Girls’ Gymnastics Shorts

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Intimidated by sewing knits? Don’t be-they’re actually really easy to work with. Whether you have a serger or not, they can easily be mastered. I used my serger on the interior seams, but since it doesn’t have that handy dandy cover stitch that’s normally used to hem knits, I used my sewing machine for the waist and legs.

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This is a stitch often used in lingerie, it’s a zig-zag, but has tons of tiny stitches within each zig and zag. It’s fancy. Plus, it has awesome stretch, which is what you need for performance knit sewing.IMG_2464

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The interior seams are serged and for the top of the waist and legs, I serged first and turned the fabric under only once and stitched using that fancy zig-zag. This makes the inside look finished without having to turn the edges under twice. Less work?Love it! The waist has 1/2 inch elastic in the band, but the legs don’t have any elastic. I thought about using the clear lingerie elastic for the legs, but I tried it without, and it worked out well. These are tight enough in the leg that they don’t require any extra elastic. Works for me!IMG_2459

Bonus Easy Flower

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As a closer for my mini-series on quick, easy flowers, I’m showing you guys the quickest and easiest of them all. (It’s okay to talk about flowers that way-they have no feelings. Girls on the other hand, well. . .)

This gray flower is one I already had made up. It’s attached to a little alligator clip, which is really the best type for these kinds or flowers, I think. Since this is a bonus post and none of the previous posts in this series had step by step instructions, I went ahead and made another one up to show you just how easy they are.
IMG_2503-0How to Make It

Step One: Find fabric- select a jersey knit, which won’t unravel. This is a great way to upcycle old t-shirts! In fact, I used the sleeve of a shirt my daughters had outgrown that I’d already used for doll clothes. When I pulled it out, I was amused to see I had also used it as a test piece for some of the hand sewing techniques I learned from my Alabama Chanin book.
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OK, On to the Good Stuff!

Cut a strip that tapers off. This one was about 16″ long and goes from about a half inch on one side to a little over an inch on the other.

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Since this came from a sleeve, I had two layers, which I cut in half to make two separate pieces. Pay no attention to my ironing board. Or the man behind the curtain. (You have seen the Wizard of Oz, haven’t you?)

Grab some thread and a needle. Knot the end.IMG_2492-0

Begin to sew a running stitch through the skinny side. To do this really easily, keep your needle still and pile your fabric back and forth onto the needle. It goes so quickly that way!IMG_2493-0Keep sewing in that manner until you reach the end. Knot off your thread, or do like I did and use the same piece of thread to sew your piece into the flower shape.IMG_2494Spin the fabric around so you have a few layers, keeping the skinny end on top.IMG_2496-1

IMG_2495-1Once you have the desired shape, begin sewing through all the layers. Just sew from the back straight through to the front and vice versa, making sure to connect all the layers all around. Knot it in the back once you’re finished.IMG_2498

Here’s the front.IMG_2504-0And the back.IMG_2501-0

Couldn’t be simpler, right? This would be a great place to start for kids (and adults) who want to learn to sew. I think my kids are big enough to let them try to tackle this project now. If we do that, I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Flower Hair Clip Fiesta Tres

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“Oooh La La La! That’s the way that we rock when we’re doin our thing.” Remember that song? If so, you’re getting old, but that’s ok. I am too.  Need an explanation? Flowers make me think Oh la la, which made me sing the song in my head, and presto change-o, I’ve shared it with you for your enjoyment. That is, if you were a Fugees fan. If not, this is one paragraph you’ll never appreciate, but don’t worry…it gets better.

On to the Flower!

Supplies You’ll Need to Make It: 

This one is made using jersey knit (t-shirt) fabric, hand sewing, and a cute little silver bead left over from the time I made wrap bangle bracelets.
Remember that? If not, check out the post and tutorial Here.photo (4) ..

How You Make It:

Cut a rectangular piece of knit fabric. (I made these flowers months ago, so I don’t remember the exact dimensions I used. 3″ X 12″ should do it.

Cut that rectangle into two scalloped strips by cutting lengthwise nearer to one side in a wave motion, creating one thin strip and one thick strip. (I hope that makes sense. If not, hit me up in the comments section. If you want, I’d be glad to re-do some of these flowers and get step-by-step pictures for a bona fide tutorial! Just let me know-I love your feedback.)

Gather both pieces separately by sewing a hand running stitch down the straight edges and pulling until they are long enough to wind around 3 or 4 times.

Once they are both gathered, put the thin piece on top of the larger one and spin both pieces around until you’ve got a flower shape. (If you want, you can sew as you spin. Stitch each new round in place before making a new layer.) The two sizes layered together give the flower more dimension and texture, which you can see in this picture.f (3)

This fabric is super easy to sew and thin enough that I made the flower shape first and then sewed through all layers. If you didn’t sew along as you were forming the flower, do so now, holding the flower in one hand and you sewing from back to front, front to back through all layers, making sure that all areas of the flower are in place and attached. Knot off in the back of the flower.

Run a line of stitching in the back to attach the very end of the fabric strip to the rest of the flower. You can see that in the picture below. Kind of. The fabric curled around the stitch line so the thread itself isn’t visible, but you can see where I sewed it together. Point is, you don’t want that piece in the back to be flopsy.b

Add your little bead, a button or other embellishment using needle and thread. Make sure it’s really securely attached, especially if you’re making it for a small child!f (3)

Attach it to a clip using felt and hot glue like my previous two flowers, or sew it directly to a garment. This flower was sewn on to a children’s dress I made a while back in This Tutorial. Check it out if you have time and let me know if you like it.klnmiulmgdf

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The Moral of the Story:

If you can’t get a song out of your head, write it somewhere on the internet- that’s what everyone does on Facebook now, right?

And if you need a really quick flower for a last minute DIY emergency, (which may seem unlikely, but the more you craft, the more it can happen) always go with jersey knit! It’s quick to sew and it never frays. A WIN-WIN!fdsa

As always, thank you for reading and stay tuned for tomorrow’s bonus post on the simplest of all the fast fabric flowers! (Hint-they can also be seen on the gray dress above.) Happy Thursday!

Flower Hair Clip Fiesta Dos

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Here it is. . .part two in the series of easy-peasy flowers to make. Today’s flower is this little pink polka-dotted number in the picture above.

How to Make It:

For this flower, you can use just about any fabric. All you need is a rectangular length of whatever kind you choose. I used some “Quilter’s Candy” fabric from Connecting Threads, a website with tons of really economical quilting fabric and an amazing selection of thread. Catch them during sale time and you can really stock up!

You can experiment with the length and width, but I believe I used something like 2 1/2″ X 12″.

Fold it in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew down the side.

Turn the tube right side out and stitch the ends closed so the raw edges aren’t visible.

Sew a machine gathering stitch or a running stitch by hand down the edge with the seam and gather the fabric by pulling one side of the thread.

Begin to roll up the flower, stitching the bottom together at each new round. I suppose you could use hot glue for this step instead of sewing. I’m not sure how well it would hold up. . . now I’m curious. If you try it, tell me how it goes in the comment section.f (4)

The last step is to attach the flower to the clip. For this step, I know hot glue works! Ask my children who wear these clips out, and my dog, whose mouth I have wrestled them from numerous times.vfvf

 

Flower Hair Clips

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There are about as many ways to make or sew fabric flowers as there are funny pictures of cats posted on Facebook. If you run a search for tutorials, you can quickly become overwhelmed with all the beautiful options you want to try. I prefer the faster kinds. (Some flower video tutorials are like 40 minutes long-what could they possibly be doing? I think after a few minutes the videos cut to scenes of them showing off their stamp collections, or something. I know I’m not gonna spend 40 minutes making a darn flower! If you have that kind of time and patience, more power to you! If you don’t, I have  3 quick and easy methods for constructing fabric flowers. I’ll post the directions for each one throughout this week. AND…if you guys are lucky, I’ll post a bonus easy flower not shown here on Friday. Try not to fall off the edge of your seats in anticipation, (and I’ll try not to choke on my sarcasm.)

 

TODAY’S FLOWER METHOD: Polyester Circles and a Lighter!

Just so you know, my eyes got all big and maniacal looking as I typed that title and pictured something akin to Bart Simpson with a lighter and an aerosol can.

What you do:

Find some synthetic fabric. (If you’re not sure if the fabric is synthetic, do the lighter test. You want edges that melt and crinkle up a bit, not fabric that actually catches on fire. Fire bad.)

Cut out 4 or more circles of your fabric. It’s easiest if you make a paper pattern so they all come out the same size. I used a compass to get just the right size. You could also draw around something round.f

Melt the edges using a lighter. Do not burn your house down.

Once the edges are melted and cooled off, fold each circle into fourths and sew or hot glue the corner to a small circle of felt and a hair clip. f (1)

That’s it. You’re done. You could also use a safety pin going through the circle (or oval, in this flower’s case) of felt for attaching to shirts or accessories. I like that better than sewing flowers on for certain garments if you don’t want the flowers to go through the wash.

Stay tuned this week for more flower making madness! It’s guaranteed to be a good time, and you can rest assured I will bring you the quickest, easiest methods of fabric flower production know to man, because nobody has time to make a 40 minute flower!

Baby Bib and Burp Cloth

Bib 10Babies. Just as cute as they wanna be! In this post, I’m going to show you how to make an adorable bib and burp cloth to match. While they’re definitely not as cute as babies, (nothing is!) they are quick, relatively easy, and can be a good fabric scrapbuster. I had a little of this Riley Blake animal fabric and blue dimple dot minky left over from the crib set I made a couple years ago. Click Here to see that post, Crib Set Extravaganza.

Bib 5I had started on this bib back then, but didn’t get it finished. So the above picture shows what I had cut out and ready to sew. (Yes, the gray piece had been in the embroidery hoop for 2 years. That’s why all my posts about procrastination, if you’ve ever wondered.) The hippo was just cut out of the Riley Blake fabric. I tried to leave a tiny edge of gray background around him so I had a scosche more room to sew around him. (I had no idea that’s how scosche was spelled until I had to look it up just now. Ya learn something new every day!)

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Just place your cut-out onto the bib fabric…Bib 7

And whip stitch around that little guy with embroidery thread.

Embroidery Needle Threader

Here’s a tip if using embroidery thread makes you want to jump out of a window. (Or is that just me?) Walmart and sewing/craft stores carry this gigantic needle threader, which is perfect for embroidery floss.  The thread comes as a 6 strand rope. I cut the length I needed and separated it into two 3 strand pieces. Using 6 strands would have been way too thick for this project.

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After your design is sewn onto the bib front, put it right sides together with the minky (or fabric of your choice) back. Pin, Pin, Pin, Pin, Pin! You’re working with a quarter inch seam allowance here, and the minky is stretchy and slippery, so you definitely don’t want anything moving out of place.

Bib 2This tip may be for me more than anybody else, but I hate sewing really tight curves like this, so I took a clear ruler and traced the stitch line with a pen that’s made for sewing. (The ink disappears when ironed.)

Sew around the edge at 1/4″, leaving an opening for turning out. Turn the fabric to the right side and top stitch, making sure to catch that opening so it’s securely closed.

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This is what you should have at this point.  Again, the neck back piece is a beast to sew. If it comes out horrible, take the topstitching out and try it again. Marking the stitch line with chalk or soluble ink may help you.

 

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The last step is to attach the velcro. To do that, cut a rectangle of velcro the length you would like it according to how it will fit on the bib. Then round off the edges by cutting diagonally across the corners and then cutting tiny diagonals across the corners that last cut just made. You really can’t be too careful here…you want baby to be comfortable and safe, so just run your finger around the velcro to make sure there are no sharp points. When attaching, maake sure the hard part will be on the bottom, facing out so it never rubs baby’s skin. To sew on the velcro, I’ve found it’s easiest to just do straight stitches, forming a box.

 

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This is the finished product. If any of you make one, I’d love to see it. Post pics in the comment section, please.

 

For tips on working with minky fabric and how to sew the burp cloth below, just follow my Taggie Blanket Tutorial and don’t use the ribbons.

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A Good Old-Fashioned Closet Cleaning

Dec. 2014 Group 2 426While cleaning someone’s clock seems to have a negative connotation, (I guess depending on whether you’re the one being hit or the one doing the hitting.) cleaning someone’s closet is close to the nicest thing you can do for a person. And since not everyone will let you into their closet just because they know your neurosis is strong enough that you may physically die if you don’t get your hands on it (Thanks, Amanda. I know you truly love me!) I suggest doing it for yourself. A little post-holiday pick-me-up. A gift for your nerdy side, if you will.

It’s one of those things that we dread and put off for months-or years- and are astounded by how little time the task takes once we actually do it. Nothing like  killing yourself with shame and anxiety over your procrastination on something that takes 5 minutes to do!

In the case of my bathroom closet, it  took 25 minutes start to finish. I timed it because I wanted to know just how long this task I had put off for, hmm, at least 2 years would actually take me. 2 years of dread vs. less than half an hour of work. Our mental procrastination scales are very warped, aren’t they?

Here’s my closet the way it was. Belts flung around, piles of stuff stacked on top of piles of other stuff. Clothes, empty toilet paper rolls for crafts we never do, a blue basket of who-knew-what. Every time I looked at my closet I thought “I need to clean this.” And then I never did. Sure I would tidy it up, but it wasn’t functional because nothing had a great place of its own.

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And everyone knows (or should know) the only way to remedy that is to empty the space you’re cleaning completely. Set a timer if you tend to get carried away with the details. Leave that for another day. This is not the time to start washing out your makeup brushes or sampling your array of lotions. This is a purge and sort. Keep the big goal in mind, which is to put your closet back together in a reasonable amount of time so that it’s organized and will serve all your space needs.
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Here’s all my crap. I had like 3 or 4 of those gigantic peroxide bottles! I could have kept Lady Gaga blonde for months! This is the point to pick out the trash and/or giveaway stuff. Since this was my bathroom closet, I had no “Goodwill pile.” If it was my coat closet, I would have needed one. After picking out stuff you no longer have use for, pick one category of stuff to work on and put up everything in that category…and only stuff in that category! I did my towels first, since they were easy and getting them out of the way made it look like I had a lot less stuff to deal with. (Organizing sometimes takes strategy just to overcome our own excuses!)

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Here’s my top shelf. First aid and medical on the right and makeup on the left. I DID NOT sort my makeup on this day! I know it’s a temptation of mine to get off onto cleaning tangents and before I know, I’ve spent hours organizing all my hair clips and bands, and I’m still surrounded by huge piles on the floor and I have no more energy to put it all back together. If that’s your cleaning story, you need to remember to set a timer and not get caught up in the little stuff!

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Hair stuff…Also not sorted, well at least not in a way that everything’s standing up straight and it looks magnificent, but that wasn’t the purpose of this. The styling products, combs, and brushes are on the left. The headbands, clips, and beads are on the right. And that’s GOOD ENOUGH!Dec. 2014 Group 2 428

***TANGENT ALERT*** I had to really, really work hard to get to a point where I could be okay with “good enough” instead of “perfect”- which doesn’t really exist anyway. A lot of people with messy, unorganized houses are actually perfectionists, surprisingly. They don’t clean because it takes them hours to do what most people do in minutes and it gets exhausting. If you fall into that category-and I did-work on the “GOOD ENOUGH” philosophy! It will turn your life around. If you take on one project, don’t let it become ten projects. If I did this closet 5 years ago, after an hour, I would have ended up with perfectly organized hair stuff and makeup. (I would have started on the tiny items first.) I probably would have gone shopping for the perfect containers and I probably would have left the new baskets by my front door and piles of stuff sitting around the closet floor for a week or two until I got back to it. Trust me. Focus on Finishing your organizing project. You can always go back and take one category and go nuts. One day I’ll get my makeup better organized-probably. But if I don’t, it doesn’t really matter, because I know where it’s all at. And I can get to everything else in my bathroom easily. My family can quickly find everything they need and the best part is, my husband didn’t come home to a gigantic mess and ask what happened only to be confused by my response that, “I’m cleaning.” If that scenario rings a bell for you, we share a private laugh. And I love you!

(Click Here to view my post on why I blog about organization so much.)

Third shelf. Nuff said.Dec. 2014 Group 2 429

I love glass containers. They just pretty everything up! I stuck band aids in here instead of with the first aid stuff on the top shelf because my daughters need to be able to reach them. You know, for when they have those owies that they swear are there and are killing them, but you have to squint to see them when they point them out. Moms and Dads get it.

The point is, you have to find what works for you!Dec. 2014 Group 2 430

And here’s the finished closet, in all its simplistic goodness! 25 minutes! Best part is, it’s actually finished!

Perfectionists and Procrastinators, there is a better way…and it’s called GOOD ENOUGH!Dec. 2014 Group 2 426

Here’s your challenge, should you choose to accept it, and I recommend that you do: Pick ONE area that drives you crazy. Set a timer for a reasonable amount of time, take everything out, and put it back in so it’s nice and neat and WORKS! Don’t get carried away with details!!!! You’ll be surprised how quick and easy it is if you’re goal is Functional instead of Perfect, which, as I’ve already said, DOESN’T EXIST ANYWAY!

 

Super Duper

A few months ago, we had an emergency. Not a real emergency, just the kind where your child tells you at the latest possible minute that they need something for school. . .that very day. I normally don’t really oblige, but this particular overlooked spirit day item was pretty much my fault. Let me explain. For spirit week at school, they send out a bulletin showing which days are what and I’m pretty used to what my girls dress up for and what they won’t. Hat day? Love it. Red day? As long as we’re not too behind on laundry, they’re into it. Jersey day? Up until they both got a Colts shirt, they wanted nothing to do with it. Now they’re into jersey day. But Superhero day has never been their thing. So honestly, I didn’t even mention it.

Then, the morning of superhero day my when my daughter said, “Mom, isn’t it superhero day? I wanted to be superman,” I melted. I had about 25 minutes before they had to get on the bus, but I was able to pull this quick little cape together because I had the red and yellow felt, a hot glue gun, a t-shirt I could cut up and the superhero logo idea I’d seen on Pinterest. (Are they thinking about paying me yet for plugging their website? It’s well overdue, if you ask me.)

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How to do it: Cut a t-shirt into a cape shape. You could get really fancy and sew the ties onto the cape, but I just cut it out as one piece. For the symbol, find the one you want online and either print it out and use it as a stencil or just draw it based on the one you saw. For this one a ruler was indispensable! I cut out the red felt in the log design and laid it over the yellow so it would fit over it exactly. Then hot glue the two layers together and either sew or glue the symbol onto the cape. I used hot glue since I had so little time, and it held up for the whole day. Sewing would probably be the way to go if you were making it for someone who would use it for dress up often.Dec. 2014 Group 2 019

You can see my mistakes on the red, since I outlined in sharpie, but this would be a very easy project if given enough time to do it. I’d suggest either using something washable to draw the shape initially, using a template to draw around, or if you prefer to freehand with a sharpie like I did, draw the logo backwards, so you don’t have any extra markings. Now that I’m thinking of better ways to go about it, if I had to do it again, I think I’d prefer to use a really soft drawing pencil that would work on felt and then use the sharpie to do the outline once I had the correct design. Dec. 2014 Group 2 020

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I think she did a great job of putting her outfit together while I made the cape. Very Super-y!Dec. 2014 Group 2 025

I may have made her cheese it up a little for this pic. Couldn’t help myself.Dec. 2014 Group 2 026She seems pretty mellow here. I believe I was significantly less calm after this little rush project. It’s really too bad she didn’t just keep it on, because once I got her and her sister on the bus, I came back inside only to find the cape on my stupid ironing board. I found it somewhat ironic that I wouldn’t have had to rush if I knew I’d have to run the thing to school anyway. You know what they say, rushing and anxiety make for an excellent memory. Oh, wait, NOBODY says that!

Refuel Your Inspiration

IMG_2070What Inspires You? Sure, a killer pair of heels and cutting edge fashion, but I’m talking about beyond that. As a designer, I was taught that finding inspiration was half the job. That’s the part you don’t get paid for, but without it, you have nothing to draw from. So we spend our time searching magazines, museums, nature, cityscapes, all to have our little imaginations filled to the brim with lines, silhouettes, colors, and moods we can paint our own portraits with. That is so vital for designers and any creatives! Still, when I ask what inspires you, I’m asking what has you down deep inside. What churns your soul and makes you willing and able to go on? Because sadly, those things are often the most neglected.

For me, when all is stripped away and I do a personal inventory of who I want to be, I’m reminded that the two things most important to my heart are God and my family. (This recent inventory is thanks to Karan and our newest Sunday School series “Simplify”) I neglect God a lot and I’m working on it. The thing is with Him, He has a way of always pulling me back. My heart is His, and He never forgets me. Although I forget about Him daily. That’s what’s so awesome about Him. It’s soooo obvious that He’s the One who saves me; because I have no ability to even remember Him consistently, yet I’m continually on His mind, despite everything I’ve done to deny Him at different points in my life.

My other priority, family, often takes a back burner to what’s going on in my life. I never realize I’m doing it because it always feels justified, doesn’t it? We have a deadline, or chores, or we’re running late, or we have to get the kids to the game on time. But are we actually spending real time together-where we connect and fill each other up with love and energy that will keep us strong for days ahead? Often, I go without that. My husband and I watch tv together instead of focusing on each other or my kids are playing while I’m doing chores. None of that ever seems too bad, until I’m asked to take the dreaded long hard look at myself and how I spend my time and then I’m forced to understand that I can’t remember the last time I really had a day of laughter with my childeren.

Today I had that. We played with our hair and played dress up and put on mini fashion shows and concluded it with a contest to see who could throw the most crackers up and catch them in our mouths. One at a time, of course. I lost. And hit myself in the face with a lot of crackers! But, Oh My Goodness, was it a blast! And as much as I love writing and it fulfills something in me that nothing else does, I can’t wait to finish this post and get back upstairs with them and keep playing. I set my dreams of designing aside for a steady job when I found out I was pregnant with them. It didn’t bother me. I didn’t resent it. It was wonderful to be able to provide for my children. And when I thought about how much I wanted to fulfill their dreams in life, I was so much more than willing to give up design forever to give them the stability I know is such an important springboard in life.

Then the deeper I thought on the subject, I wondered what I would want for them if they started families before getting established in the career they were passionate about. Would I want them to settle or fight through it and live their dream? I don’t think I have to say which one I would hope for. If you’re a parent, you know. And I thought to myself, how could I ever expect my daughters to live based only on what I say and not on what I do. Aren’t they far more likely to just follow in my footsteps?

That’s why I came back to my third love. That’s why I’m designing-and writing- again. I’m living my passion so that they’ll have the courage to live theirs. They are my inspiration! They are my joy and my fuel. When we’re not close emotionally, my “energy bucket” will never be full. They are exhausting (let’s just be honest!) but they help me recharge. Another one of life’s little paradoxes that shows beauty and love can never be fully understood, yet are meant to be fully lived out.

Here’s to spending time with the people who hold your heart!
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