Saturday, September 29, 2012

First Signs

Crunching down our gravel-drive, I noticed it. Vivid against its backdrop of leafy greens and bark brown. This one spot of crimson: our first little sign of autumn's presence.
Fall tends to move slowly, like a painter just hesitantly dabbing the landscape with color. A few trees at a time, here and there....and then suddenly, one morning, we'll wake surrounded by russet and gold.

A simple instance of beauty,
I think God must be loving indeed if he puts that much effort and artistry into something so delicate, something that soon will just break loose with a sigh and spiral to the forest floor.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Deux Joe

You've seen them. Popping up left and right on Pinterest, Craftgawker, even Etsy. They have that title that makes everyone excited: DIY. Step by step instructions that can turn anyone into a crafter or artist. 

The project I'm talking about is the DIY Sharpie Mug. 
If you've been missing out on this particular fashion, here are a few examples: 
While these examples provide beautifully inspiring photos, most simply ignored the need for clear, concrete instruction. And, I don't know about you, but I like straightforward, step-by-step, holding-my-hand, pointing-out-the-obvious, no-room-for-doubt instructions. Okay?
One pin just encouraged me to "doodle" whatever I wanted and then simply "pop them in the oven." There I stood, staring at my dollar store mug, envisioning a melting mug and toxins being unleashed into my mom's kitchen.

Not good.

But then, there came A Beautiful Mess. My favorite craft blog. Thank you Elsie & Emma for your helpful and simple tutorial (I wonder how many times I've said that these past few months??). 

Their tutorial can be found here.

Clear. Easy to follow. 
So, here's a peek at the results of my own attempt at this super-easy and super-quick craft. 

The supplies needed are basic: white ceramic coffee mug (I found mine for $1 at BigLots); a sharpie; an oven; and a steady hand. 
The instructions: write your note/quote or doodle your doodle; then simply bake them on 350* for about 30 minutes. Viola!

Now, the cute nonsensical sayings used by A Beautiful Mess--as cute as they were-- didn't exactly apply to Mark and I. I'm not one to mimic other's designs, but we had a good laugh at the fact that I was the masculine one who loved the dark,black coffee while my big, tall husband prefers the sweet green tea. I really wanted these mugs in our new kitchen, knowing we and everyone else would get a little chuckle out of them.
However, the full credit for this design goes to A Beautiful Mess. 

My results: 

And there you have it.
A,B,C. 1,2,3-- a sweet and easy DIY shower, hostess, or just-because-I-can gift. 

Note: The sharpie doesn't hold up well in the dishwasher. Handwashing, however, is perfectly fine. Unless, of course, you grab steel wool and attack, but that would be strange. Be kind and gentle to your little mug!

Happy crafting this weekend!

P.S. Two weeks to go until my wedding! Whee!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Some things in life are simple. Easy. Little, quiet moments that fill you with sunshine and cozy-goodness and somehow brighten your mood for the entire day.
One such moment settled on my today: shaped like an owl and smelling warm like black coffee and crisp book pages. Good morning easy. 

Careful. Don't die of the cuteness.

A moment of stolen quiet like this is pretty rare right now, with our wedding only 15 days away. After a whole year of impatience, its hard to imagine being done with the waiting. So my days usually alternate between calm and jittery. Today is far, but it's still early!


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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Wild Green

Today's song: Mumford & Sons

Packing my room has uncovered some old(ish) photo albums
and stirred up good memories 
of wind and rain and cider.

Felt like walking through the English countryside one more time. 
Care to join me? 

Locations pictured: Grasmere, England; Castlerigg, England; Oban, Scotland; Iona, Scotland
All photos shared on this blog belong to me unless otherwise noted. 

Do you have places that resonate with you? 
Places that are strange and wild, yet felt like home?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Art of the Chipped and Broken

"The tried and true virtues of resourcefulness and frugality 
have emerged once more... 
Vintage items have come into fashion.
The recycling and reuse of day to day items 
are more popular than ever."

-Atchinson, Abigail. "The Great Expression." Darling Magazine. 
16 Aug. 2012. Web. 25 Sept. 2012.

It's the chipped pitcher sitting on the dresser. Or the peeling paint on the bedside table. Or the twine string, close-pins, and photos that hang in lieu of a headboard. 
It's the shattered bits of an old china plate, rearranged into an art-collage. It's your grandmother's ladder-back chair given a coat of poppy-red paint. Its an old t-shirt cut and fashioned into a beautiful scarf. 

It's not called "poor." It's not called "shabby." It's not called "making do" or "doing without." And, even in our time of green-energy awareness, its not even called "recycling." 

It's called upcycling, the craft of taking the old, the used, and the forgotten and rendering it something beautiful, making it new again, transforming it to a higher state. Even as we look to our past, digging through dusty antique and consignment stores, our movement isn't considered backward or downward (even though our stuttering, confused economy's movement clearly is so). We are moving up. We are taking the remnants of what we've been given and making beauty from hopelessness and loss. 

These options are not only saving us money
but are turning our generation into a relational one. 
A creative one. 
A generation that will be remembered
for something other than being broke. 
-same source

I highly recommend Abigail Atchinson's article, as it explains and praises this new creative movement sweeping through social media and boutiques and raiding the antique stores. All hail the art of spendthrift!

Some of my own contributions:

Please feel free to view more at my Etsy shop The Yellow Notebook

Some of my favorite shops featuring handmade and antique crafts:
Have a happy Tuesday, everyone! Thanks for reading once again, 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our Weekend in Photos: Double Springs Road

This weekend was filled with bread and rock and water.
Once a year, our church has a convention on Double Springs Road. Four days, each with three meetings (or "services," if you prefer that term). They are simple with truth and sharp with honesty, a breaking and a balm.
Sometimes in life, you just need quiet moments. Quiet moments that drown the constant drone of busyness and hurry and reveal how far you've let the mundane things of life tilt and skew your perspective.

This year has been full of changes: graduating, a new nephew, friends getting engaged, moving, getting married (less than 3 weeks!). The generally-accepted maxim states that "there is no constant in life." This year would seem to verify that statement. The world must rotate on the driving force of change, whether its good or bad, and you, the tiny speck, just have to cling to the crust. But really.... the maxim is wrong. Saturday morning, a thought struck my mind like a beacon. There is one constant in my life: God. No matter what rolls through my path--whether its a blessing, a curse, or a neutral moment of simple breathing-- his presence is there, a support to my back when I sag with relief or stagger in disbelief. More than ever, I realize how vital that presence is to me.

Whatever you believe, this is what I believe.

See? My blog isn't just photos of coffee, paintings, and clothes. To quote Amy Adams in my movie-favorite Julie & Julia: "I could write a blog...I have thoughts!" Well... these are my honest thoughts. You can take it or leave it; I don't care. The moment shared was mine, and I loved it.

But enough of my musings.
Here are the promised weekend photos.
Pardon the backgrounds of campers and vans.

Talking about football--fantasy or real. 

Unintentional coordination

This girl is my right arm and one of my sweetest friends

Our photographer-my daddy

Occasionally I've been known to steal a snuggle
Have a beautiful beginning to your week!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Parting Shots

Today, we roll down a long and dusty road to Georgia, crossing from one side of the South to the other. Leaving at 12 means we'll probably get there at 12. But some truly special people wait at the end of that road, so we may press the gas just a little harder. 

So, goodbye to Frederick for now. I'll see you again in a few weeks. I guess then I'll be a girl with two homes--Georgia's dusty roads and Maryland's city. 


I'm in love with my couch. 





guest room. 

guest room. 


ponies and books.
minus Julia Child

Thanks for reading this week and sharing in our Maryland adventures. See you Monday!
Sealed with a kiss,
Amp n Abi

Here's some Mumford&Sons for the road.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sister Talk

There's nothing quite like a sister.
And mine did something so sweet that it required a second post. 


Now. (About a month before my new nephew Thomas was born.)

A sister is different from a friend; although I do think a friend can come close to being loved
like a sister. But a sister shares more with you. She pretty much is you, with her genes 
rescrambled. She's the things you want to be and wish to be and could have been. She's you,
born a different time, a different way, a different person. A friend has the ability to leave,
even if they don't want to. But a sister is always there. She's always connected to you; and she
always has your back, because its her back too.

At least, that's how I feel about my sister.
I hope you're as lucky in yours as I am in mine.

So, on to the sweet thing she did:

A knock on the door and the postman handed me a package.
Inside, was a teeny tiny box and the sweetest note welcoming me to my new home.
And inside the teeny tiny box was a teeny tiny origami box that held
a lovely necklace by Origami Owl.
An H, an infinity symbol, and my and Mark's birthstones.
How sweet is that?

So now you understand why today required two posts.
Happy evening!
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