One Little Word 2015: An Update

red necklace silver chain

I’m reading a book that I’m having a hard time putting down.

Actually I’m reading two books I can’t put down because, a few months ago, I developed a habit of reading a non-fiction book during the day and a fiction book at bedtime. I didn’t create this system – I’ve heard about it lots of places – but I have found it to be a great practice. I use my more awake and alert hours to read books for knowledge, and I use the quieter evening hours for books that help me wind down, relax, escape.

99U Make Your Mark

While my fiction book is by my bed, my non-fiction book is always in my bag. I read it at the gym, I read it during naptime, I read it during spare minutes I find during the day.

I took it to the park over the weekend to read while my kids played. (Moms of young kids, take heart. Your day is coming. I remember taking my kids to the park just a few years ago and seeing a mom sitting on a bench reading US Weekly, and even though I’m more of a House Beautiful girl myself, I was overwhelmed with envy. But here I am, a blink of an eye later, being that mom. There is hope!)

As I was taking turns reading and watching BB and BG play, another parent, noticing my book, struck up a conversation, asking if I was thinking of starting a business. My response? “Uh, yeah, maybe.”


The truth is, I HAVE a business. It’s tiny, it’s not profitable by any stretch of the imagination, and I’ve been treating it very much like a hobby. But making jewelry is a business I have, and it’s one I hope to grow.

I find tremendous joy in making jewelry. I love making new things from old things. I love imagining what these items were before and what they could be with a little attention and creativity.

And at the center of that is my true passion – finding beauty in the possibilities.

I believe that all of us – ALL OF US – have beauty. We all have been created with possibilities – we have skills and talents and passions that have been given to us to share with the world because they are good and they are helpful and they serve a purpose. They serve other people. They somehow weave together to help us love other people, and to love them well.

And while I’m flipping and flopping along on this journey of discovering what exactly I’m made to do and who exactly I am supposed to be, when I dig deep inside, I see that there is a theme.

That I am a glass half-full kind of gal who sees possibility in things that others look beyond. That there is beauty to be found in unexpected places. That there is potential in a discarded necklace, a donated dress, a free chair on the side of the road.

And there is beauty and possibility in us, too. Something greater than the sum of our parts. A spark, a light, a special something that only we – YOU – have that is meant to be shared with the world.

I believe we are all called to do extraordinary things, even in our ordinary lives.

Lately, I’ve been filling my life with lots of ordinary things – some of them necessary, lots of them good, and some, to be honest, a complete waste of time.

So, as I’ve been reading my book this week, a couple of words keep appearing – simplify and refine.

Funny how these things come back to you.

I see that there are many good things to choose from in my life.

I’m trying to dig through all the things I “love” to find what is real and true and abiding.

I am still refining. And I think I will continue to refine for the duration of my days.

And for today, refining looks like doing what I really love to do, so I’m making a necklace.

thrifted necklace

I’m collecting loose pieces from old, broken, discarded things and using them to create new, beautiful objects.

red wooden bead necklace

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

I’m back. It’s been a strange season – wrapping up our first school year experience, finding our summer rhythm, tying up lots of loose ends. I don’t think I have used my sewing machine in over a month, and I haven’t made jewelry either. But this week, I made time for a little of both, and it brought me so much joy.

What have we been up to? It’s hard to really say why we have been so busy. We’ve been immersed in house stuff – finishing up the outdoor projects (reveal coming soon!), painting walls and doors, rearranging furniture, and cleaning out.

Remember I was reading this book? (I talked more about it here.) I thought I would need to reread it monthly, but it seems that it took a few months to fully sink in. I am now completely entrenched in decluttering our house. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no pack rat, but something in the last few weeks really clicked, and I’ve committed to getting rid of ALL the excess. I have never been more enthusiastic about cleaning in my life.

Here are some other things that have been on my mind lately:

citrus fruit

1. Instagram. I finally jumped on the bandwagon. Just like blogging, I followed other people for a while before posting myself. And I’m loving it! (I’m @beautifulobjs if you want to follow along.) I think it is making me a little more mindful and attentive to what’s going on around me during the moment. (And my obsession with rainbow color order lives on!)

2. This made me surprisingly emotional. I have thought of it often over the last few weeks. Beautiful.

the forest feast book

3. The Forest Feast. I have seen reviews of this book on various blogs, so when I stumbled on it at my library, I added it to my overflowing bag. (Do you do this, too? I probably check out 10 books at a time. I know I will never read all of them, but in the moment, I just can’t choose. It still makes me giddy that I get to take them home with me. FOR FREE!) After reading only a handful of pages of this book, I knew I needed a copy for my own bookshelf. I want to live in its pages. Erin Gleeson’s photography and hand lettering are beautiful, and every recipe looks simple and wonderful. (Her blog, The Forest Feast, is lovely as well.) Reading it made me long for fall (even though we’ve just dived into summer) and to throw a party. It’s definitely time to throw a party.

4. This was fun. I saw this months ago, and put in Nicole (the name I have always gone by but which is actually my middle name – I’m from the South, we do that a lot), and the description that came up was not super accurate. It came across my path again, and this time I tried my actual first name. WHOA! Ridiculously accurate. Have you tried this? If you do, I’m curious about your results. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

5. Speaking of parties, this made me laugh. (I’m an ENFP. You?)

What are you up to this weekend? It’s going to be hot, so there will be trips to the pool, afternoon movies and popcorn, and house painting. Always more painting. I’m also in the middle of three books right now, so I’m hoping to finish one of them. So I can take it back to the library and get some more books, of course. Hope you have a great one!

It Does a Body Good


I made jewelry this weekend! It’s been a few weeks, and it felt wonderful to create something with my hands.

I also did a little sewing this weekend. I’ve been in purging mode the last few weeks (thanks to this book – more about that here and here), so I’ve been piling clothes and sorting them for consigning, giving away, and mending.

Quick Fix for a Strapless Dress

This gray dress was in the mending pile. When I found it at the thrift store, I was short on time, so I just held it up to my body and thought, “Close enough!”

When I got home, I realized it was a little too big, and too big in a strapless dress doesn’t work, so I came up with this quick fix for a strapless dress.

Side note – while I was trying it on, figuring out how to fix it, I kept thinking of this commercial from the 80s – do you remember it?

I LOVED that dress. I was sure that this would be exactly the kind of dress I would wear to the prom.

Of course, I was 9 years old when that commercial came out, so by the time I went to my first prom, my dress was a little different:

sequin dress

Alas, this is not my dress. I searched high and low for a photo from my first prom but came up short. My dress was very similar to this, except it was turquoise. The style in 1994 (at least in East Tennessee) was head-to-toe (or head-to-knee) sequins and beads. (You know I love me some sequins – see another almost prom dress here.)

It’s currently prom dress season, and thanks to the glory of Facebook, I can see what my friends’ daughters are wearing this year (both in Tennessee and California). I love seeing how styles have changed – lots of beautiful dresses, elegant fabrics, and MUCH fewer sequins.

photo (52)-001I would like to note – my senior prom dress (photo above, from my scrapbook in which I rubber cemented sequins to the page and wrote with bubble letters) didn’t have a single sequin. I was also 2 weeks post-op from an ACL replacement, and I was supposed to still be using crutches, so that it why I was not wearing heels, much to my dismay.

Okay, my project dress.

gray lace dress

I love the color and the lace, and while it’s a relatively recent dress from H&M, it’s got a vintage feel that I love, too.


In order to keep the front of the bodice intact, I decided to add elastic to the back of the bodice to make it fit better.

Quick Fix for a Strapless Dress

My plan was to use two pieces of elastic, one on each side of the zipper, which falls is the middle of the back.


I measured the length of one of the back pieces from the side seam to the zipper (here, 8 inches). I subtracted 3 inches (it was just a guess, and it worked well) and cut two pieces of elastic, 5 inches each.


I pinned the elastic along the top of the bodice in the back, one end at the side seam and one end just before the zipper.

Quick Fix for a Strapless Dress

I then sewed the elastic along the top of the bodice, pulling the elastic as I went to make sure it stretched the length of the bodice. After it was sewn in place, it pulled the top of the bodice in, making it fit better. I repeated this on the other side.

Quick Fix for a Strapless Dress

Here’s the back of the dress with the elastic sewn into the top.


It fits so much better this way. And because this dress feels like a 50s prom dress, a pink satin ribbon seemed necessary, along with pink heels and a pink necklace.


Here’s my new necklace! I used vintage rose-shaped beads and sterling silver chain to create a pretty yet simple necklace.

pink rose bead necklace

I love how sweet and innocent it is.


pink rose bead necklace

Sewing and making jewelry – I don’t know about “Does a Body Good”, but it sure does wonders for the soul.


Dress: thrifted (H&M)

Necklace: my Etsy shop


 I’m off to go look for more prom photos! So, did you go to prom? What did you wear? I’d love to hear. And thanks for reading!


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