Being brave together makes us stronger

I was sitting on the beach in Mexico next to my husband. We were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary, enjoying some much needed time to reconnect, just the two of us. The waves were lapping up, I had a cold drink in one hand and a good book in the other, when I got a Facebook message from my sister Angela. It confirmed what we all had hoped wouldn't be true.  

The biopsy that she had had the week prior was indeed breast cancer.

Angela had only just turned 43. It had been a rough year for Angie. The year before, she had lost her husband Randy very unexpectedly to a heart attack. Now here she was, a widow diagnosed with breast cancer. Her 40's weren't looking so good for her.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. And while it's rare in women under the age of 45 {an 11% diagnosis rate}, it's important to know your risk because young women can and do get breast cancer. 

Angie's mother had passed away at a very young age {she was only 26} from breast cancer. After her mother passed away, our dad got remarried to my mom and my mother adopted my dad's children.

Most young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer find that it's usually diagnosed at a later stage and often it's more aggressive and difficult to treat. There are great benefits to just knowing what your risk factors are and keeping those in the back of your mind so that you can be aware of any changes that might indicate some risk. 

Like my sister, you might be at higher risk for breast cancer under the age of 45 if you have close relative who was diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age. But there are other factors that might increase your risk as well.  You can find some of the risk factors for breast cancer in young women here.  

Angela fought her way through treatment.  I was impressed with her positive attitude throughout the whole process. She had been getting knocked down at every corner it seemed, but managed to get right back up and fight.  It's been almost two years exactly since her initial diagnosis and she's changed.  But it's been a good change. She's so much more resilient than she thought she could ever be. She's bolder and braver and she's enjoying all that life has to offer. You can read other young women’s stories here.

These women tell their stories of prevention and how they explored their personal and family history and risk and how they are working with their health care providers to live a full life.

The CDC has started the Bring Your Brave campaign specifically geared towards young women under the age of 45, so that we can be inspired to learn our risk for breast cancer and be brave enough to talk with our health care providers about any possible risk factors that we may have. 

It's a sad reality, but most of us have been personally affected by breast cancer. Let's share our stories to bring awareness and inspire others to know their risk. Use the hashtag #BraveBecause when you share, because being brave together makes us stronger. 

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Using scrapbook paper to create a journal with a pocket

I'm a lover of a good print. It could be a good print on fabric or a good print on paper, I don't play favorites.  Lately, though I have found some pretty amazing scrapbook paper prints that have been screaming for me to create with them!

If you are local, my most favorite craft store is Artco in Tacoma, WA.  It's locally owned and while it's more expensive and doesn't have 40% off coupons like those other craft stores, it does have some pretty awesome items in stock.

I picked up a plain spiral bound notebook for $1 and these two pieces of coordinating scrapbook paper.  It took me all of five minutes to make something I love that would cost five times as much at those specialty paper stores!  Wait until you see it!



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Trying out the 2016 Kia Sedona mini van my thoughts for review

In case you are new here,  for the past few months, I have been preemptively test driving new cars in an effort to be prepared to make a selection when my current 2004 Honda Odyssey mini van bites the dust.  I love Thelma {the name of our mini van} and have never been one of those people that has been staunchly against driving a "swagger wagon".  

However, my three kids are no longer lined up in car seats in the back, so I have been opening up the options for consideration.  I tried out the Mitsubishi Outlander {an SUV crossover} and while the sound system was amazing, the practicality of driving all five of us in this car at once wasn't realistic. My son and I road tripped to Walla Walla in the Mazda 6 and while it was the perfect car for a road trip for just the two of us, I just couldn't see my three kids sitting thigh to thigh in the back seat.

The benefit of trying out all kinds of different cars is that I am able to try out all kinds of different new features.  My 2004, though it's the high end model, can't really compete with the features of cars today. I've learned that I love adaptive cruise control and the blind spot detector, though I could totally do without the lane departure warnings.  


During my time with the Sedona, I took the kids to the local pumpkin patch and drove a team of six missionaries from all over the globe {the Russian's weren't as impressed with the Sedona's camera system as the American's were!} to Seattle to be a tourist for the day.


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How to cut heat transfer vinyl like a pro!

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One of my favorite things to do with my Silhouette machine is to cut heat transfer vinyl {HTV}.  HTV is the iron on material that can be cut to create any letter, shape or design to make a custom creation for any occasion.  I'm a sorority girl, and my husband likes to joke that it's not really an event unless there is a t-shirt to document the occasion!  Over the years I've made dozens and dozens of t-shirts for our family 5k Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning. I've created stockings and pillows and custom bags, not to mention gifts for family and friends.
I've learned a lot of things about heat transfer vinyl over the years and while I'm not an expert, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve!


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How to make embroidery floss tassels

I'm a huge fan of this tassel trend that is happening right now, so when I found some embroidery floss at a garage sale recently I knew I had to whip up some tassels of my own!  It's super easy and I can't wait to show you how!



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Homemade Caramel Apple Pie


Holy Craft's newest contributor, Kate, has been busy in the kitchen!  Last week she shared with us M&M candy corn cookies {did you try them?}  and this week, she's sharing with us her homemade caramel apple pie.  It's part of the Wayfair Battle of the pies contest. 

Since you all can't try the pies in this competition, the way votes are counted is by engagement: make a comment, share a post, pin the image, like the picture, you name it, we will take it!  You can find all of Holy Craft's social media outlets on the far right side bar of this post.  

But most of all, we just hope you will enjoy this yummy spin on this classic favorite.


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Benefits of buying used gifts for your kids

It's hard to believe, but Christmas isn't that far off.  Some years it sneaks up on me.  Other years, I'm totally prepared.  The one thing that is consistent is that we really like to give more than we get. We started out as a very young family and early on set a $50 Christmas gift limit for our kids.  We didn't want our kids getting consumed by wish lists and having Christmas be all about them.  We wanted them to be thinking of others.
Because we have set this limit on Christmas gifts, I've had to get creative.  Especially as they get older.  There are things that they have really desired, but that haven't been in the budget. I wanted to share some of the benefits that we have found because we have bought used gifts for our kids.
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M&M Candy Corn Cookies

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was hoping to make some changes here at Holy Craft. Good changes.  Nothing that will send you in a panic I hope. 

One of those changes is that I want to start offering some yummy recipes for all of you.  I have shared recipes with you over the years, but nothing consistently.  One of the reasons is because my kids are quick to eat everything in zero point two seconds! The other is because while I cook out of necessity, it's not really my favorite thing to do. 

Lucky for you, I know someone who loves to be in the kitchen!  I'm so excited to introduce to you Holy Craft's new recipe contributor Kate.  Kate is a super fun mom of two littles names Trevi and Harvey.  She's married to my husband's cousin Brett, and they are temporarily making a home in Pittsburgh while Brett is in school to be a nurse anesthetist.  

I am so excited for Kate to be sharing her talents here and I know you will be too! Especially if you whip up these yummy M&M candy corn cookies that she's sharing.  It's sure to be love at first sight! Take it away Kate!



Orange, white, black, chocolate, sweet treats, candy corn: what do these things all have in common? 
Halloween!

I am about to share with you the best chocolate chip cookie recipe you’ll have see! I promise you’ll never need a cookie recipe after you try this one. And the best part about it is that it can be modified into a ton of different cookies. My favorite is to add each seasonal M&M flavor.


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Seriously easy Halloween costumes that won't break the bank


I love Halloween.  It's my second favorite holiday behind Christmas. Free candy tops my list of favorite things with dressing up a close second.

It's easy to drop hundreds of dollars on the perfect costume but I'm here to show you how you can shop smart for costumes and not break the bank!


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Boo! Unfinished letters, finished with mod podge and scrapbook paper

I love a quick craft that doesn't cost me a whole lot of money.  Those are my favorite!  Mostly because it gives me a chance to have a little creative outlet without breaking the bank on supplies.

I'm sure you have seen this little image making it's way around the craft circles.  It is so true though!


That said, I try to keep my craft costs low by buying most of my supplies at garage sales and with coupons at the craft store. Because we all know that we could spend a pretty penny buying supplies!

I was lucky enough to find some unfinished letters that spelled Boo at a garage sale. I'm guessing the gal had the same idea as I did, but never got around to it. It took me 10 minutes, some scrapbook paper and some mod podge to create a fun little addition to my Halloween decor that's already around the house.


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How to shop smart for your kids Halloween costume

Halloween is my favorite holiday behind Christmas. I love free stuff and candy, so there isn't much better in life than combining those two loves.  

I've also always been a big fan of dressing up. I actually don't know too many kids who don't love pretending they are someone or something else and expressing that with some fun costume and accessories. 
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Are you a missionary right where you are? With a free printable

This week is a busy week for me. I have been asked to be a part of a panel of missionaries as part of our churches Global Impact Celebration {GIC}.  There will be missionaries from Russia, Indonesia and all over the globe.  And then little old me.
I must say, I hesitated when I was asked to be on this panel because, well, it's a panel of missionaries. Having grown up in the church, I'm quite familiar with what a missionary looks like. They wear prairie skirts, home school their children and most importantly they claim that title and live somewhere millions of miles away. I'm totally kidding...kind of.
However, I've spent some time reflecting and God has been working on my heart and you know what? As believers, we all need to claim the title of missionary.  We are serving God right where we are.  During my time of reflection, I have been reminded of this sign that I've seen leaving the parking lot of a local church. It's so very true.  

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DIY infinity scarf with snaps--a Lululemon vinyasa scarf knockoff tutorial


It's fall. My least favorite time of the year. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand why the rest of you love it. I used to love it too when I lived in the Midwest, but now as a pacific northwest transplant, fall marks the start of our rainy season and nine long months of doom and gloom. But I digress. 

Fall means cooler weather, dressing in layers and scarves. Lots of scarves! One of my favorite scarves of all time is the Lululemon Vinyasa scarf.  I received it last Christmas as a gift and love the tutorial on how to wear it 10 ways, though I really only wear it one or two of those ways most of the time.

I'm too cheap to buy another at the $48 price tag so I used my current scarf as a guide to sew a knockoff that I love.


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Driftwood succulent planter




It's no secret that I am crushing hard on this succulent trend. I bought a whole huge flat of succulents at a garage sale this summer and they have done so well that many of them are growing new blooms. I needed somewhere to plant these new shoots and happened to have a large piece of driftwood that I found on the beach this summer.

With a little help from my handy husband, I was able to make a driftwood planter for my succulents that I am in love with!  The best part is, it cost me next to nothing!


Want to know how?


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