Friday, July 4, 2014

Christian Holden

This baby boy joined our lives on June 12 at 2:22pm.

He weighed 7 lb. 10 oz.

As you can probably tell by the expression on my face, it was my first birth without an epidural. It was not my favorite thing. But I am happy that I can now say that I've done it and know what it's like.

This baby was calm, quiet, and peaceful all through the pregnancy... and he came out just the same.

This picture below is my favorite picture of his birth... there are few things in life that compare to those first moments of soaking in that new little person. Birth is magical.

We ended up with the name Christian Holden, which means "follower of Christ" and "kindly, gracious". I have felt all along that this boy will be a quiet and peaceful presence to our family, and the names seemed to fit him and that idea well.

His most unique physical characteristic is his adorable bottom lip/chin. We joke that we may be looking at some expensive oral surgery in our future for what appears to be an intense under-bite, but it makes for one precious little baby chin right now.

He's peaceful and gentle, and he rarely cries. He is also strong and is inquisitively trying to figure out the world around him. As a mother, it makes me excited to imagine what God is going to chose to do with this sweet baby boy and his unique, God-given personality. I pray that he will live up to his name... a gracious follower of Christ, living out the gospel and showing love to this hurting world.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Recapping May

Last month I set the not-so-daunting goal for myself of recapping each month with pictures on my blog. So here's May's recap:

I doodled.

And painted.

And chopped off alllll of my hair. (35 weeks pregnant)

My sister came for a visit. So photo booths. Obviously.

Judah became obsessed with the Foot Book. And Cat in the Hat. Maybe just Dr. Seuss in general, idk.

There's nothing all too special about this Sophie picture... just capturing her "normal" look :)

I made a handful of new prints that I am really excited about (and retired ALL of my old ones!) and opened my new shop, Mandy England Art and Design! Mandipidy is officially only the name of this blog... everything else now goes by Mandy England or Mandy England Art.

I painted this, and it's probably my favorite thing I've ever made (children aside).

I got the LOVELIEST happy mail from my sweet friend Karen of Celebrate Life. Aren't those pinwheels the cutest? They are all over my house, and I smile every time I see them. I ordered some more to attach to happy mail that I send out... because who wouldn't smile when they opened a package and saw one of those?

And some happy test swatches showed up at my door so that I could pick colors for my first fabric design!! I finally narrowed it down to three favorites that can be purchased in my Spoonflower shop. I am expecting several yards to show up in my mailbox any day now, and I cannot wait!

Continuing to grow baby 3. Tomorrow I'll be 38 weeks pregnant and I.AM.READY.

Let's do this, June!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 Review

Earlier this month, I was approached via email by an eShakti employee who asked if I would be interested in reviewing one of their dresses. I had actually never heard of the company before, so I obviously clicked the link to go check out their website. One of the first things that struck me was the fact that all of their clothing is CUSTOMIZABLE!

Find a dress that you love the pattern of, but you aren't thrilled that it's so short? Lengthen the hemline! That top is perfect for the wedding, except that it's cold outside and sleeveless just won't work? Add sleeves! It's really pretty brilliant. I imagine it would be a perfect place to get bridesmaid dresses for a group of girls with different sizes and preferences... pick a dress, and let each girl choose the length it will fall at, the neckline, the sleeve length, etc.


Knowing I would be massively pregnant when the dress showed up to review, I picked one with an empire waist and lots of room, the "floral embellished chambray voile dress":

I knew I wanted to try out the customization features, so I selected to add sleeves to the dress. I was incredibly curious to know how that would turn out... would it look like a sleeveless dress with some sleeves sewn on in hindsight? I wasn't sure what to expect! Honestly, though, it looks just as if the dress is always meant to come with sleeves.

My favorite feature is the neckline. The swoopiness and beautiful embroidery are stunning.

The only downside that I know of is that the prices are on the high side... especially for this mama who loves to get a good thrifted deal on a dress. But if you are a particular person who wants a custom designed dress, eShakti may be the perfect choice for you!

eShakti is offering a 10% off coupon code to my readers now through June 9th, 2014. You can get the discount when you purchase from their website and use the code MNDYES at checkout.

Please note: Code has to be entered in the ‘promotional code’ box. It is not case-sensitive. Code can be used any number of times until the validity period. It can be clubbed with any other promotional offer, gift coupon or gift card in the same order unless explicitly specified otherwise in the offer conditions. This discount code is not applicable on clearance / sale, gift cards & overstock categories. Not applicable on previous purchases.

Want more eShakti? Find them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!

Disclosure: No compensation was given for this review, although I did receive a free sample product from eShatki to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Friday, May 2, 2014

April's Projects...

I've become so bad about blogging. Basically, I just don't. So I'm setting the optimistic but realistic goal of at least recapping what I've been up to at the end of each month. Here are some glimpses into April's projects...

Two canvas minis mailed off as gifts for friends:

This acrylic on paper will be available to purchase in my {NEW!} shop as a print soon:

And these four minis sold on a little Instagram sale the other day... the first time I have ever offered original pieces of my art for sale, so I was pretty pumped!

This month was also full of lots of pretty happy mail:

As well as the start of my first fabric design, which I am extremely excited about! I just ordered my second text swatches, and I cannot wait to get them in my mailbox!

Now that the weather is nice, we've been wanting to get our outdoor spaces set up for use. We found this wicker set on Craigslist last weekend for $30, and I reupholstered the cushions using only my hot glue gun. Maybe a little zany, but I don't think anyone can tell... from one side. :)

And some hand-lettering (don't worry... I fixed the typo :)

The most exciting project continues to be baby 3. Only 7 weeks left! Can't wait to meet this little one sometime next month.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Home Tour - Progress So Far

I shared a little home tour as part of Life Made Lovely's Home Made Lovely series a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd go ahead and share the post here so that ya'll can see some of the progress we've made with our home so far.

We bought our first house in South Carolina this past August... a 1970's brick ranch. Instantly, we fell in love with the wooden floors and giant front windows, and we were eager to take on the challenge of creating a space that reflected our style and felt like home. Both my husband and I like to keep things very simple, not too cluttered, and we are working on making our spaces as useful as possible. Usually we are drawn to neutral and clean colors for the bigger aspects like walls and furniture, but our love of interesting patterns, shapes, and textures comes out more in the decorating.

Come on in!

The first room you step into is my favorite- the living room.

This room sold the house to us. Those big, south-facing windows. The natural light that streams inside. {love}. I've tried to keep this room simple and just let it be a light, clean space to enjoy.

It's a place for quiet jazz and relaxing reading. My 2-year-old daughter also thinks of it as her dance floor. So many happy memories are being made in this room.

The two tufted chairs in the window were passed on to me as a project. My husband sanded and painted the frames, and I reupholstered and tufted the seats. Almost all of the rest of the furniture in the room was acquired either for free or very inexpensively from Craigslist. Those hexagons on the wall were a gift from a dear friend for Christmas, and they are my favorite!
[triangle pillow cover | book initial]

The living room flows into the dining room, which has recently become a multifunctional space. I enjoy being in this room so much that I asked my husband if I could take it over with my workspace. So now this is where I print and package my Etsy orders, paint, sew, and create when I have the time.

This china was my husband's grandmother's wedding china... one of the loveliest things I have ever been gifted. I could never have dreamed up a more perfect pattern and color for me, and I love that it's an heirloom as well. The hutch was also a Craigslist find that we fixed up and painted a few summers ago.

The table stays a small circle to work at most of the time, but it can expand to be a more legit dining table if we need it to when guests come over.

The old South Carolina map on the wall was a public domain image that I found in a google search. I tweaked the colors a little bit, resized it, and had it printed as an engineering print at Staples for a few dollars.

After a serious purge, I managed to get almost all of my craft supplies organized into this bookshelf. Having kiddos and the messes that they bring has caused me to let go of some of my obsessive organizational tendencies... but occasionally, I still just can't resist the urge to arrange things by color order for as long as they will stay that way. :)

Tucked behind the tan chair is my desk. It holds my computer, some more supplies, and my two giant beasts of printers.

I am so happy about our decision to make the dining space more useful for us! Having my work area right in the middle of the house where I can be with and keep and eye on the kids instead of tucked back in our guest room is definitely working well for us right now.

Most of the bedrooms are still works in progress, but my son's room is coming together.

Again, mostly thrifted furniture and diy projects in here. The chevron rug is actually a quilt that I made for him before he was born. A friend of mine has that saying hanging in her nursery: "The days are long, but the years are short." Such a great reminder, and I wanted it up on my son's wall too, so I created a design and had it made into an engineering print at Staples. [Printable here].
On the back side of the house is our cozier family room area.

I've started a collage wall in this room with some art that is special to us. A vintage 5 for the number of people in our family, a trumpet/violin duet that was written for us as a wedding present, a watercolor that my daughter painted, a lovely and simple painting of the word "love", a favorite quote of mine, a camera printable that I found online, a drawing of my husband and I that my sister made for us for Christmas one year, a special love note that my husband doodled for me years ago ... Sweet, sweet gifts, memories, and reminders that I love to walk by every day.

The family room flows into the kitchen. My husband built the farm table for me almost two years ago. He's handy like that. ;) The chairs were bought through Craigslist and we painted them robin's egg blue. The curtains were one of those awesome Target finds where someone bought them online, didn't like them, returned them to the store, and then I got to pick them up for 70% off! We got the light fixture here. And the striped wall is actually back in our laundry room, and it adds the extra little pop of "crazy" that I felt this space needed.

You've seen a good chunk of our home all put together, but in all honesty, it rarely looks this manicured. By ten o'clock most days, the floors are strewn with toys, there are chunks of half-chewed banana sticking to the couch, and all of the books are off the shelves. And I daily have to remind myself to look for beauty in the mess too; because I don't think real beauty in a home is necessarily found in the way the things are arranged, but in the bonds of the people who call that place their home. How thankful I am to share this "home" with these sweet ones that I love.