DIY Coastal Wood Plank Photo Backdrop

DIY Coastal Wood Plank Photo Backdrop | Here's the full step by step run-down for how to make your own set of pallets for a professional-looking photo backdrop inspired by a beachy lifeguard stand! Tutorial includes drawn-out plans, helpful photos, and of course, a curious kitty cat!

If you enjoy learning what goes on behind the scenes for a blogger or shop owner, you are in for a treat today!Because I'm going to show you what my new-and-improved photo shoots actually look like.{SPOILER ALERT: they involve two DIY pallets of white planked wood, and you're gonna get the full run-down for how to make them, too.  Cool?  Cool.}But it wouldn't be a true Thinking Closet post if we didn't start with a little backstory, now would it?It all started with a trip to the Read more

Permission Pages: A Perfectionist’s Approach to the Journaling Bible

Permission Pages: A Perfectionist's Approach to the Journaling Bible | Determined not to let my perfectionism get the best of me, I began the first pages of my new Journaling Bible with a set of what I call "Permission Pages" where I outline what this Bible is for and what it is not for. I even provide a disclaimer about what *may happen to these pages (spoiler: they won't stay "neat"). And with this bold decree under my belt, I can now venture forth to pour out my heART in the margins with the kind of artistic freedom every creative act should possess. Here's my story and my tips for other perfectionists about to begin their Journaling Bible journey!

I'm not perfect.  But sometimes I try to be.And that is one futile battle.  Salvador Dali said it best: Have no fear of perfection.  You'll never reach it.Yet even though I know that in my head, oftentimes my actions and heart-attitude reflect otherwise.And perfectionism can be paralyzing, lemmetellya.It can stifle creativity.  Confuse our motives.  Prevent us from ever beginning.So, when my brand spankin' new Journaling Bible arrived on my doorstep two weeks ago, I Read more

Welcome to My Journaling Bible: heART in the margins

Welcome to My Journaling Bible: heART in the margins | Here's a closer look at my first pages! Check out the full post for the inside scoop Q & A style about this new movement sweeping the margins of Bibles everywhere...and how you can use art to engage with scripture in a new and exciting way!

There's an artistic movement sweeping the margins of Bibles everywhere.  And I'm joining in. Honesty Moment Now, before we go any further, I wanted to acknowledge that some of you may find the Bible offensive.  Or maybe you have an aversion to it for whatever reason.  Or maybe you want to get into reading it, but it's a struggle to understand or even believe.That's okay.We're all unique people at different points in our life journey, and I won't judge you for that.  That's not what Read more

10 Inspiring Instagramers to Spark Your Creativity

10 Inspiring Instagramers to Spark Your Creativity | We've got Color Queens, Painting Parties, Journal Fests, and Lettering Lovies, so check out for the full round-up and prepare to experience your own creative renaissance as a result!

Okay, this post is totally impromptu (literally, just decided this afternoon to write it), but I've got a burst of energy thanks to my signature Starbucks drink and a fresh new haircut, so I'm riding this wave of spontaneous inspiration! Let's Talk Instagram I've always enjoyed Instagram.  But the past month that enjoyment has transformed into a slight mega-obsession. Why? Well, it's in part because of the Inspiring Instagramers I want to introduce you to today.You see, I've started Read more

Bride and Groom Baseball Shirts with FREE Cut File

Bride & Groom Baseball T-Shirts with Free Cut File | Such a creative engagement or wedding gift fitting as two become one team! Silhouette tutorial includes FREE cut file to make this project easy peasy with a Silhouette machine and some heat transfer vinyl. So, what are you waiting for? This is a gift the recipients will treasure for always.

The engagement.I had an inkling of an idea that it might happen this Christmas.  And on that inkling, I fired up *the 'ole Silhouette machine and set to work to make some Bride & Groom gear for my lil' sis and her beau.My inspiration?  Baseball t-shirts.  Because that's the thing about marriage.  Together, you become a team!  (Plus, my father instilled a love of baseball at a young age.  My baseball card album sat on the same shelf as my sticker book.  Don Mattingly, Read more

Fancy Dancy Mason Jar Upcycle

Fancy Dancy Mason Jar Upcycle for Swap It Like It's Hot! | Watch what happens when bloggers send each other thrifted finds and exercise their DIY powers! I got a trinket box with pretty knobs and transformed it into pretty craft supply storage. Tutorial includes links to all of the bloggers in Swap It Like It's Hot 3.0, so check out the wealth of inspiration. You'll never look at a thrifted find the same way again.

Welcome to Swap It Like It's Hot!  (More formally known as the Flea Market Swap.) The Gist Lauren (ahem...that's me) goes thrifting for treasures with potential.  Treasures to be given a fresh coat of paint or disassembled and reimagined into something completely new.She can spend $10 max.Then, she packages up said treasures and sends them to Meagan.  It's up to Meagan now to transform them or use them however she likes!Meanwhile, Jessica goes thrifting for treasures with Read more

1980s Fashion Plate Greeting Cards: FREE Printable

Fashion Plate Greeting Cards: A Retro-Inspired Craft Project | Here's a fun one for anyone who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s - - and this step by step tutorial includes free printable and cut file so you can make your own and relive your youth! These fab cards are guaranteed to bring a smile (and wave of nostalgia) to your recipient. Like totally! Fer sure! {Smile.}

First, a little poem to set the stage.  Feel free to lower the lights, put on your beatnik cap, and get your snaps ready. I am from Annie and Peter Pan on the old record player, which skipped every time we went "flying." From homemade scrunchies and wrist-bruising slap-on bracelets. I am from open upstairs windows on hot summer nights and sticker books ripe for the trading. I am from mint leaves we collected for Mom in a small tin bucket, the scent that flavored our fingertips all day Read more

Five Minute Friday: Opening Up to the Here & Now

Five Minute Friday: Opening Up to the Here & Now - - A reflection on living moment to moment instead of "when to when." by Lauren from

Usually when I see the one-word prompt for Five Minute Friday, a specific story will flash to mind, and I'll know exactly where to begin when the timer starts.But not today.No, when I saw the word "when" as the topic on which to write this week, absolutely nothing came to mind.  No story.  No vision.  No ideas.  Nada.I thought, "Well this should be fun!" (apparently my subconscious has a sarcastic bent), but I decided to go through with the exercise and see if anything share-worthy Read more

30 MORE Last Minute DIY Gifts for Your Valentine

30 More Last Minute DIY Gifts for Your Valentine | No more stress-outs allowed! Here's more than enough inspiration to help you come up with a creative and meaningful gift idea in 30 minutes or less. These are great ideas for your boyfriend or husband for Valentine's Day, anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, and beyond!

I'm not a procrastinator.  I just work well under pressure.  At least that's how I'm choosing to see it!  {Smile.}The tick of the clock, the quickened beat of my heart, the rattle of the impending deadline like a freight train charging down the track...they have been the soundtrack to some of my very best gift-giving.Because while last-minute gift-giving can be frenzied, it doesn't have to be.  What I've come to realize is that the key to an epic gift is not in epically huge investment Read more

My One Word for 2015

My One Word for 2015: SURRENDER...and what that might mean for a control freak like myself! | reflections by the thinking closet

For the last two years, I've chosen one word for the year.  One word to inspire my dreams and help focus my goals.  One word to help me see the bigger picture.  One word to give a name to the tugging on my heart.Though the truth of the matter is that I don't really choose the word.  Rather, the word chooses me.In 2013, it was LEAP.  And you can read more about the leaps I took in this end-of-the-year reflection.In 2014, it was BALANCE.  And before I share my word for this new year, I Read more

“What I Love About You from A to Z” Mini-Book Gift

"What I Love About You from A to Z" Mini-Book | Creative gift idea that will lavish your recipient with love through 26 different affirmations, one for each letter of the alphabet! Gotta love it when gifts are inexpensive, yet oh so meaningful.

So, I'm sort of a gift fanatic--we've established that fact--and some of my favorite gifts are the ones that just keep going and going (insert token Energizer bunny reference here).And going.  ...  For instance: Why give the gift of one date night when you can plan out 12 Months of Dates? Why give one birthday gift when you can give 30 Gifts to Celebrate 30 Years? Why share just one thing you love about someone, when you can share 26 things you love about them, from A to Read more

Reader Showcase: A Look Back at Fall 2014

Fall 2014 Reader Showcase at where we turn the spotlight onto the readers and check out the inspirational creations they've been working on. They knock the ball out of the park, every time!

Apparently, I've been living under a rock......and we underwent a season change from fall to winter over a month ago.  Of course, can you blame me for being out of touch when we've had shorts weather recently?  (Northerners, please don't send me hate mail.  Instead, come and visit sunny Florida!)That said, I'm lonnnnng overdue for our quarterly installment of The Thinking Closet Reader Showcase.  And we have quite the case to show today.What exactly is the Reader Read more

Five Minute Friday: Half a Cookie

Generosity is Contagious | Five Minute Friday: SHARE - What spilled onto the screen when I set a timer for five minutes and wrote on one word: share.

I felt a yearning I haven't felt in a while...a yearning just to freewrite!  The kind of writing inspired by a creative prompt where you set a timer and just let the thoughts spill onto the page or screen, scritchity scratchety or tickity typity.  You don't censor yourself.  You don't correct yourself.  You fly forward with the freedom to just write.Well, this yearning couldn't have been better timed because there's an event that happens across blogland every week around this time called Read more

Our Budget Binder & Simplify eBook Giveaway!

Our Cash Budget Envelope System: 3 Month Update! | They say it takes 90 days to form a new habit...well, here's the full run-down of our first 90 days of using our new cash budget envelope system, from the highlights to the challenges and adjustments we've made. We hope our story is an encouragement to you in your own journey toward financial peace. via

G'day, mates!Yesterday, I shared how Mark and I are venturing into uncharted financial waters this new year: we're going to try a cash budget envelope system.  I have to say, I was really encouraged by the flood of comments, many from others who have adopted the same system!  I've enjoyed seeing all of the Dave Ramsey fanatics come out of the woodwork.  Now, if you're just tuning in and are like, "Dave Who?" be sure to catch up by reading yesterday's post HERE; it includes a free printable Read more

DIY Cash Budget Envelopes: Free Printable

DIY Cash Budget Envelopes: Free Printable | Learn how to create your own wallet-sized envelopes using any paper or scrapbook paper. Free downloads include a PDF Printable & Silhouette cut you've got options! Great resource for anyone wanting to take their monthly budget under control with Dave Ramsey's Cash Budget Envelope System!

Mark and I are taking a leap this year and venturing into something brand new on the financial front: we're preparing to try out a cash budget envelope system.  I know, your eyebrows just furrowed a little, didn't they?  Mine did, too, pretty much for an entire year.  Here's a little background on what changed that furrowed brown to an intrigued eyebrow raise that said, "Okay...let's give it a go!"We are both avid podcast listeners, and one of our favorites of 2014 was The Dave Ramsey Show. Read more

Why I’m Taking a True Day of Rest Each Week & How It Has Changed EVERYTHING


It was late August, and Mark and I found ourselves in the cool quiet north of Wisconsin.  I had just started amping up my eBook writing and was feeling the impending crunch of deadlines.In some ways, it seemed like the worst possible time to adopt a new habit that meant less work time.  And yet, it was exactly the right time.  I needed a break somethin' fierce, and I recall that first week of trying it out: I could not wait to start.  I powered down the computer, put away the TO DO list, and Read more

The Top 10 Posts of 2014

The Thinking Closet's Top 10 Posts of 2014!

Happy New Year, friends!I hope you all had a blessed holiday and that your 2015 is off to a fantastic start.I recently took two weeks off from the blog--the longest break I've taken since the inception of The Thinking Closet in September 2012.  But it has been a much-needed time of rest and renewal for me after a busy year.  It turns out that the pace I had worked up to in publishing my eBook is not one I am capable of maintaining on a regular basis.  #humanproblems(Actually, Read more