DIY Burlap Chair Signs for the Bride & Groom

DIY Burlap Chair Signs for the Bride & Groom | Step by step freezer paper stenciling tutorial including FREE Silhouette cut file! These "his beloved" and "her beloved" chair banners are the perfect addition to a rustic wedding!

"Oh they say when you marry in June you're a bride all your life!" My dear younger sister Lisbeth is getting married this June.  And it only feels fitting to be humming along to a song from one of our favorite movie musicals, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, as I work on some of her reception decor items. Now, "chair signs" weren't originally on my "to make" list.  But when I discovered some burlap chair banners and signs in my Pinterest-perusing, I was gripped with an inspiration I just Read more

“Should It Stay or Should It Go?” | A Decor Date

"Should It Stay or Should It Go?" A Decor Date | Inspired by Free Decorating by Jackie Hernandez, my hubby and I dedicated an hour long decor date to assessing our furniture and accent pieces as items to stay or go - - keep or lose. Thanks to some handy dandy printables, it made what could have been an overwhelming process quite fun! Stop by the blog to hear the full run-down and download some free printables!

Here's a new first: This past Tuesday, Mark and I planned a date to discuss decor. Yes, you read that correctly: my dear hubby and I dedicated an entire hour to assessing each furniture item and accent piece in our living room and kitchen area, asking ourselves, "Should it stay or should it go?" And yes, it was a fun enough process to merit the title of "date."  I'm not kidding, we both left that decor date more excited and fired up than if we had gone go-cart racing. Now, I know Read more

Our Cash Budget Envelope System: 3 Month Update!

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

They say it takes 90 days to form a new habit. Well, I'm proud to say that as of this May, Mark and I reached 90 days of using our new Cash Budget Envelope System.  And we are still goin' strong, people! Now, paying for our unfixed expenses with cash instead of plastic hasn't been easy breezy.  We've had to maneuver some bumps in the road and learn some hard lessons, but overall, these first three months have been a truly positive experience for us.  We're seeing the fruits of this new Read more

The Art of the Etched Casserole Dish: Your Questions Answered!

Glass Etched Casserole Dishes: Personalized Wedding Gift Idea - - Plus Your Questions Answered about The Art of Glass Etched Bakeware!

I'm giddy as a pig in mud when a project creates such a buzz, that it merits a follow-up post. Ever since first publishing my Personalized Etched Glass Bakeware Tutorial, I've encountered a slew of "frequently asked questions" about it.  I think that the strong chemicals and rubber gloves amp up the intimidation factor.  It kind of feels like you're doing a mini science experiment in your kitchen. But with each glass etching project I do, I'm continually amazed at how very do-able it is to Read more

50 Do-Able DIY Photo Backdrops

50 Do-Able DIY Photo Backdrops | An inspiring collection of inspiration from across blogland for bloggers and shop owners looking to shoot professional-looking photos using backdrops they already have or can easily and inexpensively make themselves! A goldmine of information!

There's a myth about blog photos - - those bright, crisp images on non-distracting backgrounds (you know the ones). The myth goes that those blog photos are shot in professional studios with expensive lighting equipment and fancy backdrops.  Oh, and the bloggers behind the cameras have about 20 different lenses to choose from for different effects and compositions.  And they most certainly all have spunky assistants with a non-descript accents (think Franck from Father of the Bride) who shout Read more

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