Christmas · one little word · Tennessee

2015: One Little Word

Happy New Year!

We have just spent the weekend recovering and catching up from the holidays. We spent two weeks in Tennessee with our families, and it was awesome! Sharing meals and games and gifts and time together is a great way to end the old year and ring in the new.

And, while we were there, Husband and I took an End-of-the-Year Getaway – something I hope becomes a yearly tradition. We booked a night at The Martha Washington Inn, just across the border in Abingdon, Virginia.

me at the martha

Abingdon in a charming little town that was fun to explore, even in freezing temperatures, and the inn, even lovelier. The history of The Martha is fascinating, and the halls of the inn are adorned with many relics from its earlier days – old photos, students’ letters, programs from performances at the college. In addition to wandering the halls, enjoying great meals, taking a dip in the saltwater pool, and relaxing at the spa, we also took some time to set goals for our year. There were a lot of little ones (drink more water!) and a few bigger ones, and I’m excited about all of them. (I’m an ENFP, so I found this to be pretty funny and also true.)

So as I started thinking about my One Little Word for this year (see past years here and here), I wanted it to reflect the goals we set and the plans we made.

For some reason, the first word that popped into my head was “refine”. Not at all what I was expecting – in fact, I even looked up past years to try to get other ideas. I thought I might just choose “practice, because it feels like an easy one. But then I looked up the definition of refine (italics mine):

re·fine /rəˈfīn/ verb

  1. remove impurities or unwanted elements from (a substance), typically as part of an industrial process.
  2. improve (something) by making small changes, in particular make (an idea, theory or method) more subtle and accurate.

In my journal, I wrote that I want to:

  • reset priorities
  • clear out the junk (not just physical stuff, but that’s part of it)
  • create processes that simplify
  • focus on our goals
  • redefine purposes
  • make choices that line up with these priorities and purposes

These feel a lot like refining to me – clearing out the unwanted elements and making small changes to make our lives a more accurate reflection of our goals. So there it is. Not the most glamorous word for the year, but it seems like a good fit.


What about you? Do you choose a word for your year or set other goals or resolutions? I would love to hear if you do and what your approach is. (I didn’t do it for years – one year, when asked at the checkout if I had any resolutions, I said, “Eat more chocolate!”) Whatever your plans for the new year, I hope 2015 is full of peace and joy for you. Looking forward to diving into the year!

31 Days · Color · Sewing · Style · Tennessee · Thrifts

31 Days: Color – Day 7: Red Skirt Dress

That’s not a typo. It’s a Skirt Dress. This is the easiest project I’ve done so far this month – and I really love how it turned out. How can you go wrong with red, really?

Before we get started, check this out:

beautiful objects jewelry

Erika of Rejoice for the Day was the winner of the jewelry giveaway back in September. Last week, she had a lovely post about the jewelry and showed how she paired it with a cute dress. (This woman is amazing with a sewing machine – the fabrics she chooses and the patterns she matches them with are so good. Love this one and this one.)

Thank you, Erika, for your kind words! I’m so glad you like the jewelry!


Now today’s project started out as a red polka-dot skirt I found at an estate sale.


I loved the fabric and the print and the interesting way it pleated more at the top and was fuller at the bottom. I thought about making it into a shorter skirt (following this tutorial), but I decided on a dress instead.


Digging around in my supplies, I found this little strip of red elastic. It was leftover from the baby shower I hosted for a friend last spring. Jenny, the friend I hosted with, made these adorable little headbands using this soft elastic. She gave me a few pieces to make some headbands for BG (who will not wear them), and I realized these would be perfect for my dress project. Problem? I only had one piece, and I needed two. I texted Jenny to see if she had some extra I could buy. Instead of selling them, she drove them over that afternoon to give to me, with multiple color choices as well.


I cut the elastic into two pieces, 13 inches each. I tried on the skirt as a strapless dress and pinned the elastic where I thought straps should go. I measured their location on the front to determine where to pin the other ends on the back.

(PS – How cute is this Tennessee necklace? My dear friend gave it to me for my birthday, and I adore it – the dainty chain, the tiny little Tennessee shape, the stamped state name. It came in the tiniest gift box I’ve ever seen. It’s perfect.)


I stitched two lines on each end of the elastic, lining it up with the stitches already on the skirt.





That’s it. Easiest dress project ever.

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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 · Jewelry · Tennessee

31 Days: Color – Day 2: Orange is the New Orange

I love orange.


I’m from Tennessee, where orange is the unofficial state color, so I’ve always liked it, especially in the fall during football season. But now, it is BB’s favorite color, so I have developed a fuller appreciation of this warm shade.

orange you are my sunshine

It’s the color of his room,


the majority of his clothes,


and his first color choice for almost everything.

jelly belly 2-001



(Except jelly beans. He always seeks out the brown ones because “Cappuccino” is his favorite. Go figure.)

So I’ve been wanting to make an orange necklace for a while now – at least since last fall.

Do you know the hardest color of vintage beads to find? Yep, orange.

But I finally did – in the form of a bracelet – last week at our local thrift store.


I tried them out with sterling silver wire, but their warm shade seemed to want to pair up with gold instead.


It took a few tries to get the design just right – and I ended up figuring out a new technique in the process.


I really want to get to work, adding some new pieces to the shop.


But this one is going to be just for me. (Go Big Orange!)

And hello to all you visiting 31 Dayers! So fun to check out your topics and posts. Good luck to all of you this month!

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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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