April 30, 2012

Much Love Monday: New Blog Design!

What am I loving today?

* My new blog design!! I'm so excited! Amber was precious to work with and uber patient with me. I had tons of ideas with no clue how to accomplish them; she waved her magic wand and poof, it was done. If you need design work, I highly recommend her!

* Spending time with my friend's little girls this weekend tattooing, nail-painting, crafting, playground playing, and giggling. It was good for this mama's soul; I miss little girl days.

* Drinking from a delicious, new bag of coffee. The beans smell like heaven.

* That I figured out on my own how to make my RSS button work for Chrome readers! I started off so frustrated that my button worked for every browser except Google Chrome. But finally found a way around that. I may be posting how-to later.

* The warm-enough-to-be-outside yet, cool-enough-not-to-melt weather we're having.

What are you loving today?

April 27, 2012

A Few Peeks


I've been slowly plugging away at this piece. Just can't seem to get it finished so I'm giving you a few more peeks. Last night I hung out with some friends and we each brought things we were working on. It was so fun and relaxing to be chatting in the middle of all that creativity.

Exciting news! My blog is getting a makeover and the new design will hopefully be up by Monday. I can't wait to show you!



April 25, 2012

From the Potholes of my Heart


This weekend shook me in the way a small rock hits the windshield and shatters the entire pane of glass. We saw a movie, Blue Like Jazz.  It's the story of a man's search for God. At the end I cried--wept, really. It wasn't a tragedy. It wasn't even a sad ending. My husband asked me later why I cried.

All I could think to say was that the main character said what I've been unable to say myself.

I grew up in Christian sub-culture, and, in the beginning, I tried to live up to the their status. But the more I tried, the more obvious it was that I couldn't. Failure to be perfect is a guarantee. My mask crumbled.


I stopped talking about God because I didn't know what I thought of Him. I didn't want to be falsely trying to explain what I couldn't explain. I believed He existed although I couldn't say why. I was afraid to talk about my beliefs because I'm not an intellect. But my thoughts on what I read in Scripture did not match up to what I was hearing. How could I come to a place of belief without going against what seemed right?

I'm not a good arguer--most people can "win" an argument with me; I'm not quick with words on my feet. Give me a pen however, and you might have some competition. But in an argument about God, I won't win.

I know there are people who argue for and against Him that could probably both convince me. But all I know is what I've felt, and I've felt Him.


If you ask me theological questions, I won't venture to answer them. I recently played Bible trivia and found I have a huge amount of knowledge about the Bible, but I doubt I've ingested a spoonful of it. I'm wowed by how beautiful, horrible and soul-cracking the stories in Scripture are. They're not fluffy happily-ever-after ones. They're more like Grimm's Fairy Tales. 

Why am I telling you all this? Because I've always looked at this blog as a place where I sit across from a friend over coffee, telling about things I'm working on, things I love, or have learned. I want you to know I've struggled with this. I'm still working out what believing in God looks like. I'll probably share my journey with you from time to time, and I hope that's okay.

I welcome hearing your thoughts in the comments below. However, this is NOT a time to "sell" your religion or your non-religion. I want it to be a safe discussion of truth for each of us individually, so please keep comments focused on your own journey and not what others should or shouldn't do.

April 24, 2012

5 Cheap Spring Date Ideas

H&M Home
1. Tea Party Picnic. Hang the lanterns, lay out quilts and plump the pillows; it's time for tea! If your sweetie is opposed to anything too girly, fix brisket sliders instead of dainty cucumber sandwiches.

Hennaking
2. Bring out the Henna, and sketch some temporary tattoos! Too nervous about making your own designs? Choose a kit here.

Time
3. Mud fight. April's showers breed mud and what better than donning your play clothes and going for it!

Kites, Kites and more Kites
4. Let's go fly a kite! There's nothing more playful than running around like a maniac trying to get a kite to stay in the air. You can order ones that look like birds, flowers, bats, peacocks and more from the shop above.

Source
5. Feed the ducks. Feeding ducks always makes me think of happy childhood days. I love how they come swarming when food hits the ground or water. Since you'll probably have more time on your hand than crumbs, why not take along a Coke or Pepsi book? It has the best either/or questions; one of my favorite no-pressure conversation starters.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you'll spend a little time outside enjoying the beautiful Spring weather.

April 22, 2012

Much Love Monday: Heart Wings & Puppets

What I'm loving today:

*  the  adorable heart wings above

*  This charming puppet theater tutorial


*  This video of a woman who built a small house for under $3,500.

*  And some really great changes for my blog that this sweet lady's been working on. Coming Soon!

What are you loving today?


April 20, 2012

Create!

Create

I didn't get my work-in-progress finished in time to post a picture, so I thought I'd post one from awhile ago.  

I used to keep myself from painting because I couldn't come to terms with not being perfect. In the last few years, I've released that expectation and allowed myself to play--it's been a freeing journey. This painting was born during my time of letting go and enjoying the process.

I love how from a blank canvas, something new can emerge. And although this painting has wings  made of paintbrushes, your wings may be made of music notes, words, clothes or clay. Whatever your passion, I hope this painting inspires you to create.

Print available in shop ($15)
If interested in original, contact me.




April 19, 2012

NEW Series: *Reduce Closet Clutter* Tip #4


For the final post in this mini-series, let's talk about our favorite subject: shoes. How many shoes should you have? My suggestion is two-weeks worth: fourteen to twenty pairs. Of course if you feel that's too few, choose an amount that's comfortable for you. Most of the shoes we LOVE, we wear often. They're comfortable, they're cute and versatile.  We wear them with jeans, skirts and shorts. Then there are the ones we keep "just in case". Some of them we've never worn. A good rule of thumb is if it's been a year since you pulled them on, then it's probably time to get rid of them.


I have a shoe rack in my closet and if the shoes don't fit on or under it, I don't keep them. My only exception for this is boots. I have a weakness for those and have room at the top of my closet especially for them. But when that section is full I don't allow myself anymore (I have to switch out a pair to add one).

Tip #4: Get rid of duplicates and be realistic about what you wear. How many shoes in the same color do you need? Evaluate what you like to wear versus what you like to buy. Do you purchase tons of heels but usually wear flats? Do you wear flip-flops most of the summer instead of wedge sandals? Be honest about what you actually wear and begin to cull what's not comfortable to you.

Let's Chat: What's your favorite type of shoe? Do you have a certain color you love?

{Click here to read Tip #1} {Tip #2} {Tip #3}

April 18, 2012

NEW Series: *Reduce Closet Clutter* Tip #3


The best part of an ice cream sundae is the topping and the best part of an outfit is the accessories. I have an obsession with belts and scarves. I'm a visual person so having them out where I can see them is key. Some people can remember what they have or store them in drawers where they're accessible; but I need the visual reminder. So I came up with a solution that worked in my closet.


I hammered in three nails of different sizes to handle the large buckled belts, middle-sized buckles and small buckles. Being able to see them at a glance helps me know which one will go with each outfit best. I hang my scarves in a hanger with holes. I love being able to pull this out and glance through them.


Since accessories are small, it's easy to keep too many even when they are worn and out-of-date.

Tip #3: Set a limit and organize your accessories so you can view them in one motion (in a drawer, on a nail, in a bucket). This takes much less time than having to move things aside to get to them. Set a limit to the amount you'll keep and when you purchase a new one (scarf, purse, necklace) get rid of one. This will keep your accessories fresh, but manageable.


Let's Chat: What is your must-have accessory? Do you keep a certain number or are you unsure of how many you own? How do you store them?

{Click here to see Tip #1} {Tip #2}

April 17, 2012

NEW Series: *Reduce Closet Clutter* Tip #2


Each morning during the Little Red Dress experiment, I'd pull on my dress, like a uniform, and then decide what I wanted to go with it. Tennis shoes and t-shirt? Jacket and boots? Frilly shirt and heels?  Knowing what the basic piece was, made choosing my entire outfit that much faster. Having less decisions about what to wear helped me focus in the morning, made me feel good about what I was wearing, and ironically helped me plan for my day the night ahead. I had to be sure the dress was clean and hanging up ready for wear because...there wasn't another option.


Tip #2: Find your uniform outfit. Do you enjoy wearing jeans? Does your job require dresses, skirts or dress pants? Figure out what your basic piece is and build on that.

My uniform is usually a pair of comfy khakis or jeans, a cute shirt, and possibly a cardigan. I can dress my uniform up with a silky shirt, jewelry and flats; or dress it down with a t-shirt and sandals.

Let's Talk: Have you ever considered the idea of adopting a uniform? If you were going to choose a uniform what would it be? Would your uniform be different during the week than on the weekend?

{Click here to read Tip #1}

April 16, 2012

NEW Series: *Reduce Closet Clutter* Tip #1

Living for over a month in the Little Red Dress helped me understand this: Less REALLY is more. When I only had the option of one dress, it cut my outfit decisions down to a bare minimum. In fact, I took everything out of my closet and only put clothing back in I knew would go with the little red dress. It made my small closet roomier and outfits easier to find.


After the experiment ended and I started putting clothes back in my closet; I was overwhelmed with the amount. Evaluating them before putting them on the rack, I discovered there were many items that didn't fit right, or that I didn't love. I just started tossing into the giveaway bag.  I happened to discover The No Brainer Wardrobe *ebook right about that time and it helped my decision-making process immensely!


Tip #1: Get rid of EVERYTHING you don't feel completely beautiful in.  

You might think this is extreme but honestly, are you going to wear it if you feel slouchy or ugly in it? No. And if you're struggling to let go, consider this: you'll pull on that piece of clothing and spend your day uncomfortable because you feel slouchy or ugly. We don't want that! So pleeeeease toss it. Remember that someone else could find it and love it; then you're helping them feel beautiful!

Let's Chat: Do you toss unused items naturally? Or is it difficult for you to get rid of things you've had for awhile?
*Note: Buying from this link will give me a small commission. I have only signed up to be an affiliate for four items in the lifetime of my blog and I don't take the decision lightly. I bought this ebook, thoroughly enjoyed the lessons and happily recommend it.

April 13, 2012

Purple and Me

Progressing on my painting from last week. The first photo is how messy my art table looks in process. The second is a (terribly lit) closer picture of the painting. And the last one I liked because of the cool effect making her hair look almost lit up at the ends. I'm absolutely passionate about purple. It's kind of a secret dream of mine to wake up and find I've gone purple. Sorry, she looks a bit creepy with empty eyes; it didn't seem as unsettling in person. Ha. Wishing you a wonderful weekend!


April 12, 2012

DIY Earring Display

I'm not sure if a one-step project can be labeled a DIY but . . .  I found this latch hook canvas among my craft things while cleaning out. I needed a better way to hang my earrings so I paired the latch hook canvas with a pretty hanger. I was going to punch a hole in the top to attach it, but happily discovered a little plastic tab that worked instead. This display makes it easy on a hurried morning to see your options in one glance.

April 11, 2012

My Secret Parenting Side


You may not know this because I don't share my parenting side very often, but being a Mom is huge to me. My kids are older (11 - 17) and they don't enjoy being the center of blog posts. Out of respect, I keep them absent here most of the time. But the truth is, I would love to brag. I would love to tell you about the uniqueness of each of them and how they impact my life. I would love to share tons of photos of them.

Secret: I'm one of THOSE Moms. The kind that when she gets started about her kids, you might as well get a monster cup of coffee because you're going to be here awhile. It's difficult not to prattle on when you have three of the coolest people in the planet to call your own. They're genuine, grateful, heartfelt and passionate--not to mention, hilarious. Ooops, better get that cup! Haha. No, I'm stopping now.

It's just that sometimes I feel like I'm giving only a tiny bit of the story here on the blog without sharing this integral part of my life. So I had to let you know, in case you didn't, that I love being a Mom to my three amazing kids.

April 10, 2012

A Bit of Story

Kristin Creative sent out this challenge:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating.

4. Tag 7 authors. (I won't be tagging anyone but if you're game, please consider yourself tagged and let me know, I'd love to read it!)

Here's mine:

     Laila made no effort to fight or argue. She knelt, facing the servant and watched the glass come ever nearer.
     Chappy shifted uneasily behind the tree. He hoped the man would stumble, spilling the contents. But the servant moved surefooted to the center of the group and stopped beside Laila.
     Barthram took hold of the glass and held it up to the moonlight. The muddy substance turned a light gray.

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NOTE: I just found out that Kelly Rae Roberts is offering half-off of her Taking Flight Business Course today until 11:30p.m.! She's an overnight Cinderella story that is generous with her knowledge. I've long been an affiliate with her because I believe in her beautiful art and her wonderful courses. IF you would be interested to find out more (and don't mind me getting a small commission): Click here to visit Kelly Rae Roberts LLC.

April 9, 2012

Out of the Little Red Dress


What I'm loving today:
  • Wearing something OTHER than the Little Red Dress. As much as I loved learning from the experiment, I am beyond thrilled to be wearing jeans.
  • Polyvore. Have you found this treasure? A site with photos of clothes to mix and match in your own combinations. It's inspiring and addicting.
  • Going through my closet with tips from The No-Brainer Wardrobe. It's not a fashion book, but rather one that helps you discover your style and find a simple way to dress daily without resorting to frumpiness. I'll be sharing some of my combinations in future posts. Loved this book so much, I became an affiliate: Click here to visit Hayley Morgan @ The Tiny Twig. 
  • A wall beside my favorite chair that I've devoted to art. It makes me happy to see so much color!
  • Getting better at keeping up with my routines, thanks to Flylady.
What are you loving today?

April 6, 2012

Confessions of a Non-Superwoman


Reading an archived post from Tiny Twig Goes Out on a Limb, sparked thoughts for me about not being able to do it all. I'm fully aware that I can't; but out here in Blogland, it's easy to pretend. It's fun to show pictures of my life in natural light and hide the shadows just beyond (or the dirty dishes).

The truth is, I'm not Superwoman. Dishes pile in my sink daily. The carpet has spots and there are holes in the upholstery of my chair. I didn't get my 12 for 12 Skills done last month or my Self-Portraits for Urban Muser. I don't always listen to my kids with full attention. We eat fast-food sometimes. I don't always call back when people leave messages. I put painting on the back-burner instead of making it a priority. For example, I wanted to show you a painting this week, not another work-in-progress. Oh the beautiful plans I had for her, but I'll get to them eventually. And it's okay that I didn't finish because I'm not Superwoman. I can mess up. I can let things go. I don't have to do it all and frankly, I can't.

*deep sigh*

What about you? What things do you let go?

April 5, 2012

Favorite Things: Easter Craft Edition

*in the voice of Maria from The Sound of Music* 
These are a few of my faaaavorite crafts...

Shelterness
An adorable diy on chalkboard mugs. 
Change their designs as often as you like!

Creation Corner
Aren't these Easter ties the cutest??

 I Still Love You
Got Tissue paper? Then you've got Easter grass.

gimme some oven
Seriously, what could be better than cake batter mixed with rice crispy treats? YUM!

What about you? Any favorites you'd like to share?