a little piece of history. I love trade beads.

I always visit the "trade bead guy" at the gem faire first.

Trade beads originate from many places. Many of the old beads were made in Europe and India and transported to West Africa initially by Arab traders, overland from North Africa. From around 500 years ago, the European traders in their sailing ships, used beads as currency to purchase gold, ivory and palm oil etc. on the triangular trading routes from Europe to West Africa then onto the West Indies, to return with produce from the plantations.* <-- I love the idea of using beads as currency.

My favorites from this past weekend - both are quite old and I like to wonder where they've been. It was fun to discover my choice of tiny pink dice beads in my French Inspired Jewelry book.

And the French Cross beads - I was so drawn to the color combination but was hesitant to buy them because I didn't have an idea right away { thank you Annelle for encouraging me to buy them - and the woman who walked by that said she finally used some beads she'd had for 25 years <-- a sign }. Let's hope I come with an idea inside of 25 years!


word of the year. simplify.

I thought my word was going to be healthy. I had already started writing...

But then I picked up a book on Friday that has so motivated me, so much so that I cleaned out my pantry { <-- this is serious }. Organized Simplicity, The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider.
My word for 2012 is Simplify to make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier }. I am not sure if I was just really ready, or if she said it in such a way that I can see it, taste it, almost touch it. What it means to me? Stop wasting time on things that don't matter. Get rid of stuff that keeps me from having more time with friends and family. I want to make fresh almond butter and jelly sandwiches and eat homemade chocolate chip cookies my friends*. Sip coffee and enjoy a magazine.

Some of my goals for living more simply...

Become a better cook. I really desire to cook as much as I can for my family. In the last year, we've moved away a lot from processed foods, this is a bit of a natural progression, but I need to go that last mile and actually cook more { from scratch }. Simplifying is a means for me to create more intentional time to learn. I want to use my fancy dehydrator for more than a place for my foam paint brushes to sit.

Throw out half my house. Not really, just the closets full of STUFF. Stuff I can't enjoy or wouldn't miss... { like the tea in my pantry from 2008 }. Too much laundry, I'm great at washing it, but not so much at getting it folded - my laundry room will probably be one of my greatest de-clutter challenges. I threw out 4 large garbage bags of worthless stuff / old food from my pantry and cupboards the last 2 days... pictures soon.

Read. Never enough time to pick up a good book. Make time each morning for the One who gives me this talent...

Making time for quality downtime. Quit over-scheduling. Say no occasionally. Hang out with my husband. Play with my kids without looking at the clock. Cut back on the tube time.

Work a little less. 4 days a week instead of 5. Give myself one day of downtime to try something new, be creative, or take a nap... dehydrate something.

--> and going to bed on time. A huge problem for me, the night owl. But I have to...

* I have a girlfriend I've known since first grade. We don't get to see each other that much these days. I love going to her home. It's so clutter free and well... simple. So warm and easy, clean, always something homemade to offer me - the best - almond butter sandwiches and almost always, chocolate chip cookies from scratch. I want to be her when I grow up. 

What's your word? 

The Lettered Cottage


save the date. junk salvation!

Put a pin in it --> { February 3 & 4 }

Junk Salvation Vintage Market is just around the corner.

If you love shabby and chippy goodness, a little industrial, mix in some french, a touch of burlap - then you can't miss this one. I found some pictures I took of last year's show. You will leave inspired!

Where, When & Admission Coupon
Friday, Feb 3rd :: Admission $15
6-9 pm, Friday night is a breast cancer fundraiser with early bird shopping. 
Saturday, Feb 4th :: Admission $7
Washington County Fairgrounds - Hillsboro, Oregon

This coupon works for either day, just click and print!


new jewel. meet ruby.

It wasn't me this time, I swear. My husband is the one who wanted another dog - a pug. I was resistant, life was quite easy with only 9 pounds of chihuahua in the house.

My resolve to only have one dog slipped a little as I scrolled through the little faces on Petfinder <-- like going to the Humane Society and not walking out with a kitten. 

Before I got too far into the process, I did do my research to see what I was getting into. Just a few things I've learned in my vast 3-weeks experience as a pug owner:

Pugs like children.
Pugs will try to get what they want through any means possible,
including subliminal methods.
A pug will not be as excited about the
new Jeanne d'Arc magazine as you are.
We found Ruby through Must Love Dogs NW. She is about 5 years old and was a dog on the streets, so to speak. From the streets to the shelter (as a stray) to rescue - we got her 3 weeks ago. She was spayed by the rescue - it was very evident that she has had a lot of puppies and litter recently. She's steadily gaining weight and is being treated for a severe ear infection. Everyday, we see more of the real Ruby.