Friday, February 10, 2017

Links to the New Ventures

CarolynWard.ca is up and running!  I invite you to check out the new blog on Life With Faith and follow along as you like (there's a spot to get each post in your email, like I have here, and also a newsletter option.)

Kingdom Come Prints, the new Etsy shop with Scripture Printables, is also live.  There are only 5 items there at the moment (four are really just two with color variations), but there will be more added as I create them and offer them free on CarolynWard.ca every other week.

The first one was posted today - you can find the post here.  I chose Mark 12:30 - "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength."

Have a great weekend! 


Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Something New and Exciting - Part II!

Along with launching a new blog, I have opened a new shop on Etsy!

My new shop is called Kingdom Come Prints and will sell digital copies of Scripture Prints that I design.  It is still in progress, but it will be ready to launch next Tuesday, along with the blog.

I started playing around with writing out Scripture in a beautiful journal Madeline gave me ) I posted a bunch of those here), and then I did some on the computer to have around the house - verses that I wanted to have as reminders.  You might remember this one, which I offered here as a free printable - you might want to download that now; after next week the link will go to my shop...  :)

Then at Christmas I was trying to come up with something extra for my nieces and nephews, and decided to pick a verse for each of them to frame to have up in their rooms.  So it seemed a natural fit that when I start this blog, I could offer printables, too.  The plan is to blog each Tuesday, and on every second Friday I will post a new printable Scripture.  It will be free to download if you want it for the first week, then I will change the link to direct to my shop, where they will each be available for a small price.

I am still working on getting the existing ones listed, and figuring out the best presentation for them, but I've already had three sales in the last week without me doing any promotion!  I'm so thankful for that (and a little giddy!); it feels like a pretty good confirmation that there are people out there who want what I make.

I'll post the link next Tuesday when it is ready to check out!!
:)  Carolyn

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Something New and Exciting

I wrote my first blog post on October 11, 2005.  That's eons and 738 blog posts ago.  I can look back at the number of posts I wrote in a year and often tell what season of life I was in: the year I met and married Sean there were zero posts, the year I took a blog course and played around with it lots was by far the highest, and since I've had my shop I've written only about a third as much as before.

At various times I've thought of being done with it, but usually decided I enjoyed it too much as a creative outlet to give it up, even if I wasn't posting regularly; other times I heard from an unexpected person that they read / follow / enjoy my blog, and that was motivation to keep it up.

This season of my life is a time of wondering what's next.  My girl is 17 and graduating this year and making her plans for life after high school.  My boy just turned 5 and is going to be starting Kindergarten in the fall.  It's the age old mama question - what will I do with myself?  Find a job once he gets to full days?  What do I want to work at?  And for the more immediate future, I've been wondering about how I can best serve my God, outside the roles of being a wife and mom.

I keep coming back to blogging.  And I feel it's time to write a new chapter.  I've bought a domain and am in the middle of putting something together over on WordPress.  I thought of moving this blog over there, but decided to start a whole new thing, so I will keep this space for family updates, creative stuff, book recommendations, and what ever other random obsessions I indulge in, just as it has been.

There are a gazillion voices online; mine will be one more that chooses to bring hope and light and points to Jesus.  There will always be room for more voices doing that.  My new blog will be about living with faith.  I'll be sharing what I'm learning and noticing in God's word and in my life.  One verse that jumped out at me as I've been figuring out what this should look like is Psalm 105:1, which says:

Oh give thanks to the Lord,
call upon his name;
make known His deeds among the peoples.

Thankfulness, prayer, and telling His stories.  I want to do that.  It's been a few months of bouncing this idea around already, and I'm sure it will continue to be refined as I go, but I'm excited to be at the point where I am almost ready to launch.  Tuesday, February 7 will be the big day!  I will make sure to post a link so you can check it out.

Thank you for hanging out with me here this last decade and for sticking around.  I sure appreciate you.

PS - There's a Part II to this!  I'll let you know about that in a couple of days...


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

One Word 2017

I have a few projects in the works that have me thinking about words and main ideas and titles, and I had one of those picked as a good option for this year's word.  But then as I was thinking of writing about it, a new word emerged that better described the direction I was wanting to go.  The word I choose to have for this year as my reminder, motivation, prayer, and goal, is LOVE.

It's a simple word, and oh-so-common, but the depths!  And I do feel that this is really something I need to dig into this year. 
  • Parenting a little boy - how can I express love in the midst of discipline effectively?  How can I teach him to love well?
  • In marriage - we just celebrated 10 years, but in marriage, how to love well is always something to think about.
  • Loving a big kid - how can I love well and effectively when big changes happen like high school grad and new adventures after that?
  • Ministry - loving those outside my four walls - This is where my projects in the works come in, and I need to see it all, the whys and the hows, through the filter of love.
  • Extended family, church family, friends - how am I doing at loving?  What can I do better?
  • Loving God - He is unchanging and knowable, but there is always more to discover about our Lord.  I want to dig into learning to love him more.
I didn't write about my word last year, but I did have one: Receive.  After a few tough years, it felt like we had a chance to breathe easier, and I felt God was saying that was not just all right, but what he wanted for us.  To receive healing, peace, rest.  To receive good things from him.  And it was a great year.  We did receive reconciliation, which was at the top of my list, and healing from a long suffered physical pain.  We bought a trailer and enjoyed more camping than ever before, which felt like a gift in so many ways.  My business was more successful than ever before.  We even won a garden tractor from a hardware store's grand opening, then sold it for the exact amount we needed for our property tax.  I'll receive that!

I am reading in Job at the moment, and 1:21 says "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."  I imagine many of you read that and immediately think of what has been taken away; I know I do.  We all have ups and downs in life; the truth is that there are seasons of grief and pain, and that there are also seasons of rest and refreshing.  I am so glad to have come through a season of Receive, and I think that's why Love is a natural fit for this year.  I feel like paying back - paying forward - all the good we've received lately.

May you have a wonderful 2017.
XO, Carolyn

PS - Do you have a word?  Leave me a comment and tell me a bit about why you picked it.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reading Challenge Recap

Have you ever tried a reading challenge?  I have seen them before but was never really interested; I don't usually have a problem finding books I like, and I was in a book club, now sadly defunct, that kept me reading books I wouldn't normally gravitate to.  Perhaps because the book club was in decline, I thought it might be worth a try this year when I saw this list back in January.

Modern Mrs Darcy, one of my favourite book recommending sites, posted this challenge, and since I could think of books for half the categories right off the top of my head, I jumped in.

Here are the categories and what I read for them (I managed them all but two):

A book published this year - (If I did read one from this year, I didn't notice...)
A book you can finish in a day -  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
A book you've been meaning to read - Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
A book you you should have read in school - The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
A book chosen for you by your spouse, sibling, child, or BFF - (does Mom count?) - The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
A book published before you were born - Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
A book that was banned at some point - 1984 by George Orwell
A book you previously abandoned - Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
A book you own but have never read - Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
A book that intimidates you - (I was going to read Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, since it's already on my bookshelf, but never got to it...)
A book you've already read at least once - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Mongomery

Since I wrote about books last, this is what I've read:
Blood Sport by Dick Francis
Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, and Voyager by Diana Gabaldon - I'm making myself take a break and read a couple other books in between, but I've got book four out of the library and ready to devour.
A Hidden Life by Adele Geras - rated only a 3.5 - the main character was decent hearted, but every imaginable disfunction happening in her family around her left a sour taste.
Diary of Anne Frank - an important read.  Glad to be able to cross this off the must read list.
1984 - Glad to cross this one off as well.  I feel smarter having read the must reads...  Crazy story.


Now back to another Silva, George, and Gabaldon as reads for the holidays I know I will enjoy.

Happy reading!  Let me know what I should add to my list for 2017!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Advent - Thy Kingdom Come

I've been thinking about Advent lately. 

This season that we are in leading up to Christmas focuses on the anticipation of Christ's coming, both to his second coming and to the celebration of His first arrival, as a baby at Christmas time.  We light candles of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, and then the Christ candle on Christmas Eve. 

It's these four words that have been playing over in my mind.

Hope.  Peace.  Joy.  Love.

These are all things I long for and strive for in my life.  Not just during Advent, but every day.  They resonate with me because I need them.  I need to practice them.  I need to learn how to better treat others, coming from a place where these are real in my life.

And that makes me think of this:


Wouldn't the world be so much better if we all lived with these Advent themes as realities in our lives?  It would be like His Kingdom coming.  A glimpse into Heaven here and now. 

So we hope for God's best and trust and have faith.  We look for joy and find it and hold onto it.  We crave and create peace in our homes and in our relationships.  And we love.  We treat others as more important than ourselves.  Give of ourselves.  Care.  Be kind. 

And pray for His Kingdom to come.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

God Loves to Celebrate

Happy 10th Anniversary to Us!!


Our Anniversary was on a Friday a couple of weeks ago, and we celebrated by dinner out at the Keg.  On the Wednesday just before, on 'date night' while Nolan was at Awana, we went ring shopping for a band to match my wedding band.  We hit the mall and didn't find one at the first jewelry store where we got the initial band; too bad, since they were going out of business and everything was on sale.  Right across the aisle was another jewelry store, but they didn't have anything similar enough either.  I guess this is why you can have three of them in one mall - the third one was the charm (and was, actually, called Charm).  They had a very similar band for a decent price, AND, while I was trying it on, I noticed that the mall system was playing the song we walked down the aisle to at our wedding. 

It's like God was saying, "I like you guys!  Anniversaries are to be celebrated, and I'm celebrating with you.  Good job!"

So awesome.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hospitality

The last week ended up being full of shared meals.


We had some old neighbours over for supper, a morning visit with friends that ended around the lunch table, brunch at friends on Remembrance Day and supper with two couples the next night. We had billets for the weekend for our church's youth retreat, and while we did breakfast mostly in shifts, we shared food and space, and then had Sunday lunch at Gramma & Grampa's. 


We do try to be intentional about spending time with friends, but it's usually once every couple of weeks, if that.  With so many visits this week, and especially sharing meals, I got to thinking about hospitality.  Nothing too deep, just that this is how God meant for us to live.  In community.  Sharing our food, our homes, our lives.  Showing each other that 'you matter to me'.  It makes life feel fuller and richer, to share it with others.
 

So I encourage you to call up those friends and have them over.  Don't stress about the menu, the house, the kids; just do it and enjoy.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. (Matthew 6:10)  Amen.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Homemade Gifts for Christmas

It's the time of year when I start looking around for ideas of gifts I can make for Christmas.  I like to make things myself to give as gifts - I have a large-ish family and not a huge budget, so when I can make things that I'm proud to give that cost a reasonable amount, then I'm happy.  Last year I started panicking in October, I think, so it seems like I'm doing a better job managing the stress of it this time round.  I may regret not starting sooner... or I may not even think of gifts till after my sales at the end of November.  I'm sure I can get it done in December...!?! 

As I was thinking about starting to think about getting started, I thought I would do a round up for you in case you might be in the same place as I am, wondering what to make...  Here are some of the different homemade gifts I've given over the years, a few gifts I have thought about making to give, some gifts I have received, and some gifts I would kind of like to receive.

Soap - I did this one year - it's the kind of gift that you invest in the basic supplies, make a few varieties, and that's what everyone gets that year.


Wheat Bags & Handwarmers - Yes, I sell these in my shop, but they started as Christmas gifts for my family (everyone got one!) more than a decade ago.  Simple to make, and if you use rice, easy to find all you need.

CD of piano playing or singing - sometimes it would be nice to hear someone who's far away. 

CD or you reading a story aloud, along with the book - grandparents, this one is for you!  This would rock bedtime.  *Cheaper version - snag a few of the favourites they already own and record yourself.


Pencil Cases - Find a tutorial and make this up for your favourite pen addict... I can't be the only one out there.

Popcorn Seasonings - this is one we were given and I am still enjoying them on every batch of popcorn.  We almost need some more, though...


Homemade Notebooks - I like paper, and playing with paper, and sewing... Sometimes the paper gets sewn and is awesome.

Fairy Garden - I've never made one, but saw lots of fun ideas this summer.  Maybe an awesome gift would be some supplies to build one and the promise of a spring date to do it together?

Magnets - use clip art or words between flat marbles and magnets - personalize for the recipient.  I made some as teacher gifts and some with the Fruit of the Spirit on them (Galatians 5:22 & 23).


Playdough - fun for little ones.

Sock Monkey or Stuffed Animal - my boy has a monkey and an elephant made by his Aunts - treasures, for sure.  Meaningful for the parent as well as the child.

Doll Clothes - I still remember the Christmas when we were small and we got a load of Barbie clothes sewn by Mom and knitted by the Grandma & Granny, and then later making them for our Cabbage Patch Dolls.  If you know a girl with a doll in her life, this one might be a win for you.


Aprons - I've made a few of these over the years, including some fun matching parent / child ones.  My secret is to use one I like the shape of as the pattern.

Fire Starters - We made these for camping this summer - they might be nice for the camping enthusiast in the family.

Cookies in a Jar - Always a good idea.


Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Alice&Victor Newsletter

 Introducing something new!

I have a couple of new products hitting the shop right away, and I am planning some sales in the next couple of months, and I didn't want anyone who was interested to miss out just because they didn't happen to see the notice on Facebook or Instagram... and I sure don't want to post the info multiple times over hoping everyone sees it, because nobody needs that much noise.

So... my solution is to start an email newsletter.  That way, once in a while when I have information to share, you'll get it right in your inbox.

I invite you sign up for Alice&Victor's email newsletter - be the first to know the news! Thanks so much for your interest and support.

XO,
Carolyn

    
    
   
   

   

   


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Reading Rabbits

I can tell by what I've read this month that I have been busy with other things.  Sadly.  But craft sale season is upon us - I've had two already and three next month, and must... keep... sewing...  So I've only read two (and a half) books in the last month.  They all, however, have a hefty page count, so I haven't totally gone into withdrawl.

Watership Down by Richard Adams was absolutely delightful.  I have had this title on my radar for years because it's been on so many must read lists, but I was shocked when I picked it up at the library - I was expecting a thin child's book, but this was a huge work.  And it's about rabbits.  Seriously.  A completely captivating story, about rabbits, that was a great read.  Go put it on hold.

Then I read Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.  I may not have read this so fast because it just was not gripping.  It was wonderfully written, and had lots to ponder in it, but while a lovely book, it was not as entertaining.  I guess that's what I look for.  It is written as a letter from an aging pastor to his son, and looks at the connection between fathers and sons and roots.

I'm in the second half of another big one; A Traitor to Memory by Elizabeth George.  I thought I was all caught up in this series, but was happy to discover that there were actually two I hadn't read yet, and I was looking for a read I knew I would enjoy after Gilead.

So that's all for this month.  Now back to my book...

I linked this to Modern Mrs Darcy's Quick Lit post.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Let Me Introduce You to a New Friend



One day not too long ago, as I was scrolling through Instagram, I saw a shot of some postcards that my friend had received.  The hashtag #postcrossing made me curious, so I followed the rabbit trail right down the hole into wonderland.

I like getting mail - who doesn't? Postcrossing is just a way of taking matters into your own hands.

From their website (www.postcrossing.com):
"The goal of this project is to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free. Well, almost free! The main idea is that: if you send a postcard, you will receive one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world."
My stash of postcards that I've collected to send.

You sign up, request to send a postcard, and they give you an address.  You can see the person's profile with a bit about them, so you can customize what you say or what postcard you choose to send, and then when they receive it, they log it on the site.  THEN, the next time someone requests to send one, they get YOUR address.  And you get mail.  

And all the ones I've got so far!
Just a little something I've been having fun with over the last little while - thought I'd share in case you'd like some happy mail, too!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Where A&V Will Be This Fall

This is where you'll find me out and about selling this fall.  There are some great events on this list that I am excited to be a part of!

Saturday, September 24
Etsy Made In Canada Sale
This is the second time Regina has had an Etsy sale; I was in last year's and it was pretty great to be surrounded by people who do what I do, but with all kinds of different things they make.  Come check it out if you can.  There will be workshops on macrame, paper making, bullet journaling, and starting an Etsy shop as well as the shopping.
Research and Innovation Centre Atrium, U of R  10-5

Saturday, October 15
Henry Braun SCC
I prefer the all handmade sales over craft and trade shows, but I had no other sales in October so thought I'd add this one in.  Hoping for some good crowds.
710 Graham Road, Regina  10-4

Saturday November 5
Maranatha Women's Wellness Day
This event is in Winnipeg at my family's church, and while I will not be in attendance, there will be a table of my goods for sale.  Check with the church as to the best drop-in shopping times. 204-832-1371


Saturday November 19
Cathedral Christmas Craft Sale
Second year for this one, too.  It is the same day as the sale at Westminster Cathedral, and just across the street and down a bit, so you can take in both and don't even have to move your car.
2900 13th Ave, Regina  10-5

Sunday November 20
Twinkle: A Holiday Handmade Market
First time joining up with the Wren for an event, but it promises to be awesome.
The Exchange - 2431 8th Ave, Regina  11-5

Saturday November 26
Holiday Bazzart
Bazzart is the annual outdoor summer sale put on by the MacKenzie Art Gallery; this holiday version take place inside.  I've been once - a lit of talented people!  I applied for Bazzart this year for the first time and was thrilled to get in to both summer and holiday shows.
3475 Albert Street, Regina  10-5

Thank you to all who shop local and handmade.  It makes our communities better places.  :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Summer of 5 Star Books

I finished a good book yesterday and when I went to jot it down on my list, I noticed that they were all rated really good - and there were a lot of them! So it's time to share, I guess!  I hope you find time to pickup a book - I feel like my time should be spent sewing or listing items in my shop or getting things ready for our scrapbooking retreat which is coming up soon, so I may not devour as many in the next months as I would when times are slower.  Can't not read, though.

4 Stars

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel - He has descriptive writing that really transports you to another time and place, but can be a little odd at times, too.  There are three different characters in different times that all tie in to one place in the end.  There was one theological error that bothered me since so much research would have had to go in to the rest of the story; why get that part wrong??

Distortion by Terri Blackstock - she writes decent Christian Fiction.  Not a ton of depth, but it was ok.  (Maybe more of a 3.5?  I'm sure you can find more amazing books, but in a pinch, pick her off the library shelf.)

4.5 Stars

The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva - A WWII story with lots of layers in the spy game.  I picked this one up because I thought it was the first in his series, but this was a stand alone.

5 Stars

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd - This one is about an affair, so if you don't want to go there, don't pick this one up.  It is more of a psychological look at a woman finding herself unsure of who she really is once she's facing an empty nest, and what she goes through to understand who she is and what she wants.  Kidd's understanding of people is well captured.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for  Day by Winifred Watson - Written in the 30's, this was a fun read with a delightful cast of characters.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson - Really good.  It'll take you a few chapters to get into it, maybe, but quite interesting, if you can accept the strangeness of the main character living her life over and over again.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - Another really good one.  It follows a few characters after a nasty virus kills off most of the world's population.

The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva - This is the first in the series that I was looking for.  Israeli spy / restoration artist.  Good guys vs bad guys all around Europe...

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - Grumpy old man that you fall for as you slowly learn his story.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - I started this one years ago but got distracted by something easier probably, so decided I'd read it for the reading challenge I'm attempting this year.  Glad I read it, though I'm sure I missed lots - very wordy and I was not always clear what he was talking about!  Great story, overall.  First Dickens I've read - is that sad?

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline - Despair and hope. Set in the 30's in the US, it chronicles an Irish immigrant girl sent on an orphan train to the Midwest to find a family.  Also set in the present day as a teen helps the same girl, now in her 90's, clean out her attic, and all the memories it uncovers.  That sounds a little cheesy, but it really is well done.  This one stuck in my brain for a long time.

If you are looking for more good recommendations, I would send you over to Modern Mrs. Darcy - her blog has lots of good lists.


Happy page flipping!!