Comfort & Peace

I received some heartbreaking news this weekend from some dear family friends... I've been praying for them all weekend and want to dedicate this week's scripture selection to them. I've chosen two passages from the Psalms. Psalm 34: 17-18 and Psalm 147: 3.

Psalm 34: 17-18

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 147: 3

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

I'll be praying these Psalms this week, asking the Lord to be close to this family, every second of every day. To surround them with love and peace. To give them strength. To bind their wounds.

Will you join me in praying these Psalms?

P.S. I thought I'd share a beautiful song by JJ Heller. It offers the much-needed reminder that we never leave His hands.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YiULD_Ng8o]

{ K }

Fashion Favorites

{ A Beautiful Mess }

I am in love with this new Modcloth dress, named after Elsie of A Beautiful Mess. It's definitely on my spring wardrobe wish  list... And it just might have to be a little Valentine's Day present to myself... hmmm... :) I love the '50s styling of this sweet dress and can picture myself wearing it belted, with cardigans and boots during the colder months, as well as sleeveless with cute sandals during the summer months.

Special Day

{ What Would a Nerd Would Wear }

Love this red skirt and the red tights in the photo below.

All Good Things

{ The Clothes Horse }

feathers and braids on my head

{ A Beautiful Mess }

Isn't this 20s-inspired outfit of Elsie's lovely? The feathered hat, the charming key necklace. So many beautiful details.

And here are a few outfit photos of my own. I wore this on Friday: black skinny jeans, lace-up boots, a black-and-white striped t-shirt with sequins, and my mustard yellow scarf (which I wore in my last outfit post, as well! Oops! haha). I still have yet to get a tri-pod, so I apologize that most of my photos look the same. It's quite difficult taking good wardrobe photos without a tri-pod! :)

If you're looking for a great pair of boots, definitely check out Bass. These lace-up boots are super cute and comfortable, too!

{ K }

Joy, Peace, Hope

Hello, everyone! I hope you're all having a wonderful week so far. I wanted to stop by to share this week's scripture selection: Romans 15:13

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Be back again soon with more to share.

{ K }

Fashion Favorites

Fashion Favorites is another regular feature I'd like to introduce. It will be just a little round-up of some of my favorite style postings that I've spotted around the Internet each week or so. (Also, as soon as I get a tri-pod, I'll be sharing some of my own outfits.) :-) 01.06.118

{Jen Loves Kev}

{Kendi Everday}

{Sally Jane Vintage}

{Sally Jane Vintage}

Lovely, right?

I'm in the process of putting together some inspiring new Crafty Q&As (and some Vintage-inspired Friday goodness). I'm hoping to have that feature back up and running in another week or so. :)

Happy Saturday!

{ K }

Seeking

It's been an incredibly busy week, so I apologize for my lack of posting. :) I wanted to stop by this evening, though, so I could share my scripture choice of the week: Jeremiah 29:13:

"You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."

It's short and simple, but it's been the perfect thing for me to think and pray about this week.

I also wanted to share a new song I heard on the radio this morning by Francesca Battistelli. I love her music, and this new song is just as amazing as those on her previous release. Enjoy! :)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqqdA8LHN7I&w=640&h=390]

It's blustery and snowy outside tonight, and I just put a spaghetti squash in the oven, following this recipe that I mentioned the other day. (I'm hoping it will make up for the frozen waffles I ate for dinner last night.) hehe ;-)

After dinner, I'll probably turn on the new season of American Idol and do a little creative brainstorming in my journal. And tomorrow is Friday. Yay! for the weekend.

How's your week been?

{ K }

Sketchbook Project

I've completed my sketchbook! :) The theme I chose was In Flight, and it seemed to be the perfect theme for my current life season. It also really fit with the One Little Word I chose for 2011: experience.

Sketchbook Project Cover

You can see the pages larger, here.

I'll also be posting them to the Sketchbook Project section of my blog.

This was such a creatively challenging project, and it's going to be hard to part with my book. I've grown quite attached to it, after spending many hours working on it the last few months. :)

She'll be sent off either tomorrow or Tuesday, and she'll be headed off on tour in March. (I hope she has many exciting adventures while on the road, before settling in at her permanent home in the Brooklyn Art Library.)

If you participated in this project, please leave me a link, so I can check out your sketchbook.

{K}

*Weekending

melted ♥  {Explored!}

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Wonderful weekend, so far: coffee with a friend, lots of work in my sketchbook, some creative brainstorming...

Today, I'm hoping to finish up my sketchbook, so I can scan the pages and get it in the mail by Tuesday morning. :) Unfortunately, I have some not-so-fun grown-up things to do, too, like laundry, cleaning, and a trip to the grocery store.

I'm thinking about picking up a spaghetti squash, so I can try this recipe. It was featured on Here's Lookin at Me Kid's Catching Confetti series of guest blog posts.

I'll be back later today to share some sketchbook peeks, as well as my choice of scripture for the upcoming week.

P.S. I know I am way overdue for a Vintage-inspired Fridays post. :) I'll be back posting those regularly again soon. Promise.

Happy Sunday!

Everything Shapes Us

In thinking about my One Little Word, I've also been thinking about a piece of artwork I love by the talented Kelly Rae Roberts. It reads everything shapes us. Doesn't that fit so nicely with the whole idea behind my One Little Word for 2011? Each and every experience we have shapes us and our lives. In 2011, I really want to make the most of every single experience, learning and growing each step of the way.

I have Kelly Rae's canvas as part of a little vignette in my home. It sits happily by my lovely plum typewriter, a favorite vintage owl, and some of my treasured antique letterpress letters (that spell out Letterbird Art).

I love putting together meaningful vignettes in my home that tell a story about who I am and what inspires me. I like Kelly Rae's Everything Shapes Us artwork paired with my typewriter (representing creativity, words, and stories), and the antique letterpress letters (also representing creativity, words, and stories—as well as my artwork). And I suppose the owl is there mostly because I love it, but I suppose I could say it represents wisdom, right? :)

Just for fun, here are a few other little vignettes I've created:

There's a lot of wonderful inspiration out there for creating charming vignettes in home decor, too:

House Color

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props

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small things

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{133/365}

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I Did Some Rearranging

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So, what about you? Have you created any home decor vignettes in your own home?

Crafty Q&A: BD Photography

Hi, everyone! I'm here to share my newest Crafty Q&A with Bridgette of BDPhotography. She captures so many beautiful moments—you'll definitely be inspired by her work! Enjoy! :)

Tell us a little bit about your photography business, BD Photography, and how you got started.

BDphotography is a special place in my world where i get to meet families, couples, seniors, delicious little newborns, and cool single people. i get to be a grown up, which means accepting and being myself, unapologetically, and it's turning out that some people actually respect and dig that me. i also get to be a kid with the kids i chase with my camera; i get to feel butterflies with my young love clients; i get to learn from great parents and capture the special bonds in their family; and i get to be motivated by confident young people that are excited about the future.

i'm not a business woman. i bought my camera with intentions of being able to have good quality pictures of my family, so i could remember the life that was whizzing past me at a dizzying pace. it just so happened that i'm frugal, and the camera cost a lot more than i felt comfortable spending without justification. so, i decided that i would try doing a few shoots for friends or family for a little bit of cash to pay us back what was spent. i hoped i could stay busy for a few weeks or so and be done. but with the ease of sharing on social media, my friends posted their pics, and then their friends started sending me requests, and then their friends, until there was this crazy snowball, and i suddenly had a photography career. i think that was 3 years ago, and i still sometimes feel like people are giving me too much credit, or that i'm not qualified to be doing this. but oh my gosh, there a million things i love about it, and i'm discovering new stuff every day, so if you'll have me, i'm yours!

{photo by ©Tara Clark Photography}

What kind of camera do you use/what are your photography must-haves? i'm a very bare bones kinda girl when it comes to tech goodies. i have that same basic entry level Nikon DSLR still, and i hope she lives forever. i don't often change glass, as i'm so comfortable with the 18-55mm kit lens that came with my bundle. a big occupational hazard in this industry is becoming addicted to upgrading, because there is always a newer camera body or lens or just-released version of your editing software. i've been able to avoid that habit pretty well, and predict my nikon will quit on me before i quit on her ;)

my true must-haves are natural light and a willing subject. i can even work on the willing part if need be.

Any fun or touching anecdotes to share from recent photo shoots? i'm super sarcastic and like to find the funny in every situation. inevitably, there's always a take-away line for me from every shoot. whether it's something a client has said to me, or an interaction between themselves. i find myself laughing at my computer days later, alone and editing, replaying the quote in my head. they are all inside jokes/you had to be there kinda things, but in general, observing the relationships my subjects have is always a blessings—something to learn from and cherish. when you get to pull yourself out of your own world, and glimpse into someone else's, it gives you a chance to stop and smell the roses so to speak.

What inspires you? the super power of being able to freeze time! i'm notorious for my bad memory. it's quite annoying to my friends, family and myself. but what i've discovered is that photography effectively gives me a "pause button for life." and then once a moment or stage or hairstyle or relationship is captured, you can press rewind whenever you like to remember and relive those fleeting days. for me, that's absolutely priceless.

What’s next for BD Photography? Any creative dreams on your heart currently?

hmm, well... i'm not much of a planner. i'm more of the "whatever happens, happens" philosophy. it makes things so exciting because you never know what's around the corner. and i have to say, thus far, it's worked out very well for me. when i was a teenager, i had specific ignorant naive opinions and plans that all {THANK GOD!} went down the drain when i was given an amazing man that i thought i didn't need. turns out, i've been married to him for 9 1/2 years, and we have 2 gorgeous girls who are our living sunshines. i never expected this life and had planned pretty much the opposite, but i'm confident now that would have been a disaster. so, i've learned that when i stop trying to be in control, God does a much better job of laying out my life than i could. final shocking case-in-point... on my wedding day, i decided that we should celebrate our 10 year anniversary with an extravagant 2nd wedding vow renewal ceremony, or go on an international 2nd honeymoon vacation, and as of recent years, I thought our celebration should include a fabulous trash the dress photography session for this old bride and groom. neither of us dreamed that our 6 and 8 year old daughters would be getting a new baby brother or sister instead!!!

{photo by Sheila of sheilacastlephotography.com}

my creative dream is just to continue to follow this photography path as long as it's working. I absolutely LOVE meeting so many people and intertwining my life with theirs. i'm so grateful for that. who knows how it will all play out, but it's such a fun ride. for me, photography isn't a talent or skill that i studied and honed and invested or earned my way into with hard work. i humbly understand that it is a gifting, which is always for divine purpose, and my challenge is to make sure i continue to find ways to honor that.

{photo by Sheila of sheilacastlephotography.com}

Share three random facts about yourself. :) 1}when i was in 6th grade, my best friend and i thought we would become millionaires with our invention of pickle juice popsicles. 2}i prefer dinner foods for breakfast consistently. chili or lasagna beats scramble eggs every time. 3}having someone invite me over for home cooked food is better than any present you could wrap.

3.5}even if i weren't pregnant, these facts would all still be food related :)

Thanks so much for participating, Bridgette! Visit her website, BDPhotography, to see more of her work and follow along on her photography adventures.

Immeasurably More

Last week, I thought a lot about the new things the Lord does in our lives each day, and how He is continually teaching us and leading us to new experiences. During my introspective time this past week, I was reminded of a passage in Ephesians, specifically the verse that says now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine...

So, I've decided that my next Weekly Scripture Passage will be Ephesians 3:16-21:

16 I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

He continually shows me just how much He loves me, and that if I just trust Him and leave the ordering to Him, everything will unfold just as it's supposed to, according to His wonderful and perfect will. He really is able to do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine...and He does.

I hope you've all had a wonderful, restful weekend. And I hope you'll all stop by tomorrow—I'll be posting the next Crafty Q&A to kick off your week.

{ K }

 

One Little Word 2011: My Word

I've been doing a lot of thinking about what to choose for my one little word of 2011, and I've finally settled on a word: experience. I think it's a great word that sums up how I want to live and experience life in 2011. I want to be present in every moment, discover new things, and seek out new experiences and adventures. I want to learn and grow from each new experience and continue to be shaped into the woman He wants me to become.

Are you participating in One Little Word? If so, what's your word for 2011?

I'll be back this evening to share my choice of scripture for the week.

{ K }

HeARTed: Dresses & Tights

This winter, one my favorite looks is dresses paired with pretty tights. There are so many different looks you can achieve by adding fun accessories, too—from  belts, to scarves, to hats. Here are some lovely examples I've been collecting from various style blogs:

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I love everything about this outfit. The tights are a beautiful shade, the dress is completely charming, and those shoes are adorable!

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Isn't this such a soft, romantic look? So cozy looking, too.

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Love the boldness of this outfit, and it has such a vintage feel. Completely charming.

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Hope you're all having a lovely Saturday. I have some fun posts coming up, including a new Crafty Q&A with Bridgette from BD Photography. (The journalist in me is really loving putting these Q&As together.) I hope you all are enjoying them, as much as I am! If you have any suggestions for Q&As you'd like to see featured, let me know. :)

{ K }

Crafty Q&A: Selective Potential

Hi, everyone! I'm back with a new Crafty Q&A with the sweet and stylish Tieka of Selective Potential. Enjoy! :)

Tell us a little bit about Selective Potential and how you got started blogging.

Selective Potential has been a place where I can have fun with my personal style and document my life with adventures and trips. I started blogging in September 2009 after losing 35 pounds. I, all of a sudden, had a new body and no idea how to dress it! So I did some online researching, stumbled on some fashion blogs and have been hooked ever since!

2010Dec28_0053 DSC_9696

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is very defined by the seasons and my settings. I love to match a location or a theme to my outfit — so planning ahead is a big deal with my personal style! I'm very much girly — I love florals, bows, flats, tights, but I also have a grunge-edge that likes to sneak out every once in a while — with a bomber leather jacket, ripped tights or lace up boots. Mixing the two is perfect and definitely explains my background in matching outfits to places. I live in a small beach town just 40 minutes from a gorgeous city, so it makes sense I have a small town style with an urban edge.

Do you have an all-time favorite outfit you’ve styled?

My favorite outfit that I've styled that perfectly describes me is probably Floral Grunge. It has my favorite floral-sleeved dress, opaque black tights, a chunky belt and my beloved Jeffrey Campbell lace-up boots. It's the perfect combination of girly and grunge — which is the look I feel most comfortable in!

What are your fashion must-haves?

I adore sleeved dresses. I can't imagine my closet without them. I wear them in every season! I also can't imagine my closet without lace up boots, chunky belts and cardigans. You can mix and match those in a million different ways.

2010Dec28_0000

Any advice for readers who are interested in discovering and developing their own styles?

If you like a certain style on someone else, try it on you! If you don't like it on you, move on. I love strapless dresses on other girls, but I cannot for the life of me pull it off, so I stay away because I've learned my lesson. Be true to your body type and your own sense of style — don't follow trends because they are trends. If you want to follow a trend, follow it because you love it! The more you experiment with your style, the more you'll learn what works for you and what doesn't.

1. August 7 2010 9, 2. Happy September 1st!, 3. Millicent Launches Forth, 4. 18th July 2010 7, 5. Not available, 6. 60s bob with bangs, 7. Not available, 8. Not available, 9. Not available, 10. Not available, 11. Fall, 12. november 10, 13. 4 December 2010 - Batwings and Belted Scarves, 14. Fall, 15. Easter Sunday, 16.November 7th, 17. Rainy Sunday, 18. november 9, 19. August 29, 20. Shabby Apple Giveaway

To give you all an example of discovering and developing your own style, I made this inspiration mosaic to share with Tieka. It showcases a variety of looks that inspire me. I also shared some of my favorite personal outfit photos (below).

Here's what Tieka had to say about my style:

Katie's style is very girly, classic and vintage-inspired. Between bright colors, boots, floral patterns and vintage-inspired elements, you can easily define Katie's style just by her outfit choices or her favorite outfits from other bloggers. If you can't figure out your style, make a collage of your favorite outfits — yours and your favorite bloggers or style icons. Once you have them all together, you'll easily be able to see what your favorite items are and how they are worn. It makes shopping so much easier if you know you love outfits paired with boots, or you like a bright pop of color in tights, some chunky belts and a vintage-inspired dress. Once you have the "ideal" outfit down that describes "your" style, you'll easily be able to recreate other outfits that are similar and wa-la, you have your own personal style!

During the cold winter months, it can be difficult to put together cute, cozy outfits. Any suggestions for creating a functional (and warm!), but stylish winter wardrobe?

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First, my biggest tip for dressing during the cold winter months is to put together your outfit the night before. For me, in the dark, cold winter mornings — I am so uninspired, tired and just ready to wear my pajamas out the door. I always put together an outfit the night before, and I always keep in mind that I'm going to be tired, cranky and cold. I am always thinking about layers. Like tonight, I just put together my outfit for tomorrow.. and I really wanted to wear this cute open-back floral dress, but it's 20 degrees here! So I paired it with some sweater tights, a chunky cardigan, a belt and matching shoes and even laid out my accessories — long necklaces and a chunky beaded ring! Tomorrow morning, I'll force myself to wear it...and not only will I have a warm, cozy outfit, but it'll be cute and styled while I was inspired!

Any tips for achieving chic style on a budget?
I would highly recommend thrifting if you're on a budget. When I first started my style blog, I was in college full-time and working only part-time, and we didn't have money to maintain my love for my blog and wanting to feature new outfits all the time! I would scour our local Goodwill for any cute print or pattern and see what I could do with it. My favorite thing to do now is to buy old lady skirts that are stretchy, pull them up as dresses, belt them, throw on a cardigan, pair some tights and boots... and I'm all set. Most skirts you can buy for $2-$4, and they can make a really cute dress! Think about items differently, like a dress that's too short can be worn as a top with a cute skirt over it. Thrifting can lead to amazing old belts and shoes — try layering old thrifted belts or vintage jewelry. Be creative and think outside the box! Try a million options on in the mirror. Everything helps!

And just for fun: Share three random facts about yourself. :-)

Ooh, fun! I'm a total nail-biter, my hair is naturally curly and I could eat half a confetti cake by myself. ;]

Visit Tieka's blog, Selective Potential, for much more style inspiration. And you can follow her on Twitter, here.

Thanks so much for participating in this Q&A, Tieka! :)

I hope you all had as much fun reading this, as I did putting it together. And between Carmen's Q&A and this Q&A with Tieka, I feel super inspired this week.

P.S. How would you describe your style? Leave me a comment describing your personal style, or link to your Flickr account or blog, if you post photos of your outfits there.

Happy Tuesday!

K

Interested in being featured in a Crafty Q&A? E-mail me at letterbirdart [at] gmail [dot] com.

A Stronger Prayer Life

{image via Forestbound}

Today, I came across a passage of scripture (on a friend's Facebook status, actually) that really inspired me and got me thinking:

Isaiah 43:16-19

16 This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, 17 who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: 18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

As I was journaling about this particular passage and about wanting to focus on it this week, I thought: what if I committed to studying/praying through one passage of scripture each week for a year? (You might remember that one of the things on my 27 Things list is to cultivate a stronger prayer life.)

I'm excited about this idea, and I hope to blog my weekly scripture passage here and also share a few thoughts about what I've learned during each week of praying and studying.

I'll tag each week's entry under "2011 Weekly Scripture Plan," so you can find them all in one place, if you're interested. And I know I'll enjoy looking back at the tagged entries at the end of the year and reflecting on all God's taught me.

So, tonight, I begin this new journey, starting with Isaiah 43:16-19. I'll share more thoughts on this passage later, after a few days of studying/praying through these verses.

Do you have any scripture studying plans for the new year?

Wishing you all a wonderful Monday evening,

K

10 Favorites of 2010

1. First Art Show, 2. Antiquing, 3. Isn't she lovely?, 4. Civil Wars Concert, 5. I have purple hair., 6. Renegade Chicago, 7. Living Room, 8. Currently Reading, 9. toast + jam, 10. A Long Winter

1. Participating in my first craft show. 2. LOTS of fun treasure hunts in antique shops—specifically this afternoon spent with a dear friend. 3. Finding an amazing little purple typewriter and bringing her home with me. 4. Seeing the Civil Wars play. 5. Getting purple highlights. 6. Going to the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago. 7. Landing a new job, moving to a new city, and decorating a new little home. 8. Discovering author Kate Morton and getting lost in her books. 9. Spending cozy days inside (while it snowed like crazy outside): Quiet time in prayer. Toast + jam. Reading. 10. Being blessed with lots of special time with family and friends.

And just for fun, here are my "presently delighting in" lists from 2010:

Winter 2010

List making (books to read, things to make, words to write, dreams to follow), art journals, and coziness.

FALL 2010

Crafty goodness, summer fading to fall, caramel soy lattes, feeling inspired

SUMMER 2010

Vintage treasure hunts, sunshine-filled days, peach iced tea, and creative daydreams.

MARCH + APRIL 2010

Historical fiction, discovering lovely new music, oatmeal bagels with honey, hints of spring, and hope—lots of hope.

DECEMBER 2009 + JANUARY 2010

Quiet mornings, turning the pages of a good book, toast + jam, baking bread, keeping cozy in lots of layers, the woodsy smell of a wood-burning fire, the crunch of snow underfoot, pretty patterned scarves

...

2010 was an amazing year—full of challenges, creative opportunities, lots of learning, and lots of growing. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in 2011.

And I'm wishing you all the very best, as you welcome the new year.

K

Crafty Q&A: Life Blessons

Hi, everyone! I'm really excited to kick off a regular new Q&A feature, which will affectionately be called Crafty Q&As. I'll be featuring talented and crafty bloggers (as the name probably suggests). I can't wait to share lots of crafty goodness and inspiration with you all (and possibly introduce you to some amazing bloggers you might not already know)!

So, without further adieu, I'd like to introduce you to the talented and very inspiring Carmen of Life Blessons.

Carmen lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. She shares what is going on in her life, her faith and all her domestic ambitions on her blog Life Blessons.

1. Tell us a little bit about your blog, Life Blessons, and how you got started blogging. Well, I’ve had a couple of blogs off and on over the years, that I dabbled with. But when I moved to Atlanta with my husband and knew no one here but him, I decided to use blogging as an outlet to share what God was doing in my life. I wanted it to be a place where I could use my talent of writing and my opportunity of having ample time on my hands to give God glory for all he’s done and hopefully offer encouragement to others. The idea for the title came by combining the two things I wanted my blog to revolve around: the blessings and lessons that God was working in my life.

2. What do you love most about blogging? I think what I love the most about blogging is the intimacy it enables. It can be really hard in normal, everyday conversation to share your hardships and struggles and fears, especially in terms of your spiritual life. But on my blog, I can put to words what I’m going through, what I’m learning, and anyone can come by, read it and (hopefully!) be inspired or encouraged.

3. Any advice for others who would like to start sharing about their lives and faith on a blog? I think that the hardest thing about sharing your faith is overcoming the fear of what will happen when you bare your soul like that. I used to cringe sometimes when people who aren’t believers told me that they read my blog because I was afraid that they would judge me or stop liking me or laugh at me. But I was surprised when a girl who isn’t a Christian told me, so sincerely, that she loved reading my blog. I honestly wondered, “Why?!” But I’ve come to understand that I shouldn’t be surprised that even those who don’t yet love God won’t be attracted to his love and power and mercy, which I strive to share on my blog. You never know how and to whom God is going to use your words to impact others!

4. You have such a lovely style with a vintage flair (both in your wardrobe and your home decor). What are your favorite vintage finds? Oh, thanks, Katie!! I appreciate that compliment tremendously!

Let’s see, some of my favorite vintage finds probably are ones I’ve incorporated into my home décor, including a hodge podge of paintings and frames from the 60s and 70s, a handmade bedspread covered in little green swiss dots, my 1950s-ish wood dining chairs, and (my all-time fave) a gorgeous dark wood buffet that is so huge and hulking that it’s still sitting in my parents garage, waiting for the day when I have a home of my own and don’t have to haul it up a few flights of stairs!

5. Do you have any tips for thrifting and incorporating your finds into your wardrobe or home? My first piece of advice would be to find a thrift store you like. If you look, you’re likely to find tons of thrift shops in your city, but some are usually better than others. (My experience has been that the ones near wealthier areas are usually better!) That will give you a leg up on finding better stuff to begin with. Also, be willing to take something that is imperfect (as most thriftstore finds will be) and experiment with ways to make it better. I’ve learned not to be afraid of sewing my own hems, taking shirts in on the sides or adding embellishments. Or with home décor, let spray paint be your best friend! The good thing about these tactics, is that even if you end up ruining the item, you’re only out a couple of bucks. But the flip side is that you have the opportunity to turn the object into exactly what you want, in the exact shade or size you need it. That always wins out for me!

6. You've featured some great crafty projects on Life Blessons (making your own shampoo, your own cosmetics, etc.). Anything currently on your "to-make" list? Oh, there is always something on my “to-make” list, although some are more practical than others. I’d love to revamp the desks that my husband and I built last spring, with hopes of making them look less noticeably handmade. (It was a lofty experiment that did not live up to our expectations, but I still would like to try to make the most of it.) I’d also really love to create some terrariums!

7. What’s next for Life Blessons? Any creative dreams on your heart right now? That’s a really good question, and honestly, I don’t know what’s next for my blog! It feels like I’m in a season right now when everything is up in the air and able to change: I’m looking for a new job, contemplating moving to a new apartment, still trying to discover what’s my “mission.” So I haven’t given much thought of what will come of my blog, although I do want to protect the integrity of focusing on matters of faith rather than just posting for the sake of posting. That might mean less posts in the future or it might mean no changes at all!

8. What inspires you? The things that inspire me most are things that are unique and one-of-a-kind, whether it’s from a beautiful piece of artwork or an inspiring phrase in a book or a surprising color combination. I love being able to look at things in new ways and see new ways of piecing images or outfits or decorations together.

9. Just for fun: Share three random facts about yourself. :) 1) I had a 10 week engagement to my husband before we got married, and even then, we got married before we'd even been dating a full year! Sometimes spontaneity totally works :) 2) I think it took me until I was 21 years old to be happy with my style and comfortable in my own skin. It's a shame to think it takes that long to stop caring what other people think or expect, but I'm just thankful I finally have! 3) The greatest compliment I've ever received about my decorating was when a friend came over and told me my apartment looked like Anthropologie. I don't know if I can ever top that! (On the flip side, one of my husband's friends said that our place looked like a "bachelor pad." I wasn't quite as flattered!)

Thanks so much for participating, Carmen! :-) Visit Carmen's blog, Life Blessons, to learn more and follow along on her latest adventure.

Interested in being featured in a Crafty Q&A? E-mail me at letterbirdart [at] gmail [dot] com.

One Salty Sweet Night

Last night, I finished reading Sarah Addison Allen's book, Sugar Queen. This was—by far—my favorite of her three novels. Perhaps, it's because I would love to have books magically appear in my life just when I need them, like they do for one of the book's characters. :-) Perhaps, it's because I happen to be the same age as the main character. But it's actually probably a combination of those things, plus the fact that I found this storyline to be one of her best. Sugar Queen's main character, Josey, lives a life that centers around caring for her mother.  She sweetens her sheltered life by retreating to a secret compartment of her closet (where she indulges in her favorite candies and cookies, and daydreams while reading romance novels and travel magazines).

Josey's routine is suddenly disrupted when she discovers a local woman named Della Lee Baker has taken up residence in her closet. Della, a rough-around-the-edges kind of woman, needs a place to stay for a while to escape her life of bad choices. And she's decided that while she's seeking refuge in Josey's closet, she's going to help her discover who she's really meant to be and the kind of life she can be living—one that takes her outside of the comfortable confines of her closet.

Sugar Queen is a sweet, heart-warming novel about being brave, taking chances, and opening our hearts. And it's about the amazing ways people can come unexpectedly into our lives and change them forever.

To accompany me on last night's evening of reading, I made a little mug of Starbuck's salted caramel hot chocolate (a delicious Christmas gift I received). I love that the hot chocolate is dark chocolate (my favorite!) and that there is just a subtle hint of caramel and the slightest salty tang. YUM!

I also pasted and painted a bit in my Sketchbook. Reading Sugar Queen actually got me thinking about the new year and all the memories and adventures to come. I wonder what He has planned for me in the new year, and I can't help thinking about a quotation I know I've shared with you before:

"And now let us welcome the New Year full of things that have never been." Rainer Maria Rilke. "

I have dreams on my heart that I'd love to explore in the new year. I want to learn, grow, and be challenged. I want to grow in my faith and continue to be shaped into the woman He wants me to be. I'm definitely ready to welcome 2011, ready to begin discovering this new year full of things that have never been.

P.S. If you have a lot of dreams on your heart for the new year, you might be interested in a recent blog post by the talented Elsie Flannigan at A Beautiful Mess.
I'm definitely going to work on tip #4:  Love your working atmosphere.

In fact, I think I'll start working on redesigning my working space today. :-)

Have a lovely day! I hope it's

i  n  s  p  i  r  e  d.

K