creative habit · etsy shop · Jewelry

Doing the Work

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. Not a sad funk or a discouraged funk or it’s-rained-for-three-weeks-and-I-just-need-some-sunshine funk. I’ve been in a busy funk. Which might be a weird thing to say, because when you’re busy, you’re usually moving and active and getting things done and in sort of the opposite of a funk.

I haven’t felt inspired. Inspired to make things or start projects or even write in my journal. I haven’t felt like I had anything to tell. And I haven’t really had space to tell it if I did. It’s been days and days of drop offs and pick ups and baseball and karate and Target and grocery shopping and taking this here and picking that up there. Most days are go-go-go until I crash at the end of the day.

But then I read a couple of things that made a difference.

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst came on the hold shelf for me at the library. The subtitle is “Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands” – sound familiar? I am not even halfway through it, but I’m loving this book and making so many notes in my journal from what I’m reading. Here’s one:

“The decisions we make dictate the schedules we keep. The schedules we keep determine the lives we live. The lives we live determine how we spend our souls.”

If I just keep going with the errands and the to-dos and the trying to get ahead, I will never find time to do what I love and what my soul needs – making things, writing, and connecting with my people.

Then, as I was reading Shauna Niequist’s Savor devotional on April 25:

“Get up. Create like you’re training for a marathon, methodically, day by day.”

And this:

“Discipline is not antithetical to creativity; it’s vital to it.”

Discipline! Not waiting around for inspiration. Not getting my other tasks done in order to find time to create. Make time to create and DO IT.

So that Tuesday morning, the day of the week where I have the biggest chunk of time to get things done, instead of tackling my to-do list and running here and there trying to squeeze in more productivity, I blocked off my calendar for “create”. I started Pandora, sat down at my workspace, and made stuff for two hours.

rainbow earrings

It was awesome. I made some pretty things, I got lots of new ideas, and I felt the funk begin to slide away. Instead of waiting to be inspired to get to work, I got to work and was inspired.

The thing is, this isn’t a new revelation for me. I KNOW this, really. (I did a whole 31 Days Series on it a few years ago.) But when life gets busy (or even just funk-y), I can’t figure out why I’m not doing the things I want to do. I lose focus. I get sidetracked. I forget.

So I made a tiny little life hack: I added “Create” to the calendar on my phone and I set it to repeat. So I will have a reminder that pops up to spend some DISCIPLINED time doing the work I want to do. And I will schedule the other life stuff at other times. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, or even if I have to move it to a different time slot, it’s the beginning of a practice that will help me remember to do things that feed my soul.

And my hope is that by feeding my soul, I will be keeping the funk away, too.

new earring photos

PS – I’ve added the earrings I made last Tuesday to my shop. Click here to see them in all their rainbow-color-ordered glory!

etsy shop · Jewelry · Style · Tiny Tweaks

Tiny Tweaks: Fringeless (+ New Earrings Listed on Etsy)


I’m doing a series of posts called “Tiny Tweaks” – simple changes that make a difference – in hopes of crossing things off my to-do list or simply making things a little bit better. 

In anticipation of fall, I’ve been searching for a lightweight, drapey cardigan, something to grab on those days when chilly mornings turn into warm afternoons.


I found this one at a thrift store.


I love the color and knit pattern, but I didn’t like the fringe. I thought I could easily remove it to make it just right – still cozy, less boho. My plan was to just chop off the fringe with scissors.








I realized once I started cutting that the fringe was just the loose ends of knit at the bottom of the sweater, so if I cut them off, it would fray in to a big old frizzy mess.


Luckily, the fringe was a separate piece of knitting that had been attached with a serger. I have LOTS of experience removing serger threads.



The serger thread was a different color and texture than the knitted yarn, so I could easily see which threads to cut with my seam ripper.



Once I made a few cuts, the fringed piece began to separate from the body of the sweater. But it wasn’t quick work. I took my time to make sure I didn’t pull any yarn loose. It took about an hour to remove everything.


I texted this photo to my friend, Christy, and said, “I’m removing fringe from a sweater. Why do I do these things? And why did both kids immediately say, ‘Can I use this for an invention? Or for my Halloween costume?'” (So far, the costume ideas are a ninja and a black kitty. No fringe needed.)

“Kids are pack rats,” she responded. So true.



Perfect. Exactly as I imagined, paired with a vintage sleeveless blouse and cut-off shorts.


And some new earrings! I’ve been playing around with earrings this summer, trying out different shapes and sizes.





The new circle earrings are listed in my Etsy shop. (Currently available in silver and bronze – more colors coming soon!)

DIY · It's Not Rocket Science · Jewelry · Sewing · Style

Tiny Tweaks: Sewing a Button


Tweak (n.) – a fine adjustment to a mechanism or system

Well, the kids are back to school, and in my LOADS of free time (insert sarcasm face here), I’ve been trying to cross little projects off my list.

At the beginning of summer, I got overwhelmed with ALL THE PROJECTS. Every time I walked into our bathroom, I thought about the 20 problems I wanted to tackle in there. Keeping all those ideas in my head started stressing me out, so one day, I walked through the house with a steno pad and made a giant list of EVERY project I could think of. Each room got a page, and I listed everything, big or small, that I wanted to do. It was so freeing to have it all written down. I stopped thinking about every little thing, and walking into the bathroom wasn’t stressful anymore.

It also helped me see which projects were so simple that I could complete them right away. I realized that it was often the little projects that made me feel so much better, so much lighter. These tiny little tweaks – “fine adjustments” – can make a big difference. So I thought it would be fun to share some of these “Tiny Tweaks” in the next few weeks in hopes that they might encourage you to tackle some small projects, too.

A few weeks ago, when we were roaming around the gardens at Biltmore Estate in the humidity-laden heat of August in the South, it occurred to me that I really don’t have enough shorts. Sure, it gets hot in California, but without the humidity, I can easily get by with jeans many days during the summer. (Once it hits 98, though, I’m wearing this dress on the daily.) So a decent pair of shorts – preferably in navy – went on my wish list. Target had a decent option, but they didn’t have my size at my local store. A few days later, I found a cute pair at the thrift store – and on a 50% off day. Score!

But they were missing a button.

No biggie! I’ve been sewing buttons on since middle school.

I know this because, one Friday, when I was in 6th or 7th grade, in anticipation of going to a high school football game with friends that night, I was wearing said high school’s t-shirt layered under a flannel shirt (because that’s what we ALL did). I had to go into the office for something, and I ran into a boy that I had known forever, and he was also wearing a high school t-shirt and a flannel shirt. (It was the 90s. I think flannel was all we owned.) He asked me if I could help him sew a button on his shirt. I told him I could, but that I didn’t have a needle and thread, but if he could find one, I could do it.

And that was the moment I remember thinking that the boys we built forts with and ran through the sprinklers with and played on the McDonald’s playground with were now boys we liked, and everything was all so different. And something that would have meant nothing a few months before – “Sure, I can sew a button on for you.” – now made me feel totally awkward and self-conscious and dorky. Which is pretty much how all of those middle school years felt.


Anyway, my “new” shorts.


And a perfectly matching button.

I have a stash of buttons. They are mostly the extras that come with new shirts. I have never had to use one of these spare buttons on their original garment, but I often find a use for them on other pieces. However, recently, BG has gotten into playing with buttons, so I emptied my stash for her. I had to dig through her closet to find one that worked.

Saving buttons makes me feel so thrifty. And also a little old-fashioned. I remember my dad telling me that my Mammaw would cut the buttons off of really old clothes that were destined for the rag bin. And I remember my mom kept her stash of buttons in an old baby food jar in our record cabinet (very much like this one) in the basement. Do you save buttons? Will any of our kids do this?

So, in the spirit of being self-sufficient, I’m going to show you how to properly sew on a button.


The first thing I do is to mark the button placement. Hold the waistband closed as it would look when buttoned

how to sew a button

Insert a pin in the existing buttonhole until it pierces the underneath fabric where the button will go.

how to sew a button

Carefully separate the front and back pieces of fabric, keeping the pin in the back fabric. This is where the first stitch will start.

how to sew a button

Thread your needle. I’m using a contrasting color of thread – just for kicks. Feel free to use the same color thread as your fabric or button. Wrap thread around your finger and roll thread off of finger to create a knot.

how to sew a button


Pull thread to secure knot.


I always repeat to make a larger, extra secure knot.


Flip back fabric over to inside.

how to sew a button

Insert threaded needle as close to pin as possible, coming up from the back side.


Slide button onto threaded needle through any of the holes on the button.


Pull thread through hole until knot touches back of fabric.


Insert needle into hole immediately below hole where thread is coming out.


Pull thread all the way through to back.


Looking at the back, I use the previous stitch as a guide to see where to insert my needle again – the same place as the initial stitch, where the knot in the thread is resting.


Before pulling taut, insert a pin underneath the first stitch on the front of the button. This will leave some space so the button is not too tight and will button and unbutton with ease.


Repeat up and down stitches through the same two holes a few times (I did 4).


After 4th stitch, keep thread at the back of fabric.


Use a pin to locate the top hole on the other side of the button. This will once again give you a guide for where to insert your needle.


Insert needle through the back of the fabric and come up through new hole in button.


Pull thread through and insert needle into hole directly below the hole you just came up through.


This will create a second vertical stitch on the button.


Repeat the same number of times as the first stitches.


To make the button more secure, we will wrap the thread around the stitches behind the button but in front of the fabric. With thread pulled to the back of the fabric, come back up through the fabric but not through the button.


Wrap thread around stitches behind the button several times. I did 6 wraps.


Insert needle back through the fabric behind the button.



Pull through back side of fabric.


Trim thread and tie off loose pieces in a knot. I usually do this 2-3 times.


A nice, new, secure button with a little pop of color.




I’m also playing around with some new ideas for bracelets for my shop. I cut apart old bangles and added some vintage beads.


I love the colors, but I’m still tweaking the design. I’ll keep you posted on what I end up with.

And I’ll make sure they pair nicely with a flannel shirt.