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Morning Person.

I’m a morning person. I have been since I was a little kid… I love waking up at the crack of dawn, listening to the birds sing, spending some quiet time journaling, & drinking too much coffee. To me, it’s the best time of the day… before little feet start pitter-pattering down the hall, & I’m feeding lunches & breaking up little spats between the tiny humans. I try to get up at least an hour before the kids wake up, so that I have plenty of time to wake up & feel like a human before I have to talk to anybody.

The ironic thing is that I’m also a night owl! There’s nothing I love more than putting a TV show on Netflix late at night, with dinner keeping warm on the stove for Hubs (also a night owl), & a good project in my hands. Oh yeah… keep the coffee flowing, please! With the Campfires launch getting closer, these past few weeks I’ve been doing both; waking early & going to bed late. I have to be careful, because if I lose too much sleep I will quickly turn into a cranky, exhausted Momma… which NO amount of coffee will help!

How I try to balance loving early (quiet!) mornings, & late (productive!) nights..

It’s all a balancing act. Sleeping, not sleeping… MUCH iced coffee, vs. knowing when to put the coffee pot down & back away slowly (so you don’t start twitching). Today was one of those days… realizing I needed to take a break from my plans for the day, which included hauling off to the gym at a crazy early hour so I could hit spin class. There’s always tomorrow. For today, I’m going to make stuff in between making sure I get enough rest. Because burning the candle at both ends will make the candle disappear, & I want to let my light(s) shine.

I do the absolute best if I work when the inspiration strikes, which is usually for several days at a time. I’ll get up early, excited about the projects planned, & stay up late working on them. It works well for about 3 or 4 days, after which I find myself working hard but not getting much done. I know I need to give myself a rest at that point, so I take a nap. Sleep in later than normal, & just try to accomplish smaller tasks instead of the big ones. After I let myself have a bit of rest, inspiration will usually strike again, & I’m off on another few days of late nights & early mornings!

 

How about you? Are you a Morning
Person? A Night Owl? Or Both?

(If both, how do you try to find balance?)


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The Re-set.

I’ve been working overtime these past few weeks… which is difficult when you are a stay-at-home mom, let me tell you! Staying focused in between diaper changes, preparing meals, & sippy-cup refills is no easy task! One of my favorite instructors at the gym will often tell us to “re-set” after a really hard part during our workout. We continue moving, but correct our posture, relax our sore muscles, & take deep breaths to bring our heart rates down.

Staying focused in between diaper changes, preparing meals, & sippy-cup refills is no easy task! The Re-Set: An easy technique that helps me stay focused.

I have found myself bringing this idea of “re-setting” into my daily life; almost without thinking. I have found that doing a quick “re-set” has drastically changed the way I see interruptions & small frustrations. I am able to handle a change of plans more gracefully, & can shift gears from one task to another more smoothly.

Being able to stop, take a deep breath, & re-set my brain has made a huge difference in how much I get done each day, too. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the current workload, I am learning to breathe. Stop, & remind myself of the day’s big goal(s). Usually I will use the moment to take a look at my to-do list or work calendar to see what I need to start tackling next.

And when a sweet little person come running up with a scraped knee… well, it’s always the right time for a cuddle break. Then: re-set. Take a breather, & go conquer the next small task in my corner of the world.

How about you? What helps you re-focus on the tasks you need to accomplish each day?


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Homebody.

Hello friends! I missed a day of blogging yesterday, & it felt rather strange, actually. I was having an unusually busy day, running to the gym, the grocery store, & everywhere else, which made me want to put on some yoga pants & stay inside. You see, I’m a MAJOR home-body. I’m totally content to stay at home for days, just me, my babies, & my craft supplies. Growing up, my Mom loved being in our home, so I think I get it honest.

I have found that when I pile too much into a week, I get tired & the feeling of “stress” begins to rise. It’s really not stress, though… just a need to be home. To be in the peaceful calm of the house, with some music or a podcast on. A mug of iced coffee beside me… the kids napping peacefully. This last week was a BUSY one, so I decided I needed to cozy up at home & work on some pressing projects for a few days this week.

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One of my favorite projects early this week was testing out some new screen printing supplies. Can I just say: I’m kind of obsessed with it! There’s something so relaxing about pulling the ink off the screen, & then lifting up the screen to see your new design underneath. It’s SO much fun! This t-shirt isn’t quite perfect… but it’s close enough. This definitely goes on my list of favorite t-shirts.

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Yep. The shirt says it all. How about you? Are you a
homebody like me, or do you love to be out & about?


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Toddler Art Thank You’s (DIY)

So… it’s been awhile since the kids’ birthday… & I still haven’t sent out thank-you’s for all their gifts! I’ve been meaning to, but just haven’t been able to make time for it thus far. This past weekend, Hubs finished bringing the rest of my craft stuff to the tiny home. (I may or may not have had a mini-panic attack from the explosion of stuff that didn’t have a place, which may or may not have required a few Reese’s cups & iced coffee to recover from!)

Instead of stuffing the cupboards that we have with stuff we don’t need, I embarked on a sorting journey, & happened upon some blank cards that I used when I first started Corner Chair. First I thought, “I don’t need these” but then I decided to save them to do a simple DIY that I’d been thinking of.

Kid's Art Thank-You Cards (DIY). Creating a special thank-you note that friends & family will love.

 

Before I could start, I needed some of Z-man’s artwork. 🙂 His current obsession is coloring… I think he’s colored a ream of paper in a month! 😀 I love saving my favorites out of his stack of scribbled on papers, but there’s only so much room for the many, MANY colorful papers. I decided grandparents, especially, would LOVE them. So, I gathered my supplies:

Kid's Art Thank-You Cards (DIY). Creating a special thank-you note that friends & family will love.

  • Artwork by the kid(s)
  • Elmer’s glue or a glue stick
  • Blank cardstock
  • Scissors

First up, fold a card, & lay it on top of the section of art you want to show off. (The cards I had were pre-scored for folding from Staples!) The fun part was picking the most colorful sections off the pages! Cut around the outside of the card so you have a piece of art the same size as the card.

Kid's Art Thank-You Cards (DIY). Creating a special thank-you note that friends & family will love.

Next, you want to put glue on the card. I started covering the whole card front in glue (by spreading a thin layer with my finger), but then decided it was wrinkling the art too much, so after doing about 3 like this, I just spread a bit on each corner & in the center of the card.

Kid's Art Thank-You Cards (DIY). Creating a special thank-you note that friends & family will love.

Line up the art over the card, & stick it down. Make sure you press it very well, & then let the glue dry (especially if you put as much on as I did the first few times!).

Kid's Art Thank-You Cards (DIY). Creating a special thank-you note that friends & family will love.

And there you have it! Not only does it help reduce a pile of the kids’ artwork, the grandparents are guaranteed to love it! I love that I can send something so special to family & friends, and I can’t wait to tuck them in the mail!

Kid's Art Thank-You Cards (DIY). Creating a special thank-you note that friends & family will love.


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Old Fashioned Work Ethics

Work. It’s a word that makes many of us shudder. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you have (or have created!) work that you love. Work that you can’t wait to get into the moment you jump out of bed. I’ll admit; until I married Hubs, I didn’t have a clue what hard work looked like. True, I could work hard… but working hard & fast & long every day, without a grumble or complaint? Nah.

To me, living an old-fashioned, simple life doesn’t look leisurely. Sure, there should definitely be times of relaxation & fun. But ask any “old-timer,” & they’ll tell you all about how hard they had to work to make ends meet when they were younger & trying to carve a place for themselves in the world. It seems like most the people in my generation have forgotten just how hard their grandfathers worked to get the life they dreamed of.

Old-fashioned work ethics: living a simple life means working HARD.

I’ve heard plenty of tales of hard work. My Pop-pop worked three jobs when he had a wife & 2 sweet babies to feed. Hubs’ Grannypop was plowing a field on a tractor at age 5. In the olden days, you almost NEVER stopped (except on Sunday). There were mouths to feed, harvests to get in, fields to plow. Dinners to cook, worn out clothes to mend. Summer hats to be woven. I’m convinced that very few people in this day & age really, truly understand what hard work looks like.

Hubs certainly does… & I’m getting there. I’m still addicted to my leisure-time. I love to sit with my bestie, watching a good crime-solving show while drinking iced coffee. However, with our family’s goal of a simple, old-fashioned life, I can see my own work ethic beginning to change. I’m pushing harder, going longer. Trying to complain less. (That’s a big one for me!) In our family’s goal to live debt-free, it’s been a long, hard road. It’s not easy, but I can tell you: it’s WORTH it.

What do you think about working hard?

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5 Ways To Change Your Mindset.

Hello friends! I realized the other day that I have a habit of putting off the finishing touches of projects… they can be boring! Honestly, the reason I put it off is because I can work myself up into a mindset of dread. I get myself all hyped up, & start to dread something that wouldn’t be so bad if I just did the task! I’ve found a few methods to help change my mindset (It actually isn’t as hard as it sounds!), & thought I would share them with you all.

5 Ways to change your Mindset (so you don't dread the stuff you NEED to get done!).

  1. Do The Thing.

    If it’s the dishes, going to the gym, or finishing your latest knitting project… you might need to buckle down & just start! 9 times out of 10, I find out that it wasn’t really that bad, & I’m done in much less time than I had thought the project or task would take. Get yourself up, put on some good music or a favorite podcast, and just DO IT.

  2. Give Yourself A Reward. 

    I can be very motivated if I know there’s a reward waiting for me at the end! Often when I leave the gym I allow myself an ice coffee. I know the caffeine & bit of protein (from the milk) will help me re-charge, & I don’t add sugar so I don’t feel guilty. If I’m doing something that takes a lot of concentration & thought, (like writing a blog post), I’ll let myself watch an episode of a favorite TV show after I’m done.

  3. Make It A Challenge.

    I just learned the other day that we react very differently to something we view as a threat vs. something we view as a challenge. A threat mindset causes us to hide & react to the consequences (like when someone throws a basketball at me!), but a challenge mindset gets our minds active with questions & ideas. Ask yourself “How can I get this done faster this time?” or “Is there a better way to do this?”.

  4. Remind Yourself Of A Truth.

    Ya’ll are probably going to laugh… but when I’m in a really tough gym class & I’m feeling like I can’t possibly keep going, I remind myself that I’ve given birth (twice!). Having my babies was the HARDEST thing I have ever done… it reminds me that I’ve done MUCH harder things, & gives me the courage to keep moving. What’s a challenge you’ve faced that was harder than the thing you need to do?

  5. Take Care Of Yourself.

    You might be dreading a task because you’re feeling icky… Have you eaten? Do you need a shower? Do you need to exercise to give yourself an energy-boost? Have you been drinking enough water? If I’m trying to get stuff done, I’ll forget to eat, & then I get cranky & unproductive! If you’re dreading something, check in with yourself & see if you need to give yourself a mindset change by re-charging.

What are some things you need a mindset change in? Let’s chat!


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The Finishing Touches.

A few weeks ago I shared a sewing project with you… remember my stripey shorts? Confession: they weren’t finished! I hadn’t sewn on the button yet, & I wore them a few times with a safety pin. Once I wore them a few times, I realized that I also needed to do a few other repairs, which I put off (again, & again). Well, I finally finished them last weekend… Yay!

I got to thinking: why is it that I tend to put off the last few details of a project? For instance: we moved into the house almost 6 months ago, & I still haven’t painted the trim. I find that the details can get tedious, annoying or boring quickly. But getting through the details is the only way to get to the end result; your finished project!

The Finishing Touches: Looking for JOY in the mundane things of life!

I know I can also work up a certain amount of dread about those finishing details. I get so caught up in the amount of work that I think it’s going to be. I think too much about what will be difficult about it, but when I actually buckle down & do the thing, it’s not as bad as I was anticipating! My putting off of the finishing touches was hyped up because I was over-thinking it, & allowing myself to dread it.

The same thought process can be applied to life, & not just sewing projects. The details can be boring or you may allow yourself to dread daily tasks too much. You might think “UGH! The dishes are piled, & it’s going to take for-e-ver to wash them!” Or maybe the long drive to your favorite vacation spot gets old. Sometimes, we have to just DO. THE. THING. Buckle down. Think of it as a challenge rather than a burden.

If you stop & look around you in the middle of adding the finishing touches, you might start enjoying the sights along the journey. Maybe finding joy in the details of life requires us to change our mindset more than anything. Maybe it’s time to stop & smell the roses (or your dish liquid!), & remind ourselves to enjoy the details.

What are some of the “finishing touches” that you dread the most?


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Living Simply.

My path towards simplicity has been a gradual change, happening so slowly that I didn’t really notice the change until we moved a few months ago. I used to be a “stuff gatherer,” picking up things I thought could be useful or to tuck away in my hope chest. My “hope chest” quickly became a hope room… and then the things began overflowing into my grandmother’s house… whoops! Mostly, I bought items I thought I would absolutely use when I had a home of my own. I’ve been thankful now for my old purchasing habits… when we got married, I barely needed a bridal shower since I had an entire kitchen-full!

Living Simply: My journey from being a "Stuff-Gatherer" to a "Thoughtful Keeper." What's your idea of simple living?

Looking from then until now, I realize I really haven’t changed that much. A good amount of my “stuff-gathering” was towards the home I dreamed of; which ended up being this sweet place. But when we moved, I had to come to the obvious conclusion: I just didn’t need it ALL. I sold or donated over a 1/3 of my stuff before the move. Some of it was duplicates, some was because my tastes have changed… others was because I just needed a clean slate (& who needs 30 pie birds anyways? I usually only make 2 pies at a time).

I love the idea of getting down to the basics. What can we really live with, & live without? How many mixing bowls, vintage linens, and fancy dresses (that I’ll probably never fit again), do I ACTUALLY need? My style has also changed dramatically. I’ve gone from vintage simple to an even more old-fashioned, very minimalistic style. Basic colors for clothing.

To me, living simply doesn’t mean you get rid of every impractical thing you own. It means that you are more careful to choose the things that mean something to you. Things with such beauty that you can’t stop looking at it. I have (obviously) kept many of the things from my teen years. Some were just cool (the aqua chip & dip bowl from the 60’s!), some were sentimental (the pie birds I used at our wedding), & some were special family heirlooms. However, I love that I am beginning to see a bigger divide between the items that I truly love, & the things that I like.

How about you? What is your idea of living simply?


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Everything In It’s Place.

Just ask Hubs, & help” (laughingly) tell you that I ADORE organizing. The visible part of the room might not look like it, but my heart’s desire is the old saying:

“A place for everything, & everything in it’s place.”

My problem with organizing comes with the fact that I’m one of those people who forgets to put stuff in the proper place! Kind of ironic, isn’t it? As a kid, my neat-nick Nana used to say I “left a trail wherever I went.” Much of my adult life has been spent trying to curb my trail-leaving habits. So, I try to learn how to stay organized. Hubs has absolutely no problem with the insides of cupboards being stuffed, if the room itself looks clean & tidy. I try to find a place for something so that it will always have a place for me to put it. So I can find it later, because I’m terribly forgetful!

Recently, while catching up on a favorite podcast, I heard Elise talking about the “One Touch Rule.” Basically, the idea if that when you pick something up, you try to only touch it once. For example: if you just sliced a tomato for your lunch, rinse off the knife instead of leaving it in the sink to wash later. If you went to get the mail, throw out the junk mail instead of letting it pile up on the kitchen table.

I have also learned I do better at putting things back in their place if I have certain types of containers rather than others. Stacked bins with lids? I’m not going to be as dedicated to putting something away if it belongs at the bottom bin in a stack. (Lidded bins stacked 2 high, I’ve found, is about my limit.) If it’s a basket or some type of drawer, I’m much more prone to putting it away as soon as I’m done with it.

Knowing this about myself allows me to search for the correct organizational tools, & it can make a huge difference in how clean the house is! I wanted to share some of the organizational (decorative) storage containers I like to use.

Staying Organized: some thoughts about organization from a forgetful creative who constantly battles her stuff bomb!

1. I’ve had my eye on this nifty bin with copper handles. I’d really like to use it as a laundry basket… Not only is it nice & sturdy, it would look awesome sitting on top of the washer/dryer (even if it was full of laundry!). | 2. I love these “knitted” sea grass baskets! I scored a whole bunch from our local dollar stores a while ago, & they’re in the linen closet holding washcloths, cleaning supplies, & medicine. | 3. This super-cute pencil case is good for more than just pencils! I’d put less-used makeup in it, or use it to store smaller bathroom items like Q-tips or razor heads. | 4. I’ve got my eye on this tall canvas bin for the kids’ room… I think it would be great to hold their stuffed animals (& all of Z-man’s trucks & tractors!). | 5. NOTE: You don’t always have to use bins for their specified use! This desktop organizer from the office section at Target… & it sits on our bathroom counter holding our toothbrushes! I put a water-soaking mat in the bottom so the metal won’t be exposed to direct water. | 6. Again, ditto the last one… this is a paper organizer that I bought & stuck under the bathroom cabinet. One drawer for me, one for Hubs… it holds makeup, tweezers, a beard trimmer, scissors & I have my essential oils sitting on top of it! | 7. I love wooden bins like this. They sit great on shelves, & are easy to put stuff into since they don’t have lids. 


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The Comparison Game.

Pinterest… Instagram… blog posts… Random people… no matter where I am or what I’m looking at, I have a horrible tendency to compare. In my head, it goes something like this:

“Oh! Look at that! It’s gorgeous. Wow, she’s talented! I’ve
tried something like that before, & it totally flopped. Why can’t
I draw like that? Why does all my art look so boring? I FAIL AT LIFE.” 

I’ve found myself wondering why I’m not like that mom from church who seems to have it all together. Why my house isn’t as spotless as the ones I see in my Instagram feed every day. I like to call it “The Comparison Game”… & it’s time we all stopped playing. After I realized that I was constantly comparing myself, my life choices, & everything else against the ruler of “perfection,” I realized that I needed to look deeper.

A blog post about comparison: We look at others' accomplishments & then feel like failures. I call it the "Comparison Game" & we NEED to stop playing.

Why was I doing this, & constantly feeling inadequate? Here are a few of the things I found out:

  1. I wasn’t focused on my life goal.

    In fact, I had completely forgotten it. I want to seek simplicity, find beauty in daily life, & live an old-fashioned lifestyle. I had completely forgotten what that kind of life would look like for me & my family! Just the simple realization changed my entire world. (No, really.) It changed the choices I make each day. It’s completely changing my business. It’s given me goals that I can actually work towards rather than just floating aimlessly through each day.

  2. I realized that nobody is perfect.

    Shocker, right? Most of what we see on Instagram & Pinterest is a beautifully curated group of photos & DIY’s, & blog posts. The reality is that most of us want to share the beautiful things in life, so we pick & choose what let the world see. You know what? That’s okay! I just needed the reminder that others pick the pretty moments to share just like I choose to.

  3. I started doing what I love.

    A lot of my personal time goes towards Corner Chair… when I realized that I wasn’t enjoying it, I knew it was time to make a change. It was a scary decision, but once I began moving in the right direction I quickly saw BIG changes. Not only am I thrilled about where my business is going, I actually have more time to finish personal (passion) projects that have been on my list for years!

  4. I began seeking simplicity.

    For me, simplicity in life is more than just having less stuff. It’s about finding joy in the simple things. It’s making sure my days aren’t over-committed. It’s realizing that it’s okay if I need to schedule in an hour of “me time” each morning so my soul is ready to love on my kids & do life. It’s okay if my schedule doesn’t look like someone else’s, even if I’m less productive than they are. It’s learning myself & how I best function as a human.

  5. I stopped the cycle of self-pressure.

    When I played the comparison game, I constantly saw new things that I “should” be doing. “Well, this mom spend 2 hours each day outside with her kids… I should be doing that!” I would totally forget the fact that I have crazy-pale skin & get sunburnt in 15 minutes… or that I’m really not an outside person anyway. When I stopped putting pressure on myself to do ALL. THE. THINGS., life suddenly became very simple.

How about you? Do you play The Comparison Game? Have you found anything that helps you to stop playing the game & start living a better life?


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Seeking Simplicity (Free 8×10 Printable!)

I’ve had an amazing week, how about you? It’s been full; just like past weeks… but it’s a bit different now. Because I’m working towards a very large goal, I’ve been much more organized in how I spend my work time. As a result of being more focused, I’ve had more time to seek the simple old-fashioned lifestyle that I would like. The life I want doesn’t mean a life without work; it’s a life where hard work leads towards dreams, where time with family & friends is precious, & where you do something the old-fashioned way, just because you want to.

This week, I’ve had time to pick & freeze green beans from the garden. I’ve watched movies with Hubs, & had tickle fights with the kids. I listened to some favorite Podcasts that help with my mindset & goals, instead of mindlessly watching a TV show & end up wasting time. It’s been GOOD. I’ve been hinting on my Instagram feed that there’s a BIG project in the works; & I finally get to share a little bit about it.

INTRODUCING:

Campfires

The Campfires Collection will be a unique line of hand-made products that I’ve designed with the help of some amazing artisans. I hope this collection will inspire you to live a simple, beauty filled, old-fashioned lifestyle.

For now, that’s all I can tell you! In honor of simplicity, living an old-fashioned lifestyle, and campfires, I’ve designed a new piece of art. It’s one of my favorite quotes by Laura Ingalls Wilder, & if you sign up for my e-mail newsletter, you can download a printable PDF of this 8×10 print “Sweet Life.”

 

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(PLEASE NOTE: If you are already on the list, you will get
your printable PDF in the regular Saturday morning e-mail!)

Along with getting this printable, you will also get ALL the details about the Campfires collection first (!!!), & an exclusive coupon for the opening of the new collection. To sign up, just click the button below!

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So. Here’s to living a simpler life. Full of the good stuff… family,
friendships, hard work, & relaxing around the campfire together.
Want to join me on this journey? Follow me on Instagram for a
peek behind the scenes, & see how the Campfires collection grows!

Making Thoughtful Purchases.

I love shopping. It’s not shock to Hubs when I go out to the craft store & come home with an extra treasure. However, when 4 people live in a home that’s barely over 700 square feet, it can quickly get filled up. These days, I’m seeking a simpler, less-stuff-filled life, & impulse purchases have become more & more rare. (NOTE: the craft store DOES NOT count. Random craft supplies are necessary!)

Making Thoughtful Purchases. My thoughts on seeking a simple, beautiful, old-fashioned lifestyle.

Most of the time, whenever I’m tempted to buy something, I think it through a lot more than I used to: Do I really need it? Where will it go? Can I use it? I really love to buy functional, beautiful things. I have a small collection of pie birds that will (someday) sit on a kitchen shelf. They are pretty, but I also use them whenever I bake pies. My (gorgeously red) Kitchen Aid stays on the counter. I will often spend more money on something that is both beautiful & useful, simply because it will be easier to store. I’ve never once regretted buying my glass storage containers that hold my baking supplies. Sure, I could store my flour in a plastic container, but these look wonderful sitting on top of my pantry!

Making Thoughtful Purchases. My thoughts on seeking a simple, beautiful, old-fashioned lifestyle.

Don’t think that I never make an impulse purchase, either… I still buy something cute every now & then! However, I’ve found that those things tend to sit around without a place to go, & never get used. Having begun my journey into living a simpler, more old-fashioned lifestyle, it’s been nice to take a step back from my old buying habits. Not only does it save money, it also makes me really enjoy the things I do decide to buy.

These days, I’d rather wait to buy something of higher quality from a nice store (can we say Anthropologie?) or a local handmade artisan. Our home is full, but most of the things we have are full of meaning, memories, or usefulness. Every day I can enjoy the simple beautiful things that help make this house a home, & my heart is not full of a constant desire for more things.


How about you? Are you an impulse
buyer, or a thoughtful buyer? What
do you consider before you buy?