Thursday, March 31, 2011

Food and Art: Beauty in Both

Today I came across two incredible things.  The first being a cookbook I received called "Simply in Season" part of the World Community Cookbooks series developed by the Mennonite Central Committee. This cookbook is organized by season, then by dish creating an easy-to-use format.  It also includes many resources such as a list of many vegetables and fruits, when they are in season and suggestions on preparation.  Not only that, but it does offer many tips for making a difference in the way you purchase and prepare your food, in order to positively participate in the World Community.

The second is The Graphics Fairy.  Oh my goodness.  I first found it through Shoregirl's Creations, where one of my followers suggested I check out since she had just redone her bathroom  in the French style (take a look if you love vintage-y, French, girly decor.  It's beautiful stuff!).  The Graphics Fairy has thousands of *free* clipart, printables and craft projects available--again, for FREE!  Everything available is beautiful and I had to stop myself from printing out all the French stuff that was available.  I currently have one hanging in my bathroom now.  Isn't it pretty?

While printing millions of things out may not be very eco-friendly, if one can do so responsibly and not go overboard, this makes an excellent tool for responsibly decorating.  Other than the cost for the ink, these are entirely free pictures and it sure beats buying home decor from Walmart (ick).  You can find frames at thrift stores to make this a very affordable (and more earth friendly) project.

To end--I made two book bags for my aunt who requested one in a bright blue color for her friend and a purple on for herself.  That was the only criteria.  So here's what I came up with!

This one is linen, with a muslin interior and small inside pocket.  There are five pockets total, two on each side of the exterior and one on the inside.

This one is my favorite.  I made a few flowers to put on the outside.

I think one of my favorite parts of this bag is the interior.  I found matching fabric in white, so you can just barely see the same pattern inside.

What free or local cooking resources have you found helpful?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

French Inspiration

The last few weeks I have been entirely obsessed with everything French.  French books, French decor, French food, French music... the list goes on and on.  There is something classy and elegant about French culture (if not perhaps a tad uppity, no offense to those who may be French).  French "vibes" just make me happy.  It may be that I love movies such as "Julie and Julia" and "Chocolat" who give a romantic, charming feel to the French life.  Maybe in reality this isn't the case, but the France in my head most certainly is. 

In celebration of my current life inspiration, I wanted to share some beautiful French inspired home decor.

I think my favorite thing about the decor is an "aged elegance."  Most pieces look as though they are at least 100 years old, but there is a certain beauty about that.  While much of Western culture tends to go for the new, hip and modern, the French design seems more used in a glamorous and easy way.  I also love the use of colors.

What country/culture/style inspires your decor and/or creativity?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mending: A Lost Art

Yesterday I realized that I had gone to work wearing a sweater with a tear in the shoulder seam.  I was completely embarrassed because this wasn't a subtle rip, and it very clearly showed my skin (God forbid :) ).  This year I have been trying extra hard to have a neat appearance, so an obvious tear in a black sweater is unacceptable.

While I've owned this sweater for nearly ten years, it still should have another ten to go.  A quick mend would do the trick, especially since it's black, and it will be good as new.  As I was sewing it up this morning, I wondered how many of us actually take the time to mend clothing anymore.  Mending piles were one of the most common things seen in households 50 or so years ago, but now they are rare to find.  Whether it be lack of time to do the mending, or lack of knowledge (or both), this seems to have become one of many lost arts.  But the amount of resources it saves is wonderful.  Instead of throwing out an article of clothing that has become damaged and purchasing a new one, mend the tear, rip or hole and the item will be perfectly fine.

Here are some resources I have found helpful to learn how to repair all kinds of damage to clothes.

I have referenced this book in the past, but would like to give it another plug.  The information given on mending of all kinds is quick, to the point and very useful, with pictures to aid in the process. had an entire mending month, which offered a variety of articles on how to repair all sorts of things, even how to get certain stains out.

TLC Home has an article about repairing clothes, resoling shoes and fixing a broken zipper, among other things.  Such a useful tool!

Now I'd love to hear from you!  How often do you bring out the needle and thread to patch up a worn piece of clothing?  Or do you just toss it?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Meet Me on Monday

Wow, it's Monday already!  Bah!!!  Here's the weekly Meet Me on Monday from Never Growing Old

1. Crunchy or soft tacos?
2. Do you scrapbook?
3. Do you take any daily medications?
4. What is your favorite sound?
5. Where were you born?


1.  I think I will forever answer crunchy, even though while I was in California I experienced some wonderful soft street tacos.  I think it's my addiction to crunchy, salty things (i.e. chips..).

2.  I sure do!  I have one going right now that is a mix between my solo trip to Europe and Erik and I's trips around the coast last year.

3.  This seems an awfully personal question, but yes, I do.

4.  The calming sounds of the ocean, the river, the lake, the creek.  Running water in the wilderness is the most comforting sounds I have ever heard.

5.  Kirkland, WA!  A suburb of Seattle and a college area.  A beautiful place, and it explains completely why in the world I enjoy the weather and scenic areas that I do.

The Week's Round-up--Spring Cleaning!

This week has been a complete "Spring Cleaning" type of week. I've been doing so much organizing, reorganizing, decorating and deep cleaning. Homework has been a little neglected, but I'm sure it won't be too brokenhearted. I also got to work on some new little projects, since there were birthdays coming up. And I've made a few sales in my Etsy shop which is incredibly exciting!  There are few things that are better than actually getting to sell your work.

The biggest accomplishment of the week was cleaning off the balcony.  Ever since we moved in, there was a pile of garbage full of empty bottles, cans and meat containers.  The huge garbage can filled with snow over the winter and everything rotted.  It smelled completely awful.  But now I can look out my back window and not have to see a gigantic pile of crud.  We also strung some lights around the back so we could have little soiree's during the summer :)



an evening party or social gathering, especially one held for aparticular purpose: a musical soiree.

Along with the rest of my big cleaning projects, I went through drawers such as the jewelry and make-up drawer and sorted through everything.  While many of us can forget of these places, they tend to pile up a bunch of unusable items that just take up space (and my home has too little space to be taking up excess!).

I also took a trip to Goodwill for a few decorative items for the house.  I found some beautiful china to use as a soap dish a spoon rest.  Not only that, but I found the greatest skirt by Style & Co. for $4!  It's somewhat like this, but a little shorter and the pattern is smaller.  I can't stress it enough--Thrift stores are the place to be!

Here are some of the projects I did this week.  I had so much fun figuring out some new things and really  appreciated some fabric Christine gave me.  It took a while to figure out how to get the machine to like it since it had embroidery all over, but I think I got it down.  I also tried my hand at some smaller bags with pleats, which I had never attempted before, and elastic ribbon to make a headband.  Phew!

A pretty little make-up bag

The book bag I made from Christine's fabric gift.

A delightful little headband I whipped up tonight!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Four Fill-In

I'm continuing to participate in the Friday Four Fill-in blog hop from Feelin' Beachie.  I must say, there is something fun about fill in the blank activities.  It must be my love for school :-P

This week’s statements:

1) I can’t help it, but every time I see a baby I smile.  Unless they're screaming bloody murder, babies are just so adorable!  I always think I want one when I see them all over the co-op.

2) Every time I smell oatmeal cookie soap I am immediately transported back to my childhood.  I don't know why this is, but it's a pretty distinct smell.  I found the same soap at the co-op a few weeks ago and was so excited!  It completely transported me back to being a little kid.

3) When I was little I wanted to be a mommy.  All of my play revolved around keeping house, baking stuff and taking care of sick children.  

4) If I had to eat only one meal for the rest of my life it would be Pad Thai.  It is my absolute favorite dish.  When we were in California we went to this little take out Thai restaurant and I had THE BEST Pad Thai I've ever eaten.  Yuum.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Responsible Living Resources

Today I wanted to pass along some blogs and other information related to natural housekeeping and frugal living that I've found helpful and inspirational.  I think we all know that it's not always easy to keep a home without all the household conveniences and a little extra encouragement from others can really help.  Because making your own soap, hand-washing dishes and hanging your laundry can be tiring and it's tempting to just buy soap, stick those dishes in a dishwasher and toss the laundry in the dryer.  But in the long run, we all know it's worth it because we're choosing the responsible route, saving money and the planet.

Keeper of the Home is a blog I stumbled upon a few days ago as I was looking for suggestions to do grocery inventory and meal planning.  Stephanie is a wonderful woman offering advice on all areas of natural homemaking including gardening, pantry cleaning, organization and making your own cleaners.  She also home schools, which is something near to my heart and offers helpful tools for the home schooling mom.  While I do not always agree with her religious opinions, her website is brimming with useful information that can be called upon often.

Adventures in Diapering and Beyond has a little more to do with raising children responsibly, but is still a great tool for housekeeping information.  I have often referred to this website when trying to help my sister and friend find some resources for cloth diapers, making your own baby food and other things.  Morgan also has some home schooling information.

Living on Less offers daily money-saving tips and links to coupons and other resources that help you save money.  She has quite the following!

The Frugal Girl features Kristen,  a woman who is "cheerfully living on less."  I love all her money-saving tips, gardening advice, and how-to's that include how to make yogurt.  She is an inspirational woman and has a real presence about her, even online.

This post from Organized Home offers several recipes for natural home cleaners.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Slow Life

A few months ago, when I was on my book-buying binge, I was browsing through lifestyle non-fiction and came across this great book.  "French Women Don't Get Fat" by Mireille Guiliano is not just a diet book.  It's a lifestyle guide.  Consisting of enjoying delicious food while learning how to compensate for higher calorie delicacies from earlier is an excellent plan for someone who loves food.  Also, training yourself to eat slower and truly enjoy the food that is in your mouth is an outstanding piece of knowledge.  So often we just shove food in our mouths and never really taste it.  Not only that, but along with the shoving comes low quality junk food.  Mireille also discusses enjoyment in exercise, taking long walks and paying attention to the world around you.  To sum it up--slow down and enjoy life.

When I lived in Europe, life was much slower.  People worked fewer hours, walked everywhere and relied upon the public transportation schedule.  Walking to the post office to pick up a package, purchasing flour at the grocery store to bake bread and depositing a check at the bank was considered a full day.  I revel in this lifestyle.  Once I returned, my general pace slowed down.  Some may complain that I'm simply too slow, but I refuse to make myself go any faster.  I want to enjoy my time on Earth.  There is no reason to wear myself out when it isn't necessary.

This has made me think about my working life once I get out of school.  I don't want to work more than is necessary.  Not to say that I'm lazy, but I don't want to spend my entire life working to buy more things instead of simply enjoying time.  When I come to the end of my life, I don't want to regret the things I didn't do so I could continue working to buy things.  I doubt when I die I will care if I purchased all the beautiful clothes I could want.  There are many things I want to have time for, such as building my crafting business, reading, cooking superb meals and keeping my house clean.  When I become overwhelmed with work and school, these things fall to the wayside.  Once I can comfortably make ends meet, that is when I will stop.  I need do no more.  For as long as the bills are paid and spend time on things I like, that is when I'm happy.

Stop.  Look around.  Enjoy your life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I love the library

It has been years since I've owned a library card.  When I lived in Twin Falls, I had one but somehow wracked up a $98 bill from failing to return a book and never went back.  I realized that with the amount of things I've been trying to learn how to do and how many books I want to read, I should probably buck up and get one for the local public library.

I discovered that we have a decent-sized collection of books, movies and music in town.  And on top of that, it's a three minute walk to get there!  Not only am I saving myself a huge amount of money in book investments, but I'm also reducing the amount of consumerism involved in the book business.  While I love owning books of my own, there are very few that I read more than once or twice unless they're reference books.  It's an environmentally responsible decision to choose book-sharing.

I encourage everyone who loves books to go down to their local library and sign up for a card!  After all..

"Having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card!" --Arthur

Monday, March 21, 2011

Home again

After a good 2500 miles, a whole lot of ocean and a bit of sunshine, we've made it back home.  It was such a great trip and has rejuvenated both Erik and I, so hopefully we can finish the semester strong.  After a discouraging few months, I'm feeling a little better.  There is no longer snow on the ground and it's finally Spring!  I'm looking forward to more sunshine once the rain clears up.

The first thing I did when I got home was bring out my planner and get my schedule down for the next week.  Not only is most of my laundry strewn across the floor, but there are three birthdays in my family within the next ten days so I have a lot of crafting to do.  I also realized that I absolutely require a library card considering the amount of books I've been reading the past few months.  Some big projects include clearing off our balcony which has been covered in rubbish since we moved in and gathering gardening supplies.  It will be a busy week, but I am so looking forward to it.

Here are some promised pictures from the trip!

Murals in San Franscisco

On the beach

 Inside the One Log Cabin

 This is how we ended the trip--a snowstorm

Tallest Paul Bunyan

The GPS decided we should drive into the ocean

Meet Me on Monday

I cannot believe it's Monday already!  I did make it home late last night and now it's time for the real world again.

Here's Meet Me on Monday from Never Growing Old.  It's short and sweet since I'm running out the door for classes.

1.  What jewelry do you wear 24/7?
2.  Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it?
3.  How many siblings do you have?
4.  Were you named after anyone?
5.  Coke or Pepsi?


1.  I actually don't have a piece of jewelry that I wear all the time.  I do wear earrings more than any other kind of jewelry though.

2.  Twirl.  It just makes a mess if you cut it and it's not quite as fun.

3.  Hooray!  A weird answer!  I have two sisters and four brothers.  My parents really liked kids :)

4.  Not my first name, but my middle name was after my mom's best friend.

5.  I am not a soda drinker, so I can't really answer this one for my current lifestyle.  In my soda drinking days though, it would have been Coke.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Vacation--The Ultimate End for a Healthy Body

There is nothing like vacation to ruin your health.

Not only is it full of more unhealthy food than normally consumed, but sitting in a car for several days in a row certainly doesn't help.  My choice to sleep in late every morning instead of getting up to run isn't providing anything.  The few added drinks does no good either.

I sit in California on the beach, jealously spotting lots of long, lean (and very tan) legs and I cover my own wiggly white legs with an extra towel.  It does no good.  My self confidence is completely shot.

Too bad there isn't enough sun to at least give me a little color.  Perhaps then I could at least pretend I belong here.

Follow Friday Fill-in

I've decided to participate in another blog hop this week--since they're so much fun!  This one is from FeelinBeachie and is a fill-in-the-blank.

This week’s statements:

1. I have got to be the worst _____ in the world

2. Although for the most part I love it, sometimes I wish I could just get rid of my_____

3. The best thing about where I live is ________

4. Aside from a new house, car or big vacation, the first luxury I would buy myself if I won the lottery is __________

My Answer's
1.  I have got to be the worst listener in the world.  I interrupt, I put in my own two cents constantly.. I really need to learn how to listen better.

2.  Although for the most part I love it, sometimes I wish I could just get rid of my computer.  I spend so much time researching things when I could actually be doing something.  Facebook, twitter, and everything else takes up too much time.

3.  The best thing about where I live is I can walk everywhere.  I love not needing a car.  Everywhere I need to go is either within walking distance or just a quick trip on the free bus.

4.  Aside from a new house, car or big vacation, the first luxury I would buy myself if I won the lottery is everything I could possibly want to create decor for my house.  There's so much I want to do with my home, but I  never have the funds.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


After three days of nearly non-stop driving, we have finally made it to a resting place for a few days.  San Luis Obispo, a university town (as if I could actually fully escape school, right?) is a beautiful place full of plenty of adventures.  And it's where Erik's cousin lives, so we're able to visit and have a free bed.

I experienced San Francisco for the first time yesterday.  We rode into the city on BART, the bay area transportation system.  It was fun to enjoy public transportation again, since I haven't done that since living in Germany.  We spent the day with my friend Jasmine and her boyfriend which was great.  Within the first five minutes, she and Erik became members of Greenpeace due to the volunteers working on the street corner (they were not prostitutes, just so you're aware).  A true San Franciscan moment ;).

San Luis is great.  Warm and with plenty of hiking, climbing and thrift store shopping available, we're able to spend the day doing a variety of things.  I would absolutely love to live here once we graduate, but it's a matter of Erik finding an engineering job which could be difficult.  I can take my work with me wherever I go and work any part time job I can find, but he really needs to have a job in his field.  Fingers are crossed though!

Just so everyone is aware, pictures won't be up until we get home.  We forgot to bring the laptop with the SD slot..oops.  Hope it's a good hump day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meet Me on Monday

Since I'm currently writing at a local Starbucks (how typical, right?) due to the hotel not having internet, this will be a short and sweet "Meet Me on Monday" post.  Go check it out for yourself at NeverGrowingOld.

1.  Do you have a fireplace in your home?
2.  Can you drive a stick shift?
3.  How many computers are in your home?
4.  Are your taxes done yet?  Do you do them yourself?
5.  What is your favorite meal of the day?


1.  Unfortunately, I don't.  But when I was growing up we had a wood stove, which was really awesome.  Christmas was an interesting time for us little ones, since we wanted to hang the stockings on it.

2.  Darn right I can!  At 16 I was driving our old Honda Civic across the state to visit some friends.  It definitely helps to know, since Erik's car is a manual.

3.  This is an embarrassing answer, but I will have it noted that I own one MacBook.  However, Erik owns an iMac, a MacBookPro and an iPad.  We are an Apple household

4.  My taxes have been done for a little over a month.  Since I don't have to pay taxes (poor college student and all) I like to get them done quickly.  And I do prepare them myself, since TurboTax works so well when your taxes are simple.

5.  I love dinner.  I like to make pretty meals as often as I can and dinner is usually the only time I get to do that due to class schedules

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Too deep

It's been a life-pondering day.

It began with my study on the physiology of the brain.  I have a test next week (the Monday after spring break, btw) so I'm trying to get an hour of studying in every day while on vacation.  As I was reading, I found out that we have no actual perception of reality.  Depending on how our neurons are firing will give us our individual perception of how real life actually is.  This makes mental health problems all too real for those diagnosed.  And makes me feel as though we are living in a "Matrix."

Then there is the ocean.  It is huge.  A gigantic, powerful body of water stretching farther than any human can see.  Not only that, but think of the population under the water.  The thousands of feet under water where life continues to exist, unknowingly to us.  The many different species that we are unaware of.  And with the current disaster it has caused, one can only sit back in awe (and a bit of fright).  Today as we were driving down Highway 101 and the waves were only yards from my car, I could do nothing but feel a sense of attraction and anxiety.  The ocean scares me.

How big life is.  We are unable to explain it all.  There are so many realms that we aren't even remotely aware of.  We can only comprehend as much as our human brains are capable of, and see how intricate they are!  

It's been a day.  A long day.  

Friday, March 11, 2011

California One

I am currently packing up to get ready for a pleasant, long road trip down the west coast.  I am looking forward to the beautiful Pacific Coast.  Hopefully we will steer clear of any tsunamis.

Here's the plan.  Hood River, down to Portland then taking highway 1 along the coast all the way to San Luis Obispo.  From what I hear it's delightful drive.  I cannot wait to see all the green and experience the clear air.  Not to mention I haven't been to California since I was six!  Also, I'll be meeting the majority of Erik's extended family which is terribly exciting.

It makes me think of the Decemberists song..

Take a long drive with me
on California One, on California One.
And the road a-winding goes
from golden gate to roaring cliff-side,
and the light is softly low
as our hearts become sweetly untied
beneath the sun of California One.

I will be sharing my journey for the next week!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Finding some sunshine


I've been such a Debbie Downer lately.  I think it has to do with the time of year.  It's a little disappointing to get excited about warm weather only to be hit with another winter wonderland or a whole bunch of rain.  Also, school has never been the best during the Spring semester.  Christmas break doesn't provide the kind of rest that Summer break does, so once you get halfway through Spring semester, you're pretty much ready to go postal.  It's difficult to constantly be working you butt off.  Eventually motivation goes out the window.

I found a neat website that is specifically for those who need a little encouragement.  The Bright Side Project's motto is to bring you sunshine every day with themed giveaways and witty repertoire. We hope to inspire you to stop for a second and remember life is (still) beautiful.   They offer daily giveaways in all shapes and sizes based on the monthly theme.  March is the month of adornment, so they're giving away really neat cosmetics, clothing, accessories and home decor.  I really love going there and checking out the pretty things they have found to give away and it's fun to write in, hoping to win a little something.  Nothing is more exciting than free things :).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I am easily discouraged.  I get started on projects and suddenly realize that maybe it's stupid, perhaps someone won't like it or there's simply not enough time.  I get frustrated when something doesn't work the way I had envisioned.  I get fed up with trying to make something work and it just doesn't.  I want to be successful.  I want to be creative.  I want to be great.

Sometimes I just don't know how.

Etsy sent out a great email featuring an article about how to not get discouraged with your work.  I want to share it with everyone because I think it will benefit many.  Not only does it apply with running your own business, but it can apply to anything you do in life.  You cannot be happy with what you're doing unless you include elements such as purpose, grace, courage and love.  How many of us get stuck in a 9-5 job that we hate.   Perhaps if you adjusted your thinking, your purpose, your attitudes about money and what makes a happy life things could change.

Be encouraged.  This to shall pass.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Modcloth: My guilty pleasure

Beautiful clothes almost constantly tempt me.  Ever since I was a little girl I loved putting my outfits together (even if they didn't match) and putting on a dress for absolutely no reason at all.  I continue to have the same attitude about the way I dress and still love to wear dresses whenever the weather permits.

ModCloth is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  Not once have I purchased anything from there, but I often scan the website for hours.  One of the best parts is the vintage clothing they sell, so if you don't want to purchase brand new items, you don't have to!  Also, Modcloth tries to keep up ethical business practices and do what they can to keep a healthy and sustainable environment.

These beautiful clothes have a sense of elegance and simplicity about them.  I love the popular pastels that seem to be cropping up in clothes this spring.  They're so pretty and timeless.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's Monday...

It's Monday.  You can tell it's nearly spring break since most of my classes have reduced in size.  No one really wants to go, everyone is discouraged.  It appears to be a really terrible semester for most people.  And after this darn flu and being out of school for nearly a week, my grades are suffering.  I got a 73 on my Organic Chemistry test, a result of not really caring about that test.  I have a serious case of senioritis and I'm still a year away from graduating.  This could be a difficult year..

On a happy note, I made another trip to the craft store yesterday.  Since I've been sick I pretty much plowed through a good chunk of my supplies so I had to restock a little.  I'm so excited to get to work on some new projects.  They include sets of dish cloths, something neat with wine bottles (which will be a surprise for later when I actually figure it out) and soap, at some point.

My bedroom is incredibly boring in comparison to the rest of my house.  I have a beautiful comforter but never really had much to put on the walls.  I've been looking at these cute little yarn wreaths that people have been making like crazy lately, so I found a tutorial over at Take Heart and made on myself!  It's currently above our bed and I'm awfully proud of it.

I think my favorite part is the little felt flowers.  I'll probably add a few more elements to the wreath, but for now I just wanted something on that empty wall!

Meet on Monday

Through CouponQueen over at Living on Less I've found about "Meet me on Monday" by Java at Never Growing Old which is a neat way to get to know other bloggers through five questions every week.  Here goes!

1.  What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?
2.  What was the last package that was delivered to your house?
3.  What is your favorite scent that you love to smell?
4.  Do you smoke?
5.  Are your parents married or divorced?


1.  Wow, this couldn't have been a better question.  I absolutely love potatoes and my favorite way is fried with a little salt, pepper, garlic and... poppyseed dressing.  I will eat potatoes in any form, but this definitely takes the cake.

2.  Lye.  I'm trying to embark on soap making so I ordered lye through Amazon since that was the cheapest and easiest way to find it.  Unfortunately it's been sitting in my workspace ever since and still needs to get some use.  I still need a big stainless steel pot before I can get down to the soap so if anyone has a spare.....

3.  This is nearly impossible.  Probably the Co-op.  It reminds me of growing up a somewhat "hippie" lifestyle.  I think it's the soap.

4.  Once in a blue moon and mostly hookah if I do.

5.  Married--for 23 years!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Live with Less

One of the most influential books in the simple living movement was Doris Janzen Longacre's "Living More with Less."  Published in the 80's, this book not only called everyone to live a life of less in order to care for those who didn't have enough, but called Christ Followers to this life as well.

In a day and age when Christianity is often linked to heavy consumerism and capitalism, this is a radical call for Christians.  While I continue to hold to the belief that Jesus was a hippie, many still continue to think that following Jesus no longer means "sell all your belongings and follow me" but "take all you can."  While this may be a severe blanket stereotype, it does hold some weight.  With elaborate church buildings, fancy car-filled parking lots and still a huge portion of starving people, it seems as though the majority of God's children are no longer attempting to care for those who are less fortunate.  But Jesus' message has not changed.  People have twisted it.

Longacre's challenge to those who claim to follow Jesus is a serious one.  And with the problems severely increasing since the 1980's, over 30 years ago, we need to take on this challenge.  We need to not let our consumerism get in the way of caring for others.  One would think that with the internet we would become more aware of those who are in need all over the world.  Instead we turn our heads, telling ourselves that we are helping those by supporting the sweat shops they work in.  "At least they have jobs" we say.

This book can also be a very helpful resource for those who claim no religion, or even a different one from Christianity.  Do Justice.  Learn from the World Community.  Nurture People.  Cherish the Natural Order.  Nonconform Freely.  These are Longacre's Five Life Principles, with which she challenges us to live by, and can be taken on by those of any faith.  While living with less can commonly be brushed off, we should at least try.  Start thinking of the these life principles when you make simple purchases.  "Does this item nurture people?  Does it cherish the natural order?"  Starting small can bring you down a path of simplicity out of caring for others.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Beautiful Things

I have quickly discovered what draws me to something--beauty.  Looking through decor8 by Holly Becker, Once Wed by Emily Newman or even various shops around Etsy, the one thing that ties them all together is the elegance and beauty of the photos.  Simple elements and beautiful photos make me long to be capable of recreating such beauty.

Holly Becker at decor8 recently showed a little bit of Twig Hutchinson's work, which incredible.  Her interior design and prop placing has a completeness to it, something that flows and makes you want to have for yourself.



Once Wed is constantly bringing in beautiful pictures of weddings already happened, elements of weddings to come and ideas that will bring your once-in-a-lifetime day together.

Photos: Our Labor of Love by David and Kendrick

What I have discovered about Etsy is that even if an item is extraordinary, it won't appear that way unless the photos are beautiful.  A picture says a thousand words.

     Clutch by JuliaSherryDesigns

Painting by Claire Elan

These are only a few of the many things that inspire me.  These are artists who continue to create beauty in the world.  This is what brings me encouragement day after day.