Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Basics

I've been talking a lot about simplifying my closet lately,and what I was left with after the whole process, so today its time to put all of that into action.  There is something really great about your favorite basic pieces coming together to make a favorite casual outfit.

Favorite tee - check, favorite jeans - yes (I love white denim), favorite bag - this is the one, favorite accessory - this hat is my new favorite go to.  I'm pretty sure almost everything I own now could be qualified as a basic piece but, I'm really ok with that.  I have figured out that I wear what I really like anyway and what I really like is a great mix of basics. 

You don't have to fuss around with a lot of stuff to feel and look put together.  A good rule to go to is the rule of 3.  With 3 items you will usually look automatically more put together than with two.  Like adding a cardigan, jacket or hat to your usual t-shirt and jeans.  It just makes everything feel completed and a little more styled.

Moms, don't be afraid of white jeans they are actually quite awesome and easy to pull off.  I just always carry a little tide to go pen with me just in case.  

Enjoy your basics and wear what you like!

Happy Wednesday!

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pleated poppy

Gracefullee Made

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Simple Spring Wreath Tutorial

Today I'm sharing with you a super simple wreath tutorial!  It involves cutting, tying knots and using mostly items you probably already have- so anyone can do this.  I needed some spring color to brighten up our home so yellow is what I went for, I love the bright pop of color!  Ok, let's get started..

The first thing you need to do is gather your supplies.  I used an embroidery hoop for my wreath base.  If you don't have one already they are super easy to find - either at your local craft store, walmart and even target now has them and they are usually under $2.  Next you need to decide on fabric.  I used all scarp items like an old table cloth, sheet and t shirt.  I also used some yellow felt I already had on hand.  Just use what you have!

It really is just as simple as cutting strips of fabric...and they don't have to be perfect (obviously from my photo) and tying the strips in knots around your hoop.  After you have it all tired I usually grab my scissors and trim around the wreath to make it a little more even.

So easy and sweet!  I love using things I already have on hand to make something new.  If you didn't have fabric you could also use ribbon or burlap...or old t-shirts like I did.

The most difficult thing about this wreath is probably the time but I got mine done in under an hour and all while watching HGTV of course...not too bad.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Simplified Spring Wardrobe - The Items

Spring is in full force, this wardrobe has been in full force for almost a month now and I'm loving it so much.  Last week I shared about how I was craving simplicity - in a lot of ways- and one of the easiest and most needed ways to begin was to simplify my closet.  So I purged and stored and gave away stuff and now I'm down to much, much less.  This is not necessarily a capsule wardrobe (the idea in which I love and used as a tool when simplifying my wardrobe) but it is a simplified version of what I used to have.  Pretty much everything is mix and matchable and easy to wear.  So, for the curious ones -here are the items I ended up with.  Maybe this will help some of you visualize what your closet could be as well.

Spring is a little difficult to plan for, you can have 80s here one day and 50s the next so I needed to make sure I had plenty of layering options.  I don't have any crazy colors going on, I stuck with what I like - neutrals and shades of blue.  I don't have anything overly trendy, mostly basics with a few seasonal pieces - things that will work year after year.  I know that's not everyone's cup of tea but its mine.  Also, I should add that I actually did not buy one single new item, I had everything in my closet already but I know that is not realistic for everyone.  Creating a mixable simplified wardrobe may take some purchases and planning.  Start with what you have first and make a list of items that would help fill out your closet.  Then, use that list to slowly build the wardrobe you will actual wear and use.  No more wasteful purchases and stuffed closets and feeling like you have nothing to wear!

Its crazy how many outfit options I have going on here with these items.  Its almost unlimited.  Each row above has several combos just within that row (many I haven't even thought of) and then each row can mix-in with the next.  Having a simplified closet not only allows you to have less but somehow creates even more options.  Everything flows and is easy to put together.

Having a good idea of what you like to wear, taking control of that messy, overstuffed closet and working your way to being a good steward are all things I was aiming for in this closet overhaul.  I'm sure I will learn more as I go and this whole simplified way of doing things will evolve.  But, I can honestly say I'm so loving this.  Having less actually forces you to be more creative - in a lot of areas of your life and creativity is that fuel that we all need sometimes and allows us to grow.  
Personally - (and this is going in a totally different direction now but somehow in my mind still connects)... I know in the times when I am left with little in my spiritual life is when God works in awesome ways to prune me into something better.  We get ourselves out of the way and turn to God alone.  We don't need a bunch of stuff, we just need Jesus.  
I hope that some of these thoughts will help you on your way of getting rid of stuff, finding simplicity and letting Jesus fill your life. that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 
Ephesians 3:17-19

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How to Simplify Your Closet

Over the course of the last several months I have been craving simplicity.  Its just become apparent to me that I am surrounded by too much stuff.  It gets in the way and becomes distracting.  The accumulation of things is quite ridiculous and I don't like it.  Its needless, a waste of money, time and resources and quite honestly I don't feel like its biblical.  I don't need 5 gray shirts...especially when someone is in need of just a shirt, any shirt.  So I realized that I had a problem with stuff and needed to start making a change.  The best place and probably the most needed place to start was in my closet...I needed a big time purge.  I have tried closet purges before but I always seemed to end up keeping things "just because" or "what if" or ending up with a closet full of things that don't work together.  So I came up with a plan.

Maybe I'm moving towards a more minimalistic approach in life or maybe I just need to simplify. I'm not really sure yet.  I just want to be a good steward and someone who is more focused on Jesus than my stuff.  I'm not going to lie, this task was a little difficult and daunting.  It took me over a week to complete the entire process.  But, I went into it knowing I wanted to do things right and that I needed to take the time to make it right.  
The first thing I needed to do was to figure out what my wardrobe needed to consist of, or essentially what my style is.  I thought about the clothing items I usually go to regularly (because let's face it we have certain items we wear a lot more often than others) and considered what my usual routine is.  I'm a stay at home mom who is often helping my husband with messy things at church.  So, I needed more casual go to items.   After considering what I needed out of my wardrobe I looked at my pinterest board to get an idea of what styles I liked to pin and I began to see a pattern.  Minimal classics in more neutral colors and lots of blues.  That's what I like to wear so I need to stick with it.  Other stuff just takes up space and never gets worn.  I made a decision that I wanted a closet with versatile items that could go with many different things to give me plenty of options.  Ok, so now the work began.

After you have a good idea of what you want to have and keep its time to get rid of stuff - a lot of stuff.  I decided to pull every single clothing item out of my closet, drawers and anywhere else.  It sounds like a lot of work, but its really worth it.  As I was pulling out items I made little piles of categories like sleeveless tops, button ups, etc.  It just helped me see what I really had.  After I had everything pulled out I started with the easy things I wanted to get rid of.  The obvious things you don't like or haven't worn in forever or don't fit or are uncomfortable.  Also, anything that needed repair needed to go because the realization is that I was just never getting around to it.
Halfway through the process I realized I have a need for some items that I don't wear everyday.  Justin and I are blessed to have the opportunity to go on several mission trips a year with our students.  Those trips usually require a little different of a wardrobe than what I would wear everyday.... like basketball shorts and t-shirts.  Plus, I decided that if I was eliminating a lot of stuff, what I keep needed to stay nice so I was able to wear more.  So, I picked up a small under the bed storage box and stored those items there.  
Then I was on to sorting my clothing through seasons.  Here in NC we experience pretty much every type of weather and season so I needed to have items put away for colder months and also the extreme heat.  Since right now we are in Spring I chose to store away in another bin my fall/winter clothing items to pull out later.  This was mainly just some sweaters, flannels and my coat.  I wanted a simple closet without anything to have to sift through.  
So after all of that sorting and storing, I began with keeping only what I really liked and putting it in my closet hanger by hanger.  Some items gave me a hard time, a few things I put in the closet to only a week later decide to take out.  So its a process for sure.  Also, a couple of items I was on the fence about so I stored them under the bed in my bin to just wait on.  If I haven't reached for it this season its obvious I don't need it.  I was so excited to find that I could fit everything I needed to wear in my closet easily with a ton of room to spare.  I don't even need one single drawers to store clothing in now!  No drawers, no stuffing in anywhere - simplicity.  I need to add in here that this does not include a drawer for sleepwear and work out clothes and unmentionables.  Although I did go through all of those items as well and reduce what I had.  So now, here is everything..

It includes a variety of tops, bottoms, completer pieces (like cardigans/jackets) and a couple of dresses.  I cannot tell you how great it feels to get rid of stuff and to easily look into my closet and know that whatever I choose I'm going to like it and feel good in it.  Plus, there is no waste and needless things taking up space.  My original plan was to get down to 50 items, I am a little over that number but I'm still ok with it.  I have been really inspired by some great minimalist bloggers out there who get down to around 30-37 items.  I'm not quite there but could see myself there one day as I figure this all out.  I decided that it wasn't necessarily about a certain number but just getting down to something I felt good about.  Everyones lifestyle is different so you may need different things so a number isn't the key - simplicity and knowing you are being a good steward is.    

So what does this mean for shopping?  For me, I know I need a plan in place so I am coming up with a little list of items that I think would help expand the use of the items I already have.  That way, I can shop with a purpose and not just grab things because it was on sale or end up with something overly trendy I will rarely wear.  As for what is exactly in my closet now -I am going to share with you soon and also begin showing how many outfits you can create with fewer things!  Maybe seeing what I ended up with will help you streamline your wardrobe as well.  I hope that in some way this will help you think through what is in your closet that is needed and what isn't.  This journey of simplicity is also spilling into more of my house than just my closet so I hope to share some of that as it comes along as well.  

Here is a quick list I put together for helping you sort through and simplify your closets!

I would love to know if any of you are taking the step to simplify and get rid of stuff!  Share with me!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Panama 2015: Doing Life Together

Disciple Now, Panama, Torn Achilles, Surgery...just a few things that have been a part of our life lately.  Several weeks back we had the awesome opportunity to take our third trip to Panama.  It has become one of our favorite places for so many reasons!  We were blessed to be a part of an awesome group that went along with us, mostly consisting of College students and we loved every minute.

There are some things that are just becoming really clear for Justin and I when it comes to ministry and living life.  The two have to be the same.  Ministry happens as life happens.  Whether you are in your hometown or in a different country like Panama - its all intertwined.  Ministry is not a special program or a set apart time during our week.  As we go, we are to make disciples.

 The first day there in Panama we decided as a group to not consider this trip as a mission trip - like a special week we set aside to come together and serve.  But we considered it a "doing life" trip.  It was just an extension of our lives from home.  We are all friends doing life together as we went.  We are so thankful to have a wonderful friendship with the missionaries in Panama as well.  They are great examples of this.  They "do life" with all of the people they minister to on a weekly basis and consider the people they minister to as friends and family.  They eat together, talk together, play together, give and help meet needs, share their lives and while all of this happens Christ is being preached and disciples are being made. 

Because of our friendship with them we find it easy to come alongside of what they are doing in Panama and join in for a week to help.  It really is a beautiful way that God has provided encouragement and love among the body of believers.  

God has been piercing my heart in several ways in relation to this (on a personal level) some of which I plan to share about here on the blog soon.  I can't help but think about the early church in Acts and how they lived and how different it seems to look now for us.  We are so separated, so independent and have a hard time accepting help.  

So this week, as you go, think about the people you are doing life with.  Who is your community?  Whose life are you pouring into together?  Or, who do you need to be pouring into together?  God has placed us in friendship for a bigger purpose than a few laughs and someone to watch a movie with and he has given us purpose together as one community of believers.  We have a bond through Christ to make His name known - as you "do life" together.  Remember your first love and His purpose for you.

We love because He first loved us.  John 4:19

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Belting a Scarf

If belting a scarf is a new and unusual idea for you, don't worry it is for me too.  But I can't help but like it.  This week's style challenge from Audrey is to belt something.  Normally, this wouldn't seem so difficult for me but this week has been a little different.  This added snow and winter weather has made these challenges - well even more challenging.  All I want to do is wear a chunky sweater and be done with it.  But, its a challenge so I press on.  

So what do you do when you want to wear something really warm and comfy but need to add a belt? - just do it.  Belt it all up and call it a day.  I layered on a tank, a long sleeve shirt and a chunky sweater, grabbed a large scarf, wrapped the belt around it all and found myself a warm and comfy outfit that was a little bit different and outside my norm.

I think the key to belting up a scarf is making sure you have one that is big/long enough.  There is a lot of bulk going on here with the chunky cardigan but I couldn't go without it this day and I think all in all it worked.  With all of the chunkiness going on I was able to wear my super big glittery vintage bracelet.  I can't always figure out how to squeeze that into outfits, but when I do I love it.

So I guess when it doubt, belt it up.  Have you guys ever done a belt over a scarf?  What's your feeling on it?  Share with me!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Master Bedroom Plan

We have been busy working on our son's room recently, putting our extra time into finishing up that space - and I'm determined to not move on until I have everything complete (as much as it can be).  But, I can't help but think about the next room on my list to conquer- our master bedroom.  A girl can dream right?  Some of the elements of our room I like and will keep but some I'm ready to change.  I think after several years I'm ready for an even more neutral toned room with natural elements and we are desperately in need of some storage and organization.  So below is a quick shot of where the bedroom is right now (just also imagine in piles of books and clothes to better accurately create a glimpse of our room).

To take it to the next level we want to replace the flooring, paint a lighter gray/beige on the walls, paint the side drawers white,  add some industrial wall sconces, build an industrial shelving unit and add some accessories.  So actually quite a few things but nothing to crazy difficult.


I kind of like the idea of pairing the industrial elements with some more delicate ones.  I think this would be such a relaxing and peaceful place to be.  This is the motivation I need to get some of the last projects in Silas' room complete so I can dive into all of this!  

We have a busy week ahead with a big student ministry event coming and this crazy weather is throwing us for a loop!  Snow today and maybe again this week! What?!  Do you guys have any rooms you are dreaming of updating?  Do share!