar started to look like this.

And after another 5 minutes of shaking or so…I had BUTTER!  Well, sort of…

I looked inside and part of it definitely had gotten thicker, and there was a separate liquid and solid part, but it didn’t quite look like butter.  

So I squeezed it together using a spoon to try to get the butter to stick together.

It worked, but not quite well enough.  So I used my (clean) hands and squeezed it together over a sink so that the excess liquid would come out and the butter would meld together.

And then it looked like butter!

Homemade Butter in a Jar | awesome kids activity - definitely doing this this summer! | #recipe #kidsactivity #food #summer

If you put it in the fridge for a bit, it will harden up just a bit more and will be the texture, consistency and taste of butter!  YUMMY!


Who knew making butter was so easy?!  And I got a bicep workout in the process :)

You Might Also Like:
How to Make Ice Cream In a Bag
How to Make Your Own Squirrel Feeder
Kids Crafts: Button Art

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SYTYC Spotlight Saturday!

Every Saturday I’m going to feature a fellow SoYouThinkYou’reCrafty contestant from Season 5 – check out their blogs!

Ashley @ Simply Designing

I am so excited to be part of So You Think You’re Crafty’s Season 5!
I am Ashley, the face and voice behind Simply Designing.
I am fairly new to blogland but am loving every minute of it!  I am an interior designer and a floral designer.  I own my own business.
I love to dabble in home decorseasonal decor, interior design, crafts, floral design, baby / child items, very occasional sewing, lots of baking, cake decorating and a variety of other things.  I also host a weekly Friday link-up party on my blog.
I love finding ways to make my life more SIMPLE!
I enjoy keeping busy and I have a list a mile long of “projects” I want to do.  And I love posting about my projects on my blog!
In addition, I am a wife to a wonderful husband for 9.5 years, and a mom of a 4 year old spunky little girl and a sweet cuddly 7 month old little boy!  So much fun!
Thank you so much for letting me come and participate in this wonderful competition!  I am so excited to be here!

Ashley’s Crafts: