i didn't quit



I’ve thought about this post for weeks now because I have really missed this place.  It feels so good right now to the hear the rhythm and soft clicks of my fingers on the keyboard.  This is an outlet…a really healthy one…and I didn’t intend on going radio silent for 6 weeks.

And hey, thanks to those of you sweet ones who have checked in just to make sure I’m ok.  Y’all are the best and I’m happy to say that yes!  I’m ok!

My absence wasn’t planned at all but on Sept 6th we found out that I’m pregnant.  I know.  Also?  Not planned.


Many of you loved me through our loss last year and shared your own losses with me as well.  So I know I don’t have to tell you that the beginning of this pregnancy was scary like none of the others have been.  Add to that, the fact that my most favorite OB dr in all the land was out of the country for 2 weeks, pushing my first appt with him into my 10th week.

But on Oct 17th we heard one of the sweetest sounds a parent will ever hear.  That fast little swishy sound of our baby’s heart beating away.  


I know it doesn’t always turn out this way.  And I know that Jesus is every bit as bright and fair in the darkest places as He is in the sunshine.  I’ve walked with Him in both and have experienced His tender love for me in the midst of whatever we have to walk through.  We praise Him either way.  It’s just that this time it’s a lot easier.


Grateful doesn’t even cut it.  :)


Screen shot 2014-11-03 at 6.58.45 PM



So, in a nutshell, that’s where I’ve been.  Mainly in the bed with the craziest exhaustion I’ve ever had (turns out, being older and have 3 already is a big player here).  I went to blog one morning and there were no words.  All I was thinking about was baby, baby, baby but we weren’t ready to announce it yet.  So I gave myself a pass that day and then entered into the thick fog of early pregnancy.

I’m actually really impressed that I’ve gotten out this much.  Josh barely understands me {what with my inability to recall the most basic of words like “shelf” or my kid’s names or the components of english sentence structure}.

I’ve kept working in the shop and managed to keep the health dept away from our house.  We took a fun little trip to the mountains to reunite with sweet friends that moved away. We launched our biggest ever fall line.  I’ve been walking with a precious friend through her daughter’s brain tumor {and she’s been walking with me through this}. Our community group started back up. Josh’s grandmother turned 100 and we celebrated a lot with her as well as several other birthdays.  But that’s really about it.  I have, on the other hand, watched a LOT of Netflix and taken dozens of naps.

Where we’re at now:  I’m almost 13 weeks, due May 13th and starting to get back glimpses of energy here and there.  We are hoping to sell this house in favor of some more space {y’all, I have completely lost the desire to live the Tiny House life and that’s where we’re headed if we stay here}.  We’re shopping for a van/suv again.  I’ve brought on some help with the shop {YAY}, our house has under gone a decent sized project.  Other than that, life is just buzzing along like normal.

I still don’t know where the blog fits in all that, but I do know that I don’t want to quit writing.  I’ve just taken the pressure off to crank out 2-3 posts a week no matter what.  I don’t want to write crap, y’all. I’d love to catch you up on how the shop is doing, what I’m feeling about where it will fit when the baby comes, our house, projects I’d like to do that can be done from my bed :), etc.  So when the mood hits, or I have something I think might bless y’all, I’ll write.  Is that cool?

In the mean time, I’m killing some pickles like it’s my job {sooo cliche but I can’t help it} and flying through Gilmore Girls.  :)



Good morning to you on this mid-september morning {choke}! Well, that whipped around quick, didn’t it?  Here we are, greeting a brand spanking new week.  Want to join me?


Happy Little Lovelies::Hello Monday...strategy, a flash sale, redecorranging and recipes


This week is more of a photo dump week for me.  Since I’ve been dealing with a broken screen for the last month or so, it requires GREAT effort to post on instagram right now so most of the pictures I take through the week never make it there.


I know.  I’m really sad about… but I’m shopping!  Hoping to have a new phone in hand soon!  And you know the crazy thing about all this?  My life has felt a tad less hectic and pressurey (the pressure I put on myself to keep up with all the social medias).  I’ve found myself certainly posting less but commenting on others pictures a little more, and therefore having more interaction.  And aren’t relationships the point?  I think this has actually been good.


Ok!  Let’s say some hello’s!


Hello quiet mornings and green smoothies on the patio


green smoothies with zoe


I’m loving the mornings I have with this little one after the boys go off to school and work.  We often take our smoothies outside on the patio and chat about whatever is on her little mind.  I can’t describe how priceless this is to me.  This sweet time with my girl is worth more than all the money in the world to me.


And for a few moments each morning I’m convinced that this is holy ground.


Hello date night with a pretty sweet view


date night sky line


I’m a Charlotte native, but I’m realizing how much I don’t know and haven’t experienced in this city.  Josh and I tried a new restaurant (The Peculiar Rabbit for you locals) because we heard they had some paleo/non-allergen friendly menu items and it was sooo fun.


It’s in a funky, artsy part of town and in an old church building that has 3 different floors.  We ate out on the roof with a pretty sweet view of the sky line.  Josh had a steak and I chomped on some fantastic chicken tacos.


{and bonus!  there was a fan by our table blowing on us the whole time and basically making us look like super models.  I’m not even mad about the sauce that kept blowing on my shirt every time I took a bite.  because we looked AMAZING.}


Hello more badge reels than I have ever made in my life




I think I could make them in my sleep at this point.  In fact, I have to make more after I write this post so that might come in handy.  Apparently, this is the time of year that nursing school starts or people are REALLY excited about sprucing up their work wear.  And I don’t blame them one bit.  It’s just  so!  many!  badge reels!


Hello evenings by the fire pit


patio fire


Josh and I have talked about getting a fire pit for years and finally, a month ago, Josh found this one on sale for $50 so we did it.  And we can’t believe we waited so long!  We use this thing almost daily.  Today for lunch, the boys all roasted their own hotdogs and there are many evenings that we get the kids to bed and then settle in out here to watch the stars and talk in peace without interruption.


Isn’t it funny how 50 bucks can seem like so much money and deter us for years, but that’s what a date at a nice restaurant costs.


Hello Daddy love


daddy and zoe


Does anyone else see pictures like this and immediately envision wedding dresses, that awful tear-jerker Butterfly Kisses song and have to hold the ugly cry in?  Just me?


Hello “art”


zoe's wall art


But then I see this and say a prayer that the Good Lord gets her to that day alive.


{That’s sharpie and yes, it’s still there.}


Goodbye to an era


neighborhood theather


After 10 years of our church meeting in a music venue in NoDa {the artsy part of our city}, we packed up last week after the service and moved out.  This old theater had a lot of issues.  Like mold, flooding, draftiness, an ac and heat system that might work, loss of all our parking to a building project, etc.   And we had outgrown it.  Talk of moving has been happening for over a year.  But leaving felt a little sad.


In so many ways, we were NoDa’s church.  Many of the residents walked in off the streets and joined us.  You truly never knew who you’d see sometimes {even Lenny Kravitz came once while he was in town filming The Hunger Games.  Sat across from us.  It was a wee distracting.}.  I’ve grown to love this little community so much and felt completely comfortable here.  Not to mention that it has some of the best food in the city. It will be strange not being here every week.


Hello provision


new buiding


And then there was this week.  The Lord has provided this amazing space in the most internationally diverse area of the city for us as well as a partnership with a local Christian non-profit who reach out to refugees, immigrants and displaced people in the community in a number of really beautiful ways.  {You can read more about Project 658 here.} They have totally renovated this old skating rink turned Asian fish market into what you see in the picture along with tons of class room space, a lobby full with like 4 living rooms worth of amazing seating and coffee tables, a clothing store, offices and a kitchen.  We are their main leasees.  Que the Jeffersons.


I fought back tears all morning during the service as I reflected on where we’ve come from {and I don’t just mean the building} and where the Lord has clearly brought us.


It’s good when the Lord builds the house.


A few hello’s that I didn’t take pictures of…


Hello budding reader!  – This past week of kindergarten for Manny was especially sweet because it was the first time he brought home something and READ it to me.  So proud of that boy.  What a big world is starting to open up for him.


Hello dreaming — dreaming about simplifying our life, our expenses, the structure of my business and our possessions so that we can live out some things that are really close to our hearts.  Mainly seeing the world and showing it to our kids. My passion for simple living and travel is starting to merge and I’m catching a vision for how that could work specifically…it’s so exciting!  Do you think a family of 5 could live in under 1000 sq ft? ;)


Hello Gilmore Girls!!!! — did y’all hear the amazing news?!  Netflix is set to offer the entire season for streaming starting Oct 1st!  I’m counting down like it’s Christmas.  Fall is the best time to watch it, in my opinion.  Stars Hollow {New England} is breathtaking in the fall.


So that’s it for me.  What you, sweet friends, saying hello to this week?





Hi, friends!  This is an especially fun post to write because I  l o v e  color.  It inspires so much wonder and joy inside of me that sometimes I’m caught off guard at how powerful it is.  And my hunch?  It affects you in a pretty powerful way too.


I just don’t think we’d feel the same way about the sky if it wasn’t blue; or the oceans if they were just brown all the time;  or if flowers were all different shades of gray and food was all green.  I feel like the Creator of all of this had a really freaking good time making this place as He washed it all in playful, brilliant and soothing hues.


And I’m pretty sure that gives us the freedom to play too….so let’s play!  :)


Happy Little Lovelies// Color inspiration:  finding beauty in the everyday

{suede earrings}

As a jewelry and accessories maker, my shop is chocked full of color.


 “So how do you come up with all your color combinations?” <– a question I get a lot.  And I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m no creative genius.  It’s already out there.  I just look for it.  You can find it too.  Every day life is brimming with color playing together.


My top 3 sources of color inspiration are:


1) Nature

2) Every day life

3) Color hunting


Let’s look at a couple examples and I’ll show you how they tend to show up in my shop.




nature collage

{all of these were taken by me in my normal life}


This is probably the easiest and certainly the most accessible.  I’m not always actively looking for ideas in my shop.  It’s more of a feeling I get when some combo strikes me.  Like that juicy grapefruit against my turquoise fiestaware plate.  Or the little yellow barn with the dark charcoal colored roof.  Or the fancy colors of that amazing flower I saw in Charleston layered with the lush green.  And nothing beats fall on the Blue Ridge Parkway here in NC.


If I see something that strikes me, I try to write it down and then use it as inspiration for my next collection.


Here’s what that might look like and I bet you can see the inspiration now…


Happy Little Lovelies: nature inspired collage


Every day life


Happy Little Lovelies: every day collage

{again, all pictures from normal life stuff}


{Please don’t get the impression that my life is tidy or clean or any more glamorous than yours.  I assure you, it’s not.  There’s lots of dirt, smelly diapers, whining and hot dogs for dinner here. These pictures were just snapped when something caught my eye.}


I don’t view the world in rose colored glasses, by any means, but I am pretty sensitive to how color changes it’s surroundings.  When you look for it, you can find beauty in even the most mundane.  Colorful dishes {even when they’re piled up dirty in the sink}, a cute ring with bright polka dots and sparkly nails on the ride to church, kitchen shelves decorated in a peaceful palette.  Even my little girl’s bright blue eyes and cute pink lips at lunch time….they get me every time.


Here’s how that might play out when I’m creating…


every day inspired collage



It’s really amazing when you think about it, how much beauty we’re surrounded by.  If the colors of our normal lives were painted on a canvas in a thoughtful way, it would no doubt be a masterpiece.


One last peek…


Color hunting


Happy Little Lovelies: color hunting

{chair//outfit//wood and crystal chandelier//seersucker and leather clutch}


So if 50% of the time I see inspiring color combos playing together in normal life, the other 50% is me going to find it.  It doesn’t sound very glamorous or artsy, but straight up work is part of the creative process…in fact, it’s a lot of it for me.
  In these particular finds I’m swooning over the rich color and pattern of that incredible chair; chambray {!} — especially with yellow and gold hues; pairing natural, rustic elements with sparkly ones and seersucker/stripes with leather.


Where do I find this stuff?


online sources–  Usually pinterest, etsy or screenshots from instagram, I go here to find most of it.  Sometimes I’m browsing.  Sometimes I’m typing in color combos and just seeing all the different ways that could look.  Often new combos come out of that.


 I also just started keeping a fall mood board so that anytime something strikes me, I don’t have to know how it will work out or what kind of jewelry it could become.  I just pin it and come back to it later.  That has been immensely helpful because it could be a picture of a tent in the forest but it evokes a feeling that I want to hang on to.  Listen to those feelings!


playing with beads — Most of the time, my design process looks like this:  have some idea of what you’re wanting to make, but not really; pull out ALL your beads and design board and sit on the bed; throw some beads on the board in an interesting color assortment; arrange beads together in tons of different combinations until you settle on something {go back to inspiration pics on pinterest if you lose the big picture}; string it, hold it up and see what you think; repeat.  


Sooo interesting, right? :)  This is where my notebook of ideas and pins from pinterest save me.  Otherwise, I drown in the sea of options.


Here’s where that leads me…


Happy Little Lovelies: color hunt

{one//two–coming soon!//three//four}


My hope is that this will inspire you to maybe see your surroundings with new eyes.  You don’t have to be a handmade business owner to get deep joy from the beauty in your life.  It’s all around you. And if you are a shop owner, I hope this little peek behind the scenes is helpful to you.  Be sure to check out my handmade business series to see more like this or subscribe to my newsletter in the side bar.


So glad you stopped by!  Now go find that beauty!


This post is a part of the Creativity Expressed Blog Series hosted by Jen at Lovely Messes.  Nine creative women are sharing the secrets behind their creative process, don’t miss a single bit of inspiration!




Good morning, you guys!  I’m really glad to be back with you on a Monday morning again.  It’s been 2 weeks since our last one and that was completely unintentional.  This little constant in the midst of hurried, full weeks is such a grounding practice for me.  I hope you find that it’s the same for you.


{This is a sweet weekly rhythm where we greet a fresh week, open to the possibilities and on the hunt for joy, even in the gritty…because sometimes that’s where it grows best of all.}


Let’s dive in!


Happy Little Lovelies::Hello Monday


 Hello strategizing until my brain decides to quit


If you were to really ask me what I’m thinking about these days, about 75% of the time it’s probably business related.  That’s what this thing can do to you.


I try to read good fiction, get outside or leave the house, get down and play with my kids, kiss my husband and cook in my kitchen every day as a way to counter act that {and because those are great things!} but it’s hard to turn it off.


And let’s be clear, it’s not because business is soooo out of control that I just have to.  Don’t get that impression.  Mainly it’s because I find it fascinating.  I love trying new things and seeing how they work.


The next few hello’s are part of that process…


Hello flash sale!


happy little lovelies flash sale


{Want to win a $20 shop credit?  Screenshot that graphic and post to instagram with tag #happylittlelovelies .  I’ll pick a winner Tuesday!}


How about we kick off this week with a big ol’ flash sale?


These are kind of the best because you just hop on instagram, see all kinds of goodies there and the first person to leave their paypal address is the buyer.  It’s quick and easy and it’s a way for you to get my best prices and access to exclusive pieces that others might not have access to.


And this time the theme is FALL.  It will be dreamy.


So eat your dinner, grab a big cup of something yummy and come shop.


Tonight.  7:30 pm est.  See you there.


*note the change in instagram name and make sure you’re following!*


Hello Creativity Expressed series




Starting today, my sweet friend Jen is hosting 9 women in the creative blog/shop world in a series on creativity. These posts will give you peeks behind the scenes into their process in a way that is encouraging and inspiring.  Go check out that list of folks.  I will be posting about how I gather inspiration for color on the series on Thursday, and I am so excited to see what everyone else has to say.


{working in small spaces?  I’ll definitely be tuning in for that!}


Hello redecorranging


Screen shot 2014-09-06 at 3.54.53 PM



Oh how I wish I had made that word up myself but I want to give credit where credit is due.  Evie at Life In Grace wrote a great post the other day about how she’s moving things around in her home and repurposing them in other rooms, even if they were never intended for that room.


Genius.  It take no money and little time.  I’m in.


The shopping your home concept is not a new one but I love how she lets you see the way she does it {hint: she finds the things in each room that make her smile}.  It has inspired me so much to edit out the things I don’t love and move the things I do in a way that makes our home feel fresh and new.


Hello new recipes


mango chili coconut shrimp



Ok, so I’m going to do my best to not complain about the food sensitivities we’ve discovered we’re dealing with in our family….but it’s really hard.  Basically, I need to find or adjust recipes so that there are no grains {all but rice}, dairy, chocolate, coffee, onions, peanuts, chili pepper or pork.  After 3 months we can add things back in slowly {and by “we” I mean Josh but there are plentiful reasons why I should join him in this}.


The good news is that Josh is feeling MUCH better. :)  And I’m back in the kitchen trying new things as well as eating healthier.


So here are a few things we’re trying out:


Mini Egg Pizzas – The word “pizza” should definitely have quotes around it.  I did one pan with the pepperoni and one pan with uncured turkey bacon and I have to say…they were good and filling!  I’ll do them again.


Paleo Chicken Curry Stir Fry –  I took out the onion it called for, but that was the only thing I had to change.   The flavors were really nice but I felt like it need just a touch of sweetness to go with all the savory so I splashed in some OJ which I think made it even better {but I really love savory and sweet together}.  Josh and I liked it but the kids didn’t.


One Pouch Feast – We haven’t done this exact recipe but we’ve made plenty of foil packs filled with meat and veggies that were seasoned and tossed on the grill.  Really fresh and yummy.  I’m looking forward to doing this one with chicken sausage and sweet potatoes subbed in.


Other recipes already in our rotation that have been serving us well are the sausage, sweet potato breakfast hash, paleo sloppy joes, Mexican meatza and coconut, mango shrimp bowls. I have to make a few adjustments here and there, but nothing big.  Thankful for that! Now we need to focus on lunches that travel well. Any suggestions?


Your turn, friends!  What are you saying hello to?  And see you at the flash sale tonight?   It’s going to be fun so I hope you’re there!  :)


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Happy Friday, friends!  You’ve made it through the week!  I think you deserve the biggest iced coffee ever.  With fancy creamer.

5 mini obsessions


I love these Friday posts because they are just so much fun!  I list 5 things…any things…and today I’m sharing my top 5 current mini obsessions.  These are things that are adding a lot of joy and interest to my life on a regular basis right now.  Yay for celebrating the fun things sometimes, right?

1.  Tiny houses

tiny house 2
tiny house



This might be the biggest one.  I am consumed.  Families living in buses.  Families living in RV’s.  Families in less than 750 sq ft.  All of it.  I’m even watching the series Tiny House Nation
on Amazon.  My interest is at an all time high with this.


The radical simplicity and freedom these people are going for is so appealing.  We just don’t need that much stuff!  And can you imagine paying little or no rent/mortgage each month?  Or being able to hitch up your house and travel the country?  It  also doesn’t hurt that by some {very loose} standards, we live in a tiny house because we’re just over 1000 sq ft ourselves.  That feels kinda validating to me {though I have yet to see a house come even close to that on the show.  These people are living in less than 200 sq ft in most cases.  So yeah, we don’t really count.}, but on the other hand, our house feels HUGE to me after watching this show.  So my perspective about our current space has really been helped by seeing how other people are living.

2. The library

library books



Ok, I know this is might seem a little sad but I have been a library fugitive for the past 10 years until this summer.  Meaning, I had checked out books {and VHS tapes}  that I thought were lost.  When I found them, I was so embarrassed that I still haven’t turned them in.  I know.
It’s a long story, but I MADE myself take the boys to the library this summer and I asked if they would check and see how much my fees were.  They had no idea who I was.  My name was completely erased out of their system and apparently, they don’t do VHS tapes anymore.  You  should have seen the librarian’s face when I asked about that.  She told me to just keep them.
So I’m rediscovering this amazing and FREE resource!  Did you know that you can actually get on the computer, pick out your books, AND THEY WILL HOLD THEM FOR YOU???  It’s so great.  I feel rich every time I leave there…completely in awe of my good fortune.


3. No bake energy bites

no bake energy bites


I wouldn’t exactly call these health food like the site suggests, but we make these every week.  I make a batch, store it in the fridge and when the boys get home from school I let them roll them into balls.  Yesterday, they ate the entire batch.  Like, every bit of it.
They are delicious, simple and really easy to change up if you want.  I want to do cranberries and maybe a little pumpkin next time…yum!

4. Simplifying my closet





I’ve been reading about the idea of a capsule wardrobe for months now and am so excited to get started!  I have way too many things in my closet and I just flat out don’t like.  Wading through ugly t-shirts or pants that don’t fit well is a source of stress each morning that I’m happy to be rid of.
Another great resource that’s coming to me soon is The No Brainer Wardrobe {a book} and this post:  Purging the Closet:  A 30 piece wardrobe and free printable.  You’re welcome. :)


5.  Hand lettering


handlettered invite


hand lettered print



So if I could possess any gift, you know, other than selflessness, the ability to drop 30 lbs no problem or just overall kindness, I would choose the ability to hand letter like a champ.


It’s definitely trendy right now but has been around for ages.  In high school, I bought a calligraphy kit and worked really hard at it.  Then I died to ever being good, but now Josh has picked it up and IS actually good at it.  I have been so impressed with him.  Along with that has come lots and lots of exposure to great hand letter artists.  Every where I go, I envision things hand lettered.  Such a beautiful talent to have.


What are you crushing on these days?  And isn’t this fun?  :)


*affiliate links may be used but my opinions are totally my own.



monthly goals update graphic


You guys!  Can you believe we’re already here?  I swear, I’m shocked every month.  I feel like we were just talking about August goals.


{If you’re new here, welcome!  Each month I link up with Tiny Twig’s Goals with Grace and share how last month’s goals went with honesty but lots of grace, as well as share my new goals for the next month.}

I’ve been really looking back at the 4 main goals I had for this year:

1) take better care of myself – mentally, physically and spiritually;

2) manage our money better – save an emergency fund, start to pay off big bills and debt;

3) grow my business – both in profits and network, expand and diversify income potential;

4) live more simply – in finances, home, health and time.

I often need the big pictures…especially after the craziness that was August.  This reminder has been encouraging in some ways and hard in others.  I have to remind myself that those goals were basically an overhaul of my whole life from where I was starting.  Ok, maybe not a complete overhaul but a LOT of big changes would have to happen to meet those goals.  That’s where I’m learning to give myself grace.
Progress, not perfection.
And done is better than perfect.  Right?

So let’s get on with it.


august goals update


It was SUCH a crazy month that I had to give myself some “Do Not’s” as well as “Do’s.”  And I have to say, I obeyed myself pretty well this time.  Mainly because I didn’t have much choice.
And y’all, there were some real kinks in the road.  It was a grueling month with a lovely anniversary trip slammed right in the middle.  I dropped lots of balls and made a few people frustrated, I didn’t think I would ever get these boys registered for school {much less ready}, I had no idea how we would pull off a trip and a bunch of birthdays in the midst of it all.  BUT…I’m sitting here writing in a peaceful, quiet house.  The boys are in school, Zoe is with my mother in law and we’re all adjusting to this new pace.

Time to breathe deep.  The Lord is faithful.
yoga:  I tried it and really liked it!  I only did short little stretching sessions but it was really nice to wake up and work out the tightness in my back and neck.  I want to explore this further.
10 week business plan: I hit a few goals here and feel like I’m finally picking up a little momentum.  Starting a new business is a lot of work, but I’m more excited about it than I’ve ever been.  Y’all are going to  l o v e  it.
10th anniversary trip: we did it!  It was so wonderful.  We spent 2 days in Charleston and 2 days in North Myrtle exploring, eating and being lazy.  So good. {I have pictures to show you!}
living room walls: hmm.  I thought about them?  Does that count?  That one got moved to this month.  Oh well.
wake up at 6 am: so technically, it was more like 6:15-6:30 ish most mornings, but it was a lot earlier than it’s been this summer.  I made the boys do it too to get ready for school and they have done really well with getting up in the mornings.  Now that school has started, it’s closer to 6.
be ok with what gets done: I really am because honestly?  I’m kinda shocked we got through the month.  It wasn’t perfect, but the most important things happened so I’m really grateful.


Happy Little Lovelies: August goals update and September goals


{Like the new graphic?  I needed a change.}


Hello, September!  I love you a lot.  You bring routine, structure, a little more quiet and hints of fall.
b’fast smoothies/paleo dinners: my poor hubby is dealing with food allergy issues right now and I suspect several more of us are as well.  so we are having to really clean up our eating and since his diet is currently pretty restrictive, we’re moving towards eating more paleo full time {though sadly, he can’t even have paleo candy — bacon.} .  I also have fallen off the wagon a bit with my breakfast smoothies so that’s back on the list.
walks: aaand I didn’t do much exercise at all in the last couple of months but walking is a favorite of mine so I’m going to shoot for a few walks around the neighborhood a week.  It’s not much but it’s not nothing either.
the freaking yard sale: how many months has this made it to the list now?  3?  geez.  must make it happen!  we will feel so much better!
Josh/budget: this was a July goal that didn’t happen and I didn’t even attempt it in Aug so I’m going to try hard to get this nailed down this month.  financial goals don’t happen around here unless there’s a plan that everyone is on board with.
hiring shop help: sooo excited about this!  I’m getting help with packaging and shipping and I cannot wait to introduce her to y’all!  I have a team! I have a team!
start date for new business: I think we’re ready to pick a date to open this thing and get rolling.  You didn’t know this but I dropped a big hint about it here.  I’d be so grateful if you clicked over there and left your $.02.   Your opinion could shape what it becomes!
living room walls: yeah, it didn’t happen last month but I’m pretty motivated to change things up now that life is a bit more settled over here.  I plan to paint a couple of things white {my fav right now} and rearrange where everything is, taking advantage of the room’s Most Important Wall {if you’ve read The Nester’s book, you know what I’m talking about}.  I might even add a few new things so that’s fun.
plan the week’s tasks: with this being the first time I’ve had 2 kids in school, I’m a little unsure of what to do with myself.  On our way home from a Labor Day beach trip, I took out a notebook and wrote out all the things that needed to get done this week in the shop, the blog, home, etc.  Then I plugged tasks into each day of the week so I could have a daily task list.  It was simple and helped immensely.  I need to do that more.

So there you have it!  What are your hopes for September?  Do you enjoy this time of year too?

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One of the things on the short list of I wanted to get done in August is to refresh our living room walls.  Well, this has me thinking.  And drooling.  And maybe doing a little planning.  And wondering what you would put on your walls that’s not there already.

5 ways walls graphic


For me, this isn’t just a small thing.  Your walls tell the story of you.  They spill out what you love and hold dear, your personality and what brings you joy.  That’s not small.  So when I approach the wall space in our rooms, I’m thinking about what I want to say.
It’s ok, if it doesn’t get said perfectly, but I want people to look around and get a pretty good sense of our story.  I want there to be conversation pieces that bring up things that matter to us and leads into great discussion.  I want there to be a deep sense of beauty that comes through in our story.
So here are a few things that really inspire me:



1. Rustic, handmade meaning

screw art


Story idea: use wood that had a former purpose we resonate with, pick a word that carries significance to us personally. Maybe it’s your word for the year, an inside joke, a word you love in a different language, the meaning of your last name, a nickname…anything that brings something special to mind. For us that might be “create” or “rest” or “restored”.

2. Repurposed and natural elements


reclaimed wood wall


Story idea: again, using materials that have a story, work on the project as a family and let the kids help with painting. Maybe even sneak little words or dates that remind us of each person. {Jen Hatmaker did a wall like this recently during her family’s renovation and it was awesome.}

3.  Colorful art


Plein air Painting of Newly Renovated Bandstand at White Point Gardens  by Katherine Schneider resize


Story idea: we actually have a small painting of this same gazebo from Battery Park in Charleston, one of our very favorite places. This past time Josh and I were there, I asked him to stand with me right in the middle of it and kiss me because I wanted to think of that every time I looked at our painting. I love that little painting in our kitchen even more now. Sometimes you just gotta go after what you want, girls. Amen? ;)

4.  The unexpected {the more diy-friendly, the better}


book art


Story idea: you could do so much here with a little elbow grease. In fact, the cheaper, the better. I’m a fan of quirk as well…always fun. Since Josh and I were music majors, a lot of our story started with music. We’ve talked for a long time about finding the LP covers of our favorite jazz albums and creating a gallery with them. Coltrane’s Ballads will always make me think of our dating period. We’ve also talked about taking our favorite piece {or pieces} that we played together and blowing them up to hang. And I’ll always have a soft sport for beautiful embroidery that says something irreverent. :)

5. Words that mean something to us


work hard stay humble


Story idea: this is pretty self explanatory but I will say this: I know that the standard “hello” or “family” or “love” on walls is all over the place these days and for that reason, I don’t want to go that route. I want to think outside the box. This will obviously be different for everyone, but I love the idea of walking into someone’s home and seeing “cray cray” on the wall. Or “welcome to the jungle”. Or a even a funny hash tag. Put something up that will make your guests either giggle or have to ask you about it.
Loads of fun ideas, right?!  So, here’s my question to you:  what words would you put on your walls if you could? 





Good morning, you guys!  Welcome to your brand new week!


This is a sweet weekly rhythm where we greet a fresh week, open to the possibilities and on the hunt for joy, even in the gritty…because sometimes that’s where it grows best of all.


It’s a big day and week for us and maybe for you too if you have kids going back to school.  Let’s say some hello’s!


Hello new season


manny 1


I’ve been sensing a nice, cool breeze of change on the horizon.  Isaiah starts 2nd grade today {yay!} and our 2nd born, Manny, starts K5 this week.  
 The birth certificate came in, we got his checkup, registered them both AND Manny was put with the teacher we really wanted for him…all within 2 days.  Whew! And thank you, Jesus! {He heard the many nervous prayers that have been whispered by this mama.}


Manny was so brave and I get all teary thinking about how stinkin proud of that boy I am.  He’s had to do some hard things and I’ve watched him do them with a surprising amount of courage.  And on his way to get his shots, Isaiah called him on the phone because he said he wanted to give him some advice that really helped him when he had to get his shots {“just hold on to Daddy real tight, close your eyes and think about something else…like you’re not even there.”}.


Y’all.  It was just the sweetest thing.


So this means that the two boys will be in school and it will just be me and Zoe here at home.  I will still have help with her 2 days a week so I really feel like this will be a new season and I am PUMPED.  I hope that doesn’t sound like I don’t love my kids to pieces but the idea of having defined times for work and defined time with them {instead of trying to navigate working and meeting their needs at the same time} is something I’m so grateful for.


Bring the fall!


Hello party time


birthday cake birthday cake 2

{lots of people aren’t pictured here, but you get the idea}


Last weekend we got together with both sides of our families and celebrated Josh’s, his mom’s and my birthdays {all fall in the same week}.


Lots of cousins, the BEST chocolate cake with chocolate frosting {our favorite}, loud chaotic singing, gifts and laughing.

{My family has a tradition of everyone singing at the top of their lungs, at different times and in all different keys.  this is great until your kid goes to a birthday party for a friend and carries on this tradition by himself while the other mom’s just stare at you.}


It was great. :)


Hello Ostrich Boy




Have you seen these before?


ostrich 1

ostrich 2


Josh got one as a joke from my sister.  There was a lot of laughing, but I’m not gonna lie…I totally have plans to use that thing in my cloffice.


Hello suede clips


suede clip 2
suede clip


Per my August goals, I am not launching anything new.  These are not in the shop {yet}, but I can’t not create so I thought it would be fun to show you anyway. :)


A few other colors will probably get added, but I looove these.  Zoe has been wearing them and gets compliments a lot.  Easy, great for grown and little girls, matches almost everything and the warm suede is perfect for fall.


Hello food allergies




A couple of weeks ago, Josh had a food panel done to see if he has any delayed allergies/sensitivities.


Hmm.  This is not what we expected.


We knew dairy was an issue but onions?  Chocolate?  Pork?  COFFEE????


He has a follow up appointment with his doctor soon to make a plan, but in the mean time, what in the world do we eat?!


I asked my instagram friends and they were really helpful so I want to ask you too.  Have you had results like this in your family and if so, how did you handle it?  Get a second test?  Take foods out starting with the highest sensitivity?  Eliminate all the “bad” food and the general will to live altogether?


A meal plan based on haddock, lamb, green beans, potatoes and eggs.  Yum.


Welp. I think that’s about all the brain power I have today. :)  What are you saying hello to?


{P.S.  I’m starting a newsletter soon with more Deep Thoughts with Dana :), ideas and encouragements for you plus maybe some inside looks at starting a new business from scratch. Just a couple times a month. If that interests you, sign up in the side bar!}


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Happy Wednesday, friends!  For us, this is the last Wednesday of the summer break.  The kids start school Monday.  Woo hoo!!!  Sooooo sad. {wink}



5 creative pitfalls




I’ve been wanting to write about this for awhile because I think when people tag a person as “creative,” there’s an underlying assumption that butterflies and rainbows and art just spill out of them automatically.  And then that might lead to another person feeling that they are most definitely not that…so they must not be all that creative.

I grew up believing that I wasn’t creative at all because I can’t draw, for example.
 But now I’m convinced that just as THE Creator isn’t limited in the least in how He shows His creativity, we, the created, have been hard-wired to be creative in a vast number of ways.  
It could be painting, embroidery or furniture rehabbing, sure.  But it could also be creative problem solving with numbers, negotiating, leading a small group, counseling, engineering, baking, operating machinery, building, organization and teaching…and so many other ways that might not be sold on Etsy.  YOU, friend, are a work of exquisite art all by yourself.

So don’t assume this might not apply to you, ok?

Ok, so now that we’ve established that, here are 5 major hurdles that I have to overcome on a regular basis to do my best work.  And I’ll throw in a few tips for how I move past them.

1. Distractions
A great idea hits but by the time I can do anything about it, I’ve lost it.  Or I sit down to do work and let ideas flow and my phone goes off or a kid comes in or a unicorn runs by. {dang unicorns}

gold dusted pencils

{gold dusted pencils}

Tip: write it down.  I now have 3 notebooks around all the time at home and one in my purse.  One notebook for this blog, one for the shop and one for another creative project I’m working on.  I know everyone tells you to do this and I don’t like being bossed so I didn’t for so long, but y’all.  This has saved many, many ideas from being lost forever in the black hole called my memory.
I also have several private boards on pinterest that I pin to regularly so I won’t forget an idea spark.  I just make sure that I write a detailed description so I can remember what I was thinking.
As for the kids and phones {and unicorns}, it’s a little trickier which makes the notebooks even more important…so you can go back to the ideas.  I’m learning what creative work requires me to think uninterrupted {writing here, designing new pieces, writing descriptions for products} and what work doesn’t require so much brain power {filling orders, editing pictures, packaging/shipping, painting, working on something for our house}.
Identifying what those are means that I wait to do high-level thinking stuff until someone else can watch my kids or while they are sleeping {early mornings work best for me}.  I try to make sure that I turn my phone on vibrate or leave it in another room.  I also took a lot of notifications off my phone {facebook, twitter, email, etc} and that has helped immensely.
{If it’s a unicorn, you stop what you’re doing immediately and go see what she’s there to talk to you about.  Duh.}

2. Too many options
I’m in the middle of this right now {and pretty much all the time}.  If I’m designing new pieces, there’s a color wheel of options, a gazillion sizes and shapes of beads, lengths of chain, style and textures.  I twitch just thinking about it.  What will people like?  What will they buy? Fall or Summer colors?  Dressy or casual?  Classic or statement?

layered necklaces 2

{layered necklaces}

Tip: limit your options. It might seem counter-intuitive when you want to be creative, but if you’re prone to get overwhelmed and lose direction or focus, this little trick is your friend.  For me, it might mean deciding to only pull from the materials I have on hand and not order new materials.  Or deciding on a specific color palette of 3 colors that compliment each other.  Naming the collection or picking a category/theme can also serve as a reminder to stay within those limits.  You can see that I did that with my Leather + Suede Collection, All the Happy Colors Collection and Lovely Whimsy Collection.  Each one had a focus or theme.  Remember, because you’re writing down all your ideas when they strike, you can always go back and develop them later.  You’re a freaking genius.

3. Trying to be TOO orginal/Perfection
This one is huge for me.  I want to be the most unique, original thing the handmade world has ever seen.  For this reason, a fantastic idea won’t be good enough for me because that’s what everyone is doing right now, or that’s so over done or I don’t just want to be trendy or I don’t want it to look like I’m copying.  It goes on and on and on in my brain.

dont let perfect


Tip: shut up.  Listen, you.  YOU are original.  There is not one other being on this planet of billions of people that’s like you.  There is also nothing new under the sun.  Everything has been done before, that’s true.  But it has not been done by YOU.  {<— things I have to also tell myself}
So let’s get over ourselves, shall we?  Let’s walk in the freedom of knowing that we don’t have to start all the new ideas or make all the new things.  We get to take someone else’s idea and then make it uniquely ours.  {Would it have been cool to have been the person who invented the earring?  Yes.  Do I want the experience that probably came with becoming the first pierced person?  Sure don’t.}
And let’s not forget that perfection is not even really a thing here.  There’s not a perfect human being on the planet so chasing after that is a waste of time.  And boring.
Let’s chase after making the highest quality we can, knowing that there might be flaws and that’s ok.  Let’s chase after authenticity and creating things that we genuinely love and enjoy.  Let’s chase after using our gifts and efforts to bless and bring beauty.  Let’s chase after the process of creating.  The experience.  We get to grow and improve and change.  That right there is what makes what you do original.  No one else is going through your exact process.  You’re the only one who can create out of that unique experience.


4.  The blah factor
Blank stare.  No idea. Blink.  Nothing.  It just happens, friends.  Creativity comes in waves and seasons.  I hear a lot of writers talk about the slump after they release a book.  When something hard is being demanded or pulled out of you {enjoyable or not}, I think there’s a recovery period.  I’m learning to be ok with that just being part of this deal.  Sometimes life is intense and all your energy is poured into keeping your head above water.  It can feel almost impossible for me to be creative in those seasons.


{party banner}

Tip: ask some important questions then renew: does being creative feel pressure-y to me?  Why?  What makes me feel renewed?  What restores me?  What is feeling super hard/hurtful/demotivating to me right now?
And then maybe take a walk.

agatha christie

Although I create for business, nothing kills my creative buzz more than thinking about expectations, finances and paying bills.  I need to find a way to separate myself from that.  Making a piece of jewelry just for myself that I don’t ever plan to sell or doing something different like stitching or painting or arranging flowers for our home really helps pull me out of that funky place.
Identifying what restores me is a great way to get back to a place where I’m inspired.
Sometimes the well just runs dry and it needs a drenching rain.  What does that look like for you?  Maybe it’s a leisurely walk at a park, stopping to notice the details of a flower or breathing in the fresh air and soaking up the breeze.  Maybe it’s leaving your surroundings and letting your eyes take in new scenery.  Maybe it’s getting lost in a book.  Maybe it’s binging on Netflix and then taking a nap. Maybe it’s baking {a personal fav}.  I wrote about 5 ways I feel re-created recently to give you some more ideas.

The point is that you realize that you’re not a machine.  These seasons are just part of the big picture so go take care of you.

5.  Delay {fear}
So this is a big one, yes?  I don’t think I’m really good at this.  No one is going to like it.  What if this crashes and burns?  What if I’ve invested all this and it sucks?  What if I love it and no one else does?  What if I’m misunderstood?
I ask these questions all the time.  It’s a hard place to be.  Ask me why I don’t have bracelets in my shop yet or why I’m scared to talk about this big secret project I’m working on.  Ask me why I’m terrified to admit my dreams when it pertains to writing?  {Actually, just kidding.  I don’t want to talk about any of that.}  :)  We have things we want to try.  Steps we want to take.  Skills we want to hone.  But instead, we do nothing more than dream about it.
Getting to the root of our fears is something I care deeply about, but would require a totally different kind of post.  This post is geared toward getting you back to that creative place where you aren’t handicapped with fear so that’s what I’m going to address.

not afraid

{temporary tattoo}

Tip: start with an MVP {minimum viable product}.  Key word = start.  I get it, you’re nervous.  Start anyway.
The idea of a minimum viable product is used a lot when companies are trying to get off the ground with some idea.  Instead of waiting until they have the perfect, fully developed product they’re dreaming about, they release a starter model.  Something that resembles where they want to end up and could be bought and sold as-is, but isn’t the end product.  It’s a start that they will continue to tweak and improve on as they go.   I love that Groupon started as a wordpress blog about group buying and the first iphone initially had no “find” feature or cut and paste functions.  You just start with something and get it out in the world.  You can tweak it later.
The vast majority of the world’s most meaningful art was wrought and chiseled and crafted over time…not in one strike of creative genius.  Give yourself the privilege and gift of that process.  Not getting it right the first time is almost expected and more than ok. I can’t think of one time I’ve regretted creating before I felt like I was ready. The release of finally getting something out there and having a starting point FAR outweighs all the fretting I did over it. Don’t let your idea of the future be what robs you of seeing your idea grow and fly.


Now get out there, Tiger!  Go do what matters to you!
{I’m starting an newsletter soon with more Deep Thoughts with Dana :), ideas and encouragements for you plus maybe some inside looks at starting a new business from scratch. Just a couple times a month. If that interests you, sign up in the side bar!}
Linking up with We are THAT Family.

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We’re back and I’m so happy to be greeting the week with you!


This is a sweet weekly rhythm where we greet a fresh week, open to the possibilities and on the hunt for joy, even in the gritty…because sometimes that’s where it grows best of all.


Let’s say some hello’s!


Hello progress + healing for Abby




First of all, thank you so much for praying for Abby.  She had surgery on August 5th, was finally cleared to go home on the 11th and has been recovering.  This has been and probably will be a long road for them with plenty of complications, but at the end of the day…she will be ok.  And that’s HUGE.  Most kids with brain tumors don’t get that report and her family doesn’t take it for granted.  If you think about it, I know they would love you to keep praying.  There are lots of hurdles to get over when you’re dealing with the brain.  Hard hurdles for a 5 year old.  Thanks for being that kind of  community. :)


Hello renewed


anniv trip 12


anniv trip 23


If you noticed the blog was quiet last week, it was because Josh and I took a mini-vacay together to Charleston and then North Myrtle.  It was restful and delicious and inspiring and fun.  I can’t wait to tell you more about it!


We both needed that time and I’m so thankful for it.


Hello 35 & 10


anniv trip 42


We both turned 35 last week (he’s 3 days older though!) and celebrated 10 years married to each other last November.  That feels like a big milestone to me but I’m sure it will seem so small should the Lord grant us 50+ more years together.  There’s not another person I would rather live this life with.


Hello proper documentation




But now that we’re home, the crap has kind of hit the fan with the realization that I don’t have a birth certificate for this kid!  He’s supposed to start kindergarten in a week {!!!}.  I’m having it expedited with fingers tightly crossed that it will get here in time.


Y’all, remember how I said that August would be crazy?   Yeah.  I’m dropping balls everywhere.  I’m a creative.  Logistics and scheduling and documents are just plain hard for me sometimes.  I use calendars and multiple note pads and lists and work REALLY hard at this area…but it will just never be my strength.  Sigh.


How about you?  Do have a good system that’s working for your life?  I want to hear about it.


Hello dr and dentist appts {aaaah!}


anniv trip 11

{I just need this calm, pretty picture right now, ok?}


Speaking of weaknesses, this right here is a major trigger for my anxiety.  I wish I understood why but there is something deep psychologically that makes my kid’s doctor and dentist appointments feel almost impossible.  It’s hard to even write that because it’s a source of just so much guilt.  I delay these appointments way past what I should because even talking about them makes me feel panic-y sometimes.  {Do I need a Dentalvention? I don’t think so… no.  NO.}


And this is The Week of The Appointments.  Dentist for both boys and a check up {involving shots} for one of the boys.  Truthfully, I can’t wait for it to be over.


Josh is helping me {and by “helping” I mean, taking them for me} and I feel like that’s my saving grace right now.  I thank God for that man who deals with my quirks.


Do you have any irrational fears you want to share with me to make me feel better?  Please?


And ps, what are you saying hello to?  


{pps, this post spiraled out of control.  welcome to my brain.}


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