A Story on Adoption

I’ve known Abby for a long time actually. We went to the same elementary school, Jr. High, and High school. We didn’t get to really know each other ’til high school and then my life took a different turn and took me to a completely different school. Thanks to social media (FB) we’ve been able to reconnect and share our love of crafting, being a mother, music and adoption.
Adoption touched my life at a young age when my aunt and uncle adopted a beautiful baby girl. However at the time I had NO idea how much a part of my life the adoption world would become. The summer after I graduated from high school in 2006 I was dealing with a nasty break up and wasn’t as strong in the gospel as I had been raised to be. I met a guy named Branden on myspace. He messaged me and asked if I had been the girl in the white mustang he’d helped the other day along the side of the road. I let him know that I didn’t drive a mustang so it coudn’t have been me. We kept talking though and met up for dinner about a week later. We hit it off. He was sweet, caring, generous, and very kind to me. We dated about a month before he deployed to Iraq. Watching him leave was the second… no third hardest thing I’ve ever done. The second came 4 short weeks later when I had to tell my mom and dad I was pregnant. And the first came 8 long months later when I placed my daughter into her mother’s arms.
 When I found out I was pregnant I was scared and alone. Branden (the birth father) had left the morning after I got pregnant and other than emails and a few brief phone calls wouldn’t be the support I needed. I was determined to make things work and raise my baby even if it meant doing it alone. That was until Branden told me he wanted nothing to do with a child. My mom and I had a talk and she let me know she thought it was best that I talk to LDS family services.  At first I had NO desire. I didn’t understand why she would want me to. However I was that the point in my life where I knew I needed to listen to my mother.  I went to see a case worker after much thought.  Then things started to change for what I thought was the best.  Branden emailed me and was willing to step up. I was going to do what my heart was wanting me to do all along.  HOWEVER my head had other plans.  After meeting with my case worker again I knew I needed to come up with a “list of demands” for potentional adoptive parents.  I decided that if my case worker could find a couple that matched everything on my list I would have no other option but to place my baby with them.  I felt like I had set my case worker up for failure and would be free and clear to parent like my heart was screaming at me to do.  I soon found out that all my demands could be met… in Lori and Barton.
 The moment I saw their picture my heart and head combined and I realized that the child I was carrying was meant to be part of their family.  I told Lori and Barton that I would be placing my baby with them the day before thanksgiving.  Meeting Lori and Barton only further convinced my how right adoption was for me and my situation.  Through out my pregnancy having Lori and Barton there was SO amazing.  Bonding with them and their family made the tough times in my pregnancy a little bit easier.
No matter how much I knew the child I was carrying was meant to be there I couldn’t deny that I was hurting.  My pain was only compounded when Branden (and his family) would say and do hurtful things.  I never imagined that I’d be in the situation I was in but being in it all alone was even harder.  Branden was adamant that “our baby” was not going to be “given away”.  I found out after I had told Lori and Barton I would be placing with them that he actually had a ton of control over the placement.  After a meeting with Branden he signed the papers and I was able to feel complete relief that I would be placing my daughter for adoption.
Ally was born on May 10, 2007 with her mother and father watching in joyous awe.
I had planned to stay in the hospital for 2 days with her and spend as much time as possible cuddling her.  My plans didn’t work out because Ally was sick when she was born and was rushed to the NICU.
I had moments of doubt while in the hospital but knew that I was doing the right thing.  My very first mother’s day and first birth mother’s day were spent in the hospital with my daughter.
Placement was the hardest day of my life.  I was surrounded by family and friends.
Over the following years there would be some moments harder than others.  Her 3rd birthday was very hard for me.  My heart was healed when I adopted my oldest son Cayden.
I never dreamed I would be a birth mother and an adoptive mother.  Through the years Branden has come around and has realized that the hard decision I made almost 5 year ago (this thanksgiving will be 5 years since I told Lori and Barton I’d be placing with them) was the right one.
I share my adoption experiences and those of friends on a blog called My Angels From God
This is a video that was made for me and LDSFS to help birth mothers and adoptive couples get a better understanding of what adoption is really like.
My family now
Thank you so much Abby for letting me share my story with your readers.  I hope that the things I’ve lived through can open people’s minds to the miracle that is adoption.

BEWARE Banner

Hi! We are Candace and Nicole from Crafty Sisters.
We are excited to be here at My Yellow Sandbox while Abby is away!
We love making Halloween crafts, it’s our favorite!
Today we want to show you how we made our latest project, a “BEWARE” banner.
crafty sisters
I don’t know about you, but we have TONS of scrapbook paper leftover from our many projects.
  We put them to good use!
So here’s how we made our banner:
We downloaded and printed off this spooky font, Beyond Wonderland.
(shared at Eighteen 25)
It’s a wickedly pretty font, with a “splattery” look.
We used MS Publisher to size the letters to about 3 inches, and then we added circles for easy cutting.
See, you don’t have to have all the fancy machines to create a banner, although they are very nice! :)
This is how we made a  4 inch paper yo…in a hurry!
Cut 4 (4×6) pieces of paper, then fold each at about 1/4″.
Fold over and glue each gap together to create a circle.
We absolutely love Beacon Adhesive Glue…it is wonderful!
It has a quick and durable bond, like a glue gun without all the burns.
To give the paper extra thickness, we used spray adhesive to bond the decorative paper to card stock.
We cut each large banner at 6 x 8 inches, and notched a triangle out of the bottom.
Cut your circles, and accent circles and glue them all together.
We added some of the black furry yarn in between the circles,
and also added some fur to the ribbon to hang the banner.
 Love that stuff!
It adds the perfect amount of spookiness to any Halloween project.
There you go, a fun and easy project anyone can do!
Plus, you get to use all those old paper scraps you have hanging around your house!
Thanks Abby for having us!

How to Make Bows

Hi! I’m Rachel blogging over at Family Ever After, and I’m so excited to be guest posting here!
I just bought Abby’s ebook. I can’t wait to check it out!
Since Abby is widely known for her beautiful hair and tutorials, I thought it’d be fun to show you how I make hair bows for my little girls. Bow tutorials are all over the internet, but here’s the version on how I was taught. This technique is pretty much fool proof and is great for beginners.


(pssst… read to the end… there’s a little giveaway)!
Here are the supplies you’ll need:
–needle and thread (preferably upholstery thread)
–rubber thimble (optional)
–rulers (i use varying widths… 2 inches, 2.5 inches, 3 inches, etc. you can buy these plastic rulers at the craft store, or make your own by cutting cardboard and winding clear packing tape around it)
–tape
–glue gun
–candle and matches
–ribbon
–embellishments
–hardware (clips and carpet tape)
Instructions Step 1: Tape end of ribbon to your ruler.

Step 2: Wrap it around the ruler 3 times, and tape the edges to ruler. (You’ll see 3 rows of ribbon on top and 2 rows of ribbon on the bottom).
Step 3: Find the center of the ruler, and start hand sewing through each ribbon. Point in the direction of the edge of the ruler. Double your thread, but you don’t need to tie a knot at the end.
Step 4: After you’ve sewn through all 3 rows of ribbon, pull your thread, leave a bout 2 inches of a thread tail.
Step 5: Flip the ruler over, and sew up the back. There are only 2 rows of ribbon to get through. Make sure your needle is pointing in the direction away from the ruler’s edge.
Step 6: Sewing is done. Leave a tail of thread about 2 inches.
Another view.
Step 7: Remove the tape.
Step 8: Slide the ribbon off the ruler.
Step 9: Grab both ends of the thread.
Step 10: Cinch the ribbon down.
Step 11: Cool huh?! Tie a double knot.
Step 12: Repeat process with accent ribbon if desired, in a smaller size.
Step 13: Place smaller bow on top and glue the bows together.
Step 14: Glue an embellishment to the center of your bow.
You could also tie a boutique knot (a simple loose knot) and glue it to the center of your bow.
 Step 15: Choose the type of clip that you’ll be hotglueing to the back of the bow. You basically have 2 choices, a french barrette or an alligator clip. If you use an alligator clip, you’ll want to glue a piece of carpet tape the the top side (not the side that is straight). Cut a small piece from a roll of carpet tape.
I bought this at Target for a few dollars, and I’m sure its more than enough to last a lifetime, plus share with my friends! This prevents the clip from slipping out of your daughter’s hair.
The side where I glue the tape is the TOP. This picture makes it look like the bottom, whoops.
Step 16: Now glue the clip to the bow!
Voila!!!
Step 17: For the finishing touch,you’re going to melt the raw edges of the ribbon so they won’t fray in the future. This is the key to making a professional looking bow.Note: I’ve found that most ribbon is made of synthetic fiber (polyester, for example), which melts very well. But once or twice, I had ribbon made from cotton, which totally burned and smoked, and doesn’t melt. So, if its a natural fiber, don’t attempt to melt it. Read the spool of ribbon to see it’s content.

Done! I have 4 of these to give away. 
To enter…
1. Make sure you’re following My Yellow Sandbox.
2. Then come on over and follow Family Ever After.
3. Then leave a comment on my blog with your contact info.
Easy!

 

ps- Did you hear about my huge blog bash? Abby is giving away one of her Ultimate Hairstyle Ebooks. There are over 20 giveaways, and you can enter until Halloween. Click here!

Upholstered Headboard Tutorial- king size

This was definitely a project.  Super fun, but had we known what we know now, things could have gone so much smoother!  Ya live and learn I guess right?
The lighting in that first picture was super yellow due to those lamps being turned on.  When I fixed it, it changed the color of the material.  The photo below is the actual color of the material.  Much better!
Alright, what you need:
  • (1) White Peg Board – $17.48 at Home Depot.  Cut to size- 84 x 48
  • (3) 1 x 2 x 8 – $2.61
  • (4) 1 x 3 x 8 – $6.72
  • 1 pack of 1-inch dry wall screws- $6.50 at Home Depot
  • 3-inch foam- We got ours in the camping section at Home Depot.  They were having a crazy good deal.   We bought 2 twin sized mattress pads for $19.99.  Foam is EXPENSIVE.  Before we found the mattress pads I was going to buy 2-inch foam for $12.00 a yard at a fabric store.  That was with a 40% off coupon too. RIDICULOUS.  So before you start this project make sure you can afford the foam in your budget!
  • 1 large thing of Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent adhesive.  I think it cost $10
  • 1 King size package of thick batting.  I can’t remember how much this cost, I’m gonna go with $10 bucks.  Total guess though.  It wasn’t expensive like the foam though and you can always find it on sale.
  • 2 2/3 yards of 54″ fabric.  I bought mine at Calico Corners for $11 something a yard.  Spent $32
  • A jig saw, a compound mitre saw and some saw horses.  Borrow from a neighbor.  Neighbors have everything!

First cut your peg board to size.  We just got a new sleep number bed, which I LOOOVE.  And we figured a good size for a headboard would be 84 x 48.  Those measurements should work for any standard king.

Take some scrap fabric and figure out the shape of headboard you want.  I folded white fabric in half and kept drawing lines until it was what I wanted.

I then took the middle of the sheet, lined it up with the middle of the headboard and used the holes in the board to help me get it perfectly straight and even on both sides.  See my little numbers on the fabric?

Next trace the fabric line with a marker.  You don’t want to cut the board with the fabric taped to it!

Jig saw baby

Now use that saw and cut out your 1 x 2 x 8′s and your 1 x 3 x 8′s to fit the back of the board.  The peg board just isn’t strong enough.  If you want to start out with a strong board, by all means.  I was going to tuft a headboard, decided it would be too pricey with all the fabric you needed.  So I know nothing about using a different board!  Sorry folks.

This is what ours looked like.  Our mistake was that top part.  If we had to do it again we would take the 1 x 3 x 8′s all the way up to the top of the headboard and then shave them down with the jigsaw.  The way we did it just made upholstering the headboard really hard.

Add your foam!  Use that fabri-tac glue and just start gluing it on.  Make sure you don’t waste the foam.  Remember, it’s expensive!

This is how we managed our mistake.  We added foam into the crevices of wood.  Am I making sense?

This way worked but the fabric doesn’t lay completely flat on the top of the board and… it kind of bugs me.  Not a big deal though.

Next I sewed more of that white fabric onto the ends of my fabric.  I was worried that my 54″ wide fabric wouldn’t be wide enough to wrap around the top and bottom of the board.

While I was sewing, Brian and my mom were stapling the batting over the foam.  We got a king size and doubled it over, it was plenty thick.

Here’s how you do the corners.

Next we laid out our fabric, found the center and stapled it to the center of our board

This next part was tricky.  I chose a geometrical pattern.  It needed to be level horizontally and vertically which made this part so hard!  You just tug and tug, staple, pull out staples, staple again until you finally have it right!

This is how we did the corners.

And it’s finished!!!

Like my new lamps? Home Goods.  I’m kind of in love with them!

Bad picture, bad lighting.  I don’t even have pillows or a comforter yet!  Those are my next projects!

Do you love it?!

I would strongly recommend making a headboard to save money.  This project ended up costing us around $130.00.  That stupid foam!  Plus if I fall out of love with the material in the next few years, all I have to do is reupholster it.  The board is finished and made!  If you’re thinking of making your own and have any questions, feel free to ask!  I’d love to help where I can!
More photos

Tears on our shoulders and mud in our fingernails

So I was on Pinterest.  And mind you, I’m only on Pinterest when I’m rocking my little baby Boston to sleep.  Because he’s spoiled and still drinks a warm bottle of milk before nap time and bed time.  Don’t judge me!  Why rush him into growing up?  I love rocking him.  It’s the only time we get to snuggle!ANYWAY.  I was rocking Buddy to sleep and I came across this pin.

What do we value in this life?

Is it our jobs?  Our possessions?  I sometimes think to myself, as soon as Brian and I have a house life will be perfect.  I will totally volunteer when my kids are grown up and in school.  I will help my neighbor out tomorrow when I’m less busy.  This quote from Marjorie Hinckley has given me perspective.

This life isn’t about those family pictures and finding the perfect outfit.  It’s not about making our homes spotless.  It’s about serving others.  It’s about sacrificing good things for better things.  We all have choices.  Do I get the laundry done, or do I watch my sick neighbors kids for an afternoon?  Do I finish my to-do list, or do I get on the floor and play with my children?  Do I make a wonderful meal, or make a quick meal and help my daughter with her homework?  Each day we get to choose how we are going to act.  Are we going to choose something good?  Or choose something better?

I’m going to challenge all of you, myself included, to try choosing something better.  So that when we reach those pearly gates we’ll have peanut butter on our shirts, tears on our shoulders and mud in our fingernails from serving and living.