This month is all about CONNECTION. And today I’m THRILLED to connect you to my amazing and talented sister, Bethany! I was going to feature her as part of Super-Duper September, but she’s in the family way and hasn’t felt well enough to be all crafty AND take care of her two little ones AND carry on with the rest of her life.
But she gathered up some oomph this week and went on a sewing spree, and she’s got something really cool you can win (and some you can buy–if you hurry!). I’M SO EXCITED!!!
Let’s jump right in and meet Bethany!!
Bethany: Hello everyone. I am Bethany and one of Marla’s 2 younger sisters. I am 30 years old and have been married to Stewart for a little over 8 years. We have 2 children and one on the way (we find out the gender in less than 2 weeks!). Isabelle is 3 ½ years old and a delight. She has curly blonde hair, loves to play dress up, make up songs to sing around the house all day long, and act goofy. Stewart Jack Jr. (we call him Jack) is 1 ½ and he is squishy and cute and really showing his personality now. He makes funny faces, has some serious dance moves, and has become a terror overnight. He climbs onto everything and dumps/drinks/destroys everything he can get his hands on. I’m thankful he’s so cute because he pushes me to my limit almost every day!
Me: You have lots of creative talents, but we’re going to focus on your banners today. Tell me how Banners by Bethany got its start.
Several years ago my sisters and sister-in-law decided that instead of drawing names for Christmas, we would make homemade gifts for each other using our various talents (knitting, photography, jewelry-making, and sewing). I was really into aprons at the time, so I made them each a girly hostess apron! We loved our homemade gifts so much that we decided to do it again the next year. I was looking on Etsy trying to come up with ideas and saw these super cute fabric banners so I decided to make “happy birthday” banners for each of my sisters using their favorite colors. The banner blocks were the perfect size for using up fabric scraps from aprons I had been making (and selling on occasion) and also for using material from shirts I didn’t like anymore, but I loved the material.
I started making birthday banners for my friends for birthdays that following year and Marla told me I should start selling them! I started making some “celebrate” banners so that they could be more versatile, “give thanks” banners for Thanksgiving, “Hope has come” banners for Christmas and then recently started making personalized name banners for kids to hang up in their bedrooms. So far I only have a Facebook page for Banners by Bethany, but I am considering opening up an Etsy shop one day.
Me: You’ve given lots of $ to a special place over the past few years of banner sales. Tell us about that.
Bethany: Our church fully supports an orphanage (PE1 or “Seed of Hope”) in Cambodia through Asia’s Hope. There are 25 kids and 2 house parents and operate like a family instead of an institution. While I have never met any of them personally, my husband Stewart has been able to visit them twice on missions trips through our church and we have sent letters and pictures back and forth.
Over the last several years I have been challenged to look outside of my own little box to a world in need. Through books like “Crazy Love” and my sister Marla and cousin Jen, I have been challenged to use my blessings and resources to bless others and meet their needs (spiritual and physical). Following Christ and being holy isn’t just avoiding a list of don’ts, it is also being proactive and doing what Jesus did. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Our orphanage doesn’t just rescue and feed and clothe these kids, it gives them an education, health care, LOVE, a family, and most importantly—teaches them about Jesus Christ and their need for a Savior. You can give all your money to feed and help the poor, but if they aren’t also given the true gospel, then their future is still as dim as when they were starving and lost. The money I make from my banners is my fun money—money I use for items I want, but don’t need like clothes, highlighting my hair, and fun stuff at Target.
When God started convicting me to give more, I wanted to feel it. I didn’t want to just ask my husband if we could give more from his paycheck, I wanted it to be a real sacrifice on my part. So I committed to giving away half of my earnings to those in need who don’t have the privilege of living in the States and selling handmade items online and having a kinda-famous sister who can advertise for me.
When I’m not pregnant, I work on projects during naptime and after the kids go to bed. When I’m pregnant (which is now), I don’t do much. I take naps or have my devotions during naptime and am ready to collapse when my children are in bed for the night. If I’m working on banners (like this past week) that means my house is a mess and I’m yelling at my kids to stop bothering me (which to me defeats the purpose of what I’m doing. I don’t want to be “saving the world” by neglecting “the world” that is in my own house. My family is my first priority).
But I really wanted to participate in Super-Duper September-turned-Opportunistic-October because my husband has been unemployed for 2 months now and I want to use the money from my banner sales to continue sponsoring Srey Pich, our girl over at our orphanage in Cambodia.
Marla here. Just so you know, Bethany’s banners are even more gorgeous in real life. Everyone who owns one LOVES it. We have 3 in our house, and I “need” more. Bethany also sent us to Cambodia with banners for our orphanage (pictured above), their orphanage, the Boys’ Center, a pastor and his wife, and some friends of ours.
**Today Bethany is giving away a GIVE THANKS banner of your choice! (multi-colored or linen w/espresso letters)**
She also has 5 additional multi-colored GIVE THANKS banners and 2 additional linen w/espresso GIVE THANKS banners for sale! They’re $30 each + $3 shipping. 50% of the proceeds go to Seed of Hope orphanage. And it’s first come, first served. Message her at Banners by Bethany! (see more pics at B by B too!)
(Banners are 98″ long. Blocks are 5.5″ x 7″.)
These are 2012 Limited Edition Thanksgiving Banners. She won’t be making any more this year.
So snatch ‘em up while you can!! Thanks SO much for sharing your talents with us, Bethany!! I love you!!