Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Living Life and Loving it! (and Jane Austen blog backgrounds!)

Whoops, that blog title was too long... ;) But I wanted to give you some idea what this post was about! :D

Firstly - I just posted some beautiful new FREE blog backgrounds yesterday on my design blog that are Jane Austen-themed! You really have to go check them out.

Here's a sneak peek of a few of them...


A Word, A Look

Oh, a Cottage! How Very Snug
As for other news... I think I'm all over my cold, hurrah! ;) Although I've still been designing blog backgrounds like mad. :D I have over 200 of them that still have to be released. *goggle-eyes* I'm really excited about the "Fall" ones I just made. Those will be appearing next Monday, and I have some really unusual ones scheduled for this Friday before that. :D

I promise I won't be turning this blog into a "Go look at my free backgrounds" platform! I'm just so excited about them right now and it's fun having something to actually show to you all. :)

Life has been good these past few days... today we made snickerdoodles (*YUMM*) of which I ate far too many, and we plan on going grocery shopping tomorrow, and we have some fun plans for Labor Day weekend! :)

Speaking of 'showing you' things....

 Awn't dey dust duh cuuuuuutest widdle fwuff-baws you evva did see? ;)
 These pictures were taken on their first day at our home... they arrived already one day old last Friday.
And we are keeping them all snug and secure in a little brooder box with plenty of food and water.

I hesitate to tell you their purpose.

They're going to be our 'meat chickens' and will be processed and put in the freezer when they're ten weeks old. :( I'm trying not to get too attached to them!

*evades the looks of utter horror and neatly ducks flying missiles, making good her escape*

Monday, August 29, 2011

New FREE blog backgrounds + Just Me and My Little Life

Hey everyone! Listen up! I just posted a new batch of FREE blog backgrounds to "I Love it!" Blog Designs! This week's theme is ..... pink!

Here are my three personal faves out of the series:


Chandelier Chic
She's Stunning
You'll make my day if you drop by and leave a comment letting me know if you like them. :D

As for me and my little life...

I've been sick! Yuck. I detest being ill. I had a head cold and sniffles and the beginnings of a sore throat... which I quickly doctored by gargling Listerine (uggggh, I hate the stuff!) ... so thankfully my throat escaped without much trouble. I'm afraid I used up almost a whole box of tissues blowing my nose, though!

The worst part about it was that it hit me just a couple of days before we were supposed to attend the graduation party of a very good friend of ours, and I was so worried that I would miss the Ultimate Frisbee game! Blessedly, I was able to play anyway... I just made myself walk instead of run! :) We had a wonderful time at the get-together and it was so inspiring to hear the speech given by the graduate's dad, about how proud he was of his son.

The best part about being sick was that I could still design blog backgrounds. My mind and creativity were unshackled, despite my body being under the weather! I made tons of blog backgrounds and have as many ready to go as are currently on the blog! :D

And today we started the week by going down the hill and picking the ripe muscadine grapes growing on our property. Unfortunately, there are a lot less than last year, we think due to the extreme drought. There are some, though, and I am determined to harvest as many as possible so we can make our delicious grape jelly! :)

Well, I hope you all have a lovely week... and don't forget, there's still time to enter my giveaway! (see the post below!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Giveaway to Announce "I Love it!" Blog Designs

It's been too long since I had a giveaway! :D And I have an especially exciting reason to have one now... because I've started a new website for FREE blog backgrounds, and I want to get the word out!
Announcing... "I Love it!" Blog Designs!

I'm so happy about this new endeavor. I've wanted to design my own blog backgrounds for a very long time now, and could never quite figure it out. Well, I determined the other day that I was finally going to conquer the obstacles in my path and DO it.
So I did! :D

 Oh, yes, the giveaway. Right. Here's the information! :D
I am giving away not one, not two, but FIVE pairs of beautiful earrings, handmade by yours truly. :)
 (Sorry, no, the photography props - i.e. the cute teacups - are not included) ;)

There will be FIVE winners in this giveaway, who win one pair of earrings each.

The earrings include:
  • Pair #1 - Brown Tigereye (a semi-precious stone) with silver
  • Pair #2 - Amethyst (a semi-precious stone) with Swarovski Crystals and silver
  • Pair #3 - Clear lampwork glass beads with frosty centers and Swarovski Crystals
  •  Pair #4 - Aqua glass beads, 3-dangle style
  •  Pair #5 - Red Czech Crystal-cut glass beads with Swarovski Crystals and silver
All the earrings are made with sterling-silver-plated surgical steel French hooks, great for sensitive ears and nickel-free. (Each pair could be changed to clip-ons upon request, but you have to specify it in your entries.)
 Close-ups for your convenience...

(*happy sigh* I am SO glad to have my camera back) ;)
 Allrighty! Now that I've got you drooling over the gorgeous jewelry, here are the rules on how to enter this giveaway:

(Note: You MUST leave a SEPARATE comment for EACH entry. Thank you!)

  • You must be a follower of Julia's Journal to enter
  • You must start following "I Love it" Blog Designs to enter  
(each of the above counts for an entry)

(for one additional entry each...)
  • Add an "I Love it!" Blog Designs background to your blog
  • Visit "I Love it!" Blog Designs, come back to THIS POST, and comment about your favorite blog background
  • Add the "I Love it!" blog button to your blog's sidebar (see below)


And for
  • Post about the new "I Love it!" Blog Designs site on your blog.
(Remember to comment five times, once for each additional entry, if you do this, with a link to the blog post so I can come check it out.)

So if you did everything you could to enter, it adds up to a total of TEN entries. Pretty good chances! :D

This giveaway will run for two weeks and end on Wednesday, September 7th, 2011. Five winners will be randomly drawn and announced shortly afterwards. :)

Happy entering!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I wrote something I'd like you to read...

Isaiah 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought… …and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

I just posted my part of the current topic we're writing about on Meditations of His Love.... the title of the post is "Our Prince of Peace". I'd love it if you hopped on over and took a look at the post... and you get double brownie points if you come back here to Julia's Journal and leave me a comment telling me what you thought. :D

Tomorrow my family and I head up to Bible Study, where an intense game of Ultimate Frisbee, a cool, refreshing dip in a lovely swimming pool, a delicious and varied potluck meal, and a thought-provoking study of Nehemiah 5 are on the menu. What are you doing on your Saturday?

Have a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

But tell me...

I've been pondering something lately. It might seem like a simple thing, or something that can be quietly put to the side once in a while... but we just can't do that. Our very character is compromised when we don't have Truth coming from our lips.

{I designed this image with wordart from summertimedesigns, and if you take it without asking I will not appreciate it} ;)
"...Tell me I'm perfect... but tell me the truth." I love this.

It is so important to speak the truth instead of lies, error, and falsehoods...

...Or even flattery!

There's an expression used here in the South for when someone is just spewing empty words of praise without really meaning it. It's called "Sloppin' Sugar".
I despise it! I would rather someone told me right up front what they really think (as long as they did it in a Christ-like manner) than have somebody 'cozy up' to me and say things that sound nice, but are not true. 

It is so sweet to know people who speak the truth. You always know what their true feelings are - they are honest, frank, and open. They are not without tact, and do not speak bluntly or unkindly, but they are not afraid to tell you their honest opinion. I want to be one of those people.

Jesus did not sugar-coat the truth with flattery, and I know he never told a lie.

From John 14:6 - Jesus speaking:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.Jesus was truth. But he spoke the truth with love. As we should also.

Ephesians 4:14 & 15: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
(15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.

We should never speak harshly or unkindly, and we need to be careful that our opinions and beliefs line up with the Word of God. And we can never force our convictions on other people - they will have to make the decision for themselves whether they believe something or not. But we need to be forthright and honest, and speak what we know to be the truth.

With a heart overflowing with gratitude for the loved ones in my life I can trust to speak the truth, and the book I can always turn to when I need to know the truth, I wish you a blessed rest of the week!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Friends are the Flowers in the Garden of Life

Friendship Quotes


"There is an exquisite melody in every heart. If we listen closely, we can hear each other's song. A friend knows the song in your heart and responds with beautiful harmony."
"True friendship is sitting together in silence and feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had."

"A real friend will tell you when you have spinach stuck in your teeth."

"Make new friends and keep the old, one is silver, the other, gold"

"A real, true friend is a person who knows all about you, and still likes you anyway."

I have been so blessed to make several new friends in the past few months, and the best part of all is that they only live five minutes away from me! *gasp*! For this girl, that's an amazing thing, because most of my friends live at least an hour away (... and some live on the other side of the country...).

Last Saturday I had the immense pleasure of having three dear friends over for a day of blog makeover-ing, crochet, impromptu tea-party-ing, and just plain fun! :)

If you bloggers would kindly go and visit Written Down Big, you'll be able to see the blog makeover we did. I designed a header for my sweet friend Vicki to go with a background she found at (and a blog button is in the works, too!) :)

Oh all right, here's a sneak preview:

And here are my oh-so-fun, sweet friends that came over, (from left to right) Ruth Ann, Vicki, and Kelly.
 These pictures were taken on a shopping trip that I never got around to posting about. We had a blast and found some super-awesome bargains.
Kelly and Me... 
I was able to show my dear friend Kelly some of the basics of crochet when she came over with her sisters, which was so much fun! I'm looking forward to seeing her progress as she improves her skill... ;)
One of the highlights of the aforementioned trip was eating lunch at a little (TINY!) mexican place and getting absolutely enormous (HUGE) plates of food....

And of course getting hopelessly lost looking for the Goodwill on the other side of town, and traveling on gravel road through the middle of nowhere, blindly trusting the GPS device to somehow take us to where we wanted to go, and finding this little church with a sign that said:
We. Cracked. Up. :D

I am so exquisitely happy to have met these sweet friends, and I thank God for crossing our paths so that we could get to know each other. They happen to be Mennonite, and I'm not, but you know what? It doesn't matter the least little bit! We have so much in common once you look deeper into who we are as people. More in common than otherwise, actually! I'm so glad we can look past each others' few differences. And there's never a dull moment, either. :D

One last quote:

"A friend is one who strengthens you with prayers, blesses you with love and encourages you with hope."
I hope this post has reminded you of some friends in your own life that make you smile when you think of them. If not, don't be afraid to reach out and make new friends.

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Of Toes, and Text, and Torpedoes...

... Just some random ramblings in a quiet moment or two of my Saturday. :D

Hello everyone! I hope you're all having a lovely weekend. :)

Yesterday, my family and I took some friends up to play Ultimate Frisbee and we had a blast! My brother Mark and I ended up being on the team that won all three games of the tournament-style playing we did... I was happy. :D

The thrill of victory was only slightly dampened when I took off my sneaker and realized I'd cracked my big toenail on my right foot in half. *GAH!* I've never done this before! During the game my toe felt a little sore inside my shoe, and yeah, that was why. My foot slid forward inside my sneaker and crunched against the front of the shoe, cracking the toenail. Ugh.
And I'd just painted them with a really cute french manicure earlier in the day! (Which adds insult to my injury!) :P I decided to spare ya'll the sight and no pictures will be forthcoming. But feel free to commiserate with my woe. ;)

To be totally random, I've been thinking lately about the difference between the written word and spoken speech. Doesn't it strike you as odd when you talk to someone in person and they come across as rather well-informed, articulate, and well-spoken... and then you start emailing them or read their blog, all they say is "Lol, ya, i no, U 2, ttyl" ?? Or something of the sort?

I like to imagine that I'm articulate in text form as well as in person. :D

On the flip side - I've known a couple people who are terse and uncommunicative in person, but in online/text format, they sound intelligent and witty and all their words just flow together! It's odd.

As for the "Torpedos" part of my title, I've been reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne again, as it's been a few years since I read it the first time. The Nautilus sounds *so cool*. Wouldn't you just love a chance to actually explore it in real life? Or even travel in it? Regular submarines sound so boring compared to all the intricacies of this fictional underwater craft. I mean, the Nautilus is furnished with paintings on the walls and luxurious decor, except in Captain Nemo's cabin, which was apparently very Spartan in taste. Plus the walls on either side of the 'drawing room' slide open to reveal huge glass panes through which you can observe the incredible undersea view.
And did you know "Nemo" is Latin for "Nobody"? Fascinating.

The book is always better than the movie, and in this case it's especially so. I'd recommend reading it rather than watching the movie.

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Choose an Identity

Have you ever had one of those moments when something catches your eye... and you feel a little jolt as an unexpected thought enters your mind... and you realize it was God speaking?

That happened to me just the other day. I was leaving a comment somewhere and entering text into the comment box for the thousandth time, when something jumped out at me.

(See it? ^ Right there!)
...Choose An Identity.

Do you see those words up there in the blogger comment form picture? Choose an identity. Woah.

Immediately, I was reminded of this piece of scripture:
Choose you this day whom ye will serve.

Because, if you think about it - whoever you're serving is who you're identifying yourself with. When you completely align yourself with someone and decide to serve them, they become part of, if not all of, your identity.

If that sounds strange, it's not. We all serve somebody or something. Our selves, or our families, or our spouse, or our boss, or.......... God.

I knew that it the phrase I was thinking of, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve", was scripture, but like a lot of bits and pieces of scripture I have memorized... I didn't know where in the Bible it was. So I opened up my handy e-sword program on my laptop and searched for it in my electric King James Bible.

And found it.

It's from the book of Joshua. Chapter 24, verse 15. But the verse makes a lot more sense if you read the scripture around it and realize the context.

So here it is, unabridged - Joshua 24:14-18.

{Background: This is the last chapter of Joshua, a book chronicling the amazing story of the Hebrews' escape from the terrible slavery in Egypt, and all the things God had done for them in order to provide a way for them to leave. Joshua is speaking to the people. }
(14) Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

(15) And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
(16) And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
(17) For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:
         (18) And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.

*chills running up and down my arms* Wow.

WHO do I serve? Myself? I need to be serving God. And I especially do NOT need to be serving Satan.

"Woah-ho-ho", you might sputter, "wait a minute! You seem like a nice Christian young lady. Serving Satan? I mean, come on, isn't that a little ... dramatic?"

No. It isn't.

Every time an unkind remark proceeds out of my mouth and causes a disagreement, an argument, or even World War III, every time I shirk my God-given duties as a daughter and a sister, every time I turn away from doing something I know is right, and every time I do something I know is wrong and the Bible says is a sin... I am serving the enemy.

I wholeheartedly desire to serve my Lord and God. Sometimes I don't put my full efforts into living for Him, and at best act halfheartedly. But He desires (and deserves) my whole heart. So I'm giving it to Him.

Join me. Let's band together and serve the Most High God with every fiber of our beings, and choose an identity in Him.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rapunzel's Resource

Calling all fellow hair enthusiasts!

Do you have long hair? (I certainly do!) Do you have trouble doing things with it? I mean, there's only so much you can do with long, straight, boring hair, right? Should you cut it off and donate it to a worthy wig-making cause to relieve the boredom? No.... (Although I have nothing against Locks of Love, etc.) However, I think what I'm about to share will fill you with a desire to grow your hair out as long as possible.

In-tro-ducing......... *drumroll please* .......

Rapunzel's Resource! (

This Blog is absolutely brimming with hairstyles and tutorials for beautiful things to do with your long hair. I was blown away when I found it - I've been needing this for practically my whole life.

The Style Index shows the incredibly vast array of styles for which the very talented Elizabeth offers tutorials and videos.

This is the "Double Bun", folded twist variation. So beautiful! I hope she'll forgive me for borrowing this picture to illustrate the post...

Here are links to my favorite styles: (the ones I want to 'work up' to!) ;)

Authentic 18th Century Style - Oh wow! This is an amazing work of art! Elizabeth wore this when acting the part of Patsy Washington, one of George Washington's daughters.

Curly Formal Updo - Now, where could I wear this? Somebody invite me to a ball, please! :D

Curl Recycle - (at the bottom of the page) I'd need to learn how to do pin curls first to try this, but I'd love to get my hair in ringlets like this style!

Elizabeth even has some clever styles that make it appear you have shorter hair, without cutting off an inch, for very cute effects! I want to try:

Faux Short 1940's Swing Style and the Faux Short Ponytail - love these!

And to enhance the texture, there are tutorials and a video on setting your hair into the most gorgeous curls and waves, with bandanas! (I actually did try this - last night -  but I think my hair was too dry, the curls didn't set that well... I think I'm going to use gel next time, as Elizabeth says you can try).

Here are things I've tried so far:

French Twist for long hair - I tried this because it was the most recent post on the blog (and it had a video to go with it!) and I've always longed to be able to do this ultra-chic, elegant, sophisticated  hairstyle.... but would never dream of sacrificing my long blonde tresses. I almost got it, but I think I need more practice before I've mastered this style. The idea is fabulous!!

Shell Bun - This was an easy technique and is used in some of the more complicated styles, but I'm excited to learn how to do it, nonetheless! :D

Rope Braid - Oh my goodness, it works! This lovely braid looks like a long strand of rope twists and I can hardly belive I did this... I was sure the whole twisty thing would fly apart as soon as I put a hairband on the end, but it stayed. :O! It was lovely!
{I was going to put a picture of some of my attempts here, but I haven't taken any.} :( My camera is coming back this Friday from repairs though! I confess, I can hardly wait. :) In the meantime, please excuse my lack of photos. ;)

A HUGE, enormous thank-you to my friend Allison for sharing this site with me!

So go visit Rapunzel's Resource, and then come back and tell me which style is your favorite! :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Seven (days) Of Skirts, Day 7!

And so, the Seven (days) Of Skirts project is completed, for me anyway, because today is my Day 7! (Yay, I did it!) :D This was a lot of fun and I'm so glad it encouraged you all to see my modest outfits. It encouraged me as well! :) 

Day 7:
Skirt: Ross! (brand: JKLA California) I only bought this a little while ago so if you hurry to a Ross near you, you might be able to find one! :D
Peach Blouse: Thrifted - the brand name is the one at Target I can't read... Mossimo, I think?
Sleeveless white shirt: Land's End
Shoes: Reef flip-flops
Hair: Butterfly Barrette (Wal-Mart)

 Today's outfit was photographed in the garden.
Aren't the pole beans a magnificent sight? It reminds me of Jack's Beanstalk! (And I think this is my favorite blouse. The peachy coral shade enhances my complexion like nothing else I own!) :D
 I. Love. This. Skirt.
I wish you could see it move, it has THE most delightful swishy twirl at the bottom... the overlayer is very light and chiffon-like and moves like a breath of wind, while the dark brown lining keeps everything undercover that should be! ;)  Plus I love the wild print. :D
And these are the flip-flops I've been slipping into all week long. I love how comfortable this pair is and how I can dress them up or down. My advice for flip-flops, by the way, is to buy a name-brand pair on sale. It will be less expensive than constantly replacing cheap ones in the long run. (I found this pair of Reef flip-flops 50% off so they were only $15 instead of $30.)
Closer view of the jewelry... This silver-and-clear jewelry set I made goes with simply everything I own! (Trivia: This necklace is in the book I wrote about how to make your own beaded necklaces... It's titled as the Basic necklace)

And here is a closer look at the bracelet I'm wearing. I'm charmed by these cute little crystal 'charms' dangling off the silver links...

My hair today was simply pulled back half-way with a silver barrette that's shaped like a butterfly.

Close-up of the earrings. This style helps to visually elongate your face, by the way. :)

On my way back down the hill to the house, I stopped to take a few pictures, myself.
 We got just a little sprinkle of rain today (Although the earsplitting thunder and lightning seemed to promise a lot more than that!) We also had a power outage for about an hour. Anywho, that's why the pebbles are wet in the above photo ^ and look so nice and glimmery. ;)

And then on the gravel drive right in front of the carport I spotted this leaf! It looked like an early little hint of Autumn to me!! :D

But then it hit me that it was a tulip poplar leaf and they always shed theirs waaay early anyway, especially if it's been hot and dry (which is has). Bummer. Still, it made a pretty picture once it was edited a little! :D

I hope you've enjoyed the SOS project!
Have a lovely evening. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Seven (days) Of Skirts, Day 6

I can't belive the SOS project is nearly done... only one outfit (after today) to go! :D It's certainly been a challenge to get pictures of my skirts every day and post them but it's also been lots of fun. Plus I'm getting lots of practice using my photo editing software. (I had to do something, as I'm not using my 'good' camera for these pictures as it's still being repaired.) But I'm learning to be ok even if things aren't completely perfect. :D

Today I rested a good deal as I wasn't feeling well last night and didn't get to sleep until after 2 a.m. Mark and Steven had fun hanging out with some friends of theirs who were able to drive themselves over now that one of them has his new drivers license. There was lots of lego creativity going on! ;)

I finished the book I mentioned yesterday and also the second one, which to my surprise was wildly different than the first and full of carriage chases and gunshots and action - somewhat unlike a Jane Austen story, if you ask me! :P But maybe the third in the series will be a little better and finish out the trilogy nicely... Mom put it on hold through the library system and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it!

Before I continue I want to thank each and every one of you who has left me comments on this post series! It blesses me so much to hear from you and puts such a joyful smile on my face when I read your encouraging words. :) Thank you from the bottom of my heart! :D

Day 3:

Skirt: JKLA California - I found it at Ross! :D
T-shirt: Thrifted (Brand on the tag says "Fu-Du"-?)
Shoes: It's O.K. - Where did I get these again??? - I'm thinking Payless. (?)
Hair: Simple Ponytail Braid
Jewelry: Jewels by Julia
A-yup. I'm thinking these are my favorite shoes to wear with a skirt. Chic little modest brown heels. And this is definitely one of my favorite skirts. And yes - I'm wearing stripes with a swirled floral pattern and I think it looks cute, so there -  :P :D

I adore the little 'hoodie'-style pocket on the front of this t-shirt!

 This is also one of my favorite jewelry sets... the brown goes with, if not everything, a whole lot. :D
 There are faint stripes of aqua and peach in between the chocolate brown on this white shirt. (Which, by the way, is all one piece... the little 'inset' in the V is attached.) I do not care for the shirts you have to wear a cami under to stay modest, although this shirt looks a little similar to that style.

My sweet Daddy took these pictures for me. I love him so much!
 (I'm sitting on one of the walls in our carport that are made with stonework. Our fireplace has stonework exactly like it... I love the look!) :D
Mama braided my hair for me. It's so long I have trouble braiding it myself (Plus I can't french braid - somebody post a tutorial for me!). :D

What about you - have you ever done something 'out of the box' fashion-wise (like wearing stripes with a floral embroidered fabric) ?