Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Taking a Break

So, I've been blogging almost every day for awhile now, and I've decided at this time to take a little break. I have honestly been struggling with some life things, and I need a bit of time to put them in order and relax a bit! Blogging can be relaxing (and usually is for me) but right now I have no attention to give to this blog.
I'll be back in a week or two, or maybe a matter of days. But for the first time in a long time I'm going to go into a week not thinking of what I can blog about.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Closet Problem

So, if you guys don't know--I have a closet problem. It might come as a shock to some of you, but I have too many clothes! I found this article on pinterest about The 40 Hanger Closet. Basically, Ruth describes me: I have so many clothes but absolutely nothing to wear. She was the same! Then she challenged herself to cut down to only 40 hangers. Now she can see everything in her closet and mix and match without shifting though a sea of never-worn items!
Guys, I think I'm going to try it. But I'm really nervous. I'll have to get rid of over half of my closet. Like Ruth, I've shopped a little to much at thrift stores, with the its-cheep-why-not mentality, and my closet is overflowing with only-worn-once items, or worse never worn items.
I'm starting with this shirt. Every week I am going to put up 6 items from my closet in my Shop my Closet store, until I have only 40 items left. I'll also be refashioning some things and selling them in my handmade shop too. I won't be buying anything new until I've cut down my closet, and once there I will be keeping it at only 40 hangers. This means once I meet my goal, if I shop, an item from my closet will have to be exchanged for the new blouse/skirt/whatever.
If I really make this happen, I'll own less clothes then my husband. Could you ever do a 40 hanger closet?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Talk of the Future

I used to be shy when I was younger. I would read books all day, and play with my sister and spend lots of time outdoors. I wasn't really nervous around people my own age, but I didn't like talking to adults.
In college I outgrew my shyness and started talking to everyone and everything. I wanted to learn about the world so I could be a part of it! Everyone seemed to be having so much fun and I wanted to join in. Of course, after graduating and working in food service for three years, I realized that making your way in society is very different then what I dreamed of. I no longer wish to leave any marks on this world, I only want to desire to serve God.
Now that I'm growing older I realize how fleeting life is. What is one year? The batting of an eyelash, the ephemeral dream of youthful hope. Life is wonderful and beautiful and so vivid that sometimes it overwhelms me with its little moments and its powerful tides--but most of all its brevity. Oh, that I could turn back years.
 But I am content. With this hour, with this day. I will keep dreaming my dreams and attempting to measure my steps near my Heavenly Father, whose mercy knows no bounds and whose Presence fills my waking life.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


I've been sewing totes for the past few days and my arms are going to fall off. :) But here they are! If you'd like one, they are 15$ in my Etsy shop!
 And yes, I have been experimenting with fabric paint. And I'm super excited about it!

Saturday, June 22, 2013


My earliest memories are of my mom reading. Its no wonder, then, that I love books almost as much as I adore fashion! 

When I was in preschool, my teacher told my mom that I was mentally retarded and would probably never graduate from high school, much less college. I'm not sure why she said this; and my mom didn't tell me about this until I had graduated from college, and I remember laughing with her about it. 

It's true that I was different then the other kids. I couldn't read aloud, and math was a mystery for me. My mom, who had studied different learning disabilities in school knew I was dyslexic, and in middle school, I was officially diagnosed with dyslexia. 

Ask her about the book, my mom pressed the teacher, she comprehends, she just can't read out loud. And its true. I answered every reading comprehension question put to me correctly. I can read. Very well, and fast. And I can write. I still struggle with math, but I took trig and enjoyed it just for fun--it wasn't even required for my major.

Being dyslexic isn't at all bad. I struggle with a few things that stem from my diagnosis and some of them are pretty funny too! If you've read this blog for any amount of time and are at all affluent in spelling (poor Rachel) you might notice that I can't spell. At all. I mix up words like too and to and sell and sale and then and than and a host of other similar sounding vocables. I can't see the difference and I don't notice. It's just how my brain works, and I've learned to have every official piece of writing proof read vigorously before submission. It doesn't bother me anymore. In fact, I find it really odd when people take this as a sign that I am uneducated and unintelligent. I am smart, I just can't spell. 

Due to dyslexia I am also very directionally challenged. Left? Right? I've learned when dealing with directions to slow down and take it one step at a time in order to not mess up. I make an L with my left hand to keep left straight. So, I get lost more often then others--I see this as I get to have more adventures. I also try to leave an extra five minutes early to make sure I arrive places on time.

Have you ever struggled with a learning disability? 

Friday, June 21, 2013

A lazy day

I didn't quite know what to do with myself today, so I took a picture with a succulent on my head.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Let's Talk About Advertising

Why does advertising cost money?
I've read a lot of bloggers lately "bashing" others who choose to have paid advertising (via passion fruit, or other sources) on their blog. This got me thinking, naturally (as well as a bit peeved).

A lot of people don't understand advertising and why it should cost money.

First of all, when you purchase an ad on a fellow blogger's page, or a site--they are sending their clicks to you. Someone might click on their site, see your button, and click over to your page. This person might never return to the site where they saw your button. When you buy a sponsor spot, you are paying that person to send their visitors to you. Now, I spend a lot of time on my blog. I enjoy my readers and their feedback. If I'm going to have your button on my site, and potentially send visitors your way, then I deserve to be compensated for that.

Second, when I pay for advertising, there are perks that come with it. For example, a few months ago I bought one of Rachel's ads. Rachel tweeted many of my blog posts as well as linked some of them in her own writing. She spent some of her personal time promoting my blog. And well, time is money people. There is nothing wrong charging for it.

Great Bloggers to Advertise With:
  • The Random Writings--Very small section of ads allowing yours to stand out. Also links your posts in her own blogging. 
  • Delirious Rhapsody: Does weekly post featuring a link of her choice from your blog. Very friendly--always posts on your blog and leaves very personal and thought provoking comments! Ads on both sidebars and spaced out cleanly. 
  • Discovering Simply Me--Offers large ad space for swaps. Always replies to e-mails and tweets a ton, very friendly!
  • My Billie Designs: Offers very large ads (largest that I've ever seen on the web)
  • Oh Whimsical Me: Offers only swaps right now, three different large sizes and extremely cute website, very professional.  
  • Wifessionals: Super nice blogger! Lets you guest post, tweets your posts daily and gives great blogging advice!
My criteria:
  • I love bloggers that have large swap ads. I usually swap with a blogger before purchasing a paid ad on their site. If you only offer a tiny 50x50 ad in a sea of 800 other ads, I don't return. My swap ads are huge and I expect yours to be of similar size to what I am giving you.
  • Pick a site with a similar (but not exactly the same) demographic as you. For example, my site probably would not do so well on a blog about politics, or gardening. I tend to advertise with fashion, DIY, christian and/or lifestyle bloggers. I try not to advertise with other etsy shop owners who sell similar items as me--that's just not fair to them or for me. 
  • I like bloggers that don't have a billion ads. Those that have 6-10 are my favorite. The more buttons on their site, the more my button has to compete for clicks. If I'm going to pay for a spot, you better bet I'm going to pick a site where my ad will stand out
Who do you advertise with? Do you pay for it? 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I've been--uh, obsessed lately with painting things. It's really interesting to take something that may not look so great and jazz it up with a bright pop of color or two!
Last week I painted this fax leather bag I had laying around! It's just one of those bags from forever 21, you know, the generic slouchy tote. I merely painted it with two coats of Tulip fabric paint, and its as good as new. Oh, did I forget to mention that I absolutely adore it now? 
Now I'm just asking myself what I should paint next.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How to: Tote

I made myself a little market tote this past weekend!
I created this tote from a really weird dress that my friend Beth gave me. Friends that understand DIY and reconstruction obsessions are awesome!

For starters, this tote used to look like this:
Then I cut it up and...
added a liner,
folding that over to cover my seams...
and last, added a nice strap!
I love my new tote!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Want to learn to sew?

Hey guys! How many of you want to learn to sew? I know I did--and there was no one to teach me. So over the course of two years I taught myself! And then I wrote a book about it! (A free e-book!)

learn how to sew ebook

My book details 5 easy sewing projects that build on each other to teach you the basics of sewing. There are no printable patterns in the book. I really dislike that many tutorials have patterns you have to print out and tape together! Instead, I try to explain the basic shapes of sewing so that the reader will have a firm grasp on assembling a project. This means my projects are completely modifiable and very forgivable for a beginner. For example, my bow tutorial can be used to create any size bow, and you can use my tote tutorial to make a large shopping bag or a small shoulder carry-all. The possibilities are endless.

I also do not carry a copyright on the finished project. You know how many books/patterns will not allow you to sell the items you create? You can sell anything you create from this book. If my tutorial inspires you to later write your own tutorials, that's fine too! The only thing I don't want is you offering my book for free, or using any of my images for anything but promoting my book back to this site.

Kitty Adventures in Sewing is written for the beginner through the budding seamstress. Basic steps are thoroughly explained and detailed. Download it for free here! You don't be disappointed :)

In Kitty Adventures in Sewing, I go over sewing set up and cover the basic tools that every machine should have. Trust me, if I can learn to sew, then anyone can learn!

If you are already a savvy seamstress, I would love it if you promoted my book through Pinterest! Every click counts, and it would mean a lot to me!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A tribute to my friend Beth

Dear Beth, you've been an amazing friend throughout the years! I didn't know you much in college, but I wanted to. You have very driven, creative spirit that both inspired and awed me. I totally wanted to get to know you more.
A friend, Me, Beth, and another friend in college shopping at a mall in 2008
After I graduated college, I was still living in town, and I loved learning more about you though random photo-shoots and thrifting adventures! We still have fun shopping and practicing photography together. You also help me stay up to date on current events and challenge me daily to help people in need.
Beth and me at a downtown photo-shoot, 2012
Through the years we became great friends and I am very happy to know you! I can't wait to see where life takes you, as a videographer and a photographer and as a young christian women! You rock!
Beth, me and Larkin at my wedding in 2012
Also, I can't wait to see your new website when it launches on your birthday in a few days!! Here's to many more candid conversations, life lessons, and amazing thrifty moments.

P.S. Pineapples
P.P.S When are you vising me again
P.P.P.S I miss you.

Love your weird friend Carolynn

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dainty Totes

As I stated before, I've been redoing my Etsy shop. Right now I'm making bags! Today's creations are shabby chic totes, with cotton liners and floral pockets. 
 I made these out of a shower curtain I found in the "fabric" bin at Goodwill. I love the fabric bin... And I added lace that I bought from the dollar sale at A. C Moore.
If you like them, they are available in my Etsy shop for $15 each!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Books I read before I said "I Do"

Marriage can be scary. I mean, with a divorce rate over 50% in America, I can say with certainty that I was scared! And I know marriage is hard.
When B and I decided to get married, we both wanted to be prepared! Together, we decided to go though premarital counseling. If you are unfamiliar with this term, its basically where an older, wiser couple or married elder talks to you and your fiance about what marriage entails. Usually they do this in sessions, about 6 to 8 or even more.

As a newly married gal, I can definitely say that someone who has been married for 20 years can pass down a lot of wisdom. Going through premarital counseling helped B and I prepare for life together, and honestly allowed us to work out many personal kinks before we moved in with each other! We talked about budgeting, chores, communication, sex, God, trust...I don't want to think about how many fights we might have had if we never went though counseling!

I know there are many happy couples who never attended a day of premarital, but for B and I it was totally the right decision!
Another thing we did together was read. He and I read lots of books on marriage and love and commitment jointly and separately. If you are a christian and married/about to be married, you should check out these books.
  • Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married  (Chapman)
  • When Dreams Come True
  • The Love Dare
  • Head over Heals
  • Passion and Purity
  • Devotions for Dating Couples 
Some books I read on my own:
  • Captivating (Eldredge) 
  • When God Writes Your Love Story (Ludy)
  • Lies Women Believe 
  • The Forgotten God (still working on reading this)
  • Crazy Love
 What about you? Will you/did you have any premarital counseling? Also, I would love to hear suggestions on any good books on this subject. Both B and I learn something new every day, and we always appreciate the wisdom of others.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Encouraging Ideas

I still want to be involved in my community! I want to get to know people and encourage them and start a local movement of some kind.

Thus, I am going to attempt some random acts of kindness in my town this year. Yay! I can't wait to give back and bless others, and share the goodness of God.

I already have so many ideas on how to incorporate these cards! I plan on going to bookstores and hiding notes, writing some encouragement cards, paying for the person behind me in a drive through, and blessing others with a random $20...can you think of anything?

Have you ever discovered a note from a stranger that made your day?

*Linking up with My Little Mustache!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nom, Nom, Nom

Last week my husband and I found ourselves in Toys R Us, browsing the shelves for an interesting two-player game. It was then, between a Justin Bieber poster and an isle of One Direction barbies, that I spied this shirt.
It was love at first sight. The husband was sort of skeptical. Would it fit me? The shirts were youth sized.  But I begged. I pleaded. I could add fabric, I told him, and make it fit me. So he indulged me and we grabbed the largest size and giggled our way though the check out line.
I've worn it twice since we bought it! Amazingly it fits perfectly; just like it was made for me.
What have you bought recently? Any impulse buys?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tie Dye Update

I'm going to be totally honest with you guys. I've been making tie dye dresses for awhile now, and I can say that while I have improved, I'm still so confused. For starters, my giveaway dresses aren't fitting their intended! I mailed my third giveaway dress last Saturday, and we'll see if she has the same problem. I think I may have jumped the gun on this whole free dress thing before I had the knowledge and experience needed. Because of this, I plan on making totes for all my giveaway winners thus far. Ladies, expect your totes to mail out Friday. I am well versed in making totes, don't worry, it will have no flaws.

Furthermore, I've also been upset with the quality of the dye--my tie dye has been fading a lot when I wash my creations!
a giveaway dress attempt
I talked to one of my close friends who does tie dye almost professionally, and she told me its because I'm using cheep dye. She recommended that I purchase a dye kit. Therefore I have said goodbye to RIT dye and hello to dharma trading dye! Their kit was really expensive, about 50$. However, it says it dyes 40 cotton shirts--and I think its a good investment if it helps me get my colors correct, and I can't wait to try it!

Lately I've been so frustrated over the quality of the dresses I've created for my giveaway. I know that I can't expect perfection yet, but I want people to be able to wear what I make! To be honest I don't think I'm a good enough seamstress to be doing this. I can't figure out sizing. Every dress I've made so far has been wrong in some area! I want to make tie dye dresses and I want to make them correctly! That was why I wanted to do a dress giveaway, to work on fitting dresses and constructing them property.
another dress I made and dyed
So, I'm going to keep the giveaway on hold for awhile until I get a better grasp at fitting people to my dresses. Its harder then I thought, and today I think I've learned a valuable lesson.