Ah, burlap.

Why do I love burlap so much? I just do. I would use it in every room if I could. Check out Design*Sponge’s fabulous Thanksgiving table that incorporates it so tastefully. Click here!

On a side note, I’ve totally started decorating my house for Christmas. We don’t ever host Thanksgiving dinner at our house, so I figured it was safe, since no one’s coming my house and the occasional pop-ins aren’t really going to care I’m a few weeks early. BUT – burlap has been incorporated into this year’s decor. I’m loving it so much already. Can’t wait to share pics, post-Thanksgiving of course, for the blog world. ;-)

Happy Turkey Day, Y’all.

My coffee journey began when I was 20 years old and living in Madrid. I remember when my friends and I first arrived there for our study abroad semester, we thought it was so weird that lunch was two hours long. What do you do for two hours on your lunch break? Drink cafe con leche, that’s what. I learned to drink coffee in Europe, which just felt appropriate. Thus began my dream of the daily latte.

Every morning for the past three years, I have woken up with a delicious homemade vanilla latte. I heart vanilla lattes. Last weekend, as we were bragging about having an espresso machine and attempting to convince yet another guest to our house that it is the best purchase you’ll ever make (EVER), our friend calculated that we’ve saved over $7,000 in coffee by making our own lattes every day. Needless to say, we’re fans.

I eventually progressed from flavored creamers (ingredients you can’t pronounce) to the DaVinci syrups you buy at the grocery store (corn syrup)… but when I got sick of paying $5 bucks for a bottle of sugar water, I decided to figure out how to make it myself. One of the best things I’ve ever done. These are so ridiculously easy to make you’ll be embarrassed you’ve never done this before. And for pennies on the dollar.

Vanilla Syrup

1 cup Sugar (Regular White or Raw)
3/4 Cup Water
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Combine water and sugar in small saucepan and heat over medium-low. Stir occasionally until all of the sugar is melted. Let cool. Stir in vanilla extract.

When you mix this into your coffee, you use it instead of sweetener. I like to use raw sugar when I make it. Plus, the added bonus of making a syrup is that the raw sugar is already melted when you add it and instantly sweet. This recipe can also be used with Hazelnut or Peppermint extract, just experiment with the ratio of extract to simple syrup!

Quick post to share some pics! I’ve been having so much fun creating baskets… can’t wait to post to Etsy. I’m just about ready to listen to Christmas music but am restraining myself…I’ve totally gotten sucked into the early Christmas season. All this crafting!

Have you started any projects yet? Martha had an email this week that was “Christmas Crafts You Can Start Today.” Get inspired! There is nothing like the handmade for Christmas. Or, if that’s not your style, check out any of the MANY craft markets this season. I love buying handmade too and injecting a little boost into our local economy. Come see me this weekend in the Marietta area at Due West United Methodist Church! Over 40 crafters ready for the holidays. :) Click on the tab on my side bar for more info… (PS the basket at the bottom of this post is one of the Silent Auction items. I love it so much.)

I’m already busy working away on my holiday soaps and gift sets. So busy, I can’t write much, but had to post a few of the first photos. All of which will hopefully be posted on my Etsy page by the weekend! Just had to share!

My new favorite scent, Apple Cider. The smell of fall!

Gift Bags!!! I'm so in love with the little soap gingerbread man...

New soap dishes, handmade and come as a set with a bar of soap!

 

I have my first market of the season this Saturday at Grayson High School in Gwinnett. It’s a fundraiser for their  basketball booster club (more info here) and will have 65 handmade artists showcasing and selling their products! If you in Gwinnett, come by and support handmade! I can’t wait!

I spent this past weekend in Jonesborough, Tennessee at the National Storytelling Festival. I travelled with some of my friends from 12Stone Church to take in the wisdom of expert storytelling from professionals. Did you know there are such a thing as professional storytellers? There are. And they are wonderful.

Storytelling is a lost art, especially among my generation, and to sit and soak in a good story, visualizing it as a teller recites his or her descriptive words, is mesmerizing. As founder of the festival Jimmy Neil Smith put it, “As millions of story lovers all over the world know, there is no substitute for the power, simplicity, and basic truth of a well-told story.”

I am inspired to begin to piece together some of my stories of my own.

While we were there, we stayed in this fabulous lake house on Lake Boone. We cooked dinner Saturday night and I made roast chicken with carrots. Always a big hit. My friend Amanda has a great recipe for the perfect roasted chicken. Read it here and maybe it’ll inspire her to get back in the blog world. She’s such a fabulous writer.

Found these at a big school sale. Got the pair for $15!

When the air turns crisp, all I can think about are Saturday mornings. I love fall Saturday mornings in Atlanta. The air is crisp, the sky the perfect shade of blue, and Atlantans are out and about, enjoying it all.

I suffer from the disease of wanting to do everything on my weekend “To-Do” list on Saturday morning. But not too early, and before I get hungry for lunch. Hence, I end up with a mile-long to do list I want to accomplish between 8:30 and 11:30am on a given Saturday. I’m obviously left disappointed week after week.

As often as I can, I forgo the chores and either enjoy my coffee on the front porch as I watch the park wake up, or hop in the car and head around town to check out the area garage sales. The fall is a touch and go season for garage sales; sometimes you luck out with people trying to clean house before winter hits, other times you just enjoy your coffee for the day on the road. Either way, its a great way to be outdoors. As we all try to savor the last few weeks of

Tell me you don't love these. Each about a quarter a piece.

fabulous weather (at least Atlanta and northbound), I’ve compiled a few tips and photos of my favorite finds to prove that sometimes one man’s junk truly is another man’s treasure. Enjoy!

1. Make a Master List of stuff you want to buy at garage sales/thrift stores. What do you look for at Garage Sales and Thrift Stores anyway? If you don’t go with a list, or at least a mental one, all you will see is junk. This keeps you focused and on the hunt. Here are things I always look for:

- Linens (cloth napkins, tablecloths, placemats, or sheets and blankets that could double as a table cloth.

Adorable plates. 8 for $2 bucks.

- Tea cups, coffee cups, and cute dessert plates. I love unique pieces or anything plain white. But a short list keeps me from overwhelming my cupboards.

- Storage opportunities. Living intown, my closet space is non-existent. I am always looking for trunks or furniture that can also double as storage.

- Old Mason jars. Obsession. I put everything in jars, and love saving the old-time clip ones for Christmas and birthday gifts. They’re never out of style.

One of my many projects. Great tray, waiting to be painted. Ugh!

2. Don’t buy a “project” if you have an incomplete one at home. Trust me, I have projects all over my house… it always seems like a good idea at the time, but pretty soon, all you’ve got are projects piling up, waiting to be put in a garage sale of your own.

3. Find the big sales. I intentionally research the private schools in Atlanta for annual yard sale fundraisers. Most of them have them, and they are GREAT. Charity yard sales are great because you find lots of parents/church goers who love the idea of giving their junk away to raise money for a great cause. They people who run them usually want to get rid of it all, too, so bargaining is also

Fabulous trunk I'd never have found in a store. $15 bucks.

a bonus.

4. When buying clothes: I love to buy clothes at thrift stores. However, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed when you walk into your local Goodwill. I only look for certain clothing items second hand. Here they are:

- Blazers and jackets.
– Pants and Jeans
– Dress shirts

I only shop name brand items. I’ll flip through a rack in about 30 seconds looking for the name brand tags (I’ve found Gap, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor before!). Then, I’ll assess whether or not it’s something I like. When shopping pants, only shop stores that sort them by size. It’s not worth it to look through a rack that has everything from 2 to 20.

4. Finally, have fun and pick up something cheap and hokey every now and then! But also be willing to walk away. Don’t overpay. Its at that garage sale or thrift store for a reason.

So excited to post some adorable quilted pieces my grandmother and great aunt made. They live in Eden, New York and quilt. These pieces just posted to Etsy are Halloween-themed and feature little witches with dangly legs. The legs add a whimsical feel to the quilts.

They are made to be wall hangings, but I think they would be a great little throw. I love how they look draped over my rugged rocking chair.

Oh fall, hurry up and come! I am ready!

View them in my shop HERE!

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