Copy Cat

One of my favorite bloggers, Joy Cho, has the best dressers of all time in her sweet baby Ruby’s nursery. See? Catch the full post here to see a completely adorable nursery. I’ve had serious dresser envy since Joy first posted these beauties.

As luck would have it, while browsing the thrift stores last weekend (on furniture half-off day!) I stumbled upon this dresser and sort of flipped out.

It wasn’t nearly as cute as Ms. Ruby’s, so I bought some $2 paint samples at Lowe’s and went to town. My dresser is a little different; it only has 4 drawers so I had to narrow down the color selection. And I decided (for now, at least) to leave the outer part wooden so that it looked a little more unisex, since we’re not sure if we’ll be fostering boys or girls or both. I used a couple paints I already had on hand to save a little money on the project since I had already spent $25 on the dresser.

Tadaa! Not bad for $30!

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Work In Progress

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I decided to make a set of hand-illustrated baby sign language cards for my sweet little niece, due in September. I really underestimated how much I would love making these cards. I can’t wait to meet that little lady!

Once the cards are all finished, I plan to make them available for purchase. I think they’d be a great baby shower gift. That’s why I’m making them, as a matter of fact.

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With a Little Help From My Friends

If you don’t know me in real life, you don’t know that I’m super shy. Not in every situation, but in most. I will talk to people, but I’m going to be awkward about it. It’s a rare occasion when I talk to a stranger without having been approached by them and I sure as heck won’t approach someone in a confrontational situation.

This afternoon, I got “yelled at” at the $2 theater for a matinee showing of The Lorax. When the movie began, I got a lovely, “You need to sit down” snark from the lady behind us. Now, I’m the first to admit that I get pretty upset when people are being inconsiderate of others. Don’t talk on your cell phone in a movie, if you’re super tall, don’t stand right in front of a short person at a concert, etc. But really, I JUST got here, I’m in a line of people trying to find seats in the dark. Do you think I’m planning to stand in the aisle for the whole movie? Hold your horses for a sec.

But I just hurried to the nearest seat and scrunched down. My friend, Chris will confront nearly anyone… for nearly any reason. Which makes me all sorts of uncomfortable. But he’s a very kind friend and has a pretty great mustache; it balances out. So he turned around and said, “Gimme a break. Give. Me. A. Break.” And that was that. Though it sort of made me want to throw up, I was relieved that he stood up for me.

After the movie, Lillian (Chris’s wife, in fact) had her chance to defend my honor when a guy cut us off in traffic pulling into the store we were heading into. He didn’t cut me off in an annoying sort of way, he cut me off in a super dangerous, car wreck sort of way. Lillian apologized in advance for what was about to go down (confrontation alert!) and then said, “Did you turn left here?” He denied it (with a vigorous head shake and zero eye contact), to which she responded, “actually you did. And you almost hit us. You really should be more careful.” She wasn’t mean about it, she just let him know that his actions were affecting us. That made me want to throw up a little less, but we did make sure he didn’t slash my tires on his way out of the store.

And every once in a while, when Dave and I are babysitting together and a kid backtalks me, or says something mean to me like, “You’re the worst babysitter ever! I hate you!” (the almost-certainly meanest kid ever that  single-handedly ended my babysitting career in college) Dave will say, “Hey. This is my wife. You are not allowed to talk to my wife this way.”

And then I get all swoony while the kid goes to time-out.

There’s something really wonderful about being defended.

Favorite Hairicatures

My super clever friend, Nathaniel, called my new art project a “Hairicature” and I think that’s basically the best thing ever.

Here are some of my favorites so far.

I’m still doing these custom portraits. $10 per hairicature. Get you one. Or 20. Just click on “Send Steph to Haiti” up there on the menu bar and donate! Turn around time is currently within 24 hours.

Words Where There Are None

I keep starting this blog post, erasing it, and starting over. This is attempt number five, I think. The title of this post, “Words Where There Are None” may seem sort of silly considering the length of this post, but it’s the only way I can preface all of it. I don’t know how to describe the last two days to you… or even the last several hours. I will start by saying that I feel so blessed. I am always surprised by God’s generous love and grace, though I know it shouldn’t be surprising. I am overwhelmed with the support and encouragement of friends and strangers. I am broken-hearted and overflowing with gladness at the same time. To be frank, my emotions are shot; I am a wreck.

I was so focused on meeting my financial goal for this Haiti trip earlier this week, that I gave nothing else brain space. It was all about money for my trip, and how it was severely lacking. I was discouraged and stressing more by the hour. Then this little doodle I made sparked an insane internet response and raised over $1000 in about 32 hours. And it wasn’t one big check. It was lots of hands being raised, lots of people getting excited with me, a “yes, I want to be a part of this” here and there. To get a $1000 check from someone who wants to help is a big deal – a very very big deal. But God decided to build my faith up $10 at a time.

As I was nearing my goal for the trip, I was standing in the airport to welcome home brothers I met over two years ago – Frantz and Junior. There was a large group of us waiting anxiously to see these two boys and their sister heading toward baggage claim. The group was jittery with anticipation, many holding back tears before we even saw them round the corner. Moments before the family came through the gate, I got the donation that finished off my goal.

And it hit me – I met my goal for my Haiti trip to visit an orphanage while waiting at the airport to welcome home three kids who used to live at that same orphanage.

One of my favorite verses is John 21:25. It says, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” It always made me imagine all these people, all over the world, who had been a part of an amazing miracle. A small thing, or a big thing, something that made other people stand back amazed, or something that only one had experienced themselves. I want to meet these people and hear their stories. At that moment, I felt like I was part of one of those stories. And here I am writing it down.

God showed me the beginning and the end of that story, all at once. He said, “I haven’t forgotten about your heart for these kids” in a way I will never forget. He orchestrated a small, beautiful moment for me, wrapped up a huge moment for another family. It wasn’t about $1000. It wasn’t about flying to a fifth-world country. It wasn’t about someone else’s poverty or my gain. It wasn’t about my project.

As Melanie gave me a hug, moments after reuniting with her entire family for the very first time on American soil, after more than two years of heartache, ridiculous paperwork, and piles and piles of prayer, she said, “I’m praying for you. I know how much you want this and I never stop praying about it. Haiti is changing. It will happen for you. It really will.” If that’s not a humbling experience, I don’t know what is. That word of encouragement in the whirlwind of their once-in-a-lifetime family celebration was so overwhelming. Melanie, I didn’t have the words to express then, but thank you so much for that sweet reminder of God’s promises.

And thank you, friends, for offering your words of encouragement and your support over the past couple days. They have meant more to me than I can express to you, but I hope that you will see that I didn’t do any of it on my own. I didn’t have a cool idea and make some money off of it. I am unworthy. My trip to Haiti isn’t about me experiencing the world or about me helping someone less fortunate. It’s about God giving me a desire to be there, to meet the orphans that He created, and one person being asked to say, “here I am, send me.” It’s about being a part of a big story. It’s being aware of my blessings and living a life that’s bigger than me. I’m so thankful. His power has been made perfect in my weakness.

What I Learned Yesterday

Yesterday morning I woke up and sat in bed thinking about how much money I had left to raise for my Haiti trip. Last year Dave and I paid for half of the trip on our own, and half of the trip was covered thanks to donations from friends and family (and a couple strangers). This year, only 4% of the total trip cost had been donated, and with less than a month left to bring in the money, I was panicked. We would have had to empty our savings, have a pretty big garage sale, and do some scrimping to send me to Haiti again, and that’s something we were a tad stressed about.

So I had a moment of pity and stomach-knot-stress, and then I said, “I’m done worrying. I’m going to trust.”

And then I got $600 in 7 hours.

No really.

Thanks to all my friends who shared the link from yesterday’s custom portrait offer (which is still good! Get yourself an Art Face!), a good smack in the face of remembering who is really in control, and a venti caramel macchiato I slammed out FORTY TWO Art Faces. (And a 23-drawings rough draft project I already had on my to do list for today… but who’s counting…)

So here’s what I learned yesterday

  • I worry too much
  • I don’t trust enough
  • I have very very kind friends (one example of friend-kindness)
  • I get really fired up (in a good way) when God shows me how cool He is
  • Zooming in very closely and then tracing someone’s facial hair is a strangely intimate thing
  • Designing and drawing for 13 hours non-stop is actually super fun
  • Almost everyone has a reddish tint to their hair
  • Social media can be a really awesome tool

So now I’m off to do a few more custom portraits, run some errands for the office, turn those rough drafts into something colorful, and meet my sweet friends at the airport with their three Haitian kiddos who are finally coming home! More on that tomorrow!

Blog people, I love you. I mean it.

Fundraiser

So, I’m lacking about $1000 still for my Haiti trip. That’s kind of scary considering the trip is in LESS THAN A MONTH! Whew!

How’s this for last minute fundraising – I’ll make one of these for you if you donate $10 to my trip using the “Send Steph to Haiti” page right up there under my header. For every $10, you can get another face. A mom, dad, and baby? $30. Just you and your fancy mohawk? $10.

You’ll get the digital file. Great for a business card, stationery, print it and frame it as a wedding gift. Seriously. $10 is a steal. When you donate, Paypal will send me an email from you – just let me know you want a customized portrait in that email!