Weekending: Crafty Mart’s Mom & Pop Shoppe

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Despite the unpredictable (and mostly windy/overcast weather), I spent my Saturday surrounded by color and inspiration — eating good food, drinking hot coffee, and wandering around Crafty Mart’s Spring Mom & Pop Shoppe.

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As I mentioned in my previous post, I love the Crafty Mart events, because they bring together a unique group of local artists right in the heart of Akron. It’s such a joy to celebrate talent and creativity and support people’s passions.

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This is Ashley, the owner and creator of Truckshop. I fell in love with her creatively curated mobile fashion boutique (check out all of the bright color, sparkle, and polka dots!!). She was so much fun to meet and talk with, too. I loved hearing her business story, and talking with her further confirmed my dream to work with creators, makers, and dreamers to help them live and tell their inspired stories.

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So sad she didn’t have the polka-dotted number in my size. I was smitten!

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I did snag these sparkly earrings and fun black-and-white chevron scarf, though.

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Also, did I mention there were mini donuts?!

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I’m still regretting the fact that I passed up sampling some of these sweet treats from DonutLab. They smelled incredible! (And what’s a better pairing than coffee and donuts, I ask you!) ;)

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I also came home with this darling piece of art by Ivy Axe. It’s the perfect addition to my little gallery wall of art. Filling my home and life with beautiful art makes my heart very, very happy.

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It was a great day, and I think it was just what I needed. I feel refreshed and ready to tackle some new creative projects of my own!

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Lost in a Book: My Currently Reading List

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I’m the kind of girl who likes to start many books at once, the kind of girl who wants to read ALL THE THINGS. (#ALLTHETHINGS)

But for a while, I was in a dry season of reading. I couldn’t seem to find a book to get lost in. My heart may have just been too restless. Or, I might have needed a season of quiet in the midst of all the ideas and creating I was embracing.

Whatever the case, I settled into the quiet and focused on my own ideas and words.

Thankfully, I’m back to getting lost in books, delighting in inspiring words on the page and that incredible new book smell.

And because it’s been a while since I’ve written a book post, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the books on my reading list this month.

  • Show Your Work by Austin Kleon I bought Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist a few years ago and loved it. He has such a refreshing view on creativity and art making that I really appreciate. My Show Your Work copy was pre-orderd from the library, and I’m only a few pages in to chapter one, but I’m already wishing I had a copy of my own. The first chapter Find a Scenius is about creating in collaboration and community with others, and if you’ve read any of my goals for this year, you know how passionate I am about that and how important I believe it is for both our art and our relationships with others. :: I’m planning on making a cappuccino later this morning, and I think this is just the book I’ll curl up with. ::
  • You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are and Becoming All God Created You to Be by Holley Gerth Holley’s words are always so encouraging and uplifting, and after reading and enjoying her book You’re Made for a God-sized Dream, I decided to read her book You’re Already Amazing. Lately, the idea of comparison has been on my heart (and it came up in our An Inspired Life Book Club conversations, too). I am interested in really doing my part in discouraging comparison and building community and collaboration instead among women and artists both online and locally. I thought Holley’s book might speak to that a little and even help me to be a more confident creator for God.
  • The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art by Erwin Raphael McManus I’ve only read a little of this book’s intro,  because I’m saving it for a time I can really sit down and dive into it, but I LOVE what I’ve read so far. I’m going to borrow a quote from the book’s description on Amazon, because I think it really sums up why I am drawn to this book. “There are no shortcuts to quality, and McManus celebrates the spiritual process that can help us discover our true selves.” I love to view creativity as a deeply spiritual process, and I’m excited to read what McManus has to say about that process.
  • The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani The only fiction book on my currently reading list (I actually only like to read one book of fiction at a time). This is the third book in a series about shoemaker Valentine Roncalli. I have loved this trilogy about the passionate, creative, very determined Valentine. Each book combines her love for the artistic work she does, as well as how her creative pursuits are part of each of her relationships and the very person that she is. One of the quotes I loved best from the second book in the series was “I am my best self, the most alive I can be, when I’m creating…” In this third book perhaps what I have loved most are the pages that detail Valentine’s creative process — from gathering her inspiration to dreaming up the designs for her beautiful artisan shoes. In a mass-produced world, I so appreciate the handmade and the people who are in love with their craft and the special art that they create (but that’s a post for another time). :)

In looking at my list as a whole, it’s probably pretty evident that my favorite things to read about are the same as my favorite things to write about — art, inspiration, creativity, and living fully as the men and women God created us to be.

What have you been reading lately? What kinds of books are your favorite to get lost in?

::photo edited with the A Beautiful Mess actions; review coming soon::

A Very Crafty Afternoon

Last Saturday, I headed down to Akron with my mom to enjoy an afternoon of browsing at the 5th annual Crafty Mart.

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We lunched at Urban Eats Cafe, which is attached to the Crafty Mart venue at Musica. (I ate probably the best sandwich of my life: a pumpkin waffle panini! It was topped with thin apple slices, honey, fresh sage, bacon, and spinach leaves. Oh.My.Goodness. Seriously, SO GOOD!

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Don’t you just love all the festive twinkly lights in this cafe? I could have stayed in this cozy space for hours with my journal, a few good books, and a very  large cup of coffee! ;)

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I came home with a blue spruce candle from Burning River Candle company and spent quite a bit of time swooning over the beautiful twig earrings made by Liza Michelle Jewelry. On my wish list for sure! My candle came in an upcycled glass bottle, too. How fun is that?!

I love supporting local artists and events like this. No matter where you live, there’s bound to be a few local gems to frequent. So, plan a Saturday date to explore! I fall in love with my city and the surrounding areas a little more after each adventure.

And speaking of adventures, I need to head out for a little coffee shop adventuring this afternoon. I’ve got a freelance project to begin and a whole stack of Lara Casey PowerSheets that are calling my name.

Happy Saturday and Happy Adventuring, friends! :)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Even though our temps are in the fifties and sixties this week (yay! for a little unexpected warmth!), it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

And I can’t help but grin when I pass cars journeying home with Christmas trees strapped to their roofs, or when I spot a house all lit up with twinkly lights.

I have mint chocolate chips waiting in my pantry for a special hot cocoa recipe, tinsel on my shopping list, and a growing Spotify playlist.

Hello, December.

And while I have plenty of Advent posts I’d like to write, things on my heart, reflections I’d love to share with you all, tonight’s post is on the lighter — and sparklier — side.  Because while I am spending my days preparing my heart for Christmas day, I’m also delighting in the present moments of the season — being right in the thick of it, as Jessi would say.

Because these days are such a gift, aren’t they?

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And speaking of December days, have you seen this festively fun 31 Things to Do Before December 31 list from Kate Spade? I just love these suggestions for making the most of your December moments.

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P.S. Just for fun,  I created this little desktop wallpaper to celebrate the season’s sparkle.

Happy December, friends!

::click the image to download: then,  just right click and save::

 

Inspired Desktop: She’s Got Gumption

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Last week, I discovered Hilary Rushford’s inspiring online space, Dean Street Society. She’s definitely a kindred spirit (who rocks a lot of polka dots, believes in bowties, wit, and whimsy, and is passionate about making space for God to move)!

I also fell in love with her blog post sign-off with grace and gumption. What a beautiful way to approach each and every day, yes??

Inspired by Hilary, I decided to look up the official definition of gumption (because I’m a word nerd), and I was delighted to discover it is defined as courage and confidence.

Because I’m seeking to live my days courageously confident in His plan and who He created me to be (and because I just learned how to create gold foil text in Photoshop!!), I couldn’t resist designing a little inspired desktop to share with you all.

As we begin the month of December, our final month of 2013, let’s be courageous and confident in Him. Let’s be full of grace and gumption, and let’s make lots of space for God to move.

:: Get your free desktop download, here. Just right click and save. ::

Let’s make a little list, shall we?

Just a few small things inspiring this writing, creating heart of mine:

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I’m smitten for these charming pencil sets by Amanda Catherine Designs. How could you not feel creatively inspired when writing with one of these lovelies?

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And who can say no to sequins?

I’ve been happily discovering some new tunes lately, too. Can’t stop listening to Holley Maher. Odd Place to Be is especially inspiring and pretty perfect for this season of life I find myself in.

Jenny & Tyler’s worship music is encouraging my heart, as well. And I just discovered Emily Hearn and Mariah McManus. I love discovering new sounds for each season. What’s on your current playlist?

And speaking of lists, remember these? I used to love making seasonal delighting in lists, so I’m planning to bring them back as a regular feature soon.

P.S. BIG NEWS: My eBook video will debut tomorrow on the blog! Seriously so excited to share it with you.

See you tomorrow!

K

What if the seasons help us realize, some things are only proven over time?

Lots of eBook work this weekend (storyboarding, design decisions, hand lettering, photo selections, oh, yeah, and more WRITING…) ;)

Music makes my heart happy when I’m creating, and this song is a pretty perfect backdrop to my writing and creating.

What if the spring comes soon
& we’re surprised?
What if the seasons help us realize,
some things are only proven over time?

Even the winter won’t last forever…
We’ll see the morning, we’ll feel the sun
We’ll wake up in April, ready & able
Sowing the seeds in the soil
Even the darkness cannot disarm us
We’ll see the morning, we’ll feel the sun
We’ll break up the earth, because we know
that it’s worth it
Sowing the seeds in the soil of our love.

P.S. The promo video is close to being finished, so look for that in the next week or two. I can’t WAIT to share it with you!

xo,

Katie

Believing in the Impossible

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That restlessness in your heart may just be a beautiful sign that God is moving in mighty ways. 

God’s been moving in my heart lately — He’s been stirring up dreams and ideas and possibilities — so many that I’m not even sure what to focus on.

At first, I was frustrated, wondering why I felt such restless energy. But then I realized what a gift those stirrings really are. I realized they are a powerful reminder that God is moving and working in my heart and in my life. They are a powerful reminder that He is moving me forward and taking me further in my faith.

I believe in living life with an open heart to the possibilities He has in store.  And I think it’s a blessing that He is faithful to continually reveal new ones — both big and small. 

My favorite quote is “I dwell in possibility” by Emily Dickinson, and it just so happens to be the story behind the name of this blog. My tagline living an inspired life of possibility is a reflection of who the Lord created me to be and how I see the world around me.

It’s how I want to encourage your heart, too. 

I am so thankful that when our faith and hope are anchored in the Lord, the possibilities are truly endless — because anything is possible for those who believe.

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If you have an impossible dream or hope on your heart, I’d love to know about it, so I can join you in prayer. And I hope you know how precious your hopes and dreams are to Him and how many possibilities emerge when we’re walking closely, in faith, with Him.

{image via Lara Casey}

12 Dates of Christmas

Last year, I was inspired by Elsie’s 12 Dates of Christmas, and I was excited to file that idea away for the day I had someone special to plan and share my own 12 dates with.

But this year, as I was reflecting on the in-between season I find myself in, I thought, why should I wait to enjoy 12 special dates this Christmas season? I can still plan 12 festive outings/Christmas treats to enjoy that encourage me to celebrate the season and get in the holiday spirit.

So, here are my 12 Christmas Date ideas:

1. Have a Christmas classics movie night: those I’ve never seen (share your favorites in the comments!), old favorites (like Prancer), and those I haven’t seen in years (like Meet Me in St. Louis).

2. Take a trip to my favorite local vintage shop (it’s always all decked out for Christmas).

3. There’s a little square I recently discovered, and all of the storefronts are covered in twinkly lights during the holidays. It’s just magical. I want to spend an afternoon wandering around with a hot coffee and visiting all of the cute shops and boutiques. Holiday displays can be so inspiring.

4. Take a little trip to take in all of the beauty of Christmas light displays with friends. We’ll put on some Christmas tunes and drive around looking at the lights. (This shall be made even better by bringing thermoses of hot cider and cocoa.) ;)

5. Go to the library and bring home a stack of Christmas books (favorite childhood reads, if I can find them!).

6. Bake + decorate Christmas cookies.

7. Have an art journal day — a cozy winter afternoon or evening spent pasting images and thoughts into my current book. I also want to make a page that captures my hopes for the next year.

8. Host a She Reads Truth Advent brunch with a few friends who are going to work through the plan with me this December.

9. Take myself on a coffee shop date to enjoy some cozy winter reads and do a little eBook writing.

10. Have a Christmas-card writing afternoon. Listen to my favorite holiday tunes, and, of course, enjoy a mug of hot cocoa, coffee, or cider — and perhaps a Christmas cookie or two. ;)

11. Make cinnamon rolls or pumpkin pancakes to enjoy one slow, relaxed Saturday morning.

12. And last, but not least, go on a photography date! Get out and capture the beauty of wintertime — the stark tree branches, falling snow, and soft gray skyline.

I’m not sure if I’ll make it all the way through my list, but I’m excited to celebrate the season with friends and loved ones, doing things that inspire me and help me to slow down and appreciate life right now, in this season, as I’m living it.

What are your favorite holiday dates & traditions?

Blog Brainstorming // Blog Brunch Recap

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On Saturday, I participated in my first-ever Blog Brunch. The topic was Finding Your Blog’s voice. I thought I’d share a few thoughts/quotes that inspired me, as well as a few things I shared during the brunch.

First, here are the questions we tackled during the brunch:

Q1: What dictates your tone and writing inspiration, and how do you tailor your voice and content throughout your site?
Q2: When managing guest contributors to your blog, what guidelines and criteria do you require?
Q3: What other technical angles or information do you consider when crafting a post? SEO? Humor? Article Structure? Sponsorship Opportunities?
Q4: How do you know what is working for you? Is there a way you track how your voice is affecting your brand or blog?
Q5: What tips do you have for developing your writing skills or mastering your blogs content and copy?

Great Quotes From Other Bloggers

Remember: if you worry less about promoting yourself and more about participating in the community, we’ll all grow together. ~ @passionfruitads

Nothing gets unique content rolling like being away from your computer + living in the real world. ~@TheCuisinerd

Write about what you care about. Be the blog you love to read. Get off the computer. Stay inspired. ~ @AshleyBrimeyer

Read, read, and read some more — from magazines to newspapers to blogs you love. ~@PatternPalette

Yes, inspiration is everywhere! In blogs, in magazines, in books, in movies! See how other artists communicate ideas. ~ ‏@anneiam

Editorial calendars take the crazy out of blogging consistently. ~@digitalfangirl

Defining your tone is also about bringing something unique/original to the conversation.  ~@PatternPalette

The right mix of comments + social following + pitches from contributors means you’re doing something right. ~@PatternPalette

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A Few of My Own Blog-brunching Thoughts

When I write & create, I do so from my heart. One of my creative mantras: Create honestly + joyfully. ~@letterbirdart

By cultivating a creative community, we can encourage each other to produce inspiring content & we can promote great art, too. ~@letterbirdart

I’ve found that writing a blog mission statement really keeps me on track with developing new and inspiring content. ~@letterbirdart

(P.S. Read about what my mission statement is and how I created it.)

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And finally, here are a few things I’ve recently started that I’m finding helpful for blog writing + brainstorming (some of which I was inspired to begin this weekend!) :

*Writing ideas on note cards. There’s something about shuffling through a deck of ideas that gets me inspired and excited about creating new content. (I got this idea while reading Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist. Have you read it yet?! It’s a must-read for creatives!)

*Setting up an editorial calendar. Using my index cards as idea-starters, I set up a Google calendar to keep track of what I want to post and when. Seeing everything arranged in a monthly format has been awesome, and I feel so much more organized.

What about you? Did you participate in the brunch? What have you been learning about blogging lately?