Wednesday, April 2, 2014

exciting news you don't want to miss

Hello, friends!  I have an announcement to make that I think is pretty exciting.

I have been so appreciative of all of you supporting me as I stumbled through finding my voice and learning how to keep a blog.  As time goes on, I continue to love this space more and more.  

So for that reason, and a few others, this blog is moving!

From now on, you can find my posts at

I hope you'll hop on over there and share it with your friends on whatever social media you're using.  I have some posts that I'm excited to share with you coming up soon.  

Thanks for being with me this far, 
and I hope you'll stick around to see the next phase of this blog- 
it's going to be great.   

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

travel: venice, florida


· hiking · picture taking · netflix watching · beach laying · swimming · hand holding · tanning · 
· bird watching · excellent food eating · singing · shopping · sleeping · reading · appreciating ·

Spring Break 2014 was delightful.

Friday, March 21, 2014

jumping on the twitter bandwagon

In the past, I've mostly resisted the twitter craze.  

But lately, I've decided that I want a way to connect with my followers and other bloggers more efficiently.  I've heard so much about the great blogging community out there, and I want to be a bigger part of it!  

So, if you noticed, there's a link in the left sidebar and on my contact page to my twitter account! 

Find me @WithAudrey

If you have a twitter, follow me and tweet at me!  I'd love to get to know each and every one of you. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

my body is mad at me

Starting to be intentional about working out was one of the best and worst decisions I've made for myself.

The best because I noticed that after a couple weeks of consistent exercise, my mind starts to feel clearer.  I carry myself more confidently.  I feel strong.  My anxiety lessens.  I am energized.  My thoughts toward myself are kinder.  Feeling like that is the best.

This week has not been one of those weeks.  I haven't taken care of my body well.  Chocolate, cookies, candy? Sure! Do I want to go to the gym? Psh, maybe next time...

Here's when I realized the worst part of working out for me.  My body likes it.  It craves it. When I neglect it, my body gets mad at me.  Shoot.  That is the worst.

So I've spent this week feeling drained, bouncing back and forth between being lightheaded and having a headache.  (As it turns out, the headaches were actually my body getting sick.  So maybe go to a doctor if you're feeling like that.)  And anyone who knows me well can tell you that they can tell if I'm not taking care of my body by the way I treat them. My mind and body suffers.

I'm more convinced now than ever of the connection between our bodies and our minds.

When I don't feel like working out, I want to remember that I am my most caring, confident, and healthy self when I have made time for exercise.

Counterproductive as it may seem, if you are feeling tired or busy or stressed out or anxious, try making time for exercise.  This week will be better for me because I will.

(If you're not sure where to start, you can take a bike ride, walk on a treadmill, swim laps, find a group exercise class near you, or check out the blogilates youtube channel.  They'll all help.  I like following the youtube videos because they're quick, most of them can be done with no equipment, and many of them can be done in a dorm room.)

Monday, March 10, 2014

a happy list


fresh peaches and blackberries
dates to eat Eva's chocolate chip pancakes
talking about website design with my dad
earth tones- especially olive green
drinking milk and watching the Oscars
running with old friends
dance parties with kids
learning how to make ceramics
perfectly curled hair
Valentine's Day chocolate

In the name of staying present and appreciating big and little things in life, I make happy lists every once in awhile.  I hope they inspire you to think of your own life and the small things that make your heart happy.


previous happy lists
· 1 ·

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

spread the word to end the word

Today is the Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign.

The label "retard" or "retarded" used to be the acceptable term to call someone with intellectual disabilities.  But over time, our culture has turned it into a derogatory term meaning "stupid" or "dumb."

When you use the R-word, you are taking part in labeling a group of people as "dumb" and "stupid" because they are different.

Please stop using the R-word. 

And share this post to support ending use of the R-word. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

keeping it real

This week, I was going to write about how much exercise affects my body and my mind.
(Be on the lookout for that post soon!)

But my body had other plans, so instead, it decided to get sick.  Ha! Oh, the irony.  

In general, I try to keep it real on this space, and posting about working out while I was sick just didn't feel genuine.  So instead, here's how my life has been going for the past day or two.

I've spent a good amount of time watching Friends, being with friends who take care of me, and cuddling with this blanket (which you can learn how to make here).  On the bright side, that's left me with the time that I needed to be still before a busy week of schoolwork.

Thankfully, I'm feeling better today, so hopefully this will just be a quickie little sickness and I can be fully functioning again soon!

What helps you get back on your feet when you're feeling under the weather? 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

giving differently


To love is not to give of your riches 
but to reveal to others their riches, their gifts, their value, 
and to trust them and their capacity to grow. 
-Jean Vanier, The Broken Body: Journey to Wholeness-

Giving to others can be tricky.  Especially when the ones you're giving to are seen as poor or needy.

There can be a weird power difference there.  An attitude of I'm doing a good thing by helping you.  You're welcome.  And our guilt is relieved, so we move on.

What if our actions of giving instead demonstrated genuine commitment to people?

Yes, we have basic needs that need to be met- so I'm not proposing that we stop giving clothes, food, or money to each other. Please keep it up.  But if you stop there, you could miss something.

It requires a radical kind of love to step out of your comfort zone and have a conversation with someone, especially if that someone is a part of a different social class.  And then continue to have conversations with them is even harder.  To let them be vulnerable with you and to be vulnerable with them is hardest.

It is this kind of relationship that really empowers.  It is helpful and nice to be given things, but it is empowering to be known and told that you are strong and gifted.  And to know that those words have credibility because a person who knows you can point to times that you have demonstrated that strength and giftedness.

Honestly, I'm not sure exactly what relationships like this look like- for me or anyone else.  Relationships are messy and complicated and difficult.  But I've heard stories of worlds colliding and the profound goodness that can come from that partnership. Love that.

So, friends, let us love by being generous not only with our riches, but also with our vulnerability and ability to recognize goodness in each other.

Reaching out to someone who is different from you can be daunting, so start with the relationships you have now.  How can you help them remember the blessings they have been given?

Be brave.  Get to know people.  Cherish them for who they are.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

how does she do it: Always Rooney


I would love to introduce you to Courtney Kennedy!  She's the brains behind one of my favorite blogs, Always Rooney.   I adore her earthy style and the way it comes through in many of her DIY projects.  She's here to share with you what she has learned about crafting, blogging, and being creative.  Our little Q&A is below.  Enjoy and be inspired! 



How would you describe Always Rooney and what led you to start blogging?
Always Rooney is my creative outlet. I was led to start because I was in a creative rut, and didn't feel like I was doing much with my life a couple years ago. I also was compelled to start to share how I made things since most people would ask. 

What's your spirit animal and why?
I don't know if I've ever thought of this...but I would hope my spirit animal would be a whale, because they are free and beautiful.

For people like you who do projects regularly, keeping creativity flowing can be challenging!  What inspires you and keeps you feeling creative?
Creativity inspires creativity. So I feel the more I try new projects, the more I'm being inspired and I find better solutions to problems. Trying things without the fear of failing is a great way to build up better ideas. Some of my favorite projects are the ones that I'm saying "oh I hope this works!" through the whole process. 

What do you wish you had known when you started?
I wish I would have known where Always Rooney would have led me..then I would have had more time to prepare! haha.

What is your process like to write a new post?
Everything starts with an idea. I'll draw it out in my notebook and then research materials to use, go to the craft store and then get started! 

You make all kinds of projects- sewing, crocheting, woodworking, and recently, screenprinting!  How do you go about learning a new skill?
Research, research, research! Google is my best friend, and should be yours as well. I'm always asking questions to friends who have done something similar or have more knowledge about something. I'm always going to my brother-in-law with ideas and he helps steer me in the right direction of how to build something. 

Right now, what is your favorite kind of project to spend your time on?
I am really enjoying working with wood and leather right now.

What are your future plans for Always Rooney? 
I've never been one to plan too far ahead, which I should work on! But I just hope to continue to post original ideas and work with other bloggers and companies to inspire others. 
What are some of your favorite blogs to follow?

What is the best advice you ever received and what is your advice for crafters/bloggers/creative types?
Find what you are good at and stick with it. Don't feel like you have to be a certain type of creative, you won't get anywhere being someone you aren't.
 
---

If you'd like to see more of Courtney, here are some places you'll find her.
Bloglovin: Always Rooney

Monday, February 10, 2014

cozy crochet scarf

Since there's been so much snow and freezing weather where I'm at, I decided it was time to whip up another scarf!  This one took me about three hours to make- maybe not even that. I did it over the course of two days.  It is 102 inches long (including fringe) and can comfortably wrap around my neck once or twice.  I used two skeins of Lion Brand Hometown USA super bulky yarn in Aspen Tweed and one skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick super bulky yarn in Oatmeal.

To start, make a row of chain stitches however long you want the scarf to be.  Then continue on to the next row with single crochet stitches.  If you need to learn how to do the single crochet stitch, this video is a great place to start.  

At the end of the row of single crochet stitches (row 2), do a single chain stitch, turn your work, and repeat row 2 for the rest of the scarf.

As you can see, my scarf is a slightly different color in the middle.  So the first skein is used for the first row of chain stitches and four rows of single crochet stitch.  The second skein is used for the next seven rows of single crochet stitch.  The last skein is used for the final four rows of single crochet stitch.  

At the end, cut the yarn to about five inches and finish with a chain stitch.  Pull the yarn all the way through to make a knot.  
To make the fringe, cut ten inch pieces of yarn.  To make one tassel, fold two pieces of yarn in half, put the loop through a space on the end of the scarf, and pull the ends of the pieces through the loop to make a knot.  Repeat as many times as you would like to make the fringe.  I made five tassels on each side.

Once you get all the fringe to the length you want it, you're done!  I hope after this, you'll be able to keep a little bit warmer!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

a happy list


colorful sunsets
fleece lined leggings
movie marathons with friends
eating cookie dough
handmade blankets
hot tubs in freezing weather
printed pictures
poetic words like shalom
white christmas lights
healthy food
a clean room

In the name of staying present and appreciating big and little things in life, I'm going to start making happy lists every once in awhile.  I hope they inspire you to think of your own life and the small things that make your heart happy.

Inspired by Leney's happy list on A Girl Named Leney.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

the art of the compliment

Most people love to receive compliments.  The world could use more of them.

Some people might feel lost when trying to form the right words or maybe complimenting doesn't come naturally to them.  Either way, these are things that I learned in class this semester that made sense to me and that I hope will help you.

//  Be sincere.  (This seems like a no-brainer, but how many times have you told someone that you liked their shirt, hat, coat, etc. when really you were just looking for something to say?)
//  Many small compliments are better than one big one. 
//  Be specific.  This can be hard to do, but the deep thought that may be required is part of what makes a compliment meaningful. It's the thought that counts. (If you're picking out a character trait, describe a time that person showed that trait.  If you're saying you like something they're wearing or made, tell what you like about it.  Etc.)
//  Avoid intensifiers like really.  Surprisingly, taking out that one word often brings more power to the words that you do use.  
//  Don't compliment when you're asking for something (manipulation) or when you're criticizing.

And if you're receiving a compliment, all you need to say is thank you. Compliments are like gifts.  All you need to do is accept them.  No disagreeing, downgrading, or rejecting allowed.  Saying thank you accepts the gift.

Complimenting someone takes thought, humility, and courage.  Not easy.  But so worth it.

May we all be on the lookout for times to warm the hearts of our loved ones with words.  And may we have the courage to speak those words- even the imperfect ones.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

bind my wandering heart to Thee


This project was inspired by pinterest.  I had seen similar projects before, but never had the time to make one for myself.  And I thought I would never get the font right.  (Turns out, it doesn't need to be perfect to look great.) It ended up taking a little more time than I thought just because the wood glue had to dry, but overall, I'm really happy with the way this turned out!

For this project, I used wood glue, tapered shims, cardboard, paint, and heavy books. (I ended up spending a total of four dollars. That was only to buy the shims because I had the rest of the supplies around the house.)

First, I glued two of the tapered shims together to make the pieces equally wide.  (This would have been a lot easier if I had used regular pieces of wood, but that would have made the project cost quite a bit more.)  For each pair, I rested a heavy book on it for about half an hour to make sure that it would stay together.

Once I had all of the pieces I would need glued together, I arranged them on a piece of cardboard and used that as a foundation for the piece.  I glued the wood strips to the cardboard.

Then I started the drawing! I used this picture as a guide for the font, but I freehanded the drawing.  I'm no expert artist, so I was surprised at how easy this font was to duplicate.  Don't be afraid.

I drew the outline in pencil first so I could erase.  Once I was sure I had the font the way I wanted it, I used a small paint brush to fill in the letters.  Again, this sounded scary to me, but trust me, it was so easy.  Take your time and you will be fine.

Once everything was dried, the cardboard I used for the foundation started to warp, so I ended up gluing two pieces to the back vertically to correct it.

As you can see, this ended up hanging above my bed at home.  For me, it's been the perfect way to beautifully display a reminder of where my focus should be.  I hope you're just as pleased with the way yours turns out!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

loving yourself

I'm processing through what I've assumed to be true about following Jesus and I'm finding that there might be more than I thought to some things.

I've heard/read/listened to so many lessons about humility and self-sacrifice and putting others first.  I think these are great things! Jesus lived a life of service for sure.  But the way I've interpreted this before is that I should focus on other people.  Love them and do things for them until I can't give any more.  That. is. exhausting.

And then this week I read Matthew 22:37-39.  Jesus was talking to his disciples and told them, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (ESV emphasis mine)

As yourself.  Love others the way that I love myself.  

I don't need to only focus on other people.  God knows that I need attention too.  Not in an arrogant, narcissistic, me me me way, but in an intentional, refreshing, making me better way.  I've focused on loving myself by journaling and taking care of my body and taking pride in who I am.  There are some times in the past where I would have looked at this week and called myself self-centered because of how much I've thought about this.  Whatever.

After taking time to invest in myself, I feel better equipped to love others.  I'm no expert, but I think that might have been God's intention when He told us to love others well and to love ourselves well. 

If you want, you can join me in writing letters to yourself.  This probably sounds super cheesy to some of you.  But take time to think about the things you admire in yourself.  God has given everyone incredibly unique gifts and they all deserve attention.  Thank Him for those gifts and encourage yourself to use them for good things! 

You are valuable and worthy of love, admiration, and respect- especially from yourself. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

precious family time


I've looked at the time other families spend together and thought, "Aw, that's so nice.  I wish my family was like that. That's precious family time."

When it came to my family, I complained when we had the chance to spend time together. Or I was on my phone.  Or I didn't care.  Mostly I didn't care. Bad attitude.

This winter break, even if my family was doing things that weren't my favorite, if we were all present, I tried to think of it as precious family time.  Because it was.

I'm thankful for the time I've gotten to spend this break shopping, puzzling, watching the Bachelor, and adventuring with my family.  The effort I've made to be fully present in my time with them has been so worth it.  Thanks for putting up with my terrible attitude family.  You're my kind of people.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

quick crochet blanket


I made this blanket in one day.

Granted, I worked on it about all day.  But still, I think a day is pretty good.  All of the other blankets I've made have taken me at least a month to make.  

..........

To view the complete post, visit my updated blog at 

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 6, 2014

small things with great love


A few days ago, I stumbled upon The Love Parcel.  The idea is that you make some kind of mini package filled with anything you want- many have vintage trinkets, artwork, or handwritten notes.  Then you send it to Miranda, the creator of the project, and she uses a combination of her own creations and other people's packages to send you a response!

I'm a sucker for snail mail.

This was a great excuse to try whatever artsy things I wanted and to make things that didn't have a purpose except to be beautiful.  I painted and drew and sewed and crocheted and found vintage treasures, which were all perfect things to do over winter break, when it's too cold to do anything outside.

At least for me, the cherry on top of this whole thing is the positivity and creativity that The Love Parcel promotes.  Gives me warm fuzzies to look at the pictures that are posted of packages from people all over the world.

For more information, look at The Love Parcel website or instagram and let me know if you send a package of your own!

To see what I received back, hop over to my instagram feed.  As I was opening the package, my boyfriend commented, "She knows you well!" ....but Miranda doesn't know me at all.  I love that.  Miranda, thanks for making my day!