Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Journey of Intention

Pretty, no?
Yesterday I was wondering around Barnes and Noble (as I so often do, it's one of my happy places), picking up this and that, venti americano in hand and peace in my heart. Something about being surrounded by books, all of those words and stories just waiting be discovered. Whole worlds in slim volumes of poetry and prose. I could wax on but I think you get the picture. The journal section is one of my very favorites. I have more journals than I could every possibly fill with my own words. I'm constantly buying new ones. I can remember being a child and getting my first diary. Having my own secret place to store my words - it was a sort of magic to me. I've collected words ever since. Scraps and stories and others peoples voices, I keep it all, or I try to anyway.

Anyway (you can see I have I a bit of a problem with words, excessive adjectives and commas that stretch sentences past the point of good grammar) a smallish, chunky like, turquoise book caught my eye, mainly for it's pretty design. Nothing like a good layout (in my personal opinion). The front cover reads 'Starting Today, a Journal of Intention and Change'. Inside each page has a place for the date and at the top is written 'Starting today, I will...' followed by blank lines challenging you to fill them with all your good intentions. The idea is to turn your intention into real change. And I absolutely love it. I also picked up (an even smaller, chunkier, adorable) another book called 'Think Happy, Be Happy: Art, Inspiration, Joy'. It's filled with gorgeous hand lettering and typography that form quotes of encouragement and love. The perfect accompaniment to my new journal.
A million times yes!!

The book was over with the journal, in the journal section, totally not where it was supposed to be. When I found them a light seemed to go on, that feeling when the Holy Spirit says 'yes, do it, go on, this is for you'. I've been feeling a lack of direction in my spiritual life. Don't get me wrong, I feel connected, but I also feel like I can not decipher what God is trying to do with me right now. A lot of negative things have been happening lately , and it truly seems as if there is a force trying to interfere with the Holy Spirit working in and around me. Now, I'm not sure exactly where I stand on the idea of Satan. But I keep getting thwarted as I try to truly step out towards The Lord. I just don't know. So all of this has left me feeling as though I need to clarify my intentions, my direction. 'Lord lead my feet to the path you want me walking'.
Because I'm happy :)

Having a place set apart to keep these thoughts makes it special, makes it an intentional step towards Him. My first intention is to be kinder to people. To be full of gratitude for his grace, so full that it spills out to those around me. I want to show his grace. To my family, friends, strangers on the street. Just writing and making this intention has filled me with his love. I know I'm human, and flawed. I know I will not always be kind. But I want to be a light - as Jesus called us to be.

I honestly feel different after doing this. And it's so simple. Grab a notebook and a pen, you don't need a special journal from Barnes and Noble, and write down something you intend to change. About your behavior, your connections, your attitude - whatever is weighing on your heart. You know what it is. Pray as you are writing, turn the words themselves into prayer. You can have all the good intentions in the world, but without The Lord and his grace that's all they will remain - intentions. No true change of heart will come of it. That's the piece that is missing from the little introduction in the beginning of my journal. And it's too bad because that is truly the crucial piece. I know that without His grace I'm just sort of fumbling about, running on my own self importance and pride. It doesn't work, I tried it for many years.

I'm not going to do an intention a day the way the journal is meant to be used. I think that cheapens the intentions, making them disposable in a way, like it's just on to the next one. I want to actively work on being kinder, allowing the spirit to work through me. I want to be so full of his grace that the Devil has no room to get in. It all starts with the intention. Let Him take it from there.

I'll probably be doing a series on these intentions, and I would LOVE if you wanted to join in and keep your own intention journal. I would be honored if you would share them with me, and if you want to keep it private you could email me. I can just sense a big change coming, and I just want to shout His name from the rooftops. I want to be an instrument for change, his change. It has to start somewhere, right? Why not here? Why not now?

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"

So I came upon this poem. And I read it. And reread it. I took out my highlighter. I made notes. I decided I absolutely had to share it with you. I'm not going to muddle it up any more with my own clumsy words. I'll just leave it here for you. Read it twice, trust me. Oh and the added emphasis is mine. The poets name is Mary Oliver, and the poem is titled "Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches?". Please let me know if it resonates with you as well. I need to talk to someone about it!

“Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches of other lives-
tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey,
hanging from the branches of the young locust trees,
in early morning, feel like?
Do you think this world was only an entertainment for you?

Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides
with perfect courtesy, to let you in!
Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!
Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over
the dark acorn of your heart!

No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life! 
Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?

Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself continually?
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?

Well, there is time left -
fields everywhere invite you into them.
And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?

Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!
To put one’s foot into the door of the grass,
which is the mystery, which is death as well as life,
and not be afraid!
To set one’s foot in the door of death,
and be overcome with amazement!

To sit down in front of the weeds, and imagine
god the ten-fingered, sailing out of his house of straw,
nodding this way and that way, to the flowers of the present hour,
to the song falling out of the mockingbird’s pink mouth,
to the tippets of the honeysuckle, that have opened in the night,

To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!
Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

While the soul, after all, is only a window,
and the opening of the window no more difficult
than the wakening from a little sleep.

Only last week I went out among the thorns and said
to the wild roses: deny me not, but suffer my devotion.
Then, all afternoon, I sat among them.
Maybe I even heard a curl or tow of music, damp and rouge red,
hurrying from their stubby buds, from their delicate watery bodies.

For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in!
A woman standing in the weeds.
A small boat flounders in the deep waves,
and what’s coming next is coming with its own heave and grace.
Meanwhile, once in a while, I have chanced, among the quick things,
upon the immutable.

What more could one ask?
And I would touch the faces of the daises,
and I would bow down to think about it.
That was then, which hasn’t ended yet.
Now the sun begins to swing down. Under the peach-light,
I cross the fields and the dunes, I follow the ocean’s edge.
I climb, I backtrack. I float.
I ramble my way home.”
~ Mary Oliver,
”West Wind: Poems and Prose Poems”

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A peak inside my studio

Signed and dated for when I become all super famous

I love you Patti Smith

'Blessed' sign still available in the shop
'Deer Woman' by the fab Paula Tamara Hoss
Trying my damnedest not laugh

All of the insanely pretty photos are courtesy of uber talented (and totally cool) Lindsey Mae Child of Lindsey Mae Photography who was so kind as to come shoot my space and do some product photography. I couldn't be more pleased with the results and our budding friendship! I just love cool people. And Lindsey is cool people. It sounds trite (yay we're so cool), but I just want to surround myself with creatives, people hungry for life, chasing after The Lord with all their passion, doing what he created them to do, and doing it beautifully! Filled with his spirit!!

The Lord created us for fellowship, and I just love his design!

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Handmade Experience

I've been giving quite a bit of thought lately to my 'brand' and what I'm trying to offer my customers at The Hipster Housewife. Why shop with us? Why shop handmade at all? Well, as the title would imply, for The Handmade Experience. Obvs.

Long before I set up shop on Esty I was a huge fan of the site, and did most of my 'special' shopping there. My entire wedding was painstakingly handmade by yours truly, and supplemented with Etsy purchases when I couldn't make something on my own. I love to put some random query into the search box (vintage industrial storage box was my latest) and dig through the seemingly endless offerings. There is something really special about the whole process, from the search to the moment the pretty package arrives in the mail. Its personal in a decidedly impersonal world.


The handmade experience is a promise. It offers both exclusivity and connection. You purchase something one of a kind, something that is uniquely yours, and through that purchase are supporting not only an individual artisan, but an entire community of makers, crafters, and artists. It feels authentic in a way few commercial transactions ever do. When was the last time Target shot you an email to make sure your new pants fit just right? The last time your favorite 'upscale' jewlery store made a necklace to your specifications (and didn't cost a months rent)? It just doesn't happen in today's retail market. There is no attention to detail, to craftsmanship, not the way one person working in their studio can give. Whether it's a big chain or a small store, they are not personally invested in their products and clients the way someone making their goods by hand is.


When I buy handmade there are always a few certain 'somethings' that jump out at me, and I, in turn, strive to offer those things to my customers. That's the promise. Buying handmade means buying one of a kind. Even when a product is made more than once, it's virtually impossible to recreate something the same exact way the first one was made. I love owning pieces no one else has. We like to own exclusive things. Most of the high end (and therefore exclusive) things in today's world are so absurdly expensive I could never afford to own them. Handmade offers me the couture experience without the couture price tag. There is also the expectation of quality. You see, I frickin' love making things, and I know most etsy shop owners feel the same way about what they do. We are passionate about the things we sell, and therefore aren't going to sell junk! Nothing I create I wouldn't display in my own home (in fact, if it's not made to order, it's hanging on my walls right now!), use at my own wedding, or gift my friends and family with. So, you get unique, you get quality, but you can have those things without having a good buying experience. I know, because I've bought beautiful, lovely, unique things on etsy and have still walked away with a bad taste in my mouth.

Customer service is by far the most difficult part of owning your own handmade business. I stress myself out like crazy making sure I make my customers happy! But I do it because I know that's the make or break piece when it comes to he handmade experience. There is nothing worse than trusting someone to make this awesome-unique-thing for your wedding (or home, baby, grandma, you get the idea) and having them not answer your questions, take longer than promised, and not ship on time. Of course, you have to remember you're usually working with one person, who is doing the best they can (hopefully) and sometimes things run behind schedule. But there is never any excuse for poor customer service. It drives me crazy!! I'm always available to answer questions, and I pride myself on answering emails and convos within a few hours - if not a few minutes! My iPhone is always on and always by my side (I suppose that's a topic for another blog post entirely). And I have had some amazing chats with people via etsy's convo system! I've talked about God, motherhood, and the joy of getting married. So yeah, it's personal for me, and I want it to be personal for you too. Behind every etsy storefront is a real person, with a real life, usually working from home in the thick of it. That is special. That makes the whole thing special.


The Hipster Housewife is just me. I put love and prayers into every piece I make. I wrap all of my shipments like presents, include extra goodies (plus a sprinkle of glitter for good measure) and pretty ribbons, because I want you to be excited when you open that package. Making these things is a joy for me, I want your experience, from purchasing to hanging on the wall, to be a joy for you as well. It's why I do it. I create because I love to, because I believe that's what God made me to do. I sell my creations because I want to share that love, to share his glory, and to make people happy! It's simple, really.


I'm interested in why you shop (or don't shop) handmade. What part of the experience is most important to you? Have you had any extra special (or extra awful) experiences? What could the seller have done differently? I'm really just trying to pick your brains here people! Help a housewife out!

P.S. I know I haven't been posting as much as of late, and I really do have a good excuse for that, but I can't tell anyone yet because it's a big surprise. I've had time to do some thinking, not just about my brand and where I'm trying to take this thing, but also about my life and where I'm trying to take that thing. What does the future look like for the hipster housewife, husband, and three adorable hipster babies? What's next? God is doing big things in our household. He's opening our eyes to things we've remained adamantly blind to, binding up old wounds, and setting our feet on a new path. We are so excited to see where it will lead.

"He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed."