handmade highlight

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide (Discount Codes + Giveaway)

Hey Y'all! Man does it feel wonderful to be back after a week away from blogland for the Holidays. We spent Thanksgiving with Ben's family this year and it was wonderful. We ate ourselves silly and then came back home for a restful and productive weekend at home! 

My Etsy shop,

Oh Simple Joys

, has been keeping me so busy (the best kind of busy), so I have been crocheting, packaging or shipping orders around the clock lately. I cannot express how incredible it feels to have a vision, walk in that vision, and then have friends and strangers come around you and support you in that vision. It is something that I will not ever get over. Every one of your that has bought something from my shop has been prayed over, and your money is going to sending me to Hope Spoken, Influence Conference as well as helping out our family of 3 (our little pup is always included in my count). 

Now that it is officially December I cannot wait to share some amazing handmade shops with you! These ladies are not only amazing creatives, but they love Jesus and I call so many of them dear friends! So it is with a really full heart that I share their shops and products with you today! Each lady has included a discount code OR is donating an item from her shop for several lucky winners! 

SHOPS

Heavens To Betsy Handmade

- Scarves, Handlettered Prints. Betsy d

onates a percentage of all of my profits to kingdom-building work through organizations like Mocha Club, foreign and local missions, and Project Rescue! Use code

ohsimplethoughts

for 10% off!

Elle & Company Library

 - 

The Elle & Company printable library is filled with files for all kinds of paper goods to brighten day-to-day life. This resource is great for inexpensive and creative gift ideas, organizational tools, and pretty paper.

Elah Tree

 - 

Elah Tree is dedicated to creating products and content to encourage, inspire, and equip you in your dreams. Use code

OHSIMPLETHOUGHTS

for 35% off!

Life Lived Beautifully

Life Lived Beautifully is about living life with one purpose: for the glory of God and the love of Jesus Christ. Use code

OHSIMPLETHOUGHTS

for 20% off!

Pretty Lovely Littles

 - 

Pretty little affordable things to add whimsy to your everyday life! Use code

MERRYMERRY

for 30% off!

Arroway Creative Design

 - 

The vision behind this shop is to create uniquely handmade watercolor prints through uplifting words and encouragement. Use code

GIFT GUIDE

for 25% off!

East West Design Co.

 - 

Our vision is to create products that our customers will love, that will be reminders of the glory of God in their everyday lives, & to build a business that always points to Jesus.

Joyful Papery

 - 

I desire to plant beauty, honesty, truth, and hope all around us; Bringing beauty in the everyday.. in the hard, the tired, the happy, and the hopeful. That we might all see Joy hiding in our everyday lives.

Heathers Letters

 -

Heather's Letters is a shop that delights in creating beauty, joy and fun. My faith inspires me to create and watching other women follow their passions and grow closer to God makes my heart wake up! Use code

RACHELCOX

for FREE shipping!

Riley Writes Scout

 -

Hand Lettered prints, invitations, gift tags, stationary and more. 

Magnolia Street Shop

 - 

34 Magnolia Street Shop is all about celebrating life's little moments through custom paper goods. Life is too short to live blandly - let's celebrate! Use code

SIMPLE2014

for 25% off!

Gingerly Styled

 - 

Gingerly Styled specializes in handmade burlap items. Inspired by creating handmade items for my own wedding, burlap has become a material I love working with. It's my goal to create personal items that bring joy into the homes of my customers. Use code

OHSIMPLETHOUGHTS

for 15% off!

Southern Glow Bangles

 - 

Southern Glow offers fashionable bangles at affordable prices. Bangles make great Christmas gifts for any special female in your life. Let me know how I can customize your order. Use code

20off

for 20% off!

Oh Simple Joys

-

Oh Simple Joys is a shop dedicated to creating products that remind us to savor life's little moments. From crocheted goods to coffee mugs and tote bags this a shop striving to surround you with reminders to slow down and breathe deep. 

I cannot encourage you enough to go and check out these AMAZING women and their shops, and to BUY from them. These ladies are just normal ladies using their creative gifts for the glory of the Lord. They are using their gifts to help their families financially and by supporting them you are literally supporting their dreams...how cool is that?! Let's love these ladies and fill up our carts with some handmade goodness! I know I am. 

In addition to these amazing discount codes, several shops donated items to giveaway! So here is what is being given away to 7 lucky winners! 

-a print of choice from Heavens to Betsy Handmade

-a print of choice from Arroway Creative Designs

-6 month subscription to Elle & Co Library 

-Christmas Bundle from East & West Design Co (1 pack of 5 cards + 1 8x10 print of choice)

-8x10 "peace be still" raised gold letter print from Joyful Papery

-8x10 print and set of gift tags of choice from RileyWritesScout

-Tote bag from Oh Simple Joys + 

$30 Etsy Giftcard!

A special thanks to Rachel of

Rachel Rewritten

and Jenni of

Frankly My Dear

for the Etsy giftcard! 

All entries will be verified so play fair! The winners will be announced at the end of the day Friday the 5th of December! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

alt="description" nopin="nopin'>

All Natural, Handmade, Local Soap + Giveaway

Sometime in college I began to fall in love with locally crafted goods. I love the idea of supporting the farmer at your farmer's market, or the stay at home business owner who is a mom, or the single guy/gal just trying to make some modest money in order to be able to do big things for the Kingdom of the Lord. So I am always so eager to share great companies when I find them, and this is no exception. 

Meet Ashwater Soap Co. This soap company is run by two single guys that love Jesus, and love natural, wholesome ingredients that are good for your body. I knew Willie (one of the owners) through mutual friends in college, and can testify to his deep love the Jesus and others knowing Jesus. So when I saw that Willie had begun making soap with a friend, I knew I had to try it out. And I fell in love. 


First, the soap looks so awesome. The branding and packaging makes it so appealing, and the smell...ah that glorious smell when you open your package...it is divine. They are so pretty, almost to the point that I didn't want to use them because I just wanted to stack them on my dresser and look at them...okay not really, but they are pretty soaps. 

I tried the lemon poppy seed and black bar first (which happen to be their best sellers) and loved them. The poppy seeds really act as an exfoliating agent in the soap which is great for my dry summer skin. The best part is that everything that goes into the soap I have heard of, can pronounce, and for the most part, know what it is. The soaps are made with olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, shea butter, essential oils, and so many other great ingredients that are not just okay for your body...they are GREAT for your body! 

They have 6 different varieties you can choose from, and they are all perfect for girls or guys. None of the scents are overly girly or manly smelling in my opinion. They are perfect for all your people. These soaps would make FANTASTIC gifts by the way! 

I don't know if I will ever go back to normal soap...seriously, I love this stuff that much. 


I asked Willie a few questions about how they got started. Read below to learn more about Ashwater Soap Co. 

What inspired you to begin making soap? Why soap? 

Depending on how it’s told, it can be a long story, but I’ll try to keep it brief. In the fall of 2013, Nick and I spent a lot of time diligently seeking God regarding how to share His gospel with unbelievers. In the process we purposed to not just be hearers but doers. So twice a week, we would get off work and go straight to the Drill Field to engage strangers in conversation about the state of their souls and the salvation offered by God through His Son and His gospel of grace. In the process we started kicking around the idea of starting a business to avail more freedom to do the work of the Lord, and that conversation became more and more serious, but we had no idea what we could sell.

Also, both of us are relatively health-conscious people, from food to exercise to natural care products. Nick apparently had been doing some research on the adverse effects of commercial “soap” (which are many), and we ordered the supplies to make some of our own. In the process of doing lots and lots of research, we both separately had this idea that this might be a viable business to start. After realizing that we were on the same page, one weekend in October, we made our first batch, and it was a success. From there we have developed and refined our own recipe, and the business has prospered as the Lord has seen fit. So to answer the question, “Why soap”, it was really a matter of timing. As our eyes looked to the Lord, He was gracious to us (Psalm 123:2).
                                                                                                               
What inspires the varieties of soap that you create? 

That’s a tougher question. First of all, we love the process of making new soaps, so there has been no lack of creativity in that area. One initial goal was a wide variety of looks and scents, and we’re still in the process of providing that variety. The genesis of each individual bar varies. A couple of the bars were solely Nick’s idea, and a couple were solely my idea, and when we get together to make them, often we’ll go back and forth about look, scent, exfoliate...until we have a bar that both of us feel comfortable with. Even after that, we’ve made at least 6 other bars that eventually didn't make the cut, so there’s lots of trial and error. The black bar is probably the exception, and it’s become a sort of signature bar for us. Its scent is probably the most unique of all our soaps and that was one we developed together from start to finish. Perhaps that’s a long answer to a simple question, but there it is.

How long does one bar take from beginning to end to make? 

We make our soap in batches of about 40 each. The process of mixing and pouring a batch takes maybe 30 minutes. However, with the natural cold process method that we use, the soap has to cure for at least 4 weeks, so from start to finish, a single bar goes from disparate ingredients to a finished product in about one month.

Where all can Ashwater Soap be found? 

In addition to the online store, ashwatersoap.com, our soaps can be found in numerous stores across the state and one in Memphis.

The Mississippi Gift Company - Greenwood, MS
Babcock Gifts - Memphis, TN
Tin Roof Market - Senatobia, MS
Polks Drugs #4 - Brandon, MS
The Everyday Gourmet - Jackson, MS
Lemanedi - Brookhaven, MS
Sweet Peas - Florence, MS
Tropical Glamour - Petal, MS
Peterson's Art and Antiques - Vicksburg, MS
Wild Magnolias - Leland, MS
McAlister House - Ripley, MS
Down South - Corinth, MS
Heartfelt Traditions - Mendenhall, MS
Kaleidoscopes - Newton, MS



For all you Mississippi readers, Ashwater Soap Co. will be at the Prairie Arts Festival in Westpoint, MS Saturday, August 30th. So be sure and stop by their booth and pick up some soap for you and all your friends!!!

And because I want one of you to try this soap so badly, I am giving away two bars of soap! The winner can choose between the 6 varieties offered! Enter below!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Handcrafted + Vintage Inspired + Whimsy = MUST HAVE

It is no secret that I love Etsy, and more than Etsy, I love the small businesses and faces behind all the shops. I think it is incredible that women all around the world are using their creativity and passion to create unique things to sell to others. I have a big time crush on water color, and handwritten pieces also, so when Rachel of East West Design Co. reached out to me I knew I wanted to share them with you. Rachel & Lindsey are the creative minds behind this shop, and it is obvious to see how they pour themselves into each piece they create. I hope you check them out and share some love with these ladies. 

Use promo code OHSIMPLETHOUGHTS for 20% off all items in the store from now until August 3rd! Hurry over and capitalize on this awesome savings! 



What inspired you to open up shop?

Rachel: We've been living on different sides of the country for a year now, and we've always talked with each other about how "one day" we'll open up an Etsy shop together. We both had the same interest at the same time, but we were holding back because of the distance. Finally one day, Lindsey asked me, "What's really holding us back?" So we went for it!

Lindsey: It just seemed like the right timing.  Well, actually it seemed like the completely wrong timing, but we felt God telling us to do it anyway.  


What drives the prints and products you create? 

Lindsey: Sometimes I try to.  I want to be the one in charge.  I sit down with an idea & a plan & I start to paint, & it just doesn’t work out.  No matter what I do, nothing looks good.  But when I sit down to paint & I just DO it, I feel like the end result is almost always something that I’m pleased with.  If I just let what I feel like God is doing in my heart out, onto paper, I like what I’ve created.

Rachel: I definitely have to agree. When I try to imitate something I see on Pinterest or something Lindsey creates, it's never as good! When I just paint or letter and go with it, that's when it looks the best. 


What are your favorite items to make? 

Rachel: I love making custom birthday calendar orders! They're fun to make and I love when I can be creative with the colors. 

Lindsey: This changes almost daily. Right now I’m really liking the look of the stripes & the marbled background of this one.  It’s just fun when you try something new & it actually works, & that’s how I feel about the Be Still My Soul print.

What is your favorite summer beverage? 

Rachel: I've always had a weakness for the lemon berry slushie from Sonic, heavy on the lemon. Amazing. 

Lindsey: Ooh, hard to pick.  I love a strawberry limeade from Sonic, but we don’t have one of those here.  I would say the Java Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks is probably my current favorite.


A big thanks to Rachel and Lindsey for letting me share their work with you all today! These ladies are TALENTED and they love Jesus BIG! so please show them some love this week, and head over to their shop with that promo code!!

These are a Few of my Favorite Things // Coffee + Printables

One of my favorite things about blogging is being able to declare from the rooftops your love for awesome businesses, and companies and connect your readers with such great entrepreneurs. It fills my heart with joy! So I am just doing a little happy dance as I write this post because these two companies are gonna make you want to dance too! Two of my favorite things are coffee & pretty paper. I cannot go a morning with out drinking a cup of joe, and there is not a room in my house that does not have some type of design print on the wall. So today I wanted to connect you all with some dear new friends, and awesome ladies - Christin of Sweet Aroma Coffee, and Lauren of Elle & Co. Design. These ladies both offer some crazy awesome monthly subscriptions through their businesses that I am thoroughly enjoying!

Christin and her husband started Sweet Aroma Coffee to make money that will go towards stopping sex trafficking. They have a huge heart for Jesus, and seeing the Lord proclaimed and lifted up in some of the darkest places around the world. Sweet Aroma offers a monthly coffee subscription that highlights coffee from different regions around the world. For example, this month I received a 12 oz. bag of coffee from Rwanda, and a 12 oz. bag of coffee from El Salvador! 

The coffee every month will come from two different countries, and is fair trade coffee. A percentage of what you pay monthly goes to 61 Project in Kenya, and Wipe Every Tear in the Philippines. The monthly cost is low for the high quality coffee you will receive. If you are a coffee drinker like me, it just seems to make sense to give money to buy coffee that is doing something for the Kingdom! I hope you will check them out. 

Elle & Co. Design has just launched an amazing printable library that you can subscribe to for just $6.99 a month! Lauren is an amazingly talented designer, and her products are beautiful. I have loved my subscription so far, and cannot wait to use all of her adorable printables. She offers invitations, gift tags, prints, note cards, and more! 


Every month there are new items in the library, and you have access to them all! I love this unique concept, and the best part is you will always have a quick gift if you ever need one. Just print off some note cards on card stock, or frame one of her adorable teacup prints...and there you go, easy and price conscious gift! 
I have already used the gift tags for wedding presents, and her note cards for keeping up with all my to do lists! I hope you check out this awesome library! You will be so glad that you did! 

What are some of your favorite things?

Some posts you may have missed:
Single and Content - my story of my season being single
Bread & Wine Project - Blackberry Crisp - FIRST Bread & Wine Project link up!
Big Announcement - Did you know we are having a BLOG RETREAT?
Lessons from Piper the Pup - Who knew you could learn so much from a little animal?


Handmade Highlight - Holly's Joy Design

First things first, a little correction and note from yesterday's post on the Bread & Wine Project... It came to my attention yesterday afternoon that there is another link up on the first Wednesday of ever month. SO, because I love this other link up, and never want to create an environment of competition on this space I am moving the first link up to WEDNESDAY JULY 9TH! :) The link up will happen the second Wednesday of every month now instead of the first! 

ALSO, I will be having co hosts with this link up, and the first 5 people to sign up can use promo code BREADANDWINE for 50% off! Cannot wait to see you there! 

Now, moving right along! :) 

I love this series! So so much! It is such a joy to highlight small business and godly women who are working hard for Jesus through their gifts. If you want to read my heart behind Handmade Highlights and how it all began check out this post. 

Today I have the sweet privilege of introducing you all to a dear blog friend, Holly of Holly's Joy Design. Holly's heart for Jesus and incredible testimony of commitment in the midst of trials are inspirational. This lovely lady has big dreams, and is working hard to see them become reality! So without rambling, meet this gem of a lady, and check out her interview before to get to know her a little better!


What inspired you to pursue opening an Etsy Shop?
Owning my own business has been a long time dream of mine. My father always encouraged me to dream big and work for myself so I was an entrepreneur from a young age. I sold my artwork along with a number of odd jobs throughout high school and college. As an avid DIYer, I knew I wanted to create just about everything for Derek and my wedding, including our invitations. After our wedding, I began designing invitations and stationery suites for friends and family and absolutely loved it! I opened my Etsy shop this past year and love being able to use my creativity and talents for God’s glory. Going beyond invitations, I now create wall art, notecards, organizational tools, and custom designs – all designed to bring you closer to what matters most in life.



What has been the greatest joy for you in this business?
Joy :) One of my favorite words! I actually named my business “Holly's Joy” as a play on words. My name is Holly Joy, and my absolute favorite part of my business is getting to know the people behind the purchases - the faces on the other side of the computer screen! We may never meet in person, but they have invited me into their lives to create something beautiful for their home. It brings me such joy to be able work with my clients and bring their visions to life! 



What are your favorite items to make?
My absolute favorite items to make are custom designs. As I mentioned earlier, I love people, so getting to hear my client’s ideas and then work together to bring their vision to life is incredible! I have been blessed with a number of scripture customs lately. Writing the Word brings the text to life for me and it turns work into worship. 



How do you stay inspired?
Inspiration is something I struggled with when first starting out… I used to get lost in Pinterest, overwhelmed by how many amazing designers are out there. Now instead of online, I look at life for inspiration. Scripture, books, nature, and life experiences all get compiled to come back to when I’m ready to create. I also take a ton of pictures of things that inspire me – so much that my phone is totally full!



What is one thing the Lord is teaching you right now?
Contentment and patience in waiting - On the business side of things, it is so easy to fall into comparing with others through social media. "Why don't I have more sales/followers/success like other people seem to have overnight?" I have a desk print from Lara Casey that is an incredible reminder of what is most important in life - being content with what I have because I have Jesus. He is enough. On the personal side, my husband Derek and I have had a tough year. He has dealt with some major health issues and at times things have seemed so hopeless. We have postponed many dreams and goals (home renovation, starting a family, along with a few others) to focus on him returning to health. Having patience to wait for God's timing has been and is incredibly difficult; but looking back even on just the last 6 months He has taught me so much. We have a wonderful home despite the projects we want to accomplish, this time with just me and Derek is precious because everything changes when children come into the picture, and I have met the most amazing supportive community through the good and bad times. 



What is one piece of advice you would give to small business owners?
Be you! After first opening my shop I went through a time where there was so much to learn and was slightly obsessed with achieving perfection right off the bat. Well, perfection is impossible to achieve, and I spent way too many hours being pushed down by the comparison trap. I tried to be just like other successful businesses because if it was working for them, why wouldn't "it" work for me too? When I learned to let all that go and be myself, I began creating work that I was proud of and attracting clients who I LOVE to work with! I often cling to 1 Corinthians 12 where it talks about though we are one body we have many parts. Each one of our stories is unique and important to this life's journey so just be yourself!

Follow Holly and keep up with all her new designs!! :) AND use promo code OHSIMPLETHOUGHTS for 10% off anything you order from Holly's shop today!! :) YAY! 

A Harvest of Blessing
Check out my sweet sponsor this month, Madison of The Wetherills Say I Do!

Handmade Highlight - Half Pint Prints

We finally made it back to good ole Mississippi last night. It was sad to leave the beach after such an awesome and relaxing trip, but I was really thankful to be back home. Ben and I spent a good bit of time talking through goals, and my blog/design schedule over the weekend so I was really motivated last night to hit the ground running with these new goals. (I have some exciting posts in the works with more info on this, so stay tuned). 

As most of you who have been around my little blog for awhile know very well, I LOVE handmade. My love for handcrafted goods goes much deeper than just pretty colors, and trendy items. I love supporting women who love Jesus and desire to use their gifts to serve him and others with them. My heart behind this Handmade Highlight series is to introduce you to women who are doing just that. I hope to connect you with creative women and small business owners that are doing big things for the Kingdom of Jesus, and that are super talented as well. 

Today, I am so excited to introduce Amber of Half Pint Prints to you all. You may recognize Amber from last month's sponsorship post. She has been hanging around Oh, Simple Thoughts for a little while, and is such a joy to know. She is very talented in designing prints, invitations, and more!





Here are some questions that I asked Amber to help you get to know her a little better, and some pretty photos of her lovely products!!




What inspired you to pursue opening an Etsy Shop?
Back in 2007 I was just leaving my career as a graphic artist for a newspaper, to stay home with my brand new baby boy (who's not so new and not so little anymore). Here and there I would design things for family, friends and some previous customers I had from the newspaper. I loved being able to create again. After tons of encouragement from my man and a baby that finally began to sleep, I began this little shop. It's my little corner of the web where I can create, share my love for the Lord with others, and still share my day with my boys at home.



What has been the greatest joy for you in this business?
I love that I get to have some small part to helping people celebrate big moments in their lives. And that I get to do it all in the comfort of my own home with my boys running around at my feet. Motherhood had always been a dream of mine, but I needed some sort of creative outlet and my shop was the perfect fit for that. 


What are your favorite items to make?
Oooh...so I started out just designing invites, but as the years have gone on my favorite thing to design are art prints that you can post around your home that remind you just how great our God is....and just how much He loves you. I keep a running list on my desk of things that I've heard and have inspired me. It's my go to when I'm ready to sit down and create something new.


How do you stay inspired?
I think you can be inspired daily by people around you, reading books, listening to speakers, looking in your backyard. I'm all about taking it all in and creating reminders of those moments. Whether it's a great quote you've heard, a favorite verse or just recognizing the beauty in the simple things...I want to remember. 


What is one thing the Lord is teaching you right now?
Haha....this one's easy! It's been on going for a while now. I AM NOT IN CONTROL. I'm a bit of a control freak at times and He's really showing me that I don't need to make lists of what I am going to do or schedule my entire day. All I do is create disappointment for myself when my plans don't go how I want ( and let's be honest they don't most of the time when children are involved). I went through 4 years of infertility trying to control every aspect of everything. It was emotional and it was hard. Then when I was at my lowest I finally let it go...and let God do his work on me and my heart. He ultimately was going to control whether we had a small family or large one a successful business or a unsuccessful one. All to say...I now know just how much He loves me and that His ultimate plan for me, at least now, is to show me that He's got this. And that I just need to glorify Him in all He's done and is still doing for me. 


What is one piece of advice you would give to small business owners?
Just be you. There are people out there trying to do everything (I was one of them for a while), but if you're you, you will find that perfect group of customers for your shop and they will keep returning. If I could add a second piece of advice, I would say talk to other shop owners. There are so many out there who are willing to share advice and help you get your shop on your feet.

Thanks so much Amber for sharing your heart today, and your awesome talent. I have several of Amber's prints in our home, and the are gorgeous. You much head over and check out her Etsy shop, like now! :) And stick around this month to see more from Amber, and maybe even a giveaway of one of her products later this month! (wink, wink)


A Harvest of Blessing
Check out my sweet sponsor this month, Madison of The Wetherills Say I Do"

Handmade Highlight - Riley Writes Scout

It is time again for another Handmade Highlight. To read my heart behind this series, and why I support handmade big and small check out this post. I am so happy to introduce to you Katherine, or Kat from Riley Writes Scout today! Katherine and I both went to Mississippi State University, and even were in a Bible study together with some mutual friends during our time in college. Katherine has a passion for hand lettering, and she has a talent to match! I hope you will all go check out her adorable Etsy shop! So without further delay, meet Katherine!
Photo Credit - Rebecca Long Photography
I fell in love with Katherine's work when one of my bridesmaids asked her to create my lingerie shower invitation! It turned out so adorable, and classy...I have been head over heels for all her products since then!




Now for some fun questions to get to know Katherine a little better!

What inspired you to open up shop full time?
I loved paper & pens growing up, so much so that the majority of my allowance as a kid went to purchasing them at every opportunity. I can’t tell you how many dozens of Pilot Precise Extra Fine pens are probably lying around my parents’ house to this day… Fast-forward to college & my escape from the stress of studying engineering was doodling in my Moleskine journal & designing shower invitations for my sorority sisters. That over time led to me teaching myself calligraphy & designing almost all of my own wedding paper products. And I loved every minute of it. So why not create a business doing what you love?

What has been the greatest joy for you in creating something for others?
It’s the honor in helping people create something special to show their love for those in their life, such as a print for a bride’s maid of honor of her favorite bible verse or designing an invitation for sweet little boy’s first birthday.

What is the story behind the name Riley Writes Scout?
RileyWrites Scout gets its name from a little daydream of mine. Riley was the name of our first pup that unfortunately came home from the shelter as a combo set with a pretty mean virus. He was the sweetest dog, and I like to think that one day Riley will write letters to his future sibling, Scout, about how to soften up her owners to allow puppy snuggles in bed, where the best places are to hide toys, how to act like the family’s protector, etc. Basically how to live a long and happy life.

What has been my favorite thing to make?
A custom baptism invitation for the daughter of dear family friends. We all attend First Methodist in my hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, and the artwork request for their invitation was what was really special: to hand draw the Rose Window from our sanctuary. First Methodist has been a generational church on my dad’s side, and some of my family helped in the building our lovely cathedral, including donating the Rose Window. So to be able to draw something of sentimental significance to me for such sweet friends in honoring their daughter’s baptism will always be one of my favorite projects.

What is one thing the Lord is teaching you right now?
To trust in his timing. My husband & I are in the stage of life where we’re trying to figure out where to go from here. We moved to the DC area right after getting married, but both of our families still live 800+ miles away. So do we stay or do we move closer? If we move, do we move sooner or later? What will our job(s) situation look like? So it’s been a lot of being still and researching and being still… But in the meantime, we’ll continue to have a great experience in living where we are & reminding ourselves that we are where we need to be at the moment.

What is one piece of advice you would give to small business owners?
Know the boundaries between your business & your life. There’s always something else you could work on, but remember to actually live your life, too. Small business burnout is a real thing, plus your day-to-day life & adventures will always be what refreshes & inspires you to try new things within your business. So work hard, but not too hard.

Thanks so much Katherine for letting my showcase your wonderful talent on the blog today! :) Follow Katherine - WEBSITE // ETSY // INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK 

Also, I wanted to take a minute to introduce you to one of my wonderful May sponsors, Leah of Hope Collective! Leah is new to the blogging world, but had made her blog a space to enjoy and share wedding planning inspiration, as well as updates on her Etsy shop!

Here are some fun little interview questions so you can get to know sweet Leah better!

What is your favorite part of blogging?
My favorite part of blogging I would have to say is getting to share my corner of the world with people from all over - whether it's Alaska, Australia, or Raleigh. I think that is really really awesome. Not to mention beginning to make connections with other bloggers, and hopefully that turning into good friendships. Also, the inspiration! I love checking out people's pictures and DIY projects.

What are you craving right now?
Tacos. Because it's Cinco de Mayo! 

What are you reading?
Wedding magazines. haha But really, I was on a roll at the beginning of this year to read books I owned that I hadn't touched yet, and I had done really well with that but have come to a stall. Now I'm going to pick up a few books I own that I only partially read (I have a bad habit of not finishing books). My Bible Study group read through the Envy of Eve last year, and I read all of it but one chapter I believe, so I'm going to go back and finish that. I highly recommend that book for women - it addresses different areas of our lives where women tend to covet, and it's Biblically based. The lady who wrote it lives here in Charlotte, NC.

How would you describe your ideal day?
My ideal day would involve getting to sleep in, followed by a little reading before I got out of bed. Then I'd get my coffee going, and make an omelette for a late breakfast, with hashbrowns....mmm. I'd eat my breakfast, then put some music on and make jewelry for most of the day. :) I would play around with some painting, probably watercolors. I'd do some sort of exercise in the afternoon then have dinner with my family. Now that would be my ideal day when I don't get to see my fiance (he works offshore). If he was here, off of work, my ideal day would be spending it with him, walking around downtown Matthews, going to little shops, grabbing lunch together at the really delicious BBQ place, and maybe going to a park for the afternoon, followed by a date night with him. :)

So thankful to know you Leah, and congrats again on your new engagement!

A Harvest of Blessing

Check out my sweet sponsor this month, Jenni of Frankly My Dear!




Handmade Highlight - Two Sisters Shoppe

I am so excited to introduce to you another AMAZING Etsy shop today. This is a sister duo that work together to make adorable paper goods and baby products! Meet Natalie and Laurie of The Two Sister Shoppe Go grab your morning tea or coffee and come link up over at Tuesday Tea with SamanthaJenni, and Renee!
 

How gorgeous are these gals? So so lovely! And guess what? They are both mamas to some adorable little ones! 



Sweet Babies! :) So these sisters love Jesus and they are so talented at making lovely things. Take a look at some of their handiwork...







Ah, I just swoon over all this loveliness. As usual I asked Natalie and Laurie some questions so you could get to know them a little bit better! (Natalie answered the questions since Laurie is a super new mommy and spending her time adjusting to her new baby girl and recovering from delivery)

What inspired you both to open up shop? 
We have always been busy creating something.  From dramatic beanie baby plays (yeah, you read that right) to painting cute canvases or sewing bags and skirts. Recently my creativity veered towards art prints and painting on pillows (by the way, these will be coming to the shop very soon) while Laurie started sewing baby accessories, pillows and drawing art prints as well.  People started showing interest in our new creations and after many long nights of preparation and a lot of help from our supportive husbands, we opened up an Etsy shop.


What has been the greatest joy for you in creating something for others? 

A lot of what I like to paint or draw is verses from the bible. I am thrilled that God is using me to be an encouragement to people. It is an honor to be the source behind the painting that is able to remind them that God deeply loves them and that He is faithful.  I also make note cards that people have bought for ministry purposes.  I so enjoy caring for and loving on people and I am privileged that people buy my cards to do just that. 

What is it like being in business with your sister?
 Okay so I am the type of person that adlibs and creates spur of the moment whenever I feel a whim of inspiration. When Laurie creates, it is well thought out, planned, organized and well, uh, perfect.  When we put our heads together it was like…hello! Ideal combination!  She brings order and beauty to the business. I bring personality and uniqueness to the business.  Being partners in the shop has never been a problem.  We work really well together and when there are tense situations we usually yell, look at each other, and laugh. ;) Laurie is my interpreter through and through and I completely understand Laurie and can read her like a book. All in all, being in business with my sister is just plain fun.  

What has been your favorite part of newlywed life/motherhood?
 Marriage has been beyond wonderful.  I married my childhood crush, who was also my best friend in high school.  Doing life with this passionate guy is the best and I love that I am the one who gets to fix a big breakfast for him, wrestle with him, cut the back of his hair for him, watch movies at 2 am with him, clip his toenails for him.  It so fun getting to know him better and better every day. We are genuinely best friends. Now, being a mother came sooner than I thought! We were married a month and a half when I found out I was pregnant with Kyler. I would never, ever, trade it for the anything. Being a young parent isn’t as tough as people think. It is FUN and amazing! Kyler has grown me a lot as well as taught me a lot.  He has also spoiled me by being such an easy and well behaved baby.  I thank God every single day for my guys.  Life would be dull and slobber-less without them. 

What is one thing the Lord is teaching you right now? 
To stay focused on Him.  You’d think because I am a stay-at-home mom who is not in school that I would have all the time in the world. NOT so. I consider it an honor to keep our house clean and beautiful and to take care of my sweet baby Kyler. It is a full time job, however.  Not to mention all the other activities or responsibilities that pop up constantly.  I wouldn’t say all this is hard at all but I will say that it can all get very distracting.  Without God, none of this would even matter.  It is so important to read His word and pray daily.  It is so important to praise Him when things are good and to praise Him when things are not so good.  I am here on this earth to bring glory to God! That is my focus everyday and I pray that it will always continue to be. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to small business owners? 
 Two things: 1) Pray about it, and give the business over to the Lord. 2) Do what you love. It will get busy and you will feel overrun but if it is what you love doing…you will do it and keep on loving it; even when it gets crazy.  

What are your favorite items to create? 
I absolutely love painting (on anything) but I think my favorite has been doing art prints and note cards. The reason being, I can sketch in bed or on the couch next to Justin.  It’s the best because I can get business done and be with my husband at the same time and get his opinion on it every now and then. And I love, love doodling and hand lettering. I also love designing custom invitation/prints/canvases.  I have done a lot of custom designs for locals and I want to start offering custom invitations on our Etsy.  Custom is so much fun because it is always different and I love creating something special for someone that is just for them.

Thank you so much Natalie and Laurie for letting me highlight you guys! I hope you all show them some love and go check out their adorable shop!

What are your favorite Two Sisters Shoppe items shown?

Also... Happy April Fool's Day! It's no joke - I have teamed up with 12 other bloggers to bring you a $225 Spring Fashion Giveaway. One winner will receive $100 to J.Crew, $75 to Gap and $50 to Loft. Enter below and don't forget to check out all these gorgeous blogs! Good Luck :) 


It is giveaway week over here haha...not really but kinda. It is so much fun to get to participate in such fun giveaways though! Make sure to enter!

Also, come join me for a "coffee date" first thing tomorrow morning! It will simply be a time for us to share our hearts with each other, and really encourage each other as bloggers and sisters in Christ! Come link up and get to know some incredible ladies!!!

Much Love, 

Rachel

                                                                                                

Etsy Gifts for the Rustic Man

Happy Happy Tuesday dear ones! It is no secret that I love handmade everything. Etsy is my favorite website to find unique and one of kind gifts for my loved ones. It is also no secret that I am married to a manly man. Ben would live outdoors all hours of the day if he could, so I love finding fun manly gifts that are handmade just for him. I have included a few of my favorite finds so far below! 

Do you have your morning tea or coffee in hand? Come link up over at Tuesday Tea with KhalaSamanthaJenni, and Renee!


These are such fun gifts!! :)



1. BBQ Rubs of the States - Does your hunny love BBQ and grilling out? What guy doesn't? Get him this fun little sampler pack of different rubs based on the flavors found around the U.S. Very affordable and such a fun gift for the grill master!



2. Artisanal Beef Jerky I bought the 5 piece sampler pack for Ben as a stocking stuffer for Christmas. He LOVED it. Such a unique gift and the vendor makes this jerky in very small batches completely by himself. Each flavor reflects a different city or area of New York, it is really a great purchase for your jerky loving man. 



3. Seersucker Bow-ties - Bow-ties are big here in the south, and Ben loves to wear them. It makes my preppy heart proud. These bow-ties come in so many different colors and are so well made. A great item to add to any modern man's closet.



4. Old School Shaving Kit - Take your sweetheart back to the way things used to be with this fun shaving kit, complete with beer soap, "Art of the Manly Shave" instructions, wooden soap dish, and a sturdy bristle brush! Nothing like a good old fashion clean shave. 



5. Chocolate Bacon Bark - Bacon + Chocolate, need I say more. I am not sure there is a man in the world who does not love both of these two ingredients by themselves so why not combine them to make an interesting sweet and savory treat for your manly guy! 

All of these gifts are right up my husband's alley. He loves The Art of Manliness blog and all of these gift ideas would be similar to what you find over there. Manly, classy, and affordable. 

What kinds of gifts does your special guy enjoy? 

Happy Tuesday Friends!

Much Love, 

Rachel 

Handmade Highlight - Lavender and Linen + a GIVEAWAY

Happy Tuesday my friends! As usual I am linking up this morning with KhalaSamanthaJenni, and Renee for some Tuesday Tea!
Many of you may be new to my Handmade Highlight series. Read all about it here. Basically the purpose behind this blog series is to introduce you to women who love Jesus and creating things with their own hands. So for all you handmade lovers out there remember to tune in every two weeks or so for new vendors and handmade store owners. 

Meet this week's store owner: Kendra of Lavender and Linen!


I have been so blessed to "meet" Kendra via Instagram. We have really developed a sweet little social media friendship because of our mutual love for Jesus, newlywed life, and handmade loveliness. Lavender and Linen is full of vintage inspired and chic items you are going to LOVE.



I did a little interview with Kendra so that you can all get to know her and her precious heart a little bit better. 

Rachel: What inspired you to open up shop?
Kendra: I was in my senior year of high school with no plans of going to college and having a career. The Lord had given me a desire to be a wife and a stay at home mother and I knew that's what I wanted to do but I also had the desire to be able to help make a little extra money from home if necessary. I had started out with headbands and hair clippies and had been selling them to a little shop (which is now where we have our little location!). With some help from my Mom I was able to get a few things listed in an etsy shop and it has grown from there! As it grew I realized it was getting a little too big to handle on my own so I went into partnership with my mom almost a year ago and with both of us working at it we are able to add so much more variety plus I love crafting together and coming up with new products! 


Rachel: What has been the greatest joy for you in creating something for others?
Kendra: I think one of my absolute favorite things in creating things for people is praying over the item before I send it off to them. I am not as disciplined in this as I should be but I try my best to whisper a prayer and ask The Lord to do for them what they have need of and to let my product be a blessing to them!


Rachel: What is the story behind the name lavender and linen?
Kendra: Proverbs 31 has always been an extremely special passage to me and I try daily to be at least a little of that woman.. It lays a great guideline for what a woman of Grace should be like. I love that it shows not only that God created us to work with our hands and be crafty but also that we can use those talents and God given abilities to serve our families! So our name was taken and inspired by this chapter. 


Rachel: What has been your favorite part of newlywed life?
Kendra: hmm.. I have so many favorite parts! I think my most favorite is quality time. I love spending time in conversation, going on date nights or watching a few episodes of our favorite shows together. He truly is my best friend and being with him never gets old!


Rachel: What is one thing the Lord is teaching you right now?
Kendra: Definitely right now I'd say He's teaching me to be still and to trust Him. No matter whats going on. I will run myself ragged worrying about something and not fully wanting to give it over to Him. But I'm learning! He is showing me little by little how much better it is to let go and trust Him to do His divine will. 


Rachel: What is one piece of advice you would give to small business owners?
Kendra: Realize you are blessed! Somedays I find myself so frustrated and complaining about how I don't have time for something I want to do and how I'm tired of sewing and then I realize how ridiculous I'm being. Im blessed that I can sew, I'm blessed that I can work from home doing what I love and help make a little extra money, Im blessed with so many orders! So take some time to be thankful that you get to do what you love. 

Rachel: What are your favorite items to create?
Kendra: I think the coffee cozies are my new favorites. I love finding new verses or quotes to put on them and I also LOVE seeing what people come up with to put on their own custom cozies. They can be so personal with all the different colors and quotes.

Look at all this loveliness from Lavender and Linen!




Want to shop or follow Lavender and Linen? Here's how...




AND NOW FOR THE BEST PART! 

Kendra has so gracious given one of her soft stretchy headbands and a hand stamped inspirational coffee cozy for a giveaway. Enter below for your chance to win! 


Happy Happy Tuesday sweet ones. I hope you all give sweet Kendra lots of love today and get to know her. She is a gem and such an encouragement! 

xoxo,

Rachel

Why I support handmade and small.

Good morning friends, it is bright and early before the sun here and I seem to have a lot churning around in my mind. So I thought I would come over here to share, encourage, and hopefully inspire a few of you. 

Do it yourself projects, websites like Etsy, and being crafty are all the rage right now. I think there is a good reason for this...people long to create meaning. We long to bring significance to the world and to share that significance with others...and often that desire leads to creating. It is encouraging to me to see people creating, not just running down to the store to buy something (not that there is anything wrong with that)...but people desiring to use their own two hands. I find that I am wired to create. I may not be incredibly gifted in one type of hobby or skill, but I have a very strong determination to learn and get better at whatever hobby I am into. 

So why am I saying all this? Well I think that "hobbies" or skills, gifts or talents, or whatever you want to call them are God-given and should be cultivated, supported, encouraged, and affirmed. (Some of those words may be slightly redundant but I am just trying to make a point hehe) We know in the Bible there are spiritual gifts mentioned, (1 Corinthians 12:1-11; 14:1-5; Romans 12:6-8) and I am not ignoring these or downplaying them. I think it is so very important to ask the Lord to reveal our gifts to us, such as mercy, prophecy, hospitality, etc...however those gifts are not what I am focusing on necessarily in this post. What has been on my mind are the gifts like--woodworking, sewing, crocheting, baking, having business savvy just to name a few. These things are not necessarily spelled out in the scriptures, but does that mean that being passionate about these things is not supported and encouraged by the Holy Word of God? NO, they are supported.

Let's take a look at Proverbs 31 (for those of you not familiar with this passage, it is written by a king who is reciting or recording an oracle that his mother taught him, it lays out the qualities of a godly woman and wife, and is a great passage to turn our eyes to as women as how to manage our homes, marriages, and lifestyles to bring glory to the Lord)...

"She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands." (vs. 13)

"She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens." (vs.15)

"She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard." (vs 16)

"She perceives her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night." (vs. 18)

"She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle." (vs.19)

"She makes linen garments and sells them, she delivers sashes to the merchants." (vs. 24)

"She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." (vs. 27)

The passage goes on to say that this type of woman is to be praised by her children and also her husband. Wow. Those verses speak to baking, sewing, selling, buying, being a business woman...these verses affirm the idea of creating. It is a way to be a blessing to others, which in turn shows the love of our Father and brings him glory. It is a way to keep us as women from becoming lazy and idle in our free time, which helps us to manage our lifestyles and homes well, which brings the Lord glory. All of this brings the Lord glory.

So...why do I support handmade businesses or small businesses? Because women that step out in faith by using gifts the Lord has given them to bring him glory through creating inspire me. I feel like they are a picture to the world around them of something the world cannot fully understand. The world tells us, follow your heart, do what makes you happy, why? to make yourself happy, to make money, most importantly for yourself. But godly women striving after this Proverbs 31 goal do what they love not for themselves (though it may bring them immense joy and fulfillment) but they use their gifts as blessings to those in their households and other outside their homes...and greatest of all they use their gifts to bring our Father God glory. Bringing him glory is why we are here, if we forget that we lose sight of our mission as a child of God.

I have been so inspired by other blogs that I follow, Etsy shops, and just individuals that love creating. These people have pushed me to use my free time more wisely and to really dig and find out what my passions and giftings are. So I thought it would be fun to begin periodically sharing a business I support here on the blog. (Handmade Highlight) Sometimes I may have interviews with the individual, other times I may just tell you a little about them and include a link to their website. I will try to do this once a month or so. I think it will be a fun way to honor and highlight some really inspirational people as well as push us all to be more creative in our ministry as women.

So for today I am highlighting my dear friend Sera Beth Pinkard. Sera Beth and I were sorority sisters in college and became dear friends towards the last year of school. She has a huge heart for business, fashion and puppies (her little pup Marley is one of the cutest things ever). Sera Beth owns a small online clothing/accessories store called Edna Grayce's. (oh did I mention she is getting married in just a month? she has started this whole business all while being engaged and planning a wedding! what a gal!)


Sera Beth loves the Lord, and desires to use her business as a way to bless others in a very tangible way. A portion of all her sales always go to various charities, organizations, and causes. She does not charge shipping on her items as an additional way to bless her customers. All of her pieces are great for women of all ages, they are modest, flattering, stylish and affordable. Here are a few of my favorite pieces. 


(just bought this beauty of a cardigan from Sera Beth yesterday. Its warm, cozy, and goes with so much. Perfect piece to dress up a t shirt)







I asked Sera Beth a few questions so that ya'll can get to know her just a tiny bit better...So here she is...

Rachel: "What drove you to start your own business?"
Sera Beth: "I had the desire to be able to determine the heights of my own success and didn't want anyone else to do that for me."

Rachel: "How do you pick out pieces for your store?"
Sera Beth: "I have three things I usually go by: my intuition when I see new items, customer feedback, and I also invest a good bit of time following fashion bloggers to stay on top of the latest trends!"

Rachel: "What is your favorite scripture verse?"
Sera Beth: "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)"

Rachel: "What are your top 3 closet staples?"
Sera Beth: "For the winter season they have been my Frye boots, basic color fleece leggings, and scarves. You can put those on with any top, dress, or sweater and have a cute yet comfy outfit."

Rachel: "What inspires you most?"
Sera Beth: "I have to say I always thought my dreams and goals for my life were always too far fetch but in college I read the book, "Rich Dad Poor Dad" and it gave me the affirmation that I was wired with an entrepreneur's mindset!!! We are just wired a little different in our thinking process. I promise I am not crazy, that book really did inspire me to live out my dreams to the fullest."

Thanks so much Sera Beth for being the first business highlighted in my new blog series Handmade Highlight. Love you sweet friend, and I am so proud of all the work you are doing!

Everyone head on over to Edna Grayce's Website and check out all the adorable stuff Sera Beth has right now. I can guarantee you that you will not be disappointed when you purchase from this little lady.

I hope this was as inspirational to you as it was for me. Let's push each other to be doers and use our free time to cultivate gifts in order to bring the Lord glory and to be a blessings to others.

XOXO-