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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Where, O Where Has My Bloggy Blog Gone?

Hey y'all!
I may be back from what has been the longest bloggy vacay ever for me. I've had lots of sweet people ask what's happened to me, and I've also had lots of sweet people ask what in the world is up with this Pearl and Rose Designs stuff, so here comes an explanation of what I've been up to lately (in addition to wrangling twins, of course)!

Sometime back in the fall, Melissa needed some special name tags made for an event at work. Knowing my love for all things lettery and papery, she came to me. So basically I cranked out some name tags and got paid for it, which got me thinking about all the times JT, who works at RSVP, has told me I should bring some handwriting samples up to the shop. One day during a particularly productive nap time, I played around with letterings and envelopes until I had quite a little collection to tote up to RSVP. (Chris posted pictures on Facebook, so that's what that was if you saw it and wondered.) When I finally made it up to RSVP, I was blown away by everyone's reactions! These precious people honestly believed they could bring me some business! :)

That very afternoon I received a phone call from JT letting me know that I had my first client from their store. A lady who also works at the shop wanted me to create a hand-drawn custom map for her son's wedding in Fort Worth. Could I do that? I really had no idea what they had in mind, so I asked JT to send some examples of custom maps to me. When I saw what was out there, I let them know I'd give it a whirl and see what I could do. They sent me a list of everything they wanted on the map, and this is what I came up with:


In addition to framing the original, the bride also used the map design on these cute little books that came along with gift baskets they gave to special out-of-town guests:

Well when that map was finished, another girl at the store decided to order a map as a birthday gift for her husband. Here is that finished product:

While I was working on that map, another order came in for a wedding in Fort Smith, AR:

(ARGH! By the way, the colors look MUCH better in person... this is what happens when you take pictures with your iPhone!)

Currently I'm working on a Memphis map that will be given as a gift to a husband from his wife, and I'm also working on addressing an order of envelopes for wedding save-the-dates for another client. When I finish these projects, I have a few more lined up too! Whew! 

This has all been quite the unexpected whirlwind of a blessing, and I have truly been loving having this type of creative outlet. I had really been missing getting to draw, and this is giving me a fabulous excuse to do so again. I also love that I'm getting to create pieces that are so meaningful and special to my clients. I am beyond thankful for this opportunity!

However, all of this means that what I refer to as my "productive free time" -- naptimes and nighttimes when I actually feel like being, ahem, productive in some non-cleaning, non-housework kind of way -- has been going straight toward cranking out these creations. I'd still like to keep up my blog as I can, but there are only so many hours in a day, yada, yada, yada. Oh, and blogging doesn't pay. Monetarily anyway. So there you go. :)

Oh! I'm calling my little business Pearl & Rose Designs, after Tamsie Pearl and Evangelyn Rose, of course! Please like my page on Facebook whenever I get around to creating one, and if you know of anyone who needs anything like what I can do, please send them my way! :) Right now, the best way to contact me is either via Facebook message or at shelby dot vafinis at gmail dot com.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmastime is here!

It's Christmastime, and like everyone else, we have been super busy around here! Here's our latest round of pictures:

Saturday marked the second anniversary of the day we brought the girls home from the NICU.  I can think of few things more terrifying and yet more wonderful than bringing home two tiny preemie twins at long last. At the time of this picture, Tamsie would have been a little over 5 lbs and Evie was still a little under. And that's T on the left and E on the right, for those keeping track.


They've grown a bit since that last picture, haven't they? Here they are at Costco, which just so happens to be one of their favorite places on earth. They even like to push their little baskets around at home and pretend to go shopping at Costco! It is one seriously magical place, y'all.

They were annoyed at my photog attempts at this point, but they were just so cute I couldn't help myself. I think E was in the middle of saying, "Stop it, Mom," when I took this picture. Oh well, they'll thank me one day, right? :)

I asked them what they were doing. "We're feeding the Christmas tree!" said T. 

Tamsie's favorite ornament this year, besides her cupcake ornament from YaYa and Minnie Mouse ornament, is a Starbucks cup that Carissa gave me several years ago. I'm pretty sure that's what she's pointing to here.

One of their favorite things to do is to gaze at the Christmas tree. One of my favorite things to do is to watch them enjoy it.

Evie loves all the stuffed animals that comprise about 90% of the ornaments she can reach. I figure those are the safest things to hang at their level!

Waiting on dinner to be served at the kiddiest of tables at Uncle Myron and Aunt Lauren's Thanksgiving celebration. This was actually one of two kiddie tables! This Thanksgiving was very different, since it was the first one in my 30 years I haven't spent at Grandma's house, but my aunt and uncle did an excellent job carrying on the tradition! Later on we went to Jennifer and Tyler's and had fun visiting with Chris's side of the family.

I'd been out running errands one day during the girls' naptime, and when I came home, I couldn't find Chris anywhere. I stepped into the nursery, and this is what I found. :)

Absolutely fascinated by the displays at the mall -- cheap holiday entertainment, which was all fun and games until Evie fell in a box of ornaments at Macys! Fortunately, she emerged with only a few scratches.

We replaced our old tree with my Grandma's tree this year. This angel graced the top of her tree for years and years, and this year we have adopted it as our own. We miss my precious Grandma so much! The holiday season was by far her favorite time of the year, and she always went all out decorating for it -- which makes sense because she used to decorate big department store windows downtown back in her day!

YaYa came and stayed with us during Thanksgiving, and we really loved getting to spend time with her! :)

Our tree. Notice T and E's various toys everywhere. It's hilarious that I ever thought that we would be able to keep toys out of the living room! 

Tamsie and Evangelyn wore some of my old Christmas dresses to church a couple of weeks ago.

Evangelyn

Tamsie

I found them this felt tree at Target, and decorating it has been one of their favorite pastimes.

They get so proud of themselves, and it's fun to listen to their little conversations as they work on it.

Teamwork!

Tamsie the Elf Fashionista
Evie thinks that not touching the tree is SO overrated.

They have a way of making everything extra-magical this year. :)

Evie's selfie

She was loving watching herself in the camera!

Giggle boxes!

Singing their version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" as I showed them a book/sang it with them

T is partial to "fiiiiiive golden rings!!!"

Spontaneously holding hands at breakfast

This melts my heart every time it happens.

During last week's "ice storm," I couldn't help but think the trees outside must be quite jealous of our cozy Christmas tree! I mean, aside from the fact that it's not real and all. :)

Chris rearranges our stocking holders just to spite me when I'm not paying attention. 

We took the girls for brunch at Cafe Eclectic last Saturday. It was a HUGE hit. I always think they are such fans of breakfast food because of all the Wild Eggs I consumed while pregnant with them! Oh how I miss me some Wild Eggs!

Our Jesse Tree as of last week. If you're not sure what a Jesse Tree is, here's a great video about it

You never know what the nativity set will look like at any given moment, but the girls love rearranging everything!

Tamsie refers to this as the "garbage truck."

Evangelyn saw this picture of Jesus in the manger in one of their books and exclaimed, "Baby's taking a bath!"

Tonight we drove them around to look at lights, and when we came home, we told them they could watch their current favorite, A Charlie Brown Christmas, so they hopped onto the couch and watched it -- for all of about 5 minutes, and then they were off playing with their books again!

There is nothing like being around a couple of two-year olds at Christmas. Everything is so new to them, and even though much of it doesn't make a lot of sense to them yet, they're enchanted by it all. We are loving starting new traditions with them that we hope will come to mean so very much to them as the years go by.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Five Things and a Bunch of Pictures

My titles just get more and more creative as time goes by, don't they? ;)


* Please be praying for our dear friend/Melissa's mom/my second mom Mrs. Kathy and her family. Here is a little bit of Melissa's post on Facebook about everything going on right now: So...
I mentioned last week that my mom had had surgery to remove a cyst, which at the time we thought was benign. It wasn't. :( Several of you have been riding this emotional rollercoaster with me already this week, and bless you times infinity for being such wonderful people. We have the best support groups anybody could ask for.

For those of you who want to know more about what's going on, my mom has set up a Caring Bridge site where we'll post updates as we go through the process. You can sign up and we'll keep you posted. Link is http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kathymcmasters.


Thanks for praying!!
Here's Mrs. Kathy celebrating the girls' second birthday in style! She has already shown breast cancer who's boss, so we have every confidence that she can handle this too, with God's grace!
* So a few weeks ago, I came across an article about a Jesse Tree ornament exchange, and I thought it sounded like a fabulous idea. However, I knew fully well I'd never be able to convince 24 other people to agree to make 25 ornaments for an exchange, so I pinned the article to Pinterest and moved on. Then the next morning I received a Facebook invitation to be a part of a Jesse Tree ornament exchange party! I was so thrilled that I accepted the invitation without even processing what I was doing! :) I really ought to do a post just about the gorgeous ornaments I received at the party on Friday night and the stories they represent, but we'll see if that happens. :) It was a wonderful experience though, and I am crazy excited to start this tradition with my family this year!
Sorry this is sideways! For my ornament, the Bethlehem skyline, I drew this picture (I found something similar online that I used for inspiration) and colored it in with chalks, took it to Kinko's, had copies made for each ornament I needed to make, ...

... and glued each one onto a gift tag like this using glitter Mod Podge, then added a bonus layer of Mod Podge on the front and back of each one.

This was the end result.
* Saturday we went to Mississippi and surprised Mrs. DeeDee for her 50th birthday!! We had such a wonderful time with her, Herbie, Jennifer, Tyler and Noah... and yet sadly I have NO pictures to show for any of it!! Massive fail on my part! But thankfully we will be seeing them this week, so I will have to more than make up for it then. :)

* As an only child, I am equal parts amused/annoyed/fascinated/disturbed by the sister disputes that have begun unfolding around here lately. I've been shocked to see just how early it begins! For a while, the girls would just ride around in their car seats, passing the time by arguing over who knows what. One would say "yes," the other would say "no," and back and forth they would go. Now it has reached the point where they'll argue about things like the topic of dissension they had today over breakfast -- whom Mickey belongs to. Tamsie said Mickey is Tamsie's, and Evie said NO, that he is actually Evie's. Now it would be sensible at this point to assume they were fighting over their stuffed Mickey, but alas -- they were watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse at the time and fighting over who the real Mickey Mouse belongs to. Because clearly he's not public domain.

* I've recently had a smattering of other mommy friends ask me for advice on various kid-related topics, and every time, I've noticed a common theme in the replies I give them: I totally remember being in the phase they're asking me about and being stressed out about being there, and I know we're clear of it now (mostly anyway), but I sure can't remember how we got here. Everything is such a blur! I don't know if this is an any-mom thing or a twin mom thing. So if it's advice you're looking for, always feel free to ask away, but because everything is so hazy in my memories of it all, it's surprisingly hard to give. This can either be good or bad for you! ha!


Evie in her book nook. She must have just woken up since she has her paci bear!

Big smile!

I don't even know what she's doing here, but I LOVE that smile. 

Here's Tamsie making what is known around here as "the Chris face."
See what I mean?

Their favorite pastime (besides arguing, of course)

I love these dresses!

At Starbucks with Amma

In their element

Actually sharing!

Admiring the big Christmas tree at the zoo

And I love E's face here!

Baby and mama snow leopard in their own little area at the zoo

Tamsie's getting Aunt Jennifer kisses!

Back when the girls had reflux, I'd sit them up in their high chairs and read to them to keep them upright after their meals, since it was so hard to hold both of them at once. The tradition continues today, and storytime always follows food time. (That's why their books are on our kitchen table 95% of the time!) Here Evie has put her bunny in her booster chair for pretend storytime. :)

Kissing baby's boo-boo and modeling crazy hair. It doesn't matter how often you brush it, this is bound to happen immediately afterward.

Just riding along, talking away on her play phone....

....




Watching the sea lion show

Fun at the zoo with Amma
Out for a walk with Allie!

Pierce is totally photobombing!

Tamsie

Evangelyn

Wearing their favorite fashion accessories: Mouse ears!

Snuggle time with Daddy