KEEP CALM & WASH YOUR HANDS

March 14, 2020


It all feels sort of apocalyptic. And with the California sunshine being replaced with cold and rain, it feels especially glum. All my expectations of what was gonna happen this weekend, suddenly changed in one email, and then it was domino effect. It’s like all of life was cancelled. A girls trip in a few months, has changed. The workshops I was supposed to teach got changed to a date that I’m unsure I’m able to do. Everything feels up in the air. 

I see different views on this online… some say the media is making it a bigger deal than it is, and others sharing the wisdom to all the drastic closures. Someone I know was already avoiding taking her kids out in public in January because of the coronavirus (and flu), and I kind of internally laughed because never would have I imagined this. Ben and I are pretty OCD as they come, and we are on the extreme of cautiousness (we take hand sanitizer everywhere we go!), but for sure did not expect the drastic measures currently being taken be our reality.

And with all my workshops cancelled this weekend, and other events cancelled, I know me and my freelance artist/business owner friends are feeling a bit of the strain. I know I was hoping to work this weekend to help pay for some big upcoming (and unexpected) medical bills. So while I’m glad everyone is safe, and I think all the cancellations were the right call to make, I know the result is a ripple effect of anxiety in other areas. Though I am very thankful that I can still run my vintage shop and that can go on (so thank you to everyone who’s supported by commenting, liking, or ordering from¬†@wovenfolk).¬†

But as a Christian, I know God is still in control, none of this was a surprise to Him, and even all this will play out just as He planned. Sure, things won’t always make sense, but I know God is trustworthy, even amidst suffering, and that He continues to be my hope (again, even in suffering or uncomfortable trials). With all the unknowns and anxiety, I will keep trusting and resting in Christ alone for protection and provision (even if someone gets sick and we lose income). 

One blessing from this is that it’s sort of forced an opportunity to pause a bit. A reminder to “be still” and trust in God. I feel like life was going full steam ahead and then boom… we put on the brakes. Suddenly. And now, I get to rest a bit more with girls, I get to try out some creative ideas that have been swirling in my brain, and now I get to work on taxes. All of us Bratchers are homebodies by nature, we’ve got a garden with food, and we can eat through our pantry and fridge because we never eat out anyway (well, rarely as a family), so we good with being stuck at home.

The number one priority is to love our neighbors and we can do so by washing our hands, being mindful of our hygiene, and staying home to protect those who are vulnerable. Even our church gathering will be done online this Sunday (and maybe the next), so we are taking all precautions seriously, so that we give our community an an opportunity to get ahead of this virus before it just takes off with us. Sickness sucks. Death sucks. This virus sucks, but it definitely keeps reminding me that my hope is in Christ alone.

Sin left this world marred and broken. God in His holiness created everything abundantly and overwhelmingly good, but man’s sin separated us from God, and introduce death into this world. We broke it. BUT GOD! Demonstrated His love for us, and through Christ, who lived the perfect life we could never life, went to the cross to die in our place. Jesus received the punishment for sin deserved for me. All my good will never be good enough. For those who repent and trust in Jesus, we are given the righteousness of Christ. We are restored back to God. We are given that hope. So repent and believe!

I look forward to that day where there will be no more pain and brokenness, no more novel coronavirus around, just glory and joy… glory joy-filled days for all eternity! Just as God had intended for us to enjoy Him freely forever for those in Christ Jesus.

In the meantime… keep calm and wash your hands, friends!

P.S. Aren’t the posters Brave made cute?!! We wanted to make this important reminder in a bright, cheery color. And she’s way into lettering, so any chance she gets to write on something, she’s all about it.


MAKEUP ORGANIZERS

February 14, 2020


Somehow, my vanity/makeup area is always in disarray. It’s one of the areas that I can’t maintain organization. It drives Ben crazy! So when this month’s Container Store challenge was to try and maximize my makeup space and keep it organized, I was excited to see how this might help.

I don’t have a lot of product, but even still, I have enough to keep my area messy. And we have a lot of drawer space in our bathroom to put things away, but that doesn’t help keep my makeup mess at bay. Also, we’re looking to move and so I know it’s unlikely I’ll find a home with the amount of storage space we currently have, so I was looking forward to something that would help me organize and be transportable (for when we move).

The featured organization this month is products from the Luxe Modular Makeup System… and it’s so pretty! I love that it ‘s clear and stackable; it can be easily configured to fit your needs. It definitely feels luxe. I kind of wished I had a full arsenal of makeup to deck it out with, but my skincare products will have to do.

For my organizer, I did a large drawer for the base, then stacked 2 small drawers and a medium one on top of that. The small drawers hold some cotton round and cotton swabs and then some of my skin serums in the medium drawer. Above that, I have 4 medium short drawers for my makeup products such as eyebrow pencils, blush, and lipsticks. To top it off, I have the makeup organizer to hold some of the products that I use daily. It really has made a difference in keeping me organized and I’m happy to report that after almost 3 weeks in use, I’ve kept my whole space clean! More marital bliss going on with this organizer in our home.

I was also excited to be able to organize some of the girls products and accessories. My girls are essential oils gals (I’ve never quite gotten into it), but they have, so they were very excited to have a drawer to house them. Of course, they filled other drawers with their nail polish and scrunchies too. You could totally tell that the organizer belonged to a teen.

We’re all excited about being a little more organized in our bathrooms. Now, I can’t wait to tackle the kitchen pantry! Stay tuned for next month…

This post is in partnership with The Container Store as one of their Brand Ambassadors. The opinions and text are all mine. I appreciate the time you spend in this space, the support you give me, and the brands I partner with.


RAISING KIDS

February 13, 2020


Oh man. Life lately. So crazy.

There’s so much I want to say and share, but haven’t had the time and energy. The girls get all my energy and attention, and even then, I feel like I’m failing at giving them that undivided attention. Big family problems, I suppose.

Things I want to grow in… more silliness with them. I need to let loose more. Gotta find that balance of the routine scheduled mom that I am and the chill mom they need me to be also.

Also, I need to grow in doubling the encouragement. It goes back to that uber disciplined mom that I am, and wanting to make sure everything gets done, and we stay on schedule, so it feels like I’m barking orders. I need to double the encouragement. Remember that, Ruby.

Last thing, I need to slow down my hurried heart and enjoy these days. Yeah, life is full and it’s going fast, but darn it, Ruby… slow down. They’re only little once.

Fortunately, through all my failures and obvious need for improvement, I’m thankful that there is grace from Jesus and from my kids. They don’t benefit from having a perfect mom, but they will benefit from a mom that clings to the cross of Christ, a mom that repents regularly and trusts Christ continually. Jesus, you are my hope and righteousness. Help me in these quick and busy season of raising kids. Amen.


MORE SPACE FOR SMALL SPACES

January 20, 2020


When compared to the size of our house, you’d think we’d have a walk in pantry, somehow though, the builders thought it was necessary to make the master closet the size of a small room (we could easily fit 2 twin beds inside), but no walk in pantry. All they gave us is one the size of a small coat closet, which is fine, but not proportionate to the rest of the house. So we’ve had to be strategic in how we plan out our pantry space, which gets unorganized easily because of busy family life.

Now, The Container Store project of the month comes in handy to utlilize #smallspaces, so enter the Elfa Utility Pantry Door & Wall Rack. This gave us us even more space to use in our pantry, and when it comes to storage space, the back of the door is one of the most under-utilized areas of the home. It transformed our small pantry closet into a fully functional space.

It’s simple to put the rack together… you place the top door hook, attach the metal bar, fit in the bottom door hooks, and then tighten the bar on until it’s secure. Then, you simply hook on your baskets to the metal bar. You don’t need nails or any fancy, and everything goes on and off easy (I think it took 5 minutes to attach the rack to the door!), so if we ever moved, we are for sure taking the rack with us.

Once assembled, I decided to put all our crackers on the top basket, and some of the honeys and baking syrups in the second basket. These are used often, as the kids are baking often, so I think it’ll come in handy to have stored here. The rest of the baskets are filled with some snack drinks and things to go. Typically, we use reusable canisters for our water, and don’t buy water bottles, but somehow end up with some small bottles here and there from events and parties that end up coming home with us, but then we forget about it because they get lost in our pantry. Now, we have a spot for them, and it’s easy to see and grab for when we’re on the go. Once, all the water bottles are gone, we’ll fill the spot with something else.

We can’t get more shelves in our pantry closet, but the Elfa Door & Wall racks are so useful in that it adds more storage to a small space. Suddenly, our pantry is a little more organized and spacious! And the Elfa Door and Wall Racks are currently on sale 30% off, so now is the time to order!

This post is in partnership with The Container Store as one of their Brand Ambassadors. The opinions and text are all mine. I appreciate the time you spend in this space, the support you give me, and the brands I partner with.


CHRISTMAS STORAGE

December 13, 2019


Each year, we’ve slowly improved how we store our Christmas decorations, but I think this year, thanks to The Container Store, this is our most organized year yet. We officially have a tree storage box for our tree. Every year, we’ve been using the cardboard box it came it, and just re-taping it each year to use again, but now we have a real container that’s not going to rip on us and fits the tree perfectly. It was a challenge trying to cram that tree back into the cardboard box each year. The box always looked like it was about to burst! The tree storage box also has space to spare to put in the other small trees we put around the house. Plus, there are wheels, which comes handy when moving it around to be stored for next year.

Now, we also have a wreath box, which before I’d just try to stuff the wreath in with our tree, and when that stop working, I gave away our wreath because I didn’t know where to store it. Now, that is has a container, it’s time to pick up another one to decorate our front door!

The best part of our much improved storage is the light wrap and ornaments storage boxes. Goodbye to tangled up lights! And hello to safely stored breakable ornaments! This is such a game changer in storing holiday decor. Seriously. Get yourself some cord wraps!

The open canvas storage bins are great for storing some wooden ornaments we have. We can throw them all in and not worry about something breaking. It will also come in handy to hold some smaller gifts to put under the tree. And some clear weathertight totes are perfect for holding stockings and our Christmas friends that we want to keep clear of dust and dirt.

Having everything simplified and organized makes things a lot easier when I take things out to decorate. I just take out the boxes and my girls do all the decorating! I just let them have at it! And then when it’s time to put away, they know everything has a specific place, so it will make clean up so much easier. I’m all about neat and easy!

This post is in partnership with The Container Store as one of their Brand Ambassadors. The opinions and text are all mine. I appreciate the time you spend in this space, the support you give me, and the brands I partner with.

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RINGS & THINGS

December 4, 2019


Whenever Ben asks me what I want for some occasion, besides giving the “Nothing, I don’t want to spend” answer I’ve been giving of late (due to budgetary purposes), it’s usually something like, “Oh, you know, rings and things.” HA! And he knows precisely what I mean about “rings & things.” Rings means antique/vintage pieces, or really simple modern ones to mix in with my antique pieces, and “things” usually mean shoes.

I love when I see older ladies wear ring stacks on their fingers. They usually have some cool, eclectic style going on. It’s interesting to me the rings they pick out, and I want to know the story on each of the pieces or why they placed certain ones together.

Recently, a friend of mine told me when we were in college, that I was trying to get her to add more accessories in her wardrobe and said something silly like “Once you accessorize, you never go back!” Yeah, I guess I’ve been nothing but consistent on that. I’ve either got big statement earrings on, layered necklaces, or ring stacks. And sometimes, all 3 of those at once.

Though ever since I can remember, rings have been my favorite accessory. When we’d go on family vacations, I’d always pick out some trinket of a ring to commemorate it. When I was 16, at Disneyworld, I picked out a sterling Tinkerbell ring. The following year, while vacationing in the Bahamas, my mom let me pick out a ring with the country’s official flower. So rings have marked special events and occasions for me, which it makes it even more special. It’s kind of always been just a preferred go-to piece of jewelry. 

Are you a rings & things gal? If so, I put together some pretty rings I’ve seen floating around on the internets (and shops I’ve personally shopped from myself). Some of them are on my Christmas wishlist, so maybe some of these are just what you have been looking for too.

I love the simple rings from AU-Rate. The mini circle ring is one of my go-to rings to wear for stacking. There are so many simple rings from AU-Rate that are perfect for stacking.
Jean Jean Vintage is always a fave spot to find shiny baubles to add to my wishlist. I have this Skull ring in rose gold and wear it often. It’s my memento mori ring to remind me of the brevity of life.
My first antique ring came from Erica Weiner; Ben got it for my as a surprise for finishing writing my book. If you like antique rings, Erica Weiner has you covered, if you prefer new, she’s got that too.
I love the dreamy rings on The Moonstoned. Each piece seems so mysterious and full of stories to tell. A garnet band has been on my ring wishlist and the deep color on this one is so beautiful.
The One I Love NYC is another one of my go-to places to look for antique rings. Ben proposed (on our 10th anniversary) with a ring from here. I really love this flower in the hand ring. It’s such a unique piece.

CAKIES
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