Sewing 101: Darts & Marking

Tracing Paper - Sewing 101 - via The Thinking Closet

I’m back to Raechel Myers’s Sewing 101 course online.  This time, we’re practicing darts & marking.  And apparently, darts aren’t just things you throw at a target.  And marking…well, let’s have a quick heart to heart about marking. So, I sort of lol’d at myself because when Raechel said we needed tracing paper for this project, I went out and bought what I thought was tracing paper – – the clearish thin paper of my {read more…}

The Joy of Thrifting: 10 Tips & Tricks

Pale Pink Sequined Vintage Hat from Gechoes Thrift Store

Does anyone still wear a hat?  (Name that musical.) The answer is yes!  Especially people attending the Hats & Heroes Ball for Kids Beating Cancer next weekend.  We’re attending with some folk from Mark’s hospital and the dress code is black tie…and hats! So, today, I scoured the local Orlando thrift stores in search of the perfect hat – – a hat suitable for a ball.  I tried on hats that were too small, too {read more…}

White Letters on White Canvas – D.I.Y. Artwork Tutorial

White words on white canvas - finished product. Inexpensive DIY artwork.

Floating around on Pinterest are some pretty cool canvases with white wood lettering by the U.K. design team Gorgeous Graffiti. The only hitch is that they’re selling for $300 – $500.  Egads!  Right? Actually, the same effect can be achieved quite inexpensively as some other bloggers verified like this one and this one, so that gave me the courage to create my own with the title phrase from one of my favorite hymns, “It is Well {read more…}

The Exercise Challenge

Exercise Challenge Chart with stars to track progress

Do you remember that old thrill of earning gold stars?  Maybe it was in your piano book or fourth grade classroom, but either way, there was just something about that metallic shine broadcasting your success to the world that gave you the motivation to do your best and keep your eye on the prize. I don’t think we ever really grow out of that thrill.  Even my high school English students would cheer for joy {read more…}

Lil Journal Project – Week 3

Captiva Island, Fort Myers, Florida - Lauren & Pop Pop

This past week, Mark and I ventured south to Fort Myers to visit my grandparents, a.k.a. Mor Mor and Pop Pop, and their precious kitty, Ana.  Our time together was so wonderful.  In the past, our visits have been overshadowed by this sense of urgency to savor every moment since it might be another year until we’d see them; however, this time, we had the sweet relief of knowing we’re within driving distance of them! {read more…}

Les Misérables: Start Getting Excited

I’m sometimes skeptical when a new movie comes out, and it’s the millionth version of a story we’ve seen time and time again.  You know what I’m talking about right?  Spiderman.  Again. Robin Hood.  Again.  A Christmas Carol.  Again.  Again.  And again. Such was my prejudice when I first heard they were doing another film adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Misérables.  I thought, “Didn’t they just release the remake with Liam Neeson?”  Then, Mark looked it up {read more…}

Pre-Washing Fabric: An Experiment

Chevron & Owl Fabric from Hobby Lobby; preparing for pre-wash.

Do you ever just hop online to run a “quick” internet search, planning on investing 30 seconds max, when suddenly you find yourself tumbling down a rabbit hole of endless information…for an hour!? Such was my experience when google-searching “pre-washing fabric.”  There are A LOT of opinions out there on what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to pre-washing. Truthfully, it’s a bit overwhelming. Then, I happed upon a helpful post from Ashley at {read more…}

Sewing 101: Seams of All Kinds

Sewing Practice. Inside curve, notching, outside curve, clipping.

That moment they mention French seams on Project Runway and not only do you know what they’re talking about, but you just did one….  Ah, the sweetness.  It made the beginner sewer in me sit a little taller at my machine yesterday. So, I’m making progress in Raechel Myers’ Sewing 101 course: seams of all kinds.  I’m using white muslin and black thread for the most part through these exercises for contrast purposes (so if my edges {read more…}

Lil Journal Project: Week 2

Map of my childhood neighborhood; four blocks that made up my world.

Week 2 in the Lil Journal Project was a walk down memory lane.  Here are my first three entries to share for inspiration and with my link-up friends at Lil Blue Boo. Day 6 started off with creating a map of my childhood neighborhood.  (This was the home where I grew up until age seven – – the home of the original thinking closet.)  I used my memory for the layout, googlemaps for the surrounding {read more…}

Sewing 101: First Stitches

Straight stitch examples from Sewing 101

Yesterday, my Brother sewing machine and I shared a lot of bonding time.  I carefully unwrapped him from his box, gave him the ‘ole once over (about twelve times over), and even put him to work! I’m working my way through a free online Sewing 101 course by the amazing Raechel Myers from Finding my Feet, a punny blog that covers everything from design to family life to sewing tutorials.  In her course, Raechel shares with {read more…}

Lil Journal Project: Week 1

This resolves any suspicion that I might be ambidextrous.

So, I mentioned in a previous post that I was tackling another project to re-teach my hand how to journal.  Here it is, the “Lil Journal Project,” which comes from Ashley Hackshaw, one of my favorite bloggers.  She is a DIY queen with an inspiring story of courage and choosing joy.  Oh, and she happens to be an incredible writer.  I stayed up until 3 a.m. the night I discovered her, just reading post after {read more…}

The Brother I Never Had

My new brother CS-6000i sewing machine

If I had emerged into this world with a Y chromosome instead of a second X, my name would certainly not have been Lauren; according to my parents, it would have been Luke.  So, logic follows, that if I had had an older brother, his name would have been Luke.  Luke, Lauren, and Lisbeth.  It has a sort of ring to it, doesn’t it?  And the alliteration makes the English major in me swoon. Growing {read more…}

Nifty Item #2: A Thought a Day

Five-years in one year?  How can it be?!

To journal or not to journal?  That was never a question for me in my last three years as a high school English and theatre teacher.  I was so busy grading papers and lesson planning that I just didn’t have the time to journal, and when I did, I felt too exhausted and drained to “process” my life on the page.  It was truly the last thing I wanted to do. But, oh the guilt! {read more…}

Nifty Item #1: Alphabet Stamps

Our wedding date graced the front and our vow on the back.

Let me just come out and say it: I’m a perfectionist.  It’s not something I’m proud of.  Yes, perfectionism can be a good thing in certain circumstances and push me toward excellence, but if I’m anxious or feeling far from God, my quest for perfection is often to blame. One way I battle my perfectionism is by intentionally embracing imperfect things and seeing beauty in their imperfections. Take my alphabet stamps, for example (affiliate link).  They have {read more…}

You haven’t had nachos…until you’ve had Apple Nachos!

Apple Nachos via

Wait, Apple what? That’s right.  Apple Nachos.  Stay with me, folks.  Here’s a picture of them in all of their glory, just to get you salivating. This Pinterest find comes from Allyson of Manifest Vegan who shared her recipe for this apparent “craze” in the blogging world.  I’ve made them three times in the last five days, so that most definitely qualifies as a craze in our household. How are they awesome?  Let me count {read more…}

Ticket Stub Memory Box – Tutorial

Ticket Stub Memory Box Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

I never know what to do with ticket stubs.  They’re a memento of a special event, but since I don’t scrapbook, they usually stay in my pants’ pocket for a few washes until transforming into pieces of lint. So, when I saw this project for a Ticket Stub Memory Box on Pinterest, I thought it was such a creative solution to the ticket stub dilemma, I just had to try it!  Here’s a picture of {read more…}

If you like it then you’d better put a label on it! – Tutorial

DIY Chalkboard Label Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

Since moving to our new place in Orlando, we’ve had to get a bit…creative when it comes to our kitchen.  It’s a rather small space and the pantry cabinets are tall and deep.  I knew right away we’d need to pick up some more cabinet shelves from Bed Bath & Beyond.  And then, when we were at Lowe’s, I picked up these cute dark turquoise woven baskets to attempt some semblance of organization.  All they {read more…}

Operation Spray Paint

What is it about cans of spray paint that make me feel like I’m breaking the law?  Like a cop is going to appear out of nowhere and ask me to lower the can, Miss, and place your hands above your head.  Now! It might be that we used spray paint in our covert preparations for our high school junior-senior day competitions.  Whether it was painting signs to declare our dominance or tear down our {read more…}

The Namesake

Little Humans: Lauren & Lisbeth
Oh yeah.  Rockin' the side pony.

As a small human, I spent a lot of time CREATING.  I credit my parents for passing on their artistic genes to me, but also for giving me a space in which to create.  A special place.  A secret place.  A thinking closet of my own. The closet was deep and wide, but the ceiling was too low for big humans.  It was almost as if it was created with my exact height specifications in {read more…}