31 Days · Being Mama · Color · Fall · five things · good life · Halloween

Five Things

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Hello! Happy Friday! It’s been a little quiet around these parts, but only on the blog. Life has been busy and crazy and FULL and wonderful for the last few weeks.

If you’ve followed along for a while, you know that I usually do 31 Days this time of year. I decided in September that with my schedule, there was no way I could make it happen. This was just not my year, but maybe next year will be. So what have I been doing? Here are a few things that have been on my mind this month:

1. Rummage Sale. The first weekend of October was our preschool’s HUGE Rummage Sale.

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In the week leading up to the sale, we transformed the MPR into collection central, with thousands of items being donated by the school, church, and local community. Over 75 volunteers worked long hours in preparation for this fundraiser, and it was a HUGE success! As in years past (see here and here), it was a CRAZY week of hard work, hilarious moments, exhaustion, and so much fun! I love the Rummage Sale, and I love being able to help raise money for scholarships and for aides for students with special needs. Another great one in the books!

Sunapee, HN

2. New Hampshire.

I just got back from a trip to New Hampshire. Adopted California Mom has invited us for years to join her in the fall when she goes to visit, and this year, Husband said, “Yes, you should do it!” And so I did.

It was my first visit to New England, and I am smitten.

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Now, I happened to be traveling during the fall foliage peak, which was definitely a highlight. I mean, I’m from Tennessee – I’ve done REAL autumn before – but this was unbelievable.

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I’ve never seen colors like this before.

New Hampshire in Autumn

We would be driving along, chatting away, and I would stop mid-sentence, forgetting my words to see another blaze of color before me.

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Aside from the natural beauty, I feel in love with the people (so friendly!) and the houses (such character!) and the pace of our days (calmer, simpler). As BB and BG said every night on the phone, “I can’t WAIT to visit New Hampshire!”

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3. Contrast. This word kept coming to me as we walked and drove among the beautiful color-changing leaves of New England.

This may sound silly, but I’m not a big evergreen fan. I am all about deciduous trees, but I don’t love the conifers. (It might have something to do with the painfully sharp needles that drop into our yard from a particularly unattractive one. Petty, I know. I’m not proud of this.) I realized, however, that the beauty of the changing colors was in part amplified by the contrast of these trees against their evergreen counterparts. A forest full of yellow trees would probably not take my breath away the same way one brilliant one does in a see of dark green needles. It’s the contrast that brings out the beauty. It provides a different perspective.

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The same is true about my time away. I love my kids fiercely and madly, but there was something wonderful about being away from the morning rush and the dishes and the laundry and the bickering. There was space to reflect and dream and plan. And I began to miss them – miss them dearly. Their phone conversations made me laugh harder and smile more easily. And when I returned, there was a level of patience that I haven’t known in several months. I was renewed and refreshed in a way that could only come from stepping back, from having time that wasn’t focused solely on them. Now I know it won’t be like this forever – my patience will grow thin and my nerves will feel a bit frazzled again – but I hope next time I will remember the difference the contrast made, and I will make time to give myself some margin so that I can once again return to them with a new perspective.

New Hampshire


4. That which is temporary. In addition to contrast, the changing leaves also stood as a reminder of things that are temporary, and that even those things have been filled with beauty, though fleeting. It reminded me of this mesmerizing video I saw a few weeks ago, and how there are things in our lives – even our lives themselves – that are not meant to last forever, but that have meaning and purpose anyway. It has helped me to remember to focus on the small moments, because they, too, are filled with significance and beauty.

5. Costumes. I haven’t done any sort of project in weeks, but I’ll start working on Halloween next week. This might be our last year with a theme (I said that last year and the year before), but for now, we’re all going to be superheros. We will each have a different superpower, and the kids and I worked together to design the symbols for our costumes. I’m pretty excited about it (you know I love Halloween) and am looking forward to showing you what we came up with. (Check out a couple of other past costumes here and here.)

As I was scouring the web for ideas on masks, I came across these. Aren’t they amazing? They are downloadable – you put them together yourself. I want to hang this one on the wall.

Move over, puzzles – I think I just picked up a new winter hobby.

What are you up to this weekend? We have family photos scheduled, a soccer game, and a fundraiser to attend. It’s western-themed. Which means I get to dress up. You know I’m excited about that. Also hoping to squeeze in a nap and some reading. Hope you have a fun weekend!


31 Days · Color · creative habit · Jewelry

31 Days: Color – Day 31: The Rainbow Connection

Finally! Made it through all 31 projects. (Well, except that crazy green one, but I’m not going to count that one since I’ve already attempted it twice. When it’s warm enough to actually wear that dress, I’ll revisit it.)


Today’s project reminded me of my 31 Days projects last year, about just showing up and doing the work. (Speaking of, I received the book Do the Work by Steven Pressfield for Christmas, along with this book – I’m so excited to dig into both of them after I finish my current one.) I didn’t really have a plan – aside from wanting to make a colorful piece of jewelry – so I just pulled out random beads from my stash and got to work. Some of the beads are “new” finds, some are leftovers from old projects, and some I’ve had for years.


The red bead is a leftover from this necklace. The orange polka dot used to be part of a pair of earrings.


The solid orange is the single remaining bead from this set. The yellows are from here and here.


The turquoise bead is from a piece of costume jewelry that belonged to my great-grandmother. The dark blue is from here.


I put them together to make a piece full of memories.


I love this idea of a “collaged” necklace – not just reusing matched old pieces to make new things, but combining disparate pieces in new ways. As I think about what I want to explore in the new year, I keep coming back to this idea. I am excited to see what 2015 brings for all of us.

Thank you so much for following along with me these 31 (plus a WHOLE lot more) Days. It’s been a lot of fun, it’s gotten me to stop to notice color, and it’s inspired me to break out of my routines to try something new. Hope my little color experiment has inspired you in some way, too!

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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31 Days · Color · Sewing · Style · Thrifts

31 Days: Color – Day 30: Purple Paisley Blouse

I think this is really going to happen. I know in past years of 31 Days (2012 and 2013), I’ve successfully posted 31 posts in October. But this year, it feels like quite an accomplishment to actually finish these 31 posts before the end of 2014. If I actually finish before the end of 2014.

vintage purple paisley

I found this purple and orange paisley blouse at the thrift store weeks (months?) ago, but then I lost it. (And by “lost it”, I mean Husband put it in a bag with the leftovers of this purple fabric, so I didn’t think to look there until I was on an all-out search.)

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It had these faux pockets, which were just little strips of fabric, attached on 3 sides. I used my seam ripper to carefully removed them.


Then I cut off the sleeves and used this simple scarf hem technique to hem the sleeves. Confession: I didn’t even use pins – I just folded as I sewed – and it worked beautifully.


I love all things paisley, and when you pair orange with its “nemesis”, well, I love it even more.

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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