31 May 2012

DIY: Re-purposed Pinboard Jewellery Organiser

I LOVE browsing the blogoshpere for fun and inspiring tutorials on how to make cool stuff, easily. Seriously, if I could get paid to do it, I would stop sleeping at night (you know, so I could still raise my kids during the day). Anyway, so I created one of my own! Eeeeeee!

Now, I'm 100% sure it's been done before, but I did it my way and thought I'd share it with you lovely people.

The idea was born of a few things:
1. A serious bedroom tidy up, including the discovery of an old, unused pinboard in the back of the wardrobe.
2. A new-found desire to own more jewellery-type accessories.
3. A messy, unorganised personality (mine!) craving some order.

My jewellery storage system was this:

A beautiful box my Mama gave me, but still messy.

And this:

A green plastic bin that I just hadn't gotten around to carrying down to the bedroom.
(You know, those giant elephants?)

So, a few days ago (or was it weeks? I know that pin board's been chillin' in my dining room for a bit now...), I put two and two together... and got a re-purposed pinboard jewellery organiser!

Here's how I did it.

Take an old pinboard (or a new one! It doesn't really matter I suppose), preferably with a wooden frame.


Take some fabric.

I chose this fabric for two reasons:
1.) It's slightly stretchy, which served me well when I wanted it to be pulled tight and flat across the surface of the pinboard, and it's slightly forgiving. Having said that, fabric without a stretch would work just as well.
2.) Although you can't see it very well in the picture, the colour is a nice neutral-ish green grey colour which I knew would be a good background for my jewellery, to enable me to see it all without loosing any of it in a print.

Cut the fabric with a decent allowance around the edge of your pinboard. I used about 2in.

I'm not a very accurate measurer, so I preferred this method. Alternatively, you could measure the size of your pinboard, add on an allowance and then cut your fabric using a measuring tape or cutting board.

Fold the fabric once, then again over to the back of the pinboard and, using a staple gun, staple it to the wooden edge. This way you have a neat back and your fabric shouldn't fray back to your staples.

(Don't look too closely at my wonky staples! It took me a few goes (okay, more than a few) to get the technique down. It's been a while...
Speaking of staple guns, who remembers Mr Foster shooting at us with a staple gun as we tried to leave the classroom? Anyone?)

When you get to the corner, be extra careful to hold the fabric in the right place as you ready it to be stapled. I just folded it nice and square without trimming any of the fabric and still got lovely pointed corners.


Be careful not to staple your finger as you're holding your fabric in place!

Et voila! Your very own re-purposed pinboard jewellery organiser!


I used small silver pins from the dollar store to hang my earrings, necklaces and bracelets on.

You can see I haven't yet hung it on the wall... That would be the next step in the tutorial!



And now it's so very easy to choose my jewellery. These days it's a quick process from choosing my outfit to a speedy perusal of my jewellery board to out the door with the babes!



Why don't you try it?
Leave me a comment or email me a photo if
you make one too - I'd love to see it!

Love,
Jess
xxx

30 May 2012

WW: Remix, the finale.

The last remix of the month today.

I actually wore something different when I was out this morning, thinking I looked pretty good. Then I caught a reflection of myself when I was getting the washing in and realised I wasn't looking as good as I thought! So on came the next outfit. I think it's just a bad day today, because I'm not particularly pleased with how these photos turned out! Oh well, that's not what Wardrobe Wednesday's about is it?!



Today we have:Cardigan: Glassons
Tunic: From my cousin, Rebecca. (Thanks Rebecca!)
White long-sleeve top (underneath): Thrifted (Country Road!)
Leggings: Postie
Boots: Farmers (50% off last week!)

Here's a close up of the print and detail of the tunic. I really like it.


A photo of me that I DID like today:
Nothing beats a bit of mascara and a small smile. A good hair day helps too! :)

Here are my remixes from earlier in the month:
(I missed a few. If you've read my blog around my WW posts you'll see that I have a lot going on right now!)



In other news, today I signed myself up for a 4 week fitness boot camp. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6-7am, all of June. I'm excited for the results, but have a feeling that 5 minutes in to the first session I will be regretting my decision... This kick-start is just what I need though! Stay tuned to see how it goes!

Joining with these lovelies
 Wardrobe Wednesday at SailorSpy.co.nz

Until next time,
Jess
xxx

28 May 2012

On Waiting...

It's only been three days since I sent the first letter to my birth mother. Tell you what, it feels like three weeks!

My precious letter is at this very moment making it's merry way towards the other side of the world - literally - so I know it has not yet arrived. I know that generally, a letter will take about a week to get there. I am trying to decipher how I am feeling, but it's rather difficult... Really I'm trying not to think about it. When I do, my fears start to creep in. There's even a little bit of terror in there.

It's really a very humbling process. Write a letter and then let go of it. Give it to someone else [the postal service] to get it to her. And I guess that's why it's so very humbling - this process is now completely out of my hands. Even if I wanted to stop it, I can't. I HAVE to trust God. Otherwise I think I will actually go crazy. I must trust in the Author of Life to take the letter and get it there. I am thankful that I have every reason to trust Him; He's brought me this far already.

It feels like I'm in a strange sort of limbo. The letter's gone now, but it's not yet arrived. I wonder if I'll feel different after enough time has passed for it to have arrived? I'm finding it hard to put my mind to the tasks I need to do here at home, to care for my family and my home. It feels a little like I'm floating in space, flailing my arms and legs around, trying to get my balance. I can't help but feeling like I'm balanced on the edge of a precipice, but it's less of a precipice and more of a new road. I think that whatever happens, I will be changed. Somehow.


 source

Possibly that's hard for a non-adopted person to understand?

Maybe I'll try and nut that out in words when my youngest two aren't both crying in their beds to be picked up! (Well, one's crying, the other's moaning!)

**Edit** Reading this back, I think I sound a little stand-off-ish. Like, 'you're not adopted so you don't know.' That was not my intention and I apologise. I had written the above paragraphs when Mr Nearly 4 went very noisily to the toilet and woke Little Miss and Mister up so I tried to finish off quickly.What I was thinking was that being adopted but not knowing my birth parents is very much a part of who I am as a person, as I'm sure any other adopted person in the same boat could agree to. I know I will be changed by this process because learning about this wonderful woman who bore me alters what I know about myself in a very fundamental way. THAT'S what I was trying to say!

I will stop here and attempt to reconnect to the real world. Wish me luck.


Next post in this series On Still Waiting.

Previous post in this series:
On Contacting Her...

25 May 2012

In Real Life This Week

Well. All in all it's been a pretty eventful week.

In an attempt to not let the waiting game take over my life, I shall update you all on the day-to-day goings-on at our place.


I have been eating very carefully this week. Not because I am dieting - in fact, this week's been a bit the opposite! (Must make some changes next week...) No, instead it is because I have a massive mouth ulcer just inside my lower lip that is causing me AGONY! Okay, maybe I'm being a bit dramatic (definitely a bit dramatic) because it most certainly isn't life-threatening, but it is for sure the most painful ulcer I have ever had, and that is not an exaggeration! Yikes! So I've been salt rinsing and that's helped. I tried Bonjela but it stung like mad and the numbness only lasted 5 mins so I've given up on that. Soldiering on - it can't last forever!


Baby Tristan is having some good sleep nights, following on from some not-so-good ones last week. Overall, I am feeling better for having less interrupted sleep.


However, I have been a little un-self-controlled in going to bed on time so am still tired! This morning I woke up, thinking it was the middle of the night, lay there with my hand on Hayden's leg (my hot water bottle!) just getting ready to roll over and go back to sleep when the alarm goes off. Noooooooooo! So disappointing!


Elliot is growing and learning so much at the moment - I can tell because he is testing the boundaries to see what we'll do. That, and asking a hundred of the most random questions every time I do or say something! A conversation with Elliot will often go something like this:

E: How is there bread on the grass Mummy?
Me: Do you mean how or do you mean why?
E: How.
Me: Papa threw it out there.
E: How did Papa throw it out there?
Me: Do you mean how or do you mean why?
E: How.
Me: He opened the door, took it out of the bag and threw it on the grass for the birdies.
E: (Pause) How did Papa throw it out there?
 Me: Do you mean how or do you mean why?
E: Why.
Me: Because it had gone yucky. Too yucky for us too eat.
E: How did it go yucky?

And so the saga continues. I am currently trying to teach him the difference between how and why... I just love Elliot's inquisitive nature - though yes, it is tiring - and I love seeing him soaking up information like a sponge. And he remembers it all too! He has an amazing mind - like his Papa. It really makes me see how important it is to teach him as much as I can about Jesus. A relationship with Jesus needs to be part of the framework he's learning about his world now, otherwise it won't be when he grows.

Tell me, what do you do with your kids to teach them about what you believe and how important it is?


Speaking of my beautiful boy, his birthday is coming up next month! We've chosen a green and red apple theme - his favourite colours (especially green) and favourite fruit. (He even has his own apple tree in our back garden.) I have some cute fabric from Spotlight:


I will make Elliot and Tristan both a tie or bow tie to wear and Rosie a dress or tunic. Pretty excited about this! I've been searching the Internet World (it's real, right?) for inspiration for party decorations. It needs to be simple but effective, for I tend to leave things to the last minute, so I know I'll need it to be easy! Elliot wanted to invite two of his little friends from kindy, which Hayden and I think is so cool. It's wonderful to see him becoming his own little person and making friends without our help. I can't believe he's already that grown up! Where did my baby go?!


Well, I think this post is long enough now, so I will consider you up to date! I'm looking forward to our weekend - tonight we're watching the American Idol finale (I know, aren't we ridiculous?! But it's like a date - we watch together.) so I've been staying offline a little to not find out who won because it aired in the States last night.
Yes, I know. You can call me ridiculous if you want to. Go on. I know you want to.

Anyway, we'll also be watching soccer (some of the school teams as well as our nephew's game), then our good friend's birthday celebrations (that's you, Watson's!), catching up with Mum and Paul as well as church on Sunday! Busy! But good busy.

Stay classy.

Love,
Jess
xxx

24 May 2012

On Contacting Her...

We sent the letter today.


Double enveloped, just to make sure the right person opens it.
Included photos of my beautiful little family.

The waiting game begins.




Next post in this series: On Waiting

Previous post in this series: On Searching and Finding...

22 May 2012

On Searching and Finding...

Thank you all for your lovely comments and prayers after my first post about being adopted. It has taken me longer than I wanted to sit down and write the next instalment. I need solitude to write about this process and the thoughts and feelings that go with it, but solitude is very hard to find in my household! I have snatched myself some moments while the big boy is at kindy and the big girl and little boy are sleeping. Hopefully I can get this all down before anyone wakes up!


Me and Humpty Dumpty in a park in Tauranga. We have a series of these photos from over the years.

I mentioned at the end of my On Being Adopted post that in March I received my original birth certificate. Getting it is a bit of a palaver. I had to fill out a 'Request for Pre-Adoptive New Zealand Birth Certificate (BDM451)' form and send it to Births, Deaths and Marriages, along with my payment of $15.30 - a random amount, don't you think? They then sent me back a form to sign to confirm that I did actually want to receive my original birth certificate (as if they think you don't when you've gone to all the effort to download and fill in the form, sent it off and paid the money?!) and to nominate a counsellor to receive it on my behalf - a legal requirement. Yes, I said, I do want to receive this form I specifically requested and paid for, thank you, and please send it to my social worker (we'll call her N) here in Hamilton.

A week or so later, N gives me a call to say she has my birth certificate and would I like to come and get it? Yes please! So I tootled into town, three children in tow none wearing shoes! Oops, how on Earth did I manage that? I felt like a terrible mother, and probably looked like one too! Blame it on distraction...) and traipsed up to the building to meet her. N gave me my original birth certificate as well as some information she had from my file.

Me and Mum, circa early 00's. I reckon here I'm about the age my birth mother was when I was born.

A lot of the information I already had, but there were bits and pieces of new stuff. Among the new information was the name and address of my birth mother's married sister, whom she stayed with while pregnant with me.

Let me take you on just a small tangent: it is very hard to search for a female when all you have is a maiden name and no idea if she ever got married. So, while I've known my birth mother's name for some time, I've never been able to find her.


4 years old

Okay, back to the story. A month passes, and on an afternoon pretty much exactly the same as this one, the thought strikes me that I should Google this married sister - now that I have enough information to find her (the sister, that is.). And guess what? I found her. She and her husband live in a small town close to ours (there are a few of these, so I don't think I'm giving away too much?) and they have some children too. Are you ready for the weird part? I know two of them! I have met and interacted with two of my birth-cousins. Is that not the strangest thing ever?! So weird.


So then I turned to good old Facebook and started searching through their friend's lists in the hope that they might be friends with their auntie - my birth mother. I realise this makes me sound like a stalker, but I am hoping that they don't mind too much... Sure enough, I found someone with the right first name and enough information regarding where she is from and went to school - though there's no photo (suspicious?) - who I believe could be her.

I also did a search for my birth mother's family (her parents and siblings, whose first names I was given) and found a listing on www.business.govt.nz for their family farm. This listing had everyone's names on it as shareholders. Then I (on my Dad's suggestion) did a search for this new name I had found (via FB) and we found her again. This time in a much longer list of shareholders, but still including both her parents and all her siblings and their spouses too, which leads me to believe that we are talking about the right person. The listing on this website also includes addresses (I'd say it's some sort of legal requirement for shareholders?) and I now have names and addresses for my birth mother and nearly every member of her family.

So there we go.

I found her.

She lives on the other side of the world.

Next step? Contacting her.

19 years old, somewhere in France

I want to meet my birth mother so much. So much. Reading through the letter that she wrote to my Mum and Dad about me before I was born just makes me want to fly over and knock on her door. I have only ever felt positively towards her (does that make sense?) and what she did for me, so I'm terrified that I'm setting myself up for disappointment. Part of me is reaching out in abject longing to know her and have some sort of relationship with her, while the other part is wrapping my arms around myself to restrain me from getting too emotionally involved with it all and being heart broken if she doesn't want to know me.

It turns out that that's the hardest part about this process - the unknown. Once I had a little bit of information it was easy to find her, but now it's the not knowing that I have to deal with. Not knowing if she's been waiting for this day as long as I have. Not knowing if she's been trying to forget that day her whole life. Not knowing if she wants me to find her. Not knowing if she hopes I don't. I do fear how this will all turn out and what it will bring to her life BUT I also know that she wanted me to know about her and I hold out the hope that maybe that means she's willing to make a place for me in her future? I think all I can do is try. Gather up the courage, reach out and hope that she'll at least be civilized!



What do you think? Send a letter now? Or wait a bit longer? Should I send photos of me growing up? Or just a photo of me now?

Jess
xxx


Next post in this series:
On Contacting Her...

Previous post in this series:
On Being Adopted...

16 May 2012

Wardrobe Wednesday: Remix #2

It's Wednesday today, what does that mean?

Is it the day I clean my toilet? No! (Though I probably should...)
Is it the day I drive my husband to work? No!
Is it the day I do 100 sit ups? No! (Though I definitely should!)


Wardrobe Wednesday is about  "the idea of using fashion as a means of personal expression; exploring and developing a signature style that reflects who we really are, for fun and play and being joyful in our everyday lives... The purpose of [WW] is simply to take a little time to celebrate what it is to be a women, to inspire each other, to explore fashion and style, to have a little fun and above all not to take ourselves too seriously dharrlings!"

This month's theme is Remix: one garment, worn each week with a different spin on it.

Trying my hardest not to look pregnant. Because I'm not. Trust me, I would know.

My remixed garment is a terribly exiting pair of black leggings.
I have to be practical - it's sometimes cold and sometimes warm at the moment so I can go either way with these, I'm still breastfeeding Master T so dresses don't work for us, and I'm also a touch on the chubby side (well, more than a touch, but we don't need to go into detail!) so leggings are good - comfortable and just clinging on to the edges of styled-ness - for me right now!


This week I've paired my leggings with one of my favourite skirts, my super-warm ug boots and a trusty warm merino top.

Check out my first Remix post here.

 Getting my crazy-quirky-silly on:



 Outfit breakdown:

Singlet: Jay Jays - back in the day when I was pregnant with Elliot!
Merino top: Warehouse
Green skirt: Thrifted (Principals)
Leggings: Glassons
Ug Boots: Old Friend brand, Collins Family Footwear. 7 years ago!

Excuse the garage, assorted tools and hardware and children's toys in the backgrounds. Gives that 'lived-in' look, don't you think?

Go check out what the other beauties are remixing this month over at
 Wardrobe Wednesday at SailorSpy.co.nz
 
Stay classy,

Jess
xxx


13 May 2012

My Amazing Mother

When you have a mother as awesome as mine, it's quite hard to know where to begin. 

There's so much I could tell you about my Mum. Let me share some of the things I remember from growing up.


Mum worked the night shift at the lab in the hospital and then stayed up all day to look after us when we were little, and she still found time to do awesome things like tie ribbons around the furniture so we could learn to tie a bow, play games with us and come up with ideas when I'd say, "Mum, I'm bored!"
At the top of Mt Maunganui with the sand blowing in our eyes

I remember the endless lessons in correct table manners.

 Christmas 1987

I remember her always having the car equipped with a fully stocked bag of snacks - including lollies, of course! - for the long trips to visit the cousins in Wellington.
I remember all the amazing birthday cakes she made.

I remember being able to call her for a ride to school if we missed the bus (even if it was just because we slept in...)


I remember the cards she wrote us when she couldn't get to see us and how much that meant.

I remember telling her and her sisters to be quiet because they were laughing too loudly and we cousins couldn't hear our movie in the other room.


I remember convincing her to buy lollies at the supermarket then sharing them together as soon as we got into the car.

I have so many great childhood memories, these are not even the tip of the iceberg!

*   *   *

I don't know anyone who has been through as much as my Mum has been through in her 50-something years. I don't say that lightly. Mum was diagnosed with a ravaging childhood cancer when she was 22, just a year or two after she and Dad were married and only a few years younger than me now. The doctors gave her a 5% chance of survival.

Yes, that's my Mum: the God-given miracle.


Throughout her life, Mum has dealt with one serious health issue after another, along with the rapid deterioration of her mobility, and yet she has remained positive and full of grace. Yes, I've heard her complain about how sick of being sick she is, but 100,000 times more often have I heard her tell me how blessed she is.


I see the joy she gets from watching her grandchildren (my three beauties) thrive and grow and play and I hope she knows that it gives me even more to see how much they love her. To hear them when they ask for her and tell me how special she is.

God, I praise you so highly for giving this mother to me! How do I even tell you how deeply she is wrapped around my heart?!

I've always struggled to articulate how I feel - Mum, I think you know this - but I hope you know how much I love you. How much I would fight for you. How much I would do for you. How much meaning you bring to my life. How much I thank God that He put me with you.

Happy Mother's Day, Mum.
You beautiful thing, you.
 

09 May 2012

On Being Adopted...

A lot of you who know me will know that I am adopted. Maybe there's a lot of you who don't? It's such a normal-to-me part of my life that I forget who I've told and who doesn't know.

I'm currently in the process of finding my birth mother, with the intention of making contact and, Lord willing, maybe even meeting her one day. This is a time fraught with emotions I am struggling to make sense of, and yet I want to document the process. I hope you will bear with me as I take a machete to my intellectual thicket (thank you Captain Jack Sparrow for that particular turn of phrase!) while also attempting to respect my birth mother and her family by not sharing too much.


Mum feeding me while I was still at the hospital, before her and Dad took me home.

I was adopted at birth, and my Mum, Dad and big sister Sarah took me home from the hospital. Growing up, Mum and Dad always made sure we knew that we grew inside someone else's tummy so the fact that I'm adopted is very normal to me. I don't have one of those stories to tell about how things always seemed strange until one day someone tells you you're adopted. Nope, boring story here. I haven't asked how Mum and Dad first told us (I must do that...). Having small children of my own now, I wonder when I would say something and what I would say?


First cuddles with my new big sister.

I never felt a sense of abandonment or rejection because for as long as I can remember I knew that my birth mother decided to place me up for adoption because she wanted better for me. She was young - still finishing high school - and knew that she couldn't give me all that I deserved. I have a letter that she wrote to Mum and Dad in the time between when she selected them as my adoptive parents and when I was born. It is a letter I will always keep very private, but I will tell you that it is beautiful and filled with love. A small snippet I will share is this, "I want the best for my daughter... It is because of my love towards her that I have done this..." You can understand why I never felt anything negative towards her.


8 years old.

My adoption was/is a closed adoption, which is why there has never been any contact between my birth mother and me. Once I turned 20, I was allowed by law to receive all the information CYFS had on my adoption file. In March this year, I applied to receive my original birth certificate - with my birth mother's name and her own date of birth on it - and began the process of tracking her down.

* * *

I plan to make my next post about the process of finding my birth mother and her family and how strange it feels. And also about how family-reaffirming this process has been. To any of my family reading this - Weeda's, Jones's and assorted related others - know that no matter what I find, you are the family of my heart. You have loved me and raised me and grown up with me - and that is family. No matter what I find, I will remain within your ranks. Thank you for always loving me the same as if we did share genetics.

Until next time,

Jess
xxx




Next post in this series:
On Searching and Finding My Birthmother...