April 17, 2014

Discover Etsy // Melissa of Sew What Scarves

this might be the best discover etsy post yet!  i'm so so so excited to introduce you to melissa of sew what scarves.  not only because i know her personally and think she's amazing (she baked a crazy ton of delicious whoopi pies for jen's wedding!), but also because i have one of her scarves and absolutely adore it!
When did you start making scarves?  Has sewing always been a hobby? // A long time ago, I decided to join Pinterest. When I say a long time ago, I mean back in the day when you had to request membership and were placed on a waiting list...a long time ago. Since that day, I have been obsessed with pinning and found that I was drawn to crafts that I could make myself such as crochet patterns and scarves. I BEGGED my incredible parents (I mean Santa)  for a sewing machine two Christmases ago and was blessed to receive one! However, it ended up staying in the box for almost an entire year until last September. After a particularly stressful day at a job that I was struggling to enjoy, I decided that I needed to get my sewing machine out of the box and put it to use. Complaining wasn’t getting me anywhere. I figured that I could channel my energy into something productive by making something that I’ve spent a lot of money on - scarves. My 14 year old sister, Emily, was home and bored so we got in my car, drove to Joann’s. We each picked a fabric that we liked, I found a pattern to make the scarves, and, after a quick lesson on my sewing machine from my sister who just had sewing in Home Ec, we were going to town! The first scarf wasn’t pretty….and the pattern just wasn’t quite right. Nonetheless, I wore my handmade scarf to work the next day and couldn’t stop thinking about how to make it better. After some research, I redid the scarf and it was perfect! I discovered the method I still use today. Without my sister’s eye on fabric tastes and her patience to give me a quick crash course, I wouldn’t have made it this far. While a lot of my experience on my sewing machine comes from the scarves, I’m definitely considering dabbling in some other fun projects, you’ll just have to wait and see :-)
When did you first open your etsy shop & what made you decide to open one? // I first opened my Etsy shop on October 31, 2013 (I only remember because it was Halloween). I was reluctant to open it at first as I was afraid that it would turn a loved hobby into an arduous task. However, after some persuading from friends who admired the work I had been nonchalantly posting on Facebook and Instagram, I decided to give it a go. Apparently I opened at just the right time - the holiday season - because, within a month and a half, I sold over 100 scarves. The sewn scarves were such a hit so I decided to list some of my crocheted pieces as well - they took off! I’m so glad to know that something I love to do in my spare time, something that gives me such peace and joy and helps me escape reality, makes others just as happy. I feel so blessed to have found this passion of mine and am forever thankful to the friends who encouraged me to give Etsy a try.
What inspires you? // I don’t really consider myself “trendy” in any way, but I found scarves to be a way to add just the right amount of that little something extra to an outfit that made me feel more confident and ready to take on the day. I was never much of a scarf person until I noticed the gorgeous scarves a coworker of mine, Briana,  would wear to work. Her collection was quite extensive and I loved how she paired them with her outfits. Scarves are different than jewelry - they’re a fun way to mix patterns, show your mood, and make a statement in one piece. She did all of this with her scarves and I found myself obsessed. When I shop for fabric, I find myself looking for patterns that remind me of happiness - whether that’s in colors, patterns, or the feel of the fabric. I’m also inspired by my little sister, Emily. She has incredible taste in fabric and gave me the idea to pair different pieces together - my half and half scarves. Mostly, though, I’m always on the lookout for something that will make a positive statement. One of the reasons I was so drawn to my coworker's scarves is because I have an allergy to nickel. I can't have as much fun as the general population in buying cheap and fun jewelry. My jewelry is an investment for me. Scarves provided a fun way to spruce up my outfits without having any type of reaction and without draining my bank account! My scarf purchases started to get a little out of control. After that, and realizing that I could make them, I broke out my sewing machine that was sitting in a box for almost a year, grabbed my incredibly talented younger sister, and started down the road of what is now Sew What Scarves. My sister's knack for picking out fun and vibrant patterns inspired me to break out of my normal routine and reminds me every day that just because I don't like something doesn't mean someone else won't. 
Are there season that you particularly enjoy designing/sewing scarves for? // Since I’ve only been in business for a couple of months, I haven’t had the chance to go through all of the seasons yet. Making scarves for the holidays was fun, but I am finding a lot of joy in shopping for fabric for the spring. While fall/winter are mostly scarf seasons, I’m looking for unique ways to make scarves relevant all year round. I’m excited to see what I’ll find and come up with!
What is your creative process like? // I don’t think I can say that I have much of a process. Usually I find myself yearning to look at fabric, wanting to find the newest patterns to keep the styles fresh on my site. I find shopping for fabric very therapeutic and it helps me relieve my stresses of the typical work day. When I get to the store, I get in the zone and go to town touching everything, pairing things together, making a mess :-) I’ve also been asked to create some custom pieces as gifts, which is always a fun task! It even helps inspire me to look for more fabric and branch out. My taste in scarves isn’t always someone else’s tastes so I rely on my family and friends’ opinions.

i can't tell you how happy i am with my scarf from sew what scarves! it's the perfect light scarf for summer and the fact that its an infinity scarf makes it even better.

if you're interested in ordering a scarf from melissa, check out her etsy shop and use the promo code "HEAVENS2BETSY20" to get 20% off of your order! i'm already picking out my next scarf!

and to get updates about melissa's scarves, new patterns, and new fabrics, follow her here:

April 16, 2014

Work-It-Out, the App Edition

a few weeks ago, i wrote this post about getting fit and staying motivated.

i'm so excited to say that i didn't just write it and then totally fall off the bandwagon a week later, which to be perfectly honest, would not have surprised me.  but this time was different; this time (so far) i've actually stuck with my goals (woohoo!).

i'm a total geek when it comes to just about anything, but i particularly love tracking my workouts and sometimes what i'm eating.  it keeps me motivated to see myself reaching goals and getting better at this working out stuff.  plus, i like being able to look back and see that i accomplished things!

runkeeper // runkeeper is my all-time favorite workout app.  it's the one i use the most and i love it.  you can manually input workouts (not limited to just runs…they have a ton of different things on here like crossfit, zumba, pilates, you name it!), but you can also allow it to track you.  periodically during a run/walk/bike ride, it will tell you how long you've been running, what your mileage is, and what your current pace is.  it also allows you to play music while running the app and after a workout, it will give you a summary, let you know if you hit a personal record, and save your workout.  you can set goals for yourself like a particular distance you want to run, an amount of weight you'd like to lose, etc., and there are built-in training plans as well.  if you can't tell, i love this app.

myfitnesspal // my fitness pal is one of those apps where you can track what you eat and what you burn.  it keeps a running daily tally of calories in/out and a balance of what you have left for the day.  you can also track your weight and measurements in it, set weight-loss goals, and get data about your nutrition and caloric intake.  it has a social media feature, where you can follow friends and see how they're doing, but what i love the most about this is that it syncs with runkeeper, so when i use that to log a workout, it automatically updates myfitnesspal to reflect my exercise.

nike training club // ntc is my go-to app when i can't get to the gym or don't have time for a run.  it contains tons of workouts (in four different categories: get lean, get toned, get strong, get focused) that all target different things.  many of the workouts can be done with little to no equipment and they range from 15min to 1hour.  the app lets you play music and then start a workout, where it will tell you exactly what move you need to do (planks, burpees, lunges, etc.) and for how long, it then prompts you for each new move.  the greatest thing about this app is that if at any point you don't know what a move is, you can tap the photo and see a video of the move.  it's like having your own personal trainer or a gym on the go.  it even keeps track of how many minutes you've spent working out through the app and also includes bonus workouts from celeb athletes!

what are your favorite fitness apps?

April 15, 2014

Discover Etsy // Raellacraft + a Giveaway

i'm so excited to introduce you to another etsy shop today!  this discover etsy feature is making me really happy…i love getting to meet and promote people who are using their creative talents!
rae abigael runs a blog and an etsy shop, where she sells beautiful handmade postcards, prints, and more!  I just love her ink and watercolor designs.

she's also super busy as an avid dancer and designer, so i'm really happy that she's found time in her busyness to partner with heavens to betsy to host a giveaway!

one lucky winner will be able to choose five postcards from her etsy shop!  the giveaway will close on april 21st, so don't miss out!

April 14, 2014

This Week on the Blog...

as i'm sure you're all very well aware, next sunday is easter…that means that things are cr-azy at work! (i work on the creative team at my church)

i spent today in meetings and then creating words made out of moss on wooden signs.  super fun, but also super time consuming.

i just wanted to give you all a quick update on some goings on this week:

i'm blogging all week for work (check out the posts here) and writing about what jesus was up to during the week leading up to easter…i'm pretty excited about these posts, so follow along if you can!

an exciting partnership + giveaway with raellacraft starts tomorrow, so don't miss that!

due to my recent working out commitments, i'll be featuring my favorite fitness apps on wednesday

on thursday, i'll be driving to boston and back (to pick up aj) and i'll also be featuring sew what scarves right here on the blog (stay tuned for a promo code to use at the shop!)

enjoy the beginning of your week friends!

April 9, 2014

This Week, it's Grateful Wednesday

a few weeks ago, i started linking up with emily (over at ember grey) to start my week with a grateful heart.  i love taking some time to think about the things i'm grateful for.

this week has been particularly crazy and busy.  i'm on staff at a church of about 5,000 people and we're gearing up for our easter services next weekend.  that means having bulletins to the printer this week and finalizing plans and details, and lots of meetings.  this is my first year in my new position as creative arts project coordinator, and my bosses know that i blog, so they asked me to blog through next week.  (so sorry if you've been disappointed by my lack of posting these last few days…i've been writing, just not for heavens to betsy!)  if you're a blogger, you know that it can be really hard to pump out post after post, and i've been busy writing 8 different posts that will walk readers through the week between palm sunday and easter…talk about pressure!

anyway, i still wanted to get in thankful list this week, so here goes!

here's what i'm particularly grateful about today:

new glasses that have been shipped (even though they're reading glasses…which means i'll now wear contacts and glasses at the same time)
archer farms vanilla bean creme brûlée k-cups (from target…go get them now.)
a good report from dad's scans this week!  (his tumor is very small and everything is stable!)
exciting opportunities at work that are stretching and challenging me
one week til aj's home for easter
two weeks til i go to boston for a few days
being a part of an awesome staff
time scheduled to spend with friends this week
another day of subbing on friday (ka-ching!) $$ :)
warm weather & runs outside
achieving my goal of running 10-miles this past sunday!

emily runs a little grateful heart link-up every monday, and it's open all week…i encourage you to go check it out, read some of the other posts, and consider participating! 

what are you grateful for today?
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