Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Catalogues Into Cards {DIY}

I know I've been a little absent lately - sorry about that!  I've been busy with life & my camera's been giving me fits on top of that, but I've been itching to be back!  Here's a little DIY I made the other day, & you can make it, too!  

Here's how...

The Supplies...
cards/paper, catalogues/magazines, scissors/paper cutter, glue stick

If you don't have pre-made cards, make some of your own out of paper.  {I bought some cards at Goodwill that were blank on the inside with a baby motif on the front; that's what I used.}  Then, scour your stash of catalogues or magazines for images you like.  {I used some old Anthropologie & J.Crew catalogues. (Note: You can get your own free catalogues by signing up on their websites.)}  Cut them out to fit the front of your card {or you could cut them a little bit smaller, if you like - or make a collage}, & glue em down.  Finally, pen handwritten messages to friends & send your homemade cards!

DIY Love,

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Song Love {February}

"His Kind of Love" by Group 1 Crew

"Strangely Dim" by Francesca Battistelli

"Water Into Wine" by Chris August

Musical Love,

Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Adventures in DIY Stamp Making

I first tried my hand at stamp making back in this post.  It was quite fun, so I thought I'd add to my repertoire of stamping experiments.  Here's the latest one...
a stamp with the word "TEA"!

Here's how you can make one...

First, find a flat eraser, & with a pen trace your word in block letters - but, wait, this gets tricky!  You have to write it sdrawkcab backwards.  Just try to imagine it so that when you put the stamp on paper, it will read correctly - practice on regular paper first if you need to! =) Next {& uber-carefully} begin to trace the lines of your letters with an X-acto knife & begin cutting squares in your letters.  Then, with your fingers try to pick out pieces of eraser from inside your block letter outline.  Continue this process - cutting with the X-acto knife, putting it down, & picking eraser bits out until you've got it like you want it {so the words are picked out - like the reverse of the heart stamp (where the design stuck out)}.  Then, apply some ink & test it out!  You can always go back & cut/pick away some more if needed.  I love how these stamps look primitive!  
Finally, use your stamp to embellish your surroundings!

Stamping Love,

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"True Things"



Monday, February 18, 2013

Because {Doxology Rock} Rocks!

You know I love me some stylish threads. =) But my greatest love in life is Jesus - I could be wearing dirty rags, but have my Savior - & that would be more than enough couture to get me through.  

Which brings me to a new company that ingeniously blends style with faith...  Doxology Rock specializes in limited edition tees {printed in the USA} & other accessories.  Their goods cause the wearer to "represent" their faith {which happens to be one of the slogans on their tees}. =)  

...& because Doxology Rock rocks so much they're giving you readers a discount code for 20% off on their site for the next 2 weeks {starting today 2/18/13}!  Go visit, shop, & don't forget your code!

your special discount code for 20% off:



Fashionable Faith for All,

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Missing Compass


On this journey of your life do you ever feel as if you’ve lost your map & compass? More often than not I’ve found myself in this predicament. When plans don’t turn out, opportunities don’t come, & doors close & lock… I find myself turning round & round in a dense wooded forest of my “what ifs” & “whys,” uncertain of the direction & fearing taking the wrong path. It’s then, when it’s hardest to produce, that you must cling to trust. Somehow in my years I’ve mistaken “trust” with “everything’s good & working out smoothly.” But that’s not trust – trust is continuing to believe when nothing makes sense & the trail markers are long gone. Trust isn’t easy. Without it we can become frozen in our fears & anxieties & get nowhere, so afraid of misstepping, taking the wrong road, or failing that we end up doing so because we don’t move toward the possible blessing.

After deep prayer & stillness, sometimes you have to step out into the mysterious – not sure if it’s the right way or not - & trust. No matter what it will be okay with Jesus. It’s at these times that I look up through the canopy of trees & catch a glint of sunshine & whisper, “You’ve got the map, right?” As long as my Father has the map, & is the very cartographer {map maker} of my life, I can trust. It doesn’t mean easy & always “happy” trails are my lot, it just means keep moving - & asking every mile or even every step, “You’ve got the map, right Dad?” - & knowing He does.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart & lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, & He will make your paths straight."
-Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Love to Each & Every Traveler,
"Help Me Find It" by Sidewalk Prophets

A Glimpse Behind the Song

P.S.: I'm facing a job decision & I want to take the right path God has for me.  I'm working on trusting.  Please pray that I make the right choice as I step out on this unknown trail.  Love you, girls!

P.P.S.: If you've got a prayer request, leave me a comment {let me know if you want it published or unpublished}, & I'd be happy to pray for you & add it to the Prayer Line in the sidebar, sister!  We need each other on this journey!

Friday, February 15, 2013

In Which I Turn Three!

Bess' Bag Turns 3!

Today marks three years of Bess' Bag!  A lot's happened since February 15, 2010, when a girl brand new to blogging takes a chance & starts one of her own. Go ahead & open your parasol & lets take a leisurely stroll down Memory Lane.

-Quick Clickables-
my very first tutorial {of sorts} =)

Bess' Bag's Timeline

Some of my favorite posts...


Blogoversary 3

changed jobs, traveled, gone from long hair - to short - & back again, started a new blog {Diary of A Single Girl}, been honest in my struggles, seen successes & failures - & always God's faithfulness... 

To those of you who have journeyed with me, I want to say a deep, sincere thanks.  

Love you!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Val Day!

Valentine Greetings!

Love you!

Angela's Arrow: A Valentine's Tragi-Comedy

Angela's Arrow

This is a sorta wacky little short story I came up with today for Valentine's.  I posted it first on my other blog, Diary of a Single Girl, but since I've only got about 9 followers on there, I decided to share it with you all, too!

“The hearts…they’re back!” Maggie exclaimed in a dramatic tone of angst & terror. “No,” her friend Emma uttered shaking her head in disbelief. “Yes! Just go over two aisles & look at the end cap under the big yellow rollback smile thing!” Maggie pointed, her voice rising to an unhealthy level for the toothpaste/mouthwash section. An elderly gentleman looked up from examining a Listerine bottle label. “It’s not safe to talk here,” Emma whispered, clutching Maggie’s arm & pulling her away. The only sign the girls had been there was the old man scratching his head & Emma’s dropped Crest toothpaste laying abandoned in the middle of the floor. The girls made it out of the store, though Emma had to be nearly pushed after back stepping in fright from the sight of red roses for sale next to the exit door. Once out & in breathable air again Emma exclaimed, “I thought we still had weeks! How did this happen?” Maggie put her arm around her best friend, “Hey, we’ll get through this together, Em.” But even she was having trouble believing her words.
It was Valentine’s season yet again in the usually cheery little town of Holmsdale, & once again Emma & Maggie were date-less, kiss-less, heart-less… well, maybe that’s a little harsh. Perhaps it was their tradition of ripping February from their calendars that made the surprise seem like an invasion from martians from the Mars Candy Company. Emma & Maggie could see no joy in February 14th, unless they were being wooed by a fellow, & that had eluded them both like… well, spotting little green dudes in spacesuits at Wal-Mart. They both decided that being happy & single on Valentine’s Day was an urban myth - neither of them dared use the word “old wives’ tale” – that would add injury to insult for heaven’s sake.
“Come on, let’s cut through Meyer’s Woods, Mags. It’s shorter,” Emma steered her friend off the sidewalk as they made their way home from their terrifying {& fruitless} shopping excursion. “Yeah, the sooner we get to your house, the sooner we can make out our list of possible dates,” Maggie declared. “I hate to say it, but it’s pretty slim pickings this year,” Emma replied. “Isn’t it always,” Maggie sighed as they headed into the dark forest. 

They had traveled silently for several minutes under the shady canopy of pines & oaks when Emma broke the silence, “This is kinda spooky, don’t you think, Mags?” “But not as spooky as the store,” Maggie answered with a half hearted smile. Suddenly an arrow buzzed through the air, piercing a tree inches from them! A female voice cried out, “Sorry about that!” Emma clutched Maggie’s arm for the second time that day as the voice emerged from behind some bushes a few feet ahead of them. It was an elderly lady, mid-sixties Maggie thought, wearing camo & a red sweatband on her curly gray head with a bow in hand & arrow tips sticking out of a long skinny satchel on her back. As she approached, Emma stammered under her breath, “Y-Yo-You don’t suppose she’s the Cupid Killer I read about on the Internet, do you?” Maggie shook her head, “Wasn’t that reported on another continent, Em,” Maggie whispered. “Hello, airplanes!” Emma declared as if they were a new fangled invention.

The lady came & stood beside them, “Oh dear, I thought you were deer, dearies!” Maggie, ever the braver of the two, spoke up, “Ah, I’ve never seen deer in these woods.” “That makes two of us. Perhaps we just don’t know where to look,” the woman said cheerily. “I’m Angela. What brings you two to the woods today?” Emma was still holding onto Maggie’s extremity like it was her last hope, so Maggie replied quickly, “Nothing. Just taking a shortcut home.” “Oh, I see. I guess you girls are probably getting excited about the 14th – St. Valentine’s Day & all.” Emma & Maggie exchanged a knowing glance & they could tell this Angela-archery-lady noticed. “Oh, well, it’s just another day on the calendar,” Angela responded to their unspoken lack of enthusiasm. Emma surprisingly released her grip, which had been digging into her friend’s arm, & broke her silence, “We don’t observe that month on our calendar.” Angela looked taken aback, as anyone would, archer or not, “Huh, you don’t say! Never heard that one before. Is it against your beliefs or something? Never heard of anyone being against February or love – that’s what makes the world go round, dearies, love that is. It’s the best gift the Maker gave to us after all.” “Maker?” Emma questioned. “Yes, you know, Maker - God,” Angela replied. “Oh,” Maggie said, “We haven’t talked much about him since fifth grade & the last summer we went to VBS.” Emma, warming to the chatter, added, “We’ve talked a lot about the F-month, though.” “F-month,” Angela replied slightly startled, “Oh yes, the one you don’t observe.” Emma shook her head up & down, “Yes, we’ve never experienced love on the F-month,” she whispered. “No love at all, huh? Doesn’t seem logical,” Angela sputtered, trying unsuccessfully to pry her arrow out of the heart of the tree. “What do you mean by “logical”?” Maggie questioned, tugging on the arrow while Angela took a break & readjusted her headband. “You know, makes sense? Every human being is loved all the time by the Maker, no matter if it’s the F-month or not,” Angela said motioning for Maggie to stop trying. She stood up & rubbed her hands together ready to give another whirl at her stuck arrow. “The Maker showed us the greatest love in giving up the most special gift He had,” Angela uttered, stumbling back in victory with the arrow in her hand, “Seems to me most humans are hunting for something & you girls have been hunting for love in all the wrong places.” “Uh, Angela, were you really hunting for deer just now?” Maggie asked curiously. “Well, no not really,” Angela admitted fingering her bow, “I was just practicing in case the love cherub needs extra help; this is the busy season. You never know when the Maker will put you on a different assignment. Check out Jesus’ love, dearies. You might just find an extra month on your calendar,” Angela winked at the girls. Emma & Maggie glanced at each other again & then, when they turned back to say something else to Angela, she was gone. The only trace of her presence was the slightly crumpled arrow. “Okay, so she wasn’t the Cupid Killer after all,” Emma said with a bewildered shrug, “But who was she?” “I don’t really know, Em. Let’s go,” Maggie said, “We’ve got something better than making lists to do.”

This Valentine’s Day do you find yourself, like Maggie & Emma, dreading the day because you are without an admirer, date, boyfriend, significant other… take your pick? Learn a little something from old archery Angela, God’s love is deeper, purer, stronger than any mortal man’s. He knows your feelings & your heart so completely. He understands your desires, dreams, disappointments, hurt, & pain, too. Bask in the love of Jesus this Valentine’s Day! If you don’t fully know His love because you don’t know Him as your Savior yet, check out the Good News page at the top of this blog, crack open your Bible {John’s a good book to start in} & start visiting a Bible preaching church. Let Jesus be your Savior & Prince. His love really is the best! Happy February 14th, dearie! =)

Bess Style: Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, gorgeous!  It's been a while since I've done one of these outfit posts {big understatement}, but when I went to my mom's today I took the camera along & she graciously took a few snapshots {Thanks, mom!}.  

Here's what I wore this February 14th:
gray turtleneck . . . Faded Glory {Walmart}
red plush rose top . . . Ann Taylor Loft {Thrifted}
gray skinny cargo pants . . . Mossimo {Target} 
red leather boots . . . Nicole {Thrifted} 

These are my favorite boots!  I found them at a local thrift store for about $6; they were in practically superb/like-new condition.  I got the red rose top at the same shop for around $2 or less {can't remember exactly} - it's like wearing a built in corsage; the roses really are 3-D & stand out like actual blossoms.

What did you wear this Valentine's Day?  Do you want to see more Bess Style on the blog?  Tomorrow Bess' Bag turns 3!

Style Love & Happy Val Day,

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More Than Just a Box of Chocolates {A Last Minute Valentine Gift Guide}

The other day a guy left a comment asking about what to give his wife for Valentine’s Day beyond the standard flowers & chocolate go-to. Well, I’d be glad to help a brother out with some ideas! These could actually be used for just about any special someone in your life {parent, child, friend, etc.} - just tweak em a bit.

It’s not about how much you spend; it’s about your thoughtfulness. Don’t think monetary resources; think time & brain power. 
 Here’s some ideas to help you get started…

1. Take a deck of playing cards & write something you love about your Valentine on each one. Put a label on the front of the card box reading, “52 Things I Love About You!”

2. This may seem cheesy, but who doesn’t like cheese if it’s in the form of a handwritten love note? Pick out a card or some pretty stationary & write that special someone letting them know just how special they are! If you’ve got spy aspirations, you could sneak the note somewhere where they’re sure to find it {make sure it’s someplace they’ll look}… a backpack, purse, car dashboard or driver’s seat, drawer, lunchbox, etc.

Source: via Laura on Pinterest

3. Purchase some really good takeout & go on a surprise picnic. It could even be cookies, a thermos of hot chocolate, & an evening of star gazing.

4. Secretly decorate your special one’s space. Be it front yard, car, room, front door… make a sign declaring your love, add a wreath, car/window paint, chalk, whatever you can find. You can also add bling to the grass with a heart stencil & flour!

5. This one is for all the brownie points! Make a trail of twine or your Valentine’s favorite candy, etc. leading your loved one to various gifts around the house {like a love note, invitation/ticket to a surprise picnic, your 52 love cards, a window where they can look out & see your decorations}. Lead the trail to where {if you’re the guy} you’re standing with flowers & sweets, cause honestly, men, you can’t leave those out!  

Love the expression on that little boy's face!  All these ideas could definitely be used for any & everyone!  Customize em for the one you love!

Hope that helps you out!  What are you giving this Feb. 14th?

Happy Valentine's Eve,

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dressing Up the Sweets DIY

Are you giving the gift of sweets this Valentine's Day?  Why not make it extra special!  Here's how...

Choose a piece of scrapbook paper or wrapping paper.  I found this flocked leopard print paper at a local craft store.  

Wrap the lid & box in the paper.

Create a "bow" out of skinny strips of paper folded over & glued at the edges.  Cut out a heart shape to go in the center of the bow {or you could use a button}.  Add a personal tag & viola!  

Sweet Love,

Valentine's Style Ideas

Val Day Guide, 2013

Valentines 2013 IV

Valentines 2013 I

Valentines 2013 III

Valentines 2013 II

Valentines 2013 V

Valentines 2013 VI

Wear an outfit you love this Valentine's Day!

Fashionable Love,

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bess' Bag's Printable Valentines Collection {For You!}

There's just something about paper Valentine cards that takes me back to the good ole days of elementary school.  Remember, how you'd fashion a mailbox of sorts out of a shoe box & eagerly wait for Valentines to be "delivered" - hoping there'd be a special one from the boy two desks over whom you had a crush on?  Yep, those were the days!  I still like to give paper Valentine's cards now that I've graduated beyond my elementary years {way beyond} =).  Just call me nostalgic, I guess.

In honor of Valentine's Day I've created the first ever Bess' Bag's Valentines Collection just for you!  Right click & save each set, open in a word document, re-size em {if you want}, print, cut them out, & give to those you love!  

I know that not everyone who reads Bess' Bag is single {like me}, so here's a few more "lovey-dovey" cards for that special someone...

Which card is your favorite?

Paper Valentine Love,

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Free Printable Val Day Art!

I'm really getting into creating printables for you guys!  I mostly use PicMonkey, which I highly recommend if you haven't tried it yet.  {Spoiler alert: I've got some printable Valentine's cards that I'll try to post on Monday for ya!}

Right click & save the images as pictures.  Then print them out, frame, & enjoy!  Instant Valentine's art with a true message just for you!   

Hope you have a blessed Sunday!


Friday, February 8, 2013

DIY Heart Stamp


Did you know you can make a stamp out of an eraser?  You can!  Here's how you do it.  Sorry I didn't take any "in process" pics - it was late & I wasn't sure if it would turn out or not {but it did!}.  It's pretty simple!  The tools above are what you need...

First you take an eraser {a large Pink Pearl one works well} & draw the outline of your image with a pen on it.  Then, using an X-acto knife {be careful!}, & cutting mat, cut around your pen drawn line.  This takes time, as you have to first go around your lines & then cut into the eraser around your image & start to cut away & pick away eraser pieces so your image will stand out.  When you've done that you can then stamp away!  

I love how homemade stamps seem to resemble wood block prints.  You can even turn them into art!  I can't wait to make more stamps!  
What kind of stamp would you like to make?

"The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
-1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

Stamping Love,

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Upcycling Vintage Flash Cards

I come from a long line of people who save stuff.  It has its advantages for a crafter like me.  Recently I found this brown paper bag full of various old flashcards...

Here's what I did with them...

created instant Valentine's decor {I couldn't find a "V" flashcard, so I had to add a glittery chipboard one, which allowed me to use my adorable arrow clothespin from Target's $ section}

fashioned an XOXO sign by punching holes {heart-shaped, of course} & adding ribbon

&, perhaps my favorite, made a playful wordy/woodsy print

Have you ever used flash cards in a crafty way?  
What else would you do with them?

Have a good Hump Day {Wednesday}!