Friday, May 31, 2013

Photo Collection: Memorial Day Weekend

 A few pictures from last weekend. This is how I spent my "white space."

"By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, we are able to see His invisible qualities: His eternal power, divine nature, and supreme goodness."
-Romans 1:20

Memorial Day!

Friday, May 24, 2013

"Stop the Glorification of Busy"

An empty calendar. A fresh planner. Blank space. Free Time.

This cute calendar is for sale over at PoppySeedProjects!
Quickly filled: Work. Class. A few mandatory obligations. The occasional necessary appointment.

What about the leftover space? The blank evenings. A free lunch hour. The white space.

We fill it. With anything.

Clubs at school. Committees at church. Campus organizations. Household improvements. Volunteer work. Job shadowing. Meeting with friends. Bible Study group here, book club there.

Not to mention the other little things filling our time- laundry, errands, taking care of kids and other family members, cooking, errands, other odds and ends. Even planning for our business… for our “crazy schedule” next week. We turn the page of the planner, and it starts over again.

But why? Why do we fill the blank space with so many things? Yes, some are enjoyable. Some are necessary. I am not saying to eliminate anything in particular. But does having a free weekend, a free day, a free evening, or even a completely free hour feel foreign to you? Do you feel like you SHOULD be doing something? (I do...) Something productive? (yes.) Something that will produce results and give you a sense of accomplishment? (definitely yes!) When we are so busy, how can we afford to let an hour go by unfilled with productivity? Guilt intrudes. It fills the hour, the day, the weekend. It fills the white space.


Welcome the free time. Allow yourself the white space. Don’t let guilt, or anybody else for that matter, tell you need to be busy. In order to tackle the busy times, we must allow the white space to remain open. It is necessary in order to recharge.


Fill it as it comes, with intentional activities that help you regroup and relax. Reading a book, writing in a journal, going for a walk, time with friends or family having fun, making a craft, catching up on a TV show. We are all recharged by different things. Know what helps you.

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend. For some people, this means time off work. Don’t fill your weekend with endless tasks, and certainly don’t let guilt fill it. Allow yourself to recharge. For those who work regular or even extra hours this weekend, look for small moments of white space or look forward to upcoming moments.

Remember to recharge.

How do you recharge? Do you ever feel guilty when you have free time or don't feel productive? Why do you think our society "glorifies busy"?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Belated Mother's Day: A Scrapbooked Home Collage

A lot of the crafts I make, I make as gifts... Therefore, I have to be mindful of when I post pictures to social media or the blog so I don't give away any surprises...

Here's a glimpse at my mom's Mother's Day gift, a week late.

"Wherever we are together, that is home."
My mom and I saw this cool frame/shadow box at the store a few weeks ago and she really liked it. They come in lots of sizes and arrangements but I picked the biggest one I saw because the small ones felt "limiting." The company is 7Gypsies and their website has lots of ideas and products, but the products are also available in a lot of craft stores.

I decided to go with a home theme but another friend of mine made one with a graduation theme, featuring pictures from her parents', her sister's, and her own college graduations.

Other theme ideas include: first days, wedding, birthdays, seasons... GET CREATIVE!

I included pictures of many generations of homes within my family. Like the 7Gypsies slogan says:

"Collections from the journey." 

This collage captures many places that have been a part of my mom's and my family's journeys.

My mom and I at my sorority's "Mom's Day Event!"- A Tiffany's Themed Tea Party!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Experiences as Gifts: Paint Your Own Pottery

My favorite 5 year old's birthday!

The people we love the most are often the hardest to give gifts to… because we want to find the perfect gift. We want one that is unique, that shows how much we love and appreciate the person, and something that is meaningful. But we often are thinking about the things we can buy.

I think one of the best gifts for someone you are close with is the gift of your time. The gifts of memories, moments, and experiences. Those are meaningful. Those are unique. Giving the gift of an experience can include a wide range… Planned or spontaneous. Expensive or free. It could include a surprise destination, or a cozy day at home. 

Back in March, I gave my niece an “experience gift” and it was a blast! We went to a paint-your-own-pottery studio called All Fired Up. She didn’t know where we were going. She just knew that Aunt Megan was picking her up to go to a surprise place. When I arrived to pick her up, she had a surprise for me- flowers she picked from the yard in a cute little vase! So thoughtful at 5 years old!

So sweet! So thoughtful! So beautiful!
So we went in the studio and she got to pick something to paint from all of the pottery pieces. There were lots of cute pottery figurines and characters but for some reason she was not happy that they were all banks… she didn’t want a bank. So we settled on a plate, one that she would be able to use. Then she got to pick colors of paint and we began painting- together.

 I loved that she kept saying, “This is relaxing.” Even when you are five years old, life can be stressful. I loved that she was able to have a relaxing evening. We painted stripes and added more colors and used stamp shapes. Finally we got to write something on it. She wanted to write, “Kennedy and Aunt Megan love each other forever and ever.” When she said that was what she wanted to write, my heart was touched. But because that phrase was a little long for a small plate, we settled on “Kennedy and Aunt Megan Best Friends Forever.”

So much concentration!

Once finished, I explained to her that the artists who work there had to “cook” it and that we could come pick it up in a week. I said they had to put it in the kiln but apparently she misheard the work “kiln” because she replied with, “They are going to kill it?!” In her defense, the word kiln is not typically a part of a preschooler’s vocabulary. The artist on staff let us go in the back and see the kilns and the pieces waiting to be fired. After waiting a week, I was able to pick it up and take it back to show her. She was really excited to see the finished product, the result of her hard work.

The final product! Before going in the kiln. 
Giving gifts that are things can be great, especially if it is something the person wants or needs. But things collect dust. Things wear out. Things get outgrown. 
Experiences and memories can last a lifetime. 
Consider gifting an experience sometime. It was a blast for Kennedy and me. (I enjoyed it, too!)

Have you ever given or received an experience gift? What was it and who was it from?

*This picture was found on Pinterest. After efforts to find the original source, it looks as though the original user is no longer active on Flickr. I do not take credit for this image.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Blog Redesign!

What I really like about blogging is that it challenges me to learn new things- to stretch myself to try things I never really though about trying before. I have always loved art and creating things so redesigning A Story Unfinished was fun! I was previously using one of the pre-made templates from Blogger, and while this is still a template, I added some more customized elements.

I definitely learned by doing on this one. But I HAVE to say thank-you to some other bloggers who offered some great resources and tutorials!

First, a summary of resources available came from Carolynn an Design It Love It. If you are a beginner at blog design, here is the place that planted the seed in my mind... the seed that maybe I could learn how to redesign my blog!

Second, Carolynn shared a link for a free header at Designs by Dana. So many beautiful headers! I had a hard time choosing! I customized the image with "A Story Unfinished" using Picasa, but Dana suggests Pixlr, which I want to try sometime!

Then I grabbed some Social Media Buttons from Carrie. So many color options! This is something that I have wanted to do for a while- add social media buttons- but it seemed so intimidating. But Christina's tutorial made it so easy!

So thankful that I found this new, unique creative outlet. And thankful for the generous ladies in the blog world who have shared their resources and knowledge!

What do you think of the new design?
Is there anything you didn't know how to do but finally learned? Who helped you most?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Best Part about Finishing Finals

College Finals Week.

Usually involves a LOT of this...

Hopefully a lot of this...


But usually not a lot of this...

The end of finals week usually brings one or all of several feelings.

Relief that they are over. The feeling of 12 elephants being lifted off your shoulders.
Worry about grades... There is no longer anything you can do about them.
Feeling behind on the rest of life since finals had taken over for a while. 
Feeling in desperate need of a social life again.

But I think the over-arching feeling after finishing finals week in college is this:

The need for SLEEP.
A solid nap without needing to wake up and study. 
My napping location isn't nearly this cool, but how awesome are these?!

I know colleges follow all different schedules, but for those of you who are done... Happy Nap Time!
For those who are not, look forward to your nap!

What's your favorite part about finishing finals?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Desk UpCycle!

I wanted to share with you a little "up cycle" I did this summer! Moving into an apartment, I had to decide what I wanted to do with the furniture from my room at my parents' house- take it with me or leave it behind...

Well this desk was something I debated about. But I decided I wanted to give it a face lift and take it along with me. It started like this...
Well actually, rewind... 

This desk has been in my room for most of the time I have been growing up. At least 10 years... probably more. But I actually never knew the story behind it. Here it is:

When my mom was a kid, she really wanted a desk. So she saved her money up and bought a desk. This desk! Anyway, this desk has gone through many transitions. It used to be bright red. Then it was plain white. Then white with a blue top and colored knobs (as seen above). It was my mom's. It was my brother's. It was mine. 

Here is the up-cycle and what it looks like now: 

The saw the idea on Pinterest and the idea linked back to here. It was pretty easy! I loved picking out the paper to cover the drawers... I got a scrapbook paper stack from Joann's so the pages all coordinated nicely and I picked out my four favorite sheets. I have since used the paper for several other projects. I also considered my room's colors and which papers would look best with the rest of my stuff.

 After painting the desk top white and touching up the rest of the white surfaces, I added the paper with mod podge, both to glue it on and coat the top. As a finishing touch, I added the little birdie on the surface. The original knobs had several coats of paint on them so I decided to replace them with some nice but inexpensive metal ones from Lowe's. 

This was a great desk to use for trying the mod podge project and it worked well! I was happy to be able to keep the desk legacy alive!

AND this semester, finals week, I finally broke my habit of sitting on my bed to study and used my desk for what it's for...rather than as a shelf to hold piles of stuff!