Giveaway from Scribbles Shoppe and Mercy Ink Designs

Have you ever read a blog and thought: “In real life, we would totally be friends.” That’s how I feel about Lauren from Mercy Ink. I’m so honored that she shared her heart and grace-filled words about why fair trade matters last week, and today, she also agreed to a joint giveaway!

Lauren’s Etsy shop features products to pen His story in our hearts and homes. She sells digital art and prints especially for the Christian home, including nursery art, baby gifts, scripture typography, and adoption art and gifts.

The Mills family is planning to bring their own little one home from Congo!

As they explain on their adoption fundraising page:

Most of you know that we have felt called to adopt since before our oldest was born. Over the past 6 years since her birth, adoption has never been out of our thoughts and prayers, but we were always just praying for His timing. Though all human wisdom would say it’s not wise or that it doesn’t make sense, God has so clearly spoken to our hearts the word: “now.”
We could not be more grateful for our calling to adopt. We know that each family looks different and each person feels passionate about different things, but whether you are called to adopt or not, we know with all of our hearts that the Lord’s command to love the orphan and the widow is clear and undeniable, and in that vein, we invite you into this journey with us.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)

 

You can find out more about their adoption journey here:
The Post I Waited Seven Years to Write
Adopting from DR Congo

On her blog, Lauren writes about inspiring ordinary women to follow Jesus, live brave, love well, and change the world. I know you’ll be blessed by her writing, as I am!

So without further ado, Lauren and I are giving away $20 each to our Etsy shops, to be used on whatever the winner chooses!

Just a note, if you’re interested in any of the invitation designs in my shop, they can be customized for other occasions. I just sold a wedding invitation design that was customized for a bridal shower 🙂

Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below! (email readers, you’ll have to click over to the blog) The giveaway will end Friday night. Happy entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Portrait of an Imaginary Life in Cannon Beach, Oregon

Everywhere I travel, I try to picture myself living. Some places are a stretch, like Illinois, where the summer heat combined with humidity are a recipe for my misery. Others, like Cannon Beach, where I visited my sister last week, feel like a dream come true.

Haystack Rock

I can imagine myself getting the part time job advertised in the window of the Organic Boutique, and stocking up on their little pots of all-natural paints. When I’m not working there, I’ll find a comfortable seat on a driftwood log on the beach with my sketchpad, capturing the Haystack Rock or the children flying kites. Maybe I’ll search for inspiration on a hike through the mossy evergreens, discovering hidden waterfalls and caves, channeling Sacajawea minus Lewis and Clarke.

Seaside
Campers by the caves

On rainy days (so, frequently) I’ll spend a few hours in various cafes writing deep, introspective thoughts, fueled by Aztec Mochas or Lavender Vanilla Lattes (both completely amazing). In all weather, I’ll visit the beach, allowing myself to be hypnotized by the rhythmic music of the waves and wind.

Aztec Mocha from Insomniac Cafe
A corner in Sesame and Lillies
North Beach

My TOMS and Wellington boots will co-exist happily by the front door, awaiting an excursion to Sesame and Lillies for a new home decor piece, or North Beach, for a sandy walk along the shore to collect new shells. My sand dollar collection will be artfully framed and displayed over my river stone fireplace.

My morning spot on the back porch

I’ll meet friends at Bill’s Tavern for fish and chips with a Blackberry Beauty Beer, or I’ll savor the best root beer known to man. It’s my kind of town, with yarn shops and glass works and fried seafood existing so close together, a car is cumbersome. And yet, you’ll never fail to discover another hidden gem on a street you walked a dozen times.

Best Root Beer Ever

From the chatty baristas at Insomniac Cafe to the fellow southwest and midwest transplants at the Conference Center and Ecola Bible School, the people I met are genuine, accepting, and kind. I feel like we would be friends, especially the girls my sister and I watched musicals On The Town and The Phantom of the Opera with while doing henna tattoos. Not only do we share similar interests; artistic, literary, fair trade, we’re also in similar places in life. We’ve found a place to minister, and maybe something else that pays the bills. We’re really just trying to find our place in life, trying to find what we’re meant to do.

Henna Birds

And when in Oregon, do as the Oregonians do, and put a bird on it! 

Have you ever fallen in love with a place you’ve visited? Tell me about it in the comments!

Why Fair Trade Matters to Me, By Mercy Ink

foot washing guatemala

One day last October I walked down a long, dusty road into a poor Guatemalan village to wash the dirt off little feet. As the children came through the line, one by one, the grime was washed off their shoeless feet and replaced with a new, clean pair of TOMS shoes.

 

shoe drop guatemala

When Emily asked me to share why fair trade matters to me, it didn’t take much thought to bring me right back to these little feet. TOMS shoes is one example of a company that not only produces fashionable products in fair working conditions, but goes a step further to give back to the very people who have so often been exploited by fashion: the poor and destitute of third world countries.

 I’ve shared before on my blog that I definitely do not have this fair trade thing down 100%. I am a mother with not only myself to shop for, but three little ones that grow quickly and change sizes often. It’s certainly not simple and my life would definitely be easier if shopping fair trade did not matter to me. As Emily has written about here and last week at my place, learning to shop ethically is a process and involves intentional decisions and hard choices.

 And yet thinking of my own three little people really makes fair trade matter that much more: when I think of how our life might look if we weren’t born in this country, if I had to make the choice to starve or send my children to work in degrading and abusive conditions for next to no money. Fair trade matters because children matter, because people matter and the work of their hands matters and has value that is worth a fair wage.

I also cannot escape the Biblical mandates for ethical treatment of workers, the poor, and orphans:

You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. (James 5:3-4)

Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees,to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. (Isaiah 10:1-2)

Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:3-4

Strong wording, isn’t it?

We could excuse ourselves from these verses and say that we’re not the ones making the laws or treating people unfairly, but ultimately, as long as we are consuming the products, we’re giving our nod to the oppression.

Finally as a small business owner and handmade shop owner myself, I value the time and care that goes into crafting a product. I value the person behind the product and believe they should be compensated fairly for their work. Can you imagine if I spent all day, every day working on prints for my shop, and got paid pennies on the hour for my work? Or if I were a single mom and worked in a retail store, say stocking shelves for 10 hours a day, and brought home a $1 for the week’s work? It would be cause for a lawsuit in America.

Fair trade matters to me because people matter to me. As a mother, as a worker, as a believer, and as a human being, I making the hard but totally worth it choice for fair.

What are your thoughts on fair trade? Why does it matter to you?

 

photo credit: Michele Lyn Ault

Lauren is a young mom of three, Jesus follower, and wife of a youth pastor. She is proponent for all things fair trade + handmade and blogs at MERCY iNK as a passionate advocate for the least of these. Lauren designs Scripture prints for the mercy(iNK) print shop. > > > connect with Lauren on twitter or facebook.

Beauty Find Friday: How I Ethically Shop

This week’s Beauty Find Friday is a real look what it looks like for me to shop ethically. If you don’t like to think about how your actions affect others, stop reading now. But, if on some level, you want to be a world changer, keep reading. If you’ve ever wondered how an ordinary person like you could make a difference, keep reading.

My edited closet
But keep reading over on Mercy Ink, because that’s where you’ll find the rest of this post! 

5 Things From This Week

1. I have had a wonderful week of writing, planning, and painting. You might have seen this picture on Instagram with the caption: Painting is going well, now I just need to learn the alphabet. 

Yep. That happened.

Just for fun, I painted my lovely fake flowers from Target. I don’t like how it turned out; my white paint isn’t very white. Live and learn.

I did learn in my last drawing class that white is relative, so if I make the rest of the painting darker, the white in the peony will look whiter. So, I think it can be saved.

When I showed it to Brian and explained that I thought the flower looked too greenish, he said, “Well, someone else might like it! Sell in it your Etsy shop for a million dollars!” Thanks for the vote of confidence, babe.

2. I’m making a collage! The only other collages I’ve made were in high school for a sewing class, and I forgot how fun it is! I’m going to put it where I’ll see it when I wake up, so that it will inspire me to get out of bed and tackle the day’s adventures.

3. I’m loving reading Travel + Leisure Magazine. LOVING IT. The far off places, the breathtaking photos, and most of all, the writing. Oh the adjectives! I tried to read a particularly brilliant description of some desserts in Amsterdam to Brian last night, but found that my delivery of the Dutch language ruined the effect. “Stedelijk” sounds much better in my head.

4. Speaking of travel, I’m going on an adventure of my own this weekend! I’m spending Friday through Tuesday visiting my little sister in Cannon Beach, Oregon. I’ve never been there before, but some of my favorite bloggers live there, so I’m super excited to be inspired by the culture, beaches, forests, seafood, and hipsters. Speaking of hipsters, I’ll get to finally meet her boyfriend!

5. While I’m traveling, I have some special treats lined up for you. Friday, tomorrow, I’m guest posting on one of my favorite blogs, Mercy Ink. In turn, Lauren of Mercy Ink will be posting here on Monday! It’s going to be awesome. And, there may be some giveaways in the future (wink).

That’s it, five things from this week. Tell me about your adventures this week in the comments!

LIFE: Now Is The Start

Today is my first day of unemployment (or re-unemployment, since I was unemployed after graduating too). So, I tried to take a serious contemplative picture. But that didn’t last long. 

hoodie:c/o Evy’s Tree, bracelet: c/o Uganda Community Project, tank: Target, shorts: Old Navy
First, I’m thrilled to be wearing an Evy’s Tree hoodie! I discovered Evy’s Tree soon after I began blogging, and Amy’s adventures making embellished hoodies have inspired me for years. I especially appreciate her honest and real approach to sharing what goes on behind the scenes of having your own business along with a family and a ministry. Reading her posts about doubts and fears gave me courage to write about my own. 
Evy’s Tree sent me the Simple Hoodie in Black, and I’ve been wearing it almost non-stop. Luckily we had some cool weather last week! There’s something distinctly special about an Evy’s Tree hoodie. It’s supremely soft and cozy, and the ruffle details make it dressy enough for church (where I wore it with a dress yesterday) and casual enough for every day. But also, that ruffle makes me feel put together and stylish even when I’m just wearing it with a tank and shorts. 
Secondly, I’m upbeat because of my bright yellow bracelet! I rarely win giveaways, so I was ecstatic to win this handmade bracelet from the Uganda Community Project, an organization that works with schools and churches to create community centers that provide education, vocational training, and technology to empower Ugandans to rise above poverty. 

Thirdly, I didn’t realize how miserable I was at that job until now, when it’s finally sinking in that I never have to go back!

So here’s my plan going forward: I’ll split my time between Scribbles, which includes blogging and my Etsy shop, and volunteering at church, which includes youth group, design projects, and possibly secretarial work. Once I complete the church projects, I may look for other volunteer opportunities. I know of a few that I’d love to get involved with, but there’s plenty to keep my busy with the church right now. 
I’m so excited to be able to spend time planning youth group events again, which I haven’t been able to do since the Christmas party. And I’ll have time to paint! And craft! And write!

I’ll drink to that!

And another reason to celebrate – Evy’s Tree is giving all of my readers 15% off! Use the code: SCRIBBLESFROMEMILY to take 15% off of your new favorite hoodie. Be sure to check out the Diana wraps and children’s hoodies too.

I have a playlist of happy music that get’s me pumped up and motivated, and this song by A Fine Frenzy been one of my favorites lately.

So I’ll close with that. Now is the start!

Beauty Find Friday: My Latest Thrifted Finds

Like I mentioned Monday, I found some fantastic finds thrifting in Iowa. After lunch at the local taco establishment, my friend and I went to Goodwill, as is our tradition. I’d been looking for a big black purse for some time, so this jumped out at me: 
A purse like this at Target would cost around $30, so when I found out it cost $3, I had to get it!

It’s in almost new condition, and since it’s super roomy inside, it worked perfectly for carrying my magazines and books on the plane.

Then I saw this…

Just kidding! This was so crazy, I had to take a picture of it, but even I would not attempt a project that daring. I’ll let Marisa handle that!

 I also found this belt. I’ve never really seen anything like it, and I debated about getting it. But since it was only $1.50, I splurged and bought it.

Last Sunday, this is what I wore to church:

The necklace you’ll recognize from Noonday Collection, with the thrifted belt, and the thrifted cardigan from Savers a couple weeks ago, and a black dress from Sears.

(Also, notice the fighter jet calendar in the background. Brian and I have different ideas when it comes to bedroom decor!)
My former voice coach and friend from church spotted these at another local thrift store, and since she’d seen my living room decor post, said “Emily must have these!”

Right now, they’re chilling in the dining room until I find the perfect spot, and the perfect candles.

Aren’t they perfect though?! I love that they don’t match, because most of my blue and white stuff doesn’t match, so it fits perfectly!

Have you found anything awesome thrifting recently? Last night Brian and I found some great stuff at Target on clearance, but I’m saving that for the bedroom/bathroom reveal post!

Happy thrifting adventures, and have a beautiful weekend!

Whirlwind

Last Wednesday night, Brian and I took a whirlwind trip to Iowa, getting back to Phoenix Sunday night. Each day was jam packed, which is why I wasn’t able to reply to many of your comments on last Monday’s post in a timely fashion. I want you to know, though, how much your words meant to me. I want you to know it, even though I can’t even put it into words. Except to say, thank you. Your generous kindness, support, and belief in me is truly incredible, and I am beyond blessed that you even care to read this blog, much less care about me. So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I’m checking out the resources you suggested, and looking for volunteer opportunities that fit with my passions. And in the mean time, I’ll finish my last week of work strong. It’s going to be a hectic one, so if I’m quiet on the blog for a bit, you’ll know why.

But, even if this week the blog is quieter than usual, I can’t wait for the posts I’ll be writing in the next few weeks! My trip to Iowa was inspiring on many fronts. For one, I finally found the perfect idea for a headboard! I also scored at the thrift stores, and found new inspiration for the Shoppe.

(Btw, have you subscribed to the Scribbles Newsletter yet? If not, it only takes a second, and you’ll get 15% off your first purchase, plus insider only sales and info on new products, and you’ll discover my very favorite finds from other Etsy shops.)

There’s much I could say about my trip over the weekend, so I’ll say it with a few pictures.

Misery, thy name is red-eye flight. Well, a red-eye flight with a toddler screaming for at least an hour, anyway. This was greatly needed:

This was about the only snow left, but the whole time we were there, it was SO COLD!

The reason for our trip was my parents’ 50th Birthday Party. My older sister did an incredible job pulling it all together!

The time was too short, but we so enjoyed catching up with family and friends while we could. 
Beautiful, beautiful Iowa. 

Oh, the farm humor at the Des Moines airport.

Bacon. Enough said!

It’s bittersweet coming home this time. It feels like both leaving home and coming home at the same time.

Do you live near where you grew up, or like me, do you visit?

Beauty Find Friday: Learn It. Make It!

“I don’t know how.”
“I don’t have time.”
“I’m just not creative.”

When I show people projects I’ve made, like the curtains, slipcover, sweater pillow, and quilt in my living room right now, they often make one or more of the statements above. If you’ve ever said something similar, this is for you: Stop making excuses and learn how to sew already!

We live in a technological age where anything we could possibly want to know is a google search or youtube video away! I watched a dozen youtube videos on how to thread a sewing machine when I first got mine. But it can be even easier than searching online.

Enter Craftsy: the online craft school.

Since Craftsy gives you 24/7 access that never expires, your “no time” excuse is now invalid. You can learn at your own pace, anytime, anywhere. Plus, they’re very affordable: many are even free!

What have you always wanted to make? Knit sweaters? Sew nursery decor? Cake decorating? Quilting? DIY Wedding? There’s probably a Craftsy class for it.

Right now, I’m working my way through watching the free QuiltCon LecturesPerfect Pizza At HomeBag Making Basics, Reversible Tote and Zipper Pouch, and Sewing Machine 911. I’m also enrolled in Tailoring Ready to Wear, which will be an extremely useful class for me since so many ready to wear items just don’t fit me right. It will be a step up from my DIY bridesmaids dress alteration!

On my wishlist: Sewing With KnitsShoot it: Online Product PhotographyCreative Container GardeningFabric Patterning with Wax Resist Class.

I’ve already stepped up my pizza making and been so inspired by Amy Butler’s lecture at QuiltCon. There’s so much more I want to learn! Thankfully, Craftsy has sales almost all the time. If you sign up for their emails, you’ll probably never have to pay full price for a class.

I could go on, but I think the amazingness of Craftsy is clear. Browse the classes and watch a few trailers. And stop making excuses!

Speaking of sales, this week is the big spring sale! Different classes will be on sale every day, April 5th through 8th, with the mother-load of classes going on sale tomorrow!

Craftsy

Creativity is like a muscle, it has to be exercised. Maybe the first projects you complete won’t be as good as someone else’s. Who cares! Start somewhere, and give yourself permission for it not to be perfect the first time.

What craft or skill have you always wanted to learn? What excuses have held you back? Tell me about it in the comments!

Waxing Poetic Wednesday: Prayer

This month’s poem was submitted by The Norwegian Girl.

Prayer

Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child’s name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside, the radio’s prayer –
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.

Carol Ann Duffy

The Times Saturday Review, 1992

The first Wednesday of the month, I indulge my English Literature minor by sharing an inspirational poem. Share your favorite poem, it could end up on a future Waxing Poetic Wednesday!