Yesterday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon makes me, as my husband said, want to stay inside and never come out. Having started running in the last year and participating in several races, I can picture race day—the finish line. It’s joy and excitement and cheers and accomplishment. It makes my heart ache with sadness to know so many athletes, family members, friends, and race volunteers came away from what promised to be a happy day, hurting—physically, emotionally and spiritually. I’m praying that they would be healed in every way, and have a peace that passes understanding.

Whom Shall I Fear,” a song by Chris Tomlin, has been encouraging me today. I’m thankful that my infinite God has an ultimate plan, even though I often am blind to the exact workings of it in my finite sight.  I know this God of Angel Armies is always by my side:

You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light
Whom shall I fear?

You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my Sword and Shield
Though troubles linger still
Whom shall I fear?

I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory
Whom shall I fear?

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in your hands
I’m holding onto Your promises
You are faithful



Italy - Dorata

On the subject of well-intentioned posts from YEARS ago. In July of 2010 – yes, three years ago – I intended to post about a few places we visited on a trip out to Illinois. I figured I should clear the post out of the drafts and release it to the world. Only two places had been written about. One was a gift shop that is now closed. Sorry Anecdotes. I’m sure my blog post would not have saved you.

The other place is Baja Burrito in Nashville, TN. We swung through Nashville to see a concert on our drive home from the Great Plains. It’s still worth telling you to go there. Eat a burrito for me. Enjoy it. Savor the flavor. Then go see a concert. It makes for a memorable day if you ask me!

You may ask, “Why the photo of the luxurious Italian villa?” This photo isn’t of a place that I’ll go. Probably ever. It’s just on my Pinterest board of “possible” (translation, “impossible”) vacation spots, which I thought tied in with the travel theme. For a cool $3.5K a night, you could stay there. However, you may want to stick with Nashville burritos instead 🙂

Photo via Pinterest, via

I started this post back in 2011. Um. . . Crazy. Originally it was about three books I had bought in September of that year. I’ve bought WAY more than three books since I wrote this post. S also gave me a kindle since then, which has revolutionized reading for me. These books are still worth sharing, and you should still add them to your shelf —so here goes!

The Hidden People is a sketchbook by illustrator  Cory Godbey. Whimsical and fantastic creatures bring a smile at every turn of the page. My husband and I were super happy to be able to snag a signed copy from Cory at the Indie Craft Parade in 2011, and you can get still get your very own copy on Etsy! Since getting The Hidden People, we have also added Cory’s newest sketchbook, Menagerie, to our library as well. Again, it’s awesome, and you need a copy.


I picked up Make & Do from Mollie Greene back in yesteryear as well—via Etsy, where else? Sweet paper crafts fill the pages – which is probably why she has a new book coming out in June actually called Sweet Paper Crafts! It’s available for pre-order on Amazon. I made a mobile of dog cut outs from an idea in the book. It may not be practical, but a mobile of patterned paper puppies is super cute to have hanging around.

And of course, one and a half years later, I can’t remember what the third book was. It’s photo wasn’t saved in the draft. We will have to wonder together what the third book that I pondered writing about was. If you figure it out, let me know! In lieu of not having a third book to share, here’s a review of what I have been reading this year:

  • Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Amazing, convicting, though provoking. Been going through with a good friend over coffee in the morning. 
  • Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God, Noel Piper – Five stories about five awesome women. Lilias Trotter was probably my favorite in the book, but all the women were inspiring.
  • Feminine Appeal, Carolyn Mahaney – Not very far through yet. I think I’m in the first chapter
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald – Wanted to refresh my memory since the movie is coming out. The story made me sad for all the characters in it.
  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (did I even need to type it?!) – the 200th anniversary of the publication was this spring. To quote Kathleen Kelly, “Ah! Read it. I know you’ll love it!”
  • Under Wildwood, Colin Meloy – Very cool illustrations. Great sequel to the first book, Wildwood. SPOILER ALERT: It’s a cliff hanger.
  • Prince Caspian, C.S. Lewis – Classic. Adventurous. Reading for the millionth time.
  • The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller – I would recommend this book to anyone—regardless of your marriage status. It’s about relationships pointing to Christ. Very insightful.

AND finally – I just can’t wait for the fourth book in the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson to come out! Dear Andrew, please hurry writing. I know your computer crashed and everything was lost. But I have to know what happens next!

Bella Bella Florence Design

I was sad to hear that Annette Funicello passed away this past Monday. I loved watching the original Mickey Mouse club when I was little, and I’ll never forget the time that my mom, sister and I watched Escapade in Florence, starring Annette. “Dream Boy”? That scooter chase? Priceless. But now it’s time to say goodbye, and a little design tribute seemed in order. MIC – See you real soon, KEY – why? Because we like you, Annette.

I doubt that many people have ever heard the “Dream Boy” song from Escapade in Florence. Thankfully, there’s a you tube video for that! Check it out, it will brighten your day.

The tree outside my office window has produced about seven red leaves, and I am getting so anxious for fall—cooler weather, warm and savory foods, the company of good friends, and amazing apple concoctions of all kinds!

In preparation for all of the above, I’m reposting a delicious recipe that has become one of my all time favorite fall treats. You can read my original post about the delectable Cinnamon-Apple Crostata (with my tips for making this even EASIER to make) or you can skip on over to for the recipe.

Happy Fall Anticipation Day!


The Greenville Mini Book Collective project is back in Greenville for a time. You can see the books—including mine!—at the Metropolitan Arts Council (MAC). MAC is open 9am – 5pm, and you can find their address, etc, on their website,

I’ve been seeing DIY mug ideas  on several of the blogs I follow for weeks now and have been waiting for  a chance to get to try my hand at doing a custom illustrated mug. A few weekends ago, a good friend moved into her very first home! I wanted to do a little something as a housewarming gift, and thought—what better for a coffee-loving new homeowner than a new mug to celebrate the event!

I got a DecoArt glass paint marker at my local craft store, and a nice white mug from Target. The paint marker has a nice finish and was very easy to use. You bake the finished design after the paint has dried for 4 hours. DecoArt claims that it is dishwasher safe if baked within the first 4 to 8 hours. Although I did bake within that window, I didn’t test out the mug in my dishwasher. I did put these directions with the mug—”dishwasher safe, but DEFINITELY 100% hand-wash safe!”

Here were a few of the projects that inspired me:

Right to Left:

If you love the look, but crafting isn’t your thing, here are some amazing custom illustrated products from Etsy:

Back in April I had the awesome opportunity to participate in the Greenville Mini Book Collective event hosted by Art & Light Gallery in downtown Greenville, SC. The idea was for participants to all create small books that reflected one’s own interactions with and experiences in Greenville County. The books had to be about Greenville and had to be made out of one sheet of paper that was to remain relatively whole (these were loose rules). The initial idea came from a similar international project going on in the UK called The Collective Atlas, by Somethink Collective. It was fun to see everyone’s take on Greenville. You can check out photos on the Mini Book Collective website.

Below are some photos of my book for the show, Ten. It loosely chronicles the events in my life that have occurred in the 10 years that I’ve lived in South Carolina.
Click on the image for a close up view

Blogging was definitely not on my resolutions list for 2012, as you can probably tell. But I may be back, thanks to a little prompt from a really awesome sister.

For my first post of the year (in JUNE), I guess I’ll start off talking about my ACTUAL resolutions are for this year, and the process I’ve gone through to document those resolutions.

First, I usually don’t keep resolutions because I forget what they are by the middle of February. A mini sketchbook from Ugmonk has been just the ticket for me to combat forgetfulness—I can carry the resolutions with me to keep them fresh in my mind all the time.

Second, inspired by my friend Jeanne’s 25 by age 25 list, I decided that a numbered list of resolutions was the way to go—12 in 2012. I sketched a set of pages in the sketchbook for each one of the twelve resolutions.

Here are just a few of the resolutions I’ve made for this year:

1. Read the ENTIRE Bible by Dec. 31, 2012.
2. Read 12 books—aka one book a month—during this calendar year—10 books down, 2 to go
3. Participate in Greenville’s Mini Book Collective art exhibition at Art &  Light Gallery. —FINISHED!! I’ll have to post about this later
5. Donate 10″ to Locks of Love by end of the year (this is seeming to take FOREVER)

9. Knit/crochet 10 scarves for a local women’s shelter
10. Finally get rid of my ANCIENT laptop. RECYCLE is the plan!

And last but not least, number 12—celebrate 12-12-12 in style!

I decided it’s not important that I finish all these resolutions; the important thing to me is having a goal to work towards. Hopefully I can accomplish a few of these, but if nothing else, the year will have been time well spent.




Wedding Card Album Craft

DIY photo source: Something Turquoise Blog via Christin on Pinterest

When I saw this project by Something Turquoise, I knew I had to make it happen. All our wedding cards had just been lying around, tied up with yarn into three stacks in a box where no one could enjoy them. This project was so quick—I picked up the supplies from Michael’s after work on a Tuesday, and the whole album was finished that night! You can find the directionson the Something Turquoise blog. They were really detailed and so easy to follow (lots of pictures too)! If you’ve already organized your cards somehow, this would make an awesome one-of-a-kind shower gift.

I picked out cardstock for the covers in our wedding colors—gray and purple—and I was lucky to have some ribbon leftover from some wedding crafts still in my stash.

Wedding Card Album Craft

Craft Tips:

1. I found big chipboard self-adhesive glitter letters at Michael’s. SO THANKFUL for self-adhesive-craft anything! I think the chipboard letters add a lot of dimension over stickers. Go with chipboard, you’ll thank yourself.

2. The metal rings were in the sewing section with the embroidery thread. Buy a larger one than you think. Cards add thickness FAST.

3. I’ve never used the crop-a-dile hole punch that was mentioned in the original post, but it looks amazing!! I had a regular old hole punch and felt like my hand was going to fall off by the end. If you use a regular hole punch, take things one layer at a time—don’t try to punch through a triple folded card all at once. I added the Crop-A-Dile punch to my wish list—if only my birthday wasn’t 5 months away!

4. Not all my cards fit in this one album. I put in the cards of people who wrote notes, are family, were in the wedding party, or are special friends. Buy a larger metal ring than you think you’ll need, or make two!