be your own cheerleader.


i thought i had nothing to write to you today until i reopened my etsy shop yesterday morning.

cup of cold coffee in hand.

pajamas. messy hair.

frantically texting erin & megan panicky sentiments of self-doubt right before opening my shop. 

you know the ones. the "i suck" texts.

i think i can, i think i can, i think i can...
i wasn't so sure i could.


if this experience of leaving my day job to blog, create & teach has taught me anything, it's this: 

be your own cheerleader.


i am so good at putting myself down.

even when i click the publish button & my shop re-opens & all of you amazing people show up & purchase my goods with your hard-earned money, i simply don't show up for myself.

i doubt. i worry. i self-criticize & eat bad food.

maybe this rings true in your life.

i believe this struggle is real in all aspects & roles of our lives. 

i think the world tells us to hush, be quiet, compare, judge, worry, criticize & doubt ourselves. 

i see this in how we parent, how we love our partners, how we view ourselves in our faith, how we lead & teach, how we work, how we give as friends...

the list goes on.

& yet you think we would have learned. but as always, we don't show up for ourselves. rarely do we cheer ourselves on & celebrate our victories. we allow those ugly words to seep into our skin & name us without even realizing it.

friends, how do we expect others to believe in us when we can't even believe in ourselves?


my people, it's about time i show up & believe in myself.

i am a good blogger.
i am a good maker.
i am a good wife.
i am a good daughter.
i am a good friend.
i am good.

let's be our own cheerleaders.

tell me your thoughts. let's start a conversation.

love,
natalie

hostess with the mostess gift idea


over the weekend, i received the happiest package from FAIR treasure filled to the brim with the best fair trade goodies. as i write this i am sporting those earrings & that cushion cover is already hugging a thrifted pillow on my church pew. it was love at first sight, y'all. 


one product i received from FAIR treasures was this amazing cotton apron.

side note:  i love that you can shop for items that you absolutely love within the FAIR treasure shop or simply purchase a subscription. this allows you to budget accordingly, which as you know, is my favorite. the subscription would make the best gift this holiday season!


as soon as i saw this little apron, i was inspired to create a hostess with the mostess gift idea just for you!

 i love attending parties during the holiday season & it's always so nice to come with a little something as a thank you.  i wanted to create a gift that would allow the hostess to host future parties with ease. 


i included a mrs. meyer's pine candle, the nora cotton print apron, anthropologie napkins (from the clearance section!), burlap bunting, happy paper straws & this wonderful thrifted metal caddy. 


i also included this clearanced jar from anthro in the basket with a little hot cocoa mix inside. here's a wonderful homemade hot cocoa recipe. you could even include a recipe card in your hostess basket with the cocoa! 

total cost: $34- great price point for those dear friends in your life who open their doors regularly!


if you've been around these parts for any time at all, you know i love a fun, festive tag. i added a tag from katygirl designs' shop (i love these tags & use them regularly during the holiday season) along with a homemade baker's twine tassel & homemade kraft tag. 


i tied the goodies with ribbon & packed them into my little metal caddy. i cannot wait to gift this at our next holiday party!

what sort of goodies do you gift to your hostess friends during the holiday season? please share!

love,
natalie

p.s. FAIR treasure is offering 20% off all orders over $25 with the code NATALIE20. offer expires 11/27. yay!

what do you want to see more of in 2015?


my people. tomorrow is the natalie creates holiday craft party & i am a hot mess with excitement. erin's in town & we spent the late hours of the night prepping for the workshop. 

it's going to be the very best!! 

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of course, as i wrap up this year & start thinking of the new year ahead, i am reminded of all of the good stuff. 

i love this blog space & the creative outlet it gives me. i love that i can write about the meaningful things in my life as well as the silly & mundane little things. 

i have been writing in this space for seven years now. i am thankful that you keep coming back each morning as i share our adventures, struggles, successes & everyday moments. 


this morning, i want to know. speak up, my people.

what do you want to see more of in 2015? 

what brings you back to this space? what do you love? what could you use less of? what makes your heart flutter & inspires change in your life? 

i'd love to read your thoughts. please share! 

2015 is going to be so good & i'd love to read what you'd like to see as we approach this fantastic new year. 
love,
natalie

holiday gift ideas for the men + a giveaway from uncommongoods!


friends, i am so excited to share a little series i am working on throughout the holiday season! on wednesdays i am going to share a unique gift idea for those special people in your life. these gift ideas will be thoughtful, meaningful & unique. 

& today is no exception! 

friends, have you heard of uncommongoods

i love this company & their hearts. their goal is to feature handcrafted designs that don't hurt the planet, people or animals. most of their products are created right here in the united states!

i love that we can support companies this holiday season who have a mission to do good in this world.


& so i decided to craft up two holiday gift ideas for those men in your life using a six pack of beer & two products from the uncommongoods shop


first up is this fantastic wooden beer caddy. we have a beer caddy that i gifted luke a couple of years ago. we carry it to all of our little get-togethers & it's just so handy. i love that this one has the bottle opener, too. 

to make this caddy "giftable", i simply added the recipients favorite new belgium beer & added a lovely burlap bow around the sides. i included an adorable tag from the dollar bin at the craft shop. we plan to gift this wooden caddy & six pack to luke's brother who enjoys a good drink with friends. 

total cost: $54 - a great gift price point for the husbands, partners, boyfriends, brothers & dads in your life.


next up is this fantastic beer opening glass. at $13, this glass is a perfect stocking stuffer or hostess gift to your holiday parties. this pint glass is made of thick glass with a stainless steel bottle opener on the bottom. 


to make this glass "giftable," i removed it from the box, added shredded paper & placed a beer inside the glass. i clothespinned our family gift tags (purchased at shindig paperie) & a sweet little burlap christmas tree purchased at the craft shop to the glass. 

total cost: $15 - the perfect gift price point for a meaningful stocking stuffer or hostess gift


i hope that you love these gift ideas! i can't wait to feature more ideas.

& if you're in doubt, uncommongoods has several unique gift ideas for christmas found here, gift ideas for the fantastic men in your life found here & gifts for the handmade enthusiasts found here

guess what else?!

uncommongoods is excited to partner up with natalie creates readers to offer a $150 gift certificate to their shop just in time for your holiday shopping! 

as always, it's easy to enter. simply:

1. check out the uncommongoods gift ideas.
2. follow @uncommongoods on IG or like them on facebook.
3. comment below with your email address & one person you have a difficult time finding a gift for each year. i might even create a gift idea for that person! 

i will pick a winner at random next wednesday, november 19th. happy winning! 
love,
natalie

pre-order a year in the garden: a planting calendar for the mid-south!


years ago when we were first getting our hands dirty & grew a modest little garden in the backyard at our friends' home, we planted different seeds at random, hoping for the best outcome. 

sometimes our little seeds germinated & oftentimes they didn't.

we learned so much that year & we ate well. 

most of all, we grew in our love for gardening & a passion was born out of that little garden.


seven years later, with a horticultural degree under our belt & a hobby farm (always) in-the-making, we've learned a thing or two. we've learned that you can't control the weather, but just like the seasons, our gardens are rhythmic & a well-worn planting calendar is useful.

we had a big dream of designing & creating a planting calendar that was beautiful & practical; useful & pretty. that big dream is in print & we're downright giddy about it!


if you haven't heard about our planting calendar already, it's designed to inspire & enable you to grow & harvest from your own garden. every page includes a seasonal farm life photo taken by me in addition to a month-at-a-glance formatted calendar. 

our planting calendar is printed on sturdy card stock & measures 6x9 in. with a matte finish. each calendar includes a metal clip for easy hanging (as pictured in the above photo).

we've even allowed space for you to write down garden notes & specific planting dates on the pages of your calendar. we invite you to fill up each page with notes & allow this calendar to be a resource for years to come!


this is my favorite & the most useful part of our calendar! at the bottom of each calendar page, you will find our "garden notes" or suggested crops to "seed & plant." on the left side under "seed," we've listed crops that should be directly sown during that month. on the right side of the page under "plant,"  you will find crops that should be transplanted into the garden.


this calendar was designed for the mid-southern united states (zones 6b-8a). not sure if you're in the mid-south region (zones 6b-8a)? check the above photo for U.S. zones map. if your area is in the green, you're within the targeted region for this calendar! hooray! 


my etsy shop will open on tuesday, november 11th, at 9am CST with our a year in the garden: a planting calendar for the mid-south. each calendar is $20 + s/h. we hope you'll pre-order a calendar & gift it to your loved ones & dear friends this holiday season!

let us know what you think of our calendars! we'd love to hear!
love,
natalie

gift idea for the mama + lines of grace giveaway


although i'm not a mama just yet, i sit around a big table each week with women who are. at that table, during our thursday morning coffee date, we share the good & bad. we share our misjudgments, our laziness, our mistakes, our guilt & our successes. 

& oftentimes those mamas just need to hear one thing... "you are the mama your kids need." 


today i want to share with you lines of grace, a beautifully-crafted line of encouragement by my sweet friend, melissa! 


the lines of grace shop includes hand-lettered prints of encouragement in both digital & print. she also has a fun happy mail society that invites you to subscribe for a small monthly fee. this happy mail society includes both a digital & print option with lots of fun surprises!


i love that melissa offers a digital print option in her shop. 

her digital prints are such a good gift idea for friends during the holidays or just a little pick-me-up for an exhausted mama. gift this print to a handful of mamas & it's only about $2 a person!

no need to buy an expensive frame! i purchase vintage clipboards at our thrift shop for less than $1 each. clip this print to a clipboard & it acts as the perfect frame.

 

with a cute homemade tag & fun fabric tied to the top, your mama friends will sure feel the love. 


sweet melissa is kindly offering up a print of your choice & one month of happy mail society to one natalie creates reader. to enter, simply:

1. visit the lines of grace shop & take a look around.
2. like her on facebook or follow her on ig @linesofgrace
3. comment below with your email address sharing your favorite gift idea for a friend.

i will pick a random winner on november 12th! happy winning!
love,
natalie

p.s. don't forget to enter the kith & kin giveaway ending on friday!

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giveaway is closed! congrats to natalie for winning! melissa will email you shortly! 

monthly calendar meetings


happy november! 

like most, i always look forward to a new month ahead. a fresh month feels like a blank slate allowing us to make better choices with our health, our finances & our time.


one practice that has helped us manage our time better & communicate more effectively is our family calendar meeting. 

do you sit down as a family for a monthly calendar meeting?

i am a paper planner kind-of-person & it drives my hubby nuts because he's a fan of the google calendar. this practice allows us to merge both of our preferences & our obligations/responsibilities for the month into one calendar that's been discussed & shared.


it's best to start this practice at the beginning of the month & have your meeting the first week of the month (we prefer the first sunday of the month).

we bring our daily calendars & write down important events such as birthdays, book clubs, & visitors in town. we also talk about potential holiday travel & taking time off of work. 

our calendar isn't really color-coordinated, but you could always designate a color to a specific person's activities.

i keep the calendar in my office where we both see it regularly. if we need to add something to the calendar, we let the other person know.

 our calendar is from hobby lobby. i like the simple white frame that can be hung on the wall or fridge with ease. 

the most important piece of this practice is communication! this practice allows us to connect as a family & manage our time more effectively together

do you have a monthly calendar meeting? how do you manage your time & communicate as a family?
love,
natalie
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