Thursday, November 27, 2014


While I try to keep in mind things I am thankful for all year, it's nice to have Thanksgiving as a day to really focus on our blessings and what is good in our lives.

It's so easy to get bogged down with negative thoughts and worries that we sometimes take for granted the things that we have worked so hard for.  I never write down what I'm grateful for, so I thought this would be as good as time as any to give it a try.

I'm thankful for Wade, my family, and my friends who fill my life with such meaning and joy. 
I'm thankful for kind strangers who I may never see again but who touched my life in some way that I will never get to thank them for.
I'm thankful for our jobs.  While no one really loves going to work every day, I feel fortunate to have  a place to go to earn money.
I'm thankful for a house that has turned into our home with our laughter, failures, and triumphs. 
I'm thankful for our little bunny that hops up to me and makes me smile.
I'm thankful for the existence of a future.  While we must enjoy the now, it's a blessing to be able to look forward to good things to come.
I'm thankful to be living in a place that allows me to daydream and follow passions and whims.  I am really thankful for this.
And I'm thankful for you reading this and saying hello.  You make the world feel a bit smaller and make me feel heard.  I can't fully express how thankful I am for that.

Happy Thanksgiving (and happy lovely Thursday), friends!  May your day be filled with wonder and love.

What are you thankful for?

As a little thank you, use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY15 to get 15% off your entire order in my shop from Friday, November 28th to Sunday, November 30th.  I've got some fun new hand beaded headbands in the shop and have also listed a few new "Buddy Bling" necklaces, a perfect combination of friendship and bling. 

Monday, November 24, 2014


Today I'm so excited to introduce you to Jill, owner of The Bookerie: The Favoring Brave store.  I've been smitten with her creations and her ability to turn old, unused books into beautiful prints and jewelry for a few years, so when we were in Tulsa, OK the other week, I knew I had to check out one of her brick and mortar shops.

So how did I first meet Jill?

Well, a few years ago, I was a vendor at a craft show in Kansas City (see here).  My mom was my trusty sidekick, per usual, and meandered around during a slow period to check out the other vendors.  It wasn't going great for me in terms of sales, so my mom did what any mother would do for her daughter who is feeling a bit deflated.  She bought her a present.  And we all know that's a sure fire way to perk up the spirits, am I right?

And it sure did.  I opened up the small brown paper sack and pulled out the most beautiful quote on top of an old book page.  Swoon.  I hurried to find the booth to see what other treasures there were and was quickly enchanted with everything else, as well as Jill herself.  Jill was so sweet and helped me pick out the perfect pendant.  I chose a small round one with the word "make" from an old book.  Being an avid lover of books and crafting, this was such a perfect combination.

At the time, Jill was just about to open her first store location in downtown Tulsa, OK.  Now, she has TWO lovely locations.  Sadly, we were only able to visit her location in downtown Tulsa that weekend, but I know that I'll be back there soon to check out her shop in Sapulpa, OK and get to see Jill again in person.

Her store is absolutely lovely, full of one of a kind pieces and special meanings. 

I'm always fascinated how people turn their passions into businesses, so I asked Jill to share a bit more about herself and her business.

You started your creative endeavors selling beaded jewelry at farmer’s markets.  How did that morph into you making jewelry and other crafts out of old books?

Jill: You know I was always a little bit bored with the fact that I made something so common when I was making beaded jewelry, and so when I quit my first big girl job out of college because I needed to do something more creative, I looked for other areas to branch out into. I had wanted to make hardback books into journals since I was in middle school, so I finally took the plunge and did it and the rest just kind of naturally came after within the next year. 

I loved visiting one of your shops in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma and you recently opened your 2nd shop (yay!) in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.  How did you make the transition to a brick and mortar store and what have been some of the highs from having a location people can come see your product first hand?
Jill: Well my primary sales method had always been craft shows and events, so I was used to having people see my work in person, but in a much more short and intense way. My stuff has always done better with in person sales because I have always been limited in online sales by the one of a kind nature of recycled work. In the shops I have maybe 700 styles of word charms, but I can't even imagine how much work it would be to photograph, upload and manage 700 one of a kind charms online. People love the shopping experience of coming to the shop and going on a treasure hunt for the perfect word. It is the best thing when my work perfectly lines up with someone's needs. I made a pair of earrings once with a line drawing of a flutist on one and violinist on the other and a few weeks later a member of a traveling orchestra came in and bought them because she was a flutist and her husband was a violinist. You can't plan these things, but they happen. And I love all the people, especially in Downtown Tulsa where we are just a few blocks from the Performing Arts Center- in the shop I have sold work to New York magazine reporters, Blue Man group members, casts of traveling Broadway shows, opera singers, and so many others. It's so fun. 

What is your all-time favorite book?
Jill:  My favorite book is "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson. She studied at the Iowa Writer's Workshop just about 20 miles from where I grew up. Her book is so lovely - quiet, reflective, and so meaningful. Love it. 

What advice do you have for other handmakers looking to sell their wares?
Jill: I would say that finding your niche is so important. Your work has to have it's own thing going on if you're going to differentiate yourself from the sea of handmade businesses out there. And network. Meet other handmade artists and get to know them. Get pointers from them, share your knowledge, and build each other up. Don't treat other artists like your competition, because that can seriously hurt you in the long run. I love to get to know my neighbors and craft shows, etc. and we help each other out.

I love your book pages with quotes printed on them (in fact I have one hanging up in my house).  What is your favorite quote from a book and why?
Jill: Oh, definitely the first and last lines of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston: " Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." and "Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see." Hurston was amazing and sadly gets overshadowed a lot of the time. The whole book has this lovely contrast between the gorgeous, deep thoughts in Janie's head and the colloquial way she actually speaks. 

If you could travel anywhere (real or only in the pages of a book), where would that be?
Jill: I think I'm going to show my true colors and say that I wish I could go to Narnia. Because who wouldn't want to go to Narnia?!

I would love to go to Narnia, too!  I hope you enjoyed getting to know more about Jill and her wonderful story.  This post wasn't sponsored.  I just love sharing people with you who I find inspiring and know you will, too.  I love the community we build by supporting one another.  You can find more of Jill here and her shop here.  

I'm linking up with Meg's Mingle Monday.  Stop by and say hi!

Friday, November 21, 2014


Last weekend we drove down to the great state of Oklahoma to meet our friends who just moved to Tulsa.  It was a quick trip, but we managed to squeeze in a lot of fun and it was nice to get away for a few nights.

Here are the "nice" couple pictures....

Then Wade and I did some maniacal laughing, aka blog poses, and came out with this gem.

Downtown Tulsa is divided into small districts.  We were in the Brady Arts District here and te at Caz's Chowhouse.  The booths were pews from an old church, and the food was delicious.

After lunch, we headed to the Center of the Universe.  Walk at a brisk pace and you'll miss it, but this was one of the coolest things I've experienced in a while.  It's some sort of acoustic anomaly where when you stand in the center of the brick circle, you can hear your voice echo but no one else can hear it outside the circle.

I thought it was just some sort of weird gimmick, but it actually worked!  Pretty cool, if you ask me.

From there, we went to the Deco District, full of beautiful Art Deco style buildings from the 1920s that were built to exhibit the oil wealth booming in the city.

The outside of the buildings were interesting, but the inside of the buildings were breathtaking with their gilded walls and opulent lighting.  Everything was dripping in gold.  I half expected Gatsby to come walking out of those elevators.

After appreciating the architecture of the roaring 20s, we headed to the Blue Dome District, aka Hipsterville, to knock down a few pins at the Dust Bowl Lanes.   This place is modeled after the lanes of the 1970s with its orange vinyl chairs and green plaid carpet.  They didn't even have automated scoring, so required us to dust off the old math skills to keep score (thanks Brian:)

Now, it's time to get real here.  I am a pretty terrible bowler.  We went bowling a few weeks back, and I barely broke 50.  Oof.  That's embarrassing.

So imagine my surprise when Robin took a picture of me and even caught my first strike in like 10 years!  Definitely made me do a happy dance that I'm sure the seasoned bowlers beside us appreciated.

Look at all those pins go down.

One of my finer moments.
Robin about to knock down some pins.

Apparently Brian has never had to spell my name or any other version of "Kari" before.  It's a name, not a verb:)

After bowling, we retreated back to our friends' house where we were serenaded by the absolute sweetest karaoke session ever.  Yes, ever.  Beer bottles for microphones and a haunting rendition of "Everything That Glitters".  Amid that soft amber lighting, you could feel the love between these two as they sang to this 80s country ballad, while dancing around their living room.  

It was a great weekend catching up with these great friends.  It's nice to know that no matter how long time passes, we just pick up right where we left off.  That's such a rare and special bond to have.  

While I was able to remember all the words to "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid, I'll be brushing up on my karaoke repertoire for the next time we get together:)

Have you been to Tulsa?  Do you ever find that Google Maps lies to you about how long it will take to get some place?  It was an hour off for us.  That's the last time I believe technology over my mom.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


The leaves are changing color, ushering in a new season.  

And with that new season, our Instagram feeds and blog posts have filled up with pictures of boots crunching through the leaves, pumpkins arranged cutely on the front steps, and a myriad of other displays that signify fall.

I started seeing some comments pop up bemoaning the abundance of all these pictures with a similar feel. 

It was as if to say, we've already seen one tree with golden hued leaves, so that's enough.

It didn't stop me, though, from wanting to post my own pictures of the fall trees around me, that I was experiencing.  Because while they may appear similar, they are not the same.

These pictures represent a singular experience for me that makes it mean much more since I'm seeing it first hand through my own eyes.

How can we expect a marvelous transition such as fall to slip by with only a few pictures capturing its beauty?

Because these are not merely pictures.  These are visual portrayals of a memory that has been seared into our minds.  It has moved us, and we long to share it with others.

It's the reason a new love fills you with a giddiness you could never have experienced through second hand accounts.

And why a heartbreak makes you feel so alone.

You can tell people how wonderful that hot chocolate tastes, but they won't truly understand until the chocolatey concoction hits their own taste buds.

It's wonderful to hear the stories of others and learn from them, but don't ever feel strange about sharing your own version of something.  

It's just as important as someone else's account.

I'd like to think a leaf is just like a snowflake--every one is a little bit different from the others, making it special.  

So that means each picture or story you share from your perspective is truly different from everyone else's, because it's from you.

And that's a wonderful thought.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I've lived here my whole life, so it shouldn't come as a complete shock to me when the temperature drops 43, yes 43, degrees in a mere 24 hours.  Somehow, though, I'm always in utter disbelief that this is possible.

Wade and I have been playing tennis throughout the summer.  With the forecast calling for a cold front coming in, we decided we'd get in one last sparring match.  There's something about knowing there is something bad coming your way that makes you appreciate everything a bit more.  Like if you know you're going to get the stomach flu next week, why not eat that extra piece of cake?  Enjoy yourself.

I wouldn't say we're great tennis players, but we're fairly decent and at least can get a rally going.  No matter how good you are at a sport, it's nice to have someone who is at about the same skill level as you.  It makes it more interesting and isn't too frustrating or too easy.  His aim isn't quite as spot on as my dad who is able to hit the ball right back to me, allowing me to lazily stand in place, but it's pretty good.

Wearing shorts and t-shirts, we stepped on to the court with the temperature hovering at about 61 degrees.  It felt great, and in that moment I had to believe that all the meteorologists were crazy.  It was a beautiful crisp fall night.

After about 30 minutes, though, the wind began to whip leaves around the court and you could feel the cold air blowing in.  It reminded me of a cartoon cloud angrily blowing frigid air our direction.

I complained that I was ready to go, but Wade said one more serve.  So I hit a lob and watched as Wade jumped into the air with a frightening look of determination on his face and spiked the ball down, narrowly missing me as I rolled into the fetal position.  And with that epic hit, the season for meandering around outdoors and frolicking in the sunshine was over.

We grabbed our racquets and shoved each other out of the way, trying to be the first to get to the car and receive the sweet relief from the blaring heat.

When I woke up this morning, Weatherbug said it felt like 18 degrees outside.  What?!  I didn't want to believe it until I went outside and had to scrape ice off my windshield.  All I can hope for now is that sweet mother nature decides to show us a little love and flip things the other direction in the future.

I know now until the spring thaw, the amount of posts complaining about the weather will continue to pile up.  That's ok, though.  I love a good rant about the cold.  It always helps to vent your frustrations.

So this is chapter 1 of my rant.  To be continued in future months, I'm sure...

Friday, November 7, 2014


A few weeks ago, I shared how I taught some lovely ladies at Tulip boutique how to make these fun feather necklaces for fall.

Now I'm back to share the instructions with you so you can make your own!  It's easy enough for me to do, so definitely falls in the "Projects Even I Can Do" bucket.

First up, you'll need just a few supplies....

--Leather cord
--Gold Leafing pen
--Jump rings
--Gold chain
--Hot Glue

Step 1:  Add any embellishment you want to your feathers.  I added gold stripes to my orange feather with the gold leafing pen and left the other feathers natural.

Step 2:  Gather the feathers together and arrange them how you like and then wrap the stems with a piece of tape.  Be sure to wrap the tape tightly around so that the feathers do not fall apart.  You can also trim the ends of you feathers if you think they're too long.

Step 3:  Next, cut a piece of leather cord and wrap it around the tape.  This is just being done to cover up the tape.  Add a dab of hot glue as you wrap to hold the leather in place.

Step 4:  When you reach the top, put a dab of hot glue on one side of the tape and then form a bridge, upside down "U", or whatever you want to call it to the other side.  Before you hot glue the end, though, slide on a jump ring.  Then glue the end of the leather cord.

Step 5:  All that's left is to thread the gold chain through the jump ring and you're all set to wear your necklace!

Send me a picture if you end up making one.  I'd love to see!