Sisterhood Spotlight – More Love Letters

The Weather Vane Sisterhood is no stranger to mental illness – we have that badge in the bag and we wear it for all to see. We don’t hide our crazy, we advocate.

A little while ago during one of Julia’s bouts of PPD, I was trying to find a way to make her feel more loved, and supported from our family. That is when I came across More Love Letters.

Their mission as it is posted on their website is simple – to make love famous. Imagine going through a rough patch, anything from a sick family member, to depression or PPD if you will. Now imagine while you are going through this tough time getting a flooding of love letters. Letters of encouragement, letters of hope. Just a little note to let you know that you are not going through this alone, and a complete stranger is thinking of you. That is exactly what More Love Letters is.

It is a blog where weekly posts let the anyone who wants to know who they should address love letters to and their background story. You can nominate anyone as well – all you need is to take the time to write an email or a letter to the ladies of More Love Letters and tell them why you think they deserve more love! Once you see who needs your love letters it’s up to you to write what your heart desires. As of late I when I have been feeling down, I write what I would want someone to say to me. Something as cheesy as “Don’t stop believing” to more sentimental. There is something so uplifting by telling a complete stranger that you are in their corner and something so heartwarming knowing that you made someone’s life a little brighter with your words.

After writing all my thank you cards, I still have some umpteen note cards left. These cards as slowly being sent all over the world with notes of love and support. I encourage everyone to join this movement and start sending love letters.

The world is a pretty crappy place sometimes. It’s scary and dark, and sometimes it’s hard to find the love and light in the everyday. But if you can be that love and light to someone else then suddenly you have a little slice of optimism yourself.

The other day I was exhausted, it was a horrible day at work and all I wanted to do was to come home and sleep. On my walk home I had made a plan, home, bath, bed. Which is exactly what I did. I came home, drew myself a bath, and then got into my pj’s. I turned on my computer to watch some much deserved Netflix, but when I opened my computer, the last page I was on was More Love Letters to their recent letter nominations. I came across a nomination for a couple who had been together for 36 years. They fell on hard times with their health, he with a stroke and her with lupus. Their children nominated them for the bundle of letters. Suddenly I felt guilty – I had a rough day sure, but I have my health, I have a roof over my head and food on the table – and yet I was grumpy and complaining.

I decided then to write a letter to this couple. I wrote telling them that their love for each other and their years of marriage was an inspiration. I wrote to them telling them I was thinking of them and sending them love from afar during this bump in the road. My problem of a bad day at work seemed so small and insignificant compared to the troubles that these two were going through.

I encourage you to take time today to write a love letter to those in need – make it a weekly routine. During your Saturday morning coffee, grab a pen and a pad of paper and start spreading the love!

~ Love, Jacqui

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Happy birthday, mama

While we are not back to our regularly scheduled blog rhythm just yet, we most DEFINITELY did not want this day to go by without making a fuss over a very special lady in our lives…pretty much the most important one.

Without her, really, none of this would be here. None of us, none of our families. She, our matriarch, our head of household, our guiding star, is our Mama, and today is her BIRTHDAY!!!!!

So here’s to you, Mommy – happy, happy birthday! We hope you know how much you are loved, looked up to, and admired. You hold a special place in each of our hearts, lessons and love unique to each one of us. You’ve set incredible examples for us, helped whenever needed (even when we didn’t know we needed it) and loving us regardless and no matter what.

Mom

Mom

We love you and hope you have the most beautiful day, filled with so much love, light and laughter your heart stays full forever.

Love,

Your baby girls
~ Weather Vane Sisterhood

 

Happy Birthday, Julia!

If you’ve been following along, you should know by now that the sisterhood is a big ball of mush when it comes to the people in our lives that mean the most to us, so it should come as no surprise as you read on.

My dear, Julia.

My innocent, kind, sweet, brave, overachieving, magic making, Julia.

Happy, happy birthday!

I am not sure there will ever be just the right word in the English language to describe the immense amount of gratitude I have for being granted the privilege to bear witness to the beautiful, crazy, meaningful and wonderfully messy life that you are creating.

Gratitude for the amount of helping to – let’s be honest – rear me, as livestock terms are much more suited for my younger years. Gratitude for the friendship we have been so blessed with the opportunity for, and the brains to know it’s worth it. Gratitude for you.

Between birthing three of my life’s greatest blessings, to being a beacon for all those who are struggling by bravely telling your story of triumph so others will feel a little less alone in their own heads, to reminding me that we have fought to grow into women that have the strength to do so – and as you do, once again providing the most incredible example a girl could ask for in a big sis.

As Lillian would say, “you’re a rockstar” and I hope you truly feel that way today as we continue to celebrate another year of you on this your day of birth.

<3

This love.

We love you an incredible amount!

~ Toni

 

Let it snow!

I love snow.

LOVE it.

I love how it looks. I love the season it kicks off (Christmas!!). I love how it sounds at night. I love how it makes everything perfect again, white and blanketed, mud and other flaws covered (at least until the plows and boots and dogs get to it). I LOVE SNOW.

And in my opinion, snowflakes are by far the prettiest element in holiday decorating. They’re sparkly. They can be formal. They can be hand-scrawled. They can be blue, white, red, green, or any other colour up there on that rainbow. They can be ornaments, they can make a wreath, they can be part of an outdoor scene, they can frost up  your indoor decor. They are fun to make and glitter just makes them better. And guys? Each one is different. Or, that’s what we’re believing. You are like a snowflake – unique until proven otherwise. 😉

I'm not the only one enamored by snowflakes. Sophie has been cutting them out and hanging them up around the house to "get ready for Christmas." How can I argue with that?

I’m not the only one enamored by snowflakes. Sophie has been cutting them out and hanging them up around the house to “get ready for Christmas.” How can I argue with that?

I also love crafting. I used to be a Sunday School teacher and one of my favourite parts was the craft – the glue, the glitter, the cutting, the creating, the colouring (remember colouring? Oh, the good old days.). I have a ton of craft stuff at home and most of it the babies can play with. But some of it? Some of it is all mine. ALL MINE. 

I’m a good sharer, but when it comes to Mommy’s grown-up craft stuff, back off. 

I have lots of fun things to make cards with – cardstock, stamps, ink, paper punches, markers, hole punches, adhesives (FANCY GLUE!!) – and I rarely have time to play with it.

But lately, I’ve been sneaking in time when I should be folding laundry to make a card. Or two. But usually just one because one card takes me so long. I want to get it right, get it perfect, get it so that it will look more like I made it and less like Sophie or Lillian made it. You know, like a grown-up made it. And that means I get muddled and mired and stuck.

This weekend, however, I found the time and space and inspiration to sit down and make four Christmas/winter cards, all featuring my favourite, the snowflake.

By space and time, I mean I found some stamps and markers for the girls so that they could have their own stamping/crafting fun.

"What are you doing, Mommy?" (Read: I'm completely innocent and purely curious...I won't get into anything...promise).

“What are you doing, Mommy?” (Read: I’m completely innocent and purely curious…I won’t get into anything…promise).

She might be a teeny, tiny bit excited by the new craft supplies - stamps and markers that aren't completely dried out?! HEAVEN.

She might be a teeny, tiny bit excited by the new craft supplies – stamps and markers that aren’t completely dried out?! HEAVEN.

And by inspiration, I mean I went on Pinterest and scoured other people’s genius for ideas so that I didn’t have to sit and muddle for hours…I got to craft for hours. It was dreamy.

The first card I wanted to attempt was something simple and streamlined. Something easy-peasy. Something elegant, like this one:

Here’s what I came up with, using a nice dark blue cardstock for the card, a snowflake stamp dipped in ink of the same colour, and accents drawn on with a silver marker:

My simple snowflake card

My simple snowflake card

My favourite part about this card, other than the fact that it’s so easy (just some cutting, gluing, and a stamp!), is that it is winter-themed, not necessarily Christmas-themed. You could give this to a Muslim or a Jew or a Buddhist or someone who loves the phrase “Happy Holidays” and is offended by “Merry Christmas.” It’s perfect for the awkward card-giving, where you want to give something, but you don’t want to put your foot in your mouth. (Note: I LOVE this chart for how to handle these uncomfortable social situations…it’s brilliant and simple like this card!)

The second one was going to be a bit more complicated. I saw this patchwork card and LOVED it. I wanted to recreate the same feeling and I’m excited to make other cards (non-Christmas ones, of course!) with paper scraps that I have lying around. I also love the idea of mixing patterns – I’m not brave enough to do it in my outfits, but darn it, I’m a freaking renegade with paper!

Created by the mastermind behind the Kifli és levendula Blog

Created by the mastermind behind the Kifli és levendula Blog

Here’s my version:

My take on the patchwork

My take on the patchwork style

I love how all of the patterns have some sort of snowflake element to them and that they’re all of the same colour families. This cardstock came in a pad of four different designs from Stampin’ Up, so I didn’t have to work too hard to make them co-ordinate. Regardless, I’m a pattern-mixing daredevil!

My third inspiration was a bit more complicated – repeat one shape to make another shape. In this case, I took my cue from this pretty card that used snowflakes to create a wreath:  

Created by Carol Longacre

Created by Carol Longacre

I don’t have a snowflake punch, but I do have a snowflake stamp. I also wanted to put the snowflakes in a different colour family – the traditional reds and greens of Christmas. Here is my snowflake wreath:

Voila! A little lopsided, but still the effect I wanted.

Voila! A little lopsided, but still the effect I wanted.

I used green and red ink to make the wreath, and used two different sizes of snowflake stamps – the bigger one for the greenery, and the smaller one for the berries. I added a line of washi tape along the left side and I put a stamped and punched element in the middle of the wreath because I felt it looked a little empty. I don’t know if I love the I ❤ Santa stamp with the wreath (I feel they are different pieces of the Christmas pie), but all in all it’s sweet and I do like the effect of the wreath. I also love that I had the forethought to draw a circle in light pencil before stamping so I was able to stamp a pretty-close-to-round shape. 😉 A light erase afterwards and y’all thought I was magic. (Note: I am.) (Second note: Clearly not infallibly magic – I still managed to put a dent in the top right of the circle…whatever.)

Sophie was so impressed by this, she made her own versions:

Created by my stamping prodigy, Sophie

Created by my stamping prodigy, Sophie

The final card that I was inspired by had snowflakes of a more rainbow variety:

Created by Karen Day

Created by Karen Day

I really like the snowflakes and the stark white background in this card. The effect is really lovely. This is what I came up with:

My snowflake rainbow

My snowflake rainbow

I LOVE how this card turned out and it is by far my favourite of the four. It’s hard to see here, but the card is a bright pink colour with a green outline. The snowflakes are pink, green, blue and yellow. The message is pink and blue. It’s so bright and cheery and I’m in love. It wasn’t hard to create at all. The trickiest piece was drawing a line from the left to the right edge on an angle so that I could control my snowflake fall. I knew without that guide, I’d be stamping all over the place. Again, I made the line in light pencil and erased it when I was done.

I had so much fun grown-up crafting during daylight hours with my girls. They seemed to love it as well, with both of them churning out some pretty impressive stamping for their first time.

Sophie was rather proud of this one.

Sophie was rather proud of this one.

This is what Lillian came up with once she stopped stamping on the stamp cleaning cloths...

This is what Lillian came up with once she stopped stamping on the stamp cleaning cloths…

We had Christmas music playing, all three of us took turns distracting and wrangling Isaac, and Ben was playing a video game. The perfect end to a busy weekend. Now, if we can just get the rain to stop here and bring back the snow, we’d be set for Christmas!

~ Julia