Thursday, August 28, 2014

Single + Purposeful - Guest Post at Our Yellow Door

Hello my long lost blog friends! 
My goodness, it's been awhile.

 I will have to share in another post what this summer has held for me, but to sum it up, I would say craziness. I have quit my job in Charlotte, moved out of my place, said goodbye to some friends leaving the country, see-you-laters to Charlotte friends, and moved back in with my parents in the Raleigh area. All while planning a wedding. That's exhausting just to write. I will try to get in a weekly post, because this blog is a little slice of stress relief for me, which is a good thing right now. 

Anyways, we'll save all the details of that another time, but for today I wanted to let y'all know about a guest post I did over at Rachel's blog, Our Yellow Door. I wrote a little about my time as a single woman (not that long ago - just got engaged in April), and some lessons I learned while being single that hopefully will help you out, or someone you know! 


"As I was reading the other guest posts in Rachel’s singleness series, one word came to my mind about my time being single – purposeful. I wish I could say I had it together when I was single, but I did not. I don’t have it together now that I’m engaged, but I sure did learn a lot from my single years. I spent many years just longing for relationships instead of focusing my time and energy on deepening my relationship with God and being more purposeful about serving Him.
I heard and read a lot of things when I was single along the lines of if single women served God more, He would bring the perfect man along. And how far from the truth this is! As single women our purpose should never be to serve God to find a man, but to serve God because we love Him and want to use our talents to glorify Him."
To read the rest of the post, go check it out here
And be sure to give Rachel some love - she is a sweet girl, excellent blogger, and a great encourager. :)
P.S. I have added many new things to my Etsy, so check it out here, or click the Shop link at the very top of my page ^^^. Lots of new lovelies, just in time to start thinking about Christmas gifts! ;)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

lessons in grace: recognition.


I had a hard conversation with my fiancee yesterday.

We were talking about one of my "dream jobs" - working for Noonday Collection. I was talking to him about applying, but the timing just wouldn't be good with everything going on - moving back with my parents, wedding planning, married in October, then moving to FL. It sounded good, but it would just add more stress. 

We then started talking about why I wanted to apply and work for them. And that was when the tough parts of the conversation came out. I told him basically the reason I wanted to work for them was to get recognition. For my jewelry-making talent, for helping people in need. Aka I have pride issues.

And when I realized that...yikes. It was like God took a magnifying glass to my heart, and said "Hey, this isn't good. That is not the reason I gave you these skills."

Everyone wants to be recognized, to be acknowledged for the work they do. But when that becomes our motivation is when problems happen. I thought about the passage where the disciples are asking Jesus who will sit beside Him in heaven. Essentially they wanted recognition more than Jesus Himself. And I realized that's what I'm doing. I'm saying, "I want recognition for the talents You've given me, more than I want You." 

My life is not about being an artist. I have to realize that. My life is about following Jesus. He comes first.

CS Lewis

I feel like I'm in a rut with the jewelry-making, that it isn't purposeful. That I'm not making a difference with my talents like I want to. Of course I want recognition, but it's become an issue. It is not supposed to be my motivator or something I expect. And that can only happen with God's help of weeding that desire out of my heart. Because dangit, I want it bad. And isn't that how sins usually go?

Being the wise owl my fiancee is, he then started talking about being faithful in the little things. I cannot expect great, wonderful opportunities to come up if I am not faithful with the smallness of my business in the here and now. I have to stop overlooking my everyday interactions, the customers that trickle through, all while glancing ahead, trying to skip this tough, dry season to get to the good stuff. 

It doesn't happen overnight, and it was never meant to work that way. God oftentimes gives us the slow, small path to teach us things, to prepare us. 

Do I have any idea what He's preparing me for? I have no clue. But apparently I need to stick it out and be faithful with the small stuff. 

"One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much."
{{Luke 16:10}}

And the underlying key to this? Humility

Humility in my everyday practices, interactions, humility in success, humility in the dry season. Humility always. 

And you know what? All of this examining of my heart on a regular ole' Wednesday night led me to realize this --- the more I find out about myself, my heart and my sins, the more I see how deficient I am. I need Jesus, plain and simple. No way I could do anything on my own. And you know what the funny thing is? 

That's how it's supposed to be. 

He reveals our sins and heart to us so that we see more clearly our need of Him. And we all need Him.

Am I telling y'all this because I want a pat on the back for being honest? Nope. I just want to have a more open heart, and be vulnerable to give other people the freedom and grace to do the same. I hope my words are an encouragement. :)

What are some life lessons you've been learning lately? Care to share about the tough ones? 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

june goals.

Can y'all believe it is June already?! I can't! The year is flying by, but I'm trying to restart some good, healthy practices - emotionally, physically, spiritually. One of these will be setting goals for the month. I'm going to try this out, because I have found I need loose guidelines (aka not a daily to-do list, but something a little broader). True story: I got fed up with not accomplishing my to do lists every day, so I threw out my planner last month. Um...Yeah. 
So as you can see, I could use some guidance. ;)

1. Blog twice a week
2. Come up with a general blog schedule for the month
3. Photograph jewelry for Etsy sale
4. Have an Etsy sale
5. Finalize catering vendor for wedding
6. Make a tentative plan for July (it's going to be a crazzzzy month - moving & other good stuff!)
7. Declutter & downsize in prep for moving
8. Exercise 3x a week
9. Finish reading Isaiah
10. Complete pending jewelry & art projects for customers

So there we have it! A little lofty, but as work is slowing down, I think it is manageable. I've had a good start with #7, but there is so much more I can get rid of. I am moving out of my apartment towards the end of July and want to move as little stuff as possible!

The Tiny Twig

{{I'm linking up today with the Tiny Twig for these June Goals.}}

Do you set monthly goals for yourself, and does it help you? If you like, share a few in the comments below! I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

noonday collection + giveaway!

Happy Saturday! 
I'm home at my parent's house for the weekend in Garner, and it is so beautiful out today! We're heading to the Raleigh Farmer's Market soon, which I love!

So, for some reason the HTML didn't work for me, but I still wanted to make sure y'all heard about this giveaway that Rachel is hosting over at Oh Simple Thoughts

The giveaway runs for a few more days so go to her page and enter! You will be entering to win the Del Mar Necklace from Noonday Collection. Here's what Rachel said about Noonday:
They are a jewelry and accessories company that gives back in big ways."Together with the Noonday ambassadors across the country, we offer you the opportunity to use your purchasing power to create change in the world {while looking really good along the way}. Your fashion sense can now restore dignity to abandoned women in Ethiopia, empower communities in Ecuador, and create business opportunities for Ugandans." Noonday sells beautiful necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and more, all made by artisans in third world countries. Some of the money from every item bought goes back to these artisans to create a sustainable lifestlye for them and their communities. HOW AWESOME?!

I don't own anything from Noonday yet, but I love their jewelry, their style, their mission and vision and just about everything about them! At the beginning of this year I actually had a phone interview with someone from Noonday, but the position didn't work out for me due to its seasonal nature, but I still support and love what this company is doing. Beautiful vision + beautiful accessories. What else could you ask for??

Del Mar Necklace

Click the picture above to head over to Rachel's page to enter the giveaway! Gorgeous necklace!

{This giveaway not only benefits the artisans of Noonday, but also helps fund an adoption! Double win wooo!}

Now go outside + enjoy this weather!! :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

not another tie.

Is it just me, or are Dads (or men in general) hard to shop for??

Father's Day is quickly approaching so I'm doing a roundup of some unique Father's Day gifts that are not ties. Or socks. Or boring. 

All of these gifts are from handmade shops I've come across or small businesses with great causes. Enjoy shopping!

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1. For the Busy Dad:

2014-04-01 18.19.09.jpg

Perfect for your Dad to throw his wallet, change, phone on either on his dresser or a table by the front door.

2. For the Hip Dad:

I tried copying a picture of the actual t-shirt, but it didn't work. This is the design on it. Sevenly is a great company that donates $7 of every purchase to the designated charity of the week. This week it is TAPS, an organization that supports the children of fallen service members who have given their lives. Pretty sweet shirt for a great cause!!

3. For the Gaming Dad:

These were made my sister, and are sold in her Etsy shop. She makes custom coasters using reclaimed tiles and she also makes record bowls. These coasters are durable, and perfect for the Dad who likes to relax with a little video gaming, or one who just loves Batman! (Let's be honest - best super hero. Of course.)

4. For the Nerdy Dad:
GeeksandNerdsStudio's Stormtrooper Silver Cufflinks

Father's Day - Groomsmen Gift - Star Wars Stormtrooper Silver Cufflinks - Made with LEGO bricks - Mens Cufflinks - Gift for HIm - Best Man

Star Wars cufflinks. Need I say more?? These are kind of amazing. 

5. For the Rustic Dad:
Hope Collective's (that's me!) Brass Bullet Shell Keychains

Father's Day Gift // Brass Bullet Shell Keychains // Men's Gifts // Bullet Keychains

I made these over the weekend, and I love them! Such a simple, and really unique gift for your Dad (or your brother / boyfriend / fiance / husband) at a really good price! I made them using reclaimed bullet shells that either me or my fiance fired. I'm selling these for just $8 + shipping. Perfect for the man who loves to hunt!

There you have it! What are you getting your Dad / loved one for Father's Day this year? Any other great sites that have unique men's gifts that you want to share?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

{3} on wednesday.

It's funny how one conversation, and some emails can take so much stress away from you. I'm such an introvert and a people-pleaser. I just want to make everyone happy with zero conflict. Well, in case you were born yesterday, this is impossible. haha Especially when it comes to big things like wedding plans. You guys, I'm a slow learner, but it's okay because I'm taking baby steps with the help of my Jesus.

I love this movie!! Bonus points if you can name it. :) Source: Google images.

Today I wanted to share {3} things I'm excited about / grateful for / loving at the moment:

{1} Needtobreathe's newest album "Rivers in the Wasteland"


I cannot say enough about how much their music means to me. I really started to love them in a dark time in my family about 3 years ago. I think my sister shared their song "Something Beautiful" with me and it's wonderful. They absolutely have true talent and I look up to them for inspiration when it comes to showing the hope of God + truly mastering your art form. I saw them live for the first time last April, and will get to see them again with my sister in August AND I CANNOT WAIT. They're talented, fun, Southern, and their genuine love of God shows. What more could you ask for? I just read an interview with them from HM Magazine online. This quote was great and really stood out to me, especially as an artist:
(HM) There was a moment after recording The Reckoning where you guys thought the band was over. What advice could you give other musicians who lose faith in what they’re doing?
(Bear from Needtobreathe)  It may be different for some bands, but I do think … the worst thing you can do is to start worrying about the outcome of what you’re doing. Somehow you’ve flipped priorities to becoming concerned with the success of what you’re doing or to how it affects people, even. We’re given certain talents, and we’re supposed to give them up, I think. We don’t own them. When we started feeling like they were ours is where things started going poorly.

You can read the rest of the interview here. That really hit me because, as Christians, we ought to recognize our talents are not for us, or for our benefit. This is a constant struggle for me, and probably deserves it's own post at some point. But I think Bear hits the nail on the head and shows that when we try to take control instead of trusting God, that's when things go haywire.

{2} These colors and textures together

I was playing around with these last night making a new pair of earrings for myself. I love turquoise + brass together. Perfect combo.

{3} Wedding Chicks
lace wrapped wedding invite

If you are getting married anytime in the near future, you need to check out the Wedding Chicks website! I stumbled across it, and they have it all. It's well organized, with beautiful pictures, and chock-full (is that even a real word?) of inspiration. They have tons of DIY ideas, as well as free printables to use for your wedding (free! always good!). They even have free printable save-the-dates and invitations. Now that is cool. We most likely aren't using their free ones, since I made ours, but it's still a really cool option. They also have list of vendodrs. It just seems more personable than a site like The Knot. It definitely has more of a DIY, creative vibe than those kinds of sites, which of course, I really like.

What are {3} things you're loving / grateful for right now?? Love to hear from you! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

wedding inspiration.

Where have I been you may ask? Drowning under Pinterest wedding ideas. 
It is a blessing and a curse, my friends. ;)

My fiance (I just like how that sounds!) knows how easily overwhelmed I can get, so he thinks it's a good idea if I stay off of Pinterest for wedding ideas. And as vast as the black hole of Pinterest is, it has actually been helpful for organizing my thoughts and ideas for decorations, dresses, reception, etc.  

So to ease into the week since it's Monday, I'm going to share some wedding inspiration with y'all. Click each picture, and it will take you to my corresponding Pinterest boards. Enjoy the beautiful-ness!

Wedding Color Inspiration:


Wedding Flower Inspiration:

Our next bouquet recipe has a fall vibe and is filled with orange dahlias, peach stock, amaranthus, craspedia and fever few. Tied with a burlap wrap to give it a rustic look and feel. For the groom, Janie also designed a boutonniere that would match perfectly with this rustic wedding bouquet.

Table Centerpiece Inspiration:

Mint Gold Wedding, love the painted gold tree trunk!

Reception Inspiration:

rustic wedding

I have a few other Wedding Inspiration boards, so click here to check them out (and scroll to the bottom). I didn't want to overwhelm y'all with 15 different boards. haha ;) I'm still gathering ideas for some of them. I went wedding dress shopping this past Saturday with my Mom and sister, and found one I really really liked but it was $950...that's a tad over my budget. It's at a few other stores in the area, so I'm going to call around and see if there's a price difference at different stores. 

For those of you that are already married, what was helpful in your wedding planning stage? And what would you have changed? Feel free to tell all!! I'm all ears. :)

happy Monday!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

the best easter ever.

This post was meant to be published last week, but things have been a bit busy. There's good reason I have been absent from the blog world, and I'm about to tell you why. As of Easter Sunday, I am now...


I am super excited to spend my life with my fiancee (still feels a little weird to say that) Tyler. He is the sweetest, most encouraging man I have ever known. He somehow puts up with my ridiculous, emotional self, and that in itself is pretty amazing. :) 
I know you're dying to see pictures so here are a few:

{Here's the story:}

{Well, a little backstory first - Tyler works offshore in the oilfield, and lives in Florida. I live in the Charlotte area of NC, and my parents live in the Raleigh area. Tyler's schedule is 3 weeks on/3 weeks off. We are long-distance right now, and usually see each other when he comes back onshore after each hitch. So it's not unusual for us to go a month without seeing each other.}

Anyways, the plan was for Tyler to drive up from Florida early Saturday morning, and get to my parent's house sometime Saturday night to spend Easter with me and my family. Well, he decided to surprise me and drove through the night on Friday night and got to my parent's house where I was staying on Saturday morning. I actually kind of unintentionally ruined that surprise because I had just woken up from a dream when I heard a car door slam, so I looked out the window and saw his truck. haha My Dad and him were talking, and I decided to just stay in bed for a little longer because I didn't want to ruin any plans or anything. A few minutes later, Tyler came in to wake me up, and it was so sweet. :)
Saturday we hung out with my family, and visited my older brother Nate, and his wife Rachel in Greensboro.

Sunday it was just Tyler, me, my Mom and Dad for church in the morning. We took a few pictures after church, then headed home for lunch. I went into my bedroom for something, and came out and my Mom said, "It's going to be about an hour before lunch is ready, why don't you show Tyler around Garner?" I love Garner because that's where I grew up, but there is not much there (aside from our famous White Deer haha). I was like, okay...sure we can do that (I had no idea what to show Tyler). Then my Mom said I should bring him to Lake Benson. Tyler was like, sure let's go there. My family was acting a little suspicious all weekend, and I thought something might be up, but that's when I was about 90% sure he was going to propose that day. :) I started getting a little nervous, and I was hungry. So I ate a Reeses egg on the way to the park. I didn't want to get hangry, after all (I offered Tyler one, but he said his stomach was bothering him - now I know why!). Anyways, so Tyler and I get in his truck and we make our way to the park. He grabs a wrapped present from the back of his truck, and we start walking towards the lake. We're just talking about silly stuff, and Tyler is talking about dwarves or wizards under bridges. I kid you not. haha I think he was a tad nervous. ;) 

We find this little spot that some people had just left that overlooked the lake, and we sat down on some tree roots by the edge of the water. Soon after we sat down, Tyler hands me the wrapped present and says, "This is your last birthday present. Do you want to open it now?" "Yes!" (I love presents). Well, I start unwrapping it, and it is a gorgeous woodburned plaque he made that said "Leah Will You Marry Me?". Pretty much all I saw was "Marry Me?" and I started crying! Happy tears, and shock, and excitement, all at once. Years of frustrations and conversations about my desire to be married, and thinking I'd never get married, all found that hope and special gift in that moment. God provided a wonderful man for me to love, and be loved by. I was just holding my hand over my mouth in shock, and finally started shaking my head yes, yes, yes, and finally found the words to say "Yes". I held out my hand, and Tyler put the most beautiful ring on my finger. We kissed, and it was just such a special moment, just the two of us, and I loved that. We sat there, just hugging, and enjoying the moment. I think we just kept saying to each other, "We're getting married!!" haha :) It was simple, and sweet, and thoughtful. And I love the plaque he made me, to show me his creativity, and it's something we'll always treasure and can think back on. He worked so hard on it, and I loved that. It means a lot to me. 

So, after that we headed back to my parent's house, and the day was filled with squeals, excitement, hugs, phone calls and all that good stuff. I was so so glad that Tyler chose that weekend when I could be surrounded by my family. It was really special to have that. :)

So, that is my big news for now, and wanted to share it with everyone. 

I am blogged out after that novel, so I hope everyone has a fantastic Tuesday!! And don't forget to enter the Good for the Soul giveaway mentioned in yesterday's post here

Monday, April 28, 2014

happy Monday + Good for the Soul giveaway

Happy Monday Y'all! 

I have been MIA from the blog world for over a week, but there is good explanation!! :) I have not had much time to just schmowze around on the computer, but my goal tonight is to finish a post I started a few days ago, and let you guys know what's been going on in my world. :)

A few weeks ago, Rachel over at Oh Simple Thoughts approached me about participating in a giveaway with her and a few other hosts, and I was happy to jump on the chance! She is giving away 3 books (haven't read them yet, but have heard they are amazing), a gorgeous print, and a Starbucks gift card (who doesn't love a nice cup of coffee or tea?!).

So, enter below, and I hope you win!! :)

 Meet your co-hosts:

The winner of the giveaway will be announced Monday, May 5th. All entries will be verified, so make sure to play fair! :) Good Luck!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

goodwill finds + inspiration

Thanks to some fellow artists I follow on Instagram, I have been inspired lately to do a major cleaning and reorganization of my jewelry-making workspace {read that as "small folding table in the corner of my bedroom" - hey, baby steps}.

{inspiration. image source: pinterest}

I had been struggling with what to put above my jewelry table that would be inspiring + functional. At one point I had a picture frame that I had once used as a display at a craft show, and then I had makeshift miniature bulletin boards. Oh man - they were hideous. haha Let me explain: I have a soft spot in my heart for clearance items. Something about saving money makes me want to do cartwheels. I also have a soft spot for buying clearance items I don't actually need or supplies I don't end up using but look cool in the fabulous fluorescent lights of AC Moore/Michael's. So, once upon a time, I bought a roll of cork at AC Moore. I thought, I can make my own bulletin board and save money, woohoo! Well, the cork was crumbly, would not lay flat to save it's life, and just was a waste of effort. I cut it and put it in random empty frames I had, and it just looked sad. So I finally gave up that idea, got rid of the frames and the cork. My next installment was fun pictures and prints I just taped with washi tape above my table. 

I think it is so important for artists to visually see inspiration while they work, to refresh and reset your mind on your ideas, to help you focus, to get outside your own head sometimes. Jessi from naptimediaries just posted about inspiration and I loved this quote from her:
"Seek inspiration outside your field to dig deep and avoid accidental copying."

So, I knew I wanted some sort of inspiration board to put up quotes, pictures, things torn out of magazines that lit my creative spark. 
Well, I finally realized I just needed a good, old fashioned bulletin board. Already made (haha). 

Sunday afternoon I went to Goodwill with the purpose of looking for a white shirt (negative), jean shorts (negative), and a bulletin board. I was walking over to where the picture frames are, and lo and behold, out from the backroom a Goodwill employee comes carrying a bulletin board. You better believe I snatched that baby up! I think it was a small God thing, looking out for me in the littlest way. :) It was $4 and in good condition. I knew I wanted to spruce it up a little, so I just painted the wood trim with 2 coats of some yellow paint I already owned. 

Voila! Here it is, painted and hanging in my "studio". :) 

{magazine cutouts, photo of my boyfriend+i, small painting from a boy i babysit, a postcard of the amazing artist thornton dial who i met, etc.}

{my friend made the piece in the frame - it says "do what you love, love what you do"}

{see that amazing wooden type drawer on the floor filled with beads? another great $5 goodwill find!}

Want to see a few more home studios/workspaces that inspire me? Click here to go to my Pinterest board. For the day I have a whole room dedicated to my art. :)

What are some ways you gather inspiration for your hobby/artwork? Taking walks, hashing out ideas over coffee dates, using inspiration boards, Pinterest? I'd love to hear from y'all! :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

a taste of spring

Here are a few goodies I've made last week and this week for spring/summer. 

I've been playing around with the turquoise + coral/tangerine combo and I love it! I love turquoise all year around, but it especially looks great in spring and summer for that pop of color. Pair these with a striped tee or a flowy white blouse.

I've also been playing around with this design. A long chain with a simple, colorful asymmetrical focal point. This would look great layered with other simple necklaces.

The perfect statement necklace! Pair this with a plain white tee, or a coral dress to a spring/summer wedding.

I love this one! Very tribal. Pair with your favorite bohemian flowy dress, or add some sass to a plain tee + jeans outfit.

Pretty little dangles!

Interested in purchasing any of the pieces pictured? Let me know! I haven't put them up on Etsy yet, so y'all are getting sneak peeks! Just leave a comment or email me at if you'd like to buy one (or all! haha). 

Which necklace is your favorite? I'd love to hear from you! :)

{Missed my first "Shops with Heart" post? Read it here.}

Thanks for reading!

{Now you can follow me on Bloglovin'! Click the button in the right sidebar >>>}

Friday, April 4, 2014

shops with heart: hope collective

Happy Friday!!!

Can I just say I am so excited it's Spring? It is so refreshing to see some green sprouting up everywhere, and to see beautiful flowers popping out. There is a purpose to every season, but I am sure glad Winter is over. Spring is by far my favorite season, plus it's the season of my birthday! :) I'll be turning 26 next Tuesday - yay! 

Today I will be starting a series called "Shops with Heart". 

Shops with Heart will be a chance for me to highlight handmade shops I admire, where the passion and creativity is evident in their products. I will also highlight small businesses that give back to others in some way.

///Shops with Heart: Hope Collective///

I'm going to start off this series with my own shop Hope Collective. This may seem a tad conceited, but I wanted to give y'all some more photos of products I've made since I haven't shown a whole lot yet. I sell "handcrafted goods for you and your home." I will do a separate post about the organization I will be donating a portion of every purchase to, but let me just go ahead and tell y'all, they are awesome
Since the past few posts have been so word-heavy, just enjoy this eye-candy on this beautiful Friday! :)

1. This week's creation. 

2. Milky Aqua and White Simple Beaded Necklace // Minimalist Spring Necklace 

3. Silver Drusy Hoops

4. African Dreams Earrings

5. This one sold, but I love it, so I wanted to share --- Mumford & Sons Embroidery Hoop Art
{you can find more of my hoop art here}

Beauty and the Bullet // Turquoise Arrow Bead with Brass Beads and Brass Bullet Shell Long Necklace

What are some of your favorite "Shops with Heart"? Let me know, and if it sparks my interest and lines up with my vision for this series, I may highlight it in the coming weeks!

Have a great weekend!!