Browsing Tag



Christmas on the Second Floor

December 19, 2017

“It’s in the singing of a street corner choir

It’s going home and getting warm by the fire

It’s true wherever you find love,

it feels like C h r i s t m a s.”



It came so fast this year. I hardly had time to blink before Thanksgiving Day was in the rearview mirror and Christmas was pretty much at our door step. Being newlyweds, I knew I had to jump on the game of making our apartment festive this year because we had no past year’s decorations to pull from. I was working from scratch and I was so eager to make some of our own decorations and also start some of our own traditions as a couple.



I had seen a blog post back in the spring from Reading My Tea Leaves which totally inspired my desire to make minimalist + cheap + clutter free Christmas decor for our first year. Like any other small apartment dweller, you have to be creative with space, and storing a ton of Christmas decor wasn’t going to make the cut for our one tiny outdoor “garage” closet. But, with the help of Pinterest and a little creative juice, I couldn’t have been happier with the result!

S t o c k i n g s. I had high hope of purchasing adorable little knit stockings from West Elm for us both … but I waited until after Cyber Monday, no further explanation needed. So, I improvised and cut these out from an awkward fitting sweater. They didn’t quite turn out like I had hoped (they are rather lumpy looking socks) but they work, and will hold memories if nothing else in future years.

G r e e n e r y. As someone who has grown up with a real live fraiser fir in her living room for every Christmas she could remember, I knew without a doubt that we needed a real tree too. It was a win win, because visiting the tree lot, I was quick to scoop up some extra tree boughs that I knew I could use to decorate elsewhere. The smell was heavenly… and the fresh greenery indoors brought beautiful vibrance to our tiny living room. I did find an additional lit garland at Dirt Cheap for literally $2, so that made the cut to store away for next year.






S i g n a g e. I did decide to purchase some “year after year” decorations as well though, something we could keep and remember our first newlywed Christmas by. I was obsessed and reeled in by Magnolia’s Hearth & Hand Christmas collection, so I skipped across town to Target to make a few favorite selections which included our tree skirt and this adorable “Merry & Bright” framed art.

O r n a m e n t s. I didn’t have the huge nostalgia collection from home to pull from, though we did have three special ornaments from moments since our marriage in August. Those plus a few mini ornaments from HomeGoods (the black ones which I decorated with a white Sharpie to mimic the ones I had seen at Target) and some fresh oranges, it was perfect.
Simple really is the most beautiful.









G a r l a n d s.  I intended buying a wooden bead garland like my parents have, but that didn’t happen either. I didn’t just want to go out and buy something for the heck of it… I wanted something that held meaning. So that may just have to happen another year. Or I may just stick to making the garlands that I did this year.. because they were just so much fun and perfectly minimalist!
Dehydrated oranges strung together on cotton twine and little cardstock stars sewn together … they were so super simple to make! And even though, sadly, the oranges will have to be tossed out after New Year’s, I can always remake them again next year.









Lastly, our star. Two newlywed generations (my grandparents and my parents) have made their own Christmas star using a little geometry, posterboard, glue, glitter and fishing line. I always loved our Christmas star as a little girl, and knew someday I wanted to make my own with my husband. So this year, my granddaddy drew up a template and instructions of how to make our very own 3D tree topper, and it only took Luke and me 3 evenings to complete the project. Adopting my grandparents star shape and my parents star color, it really is a special memory I hope to have atop our Christmas trees for years to come.



Small + minimalist + cozy… this is our first married Christmas.

merry christmas!

a b b y

Character Sketch, lifestyle

The Creative

March 7, 2017

“Here’s to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem.
Here’s to the hearts that ache, here’s to the mess we make.”
// La La Land


     Creatives. They live in the world of possibilities. Seeing past the stark white canvas, blank page, bolt of fabric, the lump of clay. Or the undecorated sidewalk.
It takes a lot of “scope for the imagination” to be a creative, an eagerness to look past what you see in front of you and see instead what it could be. A work of art.
It’s a crazy thought to think that each creative eye is different, every move of the hand and idea spark in the eye, quirky in it’s own way. It makes us live in a world of curiosity, wondering just what unfinished and unthought of masterpieces lie behind that random person’s brain.

She’s a dreamer, go-getter, genuine firecracker. A creative if I ever saw one.

Today she’s a sidewalk chalk enthusiast, but what about a series of tomorrows?
Will she exchange her chalk for pastels or watercolors? Her canvas for something more permanent, not washed away with a later rain? Will being the next Beatrix Potter be an ambition?



Just observing this little creative was such a treat on this sunny and even more windy day. Watching her think and concentrate, putting so much brain power into her chalky creations. It reminded me so much of all the creatives whose path’s I’ve crossed over the years. The creatives who started small and were nobodies and are now well known, with thousands of followers on Etsy and social media. But also the creatives who go unnoticed, who are still starting out small with the dream to go bigger and share their work with the world. All alike is their desire to bring a little more beauty to the world with a creative gift they’re recipients of.




Sometimes, the creative gets slack. From a world that says the creative gift they’re pursuing isn’t grand enough or noticeable enough to bring to the table. Or that there are more important and worthwhile things to be devoting that time to, to put that gift back on the shelf so that we can be busy about a more important work. Because it probably won’t bring in the X amount of dough like the corporate world can, and you’ll probably fall on your face over and over again trying, and be asked the question, “Is it even worth it?”


      Yes, it’s worth it. Being a creative isn’t just choosing it as a title and donning it as a personality pin. Deep down, it’s in all of us. Whether we decide to draw it out or leave it hidden, it’s there.
Because we are made in the image of the greatest Creator. It’s worth discovering and rolling up our sleeves for, because by using that dose of creativity He’s given us, we glorify His creativity in the process.


     I witnessed so much creativity on this day back in the fall; the warmth of the last sunbeams of the evening, the whipping of the Indiana wind, the pigments of the green grass and the coloring trees. The small brunette with big brown eyes, orange smudges of goldfish cracker crumbs mixed with sidewalk chalk colors littering her princess shirt, the sketches “for mommy and daddy” scattered all over the driveway.
It all meshed so wonderfully together. I cannot help but think the Lord smiles when we embrace creativity, as a testament to His image in which He created us.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.”
Genesis 1:27

//& special thanks to my candid subject, little Elise E.


Ordinary Day

February 21, 2017

“After all, I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything
splendid or wonderful or exciting happens. It’s just those that bring simple little pleasures,
following one another softly like pearls slipping off a string.”
“Anne” // L.M. Montgomery // Anne of Avonlea

    These ordinary days. I don’t see them as pearls often enough, with a beauty that is worth taking notice of every waking moment.
The pizzazz days, the excitement days, the anticipated arrival days; these are the days which get me to explode out of my bed with energy the morning of. Which is funny to think about because I’m a night owl, and energized mornings are not my thing. I’m proud of my night owl-ness and love sticking by it, but curiously I’ve noticed no matter how early the next day, if it’s an exciting one, you bet your boots I’ll be there with bells on. I can be early bird, but I gulp when I realize I’m a convenient early bird.

Today is worth getting up for.”  I excuse myself on one of these mornings.

This mentality of mine, it hit me like a brick. I view every day through this lens. This so easily is the ruler I measure the day with. A question mark waltzed it’s way into my brain at this point. . .

Isn’t every day worth getting up for, even the ordinary?  

Regardless of the “apparent” worth I label and smack on it before my feet skim the floor, is not every single day, vibrant or muted, worth it?
In my limited little clump of fluff, called my brain, I view people as an inconvenience instead of an opportunity. A busy day as just another one to get through instead of one to hug the breath out of. Wishing a normal day away just so I can get to the next most exciting one. Crossing that square off on my Rifle Paper Company calendar, without giving it a second’s reflection.

Aside from the true cliche that “Life is a gift” I need to grasp something more.

Every day doesn’t always look like a gift from the outside. It often comes in the package of driving the same trek to work for what seems like the millionth time that week, it looks like pressing or missed deadlines, scheduling conflicts, misunderstood conversations, heartfelt questions being unanswered, an ache in your beating heart to hug the neck of someone long distance. It’s unlaundered jeans and t-shirts, unswept floors, unkept landscaping (courtesy of February) that still isn’t checked off the to-do list from 2 months ago.

These are our ordinary lives. We stamp them as always run-of-the mill, unnoticeable in the grand scheme of things. Our ordinary day is subconsciously viewed like an oyster shell; sometimes displaying some beauty, most of the time nothing special.
But we are missing something amazing by flipping on this auto pilot switch. We aren’t willing to search for the hidden rarity in the ordinary.

The pearl in the oyster.

The special minute in the ordinary day. The exciting discovery after willingly clasping the humdrum.

    So, can we view our ordinary oyster shell lives still as a gift? A surprise of a day hidden inside life’s sometimes crusty outside?

Worth wanting to get up for, not snoozing our alarm clocks for.