Waxing Poetic Wednesday: Spring Prayer

This month’s poem was submitted by Brian Conley. Thanks babe!
SPRING PRAYER
For flowers that bloom about our feet; 
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet; 
For song of bird, and hum of bee; 
For all things fair we hear or see, 
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
For blue of stream and blue of sky; 
For pleasant shade of branches high; 
For fragrant air and cooling breeze; 
For beauty of the blooming trees, 
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every Wednesday, I indulge my English Lit minor by sharing an inspirational poem. Share your favorite poem, it could end up on a future Waxing Poetic Wednesday!

Don’t forget to enter the Scribbles Shoppe+Mercy Ink giveaway! 

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.

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!

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!

Beauty Find Friday: A Sale, A Sneak Peek, and A Winner

One of the hardest things about being a grown up is not getting a Spring Break. I realized this week that I totally took Spring Break for granted. I mean, it always came at just the right time, when Christmas break was a distant memory, the weather warmed up enough to make studying impossible, and your brains were turned to mush anyway from seven to eight months of school. Plus, there was the opportunity to escape to every midwest girl’s fantasy: THE BEACH.

Instead of laying on the sand, I’ve been hard at work this week. I’m almost ready to launch a new spring collection of stationery in Scribbles Shoppe. This collection is hand painted by yours truly, then I scan each painting, design the cards, print and assemble them into lovely little packages in my apartment. Here’s a little sneak peek:

If you follow me on Pinterest, you might have noticed that I’ve been very inspired by flowers lately. These paintings are based on actual wedding bouquets I’ve seen on Pinterest. So, sending these cards is almost as good as sending flowers! My goal with this collection is to celebrate life’s lovely moments, and to make something that will be cherished.

To celebrate the coming launch, I’m having a sale on everything in my shop! Take $5 off any designs currently in my shop with the code: 50FFSALE

P.S. If you really don’t have any use for wedding invites, I’m happy to alter the design to fit your special occasion. Just hit the “contact” button on the sidebar of the listing and fill me in on your request, or add a note to seller when checking out, and we’ll make it happen!

In other news, thank you for entering the Noonday Collection Giveaway! The winner of the $50 to Noonday Collection is: Victoria Andrews! Congrats! I’ve already emailed you, so be sure to respond in 24 hrs to claim your prize!

Waxing Poetic Wednesday: In-Just-


[in Just-]

BY E. E. CUMMINGS

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s
spring
and

         the

                  goat-footed

balloonMan          whistles
far
and
wee
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!

What are you most looking forward to about spring?

Fashion For Freedom Closet Update

After my 31 day series last October of wearing only ten items all month and blogging about ethical fashion, I set a goal of downsizing my wardrobe to 100 items. To recap, when I started the series, I counted all the clothing in my drawers and closet except for socks and underwear, and came to a total of 354. By the end of the month, that number had dropped to 252. My goals going forward were as follows:

  • I’ll look for fair trade products first. 
  • If a fair trade option isn’t available, I’ll look for a used item from thrift stores or eBay. 
  • If I can’t find it there, I’ll buy it from a company that has a higher Free2Work grade or is made in the USA/Canada/Europe. 
  • I’ll buy less so that I can buy better. 
  • I will invest in multi-tasking pieces and high quality ethically made products that will stand the test of time.
  • I’ll continue to go through all of my clothes every season and objectively pare it down. 
  • My goal is to shrink my closet down to 100 items. I’ll continue to sell off and donate my clothing, anytime I buy or receive clothing as a gift, something else has to go. That’s going to be really hard. 
  • I will be a conscious consumer, thinking about the people behind the barcode who are affected by my purchasing decisions. 
And, I’ll keep the Fair Trade Pledge. 

“I pledge to consume responsibly. I recognize that as a consumer, my buying power matters. I understand that each product I purchase plays a role in a larger narrative, affecting the life of an individual. Because of this, I will do my best to purchase products that have been made by hands that are treated fairly. I will seek to support supply chains that treat farmers and workers fairly and demand the assurance that items I buy have been made responsibly from start to finish. This means no tolerance for child or slave labor, dangerous working conditions or substandard pay. I will no longer support systems of oppression and will insist that companies I trust operate with a conscience.”

So, now it’s February, four months later, and time for an update! 

It’s still hard to buy less so that I can buy better. It’s also still hard to get out of the mindset of just buying cheap clothes because they’re a good deal, when A, I don’t need them, and B, there’s a very high chance they’re made in less than desirable conditions. I’m still learning to rethink how I view pricing, and realize that cheaper prices often mean less pay for those involved in making it. 

Getting rid of old items whenever I get something new is also a challenge. Especially last Christmas, when I received a couple sweaters and some shoes. Eventually, I parted with a couple sweaters and a pair of shoes I didn’t wear as often anymore. 
Shopping at thrift stores like Savers and Goodwill helps a lot with keeping clothing affordable. Speaking of Savers and Goodwill, a couple weeks ago I finished selling on ebay and took the leftovers to Savers. Then I purchased the ebook, The No Brainer Wardrobe, and now I have another “donate” pile waiting to go. As a result of all this purging and pairing down, I’ve accomplished two things: 
  • The total from selling my clothes and a few donations from friends on eBay came to $81! After fees and shipping costs, all the rest was donated to Polaris Project, 4 the 1, and Not For Sale
  • 108. The new total of clothing items in my wardrobe!!!
I’ll confess, there’s been many times I’ve despaired of ever reaching 100 items and having anything left to wear. But seriously, 108 doesn’t feel much different from 352, except that it’s easier and faster to get ready in the morning without all the unnecessary and unworn clothing clogging my space! 
If you’re curious about why and how I wore ten items for an entire month, or you’d like to know where to shop for ethical fashion, I recommend you start with this post that contains all the links to the entire month long series. 
And if you’re on Pinterest, be sure to follow my Fashion for Freedom board, where I still share fair trade fashion finds and articles. 
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement! Believe it or not, it’s not as hard as you might think to make a dent in human trafficking. You can make a difference, and I hope you’ll take the time to learn about the issues and support companies with a conscience, because it’s so worth it!

Beauty Find Friday: The Bright Side

After a rainy week, the sun is back out today and it’s beautiful outside! Inspired by the change in the weather, for today’s Beauty Find Friday I’m looking on the bright side. 
A lot of good things have happened this week. 
I received two long awaited packages in the mail. Yay!
I got some new fabric and lace!
What am I going to use black lace for? I’ve got a DIY in mind that I’m super excited to try. 
I got a plant that I won’t be able to kill!
That’s right, it’s fake. $2.50 at Hobby Lobby. 
Also from Hobby Lobby, I got some art supplies!

I’m also very close to finishing a sewing project I started in high school. Better late than never! 
While working on said sewing project, I found these in my sewing basket!

A long time ago, I was really into making jewelry. I’m pretty sure I made a necklace to go along with these, but I don’t know what happened to it. I love pearls and florals, so I’m totally going to wear these. 
Tomorrow is Brian’s 25th birthday! I made reservations at a nice restaurant, and I don’t think he has any clue what his birthday present is. I’m pretty sure he’ll be pleasantly surprised!
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been doing a daily style challenge this month, #stylemefeb. It’s been fun, and nice to have inspiration when picking out what to wear every day!
And lastly, I have such kind and supportive blog readers. Seriously. You’re amazing. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. It means more than you’ll ever know. 
You can’t have a rainbow, without a little rain. 

Announcement 1: Scribbles Shoppe!

Remember when I launched the new blog design, I said that I was super excited about some big things coming up that I couldn’t tell you about yet? Well, here’s one of them!

Announcing: Scribbles Shoppe!

I have launched an Etsy shop! This is something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time, but I didn’t anticipate happing for a year or so. With the support of friends and family, I finally buckled down and did it!

As you can see, I’m selling customizable wedding invitations. I’ve so enjoyed being able to provide friends and family with stylish invitations while saving them a lot of money by helping them DIY their invites. With Scribbles Shoppe, I create a design, brides customize it by choosing their text, fonts and colors, and I send them a PDF and image file for them to print or take to a local printer. It’s a growing trend for wedding invitations, especially for budget conscious brides, since it allows them to have a great design at a fraction of the cost of buying them from a traditional invitation supplier. Here’s a few of my favorites:

I’m hoping to add response cards, menus, programs, and shower invites eventually, and I have so many more ideas for invitation designs. I’ve got to remind myself constantly to slow down and take it one step at a time.

As far as how this shop will affect the blog, there won’t be much change. I’ll still post about all the same things as usual, with the addition of occasional shop updates, like when I launch a new collection. I’d also love to receive pictures from the brides who use my invites, so I can see how they tie in with their wedding. I’ll ask them to send me pictures of their invites or their wedding, and if they do, I’ll feature them on the blog. Maybe I’ll do some more wedding DIY tutorials too, like this wedding photo booth.

I’d love it if you took a look around and let me know what you think! If you see something you like, it would be greatly appreciated if you’d click that little pink heart to favorite it 🙂 Also, if you have an Etsy account, I’d love to add you to my circle!

So, this is announcement number one. Announcement number two is coming later this week, so stay tuned!

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