Monday, August 8, 2016

The Date to Create

I am a fan of unusual 'holiday's' only because they can be so FUN! Today has been given the designation of The Date to Create. I spent all of 2 seconds looking up this holiday, and it was worth it - there is nothing creative to be found. Oh irony how I adore you!

So what do you do with a holiday that is so unimaginative, which I suspect is part of the point? You fill it with creativity of course!!

Being creative isn't limited to artists, or authors, or any of the other 'creative type' labels. Creativity can also be solving a problem, making a meal, even cleaning your house! 

Allow me to share an example. I am participating in a new lettering challenge on Instagram this month, featuring COFFEE as the topic for prompts. So, yeah, I had to participate! The goal is to practice your hand-lettering. This is great as I aspire to getting better and better.

The other day the prompt was Obsessive Coffee Disorder. Well, needless to say, my lettering was not the thing that ended up being 'creative'. I put together a whole list of definitions, symptoms, etc... The creative mood struck and off I went. 

That is is what creativity looks like. You have a focused intent, and then find inspiration in the midst, and you follow it wherever it leads.

Here is another example - when you go to make dinner, and you feel creative, you add a handful of fresh herbs to the jar of sauce in the cabinet. Creative! 

A quick recipe my family enjoys in the summer: 4 Roma (or any paste variety) tomatoes diced; 1 clove of garlic, crushed; 1 can of black olives, sliced; a handful of fresh basil and a handful of fresh oregano, minced; some olive oil. Place all ingredients together in a bowl, sprinkling on olive oil to coat (maybe a cup), then add some salt and pepper to taste. Leave it sit while you cook a box of pasta - spaghetti noodles work the best. When the pasta is done, toss it with the veggies, and serve! This has a fresh taste, utilizes garden produce, and is super fast and easy! We adapted it from a recipe I found years ago, and you can adapt it as well.

Here is an easy path to creating - grab your kids crayons and go doodle!!! Or color a page in a coloring book. Or borrow their construction paper to make a card. 

How can cleaning be creative you ask? As you clean, move things, add things, subtract things. Look around the room, and see what can you change that will provide you with a better environment? It may be as simple as swapping pictures or books from one room to another. It could be as elaborate as new curtains or rugs. 

No matter what you do today, just create something!!! Use today as the prompt and encouragement to get creative and inspired!! Use it as the catalyst to do something you've been wanting to try. Remember it isn't about perfection, it's about creating. It's about trying something and seeing where it goes!!! 

My enabler tip of the day - Michael's has a coupon for 40% off any 1 regular price item....totally worth walking into the store and picking up that thing that you have been eyeing for awhile. Maybe grab a new planner to map out all the creativity you generate from starting today? 


Friday, August 5, 2016

Unit Study Release DAY!

I am so easily excited about things!! That is because I really like my life, and I have found that when you put the effort into looking for the positive, exciting, joyful moments - they get easier and easier to find! And you smile more!!

Plus, I tend to stay highly caffeinated to make it through each day. Which is the opposite of what you are supposed to do if you suffer from a chronic illness. My thoughts are - seriously? I would like to function like a normal human, or at least a semi-normal human, so whatever. I'm going to die someday, so if it's from coffee, at least I will die drinking one of the very best of all God's creation!

I am so excited TODAY though, because despite the very ironic, and non-joyful start to my week, TODAY I am finally sitting here, ready to....  release my Unit Study!!!!!!

Almost 16 years ago, I wrote a Unit Study for homeschoolers, called Our Family Impact, based on my passion for genealogy. I had discovered that I really enjoyed history, and having worked in Vital Records for our County, helping others with their family histories, I got hooked.

When my daughter was born, and I was home, I realized that genealogy was a great way to encourage students to enjoy learning history and geography. I wrote, self-published, and then sat on this Unit Study. The goal of the study was to interact with family members in order to truly learn what history was like. I was not born in 1923, so to chat with someone who grew up during the Depression, and hear what life really looked like was so much more meaningful, than just reading about it.

Here we are, many years later and everyone is interested in their family history. Since I am attempting to embrace all that God has created me to be, and since I want to encourage others in my world to START their writing journey, TA-DA!!!

I was actually ready to release this last fall, but thought it would be better as an e-Book. So I redid the whole layout, re-edited it, re-formatted it and then, well, insecurity set it.

I went back and re-formatted it once again last month, so it is now available as a downloadable PDF file. It is also offered in a bound paper workbook, but honestly, I think the PDF is better, since you can just print off the correct number of worksheets to use with all your children.

It has also been updated a bit to reflect the changes that technology has brought. Not completely though, as I think one of the most important things we can teach our kids is the ability to do some of the actual work required of life, and not just use the internet for everything.

AND, since I'm SO excited, I am offering a discount for $5 OFF!!! YEAH!!!!! Visit our Online Shop at theprettyvintagestudio.com to download the Our Family Impact Unit Study. The discount is only valid through Sunday, August 7th.

I also need to say a huge thanks to some super awesome people, who encouraged me along the way!! My hubs and daughter both literally pushed me to go faster!! One of the sweetest friends I have, who walked through the insecurities with me (FYI - you know who you are, and you best be getting to some writing yourself!! Luv ya!). My besties who kept asking me 'why not'? My mom, who originally edited the whole thing for me, and encouraged me to DO something with it years ago.

If you are sitting on something that meant a lot to you, and you are passionate about, let me encourage you to get up and move forward. No matter how scared or insecure you may be, taking the first step is often the only way to overcome it!!!

I hope you all enjoy!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Simplify Your Life Week

Since my world seems to be one of irony currently, let me share this week’s ironic occurrence shall I?

This week, the first week of August, has been designated National Simplify Your Life Week. I HAD a brilliant post planned for Monday. Today is Thursday, more than half-way through the week. This is the first chance I have had to sit down. This is not the brilliant post.

It continues: As I was learning some amazing things about patience and waiting, and scheduling margin into my life for the unexpected, we had at least FOUR (yes, you counted correctly and I’m pretty sure it’s actually a larger number) unexpected things come up, all of which required less simplified, and more chaotic, as we shifted, moved, and re-created margin.

Then, my chronic illness reared its head, despite my actual and for real, scheduling of it. This week, was to be a week of rest, as next week will be a week of no rest. (I learned years ago, that if I know my schedule will be especially hectic one week, I will need to literally plan rest time immediately prior to, and immediately following, extreme busy. Otherwise, I will head into relapse land, which leads to nothing positive, at all, ever.)

So, it is Thursday, I am pretty much wiped out, during Simplify Your Life week, despite my best efforts. And since I believe in transparency and honesty – WHAT A STUPID WEEK FOR IRONY!

The most ironic part of it all though, is I don’t actually think it’s stupid! I have laughed over and over! I just got done sharing with you all, how God’s time and plan don’t always match mine, but that was okay because it was okay!!

All the planning in the world, all the simplifying and organizing and creating margin doesn’t ACTUALLY do you any good when the unexpected happens. Whether it is positive or negative unexpected, it can still create utter chaos and stress.

I believe that the truest way to simplify one’s life is to let go of unnecessary expectations. Quit worrying about the dust that is collecting on the shelf. (Seriously, unless you have an entire group of OCD people that don’t actually know you, coming to visit, who really cares? Just so you know, I personally care very much about the dust, but in the long run I have learned I would rather spend my time caring about people and not dust.)

Stop worrying about impressing others, creating a picture perfect life, trying to do it all. First, you simply cannot do it all. Ever. (You do know that all those perfect pictures in magazines are staged, right?)

Second, decide which things really matter. Dust doesn’t matter, people matter. Mac & cheese with a can of mixed fruit for the side, when you can’t stand up long enough to make anything else is a GREAT dinner. Heck, the $$ menu is even better! It doesn’t matter what someone else thinks about how you feed your kids tonight – it’s food. They’re eating. You fed them. Case closed.

My ‘brilliant’ post of Monday looks nothing like today’s. I think that was the point.
PS - I could stand up today, so we had asparagus and steak. Last night I was grocery shopping, so everyone picked their dinner and put it in the cart. See, simple.  


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Free Download Day!

I am too excited to wait any longer!!! SO....

We are turning on the FREE August Downloads TODAY!!!!

Here's how to grab yours:

1) Visit our online store at ThePrettyVintageStudio.com
2) Go to the 'Download' section
3) Choose the sheet(s) you want - Homeschool Supply Checklist and/or Lesson Plan Sheet
4) Add to your cart
5) Register, and proceed to checkout!
6) Click on the link provided in your receipt to download!

We are offering ONE FREE download, per person, per sheet. Both download as PDF files.

We also have our end of July sale going on right now, so browse the shop and use coupon code: JULY25 to receive 25% off your!!!

Then, be sure to visit our site again next week, when we share a few more goodies with you!!!

Enjoy!!!




Friday, July 29, 2016

The Rest of The Story

As promised, here is the 'rest of the story' of the clarity that God sent my way last weekend.

I was struck with the reality that I am really happy with structure, order, and a generalized plan and goal system. This isn't really news to myself, but I discovered that this is a big part of who I am, and what makes me happy.

This led to an amazing plan for the Studio moving forward the next few months. First, we're running a 25% off sale until the end of July. THEN, come August 1st, we have some great NEW things coming!!!

Since my goal with the Studio was to 'Discover, Create and Encourage Beauty in the Everyday', we're going to be doing just that! Each month we'll focus on a specific theme here on the blog, on IG, and in the Studio Shop.

For example, since most people think Thanksgiving in the month of November, we'll be offering items, recipes, posts, etc... specific to Thanksgiving. Plus, we'll have some surprises added in as well.

See, I adore so many things, and am passionate about so much of life, that it would be too difficult for me to just do 'one' thing! I am an entrepreneur at heart, so new is always exciting for me!!

In addition to that inspiration, I received some really great clarity on a few other things that had been weighing me down. I am walking away from some good things, to pursue some great things and have absolute peace about doing so. Good things can get in the way of great things so often, and we let them.

PLUS, and this is where it gets even better, I have a clear sense of something God told me over 10 years ago. Talk about learning to be patient impatiently!! Clear direction, with the first steps provided and daily inspiration, are turning this into something that I can see as possible, probably, and ridiculous!!!

I recalled something I heard some years ago - sometimes when it looks like nothing is happening, it is because God is at work lining up all the players and pieces. When everyone, and everything is ready, God lets you in on the plan!

How I forgot this, or at the very least, didn't focus on it, I can't say. I believe however, after seeing all the evidence this week, that it is absolutely true!! When it is TIME for you to know, you will know! Let me encourage you then to sit and be still, no matter how hard it may seem. It is all coming together behind the scenes and when you, and everyone else, are ready and lined up, it will knock your socks off the way God works!

I am excited to be stepping out in faith, and putting all those years of leadership training, growth, and all the amazing opportunities I've had, into something that fits with the vision God gave me all those years ago!! I am also holding it very close to myself, for a number of reasons.

First, I believe that any dream or vision that God has laid upon your heart is special and unique just for you. Second, I have learned a valuable lesson about sharing your heart with more than just a close circle of trusted advisers. Sometimes, even the most well-meaning people, will 'help' you right off the path you are supposed to be on. They may not even realize they are doing it!

Last, I have also learned that anything that comes from God, almost always comes with a host of opposition. Boy have I felt it this week!!! If it could go wrong, it would. So many attempts were made to shift my focus, thinking, plan, etc... A few times it almost worked.

Here is a sneak peak of what you can expect to see as of August 1st!! It's time to plan for back to school - SO - we have a TWO different Mini-Planner Accessory Kits being offered. One with a school theme, and one without.

We are also working hard at a FREE printable download, to help you keep track of all those back-to-school details which I am super excited about!!

Friends, I am so excited about all God has shared with me, and all that is coming!!! I simply can't wait to watch it all unfold!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Temporary Planner Peace

This may seem silly to some of you, but I assure you it is not! For a Type-A person, even a creative one, getting organized & focused, is a HUGE thing.

Friday, after a full 12 hour day in the Studio, I was hit with what I will call a nudge of inspiration. Really it was an extreme shove of clarity, but why quibble over how God chooses to speak. NEW pieces of the ever elusive ‘plan’ were shared with me, and I spent another 2 hours, sitting in bed, writing and journaling and planning.

Saturday, I woke up excited, knowing exactly what I need to know to move forward. (I’ll share the rest of the story in a different post – it’s really, really good.) It was like all the pieces just fit together, and the ones that aren’t there yet, aren’t necessary right now. I’m sure I’ll get them when I’m supposed to.

Since everything was still by the bed from the night before, I just stayed in bed! I was steps away from the Studio where all the planners had migrated too, along with their assorted inserts and pieces. I spent all day getting organized, journaling, and just being focused on what I need to do. It was AWESOME!!!

The other part of what led to this temporary planner peace was a post from The Reset Girl, Cori Spieker. Seriously people, follow the link to her site. She is awesome!!! 

Last week she shared about a new ‘planning plan’ she was trying. Both of us work out of multiple planners, so I really liked some of what she shared. And then, when the heaven’s opened and God spoke (do not take this lightly – I believe wholeheartedly that God is a God of order, and He likes plans and planners! It’s even in the bible!), it all came together!

So, here is my current ‘planning plan’ and system:

 Recollections Planner (Michael’s)
a.       It is a compact size, so I can carry it everywhere & use it as a wallet. Plus, the binders are inexpensive, which means I can use my 50% off coupons to build a colorful collection for not a whole lot of money.
b.       It will be used as the overall where/when/what, since I am often running around and in places other than home.
2     The Happy Planner
a.       I really do like this planner layout. I didn’t get one of the new ones because: a) there are still more coming; and b) I just bought one this January.
b.       This will be used for homeschooling, household, and all things creative. I have the Household Expansion set, so it works well for everything. I also have the 6 month extension that I got for a steal on clearance, so I can use it until I know what all my options are.
3        Classic Size (A5) Planner
a.       This is where it falls apart a bit, but I’m surprisingly okay with that. I have taken pieces from all the planners I have used, a standard A5 binder I already had, and put it all together
b.       This will be used for the Studio. I have at least 3 months worth of plans, projects, ideas, blog posts, and more already mapped out! (See, when God gets clear, He gets clear!) I actually have a few more months roughly sketched in, but you get the idea.
         Finally, my ARC (A5)
a.       This is the little planner that started me out for the Year of Creativity, so I am kind of attached to it!!
b.       It will be used for my DSA business, and I already have all my A5 forms created, so I can be organized in the ‘small’.
c.       Plus, it’s easy to run to Staples for pre-printed inserts.

I am going to try this system for the next little while, see how it works, etc… I do have a vision of exactly what I’m looking for though, so I’m going to keep working towards that.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Sneaky Little Lies

It finally happened! God showed up on Friday and filled in a ton of the missing ingredients for this recipe of life. (I had to stop using traveling language for the day because I was supposed to be literally traveling today and wasn't able to go!)

I was ecstatic, and will be sharing all the info in the future. I sat down that very same night and journaled, and planned, and was so enthusiastic! Exclamation points don't do any justice for how positive I felt about everything.

I woke up the next morning ambitious and determined to keep moving forward. I had a great day getting organized, making lists, figuring out a system of planning (which I'll also be sharing soon), and creating my master to-do.

It was a big list, but I felt okay about it. I had it mapped out, and I was mostly enthusiastic about all the steps. There was one though that I just couldn't quite get excited about. I am more anxious and nervous about it.

So off to talk it out. Since I am a female, talking through these things helps a ton! That was when it happened. The first sneaky little lie made its way into the conversation. The person I went to didn't even catch it right away. It just flew out of their mouth.

I caught it though, and asked for some clarification. Maybe I hadn't heard right or had not explained well. Nope, the lie had snuck in. Needless to say, for the remainder of the conversation there was a pile of these little pests.

The problem with these supposed 'little lies' is that they are pervasive. They sneak right in to your world, and are so clever, you don't realize they are lies. By the time anyone catches on, they have grown from little lies to big huge truths you believe. Because they are SNEAKY!

I don't do very well with lies. Of any kind. Whether you are telling them to me to fool me, or you are telling them to yourself. Once you believe them, they are hard to evict. Once you believe them, you begin living life around them, sharing them with others, and worst of all you become more comfortable believing them than the truth.

This is obviously not the first time I've heard someone believe a lie, or tell a lie, or share a lie, or experienced dishonesty. It is the first time that a truth sunk in though - I feel sorry for people that spend so much time believing those sneaky little lies.

Lies of every kind destroy dreams, kill marriages, rob our children of safety, and us of our sanity. They sneak in on purpose to damage, destroy, and kill. They mess with our confidence and trust, they ruin our hearts and relationships. Most of all - they can destroy our whole life.

Even more profound of a truth? Fear and insecurity are lies. The idea that we somehow aren't who God says we are, or that we can't do what He gifted us to do - lies we believe. And then we live in. Fear is a lack of trust. Please friends, take every thought captive, and think through what you believe and why.

The conversation with my friend ended very badly. I left it feeling unsupported, unheard, and those sneaky little lies followed me home. Not one lie had even been about me!! Still, they impacted me and this relationship. They are sneaky lies, and if I hadn't caught on they would have derailed my whole outlook on life and what God has presented me with.

Be on your guard, for those little lies are sneaky, and will get in before you know what happened!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Planner Problem

If you are not a planner type person, you should just stop reading right now. This post will make absolutely no sense to you whatsoever. If you are new to the planning world, you should also stop reading, as this will just make you nuts.

If, however, you are a planner nerd like me, you will probably find this sounding very familiar. 

Many moons ago, in a galaxy far, far away (no clue why this popped into my head!), I became familiar with the Franklin-Covey planning system. I had previously used a Day Timer, but those Franklin's - this my friends is type-a planner heaven!

I adored everything (but the cost) of this amazing system! Functional, organized, amazing!! It became my all-time most favorite and I used it to it's fullest.

Then one day, I discovered Moody Publisher's had developed their own planner system! This was great!! I could now organize every single part of my life!! The Believer's Life System was awesome!!! So I switched. It had a bible insert, bible studies, note sections, and bonus business and ministry inserts. 

And then it happened - Moody got rid of their planner. So sad. I stocked up on clearance items, and it was back to Franklin. For years. UNTIL the 'Year of Creativity' happened.

Since I was going to embark on a creative journey, I felt I needed a more creative planner. I discovered the ARC system from Staples, and then the Happy Planner system from MAMBI. Perfect! These were easy to use, had tons of creative and fun accessories, and made planning both creative and fun.

We are now over half-way through the YOC, and I just can't do it anymore. I realized that I like routine and order. I like purchasing items that are immediately usable, dated, and help me keep my world ordered. I like everything in one place. I like to be able to toss my planner into any bag or purse and have it with me all the time.

I had some coupons, so off to Michael's to grab their Recollections Planner. It however is undated, which means I have to fill in all the blanks. And since I am not crazy about going back and forth between planners, I have to narrow down what I really need my planner to do for me. Covers & binders I have no issue with changing around. Color coordinating with your bag is fun! Multiple planners, not as much fun.

I have tried everything, everywhere, and still can not locate my planner bliss. So, I am embarking on journey to locate THE planner and set-up that truly works for me. Even if I have to create it myself, which has already crossed my mind several times.

The 'plan' is to figure it all out this week, before the craziness of August and school set in. If you are a planner like me, you know that not finding planner bliss just makes one feel out of sorts, disorganized and nuts!

So off I go, to do more research, hone in the most important parts and what I really need for functionality. When (and if) I am able to locate my planner bliss once again, I will be sharing with you all! Until then, wish me planner bliss luck!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dr. Seuss & Creator's Block

Do you ever have those days where you feel like you are either living in, or should be living in, a Dr. Seuss story?

Yep, that's me today. Possibly today's title would be, "Oh, the thinks you can think." A very surreal place, filled with nothing but nonsensical rhymes, overwhelming cats in hats, and Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Let me pause here for just a moment and share my absolute dislike for the twin Thing's! They are wicked little Things!!!! I didn't even like them when I was a child - they were messy and rude, and seriously needed a time-out!

However, the Things, and every other imaginative character Dr. Seuss came up with, filled me with creative wonder.

This is my head today! Overwhelmed with creativity. You would think that was good, right? I mean, I have a Studio, have to practise my lettering, have things to make, need to figure out what to feed my family for dinner - creativity is a good thing.

There have been books written about Writer's Block. (Isn't that irony at its finest?) Not often do you hear about Creator's Block or Maker's Block. Since creatives aren't always authors, I guess no one thought to write about it. Since I am working on Step 2 from yesterday, I guess I will write about it.

I met a sweet lady through my IG adventure. (If she and I could hang out in the real world, I believe we would and we would be great friends!) About a week or so ago, she posted a sad post about not feeling her 'creativity'. Creator's Block, my friends!

Creator's Block is walking into your Studio, or craft space/area/room, sitting down and having absolutely no idea what to do. So you sit. Then you think, the way to get started is to start going through your stash (if you are not artsy/crafty, our stash is a literal hoard of paper, paint, fabric, stamps, ink, markers, tape, glue, parts, baubles, metal, whatever. It makes us happy.)

So, you go through your stash. There is that amazing paper you found at an event, got it for a steal and planned on adding it to a handmade card! But you don't 'feel' like working on cards today. Away it goes. There is that great new pen you wanted to try for hand-lettering that is ALL the rage right now. But you don't 'feel' like lettering. So you sit; and sit; and sit.

Finally it is time to make dinner, or move the laundry, or do something. Cleaning would be preferable right now, because sitting in your Studio, looking at your stash, and not 'feeling' it is actually a miserable place to be.

Creator's Block is what I imagine it would be like to have the twin Things show up in the middle of the afternoon when the kids are finally napping & you have the 'DO NOT ring the doorbell' sign posted!

Today though, I have the opposite - Creator Overload. I am living in Dr. Seuss land, filled with idea after idea of things I want to do and try and make and, and, and.... Imagination on steroids. This level of creativity ends up generating its own version of Creator's Block.

When there is so much you want to do, and so many ideas, you can't even begin to start one of them, because you can not decide where to start. This would be like the kids not even bothering to nap in the afternoon in the first place.

I think the best way to cope with Creator's Block is simply to walk away. De-clutter your stash, clean your Studio, take a nap, go for a walk, have some chocolate, take a bubble bath, find some balance. Write down ALL the idea's, then walk away. Find some space just for yourself, just to be. It will refill your soul, refresh your spirit, and you may just see or hear or find that thing that re-ignites your passion and creativity.

Better yet - go read a Dr. Seuss book! One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is great & filled with color!!

Monday, July 11, 2016

I'm A Writer

So here is a funny story for you - I write. This is where you wonder what is funny and how that is a story.

I suppose I should expand a bit on the story part. I write a blog. Not feeling it yet? That's okay, neither am I.

Here is what happened: I spent the better part of last week in what I shall call 'creative duress'. I was both overwhelmed with creative ideas, and exhausted by creative ideas. There was simply too much going on in my head!

To create a semblance of order, I decided to embark on TWO IG challenges involving lettering. I strive to become a better hand-letterer so this was a good way to practise, right? And, since they were IG challenges, I did not have to 'think'. The prompts were already there.

At the same time, a friend of mine is been doing a bible journaling devotional. I had opted not to do this same devotional, as I have been hoarding my dollars for some other projects I have been working on.

Anyway, what she was doing was overlapping with what I was finding during one of the lettering challenges. (How does that happen?)

Now to the 'funny' part. (Actually, it is more ironic than humorous, but stay with me!) Someone stopped to visit with me on Saturday. This was a welcome break from my steamer trunk makeover (you can check out that journey here on my IG account).

As we were chatting, she mentioned that she too was learning, struggling, going through the same type of lessons my friend and I were for the week. And then it happened - she mentioned that she had felt prompted to do some writing - and said something to the effect of, 'we'll you're a writer, you have a blog'.

The irony of this - I actually have written and been published, as a newspaper columnist, but I don't think of myself as a 'writer'. Nor do I think blogging is the same as writing. Yes, I am writing something for someone else to read, and essentially self-publishing in a public forum. No, I don't write books.

Authors are writers and they write books. Not blogs, not newspaper columns.

Truthfully though, I have written a book or two. (Insert loud gasping noises here please!) Sixteen years ago I wrote and self-published a Unit Study for homeschoolers. And then didn't do anything with it. I was young, insecure, and didn't have the amazing resources that are available today.

Last year, I wrote a short story, complete with editing by another person. And didn't do anything with it. I was young, insecure, had amazing resources available. Did I mention I was insecure?

Of course, there is also that niggling, bothering, I once wrote it in my journal, feeling, that God has been on me to do a bit more writing. He's been fairly specific over the years too. I have not done it for a pile of reasons - the big one? I am insecure!!!!!!!!!

Then last night, the bible journaling friend, mentioned that she too was feeling prompted to write more. She was also feeling insecure about it. We chatted for a bit about what was it that was causing us both to feel so unsure about doing something that we both actually DO?

We did not come up with any good answers. In fact, I can't say as any of the three of us have any good answers for why we aren't just doing what we feel like we should do. Other than that word again - insecurity!

I suppose this blog should be titled 'insecurity'. That doesn't really fit though, as it as a process I am trying to work through in this area of writing.

This is my first step in that process - putting it out there that I AM A WRITER. I write something for other people to read.

The next step is working up the courage to re-edit and publish my Unit Study, and get my short story out there. This step could take awhile!!!!

Until I get to step two, I shall continue to encourage my friends to start writing, and continue coming back here to share my thoughts. I will continue to practise my hand-lettering, and I will continue to stay secure in the areas I like the most, and I will continue to make new excuses!!!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ack!!! Time Got Away!!

Can you believe it is already the 5th of July??? Where did the time go? Summer is here, July is here, and the Year of Creativity (YOC) is already more than half-way over!!!

Here is where I've been,( since obviously I haven't been blogging):

I got the garden weeded, continued the spring cleaning, which has now expanded to a major project (think tubs and bins being emptied, bags of trash being tossed, and piles heading for donations and garage sale since we added cleaning out the attic and basement). Flowers are drying all over my house, the Studio has been a whirlwind of lettering and reorganization, raspberries needed harvesting, tinctures are needing to be made, etc....

Time is literally moving at a pace I am uncomfortable with! Too fast, too fast! I ordinarily enjoy keeping busy, adore adventure, and really love the awesome weather we've been having. I am seriously sad at how fast it's all going by though.

As an example: I literally spent half of a day re-organizing my life and my planners, simply because I had gone back to post-it's since I was 'too busy' to sit and plan. And I LIKE planning!!! It makes me feel better about everything!!

On a side note, I am in the midst of some major life overhauls, as the YOC has been leading to some big areas of growth. This is both exciting and terrifying all at once!

Creativity has unleashed some realizations for me about what/where/how/why I want my life to look and feel. A honing in on who I truly am, what I need to let go of, and what is most important to me. I have some interesting opportunities in front of me right now, and I am working through what they all look like and what is the next step!

In the meantime, lets see if I can get back here more than once every few weeks!! Hope you are having a great summer so far, and time isn't getting away from you as quickly!!!


Monday, June 20, 2016

Lavender Mint Lemonade

Since today is the first official day of summer, and it is beautiful here in the Midwest (beautiful as in, we don’t have a heat index over 100!), I thought I would share one of my family’s favorite summer beverages.

I am not a big fan of lemonade, but I will drink gallons of this throughout the summer. In fact, it is so popular in my house, I have to dry extra lavender and mint, just to ensure I have enough to last the whole summer!!

Originally, pioneers used either lemon or ginger to make this refreshing drink. Pioneers were out doing all their farming by hand & horse, and there was no such thing as air-conditioning, so they needed something to drink as a pick me up throughout the long day of field work.

Plain water does not always go down well when you are very hot, so the addition of lemons or ginger, made it easier to drink what you needed to, to stay hydrated. Most farm wives knew that ginger was great for your stomach and circulation, and of course a little sugar would provide the extra energy you needed to keep working. Since lemons were a ‘specialty’ in most places, I imagine it was a real treat when you got lemonade instead of gingerade!

During the summer I always start with fresh herbs right out of my garden. Mint is best grown in either a pot, or a space you don’t care it takes over in. It will quickly fill your entire garden if you don’t stay on top of it! I usually freeze some of my mint and lavender as well, so that I can continue making this even after everything is done blooming towards the end of the season. 

I don’t have an exact recipe since my family loves this lemonade anyway I make it. Your family may not enjoy the same quantity of lavender and mint, so I suggest trying it with the amounts I have listed here, and then adjusting each time you make it until you find the winning combination.

To Make:
Using a gallon beverage container (I like clear so I can see everything), fill it about ¼ of the way full with almost hot water. The warmth of the water will cause all the ingredients to release their oils a bit faster, which results in a fresher taste.

Add 2 lemons, sliced. Now add a handful of fresh mint leaves, and about 5 lavender stems. You can use just the flowering heads if you like. Mix gently with a wooden spoon. Now add ¾ of a cup of sugar. I use white sugar for this so that it doesn’t affect the color. You could use honey, which would give a more golden color. Stir again, and fill the container with water. Cover, or replace the lid, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours prior to drinking for best flavor. 

Stir and taste before serving so you can add additional sugar if needed. 

The longer it sits and steeps in the refrigerator, the stronger the flavor. If I plan on serving it sooner, I will squeeze the juice of an additional lemon in, and crush the lavender and mint a bit. I have also made this lemonade following more of a sun-tea method. Place all ingredients, plus water in container, and then let sit direct sun for about two hours. Refrigerate before drinking. 

My family loves it with LOTS of mint and lavender, so I usually use double the amounts I have listed above. I also serve it over Lavender Mint ice cubes, which are not only pretty, but help keep the flavor. Just place one medium-large mint leaf in each cube, add a lavender blossom, fill with water and freeze.


For a more grown-up version of this lemonade, you can add a shot of Limoncello to your glass. This is super tasty at the end of your summer cookouts! Defintiely use the herb ice cubes for this, as Limoncello should be served chilled and you don't want to water down the flavors too much.



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A "Rosey" Beginning

I have been trying to sit down for weeks to get this written. We had a few extra twists in our world the last few weeks, and then of course the weather got nice, and it was time to get into the gardens. Never a dull moment!!

My roses exploded this year with buds, and I have so many flowers I am literally doing everything, and trying everything, I have ever wanted to do or try, with my roses!

Yesterday I posted a picture on IG of my Rose Petal Sugar and how I make mine. Last year, I made a super yummy Lavender Mint Sugar. Same process, just different flowers and leaves. In a few weeks the Lavender will bloom and I’ll have a recipe for Lavender Mint Lemonade to share with you!!

The most important thing to remember when you are consuming fresh flowers and herbs – be sure they haven’t been sprayed with anything! While you may not want to have aphids, you also don’t want to eat poison. Plus, I’m sure it would ruin the flavor!

I also encourage you to visit the library (I am a former Library Director so I always pick books over google!), and check out some books on edible flowers. There are so many that you can eat, or eat part of. It is a fun way to plan your flower gardens, and a great summer learning project with your kids. (I am a big believer in ‘accidentally’ adding education to everything – that would be the homeschooler in me!)

Here are some other fun facts about using roses. Rosary beads were originally (insert ‘way back in the day’) made using crushed rose petals, which became almost a clay when processed correctly. I have a recipe for making my own rosary beads, and it uses SO many rose petals!! This is on my list to try for the year. I’ve never had enough petals to do this, so this is the year!! If successful, I’ll have a few available in the shop!

You can add unsprayed rose petals to your tea, your bath water, and your face! Roses are great for skin as it begins maturing, as they actually help fight the aging process. Roses are okay with combination skin, but work the best with over 25 skin.

One of my other plans for this year – a small jar of rose petal honey. I have locally grown honey available to me, so I plan on placing about a cup of honey into a small canning jar, mixing in my fresh petals, and letting them sit for a week or so. Not sure how it will turn out, but will keep you posted.

You have two options for drying your roses. Either cut long stems and hang them upside down to dry, blooms intact, OR, you can pluck the petals when fresh, and lay in a single layer on a paper towel, out of the sun, in a cool room in your home. You can also try a preservation method I have never used, but have heard works great – place stems in glycerin, in a vase. The roses suck up the glycerin as they would water, and it is supposed to keep the flowers softer and suppler during the drying process. This is perfect for drying roses for use in bouquets, floral arrangements, etc… DO NOT eat these roses! (The exception would be if you used the edible glycerin found in some specialty and health food stores.)

Since all my rose bushes produce rose hips, which are the fruit of the rose, I have always left tons of flowers behind. This year, I am trying something different, I am going to pull the petals off without cutting the whole flower from the plant. My hope is this will actually hurry along the hip formation, so I will have some fruit to harvest sooner this summer, and they will be better. We shall see!

I am off to do more harvesting! Be sure to follow me on IG & FB for pics and some extra tips throughout the week. 


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Growing My Own Linen

A few years back I attended a Fiber Arts Festival. It was so much fun seeing all the various types of natural fibers. There were booths set up so you could purchase raw materials to spin yourself, or already dyed and spun yarn. Spinning wheels, demonstrations, and so much to see and do!

I purchased some flax seeds, so I could grow my own flax for spinning linen. As a novice spinner, but avid gardener, I figured by the time the flax was ready to harvest, I would have half a clue. I was not as prepared as I had hoped!

Flax is very easy to grow. It grows fairly tall (about 2 feet), has beautiful flowers, and will reseed itself if you let it. This was the easy part. As I did my research on processing the plants in order to have usable, spinnable fibers, I discovered that it could be a rather complicated process.
This is some of the original crop that I have not processed yet.

Back in the day, meaning pioneer days of course, you would often have two different spinning wheels. You would have your large ‘walking wheel’ for your wool, and then a smaller wheel for spinning linen. Linen wheels were quite small, and most had a special arm that would hold a small bowl for water. Water is essential when spinning linen, as I soon learned!

To spin linen one requires patience, water, patience, more water, more patience, and did I mention patience? Processing flax stems to obtain the fiber is a long, tedious process, especially if you are just doing it as a ‘hobby’. It is the most involved of any hobby I have ever done, and is hard work!

The flax plants must be harvested by pulling from the ground, removing the roots, and then going through a process called ‘retting’, which separates the outer stem from the inner fibrous core. 

Retting is not an easy task, in that it involves essentially rotting away the outer stem. If you use the wrong amount of water, wrong amount of sunlight, and do not turn it correctly, you end up with a pile of moldy flax and can damage the fibers you need for spinning.

Once you have retted the flax, you now need to comb the fibers so they lay flat, straight, and separated. Often, if you are not careful, you can break the fibers during retting, which means you must comb through gently to remove short pieces. Once combed and sorted, you are ready to spin.

These are some of the retted flax fibers, ready to be re-combed and spun. They were sitting after a combing, and as you can see, now look a bit like a rat's nest.

I spun my linen using a drop spindle, by hand. I didn’t own a spinning wheel at the time, and honestly, I thought it would be easier to use the spindle. A small bowl of water sat by me the entire time, and despite numerous false starts, I was able to produce over 4 yards of usable linen cord. Once done, I decided to experiment with the bleaching process, and ended up with a lovely shade of cream linen cord.

The water is essential to keep the fibers flowing smoothly during the spinning process. It also helps your fingers out a ton, as linen fibers are much stronger and sharper than wool, and you can end up with small paper-type cuts on your fingers. You just want the fibers damp, not wet, so dipping your fingers in works very well.

Bleached linen cord. Perfect for crafts and jewelry, not quite fine enough for crochet or knit items.

The plan for this year, is to plant another flax bed, try some new methods for retting, and maybe, finally, spin the rest of the linen!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring Cleaning

This past weekend, the weather here in the Midwest was beautiful! Upper 70’s and low 80’s with no humidity, lots of sunshine, gentle breezes and the first grass mowing of the year. It was the perfect time to switch out storm windows for screens (our house is over 100 years old and still has its original windows), clean out the herb,flower, and veggie beds, clean the windows, wash the drapes, and start spring cleaning.
I love spring cleaning! Years ago, when I began studying herbs and essential oils, the first place I tried them was in my cleaning. I was hooked! I use a homemade window cleaner made of water, vinegar, and essential oils. I usually choose bright, uplifting oils, such as bergamot, citrus, and sometimes a drop or two of eucalyptus to add extra freshness to the air.
I mix up carpet refresher with baking soda, essential oils, and crushed, dried herbs. Once sprinkled on the rugs, and allowed to sit for a bit, the whole room smells fresh and clean. I add a few drops of essential oil to a damp, white washcloth, and toss it into the dryer with my curtains so they have an herbal scent when I hang them back up.
Last night I raided the Dollar Spot at Target and grabbed a cheap planner kit just for my garden this year. The paper is super thin, but I found some fun pencils to use, which means I can doodle out my garden space, make lists of what and where and when I plant things, get my list together for purchases this year, and keep track of harvest times.
As we were busy working on these first stages of spring cleaning, I started thinking about the idea of spring cleaning, fresh starts, blooming flowers, etc… I think it is also a great time to ‘spring clean’ in some other areas.
How about a spring cleaning of the soul? The bible talks about refreshing and renewing our minds. Or how about a spring cleaning for our physical bodies? Maybe some lemon water, detox tea, some fresh fruits and add in some exercise.
For me personally, this spring has brought so many joyful things, I am thinking that I will be taking my own thoughtful advice. Even though I normally do a ton of fresh veggies and fruit, and love a cup of herbal tea at night, I definitely could use some evening walks, a good flush of all my winter comfort food. The older I get, the more I notice how age really does affect our bodies and minds. Sometimes in positive ways, such as maturing attitudes, and sometimes in negative ways, like wrinkles.
So here’s my ‘plan’. Today, I started with some alone time with God, opened the windows, had my coffee, and now I’m moving on to some basic Pilates to stretch out my muscles that are in rebellion from the gardening this weekend. I’ll add in a green smoothie, some water and herb tea, time in my studio, plant some grass, work on my garden planner, finish up some laundry, and figure out the rest of the week ‘plan’.
Here’s to a thorough Spring cleaning this month so we can move into the remainder of the year with joy and refreshing!!!!



Monday, April 11, 2016

The Chat

I suppose I should begin by sharing that I misspelled the word 'chat'. It should actually be spelled 'spat'. I should also begin with this disclaimer: “All persons represented in this post, DO resemble the living. BUT, only because no one died as a result of The Chat.”

If you are a wife, you will laugh. If you are a husband, you should stop reading. If you are MY husband, you will hear this when I read it to you tonight. 

Let me set the stage for you. It’s a cold, wintry, blustery kind of day. The Wife, busy homeschooling, doing dishes, pretending to do laundry, work, blog, craft, and think of something for dinner, is in a state of what we will call ‘normal’. The Husband is on his way home. Everyone, teen included, is in a perfectly ‘normal’ mood. Fairly even keel really, considering there are TWO females in this picture, one of whom is a TEEN FEMALE. ‘Nuff said there.

Husband comes home, gives presents to the Wife, who does her happy dance. The Husband has brought amazing presents, and they didn’t cost anything. These my friend are the greatest presents, as he has managed to know her well enough to know what things cause happy dances to spontaneously occur AND has managed to secure said items for $0 which everyone knows are the BEST! (I should probably include a note here, just in case – he was given said items with permission, as the owner did not want them. He did not secure items unethically.)

It does not appear any reason exists for a chat, spat, or negativity. AND then, in what can only be described as a loss of sense (possibly someone got hit in the head?), the husband, who was just lauded with praises and singing and dancing…. opens his mouth and speaks, proving that he obviously DOES NOT know his wife very well after all.

It is at this point the teenager heads for the hills, as she is a FEMALE, and heard words come from the mouth of the MALE. It is also at this point the FEMALE wife gives a swift, clear, out loud with words, warning statement to the husband to STOP speaking words out loud. Said husband, unwisely (again, probably due to a blow to the head earlier in the day) chooses to continue to use words, out loud, so others can hear them. He also unwisely ignores the look on said wife’s face.

Let me pause for just a moment, and share that the wife was CLEAR with her words. She did not employ the clever female trick of ‘guess what I just said, using words other than what I meant’. Obviously then, said husband SHOULD have appreciated the effort to clearly state the warning and responded in kind, and follow direction.

Here is where we insert the ‘chat’. If you are a female, and a wife, you began shaking your head as soon as you read ‘opens his mouth.’ If you are a male, and a husband, you read ‘ignored the warning’ and yelled at the screen ‘RUN’! If you are not married, you are confused. Let me urge you to discontinue reading, as married people everywhere would like thoughts of marriage utopia & happily ever after to continue on for you.

I will not bore you with the details, because if you are married, male or female, you have experience in this area already and know that the details are not important. The key things are: He did not heed the warning, and it did not go well.

At the end of this discussion (yes, I am going to call it a discussion, think what you will), while the husband is having alone time in his recliner, and the wife is sitting somewhere else in the house, the teenager is busily filling a bowl with ice cream, knowing full well no one will comment on the lack of nutrition, or the questionable decision to eat it without hot fudge.

What I find amusing in all of this, is how different the husband and wife move on in life. The husband will be unhappy with the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD and EVERYONE who lives in it and EVERYTHING that happens, for days, while the wife will remain unhappy with ONLY the husband. My husband does not find this amusing; he finds it annoying. Go figure.

I share because I find it comical, it was resolved, and the real world goes on. Too many people pretend that they have an idyllic relationship in which no one is ever unhappy with anyone else. ALL my married friends have moments of unrest in their relationships. Some big, some small, some major, some minor, some silly to me, while mine look silly to them. 

I automatically distrust couples who claim they never argue or disagree. Call a spade a spade here people, because you do no one any favors by pretending you are the 'perfect' couple. You may not argue, but some of you actually have some pretty scary & unhealthy ways of coping with your unrest or disagreements. You actually do more harm than good, because your conflict resolution skills do not exist, and you are setting others up for failure. And quiet honestly, no one really believes you anyway. No one is perfect, therefore a perfect marriage can not exist. I often wonder what will happen to those couples when the proverbial brown stuff hits the whirring ceiling fan? 

I have many friends whose marriages I would love to emulate. Guess what? They also have spats, conflicts, disagreements. It's how they choose to resolve it that makes their marriage so super. One of the greatest examples I have ever seen, super cool couple, adore them both. They have disagreed many times over the years, but they always work together to find a solution - even after a chat/spat/discussion. They love each other a ton, and we can all see it!

It is how you handle conflict, resolve, learn from, and grow through it, that matters. Learning to co-exist with another human, different from yourself, can be a beautiful gift. This same person will also laugh with you & at you, comfort you when you’re sad, hold your hand when you’re scared, believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself, and so much more.


I wouldn’t trade my real life for the fake idyllic ever! Alice and Dorothy both learned the same thing – there’s no place like home!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

TODAY is the DAY!

I think I might be a little bit excited! Today is THE day that The Pretty Vintage Studio officially opens its doors!!! I’ve been posting pictures on IG throughout the day, and in about 15 minutes will turn my FB page on! Then we move to some super fun giveaways!!! Oh my gosh am I excited about those!!!

Over the last few weeks and months, God has been giving me what I will lovingly refer to as ‘glimmers’ of the larger picture. Ideas have flooded my brain, steady progress was made, items were sorted, and plans were adjusted. I feel as if I have done nothing but create, sigh, pray, pray some more, and then move along to the next glimmer.

I have learned so much through this process. I learned that God expects us to move when He says it’s time and He wants us to be who He created us to be. I found pieces of myself that due to life and circumstances and whatever, I allowed to slowly slip away. Most of them I let go of due to the insecurity I had in each of them. I have learned that we need to allow others to grow at their own pace, extend grace and mercy, withhold judgement, and what it really means to be who God designed me to be!

Now for the fun stuff! I have paper clips, mini planner accessory sets, handmade paper, vintage items, and more. They will all be available for sale through my FB page, The Pretty Vintage Studio. Since I love the process of creating, and since vintage items are only available when you can find them, some items will be limited in number. As an example: I currently have A group of vintage handkerchiefs, but that is all I have. When they sell out, I have no way to predict when ‘new’ will arrive.

Other items, like the handmade paper, are made in batches, so when a batch sells out, we’ll start again. This process does take a little bit of time, so as of now, the plan is to make sure we have a new batch of paper ready the 1st of each month. This is also a because making paper is killer on your hands, and there’s only so long you can play in water before everything begins to rebel!

Items like our Remembering Yesteryear Ink will always be available. I hope to have scent, color and quantity options available by this summer. For right now, I have black, with a mixed herbal scent. Since the ink must flow as it is supposed to, we are testing, testing, testing. Plus, I have to figure out how to seal it all perfectly so it can be shipped. Ink is a funny thing to play with!

The overall mission of The Pretty Vintage Studio is to ‘discover, create, and encourage beauty in the everyday’. It is a place where old and new meet in a meaningful way. It is the culmination of every hope, dream, idea, thought, and happiness God has ever laid on my heart. It is my fondest dream coming true in the most amazing way, encompassing some of my most favorite things! I can barely wait to share them all with you!!

Thank you for your patience and for following along on this journey!


PS – I bet you are wondering about those giveaway’s right? Well, here’s a clue or two for you – I am so ‘happy’ with the ‘plan’ God has laid out, I will be giving away something you’ll want to shout about! Visit my FB page for all the details!! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Insecurity

A little list of things that annoy me: running out of coffee; laundry forgotten in the washing machine overnight; sour grapes (both literally & figuratively – if I have spent all this money to eat them, they should at least taste good!); wrinkles; insecurity.

Wrinkles are a by-product of combining age and the list of annoying things. They are caused by all the frowning we do when there is no coffee to fuel us, while we do the same load of laundry for a second time, which we forgot about because the trying to eat the grapes was a total waste of time since they were sour and had to be disposed of, causing us to have to decide if the trash was ‘really’ full enough to have to go out or if there was still a little room left.

The last one on my list, insecurity, is the 2nd most annoying thing in my world. Running out of coffee is obviously #1. Most annoying things in life are just that – annoying. They inconvenience us, cause wrinkles, irritate us, and then we move onto the next moment of our life, as though they didn’t exist.

Running out of coffee causes happiness to cease, the world to stop, and rage to follow behind annoyance at an alarming speed. Coffee is what keeps the world smiling, motivated, and energetically facing all the other little irritants of life. Coffee is good. I should sell coffee. (Sorry, I lost my head there a little – my coffee was cold, and I was down to half of a cup. It’s all about priorities people.)

Insecurity is something that plagues us from a young age, it is rooted in lies and confusion, and has this ability to grow like dandelions in the garden of life. No matter how hard you work to eradicate, it seems to come back with friends. They blow in with the wind, and they sprout overnight, complete with little yellow flowers that lie to us about what odiousness is yet to come.

Confident people struggle with insecurity; insecure people are ruled by it. It will either motivate you to overcome, or it will paralyze you. Have you ever noticed that no one wants to chat about it? We avoid the discussion simply because we might have to reveal our own struggles with insecurity, and then people will judge us, which causes us to feel insecure about our insecurities. The cycle continues.

My hubs and I have been exploring this idea of insecurity, how they impact our daily lives, where they began, and why we hang onto them. Both of us have accomplished some pretty amazing things in our lives, trophies and awards to back us up on that claim. BUT… It is always the BUT that catches us.

Part of the problem is that we are part of a culture that compares everything, and attempts to make itself feel better by putting down or belittling anything that we don’t understand, don’t like personally, or are unable to do ourselves. We are literally creating our own little worlds where we can be superior to anyone, simply because we dread the idea of being inferior to anyone.

I believe, based on my own insecurities and working through some of them, that the best way to overcome, is to DO what we know we CAN, let go of what we can’t, and remember that ‘everyone’ really does not have it all figured it. Everyone is merely doing their best, like us, like me.

This became super clear to me one day, as I struggled with feeling insecure over something fairly small. The comparison game was in overtime as I tried to figure out why I was doing so poorly and someone else was doing so well. I was doing the same thing, the same way, so what the heck? Then, out of nowhere, I learned (I feel like I should put a dunh, dunh, duh here) we weren’t doing the same thing the same way. The person I was comparing myself too had HELP and resources I didn’t! SO, I was feeling insecure and inferior to someone who had an advantage over me.

It is super easy to look like we have it all-together from behind the camera or computer. Social media and easy access to technology is providing us with a false sense of reality. I can put clothes on, do my makeup, and post a selfie about getting groceries, without other people knowing I actually hadn’t gotten dressed, done my makeup or even realized I was out of coffee, until right before I left. (You will never actually see a selfie of me in this fashion because a) I don’t like selfies; b) I would go get more coffee without makeup – it’s all about the priorities!)


The next time you feel insecure about something, stop for just a moment and think about why? Are you using a fair comparison? Are you sure that person didn’t have help? Did you practice as much, as hard, as diligently? Are you sure that YOU are SUPPOSED to be as talented as that person?? I mean, let’s be real here, some of us are just not meant to be the next Van Gogh. I am pretty okay with that. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Brand New, Same Old, Part 2

Tell the truth. Did you go look up some of the quotes and tunes from Part 1? I bet some of you did, just so you could try to avoid the God bullhorn.

All the confirmation God sent, was to bring me to The Pretty Vintage Studio. The name is actually a pretty cool play on words. One of my avoidance techniques was to look up the word ‘pretty’. I went to my 1940’s dictionary. I thought I was being clever. Turns out I was not.

The 40’s definition of ‘pretty’ was quite extensive. None of them helped me with avoidance. Number 1 was not surprising until the end: pleasing to the senses, especially the eyes, in daintiness and grace. (Insert exclamatory statement here! I am 5’1” and get called ‘dainty’ a lot!) Number 2: medium or moderate amount as in ‘he has a pretty sum of money’. (In this case, moderate amount of vintage items.)

The definition for studio was a craftsman’s workroom. Ta-da! Vintage is self-explanatory, so I didn’t even look it up. I dutifully busied myself with designing and drawing out my logo, and not really doing anything else. It’s much safer to sit and focus on busy work, right? I was participating with God’s plan in my own way. He caught on I guess, because literally within 48 hours, a brand new Passion Week devotional arrived in my email from one of my fave places.

Ah-ha! I could avoid the ‘God has a plan’ thing by focusing on Passion Week and Easter! YES! So off I go. Day 1: Does my house look like a house of prayer? UGH! Day 2: What has God laid on your heart that you have cast a shadow of a doubt on? GASP! Day 3: Did you know that the word sacrament means ‘a visible sign of inward grace’? (and here is where I had to leave the room & STOP bible journaling to go cry. Yes, I did really go cry.)

So, apparently, I should be praying, not doubting God’s plan, pretty means filled with daintiness and grace, and sacrament means a visible sign of inward grace. This avoidance thing did not work out so well for me after all.

The plan? It is pretty big, but the parts that I need to share today: The blog is changing, I am opening a new Studio, and I will be sharing some of my fave vintage finds with you. My FB page will be up and running soon, my google+ page is already live, and you can find me on IG. Whew!

Stay tuned in the coming days and weeks as this all comes together. I can honestly say that once I started participating, God stopped yelling, continued sending confirmation, and I cannot keep up with all that He is sharing with me, and encouraging me to do. I think I might even be a little excited about what is still to come.


If you are casting a shadow of doubt on what God is telling you, let me encourage you to step up and step out and trust! Even if it is scary, or uncomfortable, He will provide you with all that you need and will be with you every step of the way. I’m praying that God will fill you with courage, strength, grace, and movement!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Brand New, Same Old, Part 1

Welcome to the brand new, yet same old blog! The name is new; the concept is old. The focus will be new, but it will contain some about the old. Are you thoroughly confused yet?

Let me help in a colorful, creative way: Here’s the story, of a stubborn lady, who was busy homeschooling her teen. She was being told, by God the Father, it was time for something new. It’s the story, of really great husband, who was busy encouraging her to hear. He was cheering, she did not like it. And now here we are!

Did you sing that? I sang while writing. If you are of a younger persuasion, you might not have caught the reference to a classic television show, “The Brady Bunch”. Utopia at its finest.

If you have read anything I’ve written, you will not be surprised by what I am about to share… I am embarking on another ‘new’. It is not new for me really; it is the same old. What makes it new(er) is the place I’m at in my life. I have been pretty comfortable learning (FINALLY) to sit and ‘be still’ and listen for God.

Apparently the whole ‘be still thing’ is only valid until God decides it is time for you to become active. Heed my warning, when He says move, you best be moving, because He will get a bullhorn, aim it at you, and start yelling! The drill sergeant from Police Academy, ‘move it, move it, move it’! FYI – God is really loud and persistent when He wants to be!

To match the drill sergeant yelling, He threw in some additional quotes for good measure. Examples? How about, ‘be ALL that YOU can be’, and ‘just do it’, and ‘dance, dance’. (The last one was mine, but it fits since I have been a dancing fool over percolators and inkwells!)

Then, He secured the help of my hubs and my best friend to share in the fun. Seriously? Even worse, He had the nerve to turn a Passion Week bible study into confirmation of what He was saying! How does THAT happen?

So here I am, becoming an active participant in His idea and plan. It shouldn’t be uncomfortable right? I am an entrepreneurial person, I love creating, I adore people. I should be enthusiastic. I am not. The reason will probably shock some of you. I am uncomfortable because I had grown content in, and with, the stillness. I also have some insecurities that I keep hidden away so no one will see them. I prefer not to acknowledge them at all, most of the time.

After a lifetime of running and pursuing, sitting down and learning quietly has been a joy and blessing. It was hard to learn for sure, but now that I am here, I don’t wanna get up. (Insert whiny teen or toddler voice.) Confirmation from God on this plan has gone above and beyond the norm. There is no doubt that it is time to be obey and get active again. I don’t understand a bit of it, or what it will look like, or see the whole plan. That is where trust will have to play a part.


The ‘old’ blog has a new name, to match the new plan. Visit again to read Part 2, but until then – consider carefully for yourself – is God trying to get your attention? Has He told you it is time to move? Move people, before He gets out the bullhorn!!!

PS - There is an entire sermon just in the title! Possibly even 2 or 3. You bible scholars are already thinking of all the verses that sprung to mind when you saw it. They sprung into my mind too, so I'll probably have to go illustrated one in my bible soon!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Pictures Finally

I finally was able to assemble some pictures from all the collections, new items, and work we have been doing over the last few weeks!!! Since there is "new" stuff within the mix, I downsized the pile of pictures and am sharing some of my favorite things.

Saw these and only brought them home because they went so ridiculously cheap. Set of 4.

   

We sanded, painted, and divided into 2 sets of 2. The lime green chairs now live in the studio, and the white chairs are in my dining room as extras. The lime was my daughter's pick and I thought for sure we'd hate it. They are actually my fave now!


Who can beat a stack of old magazines from the early 1900's? We found some issues of "The Literary Digest" mixed in with the stacks the hubs got. I love to read, but beyond that, the ads are a hoot and a half! I did have to stop reading them, as I found an article in one, pre-WWII, that was sharing the story of a poor misunderstood Hitler. I had to stop reading. If only they knew then, what they would soon discover. 

 

Meet my mannequin! She is made out of paper, fiberglass, and yarn. Her paint is chipping off and her hands went missing before she came to live with me. Her dress is vintage, as is her hat. The coolest thing about her? Her hair is yarn, that was sculpted into its very chic shape, and then painted over. Her poor dress has been to the cleaners, but it was faded in area's when I got it.

This really neat looking little box is a Kodak Brownie camera. One of our 'accidental' purchases years ago - it came in a box with assorted stuff, and has been sitting here just because. My budding photographer is much more interested in it now than she used to be!


One of the many pairs of children's leather shoes I own. Some pairs are newer (think 1950's), but a few are older. One way to tell the age of your shoes - look for wooden pins through the sole as opposed to stitching. Pins/pegs = older.

 

This vintage jewelry box is covered in leather, and I keep my fave pieces of old jewelry in it. My hatpins live here as well.


This jewelry box is not quite as old, but it's still fun, and a great place for some of the rest of my jewelry. 


This is one of my all-time most favorite hats! It is technically NOT a hat, and is entirely covered in feathers! It lives in a hatbox only came out for this picture.

Honestly, once I was going through all my collections, and sorting, and purging....I got a little lost in the moments. Getting lost does not help when trying to collect pictures! I will get some more up, but I wanted to at least FINALLY get some of my fave up!!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Pictures Are Coming!

I bet you have been waiting impatiently to hear the outcome of last week's 'happy dance' right? Okay, maybe not impatiently, but at least interested in hearing.

As of today, I do not have everything ready to share. I'm sad because I have been impatiently waiting to post pictures, and tell you all about the amazing.....and then the crud hit....and then it left, but I had to do a ton of work in order to have pictures to share.

So now I am sorting, recording, moving, and preparing to share the awesomeness with you all!! It IS coming. Just a bit more slowly than I personally care for it to go. I am however pretty excited about some of my finds.

Maybe I should just share a tiny bit in the meantime though. You know, just in case you are impatient like me.

I did not come home with nearly the number of vintage finds I had hoped. The items I had been most excited about were not my cup of tea after all. The hats I missed only because they were not quite what I had hoped for either.

What I DID come home with, completely by accident, and my husbands love of reading, were boxes of old magazines, some stacks of books, some cigar boxes, and a few miscellaneous odds and ends that we are still sorting through.

As an example: buried in a stack of magazines on hobbies and crafts, we found a 1939 copy of a home magazine featuring Gone With The Wind pictures, along with a feature on the 'Old South'. The staples are all still there, through the front, and it is in very good shape considering.

We found a hatpin mixed in with some costume jewelry. We found another stack of magazines, dating back to 1915 mixed in with some other literature. We found early medicine books mixed with a stack of papers on veterinary medicine.

These are the challenges being faced so that I can share my fun finds with you! There was also the challenge of going through my collection to find the pieces that could leave to make room for the new, then I had to help two hatboxes, that just could not survive much longer without some TLC. Of course there was also the dusting that was needed, after stirring it all. I left that job purposefully until I was certain the crud was gone! No reason to make it worse!!

My goal is to have it all ready to share with you by the end of this week. Partly because I can't wait to share, and partly because I just really, really want it all done and put together and displayed and done!

I Must Confess - Day 3

Confession time here. Be prepared. Last night, after a fairly emotionally charged day, I snapped at my husband. I shall pause to let that s...