31 December 2011

We have 18 people staying at our house this weekend {to make a total of 30 people sleeping here} and currently the house holds 37 people. To say we like big crowds is kind of an understatement! haha

But I just had to sneak away for two minutes to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
I hope 2012 is just as full of blessings for you as 2011 was for me:)


{p.s. 200 posts by 2012? check. it's been a fantastic journey so far!}

30 December 2011

10,0001 pageviews!!! Y'all beat me to 200 posts:)

yay! thanks!!

Room Tour: Girls Bathroom

One of the huge blessings of our current house is having 3 1/2 baths. The house we lived in previously had 1 1/2 baths for *everyone* to use {imagine Sunday morning showers!} until we added another one the year before we moved. So moving here and 6 of us girls having our own spacious bathroom to share was/is a huge deal! 
It's rather sad that our bathroom is better decorated and put together than my bedroom though. Sometimes I feel like I'd rather work on projects or edit in there... but no worries- I don't. 
Anyway, I thought now was as good a time as any to give a quick tour of the girls bathroom since the decor is always evolving and never really "complete".
At one time {like 5 years ago} I may have had "before" pictures of this bathroom... but I have no idea where they are now. Just picture yellow walls and Winnie the Pooh border. Cute but not for us. 
Deciding on decor that 6 girls would like posed a difficulty when we first set out. But Mama found the shower curtain at IKEA which made everything else simple as we used those colors to give us a kickstart.

Mama made the list on the left to remind us to keep things clean:)

yep. even showing you the toilet.

 After having my own camera and being a photographer for over 4 years, I *finally* got around to displaying some of my work at home! It makes me smile every time I see it:) Eventually I may frame them, but for now I like the simple brown paper backing.
 {L}: The Misc. shelf-- hair things, soaps,etc.
{R}: 6 girls means a whole lot of laundry! The poor basket on the right has held up really well!
 When I was younger I collected soaps and shampoos from hotels... now they are perfect for guests who forgot theirs! 

I hope it was fun {and not terribly awkward! haha} to see a peek of where we start and end everyday:)

look of the day: summer to winter

do you ever go to bed super antsy for tomorrow to arrive just so you can wear the outfit you just put together? no? only i do that? well that's okay. i'm sure you have your quirks too:) haha
but that's just what i did with this outfit. i love the colors.patterns.textures.details... and the overall simpleness of everything..
the dress is a summer weight dress i found a few weeks ago but i just couldn't wait until spring to wear it!
perfect example of summer to winter clothes! {it kinda helps that it's been 50 degrees here lately}

 dress: Goodwill/Target | cardigan: Goodwill/Target | belt: vintage | ring: gift | tights: Kohls | shoes: Target
thanks to Ellyn for taking the pictures

29 December 2011

Just this week I realized that I am only a handful of posts away from my 200th post and roughly 250 page views away from 10,000!
 I know those numbers are incredibly small when it comes to the blogging world... mainstream blogs receive that much traffic and more each *day*! but since I've only promoted this blog through my Facebook, kept things fairly small and have only used it for 17 months.... it's pretty exciting!

My goal is to get those last four posts done in 2 days-- before the beginning of the new year! {amidst shooting a basketball tourney, shooting my first wedding & helping to host a major New Years party!}

And if any part of my blog encourages, inspires or challenges you in any way, I'd love it if you would share it with a friend or two:)


wrong worship

so we laugh. but it's true. how often do we just sing and feel those emotions & songs without meaning the words?
and it's the same for hymns or any other musical worship-- not just praise songs. 
all of those songs have meaningful content...WE just don't always have meaningful hearts. is our heart really in sync with our lips?

i'm not intending to preach- this video just really got my attention. 

Sweater Upcycle

I can't even remember where I found this sweater dress. I did try to wear it
but found it wasn't flattering in the least. And probably not flattering on any one else either. 
Thus I came up with some better uses for it:)
My favorite kind of projects are those that involve upcycling anyway so it was a win/win.

 Still trying to figure out what to do with the top/bust portion that I have left over. Any ideas?!

28 December 2011

sometimes i'll need inspiration or encouragement...
 and i'll end up reading old blog posts. or reading through old journals.
funny what i'll end up learning all over again.

do you ever find yourself learning... from yourself?

happy new year!

23 December 2011

the older I get,
 the more I would give up
 every single present 
under the Christmas tree
 just to have a united & peaceful family. 
but today,
 I am attempting to grasp this verse:
 "Peace I leave with you, 
my peace I give unto you:
 not as the world gives, 
give I unto you. 
Let not your heart be troubled,
 neither let it be afraid." 
John 14:27

21 December 2011

7 Days of Maxi

Hey y'all! Funny how this post came about, and I'll get to that in a moment but I just want to say that this whole "7 Days of ____" might just become a series! You see, I've had an idea for a particular 7 days post floating around in my head for too long...and just haven't put it together. But when Hannah emailed this to me in a 7 day format I realized it's time I got on with my own post! And hopefully I can pull in some more guests for those posts!

Speaking of guests on the blog, this is the first time I've had an official guest on the blog which is super exciting! Let me introduce Hannah to y'all!

Hannah is the epitome of a southern belle. truly. from her hospitality to the way she calls everyone darlin'. Seriously one of the sweetest people I have ever met {am I making you blush Hannah?! love you!} and she's also one of the dear people from TN that I have met & grown close to *since* moving north! I love how I keep meeting fabulous people down there that turn into close friends even though it's been 6 years since I lived in TN!

A few months ago, I was talking to Eleanna {who is the person that introduced me to Hannah in the first place a few years ago!} and we were discussing ways to style a maxi dress or skirt. She mentioned how Hannah was fabulous at coming up with great ways and I should ask her for some ideas. So I sent Hannah a message asking if she'd be willing to throw together something small for my blog-- no pressure. And just the other day pictures and a post arrived in my inbox! So sweet of her!

 If you have any other ideas, feel free to share and definitely leave Hannah some love in the comments- I'll make sure she sees them! Without further ado {and having to read my ramblings!} lets read what Hannah has to share!

:: 7 Days of Maxi Dresses ::

I’m short. So maxi dresses are my best friend. They give me an umphhh of height, are comfy as can be, and for a while they were “in”. Never before have three pros been combined in fashion for this girl…
That being said, I own two maxis. These are the exact same dress. One is in grey, the other, navy. I whacked the sleeves off the grey one due to the fact that it had long short sleeves. Make sense? Long short sleeves are the length between ¾ and short sleeve. My grey one then, has been my layering dress. I usually throw a shirt or cardigan over it.

First up: A disclaimer. You will notice I belt. A lot. It’s true. With maxi dresses I feel like there needs to be definition with so much length going on. That, and I adore belts. Win/Win :)

Second up: These dresses came from Forever21 a while back. I never buy two like items in different colours before a trial run with one…until these beautes. I bought TWO, at the SAME TIME!
And I never looked back…

Day 1:
Simply a short sleeve button down over a dress. Belt it, throw on flats and a hat. It doesn’t get much easier…

Day 2:
My maxi needs an undershirt, this is a fun way to throw some colour in a sea of navy-ness.
I tried this with a thicker belt, but the belt was fighting for attention with the vest.
The vest won.
It always wins.
Thin belt it is!

Day 3:
In case there wasn’t enough going on around my neck; I added my hands:) Because I assumed you could see through them. You can’t? Well, what you may (or may not) know is, there is a frill collared shirt under the dress. Then slap on a scarf and belt.

Day 4:
See the grey shirt? It’s the same one that was choked in the pic before. I realize most maxis don’t have a neckline like this, but seriously, it is perfect for statement shirts.
It’s able to let the shirt take the limelight, even when it has limited exposure.

Day 5:
Typically I don’t have matching pops of colour. So the belt/scarf combo is unusual for me. But I have this thing for yellow….

Day 6:
If you are staying at home all day, feel sick, or simply want a comfy outfit. Stop here.
This is truly as comfy as it gets. Come on now, maxi and a hoodie.
Throw on wool socks, grab a mug and a book. You’re all set.

Day 7:
If you don’t mind exposed seams, fold your dress up and belt to secure*. Depending on your height/length of dress, you may not need an under skirt. I do, obviously. I chose a thick belt due to the fact that it needed to cover the hem that was folded up.
Yes, that is a brown belt with a black undershirt and black boots. Judge if you will;)
Layer with a lacy skirt peering out? Precious…
Pair with coloured tights and oxford heels or socks and boots.

*Safety pin for added reinforcement.

I whittled the list down to seven, because I realized I only use three accent pieces and I just switch them around:
2-Cardi (not shown in any picture-go figure)
All I do is relayer…and that gets old quick. So seven seemed like a fairly painless number.

{another option to this look: if your maxi dress is strapless, or you have an extra long maxi skirt, you'll be able to put it on as a skirt, inside out and then pull up with the right side showing and belt it. It doesn't have to be perfect either. Sometimes I only tuck up sections so the end result looks a bit like I have large draped pockets. <3em}

20 December 2011

photobooth, blessings & winter rains

well 'ello.

Christmas is only 4 days away!!! are you rushing to finish everything? are you a rockstar and are totally done & relaxing enjoying everything to the fullest? or are you're like me- only about halfway done but deciding to forget the stress, enjoy the season & let some of those gifts be a few days {or weeks if i have to mail them} late.  needless to say, i have some pretty awesome family & friends to be okay with that:)

we are definitely hoping for a white christmas instead of all this soggy rain!!
though the warmer temps have been nice:)

and can i take a minute to say how blessed i am? various things have been stressful lately... & because of that i've not always rested well. but today when i *finally* stepped back and *really* looked at the bigger picture- all i could see was how much God has blessed me & those around me. like wow. so much.
i have so very much to learn, and i fail in so many areas each day but Jesus continues to pour out blessings. reminds me of a hymn we sing.
"there shall be showers of blessing. this is the promise of love. there shall be seasons refreshing, sent from the Savior above. there shall be showers of blessings, if we but trust and obey. there shall be seasons refreshing, if we let God have His way."

 the chillen's adore photo booth on my Mac. 
thus every so often we'll have these little sessions of playing around with it :)
 of course it brings the best laughs... even weeks later! we take videos too- i have some super cute sisters!
so i thought i'd share the latest "sesh". maybe i'll do a year end photo booth post soon. :D


p.s. mama just gave me that sweater today and though 
i'm not a crazy big fan of wool {can we say *itchy*?!!!!}
i'm a super fan of the sweater. you see, it was my grandmother's.
and my grandfather had a matching one when they were in high school.
how cool is that?! so it's, uh, over 50 years old.
and doubly special because it's the only vintage item of clothing I 
have of hers. 
p.p.s. each year, sitting by the tree is my favorite place to be at night when 
the house is quiet and the lights from the tree are the only ones sparkling.
whether i'm reading, journaling, editing/blogging {like now} or simply 
sitting and thinking... it's the best. do you do the same thing?

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
   make straight paths for him.
5 Every valley shall be filled in,
   every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
   the rough ways smooth.
6 And all people will see God’s salvation.’”
Luke 3:4-6

Merry Christmas!

Crate & Barrel Inspired | Holiday Pillow Tutorial

I don't typically pay a whole lot of attention to the catalogues we get in the mail {with the exception of a certain few} but I was sitting at the table one day and picked up Crate & Barrel's christmas one. The first time I kinda flipped through it...just glancing at things. Then a few days later I picked it up again and as I was looking at it, three project ideas popped out at me!
Hot Chocolate Spoons was the first one, inspired by their Peppermint Spoons.

 The wine glass cluster for hanging was the second and inspired by a teeny tiny image in the corner of one of the pages!

And then lastly was this pillow-- inspired by their Merrie Pillow. 
At first I wasn't going to try this pillow project because typically at this time of year, I'm barely finishing gifts much less making decor! But the ideas kept nudging me and so I finally put them out on paper, asked Mama to pick up the supplies while she was out and then set to work.

So here's the tutorial:

You'll need:
4 sheets of colored felt {I used two shades of green b/c that's what I had but you could do 3 or 4 shades of green like they did... or maybe use some red for berries or ornaments}
1 sheet of white felt
3" x 11" rectangle of brown felt
needle & thread

{and if you think you'll go the "easy" route & use glue instead of stitches, please jump to the bottom of this post right now & learn from my mistakes before wasting your own time and supplies!}

1} Cut a 9 1/2" x 9 1/2" x 8" triangle from white felt. The 8" side will be the bottom of the triangle.

2} Trace out  1" circles side by side on your colored felt {I used the end of a thread spool which is a little larger than 1"}. No need for these to be perfect.

3} Now cut them out! {I probably shouldn't tell you that it'll be a couple hundred}

4} Secure the first circle to the triangle with one stitch through the center. Then fold up the side of that circle & add another circle right next to it. Continue stitching circles onto the triangle -- always securing in the center, placing them tightly together & folding the ends up before you place another circle next to it.
{See the images below}

I fit mine together but didn't make them all go the same direction. 
 {And it's okay if the back looks awful like mine does-- it won't show:)}

Do make your triangle full though!!

 5} When you're finished attaching the circles to the triangle, stitch the triangle to the pillow {I just secured at each corner}

For the trunk:
Accordion fold your piece of brown felt. Stitch through folds to hold the accordion together then secure to pillow at the base of the tree.

 For the Snowflakes:
Cut out several circles from your leftover white felt. {Mine were the same size as my green circles} One at a time, pinch the center of a circle and run a few stitches through the center to keep it gathered. Then secure to the pillow.

 P.S. THIS is my very failed first attempt. I thought if I could use glue it would be a lot simpler than having to stitch each one on... but after using hot glue, Elmers glue and fabric glue I decided it was NOT easier! haha Felt and glue aren't close friends.

14 December 2011

| kinfolk mag |

when the Kinfolk magazine first debuted earlier this year i was instantly captivated. all about easy & comfortable entertaining and great recipes, it stood out a mile to me in comparison to all food & entertaining magazines i had ever seen. marvelous!

but the first issue was available solely online-- still beautiful but not the same as a bound magazine with real pages to turn.

then they announced that issue 2 would be available in print! and not only that but they had made issue 1 available in print as well! talk about hard copy goodness you can curl up with... drinking in the imagery and ideas... planning your own special gatherings with friends. this is it!

so yeah. that's my love story with this magazine.

issue 2 came out two days ago and is definitely on my wish list;) a splurge for sure.
but hey, splurges every now & then are fine!

take a peek at these videos or find your own copy here.

brew me a cup
for winter's night
for the wind howls loud
and the furies fight
spice it with love
and stir with care
and i'll toast our bright eyes
my sweetheart fair.
-minna thomas antrim

volume 2 promo

Kinfolk Volume Two from Kinfolk on Vimeo.

volume 1 promo

vol. 1 from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.

holiday party {really craving the ability to play my records right now!}

holiday gathering from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.

13 December 2011

Tutorial: Brown Bag Printing

I've seen images printed on dictionary pages or newsprint but since I didn't have either available to me, I thought I would try printing on some brown paper bags. It worked wonderfully so I want to share how I did it!

1} Edit & save your image  {keep in mind that when printed, colors & contrast won't be as vibrant as you see them on your screen}

2} Open your image in Pages {or Word if you use Windows}.

3} Drag the arrows {at the corners & sides of the image} to resize the image.
       {I sized mine within a standard sheet of printing paper {8 1/2" x 11"} and then cut my brown paper to the same dimensions.

4} If you are using Pages, right click on the image. Hover over "Align Objects" & select "Center". This will align your image proportionally within the size of your paper.

5} Cut an 8 1\2" x 11" sheet from a brown paper bag.

6} Insert into your printer with the printed side {name of the store} facing up.

7} Print!!  {I had no trouble here but you might want to stay close and keep an eye on it in case the brown paper gets caught in anyway}

I also did a few images of people which turned out well but I had more trial and error with those because it is harder to get facial features to appear correctly against the brown paper. I can't say exactly what I did because it would be different for each image.  Just play with your exposure and contrast/blacks. You might have to edit it so that it looks a little too "edited" on your screen but when you print it on the brown paper it looks great. Play around with it and have fun:)

12 December 2011

Christmasy vibes...

Two years ago I completely gave up on the local Christmas radio station. Same arrangements every year sung by the same people. They may be classics but even classics sung by the same people give out when overplayed.

Last year we used Pandora for a fresh mix of Christmas songs and loved it!
{well yeah. they were many of the same songs but sung by fresh & different voices. you know what I mean}. Pandora is great about introducing you to artists you haven't heard before  and expanding your music taste a bit. We might use it again this year but so far I've been absolutely loving the Christmas playlist I've compiled on Spotify! {which I'd love to share but you do have to install Spotify... so if you haven't done so- take a moment and do it! It's fabulous & free!}

Here are some of my favorites. Maybe you've heard them all before or maybe they'll freshen up *your* Christmas playlist. Either way, they're worth a listen:)
{I wanted to link all these suggestions to the actual albums & songs but realized that would take way more time than I have so just pull out your copy & paste tricks then head over to Google, Pandora, Playlist or Spotify!}
Oh and if you have any favorites-- please do share! I'd love to check them out!


The Three Tenors "Christmas" {this album is *so* majestic and makes you feel like you're all dressed up & going on a carriage/sleigh ride around town in the snow with all of the beautiful light displays twinkling!}

Seabird "Over the Hills and Everywhere" {their versions of all the classic carols are my favorite! }

Straight No Chaser "Christmas Cheers" {their album name kinda says it all. this is about the happiest album on my playlist:)}

Michael Buble "Christmas" {yay for a full Christmas album!! and it is fabulous! so many favorites}

Casting Crowns "Peace on Earth" {this album brings it all right back to Jesus. how he came. what he did. what he continues to do.}

She & Him "A Very She & Him Christmas" {one of the latest additions to my playlist. I love their very simple and eclectic sound}

Christmas with Frank Sinatra & Bing Crosby {gorgeous classic voices singing all the classic songs. you really feel like you're walking the snow covered streets on Christmas Eve in 1940 peeking in all the shop windows!}

Sara McLachlan "Wintersong" {love her voice and soft renditions of songs. Wintersong is a favorite too}

Handel's Messiah {so good that I listen to it year 'round}

Misc. songs:

Christmas Pipes- Celtic Women
In the Morning- Jack Johnson
One King- David Phelps
Trains & Winter Rains- Enya
Frosty the Snowman- Zee Avi
Christmas Time- Phil Wickam
Believe- Josh Groban
My!My!Time Flies- Enya
One Wintery Night - David Phelps
White Christmas- Andrea Bocelli {next best thing to Bing Crosby}
Ding Dong Merrily on High- Celtic Women

p.s. the word Christmas is used over 14 times in this post. wow. talk about overkill! haha