INSPIRE: 5 Tips for Your First Clothing Swap

Ever since I started learning about ethical fashion, I wanted to participate in a clothing swap. A clothing swap works like this: everyone brings clothes from their closet that they no longer want, and swaps. You get to shop the closets of your friends!
Clothing swaps vary in structure from getting a ticket for each item you bring, which you can then use on items you want to take home, to going section by section and giving each person a turn to pick first, going for as many rounds as possible, until there’s not much left. The one I went to Friday was more of a free for all, no one kept track of how many items you brought, and many people, like me, brought much more than they intended to bring home. 
Some clothing swaps are small and intimate at around four or five people, others are upwards of twenty. The quality of items can vary, depending on what the rules of the swap are.
One of the benefits of a swap is getting to see your clothes go to good homes. For instance, I had a jacket that I’d bought from an online designer outlet that at retail, cost around $300. Since the measurements were in Italian, I didn’t get the right size, so I never wore it. Even though I didn’t pay that much for it and it didn’t fit me, I just couldn’t seem to donate it to Goodwill. Swapping it just felt much better!
And unlike just donating to Goodwill, you get something back for the things you donate. I find it frustrating when I have piles of clothes to donate each season, because I know I’ll never get that money back. It’s motivating to be more careful of what I buy in the future!
So why would you need some tips? Well, it can be overwhelming. I consider myself a pretty experienced thrift shopper, but even I felt overwhelmed at times. So, if you’re considering attending one or hosting one, here’s a few things to keep in mind. 

1. Bring Good Stuff

If it has holes, stains, buttons missing, or broken zippers, don’t take it to a swap – put it in the trash. If it’s from two decades ago and is clearly NOT coming back in style, don’t take it. Older clothes in good condition are fine if you have a mix of generations at your swap, but those MC Hammer pants are probably not a good idea. Just take those kinds of things to Goodwill. A good rule to follow: don’t bring something you wouldn’t want to take home yourself.

2. Know What You Want

It defeats the purpose if you take a bunch of clothes you don’t like, and bring home a new bunch of clothes that don’t fit well, aren’t a good color, or don’t match anything you have. This tip applies to thrift shopping too – know what shapes, colors, and even fabrics flatter you and make you feel good, and what doesn’t. 
I hoped to find some business casual clothes, specifically a pencil skirt, blazer, and button up. I did find a blazer, I didn’t find any button ups that I really loved, but I did find a great pair of black pants. To keep from getting overwhelmed by all the options, know what you need or want, and feel free to skip sections. 

3. Keep An Open Mind

Even though I was looking for business casual clothes, I didn’t ignore the rest. As a result, I found a fantastic ring and a great pair of jeans. You never know what you might find, so when in doubt, try it on! Sizing varies so much from brand to brand, you really never know until you try. 

4. Ask For Help

When you try something on and you’re just not sure, go ask for your friend’s opinions. They might be more objective, and have some tips to make it work, like adding a belt. If you really want a specific item to go with something, ask around. Maybe someone saw the perfect top for those pants, and they can take you right to it.

5. Plan To Stay Awhile

I thought I’d be in and swapped in an hour. I actually stayed three hours. It took longer than I expected to sort through piles of clothes and find my size, or, since sizing varies so much, something that looked close, and then to try things on, and make a decision, and going back for the next round. Plus, there’s lots of talking and eating going on too. Plan for plenty of time so that you don’t feel rushed. 
And have fun! That’s it! If you’ve been to a clothing swap, what tips would you add?

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STYLE: My First Clothing Swap!

As I mentioned in my last post, if you were inspired and motivated by watching or reading the embroidery 101 tutorials on Liz Makes, today you can enter to win all four Just Beachy patterns! Head over to Liz Makes for the giveaway, and also check out her super fun crafts while you’re there!

On Friday, I participated in a clothing swap! 

In short – it was awesome! Several people pitched in to help organize, sort, and prepare for the two day affair. My friend hosting the event is super creative, as you can tell from the “Swap ’til You Drop” decor. 
I got to be chief cupcake baker! For three hours before the swap started, I baked and frosted about 125 mini-cupcakes!

I also forgot the last batch in the oven… which we discovered some time later. Woops. The ones that I didn’t forget about were both cute and delicious with the little paper shoes on top!
We had purses and bags in the kitchen; shirts of all sleeve lengths as well as some assorted things like decor and craft supplies in the family room; coats, blazers, sweaters, dresses, and skirts in the hallway; jeans, pants, and shoes in the living room. 

And that was only the stuff they decided to put out for the first day. There was lots more for day two!

I donated about 29 items total, including jewelry sets, tops, and bottoms. I didn’t want to bring that much home, and because of the way the swap was structured as a free-for-all, I didn’t have to. So I brought home seven items, including two composition notebooks I didn’t take photos of.

This ring! It fits me perfectly, and I love, love, love the color!

These Old Navy bootcut jeans, like new.

This boxy gray sweatshirt, perfect for a “slouchy Saturday” look, as one of the ladies said.

Even though it’s casual, I love that it has sequins on the shoulders!
A pair of White House Black Market pants, and this cream blazer with the tag still on it!

There were many, many things I could have gone either way on, but in the end, I’m happy with the things I decided to bring home. Since clothing swaps are growing in popularity, I’m planning another post with a few of the things I learned that you might find helpful if you decide to go to one, or host one yourself!

Since we all knew each other, there was lots of: “What do you think of this?” “Is this a good color for me?” “You should try this on!” “Put that belt with it.” “This didn’t fit me, but I think it would be great for you!” And we had a blast!

Have you ever gone to a clothing swap, or would you like to go to one? Share your experience in the comments!

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CREATE: Embroidery 101 on Liz Makes

When I blog about embroidery, I often hear: “That looks amazing, but I don’t know how to embroider!” Let me tell you a secret: embroidery looks much more complicated than it actually is. Seriously! With just a couple stitches under your belt, you can create endless combinations and possibilities.

So yesterday, I guest posted on Liz Makes with some of my favorite tutorials for mastering a few common stitches, like the back stitch, French knot, satin stitch, feather stitch, and blanket stitch. Those are the only stitches you’d need to know to make any of the patterns in my Just Beachy collection, and some patterns, like “Oh Snappy Day,” only use two of those stitches – the back stitch and French knot. 

Be sure to check it out if you’ve ever wanted to pick up this quick and rewarding hobby! And also, stay tuned for another pattern giveaway next Monday!

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INSPIRE: The Beauty of An Ordinary Life

Hello, readers of Scribbles from Emily! I’m so honored to be here with you today. Thank you, Emily, for giving me this awesome opportunity and for trusting me with your online space.

The overarching theme of my blog is intentional living. More specifically, it’s where I share my own journey to live a more intentional life, because the good Lord knows that I don’t have it all figured out yet. So, I don’t write to sound like an expert; I write as a friend who has invited you over, sits across from you at my kitchen table, and just talks about what it means to live life on purpose.

So, friend-to-friend, let me paint you a picture of what my life as a full-time, stay-at-home mama to a 4-and-a-half-year-old Little Man looks like {and, if you’re a fellow SAHM – or work from home mom – this will probably look all too familiar}:

spilled milk, Legos and Lincoln Logs, loading the washing machine, Hot Wheels cars, unloading the dishwasher, picking up clutter, paying bills, stepping on toys, clothes in washer sour {left them in too long – oops!}, The Avengers {you know… Thor, Hulk, Iron Man…}, picking up more clutter, loading the dishwasher…

You get the point, right?

My life, by the standard of most people, would seem boring… ordinary… mundane. All those words that can mean “blah”. And I wouldn’t say that I could blame them for feeling that way because, I admit, most days I’m not thrilled with my life either. I mean, I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I don’t exactly get an adrenaline rush every time I throw a load of clothes in the washer or have to play Legos for the umpteenth time.

But as uneventful as my life may seem, there is so much beauty to be found in it… IF I know what to look for: After all, the toys that cover my floor are proof that an active, growing, creative little blessing calls this place home, too. For some reason God thought me trustworthy enough to place him in my care… and I’m so thankful!

The mountain of dirty laundry and the stacks of yet-to-be-washed dishes in the sink are proof that we have more than enough clothes to dress ourselves and more than enough food to fill our bellies. We have been blessed with more than some people dare to dream of.

This life I live may not be glamorous or impressive and I’m not likely to win any awards or receive many verbal accolades, but I am a blessed woman. And because of that, I have a choice to make: Will I join society and scoff at my life? Or will I intentionally seek out and take note of the things that make my life beautiful? Will I also actively pursue ways to cultivate beauty in my home? Through décor, sure, but also through things like: the way I arrange our dinner on the plate or how complex my son and I can build a Lego tower.

So, this is my challenge to you… to us: let’s look for and appreciate the beauty within our days and then intentionally pursue ways to cultivate even more beauty in our lives, as well. If we will do this, we’ll find that our life isn’t as boring or ordinary as we might have originally thought and that we already have more than we could ever need.

Life doesn’t get more beautiful than that!

God Bless,

Alana Taylor is, first and foremost, a sinner saved by the grace of God.  She is a twenty-something full-time wife, mama, and homemaker, living in central Alabama with two of her favorite guys: her hubby and her four-year-old Little Man.  Her biggest passion is to creatively pursue a life of intention, as well as to encourage and equip like-minded women to do the same.  With her faith as the foundation of her message, she talks about how intentional living impacts everything about our lives, from the big things {such as motherhood and stewardship} to the seemingly small things {like decorating/organizing our home and getting dressed each morning}. 


Emily here, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us, Alana! Even though I don’t have children to pick up after, I can relate to feeling like my life is mundane and blah. Your story was a blessing and encouragement to me.

What about you, readers? Can you relate? How you you find beauty in the everyday? Share your thoughts with us in the comments! 

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Beauty Find Friday: Thrifty Finds

Last week, a friend we hadn’t seen all summer dropped by to catch up with us. We sat around the living room and talked; actually, we listened, our friend did most of the talking. We knew there were major, difficult changes going on in their life, but that’s not what they talked about. Lots of “Remember when…” but nothing deep. When they left, in a way I felt like we hadn’t really caught up at all. 
Which I totally understand. I’m in a similar place – there’s so much going on inside my head and heart, I’m struggling to put words to it. Hence, I’ve been a little light on the blogging here lately. I’ll be back to three times a week soon, I promise. I have so much to say that I haven’t had time or energy to say, I might actually post more than that!
Even though I feel like I haven’t caught you up here, I have been busy talking about other things elsewhere. I was interviewed on Sage Grayson Coaching and I wrote an article for Sweet and Sage, and this next week, I have a guest post by Alana of Sparrow and Grace here on Monday and I’ll be on her blog on Wednesday. She is sharing here about how she finds beauty in everyday, and I’m sharing there about contentment and my confidence journey. You won’t want to miss next week!
This week was hard, emotionally and mentally, so yesterday I decided to do something just for fun. I haven’t gone thrifting for ages! It was the perfect cure. 
I know some people would love to have a shiny gold snakeskin bag like the one above. It looks pretty similar to this bag by Ralph Lauren for $158.

I’ve seen dozens of DIY tutorials for making these macrame plant holders. Unfortunately, I don’t have plants, and so, no use for it. 

Someone decided to get rid of their NSYNC posters. Is that Justin Timberlake?!

Aladdin slippers! These are the real deal. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a flying carpet to go with them. I’ll have to try again next week.

I brought home a navy blue Banana Republic tee, a GAP black and white tee, and a fold-over clutch. The tees were $5 each, and the clutch was 70 cents! I wanted to make my own fold-over clutch when they first became super popular using A Beautiful Mess’s tutorial, but you just can’t beat that price!
By the way, Brian is recovering well from having his wisdom teeth removed. He’s eating solid food again!

Next weekend, I’m going to a clothing swap for the first time! I’m getting rid of 18 tops, four bottoms, and seven accessories, and I’m not planning to bring that much home with me. I’ll have to do an outfit post before too long to show you what I find!

Speaking of finds, have you discovered any treasures thrifting lately? Let me know what you found in the comments so I can ooh and ahh with you!

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INSPIRE: Growing as an Independent Thinker

On Friday, I told you about my interview on Sage Grayson coaching, but I saved another bit of news for today: I also guest posted on Sweet and Sage. Sweet and Sage is an online magazine for women in their twenties who crave advice that’s both kind and smart. The topic for July is “Independent Thinking,” and my article shares 3 Ways to Grow as an Independent Thinker.

I’m a by-the-book girl—I thrive on how-to guides, step-by-step plans, and other people’s approval. Independent thinking doesn’t come easily to me. But the times in my life where I’ve grown the most have been the times when I made decisions that didn’t make sense to the people around me.

Read the rest here!

Interestingly, the story I share in the beginning of the article is also when I started this blog! Another benefit of independent thinking that I continue to receive. 
Do you consider yourself an independent thinker? Read the article, and let me know what you think in the comments over there!

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LIFE: Interview on Sage Grayson Coaching!

What led me to start my business? What does an average day look like for me? I’m answering those questions, and several more, on Sage Grayson Coaching today! Plus, there’s a free printable for you!
Sage is a life coach who motivates women to develop loving, respectful relationships; design a career that ignites your passion; and feel connected to their mind, body, and spirit. As Sage says, “It’s your life…make it sweet!”
How do you help women make their lives sweet? 
I help women make their lives sweet by encouraging them to find the beauty in the everyday. Because I believe that God has a purpose for each of our lives, each day contains His fingerprints—something beautiful. We just have to take the time to look for it. Life isn’t without storms and struggle, but I believe that even in the really hard times, we can find beauty. I’ve written about my struggles with depression, loneliness, and self-confidence issues with the intention of bringing hope and encouragement to others. 
Speaking of finding the beauty in the everyday…yesterday Brian had all of his wisdom teeth removed. I’m not sure who was more stressed about it, he or me. My stomach felt like one giant knot all day! He came out of the anesthesia very quickly, and hasn’t been in much pain. I worried yesterday that he wasn’t eating enough, or drinking enough, or taking enough pain meds, but he’s totally fine today….just sick of me trying to taking care of him! He doesn’t like me to tell him when to take medicine….or when to do anything, for that matter, and he just gets whatever he wants himself instead of letting me do it. I’m trying to anticipate what he needs and beat him to it, but so far, that’s not working out well. At least, I’m thankful that he’s a low-maintenance patient.
Yesterday, I worked on several projects nearby, trying to tune out the TV with headphones. I really felt like I needed to make progress on my lengthy to-do list for the week. Then I realized that it’s not every day Brian has surgery and we get to spend lots of down time together. Honestly, it was difficult for me to just sit with him and just watch movies. I really wanted to multi-task and write blog posts or planning for the trip we’re taking in a few weeks with the youth group. I finally made a decision to shut down my computer AND put my phone away, and be in one place at a time. 
After I finish this blog post, I’m planning to do the same today! Have a great weekend, and take time to slow down, relax, and do the most important things, one at a time!

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Sponsor Scribbles in July and Support Rescue Her

In June, 20% of my proceeds from advertising on this blog went to Worthwhile Wear, an organization that provides employment and training in sewing skills to former victims of human trafficking and forced prostitution. They reached full funding last month, and are able to build a new vocational and employment sewing center!
This month, I’ll be donating to a Rescue Her project in India.

Human trafficking in India is overwhelming, but we want to make a difference. We are building a Rescue Home in India to help get young girls off the street and into a safe place and away from the risk of being trapped into sex trafficking.

Before Rescue Her can start building a home, they are raising $500 to cover legal fees. You can read more about their plan on Pure Charity. 

Ever since I first monetized my blog, I’ve given some of the proceeds to a cause. Making a difference, even with small actions of generosity, is important to me. Tracking income and finding causes to give to has become even easier since I started using Passionfruit Ads and Pure Charity.
You could probably find a bigger blog with advertising for the same price. But Scribbles From Emily is my corner of the internet from which I seek to change the world, one person at a time. One way I accomplish this is by donating 20% of my profits from advertising rates and affiliates to charitable organizations, usingPure Charity. That equals $4 from each Premium spot, $2 from each Popular spot, and $1 from each Pretty spot.
Other Ways to Sponsor:
Giveaways are an effective way to expand your brand awareness and grow your blog followers, social media profiles, or email lists. If you believe your product is a good fit for my blog audience, you may have a giveaway without buying sidebar ads. Your giveaway will get its own blog post, mentions in each successive blog post until the giveaway ends, daily tweets, and frequent facebook posts.
If you’d like to see your product featured in a post, send it to me to review! This option is open to all: you do not need to buy sidebar ads to qualify. I just ask that you allow me to pick out the item to review; that way I can pick what fits best with my tastes and appeals to my audience. 

I reserve the right to refuse a sponsor ad, giveaway, or promotion that I deem inappropriate for my audience. 


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Just Beachy Pattern Giveaway on Punk Projects!

Remember when I designed and published a collection of embroidery patterns? From today through the 20th, you could win the complete set of four patterns! Katie from Punk Projects is showing off her version of “Just Horsin’ Around,” today and giving away the full set of patterns! The patterns are perfect for beginners or novice embroiderers, and as Katie demonstrates, you can use them on more than just fabric! Visit Punk Projects to see her embroidery, review, and enter the giveaway!
And while you’re there, check out her amazing shoe art and scrapbooking layouts!
Happy Friday!

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