Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blog-tember Challenge with "Brave Love"

Brave Love Blog

Tomorrow, the lovely Bailey Jean of Brave Love blog is kicking off her "Blog-tember Challenge."  She's encouraging fellow bloggers to try & post every day in the month of September & link up through her blog {she's even got prompts for each day}.  I've never tried this before, but have decided to jump on the bandwagon this time around!  I think it'll be a great way to discover new blogs & hopefully build my readership, too.  Any other bloggers think you're up for Bailey Jean's Challenge?  I hope you'll join in, too!

Blogging Love,

P.S.: Stop by tomorrow for my 1st post of Blog-tember!

P.P.S.: Happy Labor Day weekend! =)

Monday, August 25, 2014

DIY Starry Shadow Box

A couple days ago I shared Laura Story's song "Keeper of the Stars" along with 2 free lyric printables to choose from.  Today I'm going to share how I used one of the printables to create a starry shadow box.  Let's get started, shall we?

What You Need:
-1 of the free printables {& a printer, of course} =)
-a shadow box
-black contact paper or black paper {or you could use black paint & cardboard fitted to your shadow box size}
-a small strand of twinkle lights {preferably battery powered (makes it easier than having to be close to an electrical outlet)} {I found these battery powered star ones at the Dollar Tree}

What You Do:
Resize your printable in a word document to a suitable size for your shadow box {don't forget to allow space for your twinkle lights}.  Print & cut out your printable.  Cut your black paper to fit your shadow box & begin carefully cutting small slits for your twinkle lights around where your printable will be glued.  Once you've done that, you can gently poke through your lights {if you have decorative lights similar to mine pop the decorative bulb cover off, slip the light through your cut slit, & put the cover back on}.  Glue your printable to the center of your black paper {you can also carefully cut any additional light slits you'd like over the printable, as well, too}.  Place your creation into your shadow box, turn on the twinkle lights, & remember to give everything {big & small & in between} over to our mighty God.  He is in control!

Starry Love,

Friday, August 22, 2014

"Keeper of the Stars" by Laura Story {+ Free Printables}

I've got a folder of favorite encouraging websites on my laptop entitled "Hope & Trust."  It's full of bookmarked YouTube songs & blog posts that would be dog-eared & worn if they were physical pages in a book {that's one good thing about the Internet}.  Anyhow, the song below is plucked from one of those "pages" that I frequent {quite frequently} when life gets rough & I need some extra hope & trust to keep me afloat.  

Sometimes I need to recall & ponder that my God formed the very stars into existence - &, if He can fling twinkling lights into the heavens with such care & thoughtful planning that they create constellations & form galaxies, surely He can take care of me & make something beautiful of my sometimes dark inky-midnight-colored circumstances & life.  I've just got to give it all over to Him & watch & wait as He moves in His mysterious {at least to me} ways {like a shooting star}.

Starry Love & Hope & Trust,

P.S.: I decided to offer two printable versions for you to choose from!

P.P.S.: To snag your free printable{s}, simply click on the image{s} you wish & then right click & save to your computer {or copy & paste}.  Open in a word document, resize if necessary, print, & remember our amazing Creator God is in control {so give it all over to Him}.

CONDITIONS OF USE: My printables are free for personal use only.  Feel free to share them on Pinterest provided you credit & link back to {Bess' Bag}.  If you want to blog about these printables, or share a project you created using them, it would be fabulous, just be sure to credit & link back to {Bess' Bag} (feel free to use 1 or 2 of my photos, but please don't share the actual printable on your site - just add a link to it).  Thanks & enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Adventures in Weaving

I've been eyeing the often charmingly eccentric woolly wall art popping up everywhere recently with a "I rather like it!" continually on my lips.  Thus, I decided to try my hand at it using an old paint-chipped metal loom unearthed from a this-&-that drawer in my mother's house - designed to create pot holders, originally {the loom, not the drawer =)}.  I did not know what I was doing at the start, really, {or throughout the whole back breaking/neck aching process, truthfully} but I kept it up anyway... over & under & over & under... & ended up with something I rather like!

*It's easy to create your own weaving loom out of cardboard.  Try the tutorial here!

A Bit of Inspiration...

Weaving Inspiration

My "stitches" started out well, but got rather wonky in the middle working around the triangle design, but that just adds to the charm, don't ya think?

I didn't have a dowel, so I used what I had: a chopstick!

I want to try one with more fringe next time!  I'll keep you posted!  Have you ever tried your hand at weaving?  What do you think of the woven wall art craze?

Weaving Love,

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Guide for the College Bound Girl!

This series has been one of the most popular ever on Bess' Bag!  {Who knew you'd want to hear college advice from me?!}  So, I thought I'd make it easy for those of you heading to campus {whether for the 1st time or the 4th or whatever} this fall, & put all the links in 1 place.  This year is gonna be amazing!
College Bound Girl

College Bound Girl II

College Check List

Back to School Style Guide {2013}

Dorm Room #2

How's Your Light Switch?

"Salt" Flick

College Love,

P.S.: "...There is something you must always remember.  You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, & smarter than you think." 
-Winnie the Pooh

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Music Love {August}

Some old favorites this month... 
 Hope they bless you, too.

"The One Thing I Know" by Sara Groves

"No Place So Far" by Erin O'Donnell

"All I Need" by Bethany Dillon

Musical Love,

P.S.: I never get tired of hearing these!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

DIY Jelly Inspired Barrettes

I rocked jelly sandals back in the day & am glad to see them back in full force {though I remember them being sticky in the summer heat like real jelly, maybe they've improved upon them now, those jelly scientists {chemists?} {oompa loompas?} (or maybe it was just me)}.  

True story: I remember begging my mom to get me these platform clear jelly sandals cause my best friend Julie had em & I, of course, wanted to be a cool grown-up-extra-tall 5th grader, too.  I did get them & nearly sprained my ankle - I remember my class was walking in straight-line-school-style & I turned my ankle & ended up on the floor.  Ah, those were the days!  Really, they were.

Here's a DIY hair barrette inspired by that nostalgic jelly plastic!


Jelly Inspiration

I recently found these plastic sparkly bows on an end-cap in the stationary/party department of my local Target.  They had been marked down to $0.45 each!  Yes, I did pile a few into my cart, cause I knew I could do something with them - even if it was just to top off a gift {which is what they are actually intended for}, but I thought they had more potential then that... & once I got to thinking about my jelly clad feet of childhood I knew what I wanted to do.

All you do is hot glue your plastic gift bows to metal hair barrettes {found at most any craft store}.  Make sure you are careful with the hot glue, as you don't want to melt the plastic {either use your regular hot glue gun as soon as it warms up or use a low heat one}.  I decided to snip the ends off the greenish bow for a little different look.  If you can't find the gift bows at your Target, I suggest trying another party store for similar plastic package toppers.

Remembering the Jelly Days of Summers Past,

Friday, August 15, 2014

“$10 Great Dates” Book Review

$10 Great Dates by Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp

Okay, so first off, this book is created with married couples in mind. While this is certainly not the current season of life for this oh-so-single girl, I thought this book would be an insightful resource to tuck away for the possibility of later {A girl can hope & dream, can’t she?} or possibly gift to one of the couples in my life. So, with that in mind, let me tell you about the book…

I think it's fair to say in this expensive fine-dining-overpriced-movie-ticket age, that a complete date for $10 is pretty amazing in itself, which also attracted my sense of frugality {cough, cheapness} to this title {not that I intend to be paying for my dates (unless I am wearing a wedding ring & planning the outing myself), but the chance to be thrifty excites any true money saver type}. So, can you go on a date for $10? Yes, this book shows you how to do just that 52 different ways!

This book is not intended to be a sit down, read it cover to cover self help guide, but more of a guide book to peruse & pick & choose what’s most intriguing {i.e.: matches your interests as a couple} for you & your partner. There are 8 categories dividing up the different types of dating opportunities {each category has at least 5 actual (& unique) dates}. Some of the categories include: Adventure Great Dates, At-Home Great Dates, Marriage Pick-Me-Up Great Dates, & Romantic Great Dates. Each date gives the reader Before & On the Date pointers {such as things to plan for, etc.}, Talking Points to get the communication going, & a Great Date Takeaway {sort of a final thought to take with you & help strengthen your relationship with your spouse}. There is also a section on Cheap Child Care Options for those married couples with children.  Some of the dates I'd love to go on someday include: Yellow Brick Road Great Date, Time Travel Great Date, & Bucket List Great Date

In this hectic, often over scheduled, overpriced world, where dating is often thought of as a pre-marriage only luxury, I found this book to be refreshing in bringing to the "marrieds" - who are in as much need of dates as the rest of us - =) 52 ways to be intentional about being together {without breaking the bank, remortgaging the house, or dipping into the kid’s college fund}.

Research reveals that dating can make a positive difference in a relationship. But here’s the catch: predictable dinner-&-a-movie dates have less impact than dates that stretch you & take you out of your normal routine. New experiences help you bond together & often result in a big payoff for your marriage.
-$10 Great Dates

Bookish Love,

P.S.: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Made a delicious smoothie using frozen mangoes, pineapples, a couple strawberries, & some Dole pineapple, orange, & banana juice.  Super tasty!

Love how this Philosophy shimmery face powder reminds me I am covered in God's unfailing grace.

Making stuff!

I need reminding of this - so this hangs in my bedroom now.

Sorry I haven't posted much lately.  It's been a bit of a bummer summer in some ways, but God has a plan & is in control, loves me, & is for me.  I just got to keep repeating that to myself some days.  He's the same way about you - & I pray you know it {& believe it, girl (or at least keep reminding yourself like I do)}!

Love Amidst the Mess,