Antler Jewelry Tree

JewelryTreeAntlers-1

I enjoy target practice as much as the next red-blooded Texas girl, but the thought of actually personally hunting freaks me out down to my potentially-closet-Yankee bones. So understand I have no earthly idea, then, what compelled me to become nothing short of obsessed with real antler jewelry trees last summer.

I guess my general hate of knock-offs extends to deer? Who knew.

We’ll put this one on record as a bad case of Pinterest Fever.

Except instead of Pinterest-ing the probably literal thousands of how-to’s, I went totally rogue in the least Southern Living Clean & Classy Crafts fashion possible. But since I’m not anticipating a visit from Martha Stewart anytime soon, I ain’t even mad about how crazy it looks in the back because it gets the job done.

JewelryTreeAntlers-8

JewelryTreeAntlers-2

Except that it didn’t. Not at first. These babies took a nose-dive to end all terrifying thumps in the night that landed them hard in the Pinterest Fail column and a backseat to my closet for a solid six month time-out so they could think about what they’d done.

Unable to hide for long in the zero-storage situation that is my apartment, my bruised ego eventually pulled them back out and now it’s Antlers 1 : Robin 1, and I can live with that score.

I went as cheap as possible with this project, which was only ultimately bad in one regard: glue.

JewelryTreeAntlers-6

The antlers themselves came from the Sweat-A-Thon that was our trip to Canton Trade Days last Fourth of July weekend; fifteen thousand (slight hyperbole) acres of flea market and an experience I highly recommend in any month that isn’t the month we went.

JewelryTreeAntlers-9

The hanger is unscrewed from an unusual collection of unused picture frames I’ve somehow managed to collect and had lying around. If you *don’t* stockpile useless crap, Google will help you find something of the kind.

The original glue was an off-brand Kroger *Super* aka Super Bad At Gluing Things Glue. Glue that wont make you jump out of your skin as fifteen thousand pounds of necklaces come crashing down on top of your dresser: Gorilla Glue, of course.

JewelryTreeAntlers-10

I just eyeballed where the hanger fit best on the back, glued, sat to try for 24ish+ hours, and hung on the wall on two nails. I wish I had more detailed images to show you the process, but those were deleted in the flurry of a tantrum I threw at Antlers 1 : Robin 0 and never retaken. Whoops.

I enjoy having my options visible rather than stored away because Hi Reader, meet High Maintenance, but I also love that it frees up space on my dresser from the table-top jewelry trees these were on originally to make room for the rest of my jewelry stash.

JewelryTreeAntlers-5

So there you have it. The story you’ve been craving on how I came to hang my necklaces on the wall. Riveting.

Autumn Indulgences: my 4 c’s

“I love fall.” –The thread uniting basic white girls across America the moment temperatures dip just low enough to bust out a blanket scarf and snap a story sipping pumpkin spiced anything logo’d with the green mermaid stamp of approval . Truth: I am not immune to this sentiment. There’s a reason it’s so wildly and mockably popular! Fall is terrific. To me, it’s the seasonal precursor to the most wonderful time of the year –a little taste of the best season to come, but everyone isn’t grumpy about being cold or sharing the road with shoppers and sludge, yet.

I also find it an easier season than ev.er. to convince myself I deserve/need/earned/can’t-live-without a serious number of guilty pleasures.

Coffee
“It’s a little chilly (maybe 70 degrees), I could really use some warming up…” -Starbucks run. Keep your pumpkin-spice, though, and I will drink all of the Chai Tea Lattes you have with a side of *one of everything* on the holiday menu, thanks.

The ole’ Karber coffee maker tends to start working double-time, too, with the changing of the leaves (in the interest of still keeping some of our money in the bank). IMG_9690

Ye true coffee geeks across America forgive me – I love me some local beans, too, but more often than not I’m brewing:

IMG_9687
You guessed it. Starbucks Medium House Blend + Bailey’s (non-alcoholic) Vanilla Creamer

Smooth. Easy. Available at Kroger. Typically on sale at Kroger. Makes my house smell like I’m lounging in a super fleek Starbucks, minus congregations of high-schoolers and SAHMs, plus I don’t have to wear real pants (admittingly a point less to do with the coffee bean concept, and more with at-home brew.)

Cardigans
“It’s a little chilly (maybe 70 degrees), I could really use some warming up…” -Sweater weather. Longline/Boyfriend/Duster/Maxi/Squishy-Blanket-Disguised-as-Sweaters cardigans have been my favorite of favorite fall obsessions.

IMG_9674-2

IMG_9682

Although sweater-weather south of the Texas Panhandle (I’m realizing) is more of a state of mind than an actual thing, frigid office air conditioners have still bred plenty of necessity to humor this card-carrying cardigan hoarder. Plus (!), now that we’re nearly all the way to gosh-dang Thanksgiving, Mother Nature is *finally* beginning to see things my way around here, too.

A few that top my lust list (at a variety of price-points):

DusterCardis

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Candles
“It’s a little chilly (maybe 70 degrees), I could really use a million tiny fires around my apartment to warm up!” -Okay, obviously not. Fall candles just smell the coziest, and as temperatures dip, who doesn’t just want to feel cozy?

IMG_9663

I have -easily- two to ten candles lit on any given evening in our 900ish square feet of space (which is all about having scents that blend, as much as it is having a potential candle addiction). 2 for $24 Bath & Body sale? Yankee Candles from Home Goods? Anthro-anything? I don’t discriminate, although I naturally end up with an overflow of B&B candles 10:1.

Calories
“It’s a little chilly (maybe 70 degrees), better really start packing it on for hibernation!” –What I think my mind actually convinces my stomach needs to happen for the last three months of the year. (If only.)

From carrot cake in the break room, sharing meals with company passing through, Friendsgivings, practicing Pinterest recipes for the pending holidays, to snacking on friend’s practiced Pinterest recipes for the pending holidays, why is there more. food. everywhere. starting this time of year?

Rarely is it the healthy stuff, either. It’s the good stuff. Nobody’s whipping up extra fruit salads or lettuce wraps –it’s the heavy, sugary, gluten-laden, glorious breads, cakes, pies, cookies and candies. This is such a fun time of year to bake for the same reason I burn through ten trillion candles – I love the coziness of baked goods.

I tried a new-to-me, easy recipe, and I feel like you need it in your life: Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread.

IMG_9647

It’s fairly heavy bread, with a heavenly balance of banana and cinnamon. Just trust me and follow the link for the road map to banana bread bliss.

Do you have any obsessions particular to fall, or have you read this not understanding a single word of my crazy? Comment below or with the talking bubble near the title!

Upcycling Capri Blue Candle Jars

CapriBlue

If I could only burn one candle in our home from now until eternity, it would be Capri Blue’s Volcano.

This is not new news

The new news is I’ve finally decided what to do with the sad, empty candle jars I’ve been hoarding -because throw them out? Never. Since we can agree to agree that everything Capri Blue is the absolute bomb, you already understand why not -but I’ll defend myself anyway.

They’re just pretty, and good quality, and a great versatile size for upcycling ten million unique ways. For the sake of not making you read all ten million, here are three.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. While I guess it would be perfectly legal to leave the wax residue in the bottom of the jars… let’s not.

Step 1: Clean out the jar.

Put the jar in the freezer. I left mine overnight, but an hour or two I’m sure would work perfectly. You just want the wax to freeze or get really, really cold. After pulling it out, I took a butter knife and gently stabbed the wax, which frozen caused the wax to crack in large sections that were easy to pull out in less than thirty seconds per candle (easy breezy.)

In the interest of lazy I then threw mine in the dishwasher, although unless you plan on like, eating cereal out of yours (weird) a good rinse with hot water should make them clean enough. Just make sure to a) not get wax in your sink drain or b) pour boiling hot water into a freezing cold glass jar. The first would make your husband very unhappy, and the second would make your then shattered candle jar very unhappy. (I did neither thankyouverymuch –just practicing my fortune-telling.)

Step 2: Do something cute with the jar that makes you very, very happy.

Something like…

1. The most obvious option -duh- put something in it

Capri Blue Candle Upcycle

If there’s a collection of items you reach for on the daily -pens, makeup brushes, q-tips, paper clips, hair pins, whatever– this is an easy, basically free way to make the storage situation a little more adorable.

And you know what they say, a cotton ball a day…does nothing. There is nothing special about cotton balls, except that I use one every single evening before bed to remove my eye makeup. Now, instead of in an ugly plastic bag under my sink, they’re in a cute jar at an arms reach. Cute + Lazy for the win.

Capri Blue Candle Upcycle

2. Put something living in it. (It’s different, I swear.)

Capri Blue Candle Upcycle

Wherever you feel like the height of a bouquet might be a little much, these jars are the perfect vases for just tucking a little pop of pretty anywhere. The glass is really well made, so I haven’t experienced any type of leaks.

And I’m enjoying my darling flowers to bits. What about flowers just brightens the soul and a space?

Capri Blue Candle Upcycle

3. Pretend it never burned out. (Stay with me.)

Capri Blue Candle Upcycle

Unless you’re a loves-the-warm-glow-of-candlelight sort of person like I am, you might find this silly. It totally still counts as an upcycle. I visually love the clean lines and warm simplicity of these candles while they burn, so it makes sense to keep the jar and simply find a smaller candle to create the same effect. I know I don’t get to smell Volcano, but I still get to enjoy my jar.

Capri Blue Candle Upcycle

These tiny candles came from Bath & Body Works’ semi-annual sale (read: they were cheap) and are about two notches above a tea candle in burn time (plus, they’re actually scented, opposed to fragrance-free tea lights, so you’re getting a little somethin’-somethin’ more than just light.)

Capri Blue Candle Upcycle

Where to find Capri Blue candles?

For my Amarillo peeps: I found out recently that a darling boutique, The English Rose, has actually started carrying them!
For my Dallas peeps: I’ve seen them around this fantastic boutique in The Galleria, Altar’d State.
For my Everywhere peeps: The one and only, Anthropologie, of freaking course.

If you have one of these gems, enjoy it! Savor it! And then, happy crafting.

I would LOVE to see what you crafty people come up with, or if you try one of my upcylces -so let me know when you do! Comment below or with the talking bubble near the title with any ideas/questions/praises/if you feel like picking a passionate fight over candles.

I’ve got a blank space, baby: Custom Photo Poster Project

RPosterTitlePhoto

Does part of your house just stare at you, or am I a crazy person?

The wall above the desk in our living room was bare for m.o.n.t.h.s. after we moved in. Just staring at me. And I spent a lot of time staring right back trying to figure out what belonged in the big, gaping empty staring space. (Gallery? Giant mirror? Set of shelves with knick-knacks and photos? Photos? One Shelf? Two shelves? Nothing. Nothing belongs in that stupid space.)

definitely wanted: a way to display more photos of the sweet people we cherish.

definitely lacked: funds. I always get caught in the balance between holding the reigns on my debit card while not wanting to make a project look cheap and crappyI would have thrown a few giant shelves up and covered them with funky frames and smiling faces, but we’re talking dough.

So I found another way.

Poster

My biggest pulls of inspiration were this post and this post from ABM. I basically combined some the concepts, reached out to my sister-in-law (the one and only Alex Karber Photography) who had a stellar printing recommendation that shifted the way I did everything, and went to town.

Originally I was searching for someone to print quality square photographs inexpensively so I could lay them out side by side and fill a frame with the tiled photos. Then Alex showed me THE COOLEST COMPANY who made exactly what I pictured in my brain, in poster form, super inexpensively. Immediately I knew this meant a) perfectly straight lines b) virtually zero time c) cheeeeap.

Poster-3

Now, it is my honest-to-goodness sincere hope that every single girl gets to look back on her wedding day with bliss and bias and think I seriously had the most stellar, fun, loving wedding reception ever. Speaking through a cloud of bridal bias: 1/2 wedding celebration, 1/2 New Year’s Eve bash, our reception was the party of my life. So many of our sweet friends and family were able to come laugh, eat cake, drink from “not the kids table,” and dance our legs sore for hours.

These aren’t the type of shots normally chosen to sit sweetly in expensive frames adorning mantel tops…which made them perfect for my project.

Everyone looks just a hair ridiculous, but intensely full of happiness -just the very best kind of frozen moments.

Poster-5

Poster-8

The most difficult part was combing through hundreds of shots and narrowing down the top 96 that painted the best picture of the entire evening. After making our selections, I took them into my photo editing software to square crop and make them all match in color. (Which wasn’t necessary for such a user-friendly website, but hi I’m Robin the control freak psychoperfectionist.)

Poster-9

A little out of the ordinary, it serves as both a piece of art + a sweet reminder of so many of the loved ones in our lives.

Rounding out the space with a couple more pieces that also mean a lil somethin’ special to me, I couldn’t be more pleased with the result. And thrilled because however much TSwift digs her blank spaces, they just ain’t my thang. 

Poster-2

DIY Cone Christmas Trees

Most of your stockings have likely been hung by the chimney with care for going on two to three weeks now. In fact, you Pre-Thanksgiving decorators are probably tempted to stop reading right now (rookie decorator, why are we still talking decorations?). I’ll tell you why. Scenarios in which it’s not too late for this post:

a) You’re hosting that rocking Christmas party this weekend plus oodles of family next, and your space could honestly use a little more holiday jazzing up (You know it could.)
b) You might be on the hunt for a simple DIY whilst hosting a more intimate -yet equally festive- gathering of friends in the coming days.(How much more “Girl’s Night” does it get than busting out glue guns and glitter?)
c) You aren’t hosting anyone, but are practically bubbling over with Buddy-The-Elf-Like Christmas Spirit that’s kinda getting on people’s nerves and you need to channel it stat before you burst into a million tiny sugar plum pieces.

I most closely identify with the third.

I practiced immense self control this year in not going Christmas-crazy in our apartment. It’s our first Christmas married, so we bought a lovely tree, and have one of two little holiday pieces tucked here and there -then I drew the heartbreaking, pragmatic decorating line. (Somehow I didn’t imagine conversations with family explaining why everyone’s presents were in the form of nativity centerpieces and candy cane wreaths sprucing up my living room as going very well.)

The inspiration for this project was one part Christmas spirit, and one part newlywed practicing budgeting discipline and seeking out some fun, frugal ways to decorate and enjoy the season while crafting.

DIY Christmas Tree Cones
Cereal Box Cone Christmas Tree Forest

I found these a blast to make. They’re unusually addicting -I started looking at everything in my apartment as potential cone tree material. The concept is so basic, the sky’s the limit for creativity.

ConeTrees

The inspiration for these trees was from this absolutely terrific post. She has some crazy creative ideas that I love, and does a nice job of explaining step by step how she made her creations.

I tried to make these as cheaply as possible, staying under the $25 mark for the lot using materials I had at home, plus great sales and coupons from craft stores. I  used the cardboard that was already in my pantry and made the cones out of cereal boxes, like she suggests, because that sounded like a great idea (and eventually, ultimately was.)

But let’s be honest for a second: the inspiration post says “roll, cut, glue, & trim!” like it’s that easy. I must have missed an elementary lesson on cone-making back in the day –my first cone was so complicated and lopsided.
ConeTrees-3
ConeTrees-4

Sure I could have bought styrofoam cones, but that meant spending more money and defeating the purpose. Several glue gun burns (and silent expletives) later I figured it out, and have total confidence you will, too (likely much more easily than I did if you didn’t miss that particular day of second grade.) All of that to say if you struggle a smidge, you’re in good company, and it gets easier and more fun.

ConeTrees-8 ConeTrees-16

My favorite tree was honestly the most expensive to make, this little jingle bell guy. I fell in love with the sort of non-traditional metal tones of bells at Hobby Lobby and knew immediately I needed to incorporate them (the tones are much more gorgeous in person.) I started by painting the base a metallic gold because I knew a little cardboard would show through in the gaps between bells (nothing screams sloppy DIYer more than images of Fruity Pebbles peaking through.)

ConeTrees-14

This one took patience seeing as I chose the largest tree to be covered with the tiniest pieces (plan better than me, You.) Ultimately I think the texture and color is a nice addition to the team and I’m happy I went with it, but it took a few episodes worth of Gilmore Girls snipping and gluing tiny pine cones pieces. I knew I planned to paint it a metallic green when I was finished, so I just started with the brown base.

ConeTrees-15

I started with a white base, clipped the ends of the feathers to create clean lines, organized them by size, and topped this fluffy guy with a random faux pearl from the bottom of my craft bucket. I think it took fifteen minutes. I love the starkness of the white with the team and the texture -even if it looked like I had a fight with a monster chicken when I was finished (have a hand vac ready, feathers are almost as bad as glitter for getting everywhere you never imagined.)

ConeTrees-13

This one wins the gold medal for easy -maybe 10 minutes. I painted the base metallic gold in case any cardboard peaked through, then stuffed one end of the cord into the top of the tree and wound it around tightly hot gluing every so often until I reached the bottom. Done.

ConeTrees-12

In theory, this final tree would have been as easy as the gold cord tree had I purchased the correct supplies. If you can find a roll of tinsel-like (what do you call it? ribbon? cord?) -use it. That’s what this looked like in the package, and I know it exists. Instead, I bought a silver garland with individual tinsel-looking branches, which I clipped off and hot glued individually. It was more time consuming, but it had the same effect, and it was important for me to mix silver in the group.

Due to constraints of working, out of town trips, and an exploding glue gunthis is where the forest ends this year. (My glue gun screamed “I’m done!”  around midnight with a bright orange spark and a loud POP as I was gluing the last of the silver tinsel on the final tree. Apparently my holiday spirit was getting on his nerves, too. I have a neat battle wound.)

I would love to make more trees out of different ruffled fabrics, leopard ribbons, poinsettia petals, or jute -but those will have to wait until next year. If you give these a whirl, please tell me what you use! Comment below!

ConeTrees-10

New-Wife, New-Home Instant Gratification Syndrome: Fall Edition!

Karber_Fall(Pre-Lit Monogram Pumpkins from Kirkland’s. I told you, I’m all about the K’s these days. You know, in case someone forgets my last name starts with K now, I have to put it everywhere.)

October air has a spectacularly unique crispness and zeal. Temperatures dip just enough to prompt sweater-wearing, scarves, leather boots, and hot coffee. Everything from the colors of food to the shadows in designer eye pallets to the runners of dining room tables begin to mirror God’s miraculous and ever-changing, golden-warm landscape. Sidewalks crunch,  fireplaces burn, and a great big bowls of candy can be found on nearly every coffee table and desk for an entire 31 days. Then, after the last miniature fairy-princess and goblin get tucked into bed and the porch light is flicked off, the holidays begin.

There is nothing I find more comfortable, exciting, or warm than the last 3 chilly months of the year, and October has the privilege of kicking it all off. For the clothes, the food, weather, and football, I love October.

So I still consider myself to be a new wife, and one ridiculously high priority of mine is making our little place feel homey (not the first or last time I will likely mention this on the blog.) And there is something that makes me absolutely crazy over fall & holiday decorations. Nothing makes a space feel more snug to me than when it sparkles with fall & holiday charm –perhaps another reason these last 3 months of the year are the absolute best.

As we’re in this first year of marriage, I have sincerely struggled with wanting everything in our home to be perfect instantly -meals, scheduling, relationships, decor, the gamut. I call this something like the “New-Wife, Now-Home Instant-Gratification Syndrome.” I’m really working on it because I do realize this notion is stupidly unrealistic, but a very real battle in my heart. Not surprisingly, this syndrome leaked over into my ridiculously massive want to dress our home for fall.

Through these first nearly ten months, I’ve learned  to come to terms with something:

Creating a classically perfect collection of decorations will take time –a lot of time. And probably even more patience. This idea is super applicable to regular decorating, but especially to fall & holiday decorating, I think. It would be lovely if I had the budget to walk into Hobby Lobby, Kirkland’s, and Pottery Barn to simply buy everything off the shelves that sang to me (figuratively -singing holiday decorations can be totally creepy.)

Alas, I don’t (who does?) But honestly, would I want to? (Am I crazy? Maybe. Stay with me.)

If I simply bought everything in one swoop, where would the story be? Suddenly my house may look like Pottery Barn, but I’m not Pottery Barn, I’m Robin. My personality spans more than one style from one store from one season, and I want to reflect that in my decorating, including and maybe especially holiday decorations. My favorite decorations in my home have stories:  the lamp I bought shopping with a dear friend in Kentucky, the plaque I found in a hole-in-the-wall boutique in Gruene, Texas with my sister, the rug from my mother-in-law, my grandmother’s old table, the birdcage from our wedding. They’re a collection of memories that make our apartment ours, and I didn’t walk out of Pottery Barn one a Saturday afternoon with a sackful of memories. They took time to collect, and will keep collecting.

Ultimately, I’m trying to become more comfortable with the idea of decorating bit by bit, sale by sale, and being particularly choosy with what I find -to not just buy a vase to fill a table because I want the table filled right now. So I’m fighting to suppress the urge to go out and stockpile all the wreaths, garland, and pumpkins I see just to have a home that immediately sparkles with Fall, but to let time cultivate the space naturally with stories.

Lucky for me, I maybe mentioned to my mother one too many times how much I loved her fall decorations last time I was in Amarillo. Knowing I didn’t actually own a single pumpkin, she took me on a quick trip to Kirkland’s to kick-start my collection. Now forever, when I pull out that set of ceramic pumpkins or flowers, I have that special memory of shopping for my first Fall decorations with mom.

Fall-2photo (5)FallFall-4

Summer’s Anthropologie Dupes

 

Anthropologie Dupes

There’s just something whimsy and inspirational about Anthropologie that makes me want to poke around the weathered,wooden display cabinets of dishes for hours, stroll in on my bad days to ogle & droll over clothes I could never afford, and curl up on the plush, velvet sofas for Sunday afternoon naps. (I’ve never done that last one, calm down. But I can’t say I’m not tempted almost every darn time.)

In all seriousness, if Disney hadn’t gotten to it first, I’m confident Anthropologie would have been dubbed “the happiest place on earth” ages ago.

The brand’s only downfall:  I don’t have a million dollar shopping budget. Or a million dollar anything budget.

Because of this, it is absolutely *thrilling* to find Anthro Look-A-Likes and Smell-A-Likes outside of their vintagesque, gorgeously adorned walls.

These are the best, heart-fluttering Anthropologie Dupes I stumbled upon this summer:

Anthropologie Piece: Capri Blue Volcano Candle (my favorite smell of. all. time.) $28.00
Dupe: Target Island Moonlight Tin Candle $10.00 (online they only come in sets, but in-store they can be bought individually.)

Anthropologie Volcano Candle DupeWhile nothing (nothing) will beat the quality of a Capri Blue candle, these little guys come about as close as it gets for a delicious replica of the smell. Their most annoying quality: the wax doesn’t burn down evenly, so when the wick has burned its last breath, you are left with some wasted, fragrant wax.

Anthropologie Piece: Maeve brand corduroy skirt $49.95
Dupe:  Fresh Produce brand skirt $9.00, consignment store

Anthropologie Skirt DupeConfession -when I bought this skirt, I didn’t even realize it would be an Anthro dupe. Shortly after on a Pinterest binge, I was like wait a minute, is that my $9 thrift skirt? And it wasn’t. But it was pretty darn close. When I’m out at an upscale consignment shop or thrift store, I always do keep in the back of my mind to look for pieces with distinguishable details -like oversized pockets or a thick, ruffled waistband like the skirt above. It’s an easy way to add Anthro-inspired pieces to your wardrobe this way without paying the big ticket (and a time or two, I’ve found discarded Anthro pieces, so keep an eye out.)

Anthropologie Piece:  Monogram Mug $8.00
Dupe: Ross Dress for Less Mug $3.99

Anthropologie Mug DupeAfter getting married, I’ve fallen in love with all of Anthropologie’s monogram home decor. (I’m all about the K’s these days. You know, in case anyone forgets my last name starts with K now.) I’ve eyed the mugs on the right a handful of times, so I lost my mind a little bit in excitement when I spotted the mug on the left at a Ross Dress for Less of all places on earth. For this piece, quality is spot on identical to Anthropologie. Not only for the K, but for the sturdiness & shape this has quickly become one of my favorite go-to’s for my daily coffee. I think I actually even like mine better. I can’t link to it directly on here because they don’t sell online, but I’ve seen this piece floating around the last few weeks of summer, and wouldn’t be surprised if you were able to pick it up marked down right now if they still have one.

 

What are the best Anthropologie dupes you’ve found? Any I should be looking up? Comment below or with the little thought bubble near the title!

Advice on packing up and moving big

Moving_Tips

Wherever there is a chore, therein lies a service providing, money making opportunity –or conversely, a chance to save money doing it yourself. Plumbing, painting, cooking, cutting grass, hanging Christmas lightsthe list goes on. People who hire out their shopping, well, I don’t understand those people (but would love to meet them –who’s hiring?)

Right now, the full potential of the professional moving industry is crystal clear:  I’m drowning in boxes. And in paper. And in anxiety concerning the things in the boxes staying in one piece, respectively, 834 miles to Texas.

boxandpaperAlso, I think my hands may be stained with newsprint permanently.

Bliss would be leaving, returning, and finding all my valuables clad in bubble wrap and stowed securely in cardboard boxes stacked ceiling high. Unfortunately, my control-issues would probably never let that happen (or maybe just my lack of funds. Details.)

So here I sit, a non-professional mover moving DIY with very little experience and a stack of old papers and a tape dispenser. I don’t believe my insights would be worth much, so that’s not what the meat of this post is about. I’m not experienced and smart yet at moving, but I’m smart enough to ask smart people who do have a lot more experience to share the most wise or creative emotional and/or logistical advice they could.

(Names removed to protect the innocent.)

“In the past 13 years, I have moved 13 times. You read that correctly.  I’m not smart, apparently.
My biggest piece of advice goes something like this: Throw stuff away.
If, while you’re packing, you find things you haven’t looked at/used/needed in 6 months or more, throw them away. If you’re packing things, and whilst wondering how to protect an item, you realize it would be a relief if it broke, throw it away. If you’re holding onto something because it was a wedding gift, and the person who gave it to you might come around 6 Christmases from now, throw it away.
Why wouldn’t I say donate stuff or give stuff away? Because I’ve got a corner in my garage full of clothes in boxes that say ‘Donation’ on the outside, and I haven’t donated one bit of it. It’s not selfishness or a lack of empathy, I just never think about it. You won’t either. Throw that crap away!”

“Use regular trash bags (the flex kind so hangers don’t poke holes in the bag), cut a little hole in the middle of the bottom of the bag, then pull about 10-15 hangers through the hole.  Pull the trash bag down and around your clothes and tie the strings of the trash bag…TA-DA!! Homemade garment bags that make moving even the biggest of closets easy and efficient.” (I got this one twice. The first time, I felt amazed. Like, what a freaking simple and cool idea. The second time, I felt super dumb. Am I the only one left still stuffing clothes in boxes? Not anymore!)

“Keep in mind the way your new place is laid out so you know how to pack your moving truck.  Pack your front of the house things like living room and kitchen first and your back of the house things like bedrooms or office last.  This way when you unpack the truck you are working from the back of the house forward.”

“I think my biggest moving tip is to label your boxes to make it easier to find stuff later.”

“It’s so much cheaper to pack breakables in plastic Saran Wrap instead of paper or bubble wrap. The plastic sticks and adds cushion. It’s a pain unpacking when you get there, but everything is in one piece for a fraction of the cost.”

“I don’t really have any moving advice, but this scripture really helped me:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV) I just kept meditating on ‘peace which transcends all understanding.'”

Have anything to add? I’d love to hear it -comment below or by clicking the little thought bubble near the title!

“I Still Do” Conference: 7 gifts wives can bring to marriage

FamilyLife

Let’s be honest upfront:  my initial priorities were not the conference.

“In support of one of our clients, FamilyLife, we will be sending 3 interested couples to Chicago to attend one of their marriage conferences this summer.”

As this flashed across my inbox I thought:  Married? Yes. Free trip to Chicago? Absolutely I’m interested, what kind of question is that?

Frankly, I wasn’t interested in sitting through a ton of cheesy, embarrassingly unartistic Christian music, videos, games, or other forms of summer-camp-like-torture I was vividly imagining. First and foremost, I am a Christian woman, and wholeheartedly believe my love for Christ should shape all my feelings and actions. I’ll be the first to admit though, sometimes Christians have a pretty terrible way of communicating what are actually super stellar and important messages. (This isn’t an overarching belief of mine for everything Christians produce. There are incredibly artistic, brilliant Christian communicators and artists out there, few and far between.) But I’m in a really happy marriage, and I really like good food. I saw this as an opportunity for a fairly broke newlywed couple to just get through a conference and then be rewarded with the city.

Well, shame on me.

I realized I should have had a lot more faith in FamilyLife, and a lot more faith in God. Lucky for me as a sinner, God will ultimately speak when you need to be spoken to, even if I was more focused on cheesy deep-dish pizza rather than strengthening my marriage biblically. The day was peppered with comedy, surprisingly amazing praise and worship music, and theologically-sound marital advice (terrific for us specifically as we’re laying the foundation of our marriage in this first year.)

Debriefing the conference between ourselves on the 5-hour ride home, Austin & I actually agreed the most impactful session for us was when speaker Crawford Loritts shared 7 gifts women should bring to the marriage for their husbands, and his bride of 43 years, Karen Loritts, shared  7 gifts men should bring to the marriage for their wives.

Convicting but not guilt-trippy and comedic in all the right places, here is (unfortunately) the abridged version of the 7 gifts Crawford taught that wives should bring to the marriage for their husbands:

1 Godliness
It is absolutely crucial to continuously grow your relationship with Jesus and to help be a Godly leader in your household. Everything stems from this truth.

2 Unrivaled Priority
Unrivaled. Your priorities should be God, your Husband, then your Children. Keeping this order not only benefits you and your husband, but your children, too. One of the worst things you can do for your children is not letting them know their correct order and place in your life. Otherwise, you create entitled children.

3 Respect
Honor your husband in his assigned place in your life and home -don’t demean or put him down in front of anybody. Anybody. Don’t throw in his face your walk with Christ to show him how lost he is.
Don’t underestimate the transformative power you have over your husband.

4 Support
There is one person who is with him in life, and that’s you. This does not mean blind allegiance -tell him what’s what when he needs it- but no matter what, you should have his back.
Also important: he isn’t going to grow if you’re constantly buying him the books and holding his hand to small group. Give him the opportunity to be the man.

5 Encouragement
Your words are the wind in your husband’s sails. Use uplifting language, it’s so detrimental to your marriage to continuously focus on his faults.

6 Loyalty
Your husband should never question whose team you’re on.

7 Confidentiality
Protect your marriage’s business, and don’t make it anybody else’s business. Talking too much is one of the quickest ways to destroy trust.
(My favorite point to this:) Be wary of the fishing expeditions that are Small Groups. Don’t dress up what should be you and your husband’s private business in a prayer request.

Theme of the session:  There is no such thing as a rich marriage built on selfishness. 

Terrific conference, and I’m truly glad God opened my heart to accepting the powerful, wonderfully applicable messages.But come on, could it be a true Karber vacation without a little light shopping?

Chicago is a terrifically fun city.

IMG_9479-2

Tips on packing a weekender

blogtext

Throwing together a getaway bag and packing for two full weeks of travel used to mean the same thing to me:  pack everything. 

Maybe I’m older now and consequently more well-traveled, or I possibly just grew tired of of travel companion’s making fun of me, but I’ve finally taught myself how to pack (moderately) lightly for quick trips.

IMG_9454

Make a list.
Having a loose plan tends to keep me from spontaneously cramming eight different dresses into my suitcase, when realistically I might only need two (similar logic behind taking a list to the grocery store.) Not a spreadsheet, just  jot down a bare bones map of what you intend on bringing. Most obviously, it also reduces the likelihood of leaving something behind. (Duh.)

Then, mark nothing off the list until it’s in the suitcase. (Think that’s a “duh” suggestion, too? See the time I almost left the country with no makeup, then try telling me to skip this step anytime soon. More on that here.)

It’s a balancing act.
Bring what’s reasonable without skimping too much. What this doesn’t mean is saving space by re-wearing underwear (come on common sense), but the little black sweater you wore through the airport might match your Saturday night dinner dress. Choosing garments that mix-and-match naturally will only build the flexibility of your weekend wardrobe. I find this most useful with shoes. A separate shoe suitcase isn’t always necessary when you bring simple shoes (note the use of adverb always).

Be creative, be hygienic, but be realistic. I also know myself, and I like options. When I get where I’m going and only have one dress to wear, inevitably it won’t be what I  feel like wearing. But I don’t need my whole closet. I’ve learned to be satisfied by bringing a realistic handful of choices.

Strategize.
Get serious about the nook-and-cranny real estate of your suitcase. I like packing makeup, toiletries, jewelry, and tiny accessories into multiple small bags rather than one or two large ones. They fit more easily into tight corners and pockets, allowing every feasible amount of space to get used. Also, a dreaded lotion or conditioner explosion becomes so much less of a hassle when it doesn’t happen in the company of every getting-ready product you brought.

(Fun extra:  for added product explosion security, I usually use a bit of tape to seal down the opening to explosion-prone bottles–especially when my luggage will be riding in the belly of an airplane.)

blogtext2

Share your packing ideas and tips with me, comment below!